Saturday, September 27, 2008

Selamat Hari Raya 1429

Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Fitri Minal Aidin Wal Faizin

Maaf Zahir & Batin

to my family, friends, colleagues and visitors to this blog
"Berhati-hati di jalan raya" for those joining the yearly exodus of "balik kampong".

And especially for my son Syafiq who has a big exam after Raya: "It's Raya!" so enjoy the celebration. Just don't throw the books away...not yet, anyway.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Kanji Kampong Kepayang

Masjid Al Khairiah, Kampong Kepayang Fair Park, where the kanji Kepayang is prepared

Just got back from Ipoh this afternoon after visiting my parents. I try to go back once a month to look after Apak and Emak’s necessities. But the mid-Ramadhan visit is an annual affair – almost a must for me.

I would not miss it for a couple of reasons.

First, it is simply to be with Apak and Emak for berbuka puasa.

According to one hadith, the iftar (berbuaka puasa) is one of two joyous occasions for Muslims who fast. It’s true. When we were small, I remember how happy my siblings and I would be when iftar was approaching.

We would be popping in and out of the kitchen spying on what food Emak was preparing for iftar. And the last ten minutes before iftar was a right riot around the dinner table. Well, almost. What with the sound of groaning (someone suffering from hunger), whooping of joy (over-excited at the sight of glorious spread on the table) and the noise of plates and spoons clanging and banging. It was just wonderful.

Apak and Emak must have enjoyed those moments too. But now that all their children are grownup and staying in faraway KL, I am sure that they will miss the fun and joys from such occassions. And if I dare say it, there could be a sense of loneliness, too.

So I say to myself: Emak and Apak have both given me so much in life. Therefore, hitting the highway once a year to have iftar with them, in order to make them happy and brighten up their Ramadhan a little, is such a small sacrifice to make. After all, what is it compared to all the sacrifices that they have done for me?

Now, the other reason is “kanji Kampong Kepayang”.

For as long as I can remember, Kampong Kepayang folks have been preparing the kanji (or bubur lambuk as it is commonly called elsewhere) for free distribution to Muslims in the neighbourhood. When I was small, during Ramadhan, I would join the other kids to queue up (surround the poor cook, actually) with a “sia tingkat” in hand to get our share of kanji.

Kanji Kampong Kepayang is very tasty. Its taste and texture is almost similar to the famous bubur lambuk Kampung Baru, in KL. So it would not be uncommon to see people from outside the Kampong also making a beeline for the mosque where the kanji is cooked daily during Ramadhan. This includes people from Meru, Sg Senam, Ipoh Garden, Canning Garden, Tasek and Greentown.

Apak told me that when he first came to Kampong Kepayang at the age of 12, kanji Ramadhan was already a tradition in the Kampong. That was in 1948. At that time, the chief cook was my Nyang Lias. He was followed by Hj Isa. The current cook is an old friend of mine, Ani, Hj Isa’s son-in-law. The cook has changed, but the porridge remains the same – delicious.

The kanji is prepared using donations from individuals, families and even some corporate entities, all eager to reap some rewards from the bountiful ‘pahala’ which Allah promises during this month of barakah.

Unlike in many other places, kanji Kepayang is cooked in a big kuali. Everyday two kuali-full of kanji is prepared using 30kg of rice. According to Ani’s helper, on some days that is still not enough as many would have to return home empty handed.

If that is not a testimony to kanji Kepayang’s greatness, then I don’t know what is.

So, next time, when you can’t get your bubur lambuk Kampung Baru, make a detour and head north to Kampong Kepayang Fair Park in Ipoh. You won't regret it.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Sorry la Man United fans (3)

Albert Riera did well on his debut

Hahaha. I’m having a good laugh right now. For Liverpool beat Manchester United 2 – 1 in the clash at Anfield.

Prior to the game, all and sundry were writing Liverpool off. The TV pundits, the sports writers in the major local newspapers, and of course the many Man United fans amongst my friends. Nobody gave us a chance, especially with Gerrard and Torres not expected to be fit.

But we did it! And it was achieved even without Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres in the starting line-up.

Well done Liverpool FC.

Now, if we can get rid of those greedy American owners for good then we might be on to a really fantastic season.

The Appeal

Just bought the latest novel by John Grisham: The Appeal.

Have not started reading it in earnest because there are a few other books on the shelf screaming to be picked up and read.

So I just flipped through the pages, and it promises to be yet another riveting stuff from Grisham.

Liverpool to beat Man United

Tonight is the night of clash of the titans in English football. Yes, it’s the clash between the greatest English team ever, Liverpool, against the greatest team wannabe, Man United.

It’s always an overwhelming and emotional occasion when these two giants meet. And the rivalry is not restricted to the wet and windswept England northwest region only. It reverberates half way across the world.

As early as 9.00am this morning already the sms started streaming in to my hand phone from a few die-hard (ill-informed?) Man United fans taunting and teasing me for the game that (they say) we are sure to lose tonight.

Hah! I can only smile at their ignorance and foolhardiness.

Sure, Gerrard and Torres are not fit to play. Even if the are in the squad, they can’t be expected to be 100% because of their serious injuries.

But remember we also have Keane and Riera.

Tonight, witness these two to stand up and deliver.

So, when the fulltime is up, expect Man United (and their fans) to hit the highway which will take them home to Manchester scratching their heads and wondering “just what went wrong?”.

Liverpool (from): Reina, Arbeloa, Aurelio, Carragher, Skrtel, Hyypia, Agger, Dossena, Benayoun, Babel, Riera, Gerrard, Alonso, Mascherano, Plessis, Kuyt, Keane, Torres, Ngog, Cavalieri, El Zhar.

Man Utd (from): Van der Sar, Kuszczak, Foster, Neville, Brown, R Da Silva, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evans, Evra, F Da Silva, Fletcher, O'Shea, Hargreaves, Carrick, Anderson, Scholes, Nani, Possebon, Gibson, Giggs, Rooney, Tevez, Berbatov, Welbeck.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

A. Samad Ismail

National Journalism Laureate, A. Samad Ismail, passed away at the age of 84, last Thursday.

Fondly known as Pak Samad in the writing and journalistic circles, he has been described as guru by many a journalist and writers alike. But he was more than that. He was a nationalist. He was one of the last few surviving national freedom fighters. He was a man who helped shape the history of our nation.

I have never really experienced Pak Samad’s writings. Yes, being a science stream student during my secondary education has its draw backs. One of which is the dearth of exposure to local literary works. I must confess that I have never completed reading any of his novels. Not even the much heard of “Patah Sayap Terbang Jua” (shame on you, Azizi).

But I know Pak Samad is a great man.

I have seen – somewhere – his photo with the late Tun Razak on a trip to London as part of the team which negotiated our independence from the British. I heard that he started writing against the colonial masters whilst still young. I also know that he has a soft spot for the poor and the down-trodden. A characteristic which once led to him being branded – totally unfairly – as a communist!

I have read Lat’s book “Lat 30 Years Later” in which he described his first meeting with Pak Samad at Balai Berita office in Jalan Riong. And of how Pak Samad told him off once because his writing was lousy (although his drawings had improved).

After I started this blog, I also started reading other blogs. And that's when I stumbled upon Nuraina Samad's blog and got to know the man closer. Nuraina blogged about her Bapak every Tuesday.

So, another towering figure of the nation is gone.

Looking at the current crop of journalists and writers, I can’t help feeling sorry for Malaysia. I just wonder when the next journalist extraordinaire in the mould of Pak Samad will come our way. If ever.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Ahlan wa sahlan ya Ramadhan

Ramadhan is here with us again.

It is the most awaited month for Muslims simply for the blessings and barakah that Allah SWT has promised onto Muslims who do their utmost to fill this one month with ibadah.

I am reminded of my posting last year (here) on getting the most out of the holy month of Ramadhan.

Ahlan wa sahlan, wa marhaban ya Ramadhan.

I seek Allah's grace and mercy so that this shall be a better Ramadhan than the last for my family and I. Amin.