Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Rindu kampong halaman di pagi Raya

All my life, except for the nine years I'd been studying overseas, I have always spent Hari Raya at my kampong with Emak and Apak.

Even after marriage, if we were to celebrate the first day of Raya at the Mem's place, I will always end up in Kampong Kepayang, eventually. It is something which I look forward to very much. And so do my kids.

It is a unique and distinctive time of the year. In the build up to Hari Raya, our kampong house would be a hive of activities for the preparation of the Hari Raya spread. There would be laughters, shoutings and even the occassianal crying as the children kid around. And the air would be filled with a combination of delicious aromas of the food being prepared.

But this year it is a bit different. Actually, it is a lot different.

Here I am di pagi Raya, and still in KL. For this time, my family and I are staying put in Kuala Lumpur for the whole of Hari Raya as my mother is here with us. And so is my grandmother. 

So there's no need to balik kampong. But hopefully - in fact I expect - all my brothers and sister to come and join us once they are done with celebrating with their in-laws . If not, it might be one lonely Raya celebration for my family here. Thankfully, Zizah and family have already arrived from JB yesterday evening.

Time flies, and things change. I guess I shall have to get used to this new way.

But I will definitely miss the festive atmosphere of a Hari Raya in the kampong.

Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Fitri to all. May ALlah bless us with the opportunity to witness the coming of next year's Ramadhan. Ameen.

Rindu Syahdu Di Hari Raya

Indahnya sungai yang mengalir
Nyamanya angin yang beralun
Kicauan burung dipagi yang dingin
Bersama terbitnya mentari

Terbayang sanak saudara
Gurauan sesama keluarga
Mesra berkunjung ruih suasana
Riang menyambut hari mulia

Kini ku di perantauan
Di kota indah dan menawan
Tapi hati rindu pada kampung halaman
Desaku yang telah di tinggalkan

Ku memohon maaf serta ampun
Salamkan ku kirim pengganti diri
Doa restu ayah serta ibu
Menjadi penawar
Rindu syahdu di hari raya

Nyanyian: Nurul Abdul Wahab

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Raya preparation begins II

Sprucing up our home for Raya, today.

The lawn has been mown by yours truly and the pelita (actually, we call it
panjut in Perak) has been filled with kerosene by Anas ready to be lit

The windows have also been wiped clean by Sakinah, and next, the blinking
festive lights will be put up with the help of lanky Syafiq.

Daging pun sudah beli.

So this evening the Mem would be start to be busy preparing the Hari Raya
spread with the help of Emak and my mother-in-law.

Top of the list, rendang daging cooked according to Emak's recipe.


Saturday, August 27, 2011

Raya preparation begins

I remember when I was small, preparation for Hari Raya was like a festive in
itself. A joyous occasion.

A couple of weeks to the actual big day, my brothers and I would already be busy "helping out" Emak to cook the customary must-have bauhuluor kuih siput, and taking down the langsir or cushion cover to be washed. Sometimes, we would also be assigned to wipe and clean the naco window panes.

Two or three days before Raya, if we were in Kampong Kepayang, we would go into the woods and help Apak to get the buluh lemang. And of course we would also be asked to collect firewood for bakar lemang and for Emak to cook her big kuali-full of rendang.

So you see, Hari Raya preparation is always a good occasion to help our parents, for bonding with my siblings, and be enjoyable all at the same time.

Pics above show how my daughter, Nadiah, prepares the ketupat cases (sarung ketupat) for making ketupat daun palas using leaves from the palas tree.


Monday, August 15, 2011

Green city initiatives: some British examples

Bicycle hire station, London

Rows of bicycles for hire at a cheap rate, a brain-child of the Mayor of London himself

One of the many electric vehicle charging stations dotted around London

A car belonging to the City Car Club. The club has over 500 low-emission vehicles for people to hire. Car clubs help to reduce car ownership and encourage a transport mix mor ein line with being a sustainable city. This car is a Toyota Prius, a full hybrid electric vehicle

The London Olympic 2012 stadium under construction. The London Olympic aims to be the first Olympic ever to achieve 100% travel by public transport, cycling and by foot. That's 100%!

BedZED (Beddington Zero Energy Development). A zero-energy, environmentally friendly residential development in Hackbridge, Sutton near London. The houses have been designed to use minimum energy for heating and cooling through proper insulation and orientation of the buldings. Only energy from renewable sources generated on site is used. The buildings are also water efficient and constructed using low-impact materials. i.e. they are renewable or recycled materials from within 35 milesof the site, thus minimizing the energy required for their transportation

Walkable city. The new town of Poundbury in Dorchester has been planned based on traditional high-density urban pattern designed to create an integrated community of shops and housing. They are designed and built around the people rather than the car. The world famous architect and urban planner, Leon Krier, prepared the overall concept for Poundbury's master plan

This is an advertisement on the glass window of a restaurant. Instead of displaying the the prices of dishes on offer at the restaurant, it actually shows the amount of carbon emission that one could save (reduce) when one consume each type of dish
Small things matter. Even the carton which holds my breakfast egg & mayonnaise sandwhich was manufactured in an environmentally-friendly manner: recycled plastics, recycled paper etc.

The Malaysian Government has announced that Putrajaya - together with Cyberjaya, will be Malaysia's pioneer green city. That announcement was made way back in 2009, during his 2010 Budget Speech.

Not many people understood what that announcement really entails. But almost two years later, the two pioneering cities have managed to make some stride towards becoming Malaysia's true "green cities".

True, a lot still needs to be done. There was a lot of mis-conception. But at least now many understand that being a green city is not about landscaping as in planting more trees.

Green cities, in short, equates low-carbon cities. These are cities with conscious and concerted efforts and programs to reduce carbon emission.

Why the need to reduce carbon emission? It is because the release of carbon into the atmosphere will result in the phenomenon aptly called the "green-house effect" which would lead to global warming. And we all know what global warming means, don't we? Climate changes resulting in  sea level rise and dozens of natural disasters such as flooding, land slides, extreme drought and so on.

So how do we become a low-carbon society? There are numerous ways and means which will contribute to reducing carbon emission. Carbon reduction strategies would cover wide-ranging actions in sectors such as energy, transport, buildings, housing, waste management, and urban planning itself. More specifically, they would include activities like reducing the usage of fossil fuels (petrol, coal), increase utilization of public transportation, reduce long commuting, the use of renewable energy and so on.

Admittedly, we are still new in this. But in more modern societies, low-carbon development and environmentally-friendly life-style is already the way of life. From the housewife who does her waste seperation, right to the taxi driver who would chatter away on how his city is turning green, eveyone understands it and will do their bit to make it a success.

The pics above show some relevant British examples photographed during my trip to the UK last December.


Saturday, August 06, 2011

Aahhh...bazaar Ramadhan

It's Ramadhan. So, it is that time of the year again when the perennial bazaar Ramadhan would sprout like mushrooms across the nation.

During Ramadhan, every evening, certain roads in cities, towns and kampongs alike would get choked with traffic and congested with people as they throng the bazaar ramadhan like ants attracted to sweets.

Granted, Ramadhan is the holy month much awaited by all Muslims for the bountiful barakah that it brings. All good deeds would be rewarded multi-fold during Ramadhan.

But more than that, it also brings joys and feel-good experiences of its own.

When I was small, Ramadhan is the month I would be sent on an errand to buy the ice blocks at the local sundry shop to be used to make cold drinks for iftar (break of fast). Then there was also the visit to the local mosque where I'd queue up to fill up our  "sia" (some call mangkuk tingkat) with steamy, delicious kanji or bubur nasi.

Today, my children never get to experience such chores associated with Ramadhan. In this day and age when everything is commercialized and available for purchase, the one experience much often associated with Ramadhan is the visit to the local bazaar Ramadhan.

I don't make it a habit to visit the bazaar ramadhan. Buying food on an empty stomach, most often than not, would make us over-indulge and buy food which we never really can finish during iftar.

But what is Ramadhan without a trip or two to your pasar ramadhan? So my family and I do make the odd trips.

Usually it would be a fairly rewarding trip. For if ever we want to "tukar selera" then the pasar ramadhan would offer you loads of choice to choose from - anything which fancies your taste bud! But more than that, the pasar trip is also a good means for community building and socializing.

As one wanders around - and drool over the food and drinks on show - one is bound to meet up with friends and neighbours. The customary salam and small chats would ensue, allowing for sillaturrahim and friendships to be strengthened.

Isn't it just lovely the holy month of Ramadhan?

Note: pics above are at the Bazaar Ramadhan Bandar Tun Husein Onn @ around 5.30pm today

Monday, August 01, 2011

Ramadhan karim

Engkau dinanti
Bulan agung nan berkah
Bawa hidayah

Cuci hatiku
Yang kotor bergelora
Ramadhan karim