Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Going uphill Bkt Pelindung is akin to facing life battle, tough and rough, huff and puff!

For many, life is an uphill battle, facing tests after tests. Occasionally you are thrown into a big tribulation that may seemed impossible to bear at that time but eventually with Allah's help, you find your way out and emerge a stronger and better soul, insyallah. Today marks the first year since my beloved other half underwent a major surgery to remove his pituitary tumor. 21st Muharram 1428 or 10th February 2007 was the fateful day. Alhamdulillah despite some hiccups, he is recovering well. I pray that he will get back to his normal health and celebrate more anniversaries of this auspicious day, years ahead, Ameen!

Saturday, January 19, 2008


*This entry has been censored and axed for more than 50% of it original writing that it fails to impart my main intention of telling you guys about my latest interest in nature. For fear of the many abusers out there who might sniff this 'info' and destroy the natural habitats of these certain species, I had to conform and leave you with just this:

There's a hill in Kuantan overlooking the famous Teluk Chempedak and the glorious blue sea around it. It's the staid Bukit Pelindung. Every morning and evening, dozens of fitness freaks would throng the road that meanders up the hill as a means to get their daily dose of the 'feel good' hormone, the endorphins. However for a couple of weeks recently , the serene hill has attracted a different kind of people, the photography enthusiasts, namely iKelah and his jinbeng of Nikon users (yours truly included, although I am SLR-less)

A long procession of black termites (approx. 200-300 meters), coinciding with the ma'al hijrah!

Beautiful mushrooms. Edible? I don't know.

As the hill is carpeted with a thick virgin forest with luscious green foliage, it provides them with myriads of colorful and strange looking arthropods, when shot in the macro view, magnifies their awesome beauty. Their close-up shots, impart a great world of wonder, unappreciated by the naked, unaided eye.

A trek connecting to TC

As for me, my personal interest would be to exercise the extra, extra fat (since I broke my toe, I haven't been exercising, thus adipose tissue has insidiously collected!) and also to scout for burrows of some great species. However, I restrain to mention them further as I was warned that sadly there are maniacs around who abuse these species, lest I might attract their attention!

Trudging up Bukit Pelindung can be treacherous for beginners as there are several stretches of very, very steep gradient that can make you huff and puff. Amazingly, however , you tend to see the same faces making their routine rounds of up and down the hill, everyday! So I guess, after some time, your body adapts and the climb gets pretty easy and addictive. My theory is this: the difficult cardiovascular climb is immediately rewarded when you begin the much easier and less demanding downhill walk, except for the pressure on the knees which is minimized if you walk backwards!

This insect is called the spider assassin

So what's on top of the hill, you ask? Nothing, except for the TM signal station and perhaps a spot to view the sea and Kuantan town. Oh yes, they also view the anak bulan over here but I am not sure of the exact spot.

*all pics are courtesy of iKelah without his permission! Thank you iKelah!

Btw, for those uninitiated, have you heard of the alleged plagiarism by Natasha Hudson? Read here and here.

Saturday, January 05, 2008


GUiT (Growing Up in Trengganu)-

Currently in the middle of perusing a quaint book written by a blogger who is basking in restored fame, launching and signing copies of his books in auspicious venues around Malaysia. Awang Goneng, a pen name which denotes a mischievous local boy, is Kak Teh's significant other and GUiT is actually a compilation of his blog entries, poignant tales of his childhood years in Kuala Trengganu (note the spelling), ladened with words of Trengganuspeak and piquant descriptions/narrations of things and events.

In essence, Kak Teh's Choc a Blog gets more readers, simply because her stories touch all walks of life. AG's Kecek-kecek is so much into Trengganu of the 60s which invokes memories of yesteryears that usually attract only those familiar with the place of discourse, thus leaving many unable to appreciate his style of writing. However, once compiled into a book, it transforms into a whole new phenomena and the reading gets easier, less tedious and more inviting. On and off, I would read his entries but never once did I attempt to comment as Trengganu in the 60s is so foreign to me and do I regret it now for not doing so, as he had specially written a chapter, acknowledging the list of bloggers who frequent his site. Imagine the honor of having your name etched in the book as well!

I especially love the way he had fondly depicted his relationship with his dad and mom and subtle insinuations of how they had raised him and his siblings well, deep with Islamic values. I, too, revel on his utter nonchalant style of describing various characters and uncanny practices only unique to Kuala Trengganu. Endless characters like Pok Mat Dok Dek, Pok Loh Tuk, Mek Jarroh etc. color the book with immense joy. He finds great pleasure in enticing our gastronomical lusts by relating the various kuih of Trengganu, accessorized with the details on how it was made including the necessary ingredients: the akok, beleda, beluda, buoh guling etc. His explicit details and descriptions of these local delicacies literally export you to the yesteryears and you could almost smell the warm aroma of the freshly baked kuihs inside your nostril!

This book has made me view Kuala Trengganu in a much different manner. The next time I'm there, I'd be looking for the many things written in it. Makam Tok Pelam at the Penyu round-about is top on my list. Kedai buku Abdullah Al Yunani where the book launch was done is another spot of interest. I'd probably hike uphill Bukit Putri which once housed the 'genta' and imagine its boisterous chimes during iftar. This time, I'd be roaming Pasar Payang searching for beleda and beluda (which I suspect is no longer available).

If only I could write similar accounts of my childhood Johor Bharu but alas, I have very poor remote memory. My recollection of it is very scanty filled with loop-holes and hazy details. I'd probably end up fabricating everything and having every kin and kith coming down upon me correcting my errors!

This is a book that every blogger should possess as it reminds us of the camaraderie present in the blogosphere.

Ayat-Ayat Cinta-
(finished reading and planning to reread)

A book written by an Indonesian writer with the sole purpose of giving 'dakwah' via a novel. This is apparently a translated version into Bahasa Melayu, although the thick Indonesian accent is still palpable in every page. Written in simple flow language, Ayat-Ayat Cinta is not to be mistaken as another Mills and Boons or Barbara Cartland. No doubt, it's main story revolves around the protagonist, Fahri and an alleged love triangle but the bulk concentrates on his strong Islamic character, telling the readers how despite his packed schedule as a master's student, writing thesis and translating books to finance his education, he would still perform supererogatory deeds like tahajjud, execute social obligations like paying dues to his Coptic Christian neighbors and the general society.

Besides being heavy with 'dakwah' message, this novel is beautiful as it is entwined with many interesting twists and turns. Set in Cairo, it brings us the extreme hot and arid climate of Egypt which at one point, along with Fahri's severe tight schedule had brought on a heatstroke upon him that finally culminated into meningitis which had reduced him into a semi-conscious state. The writer had cleverly seized this moment by narrating how Fahri, being a Quran hafiz, had,even in a comatose state, managed to still recite the sublime verses without mistakes.

The novel gets exciting when Fahri decides to find a wife with the help of his 'talaaqi' Sheikh. This is where all the twists began. From then on, we are taken into a swift whirl of events. When his intentions of marriage was made known, out came the box of pandora. Unbeknown to his naive mind, his strong charismatic self has attracted several ladies who admired his true Islamic knowledge and his tireless practice of Islamic virtues.

He married Aisha, leaving the Coptic Christian, Maria, secretly pining for his love till she fell sick, Nurul, the Indonesian undergrad who failed to confess her love for him earlier, asking him take her as his second bride (he refused) and Noura,the unfortunate soul, who back-stabbed him and wrongly accused him of raping her.

Accused of rape, the Cairo court had sentenced him to harsh imprisonment along with several professors, commited muslim traditionalists etc. who were all incarcerated for political reasons. The climax is how a sick and unconscious Maria became the sole witness who helped clear his name. Read to find out how and why he married the unconscious Maria at the hospital bed with Aisha's consent!

In a nutshell this book tells about the life journey of a knowledgable soul who held strong to and practiced the teachings of Islam when facing the tests in life. In those tests he was confronted with women who loved him, sudden wealth and later with prominent figures in prison. Despite the grueling tribulations in his life, he realizes that he was still better off than many unfortunate souls.

Essentially, the writer is relating about a person's unique path on earth, about love and that the greatest love is our love for our Creator and His most beloved prophet , Muhammad s.a.w. Lastly, he is trying to remind us that the keys to the doors of Jannah are the two verses of syahadah without which, no matter how noble you are, your entrance to Jannah is not permissible.

*When I told iKelah of this book, he appeared very sceptical. On my insistent, he started reading it albeit doubtful. Needless to say, he has now turned 360 degrees and apparently has understood the book more than me and still giving me short lectures on its contents! Talk about total conversion, eh?

*Prepare to cry when reading this touching story: iKelah and I did! huhu!

*When I asked Aliah to read it, she too was and still is sceptical. She accused me of being jiwang. I guess the title of the book can be a put off for some as it can give a negative connotation. I hope Aliah will some day consider reading it despite the jiwang title!

*They have made a movie out of the book and it'll be out soon.

Bukit Tinggi 2008

Great Wall 2009



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