Tuesday, May 27, 2008

I almost cried watching this!



I went down a rigorous mountain,

I set sail a stormy sea,

I was hoping for a calmer weather,

For my spirit to set free,

But a shock of life I gather,

From a being full of audacity,

A mockery of life it displays,

Full of pretending ways,

Unfair battle ground it chooses,

To its advantage it knows,

Feeling triumphant, it glows,

But only God knows,

For in the heart, it shows.

I went down a rigorous mountain,

I set sail a stormy sea,

I was hoping for a calmer weather,

For my spirit to set free,

Still the haughty being prevailed,

Thinking God’s approbation it has gained,

Sitting high and mighty on its pedestal,

Despicable foolish acts it plays,

Matriarchal powers it demands,

But none it begets,

Neither respect nor veneration,

For all has gone down the muddy drain!

I went down a rigorous mountain,

I set sail a stormy sea,

I was hoping for a calmer weather,

For my spirit to set free,

I hope one day I’ll be liberated,

From a being so disdainful, so arrogant,

Does it not think of the here after?

Where all actions are weighed and measured,

Nay! For never a minute it has pondered,

Of all the wraths it has incurred,

Of all the hearts it has severed,

Of sad minds and souls,

All maimed and tortured,

By you, the tempestuous being of the gallows!

*dedicated to someone in pain.....

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Guess what? Allah swt answered my prayers this evening. I prayed that Mayo return to us again. As I opened the front door, my mind was thinking of her when suddenly she appeared out of nowhere and entered through the door as if beckoned by me. To prevent her from getting away again I decided to keep her indoors.

Tonight when we got back, we had a surprise! Gasp! When we opened the back door, we saw her lying down against it, licking her wet body. Only after a few good seconds did I realize that Mayo had just given birth to two fine kittens!

Mayo with her kittens, minutes after delivery.

Monday, May 19, 2008


Mayo, our semi-persian, went missing on the 14th of May, 2 years ago. This morning, exultingly, iKelah called me, "ada shocking news for you! Mayo dah balik!" I was so happy to hear it because all this while we thought that she was probably dead. "Memang Mayo. She's showing all her peculiar behavior."

When I got home, after much inspection and scrutiny I confirmed that it was really good old Mayo and she's pregnant! She was allowed in for a short while until she began her bad habit of scratching the sofa. Furthermore, I couldn't allow her indoors in view of iKelah's health condition. After feeding and stroking her I left her in the porch. In the evening when I left for work, she was still sleeping there. However later, Maman told me that Mayo was not to be seen anywhere!

Mayo is missing again but this time I have a strong hunch that she's being caged up near by. The people who is keeping her must have left the cage door opened and she escaped only to return back in this evening.

There are several pointers to why I am having the above suspicion:

1) I once saw a familiar orange long-haired cat coming out from the possible 'cat-napper's gate.
2) Mayo perked her ears when she heard the 'cat-napper's voice calling for her
3) The 'cat-napper' has a cage for their 'mafia' cats at the back of their house, hidden from outside view.
4) Mayo couldn't possibly get herself all lost again so soon after coming back all these years unless if she's familiar with her second abode which happens to be close by!

Meanwhile, for sure I'll be doing a lot of sleuth work ala Nancy Drew. I need a pair of good binoculars to spy on the possible 'cat-napper' and the cage!

If my suspicion is true, I am definitely going to lose faith in the human race! Imagine, for 2 years Mayo was actually within reach and we didn't know it! Ini macam punya manusia dalam dunia juga ada!!

Sunday, May 11, 2008


Sumatera has a series of volcanoes, active, inactive and dead. Few of the dead ones have now transformed into huge crater lakes which offer breathtaking sceneries especially from atop. On the third day, we started off early to Danau Maninjau about an hour northeast of Bukit Tinggi. Before maneuvering down the zig-zag road to reach the lake, it is routine to scramble up a separate route to Punchak Lawang, where there are 2 popular panoramic spots to view the scenic lake. From here, the sight was heavenly. The lake was vast that it almost looked like a sea with undulating mountains all around it. It’s no wonder why Hamka was highly esteemed of it to the extent of making an exaggerated analogy of the picturesque crater lake being the giant foot-print of Adam as that is the shape it takes.

Sitting at the edge. Punchak Lawang

Danau Maninjau (View from Punchak Lawang)

Boogey and wife 'feigning' a romantic pose (hehe)

Danau Maninjau (view from one of the hair-pin bends)

I was forewarned of the hair-pin route down to Lake Maninjau and being an extremely motion-sickness person, I got myself ready with some anti-emetics in my bag. Altogether there were 42 bends or ‘keluk’ as they call them there, and surprise, surprise, I survived the ‘ular kena palu’ road, unscathed! The driver was quite careful in negotiating each bend , sounding the horn each time.

The town at Tasik Maninjau. Take left or right , here.

At the bottom, there’s a small town facing the edge of the lake and we either take a right or left turn. As visiting Hamka’s house was our main agenda, we turned left to Kampung Sg Batang, about 15 -20 km away. The road system essentially covers the lake’s perimeter and it measures 60 km altogether and it takes about 4 hrs to complete a journey by car encircling the lake on an average pace. Even over here, paddy is grown rampantly on terraces or flat land.

Rumah Hamka

Surau lama tempat Buya Hamka mengaji semasa kecil.

Buya Hamka’s (as he is fondly called there) house is perched on a hillside, facing the lake. It was refurbished recently by ABIM and inside, amongst Hamka’s paraphernalia's, we can also see their acknowledgement for ABIM. We spoke to the caretaker who gave us an insight of the place and history. We bought some of his books as money is needed to maintain the house. Several kilometers from the house we stopped to snap pictures of some people working on a paddy machine and accidentally stumbled upon Hamka’s father’s house and tomb. Over here, we were shown the old hand written manuscripts that belonged to Hamka and his father, all in jawi.

Studying the old hand-written Quran belonging to Hamka's dad

Old pictures of Hamka's family

Yellow paddy fields. Tasik Maninjau, background

During the journey we had close encounters with some of Minang kerbau and iKelah made a passing statement that the kerbaus there had a slightly different demeanor than their counterparts in Malaysia. He even went further stressing that they had sexy eyes which set us in a bantering mood instantly. Boogey attributed this strange opinions made by his brother to the high altitude of the place.

On the way, we encountered this realm of trapdoors and tarantula. iKelah was exuberantly excited, he could smell the tarantulas from far!

On the way back, almost reaching Bukit Tinggi town, our guide detoured down Ngarai Si Anok road to one of his favourite eating spot that prepares gulai itek, kambing etc. Unfortunately the eatery was already closed but our guide managed to coax the owner to dish out some gulai kampung for our dinner that day.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008


Day 2 in Bukit Tinggi

Friday prayers in an ancient mosque.

The advantage of traveling independent of any package is that you are free to choose your destinations at your own pace without being bound to tight schedule and rigid itinerary. However, it is pertinent that you should employ a good driver/ guide who is willing to subscribe to your whims and fancies, especially when you’re an avid photographer and you need to make impromptu stops to snap good angles of a landscape or candid moments. For this, we were lucky to have met Ei en (Saiful Rahim – he was named by the great muslim writer, Hamka), the son of the hotel owner, a graduate of Liverpool in IT and film production.

Lembah Harau is a popular visiting spot by many and that was our destination that day. We asked if there was anything of interest on the way and someone suggested we stopped at Masjid Bingkudu, an ancient mosque of more than 2 centuries. Since it was Friday, we opted to do our prayers there. It is situated about an hour away from Bukit Tinggi, in a village called Canduang.

Masjid Bingkudu

The interior

The unique roofings

A view of Masjid Bingkudu

Made entirely of solid wood, the unique structure stood staidly and majestic. Apart from its antique architecture, one can’t tell that it’s such an old building as it is well maintained. Being an “objek peliharaan wisata’, the whole structure is to be kept as it is with no renovations allowed. The roofing material is made of ijok leave spines, arranged neatly in thick bundles. The fact that the roof has none of the Minangkabau features denotes that the mosque was erected prior to the Minang era. (my assumption).

The was no need for any fans as the atmosphere there is very cooling. As you enter the mosque, the old mystic charm of the whole place envelopes you. As you sit yourself on the wooden floor facing the mimbar, a sense of peace and tranquility creeps within you as you get transported back to the days of Majapahit and Mataram . The huge praying hall is supported by dozens of stout rounded wooden pillars with broad bases, snugly planted into the floor. The high wooden ceiling is decorated with rather antique chandeliers and some kerosene lamps as well. I was made to understand that like many minang buildings, every joints and hinges in the original structure are held in place without a single nail.

Kids splashing in the mosque pool

As Zohor approached, the whole mosque was filled with the bustling sounds of human voices and later as young boys thronged the vicinity and played with the water pool, it was almost festive! After a short but good and fiery qutbah by a young hunched back imam we performed the Jumaat solat and left the mosque in a drizzling rain.

Lembah Harau is in Payakumbuh, approximately an hour’s drive away and along the way vast green fields of paddy feasted our eyes. As the name denotes, the place offers a breathtaking panorama of high cliffs and canyons, with many spots of waterfalls seen from afar, some accessible by road, others only by foot treks. One of the falls was approximately 20 storey high and it fell all the way down without hitting the side wall, making a huge momentous splash below, causing even those standing far to be drenched.

The whole area is very cooling and serene and if you feel like spending a night there, there’s a resort available, situated between 2 huge cliffs, a spot where echoes are heard.

Lembah Harau

The many falls of Lembah Harau

On our journey back, we made a pit stop at a Rumah Gadang that has been turned into a hall for commercial usage. You can rent the house for functions like weddings, office dinners etc.

Rumah Gadang of Payakumbuh

The interior

Bukit Tinggi 2008

Great Wall 2009



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