Tuesday, May 26, 2009

An Old Lady in “Smuta”

An Old Lady in “Smuta”

“Mok Cik, ambo puko gamba sbutir deh?” (Ma’am, do you mind me taking a picture?)
“Hok aloh…. puko wat ggapo nyo?!!” (Goodness…. what’s this for?!!)

That’s the exchange of words between me and this old lady. Despite of her reply sounds like a hint of protest; she paused and looked into my lens and I took it as consent. Before she had time to think on what’s next to say, I already had done capturing her. I gave her silly grin in return and walked past her with slight bow without thanking her. Least spoken about the verity of the local culture, particularly in this state – in certain conditions, the word “thank you” is not necessarily uttered out when the gesture is more than sufficient displaying the gratitude and appreciation. And the other party would understandably take it as thanks.

This is happened in Kota Bharu, Kelantan. Kota Bharu is the capital town for the state of Kelantan, located some 450 km away to the northeast of Kuala Lumpur, not far from Thailand border.

Make no mistake; if next time you see old woman with pastel-colored headgear made out of a sheet of speckled floral-motif fabric like the woman in the picture is wearing, she must be from this place. Locally, the traditional headgear she is wearing is known as “smuta” and the said thin floral-motif fabric used is called “kain lepas”.

There are no specific rules on how to wear it but the motive is to have the whole length of the 2-foot x 5-foot “kain lepas” to be wrapped around the head to form as “hat”. The headgear of “smuta” is actually prevalent to be worn by men but the women of old would do such as well. More often than not, those days, women would use this as a buffer to cushion up loads carried on top of their heads while men would rather wear it as part of fashion and also as a practical mean just like bandana is worn in the west.

Such a pity, we even hardly found men walk around in “smuta” in Kota Bharu these days. And it never happened in Kuala Lumpur. I am sure it’ll be a head turner with a barrage of wolf-whistles to be accrued if one is wearing it here in Kuala Lumpur.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Luring Snakeheads In Puncak Alam

Luring Snakeheads In Puncak Alam

It doesn’t take much money to make me happy. Spending my morning on weekends at places like this to me is a luxury thing to do. And with such elements right before my eyes, it never fails to entice that precious little feeling in me.

This place is located in my backyard, known as Puncak Alam, which takes less than 10 minutes drive from my house. The place, more of a pond than a lake, is far cry from the bustling of livelihood, quiet it seems. Only once a while you’d be stirred by the foolhardy sounds coming from big but cheap exhaust pipe of a car running down the almost deserted road tens of meters away from the water’s edge. I hate it when it disrupts the thoughts I was harboring, feel like giving the driver a real sports car as a present.

There are a lot of snakehead fish (we call it “ikan haruan” locally) in this pond. I came a few times already checking on the activities of the snakeheads in it. Pretty soon I’ll bring over my kids to fish here.

I doubt I am in position to give you helpful tips on how to capture beautiful landscapes but if you ask me tips on how to catch snakehead fish, I think I can be very accommodating.

Catching snakeheads requires special skills unlike catching some other types of silly fish. If you’re gamed for this, I would start by advising you on the type of lures to be chosen at the fishing shop apart from the types and sizes of hooks and strings needed. Snakeheads would likely to snatch on moving lures as compared to using worms or palette as baits. Yeah, you may use crickets as baits but often time your rhythm will be sporadic with downtime to replace the baits. On top of it, crickets do not give those sexy dances when it is hooked and drowned. Anything flashy and sparkly with nice little dance when it is pulled in the water would surely look appetizing to the snakeheads that make them lose their minds.

I will also share with you on the habits of snakeheads and teach you how to make studied guesses on their possible party time and places for resting, feeding and breeding by looking at the conditions and activities in the pond.

With the right knowledge, right tools and right skills, I’ll make sure you won’t be fishing like silly but put the snakeheads on the silly side instead. Or else it makes me a silly advisor.

Note: Strongly advised to view the image above On Black

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Story of a Cup of Tea

The Story of a Cup of Tea

Has it ever occurred to you a stranger offers you drink from a cup that exclusively served for him? If that’s already peculiar to your norm, so then what’s the odd like for you to accept it if it does?

The odds were against me.

Firstly, upon seated right in front of him, there was a cup of tea readily served for him. He offered me to have it. Reasonably, I refused the offer as I thought it was out of mind to drink from the cup that served for someone else. The offer then turned insist when he was adamant to have me drink it. The reason being, it was freshly delivered and he could always order for another cup and perhaps as an honor to me as his guest.

I conceded defeat upon his obstinacy and kindness. I had to take it as a kind gesture from him and started drinking moments after. I could see him happy watching me sipping it amidst of my struggle controlling my composure when the tea was a little too hot pattering on my tongue. Little did I know he had to go without his morning tea when he later said he didn’t feel like it to have a drink, and left me feel sorry with slight mixture of silly.

That is the incident when I first met him. He prefers me to call him Pak Ngah Ya. In my short conversation with him at the mosque, I learned that he was a commando in the Armed Forces before he retired in 1990. Now he devotes his time for some religious work at Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah Mosque, Shah Alam.


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