Tuesday, December 11, 2007

We need your support to save Ampang Hills and to save lives!

The green lungs of Ampang started at Menara Mutiara, will be shaved bare by unscrupulous developer and the local authorities are not doing anything to prevent it!

The voice of sometimes helpless citizens pleading for the authorities to help protect their environment from being degraded!

The voice of helpless rakyat!

Hi people!

I received a pamphlet in my mailbox upon arriving home from Singapore and the pamphlet depresses me! After seeing how beautiful and green the island republic is is am now disheartened over the inability for local government to protect taxpayers interest!
In a nutshell, the pamphlet is distributed by a neighbourhood "save our hills" committee set up to prevent a big company from developing a 62.5 acres of forest running from Menara Mutiara in Taman TAR to Jalan Hulu Klang. The proposed project by this company, says the pamphlet, will include 450 units of shop lots and 149 bungalow lots. A group of people have been working tirelessly to ensure any development in the neighbourhood is consistent with the Selangor State and Ampang Jaya Municipal Council (MPAJ) Structure Plans, which is the official guidelines for safe and responsible development.
Just a highlight: the project is on the same unstable hill that caused the collapses of the Highland Towers condominium in 1993 killing many and the home of former Army Chief Tan Sri Ismail in Taman Hillview, killing several of his family member.
The pamphlet also said, the land for the proposed development is even steeper with 70% of the area having slopes higher than 20 degrees. According to the Selangor State Structure Plan, this land is "high risk", meaning it is prone to erosion and landslides, and according to MPAJ's Structure Plan, it is environmentally sensitive and thus should NOT be developed!
In spite of all these expert and scientific finding to prevent more lives from being lost, why is the residents of the areas are still fighting tooth and nail to save the hills, are our authorities too corrupt not to be able to put the minds of the residents at rest as to say "don't worry taxpayers we will not allow any development once and for all on the hills in view our structure plans for developments!".
What can you do! Well just send an email to saveukayhts@email.com with the subject heading "count me in." And to include your name and email address. This will make it easier for the committee to save the hills to keep you informed.
For more check out their website for up-to-date information at: www.nolandslide.org
They need your support to save lives and the environment!


Monday, November 5, 2007

We had good Hari Raya open house, many came and we had good time!

Some of our good friends at the open house.

Happy Campers!

They came, they saw, and they were happy and busy concentrating!

Iaian and Maznoor! Great couple!


It was somewhat a tough preparation for this year's Raya open house when both Marion and I pulled off and basically executed a soiree of the century, well as far as we are concerned considering Marion was hospitalised and came out okay. Well, over one hundred people came, including Stephen Francis, and we had a good time.
We had masak lemak cili padi pucuk ubi with duck eggs, curry chicken filled with lady fingers, brinjal, tomatoes, big chilies, and potatoes and the curry is that famous Curry Cap 'O' from Kedah, my sisters rendang, lemang, ketupat with a very special ketupat sauce made by my orang bunian friend, my famous "Rusdi's Madness" which is basically chopped onions mixed with chilies and lime peel, lime juice drowned with my favourite Kicap Tamin and one secret ingredient, special sambal chili from Kelantan, green pickled chilies, and about slightly over a six kilos of rice were consumed.
The best part was those who came are truly people, new people, that Marion and I truly liked! Especially Iaian and his lovely partnerMaznoor! So I posted some pictures for me to share with those who couldn't make it due to traffic jam, and those who suffered and got infected by Black Death and from plague and other communicable diseases, as their excuses for not coming!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Last Raya we were at our jungle hideout! And took some more pictures!

Marion preparing lemang and rendang for dinner, in the jungle!

I just shoot and aim my Canon Powershot to the jungle at the back of the house at night hoping to catch one and sometime two sets of glaring animal eyes, usually wild cats.

My "excalibur" embedded in the ground and whomever can pull it out will become a honourary Moron!

Beautiful morning in my jungle hideout, view from the East!

A rock magpie and they are so tame in my "Garden of Eden" get it, get it!

Can you spot the oriole?! Look closely, and if you can spot it you are already a honourary Moron and you can come and visit us!

Buah pokok beringin banyak macam nak gila, burung pun banyak macam nak gila, actually semua nya macam nak gila bila dia orang datang makan buah buah yang banyak macam nak gila!

Kadang kadang air kat bilik air ni pun sejuk macam nak gila, mandi pun takut!

Just look at the contrast, blue sky green and just nice! Macam nak gila!

You guys should all come and we can sit by the yard at night and smell the night air, it is like mad, you know what I mean!

More blue sky over Montana, oops sorry over Seri Menanti!

Yawn! More Blue sky!

Thought I share some more pictures of our jungle hideout, the weather there was perfect the sky was blue and the air in the morning was clear and crisp. The bright yellow orioles, the rock magpie, a troop of leaf monkey were out, almost a Minangkabau version of the Garden of Eden. Did you know that both Garden of Eden and East of Eden are all about Minangkabau, get it "Eden" get it! Ha ha! Anyway, our pokok beringin behind our little wooden houses are bearing berries and in the morning the chirping of birds will make you wonder about life and how you want to live it!


Saturday, October 27, 2007

Pistachios: My favourite nuts!


Long time ago when I was first introduced to pistachio nut I was thrilled by the taste, the same way as a sun dried fig thrilled my taste buds.
You may find this strange talking about nuts, but for the longest time I was enthralled, still do, by the power and taste of pistachios! My favourite packet of pistachios come from Tong that I will grab from the counter of every petrol stations that we stopped on the way to somewhere.
I use to think pistachios come from the ground like groundnut, but actually this beautiful and sexy nuts came from a majestic tree that can grow really big and tall.
When I was a journalist I imagined that my editor would call me one day and said: "Rusdi go to Iraq or Iran and do a story on pistachios!" That would have been a great moment in my journalistic career - to write a long piece on pistachios! Alas that was the thing of the past since I will never get the chance to meet eye to eye with a pistachio tree!
BTW! it is fun to write anything that you feel and you do not have to think really hard, on your own blogsite, you do not necessarily have to write about heavy stuff like boring politics.
So guys, try pistachios if you have not and enjoy the day!

Mery Christmas!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

You got to see this to believe it!

Me when I was four


My late father said there was this picture of me when I was four wearing the setanjak, or head gear worn by the Yang Di Peruan Besar Tuanku Abdul Rahman that was given to my father for keep sake, as part of the payment after a photo shoot. My father was a photographer.
That same headgear appears on our Malaysian currency as worn by our first King! How about that. The head gear was, as I said, part payment for the photo shoot and it was sure whether the photo taken was meant for the use in our post-independence currency.
The first King and my father they were friends and my late father spoke very fondly of him as "Raja yang baik" a good ruler. So I asked around and lo and behold! My cousin called.
So my cousin called and said he has the picture, I was looking for, of me when I was four wearing that headgear. The picture was taken in front of my mother's house near Seri Menanti, Negeri Sembilan. I thought I would like to share this picture with my friends. A point of observation, check out my suspender and my shoes, and my cotton shirt and short. And check out my teeth I have a full set, even when I was four I was good looking . Okay enough of me already.


Friday, August 31, 2007

Am sharing my old family album in view of Merdeka Day!

My father ( with glasses) and Samad Idris

My mother and my younger sister

The good old days. Beautiful couple, my parents
Pix of Sir Gerald Templar inspecting the Malay regiment platoon prior to Merdeka day, pix taken by my father
My tricycle and my wooden rooster toy, I am just wearing a suspender without a shirt
My brother and sister posing in front of a poster in Kuala Pilah
My father the original biker, check out his shoeMy late father and his Rolleiflex, his first camera, imagine owning one of those in the 1950s!
My eldest brother holding his oversize pith helmet and his cousin who became one of the earliest Malay estate manager.
Me after my wisdom tooth being pulled, taken in front of the old Umno building
My mother Siti Awa feeding a crane which were plentiful at the Lake Garden, when it was a real garden.
Me (don't know why I was dressed as a little girl) and my mother at the general hospital

Me and my mother after I was born, even a babay I look mean, eh!

The Minangkabau women in my life, my mother with the stripe scarf, with my first cousins and auntie

My brother in front of a movie marquee in Kuala Pilah

Ah! Yes! The tranquil Lake Garden before this country was inundated with riff raff!

Me and my great-great grandmother Saadiah

My favourite cousin Zariah and I

My parents posing like that movie "from here to eternity"?

My cameraman father before he boarded a plane for aerial picture taking

My late father, Mustapha Ahmad.
My mother Siti Awa Jaman

Hi! Rakyat Malaysia!

I thought I would like to share some pictures from my very, very old family album that I managed to salvage from the old kampung house. A lot of neat pictures, especially of my parents when they were young, and when I was born,and there is a picture of me with my great-great grandmother Sa'adiah. Then there is a picture of my mother at Lake Garden when it was a real garden, tranquil and serene and with clean air! Then there is this old picture of my dad working secretly taking pictures for the British army during the emergency, he was just a scrawny young man. My mom and dad did a striking pose on the beach at Tanjung Bidara, he told me the post was like the Burt Lancaster movie!
We were lucky because my father was a photographer he recorded almost everything and once it was asked how come there were many of my pictures in the album. There is this picture of me taken in front of the old Umno building wearing a muffler taken a couple of months before Merdeka. My late father was also a personal friend of the late lawyer Maarof, a street named after him.

One morning, said my father, three Special Branch officers, one British two Malays, came and took Lawyer Maarof, in the evening Lawyer Maarof was found hung near Gombak, verdict: Suicide! But, strangely enough a road was named after a person who "committed suicide".

(Footnote: Lawyer Maarof was sent by the British to England to take up law, he came back and saw discrimination and he wanted to form a Malay bank but was disallowed. He became an ardent anti-British person alongside Pak Sako, and my father, and many more. Many attempts were made on Lawyer Maarof life, until he "committed suicide".
My father said he took picture of Lawyer Maarof dangling from a tree, but he destroyed the picture. Lawyer Maarof is the father of actor Mustapha Maarof. BTW! He was a Minangkabau!)
My father also worked for the Japanese controlled Utusan Malai paper, then he worked for RIDA, now Mara. And he was the first Minangkabau (I believe) who owned a Leicaflex camera and with that he made his living raising his family. He was also the original Mat Rempit, with his motorcycle. Then there is as picture of him with his good friend Samad Idris, or my pak lang! Pak Lang Samad later rose to become a full cabinet minister, but my father who joined Umno number two after after Pak Lang Samad no one, later left to join PMIP and from then on our family life went down the drain, so to speak.
But later in life before he dies my father supported the government and had the nerve to tell me not to be anti-government when I never was, he loved the country, the people like I do. So just enjoy the pictures!

The first picture from the top is the future! They are my grandnieces, or anak cucu, Sara Sophia, with Shahira Sophia and Mohamad Faris! The last picture is of my mother when she was very young, and in case if you are wondering, there are pictures of me when I was born and when I was at the general hospital, and check out my mother's shoes pretty neat!
Then there is also a picture of Sir Gerald Templar inspecting our Malay Regiment during the Merdeka parade, my father took the picture! Then there is a picture of me with my toys, and I was a happy person when I was growing up, I still am a happy person when I want to, now! The ladies are my auntie and cousins taken at Sungai Besi international airport before my cousin took off to London to study engineering. The there is a picture of my brother and sister looking at Laurel and Hardy at Kuala Pilah cinema, ah well you guys can figure the rest out!
So I hope you all can enjoy the pictures! And Happy Merdeka for all of us Rakyat Malaysia yang berbilang kaum! You know what! At the end of the day we will all will die so why not we just enjoy life, like I am going to Simpang Pulai then to Cameron Highland then to Kota Bharu via Gua Musang, I am told, infact I know so, the air there is fresher!

Shalom Bet!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

My little green paradise 3. And a new lawn mower!

A baby Dog tooth Cat snake, or its scientific name Boiga Cynodon, came a visitng and we had to push him back to the jungle!
My little hideout and the lawn after being mowed with the new lawn mower
I cannot begin to describe my experience with the jungle and mother nature especially in the morning, it is just nice!
The new lawn mower nicknamed Dusty Springfield!
My friend and caretaker of my jungle huts, Noor.

Last Monday my brother-in-law and I went back to my little hideout after so many months and the two old houses seem to be intact although the sundeck, unfortunately, needs to be fixed because of the sun and the rain that have taken its toll. We may have to strip some of the floor planks and to add new ones!
So the latest addition to my surrounding in the jungle is a new beautiful red Springfield lawn mower with a Braggs-Stratton engine. So when we, the caretaker and I, mowed the lawn it was a breeze compared to the back strapped grass cutter that was, after a while, a drag to operate on with all the vibration on the back can be hazardous to ones health!
With "Dusty", the nickname we gave to our lawnmower after Dusty Springfield, the lawn seemed to be more levelled and clean cut. That was a joy of seeing the lawn in a a jungle in a very civilised condition.
We also had an unexpected visitor in our kitchen, a little baby python and we had to chase it back into the jungle, but otherwise the jungle is still neutral and to be respected.
So here some pictures of my little hideout and my Dusty, and the snake for you all to enjoy!


Monday, August 6, 2007

We have Dutch blood in our family but we don't advertise it!

My mother Siti Awa Jaman, when she was very young.


I was attracted to an article in the NST about a group of Malaysians who are of a Dutch descent and proud of it. Well, I have Dutch blood on my mother side but we seldom talk about the subject, not because we are ashamed or proud, but for us there is nothing to be both. We are just a normal Malay of a Minangkabau family where freckles, brunette and fair skin run in my family.
My late sister, in her primary school time, had freckles on her face and her hair was brunette and one day her ustazah told her to get rid of the freckles and she was distraught for the longest time, but my wise Dutch-blood 87 year old mother, now, told her "do not worry that is how Minang is supposed to look like"!
When I met my cousins, and in our intimate conversation, will all agree that people considered us as a freak of nature.
There was this story of a group in Lebanon who claimed to be the descendants of the French crusaders who got left behind. One day they had an audience with the French ambassador in Lebanon, the group wanted to be given a French citizens, at the end of the meeting the French ambassador said, and it goes something like this: "Well I am sorry but during the time of the Holy War and the Crusaders, there was no such thing as the French Republic today, so we cannot considered you French nor are we empowered to give to French passport."
It okay for Malaysians to admit that they may have Dutch, Portuguese, English, French or what ever European blood, but at the end of the day they all look like Mestizos in South America, or Metis in Canada. These are "half-breed" types are look upon with disdain and contempt in these two continents!
When we try to be different from the rest we will run a risk of creating a concept called "distinct society" as we do in this country. The sad part is, after 50 years of independence, when I look at Malaysians of "portuguese or dutch descent" they either look very Indian, Chinese or sometime Malay so why do we want to create more distinction between us Malaysian?
I am not trying to offend anyone but merely trying to bring to the attention that I am actually ready to be classified as a MALAYSIAN if everyone is agreeable to it.
But there must be A QUALIFIER! To be one Bangsa Malay-sia we must have Malay-sian names and not Chinese or Indian names, example is like Indonesian-Chinese shuttler Rudy Hartono, or Thai-Chinese like Thaksin Shinatwatra, Chuan Leekpai, or Filipinas-Chinese like Cory Aquino nee Cohuangco! These names are very Indonesian, Thais and Filipinas!
Malaysian names cannot be Chinese names like Lim Kit Siang, Tian Hua, Tan Boon Pin, or Indian names like Samy Vellu, Nadeswaran or like K.Baradan! the names must have totally Malay-sian names! Anyway let us discuss this!

Happy Merdeka Day!

Istana Seri Menanti

Istana Seri Menanti
The old Istana which is now a museum.