Naka Nami Lamdin

Naka Nami Lamdin Tong Pelu Linchan

If you think I was saying something in Thai, you are not far off. Those are the names of villages and small towns in the northeastern corner of Kedah, that not many Kedahans themselves have been to, and many more do not know of their existence. And they have the highest concentration of Thai-descendants in the whole Kedah, all in the Padang Terap district. After all, the old Kingdom of Kedah stretched all the way up to the Satun province, and Kedah was once known as Monthon (มณฑล) Saiburi until the latter was ceded to the British inn 1907, and Satun was absorbed into the Monthon Phuket until the Monthon system was abolished in 1933.

The first time I ventured into these areas was when I was stationed in the north, and I would spend days in these areas. It is the only place where people speak differently. It is not quite Thai, but more like Pak Tai, the southern Thai dialect, with some Kedah-malay words incorporated; much like how some southern Thai malays would speak Thai – they speak Pak Klarng which is how they speak in Bangkok, but incorporate malay words as well. I’ll give you an example:

นงไปทำไม? อาย oghe kapoeng?

I’m not good with Pak Tai as I cannot comprehend some of the words they use. I had problems trying to converse with the malays in the Satun, Trang and Phatthalung provinces. Especially with the ones who are not that old. The older ones speak malay like the older northern Kedahans would speak, the younger ones can speak Pak Klarng so I have no problems understanding them.

Titi Akar is one of the places I would go to. Heading south from there you would pass Sungai Tiang, Jeneri, where you can take a “shortcut” that is not for the faint-hearted to Sik. If my memory serves me right, the pasar malam (night market) there is on Fridays. I could be wrong, but it was fun to drive through the place from the south and then take a right turn at Kampung China to go pass Kampung Melayu, Kubur Panjang, Pokok Sena, Langgar and back to Alor Setar. The people were simple, and the shops had Thai scripts on their signage, and for a moment it did not feel as if you are in rural Kedah. You would get drenched during Songkhran, and you can witness the Loy of the Krathongs during Wan Loy Krathong.

However, 15 years after leaving Kedah (I was transferred back to KL to form and head a new unit to complement the Air Force’s legal department), I find several blogs written by the Thai-Malaysian community on their plight. It seems that a decade and a half later, the community seem to be at where they were when I was back there. And that is sad. And even after the change of government, they are still treated like 3rd-class citizens there. The current state government approach them with a ten-foot pole. People still bathe and wash clothes in streams that run through rubber estates. The price of rubber has gone down so much that they cannot earn much tapping rubber. They have to compete against migrant workers in the construction industry – and as locals, they lose out because it would be cheaper to employ illegal immigrants. The young migrate to other places; and with little education and opportunity, they end up working in odd places – the young girls often end up in towns like Sungai Petani as “masseuse”.

The Peninsula Malaysian community in general is busy looking after the plight of the Orang Asli and forget that there are other minorities that need help. I just hope that someone up there will be looking into their plight.

For that, I have added a new category in my LINKS section called CHOOM CHOHN CHAAW THAI NAAY MALAYSIA (ชุมชนชาวไทยในมาเลเซีย) so you could read up on them and understand their plight.

Lest We Forget

Lese Majeste seems a trendy word nowadays. The term is famous in the Kingdom of Thailand, but it is not so here. There is no specific clause or proviso for lese majeste unless you wage war against the Yang DiPertuan Agong or the ruler of the respective states. So, when a couple in Penang were caught in May of 2009 for spreading an obscene comment on the Sultan of Perak on a website, they were charged instead with the production, distribution, circulation etc of obscene materials under Section 292(a) of the Penal Code of Malaysia. This carries a jail sentence of up to three years or a fine or both.

They were alternately charged with posting the obscene remark on the Internet with an intention to hurt other people’s feelings, an offence, under Section 233 (3) of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 (Act 588), which carries a jail sentence of up to five years or a fine of up to RM50,000.

So, when blogger Aduka Taruna, a 28-year old graphics designer from Negeri Sembilan who works in the state of Kelantan, with a certain political inclination towards the latter state, was arrested for insulting the person of the late Sultan of Johor, we wonder under what law will he be charged.

Aduka Taruna, whose real name is either Khairul Nizam or Khairil Nizam, went overboard with the way he wrote about the demise of the late Sultan of Johor. This was what he had written:

Dah Mampos Buat Cara Mampos La

Oleh: Aduka Taruna

Dah mampos buat cara mampos la. Boleh plak simpan mayat nak tunggu Datuk Bendehara balik dari shopping. Boleh meeting isytihar sedang terlentang. Pada hal dah mampos pagi tadi. Pergi mampos sama lu. Bodoh punya kerajaan spesis stupid.

Aduka Taruna - the stupid boy

Translated, it carries the following meaning:

If you’re dead, act like you’re dead. You can keep the body and wait for the minister to come back from shopping. You can have a meeting to proclaim that he is just lying down. Whereas he was already dead this morning. Go to hell. Stupid government, stupid species.

The term mampos (misspelt) is akin to die and go to hell. That is how I understand the word. It is normally used in a derogatory manner to someone you dislike.

Because of this, people from all over Malaysia and not just Johor, lambasted Aduka Taruna for his disrespect of the Johor royal family in general, and the late Sultan specifically. I personally think he should be charged under Section 4(1)(b) of the Sedition Act for uttering seditious words, and Section 4(1)(c) of the same act for distributing seditious material. The term seditious tendency also encompasses bringing into hatred or contempt or to excite dissatisfaction against any Ruler or against any Government (Section 3(1)(a) of the Sedition Act) and raising discontent or disaffection amongst the subjects of the Yang DiPertuan Agong or of the Ruler of any State or amongst inhabitants of Malaysia or of any State (Section 3(1)(d) of the Sedition Act).

He should also be charged under Section 233 of the Multimedia Act.

What I don’t understand is when the Minister for Information, Communications, and Culture uttered nonsense yet again yesterday. I quote:

“I believe the blogger’s case should be considered. For any party who has regretted and is sorry for his actions and has retracted what he has written in his blog, we (the Government) should not take any further action.”

So, I go and scream profanities at the Yang DiPertuan Agong now and apologise a minute later, I get away with it? That would be such a good precedence to set. Everyone will now only have to apologise and get exonerated and pardoned.

Having said that, more than a decade ago, a certain mainstream newspaper used to lambaste the late Sultan, carrying articles that questioned the latter’s authority and conduct. And almost two years ago, certain people aligned with a former Menteri Besar carried a banner in front of the state’s royal palace that displayed the word: NATANG which is the way people in the state say the word BINATANG (Animal). It was directed to the King himself because the King did not re-appoint the Menteri Besar. I would love to see these people charged with printing seditious remarks against a Ruler too!

Makcik-Makcik

Since my transfer to this office, I have seen many makciks. I swear there are more makciks than there are men here all four blocks combined, and all because there is a government department housed here, taking up two whole floors. Unless you include the Arab men who always hang at the Coffee Bean outlet downstairs. But they don’t work here. They just hang around for nothing.

There are five F&B outlets and one convenience store located at this complex. Only one of the F&B outlets allow you to have meals for less than RM10 inclusive of drinks and fruits. Therefore, that one is always filled to the brim with people. I am normally in the office by 5 past 8am. After reading and replying to my e-mails, I would go down for a bite and tea. That would be around 9.15am. You will see these makciks talking but not listening to themselves. That is because when one hits the 125dB limit, the other will just hit the roof with her reserve high-pitch capability. They would be wearing this government department’s tag. And they were there at 9.15am.

And although my lunchtime is from noon for an hour, I would normally go down at 1pm. That el-cheapo outlet would still be filled to the brim with these makciks. So, usually I’d go to the nearby mamak that would slaughter me with a RM15 lunch sans drinks. I am just too lazy to cross the road to eat at a somewhat pricey ikan bakar joint behind one of the first tall structures in this area.

This morning, I had breakfast at 9.15am. As usual, the place was filled to the brim. The din the makciks were making was short of medieval torture, for lucky me (only this instance), I suffer from tinnitus; therefore noise in whatever form, hardly makes any difference to me. There was this makcik (who is probably 5 years younger than I am, but look far older) who was bitching about her husband who dropped her off on the wrong side of the road this morning. She went on and on and on about how she screamed at her husband, and how the husband looked petrified after the scolding. I would too if I were married to her! And she wouldn’t have to even scream for me to look like that! She has that face like she has never known orgasm before! She reminds me of a former coursemate of mine who’s a year younger, but looks like she’s qualified for old-age pension.

When I left the table, she was still there with her friends who were trying to pry for more juicy stories.

Then I decided to have an early lunch today – early by my standards. By noon I was already at the F&B place. There were bank workers queuing up for packed lunch, then there was a group of noisy makciks sitting at one corner.

IT WAS THE SAME GODDAMNED GROUP OF MAKCIKS, AND THE SAME MAKCIK WAS STILL TALKING ABOUT HOW HER USELESS HUSBAND DROPPED HER OFF ON THE WRONG SIDE OF THE ROAD!!!

Don’t these people ever work?

So, there I was, eating my lunch while listening to a re-run of “how my bastard of a husband dropped me off on the wrong side of the road” praying with every heartbeat that her husband finds a hottie who would blow him every other minute or so in front of this annoying and noisy bitch.

Then it dawned upon me that I’d be listening to similar stories from her tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after, and the day after…

House Of Fishball

We found this place by chance. We were going to the foodcourt at Uptown, PJ, but the preferred stall was closed for the day. So, Komar suggested we meet at a fishball place that is just across the road from the foodcourt, two lots from Starbucks.

It is called The House of Fishball.

Tang's House of Fishball
Tang’s House of Fishball

Okay, we got funny looks the first time we walked into this place, much like when I stepped into a chinese vegetarian restaurant in Green Town, Ipoh. I was the only malay who ate in that place.

And this time,we got the same looks from people who were chow-ing down; but the owner was all warm and welcomed us with open arms. And we had no reason to be afraid of brainless people who go around throwing molotov cocktails at places they deem unIslamic…

…as this place is as HALAL as you can get (as a matter of fact, I’d think about eating at some so-called malay-operated stalls).

The place is run by one Mohd Haikal Tang, a chinese-Muslim from JB who is married to a Muar-born wife. The ingredients are preservatives-free and are prepared fresh. Even the fishballs do not have that springy feel to it because of the absence of Boric Acid.

What To Eat Here?

Among the things we’ve eaten here include:

Yong Tau Fu – choose your ingredients. They come in a bowl of soup that will not leave you feeling thirsty later because there is no MSG in it. I know because I am sensitive to MSG.

MSG-free Yong Tau Fu
MSG-free Yong Tau Fu

Fried Wantan – this 1000kg meal is also good both as your main course, or just for snacking. It is made of fish, and tastes good too!

Fried Wantan
Fried Wantan

Nasi Lemak – they have excellent Nasi Lemak here. You can choose between the plain ones, or complemented by chicken rendang, beef rendang, or sambal sotong.

Nasi Lemak with Chicken Rendang
Nasi Lemak with Chicken Rendang

Nasi Lemak with Beef Rendang
Nasi Lemak with Beef Rendang

Nasi Lemak with Sambal Sotong
Nasi Lemak with Sambal Sotong

Dry Homeland Noodle – the dry homeland noodle is good. You should try this too if you still have space in your tummy.

Dry Homeland Noodle
Dry Homeland Noodle

Fish Noodles with Fried Chee Cheong Fun – this one was intriguing: noodles made out of fish. Wifey had this and said the taste was good. I will have to believe her as she is the expert on food in this house.

Fried Fish Noodles with Chee Cheong Fun
Fried Fish Noodles with Chee Cheong Fun

Celery Noodles – another intriguing one: the noodles is made of flour and celery. It tastes deliciously fresh sans the noodle-y taste. You know how those yellow noodles have that aftertaste? This one IS good.

Celery Noodles
Celery Noodles

Mee Rebus – this Mee Rebus is not to be missed. Not exactly Mee Rebus Hj Wahid or the Mee Rebus Stulang Laut in JB, but this would be a good substitute while in KL.

Mee Rebus
Mee Rebus

For dessert, I would highly recommend the Red Beans with Glutinous Rice Balls, and the Winter Melon with Longan. I have yet to taste the Tau Foo Fah as that always run out, even when we were there by 7.30pm. Therefore, my guess is it is that good.

Red Beans with Glutinous Rice Balls
Red Beans with Glutinous Rice Balls

Winter Melon with Longan
Winter Melon with Longan

How To Get There

The best way is to enter Damansara Uptown via the Police Station. Go straight and turn left towards the food court. You should be able to see the place on your left after Starbucks.

Be warned. It opens around 8.30am and closes around 11pm. It is always full during lunch and early dinner. But you will get a 20 percent discount off all items after 9.30pm because what is cooked today, does not get served tomorrow!

The way to Tang's House of Fishball

Squat Sedia!

Yeah, I know. It should be spelt as SQUAD. But some of my former instructors who were literally askar Darjah 6 wrote things like SQUAT HUT. But that’s far better than some local university students who joined the ROTU and wrote SKOT NOMBOR SATU and so on.

Anyway, I’m not going to write about my past life in the military. I am going to write about the first word up there:

SQUAT

How long can you squat?

The longest I have was when I was sitting for the SPM exam. I think it was the Ugama Islam paper. The previous night I had a carton of spoilt orange milk mix. And the session lasted almost 25 minutes. I know I couldn’t stand straight after that. It was excruciating.

A typical squat toilet would look like this:

Squat toilet - Wikipedia

When you have a large tummy like me, squat toilets such as this, would be the second choice. The seated toilet would be heaven. But at least, the squat toilet above would allow me to have a better feet-position – wider stance. Better stability, and I can allow my stomach to rest, and expand and contract freely during the “shit birth” process. It’s like having your feet on stir-ups in the labour room, only vertical instead of horizontal.

However, one of the booths on my office floor has this squat toilet, much like the ones in Thailand. The same as the above, but instead of being sunken into the floor to give more feet-area, this one is raised. Here is an example:

Raised squat toilet

Now, a person like me would have trouble to maintain both feet on the feet-place. My tummy is just going to push both my knees apart. So, if I have to use this booth, I’d have to shore the walls so I don’t fall off. Not exactly comfortable, but if a man has to do it, a man will have to do it. Instead of spending hours dumping crap, I’d want my crap to all come out in one go so I could get up and leave asap! So, I would avoid this booth totally if I could because I know by the time I had to leave, I wouldn’t have been able to dump all I wanted.

Yesterday, my boss from my old office, who also happens to be the Managing Director of this present office I’m in, dropped by with another colleague of mine for a meeting. By the time we were done, I had to rush to the toilet. At the same time, a guy, bigger than I, entered the toilet behind me. I got the seated toilet (there were other seated ones but they did not have any water pipes in them), so had to enter the one with the raised squat-toilet. And from my previous postings, you should have an idea of the duration I normally spend in the toilet. I can read a magazine from front to back, or three Nat Geo magazine articles equivalent. I could hear this guy groaning – it was either he was shitting bricks, or he was giving birth. But I would settle for the conclusion that it was difficult for him to push his crap out with his knees squeezing his tummy at the same time. Had I been a minute late, I would be suffering that torture.

By the time I was done, he was still in there. And that was like 20 minutes. I washed my hands, used the machine to dry them – still, he was inside, groaning. The poor soul. I wonder if he could get up at all after the session.

Better him than me!

Nasi Ganja

“Vangga! Vangga!”

That is how the waiters of the Nasi Kandar Ayam Merah stall would call out to customers, lending the other nickname to this famous stall: NASI VANGGEY

Yong Suan Restaurant on Jalan Yang Kalsom

Located inside the Restoran Yong Suan, on Jalan Yang Kalsom, Nasi Kandar Ayam Merah is also called NASI GANJA; not because it has any illegal ingredients in it, but because the taste is addictive. I will not go into the history of this place; all I know is I have been eating this stuff since I was little.

The array of dishes

A typical Nasi Ganja meal would consist of a plate of rice complemented by the specially-prepared chicken (it takes 8 hours to prepare the chicken), lady’s finger, curry, and the ganja: coconut and mint sambal, without which the rice would taste like any other nasi kandar.

The typical Nasi Ganja plate

The GANJA (coconut and mint sambal)

Of course, I have my personal preference.

My personal preference

For thirst-quenching drink, try the Limau Asam Boi.

HOW TO GET THERE

If you are from either the North or the South, exit at Ipoh (where you can see a TESCO Extra on your left if you are coming from the North, and right if you are coming from the South). Go straight on Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah, until you see a flyover ahead of you and Hospital Pantai Putri on your left. Keep left until you get to a traffic light junction and turn right at the traffic light into Jalan Raja DiHilir.

Tambun Inn should by now be on your left to confirm that you are on Jalan Raja DiHilir. Go straight across a roundabout until you hit a traffic light junction. On the right is a police station (Balai Polis Pekan Baru). Here, turn left into Jalan Yang Kalsom. Restoran Yong Suan should by now be on your left.

The way to Yong Suan

Be there before lunch break for you to eat in relative peace. From 1pm onwards, be prepared to share a table with strangers. I have seen people queuing up for food here at 3pm. That is how good the food is here.

My Life’s Pictorial Journey

Thank you to Mrs Castillo, I now have been posting old pics of mine as profile pics on my Facebook account. Sadly, I do not have any photo of mine prior to when I was 13. I have lost all those albums, and have very little of what I have after I turned 13 right until I got married to Wifey. Now let’s see if I have enough to do a journey of a lifetime:

1979

The above was me, aged 13, back in 1979, when we were at the police’s bungalow called Greysands in Port Dickson. I was on an assault boat when this pic was taken.

1980

This was taken in 1980, when I was 14, and it was the third day of Hari Raya Aidil Fitri.

1981

This was in 1981, when I was 15. We were flying back to KL from London, via Singapore, when our plane was struck by lightning somewhere over Paris. So, we had to stop in Zurich, Switzerland, and had a 4-day paid holiday courtesy of Singapore Airlines. This was taken at the Hilton in Zurich while having lunch, before we were taken to the airport for our flight to Singapore.

1982

In July 1982, we sailed to Tioman on board the police fast patrol boat, the KPD Lang Kuik (PZ 4). As we passed Pulau Tulai en route to Tekek, the Commanding Officer, DSP Michael Lee, asked me if I was a good swimmer. I said yes. He gave me a crash course in scuba diving. It is still my hobby since then.

1983

In 1983, I turned 17. This was taken inside Hargreaves Hall, the main hall of my alma mater. We had tables and chairs in there because it was during the SPM trials period.

1984

In 1984, I was already in England. This pic was taken during summer of that year. I went to England 2 weeks after SPM (December 1983), and never got to enjoy the honeymoon like others did.

1985

This was Autumn of 1985 on the campus grounds.

As I mentioned earlier, I’ve lost most of my albums. I only have 4 albums left. So, there are missing parts in my life. Anyway, let’s carry on.

1991

This picture was taken in 1991 on the Penang Bridge. My men and I (I’m the one left most, followed by LAC Faizal, AC Nizam and Cpl Hashim) were returning to base after an exercise. Note: we were using a civilian-registered vehicle for the exercise.

1992

And this was me back in 1992 somewhere along the Strait of Malacca.

1993

This was me in January 1993, 6000 feet above Gong Kedak Airbase, jumping off a C-130H.

1995

This was me receiving a medal from the 10th Yang DiPertuan Agong (the late Yam Tuan Besar of Negeri Sembilan) back in 1995.

1998

This was me in 1998. 21st April 1998, to be exact. I landed at the North Pole by parachute.

2000

This was my student, Bob, and I, after our jump at Ipoh airport in 2000.

2001

This picture was taken on 21 November 2001 after riding a jet-ski non-stop for 21 hours 11 minutes, completing 1000 kilometers in the process. This was to be my 3rd and final Malaysian record.

2003

This was by Lac Leman in Geneva in October 2003 during the ITU Telecom World 2003. I was 37 years old.

2005

In August 2005, I attended the 11th ASEAN Telecommunications Regulatory Committee. The farewell dinner’s theme was anything related to James Bond. So, I had a name tag made quickly.

2006

By 2006, I was actively diving – I was no longer going to any office 🙂

2007

I was still actively diving in 2007. Seen here with a Great Barracuda behind me at Terumbu Tiga, Perhentian.

2008

In 2008, diving took a slow pace because I met this wonderful woman. This was taken on 22nd March 2008.

2009

In 2009, I married her, after knowing her for 18 months (12 of which were being in a relationship).

So there have you…the pictorial journey of my life. I wish I could find my lost photos, or even the ones of me until the age of 12.

I’ll see what I can do…