Saturday, November 27, 2004

Celebrating Hari Raya the Kelantanese Way - Final

To be filed under Guano Oghe Kelate? Site Under Construction.

One of the scenes in a nearby Wet Market (Pasar Kubang Pasu) right behind my maternal grandmum's house. I cannot believe they actually sell satays for breakfast! And I discovered this strange concoction of pulut manis, kacang merah, nasi impit, kuah kacang and kelapa! Phewwhh! Dodol is definitely kinder!

(Feeder) Padang Bas, behind Pantai Timur Supermarket, Kota Bharu. It's like this every night. Jeff Ooi once condemned our practice of emptying public places like this for Maghrib and Isya'. Well, 45 minutes is definitely worth the wait. Get used to this and you won't have problems travelling in the Middle East. There are Mc Donald's, KFC, A&W within 5 minutes walk if you can't contain your hunger. For those taking the flight from Perhentian back to KL via KB airport (usually night flights), a good 3 hours to kill here.

When we get sick of heavy Raya food, this is the best place to go. The scene of the stalls can be somewhat 1/5 of the night food bazaar in Morrocco. This is where you get the best Ayam Perchik and Nasi Kerabu at Yati's, Nasi Ayam Bangkok, Thai's Som Tam, Murtabak Kelantan, all kinds of Kelantanese desserts.

I met the most interesting and good looking couple recently, Fakey and wife. He taught me what Nekbat is (he's not a Kelantanese, I have to protect him there)! Nekbat is the teardrop shaped dessert as seen in the photo next to Jala Emas, veerryy sweeeet! (In view to be corrected. Refer to Najmie's comment in comment box.)

Evolution of Pineapple Tarts! I just have to put this up coz I'm so delighted that someone thought of such a clever idea on how to prepare this using more pineapple and less flour. So pretty! Oh, just forget the crust and just give us the filling!

Hari Raya can be different every year. This is just my small effort in trying to document memories for my younger ones before the fading traditions completely disappear... I hope not.

Celebrating Hari Raya the Kelantanese Way - Part III

To be filed under Guano Oghe Kelate? Site Under Construction

This is not a majlis pertunangan or pernikahan. It is just everyone sitting down in a circle taking turns to ask for forgiveness. The parents or the eldest of the siblings are first seated. This is when we know everyone's name, age, emotions.. it's magical to me. I got RM5 from my uncle!

This is not a Kelantanese tradition, my uncle's lovely wife is orang 'Aloq Setaq', she taught us this.

My paternal grandmum remembered my name more often that day.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Celebrating Hari Raya the Kelantanese Way - Part II

To be filed under Guano Oghe Kelate? Site Under Construction

Sunday 14th Nov
On the first day, the ladies are required to be in the kitchen to prepare food to be served for the whole day while the guys get ready to go to the mosque.
This is the first time I get to experience 'Nasi Tupe' (nasi tumpang) for breakfast. Of course, again, it was ordered, 30 sets altogether.

You can choose between the RM1 or the RM3 ones, the content is standard, the difference is just in the amount. It is made of compressed white rice, the dishes are suspended in the middle to avoid the gravy from sipping out. There's 'gulai udang', 'serunding', 'secebis telur goreng'. Simple yet very filling.

As soon as all the men comes back from the mosque, we will all make our rounds in the house to ask for forgiveness and exchange raya packs, the big breakfast begins.

I guess just like every other kampungs, we don't need to announce the 'Open House'. The first and second day, we couldn't go anywhere, Tok We (grandmum) is already 73 years old and finding it hard to engage into meaningful conversations anymore... oowhh, it makes me wonder what I'll do at that age, she now needs to lie down after entertaining every 3 families or so. Getting all dressed up is useless when hundreds of cups need to be washed and ice and sugar water need to be prepared. We get a good 100 people a day for the first two days. So if you have read my previous posts, you'll understand now why we have to order instead of self prepare all the food.

It took me more than five years to finally remember who is who now which made it easier to find suitable things to say to them. Lazy and princess cousins still remain the same, must look demure, sweatless and rested all the time. It doesn't mean we're the one who did all the great jobs, I had accidentally put salt in a jug of gassy Orange Crush!!! I thought it was the normal Sunquick that needs sugar, I mistaken the salt for sugar, mum didn't even bother to taste. The little kids were so polite, they held their facial gestures and drank half the glass. Kesian nyaaaa! This is supposed to be tactics to say 'no' to forced suitors. The three little boys now surely remember me for life, tak boleh buat bini.

Third day, our turn to get all dressed up and make our rounds. Hah payback time! It's their turn to expect 3 cars of guests at once! Nasi Dagang, Nasi Tomato with Ayam Perchik, Satay, Colek Ayam (this thing is so sedap!), Nasi Bukhari helped tighten our sarongs.

To be continued.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Back to Which Reality?

Heh… as expected, the ever fun-loving Malaysians. once back from long festive breaks, we all can’t wait to catch up with friends over coffee or TT. Hartamas was power packed even on Sunday night.

The differences between topics of conversations in hometown and back here in the city:

Hometown chats:
1. Our local prince’s next masterplan; to make or to break the relationship of the two states.

2. Whether Datukship is fit for people who are capable of toying with the local police force, self inflicting a ‘crime’ in public in front of a surprisingly working CCTV. I think part of her masterplan is also to indirectly audition these police force for her new business venture, the production of ‘The Real Gerak Khas’.

3. What’s the point of having only one supermarket in the whole of this PAS governed state separating men and women while queuing at the cash counter when the lanes for men are handled by lady cashiers?

4. After the existence of Mamak Spicy (one out of just two Mamak outlets there with demistifiers and the works), the night life in KB seem to pick up. Finally, Vincci, Watson’s, Giordano, Secret Recipe and the likes placed themselves there in the new KB Mall, clever investors! Many are not aware, the only kind of supermarkets we have there are those comparable to Fajar Department Store! I learnt that they even order books from Kinokuniya for special interest stuff. Perhaps, PAS will fade away in parallel with the old age generation. Perhaps..

5. How many more cousins who became successful, got married/ got married again/ got babies. Also, discovering who our third, fourth, fifth cousins are. It’s true, every Kelantanese is related to each other (of coursela mummy, that’s why we must stop trying to match make amongst cousins je!). I just found out that my family is somehow related to the Fawzy, Mofaz family….. whaaatever. I think we make the best archeologists in the world if we can understand Sanskrit and Hebrew. They seem to primarily find connections only with successful people though. By the time I’m 80, we should be able to finish tracking all the way back to Adam and Eve.

6. Endless debates about religion which always end up with thorough enlightenment. Somehow, only this discussion is done in English instead of in ‘German’. Berasap-asap!!

KL TT chats:
1. How many good looking cousins we met (the sudden bloomers or newly discovered 6th cousins) and whether they responded to our ‘signals’.
2. Which cousins dressed better.... ok, I'm too old to compete.
3. How many uncles were caught sending SMS secretly or heard saying ‘I miss you’ in the dark corners of the kitchen.
4. Car pool plans for Raya visits for the rest of the month.
5. How much money has gone and how to survive solely on Raya gatherings till next salary comes in.
6. Whine about going back to work on Monday.

But nothing beats Zenprem's hillarious Raya experience, for once he wrote something which everyone can comprehend.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Celebrating Hari Raya the Kelantanese Way - Part 1

To be filed under Guano Oghe Kelate? Site Under Construction

The Last Few Days of Fasting.

You can distinguish these 'foreigner's' very easily in most local higher learning institutions, they are called the 'Germans' for the way they speak, loud and stern yet still not enough to make them get into a fist fight. I don't know how the dialect sounds most different than those of other states in our country. When you plonk yourself among them, you'd instantly feel like an outcast. But really, once you catch the meaning, you'll know that they are just as hillarious as the Penangites!
Wanna sample how we 'foreigners' celebrate Hari Raya in this 'Republic of Newcastle' (errhhm...Kota Bharu, Kelantan)?

Friday, 12th Nov.
The journey through the new Kuala Lipis road was abreeze, no more winding roads. Gone were the days we had to push off at 6am and reach Kota Bharu at 7pm. It takes 7+ hours to reach there now if you're driving at approx 100kmph, dad's a cool cruiser (gerrraaam!).
Reached Tok Wan's house at 4:30pm, hugged+kissed her, bathed, laid down, get dressed, jatted off to buka puasa at late dad's side of the family.
I just have to put this Ayam Perchik photo up (alamak, missing, later k!). Ayam Perchik is truely our East Coast delicacy (not Johoreans, not Perakians, no, not Nogoghi's either), its gravy is pale in colour, not brownish, not reddish, the poultry is never coloured with red powder like Tandoori chicken nor yellow like Masala chicken no, no, no!

Saturday, 13th Nov.
I prepared Siamese Chicken Porridge to make-up to my grandma for not breaking fast with her on the day we arrived. It's strategic planning, it's easy to prepare for 3 families, the smell of tenggiri salted fish, salted egg, asparagus sambal belachan, tauchu fried mushrooms serves as 'restart button' in anticipation of the menu we will have days after; all laden with peanuts, coconut gravy and its likes. If you are a foreigner, try this next time?
Right after buka puasa, we went to Kampung Baung, where it seemed like the whole Kelantan goes to collect their satays. Know why I said that? These pictures will explain.

Oh, this is just one house out of 10 satay sellers on one street, there are about 6 streets of satay sellers like this! Nope, I have no idea why the whole kampung decides to do the same business, but each house gets balanced share of the business. Due to such overwhelming orders, each customer is required to get a number; through phone calls will do. Ours is number 1096, we ordered 60 sticks only. I managed to flip the last page of the shopkeeper's list, he has in total, 6200 customers! I'm not lying! On our way there, the road was all smokey, we thought the whole village was on fire! This happens only during Hari Raya though. Once we get in the car, I thought I needed to fumigate my whole body with odour neutralizer. Bau baeekk punya!

Next year, I must visit the village where they only make the 'Roti Jala'.
To be continued.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Puasa kan berakhir pergi, Raya kan berkunjung tiba

Alright, it's 4:30am now, another 1 hour and my family's off to balik kampung. We heard from our uncle who left today that the jam was so bad, he ended reaching the destination at 7pm instead of the usual 4pm.

The raya packs are ready, this time no more loose change, that's the thing that will make you wanna throw money around. This time, I really may come back with zero cash, too many unforeseen stuff were overlooked. So one week of 'makan biskut and maggie' maybe. Bought three sets of Vietnam Coffee Powder and strainer from Charms/ One U for my uncles. I hope that they don't have the same set at home coz I'm planning to prepare it for them myself.

I don't know what it is like over there, we have a PC with internet connections, but to sit infront of it and get something done.. I don't think so... at least sites like Fade's and Alphademon's, I have to ban myself temporarily from getting in.

I will surely suffer from withdrawal syptoms if I can't blog while I'm there. I caaannot believe I'm saying this but yeaahh... right now, it's already strange not having Lisa and Fakey around. Maybe after four days I'll start to shiver, then my whole body will start to itch and the doctor will have to prescribe a new notebook, wi-fi card and wireless connections for my grandma's place.

Before I fall asleep, my wish to Point44 and Is's Girl, My Name if Fake and N, Izuan, Jie, Lisa and family, Roadie, Flower Girl, Shin Shin, Shan, Beruk and Zuli, Fazu (whereee are you?), Zainframe, Fade, Ngising, Chaerul Salleh, or anybuddy who knew me through this means. I will miss you all although I will be enjoying myself.

Please be alert while you're driving!!.

Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri
Silap tutur bicara, harap dimaafkan.
Jumpa lagi Sabtu hadapan.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Picture Quiz - 1

Walked around Giant and Jusco to hunt for O'mochi and one kebaya top for one LAST time.
Two things that made me give up only after 1/2 an hour of browsing:
Kebaya top priced at a minimum of RM550 (the last time I spent this kind of money was when MNG first opened, if I add all the dry cleaning costs 4 years later, I could own at least a decent piece of ... what..Tissot by now?! So much for trying too hard to be so uppety).
And why oh why for the past years, I only get sick on weekends? :I
At least I'm not as dramatic as this fella (see Sick of Myself being Sick. Warning for those who are fasting, laden with nekid pix) when it comes to suffering the flu! He makes it sounds as if it's some kind of a terminal disease, hillarious bugger!

I came across this thing which two year's back became the sahur time quiz at a friend's place. I still don't understand why, Malaysians especially, would find a need to own one.
Am not completely empty handed for Raya. Picked up one Kurung Kedah and one (my first ever) Kebaya Kota Bharu, dunno how I'd recycle them for 6 days! Aaannd, yeah, a pair of this kickass Wiretap Oakley shades to replace my four year old Romeo Gigli. Unlike having an expensive kebaya top only to be worn once or twice a year. This I will surely have on my face everyday (geeeez, why do I still sound like I'm hiding my guilt. Expenses to be the family's Santa Rina for Raya is already triple the amount, ok whaaat?!).

Friday, November 05, 2004

Mujo Batok di Tangga

My sister sent this to me today. It is true you know, when people say Trengganunese and Kelantanese are foreigners, their politicians are always misunderstood because it takes only their own kind to translate the meaning behind their statements which always regarded as harsh and unfounded. That is why people from their own states never get offended the way the rest of the world are with the statments made by their politicians. No one wondered how those words were spoken with such sincere straight faces.

Just like Cantonese dialect, conversations are deliberately aloud and laden with sarcasm and again uttered with sincere straight faces really express the closeness and happiness among them.

Here's Bustamann's take on the meaning of the Trengganunese word 'Mujo' and then my take on something I learnt after cycling around Paya Wetland on the meaning of one proverb. And then, YamYam2u's intellectual input that now turn this into a concrete finding.
Melepaskan Batok di Tangga
In school, we were all taught that the act of Melepaskan Batok di Tangga which is used as a proverb illustrates someone who does something lazily. For years I cannot comprehend how the act of clearing the throat by coughing by the staircase portray laziness. But, the teachers will say it sternly "Macam orang batuk kat tangga kan nampak macam orang malas nak bagi salam betul-betul pada tuan rumah". "Habis cikgu, kalau nak nampak rajin batuk kat tempat lain la?" The teacher will just continue flipping the exercise books as if she didn't hear that question.

Wanna know what that picture has to do with the meaning of the proverb?

Melepaskan Batok di Tangga is originated from Trengganu, the school text book authors thought Batok is an old spelling for batuk (cough), therefore ingeniusly changed it. In the olden days, the fishermen uses batok to scoop the water from the tempayan (tall basin made out of clay) to wash their feet off beach sands before walking up the staircase to get to the front door of their homes. Usually, the lazy ones will just scoop and splash their feet and throw the batok on the ground and it will be covered with dirt. THAT'S the actual act of laziness because once the batok is picked up to scoop water (olden days no water supply through pipes, it's sea water collected in the tempayan) again, the water in the whole tempayan gets clouded.

If you don't believe me, go to Paya Wetland, visit the Rumah Melayu Trengganu. They will explain it again to you. "Sor Hai" isn't it all of us who believed our teachers

YamYam2u's input dated 13/11/2004 (THIS is the right meaning of 'batok').

"hi maine, very interesting. i hope i don't come across pedantic but just for the sake of sharing information, here's a bit more factoid about 'batok' from my linguistic reference.

It is indeed a sort of 'penceduk' made from tempurung. however, it is different from the 'gayung' (which i believe is what your picture illustrates), in that a batok is not fitted with a handle, long or otherwise. it is just the tempurung part with opening and is usually used to scoop/measure rice but is also used to scoop other things, water for instance.

The word origin, according to my source, is indonesian; javanese in fact. that it is/was also a part of trengganu lexicon is perhaps not all that surprising since archaic words can and do unexpectedly survive in different dialects of a shared language. another javanese word that is also found in trengganuspeak which i think (i may be wrong though) is not used in other semenanjung dialects is 'aron'. it means parboiled, and is usually used to refer to rice or other boiled/steamed food that is almost, or three-quarter, cooked."

Thanks Yamyam2u for the headsup! I searched and provided here a corrected illustration of the meaning of 'batok' to suit the meaning that you have provided.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Preparing to 'Balik Raya' - Part 2

When I was in primary school, I used to frequent the Public Library at Jalan Burhanuddin Helmi, Taman Tun. That's where I get my doses of cerita dongeng Melayu from the book called 'Ceritalah Lagi'. They come in volumes. Enid/Guid Blyton's storylines were too predictable. Can anyone tell halfway through reading what's the end of Si Luncai, Sang Kelembai, Abu Nawas and Pak Pandir dan Mak Andeh?. One will grow to understand best the minds of the typical Malays out of reading those.
After a few hours of free reading with Zairil and sometimes Alita (my long lost childhood friends who's still in Taman Tun but Zairil, he now shags Mat Salleh and don't remember who I am nymore, is that right Beruk? That b*****d!). I don't know what he reads but he would patiently wait till I finished and then we would go to one of the single story houses beside the library to buy 'ais krim asam boi'. There's a special code to request for it, if not the houseowner will just pretend she doesn't know what we want, her stocks was always very limited.
Now, I can't even find it even back in my hometown. It's refreshing to be able to have that especially during raya after we have to eat all the rice, ketupat, sate 10 times a day... ok 5 times a day. Now it has become my obligations to make them and bring enough stock back, at least the little cousins are not missing the simplest things in life. I have refined the recipe to do without the colouring that makes us look like we just consumed the 'sireh'. It's so simple, just get a jar of Honey Plum Sauce from any supermarkets, dilute it in one jug of water with 300gm of asam soaked in it to make the taste merry :)

I wanted to bring some of it for my friends whom I invited for buka puasa treat last weekend but because of the long walk to look for baju raya right before it, maybe nuther time. We were at Charlie's Place for their BBQ menu, it's my second time there. The first was to taste the often boasted Western Menu that are firstly excellent in terms of presentations, they make unusual sauces to go with meat and seared fruits. It's a place to try something different in a secluded corner of the city so I thought I would impress my 'jakun' friends to this alien place. The pictures of the food presentation makes one thinks it's a nice decent place. Some things can be deceiving.
The crowd instead looked tastier than the food. It was like a convention for 'Orang-Orang Melayu Elit' and we were the outcast. The BBQ line only allow one end queuing when there's about 80 people trying to rush for food. There's only two other waiters on standby to take orders for drinks. Half way through, I remembered, these friends are all from the hospitality industry, all of them and I bet they are disappointed with so many things, luckily there's enough gossips and good looking people to watch to keep us distracted.
The food wasn't enough and yet the crowd mistaken the carbonara sauce for salad dressing, the one carbo meal we all wanted to have.

No extra pair of baju kurung for me but.. it's ok. Had a long good conversation with my own friends and supplier turned friends which ends with finally a good brew of teh-tarik and that's enough to keep me contented. But I'm not going to Charlie's Place ever again.

To hell with paragraphing, so sleepy.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Preparing to 'Balik Raya' - Part 1

In my teenage years, I dreaded having to go back to my family's hometown too early. All because I don't have my things around me to keep myself busy while waiting for iftar. And there's too many people busy doing things in the kitchen preparing a million things while subtly updating each other on family gossips.

I for one love to join in the chat but can't take all that yummy smell, makes me suffer even more, don't know, it's just extra tougher there, the time seems to move really slowly. My grandma is especially the happiest at preparing everything, yeah, so as everyone's. But she still grinds the chillies with the 'batu giling' you know! The most I'd do is sit by the stairway near the kitchen and watch her do her work and just listen to everything around me, in case they'd set me up with someone without my knowledge, who trust your aunts??

I felt so much remorse having to observe others who were my age just, lying down, lazing under the fan reading old kampung magazines and exchange thoughts about old times celebs, later just SMSing away, sleep, sleep, sleep, watch VCD, listen to MP3 player the whole day, then get into the kitchen once in awhile just to see if the food is good and enough to feed 20. After that, they'd just sit down with sleepy eyes at the dining table waiting to be served. They'd do this everyday, even when fasting is over.

I looked at my grandma's face, all that sweat and smile, proudly serving all her grandchildren who's probably not as excited as her about being together... I quickly snapped out of my insensitivity, my negligence. She really deserve much better than that. I thought, I have to make the most out of the time I already put aside to go back to her which is just once a year.

Dwelling in the kitchen IS the best way to spark 'team building' among cousins, aunties, uncles and grandparents, even if it means contributing some silly updates about yourself instead of just updating about how many months bonuses you have received and who bought Gen2 first.

Back to my contribution to my grandma, I don't just start my day back in my hometown by going to the market to top up all the foodstuff anymore. There's always a box of things from KL too. Now that there's Tesco, Giant and Ikea, I'd try to bring back unique things for her. Last year for example, I had to curl myself in the back seat of mom's car because I brought back 4 pieces of Ikea's Daim's Cakes placed in an ice box, 6 cans of Arnott's love letters for the little ones, biscuits, homemade 'ais krim batang'.. I can't remember how many, new cookie jars from Ikea... I don't know... a lot more. Then I knew more what it feels like to be my mother all these years making sure ends meet so raya's perfect for me and my sister. I saw the smile we sisters used to have in my grandma's face this time.

This year I plan to bring back the Korean/Japanese O'mochi but I got tired of hunting for it in 6 different shops already, other than futile chances of finding a nice pair of kebaya in Shah Alam, Subang and KL. I think it's only available during the Mooncake festival. I thought it would be different to serve cold desserts for a change. Who knows where I can get halal ones by the crates?

My two cents for the young ones so when you reach my age, you've put a lot of mileage in the family institution:

Just know that there is no such thing as a communication gap between grandparents and grandchildren, it's just how you make the content of your conversations to turn out to be.
There are still people who hates to be seen in baju Kurung and baju Melayu, hilang adat dan budaya, kosonglah jiwamu. Even the Chinese and Indian women buy baju Kurungs to wear them on Fridays!?

The cast who play lazy cousins at grandma's and at the same time posing for Nabila's viewing pleasure. Left to right to left again: Kathy, Socks, Comot and Joy. Nabila: I hope this blog page is not stinnnkkky nymooore :)

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