2013 in review

Posted in Uncategorized on December 31, 2013 by DrSam

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 680 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 11 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Vote for me and I would make Blogosphere a cool place to stay

Posted in Bloggers' award, MITBCA on February 14, 2013 by DrSam

Dearest Blogger friends,

This is the first time I write a serious cyber letter to you that meant to be read seriously. Somebody, a ghost writer who is hiding his/her true persona nominated my humble blog into a local Blog competition dedicated to tourism (MITBCA). I got to know my blog was nominated when a letter from the organizer reached my mailbox to confirm the participation. This  event  recognizes and awards Blog/Blogger who has in one way or another contributed to our local tourism industry. This is the second time this event being hosted.  The last day for voting is 22 February 2013. 
Thus, I am making a personal  pledge to all ardent Bloggers, Netizens,  and phantom voters to voluntarily cast their  vote for my blog. I promise, if this blog win we could celebrate, perhaps way ahead of  PRU13. As an added bonus, you will guarantee to get the opportunity  to read more spicy and juicy stories extracted from the tiny box of my brain.   

So, here is a step-by-step instruction on how to cast your vote:

1. Go to www.mitbca.com website
2. Login with you Facebook account
3. Look for “Tourism Lifestyle Blog” category
4. Look for Archiveoftime.blogspot.com
5. Click “vote” button and Voila! You are one cool guy/gal…

For your good deed, I thank you very much.   May God bless you all!

Yours truly,

DrSam

Turtle Alley and Kampung Cina are painted red

Posted in Chinese New Year, GONG XI FA CAI, Kampung china, Turtle alley on February 12, 2013 by DrSam
I have no special  relationship or interesting childhood memory that can be related to the Chinatown of Ganukite or Kampung Cina as known by the locals. There are not many stories regarding the place that I can tell or pass down to my future cucu cicit muit.  But I ‘ve always had keen interest in this place. There is some sense of  rustic feeling or classical Oriental ambiance attached to this place. Unlike the other old and historical buildings in this vicinity, Chinatown of Ganukite seems to have strong immunity, standing tall and manage to evade greedy development that is fast ravaging the small towns of Ganukite. The oil-money that flooded Ganukite doesn’t seem to pour  down onto this place. Or perhaps the money only linger and circulated among the pockets of some ‘boyeh’ tokeys and taikor who reside in the small idyllic shophouses or   big bungalows somewhere, hidden from the prying eyes the uninitiated tourists,   I have no  idea. But thanks to UNESCO for making this place another heritage site and saved this place from extinction from the World map.
There is something this place has that always draw my attention. Everytime I pass by the small one-way road commuting toward the other side of Ganukite town, something hit my memory domain. The bridge in the middle of the Chinatown at least has some picturesque memory of me . It was during the New Chinese Lunar Year of some 40 over years ago, I stood on the bridge with my father watching the procession of  beautiful ‘tanglung’ and tantalizing dragon play. The parade was beautiful and the lanterns  were made of multitude shapes and patterns. There were also dragons and other mystical things on parade but I couldn’t remember much as my memory was still in its embryonic stage at that time. The colorful display ended close to midnight. Accompanying us was Uncle Wat, my father’s close friend, whom like to go hunting ayam hutan in the jungle of Jerangau, Jabor and Bkt. Besi. Uncle Wat  must be in his early 70’s now. It was Uncle Wat who had also introduced me to the sweet sticky cake of Kuih bakul, a traditional Chinese delicacy. I haven’t met Uncle Wat for ages. That was the last time I stood on the bridge and watched the parade.
Kampung Cina nowadays, doesn’t change much since the last time I visited the place. It retains most of its old charm. At least there is still no Starbuck or Coffee Bean around. I can’t testify much on the taste of the food but the traditional and modern eating establishments seem to be crowded  by customers. As this place is very close and just a walking distance from the new water front, Pasar Kedai Payang and Hotel Seri Malaysia, it is a good spot to visit whenever you are in Ganukite or your feet feel itchy for some good leisurely evening stroll.
One of the old shophouse along the road of Kampung Cina in Ganukite town. With such authentic decor and old ornate buildings line up the street, this place is declared a world heritage site by the UNESCO. 
 The arch with two dragons, is a prominent landmark at the Southern end of Kampung Cina. Walking along the street, you can feel the atmosphere and the pungent smell of the spices that fill the air.
This particular spot, a mid section along the road of Kampung Cina has some international appeal especially for the film maker. A scene for a period drama could make this place another silver screen hit spot.  
 This window panes with decorative  panels are a feast to my eyes. The building survives, so as the tradition.
 Another well preserved architecture on some of the old building along the street of Kampung Cina. I was told the unique motif of this building  articulates the houseowner’s hope for longevity, good luck, abundance and offspring.
 Another interesting feature that caught my eyes. The subtle  background color of the building and the brightly red lantern made good contrast.

Beautiful Chinese lantern (tanglung) on display by the members of the Chinese community on their shophouses.
Another tanglung that exhibit interesting details.

I don’t know what the letters on the tanglung meant, but they surely looks very catchy.
Lanterns ‘fruiting’ from bamboo trees.
The residents of this China town competed  trying very hard to outdo one another with creative display of tanglung. The winner came out with a cheque of few thousand ringgit.
During my recent visit to the China town with my significant half, I found many interesting things about Kampung China. There are new exciting ‘upgrades’ to the place that will surely catch tourists’ eyes. One of them is this special spot dedicated to turtle conservation. I love “piung”, is a beautiful mosaic build by volunteers and turtle lovers.


This alley is special because it is very unique and load of good information on turtle conservation. It is hope that this alley will bring  awareness to the public on the importance to save this beautiful creature. Kids and adult alike would enjoy strolling along this lane, while at the same time find it very educational.
On of the mosaics in the Turtle alley. Actually this particular mosaic is the beginning of a story line, a journey of a little Maya and an adventure with the special creature – the turtle. 
This stretch of narrow alley, approximately 50 meter long is the Turtle alley. My significant half stopped and got mesmerized by the mosaics and interesting stories told by little Maya.
I noticed this sweet sticky cake or kuih bakul being ‘baked’ under the sun at the back of Kampung Cina. This cakes were similar to what Uncle Wat used to give to my family everytime the Chinese celebrates their Chinese New Year.



New Kids On the Beach

Posted in beaches, Terengganu on February 5, 2013 by DrSam
Trengganu, as laid back as it should be is seriously not for IT geeks who like to spend hours in wifi-free kopitiams, Gangnam style K-pop fans, youngsters and young-at-heart looking for a night out, 40-something from the Acute Gout club  or even peminat Che Kiah pekasam. The place is so cool and the people is so blessed with laid back attitude to the effect that until today, 83 days from the day I applied for a new telephone line into my new house, my whole family and I are still talking to the wall without any land line. But Trengganu is where I put my heart now. It is a place for people who love tranquility, jam-free journey, unpolluted air, amusing people with the most powerful G-force in the planet, fresh sea produces and not to mention a long stretch of unmolested golden sandy beaches. 
This blissful place full of expressive form of life and nature has  never failed to inspire me and almost seductively transform me from being a scientist into a self-professed poet. The long infatuation with these zen-like life has from time to time drowned me into a nostalgic mode. My right brain tickles. Even an innocent looking female goat sunbathing  in the middle of Jalan Gong Pak Jin aroused my creative mind. 
My four super-heroes however are adapting to their new life. They are city boys. Three were borne in the City of Kay El and one in the City of Durham, a far away land where people eat Fish and Chips. But surprisingly, despite their endless fixation to PS3 and other  techno-gadgets, they share my intimate passion and similar perversion to the sand and the wave from the South China Sea. They are adapting well. The sea becomes a medium to bond the family together. I like it to stay that way. 
Somewhere in my sub-conscious mind  I always feel at home whenever i put my feet on the beach. I am not new to this  domain. It is very familiar to me.  I am not a new kid on the beach.  Ganukite is very synonymous with me. It will always be. But to my young super-heroes this place is an uncharted place offering them some new adventures. I however, have no worry as looking at their enthusiasm and their youthful spirit, I think they are ready to take the challenge. 
 And my significant half. She doesn’t need to adjust herself or adapt to anything. She is part of me.   
 Trengganu without beaches is not Trengganu after all. It will be tasteless. Beaches almost without fail are always associated with fun and sunshine. But fun on the beach is as joyful only with calculated risk. With Monsoon season is  hovering and lingering  on the  horizon, still in its stagnant mode, do not estimate the power of the sea. Few fatalities were reported in the past along beaches like this because some didn’t realize the hidden danger that lie under the gentle and alluring wave that beats the shore. (Pantai Pak Tuyu)

Friday morning we are on the beach, Saturday morning we are back on the beach, in fact family escapade will continue throughout the evening and some weekdays as well. In short, I can conclude that my four superheroes are also mesmerized and got sedated by Ganukite wonderful beaches….just like their  daddy. (Pantai Tok Jembal)
The four superheroes were warming up  for some beach actions and get ready to submerge themselves with whatever they thought fit into their fancies. (Pantai Pengkalan Maras)
Walking on the beach is like walking on an open field full of hidden treasures. You’ll never know what you are going to find or stumble upon. You just have to pay more attention and with some sheer luck you will be rewarded with something totally unexpected. 
Anything that my superheroes found on the beach, anything that is playable will be their love and joy even an ordinary ornate slipper full of living barnacles.   This interesting slipper has some story to tell. Perhaps if we can talk their language, the barnacles will come up with some good epic story that fit into a Bollywood screen.
The slipper, perhaps drifting from one of  the Vietnamese fishing boats just off shore now become the beach volley-slipper. 

Oblivious to the big wave that hit the beach, my third and fourth progenies seemed to enjoy their newly found playground. The long stretch of Ganukite beaches are now becoming their private wonderland. Most of the time,  all by themselves. (Pantai Mengabang Batu Rakit)

A family photo beside a sampan, under the shade of a coconut tree to mark the historic and memorable occasions, which number is uncountable. The new spot is Kuala Baru, a new lepak place for the whole family along Pantai Tok Jembal. This blissful spot  has never registered in my 45-years-old’s Ganukite map before which resided in my mind. Now it is a good time to update my mental Ganukite map with the latest version, minus the Nasi dagang of course.

The outing grand finale is always a family round-table meal  with a mouthful array of a-la-carte menu  consisting of nasi kerabu, nasi lemak and nasi dagang. This only makan place on the beachfront of Kuala Baru  is commendable for its reasonable price, scenic location and free air conditioning complimentary of 10-20knots wind from the South China Sea. And not to mention countless gallons of minute salty sea spray which in 20 years will corrode anything that is metalic in nature. I hope my mind and my perversion to the beach won’t get corroded by then.

Post Sonamu abstinence

Posted in Euthynnus affinis, ikan aye, tongkol on January 28, 2013 by DrSam
I am not going to say as much as I like to believe it, the fairy love affair with my childhood favorite  Nasi dagang has finally come to an end. It was a gastronomic lust with catastrophic consequences. The blame this time is not on the tropical storm or the legendary Keropok Losong but on the main ingredient of nasi dagang itself i.e. the sublime ikan aye, or ikan tongkol  as known by the non-endemic entity to this region, or tuna by the sandwich eating people  in the West. Having a second thought, I should have blame my wife…I mean myself for being so ignorance and blinded by my perversion to this local delicatessen.  It was a hard  reality that hit me like a huge atomic bomb, garnished with zillion of  Moruga Scorpions pepper. It seems this fleshy red meat fish has an optimum enough purine  level (a protein that breaks down into uric acid in our body) to trigger gout in me. It was the most memorable experience of an untold agony as it was also the longest. It had been a while since my last intimate rendezvous with this “rich man’s disease”. 
I would rather actually bath myself in a hot budu sauna rather than starving myself  from nasi dagang.  In Kay El (which is already in a menopause mode) I had no problem at all pacifying my appetite as good and  decent  nasi dagang is very elusive.  In ganukite  it is all a different story. With just a little effort and even  still donning  in a sarong I can just open my door and Nasi dagang is staring on my face right  on my doorsteps.  It is so abundance like indigenous mat rempits terrorizing the trunk road of Kampung Tok Beng and so irresistible like my wife’s bantal busuk.
To make the story line more exaggerate,  I’ve been craving for nasi dagang Ganukite since my hijrah 2 months ago. As fate would have it, the opportunity came for myself  to indulge in this delicacy during a majlis doa selamat a day before Christmas holiday last year. A three days bash and countless sinful indulgence then the first sign of pain started to develop in my left toe. The rest was history… at least until last week. I’ve learned the lesson well and perhaps 40 over years is more than enough for me to put a stop and finally to strip this menu from my diet.
Now something has just hit my mind. I’ve just realized another culprit to my post-hijrah malady is the abundance of street fishmongers along the coastal road of Ganukite. The scenic coastal road of Mengabang Telipot, Pengkalan Maras, Mengabang Telong, Batu Rakit, Tok Jembal etc.,  are very close to where I am residing now.  Those places are  a heaven for fresh sea produces from the South China Sea. Because, life is so sedated and easy in this corner of the planet, every other chance I would make a point to drive slowly and stroll with my luvly jubly wife  along these coastal roads. And because there are so many interesting pit stops of kedai nasi dagang, nasi kerabu, sata, otak-otak and  not to mention stalls that sell fishes, it becomes an obligation to me to stop, have a peek and buy some ikan aye for our  kitchen department. In Ganukite, ikan aye hitam is more sought after that ikan aye kurik.  Because the name itself (hitam)  it is believed to contain more purine than the kurik sister. Yes that is finally my scape goat – the beaches are so beautiful and so alluring so as I forgot my pantang. 
As this is the inaugural entry of 2013 and the first since my hijrah to the Keropoklekor land, it is not too late I think to say a Happy New Year to whoever that stumble upon this blog. It is a good time also to bid  farewell to my beloved Nasi dagang. Wishing all my friends a good life ahead, full of barokah…and watch your diet too!
The sight of this typical but authentic nasi dagang, nicely wrap in banana leaf can cause me to salivate for days. It is not love at first sigh, but this sporadic feeling if left unattended can lead to brain hernia and mental disillusion for years to come. Mengidam tak sudah.
Driving slowly along the coastal road, almost every Friday and Saturday morning for some fresh air is one blissful family activity. On that fateful day, I bought this ikan aye and suddenly my life had a purpose. This fish had no photogenic appeal to me  at first, until some alien-looking creatures poking mysteriously from its mouth.  
 For the first time  and probably never being recorded in any Ganukite Scientific community, I saw a Tuna regurgitated another fishes from its mouth. Probably the Tuna too felt very sick from constant  promises by politicians close to General election.  My mother told me the fishes that regurgitated by that auspicious ikan aye could be an answer to some common illnesses too.  I just couldn’t remember what those illnesses areAfter some meticulous and delicate 2 minute surgery on the  ikang aye by my significant half, the two mysterious creatures turned out to be a medium size anchovy and another small  fish of which I could not make out her identity.   

This nondescript meeting place  for  local  fishmongers and other seafarers along the main scenic coastal road of Pengkalan Maras  is buzzing with activities close to mid day. A place like this is a good place to get fresh produces from the South China Sea. A pakcik with a sarong really blend well with the setting and made the scene.

Sea produces in many forms and varieties make it very hard to choose from. I thought I’d known most of the fishes in Ganukite as they become my staple food for ages. In one of the visits, I ‘ve been introduced to ikan haruan tasik – a fish that resembles ikan tenggiri in the flesh department (I think). When asked, the fishmonger told me that ikan is very popular for asam masak pedas.
Another  fish that add into my vocabulary. Can you notice ikan air bag among the ikangs? 
The trip to traditional fishmongers also excited and fascinated my youngest son. “Hebat mata dia...”  his remark on the beautiful eyes made the  fishmonger makcik smile. His impromptu and genuine remark had  saved me some RM as well :)

Kuala Lumpur Menopause

Posted in Uncategorized on November 7, 2012 by DrSam

Sesungguhnya Kota itu nafasnya hanyir
muntahnya berkahak memualkan tekak
menjolok halkum sesak berbaur
neon-neon pun hidup memedih mata
lalu ain ini terpaksa ku lontarkan jauh
berpaling namun tidak ku dusta lagi

Kaki ini sudah penat
longlai kian membatu
berpasak goyah lumpur berhingus
kudrat sudah luntur
iradat masih utuh

namun suara itu berkata :
“…Hei anak Sg. Derhaka, bukankah kamu utusan itu…?”

Disinun
dibenua kecilku
Samarkand subur bukan mimpi lagi
Al-Shams bersinar
“Sungguh…” bisik benua itu

Di Sungai itu
aliran lesu tambah berliku
Aku tidak mahu hanyut lagi
Ku biar Kota itu tenggelam
Selamat tinggal tikus mondok
bayangku akan menjadi teman setiamu

Nukilan tercetus setelah 7 hari menghirup udara segar dibenua baru, di tepi pantai Tok Jembal

I’m coming home!

Posted in balik kampung on October 24, 2012 by DrSam

The Monsoon rain welcome me with a thunderous applause, hammering on the roof of my parent’s house when I set my foot for another timeless visit to the charming and mystical land of my rightful birthplace, the Keropoklekor land. It marked the end of dry a season and the beginning of a wet season. It also marked the start of another cycle to my endless life  journey. Fate is gradually stretching its finger and touches my conscience – it is time to pack and go back. It is time to go home. I’ve finally decided to settle down and later spend my golden years in a secluded corner of the Keropoklekor land. I am going to open another chapter in my life. It is not  a new chapter but a reincarnation of time that fortify the umbilical connection between yours truly and a place where my childhood memory lingers happily waiting to be romanticize again and again. This time I am leaving my ghost behind for good, chained and chastised onto the world that I’d never want to look back.   
In my homeland, I saw many things are different now, but yet many things remain the same. The intimate feeling and the connection with the whole place and its people are as strong as ever. The fondness to having mankind favorite past time- a leisure siesta under a coconut tree watching the horizon has never changed. When I first felt in love with the salty breeze of the sea, it haunted me for life.  This is my destiny, prescribed by the Almighty. In fact this coincides very well with my planned life milestone, except a year earlier.  Most of my childhood friends who we used to play police sentry and ikan skila are  nowhere to find, probably struggling and joining  the rat-race army somewhere in the big city.  I need to  pick remnants of my previous life though to make a good compliment to spearhead and jump-start my new future.

As I am about to start my new journey, I can no longer ignore the inconvenient fact that I’m am also laving part of my colorful history behind. Many lessons had been learned. During my short alliance with that superficial life, many friends are made and friendship are forged. True friends are hard to find but upon finding one, they are a gem to be grasped upon.  I hope that portion of my life journey has made me wiser and even stronger.

An old friend of mine used to utter this lines to me when I was looking for an answer during one of our soul searching escapades in Ayer Keroh, Melaka more than two decades ago :  

Setinggi manapun sang helang terbang
pabila senja menjelang
hinggap dan kembali lah jua ia ke sarang

That wisdom speaks directly to my soul.

I am really looking forward to my new life. I hope the Monsoon, the whole critters of Keropoklekor land and the seafarers from the South China Sea will welcome me with their open heart. The world seems to stuck here in the Keropoklekor land for now. This is  home. This is a place where I belong.

Timeless and beautiful vista like this is a trademark of Keropoklekor land. It will be forever engraved in my heart.  This time it won’t be a distant fatamorgana featured  only in my dream. I just open my window and the reality is revealed before my eyes day in and day out.


The face of Keropoklekor land has changed a lot. This gloomy and lifeless spot used to be a bustling jetty full of activities for  small diesel-engine boats to shuttle people from Kedai Payang to Seberang Takir and other kampung along the Terengganu river. These makeover and other modernization are now creeping into the life of local people. Oh yes…I almost forgot. Keropoklekor land is now a bandaraya.

These two lovely soul, my parent is the biggest motivation to me. The big decision to relocate myself to the Keropoklekor land is mostly inspired by them. They had done their best part to bring me up and put me where I am now. It is my part now to carry out a son’s duty –  to serve them well. 

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