THE MESSAGE NO. 126 - MAY 2012


I carried a duffle bag with some belongings. I asked Gary to help me. At the spot near the school entrance just outside our condo, Gary stopped a taxi. Straightaway we asked the taximan drive us to the rail station to board the KTM. The fare came to RM8.00. My train ticket was free. We waited for a while at the train station - probably 15 minutes. The train came and we boarded. We were standing, but after 2 or three stations as passengers got down, we had seats. It was a smooth journey. Meanwhile, William Joo called saying he was at the KL train station. When we reached UKM, William called to say he had boarded the Seremban bound train.

We arrived at the Seremban station and had a drink at the coffee shop. We waited for almost half an hour before William's train arrived. We had a simple lunch. Next, we walked to the bus terminal in Seremban town. It was quite a long trot along a canopied walkway. At the bus terminal 1, we waited for the bus at bay 17 to come. People told us that was the bus to Rantau via Kuala Sawah. Waiting for the bus to appear took half an hour.
 Bus - Seremban
When the bus finally came, we boarded immediately. It was a new coach with very luxurious well-padded seats. Gary bought the tickets which was RM2.00 each. Soon the bus pulled out of the station. It went through heavy Seremban town lunch hour traffic. Then it hit the road to Rantau. The road is two-laned with traffic moving and facing each other head on. It is full of bends and the ground is undulating. Up and down, upon and down the bus ploughed. Left and right, left and right to avoid on-coming traffic the driver manoeuvred the vehicle around. Finally it arrived at Kuala Sawah and the driver dropped us at the Taman Krystal bus stop.

We called our friend Yen. As walking to his house was quite a long distance and the hot sun was beating down on us, we requested our friend to come drive us up. Soon he arrived in his bulky Mercedes and we were driven to his bungalow at the edge of an oil palm plantation. A little later he drove us out to have lunch at Rantau. Rantau is a sleepy little town. We had a simple lunch. Back to the house, we had a rest and took a nap. Evening came and night fell. We drove out to Rantau again to have supper. It was a sumptuous meal too but cost-wise, it was comparatively cheap considering the variety of dishes! I hit the mattress as soon as we were back. The rest continued an interesting conversation deep into the night. Finally the late sleepers roughed it out in the hall on mattresses on the floor!

Silence reigned momentarily. Why such short-lived respite? Soon there emitted nasal whistles, guttural croaks from human throats, hissing and air sucking sounds the variety of them has no bounds. These were the involuntary noises when sleep is sound.

5:25 PM Tuesday, 17 April 2012

I only could switch on the ipad at this early hour. It had been a hectic day with my presence and Gary's at several places. I woke up at my friend Yen's house in Kuala Sawah, just outside the little town called Rantau. Then as I could not go back to sleep again, I typed out a very special report describing all that I heard and felt at that house. Here goes that few moments of feeling of peace and bliss:

I have awakened several times during the night. Gary and I have come to rough it out with Yen in Kuala Sawah. William Joo is with us too. Gary and I used his bed in the room. Yen is very generous in this. William sleeps on the sofa.
 Chicken Animation
What is coming when daylight breaks? The avian community outside has created a most melodious cacophony of chorus sounds. There is the highly soothing yet ear piercing whistling of the magpies. Some of these avian friends seemed to sing with certain patterns. Then there is the chirping in continuous tones of birds whose names to me are unknown. A specie croaked in a rough intermittent drone. They are all welcoming the impending morn.

The environment is cool and soothing. Now and then the family of canine friends barks and howls to strangers of various descriptions mostly beasts of the jungle I suppose. Or there could be humans straying rarely into the animal kingdom at this early hour of the day. I am sitting in the spacious kitchen waiting for the first rays of the new day. The place looks packed with all the necessary utensils and gadgets, packets after packets of herbs - dehydrated all. It is a beautiful kitchen spacious and clean.

Gary opens the back door. The slope of a hillock peers in. It is fully grown with shrubs and weeds mingle with struggling herbs and reeds. Who is going to say which is which! The ocean of cold air rushes in with its abundance of oxygen that eases our breathing.

By then outside was broad daylight. .....................

Soon Gary and I walked up a tarred road leading to a Buddhist vihara or a temple. But on reaching the top of a knoll, we could not see the building. So we abandoned the idea and returned to the house. The dogs barked and howled.

Soon we: William Joo Shek Phin, Gary and me walked down to the little town called Kuala Sawah. Our host did not come as he was getting himself ready. We thought it was a short walk but it turned out to be more than 2 km trot. We had reached a coffee shop and then Yen drove down. We had breakfast there. Yen paid for the food. He said he could afford to treat us as it was a small sum. Very realistic was he.

After eating Yen drove us back to the house. He got ready to go out. Where to? He had promised a friend to harvest some honey at Ulu Rantau. We three piled into his car. He drove along a very winding and undulating stretch of estate road. Actually we roller-coastered along. The land was hilly but there were only hillocks. Everywhere were palm oil trees.
 Rubber Tree With Cup
Yen told us that the whole area had been under rubber trees. But the trees had been butchered down and gave way to oil palms. According to Yen our friend, he said it is more profitable to plant oil palms than rubber. Rubber is very labour intensive as workers must tap the rubber trees everyday in order to get the yield. Whereas, the oil palm fruit is harvested every two weeks! The yield is hefty and so the profits are more lucrative.

Finally we arrived at a cluster of houses deep in the midst of an oil palm estate. A pack of five ferocious canines barked us an extremely noisy welcome. They had to be shooed away by the people living in the houses there. Yen went to look for the beehive at one corner of the house. No, it seemed the bees have moved away from the hive. It is a case of mass migration acting on their self-preservation instinct, I think. So there was no honey to harvest, nothing! We loitered and chattered around the houses compound admiring and commenting on some herbs and fruit trees. The air there was really cool and fresh, fanned by a countryside breeze.

With no honey to harvest, Yen drove us back to his house for us to rest. We took a nap and some of us browsed through his racks of books especially volumes on herbs. Gary was particularly interested in some of the treatises on herbal remedy.

Yes, the purpose of our outing was to see all the herbs cultivated by our friend Yen. He has more or less a sort of jungle of various herbs grown around the house. He boiled two herbal drinks for us to drink from freshly plucked herbs. There are other herbs too: for coughs, for wounds, for stomach-ache, for cooling your systems, for strengthening our appetites, for treating diabetes, for fighting cancer, etc, etc.

William Joo saw a bushy bundle of dark-green leaves growing on a stake. He asked Yen what it is. It is called the spice of Bali. On the creepers are conical berry like fruit all pointing to the sky. Consuming these would make his little Johnny behaves likewise! The spice will quicken the blood circulation and awaken the organ. So William brought out a new pair of scissors and took a cutting for planting at home! When grown, it is more easily available, then. William even wanted to know from Yen if the roots of the spice of Bali are useful too. "Yes, of course the roots are more powerful". A fast one on William Yen did pull.

At about 1.00 pm Yen drove us out to Seremban town. We ate lunch at William Joo's relatives shop. It was a very sumptuous and filling meal. After finished eating, Yen drove us to the Seremban railway station. We boarded the train and we were homeward bound.

"Thank you great friend, Yen, we have reached home safe and sound".

MAY, 1962

In Dato' Ted Miles diary, the principal and some of the pupils of the Methodist Engish School, Bentong were hyper busy. There was preparation for a state inter-school football final that would determine Pahang Soccer champions. As early as 5.00 am were seen the football players running along the roads towards and back from Ketari.

These phrases in his diary showed how serious the principal viewed the tournament and how slave-driving was he.

"What you need is more exercise, and we'll start at 5.00 tomorrow morning" said the master. "tension is mountingcthe boys were in high spiritScour hopes were so high (Yet) The result was heartbreaking.

There was also a little mercilessness shown when I read the following.

we cut its head off cc Off with its head too. So they beheaded two like Japanese Kempitai did do. Yes, they caught two members of the slithering kind and though the master was an expert in snake catching, they felt that the two unwelcome residents in their garden were too risky to live with them humans.

Names that appeared in his Ted Miles diary of May 1962:

Vesian, Ponniah, Sing Kee, Sofyan, Kon Sang, Osman Hassan, Bahari, Rahman Osman, Mohd. Noor Tafayun, Othaman bin Hj. Mat Noor, Yahya, Janan, Thiam Siew, Ismail Jali, Razlan, Samah, Ismail Mohammad, Lee Kam, Abdul Wahab, Boon Tan, Shafie.

Kamaruljabar, Low Ah Moi, Rahman Umat, Tengku Ismail, Latiff Kadir, Samuel, Lip Woon, Mustapha, Wan Ali, Osman, Husin, Cherng Perng, Hoh See Ngee, Yit Lan, Mei Yoon, Kim Lian, Seetha Devi, Raja Kamarulzaman, Lingam.

19th April 2012

What a day! At 5.00 am I was wide awake. I got ready to go out. I have two things to attend to without. My first task was to go to the General Hospital in Kuala Lumpur. It was a blood test to be taken for to confirm my eye surgery. Cataract surgery. I waited for sometime in the Ophthalmology Clinic. Soon my blood was siphoned – a full string of millions of corpuscles. The official told me to give my blood a second time in two hours' time. This upset the other programme that I had planned. I went down to the canteen and ate something light. I knew that it was not advisable to eat anything heavy. So I ate only a platter of fried rice vermicelli. That was washed down with a glass of warm water. I waited for the two hours to pass. The scheduled time passed. In fact it passed over - or could we say over past! The schedule was at 10.00 am but the officer siphoned away my blood only at 10.45 am! I rushed home wishing to fulfil my other task.

As soon as I reached some short distance from the house - a third errand came in. That was the third task waiting for me during the day. The missus called telling me that she was at our daughter Min's house in PJ. She had come down from Bentong unannounced! Well, I have to tell her my programmed programme for the day. I told her that sonny Gary and I were scheduled to go to Rawang for a visit. We were just going to start the journey - by train. All had been nicely arranged. To Rawang there have gone Joo Shek Phin. He had gone there to meet Kurmarasmay. Gary and I are going to the same place to join them for a look see. We drove to the train station in Salak Selatan.

The whole morning I had been rushing and my bladder was almost bursting. As soon as I entered the train station, I rushed into the washroom to ease myself. What a relief! Meanwhile within that few seconds of emptying my bladder, the train arrived at the station. As I emerged from the lavatory, the train just pulled off slowly. We were left in the lurk waiting for the next train - scheduled for another 20 minutes later! We waited for another frustrating a third hour. The time would be past 12.00 noon whereas we were supposed to meet William and Kumarasay in Rawang at that hour. Yet we were still miles and miles away from our destination. When Kumarasmy called when we finally boarded the train, I had to apologise for the delay! I pleaded for their patience to wait for Gary and me. Soon the train seemed to move fast. We hoped that we would arrive in Rawang in an hour's time. The train passed and stopped at ten stations. Finally it pulled into the eleventh station just one station short of our destination. Through the PA system an announcement blared forth saying our train was run on overscheduled time, so the train must wait! Wait for other trains to pass first!! We understood the situation; else there would be a head-on collision!!!
 KTM - Train
The wait was long - a quarter of an hour. Three trains flashed passed our train. Then only our train started to move. Kumarasamy knew that from Kuang to Rawang the train takes only 10 minutes. How come, after a half hour we were still not in sight! So he phoned to find out why. I told him of the delay. The delay made our commuting from Salak Selatan to Rawang a long two hours journey. Only then I realised that it was worth the trouble of easing my bladder and missing the earlier train at the first station. Otherwise, there would have been an organic explosion!!

Finally we were so glad to meet one another. Kumarasamy and William Joo Shek Phin greeted Gary and me gleefully. We walked by a row of shops that appeared like we were in little India. Kumarasmy was very happy to hear that. He felt so glad and into a very crowded Indian restaurant we were led. The food must be extremely good judging from the huge crowd of patrons around. When we took our seats, we were each given a green banana leaf. Our plates or our bowls were these! We were served three types of veggies and a heap of rice each on the banana leaves. There came also the main dish: curry chicken with spices cooked dry. The food was delicious and all of us ate Indian style swapping in the rice, veggies and meat with our fingers. It was really a finger licking and lips smacking delectable meal. When finished, I folded the banana towards me. That way it is good manner Indian style after a meal. That act signifies what we had been served we like. Yes, the food all of us liked. THANK YOU BUDDY FOR THE BIG AND HEAVY BITE!

That was not all for Kumarasamy is a very amicable and generous host. He drove us round Rawang town. We saw the new town area and the new shop houses. From playing host he switched over to become our tourist guide. He drove us to places where we could get good food. Then finally, we ended up in his spacious residence - a well-kept bungalow house. PAPPALAS ILUM is the name.

The interesting thing about our visit was we got a glimpse of our past. Kumarasamy brought out a bundle of magazines - our school magazines The MES MAGAZINES. He has them all from 1953 to l963. Luckily, inside the magazines there were photographs too. I was trying to spot my mug shot among the lot in our class photos. When I read the captions and compared the person, I could not recognise my own self!

William could point out several people who had been his classmates. Then he remembered the school song. Kumarasamy typed the Bentong MES School song into his computer and printed out a copy for William. He also emailed the song to me. Just turn the page, there it is:


M.E.S., we pledge unto Thee
Bonds of loyalty-
A common fellowship uniting us all,
We'll give a cheer-Rah! Rah! Rah!
We heed Thy call!
With colours flying, leading us on,
Binding our Hearts in loyalty,
Our M. E. S., we'll labour for Thee
And Victory
(Sing it if you still remember this)


Ants Problem:
Ants hate cucumbers. Keep the skin of cucumbers near the place or ant hole.

To get pure and clean ice:
Boil water first before freezing.

To make the mirror shines:
Clean with sprite.

To remove chewing gum from clothes:
Keep the cloth in the freezer for an hour.

To whiten white clothes:
Soak white clothes in hot water with a slice of lemon for 10 minutes

To give a shine to hair:
Add one teaspoon of vinegar to hair, then wash hair.

To get maximum juice out of lemons:
Soak lemons in hot water for one hour, and then juice them.


Birthday Cake - Green

MAY 10
MAY 12
MAY 13
MAY 13
MAY 14
MAY 16
MAY 18
MAY 25
MAY 26
MAY 30

 Book and Quill
Written and edited by Chan Suy Sang

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