THE MESSAGE NO. 133 - DECEMBER 2012|
NOBODY SPONSOR EDITION
OUR MENTOR IS INVITING ALL OF US TO CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS WITH HIM AT HIS BUNGALOW. DATE: 25 DECEMBER, 2012 (TUESDAY). FORMER STUDENTS, COLLEAGUES AND FRIENDS ARE ALL WELCOME. "SEE YOU HERE," THAT IS WHAT HE SAYS. AS USUAL, THERE WILL BE A POT-LUCK PARTY. BY TWELVE ALL VISITORS WOULD BE HUNGRY! SO BE THERE EARLY.
HOW CHRISTMAS WAS CELEBRATED BY OUR MENTOR AND STUDENTS 50 YEARS AGO! 1962. THE FOLLOWING ARE EXCERPTS FROM TED MILES'S DIARY.
1. Our Hostel Christmas Party was the best ever. To get things started, we played Cheers and Boos. I made statements like: "Tomorrow we won't have bulgur wheat for breakfast!" (Prolonged cheers) "Instead, we'll have cornmeal!" (Boos, even more prolonged).
Mohd Noor Ta'ayun and Rajagopal alternated as Father Christmases, keeping everyone laughing as they distributed the presents. Then we had curry puffs and lichee waer - Ah Chiam's contribution.
Teck Hoi came to take a group photograph, and we managed to squeeze everybody in. Don was here, and Sathiah, and we also brought in Ah Chiam with his family and kitchen helpers.
It was definitely the party with the most, but in a way we were sad because it was the last party we'll have in this building. There were no tears, though; everyone was in too happy a mood.
AND INTERESTINGLY: QUOTE: We ordered a box with a lid on hinges - two feet wide and six and a half feet long. I call it my four-purpose bed: a bed by night, a couch by day, a storage bin, and (finally) my coffin.
TO MR. TED MILES OUR RESPECTED PRINCIPAL AND MENTOR CONGRATULATIONS
ON BEING CONFERRED DARJAH SULTAN AHMAD SHAH PAHANG (DSAP) BY HIS HIGHNESS THE SULTAN OF PAHANG WHICH CARRIES THE TITLE OF
FROM US ALL
ABD. KHALIL ABD. RAHMAN, AU ECHING, CHAN SEE PHONG, CHAN SIEW MUN, CHAN SHU FAN, CHAN SUY SANG HELEN YANG & FAMILY, CHIN YOON SIN, CHOO OI MEI, CHOW MEI KIN, DAVID CHINNIAH, FOO YU PONG, DR. VOON PHIN KEONG, FOO YOOK YOON, FRANCINA LIM, GARRY NG MARRY & FAMILY, KAM WAH, G. KUMARASAMY, HARBANS SINGH, HILDA PONNU, HJ. BAHARI SHAFIE, HJ.M. RAZLAN MARZUKI, HJ. MOKHTAR MAT PIAH, HJ. MUNZIR ABAS, HJ. SHAMSUDDIN SALLEH, HJ. ZABIL (ZUBIR) M. KADIR, HJ. MUHD. ALAM SHAH NAAMIN, HJ.MOHD.KHALID M. YUSOFF, HJ. ZAINAL LISUT, HJ. ZULKIFLY MOHD. ARIFFIN JULIANA & CHICO, HOE LI LIN, JOHN CHINNIAH, JOHN QUEK KENG CHENG, KATHERINE BOEY, LAI CHENG SEE, LEE KIM THYE, LEE SAI KAN, LEE YEW KWONG, LEM FOONG TEE, LEM FOONG YONG, LEONG LAI PENG, LIEW CHOW YIN, LIEW FOOK CHOY, LIM TOU BOON, LIM PAK HENG, LOH FOOK CHENG, LOH KOK KEONG, LOKE YEE MUN, LU AH NGAN, MAHALINGAM R., MILLIE BOEY, MOK SAY KUANG, NG AH LAN (ANGIE), NG KAM THYE, PAUL FONG SHEK PHOOI, PHOONG KEAT HOON, S.RAMASAMY, SAR KIM LEN, TAN VOOI CHEE, TAN KIM WOK, TENGKU DATU ISKANDAR, THOU KOK CHENG, THUM KOK CHENG TRACY & FAMILY, TONG AH TAI, TONG JIN CHONG, WENDY FOO, WILLIAM JOO SHEK PHIN, WONG KEM CHIN, WONG LAN CHAN, WONG SIN FUTT, WONG THIN CHING, WONG YENG KEE, WOON BOON HOE, YAP KIM HEE, YIP FOOK KHIM. (25.12.2012)
Hey everybody, on page 2 (previous page) is the layout of the plaque I have made to congratulate and celebrate Dato' Ted Miles for being conferred the Darjah Sultan Ahmad Shah, by the His Highness the Sultan of Pahang. Now our mentor carries the title Dato'. We will formally present the plaque to him on Christmas Day, December 25, 2012. Welcome to the presentation ceremony and Christmas party.
WE TOOK A SPIN TO TAMPIN WITH JOO SHEK PHIN
THURSDAY NOV. 15: TODAY, William Joo called me. He said he had a free day ahead, and would like to make a long journey. To where? To Negeri Sembilan and Malacca! "Okay." I said.
So at 12.30 Steven Wong and I were chauffeured down the Seremban Highway by William. At the first Rest and Refreshment area, we stopped. There we had a hurried lunch of whatever we would scoop up from a Malay stall. We continued with our journey, but then Steven Wong our buddy took over the wheel. Steven is a Tampinian (a former Tampin local). So it was better for him to drive as the way, the sideways and all the nooks and niches of the town he knows.
The sky began to drizzle, to pelt and to pour. What a day to travel. The road was wet, yet we continued down the Plus highway until we reached Tampin. Weren't we all going to Malacca?Yes, we were in the State of Malacca and also in Negeri Sembilan. Tampin is a border town straddling Negeri Sembilan and Malacca. Strange too, we heard from Steven that half the shop owners pay their stipulated taxes like assessment fees and other dues to the Tampin Town Council and another half to the Batu Gajah Town council about 10 miles away.
Steven the Tampinian pointed to a mountain saying that it is called Gunung Tampin or Tampin Mountain. It is the southern tip of the Main Range. The Main Range is a range of highlands that stretches down from China down Myanmar, Thailand, forming the Gunung Tahan mountain range and tapers off down the Malay Peninsula until it stops in Tampin. Steven told us all this as he is a good geographer scoring a distinction in his Senior Cambridge certificate. He even explained why we have so many hot springs on the west coast of the Malay Peninsula, though we have neither earth quakes nor volcanoes. Want to know? Arrange for a sit down session with him for a friendly chitchat and down some cups of kopi O!
What was our aim to drive down all the way in the heavy rain? Yes, the rain kept on pouring. It did not stop at all. But William was adamant that we carry out our mission: To learn how organic farming is done from an experienced man.
We drove to a piece of land outside the town. There we parked our car and walked in. It was a lane of yellow mud that had been turned into two streams. In good weather light vehicles are passable along the lane. The wheels of all those vehicles had cut into the mud and form two parallel gullies along the path. They have become two streams with the water from the pouring rain. We walked on and on until we reached a clearing. There we saw a papaya farm and another stretch of land filled with trees which are dangling with guavas.
We walked through the brush and entered a bush! Inside we saw a ramshackle long-time abandoned hut. The hut was below the standard of a shed because the roof gave us no shelter from the rain. Water was leaking in. There we met a man. He wore a tattered shirt with the sleeves torn; no, not only torn but in shreds! He could pass as what we used to call - a jungle man. We talked to him and he told us he has 30 years of experience in organic farming. But the jungle had almost claimed his farmland. Anyway, he seemed to know quite a lot of farming especially about manures. According to him cow dung is the best but nothing could beat goats' droppings. We spent about an hour of talking, chattering and learning!
Before nightfall, we drove out to Tampin town where we had a good dinner. There I saw with my own eyes the demarcation board that marks off Negeri Sembilan from Malacca, right in the middle of the town! With full tummies we were happy and got ready to leave for home still far away. Steven drove us out until after entering the highway back to Kuala Lumpur. Right outside the toll gate, William took over the wheel. Rain was still beating down heavily. It continued to rain cats and dogs all the way.
Just before passing the Kuala Lumpur toll gate, William groped to find the toll ticket. Disaster struck, we were stuck. William could not find the toll ticket. Without a ticket, how could we pass the toll gate! William meekly approached the toll gatekeeper or should we call a gatekeepress as she was a lady? Sorry the computer doesn't allow that! The sweet young thing slapped William with an RM54.70 ticket instead of the normal toll of RM13.80. It was almost four times the normal toll! We nearly faced the dilemma of "NO TOLL NO GO". I arrived home in the wee hours of the night. Good as both our houses were then unoccupied! Otherwise, the old girls would have declared war in the dead of night!!
GOING EAST FOR A WEDDING FEAST
We boarded the express coach to Kuantan. To the Pahang State capital. What for? We were invited to attend our nephew's wedding dinner in the evening. When the express bus pulled out of the station, the sky began to pour. The whole Kuala Lumpur firmament was covered with dark rain-loaded clouds.
All the way on the Selangor side, there was a heavy downpour. But on the Pahang side the rain subsided. Then towards Sungai Dua, there was no rain at all. The coach passed the Lanchang toll gate. It was driven by an elderly and surely experienced driver for the coach advanced at a comfortable speed, ploughing smoothly along the Karak-Kuantan highway. It could have been a very quiet ride, save for the noise made by a toddler passenger whose father coaxed and cuddled him quiet in a foreign tongue.
On arrival at the Kompleks Terminal Makmur in Kuantan, we disembarked. But the platform floor where the bus parked and the platform was too high. We had to scramble up one and a half foot step to get on to the platform. One of the nephews came and picked us up at the station. We reached his house. Later we were lodged in what is known as a home-stay bungalow. According to my brother-in-law, in Kuantan this type of tourist accommodation is now very popular.
Evening came and we were ferried to a banquet hall.
Like all Chinese dining gatherings, it was a much-delayed and high decibel affair. What more with a karaoke queue fighting to sing and croak non-stop! There was a very happy mood and good food. It dragged on until 10.00 pm.
The next day was the actual wedding. The groom went to fetch the bride. When they arrived, the father and mother of the groom ran away to hide! Why? Chinese customs has this to say, "run away so that you would not have a face-to-face encounter with the bride." The reason why? So the would-be father and mother-in-laws would not come to a face-to-face encounter or quarrel with the future daughter-in-law. Yet, I feel that it is a hint that the elderly folks must give way to the new couple. It is an indication that the bride now should take over the house! The father and mother must get out!
The chaperone of the bride ran helter thither to get this and that ready for the tea drinking ceremony. When all was ready, she stood the bridegroom and bride face outside. She recited a verse which instructed the newly-weds to bow facing the sky. That is the bow thanking heaven. Then they bowed looking at the ground. That is to thank the earth. Third, they bowed facing inside the house. That is to thank the ancestors.
Next comes the tea drinking ceremony. This is the occasion to introduce the bride more intimately to the close relatives of the groom. The father and mother were seated side by side. The chaperone poured tea into cups and handed over to the groom. The bridegroom took a cup of tea with both hands and offered the tea to the father calling, "father drink tea". The father accepted the drink and drank it making sure that there is still a little bit of it left behind. Then he took out a red packet containing money or jewellery and gave it to the boy. The bride also offered the father-in-law tea similarly and got a red packet in return. Now the same is offered to the bridegroom's mother.
Other relatives then took their turns to participate in the tea drinking ceremony. For younger relatives who were already married, they did not sit down but stood facing the new couple. Why? They are equals.
Lastly, it was the little ones - the children's turn. Now the bridegroom and bride sat on the two chairs. The younger ones say the son of a married sister, now offered the newly-weds tea. Each younger one who did so received a red packet with money. That ended the tea drinking ceremony. It was followed by a buffet feast! One thing I observed: the bridegroom has a big stomach for he ate and ate non-stop!
We were piled into a closed relative's car for the return journey. Nine of us were sardin--packed into an MPV. The driver - a niece - was very careful as she drove slowly. All the way from Kuantan there was no rain. But on entering Bentong the rain pelted down heavily. Some passengers alighted in Bentong as they are residents there. I followed the driver with her three children back to Kuala Lumpur. At the junction where the road branches into the Karak Highway and the old Bentong-Kuala Lumpur road, I was surprised that the driver took the old road. Why? She stopped at the hot spring at the 11th Mile for her children to have a swim in the hot spring. There were other people swimming in the pool too. After the swim we headed towards the Genting Highland exit into the Karak Highway. The rain poured again. When we reached Kuala Lumpur we were hungry. So we had dinner. When I reached home it was 9.30 pm. What a hectic day!
THE RESULTS OF MOVING SO MUCH AROUND - DOWN
The other day, a buddy asked and said, "Aren't you tired moving so much around? First you mooched so much around in town, no in the city taking the bus rides here and there and commuting in commuter trains and the LRT. You took a joy ride on the commuter trains to Tanjung Malim for free. You even went down to Singapore and visited some Mesians in Johore! You travelled to Klang for bak kut tea plus to Kajang for sate with Lem Foong Tee and company.
You went down to Seremban and roughed it out for a night with some buddies in a plantation planted with lush oil palm trees. Then you took the commuter train up to Rawang and lunched with Kumarasamy.
Though in heavy rain you accompanied some buddies down south till the end of the Main Range visiting Tampin.
Next you went to the east coast as far as the Pahang state capital to attend a wedding do.
Yes, I did all that and on some occasions I was blessed with the heavenly showers.
Then finally I was under the weather.
"Whoop, whoop, whoopc " I developed the cough. Then I ran a fever! The nose was blocked. I have a running nose (funny English language: how could a nose run when attached to your body!). I tried various self-medications with branded off-the-shelf western medicines and Chinese herbal prescriptions. I tried old wives remedies. Alas, none cured me.
Only after a visit to a not so impressive doctor did I begin to recover with her medications. The whooping developed into what the Chinese called as 100 days malignant cough. I was coughing like I was going to throw my lungs out! The itch and the tickling sensation persisted in the throat. I bought at least 5 different types of cough mixtures and syrups and poured them down my gullet. No, not gulping down the whole lot at one go. That would be suicidal!
Finally, I did not know which one was the efficacious potion. My coughing gave up and finally stopped. My body was weakened and turned into a sleepy and sickly skeleton. No, I must get back my normal self, my usual health! So I ate some normal food; consumed a little of what Chinese labeled as nutritious stuffs. Now I felt I am like before. Thank providence for the almost back to normal cure!! I dare to see you there with cheers! C U there at our mentor's bungalow.
HAPPY NEW YEAR 2013
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE FOLLOWING IN DECEMBER
||ABD. MALEK ENGKU OMAR
||FRANK ANN FAN CHOON
||MUH ALAM SHAH HJ. HAAMIN
||CHEONG SANG FAH, PETER
||FOO YU PONG
||YAP CHOY MING
||SHAMSUDDIN SALLEH (HJ)
||TAN KIM WOK
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