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THE MESSAGE NO. 51 FEBRUARY 2006
THE HAJI BAHARI SHAFIE SERIES.
THE LEE SAI KAN 2ND EDITION.


AN ULTRA MODERN JOGGING GROUND

Taman Tun Lembah Kiara

I am now on track since I started to trek various trekking grounds. I have visited several jogging grounds. The most modern that I have come to was the one beside Taman Tun. It is called the Taman Tasik Lembah Kiara recreation ground. It has an ultra-modern track for people to jog around.


THIS BAR, THAT BAR

So one day, we headed for Taman Tasik Lembah Kiara all dressed up for a morning of jogging and walking exercise. When we arrived, there was already a crowd. They milled around a specially built area with all sorts of pushbars, crossbars, parallel bars and whatever bars you could think of. Oh no, no bar where you could order a brandy or whisky. Neither is there the bar where you could see your wigged friends and lied with your lawyers. Thin Ching is an entrepreneur in the transport industry. His trucks ply up and down the country. His lorries criss-cross many state boundaries. To know him more would you go back to MESSAGE NO. 22 for a full story?

People were warming up with the bars before they take off for the walk.


WOW! SO MODERN AND SO SOFT

Taman Tun Jogging Track

We headed straight for the track. When I stepped on the ground I shouted, "Wow! So soft and so well built". We saw a track in red. It is surfaced with rubber mats - something like the surface of a modern sprinters' track.


ALONG A HILL SLOPE
Runner from Right to Left
Soon we were on the track making the rounds. Correction, it was only one round. The track is cut out of the hillside in the form of a terrace. It was uphill we climbed. On the inner side of the track, there was a fence. On the outer terrace, the slope drops steeply into some valley.

We climbed onto a suspension bridge spanning a rushing stream. As we crossed the contraption swung and swayed. Down under, we could see crystal clear water.

We proceeded further springing on the soft rubber. On and on we jogged. Now there was an ascent, then we have to descend. People sprinted past us. People we overtook. People from the opposite side also approached.


ORCHESTRA OF THE JUNGLE
Taman Tun Garden

We heard the shrill calls of jungle insects. We listened to the melodies of wild birds among the trees. We felt we were away from civilization.

WE EMERGE INTO CIVILIZATION
A half hour later we emerged from the foliage canopy. Apartment blocks came into sight. Houses appeared on the right. Bravo! We have jogged through a whole ultra modern track laid out through a jungle.

A TASIK / LAKE
We jogged down a gradual slope into a flat bottom valley. Here there was a long lake fed by waters from several streams. One particularly big stream pours water into the lake like a waterfall. The sound of cascading water breaks the monotony of the surroundings.

In the middle of the lake, two fountains shot water into the air. Sometimes the spurts and sprays of water go more than 30 feet high.


FISH AND WATER CREATURES
Catfish

Few joggers threw crumbs of bread into the lake. The water immediately showed signs of life. Fish jumped and splashed into sight. I could see schools of catfish swam up to grab the bread. Colourful Japanese carps measuring more than a foot long swam along. Turtles surfaced to grab some crumbs in a food-snatching race.


BENEFITS
Even a walk round the lake is a treat for the muscles and joints of your body. No wonder walkers and joggers are so many. How true is the saying, "Exercise is good for the mind and the body."


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WHAT HAPPENED THIS MONTH FEBRUARY 1956
50 YEARS AGO?



Our mentor, Mr. Miles was running hither and thither trying to deal with several urgent matters. He faced last minute rush-for-it jitters.

He was getting ready to return to the US, for his furlough. According to his plan he would probably return after a year. So he was running around to get his passports and other travel documents done. He was also taking Shamsuddin bin Salleh along. That lucky boy!

Then with the large enrolment in the school with many out of town students, they had to find accommodations. They stay in three rented rooms as makeshift hostels: one in Perting village, one in Loke Yew Street and the other was the Malay Club. Our mentor often went round to check on these overcrowded dens to see that things were in order.

Mr. Miles was also running around to get land and funds to build the students a hostel. This included raising funds in the US when he sailed there.

There a little story of dabbling with money that revealed the exchange rate of the Malayan dollar and the greenback (US dollar) was three to one. For there was a mention of a contribution of US $25,000 being converted to 75,000 Malayan dollars.

There were also things to settle before he left so that the school would go on like before.

Our mentor deposited 500 dollars in a poor student's account to enable the latter to continue his studies during his absence. What a generous person! That money came from his salaries that he took a few months in advance.








A GREAT MANY MESIANS MEET AT ABU SAMAH'S MINI RETREAT


ONE auspicious Saturday Dr. Abu Samah threw a grandiose party. The purpose: to gather together Mesians from near and far, for a sumptuous tucking in of Adilfitri delicacies and to have a great time to reminisce of our past follies and glories. The venue: is Mini Retreat cum herbal nursery.

As early as 1.00 pm familiar faces, many of whom have not met for almost half a century, drove over and strolled in. From Seremban hailed Mahalingam. Kumrasamy commuted down from Rawang. The locals then arrived with Selvaraj Daniel with John Chinniah just behind. William Joo Shek Phin knocked and entered with his voluptuous consort.

Lu Ah Ngan was chauffeured in by her husband Mr. Lau a towkay style of a prosperous man. Lee Kim Thye rode in with them. Mohd. Razlan raced down from Kemaman just in time for lunch. Munzir brought in a carload of family members from Bentong. Moktar Mat Piah later came along.

From the heart of Pahang somewhere near Maran emerged Lim Pak Heng the entrepreneur of a successful electrical goods trade at Sungai Jerik. Bahari Shafie and his spouse drove down from their house from the far corner of the KL-PJ boundary to join the crowd.



THEIR SECRETS
A slim lanky beauty was now moving around and now sitting down. She was Yap Choy Ming. From Abu's confession, she was his answer source in Mathematics in class those days. Abu Samah was so grateful to her and still is, because she helped him in Maths as soon as the teacher turned his back. Did that also happen during tests? We wonder, but you two could keep your secrets.


A SOAP-BOX SPEAKER'S RHETORIC
While we were dining and talking trying to catch up with lost time, Zainal Lisut dropped in. Instantly, he found a small crowd in the pavilion. So then and there he rattled off his babble to mystify the people. But, as luck would have it, he made an early exit. Execuse? Off to another party; not off to play golf. Golf that day was washed off by a downpour that followed.


THE SWEETEST OF THE SWEET
Ainun Mohd Salleh came bearing gift of a platter of the sweetest of the sweet of Malay cakes. Abu Samah accepted the ladyfs present gladly. That paved the way to patch up their more than 40 years of absence.


HERE COMES THE MENTOR
Oh yes, I turned chauffeur to bring in our mentor, We hit the highway at 1.00 p.m We reached Abu Samah's mini retreat early by 30 minutes, On the journey down from Bentong, Mr Miles said that that morning he had only ate a cheese sandwich and downed a cup of his favourite beverage. So by the time we alighted, he and me were famished.

We started tucking in right away. Our master went for lemang and rendang his favourites. However, everybody got to savour his or her favourites, for the array of fares really spoiled the guests for choice.



BABBLING DOWN MEMORY LANE
It soon became apparent that food was not the main thing we went for. It was a visit down memory lane or "a trip down memory lane" as Abu Samah themes it. All wanted to see and talk to our mentor. Everybody wished to speak to one another.

I picked up bits and pieces of everybody's chatter. "He does not age," commented some of the sage. Many dug up happier times and past moments of glories and pain. Many more enquired of their encounters with "do you recognize me?" For they have never met ever since the 1960's. After some dilly-dallies, recalling and reminiscing some foibles and follies, they yakked and yakked in a frenzy as if there was no eternity.

More Mesians, their spouses and company trickled in.



THERE WAS ALMOST PANDEMONIUM
Kumarasamy and Mahalingam were leaving. Before they hit the gate, a commotion broke out like there was a pandemonium. As I looked out I saw Kumarasamy grappling with somebody like in a Sumo tourney. And the duo let out shouts of ecstasy. Kumarasamy was held tight and squeezed by Mong Yong who had just made it through the rain. Mong Yong was his "next desk" buddy in class during the 1950's.


HUGGING, SQUEEZING & PRATTLING
The jovial and robust Mong Yong grabbed and hugged everybody. When he came to Ted Miles you can imagine how happy was he. Coming face to face with his mentor whom he has not met since 1964, he bear-hugged Mr. Miles and bellowed a loud "Hello". Then he sired him and congratulated him on his robust health and well-trimmed figure.

With Mong Yong also came Sam Pak Lam., the Ah Peng Street urchin in the 1950's but now he resides in Kulai. Pak Lam was a planter but now retired. ure he has planted many seeds far and wide including in the Riau archpelago.

So visiting, enquiring, talking, reminiscing and more yaketty yak went on and on. The clock ticked away. The sky poured and nobody seemed dare to make for the door. Food was still in galore.

We talked, we conversed, we reminisced, we gleaned about the good old days, the bad memories, the hilarious stories, the happy activities, etc. etc.



JUST ONE SINGH CAME
Even Juku Singh braved the rain for on his motorbike he rode in. Bravo! Brave Juku; but he had been braver before. Alas! He missed meeting his childhood buddy Lim Pak Heng. Pak Heng had just left when Juku dashed in.

The guests had numbered more than fifty. Many of us were young faces in the 1950's and 1960's.



ANOTHER ROUND!
As soon as we entered Bentong town, Lim Pak Heng kicked up a buzz on my mobile. He treated our master and yours truly to a sumptuous Chinese dinner at Golden Court Restaurant. Thanks Pak Heng, for feeding us another round.

When I brought Mr. Miles back to his bungalow, it was past bedtime for our mentor.



WISH YOU WERE THERE
Whew! What a fruitful day of visiting and feasting. Wish you were there too.


A BOUQUET FOR ABU SAMAH

Butterflies and Flowers
Yap Yoke Ngoh sent an ambassador of fragrance as a present - a bouquet of flowers - to Abu Samah in lieu of her presence. It was a thoughtfully selected and skillfully arranged array of blooms. What a thoughtful Mesian!

"Thank you Yoke Ngoh, we wish you were here". This is from the doctor to the florist. Yeah!





I SEEK THE COMPANY OF OUR JOHORE'S BIG THREE
One Saturday I headed down south to run a family errand for a departed loved one. I travelled by rail on the famous KL-Singapore night mail.


THIS TRAIN STATION IN JOHRE IS AN EYESORE
As soon as I arrived in J.B a familiar edifice confronted me. The old colonial dirt-stained train station looks a bit out of place in the developing JB city. The lights were dim; the floor was dark. The whole place was much patronized by litterbugs. It still looked like what it used to be when I went south five years ago!


HOW CAN HUMANITY BE SO LOWLY
Before nostalgia floored me I tried escaping over to the other side of the street via the overhead bridge. Oh my! Someone was sleeping under a plastic sheet at the little halfway landing on the bridge. That was definitely a vagabond, a drunk or an addict after his fit. That was humanity on the street - an urban disease of modern society.


WHAT! TO THE CEMETARY?
I flagged down a taxi and requested to be taken to the cemetery! "What!" the cab driver lashed out and gave me a start. The man suspiciously glanced at me. I presume that he was jolted from his disbelief after thinking wherever he took me he would still earned the fare money.


A FOREST OF TOMBSTONES GREET ME
On reaching my itinerary a forest of tombstones, marble and ceramic graves greeted me. I saw the grave and tombstone ordered for the departed had been completed. I gave the deceased a treat of a wreath and sprinkled petals on the grave. Then I looked for the grave maker to pay him for his labour. He was nowhere to be found so I left the cemetery compound. Of course, I left words if he wanted the money he should contact me.

My buddy Chan See Phong had kindly arranged Yip Fook Khim to fetch me. Sure enough within a few minutes a dainty Kelisa came driven by my old school day room mate Yip Fook Khim.



HELLO BUDDY, LONG TIME NO SEE
"Hello, great to you yer, Fook Khim," said yours truly to him. As he chauffeured me along we chattered on. We had to catch up with our stories for the last five years long. We stopped at a sort of new generation coffee shop. Fook Khim treated me to tea with two baked buns to keep me from going hungry. Yummy!


A VISIT WITH CHAN SEE HPONE
I was so lucky, for my buddy Fook Khim a retired bank manager was so free. Together we headed towards Ulu Tiram some 20 km away to visit Chan See Phong. See Phong and his spouse came all out to welcome us. We had a good visit to catch up with lost time and many stories that had gone through life. It was another round of coffee.

Later See Phong guided us to an eatery to savoured a special dish of fish ball noodles and rice vermicelli. So lunch was settled with Fook Khim dashing to the counter where he had the bill settled. It seems you always win Fook Khim.


FROM ULU YAM TO SEE SAM PAK LAM
From Ulu Tiram Fook Khim drove me over to Kulai, some 50 km away, to visit Sam Pak Lam. After a little hand-phoning and waiting Pak Lam came and led us in. Pak LamSs house is situated in the middle of some former rubber estate. We had a good visit meeting his wife and son with their families.

We discovered why this Bentong guy has rooted himself in Kulai. He is matrimonial inclined and attracted by his wife who originated from Kulai. He has a sporadic sprinkling of in-laws in town.

After a nice and long chitchatting and reminiscing we departed with promises to meet again. Fook Khim hit the highway heading back to JB. The road was congested with motorbikes, cars, buses, and lorries. As we crawled along Fook Khim inadvertently confessed just on that day there were four people in his house and there was a one-to-one match of cars to humans! No wonder Johore roads are always so congested. The reason must be Johoreans' opulence.

Many Johoreans are foreign labours in Singapore and are paid Singapore dollars. But they take home their pay and spend it in Johore. You certainly know the exchange rate is more than double. So there is a double rate of earnings and more so a double value for spending.

Good old buddy Fook Khim, he crawled through the traffic to send me to the bustling bus terminal in Larkin! Within minutes I had boarded a most comfortable executive coach for the homeward bound journey.

Thank you Fook Khim for your treats and driving me around. Just 5 hours later I was home safe and sound! Cheerio! Buddies.



Birthday Cake Green

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE FOLLOWING IN FEBRUARY


No.
NAME
BIRTHDAY
1
YAM TG. KAMIL B. TG. IDRIS SH
FEB 1
2
G.P. KUMARASAMY
FEB 5
3
CHEE YEW TUCK / AH HEONG
FEB 7
4
ABDUL RAHMAN UMAT
FEB 8
5
CHRISTINE LOW CHOY YONG
FEB 14
6

TED C. MILES (PRINCIPAL)

FEB 16
7
LOH PEK YIN
FEB 21
8
WONG YOON CHEONG
FEB 22
9
DATUK MUARAD ABD. RANI
DEC 22





We are celebrating with Mr. Miles on Saturday the 18th of February, 2006 his birthday (belated).

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MR. TED MILES.


Come let's celebrate his seventy ninth.



Written and edited by Chan Suy Sang.






FIRST ANNIVERSARY


IN EVERY LOVING MEMORY OF MRS. WONG YENG KEE nee CHIN YOK CHENG WHO LEFT FOR THE OTHER SIDE ON THE 3RD OF FEBRUARY 2005


INSERTED BY:

WONG YENG KEE, SONS, DUAHGHTERS, DAUGHTERS-IN LAW GRAND SONS AND GRANDDAUGHTERS.





LAI HOE CHOON
EXPIRED ON THE
28TH OF DECEMBER, 2005.


CONDOLENCES TO THE BEREAVED FAMILY

MAY HIS SOUL REST IN PEACE





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