THE MESSAGE NO. 63 - FEBRUARY 2007
THE PETER CHEONG SANG FAH SERIES.
THE HELMA LATHA d/o S.SUBRAMANIM - 3rd EDITION
HOW I SPENT DAY 1 IN 2007
I WATCHED THE YEAR 2007 kicked off a second after the wall clock struck
12 o'clock. Soon I reclined into a horizontal position and dozed off.
When I woke up it was already daybreak - 7 o'clock. I shot off to some
plantation in the vicinity of Bilut Valley. After doing some chores my body
was sore. Yet that was not all.
A RIDE IN A 4 - WHEEL DRIVE
Some family members of the younger generation came in with two 4 x 4.
They bundled me in one of their metal-reinforced vehicles and brought me for
a ride. "We'll go for a drive to the countryside," said the guy at the wheel
of the four-wheel-drive.
TO SUNGAI KLAU
We cruised through less busy roads flanked by lush oil palm trees. We drove
into Kampung Lebu and headed towards an area called Lembah Klau somewhere
near Raub. Then we came to a little new shanty town called Sungai Klau.
ENTERING RUGGED COUNTRY
From Sungai Klau our two vehicles shot off to less familiar ground. We
struggled along a weather-beaten countryside earthen road through coco
plantations, orchards, acres after acres of oil palm and rubber trees. The
path was rough. Potholes and puddles not to say rocks and pebbles lined the
one vehicle passageway through hills and undulating dales. Our four-wheel
drives went up hill all the way.
Chee Yong the driver or rather more appropriately to call him the navigator
led the way. He maneuvered the vehicle of steel with great skills. Daughter
Lisa in her Kembara was catching up from behind. Sometimes we had to signal
her to slow down.
The vehicles bumped along, swerved to the left and right, rocked and knocked
along the uneven track. Scared? No, we were excited. You could hear the shouts
of ecstasy rang out echoing from the hillsides and the valleys.
HAPPY NEW YEAR ECHOING FROM MOUNTAINS AND VALLEYS
We stopped for a rest, perked on a slope half way up and half way down a steep
mountain. There was a huge boulder that formed a sort of resting place.
Fortunately, we stopped for minutes later we heard the roar of vehicles. A
convoy of four-wheel drives was returning from their trek. Deep in the wild,
the new arrivals who passed by greeted us: "Happy New Year". Then suddenly we
realized that it was the afternoon of New Year's Day 2007.
"Happy New Year 2007". Our voices rang through the wild up the mountains and
down the valleys.
On looking around, Lisa and her son Gautama said all this was just kids stuff.
Why? They had actually climbed Mount Annapurna in the Himalayas. There they
had trekked through mountains of treacherous rocks and death inviting deep
gullies. They said that was real wild and difficult country.
ONWARD AND FORWARD
After resting a half hour, we proceeded further in, in only one vehicle with
Lisa and Dana perched outside the four-wheel drive. Our destination: the Klau
Waterfalls. No, it was getting dark. Over the mountains we saw a blanket of
misty falling rain.
We have to turn back else we would be caught in the rain and trapped by
treacherous slippery terrain. Chee Yong made a terrific flip over of the
vehicle at a spot no ordinary vehicle could make a turn around. Yet,
he maneuvered his four-wheel drive and flipped the vehicle round.
BUILT FOR DIFFICULT TERRAIN
On our way out, Lisa told me that four-wheel drives must hit rough and rugged
ground. They are built for that purpose. If not used then their special parts
would rust. So if you have a four-wheel drive, drive it out into the
countryside. Take a ride through untarred territories to utilize the
FAMILY GATHERING TALES NO.2
THE UBIQUITUS ACHU.....
Then there is the sneeze. It is very bad manner to sneeze aloud.
Hold your nose and mouth. Snuff and muffle the sneeze out.
"No", said the much traveled girl at the dinner table.
"We have to let the sneeze be natural, but just turn your face and hold
something in front of your nose and mouth." The achu.... should be loud and
fully blown out.
When we sneeze our heart stops a beat. Our eyes momentarily close their lids.
Crystal-Michelle said, "in a sneeze we are to expel pent-up emotions,
dust and germs accumulations and whatever you need to blow out in a sneeze
explosion. Blast off and flush them all out. Achu and let them go.
ACHU..... BLESS YOU!
Bless your soul! Yes, that is what you have to say after the sneeze in
civilized society. Why? Because you have missed a heart beat and that is a
micro bit of life. God bless you by giving you back your life, after the achU....
Ah.ah.Achu.... goes the Chinese and he would utter, "tai kat li si," in
Cantonese. Meaning: everything should be all right for me!
Our Muslim friends would respond to a sneeze by praising God saying,
"Alhamdulilah! Or say the most frequently uttered prayer "Lailahllallah"
(there's no other god but Allah).
WHAT SAY OTHER PEOPLE?
What say the Tamils, the Gujaratis, the Punjabis, the Nepalis, the Japanese,
the Ceylonese (I beg your pardon they are now called Sri Lankans), etc?
How do they respond to an achu.........? Mesians of great cultural
diversities, please tell me!
BELIEFS IN ACHU.....
Some people believe that a sneeze is a sort of telepathy. Someone far away
may be mentioning the one who sneezes. He or she may be scolding or worst
still cursing you. So, the "bless you" is a defensive thing to ward off the
curse bringing everything right back to normal again!
Achu..... Bless you. One of you must be muttering something against me for
being so airy (long-winded) just about the sneeze.
WHEN GREAT MEN SNEEZE
Hold, hold, hold. There is something more to be told. During the Cold War,
a few decades ago, it was said any leader of one of the superpowers caught a
cold would blow the achu that frightened the world.
Someone had said, "If Nikita Khrushchev sneezed, he made the world shiver."
Another tale went like this, "if Mao Zedong sneezed, the Great Wall of China
would quiver." What powerful leaders! Little wonder, for if a great leader
were to catch a cold his health would be in jeopardy. If he were to go it
would affect the political stability of a country - even the whole world!
The next leader taking over his place might not be so great and bold. Oft
times the going of a great leader might lead to a political upheaval.
Example: the rise and fall of the Gang of Four.
HOPE IT'S NOT BIRD FLU
Things have changed now. Imagine a sneeze comes from President Hu Jintao.
On hearing it, President George W. Bush could have picked up his handset and
said, "Hello, Hu. How are you? I hope it's not the bird flu...". And before
President Hu could say hey, he would have ah... ah...
From the other end of the line he would have heard, "God bless you," blessing
from President Bush!!
Achu..... Bless you. I must really leave you. Else I will be getting another
achu..... that might have originated from you. OK.
INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES ARE BECKONING?
One day I landed myself in the Crowne Plaza Hotel. What I was doing there I
must tell, lest you concoct some scandalous tales. I was attending an
international seminar on investment in land - a talk on sales.
I found myself in a large hotel ballroom. Oh, gosh! Ballroom is a misnomer.
Don't we bathe in a bathroom? Sleep in a bedroom? And, store things in a
storeroom? But when I entered the ballroom I found nobody play balls!
WHAT YOU DO IN A BALLROOM
Then what is a ballroom for? It is for a ball - not the round inflated rubber
balloons, mind you! A ball also means a dance. Ballroom dancing was in vogue
during the colonial episode of our history. This social interaction is
obsolete now in our country. But ballroom remains in all the hotels.
Now back to the main story. I was invited there by Bahari Shafie. Bahari now
deals with landed property not just a local housing agent but someone involved
in an international concern.
The seminar started with a short talk by a man who deals with land. Actually he
was just introducing a video show for all the explanation was done with words
and graphics shown on a big screen. I could not make out much from the writing,
but I heard what the show explained.
HERE COMES THE SALESMAN
As soon as the show was over, we went for lunch. It was at the dining table
that the sales talk began. The people of the land investment firm came around
us and gave us a clear picture of what the whole thing was about. They had to
do a lot of explaining and convincing.
YOU NEED A FULL POCKET
There is money to be made in landed property. And that is especially so when
the property is syndicated and parceled out to suit the investors' pockets. Of
course to go into the landed property market you need to have a full pocket
filled with cash.
But you could be an introducer too and rake in some cash. Profits? Yes, that
is with patience and time from your investment plus those things entailing
all deals concerning investment, though in this case it looks like they are
In this case, time is the essence to get a twofold return. Appreciation in the
exchange rate might also enhance the returns as the land is Canadian. It does
not seem to look like some get rich quick scheme.
SAAG! WHAT'S THAT?
I think many of us especially those whom we met at our luncheon given by Wong
Mun Seong have seen this expression "a batch of saag". What is that? I was
stunted in fact. On reading it I scrambled to pull out all my dictionaries.
One by one, I thumbed through to find the word saag. No, there is no sign of
this strange word used in Ted Miles's little book "A Candle for Company".
HE SHOWS ME SOME SAAG
Now left only the originator of that word, our mentor, the walking dictionary!
So when the next time I met him came, I asked him for the meaning. He said
"saag" is Punjabi word. Then and there in his kitchen he showed me some saag!
It was a lump of frozen meshed up green leafy vegetables. When I looked at it
through the plastic sheet I could but only presume it was a sort of concoction
or side dish to go with Sikh bread. Sure enough said our mentor we consume it
with chappati, the signature bread of Punjabis.
SAAG GOES WITH CHAPPATI
"I could have a great meal with a few spoonful of this stuff to go with two
chappatis", said he. A mental picture flashed across my mind of a turbaned
Ted Miles messing up his fingers on a plate to mix and pick up a morsel of
Sikh bread and saag!! Our mentor is a real adventurer of culinary delights.
THE GREAT INTERNET
Hey, why so much fuss about this thing called saag? What the heck! Well I
searched in the Internet. There are thousands of websites about saag! The
Internet sure beats all the dictionaries or any collection of books on diverse
THE FUSS OF MAKING SAAG
Well, making saag is a real fuss. We chop up huge heaps of spinach, sawi and
mustard. Then the mess is boiled in a deep pot until the concoction turns to
an almost paste like mesh. To give it a flavour spices are added. The
gruel-like mesh is then eaten with Sikh bread. Yummy, it is finger licking
good with chappati!
THE REAL SAAG MAKERS
You know who give him the lump of saag? I bet it was the ever caring Balbir
Kaur. On Christmas Day I met her. She told me more things than I found in the
Internet. Then her two beautiful daughters and their friend all joined forces
to tell me how to make saag. They said, "you chop up various green vegetables
like spinach, kangkong, sawi, and sundries and boil the lot in a big pot. You
should do like you are stirring up a witches' brew. After hours of boiling and
simmering, it turns into a broth. That is saag fresh and hot."
Hey, Harjit, Charanjit and Jasvinder Kaurs! You three beauties: you are also
well suited to feed your suitors and hubbies. Whoever carry you over the
thresholds will be darn lucky! Normally, saag is then cooled and refrigerated
as it is only consumed slowly and sparingly. It's real yummy to be fed
NEWS FROM THE OTHER SIDE OF THE GLOBE
Our most distant crony has e-mailed me. He is on the other side of the globe.
Even though so far away, he by-passes us not to inform us about his coronary
by-pass operation. He had two arteries cut and repaired to put him back to
robust health again. Paul is well taken care of now recuperating and nursing
himself back to good health. He plans to fly over to visit our mentor soon.
Paul Fong Shek Phooi, how soon? We are eagerly waiting for your return.
Here's where to contact Paul Fong? E-Mail
to find out.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE FOLLOWING IN FEBRUARY
||YAM TG. KAMIL B. TG. IDRIS SH
||CHEE YEW TUCK / AH HEONG
||ABDUL RAHMAN UMAT
||KEE LAI WOH
||CHRISTINE LOW CHOY YONG
||TED C. MILES (PRINCIPAL)
||LOH PEK YIN
||DATUK MUARAD ABD. RANI
IT WILL BE A BELATED BIRTHDAY CELLEBRATION FOR MR. MILES
Mr. Miles's birthday falls on just one day before the Chinese lunar year eve.
Everybody will be busy, not only the Chinese but all other races too, as they
bolt from the city and shoot back to their villages. Because of the
festivities, I have suggested to Mr. Miles that we give him a belated birthday
party on Sunday 25th February. He has agreed. so......
* Remember 25th February drive up to see our birthday boy.
* Come let's celebrate and rejoice.
* BY THEN TED MILES WILL BE AN OCTOGENARIAN.
LADIES AND BUDDIES, LUNCH (HALAL) WILL BE SERVED AT 12:30. If you wish to
bring fruit, titbits and side dishes they will be most fit for us to share
these. MR. Miles wants and would highly value your presence.
GONG XI FA CAI
Happy Chinese New Year
XIN NIEN KUAI LOK
Anybody wish to mark this festive season with a sponsorship of the MESSAGE?
Hey! Mesians and friends living in low-lying lands, our sympathies go to you
if you were hit by the recent severe floods that so mercilessly descended upon
you! Take it as the Almighty's will, will you!
YANG AHMAD SPRINTS OFF FAST
We express our deepest sympathies and heart-felt condolences to the family of
Yang Ahmad Mat Rais who passed away on the 7th of January 2007,
aged 63 years. The late Yang Ahmad kicked the bucket after a severe and sudden
I was informed of his demise by his eldest daughter Puan Roslawati on the 10
of January. Puan Roslawati can be contacted at (E-Mail
to find out). Allahyarham Yang Ahmad Mat Rais is survived by his two daughters
Roslawati and Ratna era Diana, four grandsons and two granddaughters.
IN EVER LOVING MEMORY OF THE LATE S. SUBRAMANIAM WHO LEFT HIS FAMILY AND
THE M.E.S. FRATERNITY IN THE MONTH OF FEBRUARY SIX YEARS AGO
Inserted by: Wife W. Thanalechumy
Sons: Pukalenthi, Padmarajah
Daughter: Hema Latha
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