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THE MESSAGE NO.96 NOVEMBER 2009
- THE TENGKU ISKANDAR SERIES -
, THE HARBANS SINGH - 5th EDITION


95 NINETY-FIVE.
96 ninety-six
Just four more to 100. we are approaching the 100 number issue of the Mesian-message.




MY TRAVELS IN THE UNITED STATES BACK IN 1956 PART 2:
by shamsuddin bin salleh as told to the editor


In the previous Mesian-message Shamsuddin said, "the ship anchored in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. We went ashore and I had a hair cut."

From Halifax, the ship sailed to Boston. Since it was the first port of call in the USA we had to disembark. We travelled to New York. New York then had the tallest building in the world – The Empire State building. We went up that edifice and had a look see from the top. From there we had a very captivating view of the New York City.

 New York Twin Tower

Remember the above building loomed tallest in the world in the 1950s. The Empire State Building was completed in the year 1931. It is a 102-story landmark in New York City at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and West 34th Street. Its name is derived from the nickname for the state of New York. It stood as the world's tallest building for more than forty years from its completion, until construction of the World Trade Center's North Tower was completed in 1972. Following the destruction of the World Trade Center in 2001, the Empire State Building once again became the tallest building in New York City and New York State.

5 May, 1956. Mr. Miles and I left New York City for Chicago. We travelled by train named the "Pace Maker".

 Kansas City

From Chicago we headed to Kansas City. Mr. Miles's birthplace and hometown was in that city’s vicinity. That was why we went there. We stayed in his birthplace for a week visiting his friends and relatives. But one of his closest kin we had not seen, that is his elder brother and only sibling. For his brother Charles Miles lived in Los Angeles. So next it was Los Angeles we must visit.

12 of May 1956. We, Mr. Miles and I, were on the move again. We travelled by train from Kansas City in Missouri heading west towards bound for Los Angeles. The journey took three days. The train passed through the most picturesque and wild countryside. At night I could see the stars dotted sky and the silhouettes of the mountains. I could see nothing but just all pitch dark on a moonless and starless night. Traversing the great expanse of land I was overawed with joy by the vastness of that big country.

 Los Angeles

14 May, 1956: We arrived at Los Angeles. At the great railway station in that famous city, we were met by Charles Miles and his wife Jean Miles. Charles is his only brother and elder than Ted Miles. They drove us to their apartment in Long Beach, quite a distance from Los Angeles. That was the first time I had heard of the word "apartment". All the way I marvelled at the flow of heavy traffic approaching and receding all the way along the highway.

I stayed with the Miles at Long Beach for quite a while. Charles and Jean Miles were wonderful people. Jean often took me to the beach which was only a walking distance from where we lived. She took me to the fun fair nearby. We had ice- cream and soft drinks and watched people passing by. Then we took a roller coaster ride!

 Roller Coaster

Surprise, what a ride! I sweated at both palms from fright!! After that I decided I would never ride on a roller coaster again. Never, never!!!

A few days later, Mr. Ted Miles and I moved to stay in a big bungalow. It was sitting on a hill. I do not know till now the name of that place. It was a great place with a lot of space. Outside was a vast expanse of land. I used to spend a lot of time in the garden outside the huge building. The scenery all around was just absolutely beautiful. There were huge bungalows with swimming pools way below. Yonder there was the blue sea - the great Pacific Ocean edging in.

One day while I was mooching around in the garden, I heard a buzzing sound similar to the sound made by a swarm of bees passing by. But not a single bee could be seen around. Then my eyes caught sight of small flying objects darting from flowers to flowers. On looking closer, to my utter surprise, I noticed that those small flying objects were birds so tiny and so beautiful. They were the humming birds. These birds were so tiny measuring less than two inches long. They hopped from flowers to flowers seeking and sucking up nectar their daily feed.

The hummingbirds flew on. Mr. Miles and I must also move on. Where? Read it there, in Mesian-message 97.




.....he writes seven, he types click, clack to tell when he became a Malaysian.....
 Smiley Love
FROM SIR WITH LOVE

When I tell people that I had to give up my American citizenship in order to become a Malaysian citizen, some express surprise, others disbelief. And very often they follow up their initial reaction with "Do you have any regrets?" "None at all!" I always reply.

I do''t know how to explain it, but somehow this country seemed to be where I belonged, right from the moment I arrived on that memorable November day in 1951. Five years later it was with a heavy heart that I had to return to the U.S. to finish studies that would put M.A. after my name. While I was away, I could think of nothing but returning as soon as possible. When that day came - August 4, 1957, just before Merdeka - I was already thinking of applying for citizenship, but of course I had to wait until 1961 when I met the residence requirement.

I took the Oath of Allegiance in the District Office, and the A.D.O. administered the Language Test. Fortunately for me, he had better things to do that morning and was in a hurry to get my business over with. "Where do I sign?" he suddenly asked (in English), and I replied, "Sini," pointing to the place on the line and trying out my new language.

Now I have a confession to make—about regrets.

I regret that I never took my language studies as seriously as I should have. I've lost count of the number of Malay teachers I've had through the years; in almost every case I ended up giving them English lessons, the student becoming the teacher.

I hide behind the excuse that I am simply not a linguist. In High School I attempted the study of Spanish, in College French and German; when I thought I was going to Africa, I even had lessons in Swahili. Please don't ask me to say anything in any of those languages!

If I had it to do all over again, I would spend the first few months living in a kampung, absorbing the language through constant use. But that wasn't what happened in 1951. Right after arriving, I began teaching English in an English school, and my whole Malaysian experience has found me working in English-medium schools.

Now I 'get by' with my own brand of 'camporification Malay'. I'm used to putting up with smiles and behind-my- back smirks when I open my mouth in Malay company.

Case in point: That fateful day at the Agricultural Show in Temerloh when the Sultan of Pahang asked me, "Bila datang, Tuan?" and I replied, "Besok, Tuanku."

See what I mean? That one regret of mine is certainly justified.

Ted Miles




MORE ON TABLE MANNERS

Then we talked of a little about table manners. I lamented to Mr. Miles that nowadays people of the younger generation do not know table manners.

Immediately he told me that during the MES hostel days, nobody began eating until the hostel master started to raise his fork and spoon. What I have told him earlier was that everybody who sits at the table must tell the others to begin before anybody starts eating. Nobody should begin eating until everybody has sat at the table. Even if someone who is busy must be called. If he or she could not come, he or she should answer and excuse so. According to cultivated customs of the Chinese, we should ask everybody at the table to start eating. An informal way of doing it is to say, "Everybody raise your chopsticks." And the yummy chewy session begins.

Mr. Miles told me that westerners are disgusted at seeing everybody dip their chopsticks into food in a common platter or bowl. He emphasized their dislike seeing people pick up morsels of food with their pair of chopsticks. But he said when using chopsticks one should only bring the morsel of food picked up to the mouth without the chopsticks touching the lips. Wonderful tip as to the hygiene of using those two simple sticks isn't it. Yes the chopsticks should not touch the lips, nor should they go into the mouth.

In using fork and spoons, I think the same rules apply. Grab your morsel of meat or whatever with your teeth from the fork before the prongs of the tool reaches the teeth. Pour the contents into your mouth from your spoons. Can you do that without your lips and tongues touching the food in the spatula of the spoon?

That reminds me seeing some Asians drinking from cups and especially from stainless steel tumblers. They raised their chin somewhat like looking skywards. hen they tilt the tumbler above the lips making sure the vessel touches not the lips. Next they pour the contents of the cup into their wide-opened mouth! For men you could see their Adam's apple moving up and down when the liquid glides down.

Back to Chinese table manners: when anyone finished eating earlier and wishes to excuse oneself from the table they must excuse with honour. Say "man, man sik" in Cantonese or "man, man cheh" in Putong hua! What's that? Mandarin I mean which is a misnomer because nowadays billions of Chinese speak and communicate in Putong hua.

What does the expression mean? Diners take your time. The phrase literally means eat slowly. Why, so that you enjoy the food more. Then why get up and walk off. One might as well stay put and continue to enjoy the food. If you are a junior among the diners, it is ill-mannered to prolong your food downing session. My clansmen called a junior slow eater as somebody with "long teeth" which is a sort of polite disapproval of such uncouth behaviour.

As we dug into the bowl of wantan noodles, we drank the soup too. The soup the master had poured into individual small bowls. Actually I should have done the serving as he was the master and I was his pupil. However, that I could pass that as he was the host and I the guest.

 Chinese Tea Oh yes, the first thing we treat to a guest is to offer him or her a drink. I have drunk glasses and glasses of cordial from the master. When we visit a Chinese, no not only Chinese but any oriental, he or she would offer you tea or a cup of plain boiled water if you decline tea. That Chinese tea is but a cup of stuff that had been browned with tea leaves. It is plain and sometimes bitter. No milk no sugar.

The cup must be about three quarter filled. It is impolite to offer a cup filled up to the brim. Why? Till now I still have not got an answer to this strange practice. But my parents though but ordinary folks, were insistent that we children served tea to guests in cups three quarter filled! I may venture here an explanation. One, a fully filled cup could easily spill and might cause a mess in front of the guest. Two, you presume that the guest is not darn thirsty but just accepts your tea out of gratitude and courtesy because you serve him as is customary. Right, sometimes the guests only took a sip of the drinks offered. They were not thirsty, but accepted our offer out of courtesy. Do you know more? Let's hear it from you and I will tell it to all.




WE DIP WE EAT,
THEY PECK THEY FEAST


WE had a feast. It was steamboat. We cooked an assortment of stuffs in a pot of boiling water. The cooking gas tank was attached to a stove. After a while of cooking a pot of various meat, vegetables and dumplings we dipped into the pot with ladles and sieves.

We started to eat. As we ate, we were engaged in casual conversations. Someone asked Katie how she fared the other day when she helped in the Matta Fair. She said she struck some success when 8 people signed up for trips to China. That led us to discuss which country each of us would prefer to visit. Wan said China would be the last country she would go. Many said they would like going for a look see in China. I chipped in and said the last country I would visit would be Africa.


 Sky Burial Dana said she wished to visit to see places like picturesque Guilin in Guang xi province, ancient historical places like the Great Wall and most of all places where the inhabitants practise cave burial. That led me to tell all something I saw on the internet. It was about sky burial in Tibet. I told them what they did to the dead. The corpse was tied to a pole stuck in the desert. Then they let the vultures descended to peck. The birds came and then pecked and pecked at the corpse until there was left no more flesh. You would think that was that, the frame of human skeleton left standing in the desert!

But no, a priest came with an axe. He looked more like a butcher than a man of god. He smashed the skull to expose the brain and all. He crushed the bones and mixed all that remained into a mess. Then he mixed the broken mess with flour. He left and let the flock of vultures pecked and pecked up all the broken bones and the rest. After that there was nothing left. That was a complete real sky burial in Tibet, story with videos too. So eerie! How could they do that to the dead body? But someone said philosophically that the dead body has no use, might as well be disposed off as food for the hungry vultures! Yet, I think many would say that Tibetan sky burial was the yuckiest way of disposing of a dead human body bones and flesh!

Hey. No body yuck as we continued dipping into the mess! I do not mean that mess of bones and flesh. There was flesh but the flesh was cooked in the steamboat. Humanely we continued eating and feeding. I raised my head and saw the giant Petronas Twin Towers with many bright lights glittering. I thought of what happened on the same day at the same hour on the opposite side of this earth nine years ago! Then and there thousands were buried in a grave of concrete and steel rubble! It was 911 - my birthday gathering.

(Who's who in the story: Wan my eldest daughter, Dana my 4th daughter. Gary my second son a good listener. Barry my 3rd son, and Katie his friend)




HISTORY REELING BACK HALF A CENTURY
WHAT HAPPENED THIS MONTH
NOVEMBER 1959


There were some problems in the hostel among the students of different ethnic origins, but heart-to-heart talk and diplomacy saved the situation from developing into ugly scenes. There were some kleptomaniacs’ actions and their confessions among the hostel students. Fortunately in later days, those little thieves did not develop into big time robbers or swindlers. Probably their wayward behaviour had been nipped in the buds by their strict hostel master.

There was mention also about the LCE examinations which was recently introduced. That examination is the equivalent of the present PMR, but passing the LCE could qualify one to become a teacher those days. A few of us did really entered teacher training colleges and passed out as full fledged pedagogues.

The principal sang with Wong Yeng Kee the song composed by the former titled, "Blue Mountains of Malaya." That brought me to remember the late Linda Joo Shek Kuen who used to serenade that beautiful song with the composer at the piano. I wonder why no disc was cut for that song; else it could have become a box office number!

Many names were mentioned in his November 1959 diary including: John, Sunny, Say Kuang, Goon Ting, Munzir, Shafie, Shamsuddin Salleh, Sharif, Tengku Ahmad, Brian, Latiff, Yang Ahmad (deceased), How Seng, Nik Hassan, Che Aziz, Miss Leong Sook Yuen, Ghaffar, Rosely, Cheng Yoong, Mohd. Noor Sidek, Tengku Ibrahim, Hashim, Yeng Kee, Basariah, Siti Hafsah, Eng Choo, Razak, Tengku Nizan.

Mr. Miles recorded about himself learning not only the Malay language but also learning how to write it in Jawi viz Malay in Arabic script. Wow! He was really trying to fulfill his vow to be a true and loyal Malaysian citizen. Now, apa khabar, tuan? Sudah pandai dalam bahasa Melayu? Sir, how are you? Good in speaking Malay, now?


 Wedding Bells Dove
WEDDING BELLS TOLL FOR A PAHANG ROYAL COUPLE
 Wedding Bells Dove

CONGRATULATIONS TO YM DATO’ SETIA PAHLAWAN TENGKU HAJI ISKANDAR AU BAKAR BIN TENGKU ALI & TOK PUAN SETIA DATIN HAJJAH MARIAM BTE HAJI JUSOH WHOSE PRINCE YM TENGKU AHMAD AMIERUDDIN SHAH BIN TENGKU DATO' HAJI ISKANDAR ABU BAKAR MARRIED RINIE MARINA BINTI ROSELI RECENTLY.

A RECEPTION WAS HELD ON THE BRIDE'S SIDE AT THE GRAND BLUE WAVE HOTEL IN SHAH ALAM ON 3RD OCTOBER, 2009

ANOTHER GRAND banquet WAS HELD AT THE ROYAL TOWN IN PEKAN, PAHANG ON THE 10TH OF OCTOBER, 2009.

FELICITATIONS TO THE ROYAL GROOM AND BRIDE.

Newly-weds enjoy the bliss of your honey preciously.



HOW TO BY PASS A BY PASS

Natural therapy for opening the veins of the heart.

Lemon juice - 01 cup
Ginger juice - 01 cup
Garlic juice - 01 cup
Apple cider vinegar - 01 cup


Mix all the above and boil in light flame approximately half hour, when it becomes 3 cups, take it out and keep it for cooling. After cooling, mix 3 cups of natural honey and keep it in bottle. Every morning before breakfast use one table spoon regularly. Your blockage of veins will open. No need any Angiography or By pass.

Please pass on this to your real well wishers. Wishing you a hale and healthy life.


Prof. Dr. S. Vikineswary
Biotech Division
Institute of Biological Sciences
University of Malaya



HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE FOLLOWING IN NOVEMBER

Birthday Cake - Green


No.
NAME
BIRTHDAY
1
JOO SHEK PHIN (WILLIAM)
NOV 1
2
MOHD KHALID M. YUSOFF
NOV 3
3
YIP FOOK KHIM
NOV 8
4
LEE YEW KWONG
NOV 10
5
ISMAIL B. MOHAMED
NOV 11
6
BALACHANDRAN NAIR
NOV 12
7
NG KAM THYE
NOV 14
8
JOHN D CLEMENT
NOV 15
9
CHAN SEE PHONG
NOV 17
10
TAN GEE SIN
NOV 18
11
TONG AH TAI
NOV 20
12
DAVID CHINNIAH
NOV 24
13
WONG FOONG CHAW
NOV 27
14
LAM HAY YIN
NOV 30
15
SAVITHIRI DEVI
NOV 30


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Partly written and edited by Chan Suy Sang
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