Thursday, October 16, 2014

Of Batik Making @ Balok, Kuantan....

In Malaysia often when we talk about Batik making we are always remind of Terengganu or Kelantan. Yes these two states are famous for its Batik and Songket but now the art of making good Batik has move to the other parts of the country as well. In one case it to the south of Terengganu in the state of Pahang; not that far from the boarder between Terengganu and Pahang at a place call Balok.

Some years ago a friend took us to this little place call the Natural Batik Village situated on the right side of the road on the way to Kemaman from Kuantan. On our first visit there I found the place is unique in that it not only sells all kinds of Batik apparels it also create this work of art at the back of the premise. Every time I am there I would go and watch the artisans work meticulously on creating the Batik. Beside the main building that display and sell Batik there are other smaller outlets in its vicinity that sell antiques, painting and other handicrafts. Since I love the work of art I have bought a numbers of handicrafts that look unique to me and always looking to get more of it whenever I see one on a visit to the place.

After that first visit whenever we are in Kuantan we would drive to Balok to have a look at the Batik there. The Tablecloth, the Sarong, the T-shirt that is exclusively created there are among the items I always look for; most of the time we end buying new pieces to take home. As I had mentioned other that selling ready-made Batik apparels one can also watch the artisans making Batik at the other end of the building. Besides that there is also a space where tourists can experience themselves in art of Batik making. For a fee the management has provide materials for the making of self-created Batik. Even if one are not interested in learning the way of Batik making it worth a visit to watch the artisans works on turning the white cloths into a great work of art that is call Batik.  Every pieces of the Batik is done by hand thus there are actually no two pieces alike. It may look similar but it sure is not exactly the same, which made it a unique work of art.

All images in this posting are taken at the Batik village on a recent visit there.

 Have a nice day.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

A Trip South of Kuantan....

It has been a long time. The last time I have been to the south of Kuantan was in 1989 when I visited Rompin while I was working in the state of Pahang. I retired in 1990 and since then have not visited that parts of the country. So I decided I would try to visit all those towns from Pekan to Johor Bharu whenever I had the opportunity. At this age it is not possible for me to drive all the way.  I had a talk about the visit with my nephew who now live in Kuantan and ply that road from time to time to do business as far as Singapore. It would be just nice to hitch a ride in his car when he next make the visit to Singapore. I then found that he would be making his next visit to Singapore on August 8 and 9 so I planned to follow him on that trip with a request that we make an overnight stop at Mersing which I had not visited since 1990. He agreed. [Above is a scene on the Mersing River]

So on August 6, 2014 with my spouse accompanying me I drove the Honda to Kuantan and spend the night there before proceeding to Mersing the next day. I left my Honda at his house and follow him on the trip south in his Nissan. While he drives the Nissan I sat to enjoy the scenery and at time take photos from the window of the moving car. We first pass the royal town of Pekan and then proceed on to Rompin. All along the road I saw progress like new plantations of Oil Palm and many bungalows along the roadside. The road all the way was straight and wider than when I was using this road twenty four years ago. In those days the road was narrow and townships near the river were small and hardly any development. This time it was different. There are development projects everywhere. The once small towns have now grown into a large township with schools and community hall and housing estate. Electricity and running water which was once confined to only a small sector of the town is now a norm. Every houses and buildings now got regular water supply and electricity and with that come all the appliances such as TV, refrigerators and the like and of course cars. So is the emergence of Malls and Supermarket and other stores to service the thriving populations. [On the left is a street in Rompin]

Our first stop is Endau; a town that sprung on both side of the Endau River which is the boarder of the state of Johor and Pahang. We cross the bridge and stop at the Rest and Recreation area on the Johor side and had lunch at a restaurant call Nusantara. It is sort of a rest area for folks travelling from Singapore to Kuantan and vice-versa. After a good lunch there we proceed to Mersing.

Along the roads I saw many big houses as well row and row of Oil Palm as well some coconut trees. I believe in the years to come there would be no coconuts trees along this road. It would be replaced with Oil Palm and houses. It was really nice to see such a scenic sight where coconut trees could still be seen. It would surely be history soon. Sad but that is what progress is all about.

We arrived at Mersing just before noon and spend the night at the best hotel in town but to me it was not as I had expected. It just an ordinary hotel in town, nothing to be talk about. We had no choice but to stay there since I wanted to see Mersing which I had not seen for some forty years. We took a spin of the town and saw the Air Papan beach nearby but did not see many people using it. I believe it worth having a picnic there and enjoy the the swim. When I was working in this part of the country in the mid seventies I often stop at this beach to enjoy my packaged lunch which I had brought along from Kluang where my office was then. To me Mersing is just an ordinary town on the east coast of Johor and not many people stay overnight there except for tourists who come to Mersing just to get to the island of Tioman in the China Sea. There is a Ferry Terminal here where one can get boats that ply regularly from morning till dawn. Most folks just come and stay in the budget hotel so as to get an early trip to the island the next morning.

There is nothing much to see in Mersing so early the next morning after a hearty breakfast at the hotel we left for Johor Bharu. With my nephew driving I just sat and enjoy the trip. We head for Kota Tinggi, a town near Johor Bharu. I soon found the road that I used to drive in 1967 were no longer the same. It is now wide and straight all the way. Along the roads which was once covered by Rubber plantations now has been replace with Oil Palm. On both sides of the roads are the green, green of the Oil Palms as far as the eyes could see. I was indeed surprised to see such transformations with Oil Palm been the main economic crops planted all over. With that I saw the prosperity in the township have grown beyond what I could ever dream of seeing. Indeed Oil Palm have brought prosperity to the people of these area beyond my wildest imagination. On the road both ways I could seem more buses and Singapore plate cars plying the road. I believe Singaporean use this road to get as far as Kuantan or even Kota Bharu on the east coast; where else Singaporean could drive on a long roads and enjoy driving. In the island of Singapore they could just cruise in the vicinity of the island. Here in the mainland they could have a field day driving everywhere; on Highway and Country roads with ease; perhaps taking their families for holiday to the country side away from the hustle bustle of the concrete jungle of the city state.

After a few hours of driving we arrived at Kota Tinggi. Here again I was surprise to see this once one street town has sprung into a big township. We stop for an early lunch and then proceed on town Johor Bharu. I saw for the first time that Kota Tinggi is link to Johor Bharu by a Highway, making it easy to travel both ways. On both sides of the Highway I could see Housing estate and Malls which was not even there when I was working in this part of Johor in the mid-seventies. Amazing indeed what peace and prosperity had done to this part of my beloved country. I am happy indeed to see such progress during my lifespan.  Everything I saw from the car's window is new to me and I love it. Mesmerised with the lush green and the beautiful townships everywhere I was sort of lost in time and before I knew it we had arrived at Johor Bharu. My nephew drops us at the Puteri Pan Pacific Hotel in the heart of the town and he proceeds on to his destination in Singapore. We spend two nights in Johor Bahru and return back to Kuantan with him via the same route that we came.

It was indeed a wonderful adventure to this part of the country. During this short visit I saw prosperity everywhere I look and happy to see the other parts of the country has been transformed into a prosperous area providing the local with prosperity that they had never dream of in such a short period of time. On the left is the beach in Mersing.

Have a nice day [ Please click on the image to enlarged it]

Saturday, October 11, 2014

My little abode...

For wanting to have a Kampong house I decided to do some change to the front of the house. I change the old window to the like as seen in the image above. I add other word-craft here and there so as to give it a traditional look. About is the front of my little house as seem from where I used to sit enjoy a cup of coffee and reading a good books. 

Have nice day.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Of Soya Beans @ Tofu @ Tempe....

Soya beans have been around for thousands of years. In the East especially China the Chinese have turn this wonder beans into many kind of foods; solid, semi-solid and drink like the Tofu, Tocu, Soy milk and the like. On the island of Java the Javanese on the other hand has created a unique food that is known as Tempe. Tempe is a fermented soya bean originally wrapped in leaves especially the banana leaves. Now most are wrapped in plastic. Like all the creation of the Chinese the Tempe is a nutritious food. Our family love soy produce like Tofu, Tocu as well as Tempe and never a day that we are not without these wonder vegetables. Even the young still in its Green Pot is lovely to be boiled and enjoyed just like that. In short the Soya bean is one bean that is packed with nutrition which provides nutrition for a healthy living; a wonder vegetable indeed. 

Above is a bowl of the Tofu dish cooked with the Tocu; it’s not only nutritious but healthy as well. It such a simple food that could be done in minutes and goes well with a steam white rice. I love it. 

Have a nice day.