Welcome back, Atuk!!!

Last Thursday Atuk (my grandfather; please refer to ‘a letter to Atuk‘) was discharged from Ampang Putri Specialist Hospital (APSH) after been warded for 6 days. Alhamdulillah; he is much healthier than he was in this past 3 months.

Now Atuk is able to eat normally and does not need his feeding tube anymore! And Nenek (my grandmother) ended up with cans of milk powder (for tube feeding) that she stocked up for Atuk! Nenek used to worry if atuk could not eat normally for the rest of his life. And what makes up happier is, he eats very, very well. Atuk loves spaghetti and that was the first thing that he asked for when that doctors said that he could eat. When mum cooked him spaghetti he really enjoyed it.

My Atuk is much stronger and happier now. The other day Atuk got out from his bed and told us that he wanted to jog. My auntie said no because he is still weak. Atuk nodded and smiled – I can sense that he is up to something. Atuk walked slowly and then went faster and ended up jogging. When my aunty tried to stop him, he started jumping! Then he gave us a big smile and walked back to his hospital bed to rest.

I’m so glad to see my ‘old Atuk‘ is back again. I prayed for this moment and Alhamdulillah Allah had answered my prayers. My Atuk is back! He even joked and teased us once again as he used to… Dearest Atuk, WELCOME BACK!!!

Note: Today mum cooked Atuk fettuccine and I’m sure that Atuk will enjoy them- Bon Appetit, Atuk!


Yummy food

Yesterday evening dad took home some “karipap” and “Seri Muka”. They were very, very delicious – it should be cos they were from Pak Cik Suhaimi (Uncle Suhaimi). Thank you, Pak Cik Suhaimi – we really miss your cooking.

Pak Cik Suhaimi is a very good cook. Among my favourites are his Laksa Johor, Roti Jala and of course his Sambal Tempoyak. Unfortunately Pak Cik Suhaimi only sells his Sambal Tempoyak during Ramadhan. He used various kind of herb (finely sliced) mixed with ‘tempoyak’ (fermented durian), cili padi, ikan bilis (Malaysian anchovies) and other secret ingredients!

Well, in Terengganu we have ‘Tok Aji Serbang’ which is quite similar to ‘Seri Muka’! Of course my family would prefer the ‘Tok Aji Serbang’ but Pak Cik Suhaimi’s ‘Seri Muka’ was good. Mum says that in Terengganu they use lots of eggs in their kuih (sweet cakes) – for example akok nganang (I’m not so sure what it is), jala mas, and much, much more.

Maybe the people of Terengganu loves using eggs in their kuih so much that my grandmother would crack an egg to mix with blede bodo (agar agar or a Malaysian jelly), pengat and sira pisang! And they taste very very good. My grandfather even love to have slices of hard boiled egg in his karipap’s filling.

A memory of Kuala Terengganu

Both of my parents are from Kuala Terengganu and studied in Sultan Sulaiman Primary and Secondary School (refer to The Sulaimanians). And I’m proud to say that my father was once the head boy of Sultan Sulaiman Secondary School.

Anyway, I was born and grew up in Kuala Lumpur; hence I am not that familiar with Terengganu or Trengganuspeak (refer to ‘Solo Bolo’, Trengganuspeak and ‘Trengganuspeak 2‘). Nevertheless I do love Terengganu very much. Among my favourite places in Kuala Terengganu is my grandparents’ house. I’ll always remember the big smile on Atuk’s(my grandfather) face the moment we reached there. I love them very much. There are so many things to do over there- huge area to play and run around plus the endless dishes and kuih (sweet cakes) that can’t be found in Kuala Lumpur. My sisters and I would sleep in their room and spent our time talking and sharing stories.

The next place in my list would be my grandmother’s bookshop- Alam Akademik or Keda Pok Loh Yunang (as Uncle Awang Goneng remembered it! – Growing Up in Trengganu page 73). My siblings and I love books and we would be spending long hours at the bookshop. The best part is nenek (grandma) would give us lots and lots of books to take home to Kuala Lumpur!

Great Grandpa with Uncle Awang Goneng during GUiT launch Dec 2007 at Alam Akademik

Another favourite place of mine is my great grandfather’s house [a son of Abdullah Al-Yunani]. I always called his house ‘library’ for he has a huge collections of Reader Digest’s books. He always remember the type of books that I like and would excitedly picked the ones that I have not read (especially the new tittles). Great grand dad even gave me some books from his collections (which I know he loves so much) – knowing that I really would love to have them.

Sunrise at Batu Buruk beach, Kuala Terengganu - Dec 2006

And of course I love going to the beach. Dad would wake us up very early in the morning to watch the sun rise at Pantai Batu Buruk (the nearest beach). We would build sand castles, gather lots and lots of seashells, fly our kites or play with frees be. In the afternoon we can buy khepok leko, ikang celuk ttepong and a lot more.

At Batu Buruk beach Dec 2006

Dad like to take us around Kuala Terengganu . We visited his schools, Pulau Duyong, places where they make kerepok leko etc. Once dad took us on a boat ride along the scenic Terengganu River and on our last trip we drove around places mentioned in GUiT including Uncle Awang Goneng’s house in Tanjung (close to Atuk’s kitab shop-Jendela Ilmu).

My other fond memories of Terengganu is of course the food. Buah Khadeh (so far I still can’t pronounce it right), khepok leko, akok, rojok betik and a lot more that I don’t even know what their names are. Unfortunately mum says that rare fruits like buoh ppisang (not pisang or banana) are not easily found. I really wish that I can taste those fruits one day. Thank you Uncle Awang Goneng for telling the stories of rare fruits and old kuih of old Trengganu, the history and my roots, and thank you for teaching me Trengganuspeak. But so far I still cant speak ‘in Trengganuspeak’ and having a hard time trying to understand them!

Trengganuspeak (2)

Last weekend I learnt a few new (Trengganuspeak) words- ma’nga, pongoh and ‘ngamok. Ma’nga like solo bolo is also about being careless only that ma’nga is a habit of forgetting to do something while solo bolo is being extremely careless in doing things like running over something or knocking down things. But children who are forever running around, disturbing others and knocking down things are not solo bolo but nano (not the name of the candy – Nanonano.)

Pongoh is hot-tempered and when a pongoh person could not control their anger, they end up ‘ngamok’ (losing temper/ throwing tantrums/ uncontrolled violent rage). When mum was about my age, their helper brought a dish prepared by her mum named ‘Tok Kaya ‘Ngamok’ (a rich man ran amok). Upon tasting the dish Atuk (my grandpa) laughed and said that now he knew why they named it Tok Kaya ‘Ngamok – it tasted sour and extremely hot. No wonder that rich man lost control of his emotion and ran amok.

The version that mum tried was cubes of fresh (very sour) unriped pineapple soaked in a gravy of very, very hot chillies, shrimp paste, tamarind paste, a dash of salt and sugar that was grind to a paste and mixed with water. Well, I have not tasted it and do not really fancy to try it for fear I too would ‘ngamok like the poor old rich man.

Note: I’m sorry to say that my knowledge of Trengganuspeak (as Uncle Awang Goneng quote in GUIT) is very limited and I just can’t pronounce them right.

A Letter To Atuk (My Grandfather)

Assalamu Alaikum, Dearest Atuk,

We are really sad to see Atuk so weak and not as cheerful as Atuk used to be. It was only 3 months ago when Atuk was still very healthy and active.

Atuk, do you still remember the games we played when Aiman was a little girl? Atuk would be reading the newspapers while playing all sorts of games with me and suddenly he would declared ‘ Atuk menang!’ (atuk wins!), and I would scream ‘mana achi! (Unfair!) and would ran away sulking, but after a while came back asking Atuk to play another game. Atuk would never say no whenever Aiman asked Atuk to play; it doesn’t matter if Atuk doesn’t knows the rules of the game… in fact Atuk never bothers about the rules! We played congkak, chess, checkers and a lot more…

Whenever Atuk came for a visit, Atuk buys roti canai and lontong from a restaurant nearby for breakfast. On the last day, before atuk would be going home to Kuala Terengganu, Atuk would buy extra roti canai and mama would heat them up for our breakfast with cold sardine straight from the fridge. When we finished the roti canai, we would be asking Atuk to come back to KL for more roti canai!

Today, Atuk hardly speaks to Aiman. To make it worst, Aiman do not know how and what to say to Atuk. Aiman wish to make Atuk happy and hear the laughter when Atuk tease us. Atuk, please get better. We miss Atuk’s jokes and funny ‘magic’ tricks. We love you very much, Atuk!

Love, Aiman and adik-adik.

Atuk after the operation

Note: My Grandfather is a wonderful man. He studied in Egypt and England; and worked (as the then Prime Minister’s personal representative to UNHCR) in Europe mainly in London, Geneva and Vienna. Apart from Bahasa Malaysia (Malay Language) and English, he speaks Arabic and German and a little Japanese. I’m so proud of him and I hope to be able to write about him one day.