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Posts Tagged ‘Awang Goneng’


Uncle Awang Goneng’s latest book, A Map of Trengganu is finally out! This morning, I went out with my father to pick up the books from the country distributor and helped dad with our first batch of deliveries.

I've got my copy... Have you got yours?

Anxious to be one of the first people to read it, I quickly picked up a copy from the box as soon as we reached home. Soon, I was too engrossed with the book that when my mother called me to help her with the chores, she was shocked to hear me laughing alone. At that very moment, I was reading the part when Awang Goneng ‘took a Law degree “from the Academic Registrar’s office one night when the door was left open”.

‘A Map of Trengganu’ proved to be as beautiful and fun as its prequel ‘Growing Up In Trengganu’. Since the book had just arrived from Singapore, (as for today) there is a big chance that you may not be able to get them from the bookshops in Malaysia yet. But you can calm those restless, fluttering butterflies in your stomach by ordering them straight from ‘The Pizzaman’ (who happens to be my father 🙂 )!

You can contact him by email (akarimomar@yahoo.com) or call/SMS 019-319-9788. You can check out his blog post on the book here!. And what’s more? He can send it straight to your doorsteps (which is why he was called ‘The Pizzaman’). Do not miss the chance and get your copy NOW

Anyway, right after I’ve published this post, I’ll be going back to my room where I shall not be disturbed (nor shall I scare mum with my constant outburst) and continue reading the book 🙂

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Pak_Loh_in his bookshopOver a hundred years ago, my great, great grandfather, Abdullah Al-Yunani came to Kuala Terengganu from China and decided to stay there. He opened a bookstore named Abdullah Al-Yunani or better known to the locals as ‘Keda Buku Pok Loh Yunang’. Ask a person who was brought up in Kuala Terengganu, most of them would know the bookstore and they might even tell you that the shop was where they bought their schoolbooks long, long time ago. [Read what Awang Goneng wrote about it here]

Over a century, the business grew from a simple bookstore selling newspapers, a few kitabs (religious books) and some other books to a fully air-conditioned modern bookstore offering WiFi service. In the 1970s the bookstore was renamed Kedai Buku Ahmad Omar and later to Alam Akademik Sdn Bhd.

AA-tingkat bawah pelanggan-sMy grandfather, Ahmad Omar bought the shophouse more than 30 years ago but was forced to surrender the  land to the state government for only RM200, 000 (because of land acquisition)! Did we agree to such a low price for the freehold prime land right by the very main street of the town? Of course we did not; in fact my grandfather had never ever wanted to sell the shophouse for what ever price for the shophouse means so much to him. But what choice did he has when it came to land acquisition by the state government?

My grandparents complained the matter to the Terengganu Chief Minister (at the time), Tan Sri Wan Mokhtar Ahmad and he promised that the shophouses’ owners will be offered to buy new shophouses at a very special price (as part of the deal) to compensate our lost, as the RM200,000 paid to us was far below the market price at the time. He also promised us that the government will let us stay in the building until they provide us a new place in the area. Trusting that Tan Sri Wan Mokhtar’s words as official promises by the Terengganu state government, my grandfather did not make any further official complain. Furthermore as a strong UMNO supporter, my grandfather trusted the Barisan Nasional state government fully and never ever imagine that UMNO will disown their promises even though it was not made on paper!

AhmadOmar-SetPolMBMy grandfather used to work overseas for the first Malaysian Prime Minister YM Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj as a diplomat with minister’s status and later joined the politics as a state assemblyman and also as the political secretary to the (then) Chief Minister, Tan Sri Ibrahim Fikri. And for the sake of UMNO my grandfather had no choice but to accept the offer without making a legal complain.

On the 19th July, 2009, 34 shopkeepers in Jalan Bandar and Jalan Banggol, Kuala Terengganu (including Alam Akademik) received a notice from the Lembaga Tabung Amanah Warisan Negari Terengganu to vacate the shophouses before 13th August, 2009. [Read about it in my previous posting here] When we questioned the notice and the promises made by the state government years ago at the time we were forced to surrender our land to the state government for a mere RM200,000; they said that they are not responsible of providing us a place to move to and have the right to force us out since the land is now theirs. What happened to all of the sweet promises they made before?

going next and goneThe sad news was that the LTAWNT or the ‘supposedly’  heritage board of the state of Terengganu  is planning to demolish the heritage row to widen the road and to build new building in the name of modernisation. Isn’t it odd that the heritage board do not seems to understand the value of heritage? When the other states of Malaysia such as Melaka, Pulau Pinang (Penang) and the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur are proud to restore their heritage buildings, the Terengganu heritage board looked at the heritage building as an eye sore. How sad…..Who can we trust to protect our heritage then? The heritage row is still standing strong and beautiful; and still fit for business. And what about the historical value of the building?

As Uncle Awang Goneng wrote in his blog ‘Kecek Kecek‘, ‘Now they are planning to pull down a row of shophouses in Kedai Payang, buildings that are more than a hundred years old that are still fit for purpose and need, at most, a tender loving touch and a coat of colour. Thus our history can be saved.’

stadium-bernama4The Terengganu state government had already destroyed lots of heritage  historical buildings to make way for new buildings. They claimed that they are building a modern ‘city’ and they do not want ‘old and shabby’ buildings in the city of Terengganu. If they are trying to say that the shophouses looked old and shabby, think again. It does NOT look shabby at all, in fact its quality is even better than the new ‘modern’ buildings which are facing problems (including those that collapsed) as we can see day after day. The state government should instead use the fund to restore and beautify the heritage row and protect the heritage historical building for its invaluable historical value to the people of Terengganu.

The reason why the government cannot see all these is because they are all money-driven. They are greedy and materialistic, all they think of is money, money, money. [see various comments on Kecek-kecek’s Mabuk Kepayang]  And not even one assemblyman nor their representatives (except one from the opposition party) came to visit us. It was reported in the newspaper that the Chief Minister Y.A.B. Dato’ Ahmad bin Said visited some villages and helped them to fix roofs and did all kinds of other things. But why can’t he meet us even once? asked CikguFauzi of MAMPAT (view here on Youtube as reported by http://buletinonline.net/ or as reported by NTV7)

HM bantah notis“He is a coward” said one of the shopowners during the many protests held. “Is he afraid of what people may think of him? He knew it was wrong of him to do what he is doing but who cares? He’ll get the money and it’s not him who will suffer… it’s us“. To all those out there who care enough for the heritage and history, please help us to preserve the place. You could ask help from organisations, NGOs or perhaps inform this to a person you know. The least you can do is perhaps to write about it and spread the message. You’ll never know how powerful words can be.

Read news and articles on “Selamatkan Warisan Sejarah Trengganu – Save Our Historical Heritage

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GUiT-manyToday, I met Uncle Awang Goneng at the Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM). Awang Goneng (a.k.a. Wan A. Hulaimi) grew up in Terengganu but later on moved to London, a place so far away from his homeland. His beautiful book ‘Growing Up In Trengganu’ (originated from his blog –http://kecek-kecek.blogspot.com) was written to share with everyone about the life in Terengganu in the 60’s.

I attended ‘The Writing Mind’ workshop where Uncle Awang Goneng taught us some tips on writing. One of them which sticks in my mind was to increase your vocabulary skills – or in other words, never be afraid of using a dictionary. It reminds me of Prof. Muhammad Al-Mahdi’s ‘favourite assignment’. He would tell my AG - workshopclassmates and I to make a list of 20 hard words and remember all 60 words, it’s spelling and definitions. To make sure we memorised each of them, we shall have to take a test at the end of the week.

Uncle Awang Goneng also taught us  to read aloud what we have written after finishing a piece of work. It helps us to correct unnoticeable small mistakes. This Jalan Kedai Payangwas also taught by Prof. Muhammad and since then, I made a huge improvement in my writing class.

But Uncle Awang Goneng was really sad to hear about the unacceptable act of the government to demolish a more than a century old shophouses row in our hometown, Kuala Terengganu. Such historic building should be kept and preserved such as those in

Aiman with AG

Penang and Malacca. But we were even shocked to know that Uncle Awang Goneng’s house in Terengganu was going to be demolished

too. I guess one day, Terengganu would be the only state in Malaysia to lose all of it’s history and heritage clue to the cruel act of the state government.

Before leaving, I took the opportunity to ask Awang Goneng to autograph in my diary. Thank you Uncle Awang Goneng (Uncle Wan).

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Last Sunday, Alam Akademik Sdn. Bhd. (my grandmother’s bookstore which is also known as Keda Pok Loh Yunang) organized a program at Sekolah Kebangsaan Padang Hiliran in Kuala Terengganu. The program started at 9 a.m. and ended at 11.20 a.m. It was held at the school hall. The program was attended by students from Year 3,4,5 and 6.

The kids listening to our little presentations

The kids listening to our little presentations

We hope to share our experiences in Public Speaking with all of our friends at Sekolah Kebangsaan Padang Hiliran. We had a real good time at the school. The students are really brave and smart. They came forward to read and answer questions. I’m so proud of them. We hope our friends in Sekolah Kebangsaan Padang Hiliran will enjoy learning English for we need to learn other languages to be smart and knowledgeable.

Syazaliana, the first person brave enough to raise up her hand

Syazaliana, the first person brave enough to raise up her hand.

I did a book reading and spoke about ‘The Creation Of Universe’ based on the book by the same tittle written by Prof Muhammad Al-Mahdi. I read a chapter of Growing Up In Terengganu by Awang Goneng titled ‘Budu Spell’ which is very interesting and funny at the same time. My little sister Aeshah did what she does best… STORYTELLING!!! And Anisah sang a butterfly song. My little blogging brother Ahmad Ali, read a post from his famous blog entitled ‘Swine Flu’.

A photo of me delivering my speech

A photo of me delivering my speech

We ended the program by singing the Khalifah Song and Guantanamera. Guantanamera is the most popular song in Cuba and is an unofficial national anthem of Cuba. This Spanish Song is so beautiful and I can never be tired of hearing it.

The Sandpipers singing Guantanamera

The Sandpipers singing Guantanamera

I really had a good time too. I hope we can inspire them to learn English and other languages and be good oriaters… I wish to thank the headmaster and the teachers for inviting us to the school and for the token given to us by the school. I would also like to thank Syaza and all those from SK Padang Hiliran who had been reading my blog.

My little brother, Ahmad Ali, made new friends at the school. The girl in the middle (beside the boy) is Syazaliana. Perhaps she would name the rest of her friends for me...

My little brother, Ahmad Ali, made new friends at the school. The second boy is Izzat. The other two boys beside him are from Year 4 (if anyone know their names please inform me). The girls from left are Syazaliana, Hazirah, Adlin and Puteri. The boy in front... I don't think I need to tell you but just in case, AHMAD ALI himself!

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The tasty Jala Mas. BTW the yellow colour comes 100% from the egg yolks. NO artificial colouring added.

The tasty Jala Mas. BTW the yellow colour comes 100% from the egg yolks. NO artificial colouring added.

Reading Awang Goneng’s post ‘The Sound of Heavy Metal’, reminds me of fasting and iftar in Kuala Terengganu. So it seems like Uncle Awang Goneng misses the ‘bubur lambuk’, ‘blede kerah’ and ‘akok’.

Iftar and imsak in Kuala Terengganu is marked by the sound of the ‘bede’(cannon shot) The best part is there will be two ‘bede’ for imsak. The first is a warning – to remind us to drink our last glass of ‘air nyo’ (young coconut drink) or to take the last bite of ‘akok’ (a type of sweet cake) before the sound of the final ‘bede’ that tells us to stop drinking and eating.

Ramadhan in Terengganu means an annual “Traditional Terengganu Food Fest”. This is the time of the year when I can see and taste the unfamiliar or hard to get ‘kueh’ (sweet/savoury traditional cakes) and dishes. The good part is, most of the traditonal Terengganu ‘kueh’ are free from artificial colouring, flavouring and also trans fat (refer to ‘Food Facts’). The main ingredients in our exotic sweet cakes such as ‘jala mas’ (jala mah), ’emas sejemput’ (mah jjeput), ‘pauh dilayang’ (pauh llayang), ‘bunga tanjong’, ‘akok’, ‘nganang’, ‘nekbak’,’ taik itek’, ‘skaye’, ‘puding telor’, and ‘tok aji serbang’ are eggs and sugar.

The delicious tok aji serbang.

The sweet and creamy Tok Aji Serbang. The brown colour came solely from palm sugar and contains NO ARTIFICIAL COLOURING

As in other parts of West Malaysia, the most special food in Ramadhan is the ‘bubur lambuk’. But unlike the ‘bubur lambuk’ in Kuala Lumpur (please refer to ‘Bubur Lambuk Kampung Baru’) the main ingredients in our ‘Terengganu Bubur Lambuk’ are fish, herbs, sweet potato, special local vegetables, crushed black pepper and of course ‘budu’ (please refer to ‘Ikang Singgang’). In fact, our ‘bubur lambuk’ does not tasted or even looked like ‘Bubur Lambuk Kampung Baru’ at all – their only similarity is that- both are special Ramadhan porridge sharing the same name.

Unlike ‘Bubur Lambuk Kampung Baru’ which uses a lot of aromatic spices such as cloves, star anise, cinnamon, etc… the only spice used in our ‘Terengganu Bubur Lambuk’ is crushed black pepper. Nowadays prawn, squid and other seafood are added but fish is a must (use more fish for a tastier ‘bubur lambuk’). But sad to say, I do not really enjoy the rather ‘strong’ taste of our ‘Terengganu Bubur Lambuk’; instead I prefer the ‘Bubur Lambuk Kampung Baru’.

Another special treat is the finger licking good ‘ayam golek’. For this tasty dish, the chicken is barbequed using a special creamy sauce that gives the ‘ayam golek’ its delicious taste and the mouth watering aroma. Next come ‘pulut lepa’, ‘sata’ and mum’s favourite ‘paih ikang’. Anyway the size of the fish or ‘ikang’ in the ‘paih’ is too small for me to enjoy them. Nenek and mum used to say that the size of the fish seems to be getting smaller and smaller year after year. Any way I can’t remember mum telling me about eating ‘Ceranang Mok Mek’ in Ramadhan… ‘Ceranang’ is a very tasty Terengganu salad and ‘ceranang Mok Mek’ was said to be the most popular ‘ceranang eatery’ in Kuala Terengganu and according to luckganu (please refer to luckganu’s comment). ‘Mok Mek’ also sells tasty ‘kerepok leko ikang yu’.

Fish is the important ingredient in most of Terengganu savoury ‘kueh’ as in ‘Pulok lepe’, ‘bekang kuoh puteh’, ‘sata’, ‘paong goreng’, ‘karipak ikang’ etc. ‘Orang Tranung berahi makang ikang, dok?’ (Guess the Terengganu folks love to eat fish). And by the way, two days ago we had ‘pulok gao nyo’ with grilled fish (refer to ‘Delicious pulok’) for iftar…’sedak sungguh’ (so delicious).

The yummy mah jjeput.

The yummy mah jjeput. Like the jala mas, it contains NO ARTIFICIAL COLOURING

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Mom came across an interesting article titled “Posh, Becks ‘bad example for kids'” and said that I should read it. (a similar one from the Guardian UK)

The article started by ‘LONDON: David and Victoria Beckham are the leading icons in a damaging celebrity culture that encourages children to believe they can become rich and successful without working hard at school, teachers warn. Pupils who dream of being pop stars and footballers are neglecting their studies and emulating the worst excesses of their idol’s language, behaviour and raunchy clothing, they claimed.’

It also stated that ‘Members who responded to the survey warn that a growing celebrity culture is contributing to underage drinking and anti-social behaviour, because some teen idols are foul-mouthed and yobbish. They also say provocative behaviour by scantily clad celebrities is increasingly robbing young girls of their innocence.’

The findings were released as members of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers prepare to gather for their annual conference. The findings did not suprise me at all since both of my parents and Allahyarham Prof Muhammad Al-Mahdi had be warning me and my siblings about all these problems (and more) all the time. Prof Muhammad‘s favourite example was Christina Aguilera but I can’t remember other names since I’m not familiar with pop/film stars. When I asked Prof who she is, he said that it is better if I do not know who she is. And after I saw her on TV not very long ago, I understood what he meant.

Reading the article, first I have to ask mum who are Posh, Becks, David and Victoria Beckham. Weird? Not for me because there are more important people worth to be admired like William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, A Samad Said (Pak Samad), Usman Awang and of course Awang Goneng (Uncle Awang Goneng Siput?). Mum ‘introduced me to Charles Dickens, William Shakespeare and Usman Awang. Even Pak Samad too adviced me to read Usman Awang’s works (refer to Launching of Gemuruh Alam At RA Gallery). Mum stressed that even though I do not fancy literature, I have to know the works of at least a few famous writers (not only Enid Blyton who is my favourite) and I ended up enjoying their works.

My parents are not ‘old fashioned’, out of date or against modern civilisation. We started to use the computer since we were one year old but there are rules of what can/cannot be done on computer. The same goes to the internet. We sing and watch TV but we have to be smart in choosing the programs. We enjoy singing nursery ryhmes and songs with good messages such as nasheeds in both English and Malay. We do not watch Akademi Fantasia, American Idols, Gang Stars and those kind of reality shows (refer to A Trip To Taiping), Mr Bean, Senario, High School Musical and some others. But there are movies that we can watch and sometimes dad would even use the projector to make the movies more enjoyable. Dad once took us to a cinema (MBO Cineplex) to watch Shrek The Third and we really enjoyed ourselves especially eating the popcorns!

Dad introduced us to the beauty of poem readings and I love the way Pak Samad and Prof Rahman Shaari reading sajak (a type of Malay poem) Book reading is also beautiful; I even tried it once at Yang Mulia Raja Ahmad’s RA Gallery (refer to Launching of Gemuruh Alam at RA Gallery). I only wish that I’ll be good enough to read sajak one day.

Alhamdulillah my siblings and I do not adore or fancy celebrities and having them as our role models is the last thing that we want; even for the fact that we enjoy Yusof Islam’s songs. Of course I’ve heard of Siti Nurhaliza and Mawi but I do not know any of their songs or recognise their voice if I heard one. I pray to Allah to protect us from all these influences and guide us to the right path, Insya Allah.

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A year ago I would be stunned if somebody were to tell me that I’m going to write on the subject of Trengganuspeak as I know almost nothing about it (please refer to ‘Solo Bolo’). It was Uncle AG‘s (Awang Goneng) GUIT (Growing Up In Trengganu) that started my interest to learn Trengganuspeak. Thank you again Uncle AG – you are a great sifu. Or is it siput in Trengganuspeak as Pok Chang Siput (in GUIT: pg 203)? (refer to ‘A New Trengganuspeak Word From Awang Goneng’)

How true it is that spelling words in Trengganuspeak is really challenging even for Terengganu folks in Terengganu. As for me; even to pronounce the words are challenging enough. Just now my little brother Ahmad Ali asked for his vitamin in English. I corrected his pronunciation and dad teasingly corrected mine to ‘bitameng’ (that means vitamin in Trengganuspeak). Upon hearing ‘bitameng’ mum asked, “Isn’t it ‘bitaming’?” Dad said it is ‘bitameng’ and left my mum puzzled…

That brings me back to ‘kerejong’ or ‘kherjong’ (refer to ‘A New Trengganuspeak Word From Awang Goneng’). When I first saw it in ‘Kecek-Kecek’, I thought it meant ‘keras’ (hard). But mum said that ‘kherjong’ got nothing to do with ‘keras’. The word that explain the state of ‘keras’ (hard) is ‘khejong’ – ‘kerah khejong’. Mum later explained that apart from ‘kerah khejong’, there is also ‘kerah ccokkeng’. ‘Kerah khejong’ refers to the feel of hardness or very chewy (for food). For example if one bite into a cold leftover fried keropok lekor; especially the ones sold in KL; one would say, “‘Kerah khejong’ doh khepok leko ning” (The keropok lekor had turned very chewy).

On the other hand, ‘kerah ccokkeng’ refers to the ‘visual’ state of hardness or may even be fresh in food. Mum gave an example of a sentence she used to hear, “‘Kerah ccokkeng’ ikang (fish) ni”.

Until now I guess I’m still confused and could not distinguish the meanings ‘khejong’ and ‘ccokkeng’ for they are too confusing and difficult. Worst , I may end up getting confuse of ‘kherjong’/’kerejong’ (straitjacket) and ‘khejong’ as in ‘kerah khejong’. So now, I’m getting more and more confused than I used to be.

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