Bubur Lambuk Kampung Baru


Ramdhan Mubarak to all Muslims! Alhamdulillah, the holy month of Ramadhan is back with us and once again, vendors flock the streets around the Kampung Baru Mosque to sell the much loved and awaited iftar delicacy, Bubur Lambuk Kampung Baru. Since this special porridge is only available during the month of Ramadhan, hundreds of people from all parts of Selangor and Kuala Lumpur could be seen lining up to get their share of this delicious dish. Of course, bubur lambuk is given out by many (usually mosques) all over Malaysia but up till now, no other bubur lambuk that I know taste as good as the  Bubur Lambuk Kampung Baru from the well-known Masjid Jamek.

Bubur Lambuk Kampung Baru

Due to the fact that the Masjid Jamek Kampung Baru is so famous for its ‘bubur lambuk’, the queue at the mosque would be very, very long and some may even have to wait for over an hour for a pack of free bubur lambuk. Those who would rather skip queuing may buy the dish from the many vendors who set up their stalls around the area for about RM2.00 per pack. Unfortunately many were disappointed since the bubur lambuk sold by the vendors taste far different than those given out by the mosque. However, there is one stall that sells the authentic Bubur Lambuk Kampung Baru and taste just as good the ones given out by the mosque, ‘Bubur Lambuk Kak Sham’.

Aunty Sham stirring a pot of bubur lambuk

If you have not tried the authentic bubur lambuk Kampung Baru, you should try to get some before Ramadhan ends. Believe me, it is worth the trip especially for those who love bubur lambuk. We stay in Ampang and there are lots of places around our area that give away free bubur lambuk (without us having to queue) but we would still be making our journeys to Kampung Baru for our bubur lambuk; and it has to be Aunty Sham’s, of course. And it is always nice to see the delighted faces of our friends when we send them the delicious bubur lambuk.  If you are a bubur lambuk lover like I am or have never tasted the famous Bubur Lambuk Kampung Baru before, try to queue at the Masjid Jamek for a pack or just drop by at Aunty Sham’s stall which is opposite the mosque and you would surely be back for more. Aunty Sham’s stall is located in front of the Al-Islam Specialist Hospital.

The Geminid Meteor Shower Is Back!


(from SkyandTelescope.com : http://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/home/111588359.html)

Mention “meteors,” and casual skywatchers usually think of the annual Perseid shower on display every August.

But the Geminid meteor shower of mid-December ties or even surpasses the Perseids as the year’s richest and most reliable meteor display. Geminid meteors come from 3200 Phaethon, an asteroid discovered in 1983.

This year the Geminids are predicted to peak on the morning of December 14th around 11h UT, more or less. That’s excellent timing for North America, especially out West. The Moon that night is only a day past first quarter and sets around midnight or 1 a.m. local time, depending on where you live. Even before then, on the evening of the 13th, the moonlight isn’t bright enough to dampen the shower’s visibility too much — and the Geminids, with their radiant near Castor and Pollux, pick up steam as early as 8 or 9 p.m. But the radiant is highest around 2 a.m., so the morning hours are the usually the most productive.

Bundle up as warmly as you possibly can, and lie back in a dark spot with an open sky. You may see as many as two meteors a minute on average if you have a very dark sky and are watching after midnight.

If your sky is not too light-polluted, you might try making a careful meteor count and reporting it to the International Meteor Organization. Such counts by amateurs supply much of what we know about meteor showers’ behavior. For your count to be useful, you’ll need to follow the procedures described on our page or at the IMO’s website.

Don’t forget that the shower lasts more than one night. Counts are especially needed on nights away from the maximum, because fewer people are watching. In any case, enjoy the show!

UPDATE:

I’ve realised that many of you are searching for a good place to watch the meteor shower either in Kuala Lumpur or elsewhere in Malaysia. Just look for a dark area with no light source near you (and preferably away from the city’s light pollution) and you could watch them well. According to my previous experience, the best time would be during the morning hours. Not only the shower is at its peak but the city’s light is not as bright as it is before midnight.

Bedil Hunting


I came back to Kuala Lumpur last Tuesday after a two weeks Eid holidays in Kuala Terengganu. I had a wonderful holiday, doing lots of interesting and even ‘adventurous’ activities; among which were ‘Bedil Huntings‘.

On the 5th day of Syawal, my father drove my mum, sisters (Aeshah and Anisah) and brother (Ahmad Ali) to Bukit Pak Apil. All of us were provided with a camera each to try and snap the best bedil photos.

We arrived at the site rather early and since the view from the top of the hill was breathtaking, I spend the time snapping beautiful photos of it. After a while a ‘bedil’ contractor staff arrived accompanied by a policeman. Since ‘bedil’ is explosive, a policeman is needed to escort the contractor and to supervise the operation of ‘bedil’ shooting.

The contractor staff walking up to the site with a policeman escorting him.

The kind policeman told us about the safety procedures during ‘bedil’ shootings and then directed us to the safe site (just in case the ‘bedil’ did not shoot high up in the air as it was supposed to be; but instead explodes on the ground). He also told us that if that happens the flying debris from the explosion could reach as far as 100m away. There were a few unfortunate accidents in the ‘bedil’ shooting history in Kuala Terengganu. So we went to the ‘safe site’ and waited there excitedly.

The contractor staff walking up to the 'bedil shooting base'.

A few minutes to Maghrib, all of us were busy focusing our cameras towards the blue sky, trying to guess the right location of the ‘bedil’. We were really excited. Then, there was a thunderous ‘explosion’ as the bedil shot up to the sky. It was an amazing sight of a beautiful fiery light shooting up in the dusk sky. I managed to snap a photo of it and so did Aeshah.

The beautiful fiery light shot up in the dusk sky

The fire shot up so high up and went directly above our heads as it exploded into a huge firework display like a gigantic colourful umbrella stretching above us, with an amazing display of colourul lights ‘raining’ down as it faded and vanished into the darkening sky. I was too amazed by its size and beauty and was taken by surprise that I forgot to click on the shutter release. So I missed the shot of the climax! It was just like a dream; it all happened as fast as it ended and left us glaring into the sky speechlessly.

Although I missed the shot of the climax, I managed to get this: the smoky remain

We went back to the Bukit Pak Apil for the next two days until the 7th day of Eid which mark the last bedil shooting of this Shawal. On the second day, the only shot I managed to get was a cloud of smoke after the fireworks display ended and on the last day, I managed to snap a photo of the fireworks before it fully expanded. Anyway, during those ‘bedil’ huntings my dad and my little brother managed to snap beautiful photos of blooming fireworks at its peak.

It was an exciting and adventurous experience for all of us. It was something that when the accuracy of the location and timing is vitally important. Just a split seconds makes the whole difference; we may ended up missing the action and snapping photos of fading smoke in the darkening sky instead of an amazing colourful display of lights in the evening sky!

It was a nice experience to go bedil hunting and I hope that we could go back up there again next year to hunt for more bedil photos.

The return of Bubur Lambuk Kampung Baru


Aromatic smell of spices rose up with the mist

From pots of porridge that you can never resist

Everyday hundreds lined up patiently in the queue

For their share of the well-known Bubur Lambuk Kampung Baru

Ramadhan Mubarak to all Muslims worldwide. Starting from today, we can once again enjoy the Malaysia’s best iftar – the ‘bubur lambuk’. Although this wonderful porridge can be found all over Malaysia, ‘Bubur Lambuk Kampung Baru’ from the famous Masjid Jamek stole the show.

Everyday, hundreds of people from all parts of Kuala Lumpur and Selangor could be seen lining up for some of this mouth-watering delicacy. But for those who are willing to pay RM 2.00 (for a pack of bubur lambuk) to skip the extremely long queue, I suggest that you should buy the ‘Bubur Lambuk Kak Sham’ sold by Aunty Sham who is a good friend of mum’s. As far as I know, Aunty Sham’s bubur lambuk is the best compared to the many other bubuk lambuk stalls around the mosque, with the taste as authentic as the famous Kampung Baru’s Masjid Jamek’s bubur lambuk.

(please click here to read more about ‘Bubur Lambuk Kampung Baru‘)

Today, my dad came home from the mosque with a gigantic bag of bubur lambuk. The aromatic scent immediately spread throughout the house. My little brother (who is trying to fast for a full day for the first time)  was walking down the stairs when he stopped in his tracks. The familiar appetizing smell floated into his tiny nose and forced him to run back fearing of breaking his fast. He announced that he is going to stay upstairs until Maghrib approaches. I once had an experience like his when I was a year older than him. Only that in the end, I had to break my fast after struggling really hard to hold back my hunger. But how could I not when I was in the car sitting right beside packs of aromatic bubur lambuk throughout the whole journey back home from Kampung Baru?

If you are a fan of bubur lambuk and have not yet tried the Bubur Lambuk Kampung Baru, please make a trip to Kampung Baru before the end of Ramadhan. Try the famous Masjid Jamek’s or those from Aunty Sham’s stall and you’ll be back for more! And for the Bubur Lambuk Kampung Baru’s lovers, well, I don’t think that I need to remind you of this incredibly tasty dish. Ramadhan will remind us of the delicious smell of spices and will send us all the way to Masjid Jamek Kampung Baru for this lovely savoury porridge!

MORE photos:

Friends from Sri Lanka


Last Friday, my family and I went to May Tower Hotel in Jalan Munshi Abdullah to meet Uncle Zahedi, Aunty Suzana and Brother Hisham. They came from Sri Lanka to send Brother Hisham who is currently doing his Master’s Degree in Islamic Finance here in Kuala Lumpur.

We met them after the Friday prayers. When we reached there, Aunty Suzana looked at me exclaiming, “Oh, she looks just like Aishah”. Aishah Salihue is Aunty Suzana’s niece and a friend of mine who lives in San Jose, California. Coincidentally, Aishah shared the same name with my little sister, Aeshah, while Aishah’s little brother shared the same name with my little brother, Ali. I had met her and her family twice during my visits to the USA in 2005 and 2006.

I remember going to her house in 2006. Her huge backyard is like a wonderland  filled with many kinds of fruit trees. On the day I visited her, Aishah found out that their first apple had ripened in the backyard. She excitedly pluck it and ran with the apple indoors to show it to her mum. There was also a tent, Aishah’s bike, his little brother, Ali’s wagon, a table with benches and a trampoline in the backyard.

I remember feeling so excited as I succeeded to ride Aishah’s bike without any difficulties even on the grass. It was actually my second time riding a bike without the two tiny side wheels to help me balance. I also remember pulling Ali’s wagon with both ‘Alis’ giggling inside. We also drew pictures and wrote stories on the wooden table. But the best part of the day was when I met Aishah’s grandparents who came all the way from Sri Lanka. Aishah’s grandfather gave me a lot of very beautiful Sri Lankan stamps which are now safely kept inside my stamp album.

We had a great time. Before we left, Aishah’s mother gave me a beautiful brown hijab. We still keep in touch through emails and we sent stamps to each other several times. I really hope that Insya Allah, I could once again visit Aishah in her wonderful backyard.

It was so enjoyable meeting Uncle Zahedi, Aunty Suzana and Brother Hisham. They are very nice and wonderful to be with. Aunty Suzana is very sweet, beautiful and friendly and she really reminds me of her younger sister who is Aishah’s mother.

Say “NO” to the plan to demolish a heritage row in Kuala Terengganu


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

Longest Total Solar Eclipse in the 21st Century


The longest total solar eclipse in the 21st century happened today (22nd July, 2009/ July 22nd, 2009)! The path of the Moon’s umbral shadow begins in India and crosses through Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar and China and left the Asia mainland before passing through Japan’s Ryukyu Islands and curves southeast through the Pacific Ocean where the maximum duration of totality reaches 6 min 39 s. And the broader path of the Moon’s penumbral shadow covers most of eastern Asia, Indonesia, and the Pacific Ocean (including Malaysia!).

An animation of the eclipse

An animation of the eclipse

I attended the Solar Eclipse viewing program in Kuala Ibai, Terengganu at Tengku Tengah Zaharah Mosque (Masjid terapung) organised by the Jabatan Mufti Terengganu, Jabatan Ukur dan Pemetaan Terengganu and Universiti Darul Iman Malaysia. The details were as written below:

In Kuala Terengganu,
First Contact – 8:24 am (when the Moon first “touches” the Sun’s limb)
Maximum Eclipse – 9:08 am (when the Moon covers the Sun’s disk the most; 13%)
Last Contact – 9:56 am (when the Moon “leaves” the Sun)

While in Kuala Lumpur, the details differ slightly:

First Contact – 8:29 am (when the Moon first “touches” the Sun’s limb)
Maximum Eclipse – 9:07 am (when the Moon covers the Sun’s disk the most; 8%)
Last Contact – 9:48 am (when the Moon “leaves” the Sun)

An animation of the solar eclipse.

Another animation of the solar eclipse.

We arrived at the program around 8:40 am but were unable to get a view of the eclipse as the sky was too cloudy. Luckily, at about 9:40 am, the clouds cleared away giving us a view of the eclipse before the clouds covered the sun again. There were six telescopes set for the program and 1500 people attended the program too.

The reason for this long eclipse is simply because now is July; a time when the Sun is farthest away from Earth (aphelion), thus is smallest in size. And the Moon also just passes it nearest point to Earth (perigee), thus it looks big in our sky. When a small Sun is blocked by a big Moon, the Moon will have more time to block the Sun.

The next total solar eclipse shall occur in 2132! That’s 123 more years to come (what a beautiful number!). That’s why I feel so lucky to be able to experience this eclipse. It shall be an unforgettable memory which I shall treasure in my heart forever and ever…