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Posts Tagged ‘Penang’


My family and I had just arrived from Penang two days ago. Unlike most of our trips to Penang when we stayed at the Feringghi BayView Beach Hotel on the island, this time we stayed at the Butterworth Palm Inn Hotel which is just across the road to the Dewan Dato’ Haji Ahmad Badawi where we attended a seminar on Sunday.

For my parents, a trip to Penang won’t be completed without having Penang’s special ‘mee udang Sungai Dua’ or ‘Sungai Dua prawn noodle’; so we headed to Sungai Dua for the special dish as soon as we reached Butterworth. In fact, we drove to Sungai Dua again that night where they again had ‘mee udang Sungai Dua’ for dinner at another restaurant! I had ‘keoy teow goreng’ or ‘fried flat noodle’ for both lunch and dinner which I think is much cheaper and tastier. The restaurants are not fancy but both are located in beautiful natural surroundings; we had lunch at a riverside restaurant and dinner at a restaurant facing a large paddy field.The food are very, very good and the price of food is far cheaper than in KL.

On Sunday, we attended the ‘Seminar Mendaulatkan Islam – Agama Negara (SEMAIAN)’ (see here) at Dewan Dato’ Haji Ahmad Badawi across the road from our hotel for the whole day. In the afternoon , I sat down on the floor outside the hall and drew a picture of the hotel which turned out quite nice. My siblings walked around the large field in front of the hall, playing in the wind and watching the pigeons performing airshows and playing ‘guess the plane’. And Ahmad Ali caught a feather that flew down from a flying bird(and decided to start a feather collection) and made such a fuss about it on the car trip back to KL.

We had a lovely time in Penang although we didn’t go to the island and played at the beach. The view from our hotel room is marvelous, especially at night. We snapped lots of photos from our hotel rooms which face the island and the Penang Port.  I hope that one day we could go on another trip to Penang.

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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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On the way to Penang, we made a stop in Taiping to visit Opah & Atuk Idris. They are the proud parents of Uncle Najmi (or Khairul Najmi, the Akademi Fantasia* 5’s English Teacher). Uncle Najmi is an old pal of my dad and during his university days, dad used to visit them in Taiping. I enjoyed spending time with them as I enjoyed the company of Uncle Najmi.

We saw old photographs of Uncle Najmi. Opah told us an amazing story of how Uncle Najmi [at the age of 8] picked up Opah’s handbag and kept it safe when the family’s car collided with a lorry after an outing. Uncle Najmi was the only person who escaped unhurt and he even gave the statement to the police!

My little brother, Ahmad Ali was really amazed to see so many houses in red (either painted red or using red tiles with red roof). Even Atuk Idris’s house has red pillars! We drove past the Taiping Railway Station which must had been built a very long time ago.

Note*: We do not watch Akademi Fantasia, Gang Stars, American Idol and those likes. Dad taught us to be smart in choosing what to watch on TV; infact at home we do not even suscribe Astro. Even though I enjoyed Astro once in a while especially the Discovery Channel, I do not miss them at all. I find reading more satisfying.

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Last week, my family and I went to Penang. We went there by car and stayed at Bayview Beach Hotel, Batu Feringgi. It was a fun and lovely trip. We had a half an hour boat ride and guess what??? We saw DOLPHINS!!! There were about four of them jumping in and out of the water. And there were so near about a couple of metres away from our boat. We also saw jelly fishes. Some are big and long, others are very small. I also rode the jet ski with my father. It was great fun.

My mother (right), my brother and me on a boat ride at Batu Feringgi.

My father’s friend, Aunty Habsah and Uncle Firdaus invited us for dinner at Padang Brown. They told us that the food court in Padang Brown is one of the oldest in Penang and the operator are actually the generations of the original people that first started the food court. We tried their mutton soup with roti mamak, Penang mee rebus, mee mamak, pasembur and satay. They are the most authentic Penang food that I’ve ever tasted.

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