Two Weeks In Kuala Terengganu

I was so busy for the last 2 weeks that I can hardly find the time to update my blog. Apart from visiting our relatives and friends, I also visited many interesting places in Kuala Terengganu such as my grandmother’s shop, Alam Akademik (refer to ‘A memory of Kuala Terengganu’), Bukit Pak Apil (refer to ‘Special Ramadhan Treats from Terengganu’), Taman Tamadun Islam in Pulau Wan Man, Pantai Batu Buruk (refer to ‘A memory of Kuala Terengganu’), Sultan Sulaiman Secondary School – SSSS (refer to ‘A memory of Kuala Terengganu’), Pasar Chabang Tiga (a wet market) and places where they made keropok lekor (a special Terengganu delicacy made mainly from fish)

When we were at nenek’s place in Kuala Terengganu, I was too busy reading the new books that I got from Alam Akademik and also those that I borrowed from  my Apa – Hj. Yaacob bin Abdullah Al-Yunani. Apa is my maternal great grandfather (please refer to ‘A Memory of Kuala Terengganu’) and he has a huge collection of those lovely and very expensive Reader’s Digests books. So far he had already spent more than RM20,000 for his collection. My Apa is a wonderful man and he is always very happy to see us rushing to his ‘Reader’s Digest library’ choosing books to read every time we visited him.

A few days before Eid, dad took us to a famous keropok lekor place in Bukit Tok Beng. When we reached there, there was a very long queue outside the stall. This is not an ordinary  keropok place as they use machines to roll their keropok lekor. We were so impressed; but later we were shocked when a rude lady at the sales counter shouted rudely at us telling us to wait for our turn when it was actually our turn and in fact a few customers had jumped the queue and went ahead of us. Later we heard more ‘stories’ from our relatives and friends about their bad customer service and how their attitude towards their customers changed after their business flourished. What a pity…

The next day we went to another keropok lekor place. This time, in Tanjong. The place is very small compared to the one in Bukit Tok Beng and all the processes of making the keropok lekor was done traditionally. What is very interesting about the place is the lady who runs the place. She was so nice and humble as how Terengganu folks should be… It makes me wonder if the lady in Bukit Tok Beng was also nice to their customers before the place got to be as popular as it is now… And I just hope that this lady in Tanjong will never be rude to her customers even if  her business grows bigger than the one in Bukit Tok Beng!

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!