Monday, January 16, 2006

"Tak Lut" vs. Loots Talk

TokKu- The Sebarang Takir incidence is what the knotted language (simpulan bahasa) called the “ Durian Runtuh”. However, in this age of modern marine transportation, it is more appropriately termed as “Kontena Jatuh “. I suppose, it was a Hari Raya gift to those village fishermen. After all, it is still in the monsoon season and no one can go fishing. If the fishermen don’t go to the fish , the fish will come to the fishermen. My cousins, nephews and other villagers had to stay home and consume boiled and sautéed tapioca ( ubi kayu rebus) and eat rice with solar dehydrated fish (ikang kering) and salad with anchovy sauce (pucuk ubi celor cicoh budu). After that , they sat at the house verandah smoking home made cigarettes ( rokok pucuk tembakau kayar ) and sipped “Kopi O” takdok susu setabuk ( Starbuck coffee). In the late afternoon, they played one or two papans of dam aji “Di Bawah Rang Ikang Kering “ enjoying the nostalgic aromatic air of dehydrating and rotting fish scales. That’s life for the modern and yesteryears fisherman of Trengganu. Those in Seberang Takir, Mengabang Telipot, Batu Rakit, Merang , Setiu, Kuala Dungun, Seberang Pintasan, Kuala Kemamang had swam in all the sea waves ( Di Bawah Alunan Ombak of Tok Roshed Ngoh ) for a long time – the Green Waves, the Blue Waves, the Kerteh Petro Waves, the Ayah Pin Waves, and all of them were waving their hands to the fishermen who were left behind.
Once in a life time, they can have good big prawn and nice “Free Brand “ cigarettes . The last time they had such windfall was when the Americans were running away from Vietnam – lots of things were drifted to the South China Sea. There were lots of stories of the fishermen findings at sea – helicopter, planes which the fishes converted into tukung ikang ( fish house) and personal accessories, gold watches etc. which the fishermen retrieved from the rotting American GIs. The fishes caught by the fisherman then were relatively fat then since they were well fed. Such windfall comes to them once a while such as during the election season. I remember that the whole road of Seberang Takir was fully tarred once – even to the smallest pondok . As for the fisherman, the erection season may come quite often especially after a few nights at sea ( while the wives were at home) but the cold, windy and rainy monsoon will increase its frequency. . The contents of the container was carried away and consumed by contented villages. The comments from the beneficiaries were that the large prawn was very tasty and the cigarettes were very smoky. The perishable food was consumed to avoid wastage – perhaps , the consignment was shipped on c.i.f basis with the premium paid to the marine insurance and the company will be adequately compensated. The looting of the Kontena Jatuh may be argued to be illegal and immoral, etc. and those involved may be verbally persecuted and legally prosecuted. However, this is the case where the law on looting seems “tak lut” to the villagers since the evidence had been deposited in the loo or the beach toilets and taken away by the sea waves.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Left vs Right

Tok Ku- There are many ways of consuming consomme and soup - rightly or wrongly; and it is very contextual to the culture. Seeping soup or drinking soup or for that matter, one can use a straw in consuming the “gear box” consomme. Soup seeping is very rampant now after the Qurban ceremony. The volunteers will boil fresh cattle bones for soup. Many will scoop it politely using spoon or seep direct from the bowl. However, the large femur bones of the cattle can be used to make the :gear box” soup and the vital organs can be made into the famous “torpedo soup”. When it comes to the fifth gear, one need a straw to suck all the delicious semi liquid cooked bone marrow (in the consomme form).

The Westerner will take the soup at the beginning of the meal. The Chinese will take as the first item in the menu – shark fin soup. The Malays will take the soup just before ending the meal. The Thai will take the soup simultaneously with the meal – seeping the hot tom yam while eating the rice. It reminds me of a friend at a Japanese meal – having Obento in Bentong. He did not take the soup because he was waiting for the waiter to bring the spoon!! (Actually, it should be seep direct from the wooden bowl.) It also reminds me of the oversea tourists who were served the multi ethnic Malaysian food, i.e. Satay (Malay), Banana Leaf Rice (Indian) and Grilled Spring Chicken (Chinese). When asked “do you like the food?” They replied “the satay was very nice except for that hard bones inside; the banana leaf rice was tasty but the green salad was too hard to chew and the spring chicken was delicious but the tea served with lemon in the bowl passed by Malaysian friend have some gravy taste!!”

There are numerous connotations on being on the left side of things or a leftist. First of all, the left hand is the right hand to wash your bottom bare handedly if you customarily consume food using your bare right hand. When one has to urgently pick one’s nose, the little left finger is right tool to be used. The usual uncertainty faced during a formal dinner is which side of the plate is your drinking glass ? If you’re eating bare handedly, the glass of water on the left is yours. This is a Malay custom and it may be due to some practical reason. You right hand and fingers are full of rice and curry. If you use your right hand to hold the glass, the whole stuff will be transferred to your glass – which makes messy and dirty. On the other hand, if you are attending a formal western dinner with the whole armory of forks and spoons on both sides of your plate, then the glass of water on your right is rightly yours. The glass on the left belong to your neighbor. If you take it, he will get choked in the middle of the meals. But how do you scoop the lauk (curry, korma, acar)? Here, left is right. You use the left hand to hold the spoon to scoop the lauk. You don’t want to mess the handle of the spoon with the rice and curry and the next person may find it difficult to hold the handle.

The left handed man who plays rock music in Malaysia is known as Man Kidal. ( The Left Hander Man) He is still active in rock and roll with long hair . Every time before starting to show his skill (even with his teeth to plug the guitar ), he will confessed that he has already have grand children and still can rock, baby. However, the local singers have to learn to sing the National Anthem correctly. If not, he or she or it, will be thrown to the sea- according to the view of one “ Right Honorable Parliamentarian” in Malaysia. This happened to a veteran singer who wears a Ten Hats - Mr. Hatten who is well known now as the Left Dishonourable Artisan”. He felt very sad and deeply hurt by such remarks by the Right Honorable Parliamentarian. That’s why he sang in Negeri Sembilan / Minang dialect the song entitled “ Biso Beno” ( Very Hurtful and Painful, Indeed). . However, when one hears it wrongly, it sounds like “Besor Benor” ( A Really Very Big One !! ) One wonders as to what or whose, he is referring to ? His or Hers ? His – the tall, thin and slightly bent ( tinggi, kurus dan bongkok sabut) or Hers- the one that have to do the naked squatting at the police station. He should have promoted this song and it may be top hit again. Many of the song become top hit again when it was re sung by the Mawi ( Baliau Benci Dadah) even though it did not sound as good as the original singer once from the One Stop Center

The leftists were those not in the “ centre” or “centre right” or on the “ right” with implicit political connotation. They were associated with Socialist ideology or , they were even at the extreme left - the Communist. The irony is that the most ardent Capitalist nowadays is the People republic of China. The PR China is the most powerful money lender in the world today - overtaking low interest Switzerland Euros or the cheap Japanese Yen Credit ). PR has become a power ALONG State in the world. The Left seems to have left their ideology behind. It is interesting to note that the headquarters of the Communist Party in Warsaw, Poland is turned to a vibrant Stock Exchange. It was a trend among the university student in the yesteryears to have the leftist views on things. But now the term is replaced by extremist and terrorist and no body should ever be associated or go near it to be labeled as such.

In UK , the Commonwealth and Malaysia, we drive on the left side of the road which is the right side to drive. On the other hand , in the Continental countries and US, it is only right to drive on the right. I wonder if anyone has any theory on why there is a difference in driving their opinions. When you drive a left hand drive steering, you left hands tends to wonder around looking for the gear at the door handle. It’s just a routine reflex action. How about in boxing ? Most of the actions were done with the left hand- left jab, left hook, and even left upper cut. When you give the final punch with right blow, the consciousness left the boxer and it is a KO or TKO.

How do you get to be left hander? I suppose, when we are small our mother will always hold us with their most comfortable hand-her left hand. A left hander mother will hold the child with their left hand and the child right hand will be immobilized leaving only the left free. So, the child will be more mobile with its let arms and hands ,thus becoming left hander.- the Kidal Kid. It is interesting to watch the left hander write - holding the pen. They hold and write from the top of the page. Whether right or left handed , the hand writings of the younger generations is horrible. They were asked to write and copy the exact letter or number when their finer motor skill (fingers and hand detextrity ) were not developed yet. Some of the old generation have nice cursive hand writing. It was due to a special subject taught i.e. hand writing, the punishment of writing lines sentences repeatedly , the regular attendance to detention class where you had to copies pages of certain book, and even playing with batu selambut/seremban. This fine motor skill was very well learned and developed among the older school generation and it is very useful in their fondling activities!! They don’t just grab and grope but fondle it slowly and passionately. So, the knowledge of fine motor skill is not only for lovely hand writing but can be extended to the loving activities. Usually both the left and right hand/fingers of the man are equally good in performing this function.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Milk King

TokKu- Sweetened Condensed Milk (SCM) was very famous in the early fifties. The top brand was the Milkmaid (Susu Cap Junjung) and lots of infants were fed on it. Then, come the era of milk powder ( susu tepung or susu bubuk) with the famous lektojin, dumek or S26. Now there are even intelligence milk – the one who advertise that way is intelligent but there is still no guarantee of the child will be intelligent. Only lately, the mothers are reverting to breast milk (Susu Cap Gantung) because that is the best for the baby. One cup of human milk has 70% less protein, 38% more fat, and 47% more carbohydrates than cow's milk. The nutritional makeup of cow's milk is much different from human milk. Another difference is the recycling of the container. The container for the Sweetened Condensed Milk or the Powder Milk can be used as a toy for the baby. On the other hand, the container for the Susu Cap Gantung is usually used as a toy for the father.

Which type of cow can provide most milk? The misconception is that a fat healthy cow is a good milker. No, not so. If she is a large size and fat cow, it means that she store most of her fats in the body instead of converting them to milk. On the other hand, a very thin cow with well endowed udders and firm teats are good milker. Her thin body doesn’t conserve fats; the big udders stimulated the mammary glands to produce more milk and the firm teats are good for squeezing. How much milk can a very good dairy cow (milker) produced in her life time? It is equivalent to the volume of one normal swimming pool!! The service given by this milker is as good as a stud bull which provides the natural services to the cows instead of by artificial insemination (AI). So, they use to say that a good stud man is one who is tall and thin with a natural slight hunchback (tinggi, kurus dan bongkok sabut)which has the same feature as a good dairy cows. Unfortunately, those who obtain the artificial hunchback due to the brittle bones (osteoporosis) at the age of over 60s are not included in this category.

Milk consists of 3.5% to 6.5% milk fat, 4% to 8.5% Solids Not Fats (SNF) and about 88% water. The various types of milk depends on the amount of milk fats in it. The American used the term cream for the fat. The full cream milk has the full natural content of milk fats. The skimmed milk is which all the milk fat being removed altogether. The evaporated milk has very high portion of milk fats and solids not fat. The Sweetened Condensed Milk (SCM) is the one where the sugar is about 75 % and liquid milk is only 25%. It is like what our grand mothers used to do in making the “air sirup”. The sugar is cooked into a very thick solution with red colouring. It is the same thing in sweetened condensed milk where they cook the sugar into a high viscosity thick liquid and add milk (cream) to it. It is an irony when one order for the teh tarik and ask for less sugar ( kurang manis) or don’t use sugar at all !!! - since 75% of the condensed milk is sugar.

On the other hand, the “teh tarik si” uses the evaporated milk with high milk fats is also fattening. There is the “filled” milk where milk fat is removed to make butter or cheese and it is replaced with vegetable oil fats. Finally, there is the whitener or creamer. This is by strict definition is not milk. It is the white vegetable fat powder plus water plus sugar. That explains the different price of condensed milk on the shelves of the supermarket. The cheapest – non dairy creamer, coffee mate, whitener etc. is not milk at all. So, your Mamak the tarik will use this cheap so called “milk “ not to avoid fats or sugar but to make profit. The pseudo milk has lots of sugar in it. Besides watching the “ Teh Tarik King” in the TV we should have some knowledge of the “Teh Tarik Tricking” and if not we will be debating the diabeting effect of the tarik all the way.

Monday, January 02, 2006


TokKu- There is at times some misconceptions on the computer by the computer illiterate parents. Some children are so engrossed with the computer. But they are concentrating on the not so educational contents such as the chat, games and sometimes sneak into pornography. The computer has brought in an open book into our home and onto the children lap. At the younger age (4-8) they are still very innocent. . Once they come to the adolescence age puberty, they are tempted to explore more curious websites. Instead of being interested in computer software and hardware, they are more interested in computer “under wears” It is like smoking - take a puff or two and get hooked with the future tendency to be upgraded to smoking drugs. It is like getting hooked to blogging or to certain favourite blogger like Tok Ku– you can’t go for a week without it.

Remember those secondary school days. The “Famous Three” i.e. Playboy, Lady Chatterley Lover and Kama Sutera were being passed around as a red spot reading for boys. It was far more popular than the Famous Five of Enid Blyton which was for the girls.( I am not sure what is the famous Seven for those computer enthusiast over 60’s.) The grand finale is the black and white photos of the Japanese pillow literature and illustration which you pay ten cent to have your first look at such things. Today, there are many computers “Nanny” which can block those websites but the youngsters are very clever and get around it. Even the Kuantan video clip was widely circulated and Lucia was jokingly serious wanted to look at it.

Hacking seems to be the dark side of computer (Dath Computer) which provides the fatal attraction to some computer nerds. . Malaysian hackers are among the world top. There are children who like to solve problem – fix the jigsaw puzzle, complete cross word puzzle, or dismantled the electrical gadgets and they are registered Mensa member. It may be fun for them to learn to hack and even practice to hack on the neighbour computers. There were cases of Form 4 students in Kuala Lumpur who were ordering books /goods through internet using the cleverly stolen credit card numbers. Several Malaysian students in the UK had internationalize this knowledge and sold computers to other Malaysia students. They are now in Her Majesty’s IPTA (In Prison Till Acquitted).

Malaysia produced many IT graduates. Most are only the operators of the computer packages and not the traditional system analyst, programmers or computer hardware engineers. These packages can be self learned instead of getting the diplomas or degree for it. I had a niece who completed her teaching degree in education and majoring in IT. I tried to talk on computer but she seemed so blur except knowing some common packages. And I later discovered that she only took one subject on computer package only which qualify her to major in IT!! Instead of offering too many glamorous IT courses and graduates, it is better to stick to the traditional - system analyst, programmers or computer hardware engineers and data base management and networking.

However, we should not underestimate the value of video game in computer. With telemedicine and remote operation, video game is a good foundation to keyhole surgery. The nimble finger for surgeon is now being replaced by the ability to operate video game in operation. A good angioplasty surgeon in IJN can do it in 20 minutes while the inexperience ones will have to struggle and sweat through the procedure for 2 hours. So, there is good prospect for those who score in Biology and good in video games. In fact, the video game simulation of performing neurosurgery or heart transplant should be offered as video game computer packages this will allow the children to have some virtual taste of their career in surgery, flying planes, constructing building, bridges etc. If they are interested in human anatomy, they should be given to perform virtually the circumcision, child delivery or Caesarian operation so that they can realize their other biological functionalities. This is a better career guidance than the counselor who may be very theoretical. I know how to fly a plane, fight in a battle, and fight an unarmed combat through computer simulation. However, the computer research and resource units of the Ministry of Education had not come out with much of such packages. Of computer learning. It is worth commissioning even millions of Ringgits to design these career oriented computer games and distributed to our students in school rather than on computerized schools. The school may be a smart school but the student may not be that smart!