Day 4: From Kuantan to Kuala Lumpur and home

Friendly errata: There was a mixed up in writing about what we did in the morning of Day 3 with Day 4. 

Whilst Sue and Azwa were still in bed, Edah took me to Restoran Zaman for breakfast. The restaurant is situated on the left hand side of the road from Kuantan to KL and we were there ‘cos we will be driving off to Ma’s house. Ma is my sister and the 6th in our family of 8. There were quite a crowd but we managed to get our seats. Edah had roti telur and teh tarik, and I ordered nasi lemak and teh tarik as well. We packed roti canai for those at home and bought 2 packs of nasi lemak for Ma and her husband, Halim. We finished our breakfast and drove to Ma’s house but she has gone off to the hospital but Halim was home. We had a quick chat and left but had to return since we forgot about the nasi lemak. Sue and Azwa had their packed breakfast and we then loaded my car for the drive back to KL. Edah came with us since she will staying at her daughters’ home for a few days.

Nasi lemak tastes better when wrapped in banana leaves

Rice cooked in coconut milk, sambal, cucumber and boiled egg = nasi lemak

There’s 4 of us now

We exited at the Gambang Toll to take the LPT back to KL. Depending how fast or slow and the amount of traffic and how many stops you make, it should not take you more than 3 hours to reach KL. We made a stop at the Temerloh R&R for a light lunch and then we are on the road again.

The Temerloh R&R – the one on the LHS as you drive down to KL

Good selection of local food

There are side stalls as well selling local products

Her fascination for machines and gadgets is boundless

All was well and dandy until we left the Bentong Toll. The car’s air conditioner was not cooling the car but was blowing out warm air. I decided to wind down my down the window a bit to allow fresh air to come and we were in luck since it was drizzling all the way to KL. We arrived at the Gombak Toll and headed to Jalan Klang Lama where I dropped off Edah at her daughters’ house. Then it was straight to the mechanic to get the AC fixed. We were there from about 3.00 pm to 6.00 pm. Finally, the AC is repaired leaving a dent in my purse. The mechanic said he magnetic coil in the condenser broke and he replaced it and managed to salvage the compressor. Rascar Auto has always done a good job with my numerous cars over years.

Keeping herself busy at Rascar

Walked over to the mamak shop for soup and teh tarik

So, it’s back home but not after a stopover at McDonald’s for my spicy Korean burger. I’m addicted to that now – the burger but not the fries and drink. All in all my road trip with Sue and Azwa only was a success. Here’s looking forward to another road trip with them. Let’s start saving the pennies.

Home at last with my spicy Korean burger

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Day 3: Moving around Kuantan

We had to get up extra early since Edah has a dental appointment at 10.00 am and for this we have to drive into town. We had home made fried meehoon or rice vermicelli for breakfast and then got into the car for the drive into Kuantan. Whilst Edah had her dental appointment, Sue, Azwa and I explored the shops in the vicinity. The clinic itself is in the centre of Kuantan town and directly opposite the main wet market. Once completed, we drove to Bangunan BSN at Jalan Bank. Why? Both Edah and I wanted to go to Jabatan Akauntan Negara Pahang to see whether we had any unclaimed money. There was a queue just to get to the elevator. We queued and chatted with some one who was in the queue when the lady in front of us asked whether we have a number. A number? Hmmmmm … she said to get through the door to enter the elevator, you need a number. I backtracked and saw the sign. Ok.

The notice

Like me, some still queued without reading the sign

There was no such announcement in any of the media. So, that was that but I was annoyed because:

  1. parking was difficult and we had to pay for it,
  2. there was no announcement in the media,
  3. the polis bantuan did not say anything about getting a number when he saw us queueing, and
  4. the signage does not carry any official stamp.

Off the car and Edah took us to Tanjung Lumpur for lunch at MABIQ 2 – there is a MABIQ 1 just behind the Yayasan Pahang building. MABIQ 2 is the newer of the two. The restaurant serves authentic Malay dishes and it’s self service all the way. You get a plate and fill it up with rice and you can put dishes into separate plates or put them on your own plate and the staff will do a count at your table. They have an assortment of drinks, both hot and cold, and its self service as well. We picked ikan patin masak tempoyak, pais ikan patin, masak lemak daging salai, ulam, sambal and fried kailan as our shared dishes. I’m weak when it comes to patin and both patin dishes were really good. Patin is a freshwater fish which is renown and synonymous with Pahang.

It’s on the left hand side as you drive into Tanjung Lumpur

The main dishes. Fried kailan and beef soup not in the photo

We got back into the car and since we are still in Tanjung Lumpur, we definitely must stop for keropok keping and keropok lekor. Keropok is made from fish paste and flour. Its then rolled up, boiled and cut into 2 inch pieces and fried – this is keropok lekor. The rolled mixed is normally cut into thin slices, sun dried and fried – this is keropok keping. We found a new “supplier” known as Keropok Lekor Li Pok Soh – quite a mouthful – but their or rather Pok Soh’s keropok is worth the distance. I bought both varieties in rather large quantities since both Amy (my youngest daughter) and Azwa love them.

Free advert for my fav keropok entrepreneur

Keropok keping

Into the car and I specifically asked for dessert. Not any old dessert. I asked for cendol Air Putih – cendol is the name of the dessert and Air Putih is the location. So, off we go for the umpteenth time to Cendol Air Putih. Like nasi dagang Ubai, cendol Air Putih is a must whenever I’m in Kuantan.

We had cendol, Sue added on vadai and Azwa had tembosa. I skipped the                  pulut panggang

Look for this sign in Air Putih

There’s always a crowd but service is fast

Feeling full and happy, we went home. I honestly cannot remember what we had for dinner but after a full day of eating out, do we need dinner? But there was pavlova for tea – made by who else but my sister.

Home made is still the best

 

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Day 2: In Kuantan for a meeting

I woke up early feeling tired but determined. Late last night, Edah talked about frying rice noodles for breakfast but I told her that I wanted to have nasi dagang Ubai for breakfast. Since it is a working Tuesday, we had to go there early so as to avoid the jam.

Ubai is located on the left hand side of the road if you are travelling from Kuantan to Pekan. The nasi dagang stall is located at a corner on the left hand side of the road and opposite a Petronas station. However, the stall has been demolished and the operator will be moving to a newly constructed row of shop houses which have yet to obtain the CF. So, for the time being, they operate from makeshift tents but the nasi dagang is still as awesome as ever.

We each had a plate of nasi dagang and we brought home with us nasi minyak, laksam and pulut palas. What is the hype about nasi dagang? Literally translated, it is known as traveller’s rice. This dish originated from the state of Terengganu. The rice itself is a combination of Siamese rice and glutinous rice but you need to get the proportion right. The rice is soaked and steamed and then coconut milk is stirred into the hot rice. You also need to mix in thinly sliced shallots and halba or fenugreek. The rice is then served with a coconut-based gravy with pieces of fish in it. Most operators now serve the gravy with pieces of chicken in it. The gravy is the test of the dish. You have to get it right since it is the crowning glory of nasi dagang. You also need to serve a mild cucumber salad with this dish. My late mum cooks her own nasi dagang and I have helped her prepare it so many times that theoretically, I know that I can cook the rice but definitely not the gravy. Just last week, I stumbled upon my late mum’s recipe and I guess I need to have a go at this.

Well, I had my plate of nasi dagang with a hot steaming mug of teh tarik or pulled tea.

Nasi dagang and teh tarik – the plate is layered with paper since the operator has limited access to water supply

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Nasi dagang and teh tarik from the same stall in March 2017 when they were operating from their stall

An assortment of kuih for breakfast

With our packed food in hand, we went home. Sue has always liked nasi minyak and Azwa now likes the ayam masak merah that goes with the nasi minyak. She calls it ayam orang kawin since her first encounter with this dish is at a wedding reception! You fry the chicken pieces and then stir them into a tomato sauce based gravy. You need to add chilly paste if you want some heat in it. I had another plate of nasi dagang and laksam and pulut palas.

Laksam

We spend the rest of the morning at home and Edah had to do her weekly shift duty at the retiree’s association. She came back with beef soup, kerabu sayur, ikan sumbat and sambal tempoyak. We cooked rice and after a quick lunch (since I’m still full from my 2nd breakfast), I left for my meeting at the Pahang State Library in Jalan Kemunting, Kuantan. For those who are familiar with Kuantan, Jalan Kemunting was a housing area for government servants and the new state library is built on the site of a house we stayed in for about 9 years. Five of my siblings were married there.

The meeting that I attended was the Pahang State Library Board Meeting and I represented Persatuan Pustakawan Malaysia. This meeting was chaired by the Menteri Besar of Pahang. It was short and sweet and we were then taken on a tour of the new state library. I was totally blown away with the decor of the library and can’t wait to explore further when it opens to the public on 4 September 2017. The Book Cafe is breathtakingly beautiful and we were served tea there. I had a bowl of laksa utara and after a round of good byes, headed home.

Here we go

With the MB of Pahang and some of the Board members

Giving the Jawi script prominence

Sneak peek – you have to wait till 4 September 2017 for the full view

Looking forward to this

Laksa utara at the Book Cafe

Entrance to the Book Cafe

We stayed in for the rest of the day and had leftovers from lunch for dinner. It was an early night for all of us. Tired but happy and looking forward to tomorrow.

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Day 1: To Kuantan instead of Penang

I had made plans with Sue (Suraiya is my eldest daughter) to travel up to Penang on 30 July 2017 and return to Kuala Lumpur on the afternoon of 2 August 2017. The main reason for the trip is for me to attend the opening ceremony of the International Conference on Libraries 2017 or ICOL 2017 organised by the USM Library. The venue was Hotel Vistana and going earlier would give us ample time to explore Penang. But, we had to change our plans since I had to attend a meeting of the Lembaga Perbadanan Perpustakaan Awam Pahang on 1 August 2017 in Kuantan. So, change of plans … from Penang to Kuantan. No regrets since the last time I was back home was in May 2017 to lay my brother to rest and I had intentionally skipped celebrating Aidil Fitri in Kuantan this years.

So, with Sue, Azwa (my 4 year old granddaughter), 2 bags and an assortment of plastic and paper bags we left home at 11.00 am on 31 July 2017.

A quick stop at BHP to fill up the petrol tank and pump air into the tyres, we headed for the Gombak Toll stopping at McDonald’s to get a packed lunch. The weather and traffic were both good. We stopped over and ate the Spicy Korean Burgers from McDonald’s. I ordered the set (which came with an ice blended coke and really crispy criss cross fries which Azwa likes) and an ala carte, each costing RM15.99 and RM12.99 respectively.

Choosing our packed lunch

Spicy Korean burger

Stopped at the Karak Toll and Azwa was spoilt for choice

Sue with Azwa’s goodies

She does not want to be photographed

We then continued with our journey and exited the Temerloh Toll and headed to my cousin’s house in Taman Temerloh Jaya. My sole intention was to visit my one and only aunt (she is my late mum’s youngest sister). My cousin (Ros aka Rosalin) told me earlier on that her mum is feeling poorly and not eating well and so I decided to drop by and say hello. She’s 84 (I think) and alhamdullillah, she looks good but her memory does fail her. It took her quite awhile to remember my late mum and my connection with her but in the end, she had it all figured out. We had lunch – simple but delicious – rice, fried fish, fried chicken, spinach soup, ulam and sambal tempoyak (my all time fav) and my aunt ate heartily and so did I.

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Having lunch with my aunt

Ros then informed me of another cousin of mine who has been admitted to Hospital Temerloh and we agreed to go and see her. Ros, Sue, Azwa, my aunt and I got into Ros’ car and she drove us to the hospital.

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I knew her from way way back

Whilst Sue and Azwa stayed behind exploring the lobby, the rest went up to see Ngah Limah (her late father is my late mum’s brother from the same mother but a different father). Her daughter (my niece) Salmah was there but Ngah Limah has been taken out for a scan. We waited and waited and then Ros took is up to another ward to see another relative who is very sickly. Her husband is related to my late mum – a cousin or something to that effect. We spent some time with her and then went down to see Ngah Limah. She is cheerful and wants to go home but she has to stay awhile cos she is so dehydated. I had to excuse ourselves since I still have to drive down to Kuantan. We got into Ros’ car again and stop over at this shop to get coconut shakes, coconut water, coconut water + lemon and cekodok. After downing 2 glasses of drinks and lots of cekodok, we said our good byes and left for Kuantan but we still had to make a stop at the nearest R&R for prayers.

Highly recommended

You sit in the car and they literally walk to your car to take your orders

Coconut shake – not too sweet but just right

We got into the car once again and I took the wheels only to ask Sue to take over cos I was getting sleepy. Both Azwa and I slept and only woke up on reaching my sister’s (Edah) house in Taman Guru, Kuantan at 8.45 pm. We unpacked and had home cooked dinner and slept.

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Losing my boss and my teacher.

I wrote this on 19 March 2015 but never posted it to the blog. I really don’t know why. But today, I picked this up as a draft in my WP and I feel its time to post this.  Here goes:

On 8 March 2015, I posted my birthday greetings to him. Normally, it would just be “happy birthday” but this time, I thanked him for all his guidance and patience with me in my early years in the profession.

“Happy birthday Mr Lim … thank you for all you guidance and help when I first embarked on this profession. I would not be where I am now without your guidance. Have an enjoyable celebration”. I was quite a “rebel” then. He replied on 11 March 2015 saying that he’s proud of me.

“Tq Edzan Nasir for your kind wishes n your flattering words; you have done extremely well with your own courage n diligence, n I am very proud for you!”

I replied “Thanks Mr. Lim Chee Hong … my early years at USM Library surrounded by knowledgeable seniors helped paved my way. Thanks again.”

On 17 March 2015 or maybe 18 March 2015, I was talking to Rugayah Ali​ (a friend and fellow librarian from USM) about him. But, on 19 March 2015, I received a WA message from Maimunah Kadir​ (a friend and fellow librarian) informing me of his demise. RIP Mr. Lim and I will definitely miss our FB exchanges. This is a reminder to me and the time we have left on this earth.

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Binti Nasir or Binti Che Nasir : a rose by any other name would smell as sweet

I was born on 29 May 1957 at 5.05 am. at the Kuantan District Hospital. I was given the name Nor Edzan and Nor Edzan binti Nasir is the name I carried with me throughout my primary and secondary school days. It was also the name that was written on my first IC or identity card (all Malaysians carry an ID). However, on reaching 18 years old (I think) I went to Jabatan Pendaftaran Negara in Kuantan to change my IC ( we cannot be carrying an IC with a photo of a 13-year old us when we are 18). The officer was checking my IC against my BC or birth certificate and he/she said something like “your father’s name on your IC is not the same as that on your BC”. Hah? “Your BC has your name as NOR EDZAN, mum’s name as ZABEDAH BINTI ZAINAL and dad’s name as CHE NASIR BIN ISMAIL Your IC has your name as NOR EDZAN BINTI NASIR.” Do you get where he/she is coming from? I had no choice but to put my name as NOR EDZAN BINTI CHE NASIR on my new IC. “But what about all my documents since the day I was born that has BINTI NASIR?”. He/she said “Just go to court and make a declaration.” Or maybe he/she said the Commissioner of Oath not Court. Who remembers after all these years?

My BC

On reaching home, I showed my abah aka dad my BC and he said “Oh, everyone referred to me as Che Nasir at the hospital and I guess the MO just wrote it down without giving it much thought.” FYI, my abah was a radiographer at the Kuantan General Hospital and that is an important post then and since he was also educated in India and the UK, he was a big deal at that particular hospital. So I said “What do I do?” He said “It’s ok lah. I know you are my daughter”. Ok … point taken but my siblings could not leave me alone from then on. Every time I misbehave, they would say that I am not eligible for any inheritance when the time comes ‘cos my father’s name is different. So be it.

The first ever competition I entered and won. The it was a book titled Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa – common judges, I was only 7 then but finally read it when I was 17. Another form of my name. from MGS Primary School Kuantan.

My name then until I changed my IC when I wa 18 years old.

And yes, I can sew very well. I made 2 stuffed toys but did not win. This was when I was in MGS Secondary School Kuantan. They love to join my first 2 names.

Form 5 and that’s how the school writes my name.

The exam syndicate got it right

I went on to tertiary education, got a job and all was well and dandy until I started writing.  In my scholarly writings, I use N.N. Edzan as  my writing name and when inverted it appears as Edzan, N.N. I did this ‘cos I want other writers to quote me as Edzan and not Nor or Nasir. So far my name is not an issue until I ehem ehem became “famous”.  I was interviewed and invited for presentations and appeared in mainstream and social media and lo and behold., CHE NASIR became prominent.

USM loves doing this

UNSW always drops the Che

LMU got it right

This is what I go by now

I tried getting rid of the CHE but some one who knows the ins and outs of protocol said NO – that’s your legal name. Ok … point taken.

The name I went by in my last post

So, abah, sorry for this but I still carry your name with pride with or without the CHE. Who would have thought your youngest girl who was so restless in school, rebellious in her university days would have her name in print. My only regret is that you and mak did not get to enjoy the fruits of your labour.

With my late abah on the porch of our house in Bromley, Kent.

With my late mak in Traflagar Square, London.

With my arwah Yee, my eldest brother. This could have been taken at the Clifford School, Kuala Lipis.

I am constantly doa for you, mak, Yee, Yan and Selis. We will meet again one day, in sya Allah. Al-fatihah and may Allah showers His blessings on you all. I truly miss all of you.

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Revisiting my blog – “The Other Side of My Life”

I started this one and only blog in 2009 and my first posting was set in stone on 28 December 2009. It went something like this or rather this was what I posted “Salam & hello everyone out there. I’ve always wanted to blog but never really got down to doing it. The hesitation is not brought about by laziness or procrastination but rather the decision on the focus of my blogs. People might just interpret what I blog as my organisation’s viewpoints and that is a no-no. So, finally, this morning, I registered and my blogging life begins. Contents …. definitely not work-related (I hope) as the tagline suggests. It would be the other things I do to keep me alive.” I made a silent promise to myself then that I will blog at least once a month and yes, I do have lots of stuff to blog about since I was constantly on the move and my days, weeks and months were packed with activities.

Today, out of the blue, I decided to take a peek at my blog. I could remember the URL but totally lost out on my password but me being me, I have written and kept it safe. So, here it is – the blog that I have kept for 8 years, with 40 posts, 41 comments and 11 followers. Sounds utterly pathetic but did I expect a zillion followers? Eleven is reasonably good for a random person like me. Only 40 posts? What was doing all this while? I kept notes and I did take tons of photographs but I procrastinate – to procrastinate simply means to delay or postpone action; put off doing something – that is so so so true of me.

I just remembered a tweet I read this morning – make peace with your past, enjoy the present, and hope for your future. Well, let’s not dwell on the past and let’s move on and get down to some serious business. I retired on 28 May 2017 and what that means is that I’m 60 years old and I don’t hold a 9 to 5 job any more and I’m free. Am I? My last date of work was 26 May 2017 and the following day was the start of Ramadhan which lasts for a month. This Ramadhan was especially meaningful to me since I get to spend it with my daughters (31 and 27 years old respectively) and a granddaughter (4 years old) in the true sense of the word – no rushing from the office and making do with fast dishes for iftar and sahur. I get to prepare food that are their favourites and mine as well. On top of that, since there is no need to prepare breakfast and lunch, I managed to utilise the entire month to declutter the entire house and cleaned it as best I can from top to bottom.  We then celebrated Syawal and we did our Syawal fasting for 6 days after that. Once that is over, I settled into a set routine from 6.30 am. to 11.30 am. and it’s a routine I follow diligently since it will leave me with time to do the things I want to do for the rest of the day and night.

So what do I do? I attend meetings at least twice a month since I still sit on a number of Boards and Committees.

Meeting 1

Meeting in Shah Alam

Meeting 3

… and meeting in Putrajaya

Meeting 5

… and meeting in Kuala Lumpur

Meeting 4

… and another meeting in Kuala Lumpur

What else? I read a lot more nowadays,  do lots of editorial work and I write short pieces for an official blog.

Read 1

Reading this now for a short write-up

Read 2

… and this as well but literally crawling since it is an Indonesian novel

I tend to my small patch of garden on my balcony but 4 pots of my orchids have wilted. Yours truly confidently walked into a hardware store and came across orchid potting medium flown in all the way from the USA. I bought it and transplanted all my orchid plants to the new potting medium. My youngest said something to the effect that sounded like “Malaysian orchids in US soil? What were you thinking Ma?” Point taken. I was also given a hoya plant and I’m looking after it with so much TLC that the other plants are jealous. Some time back I bought 4 air plants but only 1 survived and I pathetically asked for one from the hoya plant owner. Both air plants are doing well.

Hoya

This is not mine but I found this on the Web. Praying for mine to surprise me one day

What else do I do? NO … I am definitely not a couch potato. Someone once advised me not to watch to much TV or else my mind would become dysfunctional and I’m sticking to that advice. What else do I do? Definitely enjoying the company of the one lil’ monster in the form of my 4 year old granddaughter. She is a blessing in my life and is one of the many reasons I wake up each day.

Azwa1

My 4-year old bundle of joy

Friends 1

And I also do a lot of catching up with long lost friends … these are from my secondary school days

4P 1

Catching up with retired librarians at a Hari Raya do

So how do I fit in this blogging thingy in my new lifestyle? Well, I have to blog at least once a week – but then, do I have enough stuff to write about every week? There will definitely be lots of stuff to write about as I journey through the remaining years of my life but once a week? Hmmmm … but first things first, I need to change the name of the blog. When I started out, it was to record the things that I do that are not work related. But now, as a retiree, The Other Side of My Life is so so so inappropriate. Here goes then – Life of a Retiree, Ramblings of a Retiree, My Life Now …. or let’s go for The Other Side of My Life Then and Now. And another thing, I need to start lugging my digital camera around ‘cos my S6 hand phone does not capture moments brilliantly. Or, should I get a new hand phone?

So I now leave you with this which sums up my life right now.

 

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