Monday, September 22, 2008

A home sweet home with paying guests


A home sweet home with paying guests
By : Sean Augustin

Syed Mohd Hafizuddin Syed Omar says the villagers of Teluk Ketapang are determined to make the homestay programme a success.

KUALA TERENGGANU: It all began when Syed Mohd Hafizuddin Syed Omar adopted a student under the Bakti Siswa programme in 2006.

Bakti Siswa is a community and welfare programme involving home stays for public university undergraduates in different parts of the country.

That experience proved to be an eye-opener for him and his neighbours.

Soon, the idea of welcoming complete strangers into one's home became a popular and profitable practice in Kampung Teluk Ketapang.

One year after the setting up of the Teluk Ketapang homestay programme, the village has been chosen to represent Terengganu for the National Homestay awards in November.

Teluk Ketapang was chosen because it recorded the highest number of foreign tourists.

Last year, villagers welcomed 66 foreign and 554 local tourists. In the first eight months of this year, they played host to 216 foreign and 66 local tourists.

The village's closest homestay competitors, Kampung Pasir Raja and Kampung Rhu 10, recorded 32 foreign guests each.

"We got help from the Malaysia Youth Council. We were short of funds, but the determination of villagers was very strong," said Hafizuddin, who is secretary of the homestay programme.

"Unlike other homestays which had their own tourism product, we did not.

"We are actually a kampung in the middle of the town.

"But it didn't deter us. We established service as our product."

Hafizuddin said ikan celup tepung (deep-fried fish dipped in flour) and monkeys trained to pluck coconuts have also been included as tourism products.

Terengganu Tourism Action Council general manager Ahmad Fathil Abd Ghani said the Teluk Ketapang home-stay was outstanding in terms of management and commitment.

Its participants, he added, were very open to new ideas and would participate in courses organised by the Tourism Ministry and related agencies.

"They are a good role model for others to follow. Their readiness to venture into the industry was an important factor.

"The homestay programme has turned the kampung folk into entrepreneurs."

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Beware of Terengganu danger spots

Saturday September 13, 2008
Beware of Terengganu danger spots

KUALA TERENGGANU: The Terengganu Road Safety Department has issued a warning to roadusers to exercise caution when negotiating the sharp bends known as Viet-namese Curve and Bermuda Triangle during the Hari Raya exodus.

Department director Farrell Charles Rasu said the bends had claimed several lives in previous years and were categorised as dangerous.

He said that Vietnamese Curve was along km26 of the Kuantan-Kuala Terengganu road near Pantai Kelulut and Bermuda Triangle was situated in Jabor.

“I was told that the Pantai Kelulut stretch was labelled as Vietnamese Curve after an accident claimed three members of a Vietnamese family two decades ago.

The Bermuda Triangle, he said, came about when locals claimed that vehicles went missing mysteriously when negotiating the corner in the early 1980s.

“I believe it is all superstition, even though people have told me that Vietnamese Curve is haunted.

“We are studying the principles of engineering, accident analysis, road layout and geometry aspects of the stretches.

“However, we want motorists to be careful when using the stretches during the balik-kampung period,” he said in an interview here recently,

Rasu said the department had evaluated accidents on both stretches by looking at driver behaviour and found that high speed was a major factor.

“The finding is based on estimation of tyre grind and slide, including the coefficient of friction, and it was made known that the drivers had been unable to control their vehicles,” he said.

Rasu said the bends had been placed on the department’s radar for the balik-kampung period.

“We have requested assistance from the Public Works Department, Road Transport Department and police to monitor the stretches,” he said.

Rasu said that safety devices, flexible posts and reflectors had been placed along Vietnamese Curve but motorist still tended to speed.

“We are looking at suggestions to halve accidents on the stretch, including erecting an illuminated warning sign a few kilometres from the bend,” he said.

For the Bermuda Triangle, Rasu said the department had proposed that it be adequately lit and more flexible posts installed.

“I always divulge facts and figures on technical grounds in regard to causes of accidents in the areas,” he added.

Rasu also revealed that dangerous stretches in Besut and Setiu were being monitored closely.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Savouring a royal recipe

Thursday September 11, 2008
Savouring a royal recipe

KOTA BARU: For the first time ever, residents here can taste ayam percik (marinated chicken) made with the secret recipe of the Raja Perempuan of Kelantan Tengku Anis Tengku Abdul Hamid’s family.

Sold only during this Ramadan month, the stall is located along Jalan Padang Garong.

Many Muslims and non-Muslims have been gathering at the stall to see how the chicken is marinated and barbequed.

A customer buying the ayam percik made from a royal recipe in Kota Baru Wednesday.

The stall is the brainchild of Tengku Anis’ younger brother Tengku Abdul Rahman, who employs seven cooks to supply and market the ayam percik.

This is the first time Tengku Abdul Rahman, who manages a factory that produces processed chilli-mixed meat, is venturing into commercial food-making.

After much convincing from friends, Tengku Abdul Rahman, who maintains a low profile, allowed the stall to be featured in the media.

According to Tengku Abdul Rahman, the secret ingredient for the ayam percik is the sauce.

He said he thought it would be wonderful if the people of Kelantan can sample the sauce, which is usually only cooked and savoured by members of the state royal household.

“We take about two and a half hours to produce the sauce, which is blended with onions, chilli, coconut milk, herbs and spices,” he said.

“We take extra care when marinating the chicken to ensure it is not too fatty.”

The stalls sells an average of 30 birds daily when it opens from 4pm till 7pm, he said.

“The recipe can be traced to the ancient Pattani kingdom,” Tengku Abdul Rahman said.

Demand has picked up so much that he is opening stalls at the state royal family-owned Lazat Mesra restaurant in Kubang Kerian and near Hospital Universiti Sains Malaysia.

Tyre dealer Peter Ng said the taste is different from other ayam percik sold at the Ramadan bazaar because the sauce is thicker.

Secretary Daliza Hassan said the chicken sold came in large portions.


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

EMBA - Organisational Behavior (OB)

As you may know, I am just starting my Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA) at UiTM Dungun, Terengganu.

All I have to say is Oh! My Head.... Why Am I Doing Thissss!!!! Takde keja cari keja!!! Well, I concur...

My last degree is about 11 years past, and MBA would not be as hard as M.Economics (I tried to do that 4 years ago at Islamic International University) but cannot cope...

Alas... so.. I have to do it... really have to do it.

Back to my source of gripe, my second study material is Organisational Behavior or OB. The lecturer is Ass. Prof. Dr. from UiTM Main Campus Shah Alam. She is ok but I think my answer to her assignment is gibberish... What is it to say about learned need, perceptual biases, Johari Windows etc etc... It's good cz I can learn and understand more on the behavioral antics in my own organisation but identifying situations and their actual labelling is frustrating. Maybe I haven't study much but with the exam looming on 19 Sept.. aaa.. have to get myself moving....

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Story - How Does Kerteh Derives Its Name??

In the pic, Kimi striked a perfect elephant pose, my mum and sis at the beach of Kuala Kerteh.

I am amused on the previous entry on how places got it names.

Here I would like to add on how Kerteh got its name.

It seems that a long long time ago, Kerteh is a small, sleepy fishermen village. They build huts using bamboo and the nipah leaves as the roof. They are soo poor but alas.. as poor as, they have been bombarded with monkeys that would come and steal food from their kitchen...

The incidents where housewifes shooing off those cheecky buggers.. i.e. shouting Kera Teh... (This pesky monkey).. which when shorten becomes Kerteh.. ha ha ha...

Funny?? Yes.. I thought so as well, but that was the story I saw when I read my dad's report (he was a policeman before he retired) on the origin of Kerteh...

So, now you know the origin of the name Kerteh.. my favourite town!

What's In The Name Of A Place

September 02, 2008 14:21 PM

What's In The Name Of A Place

By Ravichandran D.J. Paul

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 2 (Bernama) -- The name of a place reflects the history, culture and traditions of the location, and there can be no end to the folklore, myths and reasons for the name.

Many of us may have been amused by such curious names of places in Malaysia; Bayan Lepas (escaped parrots), Gelang Patah (broken bangle), Malim Nawar (the religious pundit who creates charm), Selinsing (roll up your sleeves) and Gertak Sanggul (shaken hair bun).

There are also abundant meaningless names. We may have heard enough of Ayer Kuning , Ayer Putih, Pasir Panjang , Pasir Puteh and Pasir Mas. Yet, how did all these names come about?

An old book entitled `Malayan Places Names - Port Weld to Kuantan by S.Durai Raja Singam provides an interesting account of the meaning and the origins of the names of various places.

The book was first published in 1939, with the authors preface dated January the same year, with G.Hawkins of the Malayan Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society scripting the foreword.

Durai Raja Singham noted that in the early 19th century the most common words used to name a place were: Pengkalan or Bagan (a landing point); Bukit (hill); Gunung (mountain); Kampung (village); Kota (fort); Kuala (river mouth); Pulau (island); Sungai (river); Tanjung (promontory or cape); Tasik (lake); Teluk (bay) and Ulu - (upper reaches of a river).


The author noted that the place names were to a great extend bound with the Malay language and history, though some names were of Javanese, Sanskrit, Tamil, Chinese and aboriginal influence.

However, the book pointed that some names became peculiar due to the local dialect or entirely lost through the metamorphosis of the tongue twisters, clippings, the vagaries of quaint pronunciation by village folk and non- Malay lingual difficulties.

A good example is Ringlet in Cameron Highlands, the rendering of the difficult aboriginal word "Ringgiriok, a tree species known to the Semai tribe, which the colonial masters found difficult to pronounce.

The names of places like Gopeng, Kampar, Taiping are Chinese in origin; Chendriang, Kinta, Selama - of aboriginal origin; Bukit Chintamani (Pahang), and Langkawi are of Tamil or Sanskrit origins.

The book notes that Taiping (everlasting peace) is probably the only pure Chinese name, even displacing Malay influence. The name is often encountered in China.


Many of the place names in Malaysia remain the same since time immemorial while some have been changed or modified to suit with times. Yet the stories behind many of the names baffle both believers in myths and linguistics.

The story how Temerloh in Pahang got its name is a good example. In old Malay 'merloh' means sleep and the prefix 'ter' denotes an unintentional action, hence 'termerloh means to fall asleep unintentionally.

According to folklore there was a big durian orchard there belonging to a Malay man who employed an aborigine to collect the durians. One day the aborigine dozed off and the durians were stolen. When the owner asked for an explanation, the aborigine replied "Termerloh, tuan" (I fell asleep, sir). Thus the orchard, which eventually evolved into a settlement, was named Temerloh.

Then there is this interesting folklore of a giant with a toothache striding along the Baling district. He is said to have seized the offending tooth in Kuala 'Pegang' (seize), twisted it savagely at Pulai (local accent for the word pulas, which means to seize), pulled it out and hurled the tooth away in a great circle at Baling (throw). The name of the place where the tooth landed, which should surely come into the story is not known. Did it go too far?

Do you know how Kajang got its name? The book relates that in those days people travelled up and down along the Sungai Langat and used to stop at a point to buy or mend their kajang-kajang (water-proof matting used on boats). Its probable this is how the town of Kajang got its name.

When the railway department asked the Port Dickson district officer what should be the name for the new station eventually called Sirusa, he replied "Perhentian Siput". It only dawned on the railway authorities much later that they have christened their station as "the stopping place of the snail"!

Today's exclusive address of Damansara is probably the corruption of the original name for the port on Sungai Gombak, which was 'Labohan Sara. But how did this happen? The explanation is given in the book but seems a bit complicated.

Fraser's Hill, formerly part of Ulu Tras, is named after the late L.J. Fraser who pioneered mining in the area. Gambang in Pahang is a mining village and the name refers to Javanese xylophone, the gambang gangsa and gambang kayu.

According to the book, Chukai in Terengganu is where the crocodiles in a river there were reputed to take a toll (cukai) of one fisherman every year.

** Cukai is another town of Terengganu's... about 30 mins drive from my hometown Kerteh

We may be familiar with how Ipoh got is name but early references to this place points as Epu. According to one account the present day city inherited the name from the giant Ipoh tree that existed in the vicinity of the present central market and Laxamana road. However, F.W Douglas in his writings has mentioned that another name for Ipoh as Paloh (pools).


Peninsula Malaysia's highest mountain, Gunung Tahan, where according to legend, the summit holds fabulous treasure in the form of gold and jewels, was initially referred as Bukit Larangan (Forbidden Hill). The book states the scholar Munshi Abdullah mentioned this name to Colonel Farquhar in 1819.

Gunung Bubu with its strange looking cleft summit that can be seen from Taiping is said to be a fish trap, 'bubu', which a giant used to catch fish. In case of Gunung Ledang, the fairy, the widow of Nakhoda Ragam, still lives on top of this mountain with a tiger to keep her company.

Gunung Kerbau, is the corruption of Indonesian word 'korbu' meaning mountain.

The names of the islands hold the imagination and affection of its inhabitants. There is Pulau Kendi at southwest of Penang. Legend has it that the famous rover Nahkoda Ragam when passing the spot dropped his water goglet (kendi) overboard, which immediately transformed into the island in question.

A close scrutiny of the Penang map would reveal that there are three small nearby islands with names relating to maternity - Pulau Bunting (pregnant island), Pulau Panggil (the island of the messenger) and Pulau Bidan, (midwife island).

Legend says thousands of years ago there dwelt a demon in Pulau Bunting, which today resembles like a pregnant woman lying on her back. One day the demon saw a princess in labour pain lying on the beach. She had sent a messenger to call for a midwife, but he was gone for so long gone that she had to sent another, who out ran the first one and was returning with a midwife.

But the demon wanted to make sure the birth did not take place. Thus they were all transformed into hills, of which 'Bunting' was the princess, 'Panggilan' the messenger, and 'Bidan' the midwife. The legend adds that during this period, the hills along with Sonsong formed a portion of the mainland.

How did Tioman get its name? One day the elders of the island met to decide on a name. While they were discussing different names, there came a boy chasing his bird (a tiong). When they asked him why he was running, he replied Tiong Man (My tiong). One elder said lets call the island Tiongman and they all agreed but with the passage of time the name evolved into Tioman.


Despite the peculiarities in the names, the mythical giants and demons, to the uninitiated foreigners during the colonial days, these names were attractive. Thus an English writer in 1910 succumbed to the magic of the names and had described them not as exactly as stated in the book.

"The playful Changkat has every right to slumber by the Langkat and the chittering Cherosenese Kamuning in their nest is quite idyllic.

The awful effect of the rubber boom on a poet was responsible for the following:

Linggi longer Lucy
By the gloomy Sungei Way
Where the Vallambrosa (near Klang) chanteth
To the crude Anglo-Malay
And the Batu Tiga leapeth
In the Batu Caves at play
In the dark Mabira Forest
The Nilambur is at a rest
And the playful Changkat Slumbers
By the Langkat it loves best
Come see the chittering Chersonese
Kamuning in their nest
Ah my dainty Damansara
From the Sungei Kapar flee
Leave your haughty Bukit Rajah
To his Cicily Jequie
Come share my stock and give
Oh, give the preference to me.

Even now, with settlements expanding continuously, new names and new places are cropping up all over the nation. Places like Putrajaya, Cyberjaya, Kulim-Bandar Baru, Subang Jaya, Iskandar Malaysia, Nilai 1 and Nilai 3 are good examples.

But they are no longer named after rocks, birds, flower or legends but after the goals and aspirations of a progressive nation, Malaysia.


Monday, September 1, 2008

Merdeka!! Malaysia Independence - 31st August 1957

Happy 51st Merdeka Day!!!!

Well, it has been 51 years since Malaysia gained her independence. Tanah Melayu as it was known then attracted many foreign powers due to the fertility of its land and also abundance of resources such as iron, tin, gold etc. Malaysia and its state have been occupied by the Portugese, British, Japanese and Thais.

As I was born in 1975, I haven't been unfortunate enough to know about the sufferring of Malaysian people during these occupations. Horror stories have been told especially during the Japanese occupation of Malaya people being potong kepara (beheaded).. have to eat tapioca as staple because rice, and other food were scarce and the duit daun pisang (banana leaf money) which was valueless as Japanese keep printing the money without any collateral. Last and most horrifying was of course the shipping of Malaya people to build the railway - a futile exercise that left thousand death.

When I see news of political unstability in Thailand, the ongoing fractions of the Palestinian and the Israelies, Iran, Iraq.. I feel really sad. I hope Malaysia remains stable politically and economicaly.

I have been blessed staying in this country, which give me ample opportunities.. Thank you Malaysia, I love you!