Tuesday, 31 December 2013

New Year's eve drama


What a way to end the year: laid out on a hospital bed. My first time staying in a hospital as a patient, something which I had managed to avoid for 59 years of my life.

The problem started on Sunday night. At about 9.30 p.m., I was stricken by a bad bout of diarrhea. But I was startled by the amount of fresh blood in the toilet bowl. Three times I had to run to the toilet and three times I had to endure the sight of fresh blood. By 11p.m., I was completed wasted.

My panicking wife wanted to send me to the KPJ Specialist Hospital on the mainland, not the most ideal choice but it was the nearer of two private hospitals to our home. However, the KPJ hospital said they were full and could not send any ambulance around to our house.

The alternative was to send me to the nearest government hospital which would be the Bukit Mertajam Hospital. The ambulance picked me up and delivered me to the emergency ward. I vaguely remembered blood was taken from my arm and an ECG machine hooked up to me to discount the possibility of a heart problem. That turned out normal.

After about two hours, the attendant doctor said that I was well enough to be discharged but initially, my wife wanted me to stay back in the hospital for observation. The doctor, however, cautioned us that the condition in the third class ward may not be acceptable. "You can go see the place for yourself before making up your mind," he suggested. We took his word for it and opted for discharge.

On reaching home, I felt very lightheaded again. No, home was definitely not the place for me to stay but with KPJ and the BM hospitals definitely out of the question, the alternatives left was a private hospital on the island. There were a few for consideration but I chose the Lohguanlye Specialist Centre. It was either that or the Gleneagles or the Adventist hospitals for me. (Going to the Bagan, Pantai, Lam Wah Ee and Island hospitals never ended my mind.)

So my brother-in-law lent his assistance by driving me to Lohguanlye. As an aside, we were stopped at four police check points. I don't know how many he encountered on his way home to Bandar Tasek Mutiara in Simpang Ampat but I'm sure that there must have been one or two too.

Check-in at Lohguanlye was relatively quick and easy, and pretty soon I was warded. The next morning, the surgeon arranged for both gastroscopy and colonoscopy procedures for me on Tuesday. So for the whole of Monday and much of Tuesday, I was put on drip in order to prep me up for the two procedures.

Luckily, my hospitalisation expenses were covered by my wife's medical card from her place of work. That provided my peace of mind. But still, there were some uncertain moments from the insurance company. They wanted to know my medical history, which even annoyed my surgeon because he said diabetes and hypertension had nothing to do with my present condition. However, the questions still had to be answered before the insurance company would give the go-ahead to pay for my procedures.

The approval for payment was received finally after 12 o'clock and the nurses then began preparing me for the appointment with the surgeon. Bearing in mind that this was my first stay in any hospital and the procedures could potentially uncover some serious conditions with my alimentary tract, I was remarkably calm. The sedation worked quickly and before I knew anything, the attending nurse was already trying to wake me up. By my reckoning, the procedures had taken about 45 minutes to complete. By 3p.m., I had been wheeled back to my room, and by 5.30p.m., I was already tucking into my first meal since arrival at the hospital some 36 hours ago.

But I am not discharged yet. That will only come tomorrow morning. So one more night to endure at the hospital. I shall be looking forward to the discharge. Home will look so welcoming after an experience like this. Here's wishing everybody a very Happy New Year.



Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Year-end joke


Okay okay, I have heard this joke before but I've also forgotten about it. However, my memory has just been jolted by someone posting this same very joke on facebook. So before I forget about it again, here is the joke which I'm dedicating to all my chess friends around the globe. Merry Christmas, if you are celebrating. Happy holidays, if you are not.
The big chess tournament was taking place at the Plaza in New York. After the first day's competition, many of the winners were sitting around in the foyer of the hotel talking about their matches and bragging about their wonderful play. After a few drinks they started getting louder and louder until finally, the desk clerk couldn't take any more and kicked them out. The next morning the Manager called the clerk into his office and told him there had been many complaints about his being so rude to the hotel guests....instead of kicking them out, he should have just asked them to be less noisy. The clerk responded, "I'm sorry, but if there's one thing I can't stand, it's chess nuts boasting in an open foyer."

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Jose Rizal: arguably a most famous Quah (Ke) (柯)


I was looking through some of my old stamp albums today. I've got quite a few of them, all dating back to the time when I was just about to enter my teens. The earliest first day cover in my possession for instance, one that was issued by the Malaysian postal authorities, was dated 10 Oct 1964. I wasn't even 10 years old when those stamps came out...

Life in the old days was very simple. No such thing as computers or computer games. No such thing as Internet access. No such thing as mobile telephones, tablets or mobile apps. In fact, if we wanted to have a hobby, the very popular past-times among them were coin collecting, stamp collecting and having pen-pals. I had a pen-pal, but I also plumped for stamp collecting because my father encouraged me to. One of my relatives, an uncle who used to live in a government quarters overlooking the now Penang international airport in Bayan Lepas, was into it too and he used to give me loose stamps. I've no idea where he got them from, but he had a lot of duplicate stamps which he gave away.

That is why I've got to credit Ralph de Vosse for being key in improving my general knowledge of the world around me. The countries of the world, why, I learnt of their very existence through my stamp collection. Nyasaland, Tanganyika, Rhodesia....such exotic names of a few countries in Africa. Ask any teenager today where Malawi, Tanzania and Zanzibar are, and I dare say that they'd be scratching their heads.

Therefore, it was with some nostalgia that I flipped through the pages of my stamp albums this morning. Stamp designs that I had forgotten about quickly came back into my reckon. Then my eyes fell onto several Filipino stamps when I reached that section. A face stared out at me: that of Dr Jose Rizal, acknowledged as the greatest among the national heroes of the Philippines.



I've heard of Jose Rizal before. In 1992 when I visited Manila during the Chess Olympiad, I made it a point to visit the Rizal monument in the city.

The Filipino people are terribly proud of Rizal. His profession was an ophthalmologist but he was also a prolific writer. Through his many works - novels, essays, poems and plays - he galvanised his fellow Filipinos to resist the colonial Spanish authorities and was instrumental in starting a reform movement that grew into a rebellion and subsequently, a revolution. For his role, Rizal was executed by the Spanish Army in Manila on 30 Dec 1896. He was 35 years old.

But there was also one other aspect of Jose Rizal that caught my eye. In the last decade or two, his ancestry had been traced back to China.

Rizal was a fifth-generation patrilineal descendant of a Chinese immigrant entrepreneur who had sailed to the Philippines from Siongque (Zhangcuocun) which was his ancestral village in Chin Kang (modern-day Jinjiang) (晉江), Chuan Chew Hoo (Quanchou) (泉州), Hock Kien Seng (Fukien) in the mid-17th century. The name of his great-great-grandfather was Cue Yi Lam (柯儀南) who then changed his name to Domingo Lamco upon settling down in his new adopted home. The name may have changed but the bloodline remained unchanged.

I'm only mentioning all this because it has now turned out that Jose Rizal and the descendants from his siblings can be considered as part of the wider Quah (柯) diaspora that had left the Hock Kien Seng in China to find a new life in South-East Asia. Interesting, right?


Monday, 23 December 2013

Ajahn Brahm: good, bad, who knows?


I used to own this book: Ajahn Brahm's Who Ordered This Truckload of Dung? I bought it at the end of 2008 when Ajahn Brahm came to Penang for a short series of Dhamma talks. It was the first time that I had met him in person. This book was on sale at the counter and I had it autographed as a keepsake. It was full of short stories and anecdotes. Like the book cover said, it contained inspiring stories for welcoming life's difficulties. I referred to the book often and I even wrote a blog entry here so that I could share one of the stories with other people who would otherwise not have heard of this Abbot of the Bodhinyana Monastery in Serpentine, southern Perth, Australia.

At the end of 2009 when my wife and I had the opportunity to drive around the south-western region of West Australia, we made a detour to the Bodhinyana Monastery, hoping to meet with Ajahn Brahm again. Sadly to us, he was on one of his many speaking jaunts around this part of the world. Such was his popularity then, and such is his popularity until today. So we missed meeting him in Perth.

However, he has been back to Malaysia and in particular, Penang, several times since 2008. Every year at the Sri Mahindarama Buddhist Temple in Kampar Road, Penang, we would be sure to go listen to his Dhamma talks for at least two or three times.

Last year, though, visiting Penang wasn't in his plans. But he is here again today, and will be around for the nightly talks until 29 Dec 2013. All the talks will be at the temple in Kampar Road except for the final one which shall be held at the Triple Wisdom Hall in Pangkor Road, Penang. I've been told that that talk would be bilingual and someone will be translating Ajahn Brahm as the talk progresses.

Anyway, his Truckload of Dung book was a constant companion for both my wife and I. Earlier this year - or was it late last year? - we lent the book to a relative who was facing some really big challenges to her life then. Whether she did read it or not, I wouldn't know but what happened was that the book went missing subsequently. Even this relative could not remember what had happened to it. Did she pass it along to other people to read or worse, was it discarded somewhere to collect dust? I was devastated but I kept quiet. To whoever that owns this autographed copy of mine now, please be free to enjoy and learn from the stories. And after finishing the book, please pass it to other people for their enjoyment too. I would be very happy if they do.

However, I still pined for the missing book because I still needed his teachings to reinforce my own flagging self-belief from time to time. Last Saturday at the Sri Mahindarama temple, I had hoped to see the book on sale again as I had wished to get a replacement. But it wasn't.

Yesterday when I was out on the island, I decided to go buy a copy from the Sukhihotu bookshop in Gottlieb Road, Penang. Yes, the book was on the shelf and I gladly picked up a copy again. So now I have a replacement but obviously, this one will never be an exact copy of the first one, even though it may look the same.

There was also a second book of Ajahn Brahm's that I picked up. The follow-up sequel to the Truckload of Dung, called Good? Bad? Who Knows?, contained a further 108 stories that are guaranteed to lift the spirits of anyone who needs even more inspiration in their lives.

These two books are real treasures. I will recommend them heartily to anyone who claims that books about Buddhism are generally dry, long-winded and difficult to read and comprehend. Ajahn Brahm has shown that there is another side to Buddhist teachings. His method of teaching is contrary to this profiling about Buddhist monks who expound the Dhamma. His is capable of reaching out to the typical common man-in-the-street, like me. If I can pick up these two books willingly, so can you too. Just try it.


Sunday, 22 December 2013

Tang Chik clansman reunion


This is yet another short piece on today's Tang Chik (Tung Chik) or the winter solstice festival.  This year, my wife and I being unable to roll the glutinous rice balls on account that my aunt had passed on during the year, a kindly neighbour offered us some of her own. They were exquisite.

 
Then later, I made my way to the Swee Cheok Tong in Carnarvon Lane where the Quah Kongsi was offering prayers to our resident deities and our ancestors' memorial tablets for Tang Chik. Although the morning started off slowly at our Kongsi House, the occasion warmed up eventually when several of the members turned up with their families. A small clansman reunion. It was good to see everyone together... 





Weird dream

Today is Tung Chik or Tang Chik. The day of the winter solstice. The day when our nearest star in the sky, the very familiar sun, will be furthest away from the equator. I woke up this morning at 6.45a.m. Outside, it was still dark. I was wondering why I had woken up so early on a Sunday. Then I remembered. I just had a dream and what a curious dream it was!

I dreamt that I was back in school and was sitting for a mathematics examination, and I turned in a blank answer paper because I was distracted by another schoolmate cooking delicious food next to me.

And then inexplicably, I appeared at an eating stall and I emptied out all my pockets to remove several big bunches of keys. All of a sudden, I began climbing a long flight of stone steps back to the school and once inside the classroom - I even remembered the teacher's name as Rejab - I kept hearing someone shouting "five minutes more, five minutes more."

I looked at the mathematics papers. Subjective-style questions that required answers to 120 complicated questions all within one hour. There were calculators and pencils around me, but none on my desk. However, I wasn't panicking. I was the coolest dude in the room.

Oh yes, the schoolmate's food was still there, piping hot and tempting me. Should I eat it or should I start the test? Then I awoke.


Saturday, 21 December 2013

Friday, 20 December 2013

50 years of wedded bliss


I first met Chong Kee Kian in the early 1980s. It was about the time when I was still the honorary secretary of the Penang Chess Association and we were using the Hooi Lye Association in Kimberley Street for our weekly playing sessions. Kee Kian turned up one fine day at a playing session and we became friends after that. At that time, he was still working at the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) base in Butterworth.

When other priorities took over in the 1990s, we sort of lost touch with one another. It was not until when I became more involved attending functions at The Old Frees' Association that we started bumping into one another again, albeit only once a year. Of course, by then, he had retired.

We met again at this year's OFA annual dinner on the 21st of October. Together with several other Old Frees who were in their eighties, he had lined up on the stage as the OFA honoured them. That's him on the far right. He saw me in the crowd and got a little excited. And soon enough, he handed me an invitation to his 50th wedding anniversary dinner.

Well, yesterday was the day of his wedding golden anniversary. I went with my wife to the E&O Hotel. He had booked the whole ballroom for his anniversary function. And Kee Kian being an avid dance enthusiast, the centre of the ballroom was empty for people to dance. And I mean, really dance. Ballroom dancing. Of course, with me being born with two left feet, I only thing that I could do last night was to marvel at the dancers among his invited guests.

But there is something I can do right here and it is to pay tribute to this old chess kaki friend of mine who is well into his eighties but still sprightly enough on his feet as he danced the night away. Kee Kian, here's wishing you and your lovely wife all the very best!



Thursday, 19 December 2013

Christmas orchid


This orchid has sure taken its time to bloom but I'm glad that it has. The colour is a superb pure white with a tinge of yellow around the lip. I'm hoping that it can last till after Christmas.



Thursday, 12 December 2013

Google streetview in Penang


While travelling along Green Lane today, I realised suddenly that I was driving behind a Google maps streetview car before it veered off somewhere. For months already, I had learnt that Google Maps was in the process of introducing their Streetview in Malaysia and in fact, possibly about two months ago, I distinctly remember one such car with a similar camera system attached to its rooftop pulling up beside me at the Pitt Street-Chulia Street traffic lights. But I couldn't take a picture then as the traffic lights had turned green. P.S. Despite the car plying the streets in Penang, there is still no word yet on when exactly Streetview will be rolled out.



Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Heritage and chess together in Penang


Methinks, this is just about the coolest chess backdrop that I've seen in a long while. The first time that I noticed it was before I walked into the tournament hall yesterday and I went, "wow." And why not?

That girl in the centre of the picture can rival the Ernest Zacharevic street art paintings in George Town anytime. It projected the right image for the tournament. Plus, the Queen Victoria memorial clock tower, the Customs building and former railway clock tower, City Hall and Penang trishaws are some of the iconic attractions that point towards the cultural heritage that visitors can see for themselves everywhere. 


The chief arbiter, Hamid Majid, sorting out some details with one of the Indonesian players prior to the start of the first round.
The President of the Municipal Council of Penang Island, Patahiyah bt Ismail, (Hamid wanted to refer to her also as the Lord Mayor of the City of George Town, but his tongue tripped along the way) adding some class to the opening ceremony of the fifth Penang heritage city international chess open tournament. It is important to get the Municipal Council involved. 
As usual, the guest of honour was invited to make the ceremonial first move. Would be about the first time that Uzbekistan's international master, Andrey Kvon, was pushed into the limelight but anyway, he was the highest rated player and thus the first seed in the tournament. Photo opportunities for everyone around. 
The first round in progress. There were 117 players in the open section and 153 in the challengers section. Of the players in the open section, the field included one grandmaster, five international masters, one woman international master, six Fide masters, one woman Fide master and one candidate master.
The top two boards were played on the stage. That's Russian grandmaster Alexander Fominyh standing.
This is my blog and so I shouldn't deny myself the opportunity to take a picture with the Municipal Council president. Haha....



Saturday, 7 December 2013

Connecting the Sin (辛), Quah (柯) and Chuah (蔡) surnames


I came across this book recently, the first volume of a concise history of the Chinese clans in Penang. I thought it could shed more light on the origins of the Quah (柯) clansmen here. Unfortunately, it has caused more confusion for me.

The problem is, long though Chinese culture may be, their history is based less on actual facts than acceptable fiction. History as passed down by word-of-mouth from one generation to another and in the process, gets mangled and fictionalised. As we are at the receiving end of this long process, we have to be quite sceptical of the information we read.

For instance, in the section on the Chay Yeong Tong Sin Quah Chuah Chong Soo (济阳堂辛柯蔡宗祠), this was written about my surname:

"Quah originally came from the period of Spring and Autumn. Qin Bo and Zhong Yong, the eldest and elder brother of King Zhou Wen, respectively, decided to leave Zhou tribe to renounce throne to their brother, the father of King Zhou Wen. Then, they founded the Wu Kingdom in Jiangnan with their descendants adopted the surname Xiang. It was then named as Ke Xiang after forming a league with several feudatories at Keshan. The offspring of the great-grandson of Ke Xiang, who was also the Prince of the Wu Kingdom undertook Ke as their family surname."

All of the above sounded rather familiar, and it should, because despite the quaint sentence construction, spellings and some mistakes with names, the paragraph was similar to what I had written a few days ago on The Quah (柯) surname in a nutshell. But then, in the same section on the Chay Yeong Tong Sin Quah Chuah Chong Soo, the writer attempted to link the three surnames (Sin, Quah and Chuah) together and came up with this romanticised story, which I reproduce word-for-word again from the book:

"The relevance relationship of three clan surnames of Sin, Quah and Chuah can be traced back as this lifeblood heritage was originated from Cai family in Gushi district of Jiyang county in Henan province. He was born in 885 Cai was officially canonised as a government officer in Wu kingdom who married Sin Shi and gave birth to their three sons, they were Zhong Yue, Zhong Shi and Zhong Hui. While his second wife, Ke Shi gave birth to their two daughters. Wu kingdom was extirpated and Southern Tang kingdom was established later in the same year of 937. Cai was implicated and forced them to flee for safety. His three sons had to be renamed as Xin Wen Ye, Ke Ba Shi and Cai Zhong Lie, respectively who fled in three different routes and successfully converged at Jingdong West Road. It was because of the dynastic changes and frequent wars later, they then had to flop about fleeing to Xia Da road of Fengchen village in Fuzhou to settle down.
Let me just add a little note before continuing further. Apparently, it seemed in China's long history, there were three kingdoms or states with the same name, Wu. Taibo and Zhongyong had founded the first state of Wu and it lasted from the 11th Century BC to 473BC. The Wu kingdom mentioned in the above paragraph was the third one that existed sometime from 907AD to 937AD. Okay, back to the book and the story:
"Cai died at the age of 66 on the 12th day of 12th lunar month in 950. He was buried in Xia Da road of Fengchen village with a standing gravestone without engraving a single word on it. Song dynasty established in 960. Xin Wen Yue was the teacher to Zhao Kuang Yin, the founder of Song dynasty. Then, he was canonised a position as Yuan Wai Lang while his two younger brothers, Ke Ba Shi and Cai Zhong Lie were also canonised as government officers. Due to the canonisation, they were unable to change their family surnames. Thus, threesome brothers became the originators of the three clans, Xin, Keh and Cai, respectively. While their father, the senior Cai was revered as the most senior originator.

"The threesome clans adopted Chay Yeong as their clan hall's name indeed they shared the one and only lifeblood heritage. Since then, the descendants reminiscence for their forefathers and set up Chay Yeong Tong as their clan association."

If you have managed to read this much and not only can you understand what went on about a thousand years ago but can also piece together an acceptable chronological sequence after referring also to what I wrote, then good for you because I can't make head or tail out of it completely. But then, Chinese history has never been my strong point....

Note: There is supposed to be a second volume coming out later to cover the other clan houses here. The Penang Swee Cheok Tong Quah Kongsi (檳城瑞鵲堂柯公司) is not included in the first volume and I would presume that the editors will come knocking on our Kongsi's doors soon.


Friday, 6 December 2013

Time fast running out



Let me set the record straight. Many people seemed to be under the assumption that since I was involved with the publication of FIDELIS, the commemorative coffee table book of The Old Frees' Association as a co-editor with Molly Ooi, we - that is, Molly and I - should be involved with the proposal to publish a similar book to commemorate the bicentennary of the Penang Free School in slightly less than three years' time.

All I can ask people to do is, please don't speculate and make assumption. Just because I was roped into the FIDELIS book project from Oct 2011 to Mar 2012, it doesn't mean that I will be the automatic choice for the PFS Bicentennary Committee or whatever relevant committee when it comes to selecting an editorial team for this project. Far from it.

But time is really fast running out for them. The year 2016 will come and go very fast in the blink of an eye.  And so, good luck to whoever are involved with the book eventually. The person will need the time to do a proper job, he will need the firmness not to be diverted and the assertion to make decisions, and he'll need the independence that should go with the job. Make sure he asks for and gets them because it will be essential for him to get the work done with as little intervention or interference as possible.

And I can assure you that unless he has the time, the independence and the personal qualities that go with being an editor, there will be lots of people giving him unneeded suggestions and wanting a finger in every pie all along the way. I've seen it happen with other projects and I don't foresee it being any different in this one. Good luck, again, whoever you are!



A bit of moxabustion



I had a new experience at my weekly acupuncture session last night. As I was getting used to the slight prickly pain of the needle going into my flesh - like ant bites, actually, if one hasn't experienced acupuncture before, but it was a BIG thing to me - the acupuncturist produced a bottle holding six small moxa rolls.

"You're going to use that on me??" I asked the lady, feeling fascinated yet horrified. She just looked at me and nodded. Then she got back to work. Gave my leg muscles a few soft slaps and told me to relax. But how was I to relax when I knew that she was going to burn me up? Or at the very least, smoke up the people around me?

First, she placed a piece of cardboard to cover the needle. Insulation, see, in case, she burned off my skin. Then she pressed one of those sticks into the needle and lit it up with a lighter. Ohh, I tell you, the smell from the burning moxa herb was pungent, yet sweet. Some people said it smelt like burning opium. Frankly, I wouldn't know the difference.

The lady told me that the heat from the burning moxa would be transmitted down the embedded needle into my flesh. It was supposed to provide greater relief. And I was supposed to feel the warmth from this treatment.

Actually, I was too fascinated with the process to even notice the heat. After about eight minutes, the lady came to replace the moxa roll as the old one had been reduced to ashes. And all too soon, the treatment ended and all the needles were removed.

Gosh, what do I need to endure next?


Thursday, 5 December 2013

Fraser's Hill


Today's entry is just going to be mainly a pictorial essay about my weekend trip to Fraser's Hill. It was very wet, very cold and very damp. Possibly not the very best time for a visit. With this kind of atmosphere, there weren't many nice photo opportunities but please enjoy the place as seen from my eyes (and camera).


In order to reach Fraser's Hill, one needs to travel from Kuala Kubu Bharu or Bentong, that is, if one is coming from the direction of Kuala Lumpur. I was there with my wife and daughter.

What puzzled me was why the GPS unit had directed us through the Karak Highway to Bentong instead of through Kuala Kubu Bharu town which would have made our journey much shorter. I would have missed the slow and congested traffic in Bentong but then, I would have missed seeing a new place and also the jackfruit stalls along the way too.

The Gap Road on Route 55, which is the entry point to Fraser's Hill, is already about 800 metres above sea level. It used to be the only access road to the hill station and traffic would take turns at half-hourly intervals to go up or come down. This arrangement has since stopped since a second access road was opened for public use recently. Now, it is a permanent one-way up through the original Gap Road, and down the other way.


The above two pictures are of the Kheng Yuen Lee Eating Shop, which is about the first building you'd notice on the left side as you reach the end of the Gap Road. The food here, like the food everywhere else in Fraser's Hill, was nothing much to shout about but at least, it was Chinese food if that's only to satisfy your craving. The owner said that his shop has been around for about 80 years and he was the second generation operating it. However, he was quite resigned that his children would not want to continue with this business in the future.



The Post Office at Fraser's Hill. As I was expecting to see one of those colonial cylindrical postboxes in this hill station, you can guess my disappointment.


Where we stayed: the Shahzan Inn along the Lady Guillemard Road. Quite well maintained. Nice lobby lounge, pleasant staff. Four cash-operated massage chairs to knead you back to life after the long drive from wherever you came from. Good public Wifi signal in the lobby but unfortunately, none in all the rooms. Even if you have your own personal wireless broadband on your mobile equipment, don't expect the connectivity to be good. In fact, it was very poor and I gave up checking on my emails in the room after a while.


It started raining after we checked into our room. And the mist came. These pictures above were the scenery from the balcony and the front of the hotel.


The rain eased up at about 6.30p.m. and we decided to take a walk into the town centre. Even with the lights failing on a cold, wet evening, a lot of people were still about. We were searching for dinner like them, or they were taking pictures in the dimming light like us.



This is the Scott's Pub and Restaurant. About 10 years ago when I first visited Fraser's Hill, this building was called the Tavern and it was very run down. But it now exudes a very cosy feeling inside. We looked at the menu and then decided to eat elsewhere.

After breakfast on the following morning, we decided to explore the town centre on foot. Mist still lingered in the air but it was comparably clearer than yesterday. 

 The Lady Guillemard Road.

 The Parr Bungalow.

Red bench providing a spot of colour in the town centre.

Some disappointment over the lack of flowers at Fraser's Hill. This was the most attractive.

 Entrance into the Hemmant Trail. Didn't go in as I didn't fancy meeting the leeches.

The obligatory posed picture.

Staircase beside the Bentong Cottage.

 The public garden and food garden complex. The mist was starting to roll in and the rain descended on us again. Time was about 10.15a.m.

Haven't seen such a multi-informational and comprehensive direction road sign before.

It was one o'clock. Almost time to leave Fraser's Hill. But still time for one last photograph of the iconic clock tower.


So this was again at the base of Route 55 which would lead us back to Kuala Lumpur. We had driven down through the second access road, We didn't feel like going through Bentong again, and so we turned right at the junction and went back through Kuala Kubu Bharu.


Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Jackfruit


On our way to Fraser's Hill last Saturday, the GPS took us through Bentong which was a longer journey to the Gap. No idea why it did that because the shorter route was through Kuala Kubu Bharu. Anyway, I have no big regrets passing through Bentong - the only frustration was to endure the slow traffic in the town and also a police checkpoint along the way - because we passed by several roadside fruit stalls. Apart from the durian, the jackfruit (nangka) stalls were plentiful. Must be the season right now. One kilogramme of the jackfruit cost us RM9 and honestly, it was a lot for three people to finish! The stall owners claimed that their jackfruit was as sweet as honey. They weren't kidding.