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Saturday, November 24, 2007

Fancy another trip to Singapore?






Last night while I was shopping at Tesco Shah Alam (at the same time waiting for a fellow Lelonger whom had won a Transformers Monopoly Set which I had put up for auction at www.lelong.com.my (thanks a zillion friend), I met with my elder cousin, Amir and his wife. Depa ni merancang nai pi ke Singapore in a few days time, so okay, I thought, the more the merrier as I am also thinking of bringing my mom & maya (kalau dia tak kena pergi klas) but tak tahu bila... this is the right opportunity...right?

Okay, let us see, the brief agenda dia macam ni:

Part 1 - Hikayat TOK DAK menyerang Singapura

1. Me, my wife, and mom would be heading to JB right after office hours Jumaat malam sabtu. Don't worry, I'll have enough rest as next week, for three days, I'll be participating in BioMalaysia 2007 in PWTC. Tengok, belajar & makan aje... Kerja ofis semua dah cover save for a little bit on the visit from the Iranian delegation je.

2. Saturday morning. we shall be heading to papa's fully furnished apartment yg selama ni kosong - kemas-kemas sikit - rumah ni hanya menjadi rumah persinggahan untuk saudara mara datang menginap. Khabarnya depa ni akan ke Muar dulu, attending kenduri kahwin of a distant relative, right after that depa kononnya nak pi makan Nasi Beriani Batu Pahat yang famous tu... famous apa.... It is tried and tested, tak payahlah jauh-jauh nak makan Nasik kat BP tu.. sebab cawangan dia ada kat Putrajaya (somewhere dekat dengan UNITEN). Kalau nak lagi best, my maid & my wife boleh masakkan sendiri. Toksah le pergi jauh-jauh, sendiri masak sudah tentu lebih POWER punya sebab rahsia nasi briani ni dah terbongkar & kita dah berjaya emulate the same taste macam mana depa yang berniaga nasti tu masak. Likewise, kalau nak merasa steamboat, tak payah le pergi Restoran Johnny tu... kita boleh buat sendiri dah.. if not the same, even better!

3. Ikut plan, khabornya dema akan sampai JB malam - selepas tercapai hajat depa nak melawat tanah penghujung benua Asia kat Kukup, Tanjung Piai - kawasan Pontian tu. Dulu masa Indonesia melancarkan "Ganyang Malaysia" kukup adalah tempat askar Indonesia land dengan payung terjun, tapi land aje terus kena tangkap sebab askar kitra memang dah tunggu depa pun... it ended up masuk kes mahkamah & dilaporkan dalam law reports. Komen aku: la ni musim hujan - Batu Pahat ni adalah kawasan banjir... baru aje lagi tak sampai 3 minggu BP tengelam. Baik le kensel je or postpone the trip to Tanjung Piai to some other time. Memang la tarikan dia menarik, in fact my friend Kamarul pernah ajak nak ke sana sebab dia yang selalu masuk keluar hutan buat kajian pun kata tempat tu cun... and ianya juga adalah syurga pemancing! Kalau setakat spend a few hours je setakat capat certificate - tak cukup. Latest news - bandar Muar dan kawasan sekitarnya dilanja banjir dek fenomena "Air Pasang Penuh".

"Ayor pasang pagi
Surut pukul sepuluh
Hujan malam tadi
aiya....belum juga teduh

Cik Kiah - turun Singapura
Banjir kilat datang, kita naik sampan aje"


4. Khabornya juga deme nak terus masuk ke Singapore malam tu jugak!!!! susah ni.. first sebab masalah passport. Kena lak Sabtu malam ahad... tempat menarik yang ada - Mustafa Centre la... mana lagi, other than that, untuk bawak family, woudl be the night safari, tapi kalau nak pergi ke situ, baik le pergi Night Safari kat Taiping or Zoo Negara aje. Lebih murah, jimat & selesa.

5. SO kalau jadi masuk jugak ke Singapore, tempat menarik yang biasa adalah Bugis Junction, OG dan shoppin centre yang sewaktu dengannya - the year end sale is near! Pastikan kereta kosong, bag masuk singapore pun kosong.. balik penuh!!!

So itulah sahaja setakat ni....

Friday, November 23, 2007

Crossing the border into Thailand, November 2007








The plan...was after picking up Maya at Kolej Insaniyyah, Alor Setar, was to head to Malaysian - Thai Border. Jalan-jalan lagi. Bertolak after office hours Friday balik ke TTDI, to pick up my mom & straight away chow ke Alor Setar. This is less than a week after our trip to Singapore. The usual suspects now would be me, my wife and my mother... bertiga aje kali ni. BErtolak after Isha' & sampai kat Alor Setar 2 am. Takde stop mana-mana except for filling up for petrol at Tapah and Sungai Petani. Spent one night at Grand Continental - (after asking for a corporate rate).

After breakfast, ambil Maya & headed for rumah Paksu makan tengah hari, get some pointers from Paksu and half and hour later, we are off on our way to Bukit Kayu Hitam. We parked our car at Pusat Bebas Cukai @ The Zon, tukar duit kat sana and jalan kaki aje ke check point Thailand accross the border. Tak jaug mana oun. Mamat tukang tulis kad putih will charge a fee unless you are a Malaysian Police. Likewise, the immigration officer will charge Rm1 seorang. The way depa check org keluar masuk was simple - at each check point, dilengkapi dengan desktop camera - so masa korang masuk or keluar, depa will take your photos - manalah tahu - yang masuk muka lain, keluar muka dah lain...

Thanks to the tips from Wikipedia which was found to be very accurate, just a few hundred metres from the checkpoint ada 7-Eleven, kat situ ada perkhidmatan teksi ke Hai Yai for 50 bath seorang. Kalau naik teksi depa nak 500 bath satu teksi. We decided naik van pun okay gak.. no hurry at all, but untuk sampai ke Hotel yang dicadangkan oleh Paksu, tambah je sikit a few bath.

Hotel dia not bad, for 500 bath = RM50 je. Tapi takde breakfast. Lepas check in & mandi, kami pi makan kat a muslim restaurant - Restoran Sulaiman - biasalah thai food. Immediately lepas makan, kami naik Tut-tut - 4 org 60 bath ke Plaza - a famous trader centre kat Hat Yai ni. Ada masalah bahasa sikit.. as tak semua org faham bahasa melayu. Yang menarik kat sini, leather goods (ladies handbags & kasut) & periuk chop Zebra depa tu. Baju-baju pun okay gak. We bought a baju utk ayah kat sini. Banyak sangat barang - so rambang mata nak pilih yang mana satu!!

Makan malam lak, kat depan Plaza.. ada banyak gerai Thai Muslims berniaga kat sini. Takde masalah, sign language aje. Tah laksa or laksam version siam yg kita makan & teramat murah. Balik pun takde problem sebab Tut-Tut dah banyak ada kat situ untuk hantar kita org balik ke Hotel.

Malam kita org jalan lagi, rupanya tak jauh dari hotel - tiap-tiap malam ada pasar malam & makan-makan. semuanya siam punya barang la... try gak masuk shopping complex depa... gila mahal, style jalan bukit bintang. Ada gak sini kedia Jimmy Choo... rega dia pun beribu-ribu... Yang paling menarik - UDANG GALAH saiz XXL.

Trip to Singapore November 2007







Right after Jamilah's convocation ceremony, we went back home to pack. It is always my style - "malam boleh jalan". Bertolak tengah malam from Shah Alam and sampai JB dalam pukul 4 pagi. Tapi takpe sebab the next day memang dah apply cuti. Traffic takle banyak sangat. Friday would be a rest day - saturday baru kami masuk Singapore, as Kamarul is still attending a conference Puteri Pan Pacific Hotel.

Bertolak ke Singapore dalam jam 11 pagi after picking up Kamarul. The usual suspects would be me, being the driver, Kamarul the tourist and my wife. Khabarnya ada sale somewhere bulan ni. Kalau nak jalan pun, kat area Arab Street, Sim Lim Square / Tower and Mustafa Centre that has for quite sometime, beroperasi 24 jam, 365 days a year. Alangkah bagusnya kalau kat Malaysia pun ada business centre macam ni.

First stop after lepas immigration Malaysia & Singapore was to get a new Autopas permit for my Volvo. Selama ni masuk Singapore guna my Honda Accord NGV. It costs us Singapore Dollars 10 utk belu Autopass. Lepas beli Autopass, kami meneruskan perjalanan ke Sim Lim Tower - window shopping as Kamarul wants to see the place depa jual PDAs rega murah, they we went to Marina Bay, saja jalan-jalan. Late lunch was at Restoran Zam-Zam in Arab Street (masa tu kami tak perasan that area tu adalah kawasan the famous Kg Gelam. Then in the evening we shoot off to Bugis Junction where we bought some T-shirts. My wife finally got to buy her covetted Correlle Set at OG yang masa tu ada sale (less than 20%). It is very rarely dapat sale macam ini. In singapore, depa tak bezakan pattern dia. Kalau sale tu sale la... tak kira la yang berbunga sikit or berbunga banyak. So kita orang angkut 2 kotak semuanya. Quite a substantial savings. Meanwhile, aku kena tukar duit yen yang masih ada berbaki tu, and lepas kira balik, walaupun tukaran Yen dah jatuh, masih lagi untung sebab tak dapat harga sale macam tu.

Then kita org pegi lak ke Mustafa Centre where Kamarul bought his bluetooth device. Tah dia kata murah. Aku berkenan nak beli stethescope (tah betul tak idak spelling dia ni). Bukan nak menyamar jadi doktor.. but at least boleh dengar my kids's heartbeat- depa ni prone to Asthama attacks. Tah nantilah tanya rega kat Msia berapa dulu.

Jamilah's Convocation

As to why did they choose a Deepavali holiday to host the event... tak tahu lah. Initially the original plan was to cabut balik ke JB Rabu malam khamis... so that boleh bercuti lebih lama lagi for the planned trip to Singapore with Kamarul. The event was held in Shah Alam's Balai seni Islam. As "graduation"is a once in a lifetime event, takpelah.. kita akan attend. In any event, Jamilah is involved in a Dikir Barat entitled "Dikir DzulIman". So for the first time, Jamilah recieved the award of being "First in Class" for Rightious class DzulIman Section 13.


It is a small world after all. DzulIman was actually managed by persons that I knew, friends in Nuqaba' council back in my student days in IIUM. Jumpa balik Abg Yadman, my old naqib usrah. The pengetua for DzulIman Section 13 was none other than Sister Hazalila Saman. Dia mungkin tak ingat, but aku pernah bergaduh dengan dia way back in 1992 rasanya pasal kes dia yang jaga bab finance tak support my efforts - masa tu I was in charge of IIUM's Convocation Fiesta - jadi Director for General Exhibition. There were other Directors in our group eg. Bro Bakhtiar Pahroraji, Bro Suzirman Sibly - kena jaga Pertandingan Kucing, Maridan - masa tu dia President Student Rep Council, Bro Che Azmi - jaga MEX Exhibition dan tah siapa lagi tah... tapi itu semua cerita lama.. it is now my daughter's "graduation"day. Enjoy the pics. Semoga Jamilah akan terus maju dan cermerlang.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Business Trip to Japan


The trip to Japan was no coincidence. Dah memang plan lamaaaa dah... tapi tak kesampaian sebab the parties masih negotiate the deal. Well, this would be my first visit jauh dari Malaysia sejak 1986 trip pi round ke Europe dulu. Bukan trip main-main sebab kena lak masa bulam puasa.... aku bantai makan sushi ajela...

The weather dah jadi tak betul sebab global warming... so masa sampai tu depa kata sepatutnya dah sejuk, tapi minah jepun yg pandai berbahasa mulayu yg dok sebelah aku dalam flight kata sepatutnya takdelah sampai panas macam ni... mula-mula ingat penat je beli jacket kulit masa trip ke Bukittingi hari tu...but it turned out that malam punyalah sejukkk...

Dari Narita airport, kami bertolak menaiki bas ke Tsukuba-Shi. Tsukuba adalah bandar R&D utama di Jepun. Dah berapa lama kerajaan Jepun wujudkan bandar ni, sangat teratur dan kemas lokasinya. Cuma yang aku tak tahan... perjalanan bas tu... takdela jauh benor Tsukuba dgn Narita - dalam 60km aje, ikut standard Malaysia setengah jam sampai la... tapi bayangkan bas tu jalan tak lebih 50km sejam... rupanya semua trafik macam tu... waima mamat jepun yang drive kereta sport pelik-pelik & Rolls Royce 6.0 cc pun laju tu gak le dia pegi...

Hotel depa... fuh punyalah kecikkkk... no wonder depa suka datang ke Malaysia. Bath tub dia aku takleh lunjur kaki pun, but toilet dia... the best in the world.

The negotiation ended on 18 September, my birthday. Jepun tu bawak kami berempat ke Restoran Goro (ketam). ketam dia besar gila... habis macam-macam jenis masakan, tapi semestinya ketam yg depa serve, dari rebus, goreng, mentahhh dll. Aku sapu semuanya... tak depa terduduk gak tengok bill, sampai beribu2.. nasib korang la...kena bayar.

From Tsukuba, my good friend Kamarul jadi guide kami berjalan ke Tokyo, bandar metropolitan. We took the Tsukuba Express (laju gila wooo) terus ke Asakusa Senzuku......a small town dalam bandar Tokyo. Ingat nak merasa dok hotel kapsul tu... tapi the other team members objected to it - sebab kalau nak mandi takde privacy.

Habih kita org jalan ke Harajuku, Shinjuku, Yamanote, Asakusa ... tah apa nama jepun lagi tah... dari kedai standard macam kat petaling street sampailah ke yg tahap 7 bintang, nak pegang barang kedai tu pun aku tak sanggup sebab mahal sangat...sempatlah beli ole-ole sikit untuk family like the fridge magnets and some kimono (yang murah punya je). Nak beli kimono ori... sama harganya macam ko beli kereta baru!

Kat Akihabara, aku tangkap satu camera/video sanyo. No regrets walaupun it cost me Rm1200 kalau convert duit Malaysia.

Menjelajah Narita menjadi agenda terakhir kami, we took the bullt train ke Narita town & took a cab to Narita Garden Hotel... Hotel ni standard 5 star macam kat Malaysia, besar, luas, tapi unlike the hotels in Tsukuba & Asakusa, tak disediakan internet like kat bilik... toilet dia pun macam kat Malaysia.

Dan kat Narita gak kita org dok borong barangan Hard Rock Cafe Narita, sampai chief bartender panggil kasi complementary drink for us.

Maybe next time, I'll bring my wife along.