Friday, June 08, 2007

Let's continue with my journey. At the end of 1971 we have to pack our bags and belongings and move to Kuala Terengganu, a costal town and the capital of Terenggannu, which later on will discover oil near her shores. When we move there it was a backward place. The town has only one traffic light at the junction of Gong Kapas. At that time the karak highway was still not yet been built. We have to go the old way and it took us 12 hours to reach Kuala Terengganu from Kuala Lumpur. We use the old road via Bentong , Kuala Lipis to reach her. It was a very tiring journey. Now it takes approximately 5 hours to reach her. But of all places I ve been in Malaya Terengganu was the most beautiful. When we reach there we stay at the rest house which is now has been turn into a premier hotel, the 4 star Pantai Primula Hotel. Our Government Quarters House has already been allocated so when the truck arrives the next morning,with all our belongings we start to move to our new home. Our new Address will be at 415 Jalan Dato Amar Batu Burok Kuala Terengganu. It was a house built for American Peace Corp Volunteers, it was single storey detached house, at a cul de sac area, but instead of two rooms it has three and two servants room at the back. As usual for a Division 1 government officer it was furnish. The beauty of the house was it was right on the beach which was just outside the door. It is still there, as well as my house I stay in Kuala Lumpur. Terenganu has the longest shoreline of all the states in Malaya comparitively. It's main economy at that time was fishing. There was Iron deposit which was mined by the British and Japanese but by the time war was over it was not economical to extract iron from the mines. The mine closed in mid 70's. So it was a poor state but that would change by the discovering of oil deposit near their shores. In Kuala Lumpur I was expose to the upper middle class Malay whom I would regard as friends. Some of them belongs to very rich family but here in Terengganu I seen poor and destitute malays, who live in shacks and yet always have a smile on their face. They were happy and contented in their lives. Terengganu was at that time was 20 years behind the nation, as though time has stood still. Bear in mind that these East Coast States were the cradle of the Malay civilisation even up to now. 95% of these States Population were Malays Muslim. Unlike their West Coast counterpart which I came from, the Malays here carries with them their innocence which presently most Malays I know have lost. In the West Coast, yes, you could see poor Malays,but they have lost their innocence. They were world wary, anger was in their hearts. My Step Grandparents were poor. Both of them were working in the mental hospital as orderly. They were given quarters which is no more than a shack with no rooms just a roof over their head. A brick barrack which houses hundreds of families at a streacth. They share a common bathroom and toilets which still use a bucket system. Not modern western toilets but labourers whose jobs early in the morning to pick up this 'bucket' of humans stool to be destroy. An unpleasant site and job I suppose but in Malaya up to the 70's it was still available. Even in Penang Georgetown old houses still use this bucket system until the 70's. I hate when Im there to do my business, I try to avoid it when I was young, later before my stepgrandfather retires he built a house with a land given by the government with flush toilets and it was ok then.

The only time when I was expose to poverty was when I went back to my ancestor's place in Patanni Thailand in 1971. We stay at a house with no electricity and running water. You do your business in the shrubs, digging a hole and covering it up after you finish. We took our bath from the well so it was an adventure for me. we visit our family crypt and I learn from where our family came from. Yes, I do understand the turmoil that goes on in South Thailand now. It is not unlike the Irish history where the people that never accept the sovereignty of the English fought for a losing war for pride and nothing else. But in Terengganu it was different. The state herself was poor and the people although poor could still smile at you with sincerity which sadly is missing nowdays. Why? Has modernation of the malay population has resulted in this? Why have a subdued and gentle race could turn nasty. Why have a race so confident in their religion and beliefs became so dogmatic! I have no awnser, to that, just a sad feeling of things that could have been but yet unfulfilled. My neighbours on my left was the State Director of the Road Transport Department the Late Encik Ariffin who is also a well known shaman or bomoh who practises Malay magic. The Sultan's Favourite Bomoh. He could heal a person or exorcise one from afar. A unique gift which later I will bear witness in Penang. In front of us stay Encik Aziz's a man from Kedah who is the State Financial Officer. He later would be knighted by the Sultan and earn a datukship. Datuk(Now known) Aziz would head the State Economic Development Corporation. He introduce the silk business to Terengannuand made Terengannu into a plantation state by introducing Oil Palm.His wife was Jamilah from penang. On my left side was the Sultan's Brother who love cars and have many of them. As royalties they keep to themselve and were snooty.

Futher down the road were the Mufti of Trenggannu. the Islamic Head of the state which advice the Sultan on all things religion.He was an Arab Egyptian, very fair and has two lovely daughters who I was smitten with. I think my hormones were acting up. I began to realise the beauty of the opposite sex at still a very relative young age. I began to be aware of them ever since I saw a girl, my father's friend daughter in Genting, when our family went for a trip together at the newly open resort up on the hill. She was exquisite and like the two Egyptian girls she was fair.The Mufti Sheikh Yusof, was a friendly man and he and his wife has a big family. Tomi and Julie was the eldest two girls. Tomi was more beautfiul but Julie has class.They were much older than me and it was just a crush. One of his son is a Doctor in Terengganu and open a private practice there. He was a liberal and an elightened Muslim as forward thinking as Dr Asri the present Mufti of Perlis who is now causing a ripple with the conservative. He was well loved by the Sultan but one of his fatwa, religious edict would cause a furore among the Malays.He kept a pair of dogs, a mongrel and one was given to us to keep.The dog later die. His fatwa was on the samak or cleansing of oneself after touching a wet dog. As it is known, Dogs and Pigs are forbidden to touch by us if it is wet. If it is dry then it is ok but you still wash your hand which is good advice. To make matter worse the malays muslims now have been brainwashed to believe that dogs and pigs are dirty and unclean animals whether it is wet or dry. This is wrong, it is najis, whether it is wet or dry so is your stool and carcass of animals and soil of the earth and blood etc. But when it is wet cleansing it is troublesome, for as syafiee we have to use one part clay(soil) and seven part water.This is messy and troublesome. When it is wet both dogs and pigs became to the muslim Najis Mughlalazah which really means a Gravity Najis. According to this Mufti you could use soap instead of soil or sand because one thing soap is now cleaner than sand or soil was in the olden days. It does make sense and I welcome it with open arms because what if one is allergic to sand a mild soap is the best and what if she or he is a veterinarian, which is fardu kifayah for a muslim to be one, is not pigs and dogs creature of God!

Yet for this fatwa he was panned and ridicule by the malays. The malays forgot that he came from a well connected family,His Grandfather who was the keeper of the Kaabah key and was in charge of the Kaabah covering blanket, was shunned.For what?, because of his view?, he support that view with the hadiths and verses after all being a qualified mufti he does know his religion very well. Sadly the malay Muslim cannot accept his reasoning. At that time the department of religious affair was a small unit under the Prime Minister office lead by a junior officer who was despatch to see the Mufti to resolve his fatwa which was causing ripple with the other muslim clerics. He failed in the end to save his face, he declare that the Mufti belongs to Hanafi school of thoughts thus his edict cannot be accepted for Malays were syafiee. It was ridiculous because he is still Sunni like the Malays but this edict need to be debunk, and so they did. Character Assisination on his family continues, he is said to have dogs in the house etc which was blasphemous and shameful, and even when I entered college years later these unsubstantiated and baseless rumours were circulating among the so called learn elders of the robe. How mean and cruel people are. He was later transferred to the National Mosque in Kuala Lumpur in 1976. He retired there in Kuala Lumpur hide away from the people's eye whom he once lead in prayers.


Post a Comment

<< Home