Thursday, 7 July 2005

LONDON CELEBRATED AND THEN THE MOOD CHANGED...


Kak Teh watching games in 2012

How fast the mood changed. One day people were rejoicing in the streets, doing the conga, celebrating London as the next happening place for the Olympics, and the next day, less than 24 hours, police cars and ambulances were tearing down the streets of London as bombs exploded here and there sending people yet again onto the streets, and this time in a less jovial mood.

I was out there for both, for lack of better word, occassions. But before I blog about yesterday’s happenings, I would like to thank all of you for the numerous SMS and emails and phone calls – you wouldn't believe it. My phone didnt stop ringing or buzzing. I am touched. And thank you!!

Yesterday was reminiscent of what happened four years ago – 9/11- but this time is closer to home. I was getting ready to go out, when there was breaking news on radio. I switched on the tv and there were lots of reports of blasts but nothing confirmed. The first call I received was from Ewok who wanted to know whether I was okay. Ewok, thank God was driving away from it all towards Portsmouth. I am okay, I assured her and proceeded to get ready. I told my husband I needed to go to the uni and will take the bus as one hour on the bus will give me plenty of time to do some work before my meeting with my professor at SOAS.

At the bus stop, I saw a Malaysian family, looking very lost. I said salam and immediately we got to know each other. Apparently, and I must say this with thousands of thanks to God Almighty, they were staying in a hotel in Bayswater and was here for the son’s convocation. Indeed, London or UK is full of parents attending their children’s convocation. They were going to do some sightseeing but was a minute late when they got to the Circle Line station. They were told the stations were all closed. They decided to take a bus to central London, but being new to Lodnon, they took the bus, the number 7 towards the opposite direction – to where I was waiting for my ride. Had they taken the tube just a little earlier, they would have been stranded, either in the tunnel, OR worse, be at Edgeware Road Station, where one of the explosions occured. I offered to take them back as they were totally lost. By then the whole tube system was down.

Things were happening at stations that we frequent daily. Had I taken the tube, Russel Square would have been my stop. And to have Malaysian meals, most Malaysian visitors to London would go to Edgeware Road, a stone’s throw from Mawar restaurant. There was also an explosion there.

The bus was packed and was not going anywhere near central London. London transport staff were using loudspeakers to tell people to stay at home. I received several pleading phonecalls from my daughter to get off the bus. She told me about the explosion near my uni and was very, very worried. I decided to continue my journey, on foot, with my newfound friend.

It was all very surreal. Its not as if we, Londoners are not used to bomb hoax and false alarms. There were numerous occassions when we had to leave shopping complexes, cinemas and conference halls because of some suspected packages. I was covering a Labour Party Conference in Blackpool when people rushed out of the hall because of an explosion. I sat there and prayed because I was too heavily pregnant to move. That happened after the attack on the Grand Hotel in Brighton, where Mrs Thatcher was at the Tory Party conference. At the BBC where I used to work, hoax and false alarm were quite frequent.

Anyway, by then I was receiving sms’s and calls from, and I am not exagerating – all over the world – from Bangladesh to Sweden, Holland, Germany to Australia, Malaysia and Singapore. And they are still coming. One touching one was from Ijun who almost pleaded with me to get off the bus. By then, there were already news coming in that buses were also targets as one had exploded in Russel Square – outside my university – my destination!! Little did I know that by then my email box was quick filling up with messages from professors and administrators to say that the Uni was closed.

We continued our journey on foot and by then it was raining. I was quite, quite determine to finish my work and needed just a table to work and Whiteleys in Bayswater was ideal. I offered my newfound friends coffee at Starbuck and then decided to walk to Edgeware Road. It was then pouring. I received an urgent call from RTM to do a live voice report – which was quite timely as I was somewhere between Paddington Station and Edgeware Road Station. The whole place was sealed off. People were seeking shelter in coffee shops and restaurants. Ambulances and police cars and fire engines were tearing down the streets and yet, not many people on the streets were aware of what had actually happened. People were receiving news via phones. The mobile network was down for a while, which was quite worrying. People were flocking around shops with TVs. To get to anywhere was almost impossible. My newfound friends decided to buy me lunch at Mawar, in return for my services as tourist guide for the day.
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Edgeware Road, normally buzzing with tourists and certainly loads of people from the Middle East, was deserted. We could smell the smoke from the blast. At about 1pm the mainline stations were reopened. The tube stations remained closed. The lady manning Paddinton Station told me that they too were in the dark as to what was happening. She did say that the police were still taking bodies out of Kings Cross station. Tourists were asking her directions and alternative routes and I decided to give her a helping hand by directing tourists to their destinations. Mak Cik Blur menyebok. Bus drivers were exercising their power to the limit, refusing to move or take anymore passengers who were by then pleading. People were getting angry and emotional. Taxis were making a bundle too as they were charging double. Ambulances were parked outside tubes stations and police were not taking any chances with unattended bags or vehicles.
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I took the 36 to Whiteleys again to meet up with my husband and Dr Tripat Narayanan who is here for her booksigning. She has had to potphone it to a later date. deserted Posted by Picasa
Whiteleys was deserted by 5. All the shops were closed and by six the whole place was closed. Police were patrolling the area, going into restaurants and shops. We sat outside eating kebab and sipping mint tea, watching how London was coping with all these. Not too long ago, there was a practise run by emergency services should anything like this happened. I was still in th dark about what actually happened. The Evening Standard was sold out. I bumped into our eldest son, who was frantically trying to phone. My battery was flat. His friend offered us a ride back. Alhamdulillah.

Today is another day. London has seen many too many false alarms and hoaxes. It has finally happened. Sympathies to those affected. Thank you to all who cared and lets pray for a better and safer world.

60 comments:

anedra said...

Yes! Congratulations London! Watched it over the news last night.. YOu should how quiet the Parisians were when it was announced! Does this have anything to do with the David Becham factor??

btw, whats that aunty doing in the corner on that rocking chair?

Kak Teh said...

that is me lah in my rocking chair in 2012!
was in Trafalgar Square after the announcement.haiyo - riuh rendah! not beckhamlah - must be seb coe who pulled it!

anasalwa said...

Alamak Kak Teh: Kasut aunty blur satu warna dengan rambut :))

anedra said...

Oh, ok..cos all I saw was David Becham last night! ;p
You mean, you'll be sitting on that rocking chair in 6 years time and not screaming/cheering on and/or making sardine rolls for the Malaysian Olympics team??? Ya ke ni??? Not in six years..not even in 20 years!

born-again drama queen said...

cutenya that image of you with the rocking chair..kak teh lupa satu lagi, gobek sireh and tmpt pttooey tembakau near you.

faux diamante said...

i was on the way back to singapore when it was announced. the bus i was on was like a scene from a casino in reno with almost everyone betting on which country was to play host.

Lollies said...

Finally!

iJun said...

Kita layan Olympic Games sambil layan Kuey Teow Goreng sama2 ye Kak Teh? hehe

lilheaven said...

ah'hah. saw it on last nite news too. princess anne's speech was pretty good, the way she lobbied them with her forefather's histories n all. good job done for London Olympic team! for now, Kak Teh may look fwd to do reporting LIVE for us all in 6 yrs time. hahahaaa...

AuntyN said...

Kak Teh kena makan gingko tablets, evening primrose tablets, dan sewaktu dengannya lah ni. So that awet muda dan segar bugar, bukan duduk ataih rocking chair tu. I expect you to do the live commentary tu. OK,come on Kak teh time for sprucing up your stamina and wellbeing tu :-)

CN said...

wah..
boleh lah kak teh jadi volunteer ek?

red said...

heard about the blasts in london...are you ok kak teh?

atiza said...

kak teh..i hope you and family are okay..

lotsa luv

Pompit said...

Dear Kak Teh, I am praying for the safety of you and your friends in London ....

Lyza

MassyLassy said...

Kak Teh! You soo funny! That nenek tu you ker? Takkan lah! Congratulations to London!!!

Yelah Kak Teh! I heard about the explosion! Hope all is okay, you're okay kan? Family all okay?

AuntyN said...

Kak Teh, please let us know how you and family are doing. We pray you all are OK, For All Malaysian in London right now.

Ely said...

congrats on London 2012. i wonder howo i will look like in 2012, hehehe.

5xmom ~chanlilian.net~ said...

Kak Teh,
You are in my thoughts and all those affected will be in my prayers. My heart felt a cold rush when I saw the map and thought of your sentralstation. *hugs*

Anonymous said...

alhamdullillah, kakteh and family semua ok. spoke to her earlier this morning.

reporting bagi pihak kakteh,
-klmuk-

dz said...

are you ok kak teh?!

Anonymous said...

Hope that you are ok, spoke to the embassy rep, so far no malaysians involved.

lilheaven said...

our thoughts n prayers r wif u kak teh and everyone there.. take care.

atenah said...

am glad to hear that you are ok and that no Msians were involved. Thank God

Ms.B said...

Kak Teh, please leave us word that you and family are all right.

Times like this, I really wish I had your mobile number so that I can sms you. :(

Prayers and thoughts for your safety and family's.

Honeytar said...

Kak Teh, our thoughts & prayers are with you & your family and all the London gang... take care please.

Anonymous said...

Kak Teh,

Hoping and praying that u & family r safe! Same goes to all Malaysians in London.

Do take care...

::syda::

MakNenek said...

tried to call u kak teh , but tak dapat. but am glad that klmuk got you instead..and told us that you are fine and reporting for home news. alhamdulillah. hope all of ur family members are fine too.

Kak Teh said...

Thank you all for the concern. I am fine. the whole family's fine...will write more abt it. Thanks to all who phoned and sent sms.

karina said...

glad to hear you are safe, kak teh.
do take care.

Anonymous said...

Kak Teh, hope you and your family are ok.

Yeen

ummi said...

assalamu'alaikum kak teh
1st time i heard about the bombing...terus teringatkan kak teh.
i'm glad you are ok.
take care

MA said...

Kak Teh - glad to know you and your family are okay. Masa dgr news tu dlm kereta nak balik from office. Bukak CNN - baru ada 3 deaths. THis morning dah naik 37 deaths (as of 8.30 am)

Hope all Malaysians are accounted for.

thinktankgal said...

I am glad you are OK. My friends are OK....My UK colleagues are alright too....Phew...thank GOD!...My prayers to the victims! Insyallah we will be fine..

Leen Ash Burn said...

Kak Teh,

I hope you and your family is fine *hugs* and prayers to you.

the kimster said...

Kak Teh
Semoga semua orang selamat di sana.

Ms.B said...

Alhamdulillah.

meandbaby said...

Alhamdullillah u and your family ok..

suriyati said...

Congrats to London 2012!!

Anonymous said...

It's terrible, Kak Teh. One day London is on a high, the next, it is down on its knees. Relief to read papers that no Msians are injured and so glad that you and your family are safe. But its so sad for others who died and are injured. Keep well.

Rgds, Lydia

OOD said...

Glad to read this post, it only tells me what i wanted to hear, that you and family selamat. Was worried. I thought this morning nak shake anedra for news of you. Take care kak teh, stay home je lah. Update this spot everyday if you can. One line je pon takpe. Say, 'all is well', memadailah.

Arena said...

Alhamdulillah, Kak Teh tak apa-apa. Risau kita semalam.

Kak Teh said...

thank you for all kind messages and prayers. We will still have to go out and work but it will eman that we will have to be extra careful.

Ely said...

when i heard the news, i cried. i didnt want to lose a friend or didnt want a friend to lose anyone!

thank goodness u're ok. pls stay safe.

huggs

Mohd Adib Noh said...

I am glad to know that you and your family are okay.Salam to your husband and your son.

Take care.

faux diamante said...

wah, am so glad you sounded so adrenalized on the phone rather than shaken from the ruckus. Alhamdulillah you are safe. Alhamdulillahirabbil alamin.

JM said...

Kak teh, you did a good deed helping the Malay family. And Allah protected you. Take care.

sue said...

kak teh,

glad to know tat ure ok!

**hugs**

take care :)

Yam said...

Kak Teh!

Alhamdulillah you're alright over there.
Take care & Allah Bless.

Jiwa Rasa said...

kak teh,

Syukur you and family are safe. Sympathies to the affected families.

I'm just worried about the repercussion of this incident... :(

Kak Teh said...

ely - am touched. Insyaallah we'll be fine.
Pak adib, thanks for visiting and thanks for wishes. Insyaallah I sampaikan salam.
nazrah, jm,sue, yam and jiwa - tak terkata kak teh dengan kesyukuran dan juga sebak dengan ingatan kawan2. Insyaallah, kami akan berhati2 and doakan saja.

nadya said...

kak teh..

stay safe. didoakan selamat selalu...

Nong said...

Alhamdulillah... u & family ok.

All Malaysians over there, take care!

Anonymous said...

kak teh, i was very schocked and saddened by what happened in London yesterday. Alhadulillah...and very very grateful to know that you and your family are safe and sound.

Ewok said...

Kakteh, sad sad sad :-( heard there're still bodies underground,

Nour said...

Another take care message from me, Kak Teh...I missed two bomb incidents while overseas before. Leaves a chill down my spine if you think about it...

hugs*
nour

Lollies said...

I immediately thought of you Kak Teh. Alhamdullilah you are ok

petalingstreet said...

Kak Teh, please be careful. Things might get rough for Muslims there.

Sang Kelate said...

Alhamdullilah semua selamat... didoakan kak Teh sekeluarga sentiasa dlm perlindungan Allah swt.

Hope everything is back to normal soon.

SK

zaireen said...

Kak Teh..

when u mentioned abt Mawar and how close it is with EdgeWare..really makes me nervous! I recommended a friend to go there for lunch...

She's ok.. but am not sure where she is at the moment..

joninho said...

kak teh...your encounter with tht Malaysian family have been published in our malaysian newspaper.press have interviewed tht family and their narrative was similar like what u mentioned.i guessed tht helpful malaysian in the news was you.kudos to kak teh.