Wednesday, 20 June 2007

A Weekend of sorts

Comfortable in our baju kelawar batik which clashed shamelessly with the chequered table cloth, we sat buttering our croissants at the breakfast table at lunch time. By the time we each had our third croissant, our conversation had taken us to who’s holidaying with who on the slopes of the Alps, who’s having a rest in Jo’burg away from the hustle bustle of the corporate world and why so and so fell from grace in the unpredictable world of politics. So, this is how the rich and famous live, huh, I thought, stuffing my mouth with more croissants to stop the jaw from clanking to the floor.

I chose to spend the weekend away from the hustle bustle of London, internetless, ymless and indeed blogless. Without much regret, I had packed my weekend bag for a work related trip that was to take me into a world so remote and so different from my own mundane tube to bus to tube routine where a rare treat would be a ride in a black taxi!

Anyway, hubby sent me off at the train station with a hug, a doa and with promises and promises to take the vitamins, the supplements that he religiously packs for me on every trip, I waved him off and immersed myself in the world of Dato Hamid and his delicious Confessions of an Old Boy. Indeed, his world in the prolific hands of Kam Raslan is not unlike that related to me at the breakfast table by my newfound friend.

I ooohed and aaahed as she regaled me with stories of themed parties with VIPs and VVIPs doing the rhumba and the samba, tripping into the pool while doing the hoola-hoola. I tsked-tsked as she intimated about goings on behind the scenes. All these chit chats and Kam Raslan’s book is taking me right back to the seventies and even beyond; Malaysia’s jet setting scene. Now I can’t help thinking that I am taking a fast drive back and back into time with the help of people who were there and had done it.

That was what took me to this remote village last weekend. It was a small quaint village in an idyllic setting, with small winding roads that only allow one vehicle to pass, a local grocery cum post office and a pub, surrounded by low-lying hills that go as far as the eyes could see.
I suppose at a place where time is almost at a standstill, you can afford to look back at leisure.
So, that was what we did the whole weekend. The only trip we made was to the kitchen and back.

We only stopped to switch on the TV to see the Queen’s birthday celebration, and even that took my friend, who had seen the independence of three countries during her lifetime, down memory lane. Watching the smartly dressed soldiers doing the Victory March, she joined in giving the orders. “I led the Victory march in Chittagong, you know,” she said, remembering it as if it was yesterday. And she marvelled at the sight of the Queen, who at 80, a few years younger than her, still looked energetic and strong enough to witness the whole ceremony.

“I was privileged enough to sit with Her Majesty on a settee for two when she visited Malaysia. Her Majesty was amused and highly entertained by the performances of the different ethnic groups in Malaysia the night before – but certainly it seemed to take forever,” she said.

Oh yes, she had been places, she had seen events that we read about in the media. And one weekend is certainly not enough. We talked and talked until she nodded off to sleep and I had to gently wake her up to help her to her room.

She is one of those ex-expat ladies who still remembers Malaya and Malaysia with fondness. Before coming to meet her, I had joined a group of other ex-expat ladies who didn’t want to miss out on celebrating Malaysia’s 50th independence celebration, by reciting pantuns on Malaysia. They had taken the trouble to research on pantuns, brushed up their Malay and went on their own poetic journey to remember Malaysia. I was touched.

On the return journey back I went back to the adventures of Dato Hamid, one I recommend everyone to read. From Swittzerland to Monte Carlo and seedy clubs of London – you will be highly entertained! I promise.

Like I said before, the hayfever and work schedule had meant that I had missed making entries on father’s day, someone’s birthday, the death of someone special and even someone’s wedding. I didn’t realise that when hubby met me at the station that Sunday, it was Father’s Day – but it certainly didn’t matter to him. He kindly took my bag, while I made a quick change into something nice in the ladies’ before I said goodbye to him again.

I was privileged that Sunday to personally wish Selamat Pengantin Baru to someone who had just recently tied the knot. And I can tell you, she is better looking than her pictures in the media! And very nice too!

Aaaaah...welcome back to busy, pollen infested London!


Faten Rafie said...

kakteh, hope the hayfever won't 'catch' you this time :)

Antabax said...

once in a lifetime experience ! anyway, tak rindu kat malaysia ke ? hehehehe.

Kak Teh said...

athene, it has caught me - yes it has and not letting go! still quite bad.

antabax - rindu memanglah rindu dan sebab itulah kena balik selalu.
thanks for the visit.

Anonymous said...

Liz...hey..hey....hey...oppsss.....hope your hayfever now have changed to "saturday Nite Fever" :) I can mail u some "eclair"....ha ha ha..Take it easy. Lurrvee from Christchurch and the scarry marry lambies :)

Salt N Turmeric said...

oooohhh u met our new first lady??
anyways, iv been ur silent reader until now. farina (also in rantauan)

Kak Teh said...

ms lambchop- nak saturday night fever macam mana sebab dok sengau niiiii! oh btw - nona has booked ticket to go home and you had better chaperone her to terengganu.

princess journals, thanks for the visit. Yes, I met her and we had a chit chat. Nice lady ..a real lady.

Kak Elle said...

kak teh hope ur hay fever will subside soon.Oh you get to meet Jeanne ke?

We had to take an earlier flight from london that day much to our unhappiness as our stop in London was indeed too short.

Bergen said...

Ah, you're back.

Anonymous said...

bestnyer melarikan diri dari hiruk pikuk kota..

baju kelawar = all time fav.

Kak Teh said...

kak elle, yes, i got to meet her. It was a memorable day.
Yes yr visit to London was so short. macam mimpi saja. Hope the next onw will be longer.

bergen, yes, i am.

onde-onde - sekali sekala boleh melarikan diri - alas not all the time. yes - baju kelawar - the best invention ever!

Fauziah Ismail said...

Salam Kak Teh
We haven't had the opportunity yet to meet the new Mrs tapi Kak Teh dah jumpa dia, lengkap dengan interview lagi! Nice read.
Lovely lady, isn't she?

wonda said...

Soon you'll be rushed off your feet to meet Datuk Lat, right? Lats of luv from me. Judy posted about him again.

Lee said...

Hello Kak Teh, regret dengar you have hayfever. I was surprised to read London ada pollen? Thought maybe only countryside?
Ahhh, saya lupa, from the gardens, ya?
Enjoyed read your eloquent post as always.
Somehow when I read your posts about London, it brings back memories to me
of Malaysia Hall, Bryanston Sq, Leicester Sq. where I used to go into those HUGE dance halls and dance with strangers, Cafe De Paris, Speaker's corner, Hyde Park where I used to listen to the soap box speakers and ask silly questions.
Of the times my friends Amir and Samsul and I had to walk back to Malaysia Hall from Picidilly circus because the tubes stop running after 2am. We were loafing around Soho and the dance halls around the area, ha ha...and forgot to look at the time.
Sure miss the fish and chips bungkus in News of the world, makan the ikan and read the spicy tidbits, ha ha.
You keep well, Kak Teh. UL.

Blabarella said...

You know, not trying to play down the stories from your ex-expat weekend partner, Kam's book or the elegant newlywed, but all I could think about as I read this post was how I wanted to sink my teeth into a warm croissant with melted butter and jam. By the way, I've 'announced', heh.

Kak Teh said...

cik poziah oi, memang tak disangka akan dapat chit chat tu. She was very sporting and agreed to the questions posed. Ya, I suppose I scooped everyone back home lah. Tak sia-sia rushed back on the train, salin baju di toilet and beli shawl baru sebab nak tutup bahagian-bahagian yang crumpled.

alice, Yes, next week - datuk lat. Cannot be Late for Lat.

Kak Teh said...

Uncle Lee, I think you must read Kam Raslan's book - Confessions of an Old Boy - it will take youdown memory lane. One day,. one day, I will take you by the hand and walk you down memory lanes of London - in my blog of course - when i do, i will alert you.

blabs, oh blabs - good!! I am so happy for you. I wish I can send you croissants - the butter croisaants fresh form the oven are so...Oh I mustnt - its cruel!

Pi Bani said...

Kak Teh berbaju kelawar
Minggu depan jumpa Datuk Lat
Idak ke letih asyik kerja luar?
Ada chan bawak le berehat...


Unknown said...

Hi Kak Teh,

What a loving hubby you have. You are blessed.

So you dah jumpa the new first lady. How wonderful. Kita dekat2 disini belum jumpa..ha ha.

Hayfever! Duh! I saw how my hubby sneezed endlessly when the pollen count was high. Steaming your face helps. What else...ah, I shall not indulge. Bet you know 'em all..ha ha. Cheers.

jaflam said...

Dear Zaharah,

Its good to read your postings on many issues from pak cik sailor to old english ex pat thoughts on 50 years malaysia ..... the place remind me of my college retreat at lake districts.

Most of all i am very happy to catch you back in cyber after last enjoying yr family hospitility more then 17 years ago. I was young marine officer attending IMO meeting then.

Convey my warmest regards to your quiet but great hubby. If u r i KL give a call i will buy u n family a great dinner.

Salam Jaffar Lamri

p/s i will bring tampin linggi along.

Tunku Halim said...

Kak Teh - Sounds like you had a lovely time. Hope the hay fever is better.

I must get hold of Kam Raslan's book and get to know old Dato' Hamid!


kak Teh ni,
you and ur baju kelawar..ehheh...
jeles nya makan croissant...fresh from the oven pulak tu..
Hope you're not too down with hay fever. I guess not. lagipun nothing that can't be cured with croissants with jam and cream, eh?
Take care, kak teh!!!

Unknown said...

Wow! What a weekend for you then...glad to have you back Kak.

Kak Teh said...

Pi Bani,
Kak Teh selalu berbaju kelawar,
sungguh selesa tak ada tara,
Datuk Lat datang mestilah keluar,
dengar cerita kartoonis negara!

Ke hulu ke hilir kak teh berjalan,
ke sana sini mencari makan,
balik rumah berehat sakan,
letak kepala terus pengsan!

Kak Teh said...

ruby, i wish i can run back to pollenless malaysia. Merana saya dibuatnya. But today is cooler and hopefully kinder to me.

Dear Capt. Jaafar (you must have been promoted by now!)
Thanks for the visit...this is one of the wonders of cyber world. We met during a fleeting flight during which I slept most of the time. You visited my house and met the family and I believe we took you back with Pak Samad Said who was on the same flight. You must remember that our floorboards were in a mess! Yes, i remember that!
haha - a thought suddenly occured - why this fascination with sailors and the maritime world?

Kak Teh said...

tunku, i had a productive weekend , yes. But the house was full of lillies - attacking me from all corners of the room! Yes, get Kam raslan's book.

puteri - croissant panas2 dengan butter and jam sedap mak oi!!! sama tarafnya dengan lempeng pisang panas.

raden galoh - yes am back - but that's it - kadang2 ada kadang2 tak ada.

Anonymous said...

Liz...yipeeeee..Nona will be coming back...yeahhhhh...we gonna paint Trengganu red....yeahhhhh (ado raso nyesal????:) Do let me know the details as I will start working AGAIN on August 1st (arrghhhhhhh!)And guess what...I have finally found my mobile number written somewhere in buku 555..:)Will email u the number (ada baca email ka mokcik hayfever?)or will skype you and leave it there, hokeh? Am busy counting the lamb's legs and trying to fit everything into my tummy...errr...suitcase, I mean....(remember the day I stashed everything into the cab from Chapelside to East Ham and the cab driver almost fainted???) ha ha ha

Lurrrveee from Christchurch

Anonymous said...

Waaahhh kak teh... met the 1st lady already. I haven't got the chance to see her in person yet. Hmm... tunggu saja ler nanti. ;)

Kak Teh said...

ms lamb chop, aiyooo I cant put her in a better pair of hands. You can fatten her up. And just one more thing: keep the handphone free - I will call every hour. Just a warning. You have looked after her before when she was abt six or so, i think.

retired mobile mom, hehehe - looks like it.

Atok said...


Kalau ada free time, boleh le ke 'Taste of London' @ Regents Park (21-14th June)... tengok2 our Tourism Msia nye booth and Awana's. Tourism ada bawa this teh tarik/roti canai guy from KL... buat demo. Semalam dah bikin gempaq: tarik pusing2, depan belakang.. siap ada headstand tarik style lagi, tebar roti pun macam2 gaya. I heard, apparently, the guy this year alone dah gi about 30 countries buat this teh tarik/roti canai demo/entertainment.

Khalid Shamsuddin of Jendela Batik boutique pun ada dok mencanting.

i'm planning to go there again this sunday, bawa family. it's a ticketed event but i'm sure you'll get press pass.

next month... Tourism Msia will be taking the whole of Harrods window display. KT nak jadi mannequin kat situ? AG boleh pakai kain batik + semutar, dok ccokoh gayakan oghang k'laut, KT boleh la gayakan kebaya, amacam? hehe.

Hi&Lo said...

Aunty Choc,

Now you see, now you don't.

Great to read you again.

Why pollens love you so much. :)

NorAiniJ said...

Dear Kak Teh,

How are you, hopefully you are back to ur happy/cheerful/read-haired urself :P

Met the new 1st Lady already eh? It was a privilege some sort reading ur piece on the 1st lady in NST the other day. Any chance u will be writing a post all dedicated to trying my luck here ma’am..hehehe, since it is quite hard to get that official info of her here, besides the wikipedia of course.

Anonymous said...

'It was a small quaint village in an idyllic setting, with small winding roads that only allow one vehicle to pass, a local grocery cum post office and a pub, surrounded by low-lying hills that go as far as the eyes could see.'

Oh, that sounds so charming and calming...wish I could unwind there too:)

J.T. said...

That book sounds interesting. I have to get a copy for myself.

You wrote: "I had packed my weekend bag for a work related trip that was to take me into a world so remote and so different from my own mundane tube to bus to tube routine ..."

It does feel good to get away like that, doesn't it? I think the different world that makes it refreshing. I need one soon. :)

Bunga Telur & Bally Shoes said...


kak teh nak mintak tolong sikit
camne nak letak blog saya dalam senarai sentraal?

pastu camne nak letak gambar kecik kat sebelah message
cam kak teh punya gambar 'red haired lady'?

Bergen said...

There's a house in Dungun, a lonely house set facing the South China Sea. The house with memories of people I loved. It's the only house where I belong.

Theta said...

Baju Kelawar? I've seen some Dutch people here wearing them while shopping. Must be a fashion Must! ;-)

Still recovering from your hayfever? Hope you're out of the woods soon. My aunt in Surrey is also chronic hayfever sufferer. Ironically, she's a botanist by profession!

Take care.

A Mature Student said...

Kak Teh, 3 croissants? :P

I hope your hay fever will slowly subside as the summer starts.

Your hubby is like fuss on Father's day and still happy as Larry. How blessed we are.

See you soon!

Unknown said...

Hi Kak Teh,

Actually my friend and I went to one of the 'Readings' where Kam Raslan was one of the guest readers. He read a few excerps from the book. It was hilarious, witty and notty and intense. Now, I must get the little time lah sekarang. You'd know, you run around a lot too, my dear. Sigh!

Bergen said...

Kak Teh, alamak ampun seribu ampun, puan. Komen tu silap taip. Harap ma'af. Nak cakap lain, tapi pi cakap yang lain.

UglyButAdorable said...

welcome back kak teh..hope you are feeling much better...

aaa...u met her ehh...i thot she can carry that..looks presentable..

HCI said...

Kak Teh, wah, dah face to face dah. ada gambar?

Anonymous said...

Dear Kak Teh,

What on earth is baju kelawar? Sounds divine. Where can I get one?

I too have just finished Kam Raslan's CoaOB (courtesy of lil Miz D, the bestest pal an exile could have).

It's a scream, or in today's one-size-fits-all parlance, Datuk Hamid rawks!

I'm sure you agree with me Kak Teh, that there has to be a sequel. No, sequels. [Kam Raslan, if you're reading this, it would be unforgivable if you don't make a series of Datuk Hamid and his adventures sans pareilles... quite quite unforgivable.]

D said...

Superb happenings for a chocaholic, hayfever or not! You're meeting LAT? He's coming to London? WHen? Where? LOL. I remember queueing for his autograph at the release of Lots of Lat. Hppe you get better Kak Teh.

Anonymous said...

Dear Zaharah,

I hope I found the right person. I heard your paper on the monstrous feminine at EUROSEAS in Paris a few years ago and would like your permission to get a copy and to distribute it to my students. I'll be teaching a course on SEAsian cinema and want to focus on horror from M'sia/S'pore/Philippines. Would love to hear from you.
cheers from Down undah,
Gaik (

KakNi said...

Kak Teh, apa khabar?

Nazrah Leopolis said...

steady la kakteh!bet the ex-expats mersmerized u with their pantuns, siap dgn telor mat salleh lagi...

Kak Teh said...

atok, got the message a bit too late and macam mana pun, the park is out of bounds for me now...nanti dok aitchoooo tak habis2.

hi&lo - pollens dont love me - they attack me. next year am going to be more prepared. Will attack them first.

nj, i nearly missed meeting her because I was actually coming from out of London,. She actually arrived ten minuets before me..aiyooo, cannotlah like that.

Kak Teh said...

hazia, i wosh i can do more of unwinding..really, really need it. hehe, tapi apa kan daya?

jt, i thought you had your break already? I cant see any in the near future - not until the whole merdeka celebrations is over.

bunga telur & bally shoes, kak teh minta beribu ampun tak sempat nak buat apa pun. Akan kak teh link kan you sekarang juga.

Kak Teh said...

bergen, i thought this is a cryptic message that i am supposed to decipher - ya, u are forgiven - hehe, but it sounds like a place i need to spend to unwind. Our daughter will be heading towards terengganu come august!

theta, baju kelawar will never be out of is so comfortable and hides a multitude of sins.

dr ve thru - see you! dont be Lat - oh Late.

Kak Teh said...

ruby - the book is deliciously notty!!! wish i can produce something like that.

uBa, yes, she is so pleasant. Am glad I met her.

has, ada, ada!

Kak Teh said...

mekyam, baju kelawar's glamour name is kaftan! hehe! got you!

yes, i think if the confessions of an old boy can be made into a series for tv - it would be hilarious. he shd come out with another one - but usually, the second will not be as good as the first - but Kam raslan can surprise us perhaps.

D - yes,m am meeting Lat - come lah!! take the train!

Kak Teh said...

gaik, yes, you got me alright - i have just emailed my reply to you. but how did you find me? hehe!

ahni, kak teh dah mula sehat - Alhamdulillah. Hari ni tak teruk sangat.

intan- aiya...any pantun do - i will be mesmerised laa

J.T. said...

Which break are you talking about? hahaha
I needed a break from the Roman break (Rome trip was too hectic). I did not get that break. Now, I am on a break from blogging too often but still sitting at home. I cannot count that.
What I need is to getaway from everything. It will happen -*think positive*. hehe

Daphne Ling said...

Wow, you got to meet the First Lady!
Great to have you back Aunty Teh! Am sorry to hear of your hay-fever...Do take care...

Bunga Telur & Bally Shoes said...


terimakash kerana sudi add saya dalam sentraal.
kalau dekat boleh belanja rendang ketam.
jauh xpelah, saya makan sorang


Hi&Lo said...

Bunga Telor so cute. Ajak Kak Teh, then makan seorang.

tony -stand-up philosopher said...

Hi Kak Teh,
Have been in and out of your blog. Nice to have you back.

Pak Tuo said...

Salam Kak Teh,

What I ued to do in hot windy summer is playing my layang-layang at Hyde Park sambil nongkrong the continentals.

well naughty me.......


ilene said...


It's been a while since I salam sama lu. Dropped by to see whether you're gonna blog on Lat or will it be my dear old friend! Whoever it is, please do it fast lah.

I very envious lah you rub rub shoulder with all the who's who.

Apandi Reviews said...

kak, got your message and has been replied in an email. Thanks.

Hazidi said...

Yes, Kak Ah, its the same Hazidi.
Please email me at