Tuesday, 20 January 2009

The Streets of London

During the giddy days of courtship not much thought was given to what life had in store for me as a newly wed in a new country. All that mattered then was I was going to be with him and we could be surviving on fresh air and love for that matter and it would be fine. If there were ever any moments of doubts, his favourite song “Streets of London” by Ralph McTell would drift back to reassure me:


“So how can you tell me you're lonely,
And say for you that the sun don't shine?
Let me take you by the hand and lead you through the streets of London
I'll show you something to make you change your mind …”


But, oh, moments of loneliness were aplenty and even Ralph McTell and his delicious rendition couldn’t do anything about it. When he went off to work in the mornings, I’d be left alone to explore London – the London which I only knew from his letters, from the news items that I read in the local papers and from cousins and uncles and aunts who had been here. Indeed, I did have two uncles and their families here and a cousin way out in Kent. But London can be a lonely place.


Where we were, there were indeed a lot of Malaysians and a lot more Arabs, rich Arabs. We arrived at a time when Arabs carried wads of notes in one hand and the tasbih in the other. You held the door open for them as they arrived back to the apartments with maids in tow carrying in their shoppings from Harrods and Selfridges and you’re tipped £10! Such was the flow of money from the oil fields.


My mother need not have worried about me not meeting other Malaysians in London. Before Margaret Thatcher’s increase in foreign students’ fees and Malaysia’s retaliation to buy British last, Malaysians were everywhere; certainly in Oxford Street, Portobello Market and Knightsbridge. On Sundays, among those hecklers at Speaker’s Corner, you were bound to find a few Malaysians.


Those you don't see, made their presence known in other creative ways. Once, while waiting for the District Line train I read some very entertaining graffiti on the wall. I nearly jumped out of my shoes when I saw some familiar angry words in Malay, referring to parts, which will not be mentioned here, belonging to our mothers. I sometimes wonder about this Freudian tendency to link mothers to certain parts of the body. In any language, in any culture, anger and swear words find their way to the mother’s anatomy.


Anyway, keeping true to his promise to take me by the hand and show me the streets of London, I then found myself in the seedy area of Soho, an area where no respectable person would want to be seen when the sun goes down for the skirts and other things were bound to go up. But we were there in the name of getting to know London. Looking at the skimpily clad belles outside certain doors, I wondered when they’d succumb to pneumonia. Tired of Soho we then decided to go for the much talked about movie at the time – Ai No Corrida – Nagisa Oshima’s brilliant piece of work that would have put him in Freud’s good books. It was a love story, but not without sacrifice, one that is X rated, but with a message and one which had every male in the hall crossing their legs and cringing in sympathy with the male antagonist.


Suffice to say, I looked coyly away as any new bride would, and we decided to leave the cinema while it was still dark as the credits rolled, so no one would see us and cast aspersions on our reputation. Being found in Soho was bad enough, but being discovered watching Ai No Corrrida?? Oh no! Anyway, our attempt for a quick exit was hastened by a voice, so loud and clear behind us: “Celaka betui, dia potong binatang tu pulak!”

Like teenagers about to be pounced upon at a blue movie, we giggled and scrambled out of the cinema into the cold night air.



For someone whose overseas trips consisted only of Penang and Singapore, London was indeed an eye opener. There were many things that puzzled and at the same time amazed me. I was in awe of the patience with which people queue. They queue everywhere and God help those who attempt to jump queues. The same goes to buying fruits or vegetables. You just point and indicate how much you want. After learning from my mistakes never to pick and prod a fruit, as my mother would to a mackeral at a market, I then indicated with my two fingers that I wanted two pounds of oranges. The face of the initially friendly stallholder suddenly froze and he icily barked: “Same to you!” Apparently, I had unwittingly given him the two-finger salute.


What amazed me most about the people here was that, they all seemed to be attached to each other at the lips. What we only watched on TV or on the movie screens back home, here they do it freely everywhere; in the tube, by the roadside, at cafes, standing in queues, smooching and exploring each others’ throats. I thought it must surely be a good way to share body heat. At first, I must admit I didn’t know where to look and took to reading adverts on the walls or menus in the cafes.


As time went by, I too became quite an expert in telling the political affiliation of a person, by the newspapers that he or she read in the tube. People hardly talked to each other. Instead, they delved into their reading material with such seriousness if only to avoid eye contact or conversation with the person seated next to them. Only once a while, you’d hear a person breaking the ice with what else, the weather! “Awful weather, isn’t it?” To which you just reply, “Yes, isn’t it” and go back to your Times or The Guardian.


It took a lot of adjusting; not just to the weather, the people and the food, but also to the person who had just become my husband. The novelty of becoming a lady of leisure soon wore out, and I was itching to work again. Getting a job, when unemployment was hitting 2 million, was certainly not an easy task. And to my despair, getting pregnant wasn't that easy as well.



72 comments:

Tie said...

Satu pengalaman yang menarik.

Lama ke nak dapat baby?? Hi hi....
Dah berapa tahun kak teh dok kat london tu?

Kak Teh said...

Tie, setahun lebih jugak laa, tapi bagi seorang yang nak sangat anak, memang tak sanggup tengok orang lain timang anak. Kak Teh dah 29 tahun di sini - dan anak pun dah 4 orang - Alhamdulillah.

sherry said...

Salam Kak..

Eii....lagilah looking forward nak gi sana. Fikir sayang @ kedekut duit memanglah rasa tak nak pergi kan.. Tapi, since tempat nak stay dah ada , rasa sayang plak nak lepaskan begitu sahaja. Siap dapat jugak permission to stay kat rumah dia kat Paris. And yesterday,i tgk tiket Airasia cuma RM 1,992 !What say u Kak?

MrsNordin said...

I remember, my first culture shock when I went to the UK was when I saw people kissing and smooching on the streets like nobody's business. Eee... I was so embarassed! (kita pulak yang segan, kan?)

Another one, the ladies' fitting rooms in the department stores. They all stripped down to their undies (sometimes went completely naked) and the rooms tak ada curtains/doors. Malunya nak try baju!! But after a while, I got used to it.

Pi Bani said...

Haha! Kak Teh pun terra jugak bagi the two-finger salute, eh? Lepas tengok x-rated movie pulak lagi... ;)

maszuzu said...

kak teh..ingat nak duduk kat dlm duvet lama lagi...heheheh...

D said...

I want! I want.. to hold the door open for an Arab 29 years ago!! HeHeHe...

wahaza extra said...

"I saw some familiar angry words in Malay, referring to parts, which will not be mentioned here, belonging to our mothers."

That's funny...

I remember, when I was in London for the first time for work (food exhibition), I was wandering alone (not knowing anything about London) jumping from one tube station to another tube station looking for eggs on Sunday morning (I laugh thinking about stop at Canary Wharf and saying how can I find eggs at this place?).. I was dying to meet one Malaysian, and it was my luck on one tube station and she said goes to this station and look for Tesco Express...

Somehow I think being in a foreign land, running into a familiar face sometimes can be a traumatic and sometimes was a relief.

bangkai said...

Kak Teh

No, ma'am. I wasn't the one who put up the rude graffiti on the District Line. I was nowhere near a tube station at the time. Honest! :-D

Ida Hariati Hashim said...

Salam Kak Teh..

Welcome back, dear..lama dok tunggu Kak Teh ni actually..

I just love London, too bad la none of my kids was born in the UK..actually i nak try water birth, but masa kat sana tak de rezeki la..heheheh

As I read the lines, I could picture the streets on London especially my favourite lepak place, the Covent Garden. Bila I kat sana mula imagine that I was Eliza Doolittle of My Fair Lady.."all I want is a room somewhere..far away from the cold night air.." Wouldn't it be Love(r)ly? :)

isabelle said...

wah kakteh! celik je mata saya kat dunia ni, kakteh dah xde kat mesia eh?

love to read ur writing bearrrry much :P

bila nak start buat buku nih?

elisataufik said...

ha ha.. sungguh nostalgic ;)

kay_leeda said...

Kak Teh,

Your escapade to "Ai No Corrida" kinda remind me of those college days when we saw the XXX movie advert. Being so fresh, some of us even wondered what XXX meant!! Ingatkan macam cerita P.Ramlee - 40 Penyamun tu, bila si Mardina pi put "X" on the houses...LOL!!!

Allan said...

Lah KT! you masih blushing and avert the eyes ke now? You know, I also tak tahu mana nak letak mata when we were walking round Amsterdam red light district!

zaitgha said...

kak Teh,

the lips part tuh brought back old memories when i was in Houston ha ha ha....dah biasa tgk tv couple kissing tuh tak kisah sgt...but first time tgk gay couple kissing tak tau how to describe how i felt he he....

thanks for sharing kak...

mamasita said...

Aww KT,
lovely entry.
Memang betul..they'll queue religiously and saying thank you is like breathing oxygen.Sikit2 thank you..bagus kan.

Macam you cakap lah..takboleh nak pilih2.I had a few scoldings masa nak krebek pilih apples and grapes and veges.The Paki grocerer marah!Malu oi!hehehe

Manal said...

I had this Barbra Streisand song "The way we were" ringing in my mind while reading more and more on your memories of the yesteryears.

My parents pun suka bukak citer lama esp that they were both without parents when they started their marital life, dad is already an orphan and mum left hers in cairo and joined her hubby in msia...I guess one day i will be telling stories of my parents to my future kids then eh?

One of the 1st few new things to me in the UK some 11 years ago was smelling roasted bacon and pork sausages in the open air amidst the car-boot sales and learnt that those tiny dreadlocks on our black friends' heads were actually fake hairs twisted to their original afro root.

Kak Teh said...

Sherry, you datang cuti ke kerja? Let me know and we can meet up. And you must not miss the opportunity to go to Paris - but Paris in February is very cold.
I think Air Asia fare tu untuk March, bukan? Air Asia starts flying to London only in March.

Mrs N, yes, I actually wanted to include that first experience in the changing rooms - memang mengejutkan. But then terlupa and the entry pun dah panjang sangat. May be next time and thanks for reminding me.

DrSam said...

I was still playing with my fighting fishes while you roamed the streets of London.

Such a sweet memoir. A very interesting storytelling masterpiece from a very unique perspective. By the time I finished reading your anecdote, I am not sure whether I miss London anymore.

Have a nice day Kak Teh.

Kak Teh said...

Pi Bani, ha tu laa. Nasib baik tak kena lempang after the two finger salute. And as for the X rated movie tu - bukanlah porn biasa - quite beautifully done and well reviewed. Artistically done, i would say.

Mas, tak boleh dok lama-lama kat bawah duvet - nanti hibernate terus!

Kak Teh said...

D, that was 29 years ago when oil money was flowing freely, greasing the palms of locals! Now, i rada depa pulak buka pintu kat kita.

Wahaza, I think, for me meeting a familiar face is a welcome. Especially when you are in a foreign land - London ni lainlah memang kat mana saja jumpa orang Malaysia. Once I met a couple in the tube - and they were searching for a place to eat. I invited them home, and then later discovered that they were my husband's cousins!

Kak Teh said...

Bangkai, oh dear, the graffiti indeed did not have any of your famous signatures and I would have been disappointed if it was you. But tell me, you were not at the screening of Ai No Corrida, were you?

Ida, Covent Garden was also one of our favourite haunts, lagipun dekat my office- Bush house. Water birth? hmm, wait till I write about the demonstration that I joined to demand freedom for women giving birth.

Kak Teh said...

Isabelle, buku oh buku datang lah cepat sikit! Nak cari ilham tu susah sikit...INsyaallah!

Elisa, someone asked me, why nostalgik sangat akhir2 ni? WEll, at my age, we tend to look back a lot rather than look forward. And kalau kak teh tak tulis sekarang abt events 29 years ago, I'll soon forget them. Betul tak?

Kak Teh said...

Kay, you had me rolling on the floor! X tu macam Ali Baba Bujang Lapok!!! That is so funny - see how naive we were kan? I cant believe how naive I was and how unprepared I was when I stepped foot here.

Allan, sekarang tak blush lagi laa. Dulu tu, ada la sikit2. After all, it was quite a culture shock.

Kak Teh said...

Zai, haha - tu satu lagi abt gays kissing. So unprepared for that - but then again, the locals too would look at us semacam when we walk with our girlfriends, holding hands. Rupanya, it was giving wrong signals.

Mamasita, there are indeed certain things that we should copy but not all. Queueing and saying thank you tu is an example. and please, kan?

Kak Teh said...

Manal, aaargh, I cant stand the smell of sausage on the grill. Baunya macam lekat di badan. But I love the smell of chestnut roasting on the grill in street corners.

Kak Teh said...

Dr Sam, hmmm, was it that bad? Sometimes, looking back, we see things differently as we would when we were , say, teenagers or in the thirties. Now I am more matured, I do look at life differently and thus, a different take. May be the next post will take a different angle again, who knows, kan?

Life for Beginners said...

Oh dear. I just recently watched "Ai No Corrida" and indeed, I crossed my legs with a shudder at a certain scene. Yee-ouch!

The Streets of London can be kind or they can be cruel, but Kak Teh's version is always heartwarming. :)

Ms B said...

Yes Kak Teh, the toll is 2 million. It is scary to some of us as it is our 1st recession experience. In fact, the topic most discussed among my girlfriends is the economy (handbags, shoes and even men are being put aside!) .

I can just imagine you walking out of the xrated cinema. *LOL*

Naz said...

Kak Tehhhhh,
Mak tau tak semua semua ni...amboi naughty anak mak no! :D
You put a smile on my face today too.
My first impression...I was amazed at how polite people were there. They greet, they thank, they apologise for the silliest of things, AND they hold the door! :D

Kak Teh said...

Ms B, the early 80's was also quite bad. There were strikes and strikes. But I was lucky that I got a job quite soon after that and luckily I wasnt really into shoes and handbags. Anything will do. But I was then an expat wife - so not as much worry as I have now. Now baru tahu langit tinggi rendah!
But we live and learn, right?

Kenny, you did? And dont you think its a beautiful piece of work, albeit a very scary one?

Yes, the streets of London can be whatever you want it to be.

Kak Teh said...

Naz, ish ish ish, mana mak nak tau. Tapi when she came in the summer, we took her to Soho in the day time, and Soho in th edaytime is quite different - almost respectable. And when it wa time for prayers, my husband took us to an Islamic centre - side by side dengan SEX shop! di nak pandang mana pun tak tau!

Oh yes, you step on an English man's foot, and he's the one to say sorry.

GUiKP said...

A few of us did make a super quick exit after watching Caligula (aka The Rise and Fall of Rome in polite company), "so no one would see us and cast aspersions on our reputation".

Kak Elle said...

nostalgic..nostalgic...I want more...hahaha

Kak Teh said...

GUiKP, hahaha - we all had such experience, huh! Well, we have to, if not how do we tell such stories to out anak cucu?It cannot be all sterile and innocent, kan?

Kak elle, wokay, will do!

ray said...

Komen Pak Malim kucing ray yg alim.

Saya dah lama tak pi London, kata Pak Malim sambil memakai baju sedondon. Kadang cuaca sejuk buat saya rasa sedikit sepi, kata Pak Malim sambil meminum kopi. Adakah Kak Teh pernah rasa begitu pada masa dahulu? kata Pak Malim sambil memakai kot bulu.

Kak Teh said...

Pak Malim Kucing Ray yang Alim,
memang masa sejuk kak teh rasa sepi, kata kak teh sambil minum kopi. Tapi tak lah boleh nak complain sangat sebab pilihan kita nak dok negeri, orang kan? tanya kak teh sambil siang ikan. Mak kata kalau tak tahan sejuk balik, teringat kak teh sambil bersolek.

Asmida said...

Kak teh,

A fresh air to my dull and super-boring day. Seronok baca entry ni. Kalau bosan2, jemput datang rumah.

NanaDJ said...

Kak Teh,
Better late than never with my comments isn't it?
You make me remember my first time in London, too, with two under fives in tow and leaving my 2 weeks old baby back in Malaysia to join my husband for our postgraduate course. Even the christmas lights of Oxford Streets couldn't wipe away the tears of despair at leaving the baby behind.
But the love affair with London remain till today and you make me realise how much I miss London. You are very good at evoking memories. See you soon, insyaallah. Salam.

Kama At-Tarawis said...

Lovely entry, kak teh. For me, it was a real culture shock to see orang putih mintak sedekah on the platforms of those Tube stations. I was brought up in the mining town of Bukit Besi where we locals had to kowtow to the 'tuans' - geologists & engineers - from Britain, Australia and Scandinavia. So it was almost surreal to see scruffy, unwashed white men begging for pennies and scrounging for lefovers in the bins.

And the Arabs.. they were throwing $$ like nobody's business masa tu kan Kak Teh? Once I masuk Mothercare to buy some stuff for my newborn, only to see this group of Arab ladies in black jubahs, with servants in tow - tolak trolleys - depa kaut entire racks and dump the items in the trolleys! Sampai terasa segan nak shop just for a few barangs..hehehe

mekyam said...

LOL!3x at that unwitting two-finger, kt! :D

you sure that had nothing to do with all those clandestine soho visits? ;D

Aida said...

Kak Teh,

I dunno what's in the air there but I managed to a get TWO proposals of marriage when I was a student there ehhehehe... one was from a long time BF (who I thought was not right for me) and another was from a local who could not see me go hahahhahaha

But one thing I saw that I did not like was that some of our students did not want to be known as anything other than "local" to anyone else, so they would avoid ye contact should we run into them.... it was sad and I have friends just like your children who never knew any other home but the UK, would greet us in such great warmth.

I even met a lady whose mother was Indonesian and father pakistani in Cov where I studied and she invited me home to met her mum after we ran into each other in a local S@insbury (I was in a kebaya, which she recognised as indonesian) and so that her mum would have someone to hear news of her motherland.

I've lost contact... that was over 10 years ago... I wonder how the two are doing.

We should learn some manners from the Brits. I hate having doors shut in my face....

also on Kak Kama's comment: at 5 my maiden trip to london after my parents bought a home there was during those oil rich arab days, my mum pointed out to me and younger brothers outside the window. Two white men picking up the garbage on garbage day ehhehehe

Lyana Mauseth said...

best bc cerita kak teh...few years back, my best friend pun selalu lah cerita perihal london ni..she was staying at mara house, then cerita pasal mawar and naha..pasal art fadzil nyanyi time kat restoren tu...wah sungguh best je dgr...my husband dah nak belikan i tiket pegi sana to meet her as a gift for giving birth to my second boy..but that time emil was only 2 months old..mana blh tinggai wooo...

lama kat teh dok sana...

Kak Teh said...

Asmida, terima kasih kerana menjenguk blog kak teh dan insyaallah, mungkin kita akan berjumpa. Asmida di Ascot, ya? wah, posh area tu. Kak teh dah pernah pergi untuk tengok Polo game - ada entrynya di sini.


NanaDJ, it must be tough leaving a baby so young but what you said reminds me of a book "IBu Melayu mengelilingi Dunia" written by someone very well known...she left her babies - in one of those big ships - for what she called, her pursuit of her first lover. She described the ship pulling away and watching the husband and children and little baby disappear. I cried reading that but my admiration for her grew - she was in search of education - and she was willing to sacrifice a few years apart.

Kak Teh said...

Puteri, yes, that too was quite something. We once went to see an exhibition at the Commonwealth association ...outside were several tramps - one of them spoke malay to us. he was one of those working there before...mesti masa kat sana dilayan macam tuan. and balik sini berubah nasib.
and the arabs? my cousin was working at the shoeshop Freeman Hardy Willis, remember? This arab lady tunjuk ke satu bakul kasut - so she has to go down and serach for the other sde of what must be 200 shoes!!

Kak Teh said...

Mekyam, I learnt my lesson after that!! No more two finger salute. And as for Soho, we'd only goonce in a while - bawa tourist dari malaysia, in case they fall into any trap - like having a drink with a hostess and ending up paying £300! But Soho now is so different. Almost clean.

Kak Teh said...

Aida, two proposals?? wow! I only got chased by two arabs and I was trembling. You see it was summer and I was in my sarong kebaya - that must have excited them a bit and when i tried to run away (very difficult in a sarung) one caught hold of my hand..seram.

Ya, I have heard of these people who wouldnt even look at you. My experience was - i was at this butcher's when I saw a group of Malays. After my shopping I went up to the gentleman and said: Pak Cik silalah datang ke rumah saya makan. The pak cik looked at me, and another Pak Cik by his side said, "Ehem, Dato sibuk. Dato di sini ada urusan!" wah, and by that time a mak datin had appeard by his side too, sizing me up. Ampunnnnlaa sebab tersalah title!

Ya, i have met very nice people who made life bearable during the first few months.

Kak Teh said...

Lyana, mawar sekarang dah tak ada dah - diganti dengan Melur. Dulu Art fazil selalu nyanyi di sini - setiao malam sabtu - kitapun tumpang sekaki. kalau nak dengar art nyanyi and read my entry on that - google art fazil in this blog. Art is now in Singapore.

So, datanglah sini sebelum balik malaysia.

Lyana Mauseth said...

mawar dah ganti dgn melur? wah melayu betul namanya :D...he has good voice kan kak teh, my friend hntr video dia nyanyi lagu engkau laksana bulan...wah meletop!

tah bila i blh jejak london ni...

[danial][ma] said...

hej! kak teh...a down to memory lane of a young bride in london twenty plus years ago...a long journey to a great life for years to come...interesting...;-) and wish you in malaysian spirit a happy chinese new year fill with great wealth, health and joy...gong xi fa cai...

sherry said...

Salam KT.

Saya nak datang for makan angin. Actually ,My friend yang ada kerja-to hias rumah VVIP Pahang from Jan to March. So, dia ajaklah i pergi during dia ada kat sana.

Nak pujuk Datin Mamasita gi sekali ni...Jom Kak Datin., boleh jumpa Kak Teh.

Kak Teh said...

Lyana, yap, mawar dah jadi melur tapi kak teh belum sempat pergi lagi. dengar kata makanan tak begitu sedap macam mawar dulu. Yes, art's engkau laksana bulan pun best. Google lah art fazil dalam blog ni and you can see/hear him sing.

Danial, thank you and have a wonderful celebration too! With the fainted imam??

Kak Teh said...

Sherry, aaah, kak teh faham laa! bestnya dapat makan angin and mesti dapat tempat duduk yang elok, i mean super elok juga. Sultan memang selalu di sini. Met up with him masa dapat doctorate a few months ago.
yes, ajak mamasita. mesti dia nak datang and pergi ke Liverpool jumpa anak dia.

Mama Rock said...

oh kak teh, i had never been to london and wishing that one day i'ld be there too. i used to get postcards from my arwah abah when he was posted in the Uk some time in the 70's. he gave me ideas about exploring the outside world - outside of singapore where I w as born and which I regard that as my kampung and JB my residential home.

and yes, the moment I got the offer letter to the US, i grabbed the opportunity, forgetting my initial plan to take up dentistry at a local U.

if i were a dentist now, i would have my own practice and be flying to london to visit you often :) hahaha, wishful thinking, but InsyaAllah someday...

Maya said...

Z, having heard your hero sing, I can truly understand how he must have swept you off your feet over and over again! I bet he did a great imitation of Monsieur McTell!

The last time I was near Harrods, my youngest refused to come into the store because he became enchanted at what the Arabs were busy showing off. He said," Mum I am not going anywhere. I have never and I don't think I will ever have the opportunity to see so many super duper luxury cars in one neat row like this!" There were Ferraris, Jaguars, Merz SLs, Lamborghinis, Porsches, Maseratis, Lotus, Astons.... even Bentleys and Rolls. Yep, oil money is cheap and you would think the sale at Harrod's was specifically for them! Why not...isn't that a 'taxidermy' of Mr Fayed there in the ground floor? *grin*

I want to see more of Londra when I am there this July and remind H he owes me a trip to Sir Richard Burton's mausoleum.

Hey, let me serve you guys authentic Mapillaikuppam dosai, coconut chutney and dhal!

Your post...the nostalgia is infectious. Thank you!

Kak Teh said...

Maya, this is more like it - seeing you here in blogosphere! Oh no, he didnt sing McTell's, rather he write to me about it and that's how I knew. Ya, would love to have yr dosai...so, it July, eh? Cant wait!

dmystify said...

How time flies . The first time I arrived London was in '86. I was eargerly welcomed by a group of Malaysian students including my brother who is more interested in the 'petai' that I bought in Pasar Chow Kit.

My culture shock apart from what you had nostalgically mentioned is in the morning when the 'Mat Salleh' angkut sampah. Terkejut berok.

As usual, very well said Kak Teh and thanks for bringing us down those wonderful Memory Lane.

Kak Teh said...

dmystify, I bet you must be very popular with the group of malaysians for bringing the petai. I am lucky in a sense I dont crave for that as I wasnt into petai or jering or ulam but how I missed mee goreng mamak. My poor husband had to go hunting for mee goreng - even if it had a sniff of mamak, that would suffice. Teruk, kan?

GUiKP said...

Look forward to the hunting and sniffing episode. Or have you covered it before, and I'm not aware ...

Kak Teh said...

GUiKP, Hunting and sniffing episode? Hmmm, not quite sure what you mean - but what's up with you - tak ada update pun? Busy ke?

GUiKP said...

I mean hunting and sniffing for mee mammak in London. Ye lah Kak Teh, busy at work. Additional admin post since 1 Jan. Plus 3 Arabs from Riyadh are coming down to KL to "chat up" with me very soon. I so look forward to meet them. Wish me luck, k.

Kak Teh said...

Oh, when I was pregnant, i could smell mee mamak from miles away and when it didnt taste like one, I'd break down and cry. Only one place came close to the mee mamak I had in Penang - that's Satay house and the chef was indeed a mamak. It mattered not that he didnt have the kain pelikat lusuh dia!

and yes, good luck!

halwafy said...

Kak Teh..you're such a good writer lah :) I enjoyed reading your entries..nanti kita dtg lagi :)

Kak Teh said...

halwafy!!! Dia datang, dengan lenggang lengguknyaaaa!!! aha, datang menjenguk juga ya! Thanks for kind words. Yes, do visit again.

Nor Azlina said...

Salam Kak Teh

I am really touch with the bit 'Ibu Melayu Mengelilingi Dunia'...kalau boleh tahu who the author is that will be great...sedih sebab i was half way doing my masters and the habibi wanted go abroad..for work.....terbengkalai thesis terus tidak tamat...di mini transcript...

Anyway Kak Teh kalau masih mengidam mee mamak di Reading ada Taste of Malaysia Cafe...the chef india la tapi nama dia Kannan..dulu pernah jadi chef di Hyatt Subang...kalau turun Reading..singgah ke rumah saya....

Kak Teh said...

Nor Aliza, salam perkenalan dan terima kasih kerana menjenguk blog ini.
Ibu melayu mengelilingi dunia ditulis oleh tak lain tak bukan Aishah Ghani - our first few woman minister. I think she left in 1958 or 59. I dont think the book is still in print. And she wrote a second book - a continuation which she said she was going to give me but I have not met her since she said that. Perhaps I will ask someone to convey the message. The first book can be found in The British Library and i think there was a copy in SOAS library though when I serached for it again, I couldnt find it.

Mee mamak? Insyaallah, mee mamak punay pasal, kak teh akan singgah Reading nanti. But i dont have your URL?

Nor Azlina said...

Salam Kak Teh

I found out about your blog through X mass comm website, I have followed your column in NST about your experience in London a while ago, and I knew a little bit about you. I will add you as friend in my pages.

Wasalam

Kak Teh said...

I see. Thanks for coming. So, you member XmassComm? Will go and have a look.

kamal latiff said...

salam kak teh,

syiok baca sampai i kena join sekali....the time of aurther scargill, strike sana sini, dashyat orang puteh punya union, one pakcik melayu bawak tube, dia duduk di wellesden or kensal rise?

remember the heaviest snowfall since the war? that was 81, kami orang malaya sampai berenang dalam snow..di finsbury park. about same time we met tok din di rumah mr ali.

and kalau kat soho, husband kak joyah dia kerja di odeon leicester square....melayu boleh masuk free jugak. now kak joyah is our bidan urut for lepaih pantang, she came complete with limau purut and all the other stuffs - amazing.

di portobello rd every morning ada market, this fish monger orang puteh masa tu buang kepala ikan salmon, trout, melayu mintak dia bagi free mula2....and when we were in wesbourne park there's our favourite thai kedai runcit tawana - ada pisang abu untuk buat goreng pisang.....hooo best nya with those falling snow outside.

dulu the double decker bus, hop in style is london....the conductor ada tiket machine ataih perut galaih kot tengkok, he would say ticket love, yes love.....semua orang dia love.

orang puteh ni ataih bas yang bau busuk sekali kan? lepaih tu dia bangkit nak keluak dia kata excuse me love, busuk mau lalu.....jaga2 masa tu banyak british army dok hidup lagi.

masa tu di england pon ada sorang macam pemegang mohor raja2 iystihar bila nak raya, dia dudok keraih depan tv - tapi dia kata yesterday our hms nottingham.....and 2 of our marines.... and general belgrano.... - everyday dia ada kat tv. melayu pon sedeh.

kita melayu pon jadi patriotic jugak. u can't help it actually - whenever kita sampai dover or see london from the air before touchdown - u rasa this home coming feeling.... london, now there's gulai ayam and bubuk kacang instead of a week of pizzas and croissants in paris.

Kak Teh said...

Salam Kamal, thank you so much for your contribution. I remember all the incidents that you mentioned and the names too. Joyah used to sell kuehs and I think she still does. Husin, her husband then worked at the Dorchester. I think Joyah still urut. They were close friends of my childminder. I see them at the carnival in Brickendonbury.

I am going down memory lane - so do join in when I do that - it will be good to hear your contribution. You dulu kat sini study ka?

kamal latiff said...

salam kak teh,

thank you, alhamdulillah good to know abg husin and kak joyah are still around. salam to them both.

as u know we students stayed everywhere in london, last sekali di highbury with abg jamil and kak midah (used to work at brunei hse).

another name is syed najib, was at high-com and we did those commemorative porcelains for pahang raja muda wedding at that time. he did some forwarding as well.

i bought awang goneng last year, very good read thank u to your husband, and i gave the book to university darul iman UDM vice chancellor who was so proud to own one while none was available in teganu at that time.

Kak Teh said...

Kamal, we seemed to know the same people but our paths didnt meet. Jamil (arwah) used to work with me at the BBC malay service. He was doing part time. Syed najid was married to my friend and I believe he is now back in Malaysia. Both his children are now married and still in London.
Thank you for publicising GUiT. When we went back, my husband gave a talk at one of the Unis in Terengganu - hmmm, cant remember the name and he was very well received there.
Thank you for visiting again.