Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Langkah Kanan Moments

I am sure there’s a lot of wisdom and truth in the practise of doing everything with the right limbs. From pointing to eating and writing, we use our right hands. I remember the slap on the wrist, or a pinch on the thigh, albeit discreetly, each time as a child I handed over something using my left hand.

Walking out of the house and starting out on a journey, the same theory applies. We walk out with the right leg first and say some prayers to accompany us on our journey, even if it is to Mr Patel’s down the road.

Karim Raslan in conversation with Tash Aw

Last Thursday, we sauntered out into the warm summer night, after a fulfilling evening with Tash Aw at the launch of his book “Map of the Invisible World”. He was in conversation with the ever so charming Karim Raslan. Our appetite was much whetted up by the discussion and we were ready for a meal.

There was Sharon Bakar, back in London for a holiday and some work, her li'l sister Therese and another blogger friend Fiona. We chatted so much that we must have forgotten which leg got out of the Asia House building first.

Ruth Rollit, Sharon and Therese

But out we went anyway, walking along New Cavendish Street, off Oxford Street, long after office workers and late night shoppers had gone home. We wanted a bite and extra time to catch up. Sharon has become so Malaysian after more than 25 years there that food is also permanently on her mind, even after the scrumptious currypuffs and springrolls on offer during the book signing.

Anyway, like I said, off we went, left and right or was it right and left. The conversation then centred on where to eat. Therese said she saw a Malaysian restaurant along the street, down the road. I heard the mention of the name Selera and I was delighted as I knew of its impending opening. So, off we went, giggling like schoolgirls being allowed out in the evening.

When we got there, the lights in the restaurant were already dimmed. Sharon and Therese knocked and a gentleman, doing some work near the counter turned around and mouthed the message “Opening on Monday”. We were disheartened. But I decided to try my luck and knocked and waved like a crazy woman for Encik Hafiz, for that was the person near the counter, to notice me. And voila, he did and he broke into a smile and beckoned all of us in.

Selera, he said would be opened on Monday – (last Monday) but come in anyway. He ordered some fried noodles and fried chicken wings. Imagine, we were there for the soft launch! And talk about langkah kanan!

Fiona, Encik Hafiz and Sharon Bakar

We got talking about this and that, Sharon’s husband being Malaysian and Hafiz’s wife being British, meant that there was some common grounds to cover, apart from food . When the wings were all demolished and the remainder of the noodles packed to be taken away, Hafiz casually asked Sharon where she lives in Malaysia. She mentioned a place, Hafiz exclaimed a name and Sharon gave a scream and went red! Talk about six degrees of separation! Langkah kanan brought them to the one person both had known all their lives. Sharon’s husband was Hafiz’s friend since Primary Two and ex MCKK to boot!

So more giggles on the way out until we said goodbye to Sharon and Therese going back to Harrow. Fiona and I made treks to Bond Street station talking about this and that. She asked that one question, “Where do you live?” I mentioned a place and she said, “Well, I stayed there when I first arrived,” and went on to describe the place.

More screams and shouts of disbelief! Fiona actually stayed in a house whose garden is back to back with mine! Langkah kanan? Yes, I think we all sauntered out of Asia House that evening with our best right leg first.

Any langkah kanan moments to share with me?


Address: 19 New Cavendish Street.
Nearest Tube station is Oxford Circus/Bond Street.


masterwordsmith said...

WOW! Kak Teh - You are so lucky rubbing shoulders with my fav local author Karim Raslan.Think Tash Aw's latest book is not in Penang yet.

Glad you had a wonderful time.

Take care and best wishes to you.

Shahieda said...

Hi KT, are you left handed??

Kak Teh said...

Paula, yes, not exactly rubbing shoulders but we did talk and exchange this and that. Soon, another writer will be coming here and will write about it.

Shahieda, oh no, I am not. I am right handed but am not very good with directions. Simple left and right baffles me.
This is a piece abt making the right start. The malay belief that if we start with our rght foot, we'd be blessed with some rezki. Thus the free food at the restaurant!

Ms B said...


Where exactly selera is located? Close to marble arch station?

alaa, KT punya pasal, definitely bukak kedai. *grins*

ray said...

Komen Pak Malim, kucing ray yg alim.

Saya takde tangan, kata Pak Malim sambil menyinsing lengan.

Shahieda said...

I did get the gist of your post, was just asking because I am left handed, wink, wink.

My mom's also baffled with directions, she's left handed too. But the thing is she drives and only knows one route to get to a place, hehehe!! One wrong turn from her would render her completely lost!!

tireless mom said...

Hi Kak Teh

Kam Raslan's Confessions of an Old Boy is too humourous to miss. I am sure you have read that kan. Anyway, like you my langkah kanan somehow has always been associated with food. Is there a scientific explanation?

kay_leeda said...

Kak Teh...saya selalu langkah kanan bila saya ke kedai makan :)
Alhamdulillah...ader je food but I do need to head to the cashier to pay for my bite..heh..heh.

Fiona1 said...

Kak Teh...it was a strange and special night for me. Today a friend of mine won a digital camera in a drawing competition and it was a picture of a foot and it said 'Starting on the Right Foot Forward for the Olympics'....I saw the photo and is that strange or what? God bless you!

MrsNordin said...

My kids and I were talking about this in the car the other day. Nabila, who is left handed, said "If you were right handed, you'll always step out with your right foot first. But if you were left handed, you'll always step out with your left foot first."

Hmm... something to think about.

Anyway, your chance meeting with Hafiz and Fiona et all just goes to show "What a small world!"

Mia's Mom said...

Salam Kak Teh,

My langkah kanan is everytime when I got back to my Mom's place and my SIL is there - She'll always come out with nice blend of ulam (:-D

Well, in my mind, I'm following the route you took that nite - but without Selera of course.

Take Care Kak Teh (:-D)!

Kak Teh said...

Ms B, I've been looking for the address, alas - misplaced it - but will sms you once I find it and put it on blog. It is nearer Oxford Circus and Bond Street. If you come out of Bond street station, walk towards Debenhams, and walk up Vere Street - then at the end of the road, you can across Henrietta Street, walk to the left, cross the road,and you'' be walking up wigmore street- I believe - walk right up and that will take you straight up New Cavendish street. it is some where there. Used to be a chinese restaurant. Like I said, I will sms you the address.

Kak Teh said...

Pak Malim, kalau tak ada tangan Pak Malim suap dengan apa, tanya kak teh sambil bertapa. Susahlah macam tu, keluh kak teh sambil mencari kutu.

Shahieda, my left and right is so appalling - I tend to go opposite directions all the time. I think this is a women's problem -like not being able to read maps.

Kak Teh said...

TM, yes I have read Confessions of an Old Boy - and truly hilarious - but it was written by Kam Raslan, not Karim Raslan. Karim wrote Ceritalah and a few others. Kam is Karim's brother.

Langkah kanan and food? hmmm I think, we Malays always associate things with food. Orang dulu2 memang sungguh pandai mereka2 - and also with rezki, i think.

Kak Teh said...

Kay, aaaah, I was lucky that night, I had earlier approached En Hafiz to interview him on his new venture - and I didnt realise at that time that it wasnt opened yet. Somehow fate brought me and others back there. and I suppose we were given a preview of the food.:)

Fiona, how strange is that!! a winning entry about right foot!! wow! Am speechless now.

Kak Teh said...

Mrs N, I think it has something to do with the brain. Am sure, we Malays associate everything good with the right, but of course there are people who are left handed lke your daughter. and stepping out with the left foot, will get us there as well, kan?

Yes, Indeed, it is a small world. I think most Malaysians find that after ten minutes into a conversation, we're bound to know someone in common.

Kak Teh said...

Mia's Mom, how noce to have SIL to prepare and have ready thngs you like. hehe, when we go back to Malaysia and relatives know that we are visiting - they'd be loads of ketam dishes!!! hah, my langkah kanan will be quickened!

Andrea Wh@tever said...

Kak Teh: I am left-handed, so I always have to be reminded to use my right hand esp when offering food to someone. And I was told that it is 'coz ppl use the left hand to -- uhmm -- wipe their backside. *grins* But the one of setting out with the right feet -- ahh -- this is new to me. But no harm trying eh? Thanks for the heads-up.

Kak Teh said...

andrea, ahh yes, now that you mentioned what I obviously didnt for obvious reasons. Er do assocoate left hand with that task...anyway, setting out with the right foot first , I gather is just to say - start everthing the right way - pun intended as well.

Nen said...

salam...just stumbled upon your blog. sukalah.

terima kasih.

Zendra said...

Kak Teh, mine had to be 55 and a half years ago when I bravely stepped out of the comfort of Mum's tum....... hehe

Kak Teh said...

Nen, terima kasih kerana sudi berkunjung.

Zendra, that goes without saying! Must be the biggest rezki of all.
But just to be a bit facetious: were you born breached? kaki keluar dulu?

Zendra said...

Head first Kak Teh but apparently my legs were extra long the doctor thought I would never be done wriggling out!

Kak Teh said...

Zendra, I guessed as much, and lets just say, your right leg wriggled out first.

Manal said...

Kak Teh, i baru jer had a langkah kanan moment some 40mins ago. I went to our cafe for lunch and there came our dean saying hi and all. Dalam hati i nak la kata, prof belanja saya yea? But I swallowed it up thinking sejak bila i sungguh buddy2 dgn dia although we are in good terms. And then he came to the counter with a plate of nasi with other dishes standing next to me and beckoned the cashier to charge us both so he cud pay for 2 nasi campur. OK, nothing extravagant here, but it made my day hehe....

hajah masnah said...

salam, langkah kanan ...di anggap kebetulan yang membawa rezeki

SkyJuice said...

This entry brought a smile to my face. Sharon is my former lecturer. She's on my Facebook list, but haven't seen her in years. She was one of my referees for my graduate application. :-)

mekyam said...

kt & zendra,

rumour has it that i too tried leaving my mum's tum right foot first.

the midwife screamed "that's WRONG!"

the doc agreed "that's RIGHT!"

confused, i yelped "what's LEFT?"... did an about turn and came out head first.

and everybody went, "ALHAMDULILLAH!" ;D

Madam Tai Tai said...

Hi Kak Teh,

Sadly for me the 'langkah kanan=rezeki' moments have been pretty rare. I've not won anything at functions, despite putting the right foot first when leaving the house and entering the function hall. As for free food at restaurants, no matter how many langkah kanan I have performed, I just never got any!

I guess some langkah kanan luck only works with others, not me. :-(

Pak Zawi said...

Kak Teh,
I will do the same and start off my journey to Europe with the right foot. Who knows I may get to meet Kak Teh and Abe Awang again in London? I will be there on 4 and 5th June before flying home on the 6th.
How is the influenza A(H1N1) over there? Hope there is nothing to worry about.

5xmom.com said...

Kak Teh, apa khabar? Just wanna tell you that all the time, I thought Tash Aw is female. Sigh..show how noob I am.

madam gold said...

Hi Kak Teh,Talking abt left and right ni,teringat I masa kecik2 dulu.I was left handed.Then I went into std one and wrote with my left hand.The teacher hit my fingers almost everyday with a ruler, telling me not good to do things with left hand.So finally I changed to my right hand.Now I write with my right hand but do other things with my left hand including holding a knife.So that makes me a right handed or left handed??Dulu2 guru mana ada attend psychology class.

noor said...

must tell everyone about this new makan2 place kak teh...

Life for Beginners said...

Langkah kanan, langkah kiri, akhirnya kemabali ke tanah sendiri? :)

Six degress of separation or less as blogging and Facebooking brings us closer and closer to each other! :)

Btw, thanks so much for bringing me and CK out for dinner when we visited LOndon. Will update you once I get around blogging about that evening! :)