Category Archives: Jalan2

Kimi ga matteiru


I am off again. This time to Honshu island of Japan. Just heard on the radio earlier today that Barack Obama will be visiting from next week. Hmmmm….. adakah kita ingin pergi mengendap, buat-buat sibuk? 😛

I don’t like packing for winter. For starters, my winter clothes are pretty much the same stuff I’ve had since the late 90’s, with a few recent additions. Secondly, they take up so much space! In the end, I packed just enough for a few days but still ended up with a full luggage. Ah well.

– – –

There are people to meet, football match to watch, food to eat (of course) and onsen! I just hope the wind won’t freeze my face.

Back in 10 days.

Overheard in Saigon and Mekong Delta

Me: Minah tu tak ada bontot
Her: Sebab tu la dia melebarkan dada yang sejemput tu

Brit girl at the back of the bus: What do you miss the most when you travel?
Brit guy at the back of the bus: A good bed and hot showers

Girl selling t-shirts: What is your best price? You my first customer, bring me lucky, lucky

Aku rasa orang dia kurus-kurus sebab kena naik motor kot

On getting a window-less room in an upscale hotel:

Dalam jail pun ada tingkap kecik

Don’t jog in yogya

We didn’t realise that we had stepped into a time warp, where minutes can pass by agonisingly slow. The name Yogyakarta (pronounced jog-ja) is said to mean “Peace without Conflict” in classic Javanese. It figures, because it became apparent to my companions and I that time stood fairly still less than 24 hours we arrived.

For me, the highlight would be my visit to Borobudur in time to watch the sun rises from behind Mount Merapi. Beautiful.

Mt. Merapi

While we were able to see the volcano from the Buddhist monument, the clouds shrouded the peak when we got to the foot of Merapi. That was a bit disappointing. And get this. We left for Borobudur at 4am, got to Merapi by 9.30am and was back in town by 11am. Not even noon!

Kraton, the Sultan’s palace (he is also the Special Region’s governor), was a bigger disappointment. It was quiet and not lively. There were lots of the palace staff milling around in their traditional gear but somehow that didn’t help much.

All in all, a meaningful sojourn with friends. Good times, some laughs, a bit of drama and for me, tears.

After four years…

“There are many blessings from the tsunami,” the visitor said to her host, who nodded.
“Yes, there are blessings but so many people had to die for them. A very high price to pay,” came the reply. How very true.

Three days. The short trip was enough for me to know that Aceh is still rebuilding itself, from the disaster that struck most of its land almost four-and-a-half years ago. While normalcy have mostly returned, there are enough remnants from the past to remind you of what had happened.

boat on house

mass burial


One scene, for me, that was proof that life goes on for the Acehnese: children playing at the beach with their parents. The only difference was that there is now a big wavebreaker built along that stretch, which suffered quite badly four years ago.

According to the people I met there, Aceh is indeed a different place now. The marked difference was being able to be outdoors after dark as the martial law enforced in 2003 had ended after the tsunami, when the Free Aceh Movement and the Indonesian government signed the Helsinki peace accord in August 2005. Nyamuk pun tak berani keluar malam was the expression she used to stress how life used back then. Now, commerce is thriving and people are not afraid to be out and about, having kopi (ngopi they call it) or just driving around at night.

I met almost 50 teens and university students there, the majority of them were orphaned by the tsunami. All of them suffered but were given the chance to a good education by Malaysian sponsors. It was heartwarming to see how they have overcome the tragedy to be where they are now and being able to go about life as teenagers and having a shot at making a better life for themselves.

So hope is definitely in the air. The young faces showed me that.

Losses be damned

After last night’s blearghhh performance, I needed some pick-me-up so I took my camera and headed to Putrajaya. Despite the crowd and heat, it was nice to just walk around the administration capital, which I think is always a great place to capture lovely scenes.




More here.