By: RaY KinZoKu

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Thursday, 15-May-2008 15:15 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Cóng Kota Bharu Dào Běijīng ( 1 )

Penjaja Ole Ole Sukan Olimpik
Penjaja Alat Muzik
Akrobat Bawah Umur
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    Cóng Kota Bharu Dào Běijīng ( 1 )




" Cóng Kota Bharu Dào Běijīng "

adalah dalam Bahasa Mandarin bagi apa yang saya fikir sepatutnya bermaksud,

" Dari Kota Bharu ke Beijing ".


Huh ? Salah ? Mohon ampun.

Saya sebenarnya tidak bisa berbahasa Mandarin.

Itu sekadar gimik yang hanya berasaskan pengetahuan menulis dalam Kanji ( Bahasa Jepun ) dengan cedokan lanjut dari alam internet .......

Oh yer, Beijing ?

Ibukota negara China dengan penduduk sekitar 15 juta dengan 2 ~ 3 juta lagi imigran yang selalu keluar masuk mencari rezeki ( floating population ). Terletak di timur laut Negara China, sebuah negara Timur Jauh yang kini dihuni 1.3 billion penduduk di dalam kawasan seluas Amerika Syarikat. Lebih 95% penduduk China adalah berbangsa Han manakala selebihnya terdiri daripada berpuluh-puluh suku kaum minoriti, dari Mongol sehinggalah bangsa Uyghur yang berdarah Turki. Pelbagai rupa, pelbagai bahasa, pelbagai ragam.

Dan, kenapa ke sana ? He he he .... Makan angin ..... keluar asap !

Yang pasti,
ianya satu pengalaman yang ....
tidaklah menyeronokkan tetapi tetap menarik, mengagumkan
dan menimbulkan kesedaran !

Apa apa pun,

terimalah buah tangan ini ..... dari Beijing :






* Dataran Tian'anmen :

Potret gergasi pengasas Republik Rakyat China, Mao Zedong diapit dengan dua slogan " Panjang Umur Republik Rakyat Cina " di sebelah kiri dan " Panjang Umur Kesatuan Agung Rakyat Dunia " di sebelah kanan.

Klik untuk melihat Dataran Tiananmen di Wikimapia






* Pintu Masuk ke Kota Larangan ( Forbidden City ) :

Kelihatan sebahagian struktur TaiHeMen ( Gate of Supreme Harmony ) dari luar WuMen ( Meridian Gate ).

Klik untuk melihat Forbidden City di Wikimapia






* Tembok Besar China :

Tidak jauh dari Beijing.
Hanya sebahagian kecil dari apa yang dikatakan berjumlah 6,400 km panjang.






* Tua dan Muda :

Sebuah bangunan bersejarah yang sengaja dikekalkan dan dipulihara biarpun di sekelilingnya telah banyak dibangunkan struktur komersil moden.

Bangunan ini sendiri dirangkumi dengan sebegitu rupa, oleh sebuah gedung membeli belah ( mudah kata, seperti Kuil Sri Devi Shakti di Mid Valley Megamall ).

Bagaimana pula dengan Kota Bharu ?






* Jackie Chan dan Pasaraya :

Wajah bintang filem Hong Kong tersohor, menghiasi dinding luar sebuah gedung membeli belah di tengah-tengah ibukota China.

Tidak, bukan promosi filem baru tetapi kempen anti cetak rompak ...... Selamat Datang ke China !






* Stadium Olimpik Beijing :

Pada 08-08-08 kelak, di sinilah akan berlangsungnya perasmian Sukan Olimpik Beijing 2008.

Diberi jolokan " Stadium Sarang Burung " kerana senibinanya yang unik !

Di Kelantan, kita ada Rumah Kedai Sarang Burung

( dan juga tong sampah awam " sarang burung " * sarkastik * ) !






* Hitung Kira Ke Saat Akhir :

Jam digital seperti ini banyak berselerak di tengah tengah Beijing sebagai tazkirah buat rakyat marhaen.

Jangan plak pakai sekejap dah rosak ! Ha ha ha * sarkastik * ....







Tuesday, 13-May-2008 10:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
FILLER ENTRY : Kampung Cina

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    FILLER ENTRY : Kampung Cina






* Kampung Cina, Jalan Pantai Cahaya Bulan, Jajahan Kota Bharu, Kelantan.

* Related past entry - " ORGHAE CHINO KITO : The Kelantanese Chinese ".

* Off to Beijing from 13th May ~ 19th May 2008 ! Zai Jian ! Zai Hui !




Monday, 5-May-2008 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
SELINGAN : Masjid Muhammadi

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    SELINGAN: Masjid Muhammadi








* Masjid Muhammadi ? Sejarah Umum dan Perkaitan




Tuesday, 29-Apr-2008 20:03 Email | Share | | Bookmark
KUBUR BANGGOL : The Wooden Mausoleum

 
 
 
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KUBUR BANGGOL :
The Wooden Mausoleum




Concrete buildings are rather new to Kelantan.
The British brought the idea to the state, during their early 20th century colonial endeavour.

The first ever concrete structure in Kelantan is said to be the Bank Pitis ( late 19th century ), which can still be found just outside the front gate of Istana Balai Besar and the first concrete fully functional office cum residential building is the Bank Kerapu ( 1912 ), at what is now Jalan Post Office Lama. Followed later by the Greco-Roman style shop houses, which came up mostly around 1920s.

Prior to that, virtually everything was made of wood, the most abundant material of old Kelantan. Wood was applied in practically every form of construction, from royal palaces, homes of the nobilities to mosques, from shop houses to wayside rest pavilions.

However, in those days, despite the extensive use, wood was actually hard to come by. Wood of excellent quality, had to be floated downstream from logging camps, further inland, taking days to reach the town's sawmills and workshops. No machineries were involved and all had to be done either by human force or that of beast of burden. Things were very slow and time consuming. But amazingly, these limitations had lead to the birth of the idea that each work should last for eternity. An end result that required almost no maintenance. The idea became necessary to fulfil, and necessity became the mother of all inventions.

Indeed, that was exactly what past master builders had up in mind.
For that, they came up with the unique method, which still could be seen through the surviving few scattered throughout Kelantan, like the mausoleums of Kubur Banggol.



Quote:
    mau·so·le·um

    ( /ˌmɔsəˈliəm, -zə-/ [maw-suh-lee-uhm, -zuh-] –noun, plural -le·ums, -le·a )

    2. a burial place for the bodies or remains of many individuals, often of a single
    family, usually in the form of a small building.


    Reference : http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/mausoleum

    " A mausoleum (plural: mausolea) is an external free-standing building constructed
    as a monument enclosing the interment space or burial chamber of a deceased
    person or persons. A mausoleum may be considered a type of tomb or the tomb
    may be considered to be within the mausoleum. "


    Reference : Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia




Old and neglected, and in some sort of suspended decay, few do realise that these wooden mausoleums ( yes, they suit the basic, commonly accepted definition ) at Kubur Banggol are actually the still surviving instances of the now virtually lost, old Kelantanese wood working art and techniques. Despite the existing appearance, they were in fact, products of ingenious, creative, passionate mind of past master builders. A cultural heritage, also architectural masterpiece, resulted from the need for durability, strength, beauty, elegance and perfection.

Closer inspection revealed that each part was patiently, somewhat painstakingly hand crafted from the best tropical hard woods - Cengal or Merbau, to name a few - into prefabricated forms. These prefabricated forms or parts were then pieced together on site using a combination of brilliantly designed, mutually supporting system of interlocking joints ( called, Tanggam ) and a generous amount of wooden pegs ( called, Pasak ). Unlike present day practice, no nails, screws even bolts and nuts were used at all thus not surprisingly, none is found on the structures ( except for a recently added few, just to reinforce the ageing parts ).

Note that, the purpose of prefabrication was not only meant to ease up the transportation of parts to the site, but also to ease up future moving work if should there be any need. Here the movable wooden pegs and joints play the important parts - to be taken out and again re fix - without damaging the parts. This unique innovation owns the Malay wood working an outstanding spot in the World of wooden construction. Perhaps, nowhere else in the World, wood was worked with intention similar to that of the old time Malays. How amazing was that ?

This methods of construction was common throughout Kelantan in the old days, but were gradually abandoned when the British arrived and introduced the Western standard of construction, through the incorporation of nails and of course, concrete. Constructing buildings became faster and cheaper but cruder and the venture turned from artistic into merely monetary and economical, which going on to this day.

I would say that these structures i.e. mausoleums of Kubur Banggol are among the surviving few from the era when wood working was not merely taken for granted. If the practice of these days were used then, I seriously doubt that they would survive a decade or two. The remaining few survived because of the thoughtful hands that made them and the hands that cared for them, ironically also, as in the case of Kubur Banggol, because of the graveyard's state of desertion, that people tend to leave things as they were. At other places, the push for Western style development had already brought down so many of them. I have a feeling that someday and somehow, so would the mausoleums of Kubur Banggol. Will there be any attempt to save them ? I seriously doubt.

But while they are still standing, these old mausoleums worth a good study.
I believe that they would be a good source of reference, for those keen to have a rest pavilion ( wakaf ) as a part of their home décors ( a trend I regularly see nowadays ). No, I am not promoting a mausoleum for a home décor, d'oh ! I mean, take the essence, learn how they built it ! I noticed that most modern wakaf are crudely built, with all the nuts and bolts, screws and nails forced into their places that somewhat damaged not only the physical nature, but also the structural strength of the wood itself. Forget the metallic reinforcement, just stick to these brilliant ideas left by our forefathers.

Only then you would know why you should be proud !



RECOMMENDED READINGS :






* An old mausoleum, with graves dating back to the 1910s.

The exact date of its construction is unknown, very much probably around the same time as the tombs it housed. Singhorra tiles for the roof, structure out of durable high quality hardwood ( Cengal ), no sign of termite infestation. Smooth finishing - a distinct sign of hand crafting.






* Another old mausoleum, housing numbers of " undated " tombs.

( " Undated " as there was no attempt for a closer inspection but probably from early to mid 20th century. Thus, the building might be from the same period of time too. )

Singhorra tiles roofing - with two types, the more common smaller one at each roof fringe, with the very rare, wider and bigger type at the centre roof. In Kelantan, I only see the application of the latter at only two places, one on an old house at Tuan Padang Roundabout ( Clocktower Roundabout, behind Kia Showroom ) and the other, on a pre-War shoplot at Jalan Temenggong - Tok Hakim junction.






* Bad condition. Unknown date of construction.

Probably early to mid 20th century, judging by the graves. There's even a magnificently carved marble tomb housed inside one. Again, Singhorra tiles for the roof with some reinforcement works done to the structure.







* A rest pavilion ( wakaf ) in the foreground and a mausoleum in the background





* A simple, wall-less old mausoleum. Date unknown. Probably early to mid 20th century.

Looks more like a shed to me. With several graves and a bench for visitors. Except for some missing roof tiles, conditions are fairly good, sturdy and strong, showing no sign of collapsing.






* Another simple, wall-less old mausoleum. Date unknown. Probably early to mid 20th century.

Missing roof tiles. Tilting. With reinforcement works already done to the structure.






* Smaller one, with simple fencing.
Date unknown. Probably early to mid 20th century.

This one seems to have problem with balance but mutually supporting columns are holding it to its current position until no one knows. No reinforcement works seen on the structure.






* The roof structure.

This one comes from the first image, at the top.
Interconnecting parts are fixed together using a system of interlocking joints and wooden pegs. This one seems to be completely " clean " from nails. On the other hand, the old wooden frames are showing signs of fungal attack but remained strong with no signs of heavy decay or rupture.






* What I mean by " interlocking joint ".

Cracked due to old age and weight. Designs like this one, explains why nails are not needed.






* Wooden peg.

A type of wooden peg, used to lock two parts together, one being the roof support.
Most wooden pegs used are small and with texture and colours that blend well with the main parts. Unlike its modern counterparts - nails, screws, nuts and bolts.






* An ornamental wooden appendage known as " Buah Buton " or " Buah Butong " or " Buah Gutong " or " Buah Guntong ". I have no idea which term is correct.

Subordinate parts like this are very rarely seen these days.
It was common in the past, adorning the gates and houses of the ruling class and houses of worship i.e. mosques. To find one at a graveyard is remarkable.






" You remain preoccupied with hoarding. Until you go to the graves "

( Bermegah-megahan telah melalaikan kamu sampai kamu masuk ke dalam kubur )


At Takaathur, verse 1 ~ 2.





Monday, 21-Apr-2008 14:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
KUBUR BANGGOL : Kelantan's City of The Dead

Mouldy tombs, granite ( right ) & marble ( left )
Che Siti's Tomb ( left ), granite
Granite twin tombs, partly broken. Circa 1912
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KUBUR BANGGOL :
Kelantan's City of The Dead






" Every soul will taste death, then to us you will be ultimately returned. "

( Setiap jiwa pasti merasai mati dan kepada Kami jua akan kamu dikembalikan )

Al-'Ankabut, verse 57





Kubur Banggol.

A Muslim cemetery located in Kampung Banggol, just a few kilometres north of the town - thought to be the oldest and also the biggest Muslim cemetery, still in use in Kelantan.

For the note, Kubur is a Malay word that could either mean a " grave ", " graveyard ", " cemetery " or anything else that is good enough to remind you of death ( other than those gory images you see on the net ! ).

It is where most of Kota Bharu town folks as well as surrounding locals, honoured their dead and has been in used, probably since, a few hundreds years ago. An ancestral burial ground to be exact, especially among the "Nik"s of Kelantan.

The very first thing that a first time visitor would realize about Kubur Banggol, is the extent of the area. So big, it is literally Kelantan's " City of The Dead ", where thousands, from many generations, already made it their " home ".

Covering acres of flat sandy terrain, the burial ground is actually made up of many contiguous " family " plots separated by fences and small gates. " Family ", as they all seemed to be " privately " owned, marked with waist-high to shoulder-high networks of fence enclosing each and every one of them, often with stakes bearing statement of private ownership - a sight rarely seen at other Muslim cemeteries through out Kelantan.

I am not sure about the legality of such practice, as graveyards throughout the state are basically under direct jurisdiction of the local authority, but it surely turned the whole place, into a maze-like, real challenge to move around.

Makes me wonder, where did they shoot " Istana Takeshi ", really ?







Kubur Banggol seems like an ever expanding universe.

A universe for the dead, that is.

New graves continue to occupy new grounds and also the little spaces, still left between the old ones - I mean, reeeeeeeally old ones ! So packed that sometimes, while preparing for a new one, grave diggers would accidentally stumble upon old remains. Certain spots however, remain untouched and made up entirely of old graves. Some of these old burial plots are shrouded in thick bushes, some with fallen trees, with huge barks held from touching the ground by old grave markers of stone. There are tombs with overgrown trees growing straight through them, breaking them apart and there are even those completely " lost " in thick undergrowth !

Speaking of old grave markers and tombs, in Kelantan, the earliest and the perhaps still in use is the River Rock, commonly found on graveyards through out the state. But normally it is hard to tell the exact age of a grave with such marker as most are often without inscription or date. There are many ancient graves with this kind of marker, used by both common people and nobilities, like that of Sultan Omar of the long lost Jembal Kingdom, at what is now, Daerah Sering.

Wooden grave markers or tombs also appeared during the same time or maybe earlier, but being easily perishable, old wood workings are now virtually non-existent. Those survived however, in conditions that are not worth a good study. Still, excellent but very rare examples exist, like Che Ku Tuan Nawi's ( the princess of Long Yunus, Raja of Kelantan ; 1765 ~ 1795 ), of Cengal wood, some 200 years old, currently located at Royal Langgar Mausoleum.

Another material, Granite came into the scene soon afterwards and started to gain popularity mostly among well-to-do Kelantanese urban dwellers, around a couple of hundreds years ago. The source was far inland, cut into slabs and blocks on site then brought downstream to be carved into various shapes and styles which either went to become simple grave markers for the commoners or parts of highly decorative tombs for the nobilities. These carved pieces often reflect the period and era of its manufacture and are interesting to study.

Kubur Banggol is literally littered with such stone workings, a good reason to believe that the cemetery must have been at least a few hundreds years old. Some of the stone tombs, bear not only attractive carvings but also artistic Jawi engravings in beautiful Islamic calligraphy, depicting the name of the deceased and the year of death. Such elaborate tombs were usually made for the ruling class as only they could and should afford one - used to emphasize their status in life. Though you won't find the likeness of King Tut's golden mask or Aztec's death offerings of precious metals and stones here, but I would say that these stone workings, equally amazing !

The Granite trend survived only until about 60 years ago and never made a comeback.
I have no idea why the locals suddenly stopped using Granite. It is proven to be very durable and excellent for such purposes. Maybe it's in the cost or maybe it's the expertise that happened to die along with the experts. Nowadays, grave markers and tombs are mainly made from mortar, poured into moulds for the desired shape and style. Those with extra cash would go for marble, either slabs or tiles. But marble, being basically Calcite, is typically weak against acidic rainwater and exhaust fumes, thus not a good choice for present day outdoor use, especially in hot and wet tropical climate. In comparison, Granite proved to be far more resilient and strong.

I also find this extensive use of Granite remarkable, as the Malays particularly Kelantanese, were renowned experts in wood working and carving but never stone. I am not ruling out the talents of local artisans but much of the artistic manifestations, immortalized on those tombstones and grave markers, in unique floral and abstract designs, seemed somewhat " out of place ", that the carvers were probably not local, or at least some might be of foreign origin. Perhaps Chinese, very much probably Chinese Muslims, escapees from China's 19th century bloody turmoils.

I might be wrong, but I even found that the Islamic calligraphy on most of the tombs are somewhat East Asian influenced. Though I didn't have the chance to carefully inspect each and every tombs here at Kubur Banggol but those I found at the Royal Langgar Mausoleum ( of the same period ), gave me a clue to this possible Chinese connection. Closer inspection on some of the ancient Royal tombs at Langgar, revealed carved figures that look much like a Fenghuang ( a Chinese phoenix ) !

Fuuuuuuhhh ...

I could go miles with this but would be real wise to cut it short for now.

So, as the conclusion,
it's amazing to see the amount informations on Kelantan's past that one could gather by just checking out the entire length of Kubur Banggol. I would gladly recommend it to my dear readers for the historical and cultural values it holds and also for it being a great lesson to all of us, the " still " living, that life is really too short for all the grabs on Earthly desires.

How many had lived and died for the past hundred years ? I don't know. Surely not one.

The visit to Kubur Banggol thought me of how fragile we all really are and that we are actually waiting our turn to join our predecessors. Looking at those graves out there, I wonder how prepared were they in entering the realm of Barzakh ......

.... and most importantly,

how prepared are we ?








" I swear by the time.
Most surely man is in loss.
Except those who believe and do good,
and enjoin on each other Truth, and enjoin on each other endurance.
"

( Demi Masa!
Sesungguhnya manusia itu dalam kerugian,
kecuali orang-orang yang beriman dan beramal soleh,
dan mereka pula berpesan-pesan dengan kebenaran serta berpesan-pesan dengan kesabaran )

Al-'Asr, verse 1 ~ 3








* An ornately carved, pair of tombs from over a hundred years ago,

The larger one is reportedly ( but not documentally supported ) of a noblewoman, the locals simply called it " Kubur Che Siti " or " Che Siti's Tomb ".

It is alleged to be the grave site of Paduka Che Siti Wan Kembang, the famous ( but also fabled ) female ruler of old Kelantan. The truth ? Nobody knows as there is no evidence to support the claim. The tomb itself bears no inscription and even seems to be just over a hundred years old, whereas the claimed person lived some three hundreds years ago.

It's typical in traditional Muslim burial practice not to put weight on grave inscription. Some even see it as a taboo. Most old grave markers and tombstones bear nothing but decorative floral and abstract carvings. Identifying the deceased were the task of surviving family members. When their own turn comes, often, such information goes to the grave with them. Over time, they fall into anonymity, becoming indistinguishable from the rest thus make it hard for their own future family members to locate their ancestors' final resting place.

Taking lesson from the past, recent practice seem to favour placing details of the dead on the tombs / grave markers ( normally, the name, date of birth, date of death and even age of death ) for future identifying purposes.






* Carved granite. Decorative. Kelantanese Nobility.

Stated, the name of the deceased, along with the date Islamic date 1341 H or 1923 A.D






* Granite, lightly carved. Kelantanese Nobility.

Vertical grave markers with flat and circular design.
If I am not mistaken, the styles are used to differentiate male from female.
A practice now obsolete. Flat for female and circular for male. Correct me if I am wrong.

No visible name or date. Probably mid to late 19th century.






* Marble and granite, carved. Highly decorative. Kelantanese nobility.

Each with description but hardly visible due to stains. Probably of early 20th century.

Largely covered in black mold, but if you ask me, it's better this way than having them painted with strikingly white emulsion paint, like the similar ones in the background !

Stone has its own unique natural texture and shine that are easily ruined by a coat of paint. The reason why you don't paint marble.

To deal with the mold, I think a generous but gentle scrubbing will do.

( alright, who's going to do it ? )






* Granite twin tombs, lightly carved, with a broken part. Kelantanese nobility.

There, on one surface, a carved inscription related to the deceased, with still visible Islamic date 1330 H or 1912 A.D.

He ( or she ? ) died when Tok Janggut was busy planning against the British.







* Granite, lightly carved. Kelantanese nobility.

This one is found amidst thick undergrowth, with a coat of greyish algae.

No visible inscription on this one though a closer inspection would certainly reveal something. Period ? Probably of late 19th or early 20th century.







* A carved, in floral motive, Granite grave marker, found hidden in thick undergrowth.

Judging by the condition, style and material, it should be well over a hundred years old.
Simple grave markers like this normally bears no inscription thus the details and the exact death of the deceased would remain unknown and open to estimation.





    ~~~~~~ # ~~~~~~ # ~~~~~~ # ~~~~~~

    Andai Ku tahu
    Kapan tiba masaku
    Ku akan memohon
    Tuhan jangan kau ambil nyawaku

    Aku takut
    Akan semua dosa-dosa ku
    Aku takut
    Dosa yang terus membayangiku


    Ungu - Andai Ku Tahu

    ~~~~~~ # ~~~~~~ # ~~~~~~ # ~~~~~~




* COMING UP SOON : " KUBUR BANGGOL : The Wooden Mausoleum "




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