By: RaY KinZoKu

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Sunday, 3-Jun-2007 16:30 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Selamat Hari Beruk Sedunia 2007

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Beruk mu dan beruk ku tidak pernah sehaluan. Biarlah segalanya berakhir di sini sahaja.


Meet the Pig-tailed Macaque or geekly known as Macaca nemestrina.
Better known in Malaysia as Beruk ( pronounce : Buh - rowk ).
Claimed to be vulnerable in the wild but at the same time, served as a great substitute for human labour throughout much of Southeast Asia - from Indonesia to Thailand.

Though I have not yet witnessed one doing the dishes, laundry or doing the groceries or even hired as " pengundi hantu " or " wakil rakyat " on behalf of their masters ( hope I could see the latter in my lifetime .. hu hu ) - I do know that they are trained and made to climb tall coconut trees, to help bringing down the harvest - coconut, a commodity greatly consumed in this part of the World.

In Kelantan, the practice is still a very common sight.
If you have the chance to stroll through any Kelantanese kampung,
especially the one with stretch and stretch of coconut groves, do scan your surroundings carefully. There are probably six out of ten chances that you might see a Beruk in action, plucking coconuts with the handler shouting short " coded " instructions from 20 meters or so, below. I bet that you don't find that in Lembah Klang, only very occasionally ( rarely ? ) spotted in other parts of the West Coast ( not sure about Sabah & Sarawak though ). The little green child size humanoid ? Oh, we call that Toyol. That would be another story.

I was at this event organised by the local Tourism Board - the so called Pertandingan Beruk Memetik Kelapa & Pameran 100 Jenis Produk Daripada Kelapa. Loosely translated as, Macaque - Coconut Plucking Competition & 100 Types of Coconut Derived Product Expo. Held from the 2nd to 3rd June 2007.

A wonderful event I would say.
Four thumbs up ( including two extra thumbs down under ) for the organizer.
The only drawback is it was held at a very secluded beach ( though just next to the well known Pantai Cahaya Bulan ! ) - at Pantai Kundor in Kota Bharu. Secluded ? Fine with me but unfortunately the accessibility is not - I nearly missed the junction if not because of the banner and the village road is too small ( quite dangerous too ) to accommodate heavy traffic. I think the organizer should think of a more easily accesible spot next time, as that would be much more effective in attracting more visitors, especially among curious otaku type Kelantanese and also those new to Kelantan.

I was there on the second day as I was away to Terengganu on the first.
It was late afternoon but I was lucky as the final round, a conclusion to previous rounds was just taking place when I reached there and was on time to watch the "cream of the cream" macaques ( some even came all the way from Penang ! ) battled each other to be the best in Kelantan ( Malaysia ? ). Unfortunately, I couldn't identify the winner, because they all looked the same - though I was hoping that the winner would pose King Kong style to the audience, banging the chest while shouting in disdain but obviously none saw the movie. Maybe the trainer should consider including the pose for the next semester.

every Beruk that day performed very well, but the audiences performed better.
One handler ( the owner ) failed to get a grip on his Beruk and the innocent creature went on plucking the coconuts even though the time is up, ironically faster than during the competition and despite efforts from the man to haul it down, it stayed up on the tree.

Then came a voice from the crowd :

" Hok aloh llekak ppokok doh laa ~ " ,

( It seems yours got stuck on the tree )

which is a common catch phrase used when one's kite ( or the Wau Bulan in Kelantan ) ended up nestled on the tree canopy. So much so, the owner's typical gesture really did look like he is in the kite flying scenario !

It didn't end there.
A sarcastic remark, made in a humorous tone by another spectator, made way into the scene almost immediately after the first :

" Bor bor laa pok chik, berghuk pok chik bennae dooooh ..... "

( Just quit the coconuts will you, yeah we all know he should be the champion )

Ha ha ha ..

Really regret that the atmosphere couldn't be quoted along,
so please blame yourself if you failed to sense the hilarious part.

Which later tought me a lesson on how hard this creature really work when told to.
Most are easily trained and a highly trained one could worth the owner a fortune.
While some might see this practice as purely inhumane, but to me, this human - macaque relationship is truly unique and wonderful, which should be better regarded as a form of symbiosis or mutualism or simply, a partnership. The human depends on the Beruk for an income and the Beruk depends on the human for food and shelter and to a lesser extent, nafkah batin too ( go and figure that out yourself ). Despite the regular absence of the latter, the Beruk are so loyal that I know some which were so attached to the owner that they pined to death when the owner died. So much like a human - dog relationship except that dogs don't climb trees. I bet that dog owners would give up their pets for the Beruk if they know what these beautiful creatures are actually capable of ! Anyone fancy a tax consultant ?

As for me, I personally love the sight when the handler,
donning a Kelantanese Semutar, with a Sadak (?) or a Golok hanging by the waist, riding a motorbike or a bicycle through the village road, with the Beruk riding pillion or clinging onto his back or to the vehicle's handlebar - often making faces to almost everyone ( I mean the beast, not the man ) along the way to work or home.

Just imagine the World without Beruk.
I don't think we could enjoy the mouth-watering Nasi Kerabu or tender, juicy Ayam Percik or even a decent Gulaa Darghak without having the hairy hands to bring the main ingredient down. At least not at the cost as we are currently paying for. If John Lennon still walks among us today, I would persuade him to rewrite the song Imagine in appreciation for the Beruk and the Beruk Utopia. The song should start like this :

Imagine there's no Beruk
It's easy if you try
No santan below us
Above us only coconut
Imagine all the people
Living the life that way ...

But his dead.
Oh well, what the heck. Forget about that.
So, as from my part, as a sign of respect and gratefulness to this exclusively hard-working primate, I hereby declare 3rd June as Hari Beruk Sedunia or World All Macaque Day.

May the Beruk be with you.

Note :

* Semutar :
A traditional Kelantanese head gear. Normally worn by men. A rarity these days. See the old photo at the extreme top for reference.

* Sadak :
A type of large curved knife. Resembling a sickle ( sabit ) but unique to Pattani-Kelantan. Often used to cut grasses or other soft vegetations. Palms included. Correct me if I got the name wrong.

* Golok :
A Malay machete, often used to cut harder vegetations. There is a another " version " with the point curved slightly inward but I don't think they call it Golok - maybe Parang ( Parghae ) ?


Thank you " ma " from

What I meant by " Sadak " is best represented by the following image :

Being a person who spent very very small portion of his life in the kampung, I have to admit that while I am used to many Kelantanese farming terminology, I am still really bad in identifying many common tools used by the local peasants. Say, what do you call that really ? Parang ? Too general. Certainly not a sickle ( sabit ) but definitely unique to Pattani-Kelantan.

Note :
Image taken from " Spirit of Wood - The Art of Malay Woodcarving
~ Works by Master Carvers From Kelantan, Terengganu and Pattani " ( Farish A.Noor & Eddin Khoo - photos by David Lok )

Saturday, 26-May-2007 16:30 Email | Share | | Bookmark
SIRI 50 TAHUN MERDEKA : Ah hah ! Satu Lagi !

Ah hah ! Satu Lagi !

Gappo ?
Pillbox ( " kubu kotak " ) peninggalan Perang Dunia ke-2 di Jubakar, Jajahan Tumpat, Kelantan. Tak jauh dari tinggalan Jambatan Bijih di Kuala Tumpat.

Ha ha ha ..
Best jugak cari cari benda tersembunyi
lebih lebih lagi kalau benda tuh dah lama tercongok " depan mata ",
tak perasan langsung
hinggalah pada suatu hari
barulah dibuatnya terpandang ....
Lawak betullah.

Hidup pun macam tu jugak.
Penuh dengan persoalan
sama ada tertimbul atau sengaja ditimbulkan
itu ini, begitu begini dan entah haper haper lagi
tanpa sedar yang jawapannya
banyak berlegar di depan mata sendiri.

Lawak betullah.

Nota :
Aku dedikasikan entri kali ini untuk memperingati ulang tahun ke - 50 kemerdekaan negara tercinta. Oh yer, bagi aku, tafsir " kemerdekaan " itu sebenarnya lebih dalam dan tidak melampau sekiranya saya katakan bahawa kemerdekaan yang dikenali umum hari ini hanyalah dari tafsiran political correctness semata. Sekadar menurut arus, aku ucapkan in advance - Selamat Menyambut Kemerdekaan ke - 50 ( tiga bulan lagi ! ).

* A lone pillbox in Jubakar, Jajahan Tumpat, Kelantan - one of few relics from the World War 2 found in Kelantan. The dilapidated umbrella-like part is actually a much later addition, perhaps few years ago ( for an unknown reason ) - not related anyhow to the pillbox itself.

* As seen from a different angle.
Located very close to the main road, surrounded by swamps and covered with wild vegetations.
If not because of the protruding part, I bet very few people could really spot it from afar.

" Kubu British 1940 " - roughly translated " British Stronghold 1940 ".
Noted at the entrance by an unknown person, in reference to the pillbox.

The inside look.
What supposed to look like when you first stepped inside. Rather clean compared to those found in Bachok and Kota Bharu.

" Another inside look. This time, to the right.
I wonder why they have to put the plank there, at the sniping hole.


WORLD WAR 2 PILLBOX IN KELANTAN : Jalan Tok Hakim, Kota Bharu

WORLD WAR 2 PILLBOX IN KELANTAN : Jalan Pengkalan Chepa, Kota Bharu


WORLD WAR 2 PILLBOX IN KELANTAN : Pantai Irama & Pantai Pulau Belongan , Bachok


WORLD WAR 2 IN JAPAN : A visit to Yasukuni Shrine & Yushukan ( Japanese War Memorial )

WORLD WAR 2 IN JAPAN : Hiroshima ~ The Beginning Of The End

IMPERIALISM : What did we learn ?

Monday, 21-May-2007 11:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
SELINGAN : I came, I saw, I am shocked !

Think NORTH as 12 o'clock so this is 6 o'clock ..
and this is 7 o'clock ...
and 8 o'clock ..
View all 9 photos...

Hey, Is That Mine ?

I was away in Kemaman, Terengganu from the 17th to 19th May 2007,
" participating " in a " program " organised and sponsored by the Kelantan State government.

By the time you see a comma at the end of this line,
I bet some of my " regulars " would already guess where I had been and for what
( but please, don't describe about it in your comment - at least not in detail ).

If you happened to be there too, yes, I was there, mingling with you guys probably unnoticed for three days, but nevertheless it was really a great experience. However, I will keep the details of the activities out of this entry ( just to keep a low profile - my Mom doesn't like me " whoring " on the net - well, me neither ) except of one small incident which took place during the " opening ceremony " involving a Power Point presentation - which deserves a mention here.

It happened while I was listening to the presenter's talk,
looking at each slide shown when my eyes suddenly caught a very familiar image and it struck me right away,

" Are tte ore no totta shashin jya nai ka yo !!?? ".

( Loosely translated : " Hey, isn't that my photo ? " or " Eh, bukae kor gambaa aku tuh ? " - I often talk to myself in Japanese )

There, on the big white screen,
nestled among collage of images ( but still clearly distinguishable ) was a photo, which I am really sure was taken from my fotopage. I am not sure about the rest though, as the presenter quickly flipped the slide before I could get a good look on them. I am very aware of my own handiwork and I have a very strong reason to believe that at least one of the photos used in the presentation was indeed mine - made into public viewing - without my knowledge, without any credit.

Grrrrr ..... oh well, it was not really big deal anyway,
as long as my photos are put to good use for the whole community without involving personal profit or monetary gain. But on top of that, the experience left me wondering in amusement on where my photos are ending up since I started photo-blogging .... ha ha ha ... How could a complete stranger be interested in " how I pass my time " ? Whoa, now even the State Govt is eyeing my site - need to be extremely careful from now on ! Especially with the critical remarks .. he he

( Emm .. I wonder whether the person behind the slides did realise or not that I happened to be among the audience ? I was going to ask the presenter about it but I changed my mind .. Nah, I dont think he's the one ..... and like I said, it is not really a big deal anyway - at least, in this case. )

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

So, How Do You Like Your Place ?

put the first one aside and now straight to my real purpose of having this entry ....

So, the whole trip took me across the state of Terengganu.
Covering a distance of over 360 km ( times two for the return trip ) from Kota Bharu to Chukai in Kemaman, taking the shoreline route, through Kuala Terengganu - driving without any companion. To me, travelling alone by car is never a boring thing. In fact, I always love it as I could take my own time, pay more attention on the road and at the same time, do what I like to do most - OBSERVING STUFF !

I have to admit that Terengganu is a very beautiful state - naturally and artificially.
From palm fringed white sandy beaches, lush green tropical islands on the emerald blue sea, to unique natural settings and features, dotting the landscape. From rustic fishing communities to very grand looking state museum and public library. All seem to suit each other beautifully.

But, what truly stole my attention during the trip, and mesmerized me the most was how the buildings there are beautifully and artistically designed, with clear regional architectural influences that would put my homestate, Kelantan, to shame !
I have no idea about the details, but by the look alone - it seems to me that the state does put weight on regional image and identity, which I could see through the application of various traditional Malay designs and artworks in the local construction industry. Much to my interest !

But of course,
I do believe and I am confident that Kelantan too is unique, in its own class and lovely and could simply turn lovelier provided that all new developments planned for Kelantan would take into considerations, the true soul of Kelantan preferably the regional and traditional aspects of it. To me, first impression never come twice - and normally people would love to see first, to believe - thus an upperhand in overall outlook ( read : being appealing by the look ) would certainly gives a great positive effect to whatever follows.

In this case, I see Terengganu is well ahead of Kelantan.
Maybe Kelantan should learn a thing or two from Terengganu, at least in this matter.
Even though I believe, Kelantan, being larger in population, has a lot more cultural treasures to boast of compared to Terengganu but when it comes to upholding the pride, no matter how bias I could be, I can't deny that Terengganu is now in the winning side !

Maybe we should rethink how we should appeal to others physically.
For example, I found " Jawi " writings in the public ( on billboards, road signs etc ) could be further promoted and turned into a unique Kelantanese identity. I hardly can see that in Terengganu ! And, don't just by having a simple motto or even a straight forward slogan, design a clearer concept to that and if there's already one, then try to live it up. Oh yeah, don't tell me it's all about the money, where's our pride ??

Delusional ? Me ?
Emm ..... maybe.
But hey, I know what I saw thus I think I know what we should be.

how do YOU like your place ?

Note :

1) Didn't bring my digicam along - so, no related image to help explaining the above.

2) I got my Bro to snap these photos for me, from a tall point in Kota Bharu but don't ask which - just take a guess. Any question on the whereabout shall be directed straight to the dumpster ...... muahahahaha

* KB Mall is on the right while the rest being houses and commercial buildings of various constructions.

The Northern Kelantan plain is actually made up from centuries of silt build-up - a river delta, still expanding northward with sediments brought down by the murky Kelantan River. The only hilly terrain visible here is quite far in the interior - most are lone hills - with no mountain ranges except very deep inland. The flow of air on the plain is brilliant and haze or stagnant bad air, like experienced in the Klang Valley is extremely rare in Kelantan - i.e except during the monsoon, blue skies are very common.

* Overlooking the town center where the 150 years old state capital began ( circa 1844 ). The one under construction will soon house a shopping mall, condominium and shop lots. Seen nearby is the old Menara Perbadanan and a newly completed apartment ( Plaza Menang Intan ).

* The Kelantanese Eiffel Tower ( yeah, right ! ) seen here, in the middle of the photo.
A telecommunication tower owned by TELEKOM MALAYSIA, for truth sake.

Over eighty percent ( 80% ) of Kelantan's 1.5 million inhabitants resided on the northern plain ( not counting the floating population ! ), making it the most densest area in the East Coast. Note that, the land is plain and low lying as far as your eye could see ! So, can you see any hill ?

* Wherever you go in Malaysia - they all look the same.
Meet the Federal Buildings ( Wisma Persekutuan & Kota Bharu Police Headquarters ) - housing Federal Govt. offices.

* The reputedly tallest building in the East Coast ( huh, really ? I read that somewhere, need a citation on this one ) - the Kota Sri Mutiara, seen here popping out and looking rather awkward amidst smaller buildings and houses. Emmm ... Who needs high-rise living spaces in Kota Bharu when you can afford living spaces on the ground ?

MORE ON KOTA BHARU : The Bird Eye View

Friday, 11-May-2007 18:15 Email | Share | | Bookmark
SELINGAN : Intai Kamu Dari Seberang Sini

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Bandar Kota Bharu
aku intai kamu dari seberang sini
seberang Sungai Kelantan dari sana
dari atas dataran banjir merangkap tanah bertani subur penduduk setempat
dalam kehangatan petang sambil dibelai hembusan dingin dari sungai
dikelilingi rumpun jagung mereka dan keluarga mereka
sambil membelakangkan mentari hampir senja.

Dan kebetulan
tak jauh, nun di belakang sedikit
Ekspress Wau meluncur di atas rel tunggal Laluan Pantai Timur
bernyanyi alunan irama tipikal roda besi bergesel jalan besi
meredah dusun, kebun dan semak samun Kampung Palekbang
di satu sudut di Jajahan Tumpat.

Emm .. satu kombinasi yang amat menarik dan tertarik.

Nampaknya dah bertambah satu lagi tempat pujaan
dalam buku pelancongan peribadi aku ...

* Motorsikal yang paling popular di dunia digandingkan dengan bandar yang paling gedebe di Malaysia ...
dan juga di dunia .. cehhh .. ( hah ! Jangan menjawab ! )

* Kamera aku sekarang tak mampu memberi keadilan kepada apa yang aku nampak.
Cukuplah aku huraikan sebagai " truly splendid and breath-taking " sahaja.


* Ikon kamera menunjukkan lokasi aku berada semasa merakamkan foto - foto di atas.
Oh, tidak. Perkataan " panoramic " itu tidak merujuk kepada peta Google Earth ini.
Sekadar mencadangkan bahawa panorama bandar Kota Bharu cantik jika dilihat dari lokasi berkenaan
dan oh yer, jangan pulak ada yang bertanya di mana bandar Kota Bharu dalam peta ini !

Tuesday, 1-May-2007 12:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
SIRI MAKLUMAN : Watch Your Wallet !


Behold !

Coming soon to your backyard

to strip you off your cash ....

and to strike terror
among those puny would be competitors.

Ha ha ha

( and yes, the town's people surely have something new to chat about now ! )

* Lembah Sireh, Kota Bharu, Kelantan

* Lembah Sireh, Kota Bharu, Kelantan

Oh, and me ?

I am a not a big fan of shopping outlets
but to have some here and there that offer more choices and newer alternatives,
is undeniably pleasant.

But with more and more showing up
from local operators to foreign ones ( note : non-Kelantanese is considered foreign ! )
each taking a peek into my wallet and trying to seduce me into a never-before-experienced spending trance, in an attempt to control every grey matter that I own,

I have no idea whether I should be proud ....... or worried !

It's like having people coming to your ears, saying

" You need to have all these or they would call you backward "

and stuff ...

In the present day World
where what we own ends up owning us
and the word " development " is largely defined by material wealth
I never felt scared of changes more than what I feel right now ...

Let's not lose our grip, shall we ?

* Borrowed from : Dan Piraro at

Last but not least,


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

RELATED : Translating Pride Into Worries :

~ A Blessing Or A Curse ?

~ Lembah Sireh Development Project

~ Taking Shape

~ Transformasi BHARU

UPDATED 6 MAY 2007 :

Even Westerners ( foreigners ) are surprised :

* Kota Bharu town centre with new set of high-rise buildings piercing the sky overhead.

Despite popular belief, Kelantan is never a sleepy state.
It is filled with life - life and soul of its own that only locals and those who wish to discover could understand. It is never void of economic activities and since the old days, there have been many economic links with the outside World. Only quite recently that it started to be pulled directly towards the mainstage and into the whole new global definition of " development ".

There have been suggestions to turn Kota Bharu into one of the main players in the regional economic growth project. The latest is having an oil pipeline laid between Kedah and Kelantan that would shake or even crumble Singapore's dominance. The following news excerpt seems to support such moves :

    " Kelantan offers ample opportunities in terms of new infrastructure requirements to support
    the increasing activities in the Malaysia-Thailand Joint Development Area and potential O&G
    discoveries offshore Kelantan.

    “We favour the idea of setting up O&G infrastructure (supply base and petrochemical site) in
    Kelantan similar to that of Terengganu, as it is strategically located and could potentially
    become a regional base for Malaysia-Thailand-Vietnam O&G activities,” Aseambankers said.

* Quoted from " All eyes on eastern corridor" by Elaine Ang, The Star Online - 30 April 2007

The point is,
it is always good to have something new, something changing
but only if they benefit our PAST, PRESENT and FUTURE ... with the past benefiting the present and the present benefiting the future and vice versa - mutually and fairly contributes to each other.

But on top of that,
are we ready ?

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

" Consumerism is the greatest device
anyone has invented for controlling people.
New fantasies, new dreams and dislikes, new souls to heal.
For some peculiar reason, they call it shopping."

~ J.G. Ballard ( Kingdom Come ) ~

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