About Me

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Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
A 40 something dad of five and a half wonderful kids with amazingly different traits and temperament from whom he wants a break from at times, yet wish they never grow older.....and be with him always.....(howzat possible?)and now wishing that he can be a stay at home dad......

15 January, 2008

Kupang explored

(Images in this post are courtesy of Khadijah)

This trip back to Kedah was different from our usual quickie trips of the mandatory hi's and byes. We actually stayed there for six days and five nights! It was over the Eidul Adha and Christmas period! We planned it months ahead but fate had it that wifey and I had to work right till the eve of Eidul Adha - we had to cut short the trip to six days rather than eight days planned.....Man proposeth, God disposeth!

Kedah or to be more specific Kupang, Baling is wifey's parents' hometown. Wifey was born there but grew up in Penang, Alor Star and Kuala Lumpur.

I remember the first time visiting Baling post married life. Then, I was still working in Johor Bahru and father-in-law insisted that we went back as a couple for the rituals of meeting wifey's both sets of grandparents...Drove up to Kuala Lumpur alone one Saturday afternoon after work as wifey was already residing in KL (yes we were a weekend couple for close to the whole time of wifey's pregnancy with our first born, Khadijah!) and father in law drove us back to Kedah upon my arrival from JB....Then, there was no Seberang Jaya - Kulim highway..So the journey took us close to seven hours from KL! My first thought was - this place is so remote and rural. I didn't enjoy the journey at all since it was all dark the whole of our journey. We arrived at the wee hours of the morning!

I had a rude shock of my life when I discovered that their daily routine started as early as 5 am...So there went my usual 12 hours of beauty sleep for my weekends! I practically didn't sleep that day!

Wifey's paternal grandfather was the imam of Kupang...hence the need for him and the whole clan to be up and perky that early....Imagine having to take our baths and be in our best at this ungodly hour! Picture this.....water fresh from the perigi (well) was the source of our bathing water and outside temperature, then, could be as low as 17 degrees! The old folks of Kupang believe that they are sitting on a mine of tin ore, I was told, and that is the reason why Baling can be very cold at night and during the early hours of the morning!

You can imagine how black and blue our lips and extremeties were during our baths at that time of the day but definitely refreshing! The perigi is gone now because it's extremely hazardous to the peghak city-born-and-bred great grandchildren. But water supply to the house remains sourced from an underground spring up till this day with the aid of an electric pump!

After the getting to know sessions, we actually returned to Kuala Lumpur on the following day after we arrived! The trip was so short and quick that I didn't realise that there are paddy fileds just right behind Tok Wan's house! My first trip to Baling, to say the least, was very boring and uneventful. And first impression really lasts (however cliched this may sound) - i.e Baling is a really boring place hence explains our whirlwind trips there over the years for Hari Raya! My wife and I has been married for 14 years now and it's not until our last trip to Baling two years ago that I realised how beautiful and pristine Baling is!

This time we had a lot of activities planned apart from visiting relatives like picnic at the waterfalls around Baling/Kulim/Sik area, Ulu Legong hot water spring and dipping ourselves in taliaiar (irrigation canal) at the paddy filed, shopping at pekan Ahad, pekan Rabu, pekan Sabtu etc amongst others! But our time was so tight that we only got to visit one waterfall (Lata Hijau) which is near to one of wifey's aunt's house and one pekan Sabtu at Lubuk Merbau, Jeniang (we had the best apam balik in the world here!)!

Tok Yam served us the best meals we could ever had. Since it was eidul adha beef was aplenty. We had fried beef and gulai kawah served with air (or ayak) asam, slightly salted fish of different sort (fresh from being dried), all sorts of ulam (I had for the first time water hyacinth flower buds [see picture below] as ulam. My kids, unbeliveably, survived without burgers and sausages! Yusof could finish two plates of rice with just salted fish and ayak asam!

I really miss Tok Che (wifey's paternal grandfather) though. He passed on a few years back. Visting him would mean a session of kahwa (a type of plant which the leaves are sun dried and brewed like tea) drinking with him! I must find out what the name of the plant is when we go back next!

The kids had fun and the best part was when Yusof (background : Yusof was the one who refused to go back to Kedah and objected that we wanted to have a long stay there) commented "Kedah ni best rupanya!" - Wifey and I just smiled....... (A little bit of background - Yusof is a typical city boy who hates nature. He's the one who objected vehemently to this longish trip! He volunteered himself to stay back with his cousins in KL which we flatly refused, naturally!)

I will post, if time permits, on the khenduri, gulai batang pisang later!

Wifey, Ib and Hajar right after eidul adha prayer.

First thing we did upon arrival was to explore the paddy fields behind Tok Wan's (wifey's maternal grandad) house

Enjoying the view of Gunung Baling

Tok Yam (wifey's maternal grandma) with her youngest (for the time being) great granddaughter, Hajar

The house which Tok Wan built and handcrafted

Tok Wan's head-shave

One of the paddy plants not harvested or rather got missed from being harvested with water hyacinth next to it.

Cofeee beans being sun dried...Tok Yam used to make her own coffee powder through the process of drying the beans over a period of time then hand-pound them...Brilliant (although I'm not a coffee person). She used to make her own cooking oil too - coconut oil (not cold pressed, though!). Now wifey's aunts would supply her with home made coffee powder and coconut oil or just buy them off the shelves.


umi ameer said...

Mmg best experience balik kg, kan?
esp. when dulu2 and sekarang dah banyak sangat berubah. We need to let our kids to love our kampung and for them to selalu balik kg, when they grow up. Eratkan silaturrahim, gitu, kan?

ms hart said...

Do4+1, yes, we too discovered what a scenic place the kampungs in Kedah can be! We love the paddy fields and the kampung view. Macam dalam painting! O, Baling is wifey's place huh? It is also Kaseh's! Anyway, the moment we saw the signboard 'Baling' along the highway, Amal excitedly relate to us the story on how they got the place named Baling!! History lover kata kan!

Dad of 4+1 said...

Umi Ameer - Betul tuh....Saudara2 mesti kenalkan...

Dad of 4+1 said...

Ms Hart - Oh Kaseh is from Baling too! What a small world! Oh...is it how Raja Bersiong "baling" fangs dia? The place where Raja Bersiong pulled his fangs tu., apparently, is called "Merbau Pulas" (initially the place was called "Merbau"!)

zaitgha said...

oh yes, balik kampung...how nice but my kampung is Kampung Pandan in KL ...

we had similar experienced being a weekend couple throughout my first pregnancy...my hubby was in Pasir Gudang at that time.....

love the pictures....

have a good weekend and hug to Hajar

ZEYN said...

Abg Haq,

great photos! :) and of course, a well-written entry too.

have a wonderful weekend.

kaseh said...

I've been busy baru hari nie sempat jalan2 kat blog semua. Tiba2 tengok entry ni pulak..tapi belum sempat kaseh nak kata apa2 my sis dah habaq! Yeap pun lahir kat Baling...now only my Mak "actually nenek saya" kat sane. So raye semua akan balik sane... dah tentulah i tau Kupang tu kat mane kan!!!

Xis said...

err.. 2 things.. Kahwa?? First time I heard of it.. how does it taste like?? 2ndly, Gulai Batang Pisang? Never heard of that either.. so now you better post an entry on this.. coz I'm so curious to know how it looks like..

Pato & Pearl said...

Pato & Pearl r city kids but Pato loves the kampung life. Pearl is definitely a true city chick... :)
I remembered going to Pontian many years back when am a little girl and had to mandi in a perigi and the water is like the color of tea!! Toilet is outside so forget about peeing at night..hahahaha


zal said...

u make me miss kampung... although sebenarnya i do not have a lovely kampung like yours. My kampung kat ipoh je, baling lagi best. I always envy people ada real kampung kat sawah padi... and also kampung yang ada sungai hehehe

D said...

Wonderful! Wonderful! My children lurve going back to the kampung - being the jakuns they are: its a place they can be so free. As parents, it's our duty to keep them as close to our roots as possible. Kudos!

Anonymous said...


Enaknya kopi buatan sendiri..petik, jemur dan tumbuk(?) goreng(?) dan ... fuhh ..
tapi sekarang ni nak tgk pokok kopi pun susah ..

Rindunya masa yang berlalu ..


Dad of 4+1 said...

Art - TQ for dropping by!

on my mind certainly constantly

on my mind certainly constantly