Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Makan time and unity

I love it when the family get together for makan, or makang as we being Terengganuan now say it. Be it in Raya, kenduri, get together or simply having a meal at Mak’s house. With such a big close family every meal’s a feast.

The last one at Bora Asmara in Sungai Pencala was really great, with almost a full attendance of 15 out of 20 cucus. The noise and commotion was exceptional and the outlet proprietor must have had a foresight to give us the sound proof glass cabana or we could have shattered other diners longing for a romantic night.

Happy birthday Adlan and Atin.

Given free go at the menu, the cucus table went almost fully western, while elders tried out the balinese dancing fish and ‘bandrek’.

But as usual, some can’t take what others are having. I learnt this having in-law from Kedah and ‘biras’ from everywhere else. I still can’t accept mempelam with ‘menisang’ (otherwise known as gula melaka) and santan kelapa (like we Terengganuan take durian with) though I learnt to appreciate sepat pekasam and telor ikan masin and the Kedah side is being slowly but surely converted to the taste of budu. They even have it as kuah to our horror when we Terengganuan use it only as a dip. From my brother in-law Shah I learnt to accept gulai with its purest of the pure tempoyak though I cant take the sambal cili hijau. Yasmin is great with Malay kueh and cakes. She and Ajik is opening a new restaurant in Kota Damansara.and I think it would be great.

At home, when we were in numbers, pot luck was often the order of the day. The dishes can be overwhelmingly national. Those who are adventurous can try all and those who can’t take someone else food simply go for another hidang or another table.

That brings me to a related issue.

With the Merdeka day coming, everyone that writes, writes about merdeka, patriotism and unity. Someone saw Melayu eating with Melayu, Chinese eating with Chinese and Indian eating with Indian and cried ‘hey that’s a cause for social disunity.’

Makan either together or separately was to me a perfectly acceptable social behavior. I don’t want to eat with the same people or having the same food every time. I can’t be joining my Chinese friend when he wanted Bah Kut Teh and I would not invite my Indian friend for lunch when I was having beefsteak.

National unity is like family unity. It is about family members being allowed to do things they enjoy doing, whatever or with whoever. Likewise to makan anything or everything, whatever or with whoever Accepting, tolerating, forgiving and to some extent keeping your say to yourself.

Back to Bora Asmara, Es kelapa duda was a good pointer to A, I heard he introduced a new beau a week later.

Selamat menyambut Ulangtahun Kemerdekaan ke 50.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Bali measurement

I was in Bali last week. My ten year due holiday Yati said. But it was not really a holiday, it could not be with all the visits to candi, art market, resorts and construction site of all the thing. At least now I can say I have visited Bali, its temples, beaches, Paparazzi, Ku De Ta, art market and lunched at Bebek Bengil in Ubud, dined at Four Seasons Jimbaran, and had a Bar-B-Q at the beach where the bomb went off. The last one complete with a serenading ‘pemuzik jalanan’ quartet singing Tom Jones, Eagles and Ebeit G Ade. We even had the tremor from Java earthquake to complete the experience. Alhamdulillah nothing untoward happened.

Bali is amazing. It was an abode of living culture. Here celebration and festivals was happening every day and for every reason. We saw the daily temple prayer, marriage celebration and even mass cremation. All and everything was celebrated.

With the growing demand for luxury holiday homes, lands especially those fronting beaches are being put up for sale. At Nusa Dua, the beaches appeared to be owned by the foreign hotels, at least there was a kind of security check at the beachfront.

Everywhere I noticed billboards advertising land for sale.

The measurement unit for land in Bali is ‘are’ (pronounced are-re). I thought it was short for acre, I was wrong.

My guide explained that one ‘are’ is one-hundredth of a hectare. Now I needed a calculator. So I asked how many ‘are’ needed to build a decent house. ‘Like four’ he said, ‘sesudah siap di’kavling’. Oh my …..

An ‘are’ is thus a hectare (2.47 acre x 43560 ft2) or 107593 ft2 divides by 100 which equals to 1075 ft2. Almost equivalent to 100 m2.

What then is kavling?

‘Kavling’ is a term used for sub-divided lot. ‘Tanah kavling’ means a land readily sub-divided from a larger plot to smaller sizes for building houses or in local term ‘villas’.

If anything, here is where you can feel rich. With the current exchange of four hundred ringgit to a million rupiah, we were basically a living millionaire. But to own anything, even a piece of tanah kavling, being a millionaire was inadequate. You needed more. You must have money in the ‘miliyar’.