A place, once I called home

30th November 2005, we woke up early, had breakfast at the Hotel Lobby and proceeded to the house where Tun Mahathir was born. It was built in 1900. When Mohamad Iskandar (Tun’s father) bought the house, it has only one room with no electricity. It has wooden flooring and the ceiling was made from white cloth. Tun was born here on 20th December 1925. He lives there until he was married and moved to his own house in Titi Gajah. Even then Mahathir will always commute to this house to visit his mother.
Our visit to Tun’s birth place gave us a different perspective of life of this respected leader. The house has been designated a historical building and was restored by the National Archives in 1992.

Later we continue our journey to Kangar. On the way north, we noticed a signboard directing to Muzium Padi. Under the shadows of the towering Gunung Keriang, amidst a backdrop of hectares of paddy fields, stands a museum devoted to rice. The museum, resembling bushels of harvested paddy stalks, consists of two main levels and a top portion accessible by a spiral staircase. The several galleries provide a thorough explanation of anything involved with rice. Another fascinating aspect are the large panoramic murals (a must see), the result of painstaking work by 60 artists from North Korea (Note the two pictures) . A very interesting place to visit indeed!

Then we proceeded to Padang Besar, passing by Kangar, used to be my town 22 years ago. Its landscape and theme have changed tremendously, so much so I didn’t recall anything familiar here, instead I felt like a stranger! The feel of unfamiliar air made me dropped the idea of stopping by, so we proceeded to Padang Besar. We stopped at the junction to Timah Tasoh Lake at a restaurant named TOK MEK. It was recommended by Mazlina. Fabulous! The food was scrumptious and the damage was very minimal! Man, I love Perlis food!

Immediately after meal we headed for Padang Besar. Didn’t cross the border, just mingling in the Bazaar. Siamese goods obviously prominent here. My wife bought few collector’s items and the must buy item, TOTO bed, not one but two! I bought a DIESEL sports shirt, F1 cutting for RM16 (Listed price was RM25).

With loaded cargo we left for Gua Kelam, The Cave of Darkness. The 370m long limestone cave is located in Kaki Bukit. I don’t like darkness, but surprisingly this cave was brightly illuminated all the way through.

A subterranean stream flows through the cave chamber. Enchanting suspension wooden walkways provide an unusual means of getting around inside the cave all the way from the entrance at Kaki Bukit to Lembah Wang Tangga on the other end. The uniqueness of approach, as well as the experience of walking along the bridge, make a visit to this place an intriguing and adventurous experience. As we make our way through the cave, the sound of a swirling dark stream below reverberates forming a concerto with the squeaking bats and dripping water from the stalactites.

Gua Kelam - one of the most distinctive caves in Malaysia, is a must-see attraction. That explains why our DYMM the King was having a picnic there!

It was raining, we left Gua Kelam for Kangar and then to Arau. A place, once I called home. I steered into the Campus. Not many changes had taken place, except for few new premises. I noticed the small pool we used to plant paddy and swim was still there. The Medan Selera was still intact and our hostel still the same one except for the washed out paint. The mosque still the same and the terrace G-class houses, where we resided before the multi story hostels were built, were still there. Sigh! Memories lingered... We toured around the campus without alighting from the car, as it was drizzling and almost dark by then. We move on to Arau, showed my kids the mosque where I went for Friday prayer and the Palace of Raja Perlis. As we were about to move to Kangar again, I noticed a signboard pointing to Kuala Perlis via a new Expressway. Out of curiosity, I accelerated through the road and within 15 minutes we were already in Kuala Perlis! We went to the back of the custom complex for another mouth-watering dinner – Laksa and Pasembor. The taste? Wowww! Anytime better then any 5 star hotels, simply delicious!

We finished dinner at 8.30; we headed to Utan Aji to visit one old friend, Mazlina Md Dali. Though a very short visit, we really felt at home for the warmth reception which Lina and hubby Hakimi have given us. Hakimi who works with JKR Perlis is a Kris collector. He has a wide range of kris displayed at his house. He has vast knowledge about kris too. Lina, now a school teacher is still the humble next door girl like the one I used to know before. No change! She got two girls and a boy. I wonder what she teaches at school, how to plant paddy? Nayyyy! Or how to make Serawa..? Hhmmmm may be... Before we left, Hakimi presented me a knife with nicely carved wooden casing. Thank you very much! Very kind of you.

We left for Alor Star in drizzling night and reached hotel about 10.30. We slept like logs and eagerly looking forward to another great day tomorrow!


indica said…
perghh...what a nice long break..
I can imagine the feeling of being a stranger in a place once we called home. I love the Perlis food too, they are simple but delicious.
I still remember the first time I crossed the border entering Padang Besar with u and several others..without any travel documents, it was in puasa month, weather was hot then...mmm..did u survive the puasa?
Yes, mazlina was a humble and a very kind girl that I felt comfortable merapu with ..any pics of her and family?
McBudu said…
I was the one who broke the puasa first, followed by Ben and you. Mana boleh tahan.... we went there immediately after practical on Paddy field! Dahaga beb! Bila balik Arau, puasa balik... ha ha

Punyalah seronok berbual, lupa lak nak snap photo... haru betoi...
indica said…
Hehe..I thought KG was the first...
Laa..apasal tak snap? nampak gaya kena tunggu 22 tahun lagi ler...
McBudu said…
Yessss you were right, KG was the first... not me. I'm not that bad boy afterall... after much tought, may be I was the last!

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