Monday, 26 August 2013

Terengganu kita...

I really do have to apologise to some of my regular readers for not keeping to my word. In the previous post, I had promised to write in greater detail about my trip to Jordan. However, hectic time at work plus a number of days out due to ill-health caused this blog to be stagnant for nearly two months.

I will make good on that promise, God willing... but in the mean time, here's another short post while on the road. We are in Kuala Terengganu at the moment, the main intention being to source for that beautifully woven classic textile known as the `songket samping', used by Malay men as part of the complete attire of the traditional `baju Melayu'.

My present piece of samping is more than 15 years old. Nothing wrong with it; it still looks good. Not surprising, of course, since I only wear it maybe once a year, during Hari Raya Aidilfitri. I am one of those guys who tries his best to avoid attending formal functions.

This time though, I thought that a new piece of the hand-woven fabric is about due to be added to my wardrobe... because a special occasion is coming up soon. But is it really necessary for me to drive all the way up to Terengganu just to buy the cloth? Of course not. I could have purchased songket in Johor Bahru or Kuala Lumpur, albeit at slightly higher prices. On pure economic terms, it is more costly for me to travel to the east-coast for this objective alone but having worked and lived in this state before, any small reason is good enough for me to find the time to come here.

Indeed, with this multiple objective in mind, after completing the shopping I set about to look for a person and fellow blogger whom I have admired and respected for some time through the reading of his blog entries. Pakcik Hassan of the Al-Manar blog, is a personality who I have previously only interacted with in blogosphere. He comments regularly in this blog of mine and I visit his blog quite often too, although I must admit I do not comment as much... and this is simply because I am almost always in awe of what he wrote and can't seem to think of anything better to add. Drop by his blog at the link highlighted above (or on the blogroll on the left) and you'll probably understand what I mean.

I did not announce to Pakcik Hassan that I was coming. I do not exactly know where his house is located. I do not have his telephone number. I wasn't even sure he would be at home. In my typical style of just trying my luck, I set forth.

Based on his blog postings, I remember the mention of an orphanage located not far from where he lives. I also remember him writing about his house by the sea. Googling the name of the orphanage gave me the location of Batu Rakit, somewhere north of KT town. Another search on Google maps showed me a kampung road running parallel to the coast. That must be it, I thought.

Batu Rakit is located about 20km from Kuala Terengganu but in the heavy after-office traffic, it took me more than 30 minutes to reach. I discovered the orphanage easily enough and after doubling back on the same road, I came upon a house that looks most likely to be that belonging to a distinguished gentleman.

It was very quiet on the outside. I rang the doorbell on the left pillar of the sliding gate. After a few minutes, the front door opens and a senior citizen steps out. I give my salam, `Assalamualaikum Pakcik!' which the old man promptly reply.

By the will of Allah, two strangers who crossed paths in the virtual world have now met in real life. Pakcik graciously invited me and my family into his house and what transpired afterwards was an enlightening conversation with a very kind man that I'll treasure for a long time.

To Pakcik Hassan, again I wish to apologise for dropping by on you unannounced. Thank you so much for indulging us. May the Almighty grant us the time to meet again some time...

The primary objective of the trip to Terengganu
The secondary objective also successful. Pakcik Hassan and me.