Friday, May 29, 2009

A Piece Of History In Ashes

It seem like a long time ago, now. When we moved to Petaling Jaya from Kota Bharu, Kelantan, the only noteworthy place to go then was PJ New Town, or 'State', as it was called, by virtue of the State Cinema located there. It still is. Both, the cinema, and the area around that it - a landmark that refused to be demolished. Not that there were no efforts to do so before, mind you. But it stood defiant against the partial redevelopment around it.

Other than State, PJ had nothing much to offer then with the exception of Section 14, where a large open air eatery by the name of Medan Selera can be found. It was nothing grand. But folks around PJ would throng to it at night, and especially during the weekends. Off course, there was also the wet market located some 200-300 meters up the road. It would not mean much to some, except in a stall just outside the wet market, a Makcik sold what was reputed to be the best Lontong dish in town. Though the Makcik - I was informed - is no longer around, her dish is still much sought after by many and is normally sold out by 9am. The business now run by her son, has remained true to her recipe; a legacy that stood the test of time and development (they now operate in the wet market/parking complex).

Opposite to the wet market then, was a cooperative supermarket with the name Usahajaya which provided delivery right to the doorsteps of a buyer.But unlike the business of the Makcik and her Lontong, Usahajaya began losing its customers to a new competitor, whose very presence spoke of a reputable name in the business, Cold Storage. The new supermarket and the building it resides in, was called Jaya Supermarket.

Pic courtesy of MStar Online.

For some PJ folks, the supermarket of Jaya itself may not be much to gawk at as there was, some few years before, another supermarket by the name of Thrifty. Thrifty, as the name suggest, sold its goods at a much more competitive price. But as it was a supermarket and nothing more than that. Jaya, on the other hand, was more than a supermarket. It was a mini shopping complex. It had entertainment (in the form of a pub-restaurant on the 1st floor, complete with a live band). It was new. It was trendy.

Perhaps more importantly, it was located on the northern part of PJ - the Federal Highway was and still is the border line. Being on the northern part which was experiencing rapid development then, meant Jaya was also easily accessible to the rising number of middle class residents there, as well as the more affluent folks of the Section 16 enclave.

When I read about the tragedy in the old Jaya, I was as much shocked about the death as well as the puzzled about the demolishing job. Shocked, as it does seem strange for a building as sturdy as Jaya could collapse so easily (I have to add that I do not know the stage of progress of work done). Puzzled, as I had actually forgotten that Jaya had been closed and was marked for redevelopment. But when I read MStar (from the same link below the pic), then it dawned on me that I must have not visited visited the area for a very long time.

For many who are not aware of the area, apart from Jaya Supermarket, the other attraction there is the street leading down to the Section 14 Mosque, where hawkers would be selling their delicacies which include, a favourite of many and yours truly, the popiah of a one S.A.Bakar. I don't know if he is still in business. But for one who had been selling popiah on a bicycle, Bakar had managed to purchase 2 double-storey houses somewhere in PJ.

It does seem sad, now when one reflect upon it, that the building is no longer around. It, was The Place to be. It, was what spurred the growth of the area. It, became not just a landmark, but also an icon. But it, was also the scourge of many cursing motorist who had difficulty finding a parking bay, causing many to double or illegally park their vehicles. And that, led to more swearing as traffic builds up, at times one whole round around Jaya Supermarket. And off course, the later on addition of Metrojaya did not help one tiny bit at all - it just added on to it. And later still, the presence of more commercial banks and franchised food outlets made the streets there a chaotic scene.

In a cruel manner of speaking, perhaps it is better the way it presently.

Now, and I believe this to be the same prayers as many others, let us hope that the redevelopment would look into all aspects of the area such as traffic problems, and the presence of undesirable elements.

Jaya Supermarket. Adios, old friend.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Coconut

It lay between the sea and dry land, as if caught in a dilemma of going ashore (for good) or back to drifting on the currents of the open sea, which ironically, had the coconut drifted on perhaps, a journey more than a thousand miles from its home soil when it was torn apart from its bond to the tree that had been its family.

For a span of time which the coconut may have lost count, it lives on the very will of Allah s.w.t.: fight the frightening tall waves of sea storms, sleep through the dull dead calm of an open sea, grapple against the invasion of microbes and gargantuan sea creatures as they try to penetrate through the husk onto the kernel and inside of it - it survived, enduring the harshest of condition that it was meant to live through.

But now, it seem lost and at wit's end. Caught between the pull of two desires. One, to lay itself on the soft ground of the shore and grow to be tall and proud. Or, to return to the sea that had made it into a small legend. A hardy being. One, that had stood the test of time.

In all probability, it would return to the sea for a short spell while it search for a more conducive place to lay its roots. Literally. As it does, it will tell its future generations of the tales it had been harrowed upon; the memory of how it survived, shall be passed down via the very genes of its offspring - a tough, resilient coconut.

The same, sadly, cannot be said of my PC. Barely.

ps. Kindly visit Painting Pictures and give comment. If any, it would help yours truly to improve.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Just Be Aje

This is a story about a very short-sighted Sunbird with the name - well as the story goes, rather coincidentally - Aje. And as the story would have it, being short-sighted means Aje is not able to fly far from his home, very much unlike the other Sunbird, or rather birds for the matter. No matter how much Aje would love to, he has to remind himself that he is not like a bat armed with sonar and acute hearing, and able to fly through a maze of objects in the dark. No, Aje have to remind himself repeatedly he is not, remembering an episode in the past when he was inspired to think he was, by an affliction which strikes all those young at heart, humans included.

Then, springing to life at the end of the rainy season, Aje was, like all creatures big and small, yearning to immortalise his name within the Sunbird community and make a claim to a small territory of his own. In other words, Aje was looking for a mate to make a nest.

The day, just like any, began when Aje traipsed along a big branch on the tree where Aje lives. The tree, being a large one at that, off course have many branches as any large tree would have. And as the tree was large, this branch was one which Aje had never been on. Aje being there too, was rather fortunate (or unfortunate as the story would tell) after having glided down from the top branches quite like a flying fox, and he was very much surprised to land on this branch he had never been before. Well, in truth, it does not matter if he had or not. Being short-sighted, almost everything and every place is new to him.

From a distance of no more than a meter, Aje's short-sighted eyes caught the blurry shape of what he thought was another Sunbird, and moved closed towards it. As he got closer, his nose picked up the sweet scent of nectar, which smells like perfume to most birds (and bees and their likes). "Aha!"thought Aje, "could this that which my heart seek?". Aje moved closer.

"That's a lovely plumage you have" said Aje as he balanced himself on the branch just beside that which his heart seek.

"And that perfume you're wearing," Aje continued without waiting for any reply to his ice-breaker "it smells so much like nectar".

Under normal circumstances, the pick-up line would have gotten Aje into a female Sunbird's good book already as it is the highest form of flattery from a male. However, Aje received not a single reply even after several tries, and quietly said to himself "Must be one of those shy types I've been hearing stories about. Well, this would make it more exciting".

As it is with birds of all feathers, the males would have to do make a show of himself to catch the attention of the females and win their heart in the process. Some birds like the Peacock, would normally not have to do much as they let their tales be told by their tail. Other birds like the Magpie, whistle the females over with their melodious chirp. But a Sunbird?

Aje could not figure out what was it he was supposed to do and was looking around all over just for some small hints. He tried to play a game or two, but that which his heart seek, remained quiet and aloof.

Almost at wits end, Aje then remembered the tale of legendary birds of old who jump about quite feverishly just to catch a female's attention, and thought it might be a good idea to do so. But what the legend did not tell, was that those birds were Mexican Manakins, which Aje, apart from the legend told, have no inkling at all as to what they are or how they really go about in times such as this. Nonetheless, Aje, being young at heart - and like all young at hearts, a foolish one too - was willing to do just about anything now.

Aje hyped himself to the occasion, initialy humming a slow tune and then rapidly building it to a faster and faster beat. And as it got faster, so did Aje's body move with the rhythm until soon, he was prancing about quite like a mad bull seeing red. Off course, Aje was not seeing red. In fact, he practically see nothing at all except for blurry images all around him. But let that not stop Aje.

Between twigs and thorns, leaves and brushes, Aje was putting his best feet forward with a confidence he has not known before. He became bolder and with each pass, he would move nearer and nearer till he felt his feathers almost ruffling the female, and which got him thinking "She's beginning to take notice!".
In his excitement, little did Aje realise that the flapping of his wings has created a fair amount of air-wave, enough to rock the 'female' back and forth.

Finally, just as Aje thought he was about triumph, his right leg snagged on a twig causing Aje to fall over with the scene quite like those of a horse in a show jump. But off course, Aje is not a horse and thus came tumbling down only to land on another branch below. "She tripped me!" cried a bruised Aje, body and ego. And off course, a broken heart too.

Eversince then, Aje has sworn to remain his true self: Not a writer, nor a photographer. Not even a Manakin, or a bat. "Just be myself," vowed Aje the short-sighted Sunbird. And that is the way it has remain since.

Moral of the story: Just Be Aje.

Sekadar hiburan untuk teman teman, terutama rerama salju dan juga mereka yang sedang berduka, dengan harapan ianya dapat mengukir walaupun senyuman kecil di bibir anda.