Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Ageing peddlers...

Nakamora feels bad about himself every time an elderly approaches him. Plastic bags in both hands, full with packages of kerepek or some kinds of local snacks. With sad eyes, they would beg him to buy the snack. Not the kind that he likes, and often times the packaging too has almost worn out. He pity the peddlers, but several hundreds questions rush in his mind, begging for answers:
- where are they from?
- who brought them here?
- where do they stay?
- is the daily sale enough to support them?
- who made the products that they peddle around?
and, most importantly, where are their kin and siblings? At that age they should be resting and just relaxing...

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Hardcopy or softcopy?

When e-mails was introduced years ago Nakamora thought that would be the beginning of the end of the postal service. He was wrong. On the contrary, the postal service thrives as orders for goods can be made faster on-line. But goods cannot be virtualized, transmitted, and realized yet - that Star Trek technology isn't here yet.

Now he thought that this time his prediction is right - that social media has replaced greeting cards. This Eid-ul-Fitr for instance he received only three greeting cards. Down by many folds from the number he used to enjoy holding, reading, and keeping. Most greetings come in softcopy - via Facebooks, being tweeted, or short message system.

But then, his observation could be wrong again. He is no longer in circulation for quite a number of years, he is not in the loop but only at the periphery of the circles of major happenings, contributing to society in a manner that is different than before. But then again, some of his friends mused the same thing too. This year there aren't many cards, so they say. Thus, he could be right, or at least half-right.

Anyway, selamat hari raya aidilfitri 1434H to all readers...

Thursday, July 04, 2013

A stranger who is not a stranger...

Nakamora trained his eyes to every nooks and corners of the yellow-colored shophouses. The majority of them, if not almost all, are eateries of all types of dishes and all kinds of operations: mamak shop, kelantanese food, thai food, lebanese food, indonesian food, cake house, seafood restaurant, and even a restaurant named after a popular local cartoon TV series that is set to supplant doraemon.

He has been looking for him, someone from the other part of the world. Could it be Pakistan, Afghanistan, or any of the other ...stans countries. He couldn't tell and he never cared. After all he was nice, well-mannered, and seems to know how to carry himself around. Nowhere could he be seen.

He used to sell wooden handicraft, and Nakamora bought one several years ago. It was their first encounter. Nakamora since then stumbled on him whenever he went to have his meal at one of the restaurant, and they greeted each other cordially. Last year in December he said that he is going home for a while and will come back when it is summer in his country.  That's about March this year, but he's still not to be seen.

He was a stranger, but somehow he isn't, else Nakamora wouldn't be bothered looking around. In life, there are occassions that touch your heart, and there are people who did the same. Mohamad Abid, to Nakamora, is one such person.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Beware of what you want and ask for....

Short stories have the value of providing us with insight into life, into things that we might go through or have gone through. It can rationalize things that may seem irrational. It can put things in perspectives. Hence Nakamora wishes to share the following story which he came across in a daily tabloid quite some time ago.

There was an old lady, staying alone in a village, supporting herself by selling vegetables and other produce at the local farmers' market. One of her best selling product is tempe. Tempe is a traditional soy product produced by fermentation process that binds soybeans into a cake form. Tempes can be eaten fried or cooked in a curry to be taken during regular meals with rice.

The lady is very pious, God-fearing, always do good deeds and never ever cause problems to others or do any bad or evil things.

Tempe - done and sold at a night market near Nakamora's house
Every time, before packing her produce to leave for the market she would check to see if her tempe were done and ready to sell. One day she found that her tempe were only half done. She wondered why as to her best memory she didn't change the recipe and followed exactly the way she always make tempe.

She prayed for her tempe to be done so that she can sell them that morning at the farmers' market. She believed Allah can do anything. She always depended on Him and have great faith in Him. In the meantime she prepared her other products, and when done she checked the tempe again. No change, the tempe were still as before.

She was a bit shaken but not losing confidence. She prayed again asking Allah for miracles. She needed to sell the tempe to support herself. Besides, it is the end of the month; there will be a lot of shoppers in the market. A large part of her monthly revenue comes from sales at the end of the month. She said, “Oh Allah, I know you can make miracle, I know you can make anything at your will. Help me, please make the tempe done. I am asking you for a miracle.”

She packed the tempe together with other products and made the trip to the farmers' market hoping that during the trip her payer would be answered; a miracle would happen; and the tempe would be done.

On arrival she set up to display her products. She peeked into the tempe covering to see if they are done since she wanted to display the tempe too. She was taken aback when she saw that the tempe were still as before, half done. She started wondering why her wish was not granted. She is pious, never forget or intentionally forget to pray, never did anything bad. She felt sad and her faith was somewhat weakened when she almost got angry with her predicament.

She left the tempe in the package in despair, but still harboring the hope that somehow the tempe will be done. Hours went by, occasionally she peeked into the tempe covering to see if they can be sold. No change. The market is about to close and sellers all prepared to go home. So as she.

As she was about to leave, a middle aged lady stopped her and asked if she have tempe, half-cooked; as the lady did not want them fully done. She was surprised, and this time she prayed to Allah not to grant what she has been asking for all along. Please, let the tempe stayed as they were. She responded to the lady that yes, she has plenty of half done tempe. The lady glowed and smiled happily as she has been asking here, there, and everywhere for half-cooked tempe. The lady asked to buy all of her tempe.

Slowly and trembling, she opened her package and took out the tempe. Yes, the tempe remained half-cooked. And the lady bought all of them. Before the lady left she asked why she wanted half-cooked tempe. The lady replied that her son is studying in the USA and craved for tempe, so she wanted to mail him the tempe. Fully cooked tempe would have gone bad while in postage.

Now, the she understood why her prayers were not granted for Allah knows best, and has a better plan for her. It touched her deep in her heart and thank Allah continuously as she made her way back home while regretting to almost show her anger when her wish for the tempe to be done were not granted.

Sometimes, what we asked was not what we actually wanted, Nakamora thought. He philosophized that it's better to ask for the tempe to be sold than for them to be fully done. Focus on the goal - after all, what matters is the tempe are sold, not for them to be fully done. Thus, Nakamora concludes, beware of what you asked for...

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The good, the bad, and the ugly...

The title of this posting is that of a popular Western movie, which is Nakamora's favorite genre. It has been used in many instances to describe exactly that combination of events when they come in a package. That was what happened in Nakamora's recent trip to France.
The good - in a train into Paris from a town called La Rochelle a gentleman gave away his seat by taking Nakamora's own three coaches upstream so that he can sit next to his wife. Similarly a lady willingly moved around to another seat to let her seat be used by his wife.The bad - it was a hectic trip with very little breathing space. The ugly - he was not reminded, but it happened. His guard was not adequate. Nakamora was a victim of the latest 'football' trick used by the pickpocket community of Paris. He was extra careful after that...

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Virtual in reality

It is a tiring journey, being in a plane for over fifty percent of a day. Amsterdam Schipol airport is 13 hours 10 minutes away from KLIA by the midnight flight. Arriving at Amsterdam just as the sun breaks through the horizon. Lucky that the airport has nice waiting areas, open to passengers of all classes, secluded from the main thoroughfare where other passengers are departing or arriving. Not all trees there are real, but the prerecorded background sound of a farm area, birds chirping, ducks quacking, give it a sense of reality. A nice place to rest before boarding the  next connecting flight to his final destination. Nakamora has just to be aware not to fall asleep there, like others also in waiting.