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If you have friends from overseas visiting here (especially the Mat Sallehs) and you do not quite know where else to take them around after showing all the concrete jungles thinking that you want to impress them – try taking them to pasar tani (farmer’s market).

As tourist, many of those friends that I took to pasar tani were impressed and enjoyed the short walk along the crowded path with stalls and squeezing around the people under the umbrellas and the heat (if you go late).

We sometime did not think they are here to see the normal everyday life of the general public and the natural colors of the population and crowd. Thus pasar tani is definitely natural sightseeing for many of them.

Here are some of the photos of the colorful blend of people, vegetables, food items and everything …

The pasar tani at Taman Ahmad Razali (Ampang, Selangor) flats is a small one but yet it is just as exemplary as other bigger ones. And today it seems to be extra quiet with more than 20% of the stalls not operating.

Make sure you do some homework and know what are they called in English

Some of them prefers a slow walk looking at the variety of vegetables

picking basket ...

know when to use brinjals and when to use eggplants

Most likely they will never see this in their lifetime in their own country

A close up

Make sure you know which is bilis and which is anak tamban

You may want to know why do people buy dried chillies for

don't mixed up with the variety of "bawang"s ... bawang merah, bawang besar etc and doing a direct translation!

garlic ... excellent for blood thinning

the challenge would be to explain the sayur kampung

if you hardly do the chores you would not know the names of a simple ones

... even tougher!

How would to explain about petai? How it is "plucked" - will you be able to describe about the tree? How you cook/eat ... why must it be specially hanged?

How do you eat these bananas?

What a combination of display

Don't say it is jackfruit!

How to explain about these partly burned chicken?

a family business ... as most of them

... the wet part

NO! ... not this one that killed Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin

it is definitely Ramadan ...

with Ramadan ... you also have the Raya cookies

not less than 3 stalls selling just Raya cookies

this stall usually sells all kinds of keropok

I once went to the Asian Food Store in Carbondale, IL (many years ago) and asked the American shop assistant for "shrimp paste" when he looked back at me with a question mark on his face and asked "do mean belacan?"

the ever smiling and friendly Hisham at his always crowded mobile nursery

Hisham also takes his nursery to Taman Melawati Pasar Tani (as also many of this pasar tani operators)

a lorry load

an ugly sight to some people

but they are everywhere and it is a reality

they grow in numbers in this month of givings

Lambuk or kemumu (Colocasia gigantea)

Give it a try the next time you have a foreign guest to take around.

Nothing fancy about my camera. It was taken using Nokia 6120 phone camera.

It is the question that many of us keep asking these days. Is our neighborhood safe?

Several years ago the statistics was that Selangor has the highest snatch thieve cases in Malaysia. And in Selangor, Ampang is the district with the highest rate. And among the many hot-spots in Ampang, Ampang Point seems to be the highest then. At one time when one of our office colleague made a police report when his locked motorbike was stolen in the broad daylight which was parked right in front of the office next to the busy Ampang Point branch of Maybank, the police officer said that they have report of snatch cases, stolen bikes and car window smashed every week.

Snatch cases triple up towards the end or early of the month when people would be carrying extra cash from their salary. We had, in separate incidents, two of our staffs being dragged while holding on to their handbags.

That was then, early in 2000’s. I do not know of the latest statistics.

The presence of this pondok polis and regular patrol of the police should have helped to deter crime but did not stop totally

But we still read in our dailies of robberies and all sort of other crimes happening still, including Ampang. That is despite the latest announcement by the authorities that the street crime rate has dropped by about 13% (?).

During last Raya, while in Terengganu, we read about a house being broke-in during daylight and the only person in the house was a lady. Frustrated with nothing valuable the two robbers raped her. And that happened just the other street from our house.

Two weekends ago, our newly moved-in next door neighbor lost his gas cylinder left at the front porch of his house, despite having the view blocked by their two cars parked under the newly renovated porch. Unfortunately, as we scrolled back our CCTV recording it was not captured – probably the thieve/s use the other side of his gate not covered by our camera.

Such petty theft are becoming norms and being accepted these days – and sometime done by school children (as reported in the paper today – of robbery done while they were in school uniform).

Even reachable by my 7 year old and it is of course tempting ...

We have a big mango tree just outside our gate. This year it was supposed to be a very good harvest. As usual we would distribute to “all” the neighbors along our row. While it was nice to be able to share with our neighbors (and those who clean the neighborhood – Alam Flora contractors) we were also forced to share with the passersby who would just come and pluck the mangoes (as we could see their behaviour from our CCTV ;-) )

Some would purposely come just to steal and run away. There were those who would stand on the seat of their motorcycle to gain the height for the taller fruits. Or the younger ones would come with bicycles, two or three of them would be climbing while the others would be on the look out while others ready with plastic bags under the tree.

Well, it maybe just “curi buah” from the tree by the street and maybe just something small and petty. But are the parents not educating about values?

Something of latest that happened yesterday was told by my kampung friend (read about my “kampunghood” here) married to a former popular actress/singer, who is now also a “kampung-mate” again far away from hometown as we pray together at the same mosque everyday. After having our Jumaat prayer, as I was about to share with him about his former classmate that I just managed to get in touch via my other blog (sulaimanian.wordpress.com), he was eargerly wanting to tell me what had just happened to his son in the morning.

The lad who is waiting for his SPM result was walking from his house to his work place and was stopped by a policeman.  After being asked for identification, the policeman asked him to follow pillion on the bike to the police station. For the innocent boy, this seemed to be genuine, as the policeman was having intermittent noise coming from his walkie-talkie.

Instead of going to the nearby police station – which is just a few hundred meters away, the guy passed the station and stopped at a quiet back lane further away and start wanting for more. Took his phone. But luck was with the boy – probably from the prayers of their parents who never miss the jemaah at Masjid Hidayah Kg Pandan Dalam and also his grandfather whom I remember always prayed with us at Surau Lorong Mok Pe those days. An alert civic-minded man drove by and stopped. Noticing something not right he went to them and start asking. While the policeman now tried to fend off by giving excuses that it was just a family matter, the smart thinking boy gave a facial signal to the man.

Sensing the man’s move, the bogus policeman sped up his motorbike and thus saved my friend’s son only to loose his phone and IC. And a police report was made.

But back to the initial question I started with, is our neighborhood safe? We hardly hear about theft when I was growing up at the government quarters then. We never lock our bikes – let alone have our doors and windows fixed with steel grills. But it is so common nowadays. Report on stolen bikes are now just for statistic purpose.

This morning while driving to our favorite jogging place at 7.30 we had to swerved our car on a quite street of Taman Ampang Utama to avoid hitting a drunken man sleeping on the road. I then called the nearby police station, which I always do when I notice something that should be reported while driving and I have the number in my phone all the time. The officer answering my call gave me a surprise reply. “Oh, orang Korea yang mabuk tu! Kita orang dah suruh dia balik pukul 5 pagi tadi”

Imagine, that drunken Korean has been there for over two hours and nobody bother!

[Just a side-track: Ampang is now crowded with Koreans, with thousands of them. There are not less than 5 Korean grocery stores in the neighborhood, about 20 eateries, more than 5 churches. They have their own workshop operated by Koreans. And they even have their own security patrol unit and community commuter van service provided for their people. There are not less than 7 vans - clearly labeled - but LPKP may have given then special permit???]

Apabila terlalu kerap makan di luar adakalanya kita menjadi buntu untuk membuat pilihan apa yang hendak dimakan. Kadang-kadang terasa semacam muak untuk makan walaupun di tempat kegemaran kita. Mungkin kerana terlalu kerap mengulangi masakan yang sama.

jakim halal logoSatu jenis masakan yang ramai di kalangan kita orang Melayu kurang meminati untuk makan (atau kurang mempunyai pilihan untuk makan yang halal) ialah jenis masakan Cina. Mungkin kerana konotasi makanan kegemaran mereka yang sentiasa ada hidangan haram membuat sesetengah orang tidak berani untuk makan masakan Cina. Ada sesetengah kita terlalu alahan dengan konotasi tersebut sehinggakan melintasi depan restoran Cina dengan asap dan bau masakannya sudah cukup untuk hilang selera.

Namun, jika benar-benar dicari terdapat banyak restoran Cina yang dimiliki oleh orang Cina yang Muslim yang menyediakan pelbagai masakan yang halal. Mungkin satu senarai lengkap restoran masakan halal yang dimiliki oleh orang-orang Cina Muslim patut dikemaskinikan oleh Persatuan Cina Muslim Malaysia pakya-corner(MACMA). [Senarai yang ada sekarang tidak begitu lengkap] Ini bukan sahaja untuk memudahkan masyarakat Islam umumnya dapat merasakan masakan Cina yang halal tetapi juga mengalakkan ikatan persaudaraan sesama Islam apabila umat Islam sama-sama membantu ekonomi saudaranya.

Salah satu yang tidak tersenarai dalam direktori MACMA tersebut ialah Pak Ya Chinese Muslim Food Corner yang dimiliki Sdr. Yahya Yeo yang telah memeluk Islam. Beliau yang berniaga bersama isterinya yang berasal dari tanah besar China turut juga memeluk Islam.

menuPak Ya yang ramah dan mesra pelanggan telah membuka restorannya di Kampung Pandan/Taman Chempaka sejak beberapa tahun lalu. Dengan membuka restorannya di kawasan yang ramai penduduk Melayu maka kebanyakkan pelanggannya terdiri dari orang-orang Melayu. Namun akan sentiasa pula kita dapati ada pelanggan Cina sendiri yang datang menjamu selera mereka di situ (tetapi tidak dapat kami pastikan sama mereka juga beragama Islam).

Yang penting bagi mana-mana kedai makan ialah rasa makasannya. Jika sedap maka majulah kedainya. Jika masakannya kadangkala sedap dan pada waktu lain pula ianya tidak seperti dahulul maka sukar untuk kita terus melangganinya dan dapat kita lihat bilangan pelanggan yang sukar untuk dikekalkan. Namun, setakat sekian lama kami melanggani layanan mesra Pak Ya, kami yakin untuk menepati ekspektasi kami dengan pilihan yang pelbagai dari menunya yang kemas.

Kedainya terletak di map-pakyaLorong G1 (atau Jalan Cempaka 1), Kampung Pandan Dalam, 55100 Kuala Lumpur [klik pada peta untuk panduan arah yang lebih besar]. Jika kita dari MMR2, selepas exit Jalan Ampang Putra (menghala ke Taman Dagang/Nirwana/IPD Polis Ampang Jaya) sebelum exit Pandan Jaya dan bertentangan dengan Tesco ada exit kecil (Jalan Chempaka 1). Masuk exit tersebut – terus sahaja hingga ke hujung persimpangan T, anda pasti ankan nampak kedainya. Anda boleh juga melalui dari pelbagai arah dari Kampung Pandan Dalam, Taman Chempaka atau Taman Nirwana jika diteliti peta yang disediakan ini.

Waktu operasi kedainya ialah di antara 3 petang – 1 pagi – setiap hari kecuali Rabu (selang seminggu). Anda boleh hubungi Pak Ya terus untuk sebarang maklumat lanjut.

[kemaskini: Restoran Pak Ya akan berpindah ke Galaxy Ampang pada 25 September 2011]

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