Wednesday, 4 September 2013

felda...a site visit (2)

It's 12.30pm.


Whether to proceed to the next site at Jengka or head for lunch. The journey to Jengka from Kuantan will take about 45 minutes through the LPT/Lebuhraya Pantai Timur/ highway before exit at Maran toll. 

Some team members want to proceed but Surea is quite hesitant on proceeding with the journey because he doesn't want to miss the lunch at Temerloh. Actually Khoo and Chong do not know what it's all about...on our planning and program. We keep this as a secret. 

While waiting for the decision as to where to go, I throw some topic for discussion to Chong and let Surea and Khoo make the decision.

"Chong, do you realise or not that in Malaysia everything is called 'highway' regardless whether the road is on the higher ground or on the lowland area?"

"Yes, it's true, I don't know if there is a difference."

"In overseas, especially in Europe, there is a different term of highways, the one on the higher ground or hilly areas, they term it as 'Fitted Highway' and on the lowland area they call it Autobahn, is in German language, meaning Federal Expressway, no speed limit in general but advisory speed limit is 130km/hour. I don't know whether it's applicable to our region or not?"

"That's interesting, I have no idea about all these."

"Don't be surprised that the longest highway in the world is found in Asia. The longest is the National Trunk Highway System(NTHS) in China with the total length of 97,355km, followed by Interstate Highway System(IHS) in USA with 75,932km, The Spain Highway with 16,204km and fourth longest and one of the most advanced in the world is the Autobahn with 12,845km." 

"I don't know that the Town Planner is knowledgeable about road systems."

"It is part of the syllabus in Transport Planning. We need to know as a basic, as a foundation in drafting Master Plan for any big development that involves transportation mode. The detail design of course will be done by the so called expertise on the subject matter."

"I don't know that, all these while I thought a Town Planner is mostly involves with subdivison of lots like what we the surveyor used to do."

"Conversion/change of use/Subdivision of lots is one of the many branches of Planner's work."

"How do you define... Boulevard?"

"Boulevard is a French term for large road running through the city, with  tree filled median and above average quality of landscaping and scenery. But nowadays people associated this with 'avenues'."

"What about our East West highway, is it a highway or just a normal one lane road each side, something like state or federal road?"

"Please don't confuse me. Some highland highway like this is known as 'Okuk' highway, a kind of highland road in Papua New Guinea, as the inter town connector. In USA this kind of highway is called the Mountain Loop highway.  I'm also in a dilemma when comes to this. Our people like to copy things without knowing the meaning, that's how all sorts of terminology has been used blindly lately...look at Putra Jaya...there's the words 'precint', 'souk', 'boulevard' and so on..."

Actually Chong comes from Gerik district, a part of hilly area of the Main Range in Perak, bordering Jeli district in Kelantan. That is where the East-West highway is running through connecting the two states. To me the standard of East-West highway is just like the normal Federal Road of 100' width reserve. Nothing much  of a difference. Why it is called East-West highway, only those in the Ministry of Works knows better. I reserve my comment.

After lots of convincing then every body agree to head for lunch. 

So there it goes, proceed to Temerloh, which takes about one hour plus. We hope to reach there at least by 1.30pm. It is still drizzling. Lots of on coming vehicles flashing the headlamps as a signal that something is happening in front of us. This is the usual 'manners' of Malaysian drivers. I do not know whether it's a good or bad practice. 

Now we know why lots of cars are giving flash lights. 

There's a lot of accidents on both sides of the highway. The stretch of this highway/Maran area is the common accident place. There's a warning sign for cross wind. The area is situated in the valley between hills thus forms  the wind tunnel. This could be the reason of the accident besides the road surface is quite bumpy due to poor finishing/the base is on pit soil. Some people use to relate this area as 'kawasan keras'. Few months back my friend rammed his MERZ onto the divider damaging the whole car, luckily he escaped unhurt.

Surea slows down keeping the speedometer safe at 120km/hour.

After the Temerloh exit, we proceed towards the town area. I lost bearing, normally we use different road. But today we enter the town area. As far I'm concern, this is not the road to reach the intended place. So I told Surea to look for Hospital Besar Temerloh, just proceed and from there I think I can locate the 'place'.

Since this is during the lunch hour, the town is quite jam. It takes us about half an hour to the place. Upon reaching the destination, we saw lots of cars, mostly exclusive cars like BMW, MERZ and Alphard parked at the compound. The place is not a posh restaurant but a humble structure under the rubber trees. Sometimes the best food can be found not in an exclusive area but in a normal place where the quality of cooking and originality are the keys as opposed to the commercialization.

I used to come to this place whenever I got some jobs to settle in Maran and Temerloh. I was first introduced to this place by one friend. Normally we landed at the  riverside food court in the town area for 'ikan patin tempoyak', the most famous stall there is the one belong to Pak Usop family, the end lot stall.

Pak Usop only serves 'ikan patin sangkar'. It's nice and cheap but the one we are coming for today is of different class. For the head part it costs RM38, the tail RM30 and the body part is RM18-20 depending on sizes.

The Sultan of Pahang used to have lunch here and today we saw the Sultan brother's entourage is here having lunch. The place is three quarter full, so I asked Surea to make orders, because it's almost 2pm and the 'patin' is not much left.

Khoo and Chong are not familiar with this kind of cooking so I suggest to Surea to look for alternative. Luckily there's udang galah/prawn and other dishes besides 'ikan patin tempoyak'.

While Surea is busy ordering the food, I went to the kitchen looking for the owner. She still recognizes me. 


"Waalaikum mussalam"

"Lama tak nampak?"

"Ada, tapi jarang-jarang sampai sini, kerja dah habis."

"Datang sini dengan Tengku ke?"

"Tak, kami dari KL, tadi pegi Felda Bukit Sagu ada kerja sikit. Lepas ni nak ke Jengka."

"Masa datang dulu pun ke Jengka juga,"

She still remember my last visit here when I was from Jengka having a site visit for Mydin superstore project. Her memory is superb. I think she's in early 70s but still look healthy. According to her, the grandparents were actually from Kelantan and settled down in Temerloh while doing some business and now all the later generation claim they are Pahang people. According to this lady, lots of Temerloh residents were originally from Kelantan and some from Terengganu. Not only in Temerloh but those areas like Raub, Kuala Lipis, Jerantut and Felda areas are mostly Kelantenese by origin.

"Oo masa tu saya pergi Jengka fasal projek Mydin. Sekarang dah lulus tinggal nak bina saja."

"Sebelah tanah makcik ni pun ada 5 ekar dengar khabarnya Mydin nak beli, entahlah, harga RM5 juta."

The petrol station next to this restaurant is actually belong to her family and leased to one China man as the operator. The big chunk of land behind this restaurant is also belong to her family. She's quite well off in terms of physical property.

The patin sungai that is serves by this restaurant is actually the 'wild fresh water fish' which cost her RM200 each/alive, it's the famous 'patin muncung' the most sought after species and the most expensive.

It's really worth and value for money. You don't regret having lunch here.

"How was it?" I ask Surea

"I think this is the best patin so far." he gives a thumbs up.

"To me, the patin at sek 17 Shah Alam and Pak Usop cannot match this, but of course every place has their own uniqueness."

"I think today my mission is accomplished."

It has been Surea's dream to come to this place when I told him I've found the best 'patin muncung'. Surea is considered a hard core food hunter. Almost every type of famous and unusual eating havens he has visited. So it's a challenge for him that I've found some eating haven which he has not yet visited. I'm not a hard core food hunter but just a mere follower. 

I used to bring my family, travel all the way from KL just for the patin at this place, but sadly it was closed. Actually the owner told me that whenever it's close, it means the supply is not available. This restaurant will only serve the wild patin, if there is no supply, she will not operate. I love her policy and style. Quality and originality are the prime concern.

Surea used to bring me to one restaurant at Taman Melawati, Restoran Ikan Sungai. According to the operator, all the fish come from sungai Pahang. They have varieties from Kelah, Sebarau, Patin, Tapah and all the exotic fresh water fish are served at that restaurant. The price is unimaginable, it goes by per 100gm...the lowest price is RM50/100gm, so just imagine 1 kilo, it will be RM500. I used to have lunch there, 6 of us and the bill was RM2000. To me it's too much and not everybody can afford it. Now the place is closed for good.

It's 2.40pm.

Our next destination is Jengka 6.