The Masjids and Musallahs of Jalan Rungkup

or My Bagan Datoh Vacation, Final Installment My five children weren’t the only ones sick over the vacation. The wife was busy vomiting all over the place too. The problem: Penyakit buatan orang. That literally means a man-made illness but refers to a hex or voodoo curse placed on someone. Black magic is alive and […]

Halal Chicken While You Wait

Vacationing in a rural area like Bagan Datoh means you are far from the entertainment and amenities of city life. One definite advantage lies in being closer to where your food comes from: fresh, wholesome food is just outside your door. When we ran out of chicken, I had simply to ease on down the […]

Tourists Reach Bagan Datoh

I was amazed to see all the development upon my return to Bagan Datoh. Roads were being widened and resurfaced, the water infrastructure was being upgraded, civic buildings looked spiffy with fresh paint. Am I reading to much into it to see a political lesson here? Having your district go to PAS is bad for […]

Masjid Jamek Jawiyyah

In the heart of our kampung in Bagan Datoh lies the Masjid Jamek Jawiyyah, a beautiful mosque built entirely from wood over one hundred years ago. There have been a few expansions since then, but the original timbers of the structure are still intact and unchanged. Since it was built before running water, the ablution […]

Vacation to West Malaysia

It’s school vacation time.  I’m packing up the troops for a three week road trip in West Malaysia.  I’ll be back in Kuching on the 23rd.  In the likely event that I don’t update before Christmas, might I suggest the full online translation of the Hikam by Ibn Ata’Allah, courtesy of Dr Aisha Bewley’s homepage, […]

Learning from Chickens

Shortly after Hari Raya Eid al-Fitr, I was given a lovely gift in the form of a rooster, hen, and four small chicks. The chickens are a small variety known locally as ayam katik. Although smaller and more tame, these chickens are not related to our modern poultry or egg laying machines, but are bred […]

Mysteries of the Coconut: Ketupat

A ubiquitous icon of the Ramadan season is Ketupat. Ketupat is to Hari Raya what candy canes and tinsel are to Christmas: innocuous, non-religious cultural symbols that are inextricably linked to the holiday. Images of ketupat are plastered on greeting cards, banners, cut-shots between TV programs, and so on. Decorative ketupats made of ribbon are […]