TONTON ASTRO AWANI

PENGUNJUNG SETIA

23 Februari 2008

TRADITION OF KOMPANG-MAKING KEPT GOING AT BACKYARD OF KAMPUNG HOUSE

By ZAZALI MUSA

THE sound of kompangs is often heard in Malaysia at functions such as the Malay weddings, welcoming VIP guests or at football matches.

Kompang is a traditional hand drum played in groups using interlocking movements to produce various composite rhythms.

It is played with legs crossed when sitting, standing or walking in procession with players using one hand to hold the drum and the other to strike it.

Seasoning: Wooden frames drying under the sun.
This instrument of Middle Eastern origin was brought to the country during the days of the Malay Sultanate by Indian Muslim traders and through Java in the 13th century by Arab traders and missionaries.

In the early days, kompang was known as rebana, which is drum in Arabic. The Malay word kompang loosely translated means “to hit or beat”.

Kompang groups in Batu Pahat and Muar, Johor, usually have the jidor or the Javanese drum in their ensemble due to the large number of ethnic Javanese residents in the two districts.

Traditional drums: Items made by Perusahaan Kompang Baki Abdullah.
Kompang is used to accompany choral singing of zikir or selawat Nabi (praises to Prophet Mohammad) but now it is also featured in rock songs and joget numbers.

While many of us enjoy listening to the rhythms of kompang, many do not realise that the art of making the instrument is slowly dying.

In Johor, there are only a handful of kompang makers and one of them is Perusahaan Kompang Baki Abdullah at B32, Jalan Mahmood, Parit Jawa, near Muar.

Modern method: A worker drilling a metal strap which will be nailed to the kompang’s wooden frame.
A visit to the workshop at the backyard of a kampung house will give visitors a better insight on how the drum is made.

“Orders for our kompangs come from other Malaysian states, Brunei, Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysian students overseas,” said Ibrahim Paimin in an interview recently.

He said, as long as there are Malay weddings and other social events, demand for kompang will be there.

Done manually: Workers standing on goat hides nailed to wooden frames to set the durability and strength of the skin.
Ibrahim said the standard sizes of kompang were 30,33 and 36 centimetres in diameter, but his firm also made kompang of 38, 41 and 43 centimetres upon request.

The shallow wooden frame of the drum is made of leban wood, which is light, and goat hide is nailed to the frame using metal nails.

He said that cowhide was not suitable for kompang as it was thicker and it did not produce the desired sound when struck.

He said, previously, kompang was totally handmade from the shallow frame to the nailing, but now producers used machines for the frame, making the job much easier.

Apart from kompang, the workshop makes jidor and other traditional musical instruments of the Malay Archipelago such as angklung, gong, yengke, gendang caklempong and gendang kemplingan.

For enquiries on the instruments or to visit the workshop, call 06-987 3034 or 013-378 5774.

SOURCE: THE STAR, Saturday February 23, 2008

19 Februari 2008

REIGN OF RUTHLESS GANG ENDS

JOHOR BARU: One of the state’s most ruthless armed robbery gangs has been busted.

Its reign ended on Saturday when police tracked down and arrested three members, aged between 30 and 40, one after another during a raid in Muar from midnight to 7am.

State chief police officer Deputy Comm Datuk Mohd Mokhtar Mohd Shariff said police seized two pistols and 53 bullets from an oil palm estate in Grisek, Muar.

He said police believed the pistols were used in several armed robberies including the one on Jan 21 where a robber accidentally shot dead his accomplice when robbing a fruit wholesale shop in Jalan Bentayan. He fled with with RM12,000 and a handphone.

Police traced the remaining gang members through the identity of the dead robber who was released from prison in November after spending 15 years in jail for a drug-related case.

“We also seized two cars and six cellphones from the trigger-happy gang which had been on the state’s most wanted list for several months,” he said.

DCP Mohd Mokhtar said a number of armed robberies the state would likely be solved with the arrests.

He later handed out certificates of appreciation to the policemen who caught the three suspects.

SOURCE: THE STAR, Tuesday February 19, 2008

RM19m RISE IN ALLOCATION FOR JOHOR EDUCATION

TANGKAK: Nearly RM100mil will be dispersed in educational aid to more than 643,000 students in 1,127 schools in Johor this year.

Mentri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman said the fund was RM19mil more than the allocation last year.

He said this showed the Government, through the Education Ministry, was serious in its aim to help every Malaysian student enjoy free primary education.

The aid included cash, free textbooks, school fees, scholarships, free tuition and additional food for students from needy families.

“Although the cost of things have gone up, the Government gave priority towards lessening the burden of ordinary folks,” he said after presenting educational aid to pupils in Serom recently.

Abdul Ghani, the Serom assemblyman, said the recent move by the Government to waive school fees and provide free text books to all students helped parents with several school-going children.

He said that more than 24,900 students in the Ledang parliamentary constituency received aid totalling RM5.9mil.

SOURCE: THE STAR, Tuesday February 19, 2008

15 Februari 2008

'BN HAS HELPED MAKE MALAYSIA A PEACEFUL NATION'

TANGKAK: Fifty years of deep-rooted multiracial understanding, political stability and the power-sharing concept adopted by the Barisan Nasional Government has made Malaysia a peaceful nation.

Mentri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman said no other country, with people of different races, religions, cultures and languages, could boast what Malaysia had achieved.

He said the people should remain united to ensure the country continued to achieve another 50 years of peace and prosperity.

“We hope we will continue to enjoy this peaceful and harmonious living and political stability forever,” he told thousands of people after attending a Chinese New Year dinner hosted by Bukit Gambir residents on the first day of Chinese New Year.

Abdul Ghani, who was accompanied by his wife Datin Paduka Prof. Jamilah Arifin, Ledang MP Hamim Samuri, Gambir assemblyman M. Asojan and Tangkak assemblyman Datuk Yap Chik Dong, said Malaysia was a unique country.

He said Bukit Gambir for example, was opened by pioneering people, many who came from China about 100 years ago, and their love of the land had made the area a prosperous town today.

He said such commitment and love towards the land would continue to boost growth in the area as the world would continue to need rubber, palm oil and other agro-based products.

SOURCE: THE STAR, Friday February 15, 2008

THREE HELD FOR STEALING PARTS FROM LORRY

MUAR: Police have detained three men suspected of stealing parts from a lorry parked at a store along Km12.8 of the Muar-Tangkak road near Sungai Mati here.

Muar police chief Asst Comm Mohammad Nasir Ramli said the men, aged between 34 and 48, were detained five hours after the lorry owner reported the theft on Tuesday.

He said police recovered the stolen parts valued at RM1,000 and seized a motorcycle used to carry away the parts.

“The lorry owner, aged 47, and a businessman, left the vehicle at a store for the Chinese New Year holidays.

“However, at about 8am, the owner went to check the lorry and saw some parts had been stolen and lodged a report.”

ACP Mohammad Nasir said that public assistance helped the police in tracking and detaining the three men while they were carting off the stolen parts.

In an unrelated case, he said that police detained 13 youths, including students, and seized three motorcycles believed to be stolen, in a crime prevention operation here.

He said, besides checking for stolen bikes, police raided several entertainment outlets and booked seven operators for remaining open beyond the stipulated business hours.

“All the operators were issued summonses for violating the business hours rule,” he added.


SOURCE: THE STAR, Friday February 15, 2008

09 Februari 2008

SIGHTS TO BEHOLD

Yet another exciting weekend trip – this time down to Johor – reveals the wonders that are only a drive away.

BY NINA

This week, we headed for the Gunung Ledang Recreational Forest in Johor where we camped at a mountain reputed to be haunted by a princess.

We packed up our Ford Everest with camping gear, some food and, most importantly, mosquito repellent to keep those nasty little creatures at bay. We left Kuala Lumpur just before 8am and headed towards the Plus highway, southbound for Tangkak.

Raw beauty: A climb up Gunung Ledang reveals a beautiful waterfall near Kolam Puteri.

The journey to Tangkak was a short one; we were there in less than an hour. We made our way to the town centre to savour their famous Tangkak beef noodles before we hiked up Gunung Ledang to battle the legendary mountain princess.

The beef noodles did not disappoint. Not only was the soup boiled to perfection and the beef tender with bits of salted pickled vegetables, the noodles were smooth and soft. We slurped every last morsel from the bowl. Suffice to say, it was a delightful pre-lunch break.

With heavy bellies and a big smile on our faces, we headed towards Sagil, 25km from the main town, before arriving at the foot of Gunung Ledang.

We parked our vehicle and walked to the Ranger Office to register. We had to pay RM10 per person for entrance and a deposit of RM50 for the camping gear and food. We were bringing into the park. The park authorities were quite strict about campers littering the area. The deposit would be forfeited if the park rangers noticed that campers did not clean up after themselves. It was definitely a commendable effort in conserving nature – kudos to the park rangers!

With all the administrative details out of the way, we headed towards our campsite at Kolam Gajah, our first campsite. It was an easy trail even though it was high noon by the time we finally started our hike.

The tall and majestic keruing and meranti trees shaded us from the scorching sun. Along the way, little lizards darted out of our way. Leafy shrubs and vegetation, some with brilliant red and yellow blossoms, grew in abundance on both sides of the trail. Colourful butterflies fluttered among the flowers searching for nectar.

After a 20-30 minute hike, we arrived at Kolam Puteri which has a beautiful waterfall. The waters thundered down from a height of more than 100 feet above, crashing over boulders and rocks before hitting the pool at the bottom and then meandering gently down the hill.

Since it was the campsite nearest to the park entrance, tons of picnickers were already there. After a 10-minute breather, we continued on our journey up the hill towards Kolam Gajah. We were told that it would take us about an hour so we made sure we paced ourselves.

The flora we saw on the way up was amazing – we caught a glimpse of the nepenthes plant, more commonly known as the monkey cup hanging off the trees.

After walking for almost an hour, we arrived at the Kolam Gajah campsite. We were about 2,000 feet above sea level, and the air was chilly.

We pitched our tents and savoured nature’s beauty. By about 5pm, we helped to prepare dinner, a simple yet delicious meal of chicken and rice. After that scrumptious meal, all of us fell asleep by the fire to keep warm.

We awoke bright and early to the birds’ chirping and insects hooting. Mist had rolled in and shrouded our campsite. By 7am, the mist had cleared up. After a nourishing breakfast, we packed up to head down the mountain.

We made sure to dispose the rubbish in the trash bin provided. The hike down was a lot quicker, due to the fact that we were walking down hill and had eaten all the food that we had lugged up the hill the day before.

Once we got down, we loaded our Ford Everest and continued our journey towards Pontian where we were booked into the Pulai Spring Resort. Our drive towards Pontian was a picturesque one. We could see endless rows of pineapple plantations along the highway. The roads were also dotted with rustic stalls set up by farmers to sell their harvest. We stopped by one of the stalls which displayed a rather eye-catching sign that read “Painapples for Sale”.

Out of curiosity, we stopped by the stall and bought a “pain apple”. Seated on makeshift chairs, we savoured the fruit with a variety of dips – rojak sauce, assam and chili powder dip.

After a good feast, we continued our journey. After passing a huge park called the “University Park”, we saw the sign that directed us to the resort. The resort was nestled amidst green hills. The architect had done a good job of designing the resort to blend with the jungle. The cool breeze coupled with the smell of nature made us forget we were at a resort.

We took a short nap before heading out again, this time towards Johor’s pride – Danga Bay. The journey took us over an hour from our resort.

Once we got there, we asked around for a cruise to Kampong Melayu where we were able to see traditional “kelongs” – these huge fish traps built on stilts. The locals used these to breed local mussels, sea bass and garoupa.

The trip to Kampong Melayu was certainly eye-opening. Our local fishermen still practise traditional fishing methods to prevent “over fishing”.

Next stop – Danga Bay. We headed for the street that boasts over 280 retail outlets. Here, you can find anything from food to souvenirs. After two hours of retail therapy, we headed back to the resort and called it a day.

The next day, we were ready to push off by 8am. Our final stop before we headed back to Kuala Lumpur was Kluang. We were told to look out for the Kluang Railway station, one of Malaysia’s oldest stations; it has been in service since 1915. We also found a canteen on Jalan Omar that served really good coffee, toasted bread with kaya and half-boiled eggs.

It was certainly a trip to remember as we not only experienced nature, culture and tradition but also one of our country’s latest development projects – Danga Bay. I can’t wait for our next adventure with Ford Everest.

  • This article is brought to you by Ford Malaysia.


  • SOURCE: THE STAR, Saturday February 9, 2008



    07 Februari 2008

    CAR TRADER KILLED AFTER PROJECTILE EXPLODES ON HIM

    TANGKAK: A car trader was killed after a banned rocket firework hit him in the chest and exploded.

    Tan Ban Hock, 43, who sold cars in Muar town but lived in Bukit Gambir here, was spotted prone on the ground in an open area after a box of 16 giant rocket fireworks were set off and exploded in the night sky at 10.50pm on Tuesday.

    After the flashes in the sky faded, some residents were surprised to see Tan on the ground, said Muar OCPD Asst Comm Mohammad Nasir Ramli. They rushed over and saw that his shirt and part of his chest had been burnt by the exploding firework.

    Tan was taken to the Sultanah Fatimah Specialist Hospital but was pronounced dead upon arrival, ACP Mohammad Nasir said.

    Each rocket was about 50cm long and 10cm in diameter. One of them had hit Tan.

    ACP Mohammad Nasir said police had classified the mishap as sudden death.

    He also warned the public here that all firecrackers and dangerous fireworks were banned and those found selling, having or playing with such items could face police action.

    He said those found guilty could face a maximum jail sentence of seven years or be fined RM10,000, or both.

    Police patrols would be done in housing areas and villages to search and catch those having or playing with the banned items, he added.

    SOURCE: THE STAR, Thursday February 7, 2008

    06 Februari 2008

    MAN KILLED BY EXPLODING FIREWORKS

    By HAMDAN RAJA ABDULLAH

    TANGKAK: A car trader was killed when a box of fireworks exploded, hitting him in the chest, near Bukit Gambir town here.

    Tan Ban Hock, 43, who sold cars in the Muar town but lived in Bukit Gambir, was spotted lying on the ground after all the fireworks in the box went off at about 10.50pm on Tuesday.

    Muar police chief Asst Comm Mohammad Nasir Ramli said residents were surprised when they saw Tan on the ground after the fireworks stopped shooting in the night sky.

    When they approached him they saw his shirt and part of his chest were burnt and rushed him to the Sultanah Fatimah Specialist Hospital.

    However, the trader was pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital, he said on Wednesday.

    ACP Mohammad Nasir said each of the fireworks measured at 50.8cm tall with the diameter of about 10.16cm, adding that, police classified the incident as sudden death.

    He also warned the public that all firecrackers and dangerous fireworks had been banned and those found selling, possessing or playing such items could be booked.

    He said under Section Seven (a) of the Explosives Act 1957, those found guilty could face the maximum jail sentence of seven years or fined RM10,000, or both.


    SOURCE: THE STAR, Wednesday February 6, 2008