Friday, 9 May 2008

Nasi Lemak and red wine

Once in a while we have to relax. On my flight home to the UK earlier this week from KL, I managed to persuade my mother who was dropping me off at KL Sentral to swing by the local Indian coffeeshop to buy myself a nasi lemak bungkus. I picked a packet up for a measly RM1.00 (18 pence).

For the uninitiated, this is a cheap lunch packet consisting coconut rice, sambal ikan bilis (a sort of anchovy curry paste), a slice of hard boiled egg, roasted peanuts and cucumber slices. The more 'upmarket' kind would include perhaps a slice of fried fish or chicken and prawns. The whole thing may be wrapped in a banana leaf or in my case that morning, brown grease proof paper cone.

On board MH004 to London and flying over the Bangkok, it was lunch time. The stewardess came round and offered me a choice of plastic beef, chicken or pasta. They all taste and smell the same. I opted for the pasta, opened it up and closed it again. Don't get me wrong, I am not for wasting good food, but this wasn't, so I did.

I patriotically opened up my nasi lemak bungkus and a whiff of that sambal wafted out filled the stale cabin air around me. That was magical! The steward then came round offering wine, and I beckoned red. That was the best inflight meal I had for a long time. My RM1 nasi and red wine. Now THAT is class.

To the passengers in First class, pah! eat your heart out!

I vow to continue this 'tradition' for future return flights from KL!

Now let me tell you about one Pak Idrus, a retired ex-civil servant turned blogger at I came across his blog 'In Passing' several months back and found his writings rather readable, his demeanour amenable, and his topics homely and filled with humanity. I made an appointment to meet up at the trendy Pavilion shopping mall in Bukit Bintang on Labour day, a public holiday.

He came across as a very knowledgeable man, a social scientist he calls himself, and a gadget freak. (Pak, if you are reading this, I meant it in a good way!) He has one of those smart phones PDAs wifi thingy and carries a sophisticated digicam with him all the time to record his surroundings. He blogs, and is tech-friendly. He uses technology to fulfill his needs rather the opposite, like many do.

We chatted about life in the 'new' Malaysia post election, and he assures me of a change coming, a change for the good of the nation. A 'spell' has been lifted, (in his own words) after 50 years. He is optimistic. He speaks of changing people's mindset to embrace globalisation and technology. He speaks proudly of his professional offsprings embroiled in scientific research and his dear wife's culinary skills. He led me to his humble but cosy abode in Ampang and showed me his 'Sayang' a classic dark blue Volvo automobile proudly parked outside. Pak Idrus loves plants and nicknacks. He surrounded his terrace with ferns and all manner of greenery, water features, giant flower pots, it feels just like a kampung scene.

Thank you for your time to meet me in KL, and thank you for not being a stranger anymore.

PS. Incidentally, KLIA will take RM24 off you for a plate of nasi lemak.


Pak Idrus said...

Steven thanks for the good words on my Mrs., me and my way of blogging. I am flattered.

As I told you that I wanted to live in a Kampong atmosphere, so the best thing to do are to bring the Kampong to the city, thus you see in my home at Ampang Jaya. I am indeed glad that you saw that in that short time you were in our home. How I wished you could spend more time to enjoy some 'makan' my other half love to do. The next time!

At this period of my journey of life, I thought that the best I could do is to give back as much to the society. Blogging soon became the media for that and I am enjoying every minutes of been in cybersphere.

As I had often said that strangers are friends that you have yet to meet. And through cybersphere I do made friends and when the chance to meet, what else, just continue that friendship and part whatever knowledge that just come to my mine at that moment in time. It does make my life more colorful.

Your Nasi Lemak episode on Mas is indeed an out of box thinking and indeed a great idea to enjoy lunch in flight. I did that often when taking the train.

Have a nice day and take care.

Kak Teh said...

steven, did you remember to bring one packet back for me? OH loads of phot opportunities in London and surrounding areas - call me or email me - quick!!!! or go to my blog.

Zawi said...

Pak Idrus is a prolific blogger and an avid photographer who has an eye for everything. I am lucky to have met him and had a hearty lunch at his beautiful home. Kak Asmah the wife is just another great host. You will feel comfortable with the both of them the minute you meet them.
Between you and me, he inspires me when I am clueless on what to write about next.
I am glad that we both have a common friend.