Banda Aceh: Icons Of The Tsunami & Some Street Photos

The Grand Mosque, Masjid BaiturRahman – House of The Mercy Mosque became a sanctuary when it happened

It has been more than a decade since the destruction caused by the tsunami that hit Banda Aceh, the capital of Aceh Province, Indonesia. Life goes on. The city has been rebuilt and looks like any other city in Indonesia. Some scars still remain though. Not only as a reminder, but some, for its exceptionally withstanding the brunt of the force of the wall of water. They are now icons of the tsunami. I am sure there are many, but five of them are now very popular as tourist attractions.

I visited four of them. I missed the dome of a mosque that was swept more than twenty kilometres away inland and stranded in a paddy field.

Masjid BaiturRahim – House of The Merciful Mosque lies near the shore at Ulee Lheue

Masjid Rahmatullah – The Mercy of Allah Mosque at Lampuuk not far away from the shore. I was told that the water reached the dome

This is an electric generator on a barge

A stark contrast of a boat not on water but on a roof of what used to be a house


Here are some street photos.

Happy Eid Mubarak 1438

Happy Eid Mubarak greetings to all muslims on this auspicious day of Eid al-Fitri.  As we say in Southeast Asia, “Selamat Hari Raya ‘Idil Fitri” or “Selamat Hari Lebaran.”  May all our deeds this passed Ramadhan are well received by the Al-Mighty and all our sins erased so that we may return back to our ‘Fitrah’ state. I would like to add in my lingo, “Maaf Lahir dan Bathin (forgive my overt and covert wrongdoing if any) to all that know this yours truly.”

The Malays have tons of Hari Raya songs (Eid songs), just check it out on Youtube. I have three of them linked here. The level of the Malay language used in some of these Eid songs is high that sometimes I can only barely managed to grasp the meaning.


SALAM DUNIA – Peace to the world


Salam dunia, Salam semua  –  Peace to the world, Peace to all

Salam Hari Raya, Bersinar akhirnya  –  Peace to this Hari Raya (Eid), Shining at last


ANUGERAH AIDILFITRI – Awards of Eid Al-Fitri

Mankind is a forgetful lot, denying and/or forgetting the favours blessed upon them by their Lord.

Heart wrenching chorus;

Mari puji-memuji kepada tuhan  –  Come let’s praise The Lord

Titis kasihNya melimpah seluruh alam  –  Bead of His Love overflows all over the realm/universe

Mari puji-memuji tuhan yang esa  –  Come praise The One and Only (unique) Lord

Insafi nikmat diberi di Hari Raya  –  Be repented for favours granted this Hari Raya




Berdendang mari berdendang, Berdendang di seluruh alam  –  Hum, come lets hum, Hum all over the realm (Universe)

Bergema suara bergema, Nazam lebaran  –  Resonate the voice resonate, Poem of Eid

Bertingkah rentak bertingkah – Bertingkah paluan rebana  –  Behave, the beat behave – Behave, the beating of rebana*

Berkisah alunan berkisah, Nazam lebaran  –  Telling, melody telling story, Poem of Eid

* Tambourine like but bigger and with cowhide – see vid.

Selamat Hari Raya ‘Idil Adha 1437

Keadaan semasa di Mina dekat Jamrah dan kelihatan di belakang Masjid Khif

Keadaan semasa di Mina dekat Jamrah dan kelihatan di belakang Masjid Khif

Saya ucapkan kepada sekalian muslimin dan muslimat, “Selamat Hari Raya ‘Idil Adha.”

Dua ucapan yang lain yang biasa juga kita gunakan ialah “Selamat Hari Raya Haji” dan “Selamat Hari Raya Korban.”  Ini kerana ibadah Haji dan Korban yang dilaksanakan ketika ini.

Singkatan dari pelajaran yang boleh didapati dari sejarah perayaan ini ialah kalau kita dengan iklas melakukan ibadah/perintah Allah Ta’ala walaupun berat, pasti akan diberi jalan keluar serta mendapat RahmatNya, Tuhan yang Maha Esa yang senantiasa Maha Mengasihani dan sangat Maha Mengasihani.

Semoga ibadah-ibadah Haji dan Korban yang dilakukan diterima Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala.  Amin, ya Rabbal ‘Alamin.

Selamat Hari Raya ‘Idil Fitri 1437


Genap sebulan sudah kita menjalankan ibadah puasa Ramadhan dan kini Syawal menjelang pula.  Setelah menghayati bulan Ramadhan selama 30 hari sudah tentu sedikit-sebanyak kita akan merasa terharu dengan pemergiannya, semoga ibadah puasa kita diterima Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala.  Saya mengambil kesempatan ini mengucapkan kepada sekalian muslimin dan muslimat,

“Selamat Hari Raya ‘Idil Fitri, Semoga Kembali Fitrah.”

Bagi yang mengenal diri ini, mohon maaf zahir dan bathin.

Adalah diharapkan setelah berlapar-laparan selama sebulan ianya dapat diteruskan dengan tidak makan terlalu banyak atau terlalu kenyang kerana Nabi Muhammad s.a.w. bersabda, “Kami daripada gulungan yang tidak makan melainkan kami lapar, dan apabila kami makan tidak sampai kenyang.”

Kepada nabi yang merasa susah apabila kita susah dan menginginkan kita mendapat kebahagian, nabi yang menyimpan doa khusus kenabiannya untuk umatnya (semua para nabi-nabi diberi satu doa khusus yang Allah Ta’ala tidak akan menolaknya, semua para nabi-nabi telah menggunakannya hanya nabi Muhammad sahaja yang belum menggunakannya), nabi yang mana Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala dan para malaikat-malaikat berselawat ke atasnya dan orang-orang beriman diseru berselawat keatasnya yang mana setiap satu selawat ke atas Nabi Muhammad s.a.w. dibalas Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala dengan sepuluh selawat ke atas yang berselawat, ucapan selawat dan salam keatasnya.

Ucapan kesejahteraan daripada Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala itu pasti, berapa banyakkah di antara kita yang memperbanyakkan atau melazimkannya? Dengan keadaan dunia masakini perbanyakkanlah berselawat keatas nabi Muhammad s.a.w. agar kita mendapat kesejahteraan, kebahagian dan keselamatan bukan sahaja di dunia malah di akhirat juga dengan RahmatNya, tuhan yang Maha Esa lagi Maha Agung, yang Maha Pengasih lagi Maha Mengasihani.  Amin, Ya Rabbal ‘Alamin.

Sallu Alaih.


Marhaban Ya Ramadhan 1437


Dengan kedatangan bulan yang mulia dan penuh dengan keberkahan ini, saya ucapkan kepada sekalian muslimin dan muslimat,

“Selamat menjalankan ibadah puasa pada bulan Ramadhan ini semoga bertambah kesihatannya, bertambah imannya, cukup segala keperluannya serta mendapat kesejahteraan, keselamatan dan kebahagiaan di dunia dan di akhirat.”

Amin, Ya Rabbal ‘Alamin.

Sabda Nabi Muhammad s.a.w.,”Puasalah semoga kamu sihat.”


Receding Shoreline: What Gives?


Shoreline at Pontian town facing the Straits of Malacca

I had observed receding shorelines in the east and west coasts of peninsula Malaysia.  In the state of Kelantan up north on the east coast, the beach there had been fortified with granites entrenched behind the shoreline to prevent further erosion.  Kelantan is facing an open sea and the constant pounding of the waves is understandable.  Unlike Kelantan, the west coast of the state of Johor is only facing the narrow Straits of Malacca, surely the waves should not be hitting beaches as in the east coast.  Still there are pounding waves said to be caused by passing ships and similar measures taken to tackle the problem.

The thing is that it does not only pertain to peninsula Malaysia, on my recent trip to Lombok, Indonesia, I observed that it too is experiencing receding shoreline.  Nothing to be concerned about because it’s a natural occurrence phenomenon but what set me thinking is the rate. When I was growing up, in a decade I practically did not see any changes, but not now.

Same thing here in Tanjung, Lombok

Same thing here in Tanjung, Lombok

Selamat Hari Raya ‘Idil Adha 1436

Salah sebuah masjid di Tanjung, Lombok

Salah sebuah masjid di Tanjung, Lombok

Saya ucapkan kepada sekalian muslimin dan muslimat, “Selamat Hari Raya ‘Idil Adha.”

Kepada mereka yang sedang menunaikan ibadah haji semoga mendapat Haji yang Mabrur.  Yang menjalankan ibadah korban dan juga aqiqah, semoga korban dan aqiqah mereka diterima Allah SWT.

Amin, Ya Rabbal ‘Alamin.

Some Pictures of My Second Trekking Up Mount Lawu

Mount Lawu as seen from Tawangmangu

Mount Lawu as seen from Tawangmangu

This time around, I’m with a group of friends and their families hiking up Mount Lawu and we spent a night at the summit plus another at Pos 3 (Post 3) resting area while on the way up.  Quite a group, ten people altogether including two juveniles.  That said, not all the adults are on the same fitness level, so extra night needed for rest.

It happened in early last June and we went up to the summit by way of Cemoro Kandang which is in the province of Central Java and came down to Cemoro Sewu in the province of East Java.  In reality these two track entrances/exits are roughly 500 metres apart thus Mount Lawu is divided between these two provinces of Indonesia.  My friend was told by the ranger at the entrance that the temperature at the summit could reach six degrees Celsius.  Of course we came prepared, only that our sleeping bags were rated fifteen degrees Celsius max and no sleeping mat.  Oh my, what a surprise we had.  Yes, we were noobs when it came to sleeping out in the very cold but lesson learnt.  We were lucky that the huts at Pos 3 and at the summit were vacant when we arrived, else it could be a lot worse more challenging.

Cemoro Kandang track is a long and winding dirt track through the forest.  It is low in gradient but definitely longer than Cemoro Sewu track, a steep, mostly clear open view path and paved with granite right up almost to the summit.  Just imagine going up the stairs of a 3265 (summit) – 1200 (Tawangmangu) metres skyscraper. There is a small pool of fresh water about 100 metres after Pos 3 of Cemoro Kandang track and a fresh water well at a place where there are a few small caves after Pos 5 at Cemoro Sewu track. (Note for fresh water: On the way up to the summit.)

All-in-all, it was a delightful experience for me once again.  In retrospect, I just wish that my interest in astrophotography would have came in earlier, before we set-off for the trip.  Reading about Perseid Meteor Shower had opened up my interest in astrophotography and I am now wanting to try it out.  So, where can I get a used, good, sharp and fast wide prime lens? Sounds like I have to pay a little premium.

LIMA 2015

LIMA 2015 Aerospace Venue

LIMA 2015 Aerospace Venue

LIMA stands for Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace exhibition that takes place once every two years. It covers both civilian and defense industries but the main focus is on defense industry. The event, which had its beginning in 1991, is held early in the year around March. There is an event this year and it is over. I had the opportunity to present myself in person to witness it for the first time. Part of the reason was that I wanted to see local military pilots performing the cobra manoeuvre in their Sukhoi Su-30MKM. The first time I saw it was in early 80s in an aerospace exhibition held in Singapore and performed by the then new Sukhoi Su-27. I never knew who the pilot was, but the manoeuvre was pioneered by a Russian pilot named Viktor Pugachev. Never did I see it before, a plane in very high alpha almost verticle, flying horizontally across. It was an eye-opener and awe-inspiring manoeuvre, a class of its own.

My intention to cover both the Maritime and Aerospace events did not go well. My mistake, I did not know that on the event days, it was practically impossible to get from one event location to the other on time. The Maritime and Aerospace events were held at different venues and I did not factor the traffic conditions in. Arriving late and practically no space for parking, I did not get to cover the maritime event except that I was lucky enough to see the maritime show, a mock-up operations of sea rescue and took some pictures.

The following day, I decided to totally dedicate the time to cover just the Aerospace event especially the aerial displays because it was my main reason for being there. I moved from one location to another, both inside and outside the venue including top of the hill next to the runway. Only a few pictures of the flying metal birds turned out good, ah well, but it thus inspired me to do better next time…if I have the means and time for it. Definitely I need to do some careful planning if it is permissible for me to be there on the next coming event.

Thank you very much to the organiser for issuing me a Media Pass and I wish that it will again be given to me for the subsequent event, if it is possible for me to go, to fully cover LIMA thoroughly. I am a blogger/photographer, covering event is my espertise.

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Selamat Hari Raya ‘Idil Adha 1435

Jabbal Nur

Jabbal Nur, di puncaknya pada bahagian belakang, sebelah kiri, terletaknya Gua Hira

Saya ucapkan kepada sekalian muslimin dan muslimat, “Selamat Hari Raya ‘Idil Adha.”  Kepada sekalian mereka-mereka yang sedang mergerjakan ibadah haji pada tahun ini, saya doakan semoga mereka mendapat haji yang mabrur.  Bagi mereka-mereka yang menjalan ibadah korban, saya doakan agar korbannya di terima Allah Subhanahu Wata’ala.  Amin.

Gua Hira, tempat Nabi Muhammad s.a.w. pertama kali meneria wahyu

Gua Hira, tempat Nabi Muhammad s.a.w. pertama kali menerima wahyu iaitu Surah Al ‘Alaq

Wabillahi taufik wal hidayah, assalamu ‘alaikum warahmatullahi ta’ala wabarakahtuh.