Saturday, May 10, 2008
Dear valued readers,

Cekmi has finally found his budu root. Don't worry, he did not change anything. He just returned to his real self.

Kindly visit his new domain at

Have a good day!


mused by cekmi @ 3:00 AM  
Sunday, May 04, 2008
Battle of a Petite Man
Cekmi is 31 going 32
but people


As a petite (and cute) man
Cekmi is blessed
with an honour
of being


This natural gift
comes to him


For example….

Cekmi is always mistaken
as a college student
so he always gets
a student price

At Tanjung Golden Village
At Delima Restaurant
At Aquaria KLCC
At BB Hair Salon


But many people
brought him

“No, only a lecturer is allowed to enter!”
- A security guard at the college entrance
“Abang tahun akhir ke?”
- A first-year student on the orientation day
“This interview is only for a lecturer.”
- An HR officer in a university
“Don’t come in if you don’t have money.”
- A cab driver who is afraid of student-looking Cekmi


Are these compliments?
Are these blessings in disguise?
Are these subtle kinds of insults?
Are these clever forms of disrespect?


Maybe Cekmi should try
to be bigger
to be fatter
to be older


Or maybe Cekmi should be amused
by people’s double-standardness
by people’s hypocrisy
by people’s ignorance

Who are fooled by
physical looks
more than

Who are trapped by
more than


Cekmi should be himself
because deep inside
he is still a boy
A Budu Boy



mused by cekmi @ 5:11 PM  
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Lost in JB
It’s difficult to classify or rank places in Johor Bahru as the ‘most interesting’ or the ‘most boring’ because our judgments can sometimes be very misleading – a deadly boring place for the locals here could be relatively amusing for me. So let me just tell you this.

Royal Abu Bakar Museum

Isn’t there a better place to learn about a place than a museum? So folks, whether you like it or not, visit a museum, especially this one, which is unique in its own grand way.

It was not easy walking and searching for the museum’s entrance. When I asked a local makcik for direction, she said, “Don’t know-lah adik. Never been there.” Well, that was very much expected from a local, wasn’t it? I don’t want to go through this anymore.

So I just walked daringly through a seemingly grand entrance into a seemingly grand blue-and-white building. I was not sure whether I was at the correct place because I could not see a living soul. Has everyone lost interest in museum?

I bought a ticket (for a non-local price!) and was ushered to the Grand Palace. Established in 1864, this incredible building was originally a palace which was then turned into a museum in 1982. This transformed the museum into a more interesting entity that houses a lot of royal secrets and juicy stories. The luxurious exterior and elaborate items exhibited in the museum make it more outstanding compared to any other museums in Malaysia. Who wouldn’t be captivated by its royal regalia, exquisite guest area, majestic throne room, costly treasure room and gigantic banquet hall? I must say that the whole concoction of displays is mind-blowing.

Reading the history of Johorean royals, I was so delighted to scrutinize the background of the current Sultanah of Johor cum UTM’s Chancellor, D.Y.M.M Baginda Sultanah Zanariah binti Almarhum Tunku Ahmad. Wait a minute, of all places, she is from Pasir Mas, Kelantan! Haha.

Kebun Bunga

I have just finished watching korean drama Stairway to Heavan and discovering this magnificent garden made me think that I was on a stairway to Heavan, just like in the drama. Oh yes, this garden is so enormous and beautiful. Overlooking the Strait of Johore, the garden’s sprawling landscape was superbly manicured and maintained. The gardeners must have worked hard day and night.

Located within the compound of the Grand Palace and extended over an area as big as the size of five football fields, this super garden once served for the royals. I could walk leisurely like a King along palm-lined driveways and enjoy the dense vegetation surrounding the garden. To experience some luxuries of past royalties is such a privilege for me.

The various concepts shown inside the garden still stun me. Who would expect to find a Japanese house and a Chinese gateway inside the garden? And there is even a rest house in the middle of the garden that reminds me of the place where Julia Robert suddenly kisses her best friend in My Best Friend’s Wedding. Hehe.

Japanese house

Chinese gateway

My Best Friend's Wedding

Except for elderly joggers and Chinese newly-wed couples who immortalize the garden’s beauty through their professional photographers, I guess the rest of the locals here do not prefer to have afternoon strolls in the garden because it is just too big and remote for them that can just make them tired. Thanks to the hilly setting of the garden which makes it covered and hidden from the public, this place is perfect for my personal retreat and getaway.

Hutan Bandar

I always want to be near a lake. So having found seven lakes in Hutan Bandar was an unexpected bonus. But, wait – forest in the city? You gotta be kidding.

Hmm, covered 32 hectares, this recreational ‘forested’ park is indeed lying within the city. I thought JB folks make the most of this park, just like what Taman Tasik Titiwangsa does to KL folks. But, I could see that many parts of parks are hardly utilised. Perhaps, the park’s location is too remote and hidden from public view, just like Kebun Bunga.

This park definitely passes all the basic requirements for an excellent park, including an excellent example for poor maintenance and sheer negligence. I have never seen lakes that are so green and ‘natural’. If this was the proud concept of naturalness promoted by the management, I would surrender my case.

Except for the impressive Selera d Hutan restaurant, I found many public walkways are thickly blanketed with dry weeds and crispy sticks. There were times when I felt like I was really walking in the real forest, which made me wonder whether the management has ever visited this park or not. Most of the public areas appear worn out and aging that, depending on how you look at it, could possibly add the ‘natural charm’ of the park. I can say that the whole park seems to reflect its tired management and weary city folks.

Despite its ugly sides, I still love this place because it sends an important green message to the public and the responsible authorities. But please, can someone rebrand this park immediately under a brand new Iskandar Malaysia? Sayang, this so-called recreational park has all what it takes to be called a recreational park, but with continuous neglect, it might as well one day be turned into a cemetery park.

Royal Mausoleum

Talking about cemetery, I had a rare opportunity to have a brief glimpse at the Royal Mausoleum, which is the final resting place for Johor Royalties including Sultan Abu Bakar, the father of modern Johor.

I was awed by the highly-organised tombstones that evoked some serene feelings from me. The neighboring dense woods looked mysteriously peaceful. I was nervous because, besides the resting souls, there were no living souls around. Have people lost interest in this great monument?

Looking afar from the window of my car, I could see the grand mausoleum’s aesthetical architecture that weirdly pleased me with its poignant design. I felt sad. Since I was still alone, I moved on immediately to my next destination – a place with real souls.

Johor Zoo

Hooray. Now I could enjoy active souls in the zoo. But wait a second – are animals just the same everywhere? What makes the animals in Johor zoo different compared to other zoos? Will I find here a magic elephant that could fly? Or a tiger that speaks? Hmm. My friends kept asking me these ‘intelligent’ questions when I told them that I would visit a zoo in JB. Sorry folks, I didn’t have the right answers for those questions. I guess I just have to visit a zoo because it is just a routine for any curious tourists to visit a zoo. So there I was, in Johor Zoo, hoping to find a talking monkey.

Of course the animals here are all the same. You are right my dear friends. However, I should highlight a place here that caught my attention. No, not a talking animal. It is a field where a few ostriches play and breed. There was a lifted pathway that crosses through the field. I just enjoyed walking on this walkway, looking at school kids playing cheerfully with the ostriches. Ehem, there was also a couple. Anyway, this experience was enough to satisfy my hunger for a new discovery, even though I couldn’t find a flying elephant.

Stulang Laut Beach

People in KL usually drive all the way to Port Dickson to enjoy beach activities, but people in JB can just suffer a few minutes’ drive to Stulang Laut Beach for a family picnic. However, just like Hutan Bandar, it is sad to see that the beach is not well taken care of. I found it amusing to see people swimming desperately in the rubbish-filled sea.

There was even an uncomfortable 'scent' around the beach. I looked around and noticed a hidden drain that brought unwanted sewage from, I guess, the city. What a subtle and easy way to appreciate the beauty. Oh, from here, I could see Senoko Power Station standing boldly across the Strait of Johore on mainland Singapore. I suppose this should supply the power for Stulang Laut Beach, adding more appeal that conceals the ugly side of the desperate beach.

Lido Beach

Finally, I have come to my favourite spot in JB. Stretched for 7 kilometres, I could view Lido Beach by driving through Jalan Abu Bakar and Jalan Tun Dr. Ismail. Whenever I want to go to downtown JB, I purposely choose these roads so that I could be inspired by the miracle of Lido Beach.

I just love driving along Lido Beach because there are so many pleasant things to see besides the beach itself. I could catch a glimpse of the orangish Dataran Bandaraya, the classic Hospital Besar Tun Aminah, the great Abu Bakar Mosque, and of course, the Grand Palace. Having seen these altogether while driving is like a climax of the day that gives me everlasting energy to spend the rest of the already tiring day.

There are so many places that I have yet to venture like Sultan Ibrahim Building, Taman Merdeka, Bukit Serene Palace, The Zon and many others. But, I have already felt more Johorean than a Johorean himself.

I think I am lost.


mused by cekmi @ 12:08 AM  
Sunday, April 20, 2008
A Baby’s World

I am exploring Johor Bharu with sheer passion and constant thrill. Each discovery adds to my babyish joy, just like a cute baby boy who gets excited by things that he may come in contact with, oblivious of possible hazards that he may be exposed to. However, I am saddened with the attitude of some locals here who do not seem to appreciate my enthusiasm. It’s sickening listening to their degrading remarks of their own city.

Cekmi, JB is nothing.
Cekmi, KL is better-lah.
Cekmi, you’ll get bored soon.
Cekmi, are you kidding me?
Cekmi, hahaha.

Hmmm, is JB that bad?

I don’t know whether they are just being humble or they are just stating some plain truths about JB. But their belittling comments about JB are downright irritating and offensive. I am not defending JB because I do not know anything about JB, but can’t they just be a bit more supportive for a newcomer like me? I don’t think JB is as great as New York or Paris, but can’t they just be more appreciative for their own so-called boring city? While I think that, based on my humble discovery for a few weeks here, JB is a vibrant city to work and live, they always insist otherwise.

Well, that’s exactly their problem – they don’t speak highly of their own city which, for God’s sake, is a city on its own, just like KL. They are so unlike some Kelantanese who still speak proudly and fondly of their home state, despite lesser development back in Kelantan compared to a highly-developed KL. And Kota Bharu, despite being declared as Bandaraya Islam, is not even close to a city status, unlike JB which is a highly urbanized city like KL. But I have never heard people calling Kota Bharu a boring place, because Kota Bharu is always special in its own way.

I think what’s lacking among some people in JB is their identity. They don’t possess some concrete items to hold on to, like a common dialect among Kelantanese. Plus, being so close to a much more developed Singapore, I have a wild speculation that some people in Johor are always seeing JB as of lesser importance compared to Singapore. And this makes them more intimidated and belittled.

One more thing, for me, it is not KL-like or Singapore-like development that matters, but how we appreciate things as they are, be it brand-new or worn-out, small or grand, KL or not KL. What happens to some people here could happen to all of us. It is the attitude that grows out of complacency and stagnancy. We could have already been trapped in our own little world and our own comfort zone and our own deadly routines that we are no longer able to see bigger pictures anymore. We are so trapped in one hollow perspective.

I think we all should get out of our little zones in order to see things differently. And that’s precisely what’s happening to me. As I have gotten out of my comfort zone in KL, I am now gaining a whole new perspective of my new life. As a new comer and an avid explorer, I have a nonconforming perspective of JB. I don’t know how long this would last, but I am afraid, after some time, I might be doomed into the minds of typical locals, who are slowly losing some zest and passion of things around them. I hope it will not happen to me very soon.

I remember a scene from the movie Dead Poet Society when an English teacher asked his students to stand on their desks as a reminder to look at the world in a different way. I wish I could always stand higher and higher than a classroom desk so that I will always see a wider world than my views in it.

Having said this, I would prefer not to have a trapped-minded local as a guide for my exploration. They appear lacking some required spirit of a true explorer. I will not be discouraged by their aloof behaviour because I want to continue being inspired by my own little discovery. Of course, I want to experience my new world with my very own eyes of a baby. Baby Cekmi.


mused by cekmi @ 8:51 PM  
Monday, April 14, 2008
Filling in an Empty Cup

I have successfully moved from KL to JB and I am currently taking a great deal of laborious efforts to fulfill my newly-found life with beautiful R&B songs and delicious cheese cakes. But before that actually happens, I had to undergo several painful procedures of moving out and moving in. One proven fact for many, moving to a new place can be deadly nerve-cracking.


Firstly, packing demands a delirious attention to tiring details. The following statistics on the number of Cekmi’s packed boxes might possibly prove this point.

Office: 4
Wardrobe: 5
Study room: 4
Bedroom: 4
Kitchen: 9
Bathroom: 2
Living Hall: 4
Miscellaneous: 1

Total number of boxes: 33

Yes, you read it right – 33 boxes. It was like asking Superman to lift the whole house.

Packing is a truly strenuous affair. It requires a major spring cleaning that could shock you with unexpected findings. Packing indeed amused me with the discovery of unwanted paraphernalia – mountains of old movie tickets, packs of lovey-dovey greeting cards, broken collections of cute little tokens of remembrance, crumpled sets of fancy paper bags – all hidden comfortably around inaccessibly covered space. I threw them all into a giant waste plastic bag.

After 24 hours of packing, I managed to compartmentalize all the household bits and pieces into 33 boxes. With the assistance of two professional men, I uploaded them on a two-tonne lorry which would carry them directly to JB.

It took me 4 hours of skilled driving to reach my new house in Taman Universiti. But it took 11 hours for the slow lorry to reach there. It was almost midnight – the neighbours might probably be sleeping soundly on their beds, but the men managed to unload the boxes quietly and effectively without anyone around the neighbourhood screaming madly at us, thanks to my organised numbering system of packaging. To unpack the boxes in the middle of the night was not a good idea. So, I spent my first night in my new house sleeping among those gigantic 33 boxes.


Mess was all around and I was all alone. It was maddening and suffocating. I did not know where to start.


This word kept my sanity in check during the mind-boggling tasks of unpacking. At times, I felt like giving up and kept questioning myself on why I had to do all these crazy tasks alone, or why I had to move out in the first perspective. Thanks to wise Cekmi, I managed to get things in perspective again. Thinking very hard out of the box, I pushed myself diligently to get things out of the 33 boxes. I did it single-mindedly, motivating myself by visualizing a complete sweet home in JB, picturing myself having a good life here, happily watching good Korean dramas, cheerfully sipping a good cup of Nescafe, savouring my independence and emancipation.

One basic challenge that tested my patience was dealing with difficult people to handle few basic things in the house – reinstalling Astro, resetting up air-conditioner, changing the uncivilized toilet door, putting power sockets in two rooms, rebuilding the flood-prone parking lot, and fixing streamix. However, my landlord has been particularly helpful when it comes to fine tuning the house. He is like Mr. Muscle who would come to my rescue when I need a correct detergent.

After days of clogged energy and sweat, I finally completed the house with five specialized sections – living hall, kitchen, bedroom, wardrobe and study room. With this swift accomplishment, I finally laid a comfortable foundation called home. I could have taken things slowly and easily, but I always have this speedy over-heated passion for a speedy completion. I just couldn’t stop getting things done and ready quickly so that I can immediately start focusing on other important things in my professional life.

Having to go through these drills made me sickly thrilled but I was viciously satisfied once the tasks were triumphed. This major task of moving has drained my energy that, to certain extent, I felt like a mentally-challenged person released from a mental asylum. Having to cope with difficult situations required a little extra amount of persistence and composure. Keeping this attitude in balance proved worthwhile for me because after each fulfilled task, I strangely felt like a newly-born man, being supplied with a new Superman power that kept me flying and flying.

It has been two weeks and I am happy with what I have done to my new private domain. But the cup is still half-full. I have a lot more to fill in.


mused by cekmi @ 10:32 AM  
Friday, March 28, 2008
Farewell Fair
Farewell gatherings may imply two things.

One – people love you so much they can’t bear letting you go.
Two – people hate you so much they can’t wait letting you go.

I don’t know what urged my students to throw such gatherings for me, but let these pictures speak their thousand words.

It’s makan time!

Calories, calories

Slow down, please

Haha, smiling gluttons

Yes, the foods were goooood

Peace for food makers

It isn’t enough, is it?

Show time! Sing it…

Barney & Friend’s TV show

Oh, there’s a break for azan!

Creative coral speaking

Yes, English crossword puzzles!

Get ready for more shows…

Joget Kelantan?

No! I can’t dance!

Cekmi at his most awkward moment

The paparazzis and mamarazzis

Sing with me!

No, that was not my birthday cake

It’s a bye-bye cake

Oh, you are most welcome

I love blueberry!

My princesses

Give me the money!


That’s macho, dude

I love you too

Help, I am sandwiched!

So good looking, ek?

The organisers

Happy faces

Mamee smile

Purplish match

Ehem ehem

Thanks for the lovely frame

We’ll meet again, InsyaAllah

Wish you guys the same!

My beloved and behated students,
Thanks a lot for loving and hating me so much!


mused by cekmi @ 7:00 PM  
cekmi's world

Meet cekmi – a confused Kelantanese man who is continuously amused by his blurry budu past and his modern chopstick life. As he moves further up towards his worldly pursuit, he moves even closer down to his original state of buduness. These are his budu tales.
cekmi's ramblings
cekmi's treasures
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cekmi's team

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