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Friday, March 16, 2007

Looking for a Roof over our heads

School Signboard at main junction
The scenario

I had decided to leave Kota Bharu and for the kids to commence their school in Machang district as it commences in January. It was already late December. All the kakis (literally means feet – it denotes agents) I had planted was unable to get a place for me with the criteria I had set up – a walking distance from school. Probably their major concerned was my budget for the house. They did take me to two locations but both were not good enough. One they had wrong identified as an unoccupied house. The other was more suitable to be turned into a shop with the main road right in front of the house.

Signboard at junction school to My house's Garden

The strategy

Now the onus is on me to devise a strategy good enough to find a roof over my family’s heads soonest possible. It my head was the schools for my kids. Mental picture I got so far was a school known as S.K. Hamzah 2, which is located in Padang Selising and it is surrounded by many housing scheme. I told my cousin to show me the place and their surau or local prayer place. In order it will to be called Madrasah or School, it was a place to learn the basic 3R – reading, writing and arithmetic. Now no more, since after Independence all those schooling stuff are handled by government school and Primary Education is free and compulsory by law. Later I rushed to the surau to do the noon prayer.

The Local Surau where I look for a house

The day at the Surau

The houses there was good in the context that living around the area means that the school is within a walking distance and the kids do not have to cross any major roads. I was mingling after prayers telling the participants of my intention and as a bonus I was invited to a locally prominent man's lunch. He was the head of the local Post Office, who recently pensioned, lunch before leaving for Haj. I had lunch and could see that the crowd were of a respectable middle class.

The Landlady

I drove to my uncle’s place in Pangkal Meleret which will soon be four Kilometers from my new house if the landlady agrees to take me in. From there I called phone number placed on the gate. A lady picked up, I told her of my intention to rent the house. She told me she can get to the house in 20 minutes for she lived in Batu Tiga Puluh. I told her I was born in Pangkal Chuit about a mile from where she stays. She knew my late father and was a class mate of my second sister. That was it and the agreement for me to move in becomes a formality.

The contract .

The contract was simple we will pay a monthy rent with a month rental as deposit and a sum for water and electricity deposit. No agreement signed. We agree that I will be given the key and can start occupying before the beginning of the month.

The main protagonist.

The guys that help me to some extent coming over to witness my discussion with the landlady have been my ex-army cousin who also add some income to his pension by tapping rubber and making cement-sand blocks and my ex-policeman uncle. My kids help me to ferry portable items but needed for survival with my car. My more religious uncle asked us to do a “hajat” prayer – seeking God’s blessing in future and thanks giving prayers before we moved in. We did that asking about a dozen of people from my kampong’s local mosque and a dozen or so neighbors here. He was not very please for some of us had spent a few nights at the new place. Though we were moving from a bigger house to a much smaller dwelling and from a bigger town to a smaller town, I had never seen such a jovial mood within the family. The place we had left must have been a bloody hell hole for them.

On the first day of school I took all my kids to he new

school. The Headmistress was very polite . She told me that she will take from there all the issues regarding transfers and she did even call my untie who has a son married to her daughter that we are at their school enrolling my kids.

Row of my house 2.5 rooms

The relocation.

As said the relocation was funny. We took what was portable and needed for survival like pots, pans and stove. Our neighbor found it weird to see the lorry bringing in our stuffs came in only after the school reopened.

The neighbors.

The neighbors I found out after moving in are mostly teachers in school within Machang towns. Quite a few teachers teaching at the local S.R. Hamzah2 and this place is nicknamed as teacher’s quarters. My wife is also happy here we found that the neighbors are friendly enough and good enough as not too nosey.

Discussion after a Cleaning Gotong Royong

Aedes Fogging at my house

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