Tuesday, June 30, 2009


My first meeting with Pak Chik Hassan was in September 2007. His daughter, who was a participant in a training program I conducted, suggested I visit his father. From his website, I got to know what this gentleman was doing in his kampong in Batu Rakit.

I set a goal to meet him and planned it during a short solo cycling trip from Kuantan to Kota Bharu. That was my first meeting with Pak Chik Hassan, and also his wife. Such gracious host they had been. Their hospitality spiced with the keropok lekor Pagar Besi the couple served me had left an indelible mark on me. The greater impact personally was what Pak Chik Hassan had been doing for the last 15 years - setting up of Al-Manar to teach the village children English, Science and Mathematics, single-handedly. Visit his site at http://www.almanar-nuri.blogspot.com/ for some soul-searching.

We had been in touch since then. Last year, my wife and I visited them on one of our regular flights home to Kota Bharu. This time around, I e-mailed Pak Chik of my intention to pass through Al-Manar with 5 other cyclists on our way to Besut. Pak Chik invited us to spend the night in his house instead. It was an invitation hard to refuse. I had missed that opportunity once.

So, 6 BJCC cyclists arrived at the gate of Pak Chik Hassan's house to experience his bachelor's hospitality. Pak Chik had been a bachelor for almost 3 weeks since the good wife went to KL to visit the grandchildren.

Two fully furnished rooms were ready for us. After some exchange of pleasantries, we headed to the rooms to shower to ready ourselves for dinner. Earlier, as we cycled along the beach to his house, we saw a few crowded warongs and the smell of grilled fish was floating along the stretch of the road. I believed we already had a consensus where dinner would be.

However, the warongs we saw earlier timed their business in tangent with the sunset. But Pak Chik Hassan already had a restaurant in mind and we were not disappointed. We were spoilt for choice. Zaba quickly got one Ikan Merah grilled. We took Nasi Kukus and the arrays of dishes. Sadly, I could only managed to scrape the bottom of the gulai kambing. In between five of us, we had a few additional helpings of nasi kukus and extra dishes, in the pretext of carbo-loading!

Fendi, down with fever, opted to rest at the house. We "tapaued" food for him.

The afable Pak Chik Hassan, seated on my left

We cannot quarrel with Pak Chik Hassan to settle the bill. He insisted!
Back at his house, it was desert time while we chatted the night away with Pak Chik, most times listening to his wisdom on wide-ranging topics, including his favorite subject on education and his concerns for the common and simple folks.

We retreated back to the comfort of the air-conditioned rooms, satisfied with our Day 1 ride and gratified with the experience and the opportunity to visit Al-Manar.
Thank you AK Hassan!


Al-Manar said...

Let me be among the first to give a comment.
For a start, I must say, you excel in making flattering remarks. They will not guarantee you any more cheap lodging and keropok lekor at Nuri!
Seriously, I enjoyed the pleasure of meeting your five friends. That, hopefully, will not be the last. You were particularly welcome then to keep me company, even just for one day, and you will always be welcome in future.
Thank you for featuring Almanar – endah khabar dari rupa ( wonder if this is correct ; something is not right!)

ARZ said...

Pak Chik,

There was no flatering. It's from the heart. My 5 fellow cyclists readily agreed. It came with no pre-condition of another free stay and keropok lekor Pagar Besi.

But if offered, we shall not refuse!

Thanks once again

oops did I just say that? said...


put all of you together, no one would've guessed all are cyclicsts in their 50s.hehe.