there’s anything in life that you would wish to remember
for a long time, other than the sacrosanct “tok
kadi’s handshake” it has to be
- missing the flight. First,
fly by that massive bird every other day.
Second, we had it all set up a month before
and hardly slept the night
before departure. Next,
you are on a
mini holiday with a meticulously designed program to spice up the trip. Last, and the best of all
- you are traveling
with your buddies of 35 years who once shared not only the
“nasi kawah” but
sometimes towels, toothpaste, shirts, shoes, beds, you name it !!! -
the mighty name of SDAR, and yet you can afford to miss it.
Syed Zaki, a
Sdara 7176 from Kuantan spent the night at my
house so as not to complicate our journey to the airport. Payau (Wan Razi) Sdara
8285 would be going on
his own as planned despite living in Seremban, about 15 minutes away
house. Sle (Ruslan
Rahman) Sdara 7176
was from KL and would have to start his, obviously from there.
time to Jakarta
was 0700 hrs. Air Asia
it was. I called Payau
as early as hitting the Senawang tollhouse with my wife next to me so
would drive the car home after sending me.
What a wonderful wife she is! (She even took
the day off). Syed
Zaki was beginning to doze off again
after less than 10 minutes reclining his head at the back seat. I was not surprised, as
our night session was
busy with admiring and comparing the looks of tennis stars in US Open
of women’s single quarterfinals – instead of their
games! – man will always be
man. Upon reaching Nilai toll house I dialed Sle and the usual response
the way” settled my nerves.
We were busy
adjusting the two bulky golf bags on the relatively
tiny trolley when Payau appeared grinning as always, and instead of
another, he piled up his on ours.
began with “kalu kak Sdar ni, mu keno sekeh doh”. But Payau gave in saying
“Tak po ah..biar aku
tolok ah, mugo aku ni junior mu owk?. That’s
cool! Probably, Payau was still running
around bare all when the three of us stepped into the compound of Sdar
LCCT’s Mc Donald looked more like a wet market than a
fast-food joint with the crowd pushing and shoving each other for
tables. We managed
to get ours though, and the
authority of seniors was well observed when Payau volunteered to take
was done when I checked the time at my cell
phone and it was 0620 hrs. My
already making faster intervals when there was no sign of Sle, while
busy dialing him. I
didn’t want to check
in without him even though the risk of missing the plane was hovering
well on mind. Come
what may - it’s the four of us!
called Payau saying he had just arrived and
was waiting at the check-in counter.
Hastily, we shoved our way with our
weird-sized luggage through the
mingling crowd with Payau weaving among the lines of people showing his
Mat Rempit way.
The counter was closed and the call for
boarding was already announced. For
moment, everybody was rooted to the shiny tiles. I begged the officer,
all sort of excuses for being late and of course plus my 10 cents face,
him only shaking his head and waving his index finger.
I didn’t know if he’d
listened at all to my
“fabricated sob stories” coz the only words I heard
out of him was “no, no.
no,” but he showed some courtesy and proposed to us to see
his senior at the
far end counter.
The four of us
rushed to the intended man, carrying loads
of hopes to be admitted into the plane but I knew well out of years
the airport there was not even half a chance for us to make it to the
didn’t know about the others but my minds were already
weighing possible options or plan A, B, or even to Z to make this
reality. We got the
very same answer
from this new guy amidst Sle giving him the rationale that the flight
called but the plane itself had not taken off.
It just doesn’t work that way guys!
We failed the
begging and pleading test there. But
growing up as Sdarians taught us not to
panic and always think of some ways to get out of trouble. Like when you were caught
hiding a pack of
Benson between the folds in the locker during weekly inspection, you
up with ideas to escape. Or,
sound asleep during prep hours and Mr. Segaran (my time) woke you up
torch on your face. By
explanation, the Benson would land you in trouble anyway, but Mr.
bid you to continue your sleep if you directed his torch to the bottles
fever liquids, cough syrup and some tablets neatly arranged on a stool
your bed. He
wouldn’t check the
details. For all
you know, those things
could’ve been from last month’s stock or the name
scribbled on the hospital
slip belonged to someone else.
together like a team of rugby players before
kickoff discussing the next course of action now that we’d
flight. Syed was
spotting a wry face and
unwilling smile as if he was summoned by a senior for the
didn’t talk much and
responded “aku ikuk mu la Mando”.
smelled the words, well blended with dejection.
decision was that we’d look for whatever available
flights to Jakarta
for the day and if the search went futile, we’d tee off at
Nilai Springs golf
club and spend the night in Nilai before flying off the next day. We had to make this
journey by whatever means
coz the “orang kampong semua dah tau” kind of
thing, and to carry those golf
bags home was not to be our choice.
only good news for us that miserable morning was the ticket coming back
still be valid. The
biggest task was
trying for seats with any carriers – a one- way ticket, be it
KLM, MAS, Garuda,
Lion Air etc.
Being an IT
man, Sle had with him a laptop and began
dancing his fingers by the time we settled at the main terminal, to
ease up our
airline hunting operation. The
from LCCT to the main terminal cost us dearly.
We split up
duties with Sle and Payau on the net and Syed
and me browsing the airline offices at the terminal.
It wasn’t even 8 yet and all the
closed. Up, down,
and all, Payau called when I was having some refreshing puffs just
building. His voice
was full of
excitement at the other end relating what they had both accomplished. At last, we had to move
back to the LCCT as
they’d managed to secure 4 seats with Air Asia to Bandung
at 1050 hrs, by virtue of the 3rd
retimed departure of that particular flight.
And the taxi ride back to the LCCT this time
around, cost us even
pays - in both ways I would say. First,
it paid when we secured the seats and
second, we paid dearly for our uncanny mistake. Why not? The one-way
cost us even more than the round trip we had, originally, but a simple
mathematics comparatively to MAS pacified us a bit.
Moreover, I hate the impression that I had
planned a trip that was doomed from the start.
As we had the
trip planned out, we had to notify the other
side of our newest change of program.
Out of Mazri’s (Demang), Sdara 8285
benevolence, we were provided with a
driver and a Toyota Fortuner for the whole adventure.
Demang is an expatriate with a multi-national
company stationed in Jakarta.
The driver was
already on his way to Jakarta
airport and had to divert his journey to Bandung
when Demang alerted him. The
booking in Bogor Raya had to be cancelled and a new course in Bandung
awaited us. All was
done, when Demang called back in less
than half an hour. What
a great friend
Demang is. That’s
part of the wonderful
nexus in Sdara.
driver could not make it in time to receive us,
and I advised him to head straight to the Mountain View Golf Course in Bandung and we took two cabs to
cater for the four crazy
Sdara golfers from Bandung’s
Hussein Sastranegara airport.
awesome! Perching on the highest point of Bandung’s
naturally mountainous landscape, it scared the hell out of novice
golfers. The vistas
from up above the city with cool
winds in your hair were just the beginning of things. Nevertheless,
seasoned Sdara golfers were all set to battle the challenges offered,
especially after the hard-earned trip.
The wind was
hurtling sharp on our faces on the first tee
box, the chill was fairly- pleasant, and one that reminded me of Kalamazoo
in early autumn. Way
down was the fairway, narrow but graciously
the tall cliff on
the right and a gawking ravine on the left rattled your focus. It felt like teeing off
from a five-storey
Mine was the
best of all tee-shots with the others finding
the ravine fearing the cliff to the right. Sle’s and
Payau’s were playable
anyway. I had
courses before but this one was
truly amazing. My
checking with the caddies
revealed that it was opened about 8 months ago.
Even the clubhouse was still at a fledgling
holes, pars, bogeys and birdies, our game was
filled with intense camaraderie alternated with loads of banter the way
grew up together many-many years ago.
teased each other even by the slightest of mistakes or by a single
tongue word. When
you’re around Sdaras,
you never grow up! That’s what we are. By
the time we reached the last, it was almost dark and we feasted our
faint-looking lights beginning to decorate Bandung city
beneath us. It was
beautiful! Little wonder why the Dutch
had chosen Bandung
to be their administrative center during the colonial days.
“supir” waved his ever friendly hands and with
respect, shook every one’s.
This was my
third time with Didi, he had no problem recognizing me.
we’d look different no matter how hard we try to assimilate
into them. Just
like here, we could separate them ‘tween
us with a snap of the finger. We
for dinner at Bandung’s
famous Sunda eatery. Gurami
goreng was a
compulsory dish, cha kangkong, hot and spicy cumi, and the
“lalapan” or ulam
was as fresh as newly plucked, plus the deliciously barbequed chicken
steam caressing your nose.
The journey to
involved no serious “macet” (jam) as it was
Thursday and with the newly
completed Bandung-Jakarta highway, we didn’t have to pass
Krawang and lots of others. One
seniors had a 12-hour journey down to Jakarta
all because of a massive “macet”.
here, they called it “macet total”.
checked-in into Hotel Maharani in Jakarta Selatan
out of Demang’s booking and refreshed for the next. The next is for you to
---end of day
Payau woke me
up after he’d done with his shower as we’d
promised Didi to be at the lobby by 8 am.
I guessed we had all slept like a log the
night before owing to the
hectic day, we had, but everybody was punctually at the breakfast table
time we had agreed. The
coffee house had
nothing-extra ordinary to sample.
a bowl of “lontong” and added some bread with an
omelet to go with.
As the tee off
time booked at Rainbow Hills Golf Club was
12 noon, we had plenty of time to spare even if we had some
“macet” to deal
with. The price tag
of revenge this time
around would be tripled, as proposed by Sle.
In golf, the ethic is, the loser calls the
next wages. We were
traffic was light, we had a brief stop at
Jakarta-Bogor R & R. There
Factory Outlet store selling jeans, shirts, handbags and scores of
branded names. You
can have Versace,
Prada, Gucci, Guess or what not at incredibly low price sold under
or otherwise, no
one’s gonna pull your collar or force you to strip off your
coffee and snacks we headed to Bukit Pelangi
(Rainbow Hills), exiting Sentul tollhouse.
There is “Sentul” after
all, in Jakarta. We passed by vast areas of
but from the looks, the trees were smaller and more bushy than that of
ours. I was made to
ago, those were to produce “ajinomoto”. It answered my mulling
over some Indons I knew that they sprinkled a
couple of tablespoon of that MSG into their cooking – they
had plenty of that
a Petronas in Sentul before we began ascending the
route to the course. Opposite
station, there’s a row of shophouses quite identical with the
home. Demang told
me before, the area
was developed by a Malaysian company.
meandered a lot, passing by Sunda villages and
lifted us higher to the pleasant early morning breeze.
It was a high-country, something like our
Bukit Tinggi or now Berjaya Hills, the neighbor of Selesa Hill Homes.
itself was adjoining Gunung Guelis, where you
could distantly see each other while you’re at either. I played Gunung Guelis
with Demang and Payau
on my last trip. In
“guelis” means “beautiful”, and
the “gunung” is indeed beautiful!
is another “must-try” course.
We had originally planned to play Bogor Raya,
but as the sudden change of schedule screwed us up, I convinced Syed,
one day - all the more reason for him to cross the straits one more
time. Ask any
golfers frequenting Jakarta; Bogor
Raya is a “compulsory” course
for more than just many reasons.
expecting Syed would triple up the wages instead of
the ordinary double up. I
was the loser
as well for the first day. That
announced who the crocodiles were.
Instead, he suggested in a demure tone to
maintain the previous day
battled again. It
was only at the 3rd hole that Sle broke the news
Syed’s unwillingness to alleviate the bets.
They shared the room, and before hitting the
sack, Syed was
contemplating to look for a moneychanger the next day.
Apparently, he was reduced to only a half
millionaire from the multi-millionaire status when he stepped down the
plane in Bandung,
He gave it all
and showed his prowess right from the very 1st
hole. When we
settled down for
refreshment for the post-game review, he had recovered almost all of
had lost the previous day. The
“donor” for the two days’ game was none
other than the writer.
for dinner, where the waiters lined up some fifteen dishes on the table. As if to proudly display
their rich variety
of dishes, there were some, piled up as the table ran out of space. That’s
worry about the bills or
“bon” as they called it, you would only be charged
for the ones that you
“touched”. Indeed, as I learned from
“Travel & Living” channel, Indonesia
is the 3rd after French and Chinese for the
varieties of culinary in
the world. I tend
to agree, partly
wouldn’t believe your eyes
when the “kasir” (cashier) handed over the bills. We had only spent a little
more than 200 K
rupiah for the five of us. With
at 3.78, you do the mathematics!
It was raining
sheet on the way back to Jakarta. The journey was smooth
until halfway where the traffic seemed to grow in
numbers by the distance we covered.
Didi was a great relief. He’s
of driver I would not hire. As
I was at
the front seat, I could feel my pressing the brakes was even more
his was. In that
situation, he was our
savior – time wise.
He knew his
way very well. We
were at the hotel’s lobby nicely on time for some
we dumped the bags
and settled into a session we liked most.
As Hasnan put it, “sessi test
all was done, the fluffy beds awaited and nobody remembered the
previous day, the next day.
We checked out
about 11 albeit the flight being at 2025
hours. We had
planned to fill up the
time with some shopping spree in Tanah Abang, famed with brand names
eight-storey complex was
packed with shoppers that you would have to unwittingly graze
and boobs while inching your way through.
Syed and I got
what we were looking for and Sle enjoyed
tailing us around. Didi
punctually at the ground level for his last service to us –
to the airport. It
was by then, 4 pm and we safely reached
Soekarno-Hatta airport by six.
The flight was
right on schedule and we landed in KLIA just
before midnight, and guess what? We had Sdara annual golf to play the
day. We had two
practice rounds in Jakarta
which were worthy of all efforts.
Fun, is too
small a word to describe what we had endured
the past few days. To
recap, time spent
with fellow Sdaras is immensely priceless.
That’s why we are proud to
belong…and don’t go changing, to try to
please…we love each other just the way we are…
memories embedded in our minds, the hardship we
faced, the crackle of blissful laughs and the pleasure of being
didn’t miss the flight after all.