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Wednesday, April 01, 2009

"The one with the war memoriam..."

Last week was almost a rhetorical rhapsody of sorts, as I prepared myself for another trip into the city. This time the party was different; I traded my usual mischievous trio for a more subtle but potentially labile BTN buddies Misla, Chua and Edil. To avoid myself being blandiloquent here - my last Sunday outing had been as much a feast for the eyes, as well as the stomach.

Arranged to meet Chua near Metrofuel opposite Bundoora Park after Zuhur prayers, and he boarded Tram 268 three stations proceeding my stop without any hassle. The usual one hour journey into Melbourne city was spent catching up on his rantings so far, after being in Aussie for the past 2-3 weeks. He often commutes between his deskspace in La Trobe's city campus and the Graduate House in Bundoora, so he's far more well versed on the city as far as I am to compare to. Somehow, it is my nescient nature about not wanting to pay heed to any journey I'm on here that made me wonder why is it so hard to figure out my way around.

Anyways, Chua decided to stop somewhere before our proposed Swanston St. tramstop so that we could take the city tram to the state library. An ever zealous traveller wherever he goes, he quickly gave me a reintroduction on Melbourne central's public transport system. Apparently if you need to get by the city, taking the city's tour tram is a good idea mainly because it's free for all. Not to mention, like I always refer trams here to - this tram finally looks exactly like that in San Francisco. Serious.

Managed to meet Misla somewhere in the middle of Swanston St. while basking into the whole suffuse that are city slickers and metropolitan crowds. It's the weekend and the streets were crowded with people, as the Melbourne GP was also in parralel show that day. Anyways, Edil arrived shortly after - complaining about how cold the weather was. The three of us failed to relate; not when you're in your jeans and a piece of clothing on (thinking how much hotter it can be) while he's donning a zipped up jacket and covered toe to neck, shivering every time the wind breezes against your cheeks.

Anyways, I pestered Misla enough for her to lead us to where all the attention was at - Melbourne Central. Two levels down, was where we (I) wanted to be the most and as they ogled at my incessant sakai-ness I felt no shame as to physically stick my face against the donut counter. After all the myths and legends told and heard, and read. Now it is within my right to pass judgement by personal experience.

And were those rumors true indeed! Hands down, Krispy Kreme donuts are by far the most decadent, deliciously sinful donut you can ever sink your teeth into. Forget Dunkins, J.Co and Big Apple, if you're into plain sweet classic glazed donuts - look no further but Krispy Kremes'. The normal glazed donuts are their forte, and I do think that having a dozen of those at one go is not so crazy an idea. Fendi has always had a box of them every time, and I think I could (or should) as well.

Anyways, Misla (although a big fan herself) had to refrain herself from having a feast - much to her putative thoughts that she'd gained a lot of weight. Chua had one with coffee, as did Edil and they shared my views of its sheer numen awesomeness.

As for me - I had five donuts altogether, one of them being Misla's. And at the end of it, I felt no shame stealing hers but a desire for a dozen more.

After our stint in Krispy Kreme, and a latent sugar-rush Misla took us on a walk through Yarra River. Which, at one point we arrived to Melbourne's War Memorial. Adjacent to the HUGE Botanical Gardens, this establishment pays homage to soldiers of post-collonial war; mainly WWII. This pyramid-like building was actually a huge tomb, much like those in Egypt. Shame by the time we were there it was closed for the day, so we decided to just hover around its circumsference. Surrounding the place were laden-with erected statues and memoriams paying tribute to fallen heroes of the past, epicting great battles fought in ally with other nations.

Which, conveniently also involved the procurement of Malaya and the reclamation of it from the Japanese occupation. Australia was a devoted crony of the Brits, and their involvement during those times proved crucial in substantiating what had now graciously transpired as our historical background. At least back home we have the Tugu Negara to remind us of this in a different perspective, but nevertheless both parties had a lot to gain and learn from the war.

Sari Bair was one of the lesser known battles in history, which took place in 1915 that involved conflicts between the Ottoman Empire and who else but the Brits. The British Empire, had the increment of soldiers from their conquered nations which included India, New Zealand and of course Australia. The battle of Sari Bair was Britain's final attempt at securing the Galipoli Peninsula, and these had resulted in huge losses for the empire after they failed miserably.

This stone lays bare as testament over how devastating egoism and hegemony can be to a nation.

History lesson aside, a few footsteps ascend and you're treated to this astonishing scenery. Even to anhedonia eyes, one would stand in amazement at how broad a horizon this was. It was THE scene of the day, and a wonderful view of the city.

Our next spot on the outing was Melbourne's wonderful Botanical Gardens; a park so huge it's subdivided into cross sections that Misla reckons altogether would take hours to tour. We instead opted for the smallest section, and that already took us a good hour. That, and Edil and I had our Asar prayers on the Botanical grounds. Much to my amazement, halfway through another brother joined in as a makmum. It's quite a feeling to experience, in a place so different in religion - you'd find a similar link.

The Botanical park really astonished us all, with its well maintained beauty and diversity. Only pictures would do justice to my statements, and I promise more to divulge come my next post. Misla had promised more pictures this coming weekend so hopefully I'll be able to upload them by then.


P/S : My deepest condolences go to the family of Dr. Tong Chow Chin, whom had passed away earlier today morning, succumbing to leukemia after putting up a good fight for a few months. He has been a good teacher, a great friend and a fond person to everyone. His passing comes as a great loss to everyone, and my prayers are so that his family would mourn this grief in the most positive note possible. As chemoboy would say, I do think that in the end, he had finished strong.


Anonymous said...


Looks like you are always out during weekends! I suppose that's understandable until you've toured all that should be toured and get the hang of the routes and destinations around Melbourne. Your circle of friends have also grown...Back home, we are busy with by-elections and the swearing-in of the new PM this friday. Who knows, the currently 28 ministries may shrink to half and a few KSUs be asked to retire early!

Take care and don't forget to bundle up when the weather gets colder!, mama.

RozitaAGC said...

Salaam Jep..
Lambat sikit baca..but I am very interested to know more about the "tomb" with the word "MALAYA" inscribed. juz for my own knowledge and to compare with the facts we have over here. If you hv time, please email me the pics and if there is similar other stories or pics, please send it to me.
For your info, juz got back from BTN, I am even more patriotic now hehe.. actually memang i suka history but the history i learnt tak pernah ada cakap pasal Australian involvement.or i yg lupa..entahla..

BTW, looks like somebody is having fun down under! dun forget to go cherry picking ya!
Paktam said he might be going to Australia with the KBS group..but tak tau bila..

bye, take care

JeP said...

Salam Maktam!

Hehehe good to know that BTN had at least an impact on u as it did on myself, as far as loving our country more goes. I learnt a lot about Msia during BTN and our history in depth, esp biler we all kena bagi tgk cite Hati Malaya 1957 tu.

Hmmm, let's see...about that Malaya inscription kat War Memorial tu.

The details I have back then were quite sketchy, but it was inscribed to refer in remembrance to the whole Japanese occupation in Malaya (and WWII) and the advance of Communism in Asia during the troubled years of 1946 to 1960. It was during this 14 years that the Australian Army, in particular the Royal Aussie Airforce and the 53rd Infantry Brigade kene kerah to defend Malaya.

Which, of course through history we know what the result was. There were significant losses during this period when they lost to the Japanese occupation in 1942. About 5000 perished.

But according to a metal plate nearby (kalau x silap) the Aussies were actually able to put up a good fight during what they call the Defense of Johor somewhere near Gemas gitu. But that tombstone serves ultimately as a reference to their inclusion in the Allies forces during those times.

I'm interested as well to know more; actually there's a dedicated place kat State Museum pasal ni tapi I've yet to go and visit. Maybe in the near future kot. I'll email you anything on this k.

Anyways, a'ah paktam ader mention maybe nk dtg sini. If he really does drop by, bleh je I bring him around (or the other way kot considering he's been here before!). Blh bawak gi makan Krispy Kreme! :)

RozitaAGC said...

Thanks! If I have time (normal excuse) I will check on the facts..I hv a fren in Arkib Negara. Already mintak copies of the documentaries - dugaan malaysia and ..tak ingat apa lagi satu..=)

Ok take care (and looks like u r really having splendid time over there!)