Friday, 29 July 2011

Recap: Backache and Boredom in Train

Assalaamu'alaikum wa Rahmatullah!


In the beginning I thought that we would right away have a bed, but I was wrong. We have to sit first because the train schedule is crossing the schedule of domestic passengers who travel from Bukit Mertajam, Kuala Muda, and Arau stations to Hadyaai Junction. I sat at the seat number 36 in coach no.10, just beside a Thai national auntie.

Didn't talk much with her due to differences in our dialects. I can understand her but she is having hard time to understand our regional Thai because each region and area have their own words and differ greatly to each other. 

We have Malay words and sometimes Persian words mixed in our Thai while their Thai is standard Thai according to their national system. I would look like a five years old Thai kid trying to talk to adults when trying to talk with the auntie, haha. Few long hours sitting in the train I began to feel bored and my back ache. I need to walk sometimes and stand to release the tense at certain parts.

 This is my bed, prepared by uncle Sumant who was the train attendant. Quite dark and the train is moving, can't properly snap it.

At Bukit Mertajam, the train stopped for a moment for other domestic passengers. A girl with tudung labuh and maroon baju kurung sat in front of me. Later she talked at the phone, I guess she talked with her brother who lived in Kuala Lumpur. Her face looks like a Tabligh brother in our Tekun hostel who's known as Naufal and coincidentally she is heading to Arau station in Perlis, no kidding mannn!!!! 

That Tabligh kid is also from Perlis, particularly from Beseri. I could still remember when I asked that guy in the car just after we returned from Tabligh activity in their mosque in Georgetown. Jangan-jangan adik dia tak or might be related to that guy? Perlis bukan besar sangat. Just lazy to talk with anyone. Further, what I have to do with those Tabligh guys??? They are not here anymore, hahaha. 

I just take a look at the window relaxing my mind, trying to make myself happy. The train stopped again at Kuala Muda station in Sungai Petani. It's my hometown where I was born anyway. Then at Arau, most of domestic passengers went down. And the train proceed to Padang Besar for passport control center for crossing border passengers.  

 Passengers preparing to sleep, and it's quite shaky in the train so we can see that it's blurry ahahaha.

Oh yeah, there was also a Tabligh guy who is heading for Haadyai. Perhaps to their center for their activities, but he seems quite pompous, looking at me and the Buddhist auntie in front of me like trash. I didn't wear anything that shows my religion or faith and I speak in Thai while in train with attendants because they don't speak neither English nor Malay so perhaps he thought that I am a non-Muslim too. And he is so out of attitude chewing sirih (betel leaves), messing the floor with his chewed betel leaves. 

He didn't show any respect to the auntie in front of him too with his feet showing to the elder because I know how Thai Buddhists are. Most of them are very polite although differently to Muslim Malays. Pointing our feet or fore finger to elders and person upper to our level is considered as biadab (barbaric). I was like so surprised to see this because I was told differently about Tabligh and manners though I am not the member of the movement. Perhaps, with my background as south east asian whom are familiar with polite customs compared to those from south asian, i might not be suitable to mingle around with them.

 Hualampong Station, they had a book fair there and all books are written in Thai.

After we stopped by at Arau Station, the train further moves to Padang Besar. I can see Arau Mosque, al-Madrasah al-'Alawiyyah ad-Diniyyah which was my school when I was 13. I saw boys playing soccer at the field and green paddy fields. Houses of village folks. It reminds me of my naughty times and later my mum had to transfer me to Selangor when she heard something 'weird' happened to me, hahaha. My maternal grandparents lived in Arau and now we already lost them :'(

Quite modern station, well it is a capital train station just like KL Central in our Kuala Lumpur but might not be the same like KL Central. They have King's picture up there and ticket counters for domestic and international trips. Most are written in Thai so if you are not sure, just ask the information counter. They can help us with some English but be prepared if they can't differentiate Thais and non-Thais because South East Asians in average just look the same, hahaha.

Then the train stopped for maintenance before it reaches Padang Besar. I heard the call of prayer for maghrib and my heart feels so guilty because I can't properly pray in the train. No musalla or space for prayer in Thai coach. I just took the ablution, sat at my seat, closed my eyes and prayed while sitting. The Tabligh guy saw my mouth chanting holy verses in whispering voice. 

Perhaps he can recognize now that I am a Muslim. So, he tried to talk to me but I just kept my silence after the prayer because I was mentally reciting ma'athurat invoking Allah 'Azza wa Jalla protection for everyone in the coaches safety no matter Muslim or non-Muslim.  

The Thai immigration officer in Padang Besar passport control were quite firm compared to those in Sadao at Kwan Mai Dam (Bukit Kayu Hitam). No need to slip RM1 into our passport and we have to fill the embarkation form on our own. The Bangladeshi Tabligh guy approached me and introducing himself as a Tabligh member. Urrrr, I already noticed that since he was at his seat chewing betel leaves at Bukit Mertajam. Bangladeshi attire, with white Indian skull cap, betel leaves in the vessel made of shining metal, and bushy beard. He can't speak in Thai, Malay, nor English. Well, it's ok but he keeps approaching me. I am afraid that he might causing me trouble with his image and his destination is Southern Thai. A samseng Thai attendant with amulet at his neck in the train had already marked him up and that Tabligh guy seems quite insolent too.  

I just helped him to fill up his form as a Muslim brother but it does not mean I agree with his attitude toward the old Thai lady in front of him and his sharp glance to me, tengok orang atas bawah. Maybe he thought that the lady is a non-Muslim so why must he be respectful to non-Muslim but this kind of attitude had made me gone astray when I was a 13 years old kid. I guess the readers who stumbled here could understand what I am trying to say.

to be continued...

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