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Tuesday, August 23, 2005

My Seremban: Part Two

This is the second part of last week's My Seremban post that I did. Hey...Seremban may be a small town, but it surely deserves more than a single posting. Ingat ni Taiping ke? Oppss..I think I'll regret saying that. Anyways, this time this is the Seremban that is more personal to me. Welcome to my town:

This nice little building here is the State Library. When I was in primary school, my uncle (who's a retired teacher btw) would take me and my cousins here every other Saturday. As in most public libraries here, they didn't have a very good collection other than the usual Tiga Penyiasat and the Hardy boys of Farouk and Johar. The trip to the library was supposed to build up a reading habit among us, and I'm thankful for that. But in all honesty, I was looking forward more to the burger that they sold outside the library. Yeah, I read the books. Just give me money for the burger and I'll do what you want. Now I realised that maybe the reading part was priceless. Oh well...

Now this place is really history. A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...there was no TGV or GSC cineplexes. THX? Dolby Digital? Waddafuckistat? People used to enjoy the movies in big movie theatres where if you feel like spending, you would go for the 1st Class seats which actually meant you would get seats on the upper floor. It was one hell of an experience and even though Seremban had its fair share of movie theatres like Capitol and Rex, Odeon was the one that stood out from the rest. This was the place I fell in love with the movies. I remembered watching Rambo 3, Hook and countless other awful Hollywood flicks such as The Howling and Gremlins here. But the one movie that remained etched in my mind was watching Terminator 2 here after school. I didn't tell my parents so when they eventually found out (some stupid kid told his mom), let's just say that I really, really learned my lesson. But I never regretted that because T2 just knocked my socks off. I miss the big movie theatres of old. And even though the seats smelled like piss and the floors were sticky as hell, the place was just retro. Are there any in Malaysia still standing?

Before Allson Klana and way before the Royal Adelphi, the Lakeview Hotel was THE hotel in Seremban. Overlooking the Lake Gardens, it was a nice, cosy place tucked in the centre of town. I remembered that if Papa had guests from out of town, this was the place he usually brought them for dinner. And I, as a little kid enjoyed the experience of eating out. Tak kisah pun mana. Air-condition, baby...mana nak dapat kat Ampangan (I used to stay in Ampangan). And my cousin once held his wedding reception here too. The man is now close to 50. Talk about time flying. The hotel now is still operating, but it looks more like the Bates Motel rather than the Lakeview. Don't worry. They won't stab you in the shower. :p

This nice little shop here is Kedai Sing Huat (no, not the barber shop). What's so special about it, you ask? Well, this shop here has been providing my family with the NST and other publications since God knows when. And even though they don't sell international magazines, you can bet on them to have every single local publication here in Malaysia. Best part is, you can still rely on this shop to deliver newspapers during the holidays, especially Hari Raya. This shop is my window to the outside world (before the internet, that is). Never underestimate small shops like this, because I know one in Ipoh which used to sell Playboy (long before the internet). Try to top that one...hehe.

This here ladies and gentlemen, is my alma mater of the primary years...Sekolah St. Paul. Ohh...don't worry all you religious conservatives, I wasn't brought up by mubaligh-mubaligh Kristian. My school here rests on top of Bukit Kaya and my fond memories of this place are the innocent friendships that I had with kids of different races. Something which sadly, was missing in my secondary school years. Honestly, I think sekolah berasrama penuh are sekolah jenis kebangsaan melayu with a different name. Issues aside, I really enjoyed primary school. Who didn't? The school also played the role as a venue for games that are close to extinction such as Pepsi Cola, rounders and galah panjang. The school had this huge dewan which held around 4 badminton courts and I remembered watching the Sidek brothers train here just fresh after the Thomas Cup victory. With their brand new Proton Saga and all...

Last and certainly not least, this is the Nelayan restaurant that has been proudly serving Negeri Sembilan kampung dishes since I was in school. Oddly enough, when we first frequented the place they were known more for their Thai cooking rather than local ones. But as time went by, this place is a full house every lunch hour. You could find at least 8 kinds of masak lemak here, with a list that includes landak, rusa and even otak lembu (!!). Situated at the Wisma Persatuan Bola Sepak Negeri Sembilan, I've run across a lot of players from Scott Ollerenshaw to Azman Adnan here. I also noticed that a lot of Goverment officials come here during lunch. I sure wouldn't mind doing that.

So that's just some of the places which make Seremban, well...so Seremban. Seremban is a nice town. There aren't many things to do here but it's a decent place to raise a family. I've been living here all my life. It's great really. KL is but an hour's drive away. Malacca is within close proximity too. So in a way, maybe Seremban is the center of it all. I may be biased, but I think Seremban people are really cool. And no, I am not including myself here even though I know it's true :p There's this good mixture of kampung ulu banat people, so-called urbanites and everything in between. All mixed up to have this nice town of mine. So the next time you're in Seremban, you know who to call.

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