Chapter 1: Passage Into KKB

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Four police-blue trucks finally stopped in front of a white and blue house. All of our possessions neatly packed into 3x2m plywood boxes were methodically unloaded by teams of privates who followed us on our 6-hour epic journey from Johor Bharu (JB) to Kuala Kubu Bharu (KKB).

Neat thing about being 6 years old then meant staying out of the way of those who were sweating it out.

I was more concerned with catching Bionic Woman at 8pm that night.

My father was with the Royal Malaysia Police, and living the nomadic lifestyle was part of the package. It was usual to uproot every three or four years to his new posting, and in 1976, the Royal Malaysia Police College in KKB was our home.

And what glorious 5 years it was.

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Feeling excited going back to a place that used to be my playground

With Waze as my dependable guide, I made my way back to my childhood years on a sunny Saturday afternoon. It has been more than 30 years, and the twisting and winding trunk roads were replaced by highways I was unfamiliar with.
Even as I arrived at the main junction into KKB, I was struck by the existence of such establishment:

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30 years back, it was just a boulder near the corner that was the landmark for KKB

However, as I turned into the narrow two-lane road, fond memories of my adventurous (and sometimes fearless) episodes came flooding back. As I drove further in, I realized the actual town itself hasn’t changed very much. Time definitely moved at the rate of molasses here.

And that is a Good Thing 😉

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What wondrous shades of green…

I knew instinctively the way into town, as I ticked off the landmarks by memory: army barracks, mosque, turn left at  Public Library and up the hill…

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Snapshot of KKB’s “CBD” ;D

One of my main objectives was to purchase the famous spongecakes/ kaya puffs from Teng Wun bakery & confectionery. I was hoping that I could also get the durian spongecake (but you need to place an order for that baby!). 

Needless to say, traffic congestion was non-existent. You could actually waltz on the streets and still not get hit because drivers here somehow drive at the rate of molasses too. Tee Hee!

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Did my final year of kindergarten here. There were huge pine trees by the fence then… break time was held in the annex wing on the right. Hot tea and biscuits were served 🙂
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Main Market in town. These ladies sure took their time crossing the road… perhaps wanted to be my models for this photoshoot? ;D
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Central location for political parties’ HQs
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Just like in Ipoh, these huge containers were sold out front for water-ration-hit-Urbanites who need such backups
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Just a bit more speed buddy, I would like to cross the road today…
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Saturday afternoon traffic in KKB’s CBD…
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Even felines fall under the “molasses spell”…
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See a common thread here? 🙂
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Such beautiful colonial-era architecture is a rare sight, especially in the capital.
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Back view of Lim Guan Joo lot… even the backyard has character…
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Topiaries stand at attention along cobbled streets… I mean, COME ON! How Quaint is THAT?!  By the way, don’t let that humble signage fool you. Superstar-status noodle dishes are served here.

 


These buildings have lived through many historical events from the era of the British rule… need proof?

 

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There ya go!
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Ok, perhaps it was a license for required “de-stressing libation” (ie there were miniature-sized Hennessy bottles lined up under the signage)
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This is an actual back alley. No rubbish seen anywhere (except for that huge bin in the background). No usual “back alley stench”. What a pleasant sight 🙂
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Open lot for Artisans at work… look at those pieces of tree trunks!
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Mary, Mary quite contrary; how does your garden grow? 🙂
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The air here is so incredibly fresh and clean! Thanks for reducing the carbon-levels, buddy!
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One of the very few hotels in town. It has its own rooftop garden too! Check out the thespian-sounding restaurant next to Golden Goose: Nine Thy Eight 😀 … and believe it or not, I didn’t realize the Maintenance guy was captured in the frame until I edited this photo. LOL!
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My jaw dropped in disbelief when I came across this beauty. Look at all those original parts and handiwork. The stained glass window panes on the upper floor. The wooden “grille” protecting the main entrance, and the peacock-motif ceramic tiles adorning the walls. Outstanding.
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This lot is just a few doors away from the Golden Goose guesthouse…
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Somebody’s playing hide & seek with me! Did you escape from Wonderland, Mr. Cheshire?
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Preserved beauties like these never gets old…
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The other hotel in town…

It was finally time to get those desserts before they closed for the day. Nostalgia certainly washed over me as I walked around town, and as I met the humble Mdm Wun, I couldn’t help but share with her my excitement of revisiting the place where I grew up. Her eyes sparked with some recognition when I mentioned staying in the Police College during the late 70s. What proceeded next almost blew my socks off:

MW: “Do you know a Mrs. Mok?”
Me:  “Mrs. Mok?” … synapses zinged at light speed. Mental file pulled out facial recognition and the fact her daughter was named Ida.
MW:  “Back then I used to run a hair salon. Many of the wives from Maktab (College in Malay) came to my shop to do their hair.”
Me:  “Wow”
MW:  “Do you remember Mrs. Chen?”
Me: Spraining my brain cells for some clue...
MW:  “She used to drive a green car…”
Me:  “You REMEMBER the color of her car?!” Folks, this is rewinding 30+ years back.
MW:  “Because she drove up and down this street every day-lah!” laughter ensued.

Gracious lady that she is, Mdm Wun offered some of her spongecakes/ fluffy cup cakes and kaya puffs for me to sample. Her husband even gave me a cup of water to wash down the yummies.

Desserts from KKB for the familia: Accomplished!

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Adventure time continues!
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