Thursday, April 23, 2009

MPV Perodua

Sempena Minggu Saham Amanah baru2 ni di Johor, Perodua telah pamerkan gambaran rupa bentuk MPV pertama yang dijangka bakal bersaing dengan Exora keluaran Proton.

Dijangkakan akan dilancarkan pada bulan November 2009, pada harga dalam lingkungan RM65k. Yang pasti, rupa MPV terbaru Perodua ini clone Toyota Passo Sette.

Cun juga... mana tau rezeki anak ke2, dapat pakai MPV terbaru Perodua tu... Mungkin kereta ke3 kitorang selepas Kembara dan Viva.... huhuhuhu

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Exora - Malaysia 1st MPV (Credit to


Proton Exora - Full Details
Author: Chips

The new Proton Exora, officially launched by the Prime Minister tonight, is a model which should have been available a long time ago. It was already apparent in the late 1990s that Malaysians love MPVs as the popularity of the Toyota Unser showed. The reason is because Malaysian families are large and people also have maids so a 5-seater sedan can become inadequate, more so if grandparents are also included in a family outing. But because prices of cars are relatively high due to the government insisting on using the auto sector as its revenue-earner (hence the unnecessarily high taxes), most families can’t afford extra cars and so the MPV is the practical solution if they can afford only one vehicle. Proton never had such a model to offer until now.

Actually Proton did have a plan to make such a model in the early 1990s, recalled Proton’s Chairman Dato’ Mohd Nadzmi bin Mohd Salleh who was MD of the company then. However, the project (rumoured to have been with Mercedes-Benz) never went further and after he left when Proton was 'privatised’ in the mid-1990s, it was ignored by the management then.

Of course, this is not really Proton’s first MPV as there was the Juara, a mini-MPV cloned from the Mitsubishi Town Box. Why Proton ever got into it is a mystery although at that time, it was announced that Mitsubishi was providing the model 'free’ and Proton would re-engineer it for the next generation and then build the units and sell them to Mitsubishi for its next Town Box. But the Juara was a 'disaster’ from the first day: instead of selling at a rate of 600 units a month as forecast, it sold in tens of units. To be fair, the Juara was only a marketing disaster because it wasn’t a bad product and there were no problems reported. It looks turned many people off (some kids refused to even be seen in one!) and Proton struggled for years to clear the 3,000 units it had built in advance.

Anyway, it could be that, after the Juara episode, interest in doing MPVs was gone although it is known that in 2002, there was a study to do another MPV but it was also not a priority, especially after Naza had launched the Ria. Instead, the focus was on model types (hatchbacks) which failed to draw the sort of numbers the Iswara and Saga used to, obviously the wrong models for this market which caused Proton sales to head downhill, dragging the company into the red for the first time in its history.

Had the management not changed, one wonders if the Exora would have been developed since there was apparently no plan to have such a model in the line-up this decade. Such a model was considered for actual production after the new management took over and from the time the design was 'fixed’, it was just 18 months to production readiness – a very brisk speed considering that there was also the New Saga to be developed. RM450 million was spent on the project, of which RM70 million was for manufacturing aspects, a figure that was actually lower than preceding models.

Being a latecomer in the MPV segment is not necessarily a disadvantage for Proton because it had the chance to see the shortcomings of other MPVs and not only avoid them but also offer a better product. From what can be seen, Proton made full use of its 'lateness’ and has come out with a model that is innovative and it also has that Lotus DNA which has given its recent models noteworthy ride and handling.

For styling, many people indicated they liked something like the Toyota Wish so that provided a starting point for the designers. The looks are contemporary, a cross between a Toyota Wish and a Mitsubishi Grandis and no 'boxiness’ (though the front end is a bit 'chunky’). The rear lights are distinctive with their bright LEDs and positioned high so that they won’t get damaged easily in a collision.

As mentioned earlier, being late allowed Proton to see what the competition offers and do better than them so the dimensions for the Exora could be made class-leading. As the chart below shows, it is longer and wider than the Nissan Grand Livina, Toyota Avanza, Naza Rondo and even the Toyota Innova. From earlier spy pictures, it did not seem that long but apparently it is.

Pick-up proposal using the Exora platform

The Waja platform which had originated from that used for the Volvo S40/Mitsubishi Carisma of the mid-1990s was already too old to be further adapted for the Exora. So a new platform was needed and it’s going to also be for other Proton models to come, including the replacements for the Persona and Perdana. At some point later on, if the numbers show a good business case, there may also be a pick-up or van variant off the same platform, which is how other manufacturers do it to reduce costs. Either that or share a platform with someone else but Proton is determined to have a degree of independence so it has to invest in this area itself.
The inside of the Exora is very impressive from the point of view of spaciousness and also appointments. With this model, the interior designers have outdone themselves and far from looking cheap (which was often the comment about Proton interiors), there is thoughtful use of different textures for the various surfaces which makes a lot of difference. In the past, this sort of thing was not given a lot of attention and dashboards looked really cheap and plasticky.

The centre console has a metallic finish which makes it a distinctive element on the dashboard. The layout is clean and providing a 2DIN opening for a conventional audio system will be appreciated. It will be possible to easily replace the audio system with an after-market unit, something which is less common these days as manufacturers integrate their audio systems with the dashboard fascia, making it a hassle for those who must have their own system.

The shift lever is mounted on an extension off the dashboard so it is higher and within easier reach for most people. The automatic shifter has a gated shift pattern like expensive models (though some cheaper ones also have it now) which is nice for those who know and want to shift manually (not to be mistaken for a tiptronic system which it is not).

There are many storage spaces provided for cans and bottles for every occupant, including those in the third row. The cupholders are well designed, being deep enough to contain bottles or cans properly. And the interior designers also went one step further by providing a slot with the rearmost cupholders which can take a magazine or comic book. The dashboard also has two separate storage compartments for the passenger’s use, the second one above the usual glovebox. The upper one is not, as is often the case, an unused airbag recess as the airbag is stowed further up. If there is no airbag, then the space is used as a tray. On the driver’s side, there is a slot for a tollcard, which is a feature not many cars have so again, it shows the thoughtfulness of the interior designers.
As many readers will know, this particular journalist has long made an 'issue’ about the absence of a teh tarik hook in Protons. From friends in the R&D team, I was told that this particular feature was made a 'must-have’ for the Exora because the MD didn’t want to hear me asking the same question again! It’s something which is found in many other cars and to me, it is a feature which is necessary for our lifestyle where we often buy food in plastic bags so there must be somewhere to hang it inside the car. Yet no one thought of putting it in the first Malaysian car nor the second one until now. And it’s not like it’s a complex feature either; yes, you can buy a pair for a few ringgit and put them under the headrests but Proton could also provide them as part of the design. And finally they have – one to the right of the glovebox and the other under the front passenger’s headrest.

Actually, even though the Proton people associate me with the teh tarik hook, I must explain that it was really the late Dato’ Gurcharan Singh, the first GM of EON, who brought it up. During the media launch of the Saga 1.5I in 1988, he complained that there was no 'char kuey teow’ hook for him to hang the packet of noodles and he felt that was something a Malaysian Car should have as standard.

In keeping with the times, the Exora (H-Line) has a standard DVD player/monitor mounted on the ceiling. It’s a standalone unit which can play DVDs and also accept media cards so apart from watching movies, the occupants could review their holiday pictures as they go home.

One thing which Protons have been praised for – right from the first Saga – has been the air-conditioning. Given our hot climate, a high-performance cooling system is important and with the Exora’s large cabin and extra glass area, this would have been a challenge. To ensure that everyone stays cool, there are vents on the ceiling – two on each side so that even those in the third row get cool air. The fan speed can be controlled but the switch is too far forward (ahead of the DVD player) and would be better if it was positioned over the second row.
Being a MPV, the cabin has to be able to change its seating layout as required to carry cargo or people. With the Exora, there are 6 different layouts possible ranging from a 7-passenger layout with all three rows of seats in use to a '2-seater’ with both back rows folded. The third row is not removable but that’s not a problem since the backrests fold flat into the floor. Access to the third row is easy – just press the release lever on the side of the second row and the whole seat flips up and forward. The floor height is not too high so most people will not find it a difficult climb in. The rear doors also open extra-wide to make movement in and out easier. Proton didn’t give the cargo volumes for the Exora but it did show the media (via some movie clips) that its MPV can take more cargo than the Grand Livina and the Avanza.

For now, the Exora has only one engine – the 1.6-litre Campro CPS+VIM which produces 125 bhp at 6000 rpm and 150 Nm of torque at 4500 rpm. It’s a familiar engine by now so we won’t get into much detail. A turbocharged version is rumoured for introduction later on but no one will confirm it. Incidentally, the Exora has front-wheel drive in case you don’t realize it.

Final drive ratio has been lowered for the Exora transmissions

The Campro engine – after the CPS version - has proven itself to be a good powerplant in sedans but with the Exora weighing over 1,400 kgs, the weight-to-power ratio is obviously not as good as what it would be in a Waja. For this reason, a lot of effort was put into retuning the transmission control unit to provide the driveability that would be acceptable. This also necessitated a change of the final drive ratio in the Mitsubishi transmission to a lower 4.625 (all the other ratios in the manual and automatic transmission are the same as in the Waja and Gen2). This means that overall gearing is lower and that enhances low-end performance but sacrifices a bit at the top end. However, the Campro CPS is already known to be inherently strong at the top end so losing a bit is no big deal. Most owners would probably not notice it anyway. There is also a lock-up clutch installed which provides a direct solid link in top gear at cruising speeds, reducing power losses that occur with the hydraulic linkage.

The suspension layout is a simple one with MacPherson struts in front and a torsion beam at the rear (for the sedan variants on the same platform, a multi-link rear suspension will be developed). The front suspension is attached to a sub-frame and this sub-frame is hydroformed, a process which gives it greater strength and rigidity while reducing weight. By putting the suspension on the sub-frame, there is better isolation from road shocks and the suspension elements also have more sturdy attachment points.

Much effort has also gone into reducing noise in the cabin and Proton has spent extra money to provide above sound insulation materials as well as used some technologies to cut noise. This is something which is not considered in models in this price class and again, Proton has tried to give more without charging more.

The Exora makes use of a Body Control Module (BCM) and while BCMs have been available for some time, they have mostly been found in more expensive models. It is likely that Proton is the first manufacturer to offer it in this class. The unit is made by Siemens VDO which is the world leader in the manufacture of such modules. The one for the Exora comes from its factory in China, a little fact which Proton engineers today have no reluctance to reveal, unlike earlier years when the culture of secrecy enforced by the previous management had people scared to say anything. There is nothing to hide about this being an imported item and it was common sense that it cost less to buy from a factory in China than to keep insisting that parts must be sourced in Malaysia only and force suppliers to make them here at uneconomical volumes. Nevertheless, 90% of the Exora’s parts are still sourced from Malaysian suppliers.

The BCM is, quite simply, a 'box’ that can be programmed to handle multiple functions which normally require separate controllers, eg for the wipers, the door locking system, the security system, etc. With each controller installed, it means having separate wiring and of course a certain amount of weight. The BCM unifies many of those functions in a single controller, thereby reducing the amount of wiring and space requirements and of course, cost.

A BCM can be programmed for numerous functions and in the case of the Exora, it handles 24 functions. Some are related to safety while others are for convenience. For example, there is a Battery Saver function for the internal lighting which is operational after 30 seconds and the cabin lamps also dim automatically, a feature which once used to be found only in expensive cars. The battery condition of the remote controller is also displayed on the instrument panel so owners need not worry about it suddenly dying.

One of the functions is to reduce the door lock system from burning out after excessive usage. Apparently, it was found that there were many instances where Proton owners had burnt systems and it was traced not to quality issues but because children played with the switches too much. So to eliminate such a problem, the BCM has a program that will disable the locks in OPEN position (for 20 seconds) if the system is operated 30 times non-stop.

Many of the functions, though, are related to safety. These include activation of the hazard warning lights if the brake pedal is applied suddenly at high speed and if the airbags inflate (signaling a severe crash), the doors will automatically unlock and the hazard lights will go on. There are also additional wiper controls, one of them to get the rear wiper to activate when reverse gear is engaged. And like many European models, a gentle press of the signal stalk (which is on the left side) will activate the signal lights for 3 seconds. This is for use when doing lane changes and promotes driving safety – provide Exora drivers make full use of it.

A few other features are for personal safety – eg unlocking of just the driver’s door with the first press of the controller (many systems will unlock all doors, not a good idea in lonely carparks), and there’s also a mode which leaves the headlights on for a while to make it easier at night.

Having the BCM also makes diagnosis and trouble-shooting easier; instead of having to test different control units, just one needs to be accessed. Of course, having many functions integrated in a single unit can also mean that many things will be disabled if the BCM fails but the Proton engineers said that the QC standards are high and such a problem should be minimal.

Safety is a top priority to all carmakers and with the Exora, Proton has put it a greater effort than before in this area, probably because a MPV would typically carry more people than a sedan much of the time. No less than 32 vehicles were crashed, nine of them cost a million ringgit each while the other 23 cost between RM200,000 and RM500,000 each. The million-ringgit units were the earliest prototypes and cost so much because they were pretty much hand-made since production parts were not available yet. Though it is a phenomenal sum spent, Proton still saved money because a lot of the work could be done by computer simulation whereas in the past, vehicles had to be crashed, studied and modifications made to fix weak areas and then another unit crashed. Nowadays, most of the engineering can be finalized with computer aids and the crash tests are for validation.

The Exora was crash-tested for 12 different requirements, optional and mandatory, all of which it passed. Besides ensuring that it can meet the legal safety requirements in countries that it will be sold in, Proton’s engineers also aimed for a high rating in the EuroNCAP crash test. EuroNCAP is an independent organization which conducts crash tests on vehicles sold in Europe and carmakers pay attention to its results which are also made public. While EuroNCAP has not actually crashed an Exora (and would only do so if it is sold in Europe and it chooses to evaluate the model), its criteria are available to manufacturers who can conduct their own crash tests and see how well their new model will fare. In the case of the Exora, the crash tests conducted in an independent facility in Spain showed that the MPV could score 4 stars (out of the maximum of 5) based on EuroNCAP criteria.

As the various pictures show, the structural integrity of the Exora is very good and the cabin area is well protected during impacts from the all sides. Rear-end crash tests are not presently a legal requirement by any country but Proton also had that done and more significantly, it had the vehicle put through a roll-over test – the first Proton model to ever be subjected to such a crash test. This test, which was done at 48 km/h, shows how well the upper structure of the vehicle is engineered to not only resist deformation and the roof pillars (especially the front two) have to be strong enough to support the body if it remains upside down, crucial to reducing fatalities. Passing the test not only requires that there is no collapse of the roof structure but there must also be no ejection of the dummies inside. That the company chose to do this 'optional’ test (which the Exora passed, of course) shows the importance it has placed in occupant safety and is commendable.

The structural rigidity of the Exora’s bodyshell is very high and exceeds the targets that were set. While most people won’t understand what torsional and bending stresses are all about, the important thing to know is that in torsional strength, the test result was 39% better than the target while bending strength was 88% better.

However, making a bodyshell very strong is not key to providing the occupants with the best protection because the impact forces are still tremendous. So the approach taken is to reduce the forces progressively before they reach the cabin. In earlier years, this was done by having crumple zones at the front and rear to absorb the forces but today, with computer-aided engineering, it is also possible to design the various structural members to absorb and transfer the forces around the cabin.

Proton has often been criticized for not providing airbags as standard throughout its range, though this is understandable because it is constrained by costs and Malaysians expect Protons to be cheaper than other cars. Nevertheless, for the Exora, this issue won’t be raised by buyers since dual front airbags are standard for both the M-Line and H-Line. Given that Proton intends for the Exora to be a major export model, putting in airbags as standard would not be a high cost since the volume of airbags purchased would be greater, thereby lowering unit cost. And as required by the new law, all seven occupants have seatbelts. Pre-tensioners are provided for the front seatbelts to make restraint more effective when the airbags deploy.

Other Passive Safety features (some of which are made possible by having the BCM) include the automatic activation of the hazard warning lights during sudden braking from high speeds and automatic unlocking of all doors when the airbags have been inflated. The latter, which is rare in vehicles in this price class, will aid rescuers in extracting the occupants during an accident.

In the area of Active Safety, which helps the driver avoid an accident, of note would be the high standards of handling which Proton engineers have learnt from Lotus Engineering. This is an aspect which Proton has often been praised for and over the past few years, its engineers have been gaining more and more experience so it is only natural that the Exora has superior handling characteristics which, as a test-drive showed, could be considered above-average for a MPV in this class.

The brake system has ventilated discs in front and drums at the rear with ABS standard. Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) is also present and this is especially important for a MPV because of the varying loads that will be on board at different times. ABS only optimizes braking and stability (and allows the driver to still steer the vehicle) by preventing the wheels from locking up and skidding on slippery surfaces but the brake pressure between front and rear is pre-set and does not change.

With EBD, there is dynamic adjustment of the brake pressure between the front and rear wheels according to the load distribution on board. This ensures that braking will be optimized and stable whether there is just the driver alone and the rear end is light or when there are seven people on board and the vehicle is at maximum load.

So the Exora is a very safe vehicle to travel in and this is something which will be appreciated by owners. More praiseworthy is that Proton has provided a number of safety features which are not standard in its price class and this is certainly a big change from the days when other makes gave more and Proton gave less.

Since the time the Waja was launched with the promise of having 'far better quality than ever before’ – and delivering the opposite – it’s been hard to be 100% convinced that a new model will have better quality. So new model reports have always had to end with something like '…depending on the quality’. Unfortunately, this stigma will take some time for Proton to get rid of and even with the Exora, there is still concern even though every unit shown to the media had excellent fit and finish. Make no mistake, this is the best model Proton has ever and it would be a real shame if continued indifference by suppliers with regards to quality diminishes the excellence. If the Exora can have consistently high quality and less complaints are heard, then this could be the model which finally rids Proton of its 'cheap but poor quality’ reputation.

For the Malaysian market, Proton expects to sell 3,000 to 3,500 units a month, a figure that sounds realistic, unlike those ridiculous numbers we used to be given for models like the Juara, Gen2 and Savvy which didn’t seem to have any basis. Proton’s MD Dato’ Haji Syed Zainal Abidin bin Syed Mohd Tahir understands that the domestic market which Proton once dominated is no longer enough to sustain it in the longer term and it has to look at the ASEAN region as its 'home market’ and by July, the Exora will be launched in Indonesia where it should do well since that is a MPV market.

As Dato’ Haji Syed Zainal told the media last week, the Exora marks the end of the journey of transformation but it is also takes the company past another milestone on the way to becoming a credible player in the auto industry. It’s a product which shows that a small carmaker can still do great things and this is especially impressive at a time when the industry globally is not in good shape.

Talk about the Exora in the MTM Forum

Connect with the MD of Proton and let him know what you think of the Exora. Click here!

Want to buy an Exora but need to get rid of your present vehicle quickly? Advertise in Motor Trader and it could be sold fast! Click here for a form to book your advertisement in the most popular auto classifieds magazine sold in Malaysia weekly.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Kisah Gadis Basanai

Aku gemar membaca buku-buku karangan Prof. Dr. Hamka Amrullah. Mungkin dari karyanya aku mula mengemari penulisan. Mungkin kerana beliau orang Minang dan aku cuba menyelami hati orang Minang. Aku banyak mencari kisah-kisah dari Bukit Tinggi, Padang, Tanah Malinjau, Pagar Ruyung… untuk aku mengenali susur galur turunan ku.

Satu kisah yang amat membekas di dalam hati aku adalah hikayat lama di Salidia. Kisah yang telah diturunkan kepada anak-anak muda sebagai bekalan hidup. Kisah gurindam lara dari penghuni lembah dan jurang yang dalam, yang penuh air mata iaitu LEMBAH KEHIDUPAN. Kisah ini turut dikutip oleh Prof. Dr. Hamka bagi mengisi karyanya.

Salidia adalah sebuah pantai yang indah di Bandar Sepuluh, pesisir barat Sumatera. Inilah kisah lara… Gadis Basanai…


Semenjak ibunya mati, tinggallah Gadis Basanai seorang diri di rumah yang besar. Tiada seorangpun mendekat-dekat ke situ yang dapat jadi kawannya dan menghilangkan kesunyian. Apa lagi dia terhitung orang berbangsa, takut orang biasa akan mendekati dia.

Sebab itu iapun dibawa pindah oleh mamaknya ke rumah isterinya di Salidia. Di sanalah dia tinggal dengan mertuanya (isteri mamaknya itu) yang berbudi. Anaknya ada pula seorang lelaki, bernama Asam Sudin. Kerana itu anaknya yang seorang telah jadi berdua.

Kian tahun kian besarlah Basanai, menjadi semangat rumah yang besar, permainan mata mamak dan mertua; cantik lagi jelita. Menurut adat kampong, bilamana bunga telah mulai kembang, mendekatlah kumbang hendak menyeri manisannya.

Demi setelah cukup usianya 16 tahun bertimpa cerana datang, pinangan anak sutan-sutan, orang berbangsa dalam negeri, meminta supaya Basanai suka dijadikan teman hidup. Tetapi mamaknya belum hendak menerima “kata orang,” sebab belum ada yang dapat dipandang duduk sama rendah, tegak sama tinggi dengan Basanai. Enam kali cerana datang, enam orang bujang berganti, semuanya tertolak saja. Jarang sutan akan jodohnya, jarang puteri akan tandingnya.

Tetapi lain daripada segala permintaan orang lain, ada seorang yang telah menanamkan cinta di dalam hatinya terhadap Basanai, cinta yang membukakan pengharapan di zaman yang akan datang. Cinta yang selalu tidak memperbezakan darjat. Orang itu ialah Asam Sudin sendiri. Adapun Basanai tidaklah tahu bahawa saudara sepupunya itu menaruh cinta kepada dia, lain dari cinta saudara lelaki kepada saudara perempuan, kerana sejak dari kecil mereka makan sepinggan, minum semangkuk, sama di bawah naungan langit hijau, sama mandi di sebuah pancuran.

Bilamana perasaan cinta telah bersemai, tidaklah ada makhluk yang sanggup menghalanginya, sebab cinta ialah perasaan hati yang merdeka dan bebas. Sebab itu bercintalah Asam Sudin sendirinya, tidak seorang pun manusia yang tahu, dan dia pun tidak berniat hendak memberitau kepada orang lain, hatta kepada ibu dan bapanya. Kerana menurut adat yang lazim di Minangkabau pada masa itu, bangsa ayah tidaklah sama dengan anak. Hanya bangsa mamak yang sama dengan bangsa kemamakkan. Sisa-sisa adat lama itupun masih ada sampai sekarang. Jadi adalah Basanai sebangsa dengan ayah Asam Sudin, dan Asam Sudin sebangsa dengan ibunya sendiri. Ayahnya orang jemputan, ibunya orang di bawah, “diukur tegak sama tinggi, tapi tentang bangsa dia kurang.”

Pada suatu hari, sedang Asam Sudin mandi seorang dirinya di pancuran, bertemulah olehnya segulung rambut yang hitam berkilat dan panjang. Dia tahu benar bahawa rambut itu rambut Basanai, sebab rambut ibunya tidak sepanjang itu. Dan orang lain tidak ada yang mandi ke situ. Dia tahu pula, jika sekiranya dia hendak meminta sesuatu tanda mata kepada Basanai, tidaklah akan diberinya. Sebab itu dipadankannya saja rambut itu akan dijadikan tangkal azimat, dijadikan ubat jerih pelerai demam. Rambut itu digulungnya baik-baik, dimasukkannya ke dalam puan ibunya; setelah itu dibungkusnya dengan kain putih sedester. Bilamana tengah malam dan bulan terang benderang, kerapkali dia berdiri ke tepi pantai, melihat ombak memecah di karang dan angin laut berhembus, maka dikeluarkannyalah puan itu dari sakunya, lalu dipantunnya:

Anak gagak di lesung cina,
Makan berulang ke perahu,
Hati hendak bagaikan gila,
Tapi mengata tidak tahu..

Maka tibalah musim orang ke Pagai mencari rotan dan damar. Biasanya bilamana rotan telah terkumpul, dibawalah ke pulau Cingkok, sebab di sana banyak berlabuh kapal dagang orang Feringgi (Portugis), Inggeris dan Belanda, hendak membeli barang hutan. Biasanya orang Salidia belayar ke Pagai bersama-sama, selama-lamanya 3 bulan. Jika angin selesai, barulah mereka pulang.

Asam Sudin dengan ayahnya pun hendak pergi pula ke Pagai, sebagaimana kebiasaan tiap-tiap tahun. Sebelum berangkat, disiapkan dahulu segala yang perlu, dijahit layar mana yang robek, ditukar mana yang usang, biduk ditampal mana yang tiris. Setelah tiba hari yang ditentukan, pergilah Basanai dengan mertuanya ke tepi pantai, hendak melepas mereka berlayar. Di atas pasir yang luas itu, di pinggir pantai lautan yang tidak kelihatan tepinya, di ombak yang bergulung-gulung di riak memukul kaki, di bawah naung langit hijau, di sanalah Basanai dan mertuanya menangis melepas orang akan belayar.

Setelah ayahnya naik ke biduk, Asam Sudin pergi menjabat tangan ibunya, Basanai terpisah tegak agak jauh sehingga percakapan orang berdua itu tiada terdengar olehnya, apalagi kerana gelombang memecah di pasir dan angin berhembus di pantai amat keras. Asam Sudin berkata:”Ibuku, belum tentu anakanda akan kembali pulang, manalah dapat ditentukan gerak Allah. Kalau untung baik, selamat anakanda pulang pergi. Kalau gerak takdir telah tersurat, entah hilang anakanda di laut lepas, entah di lamun ombak tujuh, gerak Allah siapa tahu? Hanya sedikit anakanda meninggalkan pesan, pegang petaruh erat-erat. Di atas kepala pintu yang menghadap ke laut ada anakanda letakkan sebuah puan perak berbungkus dengan kain putih; di dekat itu ada pula sebuah cermin. Tiada seorang pun boleh memegang dan mengambil barang itu, tentu akan terlanggar pantang. Kelak jika nama anakanda saja yang pulang barulah boleh ibu mengambil kedua-dua barang itu.”

“Baiklah,” jawab ibunya: “Petaruhmu akan bonda pegang erat-erat. Selamatlah anak belayar.”

Dikerlingnya Basanai dengan sudut matanya yang muram, seraya katanya: “Selamat tinggal, Basanai.”

Sebelum Basanai sempat menjawab, dia telah melompat ke atas biduknya. Ayahnya telah menunggu dia di sana. Layar pun dikembangkannya dan sauh dibongkarnya…

Tiada berapa lama antaranya biduk itupun beroleh angin yang selesa. Setelah sebesar kumbang kelihatannya di lautan, barulah Basanai dan mertuanya pulang ke rumahnya.

Sebulan telah menjadi dua bulan, hampir tiga bulan penuh! Khabar berita dari Pagai belum datang.

Pada suatu hari, sedang Basanai membersihkan jaring labah-labah, sampailah hujung sapunya kepada pintu tempat puan dan cermin itu diletakkan Asam Sudin.

“Barang apakah itu, mertua?” tanyanya kepada mertuanya.

“Wahai, gadis! Itulah barang simpanan Asam Sudin, agaknya azimat dan tangkal. Dia berpetaruh benar melarang orang menyentuh kedua barang itu. Dia sendirilah seorang kelak jika telah kembali yang akan mengambilnya. Jika namanya saja yang pulang, barulah ibu akan mengambilnya.”

“Barang apalah agaknya,” kata Basanai dalam hatinya dan pekerjaannya pun diteruskannya pula.

Tiap-tiap membersihkan rumah, sampai juga hujung sapunya kepada barang yang terlarang itu. Akhirnya timbullah keinginan hendak tahu, kerana demikianlah tabiat manusia. Yang paling diingininya ialah barang yang terlarang.

Pada suatu hari, sedang mertuanya membawa perian dan labu ke pancuran, menjemput air minum, Basanai meningkat gerangan isi bungkusan itu dan apakah cermin itu. Sebentar saja sampailah tangannya ke sana dan dibawanyalah kedua barang itu turun bagai menatang minyak penuh. Bungkusan itu dibukanya, dadanya berdebar-debar. Setelah itu dibukanya pula puan perak itu. Isinya segumpal rambut yang hitam panjang. Bertambah debar-debar hatinya, kerana rambut itu rambutnya sendiri. Diperhatikannya rambut itu baik-baik. Gementar sendi tulangnya, merah padam warna mukanya. Apakah gunanya rambutnya itu disimpan oleh Asam Sudin?

Seakan-akan ada suara ghaib berbisik di telinganya membisikkan suatu perasaan yang belum pernah dirasainya selama hidupnya, dan perasaan itupun mengalir ke seluruh batang tubuhnya dan urat darahnya. Tawar dan dingin rasanya!

Diambilnya pula cermin itu, dilihatnya mukanya di sana, muka yang cantik lagi jelita, buah tutur anak sutan-sutan yang berenam. Tetapi hairan…. Bukan mukanya yang kelihatan, hanya muka orang lain! Mula-mula samar, kemudian nyata, muka Asam Sudin!

Darahnya tersirap!

Tengah ia termenung dan hairan melihat cermin itu, mentuanya datang. Dia terkejut melihat perbuatan Basanai, hampir terhempas perian yang sedang dipikulnya.

“Celaka! Mengapa engkau langgar larang dan pantangan? Kalau tidak mengandung bahaya, tentu tidak akan dilarang oleh si Asam Sudin menjamah benda itu, ketika dia akan belayar. Letakkan lekas, kembalikan ke tempatnya celaka engkau nanti.”

“Celaka tanganku yang gatal ini, mentua, hati pun tak dapat aku tahan, dia hendak tahu juga. Jika kak Asam pulang mintakan Basanai ampun kepadanya. Tetapi mertua!.... Mengapa rupa dan wajah kak Asam yang kelihatan dalam kaca ini? Salahkah pemandanganku?

Tidak, mertua, bukan hamba salah lihat. Nyata wajah kak Asam di dalamnya! Lihatlah!”

Segera mertuanya datang melihat kaca itu. Dia tersenyum sebab yang kelihatan di sana bukan wajah Asam Sudin, melainkan wajahnya sendiri, sebagaimana biasa segala kaca di dunia ini. “Bukan, bukan Asam Sudin yang kelihatan di dalamnya, nak!

Asam Sudin sekarang jauh di Pagai. Hal itulah hanya bayang-bayang angan-angan belaka.”

Kaca itu dilihat sekali lagi oleh Basanai, rupa Asam Sudin tidak kelihatan lagi, hanya wajahnya sendiri pula! Rupanya perasaan jantung yang tengah bergelora telah padam, telah sedar kembali. “Rupanya hamba salah lihat,” katanya sambil tersenyum tetapi mukanya agak pucat.

“Bukan sudah bonda katakan? Engkau terlanggar pantangan. Jangan barang itu Basanai dekati, kata bonda, engkau dekati juga, sekarang begini yang bertemu…”

“Ohh mentua, mintakanlah hamba ampun jika kak Asam pulang, mohonkan hamba maaf kepadanya. Hamba akui kesalahan hamba, digantung hamba tinggi, dibuang hamba jauh, apa putusan kak Asam hamba ikut, untuk menebus dosa hamba.”

Sedang duduk berdua menganyam tikar:

“Sedang mengapa agaknya orang di Pagai, mentua? Khabar beritanya tidak juga sampai.”

“Agaknya sedang mengumpulkan rotan. Setelah penuh biduk, barulah dibawa ke pulau Cingkuk. Setelah itu jika bertiup angin selatan, biduk akan menuju pulang.”

Sedang menjemur di halaman:

“Mentua, sudah hamba hitung-hitungkan hari, sudah hamba bilang-bilangkan pekan…

Khabar dari Pagai tidak juga datang.
Nun, tengoklah di tepi pantai, - mentua.
Biduk orang lain telah berlabuh dua tiga,
Biduk dari Pagai belum juga pulang.”

“Basanai, tiris agaknya biduk kita; mencari damar penyumbat yang tiris itu mamak dan saudaramu dahulu. Agaknya layar cabik dihembus angin barat, memintal benang mereka dahulu penjahit yang cabik itu.”

“O mentua, tak tertanggung, tak tertahan,
Malam haram mataku tidur,
Siang haram dudukku senang,
Ingatan kepada orang di Pagai saja.”

“Basanai, Basanai! Dahulukan sudah bonda katakana jua, anak sudah melampaui pantangan, anak sudah melanggar larangan.”

Basanai jatuh sakit:

“Kian lama kian lemah sekujur tubuhku, mentua! Biarkanlah hamba duduk dekat pintu yang menghadap ke laut,

Supaya dapat segera hamba lihat,
Agaknya telah dekat biduk orang Pagai akan pulang,
Apakah yang kelihatan putih di hujung laut itu, mentua?
Bukankah layar biduk orang dari Pagai?”

“Bukan, gadis, bukan! Yang kelihatan putih dari jauh itu ialah ombak yang sedang memecah di atas karang. Dan itu, yang di sebelah selatan itu ialah burung belang laut, berkejar-kejaran mencari makanan, putih sayapnya kena cahaya matahari.”

“Itu? Yang kelihatan antara ada dengan tiada, bukankah biduk orang dari Pagai itu dihayun ombak dan gelombang?”

“Belum, gadis! Hanya biduk nelayan, yang belayar di tepi-tepi saja, ke tengah takut digelombang.”

“Bilakah biduk dari Pagai akan berlabuh…. Oh mentua?”

Sakit Basanai bertambah larut.

“Sudah berasap penglihatanku, mentua!”
“Tak nyata lagi olehku ombak yang memecah di karang, hanya deru angin yang kedengaran di telingaku, belum jugakah biduk dari Pagai akan berlabuh…?”

“Lautan hijau, ku lihat laksana rumput gatil-gatilan.”

“Mentua, sudah lemah sendi tulangku, goyah segala anggotaku!”

“Alangkah sakitnya nyawa akan bercerai dengan badan. Agaknya orang dari Pagai takkan melihat badan hamba ketanahkan.”

“Jika Gadis Basanai mati muda, mentua, panggil tunangan, keenamnya, berdua suruh merobek kafan, berdua menggali kubur, berdua menyembahyangkan; memandikan mayatku oleh mentua sendiri. Kuburkan mayatku di atas puncak gunung ledang, di bawah naungan pohon delima dua sederet, di dekat kemuning hijau. Tegakkan di atas kuburku bendera berjurai dua, sejurai hadapkan ke rumah marhum ibuku, sejurai hadapkan ke laut, supaya tampak oleh biduk orang dari Pagai.”

“Oh Gadis Basanai! Semolek secantik ini, segombang semuda ini engkau, dunia akan engkau tinggalkan?”

“Dan jika orang dari Pagai pulang, suruh ziarah dia ke kuburku; badan hamba yang halus tak kuasa lagi menunggu dia sampai pulang, hamba tunggu dia di puncak gunung ledang…

Sekarang, hadapkanlah mukaku ke laut lepas, ke jihat Pagai, supaya senang jiwaku meninggalkan dunia dan damai semangatku meningkat langit….”

Dengan tangis tersedu-sedu mentuanya meninggikan bantalnya. Basanai pun melihat tenang-tenang ke laut, ke jihat Pagai.

Waktu itulah sampai janjiNya.

Asam Sudin pulang:

“Apa sebabnya merah tanah di puncak gunung ledang, ayah?
Adakah ayah lihat bendera dua jurai, di bawah naungan delima dua sederet, di dekat kemuning hijau?

Kubur siapakah itu agaknya?”

“Entahlah anak, hati ayah pun berdebar-debar pula.”

Biduk berlabuh, ibunya menunggu seorang diri di tepi pantai.

“Mana Basanai, ibuku?” Tanya Asam Sudin.

“O anak, Basanai tidak ada lagi, dia telah dahulu dari kita. Lihatlah puncak gunung ledang, masih basah tanah menalakin, telah tertegak nesan dua buah.”

Tertegun Asam Sudin tegak, airmatanya jatuh dua jatuh tiga, bagai manik putus pengarang. Ayah bondanya menangis pula kerana tangisnya itu.

“Tidakkah Basanai meninggalkan pesan, tidakkah dia tertinggal kata? O ibuku, dia tahu…”

“Wahai, anak! Sebab dia telah tahu bahawa engkau cinta kepadanyalah maka dia sampai begitu. Larang pantangan dilanggarnya, sampai dibukanya bungkusan pantangan; dalam bungkusan itu bertemu olehnya tanda-tanda yang menunjukkan cinta engkau kepadanya. Sejak itu hatinya tak senang lagi, dia hendak bertemu juga, hendak menyampaikan kepada engkau bahawa dia pun cinta kepadamu. Petaruhnya ada sebuah, iaitu tidak sanggup lagi dia menunggu engkau di dunia; sebab itu ditungunya engkau di akhirat. Disuruhnya engkau ziarah ke kuburnya, tubuhnya yang halus menunggu kedatangan engkau di sana.”

Petang khamis malam jumaat pergilah Asam Sudin ke atas puncak gunung ledang, membawa perasapan, dengan lidi kelapa hijau 7 helai dan air dari 7 muara. Sesampai di kubur gadis itu, dikelilingi kubur itu 7 kali dengan perasapan; kemudian disiramnya dengan air 7 muara, dipukulnya dengan lidi kelapa hijau 7 helai, kerana demikian petua dukun. Setelah itu iapun bernyanyi memanggil arwah orang yang telah mati.

Diserunya orang yang telah dalam kubur, orang kubur menyeru pula kepada orang dunia. Maka menanglah seruan ghaib, kalah seruan dalam lahir. Di atas kubur itulah, di bawah cahaya bulan purnama, di dalam deru angin malam, Asam Sudin menghembuskan nafasnya yang penghabisan…

~Sampai sekarang bilamana tukang rebab atau biola melagukan nyanyian “Gadis Basanai.” Orang-orang yang mendengar tenggelam dalam harus kegahiban. Seakan-akan lagu itu adalah lagunya dewa-dewa!!

Pengalaman Bergelar Ayah

Insyallah... aku akan sekali lagi merasa nikmat bergelar ayah buat kali ketiga. Secara tiba-tiba hari ini aku terjumpa hasil tulisan aku semasa pertama kali bergelar ayah. Ianya betul-betul mengimbau cerita lama....

Laloque - 6 Jun 2006

Hari nie.. masa aku dlm perjalanan dari seremban (aku tinggal di Seremban) ke pejabat di Putrajaya.. aku mendengar radio ERA ketika memandu.. sempena Hari Bapa pada 18 Jun, ERA mengutarakan topik pagi yang cukup menarik.. topik pagi bertajuk "pengalaman pertama menjadi bapa"

Setiap bapa punya pengalaman pertama yang berbeza-2.. ada yang manis, ada yang lucu, ada yang sedih dan ada yang memeranjatkan..

Pengalaman pertama aku cukup menarik.. aku kira mungkin sesuai dikongsikan bersama..

Kami telah berkahwin hampir mencecah 2 tahun.. pelbagai usaha telah kami lakukan untuk mendapatkan anak.. pabila kami mendengar rakan-2 atau saudara mengandung sedangkan mereka berkahwin hampir sama dengan kami atau lebih awal lagi, telah mengandung, kami menjadi sedih, cemburu dan kecewa..

Paling membuatkan hatiku menjadi sedih dan hiba, apa bila ada rakan-2 yang memperli isteriku dengan kata-2 sinis.. setiap air mata yang keluar dari kelopak mata isteriku akibat kata-2 sinis membuatkan aku marah pada manusia tersebut..

Saat yang paling menyedihkan bagi isteriku, pabila kami pergi ke Alor Setar bagi meraikan majlis perkahwinan seorang sahabat.. sudah la kami memandu dari Kuala Lumpur ke Alor Setar, sampai di sana isteriku disoal dengan soalan-2 sinis tentang anak dan mengandung, aku pula ditanyakan dengan soalan-2 lawak lucah yang bodoh!!

Bayangkan perasaan isteriku.. niat kami untuk bermalam di alor Setar terus kami batalkan.. dan terus memandu pulang semula ke KL, walaupun kami baru sahaja sampai.. disepanjang perjalanan pulang tersebut, isteriku menangis semahu-2nya sehingga sampai ke rumah.. aku betul-2 tidak dapat maafkan manusia sedemikian...

Allahamdulillah... Allah Maha Kaya, beberapa minggu berselang, ketika kami pulang dari bermain badminton di taman rekreasi depan Hotel Shangri-la Putrajaya, kami singgah di Alamanda. Secara berseloroh kami membeli UPT test kid di sana. Sesampai di rumah, sedang aku menonton TV, terdengar jeritan isteri di tingkat atas rumah.. rupanya, UPT yang dibeli menunjukkan 2 tanda line..

Sah!! isteriku telah mengandung setelah kami hampir putus asa dan telah pun bercadang untuk mengambil anak angkat sahaja. Seperti mana ibu-2 mengandung lain, mabuk dan loya perkara biasa..

Tapi saat yang paling tidak dapat ku lupakan adalah saat pertama kali aku melihat anak yang dikandung itu dari kaca LCD Scan.. melihat pergerakannya, tangannya, kakinya, malahan bayangan rupa parasnya.. Allah... agungnya ciptaanMU..

Saat bergelar ayah, aku lalui dalam keadaan tanpa persiapan dan secara mengejut.. isteriku yang dijangkakan akan melahirkan dalam 11 hari lagi telah ku bawa berjalan di taman bunga.. naik bukit.. turun bukit.. selera makannya betul-2 terbuka.. aku masakan 5 tongkol jagung, dan isteriku habiskan kesemuanya.. malam itu.. kami turunkan tilam dan tidur di ruang tamu depan TV sahaja.. aku tidak mahu isteriku turun-naik tangga..

Jam 5.15 pagi, isteriku bangun dan terasa seperti ingin membuang air besar.. tapi setelah ke tandas, tidak pula ingin membuang.. katanya ade rasa sakit sikit-2.. dalam pukul 6.00 pagi, ku bawa ke Hospital Putrajaya sebagai langkah keselamatan dan berjaga-2 walaupun jangkaan due nye ada 11 hari lagi. Kata Jururawat, telah terbuka 2cm dan mungkin dalam tengahari atau petang nanti baru anak ku dilahirkan dan minta aku balik dahulu untuk membawa barangan bayi.. mendengar kata-2 jururawat tersebut, aku tinggalkan no. hp ku dan aku turun sebentar untuk bersolat subuh.. dalam sujud, aku berdoa yang aku mohon Allah ringankan kesakitan melahirkan ke atas isteriku dan aku redha serta memaafkan segala dosa dan kesalahannya..

Belum pun aku selesai bagi salam terakhir, hp berdering dan jururawat meminta aku datang segera ke labor room!! aku diarahkan masuk ke labor room untuk menenangkan isteriku sebab beliau dalam kesakitan untuk melahirkan.. kata jururawat mungkin dalam 3 - 4 jam lagi beliau akan melahirkan.. aku ditinggalkan bersendirian dengan isteriku.. tidak sampai 10 minit aku di situ, kulihat kulit kepala anak ku telah tersembul keluar... Argh!! panik aku di situ... apa yang ingin aku lakukan... terkedu dan kaku aku di sisi isteri dan terus memandang anak ku semakin keluar... mujur, ada seorang jururawat masuk kebetulan ingin mengambil sesuatu dari laci wad tersebut... lantas jururawat tersebut mengarahkan isteri ku meneran dan minta aku membantu... beberapa ketika kemudian masuk 2 org jururawat lagi.. terlalu mudah dan pantas kelahiran anak bertuah ini.. tidak sampai 15 minit, lahir la anak pertamaku, anak sulungku.. ALESHA ABRIZA pada 15 Disember 2005.

Peristiwa lucu terjadi disaat itu... seorang jururawat bertanya sekiranya aku ada membawa minyak bayi.. aku kata tiada, sebab memang tidak kami jangkakan akan berlaku kelahiran hari itu.. jururawat mengarahkan aku membelinya di kedai berhampiran.. dek kerana terlalu gembira, tergamam dan gugup... aku ingatkan mereka nak makan dan terus mengajak jururawat-2 tersebut makan dan akan ku belanjakan nanti.. berderai gelak ketawa jururawat-2 tersebut.

Tapi kini, Alesha Abriza telah pulang ke pangkuanNya. Allah hanya meminjamkan Alesha selama 150 hari sahaja kepada kami...

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Hari Minggu... Nisa tolong papa

Hari minggu. Kemas stor sbb prepare utk new baby nnt. Kebetulan akak ipar dtg bermlm di rmh.

Nisa pulak sibuk nk test buaian yg bakal digunakan adik dia nnt. Kira dia nie QC la.

Tgk la clip tu...


Monday, April 6, 2009

Kejutan Dari Isteri Tercinta

Terharu... itu saja yang dapat diungkapkan. Tengah aku tekun buat kerja (tekun ke????) tetiba masuk sesorang ngan bungkusan dan bunga.

Tgk muka cam kenal... pastu terus cakap "nak... nie Zaimah bagi. Dia wat surprise... Hepi besday en. laloque..."

Terkojut ai tau... wah!!! isteri tersayang wat kezutan. Hantar kek ngan bunga ros 3 kuntum... terus ke pejabat.

Tetiba teringat suatu ketika dahulu, aku penah menerima kezutan yang sama. Masa tu Zaimah kerja di UPM sebagai RA. Dia datang buat kejutan ngan member dia hantar kek ke Wisma Putra... hahahaha

Terima kasih sayang. Tiada ungkapan yang mampu diucapankan melainkan... Papa sayang mama selamanya...

Mama... silaplah... bukan 35th... tapi baru 25th la

Santik kan???? hari nie rezeki staf opis aku la

TQ mama... untuk sambutan yang penuh makna

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Sambutan Besday Dari Bini Aku...

6 April merupakan hari yang didaftarkan sebagai tarikh aku dilahirkan di dalam surat beranak aku tu. Maka secara rasmi tarikh itu menjadi tarikh hari aku dilahirkan. Tetapi hakikatnya, aku dilahirkan pada suatu tarikh lain sebenarnya. Maklumlah pendaftaran kelahiran aku diuruskan oleh atok aku sebab ayah aku askar di zaman darurat dan terpaksa berjuang pada masa itu. So tarikh sebenar aku dilahirkan.... biarlah rasia... hahahahaha

Untuk meraikan hari kelahiran aku itu, bini aku nak belanja makan. Iyalah, nak beli hadiah dia bukannya larat. Sekang pun asik pening dan nak pitam aja. Dia kurang darah. HB dah turun 10.1... tu pun kira bagus. Masa ngandung An-Nisa, turun sampai 7.4... terpaksa tambah darah 2 beg...

So ngan badan terhuyung-hayang, bini aku ajak gi mkn malam. Dia kata nak belanja. Dia ajak gi Hotel Royal Bintang, Seremban. Kitorg 3 beranak + 1 dlm kandungan gerak ke sana.

Grand gak selebret besday aku kali ini. Makan ala2 candle light dinner. Tiada gangguan, hanya kami anak-beranak saja.

Yang pasti, terima kasih sayang. I love u....

Ini lah org yang bermurah ati belanja makan tu... I lap u mama

Org yg diraikan ngan budak yang nak juga diraikan

Manggo jus

Nisa posing maut!

Lamb chop...

Grill Salmon