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From Arau with Love...


Assalamualaikum,

For friends who follow my Facebook's status on Saturday; 5 December 2009, you'd probably know that I took a train from Arau to Butterworth and stand all the way. It was a 100 years worth of journey and experience!


I was attending my housemate's wedding and eventually I was the lucky bridesmaid :D It was her husband's side's reception and since I bailed on her wedding reception, it's a must-attend event. Due to I had another wedding invitation the next day, I decide to go back to Penang right after the wedding - with the bridesmaid dress. Long story short, there was no bus and I was suggested to ride on a train instead.

The train; Ekpress Langkawi (EL7) was supposed to arrived at 5.30 pm, but delayed until 6.40 pm. The KTM staff notified me that seat not guaranteed for trip to Butterworth and I can find any empty seat throughout the journey. I was not in the mood to be fussy, with additional motivation from Naimah and Kak Chik - I said OK.

I didn't expect that the train would be so full of human being. I know it's a typical mind set - but hey, who rides on train? - even KTM have to do promotions on that. Seat-not-guaranteed’s passengers were all over any possible empty space in the train - with additional of illegal passenger. '

I ended up in front of the Surau together with other people. I stood there, wearing my cream-white baju kurung [not to mention with henna on my 10 fingers]. I would've sat on the floor if my baju kurung was not that white and clean. So I took a deep breath, put up a smile and stood there quitely. I was out from my sandal after 30 minutes of journey.

Due to tiredness, I can't recall when the train reached Butterworth. It was probably past 10 pm. I was about to crumble into pieces when the train finally stopped; I was so grateful to set my foot on the platform -- I can barely feel them...

There were two things in my mind: 1) walking from KTM Butterworth to Ferry Terminal, 2) walking from Bus stop to my rented house. Both were me-walking-alone-at-night trip.

My walk from KTM Butterworth to Ferry Terminal was... SCARY. The walk-way [more to a tunnel, to me] was dimly lit and too isolated; especially after 10 pm. I can assure you, the possibility for kidnapping or harassment while walking there is very high. Even screaming seems useless. My question: Why Penang allowed this deadly walk-way to exist on his land. To make my paranoia worse, a guy who was walking on the opposite way (Ferry Terminal-KTM Butterworth) stopped and asked me whether the walk-way headed to Ferry Terminal and he was following me the next seconds! Luckily I have the ability to walk so fast that the guy finally stops his effort to followed closer. Well, there was a possibility that the guy got lost, but it was after 10 pm and I'm all alone and so isolated from other human being! If I could turn into a vampire, I would :p

I took the last RapidPenang bus to Gelugor at 11.30 pm. Slowly, my muscles started to feel relief. The journey was serene; Penang at night can be fascinating. All the lights sort of welcoming me home and in the same time, calming me. You'd rarely have the chance to enjoy the scenery calmly, without other passengers squeezing you. Most of the time, buses in Penang full of passengers. I reached my rented house exactly at 12 am - Alhamdulillah! - still in one piece.

The next thing, I was sleeping on the couch with my foot in a basin full of warm water! Hahahaha.

It was a tiring journey but I saw interesting event before my eyes; especially the fact that I was standing in front of the Surau. I never know that there is a Surau on a train. I was surprised to see passengers keep on coming in for Solat. On that day, the koch I was riding in was out of water -- no water for ablution. All those Muslims; brothers and sisters have to travel to another koch, swimming through ocean of people and get back to the Surau for Solat.

It was a call to witness how human being can be devoted to what made their flesh and blood - if they choose to obey the reason for their existance; rather than giving excuses and taking religious lightly. Islam is a beautiful religion. Islam adalah agama yang sempurna. Islam tidak pernah membebankan penganutnya.

A worth journey, after all...
Wassalam.

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