Familiar Family Home

Sawadee greeting as you enter
Tera-Thai Fine Dine restaurant
As recent as 10 July, I was at Tera-Thai Fine Dine Restaurant for lunch with friends in the Johor Baru International Women’s Association.  Then I received this message from a reader:

Hi Peggy,

Thanks for writing about Tera-Thai. I know it was written a long time ago but I just read it moments ago. That house was once our family home.

Warmest regards

Having been in Tera-Thai so recently, I was pleasantly surprised to receive the above message from Andrew on 18 July 2012, telling me the building that houses Tera-Thai today, was once their family home!  How exciting!?

I got acquainted with Tera-Thai in January 2009 when it was newly opened as a Thai fine-dining restaurant.  I understand that the owners, an entrepreneur couple – Thai husband and Malay wife – originally bought the property to live in.  However, the architecture is so reminiscent of structures in his homeland that they decided to turn the property into a restaurant that specializes in Thai cuisine. 

View of side garden from the balcony
As soon as I recovered from the pleasant surprise in Andrew’s message, I replied asking him if he has any old photos of their home – inside or out – that I may use to share his interesting discovery.  This is his reply on 22 July 2012:

Hello Peggy,

Sorry I do not have any pictures of the old place. Guess photography was not that much of a big thing like what it is today...almost everyone has a digital camera...lol!

During my childhood days, many of those living in the same area were very curious of one elderly Chinese man. He was seen wearing a typical black Chinese outfit and soft "kung fu" type shoes. I guess too that it was partly his long white beard that made him more noticeable.

He was my grandfather - one of his sons was the owner of the Alec Bus Company. So the more curious it became for the locals as to why the bus would always wait for him whenever the driver saw him walking towards the bus-stand and never the other way round and he does not seem to pay the fare!

It’s so good to see that article you wrote.

Warmest regards

View of rear garden from an open window
It’s a pity that Andrew does not have any photos of their former home.  But thanks very much Andrew, for sharing a little bit of history along Jalan Abdul Samad and your family heritage in Johor Baru with me.  Your vivid description of how your grandfather looked in those days seems like a distinguished character out of a period Chinese movie! 

And the very name, Alec Bus Company certainly evokes lots of memories because I remember the buses were green in colour, in stark contrast to the red colour buses of South Johor Omnibus – the two bus companies that provided public transport in Johor Baru then.  For several years my sisters and I were regular passengers on Alec bus No. 39 when we had to commute to school daily from Masai!

Well, since my first visit to Tera-Thai, I have been back to the restaurant again and again – not only for food reviews but also to dine with friends and family members.  To me, one of the most charming attractions about the restaurant is the building and I always seize the opportunity to take some photo mementoes of the place.  I have collected a series of photos that I can now share with Andrew and his family who once lived there!

Facade of the building along Jalan Abdul Samad, Johor Baru
Another view of the facade of the building
Double door that opens out to the side balcony
Floor to ceiling windows in the front verendah

These photos of your former home are dedicated to Andrew and family.  I guess they should bring back a flood of fond memories of that time when you lived there!  Enjoy!


1 comment:

  1. hi, peggy, im yee ming here, im looking for andrew since year 2000, lost contact after i moved form kebun teh to singapore, could you please send regards ti andrew? rgads tq