1. 'Kedai Aziz' or roughly translate as ‘Aziz’s Shop’ is not really a shop/restaurant. It is a stall, typical Terengganu’s thousand of stalls that dotted the landscape that served World’s finest Nasi Dagang or Nasi Minyak , Nescafe Peng etc.
Kedai Aziz is a wooden stall, cement floor and roof from zinc and nicely place under the large ‘Ara’ tree. It has about 6 or 7 tables and it can be divided to 3 parts. Proper stall, chess corner and checker corner. No, no toilet here though many regulars unashamedly act as if Kedai Aziz got one... Openly.
2. Kedai Aziz closed on Friday and operating hour for Kedai Aziz is from 7.30 in the morning till 6.30 in the afternoon with the exception on Thursday (or the ‘Hari Khamis Malam Jumaat’), somehow on 'hari Khamis Malam Jumaat', Aziz, the owner can be seen closing it early by half an hour. Wan Mamat, the contractor and one of the regular can always heard teasing Aziz “Asa ari Khamih Ma’lang Juma’ak...ba’lek awa” or roughly translate as whenever Thursday’s night you come home early!
When Wan Mamat not around on Thursday i blurly said to Aziz the some words uttered by Wan Mamat though not really understand the significant of the night. :)
3. From late 80’s up to late 90’s, Kedai Aziz is the unofficial centre of Terengganu chess. (Before it was ‘Jalan Kamaruddin, belakang Wisma Armon’ and now that honour went to Dungun). Ghalam, Abdullah Yunus, Arshad, Azli, Adnan, Hashim, Lim Sim Leong, Ghani, Cikgu Mat, Bak, Awie, Zailan, Gambit, Ustaz Ali, Aik Kiat, yours truly are the regulars here. Norazmi, Rahim somehow dislike the place.
4. Whenever PCNT got some cash flow problems, Aziz is the ready banker to advance his money first. Once the association got its cash from Majlis Sukan, Aziz will be immediately reimbursed. Aziz luckily did not charge us any interest for this uncollateral loan!
5. ‘Kedai Aziz’ is definitely not Cafe de la Regence that could attract artist (Voltaire, Rosseau) or VIPs such as Napolean but still on and off you can meet the late Aziz Afkar here (Aziz Afkar is the writer of ‘Hartini). Aziz is the chess lover and proudly said he learned chess from Chessmaster programme. On and off local politicians will drop by here for a lunch or maybe a game of checker. If i am not mistaken, NM Kamal Abdullah used to play chess here.
6. Time did not move slowly here, time crawl. It is common to set the time to meet at Kedai Aziz as ‘ we meet there in the morning...’ It means anytime between 7am to 11.30 am! Or maybe if you want to be specific ‘we meet after Asar’...anytime between 4 to 6.30pm! far cry from today Corporate meeting...meeting start at 4.05pm sharp.
...Damn, i missed the place...I don’t know about others but i definitely feel closer to Kedai Aziz, a sense of belonging/acceptance among adults. I am always happy here, playing chess from morning till afternoon, no cares about world...Kedai Aziz (and its regulars Ghalam, Arshad, Cikgu Mad) are one of the major reason why i chose chess over writing. Yup, I was once among the best Malaysia junior writer (poetry, short story etc) with ready invitation to write for compilation etc, dumped that careers and play chess where i am totally nobody... but maybe that is story for another day.
7. Talked about art and languages...we, the citizen of Kedai Aziz, talked our own chess language here. Chess Opening is 'lagu', bishop queen battery is 'buah dagu', Alekhine Defense is 'lagu kuda sesat' etc...yes, still used that classic 'sah' for check or 'mat' for mate!
8. Later in mid 90’s, under the name of development , kedai Aziz’s site has been earmarked for a building and he shifted his stall some 100 metres forward, behind the new Kuala Terengganu bus station. Chess/checkers hippies (read:me!) followed suit and rebuilt the ‘markas’ there but somehow it cannot restore its old glory. The magic has gone. For the record Aziz closed his iconic stall in late 90’s and now successfully went into sand transportation business.