Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Adegan Sedih

I was driving home last night after a short trip to Speedy Video to rent some movies. Nizzar was sitting behind, standing in between the driver’s and passenger’s seats.

Out of the blue, I heard him say,

“Mummy, saya rasa nak nangis.”

“Why? Why do you want to cry?”

“Because I love you Mummy…”

Aww… that was one of the sweetest words I’ve heard in a long time!

I turned to look at him and I saw his face looking downcast.

“Now, don’t cry… I love you too. Come on over and sit next to me”, I told him.

He hopped over and sat at the passenger seat next to me.

“Why do you love me?” I asked him back.

“Because you are very nice.”

“Oh? Some more?”

“You buy me DVD, toys.. (sob, sob)…”

Hee.. hee… drama betul budak ni!

When I told my husband about it later that night, he said, “Pandai betul dia bodek you...”

Hee.. hee...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Pencinta Wanita

“Mummy, can we go to my girlfriend’s house, Mummy?”

“Why?”

“I like lah my girlfriend..”

“Why do you like her?”

“She’s so beautiful, Mummy..”

And that came from a 4-year old boy!

I was trying hard to control my laughter when I heard him say that yesterday. But I suspect, ada udang sebalik batu. He wanted to go there so he can play with their toys!

This girl is my husband’s friend’s daughter whom we met when we all went to Cherating for a short break last May. She’s 4 too.

The first time they met, my little boy straight away claimed, “That’s my girlfriend!”

I don't know where he got that word from...

Kids do learn fast these days, don't they? It scares me!

And off late, I frequently caught that Romeo singing. “Aku memang pencinta wanita, namun ku bukan buaya…”

Oh dear.. is this normal?


Pencinta Wanita



The Girlfriend



(both photos taken in Cherating)

Friday, October 08, 2010

Krabi Getaway

People have been asking me to update this blog. Malasnya… don’t know how to write anymore. It’s been too long… the brain has become rusty!

But I’m gonna try anyway. First step is to change the outlook of this blog to make it more lively… fresher. I didn’t realize there are so many new templates that can be used now!

After that, the story. Let me just start with my recent trip to Krabi with MrN. That would make a nice story.

This trip was actually booked without much plan. We wanted a break, a quick break to get away from it all. I decided on Krabi coz it’s only a short flight away. 3D2N would be just nice for us; any longer would make me miss the little boy at home.

Krabi is a nice place to wind down for couples. It’s quiet, not much activities. If you are the type who likes shopping, you may not like it here coz there’s not much to do.

Shopping is limited to this one stretch of road in Ao Nang with shops selling mainly t-shirts and beach wear, similar to what you can find in Batu Feringghi.

But if you want tranquility, this is the place to be.

Honestly, I thought I’d never survive the 3 days alone with MrN. I thought we’d get bored of each other very quickly. You know lah, I tengok dia, dia tengok I… and then what?

But I was wrong.

I must admit, there were times when we just sat there doing nothing, and yet I did not feel the urge to do something. There were moments of silence, but I didn’t feel pressured to initiate a conversation like I usually would.

We just sat there minding our own business, but it was ok and it didn’t feel awkward at all.

I did ask him, "Aren't you bored ?"

"No."

"Aren't we supposed to talk or say something?"

"No."

He said, "Having you here is enough. No need for words."

The hotel where we stayed was awesome (Amari Resort). It was picked based on the rave reviews it received on Trip Advisor.

I didn’t stay at the same hotel which I stayed during my first trip there because I wanted to try a different one. So I took a gamble.

It turned out that I made the right choice. It was splendid!

The Amari is located on Tub Kaek Beach, 20 minutes drive from Ao Nang. It’s the last hotel on that side of Krabi and overlooking the Andaman Sea. The view is superb.

When we first arrived at the hotel, we were greeted by the Hotel Manager who was pleasant enough to ask us what our expectations were during our stay. We didn’t need to check-in as everything had been done while we were having the conversation.

As I entered our bedroom, I was surprised to find rose petals scattered on the bed and in the bath tub. A very romantic gesture indeed. Husband tanya, “Macamana nak mandi?” Rendam saja lah B…!

I like the little gestures that the hotel staff provided for the guests. Every night, when they turned down the bed, they’d put an orchid on our pillows and leave us with some scones/pastries for light supper.

During breakfast, they gave us a choice of coffee, latte or cappuccino when usually it would just be normal coffee or tea. That was the first time latte was offered for breakfast. Usually, one had to pay extra for a cup of latte.

We were very delighted about this because we love a good cup of latte in the morning. It’s a plus! And the Thais make good lattes. Every time I ordered latte, be it at the hotel or in town, it consistently tasted very nice.

First day was spent lounging on the beach and the Bellini, a quaint Italian restaurant located on the beach. We had our dinner there. It was supposed to be a romantic candlelight dinner on the beach but because it rained, dinner had to be held indoor.

It was nice anyway. The food was great, the ambiance was superb. We stayed there until quite late, just talking.

The next day was spent in town. We had a good 2-hour massage for RM30/hour. At the hotel’s spa, the rate quoted was RM180/hour. Obviously the spa would have been a nicer place for body treatment but we didn’t care much for the place. All we wanted was a good 2-hour massage and we got it for a bargain in town. It was really cheap!

After the massage , we headed to a seafood restaurant by the beach for a late lunch. We ordered pad thai, fried garoupa in 3 sauces, som tam and tom yam gung. The meal cost us RM120. Slightly pricey I think, but it was sedap!

One thing good about Krabi, 80% of the population is Muslims, so you don’t have to worry about finding halal food.

After doing a little shopping in Ao Nang, we went back to the hotel and just stayed in for the night. We lazed on the balcony overlooking the sea with music playing from MrN’s Blackberry. It was drizzling slightly that night.

By this time, I had already missed my little Ultraman. Every time I closed my eyes, I pictured him in my mind. I couldn’t get rid of his face! I had a feeling he was missing me too and it was a sign that our holiday was coming to an end.

The next day, before checking out, we took a quick dip in the pool. There were not that many people so we had a good time lounging there.

Check out was very quick. We said our goodbyes to the hotel staff and with a heavy heart, I boarded the hotel van that took us to the airport.

It had been a pleasant holiday. It was very relaxing and I could feel my body reacting positively to the change of environment. I think my husband had a great time too. He looked seriously de-stressed in his last photo taken at the hotel lobby.

When we got home, I asked him, what was your best moment in Krabi? He said, the evenings.

And the feeling is mutual.




This view greeted us when we arrived at the hotel





A view from the pool





Lounging on the beach





MrNordin




The hotel's ground





The bedroom





MrNordin - on the first day




Dinner at Bellini





Latte for breakfast





At the breakfast table





Ao Nang beach





Lunch at Ao Nang Seafood







Shopping at Ao Nang





The pool



Me and him





Goodbye Amari..

Monday, May 31, 2010

Two Tahlil and A Funeral

It was a hectic long weekend. Full of kenduri.

Friday night was at our house. We held a kenduri arwah/tahlil for my husband’s late wife. It has been two years since the last time we had one. Ever since MrN joined the JB company lah. Busy tak habis2 busy.

But this year, we just have to do it because it’s long overdue. Furthermore, my SIL said she dreamt of her a couple of weeks ago, asking for a new baju.

My first thought was, scary. But on second thought, I felt sorry for her. Sorry that we had forgotten about her, sorry that the kids did not offer their prayers for her as often, and sorry that my husband was too busy to buat kenduri for her.

I spoke to a friend about the dream and she said, kalau kita mimpi macam tu, maknanya arwah tu nak kita sedekahkan tahlil or ayat2 suci. Bacaan2 doa tu ibarat makanan untuk dia.

She said, in the "other world", they’ll compare their baju. Ada yang pakai baju cantik, berseri2... dan ada yang berbaju lusuh dan kusam. Kalau kita rajin sedekahkan Al-fatihah buat arwah, akan naik balik seri warna baju tu. Macam tu lah lebih kurang..

So I told the kids to sedekahkan Al-Fatihah for their mother every night before they go to sleep. She has no one else to help her in the other life except for her own children. We can do tahlil or kenduri for her, but doa anak2 tu yang akan sampai terus kepada dia. And they understood.

During the tahlil, my SIL said arwah came and sat behind my husband. Orang yang sembahyang belakang my husband malam tu kata ada bau kemiyan masa baca Ya’asin. I didn’t feel anything or smell anything but I knew she had come. And I’m glad.

On Saturday, we all went back to Ipoh because my mother pulak nak buat tahlil dan kenduri kesyukuran. My SIL who has been teaching in Dungun for the past 9 years finally got her transfer to Shah Alam so she can now be reunited with my brother, who is her husband.

It was a happy occasion. We helped with the d├ęcor, chipped in for the gifts and helped her do the necessary stuff during the kenduri. I think my mother’s wishes were fully satisfied yesterday and I could tell that by the look on her face as we said our goodbyes.

And this morning, I went to visit a dear friend's sister who passed away at a tender age of 32. She had leukemia. I visited her last Thursday at the ICU where she remained unconscious in bed. At that time I thought, how sad...

I hugged her husband and tears fell on my cheeks. I remembered those times many, many years ago when she was still fit and healthy. She used to come to our office in the evening as her husband and I worked at the same office. Sometimes, we all would go for karaoke after work and she would join us and we would have so much fun laughing over some silly songs.

But now it's all over... she's gone.

Sigh... Life is too short, my friends. Treasure each day and make the best of what we have so we will not have any regret when it's time for us to go.

Peace.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Do You Believe in Ghosts?

A friend had a recent encounter of strange happenings in her house. Spooky things that made her sleepless at nights.

The ustaz she called said there are jins in her house, activated by her Indonesian maid who had her own “bodyguard”. But even after sending the maid back to Indon, she still heard strange sounds from the ceiling of her bedroom and knocking on her door at night. That made her very scared.

My friend lives alone with her two children as her husband works overseas. Without a man in the house, her fear factor is even stronger. To make matters worse, her husband doesn’t believe in all this hantu mantu. To him, it was her own imagination. Every time she called to mengadu, he would be dismissive and blamed her for aggravating her own fear by calling the ustaz.

What would a woman do, right? Husband is not here, rumah ada macam2 bunyi… I would have called an ustaz myself if I felt that my house is spooked. Rightly or wrongly, at least I’m doing something.

So, she used to confide in me about her fear and frustration that the thing was still bugging her even after 2 ustaz had visited her house and she had paid more than RM2k to them. That’s a lot of money, don’t you think?

I think, the ustaz took advantage of her situation and extorted money from her knowing the fact that her husband wasn’t here. One said, it was to part-finance his Sekolah tahfiz in Bangi, but I doubt so. I’ve never heard ustaz asked for beribu2 ringgit untuk berubat secara spiritual!

Kesian my friend… duit dah banyak habis, tapi rumah dia still tak tenang.

After discussing about her situation many times with MrNordin, we decided to take her see MrNordin’s cousin who is a spiritual healer. My BIL and SIL also agreed because this guy had “cleansed” our house before. His method is simple, he will kill the thing, whatever it is that’s disturbing you. How he does it? He will “shoot” the thing using his fingers (macam main tembak2) and according to my SIL who can see “things”, there is actually fire coming out of his fingers when he does that!

Hard to believe, huh? Just take my word for it.

We didn’t want to take her to see this guy earlier because his healing method is quite troublesome. Kena mandi air tanah. Usually orang mandi air limau or bunga, this one kena mandi air tanah. Why? Because tanah is where we come from. He says, mandi bunga or limau tu is not good because it opens up your spirit to the other side of the world. Means, lepas you mandi bunga/limau, people from the other side can see you clearly and you will appeal to them more.

Hee…I don’t know how true this is, but that’s what he said.

Anyway, we took her over to this guy’s office and he said her house ada “orang bunian”. And that if she wanted to get rid of them, there were a few things that she needed to do like throwing small pebbles at each corner of her house including in the ceiling, and spraying salt water (which has been blessed) around the house. But she decided not to do that because i) she was going to move to a new house soon and ii) there was no one to help her do the ritual. Plus, she was tired of all this nonsense.

Hence, this guy told her to just mandi air tanah. Not once, but 9 times! Aiyo.. I dulu kena 7 kali saja and I thought that was a lot already. But my friend was quite adamant coz she wanted to get better. So, we brought home 3 packs of tanah for her to mandi later.

That night, I went to my MIL’s house to pay her a visit. My SIL was there too, so we briefed them on what happened during the day. My SIL said, maybe the thing had been there all this while, they lived there. When their home was disturbed, they got angry. I was quite worried that I might have trouble sleeping that night, but Alhamdulillah…I slept peacefully.

The next day was Mother’s Day. We had lunch at home and took our time going to my MIL’s house again in the evening to celebrate with her. We brought her a tray of apple pie, which we baked based on a recipe we got from “Cook Like a Chef” on AFC channel.

Upon reaching my MIL’s house, I heard a commotion in the kitchen. My SIL was talking to my husband. “Beritahu Yati lah”, I heard my husband said. Apasal pulak ni?

The moment she saw me, she pulled my hand and said, “Yati! Hantu XXX ikut you all malam tadi! She visited me last night!”

Oh, oh… !! Apparently, the “thing” in my friend’s house had followed me and MrNordin the night before and since they knew my SIL could see dead people, they visited her in her sleep!

The “thing” told my SIL that they had been living in my friend’s house for a long time. They were lost souls.. and there were 26 of them in the house! 26?!! No wonder the ustaz punya jampi tak menjadi!

In the dream, the thing actually “brought” my SIL to my friend’s house and showed her where she lived! Eww! My SIL had never been to my friend’s house before and yet she could tell me where the thing resided in the house. It was a lady actually who talked to my SIL. She said, they don’t want to harm my friend and her family, they just want to continue living there. Hence her message was, “Please tell your friend not to chase us away. Do that, and we won’t disturb her anymore...”

Eeee… scary, huh? My SIL said, the lady looked Chinese and wore a flower on her hair.

Takut! Takut! Takut! I immediately called my friend and conveyed the message to her. She was stiff scared! Who wouldn’t? But I calmed her down by saying that at least now she knew the real story, who were in the house and why they were there. Just tell the ustaz not to come anymore.

She did just that, and Alhamdulillah… the disturbances stopped. Not completely, but not as bad as before. And she could sleep better at night, especially after the mandi.

Phew… what an episode! I’ve never experienced such a thing before. Well, I know there are things in my house too, but as long as I don’t see them and they don’t disturb me, I’m very fine. This is also interesting because they ”communicated” with us so we know the real story (macam that movie “Sixth Sense”). Cool or what?

So, whenever masuk rumah baru, hati2… pasang “pagar” so that bad spirits don’t disturb your family. At night, always leave one light on. When you leave the house for a few days, leave a light on as well to protect your house from bad spirits as they love dark places.

That’s all for now. Share your ghost stories, if you had any. Cheers!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Botak Boys

I have some free time now (actually, not!) so I can write a little bit more.

BIL and family came to our house last night. BIL is actually MrNordin’s second brother, the no. 2 in the family, and the only one who has (had?) a full grown hair. But three days ago, he decided to shave his head bald. To start a new life, he said.

Now all the three brothers are bald. If they had a band, they can call themselves the “Botak Boys”.

So last night he came to our house to ask for tips on how to care for his clean shaven head from my husband. Just like us who have full grown hair on our heads, bald men also need to take care of their hairless heads.

Must shave every two days, put a certain minyak to make it shine, must protect the head under extreme heat, and must always bring a hanky coz when you makan pedas2, you’ll sweat and it’ll be dripping on your face. Macam air hujan!

Some guys look good when they go bald while some don’t. It depends very much on his physique, the shape of his head (kalau melonjong, tak cantik sangat. The best if it’s round), the way he dresses and the way he carries himself. Kalau kena, he will look cool… kalau tak, he will look sick.

When I first met MrN, he was not completely bald. He had some hair at the sides of his head but very thin on top. He also had a thin moustache which made him look quite sweet. But after a while, he decided to just shave them off because uban dah banyak keluar. And he looked old.

But I think this style suits him better and he could carry it well. Sometimes, he would joke with the children, “What if I grow my hair back? Get a hair implant?” His children would scream, “Eeewww… NO, BABA!!!!”

Because it runs in the family, some of the children will have receding hair line too, especially the boys. Nadim is already experiencing thinning hair, kesian dia. Every day he would massage hair tonic or lotion on his scalp to keep his crown glory intact, but it’s a slow process.

Nizzar I think will face the same thing as his hair is quite thin and jarang2. Plus the fact that my father and brother are also botak, I think his chances of becoming botak is quite high. Sigh…. I will do something about it before it’s too late.

But personally, I think hair doesn’t make the man. What’s important is that a man embraces his hair loss issues rather than hide behind a horrible comb over or cheap toupee.

I once dated a guy who wore a toupee to cover his receding hairline (this was a match made by my mum, ok?). At first glance, I didn’t notice it but somehow, when I looked closer, the hair looked a bit weird. It was stiff and had no life. Then it occurred to me that he was wearing a wig! Eeeww!!

When I got home, I told my mum, “No, I’m not seeing him again!” She said, “Tak apa lah… ayah kamu pun botak.” Yah, but ayah doesn’t wear a wig, does he? I couldn’t imagine running my fingers through his hair in the height of passion and suddenly, “THUG!!”, the hair piece came off!

So I was glad when MrNordin did not hide his receding hairline when we first met. That spelt confidence, and I liked it.

Some women think bald men are hot. Again, it depends on individual preference and the men’s personalities.

Bald men who feel really good about themselves generally exude a sense of strength, confidence, passion and masculinity. That is hot. Otherwise, he's just like any other ordinary guys.

Old wives tales state the men with no hair have had their strands burned off because of their overwhelming passion. Hee.. hee... I can't help but agree!

Of course, truth be told, women that find bald men sexy do not necessarily find all bald men sexy. Just as guys that adore blondes don't automatically go for all blondes. What is more important is the chemistry. If the chemistry is right, everything else is secondary. Hair or no hair.

But one truth is universal. Almost all women love men that are confident, secure and honest who go after what they enjoy in life. A sense of pride and individuality is hot and women are naturally attracted to men that radiate happiness. I've found one and I'm happy with my hairless honey !




Monday, May 17, 2010

Weekend Rendezvous

The weekend getaway with MrN was a success! Despite my MIL calling at 7.00 am (yes, she called!!), asking us to have breakfast at her house, it was swell.

No, we didn’t tell her we were going for a secret rendezvous at a hotel in town because according to my husband, she would make a big fuss about it. So we didn’t tell anyone except for our children, who were very sporting about it.

But I did ask him on our way there, “Kalau mak call rumah tanya pasal kita, apa budak2 should cakap?” He said, “Just tell the truth lah! Apa nak takut? I penat2 kerja all this while , tak ada siapa nak tolong. Now I want to spend some quality time with my wife, no one should say anything about it!”

Cewah… I was very impressed. Ok, if you said so…. :)

We had dinner at the coffee house after dropping off the children at home. I was pretty bombed out by that time because I had spent most of the afternoon in the pool with Nizzar.

The swimming pool at Mandarin is nice. The water is not too deep. Even at its deepest end, the water is still below my chin. So I’m quite comfortable there as I’m not really a good swimmer.

We got back to the room at almost 11pm. Watched a bit of football and called it a day (details are censored here).

The next day, early in the morning while we were still sleeping on that heavenly bed at Mandarin, his phone rang. “That must be his mum!”, I said to myself. Then I heard him say, “Erm.. hmm… iya mak… iya lah mak… ok… ok…” and he ended the conversation.

I turned my face away from him, feeling slightly disappointed that my plan to laze in bed will be messed up.

Slowly he turned to me and said, “Mak ajak breakfast kat rumah dia, dia dah beli lontong…” No answer from me. Then he continued, “Mak kata you suka lontong tu, that’s why she bought it for you.”

I kept quiet. How to say no like that?

At that point of time, I was thinking, why does she always have to spoil my plan to have a quiet weekend with my husband? Why must this happen again? The last time pun macam ni jugak (read here).

But on second thought, well… what the heck. I’ve had my time with my husband, there’s not much more we can do this morning. Anyway, we need to eat breakfast and the lontong IS nice. So I said, ok lah. Let’s go and pick up the children and go to mak’s house.

I think he was happy that I made that decision. Although I knew he wanted to stay on as well, sometimes something’s just gotta give. And I felt good not making that an issue between us.

Nizzar was happy to see us when we reached home yesterday. He asked me, “Mummy, where did you go last night?” Hee.. Hee.. I made up some stories for him and he seemed pretty satisfied with my answer.

So that was a good weekend. I hope you’ve had a good one too! Cheers!

Friday, May 14, 2010

What I've Been Up To

I'm trying to write something here as this blog has been neglected for so long. People have been asking me why the silence? I'm just too caught up with work.

It's 12.01 am. The little boy is imitating his favourite Ultraman stunts in our bedroom. He's jumping up and down the bed, rummaging through my hair, strangling my neck from behind and making strange Japanese sounds. All these while I'm trying to ponder my thoughts.

Now he's sticking a strange object onto my hair (I think it's a comb) and trying to steal the mouse from my hand. How to write?

By the way, he turned 4 last week. No fancy birthday party this year. MrNordin and I took a day off to spend some quality time with him, doing what he likes to do best.

First stop was the toy shop. He came out of the store with 3 ekor Ultraman and 2 ekor monster! He was a happy bunny.

Next stop was lunch at our favourite restaurant. He got his balloons, french fries, pizza, ice cream and iced tea. Plus a cake and birthday song from the staff there. He was smiling with glee..

After that, we went to Pavillion as the older kids wanted to watch a movie. We dropped them off at the cinema and went to Red Box for karaoke with the little boy.

Big mistake. I couldn't sing, because the little boy was harrasing me.

Each time I picked up the microphone, he would pick up the other mic and screamed, "MUMMY! MUMMY! MUMMMMMMMYYYYYY!!! at the top of his voice or "HELLO!!!!! HELLO!!! HELLLLLOOOO!!!!!!!!"

Aiyo... it was very challenging! He did not disturb his father singing, tho', so MrNordin had a joyful time crooning to his favourite songs. It was so unfair!

But in the end, he gave up because I think he got tired of screaming so loud and played with his toys instead. Dapat jugak lah nyanyi a few songs undisturbed.

And yesterday was MrNordin's birthday. He came home very late from JB so we didn't pull any stunt to surprise him. But we are going to spend the night at M**d***n Oriental tonight..... just the two of us! Yeay! That should be nice. Just hope my MIL doesn't call!

All the children are at home right now. The two girls are back from college and are on their long term break. It's nice to come home and see them in the kitchen helping to prepare dinner. At least I don't have to think about that anymore.

Ok peeps, enjoy the photos. Will keep you posted.



















Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Jigsaw Puzzles

There’s a new craze going on at home: Jigsaw Puzzles.

Jigsaw puzzles are a great way to pass the time. I first picked up the hobby after watching “Winter Sonata” (remember the missing puzzle that the girl found?).

I’ve never really tried my hands at solving jigsaw puzzles before that, but the movie made me want to give it a try and I did and I liked it!

My first puzzle was a picture of a cat looking at a rubber duck. It was a 100-piece puzzle which did not take too long to complete. I did this before I got married (ie. when I had a lot of free time) and I still have it now. It is now hung on the wall of our kitchen along with another puzzle picture of a cat, which is slightly bigger than the first one I did.

After I got married, I found out that everyone in the house love jigsaw puzzles too. It is my husband’s favorite hobby since college and he still loves doing it now whenever he has the time.

My second daughter Nadira is another puzzle enthusiast. She has her dad’s patience and resilience in finishing a 1,000 piece puzzle till the end (I don't!). Nadim enjoys doing it too while Nabila will help as and when she pleases.

Very recently, I discovered that Nizzar can do puzzles too. He has a natural talent for it and can complete a 100-piece easily, especially if it is a picture of his favorite Ultraman. So far, he has attempted 4 or 5 Ultraman puzzles successfully.

I love to sit down and do puzzles with him because he is very quick at identifying where each piece should go to. I’d pick up one piece and ask him, “What is this?” He would immediately take it from my hand and say, “This one is Taro” (or whatever) and place it exactly at the spot where it should be. Once it’s finished, he would dismantle the whole thing and do it all over again.

The other day, just for variety, I bought him a 40-piece Mickey Mouse jigsaw puzzle. He finished it in less than 5 minutes and exhaled, “Boring…”. Hee..hee..

Puzzle enthusiasts look forward to putting huge puzzles together, but some people, like me, see a 1,000-piece puzzle as a huge test of their patience. I have very little patience, hence I want to finish mine as quickly as possible. That's why I only do small puzzles. I've never attempted anything more than 500 pieces.

At the moment, I’m working on a 250-piece puzzle of a Japanese Geisha. I’ve completed one over the weekend and now I’m doing another one of the same kind so they make a nice pair.

Nizzar is doing a 500-piece Ultraman puzzle which I bought recently. It is a big project for him and I can see that he’s getting a little frustrated because there are so many pieces to choose from.

But I told him that he must do it slowly, take his time. I will help him when I come back from work.

But I can't help smiling when he resorted to doing the Mickey Mouse puzzle again after he'd given up on the big one!

Nadim is doing a 1,000-piece puzzle of his animax cartoon. I don’t know how long that’ll take him, but I think his level of perseverance is quite high for this kind of thing. So, I’ll give him a week to solve it.

Meanwhile, I'll take my time to do mine...



The puzzle I'm working on



The Winter Sonata puzzle in the background

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Eulogy

I read about Ruby Ahmad’s passing this morning. So sad...

I’ve never met this woman personally but I’ve always follow her blog. She was so full of zest. And she had so many friends, old and new.

From her photos, I perceived her as someone who was very friendly, unpretentious, always wanted to do new things, see new places and meet new friends. And she was always smiling.

I secretly told myself, I wanted to be just like her.. to live my life to the fullest and make the most of everyday that I have.

So when I heard the news, I was shocked. I can’t believe that she’s gone. Just like that!

The comments I see on her passing in Facebook and blogspot are so touching. One said, "she’s a bright spark.. always giving her best to others..", and another one said, "she’s a nice lady.. full of zest.. bubbly.. first time you met her, she made you feel as if you’re a long lost friend or something.."

That’s when it hit me. How would people describe me when I’m gone? What would people remember me by?

I was asked to perform this task in one of the courses I attended long before, to write an eulogy about oneself. I can’t remember what I wrote then but right now, I would like to know how I will be remembered when I die… by my husband, my children, my friends, my family… don’t you?

Think of that for one second.

You know, when I first met MrNordin, in one of his e-mails to me, he did write something about his late wife. He said this,

To me, I have not only lost a wife and mother to my children but my best friend, confidante, partner, advisor, critic, girlfriend and lover. I always believe one can get another wife easily but it’s the rest that I find difficult to find.

I wonder if he would say the same thing about me when I'm gone…

I know for sure, my children will not describe me as a great cook. They would say that about their father, though. Sometimes when they come home from a party at their friend’s house, they would say things like, “Aunty XXX’s brownie is very nice!” Or, Kak Seri makes the best assam pedas or whatever. I don’t think they’ll have anything great to say about my cooking.

Or sometimes, I hear people describing their mother as, “She’s a great mum. Ever so gentle, she’s always there for me whenever I need her.” Err… I don’t think I qualify for that statement either.

But I can sort of gauge what my children think of me through the cards they sent me on Mother’s Day or my birthday. Children are transparent and they are very honest in what they say. So, I do know what my children think of me to a certain extent, and I’m happy to know just that.

When it comes to friends, it's quite tricky. Some friends make good company but they are not so good in times of trouble. Some friends are not such great "party friends", but you know you can turn to them when you're having a bad day. Some friends will go out of their way to help you, while some don't. So, pick and choose but keep as many friends as you can.

As for me, I would like to be a better friend to my friends. As the saying goes, “A friend in need is a friend indeed.”

I’d like to be thought of as a "friend in need" rather than a "friend for fun", if you know what I mean. So that when I die, I will be remembered as, "A great friend who almost always go out of her way to help you whenever you are in trouble..."

That would make a great eulogy.

Anyway, what I’m saying is, be good, all the time, so people will remember us for all the good things we’ve done and not otherwise.

Rest in peace, Ruby Ahmad.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Movie Reviews

You know, there are days when you picked up a movie to watch and it turned out to be a great movie? Yesterday was the day for me.

Khan Kluay 2






I took my kids to the cinema yesterday to watch Khan Kluay 2. That was a rare treat because I seldom watch movies at the cinema.

Khan Kluay 2 is a Thai animated film about a young elephant, who was often teased and looked down by other elephants because he was fatherless, who eventually became a war elephant for the King of Ayyuthaya.

I watched the first film, Khan Kluay, from a rented DVD from Speedy many moons ago. I found it by chance, didn’t think much of it because it was a Thai animated film, “Surely it cannot beat Finding Nemo or Ice Age..”, I thought.

But surprisingly, it was a good film. The animation was fantastic, the storyline was very touching and heartwarming. Forget that it was spoken in Thai (which makes it better actually, but it has subtitles), the message is clear: if you have the will, you can be anything you want to be.

So, when I read that Khan Kluay 2 is coming to our cinemas, I must watch it! Indeed, it was still as good. It didn’t disappoint me although this time, it was dubbed in Malay.


The animation is better, the war scene is more fantastic and Nadim, who hardly likes to watch these kind of films, came out of the cinema exclaiming, “It was a GOOD!”

You should watch it with your children. It’s a beautiful story about love between a mother and son, husband and wife, loyalty and bravery, and a strong devotion by a father to protect his family.


And you know elephants… they are adorable anyway you look at them. So you cannot go wrong with this movie!

Hashiko

When we got home from the cinema last night, it was still too early to sleep. So we put on this new DVD which I bought recently, titled “Hashiko”. I had no idea what it was about except it starred Richard Gere but it turned out to be another great movie.

Hashiko is a story about a dog, who was very loyal to his master. It’s based on a true story in Japan. Every day, Hashiko would walk to the train station with his master (Richard Gere) to send him off to work (he’s a university professor). And in the evening, he would wait for his master’s return at the same spot in front of the train station every day.


One day, the master died of a sudden heart attack in his class and never made it home on the evening train. But the dog continued to wait for him in front of the train station, day in day out for the next 10 years, until he died.


This is a great story and has been used by the Japanese in schools to teach children about loyalty towards family.


The train station where he waited for his master is the Shibuya train station, outside of which, a bronze statue of Hashiko has been erected at the same spot where he waited for his master those 10 long years.


A very touching movie indeed. Another must watch. But make sure you have a tissue box next to you...


Richard Gere and Hashiko in the film



The real Hashiko








Hashiko statue infront of Shibuya train station

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Be Grateful

Why do marriage break? Why do they call it quits?

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been hearing stories about friends who have gone their separate ways.

“It was my choice..”, said one. “I just don’t love him anymore..”, said another.

On one hand, I was happy upon hearing this when I know the marriage was on the rocks anyway. They were not happy when they were together but happier when they were with other people. But on the other hand, it was sad because I’ve always known them as a couple but now they are not anymore.

Do we really have a choice when it comes to divorce? Do we follow our hearts or our minds?

It’s hard to say unless we have been in similar situations before. Lots of factors have to come into play. Sometimes the heart rules while other times, the mind does. You don’t just pull the plug unless you have weighed the consequences of doing so. It is a big decision and it requires a lot of thinking.

Sometimes when you see couples together, you can tell whether they are in it for a long term or not. If they are living separately but claimed they are happy that way, I guess there must be some problems there.

Or, when one goes away for a 2-month holiday without the spouse, surely one wonders what’s going on too. And what if one always sees this person with another woman but never with the wife – don’t you wonder as well?

These are tell tale signs. So if they say “We are divorced now,”, I won’t be too surprised.

But there are couples who, on the surface, look perfect for each other. Tak ada angin, tiba2, “We are divorced.” Bang! Just like that. That would be a real shocker.

Hearing all these stories made me realize one thing, that we should be grateful for what we have. We complain about our spouses all the time, but hey… he’s the best that we’ve got right now, so live with it!

If you’re looking for a perfect marriage, sorry my friend… go and fly kite. There is no perfect marriage because nobody’s perfect. If only we could achieve 50% of what a perfect marriage is all about, I think that is great already. But how do you define perfect, anyway? It is rather subjective.

I think, we must always appreciate the things we have in life. No matter how annoyed we are with our husband’s snoring or tardiness, try to think of other things that make him special in our eyes. Think of the reasons why we fell in love with him for the first time. Think of why we married him in the first place.

If we can continue to maintain that our partner is still attractive, funny, kind, and ideal for us in just about every way, I think we will remain content with each other for a long, long time. I'm not suggesting you should overlook an abusive husband or put up with a deadbeat bore. But with so many divorces happening right now, I think it's worth revisiting those happy moments again.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Hello !

I’m really way behind my writing. The last posting was on 2nd February? Did anyone miss me? Hee… hee… I bet!

Let’s just do a quick recap on what I’ve been up for the last 3 weeks:

Old Flame

Has been deleted from my list. The flame has stopped glowing. You wanna know why?

A week after the reunion, I received a weird SMS from him saying, “Talipon Nani sekarang! Dia demam dan pengsan in skool. Awak kan kawan dia?!

My first thought, “Budak mana hantar SMS ni? Sounded like budak darjah 6 je….”

I didn’t reply his SMS although I knew it was from him. I found it very strange that he would write such a thing.

So, I called up my friend Nani and asked if indeed she fainted in school. She said, it was a hoax. The guy was pulling a prank on her.

Why would a 42 year old man pull a silly prank like that on another friend? And using that kind of language? Macam bahasa Mat Rempit saja (if not Adnan Sempit!).

So, I was disappointed. He has such bad writing (and spelling) skills. Plus, he’s acting a bit weird for a man his age.

So, I extinguished all thoughts of him from my mind. All the 30 years of glorifying this guy came crushing down just by his dense SMS. How could he be so childish? Did he think he was still 12?

And right at that moment, I’ve never felt more relieved that I married my husband, who has impeccable writing style. And he's normal. Thank God!


Nasi Kandar

I’ve tried the nasi kandar at the brand new Kassim Mustafa at Jalan Doraisamy. It’s yummy!

I would safely say, it’s nicer than Kudu. They have this nasi minyak which is very light and tasty, goes very well with their ayam masak kurma. Go and try it one of these days. You won't be disappointed.

The restaurant is clean and the food is not that expensive either. 6 of us, 4 had nasi kandar while 2 had naan and tandoori chicken, cost only RM49.00. I almost flipped! If at Kayu near my house, it would probably cost us RM100. Madness!


Nizzar

He’s growing up fast. Has put on quite a bit of weight ever since the new maid came around. His feeding time is more regular nowadays. Breakfast, lunch & dinner at almost the same time every day. He likes to eat rice and chicken with kicap manis.

The new maid is pretty attentive towards him and the little boy has grown quite fond of her. He picks up new words every day and tersangat lah bijak bercakap. Tak henti-henti!

Whenever I call home from the office, he would be the one answering the phone. I guess kids that age just love talking on the phone, don't they? Kalau Wan dia yang talipon, sampai habis lah prepaid orang tua tu!

But I love to hear him chat. Sometimes merapu, sometimes cute. The other day, we were going into the car when he stopped by to read out his Baba’s car plate number. He went, “W..J..X.. 8..5..6..5..… BABA!” Hee.. hee…

His fascination for Ultraman hasn’t faded just yet. Still crazy over Ultraman after all these years. But at the same time, he also has taken a strong liking for Upin & Ipin. Hey, actually that film is not that bad. Very good for a local production. I'm very impressed with it and have been watching it time and again with the little boy. He likes Ipin while I like Raju. "Sepiiiii... GO!!!"






Holidays


Oh ya, we were in Cherating during the last CNY break. A friend's father runs a "resort" there and so we were booked for 3D/2N. There were 4 families altogether. Plus children, there were easily 20 people in our group.

The weather was surprisingly nice in Cherating unlike the scorching heat in KL. But you can't go to the sea anyway during the day, unless you want to get sunburnt. So in the afternoon, we just lepak at the chalets. In the evening baru main kat pantai.

I didn't really enjoy this trip actually. Maybe because it was one of those days, you know... I was getting my p****d and just simply tak ada mood. At one time, I just wished we had stayed elsewhere.

But my husband seemed to enjoy himself very much. Surrounded by his friends and family, I think he enjoyed himself the most main layang2 on the beach.

We set up tents and bonfire the last night we were there. Then we huddled around the fire, telling ghost stories. The children loved it.

I lied down on the beach that night, looking up to the stars in the sky. It was magical. But considering the amount of sand that got stuck in my hair after that, err... I think I should have known better!

(no photos, malas nak ambil gambar)

Cheers!

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Facebook and Old Flames: A Dangerous Mix

I found this article by chance. Read on and give me your thoughts:

I wonder how many old flames have been reignited because of Facebook. I wonder how many affairs are going on right now that began with a friend request. Quite a few, I would bet.

I signed up for Facebook less than six months ago. I love it. I live thousands of miles away from where I grew up and went to college, and I’ve gotten back in touch with many old friends. It’s a fantastic tool.

I’ve also become “friends” with more than one ex-boyfriend. With most of them, we say hi, give a quick status update, check out each other’s photos, and that’s that.


But a few have made definite romantic overtures. They’ve sent questionable emails, and flirted, and told me I look great. The problem is that at least two of these guys are married.

I think this is pretty common. I would guess that it’s happened to most people on Facebook – at least, most of those of us who are old enough to have lost track of old lovers.

Would it happen without Facebook? Probably not. Until I signed up for Facebook, this didn’t happen to me. And for all we like to wail about the loss of privacy on the internet, most of us aren’t actually googleable.


I’ve googled lots of old friends and acquaintances and had zero relevant hits turn up. And even when google does turn up with something and you find an old flame, you have no valid reason for contacting an ex-lover out of the blue. To send an out-of-the-blue email to a long-lost lover, you must be either very curious or very brave.

But this all changes with Facebook. Suddenly, we can find old flames in an instant, and there’s a perfectly good reason to contact them – we’re friending all our high school buddies, why not them too? Friending is so casual. It doesn’t violate any etiquette. It’s all too easy.

I haven’t been tempted to engage in online flirtation with these guys, but that’s because I’m not what I call an IVP: an Intrigue-Vulnerable Person. But IVPs are common. My workplace is crawling with them. And a few years ago, I was one.

Here’s what makes for an IVP:
• Boredom with your relationship and/or homelife
• Stress related to your relationship and/or homelife
• Loneliness and/or a feeling of being undesirable or taken for granted by your mate
• Unrequited love for someone from your youth (this one is the most dangerous)

If you’re an IVP, and you get a flirtatious email from an old flame, a little spark goes off in your chest. A tingle. It puts a smile on your face. So you start corresponding, perhaps innocently at first, and now you have a fun little secret. You start reliving old memories.


Online, you’re both at your charming best. You carefully compose your emails and you choose your words to be witty, self-deprecating, and fascinating. You anxiously await a reply in your inbox. Your instant messages are effervescent.

Not only do you put your best self forward online, but your old flame sees you that way too. They remember you when you were young. They still think of you as young. They don’t see you as middle-aged, they see you as a vibrant 19 year old in a grown-up body. It makes you feel young. It makes you feel sparkling and interesting and desirable. It’s intoxicating.

Some of these emotional affairs will never leave the bounds of the internet. But some will turn physical, and some will break up marriages. I posit that this phenomenon will grow by leaps and bounds because of Facebook.

I am not blaming Facebook nor excusing adulterers. We are all responsible for our own behavior. But in my assessment, most people are vulnerable to affairs at one point or another. The reason they don’t happen more often is not because most people have wonderful self-control, but because opportunities are either non-existent or come at too high a cost.

But Facebook significantly decreases those costs. It allows people to fool themselves. It starts so innocently. It provides both the means and the motive for contacting an old flame. Hell, you can chat with your ex-lover on your laptop while your spouse is in the same room!

But an “innocent” exchange can turn into attraction and emotional attachment very, very easily. The allure of the old flame – of the person who knew you when you were young – should not be underestimated. It can be very powerful.

So, while I believe in personal responsibility, I also have sympathy for those who struggle to resist something so powerful. Technology dangles an exponentially-increasing number of temptations in front of our noses: 5,000 years ago, we didn’t have to struggle to avoid that last piece of pizza, or that unnecessary credit card purchase, or surfing on our boss’s dime, or having an online affair – those things simply didn’t exist.
Today, we must all exercise constant vigilance against incessant social and technological influences that do not have our best interests in mind.

So, I’m not quick to judge. But I do worry.

Am I making something out of nothing here? Should we all just trust ourselves and our partners to use proper self-restraint and go on our merry ways?

I’m admittedly a cynic, but I work around middle-aged family guys, and judging from the boredom and dissatisfaction most them express with their lives, I doubt they could be trusted to maintain appropriate boundaries if they were contacted by a flirtatious ex. (Note: the same could be said about women, I just happen to work with mostly guys).


What do you think?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Reunion

I’ve been trying to write about the reunion I had with my primary school friends last Sunday. But every time I do that, the words get in the way.

For some reasons, I’m feeling sad. When I look at the reunion pictures posted on my FB, I can’t help wishing that I’m 12 years old again. Back in my small hometown, riding bicycles in the evening and climbing trees with my friends.

Why do I feel this way? Did I miss anything?

The meeting we had last Sunday was a blast. It provided an avenue for us, 11 good buddies when we were small, to catch up on lost times.

I met B again after 30 years. I must confess, I used to have a huge crush on him in Std 6! Who wouldn't? He was a popular boy in school, being a school runner and all. I thought about him all the time after primary, sometimes even dreaming of him. But in my dreams, he was always the 12 year old boy looking at me with a smile. And I remember that smile perfectly...

So when he walked into Melting Pot last Sunday, I was very nervous. I dared not look him in the eye for I was afraid he would notice how edgy I was. He recognized me straight away. We exchanged hellos and he went on to sit at the end of the table. I wonder if he felt the same way about me. He still looked the same, though, like he never aged. Perhaps, that's why I felt it was a bit of a letdown.

Then I met the love-letter boy. Also nervous the first time we shook hands, but after a while, things just jived in. We joked about the time when he was called in by my mother to the staff room. He was teased by the girls for being such a naughty boy in class.

I recalled the time when we went to mengaji with the same ustazah whom we called Wan. Wan lived next to Shera’s house and all of us mengaji with her. Me and my two brothers, Shera and her sister, a few other friends and him. I remember, he used to cucuk the al-Quran with the penunjuk until berlubang. Don’t know why he did that.. sampai berlubang Quran tu! Tapi tak jugak pandai2 mengaji! Hee.. hee…

My two Angels were there too... Nani and Shera. Nani still looked the same after all these years. Her face looked exactly like how I remembered her when she was 12. The way she walked, the way she talked, the way she laughed... they were all the same. Amazing!

And Shera, I don't remember her being so quiet but that was how she was then and now. She just sat there next to me observing the others mostly unless she was spoken to. She had kept her hair straight and long, very elegant. This was the only thing that was different about her as she used to wear her hair short last time.

Jamilah, the one who I remember as someone who liked to pick a fight with us, is the only one who still maintain a slim figure despite having two kids. She looks a bit different now from the last time, more refined, I would say. Had I bumped into her on the streets, I wouldn't have recognised her.

She hugged me so hard when we first salam each other. It was so hard that I just broke down and cry. I didn't realise how much I've missed her.. I couldn't contain my feelings at that time because I felt so happy to see her again and be reunited with my other childhood friends whom I haven't seen for so long.


Jamilah & me


The rest who came were Sayed ~ we called him Cili Padi last time because he was short and small. The shortest boy in class. He has grown taller a bit now, looks more mature and holds an important position in one of the investment banks in town. Very well done. His parents still live in Bota. They were teachers, just like mine.

Then there was Nizar ~ oh yes, how can I forget about him? He was the boy who I always competed with during exams. If it was not me, it would be him who would get No. 1 in class. My mother would always grit her teeth whenever Nizar's marks were higher than mine.

When I was choosing a name for my little ultraman, "Nizar" was in the Top 3 because all the Nizars I know are either a very important person or is very clever. MrNordin's ex-boss was En. Nizar, there's a doctor, who we usually go to, known as Dr. Nizar, and this friend of mine, who was very clever in school, is also known as Nizar. Hence, the name Nizzar for my baby, but with a double zee.





Me and Nizar


Besides them, there were Zaida and Meor. Zaida was one of my close buddies too, her parents were teachers as well and I used to go to her house with my father dulu. Her mother has passed away recently but her dad still lives in Parit.

Zaida has one daughter who she brought along during the meeting. I heard, she had just gone through a divorce but I did not ask her about it. I think it was too personal and that kind of question should be reserved for another occasion.

Meor ~ he was the second shortest guy in class. We didn't expect him to turn up but he was a surprise arranged by Nizar. Like Sayed, Meor has grown slightly taller now. Very nice.

So, what's next?

We are planning to meet again during another classmate's wedding in April. It is his first marriage, to a 20 something girl. He missed the boat earlier on, I guess.

Someone shouted, "Jom buat kat Parit lah!" Yeah.. that's an idea. Then we can invite some of the teachers who are still around, including my mother. I'm sure she would love to see her old students again.

As for now, I'm still trying to digest this wonderful feeling I had since last Sunday. I suppose, reunion does this to people: It makes us feel nostalgic, and it's good for our system.


Us then...


Class photo Std. 2, 1976 (I'm seated at no. 4 from the right). The class teacher was my mother.



Us now....



L to R: Isham (LLB), me, Bakri, Sayed, Nizar, Meor, Jamilah, Zaidah & her daughter, Nani, Shera




More photos at http://www.facebook.com/#/nmunit?v=photos

More stories on my childhood at http://mrsnordin.blogspot.com/2010/01/childhood-memories.html





Friday, January 22, 2010

Letting Go

MrNordin received a call from his second daughter a couple of nights ago, asking if she could go to Langkawi with her friends. Seven of them are going, they plan to rent a car and stay there for a couple of days.

My husband was alarmed. I could see cold sweat forming on his head while he was still on the phone with her. He flashed that WHAT SHOULD I DO?!!” sign to me and I whispered, Say you’ll think about it…”

This is not the first time she seeks permission to go for an outing with her friends. The first time was during fasting month last year, wanting to go to a waterfall in Sg Petani with a few of her friends. That request was met with a straight no.

Waterfall?? Doesn’t she read the newspaper?!!”, screamed my husband.

Even I was against the idea. Nak pegi waterfall during fasting month? Whatever for?!

I spoke to her against the idea and she was freaking mad. I told her our reasons, but she was very adamant about going. After pleading with her (yes, I pleaded. Never before in my life), she decided not to go in the end.

But her parting words to me were, “If like this, I won’t tell Baba wherever I’m going again!” Very harsh.

So that night when she asked again whether or not she can go to Langkawi with her friends, I’ve already had my answer.

I told my husband, “Just let her go. You can’t stop her from going anymore. At least she told us about it...”

Yes, I know. But telling me doesn’t mean I have to agree!”, he argued.

I guess, this is a common dilemma for parents. When children start leaving the nest and wanting to do things on their own, we worry for them, we worry for their safety, we worry for their future. All because we love them.

My husband is very protective of his children. There is no such thing as outings with friends as and when you please, sleepovers and what not. Details must be given whenever they want to go out. If he’s not convinced, you’re not going. Masa sekolah dulu, budak2 ni mana ada peluang nak pegi cuti2 organized by the school or friends. The answer was always “No, if you want to go, I’ll take you there.

But the whole idea was not about going to the place, it’s all about going with the friends, right?

I am quite relaxed when it comes to these things because my parents were not very strict about travelling with friends when I was growing up. I used to go to Pangkor and Langkawi with my A-Level friends dulu. Sometimes I took the bus alone from Ipoh to meet my friends in KL, Kuantan and Terengganu. Sampai ke Kelantan pun ada, sorang2! Hee.. hee…

I know the need to get away with friends and I’m sure my husband does too. It’s just that he worries for their safety more than anything else. “What if something happen to them? I will never forgive myself, you know…”, he keeps on telling me.

I guess my husband should learn to let go. We can’t stop them anymore because they are all so big already. They are ready to venture on their own and do their own things without the parents’ supervision. All we can do is tell them to be careful. And every once in a while, to call us and inform us of their whereabouts so we don’t wonder and worry about them. That’s all we can do at this stage...

As of now, my husband still hasn’t made up his mind. It’s a tough call for him, but I know he will make a wise decision eventually…

Friday, January 15, 2010

Latest Update on My Friend

She's conscious now. The doctors are going to do a CT scan on her to confirm there's nothing left inside. She's terrified but holding on. She's also had her first drink and porridge this morning.

That's great news!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Aneurysm

I visited a friend at the hospital the other night. She’s been diagnosed with Aneurysm.

I’ve never heard of this illness before but upon investigations, I found out that it is actually a small bubble in the artery of the brain caused by, most likely, stress. And it is quite fatal because if the bubble bursts, it could lead to brain hemorrhage, which could be deadly.

It all started with a tooth ache (yes, just like my husband’s). But it got infected and spread to her eyes, causing one of it to swell. She started to lose her vision and experienced bad headaches, and was admitted to Assunta for further tests.

Through MRI and MRA scans, the neurologist detected something else, that she has this tiny bubble inside one of the arteries in her brain. They were hoping that the bubble is located right at the back of her head so that surgery could be done easily. Unfortunately, it is located right deep inside her brain, just behind her left eyeball.

I was shocked to learn about her condition. I rushed to the hospital to see her before they could do anything to her. “I had to see her!”, I told myself.

She is actually not my friend; she's my husband’s colleague in Iskandar. I knew her through my husband because they work together closely. She’s a lawyer with the company. She follows my husband to JB sometimes when she needs a ride and we always meet during company functions or other social events.

She’s a very nice lady, her husband too. They make a swell couple, very friendly. They have a daughter, aged 4. They’re trying for another one but her work commitment is not making it easy for her.

She is a workaholic, as observed by my husband. It’s all work for her coz she loves her job so much. Either that, or she has no choice.

The last time we met was right after that Sunway Lagoon thingy when her husband invited a few of us for a surprise birthday party for her. We went, and she was very happy to see us. We had a good time that night, chatting and laughing away. She looked so happy that night. I gave her a birthday present which she said she would keep until Christmas.

She invited us to her house on Christmas Day but we couldn’t go because my husband was not well that day. “I’ve made something for you, you know..”, she told my husband when she saw him again after that. She was supposed to give it to us on that day she was admitted to the hospital, but I guess, it was not meant to be.

Back to her condition. When I saw her that night, she could still recognize me, although blurry. Yesterday morning, I was told, she had lost all vision. She was rushed to Pantai as her neurosurgeon wanted to work on her immediately. The surgery was conducted last night. They did a cardinal surgery which involved opening up her skull to remove/clip the bubble (not sure which one).

She went in at 9pm and came out at 5am this morning. A 7-hour procedure! Her husband said she is still in the ICU now, with stable condition. But her mental state has yet to be ascertained.

I’m praying very hard that she’ll get through this operation successfully. That night when I saw her, she said to me, “I’m scared…”. I could still remember her face and her strong hand gripping mine. She had her eyes closed most of the time because she couldn’t stand the pain in her head.

I spoke to her mother at length that night. I’ve never met her before but she’s a very sweet lady and very engaging. She told me she has 3 children, but one has passed away.

I didn’t sense any tense or worry in her eyes that night because she was very calm throughout, but just as I was about to leave, she took my hand and said, “Please pray for her. I’ve already lost one daughter, I don’t want to lose another one..”

Tears streamed my eyes as I hugged her at the door. “Don’t say that, aunty, she’ll be ok. We’ll all pray for her…”

Please pray for her too.



Joanne and her daughter, Tamara

(photo taken from her FB)



Tuesday, January 12, 2010

An Evening in Genting

It’s 4.00 pm on a hot Saturday afternoon. My MIL had just gone home after lunching at our house and my husband was lying on the sofa, dozing off. The air-cond was on full blast.

"Yang, I have an idea".

"What?" (eyes half shut)

"Let’s go to Genting this evening".

Silent.

Nak buat apa?”

Saja.. jalan2. Get a coffee or have our dinner there..”

Ok.” And he went back to sleep.

That was how we ended up in Genting last Saturday night.

For some reasons, we always go up to Genting Highlands late in the evening. I like it coz it’s colder at night.

The kids were excited, “Are you sure?? Why??” They couldn’t believe their parents wanted to do something crazy like that one more time.

The last time we went up was two years ago. 12 people in our Naza! 2 in front, 6 in the middle row, and 4 in the back row, all squeezed in like sardines. It wasn’t planned, that’s what made it more fun. But this time, it was just the 6 of us in our family.

The drive up took only 45 minutes. By the time we got there, it was almost 8pm. As we wound down the windows, strong icy wind blew onto our faces. Oooo… sejuk!!

I saw the late Tan Sri Lim Goh Tong’s memorial just before (or was it after??) Awana. Eee.. it was kinda spooky seeing his statue “sitting” there by the roadside!

We parked our car near First World Hotel and made our way to the indoor theme park. It was very cold! There were not that many people for a Saturday night, but I guess it was because it wasn’t a public holiday or anything like that.

We wanted to go on the Motion Master but the little boy was not allowed in as he didn’t meet the height requirement. My husband didn’t even want to try, so he agreed to take the little boy on a floating boat that goes around the theme park. That was about the only thing that my husband was willing to venture on as he is acrophobic.

The outdoor theme park was almost closing at that time, so the older kids didn’t get to go on the more adventurous rides. It was too cold anyway. The little boy was the one who went on the most rides, getting on and off the different cars and carousel. Habis satu round, “Nak naik lagi!” Habis yang tu, “Nak lagi...!” Layan je lah…

We had dinner at one of the food courts. Be prepared to spend as food is quite expensive up there. RM13 for kuey tiaw goreng, RM12.50 for nasi lemak. Coming from a food court, I think it is expensive.

Ice cream, yang kat bawah ni jual RM1 per scoop, up there is RM5 per scoop! But since we don’t go to Genting often, I bought ice creams and let the kids eat them in the cold. I used to do this in winter when I was studying in the UK. Best! Mulut berasap je lepas tu, macam naga!

It was almost 12 midnight when we were ready to go home. But not before buying a cup of latte from Starbucks @ First World to drink in the car. Ahhh… coffee in the cold is definitely heavenly!

We reached home just before 1 am. No one complained, everyone seemed happy and I'm glad we made that trip.

You should try it too one of these days. It’s only 45 minutes to go up (if you lived in Ampang lah..), it’s cold, and there are a lot of things to do. Forget the rides… just walking around the place is sufficient to make you feel good.

If you’re worried about driving up, don’t be. The road is quite safe and not steep. Hey, I’ve driven up there in my Kancil before, ok? I’m sure you can do it too!

Take care!


With Nadim infront of First World Hotel



Nabila and Risna (the new maid)




The Flying Coaster (sadly, tak dapat naik because it was near closing time)




The Rio Float



Nizzar & Mummy on the carousel




Red car!




Blue car!




After buying coffee @ Starbucks



Last shot before driving down..

Friday, January 08, 2010

Childhood Memories

I was just reading K.Teh’s posting on the passing of her friend M. She had cancer. How sad… it must be sad for her to lose someone dear like that. They were primary school friends and have been friends for a long, long time. Al-Fatehah for her, may she rests in peace...

I remember once I wrote a piece about a friend who’s attending a reunion with his primary school friends and I was thinking, “Who the heck have reunions with primary school friends?!”. I thought the guy was pulling my leg because I was not in contact with any of my primary school friends.

Then K.Teh cleared my doubts by saying that she has reunions with her primary school friends ALL the time, so did her husband. That got me thinking. Perhaps that guy did go to his primary school friends’ reunion after all..

In my case, I had no clue where my primary school friends were. I left the school in 1980 for a boarding school in JB and had never returned because a few years after that, my parents moved to Ipoh.

I thought about my primary school friends all the time, but I just didn’t know how to find them, until recently, thanks to FB, I've managed to locate some of them. And I'm so thrilled!

I was so happy to see photos of some of my childhood friends whom I haven't seen in 30 years. Of course, semua dah "blossomed", but in my mind, they are still the 12 year old friends whom I used to hang out with when I was small.

And this, brings back the memories of my childhood days which I'd like to pen down here.

When I was small, I grew up in a small town called Parit, Perak. It’s about 20 miles from Ipoh and is located next to the Perak River.

My parents were teachers, and because of that, we got to live in a house in the school compound. There were two schools in the area, ie. Sekolah Iskandar Shah and Sekolah Kebangsaan. My mum taught in the former while my dad taught in the latter. I went to my mum’s school.

In school, I was more well known as “Anak Cikgu Johara”. My mum was a very garang teacher. I had the privilege (or was it pain?) of having her as my class teacher when I was in Std 2 and 6.

Oh my… the pressure! Kalau tak siap homework, sure kena; kalau tak dapat no. 1, lagilah kena! My friends kena rotan, I pun kena rotan jugak in class (even worse, kata some of my friends!)

I remember there was one time, I didn’t do my homework over the weekend. It just slipped my mind. So, come Monday, when cikgu Johara tanya mana homework, I had to say I tak buat lah, kan? I was in Std 2 at that time.

And she got so angry! She stared at me, pointed her index finger at me and said, “Balik karang siap lah!!”.

Aiyo… I had never been so scared before in my life! I remember standing behind my desk, in the middle of the class, looking at her fierce face. It felt as if she was going to eat me alive! Everybody else had their heads down becoz cikgu Johara dah naik angin! Semua tak berani angkat muka! Bila balik rumah, memanglah kena!

I don’t understand my mum, give mercy lah sikit, kan? And I pun, tak faham why I didn’t do the homework knowing that my mother would surely beat the heck of me if she knew I tak buat homework. And why didn’t she remind me??

Another time was after the exams. Every time after the exam and when she had given out all the marks, she would list down all the students marks on the blackboard. From the highest to the lowest, and she must make sure that my marks always stayed on top, ie. No. 1. If markah turun sikit, she would give me the stare and I would be under pressure.

Why lah mak… chill lah! Dia pulak yang tension bila I exam. And because of that, I pulak yang jadi stress!

Hee.. hee.. that was my mum for you!

But until today, all her students still remember her fondly. They would call her up once in a while asking how she’s doing and visit her at home whenever they feel like it. They say, she was garang but sayang murid2. Anyway, she has mellowed down a lot now. Most times when she’s angry, she would just break down and cry. No more libas melibas macam dulu!

As for my dad, he was a very cool cikgu sekolah melayu. If you watched cerita P.Ramlee “Masam-Masam Manis”, my dad was just like that Cikgu Shaari in the movie. Bila masuk kelas, he would say, “Murid2, bukak buku… Tulis ini…”. Then he would write a one or two liner on the blackboard and asked the kids to copy. And he would go on and do other things. How I know this is because I had attended some of his classes before (anak cikgu, kan? Boleh masuk mana2 sekolah sesuka hati!)

Ahh… those childhood days…

My mum told me she met my dad when they were teaching in the same school, ie. Sekolah Tanjung Blanja. To get to that school, one has to take a boat/sampan to cross the Perak river. I remember this because I used to follow my mum to that school when she was still teaching there.

The story goes, at that time, my dad baru putus tunang (dengan siapa I tak tahu) and he was mending a broken heart. During recess, my mum always found him sitting alone by the river entertaining his thoughts. And she used to tease him. Usik mengusik punya pasal, lama2 suka, I guess.

They used to write letters to each other. I found some of them at my opah’s house, where my dad used to live. I think I picked up my writing habit from my mum. Their letters were full of pining for each other, and I think this was before they got married. Every time I visited my opah’s house in those days, I would surely lock myself in that room and read those lovely letters from my mum to my dad. I should have kept them, I don’t know where they are now…

Btw, my mum calls my dad “Sir” (as in Sir Elton John). I don’t know why.. until now.

My friends from school are aplenty. But the ones I remember most are Nani, Shera, Ramni, Yuliza, Mawar, Haslinda and Jamilah. Jamilah ni suka cari gaduh, she was very well known for that. When we lawan balik, she’d say, “Nanti kita beritau abang kita!” Ek eleh.. beritau lah… tak takut pun!

Nani and Shera lived near my house. We were the so-called Charlie’s Angels of our time! Every evening, we would ride our bicycles around the football field near my house and boys would be trailing us behind. But we were not interested. Our favorite pastime at that time was to update our scrapbooks with pictures of Farrah Fawcett and Bionic Woman and Six Million Dollar Man which we cut out from magazines/newspapers.

Oh, and we so loved Donny & Marie! During one of the Hari Penyampaian Hadiah, we did a dance routine with the song “That’s The Way Ahak, Ahak, I like it ahak, ahak.. “, wearing Donny & Marie T-shirts and bellbottom pants! Cool!

And this was also the time when I used to exchange letters with one of the boys in my class. Entahlah, masa dulu suka sangat main tulis2 surat! Bukan ada benda pun, saja bertanya khabar. Very innocent, ok?

We would write to each other and in the evening, when we went on our bicycle rides with our respective friends, we would meet half way and “swapped” letters while we were still on our bikes. Much like passing the baton in a relay.

That was going on for quite some time and I was enjoying my first introduction to writing love letters when one unfortunate day, my mum discovered his letters under my bed! Oh dear! She tarik my telinga and screamed, “Ohh… kecik2 lagi dah pandai nak bercinta, ya?!!”

But the worst was yet to come. The next day, she called the boy to the staff room and gave him a long lecture in front of all the other teachers! Poor boy… I felt sorry for him!

I remember seeing him standing in the staff room with his head down while my mum was going on and on about why he shouldn’t indulge in such things. Soon after, he was transferred to another school in Ipoh.

That explains why my friends and I used to call my mum “Harimau Berantai”.

I don't usually like to write about my childhood because it brings pain in my heart. Partly because my mother was so garang, but most often than not, the memories are just rather vague.

But eversince I found these old friends on FB, I've been reminiscing about those yester years with a smile on my face. I remember my class, I remember my friends, the things we used to do, the games we used to play...

Life was so simple then and it was all about friends.

On this 24th January, I'm going to meet up with my primary school friends after a 30-year lapse. It's sort of a mini-reunion, so to speak, as we haven't located everyone yet. I'm so excited! I can't wait! Thoughts of meeting up with Nani and Shera bring joy to my heart and I'm sure we'll have a great time.

Of course, the love-letter boy is going to be there as well. We've spoken and he's now a very happy family man with two boys in tow. In my mind, I still picture him as how he was when he was 12, but obviously he is not anymore. I'm sure he thinks of me the same way too, but that's not important.

What's important for me is, I'll get to rekindle that long, lost friendship, not only with him, but with the rest of the gang as well, and that would be simply wonderful.

Will keep you posted!



Pekan Parit, if you were coming from Ipoh





Right at the end, where the trees are, is the river. You take the boat from here to go across to Tanjung Blanja






The shophouses




In the olden days, there were not that many cars..




The road leading up to my school



Perak River. Right across is the school where my mum first met my dad.





Ironically, the bridge is known as "Jambatan Nordin".


(Note: photos courtesy of http://www.panoramio.com/)