Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Langkawi

I just got back from a trip to Langkawi. It was a long journey… but quite nice in some ways.

This is the first time I took the ferry after a long time. If I remember correctly, the last time I went on the ferry was in 1988. That was right after my orientation prior to leaving for the UK.

The orientation was held at this school in Jitra, Kedah. Lover boy was there too. So, right after the orientation, we both went to Langkawi for a quick getaway.

I still remember strolling down the beach at Pantai Cenang that night. The stars were shining bright. We sat on the beach, talked, laughed until late at night...

Can’t believe I did all that. I was only 19. Now when I think about it, what could have happened… scary man! But of course nothing happened. We were young and innocent… 19 then is nothing like 19 today!

Anyway, it didn’t work out with that guy but memories of that night at Pantai Cenang still linger....

This time around, the trip was made sweeter by thoughts of Ombak Rindu. That’s a very nice Malay movie I’ve watched in a long time. I was informed that the movie was shot mostly in Langkawi. So wherever we went, I couldn’t help feeling nostalgic about Izzah, Hariz and the location of their love story.

I thought I saw the house of Datin S (Azizah Mahzan), the one with the swimming pool in the middle of the sawah padi. We passed by the house several times and it was indeed very beautiful.

At the jetty, we saw the fishermen’s boat houses and thought, “This could be Izzah’s house!” or “Mael’s fishing boat!”. Hee.. Hee...

And we saw the yacht that Izzah and Hariz sailed on in the last scene (yang macam Titanic tu). Aaahhh…. It was so nice! Terbayang2 bab romantic tu! It didn’t help that I was reading the novel throughout the journey. So melancholic! The same feeling I had after watching “Winter Sonata”… Sigh….

Ok, ok.. now get real. I think Langkawi did something to me this time which I cannot explain. Was it Pantai Cenang or Mahsuri that has cast her magic spell on me?

I wonder.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Maid Update

I am pleased to inform that the maid has gone home for good. We sent her off last week at the airport. She didn’t call or SMS us after that. Either she’s very glad to be out of our house or she never reached her home town.

But do I care? I don’t exactly.. but I do hope she has reached her house safely.

We discovered some of our jewelry were missing a few days before she left. My precious gold necklace with a diamond pendant that my husband gave me for my 40th birthday, and my daughter’s rings that were given to her by her late mum. We did not accuse her outright although nobody else could be held responsible for it as she was in the house the whole time, but we did ask her if she had seen them. Obviously the answer was no. We searched her bags, body, clothes and room before she left but found nothing.

So we concluded she probably had sold them or pawn them because during the last outing, she bought a lot of things… almost RM500. Where did she get the money from as I only gave her RM50 at that time? Tak kan lah boyfriend dia generous sangat nak belanja sampai RM500.. mostly on baju and handbags (I knew this coz I found old receipts when I cleaned up her room to make way for the new maid). We kept her salary, we only gave her money as and when she asked for it. So, where did the money come from?

Anyway, it’s all in the past now. She had gone home and I do not want to talk about her anymore. If indeed she took the jewelry, I let it be because I'm sure God will punish her one way or another.

Fortunately, we've got a new maid. She is expected to come in next week. This one comes highly recommended by the agent. Slightly older.. 40+, but is an excellent housemaid, according to the agent. Me and my husband are keeping our fingers crossed...

In the meantime, Nadim is taking care of Nizzar at home. So far so good. No phone calls from home, means all is well at the home front.

We had a short break last weekend after sending the maid. We went to Genting for my husband’s company’s Family Day and to JB after that as husband had work to attend to.

Yes, we visited the Johor Premium Outlets. I wouldn’t say it was fantastic-fantastic, but there were several shops selling good bargains. Most handbags were off-season items, so they were not really screaming buys. Perhaps give it a few more months… I’m sure there will be more shops and items for sale.

But it is a nice place to stroll while cuci mata. Tapi kalau tak beli apa2, buat penat saja! Ha! Ha!

Cheers!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Kantoi Lagi

I’ve almost had enough with people trying to fool me to get their way. And I find it totally strange that somehow, I will always find out the truth.

When that happens, I always get anxious, wondering why God wants to show me the true colors of that person. What is he trying to tell me? Why reveal?

My maid was caught lying last weekend. This maid, whom I’ve had for the past 2 years and whose contract is expiring end of this month, had requested for cuti last Saturday. And she wanted to stay overnight at her cousin’s place.

My first thought, biarlah dia pegi… dah nak balik pun. But my husband suspected something else.

When we questioned her about her plans, she gave us a long list of things that she wanted to do with her “cousin” ni. Nak pegi salon lah, urut kaki lah, tengok movies lah.. but most importantly, she wanted to check out the pasar malam at Jln Masjid India.

Kak.. saya nak sangat beli baju India untuk anak saya.. dan baju melayu yang macam Nizzar pakai tu..”, she pleaded with me. Kesian pulak I dengar. I pun memang ada intention nak beli baju macam tu untuk si Nizzar.

So I said, ok.. nak pegi boleh, but nak stay overnight, tak boleh. Anyway, pasar malam is not a good place for foreign workers because ada banyak polis under cover. Instead we asked her to bring her cousin to stay overnight at our house and the next day, we would send them both to Jln Masjid India to shop (punya lah baik majikan ni, kan?)

But she said, no.. the cousin wouldn’t want to stay at our house. (Cousin lives in Bandar Utama, sharing a house with other cleaners, and we live in Ampang). She said the cousin insisted that she stayed over at her place, which sounded a bit weird to me as Bandar Utama is further away from KL or Masjid India.

The plan was, the cousin would pick her up Ampang Point after she finished her work at 7.30pm, and the next day, she would send her back by car.

By car? How could an Indonesian worker afford a car??

My maid quickly corrected her statement saying that her cousin’s BOSS would send her home in his car. Amboi… baiknya boss cousin dia tu kan.. sanggup nak hantar my maid ni balik ke Ampang from 1-Utama!

That got me suspicious. I thought this girl was up to no good.

So, we said no. And my maid buat drama… menangis depan I sebab dia nak sangat2 jumpa cousin dia tu. Macam tak boleh tidak lah! Mesti jugak pegi by hook or by crook!

In the end, we said macam ni lah… why don’t you tell your cousin to meet you tomorrow since it is now almost 7pm. Kalau dia nak datang ke Ampang Point dari Bdr Utama, it’ll take at least 1 hour and there’s nothing much you can do at Ampang Point by then. We can still send you to Ampang Point tonight if you want to do your hair or urut kaki or whatever, but later we pick you up, suggested my husband (See? We are THAT kind)

She agreed. So at 7.30pm last Saturday, we all drove her to Ampang Point so she could get her hair done.

I don’t know whether we were being stupid or kind, but that’s what we did. I was cursing myself for giving in too much to her request but we wanted her to be happy as we wanted her to stay a little longer until we get her replacement.

So, we dropped her off and went to have our dinner…

As I had expected (somehow we have this hunch, don’t we?), at 9.30pm, she texted me, “Kak, I’m meeting with saya punya saudara. Tomorrow I balik. I minta maaf tapi I nak pergi sangat dengan dia for 1 night. Please forgive me.

With that, I straight away knew that she had been lying. The cousin was actually a cover up for, whoelse but, a guy. She had planned this all along and was supposed to meet up with him that Saturday night. Itu yang beriya2 menangis tu sebab nak jumpa jugak!

I felt so disappointed with her, I really was. We treated her good, layan her like my own daughter, bawa dia jumpa doctor sana sini pasal jerawat muka dia tu etc, etc.. and she could do this to us?

I didn’t reply her SMS. My husband asked me to call her, but what for? I was adamant that I would not have her in my house anymore! I couldn’t believe she could ditch us for this guy whom she barely knew.

So anyway, the night passed with us strategizing our plans on how to manage the household without a maid...

The next day, Sunday, we all went to KLCC because budak kecik tu nak beli Ultraman. He was pestering us to take him to KLCC since morning to buy his toy, so in the end we went there at 3pm.

We had just arrived and had just finished buying some sweets from the new Candylicious outlet when, lo and behold… I saw MY MAID!!! She had just come out of a shop with many shopping bags in her hands, berkasut tumit tinggi, baju baru (beli baru agaknya sebab semalam dia keluar sehelai sepinggang saja), make up sikit punya tebal...

And you guess it lah… she wasn’t alone. There was a guy walking besides her. Macam bagus2… tersengeh2 berdua….

She didn’t see me because if she had, she would have run away. So I continued walking towards her and as our path crossed, I confronted her, “Ohh.. inilah saudara kamu ni, ya? Siapa ni? Who is this?” She looked stunned. Muka pucat! Not a word from her mouth! The guy just stood there, dumbfounded as well.

Then my husband’s turn, “SIAPA NI?? SIAPA NI??” Also no answer. Senyap sunyi macam tikus dua-dua orang tu.

But since we were very kind people and didn’t want to embarrass her in front of other people that afternoon, we let her go off. There was nothing more to say anyway. The truth had been revealed and she knew she had been caught red-handed.

God is great, kan? Kita dah nasihat dia elok2, dia nak kelentong kita jugak… last2 Tuhan tunjukkan pada kita perkara yang sebenar. Haa.. padan muka! Who would have thought I would bump into her at KLCC that afternoon, right? Pasar malam, my ass!!

I didn’t think she would come home on Sunday, but she came back anyway. We were not at home at that time. Boyfriend dia nilah yang hantar balik pakai kereta agaknya (they guy looked local, not Indon). We asked her to wait outside the house for nearly 2 hours. Padan muka! You bijak sangat nak tipu kita, tunggulah kat situ!

Since that day, I have not spoken to her. I only speak when necessary. I didn’t ask her to explain why either because there’s nothing more to explain. Ikutkan hati, memang I nak suruh dia keluar saja dari rumah tu because I cannot trust her anymore. But my husband ni insisted that we keep her until we get a new maid.

Keep lah… but I am no more Mr Nice Guy. No more gelak2 macam dulu, no more eating together at the dining table, no more leeway for you. We want to treat you like family, but it seems like you want us to treat you like any other maids. So, there you have it!

Lesson learnt: Don’t be too nice to the maid, nanti dia pijak kepala kita. People used to tell me this before, but I didn’t believe them for I feel you have to be nice to them so they stay. After this incident, I would definitely be more careful…

Monday, October 10, 2011

Because The Night

I’m hooked on Patti Smith’s “Because The Night”. I can’t remember how I came across this talented singer/artist, but I guess it must be during one of those nights when I was youtube-ing, as they call it.

She’s cool, that’s how I see it. Even when she’s almost as old as my mother now, she still has it when she takes to the stage. Awesome.

Her music is known as “punk rock”. A fusion of rock and poetry; that’s what makes it so hypnotizing. They call her the “Godmother of Punk”. She must be a big name, then.

Then I found out she’s written a book, “Just Kids”, which documents her relationship with Robert Mapplethorne, the love of her life. I went to get a copy at Kinokuniya. A very intriguing story and quite disturbing at times, but she told it in a very delicate way that I didn’t find it repulsive at all. More curious at the end of it, yes.

This is my favorite video clip. Patti Smith performing alongside U2 and Bruce Springsteen during the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2009. Because The Night was written by Bruce Springsteen but Patti made it hit the charts in 1978.

As U2 puts it, “This is the song we wish we’d written..” Oh yes!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MSUgWCHpmHM&list=FLl-0d0itCm801RntRdpLBZA&index=19

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Dr Ban Re-visited

I paid another visit to Dr Ban in Raub last Saturday. My sinus has relapsed and I was getting irritated with my runny nose which gave me problems sleeping at night.

I believe the reason for the relapse is because I tak jaga pantang. He specifically told me not to eat two things: eggs and peanuts. I followed his advise diligently in the first month but as I got better, I curi-curi makan telur coz I just love eggs.

On the last day of Ramadhan, I purposely told my maid to make omelet as I was craving for it. “I’m gonna eat this omelet and I don’t care!” Memanglah sah-sah, during hari raya, I couldn’t sleep at night because I kept on going to the bathroom to blow my nose. That was a real torture.

It continued well after raya and last week, I just had enough of seeing tissues strewn all over my bedroom as I struggled to stop the sneezing. “That’s it! Let’s go and see Dr Ban!”, I told my husband. My daughter has also started sneezing again in the morning and I guess it was high time we paid another visit to Dr Ban.

The old man is still the same old Dr Ban whom I first met in April. He remembered me and my daughter and told me that many people had come to visit him after what I wrote in my blog. I don’t know if he has read what I wrote, but I believe he must have had. He did the same thing again and gave us our medication.

This time around, I also brought along my maid who has this very bad acne on her face. The skin specialist at Gleneagles diagnosed it as “chronic acne”. I didn’t know how she got it but I think it could be from the facial treatments that she had at this salon.

Yes, my maid loves to try out beauty regimes whenever she goes out for her monthly outing. Pegi buat rambut lah, facial lah… mengalah kan tuan dia! But it’s her day off and she uses her own money anyway, so I let her indulge herself.

But now, muka dah naik jerawat macam tu, dah lama tak nak keluar rumah sebab malu! Hee.. hee… kesian pun ada! We’ve tried so many things before (jumpa doctor, beli ubat jerawat, control makanan) but her face just got worse. That’s why I brought her along to see Dr Ban if he could help.

Why wasn’t I surprised when he told me that he has treated people with worse acne conditions than my maid? And the results can be seen within one month only! This, I really must see, because acne usually takes a long time to heal.

He gave my maid some antibiotics and skin cleansers and asked her to pantang 3 things: Coffee, chocolate and milk.

It has only been 5 days but my maid says there is no more itchiness. Although the acne on her face is still quite evident, it is less glaring.

We’ll see how it goes... If it worked, then I would really think Dr Ban is a miracle doctor!

Monday, September 12, 2011

A Happy Day

We had a wonderful family gathering yesterday.

On Friday night, my husband told me that Y (his youngest brother who got married 2 years ago) wanted to bring his mother and father in law to our house for beraya on Sunday.

Y’s MIL and my husband used to be classmates; in the same school that my MIL used to teach. Ever since Y got married, he never got the chance to bring his in laws visiting to our house although we have been to their house once.

Anyway, I said ok. Let them come.. but what are we going to cook? We settled for laksa coz it was just a small do.

But as we were on our way to the pasar on late Sunday morning, we were informed that my MIL and FIL would be coming as well. I know my MIL doesn’t eat laksa, so we decided to cook another dish ie. mee goreng mamak, which my husband would do. Set!

With my MIL coming, we would also have to invite my other BIL, N, who just lived nearby. There were 7 of them in that family, which brought the total number of guests to 13 from the initial 4.

Since my parents were also in town, so I told my husband, “Wouldn’t it be nice if my mother could come as well?” I’ve asked her before but she said she wasn’t sure if she could come.

My husband said, “Sanggup tak kita ni? Ramai ni... Would there be enough food coz we didn't expect that many people in the first place?"

I resolved there would be enough for everyone. The most important thing was not the food; it was getting everyone together. Bukan senang nak get everyone together like this.

So my husband said, "Call again lah...”, which I did , and my mother said she would try.

So, I kept my fingers crossed hoping that they could come over. If they came, then we would have everybody that mattered to us under one roof!

First, Y arrived. Then my MIL arrived. Next was N and his family. Everyone from my husband’s family had arrived but there was still no sign of my family. In my heart, I was saying, “Maybe they couldn’t make it.. Never mind lah..”

But to my surprise, they did turn up in the end!

I was so happy to see both my brothers and parents! They haven’t been to our house in a long time and haven’t met my in laws for quite a while already. The last time was during Y’s wedding 2 years ago.

So, seeing everyone gathered yesterday at our house made me feel very proud. My MIL met all her besan and I must say, that was quite remarkable!

Since my mum and my MIL hardly ever met, I could sense that they were quite uncomfortable with each other at first. Sorang duduk kat luar, sorang duduk kat dalam. Bila yang kat luar masuk ke dalam, yang kat dalam pegi keluar. My FIL and my dad are ok.. they got on talking macam biasa saja.

You see, my mum and my MIL are similar in character in many ways. Both are strong headed, ex-teachers and very sensitive. I suppose, both wanted the other to make that first move. It was quite awkward at first, but after a while, they were ok. Siap gaduh lagi!

MIL: Dia orang ni, kalau raya, ada jugak tidur rumah Hajah 2 malam. Kat rumah saya ni, sekerat hari saja… pagi saja… lepas tu dah balik Ipoh! Dahlah tak pernah datang rumah.. nak jumpa sebulan sekali pun susah!


MUM: Hajah sebulan sekali… Saya ni, nak jumpa SETAHUN sekali pun susah! Kalau saya tak menangis, dia orang takkan tidur kat rumah!


MIL: Iyalah… Hajah selalu datang sini… selalu jugak jumpa si Yati. Ini dah lah dekat, nak datang rumah langsung tidak! (Mode: exaggerating)

ME: Suami saya tak ada, mak… (mencelah)


MUM: Iya, suami dia tak ada. Dia tak boleh keluar (my mother menyokong I, hee.. hee..).


MUM: Saya sekarang dah tak kisah dah Hajah… Nak balik, balik. Tak nak pun dah apa…


MIL: Itu lah budak2 ni… kita dulu suka tidur ramai2 kat rumah mak… sampai ke dapur kadang2…. Bla, bla, bla..

By this time, I’ve lost interest and my mother said she nak balik.


Anyway, despite the sindiran tajam tu, I’m happy that they both had a chance to meet and “talk”. Nasib baik duduk jauh-jauh, kalau dekat, I rasa.. sure selalu gaduh! Sorang kata macam ni, sorang kata macam tu! Hee.. Hee...

My husband was happy as well. He said it was a historical event as for the first time, both sides of our family got together at our house. Although it was only for a short while, we’re glad it happened and I hope we could do this again next year (although to be honest... I doubt so we can.)




All in the family!




My in laws with their "besan"
(L to R: My mum, my MIL, Y's MIL, my FIL, Y's FIL, my dad)


The two strong women in my life..

Thursday, September 08, 2011

M.A.I.D

I’m in a dilemma. Maid punya cerita lah.. apa lagi.

My current maid’s contract is coming to an end this November. She’s been with us for almost 2 years now, replacing our previous maid who had worked for us for 7 years.

I like her, she’s very clean. I don’t have much complains about her except her penchant for shopping and grooming herself incessantly. But she’s young and uses her own money anyway to buy those things. So I let her be.

I have asked her a couple of months ago whether she wants to extend her stay or go home when her contract expires. At that point of time, she said it was still too soon to tell. Now that the time is drawing nearer, I’m afraid to ask her again.. afraid that she would give me a negative answer.

But I have to ask her soon. If she said no, I have to look for a new maid. Sigh…. and you know how difficult it is to get a reliable maid these days. Although the going rate is so expensive (someone told me it’s RM12k now!), there’s no guarantee that the maid is good and will not lari panjat pagar.

Can I do without a maid? I suppose I can. Let’s see… how would my schedule look like:

6.00 am : Bangun, run the washing machine, bagi kucing makan, feed the bird and goose
6.30am : Mandi & solat
7.00-7.45am: Sidai baju, prepare Nizzar’s bag & food, siapkan budak kecik tu, get ready for work, kemas bilik.
8.00 am: Send Nizzar to school
8.30am: Drop Nabila at office
9.00-5.30pm: At work
6.00pm: Pick up Nizzar from school
7.00pm: Angkat kain, cook dinner
8-10pm: Kemas rumah, lipat kain, etc.

Problem is, I’ll be doing all these chores alone while my husband works in JB. If he’s around, he could lend a hand. Well, I suppose I could delegate some of the jobs to the older kids.. at least it won’t be too bad.

Don’t know… don’t want to think about it. Maybe I’ll ask her the big question this weekend. I hope she’d say she’ll stay. Please, pretty please..!

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Justice for Cats!

I read in horror about the Petknode debacle. There is no excuse for such thing to happen. What were they thinking?


I do not know the real story.. I’ve never heard of “Petknode” before this either. But from the bits and pieces of news that I read from the newspapers, I gather the followings:


1) The owners have a good track record prior to this incident


2) They have been around for a long time


3) They are animal lovers; they have cats of their own too


4) They save strays and recently, took in cats for boarding during festive seasons.


If that is the case, why did they take in too many cats? Why offer such low boarding fee when you know you don’t have enough staff to handle the cats? RM3.99 per day is a scream from the usual RM14.99 that they charge. Obviously many people would want to send their cats there. Why accept when you damn know you don’t have enough staff, space and food for all the 300 cats during the one-week break??


I’m just trying to think what went through the 2 guys’ heads when they made the offer. “We take in these cats, leave some food in their cages and balik kampong for raya. They should be ok for at least 3-4 days... cats have 9 lives..”


A true animal lover would never do such thing. They would never abandon the cats just like that.


The “pet shop boys” have made their peace and apologized alright. But is that enough? Is it enough to say, “We admit we mishandled the cats. But we were short handed... We are very sorry." Eh, you are not Rupert Murdoch lah, this is not the newspaper business! You’re talking about “life” here.


Kalau tempat jaga kucing tu terbakar ke, I can understand. Kucing tu mati sebab kebakaran which cannot be avoided. But in this case, it was pre-planned and CAN BE avoided, if they wanted too. They cannot get away just by issuing a public apology like that. It’s very insensitive to the cat owners!


My questions to them: Didn’t you know you were going to be shorthanded? Did your staff (if indeed you had any) just disappeared during raya and never returned, that’s why the cats were abandoned?


If indeed that happened (ie. the staff ran away), a responsible caretaker would contact the cat owners and tell them to pick up their cats as an emergency had happened. They could add that if they did not collect the cats, there is a good chance the cats may starve to death, and return the owner’s money. If I were the cat owner, I would pick up my cats right away or get someone to collect them if I’m out of town. That way, no one can be blamed.


I know for a fact, if you sent a stray cat to SPCA, the caretaker would tell you upfront that they would put down the cat if it is not in a healthy condition or too old for keep. At least you are forewarned and it’s really up to you to decide whether to leave the cat there or take it home with you.


Bottom line is, if you can’t promise to provide shelter for the cats, don’t commit like those people at Petknode.


Hish.. I’m so angry at such irresponsible acts. I hope the petshop owners would be fairly punished. One person suggested that they should be caged for 1-week without food and water just like the cats did. Probably that would be a justified punishment for them. That way, I am sure for the rest of their lives, they would never ill-treated cats ever again.


Justice for cats!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Mind Your Language

The DPM hath spoken… “Many students are still unable to master the English language despite learning the language in school for 13 years”.

I read with amusement the comments made by many people on the DPM’s statement. Many explanations are given and solutions proposed on how to improve the mastery of English language among students. This is nothing new… even Dr M had spoken about this many times before.

I remember vaguely the first time English was made compulsory in teaching lessons in schools. I can’t remember who the Education Minister was at that time, but the first thing that crossed my mind was, “Can the teachers do it??”

Bearing in mind that these teachers had been teaching in Bahasa Malaysia all their lives (except for the English teachers, I suppose), asking them to switch language just like that was not an easy task.

I remember my kids coming home from school, joking about how bad their teachers’ command of English was: “My English is better than hers lah!”, uttered one. And I felt sorry for the teacher.

When it comes to learning a new language, practice makes perfect. And I’m not talking about 1 or 2 months’ practice; it could be a lifetime. We have to speak the language and write the language often to become good at it. Otherwise, it’s hard.

I guess that’s what happened to the teachers when they were forced to teach in English. If they can’t deliver the lessons in English well, how do you expect the students to understand and most importantly, grasp the language?

The DPM is not wrong in making that statement. I do feel that the quality of spoken and written English among students and adults nowadays has deteriorated. I don’t need to give examples coz I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.

Another thing is this. I noticed, if a student is very good in English, there’s a good chance he has problems with Bahasa Malaysia. My kids are living example. I had to send them for BM tuition, which I think is ridiculous, us being Malay.

My English is not that great, but I think it is somewhat better than some people in higher position that I know of. I didn’t get full English teaching when I was at school. All subjects were thought in BM, except for English, but my English is still good. And so is my BM.

Sadly, these days, you see students with poor command of English AND Bahasa Malaysia. Just look at the way they write in FB or SMS… I can’t make up what they are trying to say! I am not generalizing the students, perhaps some are good in both languages, but my gut feel tells me - not many.

Something must be done to correct this trend. Is it the teachers, parents or the students themselves? Or, is it the government? (Hee.. Hee… it’s easy to blame the Government for everything!)

My 5-year old speaks in dual-language. Sometimes English, sometimes Malay. His English is often interjected with one or two Malay words. My mother always blamed me for this because I don’t speak proper English to him. The older children speak English at home, so does their father. But me, I like to mix things up. The reason for this is so he won’t forget his Bahasa Malaysia and I don’t need to send him for BM tuition later on in life!

But jokes aside, it doesn’t really matter if you are more fluent in Bahasa Malaysia or English. Both are fine. What is more important is you use the language correctly in your speech or writing.

Bak kata pepatah, “Bahasa Menunjukkan Bangsa”. I can’t agree more with that!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Happy Birthday

I celebrated my 43rd birthday last Saturday. It was without much pomp.

I had thought about having a big “party” to celebrate the occasion, but on second thought, maybe not. Why would I want to spend my birthday cooking in the kitchen, right? I’d rather spend it at leisure.

So, I had a nice breakfast with husband and the little boy at E’toile. Husband asked, “What do you want for your birthday?” A whole list of things popped up in my mind!

I want “A”!” He said, “But you have a lot of that already!”

How about “B”?”Ermm… I can get you that but you selalu letak merata2!”

"How about C?"

Macam2 alasan lah dia bagi… macam tak berminat saja.

How about an iPad?? Let me get you an iPad!”, he said.

His eyes glistened with excitement.

No, no iPad. I had a feeling he wanted to get me an iPad so the little boy can play with mine and NOT touch his. So… no iPad, honey.

That left him a tad disappointed coz his wish to go to Low Yat Plaza was not well received by his wife.

I don’t like to go to Low Yat Plaza, it’s too crowded. It’s not my thing either.

So I dragged him and my children to Pavillion. Now, that’s more like it!

We went into 3 shops and at the very last shop, I saw what I wanted.

Can I have this?”

He nodded.

So, that’s my birthday present for this year! Thank you, honey!


Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Pentas Kilauan Emas

My husband and I love singing. Not that we are very good at it… tapi kalau ajak pegi karaoke tu, tak malu lah pegang mike.... kata orang.

And because of that, we love to follow TV programs that have singing elements in it. We prefer local talent shows like AF. American Idol tu macam kurang sikit.

We followed AF aggressively when Mawi was the reigning champion. At that time, banyak jugaklah duit habis hantar SMS to vote for Mawi. Unfortunately, ku sangka panas sampai ke petang… rupanya Mawi “panas” separuh jalan saja!

Thereafter, we don’t really follow AF anymore. I think the contestants pun macam hangat2 tahi ayam je... Eloklah pun program tu dah habis.

Just recently, we discovered this new talent show, “Pentas Kilauan Emas”. It’s like AF but for the older generation ie. for those above 45 years old.

I remember talking to my husband about this many years ago when we were discussing about AF. I said, ”Wouldn’t it be nice if we had an AF-like contest for orang tua2? Sure best!”

I think, someone heard me and there you have it! Pentas Kilauan Emas!

What’s so good about this show is that it’s fun to watch. The contestants include bilal masjid, ex-bidan, nenek, pegawai keselamatan... even the disabled sang on stage, trying out their luck!

And these people are really into it. They put in their best efforts in terms of costumes, make-up, dances and the accompanying props. Suara pun boleh tahan… orang lama lah katakan…

Lagu2 pilihan of course lah lagu2 lama. Hits from the 70s and 80s. Best!

Before each contestant starts singing, you get to see their family members wishing them good luck, which I find quite touching at times. Like last week, I saw this daughter wishing her mum, “Mak, kami tahu mak suka nyanyi. Kat rumah memang mak suka nyanyi… Kami doakan mak akan berjaya menyampaikan lagu dengan baik dalam pertandingan ini!! GOOD LUCK MAK!!!” (beramai2 sambil menunjukkan that “Malaysia Boleh!” sign to the mother).

With that kind of message, she's already a winner, isn't she?

So far, they have done auditions for Zon Timur and Zon Selatan. This week will be Zon Tengah, which I saw, will include a 75 year old nenek. The MC is Raja Azura and the juries are Nora and Suhaimi Meor Hassan.

For a good clean fun, go watch Pentas Kilauan Emas this Friday at 9pm on Astro Prima (105). Especially those above 40 and suka menyanyi. Lepas tengok tu, sure nak lepas gian pegi karaoke!!! (like I did!)

Have fun!


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Sambal Rembau


In continuation of my last posting on Raub, durian and Dr Ban, I just want to share with you a wonderful experience I had over the weekend, experimenting with durian.

I saw on AFC a couple of days ago, Chef Wan cooking up “Tapioca Leaves with Fermented Durian”, or in Bahasa Malaysia, “Pucuk Ubi Tempoyak Rampai”. I looooovvvve this sambal! Some people call it "Sambal Rembau".

I was first introduced to this dish by a friend who hails from Negeri Sembilan. Her dear mum, who lived in Kg Juaseh, had given me a small container of Sambal Rembau during one of those fasting months in Ramadhan for berbuka. I’ve never seen or tasted this dish before. However, from that moment on, it was like love at first bite!

It was so delicious! Those who have tasted it would know what I mean...

Unfortunately, that was the only time I had it because I couldn’t find it anywhere else in KL. Every once in a while, I would teringat-ingatkan this authentic sambal… especially when I was having lauk masakan kampung, but I could only dream of eating it again.

Then I married my husband, a pure orang Nogori, whose mother cooked the most delicious masak lemak kuning. Her masak lemak ikan senangin is out of this world! It is so simple and yet, neither me nor my husband could copy her masak lemak.

But she had never made or served the Sambal Rembau when we ate at her house, and I had never asked either.

Until one day, I was pregnant with Nizzar at that time, tiba2 I had a craving for this sambal. I asked my husband’s aunty if she knew how to make this sambal. She said yes, and made some for me.

I didn’t know how to cook it, I never asked her anyway coz I figured it must be very tedious. With so many types of leaves, thinly sliced… masak lemak… tempoyak… I thought it must be very difficult.

Until I watched Chef Wan demonstrating how to cook this dish on AFC last week.. “Ahh… that doesn’t look too hard..”, I thought. I told my husband about it and he said, “Jom lah buat!”

So, we went to the market, bought the daun and such (according to Chef Wan’s recipe) and started cooking. Since it was unplanned and we didn’t have any tempoyak at home, we bought some fresh durian and use the flesh as a substitute for tempoyak. It turned out quite well but you have to add some lime juice to give the sour taste.

The result - very nice!! Sehingga menjilat jari!! Bukan nak memuji but it was seriously nice, and it was easy to make. Hence, I’ll share the link & recipe with those who want to try it.

Ahhh… Sambal Rembau! The thought of it makes me smile... :)

It's best to have it in the afternoon with steaming hot rice and ikan masin goreng. Sure dua kali tambah lah! Hee.. hee...

Try it! This sambal is indeed OUT OF THIS WORLD!!!


Chef Wan's Recipe


MrsNordin's Recipe:

Ingredients (dimayang halus):
Daun pucuk ubi (tapioca leaves)
Daun kunyit
Petai
Serai

Bahan2 tumbuk/blend:
10 biji cili hijau
6 biji cili padi
Kunyit hidup (1 inci)

Perencah: (rendam sekejap & tumbuk sedikit)
Ikan bilis
Udang kering

Tempoyak
Santan

Cara2:

1) Campurkan semua bahan2 didalam periuk dan masak sehingga dedaun jadi lembut
2) Kalau terlalu pekat, boleh tambah air.
3) Masakkan selama 30-45 minit.

Selamat mencuba!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Klinik Ban

It was a fine Saturday afternoon when we received a call from my husband’s uncle in Seremban saying that he wanted to come over to look for durian. Not in KL… but in Raub, because he said the best durian can only be found in Raub .

“What? Raub????”

I wasn’t very keen because firstly, I wasn’t feeling well. I was coughing and was coming down with flu at that time. Durian would be the last thing on my mind.

Secondly, although I love to eat durian, I avoid eating them these days because I hate the after effects. The burping, the smell and the stinking breath that can last in your mouth for days put me off from touching this prickly fruit.

But this uncle is a dear uncle. He seldom visits and when he and his wife arrived at our doorstep looking very excited about their durian-hunting trip to Raub, we couldn’t let them down.

So, off we went.

Raub is about one and a half hours’ drive from KL via the Karak Highway. It’s not that far, but when one is not in the best of health, it felt very far for me. In the car, I was quiet mostly, trying to suppress my irritating cough.

Both the aunty and uncle used to live in Raub before. The aunty told me that she had once suffered from a very bad cough. It lasted for 2 months until one day, she decided to go and see Dr Ban (their regular doctor in Raub). Dr Ban gave her this cough mixture and after 2 days, her coughing stopped. She also said the medicine that the doctor prescribed for her other medical conditions was so good that she would make the Seremban-Raub trip every month without fail to get her medication.

So, throughout the journey, she was going on and on about how good this Dr Ban was and I was going “Yeah.. yeah…” because I was too tired to listen. In the end, I gave up and said, “Ok, let’s go and see this Dr Ban. I can ask him about my cough.” That was the only way to make her stop talking.

The aunty looked pleased, made a quick phone call and within 10 minutes, we were already outside Dr Ban’s door.

Before I went in, my husband told me, “Maybe you can ask him about your sinus as well.” Yeah, my sinus was getting pretty bad and I was taking Clarinase every night to avoid sneezing and runny nose in the morning. It would get worse if I drank iced water during the day. If I ran out of Clarinase, I would panic and live in fear that the next day would just be a disaster.

So, in I went into his clinic. There’s nothing special about it – just an ordinary room with lots of papers and medicine on his table. Dr Ban is quite an old man, maybe about 70 years old.

After the exchange of greetings and formalities, I sat down and explained to him my ailment. I told him about my cough and sinus. He asked me a few questions, and after a while, he told me, “I can break your sinus.”

Huh? How?

“By laser.”

What??

“Yes, by laser.”

I wasn’t convinced. I told him I had a friend who had to go for operation to treat his sinus and you’re telling me you can just break it like that?

He said yes. He added, some of his patients had actually undergone sinus operations before and yet they still come to him for this treatment. He took out a chart, showed me the sinus areas and explained to me the procedure. The aunty, who was there with me, listened attentively as well.

“It’ll only take 10 minutes. No operation”, he said.

I asked him how much? When he said it’s less than RM100 and no operation required, I immediately agreed.

He asked me to sit on a chair facing him. Then, he took out this gun-like equipment which emit some sort of beam & ultrasound, pointed it to my face, and made a rotating movement around the sinus areas. He told me, the ultrasound was supposed to dislodge the clogged mucus from the eye and nose areas, and release me from sinusitis.

While he was doing that, I stood still, gripping the sides of my chair for fear of pain. But there was no pain. At some points, I could feel heat penetrating my face but that was it. After 10 minutes, he was done.

He gave me some medications and a nasal spray. He told me to stop taking Clarinase/Zyrtec and just take his medicines; I should be cured.

Before I took my leave, he told me to pantang 2 things, “No eggs and peanuts.” Ok, no problem. I don’t like peanuts anyway. Egg is a weakness but I suppose I could do without it.

So, I came home, started taking his medicines, and believe it or not, my sinus is cured! I don’t need Clarinase anymore! I can happily eat ice cream at night, but I won’t catch a cold the next day. You can’t imagine how good it feels to wake up in the morning and breath in fresh air without having a blocked nose. I could feel that my nose is clear and I love it!! No need for tissue anymore, ok? If not, melambak2 tissue at my work area and bedroom!

After that, I took my daughter, a friend who suffered from chronic sinusitis and his son, who also had a bad case of sinus, to see Dr Ban and they are all ok now. The friend actually was scheduled for an operation to remove his sinus the following week, but following his visit to Dr Ban, he did not need the operation anymore. Goodbye Sinus!

I told some friends about this story and they all in turn told their friends about Dr Ban. Those with sinusitis who went to see him in Raub are fully cured now and are so grateful for the discovery. The aunty, who introduced me to Dr Ban, also brought in her son the following week (she didn’t know Dr Ban can treat sinuses), and alhamdullilah… he’s ok now.

I know… It’s hard to believe.. but you just have to go and experience it for yourself.

I read from the internet that Ultrasound is not widely accepted by the medical community for treatment of sinus because it does not offer a detailed image of the anatomy like a CT Scan does and it doesn't remove the sinus completely like a surgery.

But what the heck… My sinus is cleared now and I don’t need surgery! That is what's important. Perhaps it is just a temporary measure and I may need to go in again if the sinus returns, but I’d rather do that than going under the knife.

Kudos to Dr Ban!



If you want to visit, Klinik Ban is located at:
No. 6, Jalan Kuala Lipis,
Raub, Pahang.
Tel: 09-3553467
(Mon-Sat: 9am-5pm, Sun: Half-day.)

You can Google the map to get there.