Thursday, July 31, 2008

Book Review : Being Committed by Anna Maxted

I first became literary acquainted with Miss Maxted when she had a column in one of the glossies in England. I loved her very witty and funny and observant writings. One of her most memorable column was about herself.

Apparently, she is an adopted baby. Her adopted father was walking on the street when a man/lady approached him and offered him the baby she/he was holding. He took the baby, brought her home and named her Anna. Anna wrote how she loved her adoptive parents and was grateful that her father accepted the offer and brought her home to be raised lovingly and unconditionally. She claimed that she is not interested to know her birth parents at all because as far as she was concerned, Mr and Mrs Maxted were her real parents.

Anyway, of course I was excited when I knew that my favourite columnist wrote a book and I wasn’t prepared when I found that I didn’t like it. I was gravely disappointed and therefore had never bought any of her other books and never attempted to re-read it until now.

Surprisingly I love it now. I do not know why I didn’t like it before but my review today would be it is a good read. I was impressed that by the end of the book, I had expected what the character would do because I know her so well. She cleverly maintained all their characteristics that at the end of the day I would go “That is so typical of Hannah/Oli/Jack etc.

The book is about Hannah, P.I, un-girly, emotionally retarded, father adoring and mother hating. She refused to accept her boyfriend Jason’s proposal but went nuts when the week after her rejection, Jason proposed to another girl. So she went over to his house to get him back. However Oli gave her an ultimatun, make peace with Jack, her ex-husband.

O-oh….. Jack…. The love of Hannah’s life. Married too young and was not mature enough to handle their first major problem together. Easiest route is of course the big D. So she had to contact him and in the process of trying to get closure, she was cruelly reminded of the reason why she hated her mother.

Ohh… do read.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

My best friends Shazmi and Amelia took me out to lunch yesterday. I love you guys for the support you have given me.

It was a good thing that I went out with them because Amelia told me something that made me feel okay. Even though I am still very much sad because I can’t see my sister anymore, but I feel lega that things are going good for her.

Amelia told me that Shera is so very lucky to have died when the people that love her are still around. Parental love cannot match any other love and Amelia said sampai ke akhir hayat, Shera’s parents will pray for her. She also said since all her friends and siblings are still able and young, we will be continuing the effort to keep up the Fatihahs and Yassins for her. She is indeed lucky.

And I take that to heart Amelia. I cannot be selfish to wanting to keep her here when she is getting so much help for her life in eternity.
What she said is true, really. Actually this is the second tragedy like this that had befallen my family. In 1989, my baby brother Ijat was about 5-6 months old when a phone call came in the middle of the night to inform of the passing of my father’s sister Aunty Nun, her husband Uncle Amin, her son Ayie, her daughter Kak Dedek and Kak Dedek’s husband Abang Zab. 5 of them at once. All in all I think there were 13 deaths in that accident, one of the most horrific the country have ever seen. Only my abang Jimmy is left from that branch of the family.

My Aunty Nun was everybody’s favourite. Like Shera she was the star of the family, the glue that kept us all together, the one that everybody turned to when there is trouble. She was such a superstar. I can still see her toothy smile, her beaming face as everything about her exudes kindness and motherly love. Maybe I am over glamorizing her but you can ask my mother, their relationship was just like what we girls had with our Shera. She was truly a gem.

I was 13 when it happened and Amelia and Ela were the ones consoling me for the loss of a favorite aunt. Anyway, ever since she died, and that was a good 19 years ago, she at least had me to sedekahkan Fatihah to her and her family (and a horde of other relatives and loved ones – including P.Ramlee tu…) every Isyak prayers. So now I have added my kakak to the list. Takpelah. We had always known that this life is only temporary and eternity comes after Judgement Day.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Dear Shera......

Dear Shera,

Ita told us she wrote you a letter and felt better and so I thought I should do the same because I so desperately wants to feel better again.

I am not going to the whys and the hows because there is no point in that. I just know that Allah SWT had always wanted the good guys to be with Him and therefore I am not surprised that he chose you.

Shera…you have been such a gift to us, with your energy, love and kindness. I truly love you and I miss you so much. Mummy kept saying how empty the week has been and I wholeheartedly agree because I see you almost every week, don’t I ? We either pass each other in and out of Mum’s house or bumping into each other at Giant or whatever or just meeting up (like when we had our rendezvous at the sek 8/sek 9 junction 2 weeks ago), not seeing you at all is a bit surreal.

How have we been holding up ?

Us girls of course tried our best to not cry especially in front of your kids. We pine and wish for you and cry and cry and cry.

Mum… well… She’s confined to her room most of the time. She clutched your wedding pictures and looked lost. We are definitely worried about her, knowing how close you two are. None of us ate by the way and I wish I could show you my flat tummy !!

Ayah was away in Sarawak when you left us. He was in a meeting when Mummy called him and broke down there and then. The person that he was in a meeting with there did not allow Ayah to sleep alone in his hotel and took him to his home and Ayah slept in his guest room. Such kindness.

Ijat couldn’t handle his grieve and ran away to his dorm the day we buried you. He only called to cry and that was it. He came home on Saturday though and played with your babies.

Mail…. We haven’t told him yet. We will break him the news when he returns home next month. We fear his reaction and I do not look forward to it at all. I know he will get angry and start breaking things.

Syafiq…. well… he loves you so much despite everything Shera. He can’t be alone, neither can Mum actually, we have to constantly be at home to make sure they are okay.

Dan is not doing well either. He cried loads and kept calling me to say nothing at all. He can’t work and always wanted to be at Mum’s house for some reason. He sat on Mum’s bed, slept on Mum’s bed (Mummy had to sleep on the mattress on the floor) and just wanted to be with us.

I went to your grave for the first time yesterday. Didn’t do well because I vomited as soon as I got home.

Since our reaction to your passing is as severe as this, I couldn't imagine your parents' grief. We meet up a lot with your family. Luckily we got on very well with them, our two families are just like one huge one. I remember during Esya's birthday party I commented to Dan howmuch I love your family. So open and welcoming... no wonder you are like that.

Tapi kan Shera your first tahlil we did badly. I didn’t know where Mum put all her good plates and the cutleries and we were running around to get thing organized for you. As I was cutting the cupcakes (you would like it…it was delicious), I was expecting you to come and say, “Apa lagi nak buat, La?” and taking over as really it was you who had always run the show. But you didn’t come and I had to finish cutting the cakes alone and ordering the rest of what to do. At the end, I said, “Sorry, Shera. Your kenduri didn’t go so well. I will do better next time…”. Marlin broke down and cry when she heard what I said.

You have never been my sister-in-law but my own kakak. I have always told people how blessed we are to have such person who was willing to be our family… all of us didn’t have a choice…ha ha.

I read your blog and your facebook and saw how much people love you. It was evident enough during your funeral because people spilled out of the house into the street !! There were so many people gathered outside, we had to park our cars at the shop 2 streets away !! I feel that we must have done something right because you belong to us. This wonderful person who is so much loved actually belongs to us.

Will I ever be like I used to be ? I don’t think so because I keep expecting you to turn up. Maybe it is still early days but Shera, I do not want to forget. You cannot be replaced and I wish that I have given you more hugs or show how much I love you. We always thought we had more time, right ? Well we didn’t.

Hati ni merajuk sangat, Shera but I tak tahu dengan siapa. Sayu, sedih… I just can’t describe it. I wish I had done more. I was worried thinking that you left without knowing how much I love you but your parents separately told me you do know. They told me the things that you talked about me and I am just so glad to know that you know how I feel about you. You have such wonderful parents, Shera no wonder you are wonderful yourself.

In fact, as I sit to think about our last conversations, you did tell me how much you love us and I cling to that memory. It was actually that Saturday when Ita came back from Penang, your last weekend when we were laughing and being happy when you said that to me.

Umar told me that I shouldn’t worry. He said that I can still see you in heaven. “Since we get to live in syurga forever kan Mummy… you will get to see Cik Shera forever !!” He said.

Thank you, son. That made Mummy feel better as I have no doubt that Cik Shera memang ahli syurga. Impossible that somebody who is so well loved by many like her not to be in syurga. As I told Marlin, “Bila akhirat nanti, aku jumpa Shera aku nak cubit-cubit dia sebab buat aku sedih macam ni….”

Love you lots, dear sister. Rest in peace.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Lack of new books

I have no book reviews to do because well………….. I malas… he he… Anyway since the economy has gone wonky and expensive, have been re-reading a lot of my books until I realised that I have no more books to re-read. Can’t believe I have finally exhausted my books. What to do but buy a new one…. I just have to, don’t I ?

Well anyway, I read 2 good books in May and June. I was lucky they were good cause can’t afford stupid books nowadays. Well May book was by Lisa Jewell. She is one of my favourite authors so I had a 50% chance that hers won’t stink and it didn’t.

Book Review : 31 Jump Street by Lisa Jewell

This book is about love, about being too nice and about parental responsibility…. Sounds normal but it is not.

Well the guy protagonist ( I have so forgotten the name. It was 2 months ago….. Let’s call him Ralph) is a would be poet who was given a house by his father when the father re-married and upped and left him to relocate to South Africa (they have never been close. His mother was a model and his father just couldn’t get over the fact how a gangly and ugly boy could come out of his wife). It was a huge house and since Ralph’s wife left him soon after he got the house, he was very much alone.

He advertised the rooms for rent but asked the people interested to write a letter and tell him why they deserve to live there. And therefore the house was filled with people with problems and sad stories and waywards who have nowhere to go. There they live quietly for many, many years but he doesn’t really socialize with his tenants.

Everything changed when his older tenant died and left him with a lot of money. It coincided with a letter from his father’s solicitor (everything connecting to his dad was done via this solicitor) expressing his father’s wish to see him. He decided to sell the house to impress his dad… but not before he had every one of his tenants’ lives sorted out before he kicks them out.

It is a good book with a lovely idea. The arrival of his gorgeous neighbour in his life made the book even more interesting because who could bear the thought of the hero ending up alone. He is too nice for the world to be that shitty to him.

I totally recommend this book, another masterpiece by Miss Lisa Jewell.

My June book was

Book Review : Friday’s Knitting Club by I Dunno

Sorry…. It is written by a writer I am not familiar with and therefore have forgotten her name. Anyway… I hated this book at first. It was slow and confusing that I put it away for an Agatha’s Christie’s masterpiece instead.

However the book picked up after a few chapters and became very interesting and lovely. About Georgia who found herself pregnant and very much alone in New York. She called her parents about her predicament and announced her intention to come home. However when Anita, a stranger, found her knitting at a park and approached her, the rest, as people say, is history.

Georgia opened a knitting store, raised her daughter alone and together with Anita who worked for her part time, made friends with her customers and established a Knitting Club.

Although Georgia is the main character, the book talks about each member of the club and how their lives entwined. It is a very good book because after reading I was rather ashamed of myself. Because from that book I learnt that wallowing in a broken heart brings nothing good. Don’t be too involved in your pain that there is no room for forgiveness because life is too short and too precious. It was our Rasullullah SAW had always recommended, forgive and be forgiving.
I should start right now…. Allah is great… He teaches me through every medium available. He he…

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Cerita monyet pulak

A friend of mine Sheik commented on my last entry on the porcupines or hedgehogs (dunno the difference). He recounted the story of a monkey that was sharing his neighbourhood and subsequently got shot by Perhilitan.

Of course he pities the monkey, especially thinking about his family waiting in vain for his homecoming. He made a good point by saying that we failed to relocate these creatures before we start our development work.

My mother had a monkey problem too last time. At first they were okay with the monkey and tolerated him. Some even fed him in the name of pity and of course kindness. There is a fish pond in our front garden, just below my mother’s bedroom window with a huge tree nearby where the monkey would jump off from, straight into the pond for his bath. He then would check his appearance from at the side mirror of our cars parked outside. Mummy saw this from her window and she said he would smooth down his hair (?) and pat it neatly into position.

But then of course he caused problems. The food stealing, the throwing of all the clean clothes hanging to dry all over the lawn antics and most of all, his gatal-ness.

He hated any men who came by but loved it if any of us girls dropped by. He would approach us and gave us a grin so huge that I expected wolf-whistles to come with it. After my mother’s repeated phone calls to moan about the monkey, I was somewhat relieved that one day she decided to call Perhilitan.

The first time Perhilitan guy came, he legged it. That guy waited for hours for him but he never returned. When he did return, he was very much upset and showed it to the neighbourhood by baring his teeth.

I was at home when the second guy came. I was about to leg it too when I saw him, totting his gun when he shouted that he came from Perhilitan and came for the monkey. Whew !!

He finally got him when the monkey entered our home to inspect and I very much suspect, mengorat my sister Marlin who was home for the holidays. My dad shut him in the room and Perhilitan caught him without the help of their big weapon.

Perhilitan gave the assurance that they were gonna send the monkey to the zoo. As if !! Why can’t he just say that they were sending him to a monkey farm where he will eat bananas everyday and frolic with his species until eternity ? My relieve turn to pity then guilt. Kesian dia. I am sure he came from Bukit Cherakah. Maybe he was lured by the limelights (he he) or had a taste of the food that we have to offer and was then hooked line and sinker with our lifestyle. He once stole a neighbour’s handphone and my mom saw him sitting on her chair at her desk looking at her papers. We corrupted him thenbranded him a nuisance.

It would have been lovely and more humane if he was sent to some kind of sanctuary for displaced animals. Especially here in the Klang Valley where development is rife and we keep robbing their habitat to make our own. There should be a hutan simpan somewhere, with loads of fruit trees and a nice stream or two to house all these animals, where they can live within the city and we can take advantage of it by being able to see them in their natural habitat if we want.

In truth, we are not that much different from the Zionists who drove the people of Palestine out of their land.

Don’t be too greedy, kemut sangat dengan something that we have to share with all Allah’s creatures. Karang alien datang duduk tempat kita and lepas tu senang2 tembak kita (reference: War of The Worlds, Independence Day etc) we can take it as balasan tuhan ke atas apa yang kita buat to the animals. Lepas tu jangan terkejut jadi macam Planet of The Apes (or Porcupines) !!

Okay… maybe that is a bit too extreme…

PS : It’s very funny really, I am writing this at my other office in Glenmarie and here I actually have a window. We are on the 3rd floor and I heard footsteps outside. I looked and this bird was walking along the windowsill and it was its footsteps I heard…. Comelnya….