Friday, January 30, 2009

Lepak dengan Alhady

Received a message Tuesday night from my friend, Tini - ‘tt with alhady after maghrib”. Discussed with Babah and I confirmed our attendance. Amelia then called to ask if we were going and arranged to pick her up.

Come Wednesday, off we went to pick Amelia up and went straight to the chosen venue.

We saw only Usop and after 20 minutes, the rest of the party trickled in. Nikman and Ami, Tini and hubby, then the man of the hour himself, Alhady with Eldin and lastly Ain.

Effiezal joined in via telephone, well not really because he only talked to Babah.

It was very merry, the gathering. Talking and laughing and teasing.

Sadly we had to go home early and left at 9.20 pm.

As we aged, we need our friends. Although some on the table were not close friends, we are okay now, you know what I mean ?

PS : Found out that tt is a universally (well in Malaysia…) accepted abbreviation of the tarik. How come Amelia, Babah and I myself don’t know that ?

PPS : I need to watch more telly because I do not know who in the world is Dang Suria and her ex-husband whom apparently married my classmate.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


Happy Chinese New Year !!

Well…. after the new Islamic calendar and then the new year of the roman calendar, Chinese New Year is a bit too excessive. Ha ha. However… all 3 new years meant a day off work (or 2 days when you talk about CNY) so yeah !!

We didn’t do much. Didn’t go anywhere. We stayed home mostly, relaxing. Babah needed it since he didn’t take any leave for 6 months so we stayed home. No wayang, no malls. Just home, for friends and family.

Went to Cho’s house. She was leaving for Labuan, her new home. New adventure. Good luck, babes. Don’t forget us. We love you. Come back soon.

I love going to friends’ kenduris as I know I will be meeting my close friends where we can sit down and chat properly. Saw Jubei, Min and Melia and we had a wonderful time eating and exchanging stories. There are so many to tell and share so why don’t we do it often, eh ? Commitments, what else ? Working commitments to be exact….


Going to Cho’s house brought loads of memories. Since her house was 3 minutes walk from school, it became our port for study groups during our final year in high school. There we will troop almost daily where we will eat, relax a little before opening our books again. Sigh….

Of course her house is all too familiar to me. I was happy to see her family and sit in the memorable living room. And the memories !!

Well, of all the things I remember, it strongly reminded me of the time we decided to forego studying all together and play computer games instead. What was the choice of games for four 16 year olds ? Dig dug. He heh.

I remember all of us, Jubei, Kamalia, Cho and yours truly huddled in front of the computer, each one taking a turn, digging and fighting dragons, screaming our heads off.


Maybe it is time to resurrect our usrah, eh friends ?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A and Amelia strike again !!

Hmm…. What are we like, Amelia and I ?

Friday received an sms from my best friend, asking me whether I am interested for a Thai massage. Her colleague recommended it, she said. Well…. Both of us love the spas experience so of course I want to go.

She picked me up at 11 am and off we went to Summit. I am very weary of Summit, to tell the truth. Been only once, with Anu, Sheena and Babah of course for a movie. Didn’t like it. Not to the movie but the mall.

Anyway, got there, went up to second floor only to discover that the place was closed down. Bummer. We asked around and a lady helpfully told us of another spa on the first floor. Off we went but do not know why it was closed too but for a very funny reason, no electricity. I looked around the well lit shopping complex in wonder and at their very much lit wall lamps.

We went in circles for awhile. At the entrance of the mall was an advertisement for a RM 38 reflexology massage at the Zouk Spa. We discussed and agreed since we had come all the way for a massage, a massage we will get, no matter where..

We were greeted by a Chinese man whose speech we can’t understand. “Where are you from ?” Asked Amelia. “China..” He said and bowed… he heh bowed…really. I see, okay.

He then looked at me and said something that I couldn’t make heads and tails of, I just looked at him questioningly and said, “Eh ?” and he looked back at me awkwardly. Amelia giggled and pointed at the slippers that he had placed in front of me.

“Ohh… you want me to take of my shoes…..”

After that we were ushered into a room. From the doorway we could see it was dark and both of us hesitated. It was too dark to see anything but we could see rows and rows of bed like chairs.

“You can sit here or here or here….. Anywhere !!” Announced the guy, sweeping his hands around the room. But it was too dark, we can’t see anything and I was thinking “Which ones are clean ?”

Then I heard Amelia said, “Duduk dekat ngan pintu A. Kalau apa-apa… senang lari….” He heh… Why do we always find ourselves in this kind of situation ? Why ?

So I settled on a bed/chair near the door and Amelia sat next to me. It was really comfortable.

When the masseuses came with the buckets of water, my first request of the day was, “Please switch on more lights !!”

Ha ha….

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Decision, decisions....

Why am I at 32 found myself at a crossroad again ? I hate making decisions and would rather if life just folds and unfolds with great timing. Decisions that were made for my by circumstances and turned out magnificently.

I was at this junction twice before in my life. And both times I was forced to follow the popular opinion and not what I wanted. It turned out okay but I have always wondered what would have happened if I followed my dream.

The first one came during university. In the UK students can do a sandwich year, where after second year of university we can go into the world and get working experience for 1 year before continuing with our 3rd year. It will be reflected on our certificate, which is good I think.

Anyway I duly applied for loads of jobs and was called for an interview at Cummins Engineering in Darlington and … got the job. Can you imagine my excitement, especially thinking that the 2 hours train ride (alone) up north was not wasted ? Plus if you count the amount of worrying that I did, the many – many times my heart threatened to leave my body, particularly when I pondered and analysed my ability to speak English. I mean can I really speak in English ? Would they understand me ? To tell you the truth I admitted defeat as soon as I stepped in the waiting room because the place was flowing with other candidates. So what was my chance with all these other mat sallehs, eh ?

Imagine my surprise when a call came 2 weeks after the interview offering me the place. I was deliriously happy and was ready to accept when I saw Babah shed a tear at the prospect of us being apart.

Tambah pulak dengan my own bapak who was sekejap okay sekejap jangan. Last-last sekali he said since Darlington dekat dengan Middlesborough and he had been to Middlesborough and he warned me that there are werewolves in Middlesborough. Werewolves !! Knowing my dad that is him saying don’t go.

So I didn’t. And I have always wondered what would’ve happened if I actually went ? What kind of engineer my 1 year experience with Cummins would have made me ? A better one ? A more sought after one ? Would I have gotten a better job if I actually spent 1 year with them ?


A year after joining the previous company I worked for, they sent me to England to be trained at Merpro’s factory in Montrose Scotland then to their sales office in Bristol.

In Bristol, the MD, a lovely man that I have met on a few occasions before offered me a job, based in England as their liaison officer for South East Asia. We were having lunch at this beautiful Italian restaurant when he offered it. The company's lawyer was also present and was giving me encouraging looks. I was dumbfounded and was thoughtful during the meal. I so wanted the job, because it sounded (it still does, unfortunately) so exciting and challenging.

But in the end I declined, Actually as soon as his words sunk in, I knew that I had to decline because I know Babah wouldn’t want to leave Malaysia again.

So... say that I accepted the offers. Who will I be right now ? Will I, today be home by 6 pm and oversee my children's preparations for mengaji ? Will I be able to come home when the sun is still up, shake of my engineer's persona and become a Mum. For what is worth, do I want to come home and could only manage to see my children sleeping ? Never get to hear Adik’s chatters and Abang’s theories no matter how ridiculous they are ?

So, have I made the right choices ? I want to have it all but I can’t, can I ?

I am at that crossroad again. More money that comes with longer hours. Or a less pay packet that enables me to be home by 6.15 ? But with a small pay can I pay for my children’s university education later on ? But if I am an absent Mum, will my children ever make it to uni ?

Do I really want that Mercedes ?


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The thing I started to do way back

Today apparently there is a ceasefire. Or they are withdrawing altogether. I don’t know. I have stopped reading long time ago because I can’t stomach all the atrocities.

Last time, when I first started boycotting, I used to get a lot of crap from my fellow Muslims.

“How sure are you ?”

“Then there is nothing that you can take anymore if you go on hearsay….”

“Don’t tell me all these companies support Israel ? Where is your proof ?”

“Blah, blah, blah….”

My fellow Muslims mocking me. Usually friends. I do not know why they get so defensive. Why they mock me. Until now I do not understand. I never ask them to do the same. I think. I would think most of the time I am making a statement, like ”Yeah, I don’t drink Coke.. so no thank you……” then it starts.


I go on was-was. If you are unsure, don’t.

I try to go on the net and there are a few websites dedicated to it, giving us links to follow through and to read for ourselves and I suppose to make the conscious decision. But internet is internet, any Tom, Dick and Harry can set up a website full of lies or the truth or half truths…. I don’t know.

The trick is I suppose to differentiate between Jews and Zionists. Cannot be prejudiced as it is HARAM. Can’t support musuh Islam as that is HARAM, as well. So again I go on was-was.

Like when there is no HALAL certificate, only NO PORK AND LARD signage, I wouldn’t enter those premises because I think about the condition of the chicken and beef. So was-was and therefore don’t go.

It doesn’t matter if you do not boycott Israel linked companies (as they are now called) but do not judge my jihad. This is my jihad. I can’t go to Palestine like the wonderful Dr. Jemilah and her MERCY, but this is mine and let me be.

I am just afraid that when my time comes and Allah asks me what I have done for my fellow Muslims, I have no answer at all.

I refuse to give even 1 sen of my money to fund the massacre of the Palestinians.

PS : Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson is doing the boycotting, why can’t us their brothers and sisters ?

Friday, January 16, 2009

If you play with you children, you might get vertigo.

Well… that was what happened to me anyway.

It was last Thursday and I was still on my sejadah. I had finished my doa and noticed movements behind me. The thing was on my left then moved to my right then to my left again, advancing steadily.

My daughter, wanting to jump on me from behind. I though, have an advantage… or two. First, I was trained in this kind of game. Well trained. For years and years. And second, I taught her all she knew.

Before she could pounce on me, I jumped off the mat simultaneously twisting my body to face her, arms in hooks with a roar ready, in one fluid movement my dad would be proud of. I smiled inside when shock registered on her face and when my feet was firmly planted on the floor, her laughter erupted and the room started spinning.

Funny… I have never learned this trick. This spin the room trick.

I closed my eyes, trying to get my bearings in the whirlpool but it didn’t help. I opened my eyes and saw Babah sighed.

“Ha… pening dah ?”

I dared not nod my head, slowly descended to the bed and closed my eyes again. It would not go away. Somehow the turntable I was on was still there and I was so dizzy I started retching. Out came my lunch.

Babah applied Minyak Kapak on my head but the massaging action made my head spin faster. Out came the yellow fluid but I still did not feel any respite.

“Doctor !!” I gasped.

Babah questioned about my lunch and breakfast and lectured on angin.

DEMC as usual was full but I can’t take anymore of the car ride and decided to wait with the rest of the sick. Vomitted twice and leaned on Babah. But that man kept fidgeting so I had to lean on the seat in front of me. Lucky for me when it was my turn, I got the doctor that I like.

“Make the room stop spinning !!” I ordered as soon as I saw his beaming face.

“I am not pregnant…” I advised, waving my finger at him.

“It must be vertigo if you are not pregnant…” He said after arguing with me on the state of my womb and recounting exactly what happened. Prescribed injection and one bag of saline that would take an hour the good doctor did.

So I was ushered to a treatment room where I was duly injected and dripped… he he… Mercifully I slept after begging Allah for forgiveness. After about an hour I was woken up and felt better. Better mind you, not that it had completely gone. I still felt somewhat woozy and out of sorts. Babah collected a tipsy wife.

After a week, I could still feel the effects. I still had to take the ubat pening everyday.

No sudden movements, okay friends ? It must be our age.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Sambal belacan

As promised, today I will narrate the my brother and sambal belacan story.

I hated my brother when I was small. In fact I hated him yesterday and I am sure if I see him later, I would hate him again. Why do older brothers makes you 10, spotty and ready for a fight ?

Anyway, in Malay society, adik is adik and abang or kakak is abang or kakak. The transition of you ordering your elder siblings about with “Please switch on the light for me (with 8 siblings I was forever switching on the lights for my younger siblings and when I thought I was finally getting a rest from that, out came my children, ordering me to “Tolong bukak lampu” again) and “Nak basuh tangan” came swiftly because suddenly they were telling you to “Please go to my room and get my book” etc. And don’t know why you just obey. You made your protest sure, but you still obey.

Maybe the possibility of nobody taking you to the shops or nobody to teman you in the darkened room was the motivation, I don’t know but you do as you are told.

Anyway, one day my brother was eating his lunch and I was passing by him when he said, “Tolong buat kan aku sambal belacan ?” We must have fought that day or last week, I don’t remember, but I do remember replying “Buat sendirilah !!”

A few minutes after that as I was climbing the stairs (the stairs play a major role in my family life doesn’t it ?), I heard the familiar sound of pounding. I looked into the kitchen and saw my brother, in a squat pounding chillies on the kitchen floor with a pestle (lesung batu lah tuh), face contorted in concentration.

I went into my room, closed the door, hugged my knees to my chest and played the picture over and over again with remorse.

I must have really learned my lesson about refusing family’s request for food because I have no other painful memory involving it.

PS: Hmmm…. I do have another one actually. My smaller brother’s requested for tuna sandwiches was refused because he asked for some right after lunch. Sometimes sandwiches reminded me of him asking “Buatkan sandwich ?” Why do these people ask for food from me ?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

It reminded me of....

Yesterday as I was putting away my sejadah, I mulled over what to have for dinner. Babah and I met for lunch and had excellent pizzas with generous soups (not Pizza Hut so there was no disturbing after taste after the meal). I had starchy breakfast so what else is there for dinner ?

My mind fleeted from having nothing at all (because was still full at that time) to roti canai then settled on French toasts (roti teloq kata bapak aku) then went off to other food again when I took stock of the greasiness and fat content.

Anyway the thought of French toasts reminded me of an incident that happened way back, when I was little but… well big enough to already help my Mum in the kitchen. Now, when Mum makes French toasts she made it like Chinese shrimp toast. Instead of shrimp, she covers one side of the bread with minced meat. It is utterly delicious. I do not know if every house does this, but we accompany our beefy French toast with a chilli-onion-vinegar dip. The crunchy toast laden with beef, coupled with a tangy hot vinegary dip explodes in your mouth. Truly… he he…

So one day, ages ago, for some reason Mum didn’t make the dip. Bapak was at the dining table, a plate of toasts in front of him. My sister Ita and myself were climbing up the stairs when Bapak said, “Can one of you make the kuah cicah (dip) for me ?”

His mistake was not naming names. He let us decide who was going to do it and therefore war broke out.

“Engkaulah buat !! (You do it !)” Said my sister.

“No ! You do it. I’m tired… blah blah blah….”

As we fought, Bapak looked at us quietly. I stole a look and saw his face was in amusement.

I stopped.

I will remember this forever.

He smiled kindly at us and said, “Your papa (he always addresses himself as papa if he wants his children to see reason. I hate it. It’s like my mom’s resigned “Suka hati kau lah” or “Up to you” ) wants to eat this bread your mummy makes with kuah cuka (vinegar dip). Sedapnya (delicious). Dengan cili sikit, bawang sikit… oooo bestnya (With a little onion, chillies… yummy…). Sapa yang boleh buat untuk (who can do this for) your old papa ni ?”

I stormed to the kitchen, yanked open the fridge and started the dip. Because of my huge ego, I slammed the bowl down in front of him. He in return grinned inanely at me and said “Thank you, girl..”

Believe me the regret came soon, much soon after. Love ya, papa.
PS : This entry reminds me of the episode of sambal belacan and my brother. Next entry, yeah ?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Coach baru

My friends know my Sunday schedule. By 7.30 I will be at the courts in ITM playing tennis with my children’s coach while my babies do some tennis related exercises. I love my Sunday morning exercise. I love what it is doing to my game, although I do sometimes ask, why am I doing this, vamping up my game. Who am I trying to impress with my serves and spins ? Whatever.

I like the coach, too. Coach Anuar was trained by cousin, Izam who in turn was trained by his dad, my uncle Pak Mat. In fact most of us were trained by my formidable in the court uncle (but luar court he is the sweetest so and so around… he he… Sayang Pak Mat…). Therefore I was rather perplexed with Coach Anuar’s sunny and easy-going attitude. He sometimes had to force his errant students to get up their butts and start running or put their racquets into action.

But because of that very attitude, the students kept coming. He didn’t make it hard for them, he made it fun and for that I admire him. His father assisted him, a nice man with a very kind face who loves children. He knows how to make them do things that he wants. In fact he was the one who made Elsa joined the team ! Elsa had no say in it what-so-ever, suddenly found herself running and swinging with the rest of the big people. Ha ha….

In short I really like the family.

However 2 weeks ago Anuar left a bomb. He is leaving for a teacher’s training school in Penang that very week and will be introducing his replacement that very Sunday. I was worried for the children but also worried for me. Will the new coach agree to play with me ? Would he be kind and considerate like him ?

“Have you asked Izam to recommend a substitute ?” I asked.

The line was bad for some reason and I thought he said Izam is still trying to find somebody (for the record the tennis class in ITM was initiated by my cousin Izam who is a Sports Science lecturer there. It is a very good effort as I see all these children doing something to fill their days away from the telly).

Sunday came and I was feeling sad that Anuar was leaving, although for a year only but he is a good guy so he will be sorely missed. When I got there, Anuar was there first as usual minus the new coach. So we played and then at 8.30 am Anuar said the new coach has arrived.

I looked at him and he looked familiar, a tall guy with a sweet face. He looked young though so I asked Anuar if he is any good. Anuar gave me a puzzled look. “Mestilah….” He said and before he could say anything else, the new coach was in front of us.

Anuar’s introduction was a surprising, “Kenal kan ?” Hmm…. Yeah, I have seen him around the courts sometimes… but with whom… ? Maybe that is why he looked so familiar… Also he looked like someone I know from ages ago… Someone I used to…

Hang on…

“Sedara kan ?” Asked Anuar. The boy was taken aback.

“Ini sepupu bapak kau kan ?” Ya Rabbi. Anak si Izam… No wonder he looked so much like Izam did when he was that age.

“Ini Huzaifah kak…. Eii… tak pernah jumpa ke ?” Bukan tak pernah, jarang….
Tapi yang segan… anak sedara jadi coach makcik ? Elok2 coach panggil kakak ni nak kena panggil Cik Ala. Sabar ke dia nak mengajar aku ni ?

Last Sunday I woke up with a determination to cancel the class. But … dah sedara malu lah pulak. What would my Pak Mat say ? But what would Pak Mat say when he hears his grandson is coaching his niece, if he haven’t heard of it yet, that is.

Huzaifah was overly polite although my first 2 balls (okaylah 5….. ha ha) went everywhere. I could almost hear him think “Aduih, teruknya makcik aku ni….” Waa….
But after a few minutes he was able to gauge the level of my ability and we fell into an easy rally. But strict he is like his father and his grandfather. Anuar only plays with me and telling me where I went wrong. But this guy actually treated me like the other kids by marking a square space and tell me to aim all my balls there.

He didn’t give the kiddies a chance either. But he is a good change and I can see that we will have a good thing going on here.

He he…

PS : Anuar will be gone for a year and he promised that he will come back every holiday. Yeay !

Monday, January 12, 2009

Tammy Mathews Childers

I had the best surprise yesterday. When I accessed my gmail account, I got a notification from Facebook informing me that I have a message from a Tammy Childers.

I do not know any Tammy Childers but I know a Tammy Mathews and I quickly click on the message. It was a good day for me yesterday. My pen-pal Tammy from Tennessee, USA found me. After losing each other for at least 9 years (she knew I was in England but didn’t know about Umar… so that was probably right), she typed my name on Facebook and found me.

I quickly replied enthusiastically and while I was still surfing the net, she messaged me and we had a wonderful one hour conversation via FB messenger.

Thank you, Facebook. Thank you, technology. Thank you, Allah SWT.

Tammy and I became pen pals when I was 13 and she was 12. I would think almost everybody in my age bracket joined in the pen-pal round the world club (kena bayar RM 5 yek ?). One day a letter from the States came for me, my dad hollered for me to come down and he showed me a letter (opened … that is a federal offense, mister) addressed to me from the States. He gave me the envelope and started reading the letter out loud, my family gathered around.

I was confused, looking at the envelope while trying to hear my dad read (like I don’t know how to). In the letter she introduced herself, and her wish to be my pen-pal and she stated her interests. That was the interesting part because I remember this so well. My dad was reading yeah, “I like books and…. boys…” Laughter erupted. My father was laughing like mad.

“Girl, she likes boys !!” And Wa Ha Ha Ha he went.

I snatched the letter from him, left my very amused family and locked myself in the room and read and re-read and re-read the letter. Then I wrote a reply and the rest is history. She enclosed a picture of herself, a very pretty girl in cheerleading outfits that I still have.

She moved house once and then I suppose I moved to England and apparently we were still in communication then. Then after a hiatus of incommunicado I wrote to her again but my letter was returned. I wrote again, thinking I had the address wrong and it too was returned.

I think about her on and off and had been quite sad that we lost touch. I suppose because the pen-pal club was suppose to find a similar minded friend for us and they were spot on with Tammy and myself.

So now I found her, and today I am giddy with happiness.

PS : Tammy, they weren’t laughing because you like boys, but being Asian, dads are not supposed to know that they even exist so you announcing how much you like them was sort of funny because I should be in trouble. Sort of like my secret is out… I suppose it is one of those you have to be there joke…. Ha ha…

PS: Now I want to find my other pal, Emma Crouch from Wales. She is not exactly a pen-pal because we have met each other before we started writing to each other.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Today's ramblings...

I have so many things to say but… well…

First of all, I want to capture my sorrow for the Travolta family on the death of their son. My sympathy is overwhelming especially when I saw the picture of John and his late son gazing at each other adoringly.

I respect men who are not afraid to show his love towards their sons. Father and daughter are different but father and son’s relationship is a bit at arm’s length isn’t it ? My father still kisses me, a woman of 32 but I haven’t seen him kissing my brothers in a loooong time. Women are different, we have no sense of macho-ness or masculinity to protect so men who are not afraid to wear pink and who could look at his son with absolute admiration is beautiful in my book.

And then the picture of John resting his head on his son’s shoulder and Jett had his arm around his father’s head while he kisses him made my cry. The love is so evident and I am so sorry. I could not imagine the pain.

Secondly, just want to say that fitnah hurts. No wonder Allah SWT said fitnah is worse than murder. To the victim of fitnah, sadness envelopes him, uneasiness came knocking and anger will soon come. All this negativity robs him of sleep.

He would start to doubt himself surely, thinking did he really did what they say he did ? Why is his memory, his recollection of that particular incident different from the accuser ? Was it his choice of words ? Was it his face that betrayed his real feelings ? What were his real feelings ?

Sleep eluded him.

Then came the plotting. Plotting to get the truth of what really happened. He is lucky if there were witnesses. However he is in another dilemma. Should he really make a big deal out of this ? Would the witness keep their conversation private ? What if the witness informs the accuser ? Does he want that to happen ? Is confrontation good ? Will it solve the problem ? What if the witness sides with the accuser. Allahu Akhbar. Allahu Akhbar. Allahu Akhbar.

Sembahyang Istikharah. Itu saja jawapannya dan kemudian bersabar. Allah makbulkan doa orang yang teraniaya.