Monday, June 30, 2008

Silat Pengantin & Nasi Lemak

I attended a wedding in Kluang last Saturday. It was a kampung wedding – which was rare - so I really looked forward to it.. until this terrible migraine came which obviously depleted my eagerness. Gosh! It was brutally terrible...

The morning sun was on the passenger’s side all the way to Kluang, so you could imagine how bad my migraine became. Sleeping didn’t help, so I took two tablets to ease the pain. Didn’t work... so I was like Cruella D’Ville when I reached Kluang. Grrr.. Here comes Mrs Grumpy, Grouchy and Crabby! The weather was so hot that my left eye was shedding tears... My God, what was wrong with me?

Anyway, I managed to ‘mask’ my uneasiness. Smile Ja... people are looking... Don’t embarrass the family...

So I went on snapping some pix. Have you seen a Silat Pengantin? Well, I was lucky coz the groom’s Grandfather performed it. Managed to capture it here.

And here’s the Kompang.

By then, I was feeling rather dizzy. And felt like vomiting. I guess it was the migraine and the REALLY HOT weather. Once we reached my MIL’s house, it started to rain. Somebody mentioned.. Oh.. agaknya tadi pakai Bomoh Hujan.. itu sebab panas gila tu... Yeah.. maybe!

I had my rest. Took the shower and felt refreshed. The girls, especially my Hanis, were unperturbed by the hot weather or the excitement of the kenduri. My migraine was gone and my sole purpose for that evening was to hunt for the yummy nasik lemak at the Kluang Station (or currently known as Kluang Rail Coffee). I’m talking about the Original Kluang Station at the Kluang Railway Station, not the ones in shopping malls. The Nasik Lemak bungkus was to die for and I couldn’t wait to devour at least 3 packets. Talk about gluttony!

But I was unlucky. Again. It was closed. Again. Only 25 minutes too late. Ayah managed to persuade the guys to sell him the Coffee Packets. Got 4 packs for RM10 each. Buah tangan for his office friends.

The lady in the car thought I was taking her picture. She didn't know I was actually nursing my sadness with this pix. Dapat ambil gambar sign pun jadilah....

I was very frustrated. Terbayang-bayang the nasik lemak bungkus... To pacify my frustrations, Ayah brought us to the Kluang Rail Coffee shop, located somewhere in town. We had the Railway Float, Kopi Susu and the Butter-Kaya buns there.

Oklah... but I still crave for the ORI ones... Alahaii...

Thursday, June 26, 2008


I’ve been an unofficial counselor to my friends since my high school days... And during those days it would forever be about relationships with boyfriends, bestfriends, boyfriends, bestfriends, studies, boyfriends and boyfriends... Talking about varieties :P

University days – not so much counseling there. My high school and AAD friends were scattered all around the globe and in those days only snail mails and telephones were the means of communications. Once in a while, I’d be getting late night phone calls and letters in my mailbox. Some sob stories here and there… which were mostly manageable.

Last night my maid Nani confided in me about the problem she’s having with her eldest son. Idul is 21 and has a girlfriend around his age. And very pregnant. With his child.

Since they’re from different religions, the girl’s willing to convert. Nani’s families & relatives in Indon have been trying to marry them off .. but the girl’s parents hated the idea. Despite umpteenth persuasions made, they still didn’t yield.

Nani was afraid they’d abort the baby. She warned the couple not to commit another sin.

I’ll take care of my grandchild. Just don’t kill the baby.

And now she’s uncertain about the fate of the unborn child. What if they decide to end the pregnancy?

Frankly, I didn’t know what to say to her. I just told her to ask her relatives to keep on pressuring the parents to allow the couple to get married. At least, for the sake of the baby.

Nani was worried, that I know. But it would’ve affected her even more if the girl were to be her daughter. Then the whole thing would be different. Chaos would only be used to describe it mildly...

Then I thought about GIRLS. My girls and other parents’ daughters. There’s only so much you can do with your children. Education - worldly or spiritually – love, protection and all kinds of supports can be served to them on the platter, but in the end, it’s still up to them to decide for themselves.

Teringat pepatah Melayu ”Menjaga lembu sekandang lebih mudah dari menjaga seorang anak perempuan..”


Monday, June 23, 2008

Our Flying Guest

Today’s a sad day for the kids. The bird that they were taking care of since Saturday evening died this morning. Until it was buried, we still didn’t know the species of the bird.

I was getting into the car to fetch the girls from their taekwondo class on Saturday when I saw this bird near my car tire. It was soaked obviously due to the heavy rain earlier and the feathers were glued to its body. I asked my maid, Nani, to wrap it in a towel and feed it. After getting the girls, we went to a nearby petshop to get a birdcage. The girls were very excited of nursing the bird back to its normal self.

But we have to free the bird when it’s well enough to fly ok...

Alaaa Ibu... came the simultaneous replies....

Anyway, this was not the first time a bird came into our possession... the first was in January when this bird flew into the pantry and got itself inflicted by the wall fan. We let it go after putting some ointment on the bloodied spot near its beak.

Ok, back to the second bird. It was all black and wet and we were hoping that it was not a crow. It looked pretty hideous... This pix was taken on Saturday.

Yesterday, when the feathers were dry, we could see the colors - grey and brown. Still we had no clue of the species. By evening, the feathers were more visible and all dried up except for the area around the neck that still looked slightly wet... And this was taken on Sunday.

I told the girls... Tomorrow evening we have to let it go, ok? The bird will be 100%recovered by then.

But the bird died anyway. The girls were devastated when they learnt of the news. I guess the bird was sick. The thunderstorm must have affected it somehow.

Hhhmmmhhh.. RIP dear bird...

Sunday, June 22, 2008

My Maid, a Thief - Part II

I still had a bad feeling about Tini. I knew she didn’t tell me the whole truth. I went to Haziq & Husna’s school straight from the office on Friday. The principal wasn’t there, so I just talked to the school maid instead.

Can you tell me about Tini when she’s at school? Does she eat here? She didn’t bring food from home, and she eats only in the evenings... so I guess you give her lunch here.

Tidak, Ibu. Tini selalu keluar kedai beli makanan..

With whose money?

Dia kata duitnya sendiri..

So that was the reason why she refused to bring food from home. Everyday there are food for breakfast on the table. The children eat before going to school. Even Ayah eats breakfast at home. Only Tini doesn’t. Why? Because she likes to spend my money (by stealing) to buy her own food at the stall and kedai mamaks near the school.

I left there fuming.

I was mad at her. So she didn’t tell the whole truth on Thursday night.

I told Ayah about it at 11 pm. And Ayah said we had to settle it right there and then.

The stolen amount doesn’t matter. Whether it’s RM1, RM100 or even RM1000. A thief is a thief. When there’s no trust, it’s hard to live with that person.

Ibu went to Haziq’s school and they told her you always go out to buy food. Last night you told us you only went out ONCE. You lied to us last night Tini. Who gives you the permission to leave the school compound? You’re to take care of Haziq and Husna, not enjoying yourself with friends. And whose money did you use to buy things. Tell us the truth Tini!!!!

Tidak, Bapak.

Don’t lie!! We trusted you last night. You think we’re fools?? Whose money did you use??? CAKAP!!

Tini ambil sedikit-sedikit...

What?? How many times???

Sikit-sikit la... seringgit sana, sepuluh ringgit sini...

Ya Allah... you’ve been stealing from us Tini… You just worked here only like 3 months... but you’ve been taking money from us... How could you Tini?? I don’t think we can live with you anymore. Hati kamu jahat!

Saya janji tak buat lagi...

We can’t trust you anymore! We’ll send you back to the agency – rather than having you around for another 2 years..

Tini janji, Bapak, Ibu.. Tini tak buat lagi...

Ja, we gotta bring her to the police station. We gotta turn her in. Before she steals again, we might as well get rid of her and apply for a new maid…

Tolong Bapak, Ibu... (now she started crying..)

I went upstairs and changed into my jeans and wore my tudung. By this time she cried harder..

Tolong Tini Ibu!!

Ja, I think we’ve to call the police here. I don’t think we can get her into the car...

I called the police and passed the phone to Ayah to do the talking. I could hear her running up the stairs to me, so I ran into the master bedroom. And locked the door. My five girls were in there watching the DVD. The volume was turned up so that my girls couldn’t hear her cryings and pleadings.

Tolong Tini Ibu, jangan hantar Tini ke polisi... Tini janji tak buat lagi...

She kept a vigil outside my door and keep on pleading .. Ibu... Tolong Tini Ibu... Ibu...

A real life drama.

It was like half an hour later the policemen came. Her sobbing became harder. She grabbed my leg when I opened the door to go down. I ignored her... be strong Ja, you have to do this. It’s for our own good..

The two men in blue were in the main living room when I came down. Tini - who was sobbing – was asked to sit on the carpet. Q&A took place. The nice policemen weren’t harsh at all.

They then informed us that it was up to us whether or not to make a report.

Pulling them aside - Can’t you put her one-night in the lockup – that would teach her a lesson. For her to repent.

We can’t do that. We can’t simply put one in the lockup without you filing a report.

We want to scare her. To prove that we’re not bluffing. Take her for a ride, maybe?

So Tini was brought into the car... Follow us, or we’ll use the gari (acah saja tu..) The three of them left. It was nearly 1 am.

We waited for her to come back. And when she did, she was wailing.... She grabbed Ayah’s hands and apologized profusely.... Maaf Tini Bapak.. And came running to me and took my hands.... Maaf Tini Ibu... Beri Tini peluang sekali lagi...

No wonder she was bawling. Tuan HXXXXXXX and Tuan HXXXX told us that Tini was brought to the police station and the lockup. What she saw there made her scared. Really, really scared.

So mission accomplished. I hope that experience taught her a lesson. We’ll see how she’s going to better herself from now on.

After all, everybody deserves a second chance, right?

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Happy Birthday Kak Anim!

Kak Anim – HAPPY 44th BIRTHDAY!!

To my Sister,
Who’s my friend
Who gives me a hand to hold
And always has an ear to lend...

To my Sister,
Who’s always there by my side
Whom I hold so close to my heart
And always share my ups and downs...

To my friend with whom I shall never part
Wishing you all the joy & hoping all your dreams come true!
Happy Birthday!

My Maid, a Thief - Part I

Thursday morning (19 June) when I was wearing my tudung to go to the office, my maid Nani told me that the gas cylinder was empty and she’d used the spared cylinder to cook breakfast earlier. I had given her RM50 a few weeks ago to pay for the gas when the gasman delivers. But when she checked the container in the display cabinet, the money was not there!

I called my other maids Tini and Sunik… Sunik quickly said that she didn’t take it. Tini, the youngest and the latest addition to the household didn’t say anything.

It was that easy to know who was the culprit.

I trusted my guts whenever I dealt with my maids then and I trusted my instinct now as well. I had all experiences regarding Pembantu Rumah Indonesia. You name it, I’ve been thru it.

Both the other two maids have been working with me for over a year. Tini just came about 3 months ago.

I kept saying to them that they have to find the money no matter what. I don’t allow thieves in my house. You’re my family and you steal from me and that’s a wicked thing to do.

While driving Tini and dear Haziq and Husna to school (Tini accompanies them at school), I kept on repeating my disappointment with the ‘thief’. She didn’t say anything. She cracked her fingers all the way to school. That was odd. Somebody was nervous obviously…

I called Nani up and asked her to check Tini’s belongings. She called later to tell me that she found RM8 in her drawer. She shouldn’t be having the money, I’ve paid her 6-months salary to the agency, so it will be a while when she’ll be getting her salary from me.

But the RM50 was nowhere in sight.

So I told Nani to watch her closely when she came back from school.

And later I got another call from Nani saying that the money was in the display cabinet, but in another container, way at the bottom! Just as I expected!

Urrghh…I just couldn’t wait to get home and confront her.

Reached home that evening and I summoned her to the main living room. Went straight to the point and told her I knew she took my money… She said she didn’t do it. I screamed at her ( I think I could hear broken glasses somewhere) but she didn’t budge.

When I cooled down a bit, I said to her that once she stepped foot in my home, she became my family... Saya dan Bapak pengganti ibubapa kamu Tini...tapi kenapa kamu mencuri dari saya?

She cried – but still no confession.

I told her that this was my wrath, you haven’t seen Bapak’s.

But there was no screaming when Ayah came home. He simply called the three maids. And he asked Hanna to bring the Al-Quran. Saya mahu ketiga-tiga kamu bersumpah dengan Al-Quran ini.. tapi bermula dengan kamu Tini.

As simple as that – no screaming, no threatening words.

Tini confessed .. Saya yang curi, Pak.

And he left her at that.

After having our dinner, we called her again and asked her why did she take the money.
You have everything, Tini, You eat what we eat. We bought your bras, panties and even your Kotex. You wanted Rexona, we obliged. The whole pantry is full of food and you may take whatever you want... So, isn’t that enough for you?

Entah, saya cuma ambil...

Is there anything else you’ve taken from us?

Tidak, Cuma RM50 itu... itupun saya sudah pulangkan...

Any more confessions to make?

Tidak, itu aja.

So we believed her. Although we didn’t know how can we live with her another 2 years knowing that she’s a thief.

From now on, we have to watch our belongings. Hanna and Hasya have to change their habit of littering their rooms with coins and RM1 notes.

And I couldn't help the feeling of uncertainties ...

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A Strange Larva

Have you ever seen this caterpillar? This guy was feeding on my 6-foot mango tree leaf the other day. I saw the droppings but couldn’t find the source.

When my children and I looked closely then only we saw it! Look at the camouflage. It was a near-perfect.

A sudden itchiness on our skin was straightaway felt. Geli geleman when we observed it closely. Mr Grissom would love to see this larva. It has just emerged from its first cycle of being an egg. Now it was in the second stage before going to the third stage being a pupa (chrysalis). Then only this guy will emerge from the pupa into an imago (butterfly).

Probably this green thing will turn into a handsome imago when its time is ripe. But we’d never see it turning into one, would we? What can I say... I love my mango tree more... so sue me :)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Be polite, ask the owner please....

We have this nice creeper plant where we got from my cousin in Tunjang, Kedah. The soft stem branch was just around 6 inches long when I first planted it a year ago. The leaves are similar to that of betel/sirih's. The plant stood out because of its uniqueness.

I've given to people who've asked for it. Just a cut at the end of it, thrust it into the soil, and you'll see it growing like there's no tomorrow.

And I've given a lot of my other plants to my friends and relatives... Knowing that somewhere out there, another tree/plant is planted, is enough to bring satisfaction to me. Happy tau...

But yesterday evening, came this couple walking their two dogs. The side garden door was left open. I guess they could see us inside. The wife came and patahkan like two of the branches. Ayah saw this... and walked to the lady and said something like... "Why didn't you ask the house owner?" She was like termalu for being caught in the act and said "I thought there's nobody.."

Hello.. can't you see the gate open.. with my maids and children there?

Anyway, I guess Ayah's always nicer than me.. so he just said..."Next time asklah, don't just take. We don't mind actually".

Some people just do what they want.. regardless of whose property they're trespassing..


Sunday, June 15, 2008


My dear Ayah (hubby) – Abang, you’re the best Ayah. Our six children will vow to that. Although our special ones - Haziq and Husna can’t speak that out loud, I know deep inside their wandering minds, you’re always there on the pedestal.

These cards and gifts are from your children, dear... :)

You’re a remarkable husband and a great father. Many would ask how did we do it. I mean with having two special children and another four young children… I’d tell them that we are what we are. Allah has given us Haziq and Husna for us to care because WE ARE special parents! Remember Allah gives us the challenges to face not because we're weak, but because we're strong enough to face whatever He bestows...

So, thank you for being YOU :)

Dan untuk AYAH (my father), Selamat Hari Bapa untuk AYAH!

This pix was taken on October 14, 1963... when AYAH was a young man of 26. Now AYAH is a grandfather to like 20 something grandkids. AYAH, I guess you've gotten everything you want in life... you've taught thousands of kids since you were 14 and see most of them become important people to the society, you've written countless stories, Pantuns, Syairs and books, you've become the winner of International Sayembara Mengarang Pantun, of Malaysian Tokoh Sastera Warisan and most of all, AYAH, you have the most precious thing of all - MAK.

AYAH, despite our differences in a lot of things, you're always there in my heart.

To all the Ayahs/Abahs/Daddies/Papas/Walids/Bapaks/Fathers - HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!

Friday, June 13, 2008

My dear Hanna

I was doing some gardening two days ago when Hanna came out of the house - smiling ear to ear -
“Ibu.. Ibu.. Berat Hanna dah turun satu kilo! Dah 2 kali Hanna timbang tau…”
I said “Bagusla.. Ke penimbang tu rosak kot..”
“Taklah Ibu, Hanna dah dua kali (lain hari) dah timbang.. dok macam tu jugak”.
My maid Nani laughed and said “Alaa… Hanna tu kalau makan roti, kanan-kiri poket ada roti..” and burst out laughing.

And Hanna walked away… she was obviously hurt by that remark. Especially when it was said in front of her other siblings and maids.

Hanna’s my third child. I remember feeling the hot gush of tears coming down my cheeks when she uttered the word “Ibu”. Although she was my third baby, she was the first to call me “Ibu”. My first two babies, Haziq and Husna are special children… thus they can’t speak. So you can imagine how I felt when Hanna first said the word. That first time. Nothing could describe how I felt at that moment… It felt so wonderful inside…. For a second there, it was like the world stopped moving.

Having an older brother and older sister who are ‘special’, before Hasya was born, Hanna had no other sibling she could talk to – so she stuck to me like glue whenever I was at home.

Hanna’s going to be 11 in September. She had her menses when she was 9 yrs3mos. So you can understand where her sensitivities sprouted from. She’s tall for her age, wears a size 7 shoes and a size 27 for her Levi’s. A bit on the plump side, but a fit body, thanks to her swimming, squash, badminton and sometimes table-tennis sessions.

When she sat there at the porch, I knew she was sad. I slowly walked to her, sat on the floor at her feet and asked, “Hanna, do you like yourself?”
No answer. The welled-up tears came running down like a faucet.
“Hanna, what do you think of yourself? Do you think you’re ok, atau gemuk sikit atau gemuk sangat? You tell me”.
“Gemuk sikit” came the answer. Air mata berjurai-jurai. She tried to wipe the tears but couldn’t cope with the torrential rain.
“Do you think you’re pretty?”
A shake…. My God… this really broke my heart…
“Hanna, look at me….do you know that you’re pretty? Ramai dah orang cakap Hanna cantik. Cuba tengok gambar Hanna… You’re pretty even tho’ you think you’re ‘gemuk sikit’ “.
A smile… that was enough for me. At least she believed what I said.
“See.. cantik pun senyum tu… so, if you think you’re ‘gemuk sikit’, you have to stop taking breads after having your meals…boleh tak?”
“Tapi Hanna suka roti tu…”
“I know you like ‘em… but you can reduce the amount… kalau Hanna nak makan dua, just take one. Kalau nak tambah nasi dua kali, tambah sekali saja instead of two...that’s how nak kurangkan makan... Boleh tak?”
“Wipe your tears, ok…my pretty girl...Go mandi, pastu sembahyang..”
Hanna smiled…. And wiped her tears. I gave her a hug. I watched her walked with Hasya and Haifa into the house.

The most amazing thing was – Hasya (my 9yo) and Haifa (6yo) were there during the conversation. And they just sat there listening without uttering a word. I was afraid they’d make fun of their big sister crying. Guess I was wrong… my girls are becoming more understanding persons now...

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Back to Nature

Out of the blues, Ayah had this urge to buy a tent. Yes, a t.e.n.t. It all started when he read an ad in The Star on a new shop in Bangsar selling outdoor things. This ‘back-to-nature’ man thought it would be good to set up a tent there next to the gazebo in the garden.

So, last Thursday (June 5th)– off we went to Bangsar. Imagine us trying to find a parking place in Bangsar at NOON. Urrgh… After circling around the blocks for like 300 times, we decided to park at Bangsar Village 2.

For Orang Kampungs like us – Bangsar Village 2 was sooo not us! Even the girls didn’t particularly like the atmosphere… they said it was too classy… Hehe… now you know where we go for our shoppings…1-Utama, Subang Parade and the likes tu betul-betul sesuai dengan jiwa raga.. :) Anyway, Baby Hanis liked these lanterns which were hung from the ceiling so much that I decided to snap some pix for her.

She especially liked the butterflies… Cool huh?

We found the shop. It was called “Outdoor” (eh ye ke?). Most of the things sold were Coleman’s. Ayah found the tent that he wanted. Cost us RM670 after discount.. at least we got RM9!

After a tawaf around Bangsar Village 2, all of us could hear our tummies growling. Decided to have our lunch at 1-Utama (see.. I told you!). Headed for Italiannies and had a wonderful packaged lunch which consisted of one appetizer, 3 main dishes and one desert for a mere RM89! They were all served in enormous portions. It was called 'The More the Merrier’ or something like that.

Garlic Chicken Pizza
Grilled Chicken Milanese

Mussels Diavolo tinggal dua ketul..

Try this out.... Eh.. Free ad for Italiannies lah pulak.. :)

Friday, June 6, 2008

Fuel Price Hike

When I got a text message from Mak in Alor Setar saying that the petrol price was going to increase the next day, the first picture that came to mind was the long queues at all gas stations that night. Ayah said that I’d lose more since it’d take hours in the car, burning up the petrol, before my turn would come to fill in the gas. I guess he was right… One trip to save a few bucks wouldn’t compensate for the future trips that would’ve to be made to the gas stations for endless reasons.

What I’m more concerned at this moment is the after effects of the price increase. Everything, (and I mean everything) would cost more from yesterday onwards. I believe my children’s school transporter will ask for a higher fee. The green nasi lemak that we’d usually get at our favorite restaurant will cost more. Hanna’s favorite sideroad donuts’ price will also be affected. And how about the teh tarik, roti canai and nasi kandar... just to name a few?

One trip to Giant or Mydin or Cold Storage would see me (or Ayah) signing a credit card slip of around RM500. And there’d usually be 3 to 4 trips in a month. Pasar Tani for our non-vegetarian tummies would be around RM270 – that - times 2 in a month. That only is for the food on the table. How about the fees for Quran, piano, squash, swimming and taekwondo lessons? Don’t forget the trips to send the children to those places? And the gas that has to be filled in the two tanks before making those trips?

**sigh** Shallow-pockets like us will definitely feel the burning...

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Sebutir Nasi Sejuta Keinsafan

This was in my mailbox today:

Datuk Aziz Sattar Production in collaboration with Menara Kuala Lumpur will be organizing the “Sebutir Nasi Sejuta Keinsafan” program in order to ease the burden of Cyclon Nargis victims. More than 100 celebrities from Malaysia and Singapore will be attending this charity event, which will be held as follows:

Date : 7 - 8 June 2008

Time : 10.00 am – 10.00 pm

Venue : Tower Terrace, Menara Kuala Lumpur

On that day, many fascinating activities have been planned such as auction of food prepared by famous artist, product and garment auctions and other exciting activities.

You are invited to the charity event to support this cause. For more information on this event, you may contact Chef Hj Yang Jamil at 016 653 2425 or Suhaily Sahad, Media Executive, Menara Kuala Lumpur at 013 634 7164.

My heart goes out to all Cyclon Nargis victims...

Monday, June 2, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Finally, we managed to watch Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull yesterday at Cineleisure. Harrison Ford looked so much older in the film but hey, he started off with Raiders of the Lost Ark back in 1981, when I was in Form 3! My God…that was like… what, 27 years ago?

It’s a wonderful movie to watch, especially to a diehard fan like me. I was happy to see Karen Allen back with Indy. She was featured in Raiders of the Lost Ark as Marion Ravenwood and now she was back, with Indy’s son…

If you love Indy or Harrison Ford, don’t miss this film!