Sunday, March 29, 2009

THE DEATH OF PRIVACY

We are definitely paying a high price for modernization. There is no more privacy left in this this world since everything we do can be monitored, recorded or worse, published and spread for the whole world to see and judge. At the same time, the public can be quite harsh and judgmental when it comes to seeing what we don't normally do when we are in the public eye. I am not talking about what we do in public but the things that we do in the confines of our own homes. How safe is safe and how private is private nowadays? With the advancement in technology, we don't truly own ourselves and our lives anymore. Our privacy has gone down the drain. We don't even need to be a celebrity to have our pictures or videos taken by others (sometimes in very embarrassing situations) and uploaded to the Internet. How much of what we say or do really belongs to us? Not much I would say. Nowadays, whenever we buy something online, we are actually letting others peek into our lives. Every time we use our identity cards, we are exposing ourselves. There is nowhere we can run to or hide from the prying eyes of others (unless you want to live as a hermit in the middle of nowhere). It is as if you are living in a house with glass walls. Nothing much we do now can be considered as private and personal anymore. Welcome to the end of privacy!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

CIKGU SITI

Remember my previous entry about my having tea with Kay and Shah at a 'mamak' restaurant and something happened? Well, here's the story. We were happily chatting away when we were suddenly approached by this 'bag lady'. She was wearing a dirty t-shirt, 'kain pelekat', blacks socks and sandals. She also had a bag which she slung over her left shoulder and a pair of glasses perched high on her head. Unlike others of her kind whom I've met many times before, she did not smell. In fact, she was quite clean. Like most people (or is it just me?), I have a tendency to look away or pretend not to notice or even walk away every time I see a bag lady or a drunk approaching me. So imagine my surprise (and Shah's too) when my friend Kay, started talking to this lady and asking all sorts of questions. She even asked her to sit with us at the table! Out of curiosity, I asked Kay if she knew this lady and who she was. Kay told me the lady was her former neighbour and also a former high school teacher who somehow had succumbed to emotional pressure and stress. Upon our asking, she (the bag lady) started relating her story to us. Somehow, her stories only revolved around pleasant moments in her life and she tried really hard to block the sad memories from her mind. We tried to extract the sad experiences out of her but she refused to tell. Kay,who knew her story, told us what actually happened and why she became that way. It was definitely a sad and tragic story. Shah and I really did not know what to say. We were totally speechless and numbed. I don't think it is appropriate for me to tell her story here since it is a very private matter. What makes me sad is how she ends up like this because of love. Love is supposed to nurture and not destroy but looking at this lady, it is clear that love has taken a toll on her. The emotional burden that she has is too much for her (or even anyone) to take. From Kay, we know that she owns a house but now, it has become a place where she stores all sorts of trash. She also has grown-up children who are willing to take her in but she refuses. It seems like she wants to live in her own world without anybody's interference. I wonder what will become of her and I pray that love will heal all her wounds.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

CIK YA'S PASSING AND FOOART'S BIRTHDAY

I don't even know how to start this entry but I have to. I know I will feel guilty for the rest of my life if I don't write something about the things which happened today. My buddy, my homeboy, my ace boon coon, Fooart, celebrates his birthday today. I did not have anything planned for him but a few days ago, I asked his assistant, Intan, to get a birthday cake for him since I will not be in town to celebrate it with him. My plan was to have a small celebration this weekend with a few friends and probably, I would get something from Taiping for him. It was 7.30 this morning when another friend of mine, Coco, called me up telling me another friend of ours, Cik Ya, had passed away. Coco was crying like a baby and I was too shocked to say anything. It was only a few days ago when all of us went to visit Cik Ya at his mother's place. He was very sick but he refused to go to the hospital. Upon our insistence, we managed to get him to the hospital at 11.30 p.m. Doctors did not find anything wrong with him so we were quite perplexed what could have caused him to be that way. Results from the lab showed the blood and sputum tests that he took were negative. We had noticed earlier that he was coughing quite a lot and he had lost a considerable amount of weight due to lack of appetite. He also vomited every time he tried to eat something. We had never expected him to leave us so fast. He was a jolly person and now, another bright light in our lives has gone, leaving us to depend on each other for comfort and support. There were a lot of things that we wanted to do together but now, I guess we never will. Fooart's birthday will never be the same again. Cik Ya, we will miss you and we will always remember the times we had together.
Al Fatihah.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

FROM TAIPING WITH LOVE

I am in Taiping at the moment attending a three-day course at the Taiping Golf Resort. For those who don't know (especially the present generation), 'From Taiping With Love' was the name of a cartoon strip which appeared in the 'Gila-gila' magazine back in the 80s and 90s. My youngest brother drove me to this place and we took my mum along. Unfortunately, they could not stay for long since my mum has to go to the dialysis centre tomorrow. We had our lunch at the restaurant while waiting for one of my friends to turn up. The place is quite secluded and I would say that the scenery from the rooms and restaurant is fantastic. The food, however, is another story. I've been here for only a few hours and I can't wait to go home for some real home-cooked food. The food that they serve have here is totally a disgrace to the delicious Malay food. I am not a picky eater but I like real flavours in my food. Interesting colours and textures and elaborate display just can't make up for what is lacking. I'm also taking this opportunity to catch up with a few friends who live here. Kay and Shah are two of my oldest friends whom I've known through the courses that I've attended. They came to see me and we went out to have tea at a 'mamak' restaurant. Something happened while we were having our tea but I'll be writing about it in another entry. The last time I saw Kay was five years ago and of course, there were lots of stories to tell and news to exchange. We stayed for a couple of hours and reminisced about the good and bad times we had. To Zam, Mimah, Aishah Kiran and Noi - I really miss you guys. And Al-Fatihah for arwah Baha.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

BABY'S ENGAGEMENT

Baby, my friend Mira's baby sister, got engaged today. Before that, I went for a 'tahlil' for our late fathers (Mira's, Fooart's and mine) last night at Mira's place with my friend, Fooart and we stayed until 11.30. Mira owns a bridal boutique in my hometown and he prepared everything for his baby sister himself. The engagement dais was simple but the engagement gifts were really spectacular. Baby who was usually dressed in her t-shirt and pants was totally transformed after she was made-up. I had to leave after lunch and could not wait for the arrival of Baby's fiance and his family. Baby's wedding will take place at the end of this year and I'm sure it's going to be a very grand affair. Congratulations, gal! You know you are very much loved by all of us.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

EARTH HOUR 2009

The WWF (World Wide Fund For Nature and not World Wrestling Federation) is organising a historical event which will take place on March 28 this year. You can find out more about it on its official website, www.earthhour.org if you need more information. The world is indeed in dire condition. Pollution, dwindling natural resources, depleting ozone layer, (unnatural) natural disasters, etc etc etc. Cities all around the world will be participating in this event and I hope to do my part. This event is not by all means intended to reduce the use of electricity but to raise awareness among all to take actions to reduce electricity consumption. Modern technology is a monster that we have created and now, have to face. Will we be able to control it or will we be chained forever to its claws?

Monday, March 16, 2009

LET'S PLAY DOLLS AND MAKE-UP!

Ladies, it's raining outside and you're having problems entertaining your little girls at home (and little boys and not so little boys too sometimes). Have no fear, the dolls and the make-up kit are here. Yeah, your kids don't even have to step outside the house to play dolls and make-up with their friends. At the same time, you can keep a watchful eye on them while doing your house chores. Another good thing is you don't have to worry about those little angels (or devils) kidnapping your make-up case or ransacking your closet. If you are free, you can even join them and learn a few tricks and tips on how to make yourself more presentable to the public. Hopefully, you will never ever get out of the house with raccoon eyes or mismatched outfits again. Today it rained hard and I could not go out to play so here are my creations!

http://www.taaz.com/makeover.html

http://www.paperdolls.com/

Sunday, March 15, 2009

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BAGGY!

My friend, whom my friends and I call Baggy, celebrates his birthday today. We go a long, long way back and there is a story behind his nickname 'Baggy'. I believe almost everybody has a nickname and sometimes, your friends can only remember the nickname that was given to you when you were young instead of your real name (permanent memory loss, I would say). It can be quite embarrassing (but at the same time, funny as hell) when you attend your school reunion where other people who do not share your past are present and you hear your nick being called out loud. For the faint-hearted, they will try to avoid reunions at all costs. I, too, had or still have a nickname but it's only used by those who are close to me. I will never ever tell others my nickname since it embarrasses me but I still consider it as a term that endears me to my friends. Some nicknames can be quite negative or harsh in nature so be careful where or when to use them. Back to my friend, Baggy, have a wonderful birthday and may all your wishes come true! Love you lots!

p/s I have often wondered why chubby guys are always called 'Bob'. Does it come from the word 'debab'?

WHAT A BEAUTIFUL MORNING

Thursday, March 12, 2009

WORLD KIDNEY DAY

Today is World Kidney Day, a day I can relate to since my mum suffers from kidney failure. It is a day to raise awareness about the importance of our kidneys and the effects of kidney disease. My mum has to go for her dialysis three times a week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) and the procedure usually lasts four hours. For those who don't know, hemodialysis is a procedure where blood is taken out from a blood vessel (usually on the arm) via a needle and goes through a dialysis machine before it is returned into the body via another needle. I still feel squeamish every time I accompany my mum to the dialysis center and I often feel guilty for not being able to be there and watch the needles inserted into her arm (I'm sorry, mum but I know you don't want to see me faint). FYI, I can't stand the sight and smell of blood (that's the reason why I can't join the medical profession). My mum was diagnosed as having problems with her kidneys a few years ago but she did not have to go for her dialysis back then. She could still perform her daily chores without any problems and life went on as usual. Then, the condition of her kidneys got worse and the time came for her to start her dialysis. Still, she did not heed the advice from the doctors and she kept putting off her dialysis due to fear and I guess, lack of persuasion from her children (I definitely plead guilty). Her health turned from bad to worse and after more than a month of not being able to get up on her own and not eating properly (she threw up every time she ate), I had no choice but to take her to the hospital. She was fortunate that she had her fistula done a year earlier. When she had the fistula done, it was an indication that she had to start her dialysis. I was foolish to think that she could function as usual without her dialysis and so stupid not to realise the danger she was in. Before she was taken to the hospital, she had lost a considerable amount of weight, was very pale, unable to do much and from time to time, would shiver uncontrollably. It was a sign that her kidneys were unable to function like normal kidneys and waste products had stayed inside and poisoned her body. She had to stay in the hospital for more than two weeks and I decided not to leave her alone. I took a few days off from work to be with her but I had to return to work since I could not take any more leave after that. I would go to work as usual in the morning and return to the hospital later in the evening. I spent every single night sleeping either at the hospital corridor (on newspapers) or on a chair next to her bed. Since men were not allowed to stay the night in the women's ward, there had been more than a few occasions when I was asked to leave by the nurses or the security guards. The first time she went for her dialysis, the procedure only lasted one hour. She was too weak to go on with it but I could definitely see a little bit of improvement in her health. Her appetite came back and she no longer felt cold. Nowadays, more than a year later, she is back to doing her daily chores as usual (with my supervision, of course) and on most days, she has more energy than I do! Her skin condition and complexion have also improved (she looks so young and radiant now). But I have learned the hard way never to take her health for granted. I have to watch what and how much she eats and I have to make sure she has enough rest. She is usually a little bit tired after her dialysis and needs to lie down a while when she comes back home. I am truly grateful to those who have made all the difference in my mum's life (and mine too) and no words can express how I really feel. The doctors, the nurses, the guys at the dialysis center, my friends who have supported me, my colleagues and superiors, the scientists who came up with the principles of artificial kidney etc ,etc, etc. I can't thank all of you enough and I pray for blessings to be bestowed upon all of you. Again, thank you and may God bless all of you.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

MY MUM'S CURRY PUFFS

Who doesn't love curry puffs? In fact, it is one of the most easily found 'kuehs' around. There are many types of curry puffs and different ways of preparing it. The curry puffs experts have their own recipes on how to prepare the dough and the savoury fillings which they will never reveal to others. My mum has her own curry puff recipe but she says the best food and dishes are the ones prepared with love and not necessarily following step-by-step methods and using the most expensive ingredients available in the market (cliché but true). My mum watches as many cooking programmes as possible but her understanding of ingredients used and steps involved is often hindered by her lack of understanding the English language. So I have to act as her unofficial translator whenever something interesting comes on television and catches her attention. The downside of watching cooking programmes is it constantly makes me feel hungry. I used to be a very slim person but now, I don't even dare to step on the scales. My mum usually prepares her curry puffs a day ahead and then keeps them refrigerated. I try to help her whenever I can but she prefers to do things on her own. My job is usually to accompany her in the kitchen and most of the time, to taste the fillings she prepares (or more accurately, to eat the fillings she prepares). Hmm, I wonder if she is going to make some for me this evening.


p/s The top picture shows the curry puffs after my mum pre-fried them and as you can see only six are left in the bottom picture. The rest have gone into my tummy.

NO ORDINARY LOVE

I gave you all the love I got
I gave you more than I could give
I gave you love
I gave you all that I have inside
And you took my love
You took my love
Didn't I tell you
What I believe
Did somebody say that
A love like that won't last
Didn't I give you
All that I've got to give baby

I gave you all the love I got
I gave you more than I could give
I gave you love
I gave you all that I have inside
And you took my love
You took my love

I keep crying
I keep trying for you
There's nothing like you and I baby

This is no ordinary love
No ordinary Love
This is no ordinary love
No ordinary Love

When you came my way
You brightened every day
With your sweet smile

Didn't I tell you
What I believe
Did somebody say that
A love like that won't last
Didn't I give you
All that I've got to give baby

This is no ordinary love
No ordinary Love
This is no ordinary love
No ordinary Love

I keep crying
I keep trying for you
There's nothing like you and I baby

This is no ordinary love
No ordinary Love
This is no ordinary love
No ordinary Love

Keep trying for you
Keep crying for you
Keep flying for you
Keep flying I'm falling

I'm falling

Keep trying for you
Keep crying for you
Keep flying for you
Keep flying for you
I'm falling

I'm falling

video

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

BIZARRE LOVE TRIANGLE

Every time I think of you
I feel shot right through with a bolt of blue

It's no problem of mine but it's a problem I find

Living a life that I can't leave behind
There's no sense in telling me

The wisdom of a fool won't set you free

But that's the way that it goes

And it's what nobody knows

While every day my confusion grows

Every time I see you falling

I get down on my knees and pray

I'm waiting for that final moment

You'll say the words that I can't say


I feel fine and I feel good

I'm feeling like I never should

Whenever I get this way
I just don't know what to say

Why can't we be ourselves like we were yesterday

I'm not sure what this could mean
I don't think you're what you seem

I do admit to myself

That if I hurt someone else

Then I'll never see just what we're meant to be

Every time I see you falling

I get down on my knees and pray

I'm waiting for that final moment

You'll say the words that I can't say


video

Monday, March 9, 2009

MAWLID AN-NABI

Today is the day Muslims throughout the world observe the day Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. was born. There have been many opinions regarding this observance. Some say that it should be seen in an optimistic and positive light and therefore, should be continued while there are others who think that such celebration is improper. So much has happened in the Muslim world either locally or globally and a lot has changed since our Prophet's passing. Like any other society or community in this world, I believe Muslims need to find a common ground on which they can work towards reaching greater heights instead of finding faults due to dissimilar interests or opinions. More than 1430 years have passed since Prophet Muhammad made his migration from Mecca to Medina and since then, there have been countless disagreements (and bloodshed) about this and that. It's time we put aside our differences. Granted, we can never see eye to eye on every single issue that comes up but we should never let false pride, arrogance and ego take precedence over our unity and harmony. Our beloved Prophet risked everything when he tried to bring the people together and he did succeed. The foundation has already been laid so it is our responsibility to build over the foundation and make it stronger instead of breaking it down into pieces. May this day and this day onwards bring us together as it should be.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

HAPPY WOMEN'S DAY

To all women, especially those who have made my life a wonderful journey, Happy International Women's Day. Different people might have different opinions regarding this occasion but I prefer to see it as a day to celebrate all the women in our lives and salute them for who they are. Still, there are a lot of women out there who are not appreciated or properly recognised for their contributions. To me, it is much more important to highlight their contributions (no matter how small they are) rather than singing praises for their achievements. It has become a norm in our our society and for the mass media nowadays to highlight only the achievers and forget the others. Gone are the days when the ordinary women such as the industrial workers, working mothers, farmers and even the full-time housewives could feel special. Now, it is always about the women who have successfully climbed the corporate ladder, excelled in academics or become icons to the others. I'm not saying it is wrong to do this but if appreciation and awards are given only to those who have managed to be at the top, what about the others? Don't they deserve to be appreciated too?

video

He's home again from another day
She smiles at him as he walks through the door
She wonders if it will be okay
It's hard for her when he doesn't respond

He says babe you look a mess
You look dowdy in that dress
It's just not like it used to be
Then she says...

I may not be a lady
But I'm All Woman
From Monday to Sunday I work harder than you know
I'm no classy lady
But I'm All Woman
And this woman needs a little love to make her strong
You're not the only one

She stands there and lets the tears flow
Tears that she's been holding back so long
She wonders where did all the loving go
The love they used to share when they were strong

She says yes I look a mess
But I don't love you any less
I thought you always thought enough of me
To always be impressed

I may not be a lady
But I'm All Woman
From Monday to Sunday I work my fingers to the bone
I'm no classy lady
But I'm All Woman
This woman needs a little love to make her strong
You're not the only one

He holds her and hangs his head in shame
He doesn't see her like he used to do
He's too wrapped up in working for his pay
He hasn't seen the pain he's put her through

Attention that he paid
Just vanished in the haze
He remembers how it used to be
When he used to say

You'll always be a lady
Cause You're All Woman
From Monday to Sunday I love you much more than you know
You're a classy lady
Cause You're All Woman
This woman needs a loving man to keep her warm

You're the only one
You're a classy lady
Cause You're All Woman

So sweet the love that used to be
So sweet the love that used to be
We can be sweet again

SHARING IS NO LONGER A VIRTUE

Is it wrong to share something when the item you want to share with is no longer available anywhere else? I'm referring to the music videos on youtube which have been removed due to copyright claims by certain parties. I agree certain music videos should not be posted if they can still be purchased and are available in the market but what about those which can no longer be found commercially? I'm not sure if this act of selfishness will prove to be beneficial to the companies or artists in the long run. It seems that the companies and the artists are trying to milk out every single cent from the public in anyway possible when they know some of the music videos were painstakingly recorded from television shows before they were converted into digital format. Shame on them! I guess they are afraid that these music videos will be downloaded and sold commercially in the market thus forfeiting the profits due them. This is utter stupidity when everybody and their mothers know that the quality of materials downloaded will never match that of the original. And what about those who want to see something which came out long before they were born (or even conceived)? From the legal point of view, I know youtube viewers will never win the case against the copyright owners but hey, haven't they made enough money yet? To a lot of people, it seems like it is no longer about principles but more about being selfish.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

MY NEW NETBOOK

I finally got my new Netbook more than a month ago. Some of my friends asked why I needed to have another computer. Well, there are a few reasons why I got one but the main reason is because it carries light. It is light enough for me to take from one place to another and the fact that it is small enough for me to put in my bag really appeals to me. I didn't buy it without consulting my friends, of course. It's not meant to be a machine to replace your ordinary PC or notebook so don't expect it to run like one. Some features definitely have to be sacrificed such as the DVD drive, certain hardware specifications, the screen size and the keyboard size. The Netbook is the just the right machine for you if you are an Internet surfer from hell. I have even tried going into the loo with it and it sat nicely on my lap while I was doing my business. It definitely beats reading the newspapers! Just make sure you put your Netbook in a bag before you go into the loo so you can easily slip it into the bag once you are done. After all, you don't want people to see you going into the loo with the Netbook and looking all agitated (when in fact you are actually having the most excruciating stomachache at that moment) . It might arouse their suspicion if you are seen rushing into the loo with your Netbook and you stay in it for quite a while. I will not go into details here but I know you know what I mean. But one word of caution : don't try this if your commode is the squatting type. But I know some of you will not heed my advice...