Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 ROUND-UP (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 AND 2013 RECYCLED)

Any great achievements for me? NO. Any extraordinary happenings? NO. Any exciting changes in my lifestyle? Definitely NO. Everything came and went like the previous years. Am I happy? YES. To some, it can be quite strange how a person can be happy and content when not much has happened to him or her. Yeah but that's me. I'm comfortably cocooned in my life at the moment that I don't think I want anything changed (unless it's for the better). At least, not yet. I'm sure that something is bound to happen sooner and later and I'll be shocked out of my pants when that happens. Till then, I'm going to enjoy the routine that I've created for the past couple of years and if there are going to be any changes, I hope they will be gradual. Some of my friends have commented on my laid-back attitude and I can only agree with them. After all, what is there to argue when everything that they say is true? Still, it doesn't mean that I don't work hard or put in any effort at all. I do but I don't think I'll be increasing the quota for my effort any time soon. Even then, I would say that what I've done is definitely much more than that done by some of my colleagues and friends. So how about that?

p/s My prayers for all the departed souls of flights MH370, MH17 and QZ8501. 2014 will forever be etched in our memory. Al-Fatihah and R.I.P.

Friday, December 26, 2014

REMEMBERING BOXING DAY TSUNAMI 2004

It was ten years ago when a series of tsunamis triggered by an earthquake in the Indian Ocean took the lives of more than a quarter million people and devastated countless numbers of coastal communities especially in South and Southeast Asia. Cited as one of the worst natural disasters that ever happened, it humbles me how small we are and how fragile life can be when Mother Nature decides to unleash her anger and fury. RIP and Al-Fatihah to all the victims and I do hope that after ten years, those who were affected by the tragedy have been able to rebuild their lives. Amein.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

HERE COMES THE RAIN AGAIN

It's been raining almost single day now and most of the time, quite heavily and in the evening too. I don't really mind the cold weather that comes with the rain but there is something strange about the rainy season this time. For the past month, I've been seeing clouds (or are they only mist?) hanging real low in the mountainous area near my home. I've never seen anything unusual like that before and it can be quite scary to think that the clouds can look like that. I have always liked the weather to be slightly cold (it gives me enough reason to sleep in a little bit longer) but not the heavy rain and grey sky which can be quite dampening to the soul and the spirit. I am not complaining but when the weather is gloomy and it rains in the evening, it's not fun to go out at all. That also means there will be no tea or light snacks alfresco in the evening. I also feel sorry for the people who depend on the 'pasar malam' for their livelihood. Just imagine if it rains every single day. How will they survive? As for me, being cooped up in the house with nothing to do can be quite depressing. Of course, there are a lot of things I can do around the house but it is much more fun to be outdoors in the sunshine!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

CYBER SPACE EXPLORATION : DEAD BLOGS

I decided to write on this topic since I had almost neglected this blog without ever knowing whether I would ever come back to update it or not. Wandering in cyber space, it is sad to see some blogs abandoned and neglected by their owners. The cyberspace is literally littered with blogs which are no longer taken care of. Like cold fragments from a no longer burning star, these blogs are not often seen but are still there. I often wonder what caused the owners to suddenly stop posting and leave their blogs in blog purgatory. Where have all the owners of these blogs gone to? Sometimes I even wonder if they are still around. These abandoned blogs are an enigma to me; leaving me with questions that will never be fully answered. These bloggers must have been pretty excited the first time they started their blogs. I know I was. I truly believe that they must have given a lot of thoughts regarding their blogs at that time. I wonder why they do not keep their blogs alive. Could it be that they are no longer interested or time does not permit them to sit down and write something in their blogs? Could it be that a tragedy has struck and they are no longer able to write or could it be that the bloggers themselves are no longer around? These questions bug me since I feel that I need to know what has happened. Some bloggers keep their readers waiting with the promise to come back but I rarely meet those who do. To suddenly abandon a blog seems like unfinished business to me. I have learned a lot from being a silent reader of blogs that I follow over the years. They have widened my knowledge, fed my soul, enriched my life, enlightened me, put a smile on my face or in my heart and sometimes, even made me cry like a baby. I often look forward to their postings although I do not know these bloggers personally. It's not really that far-fetched if I say that sometimes I can feel what these bloggers feel. Discovering that your favourite blogs have suddenly been abandoned is a terrible let-down. It's akin to someone leaving you without saying anything at all. No goodbyes. No waving of hand. Not even empty promises. No closure. Looking at the bright side, I'm sure there will be new blogs emerging and popping up from time to time in blogosphere. Some which will be more outstanding and prominent than others. Just like newly-born stars in the vast universe replacing the ones which are dying or already dead.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

MY COMFORT FOOD : LAKSA

As much as I love food, I rarely write about it. I love taking pictures of food but so far, only a few of them have appeared in this blog. I love food. I enjoy going out to places where the food served is good. I get excited when the food is garnished to tantalise my taste buds. It does not really matter to me where the food is sold. It can be a restaurant, a bistro, a cafe or even a roadside stall. As long as the food is good and halal, the price is reasonable, the location is not too far away, I will try that place out. If I like the food, I will most probably go back again and again. There are many types of food that I consider as my comfort food. One of them is laksa and I can be quite particular with the laksa that I eat. There are many types of laksa and I'm quite partial to the the one that has that balanced sour and hot taste. A few months ago, my Mum and I with two of my friends CoCo and Aiza, ended up in Kuala Kangsar which is famous for its own version of laksa. We were driving around when we saw this 'laksa' stall by the roadside. Without thinking twice, we stopped there to try the 'laksa'. We were not disappointed. The laksa was simple, original and delicious. I'm not particularly fond of laksa that is laden with new 'condiments' which are usually not found in the traditional laksa. Somehow, I find the authentic taste and flavour of of the laksa is compromised when the focus is more on the condiments rather than on the laksa itself. There are many types of noodles for the laksa and they can be quite different in taste, texture, length and colour. I have always preferred the soft and shiny ones and not the slightly hard and easily broken ones. I don't even like the dry ones which have to be blanched or soaked in water unless there is no other choice. To me, a good laksa should be simple. Just the noodles, gravy (which should not be watery), half a boiled egg, shreds of lettuce, slices of pineapples, cucumber and chillies and not to forget, 'otak udang' if possible. That will be enough. No fishballs, no chicken and no fried eggs. Not even unnecessary garnishing. If the laksa is really good, I can even finish two bowls at one seating. There certain types of food which, to me, should stay the way they are. That is why I am quite hesitant to try out new dishes which have been augmented just for the heck of it. One good example is pizza. I don't understand why there should be curry-flavoured pizza or 'tom yam' flavoured pizza or even pizza with 'rendang' toppings. It just doesn't make sense to me. I am definitely not against improvisation or fusion dishes but sometimes, it's better to leave certain food the way it is.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

MY NEW PML AND CROWN LAMP

My new PML! Yes, in this post, I will be babbling about my new PML or 'pinggan mangkuk lama'. I had been wanting to replace my Mum's old set of crockery for quite some time but somehow, the online traders whom I sent my email to never replied any of my queries (maybe they thought I was not serious enough). My Mum's old set of crockery is very precious to me and I believe, to her too although she has never explicitly said so. According to her, my late Abah (may Allah bless his soul) bought the set way back in the early 1960s, a few years before I was born. The whole thing cost about $200.00 (it was $ back then and not RM like it is now), an exorbitant amount of money at that time I would say. The set was rarely used except for very important family occasions such as weddings and such. Due to lack of proper handling by those whose who didn't know how to appreciate it, a few pieces were cracked, chipped, broken or missing. Earlier this year, I discovered a tea set exactly like my Mum's which was on sale on the Internet. I got pretty excited that I almost peed in pants (or was it a sarong that I was wearing at that time?). Immediately, I sent an email to the lady to obtain more information. I was really hoping that she would not be like the other traders who ignored my email. She answered my email and gave me all the information that I needed regarding the set. I decided to buy the set from her and we discussed how I wanted the set to be delivered. I did not want the set to be sent by courier since I did not want to take any risk at all. I paid half of the amount and asked her to keep the set aside for me for a while. The other half of the whole amount would be paid in full when I went to self-collect the set from her. Unfortunately, I had to postpone my meeting her (a few times actually) due to some unforeseen circumstances. Both of us finally agreed to meet during the first weekend of the school holiday since that would be the only time I could go and travel to meet her. She was accompanied by her family and I have to say that they are very nice people. They are genuinely friendly and I felt very comfortable with them. I almost cried (I was truly overwhelmed so what do you expect?) when she handed me the set, carefully unwrapping a few pieces for me to see. To top that, she even gave me a gift! That was something that I never expected at all since that was our first time meeting each other. She gave me an old oil lamp which now sits together with my Mum's old PML in the cabinet. I think the oil lamp is called Crown lamp because either the clear hobnailed body with the red, blue and green 'jewels' around it somehow resembles a crown or the brass ring burner securing the red glass chimney (which is very fragile) looks very much like a crown. This type of lamp was very common way back in the 50s, 60s and 70s when many homes in Malaysia still did not have electricity. They were not that expensive and most of them were made in Hong Kong. My Mum said it was her responsibility to fill the lamps with kerosene for the whole household when she was young. She also said that there were many other types of lamps which were used back then. Some were cheaper and those which were made in England were definitely much more expensive. Now, let me get back to my new PML. This pattern is is called The Old Mill (available in pink, blue, purple, brown and multicolour patterns) and was produced by Johnson Brothers, a tableware manufacturer founded in 1883. Production for this pattern ceased some time in the 1970s and replacements (although available) can be quite costly and sometimes, are not as advertised. There are other patterns as well with names like Khyber, Friendly Village, Bird Of Paradise, Harvest Time, Garden Bouquet and Old Britain Castles. The new modern range such as Athena, Denmark, Devon Cottage, Rose Chintz and Melody is much more durable and comes in more contemporary patterns. The tea set that I bought is for six and consists of six cups, six saucers, six dessert plates, a sugar bowl, a creamer, a tureen and a teapot. At the moment, the whole set is still in a box and I haven't had the chance to put all the items in my display cabinet. My display cabinet is quite small so I will have to figure out how I'm going to rearrange everything in it. I also have a few other items kept in the cabinet and I think some of them have to make way for this new set. No words can truly express my gratitude to this lady who not only sold the set and gave me a wonderful gift but also shared some valuable information with me.

Isn't the lamp beautiful?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

WHITNEY HOUSTON 'THE MOMENT OF TRUTH' TOUR BOOK

At present, this is the second Whitney Houston tour book that I have in my collection. I saw it on sale a few weeks ago and I was quite surprised that it was relatively cheap (well, at least it was much cheaper than the ones offered by other sellers). The tour book arrived much earlier than I expected. There aren't as many exclusive pictures in this tour book as in the other one that I have but that is fine with me. The book is almost in mint condition and I have no complaints about it so far. After all, you cannot expect much from a book that dates back to 1987. This is Whitney's tour book for her second worldwide tour which kicked off in Tampa, Florida and ended in Hong Kong. I wish I had seen Whitney when she was at her prime. I would have had a blast! The only time I saw her live was when she came to Kuala Lumpur for the 'Live 'N' Loud' show back in 2007. Sadly, her voice was already deteriorating at that time. I have been on the lookout for her other tour books online but none of them even comes close within my budget. I am quite sure her more recent tour books are much better than her earlier ones in terms of quality and content. I know her 'Nothing But Love' tour book (her final tour before she passed away) contains lots and lots of beautiful pictures specifically taken for it. Here are a few pictures of the tour book that I took before it was safely placed in my book cabinet together with my other 'precious' items.

The Moment Of Truth Tour Book

The centrefold.

Whitney's sexy pose.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

LET'S KARAOKE 31 : TONI BRAXTON - UN-BREAK MY HEART

This is probably Toni Braxton's most well-known song and I don't think she will ever repeat the success that the song had either in terms of sales, popularity or longevity. It was released as the second single from her sophomore album 'Secrets'. The first single was 'You're Makin' Me High' which became her first number one hit. With 'Secrets' also came a drastic image change for Toni. Replacing her short and sassy locks were long and wavy hair extensions (or were they weaves?). She had also lost a lot of weight by then and was quite comfortable displaying her new toned body in extremely revealing clothes (remember the shocking almost not-there-at-all Gucci dress she wore to the GMA?). The video clip for this song featured Tyson Beckford (Ralph Lauren's former leading model for the brand's male sportswear line) who played Toni's lover and whom she was mourning for. There is also a Spanish version of the song titled "Regresa A Mí' which literally means 'Return To Me'. The complete video is actually much longer than the version usually aired on television. It shows Toni in the kitchen preparing breakfast for Tyson and reminding him about her performance. The song is one of my favourites whenever I go for karaoke sessions with my friends. I used to listen to this song and watch the video repeatedly even though they would make me feel so depressed. Now, only memories remain....

The single's cover

video

Don't leave me in all this pain
Don't leave me out in the rain
Come back and bring back my smile
Come and take these tears away
I need your arms to hold me now
The nights are so unkind
Bring back those nights when I held you beside me

Un-break my heart
Say you'll me again
Undo this hurt you caused
When you walked out the door
And walked out of my life
Un-cry these tears
I cried so many nights
Un-break my heart
My heart

Take back that sad word good-bye
Bring back the joy to my life
Don't leave me here with these tears
Come and kiss the pain away
I can't forget the day you left
Time is so unkind
And life is so cruel without you here beside me

Un-break my heart
Say you'll love me again
Undo this hurt you caused
When you walked out the door
And walked out of my life
Un-cry these tears
I cried so many nights
Un-break my heart
My heart

Don't leave me in all this pain
Don't leave me out in the rain
Bring back the nights when I held you beside me

Un-break my heart
Say you'll love me again
Undo this hurt you caused
When you walked out the door
And walked out of my life
Un-cry that tears
I cried so many, many nights
Un-break my

Un-break my heart
Come back and say you love me
Un-break my heart
Sweet darlin'
Without you I just can't go on
Can't go on.... 


p/s This post is dedicated to A. May you rest in peace.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

REVIVING MY BLOG

I've decided the hiatus that I took from writing this blog has got to come to an end. I stopped writing a few months ago due to circumstances that somehow dampened my spirit and motivation. Too many things (especially heartbreaking ones) have been happening to me and at that time, I thought of giving up writing altogether. I could not find any reason to write anything at all. None, whatsoever. It wasn't any form of writer's block since there were things that I could have written in this blog but I did not feel like telling them to other people. I wanted to suppress what I was feeling since I thought it would be better that way. At the same time, blogs are also becoming somewhat of a passé (some even say that blogging is dead). Netizens (especially the younger ones) have found newer services, social media streams and mobile apps that can cater to their needs such as Twitter, Instagram, WeChat, WhatsApp, Pinterest, Snapchat and tumblr. But then, I realised that too much love had been put into this blog and to simply abandon it would be a big mistake. I also realised that I did not have to follow what others were doing. All the other social networking sites, media streams and mobile apps are into what is 'now'. My blog is all about my life, my thoughts and my passion : past, present and future. It has been part of life for the past 6 years and I cannot leave it to crumble although many other blogs are dropping like flies. I am not giving up just yet. I also do not want everything that is deemed important to me to be transient and fleeting. I want everything to be recorded for my own reference in the future. That is why I have decided that I will write again. I might have to make a few changes here and there to accommodate the current trends and preference. I know it will be quite difficult but I am determined to write at least until blogger.com is no longer in existence. Until then, viva Elixir Of Love! 

Saturday, July 5, 2014

AL-FATIHAH : SHARIFAH AINI

She is one of my favourite singers and I've written fondly about her a few times in this blog. I even collect her albums whenever possible and now, she is gone. I knew that she was not well based on her absence on facebook after she stopped writing altogether at the end of last year. Before that, she would write almost on a daily basis. From her facebook, I got to know Sharifah Aini not only as a singer but also a person with a big heart. She would give motherly advice (she addressed herself as Ummie Sharifah to her fans) from time to time and allow her fans to get a glimpse of her life and home. Now, even her facebook is no longer there. I know that I'll be missing her posts and above all, I'll be missing her. Al Fatihah for a singer with a voice of a nightingale. Sharifah Aini, may Allah bless your soul and place you in jannah. آمين

Sunday, June 29, 2014

RAMADHAN 1435H

As I am writing this, I have already finished my 'sahur' and performed my prayers. My Mum can't fast anymore and it seems that for this year's fasting month, she won't be doing any cooking either. Her fall last month has affected her mobility a little bit and I have forbidden her to do anything that might can risk her health. I will be missing her cooking but that is a very small price to pay compared to her health. At the moment, she is still in the room, reading a few pages from the holy book after her prayers. It is very cool this morning, unlike yesterday which was scorching hot and I hope the weather is going to continue like this for the rest of the day and the month. There is not much preparation that I have done for this fasting month except for a little bit of grocery shopping that I did yesterday and that was that. A lot things have happened this year and I am taking everything slowly. I am also hoping that this Ramadhan, I can become a better person and do more for those who are in need. As usual, I pray that there will be peace of mind, wisdom, patience, forgiveness, benevolence and humanity for all.  آمين To all Muslims, have a wonderful Ramadhan.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

LET'S KARAOKE 30 : MICHAEL JACKSON - WHO IS IT?

Today is the fifth anniversary of Michael Jackson's death and I'm posting this karaoke as a tribute to him, one of the greatest entertainers ever. It was a very sad day for millions of his fans when the King of Pop was finally laid to rest five years ago. He was about to embark on a new tour and many of us were holding our breath to see what he had in store for us when news of his death came as a shock to us. His music has touched the hearts of millions of people and it'll be quite a while before we can find another entertainer like him. He might be gone forever but I'm sure that his music and legacy will live on. RIP, Moonwalker.

The single's cover

video

I gave her money
I gave her time
I gave her everything inside one heart could find
I gave her passion
My very soul
I gave her promises and secrets so untold

And she promised me forever and a day we'd live as one
We made our vows we'd live a life anew
And she promised me in secret that she'd love me for all time
It's a promise so untrue
Tell me what will I do?


And it doesn't seem to matter

And it doesn't seem right
'Cause the will has brought no fortune
Still I cry alone at night
Don't you judge of my composure
'Cause I'm lying to myself
And the reason why she left me
Did she find in someone else?


(Who is it?)

Is it a friend of mine
(Who is it?)
Is it my brother
(Who is it?)
Somebody hurt my soul, now
(Who is it?)
I cant take this stuff no more

I am the damned

I am the dead
I am the agony inside the dying head
This is injustice
Woe unto thee
I pray this punishment would have mercy on me

And she promised me forever that we'd live our life as one
We made our vows we'd live a love so true
It seems that she has left me for such reasons unexplained
I need to find the truth
But see what will I do


And it doesn't seem to matter
And it doesn't seem right
'Cause the will has brought no fortune
Still I cry alone at night
Don't you judge of my composure
'Cause I'm bothered everyday

And she didn't leave a letter
She just up and ran away

(Who is it? )
Is it a friend of mine
(Who is it? )

Is it my brother?
(Who is it? )
Somebody hurt my soul, now
(Who is it? )
I cant take it cause I'm lonely

(Who is it? )
Is it friend of mine
(Who is it? )

To me I'm bothered
(Who is it? )

Somebody hurt my soul, now
(Who is it? )
I cant take it cause I'm lonely

And it doesn't seem to matter
And it doesn't seen right
'Cause the will has brought no fortune
Still I cry alone at night

Don't you judge of my composure
'Cause I'm lying to myself
And the reason why she left me
Did she find in someone else?

And it doesn't seem to matter
And it doesn't seem right
'Cause the will has brought no fortune
Still I cry alone at night

Don't you judge of my composure
'Cause I'm bothered everyday
And she didn't leave a letter
She just up and ran away

And it doesn't seem to matter
And it doesn't seem right
'Cause the will has brought no fortune
Still I cry alone at night
Don't you judge of my composure
'Cause I'm lying to myself
And the reason why she left me
Did she find in someone else?


And it doesn't seem to matter
And it doesn't seem right
'Cause the will has brought no fortune
Still I cry alone at night
Don't you judge of my composure

'Cause I'm bothered everyday
And she didn't leave a letter
She just up and ran away

And it doesn't seem to matter
And it doesn't seem right
'Cause the will has brought no fortune
Still I cry alone at night
Don't you judge of my composure
'Cause I'm bothered everyday
And she didn't leave a letter
She just up and ran away

And it doesn't seem to matter
And it doesn't seem right

'Cause the will has brought no fortune
Still I cry alone at night
Don't you judge of my composure
'Cause I'm lying to myself
And the reason why she left me
Did she find in someone else?

WHITNEY HOUSTON 'I'M YOUR BABY TONIGHT' TOUR BOOK

I was supposed to publish this more than 2 months ago but I was extremely busy that I totally forgot that I was planning to do so. This tour book actually arrived in the mail after three weeks of waiting. Three agonising week, I'd say. When I saw the tour book being sold on ebay, I got extremely excited especially when I saw that it was quite affordable (it is always the shipping that puts a dent in my pocket). I immediately asked a friend of mine to get it for me. The only tour book that I owned before this was ABBA Live In Australia 1977 which once belonged to my brother-in-law. The ABBA tour book is no longer in mint condition but it is still part of my treasure trove. This tour book also comes with a large fold-out poster of Whitney dressed in torn jeans, leather jacket and leopard-print boots. I'd say she looked her best during that period before time and drugs took a toll on her. How I wish that the poster is not folded so I can make a big copy of it. The tour book is in very good condition and I did not regret to spend my money to own this piece of pop history (others might think that I should have spent my money on something else but hey, to each his own). There are many other tour books of hers available on ebay but this is the only one I can afford at the moment. In due time, I am sure they will be mine.

ABBA - Live In Australia 1977 Official Souvenir Programme.

I'm Your Baby Tonight Tour Book.

Whitney's sexy pose and the poster.

The picture used for 'All The Man That I Need' promo CD single and the poster.

OLD FRIENDS

I was preparing my 'cucur bawang' for breakfast last Sunday when I received a phone call from one of my old friends, Ting. Ting and I became friends almost 25 years ago when we were introduced by my ex-schoolmate, El, who was doing his industrial training where Ting was working. Both of them became housemates when El graduated and started working with Tenaga Nasional. After I graduated, I stayed with both of them when I was looking for a job in Kuala Lumpur and I have to say that it was one of the best times in my life. The last time I met Ting was more than two years ago when he came to visit me during Eid. After that meeting, we only exchanged news through facebook and text messages. When Ting arrived, I saw that somebody else was with him. I jumped up and down with joy (yes, I did) when I saw Cik Nan with him. Cik Nan is also another old friend of mine whom I had not met for more than 10 years. We became friends through another ex-schoolmate of mine, Gush. Through Gush and Cik Nan, I got to know Mus and Mudasir. Time passed and everyone had to move on. I had to leave my carefree life and move to another state. Ting found a new job with another company. Cik Nan was posted to Vietnam and Mozambique and only came back a couple of years ago. El did his Masters and got promoted. Mudasir relocated to Penang. Gush adopted a child and moved to Kuantan. Mus quit his job in KL, finished his doctorate and became a lecturer in one of the universities up north. Everyone also got older and supposedly, more mature. I still keep in touch with my friends and we still laugh at our old ways and antics whenever we meet (which is not that often) or talk on the phone. Ting and Cik Nan did not stay long since Cik nan had to rush back to KL to catch a flight. Though we rarely meet each other anymore, I am happy and grateful that my friends have not forgotten me. We might have found new people in our lives, discovered new horizons and developed new interests but I know that there is always something special that binds us together. The times when we were young and naive and still trying to find our paths in life will always be cherished forever in my heart.

CoCo, Shi, Ting and Cik Nan getting acquainted while enjoying my 'cucur bawang'.

Monday, June 23, 2014

WELCOMING RAMADHAN KAMPUNG-STYLE

I am not sure about other states but here in Perak, it is almost a tradition to have 'kenduri menyambut puasa' (usually a week before the fasting month starts). One of my bffs, Shi, came back from KL since his family had planned a kenduri to welcome the fasting month at his late grandfather's house. My Mum and I was also invited and we went there at about 2.30. We went there after almost everybody had left except for Shi's family members who lived quite far away. There was nothing fancy about the food served but it was simply delicious. Everything was prepared by Shi's family members themselves. The main dishes were 'kari ikan merah' and 'ayam masak kicap' and there were also 'ikan kering masin', 'ulam-ulaman' and 'sambal belacan'. We had 'bahulu kemboja', 'bubur pulut hitam' and watermelon for desserts.  We sat on the floor to eat just like kampung folks do and I was glad I wasn't wearing my jeans! I ate more than I should but I just could not resist the fish curry. I gave it an A++ and I don't mind having it again! We.stayed to chat with Shi and his family and after that, I went to explore the 'kampung'. The 'kampung' is no longer what it was many years ago. The old mosque that was once used for Friday prayers is still standing but nowadays, only daily prayers are held there. Many of the elderly folks have passed on and quite a number of houses are abandoned. Luckily, Shi's family house is still occupied by his three uncles and this is where the other family members usually stay during family gatherings and Eid. All in all, I have to say that 'kampung-style kenduris' are still the best compared to the fancy-schmancy ones. Who needs fancy tents when the living room (and sometimes the front porch) is good enough to accommodate all the guests? Who needs food caterers who charge ridiculously when simple food cooked with love is what makes our mouths water? Who needs expensive crockery when the mismatched plates, bowls and saucers can function as good as the expensive ones? Certainly not me. I'd settle for simplicity anytime over something over the top.

My Mum, CoCo, Shi and Shi's uncle.

Shi's family members enjoying the food.

Shi's Mum.

CoCo and Mira smoking after lunch outside the house.

p/s Thank you Shi for inviting us. We love the food and we love you!

Friday, June 20, 2014

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY 2014!

It was going to be Mother's Day that Sunday and I was hoping to take my Mum out for lunch and a small gathering with a few of my friends and family members. However, my Mum fell in the kitchen on Friday, a week before Mother's Day and because of that, her right foot was slightly sprained. My Mum assured me that nothing was wrong with her foot when I left home for work in the morning of that incident so I was not really worried. At about 11.00 o'clock, I received a phone call from the guy who was supposed to ferry my Mum to and from the dialysis centre. He told me that my Mum could hardly walk. I immediately rushed home and I could see that her foot was slightly swollen. I took her to see the doctor and the x-ray showed that nothing was broken or fractured. I was grateful but still worried. My Mum was a very independent woman and before she started her dialysis treatment seven years ago, she still went to the market to buy groceries. She even went to pay the bills on her own. After she started her dialysis, she was still doing house chores that many elderly women her age had stopped doing. I was worried that she was going to feel helpless and lost since she could not do the things that she always did. To make matter worse, her fistulla on her left arm was also blocked. This happened the following Monday which also happened to be a public holiday. I had just sent her to the dialysis centre and had gone to buy groceries at a hypermarket nearby when I received another call from the staff at the dialysis centre telling me that no blood could come out from her fistulla. I was alarmed and I immediately left my shopping to see what was happening. My second sister and my niece had just arrived to visit my Mum but they could only see her for 30 minutes before I took my Mum to the specialist centre in Ipoh where she had her fistulla done more than eight years ago. Heavens must have been smiling down on me on that day because although it was a public holiday and most of the doctors were away, the consultant general surgeon was there. He had just finished a surgery and immediately came to see my Mum. He was a very nice guy and very soft-spoken. He took a look at my Mum's fistulla and told me that he could only determine the exact problem with my Mum's fistulla after proper scanning and examination. It seemed that my Mum's fistulla had narrowed a little bit and it was also slightly blocked. He advised me on what was best for my Mum and I immediately agreed to his suggestions. He arranged for a corrective surgery to take place on the next day and for the IJC (Internal Jugular Catheter) to be inserted temporarily before the wound on her fistulla could heal properly. The doctor also told me that the healing period for this kind of surgery differed for different people but he said he would see if my Mum's fistulla would be ready to be used again after a week. The surgery took a few hours and by that time, my youngest brother and sister-in-law had already arrived. One day after the surgery, the IJC was inserted through my Mum's internal jugular vein so she could resume her dialysis treatment. I decided to go on with the planned Mother's Day celebration but on a smaller scale. I could not bear to see my Mum on the hospital bed on that special day. Together with my younger brothers and sister-in-law, we took her to her favourite Chinese food restaurant to celebrate. I'm quite sure that the other patrons at the restaurant were shocked when we walked into the restaurant. There we were with our Mum who was sitting on a wheelchair with the IJC hanging from her neck and her left arm bandaged from the surgery. Lunch was fabulous and fantastic. My Mum looked really happy and she ate more than usual. My Mum's fistulla miraculously healed after a week and her first dialysis using the new fistulla went without any problem at all. My Mum had to stay in the hospital for a week and during her stay, quite a number of people came to visit. Those who were unable to visit sent their prayers. My uncle and his family including his grandchildren came almost every day. My neighbours drove all the way to Ipoh just to visit my Mum. My colleagues dropped by in the evening after work. My bffs, CoCo and Shi, took a few of days' leave from work to give me and my Mum moral support. My elder brother came back and called every day after that. My eldest sister brought her special layered cake which my Mum loved. My second youngest brother came every day before and after work so I could take a breather. Everything was well and I assumed that everything had settled down but I was wrong. The dialysis centre where my Mum went for her treatment had to be shut down temporarily because there were a few procedures that were not adhered to properly. We were given only a few days' notice and I had no other choice but to find a new centre for my Mum. Luckily, there was this one dialysis centre that still had a vacancy for my Mum. I also had to find some sort of help around the house since I had to go to work in the morning. Nobody would be at home to help my Mum get ready for her dialysis treatment because she still could not walk properly. I had also told her that she had to take a rest if she wanted to be up on her feet again and that meant no more tinkering around the house while I was at work. I was at lost until I remembered about this lady who used to help my neighbour's grandmother a couple of years ago. I managed to get her number and I arranged to meet her personally at her house. I told her my situation and what I expected her to help me with. Kak Minah (that is what we call her) immediately requested to see my Mum and I took her to my house so she could see what she would be dealing with. I also wanted both of them to get acquainted. She immediately agreed to help around the house but she would not be able to come on Tuesdays since she had to attend a weekly meeting. I could not say no to her request since I knew domestic help could be quite difficult to find especially at such short notice. I also asked her to do whatever that she thought was necessary around the house but her main responsibility was to help my Mum and keep her company. At the moment, my daily routine has changed. I have to wake up much earlier than usual because I had to fetch Kak Minah from her house before I leave for work at 7.00. I also have to send my Mum to the centre at 11.30 every Monday, Wednesday and Friday and I am thankful that my superiors understand my situation. At the moment, everything is going smoothly and I am planning to ask Kak Minah to accompany my Mum at home even after my Mum gets well. Both of them seem to get along really well. She is a jovial and funny person whom I am sure can make my Mum happy and occupied while I am at work. My Mother's Day plan might not have gone the way that I planned it to be but hey, every day is Mother's Day to me and I am grateful to Allah for giving me the strength and patience to do what I have to do. I am also thankful to those around me who have shown their support, love and understanding towards me and my Mum. Indeed, I am lucky and blessed. Happy belated Mother's Day to all and may Allah bless our mothers. Amein.

My Mum at the hospital's dialysis centre

My second youngest brother and my Mum after her first IJC dialysis

My Mum having dinner while using her newly-repaired fistulla for the first time

My Mum at the new dialysis centre

My Mum's IJC which I asked to keep after it was taken out

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

THE DAY A LIGHT FLICKERED OUT OF MY LIFE

Exactly 9 years ago, a light flickered out of my life and suddenly, almost everything took an unexpected turn. My whole world was shaken up and down and all over. My Abah's passing was a wake-up call for me. To be a much more responsible person. To be a little bit more serious. To start thinking about the future. To appreciate those around me. And so many other things as well. I had a few responsibilities back then but they were nothing that anyone could not shoulder. Everything started when I was at work and my Mum called to say that my Abah had slipped when he was coming out from the bathroom and he was bleeding from the wound on his forehead. Without even informing my superiors, I rushed home. He had to be rushed to the hospital immediately and I was advised to inform all my family members. He fell into a state of unconsciousness and three days later, he left us. I was at his bedside when he passed on. I know that he knew that I was there with him until the end. Up until now, I still get a little bit pensive when I think of him and life in general. There were so many things I did not do and could have done. Since his passing, I have become a little bit afraid. Afraid that I have not done done enough for those whom I love dearly. Afraid that the people around me are hurt by my harsh words and inconsiderate actions. Afraid of suddenly losing what is precious to me. A few days ago, I asked the 'ustaz' at my workplace to lead the prayers for my father after today's 'Yaasin recital'. A few of my colleagues who knew about my intention also wanted to join in the prayers for their late parents. What I planned as a small breakfast for my colleagues after the prayers became a much more elaborate affair when they contributed money and food for the breakfast. A few others even asked to be included if and when I want to do something similar after our weekly Friday 'Yaasin recital'. All went well as planned and I was glad that my colleagues and I were able to do something for our dearly departed. May their souls be blessed by Allah. Despite my missing him so much, I know that my Abah is in a better place, watching me and my family. Thank you, Abah for making me what I am today. Al Fatihah.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

FLIGHT MH370

The grave news that I heard on the radio tonight did not really surprise me and yet, it numbed me since I realised that the dreaded news that we had been afraid of knowing had finally been confirmed. To the family members of those on board of Flight MH370, my most heartfelt condolences to all of you. This tragic incident is a blow not just to those who are related to the victims but to all of us in general. I am sure there are many of us who want to know what actually happened but right now, we have to learn to be patient and rational. We also have to keep in in mind that we might not get all the answers to all the questions that we have. The better thing to do is to pray for all the souls on the unfortunate flight and to pray that we will be able to make it through this very difficult and tough time. Let's hope that there won't be any more speculations and theories that can only bring more grief and sadness to the family members. They have suffered enough and by posting any unwanted comments and accusations will only bring more pain to them. Let everyone mourn in peace. Al Fatihah for all the Muslim crew and passengers.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

FAKE USB FLASH DRIVE : TIPAH TERTIPU, BANG!

I can't believe that I totally fell for it. I really thought that I was getting a really good deal when the fact was I had been had. I bought a few USB flash drives and memory cards from a colleague who sold them at one flat rate regardless of their storage capacities. I should have known that there was something fishy about these USB flash drives. They were super cheap and I was too excited (and too greedy actually) to see beyond all that. Moreover, these fakes were sold by a very nice lady and because of that, I am going to give her the benefit of the doubt that she did not know that the products she was selling were fakes made in China. I wouldn't have felt really bad about all this if I had bought these fakes for myself. I would have kept it to myself that I was a fool who had been duped. I would have acted as if nothing had happened at all. I wouldn't want to be seen as stupid although by writing this post, I am actually revealing my own stupidity. What made the whole thing so terrible was the fact that I bought a few of these products not only for myself but also for a few close friends. I thought I was doing them a real big favour since USB flash drives and memory cards with high capacities could be quite expensive. I only wanted to share my 'good luck' with my good friends but it turned out that it wasn't 'luck' that I was giving them. Only fake gadgets which had been hacked so they would show higher capacities that they actually had. The one and only consolation for me was I gave these fakes to my friends and asked them to test them first before giving the money to me. A couple of them told me that the files they had saved in the USB  flash drives were nowhere to be found. Another friend reported that his notebook could not even detect the gadget. At present, I am still thinking of the best way to talk to this colleague of mine. I do not want to come across as too offensive or accusatory but at the same time, I also want my money back! I also happen to know that quite a number of my colleagues have bought the USB flash drives from her but I'm not sure if they realise about the nature of those products. I can only hope that this issue pertaining these fakes can be settled in a civilised manner as soon as possible.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

ENGAGEMENT GIFTS FOR A COLLEAGUE'S SON

One of my colleagues from work, suddenly broke the surprising news to me : her only son was planning to get engaged and she wanted me to help her with the 'hantaran'. She said that she wanted something simple since she was running out of time. The 'merisik' and 'bertunang' is going to take place during the Chinese New Year holiday and she has to make the journey to Melaka since that is where the girl's family lives. I told her to go back and discuss a few things with her son since I did not want to work without any ideas and plans. I needed information. I also told her that great news like this should be shared since many people, especially friends and family members, would love to contribute something for the 'hantaran'. Initally, she was a little bit reluctant since she did not want to bother other people. I told her that sooner or later, she still had to tell the others about the occasion and some people might feel offended for not being able to be involved. I was right (as usual, of course). A few people wanted to be part of it. A colleague lent the 'dulang' for the gifts. Two more colleagues wanted to give a fruit basket and cookies. Another ex-colleague helped with the 'lipatan'. Her own sister volunteered to prepare the 'sirih junjung'. And what did I do? Basically, nothing. I only told her to go and survey a few wedding supplies stores so she could get an idea of the concept and look that she (or her son) wanted. She went with her daughter and came back with the gifts and supplies needed to complete the 'hantaran'. Everything was nearly completed and she seemed very happy with the result. She still has to do the final touch since not all the flowers and decorations are permanently fixed onto the 'dulang'. But I guess she is going to have a fun time doing that with her family members who will be accompanying her all the way to Melaka. Congratulations, dear friend. You are going to be a mother-in-law soon!

Friday, January 24, 2014

FILIAL PIETY LAW : WHEN LOVE IS NOT ENOUGH

I read with great interest the different opinions given by Netizens regarding the need for law on filial piety in Malaysia and I have to say that the time is right to enact a bill that can protect the well-being of the elderly especially those who are in need of special care and attention. Filial piety has always been one of the key virtues emphasised in Asian societies and it is diminishing in importance at a very alarming rate. I am not sure what the root cause for this lack of empathy and compassion is but the number of cases of the elderly being neglected and abandoned in Malaysia is certainly growing. To me, the bond between children and their parents can never be broken despite children being abused, neglected or disowned by their parents when the children were young. Because of this, some people might think that they are not obligated to care for their parents since their parents did not carry out their parental duties as should be. It is sad to hear when children have to justify their reluctance to care for their parents due to some unfortunate events that happened in the past. There is no way that we can turn back time but there is always a way that we can correct a situation. Some people even try to shift the duty of caring of their parents to others. I have seen quite a few cases of senior citizens being left totally in the care of strangers. There have also been cases of children marrying off their widowed parents so their parents can be taken care of by their more able-bodied spouses. Some only send the monthly financial support and come to visit only once a year. Some send their parents to live with a relative or neighbour who is willing to keep an eye on them as long as the money keeps coming in. Some ask one of their siblings to take care of them and totally forget that they should be sharing the responsibility too.Some even go to the extent of quoting religious verses by saying that taking care of one's parents is the duty of the sons or the eldest or whatever that they can use to free them of the responsibility. Some who are more affluent provide servants for the parents and think that they do not have to do anything else since the servants are paid to take care of their parents. And the saddest part is when there are some who totally abandon their parents and leave it to various organisations to shoulder the responsibility without the slightest feeling of guilt at all. The examples that I have provided are not comprehensive but they might give us an idea how bad the situation is with some of the elderly. We have to look into this issue now since currently, there are more than 2.4 million people in Malaysia who are above 60 years old and the number is certainly growing. The Malaysian society is changing and the once accepted traditional way of caring for the elderly might not work anymore. Elderly care is not easy and can be quite expensive sometimes. It should be shared and that is why I think a new bill that can be proposed and passed. No one should ever have to spend the rest of his or her remaining days without adequate emotional, financial, social and medical support. At the same time, other aspects of elderly care such as accommodation, assistance, recreation and safety should also be considered. It is the right of every human being to live with dignity and that also includes those who are getting on in years.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

GOODBYE HITAM

It was a tough decision to make but I could not bear to see him suffer anymore. My tomcat, Hitam, had a condition known as sporotrichosis and just when I thought he was getting better, his condition turned from bad to worse. For the past few days, he refused to eat or drink anything at all. He did not even touch his favourite canned food and this made it much more difficult for me to give him his medication. The sores on his ears, legs, body and tail also started showing signs of bleeding again and his eyes and nose were also affected. At the beginning, I let him out of his cage so he could go out and enjoy the sun a little bit but he seemed to be in very serious pain and only rested among the flower pots behind my house. Deep down inside, I knew that the end was approaching and he would not be able to make it. It would be only a matter of time before he would go. I could have kept him alive until his last breath but I could not bear to see him like that. It was too much for me to take and I did not want to see him reduced to only skin and bones. A decision had to be made and quick. I had two choices : to keep him until the end or to put him to sleep. Neither one was desirable. The final decision that I took totally bothered my conscience. Never once in my life had it crossed my mind that I had to resort to something like this. To terminate a life was not something that I had condoned in the past. I realised that I had written before this how I did not believe in euthanasia or even mercy killing but all that went out the window when I saw how serious the condition Hitam was in. He was in great pain and there was nothing I could do to ease it. I wish I had all the magical power to end his suffering. I took him to the vet and after saying my goodbye, I left him in the vet's office. I had earlier consulted the vet since I did not want to make a mistake in my decision. I was offered to watch the procedure being carried out but I had to decline. I was not strong enough. Making that decision was devastating enough for me. I sat outside the office and waited. The procedure did not take long and a lot of things went through my mind at that time. I hoped I had done the right thing and I tried to convince myself that it was the best thing to be done. I prayed to Allah to forgive me if I had acted against HIS will. I know the decision I had made will haunt me until the end of my life. At 5.30 this evening, Hitam finally joined the others that had gone earlier before him : Nomot, Nenet, Mimi I and Mimi II. My tears flowed uncontrollably when his body was taken out from the office. The staff had wrapped his body and for that, I am forever grateful. I did not want to see his lifeless body especially in that state. I want him to be etched forever in my mind as the tomcat with shiny black fur and a patch of white on his chest. His body was still warm when I took him home. I buried him in front of my house where my other furkids are also laid to rest. I know he is now in a much better place with the others that will keep him company. Rest in peace, my dear Hitam. You were much loved and will be deeply missed. One fine day, we will surely meet again.

p/s This is one of the three pictures that I took of Hitam when he was still a baby. The flower basket was his favourite sleeping place.