Monday, November 30, 2015

AL-FATIHAH : MY BELOVED MOTHER (PART 1)

I wrote part of this post way back in June but did not finish it until today. Today is actually my birthday and for the past few months, I had to find back my strength and spirit when another light in my life flickered out, leaving me almost lost and without any purpose. My beloved mother passed away with me and my second sister by her side on Saturday, June 13. She had been hospitalised for almost two weeks since the beginning of the school holidays due to lung infection and breathing difficulty. At the beginning, her condition was quite serious and the doctors asked me to discuss with my siblings on the next steps to take. I called all my brothers and sisters to come back and we sat in the waiting room where I told them what the doctors told me. I told them she might not make it this time and I also advised them to prepare for the worst. I also told them that in case something happened to her, we should accept the fact that she had lived a very fulfilling life. My brothers and sisters said since I was the one who was taking care of her all this time, it was better if I made all the decisions. So I told the doctors to give her the best treatment that they could as long as my Mum was not in pain. I also said no tubes should be inserted to help her breathe since complications might arise due to her age. After two days in the Emergency Room, my Mum was finally transferred to the ordinary ward and I stayed there almost all the time to watch over her. She was still unable to consume solid food so most of the time, I would give her porridge and also 'Novasource', an oral supplement for renal patients. Since she could not sip the liquid on her own, I would use a 20ml plastic syringe to feed her. At night, I slept on the chair outside the ward or in the 'surau' and would check on her every one hour. I did not even go back home at all and had to ask my brother to bring me some clothes so I could change every day. I took my daily shower in the opposite male ward and bought food from the canteen for myself. Miraculously, my Mum got better and I started to think whether I had overreacted about what I had said to my brothers and sisters at the beginning of her admission into the hospital. I also had her transferred to a better room in the hospital which was more comfortable and peaceful. The doctors advised me to get an oxygen machine and by the grace of Allah, my cousin whom my Mum took care of when she was a toddler, offered the use of her late mother-in-law's portable oxygen machine. I felt everything was falling in place nicely and sent daily text messages to my family members reporting her progress. My eldest and youngest brothers came back bringing with them the portable oxygen machine. My friends and second sister cleaned the whole house and prepared her room so she would be comfortable when she came back. My second last brother and a friend adopted all my cats except for one that escaped and did not come back until my Mum got home. I went out and bought her a new wheelchair which was lighter and smaller. I stocked my larder with her 'Nepro' and 'Novasource' so I would not have to go out if they ran out. I was looking forward to her coming home feeling much more comfortable and at ease. I asked my sister to cook a special dish that she used to cook for us when we were still small children. We went home on Friday evening and I could tell that she was happy to be home. She ate the dish that my sister had cooked for her and finished her 'Novasource'. The next morning, after her breakfast, I went to the market and McDonald's. I bought porridge for her and that was what she had for her early lunch. After lunch, she started feeling sleepy so I lay beside her until evening. My uncles came to visit that evening and I left her for about five minutes to say hi to them. When I got back to her room, she was having difficulty breathing. As a Muslim, I recited the 'syahadah' repeatedly into her ear. After a while, she opened her eyes for a few seconds and closed them again. At that moment, I knew that Allah had taken my beloved mother from me. I could not even describe what I was feeling at that time. I knew that despite all my efforts and everything that we did, Allah loves my Mum more. As much as I love her, I know that there is no greater love than Allah's love. As much as I still want her to be with me, I know that what I wish for is impossible in this earthly life. It is hard to go on day by day with a pain that constantly tugs at your heart. The only thing that keeps me going is knowing that we will be reunited in the hereafter where there will be no more pain for any of us. Al Fatihah for my beloved Mak and may Allah forgive all her sins and place her in 'jannah'. Amein.   

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

DAULAT TUANKU!

Today is a public holiday for the state of Perak in conjunction with the coronation ceremony of Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah Ibni Almarhum Sultan Azlan Muhibbuddin Shah Al-Maghfur-Lah as the 35th Paduka Seri Sultan of Perak Darul Ridzuan. I am sure under his administration, Perak will once again regain its glory and prosperity. Daulat Tuanku!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

APRIL 08 2015

That time of the year has come again. April 08. A date that will never be erased from my memory. It's been 10 years now and at times, it seems as if time flies without my ever noticing it. My Abah left us when I least expected it. I knew he was getting on in his years but it never crossed my mind that he would go so quickly. I guess nobody will ever be ready enough to face anything so life-changing like that. Since his passing, I have become more mellow and I am grateful for all the positive changes in me. This morning, I went to the graveyard and to my shock and horror, the rubber tree that once stood tall at the head of my late father's grave was uprooted. Luckily, no serious damage was done to the grave and miraculously, the tree trunk had missed the headstone by one and a half foot or so. I was stunned but there was nothing that I could do except remove the dry leaves which were scattered all over the place. There will be a 'gotong-royong' tomorrow morning to clean the graveyard and I will make it a point to be there to help. There is not a single day that passes that I don't think about him but I know I should have visited his grave more often. Next week, there will also be a 'Yaasin recital' and prayers that I have planned for him, one of my colleagues who passed away about a month ago and the late parents and spouses of my colleagues. I hope everything will go smoothly as planned and our prayers for the dearly departed souls are accepted by Allah. Abah, I am still missing you and I know nothing can ever fill this emptiness. May your soul be blessed. Al Fatihah.   

My Abah's grave.

The uprooted rubber tree.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

GST : WHAT TO EXPECT

The implementation of Goods and Services Tax officially started yesterday, April 1 2015. I am yet to do any shopping so I am not sure if there is any obvious price hike or not although a few of my facebook friends have been posting on their walls about the unscrupulous acts of certain businesses who have been taking advantage of the newly-executed GST. I will not write about what others say since I do not want to spread anything that might not even be true. I will only start bitching if what is happening is totally different than what has been said. From what I know, not all businesses have to register with the Customs Department. If they want to impose the 6% GST, they will also need to have (and prove) an identification number which consumers can refer to. It is indeed ridiculous and unscrupulous for any traders (both big and small) to impose any tax when they are not registered with the Customs Department (some of them don't even have a licence to begin with). I was surfing the Internet yesterday looking for more information on GST when I came across a GST website. The Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore provides a website where consumers can check if a business is GST-registered or not. In this age of ICT when any information is just a click or a touch away, a website which enables consumers to check the identity of a business is undeniably necessary. Consumers can check if a business is GST-registered by keying in the name of the company or even the identification number provided by the authorities. In my opinion, consumers have to be more aware of their rights so as not to be exploited by unethical and dishonourable individuals and businesses who want to reap more profits than they should. In more developed countries where the rights of consumers are very much protected, those who are engaged in unscrupulous and exploitative business practices are punishable by law. In Malaysia, awareness of the rights of consumers is still low especially in certain areas and sometimes, consumers are much more willing to let themselves be taken advantage of rather than to fight for and defend their rights. All in all, I believe the GST is another way of educating consumers and ensuring transparency in our society. Its success (or even failure) very much depends on all of us and nobody else. Give it some time before we start judging, pointing fingers, blaming others and giving negative comments. As consumers, we have a lot of choices and it is up to us to exercise our rights. Below is a sample receipt to help those (and me, too) who are still not sure what to expect when certain items are purchased. Let us all become wise consumers and don't let anybody take advantage of us.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

CARAN D'ACHE

When I was in college, I took quite a number of art classes for my elective courses (unlike my other college mates who preferred to take more academically-related subjects). I took drawing, lithography, ceramics and even jewelry-making. There was also a time when I wanted to enrol in an oil-painting class but I had to drop that class after seeing the list of what to buy. For my drawing class, my professor had insisted that we use Strathmore drawing paper of certain texture and weight. He also asked us to use only certain types of pencils and charcoal to produce our artwork. So I could not imagine how on earth I could afford to buy the paints, brushes and canvasses if I were to take up oil painting. Unlike other Fine Arts students who proudly walked around campus carrying their professional-looking folios (some were leather, let me tell you), I was quite content clutching my cheap black hardboard folio and art box on my way to class. I would spend a lot of time in the art studio especially for my ceramics and lithography classes since the projects could only be completed there and not at home. By the way, I found out that I was extremely hopeless at 'throwing'. My free-form projects were so much better but they also lacked any consistent concept or idea. I had never had any formal art lesson in school so to be able to do what my heart desired was definitely a dream come true. Since taking the oil painting class was out of the question, I began to look for other alternatives which would enable me to use colours. Water colour was not an option since no water colour courses were offered (and even if they were, I knew that I would be terribly bad at it). My 'big sistah', Dana, had a set of coloured pencils which was quite expensive. The coloured pencils were special since they were water-soluble and could also be used as water colour. I had never seen any coloured pencils which could do that and to me, that was truly amazing. The coloured pencils were Caran D'Ache, a Swiss product. Those Caran D'Ache coloured pencils belong to me now although I rarely use them anymore. The company was founded in Geneva, Switzerland in 1915 and that means this year is its 100th anniversary. Caran D'Ache has quite a number of products ranging from pastels and coloured pencils to fibre-tipped pens and acrylic paints to high-quality writing equipment and exquisite pens  (all of them expensive, let me tell you). If anyone is interested, feel free to surf their official website. Unfortunately, they do not ship to Malaysia. Caran D'Ache has a few boutiques in Kuala Lumpur and I think the company wants to retain its exclusive market among the more affluent, hence no shipping to Malaysia. For their coloured pencils, there are many different ranges to suit different budgets, techniques and users. There are Supracolor, Swisscolor, Neocolor, Pablo, Prismalo, Luminance, Museum, Fancolor and Tootuff. Now, let me get back to my Caran D'Ache story before I keep on rambling endlessly and unnecessarily. A friend of my younger brother (who is a Swiss) was planning his annual visit to Malaysia and I immediately asked my brother to ask him to buy for me a set of Caran D'Ache coloured pencils. I wanted to try to do something related to arts again and drawing using coloured pencils, in my opinion, would be most convenient and less time-consuming compared to using any other medium. I could have bought other brands such as Faber-Castell and Staedtler (which are available locally in most stores) but I wanted something not owned by a lot of people (my vanity took over for a while, okay?). I told my brother that a basic set (with 12 colours) would do since I did not want to pay through my nose for a luxury product that I might not even use at all. Anyway, the colour pencil set that I received was more than I had expected. It is from the Swisscolor range and there are 30 vibrant colours altogether and of course, they are water-soluble. This range is actually more suitable for students and beginners since it is harder (which makes the pencils less prone to breakage) but who is complaining when it is Caran D'Ache? I still have not taken the plastic wrapper off the tin box since I haven't done any colouring or even drawing for quite a while now. I hope that I can find the time to start doing something on a small scale, at least. And I know I will need lots and lots of practice before I can even produce something that is equivalent to a kindergarten colouring project. To Eddie, thank you so much for the Caran D'Ache set. It will be put into good use but I can't promise how soon that will be.

The Caran D'Ache colour pencil set from my college days.

My new Caran D'Ache colour pencil set.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

AL-FATIHAH : KAK INA (ZARINA MOHD HASIN)

It was after Maghrib this evening when I received a phone call from a colleague informing that one of the administrative assistants at my workplace was involved in a car accident on her way back home. She was said to be injured but nobody knew whether it was serious or not. I tried to call her number but there was no answer so I tried her brother-in-law's number. I was numb for a while when he told me that Kak Ina (that was what I called her although she was younger than I) had just passed away. It was only yesterday evening when I last saw her after fetching my Mum from the dialysis centre. Kak Ina was the one who handled my monthly claims for my Mum's dialysis treatment. For the past few days, she had kept on asking me about the receipts that I should give her so she could settle her work. On Thursday, I gave all the receipts to her and on Friday, she called me to the office to tell me that the dialysis centre had left out one receipt. She had insisted that I go and get the receipt from the centre that Friday evening. I stopped by at the office to give her the receipt on Friday evening and she pointed out that there was a mistake in one of the forms from the dialysis centre. She asked me whether I could get another form but since I did not want to delay her work, I simply asked her to correct the form since the error was very minor (it was my identity card number). That was the last time I talked to her. After I received the news from her brother-in-law, I immediately called Kak Minah, my mommy-sitter, to come over to my house since I wanted to go to the hospital. When I reached the hospital, some of my colleagues were already there wait6ing for her to be taken for the post-mortem. Now that she is gone, I began to notice some of the subtle changes in her before her passing. Kak Ina, you will be missed and I cannot thank you enough for all the things that you had done for me. Al-Fatihah and may Allah bless your soul and place you in jannah. آمين

Saturday, February 28, 2015

PIECES OF MALAYSIAN NOSTALGIA : YOU ARE ALREADY MIDDLE-AGED IF...

Growing old can be a pain in the ass (and other parts of the body as well) and it's not something that we can easily avoid no matter hard we try. No amount of ointments, lotions and rubs can restore that vitality and strength that we once possessed. The physical aches that we suffer are somehow incomparable to the longing that some of us have when we reflect on our youth and the carefree times that we had. Sometimes, that longing can be more piercing than the sharpest of blades and more. Many people have discussed in blogs and forums how simpler life was when they were younger and I couldn't agree more. We did not have a lot of money back then but we were okay. We did not have a lot of facilities to make our life easier but we managed to get by. Most of us did not have university-educated parents but they made sure that we got proper education. We had to help our parents before or after school yet we never complained. We only got hand-me-down clothes yet they were clean and mended. Reading those entries and comments sometimes makes me want to go back in time at least for a while just for old time's sake. If you grew up in Malaysia in the 70s and 80s, I'm quite sure you will be familiar with most of the things I've listed below. Generally you can be considered almost (with the emphasis on the word 'almost') middle-aged if :

1. bas mini (the most famous was Bas Mini Wilayah @ BMW) or 'bas loncat' was your choice mode of transportation.

2. you know what a 'basikal Chopper' or a 'Pasola' is.

3. you envied the guys who rode their Yamaha RX-S and got all the girls.

4. the first novel that introduced you to the concept of the birds and the bees was 'Mona Gersang' or something similar to it (I wonder if anybody still keeps a copy).

5. Syed Sobrie, Razis Ismail, Ogy Ahmad Daud or Mazuin Hamzah was your teenage crush.

6. Mimaland was the choice theme park to have fun with your family and friends (it was the only one that was family-oriented).

7. Aliph was your favourite brand of shoes (if you were a Mat Rock).

8. your favourite local sitcoms were 2+1 and Pi Mai, Pi Mai Tang Tu.

9. you were inspired to become an athlete by Marina Chin, Zaiton Othman, Rabuan Pit, Istiaq Mubaraq and Nurherman Majid.

10. Mum 21, Cuticura and Amami were the talcum powders in your household.

11. you went to ITM and not uITM.

12. you often refer to UPM as Universiti Pertanian Malaysia.

13. you know what 'tudung dakwah' means.

14. you went home early because you were afraid of 'Hantu Kum Kum' and 'Hantu Kepala Anjing'.

15. you attended 'usrah' during weekends with your 'brothers' and 'sisters'.

16. Minah Karan and Mat Spanar were derogatory terms you used to refer to the factory workers (a big salute to you guys and gals for your economic contributions).

17. you listened to FM Stereo or Rediffusion.

18. you hung out with friends at Pertama Kompleks (KL) or Komtar (Penang) or Yik Foong (Ipoh).

19. you skipped school to play Pacman, Pinball and Space Invaders at video arcades.

20. you once owned a pair of bell-bottoms, carrot-cut jeans or a maxi dress.

21. you competed with your friends to see who could solve the Rubik Cube puzzle first.

22. your favourite reading materials were Gila-Gila, Remaja, Siri Bercakap Dengan Jin and Variasari.

23. typing and shorthand were two favourite courses to take while waiting for SPM results.

24. you learned cursive writing using your fountain pen at least once a week in primary school.

25. you remember fondly watching the latest movies at these cinemas : Lido, Cathay, Odeon, Ruby, Majestic, Rex or Princess.

26. on hot days, you bought 'ice balls' wrapped in newspaper or 'ais krim Malaysia' to quench your thirst.

27. you played marbles, batu seremban or galah panjang and went to catch fighting fish or spiders.

28. your Home Science teacher and Discipline Master were the most feared people in school.

Time has changed and most of the things I've listed above are no longer known to many, especially the younger generation. Some things are better left forgotten but certain things will always be kept fondly within our hearts.

Friday, February 27, 2015

WHITNEY HOUSTON 'MY LOVE IS YOUR LOVE' TOUR BOOK

This is the fourth Whitney Houston's tour book in my collection and in my opinion, not the best. It seemed as if not enough effort was put into producing this book at all. All the pictures in the book can easily be found elsewhere and in fact, some of them are just stills from her video clips. There are no pictures of her band who backed her on this tour and there are also fewer pages compared to her other tour books. Quite disappointing, I would say. Whitney's My Love Is Your Love album was her first studio album after eight years and also the one which reintroduced her to the younger listeners. Unlike her previous albums, her new repertoire was edgier and more up-to-date. Whitney's fashion also took a different turn and direction. She was no longer perceived as the demure pop princess dressed in modest attire. Her dressing was funkier, sexier and trendier. For the tour, she was all dressed up in stylish Dolce & Gabbana from head to toe. By the way, I love those fierce boots and the green fur coat! She also sported a straight bob hairstyle layered and angled to perfection. At the same time, there were some other changes in her that caught both the public and media attention. Her cool and collected demeanor was replaced by rushed and erratic behaviour. The way she talked also suggested that something was amiss. Speculations and rumours about drug and substance abuse began to appear quite frequently in tabloids and on the Internet. Nevertheless, the tour was very successful and became one of the top-grossing tours in 1999. As I mentioned earlier, this tour book is a let down for me. It just looks like a compilation of pictures printed on glossy high-quality paper instead of a piece of memorabilia highlighting Whitney's career and tour.

The My Love Is Your Love Tour Book.

Whitney and her Dolce & Gabbana.

A much slimmer Whitney from the back.

WEEKEND TRIP TO MY BROTHER'S PLACE

I rarely make any long trips anymore due to my Mum's thrice-weekly dialysis treatment and whatever trips that we make will have to revolve around her schedule. I never got to take my Mum anywhere during the end of the year school holidays last year so I figured that a short weekend trip would be good for her. At the same time, I also needed a break. FYI, I haven't had any proper holiday for the past twelve years. Pathetic, I know but there are priorities that I have to consider and going for holidays and leaving my Mum is not one of them. I always welcome any short trip or even an outing since it is the only time I can exhale and let off steam. If other people go to exotic and faraway places for their holiday, I can be content with either going out for a nice meal or window-shopping. It doesn't take much to satisfy me, does it? So, a couple of weeks ago, I decided to take my Mum to my youngest brother's place in Puncak Alam. I had to rearrange my Mum's dialysis schedule since I wanted her to have a good rest before the journey. Most dialysis patients will feel extremely tired after their treatment so a few hours of sleep and rest would help her to regain her strength. We left quite late and had to ask my brother to come and meet us at one of the rest stops since I didn't quite remember the way to his house. We stopped to have our dinner at a Thai restaurant before we made it to his house. We spent the next day at home and only went out for meals. The weather was quite hot and I did not feel like taking my Mum out under such condition. My Mum was really happy to be able to visit her son and daughter-in-law. Usually, she has to wait for them to come back before she gets to see them. Too bad, we could not stay for long at my brother's place. We only stayed for the weekend and then it was back home again. I had to go back to work and my Mum had to have a good rest before her dialysis treatment on Monday. Still, it was a good short trip for me and for my Mum especially.

My Mum in the living room. All dressed up before going out for lunch.

Friday, February 13, 2015

AL-FATIHAH : NIK AZIZ AND HASBULLAH AWANG

Two very prominent figures in Malaysia passed away yesterday. Both had contributed greatly to their callings and will forever leave indelible marks in our lives. Al-Fatihah and may Allah bless their souls and place them in jannah. آمين

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

WHITNEY BIOPIC

What a disappointment.

Friday, February 6, 2015

WHITNEY HOUSTON'S DAUGHTER : BOBBI KRISTINA BROWN

The news on Bobbi Kristina Brown or better known as Krissy was all over the Internet last week and still is. It shocked me and many others who have been following her since the death of her mother almost 3 years ago to know that the daughter of the late Whitney Houston was found unconscious lying face-down in a bathtub. She was immediately rushed to the hospital and currently, she is still in a medically-induced coma to stop her brain from swelling. News about her condition was not fully known except to her close family members. Krissy was only 18 years old when her mother died in a tragic bathtub accident in a Beverly Hills hotel on February 11 2012. As the anniversary of Whitney's passing approaches, Krissy's fate still remains unknown. It is sad to see what a young person like her has to go through in life. I can still remember the chubby little girl who accompanied and sang 'My Love Is Your Love' with her mother on stage during Whitney's tour back in 1999. Paying attention and listening to the lyrics of that song, I can't help but notice that they can be interpreted differently. And the interpretation can be quite eerie actually. Who would have thought that everything would end up like this? To us, it looks as if Krissy had everything that her heart desired but did she really? At the same time, my heart goes out to all those who have lost their parent or parents at a very young age. It must be devastating to them and I hope there will always be someone to take care of the welfare of such children without having any other ulterior motives. And once again, I'm reminded how fragile life can be...

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

WHITNEY HOUSTON 'NOTHING BUT LOVE' TOUR BOOK

Whitney Houston tour book from her Nothing But Love World Tour arrived in my mail a few days ago. This tour book is quite big (12" x 15.5") and the quality is excellent. There are a lot of pictures and information to highlight Whitney's illustrious career and stellar achievements in this 36-page book. Some of the pictures were specifically taken for this tour book and the information is quite detailed. I'm happy that I finally have this book but at the same time, I'm also feeling a tinge of sadness. There will be no more tour books produced, no more albums recorded, no more videos shot, no more interviews conducted, no more pictures taken and no more Whitney Houston. And the saddest and most bitter part is to acknowledge the truth that the end of her career was not as spectacular as the beginning. The success of her final album was partly due to her loyal fan base although there were many who had 'abandoned' her. The foreword for this tour book clearly said it all. How her fans and their love were the factors that kept her going although we knew that her voice was no longer what it used to be. Some of her concerts for this tour were also cancelled and there were news of fans booing her and walking out in the middle of her performance. Whitney's magic was her voice and when she no longer had that, the magic seemed to disappear too. When I attended her 'Live 'N' Loud' show back in 2008, I could notice the deterioration of her vocal quality and I am sure that the audience who attended the show noticed that too. However, they kept on singing along to her songs and as for me, it was difficult to watch her sing without feeling that tight lump in my throat. Though the chances of her old voice coming back were almost impossible, deep down inside I kept on hoping that the situation was only temporary and everything would go back to normal. As a fan, it was absolutely a bitter pill for me to swallow. Her final album ' I Look To You' finally confirmed that Whitney's voice would never be the same again. Still, I did not think less of her talent and gift. I went out and bought the album and tried to find the positive sides of it. The album was special to me indeed. In it, I can almost feel what Whitney was feeling and going through at that time. It wasn't her best album but the most sincere. Everything seemed bright once again and it looked like there was going to be some hope after all. Still, there were issues and demons that Whitney had to fight. It wasn't an easy battle for her. Despite the love and support that Whitney received from her family, friends and fans, she still did not make it. Now, this tour book sits with the rest of her tour books that I own. Reminding me that love can be beautiful and painful at the same time.

The Nothing But Love Tour Book.

The centrefold.

Beautiful Whitney when she was younger.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

MY CD COLLECTION

I wish I had bought more CDs over the years but when I first started buying them, CDs were quite expensive (although they are going out of style, they are still expensive). Only those who had money to spend  would buy CDs (obviously, I did not) and of course, the much more expensive CD player. I wasn't making much at that time (I still am not but I am not complaining either) so I had no other choice but to resort to the much less pricey cassettes most of the time. I had to be quite selective when it came to what CDs to buy since I would be spending around RM 40 to RM 50 for a piece of  CD (that amount of money could feed me for a week!). Sometimes I would go to the music shop a few times to browse through the CDs displayed before I decided what to buy (much to the annoyance of the shopkeeper). I admit that I have bought pirated CDs and downloaded music illegally (I plead guilty, Your Honour) from the Internet (many times actually) but I always make it a point to buy originals CDs from singers that I like and support. I am partial to certain types of music and that will also determine my music purchases. I am not like some people who buy things for the sake of buying and owning something. Certain Malay CDs from the late 80s and early 90s (especially those manufactured overseas) have become highly sought-after items nowadays and can fetch a few hundred ringgit in the current market. A few of months ago, I came across this one seller on mudah.my who was selling his complete Aishah collection for RM 5K and Sheila Majid collection for RM 6K. I wonder if anyone is rich enough (or crazy enough) to part with such an exorbitant amount of money just to complete his or her Aishah and Sheila Majid collection. I know that I won't splurge my money on these CDs although I love Aishah and Sheila Majid very much. There are a few local collectors whose CD collection (and vinyls too) is so extensive (their music collection amounts to thousands!) that they can open their own music station. These collectors are extremely vigilant of their prized collection and sometimes excessively obsessive and possessive as well. They store and classify everything meticulously. As much as I envy them (and I am rarely envious), I realise that I have neither their passion nor their perseverance to become a collector like them (actually I don't have the kind of money that they do). Still, I am happy and grateful with what I have so far (I am very easy to please, actually). I rarely buy any more CDs nowadays and at the rate I'm going, I think I will stop buying them altogether one of these days. Most of the CDs I own are a reminder of my younger days. Current music rarely interests me anymore and most of the time, I feel it's not worth buying any newly released CDs at all. CDs have also seen better days and their time to shine is over. I still go to music stores from time to time in case I see something that I like and I will buy something that will not put a dent in my pocket. I also have this online friend who will inform me of any cheap CDs on sale. He will buy the CDs that I want for me and I will bank in the money into his account. It is much more convenient that way since I can get CDs at very much lower prices and he can make a little bit of profit too. In fact , it can be quite exciting to receive a package by mail especially on days when I am not feeling that enthusiastic about my job. I still listen to my CDs especially on weekends when I don't have much to do (which is very rare). Listening to CDs on a very good stereo system and plugging in your earphones to an MP3 are absolutely worlds apart and that is one of the reasons why I still prefer CDs. My CDs are alphabetically arranged and I do categorise them into singles, full English albums and full Malay albums which make it easier for me to find the CDs that I want or to know if any of the CDs are misplaced or missing. These CDs are displayed in a cupboard and nobody can touch them without my permission (I can be quite obsessive too). I figure if I have spent so much money on them, why let people who don't appreciate them mishandle them?

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2015 - LET'S KARAOKE 32 : CAMEO - WORD UP!

Happy 2015, everyone! I can't believe that I actually forgot to usher the new year with a new karaoke. Well, I guess it's never too late to post one right now since we are still in the first week of 2015. So for this year, I've decided to get funky with this 1986 R&B hit 'Word Up!' by Cameo. Back then, the lead singer of the group Larry Blackmon shocked the MTV audience by wearing a red codpiece in the music video. This song has been covered by a number of artists including Melanie B (of Spice Girls) and Korn but this is still the version that I like best. Enjoy the karaoke and HAPPY NEW YEAR! 

The single's cover

video

Ooww!
Yo pretty ladies around the world
Got a weird thing to show you
So tell all the boys and girls
Tell your brother, your sister
And your mama too
Cause we're about to throw down
And you'll know just what to do

Wave your hands in the air

Like you don't care
Glide by the people as they start to look and stare
Do your dance
Do your dance
Do your dance quick, mama
Come on baby tell me what's the word
Word up
Everybody say when you hear they call
You've got to get it underway

Word up, it's the code word
No matter where you say it
You'll know that you'll be heard

Now all you sucker DJs
Who think you're fly
There's got to be a reason
And we know the reason why

You try to put on those airs and act real cool
But you've got to realize
That you're acting like fools
Give us music we can use it
We need to dance
We don't have the time
For psychological romance

No romance, no romance
No romance for me, mama
Come on baby tell me what's the word

Word up
Everybody say when you hear the call
You've got to get it underway

Dial "L" for low...
Come on, all you people say...
W-O-R-D up - W-O-R-D up

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

WHITNEY HOUSTON 'THE BODYGUARD' TOUR BOOK

My third Whitney Houston tour book arrived today after I came back home from my brother's house in Ipoh. Unlike the other two tour books that I have, this one doesn't have a hard cover but it is still in excellent condition. Another edition of this tour book is also available in Japanese but mine is in English. The book is printed on quality glossy paper and the pictures are utterly fabulous. After all, this was Whitney at her prime when the whole world seemed to revolve around her. There is also a whole page containing a list and pictures of all her released singles up at that point. The information used for this tour book is pretty much the same as the other two tour books that I have except for a little bit of addition highlighting her 'The Bodyguard' success and achievements. Some of the photographs are in monotones and I have to admit that most of the pictures truly show Whitney's beauty and elegance. Her three other tour books from the Greatest Love World Tour, My Love Is Your Love World Tour and Nothing But Love Tour are still available on ebay but I'm putting off buying them at the moment. When the time is right, I'm sure they will be mine.

The Bodyguard Tour Book.

The centrefold.

Whitney's sweet smile.

Monday, January 5, 2015

MY NEW NUMARK TTUSB TURNTABLE : THANK YOU, KAK SHI!

One of my 'adopted siblings', Shi, came back a few weeks ago for his cousin's wedding. He usually stayed either at CoCo's place or mine whenever he came back and not at his late grandfather's house. It was almost 12 midnight and I was, as usual, in front of my lappy ; downloading movies and doing nothing in particular. Suddenly, I received a text from him asking me where I was and telling me that he was in front of my house. I replied his text jokingly since he was always telling us that he was in front of my house when he was actually not. About 10 minutes later, I heard some rustlings in front of my house. I went to look out the window and there he was, sitting outside trying to muffle his giggles. I muttered a few curse words and he only laughed at me since he managed to pulled the terrible trick on me. He had with him his knapsack and a big package which I assumed was the wedding gift for his cousin. Apparently, he had taken the night train from KL and had left his car. He said his sister would be driving his mother and father on the morning of the wedding.We went to the kitchen to have something to drink before going to bed. On the day of the wedding, he left at about 11.00 o'clock in the morning and told me that he would be back late. On his way out, I reminded him to take the wedding gift but he said that he would give it to his cousin later after the wedding. My Mum and I did not go to the wedding although we were personally invited. My Mum was still feeling a little bit tired from her dialysis the previous day and I did not feel like leaving her alone at home. CoCo had gone to do the make-up for one of his clients who was also having her wedding on the same day. It was late in the evening when Shi came back. His family had gathered at his late grandfather's house where they had prepared 'laksa'. He brought some for us and that was what we had for dinner that night. We only stayed home the next day and Shi's mother came to visit us. On Monday, after I sent my Mum to the dialysis centre, CoCo came to fetch him so he could go back to his late grandfather's house before going back to KL. Before he left, I once again reminded Shi about the wedding gift that was still in my room. He said that his cousin would be coming to get the gift later since he had to rush to get his mother and sister. After CoCo and Shi left, I went to get my Mum from the dialysis centre. It was quite late in the evening when CoCo called me up to ask me whether I had read Shi's latest post on facebook. I was totally surprised when I found out that the wedding gift was actually my birthday present. I did not even open the present until later in front of CoCo and my Mum. I opened the box carefully and there it was. The turntable that I had been wanting for so long was right in front of my eyes. Thank you, Shi for the lovely present. I love it very much but you know that I love you more!   

My Numark turntable and some of my favourite 7" singles.

The turntable and a few of my 12" singles.

KENDURI TAHLIL AND DOA SELAMAT AT MY MUM'S PLACE

A few weeks ago, my second sister told my Mum that she wished to have a 'kenduri' at my Mum's place since she had retired from her service with the government. Coincidentally, the date selected also fell on my niece's birthday which was December 28. Actually, I intended to have a small gathering with family members and a few close friends to celebrate my Mum's 80th birthday a few months back but the plan had to be postponed since my Mum was still recovering from her fall and fistula surgery. After discussing with my friends, CoCo, Shi and Mira, I planned a small 'kenduri tahlil and doa selamat' to give thanks for all the good things that had happened to us. It would have been easier if I had catered for the whole thing but my Mum wanted to have certain dishes for the 'kenduri'. Finally, I decided to ask Shi's uncle to prepare a few dishes that my Mum wanted. My Mum wanted 'Red Snapper Curry', 'Lemongrass Fried Chicken', 'Pineapple and Salted Fish Gulai', 'Fried French Beans and Prawns' and 'Sambal Goreng Tempe'. Shi's uncle prepared the fish curry, the fried chicken and the fried beans. Kak Minah (I will write about this 'special lady' later in another post) cooked the pineapple dish and my sister cooked the 'fried tempe'. At the same time, there would also be 'bubur gandum' and 'corn pudding' for dessert prepared by Mira. For the children, I had goodies prepared for them. And what did I do? Running the endless errands that I, somehow, kept on forgetting to do. Since I did not want my house to be cluttered, I decided to have the whole affair outside in front of my house. I had extended the invitation to my neighbours, my close friends and also a few of my colleagues. I had also asked Haji Ismail, the 'tok imam' from the mosque to lead the prayers. Everything went well on that day. The sun came out shining brightly after a few days of non-stop rain. All my brothers and sisters came back. My cousins, nephews, nieces and good friends were also there. The food was absolutely delicious. My sister got her wish fulfilled. My Mum was happy. Nothing went wrong at all that day. I definitely could not ask for more and for that, I thank Allah for all HIS blessings, grace and love bestowed upon all of us.

The three 'otais' - Yang (my cousin's husband), Cikgu Karim and Haji Ismail (the imam).

The food buffet.

The earlier guests after the 'tahlil' and 'doa selamat'.

More guests.

My Mum on her wheelchair surrounded by family members and neighbours.

My Mum and behind her from the left : Ungge (my Mum's cousin), my second sister (Norhayati) and my eldest sister (Noraini).