Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Another year

It must be lonely. Breaking fast by yourself. When you use to have a wife fussing over food. You must have remembered how the four of us would wait at the table for the azan. Eyeing the food. All the time delicious. You have always said the best time of the year was when breaking fast. I must agree for I am enjoying it with my family, your grandchildren.

And then everybody grows up and everybody grows old.

Somehow I also remembered how you have always liked keroncong. I remebered the nights that you dimmed the lights down and put on the turntable to the tunes of old keroncong. Ibu would make you ABC or any dessert and sit with you talking the night out. I would be grumpy because keronchong was just not in. Bukaklah Casey Kasem ke apa.

Ayah, I was watching Mukhsin the other day. At the end of the movie two old couple sang this simple keronchong, maybe a bit low for ayah's taste, but it reminded me of both you, ayah and ibu.

I imagined Ibu singing out of tune and you singing everything like elvis. Or you would strum the guitar while Ibu still sing out of tune. Or you would sing and Ibu would strum, again right chord, wrong strum.

The clip from the movie Mukhsin. Pssstt thanks bear

It's your birthday and I can feel the loneliness.

We all miss you terribly and wish that things are just different.

Happy birthday ayah.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Kad Hari Raya

My makcik urut (traditional massager) said to me,when I visited her for my yearly maintenance, "Raya nanti ko jangan lupa hantar aku kad raya" (Don't forget to send me Eid greeting cards when you get there)

Gosh! I have not been sending out greeting card for ages. Last was most likely when I was working, only to my parents. My lover insists that we send raya card for both parents and siblings. But my nenek urut, like many older generation, they still prefer snail mail (or card) rather than the mass sms or the computer greetings with music and flas card pictures. Which I must say, I do agree, but the effort. And also the litter after.

And I have not received cards ever since I got here. Partly because I am too lazy to give my lover's office address. They don't have house address here. Nor do they have postmans to send the mails. They use P.O. Box or courier.

Even before, when I was working, I have only been receiving sterile cards. Like from the insurance companies, consultants, hotels and all that. Where sometimes they stamp their name rather than sign. Gone are the days when I received stacks of cards from friends with messages like

"Pecah kaca pecah gelas,
sudah baca harap balas"

So I am sending out raya cards this year. To those who are significant and those who want to receive.

.....and why am I troubling myself for that, I just can't explain. Instead of buying the card from the rack which are far more more easier and prettier and creative, I decided to make my own. Not the one that i colour myself which is like more personalise kan?

I chose some of my photos. Old ones I am afraid. I haven't been out much to take new ones. Put the Eid Mubarak Greeting on it and print it. I couldn't even get proper cards for it. So it doesn't look professional. But well..it doesn't look too bad.

Are you sending out any this year?

Some of the pictures for my cards

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Saturday, September 22, 2007

I Can't Stop Crying

Aku belai anak kecilku dari dia kecil lagi. Aku limpahkan kasih sayang kepadanya. Bila dia besar aku terapkan disiplin. Aku kongsi ilmu bersamanya. Aku perhatikan dia membesar di hadapanku. Setiap detik menggembirakanku. Hilai ketawanya. Sedu sedannya.

Dia peluk aku pagi semalam. Dia peluk aku pagi ini. Dia mahukan sesuatu dan memujukku. Aku buat tak layan. Dia sugul. Comelnya. Kasihnya aku padanya.

Dia minta dimasukkan ke kelas ballet. Ibu tak ada duit. Dia sugul. Tapi masih lagi dia datang memelukku.

Ibu masak sedap. Dia senyum memandang aku. Bundar matanya penuh cahaya. Aku kasih padanya.

Dia bergaduh adik beradik. Ibuuu tengok dia ni, jerit dia. Rimas aku. Tapi bila semua tak ada, aku rindukan hingar bingar. Aku rindukan pelukkannya.

Janganlah engkau, syaitan bertopengkan manusia, ambil itu semua dari aku. Engkau, manusia selaku haiwan, dengan nafsu serakah engkau. Hati binatang engkau. Apa hilang sifat kemanusiaan engkau. Engkau merosakkan kehidupan anak kecil itu. kehidupan keluarganya. Keluarga yang memberi kasih sayang sesama mereka. Tidak ada sedikitkah lagi sifat belas kau?

I was talking to my friends about my kids transportation to school. One of them remarked, you parents are so paranoid. I played in the kampong throughout my childhood. I cycled to school in quiet road. I enjoyed my childhood.

I enjoyed my childhood too. I walked 15 minutes from school when I was in primary. I cycled to my religous school. I go to pasar malam. I go places.

It was perhaps safer back then or I was just lucky.

But I feel afraid to take similar risk with my children. Am I hampering them with great life outdoor? But can they really be safe anywhere. If in the security of home do not promise anything. I feel scared. Scared for my children.

But to my friend, I said, you obviously do not have children of your own.

AlFatehah Nurin. Dunia ini kejam. Tempatmu di syurga sekarang, anak kecil.

Friday, September 21, 2007

The place to enjoy cendol,

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The only place to enjoy cendol, is at the mobile warung beside a drain

How is it that my lover lost 6 kilos while I lost virtually none, in merely a week of fasting.

I don't want to be his friend.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

18th of September 1980

It was in the year 1980, on the same date, I turned eight. And like the years before, i would have probably received simple gifts from my parents like a pencil or eraser or a sharpener and my mum probably cooked something extra special.

But it was the day after my birthday that I actually got a surprise. There was this girl in my class. She was not actually a friend. In fact I stayed away from her. She was quite a naughty person. She likes to hit and pinch. She says vulgar word. She likes lifting the girl's skirt. She even take off her panties and pee in public. But everyone has a kind heart right? Particularly when the naughtiest girl in school present you with a gift that you can only dream of receiving.

She surprised me with a colour pencil set! The expensive colour set! Oh I still remember it. There were 36 different colours. Imagine 36! Mine was only six. And there were all long sophisticated pencils. While mine was the short ones. Put in a colourful tin box. There was a picture of a colourful carousel, coloured in pencil colours. Obviously if one can own this kind of pencil colour set, one can colour a carousel as wonderful as this.

I was ecstatic! This has got to be the best gift in my whole eight years of life. One of the colours was heavily used though, I pointed to the girl, let's call her Dim. She said, she didn't plan to give it to me, but since she knew it was my birthday, she thought of giving it to me.

It really did not matter. A pencil colour set in a tin box. Every girl dream I must say! Well at least for me.

I showed it to my parents. They were surprised but were happy for me. I remembered my dad telling me that I should keep it at home and not bring it to school, so that I wouldn't accidentally lose it or even risk being stolen. i obliged. I slept happily that weekend.

On Monday morning, the week after next, I was yet surprised again. this time it was not a pleasant one. I was summoned to the headmistress' office. My BM teacher, Puan Mon, had a grim face when she told me. I have always been a good girl you know. I don't think I have ever done anything wrong. I was the assistant monitor. I was helpful and always keep myself of trouble. As I walked out of the class, Puan Mon said, did you get yourself a pencil colour set, Lollies?

I smiled and wondered how did she know.

I was made shocked in the headmistress' room. Apparently I was asked whether I stole any pencil colours from San, another girl in class. What? Steal? I never steal anything. I may be poor, but I don't steal! And plus San is really a nice girl. No No! i did not steal. I explained everything. Headmistress seemed satisfied and called Dim into her room.

I got back to class. Puan Mon still eyed me suspiciously. Even though i did not steal anything, but it sure felt like I did. I felt bad. I felt guilty. I felt that no one was on my side. She is a thief. I know why she steals. Look at her. She wears old short uniform. She didn't have anything. Surely she has been eyeing that set. San just bought it you know, in Singapore. And she stole it.

I was angry. I hated Dim. How could she got me in this trouble! What have I done to her?! Why did I trust her? because she had a carrot and I was a horse?

Later my dad came to school. I was so in trouble. My dad would be angry. I know. Dim's dad was there too. I didn't know what happen to Dim. What I know was my name was cleared. San talked to me again and apologised for suspecting me. Why wouldn't she, after she saw me clutching the pencil colour.

But, Puan Mon who looked authoritive all the while, said to me, in class out loud, "Lain kali kalau orang kasi hadiah, ceklah dulu barang curi ke tak?!" (The next time you received a gift, do check whether it is actually stolen or otherwise!)

I may be eight then, but I just cant tell you how angry was I with her statement. How can she patronise me like that? Really, who checks presents?? Not only that she did not recognise that I was innocent, she had to find a way saying how wrong I am. What about Dim? Why didn't she say anything to her?

For the first time in my life, I lost some of my innocence. I learn to hate a teacher. I hated Puan Mon. I am very skeptical with most BM teachers after that. I hated teachers who are narrow minded. That year, I believe, was the year that I slowly turned into a rebel. The year I turned eight.

It was when I went back to Malaysia the year my mum passed away (Feb-April 2006), that I bumped into Puan Mon again. It was 26 years after. She looked older. So was I. She was walking to the same eating place my dad and I was at. She was with her husband and her children. her children are all adults.

My dad said, that's Puan Mon. Uhuh, I replied. Go and shake hands with her. Don't want, I remarked. I hate her. My dad smiled. he said, she doesn't remember you know. I rebutted, well I do. I remember everything.

Apparently, Puan Mon's husband is also my dad's friend. What luck! So when we were about to leave, my dad walked to them. I had to follow. Of course I had to salam Puan Mon. An actress that I was, as I salamed, I said to her that I was her student back in my primary school. She held my hand tight, and she began to cry. I was surprised. Apa orang tua ni? kememeh lah pulak.

Her husband smiled a bit and apologised to me. He said, she doesn't remember anything. She lost her memory a year ago. whenever any of her students come to her, she would feel sad, because she didn't even know that she was a teacher. She doesn't even remember me nor her children. but we all love her all the same. I looked at Puan Mon's daughter, she smiled at me and said thank you for remembering her. I couldn't say much except that I am sorry to hear that.

Suddenly, all the hatred that I felt was pointless. All those memories harboured within me leaving perhaps a very black spot in my heart was insignificant. How can I continue hating her, when she doesn't even remember anything.

I forgave her. 26 years after.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Zesty Drink

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketI usually prepare bottle of drinks for the kids when I picked them up in the afternoon. It is a refreshing coolness after a sweltering day outside.

I use to prepare some apple juice or mixed fruit juice or blacberry juice or strawberry juice or mango juice for them (fresh from the bottle). But after sometime, I realised that they are packed with loads of sugar too. So, after that I diluted their drink. This didn't work much for Sya because she obviously turned into a sweet tooth girl, drank the undiluted one when she got home.

Continuing from my new year resolution, I decided this time round we would reduce our carton juice intake. Perhaps only 2 bottles a month (iya ke ni?). So instead of the sweet juice, I brought plain water for them.

I know they wanted some taste especialy after drinking a bottle of plain water in the school. So what I did was to chill the plain water and to sliced up some lemons into it. So the plain water now have a zest of lemon instead.

Sya at first thought it is sour. She hates it. I know she wanted sweet taste.

Then I started to improvise (I am not sure whether it is actually improvise). I squeezed more lemon into it and also sliced some of them into the pitcher. Some sugar and sprinkle of salt. Have it chilled. And suddenly we have a fusion of lemonade and plain water. To have real lemonade drink, I need to squeeze more lemon which I am lazy to do.

And now I crave for this drink after I finish up all the labourious housework. After a mug of hot milo during iftar. Piching the leftover kueh.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Yang Bestnya

ialah puasa kat sini, kekasih saya balik awal. Kalau biasa-biasa dia masuk kerja pukul 7:30 balik pukul 3:30 (tapi sampai rumah pukul 5:30, pouts), sekarang dia masuk kerja pukul 8:00 balik pukul 1:00 (tapi sampai rumah 2:30, oklah tak pout sangat).

So sangatlah bestnya.

Lepas tu, saja nak inform anda semua, perkara biasa je lah. Subuh masuk lebih kurang pukul 4:00 pagi and iftar lebih kurang pukul 5:40 petang. Isyak masuk pukul 7:30. Sebelum pukul 9:00 malam lagi semua dah balik dari terawikh dan Haziq pun terus pengsan, tidur.

Hari ini anak sulung saya teringin nak makan lontong. Harusnya siap dengan kuah kacang. So saya buatlah nasi impit, kuah lodeh and kari ayam. Ingat nak buat pisang goreng sekali buat manis-mains mulut sikit.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

New Year Resolution

It's not quite a new year this time round. But it sure feels like it, since the kids start schooling for a whole new year.

Out of habit, I made some personal resolution. All the resolutions concern the kids ans what I'd like them to somewhat achieve for the whole year and hopefully groom them to be somewhat whole. Mana yang aku mampulah.

To start with, the first thing that I enforced was a new sleeping time. Last year my kids sleep whenever they like and most of the time they sleep at 11. Sya always make up as the little grumpy monster. I had complaints from her activity teacher that she was always tired in the afternoon, often refusing to do the activities and prefer sitting down. I think she was tired out. the thing is they had afternoon sleep only making them sleep even later at night. And it became a bad chain reaction for days to follow. Now all them should be in bed the latest 9.

It seemed to be working so far. Sya the cheeriest of them all. Happy even when I pick her up at half past 1.

I told Haziq many times as well to pay attention and improve his listening skills. He was quite bad. It was so bad that he even wrote an essay with a topic that the teacher didn't ask him to do. I told him to pay attention to the two language lessons he is taking. It is such great opportunity to be learning them, so don't waste it. Do you have any suggestions to improve his listening skills?

I want to pay attention to Sya as well this year. I think perhaps due to her sleepiness last year, she was like a waking zombie not knowing what is going on around her. So I want to keep her on her toes. On her third day I asked what did she learn today. And she replied, i don't remember and ignored me after. I was so angry, I snapped at her. I demand proper answer young lady. From now on you will remember what you learn and tell me everything. If you answer me lazily like that, you can find yourself walking to school tomorrow.

Suffice to say, she tells me nearly everything she learned eagerly. Heh heh. I like.

I am also doing extra buku kerja ugama with the kids. Hopefully this one can train Sya on her BM and her writing and religious knowledge. Susahlah belajar kat sini. tak ada kelas ugama. :(.

I know it is late by most of your standards, but this year I must make sure that Sya memorises all the Quls and perhaps a few more easy Sorahs. I want to make sure that she recites Ayat Qursi every night too. (That was how Haziq memorised it). I want to slowly introduce her the supplication for prayers. She would be seven next year. I think I am a bit latelah. :(

I will continue to share (and more) with the kids sirahs and great articles on religion with the kids. Can you suggest me good reads that are suitable for children. Perhaps Haziq can start reading something more serious eh?

But I also want them to have fun. I hope I am tenacious enough to take them outside for some games in the evening. I am telling you this one takes the most sacrifice in terms of time and effort. But I feel that they need it. After eid perhaps. I will also putting extra effort on board games with all of us especially now that Sya is bigger. We started on pictionary the other day.

OMG this turn out to be too long. You read it up to here? Or you skipped everything and only read this paragraph. hahahahhaha. But I do appreciate suggestions if you have any.

It's fasting month beginning tomorrow. So selamat berpuasa semua. Jangan nakal-nakal.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Everyone goes to school

Haziq starts school yesterday.

Sya starts school last week except that she missed most of it due to fever.

And Jack starts his first day of school today.

I enrolled Jack in a playschool. Twice a week of fun (hopefully) and structured games. At least two days spent in the morning not watching tv or playing computer games. And me further relaxing.

I have been thinking about this day ever since i enrolled him before summer. Would he be ok? Would he cry? After all he has never been apart from me ever since we came to Qatar. He, I must say is the most clingy baby among all my children. Would he make a scene?

Would he be able to tell that he wants to pee and poo. It has to be said in english. Can he tell what he want? Would he want to sleep? Would he be looking for me?

I watch him sleep nearly every night last week. Oh am I doing the right thing sending him to school. Would two days be too much or perhaps too confusing? One day at school and one day after bliss at home. Would he get use to the new routine?

Of course we have been talking about school much earlier. What to expect. That he would have friends to play with. That there would be a wonderful teacher. That he would learn lots and he would have fun.

There will be a school bag. Spiderman! New!
Lunch box. New!
Own water bottle. New!
A little blankie in case he needs to sleep. Superman! New!

He must have felt that he is s big as his brother and sister now. Very important.

The morning starts off very well. I woke him up at 6. Whispered that it is a school day. He jumped up and headed for shower. No grumpiness. Not bad.

He had a very gay breakfast with his sister. Very happy indeed.

it was a happy happy morning. A very good note to start for a school going boy.

When we got to the school, he took the liberty to play with the amazing little cars in a village model. I chatted with the teacher. Occasionally Jack came to me and sat on my lap. He looked nervous. What's with Ms. Julie's heavy British accent.

But as soon as the rest of the kids came in,he looked alert and went to take his place at the little table and chair. There were wailing children. They worry me. Jack might get apprehensive himself.

To my surprise, Jack didn't seem disturbed at all. In fact he sat himself at a very strategic seat seemingly the most active person in the room. He actually looked like he has always been in school and this was just another day. Hmm..a sad look from him would have been flattering. But none of that. Should I be sad instead?

I got up and pecked him on the head and proceeded to leave.

He didn't even look.

He looks almost matured sitting there with a body language screaming readiness. Body leaning forward to the teacher, hands propped up on the table, alert face.

It was that easy. I am feeling overwhelm and yet somewhat proud of this little boy. This little boy who once clung his life onto me. This little boy who refuse to speak to anyone. But now he reemerges differently. A very confident little shy person.

When I picked him up in the afternoon, he was happily playing but looked cheerful seeing me and Sya. He said I have maaannyy friends. School is best.

Now, I hope he won't cause a problem tomorrow. You see tomorrow is a no school day. Having to ride the car only to go home, might raise a lot of questions.

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This is not the correct body language nor look

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Which side of the road?

If you keep having to drive on different side of the road beause you are in a different countries with different set of driving rules. Just remember, when you drive, the driver side must always be in the middle of the road. (Think two way road, one lane each side).

If you stick to this basic rule, Insya Allah, you won't accidentally get in the wrong lane. Especially when you make a turn on a quiet road with no other car in front to guide you. Then you don't have to wonder why the heck is the incoming car driving towards you.

P/S : In the middle east, we drive on the right side (meaning driver seat is on the left) of the road here whilst drivers in Malaysia and UK and Australia (?) drive on the left side (driver seat is on the right).

OK hopefully this can illustrate my point

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The two cars in the picture badly drawn above have driver seat on the left. If you can't tell already, the two cars are driving towards each other. The pink dot is the driver. The red car is the one driven on the correct side of the road. Whereas the yellow car, obviously driven by someone who is confused, probably just came back from vacation, is driven on the wrong side.

To be sure you are always on the correct side, the driver side must be in the middle of the road i.e. next to the road lines. That's what I mean by the middle of the road. I hope.

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Eye on Malaysia : Sekadar Gambar Hiasan

Monday, September 03, 2007

Down with Fever

Aching muscle.

Hot popping eyes.

Boiling head.

Bursting chest.

Flaring nostrils.

Heated body.

I am down with fever. Today is my third day.What made it worst is that all the kids have the same thing. I feel that I couldn't lift a finger to do anything. Even lying down hurts. But a mother still needs to tend to her kids.

It has been a long time since I last sponge the kids especially the bigger two. But I am not taking chances. I heard even adults can be affected by bad fever.

I think the heat has gotten me. I went out for someone makan-makan at 10 in the morning but the sun was so hot it bites. And after that, all four of us except the macho lover had this fever. The kind of fever that refuse to go away. That aches you and make you feel weak.

I feel like I don't want to cook at all. I feel like i want to curl up all the time. No one waking me up that they want to pee. That they feel like vomitting. And I don't want to waste energy doing mental calculation when to feed the kids their meds.

But I still cook albeit cincai one. Even though I think the kids won't eat. I made chicken soup noodle yesterday. Not very laku. Today I am making butter chicken and baked potatoes. The kids can smell the potatoes baking and seem to grow an apetite. The butter chicken is taken from this SITE but modified. Thanks to my everyday watching NTV7 in the morning.

Now I just want to lie down.

Oh I need sponging too.