Monday, January 31, 2011

The Maid Had Fled...

Our next-door neighbour's maid of two short months absconded yesterday afternoon. And I was an unwitting witness to it.

I had just stepped out the door, trash bags in hand, when I caught sight of her grabbing her bright orange handbag, pre-stashed behind the half-opened door of the cleaner's room, and hurrying towards the lift.

[Each floor of this highrise has a small, unlocked cubicle for cleaners to stash their cleaning paraphernalia].

It was the sight of her, properly garbed in long black pants, purple blouse, a bright-coloured tudung and a pair of festive slippers making a beeline for her hidden tote that told me something was amiss.

However, it wasn't a done deal to simply confront her as she stood there waiting for the lift to arrive. For all it was, she could be going out with friends, and I would look like a moron.

So I kept it to myself; didn't even confide in the old man about it. I was waiting for the next door folks, a young couple with two kids, to return from their day out, to check things out.

The neighbour's much-loved, middle-aged maid had just returned home to Indonesia for good after eight long years of service. Her replacement was that sullen-looking woman in her early 20s.

This morning my suspicion was answered. The neighbour's wife stopped to chat as I stood by the door keeping an eye on our two cats, Lillie and Awang, having their daily excursion around the floor.

I told her what I saw when she informed that her maid had fled. She also said a quick check with the management office revealed quite a number of maids had taken to their heels these past few months, allegedly aided by 'orang dalam' (insiders).

Apparently there's a syndicate at work here, in this building, in which some of the janitors were allegedly involved. She mentioned the name 'Su', which gave me a jolt.

There's only one cleaner named Su, and with another named Eli, had been cleaning my unit twice weekly for the last one month since our old, dependable bibik returned home to Jogjakarta in November last year.

The duo had approached me soon after bibik left, asking to replace bibik. I was a-okay with the idea; after all they had only wanted to earn some extra cash and I certainly could do with extra hands to clean the bathrooms.

This morning I caught hold of Eli working downstairs and told her what I knew. She went pale, asking me again and again: "Puan nampak dia lari?" (You saw her flee?) "Yup," was my curt reply.

Hours later the neighbour rang my bell to inform that she had viewed the newly installed CCTV together with the security people. Su's involvement was confirmed.

She was in every frame, on the mobile acting as a look-out whilst a strange man came to collect the runaway maid's baggage. Eli was not to be seen, so we have yet to know the extent of her involvement in this charade.

Naturally the neighbour was very annoyed. "I confronted Su, Kak, but she denied everything. She chose to keep quiet when we told her we have the evidence on tape." She has since made a police report.

In the meantime, the agency that had employed the cleaners would conduct their own investigations on their workers' alleged involvement. They could be dismissed if proven true, I was told.

"It's not so much the RM6,000 that we have wasted in getting her here, Kak; it's the inconvenience that we have to face because we both work and the kids have school. Thank God for the holidays; at least we can take stock and get things organised before school reopens."

And me? These duo had just started working for us. They came in twice weekly, every Wednesday and Sunday; their job limited to cleaning the 3 bathrooms and all the windows, mopping the floor, dusting the fans, shelves etc.

I paid their first month's due just yesterday and I don't know if I want them to continue. feeling vulnerable the way I do now; I just don't feel safe anymore. Am I being paranoid?

Frankly, I'm pretty pissed myself at the goings-on. What's with these people, anyway? Don't they have any sense of amanah at all?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

English Trifle

Trifle 1, using orange sponge cake

Trifle 2, using swiss roll

Those familiar with British cooking will definitely know what English trifle is. The Brits are not known for their culinary prowess - that, I believe, is the territory of the French - but they do have a reasonable number of good, fuss-free dishes.

Rich and filling Shepherd's Pie is a good example. Another is Steak & Kidney Pie, my pub favourite during those young, carefree days. Yet another is that old standard-bearer, Fish & Chips, eaten with a sprinkling of vinegar.

And then there's Blighty classic Bubble & Squeak, a meat & vegetable dish made of beef, leftover potatoes and mashed cabbage. For desserts there's the oddly-named Spotted Dick which is actually a steamed fruit and raisin sponge pudding eaten with custard sauce.

My knowledge of British cooking is woefully limited to a select few, firstly because I have never taken to the kitchen and secondly because I prefer the more flavourful Mediterranean food than bland British offerings.

But English Trifle is something else altogether. It's a dessert dish made from thick custard, fruit, sponge cake, fruit juice, gelatin or jelly, and whipped cream, all arranged in layers with fruit and sponge on the bottom, and custard and cream on top.

I have always liked trifle but did not have the right recipe to prepare it (and wasn't too keen about using recipes from the internet).

Thankfully, my blogger buddies Dee and Shahieda graciously parted with their respective English trifle recipes upon reading of my request in Facebook.

I have tried the recipes twice; they turned out reasonably okay and I would like to share them with you. Happy trying!


1) One swiss roll (evenly sliced). Can also use orange sponge cake (cut into small squares).

2) I big can of mixed fruits (I use Steffi's Choice), pour off syrup and put aside.

3) 1 packet of Nona instant jelly crystals (flavour according to cake type, strawberry for swiss roll, orange for orange sponge). Prepare as per instruction and put aside to cool.

4) 2 tbsps Bird's custard powder + 2 tbsps fresh milk, mix into a paste.

5) 200 ml (roughly one mug) fresh milk, add 2 tbsps sugar and bring to boil, then add custard paste and stir slowly until you get the right consistency.

6) Whipped cream, glace cherries and slivered almonds for decoration (if you like; I make do without them).


1) Cut cake into pieces and lay some pieces enough to cover the bottom of the bowl. If you use swiss roll, stack the pieces on the side of the bowl as well.

2) Moisten the cake pieces with canned fruit syrup (use a tablespoon to dribble the syrup). Dribble sparingly, else the cake will get too soggy.

3) Pour jelly onto cake (1st layer) and cool in the fridge for a couple of minutes.

4) Sprinkle mixed fruits on top of the jelly layer.

5) Pour custard on top of mixed fruits.

6) Start layering all over again with moistened cake pieces, followed by jelly, mixed fruits and custard, until you have used up all the ingredients.

7) If you like, you can decorate with whipped cream topped with glace cherries and sprinkled with slivered almonds (I prefer plain custard topping).

8) Let the bowl sit in your fridge for a short while, perhaps 30 minutes, before eating.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Pahala Free

Semalam saya dapat pahala free. Dalam saya dok diam-diam belek kuku, garu telinga dan cungkil gigi, tak ganggu sesiapa pun, ada jugak insan yang sudi sedekah pahala. Terima kasih ajalah.

Ini semua gara-gara menulis ikut perasaan. Emosi yang tak dibendung, kata orang. Hentam dulu, pikir kemudian. Penyudahnya kebodohan sendiri yang terserlah. Apa punya singkat otak daa...

Pada awalnya hati saya agak keberatan nak menyingkap kembali the unfortunate incident (read here) yang melibatkan saya dan keluarga dengan sebuah restoran Melayu di Taman Tun Dr Ismail ini.

Bagi saya, kisah itu sudah berlalu. Dah ada penutupnya pun. Saya dah buat yang terbaik pada tanggapan saya (read here). Tapi bila saya dihina dengan kata-kata kesat seperti di bawah, berderau juga darah.

Anonymous said...

Pendengki macam orang DAP. Berlagak Islamik dan pro-Umno tapi nak jatuhkan bisnes orang Melayu sendiri. Kau patut duduk Penang tolong Lim Guan Eng halau peniaga-peniaga Melayu. Bila Melayu buat silap sikit, terus nak kritik. Bila mamak charge mahal, tak senyum, makanan lambat sampai, kau ok je. Bila Melayu terus nampak. Hati busuklah kau ni. Aku bukan owner restoran, aku adalah orang yang benci Melayu dengki kat Melayu. Aku berani junjung Quran. Kau mana berani kan? Kau ni macam Anwar lah perangai.

January 25, 2011 8:14 PM

Komen ini muncul dalam ruang komen posting saya yang bertajuk Money, Money, Money (read here).

Saya pun ingin jugak nak tau; yang saya nak berdengki dengan pengusaha restoran Melayu tu kenapa? Owner kedai tu pun saya tak kenal. Lagipun, saya bukan tuan punya restoran, bukan berniaga makanan, bukan pesaing.

Malah, kalau kena gayanya dulu, mungkin saya dan suami dah jadi regular customers kat situ memandangkan kami lebih banyak makan di kedai daripada makan di rumah, sebab kami hanya berdua, jadi masak tak berbaloi.

Andainya khidmat yang diberi itu baik, makanan sedap dan harga berpatutan, sudah tentu kami paling kerap mengulangi kedai tersebut, sebagaimana kami dok ulang Santai, Ismail, Doli, Quali, Puteri, Wak Chai, Dapur Mas, Homst, Muhibbah, Salero Nogori, Jaseema, Paandi, .99 dan lain-lain.

Itu hakikatnya. Jangan lupa, di TTDI ni pilihan cukup banyak. Baru tadi kami mencuba Nasi Padang di Restoran Bagindo yang baru dibuka 8 hari lalu. Dua tiga pintu sebelum Bagindo ada lagi eatery baru, Ruz Aladdin @TTDI, yang berniaga biryani gam Johor.

Kata Kak Anon 8.14 lagi: "Bila Melayu buat silap sikit, terus nak kritik. Bila mamak charge mahal, tak senyum, makanan lambat sampai, kau ok je. Bila Melayu terus nampak. Hati busuklah kau ni."

Yang ni saya nak jawab: kami tunggu SATU JAM. Satu jam tu lama! Bukan 15 minit, bukan 20 minit, bukan setengah jam, bukan 45 minit. SATU JAM! Kami ada hak tegur sebab kami customer, yang nak makan berbayar, bukan nak makan free.

Sepertimana yang saya tulis dalam posting asal saya, bukan kami sekeluarga aja yang walkout, terdapat beberapa orang office workers yang juga angkat kaki sebab tidak dilayani.

Lunch hour mereka terhad, dari jam 1 hingga 2. Tentunya mereka mencari pilihan lain. Kedua-dua anak saya juga kembali ke pejabat lewat setengah jam kerana debacle ini.

Dah la makanan tak nampak kelibat sampai sudah, bila ditanya kena herdik pulak. Service macam ni tak boleh ditegur? Kalau tak boleh terima teguran membina, baik toksah berniaga.

Orang tegur untuk kebaikan, supaya apa yang terkurang dapat diperbaiki. Kalau tegur kena bantai balik, terer la lu berniaga, kawan!

Untuk pengetahuan Kak Anon 8.14, saya tak pernah pilih bulu. Mamak ker, Cina kopitiam ker, makcik warung tomyam ker, kalau tak betul memang saya tegur. Saya bukan jenis suffer in silence. Jadi jangan memandai-mandai buat andaian sendiri.

Hah, yang ni kita masuk bab kelakar tak terampun. Tergelak besar saya baca sebab tahap bingainya mencakar awan. "Aku berani junjung Quran. Kau mana berani kan? Kau ni macam Anwar lah perangai."

Junjung Quran untuk apa ni? Untuk mengesahkan pada dunia (atau sekurang-kurangnya kepada penduduk TTDI) yang restoran tu bagus?

Di sini saya nak sahkan, nak ulangi - tak perlu junjung Quran pun - bahawa restoran itu sudah berubah. Presentation dan servicenya dah lama improved. Jauh lebih baik daripada masa saya pergi kali pertama dulu (yang baik tetap saya kata baik).

Junjung Quran untuk mengesahkan kami sekeluarga termangu-mangu tunggu makanan tak sampai hingga SATU JAM dan bila ditanya kena herdik? Tang tu sangguplah, sebab ianya benar.

Dah la gitu, tak pasal diheretnya nama anak Pak Brahim sekali dalam tirade dia. Isy, apa punya dangkal. Apa kena mengena si Nuar tu dengan this silly little spat? Takder relevance langsung!

Jadi hingga di sinilah al-kisah saya dengan kedai tersebut. Lepas ni, mintak-mintak janganlah melatah lagi. Saya dah komen dan saya dah redeem; cukuplah kan. Bawak mengucap ya Kak?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

"Would That I Knew..."

A constant reminder that death is not very far away...
Thank you Nawwar, for sharing..

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Money, Money, Money...

I was browsing through Facebook post-subuh today when I chanced upon a friend’s excited whoops at having found some forgotten dough.

The young working mother had thoughtfully stashed away a substantial amount of cash to meet the expenses of her kids’ new school year, and had promptly forgotten all about it.

The money had been languishing in an ang pow packet carefully slipped between some stuffs in a bottom drawer. For how long, I know not, perhaps months.

Naturally she was elated at the windfall, and at this time of the month too, when “whatever’s on hand is cukup-cukup makan aja,” as she woefully admitted on FB.

Many women I know, especially the stay-at-home ones, do this; regularly frittering a small amount from duit belanja rumah (household expenses), and setting it aside for that proverbial rainy day.

It’s a practice not alien to me, considering that for the longest time the family wasn’t in the best of health moneywise, particularly in the years following my divorce, when the kids’ education took precedence over practically everything.

It became so habit-forming that I couldn’t see a coin without wanting to chuck it into an empty balang (glass container) or small tin, just so we would not be caught off-guard, completely and absolutely broke.

I think women in general are like squirrels. It’s a natural instinct to scrimp and save to ensure the family won’t go hungry.

Speaking of scrimping, I am reminded of my late grandmother, the fiercely independent, no-nonsense Puteri Habibah Megat Ibrahim, the woman of fiery temperament who raised me and loved me unconditionally.

Widowed in her early twenties and with four little kids in tow, Opah had refused to return to the family fold in Kuala Kangsar and be married off to some Megat guy within the family, whom she hardly knew.

Instead, she chose to struggle alone in her adopted land, Kelantan, the land of her late husband, that she had grown to love as much as she had loved him before death claimed him at 25 in the early years of the Japanese Occupation of Malaya.

There must have been something about Kelantanese men that she had found intriguing, or endearing, for she chose to wed another Kelantanese; my strong, silent Tok Ayah, a scholarly man who introduced me to the wondrous world of Reader’s Digest when I turned 7.

Although life was quite comfortable following her remarriage, Opah never rested on her laurels, preferring her own hard-earned cash in addition to Tok Ayah's regular paychecks.

For as long as I could remember, Opah continued to generate side-income by baking, catering and sewing. A woman of exceptional culinary and sewing skills she certainly was, none of which I inherited.

I remember in the late 1960s when the neighbours started getting TV sets. I had asked for one for the house and she had dismissed the idea as frivolous.

[I watched TV for the first time in 1967, in the house of an uncle in Kuala Lumpur, during a school term break].

“Mana ada duit?” she had retorted. Of course that had silenced me big time. I felt so guilty for asking. Tok Ayah had, by then, retired, and Pah was running a school canteen.

What I had not known till much later was the fact that she had asked her engineer son, my Ayah Cik Ali, to buy one for the house.

“Mana ada duit?” duly became her oft-quoted mantra so much so I came to believe it. Of course with the benefit of hindsight I could see that was not quite the whole truth.

Not only was there money, there were quite a lot of it too, only that the dear old lady, for some unfathomable reasons, had not wanted to part with it.

This was brought home days after her death in Dungun in 1980, when all her children (led by my late mother, her eldest), myself included, went through her belongings to take stock before returning to our respective lives.

Stashed between the layers of her large and precious collection of Indonesian batik panjang were wads of cash; we kept pulling out fifty ringgit notes by the tens.

In all, there were more than RM15,000 hidden between the folds of those 50-odd pieces of batik alone. If my memory had not failed me, a few more were found elsewhere.

Pah, oo Pah.. "mana ada duit” indeed.... :-)

Monday, January 17, 2011

When Makciks Met...

Yani's macaroons, gone before I could even sample one... so "laku" they were..

Eh, what are you pointing at, Kak Teh? Sampai terjongket jari kaki!

Aaah, empat serangkai (from left): Zaiton, Zaimah, Emylia, Ezzah. In the old days, this could qualify for 'teket menari' kat BB Plaza.. at 50 cents each ticket..

Ezzah doing a 'Travolta"...... and Huda, you have a halo saintly gituuu..

Kak Nasirah, in all-white, ever soo lady-like, and Kak Teh, that's a camera la, not your mobile!

The hostess with the mostest 'lemak' flanked by slimmer everyone.. Kak Teh & Yani (left) and Dee & Wanshana (right).

Just look at all those goodie foodie... enough to give us all five lbs each at one go..

Macam cikgu sekolah dewasa dalam filem P Ramlee..

the unofficial mamarazzi, lurking beside my display cabinet...

Psst, Yani.. that's why you don't pile on the pounds.. you only look at the food!

Rendang daging and pucuk ubi & petai masak lemak tempoyak..

Traditional kuihs abound.. courtesy of 'Mamasita' Huda all the way from Kuantan.

"Err, Muhammad, betul ker Auntie kena tekan kat sini?" Wanshana getting pointers from Yani's youngest (for now!)..

Aiyaiyai ... Ya for Yaya! A smart girl and heartbreaker in the making, this one...

Makcik Bloggers Gathering

Sunday 16/01/11

And so I counted the myriad of dishes spread all around me in the noticeably cramped living area; on the dining table, side table, sideboard, coffee table. Boy, there were so many!

Lebanese rice, fig and cashew-laden. Meat and vegetable dalca, devilishly red and rich. Plain rice and beef rendang, sizzling and tender to the taste; Pucuk ubi and petai masak lemak tempoyak, its 'yummylicious meter' climbing the stairs of food heaven...

Round fish kropok munchies. Spaghetti with meat sauce, quiche, egg sandwich. Homemade murtabak, very rich and filling. Otak-otak, satar, kuih bakar, akok and bahulu, all the way from Kuantan.

Creamy bubur kacang, moist & drippy chocolate cake, multi-coloured macaroons, sweet cherry grapes, succulent watermelon slices. Nescafe tarik, hot and lightly sugared tea, orange codial, air sirap ......

And then there were all those non-food gifts specially for the host; the Tupperware set, the Twining tea, the Marks & Spencer talc, the ceramic case... What can I say but "Thank You Ladies" from the bottom of my heart.

The Makcik Bloggers get-together last Sunday at my humble abode was in honour of London-based blogger Zaharah Othman (Kak Teh), currently in town to visit her ailing mom.

It was also a chance to finally meet up with sweet Dee who had just returned home (hardly a month ago) after spending years in London pursuing her post-grad studies.

Some 25 people packed my little place; Ezzah, Huda, Zen and Kay accompanied by their respective daughters, Yani and Ollie by their little boys, Dee by her son and daughter, and Kak Teh by her cute six year-old niece, Yaya.

With Pak Abu conveniently out of the way (gone for his weekly Sunday noon golf), the ladies wasted no time in getting down to business - talking and eating.

We opened the session with a short prayer- Al-Fatihah - in the memory of our dearly departed bloggers Dalilah and Ruby, both still young and full of promise, who succumbed to cancer not so long ago.

In between food the makcik bloggers chatted and yakked with abandon, keeping up with the news, exchanging recipes, laughing, shrieking, snapping pictures, joking, indulging in mild gossip.. all in good fun.

My two cats, Lillie and Awang, not the best of company in the presence of strangers, scampered into hiding - one in a cupboard and the other underneath the bed - when the kids started arriving.

However, Kay's daughter Nissa, who recently lost a kitten, managed to get hold of Lillie. Surprisingly, Lillie allowed herself to be ruffled and fondled and hugged by the still-bereaved young lady. A tender sight it was..

Kak Teh's little niece later gave us an amazing, well-worded and equally well-presented recital of 'the evolution of communication - from telephone to Facebook"' and she's only six! At that age, all I could muster was "A is for apple, B is for ball..."

The party came to a close at 7pm when the last of the guests left. By 10pm, my calf felt as heavy as lead that I could hardly carry myself to bed. Nevertheless, it was a Sunday afternoon well spent, and given half the chance, I certainly wouldn't mind doing it again.. and again..

PS: Some of the the pictures above were taken from Makcik Bloggers' FB pages without permission. Now only I ask.. can arr.. :D

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Krungthep Maha Nakhon กรุงเทพมหานคร

Farang (foreigners) call it Bangkok ("village of wild plums"), but that's because they don't know any better. No Thai worth his salt does.

To the average Thai, it's Krung Thep (City of Angels), an abbreviated version of its ceremonial full name, certified as the longest place name in the world.

In 1989, a famous Thai band, Asanee-Wasan, turned it into a catchy song to enable more people (especially schoolchildren) to memorise the name.

When I was serving TAT (Tourism Authority of Thailand) in the 1990s (also here), among the first things I did, apart from memorising the names of the 76 Thai provinces (and identifying their location on the map), was learn the song.

กรุงเทพมหานคร อมรรัตนโกสินทร์ มหินทรายุทธยา มหาดิลกภพ นพรัตนราชธานีบุรีรมย์ อุดมราชนิเวศน์มหาสถาน อมรพิมานอวตารสถิต สักกะทัตติยะวิษณุกรรมประสิทธิ์


Translation: "The city of angels, the great city, the residence of the Emerald Buddha, the impregnable city (of Ayutthaya) of God Indra, the grand capital of the world endowed with nine precious gems, the happy city, abounding in an enormous Royal Palace that resembles the heavenly abode where reigns the reincarnated god, a city given by Indra and built by Vishnukarn."

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Yang Gambi - Al-Fatihah

Semalam entah kenapa saya terpanggil untuk menurunkan satu artikel berunsur tazkirah yang sudah kian lama tersimpan, yang membicarakan ungkapan innalillahi wa'inna ilaihirrajioun.

Gerak hati yang tersirat kini tersurat sudah, kerana beberapa jam selepas berbuat demikian, menyusul berita pemergian rakan blogger Yang Gambi menemui Allah Yang Maha Esa.

Allahyarham YG, nama sebenar Abdul Aziz Baharom, 56, meninggal di Hospital Tengku Ampuan Afzan, Kuantan, jam 11 Rabu malam akibat jangkitan kuman di paru-paru. Inna lillahi wa'inna ilaihirrajioun.

Saya tidak mengenalinya secara langsung dan berinteraksi hanya setakat melalui laman blog masing-masing, tetapi keakraban anak jati Felda ini amat terasa.

Pemergiannya mengguris hati saya; terasa seolah-olah kehilangan seorang ahli keluarga. Mungkin kerana perjuangan kami ke arah yang sama, demi agama, bangsa dan negara.

Begitulah perancanaan Allah Subhanahu Wata'ala... tidak lewat walau sedetik. Semoga roh allahyarham Abdul Aziz dicucuri rahmat dan ditempatkan dikalangan roh para solihin. Al-Fatihah.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Mini Tazkirah

Inna lilliahi wa’inna ilaihirraji’oun – What it really means

We say this statement when someone dies. Also some of us may say this sentence when they lose something, suffer a setback or harm. But do you know what it means?

Sure, everyone knows the obvious, that it means: 'To Allah we belong and to Him is our return.' But that's not what I am talking about.

What I mean is, do you really, truly understand these words and their implications in a Muslim's life? It means “whatever we have is not really ours. It belongs to Allah.”

Take a look around you; everything you see, all that you have and all that there is, in you, on you, around you, belongs to Allah alone.

It is Allah Who has given you all the property and goods you possess, and that He is the true Owner of them all. So are the cars that you own, the houses that you live in, the businesses you possess; all truly belong to Allah.

The kids that He blesses you with, the health that He gives you, the time that He has allowed you are all Allah's property. Even the bodies we live in and the life that we have belong to Allah alone.

"And to Allah belongs the inheritance of the heavens and the earth…." (Surah Aal-Imraan:180)

"The kingdom of the heavens and the earth and everything in them belongs to Allah. He has power over all things." ( Surat al-Ma'ida: 120)

'Say: 'To Allah belongs the East and the West…' (Surah al-Baqarah:142)

Now, since everything belongs to Allah, then we have to include even our souls in that list. The very souls that we think of as our "self"; our "nafs"; our "being" - whatever you want to call it - that very thing that distinguishes you from the rest of the world. It belongs to Allaah.

It's not YOURS. In fact, YOU are not YOURS. You belong to Allah. And this is the essence of the concept of slavery to Allah in Islam.

And since He is the true Possessor of everything, and everything is His property, He allots what He wills to whomever He wills, and then He takes it away. After all, it is HIS to begin with.

So He may give you something and then take it back after a while.. He will bless you with a precious child that you love dearly, and then He may take it away.

He will grant you money, honour and status, and then He may take them all away. He will give you youth, vitality and health and then surely He will take them away.

In fact everything you have will only be with you for a very short while. And then the Owner will claim His Right. So when Allah does reclaim what was rightfully His, why mourn our losses?

Just like a friend who lends you his book. And then after a few days, he wants it back and you give it back to him; no regrets, no sorrow, no questions asked.

Similarly, if Allah takes back some of His blessings upon you for some reason, so be it. Say Alhamdulillaah. Don't grieve. Be patient.
Submit to the will of Allah, be pleased with His decision for you, for surely He will only do what is best for you.

Just think; the Owner came and took it back. Remember that you're not the real owner. You were NEVER the real owner to begin with.

You only had everything because it was Allah who gave it to you in the first place. If He didn't give it to you, you wouldn't have had it anyway. In fact, you couldn't have had it.

Remember, Man enters this world empty handed, and leaves it empty handed. Remember, everything we have, all the blessings we enjoy, are gifts from Almighty Allah, gifts that we enjoy for a limited period until He takes them away whenever He deems fit.

They are a trust from Allah, a loan to you, to see how you respond to these gifts and how you use them, in the obedience of the Almighty, thanking Him and worshipping Him, OR in the disobedience to the One who gave them to you in the first place.

Take note of the words of the Prophet Muhammad (saw) on the occasion of the death of his son, Ibrahim: 'Our eyes are filled with tears, our hearts with grief, but we say nothing with our lips except that which pleases Allah. Verily, to Allah we belong, and to Him we return.' (Bukhaari).

And we all know the famous incidence about the companion Abu Talha and his wife when one of their sons died and Abu Talha was not at home. She washed and shrouded him and when Abu Talha returned and asked about his son, she said, 'The child is quiet and I hope he is in peace….' (Bukhaari).

Subhaanallah, such patience! And such Imaan in the statement "Inna lillaahi wainna ilaihirraji'oun"! She truly understood its meaning and its effect on her life as a Muslimah, submitting to Him and being pleased with whatever He has decreed for her.

She knew that whatever she has is not hers. Rather, it is Allah's and He takes back whatever He owns at its appointed time. Because their Imaan was so strong the Prophet Muhammad (saw) made dua for them and Allah blessed them immensely.

"They (i.e. Abu Talha and his wife) had nine sons and all of them became reciters of the Quran (by heart)." (Bukhaari)

"Be sure we will test you with something of fear and hunger, some loss in goods or lives, but give glad tidings to those who are steadfast, who say when afflicted with calamity: 'To Allah we belong and to him is our return. They are those on who (descend) blessings from Allah and mercy and they are the once that receive guidance." (al-Baqarah: 155)

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said "Pass on knowledge from me even if it is only one verse."


[This tazkirah is quoted from somewhere, I think from one of the many e-mails that I received. Can't recall for sure, though].

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

'Jest' for Laughs..

What a bummer! English classes for those with (verbal) diarrhoea? Sure hope they don't impart too much crap over there. [Now I understand better when they say "Stop talking through your arse!"]

Ouch! Ouch! This garter is hurting my leg..!

Trohibitstan, the land of bad English, high up among the peaks of Hindustan, where people misspell with relish...

The consequences of Snoopy spooning with Charlie Brown...

Sheesh, 'crippie' is soo tasteless and unkind. And what the heck is Gravid?...

Small wonder they keep saying coffee's not good for you. It's the drink of the Devil! And Herr Satan lives just a floor away, keeping an eye on those unrepentant coffee drinkers... eee...

It's true what they say about harrassed mothers being both a charity and a basket case. And that's a lot of lolly & popsicle money to appease especially difficult children. I'm a lot less charitable, though; I usually whacked mine when they tested my patience too much....

In times of 'needness'
Mr Condom comes for your goodness
You're safe with me, sugar lump, says he
For I bring 4 times loves for thee
Awww, you're such a squirt, Mr Condom Man
I'm all peaches and waiting, you hooded plum!

This must be that ambiguous third gender everyone's talking about; Man, Feman, Woman. Or could it be Male, Female, Feman? Take your pick.

Wooha! They are now marketing panda poo! Patchouli-laced, perhaps? Nice imagery, though. That constipated look is a sure selling point ....

Nobody like their asses grilled, especially by the Boss. But this one looks tempting enough. [By the way, has anyone ever wondered why is this tongkeng ayam also dubbed 'Bishop's nose?]

Errr, I'll have a dollop of that Sands Gigot (?), and a stick of culiu wood to be (oh, such pretensions!) to go with the Wu Dan blasting powder, that should be enough to cause third-like explosion. [Hmm, am wondering what first-like and second-like explosions are...].

And yes, barbeque speculation sounds interesting (I love speculating), especially when doused with it seems honey (psstt, is it really honey?). As they say, you can't be too picky about food when travelling...

Monday, January 10, 2011

Makcik/Kakcik/Plain Cik Bloggers..

One lucky Makcik Blogger (McB) I am. Went to yesterday's McB gathering at Marche Movenpick, The Curve, with only a handbag; came home with two extra carriers.

The sweet green and white one on the left was a door gift, handmade by Ezza of Klang. What a beautiful gesture Zah, for you to take the trouble to sew each and every carry-all. Thank you adinda; you have such a big heart.

The pretty little thing with stitched tulip motif on the right was my 'habuan' from the gift exchange. I love it! Perfect for my magazines and books when I go for Ultimate Mocha and Peach Mango Yoghurt Swirl at Coffee Bean. Thank you petite sweetheart; you know who you are... :=D

And Lillie couldn't wait to park her royal arse on my bags as I was preparing to snap some pictures for this blog. I let her have her 15 seconds of fame before shooing her away.

MakCik Bloggers Gathering 09/01/11
Marche Movenpick, The Curve.

It was a ‘Kodak Moment’. Not!

Me: Ladies! [Directing camera at eight delectable McBs, and two cute makcik bloggers-to-be in 30 yrs time, having animated conversation]. Look this way please!

McBs: Ooohh, it’s picture-taking time. Everybody smile! [Ten upturned faces lighted up, looking at madam photographer expectantly].

Me: Here goes. One, two, three! [Click!]
Nothing happened. No flash, no picture. Nothing.

Me: Errk? Wadda happened dei? Wait, wait. Let’s do it again.
[Ten faces, still upturned, smiled again. NanaDJ even flashed a huge grin].

Me: [Click!]
Nothing happened. Again.

McBs: Uihh Kak Puteri. Penat dah dok senyum nih! [Our face is already stretched from smiling!]

Me: [Taking a closer look at the camera. Flipped open the memory card and battery slot].

Me: [Shamefacedly].. Err… ladies, sori arr. I forgot to put back my memory card inside the camera. Took it out a couple of days ago to download some pictures. No wonder la the blinking thing wasn’t working!

Unanimously: Laaa….

Note 1: Now you know why I have no pictures of the gathering. Still waiting for the others to upload theirs so I can pinch a couple for my blog.

Note 2: And Zah, I hope you like the scarf, the Alf Zahra attar and the prayer beads specially packed for you and 'the ole rascal', for taking the trouble to organise our little 'do'. Bought them in Medinah during our recent umrah, as small token for friends..

Friday, January 7, 2011

Aku Melayu

[tapi betulkah Melayu berani kerana salah, takut kerana benar??)

Melayu itu orang yang bijaksana
Nakalnya bersulam jenaka
Budi bahasanya tidak terkira
Kurang ajarnya tetap santun
Jika menipu pun masih bersopan
Bila mengampu bijak beralas tangan.

Melayu itu berani jika bersalah
Kecut takut kerana benar,
Janji simpan di perut, selalu pecah di mulut,
Biar mati adat , jangan mati anak.

Melayu di tanah Semenanjung luas maknanya:
Jawa itu Melayu, Bugis itu Melayu
Banjar juga disebut Melayu
Minangkabau memang Melayu,
Keturunan Acheh adalah Melayu,
Jakun dan Sakai asli Melayu,
Arab dan Pakistani, semua Melayu
Mamak dan Malbari serap ke Melayu
Malah mua'alaf bertakrif Melayu
(Setelah disunat anunya itu).

Dalam sejarahnya
Melayu itu pengembara lautan
Melorongkan jalur sejarah zaman
Begitu luas daerah sempadan
Sayangnya kini segala kehilangan.

Melayu itu kaya falsafahnya
Kias kata bidal pusaka
Akar budi bersulamkan daya
Gedung akal laut bicara.

Malangnya Melayu itu kuat bersorak
Terlalu ghairah pesta temasya
Sedangkan kampung telah tergadai
Sawah sejalur tinggal sejengkal
Tanah sebidang mudah terjual.

Meski telah memiliki telaga
Tangan masih memegang tali
Sedang orang mencapai timba.
Berbuahlah pisang tiga kali
Melayu itu masih bermimpi

Walaupun sudah mengenal universiti
Masih berdagang di rumah sendiri.
Berkelahi cara Melayu
Menikam dengan pantun
Menyanggah dengan senyum
Marahnya dengan diam
Merendah bukan menyembah
Meninggi bukan melonjak.

Watak Melayu menolak permusuhan
Setia dan sabar tiada sempadan
Tapi jika marah tak nampak telinga
Musuh dicari ke lubang cacing
Tak dapat tanduk telinga dijinjing
Maruah dan agama dihina jangan
Hebat amuknya tak kenal lawan

Berdamai cara Melayu indah sekali
Silaturrahim hati yang murni
Maaf diungkap senantiasa bersahut
Tangan diulur sentiasa bersambut
Luka pun tidak lagi berparut

Baiknya hati Melayu itu tak terbandingkan
Selagi yang ada sanggup diberikan
Sehingga tercipta sebuah kiasan:
"Dagang lalu nasi ditanakkan
Suami pulang lapar tak makan
Kera di hutan disusu-susukan
Anak di pangkuan mati kebuluran"

Bagaimanakah Melayu abad dua puluh satu
Masihkan tunduk tersipu-sipu?
Jangan takut melanggar pantang
Jika pantang menghalang kemajuan;
Jangan segan menentang larangan
Jika yakin kepada kebenaran;
Jangan malu mengucapkan keyakinan
Jika percaya kepada keadilan.

Jadilah bangsa yang bijaksana
Memegang tali memegang timba
Memiliki ekonomi mencipta budaya
Menjadi tuan di negara Merdeka!


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Yaya's Engaged..

Yaya & friend, both equally radiant...

Light banterings during the "meminang" (asking for girl's hand in marriage) ceremony...

Apple of daddy's eyes - anak bongsu Abah...

The four siblings, from left: Shazril, Yaya, Murni & Intan.

Another clan gathering last Saturday, albeit on a smaller scale compared to my niece Sarah's wedding in Ipoh some weeks back.

This time around it was the meminang-cum-bertunang ceremony of another niece, Puteri Ernie Suraya, youngest daughter of my eldest brother Megat Yusof.

It was a simple 'do', held at their family home in Taman Melawati, Kuala Lumpur. The 30-strong entourage from her beau's side came from Kedah.

Barring unforseen circumstances, the two will have their marriage solemnised some time in December; just as well, since she has another semester to go before completing her multimedia studies.

[Yaya's a mean guitarist/singer-composer too, fronting
the indie group Static Emily..]

Here's Mak Yong Kama and Co. wishing you all the best, sweetheart...

Monday, January 3, 2011

Beg Bang Roni

kalau tidak kerana pagi, tidak suria meninggi hari
kalau tidak kerna mu Ronnie, beg comel ni tak mungkin ku beli ...

Saw this range of eco carry-all (they have it in three colours; red, blue and yellow) in Jusco department store each time I went for my morning walkabout at One Utama Shopping Complex.

Liked it and had wanted to buy it but never did. Kept forgetting to return to the store after finishing my grocery shopping.

Thanks to Ronnie Liu, I finally did, two days ago. Thanks "Bang Roni" ...! As a token of my appreciation, here's some sexy dangdut for you. Mana tau kot-kot terpanggil nak tambah quota pusat-pusat dangdut kat Selangor. Awww....!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Crank The Music Box, Love .....

From left: Uncle Som and wife Suraina, Kak Maz (a.k.a Anak Si Hamid), Kama, and Iain standing next to his beloved music box.

From left: the Federation of Malaya Annual Report 1954, the Colony of Singapore Annual Report 1953, Guide to Kuala Lumpur 1962, Penang 'Pearl of the Orient' Guidebook (early 60s, I think).

I watched, fascinated, as he carefully placed the tiny steel needle in an equally minute groove in the gramophone head, before lifting the head and gently lowering it onto the long-play vinyl that he had earlier placed on the music box turntable.

Strewn on the bamboo mat carpeting the living area were stacks of LPs, many with covers frayed or torn, but all carrying one of the most recognisable trademarks in the world, the picture of a dog listening to his master’s voice being played from a gramophone.

Names of singing heartthrobs of yesteryears leapt out the sturdy, well-preserved 33½s and 78s - Nona Asiah, Zaharah Agus, Kasmani, R Azmi, P Ramlee, Pat Boone amongst them - and many more I neither recognised nor recalled.

There he stooped, the lanky owner of this treasure trove, at the corner where the waist-high, wood-cased, twin-door music box was, earnestly cranking its lever, after which he lovingly caressed the box's textured grain.

Soon the soothing voice of P Ramlee filled the air…. “Tanjung Katong airnya biru, tempat mandi nak dara jelita, sama sekampung hai lagi di rindu, inikan lagi hai jauh di mata…”

Closing my eyes, I leaned back on the comfortable rattan easy chair appropriately draped with batik, and was soon transported back to my childhood days in Terengganu half a century ago.

I opened my eyes as the song drifted to conclusion, my mind hazy with memories of long cool evenings spent beside the radio with my grandparents, listening to Aneke Gronloh and S Affendi.

What bliss it was to be here, in this house radiating with love and affection of all things old; the books lining both walls in a nook opposite the kitchen, all those knick-knacks and bric-a-brac priceless and sentimental, and collectibles enough to set the eyes of the discerning aglow.

We were at the KL home of blogger Anak Si Hamid a.k.a. ASH and her husband Iain for lunch. Uncle Som (whom I had known since my childhood days) and his wife Suraina were the other guests.

What a lovely turn of event from a simple dinner a year before. The Soms and the Buchanans became acquainted during a makan session that Pak Abu and I had hosted in conjunction with the visit home of London-based bloggers Kak Teh and Awang Goneng last year.

Ash and Iain had returned to Malaysia at around the same time, taking residence in Kuala Lumpur for almost a year. The couple would be going home to Leicester (UK) soon, and had wanted to return the favour.

Pak Abu and I were only too happy to oblige, especially after Ash indicated she would do the cooking herself. I was already envisioning a hearty meal of salads and roast and pies. As it were, I wasn’t that far off.

Lunch was simply superb; lasagna, baked chicken, Iain’s tangy green salad sprinkled with apple cider, olive oil and honey that had Suraina and I completely hooked, and stewed (?) carrots cooked in a way I had never tasted before (with a sprinkling of cumin), so tasty that I kept returning for more.

For desserts we had what looked like mixed fruit parfait (I returned for second and third helpings, and was too embarrassed to go for more) and a sinfully rich cheesecake, the kind that could (and did!) give me a glorious migraine. The throbbings were well worth it.

We had tea overlooking a garden of sorts, with mature fruit trees and plants and creepers (including daun kaduk and the ubiquitous screwpine), a place where bats, birds, butterflies and civet cats dropped by to visit every now and then, this in addition to the two house cats they already had.

Because their house was the last lot at the end of a cul-de-sac, the surroundings was pretty quiet; a perfect place for the irrepressible 'dynamic duo' to potter about and indulge in their hobbies of reading and uhm... collecting....

I was almost reluctant to leave; it felt so comfortable, so 'lived-in', much like my grandparents' old wooden house in Kampung Sura, Dungun, where old books and magazines filled every nook and cranny, all because Grandpa was an avid reader.

We are going to miss you when you go home to UK, Ash and Iain, and we await your return, hopefully by spring, you say. The next time it's going to be my home-cooked food, with fellow bloggers for company....