The usual raya fare at the Abus; lemang with rendang & serunding, ketupat daun palas with kuah kacang, and nasi minyak with ayam kuzi.
Cookies and more cookies; fret not, they'll all disappear in no time at all when the extended clan comes a-visiting soon, and when the kids return to work, bringing along with them to share with office mates.
Found this South African native, sweet william, at the TTDI market yesterday. Scentless but pretty..
Cupcakes, from a friend of Naj. Migraine arrived promptly soon after I sampled one (couldn't resist the bunga icing ..)
White chrysanthemums from Nawwar...
Fiza's gift, walnut carrot cake.. a good choice, since Pak Abu isn't a fan of anything chocolate..
Ann and Fiza having their morning fill..
The fogies, same old same old..
Flag's up and flying on the balcony, to welcome the National Day tomorrow.
Apala dah jadi dengan keluarga zaman sekarang. Generally speaking, keganasan rumahtangga dan kes-kes jenayah yang melibatkan ahli keluarga semakin menjadi-jadi. Kucar-kacir sungguh.
Saya baru habis menterjemah satu buku agak ilmiah, yang berkisar sekitar keganasan terhadap wanita dan kanak-kanak, dan ketidakprihatinan terhadap orang kurang upaya dan warga tua.
Fakta-fakta yang diberi membuka mata saya seluas-luasnya. Amat menyedihkan. Walaupun saya pernah menjalani hidup sebagai ibu tunggal, keperitan saya tidak sampai ketahap sesetengah wanita yang dikisahkan di dalam buku tersebut.
Sekarang ni, nak baca suratkabar pun dah naik seriau. Kuak aja, terpampang kisah laki terajang bini, bapak tibai anak, atok perkosa cucu. Lagi menggerunkan, kes-kes infanticide (bunuh anak sendiri). Dan macam zaman jahiliah...
Walau apapun, akhbar tetap saya dampingi sebab akhbar salah satu sumber ilmu. Manusia yang menolak membaca akhbar (arus perdana atau sebaliknya) atas dasar kepartian, adalah manusia yang sempit fikirannya.
Sebagai seorang bekas wartawan, saya amat bersetuju akan penyiaran berita-berita seperti ini, walaupun sesetengah pembaca tidak gemar sensationalism macam ni.
Tapi bagi saya kalau dengan cara highlighting the issues kita dapat mengambil iktibar dan menjadikannya panduan hidup, tiada salahnya.
Yang jadi masalah ialah tendency orang kita untuk menyembunyikan salahlaku dan pretend all's well in Fool's Paradise. Hidup penuh kepura-puraan. Adalah ini yang kita mahu?
Masalah sosial yang ada ditambah lagi dengan gejala salahlaku seks di antara remaja, terutamanya seks rambang dan open admission of homosexuality, yang membuak-buak bagai air kumbahan di kolam pembetungan; hitam, putrid, kotor dan menjijikkan.
Betapa banyaknya blog-blog yang mengagungkan gaya hidup gay. Kita yang masih berfikiran tradisional dianggap kolot, tak maju. Bagi mereka, hak untuk menjadi gay/lesbian mengatasi hak Allah swt ke atas kita. Nauzubillah...
Semalam terbaca pasal sorang budak pompuan umur 14 tahun yang dengan bangganya mengaku 'aku pernah 'maen' dan memperlekehkan kedaraan, seolah-olah virginity itu satu yang memalukan.
Tak ubah seperti di Barat, di mana kebanyakan remaja perempuan tidak sabar mahu memerdekakan diri mereka daripada selaput dara, tak kisah sapa yang 'terjah' asalkan tertebuk, sebab remaining a virgin is soooo not cool.
Juga kisah tragis di mana seorang bapa di Kluang, Johor, menghumban tiga anaknya sendiri (dua perempuan berumur 3 dan 5 tahun dan seorang lelaki 2 tahun) ke dalam kolam, selepas bertelingkah dengan ahli keluarga. Ketiga-tiganya maut lemas.
Semalam jugak TV3 menyiarkan kes seorang bapak baran di Bukit Besi, Terengganu, yang mengelar tengkuk anak dengan parang selepas bertekak dengan bini dalam kereta. Syukur usia sikecil masih panjang..
Di Ampangan, Seremban, seorang isteri patah hidung ditumbuk suami kerana 'angin' apabila bini mintak duit nak beli baju raya empat orang anak mereka.
Isteri dapat tahu suami baru dapat bonus, lantas mintak, sebab sebelumnya si suami buat bodo akan permintaan yang sama.
Alangkah malangnya nasib ibu dan anak-anak ini; bukan mintak untuk diri sendiri, atau untuk anak tiri atau anak angkat. Kemanalah perginya syahdu Ramadhan untuk lelaki ini..
Ni belum lagi masuk bab mubaligh Kristian dok cucuk jarum nak murtadkan anak-anak muda Islam yang kebanyakannya memang dah shaky aqidah disebabkan kurang didikan agama.
Sekarangpun dah ada akaun khas di Facebook untuk Islam yang dah murtad. Bangga sungguh mereka menjadi apostates.
This year's Hari Raya decor at One Utama Shopping Centre (New Wing) in Bandar Utama departed from the usual folksy theme to present this elaboration that looks like an upturned vuvuzela which, unfortunately, doesn't appeal to my sense of tradition.
Not that there is anything wrong with all those embellishments. It's just me, I guess, still wrapped in my kampung cocoon and wanting more of the same.
Last year they recreated a padi field here, complete with batas (ridges) and padi thresher. The year before, it was a kampung nelayan (fishing village) scene, with a thatched hut, fishing boat, trawler's nets and bubu (fish traps).
Prior to that they recreated a typical kampung melayu of the '60s scene; wooden house with a wide veranda and tempayan air (earthenware jar) at the foot of the stairs, wickerworks, a shining red Vespa in the compound. The Vespa really brought back sweet memories..
This stall is one of few selling raya cookies. I was too busy snapping pictures to take a closer look at what they had to offer. I think I'll come back to check out the selection here (also because the lady manning it was pleasant and cheerful)...
A few steps away from the 'vuvuzela' monstrosity was this florist..
... and next to it was this Cocoa Tree stall laden with chocolates of all kinds..
And to think that I went to One Utama today because I wanted to be amongst the first patrons when Jusco officially opened it doors this morning after almost half a year of renovations.
Looking at the long queue of vehicles entering OU Old Wing, I changed my mind. No way was I going to allow myself be unceremoniously elbowed by determined women seeking opening-day bargains.
Thus the shift of attention to the New Wing where a quick peek at RM5 shop, Daiso, got me in the mood to check out the decor. No, I didn't get any shopping done today..
Yet another, to add to my ever-growing collection of decorative plates from around the world (stories here and here).
No second guessing necessary. One look at the ao-dai clad, svelte forms jauntily walking with straw hats on their heads, tells one that this lacquered beauty is from Vietnam.
Eldest son Naj, who returned from two weeks of traipsing around Indochina a week back, got this for moi in Sai Gon (today's Ho Chi Minh City, renamed after the communist takeover of South Vietnam in 1975).
An interesting trip he and his buddies had by the way; from bustling Saigon to sedate, history-laden Kanchanaburi and the inevitable train ride on Death Railway across the "Bridge on The River Kwai", to stunning Kok Mak in the Trat Province, and onwards to none-too-angelic "City of Angels", Bangkok.
Then there was that kuliah subuh in a Trat mosque where the tazkirah was delivered in Thai (not that he understood any, not when his Thai begins and ends with two meagre phrases; sawaddee khrap and khawp khun khrap)....
The condo played host to four busloads of special guests last night and yours truly took a few hours off translating to partake in the excitement.
They were orphans from Rumah Anak Yatim Bestari, Rumah Anak Yatim Harmoni and Rumah Anak Yatim Baitul Izzah in Ijok, Paya Jaras and Pinggiran TTDI respectively, as well as underprivileged single mothers from Yayasan Nur Jannah.
As the norm, every year the condo's welfare committee would organise an iftar session, followed by Maghrib, Isya' and Tarawikh prayers, and then moreh, for the less fortunate. And this year was no different.
It rained cats and dogs just hours before iftar; the ground was sodden, as were the marquees erected at the visitors' parking lot in front of the highrise. But the downpour did little to dampen the spirit of the young ones.
In they trooped, in their identical baju melayu and kurung, to sit primly and expectantly whilst rice and lauk and kuih muih were being served.
Kuih lapis, bubur kacang, bubur lambuk, karipap, dates, apples and grapes, tubs of ice cream and slices of chocolate cake, satay, rice and a host of lauk pauk - fried chicken, sweet & sour fish, masak lemak udang, sambal & ulam...
Thankfully, the rain eased off 30 minutes before the breaking of fast. The bus from Ijok, however, got lost enroute and arrived after azan. A welcoming committee was sent out to meet them halfway and lead them to the condo.
I sat down with a group of tudung-clad girls in yellow kurung from nearby Baitul Izzah, a home for orphaned teenage girls just down the road from our own residence.
The inmates there were the condo's regular guests for iftar and Hari Raya open house. They came from all over the country and went to school in nearby SMK Taman Tun Dr Ismail.
All have lost at least a parent each. The Form Three girl from Kelantan who sat quietly next to me, with a faraway look in her big sad eyes, has lost both.
I was told she was a smart girl at school, an achiever. I advised her to study hard; she gave me a wan smile. There was a lump in my throat when she kissed my hand before they left.
In all, there were some 300 people in attendance; residents and their family members, donors and other guests including qariahs from nearby mosques.
Apart from makan-makan, each child was also presented with a goodie bag of foodstuff, school items and personal essentials, and 'duit raya.'
Bless the kind dermawan (Pakcik Adam he's called) who donated that piece of land (a bungalow lot worth millions in this neck of the woods) where the orphanage Baitul Izzah now stands. May Allah swt bless him dunia dan akhirat.
PS: My thought wanders to Al-Manar as I wrote this. Bless you too Pakcik; sesungguhnya masih ramai yang berhati mulia di antara kita.
Been quite a while since I last gad about One Utama, that capacious shopping mall straddling the main road linking Taman Tun Dr Ismail with Bandar Utama and beyond.
The Old Wing is currently under massive renovations and quite a few of my usual haunts are either shuttered or have been relocated (either to the New Wing or elsewhere altogether).
However, there had been the occasional trips to Coffee Bean located on the ground floor of the New Wing, to indulge in their scrumptious peach mango yoghurt swirl and super-rich, nut-laden, chewy chocolate cookies.
Not forgetting my admittedly inane pleasure in browsing through RM5 store Daiso, one floor down a couple of yards away from Cold Storage, to check out things I don't need.
[By the way, is it true what they say about porcine DNA being present in Coffee Bean menu and that the establishment is not 'halal'? I spied a big JAKIM 'halal' logo plastered on their glass panel].
Incidentally, this Coffee Bean outlet too is closed for upgrading. Found out this morning when Nawwar and I decided to pay a long-overdue visit to MPH bookstore at the New Wing.
She had a discount coupon to redeem whilst I just wanted to check out OU's Raya decor. Last year they went the distance with a bona fide perahu, fishing nets, a kampung house with thatched roof etc. Unfortunately, this year's centrepiece wasn't up yet.
The shopping mall's celebrative trimmings, regardless of festival, have always been glorious and exceptional, and I'm counting on the same for this year's Eid.
I ended up three books richer (see pix above) whilst the bride-to-be settled for a teflon baking tray from Parkson's next door. [Gee, you are sooo predictable, Awwa!]
Those books have to sit it out for a while though, until this translation job that I'm knee-deep in, is over and done with by mid-month.
All things considered, I'm glad to be back in the book-buying groove. It's been too long since the last one, which was John Grisham's new kid on the fiction block, Theodore Boone (purchased in March, I think).
And I'm so looking forward to reading about the delightful exploits of the 'traditionally-built' Mma Precious Ramotswe from Botswana's No 1 Ladies Detective Agency once again ....
[These jokes have been around for a while; you probably have heard of them too..]
These are from a book called Disorder in the American Courts, and are things people actually said in court, word for word, taken down and now published by court reporters who have had the torment of staying calm while these exchanges were actually taking place.
ATTORNEY: What was the first thing your husband said to you that morning?
WITNESS: He said: 'Where am I, Cathy?'
ATTORNEY: And why did that upset you?
WITNESS: My name is Susan!
ATTORNEY: This myasthenia gravis, does it affect your memory at all?
ATTORNEY: And in what ways does it affect your memory?
WITNESS: I forget..
ATTORNEY: You forget? Can you give us an example of something you forgot?
ATTORNEY: Now doctor, isn't it true that when a person dies in his sleep, he doesn't know about it until the next morning?
WITNESS: Did you actually pass the Bar exam?
ATTORNEY: The youngest son, the 20-year-old, how old is he?
WITNESS: He's 20, much like your IQ.
ATTORNEY: Were you present when your picture was taken?
WITNESS: Are you shitting me?
ATTORNEY: So the date of conception (of the baby) was August 8th?
ATTORNEY: And what were you doing at that time?
WITNESS: Getting laid
ATTORNEY: She had three children, right?
ATTORNEY: How many were boys?
ATTORNEY: Were there any girls?
WITNESS: Your Honor, I think I need a different attorney. Can I get a new attorney?
ATTORNEY: How was your first marriage terminated?
WITNESS: By death..
ATTORNEY: And by whose death was it terminated?
WITNESS: Take a guess.
ATTORNEY: Can you describe the individual?
WITNESS: He was about medium height and had a beard
ATTORNEY: Was this a male or a female?
WITNESS: Unless the circus was in town, I'm going with male.
ATTORNEY: Is your appearance here this morning pursuant to a deposition notice which I sent to your attorney?
WITNESS: No, this is how I dress when I go to work.
ATTORNEY: Doctor, how many of your autopsies have you performed on dead people?
WITNESS: All of them. The live ones put up too much of a fight.
ATTORNEY: ALL your responses MUST be oral, OK? What school did you go to?
ATTORNEY: Do you recall the time that you examined the body?
WITNESS: The autopsy started around 8:30 PM
ATTORNEY: And Mr. Denton was dead at the time?
WITNESS: If not, he was by the time I finished.
ATTORNEY: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?
ATTORNEY: Did you check for blood pressure?
ATTORNEY: Did you check for breathing?
ATTORNEY: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?
ATTORNEY: How can you be so sure, Doctor?
WITNESS: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
ATTORNEY: I see, but could the patient have still been alive, nevertheless?
WITNESS: Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law.
Was on the phone this morning with Ustazah Raba'ah Abdul Aziz (pix) who, with her husband Ustaz Zawawi Ramli, some four years ago founded Rumah Amal Limpahan Kasih (here).
It's an orphanage-cum-shelter for children, single mothers, abandoned wives, the terminally ill, and destitute senior citizens, in Puchong.
As always, each time Ramadhan returns, my mind inadvertently wanders to the shelter; vision of the creased brows of the good ustazah (here) and her soft-spoken husband desperately trying to feed some 200 mouths daily pricks my conscience.
We last met in April 2010 when I handed over a cheque donation on behalf of a client. They dropped by our place for coffee, as well as to collect an unused TV set that I had wanted to give to the orphanage.
I asked about her 'children', more than 100 boys and girls of school-going age, spread over three homes, and some 100 underprivileged women who depend on the shelter for their daily meals.
"As always, kak, there are good news and not-so-good news," she opined. I could almost hear the catch in her tired voice.
I remember my last visit to the Puchong shelter. Crowded with inmates old and new, it was bursting at the seams. The hospital-like iron beds, mattresses and pillows had seen better days.
The makeshift surau (actually the front portion of a terrace house) overflowed to the concrete yard during prayer times. The surau was a hive of activities at all times; children learned the Quran and did their homework in there for want of space.
Through some Good Samaritans, the couple had acquired the plot of land adjacent to the shelter and had planned to build a new hostel as well as a surau to accommodate the home's burgeoning number.
"Kak, our Prime Minister recently stepped in with a RM1.7 million grant for both hostel and surau. The money is being administered under a trust fund."
My heart skipped a beat upon hearing the news. Syukur Alhamdulillah!
"Foodwise, we are running on empty as usual, kak. A Ramadhan phenomenon, this. I am pleading for donation for foodstuffs; rice, vegetables, flour, sugar, anything. We can't touch the grant because it's for a specific purpose."
Ustazah Raba'ah also welcomes anyone who would like to sponsor buka puasa and Raya clothing for the children. You can also undertake to pay your zakat at the shelter.
Let's do our bit this blessed month. Every sen counts for the unfortunate and the needy.
Rumah Amal Limpahan Kasih
Lot 115, Lorong Bistari 5 Kg Sri Aman, Jalan Jurutera Batu 13, 47100 Puchong
Tel: 03-80618050 Fax: 03-80607514
Ustazah Raba'ah Abdul Aziz (019-2227339) Ustaz Zawawi Ramli (016-3627913)
Maybank 562777200627 "Pusat Pendidikan Limpahan Kasih".
(This account is specifically for the children's education. if you want to donate money for the foodstuffs, just call Ustazah Raba'ah).
Someone really, really important is coming to visit you. Surely, you would cook, clean, shop, prepare and plan everything for them, well ahead of time.
You would make sure they are comfortable and well taken care of. You would ascertain that everything is perfectly ready and adequately in place before they arrive.
Now imagine someone coming to visit you who is even more important than that....more precious, more valuable, more honourable. Wouldn't you prepare even more and give it the best you got?
Well, the best month of the year, the most blessed and most precious, has arrived.
The month that brings the fragrance of Jannah and the sweetness of Imaan....the tears of Taubah and the forgiveness of your Lord. And it's bringing with it a night that is equivalent in worship and reward, to more than a thousand months.
Wouldn't you want to prepare for that? Wouldn't you want to be ready for it with all your heart and soul so that you don't miss this great opportunity?
They say the more prepared you are for something, the easier it is for you to handle it and the greater the chances that you will be successful at it.
And what better opportunity to prepare for something than preparing for the blessed month of Ramadhaan.
This is a month of Rahmah and Barakah, a month of taubah and istighfaar, a great opportunity for training oneself... to give up your bad deeds and build on your good ones.
So what to do?
Prepare yourself mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually for this great month.
The first thing to do is to purify your niyyah from now: you are going to fast because it is the order of Allaah and NOT because it is culture or your family does so, or even because you want to lose weight.
"O you who believe, fasting has been prescribed for you as it has been prescribed for people before you so that you will (learn how to) attain Taqwa" [al-Baqarah, 2:183]
Next, be really excited for Ramadhaan and be absolutely determined to do your utmost best and exert yourself to the max for this magnificent month of Forgiveness and Mercy from your Lord. Race with one another and compete with each other for it.
Come on. Be excited. Be energized. Get electrified. Get all pumped up and feel vitalized.
After all, this is a time when the gates of Jannah are all open. WIDE open. And all the gates of Jahannum are closed. Yes, alhamdulillaah CLOSED.
And here is a chance for you to get all your sins forgiven.
Get invigorated and motivated. Realize that the month of Ramadhaan is a month of amazing ibaadah and intense dua, astounding khushoo' and remarkable hope, sincere taubah and extraordinary istighfaar.
And it is NOT a month of laziness or sleeping, cooking and feasting, or just being plain grouchy and irritable.
Don't let the thought of the heat or the long day get to you or dampen your spirit. It is only the Shaytaan trying to play with your mind and spoil this wonderful time for you.
Have full intention from now, to read as much of the Qur'aan as you can.
Love the Qur'aan. Build a close relationship with it. Realize that these are the Words of your Lord....Words that will take you to Jannah, your Ultimate Goal.
Don't just read it with your eyes. Read it with your heart. Let it sink in your soul. Savour the joy and cherish the delight in reading the Book of Allaah. Taste the sweetness of Imaan.
Don't be in a rush to quickly finish the reading. Rather, take your time to ponder over the words and understand the meanings.
Don't think..."when am I going to finish this Surah? Rather....when am I going to implement this in my life?" Remember, nothing is sweeter and more pleasurable than the ayaat of the Qur'aan that you can understand.
Prepare yourself to do plenty of sujood....long, drawn out sujood, in Taraweeh and Tahajjud. Feel close to your Rabb when you do that sajda.
Realize that this is most honourable position for you...placing the thing you value most, on the ground, humbled before your Creator. You are the slave and He is the Master. You are the 'abd and He is your Owner.
Resolve from today, to make a lot of dua. Make a dua list. Prepare it from now. And when you sit down to break your fast, or when you stand in front of your Creator in Salah, in Taraaweeh or in the middle of the night, or any time during the night or day, spread out those hands and ask al-Kareem, the Most Generous, the One Who gives to one and to all.
Make sincere, heartfelt dua whenever and wherever you can. Don't let a moment slip by. And don't forget to be thankful to the One Who gave you everything.
Be ready from now to do abundant istighfaar, lots and lots of it. Do it every single day.
In the darkness of the night, when the whole world is asleep, have full realization, that this is no ordinary time, no time to waste away sleeping. Ar-Rahmaan is calling. Wouldn't you want to respond??
So knock on the door of the Almighty. He is al-Ghafoor, the Oft-Forgiver and you are nothing....just a weak and sinful human being.
Bend your head with shame, and cry. Cry like you've never cried before. Ask for His forgiveness. Make firm resolve never, ever, to go back to your sins...never, ever to do those bad deeds again.
Go ahead...spread out those hands and be sincere and then be certain He will surely respond.
Train yourself from now to control those eyes and ears of yours, that tongue and those limbs. Remember your fasting will just be a kind of starvation if you don't keep them in check.
The Prophet (Sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam) said: “Whoever does not give up false speech and acting upon it, Allaah has no need of his giving up his food and drink.” (Bukhaari)
And most importantly, have firm determination from this moment on, to continue all the good deeds and habits that you will develop during Ramadhaan to continue even after Ramadhaan is over.
Remember, you are not a good Muslim just during a special month of the year. Rather you are a Muslim throughout the three hundred and sixty five days.
Use this month of taqwa and training to coach and develop your nafs, to cultivate virtuous deeds and actions and to give up your bad ones.
Tell me, are you going to let all that hard work of fasting, waking up in the middle of the night, reading all that Qur'aan, standing up for Taraaweeh and prayers, and all that dua go to waste?
Get to know the rules of fasting from now, so that your fasting can be closest to the Sunnah and thus be more beloved and acceptable to Allaah.
Clarify any doubts that you may have and don't be afraid to ask a scholar.
Cleanse your heart of any anger, hatred, grudges, etc from now. And forgive everyone. That's because forgiveness is delayed for the one who has anger and grudge against his Muslim brother/sister.
The Prophet (sal Allaahu Alayhi wa sallam) said: “The gates of Paradise are opened on Monday and Thursday, and everyone who does not associate anything with Allaah is forgiven, except a man who has had an argument with his brother. It is said: ‘Wait for these two until they reconcile, wait for these two until they reconcile, wait for these two until they reconcile.” (Muslim)
Finish up on your Ramadhaan and Eid preparation, cooking, shopping, etc. from now so that you can free up all the time during Ramadhaan for Ibaadah.
If you are like most people who give their zakat during Ramadhaan, get it all calculated and worked out before the month starts.
To conclude, think positive and have firm resolve. Strive with all your effort to do your best so that this will be an amazing, hair-raising, awe-inspiring, heart-stopping experience of a life time. Your best Ramadhaan ever.