Friday, December 29, 2006


Towards the end of the year, generally, people are busy preparing for the upcoming new year. For some reasons it is obvious when January comes, it marks another page of life whether we like it or not. The ones with no specific goals to achieve will regard it as just another new year, but, for the wise persons, it serves as a reminder for the lifespan is now shortened and perhaps closer to death.

I remember stories from my old folks those days. Long before the establishment of modern life, the calendar for them was marked based on events like planting season, harvesting season, rainy season, but less notable on the turn the year. One thing for sure, what significant to them was based on their lifestyles for it would then become apparent in their way of looking at the turn of time. You may have heard of our forefathers those days referred to age of a person like the time when he or she starts to walk as a baby, when he has had his circumcision done, when she starts having menses of sorts, but nothing specific on what age they were in numbers and what year. Take for instance, the way they measure children’s schooling age was to curl the arm around the head and try to touch the ear on the other side. If it touches, that means the child is ready for schooling. The ones with big heads or short arms would then be unlucky. No wonder there happened to be cases where big boys with thick moustache like Dato' K in primary schools, far too big and hairy for the peers. There was a boy champ out in arm wrestling with his classmates, so I heard.

Well now, new year is rather something of a significant occurrence due to our lifestyles we are adopting.

Of all the many things about new year, apart from the new year celebrations and the amount of money needed for schooling kids or wrapping up things in office, one cannot help but thinking of new year resolutions. For most individuals, perhaps new year resolutions have been lined up weeks before. But, some may also get fed up with resolutions and choose not to have one because none of the past years’ worked out. Personally, I do not start having my resolutions prepared for a new year coming but I prefer to have it commences on my birthday instead. Anyway, regardless of when the starting and ending point is, resolutions somehow are the reflections of our minds on our hopes and dreams – occasionally, reveries. I consider myself as an organized person, but the irony is I never had them written down though. I prefer to have those hopes and dreams orbiting my mind, protracted vividly in a cosmic of its own. It's too personal for me to have it documented.

What ‘bout you? How do you treat your resolutions?

On working life, it’s different though. For my own organization, by this time of the year, the master copy of next year strategies in hard covers is already potted off. So to say, it seals all the corporate hopes & goals in the coming year, the collective “resolutions” to act as guidelines and reference for a year stretch – a product after weeks of brainstorming, discussing and arguing in the board room. Need not to mention throughout the course, sometimes faces are turning red when it brickbats over your unfounded suggestions and ideas. So to speak, ideas are just like diamonds in the rough, preliminary selected, then put onto the grinding machine, polished and shined and eventually put it under the spotlight in the showcase. The idea will then no longer belong to an individual but the whole team. The new and fresh ideas are not uncommon if they would affect the 5-year plan that resolute only last year and a new version of yet another 5-year plan emerges. Above all, it’s not even funny when the 5-year plan is revised and changed every year. It is a game of calculated guessing.

Managers are now busy working out on plans to meet the corporate strategies for their specific departments and sections.

Those years, I used to interpret over the directions from the board when I was a senior manager. I used to confine myself down to precision on instructions from higher management when I was a rookie in management team. I used to patch up orders from bits when I was an executive in congregating the standards set by my managers. I used to be pushed around by my seniors when I was a junior executive. During that time I would be very vocal over things I didn’t like but very serious in taking to mean in all tasks and duties. Blessed with some eloquence, many times I saw my superiors dipped their heads in the sand when I laid out my points over the big table. Sometimes it boomeranged. May be it was due to me as a young guy who thought of having a lot of ideas and capable of managing bigger things. But, when you grow older and wiser, having heavier responsibilities and get to see the maze of abstractions, you’d start to realize what’s hidden in the master plan of the organization. Bark all you want, change you may not. Sometimes you are pawned by default and coded to pit into a casualty list in order to save the commanders.

It’s all in the game.

And now my turn to set the game plan, but I am glad God has not allowed me to plan things at the expense of others.

SELAMAT HARI RAYA AIDIL ADHA. I sincerely hope visitors to my blog would not get offended from my writing all these while. Forgive me if sometimes you may get offended by my words, it’s never my intention.

GAB: Happy New Year & Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Adha to all Moslems

(One year ago, on the date, FROM THE GOVERNOR'S DESK was born, Happy 1st birthday to my blog)

Thursday, December 21, 2006

So...I answered the questions!

In a true spirit of the camaraderie in blogosphere, it makes me so guilty when I am tagged and yet I don’t respond to it. I know it dues for some time already; please accept my apology Mr Idham and thank you for tagging me up. I’ve been buying time just like what I did in honoring the losses of Brad & Angie the other day.

I try to stick as much as possible to Mr Idham's edited version3.0. Now here goes…


GAB 101


* GAB – Seriously it does! The kid in me says this nick is full of fantasy
* Jay – Some found it better to start off with the letter “J” – sounds more impactful as compared to Z as it supposed to be
* Zack – I don’t like much this name because it sounds playboyish like a nick name given to the GRO when you introduce yourself in the nightclubs.


All screen names used are associated with GAB and I am comfortable with it.

* GAB.pbp
* GAB_Pedra_Branca


* Goodness, I love my tummy but they pushed me to hate it. I always give excuse to myself saying, a sign of prosperity.
* They say smart people naturally have wide forehead as wide as a football field. My forehead was like Siti Nurhaliza’s when I was a kid while other kids had the hairline like millimetres away from eyebrows. And when the hairline recedes, it becomes even wider. Again they pushed me to hate it.
* In-grown toe nail – How to love something that is painful?


* Siamese
* Don Corleone of Sicily
* If Idham happens to be of Panglima Hitam mine is Pendekar Megat Panji Alam


* To be picked up by TV reporters to comment on the issue I am not familiar with, thus make a fool of myself before mllions of people.
* A beautiful and sexy artist stood up on me saying she loves me. That’s still not too scary but when circumstancially I’d be head over heel with her, it brings a chill down my spine. Or may me I am confused with excitement here? Someone… care to explain this to me?
* Fall into a group that being labelled as “deviants” in my pursuit of spiritual life.


* Briefing by a secretary in early morning on my daily things.
* My tea break for nescafe tarik at 10:30 am
* A call from wife


* Cool under pressure
* Pictures of my children when they were babies in my wallet. Another way of saying, don’t grow up, please be my babies forever
* My PR skills


* Time to spend for holidays round the world with my wife. Perhaps it’d take some 1 year to complete
* Opportunity to travel into space – I wanna see how small the earth is from distance just to relate to how small I am as a person.
* A house overlooking the bay with all the necessary machines to use on land or sea or river in the stable.


I have a lot that I equally love, too bad only three to be in the list.

* Deep Purple
* The Eagle
* Alan Parson Project


* Just Another Brick in the Wall – Pink Floyd
* Selimut Putih – original version by Orkes El-Soraya

* Hotel California


* Honesty
* A sense of sacrifice
* To be pampered


* Heavy at the top will do a lot of justice
* Nice fingers
* Walking style – I love it feminine but not ultra-feminine like one can see in catwalks.


* Drawing & designing (with Fara on my side appreciating my work)
* Driving around with kids if I am not engrossed with my garden.
* By myself in the woods next to a waterfall or being somewhere in the busy crowd sitting there like stupid observing people . And here


* Honestly, my bladder is bursting while at this point typing - toilet
* Laze around with my kids at home while school holidays not yet over
* To be away from Kuala Lumpur to a place where the pace of life is slower


* Switzerland
* A remote island somewhere in the Pacific basin
* Melor


* To impart as much as possible knowledge and values to my children and to let them know we’ll have yet another life together in eternity.
* To build an orphanage home – Being an orphan myself when I was a kid, my heart goes to them
* Being able to read khutbah for Friday prayer


* Love to hear the words “Bang… makan” or “Bah… makan Bah”
* All I know I have nicely ironed & hanged shirts in the closet
* I don’t know how to buy my own underwears and socks


* Caring & Loving, I mean very
* Down to all minute and petty things around the house (except socks and underwears)
* Always on alert over emotional changes of the house occupants.

Now, in the good old tradition of tagging - three people will carry on answering the questions .
May I therefore ask these three to do this tag.

Woman At the Well

Friday, December 15, 2006

VMY 2007, the island and I

Come 2007, Malaysia will have Visit Malaysia Year known as VMY 2007. The government, through the Ministry of Tourism is targeting at 20 million tourists to come visit us next year – that is an awful lot of foreigners to flood in. There have been efforts to make Malaysia more attractive to world travelers and the programmes that have been drawn up to make VMY 2007 a successful one.

Those days when I was in the USA, Malaysia was rather unknown to the American public at large. I wonder is it changing much now since we first launch Visit Malaysia Year back in 1990. May be, may be not. Chances are still not that much.

I was young. I was so pissed off when I got asked from where I was; I said “Malaysia” and that kind of expressions in their faces with twitches of eyebrows, as if saying, ‘Is there such country name exists in this world?’ or ‘Is that a town in Mexico he’s referring to?’. Fortunately not being asked back like, “Is that your last name?”. Well sometimes I would allow the tête-à-tête to flow; I’d go, “Do you know where it is?” As expected, they have no knowledge of it, “Errrr… may be it’s next to Iran…?” When Iran was pronounced as Ai-Ran, enough to start making me regret for getting caught in the conversation, let alone when it made me feel like being hailed from Planet X with their poor geographical fact. The young blood in me had had it enough, I just said, “That’s right! Uganda is our neighbouring country too”. And I flashed a smile, more cheeky than phony.

But when I got asked by a brunette with hazel eyes at K-Mart, regardless of what answer she’d given, the young blood in me made a good pump, sweltering, and I did a correction starting off with the trivia like;

“D’ya know where Thailand is?”
“And… Y’know a country called Singapore?”
“A’heard that…”
“We’re in between those two countries… sandwiched in the middle!”
“Awhhh, Okay…A’havit figured. What’s your country name again?”

Considering the inviting look in her face, it didn’t piss me off much but still, disappointed.

And speaking of attracting the world to visit our country, in actual fact we have plenty of things to offer. Let’s not bother about things; by nature, we as the people are already good hosts. And, living up to what good we have, thanks to our government for attaining admirable eminence in eco-tourism, agro-tourism, education tourism, health tourism and marine tourism and some other ‘ism’ that may fall short of my recollection but definitely not “hookerism”.

We are not short of the beauty of our natural environment either. A weekend evening drive to Janda Baik is good enough for us to appreciate the beauty we have in our own backyard. We somehow are blessed with our flora & fauna, jungles & forests, hills & mountains, rivers & lakes, pristine beaches and beautiful islands.

Having said about the natural beauty, pristine beaches and beautiful islands, there is one island that very dearly to me until this day – Pulau Perhentian. Once, my friends and I considered it as our private island. I never have thought it’d become a tourist destination in later years for that tiny island was only used as a transitory hideout from storms and rough sea or may be play truant, by the local fishermen just like Pulau Kapas was.

On school breaks, I would always find reasons not to stay at home, plan out something with friends to be somewhere – camping, fishing, jungle trekking, mountain climbing, and hiking or to the very least chasing after monitor lizards in the wetland (hambak bewok). We deliberated a plan to camp out in Pulau Perhentian after viewing it from Pantai Semerak in that one term break, thought it belonged to Kelantan water – until much later after the tourism industry boomed, I learned, it’s on Trengganu side. Keyed up, it wasn’t long before we managed to persuade a local fisherman, Pak Him, he agreed to send us there and pick us up some 5 days after.

There was no such thing as paid boat or ferry to get there, no jetty to dock, no chalets, no hot showers, no restaurants and no ladies in bikinis. The island was just there isolating you from the world. It was just as immaculate as one can get to see with its flat white sandy beach, crystal clear water that makes you see the underwater marine life shows off splendid coral gardens, toss a coin in and you can see it rested on the sea bed, majestic rocks and boulders entrenched in grandiose and generous backdrop of a hill in the inner land covered by a thick virgin jungle – such a perfect contraposition to the magnificent beach front. The air was just as fresh as you can get, just like the air in Kuala Lumpur in the year 1511.

In the night, to laze around under the canopy of an open sky next to the campfire with the sweet smell of baked fish and squids on the skewers made out of sticks was simply out of this world. You’d be looking up at the sky amidst gentle puff of a wind blow and a lullaby from the waves rhythmically pounding the shore until you fall asleep before you’d finish counting the shooting stars. It had been the nicest, deepest and soundest sleep I had ever experienced in my whole life. In the morning, you’d be waking up to the sun in the horizon, feeling like waking up in a paradise. Upon glancing to the shore, you’d be greeted with the awesome display of white corals covered as far as your eyes can see while the tide was low in early morning. The corals even sparkle and shimmer in the morning light. The breeze! The dances of leaves of coconut trees! The birds! And the breathtaking sky formation with the superb reflections of colors in the clouds. Heavenly! The place was just like a missing piece in lovers’ wildest imagination, envious to bards, poets and rhymesters.

Pulau Perhentian had then become our favorite hideaway from one school break to another.

Perhaps, subconsciously, that was the starting point where I fantasized over having my own island, without me knowing; later in the turn of millennium I’d still be obsessed over the abstraction, even claimed to be the governor of an island – at least for the nick name in my blog.

Pulau Perhentian has a new face now. I went there when I first came back from overseas. I was bewildered seeing what I saw, the way it has changed. The beauty that I once adored was rather gone. The sands were not as bright anymore with those small dunes trail-blazed the foot marks everywhere and corals were no longer plentiful. No more floating coconuts around. No more the serenity and tranquility as I saw decades ago. The island has lost its dazzling smile of yesteryears and the glittering leer takes a turn. Now, the beautiful face from the makeover is just the “commercial beauty” of it, just like how L’Oréal and Avon do the magic on the beautiful wannabes.

I walked around didn’t know what to feel. Happy to see the island was now deluded with new charm and attraction that can be enjoyed by many and at the same time feeling like something was missing. But, at least I could still find those rocks that we used to sit on while sipping our Kopi Cap Badak and laughing and giggling over silly jokes.

…and only those rocks still remain as beautiful as ever.

I dedicate this entry in honor of a late friend in our pack, Md Ariff Md Yassin. He passed away in 2002 due to liver cancer. I was in the island less than a month after his passing. I went up the hill searching for a boulder overlooking the open sea that we used to rest on while venturing through the entire island. It amazed me when I saw the blurry words on it, “ARIFF WAS HERE” still survive after so many years. The irony is, only his could be found but not others'. I sat there and cried. Al Fatihah to Yeh (Ariff).

Monday, December 11, 2006

When Junks Mean Something to You

Not this type of junk I am referring to in this entry, but the real junk.

Writing is an everyday thing to me when it comes to notes, documents and journals. I have been writing almost everyday ever since many, many years ago long before this blog thing came to existence. Half a page daily is rather a must while some can go as long as 3, 4 pages. Of course they were all meant for my own consumption mainly on the technical things that people may get puked reading those; even I personally have no heart to read them again. Out of those personal journal thing, considerably only a few about tell-story things like the day when my car hit the back of a pick-up truck, what type of ice cream I had at Baskin Robins, my daughter’s slippers swept away in the ditch, spilled over mee bandung and dirtied my new John Master shirt, my Davidoff fountain pen bleed, stained the niple and stuff.

There are more than 1,000 personal journals or rather notes in the folders embedded in the company local server, little I realized before until recently I had the records transferred to a new local server with bigger capacity. Well not that those personal journals meant much for security to be kept in the server but other important things are, such as aspx files with, C# and other geek playthings that may bore you to death – graphic designs, programming source codes and e-based prototypes of sorts. Those personal things such as notes and journals just happened to jump on the bandwagon during the server transfer exercise.

Little serves the purpose keeping, thought of deleting those files and folders but considering the time had consumed and the past histories, the
aesthetic value of it when it went through age, I decided not to. My network engineer came asking me whether to delete those folders or not, I said, DON'T just keep it but also burn it on CD as well for back up. How do you like that?

I found myself more habitual rather than addicted keeping old things. May be in some ways it tells what kind of personality I do possess. My wife prefers to get rid of old stuffs, considered junks to her but I on the other hand love to have them stored. Justly as I said, it serves little purpose but every once in a while I would scavenge through old things and I would spend hours entertaining thoughts over certain things that would activate my hindsight; musing retrospectively upon seeing it. For instance, what would you feel when you see your daughter’s first walking shoes? It is so tiny and cute. And now she’s a big girl that even blushes once walk pass a group of guys thinking she was inadequately dressed-up to be seen by them. What’s in between from those tiny walking shoes until her as of now that even fancies designer's shoes and 3G mobile phone? Definitely the whole history comes playing right before your mind.

Hey I still keep handwritten notes by my friends during the last day schooling, many, many years back. I brought with me kain pelikat written with laundry no. using permanent ink on it when I went abroad for studies – reminds me of hostel life, and even brought it back to Malaysia. I still have ticket stubs of the concerts I went to. My sons’ robot toys without arms. Sometimes I would find notes written on tissue paper nicely filed that suggests the idea was coined and pre-conceptualized during my meal time or casual discussion over a cup of teh tarik. Piles of boarding passes; the one that I adore is the boarding pass that meant for me to board but the plane crashed before I did. See
here . I tell you, I keep a lot of junks. So, what junks do you keep?

Today I have another alternative that I may pick and choose some of my daily personal notes to be put in my so-called blog. I am fond of writing craps in my blog. That matters not to me. All I know, it keeps on adding one entry after another. When it comes the time, I think I’d look at it as something hard for me to get rid off, as well.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Grieving the losses of Brad and Angie

I don’t want this thing to be too long overdue before I put up in my blog. I have been buying time to spend just 15, 20 minutes of my life tormenting my keyboard to honor the passing of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.

Silly? No! They were once in my life.

They were gone. Died is the closest possibility. Back in my mind I still harbour hopes to see them alive because I don’t see the remains of their bodies anywhere. No graves, no memorials to drop a rose or two. Well, don’t be alarmed, they were just our pet hamsters named after those two celebs.

Fara was about to show to her friend Aisyah our celebrated “mice” when they were nowhere to be found. The cage door was left wide open. She yelled out hoping either Sam or Edrin or even I took them out for play, less likely for her mom though. My wife stopped messing with her things in the kitchen, hastily came straight to our indoor rock garden, but less dramatic unlike the scenes one may see in the Malay tele-movies with the spatula in hand. Sam & Edrin rushed down from the family hall upstairs. I was just meters away in the comfy of our living room, the same spot where I was seated when I received a pleasant surprise last night –
Mr. Idham called from as far as Jeddah. Hey, thanks for the call bro. It means a lot to me. Anyway, right after the yell by Fara, I became the first “investigating officer” to arrive at the scene.

Soon after, we established that Brad & Angie were missing. I could see the frustration in Fara. Not too obvious in Sam and Edrin though. It bothered me a little, bothered even more seeing Fara was about to drop her tears. And did. My wife was bothered too. In flash I started recalling Fara’s passion in taking care of them with the weekly grooming - shampoo and blow-dry. The way their bottoms swayed when they walked on the rug. The time when Angie jolted; as much as I did when I unintentionally cut a bit on her tail stub with scissors during grooming session. And the day when my three kids spent hours playing and pampering them. Uhh… What a lucky “rats” they were!

I had a theory. The night before, my wife replenished their food. She closed the cage door, perhaps it didn’t snap. It became ajar when Brad with his fancy knocked things around, he’s not just confined to knocking on Angie alone, and the door opened. They crept out thinking the whole world was a stage and thought they were helluva actors to do the acts; not knowing the harsh reality of life awaited them in the real world.

I’ve seen many times our neighbour’s black cat drooled, eyes sparkled seeing those two ham-celebrities. I even caught him behind the shoe rack peeping, stalking and lurking on the two a few times before. Or may be the cat was just admiring Angie’s sexy lips. I couldn’t imagine if that cat was a techno savvy cat equipped with gadgets & gizmos, cameras and video-cam. If it was, the cat could’ve been a paparazzi-cat, camp outside to catch a glimpse of Brad & Angie with his
Nikon D50 DSLR camera . He may have blackmailed Brad & Angie over the gross act of the two when Angie was feeling sexy while Brad was doused with far too much of testosterone that jinxed him up. Blame it on kuaci.

Anyway, that black cat was my prime suspect. He may have mauled and feasted on Brad & Angie, but propitious for him to scot free; cat can’t be charged for murder and no lawyers in the right minds will take trouble to prove him guilty in the court of law.

GAB: Reminds me of a book I read many years ago,
Pet Sematary (Cemetery) by Stephen King

Monday, December 04, 2006

…so the cat was on the tree top

“Dog chased a cat. Cat ran up the tree”. Until this day I remember this sentence very well when we were taught in a classroom a few decades ago. That entailed the phonetically impertinent by the pupils in our classroom, en mass we chorused, “Dok cheh a kek. Kek reng ak da tri”. You try to say it over and over again, at speed. It sounds like a mix between the tribal lingua franca of Mount Andes and Old Sanskrit. Erk, how do I know the way they sound?! Anyway, it became my evergreen personal joke, shared with my wife. I am sure she will laugh when she reads this from her office.

I want to relate to my recent endeavor positioning the enterprise that I the self-proclaim head honcho, spearheading to becoming more reputable and respectable entity than one perceived mere player in the market, avoiding botch and blunder, curtailing disparaging decision makings as not to be atypical to big boys’ games. It is a long way to go if not an uphill battle but to the very least, dare to dream is triumphant enough for an organization that not in the beau monde circle we are.

This is strange...!
More often than not feline cannot get along well with canine, fine, if you cannot beat them, join them. But, the fact remains; not being welcomed is one thing and being chased out is another while staying put is not even an option. Remote chance of it, the felines may get christened into the clan but it would take a whole intricate, labyrinthine rituals altogether. I am that feline now. I may not be swallowed whole by the canine but sure it pricks my skin and breaks a bone or two and left me bleeding for a slow painful death next to the monsoon drain if I stay. In the first place, I won’t be sprinting off if no one charged at me. How I wish that canine was gagged. Thus, what option do I have? I’d run as fast as I can, take refuge to higher places knowing the canine can’t follow my act; relinquish all possessions that are rightfully belong to me down there, the tree is an only option left for me. And…one minute you thought you were safe and in the next minute a different set of tribulations emerged on the high-up. Heard of the cat owners call the fire engine for rescue?

Beam me up Scotty!

We have gone fighting with the big boys stealing punches right on the nose the time they are lulled. And kick them in the crotch when they flamboyantly displayed their chest hairs. Fly an elbow below the jaw when the referee was not looking, swinging jabs to the sides of the rib cage in desperado and all. Hell we fit the bill as a fighter but still, size matters; in the end you are cornered. Bantamweight is simply not a fair match for the featherweight let alone the heavyweight. We have no way out. We look for ways seeking support from the government. We do not fancy that MSC Status Certificate just to be nicely framed in the office with the spotlight beaming on it hence, mere industry status quo to be reckoned with. It’s an expensive wooden frame you know, and the type of the glass used is of a high quality too, not bad what that Chinaman in Salak South came up for us. And my secretary complained of the blinding effect from the spotlight, had it moved to another corner.

We know it too well on what we are capable of doing. All we need is just the opportunity for a break, not even monetary means for that matter. We are counting our blessings. If the right opportunity comes knocking at the door, we’ll grab it with both hands, drag it in screaming and kicking.

Still, it’s no easy route to follow even though when you bow before your master in diffidence. Heard of the lines when a smart aleck with his clever hoax embellishing the gullible? Of course not, I made this up.

“You make a call when the coin’s in the air”


“It’s up now, tail I win, head you loose…. Make a call quick…”


“Ahahaha…It’s head. You loose…”

“Wait a minute… you cheat on me!”

“Whoaaa… Your eyes are like a hawk's, yeahhh, you’re right it’s not Head; it’s Tail… I win!”


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Of the days I remembered…

That e-Techno thing with the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovations (MOSTI) has occupied most of my time lately. I’ve been running up and down to Putrajaya every so often.

Back in the office, meetings with the managers seem to be endless. The tense is in the air. (Actually I am happy to see their commitments) Managers can loose tempers with the supervisors at a slightest mistake, in turn the supervisors just know how to infiltrate their grudges into team leaders. There is one team leader busy making preparations for his Christmas holidays in his home country; he’s loosing focus. I choose not to know too much on the finer details they are bickering about. All I know, I am catching my datelines with the ministry and the delivery of their final and polished documentations when it's due to my office is the only thing that I vouch for. I am worried.

Sometimes your mind simply stuck when you have too much unstructured inputs at one go into your head that makes you feel very dull – insulting your intelligence. That’s what I felt that made me start writing this, minutes ago. Thank God there is such thing as blog exists these days; it somehow helps me to be transiently in cyberspace – sojourn in a place of nowhere.

All of the sudden, I find solace in remembering things of my past.

I remembered the day when…
…dealing with one ministry’s office, I got tired with Encik-so-and-so-in-the-meeting cliché and he-is-in-overseas or he-is-on-holidays lines. Upon knowing his whereabouts from his cute secretary, I dashed my way to his door without decent appointment just to give a shot in one-minute stakeout. You know, the kind of look in the face when someone is trapped and get obliged, I just loved it.

I remembered the day when…
…I had to enjoy my good sleep in the couch until the evening at the ministry’s office for my 10 o’clock meet, after 10 cups of coffee and 25 times to the gents’ then just to be greeted with the news for me to fix other appointment weeks after.

I remembered the day when…
…I host a dinner at Shangri-La for the I-know-him-very-well guy and the clans just to learn that I had exhausted the company’s entertainment budget for nothing because he was actually the I-know-him-very-well-but-he-does-not-know-me guy.

I remembered the day when…
…I had to cramp for months without proper sleep to come up with the e-based prototype which along the way I had to do some firings to the tough-headed in the development unit. It drove me crazy coordinating works from the team, crouching at the table with reams and reams of papers, polished proposal as good as 6 inches thick, and guess what? The verdict from high-seats just left me in a sorry state.

I remembered the day when…
…I had to commute by foot and even the mini bus conductor had a cheek yelling at me, “Yg baju biru tu, belakang lagi...Buat 2 barisan…”, only to be grateful with the life I was having after seeing a fatigue looking woman that perhaps looks older than her age with 5 small kids in worn-out clothes walked cross Jalan Ampang.

I remembered the day when…
…I was in the Putra LRT. Got fired as a GM. Felt like the whole world was laughing at me. They confiscated the company car I was using and I had no means on my own. I spent hours entertaining my thoughts at the station before boarding my next connecting train and stopped-by for aiskrim potong at the back alley of Kg Baru.

Those were remembered, but…
… nothing compared to the time when I had a hand on my sons’ Game Boy last night. Sam and Edrin were over my shoulders while Fara was busy with her new Nokia’s mobile phone. Sam made me play a game of Lunar Ball. It is a game of snooker except it’s digitalized into a video game. I used to be good at the real one when I was a student, not snooker though but pool (an American version). I just know how to manipulate the angles albeit on the small screen.

At one point, I made a hit with full force, it went to the direction I did not intend to but it ended with 3 balls being pocketed.

Almost simultaneously, Sam & Edrin said, “Fuhhh… Dahsyat Bah!”.

Actually I was about to scream for the mistake done but… silently I took credit for the lucky shot I had.

I smiled.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Rambling About Rain

It has been raining in Kuala Lumpur lately especially in the evening. I don’t know about others, but me, I love it when it rains because it’s cooling. I can enjoy my lunch at the Zenith without breaking a single sweat – but not when you have a good sambal belacan to go with. I don’t have to loosen up my tie during Friday prayer but in turn it makes me half asleep listening to the khutbah and I can always open up my green & white umbrella I got from EconSave for use. Apart from that, rain has always drifts away my mind into beautiful lines of songs like those in Sudirman’s, B.J Thomas’ Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head and Crying In The Rain by Whitesnake, just to name a few. But, the irony is, at the same time I would also associate myself with flood back in my mind. Not like those flash floods in Kuala Lumpur that would halt traffics and drown cars and cats and give good reasons for the husbands to be late home but the kind of flood that I found it so pleasing and interesting when I was a child.

Towards the end of the year, people in the East Coast of the peninsular would anticipate the monsoon season to come. Nothing new; even when my late great grand father was a child he had heard great stories about the annual flood from his forefathers. They were all well-prepared long before the first drop of rain comes. I was even puzzled to see boats were made stand-by at the houses in the lowland area of Peringat when I was a kid for our area we did not need until such preparation. We might see big waters like an ocean spreading throughout the village but I had never heard doing much harm except for a few goats got stuck – hell of a concern by the owners. You’d love to see those chickens with wet feathers huddle together warming up their bodies, making the kind of pleasant shivering tweet-tweet noise; nothing close as you see those skimpily-clad “chickens” in Chow Kit flock together hunting for preys, betcha. And those ducks; swimming and diving, wagging their tails besieged with their quacks as if it was a wet T-Shirt competition in a party to them.

It had been 3 days non-stop heavy rain. We couldn’t go anywhere especially when water level was on the rise. I heard folks telling water start to cross the main road. All I know I was slouching on the mat looking up at the spiders spinning their webs. I used to boast to my kids seeing it before my eyes about spiders unlike them just get to know it through the Discovery Channel. And the water dropped from the leak in the roof. We had no ceiling, just roof and water just came straight down. Sometimes I had fun looking up waiting for the water to drop on my face, at times, hard hit straight in the eyes. We had the metal container to hold the water, wait for it to chirk with waters splattered all over before I’d empty it. It made nice “ting-tong” sound when it’s empty.

Granny just had my favourite ubi kayu with grated-young-coconut ready, together with fried salted ikan gelama, very timely for my hungry stomach. We had other choices like ubi keling, ubi itik and ubi badak (what sorta animals are they?) as well but on the menu today was happened to be ubi kayu. Loved it. I could not resist the steamy ubi kayu straight from the pot. Quickly I put into my mouth because it was too hot on my fingers. Just when I thought it was alright, with some slurping sound, start chewing it, but then hot ubi kayu stucked on the ceiling of my mouth that would rather automatically pushed my chin up, looking at the roof – begging for help from the spiders.

Back then I did not understand why the youngsters were so eager to wait for the rain to stop and go play with the water until I was big enough to understand the thrill of peek-a-boo of ladies’ legs in their attempts not to wet their sarung when they are at the flood shoreline. I heard there were always love in the air due to this fiesta. The only thing I knew, I had a whale of time seeing many people out to play with water but nothing more entertaining than playing paper boats with Arif and Fadhil.

I was not done with my ubi kayu just yet. The cold weather induces your bladder to pee more frequently than you ever wanted. My old folks said I was mischievous but I said I was adventurous. My idea of adventurous was while enjoying my ubikayu, I had my kain sarung covered that made me look like doing nothing but inside there, I pee through the gap between the planks in the floor of the house.

It was nice to hear the sound when it hits the water especially when the water level was just a few inches below.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Numero Uno!

“UNO, game!” Edrin shouted with full of excitement. He went frantic; giggling and gasping to find words to express. I could see his eyes shimmers even when he said ‘UNO” in the previous turn let alone when ‘UNO game’ was now meant to crown him as a round winner. It was not that Sam had got no chance to “UNO” but more cards piled up on him the time he expected to say “UNO, game”. Hey, I know nuts about the skills and techniques of it but I had once said “UNO”, thought I was about to be a winner, and I did say out “UNO, game” but it broke into laughter by the children when I was actually confused between No 6 and No 9 – ends up me piling up more cards. Fara would just then be happy if she could reduce a bit of those cards in her hands.

Edrin rolled on the rug, once, twice until he was on his back looking up on the ceiling, hands spread wide, smiling, ahhhh! – his way to end the celebration. No one likes loosing; Sam was a little scowl while Fara was just slightly contracted the brows in a sullen and yet no specific reaction registered and I was in my own realms watching all three of them react, smiling, just contented to pass a remark like ‘you are very good, Edrin’. There we were right on the middle of a rug in our living room and their mom in her usual self just sat there on the sofa grinning not having slightest idea on how the game goes. She was just happy to see a girl, two small boys and one big boy forming a circle playing UNO game. May be she was even happier to just replenish their drinks.

The triad of rivalry was established among the three of them in a game perhaps the father came in just to add cheer to it if not make up the number. In fact they should have considered me as their contender as well as fundamentally they know the game better albeit luck that confined to each flip of the cards.

They got engrossed into the game that in the turn of time, winning would mean a lot to them. Being the youngest among the three, I know Edrin would have had withdrawn earlier when he had to succumb to loosing streak for he needs to learn more handling the emotions when loosing – which usually happened when I wasn’t in the game. But today, the winning was heavily on Edrin’s favour. The drums and trumpets staged by Edrin when he marched to celebrate his winning in one round after another had slowly becoming exasperating & infuriating to Fara and Sam. I myself always ended up shuffling the cards after each round ended, looser that was.

And, finally... I saw the last card tossed in by Fara. It was 2-Red, and it was now my turn… A little set back... there was a green card in my hand... and almost simultaneously I then realized it was 2-Green that I was holding. I knew it. This was the chance for me capitalize…. 2 and 2 makes it matched… “UNO, Game!” I shouted loud. Very loud. Fortunately I didn’t wake up the neighbours’ babies. “Numero Unooo...” I added. I had an idea… I hadn’t just copied the way Edrin celebrate his winning but added sillier things like whistling, howling, rolling, squatting and jumping. Fara, Sam and Edrin were laughing like crazy not believing what they see when their father acting foolishly like a mad duck celebrating his first winning round ever; just enough to ease the tense in Edrin to stay as a round winner and to expunge the agony of defeat in Fara and Sam.

Their mom was still in her usual self; still on the sofa… did what she knows best doing …just grinning!!! What a wonderful display of a good mother and wife she has been.

GAB: Mind games are good to stimulate children’s minds and any games can be instrumental to mould & cast children’s characters.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

You have done your best!

Standing on the left is SAM with his friends moments before the results were out, not knowing he'd cry later. (Picture: Courtesy of JHM)

I can see a lot of me in him. His hair, his facial features, his body figure… Just like me, his skin tone is a bit dark unlike his big sister and the kid brother, contrasts heavily to his mom’s very fair complexion. Kids are always kids but generally speaking, he is the type of kid that considerably very well-mannered, well-disciplined, charming and easy to handle. Errr… as of me when I was a kid, those traits… in a scale of 1 – 10; I’d give myself 7.5. Yeahhh righhht… may be 5 out of 10. Nope… it can’t be lower than that! He would take any advice from either his teachers or parents literally.

When the mother said he could only lie down at least one-half hour after a meal, he’d time his stopwatch to exactly 30 minutes then he’d lounge around if he had to and had it observed religiously. An Ustazah told him one has to answer to parents’ call even while in-prayer, and he did, then he’d start it all over again. I felt sorry for him and told him to go by with it. I said watching TV is allowed until 8:00 pm only; right on the dot he’d either have it switched off or he’d be doing his school works. 10:00 pm in bed? Precisely on the minute! That is Sam! Sure he is a kind of kid that parents would love to have. In fact Fara and Edrin are no exceptions either; it’s just that I want to focus on Sam in this entry for an obvious reason.

Slightly more than an hour ago, UPSR results were out. Sam sent me text message telling me he’s got 4A 1B, some 10 minutes before I start writing this. I called him up right away and he said he was sorry for not getting straight A’s and he was so depressed with the results. Obvious blemishes in my eyes while talking to him – he talked with that kind of tone of voice apparently not happy with the results, I know he had cried, and very quick I consoled him up telling that was very good already, nothing to be sorry and I was equally happy as him getting all A’s.

Regardless of the results he’s got, I am actually very happy considering his promising performance months before the actual exams took place. Rather unfortunate he didn’t make it all A’s. I’ve never made a pass to him letting out my expectation as not to pressure him up and in the first place, straight A’s isn’t the scale I measure things up anyway. I regularly went through checking all the topics on the syllabus for each subject months before the exams making sure he knows what he had learned whilst the bigger contributions had been by his mother, to patiently be by his side as he finishes his home works every night and to reward him with a cup (read: mug) of milo moments before going to bed. We both parents knew he didn’t need tuitions when he was coping well with it. The existing loads at school are already too much for him to bear apart from having to attend religious school in the afternoon. I tried my best giving him maximum time to play, especially riding his bike, those video games and cartoons that he loves – I don’t want him to miss his precious time as a child for something he’d treasure later in life.

Days prior to the exams, I loosened him up, free to play games, watch TV, laze around… whatever he liked doing… but NOT to touch on books. To me, it was all done as far as preparations were concerned. And…right after the exams, I went through checking his papers (I didn’t want to but Sam pushed me to) and I was pleasantly surprise, for instance, in mathematics, he got only 3 questions answered wrongly and they were only due to his carelessness, not that beyond his comprehensions. The standard of learning for kids today is so high as compared to some donkey years ago when I took up similar exams. (During my time, similar exams were held in Standard 5, called Penilaian Darjah 5). Even I myself who used to take up mathematics up to 400-level at the university didn’t actually find it that easy, or perhaps the lapse of time has been far too long since I started my working life. And…other subjects are equally of a higher standard as well.

As-a-matter-of-factly speaking, it is not getting 5A that matters to me but when he comprehends well on what had been taught in school, matters, and that is even more compelling to me. Straight A’s is just a bonus. I’ve made a strong statement instilling my homespun philosophy to my kids; learning is not just for the sake of making grades, not about positioning yourself in the group of “elite” students, not about being what number you are at amongst the peers but to understand & appreciate what knowledge is all about, what it really means in practical life and thus makes you see the apparent relation & compatibility in ‘you reap what you sow’. Some kids or adults if you like, due to their lower aptitude level by birth, they may not score in the first sitting, perhaps they would only excel in the second or third attempt or in any number of attempts for that matter. So, what difference does it makes in the true connotation of what learning & knowledge is all about? Fast or slow, now or later. Scoring grades does not necessarily grant you as knowledgeable as to-be-looked-smart would. Sufficed to say, the institutionalized formal learning in schools and colleges is only a small fraction of the whole universe of knowledge.

Sam's big sister, Fara, she had got 3A’s and 2B’s in her UPSR some two years back, I was just as happy. I consoled her frustration, praised her, celebrated & rewarded her for what she had got, knowing the fact that she was essentially at the standard of 5A’s in my eyes.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Just When Their Mom Was Not Around

Nov 5th, 2006. It was last Sunday. I sent my wife to KLIA for her to catch a flight to Trengganu at 8:40 in the morning. She was going there for a few days to access her students on the clinical settings at Trengganu General Hospital. At this time of the year she would be busy traveling to all the places as her 3rd year students are sent to the major hospitals in all the states in Malaysia including in Borneo Island, Sabah & Sawarak. With handful of lecturers in their team, they have to rotate over on the places to be at – whom to be where and when.

The night before, we put up at my sister’s (Kak Zah’s) house at Desa Vista over in Salak Tinggi (I jokingly call the place as Barking Heights), some 10 km, minutes away from the airport. Late in the afternoon on Saturday, I did text Kak Zah telling her not to prepare anything for us but it was too late, she had it all prepared, expecting us to come in the evening but too bad, I had to bring over the family for my company’s Deepa Raya dinner.

We had a good one at a restaurant in UK, we were ballooned after the dinner and I felt bad, we couldn’t eat anymore of those mouth-watering nasi kerabu, among other things Kak Zah had prepared for us. After all it was very late when we reached her place. Anyway, first thing in the morning, I had those nasi kerabu together with my wife for the breakfast before sending her to the airport, though.

Not having their mom at home is such a big deal to my children, unlike the time when I had to be away. A few years ago I had lived out of briefcase for most days in a month and they were used to not having me around. Thank God these days I seldom travel and my idea of paying back the lost time, I would try my best to have quality time with them; make a point to be at the dinner table (almost) every day.

We do no have maid at home. When my wife is not around, I would be the chief commander in the kitchen. That’s right. I cook for my kids. Who me, can’t cook? Of course I can. I used to live on my own when I was a student and am used to cooking my own food but you had better not ask whether I am very good at it or not. At least my kids wouldn’t go hungry. True… I can always make do without sweating out in the kitchen while we are only minutes away from Syida Tom Yam, Restoran DeNenek’s (It must’ve been someone with a good sense of humor who coined up the name), Kedai Bakar in SU1 or Maju Ahmad mamak restaurant but it’d be no fun.

I can be a good cook if I want to but I am afraid I’d be stripping off the title from my wife hence, she is a good cook and it runs in her family. Apart from that I am afraid that I would then start to give special interests in skincare, experiment with the brassiere or find comfort in lingerie. Nah… kidding, that doesn’t constitute the meaning as cooking is lopsided on female gender alone.

When I was in the kitchen and have my apron on, my kids swarmed around me that made me feel like a chef at a 5-star hotel or something. Move aside Chef Wan, and you too, Chef Ismail! It’s not an everyday thing for them to see me have a showdown behind the stoves; they get to see it only in certain seasons of the year and occasionally when their mom is out-of-town or going overseas for short courses, seminars or conferences, which is why their curiosity never fades.

Sam, my 12-year-old boy asked,

“What are you cooking, Bah?

“Well… I think we’ll have… errr… Fried Fish ala Turkey for our dinner tonight. Right… Fried Fish ala Turkey!”

“Uhhh…it sounds delicious! But how is it look like… and how is it tastes like?”

“Hehehe, sure it’s one of a kind. Very good…Yeah, yeah… I’m sure you’ll love it”

Fried Fish ala Turkey or Fried Fish ala TONGKEK, Bah?”

Then he laughed. Fara and Edrin also found it amusing with Sam’s twisted name suggested. It sounds hilarious to me too. We laughed.

I had no idea what “tongkek” was, as much as I was not clear on my answer to him what Fried Fish ala Turkey was. I gave the name to him in impromptu to make it sounds fancy as I would usually do, like Barbados Chicken, Ethiopian Chicken Soup, Kratengdaeng Beef Stew, Sydney Sweet Shrimp, Chickamauga Fried Egg, Chin Peng Tofu, Inggeleke Nalladek Assorted Veges and all sorts of names I never pre-planned in my head, just plucked from the air, the ones came across my mind while saying it would then be exclusive if not conclusive.

So exclusive the dishes are and somewhat capricious I am, sometimes I cannot even recall the recipes for the dishes I came up with – I can bet a million if you can find them in the menu anywhere on this planet. There was once when I cooked squids for them, I tried to be fancy with the gravy, I put corn starch in it but it was too much until it became balls of gooey stuff wrapped around the squids – too slimy to eat, much worst than broiled okra. I chunked them off into a bin. Until this day Fara still chuckle over it. At another time I made flour mix to dip the chicken in before deep frying it. May be this was how Colonel Sanders started his business. Everthing was alright but not until I overdone with the salt & spices, thus, I had it covered up with extra MSG, fried it and… voila! I managed to have the taste, but my kids complained of nausea after eating – too much MSG, I supposed… may be too much of everything!

Finally, we were then ready at the table for our dinner. “Yummy! We are having Fried Fish ala Turkey tonight…” I emphasized on the name given. As always, I pre-empted their perceptions over my cooking. I just knew how to play up their minds, leading their thoughts for some psychosomatic effects out of it, I used words like:

“Fara will sure love this because she personally had a hand in it to have it prepared” Of course she was proud of it. She actually did but just stirring it when I requested for help. She is particular over the types of food taken and tries not to eat too much but I saw her eat more than she needed.

“Sam always like Abah’s cooking, he said just like Mama’s” He actually did say that complimentarily and I just repeated his words for him that left him to prove his own words. He finished up a mountain of rice, proven to be the fish was a kicker.

“I wonder why Edrin always eat a lot when Abah cooks..?!” Reverse psychology… He is a poor eater but with these words, he had to demonstrate his agreement over my statement whilst he didn’t object to it primarily, it gave a boost for him to clean up his plate.

This time around, the angels were very kind to me, the exotic dish of Fried Fish ala Turkey turned out to be good, the children loved it, they had a sumptuous dinner that night and even asked me to cook similar dish again next time.

…and I wonder whether next time I can live up to the standard or not.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Too Cruel... Too Young To Die

It bothers me with the news yesterday. I just want to write in here to exhibit my discontent over what had happened.

Murder cases is not uncommon to happen in our country lately, one can read it in the daily papers every now and then if not everyday. But the incident that happened to that Mongolian lady, Altantuya @ Aminah Abdullah, to me is too outrageous. Being shot dead is one thing, when it’s done cold blooded is another and to dissipate the body with the grenade? Thwart! Even when with only one grenade being used is shocking already, let alone when it is said more than two. And the body is shattered & shredded down to pieces? Even the best person at jigsaw puzzle will call it quit to have them pieced back together. I cannot comprehend this part.

On top of it, it took place in Puncak Alam, close the place where I am staying at, Saujana Utama, of which separated by a hill, I can say that on the straight line it could be less than 5, 6 km… less than 10 km away?! Well may be the place where it happened is another issue altogether but the brutality, the cruelty of the murder that annoys me. I read many books on criminals such as serial killers like Ted Bundy, Kray Twins and a few others but at the end of it I can conclude that they were having some kind of defects in the wiring in their brain circuits and it ensued in an unforgiving state of living in the other part of the hemisphere. ...But not in my country!?

What more when it is said that the policemen are involved in it? And even a lady police was in the line as a suspect? Yeah, may be it is still under investigation, inconclusive still, but the idea of having them narrowed down as suspects, it’s not a healthy one. Police are supposed to safeguard the public, to protect, to enforce the law and the bottom line is to make us citizens safe. It seems startling the person behind the scene of the whole thing is even known to be someone with brain, in a category of VIP. (I wonder the word VIP really carries the meaning of someone being respected due to their social contributions and running ethical living or just when you merely hit the right button while mingling among the top echelon of the country, then you are one?) – I need someone to give me satisfactory definition over the term.

It is too young for the beautiful model with a small baby like Altantuya to die at the age of 28 and too cruel for her to die in such a manner. I bet she’s here, some thousands of miles away from her home country to claim for her right after having legally and biologically mothered a baby that half of it belongs to the person that used to enjoy the fun and laughter together with her.

Perhaps for that person, it was just an idea of having fun and enjoying his life but in turn, it was at the expense of Altantuya’s future… and now her life!

The location where pieces of Altantuya's body was found at Empangan Tasik Subang, Puncak Alam, Shah Alam, Selangor

Monday, November 06, 2006


Little knowledge I know about gold. What I know, gold is a highly sought-after precious metal that for many centuries has been used as money, a store of value and in jewelry. The metal occurs as nuggets or grains in rocks and in alluvial deposits and is one of the coinage metals. It is a soft, shiny, yellow, dense, malleable, and ductile (trivalent and univalent) transition metal. (Wikipedia)

Until now I cannot comprehend one’s urge to have gold to brace the body in a form of necklace, bracelet, and so forth. May be it is due to the excessive testosteron in my body that despises any forms that suggests the femininity. I should have gone for an injection or two of estrogen to see better view in having gold on my body.

I came to light to write about this when I touched a little bit on the enterprising ladies in the market in Kota Bharu in my previous entry. A single thing one may notice, almost all the traders in market are ladies and most of them if not all are wearing heavy jewelries with strands and strands of gold necklaces hanging from their necks, covered some 6 inches from the wrist up with bracelets on both arms - one may develop muscles for having the weights on; and they are big & bold. It could be some 1 kg of gold to add to their plump body weights.

It is to me not for the purpose of beauty anymore when wearing it more than one is needed but it is more on the symbol of wealth kind of thing. And, it is true, traditionally the successful ones in the trade would signify their successes in that manner, or at least to have them looked successful.

Very lucky for them to live in that part of the country where snatch thieves are not that rampant as compared to the big cities like Johor Bahru and Kuala Lumpur. Yeah, true! Bad people can be anywhere, there may be are some incidents that happened or may happen but it can still be considered as the isolated cases, it's not that alarming. They can still roam freely with all the glitteries of gold on the body around the city and still feel very safe. I’ll bet, if they were to do the same in Kuala Lumpur, in no time they will either get robbed or loosing their arms.

GAB: Ladies are to me more elegant to go with minimum jewelries on the body, or don’t they?

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Wedding Reception: Gulai Kawah

If you were to attend kenduri kahwin in Kelantan, you will notice some similarity in their food served for the guests. The type of beef stew they have rather called gulai kawah is a must. Without it, it won’t be apt to be called kenduri kahwin. You don't have the opportunity to eat gulai kawah everyday because it is mainly meant for kenduri. I, for one like the taste of it. Of course, I have my palate benchmarked the taste because I grew up there. Hence, I have lived my life for years with the western food but that taste still haunting me, though.

For those of you who have never tried it before I would suggest you to try it. They are now being commercialized and you don't have to wait for a wedding invitation from Kelantan to taste it. You can find it in Kelantanese restaurants in Kuala Lumpur. I can suggest one in Greenwood, right behind the bus stand, at the street parallel to the main road and the other one in Pantai Dalam (this one belongs to my childhood friend, not far from KTM Commuter station). If you are not sure of the restaurants while you are at those places, go closer and open up your ears, there you will hear the thick accent of Kelantanese dialect of the owners. And a few other places I saw the banner or signboard written “Gulai Kawah” on it but I cannot recall where those places are.

May be some of you, even the Kelantanese do not know, there are two types of gulai kawah can be prepared, one is the ordinary way of preparing it, just like preparing your chicken curry to go with the onions, rempah and what not being fried before the coconut milk comes in. The other type, which I like it better for its less-greasy finish is called gulai darat. Gulai darat is cooked without using the cooking oil. This way of cooking does not kill your appetite; your mouth keeps on watery for more, you can eat a lot until your stomach begging for not to be dumped some more. This is not good for people who are on diet.

What they do is they plunge the cubed meat into the kawah together with all the onion and rempah, followed by coconut milk in later stage. As simple as it sounds, but of course it will only bring about the taste with the specially formulated rempah that only known to the Kelantan people, called rempah gulai darat. Next time if you visit Kelantan, I would suggest you to go to Pasar Khadijah in Kota Bharu, go to the first floor and you can see those businesswomen behind sacks and sacks of rempah, ask for rempah gulai darat. The rempah itself does not come in a prepared mix. She would mix it up in front of you, she would take it from different sacks of rempah and only trained hand with specific knowledge of it know the proportions needed each time to scoop different rempah from different sack. Awhh, did I tell you that those ladies behind the sacks are good at customer relations? They always make sure you feel good with their small talks while buying it. I would suggest those entrepreneurs to get the elementary courses from them before engaging in bigger businesses.

The other secret of gulai darat is, here goes, budu. Yes, budu is the essential ingredient for the gulai darat. Without budu, there won’t be those special taste of it and again, only trained people with specific central control of the palate with tens of years of experience consuming it can tell the special taste of it. I got to know that for one kawah of gulai darat (One kawah can serve up to 250 people), 4 to 5 bottles of budu is needed. If my maths is right – cooking for a family of five, try to put 5 litres of budu – then you’ll be drunk with budu.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

My Personal Visit

When I go off from this world, I do not wish my loved ones to carry a ritual to visit my grave every so often. As far as I understand, the dead lives in a totally different world beyond our comprehension of which it may be separated by thousands of millions of light years apart and yet it is inexplicably as close as a heartbeat away.

Be as it may, even if my grave goes unmarked, I would still be just as close without the symbolism comes into the picture. Need not for my loved ones to dirty their feet with the cemetery soils; I would only then yearning for the Al-Fatihah to be articulated sparked by their sincere hearts, anytime, anywhere. That’s all matters!

Though my understanding is as such, I personally take it differently to honor my old folks apart from having recited a verse or two of surah at my disposal every now and then. I will sure make a point to visit their graves every time I set foot in kampung. I was at the cemetary on that Sunday evening, two days before Hari Raya, after battling through heavy traffics back to my hometown for 12 long hours, and my back was killing me. To make it personal, I went to the cemetery without anyone’s knowledge. My wife will only know after reading this.

The cemetery was kind of isolated, over at the corner of the kampung. So quiet, while walking; you could hear clearly your feet brushed with the grass, every snap of the stick stepped onto and the crispy sound of the dead leaves plundered into. It was rather strange but nice when you could hardly hear anything except the ever pleasant wheezing cadence of the wind blow and the chirping of birds coupled with minute rattling & clattering sounds of bugs and insects.

I felt like my grandpa & grandma was waiting for my arrival and I felt like an obvious bulge if not lump in my throat upon seeing their burial grounds positioned next to each other. The gust of feeling in me was so personal. At the very instance, my eyes watered. Mind you, they were to me just like father & mother to most people because they took care of me ever since I was still a baby of merely a year old. I was in the state of denial for so long when I was a kid before I could accept the fact that they were not my parents but my grandparents. The irony is, deep down in my heart, until this day, they were parents to me and still are.

I settled myself in the grass, presented them with Al-Fatihah & Qul-Huallah before I proceed with Ratib, Yassin & Do’a. You know what? Throughout the rendezvous (as I may call), at times I choked when I felt like they were so close to me as if they were thanking me for the visit and I felt like some kind of two-way communications, telling them what’s hidden in my heart, thanking them for their struggle to raise me up and even apologizing for the shortcomings on my side where they were still alive and so forth. Never mind on the shortfalls over me when I was a small boy because God just want me to see the hikmah hidden behind it.

I couldn’t help it but cried. I sat there and I really cried. Since I was all alone, I let go the whole feelings & emotions. It took me long minutes clearing up my tears in the car before headed back home for buka puasa.

GAB: There was another round of visit on Hari Raya when I brought the whole family to the graveyard.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Satu Hari Di Hari Raya (Part 7): God Tickles Me

… I am now having 3 small kids age 2 to 7

I got myself a Mercedes Benz E-230. Hari Raya was just a few months to go the time I took it. Since Hari Raya is around the corner, I now can even imagine myself driving on Hari Raya next to the rice field the place where my life was centered when I was a small kid.

When you have a new car, you are afraid something may happen to it. You can even be too conscious over your driving. You can be ever so gentle when hitting bumps. The hissing sounds that may come from anywhere possible left you with investigative ears. You cannot even tolerate small scratches on it. If it does, you will be dwelling about it for days.

My friend has a pun over a new car;

Question: Apa perbezaan antara kereta baru dan isteri baru?

Kereta baru… nampak lubang, elak!!! Isteri baru... nampak lubang, terkam!!!

[This is a pun in Bahasa Malaysia. It won’t be interesting if it is put in English]

Anyway, I have to succumb to the twist of luck that fated. Just a few days before our trip back to our hometown for Hari Raya, my lovely Mercedes car was stolen. Yes, someone took my car without my permission. We call it stealing and the car was stolen. It's gone. Finito! ...Duh!

Right from the beginning something was not right buying that car. My inner self wanted to have BMW 318i; test-driven, liked it so much and final decision, the jinx of Mercedes overpowered and now I have it. But, better look closer & deeper; may be God loves me so much. He wants me to think. He doesn’t want me to be too proud until I forgot to be grateful to Him or may be even become an arrogant person.

My friend Ezani runs used car dealership in Kota Bharu. He helps me find another car for Hari Raya, but I have to collect it in Kota Bharu. I take train tickets for the family. I take a whole cabin for a good sleep. Or at least my small kids love it, playing in the cabin just like playing in a play pan.

We wake up in the morning of Hari Raya in Tumpat railway station just to see Ezani is standing next to the used Volvo that I later would be driving it for the next couple of years.

Satu Hari Di Hari Raya (Part 6): The Baby

….I am now having a baby girl. She’s 18 months old by now….

Fara is quite fast to start walking. By her age of 9 months she could walk with some help. By Hari Raya, she’s already strong to even run.

Both my wife and I are crazy dressing her up. Figuring out what for her in the morning, what if she mess it up, what clothes to replace, when the day gets hotter what should she wear… what kind of design…afternoon… evening… night… you know all those stuff. Pheww!!!… Young parents, huh? First born… what do you expect?

She looks so cute in that small floral baju kurung sits on my lap at the masjid. Have the hair nicely combed and pinned up with a beautiful ribbon to the side. Nice feeling to see when she stumbles and fall… a little cry and you know too well it’s not that hurt and you go Syyy! Syyy! Comforting her up, wipe the tears in the corner of her eyes… A little kiss…Yeah… feel so fatherly! Not to mention when friends pinching her cheek, start baby-talk to her and telling how cute she is. It’s heaven!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Satu Hari Di Hari Raya (Part 5): The Song

Satu Hari Di Hari Raya
A Song By M. Nasir

Satu hari di Hari Raya
Ku lihat cahaya bersinar indah
Langit cemerlang tak terkira
Tanda kuasa yang Maha Esa
Memberi nikmat pada manusia

Satu hari di Hari Raya
Ku dengar irama yang sungguh indah
Ku coba mendekati padanya
Kira irama itu adalah
Suara pujian pada yang Esa

Satu hari di Hari Raya
Aku menangis tanda gembira
Aku menangis tanda ku cinta kepadaNya

Satu hari di Hari Raya
Ku lihat wajah suci ibuku
Ku lihat wajah kasih ayahku
Ku gembira
Mungkin inilah dia kebahagiaan

Satu Hari Di Hari Raya (Part 4): As A Bachelor

...I am now in a ripe age to be married...!

Being a bachelor, there is no point for me to plan too much for Raya. All I know I will sure be back home for Raya. Buying new clothes is not a big deal but my girlfriend insists me buying a complete set of Baju Melayu for me to look good on Raya. I want to see her in baju kurung of my choice, so I buy her Baju Kurung.

On Hari Raya day, I just enjoy entertaining my nieces and nephews. It is fun buying them toy guns, feeding them ketupat, kueh raya, helping them light up fireworks and stuff. In turn, they will be more than happy to help me get my drinks, scratch my back, sing me a song or two, etc – I love kids.

There’s a moment when I say to myself, “How nice if I do have my own kids”.

Satu Hari Di Hari Raya (Part 3): Away From Home

…I am now in the foreign country shouldering the responsibility as a student

As far as I am concerned I still have to attend classes for my summer semester. I want to speed up accumulating credit hours by gaining it through courses in summer. Only a few students take up summer courses. Most of them are on vacations, traveling all over the places in the continent.

It is fasting month, and to me it’s no fun traveling. It’s kind of hard fasting at a searing heat that the mercury even hit 120-degree F (50-degree C) on certain days together with daytime longer than night time. I wish I was fasting during winter for its shorter daytime. What more when walking under the hot sun to get to classes and the air is so dry that makes you easily get thirsty. Much worse seeing people enjoying those cold drinks in front of you, feels like giving a slap right on the face.

According to a friend of mine in Washington DC, it is confirmed today is Hari Raya for the whole American continent. I have no idea who holds the authority to declare though. Nothing much is happening, no festive mood in the air except handful of us Malaysian students plan to have a gathering in the night. I don’t have classes scheduled in the morning so it’s just nice for me to attend the Hari Raya prayer. We hold the prayer at the Fulton Hall together with the Arab students. Perhaps not much of the opportunity to wear complete set of Baju Melayu together with songkok and samping and today I do.

Well…. Since the semester is shortened in summer, everything seems to be squeezed tight and non-stop tests & quizzes drive me crazy; thus not having time to exactly feel the Hari Raya mood.

In the night…attending the gathering, having good Malaysian food, meeting with fellow students, talking, fooling around a bit, huhu haha and… that’s it.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Satu Hari Di Hari Raya (Part 2): Knowing Oneself

…I am now a student in a boarding school… 13 years old.

I know it very well; the old folks are not wealthy persons. It is to me already gratifying when they are willing to raise me up when I was little regardless of me having to live in a pool of tears. Thankful for not letting me go hungry. Always feel something is missing in my life for not having a father and a mother to even witness me having successfully written my very first letters of ABC. May be the mother could but she had to be away struggling for her survival.

I thank the old folks a zillion. Without them perhaps I won’t be able to tell how beautiful the sun is when it sets in. And how nice the feeling is when seeing those beautiful clouds in the sky that generously painted in the background of that lush greenery of the rice field from where our house is located.

God has been very kind to make me excel in my studies for me to clinch a place in the boarding school. Unlike other kids, they are having hard time to leave their families behind for hostel life but me, on the other hand jumped with joy. Not so much because of being privileged as a "smart" student but the feeling of being away from home.

Hari Raya is around the corner. I don’t want them scratching their heads to find money to buy me clothing for the Hari Raya celebration. I even gave them the idea that I have all the balance from my scholarship that I can buy on my own. As a matter of fact, the scholarship is deducted for paying my subsistence on living at the hostel and not much left for my pocket money. Practically almost nothing! Anyway, since I do not know when I would get the money again, I know how to save. I still have some money left. It was given to me when people well-wished me the day before I made my first trip to school.

I bought myself a collared T-Shirt and long pants on my way back home for the holidays. They are just merely sufficient to be called clothes; far away from the meaning of luxury, and not even close to my own preference. I just had so much money in hand. I use my school’s official Baju Melayu for the Morning Prayer. It is not too obvious when it is worn without samping and to go with kain pelikat. I do not bother much about the shoes; I do have sport shoes that I have been using for months in school’s compulsory sporting event.

I am now at the masjid next to the rice field. My eyes are almost staring at point blank seeing the dance of the rice crops in rhythm with Hari Raya morning breeze. Without precedence, all the memories of my childhood not long ago come rushing in my head, one frame after another. So vivid! I can even see myself in a school uniform walking on the bank of the rice field going to school whilst the dew on the tips of the grass wet my shoes. I can see myself so happy herding cows that belong to my old folks. I can even see a small boy of me sit on the bank alone… nowhere to turn to, sobbing, weeping... feeling so down and yet he has to keep it to himself…

The sound of the takbir this morning brings me a feeling of loneliness right in the middle of the crowd… feeling like having no one in this world. I actually am... No one has ever listened to what's hidden in my heart.

I hide my face away from people not letting them see tears running down my cheeks.

Those are the tears of gratefulness & happiness for having successfully manage things on my own.

Or may be there's a little something that hit my soft spot that I simply cannot put up with.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Satu Hari Di Hari Raya

…I have just celebrated my 7th birthday a few months back

My granny wakes me up later than usual unlike the days when we woke up for our sahur. After a brief fuzzy & groggy moment when I am still half asleep with the plays in the dream still intact, I wipe up the drool and stand right up. With a little sways to the sides, I am figuring out hard what is all about waking up now. But in flash I know it, in the background, the ever comforting rhythmic sound of takbir is ricocheting, and it simply means today is Hari Raya. Yeepie!!!

I have been excited about my new clothes for days already and just cannot stand the thrill of wearing it on Hari Raya. I put it next to the pillow on that thin cotton-like fill mattress that lies on a wooden floor. I have been trying out the clothes for tens of times the days before. Lucky the mirror was kind enough not to break in protest.

The sun is rising in the horizon. I feel awkward eating in daytime (still feel like fasting) when Granny asks me to eat something before going to the masjid. If I do have my choice, I just want to be quick out of the house, meet up with Arif and Fadhil showing off my new clothes and my beautiful PVC shoes. Kak Wan (my eldest sister) has chosen the attire for me when she went over to Pekan Melor (fondly called Kedai Melor) with granny a few days before everyone was busy with ketupat making.

Last night after we played around the pelita ayam we hoped not to rain today because we do not want to have our shoes mess up with red mud from the dirt road that stretched in front of our houses. Thank God it is not raining.

We march to the masjid with style. I feel like everybody is watching and as if they are telling how beautiful my clothes are. Never mind on the shoes that eating up my ankle. I think Arif and Fadhil are also self-indulging themselves just like I do.

We see Rohama along the way to the masjid and together we shout;

“Baju kau tak cantik!”.

Hahahaha… We have a good laugh.

And she is not happy with us.


Powered by Blogger


Powered by Blogger

Site Meter