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.

Friday, October 13, 2006


Last night at Surau Al-Ikhwan in my community, there was a tazkirah (read: reminder) held before the terawih prayer. It is a common practice for us at the place to have such short and brief reminder right after maghrib prayer, but in Ramadhan; it looks like before terawih.

Ustaz Razak in his mid-fifty’s was the man sharing something with all of us last night. I like this guy, the way he tells thing, I can feel it comes straight from his heart, very resourceful and he is very humble too. I am always looking forward to listening to what he has to say. Well, it’s not about him I want to share here but I was attracted to the story he had related.

Luqman Al-Hakim was an ulama that lived long before our time. He among the scholars is well-known for his advices – very prudent and wise. There are recorded advices intended to his own son named Taran of which virtually the audience is not just limited to his son but also to all Moslems that live.

“My son, Taran. You are a wise person if you know that when you came into this world, you were actually facing your back to the world whilst the frontal part of you was facing direct to the eternity”

Our mission to be borne into the world is to prepare for the afterlife. We will face certain death once God has decided we have done our time and none of the earthly things will be accounted for its values except what good deeds we have done while we were walking on earth.

It’s not the first time I heard things like this but it’s not all the time when hearing, it strikes deep in my heart. This time around it did.

That’s a beauty of a reminder. Keep reminding until it strikes.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Close But Not Actually A Close Call

I have been meaning to write about this and wished to have the entry posted right on the date to commemorate what had happened but I always had either my hands full or some other work cropped up by the time I touched the keyboard, apparently I had to miss the date. Awhh, the date was September 26th. Well it’s not so bad after all for me to have it penned now since the haze is now back, the factor that did and it was in such similar condition when it happened, 9 years ago.

I was coming back to Medan from a place called Brastagi, a cool place like Cameron Highland in our country except now the place was on the Karo Highland (Batak Karo – a sub-tribe of Batak people in Northern Sumatra) and headed straight to Polonia Airport for my flight to Jakarta. I would be having another round of discussion over office matters in Jakarta office that adjourned weeks before. I had been in Brastagi for days attending meetings and conducting trainings, thanks to Budianto, the assistant specially flown from our Jakarta branch office to assist me and he did give me lots of helping hand. I refused to have a lady executive to assist me as it was initially planned as I thought I wouldn’t be too sure of my own conduct while working too close for long hours alone with a beautiful & sexy lady :-)

The haze was at its peak in a week’s record. Yes, maybe it was hazy but I was kind of “hazed” with the way the driver made a run down the slope. The 4WD vehicle, Toyota Kijang seemed to be inches away, I do mean it literally was inches away from the vehicle in front each time when we overtake. It was amazing the way they drive. It was even more amazing when the two-lane trunk road can be used like three lanes with the middle part, right on the white line is used as an imaginary fast lane to speed or overtake, fully cooperated by the drivers both in the oncoming and ongoing vehicles by deliberately move as much as possible to the sides of the road to make space in the middle.

Every now and then, I could even feel the tyres lost tractions with the tarmac when tolerating corners. Up until the curve when we were overtaking another vehicle, sudden turn to the right that made me feel like still traveling in a straight line and yet forced to cage in and felt as if the body was thrown to the rear of the vehicle we had just overtaken and tyres simply screamed, I couldn’t stand it anymore. Felt so uncanny and I did burst out;

“By golly… For heaven’s sake, could you slow down a bit? You are scaring the shit out of me!”

“I am sorry Sir... But, in this part of the country, we are used to it and I’ve been behind the wheels for many years already”.


It brought some relief to me when minutes after he couldn’t speed up anyway. The road was clogged with traffics and I could hear fire engines roaring from afar. The place was Sibolangit district, later I learned that smoky village was specifically called Buah Nabar. Anyway, it was still Brastagi area.

Thick smoke filled up the air but nothing surprised me, I knew it was just another forest fire. Back in my mind I was wondering why these people had a cheek adding to the problem that exists. Couldn’t they see even now it was already hard for us to breathe, with itchy nose, eyes… and still, you wanna add some more?

Well, we were still in a comfortable time frame for a departure time when we reached Polonia, the airport, despite of long crawl passing through the burning area.

Goodness, the burning place where we passed less than an hour ago was the site of a plane crash, so we were told. Yeah, the airliner had crashed in that area. I knew it was something burning, all of us saw but we had no idea over the source of it as we could only see the smoke billowing from the woods, which was all… could be seen from the road.

I chose to line up for check-in at the counter that placed the most beautiful lady. Long before my turn for check-in, people were talking about the airline I was checking in, Garuda Airline, Flight GA-152 - Airbus carrier A-300 was the one that crashed. The carrier was supposed to carry me to Jakarta a little more than 2 hours after its landing.

Amidst of me and other passengers were inquiring further, the airport authority made an official announcement about the tragedy. And my jaw dropped!

In the news later it was confirmed that the plane crashed at 1:55 pm on that fateful Friday afternoon, 26th September 1997, about 15 minutes short before its scheduled landing some 30 km from the airport. 236 were dead including 14 crew members on the flight and a baby. On board were mainly Indonesians with handful of foreigners like the Americans, Dutch and Japanese. The tragedy was caused by the poor visibility due to haze. During the time the plane was down, the visibility was down to less than 100 meters.

I then joined other passengers for Jakarta bound with another carrier similar to the one went down after merely 2 hours later, said the haze cleared for safe take-off by the officials. Throughout the flight to Jakarta I felt some kind of eerie feeling, hence all those while I was always scared of flying regardless of hundreds of hours spent on board, if not thousands. No doubt the crash had got nothing to do with me except the plane I was supposed to board went down much too early.

When the crash happened, little did I realized, the management & staff in KL and Jakarta feared that I was among the victims? Even my secretary in KL, who should've had known better and was the one arranging my itinerary, got confused due to the flight number, feared the same. She cried.

I made a point to call everyone concern once I safely touched-down in Jakarta.

These are the actual pics of the crash site and above are the pics of Brastagi

Thursday, October 05, 2006

My Firstliner: Republished

I was just browsing through my first entry ever in my blog late last year, titled My Firstliner. I read through my reply for a comment by a good friend of mine, nicknamed TUN. Something was telling me about the reply that for a moment it touched me. I had my eyes briefly clouded with tears for a second or two....

Here goes...

Hi, TUN... Thanks for dropping by. How're our friends doing? Lately I'm kind'o busy. Right after Raya the other day, I engaged on a new project. Hardly have time to mingle around with you guys. Plenty of things need to be patched up. Handling a group of professionals in my team, I need to be a cut above the rests; quite taxing ay...

Pretty soon I'll let you know, a new thing in the portal. My people are working hard day and night. Some have to miss public holidays working on it.

Talking about family, I am having heckuva good life seeing my kids growing up before my eyes. My two boys just entered into the threshold of manhood, they were circumsized weeks ago. It's kind 'o "enjoyable" time with mixed feelings when you are at the operation table comforting your boys to go through the "circumsicion ordeal". Looking back at my old days, perhaps I didn't experience a father by my side to comfort me up, hence he passed away long before I knew what life was all about.

My girl.... phewww..she grows up faster than I ever imagined. All of the suddens, she's a young lady now. At times I am half-heartedly treat her as a kid knowing that she's a grown-up girl...

Enough for now, God Bless!!!

Saturday, December 31, 2005 10:53:42 AM

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Cold Drinks

When I was small, we did not have refrigerator at our house. During fasting month we wanted to have it soothing on our throat during breaking of fast. A cold drink… with ice! So we had to buy it from a shop some 500 meters away from our house. I couldn’t remember since when it started unofficially assigned for me to buy ice every evening. I would have it bought long before the breaking fast time, around 4:30... 5:00 pm. When around say 6 pm the ice was yet to be delivered home, I was the one to be yelled at by my sister for she wouldn’t be pleased if having no cold drinks for her fast breaking.

I didn’t mind much being assigned for the job but I was annoyed over the yelling by the sister. Why did I not mind for the job? Because I did enjoy my time riding my grandfather’s bicycle. Mind you, the bike was big and heavy and I was pedaling through the side of it as my legs were still not long enough to pass the cross bar of the bicycle let alone have my butts settled on the saddle. Once I braved myself to have my legs atop the bar, I had my balls crushed, ouch! While I was riding, looking from the front, the bike was like leaning sideways to accommodate to the body weight bearing but I pedaled it with ease, though. Oh yeah…May be it was a bit wobbly.

One block of ice measuring 6-inch-cubed was selling at 10 sen. Duh, you cannot even dream of that price today. Perhaps the plastic bag to have it wrapped already cost as much. At times I came in late and ice was sold out. If it was not because of me buying it late but the ice was sold out in the early hours, it would not be much of the grudge made by my sister. But when it happened due to my procrastination or time being occupied and got carried away by the games with friends, there I would have it, my sister would not be happy at all and I would feel like shit listening to what she had to say to me.

Those were the days….

Today, my children can just take it for granted on the type of drinks for them during the breaking of fast.


Good Old Trait

Just like the month of Ramadhan in the previous years, the old folks gathered around in the madrasah after the tarawih prayers were over. It was way after 11 pm. They got around in a circle; some ten of them reciting Holy Koran. They took turn reading. When one was reciting, others would do the checking scrutinizing to see if they were reading incorrectly and would call for stop and corrected it when there was error in the reading. Each would take a page or two but some without hiccups in reciting would even go for more pages. Averagely, each person would get the chance of 5 to 10 minutes to read about.

There was a 7-year-old boy, would be watching the adults reciting Holy Koran one night after another. He knew he could read out Holy Koran with eloquence and clarity even to the standard of those adults. Sometimes to the surprise of his Guru when he absorbed what had been taught just like a sponge and performed it so well in practice. His Guru was no other than his own grandfather.

He wanted it so bad to join the group.

He asked his grandfather permission. His grandfather knew it too well he was of a class to join the group of adults and recite but given him excuses he had to retire early for the next day schooling. It was true also, in normal nights; it would last until 1 am. To the small boy, the frustration was so imminent.

Anyway, that boy was me.

With lame excuses like I was busy studying and in later years had not much time due to the busy work schedule I literally stopped reading Holy Koran. Guess what? This thing cannot be taken for granted; my reading skill became rusty and I had to take efforts to polish it back to the shines that I used to have when I was a kid.

Only in these late few years, I started to pick it up again bit by bit.

Ramadhan Mubarak!


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