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Monday, December 31, 2007

Selingan - Raya Haji Pics

I'd better post these before they get accidentally deleted. Not many in the collection coz I forgot to recharge the camera battery. And yeah .... no one else cared to remember either. Semua ibu jer yang kena ingat tau! Mana aci?!

Anyway .... let's see what we've got.

A basket full of home made ketupat, manually weaved by yours truly, ready to be handed over to Bibi. 30 pcs ngam-ngam, no wastage whatsoever this time. Yesss!!!

Ketupat ready to for the hungry tummies.

Ibu's hari raya signature dish - Ketam Masak Menjilat Jari! Hehehe... tapi memang ramai yang menjilat jari this year coz we only managed to secure about 5 kg. That was 3 kg short of our usual ketam-raya supply for both families ( Ibu & Ayah's sides).

The pak & mak sedara to you my boys ....

From left, Pak Uda & Pak Long, puffing their cigars.... the reason why I had to stay further away; couldn't stand the stench!
Then Mak Uda & Mak Anjang.
Followed by Pak Anjang, who escaped Udang Goreng Kunyit this time around. Kita masuk buku 555 ye? Patutlah ketam tak cukup!
The ever popular tuan rumah MAK LONG still looking fresh and vibrant despite hours of hard labour in the kitchen the night before.
My everdearest Ayah at the right end. Ironically, he's the one with the most white highlights despite being the youngest brother.
Hmm... banyak no berfikir ye?!
Eh! Who's that standing by the door? Cik Ton kah? (Ayah's younger sister). I just enlarged the pic. Opppsss... mana bisa Cik Ton berkumis? That was Pak Cik Kamal daaa. Cik Ton's hubby.

Not quite the full quorum. Yes.... They have a big family indeed.

While the adults bergebang, let's see what the kiddos were doing.

Ameer & cousin Nakhwan (anak Pak Lang) bonding at pondok.

The bigger boys having some kicks outside Mak Long's porch. All are "Alongs" except for Hafiz.

The other Angahs, Achiks and don't know what else were upstairs playing PS2.

The girls?! Where were they? Hmmm....all locked up in another room having their girls' talk. I could hear their giggling from outside the room. Been there, done that. Didn't want to spoil their fun.

My headaches, my heartthrobs - the three musketeers.
Yang berbilang warna.
Abang Idin (milo). Ameer (horlicks). And Hafiz (choc-o-cino).

At last, after about 4 hours at Mak Long place, they started squeezing into the back seat, getting ready to hit the road to balik kampung to JB pulak. A long journey for Ayah. An opportune time for Ibu to get some sleep. Yeaaaayyyyy!!!

I have to mengorat my sisters & nieces for pics in JB. Our camera battery dah kong by then!

So that's all for now folks.


Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Eid'l Adha and beyond (part 2)

It is quite common in a typical Malaysian family for the parents to be amongst the first members of the household to perform the hajj. My family was no exception.

We were all very excited when Bapak and Mak (or Atok & Nenek to you my boys) received their invitation and confirmation letter from Tabung Haji circa late 90s. Each one of us wanted to have a piece of it somehow, no matter how small or insignificant it might seem - from sponsoring the whole kenduri doa selamat, a token in the form of a nicely embroided telekung for Mak, a comfortable pair of sandals each, a sturdy and safe luggage for Bapak, right down to the ribbons in striking colors that were to be tied to the luggage for easy recognition at the airport carousel. Without doubt each one of us also started calculating in our head silently how much more did we need to top up our savings if still insufficient and started to wonder out lout rhetorically when our turns would come actually in the very familiar tone of "bilaaaaa la agaknya turn kita pulak eh?".

Nearing the weeks that my parents were due to leave for the holy land, all of the children, most of their siblings, lots of relatives & close friends flocked down to visit them in JB; either to attend the kenduri doa selamat, to seek forgiveness, to wish them well for a safe return trip, or even to simply kiss their hands to 'ambil berkat'.

BUT .....

With this kind of story, there is always a but somewhere ...

Barely 3 days prior to their departure to Mekah, in the middle of the night, I received an emergency call from my elder brother (Uncle Bard to you my boys) about Bapak complaining of severe chest pains. That must be serious I thought. The Bapak that we know hardly fell sick during his entire working life. A retired marine police officer, our non smoking Bapak had a very high threshold level for pain and would never ever consider falling sick as an option for him. Such confession of serious pain from Bapak, what's more in the middle of the night, was a real concern indeed to everyone and no one in their right mind dared to dismiss that as trivial . My brother said, Mak and my 2 other sisters were waiting nervously for my steer. Somehow, despite being the younger sister, I became the final consult that particular night. And without hesitation I requested Bard not to risk waiting at the emergency ward at GH JB but to rush him direct to a private specialist hospital instead. It has got nothing to do with lack of confidence with the public hospital but time was of essence. My view struck the cord with everyone and we assured Mak not to worry about the medical bill. Ayah and I, being the only ones out of 'hometown', drove down to JB that very same night.

It turned out that Bapak had a heart attack; with 3 arteries blocked at 98%! The surgeon's advice was to do angiogram on one of them straight away. He said, due to Bapak's critical condition, one of the arteries must be unclogged as soon as possible as temporary measure to ease the blood flow; the other two blockages can be discussed later subject to financial consideration. The consultation, surgical and medical fees? RM5,000. For one and one blockage only. The doctor assured us he would help with all the necessary reports and paper work to enable Bapak to claim back whatever claimable from the Pension department or for us children to claim from EPF. We agreed without objection for the need of speed. We had to. We must. Who to bear how much and pay back to whom - belakang kira. First things first, better be safe than sorry.

The very next morning, my sister and I went to JB Tabung Haji office to report the incident and to seek advice on immediate next steps with regards to my parents' intended pilgrimage that year. Needless to say, the much anticipated planned pilgrimage for Bapak and Mak that fateful year had to be postponed until the next Hajj season or until Bapak recuperated well enough to be medically re-certified as fulfilling the "able-bodied" criteria, whichever is later.
Let me take the pleasure of repeating when this happened. Barely 3 days prior to Bapak's flight departure to Mekah, okay?. Yes, only 3 fingers up please and count: 1, 2, 3! Not many. 3 days only!

The officer@ Ustaz yang I dah lupa namanya, was surprisingly very calm. After taking us through all the administrative procedures, he shared with us one classic piece of advice, "Ini lah namanya ketentuan Allah; kita manusia hanya merancang, tuhan jua yang menentukan. Adik berdua pesan kat Mak, jangan risau banyak sangat ya? Mesti ada hikmah disebalik setiap yang ditentukan."

A very common advice. One so common that could have been heard anytime anywhere from anyone - even from the TV cerekarama. So common that it could have been easily taken for granted without much heeds. For me personally, that particular morning advice pierced right through my skin, bones and rib cage straight into the center of my heart; triggering a high pitch shrieking alarm bell that seemed impossible to switch off, sending an alert message throughout all my blood vessels and a wake up call to my active yet semi conscious neurons.

The irony of all this was that all the while before this particular chapter, it was always Mak who had to be in & out of the hospital or clinics, either for medication or emergency treatment for high blood pressure, migraine, pain in the knee or other joints and what not. It was as if the hospital and the clinic had a specially designed revolving door custom made just for Mak's frequent and unobstructed access. Yet, as fate had it, when it came to the moments of truth, it was Bapak who stole the thunder.

Bapak felt very guilty for the delay and kept apologising to Mak and all of us for all the unnecessary trouble he thought he had caused. Mak remained very supportive and played her household counselor's role to Bapak and all of us, reminding that every cloud had its silver lining and this kind of things that had happened could well be a blessing in disguise.

After the angiogram, Bapak went through angioplasty for the other blockages at the then Universiti Hospital (now PPUM). Cost? For police force pensioners, only RM6.00 for registration. He was heavily prescribed with medications though, some free, some expensive drugs on own expense and was recommended to follow a strict diet. Bapak recovered well throughout the coming year and was eventually certified medically fit to go for his pilgrimage with Mak the very next Hajj season, albeit with a reminder that he would be under close monitoring by Tabung Haji medical team. What was there to fuss? The closer monitoring the better, we thought.

Amidst all these, I found out that one of the heart surgeons handling Bapak's case in UH that bapak affectionately called as 'Tuan Doktor' turned out to be my once long lost class mate from college prep days who happened to be the husband of an old buddy from my alma mater. What a small world! Maka terjejak lah kasih dan tersambung lah semula tali silaturrahim antara kawan-kawan lama. A blessing in disguise? You bet.

Meanwhile, Ayah & Ibu still shuddered with the thoughts that hovered in our mind - what if we continued the typical planning for such a worthy trip to take place later for our golden years - you know, after we have lived our life to the fullest? When the pockets are not drained by the mega sales, long term loans fully paid, children all grown up and can take care of themselves, and the mind all prepared to go, YET with an ailment that surfaced at the 11th hour like what happened to my very own Bapak? The spirit ever willing because the end could be near but the flesh naturally weak because the end could indeed be around the corner.

With all these happenings, it only further entrenched Ayah's & Ibu's heartfelt desire to perform the hajj the soonest we could.

BUT then again .... kita manusia merancang, tuhan jua yang menentukan.

So there is another BUT? What now?!

To be continued.....


Sunday, December 23, 2007

Eid'l Adha and beyond ...

It has been two years already. How time flies.

I have a mole below my left ankle. I remember during my childhood days, my aunt Busu ( now known as Nek Busu to you my boys) interpreted that as I would travel far. I believed her. How could I not? I was told she was the one who chose my name for me. That sounded like a big deal to me. So I grew up with a self fulfilling prophecy that I would travel far because 'Busu' predicted so.

I am now residing in Rawang, working in Mutiara Damansara, commuting daily on the NKVE - hmmm.... doesn't that count as traveling far? I've only used the car for 3 - 4 mths now, and I checked this morning it has already clocked about 15,000 km already. That shows I do travel far, don't I? Ahhh... I digressed.

Yes, I wanted to travel far. Not just between Rawang & Damansara daily. I wanted to travel the world over if I can.

Soon after marrying Ayah, I found out that he too wanted ( actually he still does) to travel the world over. Specifically, he wanted to visit the 7 ancient wonders of the world. Busu was right after all! Now we both husband and wife would travel far together-gether.

As we progressed in our own careers, it soon became apparent that my jobs were mainly desk-bound. You know, shuffling papers here & there, meeting and talking to people now & then. The farthest would be Sabah & Sarawak. Oh yes... overseas, but South China Sea only. That was it. Ayah on the other hand, with his IT background, backed with the much sought after software license and project management exposure, could easily secure jobs or assignments that involve traveling to anywhere in the world. That's if and only if he really wanted to. But that would mean him traveling on the job on his own. Concern is, the traveling far was supposed to be done together-gether by Ibu & Ayah. Attached to the hips if possible. Not one here and the other elsewhere. Tried it once - away from each other for about 9 months. Ayah in Jeddah and Ibu in ...where else? Rawang. The absence of each others' company was too much to bear. We've decided we have to be under the same roof, well... at least most of the time.

That didn't kill our desire to travel the world over. Except that the vision became clearer - it cannot be solely dependent on work related ( i.e 'sponsored') travels because that would be synonymous to both of us traveling to different directions at different times on our own agenda, mostly business. We want to travel the world over together-gether. I snap your photo. You snap mine. I hold your hands, you hold mine, and my luggage too please :). Get the drift?

There is another twist. Not only do we share the same desire to travel far, but without necessarily influencing one another, we both also came to the same conclusion that our travel destinations must be prioritised. We made up our mind to go for hajj as soon as 'possible' before we travel to other worldly desired destinations. They say, great minds think alike. But hey... fools seldom differ either.

We figured Eiffel Tower would not get any shorter. The dome of Taj Mahal would not be any less shinier. Stonehenge would not lose any of the stones. The leaning tower of Pissa would still stand, though tilted. The Sphynx, well.. it may be further eroded year after year - but it too will still be dusty just the same. And the Sydney Opera House - my choice this one - would not move on its own.Not visiting any of these during our lifetime would not be a major 'non conformance' in our books. After all, it's the 5th pillar. So we thought, let's get the priority right for both us.

Some of our friends and relatives said, that must be an early calling for us both. The beaconing.

Some others said, you two rugi lah... Enjoy first gua cakap lu! Still young what? What's the point of going too early? There would be too many remaining years after you return, hence the higher chances of you two still committing sins after sins. The idea (perhaps) is live your life to the fullest, then go to hajj & repent. Upon return, go to surau often, concentrate on ibadah and start preparing for the life hereafter.

Well, what can we say? Everybody is entitled to his or her own opinion.

We had one of our own. And we were sticking by it. Our priority got further self reassured, at least while we still can and while we were still able-bodied to do so.

Is being able-bodied good enough though? Is having enough savings to fund your pilgrimage sufficient? Apparently, for "young people", that may not be good enough. Not quite. Not just yet.

So for some good number of years after Ayah & Ibu embedded our desire to prioritise our travel destinations, and for many moons after we carved in stone our commitment to perform the hajj while we were still able-bodied, we were kept waiting for the invitation to be the guests of the holy land.

The waiting that we dutifully obliged with. Without much fuss.

To be continued ......


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Pringles tak halal?


Don't eat this one!

p/s Hafiz pesan, " kita tak boleh makan pringles banyak-banyak. Sebab nanti kucing nak makan pringles, pringles dah habis.... kesian kucing ....... " Meowwww!

p/s That is NOT ibu in the background.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Takziah Simah, di atas pemergian Baba ....


They call him the "professor of professors".

They call him "master of economics".

He must have educated thousands of students and scientists, amongst whom include Turkey's own President Abdullah Gül.

And the list of awards & honors in recognition of his contribution are almost endless.

But to Halil and Simah, he was simply Baba - the beloved father and father-in-law.

To their beautiful children, Hatice & Baddin, he was simply Dede.

When I received the short text from Simah yesterday, "Kak, bapa halil dah pergi"; I stood frozen for a while. In a flash, the memories of admiring the family photos in Simah's hallway and running my fingers through his books on Halil's shelves came running back to me.

Ayah & I did not have the chance to know Halil's & Simah's Baba up close and personal when we visited them in Istanbul a few months back. Yet having learnt of Simah's modern fairy tale love story from the horse's mouth herself and having met her beloved husband Halil and their two lovable children Hatice & Baddin, I feel that the tribute to the late Professor Sabahattin Zaim
as is now spread all over Turkish newspapers on his contribution to "humanity & culture" is almost an understatement.

Nevertheless, there are things in this world that cannot be seen or even touched, rather felt with the heart.

For what we have witnessed during our short stay with the Zaim Jr family, it was crystal clear that Baba has indeed raised a fine gentleman and that Baba has done more than what words can describe with his consent to bind the two hearts in a marital bliss despite the lovebirds' prior challenge of being shores apart.

Simah dear, I read about your relentless service to the late Baba during his final days with much admiration.
Each time I read your entries on caring for Baba, I have this funny mental picture of a "Malaysian Nightingale" in action, clad in her baju batik kelawar, burning up her midnight candle running up & down the ward aisle caring for the ailing Baba (though your roster were normally in the morning, right?). Joke aside, I'm very sure not many would be able to do the same like what you have done for Baba, my dear.

To Halil, yes... it is for the better as the pain and suffering is no longer felt by him. And there is no greater treasure a father would have amassed other than a son who prays for him after he left for the hereafter.

To Hatice & Baddin, you'll miss him we know. He'll miss you too, do you know? A little prayer for him would bring a smile to his face wherever he is, bringing you two closer at heart to him each & every time always.

With Professor Halil Zaim (Jr) surviving - carrying the educationist DNA in his flesh and blood, with the love of Simah the Malaysian Nightingale loyal by his side, and the young and fast growing Hatice & Baddin ever ready to conquer the world, Professor Zaim (Sr) 's legacy as one who lights his candle to enlighten others will surely prevail ....

May he rest in his peace. Al-fatihah ....

A true modern epic of "cinta dua benua" - Simah & Halil

Hatice & Baddin cuddling a kitty

* read more from the press *

Zaim passes away, Turkey loses master of economics
Professor Sabahattin Zaim, known as the “professor of professors” and the “master of economics,” passed away in a private hospital early Sunday in İstanbul.

Professor Sabahattin Zaim, known as the “professor of professors,” opened high schools and faculties in İstanbul and Sakarya and educated thousands of students.
Zaim, an 81-year-old professor who had been receiving treatment for lymphoma for some time and who underwent an operation two weeks ago, died around 4:15 a.m. on Sunday at Sema Hospital in the Maltepe district of İstanbul, where he was placed in the intensive care unit on Saturday. Zaim will be laid to rest today in the family’s graveyard at İstanbul’s Edirnekapı Cemetery after the noon prayer, to be held in Fatih Mosque.

Zaim’s doctors said he was in critical condition on Saturday. President Abdullah Gül, one of Zaim’s former students, upon hearing that Zaim had been hospitalized called Zaim’s relatives and received information on the state of his health.

Zaim was born in the İştip (Štip) province of Macedonia in 1926 and moved to İstanbul in 1934 with his family. He graduated from Ankara University faculty of political sciences in 1947 and was nominated district governor in several provinces of Turkey. He was admitted as a research assistant in the department of economics at İstanbul University in 1953 and served as department chair until he retired in 1998.

Zaim worked as a member of the Higher Education Board (YÖK) between 1996 and 2000 and contributed to the establishment of Sarajevo University in 2003 as a founding rector.

He was given the Honorary Award for Contributions to Turkish National Culture by the National Culture Foundation of Turkey in 1990 and received the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) award the same year for his contribution to Islamic economics. He also received the Lariba Award from the Lariba Islamic Bank of Los Angeles in 1996 and was nominated for the highest award given by the Independent Industrialists and Businessmen’s Association (MÜSİAD) in 2002 and for the award of merit by the Turkish Writers’ Association in 2003.

Zaim educated thousands of students and scientists including President Gül. He was married with five children.

Associate Professor Numan Kurtulmuş, one of Zaim’s research assistants, stressed that Zaim’s memoirs, which he shared with his students, will be published soon. “Zaim told his stories to a group of his students, including me, in the 20 weeks after he retired. He had a great collection, bringing together all the documents and news articles prepared and published about him. He approved the publication of his memoirs and we will publish them in the coming weeks.” Recalling that Zaim was the most important Turkish figure in the field of labor and Islamic economics, Kurtulmuş added: “He contributed to the establishment of the majority of charity organizations and foundations in Turkey in the last 50 years. He was a man who continuously strived to serve humanity and was loved by his students.”

President Gül, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Deputy Prime Minister Nazım Ekren, Interior Minister Beşir Atalay, Finance Minister Kemal Unakıtan and former politicians, Ali Coşkun and Nevzat Yalçıntaş, stand out among Zaim’s students. In a previous interview with the state-run Anatolia news agency, Zaim noted that he did not imagine that his students would be prominent figures in Turkish politics in the future. “Yet, I believe that they will exert their utmost efforts to serve the country and Turkish society,” he said.

Zaim continued reading and writing after he retired from the faculty of economics and administrative sciences at Sakarya University in 1998 and is known to have spent his retirement giving lectures and involved in social and cultural activities both in Turkey and abroad.


Today’s Zaman İstanbul

Saturday, December 08, 2007

There's still tomorrow

With much excitement each one volunteered

Hafiz: "Patricia !"

Ameer: "Nasya !!"

Abang Idin: "Siti Rooney !!!"

It was very heartwarming that all of you my boys thought of a girl's name for the baby. For once you were all unanimous that it should be a baby girl.

Hafiz, Ibu will have to check if there is a meaningful arabic equivalent of Patricia, ok?

Ameer, I wonder how you knew such a name? Did any of Ayah's friends or my friends' hubbies have anything to do with this choice of name?

Abang Idin, Siti maybe; similar to your cousins in JB. But Rooney? hmmm ... not likely I think.

Thank you my boys for suggesting those lovely names.

For the time being, Ibu will KIV them first ok?

Hopefully we will retrieve this posting again in the near future for practical reference, insyaAllah.

Meanwhile, Ibu need to recline deep into sleep to prepare for tomorrow's procedure.

Good nite all.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

In search of the missing little one ...

She said she couldn't detect it.

She said it could have disintegrated.

She said it's the body's natural way to either absorb back some disintegrated things to remain in the body or flush out some others.

She said (and we could saw it clearly from the screen) that the gestational sac is still intact, which explains why I am still feeling the common hormonal effects.

She said this is quite common in the first 8 to 12 weeks.

She said causes for most are not known.

She said 1 in 5 ends this way.

So have I become one of the statistics?

She added that I should go for the procedure soon. As soon as today.

She noticed how Ayah & Ibu fell silent and instinctively knew we were not immediately agreeable.

She said perhaps we should seek second opinion if we are not sure with her explanation.

Perhaps we should.

Ayah led me out of the clinic in silence.

Perhaps Ayah knew Ibu too well not to dwell on the emotional side of this kind of things. Rather, rationalise what to do next.

Perhaps Ayah may not be so sure how to handle Ibu if Ibu became too emotional about it right there & then.

As usual I didn't. I remain stone faced. Yes I was rationalising hard in my mind.

Perhaps we should seek second opinion, Ayah suggested. Ibu agreed - third & fourth if we have to.

We went separate ways back to each other's office.

I dived my nose into the contracts piling up in my tray.

I set my mind to enjoy the dinner & croaking session planned for the nite.

Later Ayah sms.

For the first time after I left the clinic, tears welled up in my eyes and finally trickled down my cheek - behind closed door.

We've been praying hard for one that is healthy & well and for the best.

Perhaps this is His answer to our prayer because only He knows what's best for us.

Perhaps the best is yet to come :(

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Pandangan dua dunia

Jumaat malam Sabtu, kita satu family ronda-ronda di Pavilion. Saja lahhhhh menyinggah, tempat baru kan? Bibi pun ikut sekali, sebab kat rumah "lestriknya nggak ada". Kucing-kucing tinggal. Sebab mata kucing boleh nampak jelas dalam gelap, tak perlu bantuan "lestrik".

Enak sungguh menjamu mata tengok beg, kasut, baju dan segala benda yang diperagakan di kedai-kedai baru di situ. Sempat juga mencuba beberapa pasang kasut. Tapi semua yang 50% off dah kehabisan saiz 6, 6.5 dan 7. Bagus lah tu. Ada hikmahnya! Ayah gumbira.

Kita turun ke Food Republic di tingkat bawah untuk makan malam. Banyak pilihan. Makanan Jepun ada, Nasi Padang ada, Western ada, Vietnamese ada, Thai ada. Laksa Singapore ada. Rojak Penang ada. Teh tarik pun ada. Harga, boleh tahan lah..... Tapi Bibi tak mau makan. Katanya, di rumah masih banyak makanan, nanti siapa yang mahu habiskan? Membazir saja. Jadinya Bibi kongsi rojak buah dengan Ibu. Bibi makan nenasnya, sebab Ayah tak bagi Ibu makan nenas buat sementara waktu.

Ibu lihat, Bibi ralit memerhatikan sekeliling. Tengok bermacam juadah yang dijual. Tengok orang "Londo" ( yes, without the 'n'. Yes, it's meant to be London. Kita panggil orang putih atau mat salleh.) Tengok deretan "kembangan" yang di hadiahkan kepada penyewa lot kedai makan (congratulatory flower arrangement for the food court opening). Tengok orang pakai baju sekerat nampak pusat. Kita semua makan. Bibi kuis-kuis rojak, sambil terus mengamati persekitaran.

Sedang syiok menjamu selera dan menikmati suasana, tiba-tiba Abang Idin bersuara.
"Ibu, do you know something?"
"I want to tell you something"
"Last season kan, Man U vs AS Roma, guess what was the score like?"
"Alah... manalah Ibu tau"
"Ummphhh...Lopek la Ibu ni. 7-1 tau!"
"Wahhh... terrornya Roma!!!" (saja nak usik Abang Idin).
"Ehhh! Man U yang 7 la! Roma 1 aje ..."
"Ohhh.... Ingatkan Roma yang menang."
"Mana ada.... Mestilah Man U!"
"Eleh..... Roma lopek! Boleh lah Man U berlagak!"
"Ehhhh! Roma tu boleh tahan tau. Tapi Man U lagi terror!"
"Kan Hafiz kan, Man U terror kan? Hafiz suka Man U kan?"
"Arsenal." (jawab Hafiz pendek, sambil menghirup sup bebola ikan.)
"Ek eleh dia ni. Ameer! Ameer suka Man U ke atau Roma?"
"Inter Milan!" (jawab Ameer selamba, terkebil-kebil.)
"Hahaha... Lopek lah semua orang".

"Cuba Abang tanya Bibi"

"Uh? Iya? Saya? Ada apa?" (balas Bibi dengan slang Indonnya, agak terkejut namanya disebut).
"Bibi......." (Abang Idin meleret manja, harapan terakhirnya untuk memartabatkan Man U, pasukan kegilaannya.)
"Iya.... Ada apa sih?"
"Bibi suka Man U ke atau Roma"
"Uh? Apa-apa an Idin ni. Apa saja lah!"
"Alah Bi, cepatlah, Man U ke Roma, pilih satu"
"Uh... tak tau lah Bibi. Apa saja lah kamu suka"(agak cemas suara Bibi.)
"Tak boleh Bi. Kena pilih satu, Man U atau Roma. Yang mana satu Bibi suka"
"Man U? Roma?" (Bibi kelihatan keliru seketika).
"Ha... Bibi tau tak Man U dengan Roma?"
"Ah? Oh iya, iya! Roma Bibi tau"


Kami semua terdiam sejenak, terkejut beruk mungkin - sebab Bibi tau Roma. Mana bisa?

"Macam mana Bibi tau Roma?" (tanya Abang Idin, sah terkejut dengan kenyataan Bibi).

Semua orang diam, tak sabar nak tau.

"Iya lah... dia tu bagus. Sudah naik Haji lebih dua kali!"

"Uh? Roma naik haji? Roma mana ni Bibi?" (Abang Idin kebingungan)

Semua yang lain masih diam, berdegap degup jantung menunggu jawapan Bibi.

"Alah ... Roma tu lah. Dia kan terkenal di Indonesia. Pandai menyanyi. Suaranya bagus!"

Ibu dan Ayah macam nak tersedak rasanya.
"Rhoma Irama!!!" (serentak bersuara, diikuti dengan derai ketawa).

Abang Idin masih kebingungan. "Roma pandai menyanyi? Apa benda ni?"

Hafiz dan Ameer tak ambil pusing. Sibuk menyudu bebola ikan.

Ibu & Ayah masih tak tahan gelihati, ketawa berterusan.

Bibi tersenyum-simpul dan ketawa kecil sendirian.

Man U vs R(h)oma
Pandangan dua dunia
Agak berbeza :)

- Rakaman memori di Food Republic, Pavillion, KL -
( Jumaat 9 hb Nov, 2007, 8.00pm )

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Do you make sens?

There is no spelling error. It is meant to be spelt as such, 'sens'.

Sens? What's that? Animal? Vegetable? Rock?

I'm sure most of us know what sens are. Most of us have sens. Most of us make sens. Some have and make more sens than others.

Sens is a manglish term of the word cents - the plural of sen. Sen is the smallest currency denomination in our country. That perfect circle gold coin featuring a hibiscus on one side and a 'rebana' on the other. A 100 pieces of that sen makes a ringgit.

Ahah! Now that I've mentioned it, perhaps it is beginning to make more sense. Most of us are more familiar with ringgits than with sens. Perhaps, most of us appreciate ringgits more than just those loose sens.

The value of sens is less appreciated these days. The days when we can buy loads of goodies with just some sens in our pocket have long gone, and never heard of these days. My own children would favour 'duit biru', 'duit hijau' or 'duit merah' over 'duit circle warna gold'.

Does that mean saving sens do not make sense any longer?

Just as most of us have some sens, and make some sens, there are also equally plenty out there who don't have any sen at all and who could not make any sen at all. And while all those loose sens can't buy us that much goodies anymore these days, those same loose sens can still be of great value to a lot of other people in so many different ways.

Each of those sens can save lives. Each of those sens can support some children's education. Each of those sens can feed some children. Each of those sens can help buy equipment for the disabled. Each of those sens can help build mosques or suraus.

Now sit up straight and read carefully what Ibu is about to write next. Don't slouch.

Next time when you go shopping, pay for your goods and receive those sens as loose change, don't straight away sulk and show face to the cashiers. Save those sour face for yourself when you look into the mirror - if you like those sour look that is. If you don't like keeping those sens in your purse or wallet because they make your Coach or Gucci or Ferragamo or Bonia wallets protrude like a drunkard belly, then by all means don't keep them in your purse or wallet. I don't mean throw them away! Simply slip those sens into the clear boxes that have been placed at your utmost convenience in front of your very naked eyes at the cashier counters.

At Tesco - it's for Charity of the Year, Makna Cancer Research Fund. Your sens save lifes!
At Jusco- it's for With All Our Hearts Foundation. Siti will beacon her smile back at you :)
At C4 - it's for K9 Society ( I think ... I don't shop there. Hehe...... )
At Ali Maju Restaurant - it's for a surau somewhere ... ( tak ingat la, sorry!) hey... some outlets even offer you senaskah surah yaasin in exchange for the loose sens you drop in the box.

If you don't shop at any of the retailers or dine at Mamak restaurants, but surely have some sens stashed somewhere and feel like you can spare some multiples of sens - hey! Good for you! Read Pi Bani's stories on how those sens can help buy some milk and rice, educate some children and restore roofs over some heads.

For the frequent travellers & flyers, remember most money changers don't accept loose changes to be exchanged for desired currencies. Why bother worrying about your pocket sagging and jingling with coins? Perhaps for a change, drop those small change of sens equivalent into the UNICEF envelope handed to you either by the sweet smelling stewardess or the hotel's ever-so-polite front desk assistants. Even if "Tipping Is Not Encouraged" signpost stares squarely into your eyes, you know those multiple loose sens equivalent would bring a smile to the doorman and the hotel limo chauffeur.

And I know you know there are many other options where you can let go of these sens to benefit others in need - the choice is yours.

The first series of choices to make is to commit to gainfully loose those sens.

That single sen from all of us can make a whole lot of difference in the lives of others.

It all begins with just one sen. Don't hesitate to depart with your loose sens.

Make sense with your sens!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Happy Birthday Ayah!

2nd November 2007.

With four big candles on the cake, it wasn't that difficult for Abang Idin, Abang Hafiz and 'Abang Ameer' to guess how old & wise ayah had become that day!

Yes, Ayah turned 40 on Friday. It's a big thing isn't it? Turning 40!!

My friends & I, we planned to have a bash for Ayah for his Big 4 Candles birthday. Why? Simply because he's the first to turn 40 amongst us. We could all imagine how it is going to be.

Venue: Somewhere exclusive, preferably a hilltop bungalow, overlooking a big garden with butterflies & bees ( that don't sting ). Flora & fauna style - get the drift?. All this privately reserved just for us all - a small bunch of noisy yet pleasantly insane people.
Menu: Sumptious buffet spread served hot & ready to eat. Oh! Throw in the Seafood BBQ too. Butlers & Waiters/waitresses at our commands to bring this & that, replenish those & these. No alcoholic drinks. Teh tarik a must!
Kids: Included, running around chasing each other at the garden outside.
Mommies: Gossiping about nothing & updating each other about latest sales in town. (Take note mommies won't be exchanging recipes. Hahaha.... )
Daddies: Chatting about football & exchanging notes on the latest PDAs/Blackberries.
Entertainment: Oh yes! We ( the mommies) thought it would be a blast if we could invite Annuar Zain or M. Nasir - say, to sing LIVE a few good songs. ( I'm sure the daddies would probably prefer Maya Karin ... regardless of whether she can sing or not).

In short, plenty of good food, fun & laughter with great company.

So, who, do what, by when, how much?
That is exactly the problem. We don't have an executor amongst us for this sort of big party thing. Neither do we have the fulus to engage an event organiser. Nor do we think it's wise to part with our fulus, the little that we have, just to have Annuar Zain or M. Nasir or both (or Maya..... sissshh! ) entertaining us privately.

But hey! It's a good idea right? IT'S A GREAT IDEA !!!! hehe...

We are not giving up just yet. It may happen. Just wait.


So ... meanwhile ....

Here's a cheese cake and a hug for you on your birthday, Ayah!

Many happy returns with lots of love from us all!

p/s Couldn't post other photos - because as you can see, Ayah was topless.
Geezzzzzz.... Talk about life starting at 40!!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Pulang kan ....

It's not as easy as ABC. Yet, it's simply "D" !

I first came across her blog from one of the links not so long ago. It has been one of my favourite sites that I hopped to ever since.

What I like about her entries is that they are mostly written in retrospect as post-reflection of her inner thoughts and feelings, self evaluation & assessment of whatever happenings worth sharing. It could be a self pat on the back for a great job done in cleaning up the kitchen, or the joy of baking, cooking & spending time with family & friends , or simply the weather. The unavoidable things in daily routines that some pacts in the blogosphere seem ever too ready to dismiss as insignificant and trivial.

It is the way she writes - in obvious simplicity and honesty with the least bit worry to impress others - that ironically impressed me. I adore "D" for what and how she has portrayed herself through her postings. Being a working mother myself, her constant reminder to herself to stay true to oneself of what really matters in life regardless of other worldly competing demands has steadily become yet another source of dosages of inspiration to me.

It was during the recent Ramadhan that I found out about "D"s shocking revelation of her beloved hubby, affectionately known on the page of her posting as "Mr D", being diagnosed as suffering from cancer. That was no easy test for "D" as a wife and a mother - especially being far away from homeland and family. As the malay saying goes, berat mata memandang, berat lagi bahu memikul. Yet "D" being "D" that I admired silently, remained strong-willed and determined to face the days ahead with tireless effort to help relieve "Mr D"s suffering, simmered with much hopes and prayers for what's best Allah may destine it to be.

It is with deep regret and sadness that I learned that "Mr D" passed away today, barely one day after his 38th birthday. Innalillah .....

I pray that Allah grants his blessing onto Allahyarham.
I pray that "D" will remain strong for herself and her children.

Learning from "D" in pausing to reflect - I remind myself that everything in this world is temporary and not ours definitely for infinity. Love and savour who and what we have while we can. For the time will come when they have to return to the rightful owner.

The same goes for our very own self - don't delay what we should do today or continue to neglect what we should have done long ago for we never know if we'll live long enough to see the sunrise tomorrow. We too shall return one day.

Al-Fatihah ......

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Between Dreams & Reality

Salam Ramadhan ....

Lama sungguh tak berblog - memang betul lah like Simah commented - bersawang! What a wonderful hang out place this would be for spiderman!!!!

I really should be writing about Hafiz's attempt at fasting separuh hari this Ramadhan - but for someone whose writing is not a natural flair - that entry would probably take another six weeks to complete - by then dah Raya dah pun. Hampeh!

But hey! Guess what? I found a draft that I forgot to publish ( age is catching up.... ). So this shall be a quickie - cut & paste only. This entry below was written circa when?100 BC? Sure felt like it! But lah, first week of August, when I was happily authorised to be off work for about 2 weeks. So remember - this should be read in past tense. But the challenge at the end of the entry has no expiry date. So give it a go, will ya?


I've been off work since Monday this week... oh what a bliss! Though this is not by personal choice that I have to take the week off, the doctor's endorsement that I am not fit to work is somehow working just fine for me. For a change this time I did not itch to log on to office server to check those emails and have not even bothered to check the blackberry either. Those can wait. There are others who deputize me so let them shine and grow.


I don't multitask between work and blogging during working hours for obvious reason - I AM THE LAW at the office, HAHAH ... so must show exemplary conduct la kan? And actually, memang tak sempat pun. Needless to say with one week off, here I am surfing the net, reading online news, catching up on all those outdated emails from my alumni group and blog hopping from one to another. I even switched my yahoo messenger status to "online" today. And voila! ping Aby, a girlfriend from prep days.

It must have been years since I last saw Aby, I think it was during open house at my place 5 years ago at least? Pheww... how time flies! So pot pet pot pet la online sekejap with Aby but since she was at work and I belom mandi pagi ( walhal matahari dah tegak atas kapla), I had to excuse myself la. Nanti mengaco productivity member at workplace, no good la ek? We bid farewell with all the muahhhhsss and exchange of each others' blog address. I have been reading all her entries since then. I mean, since I siap mandi tengahari tadi.

The one Aby wrote about dreams got me thinking to write this entry. Hey.... after all, I've got all the time to laze in front of the screen this week, don't I ?

I don't always recall what I dreamt about. Mostly about me couldn't find where I parked my car or me looking feverishly for a toilet at the mall. I can never fathom what the first one means. The second one quite obviously, would be followed by me dashing to the loo upon waking up.

This morning though, I woke up with a weird dream stuck vividly in my blurry morning vision. I dreamt that I discovered - after a slip of the tounge by my sister - that the 'cute 7 year old god daughter' (there is none in reality) of our family back in JB - was actually a daughter of my darling Ayah - but with another woman!?!#$%*@?!


So to those who have (or don't have) a hidden talent in dreams intepretation and want to have a try at unravelling my subconscious thoughts that have translated into this weird dream, hey.... be my guest! This is an open ended, no right or wrong answer and a non judgmental opportunity for you to sharpen your dreams intepreting skills - ala-ala amateur psychoanalyst made in Msia gitu .... Sila lah!

p/s Don't slouch laa....

Saturday, August 11, 2007

The underweight warrior

Kejohananan Taekwondo 50 Tahun Merdeka
Zon Bangsar

Thought of updating on Idin's taekwondo tourney this morning but he has beaten me to that.

Come! Let's see what he's got in store - a refreshing perspective from a fin-feather-weight (that must be very light indeed .... unlike his Ibu!!! ) 11 year old's point of view. Here's the link: What Luck! Entry not moderated, pls excuse any punctuation or spelling error. He welcomes any comment and suggestion in his comment box.

To Abang Idin, Congratulations son! Whatever placing you got, you always make me beam with pride with your true fighting and sporting spirit. I find it especially encouraging that you are determined to forge ahead still regardless of you having to miss our regular Saturday family outings in order to attend the practice sessions, that you are not the least bit worried despite being the only one in super duper underweight category amongst your team members and last but not least, that you - being the only surviving malay student in your taekwondo class - continue to focus on improving your techniques and progressing to the next level without succumbing to feeling inferior of being the minority whatsoever.

Pesan ibu untuk Abang Idin - breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out. While you continue to focus on the union of mental and physical discipline to master the skills and techniques, remember this - the body can only achieve what the mind can conceive. It's all in the mind! TAPI jangan lupa pohon doa kepadaNya.

Pesanan umum ibu (1): kalau hendak melentur buluh .....

Pesanan umum ibu (2): reminder - sit up straight, don't slouch!


Wednesday, August 08, 2007

To Whom It May Concern

Amongst Abang Idin's current favourite songs is No More Sorrow by Linkin Park.

Trash? Too loud? Who thinks the rock music young people listen to are trash & loud? Read the lines below. I mean, read between the lines. Then think again! The message is very loud indeed! If only we listen ....

No More Sorrow
By Linkin Park, album Minutes to Midnight

Are you lost
In your lies
Do you tell yourself I don't realise
Your crusade a disguise
Replaced freedom with fear
You trade money for lives
I'm aware of what you've done

NO ....
No more sorrow
I've paid for your mistakes
Your time is borrowed
Your time has come to be replaced

I see pain
I see need
I see liars and thieves abused power with greed
I had hope
I believed
But I'm beginning to think
That I've been deceived
You will pay for what you've done

Thieves and hyprocrites

No more sorrow
I've paid for your mistakes
Your time is borrowed
Your time has come to be replaced

Thieves and hypocrities

No more sorrow
I've paid for your mistakes
Your time is borrowed
Your time has come to be replaced
Your time has come to be erased ....

Pesan ibu (1) :
Siapa makan cili dia yang terasa pedas

Pesan ibu (2) :
Tepuk dada tanya selera

Pesan ibu(3) :
For the young ones; Sit up straight, don't slouch, not good for your posture.
For the wise ones; Sit up straight, don't slouch, not good for the brittled back bone.
For those 'in office'; Put your seat in an upright position, fasten your seatbelt ... we (you?) are landing shortly.

- not so young, not so old.
- in an upright position, cautious of the stormy weather

Monday, August 06, 2007

And they say Mother Is The Best Teacher...

This is Ameer.

He is 3, turning 4 this coming November. He's already in Kindy.
His ambition? To become a GHOBOT.
This was before he saw Transformers.
Now he wants to become BUMBLE BEE.
A ghobot still.....


Since I have a bit of spare time this week ( a bit?!!), I thought I'll go over one of Hafiz's Kumon entry level worksheet with Ameer.

The instruction on the worksheet was simple:
"Listen to the sentences and then say the words".

So Ibu had to read the sentences, for Ameer to listen and for Ameer to say the words after Ibu.

Ibu : It is a cow
Ameer : It is a cow

Ibu: It is a horse
Ameer: It is a horse

Ibu: Cow
Ameer: Cow

Ibu: Horse
Ameer: Horse

Ah! That was easy. Let's move on.

The instruction on the next page was even simpler :
"Let's say the words"

Hmmm.... That sounds easy. So easy that I thought I might as well stretch it a bit. Let's recite the alphabet too !

Ibu: Ameer repeat the alphabet after Ibu ok?
Ameer: Ok

Ibu: C-O-W
Ameer: C-O-W

Ibu: Bunyi dia?
Ameer: MOOOOOOOOO ......

Hahaha..... I didn't expect that at all. Who dare say he was wrong?

I guess I should've followed the instructions strictly instead of trying to leap frog the proven and tested Kumon method.

We managed a few more pages after that (following instructions very closely) and then I digressed again but this time it was Ameer's turn to stretch it a bit on me.

Ibu: S-O-A-P
Ameer: S-O-A-P

Ibu: Soap
Ameer: Soap!

Ameer: Ibu, kenapa soap dia takde bubble?
Ibu: Err.... Dia belum gosok dengan air
Ameer: Ohhhh .....

Ameer: Ibu, kenapa dia tak pakai soap yang dalam bottle?
Ibu: Err..... Dia tak sempat beli
Ameer: Ohhhh .....

Ameer: Kenapa dia tak sempat beli?
Ibu: Err... Sebab dia lambat, kedai dah tutup.
Ameer: Ohhh....

Ameer: Kenapa dia tak beli kat Tesco? Ibu, jom kita pegi Tesco!

Lerrr... ke situ pulak peginya!

Moving on to the next item on the page:

Ibu: I'll read the alphabet, Ameer follow ok?
Ameer: Ok

Ibu: T-O-W-E-L
Ameer: T-O-W-E-L

Ibu: Bunyi dia? ( oh ! I did it again ... )
Ameer: Towel tak de bunyi la ibu!?! (while looking at me quizicaly)

Hehehe. Who's teaching who?

The Kumon attempt continues......


Saturday, August 04, 2007

In search of SALHI

Assalamualaikum & salam sejahtera,

Have you ever lost a handphone? A wallet? An identity card?
How about a kitten?
How did you feel about the loss?

I just want to share with you how tears welled up in my eyes early this morning after reading the recent twist posted by Pi Bani, about the desperation of a sister looking for his lost brother - which you must read! Perhaps, you might have read about this in the newspaper before.

Age 26
Height 175 cm, Weight 70 kg
Mentally ill ( schizoprenic)
Missing since Friday 13th July 2007

SALHI, the missing person above, may look like a typical young and healthy malay guy. The painful truth is that SALHI is suffering from a mental illness called schizophrenia. SALHI has been missing since July 13th and a police report has been lodged by his family since then.

If you care to read Dr Najmiah's email from Pi Bani's posting, you would appreciate that SALHI, who went to koleq (MCKK), was a bright student (scored 8As in PMR, and later A1 for Physics & Add Maths in SPM), a genius of the family, a family clown and very much loved (still is) by his family.

How is Salhi linked to Pi Bani?
Salhi is the brother of Dr Najmiah, who is a friend of Pi Bani's.

How is Pi Bani linked to Ibu?
I don't know Kak Pi personally (yet) other than being acquainted through the blogosphere.
I do know her brother though; TA Bani, who happened to be my former boss . Oh gosh! Which means, I have been to Kak Pi's mom's house in Kg Kepayang many years ago when my colleague & I 'tumpang' kereta boss in one of our regional hospital visits. TA Bani coincidentally hailed from MCKK too.

Now, now.... all that who knows who from where and when should not matter right? Technically.

Yet missing from the who-knows-who links above, is a cable strong enough to push this case up the hierarchy of priority like the one that made it possible to find the pieces of a foreigner's body blown up by a bomb in the not-so-far-away forest within days of a missing person report lodged.

Regardless of who knows who and how (un)important this case is to the image of the mesra-rakyat-wannabes, to Dr Najmiah and her family, SALHI is more than just a police case.

SALHI who was described by Dr Najmiah as the best little brother anyone could ever wish for, is indeed suffering from Schizoprenia - which while not harmful to others, is a serious and challenging mental illness that typically interferes with the person's ability to think clearly, to distinguish fantasy from reality, to manage and control emotions, make simple decisions and relate to others. SALHI has been without his medication for at least 2 weeks now. Given the mental condition suffered by SALHI and with only RM3.50 in his pocket when he left home that July Friday 13th, the worries, the fear, the frustration and the apprehensiveness clouding SALHI's family is more than fully justified.

As a pyschology minor, I've learned that to all families of missing person, the absence of their loved ones translates for them as a living nightmare every second of the day, every day of the week, and every week of the month. When someone goes missing, the effect it can have on their family or loved ones can be devastating; they can be left feeling angry, depressed, bewildered and often with a sense of guilt and bereavement. It is an extremely emotional time in their lives, a time when they themselves are very vulnerable.

As an ibu, a sheer imagination of my son missing even if he's playing hide and seek sends shivers down my spine.

As an anak polis pencen, I've picked up some hints from Bapak that there is no greater asset in the search for missing persons than the consistent distribution of information through every available means and the power of observations by the public.

As a blogger, I thought it would be a worthy cause indeed to help spread the word by posting information on the internet (blogs, emails, egroups, etc) through and through, in search of the missing SALHI. Any effort you can make to distribute this information is appreciated, not just by myself and Kak Pi Bani, but more importantly to SALHI's loved ones; Dr Najmiah and her family.

Anyone who has seen SALHI, please contact his father, En. Ahmad at 09-786 6040, 017-970 3227 or 012-296 2642.

If I may call upon all of us citizens of blogosphere who happen to be visiting this page, let us all pray and make doa that the past weeks that have taunted Dr Najmiah and her family longing for the lost brother SALHI, would not be prolonged to month(s) and year(s) of unresolved grieving.

Ya Allah, sesungguhnya Engkaulah yang memasukkan waktu malam ke dalam waktu siang, dan Engkau jualah yang memasukkan waktu siang ke dalam waktu malam. Ya Allah, Engkau maha berkuasa, maha pemurah lagi maha mengasihani. Engkau memahami segala isi hati. Permudahkanlah ujian yang mendatang ke atas Salhi dan keluarga beliau, semuga mereka dapat bertemu kembali dalam jangka waktu yang terdekat ini, dalam keadaan sihat dan selamat dari apa jua malapetaka dan bencana hendaknya. Amin, Amin Ya Rabbal Alamin.

To all bloggers who share
the empathy I am feeling for Dr Najmiah and her family who are facing the harsh realities of the word "missing person", and would join me in saying a prayer and in cascading this information, God bless you all.

Missing Person
music by Michael W. Smith and Wayne Kirkpatrick

Another question in me
One for the powers that be
It's got me thrown
And so I put on my poker face
And try to figure it out
This undeniable doubt
A common occurrence
Feeling so out of place
Guarded and cynical now
Can't help but wondering how
My heart evolved into
A rock beating inside of me
So I reel
Such a stoic ordeal
Where's that feeling that I don't feel
There was a boy who had the faith to move a mountain
And like a child he would believe without a reason
Without a trace, he disappeared into the void and
I've been searchin' for that missing person
Under a lavender moon
So many thoughts consume me
Who dimmed that glowing light
That once burned so bright in me
Is this a radical phase
A problematical age
That keeps me running
From all that I used to be
Is there a way to return
Is there a way to unlearn
That carnal knowledge
That's chipping away at my soul
I've been gone too long
Will I ever find my way home
He used to want to try to walk the straight and narrow
He had a fire and he could feel it in the marrow
It's been a long time and I haven't seen him lately but
I've been searchin' for that missing person.


Wednesday, August 01, 2007


I'm not about to write on the latest hit from Linkin Park "What I've Done" ( Abang Idin... if that's what you think!)

But really... oh! I hit that new template button and my good old right side bar is gone in a blink!

Gatai sangat tangan ... hah, rasakan. Sigh....

Tapi kan, perhaps this "technical mishap" is a blessing in disguise - now with new links, photos, advert, etc, etc ... a small fraction of "penghijrahan" as suggested by kawan Ayah who's also an Ayah.

Whaddaya think?

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Istanbul Chronicle: Chapter 2 - Moving across continents

"SELOW LIKE SENAIL ", I had warned Simah on my attempt at blogging & posting of pictures from the Istanbul trip.

Of course, my self fulfilling prophecy turns out right (again!). In fact, I'm slower than snail! But hey! Better late than never. So here are some introductory accounts of Ayah & Ibu in Istanbul, tracking a fellow blogging sorority mommy, Simah, about 4 weeks ago. Or has it been longer than that? Gawddd ... I lost track of time.

The hotel that we stayed at was on the Europe side of Istanbul. And Simah's place was on the Asia side of the city. That means if I could make it to Simah's place, I would have travelled to two continents by road in an hour's time by choice. That was one heck of a motivation.

As it turned out, I had quite a bad cough that week and came Friday, my cough had not shown much sign of recovery, so I wasn't sure if we should spend the weekend at Simah's place. I told Simah about my cold and my fear of spreading it to her family but she said not to worry about it. I'm thankful she helped cast that doubt away.

Alas!The goody bag shall be delivered! 'Mawi' pun ikut sama.

Simah sms me the directions to her place. In summary: Go to the jetty, take the ferry, then take a taxi, then show the address to the cabbie. The directions were in Turkish and I'm guessing it said: straight, belok kiri, belok kanan, after traffic light terus, terus, terus, then second traffic light belok kanan...... hehehe. Pretty easy ... But getting across Istanbul from the Europe part to the Asia part, kena naik ferry? Oooohhh.....That got me worried. Silap haribulan buleh sampai ke Penang!

Ayah was more concerned about the luggage. Which was a valid concern indeed as we had by then ended up with an additional one big heavy bag (a story which deserved another entry on its own altogether). And with my cough, he reckoned that I was not going to be much of a helping hand. He asked me to ask Simah what floor she was on, kena naik tangga or naik lift? hahaha.... Today boleh gelak la, but that time he looked damn serious! So, nak tak nak I had to call Simah and asked, and she just laughed away .... " Ada lift la Akak ! Don't worry !", she said reassuringly. Cehhh! Bikin malu jer. Nampak sangat la we all ni tak fit kan? Naik tangga pun tak larat.

We were to reach her place by 8.00 pm to be safe. Ayah did not want to take any chances and so we took a cab there. Ayah gave the cab driver the address & direction and "Yes... yes, easy to find", he said. We believed him.

As soon as we boarded the cab, we both looked away from each each other. Bukan 'bergaduh'. Rather, entertaining our own thoughts, absorbing the views of the scenic routes, the people, the buildings and catching glimpses of Istanbul way of life from inside the yellow cab. As the views were the only part of the cab ride that would be free of charge regardless of the kilometre reading, might as well take full advantage of it. I'll let the pictures do the talking. Enjoy ......

From the hilltop overlooking the lush greeneries and the bhosporus sea.

Standing tall as a distinctive skyline and as a defining statement that historic Istanbul is indeed keeping pace with one-upmanship of modern towers is Istanbul Ritz Carlton Hotel.

No...... that was not where we stayed. If only!

The Train, The Tram

Both using electricity, but notice there was no barrier to the lanes nor were there any danger sign posted.

For the 2 weeks I was there, there was no news whatsoever of people being ran over or electricuted by the electric trams or trains. Hmmm.......

Left: The Attartuq Monument located at the roundabout of Taksim Square.

The exposure that it gets for being located right smacked in the middle of a popular shopping area is undeniable. Even if the significance of the Attartuq empire maybe oblivious to many, at least it can be safely assumed that the old and the young, locals and visitors alike have indeed seen the monument from afar and with many even came within close contact .

The recent catchy advertisement on Radio ERA insinuating that many of us especially amongst young Malaysians do not even know the whereabouts of our Tugu Negara, let alone having it touched - pierced painfully to my heart.
Sigh ....

Now on a lighter side ....

Take a closer look at the photo above, especially the surrounding buildings.

Zooming in at the building on the right of the Attartuq monument, I give you ....

Istanbul's own version of : "Damsel in Distress" -->


As with many sleek cab drivers, showing off his skills manouvering the city's cobbled back streets for short cuts to avoid the traffic congestion, save time and meter reading for the best interest of the customers was a must to the one we hired!

So we thought.

Right: Fishing on the bridge seemed to be a popular afternoon theme - weekdays or weekends alike. Bagus jugak eh? Tak lah membazir duit asyik menyopping ajer.

Is there a river in Selangor that I can throw my hook, line & sinker?

Looming in the background was a mosque.

A close up of the majestic mosque as we got nearer.

The typical curtains dressing many metropolitan city with dwellers battling for space in high rise apartments seemed unavoidable for Istanbul with its city population reaching up to millions of people.

Once we crossed the toll plaza over the Asia part of Istanbul, the cabbie started to show signs that he was lost! He made a few phone calls and kept referring to the address given. He stopped at a gas station and a few other shops to ask for directions. Finally I said let me call my friend so that she could give the direction - and as if that was an evil mantra, like a knee jerk reaction the cab driver replied that it was not necessary. The address suddenly seemed to come back on his radar screen. Hmmm..... he might have taken us for a ride after all! I still called Simah and handed the phone to the driver. I think he insisted he knew how to get there.

And indeed, in less than 3 minutes, we got there!

Just as we were about to take out our luggage from the boot, I heard,

" AKAK !!! TINGKAT 4 !"

Hahh! Sah suara Melayu..... tidak syak lagi !

I looked up & saw Simah waving her hand with a warm & welcoming smile greeting from her window up above, ala-ala Rapunzel calling from her tower.

That was the start of a beautiful and memorable weekend spent with darling Simah & her wonderful family.

Above, left: Simah's two beautiful children, sweet & witty Hatice and handsome & shy Baddin, cuddling a cute little kitten at Beyazid market area.

Above, right: The two newly acquainted Dins together, Simah's Sabahaddin and Ibu's Sabarudin.

And the icing of the cake .....

At least 8 years together and still going on strongly, lovey dovey.
A truly exemplary "cinta dua benua" !

A lot more to spill ... but as with even the most healthiest nutritious drink, the doctor's advice is to always take it in moderation. I don't want to spoil your appetite with too much too soon.

So, until my next picture blogging ( entah bila la tu ..... ), blog-roll ergonomically. Take care of your back - sit upright and don't slouch! ( That's the ibu part of me definitely ...)

Cheers all ! Wassalam.