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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Emperor's New Clothes

Have you read or heard the story about the emperor's new clothes? Do you still remember it?

The story, originally written by a Danish poet and author, Hans Christian Anderson, is about an emperor who unwittingly hires two swindlers to create a new suit of clothes for him.

If you have not heard it or cannot remember it, here .... have a go !

The Emperor's New Clothes
by Hans Christian Anderson

" Once upon a time there lived a vain Emperor whose only worry in life was to dress in elegant clothes. He changed clothes almost every hour and loved to show them off to his people.

Word of the Emperor's refined habits spread over his kingdom and beyond. Two scoundrels who had heard of the Emperor's vanity decided to take advantage of it. They introduced themselves at the gates of the palace with a scheme in mind.

"We are two very good tailors and after many years of research we have invented an extraordinary method to weave a cloth so light and fine that it looks invisible. As a matter of fact it is invisible to anyone who is too stupid and incompetent to appreciate its quality."

The chief of the guards heard the scoundrel's strange story and sent for the court chamberlain. The chamberlain notified the prime minister, who ran to the Emperor and disclosed the incredible news. The Emperor's curiosity got the better of him and he decided to see the two scoundrels.

"Besides being invisible, your Highness, this cloth will be woven in colors and patterns created especially for you." The emperor gave the two men a bag of gold coins in exchange for their promise to begin working on the fabric immediately.

"Just tell us what you need to get started and we'll give it to you." The two scoundrels asked for a loom, silk, gold thread and then pretended to begin working. The Emperor thought he had spent his money quite well: in addition to getting a new extraordinary suit, he would discover which of his subjects were ignorant and incompetent. A few days later, he called the old and wise prime minister, who was considered by everyone as a man with common sense.

"Go and see how the work is proceeding," the Emperor told him, "and come back to let me know."

The prime minister was welcomed by the two scoundrels.

"We're almost finished, but we need a lot more gold thread. Here, Excellency! Admire the colors, feel the softness!" The old man bent over the loom and tried to see the fabric that was not there. He felt cold sweat on his forehead.

"I can't see anything," he thought. "If I see nothing, that means I'm stupid! Or, worse, incompetent!" If the prime minister admitted that he didn't see anything, he would be discharged from his office.

"What a marvelous fabric, he said then. "I'll certainly tell the Emperor." The two scoundrels rubbed their hands gleefully. They had almost made it. More thread was requested to finish the work.

Finally, the Emperor received the announcement that the two tailors had come to take all the measurements needed to sew his new suit.

"Come in," the Emperor ordered. Even as they bowed, the two scoundrels pretended to be holding large roll of fabric.

"Here it is your Highness, the result of our labour," the scoundrels said. "We have worked night and day but, at last, the most beautiful fabric in the world is ready for you. Look at the colors and feel how fine it is." Of course the Emperor did not see any colors and could not feel any cloth between his fingers. He panicked and felt like fainting. But luckily the throne was right behind him and he sat down. But when he realized that no one could know that he did not see the fabric, he felt better. Nobody could find out he was stupid and incompetent. And the Emperor didn't know that everybody else around him thought and did the very same thing.

The farce continued as the two scoundrels had foreseen it. Once they had taken the measurements, the two began cutting the air with scissors while sewing with their needles an invisible cloth.

"Your Highness, you'll have to take off your clothes to try on your new ones." The two scoundrels draped the new clothes on him and then held up a mirror. The Emperor was embarrassed but since none of his bystanders were, he felt relieved.

"Yes, this is a beautiful suit and it looks very good on me," the Emperor said trying to look comfortable. "You've done a fine job."

"Your Majesty," the prime minister said, "we have a request for you. The people have found out about this extraordinary fabric and they are anxious to see you in your new suit." The Emperor was doubtful showing himself naked to the people, but then he abandoned his fears. After all, no one would know about it except the ignorant and the incompetent.

"All right," he said. "I will grant the people this privilege." He summoned his carriage and the ceremonial parade was formed. A group of dignitaries walked at the very front of the procession and anxiously scrutinized the faces of the people in the street. All the people had gathered in the main square, pushing and shoving to get a better look. An applause welcomed the regal procession. Everyone wanted to know how stupid or incompetent his or her neighbor was but, as the Emperor passed, a strange murmur rose from the crowd.

Everyone said, loud enough for the others to hear: "Look at the Emperor's new clothes. They're beautiful!"

"What a marvellous train!"

"And the colors! The colors of that beautiful fabric! I have never seen anything like it in my life!"

They all tried to conceal their disappointment at not being able to see the clothes, and since nobody was willing to admit his own stupidity and incompetence, they all behaved as the two scoundrels had predicted.

A child, however, who had no important job and could only see things as his eyes showed them to him, went up to the carriage.

"The Emperor is naked," he said.

"Fool!" his father reprimanded, running after him. "Don't talk nonsense!" He grabbed his child and took him away. But the boy's remark, which had been heard by the bystanders, was repeated over and over again until everyone cried:

"The boy is right! The Emperor is naked! It's true!"

The Emperor realized that the people were right but could not admit to that. He thought it would be better to continue the procession under the illusion that anyone who couldn't see his clothes was either stupid or incompetent. And he stood stiffly on his carriage, while behind him a page held his imaginary mantle.

The End


Tonight, I will read the story of "The Emperor's New Clothes" to my boys.

I do not wish to see my boys growing up becoming like this , not wanting to tell the truth to their "emperor".

And I pray to God that if they were to be in "emperor-like" positions one day, their actions would not be dictated by their own sheer fear of the truth & not disillusioned with their own inferiority complex and that of others.


Saturday, May 17, 2008

Pencil Tekan

One of my usual morning routines involves getting Ameer ready for school - bathe him, watch him brush his teeth, dry him up, dress up & 'after bath' hugs & kisses on the cheeks.

After moving to Emerald, my mornings have become less stressful because I no longer have to redah the downtown traffic jam to get to the toll/highway. That alone is a saving of at least 30 mins.

So, while the morning routines are the same, the quality of delivering those routines have greatly improved. I can even sip my morning coffee calmly at the kitchen deck, observing the neighbourhood surrounding and watching Ameer playing with the kittens at the same time too! Cool .....

Quite simply - I don't feel rushed in the morning like before!

That is good.

Now that I have extra 30 mins in the morning, maybe I should start exercising before I go to work? Hmmm... maybe.... maybe :D

Anyway... I digressed.

Yesterday, after helping Ameer get ready for school, the coffee, the kittens, I went downstairs (yeah...our kitchen is "upstairs" !) followed by Ameer from behind. Normally, he would watch cartoons while waiting for his teacher to pick him up. Somehow yesterday, he just followed me and just stood watching me picking up my handbags and this and that.

I asked him, "Ameer tak tengok kartun?"

He replied, "Ameer nak pencil tekan".
Short & crisp, but looking up to me with a pair of hopeful eyes like a puppy from the pet shop window.

Pandai budak ni nak psycho ibu dia, but I thought rationally ... heyyy... berapa banyak pencil daaaa.... the one box each should be more than sufficient to last 6 months ( no joke ok? not one, two or three pencils, but one box each!)

"Ameer kan dah ada banyak pencils. Why do u want a pencil tekan? Besides, susah tau nak masukkan pencil leads tu dalam pencil tekan ".

He started frowning.

Alamak... takkan pagi2 dah nak start sandiwara kot? Ni yg tak syiok nih.

He replied softly, "Ameer nak pencil tekan. Abang Hafiz tak bagi pinjam dia punya. Dia kata nanti Ameer rosak kan. Ameer tak nak rosakkan. Ameer nak pinjam ajer. Tapi Abang Hafiz tak nak bagi pinjam". And he said this with his eyes looking down at the floor - reminded me of a scene of a convict pleading for lenier punishment in court.

"Oh ye ker? Kesian Ameer....", memang pandai pyscho budak ni.

There is plenty of pencils of all sorts at the "shop" near where I work. I could grab one in a jiffy I'm sure. But heyyy.... I was not about to give in so easy ok?

So I tried another rationale,
"Tapi kan Ameer... Ibu dah beli baaaaaaanyyak pencil untuk Ameer haritu kan?"


"So.... duit ibu dah tinggal sikit dah ..... tak cukup nak beli pencil tekan".

Ameer kept quite for a while. Then he said,
"Ok lah Ibu. Sorry Ibu".

Oh! That was fast! An early victory for Ibu I thought. Good for me!

Then we hugged as usual. I love you. I love you too. I miss you. I miss you too. And he salam & kiss my hand. Then Ameer walked slowly into the TV room adjacent to the main door to get his morning dose of cartoons. Phewww..... I put on my shoes, grabbed my bags, checked if my handphone & car keys were in there and picked up my notebook bag.

Just as I was about to walk to the car, Ameer shouted from inside the TV room,
"Wait Ibu. Wait!"

Apa pulak lah lagi?

I poke my head inside and saw Ameer dragging his school bag out from the TV room. He put the bag right infront me and he started rummaging through his bag pockets, left, right, inside, out. I had no clue what was going on.

Hmmm... I came home late the night before and didn't get the chance to see his school work. Maybe he wanted to show me his drawing, I thought.

Suddenly Ameer said, "Ah! Dah jumpa! "

Then he stood up, opened up his small palm for me and asked,
"Ibu, is this enough?"

Staring blankly into my eyes were three shiny 20 cents coins.

"Cukup tak duit circle-circle ni untuk beli pencil tekan, Ibu?" he asked innocently.

I felt a lump in my throat. I just stared at the three 20 cents coins (duit circle-circle to Ameer) and Ameer's hopeful face interchangeably.

"Ibu boleh guna duit ni untuk beli pencil tekan untuk Ameer. Please Ibu?", he pleaded.

I had to hold back my tears - which I'm very good at.

I think Ameer really wanted a pencil tekan.

That's Ameer for you.



Monday, May 12, 2008

BBQ & Makan-makan

Kepingin BBQ bersama fellow blogger dari Istanbul?

Pencil this in your calendar:

Day/Date: Saturday, 14th June, 2008

Venue: Kota Emerald, Rawang

Time: Petang2 .... exact time to be confirmed.

Guests of Honor: Simah & Halil, all the way from Istanbul !!!

To all those who know Simah, why not make this date a memorable one? Come join us and let's get together-gether over makan-makan. To those who do not know Simah yet, hey.... this is the opportunity get to know her then.

But... but... but..... be alerted...... oleh kerana Ibu ni kurang pandai memasak (Ayah would disagree completely - he would say totally hopeless and tak pandai masak langsung!! Sigh.....), the main menu would therefore be......

BBQ laaaaaa!! Marinate over nite, then bakar jerr ... kan senang? hehehe.....

Sila, sila... don't be shy - this is the time to get to know Simah up close & personal, learn about her cinta 2 benua (kot2 la boleh buat skrip drama/filem? tak ker huntung tuh?) and how this Malaysian lass has survived being on foreign soil that she now calls it her home too.

Pot luck ker? Hmmm.. ntah lah. Datang lenggang kangkung pun tak per. Janji sudi makan BBQ yg ibu buat tu (pssstt..... standby eno pencuci perut?! LOL!!!). Kalau nak bawak periuk beruntung pun, ok jugak... hehehe....

Those interested, pls can you email me at and I'll send you further update in due course.



p/s Peringatan kepada yg ada anak2 lelaki - itu Hatice, anak Simah, ibu dah booked! hehehehhh..

Saturday, May 10, 2008

NS camp tragedy: One too many

As the mood of Mother's Day lingers in the air, I can't help but feel very sad and sorry for the family of Hui Min, the latest casualty of poor health & safety administration at the National Service camp.

The scalding of Ameer's right thumb due to hot water spill a few weeks ago was enough to choke and haunt me. On the day the incident happened, I stayed half awake all night through, physically blowing his already bandaged thumb but emotionally feeling guilty for what happened to my baby and worried sick about his recovery.

Imagine how Hui Man's mother was feeling?

Waited for her 7As daughter to come home from NS camp to commence her Form 6, but was greeted with her lifeless body instead. Gruesome.

And all the Datuk could say .... 'She might have been suffering from it for a long time and did not know about it until her death'. And of course they are not going to scrap it just because one or two deaths only.

Just because one or two deaths only?

Just because?

One or two only?

I don't care lah who's in charge, under which ministry, but 16 deaths over a span of 4 years? That's apalling statistically! And horrifying ethically!!

This latest fatal incident is an outright negligence by the NS authorities. Eh! No. It should be gross negligence. Yeah..yeah... yeah..... siasatan, siasatan, siasatan. Cut the crap and just admit it lah!! At the very least, be compassionate about it - say sorry & show your remorse. And if you are not going to scrape this whole thing - then for goodness sake, take the next steps to close the gap fast & furiously.

Aiyoyoooo.... only now they are talking about getting NIOSH certification? If this happened at the workplace, employers would have been taken to task within days - slapped with summons, compounds, imprisonment. If this happened in school hostels, the caterers and the school administration would be grilled alfresco.

But for the NS authorities?'s just one or two only - what's the big deal. Goshhh.... can you pls wash your mouth with chlorox arr Datuk?

Sigh... bila cakap banyak2, they say bloggers... itulah kerja diorang, exaggerating the truths.

Exaggerating eh?

HALLLOOOOO!!! Can we borrow your sons and daughters pls? Meh sini makan sama2 chicken rice tuh? Meh sini sama2 wait in line to be sent to the clinic? Meh sini duduk sebelah and join the joy ride of waiting for timely proper medical treatment? And if something serious happens to your sons or daughters, simply welcome the response of "oh... she might have had it before but did not know about it" and "ohh.... just one or two children of the many orang besar, no problem... we have room for more, let's just get on with it" with big round of applause pls, will you? Would you? ANSWER ME, YOU HEARTLESS MORON!!

Don't talk about NS camp lahhh... the primary and secondary schools pun you orang avoid kan? Almost all are sent to private or international schools. Some send overseas terus. And you expect all of us mothers to stay calm and collected and be happy with the condition that you put our children through at the schools and NS camps? %$@# *&$!(**>( !!!

(Have I not controlled my fingers, you would have seen all the toot...toot words appearing after the last sentence!)

When you take custody of our children for that short period, you are to assume full responsibility of their health & welfare. The signature that we pen down (or going to pen down 8 years from today) on the consent form, doesn't absolve YOU of the accountability of ill administration by the people who report to you. You should be jointly and severally liable for what happen to our children! The failure to ensure that trainees are rendered expedient medical attention when the need arises is a gross negligence of duty and that, from the opinion of this ibu, can tantamount to a breach of trust that all the ibu-ibu have entrusted upon you.

From the eyes of an ibu,

To all mothers out there, selamat hari kita.


Thursday, May 01, 2008


I thought the first thing that I would write about after the come back was on the moving house ordeal that has kept me away from blogging for the last month or so - the reason why Cerita Ibu has been collecting dust.

But what could be more important to update on than the grim domestic accident in our new house? Aiyaiya.....

It all happened last Saturday mid morning which started off well, bright and cheery as with any other non working day :)

We were all gathered around the dining table. Not for breakfast , no.... but for our usual weekend together-gether stuff. Hafiz was doing his Kumon, Ameer his coloring. Abang Idin not in the picture - went on school camping trip. Ayah & I were surfing the net. To be exact, we were fulfilling our statutory duty to e-file the income tax returns. Well actually, it was Ayah who did it all. I merely ransacked my bag, retrieved my income statement, passed it on to him and answered a few questions
1) books? yes, max
2) insurance/epf? yes, max
3) pelepasan anak? yes, 3 orang
4) parents medical? yes, RM2160
5) zakat? errrrrkkk... alamak bang! guilty as charged!
Those kind of questions. And Ayah said IRB owes me RM2,000++ ! Yipeeeee!!! By the way, I was making online payment for my credit card bills - which never seem to finish! why arrr?
As for the ambience that morning.... the dining area sliding doors wide open. The morning breeze and smell of grass refreshing. Outside, birds chirping & Blackie meowing. In the kitchen, Bibi grumbling - something about the dirty laundry. Cakap jawa - tak faham! From the backyard, the trickling sound of the backdoor's neighbour's swimming pool and water feature was therapeutic.
You see.... nothing could go wrong.

Or so we thought!

And how wrong we were.

Out of a sudden, Ameer appeared from the kitchen (when did he move from his seat??!), weeping. "Ayah...... Ameer sakit ni...."

I was like .... ishhh... apa lagi la budak Hafiz ni menyakat adik dia? I didn't even look up. I think neither did Ayah. Well at least not immediately.

Ameer persisted, "Ayahhhhh..... tengoklah ni!!"

And Ayah must have looked at Ameer and it was his "LA'ILA HA'ILALLAHHH! AMEER WHAT HAPPENED??!!!!" that startled me.

I jumped out of my seat when I saw what Ameer was weeping and complaining "sakit" about. His right thumb and a small part of his backhand! Burn? Scald? Oh my god!! Hot water! Outer layer skin destroyed! Redness exposed! Ouchhhh..... Oh Ameerrr.... my darling Ameer...... sakitnya anak ibu.... Cam mana la boleh kena ni?! Oh my dear baby.....

"Macam mana boleh kena ni Ameer!!?"

"Bukan Hafiz, bukan Hafiz!!! Ameer nak air kat situ....." said Hafiz, while pointing at the thermal pot and coffee making tray.

SHIT!! ( Uh! Sorry.... ) How on earth could he reach that high? Did he step onto something?

"Ameer sakit bu.... sakit ni!" Ameer continued weeping.

Ayah just stood there. Didn't move. Couldn't move? Half frozen, I think.

"Ok sayang... jangan nangis.... " I carried Ameer into the kitchen to get the 1st aid kit. Alamak..... kan baru pindah, mana pulak letak eh? Alahai.... Oh yes! Found it. But NO BURNOL!!! Ishhh....

Meanwhile, Ameer continued weeping, "Ameer sakit bu....sakit bu..... "

"Hang in there Ameer! Nanti Ibu cari ubat ni...." trying to console my baby in pain.

In my mind, the first aid lessons on burns & scald was flashing back & forth, back & forth - blurry vision. I was not good in paying attention in class. So in that zig zag of a nano second, I was helplessly trying to think of what home remedy I could resort to in this emergency situation. Something cold. Something cold. I must find something cold.

And I rushed to the fridge and took out - what else? butter!! Grabbed a spoon, scraped a thin layer of butter and quickly but slowly .... ( hey...apa daaaa... quickly but slowly???) I mean, gently applied the thin layer of butter onto Ameer's little thumb.

"Ameer sakit bu.... sakit ......"

My heart broke into pieces.

Oh my dear baby. My handsome Ameer. I kissed him on his forehead, hugged him and consoled him, " Ibu ada ni OK Ameer? Ibu sayang Ameer!" ( nasty thoughts began creeping in ... what a useless mother! Anak depan mata pun tak boleh jaga.... ).

Ameer, though still weeping with tears rolling slowly down his cheek, was actually pretty calm and composed. He didn't cry out loud at all. Merely weeping. I wiped his tears away again and again. Hugged him - gently of course, on hi alert by then and cautious of not wanting a burn & scald home accident to escalate into suffocation.
We took Ameer to the clinic in town shortly after. I had to "tiupkan" Ameer's thumb all the way to the clinic to soothe his pain. Whatever it takes to console my little one.

(Ameer 'blowing' his own thumb to soothe the pain)

The doctor asked what that creamy yellow paste on Ameer's thumb was and I told her I couldn't find burnol and that was the only thing that I could think of then. She smile generously, and I figured she must have been quite impressed with my home remedy (the butter!!). She said I could also use ice cube or ice pack in the absence of burnol (OF COURSE!! And there was plenty of ice cube in the fridge, and a brand new ice pack which we got as free gift when we bought that eyes massager few weeks back!! AH! If only I had paid attention in class....)

We went into the "dressing" room and the doctor expertly attended to Ameer's wound immediately. After cleaning the wound from the mess of my home remedy, she applied what appeared like a "whip cream" white cream generously over Ameer's thumb and bandaged it all up neatly.

Throughout the 'procedure', Ameer DID NOT cry at all ..... Not a single weep. Nothing. The doctor was pleasantly surprised with that. She offered Ameer some sweets thereafter but he did want to take any and just clung to me. It was Hafiz who offered his willingness for the sweets - which help draw some laughter from both the doctor and the nurses.

The doctor advised me not to worry. While the outer layer skin seemed destroyed, the burn was superficial and not severe she said. Nevertheless, she said she had to bandage it all up because knowing little children, they can be quite 'lasak' and would play outside the house, so that might expose the wound to gems. Well.. at least that's what I concluded.

Ameer.... oh Ameer..... I'm very sorry for what had happened, sayang. It's unthinkable for such a thing to happen to you whom we all know as the cute 'baby' of the house who hardly ever got into trouble. What's more with both parents at home at that time. It shouldn't have happened.

Until today, we still haven't figured out how he could have reached that high to press on that thermal pot button. Each time we asked Ameer about it, he would turned and walked away responding, "Ameer dah OK dah!". Hafiz on the other hand, was having his head "inside" the fridge to help himself with some yogurt when the incident happened so he couldn't be an eye witness to tell us what and how it actually happened other than "Ameer nak isi air panas dalam cawan kecik tu agaknya ...."

But accidents do happen, my darling Ameer. I'm sorry that it happened to you this time. Nevertheless, we must thank Allah that it was just that and nothing more. As we all know, there must be a hikmah in every single event. What a blessing in disguise - we now know you can quite comfortably write with your left hand. And you can colour with your left hand too without any problem at all. Ambidextrous boy in the making!

We are now still sending Ameer for his daily dressing. Not at the same clinic though - as on the second day, the dressing was done by a nurse who was sneezing & sniffing most of the time, who did not wash her hand and who blatantly disobeyed the doctor's (not the same as day1 doctor) instruction not to burst the blister! With the little recollection from what I had read on 1st aid before - it was a valid instruction from the doctor. And since that particular doctor on duty on day 2 was so not engaged with the treatment for my little boy ( as in "err... nurse! you do lah huh? this, that, don't do this, don't do that" .... and then straight back to his seat), I decided to take Ameer straight to Damansara Specialist Hospital (outpatient emergency) thereafter.

And everynight since last Sunday, we have been a regular at the emergency outpatient clinic. Jauhhhhhh weiii from Rawang, but anak punya pasal.... sanggup! The nurses washed their hands thoroughly each time of course.

Errrr... and how come the daily dressing at D'sara Specialist cost lower that what the GP charged? RM15 - RM20++ at DSH vs RM50 at the GP. I don't understand.


A few more days to go Ameer and you'll have your right hand undressed in no time :)