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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Manusia hanya merancang .....

Have you heard this before?

"If you fail to plan, you plan to fail"

So for Raya this year, I've got it all planned out, I tell ya.

1. Holiday planner - updated CEO's secretary (early this year!) on how many days of leave I plan to take, before & after raya
2. Block a tentative date in personal calendar for post raya BBQ gathering with uni mates
3. Block a tentative date in personal calendar - possibly for makan-makan session for my team & other colleagues from office
4. Purchased air ticket on line for my work/conference trip immediately post raya
5. Purchased air ticket on line for Ayah to join me a week later post work/conference - to merayap-rayap somewhere
6. Influenced ayah (successfully) to purchase on line the 'train' ticket & hotel for the merayap-rayap trip
7. Dusted off my luggage & have it on standby - ready for packing
8. 'Tempah' new cushion covers for the AV room & collected them just a week before puasa
9. Bought baju raya (both baju 'Melayu' & baju 'berbilang bangsa', hehe) for the kids & Ayah
10. Bought my own baju raya too .... phewittt!! Jangan tak beli....
11. Bought baju raya for Bibi too..... triple phewittt!!! Bling-bling you.... suka dia!
12. Bought the 10 pcs of 'pelita Raya' (the bamboo ones) & went to get a bottle of kerosene from Mak Long's house (her stock from last year! can't find any shops in Rawang town that sell kerosene any more)
13. Ordered some kuih raya - the usual ones; London Almond, Suji, Pineapple Tart, some kerepek & rempeyek, etc, etc
14. Bought some flat basket trays for ketupat & ketam Raya for breaking the ice with our new neighbours ( we just moved here a couple of months back remember? )
15. Last weekend bought daun kelapa for ketupat, ayam, daging, kerisik segala
16. Also ordered our big size ketam (jantan only!) - 40 pcs please, to be de-shelled and washed before collection
17. Bought a dozen of new clear goblets & placemats for pagi raya breakfast (table setting a high priority for me somehow)
18. And..... you'd better believe what come next : Blue key baking flour, custard flour, vanilla essence, butter, chocolate rice, castor sugar, the cute colourful cups, weighing scale, the measuring cups, the baking trays ..... my spirit to bake my own biskut sarang semut soaring sky high this Ramadhan.....muahahaha!!! Siap googled up & printed out the recipe for it!
19. Change 'duit raya' for the green packets - Ayah's department ni.
20. Transfer some money to Nenek & Atok for their raya preps

And I can happily tick off all the above from my checklist.

The only ones remaining for final execution on my checklist :

21. Buy one or two new pair of pants & comfortable moccasin for the trip
22. Pack for balik kampung & for the trip
23. Bake the sarang semut cookies
24. Pasang pelita
25. Anyam sarung ketupat
26. Prepare the dishes on Raya eve - earlier please; not malam-malam buta hingga ke dinihari like last year (nanti pagi2 raya pegi rumah in laws with eye bag segala? hmpphh... tak ayu la kan?)
27. Pagi raya, deliver the ketupat & ketam to our new neighbours (I'm visioning my boys tagging along, complete with their baju Melayu, songkok & sampin carrying the baskets, going ding-dong-bell to our multi racial neighbours' front doors ...ohhhh......comelnya....)
28. Wait for Ayah to come home from Solat and we'll all have our extended breakfast
29. Then salam2 & photo session
30. Pack the dishes, luggages, not forgetting leaving lots of food & water for Blackie & the kittens

Then we can all skip along to Damansara (Ayah's family) and by petang, off to JB (Ibu's family). Yeayyy!!

So that is the grand plan.

20 out of 30 completed, that's 66.66%. Not bad isn't it? Just another one third to go.

YET, guess what? Where do you think I am at this very minute?

Hmmm...... at Damansara Specialist Hospital, tending to Abang Idin who has been warded since Sunday night, for prolonged high fever and bacterial infection. He's been on the drip eversince.

As at noon today, i.e. a day before Raya, he still cannot be discharged just yet. That means, Ibu also cannot discharge the remaining duties as planned above. Pelita ke mana, biskut sarang semut ke mana....

So you see...... I've got plans for the immediate future - for Raya this year that is.

And yet the naked truth about the future is that it still comes one day at a time.

Itulah yang kita namakan,

"Manusia hanya merancang, Allah jua yang menentukan"

The remaining of the plans are shelved for the time being and let's just hope & pray Abang Idin will be back bouncing on his feet again soon.

Salam Aidilfitri and Maaf Zahir Batin.

p/s Messages from Abang Idin :
Thank you Auntie Shana & the clan for the visit. And the doughnuts of course!
Thank you Auntie Onair, Auntie Abid & Auntie Joe for the well wishes.
Ameer & Hafiz .... Sorry Abang Idin has to keep Ibu away from you two for a while, lil' bros.
And Ayah..... errr... dah jumpa bunga api ke belum?

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Hafiz's Finger Story

I was busy 'maybanking2them' when Hafiz approached me.

"Hi Ibu, please say hi to Finger."

I noticed the smiley face drawn on his index finger. How cute! That was so Hafiz. The creative one amongst my boys, the Da Vinci junior - Rawang version.

"Oh.... Hi Finger!! How do you do?"

"He's not happy la Ibu..."

"Really? Why?"

"He wants to go the fun fair...."

"Hishh... bulan2 puasa ni nak pegi fun fair buat hapa?"

"Entah lah dia... but he really wants to go there (pointing with 'that' finger to the direction of the fun fair from afar). Maybe just for fun I guess?"

"Bulan puasa laa...... And it's a Finger. It can't go there, can it?"

"Of course it can!"


"This Finger is stuck on my hand la Ibu? So how DO YOU THINK Finger can go there?"

Ek eleh budak 7 tahun ni! Ceghedik nak mengenakan ibu dia .... bertuah betul.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

What matters most

My dear boys....

As far back as I can recall - zaman dolu-dolu, Ibu would never miss to get my baju raya. Those baju raya were 'new' to Ibu, but not necessarily brand new. Somehow, it didn't matter at all to Ibu whether they were brand new or not for Ibu knew Ibu Noi would carefully select among the best of her frocks/dresses/baju kurung that she had outgrown and reserve them for Ibu, specially for Hari Raya. Similary, Ibu Noi would get her share of the best reserved for her for Hari Raya by Mak Ngah. And it didn't matter to Ibu Noi either. I cannot recall where Mak Ngah got her baju raya from. It didn't seem to matter to Mak Ngah at all too.

There was one year when all of us girls got a pair of brand new baju kurung each for Hari Raya. What a treat! We found out years later that Nenek had bought a par of cloth, supposedly meant to be as a present for her sister-in-law to-be. She had offered to sew the curtains for the bridal room. Unfortunately, her sister-in-law to-be totally rejected the present and simply returned the whole par to Nenek - she said she didn't like the colour. So waste not want not - all 3 of us girls got a pair of brand new baju kurung for Hari Raya that year - same colour, same design, same material - all handmade by Nenek.

It didn't matter to us at all.

We saw them working hard day & night to raise us 6 siblings. What mattered to us girls then, was not to make Nenek & Atok worry too much over expenses of baju raya for their daughters. For we know there were other expenses that deserved higher priorities.

That - as far back as I can recall ......... zaman dolu-dolu.

And since 'zaman dolu-dolu', we've definitely come a long way, my boys. All because Nenek & Atok set the right priorities on what matters most for their growing up children then.

Matters that could not be sacrificed for immediate gratification.

Matters that could not be achieved without sacrifice.


I know Ibu Noi or Mak Ngah would buy at least a pair of 'baju' for Nenek & Atok every Hari Raya. And they would also ask Nenek not to worry about preparing Raya dishes as they would do that part and send one periuk or one kuali over to Nenek's house by eve of Raya.

Ibu? Even if we live next door to Nenek & Atok, you know Ibu can't offer to cook anything safe, healthy and edible for them. So Ibu would transfer some money to Nenek & Atok instead, for their discretionary disposal for some other expenses that may become a priority for Raya preparation.

This despite their assurance from the other end of the phone line that "There is nothing to worry about, my children. Just don't forget to balik kampung for Hari Raya, you hear? That's what matters most to us".

I know sooner or later, I may be echoing that very same line to you, my boys.


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Politics 101

How truly democratic is it for a country to see a transition of power - not from the people's votes & confidence in its true sense - but from pledges of defecting MPs crossing over to different alliances?

How repulsive !!

So much for the hailed transparency, check & balance. Everything oso "what's in it for me" !!

Sudah lahhhh....... Menangguk di air keruh. Cakap tak serupa bikin. Cehhh.....

Monday, September 08, 2008

Moments of homely glory for Ibu

Oh! Oh! Oh! Second posting in one day? If I write fast enough, I may make it before 12 midnight.

So here goes....

I have made known how I am with cooking. But I have also said somehow, when some opportunities arise, I'd like to grab them - better late than never. Most of the times though, kurang menjadi of course. But sometimes, boleh tahan.....

And TODAY - I must savour one of those glorious moments that are hard to come by for Ibu.

All these jazzy feeling only because of ..... jeng!jeng!jeng! my home-made Roti John!!!

Inspired by none other than the frequent mentioning of it by Wan Shana. Hehehe.... She said Hanna really liked it - I thought hmmm... this must be 'good' for growing up kids.

I thought, why would people call it 'John' - not Jonas, Obama, Hugh, Nicholson, Nadal.... not even Clooney.

Just 'John'. Simply 'John'. Surely it must be simple?! I must try...

So I thought.... hahaha...

I recalled my colleague brought Roti John during our last dept pot luck before puasa, and I texted her on Sunday for the ingredients. Kot2 la.... cuti Sunday, I could try kan??? That request must have sent shockwaves to her, she replied with much zest, not just on what the ingredients should be but how to do it too. That was where I stumbled. Alamak.... minced meat di goreng and ditos kan until kering and then yadayadayadaya....... God bless her! Berpinar mata baca her reply. So I cancelled the plan . Firstly, because I didn't have minced meat. Secondly, the preparation of the minced meat sounded very labourious to me (what did I say about me & cooking?!). The spirit willing, the flesh sokmo weak...

But then this morning, Hafiz asked me if he could have Pizza for berbuka. He showed me the leaflet and told me, "We can just call for delivery Ibu.... you don't have to drive there!" . Bila dah pandai membaca... tu ler pulak masaalah nya. I asked how much, and he said "Murah jer, RM4.70". Eh!!! Biar betul?? Tak betul. Actually, it was RM24 ++, a savings of RM4.70 compared to regular menu deal. Rupanya..... Hmmmm.......

Somehow it popped out of my mouth, "Forget pizza. Ibu will make Roti John special for Hafiz today!" .

Too fast too soon. Terlajak perahu boleh di tarik. Hafiz was already jumping up & down excited ya amat upon hearing "IBU WILL MAKE " - a rare occassion indeed, as rare as the chance of finding a Panda that knows Kung Fu.

And so at about 5.00 pm, after Hafiz reminded me of Roti John special, I went into the kitchen & ducked my head into the fridge to look for what could be modified as Roti John's ingredients.

Found chicken breast and some other boneless parts in the freezer. Red bell pepper. Onion. Garlic. Tomato. Timun susu. Outside - Tesco Choice chicken eggs abundant. Safe for the timun & the eggs, I diced everything else. Stir fried them with sprinkles of Tesco Choice chicken seasoning, with salt & sugar sesedap jari menabur. I called upon my little food taster (yg puasa sambung-sambung tu) to taste and comment. After tasting it, he asked if he could eat it straightaway then. Ohhh....sedap lah tu maknanya.... hahaha.... Gumbiranya hati ku.

Beat 2 eggs and fried them. And sliced the timun thinly (this I know how to do excellently!) . I put them aside first and went on do some other things. At about 5 mins to 7, I sliced the buns, 'buttered and grilled' them, reheated the chix mix and cut the telur dada into 6 stripes. I stuffed the chix mix inside the buns, put 2 layers of telur dada and laid the excellently sliced timun on top of the eggs. 3 buns, cut into two, dapat berapa? Just nice eh.... One each (including bibik).

Come Azan, and the verdict?

Clap...clap....clap...... I was verbally awarded "Best Mom In The World" by Hafiz.

And Abang Idin asked for "it" - again soon, he said. An ENCORE!? Can you believe it?

So there you go... some rare moments of homely glory for Ibu!

True what U.Lee last commented;
"And there is no spectacle on earth more appealing than that of a beautiful woman by the name of Ibu in the act of cooking for someone she loves"

Beautiful kah Ibu? Ohhh...regardless..... I'm looking at this moment from my spek-mata and enjoying every second of it. An effort that was "sweating yet rewarding"! ehehehehe.....

(I'm sure Ayah is smiling reading this. Oiiii bang.... bagi chan lah darling you nak perasan jap, tak bley kerrrr? Jeles pulak!! )

Salams ....

2nd week Ramadhan Overview

Today, 8th day of Ramadhan for Muslims, insyaAllah. The 2nd week commencing.

1. Latih tubi

Hafiz woke up, looked at his alarm clock, looked outside the window and asked me, "Ibu .... dah pukul 7.00. Dah nak dekat berbuka ke? ".

Ibu jawab, "Belum.... Ni baru pukul 7.00 pagi, Hafiz."

"Oh.... ", Hafiz jawab selamba, tapi mata kelat terkebil2.

2. Of puasa & its rewards

Last night, Ameer tried out his yellow shirt we bought for him at Jusco on Saturday. He would typically wear such a shirt as an 'outer shell' on top of another t-shirt. Then he looked inside Abang Idin's shopping bag and starting counting the contents. Then he switched to Abang Hafiz bag and did the same thing.

The anticipated question popped out shortly, "Ibu... kenapa baju ghaya Abang Idin & baju Abang Hafiz lagi banyak?"

"Lebih banyak dari apa?", saja Ibu nak mengusik.

"Lebih banyak dari Ameer punya lah. Kenapa bu?"

"Abang Idin & Abang Hafiz kan puasa? So bila dah habis puasa, boleh celebrate raya. Boleh pakai baju raya." I tried explaining in very simple sentences.

"Habis, Ameer?"

"Ameer puasa?"

"Puasa.... lepas minum susu jer Ameer sambung puasa!"

"Hmmm... kalau puasa sambung-sambung, boleh celebrate raya jugak. Tapi baju raya tak banyak lah, ok?


"Sebab puasa tak penuh."

"Nanti tahun depan, Ameer puasa terus jer sampai petang, Ibu belikan baju ghaya banyak-banyak untuk Ameer?"

"Hmmm.... insyaAllah...."

"InsyaAllah tu .... boleh ke tak boleh?"

"Kalau Ameer puasa terus sampai petang, insyaAllah boleh.... tahun depan."

"Yeah, yeah....Thank you Ibu!"

Hopefully he heard the word 'tahun depan' !

3. UPSR looming

Tomorrow starting.

Other than frantically searching for his full length 2B pencils last weekend, Abang Idin seemed to look cool & calm.

Membawa maksud, hey anak ibu ni .... tak buat revision pun?!

Is it too late to drill him at this juncture?

4. UPSR leave

Mengalahkan anaknya, Ibu siap apply annual leave for this week because of Abang Idin's exam. Atas nasihat Mrs Engineer - show moral support for anak yg nak berjuang.

Tapi pagi ni Ibu dulu berjuang berpeluh-peluh after sahur.

Sakit perut memulas-mulas daaa..... entah berapa kali keluar masuk toilet, I lost count. Cabaran.... cabaran....


Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Early Ramadhan Overview

Just some notes for anak2 Ibu - hopefully they will smile when they read this in the future.

1. Our 7 year old Hafiz - belajar puasa this year. Full day. Ohhh.... kesiannya....... First day, pukul 2.00 lebih dah tanya, dah boleh makan ke? Tak boleh..... sikit lagi.... And he finally made it through. 2nd day was a breeze. Alhamdulillah.

2. Our 5 year old Ameer - "puasa sambung-sambung". Lepas minum susu, Ameer sambung puasa. Lepas breakfast, Ameer sambung puasa. Lepas lunch, Ameer sambung puasa. Hmmm... iye lah tu....

3. Our 12 year old Abang Idin, puasa & solat fully on your own account this year bro. What upah2? Tak puasa & tak solat kalu, berat lah buku kat bahu kiri. Sendiri mau ingat

4. Ibu - balik cepat sikit la ibu oiii..... Kalau nak beli food, call Bibik first and check what is she cooking. Tak de lah jadi pelbagai resipi nasi ayam terhidang atas meja. Hahaha..... DAN..... kalau beli kuih, lepas bayar, jgn lupa bawak balik kuih tu. Hampeh!!

5. Ayah - jgn laju sangat.... tunggu kaum kerabat sat. Para makmum (especially si kecik tu) ada yang belum habis mengunyah! Kami semua pun nak 70 kali ganda jugak......

6. Bibik - iye lah bik, berbuka waktu Malaysia. Bukan waktu Indonesia.... Waduhhhh..... kan sudah 10 tahun di sini bik? Emmm... alahai......

Salam Ramadhan,

Monday, September 01, 2008

Merdeka oh Merdeka!

I caught a glimpse of YB Shafie Afdal ( betul ke spelling?) commenting on TV, scolding rather, the public for their apathy for not flagging up the Jalur Gemilang. Why only wait for the government to do that, he asked? Alahai .....dato...dato...... Malas lah nak komen dato sorang ni. Tak de faedah satu sen pun.

I feel so sayu for this year's merdeka. Whoever is the appointed Public Relations advisor/consultant for the govt , aiyaaa... you all so lowsy one lah. You think banal patriotism is intrinsic mehhhhh? Aiya..... where got?!

Instill, instill, instill .....
Brainwash, brainwash, brainwash ....
Propagate, propagate, propagate .........
Visually, auditory, legibly, symbolically...... and heh! Let's do it the M'sian way - gastronomically even .....

And YOU let it slipped away. Distracted by the by-election lah eh? Tu lah.... Padan muka.

Oh... how I miss him. Him who? Guess who?

God, I miss him. I really do.