Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Macam-Macam Kerjaaaa.....

Manis, the visiting cat

Our house was buzzing with activities, even Nissa’s visiting cat, Manis felt it. There was cooking to do and also some last minute things to get for Faris Raya preparation. My trip to the market was extra early. By 7.30am, I was already at Man’s gerai ayam at the Seksyen 6 Market in Shah Alam. Very quickly I told Man to prepare me two birds, the usual way I’d have my chicken done – potong kecik and buang kulit. I signaled to Man to pass the chicks to ABE as I wanted to go get meat pulak. Man said, “OK Kak…settle”. Before I walked away , I wished him Selamat Hari Raya.

Next was to the meat gerai. I don’t have any special one that I frequent. However, there was this boy who surely knew how to get me at the corner of my eyes. Tak tau lah budak ni Indon ker local. But from the way he spoke, he sounded like Indon. Tak kisah lah…Indon ker local ker…semua nye ada di bumi Malaya ni nak cari rezeki. Got the guy to cut me about 3 kilos of meat, paid for it and off I went to get the santan. So far so good. I didn’t have to stand in long queue to get my provisions.

After the santan, I headed to my usual gerai ikan. The owner, Yong (as in Buyong) was a student of mine before. So everytime when he sees me, he’ll tell his budak-budak to give his cikgu some discount. At times sampai, I sendiri rasa segan. Forever lah getting discounts for my ikan tenggiri or prawns and the other what have yous. But I could see he was ikhlas. Thanks Yong, ingat kat cikgu dia ni lagi.

My last stop was the vege gerai. Picked our usual vegetables, paid for them and went to meet up with ABE who was waiting for me at the centre of the market. OK…let’s go, I’m done here.

And as we walked out to the car, suddenly droves and droves of cars were making their way to the market. The parking bays which were empty earlier have now been filled. Fuuhh…nasib baik lah we were early. Just a 10 minute delay, would have put us together with the rest of Shah Alam folks.

Upon reaching home, I asked Bibik to get prepare barang-barang for making rendang, well you know, the usual stuffs like onions, ginger, garlic, serai etc. Bibik being Bibik, told me that everything is ready, just waiting to masak only. Wow, how efficient, what would I do without her around. Gosh, I just don’t want to imagine so. I told her that we’ll make reandang after Iftaar. That way, we can rasa the garam, gula and cili nya. Bibik gave her green light.

Next thing to do was to go get groceries from Tesco. So again, ABE & I berlari pulak ker Tesco. With the list in my hand, I grabbed the necessary items. Managed to be out of there in less than 1 hour, another record set today, I told myself.

On my way out, I got Bibik her Raya slippers from one of Raya gerais in the Tesco complex. Gold coloured low heeled slippers….sure Bibik suka.

Next destination was to the bank. I had to do some quick banking transactions before going on the Raya break. There was a queue, but it was kinda bearable. After the bank, was a quick stop at SACC to go look for a samping for Faris. Unfortunately, there was none which I felt suitable for a young man’s ware. Colours were overly bright and there was none which could match with Faris’ orangy brown baju Melayu. So, tak pe lah. Looks like it will be a repeat samping for him this year plus nobody would know anyway…

Farah's cuppies creation ...before


At home, Farah had already started with her baking. She told me earlier that she wanted to make cupcakes for her Grandmothers in Seremban. Ok..bagus lah I said to her. New at baking so, I still had to supervise her attempt. She got a little nervous while at it, afraid that her cup cakes would not turn out as expected. End result nya, ok lah…menjadi and the whole house smelt cake. Nissa was restless as the smell was really testing her determination at fasting. Mau tak nya, orang besar pun keriok-keriok perut, ni kan pula this eight year old.

Working on lil sister's baju

As Farah baked, I went on to complete my bead work. I have completed Farah’s baju kurung two nights back and it was time to work on Nissa’s. Mak datukkkk….juling-juling my eyes dibuatnya. Too bling, bling all those beads….

Bling-bling on my baju

Bling-bling on Farah's baju..yang paling glamour, by the way..

Once Nissa’s baju was nicely and colorfully embellished, it was time to work on my own baju. Two bajus to work on at one go!!! Memang asking for trouble. I did the base beading work for Nissa’s baju and after that Farah continued by just following what I had done earlier. Farah was running back and forth from the oven to the beading station (which was also our dinning table). Luckily for me, Farah managed to get the bead work on Nissa’s baju done in a few hours. Other wise, I'd have to slog some extra hours to get Nissa's baju completed.

By then it was almost Maghrib, time to buka puasa. Yeahh…29 days down 1 more to go. Everyone was so excited. After Maghrib, nak buat rendang la pulak. Ok, ok…better be quick.

It's rendang making time...

To cut the story short, I did the initial work on the rendang. Well you know the part tumis bawang, santan and others. After that Farah, Bibik and even Nissa helped merendang till selesai.

Rendang sudah masak...

By the time we completed all the chores and cleaned up the kitchen, it was almost 11.00pm and I felt as if I had run marathon twice that day. Performed my Isyak and within minutes, I was fast asleep. So did Bibik and my two girls….

Tomorrow, to pack and let’s balik kampungggggggg!!!!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Woody Obsession

One of the subjects ABE took during his undergrad studies was Wood Structures. It was a subject which he put a lot of interest in. And that semester, I learnt quite a bit about wood as well. He shared with me insights about the different types of wood like pine, mahogany, teak, rosewood, maple, just to name a few.

Choices of teak aplenty...filled to the brim

I though this “woody” business had ended after he sat for the finals of that paper at the end of the semester. Dah score dapat good grades tu habis lah kan. But tidak, that wasn’t the case. The attraction and fascination towards wood kept flaming in him even till present. When we first started looking for furniture before we moved into our house way back in the early 90s, most of the places we went to were the “woody” joints. And with that brief intro, we have now accumulated quite a number of wood pieces in the house.

My first piece was a wood display cabinet, bought just after we moved into our home. I remember rummaging through this antique furniture shop in Subang. After sometime of look see look see, I finally settled with a Merbau piece of orange-brown shade with simple floral carvings on the both sides. Unfortunately, the antique shop where I got it from closed sometime back, but I must say the piece still stands proud in our living room. Relatively not long after the Merbau cabinet, we got a dining set which was made from rosewood. Similarly, this set has become one of my favourite purchases. Even after having had it for more than 15 years, it looks very much like how we first brought it home. The six seater may have become somewhat small for our growing family. We ought to consider getting a bigger set but I simply don’t want to part with it just yet.

What's your fancy? Wall mirror??

And today, we went “wood” hunting again. A couple of weeks back, we stumbled upon this shop which sells teak furniture somewhere in Sunway. The shop, well more like a warehouse I should say, had like so many pieces of teak, mahogany, acacia wood furniture. Most of the furniture are simple in its design, nothing too gaudy nor too complicated and so very much to my liking. How lah to resist???

Bayar time... Gesek (swipe) aja Pak...encouraged the shop owner

So what was the outcome (damage pun iyer jugak) from the hunt?? Heh..heh…a mature coloured teak console cabinet. Its price was pretty reasonable and the shop will deliver tomorrow evening. In the meantime, I’d do some clearing up of the space where the cabinet is to be positioned. Hai…bercabinet baru lah pulak saya Raya ni nampak nyer ;-)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Summer of 83

The streak of hot and hazy days in the past week is indeed a test of one's determination at performing the fast. I drag having to go out at midday as it would be blazing hot and by the time I get back into the office, I’d usually end up with a splitting headache. It’s a wonder how those construction workers cope with the heat. I would have melted away in just minutes, that’s for sure.

Funny though, how the present differ from those days when I was a student. Being out in the sun was never a problem and didn’t have much effect on me. I could walk half of Seremban town and still had the energy to pay netball till late afternoon. In fact during my first year of studies in the States, fasting was observed during the hot summer days.

It was the summer of 1983, our first experience berpuasa di perantauan. Had mixed feelings actually and the “scary” fasting stories our seniors told us didn’t help much. The seniors told my friends and I that fasting was longer than back home. We wondered how it would feel fasting for more than 10 hours as Imsak was at 4.00 in the morning and iftaar was at 8.00pm. Fuhh….lamanya nak puasa tu, we thought to ourselves.

Lake Mendota Terrace...place where we lepak-ed a lot, fed the ducks, went boating and also "pak-taw" a lot here too :-)

Then when we actually started fasting, it didn’t feel as bad as how it was put to us. Tak terasa pun the long hours of fasting. Of course we had classes to attend since most of us were enrolled in summer school and masing-masing pulak took like the most number of credit hours we could (which could be a killer to the CGPA if you just bummed around and played Frisbee all summer long).

My summer time routine was class from morning till midday. Then I’d rush home on my bicycle to catch my favourite soap, General Hospital on tv. Lepas tu gi library and bila dah selesai with the assignment baru lah balik apartment and terkial-kial fikir nak masak apa for berbuka. On days when classes were not so mind boggling, ABE (who masa tu baru nak men-tackle I) and I would walk to the University Square and go watch an afternoon matinee. Jalan kaki tu…pulang balik like almost 2-3 km. There were also times when we would lepak by the lake and fed the ducks. Punyer lah so free and easy nya life back then. It was study, lepak, makan and study lagi.

Ice cream...the biggest temptation during the fasting

The average temperature during summer days in Madison, Wisconsin was 36˚C and at times it even went to as high as 40˚C. It was hot and dry and if we were not determined at fasting, mau hanyut. Nak-nak bila tengok most of the folks around us were merrily slurping away. Hai sabar je lah….

I must say that was a very memorable summer for my friends and I. Not only we became closer as roommates and friends, through the ups and downs of the summer days, but also experienced the toughest will power in upholding our faith and worship towards God Almighty.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Nissa's Raya Cards

It’s 23rd Ramadhan today. Raya is slightly more than a week away. Radio stations have started airing the evergreen Raya songs of M.Nasir, P.Ramlee, Rafeah Buang, Sanisah Huri, Uji Rashid & Hail Amir, just to name a few. Once in a while, I'd hear some rather weird sounding Raya songs. Bila dengar betul-betul, ahh they are tunes dari negara seberang. With the influx of Indonesian singers into our music industry today, I guess, it’s inevitable that this happens. But my personal favorites are still those which I could associate to my budak-budak school days.

Synonymous with Raya songs are Raya cards. I have stopped sending Raya cards a long time ago. I blame my not so nice handwriting these days (due to doing more typing than pen on paper scribblings) coupled with my laziness in organizing the required stationery as reasons for my not sending any more Raya cards.

My oblivion to Raya cards came to a halt about a week ago when Nissa showed me a Raya card she received from one of her friends. She asked me if I could get her Raya cards to balas her friend’s card. Ummpp….it’s been ages since I last bought Raya cards. Nak beli kat mana eh? Memory Lane ade kot…

So Mother and Daughter dengan confident nya walked into a Memory Lane outlet in Subang Parade and canvassed the display racks for them Raya cards. I told Nissa to pick the ones she liked and show them to me before we head to the cashier counter to make payments.

As she browsed through the cards, she picked one sweet floral card which had the words “Kepada Kekasih Ku” written on it. Almost immediately she popped me this question.

“Mama, kekasih tu apa?” asked Nissa innocently. Haiya...ni yang malas nak bercerita panjang lebar dihari-hari berpuasa, dihari-hari yang tekak dah dry up ni. I was somewhat lucky as a simple explanation about love and loving someone did the job.

Then she picked up another one. “Kepada Suami Ku” were the calligraphed words on the card. This time she made a different remark pulak. “Suami and isteri are supposed to stay in the same house kan, Mama…so kenapa need to send Raya card pulak?” Alamak…lagi mau kena cerita lah pada ini budak.

I told her that not all couples are fortunate enough and are able to stay together under the same roof. The husband could be working in Kertih, working on an oil rig (thanks to the old friends buka puasa outing last week, I came up with this brilliant example) and the wife could be in Melaka, so it’d be very thoughtful to be sending each other cards. She then responded, “Hantar email je lah. Can say more things, and have animation, music or send sms, even cheaper.”

Nissa has made her point actually. But why on earth were we in Memory Lane and choosing cards for her friends, beats the daylights out of me. So, I hurried her into finalizing her choice of cards, paid them and headed back home.

That night, we both sat and painstakingly (only I felt this, nak terlelap memasukkan cards ke dalam envelopes dia) organized the writing of the Raya cards. She enjoyed it of course. With so much enthusiasm, she took out one card after the other and wrote her friends’ names on them. She asked me what if her friends didn’t reply her cards. I told her to do this with sincerity and don’t harapkan balasan. Then her face changed and showed little sadness over my statement.

Not wanting her to be disappointed over the hard work, I dengan bangganya perturunkan an old trick I used during my Raya-card-sending-days. Told her to try this pantun dua kerat.

And with that Mama dearest telah shared this overly used (and abused) pantun dua kerat.

Pecah kaca pecah gelas
Sudah baca harap balas

Let’s see if any of her friends get the message yah….

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Remembering Abah - Part I

My Abah, Tn Hj Mohd Noor bin Tadin
1936 - 21 Sept 1990

As I wheeled him into the Operating Theater, I whispered to him to remember God and InshaAllah he would be fine and we’d be praying for his recovery. He nodded his head and with a heavy heart, I watched the hospital personnels wheel him into the OT. The nurses asked me to wait outside and they’d call for me later when the procedure was completed.

And that was the last time I spoke to him. “Him”, my Abah left us that night 21 September 1999, moments after he arrived at the OT, even before the surgeons could do anything to him.

Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi raji'un From Allah we come ; to Allah we return.

It has been 9 years since that fateful night at HKL. I still remember my brother and uncle’s faint voices calling out to Abah in the OT. In the beginning, there was silence and then panic voices suddenly broke the stillness in the OT.

“Abah, mengucap Bah…mengucap Bah. La illah ha-illa Allah....” That were the exact words of my brother.

Then there was silence again. Minutes later, my brother emerged from the OT and he said, “Nyah, Abah…Abah dah tak de.”

My aunty who was with me, came and hugged me. My body felt so light as if I was flying. For a while, I thought I saw flashes of light before my eyes. There was no feelings what so ever in me at that time. I stood and stared at my brother. He then said I could go into the OT and say my goodbye to Abah. I remember my other aunty’s strong grip, holding my arm and telling me to be strong.

In the OT, there he was, his eyes closed and he looked so calm. It was as if Abah was in deep sleep. No more pain, no more sadness. I just stood by him and when I felt his body, he was still warm. The whole time I felt blank. Next thing I knew was my aunty telling me, “Ida, you can kiss Abah, Ida. Cium kat kepala dia.” Obediently, I did as what she asked me to do. It was then I whispered my last good bye to my beloved Abah.

“Selamat jalan Abah. Semoga Abah selamat di sana.....”

Nyah or Anyah – the name my siblings call me by.
Ida – how I’m addressed by the rest of the family.

Remembering Abah - Part II

L to R my sis Yati, Abah, my brother Tauffik & me

It was the year 1999, in the wake of the new millennium, when it all happened. I was at my sister’s house in Bandar Kinrara when Mom’s maid called. Her few distorted words had us wondering on what actually happened. The maid was Sumarah, a young plum girl from East Jawa. Gasping in between her breath, she said, “Bapak jatuh masa padam api kat masjid. Sekarang di rumah sakit.”

Huh? Jatuh? Padam api? Those where the questions playing in our minds. Did Abah have a heart attack? Yes we knew that he did have a mild problem with his blood pressure. But it was under control, at least that was what he told us.

Quickly, we organized the children and informed the maids on what they needed to do before we headed back to Seremban. My sister’s husband, Shah offered to drive us to Seremban Hospital that evening.

Abah proudly looking at his 1st grandchild, Faris who was only 3 months then

When we got to the hospital, we went straight to the ward where he was admitted. The moment we arrived, Mom was there and some of our neighbours were also with her. And there was Abah lying on the bed, looking helplessly and in so much pain. Ya Allah….what had happened? That was the immediate question running on my mind.

Abah with my two children, Faris & Farah

Mom looked concerned and we waited eagerly to speak to the doctor in-charged.

I asked Pak Cik Dolah, our immediate neighbour what exactly happened to Abah. He then recollected the incident he witnessed at the mosque a few hours ago. According to Pak Cik Dolah, Abah was trying to put off a small fire which had broken out in the compound of the mosque after Asar prayers. It was a dry day and the fire, which started near the slope of the mosque, was slowly spreading. When Abah was putting off the fire at the steep slope, he lost his balance and he fell almost 20 feet down. The other men found him at the bottom of the slope calling out in pain. The blow from the fall had damaged some of his nerves causing him to be paralyzed shoulder down. He couldn’t lift his hands and neither could he move his legs.

It was then I knew that the whole accident was more complicated than how Sumarah had described earlier in her phone call. We were positive when we first spoke to the doctors. The neurologist explained to us Abah’s actual condition. He said recovery would take a long time, provided there were no other complications. The concerned looks of my brother’s face confirmed my fear. Earlier on, he had a doctor-to-doctor talk with the neurologist, orthopedic surgeon and the physician. That night on our way back to KL, everyone kept silent. The only audible sound was our occasional sighs. We dragged having to leave Abah at the hospital but we somehow had to get back to make the necessary arrangements at our own home fronts. I promised Mom that I’d come back on the next day.

It wasn’t easy those days when Abah was hospitalized. From Seremban Hospital, he was transferred to HUKM, where my brother was attached to. Unfortunately, HUKM didn’t have the special bed needed to treat a patient with such casualty as Abah. He then was transferred again, to HKL this time.

Abah with his teaching colleagues

Abah’s condition was unpredictable. One day he was ok and the next he could be fighting for his live. I remember one afternoon at HKL when I was relieving Mom to take care of him, he suddenly went blue and was gasping for air. He couldn’t breathe. I told myself, if God were to take him at that time, I was prepared, redha dengan ketentuan Yang Maha Esa. I rubbed his temple and read some ayats to his ears. Not long after that, he calmed down and was able to breath like normal. The doctor than told me to gather the rest of the family members. He said that Abah was critical.

Being immobilized had apparently caused other problems in Abah’s medical condition. Ulcers began developing in his stomach. His lungs were somewhat affected too, all the time when he was just lying on his bed. One time his condition was so bad that he was put in ICU for close watch. In ICU he had wires all over his body. It was then I came to terms that I may loose Abah. When he was in ICU we took turns to read the Yassin. I knew he could hear us but he was so in pain to respond. Every time I read the Yassin, my eyes would be filled with tears. I felt so helpless, how else could I help ease his pain.

Abah & Mom - one of their umrah trips

It wasn’t easy for Mom. She had been spending most of her time in the hospital. We took turns to bring her food for her meals. I remember braving the jam to get to the hospital before dinner time. There were also times when I came to visit after visiting hours were over. The hospital guards were hash on me but that didn’t deter me from going up to be with Abah, even for a short while. I pasrah for this was a test from God Almighty, a real test of our emotions, physical and mental strength.

Abah suffered for almost 50 days. Just hours before he was taken to the OT, I remember Mom taking to him about how she had accepted all of God’s test on her. She redha with everything that had happened. What touched me was when she said she loved Abah so much and she minta Abah maafkan all her wrong doings in the past and halalkan semua makan minum all these while. Even though Abah couldn’t to respond to Mom’s words, I knew he heard and understood every word uttered by Mom. Not long after that, I saw my bother taking his ablution, he then took out the Surah Yassin from his pocket, and started to recite the Yassin with tears in his eyes. Being a doctor, surely he had seen such a situation happening to others. Surely, he had all the comforting words for the patient’s family members. But now, it was him being tested by God Almighty, a test of his professional credibility and a test of a filial son's emotions and strength.

Abah all set for his umrah trip - a family send off by his children & grandchildren

Dealing with Abah’s loss wasn’t easy. During the earlier months after his passing, every time I went back to our family home in Seremban, I’d be on a look out for Abah. I felt that he was still with us, present during the family talks and chats. It took a while for me to deal with his death. Most of the time, when I performed my solat, I’d pray alone. And I'd be crying until my eyes were tired, until there was no more tears to shed.

That Ramadhan in 1999, it was through my teraweh prayers I seek solace in God and it helped to ease the sadness in me. My thoughts were so much of him. Each year, Ramadhan comes and Ramadhan leaves but I hold fond and dear memories of Abah so very close in my heart. When I feel especially sad, I tell myself that I am truly blessed to have had such a loving father. And I can never thank him enough for all of the things he taught me, and for all of the wonderful memories he has given me to treasure.


(More Memories of Abah at my sister's blog space http://notimeoff.blogspot.com/)

Monday, September 15, 2008

House Repair and Raya Cleaning

A couple weeks back when I sat having tea at the back patio of our home, I discovered hairline cracks appearing on the less than a year old walls of the house. Curiosity got into me and I asked Bibik how long those cracks had been there. She said, “Ohh..udah lama, Buk.” And what got me even more heated up was when she took me on a house tour of other cracks that had appeared. Similar hairline cracks were seen in the kitchen and the living room.

View of cracks after workmen enlarged them before putting the cement plaster

Kitchen wall - also view after workmen hacked open the smaller cracks

Ahhh..plaster dah

I was very upset on the discovery that I took pictures of the cracks and MMSed them to ABE. Bibik then told me, “Ohh…Bapak udah tau itu….” She left the statement unfinished. Guess she didn’t want to add salt to my already infuriated nerves. It was obvious to her that the other half of her employer would be in the soup over those godforsaken cracks.

Works on the back patio

Unlike my Mom who has this ever so diligent Ah Kee, the neighborhood favourite handyman cum contractor, who would come running to fix her house when there is a leak in the pipe or a chip on the wooden door of hers, I have ABE, the live in plumber, carpenter, gardener, car mechanic (the 8 in 1 deal, I call it) etc, etc. I must compliment that ABE does excel in some of the tasks he undertakes.

So when your spouse is the handyman, the response rate to your SOS may not be as prompt as Mom’s Ah Kee. Ah Kee gets paid with the crispy blue notes and ABE gets paid in the form of services (ehem…ehem..now, now, let’s not get ourselves overly excited with this word “services” yah). Occasionally I’d help spice up his power point presentations and make them so canggih that even his IT department folks would gasps for fresh air (bukan susah pun, guna template yang existingly available je). There was also one time when I rescued his notebook from crashing and also wiped out all the trojans, virus and worms which were happily multiplying, result from his innocence, clicking on an inviting link forwarded in the email.

“Services” after “services” rendered and those irritating cracks were still on my walls and some of them have become wider by a few millimeters. I was already talking about structure defects and all the possible worst things that could happen to the house. I even describe as vividly as I could one day, that if one of the walls came crushing down, we would be so close to cars passing by the roadside that I could work at the Road Transport Department doing vehicle registration after that.
Plaster work

The dust....

Finally, after a long process of cajoling and making some emotional blackmails, the repair squad arrived at our home last weekend. The team, consisting of 2 workers and 1 boss, got on to work almost immediately after they set foot into the house. They merrily went on with the hacking of the walls even before we could cover the furniture with old sheets to protect dust from setting on them. The dust, the noise, the whole works, you name it. My two girls refused to leave their room in protest of what was being done to the house. I couldn’t really tell if they were upset with me for making a big fuss over cracks of a few centimeter big or with their dad for not informing them of what’s up ahead of their otherwise quiet and peaceful weekend. My maternal instincts had it that they were upset with the former. But then, I was merely thinking of the family’s safety….

The living room, ultimate horror...

The ever so efficient Bibik

When the work was done, the workmen did help with the cleaning of the bigger mess – debris from the knocked walls, much to my relief. As for the dusty furniture and the getting the house back to how it was the night before, well, it was Bibik and I who took over from then on. I could have just left Bibik to handle the cleaning but she was fasting too and for sure she’d be as tired as everyone else. Pheww…I couldn’t recollect when was the last time I did such a bone breaking chore.
The dust on the piano....tak ke "angin" dibuat nyer ni!!!

Fragments of the hacked wall

One thing good about the unplanned cleaning work created by the crack repairs , was that I got started early on my Raya house cleaning. I dusted, mopped, vacuumed, washed and polished the furniture with all my heart. Even took down the curtains and sent them for washing later that evening. If anyone had sketched me on my knees scrubbing the paint spots left on the floor, I bet I look just like the storybook illustrations of Cinderella in the kitchen on the night before she went to the dance at the palace. ABE lamented that I had the cleaning skills in my bones still and should Bibik leave the household in the near future, rest assured he knew that the house would still be in good care of the Madam. Iyer lah tu…..I’d probably do it for just one day and I’d resort to getting my own cleaning squad to take over the cumbersome tasks.

My curtains will be back from the laundry on Wednesday and I’ll put them up and I am so ready for Raya already. Just need to go collect those cookies and start arranging them on the kitchen top, a good enough indicator that Raya is just round the corner.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

80s Song Hafal-thon

Let yourself loose and enjoy this office drama.

Set location :

Office on the 4th floor over looking the lake. Dominated by IT professionals. IT rules in this office. Always so busy, especially when projects are in full bloom.

The only neutral domain was the Human Resource area. Human Resource as the name has it, has always been the neutralizer between the IT and non IT professionals.

Main casts :
Chatters@work comprising -
1 Finance Assistance (FA) - age 30 something
1 Project Manager (PM) - age 40 something
1 Technical Manager (TM) - also 40 something
1 HR manager (HRM) - age late 30s
1 COO same age as project manager and technical manager

Scene in the office:

Buzzing for the past 3 days. Tensed. Tender submission. Lots of folks going in out in out the Mission Operations Room. Some of them have not slept on their own comfy beds for the last 1 week. Even Mr COO has been very much involved in this tender process. A very hands-on person and the COO of the year award awaits him.

The last document for the tender submission was just compiled seconds ago and Mr COO gave his final go for all the documents to be sealed. Next thing to do was to load everything into the car and do the drop off at the tender submission office before noon. The Project Manager was confident that they‘d be able to make it before the cut off time.

Say a prayer people, and with the utterance of Bismillahirrahmannirrahiim, off they went. The tender document carriers were out of the building, accompanied by an outrider in German make MPV. Fuhh…kalah lori bawak duit siling Bank Negara.

Mr COO came out from the Mission Operations Room, giving one big sigh of relief. He walked over to the HR Manager’s cubicle and met up the rest of the gang. The Project Manager was there to enquire the fundings for the another upcoming project. The Technical Manager was there to submit his expense claims.

Background music :

ERA radio station morning playlist. Current tune Nubhan’s “Aku Untuk Mu”

And the drama went like this....

FA : Iyer Puan..nak check funding eh?
PM : Ha lah…bila nak masuk ni? Project XYZ dah dapat and about to start dah ni...
FA : By next week kot.
PM : Kot? Kot dapat or kot tak dapat?
FA all smiles....no words from her.

PM sensing the tense, immediately changed the topic and commented on the tune on the background.

PM : Eh…u suka ker budak Nubhan ni?
FA : Ooo...ok lah. Suara pun ok. Ni je kan satu lagu dia?
PM : I think so lah. U know budak ni sedara I... Satu kampung with my mother (chewah…promote la pulak)
FA : Iyer ker???
HRM : Wah…puan u got a celebrity as a sedara…glamour lah u
PM : Cheh…mana glamour nyer…I hardly know the boy. Mak dia I pernah lah jumpa.
FA : His voice serak-serak gitu.
PM : Ok lah….if digilap bakat nyer tu…boleh kot ganti Anuar Zain (on second thought…tak lah kot. Pitching lariii lah, ekkaw Nubhan)

COO walked towards the happy chatters.

COO : You know a few weeks back my son wanted to make a scrapbook. School assignment and scrapbook is to compile lyrics of 10 songs.
PM : Waaa…sekolah mana ni? Boleh pulak cari-cari lagu. (cisshhh..laser max si PM ni)
FA : Alah ...untuk language learning kot puan....
PM : Iyer ker? (still skeptical about the whole scrapbook-lyric thingy)

PM : So letak lyrics lagu apa?
COO : My son & I GOOGLE lah lagu-lagu hits terkini. Found a couple of interesting songs. Apa lagu tu yang bunyi nyer “Oo..oh, kamu ketahuan…pacaran lagi..”
FA : Ooo…lagu group MATTA tu..
PM : Group apa? MATTA? Indon ker? Yang I tau MATTA ni MATTA fair je...(tengok tu what’s in the head of the PM...nak gi jalan je...tender documents tadi belum pun sampai ke destinasi. PM dah nak jalan-jalan lagi!!)
COO : I dapat lah lagu from groups like HUJAN, SPIDER, HATTAN…ada lagi lah I tak ingat. And then my son was short of one song. Teacher asked to put 10 songs. I told him letak lah lagu Anuar Zain.
PM : Which Anuar Zain song would that be? (macam lah she knew all of Anuar Zain’s songs. Chit…Oh by the way, Anuar Zain was the ultimate jejaka idaman se Malaya of PM..masa she muda-muda dulu lah. Before Anuar Zain was Nasir Wahab….konon nya ex boyfriend school days looked like Nasir Wahab....gosh so, so belia…eeeyewwww!!!)
COO : My son didn’t want to include Anuar Zain. He said Anuar Zain makcik-makcik je yang listen to!!! (ha..kena you sebijik PM…)
PM : Ok pe Anuar Zain (chewah…macam nak kena kan daku je ni)

COO : Eh you all listen to what type of songs eh? (looking at FA)
FA : Entah…semua lagu dengar.

COO : Ha…group BONEY M tau?
PM : Lagu “Ra..ra…rasputin” I know lah. (apa hal COO ni tetiba je mention BONEY M pulak tu)
FA : Huh? (giving a ultimate non comprendo facial response)
PM : Ha...Sting or POLICE tau?
FA : Tak

PM : Gosh...this is difficult man. REO Spedwagon tau?
FA : Tak tau

COO : Rick Springfield tau?
HRM : Who is that?

By now the 80s song hafal-thon was dominated by the COO and PM. Iyer lah…orang seangkatan tua..hehe..hehe.
PM : Ingat tak group JOURNEY?
COO : Of course. Lagu “Open Arms” kan? MAN AT WORK tau?
PM : Apa pulak tak tau nyer…hits dia “Down Under”.
COO : John Cougar Mellencamp..lagu “Jack & Diane” and “Hurt So Good”.
PM : Alan Parson Project tau? Lagu “Eye in the Sky”. Intro of the song best wooo… (macam she was the one who composed the song la plak..)

COO : There was this movie…lagu dia up, up something.
PM : “Up Where We Belong” by Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes in the movie “Officer and Gentleman”.
COO : Woo…u boleh remember all those?
PM : Hey I studied CS (Computer Science that is ) lah dulu. Bab-bab menghafal ni dalam tangan daaa... My Chemistry teacher in school last time told us this masa nak sit for SPM. “Tak payah faham, hafal sajaaaa….”.

COO : Ooo..who sang ”What a Wonderful World” ? That big black guy…
PM : Ummpp…ummppp siapa eh his name? (Actually the name Louis Armstrong did emerge, but wasn’t too sure coz another Armstrong name came about. Neil Armstrong..gosh itu the first man who set foot on the moon lah!!! )
PM : Of course… lagu dia “When Doves Cry” tu…also lagu “Little Red Corvette”

COO : Female singers masa tu …..MADONNA…and another one, her look alike but tak menjadi tu. Who was it?
PM : Cyndi Lauper lah….song was “True Colours”
COO : Eh u all don’t know ka these singers? (Looking at FA and the HRM)
FA : Tak tau lah Boss. Kalau MICHEAL JACKSON tu tau lah.
PM : One last chance AIR SUPPLY tau?
FA : Also don’t know lah…..ni mesti sama time with my hubby ni….
COO : Gosh…tua dah kita ni.
PM : Heh..heh..tau tak pe....

Anyhow, the TM who has been keeping quiet thought out the conversation seemed so amused by this hidden talent of his superior and colleague, respectively. Perhaps he wasn’t much into music, so unlike the other two (especially the PM lah).

The COO then walked into his room to make some phone calls and chatters@work resumed with their tasks.

Agak-agak nya who could be given the Music in My Head Award? Anyway, this story is purely FICTION. Sikit saja kaitan with yang hidup atau mati.

Nonetheless, didn’t you think the 80s song hafal-thon was indeed a good retrospect down memory lane?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Tonight's Moon

Snapped this view of the moon on my way out of the prayer hall at the Shah Alam mosque just a while ago. I was dazzled....

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Teraweh Tonight

I was excited about going for teraweh prayers again tonight. Went on the first night then had to stop for couple of days. Tau-tau je lah masalah orang perempuan ni. On the first Ramadhan night, I did my teraweh in Seremban, where the practise is to do only 10 rakaats of teraweh followed by the usual 3 rakaats of witir.

The big blue mosque in Shah Alam, however, does it differently. In fact many mosques and suraus in Selangor do 20 plus 3 of teraweh and witir respectively. "Ohhh....so lama," moan some folks. Yes, memang banyak rakaat nya but believe me tak terasa pun. When I first did all the 20+3 rakaats, berpeluh jugak. But as the saying goes, alah bisa tegal biasa.

Last night's Teraweh prayers was led by the Imam, Uztaz Mustaffa, a hafiz who recited the ayats from the holy Quran with brilliance and beauty. His lagu when reciting the ayats sounded like a lullaby calling towards full submission to God Almighty.

Ohh...syahdu nya rasa di hati....

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Iftaar with Orphans

The idea of doing breaking fast with the orphans came about during last year's Ramadhan. We (my Haj group of friends) were at a family berbuka puasa and the Pak-Pak Haji were the ones who mooted the idea. Unfortunately, it was way towards the end of Ramadhan when we met and there wasn't enough time to make the necessary preparations.

The strong men of the "project" Tn Hj Saiful (standing), seated L-R Tn Hj Kamalul, Tn Hj Jamil, Tn Hj Zul & Ustaz Hj Din. Not in picture Tn Hj Nasir (who had dropped by earlier)

Shukur kepada Allah SWT, this year, our group dipanjangkan umur, diberikan kesihatan yang baik dan dimurahkan rezeki to realise our earlier plans. The group proceeded by doing homework on which orphanage to select for the Iftaar do. Upon screening the list, we finally decided on one home in Seremban. The home, Rumah Anak Yatim Darul Aminan is an orphanage run by a generous couple, Tn Hj Kamalul and Pn Rozita for the past few years. The home houses 46 children, 22 girls and 24 boys, aged between 1 - 17 years.

Buffet berbuka for the children

Each child has a story to tell. Some have lost both parents, while the slightly more fortunate ones still have either a father or mother. There are also children whose families could not afford to support them due to poverty or physical disabilities of the bread winner in the family.

It was a simple do yesterday evening. The program started with tazkirah followed by Iftaar together. It was solat Maghrib berjemaah after that. After the solat, we indulged in the delicious masakan kampung prepared by the caterer. One of the dishes, tulang masak lemak cili api was mind blowing!! Ohhh...sodap eh!!!

Pengat at morey

The Ustaz led the Isha and Teraweh prayers soon after the makan. The caterer prepared pengat sago and pisang for 'morey'. Macam tau-tau pulak caterer ni yang pengats are my favourite. I finished a good helping of the pengat pisang. So much for wanting to diet during this fasting month, semperna nak meraikan the orphans, tak pe lah.

Children eagerly waited for their goodies

Sepatah dua kata from ayah, Tn Hj Kamalul on behalf of the children.

Pemberian sumbangan to the children

Three brand new PCs for the children's usage. Consider these present raya yer :-) But must promise to put them to good use.

Before we left the children, we handed each one of them sedikit sumbangan to cheer them up for the Ramadhan days ahead and also the upcoming Aidil Fitri. We hope our sedekah ikhlas to the children has managed to uplift their spirits and inspire them in this holy month. InshaAllah....

Friday, September 5, 2008

KL oh KL...

It took me 2 1/2 hours to get home this evening. Yes, a good two hours and thirty minutes from KLCC to Shah Alam. Distance was approximately 50km. And that was some test of one's patience on the road, more so during this holy fasting month.

I felt like screaming but what difference would that make. My throat would only hurt more and it wasn't like orang lain would dengar and sympathize with my aching plus fed up heart.

So what could be the cause of the chaos? My guesses are the following.

2. Everyone's rushing to berbuka at home
3. Drivers (more like jerks) who try and cut lanes
4. No policemen on duty
5. Kaypo chis who MUST stop to look at an accident
6. Rain and more rain

This bus ikut sesuka hati je cilok...

The list could get longer and there is no doubt about that.

The famous Alleycats Senyumlah Kuala Lumpur song goes like this.
Kuala Lumpur senyuman mu
Di pagi ini
Sungguh bererti
Kerna cinta bersemi lagi
Setelah kemarau panjang

My version however sounds like this.

Kuala Lumpur tangisan ku
Di petang ini
Sungguh lah sedih hati
Kerna sakit kaki
Setelah berbaris panjang