Saturday, September 26, 2009

Bungapi & Congkak

What's Raya to the children without bungapi lah kan. From those hand held thin sparking stick bungapi to mercun pop-pop to those of national day celebration equivalent, the children just didn't seem to have enough. I am particularly not in favour of bungapi and mercun what nots. But setakat nak bakar sikit-sikit and with adult supervision, the children are allowed to have their wish list fulfilled.

My sister's boy happy dapat main bungapi

Ilham in action

More bungapi....

Nissa & cousin Nadhira

Haaa...these were the "supervisors". Cheh...sempat posing lagi!!
Farah, TM's Aliah & latest member to the family Baby Umai

Those were the children's enthusiastic looks on malam Raya. On the third day of Raya, they all sat scared stiff in front of the telly watching "Congkak".

TM's Alina & Alim...takut tapi still nak tengok


Haaa...yg ni apa cerita pulak??? Dah lah "chop" seat right in front, siap bawak bantal lagi...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Wanna Know What We Did On Raya?

About 15 young men just left the house. They were Faris' mates from his secondary school in Seksyen 9 Shah Alam. Last I saw them, they were in their teens. Now dah macam bapak-bapak orang, how fast they have grown. Most of them are in Uni now and during their last few remaining days of the Raya break, they have decided to make one complete round, visiting each others houses.

I was supposed to be at work today. Tapi bila bangun this morning, macam tak de mood lagi nak gi office. So...I decided to take an extra off day today. Cuti, cuti jugak lah kan...but emails that came in thru BB, kena jugak lah look into. I'm pretty ok with this flexible arrangement.

Anak-anak bujang - there were 15 of them all together

I managed to quickly put together mee hailam for Faris and his famished friends. Licinnnn...tak tinggal apa pun. Seronok bila tengok makanan habis.

This year's raya was okay. The same routine as previous years, gi ziarah relatives in Kuala Pilah and then beraya pulak at relatives houses in Seremban. Penat but seronok.

Hope you all had a good raya just as we did. Sharing here our Raya pics.

Petang raya...the little kids created their own game...ikat selipar & balinggggggg......

Yeahh..tak kena!!!

Tak kena jugakkkk!!!

Here comes Alina the sharp shooter...
three throws all kena target :)

The bigger boys went online immediately...yang baju merah catching up with news...yang baru biru, Abang Ali (TM's son) sibuk berladang....FarmVille lah apa lagi :)
That nite rumah Uwan turned into a cybercafe!!

Yang ni was creating his own restaurant business at Restaurant City

Yang ni online at MySpace from PSP!!

Next day.... on Raya day, back from solat Aidilfitri at the regular mosque. Time for family pics folks.

The Zuls at Mom's house in Seremban

Faris, Nissa & Farah

Ehemmm...pengantin tuo nih :D

The two little ones are my brother's children - Najmi & Nadhira...sudah mau balik Sabah ba...

Farah, Faris, Nissa and cousins Najmi, Ilham, Ammar & Nadhira

Nak balik kampung beraya di Kuala Pilah...the crawl up Bukit Putus (special note to Tok MB...bilo lae nak siap jalan ni tok?? Last year pun cam ni gak!!! Ayoooo....isn't anyone doing anything???)

Abe posing in front of his Mom's kampung house. He said the family lived there till they moved to Seremban in the 70s

Wishing everyone a safe journey back to the city.
Selamat Beraya di kota pula yea :)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Eid Mubarak

To all Sembang readers near and far, minal ‘aidin wal faizin, sepuluh jari disusun memohon maaf semperna Aidilfitri yang bakal menjelma.

Rambut disisir diandam cekap
Fesyen terkini ikutan belia
Puasa sebulan sudahlah lengkap
Kini menjelma Syawal mulia

Di Aidilfitri kita bermaafan
Menghapus kesalahan sesama insan
Perpaduan dipupuk memberi ehsan
Bersama mengikat tali keakraban

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Udah Sampei......

Yesterday, I received a text message from Bibik's daughter, Ros in Lampung, informing me that her mother has arrived home safely. According to Ros, Bibik didn't manage to get a flight from Jakarta to Bandar Lampung as there was none available on the same day she arrived. Left with no choice, she took the taxi (known as "travel" over there) back to her kampung. It's a longggggg journey, almost 24 hours of travel time from Jakarta to Bandar Lampung.

Nissa is slowly adjusting to the present situation at home. I spend some time to see her off to school in the morning and she's absolutely pleased with this arrangement. It was only on the first night that she was rather down. When I checked on her that night, I saw her buried under her pillow, sobbing away. She was heart-broken I could see. A big hug came from me, calmed her down and we chatted about why Bibik had to leave. Alhamdulillah....she understood everything that was explained to her and able to come to terms with the change.

She asked me to post a nice picture of her and Bibik in the blog and help her to express her feelings about Bibik's departure.

This is for you Nissa...cheer up and always know that we all love you so very much.

Never realized
How lonely it would be
when the day came
and you went away

You said good bye
How my heart ached
I tried hard not to cry
But memories of you
Will guide me thru’

Meme: Save Yvonne's Sight

Yours truly was tagged by Mamasita. And yes, I'm better today. No more running to the toilet to blow my stuffed nose and wash my tear stained face (cari pasal lah kalu nak leleh kat office....budak-budak mesti kata "Pe hal puan kita hari ni tangkap leleh??")

Anyway, here goes the meme.

Three things I love to see.

1. Mom during prayers.
2. The children at dinner time.
3. Fresh snow fall

"Yvonne Foong is in danger of losing her eyesight thanks to neurofibromatosis (NF). Please find out how you can help her by visiting her blog at

You can also help by sending on this meme. If you do, please follow these meme rules:

1. Create a blog entry titled "Meme: Save Yvonne's Sight"
2. List three things you love to see. Add in the picture of Yvonne's book cover. The URL is
3. End with the line, "Yvonne Foong is in danger of losing her eyesight thanks to neurofibromatosis (NF). Please find out how you can help her by visiting her blog at
4. Tag 5 blog friends. Be sure to copy the rules, OK?
5. If you have a Facebook account, please check out Ellen's new invention, a "feme" pronounced FEEM, a meme designed for Facebook here. And if you want to blog about NF, that would be great too!

Am I tagging anyone? Ummpppp...ader sorang ---> TM (coz I know she dah khatam Quran, so can do this tag lah)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Farewell Bibik..... : - (

Kasmiaton bt Kasimun, that was the name typed in the maid biodata form sent to me by an agent in Pekan Baru. It sounded Javanese and our call to the agent afterwards confirmed it. Her picture with an apron on looked kinda funny and she had that awkward smile too. Well, what would one expect of a “petani” trying to look her level best like a professional domestic help.

We had no choice as that was the only "decent" biodata sent to us. Being the desperados that we were, we just had to make that gamble and take in this elderly woman as our maid. And that was how it all began. Seven years ago, sometime in early 2002 Bibik Kasmiaton became a member of our family.

Bibik’s first commitment test came when Nissa was down with high fever and was hospitalized at SJ*C. Nissa was only 1plus then and was a real cling on every time she was not well. That was also the time when I just started work in the organization that I am now. My preschool project was just commencing and there was no way that I could be away from the office for a long period of time. So Bibik was my savior. She attended to Nissa night and day till she was discharged. I was running to and fro, office – hospital – home like a mad person checking on both of them. Alhamdulillah we survived that trying times and of course Bibik was a major contributor at putting things under control.

Me sharing with TM what it would be like when Bibik is not around

So that’s how it has been in my household…it’s Bibik here, Bibik there, Bibik this and Bibik that. So much so Mom said that she doesn’t know how I will cope when Bibik is not around. Bibik cooks, does the ironing, cleans the house, walks Nissa to sekolah, goes to the market on weekends…the list is endless, the chores she did for the Zs household. She was in fact still ironing Abe’s work shirt last night, after she finished packing her own stuffs. She still fussed about everyone not eating enough at Sahur just now, hours before she was due to depart. Well, that’s Bibik…always putting US first before her own self.

The four Bibiks in the family. With Bibik Kasmiaton leaving, only three left. Sulastri (first from left) is Bibik's replacement. She's also Bibik's daughter in law.

After she returned from the holidays last year, she told us that it was time for her to call it quit, her tenure as a domestic help. She said, “Saya sudah tua. Badan udah penat. Saya usaha di rumah saja lah.” I knew this was coming someday. I couldn’t keep her forever in my house, no matter how much I wanted to. She’s bound to return to her family one day. I negotiated with her on her return date. After sitting down to discuss matters, we both agreed that she goes back before Eid. Bibik was elated, but I was devastated. However, I know I have to let go….no matter how painful.

Bibiks and the anak-anak

As I write this posting, Bibik is already on the plane, somewhere above Malaysia’s air space still and in less than an hour and a half, she’d touch down at Bandara Soekarno Hatta Jakarta. From there on, she'll continue her journey to her kampung in Lampung. She had gone round to say her good bye to her friends and our neighbours yesterday. My sisters and family also dropped by yesterday to meet her and it was very much to her delight. I know deep down she was not expecting anything, she just wanted to be appreciated.

I promised myself not to be teary when she leaves. But I just can’t help it. In the car before we left for LCCT she had this to say, “Assalamualaikum….tinggal ya rumah. Bibik balik dulu ya. Selamat tinggal Malaysia.” I turned away when tears welled my eyes; hoping no one would notice the sudden burst of emotions.

Merci...desperately seeking Bibik this morning.

Now back at home it still feels like she is walking around doing this and that. It is going to take a while for all of us to adapt to Bibik not being around us. We will surely miss her nasi briyani, asam laksa, roti jala, just to mention a few plus all the other juadah she has mastered at preparing for us.

To Bibik I have this to say.

Hanya Tuhan sahaja yang dapat membalas jasa baik Bibik kepada kami sekeluaga. Terima kasih kerana Bibik telah menyinari hidup kami selama ini. Kami doakan agar Bibik sentiasa dirahmati Allah, diberikan kesihatan yang baik, dikurniakan murah rezeki dan panjang umur hendaknya. Semoga Bibik juga gembira berada disamping keluarga.

Selamat Hari Raya Bibik dan Maaf Zahir Batin dari kami semua.

Read how Bibik started in the Zs household here.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Uncle Bas vs Pak Cik Dol

Our van driver, Pak Cik Dol practically raced us home. I could feel his aging Datsun pickup doddered as he stepped on the accelerator. He fussed over kids who took their own sweet time walking towards his waiting van, yet he authoritatively shooed everyone safe into the vehicle. The responsibility entrusted upon him was huge. Diligently he had to get these little tots, first timers at fasting delivered home on time before iftaar. Failing to do so, may just upset their parents. Not so much because the kids were late but this may just put them off from observing the practice in the holy month of Ramadhan. Pak Cik Dol knew that kids of that tender age - seven and eight, or more like their will power at fasting was rather fragile.

Pak Cik Dol was our school van driver. I remember Pak Cik Dol well. He was rather tanned, quite good looking and when he smiled his “gigi emas” always stole the show. Mom said that he used to work in Singapore as the pay was better across the Causeway. Over the years, he saved enough and bought his family a house right opposite the mosque. He then left Singapore and came back to be with his family. And this was also when he started the school transport business of his.

In the early days when Pak Cik Dol started his school pick up business, his service was offered to children of close friends and neighbours in the housing area where he stayed. It didn’t take his business long to flourish and in a few years he was the proud owner of a fleet of buses. His friendly disposition made him very likeable in the community. In no time he became bilal at the mosque and we’d hear him reciting the adzan, cajoling the sleepy heads to rise each morning to perform the solat.

That was Pak Cik Dol then. He had passed on. God bless his soul and gives him rewards for the good deed he had done to us.

The story of Nissa’s bus driver, however is no where close to Pak Cik Dol’s. During the fasting month, school finishes at 5.30pm. One would expect the kids to arrive home by 6.00pm, oh well maybe latest by 6.15pm right? They’d have time to change and rest a while before it’s time to break fast. Unfortunately, that is not the story with Nissa. Last week, three days in a row, she arrived home later than 6.30pm, exhausted and cranky. She was in no mood to speak to anyone except her kitties. And by the time she finished eating at iftaar, she almost fell asleep at the dinner table. It was such a pitiful sight. Thank God there were no complaints about not wanting to fast on the next day.

Last night I asked the poor girl about her late arrivals from school. I had expected her reply to be “I was playing with my friends and I missed the first bus and I had to take the next one…bla…bla bla…”

Instead she had this to give to me, “Uncle Bas tu tidooo lah Mama. Dia jemput semua budak lambat.”

“Mana Nissa tau?” my question came immediately afterwards.

“Iyer…Uncle bagi tau to all of us yang he tido and that’s why he came late to fetch us.”

Me….terdiam with outright exasperation. There I was, assuming Uncle Bas was as efficient and responsible as Pak Cik Dol, instead this plumpish, sleepy head was merrily taking time on his hands, dozing on off as he wishes.

Nasib baik puasa, so ada ampun buat Uncle Bas. Anyhow, I must remember to put a complain to the bus company about him. I can't imagine what it's like when he comes to fetch the kids, half awake and not alert to the children's safety and well-being on the moving bus. Isshhh..takut nya bila fikir. So in the mean time, I’d have to take over Uncle Bas' duties. These days I hardly wait long in the office. The moment the clock strikes 4.30pm...that's it, I'd have to call off the day, pack my stuffs, head to the elevator, get into my car, pray that the traffic is smooth and race back to pick up Nissa at her school. It can get pretty stressfull at times when there are also thousand others doing the same stunt like me. This week I got the UPSR exam to thank to, as school is out for the non exam sitting children. And that leaves me with just next week to deal with before school closes for the Raya break.

So in the mean time.......looks like I'd just have to sabarrrrrr.....

Friday, September 4, 2009

Oh Bulan.....

15 Ramadhan 1430H

Alhamdullilah we are halfway through. Observation of this holy month has been virtuous so far. The girls are coping well with their fasting, excited at iftaar but grumpy at sahur. There have been tensed moments when Nissa refused to take in anything more than her glass of Milo at sahur. Memang menguji kesabaran at times, but when we rationalized with her the importance of eating right while fasting, she'd bounce back to her normal self.

Earlier this evening, we went out to have a good look at the full moon. What we saw was simply dazzling. great, so powerful and so majestic Ya Allah, the Almighty, Creator and Sustainer of the universe.

oh bulan
jangan layan diriku lagi
air mata membasahi pipi

To you Ya Rahman, we pray. Give us the strength and health for the successful completion of the month.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Quiet Your Mind

Came across this subject for thought while doing research on the Net the other day.

To boost your Ramadan spirit try doing this : Quiet your mind, turn off the...

TV, Internet, radio, hand phone, iPod, etc. Not for the entire day, but for at least 10 minutes a day. Find a quiet place, close your eyes and connect with Allah. At first, your mind will swirl with the useless and not-so-useless info in your head. But force it to think of three things in these few minutes:

~ Allah
~ your purpose in life
~ are you living your life on purpose?

Try this every day in the Ramadan month if you can. If that's not possible, try it at least three times a week.