Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Ramadhan Away

It was quite a challenge when one has to fast for longer than the usual plus minus 12 hours. That was how some of us felt during our first Ramadhan away from home. It was summer time - the days were longer thus making us fast longer too. I recall imsak was at 4.00am and iftar didn't come until the sun finally set at about 8.30pm.

Visit the flamingos at the zoo

We still puasa, of course. Went for our classes still, lepak and fed the ducks at the lake still , visit the zoo and there were also some crazy days when we woke up in the morning, collectively agreed to skip some of the boring Comp Sci or Statistics classes and went ronda-ronda at the mall till it was almost time for iftar.

Visit Six Flags Great America

It was the time yang when we couldn't fast tu was paling best. Selamba je queue for that milky yummy pistachio mint ice cream. Errr...bukan ada orang nak tangkap pun kan. Plus the closest Melayu could be like many, many blocks away from where we were.

Itu zaman dolu-dolu lah. Now rasa nya taubat tak buat dah kot!

Iftar dishes were simple - most of the time, we'd cook once we were done with classes for the day. Antara favourite dishes (coz itu je yang tau nak masak) were ayam masak merah, beef curry and mixed vege. When we had more time in our hands soto ayam and laksa would make their appearances on the table. Sahur pulak....ummpppp most of the time tak bangun or when we did it was just be toast, cereals and milk.

Our all so faithful - the push button phone

It was also during the Ramadhan when the heart yearns so badly to be with family back home. Malam-malam mula lah masing-masing pull the phone into the room and call home. After the call, there'd be a long silence.....then you'd hear the bathroom door close. Aihhhh....masing-masing dah banjir lah tu...he he :)

One of our ways of memujuk hati yang sayu was to make ourselves feel close to kampung. Berbuka in baju kurung lah....and paling tak boleh lupa was breaking fast with songs from our collection of recorded hits. Maka berkumandanglah Alleycats, M.Nasir, Roy & Fran just to mention the few. Out of the many, yang paling tak boleh lupa is this number.......

Ideal Sisters - Hanya Sekali

Malaysia Merdeka Malaysia Berjaya

Malaysia kita sudah berjaya,
Aman makmur bahagia,
Malaysia abadi selamanya....
Berjaya dan berjaya.
Berbagai kaum sudah berikrar,
menuju cita-cita.....
satu bangsa satu negara
Malaysia berjaya!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Selamat Jalan.....

They were travel mates; shared same rooms, sat next to each other during their trips, ate together and did a lot of other activities together. They taught in the same school till their last service day. She lost her husband during Haj and she lost her loved one a year later.

The two were my Mom and one of her best friends - Cikgu Rohaya as she was affectionately called by all of us.

I was just about to settle down at my work station last Thursday when Mom's call came in. She was calm when she informed me that Cikgu Rohaya had just left us. It was me who was all welled with tears. Mom asked if I could send her back to Seremban to ziarah. She was still at my sister's house and had no means of transport to travel back.

Texted my boss and told my staff that I needed to go and I'd be back by noon to review documents for meeting with client later that afternoon. I knew Mom wanted to say her final good bye to her dear friend.

So I did this dash - picked up Mom from my sister's place and drove back to Seremban. Went straight to arwah's house, joined the tahlil, sempat jumpa the family and by 10.45am we were on our way back to KL again. Though it was a brief one, I knew it meant a lot to Mom.

Together during their trip to Turkey

Arwah (far right) with Mom and friends experiencing winter in Tehran.

The last trip both Mom and arwah took was in March when they went for Umrah. Before that was to Shanghai and they had discussed plans to for their trip to NZ before the year ends. But Allah telah menentukan segala nya, begitu lah yang telah tertulis.

To arwah's family salam takziah from all of us. Al-fatehah.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Journey West

It was the last week of summer they said. The season when you are to show it all, bare it all. But that wasn’t so for this small town girl. Each breeze in the blowing winds felt chilly; causing her to shiver every time she stepped out from her temporary home. Disoriented still from jet lag after flying almost half way across the globe only in the pursuit of education, she knew she had to snap out fast. She was on a foreign land now. Only two days and she was already missing home. So contrary from that not so long ago excitement she felt when receiving news that she was accepted to further her studies in Land of the Free – the USA.

The State Capitol building in downtown Madison.

She had prayed hard that she would be the one with luck on her side to be selected for a scholarship to study abroad. Her grades were just average. Yes, she had scores of A’s but there were many others whom she was sure had done better than her. She longed to experience the four seasons, to have clothes matching the different colours of the seasons, to travel and to experience life in a new place. Most of all she told herself she must fulfill the promise she made to her father of wanting to return with her scroll.

She believed it was during her interview that she excelled. The panel was impressed – that she could tell. The stern looking panel which consisted of reps from various scholarship agencies – seated in rank from best to the least favourite. Of course everyone was placing bets on having his college education paid by the prestigious oil company or the electricity company. She was informed that if she was keen at doing engineering, her chances would be better at landing into the bigger and better nets. She didn’t mind which net she landed herself into – what’s most important was that she secured a scholarship.

The wait after the interview was agonizing. Many thoughts ran though her mind. What if she the panel didn’t see her potentials, what if others knocked her out cold. She was restless and the world seemed to close up on her. Just to be safe, she submitted applications to a few local universities – UTM, ITM (now UiTM) and UM to pursue courses she couldn’t recall anymore now. Her heart was aching with pain as these places were none of her liking. All she wanted to do was board the airplane and fly away into her own world. She had never prayed so hard before and asked for God to grant her wish.

And one fine day the long awaited envelope arrived. Calls made to some friends earlier put her heart to pitter-patter. Many had managed to secure scholarships and were due to fly off soon. What about her? What would her faith be?

Some 28 years ago, at the airport with family before her departure for the States

She could still remember reading the letter – it said “something….something…something….the UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN MADISON USA”. Yes….yes…yes….she did it. She had managed to secure her scholarship and she would be off soon. When she was more calm, she re-read the government sealed letter. In it she was given all terms and conditions on the scholarship offered.

And that was how it was. From then on, there was no turning back. She couldn’t thank enough of her teachers’ fine words of encouragement, her family and relatives hopes and aspirations of her success. Most of all she must be truthful to herself and she must never ever disappoint her parents.

Transit in London before boarding Northwest Airlines to O'Hare Chicago.
The longest flight we ever took.
KL (with stops in Dubai & Frankfurt) - Heathrow London - O'Hare Chicago - Madison WI

She knew challenges up ahead were aplenty and starting college in this new country was a big milestone in her life. It was a big step, a giant move towards independence and no chilly wind or powerful blizzard could hamper the goals she set that very moment the DC10 gained speed on the airport runway as it started its journey west.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Rezeki Ramadan

Whilst it's very common amongst some of my bachelor staff, I have never done it before - iftar at the mosque. When asked if the food is good, their reply would be, "Used to be better last time. Now barang mahal, so portion is smaller."

El Mursi Abul Abbas Mosque, Alexandria, Egypt

Well, I told them that they should be thankful as there are Hamba Allah who are generous enough to sedekah iftar to them. Cukup memadai untuk melepaskan rasa lapar dan dahaga ketika berpuasa dan free lagi; they should all be so bersyukur.

Each night before the start of terawikh prayers at the Shah Alam mosque, we see cleaners dutifully performing their tasks at cleaning the mess from the earlier iftar. Loads of rubbish in black garbage bags are hauled onto their lorries for disposal. I believe the SA mosque has its program for iftar with orphanages, old folks homes, government offices and also the ordinary public. All I believe are sedekah from individuals and organizations. Alhamdullilah.

Ayoubids design at El Mursi Abul Abbas Mosque. Minarets are 73m high.

One would know if there was a "berbuka besar" at the mosque when the car park is all full, and lines of vehicles parked haphazardly along the roads - resulting a bad crawl for jemaahs like us who head for terawikh. The management of SA mosque has no doubt deployed extra hands at manning the traffic, but you know how it is with our people lah - puasa or no puasa.

Anyway, that's the least of my irk. What bothers me most is when I see many of those who have gone for iftar at the mosque earlier are making their exit at the call of the azan. Ohhh....orang berlumba-lumba nak gi solat and dia berlumba-lumba nak pulang, and to the mosque just for the free meal?? Regrettably, this is what I see happening at the SA mosque Ramadan after Ramadan....sigh.

Interior of the mosque

I am refraining myself from elaborating my thoughts and comments on what I saw. Biarlah apa yang dilihat dijadikan iktibar only onto myself.

The mimbar

Note to myself - Yang baik itu kita jadikan tauladan dan yang buruk itu dijadikan sempadan.

~Kelebihan Memberi Makan Ketika Berbuka Puasa Diriwayatkan daripada Zaid bin Khalid al-Juhaniy r.a katanya: Rasulullah s.a.w bersabda: "Sesiapa yang menjemput orang yang berpuasa untuk berbuka, dia akan mendapat pahala sebagaimana pahala orang yang berpuasa itu tanpa mengurangkan sedikitpun pahala orang yang berpuasa tersebut."~

Ramadan Day Five

The weekend is finally here. What a bliss not to be rushing home from work and taking the day easy. I was at the market earlier and looks like other folks are pretty laid back too - taking their own sweet time at choosing fresh supplies for their upcoming week consumption. Unlike last Sunday, the hurried faces were more relaxed today; stopping to exchange friendly words as they picked their likes. Must be hikmah dari Ramadan and the fasting that we are observing.

So, what shall it be for iftar this evening?? I'm googling recipes for fresh ideas on what to prepare for iftar this evening. Rule of thumb is - something easy, recipe yg boleh campak-campak je bahan-bahan nya. There are only five of us at home now. Faris has not come back since the fasting started. Looks like our young man is so busy with school coz every time we call him, he's either in the chemistry lab or on the way to class. Well, "busy" is good news to both Mama & Daddy here. One evening just before iftar Abe called him and he said he was already seated at McD waiting to berbuka. Guess that's how it is now with our youngins - McD, KFC, Starbucks are so synonym with them.

My sister TM and hubby left for their Umrah last Friday. I was at KLIA for a quick send off. They must be in Madinah by now. Mom is at her place menemankan her children. From time to time, I check her lil ones' FB status to see if they are alright. Senang kan....nak tau khabar, check je kat FB...how convenient it is now as compared to the ways and means to mengeratkan silaturahim during the nonexistence broadband era.

Other updates? Well, pretty much the usual Ramadan routines; iftar, terawikh and the challenges (still) at waking up at sahur - both for yours truly (me so not morningggg personnnn!!!) and the girls.

Yesterday's iftar - tomato & mushroom prawn noodles

Till my next posting, enjoy your Sunday and have a good iftar :)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Ramadan Day Two

Salams. It's our second day at fasting today. Alhamdulillah, things are smooth sailing both in the home and office fronts.

Of course there are still little challenges; like the many, many times of calling out to the kids to be up for sahur plus braving inconsiderate drivers cutting queues at the already chocked roads during the traffic rush back home for iftar.

Time and time again I remind myself to be patient and be thankful with this beautiful life.

Note to myself - Kelebihan Solat Tarawih Malam Ketiga

~Para malaikat di bawah 'Arasy menyeru kepada manusia yang mengerjakan solat Tarawih itu agar meneruskan solatnya pada malam-malam yang lain, semoga Allah akan mengampunkan dosa-dosa mereka.~

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Ramadan Mubarak

Ku mengharapkan Ramadan
Kali ini penuh makna
Agar dapat kulalui
Dengan sempurna

Selangkah demi selangkah
Setahun sudah pun berlalu
Masa yang pantas berlalu
Hingga tak terasa ku berada
Di bulan Ramadhan semula

Puasa satu amalan
Sebagaimana yang diperintahNya
Moga dapat ku lenturkan
Nafsu yang selalu membelenggu diri
Tiada henti-henti

Tak ingin ku biarkan Ramadan berlalu saja
Tuhan pimpinlah daku yang lemah
Mengharungi segalanya dengan sabar
Kita memohon pada Tuhan diberikan kekuatan
Ku merayu pada Tuhan diterima amalan

Selangkah demi selangkah...
Dengan rahmatMu oh Tuhanku...
Ku tempuh jua

Raihan: Harapan Ramadan

Monday, August 9, 2010

Come Ride with Me

Ever rode on a bajaj before?

This was how it felt to ride on one. Hot, noisy and shaky but it was FUN; no worries of the horrendous Jakarta traffic crawl.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Power Walk

Yes, power walk it was; the one last weekend and another one I did just hours ago. But the latter is nothing compared to the entire three days of Jakarta streets walkabout. Nonetheless, this early morning brisk walk was important yet sufficient to shed away the calories accumulated over the week.

Ohh...yes, I must add, walk this morning was with Abe and his power gang. His office organized this walk event and since I too was making my way to the same jogging track, we might as well walk together lah kan. Anyway, when we arrived, the organizers were still sorting out the attendance. And I was ready to leap (kerana guilt dari sesi makan-makan sangat lah tebal). So told Abe that I'll walk on my own and he can go walk with the rest of the guys. In the end, I completed three rounds and they did only two I think. Guys...uoolsss are so out of shape!! Lepas ni bulan puasa buat solat terawih okay - ibadah sambil bersenam.

Apa-apa pun nothing beats both Muni and I walking the streets and walkways of the malls in Jakarta. Three solid days of mall hopping!! If I could write a short script of what the hotel reception staff might be saying it would be something like this.

Cewek (girl) : Duhh...ibuk-ibuk dari Malaysia itu lagi kluar deh? Baru aja di turunin si bajaj.

Cowok (boy) : Iyaaaa.....udah dua hari ku perati mereka. Memang nggak stay di hotel. Masuk sebentar....lepas itu kluar lagi. Masuk....kemudian kluar lagi.

Cewek (girl) : Waduh....lihat itu belanja nya kok banyak amat?

Cowok (boy) : Ohhh...kamu nggak lihat semalam, harus di bantu bawain ke kamar belanja nya itu.

Cewek (girl) : Ya ampunnnn...mau bikin apa ya?

Cowok (boy) : Yaaa udah....buat kerja. Kita jangan campuri urusan guests kita. Yang penting mereka happy!!

Iyaaaa Mas sama Mbak.....kami lagi happy bangat!!! Luggage kami penuh sih. Kami kayak orang kurang siuman bila belanja di mall kamu. Barang-barang kamu cantikkkk sekali (dan murahhh sekali!!!)

Doing it like the ibuk-ibuk & bapak-bapak......have bajaj will travel.

Jakarta....macet (traffic jam)....aduhhhh...kapan mau sampai ke mall kalu begini. Oleh itu naik bajaj ajaaa deh :)

Nasi padang....our MUST have!!!

Teh botol Sosro....perghhh terangat beb!! Ada ingat jugaaa deh sama ini ess.
Aduhhhh....ini lagi di pikirin kapan lagi mauk ke seberang!!!
(sambil click on another tab to check AA rates to Cengkareng)