Wednesday, August 24, 2005

For W, I will miss you

Its amazing how people betray themselves by the words they choose to use. We all do it subconsciously. Perhaps we try to cover it as much as we can, but often enough, our words betray us.

When W first introduced herself, she told us how she has been in the country over 20 years. And that she is happy with her life here and finds that her life here is better than what her life might have been back in the States.

Which was odd really. Because she was introducing herself as our Quilt instructor. Nobody questioned her happiness or her choice to live here having married a local man. But she brought it up herself.

We noticed it, talked about it. Thought that it was odd but just dismissed it. Its none of our business and all we want is a Quilt instructor. We were eager to learn and wanted to start quickly.

We met her once a week. She was a patient and generous teacher. She often shared with us her stories, how she first started quilting. How difficult it was at first to find the materials.

Somehow, I got somewhat closer to her during that time. Perhaps I found her very interesting, if not admirable, to have chosen to leave a lifestyle that she grew up with and came here with love in her heart.

Her generosity often surprised me. She would open the doors to her home to me. The Quilt guild meetings were held in her home. She invited me to come. Even sent her driver to pick another friend and me up. Otherwise it would have been difficult for us to come to the meetings. I was at awe with her house. It was full of quilts and if anything, its almost like a picture of a house out of a quilt magazine.

Over time she also invited me not just for the meetings but also for once a week sewing cum bitching session, and even for an afternoon tea when J’s parents came from Australia. She wanted them to see what a local home look like inside the high walls. She invited another friend who shared with us their experiences as Amer|can wives married to local men.

And slowly, I was to find out more about her. And her pain. Her marriage has been rocky for awhile. At first, she thought it was witchcraft, concocted by her maid. She told me her son found things in the maid’s room. Strands of her hair in the Quran, amongst other things. She noticed that her husband was beginning to behave weirdly towards her. When she served him the morning coffee, he asked if it was the maid who had prepared the coffee, not her. It upset her, because she said she has been preparing his coffee for the past 20 years, and suddenly he was asking if the maid did this or that for him.

And her husband was becoming increasingly distant from her. He was coming home later and later and even later. At first it was 10pm, then 2 am, then 5 am and then not at all. She tried to confront him but it didn’t help.

She sent her maid home. Especially after her son found all sorts of things in the maid’s bedroom.

And the husband’s attitude changed a little.

But apparently it wasn’t enough.

Just over the summer she went back to the States twice. Once because she heard that her dad wasn’t feeling well. And the second time because she wanted to bring her sons over. Apparently they have never been to their mother’s homeland since they were grown up. She fears that it would be a cultural shock for them, but it was worth a try.

And then a week ago, she sent me an email. That she can no longer hold the quilt classes for us. She needed the time to sort her life and her relationship out. She has decided that perhaps separation will be the answer. She was dying inside and she could not let that go on any longer.

W came to us, when she was experiencing pain and confusion in her life. She thought the best way to handle her situation was by distracting herself. By finding new work, by submerging herself into new projects.

But over the summer she was finding it harder and harder to stay in denial. And thus the drastic action.

I was stunned. And now looking back, I now understand why she introduced herself the way she introduced herself. She was unhappy with her relationship, but was trying to convince herself that she is doing OK, she was as happy as she could possibly imagine to be. But inside she was struggling. Struggling to find herself.

But I admire her for her generosity despite her bleeding heart. Instead of becoming a bitter person, she became a caring, nurturing and generous person. It was a lesson that I will keep in my books.

Why she chose to confide in me, I will never know. Perhaps I never probe too deep, I don’t ask too many questions, and I try not to judge. But I have learnt so much from her. Not just how to make quilts, but an insight into life. I admire her for knowing some things in life so early. She married him at 18, and followed him here. And learnt to adapt to life here. A mighty feat is you ask me. Listening to their struggles before they got comfortable, all five of them sharing a tiny apartment, how they managed and lived happily together. And suddenly, after they got comfortable, with a huge house, kids all grown up, suddenly it has come to this.

And she is taking a bold step, by choosing to leave him and not let herself die inside. Far too many women choose to kill themselves silently this way, to suffer in silence, wasting away rather than walking away.

For W, I wish her good luck. We all try to make the best decisions for ourselves. And she has chosen hers. Thank you for the kind generosity that you have showered upon me, coming into my life pouring sunshine in the rain, while all the while you were burning like a candle in the wind. You have given me some baby steps, that has allowed me to crawl through my quilt projects. I hope you will find happiness and solace soon.

Kitchen gadgets Galore

Whoah looks like kitchen gadgets strike a chord with many people ;)

Atn, you're already a superwoman :) If you cook, then you will become a super duper wonder woman! ;)

Ailin, Sorry about the broken link. Normally I would test but I was too much in a hurry yesterday. Anyways the link has been rectified. Sorry about that! yes you should get your own ice cream maker! heheheh just need a good cream and fresh fruits! Yummy!

Lilac, Yes the electric can opener please! Hahahah. Maybe it would be a good trade afterall, coz I had always wanted an electric can opener ;) And I have just been reading the "Eat according to your Bloodtype" book and apparently people with my blood type is suppose to avoid soy drinks, tofu and tempe :( Huwaaa i love that stuff!

Leen! Whoaaahh did you get blisters on your hands or what?? Sambal belacan for 100 people?? You are one supersambalbelacanhero! Hmm too bad you're so far away otherwise I can pass some gadgets to you;) Psst of course we never need a pizza cutter but I always thought that its cool! Luckily I don't have one here hehehe Halal pizza hut available and comes already cut ;)

Yes CK I actually have two blenders, one a stand alone blender and one a handheld one. Or perhaps the other one is supposed to be called hand chopper. Both technically I don't need because I already have the Magimix but Oh well :)

Don't know about GLOBAL knife, never heard of it. I guess you'd have to buy it and tell us about it then ;) Err actually I am not sure who Anthony Bourdain is. Wahhh such a gourmet cook you are! *bow*not worthy*not worthy*bow*

Why wait for Feisal to buy it for you? Just buy it and say, "Honey I got us our 5th Anniversary present." I'm sure he can't say anything hehehehee. *batu api sf*

Zaireen, *gulp* I actually did own a bread maker, a Kenwood one, which I had shipped back to Kl before moving here. Yes nothing beats the smell of freshly baked bread to wake you up in the morning, only to find out your dearest had eaten most of it and just left one slice for you :) One of the simplest pleasures in life, homemade bread dipped with rosemary flavoured olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Yummy!

Welcome to my blog, will be excited to visit yours. ;)

Empty heart *ahems* for you the list could be endless (because you can use the baby as an excuse) like a mini blender or chopper to make baby food ;) How about a steamer while you are at it as well? (says she who has not used hers hehehe)

Angel Eyes wah I thought you might own one of those cappucino maker :)

NurElsa, Books! lets not get into those as well hehehe just bought a whole stack yesterday ;)

Babe! Ahhh finally someone mentions the batu giling! I really admire the ladies who use them! My nenek used them. I always wondered, could it be the sweat dripping down that makes the paste from the batu gilling taste delicious? heheheh

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Confession of A Kitchen gadget Addict

Hello, my name is Sunflora, I am a kitchen gadget Addict.

Reading Ailin’s blog entry about her kitchen blender I was forced to access my own kitchen gadgetry.

A neighbour once remarked upon entering my kitchen, “Wow! You have almost all possible kitchen gadgetry possible.”

I smiled. Although in my heart I was saying, not really! I still don’t have that KitchenAid mixer that Nigella used, or the Dualit toaster I drooled over, or a pressure cooker.

Yes my name is Sunflora, and I am obessed with my kitchen gadgetry. Well to be honest, I am into all sorts of gadgetry but with kitchen gadgetry somehow it was easier for me to justify its purchase.

As it happens, I just bought a fruit juicer last night myself. Of course being an addict, I would have to deny responsibility purchasing it! I squarely and shamelessly put all the blame on my husband dearest. After attempting to extract carrot juice using a blender and a muslin cloth, he decided that we needed to purchase a juice extractor after all, and offered to drive me to the nearest home electronics store to purchase the juice extractor.

Here is the list of all my kitchen gadgetry:

1. Magimix food processor – which I insist on purchasing after seeing Jamie Oliver and Gary Rhodes using it to make all sorts of things. (Very successful marketing.)
2. Rice cooker
3. Deep fryer
4. Ice cream maker
5. Toaster
6. Electric kettle
7. Coffee Maker
8. Microwave oven
9. Hand chopper
10. Electric steamer (which I haven’t used)
11. Soya Bean drink maker
12. Blender
13. Fruit Juicer
14. Crockpot
15. Citrus juicer
16. Battery operated salt and pepper mill
17. Blender
18. A hand mixer

Yes Kakteh, I can already imagine you saying that a pestle and mortar would do all the possible jobs that all the machines promise. But I have another confession to make, I don’t have the patience nor the skill to use the “batu lesung.” The last time I used one, I can clearly recall was when I was trying to be a good “menantu,” helping my mother in law make some sambal or other. Possibly sambal belacan with some ikan billis. Yes the sambal was delicious but I think I asked my MIL at least 5 times, “Ni dah boleh ke belum Mak?” only to be greeted with, “Sikit lagi.” Hahahaha and all the time I was pounding way I was thinking, if I used the Magimix it will only take one blitz and it will be all done! But of course, Sambal belancan connoisseur would tell you that the texture of the end product would not be the same. The taste would be different and the volume of which you have to make it would be different as well.

I don’t disagree but, err my excuse has always been, “Mana nak beli batu lesung kat sini! Kekadang kat Malaysia pun susah dah nak carik batu lesung.”

I remembered just recently, a Kakak is packing up to return to Malaysia. So I offered to buy over her batu lesung, hopefully lessening her load. Surely she’s be happy to buy a new one in Malaysia.

Boy her answer surprised me. “Eh tak boleh jual batu lesung akak. Batu lesung akak, akak ni turun temurun punya, ni Mak akak punya akak ambik ni.”

Uh-uh, batu a batu lesung with a legacy. After all her batu lesung has been her trusty companion as she travelled from country to country, so I understood her attachment to her batu lesung.

Batu lesung aside, I do confess that I indulge in my obsession when I travel. When I was backpacking in Germany, I managed to acquire a WMF and a Zwilling J A Henckels knife. Surely a knife is a knife is a knife you say. My answer to that is, you need to try one to know. I had wanted to buy a good Japanese sashimi knife in Japan, but my inability to read Japanese and the fact that my bag was already too heavy with other Japanese gadgetry stopped me from doing so. Instead I acquired a sesame seed pepper mill, and a Japanese version of the batu lesung which has a wooden lesung, used to grind the sesame seeds in to paste.

During my trip back to KL last year, I actually acquired enough stickers to enable me to buy a WMF cooking pot at a discounted price from Parkson! Funnily enough this pot is so well used now and it has become my favourite pot since. I almost cried when I accidentally burn some pulut hitam at the bottom of the pot because I had answered a phonecall while I was cooking the pulut hitam. Thanks to hubby dearest, he managed to scrape off most of the burnt pulut without ruining my favourite pot.

Will my obsession ever end? Surely it should reach a saturation point soon. But just yesterday, hubby dearest was looking for ‘an ice cream maker which you don’t have to prefreeze.’(See! Its not just me!) Why would you need an ice-cream maker if you can buy ice cream easily and even cheaply at the shop, you’re probably thinking.

Our excuse is, its different when things are home made. When we make it lovingly together, knowing exactly what ingredients was used, no preservatives, no E numbers.

But often, the biggest challenge is finding the time to make them in the first place. :)

What kitchen gadgets do you have in your kitchen?

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Surah Isra'

One person’s happiness could be another’s sorrow.
Another person’s withdrawal, another person’s advancement.
Such is life.

Its been 38 years since the Palestinians been waiting for the return of their land.
The Jewish believe that it’s the land promised to them.
Bloodbath after bloothbath, it seems never to end.

Even with the withdrawal of the settlers, there has been controversy.
Will this eventually bring peace?

Surah Isra’, Line 13

And we have fastened everyman’s deed to his neck and on the Day of Resurrection, we shall bring out for him a book which he will find wide open.
(It will be said to him): “Read your book. You yourself are sufficient as a reckoner against you this day.”
Whoever goes right, then he goes right only for the benefit of his own self.
And whoever goes astray then he goes astray to his own loss. No one laden with burdens can bear another’s burden.
And We never punished until we have sent a Messenger.

17: 13-15

There have been some things that has been bothering me lately. But I realised, more than anything they have nothing to do with me. And that those things should not bother me.

Some days, I am plagued by the feeling of anger at injustices being done.

Some days, I am irked by Man(and women)’s obsession for vanity, power and fame.

Other days, I am surprised at other people’s brazenness when it comes to bragging about their sins, and their propensity to wash their dirty linen in public.

But the above surah has given me solace, that to each his own. That when the time comes, we are all only responsible for all the actions that we have done. That I should free myself from thinking and worrying of things that are beyond my control, especially things that have nothing to do with me, and concentrate on doing good.

On the day of Reckoning, how then will I judge myself? Have I done enough such that my good deeds will offset my bad deeds?

What about you? Are you happy with how you are leading your life?

Saturday, August 13, 2005

White coffee

What do you expect when you order white coffee? Regular coffee with milk perhaps, or perhaps some Coffee Mate.

Imagine our surprise when the white coffee was served to us, it was a clear almost colourless hot liquid, with a slight bitter taste and sweet smell. Reminds us of a cologne perhaps, or an au de toilette.

So we asked the waiter what it was, that they served us, and we were told that in the Middle East, if you order white coffee, what you will be served is Orange Blossom Water, with hot water added. Apparently this white coffee has its origin in Lebanon, and they call it “Kahwe Baida,” often served after a heavy meal and is good for digestion.

We passed the cup round and we all had a tiny taste of the beverage. Not very popular with our table. But it was an experience anyways.

So if you are in this region, remember to order coffee with milk and not white coffee or you’ll be served with Orange blossom beverage ;)


Spent our Friday afternoon after the prayers having a buffet at a local restaurant, which was on the 77th floor of the tallest building in the city, called Spazio. The atmosphere was very relaxed, we arrived promptly after 1 pm, before the restaurant was filled with noisy children. It was pleasant as we women could take our abayas off, (the mutt@w@s would need to climb 77 floors before they can come to us, which will give the staff some time to warn us women if they came) and even music was played in the restaurant when it wasn’t too crowded. Having music in restaurants and supermarkets is largely a no-no here, music being haram and all. But they did turn the music off when a lot of local families showed up to have their lunch. The management turned the music on again when the atmosphere became quieter.

After lunch we went up to the Skybridge, to view the city. Normally tickets to view the Skybridge would cost RM25, but it was complementary for patrons of the restaurant.

It was very interesting indeed. The city is rather flat, and the roads were fairly empty, this being a Friday afternoon. Too bad I forgot my camera, will try to get pictures off the cameras of my friends.

All in all it was a fairly good lunch buffet, with good company, and there were times when we almost forgot that we were in S@aud| Ar@b|a.


Thanks to NurElsa, Lilac, CK, TheBabeakaBunn, Anon and Lollies for the kind wishes and prayers. Alhamdullilah so far things are quiet. We just hope that things stay that way.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Another day, another threat

“New warden message warns ‘terrorists in final stages of planning of attacks.’ Updates will follow.”

An SMS I received two days ago. I had seen the full warden message online myself, being subscribed to an online newsgroup. I didn’t think much of it because there seemed to be one every month. But this time it is different. The US Embassy will not actually open for two days, signally the potential seriousness of the threat.

A neighbour told me that she had received an sms saying that there has been a shoot out at the road nearby. It’s a long road and I had no way of knowing if the shoot out occurred near our residence.

I told my him about the sms, the warden message I read earlier, and the rumour from the neighbour. It had somehow slipped my mind. And I could see him ruminating. What’s on your mind? I asked him.

I am thinking of sending you home. Where it is much safer.

I was touched, but I don’t think I want to go. Where are we safe now in this world? If its our time to go, we will go, no matter where we will be, I told him.

He kept quiet.

Since I have been here, there had been an attack on a Western compound, a kidnapping and two shootings. I fear that soon I might lose count. Of course there are some who turn their noses down on these incidents. Many more are killed in the streets in the US and more still due to the crime in London, I was told.

Perhaps so. But here, the threat seems real to me.

A Malaysian lady who has been here for 4 years shared the story of how her compound was bombed. It was just before the impeding attack on Iraq. Her family had pleaded for her to come home but she wanted to remain here with her husband. One night, as usual, they lay in bed. And they were awakened by a loud bang. They looked up and they can see the sky. The husband did not realise that they had just been attacked. He thought that the stove had caught on fire. He went to the kitchen to realise that nothing was where it was before he went to bed.

They got dressed, went downstairs and saw that the car has been smashed. Some of their neighbours were drenched in blood. And the houses just in front of them had been destroyed. That household had two young children. She didn’t think they survived the blast.

Ironically, the compound housed not just Westerners but many Arab/Muslim expatriates as well. And many of the casualties were Muslims themselves. Did those who perpetrated the acts actually cared?

The lady and her husband are still here. However, she refused to live in a compound. They now live in a private apartment in downtown. Hopefully reducing the risks of potential attacks which Western compounds seem to have.

Perhaps many of you wonder, why are we still here? Why don’t we just return to Malaysia to work?

No pain, no gain a saying goes. To be able to enjoy some extra perks, one sometimes have to sacrifice some things in life, like proximity to family and familiar environments. In this case, the possibility of compromising some personal safety.

As it is 30% of the Western expatriates have gone home. So much so that the local companies are now recruiting more expatriates from Asia and the middle east. The face of the expatriate community is quickly changing.

Well one of the main factors why we came here is because of the attractiveness of the package. Salaries here are much higher than salaries offered in Malaysia. And tax free too. The other bonus point, the proximity to Makkah and Madinah. But of course, it is still a long drive and we don’t really get to go as often as we want to. But its an attraction nonetheless.

Of course this created some resentment on the locals. Afterall, there is a high percentage of unemployment. But we came here on invitation, because they wanted the skills, the knowledge and the experiences that we had. Somebody had to have the job done.

If anything it makes me realize how important a good national education is for a country. More importantly, good education is available to all levels of society, not just those in the cities but those in the rural areas as well. Makes me appreciate the steps taken by our governments to improve the quality of the education in our home countries better.

Through good, quality education, our youngsters will have the knowledge and the opportunity to be self sufficient in the future.

And hopefully they will have more to occupy themselves with, rather than blaming on the foreigners and involving themselves in terrorist acts.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Shopping with a Black Friend

A real T-shirt-and-jeans kind of guy, Peter H. Shankman certainly doesn't look like a high roller, but American Express Co. knows better. After he was snubbed by salesmen at a Giorgio Armani boutique on Fifth Avenue in New York recently, the 31-year-old publicist -- who was made available to BusinessWeek by Amex -- saw "an unbelievable attitude reversal" at the cash register when he whipped out his black Amex Centurion Card.


The only thing you need while travelling in Europe, is this lightweight black friend.

After making our selection, we were ushered to the cashier. A distinguished looking man was manning the till. You know the sort that does not smile. He rang up the purchase. I giggled at the amount. And he gave me the look, almost saying, “Will you have the money to pay for this?”

I passed my card to him. A smile! Oh how quickly he defrosted!

“The black card madam! You will have no problem paying for this.” I smiled. Did I say I will have problems paying for this? I thought.

“Ah yes but my husband might kill me first,” I smiled conspiratorially to him.
“But I got him a tie, he should be OK.” I winked at him.

The sales girl who was serving us had a conversation with him in Italian. Ah she only bought him a tie and got herself all these shoes and handbags. I merely smiled.

Its funny how the black card suddenly gain you respect and friendship from the sales people. Suddenly they wanted to know you, where you are from. Where you are staying. How long. Before that was just frosty silence, sometimes a forced smile.

The story was similar in Gucci in Rome. We had to wait for a long time before we could get anyone to serve us. Of course the snazzy looking couple got served first. And the Japanese tourist. Only when they realised that we were not going away, and is seriously waiting for service that finally someone came to serve us. Showed us the pouch and the wallet.

Until the black card made its appearance.

“Ah which hotel are you staying Madam?”

Gulp! I didn’t have the heart to tell her that we were staying in a youth hostel where 6 of us were sharing a room! And she only started making conversation with me after scrutinizing my card really hard! Almost making sure that it was real.

“Ah we’re staying at this hotel near Termini station,” I said casually. Darned! I should have said the name of some posh hotel, but never mind. I was carrying a small daypack on my back, a well worn jeans and an oversized 8 year old jacket. It was a wonder that they let us in the shop at all. And it was a surprise to them that we bought anything at all. And a black card. She almost had an orgasm, I thought.

There were smiles all round when we left the shop.

The smell of money. Or at least the smell of potential money somehow changes how people perceive of you and how they treat you.

Did I tell you how the eyes of a snooty host at the hairdresser on the high street almost popped out when he saw the card?

He almost expected us to hand over the creased bills with hands shaking when he presented the bill. And suddenly he was showering us with all sort of coupons we could use for our next visit!

Just because we were shabbily dressed with jeans and T shirt.

Do not judge a book by its cover, especially when there is a black bookmark within.

Sunday, August 07, 2005


Got this SMS.

“Sunflora, Gucci is having sale! 40% off! Polo too! 30% off. All at Kingdom mall.”

Yes I heard about the Mega Sale in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, and the Sales are here as well. After I received the sms, I bugged him to drop me off at the Kingdom Mall. The equivalent of KLCC here. Hubby drop me off with a caution, “You know you can buy anything you want but I want to be there if you’re buying a big ticket item.” I smiled.

Gucci here I come. At first I was disappointed not to see a “Sale” sign outside the Gucci shop. Hmphhhh! But I could see a reflection on the window that said 40% off. Aha perhaps they are having a quiet sale. A quick peek and there wasn’t too many customers. I sauntered in. My heart beating. Pretending to be casual. Urgh! Didn’t like any of the bags on sale. Of course one or two caught my eye but naturally they were not on sale. *sigh* Disappointed, I walked out in a huff.

Next stop, Saks Fifth Avenue. Not as big as the one in New York but enough. The cosmetics area in front was rather empty. No sale signs on display. Slowly I walked towards the handbag section. The familiar salesmen smiled at me. Its worrying when the sales men knows you on sight. It means that you have spent too much time there.

“Hello, how are you?” I greeted him. It doesn’t hurt to be polite to him. At least he would be able to provide a service with a smile.

Sometimes at these sort of places the salesmen can be rather snooty. You know how it is, they access you visually if they think you’re going to spend any money in there. Only if they think you can afford their wares, they will attend to you. Otherwise, they just can’t be bothered.

I used to be terrified of the snooty sales people. But I have learnt that flashing the black amex always help. Suddenly the ice will melt. A smile appears. “What about getting another one Madam?” But a minute ago you looked at me as if I was a stray cat, I though.

“I haven’t seen you a while Madam. Are you alone today?” he said.

“Ah as usual I came to browse myself first. Will tell my friends if the sale is good.” I smiled at him.

“It’s a good time to buy Madam, we have just had further reductions 2 days ago from 40% to 60% off.” He told me.

Argh!! Don’t tell me that!! Perhaps I should wait until they are 75% off?

A Prada bag caught my eye. I touched it, held it, rummaged in it.

“Madam you should stand in front of the mirror and see yourself with it.”

Arghh Danger! Danger! I can see the red light in my head lighting up.

“Madam its only XXX” he said casually.

“Only XXX you said?” I smiled at him.

“Yes Madam, if you consider it was 3XXX before! And its only been two days since we’ve had further reduction. And this is the last piece we have left!”

Erkk! Luckily some other customers walked in. Do I really want to spend that money on another handbag? Not! But the seduction!

Slowly, I placed the bag back on the shelf, and without looking like I was running away, I quickly walked away from the bag.

Before the sale demons decide to haunt me and pull me back. Before I feel a weird magnetic pull, pulling me back to the bag. Before I suffer a moment of temporary insanity and decide that my next breathe is dependant on my acquisition of that bag, I walked out. Quickly. Do I need another handbag? Of course not. Do I want another handbag? Why not? Banish the thought! I told myself.

I thought it was the end of that story but obviously my mind was still tormented by that bag! I woke up the following day recalling my dream from the night before.

I was about to go out somewhere and had a lot of things to carry with me. And I was using a paper bag. “Hmm,” I thought in the dream, “If only I had that bag I saw at Saks today, it would be the perfect size to fit all these things in this paper bags.” Errk! What about the other bags I have? The one I got from Selfridges was too big. The one I got from Florence was the wrong colour. And the rest well, they are not big enough.

I told hubby about my dream. But he was very very very quiet. Perhaps he smirked quietly even. Almost like he didn’t hear me tell the story. Almost like I told him the story in a dream.

HAH! You can’t miss it now can you? LOL

Disclaimer: I know some people feel that if a woman works, she definitely can spend her money on whatever she wants, however she wants to. However, it is always better when someone else offers to buy it for you, with no strings attached.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Hujung minggu saya

Occasional Bahasa entry

Mintak maaf lama tak update. Maklumlah kami sibuk berkabung. Sebagaimana yang ramai telah ketahui, Raja di sini telah pulang ke Rahmahtullah pada hari Isnin yang lalu. Sebenarnya ramai di sini telah lama tahu yang Raja di sini sedang gering. Malah saya ada mendengar beberapa khabar angin dari jururawat malaysia yang bertugas di hospital di mana Raja tersebut dirawat.

Ramai di Malaysia bertanya sama ada kami mendapat cuti di sini. Kami pun tertunggu-tunggu sekiranya di buat apa-apa pengumuman. Namum kami hampa. Kerajaan di sini mengambil keputusan untuk tidak membesar-besarkan kematian Raja mereka yang telah berumur 84 tahun itu.

Tetapi ade beberapa perubahan yang terpaksa di lakukan untuk acara social kami di sini. Sebenarnya kami telah mendapat 3 jemputan sekali gus pada hujung minggu. (Di sini cuti hujung minggu adalah hari Khamis dan hari Jumaat.) Dua jemputan Masalama atau perpisahan, dan satu jemputan Aqiqah. Oleh kerana masyarakat Melayu/Malaysia di sini tidak ramai, dan keadaan social di negeri ini amat lain sekali daripada apa yang pernah kami semua alami, masyarakat melayu Malaysia di sini amat rapat. Kami sering berjumpa pada hujung minggu, lebih-lebih lagi apa bila ada jemputan seperti yang saya cerita di atas tadi. (Maklumlah bukan ada benda lain nak buat pun.)

Oleh kerana dua daripada majlis tersebut di anjurkan oleh keluarga yang bekerja dengan kedutaan, maka kedua-dua majlis tersebut terpaksa di tundakan ke hari Jumaat kerana mereka sibuk dengan kedatangan orang-orang kenamaan (Agong) dari Malaysia.

Seperti yang saya katakan tadi, masyarat melayu di sini amat kecil, jadi yang menghadiri majlis-majlis tersebut semuanya orang-orang yang sama. Tapi tak apalah kerana kami sempat mengucapkan selamat jalan kepada keluarga yang akan pulang ke tanahair, keluarga yang akan berpindah ke negara lain dan selamat datang pada keluarga yang baru sampai di sini.

Puan yang baru sampai seminggu ke mari mengeluh sedikit kerana beliau terasa amat terperanjat (culture shock) apabila sampai ke mari. Walaupun mereka pernah di tugaskan di negara lain sebelum ini, tetapi mereka terasa sekali amat lainnya suasana, cuaca dan kebudayaan orang di sini. Kami, samada yang telah lama di sini (seorang kakak ni dah berada di sini 16 tahun!) atau yang baru juga tiba, faham akan perasaan nya. Lebih-lebih lagi kerana Puan ini tinggal di sebuah rumah villa bersendirian, tidak di dalam Compound seperti kami yang lain. Beliau mengeluh yang beliau terasa amat terasing sekali apabila sampai ke mari. Ditambah pula kerana suaminya sibuk membuat tugas-tugas rasmi jadi tidak mempunyai masa untuk menolongnya untuk menyesuaikan diri di sini.

Seperti tuan-puan pembaca telah tau, kami sebagai wanita di sini tidak di benarkan memandu kereta. Kalau mahu keluar rumah pun kami bergantung pada suami kami kerana kalau berjalan bersendirian, kadangkala kami di ganggu oleh pekedai di sini yang biasanya lelaki. (Sebenarnya begini, yang bekerja di kedai tu pun bukan orang sini, orang pendatang seperti kami juga. Ada dari benua Asia, ada pula dari negara Arab yang lain. Tetapi hanya pekerja yang berkelulusan university dibenarkan membawa isteri dan keluarganya di sini. Jadi ramai pekerja lelaki di sini amat gersang.) Lagipun sebagai wanita di sini kami dapati kadangkala kami tidak di ambil endah atau pula ditanya berbagai soalan-soalan yang malas kami nak jawab. (Soalan cepumas di sini, dari mana awak datang. Entah kenapa begitu penting bagi mereka untuk mengetahui kami datang dari mana. Dan tekaan awal mereka biasanya adalah Filipina atau Indonesi.)

[Rupanya saya dapat tahu kadangkala mereka bertanya tu semua sebagai "pembuka jalan." Malangnya di sini ramai pekerja asing khasnya yang datang dari negeri jiran ada membuat kerja part time di sini. Yelah mungkin mereka datang yang negara yang susah dan mahu pengumpul duit dengan cepat untuk pulang ke tanahair mereka. Lagipun di sini wanita dan lelaki tidak dibenarkan bergaul secara bebas, walaupun mereka bukan beragama Islam. Akibatnya, ramai yang mencari jalan sulit untuk buat perhubungan, sama ada yang privat atau dari segi keuwangan. Jadi jangan sangka di sini tidak ada pelacuran.]

Jadi majlis-majlis tersebut adalah peluang untuk Puan tadi berkenalan dengan masyarat malaysia di sini.

Daya tarikan majlis-majlis seperti ini, selain daripada dapat bertemu dengan teman-teman yang lain, kami dapat juga menikmati hidangan yang di sediakan. Bagi orang seperti saya yang malas dan tidak pandai membuat kuih-kuih melayu, acara seperti inilah peluang untuk saya melepaskan rindu dapa kuih talam, ketayap dan kuih bakar. Tapi bila makan tu kenelah makan sikit-sikit je, maklumlah orang lain pun nak melepaskan rindu gaks hehehe.

Di majlis Aqiqah pula saya pertama kali merasa lauk atau masakan yang di namakan "Mandi." Bukan mandi di bilik air pakai sabun! Begini caranya, cara "Mandi" ini di masak adalah dengan membakar seekor kambing di dalam sebuah oven khas. Di bawah kambing yang di pusing-pusingkan sambil di bakar itu, mereka letakkan nasi. Jadi semua air dan lemak dari kambing tersebut akan menitik di atas nasi tersebut untuk menambahkan perasa pada nasi tersebut.

Memanglah berminyak tapi oleh kerana kambingnya amat segar, (yalah baru di sembelih untuk Aqiqah) maka rasanya enak sekali.

Apa yang kami bincangkan di dalam majlis-majlis ini? Selain daripada mengutuk (kutuk orang sini la apa lagi hehehe), kami juga bergossip. Antara gossip-gossip hangat yang cuba kami bincangkan (tapi kekadang takde informasi cemana?) adalah tentang Siti Nurhaliza dan Datuk K (siapa ada informasi sila update saya ;)), AF (ada akak yang baru balik dari cuti di Msia dia cerita pasal Tudung Mawi! Sapa ada gambar tudung Mawi?), Ayah Pin (ada yang tak dapat berita dari msia jadi tak tau pun pasal hal Ayah Pin), ringgit float (RM dah naik sikit dibandingkan dengan duit sini! Cepat anta duit balik!) dan soalan cepumas bagi semua, "Bila nak balik Malaysia? Dah book tiket ke belum? Raya balik ke tak?"

Satu lagi topik yang amat sensitip sekali adelah bagi perihal anak. Topik ini pada saya, selalu kalau bersama geng Malaysia sahaja di bincang secara panjang dan lebar (mungking partly pasal Puan baru datang tu belum tahu nak hantar anaknya ke sekolah yang mana satu.) Tapi yerlah kesianlah pada seorang Kakak ni, dia belum dikurniakan cahaya mata lagi. Tapi yang pelik pada saya, yang lain ni siap nak tanya dan discuss dengan dia kenapa dia belum dapat anak. Ada yang tanya sama ada ahli keluarganya yang lain ada anak atau tidak. Bagaimana pula dengan keluarga suaminya. Laaaa tu kan kisah rumahtangga orang. Kenapa mesti di bincangkan beramai-ramai? Apa lagi semua petua-petua orang dulu-dulu keluarlah, ada yang suruh Akak tu dokong bayi tersebut, ada yang suruh Akak tu letak baby tu di perutnyalah. Ada kata patut dia duduk atas uri wanita yang baru bersalin. Macam-macam! Bukan apa pada saya, kalau Akak itu sendiri telah mengalami tekaan akibat topik tersebut, lalu membuat petua-petua tersebut tapi tak juga menjadi. Kan haru! Pelik juga saya kerana pada saya, ajal, maut dan rezeki semua Allah yang tentukan. Bukankah patut kita berdoa pada Allah dari pada membuat petua-petua tersebut? Bukankan kita lebih baik tolong mendoakan Akak tersebut beramai-ramai daripada membuka discussi mengenai hal rumahtangga nya (nasib takde yang tanya "you buat pakai teknik apa?" lagi haru!) Lagipun kalau Kakak tu stress memikirkan topik tu selalu, bagaimana badanya nak relaks. Hanya apabila badan kita relax, ia akan dapat berfungsi dengan baik. Tapi saya diam sahajalah. Kakak-kakak tu semua lebih tua dari saya, lebih banyak makan garam dan lebih banyak pengalaman. Nasib baik mereka tak tanya saya apa-apa, mungkin mereka nampak saya tidak berminat untuk masuk sama dalam topik tersebut.

Sebenarnya bukan topik anak yang pada saya sensitip, tetapi perihal rumah tangga orang lain yang diceritakan dan di bentangkan di khalayak ramai yang buat saya merasa tidak selesa. (Lebih lebih lagi err bende bende privat atau yang boleh mengaibkan.) Kadangkala saya rasakan masyarat Melayu ini terlalu bebas menceritakan perihal rumahtangga mereka atau bertanya perihal rumah tangga orang. Asalkan mereka tidak bertanya mengenai saya tak mengapalah, saya diam sahaja mendengar.

Sekian kali ini saya telah panjang lebar membebel. Inilah kali pertama saya mencuba menulis blog ini dari awal hingga ke akhir dalam Bahasa. Nampak sah Bahasa saya tidak begitu elok. Tapi maklum lah dah dua hari bertutur dalam bahasa Melayu.

Bagaimana pula dengan anda? Apa yang anda buat pada hujung minggu anda?

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

For Empty heart

I really liked that, long drives together, new memories, and holding hands till old age ...
But now I haf to find a way, to get rid of my hurt and d betrayal. Not sure how, still.

By Empty Heart, at 4:01 PM

Dear Empty Heart,

I visited your blog and I understand that you are going through a process of hurting. Yes you are waist deep in the river, your footing feels unsure and suddenly you are at where many rivers meet. The current is strong, and you seemed to have lost your life buoy.

I may postulate what you’re going through, but only you will know how it feels to be in your shoes. I can only empathize and imagine, but nothing beats being there for yourself.

My only humble suggestion to you, if you are willing to accept it, (or you can just throw it out and cast it to the wind), are prayers. Seek guidance from The Creator. Perhaps He has bigger plans for you ahead. Everything happens for a reason. With every pain He gives us, he also gives us joy. With every hardship we all face, He also gives us cause for celebration.

Perhaps He is training you to be strong. To build on your faith. Pray to him and Insyallah He will listen. Doa orang yang sedang dalam kesusahan atau orang yang tertindas itu Insyallah akan dikabulkan Allah. So pray for the best for yourself, for the future of your unborn child and for your husband. Channel every hurt you have into good hopes and happiness for the future. Have faith in Him. He knows best. Although its turbulent times you are going through right now, I hope Allah will give you strength to endure and overcome your hurt and your difficulties.

I am sure you already know whatever you are feeling at the moment will be channelled into your child. You will need to be strong and keep happy thoughts, if not at least for the sake of your child. It is hard. And I know you’re probably thinking, “Easier said than done, you’re not the one who have to shoulder all this pain.” That is probably true.

But all I can offer you right now are good thoughts and I hope words that can make you stronger. The choices you have to make are in your hands. With prayers and guidance from Allah, Insyallah I hope you will be able to make the right decisions for yourself.

Love is important in life. But it is important for your to love yourself first. Be selfish if you must, because only a person who knows how to love herself first, will be able to teach the people around her how to love her. Think for yourself, and think of yourself. And pray. Ask for good things and Insyallah He will obliged.

Some people get the smooth road, while others get the bumpy road. But we all have our own journies to finish. Perhaps your road has been bumpier than others, so take this time to ask your Creator to make things easier for you. He will only test us to the maximum limit he thinks we can take. Obviously He thinks you are a strong person, and therefore has been given a tough test to endure.

Take care and be strong, and my prayers are for you to find peace and happiness for yourself soon. Insyallah.