Saturday, December 23, 2006

Food in mouth Disease

Ok I have to say I never really know how to handle these sort of issues. So I have to throw it out to you guys, when push comes to shove, when you hear unpleasant things about someone with whom you are close with, do you tell them about what you heard or do you keep it to yourself?

The Xs are the sweetest couple I’ve ever met. They are so kind, so outgoing and so sporting that we found it very easy to hang out with them.

So a few month ago Mrs X went for vacation back in Malaysia without Mr X. And then suddenly a Mr W told us, “I heard a rumour that Mr X has something going on with another woman.”

Confidently we told Mr W, “I don’t think so! Perhaps you thought wrong! Perhaps it someone else? I don’t think its him surely. I’ve been around them and I don’t think he would do that sort of thing.”

Mr W kept it at that but Mrs W told us a story of seeing a certain Ms N, recently divorced asking Mr X to put a bracelet on her. Now I think nothing of that because Mrs X was the one selling the bracelet.

Here comes the foot in mouth part. I don’t know what got into me. After keeping this conversation to myself for months and months I decided to tell Mrs X about the conversation.

In my defence, for me, if anything of that sort was said about me or my beloved to my close friends, I hope they will tell me what they heard. At least so I know who my real friends are and who my enemies are. What I really can’t stand are people who pretend to be nice to me while they spread nasty things about me behind my back. Atleast I know with whom I should stay away from or be careful with.

Mrs X took the conversation well when she was talking with me but I now realize that perhaps what I had told her has affected her more than I thought it would. I had an alarming call from Mr X who told nicely told me please to close this topic and he shared with me, whom he thought the originator of the rumour.

I have to say that I am shocked but not too surprised. But most of all it pains me to hear that the Xs are in pain. Luckily the Ws are no longer here.

I know that its often about the delivery but I’m not sure if I did well on the delivery or not. My intentions were good but I also realize that the road to hell is often paved with good intentions.

May Allah grant the Xs strength and perseverance through this difficult time and may they become stronger.

And perhaps I should just keep my mouth shut next time? I don't know what got into me, too much desert air made me dizzy perhaps?

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Rahmat Allah - Alhamdullilah

Rezeki anakku murah sekali Amin. Semoga Allah sentiasa murahkan rezekinya hingga melimpah ruah sepanjang hayatnya serta berikan dia kesenangan di dunia dan di akhirat. Insyallah.

I got out of the cab. 5 minutes to spare before the shops reopen after the Magrib prayer. The little one was sleepy. It was rather nippy. This winter has been one of the worst.

I was wearing her in my sling. I peered into the glass display of a shop just to look at our reflection to adjust the fabric of my sling.

The lady approached me trying to say something. I didn't quite understand her as she was speaking Arabic.

"Brrrrr," she said.


Ah I understood she was telling me that my baby could be cold. She pointed out that the little one needed a hat. I tried to explain in my non existent Arabic that the little one hates hats and would take it off as soon as I put the hat on.

"Filipini?" she asked me. "Malaysia" I said.

Then she said, "Ta'ali" which I understood as come here.

I don't know what got into me but I followed her towards the corner store selling stockings, underwear, hats and mitts.

She is telling me that I should buy a hat for the little one. Ok. Ok I obliged. So I was trying to make my choice. And I could figure out that she was asking the prices of things to the shopkeeper. And she handed out a hat to me. I put it on the little one to humor her.

And as I was reaching out for my wallet she was telling me, "Hadiah, hadiah."

I was speechless. Flabbergasted. I didn't know what to say. I wanted to tell her no, no need but I didn't want to offend her by refusing and appearing to be ungrateful. I tried my best in my pidgin Arabic to say "Syukran." I wanted to say May Allah bless you with your kindness. But I was just so tongue tied by the generosity and the kindness of a stranger.

I really didn't know what to do. Not being used to such a situation.

May Allah grant the generous lady whose face I didn't see a lifetime of good blessings and may she be granted abundance always.

As for my little one, she still refuses to wear her hat but I do pray that Allah will continue her good fortune throughout her life.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Trip to the Edge of the World

I have a confession to make.

I Sunflora used to think that I was 25. As each year progressed, I still thought that I was 25 until I got pregnant. That's when suddenly I felt my age. Every year and every month of it. There was something about me being pregnant that made me feel old and tired.

I had always had a tiny fear of height. Not someone who grew up living on the 13th floor surely! I discovered this fear I had when I went hiking up Gunung Ledang with a good friend of mine. I had absolutely no problems climbing up but had such a difficult time climbing down. I felt my knees shaking and that I would tumble and roll down.

Somehow my fear was heightened during our recent trip to the Edge of the World. It was my first desert trip and we went with three other families. My beloved was pumped up to go and had organized the logistics for the trip. Equipped with 2 GPS and 3 4x4s, 4 families met at 6:30 am at the end of a highway and made their way eventually into the desert.

The ride in the desert was somewhat bumpy, some parts scary and other parts shaky. By the time we arrived at the first viewpoint my knees were shaking and I was totally unprepared for the strong cold wind. I was somewhat under dressed and its been a while since I did any hiking or rock climbing and my feet refused to move. They felt like they've been weight down with rocks.

Somehow at the back of my mind, I had this vision that I would tumble, lose my footing and the wind would sweep me off and blow me over the edge and I would fall down the cliff below.

Call me scardy cat but my legs absolutely could not move! So the plan to climb up was aborted.

And then it was time for breakfast. Now I'd have to say that breakfast was the highlight of the trip. Never mind the breathtaking view, the desert fresh air or even the difficulty in getting to the place but breakfast was THE thing that we all have been looking forward to. With Nasi Lemak, Satay goreng, bee hoon goreng and karipap sayur, we had a hearty breakfast.

Then off to the second viewpoint, which required no climbing at my part. With the sun now up above us, the sky clear and blue, I managed to capture some pictures.

The man in blue is a work colleague of one of the guys. Just the though of going the edge is making my palm sweat.

On the way back, we took some pictures of camels. We found out that camels don't roam in the wild anymore. They all belong to someone and some would probably be slaughtered this coming Aidiladha.

Once on the tarmac, we all heaved a sigh of relief. It didn't help that Sally told us about the story of the family found dead in their card in the desert during the summer. A mother with five children had all languished in their car, with no sign of their father. All had died due to dehydration and the heat. Two of her children were laying on the backseat, covered up with a sheet. The mother was holding her baby on her lap while the other two children were hugging each other in the front seat. The mom had left a note saying that she accepted her death as fate. We felt very uneasy after that story, knowing that the desert could be your deadly enemy.

And hopefully we will make another trip out soon.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Sunflora' Whats-In-the-Fridge-Kuah-Lodeh and glorious B@hr@in

Its been a week since we've celebrated Eid and somehow time flew by in a flash. Only yesterday I managed to make some sayur lodeh to eat with the 4 packets of nasi impit I had. (I had enthusiastically boiled some on the eve of the Eid and a friend had given me 2 more packets.) I specifically made the sayur lodeh because I didn't want to waste the nasi impit which would underwise languish in my fridge.

Now about that kuah lodeh, now we haven't done any grocery shopping since we went to B@hr@in. And I still have some "treasures" from which I managed to get from Rachnee. (Thanks so much Farah! And Elisa you must try to go there next time! They have almost everything! I bought daun pandan, fresh wantan noodles, tahu telur, petai and even fresh ear mushroom.)

So I had to improvise with whatever I had in the fridge.

Sunflora's what's in the fridge Kuah Lodeh

1 onion chopped
2 spoonfuls of fresh tumeric blended (tumeric was brought from Msia b4 Ramadhan!)
2 lemongrass from my garden
some almost dried out leek I had in my fridge, thinly sliced
1 almost dried up carrot
1 radish with lots of roots because I've kept it for so long
1 can of coconut juice (santan)
1 spoonful of ready made belachan chilli sauce
1 cube of chicken stock
a handful of the wood ear mushroom (black fungus) chopped
A packet of frozen fried tofu
1 packet of glass noodles or so-on (


Heat some oil in the pot. Saute the onions and the leeks until soft. Add a spoonful of the belachan chilli and 2 spoonfuls of the tumeric. Add the crushed lemongrass.

Once everything has soften add some water. Add the carrots and the radish. Add half of the coconut juice and stir. Throw in the chicken stock.

Once the soup begins to boil do not stop stirring and turn down the heat. Pour in the rest of the coconut juice. Add the black fungus mushroom, the frozen tofu and the glass noodles. Continue stirring and do not allow the soup to boil over.

Wallah! We have the coconut vegetable soup to eat with the nasi impit!

The only comment my dearest made was that my soup was bright yellow which I attributed to using fresh tumeric and not dried.

And what else did I managed to buy from Rachnee? Petai!! Yummy! I made some sambal petai as well to go with the kuah lodeh!

Amongst other finds at Rachnee was green tea with basil leaves (biji selasih) and I also managed to buy some grass jelly (cincau) drink at the Geant in B@hr@in.

We had such a good time at Farah's. Poor Az@m was peeking all the time and refused to fall asleep. Perhaps next time Farah we'll see you again although it looks like it would be after you've had the little one.

B@hr@in was wonderful and we spent too much! Had very good seafood at Royal Thai and the Gulf Hotel. Made a mistake of wanting to peek at the Japanese restaurant and ended up staying for "snacks" which included cawanmushi, salmon sashimi and macha (green tea icecream).

Our next trip we would definitely stop at Rachnee and I'm considering a pandan leaf import business ;)

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Selamat Hari Raya

Kepada teman teman para pembaca blog semua saya ucapkan selamat hari raya dan maaf zahir batin. Saya ingin meminta maaf sekiranya ada salah atau silap.

Sesungguhnya saya sedang sibuk pada masa cuti ini Insyallah akan saya sambung cerita bila ada kelapangan nanti.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Hmm entahlah

Reading Elisa's entry somehow resonates with how I have been feeling just a couple of days.

A certain someone mentioned quite a few times that "saya tak pernah pegi rumah Sunflora lagi." Ok, I thought, tell me when you want to come. With a baby it isn't easy for me to entertain so I told her just tell me when you want to come and we'll arrange something.

So this Ramadhan I thought I would have a little do. The guest list will be minimal (apparently for me minimal is 20 people) but since I was catering I thought might as well have it in one go. Even then I didn't get to invite everyone I wanted to invite simply because the whole thing would be too big.

And I invited the certain someone as well. She warned me that she may not be able to come but will reconfirm at a later time. Then comes the day before the ocasion. I called to get a confirmation and the answer was, "Sunflora I tak datang boleh tak?" Me being me I didn't probe further as to reason why the person didn't want to come. Tak nak datang sudahlah takkan nak paksa-paksa pujuk-pujuk. Bukannya budak-budak.

Then it came to my ears that the person discouraged another guest from coming. Takyahlah pegi Sunflora punya tu nanti kene bukak tudung dan pakai topi.

I must say that I was a bit upset with that. Its one thing not wanting to come but another thing to discourage my other guests from coming. Plus would I force my guest from removing their headscarf simply because I want them to dine with me? And if it is so, surely I would tell them in advance. All I said was "No Ab@yas at the pool."

As usual the hubby always take the diplomatic view. He said that I should take what arrived to my ear with a pinch of salt because whatever that came to me may not be exactly that was said.

At the end of the day I have to remind myself that my intention of holding the iftar party was firstly to sedekah orang makan and secondly to bring some friends together before some of them fly home for Eid. Should someone chooses not to come, its their loss not mine.

But all these Chinese whispers can be so annoying sometimes. Apparently my house is known for my cabinets of China. Surprisingly I've been to much nicer houses, much better decorated with a lot more lovely things. For me my house is plain and dull, nothing to shout about.

Entahlah, bersabar jelah nak buat ibadah pun susah jugak kadang-kadang. Baik duduk dalam gua sorang-sorang lagi senang. hmpphhh!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

A reluctant mother

Unlike some women who can’t wait to break the news of their pregnancy to the world, I on the other hand, only told those around us around the sixth month. When I was already showing and the question was inevitable. (The news came out around this time last year, hence this posting.)

Many were surprised that I didn’t break this news much earlier. And in fact many others found out from other people. As soon as the news came out (courtesy of a few CNN newscasters) it spread like wildfire.

And I was so ill equipped and unprepared at being congratulated to. Worst still were the questions thrown at me, why didn’t you tell us? But some of these people, I haven’t spoken to for ages. Was I expected to pick up the phone to inform them that I was pregnant?

The few close friends I had, those I really hung out with, knew somewhat earlier. But what was most apparent to me was the different cultural reactions.

(Atenah and I had this conversation about how we perceived things are shaped by our culture. Yes Atenah I am still pondering what makes me the way I am. And I am beginning to think that some of the so called cultural values that most Malays have, well I don’t seem to hold those values.)

My Malay friends thought that it was their God given right to be told from the very beginning when I was pregnant while my Western friends would just take the information in and smile and asked me how I feel. And the funnier thing was that it was much easier for me to share the news with my Western friends rather than my Malay friends.

My beloved pointed out to me that I hang out with my Western friends because we have some things in common, our quilting hobby perhaps. They are people whom I genuinely enjoy their company and we have the same mindset about things. My Malay friends well, some of them, we hung out with because of the commonality of out culture even though we may not share any common interests or point of view. My Malay friends, I suppose are like family. You can choose your friends, but you don’t choose family.

The other thing I absolutely could not stand was the underlying implication that the Malays assume when they found out that I was pregnant. One of the first questions they would ask was, how many years have you been married? And when given the answer they would react as if a miracle has suddenly taken place. Oh wow! After seven years!
You can finally conceive! They would remark with such surprise.

Out comes the stories of how, "Ah adik I pun dah 8 tahun kawin baru dapat anak." Or "My cousin punya best friend punya sedara tu buat IVF 4 kali baru dapat anak."

It was very difficult to explain to them that it wasn’t that we couldn’t have children, but we chose not to have any all these years. They just cannot believe that there could be such a person who voluntarily chose not to have children after getting married and quickly assume that you have “problems.”

Luckily my beloved, being the ever so wise one, pointed out to me that, "What people say is a reflection of them, of who they are and what they are thinking, and often has nothing to do with you or about you." He also pointed out to me that, "their perception of things belong to them and there is nothing much you can do to change that."

Now don’t get me wrong, now that we have The-Little-One, we love her very much. And yes it is such a joy to see her smile and hear her laugh. But I am still adjusting to my life as a mother. There are days when I do wish I have more time to myself, so I can just sit down to think and be able, at a moment’s notice pack my bag and fly off somewhere. Unplanned trips were my specialty. But these days, it takes me two hours to get ready to go out. And yet I’m breastfeeding, so no hassle with bottles and formulas. But I still go around with a HUGE Gucci diaper bag.

Yes the Gucci diaper bag deserves a mention here, because its part of my denial I guess. I cringe at the thought of carrying a pink quilted bag with pictures of bunnies and storks on the outside.

Some of my friends only found out that I have a baby when I returned for my holidays recently. I just didn’t get round to telling them that I was pregnant and I now have a nine month old child. Some were in shock but I’m sure they’ll get over it somehow.

However, despite my reluctance and my trepidation, I love being a mother to my daughter. I still stand on my past decision not have children any earlier because I needed to be mentally prepared to be one. I needed the time to get to know myself, my limitations, my strengths, my values and my view of the world before I can finally decide what sort of values I want to pass down to my child.

And Atenah, more so now than ever before, I am constantly assessing myself and my environment, and what sort of message I am sending out to my child.

When and how I became like this? I think since my uni days when I was taught to be observant and critical of the things around me. When I was taught to think and assess everything.

And my wish for my child?

For her to get the best education a person can get. Not just having the academic accreditation but also the wisdom of the ways of the world. May she always find happiness in life, in whatever she does. I want her to always know that she is loved very much by both her parents. And that she will become a good Musl/m.

NB Yes Kak Teh, I do need extra hands, arms and legs this year. I don’t know somehow your posting about your mum made me think more about motherhood, in my case the start of my motherhood and my reluctance to embark on this role earlier.

Elisa, yes we are fortunate to have the opportunity to see the true colors of the religion.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

One Iftar in Ramadhan

We were rushed for time. Iftar was just minutes away and we were at the traffic light round the corner. We saw the lady standing on the side with her young child. Two or three years of age perhaps.

"Do you have some small change?" he asked me.

I reached for my bag.

Oh but apparently the lady and her child were not begging as they crossed the road, walking past our car.

The child, a little girl wearing pink, was playful, hung back. The mum pushed her forward.

To our horror the little girl almost fell head first onto the road.

Oh no! I thought! I hope there isn't a car coming their way.

The mum held on to the back of her t shirt and pulled it up. The child was crying.

We saw them walk away.

Somehow the sight of the girl falling down because her mum pushed her forward stayed in my mind. Surely the mum didn't do it on purpose? Surely she loves her little girl? Perhaps she underestimated her own strength?

I hope that girl will always be protected by Allah and may he give her good health and happiness always.


The sight of the mother and child crossing the road was a huge contrast to the people who we had iftar with. Toting their latest Roberto Cavalli handbags and their glittery abayas, the ladies were out to impress their friends.

Just seeing the shoes outside the ladies prayer room was as good as strolling on the ladies' shoe department at Harrods. Pradas and shimmery mules. Just name the designer, the shoe would be there.

I don't have to worry about my shoes being stolen then. An old tired, battered and smelly Scholl, I just put it on the side such that no Jimmy Choos would trip over them.

And outside at the dining hall there was just a huge rush for food! Everyone was just so impatient! But all the money and the riches in the world can buy them manners. Designer accessorized plebians at best. While waiting for my ouzi, I watched in horror as a child used her hands to grab the lamb. The mum was too busy dishing food in her own plate that he hardly heed any attention to the child. The server patiently served them, cutting pieces of meat and putting them on her plate. And she used her hands to put them back on the tray.

Did she wash her hands? I wondered.


Ramadhan teaches us to be closer with those who have starve day after day. With hopes that we would bring ourselves closer to the Almighty. And that we try to live our lives simply.

But somehow my two experiences today has shown me that the great divide between the rich and the poor is often too big.

And my lesson for the day? To remember that there is life beyond Prada shoes, Roberto Cavalli handbags and thousand riyals abayas.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

I smoke when I'm lonely

We pressed on his doorbell twice. There was no answer the first time round.

Perhaps he isn't at home?

Finally he answered the door.

"Oh hello," he greeted us. Surprised. We tried calling him earlier but there was no answer.

"Sorry I have turned off the aircon," he apologized sheepishly.

"I wasn't expecting company. Come on in."

"I didn't know you smoked?" said S.

"I only smoke when I get lonely."

That remarked he made, even though it was sponteneous and offhand, struck me like a knife on my chest.

I noticed he has been lying down on the couch in the living room. With a neat, white pillowcase, a laptop on the coffee table and a headphone. A yellow food container laid on the table, take away dinner perhaps.

I've been there, living on the sofa in my living room, at different times in my life. Once while at university when I was living alone. And once again while waiting to come here.

And so has S.

Just at that moment I felt so grateful, so thankful that I have S on my side.

Because that person living on the couch in front of the tv and the pc could just as easily be either one of us.

He left his beloved and his 2 children back home. Not everyone gets the luxury of coming here as a family. Many don't.

Perhaps I wished that we were elsewhere but for now I am grateful that we are together.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Melayu baru?

Jam 10 malam di kota Singa. Ke mana boleh kami pergi? Leceh sungguh rasanya tidak ada empat roda sendiri, tapi tak mengapa teksi banyak ada. Ke manakah kami? Yang lain semua sudah tutup, ke Mustafa center la akhirnya. Di buka 24 jam, boleh saya lepaskan geram hendak membeli belah di tengah malam dalam kota singa yang humid ini.

Di Mustafa saya perasan, ada ramai Melayu. Ada yang datang sekeluarga, ada yang datang bersama teman-teman. Ada yang melihat saya dengan tanda tanya di muka mereka. Ada pula yang setelah melihat and memalingkan muka ke tempat lain. Lantaklah.

"They think you are Malaysian." Bisik si dia. Betulkah? Sudah lama ku tinggalkan kota ini hingga aku dilihat seperti orang asing di tempat kelahiran ku?

Mungkin kerana saya bertudung hitam dan mendokong si cilik di dalam sling.

Tapi yang nyata bahasa yang dituturkan orang Melayu di k0ta Singa ini susah untuk saya fahami. Phrasa-phrasa yang amat janggal di dengar timbul semula.

"Kitaorang nak pegi makan lah!"

Pengalaman saya ini, saya ceritakan pada Crof. Adakah ini perkembangan baru?

Ya inilah dia Melayu ghetto. Mereka ada lingo mereka sendiri. Cara percakapan mereka berbeza.

Yang jelas bukan saya sahaja yang nampak/denagr kelainan dalam mereka.

Sedang saya membeli coklat di Millinea walk, saya di tanya,

"You all ni bukan orang sini ke?"


"We are, just that we've been living abroad for awhile."

Dia nampak tanduk alien kah di atas kepala saya?

Friday, September 01, 2006

Are you a strict Musl|m?

The question was posed to me by a friend last night.

My immediate reaction was, what does it mean being a strict Musl}m?

Am I considered one now because I wear a scarf?

Frankly I am a scarf wearer in training right now. I don't wear my scarf as neatly as others do. But I didn't know that a bit of fabric on my head would make so much difference in the way other people see and perceive me. I am still struggling with the fabric but I guess its more than just a fabric, its me holding a sign saying "I am a Musl|m woman."

As for being a "strict" Musl|m, I'm not even sure what that means. I'm just trying to be a grateful and humble slave, who is grateful to Allah for all that he has given me. I have been very lucky in this life so far and the least I could do is to be grateful with what He is giving me.

Another asked me if this was a splash back from living in S@udi Ar@bia. Perhaps in the beginning it was. But I would say my main impetus for change was our pilgrimage trip. For me it was a journey that opened my eyes. It made me see the beauty of the religion and the people who practise the religion.

This pilgrimage experience however should not be mixed up with my experience of living in R|yadh, because living in the city made me realize that the beauty of my religion has nothing to do with geography or a certain race of people. I have faced more racism here than I have ever experienced before in my life. And no secular law can make the people in the country more religious. It can limit temptation yes, but it will not make the people religious.

At the end of the day, its the intentions we have at heart that counts. I don't think I am a good enough Musl|m that I think I should be. I am trying though. I am trying my hardest to be a better person.

I only ask that Allah gives me strength and make it easier for me to do so.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Lama tak update

Pasal terasa malas pulak. Banyak cerita saya dengar tapi saja takde ilham nak menulis. Seorang kawan yang sudah berada di sini selama 20 tahun akan pulang ke tanah air. Sedih rasanya. Saya tinjau rumah yang telah mereka sewa selama 9 tahun. Adoiii pening kepala!

Saya pula terasa gerun. Bagaimanakah nanti apabila sampai masanya untuk kami berpindah? Banyak harta karun yang telah saya kumpul. Rumah ini dah mulai menjadi gua Ali Baba. Yerlah kadang-kadang ada kawan yang balik negri beri saya barang mereka. Adapula orang yang berbaik hati beri barang yang mereka sudah tidak perlukan. Adoiiii.

Nasib baik KaKlela dapat berchat dengan saya kelmarin dan memberi saya tip bagaimana hendak bersihkan blog saya ini daripada gangguan spyware. Entah mana dapat spyware tu tak taulah.

Ada juga pergi bercoffee morning di rumah kawan di sini. Banyak pula mendapat gossip. Yelah sedangkan lidah, boleh bergigit apa lagi situasi di office terbawa-bawa ke kehidupan seharian.

Bulan Ramadhan sudah mulai dekat. Sudahkah anda habis membayar hutang puasa anda?

Bagaimana pula dengan zakat harta anda? Sudahkah anda langsaikan?

Kalau nak hantar baju melayu untuk di tempah baiklah di hantar sekarang. Nanti bila Ramadhan sudah mula ramai tailor tak mau ambil upah lagi.

Saya pula sedang tunggu kedai kain kegemaran saya membuat SALE agar saya dapat memborong kain kegemaran saya. Malangnya kedai tu tak ada SALE langsung!

Sesiapa yang nak menunaikan ibadah Haji tahun ni baik lah mula bersedia, dah daftar nama?

Kalau ikutkan hati memang terasa nak pergi lagi. Insyallah kalau ade panggilan dan rezeki. Umrah pun dah lama tak pergi. Nak tunggu musim cuti sekolah berakhir. Tapi tahun ni tak lama selepas sekolah dibuka semula, Ramadhan pun menjelma. Tentu ramai yang mengerjakan umrah dalam bulan Ramadhan.

Tinjau-tinjau di blog teman-teman ramai juga yang tak rancak berupdate. Uh Uh.

I think I have rambled enough. Its obvious that my coherant voice is in a rut right now. Thank you for your comments. Sorry I havent gone round to replying them.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Kalau masih ade nafsu

Pada hujung minggu lalu kami berjumpa sekali lagi untuk wanita-wanita yang bermain kutu. Dalam group kutu saya ni ada ramai juga jururawat yang bekerja di hospital gomen di sini. Yerlah kalau dah semua wanita bertemua tanpa lelaki, topik semasa antara lain termasuk topik lelaki tempatan di sini.

Menurut K (Bukan Datuk K yea!) ada seorang pakcik berumur 82 tahun yang datang ke clinic nya setiap bulan. Cuba teka dia datang untuk check apa? Pakcik 82 tahun datang untuk memohon dipasangkan alat sulit baru atau prostetic. Setiap bulan permohonanya di tolak oleh doktor kerana jantungnya terlalu lemah untuk keseronokkan seperti ini. Tetapi Pakcik 82 tahun ni tidak mahu menerima hakikat ini dan akan datang setiap bulan. Khabarnya dia mempunyai seorang calon remaja berumur 18 tahun yang bakal di jadikan isteri.

Rupanya di sini ramai lelaki yang sudah lanjut usianya berkawin dengan anak gadis muda. Bila saya tanya kenapa atau bagaimana gadis-gadis ini bersetuju untuk dikawinkan dengan pakcik tua dan berkerepot? Ceritanya mungkin keluarga perempuan tersebut memerlukan duit, dengan perkawinan tersebut keluarganya akan menerima "pampasan" dari lelaki tersebut.

Teringat saya bila saya pergi ke pasar emas kemarin. Saya ternampak seorang pakcik tua memberli satu set barang emas siap rantai, anting-anting, gelang dan sebagainya.

Di sini tak ramai mencuri/peragut kalau di Malaysia mungkin pakcik tu tak berani shopping sorang-sorang agaknya yerlah takut di rompak! Sure kalau dua orang lelaki tolak pakcik tu sekali dapat rampas barang emas tu. Tapi di sini pencuri di hukum potong tangan jadi tak ramai pencuri.

Memang saya sendiri terfikir, pakcik tu beli barang kemas untuk dia atau untuk anak nya? Sebabnya di sini kalau lelaki yang membeli set seperti itu, untuk hadiah perkawinan.

Geng jururawat memberitahu saya yang di sini ramai lelaki yang memasang berbagai jenis alat untuk menolong mereka berfungsi. Sama ada yang berpump, yang plastic dan sebagainya. Pill biru pula memang senang di beli di farmasi di sini tanpa perlu prescription.

Jangan di sangka yang berkopiah, berjubah dan bertasbih itu tidak ada nafsu! kadangkala mereka ini lebih dahsyat!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

I could have gone . . . .

But I turned down the oppurtunity to visit my old flat.
To smell my lavenders.
To have some fresh Kent strawberries.
To walk around the high streets.
To take the trains and the Underground.
To eat a lot of fish.

My heart wants to go but my head says no.
I have to be sensible with my disbursal
Or risk breaking the bank
And save for a longer trip at a later time
Spreading the hit a little bit.

Of course I want to go!
But my head, my sensible head says NO!
Although my heart is aching
With another oppurtunity missed

Go! Go! Go!
No! No! No!

I used to be able to travel on a whim
Just pack my bag and go

I must be getting old.


Sunday, July 30, 2006

One of those weeks

No Elisa, I'm not going anywhere.. yet. Just having one of those weeks when I feel sick and tired of this place. The heat is unberable, I feel my skin being seared by the sun's rays. The dryness makes my skin so dry that I get paper burns just as I run my fingers on the detergent box. I feel so trapped indoors. I want to go out but there isn't many afternoon buses because most of the inhabitants of the compounds are away on vacation.

Everyday seems just like the day before. Like Ground Hog day but a much more mundane one.I feel like leaving, going off away elsewhere where I can do what I like, anytime I want without fear of being harassed and contrained by the weird shoppings hours and being so dependent on my dearest when I want to go out.

So I guess I just have to remind myself that someday when I am no longer here perhaps I will miss this place. You guys are lucky there aren't any traffic jams over there. Traffic is horrible here!

I know I am complaining that I feel trapped here but I know when I leave I will miss compound life. If I have any problems, any pipe leaking, the aircon filters need changing, the lightbulbs need to be changed, any machinery breaks down, I can just pick up the phone and call maintenance and before long a guy will come and fix it up and I can just tip him RM5 and he'd be so happy. And the pool is just 5 steps away from my backdoor. And when I'm too lazy to cook I can just call the restaurant and the food will be sent to my doorstep. yes Alhamdullilah to all that. I know I will miss all that but at the moment I am just errrrrkkkkk feeling so trapped! You know like one of those hamsters with a beautiful cage with all sorts of activities!

PS wahh isn't Al Zamil a wonderful place!!! I can spends hours and hours in there! The one here is only about 1/4 the size of the one in Al khob@r!! I am sooooo envious!

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Somedays I miss...

Walking along the Thames in the summer.
Sitting at the Starbucks near the Clink,
reading the papers.
Or sleeping at the Tate modern.
Comfortable couch on the second floor.
Having lunch in the church yard
Sitting and waiting on my favorite bench
Undisturbed and not harassed
Feeding the ducks my stale bread.
Walking to Waitrose, in time for the mark downs.
Dinner was whatever that was on discount that day.
Trout, organic salmon, scallops, monk fish
BBQ under my apple tea.
The smell of freshly mowed lawn.

Walking along Causeway Bay
Past the cartoon knick knacks
Buying Seconds at my favourite shop
Where the cashier actually smiles
Buying fresh Tofu at City Super
Taking the elevator down to Jusco if I needed anything
Staying home when there is a typhoon signal 8
Taking the boat for fresh seafood
The feel of fresh clay in my hands
Molding, kneading and shaping
I will always remember those steps
Up that Hill in Central
To The Workshop

The gurame at Pondok Padzi
Having a driver to shuttle me around
Lawry’s at Plaza Senayan

Looking at the Lake that changes color
Depending on the season
Hiking and walking amongst nature
Driving and feeling in control
Feeling cold and the snow

The smell of Laksa in Sogo
Making me hungry even though I’ve just eaten
The Bento boxes at Miyagi
Appointments with Danny
Being pampered at the twins
Pasembur for lunch
Buying roses at Pasar Malam
Seabass steamed

Going to Mustafa at 2 am
Buying tau fo fa and mee rebus
At the market
Hanging out with my girlfriends
Walking in the underground tunnels
Browsing in Spotlight
Ordering Iced Milo in MacDonald’s

One day I will miss this place
So I might as well enjoy and savour what I have.

Friday, July 28, 2006

2 hellos and 3 goodbyes

While at the Mall the other day I decided to have some sushi. The waiter casually asked if I was from Mal@ysia. I said yes I was and asked if they had any M@laysian staff. Turned out there was a M@laysian cook. The waiter persuaded the cook to say Hello to me. To my surprise it was Nizam. He's been here for 6 months now and has decided that enough was enough and he wants to leave the country. He can't survive here any longer he said.

"I just wanted to perform my umrah and since I did that already, I think its time for me to leave." He told me.

"Why don't you perform your Haj as well?" I asked him.

Thats another 4 months. Seems like eternity.

Hello 1 - Goodbye 1

Ix called me to asked me if I heard that DN was leaving. What? They are my neighbours and yet I didn't hear anything about it. DN just came back three days ago and they are leaving next Wednesday.

Apparently DN's MIL persuaded them to return. Her MIL was nervous about the goings on in Leb@non. DN's husband got an oppurtunity to return and so he said yes and tendered his resignation here. He's only been here a year, and she 8 months.

He told his employers that he simply could not adjust to life here. And DN told me that he was sick all the time.

Perhaps it stems from being home sick.

Hello 1 - Goodbye 2

Nia is leaving for good. The packers are coming next Saturday.

I will lose my gossip pipeline. Not that I miss the gossip pipeline part but she has been a very good neighbour. She understood when I needed to hibernate and left me alone. And when I was ready to get out, she'd keep me updated with the goings on. She's one of those people who has all her cards out in the open and she keeps it very real all the time. And I like that.

I don't like the pretenders who try to put a nice and smiley face in front of you and say all sorts about you once your back is turned. But its her time to move on. She's been here over 7 years and she is looking forward to the move. And I am happy for her.

Perhaps I will visit her in R@bat or P@ris one day.

Hello 1 - Goodbye 3

Met Tina at a friend's house. It looks like we expats have a checklist of questions we ask each other when we meet.

1. Where are you from?
2. How long have you been here?
3. How long are you planning to stay here?

Tina told us she's only here for the job although her position back home is still open for her when she gets back.

For us, Q1 is easy enough, even though people do get confused sometimes. Q2, is rather straightforward also I am surprised at how long we have been here. But Q3 is rather complicated. We've been asked that so often and yet we don't even know the answer. I have come to say:

"It all depends on the Allmighty's will. If he decides that we could stay here we stay. If he gives us oppurtunities elsewhere we'll move on."

My dearest sometimes say, "Depends on how the day in the office has been. When things are going smoothly its okay, but when the politics gets too frustrating I just feel like moving on."

Only time will tell.

Hello 2 - Goodbye 3

Thats just for this week. Its tiring and sometimes sad but that's just life I guess.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

I should always keep my mouth shut

So when I was asked by Elaine how is Nia, I casually answered she is OK except her husband is away again on a business trip. He's gone to Berlin this time round apparently.

"But I don't think its a business trip arranged by the office." Elaine told me.

"Well I don't know I thought it was for work." I replied. (In my mind thinking huh? whats that all about?)

"I think its a personal trip or a very short trip." Elaine told me as a matter of factly.

Ok I thought. Big deal. Its none of my business and I only mentioned it because Nia told me and I didn't quite bothered to get the little details as to why and how long etc he was going. Its none of my business anyways.

You see Nia's and Elaine's husbands work in the same office. The wives used to be quite close and were often in touch with each other. I have been hibernating lately so I didn't know that things have changed between them.

Somehow the puzzle pieces were put in place for me by Nia on a different afternoon.

"You have to be careful with Elaine and her husband. My husband told me that they can't be trusted. He stabbed by hubby on the back...."

Erkk how was I suppose to know that Elaine was fishing for info from me and that things between the two hasn't been brilliant? Both of them obviously haven't touched base with each other lately.

And why is that I get myself into such situations? Why do I answer other people's queries innocently only to find out that the information that I give out is used as incriminating evidence?

I should just hibernate back in my cave again!

This is why I dislike it when someone else ask me about another person. Because inadvertently I apparently add fuel to fire or divulge information that was not supposed to go to the other party.

From now on, I will try to keep my mouth shut. If anyone ask me about anyone else, my answer would be... errr I don't know ... I know nothing. Really. Nothing!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Thanks and now I'm hypo

Ladies, thank you for your kind wishes.

CK I am no longer hyperthyroidism but instead I now have hypothyroidism.

Its the effect of the medication. My level is now below normal which means I am gaining half a kilo a week. I feel cold all the time. etc etc etc. So I am kinda better already hehe.

Elisa I do like your suggestion getting some more fabric will make me feel better. Unfortunately I haven't been able to do any sewing since I've been off the steroid. And mee kari with kerang? Wow! Hey do you have kerang over there? None here unfortunately.

Lollies dear, don't feel so sad. Well I suppose I've had six years since I lost my mum. And yes I agree that behind every dark cloud is a silver lining. I just couldn't help laughing a little at myself, (tu lah doa mintak kurus lagi! Nak kurus tak perlu excercise tapi makan banyak ingat senang ke?) just that if our parents have a pre existing condition and if its something that can be inherited, we have to be vigilant and take good care of ourselves.

So if my clothes were loose then, now they are beginning to feel tight again. For some reason(actually I read its possibly the side effects of the steroid which the Dr said will take some time to wear off) the weight gain is centered on the center of my body ie stomach. I am just grateful that I can still fit into my baju kurungs because I truly cannot be bothered to have to make new ones.

As Atenah said before excercise, excercise, excercise. Sigh. But going to the gym means I have less time to spend in front of the PC! (Is that a good excuse or what?)

KakLela belikan Pak K jubah style apa? S@udi ke Emiriti? Style S@udi color dia macam baju Melayu atau berkolar macam kemeja. Kalau style Emirit leher dia macam baju kurung johor.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Conversation with God II – Living with Hyperthyroidism

Be careful what you ask for.

I take a personal approach when it comes to having a conversation with my creator. I often believe that he will give us what we ask for.

So after some weight gain, I asked him to please, please make it easier to slim down after my bout of weight gain. Please make it easy for me to return to my previous weight.

Of course I didn’t think much of that conversation again until much much much later.

Almost miraculously, I lost all the weight I gained. Well I did kinda lose it all magically but at a cost of course! I contracted hyperthyroidism.

At that time, I didn’t know I had hyperthyroidism. I was just feeling hot all the time. It was winter and everyone else wore jumpers and sweaters while I could stroll outside in my T shirt. But it got quite bad when I felt hot just being in my own skin. It was most uncomfortable. And then I had some itchyness. I thought it was just my eczema acting up due to the weather. But my shins and ankles were itchy as well. And I had headaches that wouldn’t quit. I had a headache that continually pounded on the left side of the head. And my heart was beating very fast, so fast that I can feel it myself.

And I was losing half a kilo a week. After about one and a half months. I began to suspect that something could be wrong. You see my mum died at age 49 due to hyperthyroidism. So I knew that this disease could run in the family. She lost quite a lot of weight and had heart palpitations. Unfortunately she saw a cardiologist about the heart palpitations but didn’t see an endocrinologist to get her hyperthyroidism diagnosed. She died of a thyroid storm. It was preventable but it was just too late. And it was entirely possible that I inherited this disease from her.

But there was one side of me that was very happy with the weight loss and wanted to lose more before seeing any doctor. So I did my own research first. With Google, anything was possible and information could be obtained at one’s own finger tips. And I had all the classic symptoms except for the goiter:

-I had a sudden weight loss even though I was eating a lot and was always hungry.
-Had the tremors and the trembles. My legs practically shook by themselves.
-My heartbeat was rapid.
-I was always nervous and was easily irritable
-I was always tired. My fatigue was just puzzling me.
-I was feeling hot all the time.
-My legs were weak. I had difficultly climbing the stairs and even onto the car.
-And I had difficulty sleeping, even when I was exhausted.

So finally we decided to chew the bullet and see a doctor about my condition. At least we can rule it out, I said. If its true I have it, we can begin treatment and if I don’t have it, we can rule it out and find out what is exactly wrong with me.

I called a friend in the medical profession which department I should ask for when requesting to see a doctor. And she advised me to ask for the Endocrinology department. We called a local clinic here and asked to see a Doctor from Internal Medicine.

Then came the day for me to see the doctor. I explained to her that I suspect that I have hyperthyroidism and that I wish to do the blood test that will determine if I do or do not have the condition.

It was all explained to me as my mum laid in a coma in the ICU 3 days before her death by the husband of a friend of mine who was a Thyroid Specialist. And I will remember that conversation I had with him just like yesterday.

“Just a simple blood test will tell us that your mum had hyperthyroidism. And hyperthyroidism is a very treatable disease. There is medication for it. But once you get a thyroid storm, it could be fatal.”

So I knew too well that if I chose to deny myself of treatment, I could follow my late mum’s fate.

Now the Doctor whom I came to see was skeptical at first. She asked me, “What makes you think you have hyperthyroidism?”

“I lost a lot of weight lately, I feel hot all the time. I have a headache that won’t quit. My heart is beating very fast. My hands are shaking. And my mother died of it.”

“Its quite rare for people to die of hyperthyroidism,” she said.

“Well she was not diagnosed and therefore was not treated for it. And she died due to a thyroid storm.”

The doctor examined me a little bit. Checked my neck for a goiter. Asked me to stretch my hands in front of me and saw them trembling. Listened to my heart. She then filled up some forms and told me to go to the lab to do a blood test.

And then I was told that I could return to discuss the results of the blood test the following day.

I guess people deal with difficulties in their lives differently. For me, the sooner I know the better. I like to make an informed choice about things. If I know it’s a problem, then its easier for me to deal with it. I just need to weigh my options, the pros and cons and also the consequences. My MIL however thought that it might comfort me to say. “Ah you probably don’t have it. It’s probably not a problem.” Which in turn perplexed me further. Because I know there is something wrong with me. And if I don’t know the cause then I’m even more upset and worried. What if its worst than what I think it is?

My hubby, thank god, was as practical as I was. He was very supportive. In fact if he didn’t urge me to see a doctor, I might have waited a few more weeks so I could lose some more weight. I was losing at the rate of a pound a week. So much so that my clothes were all getting too uncomfortably big for me.

When we saw the doctor she told me that my levels were off the chart. The range for a normal person was 12 – 22 while mine was more than 100. How much more they don’t know because they could only measure up to 100. In the meantime, I was told to do a scan to check my thyroid gland so the next cause of action could be determined.

After the scan, she told me that I must start treatment right away and prescribed me with some medication which she warned me, would be hard to get here and I should buy them whenever I can get my hands on them.

How does it feel contracting the same disease that that claimed my late mum? Well apparently this is not the first time when her history is replicated on me. I do hope that I live longer than 49 though. Because if I don’t, I have just 16 more years to live.

Please God, I hope you will give me a long life full of happiness and good health. I hope I will always have faith in you and be a good servant to you. May I grow old with my hubby and have a happy family. I am always thankful and grateful for what you have given us and hope that you will continue to bless us with good fortune, comfort, happiness, good health and wealth both in this life and the next.

So I must be careful what I ask for in life.
Because sometimes the creator grant my wishes.
Just not in the way I imagined it to be.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

One morning with half a dozen of S0uth Afric@n women

I’d have to admit that the African continent has been the continent I haven’t had the opportunity to visit and learn about. My curiosity about Africa was stirred few years ago after reading “The Poisonwood Bible” but I still haven’t had the chance to visit the continent.

Last week my friend J@ckie invited me over her place to do some beading. I’ve been over to her place before for a quilting session so I thought it was interesting that she decided to do some beading instead. How did I know J@ckie? Well she used to live in my compound and was good friends with J0y. They both did quilting with me and we sometimes hung out doing other stuff like bread etc. J@ckie and J0y decided to set up a business selling their handiwork and I was so excited for them.

Somehow hanging out with J@ckie and J0y makes me feel “normal.” You see because we are quilters, we love our handicraft and more importantly we are hoarders when it comes to handicraft supplies. We just love collecting fabrics, other craft supplies and books. People who don’t understand what we are about just don’t get it. They pass comments like, “Wow that’s a lot of fabrics you have.” Or the have this look on their face when they see our stuff. But hanging out with J and J, somehow its different because we all try to boost us stock, exchanging info on where to get more supplies etc. We try to eliminate “gaps” in our stash and we love all sorts of plastic boxes to store our treasures in.

Anyways I am digressing. Once I sat on the table with the five S0uth Afric@n, I had to retune my ears. I know I understand English and understood that they are speaking English but somehow the sounds came out all different and there were some words I could not recognize. And although there were six of them, all six of them had very different accents and through the course of the morning I realize that they came from different parts of S0uth Afric@ which also meant that they had very different experiences growing us. Names of places very alien to me came up like C@ape T0wn, Durb@n, Pret0ria, south versus North. I never realized this when I hung up with J@ckie all this time because her accent was rather well, normal. I guess that’s because she has an English mum and all. One of the ladies was born in Bell@russi@ so she had a very strong Russi@n accent. Another was of Indi@n Heritage.

I picked up new words like rednecks (which I think meant white people) and braai (meaning BBQ). And then there are lots of “Yaaa” all round. And “dolls” as well.

F/f/ our beading instructor for the day told us a story of how she was discriminated when growing up. Because she was the minority redneck in an Afrik@@n community, she said her school bus will drop her and her borthers off 20 km away from her home and she would need to walk the whole 20 km back home, compared to her Afrik@@n counterpart who was dropped off just outside their compound. She admits that she cannot speak Afrik@@ns and when she did try, they would laugh real hard hearing her speak.

Apartheid, Nelson Mandela and that sort of thing was just news in the TV for me but somehow hearing these ladies and their conversations brought some of that into flesh and blood for me.

But of course, my husband the cynic-realist would put things right immediately. When I told him that evening that I spent the morning with half a dozen S0uth Afric@n women he asked me,

“Just out of curiosity hon, out of the six women you met, were any of them black?”

“Errr nope of course, they were white except one of them who was of Indi@n heritage.”

But I think J@ckie mentioned something in passing to me before. That one of the reasons there are so many white S0uth Afric@ns here is that, aside from the fact that the money here is attractive, they are finding it hard to find jobs back home because they were white. Any available jobs would be offered to an Afrik@@n first.

Reverse racism I guess. But then again, surely there is no such thing as reverse racism. Racism is racism. It’s the prejudice of members of one race to members of another race.

And it seems no matter at which part of the world we are, racism and prejudice does exist. One way or another.

Along with poverty and hunger, I hope we are able to eradicate racism as well.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Mee Kari

Dear Blog,

My husband thinks that this is blog worthy! Yesterday, I made some mee kari. Why is this blog worthy you may ask?

1. I havent cooked anything for the longest time ever.
2. If I did cook I seldom cooked kari.
3. And More seldom that I cook with santan. (except that kuih bakar ;))
4. It was my first attempt at making mee kari.

Now where I come from, I never did eat mee kari when growing up. The first time I tasted mee kari was from the Mak Long's (hubby's) house for one Raya.

However, just a few weeks ago we went to Kak Pip's house and she made for us some mee kari which was yummy! Dengan tak malunya saya makan 2 kali! Once during lunch and one more time during dinner and would have wanted to ta pau more home but was rather too embarrassed because she had her son's friends over that night.

Since Kak Pip has flown back to KL for her vacation I surfed some recipes on Looked at the different recipes and different ingredients, took a deep breath and then warned my hubby.

This will be my first time cooking mee kari so I hope you'll understand if it isn't as nice as Kak Pip's.

My ingredients:

1 red onion
1 stalk of frozen almost dried out bunga kantan
1 frozen and very hard galangal
A few frozen kaffir lime leaves
some garlic
1 pack of small diced lean beef
about 4 table spoons of Adabi Kari Ayam & daging
(half used to marinade the beef)
1 cube Maggi chicken stock
1 cube Maggi Tamarind stock
1 pack of Rasaku Instant Kari Ayam
1 can of coconut milk aka santan

2 stalks of lemongrass fresh from my backyard
1 pack of frozen deep fried tofu

For garnishing
some cut chillies
Beansprouts which I didn't find and replaced with thinly sliced cucumbers


Heat some oil in the pot. Fry the thinly sliced onion until brown. Add in the curry powder, thinly sliced bunga kantan, the gelangal and the lemongrass and fry until fragrant. Add the marinated beef. fry for 2 more minutes then add some water. Add the Rasaku mix. Add the tamarind and chicken cubes. Add the kaffir lime leaves. Let it simmer for a while.

When water starts to boil, add in the coconut milk and turn down the heat. Let it simmer until the gravy thickens.

Salt and pepper to taste.

I used fresh yellow noodles. Here its made by a F/lipina company and the noodles are called milky. Otherwise I believe you can use spaghetti.

wallah! Sunflora's mee kari is ready to be served.

If you're wandering what brought this on? I had origionally intended to make some laksa. I had a conversation with Atenah a few weeks back about eating laksa with half cooked kerang (my mouth is watering just typing this) and has been thinking about it since. And then MedameRosse was telling me that she made some laksa Kelantan. Whoah!!! I've had th craving since.

So, no laksa for me yet. Just mee kari :)

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Is it time for change?

Oleh katak yang dah lama di bawah tempurung mewah. Ribbit ribbit.

This summer marks my completion of my second year here. It’s only been two years but it feels like a whole lifetime to me. To my own surprise, I’m feeling very much at home in this city I used to loath. And the thought of moving is just daunting.

My beloved said something the other that stumped me.

“Being in this country is turning you into a woman whom I didn’t marry. We need to get out of here soon.”


Well I was an independent person who was happy and perfectly capable of doing things by myself. I could live and travel alone and survived. At 21 I flew to a country I have never been before and knew very little about (there was no internet to do your research then) and didn’t know anyone. And I survived.

But since living here, somehow the outside world is beginning to be frightening to me. I needed to be chaperoned even when I go shopping or risked being harassed.

Just the other day I went to purchase some scarves with two other lady friends. And I really thought that the salesman was behaving inappropriately. Was it because our face was uncovered? Because we smiled? I was quite sure he wouldn’t behave that way if my hubby was around.

And what is most distressing for me, is that I am beginning to think that the rest of the world will behave that way. Just the thought of moving away was distressing to me. Oh dear what happened?

Is it true they say that once a bird lives in a cage, it will never fly away? Even if you leave the cage door open? As long as it is kept well fed?

Has living in a gilded cage clipped my wings?

Its been a very very long time since I drove. Don’t even know if I am still capable of driving! I am so comfortable wearing the ab@ya now that somehow the idea of not needing to wear one is too chaotic. (The result of wearing my nightgown underneath the abay@ for too long.) The last time I shopped for clothes for pleasure was in B@hrain and that was close to a year ago!

(Ok I did some handbag shopping here. And groceries. And quilting fabric.)

Perhaps it is time. Time for us to move on. Or at least, to get out and see the outside world a little bit. To see what the outside world is like. Full of colours and respect for women.

Bila oh bilakah?

Monday, July 03, 2006

The exodus has begun

The weather has been unbearably hot. I tried taking the bus to a new Mall the other day and ended up with a terrible headache. With temperatures close to 50oC the days are long and dry, and the nights just somewhat bearable.

Almost everyone has gone! We were meant to fly off last week as well but couldn’t make it given the circumstances. Z just told me the other day that it was impossible to get tickets to go back to Malaysia. The only option she had was to fly with Air Lanka. Emirates has imposed all sorts of taxes on their tickets adding a whopping RM1,000 to the cost of their tickets. But that didn’t deter people from flying with them. They are still fully booked.

We did think of going someplace near, perhaps to Dubai but as N told me, its so expensive, I just needed to add a few hundred Rms and we could go to Cyprus.

Even the Holy City is busy and crowded at the moment. Friends told us that the Hotels are fully booked.

Reading Elisa’s I want to go somewhere reinforces what I have been feeling for the past few weeks. I haven’t left this country for almost a year now and its been 18 months since we went anywhere. Yes we too wanted to visit the pyramids and take a cruise up the Nile.

One of these days I hope we can go somewhere. Soonish. We have postponed that round-the-world trip too many times that perhaps I don’t see it happening in the near future. Its not his fault, he suggested that we do it a couple of times already but I the practical side of me told him that I’m not comfortable spending the money on the trip when we have a mortgage to pay for.

And there is always that Should we go for *a nice long holiday* or should we *go home to visit our family and friends*?

Ahh the economies of limited resources!

But I guess this time round we would have to go home. Whatever it is, I too look forward to go someplace but here.

For now, I just have to appease myself by looking forward to the SALE season here.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Sexual Harassment

This story was relayed to me by Zah yesterday. It happened to her husband’s friend at the airport on his way to the plane to catch a flight home.

To prepare for his flight he shaved his beard and mustache, so he’d be clean shaven when he arrives home to meet with his wife and kids.

At the airport, he felt a hand at the back of his jeans.

“Very nice,” said the voice.

And he thought the admirer was admiring his jeans.

But the hand still remained there. And the touch began to feel like a grope.

“Very nice very nice” said the voice again.

He walked away as fast as he could. He was too shocked to do anything else.

I reckon he should have given the other guy a black eye.


Every now and then I hear stories of women being harassed here. But men being harassed, this is my first time.

What does a man do when he is molested? Should he try to embarass the other guy and pop him one? Slap him? How would the spectators react? Fight with the other guy? What if the molester enjoys the physical contact?

Most guys would be too embarassed to do anything anyways. He doesn't want to draw further attention to himself. But thats what bullys know and capitalize on. They choose their victims well.

What would you do?

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Cultural Difference

Whats the difference between a Ma/aysian and a Sing@porean?

We had seen the X5 a few times. Once outside a compound of a friend and another time parked near the Ustaz’s house. And both times we saw L* there. So we guessed that L* must be driving the X5. Not satisfied, we asked L* at the Ustaz’s house the other day.

H.. L* is that your X5 parked outside?

L*: Yes it is.

Me: Very good choice! Very nice!

H: Yeah we almost got one too.

L*: Yeah you know the X5 here is the same price of a Camry in Sing@pore and I got it with a good offer.

In a true Cik Bedah manner, the nurse who sat next to me, whom I knew for barely 15 mins asked me. How much?

I didn’t know it myself and waited for the question to be asked.

H: If you don’t mind me asking, how much did you get it for?

L*: 210

Me to Cik Bedah: two ratus sepuluh.

And she asked me to repeat at least three times. Two ten. Dua ratus sepuluh. Dua ratus sepuluh ribu. It’s an X5 for goodness sake and he’s bought it brand new. Rilek la kak. That gaping look is not becoming of you. Nanti lalat masuk!


W: So where do you live?

Me: Zippy compound

W: Where is that?

Me: Exit 9.

W: Where is exit 9?

Me: Near the airport.

W: Wahhh! So farr!!! I live in downtown only! Very near ah very easy!

The Ma/aysian thinks RM100 is very expensive and the Sing@porean thinks 100 km is very far.

Monday, June 19, 2006

My two months on Prednisone

The drug that lifted me up oh so high until I came crashing down.

How many of us are explained what medication we are being prescribed, why we are told to take it and what the side effects of the drug are?

Sometimes we’re so much in pain and in ignorance that we put all trust on the medical practitioner. Until of course we face the consequences of having taken the drug.

For me the side effect of prednisone stared back at me in the mirror. My already round face was becoming rounder. I look like a kuih apam that had a double dose of baking powder and was threatening to overflow from the base. And my tummy just ballooned! For a few very long days, I agonized at the possibility that I was pregnant. My stomach got so big that surely something was growing in it!

And the munchies! I just couldn’t stop having them! My favourite refuge are the chochie bikkie (chocolate biscuits of the dark chocolate variety) that I simply magically wolf down in stacks. They were finished even before I realized that I ate the whole pack.

But the energy level I had was phenomenal! I would sleep for a couple of hours from 11 pm to 1 am and I’d wake up and do some sewing and fabric cutting. And my concentration level was undeniable. I would be sewing cutting and sewing from 1 am to 6 am. I’d go downstairs and fix breakfast for hubby dearest and wake him up with the smell of breakfast. And then I would go back to sleep and wake up later in the day.

But as soon as my prednisone dosage was reduced, so would my power of concentration and energy level.

I started at 25 mg a day for a month, which was gradually reduced by 5 mg a week until I was weaned off the drug. And immediately I felt the difference. My body was aching all over. My face was rounder than ever, which contributed further to my depression. I was feeling so tired and so overwhelmed. All that energy I had the two months prior was gone, gone, gone. My vision became blurry and even if I had the energy to sew, my eyes were unwilling to cooperate.

I was so depressed about everything and I was so easily irritable. Someone maybe saying something to me and it would upset me for 2 whole days. Which made me want to stay away from people and that didn’t help with my depression either.

At the same time, I began needing massages. My feet were aching even though I only walked round the block, and my joints were groaning. And up till today I am still nursing a sore shoulder. I was beginning to question everything. Was it my diet? Was it the weight I am gaining? Surely the extra kilos are not straining my joints already? And I didn’t have internet connection to do any sort of research.

I have to confess that it did cross my mind how wonderful it was to be on steroids. I suddenly understood all too perfectly how people become prescription drug abusers. Its easier to handle the highs than the lows. And being in this country, it would be all too easy. Everything, almost everything (drugs that is) that is available in the Kingdom, can be purchased without prescription at the pharmacy. And there is a pharmacy at every other corner here.

Imagine that.

So Dr pardon me when I question you on what you’re prescribing me. Because it is my body and I’m still stuck with it long after your job is done.

**A little knowledge could be a dangerous thing huh.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

The Disillusioned go home

I’ve seen him at a few functions we organized but never did have the time to really have a conversation with him. His wife was friendly and I thought we could get along just fine. Sama kepala comes to mind.

Then I heard news of them leaving. They have had enough of this place. Barely 7 months and they’re packing their bags to go. Another one I thought.

And I had an opportunity to meet up with them before they leave.

They wanted to leave because he was unhappy at work. He felt unhappy with how he is treated at work and how his colleagues were.

They had come with some preconceived notions and expectations of the country. They had wanted to come to perform their Hajj, learn some Arab|c and delve more into the religion. They managed to do their Hajj trip but not much of the rest.

When asked by his MD his reason for leaving, he said it was the injustice. Injustice? Well he felt sidelined by the locals because of the color of his skin. This is one of the most racists places I have been and I lived in Austral!a. I shook hands with the labourers and they asked me at the office why I did that. Was it wrong to acknowledge my fellow man?

I understood his point and his struggle but did not anticipate the intensity of the man. Until of course, I understood that he had come, thinking that the people here would welcome him with open arms because he is a “brother.” He thought that the mosque would be an open place for ibadah, for the exchange of information and religion but saw nothing of that sort.

“We don’t think we can contribute to the society here. They are not accepting of the sort of professional level we could give.”

“I did not come here to make money,” he says.

“For the amount I spend on school fees for my children here I can get something better back in Austral/ia,” she says.

Whatever their reasons were, they are set to leave.

I wanted to say. Give it some time. Time for you to understand their culture here. Time for you to make new friends whom you can berdakwah with. Time for you to learn the Arab/c language. I tried to point them to the direction where the information was available but hey the rest is up to them.

The more preconceived notions you have, the more likely you are to be disillusioned.

This isn't an easy place to move to.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


I took the Myers-Briggs Personality test recently and found that I am an INTP. And surprise surprise, he happens to be an INTP as well.

He took the test one day and came home very excited. He said he had arranged for the test practitioner to come to our place so that I could do the test as well. I had hoped that we could have done something more interesting with my Friday (read going to a Mall somewhere off the compound) but since he had already arranged it, I agreed.

It didn’t take me long to complete the questionnaire and we did the tallying and Walaa I ‘m an INTP although I’m a low T.

So what does it mean knowing that I am an INTP?

From Conversations with Designer Theorizers

The following is adapted from Linda V. Berens and Dario Nardi, The 16 Personality Types: Descriptions for Self-Discovery (Telos Publications, 1999) *Used with permission.

What’s it like to be you?

I want to know the truth and get down to the bottom of things. It’s an internal life, living in the head, theorizing constantly about how things work.

I can link many thoughts and shoot off in multiple directions at once in an attempt to clarify and explain things really well or to try to represent the fullness of who I am and all the different things I can do and can’t do. I like to design—not just implementation but the stuff before that.

There is a goal, a theme, and I start from that and work through the specifics one by one, keeping the whole thing integrated as I go, until I come up with “the elegant solution.” Often when I talk to people they only get from me a few steps—one, thirteen, a hundred. That’s all that gets verbalized, and what’s very clear to me either I’ve forgotten or find unnecessary to say out loud, which can come across as confusing at times.

I am very knowledge and big picture oriented. I want to bring everything that can be known into understanding a problem or situation. I enjoy working with those who think like I do but verbalize better. We can end up leaping forward rapidly and building off of ideas, asking questions with an answer in mind but wanting to verify things and learn more. If I am knowledgeable in that area, I always have something to add, to help better understand the idea and add something new. Although sometimes, even when I know we agree, people feel like I am trying to challenge them, which is frustrating because I am just doing it out of excitement. I try to understand all the variables and possible influences and then apply as broad a range of information as I can bring to the problem, to impact why the problem exists.

I am interested in developing new skills and trying new ideas with those skills, and I am a good team member, and yet sometimes a little group work can go a long way. Most of all, I love to learn.

Central for me is honesty and integrity, especially intellectual integrity. If it’s not an honest approach to the issue at hand or to the relationship or organization, then it becomes an illusion—it only appears to have substance. I respect people who are genuine, honest, and open and doing what they are good at and what they enjoy and are up front about what is important to them.

I have a penchant for clarity. Some people say I’m hairsplitting, but there is value in precision.

I don’t like sloppy thinking, waste, and redundancy, and I am uncomfortable with sending out something that isn’t as good as it can be, but it has to go out anyway. I like things thought through. Incompetence just sets me right off. I have very little tolerance or patience, especially if the person is above me or isn’t really trying. I don’t think I push people any harder than I push myself and most people probably push less, which is where conflict comes in. Some people say my standard may be way out of whack and I assume the other person is competent. I like to avoid conflict at all possible costs, but if it reaches a point where I can’t go anywhere unless this gets resolved, then I will jump in and take care of it. That takes me a long time and I will go miles out my way to avoid that. It’s an ongoing decision between fairness and not letting people walk all over me.

There is this constant balancing act between self-confidence and questioning myself. Sometimes I feel secure and comfortable about knowing and thinking about and recognizing a lot and knowing how to learn new skills and ideas and concepts. But I have an almost instant ability to detect limitations—not knowing enough, picking out what’s missing, adding in an always-present feeling that it’s not quite right, and not knowing everything there is to know with insufficient time to learn everything that is important.

I can be seen as too unfeeling, too quick to start into work with not enough basis laid out for the day, and I’m not much for the personal amenities or socializing. Yet it is important that others are aware they are important to me. It’s not the first thing, but it’s in my awareness. I tend to try solving personal problems all by myself. Then sometimes I wind up without accurate information from others or about how it will affect others. I believe there must be an answer or a solution if I can just figure it out.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Exhausted from walking

Reluctantly with trepidation
She put on the pair of shoes
A gift it was
One that she could not refuse

Many had gotten it before
And raved about its glory
Claim that everyone should have one
And it is for everybody

Those who don’t have it
Go through great lengths to acquire them
Some successful and some not
Some destined not to have them

She was weary of the shoes
Least they pinch on her toes
For she has gigantic feet
Free to roam the streets

The shoes often held her back
Made her change how she walked
Much slower in case of blisters
Following the footsteps of her sisters

Sometimes she feels like returning the gift
For the shoes felt too big
But when given such a thing
One cannot hesitate

Her shoes brought her so much attention
So much happiness
And so much anxiety
It needed all her energy

Walking in the shoes
Gave her a backache
Her head spinning
Her shoulders aching

So when someone gives you a gift
Be weary
Of the responsibility
The headache, the heartache

That comes
When wearing a new shoe
Especially if it’s a gift
That you can't refund

Its yours for keeps

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Do not leave a vaccuum

Reading Lollies' entry Salah satu factor some how reminded me a topic I wanted to blog myself.

How, if you don’t want to step up and assume your role as partner and supporter to your hubby who lives in this region, then someone else will take up that place.

Ok perhaps you can tell me that, this is not the only factor why these men stray. I’ll give you that. But as Lollies aptly tittled entry suggest, it is one of the factors why the men here stray.

Take my neighbour Mr X. He is one of those men who is house proud. He has lovely and beautiful roses outside his villa. Even before I met him I was really curious who the owner of the roses was because I wanted to get tips from the person. Then I found out that Mr X used to be here with his family and children. Until the bombings started and his wife decided that she and her children wouldn’t like to live here but would go home instead. Leaving Mr X alone. They had a housemaid who stayed on with him and the next thing I heard was the maid now is the mistress of the house.

Of course I mentioned this to Nu the other day. Nu has no heart in living here. Apparently her sister is of no help. “Come home. Come, Its your nephew’s school holidays. Come and help me. Afterall you’re not doing anything there right?”

I know some people will shoot me for this but I will say it out loud here.

Looking after your husband is not nothing, if anything it’s a huge responsibility. Its not about cleaning after him or fetching his slippers. Its about being his companion through thick and thin. Especially when he needs you most here. When he wants to come home to someone and not just an empty apartment so he can tell you about his frustrations, anger and joy at the office that day.

And if you can’t provide him that, then don’t be surprise if someone else steps up and fill that vacuum.

Especially in this region where the surroundings and social structure is very different and unfamiliar.

I tried to mention this to Nu but she said something along the lines of, well I told my husband if he wants to stray he can just tell me and let me go. And I am not the confrontational sort. I wanted to say that if it comes to that, it will already be too late. Problems like this should be nipped at the bud, lined with weed killer and not allowed to blossom and bloom to that.

So if your hubby gets a chance to work in the M.E. or anywhere else for that matter (but normally if its London or the States the wives will jump at the opportunity to come along anyways!) come along with him. Make arrangements so you can bring the whole family together as a unit and live as a family.

But I guess kalau the hubby dah memang gatal takyah gi overseas pun boleh buat gaks.

Siapkan je sebotol Roundup.

Roundup Sirap drink on a hot day it is!

Sunday, June 04, 2006


Million pieces




Lost all capabilities of stringing sentences together
Of having any intellectual thought
Incapable of making decent conversation
Disjointed dreams that left me hanging
With morbid thoughts in search of ice cream

Ballooning beyond recognition

Losing my sanity

Wanting to break free
From the responsibility
Weighed upon me

Maybe a Gucci bag will make me feel better?
Or LV or Chanel or Loewe?

Just a plastic bag from Carrefour will do
Then torn into two
Makeshift changing base
Which later, you can replace.

Just a cup of coffee will do
The strongest you can brew

Just the Muchos Magarita please

Saturday, June 03, 2006

I am back ... Hopefully

After one month of hair pulling and almost non existence internet connection, we have internet access again. I hope. It's a new set up which required an investment of a new hardware so I really hope that it will work well.

Glad to see that my previous posting had some resonance with some of my dear readers. One particularly happened to be a disgruntled individual who proceeded to put 6 very long comments which has nothing to do with my posting and everything to do with racial hatret. To which I promptly deleted and installed word verification for posting comments. I can't comment more about the postings except..... GET a Life!

SO hopefully I am back to reading and posting blogs. Perhaps reading more than posting since I have lots of catch up to do. So many new developments that I missed! I do sorely miss my online friends and my blogger friends.

Anyways thanks for your comments and take care.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Placing blame

M was telling me yesterday about the death of N’s grandchild.

“Budak tu kene buat orang. Orang buat maknya masa dia mengandung dah tu sampai ke anaknya bila anak tu keluar.”

“Mula-mula baby tu kene apnea. Mereka bawa ke hospital. Hospital check semua kata takde apa-apa, mereka bawa baby tu balik.”

“Lepas 3 hari baby tu meninggal.”

In this instance I feel that its a predetermined thing. Isn’t life and death predetermined by our creator? To blame it on the evil doing of another human being especially if there isn’t any concrete proof?

I am also a firm believer that if Allah does not allow it, it won’t happen. Surely He is the Allmighty and to suggest that another human being has a more superior power over him blasphemous?

But I seldom say these things out. I just let the story flow, nod and take a sip of my tea. I’m not an overly pious person. I just feel that its often way too easy to place blame when we’re experiencing grief. Its not that I deny the existence and the power of witchcraft. Its just that I believe in qadaq and qadar.

Jodoh, maut and rezeki semuanya Allah yang tentukan.

Monday, May 08, 2006


Dear friends

I have a dilemma. I have ADSL that works between midnight and 8 am, hours when I am either normally sleeping or doing other stuff. For whatever reason I am unable to login into YM when I can surf. Or I can chat in YM when I cannot surf. Go figure. I apologized if you have sent me msgs on my YM but I havent or didnt reply, thats because my YM logged itself it when I am not at my pc and by the time I am at my PC, the network is no longer available.


Thank you for your understanding.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Goodbye Lane

A ring on the doorbell.

Lane stood at the door with a plate of cookies.

Hey come on in.

No thanks. Just some good bye cookies. I’m off for good this time round.

Do you have any job lined out yet.

No not yet. I just want to be out there in the free world. Its not that nice writing resumes saying that I’m currently a mad locked up housewife in a compound. I just want to go and clear my head.

And off she went.

Her story is no different from many stories I heard here. Some people just love it or some just go plain crazy. The ones who love it here are those who normally have children and liked the idea of living in a gated community with all sorts of facilities the family can enjoy.

But those looking for freedom to roam about outside, working alongside men and most people normally do in the outside world, well its almost impossible here.

Good bye Lane and good luck. I wish you well and perhaps we’ll bump into each other someday.


Friday, May 05, 2006

Pulling my hair out

I've been pulling my hair out in frustration. The net has been largely unpredictable. Somedays I have 10 mins of connection and somedays none. I even woke up at 4 am to surf because its the only time we had the net the other day. Its suppose to be ADSL for goodness sake! Thus I havent been able to read emails, blog hop and more importantly of course surf!

Its amazing how dependent I am on the net these days. Need a recipe? What about the side effects of the medicine I've been prescribed? Whats a home remedy for blocked nose? Google has been my best friend!

So I hope the net is back to stay.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Oil prices went down

Its the buzz. The price of petrol was reduced from 90 cents a litre to 60 cents. Imagine, it normally costs him $105 to pump up his petrol but it cost him only $70 yesterday. How long will this last?

So it confirmed, petrol is cheaper here than water. A bottle of water is still $1.

I haven't written much lately because we've been without the net for ages! Blame it on the weather, the unrealiable internet provider, the phone line that went dead, the techinician who came to repair the line but inadvertently changed the line etc etc etc. Go figure!

And I am still annoyed that not only I can't go to sites that show pictures eg photobucket but now I can't even see the images of the books when I go to Amazon.

I have a few entries swimming in my head and I will write them here for my own future reference:

1. Perception of culture - whats wrong with not having a gender segregated party?

2. Having babies when you're younger vs when you're older - a hot topic indeed on a coffee morning bus

3.Should she get away with it because she is nice?

4. Don't they know how to wait?

Lets hope I will still get internet connection in the time to come.

The hot weather is here to stay. Its been over 40oC for the past 2 weeks. At lunch time today it was 45oC. Yikessss! I wonder how it will be like in August.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Tap Tap Tap

I love grey weather. I love the rain.

It doesn't rain very often here. Even if it does, it doesn't rain very long. But a few days ago, I woke up to a grey sky. And then I heard a tap, tap, tap sound. Its the sound of the rain falling on the rooftop.

And somehow that sound made me so happy.

It reminded me of my teenage days, playing in the rain.

The first few days I arrived in Calgary, all alone in a hostel room.

And the days we were living in London when it was always raining.

I want her to know that the sound of raindrops falling on the rooftops make me happy.

It really does!

Saturday, April 01, 2006


I saw the shutters closing half way.

Uh uh, is it time for prayer already?

Now,perhaps you're thinking I am a pious person who prays right smack on time.

Err no. Not really.

I was at the supermarket, rushing through the isles, grabbing food stuff from the shelves and shoving fruits and vegetables into plastic bags to be weighed.

You see, over here shops are close during prayer times. All the tills will be closed. In the bigger supermarkets you would be allowed to roam within the shops. But not in the smaller shops where you would be asked to leave, and the owner would lock the shop up.

If I cannot pay for my goods before they close for prayers, I would be stuck in there for another half hour. And I wouldn't like that.

So I rushed to cashier no 14. Ready to load my shopping onto the conveyour table.

The cashier signalled me to go to the next cashier.


So I went to cashier 10. And just as I was about to put the items on the belt, the cashier signalled me to go to cashier 14.

And I lost my temper.

"No I am not going there! He told me to come here and now you are telling me to go there. So now which cashier I should go to???"

The two young cashiers looked at each other.

I was really pissed off. They were both trying to push we away from paying for my goods. And I won't have any of that. i refused to be bullied. I bet they were surprised that I shouted in refusal to be pushed around. I am no ping pong ball.

Cashier no 10 relented and scanned my goods.

Don't mess with a crazy woman at the supermarket. And don't you think that just because I am a woman I will be submissive to you.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


I met up with Riana on the bus the other day. She was running to catch the bus as she was slightly late. As soon as she was seated, I asked her how she was and remarked that I havent seen her for a long time. She told me that she has been away to It@|y spending some time with her family. And since her daughter needed an operation due to an injury during a ski trip, she stayed home to drive her daughter to campus, as well as pysiotheraphy.

And she told me that while waiting for her daughter to finish class on campus, she roamed around in the University, reliving her days as a student. She already had a Masters in Economics and was lecturing for awhile before following her husband to the M|ddle E@st. Her love was for Economics and Antropology. And she told me that she talked to the people in the faculty and found out that she can do her Masters in Antropology next.

And she turns 61 this year.

"I just want to go back to do my Masters in Antropology. I would be doing it for my personal pleasure"

And I am so impressed. How many of us would have the interest, the energy and the dedication to study again at 61?

That bought me back to my days as an undergraduate in UofC. There were some older students in some of my classes. I talked to one of them who told me that he was doing his Degree in Literature because he wanted to prove to himself that he can do it.

I wonder what I would be doing when I am 60.

Then again Riana doesn't look or behave 60. She appears much younger and is often doing all sorts of things to make herself busy.

But next month she will be moving away and she told me that they are planning to retire in 3 years time. Thank you Riana. Its such a pleasure to know you. And I am inspired by your outlook in life.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Life is too short

What do I want to do or see before I pass on? Will I ever be prepared to face death or will death creep up on me?

I pondered on those questions after I heard about Ec's sister. She was in coma for a month, and just passed away last week at age 30. Did she know she was dying? They still don't know what caused her coma and are doing a postmortem.

As each day turn in a week, and weeks turn into months. I just get caught up in the rush of the day. Sleep seemed insuffiecient as the sun rises to another day. Will I get to prepare myself for that eventual day?

There are so many things I hope to achieve and I hope I get to grow old with him.

Ec is devastated as there are only two of them. He plans to fly back to Austr|@ after the autopsy report is released. His wife is away in Ir@n. Va told me that he doesn't want others to know or to call him about it.

Ec I wish you well. I am sure your sister's going is predestined by Fate.

Take care.

Saturday, March 11, 2006


First I counted the days. Then the hours. And now the minutes. The whole household was restless in anticipation of his return.

The weather was surreal all day. The day was covered in dust with a long sandstorm. And the night was covered in rain. With hail no less.

All waiting to greet him for his return.

Its only been a week since he has been gone but it felt too long. Ironically we only knew each other for the last decade. We grew up not knowing each other but somehow I don’t think I can live without him.

I can’t bear to be separated from him.

He almost cancelled the trip but I urged him to go. It would be good I thought. But I miss him so much, wanting to be on his side.

But my love also makes me fearful. What if I get left behind? What if he moves on? What will happen to me? Somehow, reading Elisa’s entry made it worst for me.

All I can do is to pray. Pray for his safe return. Pray for long fruitful lives together. Pray that we will always be happy and will grow together.

Sorry if I am mushy. 15 minutes to go and I’m counting the seconds.

Can’t wait to be in his arms again.

Welcome home honey. You’ve been sorely missed

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


So my in laws were coming here. First, we have to get a visa for them. Now in most other countries, getting a visa merely requires the applicant to go to the embassy, fill up a form and perhaps show them your airplane tickets. That is not the case here. The potential visitor has to have a local sponsor, to sponsor their visa here. Being expats ourselves, my beloved's company has to sponsor his parents and apply their visa on our behalf. Here.

Now you'd think we could go to the relevant office to apply it ourselves. No no. In his company there is a special department labelled "Government Relations" who deal with such things. And you'd have to deal with them.

There is something about the local culture here that they are adversed about telling you the bad news. So once the offices reopened after the 2 weeks AidilAdha holidays, he spoke to them on the Monday to ask for the visa.

"Insyallah Wednesday," they said.

Of course Wednesday came and they then said, "Well it will be the following Monday the earliest."

La di da.

And there is only one direct flight from KL. Only on Sundays.

So Monday came and we got the letter confirming that their visa has been approved. We faxed that letter back to KL.

In KL, they contacted the Embassy, hoping that they could get the visa stamped on their passports. Opps. No they said, they have not received a letter of notification yet, so they cannot issue the visa.

Huh? Shouldn't all this information be computerized?

La di da. A few more days of frantic phone calls, pacing the floor etc. Finally they got the visa on Friday. Allowing them to fly here on Sunday.

Just so you know, there are no tourists here. Tourists are not welcomed here. And only our respective parents will be allowed to visit us here.



Sunday, January 15, 2006

Haj: Some Lessons for the World

If only we practice what our religion requires of us, and without overdoing it.

Haj: Some Lessons for the World
Dr. Khaled Batarfi, kbatarfi@al—

Haj was an educating and ennobling experience. Like my last three holy journeys, I learned a lot about myself, ourselves and the world we live in. Here are some of the lessons.

Haj is an occasion where people of all colors, races and backgrounds live together, move as one, and do the same thing, the same way, at the same time. You can’t feel superior to others if you have to be an integral part of their thoughts, feelings and actions. It doesn’t matter here if you are from a better economic or social class, or have higher position or education. It doesn’t make a difference if you are culturally more sophisticated, elegant or better looking. Under the sunny sky of Makkah, in the squeezed crowd of millions, in the simple two-piece white dress everyone looks the same.

In the holy places you forget who you are and where you came from, at least in your relations with the others.

I saw men and women perform the same rituals at the same space and time. Women did not have to cover their faces. In fact, they were required not to.

No religious police, rules or regulations prevent them from doing what they had to do in the same place as men and with men. No one tells them to stay behind to take care of home and children. No one dares say they are lesser creatures than men, and should not be part of men’s tougher and superior world. In Haj, men and women are as equal as children of Allah can be.

If we could go back to our lives with such sense! If we were to give our women what Islam gave them! If we decided to stop mixing our Dark Age tribal traditions with the pure Islam of Khadeeja, Aisha and the great women at the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and his caliphs!

There was no political or social enmity during the Haj. I saw Indians, Pakistanis and Kashmiris share the same tents and mosques. They helped each other and cared for one another. Iraqis and Kuwaitis, Sudanese of all tribes and races, Syrians and Lebanese, Moroccans and Algerians and many others who came from warring places were united under the blessings of one merciful God. If only the leaders of these nations would learn a lesson from this! If they could unite their peoples as they were united in Makkah under the banner of peaceful, encompassing and tolerating Islam!

Religious rivalry was absent, too. Muslims of all sects were praying to the same God, toward the same direction, behind the same imam. They were identical in their appearance, performance and feelings. Sunnis and Shiites, Salafis and Sufis, conservatives and liberals ate together, walked together, and prayed together. They didn’t ask, they didn’t tell, and they didn’t argue about the history of differences that occurred some thousand and four hundred years ago. If we could take that home with us, stop digging the past, and start planning for the future!

And there was no politics. We all prayed for a united and liberated Muslim nation. We prayed for the freedom of occupied Palestinians, Iraqis, Chechens, Kashmiris and Afghanis. But there was no hatred of the non-Muslims. There were no calls for jihad against the peaceful nations and peoples of the non-Muslim world. For almost a week, we were busy praying for the betterment of our families and societies, and cared less for the confusing and dividing politics of governments and leaders. If we could continue to do so after Haj! If we could focus more on the improvement of ourselves rather than on the destruction of our perceived enemies and rivals!

In Makkah we all learned that the world is so small, life is so short, and death can be so close. I faced death with many others more than once. Most of us survived. If we could appreciate that and always remember that only love can make our lives worth living!

In the holy sites, we learned to resolve our differences peacefully. We had to share tight spaces, meager resources, and tough environment. Many pushed their way through tight crowds; others lost their temper standing in long lines for food or water. But every time we reminded ourselves that Allah won’t accept our Haj if we don’t make peace with each other.

Problems were quickly solved and compromises made with apologetic, friendly smiles. If we could always remember that most things are not worth fighting for! And that with more humility, less intransigence, and some compromises we could all live a better, happier and peaceful life!

If we all, Muslims and non-Muslims, could learn what we, the pilgrims did, our world will definitely be a much better and happier place!