Friday, March 28, 2008

Our sweet, sweet boy...

I was cooking dinner tonight, with Daryati helping me with the ingredients and also the washing up, and we were just talking about what Hilman did the whole day today while I was at work. Hilman had missed 3 days of school due to his asthma and he needed his Ventolin puffs every 4 hours, and the only way that he would get his puffs at a regular 4 hours interval was for him to stay at home. He's also on Prednisolone and Diphenydramine which can cause drowsiness. So, just to make sure that he gets the right dosage of all the medicines at the right times, and so that he would get the rest that he needed, staying at home was the answer.

And suddenly, Daryati said -

Daryati : Ibuk, Hilman lucu sekali siang tadi, buk! (Ma'am, Hilman was so funny this afternoon!)

Me : Lucu? Mengapa? Apa yang Hilman buat yang lucu? (Funny? Why? What was it that he did which was funny?)

Daryati : Tadi makan siang Hilman minta saya gorengkan ikan, jadi saya gorengkan satu ekor ikan kembung untuk dia. Kemudian saya hidangkan di meja. Siap duduk, dia minta pisau dari saya... (This afternoon, for lunch, Hilman had asked me to fry some fish for him, and I fried one spanish mackerel for him. After that I served the fish on the table. Right after he sat down, he asked for a knife...)

Me : Pisau?! (Knife?!I was quite taken aback by this)

Daryati : Iya...Habis saya tanya untuk apa? Hilman bilang, "Saya mau potong, mau simpan sedikit untuk Ayah, Mommy, dan kakak-kakak saya."

(Yes...So, I asked him what did he want the knife for, to which he replied, "I want to cut the fish and save some for my Ayah, Mommy and my sisters")

And Daryati continued -

Daryati : Jadi saya bilang sama dia - "Enggak perlu disimpan untuk Ayah, Mommy dan kakak-kakak kerna Makcik tidak goreng semua. Masih ada banyak ikan di dalam peti. Kalu Ayah, Mommy, Hanna dan Hasya mau, Makcik boleh gorengkan untuk semua yang baru. Jadi dia bilang dan tanya sama saya, "Makcik, ikan yang belum dimasak, cukup untuk semua orang?", Jadi saya bilang, "Iya, cukup...tak perlu dipotong ikan goreng punya Hilman. Hilman boleh habiskan semua..."

(So, I told him - "There's no need for you to keep the fish for your Ayah, Mommy and sisters because I did not fry all the fish. There are still a lot more left in the freezer. If Ayah, Mommy, Hanna and Hasya want, I can fry for them fresh. So he asked and said, "Makcik, those uncooked fish - are they enough for everyone?" So, I told him, "Yes, there's enough...there's no need for you to cut your fish. You can finish the whole fish...")

And Daryati said, after hearing this, Hilman then asked her if she wanted some. And when she convinced him that she didn't want any, then only Hilman took the whole fish....and finished it under 5 minutes!

Hilman is by nature a very considerate and a very sensitive boy who has a very soft heart, and always thinks of others before himself. What happened this afternoon showed that he could, if he wanted (and which he DID. Hehehe!) finish the whole fish himself. It was just a very small ikan kembung, but, he was thinking and was more worried that we would not get to eat the fish like he did, and that was why he wanted to save some for us.

That really brought a lump to my throat. And the lump got bigger, when I saw tears trickling down Daryati's cheeks while she was relaying the story to me. She was so touched by what Hilman did. She has always had a soft spot for Hilman. And I know that after what Hilman did today, her soft spot for Hilman has become tenfold now...

Our sweet, sweet boy - Hilman. Taken after one of his swimming lessons some weeks ago.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

I'm in a "Tagged" Mode...

Hmmmm....Whaddaya know? I've been tagged by the self-confessed tag-whore himself (Hahaha!). Thank you (?!), Kerp... (sarcasm...sarcasm...Hehehe!)

It looked quite simple and straightforward at first glance. That was until you really want to sit down and come up with the whole list. My problem was - either there were too many to choose from OR I couldn't think of anything at all to put in some of the lists. Not even one! So, what I did was - spent about 45 minutes in the car last night to scribble down everything while waiting for Hanna to finish her tuition class.

So, here goes -

8 things I'm passionate about -

1. Family - nothing beats this.
2. My kids' studies - not sure if "passionate" is the right word here. Maybe "kiasu"?!
3. Cooking - strictly main dishes or savoury side dishes. NO BAKING. I'm totally hopeless when it comes to baking.
4. Helping those who need help - in whatever way termampu.
5. Shopping - need I say more?
6. Managing the family's account/budget - I do this religiously. I come up with the budget on the day our salaries are in; mid-month to check if we're on track; and a day before our next pay comes in, so that whatever is left will be transferred to our savings accounts.
7. Small SUVs/4WDs - don't ask me why :)
8. Clarks, Scholl and Hush Puppies shoes - I don't go for all the Ferragamos, Jimmy Choos, and the likes. I go for comfort and practicality (plus I can't afford the latter...Hahaha!)

8 Things I want to do before I die -

1. Perform the Hajj with Ayah and the kids, insya Allah.
2. Travel the world with the family, insya Allah.
3. See all my kids get married, insya Allah.
4. Timang cucu. At least one cucu from each kid. Insya Allah.
6. Own a Jag. Insya Allah. (Ayah, hope you're taking note of this. Hehehe!)
7. Author a few books - academic and non-academic. Insya Allah.
8. Own a weekend retreat somewhere with a small stream running through the grounds. Either that or a house by the beach. Insya Allah.

(Waduuhhhh...high maintenance jugak I ni, eh?!)

8 things I say often -

1. I love you.
2. I miss/missed/will miss you.
3. Thank you.
4. Please.
5. It's okay.
6. What are our plans for today?
7. Now, which part of XYZ didn't you understand?!! (Ni beli marah anak-anak la ni...)
8. BANGANG!!! (EXCLUSIVELY uttered when I'm driving. Specially dedicated to those who do not indicate when they want to change lanes or make a turn and suddenly just swerve in in front of me like jalan datuk dia AND to those who do not give way when I have already flashed the indicator lights to change lanes or make a turn! Memang bangang!!!)

8 books I’ve recently read -

Hmmmm...this is a bit tricky. I've started parallel reading a few, and have not finished some. And some books that I read are work-related and I have to be selective in reading only the parts that I need. Do they count? Well, this is my blog. I can list whatever I want I guess. Hehehe.

1. GuiT - by Awang Goneng
2. The 5 Love Languages of Children - Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell
3. Environmental and Natural Resources Economics - Tom Tietenberg (I know - BORING...)
4. Energy Future - Robert Stobaugh and Daniel Yergin (Say what?!!!)
5. The Political Economy of International Relations - Robert Gilpin (Gila ke aper Minah ni?!!!)
6. Human Rights Horizons - Richard Falk (dipaksa-rela to read...)
7. Regulatory Barriers and the Principles of Non-Discrimination in World Trade - Thomas Cottier and Petros Mavroidis (A really good book actually)
8. Weakness of Faith - Muhammad Salih Al-Munajjad

8 songs I could listen to over and over again -

Now, this is even trickier. Do you mean songs that are forced down my ears because I didn't have any choice but to listen to them because my kids rule when it comes to selecting the radio frequencies and the CDs we listen to in the car? OR songs which will not run their expiry dates for me? I've listed those who fall under both categories here because some of them memang lagu anak-anak yang Mommy dioghang pun crazy about, tapi malu nak mengaku sebenarnya. Hehehe!

1. Faithfully - Journey
2. Tears in Heaven - Eric Clapton
3. A Better Man - Robbie Williams
4. With or Without You - U2
5. I Don't Love You - My Chemical Romance
6. When September Ends - Green Day
7. Keep Your Hands Off My Girl - Good Charlotte
8. Forever Young - Alphaville

No Britney or Miss Hilton, please!!!

8 things that attract me to my best friends -

1. Same wavelength
2. Trustworthy secret-keepers.
3. Great sense of humour
4. Can engage themselves in a nonsensical-out-of-this-world topic one minute, and in a serious discussion the next. Precious.
5. Don't bad-mouth others.
6. They make me feel comfortable being with them even if I was in my worn, tattered jammies?!
7. Common passion for letting off steam with croaking...
8. Generous and tidak berkira - not on me in particular, okay? But, generally a generous person.

So, there you go. And I'm now tagging -

IBU - Weiii...high time to hapdet!
MURNI - I know you're a sport, dear.
ETAMY - Hey, you need something to take your mind off your daughters at boarding school.
MRSNORDIN - This is fun, maaaa!!!

AND hey...I feel like tagging AYAH, too - you can use my blog, my dear.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The new man in my life...

Turning 40 is a big deal to some people, because life, they say, begins at 40. But, does it really?

I guess it rings true more for men than women because more often than not, at that age, men are more established in their careers, they have walked the walk and talked the talk, and the experiences amassed over the years do boost their level of confidence tremendously for most. And of course, they have the extra cash to splash around as well to enjoy life more. And some say men actually reach maturity at that age. ( wonder there are a lot of men out there who act like juveniles - they have a valid excuse for that, I guess :) Hehehe!)

So, what do men do when they reach 40?

Some change their lifestyles totally, which more often than not means changing cars, changing their style of dressing, changing their appearances, and some even change their wives - hoping that it would be for the better. They either do one or two of the above, or they opted for the whole package. Some find profound happiness after the change. Some fall flat on their face and only realize, albeit a little too late, that their lives are going downhill and heading to the end AT 41.

My take is - if you could not be happy and bersyukur with what you had and gradually gained at the age of 10+, 20+, or 30+, then you will never ever going to find happiness at the age of 40. The key factor whether it is profound happiness, or failure, or disgrace that you find after you turn 40 - is the people around you - those who have been with you through thick and thin WAY, WAY before you reach the BIG 4. Life needs not BEGIN at 40. It should CONTINUE with all those extra frills - shared with loved ones.

I don't have any objections at all to those who decide to change their lifestyles, or appearances at 40 - men or women alike. Yang penting is the nawaitu.

So, I have no objections at all when Ayah asked my permission if he could do something a day after he turned 40. Something which he had been meaning to do for the past 3 1/2 years. And the day he turned 40 seemed the right time for him to do it. He even asked the kids for their permission, and he received mixed reactions and feedback from them.

Ayah asking his daughters' opinions and permission.

Me - I was practically sitting on the fence. It was REALLY up to him. I didn't want my opinion to make it more difficult for him to decide. If he feels strongly about it, by all means, I'm not going to say "No".

His daughters gave a "DEFINITE NO".

His son said "YES".

Being a democratic household, my "on the fence" stand could not be counted - it's like undi rosak. And so, it was 2 against 1 : AGAINST his "plan/intentions".

But, being an authoritarian in a democratic household - Ayah exercised his Veto power, and decided to go against the majority!

We decided that all of us should witness this historic event, and after Maghrib on Sunday 16th March 2008, a day after he turned 40, everybody was bundled up into the car and off we went to give Ayah some moral support. His daughters were by then, already resigned to the fact that Ayah's decision was final, and they were quite nervous waiting for the outcome.

So, this was what happened.

While Hilman was doing this -

Ayah was doing this -

And this -

And this was how it turned out -

I know it's not that clear - this is just a teaser, until Ayah gives the green light to post a proper pix of him now without his beard and moustach. All I got to say is, he looks 10 years younger now.

And now he's worried that his patients would not take him seriously! This was what happened 4 years ago when he didn't have his moustach and beard when he became a consultant. Some of his patients thought he was a junior doctor and refused to be seen by him and insisted to see the consultant. And it took Ayah a good 15 minutes to explain and convince them that he was THE consultant! And THAT was why Ayah decided to grow his beard and moustach then. Well, Ayah - if I may remind you, it was YOUR decision to clean-shave everything, honey. Hehehe!

The kids are still not used to him not having any facial hair, and every night when Ayah comes home, they would start giggling, and call out -

"MOMMMYYYY!!! HOMER IS HOME!!!!" (as in Homer Simpsons?!) Hahahaha!

I say, now that he looks 10 years younger than his age, and we being the same age, and all, I guess I, too will also have to do something to look at least 15 years younger?!!

Hmmmmm....Anybody out there has Dato' Seri Mohamad Khir Toyo's number, please...

Sunday, March 16, 2008

"A quiet night at home with the kids..."

Ayah celebrated his birthday by going to work first thing in the morning - as expected.

I wasn't planning anything special this year as Ayah had requested for just a quiet night at home with the kids. And respecting his request, I abandoned my earlier plan to either have a small gathering with family and friends at home, or a night out with the kids and Mak and Ayah's siblings and in-laws, and nephews and nieces. I even told Mak and my SIL about this - just in case they were expecting the normal night-out celebration this year.

However, an SMS from my SIL came at about 10:00a.m yesterday morning which read -

"Morng. I think Angah chngd hs mind 4 2nite. He said he does x mind going out. I was pullg his leg jz now. So, he asks me 2 ask u. Hw? We r ok either way."

I called Ayah at work, just to make sure if he REALLY didn't mind going out, and he said -

"It's ok, but, it's up to you. I can't be organizing my own birthday do, can I? (Hehehe! No, Ayah - you can't!). I guess I was just too tired the other day... And I was just thinking, I have not seen Mak today - it's my birthday and all. So, it's up to you. But, I don't want you to cook, etc. We'll just go out for dinner then?"


And I started calling out a few places to make reservations for the night. Settled.

We went to the new house in the afternoon as Hilman's study table and chair were to be delivered between 1:30pm - 2:00pm. Hilman had been looking forward to this. The rest of his bedroom set were actually delivered 2 weeks ago, but, the study table and the chair were out of stock. And Hilman had been waiting and waiting, and for the past 2 weeks he kept on asking - "Mommy, when am I getting my table and chair?!" (at least 3 times a day!). Needless to say, I was also looking forward to the delivery!

The partly assembled study table and chair arrived at 2:15pm, and by 3:00pm everything was set up and Hilman's bedroom set was complete.

Hilman trying out his new study table

Hilman on his new bed.

Hmmmm...doesn't matter if it was Hasya's or Hilman's bed - he still gets pushed out of it by Hasya... Sigh...

Later, father and son played footie outside. As his back was still not fully recovered, Ayah could not kejar the bola sangat, or so he said. Excuses... excuses...Hahaha!

Hmmmmm...if only Ayah didn't have slipped disc...we could've seen his incredible dribbling skills....NOT! Hehehe!

Watch out, Ayah!!!

We went back to SD and got ready for the outing and left for The Curve right after Maghrib. Reached It***an*ies at 8:00pm on the dot. True to It***an*ies motto/ad line - SO GOOD, SO MUCH, SO SHARE - everybody found the food good, the portion humongous, and so, everybody shared their orders. Even then, there were still a lot of left-overs at the end of dinner!

After dinner, it was Karaoke time, and off we went to R*d B*x! The whole clan consists of 7 adults and 7 kids - the oldest being Mak (at 67), and the youngest being Q*dri ( 1 1/2 years old!). We were there from 9:55p.m until nearly 1:00 a.m. (I just hope Hasya will not tell teacher D*da about the Karaoke thingy like she did before...Hehehehe!)

All in all, I think everybody had fun - especially the Birthday Boy. Give Ayah a Karaoke mic anytime and he'd be one very happy boy laaaa! Hahaha!

So much for "a quiet night at home with the kids", eh Ayah?!!"


Here are some pics.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Happy Birthday...

For Ayah

Love puts the beauty
in everyday things -
the warmth in a home,
the joy in a memory,
the 'we' in a dream.

The older we get,
the more I think about
what really matters in life.

And so many of the things
that once seemed important
no longer even make the list.

What really matters to me now
is the two of us...
sharing our lives,
reliving our memories,
dreaming our dreams...

And your birthday seems
like the perfect time
to celebrate you...
to celebrate us...
and the joy of our life...

I love you.

Happy Birthday, Darling...

(*Poem - Hallmark Cards, Inc)

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Apolitical no more...

I was an apolitical individual - or so I thought.

But the fact that I felt very strongly about casting my vote on Saturday 8th March, and the fact that I felt the way I felt when I woke up on Sunday 9th March, made me realize that I was not an apolitical individual after all, and I CAN'T afford to be apolitical. And neither can those who did not bother to cross the box that mattered last Saturday. ESPECIALLY them.

I think, as much as those who had expressed their political inclinations, and their disgusts towards certain politicians, I too have the right to express myself here. We are entitled to our own opinions, and as much as I respect the opinions of others, I hope they will respect mine.

I'm surrounded by political analysts and strategists at work. All of them are trained in IR (International Relations) and Strategic Studies. And if you want to have a decent, well-rounded and objective academic discussion on the political scenario of any country in the world, Malaysia included - then my department is one of THE places to offer you that.

One word that comes out more often than not in our many discussions in the last couple of days was - "Irrational".

Irrational - on the part of those who WERE in power.

Irrational - on the part of those who WANTED power.

Irrational - on the part of those who NOW HAVE the power.

Irrational - on the part of those who HAD THE POWER TO CHANGE those in power.

Irrational - on the part of those who WOULD NOT LET GO of the power.

Simply irrational. And just look at US now. Look at where WE are now...

Sombre - yes.

Hopeful - yes, that after all those moments of being irrational, some may have learnt their lessons - albeit the hard way...

What made "apolitical" me write all these?

A friend of Ayah's just passed away 2 hours ago. He was 40 years old. He finally succumbed to colon cancer which was only diagnosed less than 2 months ago.

He left behind a wife, and 4 small kids - the youngest being 3 years old.

I couldn't help thinking. Did he know about what was going on in the country in the final days leading to his death?

And if he did, did he worry about what was going to happen to his children when he's no longer there to fend for them...

May you rest in peace, Jim - Allahyarham Zulkifli Muhammadun (1968-2008)

I am NOT apolitical anymore - for MY children's sake...and for YOUR children's sake.

Semoga Allah mencucuri rahmat ke atas roh Arwah, dan semoga Arwah ditempatkan di kalangan golongan yang beriman. Amin.


Friday, March 7, 2008

Oscar Winner versus CNN Reporter...

I woke Hasya and Hilman up at 8:30a.m yesterday morning -

Me : Chiman, Chimin... Wake up, wake up. We have to go now. If not I'll be late for work. I have to send you to rumah Wan now, okay?

Hilman : Kong! Kong! Kong! Kong! (that was how his cough sounded!)

Me : Hmmmmmm....that sounds quite bad! Are you sure you're okay to go to school today? Because, if you're not, you can stay at home.

(He had just finished his March tests on Wednesday, anyway)

Hilman : Kong! Kong! Kong! Kong! (Eyes looking at me)

Me : It's okay. I'll give you your cough syrup, but you still need to go to Wan's house, okay? We'll see how you feel nanti. If by 12:00pm, you're still coughing, no need to go to school lah, okay?

Hilman : Kong! Kong! Kong! Kong!

Got him to have some cereal for breakfast and gave him his cough syrup, and straight away drove Hilman and Hasya to Mak's house. All throughout the 15 minute journey, Hilman was coughing, and I decided to switch off the aircond and rolled down the windows. But, he was still coughing non-stop!

Upon reaching PJ, and after bringing all their school uniforms, shoes, bags, etc into Mak's house, I spoke to Mak's maid and asked her to keep an eye and monitor Hilman. If his cough was still persistent, I told Di*ah, the maid, that Hilman was not going to school.

Said my bye-byes and Muaaahh-muaaahhhs to the kids and went straight to work.

12:05p.m, my phone rang. It was Mak's house number.

Me : Hello?

"Hello, Mommy!" - it was Hasya.

Me : Hello, Hasya. How are you? Have you had your lunch? Are you ready for school?

Hasya : MOMMY! Hilman HAS NOT coughed, NOT EVEN ONCE, you know, for the last TWO hours! He....

The phone line went dead.

10 seconds later, my phone rang again.

Hasya : Momm....

The phone went dead again. And she called 3-4 times after that. And every time, the line would be cut off!

I waited for a couple of minutes before I called Mak's house, and Hasya answered.

Hasya : Mommy, Hilman kept on pressing the buttons just now! He didn't want me to tell you that he was only pretending to cough this morning!!!

Me : Okay, Hasya...I guessed as much. Where is Hilman now? Can I speak to him, please?

Hasya : He has locked himself in the study room, Mommy. And he has not put on his school uniform yet. And he has not even had his lunch. And Pakcik Is*ak said he's sending us to school at 12:30p.m!

It was 12:22p.m.

Me : Okay, Hasya. Can you please tell Hilman that if he goes to school today, he will be allowed to watch DVDs and play his PS2 over the school holiday, okay? Please tell him that. If he doesn't, no DVDs or PS2 for him.

Hasya : Okay, Mommy. But what if he doesn't want to come out of the study room?

Me : Well, if you tell him what I asked you to tell him, he WILL definitely go to school!

Hasya : Okay.

(And I could almost see Hasya smiling gleefully right that second, and I thought I heard a small victorious "Yes!" from her!)

I put down the phone, and did not check on the kids until about 3:45p.m, when I called Mak's house again.

My sis-in-law Yaz**en answered. And when I asked if Hilman was at home, she told me that both Hasya and Hilman went to school that afternoon with Is*ak. Just to make sure that Hilman was really okay, I asked her if Hilman was coughing before he went to school, and she said, "No".


Later, when I went back to PJ and the kids came back from school, I asked Hilman about the whole thing -

Me : Hilman, why did you pretend to cough this morning?

Hilman : I didn't pretend, Mommy. I was really coughing!

Me : Yes, the first couple of times, maybe?

Hilman : The first time, I was coughing. The second time, I was coughing. The third time I was coughing. After that ONLY I was pretending, Mommy!

As if THAT will make me okay with the whole thing?!

But, looking at his face, tak sampai hati nak marah... To add to that, my MIL, SIL, BIL and Ayah were all there laughing at his explanation/confession.

Me : Hilman, next time don't pretend again okay? It's like lying, too, you know? And you know you cannot lie, right?

Hilman : Uh-uh...Nanti Allah will be angry...and I cannot go to heaven?

Me : Errrr....(mengangguk aje lah...)