Sehr Taurig und ein gut Mann

Ich fühle mich jämmerlich, aber ich bin bereit zu warten. Wir werden noch einmal versuchen. Es ist gut, geduldig zu sein. Ich werde zukünftig sehr geduldig sein.  Weil Allah geduldige Leute mag…Verzeihen Sie mir bitte.


Anyway enough of the negative feelings. Once in a while, no harm wallowing in a little self-pity but not all the time. Hence it is time to move on. 

I have been hooked these days to the book ‘Leaving Microsoft to Change The World’, written by the founder of the international NGO ‘Room to Read’.

Image taken from here

It is moving, to read the first hand account from the former marketing director of Microsoft on how one backpacking trip to Nepal where he, by chance stumbled upon a school which has no books in the library. As a child he was a voracious reader whose thirst for books had never been denied. Hence he could never comprehend how the third world countries educate their young with their extremely limited resources. 

Alot of self reflections later, he decided to leave his cushy job with Microsoft and use the years of corporate skills he had as a corporate man to think big, no.. think huge actually.. by setting up the Room to Read Foundation  with the vision that every child in the third world country would have access to books.

The book is addictive to me because I was attracted to  his struggles and the way he pushed away all the ‘aper nanti orang kata’ fears of leaving a top notch career, breaking up with his live-in girlfriend who didn’t share his vision and also living on his savings etc. Those are guts not many people have. He had taken a very inspiring and noble path. On another note,  I also have a friend here who has been starting libraries for the orphanages in Malaysia. ( Is Badut! I am saluting you, bro! *waves* ). Chemical engineer turned professional clown, he has been inspiring us to no ends.

Both of them above had the vision and priority of making a difference in this world for the betterment of others who have very little for themselves. Their selflessness is tough to emulate but it is not impossible. Like Robert Frost wrote in his poem 

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference

One day I hope to be able to tell my grandkids that like John Wood who started Room to Read and Is  Badut, I too have taken the road less travelled by and that has made all the difference.

Even though  now we have chosen the road less travelled by, we are not yet really deep into the journey– just a few steps in. But after this book, it is further reinforced upon me that the road less travelled is way more exhilarating than being one of the crowd in the jam-packed highway.

… and oh, the title translates to ‘ Very Sad ( what I felt today ) and One Good Man ( John Wood of Room to Read )’  

Adubakat and other scary things

I must say I enjoyed Talentime by Yasmin Ahmad tremendously. I felt it was nicer than Sepet. I didn’t like Gubra and Muhsin at all and I have not watched Muallaf. 

Picture taken from here

I like the way the racial stereotypes were presented, questioned and yet also in a way ‘resolved’. The most moving scene personally for me was when the Kahoe character reported to the teacher that Hafiz cheated during the Maths exam because he got 100% correct. Hafiz proved to the teacher he didn’t when he scored all correct for a re-sit which had more difficult questions. And the teacher said to Kahoe that ‘he is not as stupid as you think he is and you are not that smart as you think you are’

We  didn’t realised that the some of the cast members were sitting a few rows below us and it was only as we tried to leave the theatre through the clogged exit door that we realised the chaps who acted as Mahesh and Kahoe and another female cast were recognised by the crowd, who wasted no time in trying to get these awkward-to-fame teenagers to pose for their camera phones. I like Talentime. I think I want to watch it again.

On another note, these past few days I noticed that the thunderstorms had been terrible. Simply terrible and terrifying. Once we felt our house shook and I thought it was just our house. But it being in the middle of a terrace meant that others would have felt it too. And they did. It was a tad scary. But not as scary as watching the UMNO assembly on tv though. That is scarier, for the long run of things. 

And oh… I should be scared of something else too. My blood sugar level is high. Damn my sweet tooth. But chocolates and rice are my staple. It would be scary to have to give up on those too? Hey I just gave up on meat and chicken last month hokay! Not these too?


I kinda like the idea that she won. Maybe that would also start a new fashion line for tudungs. There are tudungs Siti, tudung Ekin. But tudung jambul shah/i/zat has yet to materialise as the ‘in’ fashion statement.

But him winning brings about a lot of mix sentiments. The plot thickens. But maybe he won’t be so bad after all. Everyone needs to be given a chance, eh?

Big Boss, Little Boss

It was a disturbing incident alright. There we were, the four of us sitting in the small cafe outside the library. Myself and 3 of my students ages 8, 10 and 11. Two of them are special needs kids– one with the official govt OKU ( orang kurang upaya ) card, let’s call him A. He is 11 but mentally, he is 5 years old. And U. He is dyslexic. And F.. a bright 8 year old kid in educational transition from my hometown since her parents crossed over and migrated here.

We were enjoying our lunch just now, chatting  about post holiday topics when U nudged me saying ‘ Teacher… budak tu menjawab kat mak dia… so rude!’ And I knew who he was talking about. Behind us there was this mother with 2 young kids. The elder one is kindy age and the younger brother a toddler. Soon, the quiet moment in the cafe was broken with an ear piercing scream. ‘ YOU BETTER SAY SORRY TO ME !!! YOU BETTER SAY SORRY TO ME ! WHY DID YOU DO THAT TO ME AH ? AH ? YOU CANNOT SCOLD ME LIKE THAT YOU KNOW !!!! ‘

That was not the mother. That was the little daughter with ribena in her hand. A tiny finger wagging at her mother. Their bewildered maid watching on and her toddler brother giving the ‘it’s just another day’ face. The jaws of my three students just dropped, especially A– the one with the OKU card. The mother looked helpless, telling her to keep quiet and still said nicely to the ‘mightly princess’. She sounded desperate, almost pleading. And embarressed too I must add. Because my students were staring at them, so were the makciks at the counter.

The mother then hissed… ‘ You should not talk to me like that. I am your mother!’ Her voice, was not even stern. As if she was afraid of offending her child. I would have thought that  tone would have come from the maid. But no. It was from the mother. I would have smacked the girl had she been my student or my child. But she was not. So the best I could do is to lead my gaping students out of the cafe as soon as possible to save the mother some face. More screamings and ordering of the mother around from the time I walked from the table to the counter to pay –to the time I gathered the kids — to the time we walked out of the cafe. By the time we reached the door, we heard the mother apologising to the ‘mighty princess’ for scolding her earlier on.

My students’ take on this.

A meekly asked me, almost crying himself  ‘ Teacher… we cannot do that kan? Berdosa kan? We cannot shout at our mothers kan?’

U, although dyslexic is quite outspoken. He went ‘ A bad girl. How can she talk to her mother like that? I dare not menjawab balik like that! In Morroco, the fathers would cane her you know! ‘ ( he has a Morrocan dad who is very strict with manners )

F, the typical Singlish speaking former HDB dweller went ‘ Kurang ajar giler seyyyy budak ni. Mana boleh marah mak dia macam tuh?? Aperrr jerr.. Merepek eh teacher!!!’

My take in this? This monster was not borned. She was created. Her father ( or his absence ) has alot to do with it. Her mother to a certain extend too, but I was observing her like how I was trained to observe people. She was a non dominant, non assertive character. That’s her weakness. But the child, was the product of  both her weakness and fatherhood gone wrong.

In my years dealing with 21st century young kids– trust me, the family factories are creating these monsters faster than Gardenia making breads. And these monsters are going to be our leaders of tomorrow. Scary ain’t it? My students are special needs kids. I think this incident today scares them of what their future may be. They didn’t tell me that, but when they looked at the girl and her tantrums with mouths wide open, I could somehow guess what’s on their minds.

In the light of a better world/save the environment etc.. yes use less energy, plant more trees, use biodiesel.. whatever. But also, please take parenthood seriously. You can save the future of the world in a huge way like that.

Beautiful wedding and funny accents

If I am supposed to think in a certain way, sure–big weddings are extravagance and yeah, maybe wasteful but really, I love big weddings. I had big themed wedding myself and I loved the details, the celebration and the joy of having so many people together at one time.

So yesterday we were at N’s wedding. A big garden themed wedding which was beautifully done up. N was my classmate at goethe/institute trying to master the language of her then boyfriend ( now husband, alhamdulillah) and also qualify for the visa to live in his hometown, Dusseldolf. In a little way I was quite involved in helping her with the procedures of conversion/registration etc and (my) husband provided her with some contacts of muslims in Dusseldolf for his conversion purposes. If those were of any help, we were glad to be part of it. 

N was a beautiful bride in a beautiful wedding. A ( her husband) looked splendid in baju Melayu complete with the tanjak. Like some laksamana mat salleh. N’s family is from up north hence their loghat uthara is extremely thick it sounded greek. During the ‘merenjis ceremony’ in the crowded living room, I was squashed between makcik-makcik rolling their tongues in thick loghat uthara and the groom’s fanily speaking in an accent of German unique to their area ( I only understand standard textbook German or the Hessen dialect ) and outside, the live band was playing a number from a bollywood movie and their singer sang in Hindi.

Though I didn’t understand most of it, it was a beautiful wedding and I loved it to bits. And we forgot to bring our camera too.

If I were still in school…

Just getting the hang of this polyvore thingy. It is quite fun actually. And it is free and doesn’t clutter the home with fashion magazines. Not that I buy fashion magazines to begin with. Let’s see, if I weren’t a hijabi, I would probably wear this on a long Monday in campus. The colours to perk up the mood, the shoes to make it easy to go from lectures to lectures/tutorials and the hairband to keep the fringes at bay. And the roomy bag for them lecture notes and notebooks and candies smuggled in for boring lectures.

Campus Casual
Campus Casual – by Percicilan on

When food defines us

It is raining outside and I just did my laundry. It is almost midnight and upon the realisation that I have not washed my aikido uniform from the last training session, panic sets in because the next training is later today–if I publish this entry before midnight on my time. And it will be a busy Saturday. The husband will be busy in the morning attending to the arrival of the Nauruz guests of his campus. Nauruz is the Iranian New Year which just sets in as I am typing this down. I look forward to Nauruz every year because of the Iranian Film Festival.

Speaking about Nauruz, I took a peek at Diz’s blog and she wrote about some practices of the Nauruz. Her husband is Iranian and by the way, do you celebrate with Kabob, Diz? Wish Hooman for me yeah! Since it snowed where you are today, I guess it would be a ” White Nauruz” for you both? 🙂

Taken from Diz’s blog  ” Some superstitions related to that: whatever you’re doing at the precise moment the new year begins is generally what you’ll be doing for the rest of year. So, if you’re working, you’ll be working hard. If you’re sleeping, I guess you’ll be sleeping all year. Also, you should eat fish because unlike most animals, it only moves forward. You don’t want to be moving backwards in the coming year”

Which brings me to what I have observed within myself of late. We heard of the cliche saying all the time of ‘ You are what you eat’. For the past month, I have been keeping tab of 2 things. 1) What I eat.  2 ) My behavioral pattern. Trust a teacher who majored in Psychology to do it. I was recording both pedantically, trying to observe the correlation between both of them. I keep a daily log of the past happenings and my activities as well, which I update daily about 15 min before I go to bed.

Today marked the 35th day I went off meat i.e red meat and chicken. My source of protein for the past 35 days had been fish/tempe/tofu and the occasional prawns.

Let’s talk biology for a bit. Previously every month, I suffer from really bad mood swings prior to my monthly period. The depression can be extremely low that I sometimes I wish I can get Prozac here, or my temper can be so volatile that my husband can write an entry here of The Taming of The Shrew. And it is the norm that my period, at least for the first few days would be so heavy and heavily congealed. No good! Declared drhelenaofakubekam. In Chinese Traditional Medicine/Naturopathy/Cupping/Acupunture which she practices, congealed menstruation blood means my blood is not flowing properly, my yin and yang is imbalance and the Qi is not flowing. Stop eating meat and chicken! She ordered further. The hormones in there are wrecking your system, she added. 

Of course carnivorous me ignored her and until I read up on blood type diet did I finally succumb and eliminated meat and chicken from my meals. And we went 95% organic, the 5% being the time we eat out and can’t really control the choice of ingredients.

For the last 35 days, in which my last period came, I did not suffer from any pms cramps. I did not have pms mood swing. I did not suffer from pms depression nor did I become a volatile shrew. Needless to say, it was smooth sailing–for the husband especially. The flow of my blood did not congeal/clot. It was a good flow, not to heavy nor concentrated mainly on the first 3 days. It was well spaced out. My energy level did not dip during the period ( it always did before ) in fact, I was raring to go and had the best lessons I had with my students the last couple of weeks.

The one thing that I notably jotted down and which the husband and my students noticed starkly about me for the past 35 days was that– I didn’t get angry. There were other emotions of tiredness after a long, hard day, disappointment, sadness for some news but anger? Zilch. I felt almost zen ( heh–cliche, I know ).

Well…it could be attributed also to the fact that I am deeper into aikido now and are training regularly and hence my KI flow better, but my energy level is definitely up and the balancing is definitely in. I sleep better too! So it could be both the absence of meat in my diet and the presence of aikido both at the same time. But I started aikido last year and still felt lethargic and still had those monthly problems. And I always zonk out after training, due to the lack of energy. But of late, these days after training, I feel more energised and cheerful !

And as for the quote about the fish, if we are what we eat, and fish is always forward looking, then I really am looking forward to the fruits of this pescetarianism. It’s all good, aye ? 😉

About water, bills and other stuffs

I have been monitoring our water bills since last year. So far I have collected about 14 water bills which comes at the end of the month. Bearing in mind that on weekdays, we have up to 11 or so  kids coming to the house for homeschooling/tuition, we water the garden sometimes twice a day, washing the dishes twice a day, laundry every 2 days and 6 to 7 litres of drinking water boiled for the thirsty kids studying at our place daily. Add to that, the weekly two cleaners who come to scrub the house clean, front yard, back yard and 3 toilets. And mopping the entire house upstairs and downstairs. To all that, the highest water bill we’ve ever paid in the past 14 months is Rm 13.90.

Water is very cheap here, especially in the state of Selangor when it is heavily subsidised– which also explains the freaking cheap dobi rate. 15 kg of laundry is Rm 7. Ironing is Rm 1 per piece. Dry cleaning is Rm 6 per suit. We didn’t really need the washing machine actually.

And the electricity bills as well. For our very active household and especially the husband burning midnight oil on most nights writing his thesis and studying, electricity bill –the highest we have paid is Rm 50. No aircon though. But my friend who uses aircon paid Rm 90 highest for her household.

And basic necessities. Malaysian rice pilihan Bernas is about Rm 14 for 10 kg. We eat organic brown rice. For 5 kg, I paid Rm 29.90. I bought the sack 2nd January and it is already March. I have a good 2 kg left and we eat rice 4 times a week. Vegetables, especially at the Pasar Tani and Pasar Malam are freaking cheap too. So is sugar and salt and other Made in Malaysia condiments and ingredients. Petrol, compared to where I came from is not just cheap, it is dirt cheap.

The point is, to survive here is fairly cheap ( extremely cheap by where we have been ). So seriously I cannot understand why people here are still complaining. Especially those who can afford fast cars, fancy women and houses big enough to be a hospital in India.

Of which I know not what to say

…but actually I do. But I am not sure that it will go down with them. That I am not living in accordance to their standards. That I make choices in accordance to what both of us envisioned for our future and more importantly, our present. That we do not care what others have or don’t have, or work as or earn or buy or didn’t buy. But we do care about how we live our lives, to the fullest, although a tad too carefree/bohemic for their liking. But I or we rather, care not what makes them happy by their standards because we have our own standard of living that we live by, which certainly does not include whatever is in their norm. But we are fine with it, because our goals have always to please the ONE above. Not them.

And so, about last night’s news… honestly, it has no consequence upon me because life has never been a competition for me, especially not against you. I thanked HIM for giving you all that, and I find the gloating a tad funny. Were you expecting me to clap and shout hooray good for you? I would you know ! And  you know I would –for I am truly happy you got what you wanted. What you have not realised is that, I am not in the competition. I never was. 🙂  

p.s I guess you have forgotten that I have been out of the little island long enough. 😉