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They would often look overwhelmed by the attention showered upon them, especially from the paparazzi for the day. The day when even a plain Jane and the Joe next door would look good and are genuinely admired by many for many different reasons.

I love weddings, especially looking at the cluelessness of the bride and groom on what lay ahead once the day is over. When the last bit of make up has been wiped off and the new life ahead which begins once the honeymoon is over. The whole rite of passage is, to me is so symbolic for the change of the season of life that they are going to experience. Of learning to continue loving in acceptance, the person you choose to spend the rest of your life with despite the differences, idiosyncracies, habits and everything else. Nothing else, I personally find, can be as challenging as it ( marriage ).

The tea ceremony went on very well and the toiling and sleepless night was well worth it. Everyone loved the small cups of cheesy desserts and the bride and groom loved their wedding cake, which I made– with Tito keeping me company throughout the whole night. Fresh red roses on pinkish berry wedding cheesecake, as I discovered turned out really pretty. So the labour intensive moment was well worth it, as for the first time I had gone to a wedding and I had the opportunity to say, hey I like the wedding cake.. and oh hey, I made it :).

Not to be an ego maniac but more of like a much needed booster for the rough times we are going through at the moment. But then again, in my tiredness, I forgot to take a photo of it. Blergh…

Between the two

I put Tito on a diet because his belly is getting too big and he is getting as fat as garfield. He sleeps most of the time as well. On the other hand, Milo is losing alot of weight due to the lack of appetite.

Between Tito and Milo, personality wise they are both very different. Milo is the more sociable of the two and is a part of the neighbourhood gang of toms. Sometimes we can see him walk around with his gang of toms, ‘step macho’. In those moments, when we called out to him, he would totally ignore us, pretending he doesn’t know us at all, or pretending he didn’t hear us at all. And would continue walking with the other toms in a gangly manner. He seems to have playmates outside of the house as well, be it the next door Tom or the alley cats. He has come of age and had taken a liking to the next door tabby. And I caught them in the act one fine afternoon. Soon, we would hear of our next door tabby pregnant? And our once little kitten Milo, would then be a father. Time flies.

Tito on the other hand is very anti-social. His only friend being Milo, his elder brother of 5 months from the same mother and father. He stays at home all the time, does not have any friends, doesn’t even go out of the house compound. He eats and sleeps and watches snails in the garden. All his activities are usually alone, or with Milo. Once we helped nurse a kitten with a broken leg which belongs to one of the students. Tito was so mad about it that he stayed in the room for a week, at the most the dining area and refused to get anywhere out ( as the kitten was put in the cage outside the house ). Each time we brought the kitten in, he hissed and tried to start a fight with the little one, in all gusto of a big bully. Unlike Milo, who sniffed and licked the ailing kitten like a welcoming god-brother.

Passport to heaven

It all started with a BM comprehension passage about Prophet Lut. Then it went on to the homosexuality issues found in there because the 11 year old girl started asking ‘ how can man marry man and woman marry woman?’. And the 12 year old boy, who is a little bit informed about the affairs of life asked, ‘ Oh teacher, is it like now that they have gays and lesbians?’

And I had to juggle between explaining in a non-homophobic way but at the same time ‘non-consenting due to faith issues’ manner. Luckily, both their families are from the same faith approach as I am, so the discussion went along the common line.

Then suddenly the girl quipped, ‘ Teacher, I have the next two years or so to die..’ She said so as a matter of factly I couldn’t tell whether it was a joke or otherwise. It was not a joke. She really meant it. I asked why. ‘Ohhh …!’ She exclaimed in the full grandeur of an excited pre-pubescent kiddo. ‘ I read that, if you die as a child, you would straight away go to heaven. Once I get my period, I will be an adult, and then as an adult, I would definitely be tempted to do so many wrong things.That makes it harder for me to go to heaven. If I die before I get my period, I will die as a child and definitely go to heaven! So I want to die before I get my period lah !!’

Whooopsy. Before I could even regain my composure on how to tackle that, the boy suddenly added, with all his 12 year old wisdom. ” Hey you know what, I have been thinking about that too, alot lately actually. That I have about 2 years or so before I reach puberty. It would be nice to die before that and straight away get the passport to heaven!!’

I took one minute to breathe in. Another minute to breathe out. Rolled up my sleeves and told myself, it’s time to get down to business!

of two different worlds

I didn’t quite enjoy the last book I read from HabiburahmanEl.Shirazy, the Indonesian version I got during our last Jakarta trip. I found it too draggy. I think the only one of his works which appealed to me was Ayat-Ayat Cinta, which I really loved. He may have a different approach and all that, but I still think despite the thousands of copies his works have been sold in our region, he has not reached where Pramoedya had been. It’s like comparing one of those Malay ‘cintan-cintun’ novelist to Pak SamadSaid.

Cannot lah kan?

Pitter Patter

I read, that when it rains it is good to make a prayer for anything that we may want or need. Any request asked upon HIM while the sky opens up for the rain to fall, in all of HIS wisdom, would be granted swiftly.

Yesterday it rained cats and dogs and monkeys and elephants. Complete with the thunderstorm, which actually was a tad scary.
And I made that prayer, over and over and over again. I’ve never wanted something so badly in my life, till now.

Pick me up

I’ve not written about food for quite a while already. Probably because I am now fully settled in my blood type diet, have changed the larder contents  accordingly and the withdrawal symptoms have left me completely, sans anymore cravings for this and that. 

This book tries to teach kids that ‘ we are not what we have‘. An there is also a saying that ‘we are what we eat’. Together, they will make the sentence ‘ we are not what we have, but we are what we eat’ . Make sense? I think it does, at least to me. 

Talking about food, sometimes once in a while I do indulge in some ‘pick me ups’. I think I deserve it after trying very hard on the day to day basis to cook and eat healthy, using organically grown ingredients too. My ‘pick me ups’ is literally Pick Me Up, or the Italian meaning to it –Tiramisu. The best I’ve tasted here was just last Friday, before my mobile phone got stolen. Met up former schoolmate and currently fellow crossover Al, who is staying ten minutes away from us with her Bosnian husband. She’s been here longer than myself and I only knew that recently.

So we had our post girls school tête-à-tête at Alexis bistro in Bangsar, which is famous for their delectable desserts. And their Tiramisu is to die for ( well, I wouldn’t exactly die for a Tiramisu–not a Tira-jihadi by any standards, but yeah it was that good ) and the raving reviews about their desserts from many online/offline food critics are extremely well deserving. First bite had me the ‘hmmmm’ sensation like knocked off the road by a truck kinda moment.

In my next month’s indulgence, I hope to try their pecan pie which looked yummiliciously inviting, or their berries-gateau which looked pretty. And yeah, their desserts taste as good as they look too.

Alexis bistro is at Jalan Telawi 3, Bangsar. Don’t go if you are on a diet. Don’t say you are have not been warned.

And then it’s gone…

The gist is, my phone was stolen while I was doing my asar prayers at the megamall just now. How it happened, I am not too sure. By the time I finished praying, the phone was gone from my bag. How the theft took place, it was beyond me. I did pay attention to the sign pasted on the front wall of the surau ‘ Berhati-hati  kecurian’ . Some hurried shufflings later while I was praying, after the salam, I opened my bag and saw that everything was intact. All, except my phone. The one I just got in lieu of our anniversary last month.

Lessons learnt:

  • Fancy schmancy phones don’t really serve their whole purpose fully, other than to tempt thieves.
  • The rule 90/10 rule is true.
  • The phone is just another material item. It has sentimental value as it was given by the significant other yes, but the significant other is still with me, not gone with the phone that is stolen, for that I’m in gratitude. In other words, redha.
  • When the going gets tough, go shopping with a girlfriend and yak over good food. It helps, heaps… Thanks Al 🙂

So I bought a cheapo Nokia phone for Rm 119 which allows me to call and text and that’s it. Functional and basic. Fuss free too. So friends, text me with your name and number…

Till then, it’s Finnish now…

In Confessions of a Shopaholic, the character Rebecca Bloomwood told everyone she speaks Finnish as a decoy, with the reason ‘nobody checks on Finland!’. In a way, that’s true. I never bothered finding out anything about Finland other than the mere fact that N/OK/IA comes from there. But tonight, I think I know a little bit more without going to ShaykhGoogle.

It’s A.skor’s farewell party at our sensei’s house tonight. A.skor is our fellow aikido trainee from Finland. We train together sometimes up to 3 times a week but we never really to know one another beyond what is aikido. Hence tonight out of the dojo, over hot piping ‘nabe’, seaweed and glutinous rice, we grilled him to bare all about Finland, through his eyes.

Hence we learnt that the name ‘Nokia’ was taken from a town called Nokia in Finland. What is now a global household name synonymous to mobile phones actually originated from the name of a small town, in which in no other parts of the world the name can be found. And ironically, he told us that the headquarters for Nokia is not in Nokia and none of Nokia’s business offices are in Nokia too. Something like there is no Mee Bandung/Air Bandung in Bandung. And that Nokia as in the company, first started out producing wellingtons ( rubber boots like the ones Phua Chu Kang wears ) and moved on to rubber tyres for vehicles. By some twist of fate, they literally twisted their luck into the mobile phone market. Who would have thought, aye?

Finnish don’t eat fish heads. Their staple is potato and fish and dark rye bread. But never fish head. And that they don’t talk but grunt. That, I guessed as much because I first thought of A.skor to be very aloof and extremely reserved to the point I thought he was simply antisocial. Now I know he is just being Finnish. Both him and his wife Joeanna told us that a typical Finnish family can survive on just 20 words in 5 days? Maybe that’s why Nokia phones have versatile keypads for texting? So they really don’t have to talk.. 😉

And lots more, so I think if there is a general knowledge quiz on Finland, I think I can score. Thanks to A.skor. And goodbye dude. You’ll be sorely missed at trainings. From the both of us 🙂 Arigato gozaimasta! Till we train again…

The orator and the rilek one corner syndrome

Other than the camp of the great food and waterfalls and wonderous nature Malaysia has to offer, I am not in any other camps, politics or otherwise where Malaysia is concerned. My mentality here has always been a place of transit before the next land to sink my wandering feet into.

However, I had to admit that before this article, I had in my mind, the same opinion of the said person– so when the article came out,  I had the ultimate bingo/snap moment?

I am not a sifu in psychology nor a political analyst for that matter. But in whatever I have followed of his development or otherwise for the last ten years or so ( I admired– to the point of hero worshipping him circa ten years ago. While my peers were busy dropping one after another into the engagements and wedding pits, I was buried in The Asian Renaissance, which he wrote.. and followed his speeches all that I could find ).  But alas… tried as I might to think otherwise, I can’t help but to see him becoming more and more of a clown. Not the funny sort, though. The husband likes to say; like Hitler, who is a good orator. Other than that, simply a clown.

And anyway, went to De/wan B/ah/asa and Pus/tak/a  just now, on the pretext of buying more kids books for the library. It was disappointing to see their collection of books for children and teenagers are simply outdated. Like they came from last century. Well, I could safely say almost 60% of their collection were indeed from the 80s and 90s, when I was in school!

The kids books are absolutely way behind the kind of books Scholastics are producing for English emergent readers. No wonder kids don’t enjoy reading Malay books. I wouldn’t too, if those are all that they have. Other than their updated Kamus, which seems to be their main pride and joy   ( I may be wrong but that’s the impression I get) the whole place seemed so ‘lemau’. It lacks the dynamism which the main body which champions the Malay language should have. The staff we spoke to were also not too enthusiastic at all, they were just ‘doing their job’. Customer service was slack. 

Maybe lemau is not such an apt word. So layu… yeah that’s the word I am looking for. Layu as in ‘wilting’ is more like it.

Oh wait a minute. Yeah they are doing their job right. They are the bearers of bahasa yang sedang me-layu. Thanks to them.

Money Poetry

Far too many times we have been hearing this phrase ‘money politics’ over and over again here. Yesterday, however, I found a cute book on money poetry instead at the kids section of M/PH. I was actually looking for more of Ma/donn/a’s book as I just managed to find one the other time. But I found this book instead, which I found to be a really cute way of teaching kids about money and self-worth– via poetry.

Each page of the book is a stanza of the poem, which runs through the whole book. The first thing which caught my attention was the first two stanzas :

Some people think that you are what you’ve got and that your toys, clothes and car really matter alot These things are all fun, there’s no denying it’s true– but the things that you own have nothing to do with you If you took them away, what would there be?
All the things about you are harder to see!
There’s an important lesson about money that you should know You’ll hear it over and over as you grow That lesson is : Don’t spend more than you make Using money that’s not yours can be a big mistake So while you dream of living large, buy only what you can afford Accept what you have for this moment, The rest you are working toward

Something tells me that this book, with its colourful illustrations is not just for the children. Many times the value of a human is placed upon how many of the worldly possesions he/she has. I realised that especially since living here, that sometimes those who carry the title ‘Yang Berhormat’– rich that they may be, perangai mereka jauh daripada yang patut dihormati. ( One who carries the title of The Respected one but who is not respectable in character nor behaviour ). 

Another irony of life I came close to here,  is a person whom I personally know, who called a family from a kampung here, ‘orang susah’ and ‘kesian diaorang miskin’. This said family from kampung is self -sustained with their farming, lives on their own plot of land ( tanah pusaka ) and lives in a simple kampung house with the only mode of transportation being the father’s motor kapcai. They have zero debt because they live within their means and just spend on what they need. I doubt they even know the branded luxuries out there  other people compete for.

The person who called this kampung family ‘orang susah’ and ‘kesian orang miskin’, drives a BMW, lives in a luxurious condominium and the whole shebangs of the house renovation– all on credit and bank loans. Car, condo, renovation– lifestyle basically on credit. Hutang keliling  pinggang kind of lifestyle but stylish no doubt.

So seriously, siapa yang sebenar-benarnya miskin ni?  The self-sustained family with no debts but lives too simply? Or the one who lives on stylish/posh lifestyle powered by debts?

Although the account above is that of a personal encounter, in this capitalistic world that we live it, it is not an isolated case. Hence I find the book an interesting tool to teach kids on the importance of having the right perspective.