Spicing up Khutbah Jumaat? Can ...?

The truth is, more often than not khutbah Jumaat, week in and week out, do send many people to sleep. Paling tidak pun most will day dream rather than paying attention to the content of the khutbah.. and don't me get started on how noisy the kids can be at the back of the congregation.
Too bad really and this is what we get if an Imam is required to read a prepared khutbah that simply does not interest many people (think RTM's talk show). Yeah, maybe they can't do much about it, but then again the Imams can certainly spice up his sermon a little.. here and there. Just to jolt the jemaah...like what this one Imam, apparently in mid-west USA, who got up after one Friday prayers and announced to the people:
"I have good news and bad news. The good news is, we have enough money to pay for our new building program. The bad news is, it's still out there in your pockets."
But then again, boleh ker our Imams say something like this? Silap haribulan kena buang kerja. Eh, tak payah lar ekk?


Pipa is Three

Yesterday, Ayah Chik and family came over - beraya and at the same time celebrated the birthday of his grandaughter Pipa. Adorable! But the thing is that she looks exactly like Asma at this age. Why, when she saw our family photo taken about 10 years ago (when Asma was about her age), she was rather taken aback and quipped" "Eh! Pipa". And like Asma, Pipa too asks a lot questions over and over and over again.
After the mandatory swimming session, we had a cake cutting thingy with the birthday girl with her Umi, aunts and cousins. From left: Aida, Aisyah, Pipa, Alia, Asma, Ain, Arissa and her umi Anis.
After that Pipa went guling-guling on our bed. Suka lak dia. But she said that's Kakak's bed (as in Arissa's). And overheard a conversation between Pipa and Arissa
Pipa: Kenapa mak awak sembahyang? (as she watched Yan performed her Maghrib)
Arissa: Nak dapat pahala!!!


Islam: Fun Facts

I, for some strange reasons, thrive on trivia. Here are some interesting facts about Islam. Enjoy!!

  • The Majority of Muslims do not live in the middle East. The most populous muslim country is Indonesia, the 4th largest country in the world with 184 million muslims. There are more muslims in India than the combined population of Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Palestine and the whole of the Arabian Peninsula.
  • The following English words are borrowed from Arabic: Algebra, Zero, Cotton, Sofa, Rice, Candy, Safron, Balcony. And even 'alchohol' derives from Arabic : al-kuhl meaning powder. These are just a few mentioned here.
  • The first treatise on smallpox and measles was written by Abu Bakr alrazi (c.864-925,known to Europe as Rhazes). (Due to this) Inoculation agianst smallpox became a common practise in muslim lands. Despite this , Scientific text book credit the invention of a smallpox vaccine to Edward Jenner.(1749-1823).
  • Early Oxbridge students studied books written by muslims on mathematics, medicine, chemistry, optics and astronomy.
  • Adelard of Bath (a city in the UK) was a leading scholar of the middle ages. what made him famous was translating the word of muslim scientists from Arabic to Latin!
  • The 1860 city records of Cardiff (UK) show a masjid in operation in a converted building at 2 Glynrhondda St. Yemani sea men on their trips between Aden (in Yemen) and Cardiff founded this masjid.
  • The first purpose built masjid is claimed to be in Woking (South of England) with money provided by the ruler of Bhopal, in India (the Shah Jehan masjid was built in 1889).
  • The Islamic calender is based on the phases of the moon, with it being approximately 11 days shorter than the 365 days of the year in the Julien calender. Hence, the dates of our festivals move through the year.
  • The grand doors of our prophets (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) masjid in Medina weigh 2 and half tonnes each! Enormous quantities of "sag wood" was gathered from all over the world and shipped to the united kingdom to be dryed in computerised furnaces (the traditional drying process would have taken many years!). Even then , it took 5 months to dry the wood! the wood was then shipped to Barcelona (Spain), Where the main body of the doors where made. And finally the French even paid their little part, as the brass ornamentation was carried out in the city of Roi (France). Next time you visit the holy masjid, keep this entirely in mind!
  • It was only in 1932 the Kiswah (cloth of the Ka'bah) was wholly made by Saudis (citizens of Saudi Arabia).
  • The roof top of our Prophet's (SalAllahu alayhi wasalam) masjid in Madina is designed to be strong enough to carry addtional floors in the future.
  • Some verses in the Koran refer to man being equal to woman. Mathematically, the number of times the word "man" appears in the Koran is 24. The number of times the word "woman" appears in the Koran is also 24.

P. Ramlee.. The Musical - I Likeeee...

Ever since I watched my first musical - a “Sirih Bertepuk Pinang Menari” karya Sasterawan Noordin Hasan in the very early 90s - I decided that I like theatrical musicals.

Then when I was in London a few years later, I managed to catch the then immensely popular “Miss Saigon” with Lea Salonga and Jonathan Pryce at the West End and I was going like “WOW! Wow! Wow! Surely no Malaysian productions can ever match this” (The chopper scene alone blew my mind).

Which brings us to P. Ramlee The Musical. What can I say? I was there at the opening night and brought my family three days later. Dapat tengok dua kali, gua cakap lu! And of course, I enjoyed it. And I am so proud that we have our own musical production that can match the ones from West End or Broadway in every imaginable way. We have arrived! Yes. (clearly I didn't watch PGL.. The Musical, right?)

The Good!

The ensemble: The big ensemble cast did a great supporting job with good dancing and singing throughout. I especially like the three women-supporting cast who took on several different roles. Bravo to Ida Mariana, Maya Tan Abdullah and Izlyn Ramli.

Chedd Eddie Yusof: He’s everywhere too but as Sukardi, P. Ramlee’s best friend from kampung, he is pleasantly humorous.

Colin Kirton and Douglas Lim: The Shaw Brothers! Emtaq, emtaq!

The songs: The P. Ramlee songs are simply beautiful. The new songs… not bad..but love the opening number in Penang.

The props: Whoa... the locomotive and KTM gerabak alone were amazing.

Atilia: I am already a fan. As Junaidah the first wife, she's exquisite.

Melissa Saila: As Norizan the second dejected wife, she provided the most memorable performance. Her singing may be questionable (but then she’s no singer to begin with) but her acting..simply majestic.

Liza Hanim: I was never a fan but after listening to her singing live, I was bowled over. I seriously think that she sounded much much better than the singing Datuk. As Saloma, she’s simply delightful.

Sean Ghazi: Awesome. Enough said.

Atilia, Sean, Liza and Melissa. Terror.

Favourite moments:
Opening number in 1930’s Penang --- oooh very very happy (and I actually smiled masa ni).
The Penang-Singapore train ride --- ooooh my God!
Norizan-P.Ramlee break up scene – oooh very heartfelt (but really, was Norizan like this in real life)
The screening of Penarik Becha at the Rex Cinema – ooh clever!

P.Ramlee and Saloma courting scene – oooh priceless!
I’m so very very happy!
(Pix courtesy of MStar and www.jeffooi.com)



Suddenly.... it rains day and night. Since last day of Ramadan. And it's chilly here (wah macam kat London ler pulak). We don't have to turn on the air-condition even. And sometimes not even the ceiling fan. Must be the global warming thing....

Suddenly... Malaysians (actually the BPR) jadik efficient. Watched the news just now. And aren't you glad we are in Malaysia where the gomen people are so very effective and efficient. Must be the Malaysia Boleh spirit....

Suddenly.... people around me are somehow related to Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor. An aunt told us that the handsome Dr's family house in PJ is just a stone throw away from "our rumah Opah Chu". Okay. And Alia's friend's aunt was once supposed to marry the now lelaki idaman se Malaya. Check. Must be the weather...

Suddenly... oh whatever!


Teman raya sakan, weh!

It was indeed a fulfilling Hari Raya for my family and I. Alhamdulillah! It was really a Hari Raya at a most meriah tetapi sederhana proportion. But still, we had fun all the way. Bear with me, this is going rather long-winded. But as many years from now I probably won’t remember the details, the fun, and the joy, this entry is a marker of sorts.

30 Ramadan
Balik Kampung day. With my mom safely uprooted at my brother’s place in Shah Alam, we decided to push off from home after sahur. Which never happened as I stayed up all night right until sahur because was busy cleaning up the house (and Yan busy baking last minute cookies). And after subuh I went to sleep. Woke up only at 8.30am.
It was already 9am and the sun already up and bright when we left the house. And I was so ever prepared to be spending extra few hours in the traffic congestion. But it was indeed a beautiful Ramadan day as there was hardly any traffic worthy of balik kampung exodus on PLUS highway that morning. It was a breeze all the way right up till Tapah exit. Alhamdulillah. Macam bukan balik Raya lar pulak.... Sampai at my SIL’s place in Kuala Dipang, a couple of KM to the north of Kampar around noon.
And I went straight to resuming my sleep. Ahhh! Heaven. Woke up around 5pm, itupun my wife kata my MIL mintak gi beli mee goreng Mamak utk berbuka. Of all the food....
But malam raya was spent with just Kak’s and our family sahaja as the other brothers and sister and families would only join us the next day.

1 Syawal.
Woke up bright and early and feeling very much sihat. I’ve learnt the bitter lesson of not to gorge down food on the Raya eve as to jaga the tummy. A few Rayas ago I did just that and I suffered the morning after. Since I’m the only adult male around, I decided to go solat Raya in Kampar, mana ler tahu kot2 boleh terserempak ngan member2 lama. Kak’s young son Farid, dah lama lesap ikut kawan2 dia gi surau nearby untuk sembahyang Raya.
Anyway, Solat raya in Masjid Kampar sort of nostalgic as it was the place where I did my akad nikah many many years ago. And I only met my old classmate Amran Md Zain. Ropa dia macam tu jugak. Hmmm.
After the solat (which only started at 9.30am – rather late don’t you all think so) I rushed back home. Then we went to Yan’s kampung in Ayer Itam Labu – about 20 minutes away. First stop was pusara arwah FIL. Then we made our way to Yan’s aunt place, Wan Eda, not far from there. After the huu haa session with her children which happen to be our cousins yang jarang jumpa, we drove further in to Yan’s Uncle place Pak Usu.
And surprise, surprise, I met my old kawan baik from Form 6 days - Baharuddin. Sekarang dah jadi lecturer kat UPSI and dah ada anak enam. Last time I met Baha was like 17 years ago. Lepas sama-sama start kerja terus lost contact walaupun masing2 tahu rumah emak bapak masing2.
Then both Kak and us berpecah as we made our way to Temoh, my kampung. Ziarah kubur bapak and Azmir and opah and tok. Then pergi tengok rumah Mak jap and jumpa my cousin Lop. We also pergi beraya kat rumah my cousins kat kampung sebelah – rumah Kak Lebo and rumah Abg Udin. Oooh! Banyaknya makan. Beraya lar katakan.
After that I wanted to visit my other best friend masa sekolah in Kampar but the girls dah penat so decided to go home to rumah Kak. By then Yan’s eldest sister Yong and brother Abang Lan and their families sudah sampai. Cuma Nyah and the gang from Cheras saja still on the way.
So after solat jamak qasar, my head found a pillow and I drifted to lalalland in no time. Apparently, quite a number of sedara mara came by while I was drifting...... even Nyah and family pun sampai...
Around 10pm, Kak Encik and family also sampai to sleep over. She’s our cousin but the closest cousin and can be considered another sister even. After all she grew up in the same household as my wife and her siblings. And when she’s around, it was sembang2 session into the wee hours of the morning. The main topic of tete-a-tete that night warrant a separate entry but it was hillarious to the maximum, I tell you.
It concerned Kak Encik’s blow-by-blow account on what transpired while she watched our angkasawan blasted off into the space on TV a few days earlier. Suffice to say that Sheikh Muszaphar, you’ve got one die hard fan in Kak Encik. And she’s still praying that the capsule carrying our angkawasan back to earth will off shoot its target and land safely in Teluk Batik, Lumut instead. Yeah, Kak Encik lives in Sitiawan (not far from Lumut) and she’s seriously hoping that she will be able to welcome our hunky Dr back home personally. I say, whatever......

Rombongan Kak Siah pergi beraya
Baha and me - sekian lama tak jumpa

Group photos of the men in Cikgu Hasan's family. The uncles are all seated (plus the youngest cousin). Yang muda-muda sumer berdiri termasukla sorang uncle tu... hehe

The ladies group pix (MIL tak de sebab dia tgh shower). All the aunts are seated with the eldest auntie berdiri right in the middle... separating the cousins yang ayu sopan (on the left) dengan cousins yang lupa daratan di Hari Raya (to the right). Err, yang dentist tu should be in the right group lar!!!

Since I like this pix so much, here's another go... orang muda la katakan

2 Syawal
The early part of the day were spent at Kak’s place receiving guests yang datang beraya. It was only after Asar prayer that we drove up to Ipoh to Yan’s cousin Kak La in Bercham. And the mee rebus at Kak La’s place was sinfully delicious. Ishh! And we were stranded jugak at her place as the sky opened up real good. It was almost 9pm when we reached Yan’s sister place Yong in Simpang Pulai. The rest of the gang were already there and another feast of mee – this time mee kari lar pulak - awaited. As Nisah said, the mee was simply marvellous..

Second day terlupa pulak nak go snap snap happy. Only this one taken of my family before we ventured out to Ipoh.
3 Syawal
Apparently more people came over to beraya with MIL (like really ramai) but we weren’t there as we went to beraya at Pak Uteh's place - Yan's uncle - in Malim Nawar and later to my late grandmother’s place in Lahat. Only my aunts – Wancik and Chu - and their families live there now. Had lunch there – nasi dengan gulai masam, ikan bakar and air asam. Ooooh sedap!
We left for Kak’s place around 5pm and on the way back we stopped by Gopeng to buy Kelamai. Apparently only available in Gopeng, Kelamai looks like lemang only the buluh is rather white and its more like bingka rather pulut lemang. Sampai kat rumah we – especially those kids from KL macam anak Nyah and mine – were really amazed at this kelamai. Heboh satu rumah pasai kelamai. Hmm orang Perak yang praq senandung.
That night we had a bbq of burger and sausages. Jemu makan lauk raya ler nih. Another satisfying day indeed.

Inilah rupa rumah Opah in Lahat. When I was young, balik kampung means going to this house. 30 miles away from Temoh. The house has undergone renovation and tambahan sana sini like hundred times.

Gumbiranya bertemu Kelamai. Sessi membuka Kelamai. Nak kata jakun....

Oh ya malam tu ada sessi main bunga api. Tak sah lah raya kalau tak melanggar undang-undang, tak gitu? Arissa with her bunga api...

Ana and Hasri jadi chef bakar burger .

4 Syawal
The three families decided to go beraya di tepi laut in Lumut sambil beraya at Kak Encik’s place. Left home very early bearing the nasi lemak untuk dimakan waktu breakfast in Lumut. We had breakfast at Kak Encik’s before it was decided that rather than going to the more popular Teluk Batik (sure penuh ngan manusia punya) we booked a chalet for a day use at the Teluk Rubiah Resort.
Lagi bagus…. because it’s a private beach. Kena pulak Kak Encik had already prepared sumptuous lunch to go along at the beach. True enough there were only us berendam dalam laut that tengahari buta.
It was fun, fun and fun all the way. It was only at 6.45pm that we pushed off from Lumut back to KL. Lupa daratan…. Besok sudah kerja. Damn. And to make matter worse, the PLUS highway was jammed up especially from Slim River to Ulu Bernam stretch. Urgh. The journey that normally takes 2 hours stretched to six hours.

My anak dara posing tepi laut. Er anak aku ker begini?

Ha ha, ini laut kami yang punya!

And we played beach football too!

Bersantai di tepi pantai. Panas nya Ya Rabbi!

Yan's dream of riding a big motorbike finally came true that day. Here's Ana helping her Mak Yan naik motor. Ada clearer picture of her but I definitely cannot post it here, can I?
After a whale of a time at the beach, Hasri invited us all to his Atok's place - 10 minutes away. Oooh, impressive, typical rumah kampung. Kami sumer naik ke anjung rumah. Ramai rupanya kami... penuh satu ruang, habih berbalang kuih raya and berjag air limau.

That lady in blue tudung was my Form Two BM teacher. A charming lady really and I married her daughter (yang tudung hitam tu)

Anak-anak muda kami psoing depan rumah atok Hasri dengan rambutan muda - Alia, Fudhail, Nurul, Aisyah and Shida.

5 Syawal
Back to work dengan rasa lemah sekali. Hmm. And by lunch time, got a call that my aunts from Ipoh and an uncle from Penang are coming to our place at USJ17 to beraya. Oooh, rushed back early from work and together with Yan pergi shopping for something sebab at home there’s nothing. We decided to just prepare Mee Kari and for dessert, Fruit Cocktail.
It was only after 6.30pm Yan started to cook. Yang lain2, kemas rumah. Right after Maghrib, another phone call came in – this time from Abg Din, cousin Yan. Told us that they are coming too, enam buah kereta. And panic sets in. Kelam kabut. Open house pulak la jadinya. But in the end, semuanya selamat alhamdulillah. That night alone, almost 60 people came over beraya. Macam tak percaya…. Itu lah rezeki.

Arissa and her "cute little brother" Adi yang datang dengan tok and mak tok. Abah and Mama tinggal di Ipoh sebab kerja.

Tiga anak dara Mior dengan sorang anak teruna Meor

Wan checking out the spread. Anom sudah kenyang tak lalu nak tengok dah.

Yone and Wancik

Chu and Pak Su

One of the guest that night was Zul, who was my brother's classmate masa sekolah dulu. But he could not remember my brother even after I showed him the photo.
Keluarga Pak Hasan and Mak Nor enjoying the mee kari

Mee kari express, the menu for the night
And that was my Raya. How's yours?


Eid Mubarak!

Ampun Dan Maaf DiPinta
Dari Kami Yang Beratur di Tangga
Kami Dah Siap Nak Balik Raya
Insya Allah! Lepas Raya Baru Berjumpa

Hari Raya Tak Ada Karipap
Tapi Kat Rumah Mak Ada Putu Jawa
Kalau Ada Salah Dan Silap
Harap-harap Lupakanlah Saja

Kita Raya Lebih Sebulan
Agar Silatulrahim Terus Bersemi
Kalau Ada Masa Kelapangan
Jemput Semua Ke Rumah Kami

(Maafkan pantun tu, buat tergesa2, maklumlah bukan pakar)


Menjelang Raya

I don't ever remember myself feeling this exhausted towards the end of Ramadan. Must be the age. And it could probably be the weight, too.

It doesn't help that I was down with food poisoning these past few days. A really bad case of food poisoning and I simply could not bring myself to even read the blogs. Yeah it's really bad - try fasting while you are having diarrhea. Damn that air tebu kat Pasar Ramadan USJ4. I'm so not going to drink sugar cane juice ever again!

And of course, taking care of Mak who's recovering from her surgery (no complain here) can be stressful at times. But at the same time fulfilling as she's getting better each day. Alhamdulillah!

And let's not talk about the workload at the office. Bagi lah chan kami nak enjoy Raya?

And the girls are having their final year exams right up until the last day of school (why ler cikgu buat bulan puasa... lepas Raya kan banyak masa lagi?). Ooh, penat!!!

No wonder, I don't feel like Raya's coming. How's your Raya preparation coming along, my friends?


Buka Puasa Office

Sejak dua menjak jadi laki ngan bapak orang nih, I almost always turn down any invitation to buka puasa at hotels. Bukan apa, kesianler pulak kat anak bini... kita mentekedarah sorang2 jer. And on top of that, I've come to the stage that I strongly believe that buka2 puasa kat hotel ni is simply pembaziran maha mega.
Tapi kalau office punya buka puasa, nak tak nak kena ler jugak menunjukkan muka. Lagipun free. And last night, the office organised another buka puasa do for its staff and family. So the girls and I went over to Palm Garden Hotel in Putrajaya. Yan did not join us sebab my mother and her mother ada kat rumah. And I felt guilty like hell.

Bapak and anak2. Sudah makan. Mau pegi solat.
The Virtual Malaysia team