2011 Birthdays Fare

We try to celebrate our birthdays every time it rolls by. When the girls were smaller, we held parties. Then as they grew up, we moved on to special eat out sessions (usually birthday dinners of choice). This year, we decided to spice it up by having exclusive birthday meals at home. What it meant was that we took turn to cook special meal for the birthday boy or girls...

In April, the wifey turned .. errr.. 40 something and well we had nasi minyak spread. Unfortunately, the nasi minyak was prepared by the birthday girl herself - have to as we had many people, mother in law, wife's sisters, nieces and nephews in attendance - we can't possibly served my cooking to all these people, can we?

Last week I turned 47 and the girls surprised me an awesome authentic Thai fare

Then in November, we surprised Arissa with a Japanese-inspired feast - complete with the sushi, miso soup and the works during her 15 year old dinner

And a day before Ramadan, our two August girls Alia and Asma were given a full blown French lunch treats when they turned 17- and 16-years old respectively.


Love My Breakfast!!

Today I decided to eat a big huge breakfast. No reason.


My Breakfast When Selangor is On Holiday!

Like many Selangor residents, I work in KL. So when Selangor is having their state public holiday, like today, we still have to go to work. So not fair! But at least, today the wifey made this Chicken Spinach Crepe for breakfast. One word, awesome!


Kids I Adore!!

Last week, I flew up north and met up with these adorable nephews and a niece. Many years ago, the parents   (my cousins) of these wonderful kids spent lots of time at our place and at the same time helped us look after the three daughters. Now, its their turn to enjoy the ride!!

From left: Adi (Ayah Ngah's current best friend), Zikri (a very wary handsome little guy) and Ihsan (a very friendly  curious little fella)

The new additions: Ilman (left) and the one and only beauty Sarah.


The best mirror in the world is an old friend.

According to a certain John Leonard, it takes a long time to grow an old friend. And I say, it sure takes a long time to grow bigger and bald too - 30 years to be exact.


A Day Out With Arissa

Last Saturday, bapak and mak accompanied Arissa to a certain anime and manga exhibition in Sungei Wang Plaza , KL. Being an anime and manga fan yang tegar, Arissa was suitably excited. Unlike the two parents who till today are still clueless about all these anime and manga business. What's the difference between the two, anyway?

The exhibition was organised by Gempak Starz (most probably the most well known manga publisher in Malaysia). Funny thing is that the wifey keeps on referring organiser as Gangstarz!!!!
It was an okay event, I guess, complete with a Cosplay competition and all - although I can only identify Spiderman (very skinny one though), Mario of Super Mario fame and the awkward looking Hellboy.

Now, Arissa is really excited and can't wait for a bigger Comic Fiesta to roll by on Dec 17th weekend. Uhuhhh!!!

The two parents

My Two Cats!!

A picture can be deceiving you know.... just saying!!!


Father-Daughter Day Out

The older my daughters get, the more it's sinking in that I don't have much time left to spend with them! My youngest turns 15 today. And the two older ones will, in a year or two, be going to college.

Many said that it's hard to find things to do with your teenage daughter. You might be busy, they might have better things to do. But I am blessed because I don’t really have problems in that area.

The thing is I make it a point to keep up with their interest like movies and music and…. books. Yes, we read a lot and books, in some way, do help making our relationships closer.

Once in a while, the wifey and I will make it a point to go out with one daughter. It's not that we plan it but mostly the day out would be an impromptu act. It can just be a trip to the stationery store or to a mamak stall but I find that these are great bonding moments.

Like the other day, the second daughter and I went to Suria KLCC with a mission to buy some Japanese foodstuff at Isetan. You see, we wanted to surprise Arissa with a Japanese-themed birthday dinner at home. The trip was unplanned, really.

It was after I sent my eldest daughter off to her study group that I concluded that since it’s a Deepavali holiday, I might as well do something worthwhile rather than taking a long nap. So off we went to Suria KLCC. Wifey willingly stayed back with Arissa as we do not want to spoil the surprise.

We have, of course, been to Suria KLCC countless times, but it was still fun because this time around we stumbled upon the Petronas Gallery.

Then we had lunch (Japanese, of course) at the Food Court and then we went to our favorite place in the whole wide Malaysia – Kinokuniya. We spent hours browsing in Kino and then had some coffee and got excited over Kathy Reich’s latest book.

A trip to Isetan supermarket later capped our father-daughter day out. I tell you that shopping at Isetan is an experience because we were attended to by a very nice Japanese manager who not only helped us to find the right halal Japanese food stuff but also he gave us, with the help of one Isetan’s chef, a free lesson on how to make an amazing miso soup. Isn’t that just cool?

Anyway, we have had the birthday dinner last week (a runaway success, I must say). We had it a week earlier because we figured that we would be busy with Raya Haji this week.

Anyway, Happy Birthday Arissa Sweetheart! May Allah Blessed You Always!!!


The Reunion ... 30 years later

Facebook has certainly reconnect millions. And ever so often, you’ll see pictures of reunions being held all over. Thanks to Facebook, friends got reunited after leaving school decades ago. I saw one 50th reunion once and I went “wow, that’s exciting!”. And, then, I also stumbled upon this one particular reunion by 18 year-olds that was held after only three months of leaving school and I went, “what’s with that, at least wait la for SPM result first.”


I recently had the good pleasure of attending my 30-year secondary school reunion. And thanks to FB, many old friends became contactable again.

And I had one of the best days of my life. Really, I did. If you have a reunion coming up, Go! Without hesitation. Don’t believe all those crappy TV shows that depict school reunion as hellish experience. Unless, of course, you did have a mega lousy time in school.

I, fortunately, did not (have a lousy time) although I was perpetually in awed with smart and the sporty students while in school. I was neither – smart and athletics, I mean. I was one of the many that flew under the radar, so to speak.

Was I happy anxious to go? Err yeah… especially knowing fully well that I’ll be the fattest person in the party…. But I’m older and I don’t really care anymore. And these are my friends who knew me when I was way younger.

I guess when you reached the 47th years of your life, classmates were less inclined to compete and compare. The 30 years of living provided the roller coaster of life’s ups and downs that tend to mature people. Who has the biggest house or the fastest car just doesn’t matter so much any more. It was a time of talking about family and other harmless stuff.

More importantly, it was time to relive those teenage years. The din at the Grand Kampar Hotel hall on Oct 1st, 2011 could certainly gave one a headache as everybody seemed to be talking, laughing and singing (yes, we sang) at the same time. I tell you that it was fun all the way as BM, English and Cantonese were spoken at the same time.

Of course, there’re a few who look as they do not age at all (yes, very unfair) but I must say that mostly all look matured and wise.

It’s just too bad that I have to leave early as we had (Adzman and I) to send Zul back to LCCT as he had to catch his flight back to Langkawi. But there will be next time. InsyaAllah., I’m sure of that!


Beraya Online

Tahun ni memang pecah rekod.... kami satu keluarga memang ngam-ngam berhari raya satu hari sahaja... on the first day. Masuk second day, balik asal dah. Begitulah kot kalau tak balik kampung. Sehinggalah membawak dekat dua minggu berhari raya, masih tak le mana-mana beraya... kena pulak memang tak ada open house.

Jadinya, beraya tahun ni memang banyak di online la... dan tonton TV (btw, can TV3 stop air the stupid Melodi immediately... sheesssh!). Bila online, seperti biasa dok usha wall orang lain kat FB dan blogwalking... seronok jugak tengok orang lain beraya.... tengok satu family pakai baju kaler sama setiap raya (what's with that???) and yang paling best dok tengok lauk pauk raya orang lain...

Tapi biasalah dah online ...tak boleh tidak mesti terbaca kes-kes boring yang menaikkan darah dan memedihkan ulu hati....

Antara Kes Pedih Ulu Hati Musim Raya (Online)

1. Tetiba orang Melayu ucap Eid bagai... instead of the usual Selamat Hari Raya AidilFitri... (amboi moden dah kita ya)
2. Wish raya sesama member dan kaum kerabat pon dah tulis in English... kalau grammar tu betoi cantik satu hal la plak (ish ish ish)
3. Amik gambor Raya kunun tapi ... errr.. kenapa semua gambor close up jer (oh nak tunjuk make up Raya , ekk?)...
4. Baju raya yang pompuan seketat-ketatnya (alahai adik-adik....tak sesak nafas ka?) dan baju raya yang lelaki pulak jenis see through sampai nampak singlet hitam (like... eeeewwww!)

Yang Menaikkan Darah pulak....

1. Petknode punya kes
2. Politicians (especially penyokong tegar tak hengat mereka) yang dari bulan Ramadan membawak masuk malam raya dan seterusnya asyik salah menyalah each other dalam wall memasing . Depa ni tak tau ka konsep take a break and tarik nafas and maaf memaaf and enjoy live tenang-tenang? (Penat la woiiii!)


Raya 2011

This Year's Raya is very the simple. And low key. We practically Raya on the first day of Syawal. Only. But it's fun nevertheless.

The five of us after the Solat Raya at home.
Then we made our wy to my brother's place in Shah Alam to beraya with Mak and my  brothers and their families.

And then we rushed back to receive Yan's brothers and their families.... fun, fun, fun!

Clearly sederhana tetapi meriah proportion punya raya.


David Archuleta Live In KL!!

I don’t think I am qualified to be a DiGi Angel but I’m trying my luck here.

Okay, I want to watch David Archuleta performs live next Tuesday in Stadium Negara.

Here’s the thing… my eldest daughter Alia (she’s currently walking around believing that she’s Mr Archuleta’s future wife….and I went: huh???????) will be going with her best friend, Iman and somehow I got “manipulated” into becoming their chauffeur for the evening. And yes, I am merely a driver for the day as I don't have a ticket to get in and watch.

And I still blame myself for agreeing as just what am I supposed to do while waiting for them to enjoy the night away – I can see, feel and smell the traffics in and around the area already. Oh drag!

So, I think it will be awesome if I can get in to watch David Archuleta too with the wife (well, she’s a huge fan of Archuleta too and thinks that boy is a good “menantu” material as well and I was like ???????).

Nevertheless, I’m sure with David Archuleta crooning, it’ll be an amazing date night for two middle aged parents like us. After all, he’s a way better singer than JB. Hoyeah.

Archuleta if he decides to become my son-in-law.

“Brought to you by DiGiMusic Pluz, the first DRM free MP3 music download service in Malaysia”.


Yang best dan yang klasik

Dua minggu lalu ketika lawatan bulanan kami ke MPH, kami bawa pulang Pecah karya Khairulnizam Bakeri dan karya klasik To Kill a Mockingbird oleh Harper Lee. Macam bagus sahaja padahal di rumah sana masih bersusun buku yang belum dibaca. Tapi sudah memang dasar semulajadi… beli jangan tak beli.


Lagipun Asma sudah lama kepingin mahu membaca How To Kill A Mockingbird setelah lewat setahun lalu dia dapat membaca To Catch a Rye oleh J.D Salinger  (yang tak ada apa-apa cerita pun tapi entah kenapa tetap menarik, katanya ketawa).

Oh satu perkara, malangnya MPH Subang Parade tiada kedapatan Kerana Terpaksa oleh Ilham Kalsom aka Elviza Michelle (rakan blogger saya yang sekarang belum ada kesempatan berjumpa). Dengar khabar, cerita yang itu amat menarik….. mesti cari.

Tetapi sekarang saya sedang membaca The Throne of Fire (beli last week di Popular Sunway), buku kedua dalam siri Kane Chronicles hasil penulis kegemaran saya masa kini Rick Riordan. Ketika ke situ, juga masih tak ketemu Kerana Terpaksa… wah payah sungguh mahu membeli.

Apapun, entri kali ini saya mahu bercerita pendek mengenai Pecah (nak reviu panjang-panjang pun sudah ramai yang berbuat demikian). Saya baru tamat khatam buku itu dan saya amat menyukainya. Seperti biasa Asma sudah membacanya terlebih dahulu dan dua perkataan yang keluar dari mulutnya ialah: “Best Giler!”

Kini saya sudah pun membacanya (walaupun terhegeh-hegeh cuba membaca pantas sebelum rasa ngantuk menguasai diri) dan saya amat bersetuju --- Pecah Memang Best Giler.

Garapannya amat bijak dan saya kini berangan mahu jadi sebijak Khairulnizam Bakeri dan menulis novel sebaik itu. Bilalah agaknya tu?

Sebelum itu saya mahu baca lain-lain novel terbitan Fixi jugak yang rata-rata menerima ulasan baik. Hmm, tunggu gaji hujung bulanlah.


Mainstream ke Mior?

Ceh! Rupa paras pon tak mainstream !

As we race towards the second half of 2100, it just dawned on me how mainstream I'm not.

Okay, I admit that I am a rather prolific FB user (you can’t get more mainstream than that, can you?) but I am such a klutz in so many other popular areas.

Like, I don’t do BPL so I could not hold any decent conversation whenever the mere mention of Manchester United or Chelsea or Arsenal pops up. Attended a dinner once and suddenly everybody at the table started spewing English football data and facts, left and right. And, of course, I just sat there like a total miserable loser.

I used to like watching endless reality shows on TV but not anymore … not even my favoured The Amazing Race and Top Chef. And I stopped watching American Idol two seasons ago.

The thing is that I now find it funny that Malaysians are generally crazy about football in England and a singing contest in America. This is 1Malaysia, right?

Speaking of 1Malaysia, or Malaysia as many of us know it, I also steer away from sharing my opinion on the many political related issues. Although I do have a strong opinion about certain stuff, I’ve decided that I’ll keep it to myself. It’s just that I’m too old with a heart not nearly strong enough to be arguing about those issues. Lagipun, I do have hypertension and it certainly doesn’t do me any good to have me agitated about why certain leader is doing what to another leader. After all, harga gula tetap naik jugak kan?

Oh, don’t get me wrong, I don’t have anything against English football and US reality show – I used to like it too at one time. But I grew old.. so I guess my interest .. err.. sort of evolved.
Today, I still read fiction a lot but have expanded (kunun2nya) my reading to authors like Jiro Akagawa, Ilham Kalsom and Khairulnizam Bakeri, among others. Real brilliant stuff, there.

And as for TV programmes, my current favourite shows include Criminal Minds, Law and Order SVU, White Collar, NCIS and Hawaii Five-O. Rather nostalgic, actually as I grew up with detective series like the older Hawaii Five-O, Mannix and Policewoman. But no, I don’t do Glee much.

I love Tanyalah Ustaz over TV9 too and find TV9’s weekend morning talk shows Nasi Lemak Kopi O quite interesting.

That’s pretty much it. And I’m enjoying it.

(Nampak sangat entry kali ini tiada arah tuju.. oh! Well)


A Note to my Princesses!

Dearest Alia, Asma and Arissa

I am writing this to you because some words are better said early.  I am your father, and if I don't tell you these, no one else will. Remember the following as you go through life.............

1. Do not bear grudge towards those who are not good to you. No one has the responsibility of treating you well, except your mother and I. To those who are good to you, you have to treasure it and be thankful, and ALSO you have to be cautious, because, everyone has a motive for every move. When a person is good to you, it does not mean he really likes you. You have to be careful, don't hastily regard him as a real friend.  

2. No one is indispensable and nothing in the world is important enough that you must possess.  Once you understand this idea, it would be easier for you to go through life when people around you don't want you anymore, or when you lose what/who you love most.

3. Life is short. When you waste your life today, tomorrow you would find that life is leaving you. The earlier you treasure your life, the better you enjoy life.

4.  Love is but a transient feeling, and this feeling would fade with time and with one's mood. If your so called loved one leaves you, be patient, time will wash away your aches and sadness. Don't over exaggerate the beauty and sweetness of love, and don't over exaggerate the sadness of falling out of love.  

5. A lot of successful people did not receive a good education, that does not mean that you can be successful by not studying hard! Whatever knowledge you gain is your weapon in life. One can go from rags to riches, but one has to start from some rags!  

6. Check your temper always. Better still, leave you anger (which most probably are unwarranted anyway) at home. Nobody likes foul-tempered person. You don't like those person and don't ever be one. If you meet someone who is one, be the classy one - be gracious and stay calm!

7. You honour your words, but don't expect others to do so. You can be good to people, but don't expect people to be good to you. If you don't understand this, you would end up with unnecessary troubles.

8.  If you want to be successful, you have to work hard and smart and pray a lot! There is no free lunch!  

9. No matter how much time I have with you, let's treasure the time we have together. 


p.s: Now girls, go find yourselves kind hearted, Allah fearing princes to be your soul mate. Start looking!!!

(As much as I wanted to claim that I wrote this letter myself but the truth is that this is actually an edited version of a letter from a renown Hong Kong TV broadcaster cum Child Psychologist to his son. It came into my inbox and of course I've edited and added some points .. you know to correspond with my relationships with my daughters... but the words are actually applicable to all of us, young or old, children or parents.!)


English - Confusing Language

The following came into my inbox a couple of days ago... courtesy of my cousin Kak Mah.... enjoy!(especially to those who have mastered this rather "unruly" language)


We'll begin with a box, and the plural is boxes,
But the plural of ox becomes oxen, not oxes.
One fowl is a goose, but two are called geese,
Yet the plural of moose should never be meese.
You may find a lone mouse or a nest full of mice,
Yet the plural of house is houses, not hice.

If the plural of man is always called men,
Why shouldn't the plural of pan be called pen?
If I speak of my foot and show you my feet,
And I give you a boot, would a pair be called beet?
If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth,
Why shouldn't the plural of booth be called beeth?

Then one may be that, and three would be those,
Yet hat in the plural would never be hose,
And the plural of cat is cats, not cose.
We speak of a brother and also of brethren,
But though we say mother, we never say methren.
Then the masculine pronouns are he, his and him,
But imagine the feminine: she, shis and shim!

Let's face it - English is a crazy language.
There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger;
Neither apple nor pine in pineapple.
English muffins weren't invented in England .
We take English for granted, but if we explore its paradoxes,
We find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square,
And a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing,
Grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham?
Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend.
If you have a bunch of odds and ends and
Get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?

If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught?
If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?
Sometimes I think all the folks who grew up speaking English
Should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane.

In what other language do people recite at a play and play at a recital?
We ship by truck but send cargo by ship.
We have noses that run and feet that smell.
We park in a driveway and drive in a parkway.
And how can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same,
While a wise man and a wise guy are opposites?

have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language
In which your house can burn up as it burns down,
In which you fill in a form by filling it out,  and
In which an alarm goes off by going on.

And in closing, if Father is Pop, how come Mother's not Mop?  

I must admit that after more than 20 years of writing, mostly in English, I've yet to master the language. More often than not I still find myself  at loss and still got it all wrong, gramatically that is.
But that's English language for you and that's why I have my utmost respect to those who are able to pen and write beautiful words and sentences in English --- you know people like JK Rowlings and Rick Riordan and Meg Cabot (yes I read Princess Diaries series, sue me!).
Then there're bloggers who write not only in good perfect English but at the same time also funny and intelligently too. I aspire to become one.
However, I cannot stomach atrocious English (and BM too, for that matter) and you can find these kind of writings mostly in blogs. Although I applaud their effort to write in English, I simply can't tolerate repetitive errors which are mostly pretty basic (certain blogs spring to my mind as I write this .....teeeheeee) and even more unbearable is the fact that they think (the bloggers, I mean) they are so good already - its all over in their entries (them being so cool and all). I tell you if you want to raise your blood pressure fast, just read a couple of their entries .... its that bad.

And, tell me, why am I rambling on about this????????


Kita Makan Lagi!!!

Dinner Malam Ini
1. Its been a while .... but life has been good. Alhamdulillah.

2. It has been rather hectic these past two weekends ...

3. Two weeks ago we found ourselves making a trip back kampung for my aunt's (mom's cousin) funeral. We also visited my cousin who lost his son, daughter in law and grandson in a car crash. Al-Fatihah.

4. And in between, we got to spend some time at my grandmother's place in Pengkalan where the uncles and aunties and my brother's family also converged (after the funeral). Food, as usual, was the main topic of conversation and that petang we pekena kuah durian. That's nice. Really really nice.

5. The night before, my cousin Meor came visiting with wife Rina and son Adi. They stayed for dinner consisting of Tomato Soup (prepared by Asma), Spaghetti Olio Aglio, Shepherd Pie and Banana Caramel Ice Cream. Read Here

6. Last weekend, the Kuala Dipang family came down with my deligfhtful mak mertua. And we had makan-makan on Sunday with almost the entire Cheras clan and one couple from the Sungai Buloh gang.

  • Occasion: Birthday Perempuan Comel No1
  • Menu? Awesome nasi minyak and the lauk-pauk. 
  • The Chef? errrr..... the birthday girl herself... (sorry but we need delicious food). 

Another round of fun sudah semestinya. See The Photos 

7. And this weekend has been pretty quiet.. so far. But of course, we decided to do makan-makan jugak.
So the menu tonight are Focacia Bread (resipi Chef Wan kata Perempuan Comel No 1), our signature (cheh!) Spaghetti Bologanise (resipi Noq) and for dessert... Agar-Agar Banana (resipi Mak Su, my aunt!!)

Jemput Makan! :-)


Harapan Arissa (for Japan)

Yesterday, Arissa woke up early because she wanted to go to a  Pray for Japan Charity Sale (to raise funds for the Japanese tsunami victims) at the One Academy in Sunway. Titled Harapan or Hope, the event is more like a manga-influenced artbook and exhibition project.  And apparently Arissa has, through a Facebook, submitted her own artwork to support the event.

Once we arrived at the venue, we were greeted by this Wall of Hope. The organiser has printed out artworks sent in by those who are good at this sort of things and posted it up un the wall.... and visitors can bring home these artworks by simply donating RM5 for a piece. And voila..... Arissa's work also made the cut... 
The ecstatic Arissa pointing up to her first ever published work (the organiser also compiled these works in a book too) and it's  all for a noble cause. 
The sisters came along to share Arissa's accomplishment.. hehehe
And of course Bapak and Mak are mighty proud of Arissa!!!!

Minta Pada Allah! Reminder to Self.


March 2011 In A Flash

1. I'm officially very very old. I was down with fever ( complete with incessant coughing and running nose) and it took me like forever to recover. It has been almost three weekends and I'm still feeling lethargic somewhat. Definitely the old age.
2. And when I'm sick I become extra lazy (and I neglect this space, obviously). Not good.
3. But in between all these drowsiness and sickness, I still made the time to attend my cousin's kenduri aqiqah for her latest grandson in early March (or was it in Feb?) and a wedding of another cousin's son in Ampang. Nice. Especially the nasi mendi.
4. And we also found time to watch I Am No. Four. We enjoyed it! 
5. And last weekend, we also made our way to my BIL's place in Sg Buloh and am happy to note that our nephew Shibli is now up and walking. Almost back to his old self. Alhamdulillah!
6. On the same day, the two daughters, Alia and Asma attended a Yayasan Salam's beginners' workshop where they took part in some community work by cleaning up a river somewhere in Gombak. That's way cool! 

The girls (extreme left) and others during some briefing session



The river that they cleaned up... doesn't look like a river, though!

7. Apart from all these happenings (how exciting right?), there's really nothing much going on in this household. And yes, I still hate maths.
8. And oh no, Perempuan Comel No 1 (those who follow my Facebook would know that's the wife) is now down with a fever. Hope she gets well soon!


Amazing Japanese

I have never been a fan of anything Japanese, although my three daughters, for some reasons, love the country and its culture, pop and otherwise! But still the calamity suffered by Japan stunned us all. Understandably, they (the girls, I mean) are more affected by the destruction brought about by the recent earthquake and tsunami. Who wouldn’t, right?

And they have tweeted, blogged and followed the development in Japan rather religiously. In fact, for the past three days or so, like in other household the world over, we have been glued to the TV as we watched the devastation in horror. Our prayers go out to all those affected.

On that note, the Japanese people have apparently been very open on Twitter about their experiences following the quake.  The following tweets (which I found on Facebook and have been duly translated) of what moved them and touched them during these very trying times are incredibly heart-warming. Read on... (and while we are at it, we Malaysians seriously should learn a thing or two from these stories)

#tweetone: At a supermarket where everything was scattered everywhere over the floors, shoppers helped picking them up and putting them back neatly on the shelves before quietly moving into the line to wait to pay for them. 

#tweetone: On the totally jam-packed first train after the quake, an elderly man gave up his seat for a pregnant woman. 

#tweetone: It was freezing and bus was taking ages to arrive.  One person left the queue to run to a nearby pharmacy.  He bought heating pads and gave one to everyone in the queue!  

#tweetone: It was cold and I was getting very weary waiting forever for the train to come.  Some homeless people saw me, gave me some of their own cardboard boxes and saying “you’ll be warmer if you sit on these!”  I have always walked by homeless people pretending I didn’t see them, and yet here they were offering me warmth. 

#tweetone: I see people standing in line, not pushing or shoving to get onto the Yamanote Line (probably the busiest line in central Tokyo), even at a time like this!     

#tweetone: There was a small bread shop on the street I take to go to school.  It has long been out of business.  But last night, I saw the old lady of the shop giving people her handmade bread for free.  It was a heart-warming sight.   

#tweetone: I just came back safely from the supermarket!  Man, I was so touched at how everyone there was mindful of others, buying only as much as they needed and leaving the rest for the people behind them. 

#tweetone: Japan is really something!  Yesterday, not a single traffic light was functioning in Gotenba City.  But drivers knew to take turns at intersections and give way to others when needed.  Local people were using flags to direct traffic at intersections.  I drove for 9 hours but never saw a single car trying to get in front of another.  Every single driver on the road contributed to the traffic situation and as a result there was no confusion at all

#tweetone: I spoke with an old taxi driver and some elderly staff at the train stations.  All of them had been working non-stop and had not been able to go home for a long time.  They were visibly very tired, but never once did they show any sign of impatience; they were gentle and very caring.  They told me “… because all of us are in this together.” 

#tweetone: I was impressed and touched by the actions of my neighbor’s 13-year-old-boy.  He was home alone when the earthquake hit.  But instead of hiding, as soon as the earthquake quieted down, he jumped on his bicycle and rode around the block repeatedly shouting at the top of his voice, “Is everyone alright?  Is everyone okay?”  At the time, there were only women and children and the elderly in the homes.  I cannot describe how comforting it was just to hear a strong voice asking if I was okay.  Thank you!  

#tweetone: I went out last night to help some friends who were volunteering as security personnel between Machida City and Sagami Ohno City.  I saw total strangers, both young and old, helping each other along everywhere I turned and was heartened with an overwhelming feeling of encouragement.  I was so touched I hid behind the toilets and cried. 

#tweetone: I’ve been walking for many hours now.  I’m touched at how everywhere I turn, there are shops open with people shouting “Please use our bathroom!” or “Please rest here!” There are also office buildings where people with access to information were voluntarily shouting out helpful tips, like “**** line is now operational

#tweetone: My husband finally got home very late last night after walking for 4 hours.  He told me he felt like giving up at around Akabane, when an elderly man who was going around handing out free coffee saw him, gave him a steaming cup and said, “You must be tired and cold.  Here, have some coffee!”  My husband told me that it was because of this elderly man that he found the will and strength to continue walking. 

#tweetone: At Osaka I saw a LONG line of people waiting to give blood at the blood donation center.  This is the first time I have seen such a queue of selfless people waiting patiently in line just to give.  It was a moving sight! 

#tweetone: A goth youth with white hair and body piercings walked into my store and shoved several hundred dollars (several tens of thousands of yen) into the disaster relief fund donation box.  As he walked out, we heard him saying to his buddies, “I mean, we can buy those games anytime!”  At that, we all opened our wallets and put our money into the donation box.  Really, you cannot judge people by their appearances.

#tweetone: I too saw the guy handing out free rice balls and miso soup on the way back from Akihabara.  I was on my bicycle so I told him, “I’m okay, please give it to other people!”  On hindsight, I should have taken one … they looked absolutely delicious!!
Bumi Sudah Tua!


I don't really remember how we had gotten hold of Archie Comics in rural Temoh when we were young (perhaps it was through my aunties and uncles' collection at my grandfather's place in Pengkalan - yes that must be it!). Because of that, I kind of grew up reading those delightful American teenage comics. Archie Andrews and gang Sabrina oops Veronica, Betty, Jughead became my constant 'friends' then. They still are. 

Apparently, since 2007, Archie Comics started to make four-part "new look" series, which really look ... urm..."new". And yesterday, while poking around Book Xcess in Amcorp Mall with Alia and Asma, we stumbled upon the this Archie's Goodbye Forever series. I bought it immediately, of course!



For the love of train rides....

I am no train enthusiast nor I’m a train hobbyist (apparently there are those kinds of people out there) but I do have some sort of affection towards… err… trains.
I guess this fascination with trains can be attributed to the fact that I grew up in a house that’s located next to a railway track. Yes, my home (or rather my parent’s) in Temoh is just about 50-60 metres from the railway track.
I remember guests who stayed overnight at our place, more often than not, would have their sleep interrupted quite constantly when night trains rumbled on nearby. And I must say, the thundering sound of the trains can be rather overwhelming especially in the dead silence of the night. As for us, well, we have embraced the trains whole heartedly that it does not affect us one bit.
My mother told us that once, small town Temoh was thriving once because it has a railway station and she herself travelled daily on the train to Teluk Anson (now Intan) to attend her secondary school (Teluk Intan’s Convent School). That was in the 50s.
And as a child, one of my greatest desires then was to take a ride on those trains. I remember wanting so much to get on a train especially when several relatives from KL would do so and arrived to tell stories about their train ride. (And usually, if we knew someone would be coming over, we would wait by the track just to wave to them – we did this quite often).
I believe my first train ride finally happened when I was in Standard Two and it was a trip to the grand city of KL. If I’m not mistaken, the reason for going to KL then was to send off my uncle Ayah Chu, who’s about to further his study in the UK. Fortunately, my late father decided that maybe my brother and I could go on to KL (my two younger brothers, mother and him who would followed soon by car later) first by train. We were, understandably, overjoyed. So with my young and single aunt Wan Chu acting as chaperone, we boarded the train in Ipoh and began our long ride to KL. It was a Mel Malam (Night Mail) and we left Ipoh around 10pm. And we arrived in KL early the next morning. Punya la jauh……
Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to ride on the trains a few more times. Some became quite memorable rides – like the ones in 1982 when we were in KL and my father phoned asking us (I was spending my school holidays at my aunt's place then) to get on the earliest train out of KL as his best friend (my future father in law) had passed on – it was sombre ride indeed; or the first train ride back kampong with two of my college mates (I’m sorry but their names escape me) in 1984 for my very first term break – the train was so crowded that I have to stand all the way back to Kampar!!!
Today, I still occasionally take a ride on the train via KTM Komuter especially on days when I have meetings in and around KL Sentral. I find it is much easier (no need to stress out braving the jam and looking for parking) and cheaper. But of course, on the downside, I don’t fancy riding in one during peak hours when all the cars are packed to the brim.
Anyway yesterday, the wife and I did a train ride again when we balik kampong for a day. And what a nostalgic and emotional day it was!

We started our journey very early. Left home at 4.30am and drove to KL Sentral. It was good driving in KL when the roads are deserted. Anyway, by 5.30am, we are securely seated in the train. At 5.30am on the dot, the KL-Ipoh shuttle service started its journey.
It was an uneventful journey as we were mostly asleep throughout the journey. But unlike many years ago, we arrived in Kampar before 8am. Whoa.... that's fast, considering the last time I took a train ride from KL to Kampar, it took me at least 4 to 5 hours. There's our train leaving the station for Ipoh after depositing us two and one other youngster in Kampar.

I so wanted to take a picture of my home in Temoh during the trip. On the way over, I was already aiming my camera soon after we left Tapah Road station. A few minutes later, Yan informed that we just passed by the house. Of course, I don't believe her because I didn't see the usual landmarks and all and I think I should know how the house look like, kan? But before I knew it, we are already arriving in Kampar. What???!!! Where did the house go???? So on the way back, I was more determined to capture the house on my camera and was so ever ready even before we boarded the train and I nearly missed it again. That's the house, now hidden behind those rambutan trees. If you look carefully, you could see my parent's bedroom window on the left of the pix.

Aaah, that's us all ready to board the train back to our daughters and home in Subang Jaya. The picture looks nicer because this was taken by our niece Nurul who uses camera mahai. Thanks Nurul. :-)


A Family That Eats Together Stays Together…

I can’t remember where I heard this quote first. But I like it. A lot. It essentially sums up what food means to me. That's why it is important for the wife and I to have meals together with the kids everyday. I believe that enjoying meals together brings the family closer and brings moments of joy. True

And it helps if you are blessed , like me, with a wife who’s an amazingly great cook. Despite the undesired effects it does to my waistline (do I have one anymore????), I wouldn’t trade this life with anything else. For that, I’m forever grateful. Alhamdulillah.

Over the weekend, the wife took the trouble to prepare these dishes… aren’t we lucky???

This is Buttermilk Chicken with fries, rice and salad which we had on Friday.

As for lunch on Sunday, we've come back to Malaysia with this delightful Ayam Percik and Kerabu. Makan sampai tak bernafas.

And then, in between all those stuff she's doing online, she even baked these cupcakes... tatau apa nama (but yang di atas tu ada fresh blueberry which we picked up at Mydin earlier in the morning)

Tadaaa.... (let's do this again next weekend ya)


Rules of Life

This arrived in my inbox recently (thanks Kak Ella). Do read.

Love him or hate him, he sure hits the nail on the head with this! Bill Gates recently gave a speech at a High School about 11 things they did not and will not learn in school. He talks about how feel-good, politically correct teachings created a generation of kids with no concept of reality and how this concept set them up for failure in the real world.

Rule 1: Life is not fair - get used to it!

Rule 2
: The world won't care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

Rule 3
: You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school.. You won't be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both.

Rule 4
: If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.

Rule 5
: Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your Grandparents had a different word for burger flipping: they called it opportunity.

Rule 6
: If you mess up, it's not your parents' fault, so don't whine about your mistakes, learn from them.

Rule 7
: Before you were born, your parents weren't as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent's generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.

Rule 8
: Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT. In some schools, they have abolished failing grades and they'll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer. This doesn't bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.

Rule 9
: Life is not divided into semesters. You don't get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF. Do that on your own time.

Rule 10
: Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.

Rule 11
: Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one.


All Quiet On The USJ Front!

If you’re like many of us who live in a big city like KL, chances are that you have made peace with the the ever notorious traffic jam. Yes, you may still not like it (the traffic jam, I mean) but you’ve learned to accept it as part of your existence here. However, having said that, I still consider getting stuck in massive traffic jams a huge pain in the backside – not so much because they’re long, more so because it messes with my head and provides the unnecessary stress. Thank God for the car stereo!

And for some strange reason, no matter how much I think about it logically, illogically, , or by purely taking a chance – I constantly 90% of the time without fail – manage to pick the lane of traffic that is going slowly than a disabled snail on a wheelchair with arthritis. Especially so if I’m in great rush! The story of my life. Sigh.

Which brings us to long festive holidays. Aha! That’s the time when the traffic eases up considerably but not so much as in 15 years ago. I remembered once many years ago, I came back to work on the second day of a Chinese New Yea and drove to Lucky Garden, Bangsar and there were not a single soul around (trust me, it was like me becoming Will Smith in I Am Legend… heh)

That’s why, I love to spend the long holidays at home. Like the current CNY. And yesterday, as I went to pick up Alia from her friend’s CNY gathering, we went bonkers driving around USJ yang sunyi sepi at 4.30pm. Yeayyyyyy!

This is USJ Taipan. Second Day CNY. Come...bergolek-golek di jalanan.


How to enjoy long leave ... at home!!!!

Spending a long holiday (like this CNY week) at home can be boring for many but not this family... chewah... because we love doing absolutely nothing together. We love to just chill out together (well, if the girls are bored, they are not telling because I forbid them to utter those B word... see I'm such a gila kuasa manusia!!) and talk. And we talk about everything... from the impending Oscars, the floods and the Egypt uprising. We also sleep, eat, watch movies, and read... a lot too. And once in a while we go out for a drive (in this case, enjoying the empty roads as well) and lepak at our new favourite mamak's. There were never dull moments here in this household, I tell you!

And then to make it even better, the wifey cook delicious meal like this one last night: -
A Tomato Penne served with cheese sausage and salad. Aaaah... marvellous.!!

and then after the dinner... we prepared the tidbits, butterscotch ice blended and a tub of cookie and cream ice cream ready for a movie marathon...
Movies watched so far: The King' Speech, The Fighter, Megaminds, Wizard of Oz, The Tourist, Easy A and Catch Me If You Can.
Coming right up: Unstoppable, Harry Potter - The Deathly Hallows Part 1, The Social Network and Little Voice.

And then, there's the NCIS marathon on 710. And The Story of Edgar Sawtelle for me to finish. And most importantly, work from office, due first thing next Monday.

Memang tak sempat nak rasa boring...