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...

Support The Egyptian People. Help the Flood Victims

Sometimes we see things in the media and wonder how we can really help. As milllions protest in the streets, the Egyptian government shut down the interenet and throttled the phone and sms networks.Reports are in that the internet is back and the mood is electric, but still no democracy! With all of our help, Egyptians and others in the region will be able to jump their government's firewalls and anonymously access these online and mobile communications platforms. There are several ways that you can helpthem to do this:

1. If you have some tech skills, donate your unused bandwidth and IP address with the Tor anti-censorship tool, (If you're in Egypt download Tor here: www.torproject.org)

2. Now that the internet is back, Access is configuring servers that will help people reach any blocked sites like Twitter, Facebook, Al Jazeera and Gmail (we are currrently testing as to what is still blocked). Donate to help keep the protest movement alive and 100% of your donation will go to supporting those behind the firewall.

3. Support Egyptians, Tunisians, and others behind the firewall by joining Access' Global Movement for Digital Freedom. We need to work together to keep the internet open beyond this current crisis.

For more details go to www.accessnow.org.

Closer to home, our doa also go out to those hit by the floods in Johor, NS and Melaka. Those who want to help... there's DIGI Flood Relief Drive. You can donate mats, blankets, and food stuff. Send in your donations to DG centres in SS2 PJ, Solaris, Mont Kiara, and Bukit Tinggi, Klang, 2-6 Feb, 10am-3pm.

Reminder to self and the family: In times like this, be grateful to Allah SWT for its blessings. Alhamdulillah


Kes berangan tak sudah

It was a cold rainy Sunday. What better way to spend a weekend than at home with the family. We slept late, of course... and then the girls decided to have an afternoon English Tea. So out came the teapot, the cup and saucer, the sugar and the milk Saved for the macaroons, the rest were home-made. We certainly had a glorious tete-a-tete session complete with our put-on British accent (or so we thought). And then we watched The King's Speech again. You can't get more English than that, can you?

That, my dear readers, was how our berangan tak sudah day went by. Delightful!