Missing my Mak!

Last July, we lost our Mak. It's heart breaking even to post this entry, still. So here's Asma's account on what's transpired (as per her FB note) ...

The last two weeks have been probably the most heart wrenching time I remember having in my life.  You see, my Opah Temoh (grandmother) passed away on July 18th, 2012. What made it more heartbreaking was the fact that this is the first close family funeral my sisters and I attended.

Certainly one expects grandparents to pass away, even when they live a healthy long life. But trust me, nothing prepares you for the time that you must say good-bye.  Opah had been ill for quite sometimes. In fact, she became progressively ill right after she received news that her best friend had passed away in Ipoh. That was about three months or so ago. She was at our place then.

She became quite reclusive after that, refusing to eat and even converse. And one day in late May, she fell down in front of the bathroom. It was lucky that my sister was nearby to grab hold of her. From then on, she became bed-bound. In early June, we sent her to my uncle’s place in Shah Alam as my mother, sisters and I went back to visit Opah Kampar (who then wasn’t feeling too good either).

One and half months at my uncle’s place, Opah Temoh seemed to be coping well. Her appetite kinda returned albeit she only ate porridge twice a day and survived on milk on a regular basis. In fact, Wan Chor said that Opah Temoh appetite seemed to be getting better by the day.

Until two weeks ago when her condition deteriorated. She was clearly and seriously ill. She had problems breathing. And we converged at my uncle’s place - us and my other uncle’s family (Ayah Lang). My Bapak and two uncles even took turn sleeping by her bedside.
That was about a week before Opah Temoh’s passing. She was in really bad condition and we took turn reciting Yassin and whispering shahadah into her ears. She slipped in and out of consciousness. What’s sad was that tears streamed down by her cheek – she must be in great pain and she couldn’t talk anymore. Whenever she’s conscious, we also took turn asking for forgiveness.

And Bapak texted my Opah’s nieces and nephews informing them of her health situation. Before long, scores of uncles and aunts (my Bapak’s cousins) came over. My Opah Temoh’s brother and sister in laws also came by all the way from Penang and Ipoh. Even my Opah Kampor and Mak La came over from Kampar on the last Sunday of Opah Temoh’s life.
It’s just that by that weekend, Opah Temoh’s condition improved a little bit. In fact, on Saturday night, my mum said she waved her hand upon seeing mak entering her room and she smiled.

Alas, that was not to be for long. By Wednesday morning, she was already unconscious and by noon, my uncles and Bapak decided that she needed to be hospitalised (despite Opah Temoh’s frequent requests to not send her to the hospitals).

By 5.30pm, we received a call from Bapak from the Klang Hospital asking us to come. The doctor asked all close family members to come over. We rushed through the evening rush hour and reached the hospital around 7.10pm. And we were greeted by the sight of Opah Temoh lying on the bed fighting for her life. It was heart breaking.

And around 8.20pm, Opah Temoh left us. Forever. It was numbing, us watching her breathed her last breath.

What happened next was blur of activities - us rushing back home, readying the house to receive Opah Temoh to spend the night at our place for the last time, the mandi jenazah and kapan and the solat jenazah at the Masjid An Nur, USJ 4, the funeral at the USJ 22 cemetery and a tahlil at my place that evening.

And today, almost a week later, I can’t help wondering if we ever remember to thank you enough for all you have done for us.


Wherever you are now, one thing for sure, you’ll always be remembered.  If we have forgotten to show our gratitude enough for all the things you did, we're thanking you now. And we are hoping you knew all along how much you meant to us.

Rest in Peace, Opah Temoh! Al Fatihah!


Arissa's Artwork!

This, obviously,  is a notebook. A normal notebook where you can pen down your notes and what not! It came throughout our mailbox last week, courtesy of PT Foundation. They have produced this notebook as part of their campaign to raise awareness of fight against HIV/AIDS.

 Below are their foreword. Go read. Am too lazy to explain.
 So youngest daughter, Arissa, was invited to participate and this is her contribution:


Bila anak belanja makan....


Last weekend, Alia, our first born, treated us to a Carl's Junior amazing burgers. For those not knowing, she's been working at MBO Cinemas in Subang Parade, manning the concession stand (which also means its free flow caramel popcorn for us, oh yeah!) since last January while waiting for her SPM result.
The mak and her Alia

And she got her full salary last week. And she decided to 'belanja' us makan. At Carl's Junior in Subang Parade, which is located just next to MBO cinemas. How adventurous!!!

The sisters Asma and Arissa are also so sibuk to join in

 The wife and I can't really remember if we have set foot at Carl's Junior (the girls apparently have a couple of times when they were out with their friends) ever but I must say the burgers, although a bit bigger than what we are accustomed to (read: McD), are to die for!!!

The juiciest burger ever


Balik Kampung Version 1.0 (2012)

On the last weekend of January recently, we decided to balik kampung. For some reasons, balik kampung is a huge thing for us nowadays. We don’t get to do it as often as we like. Why we can’t even “afford” to do so during Raya (these last three years), which is really a bummer.

So when opportunity to balik kampung presented itself last January (with some tweaking with the family’s monthly budget and work off-days for Bapak and daughter number one), we jumped into the car and drove off. Excitedly.

I tell you that we were mightily grateful for that “once in a blue moon” trip and even after almost a month, we are still reminiscing about it.

Anyways, here’s our trip in pictures….., which of course turned into jalan-jalan cari makan trip as well….

First stop - Rawang R&R, makan lunch and beli menatang ni....

After picking up MIL at my sister in law's place, we made our way to Kampung Perak, Temoh, the kampung halaman and visited my home, my childhood home. Sayu jugak tengok rumah tinggal ni - the kampung pun in a very sorry state, there is only a handful of houses left. Even more sedih is the fact that this house will soon be leveled as my younger brother (he owns the house now) intends to buat kebun kelapa sawit or something. Oh! Well....

And this is what's left of my wife's old home (at the other end of the same kampung).. lagilah sedih... tinggal tangga batu sahaja....,
 later that night... masa untuk bersuka ria pun bermula ....

MIL belanja dinner at satu restoran ikan bakar in Kampar.... but we were so hungry lupa nak snap photos of the makanans.. and anyways, keadaan adalah agak gelap gelita kerana al-fresco la keadahnya mlm itu. Yang penting, segala apa yang terhidang - licin-licap.
Tukang belanja and her cucus... sorry ya semua gambor dia tutup mata punya...hehee
The next morning, we got ready to attend a wedding in Taiping (wedding anak Kak Enon - Yan's cousin)

But on the way over, we stopped over makan breakfast di Malim Nawar and had this awesome nasi lemak... sangat2 sedap. Trust me, its very sedap.
Upon reaching the dewan kenduri, maka sessi bergambar raya pun bermula... here's Alia with the wedding planner's punya mini cooper

Us and the mak bapak pengantin - Kak Enon and Abg Aziz

Sisters and Cousins - anggun la 
The girls and their Abang Mi, who is the wedding planner and also the brother of the bride.

Me and my anak bongsu Arissa

Abang Mi took them on a ride in his mini cooper... semua2 ni masuk dalam satu kereta yang cenonet tu (as if they are aiming for some record or something)... praq or not, I don't know?
Dah sampai Tepen, tak sah la tak menyinggah di Lake Garden yang gorgeous itu la kan..

Arissa berpayung-payung di Lake Garden Tepen
More posing memosing
The trees around the lake are somewhat amazing and unique, yes?
Contoh bercanda di taman bunga... kalau belum kahwin, bercandalah dengan adik beradik ataupun sepupu  atau kengkawan yang sejenis sahaja,  ya adik-adik!

Or if you are older, boleh duduk sahaja di kerusi  menghirup udara petang sambil memangku cucu yang sedang tidur, or eat ice cream (by the way, the ice cream itu sangatlah sedap, bertambah sedap kerana harga dia RM1 sahaja)

 After that we made our way back to KL ... but not before we singgah Kuala Kangsar to makan-makan lagi...
The food we had - laksa kuala, rojak buah, ketupat palas and rendang daging, apam, interesting looking keuteow goreng and we brought kuih putu bambu (ye ke?) and dodol and wajik durian. One word - pengsan!!!

Lihatlah dua beranak ini sedang menikmati hidangan di Kuale...
...dan seseorang menantu sedang membodek mak mentua.. But she's the most gracious lady that I've ever met in my life.
 Lepas tu we went separate ways... we finally headed back to Subang Jaya, short trip balik kampung but fantastic to the max. Alhamdulillah.

but of course, upon reaching Tanjung Malim, we stopped for solat and  pekena pau tanjung malim yang famous itu la plak.
 And then after almost 4 hours of driving (lebih kurang la), we reached home and our two cats..... and the next evening, we ended our makan-makan excursion by having Nasi Arab kat Restoran Saba di Cyberjaya. Saja je kan...

Yummeh to the Yes!!!


Makan Besar!!

Last night, we suka-suka decided to have our own special dinner. Simple makan besar do la kunun2nya. We pekena Chicken Spinach Quiche and Beef Tortilla (although if you notice from the pix it somehow looks like a cross between a pavlova and lasagne) and a bag of caramel popcorn (courtesy of seseorang pekerja MBO - but the popcorn is super good, I tell you). Awesome. Alhamdulillah.


Books Of 2011

These are my most favoured books of last year (yes, it includes – what most of you would consider - a children’s book but really I don’t care.. a good read is a good read). I enjoyed these books thoroughly.

The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan

Okay, Amazon rates this book as suitable for those aged 10 and up. Since I  too belong way up there demographically, I figure I am entitled to read this book without rasa malu. After all, my teenage girls, wife and I are huge fans of Percy Jackson series. And this is the second book in Heroes Of Olympus series, which in turn is a spin-off of Percy Jackson series.

The verdict: I absolutely adored this book! In fact, it’s such a page turner and I think is so much better than the Lost Hero (that’s the first book in the series, by the way). The Son of Neptune reunites readers with old friends and introduces them to a whole new cast of characters. Rick Riordan is a master at balancing just the right amount of seriousness and levity in every situation, and with page-turning adventure, witty dialogue, and fun, fascinating characters, this book is a must-read for any fan of myths and fables. 

Hail Riordan!!!

Divergent by Veronica Roth

We (Asma and I) kind of stumbled onto this book when we both registered with Goodreads late last year and this book won both Best Young Adult book and Best Overall Book of 2011 on Goodreads as voted by the members

Then one fine day, we found this book at Kino and of course we brought it back home. Asma read it first and told me that she thinks I might not like it. Well, she thought wrong. I too can stomach dystopian novels, you know and of course I’m a fan of Hunger Games too. So why not?

The Verdict: Divergent is a thrill ride.  It is a wonderful dystopia-based story filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences, and unexpected romance. I can’t wait for the sequel, Insurgent, due out May 2012.

If there’s one thing that I don’t like about this whole Divergent thing is that its author Veronica Roth is only 22 year old???!!! So not fair, how can a person that young write this great. Am so dengki.

Only Time Will Tell by Jeffrey Archer

I have been a fan of Lord Archer sudah lama since I started reading his earlier novels when I was in college still. In fact I very much preferred his earlier works like Kane and Abel, The Prodigal Daughter and many more so much so I kind of not really enjoying his more recent works.

Until, of course, when Only Time Will Tell landed on my lap, that is. This introductory novel in Archer’s ambitious series The Clifton Chronicles includes a cast of colorful characters and takes us from the ravages of the Great War to the outbreak of the Second World War.

The Verdict: This is Jeffrey Archer at his best. This is a solid storytelling, with bold characters, a world-wide setting, and a story that has enough twists, turns, and sneaky heart-stoppers to definitely merit the label "page turner."


Last year, I am also very pleased to note, I stumbled upon good Bahasa Malaysia fictions too. These three are my favorites:

Pecah by Khairulnizam Bakeri

Awal 2011, sebuah publishing house tempatan, Fixi, muncul tiba-tiba dengan novel-novel urbannya yang thrilling. Di antara buku terawal yang diterbitkan ialah Pecah.

The Verdict: Sekali lagi saya menjadi cemburu amat kerana Khairulnizam Bakeri berjaya menghasilkan sebuah karya yang exciting. Its about a gang of robbers headed by Herman manages to steal money from a bank in Shah Alam. But one of them gets shot, and has to be sent to hospital. In the same hospital, an old man from a nursing home, Bakar, is being treated. These two stories are connected in a way that is slowly revealed, via flashbacks to Bakar's violent past in the cabarets of Singapore and Penang. A fantastic first effort by Khairulnizam, indeed.

Dendam by Affifuddin Omar

As a young journalist in the 90s, I’ve covered assignments graced by the then deputy finance minister Datuk Affifuddin Omar. Only after this title came out did I realise that the good minister is also an accomplished writer. In fact, Dendam is his sixth novel.

The Verdict: A fast paced business thriller that’s been cleverly intertwined with the country’s various political turn of events. Both my wife Yan and I have had a field day trying to figure out the real characters that are being loosely “immortalized” in this wonderful novel. Pada kami, ini Dendam adalah satu hasil usaha yang amat bijak.

Kerana Terpaksa by Ilham Kalsom

The only unputdownable book of 2011 for me and this coming from me who can’t stand Ombak Rindu the movie (oh how I hate that movie!!). Saya memang tersangat jarang membaca novel Melayu genre kisah cinta sebegini. Pernah cuba dengan buku-buku lain tapi mampu setakat dua tiga muka surat sahaja.

Okay, it has nothing to do with the fact that the author Ilham Kalsom (or Elviza Michelle, nama sebenar) is my friend. But I must confess that I finished this book in one sitting which is a big deal really.

So tak payah tanyalah pasal verdict saya ya. Apappun, Ilham Kalsom awal-awal lagi sudah memohon maaf bahawa karya sulongnya ini bukan sempurna. Namun ia digarap penuh menarik.

Anyway, I shot her an email soon after I completed the book and I would like to share our short Q&A with you guys…

1. Cover buku itu dipilih siapa ya? Ada significant ke ia? Isn't that Venice (instead of Paris)?
Ilham: It is Venice. I set part of the story in Paris but I guess the young graphic designer didn't know the difference between Paris & Venice. Epic fail! I have no say on the cover design and the outlook of the book, it is all publisher's prerogative. 

2. Kenapa guna nama Ilham Kalsom? Siapa Ilham Kalsom sebenarnya?
Ilham: Every author in Buku Prima and Karangkraf use a pen name, they suggested I have one too. I like 'Kalsom' for no specific reason. But 'Ilham' is given by the editor who insisted I should have 2 names. 'Ilham' is a bit self descriptive if you ask me. 

3. Berapa lama you menulis Kerana Terpaksa?
Ilham: About 2-3 years. Started way before that but I peram the manuscript because I was scared shitless. 

4. And are the characters and the story line based on any real life characters? (kalau ya, pengsan kan ada orang mcm Raja Habibah di alam nyata).
Ilham: Suria, Tengku Haizal and Raja Habibah are based on real characters. But the ending isn't the same, Suria and Tg Haizal didn't end up together. Suria is still single while Haizal is divorced. I guess too much pain have tortured them for so long, they couldn't pick up where they left off. Perhaps someday they will. 

5. When can we expect your next masterpiece??? soon I hope... Go Ilham!
Ilham: Next book not so soon. At the rate I'm going it will take another couple of years. Aku sungguh lembab.


Heyo heyo its mid jan oredy!! And our first 2012 get-together!

I've got tons of things to write and share but just could not find the time.... (lazy pun ya). It's already 2012.
The other day, we drove up to Cyberjaya where we , courtesy of nephew Affan, enjoyed possibly the best Nasi Arab so far. (lapar pun ya). And it's great fun to meet up with my brother in law's family as well. Here's some of the pix....

Awesome food and company!!

Tuan Rumah Majlis and Tukang Belanja. Hail Affan!!!

An aunt and two nephews (two other nephews can't make it)
Aidil and his two tantes - Tante Cha and Tante Lia

Ain, the centre of attention and attraction that petang, with Tante Ma and Tok Uncle.

Simply loving this - Ain and her Oyang.