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Sunday, January 25, 2009

A Tribute to Uci

"Grandmas hold our tiny hands for just a little while.....but our hearts forever"

Uci Mahani and I, photo taken during Eidul Fitri 2008 by Pak Long Sarji, in Batu Tiga (Temoh), Perak.

Mahani has endured so much pain and turbulence in her life. Now aged 94, she is greatful to Allah for gracing her the strenght and wisdom of a woman. She has endured the greatest fear of a mother when her son and daugther-in-law died in a car crash, less than 1km away from her home. It was very tragic. When the pain of the lost lingers in her mind, she would shed tears, for who could ever endure the death of your child. The bitter sweet memories of feeding your child, changing the diapers and holding his tiny hand when crossing the roads, stab your lonely hearts like a dagger. I know how it feels as I am a mother too.

Uci, as her grandchildren fondly call her, is a Ravanese. I have been told by a friend, who is also a Ravanese, that women of this race are perfectionists. They have also very strong will power and are excellent homemakers. Well, I do not know how far that is true, but it is fair to state here that my Uci possesses all of these qualities. Honestly, I have been so many times reprimanded by Uci for being unladylike, well..what to do, I am only a quarter Ravanese.

Indeed, lessons in life are best acquired through observation. Since young, I have seen Uci managing her family with intelligence and grace. She does not have to be a degree holder to have her children to be very successful in life. She believes in the wholesome goodness of home food and everything homemade. She demands precision in doing house chores as she believes, every virtue starts from home. A mother must sow, in the hearts of her children, the seeds of love and faith to Allah, for that would be the guiding light in life.

I have personally learnt a lot of things from her. Here I would like to share some of them. In order to make it more expressive (as she speaks Ravanese not English), I will try my best to write in Bahasa Melayu with hints of Ravanese.

1. Uci is blessed with beautiful skin, when asked about her secret for having such flawless skin, she replied, "Indo berasio, pakei la bodak sojuk Uci buek ke..". Translation: Mana ada berahsia, pakailah bedak sejuk yang Uci buat tu. Before she became immobile, she used to prepare homemade 'bedak sejuk' . This is done by soaking rice in a clay pot for three years. As she is very particular about cleanliness, she would regularly rinse the soaked rice. Uci's 'bedak sejuk' is perfumed with "Cologne Nyonya Kembar', pandanus leaves and jasmine. She would supply us with her bedak whenever we visit her, but we have to promise not to snack on them. (My mama loves to snack on her bedak sejuk).

2. Never to bathe after 5pm, as she believes it is bad to bathe when it is almost dusk or worst, after dark.

3. On tips to restore the freshness of your vegies in the fridge, she advises, "Kao keno rajen membaluit sayor dongen keroteh, lopeh tu dibungkuih dongen pelestik". Translation: To maintain the freshness of your vegies, you must wrap them up with papers and later wrap them in individual plastic bags. I have improvised this practice by labelling my vegies after wrapping them up.

4. Uci's green coloured syrup is the best in the world. It slates your thirst in so many a hot afternoons.

5. On our effort to reduce sugar and salt in our cookings (in the name of healthy life style), she commented, "Ondek, biya la laki kao maken yang sodop, jangen lah dikurangken gulo atau garom, indo beraso apo-apo teh kao masak..". Translation: You are a lousy cook as your food is tasteless..hahahha. Joking. (Ondek is an expression to indicate surprise).

6. When drying out clothes in the Sun, one must make sure that they are hung according to the types, that is all shirts must be in one line, whereas pants in another. Do not mix everything up. Personally, I do adhere to this. I just hate to see my clothesline unorganized.

7. Leftover rice or pulut must never be thrown away. One must dry it out in the Sun and fry it to become delicious snacks. She believes that it is "berdoso kao membuang nasik".

8. On my wedding day, Uci told me a secret, she said, "Kao Ida, keno bangun copek, toruih mandi, bebodak, jangen kao bagi Sazeli tengok kao bolum mandi rambuit indo bersikek. Potang kao besiop la copek, bilo pulang si Sazeli, jangen memarah..". Translation: Ida, you must wake up early and groom yourself, do not allow Suzalie (my hubby) to see you in a mess. In the evenings, get yourself ready before he is home. When he is home, don't you nag at him. Yea, I am a firm believer in this too.

9. When asked how she maintains such excellent memory despite of her age, she said by reciting the Qur'an daily.

10. Uci cooks the best "ayom masak lomak" in the world. She used to share the recipe, even demonstrated the whole process. But when I tried to cook it at home, it tasted really different..tak sodop..hahaha.

Those are some of the things I've learnt from my Uci, there are other more, but I guess I'd better keep them here in my heart. She has become quite frail now, due to her age. Her memory slips sometimes, but she never forgets me and my hubby. I never get to tell her that I love her so much, the last time I saw her she was down with high fever. Her internal organs are failling, one by one. She is not suffering any sickness or disease, she is holding on to her life like a fighter. This life, she has is a good one, and we are thankful, as she has sown within our hearts the seeds of love that will flourish for generations.

Friday, January 23, 2009


What could be scarier than having your other half looking into your eyes, as if searching for an answer? Indeed, the eyes are the windows to one's heart and soul. Perhaps he was searching for an answer hidden somewhere deep within me. This truth I shall not reveal through the sparkle of my eyes. I am but an actress who tries to conceal this turbulence within, for I do have fear of losing something that has been with me for almost a decade.

They say that the lure of the forbidden fruit is the sweetest. But I shall not taste it even this soul is chained to it. I must realise that I am no more a solo on this stage, for I have given life to a quartet. Each depends on me.

I have one foot in the forbidden meadow. Just a limb, but my eyes are still looking straight into the horizon of the other. I am STILL safe. No wind can sway me to the hands of temptations. I am a woman whose mind and soul are STILL sound. God knows I am trying my best.

As for the other half who is eagerly searching for the answer, have a look, dear. Search this soul, rip it apart. For all you can see is YOU within me.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Once Bitten but Never Shy

It is just so tempting..that forbidden meadow next door. I wish to shut these roving eyes, what else am I looking for? I have been hit once, twice...when am I going to learn? Enough, darling..you are playing with fire, you'll get burn by the flame you have ignited. Extinguish it now, before the truth shows its fangs!

Morning Tea

I believe I have writtten a post late last night, but I serious don't know what has happened to it..Ahhh, perhaps the IT Gremlins have eaten it up anyway!
Well, hubby went to work with a smile on his face this morning. I noticed he ate something today before leaving. Usually (since I have started working), he would leave for work with that twisted look on his face. So I asked him as to why he was kinda cheerful, he said, "This is because you are at home...". Oh yes, I took EL today because Didi and Ben are down with fever and food poisoning. Sarah is having fever too.

You see, I cannot make myself not to worry about my kids. I would rather deal with my baby's poo and vomit than doing work in school. Teaching is fine, but when there are so many nitty-gritty bureaucratic what-ever-you-may-call-it things to do, I surrender.
My Principal refused to acccept my resignation letter. She wants me to go home and perform the Istiharah Prayer and wait for the Divine signs of the path I should partake in life. Well, I believe I have seen enough signs already. I am no stupid woman to ignore what's happening around me.

Well, I will try again tomorrow. I know the school needs to do a lot of adjustments when I leave, well, serve them right for dumping so many things on my head! I have no problem executing my duties, but if this means I have to enjoy less of my private time with my family, forget it..

I cannot allow anyone to trepass my personal boundary. Since the boss came up with this 7.20am-must-clock-in-or-you'll-be-late rule, my life has changed tremendously. You see, my usual practice of cuddling with hubby under the duvet before Subuh Prayer, has been totally scrapped off as I have to get ready before the azan. Now, you might think that this is so lame, well I think it is not! I am a warm blooded woman who needs lots of luv....

Furthermore, I hate to come home exhausted. I hate to see my family eating the food cooked by my maid as I am a firm believer in the 'air tangan' ibu. Call me old fashion, but that is just me..

As for today, I am preparing something very nice for the family. I am going to steam the Siakap with lots of ginger, stir-fry the sawi bunga and tempura fry the cauliflowers. I will also prepare some kerabu mangga. That's ideal food for us.

I know hubby loves me being at home as he was smilling from ear to ear this morning. I know he would call me after this to ask the progress of the fish in the steamer. The silky route to a man's heart is through his stomach..and of course, one needs to serve it with a dose of love and with lots of passion.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

33 going back 27

Please ignore the topless mermaid in the photo. I know you are wondering ( as I was too!) of her size..hahahahahaha..If one studies the history of the Perakian Sultanate, one would be able to find an answer to the question as to what the dickens was that topless creature doing there! But that is not the point here...

The little girl in that photo is me. I was just 4 years old..yeah know I looked senior than my age, that has always been my problem. I am 165cm and I am a big framed woman..hahahah (thanks to my greatgrand dad who was Dutch, I heard the women in his family are big size!). I cannot remember when this was taken as I never really care about taking photos. I don't really look good in them. (Well, not much difference if you saw me in person, though..I don't care).

Now, this one was taken when I was 6. You see here I was posing like a bride who was 'bersanding'. Being an innocent girl, I used to dream that one day, a handsome man would take me as his wife. On the wedding day, they will dress me up like a princess, my fingers crimsoned with henna and my face painted with my mother's make up ( she wouldn't mind as I was getting married).

The handsome guy who is my husband will be sitting next to me. Then, there will be my cousins as brides' maids, the tukang kipas and performances. When the reception ends, we would go back to our families and tomorrow I'll be married again to a different handsome guy as I am going to wear another outfit. So the 'bersanding' thing will go on and on until there is nothing else to wear...
But my main problem at that time was that my hair was not long enough for the hairdresser to bun it. Then one day I saw my grandma's hair extension..aha!

Hahah..I was 16 in this pic. At this age, I thought I should have been born a boy. But I was never involved in lesbianism or any other vices involving the same sex.
This photo was taken backstage after a play that I and another friend had directed for The Deputy Minister of Education's visit to our school. I was actively involved in debates, elocution, choir, arts and all but never sports. This is because I was very cautious of my physique. I was taller, wider, bigger perhaps heavier than most of my friends. I did not want to get involved in any forms of sports as I did not feel comfortable with my size...hahhaha..At that time sports bra was just sketches on paper!
Now you can see how the statue of the topless mermaid that I saw in Taiping Zoo when I was 4, had put a curse on me!

I was 23 when this was taken in Bukit Merah Lake Town Resort. This was my 'zaman kegemilangan'...hahahha. It was the era of turbulance and everything extreme. Lyana and Mimi were my Guiding Angels. I knew they had issues to solve too, but they were my shoulders to cry on..sob..sob..
There were many admirers, those who were sincere and insincere...but I never cared to take heed. I enjoyed the chasing game very much but some time I got hurt pretty badly. I never regretted but always took them as precious lessons. I never gave space for vengence, as I believed in Karma.
I will keep a watchful eye on my kids especially my daughters. Not good to partay (party) too much like mummy as it will exhaust everything.
Oh yes, I can still wear the blue kebaya that I had on in this pic...hehehehhe.

Picture taken on my engagement day in late 1999. Suzalie came into my life like an answer to my prayers. I never cared about guys like him. He was the total opposite of me, but we just click.
Our friends were so surprise to learn of our liasion, there were some busy body 'kakak angkats' of his who tried to change his mind. But he stood by me.
We have had such a tough time, but we held on to each other. Alhamdulillah...
Unlike the grand wedding reception that I had dreamt of when I was a little girl, ours was just a simple one. I decided not to 'bersanding' as I thought that was not necessary. We did sit on the 'chior baldu bertekad' though (being a true anak Perak, I am).
I was honoured to have my cousin, Roz Yanti, who was fighting of ovarian cancer as my bride's maid. We did not want to take so much time and effort for the wedding preparation as we knew that all of us in the family were keeping our fingers cross for Nyah Titi's health to be OK.
She passed away when I was in confinement after the birth of my daughter, Sarah. She was 27 when she died. I believe God sent her to us so that she could leave a legacy of her achievements in CBN, Chaltenham Ladies' College and Bristol University. I was told not to attend to her funeral due to my condition. I truly miss her.

The young man in this pic is my youngest brother, Haris. The kids in the pic are all mine. They look like Chinese, thus so different from me because my hubby is Sino-Kadazan.

Since today I am 33, I have decided to make some major changes in my life. I am eyeing for a greener pasture just next door.

Tomorrow, I will tender in my resignation letter after 5 years of service. I am not a superwoman to juggle my career and family. I do not want to juggle anymore as employment for me should be an option. I can still generate income from the comfort of my home.

I have consulted the Principal last week. It was when she asked me of the reasons of me quiting that I broke down in tears. I believe I have not been doing well as a mother. My kids are doing very badly in school, honestly. When I am suppose to struggle for my kids' future, I am devoting my whole for others'. The Principal said that it would be such a waste as I am a good teacher and that I have been entrusted with so many responsibilities in school. Yeah...I know I can deliver my duties well, but I do not think I have done anything good for my kids, yet.

Yes, I am very selfish with my time, energy and expertise. Sorry, I have to attend to my family first. Rezeki mana-mana pun ada, but kids don't grow on trees.


Saturday, January 10, 2009


So sorry, I am not skillful in weaving words into readable stories when I am feeling down. I am down because I feel so insignificant as when the innocent souls of Gaza are crying out for mercy, I can only sit here in the comfort of my home.

Yes, we all pray for them. We compose beautiful and touching poems to show our sympathy to them. We gather in the streets holding posters that read our anger of Zionist. So what else have we done?

We shed tears when we see the ugly images of war. We condenm the powerful nations for giving their backs to us. So what else can we do?

We call the Zionist regime as animals, devils and everything from Hell. Still, as we are cursing them (Zionist) now, many innocent Palestinians are being butchered. Why are we still crying out for sympathy from others to help our own brothers?

Funny. We want to stop Zionism but indirectly we are 'feeding' them. Tell me, how many of us here are willing to boycott Zionist produce? Not eating McD's BigMac burger for months is so easy to do. But what about letting go of MTV, Tesco, Levi's Jeans, Hollywood..and the list goes on. I know I can't.

It is just so sad. I dare to say, so far God has not answered our prayers to free the Paletinians perhaps we have not been praying hard. I know He listening for He is The Most Merciful, but the key to stop this atrocities of war lies within us.

The Muslims have the means to rule the world, still we succumb to the misguidance of the corrupted West. Then, we claim ourselves being victimised by them.

Yes, we can cry as we watch the sufferings of the Palestians. The whole world condenms Zionism. We try our best to send humanitarian aids to our brothers there, we pray Allah to protect them or to ease their pain. Unfortunately, many of us are still clinging to the hope that one day the United States of America would be favourable to the Palestinians, as now there is Obama's audicity of hope. Great shame.

No one is going to help us, it is all up to us. Do Muslims of different secs and schools dare to swallow their pride and be united to save our fellow Palestinians? We can make a difference if we unite.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Blame it on them crackers..not me!

I am not in my right element again! Have you ever felt, at least once in your lifetime, that you just have to pick a fight with someone?

My hubby complained of stomach cramps since this morning, he tried to figure out what went wrong. This morning at 5.40am, I fried some sausages with tomatoes, a dash of Italian herbs and Worchester sauce. That has always been my hubby's favourite breakfast treat. We had fresh salad too. Then later, at the office he texted me to complain about his stomach ache, I was too busy to take heed.

Then later, at home, he still complained of his pain. He guessed that he must have eaten something unclean. Man, I was so pissed. If he was not my hubby, I would have cursed him nicely now and then. How can he be so insensitive. Of course I had to take it personal as he ate the food that I COOKED.

He has forgotten that late last night, he had Ngan Yin peanuts and peanut butter crackers dunk in cold tea. While eating those damn crackers, he uttered that they were no good, then I told him that those crackers were given by his mom. It seems the crackers are from the Phillippines and they are only available in Sabah. When he heard that those 'no good' crackers were from his mom, suddenly he nodded. Wah very powerful my MIL, my hubby suddenly changed his mind!

So when he again complained about his stomach, I got fed up. I reminded him about the trash he had for late night snack. He remained silent. Then he said he might have eaten something tainted this morning. Man, I was hurt! I snorted back at him, calling him insensitive and ungreatful, and I left him alone in the room. I went to a corner to lick my wounds. Besok jangan harap lah I nak prepare breakfast, orang lain makan OK je. Jangan harap lah!

Then he came to me and behaved as if nothing has happened, he spoke to me, but as I was still pissed, I buat-buat tak dengaq. I think he knew I was pissed but lagi mau cakap dengan I. He knows how bitchy I can get if I am angry, my words can stab you like a dagger. If I choose not to tell it straight to your face, I'll 'sindir' you biar you terasa pedasnya. I tend to do that when I dah tak kuasa dengan how you feel..geram betul ni...

But then, like how those chauvanistic wise men put it in Malay, "orang pompuan ni sekeras-keras dia pun macam kerak nasi, direndam lembutlah dia". Hubby had to leave for Aikido class in Bangi, usually I'll tag along to his Dojo, but as I was not in the right element, I decided not to go. Before he left, he shoved to me his hand for me to obediently kiss it. I punya control macho gave a very light pat, then he stroke my head and embraced me, he asked me if I need anything. I wanted to say 'yes' I need some money to buy brand new batik silk at Warta, Bangi. (I had planned to buy myself some batik tonight while he is training at his Dojo, but hot punya pasal, langsung tak jadik!) Of course, I kept cool, pretended as if not impressed with his loving gesture. Porah...

Well, here I am writing this for my blog, now my tummy is aching, I had Ngan Yin peanuts and them crackers just now minus the cold tea, I don't take anything cold or icy. When he comes home, I'll make him realize that he has made an error in diagnosing his pain. Look, now I am aching all over, thanks to the bad combination of the peanuts and my MIL's Philipino crackers!