Wednesday, December 31, 2008

15 years

Tomorrow marks a very important milestone in my life calendar. It's the 15th  year of my being married to AZ. This special posting is dedicated to him, my one and only.

AZ & I are so different from each other. Where I talk incessantly most of time, he speaks only when there is something important say. He is a very private person who prefers his own quiet space. In contrast, I am a people's person. Coming from a large family comprising of girls mainly (& growing up with Mak who loves to organize gatherings, kenduris & parties), I am comfortable being in a crowd. 

AZ is a thinker & most of his ideas and thoughts goes way beyond my wildest imaginations. I sometimes struggle to understand some of the concepts or ideas that he has in mind (although I try hard not to have that blank look when he explains the ideas to me). I'm a planner. I like to plan things & execute them immediately. Sometimes I tend to be too result oriented that I become impatient when I don't see immediate results. AZ, on the other hand, is one of the most patient person I know. There are many things that he does, knowing that we won't see the results now, but necessary to ensure a better result much later - A case in point is the flowering plant for our pergola at home. When we bought the plant, I was shocked when he cut most of the branches & flowers (there were many!!) except for the main branches (only 2 left!) which he carefully positioned to climb over our pergola. He said this will ensure that the main branches would grow thicker & stronger. 4 years later - look at our pergola now (see picture at the top of this homepage) - the orange flowers are so lovely & flowering almost all the time.

I am a neat freak. I like all my things in place. I know exactly which files are on my desk & which one is at the bottom or top of the pile. At home, I prefer my clothes to be hanged according to colours; baju kurungs, blouses & suits must be placed in their own separate compartments. T-shirts should be folded correctly so that they are all the same size when stacked in the shelves of the wardrobe. AZ's working area looks like a disaster area. The top of his desk looks like it's been hit by a hurricane. At home, he will yank the carefully arranged t-shirts from the middle of the pile, leaving half of the t-shirts toppled. Don't get me started on the dirty clothes left on the floor 2 inches away from the laundry basket, & not IN the laundry basket (I've been informed by most of my sisters & aunties that this comes standard with almost all men!). 

I am so bad at anything called sports. Pendek kata: Kaki bangku in everything. AZ on the other hand is good at almost all sports: actively played soccer, rugby & cricket in his younger days & badminton & golf up to now. Where does he get all the stamina? I get so tired just thinking about badminton! He is planning to climb Mount Kinabalu in one of our future trips (!!). I'm a creature of comfort - a holiday to me is having a nice cosy bed, lazing by the pool & strolling around slowly (preferably along shopping areas..).

But despite our differences, he completes me. AZ has taught me so many things in life, about life. He is kind and generous almost beyond comprehension. He is a great father. The most supportive & wonderful husband. My best friend. He understands me. Really.

My dearest, thank you so much for everything that you are to me. You are my strength, my heart, my soul. I feel I am nothing without you. Happy Anniversary & looking forward to a lifetime together..

Friday, December 26, 2008

An Afternoon at Spa Village Malacca

Strictly following Doctor's orders (so I keep telling myself!), I made a reservation for Buttercup (my dearie sista) & me to have a de-stressing body massage at the Spa Village, Malacca. We have never been there before, but we thought that we deserve to reward ourselves after working so hard the past few months. And what an amazing experience we had this afternoon!

The Spa Village, Malacca is situated within the Majestic Hotel, a 5-star boutique hotel which was recently refurbished from an old mansion built in the 1920s. As we walked into the hotel for our afternoon of indulgence, we accidentally bumped into my client (who is one of the owners of the Hotel) and his wife at the lobby. We were informed that they came down from KL as the Hotel is receiving an award for the best boutique hotel in Malaysia - and we were not surprised. The place is so elegant & posh, & yet warm & inviting, with very friendly & accommodating staffs, all ready to serve you. We were then shown our way to the Spa.

The Relaxation Room - memang oh-so-relaxing!

We were immediately pampered from the moment we stepped into the Spa. In the Relaxation Room, we were seated on Balinese Day Beds facing the swimming pool, & a young lady served us mandarin oranges with water and ice-cool face towels. We then changed at the luxurious changing room & were brought to the hair treatment room. While our hair was being washed with fresh lime water, we watched P.Ramlee music videos from a screen placed right above us on the ceiling! What a clever idea! At the end of the treatment, they combed our hair with a wooden comb (which they gave us to take home later) & put fresh jasmine flowers in our hair (can you beat this!). I already felt so pampered & de-stressed by this time. But this was only the beginning..

After serving us some fresh hot ginger tea, we were brought to the massage room. The ambience was so cosy. The fragrance from the aromatherapy oil was so lovely I felt like sleeping as soon as I laid down on the massage bed. The masseurs assigned to us were 2 young Balinese ladies who spoke immaculate English. They may look small & slender, but their hands were strong & firm! The massage was too wonderful for words - let's just say that the painful knot behind my neck is totally gone & my tense shoulders are now no more. Sigh... So relaxing... 

One hour was over too soon. Where did the time go? As we changed back into our clothes, we made a promise to come back & bring our other half along. This indulgence is a MUST for every person after working such long hours - day in, day out... Once in a while everyone deserves to be pampered like so.

As we went to the counter to settle the bill, we were given the BEST surprise of all: Our whole wonderful experience was complimentary of my client!! YAAAYY!! Had a Great time & for Free!! It's too good to be true!! Buttercup & I celebrated this by having a nice little high tea at the hotel, complete with scones & clotted cream :-)

I highly recommend the Spa Village to everyone. I am totally de-stressed & ready to go out there to conquer the world! Heehee.. (^_^)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Been having severe headaches recently. Never had this kind before. The ones that you get with the occasional flu and sinus are of course quite normal. But these ones come with unbearable throbbing which is excruciating.

Had another one 2 days ago. It just started without any warning during a meeting at a client's office & the throbbing progressively worsened. It got to a point where I had to request for some panadols from my client. Unfortunately, the panadols didn't actually stop the pain. Strange.

The headache persisted. So, I went to see a physician yesterday. He said that I may be developing a migraine which is stress related. What? I don't feel stressed. Really. Yes, work has been piling - but nothing out of the ordinary. Yes, most of the work comes with unbelievably urgent deadlines, but I believe I can cope. I don't know. Maybe I just don't think it is stressful but my mind and body are actually crying out for a timeout. Probably true I guess.. Sigh..

Came back yesterday & felt a sense of relief when Adlina and Anas stayed with me in bed. I held them really close as they slept with me. The whole troupe camped in Mama's room last night as Papa was away in Kedah to settle a small project. Adlan & Hakim were sleeping on the mattress on the floor, but not before Adlan reminding everyone to be quiet and peaceful for Mama :-) 

In a world full of uncertainties and chaos, with so many people around you demanding for your time and energy, it is so calming to be with your kids.  I am comforted by their unconditional love and warmth. They are my source of strength. Ya Allah, thank you for giving us such wonderful kids. I felt so much better last night. 

This morning, the headache was gone. Just hope that it won't come back.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Cuti-Cuti Malaysia - Malacca City Chapter

The residents of Danau Kaseh had a quiet weekend playing tourist in the City of Malacca. We decided to use up the voucher for a free night stay in Equatorial Hotel & had a fun and relaxing time winding down..

The city of Malacca has changed tremendously in the past 5 years. It had recently been awarded the World Heritage City status by the United Nations. This is a huge honour for Malacca and the City deserves this honour. 

As you walk along the streets in the City, you will observe that it is very clean everywhere. The City Council has done a great job keeping the City free of rubbish. Shrubs and plants are kept well-trimmed and flowers are blooming at every corner. If you go on the observation tower called the Menara Taming Sari, you will see the City in all its glory & the sight is wonderful!

The view from our balcony - the Sultanate Palace

Malacca is where Malaysia started. Being a Malaccan, I am very proud of this. If you are a tourist in Malacca, you must visit the Sultanate Palace where you will learn about the history of Malacca dating back more than 600 years ago. The City is a melting pot of many cultures as Malacca was once the meeting point of traders from the East and West, from China to Europe.

Eye on Malaysia by the Straits of Malacca

The City recently acquired the Eye On Malaysia which is a huge ferris wheel placed by the sea. We didn't have the chance to go on the Eye this time, but made a promise to go on it one day soon :-)

The delectable Malacca River

Get the Cruise with Bernard as the Guide! He's amazing!

One of the things that you must do while in Malacca is the River Cruise. We went on the cruise this time and it was glorious! You must take the boat with a guide called Bernard. He is a wealth of information! He can tell you the details about each and every building along the river, when they were built, what they were used for, how much did each window cost and who was the owner! He would tell you about the bridges along the river & the history behind each bridge. He would also relate to you amusing stories about people who have used the river throughout history. The kids thoroughly enjoyed the river cruise. If you wish to go on the cruise, just go over to the Clock Tower near Stadhuys. There is a post office near the Clock Tower; the river cruise can be taken right across the street from the post office. 

Menara Taming Sari

You cannot miss the Trishaw Ride!

Evening Scene

The evening scene of the City is stunning. There are lights dripping from trees and lined along building facades. The best way to enjoy this is by a trishaw ride. It is an experience not to be missed. I love trishaw rides! You will learn many things from the trishaw rider, about the history of Malacca and the wonders of the City - but most of all, you will learn about perseverance. Its tough cycling the trishaw with 2 people riding in the trishaw, especially uphill! But they do it every single day, to put bread on the table. I had a good chat with the trishaw rider that night - I had a shock to learn that she is my age! Her eldest son is already 20. It seems surreal.. I quietly said a prayer of thanks to Allah for crossing my path with the lady trishaw rider. It was such a humbling experience..

Malacca City is a great place to be (^_^) 

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Cleaning the Wardrobe

It's Sunday morning but woke up early at 5.30am as I couldn't get back to sleep after being startled by Anas's loud snore (yes, the big baby still "sleep-walks" to our bed in the middle of the night!). So, after Subuh I decided to clean up my wardrobe - something that I've been telling myself I had to do for the past 6 months!

Wow! What a revelation! I discovered that I had clothes in these various categories which have not been worn for years but kept in the wardrobe somehow:-

1. Clothes that haven't been worn for years but kept for sentimental reasons (eg: baju made from kain bought by my dearest more than 10 years ago in India - must keep of course.. sayang sebab that was the last time he bought me kain!);
2. Clothes that haven't been worn since the day they were bought (masa beli takde size, so bought a smaller size with the promise to shed some weight to get into the baju - of course THAT never happened!);
3. Clothes that are far too big but kept in anticipation of putting on some weight, just in case (this category of clothes biasanya beli lepas beranak sebab semua baju tak muat masa tu);
4. Clothes that were given to me as gifts from family & friends, but never worn because they are just not me (there are some from this lovely client of mine who lives in Cambodia & she always comes by to my office every time she's in town bearing gifts - but, man - most of the clothes are figure hugging, bright RED or dripped in sequins!);
5. Clothes that were bought in a sale because they were too cheap to resist but never worn as they are actually horrible (I hope I'm not the only woman who does this stupid thing!!);
6. Clothes that are really beautiful but hardly worn as they stain easily (especially kalau berpeluh); and
7. Clothes that haven't been worn as they were tucked amongst the other clothes & somehow overlooked!

I guess it's time to let go.. with a heavy heart I packed of some of the clothes to give away, relocated some of the sentimental ones to the spare wardrobe in the guest room & made another silent promise to myself to wear the rest that have been overlooked.

The wardrobe is now much neater. The hanged clothes are sorted according to colours. Hey! There is some room for new clothes :-) heehee... (women just can't resist new clothes!).


Monday, December 8, 2008

Cuti-Cuti Malaysia - Kuala Lumpur Chapter

The residents of Danau Kaseh just played tourists in Kuala Lumpur, and WOW, it was loads of FUN! It's true, Malaysia has so much to offer. Since our Bangkok trip had to be cancelled, we decided to have Cuti-Cuti Malaysia - & what better way than to start with the glorious capital of KL!! 
Highly recommended for all mothers!

I got this really useful book called "KL for Kids" which gave a very objective view on the must-go places in KL. Written by a few Mat-Sallehs who lived in KL for some time, the book is excellent as a guide with honest tips. We have taken the kids to some of the  Top-10 places recommended by the book, so I could see that the comments they made about those places were spot on. 

The walking path to Concorde & Hard Rock Cafe

Our holiday started on Friday, with the kids getting excited as we check into Concorde Hotel on Jalan Sultan Ismail. The Premier Rooms we booked were fantastic - the kids had 2 Queen Beds in their spacious room & we had a King in ours. We had access to the Premier lounge & the kids helped themselves to the complimentary bottled juices, snacks & candies from time to time throughout our stay (memang buat muka tak malu...). Breakfast was cosy in the intimate Spices Restaurant, away from the crowd (needless to say, our table was the loudest..). I thought it would be good to pamper the family once in a while, & it was really worth it :-)

World's largest Walk-In Free-Flight Aviary

We were up early on Saturday morning to start our adventure. Our first stop was the Bird Park which is the World's largest free-flight walk-in Aviary. The kids loved it. The park is just the right size. It's not too big (Jurong Bird Park in Singapore is just too big to cover), so about 2- 3  hours spent in the park is just right, without any of the kids complaining about tired legs!

The birds posed for the picture!

There were hundreds of species of birds - roaming free! Most of the birds are friendly. Colourful & pretty! The peacocks are beautiful - one was a real show-off & danced around to make sure everyone had a full view of its lovely feathers! 

Proud Mr Peacock!

Adlina feeding the birds

Don't miss feeding the parakeets & lories. Amazing experience! I highly recommend the Bird Park if you are planning a trip to KL with your kids! It's really lovely :-)

Next on the agenda was the Butterfly Farm. After the excitement of having pretty friendly birds sitting on their heads and feeding from their palms, fluttering and elusive butterflies seem to be a real let-down to the kids. The setting of the Farm is quite natural with koi ponds & bigs trees. But the kids were more interested in the lazy terrapins, the huge ugly frogs croaking  & the strange stick bugs camourflarging in the gallery. If it weren't for these other attractions, I would give the Butterfly Farm a miss if you asked me..

By then the kids were hungry. Anas was already starting to complain about being tired. So, off we went to Central Market. The last time I went there was 20 years ago & it is so MUCH better now! What a great collection of gift ideas! I love the place!

Makan-Makan at Old Town - the iced coffee was delicious!

We ended the day the way it should be: by having fish eating the dead cells on our feet! Haha :-D What an experience! Ticklish to the maximum at first.. then eventually we got used to it. We all loved it without exception & made a promise to come back. Our feet felt so clean and refreshed after the treatment. This is extremely recommended!

Zaharim's not ticklish at all!

After breakfast on Sunday, we went up Menara Kuala Lumpur by cab & walked down the trail in the forest reserve at Bukit Nanas. It was quite a pleasant walk especially after the rain. The forest is surprisingly well preserved with huge trees everywhere. At the bottom of the trail is a Batik shop. Unfortunately, we were there too early & the shop was still closed.

The weekend ended far too soon for us. It was time to say goodbye to our little Cuti-Cuti in KL & for once, I was quite reluctant to go out of KL! We had so much fun and spending time together as a family was really great. Loads of warm & fuzzy feelings & special moments..

So, our conclusion? Tak payah pergi jauh-jauh... Cuti-Cuti Malaysia pun BEST!! Seriously..


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Cancelling Bangkok

We decided to cancel our Bangkok trip. What with the demonstrators getting more violent & the main airport being declared as a war zone. Better be safe than sorry. I checked with Airasia & was told that we have to go to LCCT to cancel if we want a refund... Leceh betul :-(

So off we went to LCCT yesterday & you wouldn't believe what we had to go through!!! The airport is under construction & the carpark was filled to the brim. The airport looked like Puduraya on Hari Raya eve, seriously. Ramainya orang! Stranded tourists & mat sallehs were sleeping on the floor (sebab flights to Bangkok were cancelled & they had nowhere to go), some tourists were sitting on trolleys & their own luggage (tak cukup tempat duduk in LCCT), queue semua paaaannjaaaanngg sangat-sangat with impatient travelers waiting to check in; People, People, People everywhere. It was hot & stuffy as the aircond could not support the crowd. Sigh...

The queue to Counter 68 (Service Counter) was long, as expected. Waited for a good 30 minutes & when my turn came, the guy at the counter had the cheek to say: "Flight ni belum declare cancelled by Airasia. So, kalau akak cancel tak boleh dapat refund." WHAT?? Of course, Singa Lapar terus TERKAM la kan and I replied in my very dangerous tone "Dik. Are you saying that I should take my children to Bangkok in this situation? You tak tengok TV ke? Diaorang dah start tembak-tembak orang tahu tak? Kalau Airasia tak nak bagi refund & I'm forced to go to Bangkok, if anything happens, Airasia will be fully responsible. You faham tak?" He immediately nervously called his officer.

The officer, Mr. Xavier handled the situation better. He was very understanding & before I could say anything, he was already explaining to me the cancel procedures. (Agaknya the guy who attended to me earlier dah warning awal-awal ada Makcik garang kat counter!). So, to cut the long story short, we were allowed to cancel & were given a "Credit Shell". What this means is that we could use our money for any other trips with Airasia but we need to book in the next 3 months. Travel period takde time limit. Thank God for that.

So, it looks like Cuti-Cuti Malaysia for us this December. Yang pasti: No demonstrations, No tembak-tembak, No bom-bom. It's safe to be in Malaysia :-) Wonder where to go...

Friday, November 28, 2008

Anas's Graduation & Our Holiday Dilemma

Anas's Graduation

I should have written earlier about Anas's Graduation Night. It was really sweet & charming. The concert was so adorable with 3-year olds dressed in animal costumes!! I love pre-school concerts! Anas performed in a few song & dance but the most special performance was his solo poem recital. When his name was called to recite the poem, he looked so tensed that I thought he would chicken out! Thank God he quickly got over it & spoke clearly although he didn't look happy at all - siap muncung sedepa :-D haha! I was so proud of him! 

Anas & Friends - Baru Pre-school pun dah 
pakai graduation gown!

Anas reciting his poem - with a pout

Pom-Pom dance - they had so much fun :-)

Our Holiday Dilemma

What are we doing with the kids for the School Holidays? Well, we cancelled our earlier plan to go to Hong Kong Disneyland as Adlan did badly in his final exams & we specifically told him that the trip will be cancelled if he did badly. It's a matter of principle. However, we had to reconsider our decision not to go anywhere at all as Adlina & Hakim did really well in their final exams (Adlina actually got a prize for highest in English - she got 100%). It wouldn't be fair to penalize them for something that Adlan did or didn't do. Anyway, thinking back, Adlan did make us proud this year with his other school activities (his choral speaking team won first in State & he was in the Petrosains Actology drama which won 3rd prize at National level). Susah betul jadi parents ni.. we want to teach our kids good values but sometimes we are faced with dilemmas..

So, after much deliberations, we decided to take them to Bangkok instead. Flights were booked & schedules planned. Zaharim & I went to Kino @ KLCC last week to get the necessary Guide Book & spent some time together planning. We are so excited about the trip & the kids are ecstatic! 

UNFORTUNATELY, yesterday Bangkok declared a state of emergency on its 2 airports as they are barricaded by protesters who are not happy with the present Thai government!! YIKES!! Of all times, why now??

Now we are in a REAL dilemma.. Our trip is in 2 weeks. Nak pergi ke tak pergi Bangkok ni... HELP!!! 

Friday, November 21, 2008

Simple Pleasures

Mothers are actually quite easy to please. We thrive on simple gestures & acts performed by our kids. It's the little things that they say or do. What are these things? Well, the list is endless.. and all mothers out there will have their own favourites.

What are the things that will make mothers have that warm & fuzzy feeling of being blessed with beautiful children? The things that they do or say that will make us forget that they were so naughty & were driving us up the wall the day before? Well, here are some examples from my list of favourite simple pleasures:-

1. My little one coming to me & saying: "You are the Best Mom in the World" (of course we always believe this to be true!)
2. Hand-made cards saying "I love you, Mama" (even if accompanied by pictures of aliens invading the world)
3. Coming home to hugs & kisses (an atomic hug is always the best!)
4. My boy saying that he can never find a girl as pretty as his mom (haha! tak percaya, but still feeling warm & fuzzy!)
5. Watching them perform in school concerts (especially adorable pre-school concerts)
6. Watching them walk on stage to receive a prize (my pride & joy!)
7. My little girl saying she wants to grow up to be just like me (this actually brought tears in my eyes. really.)
8. Them running to you first when they fall or get hurt (moms have the magic touch of making everything feel better. It's a gift from God.)
9. Their teachers saying how good & well-behaved they are in school (unbelievable sometimes..)
10. Salam & hugs lepas sembahyang
11. Just watching them as they are sleeping (all of them look so peaceful & angelic when they are sleeping, kan? Bila bangun tidur aje... siap!)

As I said, the list is endless. Mothers, if you are reading this, maybe you can add to this list!

Feeling warm & fuzzy inside,

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Last Weekend's Adventure

Been wanting to write about the past weekend but have been too busy to write until today. Here's a summary:-

A trip to Museum Negara:

Having gone to the Singapore Museum of Asian Civilization 3 weeks ago, we thought that it's only fair to take the kids to Museum Negara last weekend. We were quite disappointed that the artifacts on display didn't rise to our expectation. There is not enough content, which is surprising since we have such a rich history & cultural journey spanning more than 6 centuries.

None of the exhibits were interactive or made interesting to young visitors. This would have been fine if the galleries had better artifacts on display. Unfortunately, this was not so. I guess they didn't have enough budget to upgrade the museum which is really sad.

Anyway, the only surprise came in the form of Roti Aiskrim that we bought from the pakcik aiskrim outside the museum. I wonder, do all museums have these ice-cream vendors from bygone days?

The Enlightening SDSI Expo:

The cutout from Berita Harian

Now, this "Satu Daerah Satu Industri" Expo was surprisingly wonderful! It was way above what I thought it would be. Melaka has been hosting the SDSI Expo every 2 years for the past 6 years apparently but we never ventured into the exhibition centre in MITC until this year.
Last weekend, we took the kids to the Expo just to past time & we were overwhelmed by thousands of people and hundreds of products from every state of Malaysia. Most of the products are beautiful & seriously underrated. Malaysia has so much to offer! I love the batik (especially from Terengganu). Adlan came back with a gasing from Temerloh, Hakim with a mengkuang hat from Terengganu, Adlina with a clay pendant from NS & Anas with a rotan keychain from Melaka.

Our kids thoroughly enjoyed learning how things are made from scratch, like the songket tenun and the tikar mengkuang. We didn't even realize that our picture was taken by Berita Harian & published in the newspaper last week! Malunya.. wish they had informed us prior to taking the picture, boleh la senyum sikit or posing-posing :-) We were totally selekeh in our weekend let-our-hair-down-seen-its-better-days clothes. Yikes! Anyway, thanks to Hz for the info - otherwise we wouldn't even have known that our picture came out in BH, selekeh & all :-)


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Anas is 6

Adorable Anas

Happy Birthday to our darling Anas who is 6 years old! 

Amongst all our children, Anas is the most mischievious. He is smart and confident. He speaks well from a very young age of 2 and from time to time he will amaze us with some bombastic word that he picked up from Adlan or from a show on TV. 

Anas loves to irritate his brothers and he just knows the right button to push to get them into a frenzy. Hakim is frequently up in arms with Anas. Unfortunately, I find it difficult to be mad at Anas when he gets into a mischief because he is just too adorable. Whenever he pouts, you just feel like pinching his cheeks or hugging him tight.

Anas reasons things well for a boy his age. You can have a good conversation with him about many thing, seriously. He has a good memory & he constantly surprises us with things that he remembered from a long time ago. Anas adores his best friend and only sister, Adlina. They play together and have loads of fun together doing art projects & other stuffs. Adlina would read books for Anas or they would tell each other stories. I really hope that our children will stay close together as they grow older.

Above all, Anas is a real blessing to Zaharim and me. 
We love you, darling. Happy Birthday!

Monday, November 3, 2008

2008 Annual Trip to Jakarta!

The staffs of Messrs. Adillah A. Nordin and their respective spouses were in Jakarta for our annual company trip from Thursday to Sunday last week & we had so much fun!! There were 15 of us in the group, with Mak joining us as usual. Zaharim & me, Kak Midah & Abang Rahim, Kak Faridah, Eyta & Azahari, Faizah & Hizam, Pakcik Long & Kak Zaiton, Mas, Cherryl & Masliza. We all had a BLAST in Jakarta!! 

We stayed at Le Grandeur Mangga Dua which is connected to the famous shopping mall called ITC. The hotel was fantastic & the location was perfect! Just a door to separate the hotel & 3 inter-connected shopping malls! Ini sangat-sangat membahayakan poket & dompet! :-)

Things are so unbelievably cheap in Jakarta, especially telekung, Muslim garments & leather products. If you are in Jakarta to shop, I highly recommend these places in particular:-

Jakarta City Center (also known as Warduk to locals) for Telekung, tudung & Muslim attires;
Tanah Abang Block A for fabric, clothes & garments;
ITC Mangga Dua for leather bags & wallets. 

You will be surprised by the variety & most of all: the Price! Murah Murah Murah!! You will be spoilt for choice! By Friday, most of us realized that we needed more Rupiah & we got so excited when Abang Rahim (who is a banker) informed us that we could withdraw money from the ATM machines! WOWIE!! More shopping sakan!! (I told everyone: Don't look at it as How much you have spent BUT How much you have saved! Heehee..)

Over and above all this, our tour guide Hasim took us to lovely restaurants for our meals. Mak (our tour leader every year!) requested freshly cooked food for all meals, so we didn't have any nasi padang at all (Phew! I don't fancy cold pre-cooked meals..). Instead, we had delicious masakan Sunda for most of the meals. Lots of seafood & vegetables! Yummy! 

I really look forward to these annual trips every year. It's not just the excitement of traveling to a foreign land & discovering new things, it's much more than that. It is a journey where we share good times together, we get to know each other better and we create unforgettable experiences & memories together. It's the bonding. That is truly priceless. 

Then, it was time to go home. Everyone takut excess luggage after all those shopping! But fear not, Azahari did his magic trick after some coaching from Zaharim (wink* wink*) & we were way below the limit!! Will not put in writing how this is done but if you need to know for future reference, do give me a call.. heehee.. :-)

Thanks to everyone for making Jakarta a wonderful & memorable journey! 

(^_^) Ikhlas from me & Zaharim

Monday, October 27, 2008

A Day in Singapore

Adlan, Hakim & Adlina by the river

The residents of Danau Kaseh spent Sunday in Singapore & we had so much fun & adventure!

We took the MRT to Raffles & walked over to the riverside. I've never been to this part of Singapore & it is so pretty & wonderful. Walking along the promenade by the river was a perfect way to wind down after a hectic week. 

We spent some time at the Asian Civilization Museum, which is just by the river, & the kids had a good laugh trying out costumes while learning about the history of the many cultures in Asia. 

A Chinese Princess flanked by 2 fierce Guards!

The museum is set in an old mansion called the Emperor's Palace & the wooden interior is beautifully preserved. The whole ambience in the museum is stunning. There is a temporary exhibit on display called "Neither East Nor West" which is a collection of old black & white photographs taken in the 18th century & early 19th century of people in Malaya. The photographs are truly amazing. It captured the spirit and nostalgia of the era where wealthy Asians were so westernized in their outlook and the way they dressed. I was so taken by the photo of the Sultanah of Johore who was the 4th wife of Sultan Abu Bakar. The picture was taken before World War I. The Sultanah was wearing a full gown, very similar to the ones worn by Queen Victoria of England, except that the material used was songket. These are rare pictures indeed. If you are in Singapore for a few days, do make a trip to this special place. I really recommend it.

Outside the museum

Walking out of the museum, we met an ice-cream vendor on a motorbike (exactly like those in kampung-kampung) selling Roti Aiskrim (a slice of Magnolia ice-cream sandwiched in light pink & green bread). The last time I saw this type of bread was more than 25 years ago, seriously. It was just as delicious as I remembered & a perfect snack for a hot day! 

Roti Aiskrim - Yummy!

One of the many bronze sculptures by the river

Walking back, we discovered quite a few bronze sculptures along the river, some abstract ones made by famous artists, & others depicting scenes of bygone years. They all add to the character of the promenade. I just wish that we had more of these in Malaysia..

When I asked Anas what was the best part of the day, he told me that it was riding on the MRT!! Haha :-)

What a great way to spend a family Sunday!


Thursday, October 23, 2008


I have a confession to make. I just discovered Online Scrabble last Friday & have been hooked on it since! So much so that I have stopped looking through all the news websites (as I normally would do first thing in the morning at work), stopped watching TV (even Ugly Betty & Desperate Housewives are not so exciting any more!) and neglected my blog (sorry for not updating!!).

Well, there is this thing about Scrabble that is very special to me. I was never good at sports in school. Apart from being in the school tennis team (I was at best, mediocre. Really), I was what people would call "kaki bangku" in school (Note: I would fail miserably in all the sports means test except for long jump). Memang betul-betul hopeless. 

Then I discovered Scrabble at university. I started playing competitive Scrabble & won a few tournaments. The ones I remember most were the inter-university competitions & the Malaysia-Singapore Games. I had so much fun & finally I found something that I was quite good at (not excellent - but not too bad either). But unfortunately I stopped playing Scrabble since I left university. That was 16 years ago.

So, when I found Scrabble Online last week - I got so excited!! Macam budak-budak dapat PS2 Game baru. You can play with anyone in the world! Wow! There is immediate verification on words & you can check all the 2-letter words available. You can invite friends to play, challenge anyone from anywhere & they keep statistics on all your scores! Wonderful!

Well, I have gotten over the excitement of discovering something new with Online Scrabble. Now I just play with my friend Ramona who used to be my room-mate when I was doing A-Levels in England. I couldn't have chosen a worse person to challenge: Mona is one of the smartest people I have ever met in my life: She did a Math Degree in Oxford University & she is now working from home as a translator. Read: English Translator (working with words every day. I must be crazy!). She has won 2 of the 3 games we played. We are on the 4th game & she scored 50 bonus points with her first word (when you use all your 7 tiles at once, you score 50 bonus points). Sigh... Wish me luck!

Why don't you try out Online Scrabble! It's in Facebook. I highly recommend it!


Saturday, October 18, 2008

MBSB Raya Openhouse

I've made some very good friends in MBSB having served them since 2002. Meeting up with Raha, Noraini, Razak & Zai is always a pleasure & yesterday was no exception. To me, they are friends first, and clients second.

Footnote: Linda tolong jahitkan manik on my baju (& Raha's too) & I gave her such short notice to do it. This is her work after less than 24 hours. Thank you so much, Linda. She has a sweet little boutique in Melaka & you can see some of her work here. Ni nak tolong promo kawan ni... :-)

Linda's special touch

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Datuk Shah Rukh Khan

It is with deep regret that the State of Malacca has found it fit to confer the award of Darjah Mulia Seri Melaka which carries with it the title of "Datuk" to someone who doesn't even know the exact location of this State in the map of Peninsular Malaysia. It is just so unimportant and insignificant to Shah Rukh Khan that he didn't even bother to attend the acceptance ceremony last Saturday. 

When I first heard this ludicrous news last Thursday, I seriously thought it was a joke. Then I later realize that this tragic news was true. I felt so angry and disappointed. How could this have  happened?

I know of so many more deserving Malaccans who have sacrificed so much of their lives for the State & they have not been given any award at all, let alone one which carries the title Datuk. I personally interact with some respectable people who have spent more than 20 years of their lives in the civil service or working in the State agencies, who had contributed so much in enhancing Malacca both socially & economically, and none of these people have been recognized for their tireless efforts. It's a real shame.

It is also unfair to the real-deserving people who have been conferred the award on merit as the title now seems so meaningless. As a Malaccan, I just feel so sad with the situation.

What is wrong with the powers that be in Malacca?

Raya Openhouses

It's been a weekend filled with Raya openhouses. Thanks to KZ & Angela, Encik Mohd Nor, Wan & Asri for inviting us to celebrate Hari Raya at their homes on Saturday. We finally spent the rest of the evening at Eda & Aswad's home for their Raya celebration where the kids had so much fun & frolic with their cousins!

Kids bergolek at Mikhael's room @ Eda's

On Sunday we were invited to Hajar's home & the staffs from Danau Digital gave me a surprise Birthday cake! Thank you so much for being so thoughtful.. I was really touched.. plus I felt old all over again :-) 

Zaharim & his staffs @ Hajar's home

I will upload more pictures later (^_^)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Danau Kaseh Openhouse

The pink kemah was rather sweet

It was really heartwarming yesterday when we received so many guests at home for Hari Raya. Thanks so much to everyone for making time to celebrate Hari Raya with us at Danau Kaseh. Special thank you to Pakcik & Makcik, Raha, Razak & Ayu who came all the way from KL to be with us at our home. 

Ms Hart meets Caramel @ Danau Kaseh;
Razak, in full baju melayu won the best-dressed guest!

I was on my feet from 4pm to 11pm, so didn't have the time to take pictures during the openhouse. Hakim took a few shots, and the rest are pictures that I took this morning, after the event.

Hakim took a picture of his favourite teacher, Ms Harnida

Thanks to Farah for the beatiful cushion covers &
Raha, Ani, Rozila & Razak for the pretty flowers

Linda, I love this floral arrangement. Thank you so much!

All's quiet now, after the chaos yesterday

The lull after the storm..

Been invited to 5 openhouses today... Looks like the 2kg lost during puasa is finding its way back...