Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Internet

We hosted a small makan-makan session for family and close friends last weekend, just a day after we arrived from Jakarta.

Seriously, the family on my father's side is super mega huge and we are really loud too that you can tell the clan is coming from a mile away. We laugh like the world is ours, and we chat like there's no tomorrow.

picture credit to Nawal
It was really good to get to see everyone before I go back to the uk, which is surprisingly and strangely something I'm not looking forward to do. If only I could stay another week at home, I'll do anything. Anything anyone can think of.

Anyhow, the highlight of the day was not the food, nor the gossips or the newborn babies, but the EPL match that was aired live that evening. Came seven pm, the boys were already asking about espn. But sad to say, we don't have it. Being in a family of five ladies and a man, we have never subscribed to any sports packages on astro. My father is always too occupied with work and computer that he doesn't even bother to watch football. Or any other sports for that matter. So does everyone else.

When my brother-in-law joined the family, he has no one to watch football matches with, that he ends up going out with friends. How boring can a family be, right? Hehe. But don't worry, I'll find an MU fan husband to cheer, shout and scream with him =)

Anyway, disappointed with our espn-less tele, the boys decided to go to a mamak stall nearby. However, it was raining cats and dogs outside, plus everyone had filled in so much food that they encountered a really hard time to move around. Lazy bums these lot. In the end, they resorted to online streaming.


At this instant, I'm sure you must be thinking Ohh poor them, watch football online over the famous malaysian turtle internet connection that is slower than a slug. They'll surely miss all the key moments of goal scoring and red cards and send-offs and all the cool stunts. Pity pity them. Correct?

But, hang on there and save the thought for later.

Because, lucky them, we have High Speed Broadband at home! Thanks to TM, my father had HSBB installed a few months back. It only takes five minutes to download an episode of desperate housewives, ten minutes for a software update and half an hour to Toy Story 3. You can even watch youtube videos while it's downloading, no waiting required. Online streaming is made sooooo easy.


HSBB packages

I stayed with them for the whole match, listening to all the unfamiliar jargons. I bet I can produce my own glossary by now. Next time, I'll make sure I have football for dummies ready. And after two hours of go, go, go and yes, yes, yes I realised I had not eaten since morning *angry enzymes in stomach*


p/s : The safest place to go now is the US, while the UN assembly is taking place. Police officers will be shoulder-to-shoulder, guarding streets and buildings. Hehe.

I hate packing. Please.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Loving the Neighbours

So I went missing again, for five days.
But this time, I was in J.a.k.a.r.t.a!

I went with my mum and the neighbours. Now tell me friends, how often do you hear a group of neighbours travelling outside the country together?

I got all sort of unbelievable and weird reactions whenever I mentioned that I was going away with, yes, the wonderful people who sleep within a hundred metres from my bed. And yes again, we're living in this neighbourhood where internal politics is the main topic at get-togethers and the ladies even form a group of their own to share interest. Ohhh.. don't get me started on how they gossip night and day about everyone in the area. 

I'm grateful, nevertheless, to have such wonderful and kind neighbours to accompany my parents.


Anyway, Jakarta is very well known for its traffic noise, hazy air, unpredictable rain and contaminated water.

BUT.

It's also the land where all the marvellous food belong to. Nasi Goreng, Gado-gado, Bakso, Soto Betawi, Teh Botol, and all other gorgeous mouth-watering dishes. They are all omnipresent in the country, that it's not hard to find a row of stalls offering the same menu.




Oh! We had Gurami and it was presented in the most creative and astonishing way I've ever seen. Does this look like a fish to you?


Anyway, the country is also the heaven for textiles and laces. Although that's not our main reason for visiting this neighbour country, we got off track more than once. Too many times in fact. Especially with favourable exchange rate and the only time to be a millionaire yourself, who can resist shopping right? We were smart to bring an empty bag for this purpose. Hehe. And the mums shopped like hungry bears, I tell you.


Lastly, Indonesia without a day dedicated to pamper oneself at one of the many many spas available along the street is not a complete trip. Trust me, nothing is more indulging than to be treated like an Egyptian queen for half a day. Therefore, I've reserved an entry specially just for this =)

Ohhh I now have someone to FaceTime with. Yippie!!! Biggest smile here.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Why Men Love Bitches

HA HA.

Ok, this entry has nothing to do with the title, pardonnez-moi. It's just a book I found at mph this morning, which has successfully gotten me literally sitting down on the floor, reading while waiting for my mum. It's really interesting, as the catchy title suggests. And I'd recommend this to all the ladies out there. Go grab the book, and listen to Miss Sherry Argov.

Another good book which I can certainly vouch for is "Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man" as it brings us into men's minds. Why this book? Because it's written by a man, for all women. That's Mr. Steve Harvey we're talking about.

Source : Google.com
Anyway, my loved ones are very well aware of my fondness for kuey teow goreng, and self help books. I used to soak myself up in novels, ignoring everything else at times, when I was younger. But as I grew older (and wiser I may add), I learned that novels are liars. They take you into the realm of fantasy, which more often than not, is opposite to our dear life. So instead, I started picking up motivational and educational books at bookstores, or business if both are not available. Call me a nerd, but blame it on my dad. He has a huge collection of these books in his library, from where I routinely steal.

Obviously, I'm not entirely motivated as I don't apply everything I read, but I can safely say these books have made me strong at moments when other people would break down.

My sister calls me a stone-hearted woman.
A friend accuses me of being emotionless.
A stranger would say I am heartless.

All the names cruelly thrown at me just because of one single reason - that I don't cry when I'm supposed to. The only time I cried was when I got stuck at Statistics. Sometimes it even gets me wonder, where have all the tears gone to. Am I really heartless? I do envy people who could easily shed tears, because they have the chance to let all the anger out, while I have to deal with bottled up feelings. 

But, no cry does not equal to no sad.

Source : Google.com
Reading motivational books, however, has greatly helped me to sail through the hurdles smoothly. I make myself believe that everything happens for a reason. Sounds cliche, but when you really make the phrase as part of your life, you'll notice how it can change the way you view complications, misfortunes and even hiccups. This could probably spare you one box of tissue, and one week of restless nights.

Right now, I am a predator who lost to another predator, which makes me a victim as I starve. But as I wade through the river with my grumbling stomach, I found others who are nice enough to share their morning catch with me. This may be too deep for anyone to understand, though =)

Anyhow, being at the bottom of a roller coaster makes me realise that I've got great friends around. For these people you know who you are thanks so much for being just you. Every word makes me a step higher, every smile makes my day brighter.

Sorrento, Italy
As Fergie says, Big Girls Don't Cry

Friday, September 17, 2010

The First Attempt

I spent twelve hours on the bus, hurting the butt off,
on the fourth day of raya.
I covered five states in five days.
And I'm having the widest smile =D

How's yours?

Btw, enjoy this clip prepared by yours truly.

video

This is of the smallest size to fit in the blog.

A friend said this blog sangat vain.
Haha, here have some more!

Never thought jubah can be so chic lol
Well, if you don't like the pictures then don't look.
easypeasy right?

I'll write more later.

Friday, September 10, 2010

10-Sept-2010

Can you believe it?! It's already Eid!

Today, everyone will be in their best outfit possible. I'm sure we'll see a lot of lip-lap-lip-lap (note : any attempt to translate will diminish its essence) around us on clothes, shoes and decorations. There's nothing more amazing than to observe the wonderful world before us in scenes of joyous celebration.

And today, is the time for us to apologise and to forgive. We go to the mosque in the morning to meet the Almighty and seek for His forgiveness. Also to thank Him for giving us the strength to undergo ramadhan. We come back home and hug our parents, siblings and relatives and say sorry to each other. *Not to forget duit raya* Ahh... how peaceful and harmonious.

Also today, this girl delights in an extra celebration. Hehe. Happy 21st birthday, darling!


 I gave her a super big present which I hope she loves.

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A huge fond embrace!!


She said, you shaped me. =)

And with this, I would like to take one minute of your life to apologise for my wrongdoings, if I ever hurt any of you in person or through my writings. Intentionally or unintentionally. Let's hope year 1431 will make us better and bring us closer. Happy Eid Mubarak!

Went for takbir raya for the first time and wondered, why didn't I come here before?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

RAYA

The holy month leaves us just as quickly as it arrived. It's already 29 days into the month, and soon we'll be having our biggest celebration of the year. It's sad thinking that after Friday, the mosques will be empty. No more two-hour recitation of verses from the Quran, just sound of crickets gleefully cheering up the night. And another 335 days must pass before we see lights in the prayer area, and microphones in used again.

Successfully fasting has proven our devotion, yes, but that alone is nowhere near sufficient to gauge the distance between us and God. There's so much I could have done over the past twenty nine days but being imperfect, I tend to find excuses and lost. 

May Allah the Most Merciful forgive us all of our wrongdoings and shortcomings. And we are really blessed if we still be around for Ramadhan next year, insyaAllah.

Pic Googled

To my fellow muslim friends, Happy Eid Mubarak.
To my non-muslim friends, Enjoy the long holiday!!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Genie in The Bottle

If I were granted three wishes, at the age of twenty two (read : still immaturely young), these are what I'd ask for:

1. A pollution-free world. Come on, who wouldn't want clean earwax and healthy nose hair? Hehe. Ok, those sound a bit disgusting. But, who in the world would reject the idea of having a strong heart and deliciously soft supple skin? a wacko

I want the air to smell clean and fresh. I want drizzling rain not thunderstorm. And I want to see snow in winter. And flowers in autumn. But most importantly, I want the sky and clouds to be clear. So that the moon spotter can skodeng the new moon tonight, and announce Eid tomorrow. I've never had the "yahoo!! esok raya" moment all my life. Have you? It's always, Ohh Eid is day after tomorrow and weep to another twelve hours of hunger. Hehe.

2. Bring Inception into reality. If only I can do that, I won't think twice of going into my mum's head and take the old overaged unmarried daughter picture off her mind. And if it still doesn't work, I'll saturate with images of everything else but a spinster. As Leo said, idea is the most resilient contagious parasite. True. My mum just won't stop talking about boyfriends and marriages these days, that it's driving me crazy. She would come back from a friend's house and talk about the son. Come back from the surau and talk about ustaz's daughter tying the knot. Come back from shopping and talk about a friend's son, again.

Hurm.. all I can say is I have enough love already in my life, thankyousoverymuch. I love my iPhone. I love my salsa class. My Parisian hotel - inspired room. My shoes. My Macbook. My Prada handbag. And at this rate, I wager you must be thinking she's better off being in love with inanimate objects. Is it wrong? You give your heart to a person, he/she breaks it. You love the objects, they'll stay until the cows come home. Unless you're the clumsy one to break or misplace them.

I'll make sure I'm at least 27 on my wedding day, rocking that plain soft pink satin dress. With nice car and house to brag about, and a career that gives me white hair. period. I didn't mean to sound cocky, but dream big.

3. Smile and Be Happy. When I got home last week, I placed a weighing scale in my sister's bathroom. She asked what is it for, and I said to weigh of course! Still not satisfied while putting the why-the-heck-did-she-put-it-in-MY-bathroom look, she asked defiantly, then what do you do with your weight? to which I answered, then you be happy with it la!


this is getting quite lengthy.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Pre-Raya

It was Sunday, and we were all lazing around in the living room watching tele, reading newspaper and discussing random topics on the country itself, the continent and the world, all at once, when suddenly the front door opened. There stood my mum. As how all mums would act upon seeing their children idling, she put both hands on waist and turned red. Oh oh, we were in trouble.

And when she opened her mouth and started talking about a friend's sons who allegedly are exceptional at doing house chores, we knew we were in MAJOR trouble. Comparing us girls to her friends' sons is like the red light alert when a volcano is erupting. Soon, she was barfing lava.

Then as usual, we would have our siblings meeting. How could we forget the rule of thumb? Whenever she comes back from a friend's house, just pretend like you're busy. Arrange the dishes. or do your bed. or sweep the floor. or split the pile of unironed laundry so that it doesn't seem too high, at the very least. Snap forehead everyone.

Anyway after a very elaborated discussion, we decided to bake raya cookies. Chocolate Chip to be exact, because it's the easiest. and because we've been doing it every raya. But we would try different recipe every year, from various sources. The internet, chef wan's, neiman marcus', friend's recipe, friend of friend's. You name it. But the best has always been the one mum gave us, scribbled in her 25-year-old notebook. Last year, we got a little involved in business that we tried to sell our cookies. And the biggest fan? Brother-in-law's family. Haha. I always like how they support us endlessly.


Chocolate Chip cookies
Well, they may not look so edible at first sight, but trust me, this is the best we've ever done in a decade!! We ourselves were quite surprised of how they turned out to be. Crispy and chocolate-rich. Just the way I like it.

And because we got quite messed up with the quantity, we decided to make Honey Cornflake too. I'm sure everyone knows how to do it, hehe.


Have one!
Ohh, I was trying one of those tudung sarung everyone in Malaysia seems to be wearing. I despised it in the beginning because it makes me feel messy, but now can't take it off. Hehe. Thank you.

I look like someone from a neighbour country.
No puns intended.

Monday, September 6, 2010

City of Lights

Show me one, just one, place in malaysia where you can find a giant conifer tree and a snowman standing ghastly all year round, be it sunshine or rain, with all accessories perfectly intact. Even when it's nowhere near Christmas, Noel, Navidad or whatever the world call it. Can't think of one?

Pat my back, hurry, cause I can tell you!! Here they are :



I think the pictures just don't do them any justice by amplifying their hideous side. Because to be honest, they are beautiful and ravishing indeed.

Anyway, wouldn't you just grab the opportunity to go up north to play with snow and make your own handsome snowman with twig arms and checkered scarf? Well, welcome to I-City! The 'city' is so lively and colourful and wonderful with lights at almost every inch of the land that you'll feel like being kidnapped by Santa Clause and brought over to his toy-making warehouse. The snowman for example, has the widest smile enough to substitue paracetamol for any relief of pain. And next to Mr. Snowman are a couple of penguins waving their flippers Hello to welcome visitors. And you'll get the chance to meet Santa's reindeers too!

Picture's a bit dark because of the lighting
What more interesting is, once you step out of the snowland and walk a few meters down the pathway, you'll find yourself in safari zoo looking at tigers and elephants and horses and.. many many more.



Then walk some more and you'll be in err... Chinatown? Couldn't agree more, the combination is really weird and bizarre. But when the camera's ready, just smile and cheese =)

Again, the light.
Ok, that's basically all. Now forget about all the nice sugary flowery words I've used before, as I think the Azwan Ali in me has emerged, hot and in rage. Let's be honest and straightforward. I don't usually complain about stuff but frankly, we were not there for so long and throughout the half an hour or so period, I was perpetually baffled by the whole purpose of this so called I-City. There were rows of empty shop lots, instead of any effort or signboard to explain its existence. Just lights on the right, lights on the left, lights in front and everywhere that will surely make you dizzy. So I went back and asked for Mr. Google's help.


Apparently, the new I-City which is located in Shah Alam is supposed to be the country's MSC. It's known as city of digital lights (aaahaaa!!) and offices will be stationed there in the future. Plans also include trendy shopping streets and (better) theme parks. At least that explains, right? But in my honest opinion, there's a long way to go before we can enjoy any shoppings hehe.

If you don't mind paying rm10 for entrance, by all means, do come and visit this place! =)


Does anyone have any suggestion of stopping my mum from matchmaking me with her friend's son!!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Bread-making

What better way is there to welcome loved ones home than the smell of hot homemade bread, fresh from the oven, wafting around the house in the morning? None! As this creates the memorable taste sensation that just reminds you of the childhood moments that took place under the same roof.

And I wish to humbly present..


Our homemade bread. Hehe.

Well, my mum has been pestering me with questions about breadmakers and bread in general for as long as I can remember. Can you find a good breadmaker in London? Can you bring one home? No! Too heavy ma! Did you know that commercial breads contain dangerous preservatives? Err.. yes mum! Instantly I knew there must be one neighbour residing within one km radius from our house who owns a breadmaker and has been feeding these moms with her soft, fluffy, preservative-free bread. AND that was when the competition began. Pfft, housewives these days...

Anyway, since I didn't bring much back this time, I decided to surprise her with a breadmaker. I carefully filled the box with bubble wrap, sealed it, tied ropes around and weighed it. Whoa! It took almost half of my bag allowance given. But.. I need and want to bring it back for mama. Fortunately I found out about the extra 10kg allowance explained in the previous post. And luckily I had a friend to help carry the box to the airport and I safely checked it in with the fragile sticker affixed. Hehe.


So yesterday, we tried THE breadmaker. And to my surprise, making a bread with this little machine is very easy like 1-2-3.

All you need to do is prepare the ingredients beforehand using the suggested recipe with measurement, put everything into the pan provided in order, place it in the breadmaker, press start, go upstairs to watch tele, do laundry, bathe and... come back to the fresh smell.

Here are the steps :

Step 1. Mix the ingredients


Step 2. Put the pan back into the breadmaker, and wait.


Step 3. Tada!!!


Step 4. Slice and Eat.


I learnt that in breadmaking, accuracy is vital. A slight change to the measurement might affect the result. Hard bread or soggy bread, you choose. This machine can also make various types of bread, and even cakes and jam! Cool huh? Seriously, now I think everyone should get this and save your family from the fatal preservatives added to the breads sold at your local grocery shop. You can even set the timer where you can prepare everything before hitting the sack, and wake up the next morning to a soft, fluffy, preservative-free bread just like our neighbour's. Hehe. Anyhow, I'm sure breadmaker is not impossible to find here in Malaysia. It's no alien. Good luck!


It'd be even better if this baby can make croissant.. and pain au chocolat. Hehe.

Guess what! Clumsy me forgot to bring her camera charger back.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

hi.

Sooooooo....

HELLO MALAYSIA!!

Here, my fresh face leaving London. Hehe.
Ohhh this is so exciting! Despite the constant heat and sweating.
But that's normal right? I'll get used to it.
I arrived quite late yesterday, it was almost iftar time.

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I was so bored in the plane that I managed to write this :

While everyone else are having their, err..

breakfast if you follow uk time, or late lunch in Malaysia.

Anyway, while they are all eating, I have no choice but to sit helplessly at the smell of nasi lemak and the sight of cheesecake. Put the headphone on, select and play some classical album and here I am.. writing.

This feels like the shortest puasa day ever (it is in fact!). I had sahur seven hours ago (2am uk time) which I went to sleep straightaway after eating and only woke up when they turned the light on to serve food. And! guess what!! we'll be arriving in Malaysia in about one and a half hour from now (6pm Msia time), which leaves me only about two hours to go. woot woot!! Having used to fasting for 17 hours in London, what is ten hours of hunger right?!

Anyway, this whole journey is no pleasant. I'm placed next to the most horror mom in the world! I wonder when is she going to stop scolding and yelling at her daughter who is, too, annoying. Haha. O0ohh… I can sense another pair of eyes looking at this screen. Gotta go. Later.

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Phew, ok. Now she's watching a movie. She is a very fierce and unfriendly lady, who smirked and made faces when I asked to borrow the newspaper. Travelling alone does not help at all. I am so unlucky that I ended up making friend with the steward (haha!) who gave me extra food for sahur, came every now and then to check if I'm ok, asked if I wanted to pray and even brought me to the prayer area. YES. you got that correct, there IS a muslim prayer area in the flight. Cool eh? it's just a small area with one prayer mat laid, and the space is covered by a curtain. 

And, when it was almost time to Imsak, he came to make sure I had enough water. And for someone who normally finishes the whole jug of water every morning, you can imagine how many times he had to come to fill the small plastic cup. Hehe.

Anyway, I've just finished writing the feedback for my boss which I'm supposed to submit before I left the office. I guess I'm just gonna email it to him. As written before, I went to the office on my final day in London.  Ironically (or expectedly) I was given more task to complete than I've ever had. It was my last day ok! And thee I was, struggling to finish the job, which actually held me back for about an hour plus the huggings and goodbyes. I didn't manage to fully finish it, but I left it for a colleague to continue. Ahh, that reminds me to email him the things that need to be done, as a departing gift to him I call it. Hehe.

I had to rush back hom, get the bags and left. We reached the airport at fifteen to eight, checked-in and broke fast. Then said farewell and went in. By the time I got in, they were already calling for boarding. I bought chocolates and rushed as fast as I could to the gate. And yada yada yada, here I am, again, writing. Hehe.

Ohhh!! One important note : If you're a student, flying with Malaysia Airlines, you are entitled to get an extra 10 kg of the original bag allowance. All you have to do is just show your student ID. Your extra ten kilo, however, needs to be separated from the original luggage allowance. Which basically means, you'll need separate bags.

Ok, better stow the laptop away now, we're landing soon. Malaysia, here I come!!


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Selamat Berpuasa Everyone! I'm still unpacking.
Pffttt can't wait to go to Bazaar Ramadhan today!!

My dad's first line 'Eh kenapa tak gemuk pun?' PAPA!!!