Monday, December 22, 2008

Factory reject goods

I don't buy tableware every now and then. The plates I have were bought when I started working way back in 1975.They were Pyrex,came from England and you could buy them through dealers. It was such a hit then ,every household must have at least one set to be displayed. For everyday use they will settle for plates imported from China ie pinggan kaca putih berbunga-bunga. There were more stylish plates imported from England with trade mark Made in England , that belonged to the older generation at that time.

I was quite lucky I didn't have to spend so much money buying Pyrex ,for my next door neighbour was a Pyrex dealer.She was a house wife who took the opportunity to make money by selling Pyrex. The deal was if I sell ten dinner sets I could get one free.
Since the sets were sought after, people came to me to buy them ( all my friends were young ,just started working and eager to have things of their own ---me too! ). Years later all kinds of tableware were sold in the market but I am faithful to my Pyrex until today ( they are heavy ,but oven proof and later microwave proof ).

As I grow wiser I realised that the Pyrex sold in Malaysia ( through dealers )were seconds / factory reject. Back then I didn't know about quality control,nor did I was expose to factory reject goods. Same goes to food items ,I did not really care or noticed if they were expired. Only years later I learned from friends or knowing them from reading articles by Persatuan Pengguna Pulau Pinang. I also started using vegetable oil since then , when one of my colleage told me she used vege oil because her husband had high cholesterol ( at that time I vaguely knew about the danger of high cholesterol ).

When you are young, who your friends are and who you mix with can make or break you. Some friends still eat chicken with the skin. Some of them drink coffee with 5 teaspoons sugar per mug! Some live very healthy live and eat moderately--- I wish I was one too!

I realised that my pots and pans need to be changed. The ones that I have are so old. Some of them were already about 30 years old. Some looked so comot so I decided to replace them with new ones. This time my pots will be smaller in size since my two children already married and left home and the other two who are still single hardly eat at home! Gone were the days of big pots I used to cook chicken curry or chicken soup for the four growing children.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Wanita Umno Sdn Bhd

For an ordinary layman like me of course I don't understand why TSRafidah has her own transition plan. Just because PM has transition plan,she should have one too. But when Pak Lah was pressured and agreed for earlier handover to DSNajib ,Rafidah played tough.

It seems some grassroots didn't quite agree with her plan therefore they nominated Shahrizat to stand for Ketua Wanita. Of course Kak Fidah naik loktang ,first and formost she felt so betrayed by her right hand woman and secondly she realised that some of the wanita members tak ikut kata! All her dreams to become the de facto leader of Wanita Umno after her retirement are shattered. Thanks to Datuk Kamilia the dream spoiler!

Congratulations Datuk Kamilia,for being so brave. You have set precedent that no political posts can be inherited ie the number one just pass down the post to the number two without giving chance to many others who are equally capable.Those other capables are working as hard as Kak Fidah too, ensuring the smooth running of Wanita Umno in their branches or cawangan or whatever!

The moral of the story : Don't make Pergerakan Wanita Umno as a Syarikat Sendirian Berhad for whatever reasons you give. There are many others out there waiting for thier turn to serve the pergerakan.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Save the party not the person

Everybody are pointing fingers at Pak Lah for delaying ( refusing ) to step down ,but he's not the only one to be blamed. All his cabinet ministers ( except for few ) are playing safe , they dare not voice out their true opinion. They do not want their position will be like "telur di hujung tanduk ". Hence silent will be the best solution.

When TS Muhyiddin first voiced out his opinion many in the cabinet critised him. I suppose that is the way the Umno are, that is to defend their leader through thick or thin. What they don't realise is come next election if they loose more states to PKR, the whole cabinet will be out of job and Umno will get a massive stroke and die of heart attack.

People especially in the lower income group are angry with the rising price.The small income they get can't cover their expenses.They feel so frustrated and do not know to who they should turn to. Obviously to the govt, but the govt seems not to be taking any effective actions. And many of them vow to vote for the opposition, maybe they can do better (judging from their ceramah and manifestos).

Monday, October 20, 2008

First Ladies

I still remember our very First Lady of the country was the late Tun Syarifah Rodziah.She was a member of Kedah Royalties ,a sweet lady and as graceful as any royalties around the world. She stood daintily beside her husband the late YAM Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra on all ocassions.

Our second and third First Ladies were the two sisters from a prominent family hailed from Johor.They are beautiful and well dressed. They were admired by many and mothers dreamed that their daughters were born beautiful, so they might become wives of prominent figures later.

The sweetest of them all is Tun Dr Hasmah Mohd Ali .She is charming and loved by all. Even all the makciks in the remotest of the kampung could identify themselves with the First Lady. And they are rest assured she won't shun to shake the unlotioned hands of those makciks wearing red kain batiks with yellow baju kurungs and green head scarves.

Came Datin Sri Jeanne , at first people were sceptical about her. Can she fit in the footsteps of the late and the most gracious Datin Seri Hendon ( may she rest in peace,alFatihah ). But she does fit well in her role as First Lady.She stands tall besides her Prime Minister husband. Her smiles are genuine and soon she captures the hearts of the masses.

We don't want our First Ladies sticking out like a sore thumb and make our kampung folks so confused as who rules the country. When my makcik heard some of the ministers' wives announced they celebrate this year's raya in a moderate way as all their children spend their raya overseas , my makcik gaped. Never in her wildest dream that she could travel anywhere outside her kampung. Her family has no heavy machines,all they owned is a zaman Jepun kapcai. That's their only pride and joy.

She suddenly feels so small and so alien to the leaders.She thinks this country is not for poor people like her. It's for the selected few, who has class. Maybe she wouldn't vote at all the next election because she thinks her vote doesn't count!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

3 in 1

When I got headache all the time I was quite worried. One day I braved myself to visit Pusat Kesihatan when I went back to my kampung. Sure enough my blood pressure was quite high 150/90 , my cholesterol was 6.5 and my sugar was 7. And the doctor advised me to go for a proper check up when I go back to KL. He told me to have my blood pressure checked 5 times before the doctor can determine my real pressure .

I was quite happy during my second check up , my pressure went down to 152/78 but then went up again at 152/86 ,the next check up it went down at 142/72 then went up at 150/85. Thus I had to get my blood tested. Two weeks later I got my result and the doctor congratulated me because I got the 3 in 1 bonus that is, my cholesterol confirmed 6.5, and my sugar count is 7.5 fasting. And I was put into medication and referred to nutritionist for my new diet plan.

I followed my diet closely and manage to shed many kgs and my body feel fresh and light. My blood pressure,cholesterol level and sugar level is behaving themselves well but I got stuck with the medicines for life ( ? ). Amen. There goes my sedentry life! My hands shivered the first time I got the big bundle of medicines that last for 3 months before my next check up. That was the saddest day in my life. I indulged myself in self pity for a long while ( selepas makan tak berinsuran for many,many years! ).

For those who has been makan(ing) tak berinsuran for years and years who want to repent. Here are some tips from Pegawai Dietetik :

Avoid excessive sugar intake such carbonated drinks,heavy syrup , cakes(yep! common knowledge!).

Avoid all food excess in oil and fats such as animal fats or diary products such as full cream milk or cheese.

Avoid processed food as it contain a lot of salt and sodium that is any salted things, commercially prepared potato crisps,salted tapioca,all the chips,regular canned or dehydrated soups,broth,packet soups or soup cubes,belacan,cincalok,budu, sea salt, rock salt, msg or any salted snacks.

Whoa! Look like we are deprived of all the best things in the universe !

For us rice , mee ,pasta eater, makan biarlah berpada-pada.

And never skip any meal , go for small meals and it is even allowed 5 small meals a day . And of course , exercise at least 3 times a week for half an hour each session.

Caution: For those over fifty and dugong size do not try to play tennis or squash, you might injure your back bones and your knees!

Also never skip breakfast and lunch because tonight we have big kenduri so we can eat like a monster! According to the dietician, it doesn't work that way.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Hana dearest!

My daughter received a very shocking news on the second Hari Raya about 9.30 in the morning.Hana,her soulmate called from Dublin telling Nurul that her father had just died.May her father rest in peace and may Allah cucuri rahmat ke atas rohnya. Arwah Nik Mohammad was a nice, pleasant and very curtious man. Semoga beliau di tempatkan di kalangan roh-roh orang yang beriman. Amin!

Dearest Hana , we all love you and don't you forget that.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Unconditional love

As parent we might not be aware of sibling rivalry among our children. If the rivalry is very obvious we might think our children are behaving badly and we sometimes punish them severely. If the rivalry is very subtle we tend to overlook.I realised the existence of the rivalry among my four children only after they grew up and I became wiser ( as one grow older ). I am thankful that I tackled the matter wisely like saying the right thing at the right time. Otherwise without realising I could have made them feel unhappy ( dissatified ) all their life.

My two daughters are very close. They played together all the time and rarely quarrel when they were small.One day the elder sister came to me (she was 10 at that time) and told me she did't like it when her friends came to play with her but tend to play with the sister too. She even asked me who is prettier,she or her sister.I assured her that she is prettier, but she said her friends always told her that her sister is pretty. I told her they said like that because your sister is still small and she did't go to school yet.

I was really amazed when four years later my youngest daughter popped the same question of "who is prettier, me or my sister" when she was about 10 years old. I then assured her that she is prettier. She then questioned me if she is prettier, then why did her friends said kakak is pretty? I told her that was because kakak is already in secondary school.To the two girls the answer I gave was satisfying enough at that time and it made them happy. Eventually ( when they were in college )I told them this story but they didn't seem to remember it at all.

This rivalry thing too happened to my third son and my youngest daughter ever since they were two years old and one year old respectively. Whenever the sister was sitting on my lap he will quietly and slowly sat near me and before I knew it the sister was already on the floor and he was on my lap. Until today I did't know how he did it,either he pushed the sister quietly or he just sat next to her until she felt uncomfortable and moved away.

My third son seemed to be really jealous of the younger sister and he never gave chance to her in anything whenever they were with us. Always the sister just gave in to the brother. But that scheming tiny lady always got what she wanted in the end by letting the brother win first.

When they were away from us he was very protective and looked after her well.They went to the same kindergarten and the sister always tagged along with him whenever he played with his friends. One dissatisfied friend of his complained to his mother why everybody else had three children ( he has got one brother and one sister ) only aunty had four children. The reason for this complaint was because my youngest daughter was a nuisance to him and got into his way whenever he was playing with my third son. Like I said that scheming little lady would't let her to be side stepped!It is "Either I'm in or you are out".

My first son is four years older than my eldest daughter and he went to boarding school after he completed his form three. The other three children got really close to each other since the brother left. The eldest brother then pursued his tertiary education and came back for holidays once a year. When the brother came back things were not like when they were small, he felt he was being left out --three against one. He felt since he was away for too long he was not loved enough by his siblings and even us. He felt we love the three more than we love him. Vice versa, the three of them felt that I love his brother the most for when he came back he got the extra attention.

Well, the first two of my children had already been married I hope when they have children of their own they will know what parents' love is.....that is unconditional love!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Down memory lane

Last week me and my youngest daughter drove up to Kuala Trengganu.We stayed there for three nights as my daughter had to attend a wedding that took two days consecutively.We started at eleven in the morning from KL and drove leisurely stopping at any place and any time we liked. We stopped for coffee at Petronas gas station in Gambang, after that we stopped at Dungun ,stopped again at Marang and finally we reached KT at about 7pm,checked in the hotel that was prebooked (otherwise you have to sleep in your car if you don't have anyone to tumpang as all the hotel will be fully booked during the weekends and during the holidays).

We had a long eating list to be done ,that is to eat keropok lekor for our breakfast, lunch, tea and dinner, also not to mention nasi dagang , laksam and all the goreng - gorengan thing like sotong goreng ,ikan goreng celup tepung and sata on everyday basis.After all you don't go to KT often.For this I have to check and double check my cholesterol pills,..well..., I don't want to land in hospital bed in a foreign land.

The very next morning we went to Pasar Payang supposedly to cuci mata, but we landed in buying gula kerek ( which is a dying product elsewhere in the country ), cili kering from Yunan ,rempah nasi dagang and other things that catch our imagination.

The dry market is clean (even though the building is old ) and on the first level they are selling all the batiks, songkets ( hand woven as well as machine made ) also barang-barang tembaga and others.Uniquely,most of the merchandise are locally produced and not laden with made in Siam or China things.

Since YAB Dato' Ahmad Said is very persistent in getting royalty money from the government ,I hope some of the money goes to reinventing Pasar Payang,to match the new building across the street.Also various courses for the sellers at Pasar Payang to match the ladies at Pasar Siti Khadijah who are very customer friendly. Some of the sellers in PP were very indifferent , we had to start talking or asking first then will only they start being warm to us.This attitude of 'tak sayang kedai' really exasperate us.But there's no denying that some of them are very friendly and really make us feel most welcome.Anyway we really enjoyed shopping there .

We fell in love with some homemade bread at this particular stall ,but the owner was not there. We waited for a while and then came two men who said they had already waited about half an hour ago.We decided to go elsewhere first and to come back later. My daughter told me that stall must have something good otherwise they won't be waiting that long. Soon after , the owner came with a trolley load of keropok lekor.They told us that keropok lekor is the best in KT. He said he sold fried keropok at his stall in Pulau Kambing,and his customer had to queue up everyday to buy the keropok.We were very excited and told him we will go to his stall to eat keropok goreng. We couldn't find signboard for Pulau Kambing,all we found were signboard for Pulau Duyung. In the end we had to give up the idea.

When buying food always choose the popular stalls. The unpopular ones will bring disaster to you, like for example the food is not tasty, the keropok is tough and extra oily due to being fried repeatedly. So we must be patient if the queue is long. We had this experience of oil splashing on our face when we bit the fried keropok lekor

We enjoyed going to Pantai Batu Buruk , to watch the sunset.I told my daughter that when she was small our family used to stop at BB Beach everytime we balik kampung to Pahang ( we were in Kota Baru for 5 years )and we used to eat at the beach stalls. My daughter was surprised when I told her she used to eat fried icecream here. She couldn't believe icecream goreng already existed in the 80's. But sadly enough she couldn't remember any part of the journey from KB to Rompin ,she said all she could remember was ,there were long journeys. I told her we used to break journeys at significant places like pantai BB,we also used to stopped at Pusat Peranginan Sekayu and we really make the journey balik kampung like an expedition to our children.

I felt so touched when she asked me were they such a nuisance to us during those long journeys. I explained to her that all of them are very precious to us and everything we did were for them ,they were our first priority.She even asked were they good as children. Maybe she thinks it is so tough to be married and to raise small children.Being a carier woman herself she might feel she can't cope with all the responsibilities. Now I understand why she shudders when the topic of marriage crops up.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Malay wedding

Recently I attended a wedding ceremony held at a very popular venue in KL . It was a grand reception and the bride ( I know her from small ) was stunning in her silver grey wedding dress.Some brides couldn't compete with the guests' attires and glitters and just drown in the background. Most of the time,the brides are the main attraction but the grooms are quite safe from the scrutinity.

As usual the bride and groom were introduced to the guests via the big screen featuring them during childhood until the akad nikah ceremony. If you really know either one of them , you will enjoy the show and you feel connected. If not you will feel like you are in foreign land.

One can imagine going to a lavish wedding yawning amidst the "....and the first time they saw each other.....winter....London/Paris/New York..." . After that you are caught in a mile long queue to congratulate the pengantin who look through you with their readymade smiles.

To me weddings are always for relatives ,close friends and neighbours who really know you and your children. When my son was getting married I planned for a small reception .The caterer was surprised and told me usually first wedding in the family should be between 800 to 1000 guests.But of course you don't want your son to throw plastic smiles at some of the guests that he doesn't know!

There was one wedding I really cherished . It was held in a garden that can cater about 200 to 300 guest from 12noon to 3pm.A small and sweet wedding it was and very personal.The host can really sit down and entertain the guests.And I wish I could do the same to the rest of my children .

Can you imagine a wedding ceremony without tepak sirih and hantaran? Well my friend had done that.She told her tok besan not to bring any tepak sirih, just bring cincin and duit maskahwin only.During the akad nikah no one realised there were no dulang hantaran berderet-deret di tengah rumah.

During my daughter's engagement there was no tepak sirih but during the akad nikah my tok besan said her relatives in the kampung insist on bringing the tepak sirih. When I told them to bring 3 dulang hantaran their relatives insisted that 5 is the minimum. I had to crack my head as how to fill the dulang balasan .Of course you dont simply put sejadah,kueh baulu or kek buah just to fill the trays.You might insult your children's parent in law!

Now I am thinking hard whether or not to serve nasi putih with kari ikan, sambal belacan serta ulam-ulam, sayur kampung and no rendang daging and acar buah during my last two children' wedding. Hmmm...will my friends enjoy the food or will they say I am kedekut.

My family do not observe bersanding ceremony,therefore there is no pelamin in the house.If tok besan's side follow the bersanding tradition,I will abide by it.Many said it is unfair for me not to allow my children to bersanding.Since marriage is a one in a lifetime ocassion I should not deny them of their right to bersanding. To that I have no answer and I don't want to get caught in chicken or egg situation.

As there is no pelamin therefore there is no bunga pahar.To make up for it I make bunga telur for each of my guest as door gift. I hope they don't throw the bunga after they eat the telur!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

KB: Revisited

I jumped at the opportunity to go to KB recently. My daughter made necessary arrangements like getting cheap Air Asia fare and a fairly cheap hotel . And we got the best deal (through the internet) Juita Inn offered RM 178 for three persons plus three breakfast. Since then we were counting days to revisit KB ( we left in 1990 after staying there for 5 years )

We arrived about 11 at night tired but excited ,we rushed to our room ( as usual to throw our luggages and to sprawl on the bed ,the habit my two daughters inherit from me ) to plan for tomorrow ,what to eat and where to go.As the door swung open the damp smell greeted us , to our dismay the room looked like it has never been refurbished since the 90s . We finally fell asleep at the wee hour of the morning breathing the damp air accompanied by the air cond that sounded like flight 747 about to land.

In the morning we woke up giddy headed but it was compensated with a good breakfast ,especially the porridge ,yep ,to die for. During breakfast we made plan to move to a better hotel and my daughter got out of this world deal , a much, much better place with a very reasonable price (through a friend).

Of course our plan was what to eat first-- nasi kerabu with ayam percik, nasi dagang ikan tongkol, laksam, nasi air Mak Su Nab, nasi kukus Zakini---and also to buy jala mas to take home for my daughter's friend. Not to mention a must buy keropok leko and keropok kering ,sambal daging, rempah kuzi specially made by Mak Nik Selamah, who is my dearest mak angkat who sells all kinds of rempah in and out of Kelantan state. Also not to mention her murtabak that is really superb!

My two daughters wanted to visit their former primary school that was SRK Zainab 2 at Jalan Telipot but first we went round to have a peep at our former house at Jalan Raja Dewa, and it was as beautiful as when we left it. Both of them were very excited but of course we can't linger too long. I could see my daughters were so happy to see their alma mater, relived their memories of the school, their friends, and how they went to school on a trishaw that was being modified to fit in 8 to 10 primary students. My youngest daughter, who is now 26 years old, told me that during those trishaw days, she was always pushed to the very corner of the plank of the trishaw because she was a pint-sized girl. I felt sorry for her and quite angry with myself cos I never asked them whether they're comfortable or not. But compared to me they're luckier- well, I walked to school !

Then on we visited a house in Kubang Krian, a house where they used to spend time. It belonged to a dear family friend of ours. The owners have already migrated to KL (the whole family) and they hired a caretaker for the house. It is such a beautiful house, a mini palace that was, they bought from one of the royalties way back in the 70's. My daughters were very excited as they tour the house and still remember the very sofa used to be Uncle Wan's favourite and the corner they used to play during that time . Of course our family friend scolded us for not staying in their house but it won't be the same without them. We'll miss them in KB even though we are all in KL now.

The next venue is of course Pasar Siti Khadijah , my daughters had a long shopping list with them, and the main item was to buy tudung bawal among others. They bought tudung like there's no tomorrow, bought some for themselves, for the auntie, the other daughter bought for the in laws, bought batik kaftan for the mother in law and jubah for the father in law. Bargaining ,haggling finally they thought they got the best deal and happily part with their money. The art of berniaga in Kelantan is so unique you can't find it elsewhere (in the world) ---after the transaction the taukey kedai presented her a piece of kain batik Jawa as a goodwill token for the money well-spent.

We haven't that much luck in eating, we were overcharged at Zakini Nasi Kukus. The cost of a half plate of rice with a piece of curry ikan tenggiri, two pieces of paru, salad and a piece of ayam percik including 3 glasses of plain water set us back at RM19. To make things worst, the whole meal was not even hot (despite the name Nasi Kukus that should be steaming hot). The memory of the food that we used to love didn't turn out as we expected it to be.

We went to the new foodcourt adjacent to the pasar Siti Khadijah to eat laksam and were happy to know that this replaced the old one. The old foodcourt was dirty and congested. The new foodcourt consist of ground floor for dry food like dodol, ketupat, tapai, etak, jala mas, buah tanjung and others. Considering it is a dry food area, it should be clean and spotless. The same goes to the eating place upstairs, which should be in tip top condition. However, the beautiful tiles and the floors looked like it has never been mopped! I hope Majlis Perbandaran Kota Bharu get some workers to clean the food area twice a day and invest in giant brushes and mops! Or else, it will loose the charm as a PASAR SITI KHADIJAH.

Riuh Sekampung!!!

Mungkin TM dah upgrade modem yang lebih lawa dari ni! Bangun pagi nampak modem merah menyala! Eh, Telekom Malaysia tambah speed intern...