Thursday, December 21, 2006

FASCINATION OF THE MONSOON



Dear people, the Monsoon is back, baring its fierce fangs. The howling strong winds would hurl the rain with great force, splashing it carelessly all over. And the mighty waves would fearlessly hit the sand banks making a great clamor. The non-stop pour has once again cause the small river behind my house to overflow the wet-land and turns it into a murky lake.

Tonight,on my way back, I had to make several turn-backs as many spots of my usual route were flooded causing me to take the Gebeng-Kuantan bypass instead which incidentally is in the upgrading process into 2 lanes on each side. Thus there were many colossal pot-holes and my car nearly ended up in one! Almost reaching home, I found that the narrow road near the small bridge was flooded too! The river, which opens to the sea, due to the high sea tide and heavy onslaught from the rain, couldn't contain the rushing water anymore and let it spill its brim helplessly. Whilst contemplating another detour, a motorist passing by told me that it was shallow and passable. Alhamdulillah.

Below are some similar excerpts from my last year's Monsoon entry:

The rain poured relentlessly, sometimes hard, loud and thrashing, sometimes soft, monotonous and drizzling, alternatingly. But never the sun shined a single minute, never! At times, the eeirie sounds of monsoon wind hit the rattling window, sounding so much like a human voice trying to scare little kids away. Even the sea-waves wanted a part in this monsoon 'play', culminating into a few feet high and hitting the beach with full vengeance, 'daboooosh!'

As I finished typing this entry, I was starting to feel relieved as the rain began quieting down, pelting its last drop when suddenly, a new thunderous shower began to fall again with shameless vigor!!


Although a bit late, the monsoon is, without doubt, here, once again!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

HEY , I WENT STAG!!!

The MMA Pahang held their annual dinner tonight and I was invited by a physician who sponsored a whole table of ten. I was initially reluctant to go as ikelah is on call tonight and that means I had to attend the dinner alone. Going stag to a formal ado is such a pain. Essentially you'll be mingling with perfect strangers or people whom you only meet once a year! I tried coaxing a colleague to come along but alas she can't find a replacement for her night shift. Alhamdulillah I get to sit next to a fellow GP who is into aesthetic medicine and I got an insight of the compelling field she is practicing now. The food was ok. Though I can never understand Chinese course! You eat all the protein first and the carbohydrate last! Technically I think it's a healthy way to eat as you are forced to ruminate slowly on each dish. But I ended still feeling hungry as I had to leave early (my poor kids were waiting for me at the nearby mall) and didn't get to savor the rice.

As all formal functions in Malaysia (why aaah?), the dinner started almost an hour late waiting for the VIP guest. The event was emceed by two doctors who spoke quite eloquently I daresay. One of them is a guy who chose not to practice medicine right after housemanship. Instead, he made a tremendous 'jump' into the ICT world and started a successful internet business. I am forever at awe of such brave people who dare make great life-changes and follow their heart.

We were entertained by the state budaya dancers who danced gracefully a potpourri of local traditional dances. The person next to me queried, 'Why do the dancers smile continuously whilst they dance?" And I replied, "It's to show that they are enjoying the exercise!'. To which she responded, "Yes but it'll be otherwise if the dancers are doctors cause they'll be frowning away, hehe!"

After the third dish, roasted chicken, I made my move and excused myself from the table. Only after having left the place, did I realize that I should have left my invitation card with the guests at the table to collect the lucky draw prize if my number, 121, got lucky! Oh well...Sorry no pics of the dinner. Going alone to the function with no partner is an embarrassment enough. Bringing a camera and clicking away might worsen the uneasy scenario.

However I have some lovely pics taken by my son, Luqman at the recent wedding of ikelah's cousin. He managed to capture the heart rendering moments of the bride hugging her dad. It's as though she had crossed a border with a heavy heart and reluctantly, she had to leave her dad behind. For a good moment, both daughter and father were lost in their own oblivious 'space and time', not wanting to be separated. Obviously anyone can tell that the bride is close to her dad. I can't explain why but I never fail to shed tears each time immediately after the 'akad' is said successfully and the 'saksi' persons nod positively in agreement whilst everyone else sighs in relief. This time, my tears rolled even more when I quietly watched the tender hugging moment between daughter and father. And I believe my girls will be doing the same thing with ikelah when their time comes....




Friday, December 08, 2006

Of Zippers Bloopers and Fish Hooks Mishap

It's December, the clammy monsoon season in our part of the world. I was waiting for the typical torrential rain to pour , to set me in the right mood to write on the wet and gloomy weather, like last year (read here). But apparently, the weather is a bit fickle this year and so far, the heaviest rain only lasted a few brief hours, followed by a bright sun which was quick to nullify the rain effects to the weather. A real monsoon weather would mean continuous, relentless rain that would pour unapologetically for days on end, causing our homes to be damp and musty even on the inside! Well, at least you can save on the electric bills as you utilize less of the fans and air-cons.

As for now, I'd like to relate several cases I get at the clinic. Yesterday I finished late as I had to attend to a small boy who got his ***** stuck into his zippers! Blimey, he must have been in a damn great haste to have pulled up the zippers deep into his groin and not realizing it soon enough! So far, all similar cases that I got before were easily reversible. Usually I only had to disengage the zipper's teeth and once removed, I could easily slide the foreskin out the zipper's head. This time it was impossible to apply the simple maneuver as the zipper's head was embedded too deep into the foreskin causing excruciating pain each time I tried to peel it off. After giving some local anesthetic injection, I used a plier to cut the hinge at the zipper's head. If I could cut it off, the problem would be solved. Alas! It was not to be. The hinge that bridge the head together was stronger than I thought and refused to break off even when I applied a mighty force, using both hands and enhanced by gritting teeth! After several vain attempts, I suggested him brought to the hospital, as the child is better off sedated during the procedure and perhaps an emergency circumcision would be best for him.

Another similar accident that needs meticulous removal of the causative object would be the fish-hook injury. The most common part of the body to be pierced are the arms and hands but I have seen hooks sticking through the poor patient's eye-brow or lips!




Now, removing a fish-hook that has lodged into a body part can be a painstaking measure. Due to the unique shape of the hook, you can't simply pull it out. You see, a fishing hook has 2 ends, one bearing a sharp arrow-like figure and the other has an eyelet , where the fishing line is stringed to. If you crudely pull from the eyelet end and forcing the arrow-end through the flesh, it will cause a jagged severance of the soft-tissue and more bleeding will occur. Thus the best technique would be to make the embedded end free, which is usually the arrow head. After locating the head by palpating the affected tissue, make an incision till your blade touches it. Once you've exposed it, use a cutter to cut the hook into two. After removing both ends and cleansing the wound, the incision has to be sutured back.



The worst case scenario would be a combination of the above body-part (zippers blooper) and a fish-hook! In which case, I'd leave it to the surgeon to explore under sedation or GA.

A week ago, when the school hols began, many had chosen to bask on the shores of the east-coast. Unfortunately , it was also the season for the jelly-fishes to come ashore. Thus, I had several patients coming in with painful, excruciating swelling of the legs and hands after being stung by the 'harmless' looking creature. After giving first aid treatment and anti-histamine and steroid injections, I'd pack them off to the nearest hospital for observation as jelly-fish stings can be fatal. So, for those who are ruminating to enjoy the beach, be wary of these creatues.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Madams Are From Mars and Maids Are From Venus.


I have been maid-dependent for almost all of my married life. And Alhamdulillah unlike some unfortunate people, I have been bestowed with a 'lasting' maid that stayed with me for 15 years. She has helped me raised all my five kids and performed only mandatory house-chores. Meaning that she doesn't do cars like most maids whom I would see scrubbing their employer's cars in the wee hours of the morning. And she doesn't do the cats' poo either. But still she was there to help me with the necessary mundane nitty-gritty of running the house and family. I speak of her in the past-tense because as for now she is back with her sister's in Selangor and from there she'll be embarking on a return journey back to her hometown in Sumbar (Sumatera Barat).

It's not that I don't need her anymore to hold my fort. As a matter of fact with my current erratic working schedule, I need her presence more than ever. But there are various culminated reasons that had tipped the balance and which finally sort of forced me to 'let her go'. I know it was hard for her to leave us as she has become a part of our family. Thus I have set her options opened. Should she find that it is no longer feasible for her to adapt herself back to her previous lifestyle, she's always welcomed to stay back with us.

One of the main reasons for me to go without a domestic helping-hand temporarily is to train the young ones to be more independent of their 'ibu'. Yes, 'ibu' is the name we gave her. I hope that the coming few months, in the absence of ibu, will make my family and I, stronger and more capable of domestic ingenuities. I, especially wish that we will be more apt in time and chore management.

No doubt, managing a house is hard work but alhamdulillah I am slowly gaining momentum and retrieving back the familiarity of my own kitchen. You see, I had given ibu full liberty of managing the house-hold as I believe such a 'pact' promotes a better working condition for her. There's no denying that at times, due to the liberal amount of freedom I gave her in the house-hold, she occasionally crossed the boundary and 'stepped on my feet'. But usually I would just brush it off. Heck, if she works better in her prefered environment, let her be! Frankly, I am currently feeling a tad relieved without ibu around. It's almost like getting a new lease of freedom in my own house.

I hope I can emulate many working mothers who are also excellent house-keepers. We'll see how it goes. It's only a week since she left. So far the kitchen is still spick and span (in my own standard, that is) but the laundered clothes are piling up, waiting to be folded and kept away!

May I persevere! Insyallah!


Announcements

(1) To Nusayba (23-24), I pray you'll go through your Hajj journey with great diligence, filled with humbling experience. May Allah swt bestow Hajj mabrur to you and your parents. Ameen.

(2) KKL's sister Mak-twain has started an online business here . I am in great awe of her ability to juggle her time doing her Phd, looking after her newborn twins and now doing an online business. Setting up a food-relating business like pastry-cake making has been my secret future plan of an endeavour. So Mak-twain, please consider a future liaison with me eh?

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Saturday, November 18, 2006

THE MAKING OF A SURGEON

Pictures taken from Haneem's photopages without permission! Sorry! Thanks!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

AN EXTREME JOURNEY


Life is so full of ironies. Just when you think that everything is fine and sunny, down comes the rain pouring with relentless vengeance. That aptly describes our most recent Sunday . The day went brilliantly, all plans executed accordingly and on our back home journey at night, just as we were reminiscing the great time we just had, "zap" came our tribulation. Our car decided to fail us at the most difficult hour and place. Initially we thought the engine ran out of water. After patienly waited for the engine to cool and several on foot trips to the nearby Geliga mosque to fetch water in a plastic bag (we had no big bottles in the car), we slowly adjourned with the journey again. This time, much slower, as we were worried of more serious engine complications (read: sudden cooling of engine causing sudden contraction). Alhamdulillah, the car went smoothly and I gave a sigh of relief.


But alas! It was a short-lived triumph, when suddenly we heard a high-pitched rotating sound and a sudden 'snap'. This time, we dare not take further risks and pulled to the side which actually was at a bridge! We called AAM for immediate assitance which in reality took an hour to reach us after what seemed to be an inifinity as the various tow-truck drivers were hesitant to help us. We also called our personal mechanic and requested that he waited for us as his work-shop. At this point I was thinking how so similar this episode was to a sick patient who badly needs medical attention from his/her doctor at an ungodly hour! Yes, we reached Beserah at 1 am! But not before enduring an hour plus journey in our on-tow car! Exhausted I kept on sleeping at intervals and too tired to even think of the bad concequences if the tow-car cable snapped! Nauzubillah! The tow-truck went at a steady speed and even managed to overtake a lorry at one point. Imagine! We were on tow and even overtook a lorry!


But all that was worth undergoing as we've had had a wonderful day filled with lots of friendship and closeness with friends of old and new! You see, my friend Lolo and hubby have been asking us to visit them at Paka since three years ago. We have been making promises but never fulfilling them that we became so embarrassed. So making this journey was tremendously meaningful. When Maklang invited us recently, I decidedly made plans to see all of them in one go i.e. Maklang in Kerteh, Lolo in Paka and KKL/OK in Dungun. Thus it was a 3 in 1 journey.


Maklang's house is heavenly! It absolutely qualifies as my dream house. Wooden flooring with a touch of country. Fabulous green landscaping with pegolas and gazebos. To top it all she's a great cook too! Apparently she had cooked for us early in the morning before going to work! She's such a gracious host! Not forgetting also, I am at awe of her fine needlework. Well, it's not at all surprising though as she's a Johorean! Indeed it was a great pleasure to have met both Maklang and Paklang. Our copious thanks to them.


Then it was off to Dungun to see KKL and OK. KKL had prepared Laksa Penang and dungun keropok lekor for us. OK made a special concoction of iced lime mint tea which went down well with the food despite it being a bit 'strong'. We had so much fun talking about any topic that comes to mind and I also had the chance to witness KKL's cute sketching of OK on her new Wacom board! Afer performing our jama' solat we excused ourselves and headed back down to Paka to meet Lolo and planning to meet them again at Kerteh for the 'much-talked-about' dinner.


Lolo is my sis OG's friend actually whom I got close to. After making so many visits to our place and asking us to drop by at theirs, they sort of almost gave up. Thus this trip was also to compensate our guilt! They brought us to their small beach house by a hill, facing the sea, right next to a river mouth. Stretched upfront is a sand-bank forming an island-like structure with trees on it, thus breaking strong winds from fully reaching them. Over here, the fishing boats would load their catch of the day and you could buy fresh sea-catch at unbelievable bargains! And fishing by the river-mouth is also another activity worth doing as the sea-fish also swims there. And there's a big gazebo perched at the front edge where you could view beautiful sunrise in the morning or perhaps enjoy barbeque at night. Lolo has furnished the cute wooden cottage-like house for her guests and we've been invited! Luqman has set his heart for it! Btw, this place makes a perfect 3h2m getaway for a someone we know, eh?


We were so carried away with the place that we were late for the dinner in Kerteh! Our greatest apologies to OK and KKL who patiently waited for us for more than an hour! Masyallah! I have never tasted a truly gastronomical feast of delicious sea-food spread before. 3 large plates of huge crabs fried with chilli. The crabs were tastefully fresh and 'sweet'. They even provided us with a claw cracker which I didn't use as I find eating the claws so cumbersome and chucked all of them into iKelah's plate. Being the crab eating expert he is, he handled the claws with ease and as always he'd say that the claw-meat tasted the finest! Oh well. There were sotong goreng tepung, grilled pari in sambal and freshly grilled oysters and they were exquisitely delicious. Needless to say that we ended up as 5 very satisfied sea-food devourers. Oh yes, there was also Jamil, OK's friend, who made our company merrier.

Alhamdulillah we truly had a fruitful trip, enhancing ties with beautiful friends and kins. Although we were tested with a small calamity in the form of a faulty car, we praise Allah swt for giving us good friends and may the tribulation serve as a reminder for us.

Monday, November 13, 2006

THE INHERENT COOK IN US

Somebody was curiously asking why iKelah and I kept on blogging on food and depicting photos of our recent raya food. Well, there are several reasons for the spamming of entries with food pictures. You see, I love to see well-taken food pictures that are artfully arranged. Mynn and 23/24 are good at that. Thus whenever feasible, I'd make iKelah take photos of what we've cooked as practice makes perfect, doesn't it? Let's just say that food is a subject close to our hearts (and stomach)!

Between my husband and I, he is the better cook. He thinks so and so do I (especially when my mood for cooking hits the floor!). Apparently he cooks from memory (heart) and only 'experts' can do that. Whenever he chanced upon a fabulous delectable food, he'd savor it heartily and scrutinize the possible ingredients incorporated in it and puts into memory. I guess he has a set of highly charged taste-buds that are able to distinguish the various herbs and spices just by tasting them even when cooked! Later when he has the opportunity, he'd recall the mentally conjured up recipe and tries it in the kitchen. And most of the time, he succeeds. Another important fact to mention is that my FIL is also a good cook. Perhaps that's where my husband got his cooking genes from!


Every time he cooks, when reaching to the final part, as he tastes the food, he'd ask, "cukup garam? Cukup masam? Cukup manis? Cukup pedas?" Whereas when it comes to me, my main concern would be, "cukup manis?" You see, I am a Johorean turned Kelantanese! I have a very sweet tooth but only to savory cooking! I find that whatever gulai cooked, it needs a tinge of sweetness in it to be of my liking. I hate savory cooking that is blandly hot, spicy and salty without any hint of sweetness! But mind you,in contrast, I loathe sweet drinks or cookies/kuih (except for Indian delicacies of course!)! Nowadays, I find drinks of teh tarik or nescafe prepared at shops are so sinfully sweet that many a time I had to ask them to dilute them further!

You can say that besides photography, cooking is another deep passion of ikelah's, but only on a much smaller scale and very much influenced by his fluctuating cooking mood and the time of the year, namely Ramadhan and Syawal. During the fasting month, his signature bubur lambuk is much sought after by us and his close siblings. It is truly authentic as he seems to have a specific mental ratio for the amount of ingredients used, i.e. the various traditional leaves/herbs, dried fish/prawns, boiled fish fillet and perhaps some unknown 'secret' ingredients or mantra as well! Thus it's no wonder when Pang5's wife asked him to buy bubur lambuk Kg Bahru, he scoffed and replied, "I am waiting for Long's bubur lambuk". And when Syawal comes, I'd prefer if he dons the apron and concocts his famous rendang raya, a thick, rich, dark, very spicy slow-cooked dish that brews together beef, spleen, liver and lungs. The rendang goes down well with lemang or ketupat.

As for me, soto has been my personal forte. I don't claim to cook the dish well but the outcomes thus far have been encouraging with various acclaims by certain reliable quarters. And when I say reliable it means trusted and sincere comments made by trusted and sincere souls, :p. I am imparting my recipe so that you can try it and decide its goodness. But I need to forewarn everyone that it doesn't come with accurate measurements as most of the time I cook with my basic taste/smell intuitions.

For the uninitiated, Soto is a dish that probably originated from Jawa. In my recent trip to Jogja, I managed to sample their version but I can vouch (no malice intended here, whatsoever) that Malaysian soto is pretty much better. Soto comprises of nasi himpit (packed cooked rice - often cut into cubes) and spiced soup, topped with pegedil and extra appetizing condiments. To add extra sweet-hot flavor, you are encouraged to sprinkle a generous amount of ketchup-chillie sauce .Now, pegedil is a must accompaniment. To serve soto sans pegedil is an epicurean crime! (at least to my cooking standard). Pegedil is similar to the French croquettes. It's basically mashed potatoes mixed with other ingredients and then, deep-fried. To me, pegedil is the cherry on top of the cake. It enhances the final flavor. To those who have requested for the recipe, here goes:

My Soto
Ingredients
Soup:
Chicken breasts
5 cloves garlic-pounded
10 shallots-pounded
2 inches ginger-pounded
2 big sticks of lemongrass- knocked
Tossed spices (rempah campak)
-6 cardamoms
-1 stick cinnamon
-2 star anise
-10 black peppers
Rempah Sup powder 6 tbs
Rempah sup bunjut
Asam keping
3 Limau nipis (extract juice)
10 Cili Padi
Freshly pounded peppercorns
Salt and pepper for seasoning


the ingredients

Pegedil
2 kg Potatoes quartered and deep fried
1 nutmeg, grated
5 eggs, yolk and white separated
Minced meat
Fried onion
Spring onion sliced thinly
Chinese parsley sliced thinly
Salt and pepper

Condiments
Chicken breast (cooked)- flossed thickly
Chinese parsley sliced
Spring onion sliced
Soh oon fried
Fried onions
Bean sprouts (blanched)
Pounded ground nuts

Dark ketchup Sauce
4 tbsp kicap manis
20 bird chillies (blended)
sugar to taste

Method

Soup:
1) Heat oil and toss in rempah campak. Once fragrant, add in pounded garlic, onions, ginger and lemongrass and fry till brown and fragrant.

2)Mix the 'rempah sup' with bit of water and then add to the sizzling onion mixture.

3)Once the frying mixture has thickened and emitting an aroma, add in the chicken breasts.

4)Add water to fill the pot. Place in the rempah sup bunjut, asam keping and freshly pounded peppercorns.

5)Cover the pot and simmer.

6)Once the water level has lessened a bit, remove the chicken meat and floss for condiments.

7)Add in lime juice and cili padi (whole). Season with salt and pepper.


Pegedil:

1) Mash the already fried potatoes.

2) Add in grated nutmeg, egg yolks, sliced Chinese parsley, spring onions, fried onion, minced meat, salt and pepper. Blend thoroughly till uniform.

3) Shape into flat balls or oblongs.

4) Dip in egg-white and deep fry till brown and crispy outside.


Condiments:

Prepare the various ingredients as indicated


Kicap Sauce:
Blend all the ingredients together

Finally, when serving, arrange several nasi himpit in a bowl.
Dish in the soup. Garnish with the various condiments and top with a pegedil or two (I can't have enough of them!). Lastly sprinkle few teaspoons of the kicap sauce.




Friday, November 10, 2006

Polishing The Art Of Perfect Timing!

With the UMNO general meeting around the corner, the recent high-profile murder news can't have chosen a better timing! I am sure those politicians who are supposed to give fiery speeches have to now re-write its contents to make them more juicy! Definitely, the UMNO jinbeng have more to say and gossip, now that a famous political analyst working for a private think-tank is a prime suspect (even though his lawyer says he is 100% not implicated). When I first heard of the news with all the hints, the first name that came to mind was his and I was hoping I was wrong because I have known him to be such an eloquent figure and well-known internationally. It would be a crying shame. But alas! I guessed right. Boy, aren't we scoring high in the crime department eh? To blast an already dead body?? Astaghfirullah!

And somebody has also chosen to have chest pains (mild heart attack? Blimey! Who diagnosed that? ) at the nick of time! That's what we call perfect timing! :p

Inquisitive query: How come the Star and NST deliberately mentioned the main suspect's name and showed his photo, whilst the rest of the mainstream media didn't and had to blur his picture? Anybody can answer? Azhar?

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Syawal nan indah


Get Your Own! | View Slideshow


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The Not So Enchanted Woods - The Sequel

Papa and Mama bear had gone ahead with the initial invitation plans, going against the most popular sms votes. They decided that ditching the whole thing as suggested by someone was an outright cowardice move. And holding it out at the nearest A & W outlet was not feasible as most of the animals are still steadfast with the recent boycott strategy. Thus, hosting the meals at their humble abode, it was.

The person sending the most number of sms with the most popular vote was Mama Sarah. She had been texting non-stop since the line was opened. Obviously, she's a die-hard fan of the Raja sms. Since she can't fly back here, Mawi has agreed to fly to Coventry to fulfill her winning dinner with him. Good luck Mama Sarah!

After 2 days of hard-bullish-work which encompassed traditional gourmet-bearish cooking and entertaining bear-ful guests, Papa and Mama good-naturedly took their little teddy bears out for a joy-ride around town. First they stopped at a quaint little cafe which served toasted kaya buns. Secretly, they felt that the hot crisp buns would have faired better if slathered with fresh honey instead.

They then circled the small town and finally ended at the Bay of Jackfruit. They had a meager dinner at a road-side stall and headed home straight after filling up their tummy. Mid-way towards home, they stopped at a traffic light. Whilst patiently waiting for the green-light, a motorcyclist adamantly chose to squeeze pass the bears' jalopy and hit its side-mirror. Showing not the slightest remorse for any wrongdoing, the cyclist passed through and stopped ahead. (wonder how many of you out there has had such irritating encounters??). Mama bear looked hard at the motorcyclist and realized it was a young girl!

At home, Papa and Mama bear had a short discussion on the incident. Mama voiced out her strong long-held opinion that young girls shouldn't be allowed riding motorbikes all alone especially at night. This trend has definitely turned them into a bold and careless group of society. It's a dangerous freedom for them. What do you think?

Friday, November 03, 2006

THE NOT SO ENCHANTED WOODS,


Papa and Mama bear have decided to hold a small dinner to commemorate the recent ausipicious celebration. It's decidedly going to be a very small ado, inviting close kins. Furthermore it is to reciprocate C who had cooked up a fine dinner for them a few days ago.

But the enchanted woods is not without life predicaments. The used-to-be-simple animal kingdom way of life has now become severely complicated, entwined with many mind-boggling inter-species rifts and feuds. Papa and Mama bear's thoughts are completely muddled. They can't decide whom to invite. If they invite A, then it would mean that they have to leave B out. You see, A and B have been estranged for a few years due to reasons only known to them. And inviting them both in one occasion would mean either both won't turn up or if they do, it might mean rekindling of an old cold feud!

Thus the bears decided to ask A, C, D for the dinner and plan a separate ado for B. Papa had to execute tactfully the task of calling and forewarning them of the complex and sticky situation. He requested them not to mention anything pertaining the dinner to B, lest B will get hurt. When Papa explained the whole mumbo-jumbo to C, being a simple straight-forward person she is, she excepted it without much exasperating queries.

Unlike C, explaining the perplexing issue to obdurate D proved to be more challenging! "Why can't you invite both A and B together? Isn't it our responsibility to bring them back together?" And D rant and rant further, supplying Papa Bear with a short sermon on the obligations of mending inter-species ties. Blah, blah....Irritated, Papa bear was quick to retort, "Puhleeze! I planned this dinner in my gesture to thank my elders for their kindness. I don't want this ado to freakily turn into a confrontation of some sort! Especially not in front of glorious food!" Exasperated, he added, "You know what D? When one does a deed which is 'sunnat' but at the same time if the deed could provoke bad consequences which in turn might sever already weakened ties, then one might as well abandon the deed altogether, lest the deed might transform into a sin!!" D became quiet, probably trying to absorb Papa's rather ' intriguing ' fatwa'.

Sigh! Why must one make life so complicated? Life as it is, is so brief. Why can't we just forgive and forget and try to be nice to each other?? Papa bear gave a long sigh and told Mama to remind him not to plan such dinners anymore next year!

Papa and Mama bear could still vividly remember the regrettable incident that occurred in their previous house party, a few moons ago. Their dear cousin, Winnie the Pooh, created an uproar when she overheard a famous female crooner in the crowd pronounced her name wrongly as Winnie the Po-Oh! What an unsightly scene! And not to forget the dumbfounding visit by a strange gold-haired girl who invaded their privacy by sampling their porridge, testing the comforts of their chairs and lastly, having the utmost cheek to criticize their beds and horrors of all horrors, to finally sleep in Baby bear's cot! The reminiscing thoughts send cold shivers down both their already osteoporotic spines! No! They won't let such ridiculous incidents happen again under their noses!

Papa and Mama stared at each other quizzically. Maybe they should just call the dinner off?

What do you think? Send your thoughts and ideas on what should be Papa and Mama bear's next course of decision via sms. The person sending the most number of sms with the most popular suggestion will win a dinner for two with Mawi Bear at The Mawi World Resort. Winner will also win a life-long supply of Mawi mineral water (however this prize is subjected to the outcome of the impending suit against the mineral water producer).Type <<>papa-mama bear<>><<>your suggestion<>> to 8234. The line is opened now!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

IN-LAW CAMARADERIE AND THE TEARS AFTER....



The following was written the night before raya:

Alhamdulillah. Allah swt has given us the strength to endure a month of fasting in Ramadhan. Along with it we were also given the extra will to perform
supererogatory prayers at night. Tomorrow we will be celebrating eidul fitri. Keng has highlighted in his entry that :Mengikut hadith yang diriwayatkan oleh Ibn Majah, yang bermaksud: "Sesiapa yang bangun pada malam 'eid (fitrah dan adha) dengan mengharapkan pahala, nescaya tidak akan mati hatinya pada hari mati sekalian hati". Lets try our best to be amongst those who enliven this night with tahajjud. And also it is said that Rasulullah, after the completion of Ramadhan would greet people with :Taqabalallahu minkum i.e. May Allah swt accept our deeds and yours!

As previous years my father-in-law will ask everyone to join him for the last iftar at his place. I had this rare opportunity to sit together with Boogey's and Pang5's wives tonight and let our hair down and discussed things so perculiar to our husbands who are siblings! Tonight we realized even more, how the three brothers are so alike in many, many ways! Their 'zanny' passion for photography and cameras. How they would take pain to endure many obstacles simply to satisfy their whimsical urges! For instance, if we're on a long journey to somewhere on the highway and an interesting subject catches iKelah's eyes, get prepared to extend the journey hours further! He'd park our car by the roadside and would approach the 'said' subject or landscape nearer at a closer angle, in order to capture the 'perfect' composition. Boogey's wife related that on buying 'lemang Kijal' this morning, after leaving the stall, he had exclaimed in dismay for forgetting to snap photos of the stalls. This caused him to stop the car and took extra time to take pics of the smoking lemang. How so alike they are in their passion! My description of our experience at Parangtritis explained this fact explicitly.

Incidentally, we broached on the subject of their being 'slightly' disorganized and how they would unyieldingly and stubbornly defend that their untidiness is never a hindrance for them to search for their things. iKelah would adamantly say," Please do not move my things, no matter how untidy they may be, cause I can search for them even with both my eyes closed!' And when my patience has reached its brink, forcing my 'itchy' hands to arrange all the unruly papers and what nots in proper looking order, he would instantly have difficulties to retrieve any particular bills or receipts and come up with his popular remark, "if you hadn't moved my stuffs, I would have easily found the wanted bills in between the piles of knick-knacks in a jiffy. I know exactly where in between the papers, they are situated!' Both Boogey's and Pang5's wives echoed my sentiments and voiced how spookily these brothers are so alike!

Well this was one of the rare times we get to sit together and compare notes regarding the guys! Each time we hit the 'nail' and realized how alike they are, we would squeal in laughter!

But dear friends, raya this time was not without its downside and heart-wrenching moments that brought 'flooding' tears....more of it.....
here



Mak and I (dinner Friday night)


Experimenting with shades. And I looked best in a Mickey Mouse for kids!


We were visited by beautiful people! KKL, OK, Cik Ma, Mak-twain, hubby and twins, Khin and wife.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The end of Ramadhan and The Unrelenting Haze




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The current haze seem to have this lingering attitude and it's not showing any signs of relenting at all. In fact, it is probably the worst so far in this coastal town of ours. Everyday, for the past couple of weeks, the poor atmosphere is being shrouded with thick, dense and smokey blanket of air that is wrecking havoc to our ecological system. Visual span is so limited that I can't make out the sea horizon near my house. The sea and sky seemed to have merged together and adopted the same hue of greyish white. Eventhough, the poor air quality doesn't physically cause you to immediately suffocate, psychologically you are being overwhelmed with great anxiety that's enough to throw you to the brink of emotional suffocation! And the list of medical conditions generated from contact with the particle-laden air is endless: Asthma, Bronchitis, Skin Allergy, Eye Allergy etc.

It is said that during the night of Power (lalat ul qadr) , Gibrael a.s. and endless numbers of angels will descend down on earth. The night is said to be barmy and peaceful. And the next morning the sun appears white and without rays (beamless). Well, with the thick haze blocking our visual field, this might prove to be a bit difficult.

Tonight is the night of 27th Ramadhan, one of the probable night of Power (laylat ul qadr). May Allah swt give us the strength to be more vigilant in our night prayers during the last days of this Ramadhan. To quote Nusayba's (23) dad : "Cry if you can. Force to cry if you must" . Yes, the night prayer is the perfect time to communicate with Allah swt. In the quietness of the night, one hopes to attain khusyuk and deep self-reproach.

Last night I thought the sky was clearer and the stars were visible. And this morning, the sun was starting to creep through in between the slowly dispersing haze, raising my hopes of seeing the clear blue sky with its fluffy white clouds once again. Alhamdulillah, this afternoon, I am already able to discern the sky horizon above the sea and also beginning to see the outline of clouds in the sky. I hope it is not too much if I make a symbolic comparison or anecdote of the haze and our sins. That the haze symbolizes our sins. And that the receding haze denotes how Ramadhan has washed away our sins through our multiple ibadah of fasting, night prayers, etc, as we approach its end. Insyallah!

I recieved Has's email linking to Datuk Haron Din's Tazkirah here. One of the salient point :
Sampaikah kita kepada apa yang nabi sebut kepada isteri-isterinya dan kepada sahabat-sahabatnya iaitu “Faya ‘ajaban liman adraka ramada na fala yukh farulah”, iaitu maksudnya “Alangkah hairannya (ajaibnya) bagi orang yang telah sampai umurnya kepada menjelang Ramadan, apabila habis Ramadan hairan kalau dia tidak mengambil kesempatan untuk Allah mengampunkan semua dosa-dosanya”.

Many will embark on the balik kampung exodus including yours truly. To Pycnogenol and Bea, and everyone else, drive safely and may we fill Syawal with lots of Takbir and Tahmid. Selamat Hari Raya. Maaf Zahir Dan Batin!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

NIGHT PRAYERS

Praying In Turmoil - taken from flickr


We are into the second-half of Ramadhan and hopefully we are geared up to do night prayers more fervently. Thus I have compiled some articles I found in the net regarding the night prayers. Hope they are beneficial to everyone, insyallah.

Qiyam means 'standing' and ‘Qiyam al-Layl’ means 'standing at night'. In the Shari’ah term both terms refer to 'the voluntary night prayer.

If one divides the night into six parts, the fourth and fifth part are the best for prayer. If divided in half, the second half is best. If into thirds, the middle part is best. With this said Tahajjud is offered after ‘Isha and before Fajr.


The Excellence of Qiyam al-Layl:
Many Qur'anic verses speak about the excellence of Qiyam and the merits of those people, who perform Qiyam al-Layl on a regular basis, for example, Allah describes the believers who deserve Jannah saying:

“They (the believers) forsake their beds, to invoke their Lord in fear and hope; and they spend out of what We have bestowed on them.” [Soorah as-Sajdah (32): 16] “They (the pious) used to sleep but little at night.” [Soorah ath-Thariyat (51): 17]

Those who regularly perform the tahajjud prayers are the Righteous and are more deserving of Allah's bounty and mercy. Allah says: "Lo! Those who keep from evil will dwell amid gardens and watersprings, taking that which their Lord gives them. For, lo, they were doers of good. They used to sleep but little of the night and before the dawning of each day would seek forgiveness.''

Also, numerous Ahadith add to this subject, narrated Abu Hurayrah (radhi allahu anhu): “The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said:
“The best prayer after those prescribed is (the prayer performed) in the depth of night.” [Sahih Muslim and Musnad Ahmad]

Protection from Shaitan:
Abu Hurayrah (radhi allahu anhu) reported that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said:
“When one of you goes to sleep, Shaitaan ties three knots over the rear of his head, blowing into each knot, 'You have a long night, so sleep on.” If he wakes up and mentions Allah, one knot loosens. If he makes wudhu (ablution for prayer), another knot loosens and if he prays, the third knot loosens and he becomes lively and good-natured; otherwise he gets up ill-natured and lazy.” [Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim]

Acceptance of Supplication:
Abu Hurayrah (radhi allahu anhu) reported that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said:
Our Lord descends every night to the lowest heaven, when only one third of the night has remained. He says: “Who will invoke Me, so that I may give him? Who will seek My forgiveness, so that I may forgive him.” [Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim]

Mercy from Allah:
Abu Hurayrah (radhi allahu anhu) reported that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said
May Allah have mercy on a man who wakes up at night, prays and wakes his wife to pray; and if she refuses, he sprinkles water on her face. And may Allah have mercy on a woman who wakes up at night, prays, and wakes her husband to pray and if he refuses, she sprinkles water on his face.” (hasan) by Shaikh al-Albani (Abu Dawud)

The Excellence of Qiyam in Ramadan:
Many Ahadith describe the excellence of Qiyam particularly in Ramadan, some of them are:

Forgiveness of sins:
Abu Hurayrah (radhi allahu anhu) reported:
“Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) encouraged the people, without making it an absolute command, to perform Qiyam during Ramadan. He (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) used to say: “Whoever stands (in Qiyam) in Ramadaan out of faith and expectation (of Allah's Reward), all his previous sins will be forgiven.” [Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim]

Etiquettes of Late Night Prayer
The following acts are sunnah for one who wishes to perform the tahajjud prayers.

1) Upon going to sleep, one should make the intention to perform the tahajjud prayers. Abu ad-Darda' relates that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam said: "Whoever goes to his bed with the intention of getting up and praying during the night, and sleep overcomes him until the moming comes, he will have recorded for him what he had intended, and his sleep will be a charity for him from his Lord." This is related by an-Nasa'i and ibn Majah with a sahih chain.

2) Upon waking, one should wipe one's face, use a toothstick, and look to the sky and make the supplication which has been reported from the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam: "There is no God but Thee, Glory be to Thee, I seek forgiveness from You for my sins, and I ask for your mercy. O Allah, increase my knowledge and let my heart not swerve after You have guided me, and bestow mercy upon me from Thyself. All praise be to Allah who has given us back life after our death and unto Him is the resurrection."

3) Then, one should recite the last ten 'ayat of al-'Imran, starting with, "Lo! In the creation of the heavens and the earth and [in] the difference of night and day are tokens (of His sovereignty) for men of understanding." Then one should say, "O Allah, to You belongs the praise. You are the Light of the heavens and the earth and what is therein. And to You belongs the praise. You are the truth and Your promise is true. And the meeting with You is true. And the paradise is true. And the Fire is true. And the prophets are true. And Muhammad is true. And the Hour is true. O Allah, to You have I submitted. And in You have I believed. And in You have I put my trust. And to You have I turned. And by You I argue. And to You do I turn for my decisions. Forgive me of my former and latter sins, and those done in private and those done in public. You are Allah, there is no God besides Thee."

One should begin Qiyam al-Layil with two quick rak'at and then one may pray whatever one wishes after that. 'Aishah says: "When the Prophet prayed during the late-night, he would begin his prayers with two quick rak'at." Both of these reports are related by Muslim.

One should wake up one's family for tahajjud
Umm Salamah narrates that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam got up during the night and said: "Glory be to Allah. What trials are descended with the night. And what has descended of treasures. Who will waken the lady occupants of the rooms (i.e., his wives) for prayers; how many a well dressed in this world will be naked in the hereafter." This is related by al-Bukhari
Al-Bukhari and Muslim record that the Messenger of Allah asked 'Ali and Fatimah: "Do you not pray [during the night]?" 'Ali said: "O Messenger of Allah, we are in Allah's hands. If He wishes to make us get up, we get up." The Prophet turned away when he said that. Then, they could hear him striking his thigh and saying: "Verily, man disputes a lot." This is related by al-Bukhari and Muslim.

One should stop praying tahajjud and sleep if one becomes very sleepy
'Aishah reports that the Messenger of Allah said: "When one of you gets up during the night for prayer and his Qur'anic recital becomes confused to the extent that he does not know what he says, he should lie down." This is related by Muslim.

Anas narrates that the Messenger of Allah entered the mosque and saw a rope stretching between two posts. He asked: "What is this?" The people told him that it was for Zainab [bint Jahsh] who, when she became tired or weary, held it (to keep standing for the prayer). The Prophet said: "Remove the rope. You should pray as long as you feel active, and when you get tired or weary, you should lie down to rest." This is related by al-Bukhari and Muslim.
One should not overburden one's self with the night prayer and should only pray it to the extent that is reasonable, and not leave that practice unless there is some great need to do so. 'Aishah reports that the Messenger of Allah said: "Do (good) deeds according to your capacity, for by Allah, Allah does not weary from giving rewards unless you get tired of doing good deeds." This is related by al-Bukhari and Muslim.

Al-Bukhari and Muslim also relate from 'Aishah that the Messenger of Allah was asked: "What is the most loved deed to Allah?" He answered: "One that is performed constantly even if it is a small deed." And Muslim recorded that 'Aishah said: "The Messenger of Allah was constant in his deeds, and if he did something, he would do it consistently."

Al-Bukhari and Muslim also record, on the authority of 'Abdullah ibn Mas'ud, that it was mentioned to the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam that a man slept until the morning. [ThereuponJ he said: "Satan has urinated into the ears of that person." They also record from Salim ibn 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar, from his father, that the Messenger of Allah said to his father, "Abdullah would be a good man if he would pray the tahajjud prayers." Salim said: "After that, 'Abdullah would not sleep during the night save for a small amount at a time."

Best time for tahajjud
It is best to delay this prayer to the last third portion of the night. Abu Hurairah reports that the Messenger of Allah said: "Our Lord descends to the lowest heaven during the last third of the night, inquiring: 'Who will call on Me so that I may respond to him? Who is asking something of Me so I may give it to him? Who is asking for My forgiveness so I may forgive him?"' This is related by the group.

'Amr ibn Abasah reports that he heard the Prophet say: "The closest that a slave comes to his Lord is during the middle of the latter portion of the night. If you can be among those who remember Allah, the Exalted One, at that time then do so." This is related by al-Hakim who grades it sahih according to Muslim's standards, and at-Tirmizhi calls it hasan sahih. AnNasa'i and Ibn Khuzaimah also recorded it.

Abu Muslim asked Abu Zharr: "Which late-night prayer is the best?" He said: "I asked the Messenger of Allah the same that you asked me and he said, 'The (one done during) middle of the latter half of the night, and very few do it.'" This is related by Ahmad with a good chain.
'Abdullah ibn 'Amr reports that the Prophet said: "The most beloved fast to Allah is the fast of David. And the most beloved prayer to Allah is the prayer of David. He would sleep half of the night and then pray during the next third of the night and then sleep during the last sixth of the night. And he would fast one day and not fast the next." This is related by the group except at-Tirmizhi.

The number of rak'at to be performed during tahajjud: The tahajjud prayer does not entail a specific number of rak'at which must be performed nor is there any maximum limit which has to be performed. It would be fulfilled even if one just prayed one rak'ah of witr after the obligatory night prayer.

Samurah ibn Jundub says: "The Messenger of Allah ordered us to pray during the night, a little or a lot, and to make the last of the prayer the witr prayer." This is related by at-Tabarani and al-Bazzar.

Iyas ibn Mu'awiyyah al-Mazni reports that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam said: "The night prayer should certainly be performed even if it is for the length of time that it takes one to milk a sheep. And whatever is after the obligatory 'isha is of the tahajjud." This is related by at-Tabarani, and all of its narrators are trustworthy save Muhammad ibn Ishaq.

Ibn 'Abbas also narrates that the Prophet ordered them and encouraged them to make the tahajjud prayer to the extent that he said: "You should perform salatul layil even if it is just one rak'ah." This is related by atTabarani in al-Kabir and al-Awsat.

Note: Sources:
www.sunnipath.com
www.sunnah.org/ibadaat/qiyam.htm
suficenter.org/Practices/tahajjud.html

Saturday, October 07, 2006




MY WORDLY TIME

Steadily time flows unaffectedly,
For time waits for no man,invariably,
Even when a great plan you have laid,
To execute, to please non but your Creator,
Will time wait till later?
Still it flies, not a second missed!
In square one, you're stuck,
With daydreams of plausible bliss.

Noon approaches, never fail, always does,
You're still lost in the woods,in the dusts,
Walking the complete circle of vain,
Pacing the nonsense path of worldly gains,
But time has no empathy, never!
It keeps moving, ticking stronger than ever!
Trying hard, with squinted eyes, you can't see the light, you quiver.

Eve takes over, beautiful red-orangey hue, yonder,
The pitiless time still marching the day,
You panicked as time leaves you at bay!
You searched for your lost soul over and over,
In between the heaps and piles of mundane affairs,
Looking over your trembling shoulders,
At the wall clock that ticks with tireless vigor.

As the dark night looms over,
You pleaded with time, its mercy you implored,
But time replied with all doom and gloom,
"I have no control of myself whatsover"
To each, its very own,
Time and space, all alone,
As exasperation overcomes,
You frantically searched for your lost time,
Those precious seconds,you threw out the door,
But none regained, time is no more.


As we age and the years escalate over,
Never let time leave you behind, not even an hour,
Hold on fast to its very rein,
For once you slip, you'll never gain,
Those precious seconds, you must strife,
As time is the ultimate essence of life.

By Dith

____________________________________________________________________________________


LOST! STOLEN! (not died!!)

Pooty- 14th May 2005
Mayo- 14th May 2006



23 made the above using my 'cheap' recipe for her iftar. She has deft hands at taking good pics of food and her fettucini does look more enticing than mine in the pic! (p.s. I took that pic from her blog! Sorry 23!)

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

This is to acknowledge that my beloved blog AT TAQWA is back on track. As some of you may know, I have suspended it for a short while due to some unforeseen circumstances. I have decided to continue from surah AL IMRAN and currently using Yusof Ali's transliteration and Tafseer Al Jalalayn.

I have also added an audio link to Minsyawi's recitation of the Quran. Chose the specific 5 ayah, listen and then read the transliteration and tafseer. Insyallah, 5 ayah a day and we'll qhatam the whole Quran in due time.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Exam Tumult and The After Relief,

Sitting for exams is definitely a grueling experience. And having to undergo them during the fasting month is phenomenal. One can chose to 'plow' through it positively or negatively. Armed with lots of sabr and taqwa to Allah swt and having done sufficient revision, taking exams in Ramadhan would mean more Barakah from Him . For this, we have the upper hand , insyallah.

Btw, (perhaps I have blogged this before. Excuse me for the repetition), I can still recall my post MCE (=SPM now) rendezvous in '79. After the last paper, my group of friends decided to let off steam by thronging the cinema at one of the busiest street in Penang. (my kids are not encouraged to do that now! :p). The movie was, brace yourself, "Star Wars" ! Yes I watched the first Star wars movie but I can't recall my 'feelings' for it back then. As for today, I'd sleep through any such Sci fi movie, though! Anyway, a rather vivid recollection of that 'momentous' day as I parted from my friends, Maznah, the cheeky one shouted, "May the force be with you!" Sadly, I have no contact whatsoever with Maznah, Mustainnah, Fauziah nor Fauzillah. The last I heard was Maznah took a great leap by going out of Penang Island for the very first time and flew to the US. Fauziah entered UM to do computer analysis whilst, Fauzillah did engineering in the UK. I managed to catch up with Mus who were doing her practical in RRI ages ago. Fauzilah and Mustainnah were my closest chums and we studied together for the exams. To them all: I hope you are all doing fine, forever in Allah's guidance, wherever you may possibly be!

To Aliah: All the very best and May you sail through each paper, Ameen!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

A Month To Reflect And Act

A Month To Reflect And Act

Alhamdulillah we have been given the nikmat to undergo another month of spiritual cleansing, character building and soul strengthening. Ramadhan is undoubtedly a virtual school where every muslims go for a month every year. For the whole month we train ourselves to guard our nafs from various vile habits that we may have picked up throught out the year. Eventhough the essential essence of Ramadhan is refraining ourselves from eating, drinking and copulating, it actually encompasses a more holistic exercise. Hunger softens the heart. It teaches us patience. Besides that we are not to indulge in ignoble activities like back-biting, slandering, arguing etc.
We are encouraged to escalate our supererogatory prayers/ ibadah and fill the hours with positive activities. Saying the zikrullah as much as we could. It is said that whatever good that is done in Ramadhan with sheer sincerity , rewards come in manifold. Thus by the end of Ramadhan we will graduate from the 'school', a stonger muslim and jemaah, insyallah!

In Ramadhan as hunger pangs plague us, we are being taught that this is the best moment to 'feel' for those who suffer due to poverty, those at war etc. Day in and out for the whole of Ramadhan it teaches you to empathise with the poor and needy. Thus in this sacred month we are being encouraged to give alms more than ever.

Do you notice how the atmosphere feels markedly different in Ramadhan? How it is more peaceful and balmy? It is usually hotter, no doubt as Ramadhan is known as a hot and dry month even back during prophet Muhammad's time.(saw). Ramadhan simply exudes goodnes in the air and this could be because all the doors of Jannah are opened throughout, whilst all the doors of Jahannam are closed and that satan and his accomplices are in shackles temporarily.

No words can really describe the pleasure we savor at the moment of iftar. Each morsel of food just brings sheer gratifying joy. As those glorious food touch your palate, you are reminded of how lucky you are to be able to taste food again after long hours of abstain. And to top up everything, it is said that it's mustajab to make dua duriang the time of breaking fast. Masyallah! Undoubtedly, Allah's blessings in Ramadhan are abundant!


I am touched by OrangKilang's (OK) Ramadhan Contemplation on how he hopes that this Ramadhan will see a change for the better in him. He said : I also pray that Allah gives me the strength to change for the better and become a better person. If there is any time in our lives that we have a chance to change, Ramadhan is the best chance. During this time we are free from the whispers of Syaitan who will be locked up during the entire month. Our motivations will be our own, our sins will be our own, our darkness will be our own. So if we need to cleanse and purify ourselves, this is the time. As always, OK has an interesting knack of quoting famous quotes especially lines from films. This time he had quoted: As Picard says in First Contact, "The line must be drawn heeyah (here)!


Sofi
also has an interesting Ramadhan entry highlighting the perplexing situation of fasting in a foreign country with unpredictable weather. Here is a witty extract of her entry :

The jihad against an-nafs should not be taken lightly. They’re well-prepared, armed with strong dosage of immunity courtesy of their bosses before the latter went on hiatus. And chances are, you won’t even notice that it really is your nafs acting by proxy when you reach for those extra chicken drumsticks during iftar which you suspect will make you bloat like Shrek and monkey with your concentration all through tarawih later but you do it anyway.

Yes, no matter how much you drill into your brain during the day, telling yourself to cut on your gastronomical desires, somehow, on breaking fast, you'll find your hands making a pact with your mouth, helping you to gorge yourself and alas, bloat like a puffer fish! And of course, the impact of having drank gallons of water and glut on your food , you are left with a staggering gait and droopy eyes during tarawikh!

Two of our dearest kins, my son, Luqman and Salina, Boogey's wife, had to celebrate their birthdays whilst fasting this year. Happy birthday and may Allah swt bless both of them. What is most flabbergasting is Boogey's latest entry! Read it and you'll know what I mean! (to Boogey: you need a permanent sort of reminder engraved or framed somewhere within your daily view!!)

MBA
has a beautiful checklist of obligatory and sunnat things to do for the whole of Ramadhan whilst Tawel had lined out the proper way to sleep, the Muslim way. Hope we can assimilate them into our daily lives.

As we already know, Ramadhan is a month filled with endless blessings from Allah swt., so much so that fasting is an ibadah that is exclusively being rewarded by Allah swt. Himself. Let us not let this opportunity slip away abysmally! May this Ramadhan see the better of us, in our ibadah especially! Take care!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Friday, September 22, 2006

A Ramadhan Wish and Short Snippets

I agree with you, I agree not

I was reading a malay newspaper today. It wasn't yours, Azahar but I do read HM everyday though! Anyway, I came across this article which condemned Pope Benedict's controversial speech. The more I read it the more I agree with the writer and I found that each of his sentence echoed my thoughts regarding the issue. That the Pope must have had some hidden agenda to focus on an ancient dialogue between a christian ruler and an imam. That the speech only biasedly focussed on the negative statements of the ruler and not mention any rebuke from the imam. That the Pope can't expect Muslims to forgive him simply by saying that he was only quoting a previous dialogue and not his. But if the Pope himself disagree with the vilifying statements then why mention at all?? So as i read along the article and nodding with sheer agreement, I was saying to myself, "This writer is good. Our thoughts are so alike. Wonder who the writer is" So my eyes shifted up again to focus on the writer's name. Lo and behold! I couldnt believe my eyes! The writer was an ex-finance minister that had created much havoc to our economy and I have since habour great distrust in him. Here I was, feeling so good that someone had written my exact sentiment regarding the issue but only to find out that the writer was someone that I can't trust anymore! Ironic isn't it?


Roger Federer the F1 driver?

Sports has never been my cup of tea. Now don't get me wrong. It's not that I don't advocate exercise or being active in sports. I do believe that one needs to at least be physically active everyday. But I am not the one to stay up for any live sports events on TV. I would't want to waste my beauty sleep over a football match, world cup or not. I wouldn't be interested to know who won the Wimbledon or Grand Slam.I don't care if Schumacer wins the next F1 or not. I can't give a hoot what tryes are allowed for the race, Michellin or Bridgestone. In Mama Sarah's latest entry she showed a clip of Emyr tackling a football with finesse and I commented that Emyr's mum must be proud of him and that he could be the next "Ranoldino" which should have been spelt as Ronaldinho, hehe. Well, with near-sounding names like Ronaldinho, Ronaldo and Rivaldo, you'll never know, 'Ranolldino' might just be the next sought after football player! This was not my first sports slip-up. I remember making a comment at Has's blog regarding Roger Federer. It was the F1 season then and when Has mentioned Roger, I mistakenly said that I was not an F1 fan. There you go. When you let a non-sports person into the wild, she'll create a new football figure and turn a fantastic tennis ace into an F1 driver!! Ta da!


Our very own Turks!!

My previous entry on Orhan Pamuk's book has created an interesting thread of dialogue between Nnydd and Kucuk Mehmet a.k.a. Boogey. It seems that this 2 guys are so well versed in the history of Turkey, specifically of the Ottoman Empire. It is truly fascinating to hear about the old legendary figures of Turkey, the tariqats and their intriguing epic.

Here are some exerpts of the discussion between the 2:

Nnydd Said:
I agree that OP might only be trying to illustrate the decaying days of the Khalifah. But one also got to know his background, his history and his intent to the potrayal that the cause, the root cause of this, is the 'alim of Turkey. I do not contend that maybe he is good writer, likewise his interpretor is a good interpretor, but I contend the message he wanted to convey. I certainly do not find him a representative of Turkey's Ottomania, unless if I am a secularimania.

Boogey said:
Orhan Pamuk is not an ottomania. He`s as many other turkish writers of the republican era are Ataturkcu. However one must also accept the possibility of some truth in things we do not agree with in his writing. The last years of the ottoman was not the same as in the 16th century. For more details you create an entry for discussion.

Nydd said:
I agree that degradations happened at the end of the Caliphate. Katib Chelebi wrote in Dusturu-l-amel, as early as 1650s, "The natural life of man is reckoned in three parts: the age of growth, the age of attainment and maturity, the age of decline...History shows that some states have decined soon after the age of growth; some have been cut off in tehir prime by a disaster of fate; and some lik ethis illustrious Ottoman state, have enjoyed a long period of maturity because they are built on firm foundations and good principles. However in both individuals and in societies the signs of the third age are discernible." But to put this solely at the foot of the scholars and at the system of Caliphate? And to ignore the intent, purpose and effect of the secularists? In this I find imbalance. There were hopes for the Ottoman even as it breathed the last breath - it had some of the finest thinkers, some of the best scholars, some of the best Sultans and governors in the whole of Islamic world, but whatever hoope was extinguished by other playful hands.


Boogey said:
Yes, you are right about the Suleymanci wearing robes. The same is actually true with the Nurcus. Syed Nursi wore robes and carry a cane and some sects within the Nurcus still wear robes. Once they came out in the local news when a group of them wore robes and carry canes in public.

I said:
Didnt know wearing robes or not is so significant among the turks?

Boogey said:
During the ottoman era, wearing robes is common. In fact you can identify they belong to which school from the color of their robes or headwear. Nowadays wearing such robes and headwear is strongly discouraged but you can still differentiate the tarikatcis from the beads and how they hold the beads during zikir. The tarikatcis usually have a place they get together for sohbet which means dialougue just like the Nurcus and suleymancis. In Malaysia we call this sohbet event usrah. Sohbet centres are called tekke or medrese. It is also a refuge. You can eat, sleep there for as long as you want. For tarikatcis you don`t need a particular topic for sohbet. No dialogue is a waste of time as long as within the islamic boundries because for them diague is a communication between souls/heart and not minds.


Withold the food, dear!

As Ramadhan is approaching, someone requested that we cool down on food entries, :p. Point taken, Azahar. So Mama Sarah, please stop asking Sarah to make those yummy pudds and QOTH, no more Curry Laksa till Ramadhan is over!:p

Selamat Menyambut Ramadhan!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Fettucini Al- fredo on a Sunday-o



This is Luqman's version of Fettucini Al fredo. Remember I told you he ordered the dish at LemonTree ? Well, he prefered this homecook version and said this: "hmm yang ni better. Yang kat LemonTree tasteless"

Cook the fettucini pasta till ala dante.

Al Fredo sauce ala Maman

Chopped garlic
Chopped Tomatoes
Sliced button mushrooms
Chicken fillet sliced
Evaporated milk
6 slices of sliced cheese
Corn flour for thickening

Add in: all available dried herbs. In todays case are:

Dried rosemary
Powdered Oregano
Powdered Pepper
Paprika

I would have added in Bay leaf and nutmeg powder but
have ran out of them.

The very easy method:

Saute the garlic in sunflower oil (konon nak reduce
bad fat but what about the cheese and the milk??)
Browned, add in the chicken, then the milk, then the mushroom,
tomatoes,cheese and cornflour mixture.

Season with salt plus minus sugar.

Dash all the available herbs.

Lepas ni kena buat exercise to get rid all the fat!!! Yucks!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The End Of Syaaban and The Beginning Of Ramadhan


(I saved this witty pic from Skye's Ramadhan entry last year!)

Ramadhan is just round the corner but we still have a few more days left of Syaaban. I don't know you, but I haven't been doing much of supererogotary worships to Allah swt this time round. I hope to do more before Syaaban ends. Ya Allah swt please give me strength!

My previous entry depicting arrays of glorious food was probably a subconscious act of reminding myself of the coming Ramadhan. That fasting is such a meaningful ibadah which teaches us patience and compassion. That we should be grateful that food is so abundant at our doosteps. And that we should aslo exercise frugality when breaking our fasts and not glut on our foods like that's our last meal!


My Dear Daughters

Meanwhile, Sarah and Sofi insyallah have settled well and began classes immediately the week they reached Volgograd. Sarah started off with her Obs and Gynae posting. This year is supposed to be rather gruelling for her as she needs to travel a fair distance from one department to another each day as the different departments are located miles apart. Her options for mode of transport would be the public bus (cheapest), mashrud (mini-buses) and cabs. To avoid crowd jostling, foul odors and headaches she prefers either mashrud or cabs but that would mean more expenditure on transport. On her first day at the Obs ward, her lecturer asked her group whether there's anyone interested in specializing in O&G and only Sarah raised her hand. Since then, whatever hands-on activity conducted, Sarah would be called first since she had shown initial interest. Alhamdulillah that sort of boosted her morale a bit, :p.

Sofi has a new entry about the celebration of Volgograd's birthday. As usual she has loads of eye-feasting pics to share. Despite having problems due to carelessnesswith her camera, thus forcing her to use Sarah's, she still managed to capture colorful and eye-catching compositions. It's a joy to see that my two girls are well and despite having to adhere to a tight academic schedule, they're still able to savor part of the local tradition.

It will be the 4th consecutive Ramadhan for Sarah this year, away from us and the second for Sofi. May Allah swt ease them both in performing all the ibadah in Ramadhan as much as He would to us over here!

Not a book review

On Monday and Tuesday a collegue and I were assigned to do medical check-ups for 150 factory personnel somewhere in Gebeng, an industrial port town. However due to several factors, Tuesday proved to be a very slow day and I managed to sit back, relax and get myself 'lost' in a few books , a novel by Orhan Pamuk titled The Black Book, Faith vs Materialism (The Message of Surah al-Kahfi) by Syed Abul Hassan Ali Nadwi and Mutual Reminding and Good Manners by Imam Abdullah ibn Alawi al- Haddad (a gift from KKL). I am also thankful to the kind tea-lady who made me a cup of hot coffee to sip through the slow hours. Ahh...what bliss!


Orhan Pamuk is a Turkish writer who has written several books and 4 of them have been translated to English. I likened his writing to Kazuo Ishiguro's, long and tedious. But what I like about Orhan's stories is that it's related to the Turkish way of life and in it are many explicit descriptions pertaining to its people, places, scenarios and buildings. (I am sure Boogey's antennas would have perked up by now!hehe) Like all Ishiguro's books, I know I will take weeks to finish Orhan's Black Book. And each time I pick the book to continue, I will need time to immerse myself back amongst its characters. It's simply mesmerizing.

Faith vs Materialism defines the fallacy of materialism succinctly. Based on Surah al Kahfi, many of its anecdotes are derived from the 4 main stories found in the surah, namely the Companions of the cave, Tale of the 2 gardens, Moses and al Khidir and Dhul Qarnayn. To quote the author,
"The materialist civilization, so prone to over-emphasize it perspective with extreme measures, has been aptly described in the verse Surah al Kahfi: "We have made heedless of Our remembrance, who follows his own lust and whose case has been abandoned" (18:28)

The 3rd book is so full of beautiful phrases that reminds us of the correct path. Here are some meaningful advices. I quote: Know that the path begins when a powerful urge is cast into the heart of the servant which troubles and unnerves him, and drives him towards God and the last abode......The urge is one of the hidden warriors of God, it is a gift of solicitude and a sign of right guidance.

To mark the coming of Ramadhan and not forgetting the remaining Syaaban I end with this beautiful Hadith: "My servant ceases not to draw nearer to Me with supererogatory devotions until I love him, when I love him I become his eyesight with which he sees, his hearing with which he hears, his hand with which he strikes, and his foot on which he walks. When he asks of Me, I grant him, and when he seeks My protection, I protect him"
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