Last Day Of Ramadhan – Balik Kampung..Oh Oh Oh..Balik Kampung

As of last night, Wifey was still contemplating whether to go back to Johor or not.  She almost decided not to go back and that would have meant the three of us (including my eldest daughter, Hana) to hole ourselves up here in the KL Crib.  Fazira is back in Kedah with her mom, Nisaa and Farhan are in Klang at their maternal grandma’s place, Ali has gone back to Kedah with his father.  Medina and Yunus are already in Batu Pahat.

Just the three of us left.

This morning, it was decided that we are going to spend our Hari Raya in Johor.  So in less than an hour, we’ll be making our way back South.  Last year, I made my way Northeastwards to the Perhentians.  I somehow wish I could spend this Raya on an island somewhere…diving.

Anyway, for the past two nights, Wifey, Hana, Ali (for the first night only), and I have been breaking our fast outside. The first night was at The Curve after failing to find a F&B outlet that wasn’t full at the Subang Parade.

Phad Thai Thalay
Wifey’s Phad Thai Thalay

Black Pepper Soft Shell Crab
My Black Pepper Soft Shell Crab

Later that night, together with Liverpool Babe, Neomesuff and her husband, we went out shopping at the Ramadhan Bazaar along Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman.

Wifey and Liverpool Babe checking the authenticity of the original imitation clothes
Wifey and Liverpool Babe checking the authenticity of the original imitation clothes

Normi giving purchasing instructions to Wan
Neomesuff: “Yang, make sure you buy for me these things one lorry load!”
Wan: “Hait!”

Long way home
Finally…4am was when we all headed back home…and my vision went blur

After sahur, Wifey and I woke up late, rushed to do some work, then went to pick up Hana. I spent some time with Nisaa and Farhan before we left for Ampang Park because Wifey had to shop for some clothes for Medina and Yunus. Then I though I’d give Wifey and Hana a treat, berbuka puasa outside for the final time this year, by taking them to al-Rawsha. The queue was extremely long, and the food sucked big time. They should stick to ala carte.

Non-Alcoholic Barbarian
If these had alcohol, they would have been labelled as Barbarian

Food
Food at al-Rawsha

Food at al-Rawsha
Food at al-Rawsha

That night, Hana and Wifey made Hazelnut Suji for Hari Raya at another Hana’s place. I had to rush off to the Havana Club for a business meeting with Orang Kaya Besar Laxamana Gempita Gemgem al-Qohol, and the Forlorn Soldier.

Hana making suji while watching TV
Watching TV or making suji?

What's cooking, Honey?
What’s cooking, Honey? And I don’t mean what’s in the oven!”

Hazelnut Suji
Hazelnut Suji – my favourite

Meeting location
Meeting location

Gemgem and Forlorn Soldier in serious discussion
Gemgem and the Forlorn Soldier in serious discussion

And today, we left KL for Batu Pahat at 3.45pm. Woke up at 10.45am and Wifey quickly made some rendang to take back with us. We got caught in the crawl just before the Sungai Besi toll, then between Nilai and Seremban. After that I was whacking between 140 to 150 on the highway. We made a quick stop at the Ayer Keroh R&R to buy some KFC chicken and to refuel.

We made it as far as Parit Yaani, or half an hour from Batu Pahat, when it was time to break fast, and we broke fast inside the car for the last time this year.

This has been a remarkable and wonderful Ramadhan for me – the first Ramadhan that I’ve been truly happy.

Hana SMSing with Fazira
Hana SMSing with Fazira who was in Kedah

The usual crawl
The usual crawl

Almost there
Finally, almost there

Wifey having her Zinger
Wifey having her KFC Zinger for berbuka puasa

So, my friends, Selamat Hari Raya, Maaf Zahir dan Batin. Drive carefully to and from wherever your destination may be. With that, I leave you with P Ramlee’s original version of the all-time Hari raya favourite: DENDANG PERANTAU.

Dendang Perantau – P.Ramlee

Hari Raya Mood

Today is the third last day of fasting.  Soon, Muslims in Malaysia especially, will be celebrating Aidil Fitri.  Other than having Wifey with me, Hari Raya doesn’t mean much to me anymore.

Back in the early to mid-70s through the early 80s, Hari Raya is about going back to my maternal grandparents’ house in Kampung Jeransang.  It is located along the Benta to Jerantut road – Mukim Tanjung Besar in Benta District.  Those were the days when my cousin Harry and I would get chased by water buffalos after we pelt them with rocks, shoot bamboo cannons, get our fingers snapped by rat traps or bitten by Weaver Ants when we climb fruit trees. Then starting on the penultimate day of fasting, all of us, aunts and uncles included, would be cooking lemang, rendang, dodol and making cookies for the big day.  At night, we’d be eating still while playing sparklers and firecrackers.  The air would be filled with Hari Raya songs by the late Saloma and P Ramlee like “Selamat Hari Raya” (what else) and “Dendang Perantau.”

Nowadays, Hari Raya is much like any other festivities, and is far too commercialised for my liking.  I don’t know what monster could eat up RM100++ worth of food for berbuka when I can whack the same amount in JB for less than 20% of that price.  Hari Raya songs are being played in department stores a week before the commencement of fasting, and the fasting month is all about shopping, shopping, and shopping.  Then comes the last minute bargaining for cookies and cakes along Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman and these cookies will be on the coffee table of a home until almost the next Hari Raya.

And as for my maternal grandparents’ home, my grandparents have left us all 10 years ago.  My cousins are all married and some even have their grandchildren visiting them this Hari Raya.  No more bamboo cannons and firecrackers.  No more water buffalos as this generation does not want to work the rice fields anymore.

The romance of Hari Raya is all but gone forever.

And with that goes my mood too.

Hari Raya Weather

This weather forecast is for dates commencing first Hari Raya (Wednesday 1st October 2008) through third Hari Raya (3rd October 2008) only:

Kangar: Day 1 – 3 morning and afternoon thunderstorms. Night no rain.

Alor Setar: Day 1 – 3 morning and afternoon thunderstorms. Night no rain.

Georgetown: Day 1 – 3 morning and afternoon thunderstorms. Night no rain.

Ipoh: Day 1 – 3 morning and afternoon thunderstorms. Night no rain.

Kuala Lumpur: Day 1 – 3: sunny.

Petaling Jaya: Day 1 – 3: sunny.

Shah Alam: Day 1 – 3: sunny.

Seremban: Day 1 – 3: sunny.

Melaka: Day 1 – 3: sunny.

Johor Bahru: Day 1 – 3: sunny.

Kuantan: Day 1 – 3: rain in the afternoon.

Kuala Terengganu: Day 1 – 3: sunny.

Kota Bharu: Day 1 – 3: sunny.

Kota Kinabalu: Day 1 – 3 afternoon thunderstorms. Morning and night no rain.

Kudat: Day 1 – 3 morning cloudy  and afternoon thunderstorms. Night no rain.

Sandakan: Day 1: rain in the afternoon. Morning and night no rain.  Days 2 & 3: sunny.

Tawau: Day 1 – 3: sunny.

Miri: Day 1 – 3: sunny.

Kuching:  Day 1 – 3 morning and afternoon thunderstorms. Night no rain.

SELAMAT MENYAMBUT HARI RAYA AIDIL FITRI

31 Ways To Not Drive Me Wild

Angels in Stockings, UK

It is no secret that I love to read when I am on the porcelain throne. I’d normally grab a magazine or a newspaper, and my session would be just fine; failing which, I will just grab a toothpaste tube, or a bottle of shampoo or shower gel and read every single fine print available just to make my toilet session an easy one.

Recently, I read a woman’s magazine belonging to Wifey, and almost spoiled the session because I laughed out loud. In the magazine is an article listing 31 ways to drive a man totally wild. The tagline said “Little tips for every day of the month that will make your husband a very happy man!” Let me list them down and tell you what I think of some of the items.

Place a silk scarf inside his briefcase with a little note that says, “You will need this later tonight in bed.”

And for what? Tell me, please.

Wear a daringly low-cut top, and during dinner “innocently” reach over for the salt.

We don’t have salt bottle on the table. Would sambal belacan do?

Sit on his lap during a party or an outdoor barbeque…and align your private parts with his.”

Depending on how mine is parked, it can be painful for me, and whenever Wifey sits on my lap, she’d jump roff right away because there’s always something hard poking at her butt – my wallet.

Give him a sensual chest massage.

I’ve got bad back. So I prefer a backrub to a chest massage. And if it’s good, I’d fall asleep right away. If it’s bad, I’ll just push it away.

Seduce him in the kitchen!

Hello, with so many things burning on the stove, not a good idea.

Tell him you need the car keys, then dip your hand in his front pocket and fish around for them.

I normally leave the car keys where it should be. I have a wallet, a hanky, two mobile phones, my Vicks inhaler and a dental floss in my pockets. Why would I want to add more deadweight?

Have a romp in a tight space.

My waistline is 42, for God’s sake!

Go for a morning jog together then pounce on him while you’re both still sweaty and breathing heavily.

Eeeeewww!

Admire him blatantly when he gets out of his morning shower. Whistle when he walks by you in the bedroom.

And I will go, “What a pervert!

Write this on a notecard: I’M LUSTING FOR YOUR_________________ I WANT YOU TO TAKE MY ____________________ AND _____________________ WITH YOUR __________________. Pass it to him and ask him to fill in the blanks any way he wants.

I’M LUSTING FOR YOUR poems I WANT YOU TO TAKE MY notebook AND write WITH YOUR pen.

Call him slightly scandalous new nickname: Cowboy, Stallion, Lover.

I’ll holler back CHEE SIN.

Pinch his butt when he walks by.

Pervert.

Keep the door open while you shower…

And I’ll go, “Are you wearing a leather jacket in the shower, Honey?”

Gosh…what’s happened to spontaneity?

This Hari Raya

It’s Friday.

In 4 days time Wifey and I, and probably my daughter Hana, will be heading to Johor for Hari Raya. This is one Hari Raya I have been looking forward to.

Last year, I was supposed to go to Wifey’s place with Spena for Hari Raya. Somehow Spena got tied-up, so the plan was cancelled. And everyday that I spent in Perhentian over the Hari Raya break, Wifey would read my constantly-updated blog, at times crying. This year, I will be with her. And this will be the first time that Hari Raya would be really meaningful to me.

Just now, as she was drifting away to lala-land, she smiled and said, “No one has ever loved me this way before. Thank you, Sayang.”

I kissed her forehead and hugged her tight, and replied, “That’s because no one’s ever loved me like this, Baby.”

More happy Haris Raya ahead, I pray.

Of course there is this part of me that feels sad because despite it being my turn to spend the Hari Raya with the kids, my ex is bent on not letting them be with me this year, treating them like her private property, confusing them by planting illogical stories into their mind. So much for a person who likes to portray herself as pious, when throughout the years I was with her, I had to remain patient because of the kids while she goes sleeping around with other men.

For those of you who are divorced, please do not poison your children’s mind either by creating wild stories about your ex, or telling them about the bad things about your ex, just so you’ll always win their love, or feel the pleasure of making your children hate your ex. The truth will prevail, and even if either of you win, it is always the children who would lose badly.

Be a human being for once, please…especially my ex. Because if I decide to forget that I am one, the whole world will know what she was up to whenever I was absent.

Hari Raya Memories

Balik Kampung - credit to Aljawhar at WordPressHari Raya cards hanging on a Christmas tree that mostly said “Season Greetings” than “Selamat Hari Raya”. I was 5 years old. And that was in Bukit Peringgit, Melaka. The year – 1971.

That’s as far as I can recall of my first memories of Hari Raya. As a child, Hari Raya was always being eagerly waited by me, and thousands of other kids in Malaysia (at least). That very year we moved to our house in Section 16, PJ. That neighbourhood was fun; I had neighbours, friends and what-nots. When my father became the IGP in 1974, that was when he first hosted an open house. The food was good, courtesy of his entertainment allowance. We played sparklers, and when I was 9, my baju melayu’s sleeve caught fire, but the guard quickly acted and put the flame out. We moved to our quarters just before Tun Razak died, and from 1976 through 1994 (when my father retired, virtually all haris raya were celebrated there – save for 1984 through 1986, and 1991 (when I first got married).

I also loved the haris raya spent at my maternal grandparents place in Kampung Jeransang, Benta district, in Pahang. It was the only time all of us get to converge and meet each other.

After my divorce in 1996, I lost all passion for Hari Raya. It no longer had any meaning for me. Hari Raya for me would end with the end of the morning prayer. After that I would just head home, eat a bit, and spend the day sleeping. And last year’s was the saddest – I celebrated alone. My elder kids went back to Kedah, while my younger ones celebrated with their mother in Klang. I remember that image of Nisaa entering the room in her baju kurung, walked up to me, salam me, and gave me a good long hug. I just kissed her head with her Maggi hair in my face.

It was a sad day.

Nisaa about to wish me selamat hari raya

I ate leftovers that raya morning, with Ribena. Only friends wished me Hari Raya. None from my family members, none from that person who claimed to love me with all her heart. Not a single wish from her, even as I was making my way to the Perhentian Islands that night.

Never spend Hari Raya alone. And if you have to, make sure your TV set is not tuned to any of the local terrestrial channels that would have the occassional takbir to remind you of how miserable it is to spend hari raya alone.

Never spend hari raya alone…never…ever again.

And Soon It Is Hari Raya Again

My son, Farhan, and my daughter, Nisaa, will be celebrating Hari Raya at their maternal grandmother’s home in Klang. My second daughter, Fazira, will be going back to Kedah to be with her mother for Hari Raya. My eldest, Hana, is unsure. She might join me, or she might join Farhan and Nisaa.

Hari Raya is never for me.

Happy 1st Anniversary, Sayang

Wifey and younger brother, Zahri JR during Hari Raya 2007
Wifey and younger brother, Zahri JR

Happy 1st Anniversary, Sayang.

It was a year ago that I first met you face-to-face, and it was here in this house for berbuka puasa. How were we to know that a year on, (and due to the stupidity of others for causing us great pain), you and I are now sharing our lives together.

And true to our sister, Spena‘s words, we’re more for each other than we were with those stupid people.

I never thought I would fall for you, let alone being your hubby. Thinking back, I don’t even know that person that was you a year back. The you that I know now is so different to the person I met last year (in a positive way), and you have surpassed all expectations.

And yes, this Aidil Fitri would be far happier for us than the one we had last year.

I love you, Sayang.

Happy first anniversary.

Us with court jesters, Komar and Aiz, in the background
Us with court jesters, Komar and Aiz, in the background

Batu Belah Batu Bertangkup

Semalam aku pergi shopping.

Aku kena pilih 100 bunga lawang yang cun-cun dan tak ada yang rupa macam kaki negro African-American yang berkurap (sorry la Spena I know you suka mat gagak). Semuanya untuk kegunaan business Wifey. Sebagai membalas jasa aku yang begitu hebat, Wifey ajukan satu soalan bonus kepada aku:

“Daddy teringin nak makan apa?”

Lantas minda korupku ini teringatkan telur ikan. Dan disebabkan hari ini Wifey dan rakan sekutunya teringin nak masak kari ikan maka aku pun bercadang untuk masukkan telur ikan ke dalam kari tersebut.

Untuk berbuka puasa, Wifey telah menjemput rakan-rakan seperti Fin, Abang Rina, Hana, Spena dan Liverpool Babe. Hana membawa partner sepertimana yang dijangkakan. Maka, kari ikan dan telur ikan yang dimasak memang agak mencukupi untuk jumlah kaki pelahap yang sedia ada.

Kari Ikan dan Telur Ikan
Kari ikan dan telur ikan yang dimasak untuk berbuka semalam

Dengan tak semena-mena, 10 minit sebelum waktu berbuka puasa, Liverpool Babe telah muncul dengan seorang rakan yang tidak dikenali umum, dan Gemgem yang setakat ini berjaya berpuasa selama 3 hari, juga membawa partner untuk bantu menghabiskan apa yang ada. Akibatnya, nasi terpaksa ditanak lagi, dan kari menjadi rebutan.

Tak mengapalah; at least seronok ada rakan-taulan bersama-sama berbuka.

Rakan-rakan pelahap
Rakan-rakan gemar mempelahap bersama-sama Wifey

Aku pergi meeting selepas itu. Dalam ketiadaan aku, Wifey sudah terliur semula dan pergi check periuk berisi kari tadi dan mendapati ada seketul sahaja lagi telur ikan. Beliau dengan gahnya meng-‘update’ status Facebooknya dengan menulis bahawa beliau akan mempelahapkan baki telur ikan yang ada, khuatirkan aku yang akan bertengkar dengannya untuk telur ikan tersebut.

Namun, aku sebagai suami menyethali terpaksalah beralah dan membenarkan Wifey membalun baki telur ikan tersebut.

Bak kata akal jahat aku:

“Ya lah…setidak-tidaknya bolehlah Wifey makan telur aku pulak malam ni sebagai balasan.”

Jahat aku membalas dendam macam Ju-On…

Ju-On muncul
Ju-On tanpa rambut muncul di belakang Wifey

Cook Spook

Nigella Lawson

Well, that’s Nigella Lawson up there.

I’m sitting here watching AFC, watching Vivien Tan cooking on the rooftop of some Singapore skyscraper, and began to wonder why can’t Malaysia cook up a cooking program like this, or like Nigella’s. With the exception of Chef Wan, there isn’t anything worth watching. Every single ‘celebrity’ chef will be addressing the audience with the formality of a minister.

“Tuan-tuan dan puan-puan, sekarang kita hiris bawang ini halus-halus dengan pisau yang tajam ini, ya?”

What the fork is that? It sounds like some Tauhid session in a mosque after Isya’ prayers.

“Anak-anak, hari ni ustaz akan mengajar mengenai Sifat 20. Sifat yang pertama, ya anak-anak, ialah Wujud. Wujud itu maknanya Ada. Minggu depan kita belajar sifat yang kedua pulak, ya anak-anak?”

Don’t talk about camera angles, la. I doubt that they use MCP. Probably just a single camera and the cameraman’s somewhere in the cafetaria outside having coffee. Sometimes you have a chef cooking something, and they will put an actor or actress as a co-host of the show. And while the chef speaks in that formal tone as per above, you get this bimbo co-host parroting every single word because he/she hasn’t got as much as a rat’s ass-sized idea of what’s happening. Well, I cannot blame them since a squid would probably have a higher IQ than they.

Recently, Wifey pointed out to me that for the month of Ramadhan, they have a religious teacher as a co-host on one of RTM1’s cooking program. And while this chef is busy trying to explain to the audience about the process of cooking a meal, you have this ustaz giving lectures on morality and religion. What cow-shit-for-brain producer came out with that concept? Such a turn-off, that. Imagine this:

Chef: “Baiklah tuan-tuan dan puan-puan, sekarang kita buangkan kulit bawang ini sebab kita tidak memerlukannya.”

Ustaz: “Hatta diingatkan kepada semua supaya tidak membazir kerana perbuatan membazir ini adalah perbuatan rakan-rakan syaitan.”

Go eat the bleeding kulit bawang, you plonk! Why can’t this plonk of an ustaz do more research on the ingredients and find some religious connotation to the word “onion” or something.

Seriously, you watch a Singapore production, you know that they have positioned the program for worldwide distribution, while the ones produced in Malaysia will have to rely heavily on sponsors for airtime.

In the meantime, I shall enjoy watching some mamak cook something in a dirty kitchen in the back lane. More entertainment there.