Stranger On The Train

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I was on the train yesterday afternoon. I picked up these three pre-ordered books I've been waiting for from Kino at KayElCC. Earlier I decided against driving into KL and too the train instead.


On the journey from KLCC to Abdullah Hukum, I sat and hugged my 3 heavy books and planning on a myriad of things to bake and decorate. I hardly noticed this rather old-y person sitting next to me, about 60 or so, I think.

I fidgeted and he moved, giving me more space to which I smiled warmly at him.

Then he asked me what I bought from Kino.

"Just books."

"Mahal ke ?"

"Boleh la jugak. Saya dah order buku ni lama dah."

"Buku pasal apa?" ...

And then he asked.

"Boleh tanya sikit? You ni mesti belajar kat UK ke US ke ?"

"Errkk. Hmm betul la tu."

"Dah ada Masters ke?" Eh pakcik ni, bila masa pulak dia baca blog aku ni.

"Lepas ni taknak buat PhD ke ?"

Hah! Then all the way from Masjid Jamek to Abdullah Hukum, he elaborated explained why one look and he could guess my education level and that I'm a great candidate for PhD. But I was intrigued. He mentioned that it's not about reconition. It's not about being celebrated, and not even for the title.

There's just not a lot of orang kita perempuan pulak tu yang ada PhD, particularly in technical engineering area. And more interestingly, he said that think about the pahala yang akan dapat bila dapat PhD. Evertime you write a paper or a book, as long as someone is using the book for his/her benefits, you get the pahala. Teaching someone a skill is one of the best ways to share your knowledge.

I never think of it that way. Truthfully, I never imagine myself pursuing my doctorate. Myabe I will, maybe I won't but at this juncture of my life, right now. I just want to take a step up my career and focus on the family and my baking. A long-drawn thesis is not on the agenda just yet.

Anyway. It's cool to think that I could strike a conversation and learn something new everday.

When I left the train, we said our goodbyes and I never knew his name. Nor did he.

Thought I Had Help

Monday, September 22, 2008

I don't often blog about work. Unless it's one of those venting-off sessions where expletives are commonly blanked off and replaced with kid-friendly expressions. Of which there were many.

Anyway, I already have a life working full time, so the blog aims to just channel my energy and whatever left of my creative juice flowing. Hence no work blog.

But this is a whiny post, so excuse me.

Well you see. I recently changed portfolio. I used to have a broader scope but now I'm focused on 2 major fuels in the industry and everything around it, the price, the volume, the tonnages, the problems, the people, the markets and the highlights. It's a lot of hard work, mind you. I was doing it for the whole of last year, as part of my job, but it soon grew to be a menace, so, I was put here to manage it and put my finger on it, lest it goes astray and the house of cards would come down.

I had my faithful engineer Hez with me before, helping me to stem over the brouhaha over the many issues we have. I've entrusted her with things I knew she could perform without my supervision. Then I left that post and came here. So I lost Hez.

I then gained a new engineer. Call him Helm. He's one of those very upbeat, eager-beaver and gotta-get-moving kinda person. I kinda like him. But I get the nagging feeling that he's not too interested in what I do and what he's to do. Though he hid it well.

Anyhow. Last Friday, I learnt that Helm has resigned. He's gone off to Ukraine to accompany wifey. Good reason I guess. I would resign too if I have a spouse in a foreign land. Heck! I'd resigned too if MrGart could whisk me off to a strange land where I could explore their bread and the country.

Well. The point is that. I have no assistant now. Uwaaaaaaa. Dang!

Friends of BJ Masjid

Friday, September 19, 2008

Pictures are courtesy of Friends of Masjid Bukit Jelutong.

Whooaaa !!

That's my first expression upon reading the email on the commencement of the baby-sitting cum entertainment for kiddies service at the Masjid so mothers can pray in peace and not feel too guilty for bringing the kids too.

And I whoooo-ed some more cos for once I made a difference of a simple post in my blog. Read We Braved the Masjid and Not Last Night. It's something I felt so strongly about but have no means to enable it. Until this year, when Ariz is already 3.5 years and as what mothers would say, life begins when your last child hits 3. Ha ha !

Anyhow. My post travelled a bit and got into mainstream Masjid BJ's communication loop and quickly gathered momentum and last night it came into being. Whoever says I only blog for petty issues. I'm so proud to be a jemaah at my masjid. It's the community, it's just the can-do attitude all around.

Well, we arrived last night and went straight to the room. Hasnah & Dr Saadiah stood with bags of goodies in their hands. Unfortunately, my kids are the clingy type and Adani refused to stay. I made Aliya & Asha stay with Adani and I had to take Ariz along for Isya'.

The reluctant Adani.

Before Terawikh, I snuck out and borrowed Aliya and get her and her friend to cajole Ariz to go there. Yay! And both Adani & Ariz stayed in the class throughout the Terawikh.

I knew this was a sure-fire way to get Ariz to stay.

Ariz & rakan sebaya.

Adani still looking reluctant.

I think last night was a HUGE success. For the past week or more, I have persevered and brought them all to the masjid every night and have resorted to let off Aliya to keep the rowdy Ariz in check. There were still kids milling about behind the safs at the anjung, but it'll be a matter of time before they all get whisked over for fun times with Auntie Hasnah & Dr Saadiah. Meanwhile, I can pray in peace and quiet.

Full Moon And Howling Kids

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

We came home last night from the Masjid, eager to dig into the soft kaya buns I bought from my office and me, to plonk myself on the sofa watching Lipstick Jungle.

It was a short drive.

When we entered Kubah area, it was pitch black. Hmmm..

Driving into our street. Still pitch black and some neighbours were already outside, escaping the heaty indoors. A blackout!

Daymmmnnn !!

I was in telekungs, hokeh! And it was getting hot. Chitchatted with Raz and then after a while, I went and changed into a tudung instead. The street quickly turned into a street event with parents chatting and kids with torchlights laughing and chasing each other in circles.

It wasn't really pitch black as the moon was very bright. It was 16th Ramadhan and it's full moon. Alhamdulillah. We could see the surface of the moon clearly and it was an awesome sight. When was the last night you gazed at the moon, marvelling in its glory ? I couldn't remember.

Anyhow. By 11:45pm, Adani was already sleepy and clingy but the lights were still out. So, we decided to take a drive around to just knock the kids into slumber in the air-cond. Alhamdulillah, by the time we reversed the car, the lights came back on! Lega!

Night night ! I love you, my air-conditioner although you're taking too much of our budgeted 400kWh a month limit!

A Suggestion to Abang Polis

Friday, September 12, 2008

This morning while driving to work, there was an unusually long jam towards FedHighway KL-bound, coming from Subang NKVE Toll Plaza. Since June 4th, the jam dissapeared to my delight. I guess petrol was expensive and ppl were car-pooling. And now that the price is slightly cheaper, there're more cars on the streets now.

Anyhow. Even if there was a jam, the queue would still be moving. This time. It was NOT. Then it moved for a while and stopped again. Hmmm.

Once I've entered into the smooth FedHighway, I saw the root of the problem.

A traffice police man. A blinking policeman. *reminding self cussing is strictly prohibited during Ramadhan*

Get this. I was driving in a dedicated slip road, into FedHighway. The lane is not merging into the other 3 lanes. In fact, the lane could not cause any jam at all. But the other drivers from the other 3 lanes are the ones trying to crash our lanes.

And what did this traffic guy do?



I felt like stopping by his side and tell him this.

"Pakcik?" *eh silap*

"Abang?" "Abang tau tak by stopping traffic, sekarang ni dah ada queue yang mega panjang all the way to Subang Toll? Lepas tu kan, backlog ni dah block traffic to Klang-bound traffic and even to Kelana Jaya. Abang paham tak what right of way means? Polis-polis traffic macam abang ni, saya harap dah pergi kursus-kursus on traffic management. Bukannya apa. Saya rasa abang MEMBURUKKAN keadaan ada la. Langsung tak membantu. Jadi, saya nak cadangkan, supaya abang balik ofis saje la. Tidur lagi baik. Buat orang sakit hati aje. Boleh ? "

Do you think he'll ticket me ?

Head of Security Again. Sigh!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

MrGart is away. Until tomorrow on a type test trip. I groaned and I whined but he went still.

Well, I mulled over whether we could do Terawikh at the masjid. The previous night, when we went there, the kids behaved relatively well. And the jemaah's thinning at this period of the Ramadhan. I guess, people are visiting relatives or staying home to lend morale support to the UPSR kids. BTW, congratulations to the UPSR candidates and also to the parents. Glad you guys made it out in one piece. Hope the mind is not in tatters!

Anyhow, I decided against the masjid and prayed at home instead.

Last night, as usual, I got all girls to sleep in my room. Ariz is already a permanent resident there, anyway. I was a bit more nervous last night after the sad, scary news of the botched robbery turned ugly at D'Kayangan yesterday morning. Al-Fatihah to the mum and I hope the girls and the whole family would remain strong in the face of such grief.

On a different note, I made these recently. These 50 cookies were for Hanna Sofea's birthday party at school, MrsZee's chirpy, pint-sized 5-year old. We personally delivered them cos she has just delivered her 4th child, Az-Zahra about 3 weeks ago.

Oohhh newborns smell so good.

A close-up of the the Birthday Dress.

In pink. Notice the embossed message. Yeahhh! New toys!

And white. I love the white ribbons and the solver dragee.

Anyway. Congratulations MrsZee on the new bundle of joy. Heh! Sama kita nampaknya. And to Hanna Sofea, hope the party was fun. I know you are.

Thankful and Feeling MSc-ish

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

*feeling rather smug*

I just came back from BATC collecting this *points up* and the official transcript.

Alhamdulillah. Alhamdulillah. Alhamdulillah.

To finally see the certificate and to hold it, caressing my embossed name and the degree awarded to me, it's just an overwhelming feeling.

All those long hard 3 years. The weekends I had to pry myself away from the the little girls, slogging away and sometimes nodding through the 10-hour lectures. The sacrifice we all made. MrGart had to fend for the kids by himself, often stashing them with the maid at those playlands that costs a bomb, on days I had to attend lectures.

The wee hours of the nights I spent poring over the assignments and books and project materials. The frequent sneaking out of bed, trying not to awake Ariz but he'd woken up anyhow, sensing I was not with him and the cycle of nursing/study/sneak out began again.

The days I walked into lectures with a huge tummy carrying Ariz.

But it wasn't all that gloomy.

I made tremendous friends. I made great contacts. And I had GREAT, GREAT fun. It's not half truth. That's the truth.

I love the lectures. I thrive in that environment. I love the simulation games we played. I love the lecturers, hmm well 7 ot of 9 at least. And most of all, all the lectures, they kinda transported me back to lectures at Reynolds C9 Hall of UMIST.

After 10 years being back in Malaysia, hearing the accents of my British lecturers and their quirky and often off-the-cuff remarks just brought me back to those wintry days at Manchester. I love the fact that they made me think out of the box and I love the chats we had during breakfast/lunches/teas and sometimes dinners over how life had been for me then. Reminiscence.

But most of all, I love the fact that I finally got the degree.

Hmm. Enough gloating eh?

But now's the payback time, I guess. I just completed my 10 years of contractual bond of service to the Kompeni, now with this, I'll be here for the next uhmmm 5 years. Yikes!

I ain't worrying about that now. For now, I'm just exhilarated to finally have 6 letters after my name. He he he.

Gartblue BSc. (Honours) Comput@tion, UM1ST; MSc Engineering Business M@nagement, W@rwick University.

*smug still*

A Bright Sun Shiny Day

Just looked outside my window.

The sun is shining. The wind is howling and blowing and I see people milling about smiling.

What a great day!

I'm off to get my MSc transcript that's just arrived from Warwick and admire my results. Ha ha.

p/s this reminds me of a typical summer day in Manchester when we would lounge about at the part, chasing the sunshine and sit out just to chat. Those blissful days!

Thumbs Up for PLUS

Monday, September 8, 2008

I'm impressed.

Remember I mentioned in the last post about me being slapped with a RM44.80 fine by PLUS, deducted in my TnG card ? Amin this morning told me that it took them 5 whole months to refund him. Yikes!

Well, I was at their counter near Subang during lunch. I was prepared to tell my sad story of being hustled and jostled, and my Swift being a short car, the SmartTag didn't register bla bla bla.

So, I was pleasantly suprised when the nice lady behind the counter smiled and handed me a form to fill in. She then proceeded to tell me that if I needed the refund quick, I could go to KLSentral and get cash on the spot. Here, they would post the cheque in a month. A month!

I was alright with a month. She zerorised my TnG balance which was negative 30.40 and I topped up the card and she said the cheque of RM13.40 will arrive in a month.


In 10 minutes I was out the door and headed back to the office.

But then again, thinking back, does this happen VERY often ? Or worse, senangnya la hai nak tipu. I'm not sure how one can beat the system on a TnG or SmartTag, but the fact that it's fairly easy to get refunds.


Alhamdulillah. Life can go on.

p/s A few years back, I had the same predicament and was slapped with a RM30 fine. I never did ask for a refund for reasons, I cannot remember now. Sheeshh!

Day 8 of Ramadhan


I'm proud, alhamdulillah to announce that Ayisha at 7-will-be-8-in-dec has been fasting straight since Day 1. She has the largest eyes during sahurs and has not qualms about waking up and eating at odd hours. Last year she did 14 days, off days were due to sakit perut, fevers and excusable events.

She has such a weakness for food smells. I made french toast with cheese for Adani & Ariz on saturday and she was visibly drooling and pined for it. BUT. But she didn't ask to break her fast. She made me promise to make some for her during sahur. Yes sir! Even when the lil' ones were munching fries in the car, she held her forte. I'm so proud of her, my little princess.

Aliya has been fasting too. She's a veteran and only missed 2 days last year, due to fevers. This girl seriously is liat to bangun. She'd be the one to menggeliat sana, menggeliat sini, baring balik and then baru la nak bangun. Aliya has a habit of sleep talk too. If she's asleep in front of the TV at night, waking her up to walk up to her room requires, strict hand-holding. Otherwise, she'd go open the front door, or to the kitchen opening up the freezer, whatever it is she remembers from the fragments of her dream. But she's never sleep-walk before, alhamdulillah. Teringat Najwa, roti's princess.

Adani has been "fasting" at school only, according to her. Hmmmm.

Ariz is .. errr not fasting and eating in front of the sisters as only Ariz could do.

Meanwhile, I've restocked the fridge and freezer on Sunday. I aim to cook at least 2 dishes a night which one should last into sahur. I aim to make various mee hailam, mee goreng, mee siam, mee singapore, mee udang (err maybe not) too so as not bore the fasting girls.

Last night I made bubur tak lambuk (no coconut) and soto. The kids lapped at it and sejuk hati aku bila makan camtu. I should also add here that our office canteen opens about 11-ish to scores of customers. The laukpauks are fairly reasonable and the best is that I know them and their food quality. So, I normally get a bizzare lauk or two i.e. the ones I'll not likely cook like siput sedut and some kuihs.

Today I bought their keladi asam pedas and daging masak kicap kot. Looks gorgeous. The keladi is a must. Menjilat jari! Tapi yang makannya aku seorang saje, as MrGart doesn't eat any asam pedas or fanciful ingredients like keladi. Rugi kan ? I have kuih kaswi, kuih lopes and seri muka but with pulut hitam. He he he. Serba dua. Itu aje la. All those cost me RM8. Great!

I plan to masak kurma ayam malam ni and pisang awak semalam boleh digoreng. Campur dengan air sirap. Baru pukul 11:30am ni!

Anyhow. Opps I should also mention my day started badly.

First I woke up late. Err own fault. Then Ariz woke up and I had to bawak dia pusing. Then there's a huge jam at the BJ toll plaza. Worse, while I was going through the Smartag lane, the 2 cars behind me were jostling each other and was super-close to my rear, so my Smartag didn't beep but I was through. Hmm.

I had an uneasy feeling and was at TnG lane at Damansara only to be stopped when the indicator flashed RM 44.80 to charge to my card and I've negative value. WHAT??? Apparently, my Smartag didn't register at BJ and coming out with no record of coming in, I was penalised for RM44.80. I was advised to register a complaint. Dang!

That done. A car stalled and my lane stalled until I switched lanes. The traffic was horrendous. I arrived at 8:14am, sheepishly very late. Sigh! Today is also MrGart's first day at his newly transferred office in Putrajaya. Sigh!

*bau keladi asam pedas kat sini. hmmm ..

Not Last Night

Thursday, September 4, 2008

No we did not go to the Masjid last night. After I was so gung-ho about it. I posted my previous entry in the UmmikuSayang group which was almost out of character for me and received mixed feedbacks about the issue.

Ninuk patted me at the back and cheered me on and I so love her for that. She seems to understand my worries and if she could learn to just relax and take one step at a time, then maybe I should too. After all, she's the one with FOUR boys and I only have Ariz. I'd have to say that Ninuk has been one pillar of inspiration for me, which is a big thing since Ninuk is really small in size but great in impression. He he !

But there are different views too.

Lily seems to think that despite our good intentions, rowdy kids are a distraction. Fullstop. One good point I think she raised was that although us, mothers, are used to and have learnt to ignore the noise and the antics of our kids while we pray, not all are like us. Particularly the elderly ones or those who have forgotten how kids are just being kids.

Irda, I think tried to marry them both and she said that to weigh between distracting other jemaah and not to wait out too long until it's just too late to assimilate masjid with the kids. Aha! How's that? How do I know?

I figured that the only way to know is to jump.

Insyallah we'll brave ourselves again and join the masjid's terawikh soon.

Last night, we had to miss it cos Adani was throwing a long drawn-out princessy fit. I found out from Naimah that there's a mini bazaar ramadhan in front of Mai-din and we went there to get air aje. But ended up with 4 more bags of non-air stuff. On the way back, Adani insisted that I read a book for her. Which would be okay but I seriously can't read in a moving car. I'd get a headache that wouldn't go away without the help of the friendly pan-a-dol and I'd go all grumpy if i get headaches. Lagipun, the ride home lasted like 4 minutes. Bukan jauh pun.

But of course, being the princess that Adani is. She scrunched up her face and wailed and whined and teared up and threw herself on the floor. I tried to console her once we're home and I could start reading again but she's already launched her don't-touch-me-i'm-bitter-as-hell mood. She stared and she whined and she wailed and she cried. Girls are such great divas and drama queens.

By Maghrib, she was still at it and no amount of pujuk could do it. I just ignored her after few attempts. Magically, around 7:50pm, she stood up and smiled and joined dinner. Ceh!

Ariz was in his sugar-high last night. I baked a batch of big, fat, chewy chocolate chip cookies the night before and I suspected that was the root of the sugar. He ran in circles, he smacked everyone. He climbed the chairs and tables and screamed at the top of his lungs and then he yelled some song away. Obliterating havoc we had last night. One was wailing. The other was like lipas kudung.

So, MrGart went to the Masjid without us and we all did our terawikh at home, amidst chaos.

I guess some nights are just on eh?

We Braved the Masjid

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Or was it the other way around ?

Anyhow. For the past *counts* *gulp* 10 years, I have not been to a masjid. I haven't been there for Terawikh, Hari Raya, Raya Korban or even their classes. It's almost shameful, really because we have in BJ, one of the most active, homely and great mosque around. *head hungs low*

Everytime Ramadhan comes, I pine to go. But then again, looking at the brood. I hesitated.

First, there was Aliya. We were living with my parents at Gombak and some nights I managed to sneak out with my twin, Nobita.

Then Ayisha came. We've moved to BJ and maidless. So, no question about that. I've heard about the meriahness of the masjid and I bit my lip.

Then Adani came along. Andes was here. But sneaking out of the house after a whole day OUT of the house for work was just not on for me. Even though Adani was a very very obedient baby, I couldn't risk bothering the other makmum but I couldn't bear to be away from them, even during the nights.

So, Ariz came along. This little boy was a very very boisterous little dynamite. Couldn't sit still. Picks a fight with each one of the sisters at least twice a night.

But he's 3 and a half years old now. Big enough, I deemed. So, last night, we took the plunge. We bundled them all in telekungs and MrGart put on Ariz's baju Melayu for him (which distracted him from wanting to wear telekung too) and we went to the masjid.

Boy! It was meriah allright. There were so many people around. Kids? Quite a number too. I managed to get a spot for us at the anjung, at the every end, almost luar. For ease of controlling the kids.

Aliya and Ayisha were very good and did all 8 rakaats without being distracted.

Adani did 2 rakaats of Isya' and then spotted Nabilah, her friend from school, then Jehan, another friend and by 3rd rakaat was whispering their names. Once Isya' was done, they're already outside, chitchatting loudly.

Ariz during Isya' was staring at me, making funny faces, then he sat and moved my sejadah with his feet. Then he started to hop hop hop around a whole short saf I was in. Grrr !

Then the commotion began. Adani's group grew larger, I never knew where these 5-yo girls emerged from. Ariz found Dhamiral, a friend of our street and they were LOUD! I hissed and I pssstt-ed. But they were loud still.

But the good thing was, 8 rakaat of Terawikh was not all that long. It was over before I thought it would be. That quick.

I met up with neighbours and friends I haven't seen for a while. I asked CheDa whether it was alright for me to bring the kids. She didn't mind. I asked Teacher Asiah too, but she was in the same boat with her 3-yo daughter. I asked Teacher Aliza and she's alright with it, telling me that she's done with small kids and laughed it off.

I thought it was all right, actually. I'd like to go again. I love the idea of "mengimarahkan" masjid but I fear that I'm distracting other makmum. Hmmm ... Should I brave it again?