Aidil Fitri 1435H

We celebrated the end of the fasting month last week, on Thursday 8 August.


Compared to our same celebration last year, this time round it was a much more toned down occasion.


Initially we didn’t plan to celebrate much, since our no.4 kid is in USA and no.5 kid in France, both studying…


Two days before the big day, I (for the first time) went to SP Setia Welcome Centre, to collect some of the Raya packets (we put money inside, to be given as gifts to relatives/kids) that the developer is distributing for free:


We however figured out that the traffic of “Balik Kampung” (going back to our home towns) would be well spread out, so we decided to go back to our home town, Kota Bharu, which is over 400km away.


We left for Kota Bharu at 10.30pm on the even of the big day, and arrived at MIL/FIL’s home 7 hours later (that’s the typical time taken on a normal day. We certainly managed to avoid the jam because by the time we left for KB, the bulk of the “Balik Kampung” people had already reached their destinations.

It was a simple celebration. We managed to have a rare extended family photo taken:


DH and I stayed home most of the time (sleepy for sure), playing hosts to relatives and friends who came visiting. It was only on the 3rd day that we decided to visit DH’s friend. After the greetings and hugging, I managed to snap this picture of both of them:


Later that night, on our way to my alma-mater’s gathering, we stopped at another of DH’s friend’s house. A rare photo was also snapped that night:


Oops, did I forget to tell you that Sadki (in the picture above), was also my senior during my secondary school days (he was DH’s primary school buddy).


Here’s the gathering in the school hall (we were still waiting for more to turn up):


I was rather in a hurry, but here’s one of the pic of me, taken by another friend/senior (Shukri Hamidi):


I left the function early because I promised Azam to visit him at his parents’ house. Azam lives in UK and is home for a short holiday. His father was my teacher. I wrote about him/cikgu (teacher) here.


Here’s a picture of (from right) Azam, DH, Cikgu, and me.


We arrived at cikgu’s house at 10.15pm, and stayed there for over a hour, before we rushed home (FIL & MIL’s place).

That night we left for Kuala Lumpur at 12.30am, and arrived home 7 hours later (we certainly managed to avoid the traffic jam/rush that day ๐Ÿ™‚ )





Some Updates…

I have been slow in my blogging lately. The strange thing is that, I am no longer working anywhere!!!


Let’s have some recap of the most important events that I didn’t get to blog about:

Nafis’s departure to Philadelphia

Nafis left in the first week of January 2013. This is a picture of the family dinner just before that:


Nuni’s Nikah and Reception

We had the nikah on 16th March 2013 (a small do). Even though we wanted 13/3/13, the imam was not available for that date ๐Ÿ™


The reception was done at Muzium Negeri on 13/4/13.



My Allah bless this wedding…


Nukman’s “Pre-France” Graduation, and departure to Nice, France

It was 22 April 2013. Here’s a photo of me with him wearing the gown:


and here’s a photo with the Dean of MFI, UniKL, who happens to be a long time friend ๐Ÿ™‚


That night (yes, on the same day! Rational: Easy for families from outside Klang Valley, they only come once for the graduation and departure ๐Ÿ™‚ ), we sent Nukman off.


Here’s a pic of my children, minus Nafis (who’s in Philly):

The order is from righh to left, with the vacant space reserved for Nafis (no.4), represented by the green bag ๐Ÿ™‚






Eid Mubarak 1433H (2012)

My Eid Mubarak Wishes to all my Muslim friends and family!!


We had our 1st Shawal celebration yesterday. It marked the end of the fasting month of Ramadhan.ย  Like most Eid Mubarak, we didn’t go back to our hometown for this great day (we however went back there 2 weeks ago, to beat the jam!).


Unlike the last few years, this time around we had a great celebration. Why? Because since 2006, this is the first time we managed to have EVERYONE in the family home!

To celebrate that, we had this family photo:


Well…. Different house, different chair (sofa this time), but the arrangement is still the same as the last (full-membered) family photo taken on the same day (1st Shawal 2006) exactly 6 years ago:


Last year we could have had a similar photo (Ayi came backfrom Canada just before Ramadhan) if it was not due to call for duty for Nuni, who had to work continuously 7-days a week for 3 weeks that included the first 2 weeks of Shawal ๐Ÿ™ .

If everything goes as planned, next year will see Nukman and Nafis (the two blokes standing on the right-most and left-most of the picture respectively) spending their Eid in France and USA ๐Ÿ™ .


So, we decided to enjoy this gathering to the fullest!! ๐Ÿ™‚



Praying For Your Fast and Complete Recovery, Za!

Za, or “Kak Za” to the children came into our lives when Bok (child no.2) was about 1 month old. I was about to finish my 42-day after birth confinement, and needed to go back to school (to teach).

We had to look for a domestic help, and Za was like God-sent to us. She was 19 and single , and I was 24, with 2 kids!

Za became our first and last domestic helper (maid).ย  She hails from Kg Tegayung, Melor, and the eldest in the family. Her mum (and later her younger sister) took turn with me to give birth ๐Ÿ™‚ but Za stayed with me.

Za was no ordinary girl. She was a science stream student. In those days if you got 5 credits for your SPM, you’ll be eligible to apply to become a teacher trainee in one of the teacher training colleges. In those days, teaching was not an attractive job, so most of the applicants would be accepted. Unfortunately Za only got 3 credits. She was eligible to join the nursing college, but her father was strongly against her becoming a nurse (she would make a great nurse, but then it would be a lost to me!). While she was with me, she took up SPM again, but this time around she did the commerse subjects. Luck was not with her – she only scored 4 credits and 5 passes.

Her lost (opportunity of becoming a nurse) was definitely our gain. She stayed with us for over 12 years! The first 9 years she stayed full time with us. There was a time when a friend was going to UK for her Master’s degree, and needed a helper, at least for the first few months. I asked Za if she wanted to “go abroad” and she said yes. So she was with my friend in Scotland for a good 6 months.When she came back she came to work for us again.

Nafis, Nukman and Aina were sent to a day-care baby-sitter despite having Za at home. This is to lighten Za’s burden. Once she’s done with the laundry and cooking, she would go to the baby-sitter’s place (just across the playground) to take the kids home. Whenever Za got bored, she would go back to her hometown, and all my kids would be staying/transitting (for the school-going kids) at the baby-sitter’s place.ย  This arrangement went on until Za eventually got married and no longer came back to us.

Why is Za so special to us? She cooked well, she was fast, she wasย  smart, she taught all my kids to read and write, and also taught then to read the Al-Quran! But most important of all, she just loved and adored the children.

Whenever there were visitors, I needed not worry because Za would know what to do, what to cook and when to cook. I enjoyed inviting my students home for makan2 (lunch) because Za would be doing most of the tasks in the kitchen, and she definitely was a good cook! I still remember those times when I called the kids to come down for breakfast of fried beehoon (noodles) or nasi lemak they would ask me who cooked? If I said “Mama” they would say OK (or “later”)ย  but when I said “Kak Za” they would rush down to have their food immediately!

Kids, you forgot that when Kak Za first came into our family, she didn’t know most recipes, it was ME who taught her, but of course as years passed by she became a better cook than me…

We do not have many photos of her because Za didn’t like to have photos of her. I went through our collection and found only 5.

Here’s Za with Nuni and Bok at Pantai Cahaya Bulan:

and another one here (Bok trying to get a sip from Nuni):

Here’s Kak Za with her favourite kid, Ayi in the hotel room in Awana Genting (Nafis asleep on the floor? LOL!):

Kak Za with Nuni and Ayi inside Singapore Science Centre:

And here’s a pic of her with Bok, Nuni, Aina and Ayiย  in front of Singapore Science Centre (1998):

We still keep in touch, though we’ve not met in person for about 4 years now. The last time we talked over the phone was at the end of last year. She told me that in 2008 she underwent an operation to remove her cancerous ovaries.

Yesterday, I got an sms from Lan (Za’s hubby) that Za is currently undergoing radio-therapy treatment at Hospital Kuala Lumpur. This afternoon DH and I went to visit her. She looked cheerful and fine but she told me after each session she would feel very tired.This week is the second of 5 weeks of the daily (mon-Fri) treatment. Our visit was definitely not our last. We’ll visit her again and for now we are praying for her complete recovery.

Congratulations, Nukman!

The SPM results came out yesterday, and again I was a very proud mum, smiling from ear to ear because another child did me proud again! ๐Ÿ™‚

Nukman, no.5 in the family of 6 kids, and the youngest son, started like this:

Then this:

We felt that his head was too big for him, but then, the Chinese believe that big head means good fortune (?) ๐Ÿ™‚ .

He was and still is a bubbly person:

with a calming facial expression too:

He did well in primary school, and never let us down. He was the headboy of his school (though I could not locate any of the pix) and every year I would attend the price-giving ceremony to see him go up the stage to accept his prizes.

Before we knew it he was about to enter the secondary school. By then he was chubbier. Here’s a pic of him at his chubbiest, at his favourite place (Old Trafford) in Nov 2005:

He lost most of his baby fat when he went to a boarding school. Here’s him in 2007:

He’s gone places since then. Here at Gunung Merapi with his 2 other siblings:

We even went close to the Myanmar border (In Mae Sai, Thailand):

Tanah Lot, Bali:

in Seoul last Dec:

And recently to Anak Kratau (Indonesia):

Two years ago he gave me this:

And yesterday he gave me the best so far:

Though I miss the chubby face of the happy go-lucky toddler, I do want him to move ahead and proceed with his life. Like any mother, I am wishing him the best in his future undertakings!

Raptor Watch Week 2011

Date: 11 & 12 March 2011

Venue: Ilham Resort Ground, Tanjung Biru, Port Dickson

For more information on Raptor Watch Week 2011 please click here.

I can’t remember when was the first time we attended a Raptor Watch Week event, but I am sure it was many many years ago – Aina was still a toddler then, and now she’s almost 14! It was pre-blogging era for me ๐Ÿ˜‰ . On previous trips, we had stayed at the nearby Casa Racardo as well as The Blue Lagoon Resort. Other times we just made a day trip to this place.

I checked my blog entries and found out that the last time we were there was during Raptor Watch Week 2009,ย  where I had quite a lengthy entry for it.

Today, we left home early to fetch Nafis. We stopped at Dengkil Rest Area for breakfast. While we were there, we noticed the extra-ordinary crowd – this must be due to the fact that today is the beginning of a 9-day school holidays. My guess is that people were either going back to their hometowns, going away for a holiday (just like us ๐Ÿ™‚ ) or attending some wedding reception somewhere..

We arrived at Tanjung Tuan just after 10.30am, and were pleasantly “greeted” by flocks of raptors who had just arrived from Sumatera (Indonesia):

A close-up of another group:

As expected they must be tired, having just crossed the strait!

Like the previous Raptor Watch Weeks, today’s event was quite festive. There are some activities to keep visitors occupied, especially kids and school children.

I wanted to “jump” but there were many peopleย  that I only managed a “shy” one:

I went to visit the booths. I found some nice mugs at the Philipines stall ๐Ÿ™‚ย  at RM10 each:

Very educational too:

There were actually the last 2 pieces!

We also bought some t-shirts for the kids (no pic).

When we arrived it was really hot and sunny – very good weather for the raptors’ journey. They need the hot weather to provide thermals that enable them to glide across the strait. Please read here for more information.

Yesterdy must have been a good day, as indicated by the statistics (of the sightings of the raptors):

DH and the kids wanted to go to the nearby lighthouse. I decided not to follow, and stayed back at the event ground. While I was there, a elderly couple came to sit with me.ย  They told me that their daughters (about my age) wanted to go up to the light house too. Before I knew it, I found myself explaining to them about the Raptor Watch Week, mogratory birds, thermals, etc!

While I was there, I also saw a group of orphans came to the site:

Just after 1pm, I got a call form DH saying that they would me up at the car. I excused myself from the elderly couple, and walked towards where our car was parked. On the way, I saw the bus that took the orphans I saw earlier (pic later too):

We left Tanjung Tuan at about 1pm. Exhausted and hungry (DH and the kids), we stopped for a lunch of rice with asam pedas fish:

We eventually retired for the day at Avillion. The view from my room was so soothing:

that before long, I was in the slumberland ๐Ÿ™‚ .

When Two Old Friends Meet for the First Time In Over 30 years!

This blog entry supersedes my blog for the gathering held last Saturday. This blog also has the longest title so far! ๐Ÿ™‚

But then, that was exactly the best title for this blog entry.

Kak Ton (2-yr my senior at Sek Men Sains Kelantan) and I had been planning to get her father and my FIL to meet. We finally managed to do so this morning.

I fetched Kak Ton from the LRT station, and she lead us the way to her brother’s house where their parents are at the moment.

These old folks ( we are much younger them them ๐Ÿ™‚ )ย  live in Kota Bharu but occasionally they come to visit their children in the Klang Valley. My FIL & MIL were going back to Kota Bharu today, so it was really timely to get the meeting done this morning. Their friendship started during their schooldays!

When we arrived at the destination, Kak Ton’s father was in the midst of slicing some pineapple, so it looked kind of strange when he greeted us at the door with a knife! ๐Ÿ™‚

It wasn’t long before both the old (yeah, very old! hahaha) friends got so engrossed in their chat:

That’s my MIL in the middle.

Before long, they were sitting on the same sofa!

Initially we wanted to have lunch on the floor, but realising that these guys may not be comfortable sitting on the floor (esp my FIL), we ended up having the meal at the dining table. We had to call them (these 2 guys) for lunch a few times – they just seemed refused to stop talking.

It was a sumptuous meal:

They continued to talk, and here with Kak Ton’s mum looking on:

I was the first to “attack” the food, and the first to finish. So I managed to take this shot with Kak Ton and MIL in it:

These guys were the last to come to the dining table, and they were the last to leave too! ๐Ÿ™‚ :

The two friends continued to talk, while we ladies talked at another corner. This was the first instance where we ladies ran out of topics to talk while the guys kept on talking! MIL and I had to remind FIL a few times that we had to leave.

K Ton’s father leading my father to the car:

To me it was indeed a pleasurable outing.

I am sure Cikgu Noh (FIL) and Cikgu Rashid had a good time too, don’t you think so?

Thank you Kak Ton for making this meet possible. Her mum told me to visit them in Kota Bharu when we go back ๐Ÿ™‚ .

Dieng Plateau, Java

Date: 6th February 2011

After the visit to Borobudur, we continued our day trip up into the highlands of Java, which is in the middle of Java island itself. Our destination was the Dieng Plateau.

On the way up, we passed by the town of Wonosobo.

Here’s a maintenance-free traffic officer:

The area is full of agricultural activities:

Vegetable crops:

They really utilize every piece of the fertile land:

We stopped at a popular lookout, to enjoy the breath-taking view:

Another shot:

They grow a lot of vegies like cabbage, cauliflower, and potatoes:

and a customary portrait ๐Ÿ™‚ (for my Facebook profile pic) :

The brief stop cost us Rp2000 for parking!

Anyway, we continued our journey, and were finally greated by the main entrance:

Dieng plateau is 2000m above sea level – quite high, and it sure was cool that day!

There’s a huge map but we didn’t need to stop for it:

We continued the uphill drive, until we reached the next destination, Tasik Warna (Coloured Lake):

They told us that the water changes colour, depending on it’s temperature. That day it was green ๐Ÿ™‚ :

A nearby map:

As it was getting late, we rushed to our final destination, “Kawah Sikidang”, with volcanic lake:

It was quite a walk from where we parked. Initially I just wanted to wait at the rest area near the car park, while DH, Aina & D walked towards the boiling water (crater?).

I however changed my mind, and went along (did the sulphur-smelling smoke entice me?):

It was quite a dangerous area, as indicated by the nearby signage:

Translation: Please do not go too near the crater.

The close-up view of the crater:

I wanted to have a pic taken at the spot, but as I was getting ready, the wind changed direction, and I was engulfed by the sulphuric-smoke:

It certainly got worse:

before it got better:

Here’s the view of our parking area (at the very far end) from the place of the crater (still more people coming):

And the local authority describes the area as peaceful, orderly, clean, cool, beautiful (those are the meaning of the words here):

A final look at the place from the carpark:

The experience here reminded me of the great timeย  I had with my great friends in Hakone (near Fujiyama) in 2004:

With our group photo (a bit off topic here, but I am feeling nostalgic) with Fuji-san in the background):

Hey people, I miss you all!!!

Now back to the topic of this blog, we didn’t visit other places since we had to rush back to Jogja ๐Ÿ™ .

Borobudur (Finally!!)

Date: 6th February 2011

We left our hotel at 7am to visit Borobudur.

along the way, we came across a section where the main road was once closed due to “lahar dingin”:

You see, each time it rains heavily on the Merapi river, the downpour would bring down theย  mountain the mud from Merapi top. The flow is normally huge enough to carry HUGE granite stones with them!

Some scenic parts before we reached Borobudur:

We were almost there:

And finally arrived:

3 adults tickets, 1 studentt icket and guide service:

Enjoy the complimentary drink first:

World Heritage Site, for sure:

Photo with Z, as we walked out of the Welcome Centre:

I still could not believe that I was actually there:

Some quick revision:

Borobudur has 9 levels, divided into 3 types:

  1. Kamadhatu (the world of desires)
  2. Rupadhatu (the world of forms)
  3. Arupadhatu (the formless world)

But before I continue, another group photo, as suggested by our guide, Pak Yanto:

And my signature jump:

We finally walked close to Borobudur:

And another pose (couldn’t seem to get enough of it):

A walk on the lower level of Borobudur:

Mount Merapi, as viewed from Borobudur:

Yanto told us the the upperย  stone tablets tell the story of Buddha (from birth) while the lower tablets told the story of Princess Manohara:

The yellowish wall was due to the Dutch painting the tablets yellow:

Taking a breather before ascending to a higher level:

The entrances are very symmetrical:

Once we are on the Rupadhatu levels, there are only statues of Buddha (and no more tablets of stories):

The highest 3 levels, also known as Arupadhatu, representing the heaven, and are full of stupas:

Inside each stupa there’s a statue of Buddha. Only 2 of these stupas are opened to show the statue. Here’s one of them:

Since we are no longer allowed to go to the stupas’ level, we only admire them from the lover level:

As Yanto put it, it is crowded in “heaven”!

I decided to go down Borobudur, and rest my legs. I admire the complex again from below:

I was later approached by a group of local students, who were there (every Sunday), to practicetheir English, with the supervision of a guide:

I think it was a brilliant idea, because apart from being able to practice their English, they also get to gain more knowledge and confidence!

When we were leaving the Borobudur, there were so many toots trying to sell their products that we had to really really rush to the Welcome Centre. I think this last leg of the walks was the most tiring and unattractive section of our walks round the Borobudur complex!

The Merapi Slope (Or Whatever that was left of it)

DH has written a nice blog entry on it here.

To read more about Mount Merapi click here

Date: Saturday, 5th February 2011

After the visit to Prambanan Temple, our next destination was Kaliadem, or whatever that’s left of it. Before the October 2010 eruption of Merapi, Kaliadem was a popular and well known destination. That day we were going to see what’s left of Kaliadem now..

We were told that due to the rain from the previous day, the main road to our destination could be closed due to the mud flow fromย  the top of Merapi. Our driver of the day, Pak Gyanto knew the area well, so he took us via some detour, passing through some farming villages:

We even came across some road-clearing work (trying to remove the “lahar dingin”, as the local call them):

We also came across some “snake fruit” trees:

The fruits, known to us as buah salak, are the favourite of our family!

As we were getting closer to our destination, wecame across several motivating banners, like this one:

When we got closer, there was no more fertile ground, except for this:

Really reminded me of the Malay proverb “Padang Jarak Padang Tekukur”:

What’s left of what used to be a house:

too sad to do my jump:

More devastation:

I wonder whose house (or maybe a few houses) this used to be:

Another angle of the same spot, with Jogja in the far background:

Merapi was too shy that day:

Can you imagine that this used to be a fertile area, with packed villages?:

It was the volcanic lava that did it, it was only its “smoke”

Sad eh?

We came across local people trying to rebuild their home while others just sat around the area where their homes used to stand.. A few of them resorted to selling some tidbits and drinks to the visitors to the site.

It was too much to swallow for me. Soon we left the place. On our way down hill, we stopped to buy some of the locak snake fruits, the famousย  salak pondoh, as the local call them.

At Rp6000/kg (abt RM2.00) it was definitely a bargain ๐Ÿ™‚ .