Duit Raya


Duit Raya (Eid Money) is similar to angpow. Unlike angpow (which is given to those who are still unmarried), duit raya can be given to anybody, by anybody. It’s just that most of the time it would be the adults giving it to the children, though many adults give duit raya to their elderly too, such as parents, uncles, grandparents, etc..

The last time I received duit raya was exactly 30 years ago! I was still a student, “yatim piatu” (someone whose parents have passed away), and quite broke. I really appreciated the duit raya that I used to get. Though not much (most of my relatives were poor, and at the age of 17, I was considered too old for duit raya!), the duit raya that I got was very meaningful.

Since I started working, I have been giving duit raya to those I feel like giving (Hahaha!!! Sounds so selective, eh?). Kids would normally get some duit raya from me. Some adults like my brothers, sisters, step mum, cousins, adopted parents and some poor village people are some of the other recipients.

Some setbacks of the duit raya:

  • I do not know  how, but eventually it was always expected of me to give duit raya. So, when there were times when “my economy” was not good, I avoided visiting some of these people, because I could not afford the duit raya, but I didn’t want them to know.
  • Many times those I visited who got duit raya from me are quite poor,  or maybe they feel that they are poor, relative to me? I don’t know, but they didn’t give any duit raya to my kids who were much smaller then. Kids being kids, many times they complained, asking why do I give duit raya when they didn’t give them (my kids) any? Having said that, there wa one lady (she passed away several years ago) who used to get some duit raya from me, but NEVER FAILED to give some back to my kids! She said that those are kids, and they deserve to get the duit raya. That particular lady had such a big heart! Now that my kids are big, I can rest assured that I will not hear such complaints anymore.

Raya is about giving, sharing and forgiving, so why not (if we can afford) spare some duit raya for those deserving lots, and those who are close to your hearts, right?

By the way, last week, on the first day of Eid,  THE FIRST TIME IN 30 YEARS I GOT a BIG duit raya from my eldest girl, Nuni who celebrate her first Raya as a someone who earns regularly!! Thank you, Nuni. I was surprised to receive it!

Here’s a peep of the duit raya that she gave me:


I am not telling you how many pieces are in it, hehehe…… DH got one too..

More Raya Dos

We arrived home almost 9pm on Sunday night, after a great Raya Outing.

On Monday, I took the day easy. Did a lot of cleaning up and the laundry too. At 4.45pm, we visited my eldest brother (We are of different mothers, but same father). Nuni blogged it here.

Each time I visit him, he’d express his wish to go back to our hometown to visit our dad’s grave (which I have never visited). I remember telling him once that ONE DAY I’ll take him home. So last Monday, I had a quick discussion with DH and both of us agreed to do do the day after (yesterday).

So, yesterday morning we arrived at his place again at 8.15am to fetch him and his missus. Next we went to fetch his sister, who lives 30 mins away from where he lives.

We then went straight to the cemetery. After some checking (of the names on the tombstones), er finslly found dad’s grave, just next to his dad’s, cosily situated under  a huge tree:


My brother:


It was a well-kept cemetery:


We later went to visit my cousin (whom I visited just 2 days earlier). It was very nice of her to cook lunch for us.

We left our cousin’s house at about 12.30pm. We then visited my Segamat’s cousin house.It was nice to see the oldies chatting again:


We wanted to leave at 3pm, but we got held up with so many things – first to collect some leaves that my cousin claims help diabetic people:


My cousin always wants to give me s much as she could, for me to take home:


Yeah, there were some bananas, some homemade crisps (tumpi and tempeyek)

Our final stop was at my cousin’s eldest daughter’s house. She could not join us earlier because she had a full house of visitors, who only left when we arrived! LOL!

Despite having full tummies, we couldn’t resist the hot black coffee and cookies served:


And some updates/news while I munched away the goodies:


We finally left the place at 4pm, heading home via Gemas, Gemenceh & Tampin. It was a bad decision, because 5km before we reached Gemenceh, we were caught in a crawl:


And the usual queu-jumper, though not many:


By the time we were ready to enter the PLUS highway, we were told that there was a bad jam going up to KL, so we opted for the normal (slighly further, and can’t drive fast) Federal roads via Lubuk Cina -> Linggi -> Rantau -> Salak Tinggi -> Putrajaya, and finally to Puchong to send my sister. We later went to Sg Kapar Indah to send my bro and missus. WE only reached home at 9.30pm!

And the usual

Another Raya Day-Trip To Muar

For the past several years, whenever we didn’t “Balik Kampung” (Going back to the hometown in Kota Bharu which is over 450km away!) for Raya, we would end up going to Muar or Segamat, instead. Muar is where my step-mum lives. There’s also the old (much renovated) Granpa’s house inhabited by my cousin. Segamat is where a favourite cousin (whose kids are of my generation) lives with her family, with some of the kids living nearby.

So, yesterday, after the Eid Prayers, we left home, heading towards Muar (south of Kuala Lumpur, a good 2 to 2.5 hrs drive).

We arrived at the stepmum’s house just in time for lunch 🙂 . Both stepmum and I maintain  a cordial relationship (after some “turbulance” in the late 1970s). We have forgiven (I know I have, though I will never forget) each other of the past.She now lives in her late parents’ house, with her daughter (from her marriage prior to marrying my dad). Her brother, Zul was home too. Zul is a few years my senior. I remember during the 1970s when I used to spend my holidays with my stepmum’s parents, I didn’t get too much time chatting with Zul (who was then already working in KL). The few times we chatted, I noticed that he was witty and funny. There was a time when his elder brother (we called him Oted) got married, my cousin and I was doing the dishes with Zul, and Zul cracked a few jokes that really cheered us up 🙂 .

My stepmum looked frail yesterday. I hope I cheered her up a bit by visiting her. I am sorry to say that there was no real love developed between me and her, otherwise I would not hesitate to have her live with me. I know she was quite nice to me when she first became my stepmum, but there were some not so nice events later (especially just before and after the demise of my dad  that leave some real scars in me).

Here’s my stepmum feeding my kids:


Here is stepmum talking to me (no, we were not arguing! We’ve passed that):


Anyway, back to the visit yesterday… We were also served with homemade roselle cordial. There’s a roselle bush just outside the kitchen. Stepmum has always been good in cooking, and now she’s making her own rosselle cordial. The cordial tastes very close to Ribena!

After bidding goodbye, we headed towards my cousin’s house in Serom. On our way, we passed by the cemetery when my late dad’s grave is. I have NEVER been to his grave! As posted on my Facebook, I sometimes wonder if it is really necessary to visit the graves to show our love and give our prayers to our loved ones? Initially I didn’t go to the grave because I was told that females are not recommended to do so. Later on in my live, I didn’t go because I do not see any need for it. I still love my late dad, remember him and pray for him. The only thing I do not do is visit his grave. Mum was burried in Mecca (she died while waiting to perform her haj there), and I never see her grave either, but memories of her are always fresh in me.

I got side-tracked again! Now back to yesterday’s visit. When we arrived at the old house, it was quiet :


Initially we wanted to head to Segamat soon after that. However, a few phonecalls confirmed that my Segamat cousin and clan were coming back here too, so we decided we stay put and wait for them instead.

While waiting for them, my kids had the opportunity to rummage through some of my old stuff which are well kept by my cousin. And they found this pic of me:


Interlude: Hahaha! That was me, in long plaits of hair, barely 14 years old! I popped my head out of the train window, and someone snapped the pic. I was on my way back to Muar for a school holiday.

Back to yesterday, while we were there, the village Marhaban group came visiting. It was my kids’ first time, seeing the Marhaban do.As for me, it was my first time in 30 years! Yeah, the last time I came across one was in 1979 when I celebrated Eid in the same house, as a student! Here’s a pic of some of the Marhaban ppl(kids):


and here:


Do’a time:


Somebody likens it to Christmaas Carols. Well, there are some similarities in the modus operandi, I guess… This group yesterday managed to visit 30 houses for this Marhaban session! They started soon after the morning Raya prayers, and had a break for a while during the afternoon prayer. When they visited my cousin, it was the 24th (or was it 26th) house! By then, they didn’t have space in their tummies for food, I am sure, hahaha!!

At one point of yesterday, I noticed the bikes in front of the house (my cousin takes care of some of the neighbours’ kids during schooldays. These are their bikes that they use to commute to school, and are left here during holidays). Nuni and I decided to cycle them, just for the fun of it, and to make sure that we can still cycle! My other kids got excited too, and eventually took over the bikes. Nuni managed to “catch” Aina and Nafis here:


At about 5.30pm, my cousin and her clan arrived – in 5 cars!


Pic taken when they were about to leave.

I was the one who insisted for a group photo, and with such crowd, it was not easy to get everyone to stay put at one place (no, we never got everyone in the pic). Here are some of them:


My Segamat cousin is the one sitting 2nd from left (her hubby on her right, and her SIL on her right). My cousin, the host, is seated on the same row, 4th from left.My introvert DH and kids were no where to be seen either. Nuni was one of the photographers.

Another shot:


I like this one because suddenly aina appeared from the window:


Some of the othe shots taken by Nuni:





The playful me just couldn’t resist this:


All pix are provided by Nuni. For more pix, please click here.

Of Iftar and Open Houses

Note: I’ve updated my blog on my birthday here.

Today is the 25th day of fasting. We will be celebrating Eid soon. I have wanted to to blog about iftar (the breaking of fast) for some time but didn’t really get to do it. I might as well do it now, before Ramadhan is over.

Actually it’s the buffet iftar offered by hotels and similar outlets that I’d like to talk about. The prices range from about RM50 to well over RM100 per head! On average, if I go to the Ramadhan Bazaar to but food for iftar, I would spend  RM25 to RM30 only for the 3 of us at home!

People have talked about thw gluttony of hotel iftars, but at the same time people still attend them. It’s a free world, so I guess they are entitled to spend their money on the grand iftars if they can afford them.

Anyway, here are some reasons why I hate iftar at a puvlic place (as stated in my Facebook wall):

1st, I hate the queue for the food, as everyone tries to get the food at the same time (proven tonight, though I was lucky because we had a private function in a room rather than joining the masses at the public buffet). 2nd, the need to pray within the short time. 3rd, i don’t eat that much, so it’s not worth the trouble of going to the place (the road would normally congested, or we had to go much earlier). 4th, normally ther would be some other sessions (speeches, religious lesson) while waiting for the breaking fast time. 5th, normally the plates/bowls for the buffet are too small. we’ll need to make a few trips to get the food that we like. Today, after a plate of gado-gado (local vegetable dish) and a little bowl of bubur chacha, I just went home. I like the latter, but the bowl was too small, so one helping was not enough, and I was too lazy to go to the table and queue again for seconds. 6th, I hate the bloated feeling if I eat too much- in the case when the food they serve is nice!

I personally avoid iftars outside home. I just prefer the privacy of breaking my fast at home. Unfortunately last Friday I had (it was compulsory) to attend the company’s iftar function at one golf club here.

The function kicked off with the late afternoon prayer at 5pm. It was then followed by some company speeches, and a short tazkirah (religious lesson).

It was a simple one, and was held in a separate room. Even the buffet was held in the room (at the back of the room), and not together with other patrons. I am really grateful for that, because I can’t imagine the queueing that I’d have to do to get the food!

There were other programmes after the iftar, but  left for home early. I just hate to have to pray there.

Anyway, here are some shots using my Nokia phone:


Quite a big crowd:


And here’s the CEO giving his speech:


Many of us was held up at the office, and only managed to join the function just in time for iftar (abt 7.15pm).

Next week will be the Muslim month of Shawal, and the celebration month (celebrating the end of the fasting month), and from then onwards, we will be busy with “Open Houses”. Sometimes I wonder, why can’t companies just have the Open House, and make sdo without the Iftar? Don’t worry, it’s just ME thinking.. I am sorry if I offend those who love iftars! 😉


Pix of My Birthday Gifts

I know, it’s more than a fortnight since my birthday. As I mentioned earlier, I joined the NNC Birthday Exchange. My partner was MW, who sent me these goodies:

This one MW calls the “Thread Wagon”:


The ball of thread is “tight” to the casing/container, so if I pull the thread, it will not roll out of the casing, nor get dirthty. Cool, eh? 😉

Side view:


And the other side:


MW is (as usual) so generous with her birthday gifts. I was indeed lucky to have her as my birthday gift partner. Apart from the thread-wagon mentioned above (and the thread to go with it!), she also gave me these:

  1. A fat quarter Kauffman fabric (see the background of the pix above)
  2. 2 more balls of tatting thread
  3. 1 hand dyed tatting thread (She bought from Zarina. See here for a pic of it. Look for the pink and green color combination).
  4. Some beads and pins.

Oh, MW, as I mentioned in our e-group, I love EVERY single piece that you sent me!! Thakn you very much!

Here’s the pic of the hand dyed thread (taken fron Zarina’s page):


Initially I ordered it from Zarina. Then she was quiet for quite a while. I was busy with work that I didn’t get to contaqct her (was all the while wondering when she was going to send the thread to me, and how I could make the payment for it). Without me knowing, MW had asked Zarina to sell it to her (MW) instead, so that she (MW) can send it to me as a surprise! A surprise indeed, it was!

I also received a Quran from an officemate. She gave it to me a couple of days before my birthday. I like the font size on the Quran, big enough for my eyes!

Nuni got me this for my birthday:


Isn’t she cute? She spent the first few nights with Aina, who obviously had a great time with her! Now this Mummy-moo is sitting compfortably on one of our sofa chairs.

She gave me more, but I am too sleepy, and the Internet connection is really slow… I’ll continue tomorrow night..

Another Snatch Theft

And this time the poor victim was my own MIL. It happened yesterday, just before dawn, as MIL was walking home from the nearby madrasah, after the morning prayers.

She was almost home, when a motobike suddenly stopped in front of her. The pillion rider came to her and snatched the tote bag she was carrying on her shoulder.

She was so scared that she didn’t resist. She just let the bag go, and at the same time told the boys/guys that there’s no money in the bag. Inside the bag was her long sarong for the prayer and her house keys. FIL had already came home much earlier. MIL came back later because she stayed back to recite the Quran with her friends.

MIL is still very shaken. No money was lost, but her confidence and strenth are obviously affected. Poor lady!

They had to change the house keys yesterday.  So much hassles… 🙁

And yet, I was told by my religious teachers that Satans are chained in this holy month of Ramadhan! *sigh*

Good Luck To My Babies

The long weekend is finally over. I have yet to blog on my birthday gifts and the needlebook exchange. Time was not the problem. I had the time, but somehow the mood was not right 🙁 . Maybe due to the fasting month, the body is moving slower than normal.

Anyway, today is a big day for my 3 “babies” who are the only ones  still in the school system.

Aina, Nukman & Nafis on the way up the Mount Merapi, in Sumatera, taken last year. See here for the complete gallery.

Aina, 12, is sitting for her UPSR exam which starts today (To my non-Malaysian friends, this is the external exam for the final year of primary school). Next week will be her PSRA (the Islamic Religious Studies version) exams. Up to as late as last night, Aina was still actively doing the various quizzes on Facebook! Anyway, good luck to her!

Today too Nukman who has been studying French as a 3rd language for 3+ years, is sitting for his DELF 2A (or is it 2B?). Nafis, who is 12 months Nukman’s senior, is also sitting for DELF, but only DELF 1A. Not a bad try for him, trying to learn it as his 4th language. Nafis is studying Japanese as his 3rd language. So, boys, good luck to both of you too!

That’s the beauty of studying in a boarding school – they get to learn a 3rd language, and in Nafis’ case, he’s doing self-learning (with a lot of help from his friends who are taking French as their 3rd language) for his French.

While I am still at learning languages, I might as well add on here. I think it is in the family trait to learn other languages. DH took a 1-year course in German while he was doing his undergraduate studies. He even had the opportunity to polish up the language when he took up the Humboldt Fellowship to do research in Dortmund, Germany.

At DH’s encouragement, I took up a 1-yr course in French when I was an undergraduate. It was torturing, but I never regret it.French, being one of the Romance Languages, helps me understand Spanish (while we were touring Spain earlier this year).

In 1991 I tried learning Japanese while I was still a lecturer in UiTM. I took up the night classes conducted by UiTM at 50% discount (being a staff of UiTM). It became useful when I had a 7-week stint in Tokyo in 2004 (under a CICC scholarship for an e-learning course) . Even though the course was conducted in English, but we needed some basic Japanese to get around during our stay there.

When I was teaching the A-Level (German Programme) students in 1997, I took the opprtunity to join my students in their German language classes. I did OK then, but now I have forgotten most of the words 🙁 (the same goes to the other languages). I also attended  12-day training in Korea in 2005 but I hardly learnt any Korean because the course was conducted in english and there was no slot to learn nor practise the language.

Nuni and Bok took up the same Japanese class that I attended, but later in 2000, or was it 2001? It was a good exposure to both of them. I am happy to see that Bok (unlike his mum) can still read the Hiragana & Katakana characters! I am not sure about Nuni’s Japanese though..

Nuni took the opportunity to learn some Gaelic (Irish language) while she was in Dublin. I wonder if she still remember the common phrases?

Ayi (who is in Canada) tried to learn French last year but gave up after 1 semester. I perfectly understand his predicament. Unlike the Germans, the French do not pronounce what they spell! They have so many “silent” letters in their words 🙁 .

Unfortunately, I am losing the little competency that I had of most of the languages (except English) due to lack of practice.

Suddenly I am reminded of the fun we had when the kids were smaller. Before they knew English, DH and I used to converse in English stuff that we didn’t want them to know. When they started to learn and understand English, DH and I used some German words and phrases instead! That really annoyed them! Hahaha!!! Those were the days…


Aina highlighted to me that she’s been learning Arabic for the past 8 years, and I forgot to mention it! Sorry, Aina. The fact is –  Mama has yet to listen to you speaking the language, hence I forgot that you too are learning a 3rd language! Never mind that you regular score A for the Arabic subject..

I sent Aina to an Islamic school for 2 years of pre-school , and now she’s in her final (6th) year in an Islamic school, hence the total of 8 yrs of learning the language!

Are We Really Ready for a 1Malaysia Concept?

A very embarassing incident yesterday:

Yesterday’s incident, as reported by The Malaysian Insider:



Do not talk about religious tolerance if it’s only one-way. Why can’t we  Muslims be a bit tolerant to our non-Muslim neighbours?

The mosque in my neighbourhood (which happened to be about 100 meters away from the over 100 year old temple that needs the relocation) has been blaring the calls for prayers over the PA system daily 5 times daily! Not just that, the actually morning prayers prayers (that start as early as 5.30am!) are also broadcast until sunrise! During weekends (when people want to catch up with lost sleep over weekdays) this would be followed by the broadcast of some religious class (kuliyyah/ceramah) going on until about 10am.

I know the intention is good, but I think even some Muslims do not appreciate that (but never dare to voice their discontent, in fear that others might accuse them of being un-religious, or worse, religious blasphemy).My house is over 200m away from the mosque and I can hear clearly  hear every word from the PA system. Sometimes I wonder how my non-Muslims neighbours can tolerate that all these years?

Yesterday’s unruly behaviour brought shame to other Muslims in this country! What happened to all those good behaviours that we were taught of? Respect for the leaders? Read here (I had to capture in 3 seperate shots):




I don’t know what (damage) the leaders have done in the past 50 years! I think we were much readier for a 1Malaysia 52 years ago!