Thursday, February 23, 2006

February - 4 Birthdays

There are four birthdays in February in my family. Haziq is four on February 2nd, Hifzhan five on February 16th. while Haadieya, who shares the same birthday with Ram on 22nd. is one year old. Ram’s age? Ah-ha, figure it out. There has been many ‘hints and indications’ in my previous blog postings that you can easily deduce her age. All my children and grandchildren are gathered in Shaffik’s house in Bintulu for this purpose.

We had a thanksgiving session on Tuesday evening starting with the dusk prayers in concregation. Guests were the neighbours and Shaffik’s and Mini’s office colleagues, about 50 of them including their children. Then we read the Quran, specifically Surah Al-Yasseen followed by Zikrullah and supplications to the Almighty, specifically glorifying Him and seeking His forgiveness and guidance towards a peaceful life and wellbeing of the family members in particular and the ‘ummah’ in general. Then we performed the after-dusk prayers in a group. (It is well known amongst the Believers that the virtues of praying in a congregation are manifold against praying alone. One of the reasons many go to the mosque five times a day to perform their prayers in a congregation). After prayers were over came the highlight of the evening……. food…. glorious food… heh heh!

Shaffik had catered the food for the evening consisting of briani rice, curry beef, vegetable salad with tomato-based sauce, tofu salad with peanut sauce, roast chicken with chilli in honey sauce. Mini baked cheese cake for the occasion. Cholesterol level of all the food and desert …. certainly high!! carbs. and fats? most certainly high too, but how can you resist…. I drool now just describing it!! Anyway, we entertained and took care of the guests first and after they depart, we partake the food as though we had not been eating for the whole day!! Plonk into bed not too long after that and it is a sure passage for the fats and cholesterol to park at the wrong places in our body parts and in my case usually it is at the middle area, tightening my waist belt! ha ha ha.

Breakfast the next morning were our usual bread and pasteries but lunch was again the cholesterol and fat laden stuff, hmmmm. The interesting part was the after lunch affair, the opening of presents. People who came the previous night gave presents and little envelopes to the kids for their birthdays, so there was quite a pile for them to open. They received colouring books, various children books and toys and were excited. Haadieya however was excited playing with the colourful wrappers!! Then came the time for them to get their presents from our bag that was not opened in front of them the day we arrived.

Babang kept pointing at the bag, ha ha, expecting something exciting to come out from it!! I told him, “Go ahead, open the bag”. We bought them battery operated robots and you can imagine their excitement. They immediately switched on the robots facing each other and Dedek telling Babang, “See Babang, my robot fighting with your robot, see who wins”. When Babang’s robot fell, Dedek will jump with his right fist punching the air shouting, “I win, I win!” and when Dedek’s robot fell Babang will do the same, in real sibling rivalry style, keeping tabs on the number of wins.

We have another set of presents that was assembled in the morning while they were at playschool, something that they had previously showed interest in but was coaxed into waiting until they are a little bigger. After a while of playing with their robots I asked them to stand in the centre of the hall. Our dialog went like this:

Tok Bah: Babang and Dedek like to have a scooter?
Babang and Dedek: Yes Tok Bah (in harmony)
Tok Bah: Ok, both of you demonstrate to me how you ride a scooter
Babang: Ok. First you hold the handle like this (putting his hands forward as though holding the handle bar), then you push like this, moving his right leg forwards and backwards.
Dedek just followed what his brother did.
Tok Bah: Are you sure you can ride the scooter like that?
Babang: Yes Tok Bah, this is how you ride the scooter. (Demonstrating it again)
Tok Bah: Ok, raise your hands like this (as though in supplication) close your eyes and say I wish I have a scooter three times.
Babang and Dedek did as told.
Tok Bah: Ok, go behind the door (the scooters were hidden behind the door).
They went behind the door and screamed, Babang the loudest, “I have a scooooter! I have a scooooter!” several times in a sing-song style and started riding it. Babang rode it or rather walked the scooter with one leg on and the other leg walking. Dedek tried the same but fell down a few times and gave up!!
Babang said: Never mind Dedek, Babang five years old, Dedek only four years old. (Heh heh! He just cannot help ‘rubbing it in’ to his younger brother!!)

Son Shaffik saved the day for them by demonstrating how to really ride the scooter and they spent the whole afternoon riding and perfecting their style. By nightfall, Babang could balance but still need more practice while Dedek continue to struggle with his balance. They will just need more practice. At least Dedek was motivated to continue practicing seeing that his elder brother could ride the scooter with practice.

Then came dinner. Mini’s family members including her parents and her siblings with their families, joined us for dinner. We had sea food barbecue, cutting the birthday cake and a lot of laughter and screaming of children.
A few of them rushing for the scooters and the bicycles just like any kid in similar situations. Adults just had to keep reminding them to either wait their turn or give way to the others. By the end of the evening, adults were just as ‘pooped’ as the kids were.

We enjoyed the evening, no…. the whole day in fact including the previous night…. I think the happiest was Ram. It was her birthday, Shaffik holding thanksgiving, she had all the children and grandchildren together with her (which is quite rare given the distance of our domicile locations) and she also received presents. I could see her enjoying the day and entertaining the guests, especially so Mini’s parents, siblings and other relatives, some of them we met at the Longhouse a few days ago, and this night she reciprocated their hospitality. Mini’s parents and relatives profess different beliefs than ours but that is no hindrance to our family camaraderie (It is Ram’s and my hope and wish that at least Mini’s parents would one day find in their hearts to follow their daughter and become Believers).

It pleased me much to see Ram enjoying herself. Our children were happy for her too. In fact at breakfast the children, including our daughter-in-law and son-in-law, openly expressed and pledged their support for us, now that we are in our ‘twilight years’ (we are pleased and may the Almighty be more pleased and provide continuous guidance for each and every one of them through the right path). Mini suggested that our house in PJ be preserved as the family base or home for the generations to come as well, where everyone can return to now and then. They were at one voice in agreement and at the same time wishing for us to enjoy the remaining of our years, again may the Almighty be pleased….. Hearing their pledge of support for us uplifted our hearts and spirit, and we could not help that small drops of tears brimming our eyes when we later thought about it. All praises be to the Almighty for having guided us in the right path in the process of our raising the family and bringing them up and guiding them over the years. We are also pleased that their spouses expressed similar sentiments towards us. May the Almighty be pleased indeed…… amin!!

MKI Ramblings Unlimited

The one year old!


Oh My! This wrapper is nicer than the toy!! Posted by Picasa



This is how we ride the scooter Posted by Picasa



I have a scooooter, I have a scooooter!! Posted by Picasa

Birthday Cake


The 3 generations and 4 Birthdays Posted by Picasa

The Robot Fight! Posted by Picasa

Tok Mi with Her Presents Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The Longhouse - An Induction To Its System and Practices

Sitting at the verandah of the Longhouse while waiting for the rain to stop, we chatted with the occupants of the houses within the Longhouse and learnt a thing or two on their system and family practices. These occupants are somehow related to one another. They are nephews and nieces and cousins to each other.

The Longhouse is headed by a Tuai Rumah or Head of the house and this position is customarily inherited by the eldest son on the passing of the current Tuai Rumah. A committee is set up to assist/advise the Tuai rumah in decisions affecting every household in the Longhouse. Amongst the Tuai Rumah from several longhouses, one will be appointed the Penghulu and amongst several Penghulus, one will be appointed the Pemancar. Above the Pemancar there will be a Temenggong, the overall authority of the clan in the state. That appears to be the tier advisory system, and I was told that somehow there is a political influence somewhere in the selection of the Pemancar and most certainly the Temenggong.

In the case of Mini’s Longhouse, the current Tuai Rumah is her eldest brother. He was recently elevated to that position. When their father passed away, some 35 years ago, due to an accident, the children were very small, and since the new Tuai Rumah was still a minor then, an uncle was nominated as Tuai Rumah and when he passed away another uncle was nominated as Tuai Rumah. Recently the advisory council decided to handover and elect Mini’s brother as the Tuai Rumah. Perhaps they consider him old and matured enough now to take the lead in the Longhouse. He is, I think, in the late-forties now.

Mini’s Longhouse was started by her great grandfather who came from the Sarawak second division and traveled upriver by sail boat to the spot and decided then to establish his base there. He started the Longhouse by the riverside and the house grew as his family grew. They were involved in agricultural farming with the main crop being rice. They obtained assistance from the authorities then and were allocated vast expanse of land that they divided amongst family members to own. They were even offered pockets of large areas of land close to the river mouth but the elders then were not interested in them as they were more interested in agriculture in the hinterland. The area at the river mouth is now Bintulu town, a one and a half hours boat ride downstream from the spot where their Longhouse was built. Things may be different now had they agreed to accept the offer of the river mouth land. Anyway, the current expanse of land they own within their family and in the vicinity of the Longhouse, is big enough, much more than they need to sustain their livelihood. (The rice field and the area Mini and Shaffik are planning to develop are these inherited land I mentioned).

In this modern times, most of those living in the Longhouses are elderly people. The young ones are in the towns having regular jobs and no interest in working their land in the Longhouses. Usually manual workers are employed to work the fields for them. In the case of Mini’s Longhouse, out of the 25 family units in the Longhouse, only five are permanently occupied, a couple of units are rented to the manual workers they employed and the rest are not occupied as their owners live in the towns, returning only on public holidays and weekends. Once a year, come Gawai or harvesting festival,which is a two days public holiday in Sarawak, all will return to their Longhouses, and there will be lots of merriment, singing and dancing, eating and drinking, and so on. Most will not give this festival a miss, making every effort to return, as it is one occasion when the whole family will gather together.

Another interesting practice amongst them is the intermarriage between two different Longhouses. Marriage between two different units in the same Longhouse is a marriage between family. But intermarriage between two different Longhouses is usually a marriage between two completely different families within the clan. The difficulty here will be the decision on which of the marriage couple goes to which family. Whether the bride follows the groom for life or the groom follows the bride for life. The two families will negotiate and sometimes the negotiations come to an impasse requiring arbitration by some of the elders. That’s how closely knit their family units are that they find it difficult to let go their family members to the other family after marriage.

In a marriage it is customary for gifts to be exchanged. When a marriage fails, the party that caused the failure will have to return the gifts but doubled what was given at marriage. Hence if a man divorces his wife, he will have to return twice the amount of gifts he received at marriage and vice versa. Traditionally, marriage gifts comprise of items useful in the family, e.g. blowpipes, ancient items like musical instruments, gong and drums, vases, home items, etc.

In the case of death in the family, the family of the deceased will have to openly declare their stand on the surviving spouse. The surviving spouse may stay on with the family or return to his/her original family depending on the stand taken by the family of the deceased.

Having said all the above, I stand corrected if there are errors or omissions, as they were what I heard from the elders in Mini’s Longhouse. It is however, a system that has been in practice for generations and seemingly fair to all........??

MKI Ramblings Unlimited

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The Longhouse

We left in two cars at about 9.00am for the Longhouse located at the bank of the river “Sungei Kemena” about 50 kilometers away from Bintulu. Part of the distance, about 30 kilometers, is on a dirt road or a temporary untarred road, that is uneven and can be bumpy at some places. Shaffik had arranged for one MPV from a friend and we used the other car as well to travel to the Longhouse. The MPV is slightly larger than the Proton that Shaffik is using. It has a space behind the back seat where Shaffik had placed a ‘futon’ and padded cushions and on which the children can sit or lie down. It was not as comfortable as the normal car seat but at least all of us going to the Longhouse can be accommodated in the two vehicles.

Dedek was his usual talkative self right from the time we left the house in Bintulu. His first comment was, “Daddy, this is a very nice car to sit in”. Then he rambled on as usual on anything and everything that he sees along the way. When we reached the bumpy stretch of the temporary untarred road Dedek was suddenly quiet. But not for long. After only a little while he said, “Hello! Is everybody ok?.” Mini replied, “yes we are, and what about you?” “Oh I am ok mummy!” he replied, “Its bumpy mummy but Dedek ok”, like a real grown up. Hifzhan was quiet all the time.

We arrived at the Longhouse (see picture) by about 10.30am.

After a short rest and chat Mini’s father proceeded to the jetty at the riverside to collect the lobsters that he had caught days earlier and kept in a box-cage at the jetty. Shaffik went to help and the rest of us trooped along to the jetty as well. The lobsters were cleaned, some were roasted while the rest were cooked in a soupy dish. The ladies picked three different types of wild vegetables from behind the Longhouse and cooked them in simple preparation. They call it ‘sayur terjun’ which literally means ‘vegetable dive.’ They boiled water, and when boiling they put in the vegetables, and other ingredients like onions, garlic, ginger dried shrimps, dried anchovies and other stuff into the boiling water. The concoction was allowed to boil only a little while just so that the vegetable is softened and then taken off the fire. Another type of vegetable, the shoots of tapioca, was pounded into pulp, heated without oil over a hot frying pan, stirred until dry together with garlic, ginger and anchovies added in. Shaffik did the roasting of the lobsters. It was worth noting that not a grain of salt was used in these cooking. Lunch was indeed very heavy for all of us. We had our fill, abnormally more than our regular lunch.

It rained for a while just after lunch and we just relaxed at the verandah of the Longhouse while waiting for the rain to stop. Once the rain stopped we dressed up for a venture into the woods to view Mini’s piece of land that she and Shaffik are planning to rehabilitate. The land is on a hill side of undulating terrain. It was covered with jungle trees and shrubs and they had all the trees felled and the shrubs and undergrowth cleared as much as possible. This job is still ongoing. They plan to plant fruit trees, pepper which is what Sarawak is famous for and other economically viable plants.
Shaffik and I climbed up the hill through the undergrowth and the felled trees. Other than that we visited the rice fields belonging to Mini’s parents and viewed their rubber plantation from a distance.
As it had just rained, we had to walk through muddy paths leading to the piece of land or to the rice field, but it was fun. We were prepared for it.

It was very pleasing to spend time in this place. It was serene, cool, relaxing. The sound of birds, crickets, and other jungle insects was a welcome respite from the honking of cars, the purring of motorcycles, the screaming engines of the heavily and overloaded trucks and trailers trying to climb up inclined roads and so on. The greenery, the leaves of different sizes and textures, the plants and trees of different sizes, heights and species, some moving towards the ray of the sun while some others continue to hide under the shade of other bigger species, was a welcome sight for me. It is very pleasing to the eye. The scenes of the jungle even from its fringes, the view across and up the river, of passing paddle boats and motorized boats was antidote to a tired mind and body. It was a very nice place to revisit. I sat at the river edge pondering and wishing that time will move slowly for me at least for the day….. but alas, evening soon came and it was time to return to the hustle and bustle of the town. Shaffik does not want to delay our return much longer lest we get caught in the evening getting dark, at least not when we have to travel on the temporary road and in darkness too. Our day at the Longhouse ended, pleased that we had spent a good day there, thoughts raced in my mind to the next venture I can get to be there again. When? ……. I do not know and I just wonder. I may have all the time in the world to return but the others in the family have other priorities. I will be content with the hope that I will be strong enough to do the things I did today the next time I visit the Longhouse………

MKI Ramblings Unlimited

Monday, February 20, 2006

Family Gathering in Bintulu

There are four birthdays in the month of February in my family. Ram and the three Bintulu grandchildren were all born in February with Baby Haadieya sharing the same birthday with Ram. Shaffik suggested that all of us gather in Bintulu and we agreed. Tessa, Sita and Fahrul took leave from work for a few days while Ram’s sisters, Siti and Shidah followed as well. Eight of us, including baby Najla, used the popular budget airline, Air Asia, to travel to Bintulu. We left PJ on Saturday afternoon, sent to the airport by Ram’s niece who has a MPV big enough to accommodate all eight of us. Shaffik and Mini were at Bintulu to meet us. They came in one car each to fetch all of us from the airport.

It has become customary for the two grandchildren to wait for us to open our bags on arrival in the house, knowingly expecting something from us. This trip was no different. In fact they had asked their mother to tell us to open our bags downstairs first before bringing them up into our room upstairs. We have got their birthday presents but we planned to wait for the proper gathering to pass the presents to them and not on our arrival as usual. So, Tessa bought a few boxes of chocolates to give them on our arrival as a decoy hoping that they will not expect other presents. But no!!. They got wise to our scheme. Babang continues to hover around the bags as usual while Dedek asked several times when we plan to open our bags, and that was after giving them the chocolates. So, I had to negotiate with them. I told them we will have a birthday gathering for them in a few days and they will get their presents then. They agreed but with Babang voicing a request that his present be wrapped with special ribbons! Phew!!

We spent the rest of the evening at home, with much eating, snacks and drinks while Najla and Haadieya was sizing up each other. The kids got along well later in the evening. It was very nice for Ram and I to have all our children and grandchildren together under one roof and Siti and Shidah tagging along was an added bonus. We joked, we laughed and we had a wonderful evening. We look forward to the next few days together in Bintulu, starting tomorrow when Shaffik, Mini and her parents had planned to take all of us to the ‘kampong’ or to the Longhouse belonging to Mini’s family. More about this trip later…..

MKI Ramblings Unlimited,

JB - Nostalgia

We had a free morning in JB and decided to casually drive around and view those ‘nooks’ and ‘corners’ in the areas we used to live in and grew up. I am reminiscing on the time period of half a century ago.

Our first visit was to an area called Kampong Ngee Heng. When I was about 2 or 3 years old, we lived in a small government quarters. We lived in that house for about three years when we moved into the house next door. (The house on the left in the picture was our first house and later moved into the one on the right) I do not know why my dad decided to move into that house (and I believe he had to make a request for the house from the authorities) as it is exactly identical to the house we were living in. It was in the corner of the street and has slightly bigger compound though.

When we vacated the first house, Ram’s late eldest sister (of the same mother), late brother-in-law and their two sons, toddlers then, moved into the house. His nephew known by the nickname of Anom also stayed with him. I had just started primary school then while Anom, about one or two years older than me was senior to me in school. I became his good friend. He was my playmate, study mate, and close buddy. Ram and her parents, living not too far away and within walking distance from our house, came to visit my neighbour very often. That was when I started knowing Ram. We, sort of, grew up together too, although she went to an all girls school and I an all boys school, but being immediate neighbours our families, and the two of us, became quite close.

Our next visit was to see the house that Ram was born and grew up in at a place called Kampong Kubor. (See picture. It is the white house with ‘bay’ design frontage. The low building in front of the house is a restaurant operated by one of Ram’s nieces). It is a double storey house of mixed concrete and wooden structure which her late father designed and built. A standard pre-war Malay house design. A while after her father passed away in that house (Ram was about fourteen years old then) her mum decided to move in with Ram’s eldest sister and brother-in-law bringing her and her two sisters along, leaving Ram’s elder brother (same father but different mother) and his family to continue living in the main house. Her brother-in-law had by then moved away from the Kampong Ngee Heng neighbourhood but since our family had become quite close we maintained contacts, or rather Ram and I maintained contacts.

From Kampong Kubor we moved on to view Ram’s late 2nd brother’s original house which we were earlier told had burned down (see picture). Apparently no one was in the house when it was razed, as the occupants (tenants) were away at work then. This house was also a pre-war house that the brother built on his land. He also built a couple of houses nearby which had been rented out to this day. After the late brother and wife passed away, their only son, a prominent gynecologist, rented out the main house as well. Ram has many pleasant memories of this house as she used to spend a lot of time there when she was young and still in school. The brother was a school teacher in the all boys’ school that I was studying in. He was much older than Ram, more than twenty years older. She looked up to him, just as she looked up to her other elder brothers and sisters, for guidance and reference after her father passed away. We viewed the razed house and stayed for a while. I could see that look of sadness and dismay on Ram when viewing the remnants of the house. At one point she just stood at one location and stared at what’s left of the house, not moving for quite a while, blank look on her face. I can imagine her thoughts racing back to more than forty or fifty years ago. I gave her a slight nudge and urged her that we have to move on… I had good memories of the house too. After we got married we often visit the house to see Ram’s brother and sister-in-law.

We moved on from the razed house to other areas and viewed many other houses that had been transformed from their original pre-war designs to modern structures and facades. Some had been removed totally to allow the passage of development, new roads and highways, and so on. The town has developed so much since we were kids and many new buildings, low rise as well as high rise, sprouting all over. Preservation of heritage is something that the authorities should take note of for the benefit of future generations. Hence development should be balanced for the benefit of the people. But then, politicians and like minded people are the ones making the decisions and I notice that self interest, more often than not, colours their decisions such that developments seem to be more profit driven than heritage preservation. Give it another twenty, thirty years, what will be left of the heritage? …… I wonder….

MKI Ramblings Unlimited,
Petaling Jaya

The House Where I Grew Up As A Child

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The House where Ram was Born

The double storey house in the centre. Posted by Picasa

The House That Was Razed


Ram saddened at the scene. Posted by Picasa

The Razed House

Another View Posted by Picasa

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Yeyyey Kak Long Masuk TV, Yeyyey Kak Long Masuk TV

We came back from Port Dickson on Wednesday at about lunch time and I read an eMail from Tessa that she has to appear on TV (NTV7) to talk about PETRONAS Formula 1 community service programme at 9 am on Thursday. Although excited, she said she was apprehensive and afraid she may fumble and so on. By the time I get to read the email my other children had already responded to her. By their response both of them registered excitement, one saying “yeyyey Kak Long masuk TV, yeyyey Kak Long masuk TV” (both siblings call Tessa Kak Long) and the other saying, “Alamak, can tape or not, where can get TV at 9 am in the morning (during office hours that is!!)”.

The programme started off at 9 am with commentaries on current news and events interspersed with advertisements as usual and Tessa did not come on until about 9.30am. She was interviewed together with Rosman, the Senior Manager of Motor Sports by the NTV 7 Anchorman. Rosman spoke about the involvement of PETRONAS in motor sports from the humble introductory beginning many years ago to participation for world recognition and now comes the stage for PETRONAS to be amongst the top players in F1. Indeed PETRONAS has been recognized the world over and its logo is familiar to many as a result of this evolvement. Tessa on her part spoke about the programmes laid out by PETRONAS for the locals not only for those attending F1 races at Sepang circuit but to the communities all over the country, reaching even to those in the remote areas. A sort of outreach programme. Over the years PETRONAS has brought the F1 car and all its ‘regalia’ to every state and every town in the country. I know for a fact that, staged performances of the F1 cars, including pit stop actions were held in these visits. Parts of the roads in the towns were closed for these staged performances. It has excited many and many have shown interest in the sports and in PETRONAS as well. Other than that, extensive programmes to expose the young to the world of oil and gas, apart from motor sports, were held with positive response.

Overall the programme was informative and inspirational. Tessa, worried that she may fumble, worried for nothing really. She did very well and was eloquent. The flow of facts and her thought sequence showed how confident she was. As I told her earlier Ram and I have all the confidence in her, and this morning she did deliver, and delivered it well too. Talking to her later she said that she was at one point distracted by her image on the video screen near her but she got out of it in time and continued with the interview.

Sita told me that she ‘sneaked’ out to the canteen and watched her sister on TV there!! I am sure she was not alone in the canteen. Shaffik also saw the TV in the office. Ram had an appointment with her eye doctor in the morning. We went late to the hospital but she got to see the doctor as by the time we reach the hospital there were still quite a number of patients yet to see the doctor and she just got into the queue.

See some of the screen shots (not very clear) below……

MKI Ramblings Unlimited

NTV7 Interview - PETRONAS Formula 1 Venture

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Tessa on NTV7

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Saturday, February 11, 2006

PJ - Kerteh - PJ - JB

Sita and little Najla stayed with us for two nights (Thursday and Friday) on transit from Kangar, Perlis to Kerteh. Fahrul had to go back to Kerteh on Thursday itself as he has to work the next day. The house was not too quiet with Najla around, a lot better than when only the two of us were at home. “The sounds of little kids are always soothing to the soul?” Kids may get on your nerves sometimes, but it is something you enjoy in the end, really.

Najla was not well. Sita took her to see a pediatrician on Friday afternoon and with some medicine she was a lot better, crying less and playing more. Originally Sita was to hitch a ride from one of her friends returning to Kerteh, but with Najla in that condition, we decided to send them. After all we were quite free and had nothing to attend to in the next few days. Not until Wednesday as we have to be in JB then for a planned meeting with mum and my siblings.

We left for Kerteh at just before 7 in the evening, stopped once for dinner and evening prayers at one of the rest plaza’s on the highway, arriving in Kerteh at just about midnight. There was not much traffic on the roads and highway but Najla was restless, sleeping little and ‘crappy’ most of the time. I think she was really tired by the time we arrived in Kerteh as according to Sita, she slept till morning. However when she woke up the next morning she continued to be crappy. Her condition improved over the next few days though as she was more playful and lively then. As most little children are, she was difficult only when her mother was around and more so when she was not well. Otherwise, she was playful and gave us not much problem.

We returned to PJ on Tuesday, did some chores, paid some bills and next morning we were off to JB. We planned to be in JB for two nights and return to PJ on Friday. The rush is because we have a ‘Tazkirah’ or religious colloquium session amongst our retirees fraternity of which I am the secretary. Mum commented that I am busier now than when I was working and indeed it is true. However, I am now busy doing something I really enjoy.

While in JB I chaired a meeting of the ‘family grouping’ and discussed usual issues related to management of the grouping etc. etc. Ram and I also took the opportunity to ‘drive’ around JB and ‘view’ the houses and the neighbourhood where we grew up and the changes viz-a-viz developments in JB over the years. We also viewed an old house where Ram’s elder brother used to live in and which had recently been destroyed by fire, due perhaps to old electrical wiring in the house. There was no one in the house at the time it caught fire, but the house is almost a total loss except for a small portion in the kitchen. More on this nostalgic tour in coming issues of my ramblings.

MKI Ramblings Unlimited
Petaling Jaya

Najla In Better Mood

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See My Teeth, I bite!! Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

At Home In PJ

It is our second day back in Petaling Jaya. The house is too quiet. Already we miss the three little kids in Bintulu. A consolation is Sita. She, Fahrul and Najla are returning tomorrow from Fahrul’s hometown, Perlis and will be stopping over in PJ for two nights, before proceeding to Kerteh. We also had visitors today. Two former colleagues, who sits with me in the committee of our retirees club came in the morning for a chat and to discuss some issues regarding the club. A little later, Ram’s niece came with her husband. She had just returned from performing her Haj. Hence our day went quite fast today.

We had our hands full all of two weeks that we were in Bintulu, especially with the two smaller kids, Haziq and Haadieya who kept on getting to each other, especially Haadieya who would go after anything that Haziq touched. She will disregard her own toys and go after the brother’s toys, and only the ones that he was playing. They were very noisy too. She is only 11 months old and she is already constantly annoying her brother. She does not bother Hifzhan though, maybe because Hifzhan is much older than her!! A respite for us would be the time when the two boys were at playschool in the morning. The house would then be very quiet.

Haadieya would scream at her brother, or cry when they quarrel, or just noisy banging the toys. Haziq on the other hand was noisy too. He kept on talking and he has a lot of ideas. He will put his imaginations into words and will loudly say them out. Once he said that there was this big car that talked to him. I said I have never heard a car talk. He replied, “Yes, Tok Bah. Big cars can talk”. I said, “Oh! Big cars can talk? Small cars cannot talk?” He said Yes. I asked him to show me a big car that talks. He said, “Ahhh.. Dedek hear the big car talk in Dedek’s dream!!”. I then asked “Oh! What did the car say?” He said that the car asked him to drive it to Tok Bah’s house in Kay Ell!! So, did you drive the car then, I asked. “Noh, he said, Dedek cannot drive lah Tok Bah!!” Haa haa, imagination and reality intermingling!!

Dedek has a new phrase. Sometime, while we were on the road, and amidst his talking and ‘yarning’ he will suddenly say “ooooh la la! never shee thing dat my life beforeeee”. I will then ask him to say it again slowly and word by word and he will say “oooh la la!, never see anything that in my life beforeee” I will correct him by saying “Ooooh la la! I have never seen anything like that in my life before!” He will reply yes. I asked what yes and he will reply yes like what Tok Bah said, refusing to repeat it! Hmmm…

Usually Dedek will go on talking or asking me things or just say whatever that comes into his mind. He does not stop. He will go on and on and on. Once I asked him to shut his mouth for a while, not to say anything until we reach home. No words should come out from your mouth from now until we reach home, can you do that? I asked. Babang said “Dedek, zip your mouth”. He replied, “ok, Dedek keep quiet”. A moment later he said, “zip my mouth eh eh” I said shhhhh! He responded ohhkehhhh! A few moments later he made sounds like ‘eh ‘eh! I asked what is wrong with you now? He replied, “Sorry Tok Bah, Dedek Hi cup!!” I said no Dedek, it is hiccup! He said heeecup and Babang then corrected him saying hiccup Dedek, hiccup. He said, “hiccup la Tok Bah, Dedek hiccup” By then we had already reached home and Dedek has had his say.

In the playschool the kids were once taken on an outing to the local fire brigade and were shown how to put out fires by using a water hose. Recently their grandpa (the other grandpa, not me!!) quietly went to the back of his house and prepared a fire to roast chicken for lunch. The two boys were playing inside the house then. As the fire was slowly building, grandpa went into the kitchen to prepare the chicken. From inside the house the two boys saw smoke at the back, shouted fireeee! ran to the back, grabbed a nearby hose and directed the water to the fire!!!!! What a riot. Poor grandpa had to build the fire again!! Dedek said that he washed the fire, proud that he has saved the day ha ha!
And Grandpa? Well! He is a man of a few words. He just rebuilt the fire and said nothing!! Looks like the grandkids can get away with anything…. Ha ha!

MKI Ramblings Unlimited
Petaling Jaya