Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Spelling Hero

My 5th Ace, Alim had Spelling exam. I spent quite a bit of time teaching him the words for Spelling. Although I thought the words were pretty easy, I pity seeing him struggle to memorise the words.
The words were 1) umbrella 2) pencil 3) duster 4) window 5) brother 6) sister 7) morning 8) chair 9) school and 10) ruler.
He also had 10 Malay words to memorise which he could spell them in just a couple of minutes, 100% marks. Bravo!

I tested him three times. He got the following words wrong:-
1) mubella 2) pencel 3) bother 4) dustre 5) schooll 6) sitter 7) rul
7 out of 10,oh oh... that is bad. Alim was so stressed. He can say to me, "Mommy, I want to get all correct. I want to get number 1." His face was so sulky showing his disappointment. "Eh, anak aku sorang ni.... baru tadika dah pandai stress. Aisey, susah ni! Belum exam SPM or masuk university or jadi lawyer lagi." I said silently.

Pacifying him that it was alright to make mistakes, I asked him to do correction three times for every word which he had wrongly spelt. About 15 minutes later, I tested him again. Yay! This time round he got only one mistake which was umbella.
After school, I asked him how he had fared in his Ejaan and Spelling tests. He thought that Ejaan was 100% correct whilst Spelling was... "Macam Alim lupa je one word". Not bad for somebody who was very stressful a few days ago. I hope he will score and beat everyone else. Hik! No wonder the son is stressed!

Alim & his best friend Akmal

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Mere Coincidence

This morning somehow I terlajak tidur after my sahur. Today is my last puasa enam. Has been travelling lately, so tak habis habis puasa enam ni. At least merasa jugak beraya second time tomorrow in the month of Syawal. I will celebrate my second time raya in Terengganu as I am going outstation again. (Not again!)

I thought I have started the day with a wrong footing sebab sampai office je dah 8.30 am. Usually by 8.30 am, I dah laju bekerja. When I reached the lift lobby, one lift was opened. As I entered the lift, terserempak my friend H, who was alone in the lift.

H worked together with me in the Indonesia project two years ago. He loves shopping. So we have something in common. Although I tak pernah dapat shopping together with him, we have many a times exchanged shopping notes for Jakarta, Bandung and Jogja. After the Indonesia project, we had the opportunity again to work together. This time was on something lighter. Menangkis requests from the politicians' demands, a crude way of putting it. Then H was promoted as GM to do Ventures.

"Hai Ti. How are you? Selamat hari raya and maaf zahir batin."

Huh, dah 28 Syawal today and baru dapat jumpa H. He memang busy, especially bila dah jadi GM since early in the year.

H was exceptionally delighted to see me, and suddenly he dropped the bomb, yang telah membuat hidup I tak menentu until this very moment.

"Ti, you know there is opening for the Aussie project. I tak sempat cakap with you because I was busy. This month je, only two weeks je I ada kat Malaysia. Sorry about that. You see they wanted two lawyers. One for the business and one for the investment. Yang business tu they wanted L to do it and most likely it will get through. Tinggal yang buat investment ni je lagi. N expressed her interest but I think there are some issues if we choose N. Are you interested? If you are, I will strongly recommend them to choose you."

In one breath, H said it all. My jaw dropped.

"H, you must be kidding! Boleh ke I buat kerja tu? This is different than what I am currently doing, but the thot of Brisbane is exciting kan!", I replied. Teringat pulak Nuha, my good friend who is currently busy packing to move to Brisbane in November, as mentioned in my Sept posting.

"Why don't you meet M? He is the head there. I don't know what are his plans although I am connected in view of the venture. Give him a call. Have a chat with him."

" Maybe I should. I dah three years in this position, and I don't think I can take the pressure anymore."

"I know. That is why I want you to think about it. They want the people in January next year, so you have to act fast. OK it is my stop now. I will catch up with you again. Give M a call tau."

When I entered my room, I termangu kejap. Betul ke I nak express my interest? Can I do the job? This is about investment and perhaps a bit of financing. I am hopeless with numbers. Nak mencongak 45 + 67 pun sometimes confuse me. Then of course there is the Aussie law which I am not familiar with except for Torrens system yang I learnt in IIU last time. Why don't these people give the names je? Tak payah nak tanya others whether they are interested or not. I would definitely go if suddenly they say I have been transferred. No choice what! Expressing interest tu macam me-lobby pulak. I do not like making decision because I prefer people make the decision for me thus I do not have much choice but to follow.

My management meeting started at 10.30 am. I was not really sure whether I was listening correctly and took down the things discussed. My thoughts were lingering on the Aussie subject.

There must be a reason why I met H that morning. I still wonder. Is it because I puasa enam today? Or is it because I was involved with PBP? Some comments from the teman blogging said that I will be rewarded. Hmmm....

During the MC meeting, I exchanged sms with H. His last one sounded like this "U r right, must b some blessing in it... Btw, always thot of u for the position. Worst case, u r still in the PLC. Nothing to lose kan? Best case, u'll be in Brisbane.... New life !!!!"

Beloved hubby was all so excited when I told him. When I called him second time after I broke the news, he was busy googling Brisbane. When we discussed this again at home, he has already thought about the house, the cars, the kids, my mother in law, the koi and the pond. Hallo, I tak buat apa apa pun lagi ok.

What can I say now except that I will give M a call tomorrow from Terengganu to set an appointment. I know there will be other contenders, but you never know if it is meant for me. Tak dapat pun tak pe. The thought of thinking about it is already making me so very excited, not to mention the butterflies in my tummy. I still think that bumping into H this morning was not a mere coincidence.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Aspiring The Young

It was 7.20 am when I alighted the taxi at KLIA. My flight to Alor Setar that day was departing at 7.40 am. I was blaming myself for this morning's procrastination. I should have woken up earlier although today is a Saturday. My imagination was running wild. I will be a laughing stock at the office next week when they knew I cannot turn up for the Program Bakti Pendidikan (PBP) because I miss the flight. Also teringat pada muka adik adik Sek Keb Pinang Tunggal whom last I saw was a year ago. I will not be doing them any justice if I do not spend today's raya celebration with them. I am sure they wait with eagerness for us to pay them a visit.

Without having regard to others, I rushed to the Enrich check-in counter. The queue was long, be it the International or Domestic flights. Habis lah I, habis lah I, my heart kept on chanting. I went to the self-check-in booth but I could not do it because the time for check in was already over. Apa I nak buat ni, nak squeeze into the other normal counters, memang tak payah nak cerita how spiralling the queue was. Aghast, I suddenly saw, a sign "Standby". Aha, got an idea...

"Dik dik, akak dah lewat ni. Can I check in here? No luggage."

The MAS gentleman was so sweet. "Tak pe kakak, nanti saya buat." Hardly two minutes, he said "Akak masuk sekarang!" Oh, thank you very much, rasa nak blow him a kiss, grateful punya pasal. So there it was, I managed to check in and ran my hearts out to Gate B7. When I passed the business class seats, phew... boss tak ada lagi. The rest was history.

Mok, our driver for that day, was already there loyally waiting for boss, my colleague Raiha and me at Alor Setar airport. As the plane was descending. I could see that some of the sawah bendang dah ditenggelami air. These few days, the rain has been pretty bad. Some of the low areas in Kedah has been hit by the flood.

It took us about an hour to drive from Alor Setar to Pinang Tunggal, Kepala Batas. Pinang Tunggal is in Penang. The nearest town would be Butterworth in Penang or Sungai Petani in Kedah. Our journey was en route Alor Setar because the flight to Alor Setar was early morning which allowed us to be at Sek Keb Pinang Tunggal on time for the raya function. On our way, we passed Park Avenue hotel at Sg Petani where the late tycoon Eric Chia had his last breath.

When we arrived at the school, we were greeted by the cikgu besar, Puan Esah Ibrahim and the other teachers. All the students and teachers were donned in beautiful baju raya.

Guru Besar Pn Esah Ibrahim

The company embarked on this PBP since three years ago. We selected Sek Keb Pinang Tunggal amongst the few schools offered to us. All these schools are situated in the rural area. The company is presently conducting PBP at two schools, one in Pinang Tunggal and one in Kemasik, Terengganu. Sek Keb Pinang Tunggal is the only primary school in Pinang Tunggal area. After the students finished primary school, they will go for their secondary education in Sek Men Paya Keladi. Most of the parents of the students here are farmers or factory workers.

Volunteers from the staff whom we call Facies helped the students in their learning. The Facies will come to the school to give tuition to the students almost weekly. The kakak and abang Facies will fly to Pinang Tunggal on Friday night, teach the students on Saturday and fly back to KL on Saturday night. That is the kind of commitment we got from the Facies. All these are without any charge.

Dedicated and wonderful Facies

Not all students are selected for the PBP. We get the school to choose the "galus" ones i.e. kadang-kadang gagal and kadang-kadang lulus. The subjects which are taught by the Facies are English, Maths and Science. Thus far there are 40 students each from Tahap 4, 5 and 6. Many of the galus students have achieved tremendously in their academic record. Last year 14 students achieved 5As in their UPSR exam whilst this year the school is targetting 30.

Other than tuition, the company also organised educational trips for them. The first trip which we arranged for them was the trip from Pinang Tunggal to KLCC last year. At KLCC, they visited the Petrosains, Aquaria and Menara Berkembar Petronas. I remember one of them telling me, they were so excited that night at the Zone that they chit chatted with each other until 3.00 am. The other trip which we conducted for them was the trip to Pendang Resort. At Pendang Resort, the students went camping with some of the management staff and the Facies. Budak kampung pergi camping, apa lagi, seronok sangat lah depa enjoying the nature.

School teachers preparing the feast for us

This time round, we presented them with duit raya and some raya gifts. As a token of appreciation, the students reciprocated by presenting us a beautiful performance. I could see that they have worked very hard to showcase it to us. They sang lagu raya in English and choreographed the dance movement themselves, without any assistance from the Facies.

A very good showmanship from students of SK Pinang Tunggal

I was taken aback by what the Timbalan YDP, PIBG shared with us during the meal. Timbalan YDP was born and bred in Pinang Tunggal. He went to Sek Keb Pinang Tunggal during his primary school days. At that time, life was hard. According to him, when the bell rang for recess, he will run back to his house, took the telor ayam, ran to the shop nearby and sold the egg. The money which he got from the sale allowed him to buy himself a packet of mee goreng for recess. He had to do this because the chicken will only lay eggs after about 8 am and not early in the morning before he goes to school.

As he had sailed through the hard times, he felt that it is now time that he gives something in return to the students and school. He had all praises and remarkable words for us. In his speech he said that the world is getting smaller because Kuala Lumpur is indeed very far from Pinang Tunggal but with the PBP, we now bring Kuala Lumpur to Pinang Tunggal. That is so sweet....

Of course in his speech too, he hoped that PBP will continue for Sek Keb Pinang Tunggal. It makes the students expose to the outside world hence will inadavertently open up their minds. Although Kepala Batas may not be significantly in the political map from March 2009 onwards ( probably will shift to Pekan, Pahang), I hope we will continue aspiring these students.

The faces of students we continue to aspire

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Baby? You Must Be Joking!

Gossips exchanged between the office Minahs Kepochi (MK) at a recent hari raya gathering.
"Good for Az, Tie is expecting another one. This is going to be their no. 4", began MK 1.

"Really? Wow! Tie is already 40 something, right? Imagine, Az at 50, he will be having a 6 year old child. Will he wake up at night and help Tie?", queried MK 2.

"Well, Sheila Majid had her last one at 42 kan? OK je", MK 1 added.

"Best tau, ada anak kecik ni. My youngest tu dah 15 months and seeing him grow now is a different feeling, compared to when I had my first two a couple of years back", said MK 3 who is now 38 and got her 3rd boy last year.

"If I dapat another one, my 5 Aces will be jumping with joy. Sure senang nak jaga cos the kakaks are all dah besar besar", said Yours Truly.

"Hey you! Dah dua kali I dengar you cakap macam ni. Maybe it is time that you try another one and become like Tie", MK 1 quipped.

Hmmmm, terdiam seketika.

In all honesty, I have been posing the "B" question to some of my close friends. "What if I am pregnant again?" or "What if God bless me with another child?" Some MKs would say "Go for it babe. You are not that old and still strong" whilst some freaked out, "You must be joking, my dear! At this age?" and advised me against it particularly because of the risk factor.

There is always the risk factor when a woman conceives at the age past 40. My friend, Dr Tina, medically felt that the risk of the women who conceive at the age of 40 if she pernah delivered a baby at the age anytime after 35, is small unlike those yang tak pernah delivered langsung. My friends like Pedah, Na Omar, Ins, Elah, Pedah and Nora got their latest at the age of 40 roundabout. Their babies are healthy. Once in a while ada jugak yang unfortunate where the baby became "special" or worst case we lost the moms, innalillah. It all boils down to fate.

The "B" question actually started to pop when I attained 40 years old. At that time, Alim had already started to go to his play school. He was no more in his diapers, has become independent and could sleep soundly at night without waking up to pee. Thus, I was feeling a bit relaxed. Yelah, 5 children in a row and all are very close in terms of their age. When Alim did not act or I did not feel him like a baby anymore, that feeling of yearning for another one naturally arrived. Maklumlah dah biasa ada baby kat rumah.

Masaalah nya... well it is not really a problem, I did not take any precaution at all since Alim's birth. So far and obviously I have failed to conceive. How to get a baby if "project" pun tak berjaya? My guess is, it is my hormons. Sudah tua. When I was a lot younger, I was definitely the fertile type. My friends, to the extent, pernah teased us "pantang bersentuh kulit with beloved hubby, I will surely conceive". I have to be extra cautious everytime. Therefore you can guess how easily the 5 Aces arrived to this world. If not for the miscarriage between Ayna and Ali, I would have been a proud mommy of 6 Aces. Other than breastfeeding, I only took the C pills once during that period between Alina and Alim, hence the gap between Alina and Alim was four years, much longer than the age gap between the other siblings.

Additionally, I think I may have conceived in between the 4 Aces too if not for the discovery of this Kapsul Salut Bulan from Indonesia. This Tante who used to operate a jamu shop at Wisma *en*al gave me this Kapsul when I was late for 5 days. Consumed it and wallah... got my mens the very next day. Hmmmm...., that pill must be the culprit and catalyst for the widespread immoral activities nowadays.

On hindsight, I think I should just stop at 5. It is good for the economics of the family. The costs of the education are now rocketting high. I spend a good RM800/month for the tuition of the 4 Aces, belum lagi the other expenses like the music classes, kumon, sekolah agama and miscellanous. What if I die young? Kesian pulak anak-anak I yang ramai tu dapat stepmom. Dapat stepmom yang baik like MrsN or Julia Roberts in Stepmom, tak pe jugak. What if beloved hubby marry to one who turned out to be like step moms which we see in some of the TV3 drama or cerita P. Ramlee.

Nonetheless, I agree with MK3 that having a baby at this age had created a different feeling. Even watching beloved hubby carry Nuha's baby, Adam at one raya open house made my heart twinge. Beloved hubby also asked for my permission to save the photo below as his laptop wall paper. What does that indicate?

Beloved hubby & Adam

Monday, October 20, 2008

What You Can Get From A Grouchy Boss

Beloved hubby has been under a lot of stress lately. The boss has been giving him a hard time. One recent incident was when all his peers and bosses got invitation to attend some ministerial function at PWTC. He assumed that those invited would go. Tetapi bila dah attend the function, tiba tiba dapat email from the boss asking his whereabouts. The boss asked him, who gave him the permission to go. The boss siap tulis, "Come back to the office now itself". Wah siap ada perkataan "itself" tu. I told beloved hubby that from the written sentence, grammatically it was wrong, because why do you need the word "itself" in the sentence. Beloved hubby argued with me that the word "itself" was there as an emphasis. It showed how angry and serious the boss was at that time. Anyway beloved hubby tak balik office pun because it was already 5pm when he received the mail.

I do not understand why bosses are so "chengeh" like this. Mr Ramjit (bukan nama sebenar) sometimes appears to feel so insecure and sometimes acts like Mr TheSoVeryPerfect or The Impossible or The Impractical. When he sends emails to beloved hubby, he expects beloved hubby to answer immediately. Ada sekali tu beloved hubby was chairing a meeting, which Mr Ramjit sendiri yang instructed him to attend, hence beloved hubby cannot fiddle fiddle with his Beriberi during the meeting. Mr Ramjit sent a mail but no reply from beloved hubby was forthcoming. Mr Ramjit can send another mail and wrote, "Why are you not answering to my mails?" Goodness! What is wrong with him? When beloved hubby told me about this, my remark was, not all women had to go through menopause, some men had to experience it too.

There are lots more horror stories about Mr Ramjit. Obviously the popular one is when beloved hubby wanted to take leave for a couple of days and applied from Mr Ramjit. Mr Ramjit boleh tashkil him and said that dia tak pernah ambil leave lama lama. He only takes leave like 2 days in a year! Fine, that is him. Annual leave is an entitlement and this organisation has like 30 days leave to spare in a year.

Even if Mr Ramjit allowed beloved hubby to take leave, he will forget about it. I bet you that early in the morning he would be hunting high and low for beloved hubby. So bila the secretary said that beloved hubby cuti, he can ask "Who signed his leave?" This Mr Ramjit is not that old, only in his fifties but his idiosyncrasies is like as if he was born 70 years ago.

On some days, I lah yang jadi mangsa the distress husband. Ada lah juga tempias tempias terkena marah. So hari yang beloved hubby bad mood tu, I kena lah put the best of my behaviour. Bila he called, two rings je dah answer the phone, bila he comes home, his kopi jantan is already served on the coffee table and for dinner, kena make sure his favourite chicken curry or the cencaru belah belakang is served. Susah jugak nak please husband ni ye.

I do not mind a bit whenever beloved hubby is moody, crappy or cranky because to me it could be a blessing in disguise. Dulu when everything was fine and dandy for beloved hubby, he loved to lepak kangkong with his friends til the wee hours of the night. Now that he is always ever so stressful, he loves spending time at home with the 5 Aces and chit chat with me about his day in the office.

This morning he was late again to office despite waking up early. I left office earlier than him as I have to meredah the terrible jam in the morning. He texted me at 8.34 am informing me that he should be in the office already but he was still on the way to office. I text back tanya, "Kenapa lambat?" His reply was "No mood to go to work. Taking my own sweet time to get ready, hantar Alim to go to school then balik, have breakfast and enjoying the nice hot tea that you made for me."

Laaaa, I have corroborated to his latecoming today and possible firing from Mr Ramjit. Perhaps I should not make him such hot nice morning tea anymore.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Love Hate Travel

I am on the move again. Yesterday and the day after I was in Segamat and today I am in Kota Kinabalu. Will be here till tomorrow. I am not someone who does sales or marketing, sales or marketing are far off from my scope of work however my frequent travelling are due to many reasons. Some of the important reasons are; our business now spans, seperti one of the songs yang kita nyanyi masa kat sekolah dulu, "dari Perlis sampailah ke Sabah...", some are due to operational reasons, some due to special project work and most important one, a politically right reason as far as my boss is concerned, to be engaged with the staff aka grassroots and walk the talk.

In KK this time, I am the gurkha because I lah PR officer (because I have to do the networking with the partner and supplier), I lah logistics officer (because I arrange for the transport and the accommodation for almost everyone in the entourage), I lah secretary (because I took down the project steering committee meeting minutes this afternoon), I lah despatch (because I had to rush to send the important documents to the partner before the meeting, sebaik sahaja touch down at the airport), I lah the advisor (because the team wanted my legal advice on some shareholding issues) and I lah VIP (because I was given the honour to sit at the same table with the VIP guests during dinner).

Sometimes, macam tak percaya je, last week kat Spore, last 2 days at Segamat and today at KK. Itupun I have to decline travelling to Kerteh on last Saturday and Sunday because Aliah was sitting for her PMR. There was once tu sometime in 2002, morning tu, I was at Champs Elysees Paris, 16 hours later, which was morning in KL the next day, I was at Jln Tunku Abdul Rahman shopping for tudung, and next two hours I was at Kuala Pilah visiting an ailing relative. Ada satu lagi yang best, in a duration of fifty hours, I was in KL, then London and later back to KL. Only checked in hotel to freshen up myself je, tak sempat tidur pun, terus pergi meeting and balik. All these happened when I was at the age of thirty something, now dah forty something, thank God I have not encountered the same travelling requirement yet and if I have to, rasanya memang tak larat.

Despite my lots of travel and I should be like a pro travelling already, 12 things I hate when I travel are:-

1. When I suddenly become alah to the food and get travel diarrhoea.

2. When the passenger next to me snore in his sleep and it was a journey of more than 7 hours.

3. When the passenger in the vicinity of my seat, strikes a small conversation and continuously talk talk and talk.

4. When the passenger next to me knows where I work and start to ask if he can get any contract from us.

5. When my luggage do not reach the destination together with me.

6. When I am travelling alone.

7. Whilst I am transferring flight, I realise that my subsequent flight is cancelled.

8. When I have to be on transit for more than 3 hours in the airport.

9. The toilet in the plane is dirty when it is my turn using it.

10. When any of my 5 Aces is not well at that time.

11. By the time I checked in, it was too late to check in my luggage and when I tried to store it in the cabin, the cabin is full.

12. When the air cond in the plane is freezing cold.

Maybe add another one "Things I Hate" like what happened on the plane this morning. During a turbulence, whilst I was sipping my tea, the tea tertumpah and terkena passenger sebelah. I profusely apologised to her and asked her if she was okay. She did not say anything but looked so annoyed. Ok lah she has the reason to be annoyed, tapi say lah something to show some courtesy kan? Marah lah pilot tu, jangan lah marah I. (Yet my beloved husband always remarked that I have such poor PR skills, huh!)

Hope tomorrow's return trip will not be that bad.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Office In A Kampong

It was a tiring drive from KL to Segamat yesterday morning. I left my home as early as 6.30 am to catch the 9.30 am meeting at Segamat. There are two ways to go to Segamat from the PLUS highway. One can take the exit at Simpang Ampat tol or Tangkak tol. It was my first time taking the Simpang Ampat tol, usually I would take the exit at Tangkak tol. Once exiting, I had to pass through Tampin, Gemencheh, Gemas and Buluh Kasap before I reached Segamat. Never have I overtaken so many lorries in my entire life, must be like at least 10 of them. From oil tanker to the TATA crane, the long lorry carrying steel to the small pick up, cement mixer to bull dozer. Wow, am I glad I am still in one piece.

I arrived at Segamat 15 minutes before meeting. We had two meetings, one at 9.30 am and another one at 2.30 pm. The morning meeting was a management meeting with lots of discussion and debate. By noon, I could hear the roar from my stomach. The host served us a gastronomical lunch ranging from ikan talapia sambal, ikan baung masak lemak cili api, sambal tempe, sayur cap chai and the hot sambal belacan. I cannot remember when was the last time I ate ikan baung. This one was really out of the world. The kuah lemak cili api of the baung can deliciously be sipped like a mushroom soup. Hmmmmmm......

There is not much hype about Segamat. A small town in Johore, famous for its maiden Jakel outlet, the textile shop which has now extended its wings to KL, Seremban and Shah Alam. The hustle and bustle of the town could be felt during lunch time and towards dusk. There are also food outlets which have karaoke set to entice the customers. I was attracted to this tudung shop in Utama which has a lot of soft colors tudungs to offer. The bawal no 1 tudung here only costs RM30. In Jln. Tunku Abdul Rahman, one can only get it at cheapest price of RM45.

Segamat is also the hub for the gas control. There is a compressor station which pushes the gas in the PGU line coming from Kerteh to be supplied to the centre zone in Negeri Sembilan, Selangor and KL that subsequently flows to the north. It is this gas which is used to power the nation through the IPPs.
That night I stayed at the Golden Lake Hotel. It is a relatively decent hotel compared to Hotel Seri Pelangi. My advice based on the past experience of Hotel Seri Pelangi is, for those who want to stay here, bring your own towel and blanket. Golden Lake Hotel is in the centre of town, near KFC and Mc Donalds. I would rate it as a two and a half star hotel. The aircon works, the toilet is clean, there is a coffee making facility and of course a small TV which has the terrestrial stations plus Star Movie. Only costs RM100 per night.

Before heading home just now, had a decent meal at this shop near Sek Agama Kg Jawa. When we arrived there, it was already full of customers. That is a sign of a popular and value for money eatery. The recommended dish here is soto. Love it as I am a sucker for anything soupy. The tempe is so crispy that I couldn't resist to continuously munched it all the way on the journey home. With the soto, drinks and other side dishes like pergedil and tempe, it only cost RM 35 for seven people!! I thought the restaurant owner mis-calculated.

When going home to KL, I used the Tangkak way. Had to pass Jementah and Gunung Ledang, only the kaki gunung lah, not the Puteri Gunung Ledang's abode! It took me only two and a half hours to reach KL, and that is what I call speed.

It has been a tiring two days for me, meetings and networking, however most of all I enjoyed the office in the kampong not forgetting the FOOD!

Monday, October 13, 2008

News Scoop 13th Oct - Company's Open House

We had the company's Raya Open House in the evening. Our company's open house has always been diserikan oleh anak-anak yatim. I adopted one. Initially I signed up for the adoption of one Nur Amirah who is a 10 years old girl. Towards the end of last week, I was informed that she left the Rumah Penyayang Nur Iman and her substitute is Rabiatul Basariah, 9 years old. Mum and daughter have to wear the same lanyard so that we can sit with each other and get to know ourselves better.

I went to the open house at Sa*om* Bistro with the 5th Ace, Alim. After meeting Rabiatul, I found out that she is a talkative girl. Full of zest. The father cannot be traced after he divorced the mother. She stays at Rumah Penyayang Nur Iman most of the times. Once in a while, she would go back to Sentul to visit her mother.

For the Open House, the adopted mum or dad donated RM150 each to their child. With the the said amount of money, most of the kids were presented with a school bag each full of school uniform for next year and school shoes. Any remaining sum was given as duit raya. I went on stage with the other MC members to give away the token. Second time round, I was called on stage, to give away 10 lucky draw prizes.

The orphans were a mix of kids. Ada yang memang either mother or father has passed away and the single parent left tak mampu nak take care of them. Ada pulak yang memang parents are divorced, and the poor kids are left at the orphanage. Mana yang kecil, like Afikah, in the photo, is baby yang ditinggalkan sejak lahir. Ini case born out of wedlock. Tak sampai hati tengok baby se cute as Afikah, ada jugak orang yang tak mau jaga. Wish I can take her back and make her as part of the family.

The company was generous enough to prepare us with door gifts. I got two packs, one for me and one for Alim. In it are a packet of serunding, a packet of karipap filled with serunding and a batik pencil case. The serunding comes in handy for my outstation travel next few days.

News Scoop 13th Oct - Witness of Post Crime Scene

I am on leave today. Since I am not doing anything in the morning, except do some groceries at Fishmart nearby, I decided to do some banking transactions at the bank at Jalan Puchong. When I reached the bank, there were many people in front of the bank despite that it was still 9.50 am. I parked my car and walked to the bank. Then I spotted, cameramen, journalists and the policemen. Out of curiosity, I approached a passerby and asked what has happened.

Notice the yellow tape. Tak berani nak dekat.

He told me, "Kak, bank ni kena rompak. Akak tunggu je lah berita malam ni. Adalah keluar cerita tu."

Tak puas hati, I went closer to the bank yang dah macam CSI ni, with the yellow tapes and policemen guarding it. I asked the policeman the same question and he said, "Bank ni kena bom pagi tadi, dalam 5.45 pagi, tapi perompak tu tak dapat apa-apa."

Although the ATM machines are still intact, I could see the debris around them which must be from the ceiling on top and the shattered down lights glass. The entrance of the bank was yellow taped and no entry to the public. There were already many people who had arrived and wanted to do their banking transactions.

Journalists ans cameramen in front of the bank waiting for scoop

Alah... There goes my banking plans this morning. However, it is scary when I think about it. What if the robbers decided to execute their mission at the time when I was there. Ntah ntah, I pun a witness to the crime scene, or silap silap ada peluru sesat yang melayang. Syukur syukur... We have read a lot of similar thefts and robberies in the news lately. With the upcoming recession, we have to be extra careful and vigilant.

News Scoop 13th Oct - PMR Starts Today

Aliah, my 1st Ace, is sitting for her PMR exam this week. All the best to you, Kak Ya. I know she will give her best shot. She has always been.

Sejak kindergaten lagi Aliah is so smart. She is diligent too. When she was at Tadika Seri Kasih, she won the Ribena Excellence Award in Selangor. During her primary education, she would receive one or two awards for the Speech Day held at the end of the year. Orang kata daughters, memang rajin belajar and I find that very true in Aliah's case.

Nowadays, she memang a "drama" queen. She loves to watch the dramas or soaps on TV especially the 6.30 pm slot on TV3. You name it, SPAQ, Bella, macam-macam lagi. I just hope that the dramas indirectly contribute to her understanding and excellence in Bahasa Melayu subject.

She does not excel gila gila in the secondary school as it is very competitive, mostly dibolot oleh the Chinese students. But I am satisfied with her achievement because I know she has studied very hard. She burnt the midnight oil in most nights for the past one month. She would never missed her tuition classes and chose a better tutor in one particular subject when the old one sucks. She prayed hard too. Masa one of the last 10 nights of Ramadhan, she followed me to solat malam at the mosque. Sejuk hati seorang ibu bila tengok anak ada keinsafan nak pergi solat malam and mencari lailatulqadr. I wish I was like that when I was her age. I will definitely make my parents very happy.

Today as I sent Aliah to her school (I took leave today to give the motivation to her), she looked confident. I hope things will turn out easy for her. "Baca selawat, bismillah and when you are stuck baca surah A lam Nashrah," my advice to her this morning. My dear Aliah, break a leg. Insha Allah adalah rezki Kak Ya in PMR because Mama knows that you have studied very hard. Mama and Baba will always doa for Aliah's success, and adik-adik's.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Lion City in 48 Hours

The highlights of the discussion whilst I was in S'pore; the exiting of panicked investors from the market in Asia and Europe causing the fall of the stock market. The global recession fear has heightened. S'pore government declared that they are already in recession. Its Straits Times Index fell 7.34%, whilst KLCI was only 3.6% lower. With the fall of AIG, many people were already queuing up at the insurance companies trying to cash out their policies. I had no problem getting a room at H*at* this time round despite confirmation on the meeting in S'pore was late . In my previous trips, the reservation has to be made at least one week earlier. Is that an indication of the recession?
My meeting in S'pore was a fruitful one. We managed to settle the unresolved issues, albeit a lot more work to be done after this. We just need to make things clearer arising from the contract which we entered. I admit, being part of the negotiation team of the contract three years back, we may not be able to see the operational side of things. Although the second day of the meeting was more on the number crunching, I was struggling to really understand the numbers being discussed. Blame it on the position of the meeting room, which is overlooking the docking cruise ships and Sentosa Island.

Midway meeting, we had lunch at Swensen at Vivo City. I am not a fan of steak but Swensen's is something out of the ordinary. Although Swensens is famous for its heavenly tantalizing ice-cream, the Swensen in S'pore have some signature steaks. I don't think they have the same menu in Malaysia. And the best part is they are halal. Apparently the Majlis Agama Islam Singapura is very strict in the halal signs displayed at the food outlets. The halal mark will not be given even if no pork is served yet alcohol is served. I found more shops displaying the halal signs these days, including some Japanese restaurants. I noticed that Vivo City too has a lot more to offer compared to the time it was officially opened two years ago. But sempat only mencuci mata. Work takes priority.

Vivo City

The meeting ended almost 5 pm that Friday. I only managed to spend about 30 minutes in Tangs. I managed to grab an Island Shop white blouse which was going at 50% discount. After checking out from the hotel, I took a cab to Nathan Road where the Malaysian High Commission is. The taxi driver who drove me there was complaining that he should have taken the next passenger after me as that person was going to the airport whilst my destination was just about 5 minutes away from Orchard Road. Feeling guilty, I tipped him all the coins that was left in my purse. The spirit of bersedekah during raya was still strong, I guess.

I finally met Zelah my old friend, as planned. Zelah was working in the same company with me five years back. The husband is attached to Foreign Affairs. From the time I knew him, the husband was already posted in Vienna. She did not follow him then but managed to take leave once in a while to spend time with the husband and their children. Three years ago, the husband was posted in LA and that was when she decided to take early retirement and moved to LA. Zelah obviously had invited me many times to visit her in LA, but tak ada chance nak pergi. So when I knew that she is now in Singapore, the next thing after the subject of work is to visit her.

Another friend of mine who is a TaiTai and the equation of Mdm Dep Hi Comm

Photo taken was in her kitchen. Behind was Faris, preparing his own dinner, Nutella and bread.

It was like old times, borak and borak, catching up on where we left. Cerita Zelah is so ever interesting, LA story and S'pore story. Of course di selit kan cerita the politics, dignitaries, and macam macam lagilah. She told me that LA is a lot cheaper than S'pore, and I wonder why we keep on coming back to shop in S'pore. The children and her love LA so much and it is indeed a culture shock for them in terms of the weather and the people. Zelah jamu me with bubur lambuk and mee goreng. She is definitely a good cook. I love her royal bone china, dah ter-fall in love pulak. Hmmm, kena do some financial planning to acquire one set.

I had the chance of meeting her son Faris, whom I really admire. So well-mannered and full of eagerness to speak. Faris was diagnosed as someone with delayed speech or the inability to speak clearly. Tak lah se serious as cerebral palsy, they discovered this when he was like four years old. Although he is already 10 years old now, he is only learning to talk. Kata Zelah masa dia dekat Malaysia, he was not given the full attention at the school. However, when they moved to LA, the school even have the speech therapist to give extra attention to him and monitor his progress.

Zelah was sweet enough to personally send me off to Changi airport. Wah, merasa naik kereta diplomat in S'pore sekejap. I don't mind not spending the extra time at the malls as it was substituted with such a wonderful evening with an old friend.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

A Day Full of Praises and Another Serious Day

The work has started to pick up. I am writing the post in the Lion City. Flew in early in the morning. The meeting has been very long and a serious one. Penat sungguh. Nothing to post about Singapore yet because it is all about meeting the whole day.

We had the department Majlis Jamuan Hari Raya yesterday. It was a small do. Invite pun tak ramai orang because I was only utilizing my entertainment allowance for the makan-makan. Not many people yang datang because ramai yang puasa 6. Then the open house clashed with open house Persatuan Kakitangan Wanita and Isteri-isteri Kakitangan. I only took my door gift, then rushed to become the host for our department’s. Tak ramai pun, adalah about 40 of them. I like this number of crowd, not too small and not too big. At least sempat jugak berborak with everyone. Everyone was in their jovial raya mood.

I would like to express my appreciation to all my staff yang took all the trouble to make the open house happen, especially my secretary Sabiah and support staff NJ. There are only 6 of us in the department, the smallest department in the company, so this extra work really means a lot. In the previous years we held it at the pantry on our office floor, but this time round it was a miracle to having managed to get the dining hall at Level 40. We had nasi beriyani, ayam masak merah, dalca, mee mamak, nasi himpit, kuah kacang and the desserts. Yummy!

Thank you to the guests who were graciously enough to makan makan with us. We will see you all again at the company’s open house on 13th Oct.

The think tank boys at Level 51

The girls of Level 54, the counsels and my dotted line boss

Our external guests

After the open house had the mid year performance review with MD. MD did not turn up for the department open house because he was already in his 3rd day of puasa 6. Surprisingly, the review went well. At one time, I was not sure whether he was commenting about me. Huyoooo, such good remarks and high accolades, terkembang sekejap. Orang nak puji, terima je lah. Thank you very much boss. Hope you put that in writing. His challenge to me, now he said; I manage 30%, firefight 50% and strategic thinking 20%. He wants me to make it; manage 30%, firefight 30% and strategic thinking 40%. What a tall order! He asked me to let go many things to my staff. Exercise empowerment and delegation. After his review of me, he wanted me to assess him pulak. I told him susah nak cari his flaw because he is such a great leader. Bukan nak bodek, but that is the whole truth but nothing but the truth.

After settling down trying to digest what my boss said to me, the phone rang. It was this lady GM who used to be my working colleague a year ago. Now she is working in another subsidiary. She called to ask about some misunderstanding over some billing issues. Yang best tu she ended up saying how she miss working with me, praised this and praised that, even to the extent that she thought I am a very organised person hence that is why the production is superb. (yang ini, beloved hubby will disagree, because he will definitely responded and kata, wait till the GM see my drawer!) Chopp, chopp! Is she talking about me? Sure ah? Was I on planet earth yesterday? Wah today so kembang one!!

Cukup-cukuplah the feeling on cloud 9. Today I am back on my feet on solid ground and boring!! Especially bila meeting just now finished off with dead end. If things go well tomorrow, I hope to check out Orchard Road before I go back. Ha... that one is definitely not boring. I saw the bunting infront of the next building where I am staying. The bunting goes like this... in orange big font "Tangs Sale". Ha!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Aidilfitri = Remembering Our Roots

Today is the 5th day of Syawal. Suasana raya masih terasa. As usual, it was a busy raya for us, busy beraya at family and relatives' houses and menyambut tetamu yang datang. I have not had any guests at my house yet because we only return from Mak's house to Bandar Kinrara yesterday evening.

Like the previous years, we solat Aidilifitri at Bandar Kinrara's mosque. Everyone was beautifully clad with baju raya themed orange. After bermaaf-maafan with beloved hubby and 5 Aces tercinta, we went to the parents-in-laws' house in Damansara. Then the big makan commenced along side the visits to the aunties' and uncles' in KL. From ketupat to kuah kacang, lemang to rendang, nasi beriyani to soto, kuih bangkit to cupcakes, you name it, semua ada. We only reached Mak's house in late evening.

The next day was balik kampong to Kuala Pilah. The routine; went to Mak Lang No 1's at Batu Kikir and next to Mak Lang No 2's at Juasseh. Since Uwan's and Atuk's demise, we will only visit these two families in Kuala Pilah.

Raya is almost the same, year in and year out. When I was small, the main reason why I love raya was because I get to wear new baju raya. Receiving duit raya was also one of the factors, but I don't think it was a big factor like how it is to my children now. I think the duit raya in the green packets only came about when I was in the secondary school. I love to visit Uwan and Atuk because I love their company and the food they served during raya. They pampered us. Raya is also the time when we meet the cousins. Some of my cousins lived as far as Singapore and Perak, yet we never fail to meet during raya.

The Hussains

Because the cousins and my siblings are close since small, the closeness still continues until today. Although we do not meet often, we always remember each other. Whenever there is any family function like weddings, khenduri tahlil or kesyukuran, we make it a point to attend them.

The Tadins

However not all cousins are close to us. Ada juga satu dua orang yang probably may not appreciate what bersaudara means. Well, I don't blame them because they are not solely at fault. Possibly it is their parents' which means my pakcik or makcik who did not educate them or allow them to get to know who their saudara-mara are. This family is probably the most educated amongst the lot and most affluent.

On one occassion during this raya, I was visiting beloved hubby's cousin at Tanjong Ipoh who is married to an orang Nogori. My arwah Atuk is from Tanjong Ipoh. As we rigorously chit chatted, suddenly the name of this particular cousin, I*, was mentioned. Apparently I* is very close to some of beloved hubby's cousins and some of their children and sons/daughters-in-law. Beloved hubby's cousins and clan were pleasantly surprised that I* is my cousin and they kept on saying how small this world is. What has put me into a more difficult position is when they asked me about I*, like when was the last time I meet I*, how close are we with each other, do I visit my I*' parents, I*'s children, etc etc. These are the questions which are apt when I claim that I* is my cousin. I understand that, but... hallo... in the first place I only know of I* and I do not think the feeling is near mutual. I don't think I* knows where I live, who my brothers and sisters are, who my husband is, how many children I have etc etc. On the other hand, I do take the trouble to know about I* from some of the people who know I*. I feel I may need to because I* is my cousin that is we share the same Uwan and Atuk. At the end of the conversation, I really felt embarassed because I end up appearing to be like an imposter. Claiming that I know somebody yet I do not know!

In another event during raya, my second cousin who is an orang kampong like me, who has been through ups and downs and now has become a successful business woman, suddenly appeared in our life again. This Kak Dek, how we call her, used to live with us during her secondary school years in Tunku Durah. After her SPM, she operated small businesses in Kuantan, Cameron Highlands, Ipoh and even London. Some were profitable and some just went bust. The current one which seems to be more stable is the one in Sabah. She appeared in our lives once a while and it is this raya that she came to our home to visit us and told us about her journey to success. In Kak Dek's case, now that she has a success story to tell, she remember us and feel obliged to visit us this raya because she appreciates how our family has been with her through thick and thin. We shared her misery before and now we share her joy. This is what saudara is for.

Two different stories we learn this raya, yet they are indeed meaningful with a lot of take-aways from them. In the spirit of Aidilfitri, I told my 5 Aces that we must enhance the tradition of ziarah menziarahi antara satu sama lain, so that we do not forget our roots. At the same time we emulate this into our daily activities. May the generation of our children has the same good values as us.

The next generation

Hope your raya is a memorable one.