Monday, January 31, 2011

AlIkhlas Where My Heart Was

CSR works is supposed to make you feel insaf right? But why was it that the recent one had made me become miserable? Sigh.

The office identified the Rumah Orang Tua AlIkhlas in Pulau Meranti as our CSR activity this quarter. I have never been to an old folks’ home. Watched dramas on old folks being left at homage like this.

Rumah Tua AlIkhlas is operated by one tough woman, Hajjah Muj*. She has 8 staff that assisted her apart from her own daughter in law. There are about 47 occupants, a mixed of Moslem men and women. An old mosque in Pulau Meranti was converted into this home.

The place is divided into two (at least that is how it is for the women's side). The floor of the first part is covered with linoleum mat and the other is covered with carpet. The latter is occupied by the women who are pretty much healthy as in they are not in diapers whilst the other section is the opposite. These are the old folks who cannot walk, who has chronic health condition or have turned senile.

Each Makcik, and some called themselves nenek, has their own story to tell.




Makcik A thinks that this is her home in Gemencheh. According to her, her children live just behind the house which she built. She has 5 kids. Even the banana trees which can be seen from her bed are what she had planted. Of course Makcik A kept on repeating what she told me over and over again like a broken record.

Makcik B has diabetes and high blood pressure. Her right leg has been amputated. According to her she was "ligat" in her younger days. She married someone's husband and lasted only 5 years. The divorce was due to the jealousy of the first wife whom she described as "senga". She cannot control her food. She wanted syrup, mandarin oranges and even tamarind (asam jawa). She asked me to get them from the kitchen myself but told me categorically never to ask from the maids because they surely will not let me. Because of Makcik B’s health problem, according to Hajjah Muj*’s daughter in law, she can only consume 10 ml of liquid a day (which I can’t find any sense in it). That day when we came, she was probably drinking 5 cups!

Makcik C said that she has only been there for a month. The children visit her every weekend, which seem to be contrary to what Makcik D said i.e. Makcik C has been there for three years and her children never came to visit her. According to one of the maids, Makcik C could not control her bowels the night before. At 3 am, everyone was woken up with hues and cries because Makcik C took off her diapers and did her business on the way to the toilet. It was such a mess and the two maids who stayed in really had a sleepless night.

Makcik D who came from Kelantan broke her pelvic. She is on wheel chair. She is one of those who seem sane to me. I wonder who is right between Makcik C and Makcik D?

Makcik E is an ustazah. She cannot sleep on the bed. Her mattress is laid on the floor because she keeps on falling from her bed. She is 86 years old. Her husband is dead and there is no one else who could take care of her. She kept on repeating about how cruel the Japanese were. They raped the girls and at times killed them. Once in a while she blurted twangs of English words.

I could not figure out what Makcik F was saying. Her accent was this thick Kedah accent. She kept on wanting to leave the house. Somehow, the door was just next to her bed.

Makcik G was just sitting on her bed, saying nothing. Slowly she bent down as if her back bone was flexible. The maid kept putting her in the right straight position every 30 minutes. I tried once but could manage to pull her half way straight. She sure was stiff.

There are a couple more Makciks that I met and talked to. I could see the twinkle in their eyes when I spoke to them, or rub their legs or fed them the nasi ayam served that day.

One makcik who intrigued me most was Makcik H. Makcik H appeared healthy to me. I persuaded her to tell me her story. Initially she refused and after seeing that I was no longer pushy or interested, she blurted almost three quarter of her life story. Makcik H doesn’t want to be taken care of the maid. She doesn’t trust the maid. Her son is a specialist doctor in one of the renowned hospitals. Because there was no one she can trust to take care of her and the son is always busy working, she begged the son to send her to the old folks’ home. She has been there for three months. She realized that now she is there, there seem to be a lot of challenges. The healthy ones bicker among each other. The administrator and care taker don’t always entertain her request.

One thing good about the place, the imam will come every waktu to lead the jamaah prayers. Those who can pray will be able to perform the congregational prayers. When we performed Zuhr that day, I noticed at least there are about 10 people who could come to the prayer hall to pray, some can still stand, some performed prayers on wheel chair and some sat down on the floor.

After lunch, we had birthday celebration for Makcik I and Uncle A, both of them are muallaf. Uncle A broke down when Hajjah Muj* said thanks to us for taking time to spend the day with them. Uncle A continuously put his hands high up as if praying for us. I was filled with sadness and couldn’t help being tearful.




According to Hajjah Muj*, she observed from the old folks who are under her care that whatever wrongs that they must have done in their life would usually be reflected when they are old. She advised us to repent no matter how small our sins are.

I am happy that I have made many old folks happy that day. Nonetheless I am equally miserable because I am not sure how my old life will be. One of my friends commented, maybe it is better to die young, at least we do not bother people when we become old, or if we do, we could end up in an old folks’ home like this. Some of the Makciks here have children whom they nurtured and loved very much, and somehow they still ended in a place like this. Miserable isn’t it? Come what may, this is all God’s will. I only pray that if I live long enough, I would die before I turn senile so that I will not bother people with my doddering.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Conversation With Mat

The ride from KKIA to L*Meri*ie* was different this time. The company may have forgotten to arrange the driver to pick me up at the airport so when I saw that nobody was waiting for me at the arrival area, I quickly went to purchase the taxi voucher.

A small man greeted me, “Assalamualaikum Puan, mahu ke mana?”, in his local Sabah dialect.

“L*Meri*ie* Encik”, I replied.



As he drove away, he started small talks with me, I pun layan. We talked about the weather, then he asked where I was from and how many kids do I have. Somehow, I like it when people ask me how many children I have.

I asked in turn.. “Encik?”

“Empatbelas.”

“Whoaaaaaa!” I inadvertently screamed! “Sorang ibu atau lebih?”. Typical, trying not to sound judgmental.

“Dua.”

“Ooooooh..”, didn’t want to commit any further idiotic mistakes on further conversations.

As if he knew what was in my mind, the taxi driver quickly chipped, “Sebenarnya anak saya tujuh orang, yang lagi tujuh anak adik saya. Dia bapa yang tak bertanggungjawab. Tinggalkan anak dia macam tu aje, jadi saya bela lah.”

Noble, noble…

I didn’t ask that many questions after that. Mat did most of the talking. However I found out from Mat (his full name is Muhammad Fatihah) that the more you give the more you get. He was grateful to what God has bequeathed him. His eldest son is now doing medic in Egypt whilst his second one is doing Human Sciences in Al Azhar University. His own youngest son is two years old. One of the sons that he adopted is in a college in Terengganu whilst another brother of his, plans to be a pilot. There are lots of challenges in bringing them up, of course one of them is money. He quit working with the State Government because the money was not enough for everyone. The wife teaches and that really helps according to him. So far with God’s will, the first two managed to get scholarship, first one from JPA and the second one from Baitul Mal.

I asked him if he has any regrets. He said no except that he is one furious father especially if he finds out that any of his children does not pray. The usual questions he would ask every time he comes home would be “Dah makan ke?” then followed by “Dah solat ke?” He would lose his temper if he finds any of the children puts priority to sleep than pray.

In the rush of him wanting to tell his story, he did not forget to mention “Isteri saya lah yang banyak membantu. Dialah yang terbaik. Kalau dia tak ada, tak tahulah saya apa nak jadi dengan anak anak saya dan saya. Saya yang pemarah tetapi dialah yang buat semuanya tak jadi susah.”

Sweet….

Note to beloved husband, I hope you appreciate me like Mat.

Note to myself, stop buying handbags, cotton and casa rubia and every time I indulge in anything unnecessary (will try to refrain, ini … if tak boleh lah), say a prayer to people like Mat and family and whoever in need and unfortunate. Also spend more in giving.

Note to 5 Aces, you don’t want either your father or your mother to be as ferocious as Pak Cik Mat ye. So I am sure you know the do's and don'ts.

In case any one of you requires a taxi ride in KK, let me know. I am most happy to recommend Mat.

Friday, January 14, 2011

110111

110111, nice number eh? That's the date when I became a year older this year.

Zillion thanks to families and friends who sent me their birthday wishes and their doas. Thanks too to fb, bbm and other social networking media that made me feel remembered.

I was in a workshop outside KL when the emcee announced to the participants that it was my and Hu*a*'s, my fellow management team, birthday. A pleasant surprise especially when I was not prepared to tell everyone in the ballroom it was my birthday on that very day. If in the previous years, Hu*a* and me celebrated the birthday lunch together in the company of our beloved spouses, this time it was free meals at the courtesy of the event organiser.

The family didn't get to celebrate the happy ocassion with me that night. By the time I returned home from the two long day workshop, I was bummed. Beloved husband decided to play futsal that nite leaving Alim yakking at my bedside, asking me what time would the celebration be. The birthday girl was fast asleep even before the clock struck 10 pm, moreover beloved husband did not return until almost midnite.

Anyway, the celebration was deferred to the following day together with all in the family minus Ayna, a very very humble scale after dinner.



Today my ever wonderful Legal team belanja the boss makan at Li**le Pena*g C*fe which was supposed to be a surprise but the boss was too smart to be "conned"!




Two birthday cakes and amazing celebration with the people who cares, owh, I feel blessed. So another year has passed. Am I a year wiser? Do I feel older? Considering the current poor eye sight, I guess I am, but then, age is just an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter ;)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Weekend Yang Hanyut

A few of my Srikandi fans are die hards of FT and these few days, Hanyut and Selamat Malam have been flooding the fb posts.

I love Hanyut. One of my Srikandi friends asked me if it is a personal experience, It would be a lie to say No because in our own personal way, especially to some wives, we wish we are given extra attention by our husbands. Of course it may not apply to husband and wife only, it can also apply to any other situation; children and parents, couples and whatever you want it to be.

So here is wishing Faizal Tahir all the best for tonite’s AJL 25. I am not a great fan of his but I do love his voice and his songs.






Harus bagaimana lagi
Dan terus begini
Dengarkan aku
Lihat ke mataku

Cukup sudah kau menghukum
Salahku tetap salahku
Benarkan ku berbicara
Agar bisa pulih semua

Namun harus sampai bila
Kau kan diam seribu bahasa


Maafkanlah ku tak bisa hidup tanpa kamu
Fahamilah ku tak mampu terus tanpa kamu
Bagaimana ku nanti
Bila tiada mengganti
Yang ku ada hanya kamu saja

Saat mata terpejam
Hanya kau ku terbayang
Menghapus semua segala rasa di jiwaku

Saat mata terbuka
Kamulah yang pertama
Tak mampu aku
Bayangkan
Hidup tanpa dirimu

Maafkanlah ku tak bisa hidup tanpa kamu
Fahamilah ku tak mampu terus tanpa kamu
Bagaimana ku nanti
Bila tiada mengganti
Yang ku ada hanya kamu saja

Aku memang bersalah
Selalu saja mengabaikan mu
Dan tapi dah ku sedari
Segala perit kau lalui
Ku terlupa kau terluka

Dan memang selalu
Aku bersalah
Selalu saja mengabaikan mu
Meninggalkan mu
Dan tetapi itulah aku sedari
Segala perit yang kau lalui
Kerna diriku yang terus hanyut

Maafkanlah ku tak bisa hidup tanpa kamu
Bagaimana ku nanti
Bila tiada mengganti
Yang ku ada hanya kamu saja

Bagaimana ku nanti
Bila kau tak di sisi
Yang ku ada hanya kamu saja

Monday, January 3, 2011

Bonus Trip After KK

Mak Yan, my auntie and his family lived in Woodlands, Singapore in the 70s. My fond memories of Singapore (other than apples and lychees) was driving to Singapore with my family in Abah’s Volkswagen NB 5689 (and in the subsequent years in his Toyota) during school holidays. Because it was certainly a long and tiring journey, Emak would always stock us with the mangkuk tengkat laden with food. We usually pushed off from Seremban as early as 7 am and by noon Abah would do the pit stop at Ayer Hitam for solat and lunch. Our favourite lunch spot was the Ayer Hitam mosque located on a hill.

Although the house which Mak Yan and the late Pak Lang lived could barely occupy both of them and my 3 cousins, Bang Zai, Kak Ton and Ambong (there are 4 siblings altogether but Kak Yah was most of the time with Uwan in Juasseh as she was schooling in Seremban), the tiny space didn’t seem to bother any of us. As a matter of fact, when you are with the loved ones, there was just space to squeeze practically everyone. I also remember how small Mak Yan’s kitchen was. Mak Yan banned us from entering her kitchen because it would be too crowded for us girls who were always eager to help, otherwise distract. Mak Yan seemed to be in the kitchen all the time and her cooking were just appetizing for all occasion.

Pak Lang worked in the naval base. When we visited them, he never failed to tell us stories about the Mat Sallehs he worked for. He was all praises for them, their working culture, their language and their vision. Near the place where he worked was a public swimming pool. The swimming pool was our universally favourite hangout when we visited Singapore. Back in Seremban, we took swimming lessons at the King George V school and undeniably when we saw a huge swimming pool in a so familiar place, much of our intention was to hone our swimming skills, not to mention showing off to the anak mat sallehs that we were as “terror” as them.

Our morning activity in Singapore would be swimming whilst in the afternoon, we followed Mak and Abah to shop. At that time, there was no currency difference; one Singapore Dollar was also one Ringgit. In some shops in Woodlands, you can use duit kertas Malaysia to purchase the goods.

Abah and Mak were earning as teachers and I guess they did not have the luxury to bring us holiday with whatever doe they earned from the Government. Every time we went to Singapore, they would shop some goods to be sold to their “clients” back home. Whatever extra they earn would be able to cover our trip's expenses down south.

The popular main bargains at that time were these three items; Wexford set, Arcopal Pyrex set and material or what we call kain ela. The first two items were bought at the regular shop in Woodlands or Rochor, whilst the material especially georgette were bought at the famous Arab Street.






We would dutifully tag along wherever they go and I believe this favourite pastime or shall I say frenzy, survives and continues with us until this very moment.

I have always been longing to go to the Lion City on Christmas and Boxing Day. I have seen the beautiful Xmas decorations on the Orchard Street before. Previously our visit to Singapore was either on the first or second week of December. Never have we been able to be there on Xmas Day itself.

I realized that I have many many Enrich miles points to utilize and if I don’t use it, about 60,000 points will be forfeited. Singapore was the place where I could bring the 5 Aces with the soon-to-be-forfeited points. When we returned from Kota Kinabalu, beloved husband was still working in JB and the idea was to fly down to Singapore and beloved hubby joins us.

My plan eventually materialized. Although beloved husband could only join us a day after our arrival, it was a super marvelous brief holiday for everyone (the briefness has resulted in us not going to Universal Studios Spore, never mind!)

The decorations and crowd in Orchard Street. I vow I will not come to this place on Xmas eve or Xmas day anymore. Sekali seumur hidup cukup lah. It was bumper to bumper!









We had dinner at Ayam Penyet at Lucky Plaza. Everyone especially Alina loved it.



Sempat buy some books at Borders in Whe*lock Place and Alim finished his Horrid Henry book before we even return.




Alim wanted to partayyyy too that night. Unfortunately he underestimated. He did not realize that Orchard Street is quite a stretch to walk for his standard. Mama siap bawa minyak urut to massage his feet in front of Tangs. We had to call it a day because Alim was endlessly merengek.




The walk from Bugis MRT in the rain to Land*ark Villa*e Hotel at North Bridge. In the end, we ended watching Anugerah Skrin on TV3 that Xmas Eve. Nonetheless, we had our party too in the hotel room, hiks!




On our last day in Singapore, Kay and brood came to join the hoopla. All of us did not get to shop together as we were rushing to catch the flight after lunch. But we did get some marvellous juicy stuff from Sephora.


Saturday, January 1, 2011

2011 Is Here

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2011



If you were not able to achieve your resolutions last year, move on.

If you are still thinking what your 2011 resolutions will be, you have one year to crack.

May your dreams defy the law of gravity - Jackson Brown Jr

Hope your 2011 will be the GREATEST.