Monday, May 30, 2005

Please teacher may i go out?

Kepada Yang Berkenaan
Permohonan Cuti Tahunan

Sebagai mengikut nasihat makcik kampung dan makcik blur, saya dengan ini, memohon secara rasmi untuk dikecualikan dari tugas-tugas blogging mulai Khamis Jeudi 2hb Juni sehingga Isnin Lundi 6hb Juni.

Ini adalah kerana saya INGIN menguruskan majlis perkahwinan kakanda kepada Yamtuan. Majlis gilang gemilang ini akan diadakan di tanah jajahan Yamtuan iaitu di Kuala Pilah.

Sepanjang ketiadaan saya, tugas-tugas menyelia blogspot Anakikan dan memantau blogspot2 lain TIDAK akan diwakilkan kepada mana-mana pihak. Saya ulangi, TIDAK akan.

Sebarang urusan yang mustahak jika ada, diminta pihak puan/tuan tidak uruskan lah, senang macam tu.


Terima Kasih.

Yang Benar,

Thursday, May 26, 2005


KL Sentral to the Station-where-I-would-be-met-by-Yamtuan.

I was minding my own business. Overheard a couple of girls talking,
He said he doesn’t love me anymore and he wants to move on. What do you think he REALLY means?’ (Duh?)
It is so typical of us girls to always look for hidden messages, trying to read too much into the lines. Maybe he just meant what he said. You move on too, girl.

There was one time when I was given a ride home by a colleague so I reached the house before Yamtuan and the children. We were planning to go out so Yamtuan said he would just wait for me outside. I got pretty excited because it would be almost like a date in the sense that he wouldn’t know what I would wear, how I would look. (Now that I think back, it does sound very juvenile, downright stupid.) So I went through the wardrobe looking for something that I haven’t worn for quite some time, a surprise I thought. I found this long, cotton, sleeveless, wide-necked dress, very east-india or somerset bay type. To my pleasant surprise, it fit still. I put on a denim jacket over it to hide my shoulders. Put on a bit of colours on my face. And waited for Yamtuan.

His first reaction was, ‘baju apa (or siapa) mini pakai ni?’ (he calls me ‘mini’ short for ‘miniature bini’).
He had a frown on his face. In my mind, I read his reaction as ‘tak cantik’ and I was hurt as well as disappointed. I wanted so much to sort of romance him. I had nothing new and nothing pretty to wear, so I thought something old that he once liked would be just as pleasant as a surprise. He had forgotten that the dress was even mine. And so I sulked.
Without going through the details, let’s just say that in the end, I found out that Yamtuan meant just what he said, what was I wearing, nothing between the lines (or so he insisted). Trust me to make a whip cream out of plain milk!

Back to the train.

And my phone rang. It was Yamtuan.

‘Mini kat mana?’
‘Stesen Berikutnya.’ I answered.
‘Stesen mana?’
‘Stesen RMKL’ hehe
‘betul-betulah! Kita dah berakar tunggu dia. Cepatlah! Kenapa lambat sangat!’ wo… marah! But Yamtuan, contrary to popular folklore, i DO NOT 'drive' the train.

And the reason for my being late is all those other commuters! I will tell you why.

Everytime a train reaches a station, any station, the waiting commuters will push and shove and fight teeth and nails to get into the train before even the passengers inside can get out. Even when the train is empty as wasteland and one can get maybe half a coach all to himself, they must STILL fight to get in. This I cannot comprehend. This is not a fully automated train, you have locomotive pilots with huge side mirror. The pilots can very well see you and they won’t close the door while you are in the middle of it trying to get in. And it is not like the most punctual of trains. 15 minutes delay is common. He can wait an extra a few seconds for you to come in-go out. There really is no need to scratch anybody’s eyes out, one would think!

In such situation, I usually would play ‘galah panjang’ with them, just to annoy them a bit. This takes a few seconds, maybe at most a minute.

One reason why I missed the earlier train.

And then the escalators. If you are not in a hurry, stand on the left. Let the right side be a smooth flow for harried commuters. I need to hurry to catch another train, sometimes I can even see it on the other platform. But I am stuck on the escalators. I do sometimes nudge them, berdiri belah kiri encik. But sometimes they would say, ‘nak cepat ikut tangga biasa lah’. Hello, if I walk on the escalator it will be so much faster isn’t it? Friends MUST stand side by side, couples MUST be touch-feely side by side (oh, get a room or let me through!)… hayo, I call that hogging. Don’t hog the escalators. It is bad manners!

Another reason why I missed the earlier train. And so I was late. No sir, not my fault.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Will the Real Doctor Please Stand Up?

We had plans up the wazoo for the long wesak weekend. Topping the list was balik kampong followed by shopping.
But no, the plan was not meant to be. For God had other plans for me.

The Sun MUST choose that weekend to be down with fever (his first really ~ he is 6 months old). He had terrible cough too, so bad I could hear the phlegm gargling down his throat. And how he fussed! He could not feed well, could not sleep well and I was so afraid to rest too, in case his temperature went up too high while I was sleeping. The next day, we took him to a clinic.

He has fever-cough-cold’ was my complaint.
He has fever-cough-cold’ was the doctor’s verdict. Right, Sherlock.
He was prescribed paracetamol and cough-cold syrup. As we were about to leave her room, she stopped us.
Do you think I should give him antibiotics too?’ Uh? You asking me?
I dunno. What do you think doctor?’ I had absolutely no idea. Dot was prescribed antibiotics by her paediatrician only after she turned one. The paed said, babies should be allowed to develop their own disease-fighting system.
I am not sure lah. Macamana ya? nak bagi ke tak? (pondering...) Never mind. Doktor bagi lah. You give him once in the morning and once at night. Okay?
You sure doctor?’ Hey, you are the doctor here, hello.
Tak pe lah. Kita bagi dia’ Well, okay…
Eh, doktor bagi ubat yang masuk dekat bottom dia jugak lah boleh? Kalau his temperature naik sangat, masukkan lah’ she added.
Mama dia pon nak demam tu,’ the smiling doctor could sense my body temperature from a metre away. I must be such a hottie.
She scribbled something unfathomable on Sun’s card and we were shown the way out.
What was that all about?’ Yamtuan was concerned, and so was I.
'Is she for real?' we hope so, REALLY.

At the dispensary, the nurse gave us all the medicines.
For the paracetamol, ‘bagi 2ml bila perlu ya, atau setiap 6 jam’.
For the antibiotics (augmentin no less!), ‘yang ni bagi 2ml, tiga kali sehari, kena habiskan ya’ (but I thought doctor said twice a day?)
For the cough syrup, ‘2ml 3 kali sehari’
And for the little wax bullets, ‘Hisap bila perlu.’ (excuse me? I thought this one to be inserted in the baby’s toilet? How to suck? While it is being inserted?)

We left the clinic absolutely bedazzled.

We reached home, administered the medicines (not as directed) and I crashed while Yamtuan promised to look after the children. When I woke up, I had a temperature myself, just like the doctor predicted. We decided then that she wasn’t really a doctor; she was shaman, a fortune teller.

I was really sick, so sick until, 'muka nampak baik' said Yamtuan (to this my eyebrow raised a few centi-inches but i was too sick to 'memulakan permusuhan', i let it slide ~ for now).

And so the weekend was gone.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005



Style Wars

A New Hope
I am seasonal. Yes. It is that time of the year when I start to shed hair again. Right now, I have more hair on the floor than on my head; enough to stuff maybe three pillowcases and make one fur coat. It signals the time to surrender my hair to wise Master Ken Kenobi.

Master Ken calls himself a hairstylist. You don’t tell him how you want your hair styled. Just like a true professional, he will look at you from many angles, frown frown disapprovingly, click his tongue, and decide on a style that he thinks is best for you. You don’t argue with the master. When he speaks, you obey.

The Phantom Menace
A colleague was singing lots of praises for her hairstylist, Ken. And I liked her hair too. That time my diet was going really well; I weighed 10kg less than when I started. Finally able to flaunt my bellybutton, I decided a Demi Moore hairstyle in G.I Jane would complement a bare midriff well. You know, macho one kind. Another colleague, Elizabeth just wanted to have a trim. She was an Indian girl with hair so long it reached her waist. So we decided to try Master Ken.

Master Ken’s place was in one little cowboy town called Salak South. A town so remote and quiet it gave you the feeling of pre-independent days. Perhaps the town folk were not even aware that the country was no more Malaya. They probably still thought curfew was necessary because by 7pm, the town would be ‘closed’.

We took the train and guess what? His Enterprise was right in front of the station. We were asked to introduce ourselves by a voice from behind a locked door. We were ushered in only after we did. Bizarre but maybe it was normal practice in a town as 1950s as Salak South was.

Master Ken, a small guy with great hair approached us. Frown frown. Happily we told him what we wanted for our hair. More frowns.

you cannot have G.I cut. Your skull shape not nice. Your face too girl.’ He barked at me. Never argue with a guy who carried sabres.. err, scissors.
yes master’ and so I left the Enterprise with my hair ‘styled’ but not G.I-ed.
To Elizabeth, ‘your hair too long, too thick. Your face too boy. Must cut short, layer a bit, put highlights a bit.’
yes master’ and so Elizabeth came out light-headed with an ultra short boyish cut. Oh how she cried and was so afraid to go home. (I thought she looked absolutely great though. She looked many many years younger, chic and fun. Her parents probably disown her that day, but she was a stunner alright.)

Return of the Jedi.
I wanted to colour my hair. Burgundy would be nice I thought and so I bought a DIY kit and on one fine Sunday, I played with it. While waiting for the colour to develop, I decided to take a nap. It was going to be a 10 minutes wait anyway. For some mysterious reasons, some dark force made me took a sleeping pill. I woke up after 10 hours as Barney!

Who else would a purple-topped girl run to for help but Master Ken? Of course I had to endure an earful from him but he fixed me alright.

Attack of the Clones
I was at the Enterprise one day and Master Ken was too busy for me. I didn’t want to go back ‘empty-headed’ so when a Clone offered to do my hair, I said okay.

kalau kasi perm, sesuai tak?’ wavy hair was in-season.
mesti cantik punya’ maybe he wanted the extra money so he agreed too readily.
And so my hair was attacked. I endured the long smelly hours and when he was ready to let me put back my glasses on (without which I was blind as a bat and could not ‘monitor’ the work in progress), to my horror, I had a poodle on my head. No, maybe many poodles. All ugly ones.

AAAARGH’ the Master and all his Clones came flocking around me. Master was not very pleased. It was the time I crossed to the Dark Side.

To soothe a wounded me, I was given one free hair treatment session and 4 free stylings. (I didnt want the black mask.)

And so, every Sunday, I would go to the Enterprise and got my hair styled. The horror was well hidden and until the next Sunday, I would not wash my hair.

True to his word, after a month, the horror that was my hair was gone and I began to look like a normal human being again.

The Empire Strikes Back
Master Ken has moved up. He now operates a double storey Enterprise in Kuchai Lama. Not exactly Beverly Hills but at least he is moving nearer to civilization. He has many many Clones now. Trained by the master himself, they do quite a decent job. The master doesn’t accept walk-ins anymore. He sees you by appointment only and on weekends the queue can get pretty long. He is still cheap though.

I still can’t manage to book him.

‘no, no. I am not Chinese. Is Ken in?’
More Chinese words from the other end of the line.
‘bukan Cina! tak faham, saya tak faham. Ken ada?’
‘oh, Melayu ah? Ken tak ada wo. Dia pegi Japan’
‘wah, Japan ah? Bila dia balik?’
‘minggu depan loh. You kasi tinggal you punya number. Nanti saya angkat kasi tau sama Ken’
‘ok loh,’ and give number.

And wait to be summoned by the master.

Revenge of the Sith
Coming soon.

In the meantime, I’ll just walk on hair.

Monday, May 16, 2005

On the way to/from work

Petrol price has gone up again. Despite what Alicia Keys says in Karma, what goes up must come down, I don’t think it is applicable on petrol prices. And so, Yamtuan says, take the commuter to go to work. Being the taat wife that I am, snicker snicker, I agree without making a fuss. I actually enjoy train rides (Disclaimer: not that I don’t enjoy car rides with him).

I get to meet many interesting characters on train, and i get to eavesdrop on interesting conversations too (sorry people).

On the way to office a few days ago, at Subang Jaya station, I saw the platform where I was supposed to wait for my train was closed. A fresh-faced girl was looking at me tercangak-cangak. I approached her.
‘that side is closed? How ah?’ I asked. She seemed like a girl fresh from school. Hair tied in one neat ponytail, colourful tee and sneakers. Youngish alright.
if you want to go to either directions, you wait at this platform.’ She said with a smile.
thanks’ and she continued her neck exercise, you know, stretch to left, see, no train, stretch to right, look see, no train, stare ahead. And I did the same.
Not many minutes later, a harassed looking lady arrived. She too wanted to go to the other platform. Upon seeing the red plastic ‘CSI’ tape barring the way, she approached the same fresh-faced girl.
They exchanged conversations in Chinese. Smiles were exchanged too. Both looked at me and gave me a knowing nod.
I have been waiting for half an hour’ the girl offered.
oh, there’s the train. Thank God we did not have to wait as long as you.’ The elderly lady said.
More smiles were exchanged and all three of us got in the train.

The elderly lady sat next to me. Her name was Jane.
what is that for?’ she pointed to the red coleman case that I carried. It is such an ice-breaker, conversation item.
oh, it is for later. I will be transporting breastmilk for my baby. I have ice packs in here.’ I explained. If a man asked, I usually would say that I have organ transplants in it. Some days it would be kidney, some days it would the heart or brain even.
good! Good! Breast milk is always the best milk.’ And that started our conversation on children.
during pregnancy, every waking hour you spent praying to God that your baby would be good looking and intelligent. You dose yourself with good nutrients, brain food and you read the encyclopedia and play the Mozart to your growing fetus. When the baby was born, you read to him the quantum physics everyday. Before the child could even speak, you teach him how to rhyme words and write drama scripts. When one day you point a flower to your kid, ‘flower’, you say. He answers back, ‘orchid la’, you go and call the press, ‘I have a genius in my house’. You get my drift?’ she asked and I nodded my head. Interesting lady.
now the kid is bigger and he wants to bungee jump. You are horrified and a big NO comes out. And this intelligent kid of yours starts to answer back. He has 1001 arguments why the activity should be allowed, why it is safe, why a kid his age should be encouraged to explore and experiment. He has the internet and many books to quote from. You will find yourself wishing that you are as smart and as quick witted. You see their logic but mother’s logic still screams NO. And you wonder why you ever wished him to be that smart. And damn the internet. And you can’t argue back because you only have one reason (as opposed to his 1001), yours is just ‘because I am your mother and I say you can’t’.
‘more often than not, I don’t argue with my children. I just keep quiet, unless I have a very very strong point.’ She said.
Okay… I am a mother of two. My kids are still small. When my two-year-old Dot insists that green is blue, I get proud, oohhh, she has opinion, how smart (or maybe she is colour blind just like the father). Maybe one day I will go through the lady’s experience. But for now, let me enjoy my Dot. She still thinks I am God. Enough about parenting.
‘what do you do, Jane?’
‘I am a lawyer. My firm is right there at ***.’A lawyer was made speechless in arguing with her offspring. Alamak…. How would I fare! Sure worse than her. Hmmm.. it is time to burn all books in the house, and Dot shall have no access to the internet.

On the way back home yesterday, a group of Indian youths were chatting away.
‘my name is pure Tamil.’ One girl proudly announced.
‘yessa? My name is pure Sanskrit.’ Her male friend replied
‘mine is pure Sanskrit but it is pronounced in a pure Tamil way so most Samis cant tell the difference.’ Another friend piped in.
And they went on and on about whose name was pure Tamil and whose was pure Sanskrit and the meanings of each.

I remembered asking one ustazah the meaning of my name.
She scoffed at me, ‘nama awak nama orang kafir. Tak ada makna apa-apa dalam Arab’.. hmm, what a load of ****. And not a very nice thing to say to a 14-year old too. Something that I remembered until today.

Today on the way to work, I sat beside a very beautiful lady. I guessed her age to be in early 40s. Covered in jubah and black gloves, her beauty did not get covered.
'what is that you carrying? Bawak bekal to work?' my coleman worked like a charm.
We chatted. She spoke fairly good English too. She told me that she was in her mid 60s (omigawd… no way, I swear she doesn’t look her age!). She did Chemical Engineering at UM, worked for a few years, fell in love, got married, had 6 children, quit her job to be a full-time mom, husband died when children were all very small, never remarried.
where are the children now?’ I asked
the eldest is a medical doctor in UK, one is teaching law in UIA, etc etc’ success story of a single mom. I almost cried. Inspiring.
how did you do it?’ I must know.
we survived on arwah’s savings, his insurance money and by being very careful with spending it. And lots of solat and doa’ she said.
call me Hajah Mim (Mim is her initial in jawi). Here I give you my phone number, do you email?’ she asked. Impressive. Of course I do, and will we email each other, of course I know I will (her youthful secret i want i want). Another interesting point to note here is that her name is the same as mine, one kafir name, no meaning in Arab (hah!).
The train stopped at my station. I salam her tanda hormat and before I left, she said, ‘jangan lupa solat. Penting tu.’ Yes ma'am.

I just love the train.

NotaKaki: I have introduced a friend to blogs. He said he is now 'hooked'. Does that make him a bloghooker?

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Adek Pendek’s Potentiometer.

If you remember your physics from high school, you will know that potential energy, PE is calculated as,
PE = mgh where:
m = mass/weight;
g = gravity i.e a constant, unless you move to other planets;
h = height.

When I was a baby, people would take one look at my legs (don’t know why) and pronounce knowingly, ‘this one is going to be a tall girl.’ Their prediction came out to be half true; I did grow up to be a girl albeit a not-tall one. You think Sheila Majid is short? Well, I am ONE inch shorter than her. Who do you think plays Edna in The Incredibles, dahling? Who do you think plays Smeagol in LOTR, my precioussssss? Yoda, one wonders, is who?

When I was in primary school, people look at my slender self and think I would grow to be someone that even pencils would be jealous of. I proved them wrong. Now I look at the door and envy its shape. And when my two-year-old daughter announced to her uncles that, ‘bontot mummy besarrr’ with so much pride I could not even describe to you how kembang that made me feel.

When I was in my teens, my mother thought I was beauty queen material (don’t all mothers?). She thought I had the potential to one day, grace the covers of magazines, marry a rich fashion designer, be called Datin, have one very spoilt son and go to heaven. (Sorry Mak, I never made it to the magazines and your son-in-law is colour blind. I am sorry too that I already have two kids (and lost my waist in the process). Yamtuan will probably be Datuk one day but it comes with ‘nenek’ instead of ‘datin’. I can still try to enter heaven though... if you can just forgive me for all this disappointment.)

When I was doing my diploma, many lecturers told me, ‘you have much potential. You will go very far.’ This turns out to be true. I have been to Perlis for my sister’s wedding and Johor Bharu for my convocation. Very far indeed.

I am still waiting for the potentials to realize themselves.

For that, I need to have constant increase in potential energy. The thing is, at this veteran age of mine, I don’t think I will grow any taller. Being an Asian woman, who’s only mode of exercising is spooning herself during mealtimes, I am bound to get osteoporosis thus will be shorter once I reach menopause age. So ‘height, h’ has a tendency to get smaller and ‘gravity, g’ is a constant, unless of course the moon is made habitable. If my maths is correct, I need to improve on the ‘mass, m’, it is my last bet. But, because I don’t have the height to stack all the extra kilos, I will seem shorter as I become heavier. Never mind. I am after all in R&D. When my Yamtuan complaints that I have become too heavy for him to twirl and swirl, my answer is, I am getting fat for science.

Oh, fat is a wrong word. I am womanly, dahling!

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Lurus Like Ruler

(or Lulus Like Luler or Rurus Rike Rurer)

Siti is blessed with a great voice. Orlando Bloom has the most jambu of face. Brad Pitt has ‘toilets’ to die for. Sydney Bristow has Vaughn. ET has a finger that can light up like torch light. Everybody has something extra special about them.

My specialty is kelentong-ing ( I don’t know yet how this talent can make me famous or rich, or if it ever will, i am still trying to figure it out). When I was younger, I was always using my ‘talent’ pulling some pranks. Maybe my friends were all like rulers, or maybe there was ‘TRUST ME’ written across my face in red big bold capital letters, but they all always seemed to fall for it no matter how impossible my stories were. Even this morning my Yamtuan told me, 'Without any particular reason (quoting Forrest Gump), i trust you.' (And I do deserve his explicit trust)

Some examples are cited below.
Case 1
I attended a ceremony that was officiated by Dato’ Seri Ong Ka Ting, the Minister and was telling my good friend Nett about it.
‘I was with Ong Ka Ting this morning! We shook hands even.’ So excited was I. The Menteri shook my hand and chatted with me for about TWO seconds!
‘Ong Ka Ting? Who ah? His name sounds familiar.’ Obviously Nett didn’t know. An open goal, how could I resist kicking the ball in?
‘Aiya, how could you not remember her? When we were in form 5, she was in Form 3. That skinny girl always with two ponytails one? The one who used cellophane tape on her hair when she ran out of rubber band?’
And Nett bought my story.

Case 2
I was working with this one guy. Lee was an inventor and had this real exciting invention. My job was to assist him bring his invention to the market. The potential was huge and if everything went as planned he would be very rich.
‘When we become successful, let’s elope’ he said one day. He was joking of course. He was devoted to his wife and I worshipped my Yamtuan.
‘Elope is for good. I don’t want to elope. Let’s ‘interlope’ instead. Interlope is for a few days only. If interlope, can.’ I said.
‘Oh yes, I wanted to say interlope really, not elope.’ He said in agreement with me.
Pray tell, is there such a word? I know I made it up.

Case 3
One of my roommates in Seroja was this Kak Mah from Kedah. She was doing Civil Engineerng but her real ambition was to be a receptionist. A very soft-spoken and ladylike girl, I was always awfully fond of her. She came back to our room one day with some 30 cents stamps. That time internet was only for the rich and privileged. Since we were neither, our mode of communication with our parents were just the snail mail (there were the public phones in the hostel but the queue was unbearable).
I looked at the stamps and exclaimed, ‘You must have bought these stamps in the afternoon. Look at the Sultan’s face. He looks tired (you know, having to pose for the stamp since morning).’
It was such a bull story so I didn’t think that Kak Mah would take me seriously. Until the next day when she showed me a new set of stamps. ‘These I bought in the morning. He still looks tired.’
Haiya… so I told her that maybe the stamps were leftovers from yesterday. Poor tired Sultan.

I kelentong a lot, I know. But I also happen to be a God-fearing person too (I know many people would be rolling their eyes at this, you roll roll, I blink blink). So I always confess to the sin and apologize right after I am done laughing.

Muahaha.. muahaha.. muahaha (tiga harkat cukup)

By the way, I have a confession to make. Case 3 is bull. Where got anybody that lurus? Oh, wait a minute. There is you.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

I, GoBlog

I have known Imp since forever (yes, it feels THAT long). Since we were fledglings ~ young, foolish and awkward ~ 13 to be exact. I wouldn’t exactly claim that we were the closest of friends. We did not exactly look at each other eye to eye; she was much too tall for me. I hated it when people talk down or look down on me.

Now that we are all qualified adults (grey hair and face cleared from pimples ~ but also perasan young, still foolish and awkward), we have somewhat grown closer. She is still much too tall, and we still see each other only eye to waist, but I now claim her to be a very very good friend. Oh, I should say that in past tense because I have sorta changed my mind.

Imp is doing her PhD in England. We talked sometimes but chatted everyday online. When Siti Nurhaliza braved the cold England for a concert, who else would I ask for updates from but Imp? I am not exactly a Siti die-hard, but whoever can sing ghazal well will be in my good books. “Give me full report’ I said.

She told me to check this one address, one Kak Teh’s webpage. Now that was my first blogspot. I likened it to having the first syabu, or candu or grass or what have you. I read about Siti and found Kak Teh’s other articles to be just as captivating. And this Kak Teh MUST has her cronies listed. Why oh why (wailing)! Being the dead cat that I was, how could I resist checking out on her cronies? My luck that they all must be interesting! I came across Atenah lah, BlueScrubs lah, Maya lah, AuntyN lah… alamak, and then Leen AshBurn lah, hana Kirana lah (where i learnt important words like 'paloi') and so many others. And then her cronies all MUST have their cronies listed too! Oh why oh why.. boohoohoo!’. You know how repeaters never learn? It was like atomic chain reaction, like domino, like cancer, like pokok duit-duit, like anai-anai..

I was online with Imp again just yesterday. She gave another one blogspot address. I almost cried! I said, ‘Imp, thanks to you, I have become a junkie.’ The terrible thing is that Imp is just like a drug dealer, she pushes but she herself is not an addict. ‘I am a bloghopper yes, but I am not a blogger,’ she said to my dismay.

I spent almost all mornings blogging, there are just too many good ones out there. What interesting life they all seem to have and what genuinely nice people they all seem to be! I am a junkie alright.

I am writing this entry now from home. I have decided that I will need to .. ehem, do work when I am at work. I should blog less. Resolution: I will blog not more than 7 hours per day at the office. I should not blog so much from home too, because I am only allowed one night a week to totally ‘mengabaikan rumahtangga’. That will be the night when Alias is on, or now that we are in between seasons, I have put in Lost instead. Maybe if I meleset a bit with Yamtuan tonight I can get one more night free, to be my alias, to blog.

Oh, but first, I need to check out more blogspots. Maybe there is one Blog Anonymous somewhere out there in cyberspace, a support group for junkies like me.

The weekend is here.. o-gawd, what do I do, what do I do (dah menggigil ni… )..
Imp, how could you do this to me! You’re horrible!

(She doesn’t have my address, let’s see how many blogs she will have to hop before she comes across this one, HAH!)

And Dr. Kak Teh M.D (Bangalore), I have done as per your prescription.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Tok Nah: Selamat Hari Ibu

When I was a tiny baby, Mak left me with Tok. Mak said I was too young a baby to travel on plane, and my sister was only one year old. Having two small babies were too much for Mak to handle on her own. So, Mak, Abah and Along went to Sabah without me. I stayed with Tok for the first few months of my life.

I was too young to know the dramas that went on in her life. Mak and Abah took me back soon after all the duit susu that they sent disappeared under mysterious conditions. Sometimes it was the rats, sometimes monkeys. For some unknown reasons, the wild animals in the forest behind were always stealing money from her.

Tok lived alone. Tok Bak left her to be with a ‘perempuan kabaret’ (such drama!) and life was tough on her. With eight children to rear and no income, she had to start living on welfare and the sympathy of others. She came from a noble family; she wasn’t used to difficult life. Having to live such life made her somewhat bitter. But I am not about to start on that.

House was a very run-down ‘studio’ pondok behind her sister’s double-storey house. The only electricity that she had was this one bulb of light. The controlling switch was in the sister’s house so it was pretty much ‘rationed’. She gathered kayu api for cooking from the secondary forest behind her pondok. Her bathroom was a perigi tanah, some 200 metres away. You have to always be alert if you bathe there because you wouldn’t want to be attacked by wild boars. IT made bathing such exhilarating experience! Toilet was wherever you wish along the river. Now this was the fun bit. Right after your product went ‘kabloom’ into the river, ‘tuntung’ or fresh water turtles would be bobbing around your product feasting on it. National geographic at its best.

I would spent almost all of my primary school holidays with Tok. She was the Nenek Kebayan to me. I loved her pondok, I loved to go kutip sayur from the forest with her. I loved to cook using her dapur kayu, and I especially loved to watch the tungtung feasting. There was no television, and food was always very simple. But I loved every moment spent with Tok. And I sayang Tok an awful lot.

They say good things never last. An uncle pitied Tok living alone so he gave her baby daughter to her (why anyone could give away their children is a mystery to me, but I am not about to start on that). That was the start of a major mistake, Tok’s downfall and the girl too. Maybe out of loneliness, Tok really doted on the girl. She was a pretty girl, having a Hindustan mom. Tok was totally smitten, and the girl was spoiled rotten. She was Tok’s very own ‘Anakku Sazali’. She became her flaw.

Mak started to fight with Tok a lot; they were always about the girl. And because Mak disapproved, I visited Tok less and less often.

The girl is now in some rehabilitation center somewhere. Booked in for drugs and prostitution. She is HIV positive and her youngest son has it too. Poor kid. My heart bleeds for them, especially for Tok.

I haven’t seen Tok for years now. In a way I am thankful that I did not become THE Sazali, someone else did. But I am also sad that in the end, Tok still lives alone. Her own children are wary of her and angry at her. All because of her Sazali.

But despite all the dramas, and the bitter person that she has grown old into, I still remember Tok romantically, as the good and magical Nenek Kebayan.

And I thank God for choosing her to be my Tok.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Hot Mamak

Salmonella typhii is on the loose. About 600 typhoid cases have been reported in Kelantan. There are a few deaths too. Two cendol factories there have been instructed to close.


I am not much of a cendol fan. But I don’t mind it though. On a super duper hot-hot day, an ice blended cendol will be as welcomed as a can of coke. But when typhoid scare makes people avoid cendol (and rightly so), I can’t help but wonder how my two favourite cendol sellers are doing (well, I only know two anyway).

Riding a very old bicycle, a Raleigh no-less, is this very elderly thin Mamak. Everything about him is old and authentic. His bicycle is modified a bit at the back so he has a little flat top to put his pots of coconut milk, cendol, raw sugar and ice-shaver. Mamak doesn’t use the ‘wheel’ type of ice-shaver. What he has is this very primitive looking blade in a block of wood. The block is about 4 inches wide and 12 inches in length. As primitive as the shaver may be he seems to shave ice pretty well with it. I bet it is not as easy as it seems. Of course you are never going to get ice as fine as blended but his cendol concoction is simply heavenly. For such heavenly cendol, Mamak asks for only 60 cents. Hayo Mamak… I feel guilty everytime I pay, because I feel it is worth much more than that. I hope Mamak sells cendol only as a hobby, I hope he has sons and daughters who pays for his bills. I hate to think that Mamak will have less customer now that typhoid is in town. I worry about Mamak in rainy seasons too. I seldom see him anymore. In fact the last time was months ago. Maybe today, if I see Mamak, I will buy a few ringgit worth of cendol, typhoid or not.

When I was younger, I stayed in Jalan Gurney. There was this Mamak stall near the house I rented. Mamak sold not just cendol, he was well-known for his rojak too. Now this Mamak had eyes so blue you would tend to buy more cendol and rojak than you could stomach. Mamak was huge and everybody agreed that he resembled Shashi Kapoor (a puffed up Shashi). Mamak came from Northern India but he could speak Bahasa fairly well. I was a regular customer there (wonder why) and he had a nickname for me. I was ‘Adek Pendek’. Last I heard, Mamak left Malaysia for good. His son in India got married and he had little grandchildren to dote on. I wonder if there is cendol in India. I know there is typhoid though.

It is a hot hot day today. No cendol, no Mamak.