Monday, December 29, 2008

Days of Passings and New Beginnings

These few days have seen a mix of passings and beginnings.

Saturday, December 27, 2008, saw the passing of the 10th Yang DiPertuan Besar of Negeri Sembilan, HRH Tuanku Jaafar Ibni Almarhum Tuanku Abdul Rahman. A well-liked ruler, Almarhum passed away at the Seremban General Hospital named after him.

The next day, Sunday the 28th, Muslims welcomed the Hijri New Year's Eve. It is common practice among the Muslims to recite the "doa akhir tahun" after the Asar Prayers and the "doa awal tahun", after Maghrib.

On Monday, the 1st of Muharram 1430 Hijri, Almarhum Tuanku Jaafar was laid to rest at the Royal Mausoleum in Sri Menanti, Negeri Sembilan, but not before the new Yamtuan was proclaimed. After much deliberation, the 4 Undangs elected the Tunku Besar Sri Menanti, HRH Tunku Muhriz Ibni Almarhum Tuanku Munawir as the 11th Yamtuan. Tuanku Muhriz is the son of the 9th Yamtuan and nephew of the 10th Yamtuan, Almarhum Tuanku Jaafar.

I first came to know about Tuanku Muhriz in the 70s, when I was in primary school. No, it was not from the history lessons. HRH was the guest-of-honour at a function then. I remembered staring at this particular guest because he had this regal demeanour ('aura' is not my favourite word. So mawiesque!). Later, that evening, I asked my mom about him and was told who he was. 15 years on, friendship with a certain Kuala Pilah native ensured more anecdotes on the NS royal family. It seemed that Tuanku Muhriz, despite being low-profiled, was never quite forgotten by the older generation. Therefore, his election as the 11th Yamtuan did not come as a surprise to most NSians (who know the adat that is).
It is hoped that the installation of Tuanku Muhriz as the 11th Yang DiPertuan Besar of Negeri Sembilan on the prosperous Maal Hijrah will signal a new era in my home state.

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Friendship Month

This year's December might as well be my unofficial "friendship" month. Although I wasn't able to attend two reunions (school and uni), I did get to meet friends whom I have not met for a long time.

Mek Ti who came for the SUPKOM (go figure :D) was our table tennis champ (our loss is their gain! Hu! Hu!) and my favourite tupperware dealer! He! He!

Nazeera, my UPM junior and later, UM course-mate. One of the nicest and humblest (me coining a new word yet again!) person I know despite having a popular soul-mate.

Nae, my dorm and school-mate. What can I say? Nae is Nae - youthful, cheerful, and fun to be with, (kembanglah tu... He! He!). With her is my dear colleague, Saras, a very experienced English language lecturer who is practically married to the profession :D.

K. Rose - who taught me the tricks of the trade at "Jersey City" (siapa tau, tau lah) and is a Jill-of-all-trades herself. Picture taken at her daughter's wedding reception.

There were misses: Sheha, who couldn't make it to Shah Alam, at the very last minute; and Din, the Pak Andam, who couldn't make it on time to K. Rose's house because he was, well, ... andaming at another wedding reception.

... and gains: new friends at Facebook who have been very helpful (you know who you are). I am truly indebted. God bless you.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Christmas Greeting

To all my Christian friends, "Merry Christmas"!
To the rest, "Happy New Year 2009"!

Monday, December 8, 2008

My Garden of Scent

I wasn't exactly born with green fingers. Never recalled being successful in planting, save for those taugehs that I cultivated for science class! He! He! Somehow, after the birth of my third child, things changed. Suddenly everything that I planted sprouted like bean sprouts. There's no turning back, since. When I was doing my PG, I made time to work on my sekangkang kera front lawn. The result: my garden of scent.

Truthfully, my garden is no Hanging Garden of Babylon. Neither does it have a theme - English, Bali, tropical, etc. It's just a quirky collection of flowers chosen for their scent and colour. Although my MIL owns a plant nursery, I actually acquired knowledge about the plants from Garden Asia, Better Homes & Garden and to some extent, Laman. Then, with my partner-in-crime (who else, My Amoy le...), we would shop for the plants at the nurseries near the Sungai Buloh Hospital (THE place to go).

Below are the gems in my laman.

Kesidang @ kerak nasi @ Vallaris Glabra
Fell in love with it, the first time I saw it at my MIL's nursery. Has the scent of pandan. Needs support - therefore, a pergola would be perfect. I'd trim it once in a forthnight. Flowers about 8 times a year. Very hardy. Cultivated by stem cuttings.

Kemboja @ Frangipani @ Plumeria
Has this strong smell which permeats the night, giving my former Indon maid, the creeps. She couldn't comprehend, for the life of her, why I would want to plant a "bunga kuburan" in my laman. The plant needs little attention but I do fertilized it now and then. The flowers, left floating in a bowl of water, makes a quick and chic table centre-piece.

Mawar @ Rose
Pink roses are definitely my favourite. This variety smells of tea-rose. The rosebuds will keep popping every week provided you deadhead the wilting blooms. Had a hard time to keep the plant growing until I was introduced to this special rose potting-mix by a "nyonya" who has a rose nursery along the Subang-Sg. Buloh trunk road.

This yellow rose has a stronger smell than its pink counterpart. It's also a climbing variety, currently reaching the roof of my porch! It's flowers are bigger than my pink roses but do not bloom as often. Grasshoppers like to feed on its leaves, though.

Bunga Cina @ Gardenia
My prized possession (not easy to find!) After looking high and low for it, found it in a nursery near the Sungai Buloh Hospital. Has a strong smell like the Frangipani.

Akar Dani @ Rangoon Creeper @ Quisqualis Indica

A climber which must be constantly trimmed. It's pink and white (and eventually red) showers would fall nicely from the pergola. The flowers will start to emit its scent from dusk right up to dawn.

Melur @ Jasmine @ Jasminum Sambac

My favourite scent. Flowers bloom all year round. Very difficult to care because it has many predators. Makes natural car air-freshener. Has to be trimmed now and then.

Kenanga @ Ylang-ylang @ Cananga Odorata

Another classic flower with a unique scent - a cross between sireh (beetle leaf) and banana. Blooms all year round.

Honeysuckle @ Lonicera Japonica
A plant which has a sweet-smelling scent - rasa macam nak makan pulak sebab bau macam gula2 Hudson's. Scales fences in no time.

Flower from the Kalamansi plant
Has a sweet scent. When the flowers fall, the buds will grow to become Kalamansi oranges (limau kasturi)

My scented garden is a favourite place for my children and I to hang-out after dinner. While we sat on the rusty swing, we would savour the heady scent of the flowers. Other nights, I'd just draw back the sliding door and let the exhilirating scent creep into the living area. The flowers make great potpourri, too. Best of all, I can just pluck the flowers from my garden should I wish to indulge myself in an invigorating "mandi bunga". Now isn't that cool?

Monday, November 17, 2008


A day after I came back from my one-week PTK, I read in my favourite newspaper that Cuepacs plans to boycott the Competency Level Assessment (PTK) examination. Why? It was mentioned, among others, that "the examination had not achieved its intended objectives" as "there is no guarantee that those who had passed the examination will be promoted as it would depend on the availability of posts". For you dummies out there, the PTK is a compulsory assessment that civil servants are subjected to for promotions purposes.

Is the PTK that bad? I guess it depends on who you ask. Me? I've never liked exams. Come to think of it, I'm not crazy of interviews and presentations either ... He! He! But I would say that my PTK experience was pretty inspiring. Apart from revisiting concepts like Falsafah Pendidikan Negara, Wawasan 2020 and God-knows-what, I met so many amazing people. I really admire the speakers for their experience, teaching spirit and professionalisme. There's this one Dr. Hamdan from UTM whose "theaterical" presentation was jaw-dropping and saliva-dripping ("expression" baru! He! He!). Then, there's Hajah Norbi who blogs and had written books on her teaching and admin experience. My mom should write one too! (Will be helping her to set up her own blog, for a start).

On a separate issue, I am not too sure, really, why I had to attend the course because I'm not in the DG scheme ... hmm ... Anyway, I went, enjoyed myself (despite the presentations and exam), and made some wonderful friends.

K. Dah yang baik hati . Thanks for taking us (me & K. Yus) out to makan-makan at Larkin. First time ate the Singaporean-Arabian cuisine, Kacang Pool!

K. Zu yang simple & humble. I tau you ada "M***" berderet kat rumah ...

Sharizan yang "ayu jelita" (he! he!), soft-spoken and penyayang.

Haslina yang friendly & computer-savvy.

Ana. Hang ni cute tapi ada sket ... garang! He! He! Kesian kat Tuan Hj. kita tu ... did I mention that I came back 1 or 2 kilos heavier? Thanks (or rather, no thanks!) to the delicious food served by the friendly chef at Tropical Inn, JB. I knew this was coming, so I actually fasted for about a week before I went for the course. However, tak berjaya maintain my weight! Ha! Ha! Looks like I'll have to work extra hard on the cardio machine this weekend. True Fitness, here I come!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Obama - black or coloured?

The news is out.

"Obama - America's first black President"
"The first African-American President of the United States"

Er ... yeah his skin is black.
His father was an Economist from Kenya. He looks African-American alright, but his mother is "white", right? So, what's all this hoo hah about him being "the first black US President" and all? Doesn't the white side count? (Btw mommy had Cherokee blood, too)

Folks, he's in the same boat as Halle Berry, Mariah Carey, and Tony Parker - "COLOURED" (co-incidently, first heard this term used by Ms. Berry on satelite TV).

... Just my 2-cents worth of opinion ... (riding on Obama-mania ... he! he!).

Saturday, November 1, 2008

My Halloween Scare

Yesterday, had one helluva Halloween. Nope, there were no kids dressed in fancy clothes going around the neighbourhood asking for "trick or treat" (We Malaysians somehow did not suck-up to this "celebration" as we did Valentine's Day). The kiddos and hubby did not pull a prank on me, either. But what happenned yesterday was really "scary", at least to me (the only other scare I got was "Kekasih Ku Seru" the night before... Ha! Ha!).

My XPS screen just went BLANK.

It was horrible. Hubby, the computer expert couldn't fix the problem even after several restarts.

I was actually sweating (and I was not even in the gym!). I have not progressed much in my 20-page PTK assignment not to mention the non-existent powerpoint presentation. And now, I have to figure out whose computer I would be taking to JB for my PTK next weekend (Hubby's taking his to Aceh, my old LT is also problematic, that leaves Abah's gleamingly new LT that we gave him for his birthday. Berguna jugak hadiah tu...He! He!).

Hubby was cool as usual (that's why God gave me him, I guess). Told me we'd get the Dell Support by Monday and hopefully get the LT fixed before Friday. How optimistic ... Didn't really sleep last night.

This morning, the moment I openned my eyes, I switched on the LT hoping for a miracle. After several false starts, I actually managed to "up" the system and ... and here I am, sharing with you guys my scary Halloween.

Moral of the incident: NEVER install any pirated software in your precious LT (I noticed that my CS3 had completely disappeared from the desktop). Secondly, er ... never do work last minute (though it's during the last few days before deadline that you'll get the creative juices flowing). Thirdly, be patient when faced with difficulties. Who knows there'll be some kind of "divine intervention" (got this from hubby). Er ... wasn't that scary, eh?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The week that was...

14 October 2008
Was at PICC for a function. The usual drill - opening ceremony, keynote address, presentations, coffee break, Q and A... How were the presenters? One particular speaker stood out above the rest. But that's story for another day. What was I doing there? Was one of the rapporteur (?! Go figure :] Nothing to do with creating rapport, btw)

16 - 18 October 2008
Was in Ipoh to sort of 'chaperone' the students to another event. The students had fun competing in the events and making new friends. Our 2 days there were not in vain because we came back with some 'victories'.
Below are some pictures of the nasyid team and the elocution participants in action. Too bad couldn't take pictures of the tilawah participants.

The dashing young dudes and their coach, Khairul. Boleh buat menantu... (the boys la, not their lecturer!)
The elocution team in one of those 'rare' moments. I mean, when was the last time we saw Anisah all dolled-up in baju kebaya and Ben in batik? And the other three are not angels either ... From left: Celestine, Jihan, Anisah, Nadiah and Ben Gift.

With my Medical Electronics students - the two Afiqs, Nadiah and Celestine.

More pictures will be posted at the newly-created JPAM (siapa tau, taulah) blog soon.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Facebooking vs. Blogging

Finally jumped onto the Facebook bandwagon today. Wanted to know what all the fuss was about. So signed up and immediately got myself 4 friends (who had invited me ages ago)! He! He! Sorry guys...
How do I like facebooking? ...not as much as I like blogging. But then again, you cannot compare an apple to an orange.
Anyway since I'm already in Facebook, I'm really looking forward to hook-up with long-lost friends (if they want to be found, that is...). I hope to establish contact with those from as far back to my Montessori Kindergarten days (1975-1976); Convent Jln Birch (renamed SK Puteri and relocated) - what is left of it, is that huge eyesore of a 'pool' in the heart of Seremban (1977-1982); Jenan - actually I could easily hook-up with them via Yahoogroups! Ha! Ha! (1983-1987); UPM, as in Universiti Pertanian Malaysia - the original UPM (1988-1994) and UM (not so-lost lah sebab baru je).
In the meantime, I'll just sit back and enjoy the experience.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Selamat Hari Raya 2008

To my family, sedara mara, friends, colleagues, and readers of my blog ...

P.S. Gambaq raya tahun lepas... Didn't mean to sorok my hubby. He prefers to keep a low profile for now.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Jon's 5th Birthday

On the first day of Ramadhan we celebrated Jon's 5th. birthday. He got a chocolate cake, a Wall-E bag and robot from all of us. As it was Ramadhan, he only got to cut his cake after the break of fast. Here are other pictures of him.

5 years old now
Make a wish!

My angels