December 25, 2006

A Break in Bangkok

Dh, baby and I had a short break in Bangkok. Initially we wanted to go somewhere in M'sia but thought it would be difficult to get a hotel room at popular destinations like Langkawi, PD etc at short notice. My dad recommended that we go to Bangkok through one of his associate's tour package. I had not been there for years so we thought we'll give it a try. Overall the experience was pretty awesome and dh , baby and I thoroughly enjoyed it, alhamdulillah. Bangkok has grown into a big metropolitan city with a population of 10 million and it was amazing to see the development and difference since I spent a few year there when I was a young kid . In general the Thais are a very friendly lot and they really like babies. Our baby son was very popular amongst the people we met because of his cuteness and his little antics. I'll write about Bangkok when I have more time soon , insha Allah. Today , my kids have to attend their cousin's birthday party at Mac D.

December 19, 2006

Back to hectic KL

I haven't had time to post an entry since now I am back in Kl for a visit. It is rather hectic in KL as I have to do some chores and settle some outstanding bills for my old flat. I even received a summon for illegal parking in PJ written for my car which was normally parked at my in laws house and used occasionally by my youngest and responsible 17 year old brother in law when he goes home for breaks from his pre uni studies. My dad and I went to MBAJ (PJ municipal council) to sort it out. It was an obvious error on the council's part. The description of the car and road tax registration number did not tally with my car's. So we had to sign their petition form to rectify their mistake. I have never received summons or speeding tickets related to my car which was due to my fault (so far). I think I am a law abiding driver insha Allah. A defensive driver (as my dh calls it ) as oppose to all those offensive drivers in KL. Hehehe. Tis hard to be on the defensive whereas many drivers out there just wanna break the rules when they get the chance. However, I aspire to drive with the coolness of my dad's. Dh said that dad remains very cool even when people cut into his lane or queue. The way people drive in KL are a stark contrast with that in Oz. Some drivers in KL think they own the road and they could suddenly turn left or right from their lane without giving the proper indication or signal. Another common offense is that they don't even stop properly at T junctions and look in both directions for oncoming cars. I could write down an endless list of offenses committed by people on the road daily. Double parking, stopping at a yellow line/zone, cutting queues and overtaking in the left lane or at double lines, using a mobile phone while driving etc . These do not include offenses by motorbike riders who are even more prone to accidents if they or others do not abide the road rules.
Pedestrians are the sure losers in KL. Whereas drivers in Oz would sometimes give way to pedestrians at junctions where there are no pedestrian crossings, KL drivers hardly give them a second glance. I was honed at by a driver behind me a couple of times after I decided to give way to some scared looking young pedestrians who wanted to cross over to their car at One Utama's carpark (a very popular, busy suburban mall during the weekend and public hols). Drivers would only slow down in carparks if they think your gonna vacate a parking lot. Why are KL drivers so impatient, selfish and stressed up??? Big question. Can there be a day in KL when people drive and abide by the law for their own safety and ours? Well, at this rate, I guess not in the foreseeable future. One can only dream.

December 08, 2006

Dd won an award!

Dd won the high achiever trophy for grade 2. I missed it when she went up to get the prize. A mommy friend said that she won and that I was late by one minute. I have to take her word for it and I did see dd holding a lil trophy after the ceremony. We were a bit late as ds was making a fuss and refused to budge on the sidewalk , insisting his shirt was too big and he wanna go back home and change. Anyway, I am glad she won something as she missed her kindergarten's presentation ceremony last year because we had to move to Oz. She also missed the preschool photo session when she and her classmates were supposed to wear graduation robes. The school didn't inform me early and we had already gone to my mum's house as I was due to deliver at the time. (I didn't get to wear a robe til I got a degree. Lucky preschoolers!)

December 06, 2006

The mystery fruit..

When I went to pick up my children from school, I came across two women of South East Asian descent (possibly from the Philippines). One woman was using a long pole to pound the branches of a tree repetitively so that the ripe fruits would give way and fall to the ground, and another had a black refuse bag to collect them. I crossed the street to them as it was the route I normally take to the school. I gestured to them and asked "Is the fruit edible to eat?" "Yes" she replied and added something that I did not quite hear as I was walking away from them in the direction of the school. Hmm.. Edible fruits. I wonder what they are? The neighbourhood street is dotted with trees which I can recall seeing back in M'sia, of which one tree had long outreached branches with fern like leaves, vibrant red flowers and huge black pods.
Anyway, I came across a similar leafless tree that looked like it was hit with a long pole by the same women earlier on! Though the pods were dangling from its branches in abundance, they were not within easy reach. I picked one of the bean pods that had fallen to the ground and broke the crumbly brown exterior shell apart. Inside was a guey brown substance. The consistency reminded me of tamarind or asam jawa as the Malays call it. (I am not sure what the people in Java would call tamarind but definitely not asam jawa). It tastes soury sweet and is usually used in South East Asian cuisine. Malaysians used them a lot for asam pedas (usually fish in chilli flavoured soup) or in fish curry or laksa. Any dish with fish in it will taste better with tamarinds added. I never really got to taste dishes with tamarinds from the Philippines. However, I do recall going to dinner to a restaurant called Tamarind Springs in KL and which specialises in Indochinese cuisines (think Laos, Khmer and Vietnam) and they presumably used a lot of tamarind as the food was not spicy hot by KL standard.
When I came back home, I had to investigate and check in the wild plant book that I recently purchased last weekend. There I found some facts about native tamarind trees but the the description and pics of the fruits/flowers do not really resemble the pods in the backstreet. Maybe it was another variety or the pics were photographed earlier in the season. My deduction was inconclusive at that point but in the evening, I came across a tamarind wrapper I brought from KL and it had a picture of a bunch of tamarind pods. They looked identicle to the pods on the tree in the street . Thereon, I can safely deduce that they were indeed from a native type of tamarind tree. Well, what da ya know, one of my favourite cooking ingredients is actually growing on the trees along my ally. I better find a nice stick to poke the ripe tamarind pods on the branches so they will fall and then gather them up for my cooking pot!
*Update - I brought some of them home and showed dh and he confirmed that they were tamarinds. He was a bit puzzled by my question and asked me haven't I seen a tamarind tree before??? That's what I would like to know ie whether he has seen one across the street from us.


[Great ! The post editor is functioning now.]
Dd's read 90 pages of her book "Charlotte's Web" which she got yesterday. Amazing! Considering she only attempted to read 1 page a day from another book she is supposed to read from her school's reading file.
I also bought some books for me to read last weekend, mainly non-fiction books about nature or parenting tips. With a baby that suffers separation anxiety if more than 2cm away from me, it is not possible for me to be engrossed in a fiction. Though I bought the classic "The Count of Monte Cristo" (abridged) by Alexander Dumas last month, hoping I could spend some time on it. (I am still hoping...)
I am quite interested in the natural habitat of the city I live in so I bought 2 wildlife guides of plants and animals of the greater city area at the quaint lil corner shop cum gallery at the Botanical Gardens. It was good to be in there at the very least as it was very hot that day. (It rained eventually in the evening.) The shop owner even put up a sign to entice customers to her air-conditioned shop. While chatting about some books at the shop, she told me I could find a great deal of facts from the nearby library but alas, it was not possible for me to go there with 3 hyper active children and a dh to boot. So 2 reference books it is then. I managed to ask her the pressing question in my mind "Is a gum tree the same as a rubber tree". No was the answer. "Is it the same as the eucalyptus tree? "Yes was the answer. Oohh... So the kookaburra sitting on the old gum tree from the Aussie song was actually sitting on a eucalyptus tree which is a very common tree in the woods and parks here. Sometimes, I could hear a kookaburra's distinct laughter erupting in the suburb I live but I could not pinpoint which tree it was on.
The helpful shopowner assisted me further when she learnt I had children waiting outside her shop, by recommending some activities early next year which I might consider for them like the guided walks , dragonfly tours or print making/book reading workshop, insha Allah.

December 03, 2006

Souvenir Shopping!

We went to the CBD yesterday to do some shopping for books and souvenirs as we are planning to go back to KL by mid December insha Allah. I didn't buy anymore tissue box holders decorated with a koala or kangaroo head, mind you. We are trying to cut down on souvenirs this time as we bought heaps on the last trip and we're only planning to bring one luggage on this trip. Dh hates bringing too many carry-on luggage as he says it is cumbersome to look after the luggages and the kids simultaneously.
My dh bought Australian themed calendars for the inlaws and I got some Tees for my mum as she commented that she would like T-Shirts last time we met. I also bought her a DVD of Steve Irwin's memorial tribute. She phoned me twice the day after he passed away as it was a real shocker when she found out. My parents are big fans of his wildlife series on the discovery/animal planet channel.
I also bought some bird calls CDs mainly for myself (well, who else would be interested in them?) from ABC shop and Australia Geographic but today I have to go back to the latter as they gave me the display set with no CDs in them.. Hmm.. What a waste of time as I need to pack and do some other things today you know. Well, that is life and you have to fix things for people when it needs fixing.
[For instance, this beta-blogger post editor is getting weirder today with the special features going all awry and disappearing into thin air. I hope the blog admin can raise their magic wand soon and fix this problem on their side as I have no time to follow up on this. Heck, I spent hours this morning trying to figure out why? Never mind.]

November 30, 2006

There is a spider in the house..

When I went to grab the broom behind the fridge to sweep the floor, a menacing spider leaped from its hiding. Yikes! I went to sweep anyway and then I came back to have a better look at it. It was substantial in size and a scary looking thing. I could not have it scrambling around the house . The kids would freak out. There were a few spiders that had spun cobwebs in the remote corners of the garage that I left alone but this one had to go. So I took a transparent plastic container and placed it on top of the spider and I slowly contained the 8 legged creature inside it and sealed it with a lid before it could escape. I had a better look at it again . It looked like a miniature tarantula. I had to show it to dear son. Ds took the container and then he dropped the thing in a hurry. He said he was scared it would escape. I told him that it can't but I'm gonna let it free. We went to the backyard and freed the spider on the grass. Then we shut the door so that it could not come in again, we hope.
"Oh spidey! If you were a fly or a roach, I would have swot you instantly!
However, since you got a special mention in Surah Al-Ankabut (The spider) in the Quran and you helped the Prophet Muhammad pbuh and his sahaba Abu Bakr by spinning a cobweb at the entrance of the cave when they were fleeing from the idolaters of Makkah, we decided to let your species a chance and let you go free. You lucky thing! "

November 29, 2006

I am hooked on Aussie...

.. birds. Not Aussie blokes. Birds. You heard it right. I just bought this bird calls cd and it sounds awesome, Subhanallah. There are like 50+ bird calls on the cd and when I turned it on during the weekend, dh asked what is that sound as it sounds like the jungle. I told him it is a new cd I bought. He said I should get one for my dad who is also a nature buff. How come they don't have bird calls or nature cds made and sold in Malaysia? I mean it beats all the new artistes with regrettably no looks , no personality and no talent cds on sale.

November 28, 2006

Gifted dd Blogspot

I have created a blogspot for dd at Gifted Dd . Please go there for specific issues of giftedness and stories about dd.

November 27, 2006

Children Safety at Home

Baby choked on something he found somewhere. I was washing dishes and he was wondering around as usual. I had given him a tub of jelly and thought he would be happy to eat that but he wasn't . When I heard him coughing badly like something was stuck, I tried to do roughly what I read in the first aid booklet about how to help a baby dislodge the thing stuck in his throat. First, I tilted him down so that whatever it was could fall out, then I checked his throat passage to see if there was anything stuck. Then I tilted him again and pressed his shoulder blades with my hands. He was breathing and whatever it was fell out thank God although he was crying unhappily. I think it was pistachio shell I found on the floor.
I have some links about children safety given to me by a lady at eidfest which she wants us to circulate. A lot of accidents happen at home so it is better to be safe than sorry.
Goto for a general safety guide. and go to factsheet. There is a section on how to help a child in a choking episode in choking and suffocation. Others include fire and burns, pedestrian safety, electrical safety and many more.

November 24, 2006

Who "Messed Up" This Time huh ?

[I thought I would not be writing about the visit from the agent again but this was too good to pass up. ]
While I was reheating some chicken korma and frying roti paratha for my children this morning, not fully recovered from a late night (I watched a stand up comedy show with dd and a DVD of the show with dh til 12am), someone rang the door bell. I went to check who it was and was totally surprised that it was the property agent. She said that she was there to make an inspection! She came at 8.30 am and I wasn't ready. Dd was not feeling well and staying home today, the beds were not made and a lot of other stuff were not tidied up.
So I was asking her is she sure about the date , which agency is she from and did she get the right address. I told her that someone had already done the routine inspection and this time it should be just for checking the walls. She asked me "What is wrong with the walls?"
#Mistake no 1 - What planet is she living on? I mean don't they liasons with their officemates/boss about what they are supposed to do in their job description. The tenant (me) had to explain to her that there were smudge marks on the wall when agent C came to check last time.
Agent G said she would go to her car and call Agent C to find out so I had some time to tidy upstairs while dd helped to make her bed. She came back 5 minutes later and said that she was going to do an inspection on the walls.
#Mistake no 2 - It was indeed supposed to be a remedy check up and not a quarterly routine check up.
I found a copy of their letter and showed her the date of entry they informed us was indeed due next week and not today.
# Mistake no 3 - The agent had the dates mixed up not me! Phew.
She wanted to inspect the house anyway as she was already there. In a country where you could never get to see someone formally without a prior appointment, what could I say to someone who wanted to barge into my house to do an inspection without arriving at the correct time of appointment. I said go ahead as I already cleaned up the walls. (Am I nice or what?) Agent G walked in and passed by the walls without scrutinising them like Agent C . Then she left. So who "messed up" this time, huh?

November 23, 2006

Girls' Night Out

Dd and I are going for a girls' night out tonight insha Allah. I've bought tickets for both of us to see a stand up comedy show called "Allah made me Funny". I thought I'd bring her instead of going with a friend as dd cracks jokes all the time. Her teacher told dh that she has a sophisticated sense of humor . When the teacher tells an intellectual joke, she is the only one who comprehends and smiles in her class. Haha. I wonder if she would like the show though.

November 21, 2006

The healing effects of honey..

I caught a bug while I was on a family outing at a theme park. It was a hot sunny day and I drank some cold soft drinks as well as my fave hot chocolate. I try to avoid iced water at all cost but sometimes can't help indulging in them especially in hot weather. Due to this , it left me with a sore throat. I am not happy when this happens as usually a flu will follow suit. I took a couple of paracetamol when I got back from the trip and hoped the flu symptoms won't persist for a week as it normally does. In addition, I also drank tea spoons of honey to sooth my sore throat. Thankfully, I had a supply of pure natural honey bought from a friend's daughter. Today afternoon, I feel much better. I think the honey has shorten the effects of my cold symptoms. Alhamdulillah. I am grateful from reading this paragraph from the AlQuran that gives a clue to the healing properties of honey.
"And your Sustainer has inspired the bees saying "Prepare for yourself dwellings in the mountains and in the trees and in what (men) build. Then, eat all manner of fruits , and find with skills the path of your Sustainer".There issues from their bellies, a drink of varying colour, wherein is healing for mankind. Verily, in this is indeed a sign for those who give thought." Surah An-Nahl (The Bees),68-69

Fun in the Sun

As predicted, we went to a theme park on Sunday. Dh had bought the tickets online and decided to bring the kids there as a "surprise". Dd was making guesses as to where we were heading and she said she felt suspicious when she guessed Movie World and her dad didn't answer.
It was a very hot sunny day , a little hotter than usual. There were heaps of people there some of them were locals as well as tourists. I saw bus loads of Asian tourists entering the park. Many muslim tourists also visit the popular theme park so they have provided a comfortable room which was nicely decorated and laid with persian carpets for muslims to pray in.There is also a restaurant serving halal certified food in front of the musollah in this middle eastern themed bazaar area.
I did a fair bit of people watching. A group of men from the Indian subcontinent were taking pics at a fountain at the main entrance when we arrived. Nothing extraordinary there except the Superman rollercoaster towering behind it. I saw a group of Chinese tourists smoking and socialising next to our table when we were having brunch at a cafe. They seemed more interested in their company than the thrill rides at the park . Shutterbugs were having a field day taking photos of one another all across the park as well as with the actors of the animated cartoon characters such as Tweety bird, Scooby Doo and Bugs Bunny. I also watched with wonder as some tourists took pictures of a painted wall of a cowboy town reminiscence of the wild wild west. Even a replica graveyard on a manmade bump of a hill was snapped by some eager tourists.
We went to Looney Tunes Splash Zone so that the kiddies could wet themselves silly. Dear baby could walk quite well now so I left him there with his older sister while I watched from under a shaded tree. He seems to be enjoying himself with some Aussie kids who took an instant liking to him. It looks like his personality has emerged as he toddled back and forth in the splash zone . What a cutey he is! Dh took some footage of the kiddies and we had a blast watching the video replay at home.

November 17, 2006

Thank God it's Friday!

Plans have been made for the weekend. Dentist appointment for ds1 is still on in the morning. There is Dd's swimming class to go to and I hope I could have a dip too and possibly do >20 laps in the 25 metre heated pool before I could venture into the 50 metre unheated pool. Dh rang me up from work asking me to check on the net if there is a special discounted rate for Movie World's annual pass. He said there was one but he wanted me to double check. I checked on their website and the cost of a ticket is down from $155 to $79 if we purchase it before December. I could hear the glee in his voice when he said he was planning to buy some tickets for us. Those rollercoaster rides are beckoning him and the kiddies. We have gone to Sea World God knows how many times this year and now come Summer, it is time for Movie World. Hehe. Have a wonderful weekend to all! Fi Aman Allah.

November 15, 2006

English & the Mentality

Dd used to go to a preschool near our home in the KL city centre. We sent her to preschool not to make her read as early as possible but to socialise with other kids who were her age as we were afraid when she attends formal school in 2 years from then, she won't be able to cope being away from home. It was a good kindergarten and the teachers could speak English and Malay. Dd learnt to read books using the phonics method there. The school also had a very friendly (peramah) Principal.
One day I arrived early to pick up dd so I was hanging around the school compound waiting. The Principal came up to me and started a conversation. She brought up the subject that dd could only speak English and the other parents were asking her "Does she have Mat Salleh for a parent/parents?"(Mat Salleh is the term Malaysian use for the white race). She also said other children sometimes were bothered that Dd spoke English and rarely in Malay.
Sometimes you will hear Malays give comments like " Berabokla, tak boleh cakap Melayu ka?" (interpreted as it is feeling dusty here from you speaking English, can't you speak Malay as one born of the Malay race?) So sad to say that this is the mentality of many Malays I come across concerning speaking in English. I don't believe one language is mutually exclusive for one race but it is beneficial for us to learn many languages and anyone should not be hindered to speak any language they are comfortable of expressing themselves with.
Hearing what the Principal had to say, I had to clarify the matter as I didn't want dd to be the subject of ridicule from her peers or their parents. I explained to the Principal that I initially taught her English and Malay language at home but she picked up English faster . I did not want to confuse her talking in a bilingual jumble at that stage so we later emphasised and conversed in English more with her. Then I explained further that dd was like myself, ie learning the English first before mastering Malay. I grew up as a child overseas as my father was in the foreign service. Infact, I could speak and understand Thai and English better at one point before I ever learnt the formal Bahasa Malaysia. The Principal was enlightened and after that never commented again about dd's berabuk! Dd even did very well in the school despite her earlier reluctance to cooperate fully with teachers/peers. She improved and excelled in her work and was supposed to get 2nd prize on her school's Presentation Day but we had to catch a flight and leave for Oz on that day so the school decided to give her prize to another pupil. *sigh*.
Whereas in Oz , we have a different experience that people assume that we don't speak English fluently as it is not our mother's tongue.When we enrolled dd at her school, we were required to fill in some forms. A nice English teacher came up to meet me and discuss some issues regarding the forms. She told me she wanted dd to be in the special programme for pupils where English is a second language (ESL). I said we speak English at home with her. She asked "But do you speak other languages besides English at home?" Sounds like a trick question. I said "Eerr.. Yes." She was quite persistent that she be allowed to guide Dd's English development . Dh was of the opinion it was fine if they wanted to improve her English so we relented though I did not see the point.
I didn't see or hear from the English teacher again for months later so I decided to catch up with her when I saw her again in front of the school promoting school fiesta last month. Where has she been all this while? She said she was still around in the school for 3 days a week. However, she commented that dd is "very good" and she was not assisting dd anymore. Hmm.. I guess now she is focusing more on the other pupils who needs the additional help most.

November 14, 2006

Dd's Spelling Session

After dinner last night, my 7 year old dd wanted to spell some words, so while I cleaned up the table and dh washed the dishes, we gave her some words to spell. I started with words that I thought were difficult.
Me :"How do you spell delicious? "
Dd:"D-E- L-I -C-I-O-S"
Me:"you forgot the letter U. D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S"
Me: "Spell spacious."
Dd: "What's spacious?"
Me: "When you have lots of space"
Me:"Very good."
She obviously could see the similarity between the 2 words delicious and spacious.
Me: "Spell competition"
Dd: C-O-M-P-E-T-I-O-N"
Me: "T-I-T-I-O-N"
The TV was switched on so dd was complaining she couldn't hear properly so I switched it off.
Me: "Spell petition"
Dd:"What's petition?"
I had to explained to her that it is when we get people's signatures on paper so that we could do something about it .
Dd: "Is petition spelled like competition but without the com?"
Dd: "P-E-T-I-T-I-O-N"
Dh: "Spell development."
Me:"Spell television."
dd:"That's easy." So she went and spelled the words. It looks like she is quite an intelligent girl, masha Allah. The school's counsellor who is a qualified Phd holder, told us that she is well ahead of her peers in many subjects. Next year insha Allah, the coordinator cum the Principal will start dd on a better integrated acceleration program. She said that dd's standard of comprehension is on par with Grade 6/7 but since she is going to be in Grade 3 next year , she will probably work with the Grade 4/5 pupils as they are closer her age. The school in their 50 years of history had never had gifted pupils there before but this year they have two, ie dd in Grade 2 and another girl in Grade 1. I am happy that they are doing something to enhance her learning curve for the better.
When I was studying in Standard 1 briefly in the northern state of M'sia before my father was posted overseas again, I remember the teacher telling all the pupils in the class to stand on the chairs. Then she asked us to spell the words such as biru (blue), merah (red) etc. Easy I thought. We had to put our hand up and spell the words and then sit down. However, only a handful of us managed to do this because there were only a limited number of words to spell as opposed to the shower of hands that were raised up. Then guess what? The rest of us had to line up to the teacher and have our hand spanked with a ruler at the end of the period because we were not able to answer and spell the words.. Duh! I hope this teacher had improved her teaching technique since then, for her pupils sake please. What a contrast to the teaching methods that schools are currently using!

November 13, 2006

I don't like Mondays..

Tell me why?

I don't like Mondays

Tell me why?

I don't like Mondays

I wanna shooooot the whole day down.. down.. down..

Part of 70's song by Sir Bob Geldof (Boom Town Rats group)

That is how I feel on Mondays when I become housekeeper extraordinaire. There are breakfast to cook and serve, dishes to wash and beds to make, school lunchboxes to fill and piles and piles of clothes to wash.

After I sent the kids to school today, I started multitasking. Wash some dishes and dump the rest of the dishes in dishwasher. Add soap and press button. Done! Bring piles of laundry in baskets downstairs to wash . Load in washer and dryer. Ongoing! Sweep floors. Done! Clean kitchen stove and wipe tables and sliding door. Done! While I'm at it I thought I might as well clean walls of marks... Hmmm.. I better tell off my kids next time they put their hands on the wall and leave the smudge marks and finger prints.

I was happy to finish most of my housechores when I went to pick up the kids at school. But before that, I went to check the mail box. 5 letters. 1 letter from property agent states that we have to get the marks off walls and kitchen cabinets ready for inspection again by such and such a date . Grrrr... I'm definitely getting a professional cleaner to do it next time.

November 10, 2006

The mystery of the disappearing fried chicken...

I had deep fried 8 pieces of chicken (ie a whole medium size chicken) the other day and left it on the dining table. After that I went upstairs to do some other things. When I came down, it was gone! I asked who ate it all up? (Silence except the sound coming from the TV ). Nobody owned up. I queried dh and he said he ate 2 pieces with the nasi lemak and sambal udang I cooked earlier. Dd is not a fan of fried chicken so that means that my 5 year old son ate the rest. I know that he really loves fried chicken but boy can he eat them... Next time I would just have to remind him how many pieces he can eat at one time.
This incident transported me back in time when I was growing up in Bangkok around my son's age. One of our house helpers was an old Thai cook who would cook fried chicken in hot chilli sauce (our family favourite) and leave it in the pot in the kitchen. Then she would go out the back to the servant quarters.
Nobody was around when I took one chicken piece from the pot and ate the flesh off it. Then I would throw the chicken bone over the fence to the next door neighbour's dog. Unfortunately, the dog was tied up and could not reach the piece of chicken. So I would get another one and throw it to him again. I think I did that many times and one of my brothers aided me until there were only a couple of pieces left in the pot. We did managed to throw a piece or two directly to the dog which he gobbled up immediately. Haha.
My mum or our helpers might have wondered who on earth ate that much chilli fried chicken that day. Not to mention, the friendly Thai next door neighbour who might have no clue where all the fried chicken bones scattered in his compound came from!

November 09, 2006

Just Walk It

I do a fair bit of walking here in Oz. I have to walk to the grocery/bakery/shops, walk to/fro to my kids' school and walk to the park/library etc whereas dh drives his car to work, drives to the park/shops and everywhere else. No worries. Walking is good for our heart and general health.
Follow the link below to find out more about walking.
Just Walk It

November 08, 2006

The dreaded house inspection...

Every 3-4 months, the real estate agent would enter our rented property to check and see if there are any broken or faulty stuff to repair. At least that was what they claim to do in their letter. In reality, they are more interested in the general cleanliness of the place so before the agent came over, dh and I would do a thorough clean up of sort days or the weeks before. I am quite positive that I tidy, sweep, vacuum, polish and scrub this rented townhouse more than I ever did for my owned property in KL.
Someone rang the doorbell after I came back from sending my son to preschool. It was the agent. They sent an older woman this time I noted. She exaggerated that the walls are "very dirty" because of the smudge marks left by my children. "Not good!" she said presuming I speak very little English. I just nodded my head and muttered some English words. She then lifted the wiggles carpet in my kids' room to see if there were any marks underneath. Uggh! I never liked spot checks since I was in boarding school. I left her to inspect all the other rooms and then she left. Phew! Now we can relax a bit before the next scheduled inspection. When dd came back from school, she asked me what the agent said. I told her that there were smudge marks on the wall that needed cleaning. Dd said "Did she say anything nice?" I said "They never say anything nice." That pretty much sums it up.

Documenting Native Birds

While I was googling the net the other day, dh thought I was doing something on my blog again and gave a passing remark that "no one would read your blog coz people are only interested at looking at photos". So I had an assignment for him to do when we went to the Botanical Gardens. He was to photograph "native birds" with his digicam so that I could put it up on my blog. Maybe a pic of the colourful rainbow lorikeets , a white ibis or even a kookaburra if we're lucky enough to spot one.
We arrived there half an hour before closing time. Dh had to drive up the hill to get something at the cafe for kiddies so I went in first with dd and baby. We walked to our favourite spot near the lake and did some bird spotting. I was equipped with a pair of compact binoculars to look at birds up on the trees. There were also many mandarin ducks on the lake , maybe 50 or more. When dh arrived , it was 5 minutes to closing and the caretaker was on his way to close the sidegate. He suggested that we could take a walk in the gardens but would have to exit the main entrance later so we followed his recommendation. I insisted dh take photos of the ducks near the pond. Unfortunately, the ducks were calling it a day too, some of them curling their necks and nestling their heads on their bodies to keep warm against the evening breeze. They are not in any mood to have their pic snapped! Wait a minute! Mandarin ducks are not native birds to Australia alone as they are found all over the world. I guess we would have to call it a day too and find another time to take pics for a photo blog.

November 06, 2006

My sons' favourite toys

5 year old son's favourite toys:
  • Whatever his older sister is holding in her hand.
  • Power rangers, ultraman, batman, spiderman and anything remotely related.
  • Anything in the toy shop or mini market instead of what is in his toy boxes at home.

1 year old son's current favourite:

  • Toy cars.
  • Mobile phones and remote controls. Throwing them to far flung places.
  • Mineral water bottles. Screwing and unscrewing the caps on them. Not to mention tipping the contents on the floor.
  • Switching TV on and off whenever I am watching it. I give up.

November 04, 2006

Hallelujah.. Alhamdulillah.. It rained!

Last night , the clouds that were looming in the sky for days finally burst open and poured down much of the anticipated rain. We 're experiencing a prolong drought and it would be good for the dams they say. There hasn't been significant rainfall for months and it was highlighted in the news that the water level at the dams were pretty low which inherently led to Level 4 water restrictions up from Level 3 in October....
It was drizzling in the morning so it seemed okay to bring dear daughter to her swimming class... but then it started to rain more and more heavily. A massive downpour occurred then it drizzled again...
Eid Fest was on today at the showgrounds. I told dh we had to drop by so that I could find a specific booth from last year's eid fest while kiddies could ride on a camel or go to the amusement park. We were there for a half hour or so when to dh and everyone's horror, the rain got heavier and heavier by the minute. People ran for cover and waited and hoped for the best. I think we were all stuck there under the tents with countless of other visitors surrounded by a sea of mud, paddles and streams of water...(Lecak habis)!! Anxious faces stared at the rain while some braved the rain or carried on with their business, eating or chatting. Dh forgot to bring umbrellas along to the booths so he finally decided to brave the rain to get to the umbrellas in the car while it continued to rain, cats and dogs style.. Still the rain was good for the dams though we humans were cold and soaking wet on this fateful afternoon.... really it is.

October 25, 2006

Eid Prayers

We celebrated Eid on Tuesday. Alhamdulillah, I managed to convince dh to bring us to the Eid prayers at the oval of the islamic school which was about half an hour drive from home. At first he was adamant not to take us, saying takbir starts 6 am and prayers at 7am and it would be hard to wake the children up early similar to what happened at last year's Eid. (It was raining last year so Eid prayers were performed at the nearby masjid). So I devised a plan this time round that the children should go to bed early so that they could wake up nice and early. It worked like a charm.
After a quick breakfast for the kids, we drove to the venue at 6 am. We arrived half an hour later near the school and it looked like heaps of cars carrying muslim families were headed in that direction too. In fact, cars packed up along the road in a bumper to bumper situation waiting their turn to enter the school grounds so dh just dropped me and 2 of our kids in front of the school gate and sped off to find parking outside the compound.
The crowd was streaming into the school whilst dear daughter and I proceeded towards the prayer saf and laid down our sejadah. She was looking quite sweet and girlie today with her hijab and baju kurung unlike other days when she wore just a tee and long trousers. My one year old baby wore a perfectly good grey jalabiya which I had bought for his older brother in Makkah a couple of years ago.
When the salah was about to commence at 7.15 am , crowds were still streaming in, masha Allah. The imam called to them to hurry up before he stood up to lead the prayers. A lady stood next to me and she was holding her very cute little 4 months old baby while takbiratul ikram. I put my not-so-little baby son and started to takbiratulikram. He weighs 13kg and I am sure my biceps couldn't accomodate him on my arm during the takbir. Needless to say, my baby wasn't happy about that and cried and tugged at my jilbab half the time as he is very clingy when he is in an unfamiliar surroundings.
After the Eid prayers, I was expecting a long khutbah like back in KL but all I heard was the imam saying praises etc in arabic and then it was over and done with. Now, it was time to eat and drink some refreshment and to mingle a bit.
It was a sight to behold , the sea of people in their best attire converging in a school yard to celebrate the first day of Eid. There were people who originated from all corners of the world. Afghans, Africans, Indians, Lebanese, Palestinians, Caucasians, Eurasians, Turkish, Indonesians, Malaysians, Somalians and Fijians to name a few. Perhaps no other religion could boast uniting all color and creed into one ummah that worships the One true God ie Allah, as Islam does. It is truly a deen ie a way of life that cuts all language barriers and physical borders, Masha Allah.

US muslims one family in Eid

October 20, 2006

The Birds Glorify their Creator

Do you not see that everyone in the heavens and earth glorifies Allah, as do the birds with their outspread wings? Each one knows its prayer and glorification. Allah knows what they do. (Qur'an, 24:41)

I recently noticed this phenomenon of the birds glorifying their Creator . From living in the city centre next to a busy road in KL for many years where all I could hear was the noisy traffic going pass by each morning, to a quiet metropolitan suburb in Oz, I suddenly became aware of the dawn chorus where the many types of birds start singing to glorify their Creator, in some sort of unison each daybreak. In other words, it suddenly dawn on me, pun intended.

Their glorification of Allah was magnified further in Ramadan as we were required to wake up before fajar, earlier than usual for our sahur. Subhanallah (Glory be to God). There were all kinds of birds singing in all sorts of fashion. I couldn't tell you their names in correlation to their voice, being no bird expert, however, I could tell you the chorus was sweet and surreal . If in Kuala Lumpur, one could hear the muezzin call to fajar prayers echoing into the new day, Allahu Akbar Allahu Akbar, Ashadul anla ilaha illallah, also signifying that the time of fasting has begun for the day when no food and water should be consumed until sunset; then in Oz, it is the birds who start the day with their melodious tasbih and tahmid, glorifying and praising Allah at dawn that could only symbolise this. They continue to do their salah (prayer) for perhaps an hour or so until the sun rises completely out in the sky, Subhanallah! My own ablution and fajar prayer pales in comparison to them lasting only 5-10 minutes every morning, if only I could do more when I say Inna salati wanusuki mahyaya wamamati lillahi rabbi alamin. They do not seem to tire in glorifying their Creator each morning Subhanallah. If birds can remember their prayers and glorification to their Creator, then why is it that man lacks remembrance? .

Link to Dawn Chorus

October 17, 2006

Shopping in Ramadan

Shopping! Something quite a lot of women love to do .. Me included. I love to shop whether going to the mall for just window shopping or even virtual shopping through the internet which is as easy as a click of a button. However, my passion for shopping isn't shared by my dh as he would just roll his eyes when he finds out how much I spend sometimes. No wonder they have a book titled "Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus" . Without a doubt, many men and women are certainly at different wave length on this subject. Though to say the least, I am quite perplexed that he can spend hours at Big W with the older kids just browsing the DVD and toys section before emerging with heaps of things for them. Hmmm.
Fortunately, my sister and mum share the same passion for shopping to some degree . Infact, I can say they are quite pro shoppers , much ahead of me in the game. They can spot a bargain and find the best deal or the coolest item or whatever on the street. However, the current situation does not permit me to meet them frequently as we are residing in a different city and country altogether. So I would just browse on the net and sometimes sms my sister for some advice if I need them.
I have to say I have not done much shopping in Ramadan. I have hardly bought anything for myself and my children this month. This is odd for me as previously I would just love to go to Big W to buy some good and affordable clothes to wear for the new season. I have to say that fasting is a good way of suppressing my nafs for shopping.
I have already bought my 2 older children their new baju raya that they could wear for Eid ul Fitr about 5 months ago when I was back in KL, so there is no need to buy any more clothes for the two now. I have been looking to buy some abaya for myself on the net but I never got past the checkout counter as I was thinking oh.. I have some old abayas that I haven't worn that many times before so I could wear them if need be. My dh would feel very relieved to know that I am feeling this way in Ramadan. Good for the pocket hey!

My 1st Blog Entry!

So what do I write on my first blog entry? I dunno. I don't really have the time to blog with 3 children to manage daily. Anyway, after reading all those cool blogs on the net, I think it is high time for me to blog. Hehe. I hope my internet connection will not fail me again while I am writing this.. So I am just learning to blog as I go along. It is quite user-friendly so far but I hope I can write better than this later on without too much grammatical and spelling mistakes. Don't quote me on that though.
Ramadan Mubarak to all muslims reading this though there is only a week left, I hope you have a blessed Ramadan. I do have an intense affinity with Ramadan though regrettably, I wish that I could have done more terawih prayers and Quran reading than I did so that maybe my deed book with the angel on my right improves greatly .. However, I would be just as contented if I could fast the whole month so that I do not need to replace any days for this Ramadan.
The toughest thing for me to do in Ramadan is waking up 3.15 am before fajar prayers to have sahur . In KL, I could still wake up around 5 am and eat a decent meal for sahur but here in Oz , fajar/sunrise is much earlier at this time of year so 3.15 am it is then, up til 3.45 am do I prepare and have my sahur with my dh. We did managed to wake up for 23 days in a row for sahur. Phew.. Infact, on the first night of Ramadan , I had pretty much insomnia right after my mum called me up at 10.30 pm from KL. So I fried some rice at 12 pm and still could not sleep so I had my sahur at 2am on that very 1st Ramadan morning. Since Oz muslims only started fasting on Monday 25 September 2006, that is 2nd or 3rd Ramadan for other countries which means we would be the last to celebrate Eid although we're 2 hrs ahead of KL and 10hrs ahead of GMT and say 14-18 hrs ahead of USA. Hmmm. Is it too early to say Eid Mubarak to all muslim friends out there?!...