December 25, 2006
December 19, 2006
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
December 06, 2006
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.
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
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
"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
November 28, 2006
November 27, 2006
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 www.health.qld.gov.au/brochure/keep_children.asp for a general safety guide.
www.kidsafew.com.au 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
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
November 21, 2006
"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
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
November 15, 2006
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
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"
She obviously could see the similarity between the 2 words delicious and spacious.
Me: "Spell competition"
The TV was switched on so dd was complaining she couldn't hear properly so I switched it off.
Me: "Spell 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?"
Dh: "Spell development."
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
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
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
Follow the link below to find out more about walking.
Just Walk It
November 08, 2006
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.
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
- 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
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
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
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? .
October 17, 2006
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!
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.