mardi, décembre 27, 2011

Happy New Year!


Every year past Decembers
Cold and windy months
I created moment by moment

revelries for others

While all the while
After the euphoria of countdown settles
I was dreaming to be

with loved ones
This year I do not want the fanfare
I long for the quiet moment
Of deep content and giddy happiness

bubbling inside

________________________________

For the magpie tales

Happy New Year, friends and fellow travelers of the blogosphere !

I shall no longer be like the candle in the wind, creating glamour and radiance for others but not for those closest to my heart.

vendredi, décembre 16, 2011

SITI DEWI PART II

Siti Dewi bak bidadari
Disanjung oleh Maharisi Kala Api
Hari silih berganti hari
Sinarnya bagai mentari pagi

Ular yang diam, duduk berdiri
Helang yang terbang, akan terhenti
Melihat bayangan Siti Dewi
Mekar indah di taman sendiri

Maharisi terus bersuara
Sudah sampai masa dan ketika
Siti Dewi hidup bahagia
Bersuami raja segala raja

Dengan itu, surat jemputan
Dihantar segera pada raja sekelian
Jika Siti Dewi menjadi idaman
Sila hadir di laman pertandingan

Kala Jengking sebesar gah
Mesti dibunuh dengan anak panah
Semua raja mencuba sudah
Anak panah semuanya punah

Termasuklah Maharaja Wana
Dendam geram bercampur duka
Ingin menang senantiasa
Buruk amalan, gelap niat dan jiwa

Di Wat Tujuh Kedi Bermas
Keadaan bertambah cemas
Tiba Seri Rama, segak dan kemas
Bayangan umpama silauan mas

Anak raja Sirat Maharaja
Tiba bersama adiknya, Laksmana
Akhirnya kala jengking kalah jua
Seri Rama sudah berjaya

Geram Maharaja Wana walaupun beristeri
Termasuk sudah Mandudaki
Tapi Wana mahukan Siti Dewi
Diangkat menjadi Maharani

Timbul niat mencuri puteri
Tidak akan niat ini terhenti
Walau matahari terbit tinggi
Di atas kepala jemala diri

Maharaja Wana memulakan langkah...

Copyright © 2011 ninotaziz
All rights

vendredi, décembre 09, 2011

KLPAC : A Homecoming

After the actors are long gone, the chairs carry on the conversation
under the trees on the grounds of KLPac

When Iman and Inas were very young, they took part in various Actor's Studio's Theatre Camps. The classes were held at Plaza Putra. They were very fortunate to have Faridah Merican, Edwin Sumun and Jerrica Lai teaching them at the time. They took part in the Barbie Rapunzel show at MidValley and earned their very first pay cheques. I myself took lessons there for gamelan. Iman and I went on to play gamelan on the equally beautiful grounds of Rimbun Dahan, courtesy of Angela Kasturi.

KLPac Academy Motto : Be Extraordinary

Today Irani, Ilena and Ikesha continue the tradition.
Inas went back this year as well to attend the MTV Hip Hop
classes with Irani.

Here, Ilena and Ikesha pose under the KLPac Christmas Tree. Two weeks of acting and dancing classes were like a mini family vacation in KL.

After their graduation performance today, with certificates distributed by Datuk Faridah Merican herself, we treated ourselves to chocolates and fondue at home!


Thank you Deda Abdullah, Teacher Kimmy Kiew, Mark Beau De Silva, Lex Lakshman,
and many more of the
KLPAC : KUALA LUMPUR PERFORMING ARTS CENTRE

----------------------------------------------------------------
. Plaza Putra 2002

mercredi, décembre 07, 2011

IGNORE THE TITLE : A Discourse on Facebook

A friend gave me shout out about a week ago on Facebook with this rather long question. Before I go further,I would like to stress that my answer is based on my research and my beliefs. I only mean to share, not to impose.


IGNORE THE TITLE. I am setting aside the political aspects of his speech. Can anyone share on the authenticity of the historical aspects mentioned here? Panjang sangat video ni (ada 6 parts), tapi banyak 'fakta' tentang sejarah orang Melayu dan Malaysia yang kelihatan lain dari apa yang kita baca masa di sekolah. Zalina Abdul Aziz, you may know some Malay history?


CHEGU BARD PENJELASAN ISU CINCIN ROSMAH 30OCT2011 TEMIN PAHANG SIRI 1


Here are excerpts of my reply:

I am not sure which part you are referring to. I tried to listen to the different parts. However,from your question, I think you are asking about ALfonso de Alburquerque's invasion of Malacca. Alburqurque had personal hatred to Islam and fought against the Mamluks and the Ottomans. He once threatened to steal the remains of Nabi Muhammad. Whether this was a Perang Salib agenda, I would not know. Check Commentarios do Grande Affonso d'Alboquerque. Certainly, as Tome Pires mentioned, at the time, Melaka was the richest city of the orient. Alfonso wanted the true identity of the Spice Islands and found out after conquering Melaka.

As for history of Semenanjung, I have always maintained that we have a history of thousand of years, not just 500 to 600 years. Ptolemy maps, our old Hikayat, Chinese texts and even Gajah Mada's Sumpah Palapa (14th century) verify this. The Kedah Sultanate is the oldest. But remember, many preachers and traders alike passed through our lands, and did not stay. Their influence may have remained but they did not stay to run the country. Raja Chola attacked Kadram(Kedah) in the11th century. Why bother if there was no civilisation there. There was. The Kedah Sultanate.

***

As I said earlier, Alfonso had a personal hatred for Muslims. Against this backdrop, it was also the time Europe was at war with the Ottomans. This was late 1300s to 1500s. Portugal however was actually at war with the Egyptian Mamluk - and the war was control of the spice trade.

Question:

As what was written in world history....by?

My answer: The secret is to read between the lines and from multiple sources. I won't deny that there was the constant war between Muslims and Christians in that period. But remember, it was more a time of greed of the lords. At times Portugal was angry A...lfonso de Alburquerque put his hatred for the Muslims above the profitable trade. He was only vilidated and pardoned after his death by the King of Portugal. But still, Alfonso hated Muslims and this was his prime motivation to conquer Malacca - to kill the Arabs hold on the Spice Trade.

***

One point. This speaker wants to state that UMNO leaders are afraid to acknowledge the Hindu beginnings of this land. This may be so, however,consider the following factors.
1. The Hindus in the early Millenia in this region are different from the Indians here in Malaysia now. The first wave did... not stay.They introduced the religion, way of life, traded and went back to India. The Indians today generally came to Malaya during British admin, stayed and are truly Malaysians. These are two separate entities.
2. The Hindus during Melaka's fall, in particular Nina Chattu actually betrayed the Sultan (well, he was not a very good Sultan but he was the leader of Melaka) and helped Alfonso's entry and victory. Incidentally this was the same case with Sang Ranjuna Tapa in Tumasek/Singapura betraying the king to let in the Majapahit forces. Again, this has nothing to do with the Indians in Malaysia today.

But the speaker should not lump all facts into ONE fact.

***

The truth is , many politicians use history to confuse the people. We owe it to ourselves to read history if we are intrerested and find it out for ourselves. Everyone can read. This is the best form of getting information, not listening to speakers/politicians who skew it to their own political agenda.

Query :

Thanx ninot, informative. Kalau nak baca more nak dapat di mana? This guy kata he had to get it from the National University of Singapore? Any history on the other Hangs after the death of Hang Jebat then Hang Tuah? Were they Chinese? Did they ever exist?

My answer : According to text, Hang Tuah is son of Hang Mahmud and he was born in Sg Duyong. Yes, I was a little bit hasty in saying Sultan Mahmud was a bad leader. But he did allow division in Melaka. To be fair, he repented and wanted to realign his rule but it was too late. I read as many of the Hikayats and work hard at putting some sense into it [by reading up on history]. Professor Ding Choo Ming at Akademi Tamadun Melayu UKM helps me tremendously by discussing, teaching and giving me books to read. And I research on-line plus read as many books on world history in relation to the Peninsular.

***

You see, Melayu baru are so eager to say our heroes are China, our ancestors are Indians. I am proud to have friends of all races since I was a child, but I am very certain who I am. As a people. The old Malay manuscripts were very open.... The man from Goa is the man fr Goa. Cincu Wangkang is the trader fr China. Now a whole book was dedicated to Hikayat Hang Tuah and his exploits. If this was a book about a viking or a greek king, this would have been taken as gospel truth in essence. Not us, we seek to destroy all evidence of pride in ourselves. Who's doing?

***

I have done a bit more research on the above, this time looking to what Singaporeans themselves say about the matter. Some light reading took me to peruse and finally dig deep into The Singapore Dilemma - The Political and Educational Marginality of the Malay Community by Lily Zubaidah Rahim. Interesting, to say the least.

Firstly, it reveals that Section 152, Singapore Constitution reads 'It shall be a deliberate and conscious policy of the Government of Singapore (GOS) at all times to recognise the special position of the Malays who are the indigenous people of ...the island and who are IN MOST NEED OF ASSISTANCE and accordingly it shall be the resposibility of the GOS to protect, support, foster and promote their political educational, religious, economic, social and cultural interests, and the Malay language. - Whether this is practised - you will have to use your own judgement and reading the book helps...

Secondly, the author confirms and is of the same viewpoint as my own research in saying confidently that the Malays have been here for more than 1000 years, '...it was only in the fifteenth century that the conversion of Malays to Islam occ...ured in large numbers. Thus, for a period of nearly 1000 years prior to the spread of Islam in the 'Nusantara', Malay rulers and their subjects were predominantly Hindus. In historical terms, most Malays in the 'Nusantara' have thus been Hindus much longer than they have been Muslims. - This is supported by 'The Malay Annals, Sejarah Melayu.

Thirdly, the author says, 'During the tumultuous merger period, Lee Kuan Yew (ST, 5 May 1965) challenged the special constitutional position and privileges of Malays in Malaysia by alleging that Malays were no more indigenous than the Chine...se, Indians and other immigrant communities. ...Lee referred to Malaysian Malays of Indonesian descent as immigrants who should be on the same footing as the other immigrant communities. Similar inferences which cast doubt to the indigeneity of Malays continue to be made by non-malay Sinaporeans and some non-Malay politicians in Malaysia.'

Lastly, the author points out the the Gov of Singapore has largely promoted a strong self fulfilling 'belief promoted by the PAP government that the poor (Malays) are essentially responsible for their individual failings or CULTURAL DEFICIENCIES.' I pray and hope that we will never be placed in this position.

Hey, thanks! Enhanced what was said in the video huh? Anyways, when LKY said abt the CULTURAL DEFICIENCIES, was he referring to the Malays in general, or its leaders? (!!chuckle!!!)

No, this does not enhance what was said in the video. It actually refutes it. It says that the Malay rulers and subjects (orang Melayulah tu) have been here for more than 1500 years. The video implies the Indian Hindus have been here longer. LKY was referring to the poor Malays in general.

Thanks for sharing, very good info and discussion...thank you, thank you.

mardi, décembre 06, 2011

Doodles

Ikesha's idea of a princess playing in her garden


Ikesha's mermaid




Yesterday, she drew a tugboat with a net that only had one fish in it. However, there were three fishermen on board. I asked Ikesha, there is not enough fish for everyone. She answered,


'Ikan dah mati. Air dia kotor sangat.'

(The fish died. The water is too dirty.)

vendredi, décembre 02, 2011

Anak Raja Gondang

Di suatu zaman dahulu
Segak berdiri Duli Tuanku
Putera yang ditunggu
Bakal lahir menanti waktu

Aduhai Tuanku

Alangkah hiba dan malu
Seluruh istana rawan dan pilu
Permaisuri diam dan kelu
Melahirkan gondang yang satu

Kejam hukuman singkat

Raja murka yang teramat
Permaisuri di halau di laknat
Terseksa jiwa terasa berat
Lemah nyawa hilang semangat

Hari silih berganti

Gondang dibawa lari
Kehidupan baru dicari
Sehingga masa berlalu pergi
Istana tiada diingat lagi

Tapi hidup dirundung malang

Satu hari, terbelah gondang
Timbul putera terbilang
Menghibur hati ibu tersayang
Hingga tiba waktu balasan

Putera mencari restu

Tinggallah ibu sementara waktu
Putera ingin mengadap Tuanku
Membela nasib derita ibu
Tiada gunanya hidup begitu

Jauh perjalanan yang sayu

Saban hari ibu menunggu
Pulangnya putera yang satu
Di cari warta di awan biru
Di lautan dalam, di tasik bayu

Anak Raja Gondang...

The Conch Shell Prince

In ancient times
Standing proud,His Majesty
Lost his heir, the prince
When anger and distrust

Made him drive away his queen

samedi, novembre 26, 2011

5-car-crash on the NKVE


Now I know what it means when one says it was like it was happening to someone else.

It was surreal.

I was thinking about the payments I was going to make to my writers and translators and cheques I had to prepare when I suddenly realised the car in front me had stopped suddenly. Screeching tyres alarmed me.

I pressed on the brakes suddenly and thought to myself, "Would I stop in time?" Right then, everything moved so slowly. Then, BANG. The car stopped.

Just when I was about to feel relieved, another bang. And another.

Followed by silence.






Again my thoughts concentrated on the most important things, I guess. I felt myself all over. Felt okay. "Wow, alhamdulillah. The seat-belts really work." I opened the door, got off and counted the cars.

Five altogether.

A Merc, a BMW, my car, a WAJA and a MYVi right at the back. Stuck together like Ikesha's toy choo choo train.

Oops, I did not switch off the car. The engine was running. I switched it off.

Everyone looked pretty intense. What do I do? I called Rudy. After his warning about not taking any offers for tow trucks, he told me to stay put. He's coming. Where would I go? We were in the third lane on the NKVE at 10.00am in the morning on a working day. I assured him I will be right here waiting, just before the jejantas Sg Buloh. "Now, try not to be extra friendly. And only give your details to the car owner in front of you," he concluded his Car Accident tutorial 101.

I put down the phone. Well, you know what I mean. Then I walked over to the WAJA owner.

"Hello, saya Zalina." "Nasri."

"Hi, I am Zalina," I said to the BMW owner. "Hi, Michelle."

"Hello, saya Zalina. Auntie, Uncle ok?" "Ok..." "Nama Uncle?" "Saya Chang." "Oh, Mr Chang."

"Hi... Zalina." "Saya, Wong." said the MyVi owner.

To be continued.




____________________________________


Not much to say except Rudy came to take care of things, took me to the police station and settled the workshop stuff. After that he sent me to my Mum's to rest.


However, there is one thing I would like to state. I was so lucky. For three things.


That Allah took care of my state of mind and did not let me panic, swerve to the left or right, or let go of the steering - it was my first major accident.


That Allah kept my body safe, intact and my spirits levelled. Calm at the time.


That Allah enlightened me to extend my hand to those involved in the accident. We ended up being very nice to each other, there were no arguments, just relieved that we were all okay. At the police station, there were no conflicts in our statements - this was amazing to the police.


This Maal Hijrah I start my year full of gratitude for the life I have.

lundi, novembre 21, 2011

Malaysian Tigers, then and tonight


Malaysian Tigers, Tasmania AUSTRALIA 1967



I dedicate Malaysia's historic win in the SEA games finals against Indonesia tonight to my Dad, the late Abdul Aziz bin Salehuddin (back row, fifth from left) who was an ardent football fan, a loving father and a gentleman who always, always said thank you.


Al-Fatihah.



---------------------------------------------------
Coach Ong Kim Swee teaches his Tigers and all of us what it means to be Malaysian. Respect for ourselves, our flag, our King and parents.

Thank you, Coach.

mardi, novembre 15, 2011

UBIQUITOUS

What is it about this word that everyone suddenly wants to use it?

I have seen it three times today.

u·biq·ui·tous
adjective
existing or being everywhere, especially at the same time; omnipresent: ubiquitous fog; ubiquitous little ants.

"We (the indivisible divinity that works in us) have dreamed the world. We have dreamed it resistant, mysterious, visible, ubiquitous in space and firm in time, but we have allowed slight, and eternal, bits of the irrational to form part of its architecture so as to know that it is false. "


Jorge Luis Borges (1899–1986), Argentinian author. "Avatars of the Tortoise" ["Avatares de la tortuga"], Discussion [Discusión] (1932).




Now what does that quote mean? Sounds like it came straight from Matrix. Anyone?



Well, I certainly would not want to use it. Ubiquitous. Unnecessarily, I mean.

lundi, novembre 14, 2011

OLD NUSANTARA


An old friend , Sadie Sulaiman, asked me what is OLD NUSANTARA. This was my impromptu answer.

I would appreciate your thoughts on this.

OLD NUSANTARA is a world slowly being eroded in our own country, the playground of Nusantara for a thousand years if not more. The Peninsular was the bridge connecting all people from the Philippines archipelago to the Indonesia far end islands. Champa, Siam throughout Indo-China. While the language spoken all over the Nusantara were varied with Tagalog, Javanese, Bugis and Thai up north, we were the keepers of the Malay language - the lingua franca of the Nusantara.

The kingdoms of Gangga Nagara, Majapahit, Srivijaya, Sailendra, Mataram, Langkasuka, Ayuthaya, Melaka and Patani represent some of the lost worlds. Some have monuments preserved from ancient times like the Borobodur Temple despite being buried for centuries under volcanic ash, others retain their classical manuscript as a reminder of a grandeur past like Nekaragatama, Sejarah Melayu, Hikayat Patani , Misa Melayu and more.

Others, like Singapore wants to now present their Makyung, Angklung and Gamelan to the world (imported from Rantau Panjang and Terengganu expertise), the Balinese of course is strong on their culture while Thailand has captured the world of food and craftsmanship. Which is well and good as we can only survive if a large body of nations acknowledge the lure and beauty of the Nusantara.

But we must make a stand and stake our own claim and expertise.

So I do my bit to promote the Malay Hikayat, which God willing, no one will take away from us - if we are careful and diligent. I publish Malay Hikayat under Utusan Publishers and just as diligently continue to write. I try to provide a good dose of research that can be translated into worthy projects, hopefully movies and others for coming generations.

What is your take?

dimanche, novembre 13, 2011

Rememberance

Pakcik from Almanar wrote about Rememberance Day here . His blog somehow often sparks nuggets of inspiration for me to leave him a poem in his comment box even though he says that my poetry, while beautiful, escapes him! Anyway, Pakcik kindly featured my little poem on rememberance on his blog.

By Ninotaziz
----------------
It is the way of the world
Time and tide, await no man

Except in the heart
Where memories reside

And yet there are those
Who belittle our hold to the past

I say to them...

Learning and teachings
Would be meaningless lessons

Why, civilisation was built
upon the memories of man!

dimanche, octobre 30, 2011

Kering kontang

In reply to Sir Pok Deng:

Obviously I worry about the way hikayat and malay legends disappear. I am now trying hard to read syair in the jawi format as this is the origin and many are kept in museums in this format still.

Kadang kala terdetik hati berfikir, mengapakah hikayat Melayu, tradisi Melayu (wayang kulit, makyung, wau dsb) dipinggirkan dari aktiviti pelancungan negara. All you see is food, flora fest and shopping. Adakah kerana aktiviti kebudayaan ini terlalu berunsurkan Kemelayuan dan menyerlahkan budaya terawal di bumi ini adalah budaya dan bahasa melayu polinesia?

Pantun telah lenyap
Ditelan zaman
Syair lama lesap
Adakah berterusan

Inikah namanya
Ethnic cleansing halus
Tak disedari kita
Bangsa terus haus

Kering kontang.

dimanche, octobre 23, 2011

Siti Dewi (Part I)



Dewa Serajuk di Sinar Runduk
Dewa Berembun di Sinar Naik
Masing masing tidak tunduk
Masing masing tidak berbaik

Dewa Serajuk ingin beristeri
Kepingin isteri seteru
Aduhai…Siti Andang Dewi
Puteri kayangan gebu

Dewa Berembun datang
Sebalik igauan dalang
Siti Andang Dewi ditatang
Dewa Serajuk menghilang

Turun ke bumi, terlahir
Putera Batara Baha
Manusia pada zahir
Itulah Maharaja Wana

Siti Andang Dewi tertipu
Bila berdepan suami tercinta
Maruah diri begitu malu
Turun ke bumi menuntut bela

Menghapus Dewa Sarajuk terkutuk…

***

Dewa Berembun begitu hiba
Apabila permaisuri menghilang
Dicari, diigau, dimimpi, dipuja
Malam berganti siang

Rindu tak dapat dibendung
Takhta di beri Dewa Yang Kenung
Negara kita baiklah dijaga
Beta turun ke bumi nyata

Inilah Canggar Api
Jangan sekali-kali leka
Kuasa bagai gunung berapi
Menghapus musuh yang ada

Manusia hancur, bukit runtuh, dewa cair

***


Maharaja Wana masih liar
Dihukum Batara Baha membawa diri
Bertapa Maharaja Wana terbiar
1000 tahun di Langkapuri

Akhirnya merajai seluruh bumi
Cuma negeri dihujung dunia
Sirat Maharaja nama diberi
Maharaja sungguh mulia

Beristerikan Mandudari jelita
Ibu angkat Dewa Berendam
Lahir mantan Seri Rama
Ingin melepaskan rindu dendam

Menjelajah mencari Siti Andang Dewi

***

Maharaja Wana beristeri semua
Beranak pinak makhluk durjana
Ular, gajah, rimau seluruh benua
Mengetuai angkatan bala

Namun Wana mencari isteri
Bakal bergelar Maharani
Kepingin pula Mandudari
Tidak berubah naluri

Akan tetapi Mandudari
Bijak akal, sakti berilmu
Mandi serum mengupas daki
Mandudaki jelmaan debu

Tiada cacat cela, dibadan
Wajah seraut, rambut seikal
Bagai bulan penuh rupawan
Rupa tidak dapat disangkal

Maharaja Wana terpedaya, leka ditawan

***

Mandudaki terus berpantang
Hilang bulan, timbul kandungan
Ahli Nujum bertilik rentang
Rahsia zaman berzaman

Anak ini dari kayangan
Datang menuntut hutang
Hutang malu zaman berzaman
Tuanku dalam bahaya karang

Bayi ditebus, di layarkan
Tasik tujuh, sungai pun tujuh
Tiba di penghujung pelayaran
Di wat Maharisi Empat Puluh

Siti Andang Dewilah bayi suci
Sampai ke bumi bergelar Siti Dewi
Dibelai dididik Maharisi Kala Api
Hingga anak dara sunti

Semua memandang, gila berahi



Copyright 2011 ninotaziz

All rights reserved

jeudi, octobre 20, 2011

THE END OF AN ERA : A TRIBUTE TO BIK

Bik Een binti Sacin with Ikesha


Bik came into our lives in 2006. We were moving to our new home, far away from the madding crowd. Far away from Tok Wan and family. All that was familiar.

Familiar babysitter. Familiar routes. Familiar routines.


So my friend Ain introduced someone heaven-sent. When we first saw her photo, I was delighted because we needed someone a little bit older to keep an eye on four girls ranging from four to thirteen. Toddler to teen. Terrifying. Tender.

And little did we know, a baby too - barely nine months later.

From the first moment we met her at the airport, Ilena immediately felt at ease with Bik. She cuddled close to Bik all the way home from the airport. Soon we forgot life as it had been before Bik came into our lives. She went with us almost everywhere. To the movies. The first movie we took Bik to was Nanny Mc Phee. We went to Kelantan. To Pangkor.

Picnics at the playground.

Bik never allowed the girls to go on the school bus unattended. For five years, at lunchtime, she would faithfully wait outside the house for the girls to arrive. In the afternoon, after the girls have had their lunch and done their homework, they would all walk together to Uztazah's house for Quran classes. Bik would again faithfully wait for the girls. Exclaiming how well Ikesha is doing at the end of the day.


The love of Bik's eye was of course Ikesha. Neighbours talked about how Ikesha and Bik chatted away in the morning after Ikesha came home from kindergarten. They would sit at our infamous [now gone after thieves carried the set away right in front of Bik's eyes] wrought iron garden set, having lunch. Ikesha would then insist on gathering flowers. When Bik went back to Indonesia for Hari Raya , almost a yearly affair, she would be calling Ikesha every other day just to hear her voice.


When Iman moved to college, Bik made sure she had her favourite sambal sotong when we visited. Bik cooked all Inas' favourite dishes when she comes home. I always had tea waiting and sambal ikan bilis and biscuits for that late night snack when I was busy writing. In fact, after work, Bik and I would chat about the day as I prepare the homework for the girls the next day.

Gardening was our shared passion.

A couple of years back, Bik got REALLY ill. We feared for her life. That story was told here. Thank God Bik survived. But we knew then, she was getting weaker and weaker by the year. Her feet not as strong. The stairs became more and more daunting.


In addition, Bik's financial status back home has made her one of the richest ladies in her village. She has paddy fields, orchards and three houses. Recently, she built a madrasah for the children. It was time for Bik to take a rest.

To retire.


Before she went home for good, Bik's request was that I really take care of her chillies. After years trying, finally the chilly trees she planted are producing lovely and healthy green chillies!

She would be so proud.


A few nights ago, Ikesha added this to our nightly doa before going to sleep.


'Ya Allah...Selamatkan lah Bik ku...'

dimanche, septembre 18, 2011

PALESTINE TURNS TO THE UN

'despite pleas from the US and threats from Israel', it seems finally, the domino effect from Israel's attack on the Turkish ship in 2010, killing nine Turkish countrymen, is coming on full force. A heightened sense of expectation is in the air.

This week, Mahmoud Abbas will address the UN and make a landmark bid for statehood after more than 20 years of failed negotiations and empty promises. For many of those years we saw Yasser Arafat trying his best to bring about a semblance of peace to this land.

Will we be dissappointed by a crushing veto? Would it matter?

The hands of fate are running along relentlessly.

My previous post on the Palestinian issue and the Israel regime can be found here.

vendredi, septembre 02, 2011

Cameron Highland

On the way back to KL through Cameron Highland. Goodbye Rantau Panjang!

We arrived too late and it was decided that it was best if we spend the night. We stayed at Tanah Rata. Oh dear... The development in Brinchang has spoilt the natural beauty of the area. But it was still a lovely place.

The next day, Iman and Inas showed us the way to Cactus Valley. But before that, we had breakfast at Restaurant Kumar. There was a family from India with 4 daughters and a Chinese family with 3 sons next to our table.

This pictutre was taken just as our food arrived. We were all minding our own business. By the end of breakfast however, we were joking and laughing as if we were old friends. The conversation went on like this...

Table I : Oh...4 girls. How lovely!

Table II : Oh, these are not my daughters (young gentleman from India who wants lots of chili in his french toast smiled) They belong to them (pointing to the older couple at the end of the table)

Table II : Oh, daughters are the best!

Table I : Don't say that! This table has 3 boys...(laughter) Secretly, we are quite jealous! (Table I has 5 daughters)
Table III : Oh, I am secretly jealous of you too!

(Laughter!)

The next stop at Cactus Valley where the star attraction was of course .... strawberries? Ikesha had a field day posing for the camera. This was one of her 20 shots.

Daddy and the girls finally got their turn

Inas HIGHLY recommended a visit to the Cactus Valley Restaurant. We ordered 5 bowls of strawberries and cream, one set of strawberries and chocolate fondue and one strawberry tea and scone set.

Heavenly.

Ikesha pouring me some tea.

Daddy eyeing the scone.


The girls had a wonderful day together!

mardi, août 30, 2011

Rantau Panjang - Part II


It was a strange Merdeka Celebration indeed.

We had just come home from Kota Bharu visiting and beraya. By the time we got back, it was close to midnight. Rudy sent the girls home and asked me if I wanted to go out again.
Frankly,
I was very tired.
But then he said, "Ada orang main dikir,"
knowing full well I would jump up and follow him.
We went by motorbike. Me riding pillion. And arrived just in time for the fireworks. In Kelantan, mercun is always spectacular.

It was a modest clearing. There were Malaysian flags everywhere. No party signs, not one single one. The dikir group was already assembled. Rudy met his cousins and friends. After greeting family, I stood transfixed, enjoying the calm festive camaraderie. Wholesomeness.

The songs were familiar to me. But the last one got to me.

Hidup bersatu
Amalan kita
Hapuske sengketo
Teruske cito-cito
Satu Malaysia...

Harmony
A way of life
One Malaysia

As I was about to leave, I was a bit teary. It was quite emotional, this simple celebration.
Then I saw their photos on the wall.
Six Prime Ministers.

Tunku. Tun Razak. Tun Hussein Onn. Tun Mahathir. Pak Lah. Najib Razak.

Selamat Hari Merdeka. My Country.

Rantau Panjang - Part I


This was our house last night, lighted up by the continuous
fireworks display courtesy of the neighbours.

You know you are in Rantau Panjang when you are in a different country after
crossing a treacherous river to buy your groceries. It was Ikesha's first boat ride and she was such a natural. I love the floating jetties that remind me of my childhood
in Chenor Temerloh Pahang.


f row - ikesha, ilena
b row irani, inas, daddy, mak and iman

Selamat Hari Raya Maaf Zahir Batin
dari kami sekeluarga di Rantau Panjang

vendredi, août 26, 2011

My Raya

I seem to remember Ramadhan better than Hari Raya. Here is one of my recollection of my very first experience fasting. But then, this is my post for Raya. Perhaps, my fancy would take flight and I would remember the best moments of Raya as I go along.

When I was a little girl, about nine years of age, we took a family photograph for our first Hari Raya card. My mother just gave me the photo to scan a few weeks ago. I was shocked, I was in a very short dress and my brother was in shorts. Mak was in baju kurung but Encik (my Dad) was in his bush jacket!

And yet, as I reflect on my earliest Hari Raya, I remember it was of course the occasion to go home to Chenor. A quaint kampung if there was any. Sungai Pahang beckons and there were rambutan trees everywhere. We played badminton in the evenings. And ran in the kebun getah. Dad had hunting trips! Grandfather Tok Salehuddin enjoyed his dinner with the table filled up - a hugh lazy susan table that could fit 10 people. The whiff of ikan goreng and daging pacak from the cupboard that stood in water containers and and had gauzy wired cabinet doors - ooshmuryummy! We had fruits of every kind - apart from rambutan, all from the garden and coconut - kelapa gading!

The night before raya we couldn't sleep, the excitement was certainly the highlight of the year. Whether it was Tok Salehuddin's grand lavish cengal mansion or Tok Jaafar's small and filled to the brim kampung house ten minutes away, both were in full Raya spirit of baking, cooking and sleeping all over the house with midnight rendezvous of chatting with the cousins.

At night we had grand main mercun affairs. Houses against houses, the skies truly ablaze with the display. 30 das, 60 das and mercun putar. Bunga api and mercun roket.

Lemang and rendang were home cooked in the garden, and I know the older teenagers were all a-courting while they fill the bamboo with glutinous rice and stir the dodol and wajik. The air was pregnant with riang ria atmosphere and the whiff of goodies were oh so sedap, almost Arabian Night like in its spicy entrapment.

Duit Raya? Well it was nice. Encik had all this stack of 50sen coins wrapped in paper and he would give two pieces away to everyone. I didn't remember how much I got but I remember my great grandmother giving me a ruby ring which was lost the very same night!

Later on, I stayed with Grandma and Grandpa in Chenor, so Hari Raya would begin with picking up my aunties and uncles from the train station as they return from MCKK, SDAR, STF and the likes ... a little bit like the train from Hogswatz. Only, theirs were better as the coaches had sleeping berth. Oh, how I longed to go to such schools and how disappointed I was that I went to Seri Puteri in the beginning because I couldn't take the train.

Now I celebrate Raya in Kelantan most years. It still has that old kampung charm and yet I do miss my family, cousins and childhood friends. Sham, Ros and Saharbanun, this is for you.

Remember those Raya cards with lovely pictures of old malay houses and the coconut trees?

Selamat Hari Raya. Maaf Zahir Batin.

Keep safe and drive safe.

mercredi, août 24, 2011

Ikesha's garden

Pakcik Hassan from Al-Manar wanted to find out about the lovely Aloe Vera. That reminded me that I haven't posted about my favourite pastime after reading and writing. Gardening gives so much pleasure and enhances our meals, always a special treat when we include some greens and appetisers, ulam like bunga kantan, pegaga and bunga lengkuas. And ulam raja. My grandmothers both left me with this legacy and I always think of them when I am here planting, weeding or watering. Ikesha and Inas are my green fingered daughters.



Ikesha loves flowers. Here is her arrangement of bunga kantan, misai kucing and what we call the red flower...

This is for Ikesha when she comes home from the kindergarten. A half bowl of cherries we picked from the hugh tree behind the house. We only pick from the bottom of the tree. I tell the girls the rest are for thhe birds...



Ikesha helped me plant this pomegranate tree. We have three more at the back of the house. This is the first fruit from Ikesha's tree.

This is our bunga kantan or a type of wild ginger flower. It is lovely when cooked with fish dishes, and exotic when eaten raw as an appetiser with rice. We slice it real fine (julienne). As we say, sedap!



Some fruits from our garden, ciku and nona. We also have kedundung, mangoes and longan. I only have space for small trees about 5' to 8' tall. Except for the cherry tree which is now 3 years old and 12' tall. We used to have passionfruit over our fence, I am trying to regrow them.


Here I introduce the red flower comes from...surrounded by bunga melur a type of jasmine which sends a beautiful fragrance throughout the open lawn. I use white flowered plants for this purpose, we have kasidang, jasmine and fragrant white orchids ...

This is Ilena stepping out. She looks tired, the girl is fasting. Photo taken by Ikesha. For a five year old (in about a month's time), she is quite a talented girl!


mardi, août 23, 2011

Pelat

My angelic five year old daughter Ikesha is pelat - and a while ago, to the highest degree. I suppose I can blame our household that speaks in Bahasa Melayu, Bahasa Indonesia, English, sings in French and at times, speak Kelantanese.

The problem is Ikesha understands everybody. Oh! Rue the one who fails to understand her 2 to 3 minute commentary of the day.

Anyway, we see the light at the end of the tunnel. After watching the final instalment of Harry Potter, she has finally conquered the words Voldermort, Snape and Slytherin, Harry, Happy, Hello (anything that starts with H), Weaseley. And her favourite - Dumbledore. Ron still gives her problems.

With all her difficulties at forming words, she is the most focused student during her mengaji lessons at Uztazah's house!

Thank you Ayoh Wang for sharing!

dimanche, août 14, 2011

I feel for Chong Wei














Lee Chong Wei.

We were there with him every step of the way. At our kitchen table. I couldn't breathe at times.

He clawed his way forward with every stroke, smash and net play (quite dangerously).

And yet it was not meant to be.

The nets did not favour us. The referees were tense and weren't sure whether the shuttle was in or out.If we felt bad and disappointed, the national shuttler must have felt a thousand times worst. I can't imagine how that must feel for we were so crestfallen when Lin Dan threw his shirt off in joyous abandon. I felt at that moment, I could be wrong.

For Lin Dan, it was personal. For Chong Wei, it was the pride of the country riding on him. And he bore it with a sense of responsibility so profound.

Chong Wei was a worthy opponent, no doubt. It was a fierce battle between the dragon and the tiger. But in my heart, Chong Wei won the ultimate prize. Adoration from 28 million fans. For though he lost, the nation today is clearly behind him. We feel his pain. We urge him on.

We do not forsake him.

As he did not forsake us.

One game. One vision. One Malaysia.

P/S Congratulations Nicole David. And hurrah for Asyraf Haziq who kept his composure better than some double or triple his age when addressed by foreign media.

mercredi, août 03, 2011

Asian of The Year 1998 and IMF

During the 90s, Anwar Ibrahim was the 'brilliant' Finance Minister of Malaysia, which was one of the four dragons of Asia to watch out for. One of his measures to put our economy in check was to promote Inflasi Sifar. In this, then PM, Tun M's approach and the Finance Minister's were at opposite ends. Following the IMF doctrine as far as possible, AI placed very stringent measures including strict housing loans and credit cards measures in what seemed overnight - suddenly a whole generation of young executives n families were in serious trouble. While the aim was prudence, he was ruthless in implementation. And he went on to smile on the cover of NEWSWEEK etc. It is this disregard for the people during his heyday I will always remember. I survived the times, but the memory remains as a strong reminder of what a thoroughly self righteous leader can do.

View covers here, here and here.

By the way, the last cover to me was akin to the saying, washing your dirty laundry in public.

Call me old fashioned, but the Malay in me didn't like that at all.

samedi, juillet 30, 2011

Malaysian population

The Star just released the latest stats here.

dimanche, juillet 17, 2011

A decade of Harry

For us the journey began in 2002 when Iman started reading Harry Potter. She was nine. Inas started the next year when she was eight. This was the magic of J K Rowling. She turned a whole generation of kids into avid readers.

We were part of the crowd who waited outside bookstores and cinemas. And some years, when times were lean, I was sad I could not be among the earliest to buy the next Harry Potter book. Now, of course we have the full set for the younger ones to enjoy.

It was always a family thing - at Death Hallows Part 2, all seven of us trotted to the movies at 12 midnight. Now Ikesha is an avid fan...she is turning five this September! And Iman is already 18!

Harry is one of the connecting factors for us and we will always dream of visiting The Wizarding World!

mercredi, juillet 13, 2011

The catfish


Ikan keli tak dapat ke ulu

Empangan jadi penunggu


Ibu keli hanya merindu
Tiadalah lagi anak keli


Hilanglah semua anak keli
Nak ke mana lagi ibu

Nak kemana lagi ibu keli
Hanya boleh turun ke laut

Ikan keli turun ke laut
Pantang dicabar penyu

Pantang dicabar penyu jantan

Biar putih tulang, jangan putih mata



Where will the catfish go


The catfish can no longer
go home to spawn upriver


The dams and men block
The way with engineering rock

She has no choice really
but to go onwards to sea


The unknown might attack
She may never come back

Yet she will evolve, unlike her father

and become stronger than ever...

lundi, juillet 11, 2011

Irani recites Ikrar Rukun Negara

The five sisters all have different strengths and preferences. Talents. Irani is the one who has to study extra hard, and struggles at Math. But she studies everyday, and sometimes cries when she feels that it is too difficult.

However, she excels in arts, music and kajian tempatan. She loves to sing and can sing Malay, Kadazan and French songs. Oh yes, English too. And dances Indian dance, Malay dance and any other she can follow easily. Datin Rani, who dances like a dream at 70, told me, you must send Irani for formal dancing classes.

Her Uztad in school decided Irani should recite the Ikrar and she did so today at assembly in her PBSM uniform. I am so happy for her.

And am reminded of the words we all read a long long time ago.

Ikrar Rukun Negara
Maka kami rakyat Malaysia berikrar akan menumpukan seluruh tenaga dan usaha kami untuk mencapai cita-cita negara berdasarkan atas perinsip-prinsip yang berikut:
- Kepercayaan kepada Tuhan
- Kesetiaan kepada Raja dan Negara
- Keluhuran Perlembagaan
- Kedaulatan Undang-undang
- Kesopanan dan Kesusilaan

How timely.


 

samedi, juillet 09, 2011

Right thinking rakyat?

Slamming the mass arrests, Ambiga said their original goals of rallying for electoral reform has grown into something bigger as it has stirred emotions amongst “right thinking rakyat”.

That smacks of Ambiga being utterly patronising. What next? If you are not with us, you are against us?

I am certainly not her rakyat, I am rakyat Malaysia. With the soul of Malaya deep inside. I will accept being a subject of the king, but I draw the line there.

Anak Anak kecil main api...

vendredi, juillet 08, 2011

Vincent



The sun ablazing
Unreal, but the heat
Arising from the earth

Burns

The bluest night
Of the cafe
Lingers til dawn

Inviting

Rolling stars
Upon the midnight
Blanket, the skies

Alive

The cypress trees
And crescent moon
Sick and tortured

Menacing

Irises dancing
In the wind
Lightness of being

Joy

Wound wrapped up
Pain, borne of rejection
Consumed by his art

The artist, forlorn


Le soleil brille,
Et la chaleur
montant de la terre

Brûlures

---------------------------------------

Written for the Magpie Tales

dimanche, juillet 03, 2011

Malaysian football tonight

Mohamad Aidil Abd Radzak , Safiq Rahim and Sharbinee Allawee - new heroes of Malaysia.

When I was nine or ten years old, I was chosen to present a bouquet of flowers to the Sultanah at the beginning of a football game held at stadium Darul Makmur, Pahang. That was one of my earliest memories on watching a football game at the stadium.. Since then, I was an ardent fan of my state's football team especially in the 70s and 80s. On the national side, Mohktar Dahari, Jamal Nasir, Santokh Singh, Soh Chin Aun were our heroes then.

Father and I shared bonding moments during the World Cup. In fact, my greatest memories of office camaraderie was during the World Cup seasons as well. And I turned to football and volleyball to encourage staff productivity, interaction and bonding in the nineties.

I remember the days of Kevin Keegan, Gary Lineker. And when Rooney burst onto the scene at the Euro Cup 2006, I took notice. And I harbored a puppy love fascination for Christiano Ronaldo. Respect for Lionel Messi.

But sadly, for a long long time, I took no notice of the Malaysian team any longer. It was depressing to a certain extent with embarassing defeats being the order of the day. But then K Rajagobal, who made Kelantan feverish on football, came on to the scene. In July 2009, Datuk K. Rajagobal was named the new coach of Malaysia replacing B. Sathianathan as head coach of Malaysia. While he was coach of the Under-23 team, K. Rajagobal led Malaysia to their fifth SEA Games gold medal and also led Malaysia to qualify for the second round of the 2010 Asian Games. Good times were set to roll.

Malaysia became the champions of the 2010 AFF Suzuki Cup for the first time under Datuk K. Rajagobal.

Tonight we saw world class saves and goals from Malaysia. Sure, we lost to Taiwan. But three penalties to Taiwan - one dubious, I would say? And one brilliant penalty save by Sharbinee makes Malaysia the winners tonight.

And we march on...see you, Singapore at the end of the month.

jeudi, juin 30, 2011

Sailing To Glendorra




Hold my hand, Eva
And never let me go
Whisper in my ear, forever
How you love me so...

But the boats to Glendorra
Are sailing tonight my dear
Listen how the wind calls
Listen to my unspoken fears

Your wings, barely mortal
Your heartbeat next to mine
Charts our lonely existance
As your days measure my lifetime

I long to sail with you, I must
To the land of elven lore
But my hands would turn to dust
While yours, smooth forever more

And yet I would choose my path
Live a life on the journey
Gaze at stars, twinkling above
As the world listens to me

Singing on the boat to Glendorra...

Pour Glendorra

Je choisirais mon chemin
Vivre une vie sur le trajet
Aimez étoiles, un clin-dessus
Alors que le monde m'écoute

Chanter sur le bateau pour Glendorra



Mencari Glendorra

Ku belayar tinggi di awan
Pelayaran hidupku tersendiri
Ditemani bintang berkelipan
Dengarlah rintihanku ini

Berlayar mencari Glendorra

--------------------------------------------

Written for the Magpie Tales and OneShotPoetry

mardi, juin 21, 2011

Five books on my table

Iman is now at matriculation college and finally enjoys a measure of independence. Inas is living with her grandma Tok Wan so that she can attend aschool which offers engineering drawing to pursuit her life long ambition to be an architect. Therefore, we have two unused rooms. So, I combined their belongings, whatever is still here, mainly their books, posters and furniture, and converted Iman's room into their private den when they come home. I ended up with one empty room. But not for long. I moved a console table from the kitchen, a chair, a bookcase, a wooden chest from the living room and some pots from the garden into the spare room, and then transfered all my Malaysiana books here - hence my Nusantara reading room was born..

It is still a meagre collection. I have one shelf of Hikayat and syair, one shelf of modern Malaysiana books by authors like Tash Aw, Karim Raslan and Adibah Amin. Tan Sri Adam Kadir and Datin Vasanthi Ramachandran. And more.

But on my writing desk, next to late grandpa's old typewriter I have placed six books (the one I am reading is on the side table in the same room) I consider my favourite contemporary Malaysian books.

Ranjau Sepanjang Jalan, Shahnon Ahmad
1515, Faisal Tehrani
Tan Sri A Samad Ismail Menulis
Harmony Silk Factory, Tash Aw
IMAM, Abdullah Hussain
The Twice Born, Uma Mahendran


By the way, late Grandma's tea set is also in this room.

I love my new Nusantara Room.

vendredi, juin 17, 2011

The neighbourhood gas station

I was rushing for a press conference.

Never mind the mismatched shoes that had to be changed and quick bite into my kaya toast at the door. I was out of the house by 7.00am as planned. Quickly settled into my morning drive which I usually enjoy. But this morning, instead of my meditations and songs, I was busy smsing my staff on the last minute preparations. Etc etc etc

Suddenly, Bang! gduk...gduk...gduk. The car sounded real weird. I stopped the car and stepped out. Ahah! A flat tyre. What do I do? No, I am not one of those ladies who will get down to it and change my flat tyre. It's one of my few shortcomings. We can't all be perfect. Super Mum. Super career woman. Super dunking all life's curveballs.

Luckily, I was quite close to the Shell station.

I stop by this station every morning for the office newspaper and Kit Kat and stuff (I know it's not economical) but seriously, this people give me the right perk before I go to work. They say Hello, notice if you're late or early, remind me to take out my Bonus Link card because Rudi always does that, etc etc tease me about being the most ardent Kit Kat fan. Say something nice when you've made an extra effort with the way you look. They are just super nice.

Well this morning of my disaster of phenomenal proportions, they came to my rescue. When they saw me trudging along, the staff did not hesitate. They changed my tyre, and engine oil. Within 30 minutes I was on my way again - with a smile...

The neighbourhood gas station is like the internet. You can find everything there. The news. Social network. Cookies.

Thank you Shell.

--------------------------------------------------------------------

A couple of years ago, coming back from Kelantan, fire came out from under our car at a Shell station in Grik. Before we knew it, the emergency shut off was triggered, the staff dragged us away from the car while their colleagues put out the fire within a slit second.

They were so well trained.

We ended up sleeping at the rest house and the episode was a little adventure. Alhamdulillah..

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

Anyway, as I was leaving the gas station, I remembered. Aaahhh.....I forgot to baca Bismillah and ayat qursi that morning. You see, life has its little lessons...

------------------------------------------------------------------------

mardi, juin 07, 2011

Two Thieves and a Wrought Iron Table



Look at this table. It is a heavy and solid wrought iron table. My five daughters had wonderful tea sessions, watermelon glory and main masak masak on it. Rudi and I had late night caps out in the garden after a busy day here. My maid shared many hours with Ikesha while waiting for the other kids to come home from school.

Now it is no more.

One scrawny looking boy jumped over our back gate with his white helmet still secured, placed the pot of bunga melur which was on the table onto the ground carefully and handed over the table to his friend. Bik arrived at the scene and shouted at them from the kitchen. This cool cucumber proceeded to load the chair over too before they sped off on their equally scrawny motorbike into the horizon.

Our poor Bik was totally shaken. The girls meanwhile, Ikesha, Irani and Ilena were upstairs. Irani, quickly locked the door and barricaded it with the long sofa. Bik called and I called the police from the office. When the police arrived, the girls finally came out from the room.

I am just glad everyone is safe and sound. I came home and after listening to the full description of the incident, thanked God for looking after my family.

Now, what do I do with one single wrought iron chair?

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

By the way, yesterday, a flock of birds surrounded Bik while she was in the garden. She told me yesterday that the birds were chirping away while they ate from her hands. Never happened before. Now we are left wondering. Were the birds trying to tell us something?

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Remedy - treated Bik and the girls to bakso and nasi goreng at Medan. Then spent the night singing French songs - the girls practiced singing Frere Jacque, Allouette and Au Loin de Decembre for a'lliance francaise karaoke session. Finally, they drifted off to sleep.

More wrought iron table memories

samedi, juin 04, 2011

WORK IN PROGRESS


A year ago, my editor over at Utusan Publishers asked me to write a book on my garden. However, I was 'embroiled' in Hikayat and after that, Legends Of Asia. So IFTG was a project shelved for quite some time.

After writing Legends Of Asia, I no longer have any appetite for hikayat, folklore and legends. Well, for the time being at least. And yet, not writing felt strange. So I revisited IFTG and arranged a meeting with Mr Lam Peng Sam.

Mr Lam was a columnist for gardening in many of the top dailies including STAR, UTUSAN and NEW STRAITS TIME. I have always enjoyed his articles and home-made marmalade. Both Mr Lam and Mrs Lam and their daughter Evelyn are good friends. Needless to say, I was grateful and relieved - not to mention happy, when Mr Lam agreed to co-write IFTG with me.

This would be a collaboration of the young and old, the expert and the enthusiast on many levels. I look forward to this journey.

---------------------------------------------------------------

Photo : My passionfruit on our garden fence

mercredi, juin 01, 2011

Just for show ?

I admit. I was one of those enamoured, inspired and taken up by the charms of Barack Obama ever since his voice - compelling and sure, took on the world and promised change. I still am.

But last week, when President Obama spoke at the AIPAC Conference, I listened to his whole speech patiently while he stressed the US unbreakable support for Israel. My heart slowly crushed. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee lobbyists sought :

1 - Billions in aid to Israel for fiscal year 2012 as well as ask for support for the overall foreign aid budget.[No wonder some in Joplin are still upset with the aid they receive...]

2 - To pass new legislation that imposes tough new sanctions on Iran. The bill, the Iran Threat Reduction Act, will prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons - yes,this reaffirms THE THREAT].

3 - Called on the Obama administration to oppose a unilateral Palestinian declaration of statehood as well as threaten a major change in U.S. relations with the Palestinian Authority, including a suspension of U.S. aid, if it includes unreformed Hamas members in its government.

And the President gave them what they wanted to hear. And to the rest of us he gave a piecemeal offering - that real peace can only come from sincere peace engagement with the whole Arab nations etc etc etc...

And what happens today?

An Israeli firm, Ofer Brothers Group [and its Singapore based subsidiary - is this any surprise, sorrylah...] is accused of trade with Iran.

Marah big brother...

But is it just for show ?

In any case, the highly charismatic and handsome Mr Obama is back on track and hugely predicted to win in 2012.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

Mr Obama rises to the occasion, yet again

It was a tough day for the President at the United States. Unemployment at 9.1%? That's serious. An alarming 0.9 person out of 100 out of work. And yet, as I watched Mr Obama deliver his speech on the success of Chrysler or rather the automobile industry, I felt my admiration for his command for the rhetoric grow.

samedi, mai 28, 2011

These are a few of my favourite things

After toil of the sweetest kind
I wish to rest my burnt out mind
And seek refuge for a while
From the simpler things in life

The white speckled orchids' scent
And all kinds of jasmines in my garden
Kasidang in the corner heaven sent
This is my private haven

Gamelan on you-tube beguiling
Mandi serum in my bathtub - reviving
This is my slow awakening
This is my passion for life igniting

Dark Egyptian cotton bedsheets beckon
One of my very few luxuries
Sleep comes in an oasis of chocolate
After a night cap of Earl Grey and Cadbury

I drown in the dreams of the pomegranate
Spice induced languid embrace
Night falls yet morning awaits
Here comes the rain for another day


And I sleep...oh how I sleep...

samedi, avril 23, 2011

I Just Wanna Be




Well I currently live in a city where it is incredibly diverse. Racism, sexism and other forms of oppressions are rampant. Also, being accepted into what? I just wanna be.


Verlia Andrea Stephens

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Verlia and I met at the Unicentre, Carleton University in Canada. We were both student leaders, I was the President of the very active Carleton Malaysian Student Association (CAMSA) and Verlia was the President of the umbrella body, the International Students Association. After a particularly successful International Student Week, in which Malaysia took part in a big way, Verlia asked me to be her Vice President at ISA. There was an election and I came ahead of the Hong Kong student body President, Tommy, who was a good friend too. And so, Verlia and I worked together in our final year on the ISA.

Our days at the International Student's Office at the Unicentre were idyllic and full of camaraderie. The Carleton Student President was a strong supporter of the International students. We often met at the office during breaks and I had brought a carrom board all the way from Malaysia which we all shared. Students from the Africa, Carribean, Hong Kong, Aruba, Malaysia, Vietnam all shared time and idealisms.

Apart from that, Verlia and I were especially close friends. I often stayed at her place and got to know her friends and family. When I had problems I could not share with anyone else, it was Verlia I went to for advice. After many years of losing touch, I found her on Facebook.

Today, Verlia is still fighting for the ideals she believed in way back then. But I guess the world has changed. For in the eighties, I believed we were more connected, and there was no single event to bring hatred to the fore. We were fighting for equality, not acceptance which was a given I thought. We were fighting for opportunities, not survival.

Life is much more intense today, no longer idyllic and this is the sad scenario we face after two decades.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Recently, Verlia posted this article by POC on Facebook :
10 conversations on racism I am sick of having with white people.
Good read and a real eye opener to our own backyard scenario.

samedi, avril 02, 2011

RADUAN MAN EXHIBITION




















Raduan Man's art evokes a sense of patriotism in me always. Which is why I will make sure I drop by his first solo exhibition for 2011 at Starhill Gallery this April. Do take the time to immerse yourself in this Signature series.

I am very lucky that Raduan agreed to do the cover for my next book Hikayat, depicted here.

The man is a genius.













Thank you, Raduan.

vendredi, avril 01, 2011

HIKAYAT MERONG MAHAWANGSA : AN HONEST OPINION

I must admit, my expectations were sky high. Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa was an epic legend and I have read the original chronicles from beginning to end umpteenth times. To say it is fascinating does not do it justice.

Yes, it tells the story of the Roman prince and the Chinese princess and how Merong Mahawangsa started a dynasty in Kedah Zamin Turan. It told the origin of the Kedah Sultanate and the story of Raja Bersiung. Of the coming of Siam, Patani and Perak and the connection between the three nations. Of ogres and fairies. Of a world lost in time.

The adaptation of the storyline for the movie I must say was well done. The period chosen was an exciting era and the idea to feature the mysterious Garuda as a pirate nation was brilliant. Stephen Rahman Hughes's acting was believable. The effort made in creating beautiful and authentic costumes is commendable.

However, apart from that, I was floored by my disappointment and it took me days to recover. The CGI overwhelmed the story, making it comical at times. The narration was too long and overbearing, there is simply no other way to put it. The acting was acceptable individually. Together, they were too much like parts of a jigsaw puzzle that did not quite fit. There was too much comedy overtones which did not suit the epic background of the movie. The movie did not move me in the least, and that I think was its worst crime.

Still it is a beginning. We have so much to offer in terms of beautiful legends and epics to showcase to the world. I hope Yusry continues to learn from the movies Langkasuka (Nonzee Nimibutr) and Puteri Gunung Ledang (Saw Teong Hin). And from old classics like Sumpah Semerah Padi and Hang Tuah which was screened at the Berlin Film Festival way back in 1957! P Ramlee movies were constantly winning awards from 1956 to 1964 in various categories. If Saw Teong Hin, Yusry and Tiara continue their quest for perfection, we will one day make it.

Let us move on to the next project.

vendredi, mars 18, 2011

POETS UNITED ANTHOLOGY


THOUGHTS THAT BREATHE

Congratulations Robert and thank you for such a wonderful anthology.

You continue to inspire us with your dedication.

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Friends, I am lucky that my work is included in this anthology. Check out page 12
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