Saturday, May 26, 2007

My Favourite Day Of The Week

If you ask me what's my favourite day of the week, the answer has got to be Thursday. Why Thursday? And not the weekend; Saturday or Sunday? Well for starters, upon reaching Thursday I'll remind myself that the next day is Friday, which is the last day of the week at work (that is if I don't get summoned to come in on Saturday!).

Another reason why Thursday is such a favourite is because it's one of the rare days when dear hubby doesn't have his night shift. He works 3 nights a week (on top of working during the day as well) and we only get to have family dinners only 4 times a week. Mind you this has been going on for many, many years...7 years to be exact. If he happens to be at home on the nights when he’s supposed to be out working, it’s only because he’s down with flu, fever or suffering from severe backache (the last one an occupational hazard of course!).

But mainly Thursday is such a joy, simply because it’s a day when my mother cooks a special Thursday nite dinner for us. It all started a couple of months ago when my mom one day announced that every Thursday would be a family dinner day…and more importantly she’ll be the one cooking! You see, although I’m married and don’t live with my mom, I have the benefit of having my mom live a few houses away from me. Our houses are so close to each other, so much so that when I look out of my bedroom window I can actually see her house.

So this Thursday nite gastronomic fare has gone down well with everyone in my family. My kids and husband loves the idea because mak tok / mother-in-law is such a good cook. Truth be known, my mom was a Home Economy lecturer at one of the local teachers training college before she retired. And cooking is her forte and just one of her many specialities. To make it more interesting she said we could ask for anything that we wanted to eat (not all at once of course). Every week, one of us would place an "order" and each week it'd be something different.

Listings of Thursday nite menu;
Week 1. Fish and chips – Yusuf
Week 2. Laksa Johor – Hannan
Week 3. Lemon Chicken and Tomyam – Husband
Week 4. Mee Lemak – me
Week 5. Lamb broth (foul medamas)- mom
Week 6. Baked Macaroni – Yusuf
Week 7. Nasi Ayam – me
Week 8. Murtabak – Husband

Week 9. Spaghetti Bolognaise - mom
Week 10. Chicken Chop - Hannan

I have to say that this little arrangement has caused my two brothers, who live very far from us, to be very envious indeed. My younger brother and wife who work in Manchester asked us if my mom could come and stay with them for a short while. To this my husband replied "Sorry, we may have to negotiate on the transfer fee. But most likely the answer is No. She’s too busy preparing Thursday nite dinners for us". Enough said.

To my mom, I can only say two things.

Thanks and we love you lots!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Poverty In The Land Of Plenty

I'd like to think I'm a person of habit. I often do things a certain way. Like for example I always try not to cut my nails in public (don't ask me why), I laugh first before telling a joke and I usually try to park at the same place everytime I go to my favourite mall. But today, I did something out of the ordinary. I didn't park at my usual place when I was at the mall at Sek 9 Shah Alam. And because of that, I was left with a very unusual experience.

It began when I was walking to the carpark after my grocery shopping. I was stopped by a scrawny young boy who asked me for 3 ringgit. Did he just ask me for money? He 's a beggar I told myself. At this point I could have done several things. One, I could have just walked away. Two, give him 1 ringgit or maybe 3 ringgit and then walk away. Or three, ask him what he needed the 3 ringgit for. I did just that and his response gave me a shock.

Apparently he had walked all the way from Sek 8 and was hungry. He hadn't eaten anything for lunch and it was already 4p.m . I was gobsmacked. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. Here I was in swanky Sek 9, the Concorde Hotel just next door, and standing infront of me was an urchin that could have been Oliver Twist himself.

So I took him to a bakery nearby and asked him what he wanted to eat. I didn't give him the 3 ringgit, lest he blows it on some PS2 games at the mall. He pointed at a sausage bun and sotongball on sticks. From our conversation I discovered that he has 2 other siblings ( an older brother and a 4 year old adik), both parents are working, but has no idea what they actually do for a living and he is in std 4 but can't recall his teacher's name. Upon learning about his siblings I then filled the tray with an assortment of buns and reminded him to share with them when he reached home. After giving him 1 ringgit for pocket money, we then went our separate ways. Me to the carpark and he to the basement where the PS2 stall was.

My husband said I should have taken a picture of him. I don't think it would have been necessary. To this very moment I can still remember what he looked like. A wide-eyed boy in an old orange t-shirt perforated with holes, and trousers that's too small for a boy his age. I remember turning back to have a last look at him as he walked away wearing slippers that were 2 sizes too big.

A Belated Mother's Day Wish

Perhaps it’s not too late to wish the millions of mothers around the world Happy Mother’s Day! Last Sunday, I was woken up early in the morning by my boy Yusuf who came into the room and gave me a Mother’s Day kiss and hug. Aaaah! If only everyday was like this. A couple of years ago, when my kids were much younger, I remember having to coax them into making mother’s day cards for me. In fact, it wasn’t unusual for me to assemble their art paraphernalia and give them some general instructions on how “my” mother’s day card should look like. Pathetic, but true nonetheless.

However, now that they’re slightly older things have changed. I find that I no longer need to drop hints prior to the event nor do I need to take them to the shop to purchase “my” gifts! My kids can now come up with their own cards thanks to the many Art Attack programmes. Hannan who loves art came up with this lovely card which she claimed took many, many hours to produce. It was a yellow card with little butterflies fluttering amongst flowers (Neil Buchanan would have been proud). In it she had kindly signed her younger siblings’ names since my last 3 have yet to acquire the skill of writing. They are after all 3 years old, 1 ½ years old and 5 months. Somehow rather, in between memorizing her multiplication table for her mid-year exam, she had managed to get it done.

Yusuf however, decided to take the easy way out this year. The day before Mother’s Day, when I was at MPH with my husband, he called me and asked me to remind my husband to buy my Mother’s Day card, and if possible to buy one in green. Well, so much for originality!

For what it’s worth, I loved both cards. Be it one that’s homemade or one that came from the store. Can’t wait for Father’s Day when the kids and I gang up and brainstorm on the ideal card-present-celebration for their dad.

I leave you with this :

When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child - Sophia Loren

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


It's that time of the year again...mid-May and scenes of parents making a dash for the shops as they make a last minute purchase of gifts for their children's teachers. Yes! it's Happy Teacher's Day tomorrow. Not to be left out, I too found myself at the shop this morning, spending a good 20 minute walking up and down the aisles, trying to decide on acceptable gifts for my kids' teachers.

Last week I heard my daughter Hannan (9 yrs old) and Yusuf (8 yrs old) talking about their teacher's day celebration. Apparently Yusuf and a few of his friends have to come up with a performance at school. When asked what his teacher had requested him to perform...he said "Mama, this is supposed to be a surprise for the teachers. They're not supposed to know!". Oops sorry. My mistake.

Anyway, at first he and his friends decided to perform a short sketch. Then later they changed it to singing songs. Finally, I was told, it would be reciting a poem. I have to admit that getting this little activity going (even if it's just a 5 minute performance) without the guidance of the teacher would be an uphill task for these 8 year olds. So mama had to intervene. I soon found myself surfing the Net looking for simple, straight forward, fuss-free poem which would be easy for Yusuf and crew to memorise. In the end, I found one which was reasonably simple. However, serious editing was required if my son and his friends were ever going to remember the lines. So, after reducing the 5 stanzas to 2, and simplifying some of the words..I gave it to him. His reaction? " many words to memorise!". Sorry mate. It'll just have to do.

Well, that's my son sorted out. This evening it'll be a session of wrapping gifts with Hannan. I'm quite certain she's already mentally planned what her teacher's day card should look like. Just leave her alone in her room for an hour or so, and she'll later come out with her masterpiece.

I'm glad my kids have shown interest in celebrating teacher's day. I hope, when they grow up, they'll remember and appreciate all the things their teachers have done for them throughout the years. I know for a fact that it's more than just pure teaching. So to all the teachers out there...thank you!

Enjoy the poem;
When you thought I wasn’t looking, you displayed my first report, and I wanted to do another.
When you thought I wasn’t looking, you fed a stray cat, and I thought it was good to be kind to animals.
When you thought I wasn’t looking, you gave me a sticker, and I knew that little things were special things.
When you thought I wasn’t looking, you put your arm around me, and I felt loved.
When you thought I wasn’t looking I saw tears come from your eyes, and I learned that sometimes things hurt--but that it’s all right to cry.
When you thought I wasn’t looking, you smiled, and it made me want to look that pretty too.
When you thought I wasn’t looking, you cared, and I wanted to be everything I could be.
When you thought I wasn’t looking--I looked...and wanted to say thanks for all those things you did when you thought I wasn’t looking. "

Hannan's Pahang Adventure