Thursday, December 29, 2005


for almost a month i was slaving myself marking spm paper. i marked more than 400 scripts ranging fr the good ones to those who can either make u cry or laugh...depending on how stressed u r at the time.

the last time i marked spm paper was in the year 2000 but i stopped after that since i started my MA a year later. marking isnt easy. if it's easy, some of us wont get headaches. but i think the most essential element an english teacher should have is a really good knowledge of linguistics, to deal with all the grammatical mistakes.

yesterday the ordeal was over. thank god! i was supposed to study for my ptk exam, but i was in no mood to study...wat? study after marking hundreds of scripts? one of my spm teammates said "there's no need to read...just shooting2 je". so today i went to school n just looked at the other teachers in amusement. this is one exam i dont care for the outcome. how can u judge how good a govt officer is by merely looking at how many questions he scored correctly in the exam? this is not a high school or university...we're talking abt a person's integrity here. a teacher who passes the ptk might not be a good teacher or does his work seriously. n that also doesnt mean that a teacher who fails ptk is a bad teacher. it's funny isnt it, the person who suggested ptk doesnt have to sit for it...may be if all the JUSAs have to sit for the ptk, they will think otherwise.

well anyway the questions can be mindboggling, since i'm not used to answering questions in bahasa, n worse, wat can u make out fr. "hamparan elektronik"??? later i found out that "persembahan" refers to gads, y dont they just type the original name of the programme instead of translating every single's a good thing they dont include "joystick" in...just imagine how vulgar the translation would be.

Friday, December 09, 2005


i've been marking the 1119 papers eversince i got back fr the Oz trip, so to those of u, i'm sorry if i dont sound very sociable. *sigh* back to business as usual. hey, at least i get paid for it. (reminds me of Abg Mie's answer when i asked him y he wanted to be a pilot n he answered "i get paid to travel")

anyway, yesterday i had a phonecall from the Dean's Office. the officer informed me that the internal n external examiners have passed my dissertation. i'm officially an M.A. English Literature graduate!!!! woooooooooooooo!!!!!! i never thot this day would arrive. believe me, i got so disillusioned that i just wanted to get the dissertation over n done with. at that time the oppressive weight of the dissertation was an instant killjoy.
i think i've written this lots of time, but ppl never seem to understand. my mother used to say "u wont understand it until u experience it urself" (she was talking abt her pain). some ppl r critics who give destructive comments. they may not say much, but their few words can totally destroy whatever shreds of faith u have left. "kenapa lama sgt buat masters?" yes, i heard this all the time. most of the time i felt like shooting them. try reading 3 novels n then read homi bhabha's book. u'll go crazy. seriously.
in masters programme, there r a lot of structures that u can choose. i chose coursework n dissertation, since i thot that i didnt know much abt lit. n i wanted to take classes. those classes helped me a lot. i wouldnt know abt Freud or Heidegger or Lacan or Barthes or Stuart Hall or Homi Bhabha or Helen Cixous or Simone de Beauvoir if it werent for Lit. theory (the killer subject in MA Lit, where students tend to fail). i miss those other classes , the 19th century lit, the 20th century, (when we were kurunged in class by Miss Wong bcoz we didnt finish reading Virginia Woolf's novels), the Renaissance which i cant remember much, but shakespeare n john donne r the 2 outstanding ones. these classes werent conducted by the lecturers, bcoz this was seminar-styled class. which means the students had to take turns presenting papers in front of the class. n that the lecturers could bombard u with questions any time, n u're supposed to answer it without looking at the paper. to those of u who dont know lit, this is not the kind of lit where u give a simple answer when asked questions. this is the kind of lit where we go really deep. we analyse the characters - their psyche, we analyse the themes n the symbolism in depth, which means we always have heavy discussions on politics, religions, cultures n society. we write 7,000 words for our essays (final sem exam). n when we finish our coursework, we have to write 30,000 words for our dissertation. my dissertation is around 28,000 words. at the beginning of my dissertation, a lecturer scared me by saying that it's suicidal to analyse Rushdie's works n it's double suicidal to apply homi bhabha's theory. bhabha's theory is complex, n is presented in the most scholarly (read that to mean bombarstic) language possible that when u read it, u know it's supposed to be english, n yet u've to read it more than 10 times to understand it. several lecturers told me "any MA student cannot finish their dissertation within 2 semesters. it's not possible". they'r right. at that time i was pushed by the deadline of my sabbatical leave. but i also remember the Dean telling the postgrads that UM is obssessed with quality to maintain the high standard of education. which was y it took me 2 years to do my dissertation, the equivalent of 4 semesters ("4 semesters to do a dissertation is sensible" said Dr Sharmani, my supervisor). yes, UM is obssessed with quality. all lit. lecturers expect the best fr. us. there has to be discipline, determination, commitment to our studies, the ability to reason, n the most important aspect of all - perseverance. perseverance helped me through it all. there were many a times when i broke down n wanted to give up. any MA lit student can tell u that while the M. Ed tesl students r busy discussing or talking at the students square, the MA Lit students r sitting silently, reading the novels or notes for the class.
but if it's so difficult y did u choose lit? u may ask. well, i love literature. it's more interesting than tesl subjects or linguistics which is so dry. i dont regret taking lit. it's a battle filled with blood n sweat, but i came out victorious. the wisdom i acquired is priceless.
this is dedicated to my coursemates, kak non n kak fazi, nash - my scholarly discussion partner cum walking lit dictionary who helped me a lot in this dissertation; iris, jaya sree, elison, christine, emily, david, kasi n tik shaiza.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Wanderlust:The Journey Home

i'm now back in Malaysia. arrived at KLIA at 8.30pm on 29th. earlier that day, Gina n I went to Victoria Market for the last shopping. we stopped at this section of the market where they sell all kinds of food that u cant help but go crazy. there'r shops selling homemade pastas, cheeses, meat products, sweets n chocolates, coffee beans, preserves..n my fav - the bakery. there's this 1 shop selling all the pastries n their danishes n almond croissant r simply divine!!!! i'm still thinking of the croissant.
after the stuff that we bought, we walked back to nana's apartment n got ready to return to Malaysia. i knew i was going to miss Melbourne, its 4-season-in-a-day weather, the trams, Victoria Market, the pastries... i thot it's a busy city like KL, but it's a city that celebrates life with the loved ones after work so that u dont get stressed.that's y offices n shops close at 6pm. it's hailed as the most liveable city in the world.
having said that, i'm not saying that i've completely forgotten Malaysia. on the contrary, it makes me appreciate Malaysia more. i miss the food. which is y when kak sham n her daughters lunched at Miss Read, i chose to eat malaysian dishes instead of the Western fare.
i'm back in Trg now, n am happy to cuddle Fluffy. Mother is happy with her wool shawl n leather purse. n she enjoyed eating the cherries n strawberries. my room smells of the scented soaps i brought back. the sheepskin is also in my room, cant put it outside since Fluffy might decide to pee there.
during the 7 hr flight, i had a conversation with a British elderly abt the benefits of travelling. i learnt abt other ppl's culture, places, food n it makes all the difference to me. that's y salman rushdie celebrates the idea of rootlessness. by travelling, u're putting urself in a liminal space, re-creating ur identity.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Wanderlust:Chocolate High

today we went to Melbourne Central. nana has been talking abt Max Brenner for days. it's a cafe, n albeit the meaning of coffee, Max Brenner presents a refreshing alternative to the usual caffein shots ppl r so fond of nowadays. it's a chocolate cafe, where everything has chocolate in u have chocolate croissant, chocolate dipped strawberries (which is divine) chocolate souffle, n a lot more.i'm a chocoholic, so i took a Venezuelean chocolate drink with milk (which i think is a tad too sweet, since i love my cocoa to be bitter) n i had souffle as well... i m more in love with the unusual cup. it's in the shape of an egg, so u have to cup it with both hands, at the same time really warming them, esp. when u have cold wind lashing at u. but when i saw the price, i changed my mind. AU30 for a cup?
nana also brought me to every baker's n cook's paradise, a chef shop selling all cooking gadgets. i even found Nigella's favourite toy the mezzaluna!!yep...bought some stuff...hmmm now i wonder if i have excess baggage....
back at the apartment, we watched Paheli (nana's a big fan of the Hindustani movies) n enjoyed strawberries n whipped cream (Janna, not stlowbeli... this is Australian accented "strawberries")
we're going to Victoria Market for the last shopping tomorrow, b4 going to the airport...

Wanderlust: Shop til U Drop

If my feet can talk, they will surely say "no more torture! put us out of misery, n drive! when u're used to the comforts of a car, walking is the last option.something that u hope u can avoid. well, since i'm on a tight budget trip, i cant hail a cab anytime i want to, can i? my sister had warned me that we'd do a lot of walking. i havent walked this much since my undergrad days.

2 days ago we went to Bridgeroad Road. it's the older part of Melbourne, so it's kind of Jln TAR or Jln Leboh Ampang where old buildings r still around. the food there looked wonderful. just wish they had halal sign. there're italian restaurants, cafes, bakeries everywhere.... there're also italian shoes store (which, after discount, still cost around AU$100+). esprit was on sale too... n we went to many other stores. then i felt the need to answer nature's call. but where to find a toilet? those ppl who tune in to Travel n Living channel (n who watch Samantha Brown's Passport to Europe) will remember that when Samantha goes to London, there's a modern auto toilet. there's one in Bridge Road too. everything is auto. which means, if u're not done in 10 mins, the door will automatically open (imagine the scenario). speaking of toilets, i wonder y is it that Malaysian toilets r very stinky when we have ample water to clean them up n mat salleh toilets, despite being dry, r spotless n clean????

yesterday, we went to Victoria Market to do some serious damage to our pocket money. there's a chinese souvenir seller who, upon seeing us, quickly called out "ampat untuk sepluh dollar". yeh, i bought a lot of stuff at his stall. n bcoz i bought a fluffy sheepskin fr him (he gave me a good price for it), i had to carry it in a garbage bag...looking like santa claus hauling the christmas presents. there're a lot of stuff, i bought a colourful boomerang fr an aborigines. he even blowed the pipe made fr a hollowed tree trunk (thanx to the mites). there're a lot leather goods around, n gina bought a leather jacket. we met Nana's classmates, Chris n Min. by the time we're done, it's nearly 3pm, n we're expecting them n Nana's other fren Raja for tea. i had made a cheesecake b4hand, n it's for Raja, as a thank-u for patiently driving us to Philip Island. it became a small party actually, with a lot of malaysian students around. nana made some sardine currypuffs (which became a hit). finally, the oldest of us (me n gina) retired in the room, bcoz i suffered a backache n gina had a migraine attack.

hopefully, today, we'll stay in. tomorrow after an early trip to victoria market to buy some fruits, we'll be flying back.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Wanderlust: Sheep, Kangaroo, Koalas n Penguins

Yesterday, Nana, Gina n i went to Victoria Market where fruits n veggies, souvenirs n a lot of other stuff r sold. kak sham told us that we should try the famous donuts. we's freshly fried strawberry jam filled donut sort of ur oblong version of dunkin donut. i saw lots of things that jamie n nigella use in their cooking shows such as rhubarb, artichoke, fennel...n i could smell fresh basil. oh wat heavenly smell! plump ripe fragrant peaches n shiny dark red cherries n happy red strawberries.... i bought some peaches, strawberries n raspberries. we thought of bringing some back to m'sia next week.

then we rented a car n went to phillip island. the agenda of the day was to meet australia's icons - koalas, kangaroos as well as penguins n sheep. on the way to the island, we went to a cattle farm. sadly tho, we missed the cow milking tour. but we did see some docile fat wooly sheep, n this 1 woman gave a demo on how to shear their fleece. then she taught us how to crack a whip, used for herding the cattle. sorta indiana jones kinda style. then i fed a kangaroo. very tame indeed. it fed right out of my hand. very very ticklish n i was giggling uncontrollably. then 1 sheep saw that i had food in my palm n was harrassing me! it was following me wherever i went that nana told me to feed it. n it still wanted it more! we saw wombat, then 1 albino peacock (all white). after that we had continental tea - tea with scones n jam n cream. simply divine, darling...simply divine *grin*. after taking more pics in the english garden where there were huge roses of every colour n pansies n english n shasta daisies, we continued our way to phillip island.

phillip island is linked to the mainland by a bridge. its main attraction is the wildlife. we went to see some koalas first. sure enough, we could see koalas sleeping on trees. they looked so cute, hugging the trees. saw some babies too. there were also kookabarra birds, a native species. after the tour, we went to a seashore where penguin nestling ground could be found. on the way, shops were already closed. unlike us who take the advantage of making more money n spending them at shops well into the nite (10pm), the australians believe that all work n (n all buy) makes jack a dull boy. shops close at 6pm here. except for cafes n restaurants.

anyway, at the seashore, the only thing we found was sea gulls...n more sea gulls with their young uns. n it was so windy... it's not like in m'sia where we have warm breeze. we're talking abt cold wind! there were some seals on the rocks but this we couldnt see through our naked eyes n had to use a telescope. only after that did we go to see the penguins. wat makes this an interesting events is that u dont see the penguins in display like at the zoo. here, u see penguins in their natural habita. n wat we see is part of their daily routine - the penguins return to the shore after a day of catching fish in the water. they only return to the shore at dusk n bcoz it's summertime, this happens around 8.30pm. the spectators cannot go near but had to sit at the stand n watch them fr afar. cameras arent allowed. n absolutely no touching them. last nite the first penguins rose to shore at 8.30. it was really windy, n very very cold...despite our sweaters, we huddled together covered with nana's blankie. some even covered their whole body with blankies n towels. but it was awesome to see these cute creatures rising fr the sea n waddling to the shore. these r called fairy penguins n r quite small if compared to their other counterparts. after buying souvenirs, we went home n reached melbourne at midnight.

it was very tiring, but i enjoyed every single minute of it.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Wanderlust:Aching Feet n Persistent Flies

gina n i arrived in melbourne at 9.45am. we were supposed to arrive at 8.10 but there was a flight delay. it was a bright sunny day here in melbourne, except that it's windy, n it's cold. both gina n nana assured me that it's not cold. well, for me it is.

nana's apartment is next to subway restaurant. unfortunately tho, eventho the smell is sooo inviting, we cant just simply walk in n buy sandwiches there. i can hear the toll of the tram's bell ringing as it rolls by, n it's kind of weird to see mat salleh instead of malaysians. melbourne is not a busy city like KL. it's the antithesis of KL. nana said they r more interested in creating a family-oriented soicety that leads a slow-paced life. so u dont see a lot of cars around, altho' once or twice u'll hear the screeching of tyres. we took the tram n went to the Federation Square, where there is an art gallery. found that i'm not really into arts. cant understand y one considers squares of yellow n orange n black as the corruption in human's life..bla bla bla...we went to the Royal Botanical Garden next...n walked n walked...n god knows how long we walked.... i thot i was losing my feet. i noticed that there r a lot of flies around. n they r more persistent than their malaysian cousins. just imagine around 10 flies kacauing us... after stopping by the supermarket (australian version of Giant) n buying some groceries, we went back n had dinner.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Wanderlust: the Pains

i'm at kak sham's house, n in 48 hrs i'll be on my 7-day trip to melbourne. while my students, frends n family members r excited n envy me for going on this trip,frankly, the excitement still hasnt crept in, i dont know when that'll be, probably i'll feel it when i board MAS.

it's not easy to save money to go on this trip, especially when u have milliions of things to think abt, esp. bills, bills, n more bills. i dont have a father to sponsor me, i only have my baking skills n english n literature knowledge to help me. n they helped a lot. there r a lot of sacrifices to be made, in terms of friendship material wealth.a fren of mine is a bit miffed when i said regretfully that i wouldnt be able to meet her. if she's reading this, i d like to say that i'm sorry, but being on a tight budget, i have to constrain myself (fr. dining at chili's, as we would normally do). i still dream of buying a kenwood mixer, and a europa electric oven. i could have bought them both with the money i spent on the tickets.but like kak emah told me, "nora, while u're still single, go n travel n see the world". this, coming fr a mother of 4 who really defines the phrase "carpe diem" n who had lived in the USA, Scotland, n travelled to Spain to see the Alhambra. the experience will change u. this is also the message salman rushdie tries to convey to his readers. may be bcoz of this, n after seeing too many Globe Trekkers, i thirst for new experiences, new environment, new ppl to meet n learn new things... n hopefully i'll be wiser.

after all, knowledge is wealth enough. although it really pains the pocket to acquire it.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

in the name of love

Just when u get to be disillusioned abt people and their meanness n cruelty, there're always some touching stories or events that u feel that there is still hope for mankind.

in oprah winfrey's show today, oprah interviewed a father who has a "special" son who is unable to mobilise himself nor talk. despite his son's physical inability, dick hoyt sent rick to a public school. rick even graduated with a bachelor's degree in special education.

what is so special abt this duo is that dick enters marathons n triathlons on the request of rick. he does not do this alone, dick pushes rick on a wheelchair during the marathons, n will carry rick into a boat during the swimming part in triathlon. they did 50 marathons a year. during an HBO interview, dick was asked why is it that he still continues participating in the races. n he answered, with tears down his cheeks, (yes, i cried too) that he loved hearing the special sound (somewhat like laughter) that rick makes when they're running together, that happy sound from a happy face.

that's father's love for his son. he goes at great lengths to be able to hear that laughter. makes u wonder wat u can do to your parents or your children.

love is the one that makes the world go round. this is wat makes humans so special. bcoz of love.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Food in Abundance

One thing Malaysians know n do best is eating. n now that it's raya, the array of food can lead a chef to write an ode to the food. at my house, we simply adore the heavyweight food. gone was my hard earned 2kg loss. as i had written in my previous entry, we had nasi dagang. my tiramisu was filled with rich filling of cheese n milk. n having more than 20 canisters of cookies strategically placed at the coffee table at the living room didnt help.

on 3rd day of raya, when the siblings returned to the city, i thot of having an open house.i never had one, never invited any of my frens or students b4. but i was on a tight budget, as i have to save for the trip, so i racked my brain n wondered wat kind of dish that's unusual, delicious but economical? nasi beriyani is out. my mother's recipe requires more than 20 ingredients (no short cuts for me, it's the from-scratch recipe) n saffron is very expensive (1 teeny weeny case costs rm16). plus, it's time consuming. oh well... my sis suggested mee hoon. mee hoon? nah... too common. spaghetti bolognaise? nah...that's too common too...then i thot of my fav dish - pasta with bechamel sauce. aha! it's easy, time-saving, economical n very delicious. that's the main dish.then i made tomato salsa. for dessert, i made trifle n chocolate cake with white topping. all these in 3 hours. as jamie oliver would have said it, easy peasy...

my first guests were my literature students n a boy that i coached for debate. then my colleagues came. i also invited nash, my coursemate who has been flying everywhere presenting papers on literature (gawd, i envy him). since nash was there, i told my students to ask him wat they wanted to know abt e.e. cummings' poem (which is as dense as homi bhabha's concept of hybridity). then my form 3b students came - they finished up my pasta ("sedap la teacher...mintak recipe?") n played with fluffy the attention-seeking fat cat. after the guests left, i realised that i didnt have a proper meal... yay! that's like dieting for me. however, my happiness is shortlived. until today, the canisters of goodies r still on the coffee table, tempting me to eat them...

i'm trying to re-like exercising. *sigh* it's no easy task...

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Eid Mubarrak

I woke up at 5something n made my way to the kitchen.kak sham n mother were cooking nasi dagang. felt like helping, but the bloatedness in my tummy (caused by the pucuk paku in the bubur lambuk) really rankled me, so i went back to sleep.woke up at 6.20am, n after subuh prayer, prepared the ingredients for masak lodeh. i'm not really a big fan of nasi dagang, n was quite upset when the grand dame declared that the main course for raya feast was going to be nasi dagang. i love lontong, n kak dah cooks lontong every year since her hubby is a johorean. while she was cooking, i did some finishing touches on my tiramisu.
the tradition in my family is that we ask for forgiveness, but we dont stand to any formal ceremonies like wat ppl see on tv. being noisy as we r, the atmosphere was made lively with apit's antics n funny remarks. after that, we had family photos, with the grand dame sitting in the middle, while we the daughters sat beside her.
we went to 2 cousins' houses, n could only eat a bit. i was already worried that my waistline is going to expand again (not that it hasnt expanded already). back home, we're like ular sawa, sleeping comfortably after eating a big amount of food. in the evening, both me n asha went briskwalking around the neighbourhood. it's kinda weird, u know, everybody else was visiting the big houses, looking their best in their baju melayu n baju kurung while asha n i were in our sports attire...hmmm
tomorrow we're going to my late father's village, which is situated by the sea. i'll try to post some pics taken there.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Raya Mood

my house has been infected with raya mood since saturday. on friday nite kak sham called to inform me that they're coming back n would arrive just in time for sahur.yes...they love doing spur-of-the-moment thingy. they arrived at 3 something, still as boisterous as ever despite the wee hours - with the addition of 3 rabbits. they got ayi's room alright, at least for the first time in years my bro the datuk wont be able to stay in the room. as kak sham reasoned it, she's already a pensioner while abg.lim is earning a he cant afford to be a cheapo hahaha...
the grand dame the matriarch hath already decreed...that we will have homemade nasi dagang on raya morning (which is not my favourite, since it's pulut n tends to settle in ur tummy for a long long time...n u feel like ular sawa afterwards). kak sham n i went to pasar tani n bought 6kgs of beef. only yesterday i knew how heavy 6kg is. kak dah arrived yesterday afternoon, bringing with her a big bundle of kerepeks.
buka puasa yesterday was a noisy affair. we had terengganu bubur lambuk which is much more nutritious than the kg baru's version (which i think is overrated) n for sahur we had nasi minyak (yes, nasi minyak...n it's homemade).
in the meantime, i still have a few more orders, n last nite i made kek lapis kukus, n let asha help as she's keen to learn.
the staffroom is quite noisy as well... since it's already the end of the year for us, the class registers have been closed, record books will be handed over to the school admin... teachers r laughing n chatting away (which doesnt happen all the time, since usually we'd be stressed out with papers) yes, the mood is here...

Friday, October 28, 2005

The Spirit of Ramadhan

generally, when one talks abt ramadhan, one will simultaneously think of eid mubarak n the goodies. eid mubarak is the day when the triumph over evil is celebrated. however, eid mubarak has been highly commercialised that now it's become a part of our culture to spend hundreds of ringgit on kuih raya...n display them in beautiful canisters arranged in lacy trays or having lots n lots of baju raya....

do we deserve to celebrate the eid?

some muslims r sadly misled into thinking of raya as only raya. they go thru ramadhan fasting for 30 days, doing nothing except to fast n to break fast. i feel sorry for this lot. for they miss the essence of ramadhan, n therefore, does not taste the sweetness of eid mubarak.Allah has said that if the muslims perform ibadah in ramadhan, it is like performing ibadah for 1000 months. that's y there's terawih. some may know only terawih, but there r other solat sunat such as sunat dhuha which is equivalent to giving charity for (sorry i cant remember) years. then there's tadarus al quran, from this we can improve our reading, as well as strengthening the bond (yes i know it sounds so cliche' but it's true) n to be able to understand the meaning as God has intended (when one reads the translation). then there's also tahajjud. an ustazah who works as a haj guide said that by performing tahajjud, our rezeki will be doubled or tripled, usually they come fr unexpected quarters. n another thing - not all ppl can witness lailatul qadar...they have to increase their ibadah in the last 10 days of fasting esp. during the night n hopefully they can witness the blessed night.

it is for this group of muslims that eid mubarak is intended for. even then, i think that this group doesnt go to the extreme in celebrating, bcoz they believe in moderation.

the moral of the story is - u've got to earn ur reward.

so think again, seriously, honestly, in that small heart of yours, n dont lie to urself... r u in the deserving lot?

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Puding Buih:the past revisited

in one of my entries, i mentioned puding buih as one of the food tha i associate with bulan puasa. for those who dont know puding buih, it's a pink coloured rose flavoured (think air bandung) foamy meringue pudding eaten with custard sauce. usually the one sold outside is not nice at all, with too runny custard sauce, n not too meringuey jelly.i've made one 2 days ago, n was quite happy with the results. the jelly is light n foamy, the custard is thick...i've decided to post the recipe to the readers.

puding buih

1/2 packet of agar
3 glasses water
2 tablespoons sugar
rose flavouring
red colouring
3 egg whites, beaten until stiff

boil the agar with water until dissolved. add in sugar and the flavouring n colouring. add in the meringue, blend, n then let it cool for awhile (2-3 mins)beat the mixture until the meringue n the jelly r well-mixed (if using electric beaters, beat for 15 mins or until the mixture is slightly cooled). if it is not well-beaten, the meringue will rise to the top, leaving the bottom plain n without the foamy meringue. pour into moulds n leave to set.

custard sauce

3 tablespoons custard powder
1/2 glass sugar
1/2 tin of evaporated milk
1 glass water

cook all the ingredients until u achieve the desired consistency.


pour the custard sauce onto the jelly.

Friday, October 21, 2005


this ramadhan, a few of my frens n i go thru life with a realisation, a rude awakening that jolted us from our otherwise safe n happy lives. we found out that a person that we've known for years has become an infidel to islam n has embraced another faith. we've heard of such stories b4, n hope to God that it will never happen to us or any of the ppl that we know. just imagine how we felt when we found out.

i honestly dont know wat happened to her, or wat is going on in her head.she used to be a low-profile girl, just like the rest of us. she used to wear tudung too. the knowledge that she has turned away fr the faith hurts us very deeply. some of my frens cried. she even wrote hurtful things abt islam in her blog, which i couldnt resist commenting. she deleted the entry after she read my comment.

i guess this happens when we dont have a good foundation in islam. my frens n i began to look at islam in a new light. b4, i was just concentrating on improving myself, but now there's also the responsibility of protecting the religion n also the muslims.

pls pray for the stability of all muslims' aqidah.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

The Change of Plans

kak dah n family had a change of plans. instead of us going together to melbourne, they decided that it's best if gina n i go earlier (when the airfare is cheaper) while they thot of going to NZ first n then fly to melbourne for lyana's graduation. well i was stunned at first, simply bcoz nobody consulted me. n NZ is much more scenic than australia. the only problem is that gina n i r on a tight budget. n bcoz of that, i had to kiss the NZ trip good bye. *sigh*

i was feeling miserable, n complained to my shaggy bear... who asked "do u need my help?" n i answered "there's not much that u can do". i was still feeling morose on the phone, n again he asked the same question. n this time, i wondered just wat he had in mind. "wat do u mean "help"?" n the answer : "do u want to use my card?" auuuwwwww..... i was so touched... of course i declined the offer. my previous bfs never offered any financial assistance (not that i'm materialistic, it's just that i think a man is so much a gentleman when he does that). they unashamedly asked me to lend them money. obviously, this is a trait which i think is very unbecoming in a man. despite my sometimes feminist views, i always believe that a man should be chivalrous to a lady - hold the door open, pay the dinner bla bla bla...

There's a sunshine in my heart
it smiles its rays onto the Eden
filled with joyous song
and cheerful birds
happy roses and gentle gardenias
all rejoice in my happiness.
there's a sunshine in my heart
i feel so light that it makes me giddy
i feel so happy that i sing
i feel so happy that i'm loved

Friday, October 14, 2005

Ode to Autumn inspired - a poetry to life, based on the 5 senses found in kitchen

To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease;
For Summer has o'erbrimm'd their clammy cells.
John Keats

background music: Sleepers, Wake by Bach

eversince i was taught Keat's Ode to Autumn during my undergrad years, i ve been fascinated by the glorious colourful objects such as flowers n wonderful smell of freshly baked bread. this is, to my belief, the way to enjoy life to the fullest. not to paint the town red or whatever colours u want (bcoz i think that kind of enjoyment is so superficial) but to enjoy things that connect u to ur soul, ur life, n to the Creator.i love going to the market, simply bcoz i love the abundance n the freshness of the produce. fat, plump tomatoes, n the reddest chillis, or the greenest kangkung, or encountering things u've never seen or tasted b4.the best of berangan bananas can be bought here, my mother doesnt like montels, n personally, i think they lack the robust flavour of berangan - in other words, montels r very bland.this is where u can choose ur own veggies n fruits, n to perfect the art of bargaining (which, i'm never good at. my mother is an expert in this). i buy my fruit supply at this particular stall, the man n his wife sell tiny but crispy african apples, fragrant plums (i LOVE the smell) n sweet seedless oranges.there r smells that make me appreciate life, n how blessed i am to be able to smell them. first of all, i love the smell of a local pink rose which emits the most wonderful fragrance, i just plucked one n put it on my bed.i dont know its name, i'm not sure whether it's Old Blush or something else. then there's the wonderful smell of butter n sugar when i'm making a cake. another wonderful n divine smell? the smell of chocolate cake as it is baking in the oven. and the smell of freshly baked bread, which fills the whole house. yes, this is the sweet smells of comfort. but there r also smells that whet ur appetite, a very robust taste that simply explodes in ur mouth - coriander leaves (daun ketumbar) which smells so wonderful n when u add some in tom yam or nasi beriyani, it gives a distinctive taste. limes n limau kesturi (i forgot its equivalent in english) that fresh smell n taste that'll perk u up, n chinese parsley (daun sup) which makes even the simples veggie soup or fried rice taste other favourite condiment which i can never live without is pepper. i prefer black pepper to white ones, bcoz black pepper is earthy n has more intense flavour than its white counterparts, n i prefer to grind my own to buying ground pepper.moral of the story? take time to enjoy life. life is to hectic, yes, and time is money, i know, (it is to me now, trying to save for the trip to aust/nz to attend lyana's convo in dec) but then... u'll be missing a lot if u dont stop to enjoy. remember the hare and the tortoise? i'll bet the tortoise learns a lot. he has time to think, to enjoy. in one of the entries for the virtual course i'm taking right now, the writer writes In reality, that is all that we have: the present moment.Live in the present moment . . . follow your spirit!
carpe diem!

Thursday, October 13, 2005

puasa revisited

A long time ago, when I was 13, I first experienced puasa away from home. Of course, to some parents, this would be deemed as a cruelty, to deny their children the comfort of a home n home cooked meals n family togetherness. As for me, the years in boarding school build one’s character, it sort of gives one a backbone, so to speak.

Those times r something which I treasure very much. N yes, puasa for the first time away from home can be disheartening, most will be homesick (a word that exists in all boarding school citizens’ vocabulary). I now look upon those times with nostalgia, as I remember those days …

Sahur would mean that we would be awakened at 4.30am by our gigantic version of an alarm clock i.e. the bell of the Dewan Makan. With eyes half opened, we would cover our nightgowns with shirts n kain batik (it’s a rule to enter DM with kain n not slacks or PJs for that matter) n with our forks n spoons we would walk unsteadily to the DM. sahur was always a silent affair.

Buka puasa was a noisy affair, with every table laden with food till there was no space available. We would have sirap selasih which I detest so much bcoz the selasih resembles frogs eggs, or air cincau which I love so much. The rest was the same menu we had throughout the year. That also meant having ice cream on Mondays n Thursdays.

After buka puasa, the girls would rush to do ablutions n then rush to the school hall to perform terawih. We only got to pray in the surau when it was completed when I was in form 4. anyway, it was in seri puteri that I learnt how to perform terawih properly. Now, some 15 years later, as I recite the tasbih n selawat, I’m reminded of the girlish melodious chants during those nites in ramadhan.

Sales of maggi n stamps would rise meteorically, the former was the staple food for those who were experiencing that time of the month, n stamps, well, we simply loved sending n receiving raya cards. After school we would flock at the mailboxes situated next to the prefects room. We would eagerly wait for the prefect on duty to slot in mails into the respective classes’ pigeonholes.

During weekends, we would crowd the small radio that a girl would have in the dorm, just to listen to the raya songs. Most of the time, there were girls who were feeling homesick n some were teary-eyed.

As the finale to our ramadhan, we would have our annual salam raya when we would recite selawat n the most junior would go round n salam the most senior. The most anticipated event is when when the girls were released from school. Shouts of “0-0” could be heard, while the English n bm bulletin issues, Grapevine (of which I was a member from form 2-4) n Media Puteri would be out. Never mind that the teachers gave us loads of homework. Never mind that some were demerited for speaking in bahasa in English week….Yay! Balik kampong! The KLites would wait for their parents to fetch them, the northerners would board their trains, while the easterners would have to wait until night time to board the bus.

I miss those days. U’re far away from home, n yet, u’re comforted by the thought that there were some 400 frens who shared all the humdrums n daily routines with u.

To seri puterians, especially to 5 ilmu yahoogroups – zana, shidah, normi, ina, nita, june, ella n anne…

Remember those days… selamat berpuasa n selamat hari raya aidilfitri

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Ramadhan: Fragments of Memories Recollected from Childhood

hehehe...long title, eh? trying to emulate Wordsworth's feat when he gave the title to his famous Ode:Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Childhood. b4 i begin my entry today, i'd like to wish a happy ramadhan to all fellow muslims. may we get the most from this holy month, n may we repent our wrongdoings in the past, n may we have a better life ahead.i was discussing ramadhan with a few teachers in the staffroom this afternoon, and naturally, we discussed wat ramadhan symbolises for us. aside from the usual religious connotations, we muslims have a lot of memories associated with ramadhan that we cherish until the day we die.

when i was a little girl when there was still no ramadhan bazaar around, my neighbours n my mother would exchange food, especially desserts. i particularly prefer the desserts than the main meals, n bcoz of this i developed a partiality for puding buih, which is a pink coloured rose flavoured meringue agar with custard sauce. for me, that dessert spells ramadhan, bcoz i only see n eat it once a year. only last year did i know that eventhough my mother used to make the pudding when i was small, she never likes it. starting ramadhan in the year '99, i continued the tradition n has since made the pudding every ramadhan.if u fast in kuala terengganu, u dont have to listen to the muezzin's call to prayer. we have a special device, a cannon which is fired to mark the breaking of the fast, 10 mins b4 imsak to warn the muslims, n the actual imsak. they also fire 7 shots i think, on the eve of raya, and also on raya morning, to mark sultan's arrival (or is it return?) at the mosque to pray. u cant miss it, its thunderous sound can be heard throughout kuala terengganu district. n most kuala terengganu ppl grew up listening to this cannon shots that to us it has become synonymous with ramadhan.

selamat berpuasa to all.

The Truth abt Islam

fasting has become not only one of the 5 tenets in islam, it has become a way of life. as natural as santan is to malays...or bread to the westerners.when i was doing my MA, i was required to read interesting reads for my classes n assignments. one of them is beyond belief by vs naipaul who won nobel prize for literature (but i forgot wat year he was awarded). seeing from the eyes of a biased unbeliever, the travel writing depics the islamic world from a shard of naipaul's eyes, which isnt true, bcoz he tends to be presumptious.he wrote that islam is a hegemonic religion, saying that it requires absolute submission. i guess he said that bcoz he's not a believer in any faith. salman rushdie also wrote abt islam in almost all of his novels. he questions the role of islam in one's life. he believes in hybridity, n rejects the purity of a single faith or thought or culture. he thinks in such a manner bcoz he is a Bombayite through n through. despite my admiration for his forte in writing, his wittiness, his humour, his erudition, there r some things that i dont agree with we r exposed to more n more new advents of some hi tech gadget or entertainment, we tend to be lax in carrying out our responsibilities as muslims. it is funny that a woman can starve to diet n yet cant pray five times daily. it is funny that a muslim man (whose certain needs make him oblivious to everything else) can have one night stand n yet will never touch pork. irony, irony, irony. this is the temptations that must be curbed. y? some of u might ask. bcoz without rules, or some kind sanctions, we r no better than animals. even in chaos there is still order (cant remember which philosopher said that). which is y fasting month exists. it is for us to contemplate our past n future actions n their consequences. it is for us to contemplate where we r heading. in the end, it is only peace in our soul that we crave, n not some big bungalows or kompressors...have a productive ramadhan.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Judging n Being Politically Correct

yesterday, i was teaching 3 form 5 students on the drama Pygmalion by Shaw. the issues raised was judging a person on appearance n his speech. on one hand u have eliza doolittle the flower girl with cockney accent, n the other prof higgins, the phonetician who teach her the correct way of english pronunciation n trains her to be a lady. but what strikes me is that, shaw manages to reveal that being in an upper social class does not guarrantee a person to be "perfect". the upper class in the drama still talks english with certain flaws (incorrect pronunciation) so much so that in the end eliza was thought to be a hungarian princess in disguise bcoz of her flawless english.

in thackeray's novel, Vanity Fair, we come across Becky Sharp, who has to use her ingenuity to succeed in a world of double standards. she is always judged bcoz of her non connection to any good noble families.

The problem with us in our lives is that we judge the others.that part of human's basic instinct. we judge a person from the way he is attired, his body language, up to the point of commenting on a person's speech. this has been true when i first arrived at SS last year, when, after seeing the way i dress n speak, a person asked where my kampung is.

most of the time we tend to make erroneous judgments based on our first impression, which is y certain ppl strive on making a good appearance (but unfortunately, cant prove anything more than a mere decoration). i'm not saying all ppl who dress well r like this, but some r. some ppl dont present themselves well, but they do their job so meticulously that they just zoom up the ladder of success. one of my brothers is like this. he's plainly dressed. his curly hair is combed neatly, n never out of place. he loves to live in kampung surrounded with a fruit orchard. he used to collect really cabuk cars up to a point that a guard used to ask him to park elsewhere bcoz he didnt recognise my brother as the director when my brother parked his cabuk car at the director's parking lot. his colleagues drive BMW n Mercedes, but my brother doesnt mind at all. he used to say he wants to "change the paradigm". change ppl's perception, that is.

what does this tell us? that appearance is not everything. what is important is how strong that person's integrity n his identity, n his person's worth. that is y we have such a proverb as "dont judge a book by its cover" bcoz we r such suckers for first appearances. looks can be deceiving.

Monday, August 29, 2005

The Day Fluffy Went Missing

Fluffy went missing 2 days ago. 1 minute he's around, the next he's just gone. mother was cooking laksa terengganu at that time, n when fluffy was missing, i lost my appetite n went out looking for my darling feline in the middle of the hot sun. felt crazy doing it, as i was shouting his name n going to neighbours houses (including those that i dont know) n looking under their cars to see if he's there. i even checked the pet shop...bcoz i was afraid that someone might steal him n sell him off...the tauke said thieves dont sell persian cats to the petshops...i went back... n felt lethargic.i missed him...uwaaaa.
after 2 hours, tini called me, she said when she opened the kitchen door, fluffy came trotting in...worn out....i hugged fluffy tightly...n suddenly everything's alright.