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.