Saturday, February 26, 2011

Signing the S&P, the Kitten and the On-going Quest 2 keep Fit

last thursday i finally took the first important step in buying a house - i went to the lawyer's office to sign the S&P. signing a bunch of papers may not sound like a big deal to some people, but it was for me. a momentous occasion that marked another milestone in my life. i flipped through the contract and came to the last page where there was a list of furniture left by the owners. at least there are things that i don't have to pay people to do (and waste more money). i hope that everything will go well, insyaallah.

My mixed breed kitten of persian-birman is turning my life upside down. before Tomo, i had a quiet life. the house didn't smell of cats and there were times when i went straight shopping after work. now, the house smells of cats, i talk the feline lovers' talk (about food and stuff) and i come straight home after work, and before feeding myself, i make sure i feed him first! Tomo was fragile and sickly when i got him, but he is very loyal and affectionate (means he trots behind me, scampers around me, and makes sure that i stay in his field of vision). despite thinking about how to care for him when i move to the new house, my heart wrenches at the thought of selling him because i have  this image in my mind - Tomo has this pitiful look that makes you want to cuddle him. at the time i'm writing this, Tomo is at my feet. despite the illnesses, Tomo is strong and today he received his first vaccination, so that made him a little subdued the past 2 hours.

and lastly, is my on-going quest to keep fit. i don't know if i want to put the term "to lose weight". i guess i prefer the term "to keep fit". after the 2 months of gym hiatus, i was eager to return to the gym. but i pushed myself (forgetting that despite the hill climbing and the walking i did in Makkah and Madinah i was still out of shape) so hard that i hurt my back the first week. that set me out of action for 2 weeks. during these 2 weeks i fed myself like nobody's business because the new school canteen operator makes its own sausage rolls, pau and currypuffs and the cook is a Siamese lady who cooks the best tomyam! and not to forget those delicious teh ais and air bandung made by Bob who usually sends the drinks only after i finish eating or when i find myself nearly choked. yes, i fed myself happily until i saw myself in the school toilet mirror. well, may be the mirror stretches the image sideways, so that we appear to be shorter and heavier. then, i sat at this one teacher's table. she keeps a small mirror. again, i found my face to be bigger than it should be. so i called this one slim teacher to see her image in the same mirror. guess what? her image is still the same! only then i realised that i was in denial and that i've gained weight. and so this week, i went to the gym 3 times, as i usually did in the past. i realised that i lost my stamina and was out of breath after 3 minutes of jogging at 6.6kmph. unheard of!

to stand up and start all over again is a slow, agonising process. but this is my own making and insyaallah i will triumph. though i do realise that i need to do some drastic changes if i want to lose weight again.


Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Goodbye, Prof Lim: A Tribute to Professor Lim Chee Seng

my friend Iris, who was my M.A. coursemate, sent me a message via facebook that our dear professor had passed away. i was numb at first, then felt an ache, and finally i started crying. 

it's strange that some people who are not related to us by blood can have such an overwhelming effect on us.

Prof Lim Chee Seng was the most celebrated Literature lecturer in UM  when i registered for the first year of M.A. at the Fac of Arts and Social Science in June 2001. because of his Beatle hairdo, i secretly called his hair "rambut topi jerman". that was also the time when i met my M.A. friends Elison, Jaya Sree and K.Zainon. Iris and Nash joined a semester later. Prof Lim taught us Rennaissance Literature, and out of all my lecturers, i think my classmates enjoyed his class the most, simply because he was like a father to us, and didn't mind a bit if we loosen up (unlike the other lecturers' classes, where we had to be the examplary serious literature scholars that we were supposed to be). i remember on the first day of our class he played Rennaissance music, but we were busily passing papers around to write down our emails and handphone numbers. he didn't mind at all. in all of his classes when we discussed Milton, Herbert, Donne and of course, Shakespeare, we would be fascinated with Prof Lim's extensive knowledge, and would be struck with awe when he started reciting lines from Shakespeare or Donne.

i owe a lot to him because he was willing to write a letter to the Ministry to back me up when i had some technical problem regarding the scholarship. imagine, he painstakingly wrote the letter himself, in Bahasa Melayu.a great man who didn't feel it was beneath him to type and print the letter himself when he could have asked one of the clerks in the Eng Dept office to do it.

in my second year, Prof Lim went to Jaidapur U to become Visiting Professor, but when he returned, there were new courses for the junior M.A. students and i really envied them because they got to learn from Prof Lim. and because of the reason that Prof Lim was away, too,i never got him as my dissertation supervisor. back then i decided on post-colonial literature as my area of specialisation.

when i received my graded dissertation, i was pleasantly surprised to find out that Prof Lim was my internal examiner and i remember his words "i recommend that the dissertation of this candidate be passed and be awarded M.A." 

2 years ago before he left UM, i remember asking him if he'd become my PhD supervisor should i return to my alma mater.

so, imagine my shock last night when i found out that this gentle, courteous and very much civilised literature scholar had passed on. iris told me that his house was crowded with people. even his facebook page was filled with words of commiseration from his former students, myself included.

so goodbye, my dear professor. and thank you for your knowledge and kindness.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

The Trip Back to Terengganu

i decided to return to Terengganu for the Chinese New Year hols to pay settle matters concerning the house in Terengganu. i went back with Sazi, and since i had company, i drove slower than i usually do when i'm alone. the roads were relatively calm and quiet, so my guess was the out-of-towners would only hit the road on the 2nd of Feb.

i had informed Pak Din, my ever so helpful neighbour, that i would be at home. the house greeted me with the unkept garden and weeds everywhere. i talked to Pak Din about my plan to rent it out since i'm going to buy a house here in KL. he asked me if i wanted to sell it. i know that many are interested in the house, but now i've started thinking like the late Abang Aziz who told me that there's a reason why Father left it to me. and since i'm going to buy a house and know how difficult it is to get even one house, i feel that i can't let the Terengganu house go so easily. i keep picturing Father paying for the house with his pension. because of that, i begin to appreciate it even more.

i brought Sazi to my usual ikan celup tepung spot, and the fried calamari was still as delicious as ever. that night, i couldn't sleep well and i began to think of my bed in Ampang and wondered why is it that i couldn't sleep in my own house. the next day, i had to wake Sazi early. there was no water in the house!! the water pipe must be clogged then. we decided to stay at the hotel.

i paid the quit rents at DBKT and at the Pejabat Tanah. though i must say that for the past few years (and even till now) the staff at Pejabat Tanah really try my patience with their very unprofessional remarks. after that we checked out a few hotels and finally i got to stay at my favourite place, Batu Burok Beach Resort. after checking in, i went to Sultan Sulaiman to meet with the old friends there. it's nice to be able to drive past the big school arch, and to park at the enormous car park, and to able to see my ex colleagues. none of the students recognised me, as the last batch of students i taught in SS sat for their SPM last year.  i met Kak Fadilah, the Head of English Panel, who promptly asked "are you coming back here for good? do you want to come back to SS?" i wish it was so, as i love the school but the fact is, it won't solve the problem.

the next day, i cleared my room out. i threw the old stuff and found some that are worth keeping. i even threw my parents' clothes out, something that i wouldn't even dream of doing last year. i guess i've come to a realisation that i've to move on with my life and that includes making the matured and wise decision to rent the house out. 

after the clearing out, we had lunch with my SS friends Ah Chooi, Shima and Zawiyah. these 3 people are the closest people to me in Terengganu, and i truly treasure their friendship.

on the day i was to return to KL i visited my parents' usual, tears just flowed down my cheeks as i prayed for their souls. i miss them terribly. but life must go on...