Thursday, July 19, 2012

Ramadhan Kareem

Alhamdulillah, InsyaAllah, in two days time, we will be granted the chance to meet up with Ramadhan again. For my husband & I, this will be our second Ramadhan in Kelantan. Last year I was a Stay-At-Home-Wife (SAHW), and I cooked almost everyday, except for the first 2-3 days of Ramadhan because we haven't got our gas connected to the stove yet & on 2 other days that we had iftar with my husband's office mates. 
I truly enjoyed spending Ramadhan last year as a SAHW. Alhamdulillah, being a SAHW then, permitted me to spend my day time reciting the Quran, after every prayers, and I woke up for qiyammulail almost everyday, especially during the last 10 days of Ramadhan. I didn't really savour food from Pasar Ramadhan (PARAM), even when I was living in Cheras, cause to me, the food from PARAM normally tasted bland & blergh. I would only frequented PARAM for 3 special dishes: bubur lambuk, popia basah & tepung pelita. I normally cook during Ramadhan, be it only simple dishes. Being in Kelantan, with distinct palate & tastebud, my husband and I didn't even have the urge to go to PARAM last year! And of course, last year, we didn't have any bubur lambuk, popia basah & tepung pelita for iftar. 
I still remember the Ramadhan of 2010, where my Mama & arwah Papa spent the whole Ramadhan @ PPUKM. I left the office at 5 pm sharp & literally 'berpencak silat' in the kitchen at home. I would then packed the dishes for my Mama & arwah Papa, and later, my husband & I would get in the car to send the food to them, and we would reached home for iftar just in time for the Maghrib adzan! It was tiring but rewarding, cause my food was cooked with care & love, and definitely, hygienic. This year will be our second Ramadhan without arwah Papa. Of course, during this special holy month that his absence is explicitly felt! When he was still alived, every Ramadhan, arwah Papa would fixed colourful lights around the front porch our house, and our house would be the brightest in the row! He would also be the one who bought Raya cookies, specially ordered from his old friend. Last year, our front porch was not the brightest, and we didn't order Raya cookies from his old friend. Al-fatihah to my dear Papa.

Sadness aside, here are a few pantuns that I penned down in less than an hour. They are definitely a reminder for me, and I sure do hope everyone would get something to ponder out of the pantuns. Wallahualam.

Ramadhan menjelang 2 hari lagi,

Mari kita muhasabah diri,
Bersungguh-sungguhkah kita selama ini?
Melakukan ibadah bekalan di akhirat nanti.

Ramadhan menjelang 2 hari lagi,
Tanamkanlah niat di dalam hati,
Beristiqamah mendirikan solat Tarawih dan solat malam hari,
Bertadarus Al-Quran, dan bersedekah, lazimkanlah diri.

Ramadhan menjelang 2 hari lagi,
Semoga disambut penuh kesyukuran dan keinsafan di hati,
Juga belajar mengekang nafsu diri,
Tidak membazir berbelanja di Pasar Ramadhan sesuka hati.

Ramadhan menjelang 2 hari lagi,
Sudah tentu Raya lambat lagi,
Janganlah asyik berfikir tentang kelengkapan duniawi,
Lailatul Qadar berusahalah kita jejaki.

Ramadhan menjelang 2 hari lagi,
Bersama-samalah kita berdoa kepada Ilahi,
Semoga ini bukan Ramadhan yang terakhir sekali,
Supaya berpeluang bertemu Ramadhan lagi.

Ramadhan menjelang 2 hari lagi,
Peringatan ini untuk diri sendiri,
Andai terasa, saya menyusun sepuluh jari,
Kekhilafan diri harap dimaafi.

Ramadhan Kareem to everyone!

C'est la vie!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

My hobbies, my passions

Can't believe I've been abandoning the blog for almost 4 months. Not that I didn't have much story to write, nor did nothing interesting happened in my life. But the problem was.... I was plain lazy, with a capital L! Period. Ha! ;o I've been living well & been blessed so far, Alhamdulillah. Though there were bumps here & there (there will always be), and waded through high water (the water never runs dry), or went down the lowest valleys and hiked up the highest mountains (no shortage of these either), but it's the life that I've chosen to live well.
Up till now, I have three major hobbies which at times can turn into passions. These hobbies-cum-passions keep me sane every time I hit the lowest point in life. Of course, turning yourself towards Allah The Almighty is THE ultimate medicine, and heals you completely, but these three hobbies-cum-passions are my modes to vent out frustration, deal with disappointment, and heal off annoyance. Interestingly, initially, these three activities are just hobbies to kill off my spare times, and two of the activities are taken up especially to satisfy our taste buds (my husband's and I)---> which have yet to adjust to the 'different' Kelantanese palate. The other hobby, however, is a hobby that I grew up with, yet, I've expanded this hobby to 'some where' which I never imagine!
So, I cook, bake & read ;o ... Like almost millions of everyone else in the world. Nothing special. Hehe.

L-R: Mee bandung Muar, sambal tumis udang and sayur goreng for lunch & Baked pancake  

Clockwise, from L: Wholemeal buns and wholemeal bread, Apple moist cake, Peach cobbler scones & Choc walnut gateux

The last hobby, which took me somewhere I never imagine... Fact 1: I easily immersed myself in the fictions that I read, and yes, Fact 2: I read fictions in my spare times (& magazines, recipe books, semi autobio), NOT academic books, simply because I'm an academician who read academic journals & books for a living! Fact 3: I got engaged  in the storylines, to the point of it almost feel like I'm in the plots (Haha!). Fact 4: I feel sad to close interesting books every time I have finished reading them, and I have difficulties to say goodbye to the characters that I've fell in love with. Fact 5: I re-read books that I love from time to time. Fact 6: I can speed read books that I don't really like. Fact 7: I read books that I don't really like  from back to front (Hehe!). Fact 8: Most of the time, I don't have enough patient to read books from 1st page to the end; More often than not, I skipped pages to know the ending ;o Fact 9: I have a 'bad attitude' of collecting the whole books of my favourite authors (Even after reading her/his 3rd novels, I can already see similarities between ALL the books: repetitive exact phrases; identical characters, only with different names & professions). Fact 10: I have to read all the books from my favourite authors even if  I could not own their books. Fact 10: I started with Enid Blyton (whom I initially thought was a guy, yes... silly me!) to Carolyn Keene to L.M.Montgomery to Harper Lee to Sidney Sheldon to Jude Deveraux to Ken Follet to Kathy Reichs to Joy Fielding. In between these authors, I also read: Elizabeth George, Paulo Coelho, Robert Ludlum, Judith Mcnaught, Emily Bronte, Patricia Cornwell, Sophie Kinsella, etc, etc,etc (Heeee!). Fact 11: I only read English fictions! Yes, I'm not ashamed to admit it, except for books like Mira Edora (A compulsory read during high school), but I truly appreciate the beautiful Bahasa Melayu, especially in the forms of syair, pantun, sajak and old books like Tenggelamnya Kapal Van Der Wijck (arwah Papa made me read this book when I was 14), Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa, Hikayat Anggun Cik Tunggal, Hikayat Siti Zubaidah & the likes.... until I came to Kelantan!

My English books. They fit the whole big box. Some were still on the shelf when I snapped this photo
Being in Kelantan, with no MPH, no Kinokuniya, no Times Bookstore,  let alone Borders, I have limitation to access English fictions. So I gave Malay fictions a try. I started with Aisya Sofea (Who doesn't know her, right?) For a kick start, since I'm a member of HUSM's Library, I went to its Fiction Area & borrowed books from Aisya Sofea. Members are only allowed to borrow two fictions at one time, so that was what I did since March this year. When I've finished all Aisya Sofea's books available in the library, I moved on to other authors: Siti Rosmizah, Anis Ayuni, Meen Zulaikha, Sarnia Yahya, Nass Alina Noah, Noor Suraya, Hlovate. I relied on some blogs that gave books reviews & suggestions to choose which books/ authors to read. Reading Malay fictions/ novels made me looking for more 'substance' in a book, rather than the usual staple of romance, hence these two authors, caught my attention: Noor Suraya & Hlovate. I love Noor Suraya for her beautiful language, although some of her books were written in simple, non-standard Bahasa Melayu. She infused beautiful Malay elements such as pantuns, old letters, traditional houses, recipes in her books, and most of her books took place in Kedah with Bahasa Melayu Kedah scattered here and there. And Hlovate... ahhh... lost for words, for this mysterious author is everything in 1: musician, skater, medical doctor, photographer, violinist (?), pianist (?), philosopher. Hlovate never failed to blend in the Islamic values in her books, with excerpts from Harun Yahya's books from were often found in most of her books. Reading Hlovate's works is also a breeze  cause her/his (Yes, Hlovate is sooo mysterious, hence the 'gender ambiguity') books were mostly written in a mixture of English & bahasa Melayu. And, yes, I've started collecting books from both of them ;o

Clockwise, from L: Rows of Malay books that I've started collecting since March 2012, two books from Noor Suraya that just arrived earlier this month, my current obsession: Versus by Hlovate, piles of books besides my bed

The greatest gift is a passion for reading.  - Elizabeth Hardwick
Fiction reveals truths that reality obscures.  ~Jessamyn West
Books can be dangerous. The best ones should be labeled "This could change your life."  ~Helen Exley 

C'est la vie!