18 December 2015

Remember your 11th birthday when you’re feeling meh that only a few people remembers or even wishes you on Facebook? Well I did wish you on Instagram and later on your Facebook. You see, you did have multiple Facebook accounts apart from the one I created for you so I didn’t know which one you actually use. But you mother did pull a surprise later that evening when she invited a few of your friends (the Iyad brothers and Sayed) and celebrated your birthday at Aeon Equine park with that delicious tiramisu cheesecake. Not to mention that lovely wristwatch that she bought you. I hope this one will last a lot longer than the previous one.

In case you’ve forgotten I already bought you a present, the mountain bike which has a saddle that’s too high for you to get on? I’m sorry that you didn’t inherit much of my genes in that department though I’m sure there’s enough time for you to catch up. But the highlight of the day must be the moment when I brought you to watch the new Star Wars movie, The Force Awaken at MBO Spark Desa Petaling. I bought those tickets a month in advance in case they are sold out (the hall was only half full though). We departed an hour early that evening but your dad was an idiot and didn’t do his homework beforehand and we took a long detour before finally reaching the cinema. I have no idea there’s only one way to get to Desa Petaling which is via the left exit from KL. And just our luck, it poured 30 minutes before time and we were soaking wet by the time we reached Desa Petaling.

Actually we stopped near a building next to highway and I contemplated whether to wait for the rain and miss the movie and take a rain check on it. But I thought, we’ve got to watch the movie rain, storm or shine so I wrapped my phone and wallet in a plastic bag and we braved the rain to get to Spark Desa Petaling. Sure we’ve got a few odd glances from people watching us dripping wet, walking into the cinema hall. And the fact that we were literally shivering cold throughout the entire movie couldn’t dampen our spirit to catch the first of the new Star Wars sequel after so many years. After the movie we rode back in the biting cold night air but made it safely home. Is it the best birthday ever? I don’t know, you tell me. But I did had a good time with my favorite son. Heh, only son.

17 August 2015

Have I told you that we’ve got a new Senior ICT Manager? After decades long tradition of hiring expats for the position, the management decided to try a local one this time around. First impressions — she was very different from the previous senior ICT managers. More livelier, chattier and more inclusive in her management style. She didn’t waste time bringing in a wave of changes and naturally not all are happy with the new things that she introduced.

Me, I was not spared from the revolution that she’s bringing. A few weeks into her reign, she asked me to get involved with the school’s Google Sites webpage. I hesitated at first thinking of the extra burden to my already busy work schedule but after much persuasion, I relented and accepted her offer. So far it’s been good the project. Sure I had to squeeze an extra hour or two every other day of the week for the webpage but they’re quite manageable, at least for now. I’m that kind of guy who doesn’t easily quit when facing a challenge (unlike John hu hu).

One thing I noticed, my new manager likes to eat. A lot. She regularly treat us with lunch either at the office or at the restaurant next door. And she paid it all with money from her own pocket, not a penny from the school coffers. How noble and generous of her. Today we had a little christmas luncheon at a hotel in Seri Petaling. The initial plan was to have dinner at a fancy Thai restaurant somewhere in Ampang but after half of the department staff bailed because of various excuses (mainly the remote location), we changed to Seri Petaling. The food was nice and we had secret santa sessions, lucky draws and goodies bags. Yes everybody got all the items showed in the picture above thanks to our new boss and also the director of Learning Technology. I don’t know whether they got some vendor to sponsor or pool their own money but we are surely touched by their generosity and thoughtfulness. Of course there’s a little note at the goodies bag that says we were to return all those nice gadgets should we ever leave the company but I don’t care. It’s the thought that counts. Thanks boss!

14 November

Once upon a time, my mother lived together with my brother, her wife and their two lovely kids. It was an ideal arrangement. My brother just got married and had kids. He just got posted as a teacher in Kajang. His wife is a homemaker. They can’t afford to buy a house just yet and instead of renting a house somewhere, living in with their mother(in law) seems like a sound idea. The thing about living with your mothers is that you tend to get into fights after a while. I know because I used to live with my mother two along with my wife and my little kid when we didn’t make much over a decade ago. As expected we got into a fight. Well my mother got into an argument with me, about something trivial. That’s what happen when you see each other too often. Honestly, 3 days is the maximum you should stay with your mother. After that prepare for some heated exchange or sour faces.

Anyway I digress. Back to my brother and his wife. One day my mother got into a heated argument with his daughter in life (that’s my brother’s wife, let’s call her Yam). And at the heat of the moment, my mother kinda slapped Yam’s face. Well, according to my mother it was a gentle tap. According to the victim, it was a full blown slap. Needless to say Yam got really upset and demanded my brother send her and the kids back home to her mother right away. And that’s why my brother did. My mother didn’t get to see Yam or her grandchildren ever since.

Days passed and my brother now can finally afford a place to call his own in faraway Rinching. My mother helped my brother to look for that house in the beginning. She even left some of her stuff there in case she comes by to visit. After the incident however, she never really got the chance to. Until about last week when I went to visit my brother’s place to return his bike. My mother upon hearing the plan decided to tag along. In all honesty she just wanted to see her grandchildren because she misses them so much. We arrived right on time, before 5:00 PM because that’s when my brother said a buyer was going to see the bike. When we got there, the gates was locked and Yam is nowhere to be seen. We waited over an hour before finally giving up. I even bought a bucket of KFC as a token of gratitude to share with Yam and the kids. Since my brother said to come on time and there’s a buyer waiting, Yam should have known better than to go out somewhere at that exact time. It is obvious to me that my brother warned his wife in advance of my mother’s arrival so that she can be prepared (i.e ran away as far as possible). She has no plan to see my mother. When I called her she said she’s somewhere in Seri Kembangan on the way home. Said she’s stuck in a jam (in Seri Kembangan on a Sunday) and will be late. She further instructed me to leave the bike and the key in the post box.

After waiting for an hour, we decided to visit the nearest mosque to pray since it’s already time. After that while I was making my way home, mother asked me to turn around and try visiting my brother’s house again. To nobody’s surprise we saw my brother’s car in front of the house and Yam probably just arrived home. I bet she just hid somewhere a couple of blocks away until we leave. So I did the right thing and asked to push the bike inside. Then I told Yam that my mother would like to see the kids for a while which she somewhat agreed. My mother was nearly in tears then we she finally get to see and hug the kids. Yam meanwhile decided to make herself busy inside the house pretending to find the bike’s key or something. After about 5 minutes or so, my mother said goodbye to the kids (in tears of course) and Yam pretended like she didn’t exist and told the kids to come in. We left the house with my mother sobbing uncontrollably.

Was my mother guilty of slapping her daughter in law’s face then? Probably yes. Did she repent and tried to make amends to her? About half a dozen times already I think. Somehow Yam made it her mission not to forgive mother and carries her vendetta up until now. I don’t know whether because she’s still young (she was married in her teens, not even 20 years old yet) or she’s just being mean and immature. Or is it because my brother is to timid to advise his wife to act more becoming of her age today and status as a daughter in law. Whatever it is, my mother is pretty upset about the whole affair and she made sure everybody in the family knows about it. If I were in my brother’s shoe, I’d give my wife a good telling off and smack her into her sense. Well, I won’t literally hit my wife (never did) but I would have done something to ease the tension and eventually make peace with everyone. He went out of his way to spread the words of God to strangers as far away as Pakistan and Korea but couldn’t even advise his own wife. I don’t know dude. You’ve got to get your priorities in order.

1 November 2015

One fine Sunday afternoon, I was making my way to Pandah Indah in KL to buy some IT equipments for my customer on my bike. My cheap secondhand Modenas Krisstar bike is not exactly in tip top condition. The engine sounded terrible and the piston is making this loud knocking sound whenever it’s running. Why don’t I fix it? Well the cost naturally. Last time I did an overhaul of the engine it cost me over 700 ringgit. Therefore as you can see, I dread the thought of spending another 700 ringgit fixing my bike just to do it again 2 years later. So I kept delaying and postponing doing something about my bike until that fateful Sunday afternoon when it died on me somewhere in the middle of Pandan Jaya.

Lucky for me the bike went dead just next to an LRT station. So I slowly pushed my bike aside and parked it near the station. Since it’s near Kampong Pandan I had only one person in mind to call — my good friend Fadzir Aziz. I didn’t have any luck the first 5 times calling him though cause he didn’t pick up the phone but as I was mulling leaving my bike overnight at the station and picking it up later, my call got through and Fadzir came to the rescue. He pushed my bike with his to his place and then drop me off at another LRT station. I shudder to think what would happen to my bike had I left it in Pandan Jaya overnight. Most probably it’ll lose a tyre or two. Fadzir Aziz is a fine example of a friend in need. I don’t have many of those but I’m sure am glad of the ones I have.

So now I’m left without a transportation mode to work. I had this contingency plan in my head though. To borrow my brother’s bike who had just been posted to Sabah. He was kind enough to let me borrow his bike so that evening my wife and I went to his house in Rinching and took the bike home. It rained all the way from Rinching to Taman Puncak Jalil and since I didn’t bring any rain coat, got drenched through and through.

Am I ever going to fix my bike? Most probably not. I doubt it’s worth the cost. I’d rather buy another bike altogether. I had applied for loans from a few banks this week and let’s see which one got through.

1 September 2015

Can you feel the pressure in the air? I certainly can. It was nearing the end of the summer break, lots of work yet to be finished. At the same time most of the IT staff have yet to utilize their annual leaves. So they took it on the last few days before the school reopens. Did I mention there’s still lots to be done?

It all comes to poor planning in my opinion. We have about 2 months to get ready. We could have got things moving as soon as the school closes. There should have been a timeline of things to done and when you should finish it. The new equipments and computers should have been ordered ages ago and arrives early so we can set them up within the 2 months summer break period. But no, due to bureaucracy we only got most of the new stuff on the last week of the holiday. And they expect us to get them ready next week. 2-3 weeks of work to be done in less than 4 days, what do they think we are? Robots?

Still in spite of all that, we still managed to finish most of the jobs assigned to us. Even if it we had to stay back till late in the evening to do it. Even if it means we had to forfeit some of our remaining annual leaves. Yes our holiday rights were literally robbed from us. I can still remember the abject feeling of having to let go one annual leave and furthermore forced to come to work on your day off all because of the poor planning on the management’s part. Let the record state that I truly detest being forced to come to work on my day off. I fucking swear it won’t happen ever again. I’m not paid well enough for this kind of shit.

17 July 2015

Hello hi, it’s been a while.

About this time around last year I have just received my bonus, just a few days before Eid. While I didn’t have time to shop around much, having a some extra money in my pocket sure helps make my Eid a lot brighter and merrier. This year however, our bonus didn’t come in until a week after Eid so many people including me had to make do with whatever we had. Meaning unless we saved some money beforehand we’re left with only our meagre monthly salary to use for Eid.

Fortunately for me, I made some extra money from my side business during the fasting month. Therefore I was not completely broke just before raya. My friends or colleague at work however was not so thrilled to celebrate raya nearly broke. The domestic and maintenance people especially had it worst. I guess you might say it is prudent to save up a little for days like these. I don’t know their story so I’m not going to judge them or anything.

We purposely applied for our leaves a few days in advance so that we could skip the notorious annual balik kampung traffic rush. We left the city 3 days early and as expected traffic was smooth all the way home. I’m especially grateful for the newly finished 2 lane road near bukit Tujuh in Pahang. That saved us at least an hour of driving. The rest of the city folks who left later than us, even the day after was not so lucky with traffic. I heard horror stories of 12 hours drive to get to their hometown. That’s just the way it is.

This year it was my turn to celebrate the first day of Eid in Pasir Mas first so as always we stopped by overnight in Tanah Merah. Our annual Eid routine goes like this: morning prayers in the town mosque, visiting the dearly departed at the local cemetery and then gathering at my mom’s place. In the afternoon my siblings and I went to Pasir Pekan near Kota Bharu to meet up with my dad and as always his wife. As much as I’d like to erase the bitter memories of the horrid things she did to us, I’m constantly being reminded by Mother and Matok especially as well as my siblings and other family members. It’s like they’re making sure that I never forget. That’s right. Sure I can forgive her but I’ll never forget. She single-handedly got my Dad, her own husband fired out of spite and practically ruined her life and my parent’s life and marriage. That said, whenever I meet her I tried to be as polite and civil as possible. If I were to go mental I did what she did to us then I’m no better than her.

This year my big sister brought her family home to celebrate Eid here. You can never be too sure with Lina. One day she’ll say she won’t make it home this year but before you know it she and Zaidi would show up at our doorstep. On Raya eve this year Zaidi suddenly asked me to tag along on join him to go shopping in Wakaf Che Yeh, a popular shopping destination in Kota Bharu. I didn’t have the heart to say no so I just went along with him. Now like I said, I don’t have much budget to splurge on anything this time around so I thought I’ll just go sightseeing in Kota Bharu that night. To my surprise, Zaidi bought me several pair of clothes although at the market. In the end I’ve got as much stuff as he did that day. As much as I like free stuff, I don’t really feel comfortable owing people so much favour like that. Yes free things are good but they usually comes with string attached. Anyway I don’t want to fret too much about that and just accept his generosity as it is.

Just like before Raya, we decided to go back early as well after Raya in anticipation of heavy traffic on the road and highway. I wanted to leave as early as possible in the morning but you know how it is with women. We didn’t leave until well past mid day. As a result we get reports from social media of massive traffic crawl in many places especially the usual suspect in Kuala Krai, Bentong, Karak and Gombak. I had to take as many alternative roads as possible to avoid the jam. Even after that, we didn’t get home until about 11 hours later. That’s it, next time I will make sure we leave home before sunrise.

19 April 2015

When I was small I used to go to Penang and stay with my paternal grandmother during the school holidays. I’ve always had mixed feelings about going there. Bored because there’s nothing much I can do for a month. Excited because we will usually go to the Penang Fair at the end of our stay. That was a long time ago when I was small. As I grow older I see a lot less of Penang. And when my grandmother passed away 14 years ago, that was the last time I visited the island. Since she’s gone, I have little reason to visit the place. She’s the only immediate family member that I have living there. I’m not so close with the others.

Fast forward last week, my grandmother had two more sisters — Tok Bibik and Tok Bik Nab. Bik Nab had been ill for some time now and she passed away last Tuesday. As her nephew, my Dad was compelled to come visit. That’s what people usually do anyway. I know he’s in a dire financial situation right now so when he asked me whether I would come along for the visit I didn’t have the heart to say no. So last weekend I took my family and Dad to visit Penang again after so long. I had some idea that going north is expensive. You need 200 ringgit minimum for transport alone if you’re going by car. And that doesn’t include food and other expenses. More if you ain’t got any relative to stay at. Still, I didn’t mind that much since I thought it’s about time I visit my distant relatives again. Plus Tok Bibik is so old now, who knows when will I see her again. I had fond memories of Tok Bibik. She was so nice when we went to her house and stayed there for weeks during the school holidays.

Halfway through the trip Dad told me he had to go back to KL the same evening. Said he had a very important appointment tomorrow with some big shot about a project. I tried to persuade him to stay at least for the night but he’s having none of it. Since he’s so adamant, I can’t do much about it. He’s known for that. We took the ferry which was over an hour late. The ferry service to the island had gone from bad to worse over the year according to the locals. That evening, 3 units of ferry had broken down and we had to wait in line for the 3 remaining ferries to arrive. I swear that’s the last time I’m gonna ever take a ferry to Penang island.

We were greeted by Mak Cik Ani, Uncle Rahman and Uncle Nizam and his family. We had dinner, went to see Tok Bibik and Dad left shortly after. That’s less than an hour after arriving. I hope you better get that project Dad cause I’m somewhat disappointed with you for this. Had he’d known that Bik Nab passed away earlier I didn’t think he’d even come. Anyway we stayed overnight in Lengkuk Pemancar. We’re planning of visiting Penang Hill (Bukit Bendera) and a few other places the next day.

Uncle Nizam suggested we visit Road Walk near the stadium first before going to Penang Hill. It’s a little market which sells a variety of goods including food, produce, antiques and other common market wares. I’m not so keen of going thinking that the queue at Penang Hill would be very long if we go late. But we went there anyway since Uncle Nizam insisted that we do. In the end my wife did all the buying while I just look around. Actually it was the kids who nagged her to buy stuff for them. I knew exactly that would happen hence the reluctance to visit any kind of market while on holiday. LOL.

Penang Hill has changed much after my last visit when I was small. They’ve renovated the place and also upgraded the funicular train to a spacious and air-conditioned one. The waiting time is also much shorter and we got from the ticket booth to the top in less than 30 minutes. On a clear and sunny day we should be able to see much of Penang island from up there. Unfortunately it was cloudy and hazy when we got there so there’s not much to see really since visibility is quite limited. We walked around the place a bit and went down about an hour later. Sure there’s a couple of restaurants and an owl museum up there but I’m pretty sure they’re expensive and not worth it.

Next stop we visited the famous Hameediyah restaurant downtown for lunch. Some of my Penang friends recommended that we eat there and I have to say they were pretty good. However my Penang neighbor insisted that Deen Nasi Kandar is even better so I guess I’ll have to try that next time. After lunch we walked around a bit trying to find the Penang Street Art. There’s about 9 of them paintings all over the island but we only managed to find 2 in the hot afternoon sun. Since time is limited and I doubt the kids would manage, we didn’t try to look for all of them. Maybe some day when they’re older or when we are there alone just me and my wife.

So that concludes our short visit to Penang. I wished I had more time to visit and see more places and spend time with my far away family. Maybe next year, we’ll see.

4 April 2015

First thing first let me wipe some of the cobwebs on this blog *sweeps-sweeps*. There, much better.

For once I won't apologize for not writing so long here. Why should I? If I'm absent from here it either I'm too pre-occupied with life. Besides, I do blog over at afifplc sometimes (like once a month). But I digress.

This weekend I brought my family for a weekend getaway in Genting. The last time we went there was last year when I brought the kids to play at the Genting Outdoor theme park. This time around there's no more Outdoor theme park because they're replacing it with Fox 20th Century theme park due to open next year. So we went to the Indoor theme park instead this time. After about an hour ride from home, we reached First World Plaza where the theme park is located. Today, much of Genting Highland (the top part) is one big construction site. You see building being built everywhere, construction workers, lorries, muddy roads, the usual stuff. Also this time I parked right under the First World Plaza unlike the last time where I parked a long way from the theme park thinking they would charge a bomb for the parking fees. Actually parking under the hotels there is absolutely free. I should have asked the first time around.

I was expecting a lot of rides and things to play in the indoor theme park but I was mildly disappointed. There were only 9 rides and 6 of them are off limits for children above 126cm so my eldest (Adam, 11) could only ride 3. That said, my two younger daughters enjoyed themselves thoroughly riding the rides over and over again. Adam and I were less enthusiastic about the rides and we were quite bored waiting for them to finish. RM30.20 for just 9 rides is rather expensive in my opinion. So they threw in free entrance to the Ripley's Believe it or Not exhibit. I've watched Ripley's on TV before but unlike the TV show, this mini exhibit was far from interesting. There were too little to see and the place is just too small. No wonder they gave people free entrance with the theme park ticket. RM30.20 for children is for walk-in tickets. If you buy online (minimum 2 days in advance) the price is just RM22.30 per child and RM23.70 per adult. Overall, I think the theme park price does not correlate to the number of rides we get to ride. It's obviously quite expensive, just like everything else in Genting. You'd be better off bringing your kids somewhere else.

This time around we checked into the First World Hotel next door. Last time we didn't and I had to drive home late at night after a tiring (but fulfilling) day at the outdoor theme park. Fortunately I can get a good night sleep and rest at the hotel first before leaving tomorrow. The normal rate for the cheapest room at First World Hotel is just RM50 on weekdays but for weekends and public holiday they cost RM283 per night. Yep, big difference. The only way I can enjoy that ridiculously cheap room is by either leaving our kids home or let them skip school and come with us on a weekday. The hotel room is quite small anyway. Two single beds, shower bathroom, no fridge or balcony. It's quite cold up there so you don't really need any air-cond. To save money we brought a little bit of supply and ration and made our own dinner and breakfast in the hotel room. Our little camping stove came quite handy in time like these. Our choice of menu is limited only by what we brought along.

Will we come again? I don't know. Maybe after the new theme park finishes and only if the price is not too steep. I have a feeling that the hotel prices are gonna go up once that new park finishes. Guess we'll have to wait and see.

12 January 2015

After being delayed by the nationwide flood by almost 2 weeks, my number 2 finally started her first day at school today. Fortunately for us we were not affected in any way by the flood since we lived in Selangor so we were long ready for the new school season. Actually Mia went to an orientation season a week earlier to get accustomed with the school environment and also take an evaluation test. And since Mia had been to a kindergarten since she was 5, she had little problem adjusting to school life. Her mother did wait around for a while on the first day until school finishes. Check her out during recess on the second day and by the 3rd day she was already fine on her own. Besides, she has her big brother Adam Farihin to look after her (hopefully). Mia already made a few friends in 1 Cemerlang when asked. After school she went to religious school (Kafa) just like her brother. Back in my days I go home and sleep after school.

Now that both my kids are in the morning season, we had to wake up half an hour earlier at 5:30 am every weekdays you know, to prepare for stuff. My wife had to cook breakfast and lunch for everybody and I had to send the kids to school before leaving for work. The kids need to be at school before 7.10 am so I left home at around 6:30 and leave for work before 7:00. 30 minutes may not seem much but as you get older, every second of your precious sleep time counts! So kids, remember when you're older and wiser the sacrifice your parent made for your education and your future well being in general. Remember that every time you feel like talking back to your parent or getting pissed off over trivial matters. Your parent did more for your than you can ever pay back for.