Saturday, May 30, 2009

.: Duānwǔ Jié :.

May 28 2009.

Source:: Penang State International Dragon Boat Festival 2008/2009

An abridged version of the origin of 端午節 :: Commonly known as the Dragon Boat Festival [端午节/端午節] or Double Fifth, it falls on the 5th day of the 5th month of the Chinese lunar calendar. One of the popular legends relating to its origins in ancient China was the death of the great poet Qu Yuan [屈原]. Qu Yuan committed suicide by drowning himself in the Miluo River on the 5th day of the 5th month of the Chinese lunar year.

As he was greatly loved by the local people, it was said that they threw food into the river to feed the fish to avoid Qu Yuan from being consumed. Over time, the locals began to serve dumplings wrapped in leaves that is believed to be the origin on zòngzi
[rice dumplings with fillings wrapped in bamboo leaves].

It was purportedly said that in order to frighten the fishes and evil spirits away or retrieve Qu Yuan's body, the locals began to hold Dragon Boat racings. As a result, during the Duānwǔ Festival, to traditionally commemorate Qu Yuan's death, the people will usually eat
zòngzi and have Dragon Boat races.

Since in that kingdom all my virtue spurn,
Why should I for the royal city yearn?
Wide though the world, no wisdom can be found,
I'll seek the stream where once the sage was drowned.

:: Further information about the festival held in Malaysia ::


Occasionally mum will make zòngzi. I apologize for the unflattering photos, but believe me, do not be deceived by its look. I wolfed down 5 of those little bundles of tasty morsels in a single shot. It was that good. :)

I have attended some Dragon Boat races in the past. Back then, I was more of a cultural experience freak and not into photography hence I have no photos of my own. The total experience was overwhelming and there was just so much noise coming from every direction! The rooting screams, the drumming, cries of tears and laughter --- absolutely astonishing and deafening! It was like some big-shot pop star made his/her stage presence. Anyway, the most breathtaking moment was seeing the paddlers in the middle of the sea, paddling in complete synchronization.

Amazing stuff.
9.27am Malaysian Time

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

.: Dominus Illuminatio mea :.

The Lord is my Light.

One of my friends is organizing a charity drive to collect funds for an orphanage here in Malaysia. He was going about how he brought these kids to McDonald's and a couple of Malay [Muslim] women did so much more by entertaining these kids.

“Because of their kind act and yours too who did not care about their race or religion, I definitely want to now help out a Muslim/Malay Orphanage next month or in July.”

If anyone wants a shot at providing a little happiness into a young child’s life that may indirectly bring about a greater impact in the long run, email me and I shall link you up with my friend. Child sponsorship is approximately RM100 [30USD], and it's a one time sponsorship, closing dates 2 weeks from now. I think I know him well enough that he will not misuse the funds. Believe me, he does not need it. :)

To my friend:: Oxford did the right thing by accepting you. :)

Shining upon us.
10.13pm Malaysian Time

Sunday, May 24, 2009

.: Tag .:

Tagged by Ash Mazelan.

1. Do you think you are hot? - Never. I'm cold-blooded. :P

2. Upload your favourite picture of you.

3. Why do you like that picture? - Aesthetic appeal I guess. :)

4) When was the last time you ate pizza? - Ermm ... last month?

5) The last song you listened to? - 爱的主旋律 by Genie Zhuo Wen Xuan and Xiao Gui.

6) What are you doing right now besides this? - Uploading pictures in Facebook. :)

7) What name would you prefer besides yours? - None. I'm grateful with my present name(s). :)

8) People To Tag :
i. Ms. Unique
ii. Asmi
iii. Kak Chik
iv. Sister Farhana
v. Ummi

9) Who is number one? - A lovely sister whom Insha'Allah I shall meet in 5 years time. :)

10) Number three is having a relationship with? - Her husband. :)

11) Say something about number five? - She's staying in my motherland. :)

12) How about number four? - The epitome of sweetness. :)

13) Who is number two? - Recently got acquainted to her. Brilliant girl!

Smashing couple of months ahead. :)
9.34am Malaysian Time

Saturday, May 23, 2009

.: Mysterious past :.

The twirls of fate.

Don't you want to look for your best friend ... ?

~ Why look for someone that has always been there to begin with ...

Will you renounce the people that made you undergo extreme despair even if it means you will have to leave the very person that gave you the strength to deal with it?

Or will you choose to forsake your dreams in order to be around that person?

And will you hold on to forgoing your dreams even when the person wishes for you to run towards it?

The first encounter.
8.11am Malaysian Time

Monday, May 18, 2009

.: Accruing emancipation :.

Maintaining the decorum.

First scenario

New teacher :: Monday is pronounced as Alithnain. You know, like Alice in Wonderland. :)
Me :: LoL~ What?
New teacher :: :) Don't laugh. Repeat after me, Alithnain. :)
Second scenario

New teacher :: Supposedly, it is pronounced as Syukra and Afwa. But if you say that, most Arabs will not understand. Generally, we pronounce the tanween hence it becomes Syukran and Afwan.
Me :: So Syukran Jazeelan should be pronounced as Syukran Jazeela?
New teacher :: Yes. :)
Me :: Then what's Syukriya?

- my sis spotting a flabbergasted face -

New teacher :: That's Urdu. :)
Me :: Owh ... *like, what just happened?*
New teacher :: LoL~ It's derived from Arabic origins. :)


Sis :: Syukriya? Syukriya? What were you thinking?
Me :: I uhh ... wasn't? Must have zoned out. Must have...

Can't fess up to my sister that my cousin and I have been writing romanized Urdu to one another. Reason? It began when her friend commented on FB, "Write in English or we'll start a conversation in Urdu." That eventually led to us leaving romanized Urdu on each other's applications. Yes, it's weird. By the way, I don't speak Urdu. Please do not comment in Urdu. I will reject the comment. :)

Summary of Arabic Lessons Level 1. I did the finals yesterday. Alhamdulillah!!! I'll proceed to level 2 on May 31st 09. ^^ 2 weeks break~!!! Eh ... why am I listening to Arabic Podcasts and going through my notes again?

And I've taken my knowledge into practice when I frequent Middle Eastern shops. The overall experience, reeks sheer joy. Nowadays, it's far more easier to ask for ingredients, and the communication barrier have diminished significantly. :)

مع السلامة

8.20pm Malaysian Time

Saturday, May 16, 2009

.: Conceptual minds :.

Kuala Lumpur City Library.

“Let others see their recreation
In beautiful songstresses and wine
What we offer are literary gatherings and books
As recreations of the minds”

~ Ibn Durayd (d.321/933)

“Knowing others is wisdom, knowing yourself is enlightenment.”

~ Lao Tzu

There's something in every atheist, itching to believe, and something in every believer, itching to doubt.

~ Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic's Notebook, 1966

Symptom of synesthesia.
9.30am Malaysian Time

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

.: 13 May :.

The national tragedy of 1969.

A Reporter's account of an interview with Tunku Abdul Rahman on the 13 May incident.

The rest is history. I am sorry but I must end this discussion now because it really pains me as the Father of Merdeka [Independence] to have to relive those terrible moments. I have often wondered why God made me live long enough to have witnessed my beloved Malays and Chinese citizens killing each other.”


Excerpt from Malaysian Today.

When the Malay residents of Jalan Raja Abdullah heard that trouble had erupted along Jalan Raja Muda, they quickly ‘smuggled’ their Chinese neighbours into their homes. When some Malays started going house-to-house searching for Chinese, the Malays dressed the Chinese in Baju Melayu (Malay costume) and brought them over to the Kampong Baru Mosque — which by then had become a sort of refugee centre for all those stranded in Kampong Baru due to the curfew that had been imposed. No one could enter or leave Kampong Baru so the mosque was the safest place of refuge.

In the meantime, the Chinese manager was stranded in Lever Brothers’ office in Jalan Bangsar. He could not go home because of the curfew. Anyway, to go home would have been suicide because Kampong Baru and the areas surrounding it saw some of the worst racial skirmishes. The manager phoned the police who went over to his Jalan Raja Abdullah home and found the house burnt to the ground and the family missing. He assumed they had all been killed. The distraught manager did not know they were safe in the Kampong Baru Mosque dressed as Malays. Imagine his relief when many days later he found his family alive thanks to his Malay neighbours.

In Pasar Borong, an all-Chinese wholesale market (then along Jalan Ipoh behind the old Tabung Haji headquarters) it was the other way around. There was this lone Malay trader who was stranded there when trouble broke out. The Chinese traders at the market hid the Malay in some fish boxes, safe from the marauding Chinese who were looking for Malays to kill — just like what the Malays in Kampong Baru were doing.

He had to suffer the stench for a couple of days but the Chinese kept him alive until it was safe for him to emerge from his hiding place and go home to his family who had given him up for dead.

These are but two though by no means the only ‘good’ stories of May 13. Taman Seputeh was then (and still is, I think) a mixed Malay-Chinese neighbourhood. The residents got together to form a guard unit (equivalent to the Rukun Tetangga before the word was even invented) to patrol the area. When any armed Malays came to the neighbourhood, the Malay residents would go face them to negotiate safe passage for the Chinese and if any armed Chinese came instead, then the Chinese residents would reciprocate. Taman Seputeh saw no bloodshed the entire period.”

Harapan saya ialah semoga kita menjadi sahabat sejati selama-lamanya.

I hope we will be best friends forever.

By Lat; Dato' Mohd. Nor Bin Khalid [Malaysia's most beloved cartoonist]

There are multiple interpretations on why and what happened, and there are 2 generally accepted views. I prefer to gracefully avert from discussing further. No one really knows the real truth behind the racial disturbance. Despite the disaster, it is a monumental and imperative piece of history that we need to remember; one that unmistakably holds the pivotal role to shape the fate of our nation. We musn't allow anyone to induce hatred and bigotry by means of race and religion, lest we suffer the fate of our country being turned into a horrific racial battlefield once more.

Promoting racial integrity, acceptance and celebration of the various compositions that our diverse culture, race, religion and tradition have to offer; brought together in this melting pot known as Malaysia and fondly referred to as home.

A glimpse of Malaysian history.
12.58 noon Malaysian Time

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

.: The strangest day :.

Can you spot the common barn owl?

Earlier this morning, as I was about to leave for work, I found it in front of my house gate, eyes on me. Perplexed to find it there, I called my aunt to confirm its presence. There is a possibility I was hallucinating things since I haven't been sleeping right for the last few weeks. A manifestation, maybe. Just what are the odds for anyone to find an owl outside their house in this part of the city? Or elsewhere in Malaysia for that matter? The only ones I had seen were kept in captivity in the zoos.

Clearly, I wasn't imagining things.

I thought by the time I'm back from work, it'd be long gone. That was until I came home and my sis asked whether the owl is still there.

And I just had to hunt for it. :)

It was a piece of cake. There it was, perched on top of the potted plant in our little garden. As I edged nearer to it, its' eyes followed me closely, mindful of my movements. Armed with my camera, I snapped a few shots. I wasn't able to get a good one as I was afraid I might scare it away. However, it was inexplicably tame. Then again, I didn't want to risk anything.


While we're under this area of discussion, in Malay literature, there is a prevalent Malay proverb that uses the common barn owl as its main subject;

"Bagai pungguk rindukan bulan"

Direct translations :: Akin to a common barn owl missing the moon.
Description :: The feeling of longing one has for something beyond his/her reach.

The context is also applied in other branches of Malay literature i.e. the syair [a type of poem]. For the benefit of the readers, I'll do a quick summary of the interpretation. The overall depiction of the poem is the intense affection of a man; "Pungguk" [common barn owl] towards a woman; "Bulan" [moon]. Although he realizes that circumstances do not permit them to be together, the man persisted in uncovering ways to be with her, while doing so he yearns for her from afar. If anyone wants the flowery English translations of the poem, drop me an e-mail and I'll work it out for you. :)

Syair burung pungguk

Pertama mula Pungguk merindu,
Berbunyilah guruh mendayu-dayu,
Hatinya rawan bercampur pilu,
Seperti dihiris dengan sembilu.

Pungguk bermadah seraya merawan,
"Wahai Bulan terbitlah tuan,
Gundahku tidak berketahuan,
Keluarlah tercelah awan."

Sebuah tilam kita beradu,
Mendengarkan pungguk merindu,
Suaranya halus tersedu-sedu,
Laksana orang berahikan jodoh.

Pungguk merawan setiap bulan,
Sebilan jitun berlompatan,
Bulan mengandung disebelah lautan,
Mendengarnya bersambut-sambutan.

Di atas beraksa berapa lama,
Gilakan cahaya bulan purnama,
Jikalau bulan jatuh kerama,
Di manakah dapak pungguk bersama.

"Pungguk bermadah seraya menawan,
Wahai bulan terbitlah tuan,
Gundahku tidak berketahuan,
Keluarlah bulan tercelah awan."

As I'm typing this entry, it's rather weird that there is a connection between the syair and the things that are happening outside the virtual realm. The owl is still outside my house, with its head tilted to the sky and its eyes literally mesmerized by it. Then there's the clashing of thunder [guruh], and the moon is slowly revealing itself behind the clouds. Creepy...

Will it greet me tomorrow morning?
8.36pm Malaysian Time

.: Puddles of memories :.

Of my sister's adopted little brother.

Sis :: Are you sure you won’t consider him? He’s such a good boy. And he's so cute~! Aww~~~

And he’s married now! Woohooo! Alhamdulillah! The relief! The elation! Alhamdulillah! I got the news from his brother, and I was beaming with sheer happiness! Obviously, I had to share the auspicious news to my family. This bit of news became the finale to my sister's fixation in trying to hook me up with him. Alhamdulillah!

Sis :: He’s too young for you anyway. So, you’re in touch with his brother now? I know you had it in you. My little sister; the ever devious, scheming and diabolical one. Always a step ahead.


I admit that I can be conniving, alas I have no share in predicting this outcome. Nonetheless, my sis can kiss the idea goodbye because my friend and his family have returned to Pakistan and he didn’t update me with his contact details except, on his uncle’s address. *Eh?* From establishing contact with his brother, to his mum, to his dad, to his other brother, and now his uncle … I really can’t blame my sister for suspecting something, but in reality … there is NOTHING! He is a friend. Plus I know his then fiancee, now his wife. I'm still trying to demystify what exactly took place. One day I'm talking to him and the next he brought his brother to see me. *Eh?*

Looking back, there was a constant flow of peculiar, out of the ordinary and brilliant incidents. Each passing day only led to smiles, laughs and joyous moments. Family and friends simply put it as an endless shower of blessings, and I believe so. Alhamdulillah.
Sis :: You made a lot of really good memories during Hajj but the final day in Mecca was the ultimate climax.
Me :: LoL~ I'm still seeing replays of it. ^^ Unbelievable.

Happy as a lark.
10.53am Malaysian Time

Sunday, May 10, 2009

.: 達磨 :.

My Daruma card.

The much anticipated card from my all time favorite bookstore; Kinokuniya. With it, I'm entitled to a 28% discount on a book per month till end of this year~!!! The euphoria~!!!

Today's post won't be anything much. I've been extremely occupied with work plus several other things, hence I've been missing out in reading @ commenting other blogs. Really, truly sorry for my absence. Insha'Allah, once I'm done with things, I'll resume my stalking activities soon enough. :P

Before I end this post, I'd like to highlight Michelle's private hijab blog. She's a beautiful, delightful and above all, affable sister that I've gotten to know over a span of 5 months since Jan 15. *Dates ... I can be very particular in remembering 'em* I just can't get enough of seeing little Elspeth~!!! And dear Michelle, thank you so much for the hijab and the undercap. Those are really lovely~! :)

For people that would like to catch snippets into her life, kindly request for her permission to access her private blog at

It's amazing how the Sisterhood of Travelling Hijab blog had and still am connecting me with numerous brilliant and lovely sisters from all over the world. ^^

Star Trek, here I come. :)
8.59pm Malaysian Time

Saturday, May 9, 2009

.: Happy Wesak Day :.

It's today.

In remembrance,
of the birth, death and enlightenment of Buddha. Before dawn, Buddhists make their way to temples with their offering of prayers, flowers and incense; releasing doves, and providing alms and free meals to the monks and the needy.

"To understand everything is to forgive everything"; Buddha

I just reached home after a long day in Perak. Quite a number of things are happening concurrently with certain revelations that are conflicting; disturbing, thus do accept my apologies for not posting as much. Nevertheless, I would like to extend this little ounce of hope during this auspicious occasion.

Happy Wesak Day to everyone! May we rise up to the theme for this year; "Religious Tolerance for Peace"!

Arabic lessons ending tomorrow.
11.33pm Malaysian Time

Friday, May 8, 2009

.: Catch-22 :.

What went wrong?

There were a few things that mum hoped for me …

“I hope you work for the government.”

Friends’ reaction:: "You will definitely suffer from a massive shock on your first day of work rendering you paralyzed for the rest of your life!"

~ I ended up working in the private sector.

“I hope you work in a company with Malays.”

~ Nope, didn’t come close to having any Malays.

“I hope you work in a company with Muslims.”

~ Nope, no Muslims here either.

“I hope you will not work with guys.”

~ Eh … I'm the only girl.

So mum eventually said this …

“I hope you marry a Muslim, a practicing once. That’s all I’m praying for now.”

Friends’ reaction:: "Mark our words, you will definitely convert someone and marry that guy!"

Let me see … I am not close to any Muslim brothers and I have no intention to convert anyone yet. Mum oh mum, must I disappoint you again? But it was never intentional. Aih~

My sis had this to say; “You know so many nice guys! All you need is to convert one! It only takes one! But what do you think of matchmaking? Mum might just well … you know …”

Me:: "I’ll leave that to God. Nah, dad will never agree. To answer your question, I guess I’m cool with it. Look at dad and mum."

The time when absolute frankness became the weapon used against me. Up till now, sis tries to put her matchmaking ideas in my head. Her latest sensation is to entice me to consider the limited number of Muslim brothers that I know. She has short listed two brothers to be exact and she does not know them on a personal basis. I have no indication on how she came to that conclusion, neither do I wish to know why.

Sis:: I have a strong feeling on this particular one. Really strong feeling you WILL end up with him. And little sister, rest assured you have my full blessings. :)
Me:: We are just friends. At most, brother-sister relationship. Going beyond will only complicate things and I do not foresee the possibilities. :P
Sis:: Trust me. He is THE ONE. I have yet to be proven wrong. :)

If I ever let my guard down even for a minute and let her words seep in, I doubt I can retain any form of normalcy. It's bad enough that I have to listen to "How to get a 6-pack in 3 months without working out in the gym and afford to have pigging out sessions?" in the office. Thank God I'm used to it, owing it all to my blood brother for training me since young. :)

I am no fish.
4.21pm Malaysian Time

Monday, May 4, 2009

.: Social fare :.

It's hard work.

Been reading a number of posts on cultural differences. For the record, I’ll share one of mine with food as the main subject. *my all time favorite subject* :)


School days - If the westerners have mac and cheese, my good friend has rice with cheese. After catching him eating that one day, I was compelled to question him on this bizarre eating habit.

Me :: Seriously, it pains me to see you eating that combination.
Friend :: It’s good, really. We have it all the time back home. :) :) :)

Right~ I was finding that hard to believe. Because of that, friends and I rallied together for a cookout every now and then so that these very friends of ours can have decent meals, with complimentary kitchen help from them. *I assumed guys that carry Swiss army knives to be extra good with the knife. Apparently, it was all for show* Figuring out the menu was tedious as we tried to make stuff that was palatable for all. In the end, we couldn’t be bothered anymore, sticking mostly on western, Chinese and Malay fare. But there were times when we indulged our foreign friends with something from their native soil. Although it was not so often because it was hard enough trying to make out the ingredients. *o-hail the search engines, food blogs and food critics* Often the food was shared not just amongst friends, but also to the couples that pakto *date*, school staff and people passing by the carpark. *occasionally we have BBQs at the carpark ... it wasn't allowed but we had our ways of getting by ... a devious bunch we were*

A particular memory is when we fried keropok lekor *Malay crisps made out of fish, a specialty in the Terengganu state*, and my friend had this whacky conversation with the Arabs.

Arab :: This is good. What is it called?
Friend :: It’s keropok lekor.
Arab :: What is it?
Friend :: Uhh … fried processed fish.
Arab :: What fish?
Friend :: Uhh … shark’s fins.
Arab :: Cool!

Later on …

Me :: Shark’s fins?
Friend :: I freaked out. I don’t know what it’s called in English.
Me :: LoL~ Now he thinks we’ve been feeding him with that. We gotta clear up the mess.
Friend :: I don't remember which Arab it was ...
Me :: Oh well, what’s done is done. :)
Friend :: He sure looked happy chomping away. :)

Addendum May 06 09, 4.48pm Malaysian Time

I posted this information under the comments section. This additional information is intended for the readers that may require more information on what keropok lekor really is. Of course one can always rely on Google for the pictures. In its unfried form, it can look unsightly so I'll show mercy to your vision for now. :)

There are 2 versions of keropok lekor; [a] one that looks like a boiled sausage [comes in various lengths/texture/thickness and are often sliced] and [b] that is already dried; sliced thinly. Both needs to be fried and keropok lekor can be taken on its own or with sauce.

Depending on how you slice [a], the type of fish and amount of sago flour and fish paste, it can have various textures i.e. sliced thinly = crunchy, thick = crunchy exterior with a soft interior.

There is no direct translations for keropok lekor in English. Keropok can be translated as crisps/crackers/chips, but it's nothing like the ones found in the west. As for lekor, I have no idea.

And this is on Shark's fins. The Chinese usually have shark's fins taken in soups mixed with crab meat during auspicious occasions i.e. weddings, banquets etc. Due to its high cost and known to be a luxury delicacy, it is also a symbol of wealth and prestige.

We still use the keropok lekor gag. It’s just too hilarious.
10.00am Malaysian Time

Sunday, May 3, 2009

.: Empty courage :.

Bad hijabi days.

I don’t normally wear the hijab at home or in a company of sisters.

Me :: I’ll get the door. It must be dad. *gingerly opens the door till I spot an unmistakable not-my-dad figure*
Sis’s little brother :: Salam Sister Siti … I…

And I slammed the door at him.

Sis :: You slammed the door at my little brother??!

I reopened the door after wearing my hijab, to find him still there grinning like The Joker from the Batman series.

Me :: Sorry, I thought it was my dad. I uhh … wasn’t in hijab just now.
Sis’s little brother :: Haha~ It’s ok. I only get to see a bit. You have nice hair. :)
Me :: You did not see anything.
Sis’s little brother :: Haha~ But I did. You should keep it longer sister. :)

Final day in Mecca.

Mum :: So he’ll be coming over to help carry our luggage.
Me :: Owh, alright. *continues eating my lunch*
Sis :: Mum, he’s here.
Me :: What the … crap! Do not come in yet! I’m not in hijab!
Sis’s little brother :: Haha~ Okay Sister Siti.
Sis :: Don’t listen to her. Come in, come in little brother.
Me :: Not yet! *scrambles for my hijab … where is that bloody headpiece?!!*
Sis’s little brother :: Haha~ I think I will wait first.
Mum :: No no. Come in. Don’t mind her. Why are you kicking up a fuss? He’s your friend and he's like a son to me.

I don’t know who it was, but someone threw a hijab on my head. I wasn’t able to put it on properly since my hands were soiled with lunch. Honestly, I was flustered, furious beyond expressions. I kept my head low throughout the whole time, while trying to figure out why I was reacting that way since before coming for Hajj, I wasn’t always a good hijabi.

A change.
11.29am Malaysian Time