Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Romantic Sabah

Sejak kami mendirikan rumah tangga...kami belum pernah berkunjung ke Sabah bersama-sama...biasanya berasingan, maklumlah bertugas kan.

Namun begitu, tiap-tiap tahun, kami cuba untuk pergi holiday berdua-duan...tanpa anak dan orang2 lain, just the 2 of us...and surprisingly it's not that easy to decide the time and the best place to go and kadang2 boleh bergaduh...ala gaduh sikit2 tu kira asam garam rumahtangga...biasa la tu!!

So for 2009, after much deliberation, we decided to go to Sabah...negeri di bawah Bayu, negeri Malaysia yg paling jauh skali. So in the early morning of 9 April 2009, we took a taxi to KL Sentral and then a bus to LCCT. Next we flew Air Asia from LCCT to Kota Kinabalu and arrived in KK at about 10am...we put up one night at the Le Meridien hotel, right in front of the waterfront and the Filipino market...and had a great view of the harbour. That night, we had local seafood dinner...varieties of cheap makanan laut / seafood bakar..berbagai2 jenis ikan, sotong, udang and yang paling interesting was the sea weed.

The next day, we rented a car (Pesona for RM 200 per day) and drove to one of the tamu in Penampang...very interesting to see various species of plants and animals (food), similar to what we have in Semenanjung but not the same...native to Borneo. We then continued the journey northwards before we stopped for makan and continued to Yayasan Sabah building, UNIMAS and Pantai Dalit near Tuaran. After dropping by at Shangri La Rasa Ria(nice location and very nice hotel too), we continued further to Tamparuli (via the old bridge - scary!!) before the engine rumbled on climbing the mountain ranges. We reached Kundasang and we love the place very much...nice cool weather and nice hilltop hotel at The Heritage Hotel.

The hotel is perfect and it has a wonderful view of Mount Kinabalu. But when we reached the hotel at around 5pm(and even during the drive), we could not see the mountain... covered with clouds. It hardly showed itself until the sun set and the clouds disappeared. So, it is good to know that Mount Kinabalu is best viewed early in the morning... say 5 - 6 AM. It's an awesome and magnificent sight...

The next day, we drove around Kundasang...visited the local kampongs, vegetable and flower farms, dropped by at Ranau tamu and visited the 2 gates to Mount Kinabalu ie the Mesilau Gate and the Kinabalu Park Gate. Kinabalu Park is a World Heritage Site... beautiful place, very well maintained and full of foreign tourists...and some of them I saw were enjoying hot Maggi cup!! That night we had dinner at one of the local restaurant... under the moon light and freezing cold!

While in Kundasang, we met an elderly Hong Kong couple who had just return from the summit of Mt Kinabalu...they've been here 3 times and the third time they reached the top, previous 2 trips were just for dreaming and planning. One hell of an attraction!

The next day, we left Kundasang and moved on to KK and stayed at Shangri La Tg Aru for one night before we left for KL the next day. At Tg Aru, we met a friend who work for Shangri La..another excellent hotel. This hotel had won many local and national environmental awards and that is part of the reason why we chose to experience the Shangri La's hospitality.

Overall it was an excellent short break for us and Sabah is really great for eco tourism...although sometimes I feel it is now being over commercialised. Great nature but not so good food...need to know more of this factor.

So..our next Sabah plan is to either to climb Mount Kinabalu or tour around Sabah by road. InsyaAllah...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Salam Aidil Fitri & Maaf Zahir dan Batin

Kami sekeluarga ingin mengucapkan Selamat Hari Raya dan Maaf Zahir & Batin. Mohon diampun segala kesalahan, terkasar bahasa, terguris perasaan dan mohon dihalalkan makan dan minum. Semoga segala amal ibadah dan kebajikan yang kita lakukan di bulan yang mulia ini diterima Allah swt. Moga bertemu di Ramadhan 1431H, insyaAllah.

Bagi yang balik beraya di kampung, berhati-hatilah dijalan raya. Semoga sampai ke destinasi dengan selamat, insyaAllah.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

MTS – Membina Generasi Al-Quran - Part 2

MTS is not like the government SBP, lavish with first class facilities. MTS is a state owned school which is ruled by the opposition. They don’t have enough funding to build their own mosque or buy their own buses. The state government couldn’t afford to spend more than what is necessary. The school with the help of parents has to work hard to raise fund and last year, the parents and the teachers managed to collect enough money to build a small mosque for the students. The PIBG is now trying real hard to raise fund to buy two buses for the students to use. They need at least two buses to transport the boys for their friday prayers every week and for other activities.
Madrasah MTS ~ almost completed

At the last PIBG meeting, the parents agreed to contribute RM1,000 each to buy the buses. You wouldn’t believe that they are currently using an old ambulance to transport the students from one place to another and it always break down! Pity the students…most of the time the teachers would use their own transportation to ferry the students. I know of people who pays for the school electricity bill every month of approximately RM7k, provide extra food at the dining hall and donated 30 computers. I’m sure there are many who have been donating to MTS. To them, hanya Allah swt yang dapat membalas kebaikan mereka.

Even though the kids are not as fortunate as many of their friends who study in the government schools, these kids are a bunch of determine, humble and self sustain students. They strive to be the best despite all the shortcomings. I guess, they have to learn the hard way in order to gain success. I am always amazed to see them in their school uniform. The boys or “Banin” wear white long jubah with white pants and white kopiah and the girls or “Banat” wear dark purple jubah and white “tudung bulat labuh”. It was an unusual sight to see the boys in their uniform in the science lab!
Hall and Dining Hall

School blocks

Girls' Hostel

Entrance to MTS

Many people thought that these kids are being pushed to hard. They have to learn an average of 20 subjects every year. At the same time, memorise at least 6 juzuk of Al-Quran. They sit for their major exams three consecutive years, PMR, SMA and SPM. It is a challenge but these children somehow can do it. They scored in all the exams and emerged the best school among YIK schools for PMR last year. I guess when one starts memorizing Al-Quran, things will get easier for them.

The subjects that they learn in 5 years:-
Al-Quran – Tasmi’, Murajaah, Takrir, Tajwid Ilmi and Tajwid Amali
Arab – Taabir/Insyak, Nahu & Soraf, Mutala’ah, Imla’ & Khat, Balaghah, Tarikh Adab & Nusus, Bahasa Arab (Komunikasi/Tinggi)
Agama – Tafsir, Hadith, Fiqh, Tauhid, Tarikh islam, Akhlak, sains & Al-Quran, Pendidikan Agama Islam, Pendidikan Quran & Sunnah, Pendidikan Syariah & Islam
Akademik – BM, English, Mathematics, Add Maths, Science, Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Sejarah, Geography, Kemahiran Hidup, Computer

For more info, please visit their website at or if you like to contribute, please let us know. We welcome any form of contribution.
Dini's room ~ sharing with 6 others
Parting time is always tough!

Syahdunya nak berpisah dengan anak Abah...

Monday, September 7, 2009

16 Ramadhan 1430H

It has been 16 days since we welcomed Ramadhan 1430H...things are getting more intense, ibadah wise and Raya preparation wise.

Monday is Nuzul Quran so its a 3 day holiday..last week it was already a 3 day holiday (can be nice if work is only a 4 day week). So what can we do to fill up our time???

We decided to drive to Kuantan and have our iftar over there!!! Sounds mad, doesnt't it?? But then it's not just a plain drive...the trip served a few objectives: 1)-Send goods (prunes) to Dada's brother in Kuantan, 2)-Visit brother's stall at the Kuantan Ramadhan bazaar, 3)-Test car's new suspension (very good), 4)-Get out of KL to recharge ourselves (haven't done that for sometime now), 5)-See how people in Kuantan celebrate iftar, 6)To have iftar 3 minutes early than KL!!! summary, it was worth the trip.

We hit the road at around 2:30 PM and drove straight to Kuantan via Karak highway and the East Coast Expressway and exited at Gambang. Along the way...only the driver did not sleep, the rest had wonderful dreams. Reached Kuantan around 5 pm and had our Asar prayer before visiting the bazaars.

Dada's brother sells pudings at the bazaar only during Ramadhan...lots of them and they are really yummy!!! The most famous is Puding Di Raja, Puding Merdeka, Puding Cocktail, Caramel, Puding Jagung and Puding Buih. Sounds interesting right? You can see these mounth watering puddings in his blog www. my They come all the way from Pekan and started selling around 4 pm and the stocks normally get depleted at around 6 pm...not bad demand!!

We bought nasi kerabu (excellent), nasi lemak, nasi ayam, ayam golek, ikan patin, masak tempoyak, tauhu sumbat, air kelapa, air tebu, cendol and a few other kueh-mueh for our iftar....and we managed to finish all that we bought, wastage.

The bazaars were really buzzing after 6 pm...pack and hot and humid, and as Maghrib approaches, people gather on the field...families and friends gather under the open sky waiting for the sun to set and Maghrib to arrive. Hundreds of people...Malay, Chinese, Indians etc...all taking advantage of the unique event, just like a large picnic in town and you don't see this in KL!

Once the bilal sounds the azan, the noise suddenly died down...quiet and peaceful. People started enjoying the food under the shower of spot lights. 10 minutes later the bilal would qamat, signalling prayer will we rushed to the mosque to perform Maghrib prayers...and many people did the same, male and female.

It was an eye opener for me and it was a very interesting experience indeed. Kuantan's Ramadhan bazaar is really unique...the stalls are well organized, foods are good and in many varities, and located adjacent to a large field and the state mosque. The location is just superb...but my only wish is to see more people would rush to the mosque for the prayer than just continue to sit down under the sky.

We left Kuantan at 8:30 PM and reached KL at 10:30 PM. On the way, wifey made a pit stop to get her rations of ikan bilis and ikan kering. As usual, only the driver did not sleep...the rest again continued their wonderful dreams, the boys even took off their shirts while sleeping in the enjoy the cool air (metabolism taking place)...then we had our shower, Isya' and good night.

So, go visit Kuantan Ramadhan'll enjoy it and don't forget to visit the only stall that offers Puding Pekan.

To Abang and Ani, that day, 6 September 2009 was their 18th wedding anniversary. Selamat Meraikan Ulang Tahun Perkahwinan yang ke-18. Semoga bahagia dan berkekalan ke akhir hayat.

Gerai 187, specialises in puddings

Thaqif busy helping Mak Long

People busy looking for spots

Getting ready

Waiting for iftar

Berbuka sambil

A new experience

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Dini & Maahad Tahfiz Sains (MTS), Tanah Merah, Kelantan – Part 1

Our daughter, Quistina Dini is currently studying in MTS and she will be sitting for her PMR this coming October 2009. Many people have been asking us about the school and how we came up with the decision to send her there. MTS is a fully residential school, sama macam SBP cuma bukan under Kementerian Pelajaran. MTS adalah sebuah sekolah di bawah kelolaan Yayasan Islam Kelantan (YIK) di bawah Kerajaan Negeri Kelantan. We didn’t know about the school until Dini voiced her intention to learn tahfiz after she sat for her UPSR in 2006. We asked around and search the internet for sekolah tahfiz and our ustaz mentioned about a newly opened school which combined science and tahfiz in Kelantan. At that time, the school in Tanah Merah was under construction and the students were temporarily housed in Beranang, Tumpat.

Dini, together with more than 1,000 applicants had to go through tough screening process. They were tested in both oral and written. The oral test includes the ability to memorise one page of Al-Quran within an hour. Out of 1,000+ applicants, only 200 were successful and Dini was lucky to be one of them. Dini was even more fortunate because she was among the first batch to study in the new school complex in Tanah Merah. The school is not like other ordinary co-ed school. The boys and girls are kept separated. Even the dining hall is separated by a wall in between. They even have separate slot to go to the canteen to buy food. The architect responsible must have given a lot of thoughts when he designs the school. I was impressed and personally felt that this should be the way forward.

MTS offers 4 areas of studies throughout the 5 years – Al-Quran, Arab, Agama and Academic. I remembered Dini studying about 19 subjects when she was in Form 1 and subjects relating to agama such as hadith, tafsir, sirah were all taught in Arabic. Poor girl, she only learnt Arabic in sekolah agama and scored B in her PSRA and UPKK. We were worried about her, whether she could cope with all the subjects, learn Arabic and most importantly memorise 6 juzuk of Al-Quran in her first year. As expected, she didn’t do that well in her first year, she was placed around 60 out of 200 students in the final exam. Dini as we know her, is very determine and she will do what it takes to be the best. She surprised us when she managed to get number one in her final exam last year. We were touched by her determination and will power to succeed. Hope she will do equally well in her PMR. Good Luck Dini…and we are proud of you.

First day in MTS

Girls' Hostel

Dini's room

School blocks

Office Building

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