Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Standard Chartered KL Marathon 2010 - RUN AS ONE

Last Sunday, 27 June 2010 Ibu and her colleague went to the Standard Chartered KL Marathon 2010 at Dataran Merdeka. We got on the LRT at 6.15am at the Terminal Putra station and by the time the train reached Masjid Jamek station, the coaches were already full with runners ready for either the 10km or the 5km marathon. The full marathon (42km) started at 5.00am and the half marathon (21km) at 6.15am. A total of 16,500 runners participated in this year marathon. Pity the runners for the full marathon as it was raining heavily when they started running!

Ibu and Abah registered for the 5km fun run but since that day was Abah’s birthday, we decided at the last minute not to (or was it an excuse coz both of us did not train for the marathon!). Ibu arrived at Dataran Merdeka just in time for the flag off for the 10km run at 7am. A total of 8,000 runners gathered at the starting line ready to run for the marathon. It was a good experience to see all the 8,000 runners started running after the flag off and the road was filled with people as far as the eyes could see. It was an amazing sight! We saw Fahrin Ahmad who RUN FOR A CAUSE representing the Malaysia Aids Foundation for the 10km run. A few other celebrities joined the run for various charity organizations.
After the flag off, we went to the Stanchart Tent dedicated for the staff and their families and had breakfast there. Later, Aunty Shasha and Aunty Lin arrived and ready to run for the 5km. We flagged them off at 8.00 am and later made our way to the LRT station. It was a task trying to cross the road as runners were running fast towards the finishing line! Both of them finished the run about 45 minutes later. Congratulations.

Who knows we might run next year. See you at the Standard Chartered KL Marathon 2011!

Flag off for the 10km run

8,000 runners for the 10km run

The whole street was packed with runners!

The VIPs

Start & Finish

Shasha and Lin for the 5km run

They started running..or walking

The cheer leaders!!!

Stanchart tent

Winner for the full marathon

The VIP stage

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Gombakclan Birthday Bash @ OneStep

The Gombakclanners celebrated their birthdays at One Step Western last Wednesday, 23 June 2010. This time it is to celebrate Tok Nana and Aunty Shasha birthdays which fall on the same day, 27 May, Tok Papa on 18 June and Abah on 27 June. Since the opening of One Step, not many of the Gombakclanners had the chance to try the food and it was a good opportunity to introduce One Step to them. It was Ibu and Tok Mamie's idea of hosting the celebration at One Step.

Although the invitation was on short notice, all of them except for Aunty Yana (missing in action!) were able to make it. Tok Nani, Tok Mamie, Tok Nana and Tok Onn families accepted the invitation and at the same time pre-ordered the food. We wanted to invite Uncle Chop and family but since it was on a weekday and they were at Putrajaya, we did not want to trouble them to come all the way to join us.

The Chef, Uncle AP was delighted with the news and immediately went to the restaurant to do the preparation. 6 lamb chops, 5 steaks and 4 chicken chops plus mushroom brushetta as the appetizer were more than enough to keep his kitchen occupied that night. What more with the astro supersports finally installed and the big screen projector he rented from Giat Mara enough to attract the crowd to watch football while enjoying their meals. This time, instead of using the gas to grill, he used charcoal to grill the meat.

As usual, every birthdays must come with a cake. Aunty Ira was kind enough to bring along a nice chocolate ice cream cake from Haagen Daz and Tok Nana added JCo doughnuts as our dessert that night. After the cake cutting, we stayed back talking while watching the World Cup Match between England V Slovenia and during the first half break, we said our goodbyes.

Thanks to everyone for coming and to Tok Nana, Tok Papa, Aunty Shasha and Abah - Hope you all had a good time and good food last night. Happy Birthdays and may you all be blessed with taqwa and imam and of course with good life, good health and wisdom. To Uncle Chop who celebrated his birthday on 26 June, Happy Birthday to you too and hope that you had a wonderful celebration.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Knowing Singapore - Day 3 & 4

Today, the third day, 14 June 2010, was supposed to be the highlight of this whole visit and the kids were looking forward to enjoying themselves in and around Sentosa Island.

So we started early again, took a taxi straight to Resorts World @ Sentosa.... I normally gave tips to those taxis who were willing to take us to our destination since they use more common sense!). It was a smooth ride in the morning into Resorts World and stopping at the Casino entrance before walking further up to the Universal Studio.....first look, we were impressed by what we saw, just like the one in Los Angeles with the blue globe turning outside its entrance.

People were already coming in although the tickets counters were closed....8,000 tickets are sold out daily and you need to book in advance and better through internet. So we went in and got SD10 dollar voucher for every guests (SD5 for food and SD5 for souvenirs)....and the fun and exploration began. We decided to go right after the entrance...passsing through the streets of New York before we arrived at Sci Fi City or the Battalestar Galatica area and we took a spinning ride on 'Accelerator'....the tickets have included all the rides in the park. The Human and Cyclone ride were still under testing and not yet opened for public....that could be interesting rides.

We moved on to the next one ie the Ancient Egypt, Revenge of the Mummy....there were a few rides but everyone, except me (jaga bag), went for the thrill ride in total darkness and they came out pucat lesi and looking at their photo, it must have been quite a scary ride! We continued enjoying ourselves around the park and shooting lots of photos and our next destination was the Lost World at the Jurassic Park....probably the best ride in the park is this one. There were the water ride and the sky ride.... we went on the Rapid Adventure but the waiting time for Canopy Flyer was just too long. The Rapid Adventure ride was fun, scary and wet....some people bought poncho but we decided not to.... at the end of it, I had to wear slippers when my shoes were soaking wet! We did not cover the Waterworld, Hollywood and Madagascar, save it for the next trip.

After that it was the 4D Shrek movie at the Land Far Far Away, another fantastic fun with all the water and air effects. We decided to have lunch at Casa Del Wild, somewhere near Madagascar (it serves halal food) before completing our tour of the Universal Studio. We had fun and we really enjoyed ourselves. So we checked out of Universal Studio, hop on the monorail and headed towards Beach Terminal and took a bus to the Underwater World. Spent sometime enjoying the underwater world plus the seal and dolphin shows until around 4.00pm. We did our jama' qasar in one of the Nursing Room at the Underwater World.

Once done, we hopped on the bus again and headed towards Imbiah Point where we visited the Merlion statue, took the sky ride and the kids enjoyed the luge ride downhill. The sky ride offers a nice view of southern Singapore and the beach, so we stayed on to watch the Songs of the Sea until dusk....another fantastic show of water fountains, lights and fire. After the show ended, we had to cram into the monorail on our way out from Sentosa to Vivo City....pack and humid with all kinds of smell.

Reached Vivo city and had dinner at Pizza Hut..... nice and satisfying. Then it was a challenge trying to get a taxi/bus back to the hotel....we moved from one station to the other across the road, got onto the 97 bus and headed towards Marina Bay then got a taxi back to hotel. Tiring but satisfied with the coverage today.

Next morning, we woke up early and it was raining all day. We chartered a 7 seater taxi to bring us to Vivo City, Harbour Front since we'll be going back by Aeroline. We had lunch at Burger King before embarking on the journey back home exactly at 2pm. We stopped both at Tuas and JB for immigration and custom check. There were African families in our bus and we met some interesting Italians along the way. We reached KL just before Maghrib.....and Pak Lang came to fetch us.

What a holiday and Singapore was a good choice for this trip.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Knowing Singapore - Day 2

Day 2 was Sunday, 13th June 2010 and it was going to be another hectic day. We woke up early with enough rest, had breakfast in the room as well as at the was another bright and sunny day.

Our plan today is to cover as much as possible so we headed out of the hotel at about 8.00 am walking towards the Lavender MRT station, was a very good exercise. We took the east west line headed towards Boon Lay and it was a nice eastbound trip on the MRT, partly underground and partly above ground. We disembarked at Boon Lay and walked further to the Jurong East bus terminal, where we took a bus to the Jurong Bird Park (JBP). We were very impressed with the bus station...systematic, clean and on schedule.

At JBP, we bought tickets for JBP, Singapore Zoo and Night Safari...cheaper if you buy all three in one! So we spent some good time inside the park watching the bird show, hopping on the panorail and walking around the park....again we were impressed with the quality of the park, cleanliness and its maintenance. Once done, we thought of continuing to Singapore Zoo but we were too tired of watching animals and we decided to see people instead.

So we took a bus back to Jurong East terminal before embarking on another bus headed towards Orchard Road. At Orchard road, we were looking for lunch and we found good halal restaurants at level 5 of the Far East Plaza, near Hyatt Hotel. After some rest and satisfied with the food, we had to look for place to do our to the Hyatt I went to ask but they were just too ignorant and arrogant but alhamdulillah, we found a surau located at 1st Floor of the Royal Plaza Hotel (perhaps the only one surau along Orchard Road). Lega....that's the feeling after we've completed our obligations to the Creator.

Next we decided that we should go to the Night Safari, back to seeing animals but at least this is at night (nocturnal ones)! We again took the MRT from the Orchard station (so crowded!) and headed north towards Ang Mo Kio where we disembarked and got onto another taxi towards the Singapore Night Safari. It was already 6.00pm and people were starting to trickle in.

It started with a show by the Borneo aborigines people at the entrance of the Safari then we took the tram to move around the Safari and we ended our tour with the Creatures of the Night show.... again, we were impressed with the quality and delivery of service, simply world class.

The Safari actually provided bus service after the night show for those heading into town. So we took the bus and headed towards Mustafa Centre..... just to grab some dinner before we walk back to the hotel. Since this was our second time at the same restaurant, the lady taukey recognized us and was happy to render her service to us although she's the boss!. Talking to her, Thaqif reminded her of her no wonder.

So we walked back slowly to the hotel passing through a shop where many people were gathering by the road side watching the World Cup....but not as many as last night since tomorrow is a working day in Singapore. We safely reached the hotel, took a rest, shower, solat and slide into our bed......and the vibrating sounds of the airways began.

Another tiring and fulfilling day in Singapore but always looking forward to the next day.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Knowing Singpore - Day 1

It's school holidays again and it has been a while since we last took a family travel outside the country. We have promised the kids to bring them somewhere this June but where???? The kids have had experiences and exposures in Indonesia, Thailand, Japan, Turkey, Egypt and Saudi so I thought it would be a good trip to see Singapore, perhaps the most advance country in South East Asia and we wanted the kids to experience something different than what they've seen in the past.

Initially, the idea was met with lots of resistance because the mom was there last month for 5 days (work) and the kids wanted to go to far away countries with long flights (something I don't really enjoy anymore), countries like Australia or New Zealand...but after lengthy discussions and deliberations we settled for Singapore!

The holiday became a reality on Saturday 12.6.2010 when we began our journey from home to KL Sentral, took a bus to LCCT and then a flight to Changi airport, we planned to use public transport throughout this holiday. It was 11.30am when we arrived in Changi Terminal 1 and we spent some time getting to know Changi by visiting T2 and T3 looking for Airbus A 380,s ince the hotel check in time is at 2.00pm. Changi is in fact the busiest and best airport in this part of the world. Everyone was already impressed with Singapore and the mood looked good and weather was great.

We left Changi on a taxi, driven by a Chinese Muslim lady during which we took time to talk and get to know her and got valuable information about halal food in Singapore. We reached AQUEEN hotel at about the right time for check in. The hotel is small and nice, enough for us to sleep and rest. It is located at the Lavender Street, just north east of the Marina Bay. We booked through the internet and did not use the company's corporate rate as this is our personal holiday. We settled down, rested and planned for things to do next....the excitement just grew and grew.

First we headed out to lunch (nasi padang) at nearby Masjid Sultan area and had our solat there.Once full and done with jama' qasar, we took a taxi to Clark Quay to experience the river cruise. I had a small quarrel with the taxi driver who still have an old mentality about Malaysian life & culture, I had to defend Malaysia. It was a nice river cruise on a wooden boat along the Singapore river, passing under historic bridges and through Standard Chartered Bank, the River Point, the Fullerton Hotel and we finally disembarked at the Merlion.

After entertaining ourselves with some photo shots, we continued walking along the Esplanade, enjoying (although hot and tiring) the Marina Bay view especially the beautiful new building of The Sands at Marina Bay, until we reached the Singapore Flyers. Got onto the machine and it went round in a circle in 30 minutes, again enjoying a higher panoramic view of Singapore....the Marina Barrage and even Pulau Batam were visible from the top. After getting off, we bought some gifts and headed to the Boeing Flight Simulation center downstairs (where you can experience being a pilot in a Boeing 767 flight stimulator to more than 300 airports around the world), unfortunately it was fully booked and it is not cheap $190 for half an hour! (perhaps next time round).

Everyone was tired by now with all the walking in one day so we decided to take a taxi back to hotel and it was a challenge to get a taxi which is willing to take 5 people (is it really that strict ka?). Anyway, we got a taxi to bring us to Mustafa Center (the 24 hours Mall, similar to Mydin but with much more stuff) where we had dinner at mamak shop! I had to get medication for Dini's diarhoea and others had blisters!!! We then walked back to the hotel (10 minutes away) and had our shower before settling in for the night.

Faiz and I stayed on to watch the Nigeria vs Argentina world cup match at the ground floor cafe, with other guests and one guest was kind enough to buy french fries for Faiz. It was a nice end to a wonderful first day in Singapore.

Good nite and we'll continue tomorrow...

Sunday, June 20, 2010

PKHM@ SV - Day 3 (Bukit Larut)

In life...whenever there is a meeting, there will surely be goodbyes and separations, like it or not, and there is no exception here.

Third day was very much a laid back day, everyone taking time to rest a bit more, staying in bed or balcony after Subuh, chit chat....contemplating when we can do this again, where do we go from here and whether we had achieved our objectives through this event.

Breakfast was pulut with sambal tumis and ikan one complaint, fantastic!

The fun has not ended yet... the final destination was Maxwell Hill / Bukit Larut. Majority of us went for the ride up Maxwell Hill but some remained at the villa to do some packing since we'll be checking out later the day. You need to book to go up Maxwell Hill and normally the authority will prepare the jeeps! (of course you'll need to pay Adult RM4 and Kid RM2). So 2 jeeps (all boys were in one jeep and was entertained by the 'Schumacher' driver) took the group screaming up the winding roads of Maxwell Hill through 93 corners before they reached the peak at 1039 M above sea level....nice, unspoilt and cooling and the view stretched out from Taiping town to Kuala Sepetang and the Straits of Malacca.... simply breathtaking.

After spending some time at the top, the group climbed back into the jeep and continued their journey downhill. Back at the villa, the packing was done and everyone was ready to go. We gathered one last time at the main Family villa before we disassembled.

Everyone took time to say something about what they feel of the gathering and on overall, everyone was satisfied, happy and supportive of future larger family gatherings...insyaAllah that will materialize one day.

After settling the bills, Pak Teh had to leave early and off he went. The rest continued to convoy into town, looking for Cendol Bismillah. We did find the stall and stopped for some great cendol and laksa...just nice to cover the stomach before the next stop.

At Taiping toll, all of us headed south while Tok Jae and Tok Yu headed North (Tok Jae to Gurun and Tok Yu to Kelantan via East West highway). Upon reaching Simpang Pulai exit, we continued to head south while Tok Abah and Tok Mama as well as Tok Su and Kak Long headed towards Kelantan via Cameron Highlands.

We reached home at about 6pm, tired but satsified that the objectives have been met...bringing the family closer together, building the bond of the past for now and the future.

So that was the first proper family gathering for Hj Maa'rof's family.... and we hope that will not be the last time.

Thank you all for the cooperation, understanding and the FUN.

P/S For those interested to see Sentosa Villa, please visit their blog at or their website

Like TLG facebook @That Little Gerai in AU5