Thursday, August 26, 2010

SimplySiti & Me

I do not consider myself one of the fanatic fans of Siti Nurhaliza Taruddin but I do love her exemplary vocal and songs. It all started when I was working in KUB in the same department (LSD) as her lyricst, Hani MJ. At that time, she was not that popular and Hani has been writing lyrics for her songs composed by Adnan Abu Hassan. It was only when her song "Jerat Percintaan" (written by Hani MJ) won Anugerah Juara Lagu 1996, I suddenly became one of her loyal fans! Since then, we, being her colleagues always gave ideas to Hani on the song title or the lyrics. Hani wrote quite a few songs for her earlier albums such as Mahligai Asrama, Antara Waktu dan Usia, Sempadan, Jalanan Berduri, Wajah Kekasih, Rindu Antara Kita, Kedamaian and Salju Kasihnya. Hani MJ just added me as a friend in FB, what a coincidence! After all these years and when I was thinking about her, she found me.

Hani MJ and me at LSD in 1997
I went to see her concert for the Secretaries Week in 2004 at PWTC with my staff at KUB, Azilah, Sue and Is. At that time, she invited Fazley and Saiful Apek and the concert was really worth the money paid. Couldn't remember how much the ticket was but I think it was more than RM200. We had a great time and after the concert, we waited in a long queue to take photograph with her and got her autograph.

This ticket was kept by Is till today

I remembered attending a Mother's Day performance "Kasih Ibu Sepanjang Usia" at Dewan Perdana Felda just to watch Siti and Jamal in May 2004. Their performance were awesome and I remembered Siti sheding her tears when she sang Air Mata Ibu. She later duet with her mum, Bisikan Hati a song by Datin Rafeah Buang. Rosmah was there too and we had no choice but to listen to her singing My Way.

The last I saw her was way back in 2005 when KUB organised a charity show at Singgahsana Petaling Jaya on January, 7 and she was invited to perform. The charity dinner show was in aid of Yayasan Kebajikan Negara. Being a staff of KUB, I had the privilege of meeting her at her room with a few other staff and had the opportunity to chat with her. Of course we did not miss the chance to capture some photos with her.

Siti and Kak Natrah, the organiser

I guess after a while, the interest slowly fade away especially after her marriage and the way she covers herself now. But I still listen to her songs once in a while, buy her latest album and follow her on facebook. Today, I received an update in the facebook that she will be coming to Watson, Pavillion to promote her new cosmetic products, SimplySiti and since it is just next door, I went and bought two of her products and had the chance to say hello and took a photo with her. All the best Siti...

Monday, August 23, 2010

First Half of Ramadhan 1431H

Ramadhan is back and this time round, the situation changes a bit for us. The last four years, we loose a family member when Kakak went to MTS. As we got use with just the four of us, this year Abang left us for IQKL. The time will come when there will be just the two of us berbuka and bersahur!

This year, we continue to perform solat Terawih at Surau Al-Ittihad and we are very fortunate to have Ustaz Uwais Al-Qarni Al-Hafiz ( as our Imam again this year. Uwais, although just 23 years old, he is an expert in Qiraat and everyday he will teach us different types of Qiraat, some we have never heard before. His recitation of the Quran in different Qiraat amazed us. Since he became our imam terawih since last year, our surau is packed until the last week of Ramadhan.

Since it is just the three of us plus bibik, we had a simple iftar and sahur. We usually buy kueh from PaRam (short form for Rasar Ramadhan - new word which I came across in FB status!) since Abah berbuka with kueh and have rice only after solat maghrib. By then, we are quite full and have not been doing justice to Bibik's cooking! After terawih, the craze for food return and the three of us will have a light supper at Deen's or at Thira's Tomyam for Mustafa Jones' beef burger since OneStepKL is yet to resume business since ramadhan started. For sahur, our standard menu is a combination of either serunding daging, telur dadar, ikan kering, telur masin, sardin, ikan bilis or daging goreng. That has been our menu for more than 15 years now!

So far, we had iftar twice outside, at Tok's house during the first week of Ramadhan and last weekend at Bukit Indah. Every year, we will gather at Tok's house berbuka with her and everybody will bring either home-cooked meal or food from PaRam. The dining table will be full of "lauk-pauk" and "kueh-mueh" till you don't know what you should eat first after the azan! The eating continues till everyone left for solat terawih at the surau next door and will resume once everybody is back from terawih. The left-over food will not go to waste when everybody start to "tapau" for sahur!

Kak Nor, my parents' neighbour has been organising iftar for the past few years for her husband's students and relatives and she will use my parents' house to accomodate the 200 guests. Since Pak Ngah's catering, Pesona Rasa cooked for the iftar, we were all invited for the berbuka. So, we took the opportunity to celebrate Dijah's 3rd birthday which was on 10 August 2010. Happy 3rd Birthday to our sweet and bubbly Khadijah Arissa.

Next weekend, the 3rd weekend of Ramadhan, we planned to go back to Kelantan to fetch Dini from MTS and have iftar and terawih at Kuala Krai and Kota Bharu. For the first time, we plan to do our Raya Shopping in KB. You will be amazed that the stuff in KB is so much cheaper than in KL and of course less crowded! We may have iftar in Kuantan during the last weekend of Ramadhan like what we did last year when we had iftar with Pak Long and Mak Long in the open space beside Masjid Negeri. They still sell their signature Royal Pudding and this year, the sale has been very encouraging! Good for them.

So far, the first half of Ramadhan has been good. May this holy month bring us happiness, stengthen our imaan, erase our sins and purify our heart. May Allah swt bestow this favour on all of us, amin.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Laman Nurani...Our Tropical Sanctuary

We have not been doing justice to our garden since our previous maid left us. We have allowed the little area crumble into dilapidated disarray and it was just an uninspiring sight! That was in July 2009 and it has been more than a year now that we have abandoned our “Laman Nurani”. Nenek left us just before the last Ramadhan and we were without maid until end of the year. Thereafter, we were busy with Faiz’s schools’ applications and were travelling back to Kelantan quite often. When the new year began, almost all our weekends have been occupied fetching Faiz and sending him and his laundry back to IQKL.

The last few weeks before Ramadhan, I told myself that I have to overhaul the garden but transforming it back into what it used to be seemed like an impossible task! I just don’t know where to start. The plants have outgrown the pots and some just died because of lack of fertilizers. The wooden bench and garden chair started to rot and algae and moss have occupied the water features. The white shinning pebbles, the pavement and the slabs have changed their colours! The lawn once used to be so green now looks scruffy.

I started flipping back my collection of Laman magazines from Karangkraf since it was first published in 2006! Luckily I never missed any single issue of Laman since then. Just by looking at the lovely gardens featured in the magazines inspire me to make instant changes to our garden and so the journey began.

Last two weeks, I asked Sultan, a Myanmar guy who works around our area maintaining the roadsides to help me with the plants outside the house. Bought a few plants from the nursery and asked him to plant for me. The result was good since he has been helping us maintaining the landscape outside the house with a small fee of course.

Last weekend, we started the major project of transforming the garden within our compound. There are several spots and corners in our garden that made it easier for us to plan what to do first. Sultan and Bibik helped us removed the pots and plants and cleaned the area. We replaced the old and dying plants with new ones. Since majority of the plants are planted in pots of various shapes, sizes, designs and colours, it is easier to move them around and rearranged them to give a fresher look. Of course the big ones are not that easy to shift, they are just too heavy and for some, the roots have gone into the ground! It’s a guarantee that you will get back ache for lifting these big pots!

We made a few trips to Jalan Subang Lama to look for plants and new hardscape to replace the rotten garden furniture. We finally settled for a wooden swing and a small water feature as new additions to our garden. The final touch is when we added some garden accessories here and there just to give some colours to the garden. Although there are still a lot more to be done like replanting the grass, painting the slabs and the old garden furnitures, the little area has now transformed into a secluded haven just for us. Our very own private tropical sanctuary called Laman Nurani.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Selamat Menyambut Ramadhan Al-Mubarak 1431H

Dengan segala kekurangan dan kerendahan hati serta keikhlasan atas semua kekhilafan dan kelalaian yang pernah di lakukan baik secara langsung mahupun melalui dunia maya,
Jauh didalam hati yang senantiasa didalam genggaman Allah, mengucapkan Selamat Menyambut Ramadhan" Marhabban Ya Ramadhan, Mohon Maaf Lahir dan Batin. "

Semoga Allah mengampuni semua dosa-dosa kita dan memberikan Barkahnya di Bulan penuh Hikmah ini. Maafkan kami sekeluarga seandainya pernah mengguris hati atau berbuat kesilapan…. Semoga ramadhan membawa seribu keberkatan dan kemaafan kepada kita semua.

Friday, August 6, 2010

OneStepKL ~ New Location!

Thaqif and the Menu Board

The cooking station & VIP table

I wrote sometime back about One Step Western offering western dishes at Pak Ngah Corner at Setapak. The business over there did not do so well that my brother decided to change its location to an area more familiar to us. He finally found a place at Lembah Keramat/Taman Pertama just beside Syed Bistro Restaurant and is now known as OneStepKL.

It’s one of the many places that serve tomyam food and the owner would like to distinguish the place from other normal tomyam stalls by adding western food on the menu. So, he was given a corner to operate, like a burger stall. If it rains, there goes his business for that night, pity him!The owner plans to put a permanent roof so he could still accept orders and do business when it rains. So far business is progressing well although with limited marketing effort. Started with just a few items on the board like the grilled chicken, chicken chop (his signature dish!) and lamb chop, he has now introduced steaks, ribeye and sirloin and just a few days back added baked dory fish onto the list. For sides, you may want to try his fries with gravy or cheesy wedges. Prices are reasonable and that’s for sure!

Operating as a one man show always comes with challenges especially when the orders come in at the same time. There were instances where a family of 15 came and ordered all western food from him. It was a real challenge for him to manage but thanked God, with his skill and experience in food handling, he managed to churn out all the 15 plates within reasonable time and by 9pm when we came there was practically nothing left. We ended up ordering Nasi Goreng Kampung with a bit of Lamb! Not a bad combination after all!!! That day was the first time he closed down his stall early with the highest sales recorded!

Orders for chicken and baked dory fish are slowly picking up that he now has to stock double than when he first started. He recently added another choice of sauce that is the mushroom sauce due to demands from kids that can’t take black pepper sauce for obvious reason. He now serves two different sauces to go with the dory fish i.e the home-made tartar sauce and salsa just to see which sauce is preferred by his customers.

He started to accumulate repeat customers from people around the neighbourhood. The feedbacks have been good thusfar. Hope he could maintain the quality of food he serves and expand his customers’ base through words of mouth. Other than us, his loyal customers that always occupy the VIP table (the table that is attached to his cooking station) are the aunties, uncles, cousins and friends. A big thank you for your support. Hope it will continue.

If you like to try his signature dishes, he is operating at Thira Seafood Tomyam which is located next to Syed Bistro along Jalan AU5D. The Tomyam stall is part of Dewan for Persatuan Kebajikan Melayu, Lembah Keramat and is facing the shophouses and not facing the main road. It is beside Nasi Lemak Lentok. If you wish to bring a group of people, please let him know in advance so he could prepare earlier and reduce the waiting time. He can also cook for you other than those in the menu provided you give him ample notice. For us, we just bring along fresh button mushroom and a baguette and ask him to make for us mushroom brushetta, of course only when he is less occupied with other customers’ orders. OneStepKL is on twitter if you wish to follow...Chef Aidy can be contacted at 012-3320416.

Baked Dory Fish with Tartar & Salsa

Grilled Chicken with Black Pepper Sauce

Lamb Chop with Mushroom Sauce

Mushroom Brushette..on special request!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

About Aaryz Daniel

It was Sunday morning 25th July 2010 when we received a message from Pak Teh saying his son, Aaryz is going to be admitted to SDMC due to breathing problem.....and he was on his way back from Jakarta. I said ok and noted of the situation.

Later in the afternoon, we were at Tok Lang's house in PJ having a family meeting when Ibu called Mak Teh and asked about Aaryz and the respond was fine and we didn't make the trip to SDMC, although it was already nearby. So we went home hoping that everything would be fine with Aaryz.

Aaryz, my nephew, is a lovely well mannered boy of 2.5 years old and we knew him as a boy sometimes having this breathing problem and he has this coarse and deep voice somehow.....and we thought it was a normal asthma. He used to be healthy but looked thinner of late ...but we accepted him for what he is. He's very friendly to people around him....different approach from the elder sister.

So, it was already midnite and my mind was preparing to sleep, thinking of work tomorrow...when suddenly phone started ringing...from Pak Teh, informing that Aaryz is in bad shape and needs to go into the operating theatre...he's worried and sad but not giving up. The communication was on a few rounds before we decided to jump out of bed and headed towards SDMC at 1:30 AM. The family was now aware of the serious situation and was making preparations to give them full moral support in facing this trying moments, a new uncharted territory. Pak Ngah was already on the way, while Pak Lang had to stay home because wife was outstation and had to look after Khadijah and parents in Krai are already thinking of driving down to KL first thing tomorrow morning. Thay arrived the next day and headed straight to the hospital to visit Aaryz.

The doctor found that Aaryz had an abnormal growth in his airway, just above the vocal cord, which was blocking air flow into the lung. The growth was so big that there is only a small hole (as thick as a match stick) of space for air to flow!!!! So Aaryz was actually struggling to breath, struggling to inhale..... and that's the reason for his asthmatic like symptom and the coarse voice.

So, we were at SDMC from 2:00 AM until 4:00 AM when the operation was successful and Aaryz was brought into ICU for monitoring! The doctor had to cut a hole in the throat and removed the growth....he had no voice and was breathing through plastic tubes. He developed some complications due to infection on the second the situation was still tense and uncertain. Alhamdulillah, he continued to recover and the poor but brave little boy spent the whole week in the ICU.

He's stable now and is out of ICU into normal pediatric ward...still having tube attached to his throat...but at least he can enjoy his breathing better.Visitors came and go for the whole week, friends, relatives, colleagues and their neighbors showed great concern and gave huge support to the family. The hospital's staff and the doctors of course gave their best and their best saved the life of a young boy, of course with Allah's will.

It was very sad and scary but these are challenges that we have to face in life, challenges that will make us stronger, challenges that will bring us closer and challenges that will make us wiser. Bak & Dolly, hope you both will continue to remain strong for Aaryz.

To our dearest Aaryz Daniel ~ Wishing that each day brings your renewed strength, brighter times, and a healthier, happier you. You are constantly in our thoughts and prayers, and we're all hoping that you will be enjoying better health again soon. may Allah swt grant you his blessings. We all love you, Aaryz...

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