Monday, January 30, 2012

The 50th Golden Anniversary ~ The Day

After months of preparation and sleepless nights, the day that I have been waiting for finally came. I started the day early, met Fazu at JDR at around 8.30pm. We went to Petaling Street to get some flowers and bouquets, had a quick breakfast and began the work. We prepared the centre piece for all the twenty tables and later decorated the guest book table. BJ and Nordin dropped by around 10am to say hello and was impressed with the place. That gave me a lot of comfort. They later left to get the mannequin which they borrowed from a friend’s boutique for the wedding dress.

The story of how we manage to get the wedding dress is also interesting. Shasha was task to get the dress from my Mum. I know that she still keeps the dress but I couldn’t simply take it from the house. So, one night Shasha took her Chinese friend, a lecture from Taylor’s College to the house and told them that he was doing a research on Malay culture which includes weddings. They bought their story and Daddy even told them how he met Mummy and the interview was recorded. I was at TLG when Shasha text me to say that “mission is accomplished, managed to get the wedding dress and recorded the interview on how they met”. Well, did they really buy the story? I later found out after the ceremony that they totally bought the stories. Amazing job Shasha.

When I met Bj for coffee and told her about the preparation, she came up with the idea of dressing up the mannequin with the wedding dress and some accessories to make it look real and the result was just awesome although we had difficulties trying to get the wedding dress fit into the mannequin. My Mum’s waist was smaller by 2 inches than the standard size of a mannequin! Wow…..that’s how slim she was on her wedding day 50 years ago! Truly remarkable…

Later Ida and Angah arrived to lend their expertise and assistance. They are my close relatives and are wedding planners. They helped us did the setting up of the dessert table and the main buffet tables and the décor outside. By then, I was already very exhausted.

Abah later arrived with the kids after fetching Dini from the PLKN Camp in Benum Hill Raub. I was worried that Dini might miss the ceremony and was against the idea of sending her for PLKN. We sent her off on the 3 January 2012 and I doubt they would release her just after a week she reported to the camp. But I never give up hope and I prepared a letter seeking the Commander’s consideration to allow her to come back for the occasion. So, Dini very much eager and excited to join the celebration made a brave move to see the Commander with the letter and to her surprised, he let her come back. I was jumping with joy when she called on Friday asking us to fetch her from the camp. So, Abah has no choice but left after subuh prayer on Saturday to fetch her. Alhamdulillah.

At around 7pm, the whole place was set and ready. Everyone started to freshen up themselves in the rooms that we have reserved. We booked 7 rooms for our family and TLG crew and were given one complimentary suite by JDR for the golden couple. In fact, we booked the other honeymoon suite for us (there were only two suites at JDR). When the first guests arrived, I started to get panic…I have not changed and freshen up. So, I rushed to the room before other guests arrived. Since I was doing the invites, I couldn’t rely on my brothers to accept the guests. To my surprise, my luggage was missing. I frantically searched for it in all the room but couldn’t find it. Called Abah to check if he left my bag at home and he was confident that he brought my bag when he came earlier with the kids. At that time, my parents were already in the car on the way to JDR. So we could not talk over the phone and had to rely on text messages. Gosh, what should I do, all my stuff were in there! Luckily the blouse that I am supposed to wear was there because it was hanged and Adik brought it along earlier. Later Abah called to say that he indeed left the bag at home unintentionally. Too late, the guests are all here and I have to get ready. I was lucky to be wearing a black pants and Aunty brought extra tudung that I could used! I was so relief. Well, it was not that bad after all, still managed to remain within the gold and black theme.

Intan and Liz were assigned at the Guest Book Table, welcoming the guests, making them sign the guest book and handing over the door gift. I was busy receiving the guests, most of them I did not recognize. Some of them were shocked to see me since they last saw me when I was in the primary, cute and slim little girl. I did not realize that the band has not arrived and it was almost 8pm. Abah told me that he will be arriving in 10 minutes time. Gosh, I started to get panic, called them and they said they would be arriving soon. So, I text Abah asking him to slow down a bit until I get everything organized. Aunty Mie was busy lining up their friend who would be doing the “Sword Arch” on their arrivals. The army tradition of saluting newly wed couples where they would walk under it. But this time, instead of using swords (since it is against the rule for retired army officer!!), we used the golf clubs. Six of Daddy’s golfers’ colleagues already stand by at the gate with their so called sword ready to receive them.

Friday, January 27, 2012

The 50th Golden Anniversary ~ The Preparation...

Since it would be a golden anniversary, everything has to be in gold and we decided on a gold and black theme for the occasion. We were lucky since Christmas was approaching and we got all the Christmas decorations from Petaling Street. I wanted to have a nice guest book table for their guest to jot down their wishes for them to keep as remembrance. With all the golden decors, I asked my brother in Pekan to help me get some branches where I could hang the decors and some of their old photos. I search for a nice guest book in Pavillion and look for any gold decorations at home that I could use to decorate the table. I even asked Aunty Mie to help me sew a gold with black spot table cloth. All set for the Guest Book table and this is the final outcome, just as I imagined it would turn out to be.

I also wanted to make a nice dessert table with all the mouth watering desserts. Thank God for the borderless world. I ended up admiring the dessert tables that I goggled in the internet. They are just gorgeous. We don’t normally take much interest in decorating dessert tables unlike the western. They even offer services for preparing dessert tables for parties and weddings. I started listing down all the desserts and candies that would go on the table all have to fit the gold and black theme. I made food labels for all the desserts and for the food served on the buffet tables. Although it sounds easy but it takes a long time especially when you are doing it all by yourself. I know for sure that Puding Di Raja will be on top of the list plus the macaroon, apam polkodot, cheese tart, almond chocolate and the highlight of it all is the chocolate fountain dip. I even search for candy jars, food tiers and trays that I would use for the table. As for the main dish, I left that to Pak Ngah from Pesona Rasa and the Chefs from TLG to handle. They are the expert and I trust that they would deliver.Well, too bad the dessert table was not captured in full...

Other decors include banner and bunting which I have asked the girl at a printing shop in Cosway to help design for me. She has been doing all the stuff for TLG. Aunty Mie helped me search for a nice doorgift. At first I wanted to give mugs to the guests but when Aunty Mie found a nice plate at Giacomo with design similar to the Old Country Rose of Royal Albert (it's Mummy's favourite dinner set!)at a very reasonable price, I straight away changed my mind and settle for the plate.I asked Himawari, a souvenir shop in Cosway to come up with a nice art work with their picture on and the design turned out well. In fact the printing cost three times more than the cost of the plate. Then, I went to the place where I normally ordered TLG T-shirts for its crew and asked them if they could help me get a bag to put the doorgift. I was lucky that they have the black woven bag on offer and would do the printing as well for RM3. Well, who would have thought that I get all these done in Cosway.

Later when I met Fazu, a close friend of mine who is the expert in event management to seek her advise on what else that need to be done, she suggested to have specially designed place mat like in Pizza Hut and KFC as decor. I thought that was a great idea, something different and unique for the table setting. As for the centre piece, I bought a shallow bowl which cost me RM5 and a candle stand from the RM2 shop and would think of a way to decorate it on the day itself. Aunty Mie and Is helped me during weekends to prepare for the decors and the doorgifts. Thanks so much for helping me out.

Just a month before the big day, I gathered my cousins, Ira, Shasha, Yana and Lin and together with Aunty Mie, we planned the programme for the night. Who would be fetching them from home, how to surprise them, who would be the MCs, photographer, video man, speeches and doas and not forgetting some entertainment. The highlights for the night were the slideshow, pulut kuning cutting, sharing moments and some tokens for the special guests. One of their friends came all the way from Sibu and one of the couple celebrated their 48th anniversary on the same day. Not forgetting Tok Uncle, being the eldest of all and is still around to tell us how it all started. I thought their presence should be acknowledged.

The preparation did not stop here. Two weeks before the ceremony, I started ordering the desserts from Pistachio Bakery and Pulut Kuning and Red Velvet Cup Cakes from Noni, my junior in STF. Then I saw facebook photos of my junior in school celebrating her in laws golden anniversary and the hall was decorated with helium balloons. The giant golden 50 balloon really caught my attention that I immediately went to the Ballonbuzz in Pavillion to search for it. To my disappointment, the 50 jumbo balloon was out of stock. I did not give up and went to Balloonbuzz in WangsaWalk and they were very helpful. They even went to JDR and gave their proposal on the decor. Of course it’s nice but that surely come with a price. Nothing is cheap these days and I was worried that I burst the budget. Alhamdulillah, some of Daddy’s friends called me up to ease some of my commitments. I truly appreciate their kindness although what is more important for me is their presence that night.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The 50th Golden Anniversary ~ The Thoughts...

Tok and Tok Wan celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on 7 January 2012. 50 years of marriage is truly a great milestone for any married couples and warrant a grand celebration. I have been thinking about it since I sent a bouquet to them last year for their 49th anniversary. The thought became a reality when I started planning for the big occasion in October 2011. I wanted to make it a surprise for them since they don't always remember their anniversary! The person that came to mind to share this great idea and help me organizing the event is non other than my dearest Aunty Mie, Tok Wan’s sister. We have been doing a lot of family gatherings together before.

We started the ball rolling by booking La Rumba, a group of four who play acoustic music at weddings and dinner show. Aunty Mie has seen them performing before and I trust her choice. I quickly paid the deposit when they told me that they were available on that day.

Next was to decide on the venue. Abah quickly suggested that we do the celebration at his friend’s place. Uncle, a close friend of Abah is the care taker of a small boutique hotel in Bangsar. Abah has been to Jeumpa D’Ramo (JDR) when he had his lepak session with Uncle. When Abah told me about the place, I was a bit skeptical. The name sounds weird but Abah convinced me that JDR is the place. So, he took me there and I immediately fell in love with the place. Jeumpa D’Ramo means “Berkumpul di Serambi” in Aceh dialect. So, it fit nicely with the ceremony that we wanted to have. It’s a small hotel with 16 rooms furnished with Aceh interior and has a small hall with a nice lawn with a little swimming pool. The place is just perfect for our occasion. There were few queries received by JDR to hold function on the same date as us and we were lucky to have reserved the place earlier.

We started planning for the big day and I started goggling for ideas. I spent a lot of time watching the videos in the youtube on how people made the slideshows for the golden anniversary. So, what I need is lots of old photos, photos that would bring back their memories 50 years ago. I went to their house when they were not around to search for their old photos and got Adik and Abang to help me scan the pictures. When Abang was at home for the year end school holidays, we started our project. Abang has this hidden talent with computer and we only discovered that when he showed us the short movie he was asked to make for his school, IQKL.

The highlights of the event would be the slideshow, reminiscing their journey of life since 1962. So, every night we would sit down in front of the computer and I would tell him what to do. Trying to squeeze 50 years of marriage life in a 10 minutes movie is not an easy task. It took us almost 2 months to get the movie done and the result was just awesome. . It was a job well done by Abang and I must say that I am very proud of his work. Too bad I could not share the video here because the file is just to big. When I showed the movie to some of my friends before the occasion, it brought tears to their eyes. Infact whenever I play it over and over again, I just could not hold my tears from falling. Suddenly I realised how much they meant to me and have I done enough to make them happy. I know for sure that I would make that night so special that they would never forget for as long as they live. I know it’s gonna be tough but I would do what it takes to make it a grand celebration for them. After all, they deserve it.

What is a celebration without the people close to their heart and have been with them the last 50 years. The ceremony is supposed to be a surprise for them! So how on earth would we know who to be on our guest list. Luckily, Aunty Mie knows some of Daddy’s friends and some of them are regulars at TLG. So, we got a few of his friends to help us compiling the names. We had quite a long list of their friends, close relatives and neighbours. So, we started calling each and everyone of them.

Calling their friends proved to be quite challenging. Most of them are in their seventies and they don’t answer their mobile when the number is unknown to them. So, what we did was to leave a voice mail asking them to return call due to some urgent matter. And true enough, they returned our calls almost instantly thinking something is wrong with my Dad. We told them that they should keep the invitation under wrap and they all have been very supportive. In fact they were very excited to join the celebration and kept asking me who else I have invited. Some of them even extended the invitation to other friends and the list kept growing. We ended having almost 150guests who have confirmed their presence when the place could accommodate around 120 pax.Here goes the self-made invitation.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A December To Remember - Part 3

DAY 6 : 18 Dec 2011 Sunday – Yesterday Today

There was a kenduri in Banting yesterday, the actual reason why parents came down to KL, not knowing of the event yesterday, which we had to miss in order to attend to the funeral. But we had informed the family in Banting and promised to drop by today instead. So, we went to Banting in three cars (Pak Ngah, Pak Lang and ours) for the kenduri and we in fact were not the only one who had to come a day later. There were many people having good times by the Morib beach. We had good lunch (home cook food, not bad to come on second day!) while we chit chat with the family, the wedded couple had left for another place but we sent them a congratulatory note....Barakallah.

We attended another tahlil later that night at Surau Taman Sri Hartamas, attended by the local qariah who knew the late Dr Ismail. I was informed by the local qariah, that Dr Ismail would occasionally became imam to the qariah and he liked to recite surah ‘Ar Rahman’. That ended another hectic day of visiting and meeting relatives, a very important thing that everyone needs to do. There will be another tahlil at his house in Hartamas tomorrow night but Uncle Mokhtar would be leaving for KB tomorrow. Nevertheless, the other brothers, Danial, Abdul Rahman and Zabidi would still be around.

DAY 7 : 19 Dec 2011 Monday – Moving on

I was back to work today and there was so much to be done in the office after a few days leave, which was supposed to be a family holiday. On top of that, the permit for our taman’s security system from MPS need to be renewed and I had to follow up on the progress. It was of course slow during this time of the year.

We attended another tahlil later that night, but this time it was done at the house in Hartamas and was attended by relatives from Indonesia. That was the last tahlil held in KL and everyone would be back to his/her own business after this. Nevertheless, my dad and uncle were planning for a tahlil on the 7th day at kampung Dewan Besar, Machang (where Dr Ismail was born), for the local relatives to come. After tahlil, as usual, I had to entertain Qiin to a late supper, either at TLG or Deen the mamak shop. Since it was Monday and TLG was closed, so we had tandoori chicken instead at Deen restaurant. He was happy that we entertained his normal routine and we negotiated on how he should be prepared to leave for the airport tomorrow. We agreed that I would be back home to send him and we should leave Gombak latest by 5:30 pm to be able to catch the 7:20 pm Firefly flight from Subang to Kota Bharu.

DAY 8 : 20 Dec 2011 Tuesday – Keeping a Promise

I was again back at work with so many issues cropping up towards the end of the year with not many people in the office, many were on had to do many things in very little time. Can’t really complaint but have to juggle the tasks wisely. Tok Abah went back to Kelantan with the 10:00 am bus from Greenwood and he was accompanied by Atif (this guy likes to balik kampung and is a unique guy). Pak Ngah would be going back again to Kelantan the following week for Naif’s MTS registration at Kok Lanas and would fetch Atif as well. This will be his round exactly what we had been doing for the last 5 years.

Pak Su and Tok Mama would go back later today via Firefly and this could be challenging if not handled with care. I promised I would do that latest by 5:30 pm but then again I got stuck and sucked into meetings after meetings. It was 4:30 pm and the meeting was still on and a new urgent issue came in, so I said I would delay leaving the office at 5:00 pm. When the time came, I was still stuck in office!! I was worried and restless...Pak Lang couldn’t make it as he was sick but luckily Pak Teh was around to bring Pak Su to the airport. They wanted to leave at 5:00 pm but Pak Su insisted that he held on to my promise to leave latest by 5:30 pm. At 5:30 pm, I was still in office and I called Pak Su and told him to follow Pak Teh to the airport and he agreed. Later I was told that it was quite a challenge to make him leave. Luckily Ibu went back home early anticipating the situation and managed to coax him to follow her to the airport.

It was already 5:45 pm when I was able to get out of the office and made my way towards Subang airport and to my horror the NKVE was jam packed!!! I was thinking, there goes my promise and I hope they would not run into difficulties at the airport. True enough, Pak Su didn’t want to go into the departure hall until I arrived!!!! Tried talking to him over the phone, apologizing for not keeping to my promise...although he was unhappy, he was willing to listen. Ibu and the kids were there to help convinced Pak Su that he should be moving on or otherwise the aircraft would not wait for him. At that time it was already 7:00 pm!!

Then Pak Teh came up with some tricks that made him happy...pushing him on a baggage trolley, all the way to the departure hall passing through the security...they were understanding enough to allow us to push him in using a baggage long as it works and did not do any harm, that’s fine. So they finally left at 7:20 pm and I reached the airport at 7:15 pm...what a mess!!! Well, sometimes we can plan but we have no absolute control of whether the plan can materialize or not...we can only try and try very hard.

DAY 9 – 11 / 21 – 23 Dec 2022 Wednesday – Friday - Networking & Renovation

Don, arwah Dr Ismail’s son went back to Kelantan today with his wife and daughter, the first trip for the new family but unfortunately it was without Dr Ismail. He was fetched and entertained by Uncle Mokhtar’s family while in Kota Bharu. He was there to renew the relationship and to attend the tahlil planned for tomorrow night at Kg Dewan Besar. Shady and Ira coudn’t be there as they were occuppied with other matters. The next day, as planned, the tahlil was done in the kampung and Don had the chance to meet many of his relatives and renewed their relationship. Don and his family slept over in Krai for the night while taking the opportunity to talk to the uncle. The wife and the daughter had good times while in Kelantan enjoying the food.

On Friday, 23 December 2011, we have been busy at work trying to complete many tasks before the end of the year while trying to complete the minor renovation of a new condominium, 3 Residen @Melawati.

DAY 12 – 14 / 24 – 26 Dec 2011 Saturday – Monday – Last week of 2011

On Saturday, 24 December 2011, I had to be in PD early Saturday morning for some official company function. It was a nice and easy drive in the morning but on the way back during noon it was really a mad-mad crawl...from Seremban to Bangi...due to two separate accidents. Later in the afternoon, I attended a neighbour’s wedding kenduri at almost 4:00 pm, after arriving at 3:30 pm, having spent two hours in the mad traffic jam.

Ibu and the kids were busy with TLG matters as well as the surprised 50th wedding anniversary for Tok Wan and Tok planned for 7 January 2012. That plan was gathering a lot of steam... Faiz had been spending a lot of hours trying to create a short movie for the event and after all the time, effort and energy...he had successfully created a 9 minute movie for the 50th wedding anniversary.. he has some really good IT skills.

On Sunday, were again occupied by the condo (will write more about this place) and shopping for school stuff in the morning before attending another wedding kenduri by the neighbour.
Tok Abah was also in town as he came over by bus to send Atif back to Bangi while taking the opportunity to attend an engagement ceremony in Kota Damansara tomorrow afternoon.

Monday, 26 December 2011 it was still a pubic holiday as Christmas fell on Sunday. We attended Aliyah’s engagement ceremony at Kota Damansara, meeting many relatives in the process. After the ceremony, we sent Faiz back to IQKl as they start school one week earlier than the normal school, which is not too bad for planning purposes. So we sent him back to school at about 5:00 pm and wished him all the best for his study for this new year. Told him that he was lucky to be able to be here as the opportunity to be part of this community gets harder every year.
So there it goes, 2 weeks of stories, 2 weeks older and 2 weeks wiser. Truly a December to remember for many memorable reasons....

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A December To Remember - Part 2

DAY 4 : 16 Dec 2011 Friday – Gunung Jerai

It was Friday and we knew we had to make a stop somewhere for the Friday prayer so we decided to leave the family at around 11:00 am, headed for Gunung Jerai via the old trunk roads.

I’ve heard some info of this place but not much useful relevant info on the net. But through the website, we thought that the Regency Jerai Resort looks good, reasonable but had no idea how it will be. Many people had described going to the peak but no one had been there recently. We also know that we could drive up there for about 30 minutes to reach the resort.

After stopping for solat Jumaat along the way, we stopped at Sungai Petani for lunch. Everyone wanted to try the original Pelita Nasi Kandar since everyone was already starving. We then continued our journey and finally reach at the foot of Mount Jerai at about 3:30 pm. It was a nice entrance and a small park with an office of the Regency Jerai Resort was there (gave me a confidence boost) plus some vans (a mode of transport to the Resort if you decide not to drive up) far first impression was good but not so sure of driving up, furthermore it started to rain heavily!!

I was still skeptical about driving up so I decided to talk to the van drivers to gain more information. It was still raining but I decided to drive up because it was getting dark due to the cloudy condition. With tawakkal, we drove on.... overall acceptable road condition and safe to drive but the car must be in a very good condition. There were small and winding roads, so tight that only one vehicle can pass through safely at 2 stretches, a few corners turning 320 degrees and on rainy days, you get water rushing down through the road and the rocky surfaces. It was a challenging and scary drive for a first timer to the mountain.

The distance of 12 km takes you 30 minutes to cover and it will bring you to the resort (although the peak is higher by another 200m) and we will see a Forest Department office just before the resort. We saw many people walking, jogging or cycling up and down the mountain.

When we reached the resort entrance, it was almost dark due to the rain and our first impression was....Wow! This is not a bad place at all....and it was very cooling, misty, cloudy and windy when we checked in. I was already impressed with the place, entering it 2nd anniversary this December.

It was fully booked (there was a Group having business function) and we got an executive room facing some open space which we could not see anything except for some spots of lights way down below, although we booked for a bigger room but we had to settle for this one due to some confusion. A bit tight for 5 big people like us!!

The compund is not too big and too small, just nice, located on the north face of the mountain facing northwards, about 78 rooms all together and there is a house for the new King under construction (what a place to relax and wind down). The rooms were cosy and nicely designed with unique bathroom.

It also has a open air restaurant called the ‘Puncak Kedah Restaurant’...the only place we can get food up here. We had our excellent dinner at the restaurant, perhaps the best restaurant at 1000 m above sea level. Although Thaqif ‘tergolek’ on the way in, due to the wet condition, we had good fun enjoying a few games of pools after dinner before we called it a day.

Earlier in the evening, I called mom to check out what’s going on in Krai and she told me that my dad will be taking a bus to KL tonight to visit his brother in hospital.

Our plan tomorrow was to take a tour exploring the historic sites of Lembah Bujang, the city of Alor Star and the seafood at Tg Dawai and Pantai Merdeka. We were also thinking of extending our stay until Sunday and making this resort as our base for accomodation. Everybody agreed to the idea.

DAY 5 : 17 Dec 2011 Saturday – Beatiful but Sad

I suddenly woke up very early in the morning...took a look at the watch and it was 2:45 am. I looked outside the room into the was quiet, calm, serene, misty, cooling... peaceful.

I went back to bed and suddenly 20 minutes later, Dada was looking for the watch on my wrist...I put up 3 fingers (indicating 3:00 am) to her surprised!! She asked, “How do you know?” to which I replied “I did the same thing a few minutes ago!”, and we went back to sleep....

We woke up for Subuh at about 6:00 am and saw that there were many missed calls at around 5:00 am on our mobiles....we knew something must have happened and true enough my uncle had passed away. I immediately recalled my 2:45 am incident and I thought ... was it connected somehow? We recited surah Yasin after Subuh for him.

I was feeling very sad, the family was sad, we just lost an Uncle in less than 48 hours and we have yet to recover from the shock and sadness. Now, we lost another uncle who was very dear to us to cancer. Both of them were 61 years of age, what a coincidence. We lost a family dentist, a very nice man and a very close uncle to me, who respect and trust me...of which I highly valued. He likes our choice of local Kelantanese food and enjoys eating our home cooked food. The nurse realised it when she came for a check at 4:00 am and found he was no longer alive, Ira (her daughter) was sleeping in the room but he did not bother to wake her up to tell her of his departure, he knew she needed rest, she had done all she could to look after her dad throughout his last days.

So our plan had to change drastically and while we were planning for our next move, many calls keep coming in asking about the demise of my uncle. Normally we would be the information center for anything that happen in KL but little they knew that we were the furthest among them all!! The family had to depend on the responses from they Pak Lang, Pak Ngah and Tok Jae to help manage the situation and they did really well, a great job done.

We could not still drive down as it was still dark, misty, cloudy and windy and I need to be confident enough to drive down the winding steep roads. We had to wait for the weather conditions to improve.

Those in Kelantan will be flying into KLIA later in the day and that includes Abah because he missed his bus last night! Can you believe it?? Anyway Pak Ngah would be taking care of them.

While waiting, we had our nice breakfast at the one and only restaurant and afterwards, we took a walk around the resort. Suddenly the weather improved...less mist, less clouds and less wind....and you could see what’s down below...the sprawling green paddy fields, Alor Star in a distance and the sea to the west side. The view was just simply awesome and breathtaking....this is the only mountain in Malaysia which is close to human civilization, so when you’re at the top you don’t only see jungles and hills, but a very different view.

With the improving weather and better confidence level, we drove down and sped off to KL, breaking the speed limit most of the time, stopped at Tapah for rest and arrived at 2:00 pm, at Masjid Saidina Umar in Bukit Damansara. The jenazah has already been solatkan and was about ready to be brought to tanah perkuburan Islam at Bukit Kiara.

Shahizan was holding the edge of the kain kafan and he was about to close it when we and a few others we had the opportunity to see his face, kissed him and recited some prayers. I could not hold my tears when I saw his face for the last time. I felt very sad to lose a very dear uncle. When we were busy preparing to go to tanah perkuburan, Pak Su started to create problems, not happy because he did not get the chance to accompany the jenazah on the van until tanah perkuburan, this is another thing that he likes to do and need to be given the first right of refusal (the other one is taking photos with bride & bride groom during wedding ceremony).

So, while we delayed our departure to talk to him, the van and the others have moved on to the Tanah Perkuburan Bukit Kiara. When we arrived a bit later, the burial was almost completed. Pak Su was left behind with mom and Pak Teh to negotiate with him and he later asked to be brought to the grave to sprinkle some water....they did that and he was ok after that.

By the time the burial was completed, we got everybody to join us for a late lunch at our house in Gombak Setia, we’ve already told nenek to prepare lunch because we thought everyone has been busy and must be feeling very hungry as each one has been busy since early morning.

The night came to a close after another tahlil at Masjid Saidina Umar at Bukit Damansara. By then, everyone had accepted the fact that Dr Ismail is gone forever and we will have to move on. One thing he told me the last time I visited him was to ensure that is grandson be a learned person on Al-Quran.

What another hectic and sad day and we were back in KL a day earlier than schedule....from the beauty of a mountain top to the reminder of a 6 feet deep home, a place in between dunia and akhirat.

Al – Fatihah...

Monday, January 16, 2012

A December To Remember - Part 1

December 2011 was really a month to be remembered, what we planned to do some how coincided with the significant events that is going to unfold around the family.

Dini was finishing her SPM exam, her last paper was on Tuesday, 13 December 2012...and we wanted to fetch her. She’s finally completing her 5 years study at MTS Tanah Merah. Tok Abah, Tok Mama and Pak Su diligently visited and supported her through those times, came rain or shine or flood...the food, the rations, the time, the effort, the emotional support....just endless.. and thank you is just not enough....we pray that Allah swt will grant the three of you with the best Jannah.

I’m sure she had gained so much after 5 years, learnt to live independantly, learnt the normal secondary school syllabus...although lacking in all the luxuries of normal Government school, covered the religious syllabus, completed her hafazan Al-Quran and became an Al-Hafizah, travelled frequently by plane or bus or train between KB and KL, met many new friends while bonding closer to the grandparents and the special uncle....and of course fluent with the local dialect!

Anyway, the week before we were in Bukit Mertajam for my cousin’s engagement ceremony, which I had to do some talking. We managed to cross the Penang Bridge for dinner at Padang Kota. The Pasembor, Sotong Kangkung, Laksa Penang and Char Kuey Teow were just awesome. We wanted to spend the night in Penang but after making at least twenty calls to find a room in the island, we just gave up. All the hotels are fully booked and we ended up travelling home that very night! That was after a trip round Padang Kota on "Beca" for RM10.

That is December.... year end school holidays, weddings, engagements, kenduris, annual leaves, travels, hotels, resorts...many happenings which requires time, money, energy and a lot of having to cope with the unpredictable 21st century weather.

For us, it has been a hectic year and we wanted just some time together with the family, since everyone is around, a simple holiday...we opted for the exploration of the state of Kedah, the mountains, rivers, cities, beaches, people and the food of Kedah, a place we have seldom been but we believe has a lot to offer to its visitors.

So our journey began...

DAY 1 : 13 Dec 2011 Tuesday – Old & New

After Maghrib, I drove Ibu, Abang and Adik to Hentian Putra, since they were taking the bus to Krai... they wanted to travel differently than most of the normal time...probably bored with my driving! Adik was actually targetting to to be on one of the new Sani Express busses, which comes with individual audio video screen.

It has been a while since I last been to Hentian still looks like that but older, a busy terminal for east coast bound express buses, at least now with better communication systems. Looks like the bus terminal have to move to the planned Gombak Terminal as soon as possible.

Furthermore, my uncle, Pok Mae, initially wanted to follow me back to Kelantan since he came down to KL to visit Dr Ismail after he had just returned from Hajj. Dr Ismail, was still warded in SDMC for cancer, and I was worried about his condition. The last time I saw him last week, his condition was really deteriorating and I honestly felt the time was near. So, he was always on my mind and on my radar this few days....because I expect that if anything were to happen, I will have to be there to help the family.

So the bus finally came at 10:30 pm and unfortunately it was not one of the new buses....never mind, they still got on the bus and off they went.

DAY 2 : 14 Dec 2011 Wednesday – On the Road

They arrived safely at 5:00 am and Pak Ngah came to fetch them at the main road. Pak Ngah has been busy travelling up and down from KL to Kok Lanas and Besut to secure the secondary school for Naif. We were hoping for Naif to be offered a place at MTS so Tok Abah could continue with his routine of visiting MTS every other week like what he used to do for the last 5 years.

I had to settle something at the office then to a tailor to make Faiz's school uniform, before I sped off towards Krai at about 9:00 am. Pok Mae changed his plan at the last minute so I had no choice but to drive alone. I was in Raub at 10:30 am when I realised that rear right tyre was flat and had to stop. Luckily it was right in front of a tyre workshop. It costs me RM40 to get it fixed before I could continued my journey northwards.

I came across Pak Ngah and his family near Merapoh, on his way back to KL. I arrived at 3:00 pm, had lunch and did my solat before I could rest a bit.

But then the plans kept coming....Dada wanted to buy some serving plates for TLG, so had no choice but to go to Pengkalan Kubor, because I thought there will not be enough time tomorrow. Furthermore, we wanted to fetch Dini from KB after her farewell dinner tonight.

So off we went to Pengkalan Kubor, brought Pak Su along, tried very hard to arrive there on time, but there were too many machines on the road and too many slow cars! When we arrived, it was 5:30 pm and the gate was already closed....15 minutes ago. It was a good try but not good enough...probably could have been able to make it if the tyre did not give any trouble earlier in the morning.

We went into KB, looked for Restoran Syam at Berek 12, where we were supposed to pick Dini up later that night at about 10:30 pm, we found it and then we headed to Yati Ayam Percik for dinner, it was about Maghrib then. This is one of the best eating places in KB...great for dinner, great for local Kelantanese food....the ayam percik, the nasi kerabu, the pulut ikan masin....colourful and mouth watering.

It was 8:00 pm and we had more than 2 hours before meeting Dini. We headed down to the Red Warriors’ shop to get the latest Red Warriors jersey for Adik and Pak Su. We normally get the jersey from Pengkalan Kubor but since we missed that, have no choice but to get the original one for Adik. We then proceeded to Wakaf Che Yeh (something like night market, which opens until early morning)..wondered around and bought some stuff.

We fetched Dini at 10:30 pm, after saying goodbyes to her school friends for the last 5 years. A few got offers from Darul Quran and many got called for the PLKN starting in January 2012 and Dini has no choice but to report for PLKN at Benum Hills Resort, Raub.

My battery was running so low by that time and we slowly drove back to Krai and reached home almost midnight. I was tired and that was a lot of kilometres covered in a day.

DAY 3 : 15 Dec 2011 Thursday – Next Destination

It was a relaxing early morning after a tiring day yesterday. We were not sure when to make a move, either in the morning through Rantau Panjang or later after lunch? Still contemplating where’s the first/next destination, although we knew we wanted to explore Kedah....and the kids would be asking..."Kita nak pegi mana Bah?”. Had no definite answer to that yet.

I slowly drove to the bank after breakfast and on the way back got a call from Dada saying her uncle, her mum's younger brother had passed away in Parit Buntar earlier in the morning. Innalillah.... It was less than 2 weeks ago when we last met him during his daughter’s wedding kenduri, he was happy though looking weak. The news came as a shock to us and we did not think twice except to quickly pack our stuff.

So we got an answer on the first destination and the kids got their questions answered.

We jumped into the car and sped off to Parit Buntar via Tanah Merah towards Jeli and Gerik, via the East West Highway. We stopped for a break at the Titiwangsa rest area for hot tea, coffee and buns. This must be the best rest area along this route...high in the mountains, cooling and always misty and cloudy. Banding has its own uniqueness but Titiwangsa is classic.

We briefly stopped at Gerik for solat before we continued our journey towards Parit Buntar via Selama (after heading towards Lenggong). This is a lonely winding and hilly road, nice surface and offers nice views of waterfalls cascading the walls of the rocky hills...however I don’t think it’s a good idea to travel alone at night through this road.

Finally arrived at Parit Buntar at around Asar while the body/jenazah was still at the house, so we met the family, recite some verses of the Quran, before he was brought to the nearby masjid after Asar for solat jenazah then on to the ‘tanah perkuburan’ behind the masjid, just a walking distance away. He was buried next to his mum's, what a blessing. So we made it, we had the opportunity to meet him to pay our last respect, a very nice uncle to us. May Allah swt blessed his soul and grant him Jannah.

Again, it has been a tiring long drive from Krai and we needed good rest. Without second thoughts, we rented Melor Inn (the same hotel we rented the last 2 weeks! An expert on Parit Buntar hotels by now!). We had showers, went for a wonderful dinner at the Kari Corner, a very nice food joint at Nibong Tebal that serves Ikan Bakar and Nasi Campur. They are famous for their Kari Ikan Sembilang and Gulai Telur Sotong. Ibu has been craving for kari ikan sembilang when we were here two weeks back but the restaurant was closed. Those food you can not find anywhere other than in Parit Buntar. The night ended with a tahlil at the arwah’s house.

The next morning, we visited the family and waited for Wanie and Barry to arrive from Brisbane, Australia. They just left for Australia just two days back after spending more than a week in Parit Buntar celebrating their wedding. They are now back home to be with her mother in these difficult moments. It was just sad that Uncle Abang Chak, as we fondly called him left us so soon with no sign at all. You will be dearly missed and remembered. We finally said goodbye to them and before we continued our journey to Kedah, Ibu stopped by at the famous "Pasar Kemboja" in Parit Buntar. Still did not want to waste the opportunity to do some shopping...and our journey continues.

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