Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Famished Witch

I am famished, no exaggeration.

During a morning meeting in Persiaran Bukit Kiara today, the attendees were served Nasi Lemak wrapped in daun pisang. Accompanying it was soy bean milk. The aroma of the rice and its condiments, enhanced by the fragrance of the wrap, managed to convince assigned officers to shorten their respective reports, which I was grateful for because I was the third presenter and I could only eat after my presentation. Just because I refused to be caught off guard by an unexpected short report by the second presenter, forcing a mouthful of Nasi Lemak, Sambal Tumis, Ikan Bilis Garing, and Telur
Rebus down my esophagus as the chairperson announced my turn to present.

So, I demurely waited for my turn while silently cursing the two presenters before me for their unexpected lengthy reports. I noticed there were flattened wraps on their plates. Genius them, they must have digested their breakfast while waiting for the chairperson's introduction. Me, I know my limitation of being a slow eater.

After the hearty breakfast, I made my way back to Putrajaya. By public transportations. No thanks, I never preferred to fight the morning traffic to Kuala Lumpur and the vicinities. When it involves a meeting scheduled at 9:00 a.m. in the Klang Valley, I would either go by the ministry official vehicle or have Kamal drives me on his way to work. The official vehicle fully booked for today, I opted for alternative two, which also meant I would need to find my own way back to the office.

Now, during the journey back to Putrajaya, I sensed an intense headache slowly creeping through my system while slouching in a taxi to Kuala Lumpur Sentral. Once there, I scoured for a packed lunch. Strange how a bland fried vermicelli at 7-Eleven won over the more fancy selections at other F&B joints.

Meanwhile, the headache would not retreat even after a nap in the train. Instead, it worsened with a tinge of nausea teasing its way from the stomach. In the taxi back to the office, I popped one after another orange flavoured mint. To think that the familiar nice smell in the office would soothe the madness was mindless. In such confusion, I finished the bland fried vermicelli. I now conclude that I love my food bland nowadays, really.

Still, the headache worsened to a worse than worst state. The nausea teased mercilessly. The code spelled ceramic throne. I dashed to the ladies', was thankful that a booth was vacant, and the rest was history. I think women who endured endless vomitting were heroes because the act itself is not only painful, but also extremely tiring. I am not a hero. I reeled on and on about the lost: aromatic Nasi Lemak wrapped in daun pisang and bland fried vermicelli. Indeed, I have just realised that I ranted about the whole ordeal in a blog, where Kamal, my loyal reader, might find a need to vomit after consuming this lot.

Now, I am famished. All I have in the office is a bottle of mineral water, which was previously filled with apple juice that I hungrily gulped after vomitting. There are two mandarin oranges, too, courtesy of my Chinese colleagues. There were six actually, but I had four while waiting for my 8:00 p.m. ride back home yesterday.

The pantry cabinet is out of biscuits and Milo. It is my fault. I loathe entering Carrefour after office hour because of the crowd. My Shoppe near my place somehow echoed of emptiness the last time I stepped into the place. Those excuses aside, I believe in buying something that I feel like eating there and then. Nowadays, my appetite only thinks in the span of the moment. Not even ten minutes after, let alone an hour after.

All these made me forget my witch's nose.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Morphed

Yesterday, I believed that I suffered from antenatal depression syndroms. I could not stomach any food. Hunger was non-existent indeed. When I eventually ate, I vomited afterwards.

I cast my attention to pleasing activities despite my incapability to focus on anything. The effort only contributed to a more intense headache. I was easily irritated by Kamal's words or acts, or both. He deserves a dinner treat tonight for being such a dear husband when I morphed into a monster.

I became a super sensitive woman who took every word a tad too seriously. Subsequently, I cried a river over a raised voice when I should have taken it as just another rude person. Oh, I lost my soul.

Today, I told myself early in the morning that it was not antenatal depression I was suffering from. It was the hormones. Oh, it was me being dramatic, not being myself.

Alhamdulillah, every single thing falls into place nicely afterward. I was calm although my car-pool partner slept in. There were more.

I arrived at work with a humongous pimple on the tip of my nose, but the face base covered it rather nicely. The redness gone. Hey, the witch nose actually enabled me to brew a happy concoction.

I consumed a hearty but healthy breakfast without any fuss. Energised, I got my tasks running on their respective tracks. Indeed, I rediscovered my soul. At least, at work.

At most, I believe I will rediscover the whole thing very soon. To think that I have learned such lesson before. Phew.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

He who Loves

Fifteen weeks and three days old. He showed off his prowess to Daddy, Mommy, and Dr. Khamsiah with intrepid kicks. Perhaps, he was still spirited from the calamari specially prepared by his grandmother for us back in Rembau. Or, from his grandfather's concise voice leading zikr with the children around.

As of today, Daddy and Mommy will remember him as a boy who loves:

+ The sound of either Daddy or Mommy reading aloud.
+ The ultrasound.
+ The food prepared by both grandmothers in Rembau and Ketereh.
+ The moment Mommy writes in her paper notebook.
+ The cousins' laughter.


Literature and Art

Kamal eventually met Sharon Bakar, his former English teacher, who has inspired him to appreciate The Malayan Trilogy through Time for a Tiger, at a talk on Anthony Burgess by Rob Spence.

Kamal and I have been guilty for attending the talk without reading Burgess' masterpieces. Sitting beside me at Wisma Sejarah on January 18, 2004 was Mooke, from whom I first noticed about Burgess. Sitting in the hall were Burgess' former students in Malay College Kuala Kangsar, as well as those who were fond of him or his works.

After listening to Sharon Bakar's account on how The Malayan Trilogy inspired her choice to teach English in the boarding school, Rob Spence's insight into Burgess' boldness, and the old boys' revelation of Burgess or Mr. Wilson's out-of-the-box teaching methodology, Kamal and I surely felt that we were part of those who were fond of the legendary British author.

We are bound to fall in love with more authors as there will be more talks to attend. Of course, this time around, with homework done. At the moment, while Kamal laughs his way through The Enemy in the Blanket after hurting his side from reading Time for a Tiger, I am to pen 2000 words a day in my journal.

To the organiser of the tribute to Anthony Burgess, thank you for keeping him alive.


Other soul-enriching events attended last week:
From Kuala Kangsar to... at RA Fine Arts
Nikon D40/D40X Introduction

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Natasha Hudson and Plagiarism

The issue of Natasha Hudson plagiarising poems by famous authors in Puisi Indah Si Pari-Pari was first highlighted by Jannah Raffali and further discussed by Sharon Bakar. Natasha Hudson, even after such evidences of plagiarism, actually dared mocking concerned bloggers here. She said "please do not try to discriminate others if you do not have the capability to write a freaking book." My, has she ever thought of the consequences for everything she did at all?

Natasha Hudson,

First and foremost, one after another of the poems allegedly written by you were found to be directly translated from other authors' works. Thus making you the one who does not have "the capability to write a freaking book".

Secondly, Jannah Raffali and other concerned bloggers were not trying to discriminate you. We simply love originality. The least you could do is to admit the similarities between a number of the poems in your book and the famous works found to be plagiarized, as quoted by Jannah Raffali, K-lynn Ismail and Umapagan in both Jannah Raffali and Sharon Bakar's blogs. Admit that you have directly translated those poems. Malaysians, no matter how they loathe blatant lies, are forgiving, as proven by the recent brouhahas involving a politician.

Please, let us remind you again and again of the plagiarism:

Kek Coklat
(Supposedly by Natasha Hudson)

Saya mahu satu kehidupan
Kamu mahu sesuatu yang lain
Kita tidak dapat makan kek coklat
Jadi kita makan sesama sendiri

Cake(By Roger McGough)

I wanted one life
You wanted another
We couldn't have our cake
So we ate each other



Si Kura-Kura Kecil
(Supposedly by Natasha Hudson)

Ada seekor kura-kura kecil
Tinggal di dalam kotak
Berenang di tepi tasik
Memanjat di atas batu

Dia cuba menggigit nyamuk
Dia cuba menggigit kutu

Dia cuba menggigit berudu
Dia cuba menggigit aku

Dia berjaya menangkap nyamuk
Dia berjaya menangkap kutu

Dia berjaya menangkap berudu
Tetapi dia tidak berjaya menangkap aku

I Have a Little Turtle(By Nicholas Vachel Lindsay)

There was a little turtle.
He lived in a box.
He swam in a puddle.
He climbed on the rocks.

He snapped at a mosquito.
He snapped at a flea.
He snapped at a minnow.
And he snapped at me.

He caught the mosquito.
He caught the flea.
He caught the minnow.
But he didn't catch me.



Mentega Kuning, Jeli Ungu, Jem Merah, Roti Hitam(Supposedly by Natasha Hudson)

Mentega kuning, jeli ungu, jem merah, roti hitam
Ratakan tebal
Katakan cepat

Ratakan tebal
Katakan cepat

Sekarang ulang
Sambil kamu makan

Sekarang ulang
Sambil kamu makan

Janganlah bercakap
Bila mulut kamu penuh

Things We Like to Eat(By Mary Ann Hoberman)

Yellow butter, purple jelly, red jam, black bread.
Spread it thick,
Say it quick.

Yellow butter, purple jelly, red jam, black bread
Spread it thicker,
Say it quicker.

Yellow butter, purple jelly, red jam, black bread
Now repeat it,
While you eat it.

Yellow butter, purple jelly, red jam, black bread
Don't talk
With your mouth full!

For the rest of the poems you might have beautifully composed, congratulations. For the three aforementioned poems you have non-chalantly claimed as yours, please acknowledge the poets. At least, draft and re-draft, and re-draft again a structured, intelligent remark to prove your innocence. Excuse me, but the comments you regurgitated in Jannah Raffali's entries were obsoletely gibberish, further proving your writing incompetence.

Related readings (so far):
thru d eyes of toughcookie
A view from the 35th floor

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Works Wonder

I am happy with the new responsibilities at work. Being idle almost killed me. Oh, being without laptop is as murderous.

With these new responsibilities, there is a possibility of watching Star World while typing minutes of meeting, reports, and proposals. Our Minister requires that any documents be produced the next day after the meeting. Essential for speedy implementation.

Please excuse me, but I have been on an unpaid leave for a month and on medical leave for a week. Works excite me after such a drought. Productivity is an oxygen.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Assortment

Chums, thank you for your concern over my disappearance into nothingness. Alhamdulillah, the disbelief and frustration dissolved with my entry, too. The decision to let go of everything in entirety soothed me as well.

Now, about decluttering, I must do these:

1. Sort my cubicle. Papers are piling in need of filing. Project commences tomorrow.
2. Sort the second storey at home. The mess is co-ordinated, but co-ordination sans the mess is best. Project commences on January 27, 2008.

Apart from Little C, I long for an excitement that drives me to an unexpected pleasant destination. Complacent is a factor. Kamal is complacent that I could walk past the piles of items temporarily stored in the family room without a look of disapproval neither at him nor the piles. The look that would say, "shouldn't we sacrifice Amazing Race Asia tonight for a spring cleaning because I would not be able to concentrate on Marc et Rovilson with this mess in my mind anyway?"

At work, I am complacent with my existing filing system, which is so 2007. Oh, in this particular case, the phrase filing system is merely defined by the nature of putting papers into folders. Nevertheless, deep down, I know that each file must be sorted according to sub-categories as the thickness of the supposedly thin folder has rivalled my Oxford and Merriam Webster hard cover concise dictionaries stacked together.

Wait until Kamal has to take over the task of sweeping the floor, in addition to doing laundry, and see then whether he would stay complacent. Wait until my boss requires an important paper in the aforementioned folder pronto and see then whether I would stay complacent.

I would rather not wait any longer.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Dissolve

Disappearing into nothingness.
Nothing but tears.

Who I Am

A true-self.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Kata Emak, Dia Rindu Aku

Dek terlalu menggemari kombinasi nasi panas berderai dengan ikan kering dan ulam cicah budu atau sambal belacan sepanjang kehadiran Little C, aku jadi terkedu apabila berhadapan dengan aneka roti serta kek di The Baker's Cottage.

Ketika ditanya oleh Kamal tentang destinasi pilihan untuk bersarapan pagi ini, aku bayangkan kejerihan yang perlu ditempuh suamiku jikalau soalannya dijawab dengan, "I would love to have nasi kerabu with crispy cucumber and fish chips." Kami masih jahil lokasi jualan nasi kerabu dijamin enak di Putrajaya. Hanya Perhentian Mek Kelantan di Seksyen Tujuh, Bandar Baru Bangi, yang sering dikunjungi. Maka, paf tuna dan roti sambal ikan bilislah yang mengalas perutku sementara menanti saat makan tengah hari.

Mujur berbukit-bukit perkara terbengkalai menanti di pejabat setelah seminggu aku merehatkan diri di rumah akibat alahan mengandung. Jadi, aku lupa diri ini punya anak berdarah Ketereh dan Rembau, sering menyebabkan ibunya kecur dengan makanan kampung. Kecuali donat J.CO.

Tepat jam 12:15 tengah hari, aku ke Pasar Tani di perkarangan bangunan ini. Dalam minda, bermain imej nasi panas berderai, ikan kering, dan ulam cicah sambal belacan yang disediakan khas oleh emak sebagai hidangan malam semalam. Pantas aku melangkah ke gerai nasi dan lauk-pauk kampung. Tiada ikan kering mahupun ulam yang boleh dicicah sambal belacan. Budu apatah lagi. Nasinya juga tidak berderai. Namun, ada kerabu kerang dan tauge. Lala pun ada, dan ini diidam-idamkan kerana rakanku, Shida, menyebut tentang lala olio enak yang dihidang murah bersama udang kara di Subang. Air kelapa muda melengkapkan juadah.

Aku mahu ke perpustakaan pejabat selepas menulis ini. Ingin anakku menghadam makanan rohani juga. Jika di rumah, aku selang-selikan agenda hidangan kecil enam kali sehari dan sitkom atau drama di Star World dengan pembacaan berunsur akademik serta program ilmiah di Awani. Semalam, aku terjaga dalam keheningan malam dan banyakkan zikir.

Mungkin aku lebih rindukan emak. Masakannya dan nasihatnya.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Chech's Craving

J.CO donuts.
My favourite is Heaven Berry. Berry Heavenly.

The Unpredictable

My appetite, so far, has been solely influenced by what I read and watched. Once upon a time, I happened to read a blog that featured J.CO donuts.

Indeed, I have taken a bite of one of its donuts, but I was not entitled to any comment as the donut was a-day old. Since then, I read the craziness about J.CO, yet I never gave a damn to jump into the wagon. I was that ignorant. Until that blog with photos of ordinary looking dough. Really, they were very ordinary given that the photos were not of good quality. However, it was enough to awaken my curiousity.

The day I was curious, I had a misunderstanding with Kamal when he was my only hope to satisfy this craving. When he came back home, I did not even look at him.

I silently accused him of littering our place with his work items yet again. I even ignored him pacing the hall busily. Only to look at this thing he put on the arm of my recliner. I just had to smile at the surprise. Half-a-dozen of J.CO donuts!

He chose one piece, brought it to my mouth. What entailed was beyond description. So heavenly the piece was that we had to take another piece while still chewing the last bits of the first one. We ended up having two each. The donuts, were oh so soft, oh so creamy, oh just right. We thought it was important for a food to not leave an after taste and the donuts did not. Whoa, I am officially driving the wagon.

Then, came dinner time. This had something to do with my second craving. All because I watched an American sitcom, where the actors were having take-away chinese food. You know, those packed in white long box and came with chopsticks.

When Kamal asked me where should dinner be, I had chinese food and chopsticks in mind. We settled for Famosa House. Now, my pregnancy dinner appetite when compared to my breakfast and lunch appetite, has been rather tricky. Instead of chinese food, I ordered Singapore fried vermicelli just because it was the only least colourful dry food. I did ask for chopsticks.

The J.CO craving had a happy ending. Not the chinese food and chopsticks craving. The supposedly white-coloured vermicelli was fried with chilli paste, and you know the rest. The waiter said it could be a new recipe. Fortunately, I was still high on the donuts. I took a few bites before relinquishing. Knowing that my pregnancy breakfast appetite would be more adventurous, I had the vermicelli packed for take-away. Voila, dinner leftovers proved to be great for breakfast.

For the record, I am gaining the healthy 0.5kg every month. The craving, it was momentary. The hopping appetite would only come a day in a month before it fluctuates again. In case of an increase in the chart during a workshop this weekend, I might as well throw my swimming suit into the luggage. Just in case. Pregnancy is all about unpredictability.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Kamal, I Miss You.

How do I exist without Kamal, who was occupied with work for now:

+ Let Shida pamper me with her signature Sambal Paru.
+ Blog about how to exist without Kamal, heh.
+ Get high on Jeruk Mangga. No worry, this craving comes once in a blue moon.
+ Feast my eyes on Johnny Depp, ahem.

Despite not having to experience frequent morning sickness during the first trimester, I bled on Thursday. I am still bleeding. Only after a day of being back at work. The eczema appeared again, after a long time, in the form of extremely dry skin.

I pray that the second trimester ahead is full of zealousness. Particularly at work. For a start, I am back to my meticulous self, which means I will not let Kamal's stuff from work litter our place. I still can't stand the weird smell in the kitchen though. Must be the cats. Kamal, I need you to move them away.

Yes, in other words, I miss you.


Friday, January 04, 2008

Niece I

My four-year-old niece, Anis Batrisyia, is now in school. She asked whether Pak Lang and Mak Lang would allow her to bring the mini Asus, which she is so accustomed to, to class. Her favourite games have always been Mr. Potato, Mr. Penguin, Aquarium, Penguin Racer, Tetris, and with our guide, Solitaire. When those games got too monotonous, she would spell her name in varieties via Word.

I phoned her to know how was her first day with teachers and friends. She told me there were big computers in school, but none was as perfect as the mini Asus. Heh. I can't wait to be in Melaka again to know more about her school days.

Nephew I

Haris Irfan, my two-year-old nephew, has a new love named Tok Tam. At first, I did not have the slightest idea who Tok Tam was. Until an incident occurred.

Kamal and I were in Pulau Gadong for a funeral. We stopped by Pulau Gadong to visit my elder brother's family. As Anis was using the laptop, I had to distract Haris with something better because his Taurean sister preferred not to share her belongings with anybody. I asked what his favourite toy was.

He pointed at a silver Superman CD case on top of the television rack. My, how he eagerly unzipped the case. He brought out one CD and clinged to it like it was his life. I offered to play the CD for him, but at that very moment, Anis asked for help.

After five seconds of assisting Anis, I turned to Haris. He was hiding the CD under the carpet. It must have been scratched. Knowing that he liked the CD, I persuaded him to keep it back in the case. He ran away and then he came back. The CD no longer in his hands.

We played other games afterwards, the CD long forgotten. Until Kamal and I reached Bandar Baru Bangi. At home, I unpacked the bag containing maternity clothes that my sister-in-law lent me. At the bottom of the bag was a CD. I took it, read the cover, and there it was, Tok Tam MTV Karaoke.

Tok Tam.
Haris!

Kamal then revealed that he tricked Haris into giving that CD to him to reduce the damage. Oh, I actually sobbed my heart out because Haris might want to sing along to Tok Tam, yet there the CD was way away from him. Poor boy.

Haris, your CD is with "Mak Lang yang kuat."*

* To Haris, I was "Mak Lang yang kuat" simply because I helped his grandmother to put away a kitten far from her business kitchen. Oh, he is like his mother, petrified of cats. To him, me cuddling the cat all the way from their house, which has to be kept sterile due to the food business, to a cat's heaven, was a heroic act.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Seduced

Being pampered in Guoman, Port Dickson, was just as good as the initial plan to hunt for our honeymoon flavoured chocolate bar in Langkawi.

Langkawi was out of reach for a haggard me after a hectic Aidiladha break.
Langkawi for second trimester getaway instead.

Kamal, my love for you is boundless.

Melody for the moment: Santana's Samba Pa' Ti.

Shooting Stars

D40X for the most befitting cause.
Cherishing what 2007 had bestowed on us and celebrating every single thing 2008 has to offer.

Happy New Year!

Nikon D40/D40X Photography Workshop: 19 & 20 January 2008.