Thursday, September 30, 2010

Athletic


Miwa Asao, professional beach volleyball player, once sponsored by Herbalife.
Photos: Google Images.


Ask, and receive. 

I am gratified to share that my visualisation has yielded wonders. I received them in different manners as some came easily, some with challenges, but, they have been wonders nevertheless. 

A personal request, for now:
An athletic figure that embodies health and fitness.
That enables me to live life to its best.
That inspires others to be healthier, too. 

A Picture's Worth

Hong Kong, 9 September 2010.

Serenity after a storm and before another one brewed.
I am officially a mother to a two-year-old.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

No Maid Club

One week without a live-in maid.

One and a half years ago, Kamal and I eventually decided to hire a live-in maid when we ended up paying RM600 to the nursery, no thanks to our nature of work, which required us to travel frequently, at an extensive period of time. Our parents did volunteer to take care of little Khalish when we needed to be away for work, but, they had helped us in many ways that they deserved a good rest.

A warning: this is definitely a meticulous documentation.

My mother shared our situation with an aunt, and, she informed us that her child's maid did tell her about a relative who would like to work in Malaysia. The aunt happened to know the woman as her brother's child had hired this particular maid a few years ago. The maid returned to Indonesia because of the employers' divorce.

We prayed that she would be reliable, and kind.

She was. She did violate my instructions by lifting up a crying Khalish out of his playpen while cooking, which resulted in an accident. Otherwise, she was reliable, and kind. She woke up before Subuh to sweep and mop the entire house every day. Learning from the accident, she followed my instructions meticulously. She patiently humoured Khalish at playtime whenever we were not around, yet she was able to find the time to do the house chores. She even cooked for Khalish when I had to rush elsewhere. She learned my way with the laundry through observation. She even did gardening. Kamal and I could travel without worrying about the house or our son's well-being.

My mother became her friend. New clothes for her and her family members. Extra cash. More gifts the two times she went back to Indonesia.

We realised that a drama unfolded little by little when she went back there with the relative responsible for introducing her to us. Let us name the relative 'Y'. Y has also been a reliable maid to my cousin. Nevertheless, she could be aggressive when it came to money as she was challenged with problematic children back at home. My cousin and her mother tolerated Y's weakness considering her skills. They almost became doormats though. Y asked for intolerable amount of extra money once she was back in Indonesia for Aidilfitri, citing more problems. No money, no return. My cousin and her mother decided to put a stop to such extortion and they immediately ended Y's contract.

It was then that our former live-in maid started her text messages and calls. She asked for an amount of money, allegedly due to a complication with the immigration. The issue was never raised in her following text messages and calls as she realised that we had completed every single item needed by both Malaysian and Indonesian immigrations.

Then, she kept on contacting my mother. Yes, she had our numbers, but my mother was the most sympathetic of us three. My mother could not understand her requests, and kindly asked her to contact us instead as we were more used to her. The requests must have been a mere plot as she never contacted us again. Not even when we tried to contact her.

After a long silence, Kamal received a text message a day before her scheduled arrival here, "maaf bapa, bibik tidak boleh masuk", which raised our eyebrows. Kamal immediately called the number. She simply said that she could not enter Malaysia. No reason at all on her side. Being Kamal, he calmly advised her to go to the airport nevertheless and contact us if there was any problem. No contact would mean everything was all right. No contact. Kamal was at Low Cost Carrier Terminal by 10:00 p.m. After one hour since landing time, there was no sight of her. Kamal tried to call, to no avail. Up to today. My relatives who know us well concluded that she must have been pressured by Y to leave Malaysia.

All left to do now is a police report. Alhamdulillah, we managed to ask for her forgiveness before we departed for Hong Kong, and she, Indonesia. We wish her all the best now.

Kamal and I could already behold the silver lining behind those clouds.

Daily Affirmation, Emphasised

I am blessed. Alhamdulillah.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Brief

It has been two days since Khalish, Kamal, and I came back from Ketereh, Kelantan, yet unpacking is still in progress. That includes our items from Hong Kong and Macau adventure, and later, Rembau tripping. We only had one day in Bangi before we proceeded to Ketereh. That explains the amount of unpacking to do and the delay in completing it.

The maid will be back by tonight, Insya-Allah. I do not need her now, honestly, but I am going back to work and then, classes, starting January 2011, so the need will arise then. Three months of a mock play school for Khalish while I am still at home.

A brief post for now. A lot of photos to share as they tell stories better than I do with words, what with little online time for me. More to come once I am done with the seemingly endless unpacking.

Thanks to the seven of you, who loyally visited my blog no matter what. Yes, I blog for myself, and at times, Kamal and Khalish, but, I do appreciate others who appreciate my photos and writing. :)

Friday, September 03, 2010

Aidilfitri 2009 II

1 Syawal 1430 H.
Colours in Tanah Merah. Of true ukhuwah.


The post is also in remembrance of Allahyarhamah Siti Minah Abdullah.



Aidilfitri 2009 I


1 Syawal 1430 H.
Tanah Merah, Kelantan.

Camera hanging on one shoulder, and baby bag on another.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

I am Sailing, to be Near You

Aidilfitri is a week away. 'The day of celebration' has always been a time to be together for my family, just like other families during festive seasons. Not this year, for the members of Chez Chembong. My elder brothers will be with their in-laws, a younger brother has decided to be away, and, last but not least, the youngest brother will be on duty onboard a tanker. Thus the decision for the rest of us, namely my parents, another younger brother, and my nuclear family, to be in Macau.

About the youngest brother: the tanker, which he has been on, docked at Port Klang last week. Just for five hours. Those without more important commitments for the day made our way to Klang for a dinner with Cilan. Ayah, Mak, Cimi, Kamal, Khalish, and I found an open air food court that catered to our loudness, and simultaneously served scrumptious Mi Jawa. Being a steward and assistant cook on the tanker, Cilan brought along a dessert he prepared for the crew. So thoughtful of him. As we laughed at each other's jokes, I realised how he has changed. From a little boy with low self-esteem, because of the challenges with the conventional education system, to a person with absolute confidence, thanks to the discovery of his true passion in life. Cooking.

As it was the first time Cimi, Kamal, Khalish, and I visited Cilan in between his work, the latter suggested that we have a peek of the tanker. With a temporary pass, all of us entered Northpoint. Khalish was surely enthralled by the tanks, containers, trains, and, tankers.

Cimi, Kamal, and I were similarly enchanted once we followed Cilan to his work place, Bunga Akasia. I wished I was in flat shoes instead of high heels. The route towards the indoor area was very basic. I passed Khalish to Kamal while I cared for the camera, which was obviously easier to handle compared to a curious toddler who tossed and turned at every thing. For that particular reason, the visitors merely confined ourselves to the level housing Cilan's room. We will be more ready for a complete tour next time.



Kamal and I were surprised to see how spacious a steward's room was in comparison to the standard room we stayed in during a vacation on SuperStar Virgo. After helping Cilan with the items Mak brought for him, which were mainly traditional lauk-pauk and kuih-muih for Cilan and his friends, we lounged around. Khalish, meanwhile, was here and there, satisfying his curiosity about the new space. 

When the ship seemed to be swaying from Khalish's stomping and shouting, all of us decided to end the mini tour. After all, Ayah, Mak, and the maid were waiting for us at the end of the port. On the way down, we chanced upon other crew. Friendly. Cilan explained how he survived the otherwise bland surrounding: the siblinghood among everybody on board. Well said. At that point, I told Cimi that I missed all of our siblings being together.

The spot where our vehicles were parked offered a beautiful view. Kamal and I suggested photo sessions. Khalish was the only one who disagreed. He did not utter the disagreement out loud, but it showed in all the photos. Heh.



When Khalish was eventually too tired to struggle out of his Atuk's embrace, Cimi became the cheeky one, and experimented with facial expressions. Looking at the group photos, smiling ear to ear, Kamal and I thought all of us should have joined the fun with such experiments. 

More shots followed the group photos. The gigantic structures afloat in the sea and the bright lights against the night added interest to the port. In between photos, Cilan shared with us his experiences being on a ship for months, continued from those told during dinner. How he had to prepare food in a swaying ship for weeks, no thanks to typhoon; how he got the opportunity to perform umrah at only USD98; how The Royal Malaysian Navy personnel stationed onboard thwarted an attempted attack by pirates; how he usually relaxes off duty; etcetera. Amusing.



Approaching midnight, we said goodbye to Cilan. Hugs and kisses. To some, tears. Ayah and Mak spent the final seconds motivating Cilan to discover more of his-best-self. All of us could feel each other's love. In those hugs, those kisses, those words. And, in those physically absent brothers who were there in spirit.


The grandest love of all, was of course, in the parents' prayers.