Monday, May 28, 2012

Postcards from Tioman

We flew KL-Tioman-KL by Berjaya Air

The waterfall we walked miles to see (well, it felt like miles!) 

 The guide stopped in the middle of the jungle to show us 'pokok hidung'

 Save the turtle!

 Blind Jo ( a 6-year old blind turtle at the turtle conservatory)

 Fish we snorkelled at Tioman Island

 Sunset from my window, facing the sea

money cannot buy...

My gf and I got home Saturday morning from Tioman.We took 2 days off work/class to just destress ourselves.Both our  hubbies will go on a separate vacation with us next month or two and could not join us on this one.Nik was babysitting Z who was having her A Level exams (true enough, she came back on Friday cos' sakit gigi and terpaksa pi ke Nik's dentist at Tmn Tun)

My gf ni penakut.Nak masuk air, takut, nak snorkel, takut.Nak scuba, apatah lagi.I never knew she would be such  a boring travelling partner.Haha.But we had a good time.She'd accompany me wherever I went.Yang pelik, masuk hutan pi waterfall dia tak takut  pulak(just the two of us with a male guide!).I was like..oh tuhan..jgn la kami jadi mangsa zikir all the way, all the way.Haha.

The guide proved to be a professional one.Syukur alhamdulillah.My family will go on another trip and re-do what I did in Tioman.Same guide. :)

I came back with a bad flu.My panel doc said tolong jgn sebar kat org lain and wanted me to go around wearing mask (I miss Dr Jee who has migrated to Darwin.He would never ask me to wear a mask!)

Back at work.Meetings.Letters to sign.Papers to write.Theses to examine.Ohh mannn...I need another holiday.

But it's amazing how I could cook up something fast while invigilating the exam this morning for this evening's  Fulbright meeting.I have Prof Ida to speak on IP again, Prof Aslam on religion and econ dev in Msia, Dr Vellayan on 28 years of zooing and the future of wildlife conservation (woohoo!), Sean Foley (yet to beep him) and Alan (yet to remind him) on coastal tourism.Oklah tu, given the fact I am now working on organising this alone.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Bits and pieces

I'm jotting down random thoughts (yang tiada kena mengena dgn yang hidup atau mati) which I might incorporate in my short stories/novels later.


So we spoke of minibuses and street hawkers.

They have long gone, I said.Not without a sense of sadness.

30 years.Her parents had all migrated and lived with her and her family downunder.She never returned after graduation.And after meeting her love match.

This was the same girl who lent me her winter coat in the midst of a mild winter of a country so far away.And took me around and showed me the alien city she called hers.Her boyfriend (then boyfriend) tagged along and displayed equal warmth, equal hospitality.

30 years down the road, I never forgot either of them.And who would have guessed it took only a click of an "Enter" to reconnect.And continued where we left.A friendship based on innocence.Bordering on a need for a common identity.We were Malaysians abroad.

Ivy married a local Chinese.I married a local Malay.In a way, we never left home.Our race home.

She showed me pictures of her family members.The two boys.Me, my only girl.Next to her, a picture without a head.A hole.Sani's.


You go fly kite! (in my anger)

Why are you so angry?

Talk to my hand.

And we went separate ways.

It was that easy.

A day later, he text-ed me: YOU go fly your kite now!
My anger had become his.

Was it that easy?


Lyn and I decided we had enough of being women.

Let's just go away.

So we checked into a honeymoon suite meant for newly weds and lovers.

Because the room gave us value for money: free breakfast for two, free scuba diving, free snorkelling, free boatrides.

We got stares from those who thought we were two old lesbians.From some Greek island.We giggled all the way to a waiting boat.


I'm here if you need me, Miss Bao private messaged me on facebook.
Thanks.I know you have been to me and survived, I wrote back.
Yoga, she said.

It's haram in Islam.
Dinz said it made her feel good.She's looking well these days.We'd have dinner in a bit.A lot to catch up with.News of the latest acquisition.A hamster.A kitten.A stray cat.What is left in this world to make us happy.We do not need a talking (back) partner.Both laughed hysterically.

Kassim left her months ago.I left Sani a fortnight yesterday.Call it a leaving game.An urban Malay couple's leaving game.We were becoming like the Hollywood stars.


Handbags.Shoes.The branded ones were all his gifts to me.When we were still very much in love.And married. People said we looked good together.We never aged like other aged couples did.Give us your secret recipe, said one.I gave him my favourite cake.A way to a man's heart is through food, I said.In those days, I made time to bake.Roast.Grill.Sani loved eating.

He bought me things which would make me happy.

Those shoes.And those handbags.Now Lyn's.


When Lyn had bruises from her possessive husband, I would be the first she'd call.

"Joy (ah), he did it again."

"I told you to leave him."

"I love him."

"This is not love. Lyn.This is attempted murder.Walk away."

"Not that easy.The kids, the house, the car, the shares."

I rolled my eyes till you'd see the whites.


Ivy and I met for coffee one Summer she returned home.Just missing old friends.

I have problem coping with aging, she said.

You've come to the wrong person, I laughed.

And the whole afternoon was spent discussing our peri-menopausal conditions. We had fun.We did not look one bit we were peri-menopausal.

"'s so good coming home. Being with you, Joy(ah).I hadn't laughed for so long."

"I thought you were happy living in the quietness of downunder."

"Not the outdoor type.Alan is."

And she thought of Sani.How would he cope with his breakfasts and dinners, she wondered.I was always there.Packed lunch and all.The goodbye kisses before work.The huggings.The teasings and secret coded conversations infront of mothers in law.

"Joy(ah), you think of Sani now?" Ivy was sharp.

"I do.Not easy to forget someone you first fell in love with and had a child with."

"What were both of you so angry about?"

Talk to my hand.

Miss Bao rang to say she was coming to KL. She needed to do her yoga with me.

I smelled trouble.She and Pierre.
I took Miss Bao to the same island Lyn and I were a month ago. We stood by the beach and watch tiny anchovies jumped in a group, as though chasing the high tide.Miss Bao screamed in delight,saying she had never seen something so beautiful.Back in Hanoi, she lived by the lake.I had never seen anything as beautiful as her lake home.You always want something which is not yours,Miss Bao philosophised.

Then she told me about Pierre.

I was there when they first met.At a jazz club.He wrote her a poem saying the moment you walked in the door,I knew you were the one for me.I laughed because I knew it was from Bobby.The Hindi movie everyone could not forget in the 1970s.Miss Bao was not impressed.She was already in a deep relationship with someone.I was there too when she met him.Why do you think Miss Bao wanted to do her yoga in KL with me? We were that close.

He is suing me out of spite.Copyright matters.
Oh oh.Not another twisted love. So what are you going to do about it?
I don't know.
Can't you negotiate it peacefully? Professionally?
I tried.

And we continued to walk along the sandy beach, absorbing the air,the breeze,the sound of waves.We were both quiet with our own thoughts.

It was my work,he published it.I went to Sydney and the organiser (my ex) published some work without his permission.

(to be continued.Pls buy the novel when it's done.Ni iklan je.Harap maaf.)

Something old and something new

I found an old friend who I have not been in touch with for about 30 years yesterday.It's nice to know that your friends are doing so well even as they age.Or because they age?

And our brainstorming session with people from the film industry went so well yesterday that my colleagues from IRK were so inspired that they expressed their enthusiasm to help out.Syukur alhamdulillah.So we will have a film screening on June 18 to further refine what shariah compliant films are.I like my new friends.I used to think film makers are stupid.

And for those helping out behind the scene (esp. DK): thank you so much!

The first Professorial meeting went well too.I chaired a session on Intellectulal Property Rights and learnt so much about patenting.Prof. Ida (our homegrown IIUM student who went to Cambridge for her LLM and PhD in London) said not many know that there are other ways to protect your intellectual properties.Patents are just way too costly (esp. when you can't commercialise your products) and you lose your exclusiveness cos' you have to declare your secrets when you apply for patents (and they only last 15 years).A form of control to control knowledge, kan? Dah lah bayar beratus ribu, curi kita punya hardwork pulak.

I enjoyed the discussions (between those from Science/s and Prof Ida) on this.A whole new world for me, folks.

Monday, May 21, 2012

A not so quiet weekend

Aku Bukan Rozita

For some reasons only known to some of my fans (perasan giler di sini),I have been writing a short story in my head (again...!Nisah posted something on her fb wall on waiting for the right moment or environment to write as something self-illusory.Gua sudah terkantoi).

Tajuk yang sudah lama terbuku di kepala is this: Aku Bukan Rozita.

The story would go like this:Rozita is like Mona Lisa.Everyone wants to know who she is just because a painter had captured her beauty in a painting.Dia bukanlah cantik sangat pon.Ahaks.I would prefer my famous characters of Lola or Kasut Hitler's beauty than Rozita nih.

So everyone wants to know who she is, how she looks like in real life, apa makanan kegemarannya, etc. I have this in my mind: without makeup, she looks like nyonya sayor kat Hanoi who conned Amir,Z's friend at college.Come,come take picture with me.No need to pay.So you'd take what is free.Then nyonya will say,now that you have taken pictures with me, you have to buy my vegetables.

Well, Rozita in my short story is like that Nyonya sayor in Hanoi.Often misunderstood.Ahaks.An illusion.But she is not the Mona Lisa in the painting of that famous painter.Dia bukan Rozita, one individual who exists and lives outside the canvas.

Rozita dalam painting itu adalah composite characters of the painter's 5 girlfriends.Could be more.It's a technique also used by Obama when writing about his Nuyork gf (I akan contemporarise-kan sikit lah technique ni dalam my short story).Very artistic.I like. Kita sambung cerpen in progress ni di lain hari.Beep if you like.

Part 2, kita lihat adegan painter terlukis gambar kucing in his confusion trying to perfect his art.Ahaks.

And this was how I spent my weekend today...menulis cerita yang tiada after hours spent at the hair salon before rushing to meet Jeff and Minoo about our herbal garden.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The last class of the semester...

...ended nicely with my Master's English Renaissance Lit. Nice (sometimes funny) discussions on Renaissance women writers took place today.Kadang2 nak tergelak besar without being rude..Budak Thomas ni macam biasa buat smart remarks on Mary Ward...he said org2 Catholic ni suka buat cerita, mengAda-adakan cerita..he doubted if she really existed if the manuscript came from the Catholics (history had shown this, kata dia..300 years of lies).Wough! :)

But we still found the women amazing esp. Isabella Whitney, even Mary Wroth.And the, my, I need to go on my sabbatical soon and I want to work on Renaissance women.It's all so so exciting.

Saber got a Band 6 for his reading (after 2 months being coached by me) Syukurlah! That is a big jump (from 4, you know).I'll have another experiment with Aishah.If she does well juga, I may have found a short cut to learning English. And will share this with those who care. :)

No class does not mean takda kerja tetap OK? I have papers to write, events to promote. But I do want to get away for a day or two just before exams.

Watch this space for postcards.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

with some iranian friends

 At Shisha, Solaris Mount Kiara (full house mlm ni..I forgot to buat reservation) Look at that lauk pengantin!

Iranian Mom's Day Buffet at MATIC (home cooked by women from the Iranian Embassy)

To all moms out there: go spoil yourselves!!

I just did.

Had a fantastic time celebrating it at MATIC with the Iranian Embassy (women's wing). I enjoyed the fashion show and the tribute for Mdm Elahi of Tas Putra.What an incredible woman she is.

A few things I learnt from the event: Iranian women are so well educated (per centage is neck to neck when it comes to ratio of women to men at the university.Women have regular careers, they are also in sports.Whatever they do, they wear headcovers.The ones in sports seem to be doing well despite this.I was deeply impressed.They are also in broadcasting/media, arts and performance).

But I also found out that women could not recite the Quran in public.Yesterday when a lady started the event by Quran recitation, Yasmin Yusoff (the wonderful mc of the event looked gorgeous.Lawa pulak bila bertudung!) repeatedly reminded everyone not to do any videoing or photo-taking throughout the event out of respect for our Iranian sisters.Then I thought it was so disrecpectful when she kept saying, you see those ladies in blue? They will take away your cameras and videos if you are caught taking pictures or recording.Wough, she made it sound like we were back during Khomeini's time (Azar Nafisi's version).Semua nak kena tangkap! She could have said it differently, right? The ladies in blue were very nice people.They just reminded everyone in a friendly manner when the crowd went wild during the fashion show (I was so so tempted to capture those wonderful2 stylish wear)

The Iranian spread was also delicious but could not stay long ...had to rush to another makan: dining with the newly-weds at Solaris Mount Kiara, Dr. Bubbles and wife.Iranian cuisine juga (Shisha).We had a nice time, talking and talking and talking.And eating and eating and eating. :)

Besok pun makan dan makan dan makan (celebrating Z's bday with her friends at her college).Most probably hi tea with Nik's mom and dinner with my mom and sisters.This year's Mother's Day must be my busiest year!

Was trying to look up lagu Ben (not by Michael Jackson) which I heard over the radio as we cruised along the highway.Wough, on the road!

Tak jumpa..anyone knows? I thought it was by McCartney but not on the list.Maybe I should call up Richard and ask him (of Light and Easy).

Friday, May 11, 2012

Happy birthday, Z

 Z's friends at the college's park, enjoying her carrot cake bday cake, pizzas, muffins and Secret Valley drinks

 Z with some of her close friends here

Daddy's gal and friends (mommy was  inappropriately dressed to be in the pic.Ahaks)
This in-the-park celebration was held during the kids' A Level exam

Z turns 20 today.Happy birthday and semoga panjang umur, bertambah iman and dalam peliharaan Allah sentiasa, Z!

You have been a great joy in our life since the day you were born.Well, since the day I conceived you (made in London as you proudly whispered to Natalie..I heard!).

And as you work through your A Level exam papers this week and the 5 weeks that follow, I wish you much success, gal. May you find happiness in whatever you do.


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Your Drama Queen

I have more than a friend who think I'm your classic drama queen.Haha.

It's a super busy period now that we are finishing a semester.Tensi, OK? So much inspired by Chan's poetry about stars falling from the sky to river bed and her picking up the stars turned glasses and cutting her finger while picking up one, I created my own drama yesterday.Hey, I can still write!

Tiba-tiba another voice interrupted,"Why don't you just take a knife and cut me to pieces?" Wakakaka.

Hancai my script writing exercise!
The real one with FINAS will start in June.Outsiders RM500, IIUM students lesser.Pls beep me to enquire.

Drama Queen also puts up a protest over the cancellation of Irshad Manji's talk at IIUM.The dialogue would have been so fruitful (if everyone can stay civil and intellectual).

But I guess no one's ready for that, yet? Even Manji?

Monday, May 07, 2012

Go gently, Z!

Z is moving towards another phase of her life tomorrow...away from home.And mom.Her A level exam starts tmrw. She has been working hard and we pray to Allah, it would be easy for her. Meanwhile, her 'foster parents' were located today (on fb)We had been looking since 1998 when the young toddlers Neng and Z were separated.We are trying to arrange for a reunion between Neng and Z.Neng's parents live in Makassar now.Neng is at a uni in Bandung.If there's something I cannot live's old friendship built on trust and mutual respect. And Neng's parents gave me that.May Allah shower them with eternal happiness which money cannot buy.

The best writing is...

...when you dare to write it as it is.

I find myself censoring a lot these days.It is not something new.I'm sure it grew on me.It gets worse as I lose touch with writing.So in the end, words appear stiff and so boring.The usual laughter is no longer there.

Who do you blame? Work?

There are so many things I want to write about.The guy who said "asalkan kak kiah putih sikit dari akaknya, it'd be fine." (of an aging man wanting to take another wife.Wife pertamanya "tanned" sikit.Sensitive, right? But this is one of kisah masyarakat..the 'di celah2 kehidupan' type.It'd be sad not to document it).

Then there's a story about a 6o something lady who takes a certain supplement and finds that her sex life is better than when she was 20 something.Ahaks.The West would love this kinda story.:)

If you have anything interesting to share with me, please beep.I may after all brave myself and write a thriller (as was suggested by Francis!)

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

To all labourers

Happy Labour Day!

I'll take it easy today.A day with my chiro, then possibly go watch Michelle Yeoh's movie on Aung San Suu Kyi , "The Lady". Nik and Z will tag along.

And I must finish up Jelani Harun's book on al Raniri's Bustan al-Salatin (2008). My fb life is over, folks. :)) I'm making time to read books I bought so long time ago but never found the time to read.

Jangan lah selepas 2 mukasurat, tertidur pulak!