Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Happy belated birthday Anas

Anas is my third child. The 17th of May was his birthday. But without him around we couldn’t celebrate it yet. He was at boarding school in Batu Kikir, Negeri Sembilan.

The school term break started last Saturday and everybody’s back home now. So today on my way back home from Melaka for a “bajet mengurus” workshop, I stopped by at the local bakery and bought him a birthday cake.

When he was smaller, Anas used to be chubby and he was the cheekiest as well as noisiest of his siblings – tantrums, shrieks, loud laughing, you name it, he was well into it! Although he is less noisy now, he still is the cheekiest. And Anas has grown bigger and taller than me even though he is only just 15 years of age. He is also very athletic. He represents his school and district in the sprints and relays events since he was in Form 2.

Anas wants to be an engineer, trained in Germany, the land of superb engineering and technology. He shall be sitting for his PMR exam end of this year. He aims to get 9As and better his sister Sakinah (8As) and brother Syafiq (7As) at it. That’s what he told me.

Anas is a clever boy who is fast maturing. He knows that he has to prepare himself well and be focused towards achieving his target (and less napping during the day!) if he is to succeed. His school results so far have been rather encouraging. No straight As yet, but I sense the potential is there. All he needs to do is to remain focused and not forget to do his exercises

Abah and Umi love you Anas. And you know that our prayers are always with you. So work hard, my son, success shall come your way in all your undertakings, insyaALlah.

Photos notes: Anas at 4 years, and his birthday cake, of course.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Liverpool 1 – 2 AC Milan

Hard luck, Liverpool. That’s all I can say. After controlling much of the CL finals game and posing the greater threat, Liverpool was downed by a freak of an opener in first-half injury time. Admittedly, Milan’s second goal was well executed by the old master Pippo Inzaghi and beautifully assisted by Kaka.

Liverpool did all the right things. They showed passion and commitment. But in the end they were let down by their lack of fire-power. We don’t need to remind Senor Benitez of that of course. I’m sure he is already planning on his summer signings which will include top quality strikers.

Meanwhile, congratulations to AC Milan. And well done to Liverpool too, for we went down fighting. At least we did not get thrashed 3 – 0 like Man United ! (sorry la Man U fans - Man, Iwan, Akashah, Mrs A.O. et al, just couldn't resist the jibe ;-)

Despite being clobbered by Milan and all, some people are still clamouring for Man United to be allowed to play in KL. Latest I heard, they are trying to justify the visit by tying it to our 50 Years of Merdeka and Visit Malaysia Year Celebration?! Now, go figure that out.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Sorry la Man United fans! (2)

After all the hype, in the end we had to settle for a less-than-classic FA Cup final. United did seem to control the game, but only just, I thought.

As always, such games will be decided by a solitary goal during a single moment of brilliance. And that moment came courtesy of one Didier Drogba. Not Ronaldo, nor Rooney.

Notwithstanding the dour affair on the pitch, the architecture and design of the new Wembley is a sight to behold - typical of all Sir Norman Foster's works.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

The doctors came a calling

This evening two doctors paid a visit to our house, Dr. Ong Chun Chiang and Dr. Ahmad Kamal. No, it’s not because someone in the family had fallen sick, alhamdulillah. Instead, the good doctors had dropped by for tea.

Ong and Kamal were my schoolmates during secondary school in Kangar, Perlis.

Ong is now a medical doctor having trained at the prestigious Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI). He hails from Perlis. I used to frequent his house in the main street of downtown Kangar those days. It was a shophouse. His parents sold electrical goods on the first floor, and the family stayed upstairs.

After Dublin he furthered his studies in England, after which, he was called just plain “Mister Ong” again (that’s what he told me). But that was not before getting himself an Irish bride first. Ongs’s three young kids are quite amazing. They can converse in English, Chinese, a smattering of Malay and some Gaelic too, I suspect.

Kamal hails from Bagan Datoh, Perak. His is a doctor of philosophy in Physics and he now teaches Physics at one of the local universities. Kamal was our spiker in the volleyball team. During holiday breaks, I used to take the bus from my house in Teluk Intan to his place where I’d sometimes spend the night.

Kamal got married while still a student in the US. So whilst my eldest child is just setting her foot into a tertiary education institute, his eldest has already followed in the footsteps of his father to study in the US. In fact, his son is already back in Malaysia and working. How time flies (read: I feel old already).

Once tea was over, after they had left, I slumped into the sofa in our living room, thinking. How fortunate I am to have such friends as Kamal and Ong who are loyal and still keep in touch after all these years. People say good friends are forever. How true.

Note: photo of tako (traditional Malay kueh), watermelon and grated cheese and cucumber for the spaghetti.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Apak & Mak came visiting

Last week I went back to my hometown, Ipoh. When returning to Kuala Lumpur, I brought my parents with me.

It has been long since they were last here. Opah (grandmother) is now very frail. As a result, Mak, who takes close care of Opah, has become very reluctant to leave home for long periods.

After much persuading, she relented and agreed to follow me to Kuala Lumpur. Even then, it was not after my aunt, Makngah Zauyah, had promised to come over to take over her role for the week.

The day after we got back to Kuala Lumpur, I took Apak and Mak around Putrajaya. This is their second time here (I think). The last time, this Administrative Centre was still very much undergoing development. This time around, it is different. Nice buildings, beautiful bridges, picturesque lake views, clean and cozy residential areas, they just loved it.

I took them up to my office on the eight floor of our office complex. When I was younger, I used to visit Apak’s work place a number of times. There, his chummy office mates would chat with me. Asking me this and that. Now that I am older, and Apak no longer works, it is only fitting for me to show him MY work place. At least for once.

So there he sat on the sofa, in my office, soaking in the experience. And with Mak sitting beside him. All those years, during his working days, I don’t think he ever had Mak sitting next to him in his office. Only in my office.

Thank you for being with us in Kuala Lumpur, Apak and Mak.

And most of all, thank you so much for all your sacrifices, love and support all this while in bringing us up.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Happy birthday Mem Besar

Today, 10th May, is the Mem Besar’s birthday. People call her Shila. Not the famed Sheila Majid, I’m afraid (sigh…).

Came back from the office with some drinks, a couple of birthday cake candles and the plastic knife (to cut the cake) to boot. Smiles all around.

The Mem got excited. My youngest daughter Nadiah was exhilarated. Sakinah, the eldest daughter lit up the candles. But where’s the cake?

Lo and behold! I produced two muffins out from the plastic bag. Laughter all around. But you could tell the sense of anti-climax. The candles were put on the muffins and we had dinner, solemnly eyeing the measly muffins in front of us.

After dinner (and solat), time to cut the ‘cakes’. But before that, I asked Nadiah to fetch the newspaper. I’d left it in the car (how forgetful of Abah, must be getting old).

Off she went. After a short while, she ran back into the house excitedly, announcing to me (in a hushed voice) “Abah, there’s a cake in the car!!”. “What?! Now, just how could that be? Anyway, why don’t you just bring it in, Nadiah. After all, it is Umi’s birthday. We can give it to her as a present ”.

So that’s how we got the cake in the photo above for Mem Besar’s birthday. The person who bought it must have got it for his mum. Notice the “51st birthday” message scribbled on the cake. But how nice of him to have put it in my car.

Thank you so much to the nice guy.

And happy birthday Shila, the Mem Besar. May you be in the best of health and iman.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Giving credit where credit is due (grudgingly)

Manchester United have been crowned the new champions of the English Premier League after Chelsea drew at Arsenal yesterday.

Ferguson was quoted by the BBC as attributing their success to "a good start to the season”. So, next season’s champions (…I mean Liverpool), please take heed. Poor starts to the season has always been your undoing.

Meanwhile, credit to where credit is due.

But a word of advice to Sir Alex & Co. though: please enjoy the new crown while you can. Come May next season (or earlier, say April?) the crown shall be going to Anfield

Friday, May 04, 2007

The minister talks sense

Politicians are well known for their empty rhetoric and sensationalizing of issues to gain political mileage. After all, it is their bread and butter.

But at least the Natural Resources and Environment Minister has managed to talk some sense when he laments that most Malaysian houses are built based on Western designs, i.e. to retain heat, instead of giving due attention to tackling local needs and practicalities in response to local climatic conditions (Houses here based on western designs, NST, 4 May 2007).

He goes on to blame the problem on our architects being trained in the west.

Now, that’s a food for thought!

I think there is some truth in it – to a point. After 50 years of Merdeka (independence), it is high time our professionals and academicians develop some degree of independence in terms of research & development, as well as, applied knowledge.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Sorry la Man United fans!

I had really been looking forward to a Liverpool-Man United clash in the final match of the UEFA Championships tournament.

Alas, it was not to be.

For, Man United just seemed to self-destruct when it really matters - losing to AC Milan (3-0!) in the second semi-final match at San Siro.

Ah, well...I guess AC Milan will just have to do then.

Remember Istanbul of 2005? More of the same please, lads.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Bring on Man United!

I woke up at 2.30 am last night to catch the live telecast of the European Champions League Semi-Final clash between Liverpool and Chelsea together with my two sons, Syafiq and Anas.

I thought by 4.45 am the match would be over. Liverpool will have won 2 - 0, and I would continue with my sleep.

But nothing doing!

When Liverpool scored - and Chelsea had no answer to it, the match went into extra time. After a goalless 30 minutes of extra time, it was already well past five in the morning. On to penalties. By the time that was over, it was almost 6 o'clock.

So, no more going back to bed for me. I don't think I could sleep even if I tried, what with the adrenalin still pumping in me from the excitement.

So, by right, Wednesday 2nd of May 2007 should be a bad, sleepy and groggy day for me. But with Liverpool winning the shootout and through to the Final, its turning to be a fine, beautiful day (insyaAllah), thank you very much.

So, bring on Man United (we already beat AC Milan two years ago)...