Sunday, December 7, 2008

My Prayer

Today the 7th of December 2008. It has been 10 days since I last blog. I'll do that again in the near future after things are all in place. For now, I'm either in Malaysia, Singapore or Batam.

Today, 9th Dzulhijjah 1429, Muslims performing haj are all congregating at Arafah.
As I'm typing this, Astro Channel 111 ART is beaming live telecast from the wukuf place of Arafah of the activity took place at the holy place.
The sight of it makes my heart beats faster and my eyes welled with tears. Now is the most sacred time to pray for the eve of 'Iidul Adha, the sky is wide open for prayers to reach direct to HIM.
I really hope and pray that I will be at the holy place again very, very soon, GOD willing. It has been 3 years since the last time I was there.

Here I am, O Allah. Here I am.

Here I am. You have no partner. Here I am.

Surely all praise, grace and dominance is Yours, and you have no partner.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Haj Story - Who's The Strongest Of All ?

It was just a normal conversation over lunch. A normal worry being shared with friends at the table by the food operator. He wondered who's the strong man able to carry 50Kg of rice bag.

During his business days, he's the only person that performed the task. The bags of rice are just too heavy to be lifted by others at the premise.
Now, he's in Mecca performing his haj, they must be having difficulties moving the bags of rice. He wondered if the business will run well without him around...

He was not at the dinner table.
Wasn't feeling well, said the wife. So she brought food to the room.

The next morning, the wife said that the husband could not take in any food. She needed help to bring the husband to the doctor.

The doctor could not determine if the food operator was sick. He had to be aided to sit, walk and toileting.

Fortunately we performed 'Haji Ifrad' - haj rituals before umrah. The conversation took place right after we were back to the hotel after our first umrah - minor haj. It was supposed to be a kind of celebration that all the 'wajib' - the must-do rituals, were all accomplished.

The wife face the coming days with great confidence that the husband will be fine, will be going to Masjidil Haram - The Grand Mosque, praying and performing their umrah - minor haj together.
They were looking forward to shop around with S$5 thousands in hand. She was positive. She knew him as a strong man and laying in bed unproductively was not the husband.
She never knew of him ever being sick or pay a visit to any doctor.

But the next 2 weeks spent in Mecca did not see any improvement in his worsening health. He could not lift his arms nor opening his mouth.
Sipping orange juice with a straw was his only diet.
Visitors to his room were surprised with his sudden change and those who knew him from Singapore could not believe their eyes - Seeing the once fit and healthy person.

When it was time to leave Mecca for Madinah, he was pushed in a wheelchair to perform his 'Tawaf Wida' - encircling the holy Ka'abah for the last time.

Alas, he was at the dinner table enjoying his soft meal with his wife in Medinah. Although the look was visibly pale and very much thinner, he's able to walk slowly to Masjidin Nabawi - The Prophet's Mosque.

He spent much of his time in Raudhah - the most sacred place in Masjidin Nabawi.
He cried a lot in his prayers - pronouncing his regret of what he thought of him being the strongest person around.
Whatever GOD giveth, HE taketh as HE wish. He should not be unduly worry for HE is the AlMighty Provider.

The one day spent in Jeddah for sight-seeing and shopping did not bring back his confidence. He was still in the state of shock.
For now, he realised that what bestowed upon us are all but borrowed and shall be returned in the ways that we could not imagine...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Man Made Accident?

All of a sudden, the motorbike swerved to the right. Luckily it was Sunday morning and there was very few vehicles on Pan Island Expressway ( PIE ). If not, there will be no posting of this article.

The motorbike had run on something sharp that caused the puncture to the wheel.

Good gracious!!!
There was not a single vehicle around when the incident occurred. My husband pushed the bike to the road shoulder.

The very moment it was parked, came a very suspicious rescue-man on a bike.

"Punctured?" He asked. My husband nodded.

In a flash, he opened up his black utility-box full of tools for repairing breakdown-vehicles.

I timed his work as I was surprised with his immediate attendance.
My mind started to recall articles that I read in papers about nails being strewn all over the main road and stories about motorists relating their doubts and suspicions of somebody doing it with evil intention of self monetary gain. 

A flat 10 minutes it took to change the tyre.

As he wiped his hand, I can see heap of cloth-rags nicely folded and placed in the front-basket of his bike.

"20 dollars." He quoted his price.

"No Singapore money. Malaysia only." I don't feel bad about lying this time. After-all, his bike is Johore plated.

We stood at the roadside.

As I was about to make a call to inform I'll be late for class, he decided "O.k., o.k. 40 ringgit."

The sum was paid.

I told my husband of my uneasiness towards this repairman - But he reasoned it's no good accusing others whom we are not 100% sure of the wrongdoing.

The next morning, over the radio news, it was mentioned that a car had skidded, swerved to the right and overturned somewhere along Kranji Expressway the night before.

I was grieved with the news. Was it the same scenario that my husband and I faced the same morning?

For many months I kept the motorcycle plate-number  in my mind but I could not be 100% sure if he's the real culprit.

After a few years, after the plate-number is no longer in my mind, I hope the incident will not be ever happening again.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Other World Story - Mind Your Family Members

The neighbourhood doctor assured all will be well again.

Baby Aimi will bounce back in no time, but his body temperature had been on pendulum for weeks.
The several visits to the doctor found nothing wrong with him, just a slight fever.

My Father sensed something was not right.
He prayed hard for his grandson's health - GOD giveth and HE knows best the remedy.

While deep in prayer, an 'invisible old man' sat with My Father on his praying rug.
The 'invisible old man' accused Aimi of inflicting eye injury to his child while Aimi was playing with sharp sticks thus 'the invisible family' retaliated, hence the fluctuating fever.

My Father reminded them of the promise of peace that 'the forefathers of  the invisible family' made to the ALMIGHTY CREATOR - They could not take to heart over an innocent child's act - Aimi could not see them.
My Father wanted Aimi's active days back and demanded 'the invisible family' to move out of the house.

'The invisible family' refused to barge off.
They insisted they had resided atop the hill named Kaki Bukit generations ago before it was bulldozed - Long before the flat which My Sister's family reside, was built.

Yes, I knew that too.
I used to follow My Mother to her teacher's house at Jalan Ambok Solo, somewhere at the foot of the hill - Coincidentally the place is called Kaki Bukit.
No visible human being stay at the hill.
So, naturally 'those invisibles' took over the permanent residency.

The scenic hill had seen many Malay films being shot there.
Although I'm not a whatever film fan, but I remember the mentioning in the media of the late Nordin Ahmad was there too for the shot.


An agreement was made - 'The invisible old man', stay they could, but should any such unfavourable incident to happen again, out they must.
After more than 20 years, that was the only hiccup with 'the invisible'.

To each, his own family.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Dream Of Real Golden Opportunities

A 68 year-old villager, Abdullah Abdul Rahman, of Marang, Terengganu, was digging a very hard hole to make his toilet when he noticed the muddied water shines.

He scooped, cleaned and sieved the mud.
His effort paid when he found it to be pure gold.
He used to get about RM1,000 for 12 gram weekly, for the precious metal.
He had dug 1.8 metre deep in his backyard.
I would say that the man is sleeping on a 'very precious bed' made of pure gold based on the report in The New Paper, 19th August 2008.


My mother used to tell me that when she was young, she knew of a man who saw in his dream of finding pots and pots of gold buried beneath his house.
He kept digging and gigging the earth underneath - nobody could warn him of danger, nobody could stop him until he was buried in the self-dug grave.
He was said to be obsessed with the voice heard in himself.
He was said to become insane.


If anybody could remember, sometime in December last year, at anytime, up to 500 people can be spotted camping out and digging for gold along Mersing beach in Johor.

A 51 year-old Mr Ramli Harun had dream that a princess had her gold left scattered at the beach.
After 2 weeks of searching the exact location, scooping and sieving mud and sand, an initial sum of RM3,600 worth of gold finding is definitely a handsome reward.


Many years back, I met a long lost friend who was wearing a pair of ear-studs made of very rare dark-pink oval-shaped stones with gold glitters splashed and embedded in them - I could not take my eyes off them.
She noticed my attention and was forthright in telling me that his uncle had found the pair of stones in Mount Moor, some where near Mount Ophir (Gunung Ledang) if I'm not mistaken, in Johor too.
He saw in his dream that she's the rightful owner.

Wow, as I am posting this article, I wonder when will my turn be...
Pray for me that it will be the soonest possible as nothing is impossible.
GOD willing.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Haj Story - Naivety And Realisation

Indescribable - The exact word to describe the fragile, elderly woman whom I saw in Prophet's Mosque - Masjid Nabawi.

With layers of tattered, dirty clothings to keep her warm in the chilling weather of Madinah, impossible for her bony legs to support her body. She leaned against one of the many pillars, sitting on the kerb, her skinny right hand holding a long pole made from a cut-out tree branch.

Never in my life did I ever see a person with hollow nose from the bridge downwards.
With very charcoally-like skin, she's 'The Most Outstanding Human Being' in the midst of thousands of congregations who had just finished performing their prayers.
I wondered how she's able to reach deep inside the vast mosque.

I asked my then 12 year old Girl for some money to give to the imperfect soul.
She refused to hand over - I told her I'll return the amount immediately when I get from her Dad - She insisted my sister gave her the loose change for buying ice-cream.
Ice-cream only!

When The Dad finally arrived and I had money in hand, the soul that pricked my heart was no longer there!!!
How could that be???
Even if she was to walk away, impossible for her to be totally out of sight when able-bodied worshipers had to move slowly with the crowd.
It's just a matter of few minutes!
We looked around but the lost soul was no where to be found.

My Girl realised her wrongdoing.
She said her sorry and was reaching for her loose-change purse which was always in the sling-bag.
She realised it was not there.
Thinking it was left in the hotel room, although we doubt so, we did a fruitless search.

The incident left a deep regret in her.
But being just 12, she treasured her 2 weeks supply of ice-cream money which was close to SR100.
Of course Dad paid up for her naivety.

For a week we looked out for the indescribable woman and we asked around, but it bore no answer.

Years had passed.
After another few more visits to the same place, not the same incident happened again but more memorable episodes followed...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Remembering Them Who Feed Us

Planting rice is never fun
Work from morning till set of sun
Cannot stand and cannot sit
Cannot rest for a little bit.

That's the song always been sung
In classes before primary one
The work of those who feed us
Under the scorching hot sun is a must.

The farmers that plant our basic food
Labouring and scattering the seeds of livelihood
Waterlogged fields their feet are planted to
Pulling out weeds with weathered hands too.

Months and months for grains ripening
Oh weather, do have mercy on them
Anxiety and fear are phases to harvesting
Livelihood at stake for family and friends.

When yields are weighed and price are paid
Across muddy fields again they must wade.

At least for once when meal is served
We thanked all the farmers
Acknowledgment they do deserved
In defying us from hunger.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

5 Minutes Of Fame

The aeroplane had just touch down in Beijing.
While waiting for the domestic flight to Inner Mongolia, we decided to perform our day prayer at a quiet corner out of the crowd at the airport.

We found a far end corner where we thought nobody would pass by.
But while praying, from the corner of my eyes, I could see a crowd of people start to built up clicking away at us.

These people were amazed that we pray at public place and not in a mosque.
These people were curious to know if it's alright to say our prayer without the proper attire as what they used to see on television.

Well, so long as we perform our duty as HIS servant, it doesn't matter where we are and how we're properly attired.

To these people, they get their answers - That we have to pray during good health, when one is sick, in a very difficult situation, or on death-bed.

For GOD is here, there, and everywhere...

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Food Story - Caffeine For Good Cholesterol, Anyone?

If the prediction in The Straits Times (19 August 2008) is to be believed, then consumption of coffee in Singapore will go up by more than 10% to 12000 tonnes this year - more than twice the amount of steel used in Eiffel Tower.

Contrary to report that Starbucks will close 600 stores and lay off 12,000 employees worldwide, the reverse trend is happening in neighbourhood coffee shops.

New shops are opening here and sales of instant coffee mix has gone up to an average of 20% in big supermarkets. Home brewing is also catching up.

Based on Singaporean consumptions, there's always shortage of supply of Red Yeast Coffee from Malaysia. .

As red yeast is popularly used among ancient Chinese for abdominal treatment against diarrhea, indigestion and pain, it's also a known fact in helping reducing bad cholesterol level hence promoting healthy cardiovascular system.

The latest feedback is from Suhaila who used to work night shift for many years. The initial change in her when consuming the coffee is looking for a bed to have a good sleep - let it be day or night.

She thought of stopping the intake but then she noticed a very big difference when looking at the mirror - the dark, dark circles under her eyes have turned very much lighter. Now she stick to the coffee for night time or when she's all alone at home.

The drastic change of her disappearing panda eyes in only a few weeks has brought extra cash for her family with the coffee sales made by her husband and daughter at their working places.

The free hands-out made has produce good results too.
Miss Ziyad managed to loose weight and is now maintaining her weight with the coffee and Auntie Liza, a diabetic patient, has got the approval from her doctor as her sugar has remained low.

An 'ustaz''s 25 year-old son, who was once very thick at the waistline has become a new person with boosted confidence level when his bulging stomach started to disappear.

With all the great demand in Singapore, drinking red yeast coffe will be everyone soon.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Food Story - The Most Sickening Food In My Life

The food that brought tears to me was cowhide with rough surface when chewed. We can sense the ticklish feeling in our mouth - I almost did not want to touch it but since that's placed in front of me, I've to eat it with rice.

The very little hide was cooked with plenty of soup to the brim with black sauce added.

I pretended to see nothing when, as a matter of fact, almost all the villagers came to the house in Kaliwungu, Indonesia, hoping we would leave something for them. Hoping that the food that the female villagers cook is enough for all those who stood around watching us eating.

It's not a daily menu. So, it's a delicacy.
The china plates, some with chips, and utensils were borrowed from the nearby mini mosque, 'musollah'.

The last time it rained was 2 months before our group of 17 family members went back to my father's hometown in Kendal.
The day we were there, sometime in June 1994, there's heavy downpour. The villagers acknowledged that their village was blessed with our arrival.

On our journey back to Jakarta, we had our lunch in an air-conditioned restaurant but the meal made me sick. I was not able to eat.
Through the glass wall, I could see beggars squatting outside waiting for our humanity - They were shooed away like stray cats with brooms.
Tears trickled down their cheeks as if the restaurant owner has no compassion towards his own people. He regarded them as great nuisance that affected his business.

Should God answer to any of the beggers' prayer, what should the restaurant owner become?

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Other World Story - Prayer For A Former Roof Provider

When people asked me wasn't I afraid to rent a house from Mak Limah?

Definitely the answer's 'NO'.
That's the cheapest house - at RM80 in JB town and not too faraway from the Causeway.

Little did I realise that she's soon a changed person.

Taking my first 'wuduk' for subuh prayer was always a noisy affair.
She would remind me time and again that she didn't like her tenants performing prayers in her house - She would often turned off the main piping system to stop water into my bathroom, but my duty towards GOD is the priority.
I wasn't bothered with her stern reminders.

When neighbours' children came over to play at my house, she would chased them away with brooms - I would retaliate by carrying a long stick to protect them from her beatings and she would then sit alone in front of her house looking at the kids with anger and resentment.
That would make my day...
I have to teach her to love innocent children.

She's childless - Except for an adopted son who would switch on the main for electric supply back to its normal current flow most of the time when he's back from his work at Wholesalers' Market in the early mornings.


She never like to hear recitations of the Holy Quran.
What's more when the recitation was heard next-door!
That's her reason for switching off the electric supply to my house, and I ended up using candle-light.
My action will cause her 'son' great anger for her selfishness.


Many times others saw fire came out from my roof-top but I did not see it - Not even once.

When My Husband eventually uprooted the whole family to a place nearer to the Causeway, less than 3km away, she showed a sign of relief that at last all problems caused by me will soon go away.
I thanked her anyway, for providing a roof over our heads for a few years.

I have nothing against her.
I've done my part in showing her that we cannot be always right in our thinking - Building relationship among neighbours, family members and friends are most important especially when old age and ill health are catching up on us.


When the last time I heard that she was hospitalised, I visited her with my ex-neighbour, Yen.
She refused to look at me when I reached out to hold her hand, but when Yen held her hand, she (Yen) felt a shocking surge of electric flow ran through her veins from Mak Limah's handshake rushed into her whole body system...

For 3 years she suffered when nights started to fall...

She would feel and see herself all skeleton (jerangkung) - Even standing in front of a mirror did not reflect herself, but the reflection of jerangkung too.

Whenever her husband 's away at work, she would hear strange noise - scratching away the outside wall of her house...


The house which I stayed in the late 80's is still vacant until today -Even though Mak Limah had passed away not long after Yen felt and saw herself as all skeleton (jerangkung)...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

'Aidilfitri, Saving And The Missing Sons

I was one month late for this year's 'Aidilfitri visit to Granny Zara's house but surprisingly, she still put aside many Hari Raya goodies, drinks and food-stuff she received from well-wishes, corporate companies and associations, for me to bring home even if it was only after Syawal that I managed to drop by.

Thank God...
This year she received more than RM1,400 from hands-out.
Not included the 8 bags of rice which she had asked the nearby provision shop to sell on her behalf.
What a brilliant person!
Knowing well it's impossible for her to finish up the stock before white worms start to appear among the grains.

Her saving for now is close to RM10,000 but, what can she do with the amount?
It's a figure that she never imagined of - having so much money but with her is only tens of ringgits in hands.

The rest are all in the bank.


It was few years back when her intention of keeping some emergency money at home was ruined.
She had kept RM300 in the safest place - sewn in a pillow, but the thief or thieves had left her with only strewn cotton-wool all around her house.

Her poverty stemmed from being illiterate to let her ex-husband forced her to sign a document which was later found out to be an agreement to auction all household furnitures to repay his lost in horse-betting before he quietly went back to India.
She was close to madness, as she admitted, getting jeers from neighbours and there's no one for her to turn to.
No family members and no money in hand had made the world spinning in her head.
She would make ends-meet washing laundry for households and I happened to need her.
After more than 20 years later, I still make a point to pay her occasional visits just to ensure she's well and have what's needed.


After more than 10 years she did not have any news of the whereabout of her 3 sons, she declared them missing with the father.
Social Welfare and 'Baitul Mal' started to step in providing financial aid.
When her life was about to be taken care by another, surprisingly the 3 sons started to appear from KL, from Malacca and from JB.

The 3 sons 'biscuit-like appearance' did not make any difference nor glitters her twilight years who's down with high blood, diabetic, nearing kidney failure and a weak heart.
For I have yet to meet them in person in their mother's house.
When will the time be?
The final journey of her life?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Haj Story - Be The Creator's Guest

When Auntie Kia announced that she'll perform haj this year, warm tears of gratefulness and happiness for her streamed down my eyes.

From the money earned selling 'kueh' for breakfast, she beats those who's forever with excuses that money is never enough to perform the final pillar of Islam.

Living in a wooden house with only the very basic necessities with an odd-job labourer husband and 3 school-going children, putting aside RM16,000 to travel to Mecca is no mean feat. But as the saying goes, where there's a will, there's a way.

I remembered well the first time I attended the pre-haj class, the ustaz said, so long as we have clear intention of going to visit the Holy Kaabah, the invitation card from the Almighty Allah was already put on the table. Fulfilling it depends on our faith and determination. There's always means and ways to meet the financial needs. More often than not, money comes from sources we never think of.

There was once an elderly lady who, for 2 years, never fail to attend the pre-haj class performed at a madrasah along Ipoh Lane. Although financially insufficient, she was determined that she too will congregate at Masjidil Haram and Masjidin Nabawi.

True enough, she found S$7,000 wrapped in a handkerchief at the bus-stop while waiting for a bus home from Geylang market.

For a year she would sit for an hour without fail, at the same bus-stop, after doing her marketing, waiting for someone to claim the S$7,000 in her hand.

When nobody make the claim, she turned to the 'ustaz' for advice. Knowing her burning desire, the 'ustaz' asked her to wait for another year before she flew to Saudi Arabia.

For me not invited this year, tinge of sadness is in me. I know I will be the guest of Allah s.w.t. again and again.

For now, Surah Al-Haj is a must read and selawat for haj will always be in me.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Life-Line That Was Snapped

Rainy season is here again.
Aida is braving herself to face the coming flood. Should it happen, she has to be very, very brave.
She had faced it before - twice last year.

When the water started to rise, both husband and wife hastily piled up all the furnitures in the shop ceiling-high in the middle of the night till the wee hours the next morning.
Then they locked the grill-gate and went home to sleep.

They could not go home to sleep - water, water, and more water everywhere. Flood forced them to stay in a nearby school. The road leading to their house was simply non-existent.
How about the shop? All the furnitures in the shop?
That's the family's life-line.They went back to the shop to check.

Upon pulling up the gate, her heart sank. Her eyes watered. Both husband and wife were speechless - all the furnitures they stack-up the whole night earlier on, were gone.
The gush of water that entered the shop forced the bottom furniture to soften thus, those piled-up collapsed, soaked to the core. The scenario all around were furnitures with hundreds of flapping wings.
They left the shop exhausted with the sight.

Many days they did not open their shop.
Countless days they did not see their house. When finally they did go home, they could not believe their eyes - all doors in the house ajar! Even the doors of the fridge.
Almost all things in the house were not theirs. There's a Chinese ancestral praying altar in the house too.

They cleaned the house and the husband rewired the disconnected power supply. They use what's in the house which they know did not belong to them.

With the little energy left in them, they went to their shop - they discarded almost RM200,000 worth of flapping wings furnitures.

When life was about to return to normal, another flood hit for the second time - this time around, the water rose to almost 2 meter high.

She did not loose much in the second flood even though until today she still could not recoup the first lost but she knows of those owners who lost for the second time, the neighbouring shops, the supermarket, the clothing outlet, are all in the mental institution.

They not only lost their money and heavy in debt, they have lost their sane mind.

The Life Threatening Road

Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examination is here again.

A few years back, I was travelling in the morning when I saw a student's body was laying motionless on the pavement of the busy Jalan Tebrau. The motorcycle he rode had hit one of the many potholes which the city is famous for - Jalan Berlubang (Pothole Road).

I did not know who he was but I know he's a student in school uniform who's going to sit for his final exam in secondary school.

I did not know which school he's in but I know the invigilator would not want him to miss his paper. As a teacher, the very least we can hope in a student is to try.

I did not know who the parents are but I know for sure they will be very devastated with the death of their son. Their hope would be dash if they pinned too much of it in him.

I did not know who's responsible for all the potholes but I know those people responsible must be deaf with all the cryings of many, many, many accidents because of them.

Those people must be blind being the reason they did not see the need to attend to the cryings.

People like me can only hope, hope and hope that nobody's children, spouses, family members, friends or neighbours will fail to see the many potholes that HAVE TO BE on Jalan Berlubang.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

A Shameful Act

The 2 English speaking tourists with heavy haversacks behind them were showing the taxi driver their Singapore-Johore bus tickets asking him for direction to the bus stop which will bring them to Larkin.

"No, no, no. I don't know bus. I know taxi only." He cut short to their further questions.

They were clueless as they knew they've paid S$2.40 per person to bring them to Larkin, Johore - I overheard the conversation and pitied the tourists.

After the taxi driver left, I went up to them, directed them to take the underground passageway with the stationary escalators which they were earlier on, to the opposite side of the road to wait for the bus.

Carrying heavy bags, travelling on a tight budget, to be greeted with escalators not functioning most of the time and to be welcomed with such greedy locals, I wonder where has the hospitality of the host been placed.

Many such incidents have taken place - after helping these tourists, I would quickly make my exit to avoid the hatred and stares of other taxi drivers.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A Dashed Hope

I was having breakfast at a roadside stall in Batam, when the stall owner sat opposite of me.

Knowing I was from Singapore, she asked me to look out far a man whom I shall call Asim - I told her it will be an impossible search as she did not provide me further details of him.

She seemed surprised at the confident answer. Knowing Singapore is such a smaller island than Batam, I would have known everybody - but she did not know that every 4th person we meet in Singapore is likely to be a foreigner.

This Asim wooed her daughter.
He travelled all the way to her remote homeland, in Central Java, where the poor family stayed before their move to Batam, to ask the girl's hand for marriage.

After getting the mother's permission, he brought the girl to Singapore for the government's green light in marrying a foreign bride - she travelled alone with him.
She travelled out of the village for the first time.

The mother was elated with the proposal. Thinking the family would be out of poverty with the union, she started with preparation for a very big ceremony yet to be held. The neighbours shared the happiness. Almost all in the neighbourhood join in the preparation of the grand festivity.

After a few months, the girl came back alone - no more a jovial person. She passed her days crying over spilled milk.

Very soon, they uprooted to Batam to escape the neighbours and neighbourhood. The mother set up a food stall to earn a mearge living from hand to mouth.

The girl stayed with a Chinese family, non-Muslim, who will adopt the baby inside her. The girl has become a withdrawn person with no spoken words - not even to her mother or the caring Chinese family. She resigned to fate. She spent her days staring at the wall.

When I asked what the religion will the baby be, the mother replied what is religion to the baby when the baby's father had exploited the situation in the name of religion.

It is the Chinese family that cares the girl now and will take the responsibility in bringing up the baby. Where is Asim's responsibility in the name of religion if not in the name of family?

The conversation had left many questions in me. Should anybody take the blame, who will it be? The gullible Asim?
The hopeful mother?
Or the naive girl?

For now, in the name of humanity, it's the Chinese family who save the unborn baby from all these selfishness and irresponsible act.

Yes, You Can

Change has come to America.
God Willing,
Change you will make for the world.
May God Bless,
The whole universe.

I am moved with his speech.
The world citizens shed tears not of sadness,
But the sincere words that touch
All hearts and souls.
That he deserves
The standing ovation of the whole universe.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Children Story - Sound The Same, But Not The Same

When a 4 year old pre-schooler slashed her friend twice below the knee with a mini paper-cutter (The New Paper, 23rd September 2008), I can fully understand the teacher's state of mind - an innocent act of a child towards another can sometimes put the teacher in a situation where she can never imagined.

A 6 year old boy, out of generosity, brought a small box of razor blade to the classroom and distributed  them around - those who have never seen one, were excited with the sharp 'erasers'.

Luckily, a group of panicky girls alerted me: "Teacher, Naim is giving knives to his friends. He has cut his fingers..."

The statement made my breath stopped for a while. The safety of the classroom is in my hand. Should anything happen...

Pulling hard my breath, dragging my trembling feet with mixed emotion, I went up to Naim.

"Teacher, my house has so many 'erasers' not used. I want to give them who don't have ." Naim defended his good action.
He was confused with the situation.

The whole class focused on Naim - he's always the 'good-hearted Naim' who pin-pointed friends right from wrong - may it be at play or during lessons.
Even after being told not to look at anybody's work during spelling, he finds it odd when I did not correct any error on the spot.

"This is a razor blade. Not an eraser." I explained to him as the cut on his little finger was being bandaged.

"But my father said 'eraser'." The similar sound made him more confused.

After returning the small box of razor blade to his mum, a shock expression was to be expected from her - but to take the responsibility for letting Naim to distribute the blade around, is hard for me while his classmates were doing their work at their own tables.

Luckily, no one was hurt because of the sharp 'erasers', except Naim himself.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Taxi Story - Payment For Past Deed

The taxi driver sped off as fast as he could, eager to drop off both passengers at the destination - an old graveyard site off the 'ulu' track somewhere in Chai Chee area.

The elder passenger's reply to his question, out of curiosity, prompted him to think hard what had he done to these 2 strangers to be accused of beating and limping his ward.

Upon further self-defense, he realised they are no ordinary mortals.
Feared of the situation, he refused any fare paid.
They boarded his taxi from Bidadari Cemetery area as ordinary human beings but alighted as 2 snakes sliding out of the vehicle.

He slumped behind the wheel after 'they' disappeared out of his sight.
He stayed at home for many, many weeks. His body ached all over.


Recalling the unfateful incident, it happened during the early 60's when he was still staying in Bedok Village.

Water was stored in a big barrel, then perched on 4 red bricks. Noticing a small snake was under the water barrel, he chased it away with a stick and it slid away.

Little did he realise that the baby snake was injured in the process.


Lucky for the taxi driver, the elder passemger said, he caused only injury to his baby.
If not, death follow suit should the baby snake was dead.

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Crime Story - Pickpockets And Me

It was way back when Singapore Bus Service and Singapore-Johore Express buses ended the Johore Bahru journey at the now Kotaraya Terminal - Late 80's or early 90's I supposed.

I was queuing to board the Singapore-Johore Express bus at the terminal when I felt something heavy was pulling away my sling-bag.
Without turning around, I pulled out a man's hand with an apple in it. He looked away as I got hold of his hand - As if nothing had ever happened.
He just walked away...

While queuing to get my passport endorsed, a teenager squeezed into the congested line and took 'something' from the pocket of a haversack carried by a European tourist in-front of me - In those days, it's just a matter of up a few staircase to the immigration counter for passport clearance from JB to Singapore.

I hold tight the boy's hand and pulled him to inform the immigration officer-in-charge that the European tourist whom the passport he just endorsed had just become the victim of pickpocket - The immigration officer-in-charge just gave me his deaf ear.

I pulled the boy down the few steps to a bus ticket inspector on duty relating to him the incident - He told me there's nothing could be done by him as he's in another country - The countrymen will not appreciate if we become 'very petty' over trivial matters.
"It's o.k," he said, and let go of the boy with the 'something' he's still clenching hard in his fist.

There were people everywhere and they did nothing nor did they ask anything - I was shocked with the couldn't care attitude.

But thinking back, I wondered where did I get the energy to pull the boy here and there with no resistance from him - He followed me obediently.

Just a couple of years ago while on the way to Larkin at the JB checkpoint, an elderly man was seen pulling something from yet another pocket of a Singaporean lady backpacker's haversack.
I confronted him and he quickly threw the stolen item down under the waiting bus - Being an old man, he claimed, he wouldn't do such a thing.

Challenging his words, I said there's the stolen item under the bus.
He just walked away as fast as he could.

I am still wondering if the authority concerned took honest measure in curbing the crime rate especially when it happened in the city's front-line.

Or it's just another 'familiar' remark heard on tv and seen in prints - The Little Red Dot likes to make a mountain out of a mould.

Cakap Tak Serupa Bikin: The Story of the Genius Dog

Cakap Tak Serupa Bikin: The Story of the Genius Dog

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Warring The Unknown

The man placed his soldier friend in the body suite.
The memory of holding a warm hamburger out of the corpse still remains. To forget the experience of going to war in Afghanistan is near impossible - After 3 years out of it, he's still on marijuana.

Another soldier divorced his wife out of love.
He did not want her to suffer should anything happen to him - Now living alone, he cherished all the sweet memories he had with her pondering over why he should be on the front line, fighting for causes not close to his heart.

Another wife asked for divorce when she realised there's no purpose in the marriage.
The husband in faraway land, be it Papua New Guinea or Africa as a United Nation peacekeeper, is adamant of being a peacekeeper as a career - but the wife is never at peace.

Sights of rebel gun-fighting and bodies of comrades flown home for burial are stories more often repeated over the times.

Should anything happen to him, even the million dollar insurance pay-out cannot compensate the responsibilities and burden in caring the invalid or heal the abandoned heart.

masterwordsmith-unplugged: A TOUCHING TALE

masterwordsmith-unplugged: A TOUCHING TALE

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Reality In Denial

7 out of 10 diabetic patients in Singapore are Malays. It's the reality we are facing now.

Is it due to lifestyle? How about when a preschool toddler getting it? - The toddler's mother would shed tears comforting the child when the need for an ice-cream was not met.
The parents tried hard to reward sweets only on her birthdays.
The child has no lifestyle at all.

Facing reality is easier said than done...

An elderly lady said it's black magic.
She knows the culprit who cast the spell on her. There's 'something' placed in-front of her house.
I assured no such thing would happen to her.
Being the nearest neighbour, I would be the first witness to see such incident should it occur at all.

When she mentioned she was under the spell of one of her neighbour, I have nothing more to say - I think I know almost everybody in the neighbourhood.
They respect her as an elderly lady.

Is one of the neighbour she referred to, is me? Sigh, sigh, sigh...
I have nothing more to say. I have my respect for her as an elderly lady too...

I simply stop paying a visit to a friend's friend.
After one of her leg was amputated thigh high, her blame to God for robbing away her family life has never ceased.
Her blame to God favouring the fits continue...

But when she blamed God for favouring me over her, I simply stop the visit.
Don't blame God when we don't search our inner-self...

Last week, I paid another visit to a neighbour whom I've only known her by her name.
I've never spoken to her before.
I've seen her passing by my house but we didn't acknowledge each other.

But when she asked for forgiveness from everybody in the neighbourhood,
I have to see her.
When she asked those who visit her to convey the message to anybody they will meet,
I have to acknowledge that.

Her health has deteriorated and she knows her days are numbered.
She has prepared her inner-self afterall...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Children's Story - From The Bottom Of A Mum's Heart

"Tak mau pergi. Nak sekolah kat sini je." My Girl insisted.

She was offered a place in one of the premier secondary school in Johor Bahru after he obtaining 4A's for her Ujian Penilaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR).
That was the year when her primary school ever became the top school in JB with 36 students obtaining 4A's (It was 4 subjects then. Not 5 as now).

I was disappointed that the offer was refused.
Other parents wished that it's their children who were offered the place.

After 3 years in secondary school, the same refusal was uttered.

"Tak mau pergi. Ummie ni, macamana sekolah TF tak top. Semua budak top dari sekolah lain dia ambik. Macamana sekolah kampung nak top. Tak fair. Selfish." My Girl left me speechless with her reasoning.
Again, she was offered a place in the same premier school after obtaining straight A's for her Form 3 Penilaian Menengah Rendah (PMR).
The same other parents wished that it's their children that were offered the place.
I was half disappointed.
But another half of me was grateful that she has the 'kampung' spirit at heart.

After 2 years, My Girl excels in her Form 5 Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM).

She's the best student in school.
She made the teachers proud.
She made the other parents proud too.

"Ummie kenapa tak pergi? Anak naik pentas banyak kali tak bangga ke?" The other parents asked me. They wished that it's their children who went up the stage receiving the scrolls of achievements.

My Girl did not want me to be proud.
I was grateful for not being around during the prize giving day.

After 7 years My Girl left her secondary school, she still made her former teachers proud.
After 7 years, she still made the annual Hari Raya visit to the former teachers.

After all these years, I am proud to let her have her education in ''kampung' school.

Aidilfitri And The Kelantanese

Today is the 29th of Syawal, the last day of Aidilfitri.

Today I join in the marhaban group.
Around 40 of us went to 9 houses welcoming each and everyone for Hari Raya. Alas, it's the last day of Hari Raya.

It's a gathering like this that brings me close to the neighbours.
How faces have changed - Many hails from Kelantan - Known for being industrious, the men would work in Singapore earning the strong dollars.
The womenfolks are expert cloth-traders.
They would commute to their hometown for supply.

With sound finance, they're never short of fund in buying houses.
Thus, a strong Kelantanese community was formed in the shortest time.

Just last year at events like this, I could communicate with everybody.
But today, I can only smile as a reply to their questions.
Next year?
I have to learn to understand them.

I end my Syawal with the hope that the friendliness among neighbours will be maintained as was maintained before. Amin.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Maid Story - Tale Of A Runaway Maid

Maid In Singapore

"Bu, saya mau ikut Ibu." An Indonesian girl talked to Me.
She seemed to shield herself behind the bus-stop. 

"Tapi saya mau ke rumah sakit." I told her. 

"Ke mana juga saya mau ikut. Nanti saya mau ikut Ibu pulang. Tolong Bu." She pleaded. 

"Mana mungkin. Saya tinggal diMalaysia. Harus guna passport." I reasoned to her. 

"Enggak apa-apa. Saya jalan betul-betul belakang Ibu. Enggak dilihat orang." She assured Me.

News of a missing China girl, Huang Na, came fresh to My mind.
It's everywhere - In the dailies, tv, radio and posters were hand out in search of her.
She was killed and stuffed in a box.
The killer sneaked back to his home-town in Malaysia.
Since then, security at the Woodlands Checkpoint was stepped up and the man was finally hanged.

Will this Indonesian girl create headlines for Me?

The bus to the MRT (Mass Rapid Transport) station arrived.
I boarded and she tailed Me closely, without being asked.

Once inside the MRT, I asked what makes her run away from her employer - Her answer did not shock Me - Language barrier is always the case when dishonest agencies back home were involved.
Resume in the paper is no more than just written words.

She did not understand a single English-word spoken by her employer.
Whatever it's been said, she responded with a nod,
"Yes, maam", or a shake of her head "No, maam".

So, getting the daily scoldings had pushed her to take this drastic action.

Knowing her Singapore agency was somewhere in Toa Payoh, I thought of accompanying her back to the place.
She refused to alight and kept a distant from Me when the destination was announced.

She came back to me when the train started moving again.
It was heading the city.
This time, I did not tell her where I'll bring her to.
Half of My sympathy was gone.

I called My Sister to cancel my visit with her to the hospital.
I had more urgent matter to attend.
Settle this maid who suddenly becomes a liability.

I was on My way to Wisma Indonesia when she said she had not eaten the whole day.
It was almost 6pm.
She was at the bus stop since 6.30am, and I met her at 3.30pm.
I brought her to Burger King.
Yes - She ate hungrily.
I ordered another set meal for her.


Nearing the Indonesian Embassy, she hold Me tight.
Refused to let Me go.
She pleaded and cried.

She wanted to go to Malaysia.
She used to work in a factory in Johor Bahru.
She produced her friends' addresses and phone numbers.
She wanted to be with them at Ulu Tiram.
She wanted to work in JB again.
Big money did not matter to her anymore.

Just then, she remembered having a male former colleague's number.
She called and asked him to bring her to their former working place.

We waited for him at the bus-stop where she first spotted me, at Admiralty Road.
The Malaysian man was on his way to work his graveyard shift.
He promised to pick her up at 7.30am the next day.

I was forced into the circumstance.
Much as I was reluctant to help, I do not like the idea of her following the man.
Thought of a police call was dismissed after seeing the frightening reactions in her, to actions I was about to take.

I have to see her friends.
I assured her, I will.

Heading towards the nearest mosque, An-Nur, I insisted on her taking a rest inside it.
It was after 9pm and the mosque will be locked at 10pm.
With the excuse that I will have to wait for My Husband outside the gate, she followed My advice.


Convinced that she was finally resting, I hurried to my waiting Husband across the Johor Bahru Causeway.
We went straight to the given address.
After meeting her friends, I asked them to help her.

What can they do?
They did not have her number and they were not allowed to leave Malaysia.

At that point, I realised her case was already over.
Nobody is allowed to stay inside a mosque after 10pm without prior permission.
Even if she was to stay up at the bus stop, she will be picked up by the patrolling policemen.
After all, looking at my watch, it was nearing 1am.

Did she betray her employer?
Being naive led her to face the ordeal all by herself.

To the poor girl whom has made the agency back home richer, may she be in good hand now.

Until today, I do not know her name.