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.

Pi's T W I S T: Rose's family

Pi's T W I S T: Rose's family

The Miracle Of Networking

Friday, 24th October 2008. A Hari Raya gathering for Uptrenders of UMMIE (Universal Marketing & Mentoring of International Entrepreneur) group was held at Blk 652, Bedok Reservoir.
A family of Uptrenders at the gathering

After almost a 2 month break for Ramadhan and Syawal, the gathering is a kick-off to another usual session of s.g.m. (small group meeting) held weekly.

Networking has done wonders to the group. Bonding among partners were forged. Acknowledging, learning and sharing new ideas always on implementation, and widening the invinsible horizon has enlarge the network growth.

Another gathering took place on Sunday, 26th October 2008 at Perumahan Anggerek Sari, Batam.
Indeed, attending an Indonesian Uptrender's marriage at Muka Kuning, Batam, has enriched me with diverse culture of the world bridging the different country.

A business that was initially done 'out of fun' and 'to past time' has cross border that sees no boundary.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Happy Deepavali

It was 5.15pm.
A group of bikers parking at the side of an Indian stall were waiting for friends to go to work together. A snaking row of Bas Kilang were crawling in the queue. Groups of girls were pacing up and down -  Impatience shown on their faces waiting for their transports yet to come. Though 'Festival of the Light' is round the corner, these Indian bikers, drivers and factory workers put their festive mood aside to routinely face the jam to cross the Johore Bahru Causeway greasing the economy.

Foreign Indians always fascinate me. They add colours and vibrants to all the happenings in the Lion City - Singapore.
Sitting at the bus-stop across Sheng Shiong nearest to the Woodlands Checkpoint, we can see the expatriate homemakers doing marketing at one of the cheapest store in Singapore. Their charming feature makes one momentarily believe that bevies of Bollywood beauties are waiting for buses.
Their intelligence has made the world pursue them.

The former Indian president, Mr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam who had been an invited speaker at S Rajaratnam School of International Study recently is confident of 100% literacy rate in India by 2020.
A rocket scientist himself, his vision of knowledge societies being innovative through creativity, has him encouraging young business graduates to take to politics in hastening the economic transformation of the country.

Excellent qualities in Indians contribute to the glitters in Singapore - Being expatriates do not discourage them to contribute to Singaporeans. They are known to sit as a board member of one of the Singapore Indian Association, become trustee of Indian self-help group and setting up trust-fund for needy children in Singapore and back home, India. Singapore need these people or...

Fact shown that Hindu marriages in any of the 28 listed temples in the island has all been performed by expatriate priests.
Singapore's 140 000 Hindus has never shown interest in becoming the head of one of the Indian religion.

For all the causes of their coming, residing and contributing towards the society, in the week of this joyous festivity, I wish all Hindus A VERY VERY HAPPY DEEPAVALI.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Haj Story - Everybody Is An Imam ( leader )

Flashing back to an article in Berita Harian, 30th August 2008, Singapore's only Malay newspaper, where a marriage in Lucknow, India, was solemnised by a woman, Dr Saida Habib, last 13th August 2008, memories of misunderstood interpretation came fresh to mind.

It was December 2005, Haj season.

"Sembahyang kat mesjid?" A lady asked me.

"Ha ah. Kenapa tak pegi?" I asked them knowing everybody is spending at least RM10,000 to go to Makkah and be near to Kaabah in Masjidil Haram.

"Jauh sangat. Lagi pun kalang kabut nak ikut imam. Jadi kita sembayang sorang-sorang dalam bilik." The lady replied.

"Kenapa tak jema'ah dalam bilik?" I asked innocently.

A big opportunity had been missed.
Solat in Masjidil Haram will be rewarded 100,000 times more than back home if it's individually performed.
But when following an imam, it will be times 27.

A 2,700,000 reward for just a solat is what drives Muslims from all over the world to congregate in the Grand Mosque once a year in the month of Dzulhijjah.
The 2,700,000 reward likened to us praying for more than 7,000 years individually or more than 50 years when doing it together with at least 2 people.

"Mana boleh perempuan jadi imam. Nak jadi Aminah Wadud nombor 2 ke?" Relating to an incident happened in Manhattan, New York.
The answer pricked my ears. I was in, for a shock.

After all the life being a born Muslim, she is yet to know that Islam is not about restriction - Islam is about moderation.

How am I to tell her the reason why Aminah Wadud created a controversy is because she led a Friday prayer* and giving sermon to men and women in the jema'ah!
How am I to tell her that she too can get the more than 2,000,000 reward if 'tak payah kalang kabut nak ikut imam' but can take her own time walking to the mosque and perform her prayer together with her roommates. They too will get the same reward!

How am I to tell her that just sitting in any mosque will be rewarded? -What's more the Grand Mosque - Masjidil Haram.
The bigger reward is looking at Baitullaahil Haram. Ka'abah. The epicentre of Muslims all over the world.

But the biggest reward is when our deed, however grainy it seems, is being recognised by HIM.
Haji Mabruurah.

*Friday prayer: Wajib, a must to men but optional for women.
Women perform the usual Zohor.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Children's Story - To School In Style

A forum, "Uniform Requirement In Singapore" was midway on radio 938 Live last weekend with 60 students and a group of panelists.

"... if you dislike your school because of the uniform, for the boys, you can always style your hair. Girls can always opt for earrings..." Sally, an image consultant was heard saying.

Apparently that's an answer she gave to students who dislike schooling because of the outdated attire.

Can we blame them for being into fashion?
I, for one, sometimes wonder is it another new factory came up if not for the school badge worn on them. I'll scrutinise the sophisticated collar, fanciful sleeve, fashionable cutting and the pride shown on the students wearing them.

Gone are the white blouse with sombre looking skirts. School uniforms nowadays are with the touch of fashion designer.

Mother-to-be walk into maternity boutique for them to look glowing and at her best during pregnancy.
Babies' clothing are stocked aplenty well before they are being born.
Small kids are all dolled-up from head to toe.
Teenagers have their say in dressing-up.

So, when it comes to choice of school, naturally they'll choose the most fashionable school uniform - For students who are fashion conscious and those who were dolled up since babies.

But a very heavy English-accented panelist has this to say:

"Whatever it it, Eton, the 19th century boarding school and the most expensive, has never do away with its tall hat and long tail-coat. In fact, its never short of admission."

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Food Story - The Taste of Yesteryears

Starting the first meal, brunch, with instant noodle, really turned me off. My Husband knows I do not like preparing such dish - but, that's what he wanted last Saturday.

I know of the wax content in the noodle, surprisingly, from him. Upon reading of Zewt's posting of its chemical and preservative, my mind boggles - It still does until now.
Why not? It will take 90 days of detoxification. That is, the body will only be free from the above harmful agent in 3 months' time - January 2009. Phew!!!

Upon sitting down to have a taste of the chicken and mushroom noodle, memories of schooling years came afresh in my mind -That's the kind of taste that I was willing to walk across Mount Vernon Cemeteries.

I've always like soup - but Malay food at the school canteen has none. It's only 'Mee Rebus, Mee Goreng' and those I couldn't remember but I knew not to my liking. So I ended up having halal Chinese meal, which was not common during the 70s, in Sang Nila Utama, a Malay school.


Last Saturday, My Husband and I planned to go across the Johor Bahru Causeway.
Definitely I did not cook that day. We ate at the Hawker Centre nearest to Woodlands Checkpoint.

I ordered 'Kue Teow Kuah' which retains the original taste of 'Sup Tulang Beach Road' and 'Bihun Goreng' with the flavour of the kampung era.

"Cheng Tng Panas and Ice Kacang biasa ka? " The seller asked.
I've known him since January '94.

"Yes. How much?" I asked.

"O.k. $2.00." He replied.

I gave him 4 of $1.00 coin but he returned 2 of it.

"Enough. $2.00 only. Thank you." He said and walked away.

I couldn't believe it. That's the price I paid in 1994, 14 years ago.
The taste of both drinks are still the taste of 1994.
No difference at all - The price and the taste.

I've been to places trying out many, many others' Ice Kacang but nothing beat this $1.00. No wonder the queue during lunch hour keeps on snaking.

Never mind the boggling mind.
Never mind the traffic jam with rows and rows of lorries and Bas Kilang, hundreds of cars and thousands of motorcycles we've to endure to go across the JB Causeway again.

Never mind the rain out there - The taste of yesteryears shines in me.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Opening Ceremony

After meddling with the computer this whole morning, this computer-handicapped fella managed to create her own blog page. 

Am I right? Page? 
Correct me. 

So many things for me to learn but I can only manage small step.

I read a lot of postings like 'As Zewt As It Gets', 'Mahaguru 58' and almost all that the spouse did - There's writings and happenings I wish to share especially living in two sides of the country.

Just a small step taken. Need to go off now - There's a number of 'Hari Raya' open house today.