Boris

Several weeks ago…

My heart felt such deep sadness and I had no idea why. My lower left eye kept on twitching endlessly.

Early this week…

Boris was clingy which was unusual. He picked a new favourite curling place by the sofa and wanted to be picked up all the time. We came back from work and he stood up against my legs as I entered the family hall. I quickly called out his name, picked up this gorgeous boy and hugged him tight.

In a flash, I saw an image of him on the street, laying motionless. It was so quick that it took me by surprise! It felt as if electricity just went passed my body! I looked at his handsome face and he stared back at me with his green eyes and purr-ed…

It must have been a figment of my imagination, I thought.

Two nights ago….

We came back home late from one of our classes. It had been a long day. I cruised the streets leading to our home and had to drive slower as there was a neighbour’s car moving slowly way ahead of us. As the car slowed down and turning left to park, there at the end of the street, I saw a shape on the street. It was so near the house.

My heart skipped a beat and I could not breathe. Somehow I knew.

We got closer to home and there was Boris as how I saw him in the mental image I saw several nights ago.

How could it be? What was he trying to tell me? I did not understand any of this. I stopped the car, breathless, and choked with tears. I ran towards his lifeless body and carried him in my arms towards the porch. I had no idea when did George brought the car in. Moments just stood still for a while, it was so surreal.

Boris.

What did you try to tell me nights ago? That it was time for you to go? That you wanted me to hug you so that I will remember you that way?

It took me two days to frame up my thoughts on how to write a memorium for Boris. He was, after all, a special cat.

He was brought back home from the vet sometime in September last year after being abandoned there by his owner for two years. Our vet took care of him well and they did an awesome job at it.

boris2

Thanks to our friend, Emi for this beautiful, beautiful picture of Boris. What a handsome looking boy!

Boris loved to take his evening walk. The weather had been crazy and it could get really annoying hot and humid in the evening. With his thick fur, the evening walk outside of the house must have done him good. He usually did not go too far; just around the corner of the last house on the street and settled himself in some flower bush.

He has this walk or gait that I love to see and such an adorable gentle giant with the greenest eyes.

This is how we want to remember him. A cat who finally had his freedom.

 

Happy 67th Birthday, Abah.

Today, is my dad’s birthday. He would have been a young 67 year old man if a heart attack did not take him away too early from us at the age of 56. I found an old blog of mine about him. And another piece from my cousin, Ghaz.

 A prayer for you, abah and Pak Long. I hope all of you enjoy the two blogs.

https://lifeisonebigstage.wordpress.com/2008/11/27/a-prayer-on-a-special-day/

http://ghaz-lifejourney.blogspot.com/2008/11/pak-hitam-fuad-and-my-abah.html

My Story

Part 1

There is really nothing special about me, or my stories. But I think they are just as good to tell. Perhaps if any of the story could inspire someone, then, I have done something good in my life. Or, perhaps, some of the stories created a guide to someone in order not to follow that certain path in life, then, I hope, I have earned a brownie point with that someone, somewhere.

The childhood was good, actually they were great. But, as what I said to George, maybe my brain just tend to shove some of the bad memories to the deepest recess and hopes they stay there for a while. In my mind, the world looked bigger and brighter. You know, bright, sun kissed pictures that you see when you watch CSI Miami. The sun always look blue and the air is so clear that you can almost smell the sunshine rays.

The dame of the family – my grandmother – was always dressed beautifully in her short kebaya and kain batik. Heavy gold necklace, bracelets and dangling earrings were her “kain basahan” (every day wear). She was a modern lady during her time, stylish, independent and well traveled.

My grandfather…well, can I say about this guy? Ex policeman, farmer, hunter, a savvy entrepreneur, a husband to four wives…

The family lived in a small kampung. Raub was not exactly as how it is today where there are easy access to town and the surrounding areas. There were many sawmills, reflecting one of the main livelihoods of that time. Paddy fields and rubber plantation were aplenty. The gold mine was churning so much gold. That is the reason why the place is called Raub (a handful) – se “raub” emas (a handful of gold).

The kampung house was big, befitting the status of orang kaya kampung (the rich man in the village). There were three parts to the house. The rumah ibu (the main house) which was a raised portion of the house using strong concrete stilts. It housed the main bedrooms, two family halls and a beautiful staircase that extended towards the front of the house. The walls were painted in shades of green. This staircase was only used to usher important visitors such as the kampung elders.

The second part of the house was joined by another structure with heavy cengal steps. Spacious with big, open windows, this portion housed another bedroom for guests. The formal dining table with at least 12 seaters was flushed to the back. I remember the big gramophone, the sofa and this huge, flat floral carpets were in this very room.

Finally, the third part of the house which was the real heart of the house – the spacious kitchen. Modern, of sort for its time, it had two types of stove. My grandparents prefered using the old ways of using the fire wood and so this stove was located towards the back end of the kitchen. The “modern stove” consisted of a two-burner Butterfly kerosene stove. The family dining table was this long wooden 12-seater. Several wooden chairs and a long bench make up the composition. On top of the table, there was always a chopstick holder packed with red chopsticks.  For some reasons, the family was quite partial to other customs, which was also different for those times. One of the walls was lined with shelves filled with rows upon rows of herbs, spices, dried meats, dinnerware and grandfather’s exotic books. Exotic because I could not understand most of them. They were written in some jawi writings with odd drawings.

Behind the kitchen was another kitchen. Smaller in size, it had para (drying shelves) above the fire wood stove. The shelf was used to smoke all the meat that grandfather brought back from one of his huntings. It was also used to boil all the great herbal concoction that grandmother prepared for her “patients”. She was the village traditional masseuse. A very sought after one at that too.

 

The Tricky Sandwich Question

Someone asked this question on his FB wall….

Asked during an interview:

What’s the most important part of a sandwich? What do you think the answer should be?

And so I said,  “Nice trick question. I’s say that none of the part can be considered important as every part of it – the bread, the filling are important. The maker of the sandwich is the Leader (putting things together), the ingredients are the binder (culture fit, process etc) and the items in the ingredients are essential to have the best tasting sandwich, ever (talent within an org).”

Someone else answered, directing it to me (verbatim), “Hanie you provided beautiful answer but if I’m as a interviewer I will consider you but at the same time if I were a manager or someone in higher position I will be careful of you because of your intelligence, anyhow you are a good worker the company looking for..Last but not least, the question is asking the most important part of the sandwich instead of how you look as the sandwich.. Im impressed of the way you presenting it”.

Err….so will I get a job or not in this guy’s interview?

The Story About My Angry Bird Keychain

I sat in the upmarket tea and coffee place in Bangsar sipping my RM12.00 latte, admiring people walking by the street. The place was nice and cooling what with the full blasted aircondition. It was a comfortable place to be.

Out of nowhere, a man walked in through the glass door, carrying what I believed was key chains of all sorts. He was sweating from the sweltering heat of the streets. His clothes had seen better days, and from the way he walked, the shape of his hands and the way he tilted his head each time he spoke, this man was obviously with physical disabilities.

No one paid any attention to him. They just ignored his presence next to them and pretended that he did not exists. I was surprised that none of the bistro’s employee asked him to leave.

The next minute, he was beside me, showing this bunch of key chains -Ultra Man, Hello Kitty etc etc…and then I saw this big, yellow Angry Bird key chain.

One thing about living in the city is that, you just do not know who is being used in scams. Children, women, people with disabilities, they all have been used to solicit for money and most of the times none of the sales money go to them.

But, my house key chain was rendered a goner a few days ago. I had no other suitable key chains and I was looking for one. I looked at this guy and asked him how much. He said RM10 each. My first instinct told me that the real cost could not have been more than RM2 and this guy was ripping me off.

I told him, that’s ok, I’d pass this time.

But, then, he said something so profound that makes me think in a flash…:

  • here I am sipping a RM12 latte and it will be gone in a minute. The key chain will be with me for a good long while.
  • will I still be able to eat after I give this guy a RM10 for the key chain?

I chose the Angry Bird keychain, handed him the RM10 and he thanked me profusely before walking out to the sweltering heat.

angry bird key chain

 

This was what he said, “Please buy a key chain from me, for my meal of the day.”

 

Remembering India, The Land Of Contrasts

I was talking to my friend, Mohan just days before the recent Deepavali. We met in April at the IFTDO 2013  this year in New Delhi through the President of an association that I belong to. He’s doing well at his new job and have been asking George and I to make that trip over to his place which is Kerala.

The truth is, I do miss India, at least all the good memories I had of this unique country. I miss the unique sights of the buildings, the dusty roads, the exotic historical sites and the street food. The trip was not that long. The team and I spent close to a week enclosed in the hotel attending meetings, workshops and networking sessions. The only time we were able to go out and see the city was in the evening. We hired a taxi and drove to several places. Sarojini market was one of my favourites and so was Delhi Haat or Dilli Haat. The sight, sound and smell of these places are just so unique.

Sarojini Market consists of rows upon rows of buildings with family-owned businesses. Beautifully crafted shoes, garments, household items, sweet shops and many more shops selling exquisite sarees are what I remember this place for. This is not forgetting fresh fruit sold by the roadside.

street food2

(Top)Street food. Those are chicken and lamb meat balls fried in ghee. The smell was just so wonderful.

 

 

 

 

 

sarojini

(Top)

These boys called out to me from inside the shop in Bahasa Malaysia! Caught me by surprise that they would recognize a Malaysians among the gadzillion people passing the shop.

The roadsides of the market are really humbling. We saw displaced people setting up their night tents and I wondered what would happened if it rains… 

delhi haat

(Top) The famous Delhi Haat

me and sangeetaMe and Sangeeta…shop, shop, shop, shop, shop…oh did I say shop?

IMG_6217

 

(Top)In the compound of Country Inn, Mathura, Uttar Pradesh

old ruins

 

(Top)Old ruins in Agra.

local police traffic

 

(Top) Local traffic police

yamuna(Top) By the Yamuna River

…and the piece de resistance…

delegates infront of taj mahal(Top) With the rest of the delegates across the lawn of the beautiful Taj Mahal. My previous entry on this is here.

Sambal Hitam, The Official Sambal Of Pahang

Well, well…look at that… finally this humble sambal called Sambal Hitam is now the official sambal of Pahang, as declared by the HM Tengku Puan Pahang, Tunku Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah. The black sambal is due to the use of belimbing buluh/Averrhoa bilimbi. This fruit is essential to the making of this spicy sambal. There is no water involved at all when “cooking” the belimbing buluh. The fruit is washed, placed in a pot on top of small fire and left to dehydrate from its own juice for  at least 6 to 7 hours. A kilo of belimbing buluh will only yield about a cup of the dehydrated version. It is indeed a long process and it is not even halfway yet!

The other essential ingredients are dried anchovies, bird’s eye chilis, onions and some oil for frying.

Photo0382

For me the sambal hitam serves as a base for several kampung dishes that I cook. For instance, the sambal kulat sisir has the sambal hitam used as the base sambal. The add-ons are the kulat sisir and petai (stinky beans). Kulat sisir, by the way is a variety of mushroom/fungus which thrives well on dead rubber tree trunks. Before cooking, you need to wash it thoroughly to get rid of the grit that got trapped in between the “combs”. The effective way I have used is to soak the mushroom in a bowl of salted water for about 15-20 minutes.

Photo0378(Top)The uncooked kulat sisir, ready for the pot!

Photo0380(Top)Sambal kulat sisir and petai.

The Sunset

sunset

This beautiful sunset was snapped as I drove passed the suburb area of Taman Tun Dr Ismail today. The traffic light turned to red and I stopped. Looked out from the window and saw this.

Peppered with the occasional tree top and the high rise apartments, I pondered about the time of year. November is in full swing and the end of year is just around the corner. Shops have begun to display Christmas decorations. Even Starbucks are now serving coffee in Christmas coloured mugs.

What have I achieved this year? Where am I now against the plans I made earlier this year?

It has been a challenging year, this 2013….

The Little Furby Munchkin

munchkin1

 

 

munchkin2

 

Tiny Furby Munchkin, fostering for The Daughter. She was found abandoned in a brown box next to the lift nearby The Daughter’s apartment unit.

Isn’t she a cutie pie?