Monday, January 26, 2009


Aunty Niza (in one of her many blogs) invited me to join a book challenge initiated by this lady. (Rules and purpose can be read at her blog.)

I agreed to play along only to realise later that I'm not actually eligible to participate anymore! Both of you had turn into independent readers! Gone are the days when you practically beg me to read to you. Or when I could use it as a reward, or at times, as blackmail...hehehe I'm not always a good mother, am I? I cant really say when did this changes took place...I can still vividly picture our reading times...

First, when you were still small and could both fit onto my laps, our favourite seat was the wing chair where we read those over size books with nice colourful pictures. 

Later,when my laps couldnt take two of you at the same time anymore, we moved to the window seat, with both of you sitting at either side of me. But the favourite position would always be, the three of us lying flat on our tummies, on Mama's bed, almost sure to happen on rainy days.......and when the book ended, all of us would flip up, rested your heads on my arms and fell asleep. I would then wake up with sore arms! Heemm, I kind of miss those times.....But of course we cannot do the lie in anymore, especially Abang, as he is now getting taller than me, making snuggling up to me quite impossible. Adik, however, can still manage it...... 

Alhamdulillah, both of you are now ardent readers. The best shopping spree for you is when I let you loose in a bookstore. Both of you hate shopping malls, so, bookstores are always the bait I use to lure you into accompanying me. If I say, " Okay, you got 15 minutes here, pick a book each ", I can always see this panic look plastered on your faces....Abang will pick a book just to put it back again, and pick another and another, repeating the process. At the end, I will have to relent, and the 15 minutes always s-t-r-e-t-c-h itself into an hour and one book each becomes 5 or 6 or 10 if Mama decides to join in too.....Thankfully, Abah always give Mama a free hand to swipe away the card when book buying is concern. 

These are books on Abang's shelf....... Once you got a new book in your hand, the tangible world cease to exist. I will have to call you several times before getting a response. You would be reading in the car, in the restaurants while waiting for food, at the hospital while visiting people ( which is very rude) and everywhere......Only the call of 'azan can make you put down the book.

At the moment, Adik is crazy over Sarah dan.... series and Abang collects all Dunia Sains Aiman titles. Adik, being over-imaginative as she is, is always very much influenced by what she reads. She started to keep a diary after reading Dear Yayah, neglecting the journal she had started in Year 1. ( the said journal had amused the visitors to our house to no end when she let the selected ones read it!) Nowadays, she collects earrings, asking for high-heels ( to my horror!) and these last two weeks have been pestering me to grow more roses.......all thanks to Sarah!!

I am very much impressed with Aiman's Diari Ramadhan.The scientific facts are presented in such a fun way that kids just dont skip on them. ( I know they do if it is stated in text book style). We could tell that the lady who wrote it, Umi Kauthar Abdul Razak, has made a thorough research both on scientific facts and quranic verses/ahadith she referred to in this particular book. 
On Adik's shelf.....( in her bedroom) 
  Bold I cant thank Niza enough for introducing PTS books ....they are exceptionally good. Yes, I read all of them too. Not only as a preparation to answer your questions, but because they are so enjoyable. You may not want me to read for you or read with me anymore, but you are sure to keep coming and asking questions all the time, during and post reading. PTS books change my perception of Malay books.....I sincerely congratulate those people at PTS.

When I started reading to you, looooong time ago, there were almost no good Malay books suited to your age available. So, all books read to you were English books, mostly bought from Maribaca, the cute specialty bookstore of Aunty Niza. I always find it irritating to read a badly researched book where the author jumbles up facts and myth, especially when it is on religion issue. (so rampant in old school Malay book) The author might think it is not so important to be accurate on this matter as the children will learn more as the grow up. I beg to differ!! We tend to remember what we read in our childhood, at least I do! I have to thank Niza again for always researching and looking for good, high quality books for her shop, from all over the world. Her own kids, will, InsyaAllah be very lucky to have her as a mother, someone who is very passionate about books with extensive knowledge about them as well, more so with her pursuing early childhood education degree at the moment.

And I should also mention Niza's sister (whom I also call Adik) who used to attend Maribaca. She was one helpful and knowledgeable bookshop manager. I just have to mention Abang and Adik's current inclinations and she will recommends the suitable readings.....we are going to miss having her in that bookstore now that she has moved on....

So, we may not eligible to be in the challenge per se, but read will we....... Earlier this month, Adik bought Sarah Dan Bunga Mawar and Abang bought Sakit Gigi from Adam Kecil series.( see, Adik tends to read on someone older than her while Abang reads on someone his age or younger...hemm, the difference of boys and girls!!!) During the holiday, Adik picked up an Enid Blyton second-hand book out of curiosity( after Abah and Mama told her how crazy we were over Ms Blyton books in our childhood days) . It was The Secret Of Mooncastle and is yet to be read. So, these three books have kind of started the list for 2009 ........

InsyaAllah, if last year numbers are anything to go by, between both of you, I'm sure the number will far exceed the required amount of 12. Last year alone, you read more than 30 books and countless kids magazines, the likes of Kuntum, Ana Muslim, Dewan Pelajar etc. Adik has shown interest to read the Ku Temui Jalan Pulang, a compilation of true stories depicting the lives of the trainees of Raudhatus Sakinah before they end up at the shelter home. ( written by the trainees and edited by Ummiroses). I will have to read with her on this one after all........ ( as a matter of fact, Adik shows interest in all books I read and had recently tried to read Ayat2 Cinta, The Alchemist and A Thousand Splendid Suns only to abandon them after a few sentences...hehe, you cannot digest them yet la Adik!!)

Saturday, January 17, 2009


He looks as if he is not moved at all. He reads about them in the free newspapers the office provides, scans the reports on the net and watches them on the idiot box...but he keeps his quiet. He doesnt take to the streets to participate in the demos, nor does he attends the seminars and forums taking place around him .

Until one day, he breaks the silence....

He says, "Allah never puts the strength of a battalion of army as a condition for success". 

He tells a story.
One of the day the Lion of Allah entered the holy city, victorious without shedding a single drop of blood ....... in a patched coarse garment, riding a weak horse. Not a glance cast on the lines of beautiful seductive women on their right and left. Those seductress then went back to their leader head hung low in shame. And they said,

"Those army of muslims are not human, they are angels...Their hearts are full of the greatness of their Lord, nothing could possibly tear them away from it. Hence the success.....". 

The enemy came forward surrendering the key of the sacred mosque. The fear of Allah combined with the strict adherence to sunnah were enough to put fear in their enemies heart, rendered them helpless.
(a slightly different version I then read in ASHARAH MUBASH-SHARAH authored by Mohammad Iqbal Siddiq... "A very interesting incident in the annals of history occured during the siege of Jerusalem. The Patriach of the town refused to surrender the place to any one else except the Caliph himself. Hadrat 'Umar( Allah be pleased with him) acceded to the request and traveling from Medina, with a single attendant and a dromedary to ride upon turn by turn, he arrived at Jabia without any pomp or ceremony. The interesting part of the episode was that when Hadrat 'Umar reached the gate of the city to meet the deputation led by the Patriarch, the attendant was riding the camel whereas the Caliph was walking before it holding the string in his hand. This scene proved to be so convincing and re assuring to the Patriarch that he immediately flung open the heavy gate and surrendered the town to the Caliph")

And he continues....

"That land is a holy, sacred land. The chosen place. The soil of anbiyaa'. When you are living in a chosen place, you are the chosen ones. You behaves accordingly. You follows the footstep of the anbiyaa' before you. You emulates their ways as far as you could. You live your life as shown by them....dress like them, eat like them, think like them......When you fails to do that, you invites the wrath of your Lord upon you.
You dress like those enemies of yours, in jeans and t-shirts, you eats like them, you speak like them, you live your daily life, thinking , behaving exactly like them. Your so called leaders, fight among themselves.
In those calmer days, when the attack on you were not this obvious, the mu'ezzin called out azans and the imams got ready to lead the prayers, but there are more pillars than devotees in that holy mosque. You didnt appreciate it, took it for granted, so now it is being taken away from you. Sadder still, you are being chased away from your own homes as if you dont deserve to be there anymore....."

He prays for you people nights after nights. Way before Dec 26th 2008...........He begs Allah to pardon you. He cried buckets for hidayah. He pleads to the Lord to give understanding, the taufeeq for himself, his family and you and the whole of ummah...Indeed we are not behaving the ways expected from the true slaves of Allah. Most of the times, our minds are clouded by our own intellectual, shadowing us away from the truth.

He sends money regularly to help those innocent kids, been doing that long before this outburst. He doesnt need to boycott the products as he doesnt use them save for a basic, unavoidable few. He never consciously visit any of those fancy high prices franchise outlets. But they sometimes come to him, not at his own expenses. The rizqs are from Him indeed.

I listen, eyes glisten, and I feel enlightened...........

Meanwhile, Abang's favourite game that he plays by himself nowadays is, launching intelligent rockets from Gaza to the other side complete with self-produced sound system.
Adik is changing her ambition yet again to become a scientist so that she can invent that rockets.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Mama, as the trusted manager of this humble abode, has made a resolution for the year of 2009(sounds a bit cliche kan...and a tad late too!). 

We are going to eat more healthily!!! ( as part of my living au naturel project)

Cooking style will be severely altered. The oven/grill will suffer most this year ( and the year after and after....hopefully!). Next to it, all the non-stick pots and pans, and not forgetting the cast-iron pans which had been cast aside for quite a while, gathering cobwebs all over them. Oh, the clay pot too....for the singgang and such. No, I dont forget the steamer though it will come last as, except for veges, most of us dont really fancy steamed food.

Our grocery shopping lists will of course duly changed. All cooking oils will only come from olives(make it extra virgin or EVOO as Rachel Ray has it) or corn or sunflower. Pasta, wholemeal only. More organic chicken and beef. (Despite having a lot of az-zain organic produce in the freezer, we still sometimes buy inorganic chicken for bihun sup as we need more flesh for it). Organic eggs too. Tok Ayah usually provides us with these, thanks so much Tok Ayah. Tok Ayah's hens are highly productive, supplying eggs that really taste superb and the yolks are of a very concentrated yellow, giving nice tints to our dishes.

Hemm, I just have a thought! Maybe we should start rearing our own free range chicken in our backyard orchard. Add a kambing or two. You know, Abah did say, when we first built this house and started planting all those fruit trees, that we will have some sheeps/goats in our backyard when the tress are tall enough and the shepherd/shepherdess, thats you and you, Abang and Adik, are big enough. It was said 9 years ago, so I reckon the time has come now. What say you??

As for veges, we will cut down drastically on imported ones. They are 'petroleum covered' as they have to travel very far to reach us, thus use up lots of petroleum. (That's what I heard from Martha Steward's daughter, Alexis , if my memory's serving me right.) We will be kinder to the environment as well. While we are at it, Adik and Abang, please make sure you carry out your delegated tasks of putting plastic, glass and paper in the designated bins behind our house. And organic waste in the compost heap.

I ( with the help of Abah and Pakcik Nor the gardener) will try to grow more chillies,okras, long beans and eggplants, which have proven to be agreeable with our soil, and try out others like petola, cucumber and snake gourd as all of us are very fond of them. My contribution will be of going out and buy the seeds (and germinate if it needs be). Pakcik Nor or Abah, if his time permits, will dig out the hole and build the support stakes or just put in some twiggy sticks. You two will have the honour of watering them. Thus, we can all proudly say that, WE grow this veges....clever tak Mama? We will also eat more of shoots that grow wildly in our orchard as well as the ones grown by Abah/Mama. We are so lucky, aren't we? We got all kinds of ulam/pucuk just behind our backyard. They are gifts from nature read 100 percent organic and pesticides free....Alhamdulillah, we are so blessed. We could go on for one week without buying veges from the market if we wish to. I hope you will grow to like tapioca shoots and the pucuk beko. Yes, they are a bit bitter, but are full of all sorts of vitamins and anti-oxidants. Okay Abang, fret not, every now and then, we will buy your favourite zucchini and asparagus....I know for a fact that we cant afford to be fully natural much as we like it to be....

From now on, expect to eat more at home and more of homemade dishes, including bread. We will only eat out when we are on a holiday ( as in tagging Abah on his trips) or in the unavoidable circumstances when Mama is being bitten hard by malaise or malas bug.....Think of the amount of salt, sugar and artificial flavouring that we could cut down!!

As for fruit, we still have to buy those from citrus family as we obviously cannot grow them. Abah tried to grow limau madu once, but the produce proved to be the opposite of madu.... We end up eating them as 'ccolek. But we got plenty of bananas, all kind of them. We, or more accurately, Abah and Abang, grow pineapples. We do have papayas and water apples as well. Rambutans, dokong and salaks will be, Insya Allah, plentiful in their seasons. See, we dont need pesticide-laced fruits from the market!! Okay, we will buy apples for the pies and muffins.

Sorry kids, I'm reading the 'Imperfectly Natural Woman', hence this! I'm yet to finish it, so brace yourselves....I might stop you from using shampoos and shower foams next. We have the kaffir lime trees at the backyard! We should make full use of it, scrub our skin and scalp with them. Should start to make it a daily practise instead of once in a blue moon....I know Adik enjoys the sessions very much.

Oh yes , don't forget to take honey first thing in the morning. Honey is the 'super' food which everyone of us has benefited from. I'm sure you notice that all of us are having fewer attack of allergic rhinitis since we started taking it regularly for the past couple of years. As for Abang and Abah, they are depending on inhalers less and less. I could go on and on with its currative properties......

All in all, one thing we should always remember, no other way of eating is better than that of the sunnah of our beloved prophet. Eat when we are hungry and stop before we are full.

For a start....Abang is seen here happily tucking in his dinner of wholewheat spaghetti in bolognaise sauce made with organic meat balls and lots of veges. (He made it slightly unhealthy though by sprinkling too much grated cheese on top. Well,being thin and active, he can afford it...).And the drinks, sugarless fruit juice. Not bad huh!!