Friends from Sri Lanka

Last Friday, my family and I went to May Tower Hotel in Jalan Munshi Abdullah to meet Uncle Zahedi, Aunty Suzana and Brother Hisham. They came from Sri Lanka to send Brother Hisham who is currently doing his Master’s Degree in Islamic Finance here in Kuala Lumpur.

We met them after the Friday prayers. When we reached there, Aunty Suzana looked at me exclaiming, “Oh, she looks just like Aishah”. Aishah Salihue is Aunty Suzana’s niece and a friend of mine who lives in San Jose, California. Coincidentally, Aishah shared the same name with my little sister, Aeshah, while Aishah’s little brother shared the same name with my little brother, Ali. I had met her and her family twice during my visits to the USA in 2005 and 2006.

I remember going to her house in 2006. Her huge backyard is like a wonderland  filled with many kinds of fruit trees. On the day I visited her, Aishah found out that their first apple had ripened in the backyard. She excitedly pluck it and ran with the apple indoors to show it to her mum. There was also a tent, Aishah’s bike, his little brother, Ali’s wagon, a table with benches and a trampoline in the backyard.

I remember feeling so excited as I succeeded to ride Aishah’s bike without any difficulties even on the grass. It was actually my second time riding a bike without the two tiny side wheels to help me balance. I also remember pulling Ali’s wagon with both ‘Alis’ giggling inside. We also drew pictures and wrote stories on the wooden table. But the best part of the day was when I met Aishah’s grandparents who came all the way from Sri Lanka. Aishah’s grandfather gave me a lot of very beautiful Sri Lankan stamps which are now safely kept inside my stamp album.

We had a great time. Before we left, Aishah’s mother gave me a beautiful brown hijab. We still keep in touch through emails and we sent stamps to each other several times. I really hope that Insya Allah, I could once again visit Aishah in her wonderful backyard.

It was so enjoyable meeting Uncle Zahedi, Aunty Suzana and Brother Hisham. They are very nice and wonderful to be with. Aunty Suzana is very sweet, beautiful and friendly and she really reminds me of her younger sister who is Aishah’s mother.

Happy 9th Birthday Fah!

My dearest sister, Anisah Afifah (or better known at home as Fah or Kafah), had just turned 9 on the 5th December, 2009. This poem is especially written as a birthday gift for Fah 🙂 .

On the 5th December 2009,

Everybody seems to be very kind,

I do not need to wonder why,

Although it’s suppose to be a surprise.

Because it is my birthday today!

I saw my presents on the floor yesterday,

They were waiting patiently as I had my dinner,

But still, I can always check my calender.

I’ve got a Hello Kitty Jigsaw puzzle,

From mum in a really, really big parcel,

And the beads weaving machine from dad,

Is the best present I’ve ever had.

Don’t be sad Kaman and Kashah too,

I also love my fishes from you,

And thanks for the dresses you gave me, Ali,

I’m really happy and as glad as can be!

Check out the links below to read more about Fah’s birthday written by…
Aeshah (my sister): http://aeshahadlina.wordpress.com/2009/12/09/happy-birthday-fah/
Anisah (the birthday girl herself): http://anisahafifah.wordpress.com/2009/12/09/my-birthday-2/
Ahmad Ali (my brother): http://ahmadalikarim.wordpress.com/2009/12/05/happy-birthday-kafah-2/

Say “NO” to the plan to demolish a heritage row in Kuala Terengganu

Pak_Loh_in his bookshopOver a hundred years ago, my great, great grandfather, Abdullah Al-Yunani came to Kuala Terengganu from China and decided to stay there. He opened a bookstore named Abdullah Al-Yunani or better known to the locals as ‘Keda Buku Pok Loh Yunang’. Ask a person who was brought up in Kuala Terengganu, most of them would know the bookstore and they might even tell you that the shop was where they bought their schoolbooks long, long time ago. [Read what Awang Goneng wrote about it here]

Over a century, the business grew from a simple bookstore selling newspapers, a few kitabs (religious books) and some other books to a fully air-conditioned modern bookstore offering WiFi service. In the 1970s the bookstore was renamed Kedai Buku Ahmad Omar and later to Alam Akademik Sdn Bhd.

AA-tingkat bawah pelanggan-sMy grandfather, Ahmad Omar bought the shophouse more than 30 years ago but was forced to surrender the  land to the state government for only RM200, 000 (because of land acquisition)! Did we agree to such a low price for the freehold prime land right by the very main street of the town? Of course we did not; in fact my grandfather had never ever wanted to sell the shophouse for what ever price for the shophouse means so much to him. But what choice did he has when it came to land acquisition by the state government?

My grandparents complained the matter to the Terengganu Chief Minister (at the time), Tan Sri Wan Mokhtar Ahmad and he promised that the shophouses’ owners will be offered to buy new shophouses at a very special price (as part of the deal) to compensate our lost, as the RM200,000 paid to us was far below the market price at the time. He also promised us that the government will let us stay in the building until they provide us a new place in the area. Trusting that Tan Sri Wan Mokhtar’s words as official promises by the Terengganu state government, my grandfather did not make any further official complain. Furthermore as a strong UMNO supporter, my grandfather trusted the Barisan Nasional state government fully and never ever imagine that UMNO will disown their promises even though it was not made on paper!

AhmadOmar-SetPolMBMy grandfather used to work overseas for the first Malaysian Prime Minister YM Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj as a diplomat with minister’s status and later joined the politics as a state assemblyman and also as the political secretary to the (then) Chief Minister, Tan Sri Ibrahim Fikri. And for the sake of UMNO my grandfather had no choice but to accept the offer without making a legal complain.

On the 19th July, 2009, 34 shopkeepers in Jalan Bandar and Jalan Banggol, Kuala Terengganu (including Alam Akademik) received a notice from the Lembaga Tabung Amanah Warisan Negari Terengganu to vacate the shophouses before 13th August, 2009. [Read about it in my previous posting here] When we questioned the notice and the promises made by the state government years ago at the time we were forced to surrender our land to the state government for a mere RM200,000; they said that they are not responsible of providing us a place to move to and have the right to force us out since the land is now theirs. What happened to all of the sweet promises they made before?

going next and goneThe sad news was that the LTAWNT or the ‘supposedly’  heritage board of the state of Terengganu  is planning to demolish the heritage row to widen the road and to build new building in the name of modernisation. Isn’t it odd that the heritage board do not seems to understand the value of heritage? When the other states of Malaysia such as Melaka, Pulau Pinang (Penang) and the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur are proud to restore their heritage buildings, the Terengganu heritage board looked at the heritage building as an eye sore. How sad…..Who can we trust to protect our heritage then? The heritage row is still standing strong and beautiful; and still fit for business. And what about the historical value of the building?

As Uncle Awang Goneng wrote in his blog ‘Kecek Kecek‘, ‘Now they are planning to pull down a row of shophouses in Kedai Payang, buildings that are more than a hundred years old that are still fit for purpose and need, at most, a tender loving touch and a coat of colour. Thus our history can be saved.’

stadium-bernama4The Terengganu state government had already destroyed lots of heritage  historical buildings to make way for new buildings. They claimed that they are building a modern ‘city’ and they do not want ‘old and shabby’ buildings in the city of Terengganu. If they are trying to say that the shophouses looked old and shabby, think again. It does NOT look shabby at all, in fact its quality is even better than the new ‘modern’ buildings which are facing problems (including those that collapsed) as we can see day after day. The state government should instead use the fund to restore and beautify the heritage row and protect the heritage historical building for its invaluable historical value to the people of Terengganu.

The reason why the government cannot see all these is because they are all money-driven. They are greedy and materialistic, all they think of is money, money, money. [see various comments on Kecek-kecek’s Mabuk Kepayang]  And not even one assemblyman nor their representatives (except one from the opposition party) came to visit us. It was reported in the newspaper that the Chief Minister Y.A.B. Dato’ Ahmad bin Said visited some villages and helped them to fix roofs and did all kinds of other things. But why can’t he meet us even once? asked CikguFauzi of MAMPAT (view here on Youtube as reported by http://buletinonline.net/ or as reported by NTV7)

HM bantah notis“He is a coward” said one of the shopowners during the many protests held. “Is he afraid of what people may think of him? He knew it was wrong of him to do what he is doing but who cares? He’ll get the money and it’s not him who will suffer… it’s us“. To all those out there who care enough for the heritage and history, please help us to preserve the place. You could ask help from organisations, NGOs or perhaps inform this to a person you know. The least you can do is perhaps to write about it and spread the message. You’ll never know how powerful words can be.

Read news and articles on “Selamatkan Warisan Sejarah Trengganu – Save Our Historical Heritage

HELP!!! HELP!!! HELP!!! HELP!!! HELP!!! HELP!!! HELP!!!

!!!PLEASE HELP MY GRANDMOTHER’S BOOKSTORE!!!

!!!SAVE IT FROM BEING DEMOLISHED BY THE TRENGGANU GOVERNMENT!!!

!!!PLEASE HELP ALAM AKADEMIK SDN BHD (THE OLDEST BOOKSHOP IN TERENGGANU – ALMOST A HUNDRED YEARS OLD)!!!

Yesterday, we received a letter telling us to move away in 30 days from 13th July 2009. Later, we’ve found out that our neighbours received the letter too. Not only they forced to leave within such a short time but it is a historical building. They had already demolished a lot of old historical building and they are increasing the number.

”]Those buildings with X had already been demoliished. The arrow shows the building to be demolished. [old photo in 1960s showing flooding in the area]

They should protect these buildings and promote them as tourists attraction. I am disappointed  with the Terengganu Government. If they wanted to create modernised buildings, there are lots more empty lots they could use. If this is how the government handle situations… no wonder Terengganu is no longer a peaceful place. No wonder the buildings collapse and the number of problems are overwhelming as they never think before they do anyting.

!!!SEND IN YOUR THOUGHTS (via comment)!!!

!!!DON’T LET TERENGGANU’S HISTORIES BECOME TERENGGANU MYSTERIES!!!

‘Kenduri’

Now is the mid-year school holidays in Malaysia and it means a ‘wedding season’ for us – Malaysians in Malaysia. We received wedding invitations here and there from both relatives and friends; sometimes we  attended a few wedding receptions  in a day!

Today we attended two wedding celebrations, first in Keramat and after that at the Dewan Merak Kayangan in Jalan Semarak. And after sending us home, dad attended another wedding reception close to our house.

We arrived at Uncle Anuar Ibrahim’s house at about 12 o’ clock. Uncle Anuar and his wife, Aunty Salamah are  close friends of my parents. In fact Uncle Anuar’s father and my mum’s father are close friends too!

As usual, everything is always beautiful at Uncle Anuar’s and Aunty Sal’s party. And the food are always good too. Aunty Sal is a great cook and she bakes the nicest cookies and cakes. And for today’s wedding reception, she baked delicious cupcakes and decorated them with beautiful pink butter cream roses. They are just so beautiful that I wish to take each of them. My little brother Ahmad Ali ate lots of them!

*Note: Please click on the photos

Dad met lots of his old schoolmate at the reception. One of them is Uncle Apo or Uncle Abdul Ghaffar Mohd Nor who has been reading my blog… Thank you for visiting my blog, Uncle Apo. Please drop a line or two in my blog if Uncle Apo can find a free time; its is always nice to receive comments… something like receiving a letter. 😀

A photo of dad and his old schoolmates. From left to right: Uncle Apo, Ami Ma (my uncle - dads elder brother), Uncle Bukhori, Uncle Anuar and A Karim Omar (dad). Photo taken from http://sulaimanian.wordpress.com . Photo snapped by... ME! :D

A photo of dad and his old schoolmates. From left to right: Uncle Apo, Ami Ma (my uncle - dad's elder brother), Uncle Bukhori, Uncle Anuar and A Karim Omar (dad). Photo taken from http://sulaimanian.wordpress.com . Photo snapped by... ME! 😀

Anyway I’m sad to hear that Uncle Anuar’s father is not in good health. Insya Allah we’ll be visiting him together with my grandmother in Kuala Terengganu this weekend. And before we left, Uncle Anuar’s sister in-law took us to Kak Norjie’s room. Kak Norjie, the beautiful and charming bride was dressed in  red and she looked so marvellous in her wedding attire…

Monster with Four Arms!

Have you seen a monster with 2 pairs of arms before? Look at the photos below!

The Scary Monster

I guess that this cute little monster is putting on a show or something.

Laughing monster

Oh, he’s a friendly monster with a cute little friendly monster face.

Can you guess who is the cute little monster? (The photo was taken at nenek’s house during our latest trip to Terengganu)

Happy Mothers’ Day!!!

Happy Mother’s Day!!!

Happy Mothers Day to mum, nenek and all the other mothers in the world…

Mother's Day cards and presents

These are the presents that my siblings and I had prepared for mum. We sorted them on the dining table.

The card that Aeshah gave mumThe card that I gave mum

Above, top: Mother’s Day card from Aeshah.

Above, bottom: Mother’s Day card from me.

Anisah's and Ali's Mother's Day card

Above: Mother’s day card from Anisah and Ali.

The Mother's Day present I gave mum

Above: The Mother’s Day present from me to mum.

* The photos was taken last night before going to bed.

Last night before going to bed, Aeshah, Anisah and I gather everyone’s presents and cards and gather them on the dining table. We sort them as nice as we could. It was fun. All of us gave mum a few cookie cutter each. We placed them in homemade birthday paperbags that I made myself. Mum loves cookie cutters and moulds for craftswork! I also gave mum a book entitled ‘Seni Lukisan Kain’ (The art of fabric painting)… again, because mum loves craftswork! I hope that mum would have a great and enjoyable mother’s day. I LOVE YOU, MAMA!!! 🙂

Meeting The ‘Grandma Bloggers’

aiman-cubee-emy

Tok Cu Bee (left), Aunty Emy (middle) and me enjoying our time together.

Guess what happened this morning? I met Aunty Emy and Tok Cu Bee! Yes, that’s right… seven bloggers (dad, Aeshah, Anisah, Ali, Aunty Emy a.k.a. Royaltlady, Tok Cu Bee a.k.a. Bebee and me) met at Shukur’s Nasi Dagang Stall. Not that we met coincidentally (like how Uncle Azahar met me) but we had planned this meeting the night before. There were also two non-bloggers at the unofficial bloggers meeting; mum and Uncle Syed Mohd Zaid who works as a MAS pilot.

Uncle Syed (left- beside dad) telling us a joke while eating his Nasi Dagang

Uncle Syed (left- beside dad) telling us a joke while eating his Nasi Dagang

Aunty Emy is actually our relative and so is Tok Cu Bee. Aunty Emy and Tok Cu Bee called themselves ‘Grandma Bloggers’ as they both are grandmothers. Tok Cu Bee told us that she was inspired by Awang Goneng to start her blog (La Vie En Rose) and so was Aunty Emy (Royaltlady). Aunty Emy started hers on her birthday in December 2007. By the way, Aunty Emy was Uncle Azahar’s classmate in year 6 many years ago. Uncle Azahar is another blogger friend of ours whose wonderful blog is Nature Lover.

aiman-auntyemy

As we enjoyed our breakfast, we talked about all sorts of things. Uncle Syed explained how did the FedEx plane crashed in Tokyo a few months ago. There was strong wind at the time the plane was landing and the wind was blowing from the sides of the plane. As the plane tried to land, it bounced back and one of the wings grazed against the runway before bursting into a fireball which killed both the pilot and the co-pilot.

At about eleven, we decided to break up after spending more than two hours at the stall. I really enjoyed the meeting and I hope that there will be more bloggers meetings; perhaps with even more bloggers to make it even more exciting. Aunty Emy, Tok Cu Bee and Uncle Syed were really wonderful and I am looking forward to see them again; as we say in Trengganuspeak, ‘Dok sabor doh nok ttemu mata lagi!’

Busy Sunday

My busy Sunday started with a trip to the market. There weren’t many people at the market as it was school holidays. Even some sellers were not there too. Later, we went to another market called ‘Pasar Pagi UO’ (UO Supermarket’s Morning Market). We bought 14 IKAN KELI (catfish)! I just love catfish and so does my sister. Mum used to buy 10 but it wasn’t enough.

After our Zuhr prayers we went out in beautiful clothes to two ‘Kenduri Kahwin’ (wedding receptions). The first was near the Taman Greenwood where my dearest Jiddah would wait for her bus everytime she went back to Kuala Terengganu. The food there was quite good. The second wedding reception was held at a mosque near Taman Melati. The food there was even better and I just love their lamb.

We went back home to perform our Asr prayers and went out again. This time dad drove us to visit a stamp exhibition. It was just a small one but we saw all kinds of beautiful stamps. Each of us got our chance to choose some stamps for ourselves and mum paid them. She also bought lots of lovely flower stamps as my birthday present and some cars and locomotive stamps as Ali’s birthday present. I had been collecting stamps since a few years ago; after admiring mum and dad’s stamp collections. Anyway I only have a small collection. So I am always very excited to be able to add more stamps to my collection.

At about 5pm, my parent’s good friend Uncle Khairul and his wife Aunty Shida came to our house together with Aunty Intan and  Uncle Bad. After performing our Mahrib prayers, we took them to Pak Ya’s Corner for dinner.They really enjoyed their food.

After dinner, we went back to my house. Uncle Khairul, Uncle Bad, mum and dad were discussing something while Auntie Shida and Auntie Intan watched the television series ‘Merlin’ with me and my siblings. We all had a great time and they went home at about 10:30pm. It was indeed a very busy day but it was really fun.

I AM FOURTEEN!!!

Yesterday was my birthday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!!! I had a great birthday celebration and wonderful gifts too.

I had a silat lesson yesterday but we practiced inside as it was raining cats and dogs. This time, we concentrated on our ‘Lambung Kemudi’ kick and ‘Tebar Jala’ kick. All of us agreed that it was very, very tiring. At about 2:30 p.m., we rushed into dad’s car.

He was taking us to the Roadhouse Grill for my birthday lunch. Roadhouse Grill is a ‘cowboy-styled’ restaurant in Jalan Ampang. I love eating there so much that this is the third time I celebrated my birthday there. I ordered the delicious Roadhouse Ribs and so did mum and my little sister Aeshah. And as a birthday gift, the Roadhouse Grill served me a tasty brownie decorated with whipped cream together with a lovely drink. Everything at the restaurant was so tasty including the peanuts and buns too!

Back home, my little brother handed me a beautiful little gift from mum, dad and Ali himself. I quickly unwrapped it and… guess what??? … It was an Estee Lauder perfume! My sisters gave me a ring file; perhaps because they think that my cupboard is too messy 😉  Aeshah gave me a cardboard. Funny for a present… but very useful for my projects.

It was such a great day and I really enjoyed it very much. Thank you to everyone who had made my 14th birthday so special!