Ahmad Ali’s 7th Birthday


Yesterday, my little brother, Ahmad Ali, turned 7 years old. Early in the morning, we went to Taman Tasik Ampang Hilir for a birthday jog and a birthday playtime at the playground. At the playground, I succeeded to swing on the monkey bar from the beginning until the end for the first time! 🙂 After lunch, we cleared up the dining table and arranged his birthday presents on the table together with his cards. I gave him a 3D butterfly card (I made it myself), a Hot Wheels track with 6 cars (which was previously mine – my 5th birthday present from Uncle Rauf), an Assembly Fun Kit – Forklift (from my mother and I), a personally decorated clock and a turmeric plant.

Altogether, his presents totaled up to 36. His favourite were the Assembly Fun kit ‘Helicopter’ (from dad) and ‘Forklift’. Some of the other gifts were two credit cards, some books, a blue Hot Wheels Chevrolet, a few sets of glittering 3D stickers, Dunkin Donut cookies, chocolate, a set of paintbrushes, a ladybug shaped palette and a pack of ‘Glow In The Dark’ Crayola crayons set. He also received 4 beautiful cards.

After he opened his presents, he started to create his Helicopter but he couldn’t understand the instruction manual (the instruction is really confusing for a child his age). So he left it and generously invite my sisters to join him playing with his Hot Wheels track. They spend an hour and a half playing with the cars. For dinner, we had two Extra Large Meat Mania pizza (bought at Domino’s pizza) at my brother’s request.

That night, he decided to invent something else with his assemble kit and came up with a ‘Hictep ler’. He said that it is a flying machine. He told us that yesterday was his best birthday ever because he had a great time with his Hot Wheels track and enjoyed creating his ‘hictep ler’.

Jogging


Jogging is a very good exercise which benefits our bones (by increasing bone density in the lower body), muscles (by increasing muscular strength and stamina in the lower body) and joints (by strengthening tendons and ligaments in the lower body). It can also increase lung capacity, strengthen the heart, improves blood circulation, increase metabolism, burn calories and the best part is; it releases endorphins (read more about it here) and reduces stress.

However, because of the extra strain on muscles and joints from the repetitive impact may lead to injuries such as knee pains and shin splints. Long term jogging on hard surfaces can play a role in degenerative joint conditions such as osteoarthritis. That is why it is very important to wear good running shoes that cushion and support your feet.

Always remember to warm up and stretch thoroughly before you start. If you have never run before or are very out of shape, don’t overdo it. You could start by walking most of the session and include just a minute of jogging. As you become fitter, you can gradually increase the proportion of your session spent jogging. You will also need to breathe a little harder than normal to get more oxygen into the body but you should still be able to hold a conversation while you jog (a sign that you are not overdoing things). If you find yourself getting too out of breath, slow down or walk until you have recovered. When your breathing has returned to a more comfortable level you can start jogging again.

Yesterday morning, my family and I went jogging at Taman Tasik Ampang Hilir. We jogged around 2.7 km and stopped by a playground, exhausted. It’s the first time (after so long) we jogged and plan to do so every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. We had some fun at the playground with the chain bridge, flying foxes, monkey bars, stepping stones and (my favourite) the swing.

Taman Tasik Ampang Hilir is a beautiful park with a nice small lake in the middle. It has a jogging track, a food stalls, a few playgrounds and some exercising equipments. I once went there before with my family. We had a picnic there with my dad’s friends from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. The park had just been opened for about a month then and it was cleaner too. Yesterday, we saw that the lake was polluted with all sorts of rubbishes. Some irresponsible people must have been too lazy and threw their rubbishes into the lake despite the many rubbish bin that had been provided. How did they managed to even walk back to their car I wonder.

A Wonderful Weekend With Aunty Selina


On Friday night (29th of January, 2010) Aunty Selina reached KLIA (Kuala Lumpur International Airport) for a 3 days trip. Aunty Selina, who lives in Maryland, USA,  is a very good friend of my parents. She stayed at The Renaissance Hotel Kuala Lumpur at Jalan Ampang.

She brought all of us lots of lovely presents. I received a 1000 pieces jigsaw puzzle ‘Home Sweet Home’ (a part of the Medallion Collection, featuring a picture of the countryside in the morning) and a beautiful historical fiction novel, ‘Stepping On The Cracks’ which I finished reading that very night. She also gave us two packets of a very tasty ‘Lindor’ by Lindt chocolates with peanut butter and orange fillings. The dark chocolates are so deliciuos and the chocolate fillings burst with aromatic flavour as they melt in my mouth. I just love them and could not stop eating them. I love Swiss chocolates and Lyndt is my favourite!

On Saturday, Aunty Selina spent her day sightseeing around Kuala Lumpur on the KL Hop-On Hop-Off bus. That night, we had our dinner at  Ayam Penyet AP Restaurant in Wangsa Walk Mall which served  delicious Jawa Timur (East of Java) and Minang  food. The special dish was the ayam penyet (smashed chicken) which originated from Surabaya. Unfortunately they were out of avocado. Indonesian styled avocado juice or ‘es alpukat’ is one of my favourite drink.

That night, we saw a big and bright blue moon (a blue moon means the second full moon of the same month. This phenomenon only occurs once in a blue moon 🙂 ). The moon was also supposed to be the brightest and biggest of the year.

We spent the next few days going around Kuala Lumpur with Aunty Selina. We went to Masjid Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Masjid Darul Ehsan, Putrajaya and lots more of interesting places.

Thank you so much, Aunty Selina for the wonderful presents and the delightful weekend we spent with you 🙂 . Please do come again to Malaysia. It would be great to see you again. We really miss you.

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!!!