Bagai Bangla Jatuh Dari Langit

Kata Datuk Seri Najib: “Mereka bawa cerita kononnya kita mengimport 40,000 Mat Bangla untuk mengundi dalam pilihan raya. Kalau nak bawa 40,000 Mat Bangla, sebuah Jumbo muatannya 400 bererti 100 buah Jumbo terpaksa mendarat di lapangan terbang. Saya nak tanya kepada pembangkang, tunjuk di mana ada 100 buah jumbo yang telah mendarat di lapangan terbang kita.”

(minit 5:14)

Tapi tahukah anda rahsia bagaimana Mat Mat Bangla dibawa ke Malaysia oleh BN? Ini gambar yang saya perolehi dari pisau.net.

Mat Bangla

Mat Bangla melimpah ke bahagian atas kapal terbang

Kalau dah sampai melimpah ke bahagian atas kapal terbang, pasti mereka yang di dalam disumbat sampai ke dalam overhead bin. Itu pun belum dikira lagi yang berada di dalam tempat cargo, yang berasak-asak berdiri di ‘cockpit’ dan yang disumbat di dalam tandas-tandas kapal terbang. Oleh sebab itu walaupun sebuah Jumbo muatannya hanya 400 orang, tetapi khas untuk persediaan sempena PRU13, sebuah Jumbo boleh memuatkan beribu-ribu penumpang.

Yang duduk di atas tu, tak tahu lah saya macam mana. Mungkin mereka disediakan kerusi siap dengan tali pinggang untuk memastikan mereka tidak akan terjatuh, kalau tidak rugilah BN sebab kehilangan pengundi hantu.

Ya, tak mungkin kesemua mereka akan mematuhi arahan keselamatan, maka dari situlah lahirnya perumpamaan, ‘bagai Bangla jatuh dari langit’. Perumpamaan ini bermaksud terjadinya sesuatu yang tidak disangka malah yang boleh dianggap mustahil.

Sebagai satu langkah keselamatan, saya rasa kita semua mesti sentiasa memakai topi keledar bila keluar dari rumah walaupun semasa berjalan kaki kerana malang tidak berbau, sebab manalah tahu kalau-kalau ada Bangla yang jatuh dari langit.

My First Try At Baking

Cooking, especially baking had been on my dream list when I was a little girl. In fact, I’ve always wanted to bake a cake since I was as young as I could ever remember. When I was eight, I helped my mother and my aunt to bake some cookies for Eid or ‘biskut raya’ as we call them in Malaysia but my mother forbade me from baking cakes.

“It is not that easy to bake cakes and it’s very easy for something to go wrong,” she had told me. “Surely it can’t be too hard to bake a cake, isn’t it? The mixing was done by a machine. Why, even I could push the button of the mixer. How could anything go wrong?” I had thought then. I tried to ‘lend a hand’ but I only managed to give the cake a sharp poke before I was dragged away by my aunt. I dare say that the eight years old me felt quite hurt at being mistrusted.

My mother loved to bake when she was younger but she stopped using the oven when I was old enough to crawl into the kitchen, fearing that I might ‘burn’ my little fingers touching the oven. Now that Ali, the youngest of us, will be ten next year, mom trusts us enough to be careful near the oven. Suddenly we are having a delightful breakfast of Irish bread, soft and buttery cinnamon rolls for tea and tasty enchiladas for dinner.

I pleaded for my mother to let me try baking my first cake entirely on my own. At first, she was very reluctant to give her consent; quite rightly too for not just that I never had any experience in baking anything, I also tend to do everything in such a muddled haste or  ‘solo bolo’ in Trengganuspeak which could be disastrous in baking a cake. However, she later relented after I promised to bake under her supervision.

I was absolutely thrilled and I immediately flipped through her baking recipe book which she had used when she learned to bake herself. I decided on going through the book methodically, starting from the first recipe which reads ‘first sponge cake for a beginner to bake’. My mom didn’t quite agree. She suggested the pound cake “which is almost the same but is far tastier and easier to make”. She laughed when I pointed out that the title of the sponge cake says that it is the first cake that a beginner like me must bake before trying anything else.

The first tinge of fear hit me as soon as the previous excitement died down. I finally realised that I had not the least idea of how to ‘beat the eggs until foamy’, let alone folding flour into my batter! But since I really wanted to try out everything on my own, I decided to not ask my mom but to look up for some tutorial videos on the Internet. It seemed much more difficult and tedious than how I imagined and from my memories of watching my mother baking ‘kek raya’ but I was determined on going to do it all by myself.

I baked the sponge cake the next day and quite surprisingly, the cake turned out ‘very good for a beginner’, as what my mom said. Although it didn’t taste as good as how a pound cake would have tasted, I think the excitement and satisfaction of baking for the first time was enough to make me ate two big slices of the sponge cakes! At last I had finally been able to bake my first cake!

A week after, I baked a pound cake for my sister, Anisah’s birthday (much to my mother’s joy). Unfortunately this time, I forgot to preheat the oven until I had folded in the flour. I also spilled some hot water while melting my butter (to which my mother had stared at me with profound astonishment and asked, “How in the world could that ever happen, Aiman? This is the first time I’ve heard of such thing!”). However, it survived my little mistakes and the cake turned out beautifully well and delicious too.

Baking the cakes did give me a pleasant time and I enjoyed every moment of it. In some ways, it’s easier than baking bread, which I tried a few weeks after. Mom does not agree with me, well, she even let my little brother baked a whole wheat bread since the bread does not need much kneading. And with a little help from mom, my little brother’s first bread turned out beautiful and tasty too.

Well, it may be easy to bake breads but it tries my patience as I waited for the dough to rise. Then I need to punch it down and after shaping it, I need to wait for it to rise again. Such a long process of waiting… and if the bread is a loaf, I have to wait for again before I could slice it. It is really hard not to be able to taste the wonderful bread right away as it comes out steamingly hot from the oven. Starring at the golden bread while sniffing the sweet and ‘tasty’ aroma made me feel as how Cookie Monster feels when looking at a plate of cookies that should not be immediately eaten.

So now that I had tried my hands at baking cakes and breads, I’m wondering what should I bake next?

A Visit To A Real TV Studio!

From left: Me, Anisah, Ahmad Ali, Aunty Farah and Aeshah

When my father was invited to the TV Al-Hijrah studio for another appearance on a segment of their morning show, ‘Assalamualaikum’, he asked if any of us would like to come with him. Not surprisingly, Ahmad Ali (and I suppose my sister Aeshah too, although she would not show it) went head over heels with excitement and anticipation.

Ahmad Ali and Aeshah Adlina at the main entrance

Arriving at their headquarters, you could see the excitement written all over the face of the young ones. Ahmad Ali gazed around with a childish wonderment and glee, with his grin stretched from ear to ear. He even had the rare opportunity to take a photo inside the studio before the program was aired!

Inside the recording studio

We were in the ‘meeting room’ while waiting for our father’s turn and it was there where we first met Aunty Farah Adeeba and Abang Amin Idris, the hosts for the day’s show. Aunty Farah was very charming and amiable and since I’ve often teased Ali that Abang Amin is the ‘future Ahmad Ali’ by their similar expressive body language, it amused me to note that he even ‘posed’ like Ahmad Ali!

Ahmad Ali and Abang Amin Idris

Ahmad Ali posing in front of a FedEx Shipsite

This reminds me of the time when I myself had felt the same thrill as I walked into Karangkraf’s headquarters for a photo session. I was featured as the cover-girl on the distinguished children’s magazine, Dewan Pelajar December 2006 issue. I can still remember the disappointment that I felt as I walked into the Karangkraf office. I was expecting a large and ‘exciting’ studio like the ones I’ve been watching on ‘Kidsongs’, quite forgetting that I was going to a photography studio and not a television studio!

Cover of the December, 2006 issue of the Dewan Pelajar magazine

It is funny to think that when I actually walked into a real TV studio, I have lost that excitement that I used to have before. It would be really fun if I could be at the studio when I was younger… like my little brother, Ahmad Ali.

Cartoon – My hair

My mother, my little brother and I love to draw. My mother and I really enjoy visiting art shops, we can spend hours looking at the wonderful arrays of professional art materials like paints, colour pencils, pastels, brushes, graphite pencils, charcoals and others. The best part about sharing a hobby with our parents is that we’ll have the luxury of using different mediums of professional quality for our drawings.

I also enjoy drawing cartoon for my siblings. Most were based on our little plays and jokes. I started drawing comics or simple cartoons either to ‘document’ wonderful moments that we shared or to amuse my siblings. I draw the characters in stick figures because whenever I tried to add meat and bones, my drawings turns out awkward. It is true that there’s no specific rule to cartoon drawing and one can exaggerate as much as one wish but simple cartoon saves a lot of time too. According to my mother, my cartoon characters are somehow alive; something which I cannot create with a proper human drawing.

Here is the one that I drew a few months back telling the story of my hair. I did not intend to post it on my blog because I never think that my cartoons are good enough to be shown to other people but my mother ‘made’ me post it for she said that it is really good and the comic really made her laugh. My mother also said that by gaining the confidence, I may be able to draw better in the future.

*Note: Kanillia is a cat living at the back of our house. The second drawing shows Khanillia pulling my hair with its claws.

I hope that I manage to make somebody smile 🙂 Kindly give some feedbacks on my cartoon and I would really appreciate useful tips and comments so that I can improve myself.

Birthdays in March – mum’s and mine

Both mum and I not only have our birthdays in March but also in the same week. I am 16 this year, Alhamdulillah, and my family members had given me wonderful presents.

Mum gave me a lot of her Australian, American, Canadian and New Zealand stamps wrapped in a lovely silver coloured box. My dad bought me stamps at the stamp fair and an A3 sized document file which I now use to keep my stamps in. My sister Aeshah gave me some Vietnamese stamps featuring dolphins that are missing from my collection and lots of odds and ends that I could use for my craftworks. Anisah gave me a number of her drawings and Ali gave me a hairdryer, a ‘Snoopy’ clock and a watch.

My parents gave me a beautiful birthday card with a picture of a flower drawn by mum (the artist), using soft pastels. Ahmad Ali gave me three birthday cards for he enjoyed card making so much that he couldn’t stop making them… Abang Muhammad sent me a birthday card too, all the way from Chicago together with lots of gorgeous U.S.S.R. stamps.

My mother had a marvellous birthday too. Again, most of her presents were stamps from all of us. I secretly looked through her stamp albums and picked out stamps that I own but is missing from her collection. I’m delighted that she was thrilled to receive the stamps that I gave her. I also gave her some Machin stamps (the British definitive stamps with a picture of Queen Elizabeth’s head – mum simply love them, she has a few pages of those lovely stamps in her stamp album and wishes to own as much as she could). Aeshah gave her stamps too. Anisah gave her an envelope with a picture of a cat that she ‘bought’ for 6 stars (our play-money currency) from my little brother.  And Ahmad Ali gave mum a beautiful egg cup and a special Machin stamp(the 1840 Anniversary Machins) with pictures of both Queen Elizabeth as in other Machin stamps and Queen Victoria as in Penny Black.

That night,we had pizzas from Domino’s Pizza for our dinner. Everyone love Domino’s Pizza and we celebrated most of our birthdays with them. It was only last month when we had pizza for my little brother’s birthday!

A Map of Trengganu

Uncle Awang Goneng’s latest book, A Map of Trengganu is finally out! This morning, I went out with my father to pick up the books from the country distributor and helped dad with our first batch of deliveries.

I've got my copy... Have you got yours?

Anxious to be one of the first people to read it, I quickly picked up a copy from the box as soon as we reached home. Soon, I was too engrossed with the book that when my mother called me to help her with the chores, she was shocked to hear me laughing alone. At that very moment, I was reading the part when Awang Goneng ‘took a Law degree “from the Academic Registrar’s office one night when the door was left open”.

‘A Map of Trengganu’ proved to be as beautiful and fun as its prequel ‘Growing Up In Trengganu’. Since the book had just arrived from Singapore, (as for today) there is a big chance that you may not be able to get them from the bookshops in Malaysia yet. But you can calm those restless, fluttering butterflies in your stomach by ordering them straight from ‘The Pizzaman’ (who happens to be my father 🙂 )!

You can contact him by email (akarimomar@yahoo.com) or call/SMS 019-319-9788. You can check out his blog post on the book here!. And what’s more? He can send it straight to your doorsteps (which is why he was called ‘The Pizzaman’). Do not miss the chance and get your copy NOW

Anyway, right after I’ve published this post, I’ll be going back to my room where I shall not be disturbed (nor shall I scare mum with my constant outburst) and continue reading the book 🙂

Stamp Collecting

A page from my stamp album

 

I had been introduced to stamp collecting since I was a little girl. Both of my parents collect stamps and they both have beautiful collections of stamps from most parts of the world. However, it wasn’t until I was 10 when I started to have a real interest in stamp collecting.

I was reading an article from a magazine at my school library about a girl who had collected more than a thousand stamps by the age of 8. When I went back home, I took out my dad’s stamp albums and look at the arrays of stamps neatly arranged inside them. For the first time, I was fascinated by stamp collecting and decided to start my own.

My first few stamps were given to me by my Indonesian classmate who received letters from her families and relatives in Indonesia. Unfortunately due to my carelessness, I lost them all and I really regretted it.

Nevertheless, it was my parents who helped me a lot in stamp collecting. My father bought me a stamp album two years after I started collecting stamps; it was when he thought that I was already serious with my hobby. He also gave me stamps from his letters.

My mother however, gave me lots of stamps from her own collection and some dated back to her schooldays. She told me how people threw away most used stamps that were very common during those days. Had she kept them, she could have sold them now for a good price. I guess that is the reason why I have more than a page filled with ‘Alophoixus ochraceus‘ (Merbah Beringin) stamps in my stamp album. If you live in Malaysia, it is impossible to miss the stamps since they appear on almost every letter sent by the Malaysian Postal Service or Pos Malaysia.

My good friend, Aishah Salihue (whose parents are from Sri Lanka but is living in the USA), mailed me US and Sri Lankan stamps every now and then. Even her wonderful grandfather gave me lovely Sri Lankan stamps when we met at Aishah’s house in San Jose in 2006.

 

A day with Aishah in the backyard of her house in San Jose. From left: My sister, Aeshah; Aishah; me; Aishah's brother, Ali; and Anisah (far right) in a pink sweater.

My collection consists mainly of Malaysian stamps especially the ‘Birds of Malaysia’ series and the ‘Malaysian Agro-Based Definitive Stamp’ series. Although I haven’t collected the entire set of both series, I hope to be able to collect a complete set of the mint stamps and a complete set of used stamps from both series.

 

Some of my stamps from the 'Birds of Malaysia' series. I have more than a page of these.

In fact, I would like to expand my collection as big as I could. If only I could be as lucky as my mother to inherited a lovely collection of Malaysian stamps from her grandfather and a really wonderful collection of Malaysian and foreign stamps from her aunt when she was about eight…

However, stamp collecting is losing its popularity among today’s youngsters and I suppose it is harder to get wonderful stamps in our mails now than it was during my parents’ schooling days. Perhaps we should start writing more letters instead of sending e-mails; furthermore receiving letters are much more exciting than getting e-mails, at least for me 🙂

Ahmad Ali’s Best Birthday

A stamp booklet!

Many wonderful things happened on our birthdays and my brother, Ahmad Ali, told me that his 8th birthday was his best. Ahmad turned 8 only six days ago and many wonderful things happened on his special day.

Coincidentally, he also started his silat (Malay martial art) class on his birthday. He had been waiting for years for the day when he could join my sisters and I to our silat class. He amazed our instructor by being able to do a lot of the simple moves (since Ahmad had been ‘practicing’ with his sisters at home).

Back at home, dad brought him an envelope addressed to him from Abang Muhammad (the letter actually arrived the day before but our mail-girl, Anisah, had forgotten to pick up the Saturday’s mail). When he read the sender’s name and address, Ahmad didn’t believe that it was from Abang Muhammad. He insisted that my dad was teasing him until he opened the birthday card and saw Abang Muhammad’s signature. He was speechless with pleasure and surprise at the thought of Abang Muhammad sending him a birthday gift all the way from Chicago. Ahmad was also delighted with the mint stamps that Abang Muhammad sent him.

A stamp album from mum

Unwrapping gifts had always been the main part of our birthday celebrations. It was fun to look at him shaking his presents and peeking into the openings of the wrappers as he tried to guess what was inside and whom it was from. It is also very rewarding to look at his facial expression when he opened his gifts. His joy and delight was painted all over his face. Amazingly, his best birthday present was a pack of menthol flavoured sunflower seeds from mum, followed up by a DIY model airplane (from me) and a ‘Maisto‘ Assembly Line Enzo Ferrari from my dad which tied in 2nd place. A stamp album from my mum with 132 stamps inside for him to start his stamp collection was chosen as Ahmad’s 3rd best birthday present followed by the mint stamps from Abang Muhammad. However, Abang Muhammad was very lucky because Ahmad chose Abang Muhammad’s card as his best.

He had a beautiful birthday e-card with a cute teddy bear from Aunty Selina who lives in Maryland, USA. That night, we had pizza from Domino’s Pizza for his birthday dinner. And Ahmad (who had been a fussy eater) finished 3 enormous slices of the extra large sized pizza!

Note: For more photos, click here.

Happy Birthday Pak Cik Burhan!

Today is my father’s good friend, Pak Cik Burhan’s birthday. They were close friends since their college days in Carbondale.

Pak Cik Burhan is really fun to be with and certainly great to talk to. He always has interesting answers whenever I ask him  simple questions. By the way, he claimed that he has no favourite colour since different colours fit into different things. Coincidentally, my mother gave me the same answer a few days earlier…

From the photos my dad showed me, I believe my dad had had some very good time with Pak Cik Burhan back in USA. Oh, and speaking of good times, Pak Cik Burhan is a barbecue expert. We twice had Pak Cik Burhan over for barbeque parties and they were really fun. My dad said that Pak Cik Burhan loves barbecuing ever since they were in Carbondale!

I hope that Pak Cik Burhan has a wonderful birthday and enjoyed the birthday song from my little brother, Ahmad Ali 😉

An evening at Pantai Rhu Sepuloh… With Uncle Nisar!

We took a trip to Kuala Terengganu on 24th of December, 2010 together with Uncle Nisar. That was his first trip to the east coast of West Malaysia and we were very excited to take him around our hometown.

On the evening of the 26th of December, we went to Pantai Rhu Sepuloh (Rhu Sepuloh Beach – near Bari). According to Uncle Fauzan who is my father’s good friend, there is a special place at the beach where we can buy fresh fishes and other seafood along the beach.

Walking along the sandy beach

After buying some fresh fishes and some tasty big prawns, dad drove us to a stall selling delicious ‘ikang celuk ttepung’ served with ‘air lada’ for tea. Of course they do have other food in their menu but the ‘ikang celuk ttepung’ is probably their most popular dish since their fishes were freshly caught. We also had some prawns, squids and fried noodle. The seafood were so fresh and tasty and not like the ones that we usually buy from the markets. After that we each had a refreshing glass of coconut drink.

Enjoying our ikang celuk ttepung

After tea, we took a walk along the beautiful sandy beach. We found a shipwreck and mum suggested that it may be Captain Jack Sparrow’s ship, ‘The Black Pearl’. Uncle Nisar told us that Captain Jack Sparrow was so popular in the USA that people would dress up as the captain to the cinema to watch the movie!

Is this all that is left of The Black Pearl?

Then we came to an area where the fishermen dock their boats. We met a fisherman who showed us some fish traps. I still could not figure out how the trap works; I really hope that Uncle Azahar can help me 😉

We went to see the fishing boats

Examining a fish trap

Finally we walked back to the car and started our journey back home.