Bedil Hunting

I came back to Kuala Lumpur last Tuesday after a two weeks Eid holidays in Kuala Terengganu. I had a wonderful holiday, doing lots of interesting and even ‘adventurous’ activities; among which were ‘Bedil Huntings‘.

On the 5th day of Syawal, my father drove my mum, sisters (Aeshah and Anisah) and brother (Ahmad Ali) to Bukit Pak Apil. All of us were provided with a camera each to try and snap the best bedil photos.

We arrived at the site rather early and since the view from the top of the hill was breathtaking, I spend the time snapping beautiful photos of it. After a while a ‘bedil’ contractor staff arrived accompanied by a policeman. Since ‘bedil’ is explosive, a policeman is needed to escort the contractor and to supervise the operation of ‘bedil’ shooting.

The contractor staff walking up to the site with a policeman escorting him.

The kind policeman told us about the safety procedures during ‘bedil’ shootings and then directed us to the safe site (just in case the ‘bedil’ did not shoot high up in the air as it was supposed to be; but instead explodes on the ground). He also told us that if that happens the flying debris from the explosion could reach as far as 100m away. There were a few unfortunate accidents in the ‘bedil’ shooting history in Kuala Terengganu. So we went to the ‘safe site’ and waited there excitedly.

The contractor staff walking up to the 'bedil shooting base'.

A few minutes to Maghrib, all of us were busy focusing our cameras towards the blue sky, trying to guess the right location of the ‘bedil’. We were really excited. Then, there was a thunderous ‘explosion’ as the bedil shot up to the sky. It was an amazing sight of a beautiful fiery light shooting up in the dusk sky. I managed to snap a photo of it and so did Aeshah.

The beautiful fiery light shot up in the dusk sky

The fire shot up so high up and went directly above our heads as it exploded into a huge firework display like a gigantic colourful umbrella stretching above us, with an amazing display of colourul lights ‘raining’ down as it faded and vanished into the darkening sky. I was too amazed by its size and beauty and was taken by surprise that I forgot to click on the shutter release. So I missed the shot of the climax! It was just like a dream; it all happened as fast as it ended and left us glaring into the sky speechlessly.

Although I missed the shot of the climax, I managed to get this: the smoky remain

We went back to the Bukit Pak Apil for the next two days until the 7th day of Eid which mark the last bedil shooting of this Shawal. On the second day, the only shot I managed to get was a cloud of smoke after the fireworks display ended and on the last day, I managed to snap a photo of the fireworks before it fully expanded. Anyway, during those ‘bedil’ huntings my dad and my little brother managed to snap beautiful photos of blooming fireworks at its peak.

It was an exciting and adventurous experience for all of us. It was something that when the accuracy of the location and timing is vitally important. Just a split seconds makes the whole difference; we may ended up missing the action and snapping photos of fading smoke in the darkening sky instead of an amazing colourful display of lights in the evening sky!

It was a nice experience to go bedil hunting and I hope that we could go back up there again next year to hunt for more bedil photos.

Karipap

Curry puff or ‘karipap’ is a traditional Malay food usually served during teatime. Pastry is used for the skin and the filling is curry with meat and/or potatoes. Karipap may also comes in  different ‘version’ such as sardine puff, meat puff and fish puff and you can always explore using your imagination to create new fillings of your own invention…

Last month, my mother decided to make some beef and sardine puffs for tea. Mum is an expert in folding the edges of a karipap (the trickiest part). She does them in supreme quickness without any difficulties at all, thus alluring Aeshah, Ali and I to join her. She told us that it isn’t as easy as it looks but let us join in anyway. We excitedly washed our hands, took our place and mum gave us a stuffed karipap each. What we had to do is to fold the edges so that the fillings won’t spill out.

My first badge of karipaps (note: my first karipap was the one in the middle with two little openings where you can see the fillings).

Mine turned out really funny. I folded them the wrong way, the sizes were inconsistent and the shape of each fold is very silly. Ali’s first one came out pretty nice; infact I think his were better than Aeshah’s and mine (if compared to our age difference).

Ali's badge of karipaps. Aren't they nice?

Aeshah’s karipap turned out into a ball of mixed fillings and pastry 😆 . Gone were the shape of the karipap! There wasn’t any folds at all… just a ball.

Aeshah's first badge of karipaps (Note: her first karipap is the one in the bottom-middle ~ a ball of pastry and fillings).

But she made a huge improvement in her second attempt. Mine also came out better by practice. Later, we asked mum if we could make karipaps with fillings of our choice. Mum approves.  Aeshah and Ali quickly rushed to the fridge and took out a packet of shredded mozarella cheese. I took a jar of ‘chunky’ peanut butter and a jar of anchovies and made peanut butter puff and peanut butter and anchovies puff 😀 .

Now, Aeshah, Ali and I are getting better at ‘karipap-folding’ and we are discussing on new fillings for our next project. Ali wants us to prepare some karipaps for a ‘special person’ by Wednesday… can you guess who?

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.

Animals Love To Hear Quran – Video

As I promised all of you, here is the video of our performance (click here to read more) last month. The quality is not as good as the original video since my dad had to decrease the size of the file in order to upload it on YouTube. The video is also quite noisy because of the noise made by the inflatable tent blower which they used as the roof for the stage. If my dad uploads a better version of the performance, I’ll let all of you know. This video shows all four of us (Ahmad Ali, Anisah Afifah, Aeshah Adlina and I) singing the Animals Love To Hear Quran nasheed.

During the performance, we also sang the Khalifah Song and Alhamdulillah. I hope that you shall enjoy the video.

We Are Khalifah Of Allah – Video

As I promised all of you, here is the video of our performance (click here to read more) last month. The quality is not as good as the original video since my dad had to decrease the size of the file in order to upload it on YouTube. The video is also quite noisy because of the noise made by the inflatable tent blower which they used as the roof for the stage. If my dad uploads a better version of the performance, I’ll let all of you know. This video shows all four of us (Ahmad Ali, Anisah Afifah, Aeshah Adlina and I) singing the Khalifah Song.

We performed two other songs that day, Animals Love To Hear Quran and Alhamdulillah. I hope that you shall enjoy the video.

Happy Birthday to Tahirah, Maryam and Sofia!

Have a wonderful birthday to the two of my beloved friends, Tahirah Mohd Nasir (Happy 15th birthday!) and Maryam Balqis (Happy 13th birthday!)

I would also like to wish a happy belated birthday to my dear friend Sofia Sultana who had turned twelve yesterday.

May Allah bless you all and have a great year ahead!

A Nasheed Performance At Shah Alam

My siblings and I performed at the Maal Hijrah Carnival 1431. The carnival was held at the Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah Mosque in Shah Alam, Selangor and was organised by the Jabatan Agama Islam Selangor (JAIS) and it goes on for one week.

Our performance was on the 2nd of Muharam (last saturday) or 19th December. According to the schedule, the performance is supposed to start exactly at 2:30 p.m. but it was postponed for a few minutes since there was a thundering storm. We sang 3 songs together:

1- The Khalifah Song

2- Animals Love To Hear Qur’an (written by Dawud Wharnsby Ali)

3- Alhamdulillah (also written by Dawud Wharnsby Ali)

I guess the best part was when Ali made the bird sound at the end of the song animals love to hear Qur’an.

My dad will upload the video on YouTube later but the video is a bit noisy made by the blower of the inflatable tent. I’ll tell you when he does.