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 😉

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.

‘Museng Demang’ (The Fever Season)

I was not feeling well yesterday. I had a sore throat and a fever. Even my little sister Anisah, my little brother Ahmad Ali and mum was not feeling well too. It started by Anisah who had a fever a few days ago.

Next was Ahmad Ali. He woke up the next morning with a swollen face. His eyes were badly swollen that he almost could not open his eyes. I went to him and I was struck with horror when I saw his face. He asked me why I was so shocked to see him. I then told him to look at the mirror. He was so shocked at what he saw that he nearly cried. He kept asking dad to send him to the doctor as he did not like the way he looked in the mirror.

Dad took him to Al-Islam Specialist Hospital or previously known as Kampung Baru Medical Center to see our Pediatric, Dr. Khairul Azman. Dr Khairul did some tests to make sure that it was only an allergy reaction that cause his face to be swollen. My little brother was so relieved when Dr Khairul ensured him that nothing was serious and he would get better soon.  Today, he looks perfectly like the old Ahmad Ali again, and how happy he was to look ‘normal’ again.  Anyway both Anisah and Ahmad Ali were still not feeling very well. They both felt better in the morning, jumping and playing together – and their temperature would rise up later in the day and ended up with mum staying awake for the last few nights taking care of the both of them during the nights. It seems to be very hard for young kids to stay in bed and rest.

Mum started a slight fever the day before yesterday. Next it was me, but I am feeling much better now. My Nenek said that it must be “museng demang’ (in Trengganuspeak) or the fever season . In  Terengganu we have “museng demang’ during the fruit seasons and also during the current weather when it rains at one moment before the sun shines brightly at another and all the sudden  it starts to rain again.   Any way Alhamdulillah, for my little sister, Aeshah and my dad are in good health.

My Drawings…

I quite like drawing and sometimes draw during my pastime. Here are some of the pictures that I drew…

Picture 1: A drawing of a tree – 20th May 2006.

Picture 2: A drawing of a flower – 2nd April 2007.

Picture 3: A drawing of my little brother Ahmad Ali- 28th July 2008.

Picture 4: A drawing of a flower (supposed to be a water lily) – middle of the year 2006.

Picture 5: A drawing of my sister – around April to June 2008.

A Trip to the National Zoo

Two days ago my family and I went to the ‘Zoo Negara’ or the National Zoo. We were so excited especially my little brother, Ahmad Ali and my little sister, Anisah Afifah as it was their first visit to the zoo.

We arrived there at about 9:40 a.m. and headed straight for the ticket counter. The tickets cost RM15 for adults and RM6 for children. As we were crossing the bridge near the main entrance we saw tall giraffes – my siblings and I screamed with excitement. We rushed there and were welcome by a flock of milky storks.  What an awesome sight it was to see the beautiful birds flocking all around the lake. Next we were welcomed by elephants, Pademelons kangaroos and ostriches.

At the bird aviary we saw birds of all sizes and colours. I just love the colourful ‘burung nuri’ or alouette in French and we started to sing our favourite song- Alouette. Next we saw deers, lions, tigers, buffaloes, camels and many more.  It was nice to see the orangutans clinging to the pillars while sleeping in their ‘tree house’. Anyway some parts of the zoo were closed for repairs.

At the Savannah Walk, we saw another group of giraffes eating their food, zebras, antelopes and rhinos. We also saw a gigantic turtle that could be around two hundred years old. Next, we saw mousedeers, goats and a tapir. At the end of the Savannah Walk is the bear complex. There are Brown Bears, Malaysian Sun Bears, Asiatic Black Bears and Sloth Bears. Most of them are sleeping. Now I know why Winnie The Pooh is so lazy!

On the way to the  Multi-Animal Show, we saw monkeys and lessers in big cages swinging from branch to branch, fishes and humboldt penguins.  The show started four minutes late and the performers were three colourful macaws and two sea lions.

After the show, we headed towards the Children’s World which is something like a Petting Zoo. Among others there are birds, ponies, scorpions, chickens and porcupines. At the reptile and amphibian house we saw snakes, crocodiles, frog, terrapins, turtle and tortoise. We saw leopards and pumas but there was no jaguar- my little brother Ahmad Ali wanted to see a baby jaguar as in his favourite TV show ‘Go Diego Go’. Before heading home mum bought us delicious creamy ice-cream; I guess ice-cream to zoo is just like pop-corn to movies.

We had a wonderful time at the zoo and learn a lot of things too. Anyway I feel very sad to see run down buildings in the zoo complex. The government is proud of KLIA, the Petronas Twin Towers, The Sepang Curcuit etc  but look at our National Zoo- what a shame. I hope our government will see  the importance of getting the zoo in good shape for it is a very educational place to visit especially for kids like me. Not everybody can afford to pay the entrance fees to places like the KLCC Aquaria and other expensive places to learn about animals so the government has to take actions towards saving and upgrading the National Zoo for it is one of a few affordable places for family outing in KL. Furthermore the place is so beautiful especially the grand old trees, the lake and the streams.

Moringa Curry and Terengganu Duku

Yesterday mum cooked us a very delicious moringa curry (refer to ‘Moringa Oleifera – A Miracle Tree’). I really enjoyed the soft and tasty moringa that I eat nothing else but the moringa curry and rice! Wish that I can share them with other moringa lovers.

After enjoying the delicious and spicy curry, we had some really sweet duku brought from Terengganu by Pak Cik Hisham (refer to ‘Lakse Kuoh Masok’). Terengganu folks are really proud of their duku and my dear nenek would always try her best to make sure that we have enough supply of Trengganu duku every duku season.

This exotic fruit tastes best when plucked after it had ripe. Anyway since ripe duku can only last for a few days;  only the unripe duku are sent to KL while the ripe fruit are sold locally in Terengganu. So to get the real sweet and tasty duku one has to buy them in Terengganu especially the duku that comes from the orchards in Pulau Manis and Telemong.

Anyway, eating duku can be quite tricky for young kids because it’s tiny seeds are really bitter when bitten.So mum has to take out the seeds before my little brother Ahmad Ali can enjoy them. As duku can only last for a few days, I guess I better eat them before they turn bad and can’t be eaten anymore.

A Smart Boy Learning To Count

My little brother Ahmad Ali loves watching advertisements on television. Well, not only did he watched them but he also tried to understand them.

One day he told us that he was puzzled over one advertisement. The advertisement shows a boy (who was supposed to be smart) came home from school and when asked by his mum about what did he learnt in school he started counting from 1 – 8.

My little brother argued that it is very funny that a smart ‘big’ boy had just learnt counting from 1 – 8 in school when he should have learnt them when he was two years old.

The other day our father’s friend Pak Cik Saidi offered him some cookies (that he knew Ahmad Ali loves). So Pak Cik Saidi was puzzled when my brother refused the cookies. When asked, Ahmad Ali said that he still loves the cookies but he do not want to eat them because they are ‘not good’.

He then explained that in the advertisement a pair of siblings who wanted more cookies stole their father’s cookies. They even replaced the cookies (that they stole) with play dough cookies! He stressed that those are bad values and he won’t want to be like them (by eating those cookies).

There are a number of other advertisements that he used to complain about. These included advertisements featuring kids fighting over the advertised items and also an advertisement showing a pair of siblings fighting over a game of Play Station. Fighting is bad value and Play Station is empty fun (which is also bad).

It makes me wonder that if a little boy could be able to value things; why did the adults who ‘create’ the advertisements can’t? My little brother once said that it is okay for him because he knows that junk food and lollipops are bad but what about the other kids who had not known about it? And what about the ‘cheating’, ‘stealing’ and practical jokes (by kids on adults) that been featured freely in advertisements? I’m really proud of my little brother; he may has his ‘angin’ sometimes but he is a wonderful boy!

Note: Allahyarham Prof Muhammad Al-Mahdi (the founder of Khalifah Institute) really loved and was very close to my brother and until the last day of his life, Prof Muhammad kept on reminding him about the good values, Khalifah responsibilities and on being a good Muslim. Ahmad Ali who was 3 when Prof passed away really miss him until today.

Trengganuspeak (3)

A year ago I would be stunned if somebody were to tell me that I’m going to write on the subject of Trengganuspeak as I know almost nothing about it (please refer to ‘Solo Bolo’). It was Uncle AG‘s (Awang Goneng) GUIT (Growing Up In Trengganu) that started my interest to learn Trengganuspeak. Thank you again Uncle AG – you are a great sifu. Or is it siput in Trengganuspeak as Pok Chang Siput (in GUIT: pg 203)? (refer to ‘A New Trengganuspeak Word From Awang Goneng’)

How true it is that spelling words in Trengganuspeak is really challenging even for Terengganu folks in Terengganu. As for me; even to pronounce the words are challenging enough. Just now my little brother Ahmad Ali asked for his vitamin in English. I corrected his pronunciation and dad teasingly corrected mine to ‘bitameng’ (that means vitamin in Trengganuspeak). Upon hearing ‘bitameng’ mum asked, “Isn’t it ‘bitaming’?” Dad said it is ‘bitameng’ and left my mum puzzled…

That brings me back to ‘kerejong’ or ‘kherjong’ (refer to ‘A New Trengganuspeak Word From Awang Goneng’). When I first saw it in ‘Kecek-Kecek’, I thought it meant ‘keras’ (hard). But mum said that ‘kherjong’ got nothing to do with ‘keras’. The word that explain the state of ‘keras’ (hard) is ‘khejong’ – ‘kerah khejong’. Mum later explained that apart from ‘kerah khejong’, there is also ‘kerah ccokkeng’. ‘Kerah khejong’ refers to the feel of hardness or very chewy (for food). For example if one bite into a cold leftover fried keropok lekor; especially the ones sold in KL; one would say, “‘Kerah khejong’ doh khepok leko ning” (The keropok lekor had turned very chewy).

On the other hand, ‘kerah ccokkeng’ refers to the ‘visual’ state of hardness or may even be fresh in food. Mum gave an example of a sentence she used to hear, “‘Kerah ccokkeng’ ikang (fish) ni”.

Until now I guess I’m still confused and could not distinguish the meanings ‘khejong’ and ‘ccokkeng’ for they are too confusing and difficult. Worst , I may end up getting confuse of ‘kherjong’/’kerejong’ (straitjacket) and ‘khejong’ as in ‘kerah khejong’. So now, I’m getting more and more confused than I used to be.