Tuesday, August 31, 2010


In my 300th entry of my blog, and in conjunction of our country's 53rd National Day, I have gone an extra mile of conducting an online interview with my fellow ex-coursemates from the B. Ed. TESL of Universiti Pertanian Malaysia class of 1993. The question is:


Pn. Maslinda, English teacher, Kuala Lumpur: "Independence means being able to be me, myself."

Mr. Ridwan, PhD graduate, Sydney: "I am living abroad at the moment so there will be no cars adorned with Jalur Gemilangs on the streets where I live come 31 August. I will, in fact, go to my university where I work part time and will not be blissfully on leave like my fellow countrymen back home. But despite what seems to be nonchalance towards the significance of our Independence Day, my wife, my daughter and I do celebrate our country’s independence at every chance we get. When asked by the locals where we come from, we proudly answer ‘Malaysia’ and it’s a word that carries our identity more effectively than a thousand banners. It sums up our culture, values, beliefs as well as the way we look and the way we sound when we speak English with them. As citizens of an independent nation, we are able to say all these things just by mentioning the name of our country – and we do so with pride."

Puan Sharifah, Lecturer, UM: "Independence is the freedom of choice, maturity, learning from our mistakes, having faith that the best of minds and hearts will work hard to cherish what we have in this beautiful country and keep it that way."

Pn. Hazura, HR Executive, Kuala Lumpur: "Independence to me means being able to see my daughter growing up in a diverse society, and not only being able to understand the physical similarities and differences between these groups but also their cultures and values. And with this knowledge, learn to respect each and everyone of them."

Pn. Ida, Full-time Homemaker, Melaka: "Independence means the freedom to voice your opinion without people taking action against you."

Puan Marina, Assistant Manager of HR, Kuala Lumpur: " Independence means good education, good transportation, skyscrapers everywhere in KL, living in peace and harmony, modernization, having a strong and stable government, freedom of speech, multi-millionaires, national car, our very own astronaut etc. - what else can you ask for?"

Puan Aliza, Teacher Educator, Cheras: "Independence means education for everyone."

Mr. Shazreen, English teacher, Cyberjaya: "Independence is a state of freedom to be on your own, and be able to lead to that freedom."

Puan Chris, English teacher, Kuala Lumpur: "Independence means having the freedom to choose and make decisions. It means not being told what I should be and how I should conform and obey. I am allowed to use my God-given gifts and talents and be responsible over the freedom I am given."

Puan Hazlina, Education Specialist, Kuala Lumpur: "Independence means being able to respect and tolerate each other; it doesn't matter if you are tall or short, black or white, pretty or ugly, or whatever your past is."

Puan Taty, English teacher, Kedah: "Independence means to be able to voice out one's opinion. Independence of the mind is very important so as to avoid any inner conflict within ourselves. We must also free our minds from judging a person from his wealth or monetary value rather than the good values one possesses.

Puan Suzanni, Development Specialist, Hawaii: " Independence to me is to constantly reflect on the true meaning of freedom, practising it and being sensitive to and aware of what it takes to keep a multi-racial country like ours united. It is something we should not take for granted. As with almost everything else, freedom is a conscious decision and real decisions are measured by the fact that youhave taken action. Our forefathers fought for our freedom, we must fight for its preservation."

Puan Nik, English teacher, Kota Bharu: "Independence is the state of being able to make your own decision."

Puan Hasni, Language Teacher, UIA: "You are physically Merdeka (translate: independent) if your heart is free of ill-will towards other Malaysians of different race and religion. You are not truly Merdeka if as long as you feel that Malaysia belongs to one race or religion only; or if you are of the opinion that Malaysia should only be monopolised by one race and religion only."

Puan Rozana, IT columnist, Kuala Lumpur: "Independence is the ability to have your say, and make your choice in a mature and responsinble manner. Taking into account that as a citizen of the country, we have an important role to continue to build upon the progress that we have made so far."

Puan Ana, Full-time Homemaker, Langkawi: "Independence basically means freedom to make my own decisions using my own discretions."

Puan Sakinah, Full-time Homemaker, Seremban: "Independence means freedom, being able to do what I want, move freely, living harmoniously in a multi-racial country. But most importantly, I feel safe most of the time."

Puan Anom, Postgraduate Student, UKM: "Independence means being able to be yourself and after experiencing life in the 20th and 21st century, independence means to be able to learn new things in facing the challenges that are yet to come."

Monday, August 30, 2010


How time flies. In about ten days time, we are going to celebrate Hari Raya (Eid ul-Fitr). And the arrival of the day can already be felt when a box of cookies arrived on my table in school. Thanks to Puan Sabariah Zainuddin for her famous Biskut Kapal (translate: Ship Cookies) every year.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


6:30 pm ~ khatam Al-Qur'an
[the closing ceremony upon the completion of reading the holy book]

7:12 PM ~ Breaking fast with dates and plain water
[the ending of the fasting session of the day]
~ Performing the Maghrib prayer

7: 35 pm ~ breaking fast with heavier meals
Four people shared food served on a tray. A few of our non-muslim friends were also there. Thanks a lot for coming.

8:20 pm ~ Performing the Isya' prayer
~ performing the tarawikh prayer (and witir)
[prayer that can only be performed during the month of Ramadhan]
~ tazkirah
[short religious talk]
10:00 pm ~ the end

The response was good. Many teachers and staff came, together with their family members. A few students, ex-students and the ex-principal were also presemt. Congratulations to those who have made this event a success.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


Khatam event was held to signify the success upon the completion of reading the Holy Qur'an. For this Ramadhan month, three groups had done the reading: students, morning and afternoon teachers. The slot was quite simple - the recitation of the surah (chapters) from the last part of the book, followed by a prayer (doa) and lastly, students and teachers shook hands while small tokens of appreciation were distributed. I must say that the students are very lucky because they are given the opportunity to attend this kind of session which will contribute to the development of the spiritual side at young age, and hope that they will continue practising this activity while they are growing up.

Friday, August 27, 2010


[flowers around Malacca]

Kindness, can be shown in many ways
a gift you buy, or debts you pay
A sweet word to someone blue, or just
listening to someone's point of view
Acts of kindness, should come naturally to you
never notiicng what you've done until it's through
Flowers picked right from the yard, or
something you've worked for very hard
Just taking time to let a loved one know
just how far, for them you'll go
A complete stranger, in danger ways
your act of kindness, they've no need, to repay
Whether it's something, you're asked to do
or just because, you wanted to
You never know when you may be in need,
of a sweet and kindly deed
When an act of kindness, comes your way
It brightens up your gloomy day
If the chance should come your way
show an act of kindness today.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


I went to see a dietitian at Sultanah Aminah Hospital so as to get her advice for the appropriate diet I should be on so as to avoid the formation of renal stones again. I have been hearing all sorts of things that should not be eaten from other people but the dietitian was not telling the same story. Basically, there is NO specific type of food that has to be avoided and she was just showing what a healthy diet should be like, in a more detailed manner which I found I do not practise some of the time. At the same time, I have to make sure that I do not gain weight but I am having an ideal BMI (body mass index) for now. So here are some tips that I think I can share with you:

(1) Have a consistent time for each meal. This is quite difficult because I eat when I feel like eating, or when the time permits to do so.

(2) Have breakfast in the morning, as early as 7:00-8:00 a.m. I always take breakfast late, like at 9:oo or 10:00 and sometimes when there are events to attend early in the morning and breakfast is ignored, or replaced during tea break.

(3) Try to avoid tea or coffee - but I just love tea (with flavours and Nescafe). I have to drink more milk and if I am tired of milk, I can switch to soy bean milk, yogurt and yogurt drinks. Milk should be taken twice a day and choose low fat milk. Milk is not fattening, except powdered milk.

(4) 3-in-1 sachet drinks are not good. Creamer is also not good. Even though creamer is produced from vegetable fat, it is still fattening. How scary! I always like to have my Nescafe or Milo milkier, by adding more creamer in my drinks.

(5) Noodles, the big and yellow in colour (Malay: mee kuning), is not good for health. It has high cholesterol and high content of boric acid. Eat vermacelli noodles (Malay: mee hoon) instead.

(6) Dinner cannot be eaten too late because it is not good for your digestion. A good time for dinner will be about at 8:00 p.m. and considering the fact how late I arrive home from school every day, this is quite impossible.

(7) When extracting the fruit juice, you will find that the juice will be separated from the pulp and we will simply throw the pulp away. Nevertheless, the pulp is actually the part that contains higher vitamins rather than the juice itself. So next time, mix the pulp with the juice and drink it.

Truth is stranger than fiction. I will add more information if I can remember what the dietitian had told me.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


After the great respomse (a lie) received from the blog readers for my previous out of the world (exaggeration) recipe of Cikgu Zainal's Milky Carrot Drinks, here is another description on how to prepare Bandung Laksmana drinks.

The ingredients are evaporated milk, rose syrup, a bit of sugar and fermented tapioca (Malay: tapai). First, mesh the fermented tapioca in a container. Then add other ingredients, i.e. the milk and rose syrup but make sure do not add too much of them. Add in more water and a bit of sugar if it is not sweet enough. You can make it more hip by adding some ice-cream soda to make it a fizzy drinks. Lastly, put in a few ice cubes as the drinks is best served cold.

There you are, one of my favourites and it is highly addictive. The word to describe this concoction: rejuvenating. Believe me, you cannot find this in any of the Ramadhan Bazaar. Happy trying.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


Suddenly everybody is busy doing spring cleaning at home, inside out. Everyone tries to make the house as clean and shining as possible as if there is no tomorrow. That is just the initial stage, before the house is then decorated. A regular activity, it is a sign that the highly-awaited Eid is coming soon.

I had my share of work yesterday and I needed to send my "collection" of recyclable materials which had been piling up behind my house. If you think that the work is easy then you are wrong. First, the different materials have to be sorted out accordingly: bottles, aluminum cans, metal cans and plastic bottles and containers. After that, the plastic bottles and aluminium cans have to be flattened so that the usage of the plastic bag can be maximised. Lastly, they have to be packed before being loaded into the car.

Then only, the materials will be sent to the recycle factory. The reason is you can get a better payment for the things you sent than selling them to the recycle lorry that goes around the housing area collecting the same items. By the way, that particular lorry will end up sending their collection at the factory too and that explains the lower rate given.

So, I am now RM13.00 richer now. Just imagine the amount of money that we throw away everyday. Reduce, reuse, recycle and start saving planet earth.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


I can only go to the Ramadhan bazaar during the weekend because school ends quite late. With the crowd and difficulty to park the car, I don't dare to trouble myself and not be able to break fast on time at home. The nearest one to my house is located in Kampung Melayu and every year, people will flock this area.

Basically, during the bazaar, there will be lots on food put on sale. Fasting should be an activity that abstain a person from spending more than what is necessary but looking at the variety of food, the temptation could be just too strong too resist. And I have to confess today I was a bit extravagant, the first time ever in this month but it was alright as I needed to eat more after the hard work I did at home in the morning.

One of my favourite stalls is the one selling curry puffs (Malay: karipap) and there are just curry puffs with different fillings - sardine, potato, chicken etc. The curry puff is good because the pastry will remain crispy even after many hours after it is fried. There are many other stalls selling any food that you heart desire.

ayam percik
Malay dishes

drinks, and the green one known as Katira is a favourite for fasting month

variety of kuih (Malay delicacies)
asma rojak

more kuih


laksa penang

ayam percik


grilled fish

By looking at the photographs, you will understand why it is important to have a very strong will to restrain yourself from buying everything. The best thing is not to go, or at least not frequently.


An event specially held today for the Kelas Aliran Agama (KAA) students - those who are in the special religious classes. Not only to train them of the good practise that should be carried out in the month of Ramadhan - such as tadarus, breaking fast, and performing fardhu (compulsory) and sunat (optional) prayers, but also to strengthen the ukhwah (relationship).

while waiting for other friends to arrive

the more, the merrier

breaking fast time

listening to tazkirah (short talk)

The event ended at about 9:45 p.m. There will be one more similar event that is going to be held next week but this time it will be for the teachers, staff and family members as well.