Monday, December 2, 2013

Mukhayyam Khoriji

It is monsoon season now in Kuala Terengganu or for the most of the East Coast area. It has been raining, quite heavily at times on and off. Fortunately, no alert of flooding yet, alhamdulillah. Luckily the weather was not as wet about 5 weeks ago (24th - 26th October) when I participated in a camping training programme organised by the NGO, IKRAM. It was a 2-nights and one-and-a-half-day affair and this time, as opposed to the Mukhayyam Dakhili (Indoor Camp) I attended last year, it is Mukhayyam Khoriji which is an Outdoor Camp. Yes we had to sleep in tents and do a lot of outdoor activities... I'm not actually an out-doorish kind of person and what with being stricken with OA (osteo-arthiritis...not Old Age, ok), participating in this kind of activity is the last thing on my agenda! But..what can I say, it's part of a training programme and being a senior member..have to set a good example for the juniors...haha 
Last year we attended the indoor camp at Anguilla Resort near Kuala Terengganu but this time we had it at Merantau Inn near Dungun. About 80 participants attended (ladies only) from all over Terengganu...and we had loads of fun..Here are some pics of the event:

About 40 minutes drive from Kuala Terengganu

The camp started early evening and by the time we arrived it was already dark so we had to set up the tents in the dim lighting..

Of course, dinner was pot luck (outside the musolla..)

Listening to the briefings..

..from the Programme Director, the Camp Commandant and her assistant..

Early morning at the camp site

These were members of my group, ready for the morning task..

..which was picking litter left by careless picnic-goers and campers along part of the beach

Sunrise..simply amazing..SubhanAllah!

Before setting on our beach trekking, we had to perform the Dhuha prayer on the beach..

Stopped along the way to have breakfast (sandwich and plain water)

Reached our destination (about an hour of trekking). Having a rest and listening to a tazkirah

A daunting task for everyone; to put up our flag as high as we can using a number of poles to be joined together and strings..

Everybody had to participate: connecting the poles, tying the strings, holding the end of the strings..or just shouting warnings of impending disaster..

There you go..

Oh no...somebody tighten your grip or give a bit of slack!

This is team work everybody!

Well, that's as high as you can go..7 poles...*sigh*

For this task, we need to prepare posters for a Flash Mob activity with the theme 'Saving Syria, Palestine and Egypt'

Here we are..after our presentation on the beach; a group picture with our master-pieces

On the last day; getting ready for a war game between 2 large groups

Graceful, gentle sisters becoming aggressive when provoked (this is one of the mildest image of the game I could show

Scene at one of the meal-times..

A waterway near the the reflections from the still and tranquil water..but beware, as the Malay saying goes: 'Do not assume there's no crocodile in still waters' Because apparently a crocodile did emerge from these waters some time ago...!

Some of us having a picture taken before leaving...

Well, I managed to survive the camping trip...knees aches and all, alhamdulillah... Anyway, this may be the last time I attended a camping trip with the Terengganu sisters as we are leaving Kuala Terengganu soon. The hubby is at the end of his contract with PERMINT..

Thursday, October 24, 2013

A Pioneers Reunion

It actually began with a whatsapp group which I started with my ex-secondary school mates. A number of us had already joined a group which consist of both gents and ladies but we found out it might be better to have a group with just us girls. Most of us are friends in Facebook but somehow it doesn't bring us closer together... but with whatsapp we managed to organise a meeting in just a week after the group was formed! Even though attendance was about only 40% but it was an achievement indeed as it was the very first reunion after leaving school about 36 years ago! Of course some of us did see each other over the years but this is the first time we managed to gather in a large group. There were actually a couple of girls I haven't seen since end of 1977! Anyway, we met on the 19th of October in one of the girls' home in Bandar Baru Bangi. It was really fortunate actually because I was in Meru due to the Eidul-Adha holidays. The hubby had gone to Melbourne for Corelle shopping and I was left in our home in Meru with the daughter... It was certainly a merry event, just talking (and eating..) and reminiscing..We are all mostly Negeri Sembilan born and bred so just the dialect that we used bring back fond memories for me (felt a bit rusty though..). The gathering ended after Maghrib prayers that we did together, alhamdulillah.. I reached home sometime after 10 pm..
Here we are, all thirteen of us that made it to the gathering..

Five ladies who were from the same class..

Sharing stories...

Tun (in tangerine scarf) relating a story about how she once nearly burned her

The spread...(from left: Hanim, Shimah, daughter of Noi, Balkis, Noi and Sal)

Our kind host was Balkis flanked by Deksu on her right and Sal and Kamariah on her left

In the background are the daughter, son-in-law and grandchild of Deksu who came along

Our used to be popular girl at school, Norazmah (still is, apparently...)

My two bosom friends (Siti and Faridah)

Packing food to take home..far right is our friend from royalty, Tunku Sharifah Shazelin (yep, I've got everyone)

We call ourselves the Pioneers because we were the very first batch of students (1973-1977) for the school Sekolah Menengah Sains Negeri Sembilan then (it's called Sekolah Tunku Jaafar now). So ladies...till another ya'll!

Monday, October 7, 2013

An Engagement

About two weeks ago (21st September) our (only..) daughter got officially engaged. According to the Malay tradition, the family from the male side has to come to the home of the female side bearing gifts and the ring... Since our house in Meru is not fit for welcoming guests, I asked my brother who lives in Putra Heights to play host. It turned out that he also had to be the spokesperson for our side since they had an uncle to speak for them...We don't actually follow strictly to tradition, so to long as the Islamic code is adhered to. Anyway the ceremony, if you can call it that, went smoothly even though my brother was rather taken aback at first at being pushed into the (thank God there wasn't any poetry-spouting). Some pics of the event:

Arrival of guests in traditional garbs and matching blues..

The guests..spokesperson uncle second from left requesting permission to 'pick our flower'

My brother: 'Yes, you may pick our flower..' 

Asking the hubby to inspect the ring..

Putting on the ring by the future MIL

Our gifts to the other side

This cake was made by our niece Amalina (who came with us to Bandung/Jakarta recently) for the modest feast after the ceremony...and it's really yummy!

So, what's coming next is the aqad nikah (reciting of the marriage vows) and then the wedding feast...all in January next year, InsyaAllah..

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

A Shopping Trip to Bandung and Jakarta

A few months ago the daughter managed to grab an offer from MAS for extremely cheap return flight tickets to Jakarta. You wouldn't believe it but we only paid RM75 each! (*gasp*) We figured it must be a mistake on their part but who cares, the transaction was legal. At first tickets were bought for five: me, the hubby, the daughter and 2 nieces. Unfortunately one of the nieces just started working so she couldn't apply for leave. And we didn't realise that Adik would still be with us on the dates that we planned to go. Alhamdulillah, we took him with us (tickets a teeny bit expensive though) for the holiday. There are probably many interesting sights to see in Bandung and Jakarta but Malaysians usually make the trip to shop! The hubby and Kak Lang had been here last year while I was in Adelaide helping Bang Long out when the daughter-in-law was in confinement. They came with a group which main purpose was shopping and nothing else! However, we thought we'd visit the famous tourist site in Bandung that is 'Tangkuban Parahu' ('upturned boat' - due to the shape of one of the mountain which surrounds the crater). It's about an hour's journey up the mountain. We went there on the first morning we were in Bandung (we reached Soekarno-Hatta International Airport early evening 12th September and rented a car for the 2-hour journey to Bandung). The top of the mountain was already crawling with people; the number of tourist almost the same as the number of The view was spectacular to say the least (notwithstanding the fact that it's actually a live volcano, last erupted a mere 10 years ago..). Alhamdulillah the weather was clear and sunny, not too warm or cold..with just a whiff of sulfur in the air now and then... To be honest, I would have enjoyed the sights more if we were not harassed too much by the souvenir-sellers...I really felt sorry for them actually for they are trying to make a living after all; but please, do not harass, it's stressful!  Here are some pics of our trip to Bandung and Jakarta:

The group excluding moi..

You have to queue to have your picture taken here..

The still smoking crater - Kawah Ratu or Queen's Crater

The two girls: Kak Lang and Amalina


Hubby and I enjoying the view

I supposed that means we are 1830 meters above sea level...

Also harassed by berries-sellers; made us taste samples which were surprisingly sweet for strawberries. Alhamdulillah we didn't buy any because later we found out that the strawberries had been actually soaked in sugar-water..

This guy is trying to sell me a souvenir (or two)..*sigh*

Hubby surrounded by sellers promoting their wares..they could drive you nuts!

At last one of them succeeded to sell us some fridge magnets (I wanted to give them to my happy circle sisters)

Meet our  ganteng (lol) driver in bandung - Mas Arif

Going down the mountain..

Stopped at a strawberry farm to pick some fruits

Not as large as the ones in Australia obviously..

Dropping by Kartika Sari to buy sweet things..

Adik looking bored...having to carry the basket, too

Look at the selections of brownies...and all reasonably priced.. 

Ok, the Belacan Restaurant

Here's our meal..the centre piece is the flying fish dish...

Soon, 2 girls came over and started promoting honey which we bought because we take honey a lot and of course it's pretty cheap

Most of the restaurants that we went to provide places to pray however humble

Jakarta and Bandung are two of the many places that people (especially from Malaysia) come to shop. Some even shop in bulk to re-sell back home. They have factory outlets for branded items too..
The shopping spree started with Factory Outlets

I got lucky here..

Hubby bought me a pair of shoes, yeay

Adik got his shoes

The multi-level shopping complex in Bandung (Pasar Baru)

Bird-eye-view of Bandung city

Buying snacks..those are tempe, the soy-bean based food Indonesia is famous for

Another restaurant we went to..the food is usually always soupless..

The name of the restaurant

Our driver, Pak Yana who drove us around Bandung on the second day and then to Jakarta

Gimmicks used to request donations at traffic lights junctions..

View captured at the rest area on the Bandung-Jakarta highway - hill slopes carved for paddy-planting

Jakarta here we come!

The kids wanted to have ice-cream at the Magnum Cafe in Jakarta

Where they prepare the ice-cream..

Here you go - one of the concoctions that we ordered

And the other one..

Picture was a good 7 minutes before I was allowed to even touch them...*sigh*

Here's Adik posing with one of the two ice-cream dishes that were shared between the 5 of us..

Where there's free wi-fi...there's anti-social behavior..

Elderly (apparent by the distance of the eyes from the device) person not

The multi-level shopping complex in Jakarta

Choosing lace..for a wedding? Aha..

The daughter trying out the lacy material...naah..too old-school

Another boring occasion for Adik..thank God for mom's ipad

Got himself a denim shirt at last...after scouring almost the whole floor for the right kind

Life saver...!

This lovely mosque is actually at the rooftop of the Pasar Tanah Abang Shopping Complex 

The men's section - they could even have their Friday prayers here

The over-friendly promoter who massaged my oh-so-tired foot (sorry for not buying your product, though)

The little restaurant near our hotel in Jakarta; poster announcing free food for individuals who break fast for their non-obligatory fast on Mondays and Thursdays..MasyaAllah

Time to catch the plane home..always get the Blue Bird taxi for they have meters so you don't get over-charged for your trips..

The famous Jakarta  macet or traffic congestion that lasts until dark (except weekends)

Good bye Jakarta..

Our flight was at about 4 in the morning and this is nearly our time to board..

Time for a last pic before boarding..

Indonesia is definitely a shopping haven and I'd love to go there again!