Thursday, December 31, 2009

Good Bye 09....... Welcome 10

New Year always bring me back to the time when I was embracing the coming of 2001 alone (without my family - then, I already have 2 children). Work brought me to the Fish & Chips land (to borrow DrSam's terminology). Watching people rushing somewhere with their loved ones while I dragged myself back from Cavendish Square to Porchester Mews in the cold winter evening made me feel so...alone and foreign. But, coming to think about it, I think it was more to the fact that I was down in flu than the celebration itself  - you see, I never actually celebrated New Year (I mean by having a special dinner or going to watch the fireworks and all - it is just that in Shah Alam where we stayed, we can watch it from my bedroom's window!)

What does it mean anyway, this New Year thingy? Other than the fact the Earth has completed its tour of duty around the Sun - completed its 365.24 days journey?

Could it possibly be a time for reflection? Looking back at what have been accomplished the past 365.24 days? And what not? If not, why? A time for post-mortem.

Or is it a turning point? To embark on a new career? To be kinder to oneself, to others, to Mother Earth? Or simply to set a new milestone. To change the way thing is done? Or, to look at the same thing through different eyes?  Whatever it is, it is good to at least have some points to reflect and to relook into the directions and the purpose of our life. It is also good to want to achieve something as long as it is not destructive to mankind.

As for the Moslem, our New year is 11 days earlier than the solar calendar. Islamic New Year is based on the revolutions of the moon, such the Islamic year is only 354 days.  It is a low-key event compared to Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha.  There is no specific religious ritual on this day except many regard it as a time for reflections and resolutions. It is also a day to reminisce in the Hijra or migration of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) from Mecca to Medina. And this marked the beginning of a Moslem community - a community inspired by the Creator to live in complete harmony;  a group of people who is bounded by faith with the responsibility of creating peace to the whole world - also, to treat one another with kindness regardless of race, colour and beliefs.

For my non-Moslem friends, suicide bombings and killings of the innocent people are not part of Islamic teachings. Islam in itself means peace.  And never once in its teaching it resort to violence.  It teaches its followers to avoid conflict :

But turn away from them and say "Peace!" (43:89)

.....take not life which Allah has made sacred, except by way of justice and law : thus He commands you that you may learn wisdom (6:151)

Even in war, there are certain rules which include :

(i) no killing of any old person, child or woman;
(ii) no killing of the monks in monasteries and those who are in the place of worship
(iii) do not attack a wounded person

So, to all of us regardless of race, color and beliefs - let us be kinder, more considerate and more generous with forgiveness for the year to come and more.  May 2010 brings us what we have wished for.        

Happy 2010 everyone! :-D

(Source of image :

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Our Journey to Edinburgh........Part 2

We left Livingston at around 1.30 p.m. and started the second leg of our journey to the City of Edinburgh.  The day before when we had our lunch at Taufik's place, it was planned for us all to have our lunch at the King Fahad Mosque - a very tasty pilao rice they said! So, we headed there.  Somehow, due to the cold and we were very hungry by the time we reached the mosque, we have forgotten to take any snapshot of the food that we had.  Our lunch yesterday :

(i)  6 plates of pilao rice (one for each of us)
(ii) lamb curry
(iii) 2 tandoori chickens
(iv) chicken curry
(v) 2 kebabs

And of course that's the first eating-out lunch we had since we arrived last September! And how delicious! Yummy!

Anyway, some snapshots for you! Enjoy!

                                     Oh the Clear Blue Sky!

                               Can you spot the red Chopper?

 2 hrs journey + 2 hrs shopping + 40 mins journey = 3 very tired children

King Fahad Mosque, 50 Potterow Edinburgh EH8 9BT (where Mi's shoes were snatched!)

Muslimat area of the Mosque. On the 2nd Flr - reachable through a spiral staircase

                                          Mia, Aqil & Fatehi

          The children enjoying a game while their Moms were praying

                                          Mia, Aqil & Balqis

Our Journey to Edinburgh....... Part 1

Well, as per my previous entry, the three families - Taufik's, Zahir's and mine made the journey to Livingston without any major incident yesterday.  Every points considered, it was pleasant though a little tiring - if only not marred by Mi's pair of Trespass sneakers being snatched at King Fahd Mosque - Oh yes! It happened here too! Not just at Kuala Lumpur's Masjid Jamek, mind you! And poor Mi had to go home with a pair of Japanese slippers instead!

Anyway in this part, I hope you enjoy the photos :

                       The sceneries from Dundee to Livingston

                              Misty/Foggy - First leg of the journey

                                 Promised of a sunshine


                   .......and the snow capped the mountains white

                           Can you spot some sheeps graving?

                                         Crossing the Bridge

                                  Livingston - Some interior!

So! What do we bought at Livingston then - other than joining the Boxing Day Sales crowd? Well...:

(i) a large pot
(ii) a large wok
(iii) a large deep frying pan
(iv) a pair of jeans for Hakim
(v) 3 books for Hakim, Mia & Aqil (Danish couldn't find anything that he liked)
(vi) Finally - after months of searching, I bought a winter coat for myself

Actually I nearly bought a pair of knee length boots too but the look on Mi's face told me that he was not really in favour of my choice (quite a funky one though!) so, that settled it. I came back still in my old boots!

Oh yes! As I promised my dear friend DrSam (of Archive of Time blogspot) the much crippled snowman (my children's and husband's first attempt though,mind you, so, here goes !

Friday, December 25, 2009

Ramblings ...... Part 2

It was -7 last night. And it is a very icy Christmas morning here in Dundee. If any of my neighbour is partying last night, I heard nothing of it. In this cold, I guessed there are a lot of interferences in the sound waves.

Most of the shops (except maybe Global and Al-Noor) will be closed today. The same goes with the public transportation. Our neighbour Taufik had invited us to have lunch at his house today - Ohhh... the thought of walking in a temperature below 0! His house is just about a shout away but... You see there'll be six of us - I can't helped feeling like a mother duck when walking with my children especially when we are in single file! But I know due to the cold today will be the fastest single file ever! Or it will be no file at all! They will be running aimlessly, grabbing the snow at every opportunity to throw to each other along the way. Or perhaps, we'll be bringing the sledge along - it'll be fun for them to sledge downhill. And if Dear Mummy can stand it a bit longer, maybe their wish for a snowman can materialise.

Actually, they have been asking me to build a snowman with them since the first snow last Saturday. I have been letting them out to play in the snow since but most times, not 15 minutes after I let them out, there'll be desperate knocks on the door. And there they are! Wet but happy! And eager to be let in!

There have been a few "short trips" in the snow but today, I have a feeling that they are going to bully me into building that snowman which has been long overdue. I have been avoiding getting out of the house for quite some time now. We'll see.

May be I need to prepare myself for the trip tomorrow. Well, Mi had already agreed to join two other families (Taufik's and Zahir's) to go to Livingston on Boxing Day. Though the prospect of going excite me a bit but the thought of travelling in the cold and the fact that none of our cars are well-equipped to travel in the snow, I am quite unsure. Oh how I wish I can just hibernate in this weather! But perhaps this is the only chance of travelling this hols. I'm pretty sure Mi is not taking any leave and who knows, if I am lucky, we can even detour a bit to visit Edinburgh. Not for shopping - we can do that in Livingston (it's a large factory outlet) but just to see Edinburgh in Winter. They say it is beautiful there.

Well, I've really been rambling don't I? Perhaps it's time to put the pizza in the oven now - yes! we are having pizza for breakfast today.

Cheers! (Am I getting insane.....?)

Ramblings....Part 1

It was -4 degrees Celcius last night! As I opened the door to let Mi out to work this morning I was met by sharp coldness so bitter I immediately closed the door without actually seeing him off. And I rushed back to the comfort of my kitchen (still warm from preparing his lunch) and make myself some latte (with a sprinkle of cinnamon, of course! Ah.. Heaven!)

It's still early though. Only 4.30 in the morning. I can go back to sleep if I wanted to. Somehow, my eyes failed me. If only it is not too cold. Can't sleep. Anyway, no worries, no class to attend yet though I have to do some research for my dissertation next year.  Have yet to decide on the topic.  As Dr. Burton's interest is currently on Corporate Governance, it may be wise to do something in that area to maximize the benefit of his expertise. Oh .. and that reminds me that I have yet to send some eCards to him and the others especially Andrea and Prof. Haslam. Hmmph... things that I procrastinated in doing! And Christmas is just the next day!
Will certainly do it shortly. Have to! But as for now, I just wanted to sit snugly by the heater with a hot latte and one of my favourite books (which I have read a few times when I was much younger) Message from Nam by Danielle Steel. For now, I am contend.

(Source of image :

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Happiness..... in the Snow? (:-D

We were just getting out of Global (a grocery shop selling Halal food) when we saw the snow falling down.  It was very much thicker then the earlier snow. My children were so excited "Ibu! Baba! Let's go back right now! Think it's thick enough for a good snowball fight!" shouted one. "Maybe enough for a snowman" said the other.

Mia, the 1st one out running aimlessly!

Well, they rushed out as soon as we parked the car.  Aqil who was tied to the car seat yelled unhappily as he struggled to set himself free. The other three had already started with a good-sized balls.  And Aqil became the first victim of a snowball fight.

And last night, our neighbour Ustaz Lutfi who'll be leaving for Malaysia the very next day gave them a sledge and today :

Danish "happily" being pulled by his father. I am not so sure how he was feeling at that moment as I can hear him yelling all the way down!

                    Danish looked relieved while Mia took her turn uphill.

        Father and daughter on the way to bid our farewell to Ustaz Lutfi and Ustazah Ashinida.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

My Dear Friend...

I received a message from my dear friend Mokhtar yesterday. "Shell we meat at the library at 11.00 on Monday?" Well, translating it in BM, "Kulit kerang, boleh kita daging kat Library pukul 11.00 hari Isnin?" I can't help smiling. That's my friend Mokhtar - A PhD student from Libya. Though I am only doing my Master's Degree we shared two classes - Emerging Financial Markets (5EM) and Accounting Aspects of Corporate Governance (5CG). Somehow, he has to join the two classes though he is only required to take exam of only one (5CG).

I was busy studying for my Investment paper when I received the message. Before that he called asking whether I am free to have a discussion for 5CG. I told him I have a paper today and I need to revise first before I can go for discussion. If not we will end up wasting time.

One thing about Mokhtar though, he never pronounce my name correctly which pissed me off at times. I have corrected him on every occasion but he still throw away the first "a" in my name and add it at the end. But somehow, knowing that I am fighting a losing battle I try to accept that he will never get it right. Which lead me to another question ; Mokhtar is a Libyan, I heard him communicated in Arabic with his fellow countryman on a few occassions and mind you, my name is an Arabic name - well, let's forget it. Anyway, Mokhtar is still in my list of friends.

At School, I am the only Malaysian. Though at first I am not sure if I am going to make friends with anyone - you see, though I am friendly but I am not the one to make the first move (unless they are much much older and I feel that it is my duty to at least smile and greet them)- I always am quite unsure if anyone want to be friends with me. And quite frankly, except for my core subject which I can't help taking, the main criteria for choosing the other two subjects was based on NO group work required I am not even sure if anyone wants me in his/her group.

Anyway by some touch of lucky strokes, somehow I managed to make friends - a very international crowd at that - Andrea (from Hungary), Dilshad and Sanzida (from Bangladesh), He He and Nicole (from China), Yannick (from Cameron), Mokhtar (of course) and Monica. Well, up until now, we are quite close.

Oh yes, talking about that I haven't got anything for Andrea, Yannick and Monica yet. Hmmm.. what am I gonna get them for Christmas?....

(Sources of images : map of the world from; roses from

The first snow ....

Thursday (Dec. 17, 2009) was my final paper for the semester. As I left the Exam Hall, I saw my friend Monica (a Nigerian but has been living in Edinburgh for the past 6 years) looking a bit unhappy. Well, I asked her how was the paper. "It was what I did for my coursework. But everything that I have studied escaped my mind." she said. well, I understand that. I understood how it exactly feels like. In my case, for one of my papers, I did not managed to complete all three questions required. I only answered two - and I am already thinking of re-sitting next semester - no used to think too much about it. It's gone and done with - nothing I can do to make it better - oh... how I wished I could turn the time - but that's not possible and I have to carry on.

I let Monica poured out her frustration to me and I asked her to join me for coffee. It was while we were enjoying our coffee (me - my latte; she - her cappucino) when we saw through the large window at the Union's cafetaria that - Snow is coming down! It kept on pouring for about 20 minutes then it stopped. Then I remembered. My children at home! They have been listening to the weather forecast and since Monday, it was forecasted that it will be snowing on Thursday. The night before they have been asking whether the snow will come down during the night or during the day - they do not want to miss the first snow. And I have promised them if it is thick enough we can have snow fight!

I told Monica about my children's enthusiasm. And she said they will be enjoying Edinburgh if we can travel down - "Princess street is fully decorated for Christmas - they'll love it you know - they'll be some rides as well - do come if you can manage it." Well, I know it must be. Edinburgh must be lovely now, ready for the celebration. How I wished we can really travel down.

After departing with Monica, I rushed home - that's not before I wished her Merry Christmas - Hakim was letting me in "Ibu, I saw, we saw, it was snowing just now but it stopped after some time."

"Yeah! It's still very thin. Let's wait for a few days when it'll get thicker. It'll be a White Christmas then this year! My friend said if we can drive to Edinburgh, we can see how beautiful the city is this time of year."

"Can we?"

"We'll have to wait for your father - after all, we'll have to see whether it is safe to travel - the road will be slippery and the car is not fit for travelling in the snow."

"If we can get it fixed?"

"We'll see. Remember? Safety first?"

And with that, they were capitulated.

It has been a few days now. It was thicker yesterday. But still not enough for snow fighting! And further still from building a snowman.

(Mia on the way to school yesterday. She enjoyed her walk despite the cold. When I reached home after sending her, my fingers were all numb. Took some time before I was out of my coat!)

(Image of University of Dundee from

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

...On My Way To School

Though it is only an 8-minute bus journey from my house at Dickson Avenue to school (the School of Accounting & Finance) at Perth Road, I can't help meeting some interesting characters along the way. One day, just a few stops before mine, a charming elderly lady with a sweet pleasant smile (she reminds me of a pink rose) boarded the bus and sat beside me. "Good Morning" I greeted her. "Morning Dear." And our conversation went more or less like :

"What do you read?"


"Aah... I used to read there many, many years ago. It used to be St. Andrews (University of St. Andrews). You see, I was born and bred here in Dundee. When I came to know that I am to make the journey to St Andrews and spend alall my remaining college years there, I was so sad and crying most of the time."

"But St. Andrews is just half an hour across the River Tay."

"That's right. But I was homesick all my 4-years there." And we were laughing like old buddies.

Well, this morning I was thinking of buying a Christmas Card for her. I know the chances of meeting her is quite slim. I don't go to class anymore now as we have completed our classes for the first sem. I am going to have another 2 papers to complete my first sem and then wait in anxiety for my results. But maybe if I just get the card ready with a small present and carry them everywhere with me in case of a chanced meet, it could work. It is not everyday that you have a good laugh on your way to school, don't you?

(Sources of images : University of Dundee from; pink fairy roses from, St. Andrews - own collection)