Monday, August 26, 2013

A Mum's Rambling

I was quite pissed off. It has been a few entries now that the photos I attached simply couldn't load correctly.

Anyway, I have tried to "re-attach" the photos. Hopefully this issue I much dreaded is by now settled.

These few days have been quite a busy one for me. I am in the midst of completing my proposal for application to secure a place to pursue my Doctoral Degree. Completed one earlier but after giving a deeper thought, I do not think I can bear living with the topic for the next three years. Such I am now on a new topic. Quite a new one with less ready material - hmmm.... I like to suffer don't I? Hopefully I can complete it by next week...

As I wrote this piece I was actually under a very shady tree by the beach somewhere in Pulau Indah. The sea breeze pulling and tugging ...ohh... so peaceful.

My husband was somewhere with his friends checking the net which a few of them had set early in the morning. Hakim, Damia & Aqil were somewhere in the beach - swimming and making sand castles. Danish? Under the tree somewhere beside me, revising. Well, shall I tell him that all work and no play make Jack (or Awang or George or Lim for that matter) a dull boy?

Well, Danish is worried. So worried. We came back in February this year. He started schooling in March. And eventhough he was already in Year 10 (equivalent to Form 4) in England, since he has yet to reach his 15th birthday, he was placed in the 3rd Form. Of course he has to sit for PMR this year and knowing that PMR covers lessons for the past two years as well. He was devastated! Freaked out.

So, Danish has been studying from Day 1. His dream is to get into a boarding school next year. We set a plan. He has to take all eight compulsory subjects. He has to concentrate on these. We bought books from a few publishers for each subject, practice on past years questions, identify the favourite topics and of course - send his for tuition for BM. God! BM is difficult nowadays. Not just for Danish but also for his younger siblings. If I were to take the exam, there is no doubt that I will fail. I am pretty sure of that. Slowly Danish made a progress. A painful one for him.

A week after he was registered at school, he has to sit for the 1stTerm Exam. We put no pressure on him. He managed to get only 1A,  2cs, 3ds &2es. He was so down. We told him that result didn't count. What do we expect? He's only at school for a week. But that didn't cheer him up.

"Mum, some of the subjects are so strange to me - kemahiran hidup (life skills?), I never do geography and of course not Sejarah (history). And to think that I have to learn in these few months three years worth of syllabus for 8 subjects?"

Slowly we look at the subjects. We marked the favourite topics and we read the answers to the subjective questions. There is no time to figure out the answers ourselves. With answers from  a few publishers on the same question, there must be one better answer. Deep in me I know he will somehow try to do his best. And to be honest, I am not worried nor am I expecting miracle for him.

His journey must be quite terrifying for him. He is the eldest and he is very determined in setting a good example to his siblings. And we support him. His mid-year exam, he managed 2As, 3Bs, 2Cs & 1E (history) and his recent (PMR trial) he managed 3As, 4Bs & 1C.

"Do you think I can managed 8As Ibu? For the real exam? I want so much to get all As."

Well, I know he will be heart broken if he couldn't. But looking at the way he work himself each day, I hope he will. I can only provide him with some guidance and prayers. Whatever he gets he is still one of my beloved sons.

Happy Monday everyone :)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Our Day Out

Alhamdulillah...! As mentioned in the previous two or three entries (on Brecon Beacon), I have totally resolved my "picture attachment" issue. And so happy was I with that! Now I am wishing if ipad will have "paper artist" apps... I am so in love with it.
Anyway, I am not here talking about my "love life". We are one happy family who always have short trips and most were unplanned. Of course we read about it one day and either by chance some times later when we were within the vicinity of the area, we will like "there is a fruit farm around this area, let's check it out!" Or, "my colleague said there's a park here somewhere" or "Baba, my friend was here last week. There is a fair somewhere around..". And our visit to Leighton Buzzard Railway was a result of this.

I think it was one of the Bank Holidays. A very fine summer morning. Normally there will be car boot sales on but if I remember correctly we gave it a pass. Way when Danish and Hakim were around 5 & 3, we went to Pickering to visit the North Yorkshire Moor Railway. They wanted to see the real steam engine. We went there but unfortunately as we arrived there a bit late, we managed to just take photos of the engine but couldn't managed to get on the train. It was said that the engine itself appeared in the first Harry Porter movie.

Anyway, the engine that we embarked on at Leighton Buzzard is a 70 minutes light ride, passed the fields,

Village roads, (the gentleman wearing the cap? He was the driver that day as well as the signal man . Multi-tasking eh?)

village residential areas,

not to mention bramble hedges from Page's Park to Stonehenge Works.

"Are we there yet?"
For information the ride takes one from Page's Park to Stonehenge Works through Marley's Loop, Leedon Loop and Vandyke Junction ( steep gradient!). During the First World War the rail is used to transport sands from Belgium for the ammunition factories. This continue during the Second World War.
Among the locomotives that can be witnessed at Stonehenge Works.

To be honest we do love train. For leisure that's it. I don't even mind my daily trips using the First Capital Connect or East Midlands (not during winter though when there are always signalling problems!). But I sure do not always like the tube!

Happy Friday everyone :D

source of pictures 1 and 12 : Wikipedia

Location:Leighton Buzzard Light Railway

Happiness.... (The River - Sg Lopo Hulu Langat 2)

Happiness.... (The River - Sg Lopo Hulu Langat 1)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Brecon Beacon

Late summer last year we went to Wales. As our trip there was quite a last minute decision, instead of going to Snowdonia (most accommodations fully booked!) we decided to go to Brecon Beacon instead.

At last! The matter of including photos for my blog is resolved! Coming to think about it, I guess it is stupidity on my side. Let's not rub it in, thanks to Blogpress, I can now happily attach all the photos that I want! Huh!

In fact! I will have less writing in this entry but more photos! Yes!

Errr... By the way, Llyn Y Fan Fach is located in the area of Black Mountain, Brecon Beacons. It is so....breathtakingly beautiful, MasyaAllah. I may add notes later on but at the moment, let the photos do the talking...

Till then. Happy Friday Everyone! ;D

Location:Llyn Y Fan Fach?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Lost Boy....And Found!

"Ibu, I met Hakim at the Surau in Section 2 and he said he will be back around six. He said he will start walking from Section 2 at around 5.30." Danish informed me as he came back from Friday prayer around three weeks ago.

But Hakim didn't reach home even when it's nearly time for breaking our fast. I was worried. Since 7.00 p.m. I have been asking Danish again and again what exactly did Hakim said. I was getting more and more anxious. I called my husband but he simply said that Hakim will be back.

Unlike Danish, Hakim hardly mentioned his friends' names. He never brought any of his friends home. I only remembered that we sent him to one of his friends' house in Section 2 for their English project.

It was nearly 7.45 - no Hakim. But at least my husband was back. "Is he home yet?"he asked. I shook my head. I managed to contact his friend. The only no. that I have which at that time felt like my life line to Hakim.

"Auntie, he's not with me but I will check with my other friends." Came the answer. Ten minutes later the text came in.

"My friend's Dad sent him home before the Friday prayer." Oh God!

"It's alright Sweetie, he actually was not home then. He went to Section 2 for prayers. But thank you."

A few minutes later, my phone rang.

"Puan, saya dengar Luqman (the name his friends call him) belum balik lagi. Saya nak hantar dia balik rumah tengahari tadi tapi dia kata dia nak singgah Section 2 untuk solat Jumaat dengan kawan2 dia. Tak apa Puan, kalau dia belum balik lagi, saya tolong pergi cari dia. (M'am, I heard Luqman is not back yet. I wanted to send him straight home but he said he wanted to perform his Friday prayers with his friends at Section 2. If he is not back yet, let me go and try to find him."

"Terimakasih Encik. Tak mengapa. Kami memang nak keluar cari dia sekarang. Memang tadi dia solat Jumaat di Section 2. Abang dia ada jumpa dia. Dia kata nak pergi rumah kawan lepas tu balik rumah pukul 5.30. (Thank you. It's alright. We are going to look for him now. He was in Section 2 for prayers. His brother met him there and he said he will get back around 5.30).

"Ok. Kalau apa2 tolong beritahu saya.(ok. If anything, please let me know)".We were already in the car by this time.

Having decided that we will break our fast at home and go for dinner after prayers, none of us have anything yet except for a glass of water. Mia and Aqil have grown very quiet wondering what happened to their brother. Danish was somewhat angry judging from his stormy face.

"Where shall we go first?" Asked my husband.

"Section 2. The house which we sent him for his English project about a month or 2 ago."

"Do you know which house?"

"Just go to Section 2, first. I vaguely remember. All I know the house is painted green." Somehow, we managed to find the house.

"But Luqman was not here today, Auntie." said his friend. "Probably he's at Syed's house."

"Do you where Syed's house is Darling?"

"Yes Auntie." And his father offered to lead the way on his bike and or us to follow him.

When we asked Syed, we were told he went to Faiz's house.

And Faiz's told us, he left for home almost immediately after breaking his fast. We thanked Irfan's father for his help in our search. We tried a few possible ways to get home. We even went home to check in case he was back but the house was just as we left it. And we went on search for him again. By this time, his friend's mum and dad have been calling us to check if we have found him. They were as worried. Finally it struck us that Hakim hardly missed his Tarawikh. So, we went to the Surau he always go to and asked Danish to check if he was there.

By this time my sister called. "Have you found him?"

"Not yet. We are checking if he is in the Surau now."

"Have you checked if he's at my house?"

"We did. He's not there." Well, my sister's house is at Section 2 and since their school is close by, now and again they dropped by at her house. But that day, she was at our Mum's place.

To be honest, at those few hours, I have been thinking the worst. I do not know what happened to my child. That Friday was a school holiday but he went to do his English project at Section 13. Earlier, before he left I gave him a mobile phone and some money for top-up and to call us if anything. But he refused the mobile in case he lost it. He promised to call from his friend's mobile. His father jot down the mobile nos. for him to call but we never received any call.

After about 10 minutes waiting in the car, from the side mirror I saw him tagging alongside Danish whose face still as stormy.

"I kicked him."

"Why did you do that?"

"I am hungry, we all are and he wasted all of our time!"

Hakim didn't say anything. He got into the car quietly.

"He is so selfish! You see? He's the only one who have eaten and perform his tarawikh. We didn't."

"Why didn't you call? All this can be avoided with a matter of a phone call. Do you know how many people involved in looking for you tonight?" As if on cue my mobile rang. One of his friend's Dad wanted to know if we have found him.

"You see? You should have called. How many people have been worrying about you?"

"I lost the no. Baba gave me this morning..." Was the only answer we received from him.

"That's not a good excuse. If you lost it, you should have done what you told Danish at the Surau. To come back at 5.30. This is the last time you are going to do this. No more excuses of not calling." His father's final words to him that night.

When we reached home, I saw a note on our bed :

"I will be going to the Surau for Tarawikh. I am sorry for being late. Hakim."

Apparently he came back during our search. When we came back in between searching for him, we didn't check in our room. We assumed he was not back  only because the Tele was not on and the light in ours or their room not lighted.

We learned a lot that night but the most important is we realised that at a point of crisis, we do have friends - people will lend their helping hands which we are so grateful for.

Hopefully Hakim learned a lesson too!

Monday, August 19, 2013


Hmm... I am hoping that life will be back to normal. I have packed the children to school this morning. Their homework, packed lunch, uniforms nicely ironed, shoes - everything ready for them. Though it is quite difficult to wake Aqil up, we managed to get to school earlier than usual today.

But, as soon as we started walking, Mia said "Ibu, my shoes are tight now. I have to curl my toes to fit in."

"Oh Dear... We thought your feet won't grow during the fasting month..."

"I know. But it is alright Ibu. I will go through today but can we go and buy a new pair when Baba gets home? It hurts..."

"Of course Darling. We do not want you to suffer. I am very sorry you have to go through this today."

"It's ok Ibu. Don't worry."

I felt guilty. Seriously I did. But Mia being a very thin kid (her cousin even said that the banana tree is "fatter" than her) even though quite tall, I never thought anything will change within these two weeks. how wrong I was.

A different story with Aqil. Well, since we came back, Aqil has been putting on weight which worries us. We do not want him to be obese. But, seeing him still as active (as he is when much thinner) as though his increasing weight is never a bother to him, we are quite relieved. Anyway, we still monitor his weight - as of now, he is still within his age group normal weight.  And due to his "continuing growth" we bought him new school shirts and trousers. (Oh my goodness me! He's two sizes bigger from his last!).

So, when we reached school this morning, I have to explain to the teachers that Aqil has no school badge and name tag yet due to the new shirt and I thought he is the only one not in complete uniform today. But, as I turned my back to leave, I saw a girl in her baju kurung. I heard one of the teachers asking:

"Kenapa pakai baju Raya ni? (Why are you in your Eid attire?)

I think the teachers must be as dumbfounded as I was when the answer came :

"Mak suruh. (My Mum asked me to)".

Well, I walked faster not wanting to know how the teachers handle this. I have enough to think of.

But I can't help wondering if her Mum forgot to either wash her school uniforms or forgotten to pick them up from the laundry. And that brought me to what happened last night.

At around 9.45 pm Hakim came into our room asking if he could use the laptop. When I asked him why, he said he has to do his homework! I have to bite my tongue in order not to swear! Two whole weeks! And he waited until 9.45 last night to do his homework!

I rest my case.

Happy Monday everyone :)

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Do I Need to Worry?

Aqil came back from school one day announcing that he didn't want his lunch. Knowing his appetite I was wondering the reason for this.

"Why don't you want your lunch."

"I have eaten at school Mummy."

Knowing fully well what I packed him that morning i.e a piece of bread and a drink, which will not go far for him, I am quite curious.

"I know you did but that couldn't be so filling..."

"I ate nasi lemak just now."


"Where did you get the nasi lemak from?" Started to panic as we did not give him any pocket money.

"A guy gave me RM2 just now and I bought nasi lemak with the money."

"Which guy?"

"I can't remember."

"Is it big guy? A small one?" And I know I sound very pathetic when I asked him "did he touch you anywhere when he gave you the money??!"

"No. He just gave me the money."

Until today I do not know who gave him the money but I finally managed to find out that the "guy" is a Year 2 pupil.  Still I was not sure if that's a relief!

Generally, in the UK this kind of issue is taken very seriously due to shocking news of paedophile cases in schools and nurseries. Such, after years of being made aware of this, and schools in our area not allowing parents taking photos of other people's children without consent from their parents (which led us to not having any photographs of most school activities) and the children are not allowed to leave the school without their parent/s or a designated person picking them up, what happened to Aqil really raised my internal alarm.

And I was also wondering how much exactly is the pocket money given to a Year 2 pupil if he can "share" it with others?

Phew! Being a parent is a very tough job.

Happy Sunday, everyone :)

Friday, August 16, 2013

Day Trip : Southend-On-Sea & Leigh-On-Sea

I know I have neglecting this blog for quite a long time - too much for "having this blog to document (mind you!) our little journey in life"! Bah!

But maybe, just maybe it is still not too late. So I am now planning to sort of set a catching up entries on moments of our lives. It may not be chronological but at least I "capture" that moment as a remembrance for our little band of broods if they care to look back once they leave our nest :D

My job in London was a very hectic, demanding one. Many times in order to clear my back log I went to the Office during the weekends not to say putting a very long hour during the weekdays. Still, I was lucky compared to those who're unemployed.

Due to this crazy office hours of mine, it is quite difficult to get a long leave and we used to go on impromptu trips. May not be far just to get away of it all.One of these trips was the one when we spent a day at Southend-On-Sea.

Unlike when we live in Dundee where River Tay is close by and St Andrews is just around half an our away, Luton is "landlocked". Such, to go to the beach is not something that we can do every weekend but on this particular weekend in summer, after a lot of coaxing from the children, we decided to bring them to Southend-On-Sea.

It took us around an hour 40 minutes to reach there. As it is summer, there were a lot of people at almost every corner of the beach waiting for the tide. We decided to explore the area a bit and went to Leigh-on-Sea. It was crowded everywhere such we went to its pretty little town instead. We also went to Old Leigh, a little fishing village known as the cockling capital of the world. It may be tiny but we love the cosiness of the atmosphere. Here, we sampled fresh seafood at one of its many beach stalls lining the Cockle Row - a simple refreshing menu of cockles, crayfish, crab sticks eaten with pepper and vinegar. The waitress was also very kind when she offered us the Thai sauce, perhaps realising since we are Asians so the Thai sauce is more agreeable to us. :D

After enjoying this simple delicacy, we went back to Southend. The children minus Danish tried swimming but they didn't stay long in the water. Summer it may be, it is still cold underwater. As for us, the parents we are just giving a watchful eyes on them from the safety of the beach.

The White Cliffs of Dover

This is not a new post. It was drafted so... long ago that it was almost forgotten. It was one of our many impromptu trips. It was early in the morning one fine (you see, our good friend the Met Office predicted so!) summer day when we decided to drive southeast.
My husband has been meaning to visit Dover ever since we first visited England as a family (with 2 children then) way back in 2003. However, we never did - something always cropped up stopping us from going. Finally, after nearly a decade we made that journey.
You may be asking what actually attracted my husband to Dover. It was a postcard really - showing the majestic facade of White Cliffs, strikingly white taken probably from the ferry crossing the Strait of Dover.

The Cliffs are composed mainly of soft, white chalk. They form part of the a english coastline facing the Strait of Dover and France. The location itself is unique as the White Cliffs country tourism website correctly described : where coast meets country, beauty meets history and England meets the Continent.

The Cliffs have great symbolic value in Britain because they face towards the Continental Europe where invasions have historically threatened and against which the cliffs formed a symbolic guard.

As it is which formations like the Cliffs they were subjected to weather conditions. In 2001, a large chunk reported to be as big as a football pitch fell into the Channel. A further section also collapsed in March last year and the pic. attached is the White Cliffs that we visited in summer 2012.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Eid Mubarak

Maybe it is a little late to wish Eid Mubarak to everyone but I've been having problem downloading and saving my drafts... Anyway, since it is still the month of Syawal, with all humbleness, "Eid Mubarak everyone and May it be the best yet - in terms of strengthening relationships, in terms of celebrating closest to Sunnah, in terms of no wastage and with more Iman." Hopefully our celebration is full of Barakah.

As this is our first celebration back home in 4 years we sure have a lot to catch up. We have been visiting our relatives from both sides and helping ourselves to the "truly Malaysian" rendang, lemang (we use to have the one boiled in banana leaves and then cooked in the oven), ketupat (no longer the nasi himpit in small plastic packages), kuah kacang (though I must admit my husband's kuah kacang is one of the best :D). Mmmm... Yummy!

And last night (sort of a highlight to our Eid celebration), we attended the Komuniti Melayu Dundee Malaysia gathering (pic.). Though not everyone turned up (due to not living in the vicinity of Selangor & WP, it is a good turn up though. Most important is that the ukhwah between us in maintained :D

P/s : while we are still in celebration mode, please do not forget to say a prayer for our brothers and sisters who are going through war, abused, hunger and poverty. Let us all pray for peace and harmony, Dear Friends.