About Me

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Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
A 40 something dad of five and a half wonderful kids with amazingly different traits and temperament from whom he wants a break from at times, yet wish they never grow older.....and be with him always.....(howzat possible?)and now wishing that he can be a stay at home dad......

26 March, 2009

Fun & Food - Pontian Kechil & Kukup

This time around, (our 3rd visit to Ayer Baloi after so long), I was determined to visit Kukup and savour Ah Lai's sweet and sour crab dipped with bread/bun. We planned to have our dinner the first day we arrived but we were too knackered to move a limb! This was all because we had to do our grocery shopping in Pontian Kechil (15 minutes' drive from Ayer Baloi) plus getting new pillows and blankets for the house as well as bicycles for the younger two, when we arrived, sans kids. The last time I went shopping in Pontian Kechil was possibly 30 years ago! Pontian Kechil used to be a cowboy town with shops lined on either side of the road. Not anymore when we went; there are shops running along at least three roads parallell to the main road (on either side)! There is also Pontian Besar which is just before Pontian Kechil. It's an irony of names....Pontian Besar being small in size and vice versa.

While exploring Pontian Kechil with wifey, we bumped into a baking supplies store which is quite a biggie for a small town like Pontian Kechil. I actually asked whetehr there were baking activities in Pointian Kechil and the owner said "you'd be surprised!"; I WAS indeed! Wifey, needless to say, went beserk! That's her craze now! She's been using the oven in the last two months more than she had used it for during the tenure of our married life! My persuasion (for her to bake) for the past umpteen years, finally showed excellent results!

Anyway, wifey bought some baking wares and ingredients (as if we could not get them in KL)! I must admit they were a lot cheaper! If you happen to be in Pontian Kechil, it's located along Jalan Taib! We had to go back the following day (after our Kukup visit) to buy some cake boxes and ramekins!

Whilst looking for pillows and blankets, we chanced upon an old wooden building with about 4 lots of shops selling stuff from China. That's where we bought kapok pillows (which cost RM6/each), white cotton pillowcases (RM9 for a twin pack), pyjamas bottoms (RM13/a pair), pagoda t-shirts etc etc! The Chinese shop owners thought we were Singaporeans! They charged us less when we said we came from Ayer Baloi!

We were introduced, after a phone call to my parents, to Waslee (a supermarket) where we bought lamb (for the barbie), fruits and such! There I was shocked to see that they sold passion fruits- one of my favourites! A tray of three passion fruits only cost, on average, RM3! I have been buying them for RM1.95/fruit from Just Life at Ikano Power Centre! A passion fruit would cost about RM4 from Hock Choon opposite my office! Unfortunate for me, there were only 3 trays left! I took them all!

Back to Ah Lai's crabs - we drove all the way to Kukup (about 15 minutes from Pontian) for lunch on the second day. The last time I ate Ah Lai's crabs was when I was 7 or 8. My parents would bring us for our monthly (? can't verify this) fixes of seafood to Kukup as then (when we lived in Benut, a pekan about 12km north of Ayer Baloi, until 1976), there was only Ah Lai's! I remember one visit in particular when my mom asked my brother what he wanted for his drink and answered without a blink of an eye - "Anchor Beer!". Everyone just broke into a frenzy of laughter, including my parents' friends who were with us. That was the exposure of Singapore TV to us - all those beer commercials! Ah..those were the days.....! Ah Lai's shop has a different name now...for the life of me it somehow has slipped my mind (a telltale of old age). Drive through the road to the jetty/immigration, it's the last restaurant on the right.

I was quite surprised that there are a lot of things to do in Kukup. For one, there is Tanjung Piai (the most southern tip of South East Asia) boasting a National Park (which we did not have time to visit), there are also boat cruises to the kelong, mangrove forest etc. And if you are adventurous enough, bring your passport and travel to nearby Pulau Karimon, which I have not visited but Khadijah and Yusof have (where we still have relatives there), where you can tailor make curtains for a few hours at ridiculously pasar malam prices. For golfers, there is a golf resort nearby! Wifey has also written about our food folly in Kukup here.

I can't seem to be bored writing about our Ayer Baloi trip. May be, one last posting after this!

The Highlight : Sweet and Sour Crab

Looking really hungry
Fried Mantou

Prawn Nestum

Baby squids doused with lemon sauce and honey

Beehoon basah

23 March, 2009

Ayer Baloi Pictorial

The House
We are back from our short balik kampung break...Too short a time, too many things to do! The kids enjoyed it albeit a brief one. They were practically 24/7 outdoor!
We spring-cleaned, ate really fresh seafood, had a barbie..., eat, eat, eat and eat...In short we had fun! More pics on the way!
Hajar at the entrance

Kebun behind the house

My parents' wedding legacy - (restored) table lamp sits on a newly acquired old table
(wifey working)
Arwah granddad's room
P Ramlee sofa set still at the upholsterer

Part of unfinished interior

Hajar asking for breakfast

Part of the kebun



Mangoesteen fruiting

The barbie

NBA sportsgirl

Hajar also helped clean the house compound

19 March, 2009

The House That My Tok Ayah Built

My kids just can't wait to go back to Ayer Baloi this weekend. This is their new kampung. "New" in the sense that we had just begun to visit this place regularly. My Tok Hawa passed on in Mecca when I was 9 and Tok Ayah departed when I was 15. The only person left in Ayer Baloi was my dad's sister who, sadly, left us a few years ago. That explains why my kids never had the opportunity to really explore this kampung of mine. It's a different story altogether now since my dad embarked on his refurbishment project on this house of his last December!
My father had always had this place since he was twelve (yup the property was held on trust for him) and it served as my paternal grandfather's family home while my grandad was alive. It's an acre estate with a three-bedroom-house (built in the 60s) built on it! The rest of the area is a fruit orchard planted with durian, mangoesteen, duku, bachang trees and the like! My late grandad was in the police force whose work brought him to different parts of the country mostly the northern states. This house was built after he retired from the force where he launched his business as a contractor. More on this later.....
Well, this is the place where we will temporarily make our abode this weekend...The boys are excited over this trip to meet their new-found friend, being the kids next door! One thing for sure, they will be outdoor all the time!
The House, prior to refurbishment

The kitchen in a sorry state

This is the part of the house which I love

The multipurpose semi-permanent building

(It had been used as a wet kitchen, bedroom to my uncles, store room,
you name it room!)

17 March, 2009

Kids Updates

The Opening Ceremony

Yusof and Ibraheem were super excited the weekend before last...It was their school's annual sports day. I certainly wish that they are super-keen in other areas, in particular their studies, as they are in sports....(..sigh...)

Anyway, they were supposed to be in Kompleks Sukan MSN Bukit Jalil by 7am and were making arrangement with us the afternoon before! Super-organised, don't you think? Too bad it was fated that Khadijah had to be in her school by 7 a.m. the same morning which meant that we had to push our departure to Bukit Jalil much later as we did not want to just leave Khadijah too early....

And the pandemonium erupted!

Yusof and Ibraheem were making a big fuss all the way to Bukit Jalil complaining that they were late and that they would be disqualified if they were tardy! The din became unbearable the minute we stopped at a petrol kiosk to make our food purchase ("This is a not a picnic, dad... it's a sports day"; "You can always buy food at the sports complex"; la di da di da di da). I wished that I had brought my ear plugs along, then....Anyway, they were a bit relieved when throngs of cars were arriving at the same time as we did! It was 7.30 am...and the march past was scheduled to start at 8 but in the end it started 15 mins later.

Yusof won a few medals (5 if I'm not mistaken....). We were excited to see him as one of the key persons in the "war-cry"! My...he really has grown! Ib was busy stalking his favourite Ustaz...And kept asking whether it was Zuhr already (his favourite question all the time!). We enjoyed every minute of it despite having to bask in the hot sun - well it was the morning sun after all and we had enough Vitamin D supply the whole year!

Khadijah was ecstatic last week...She had made it to her school english debate team. She has been selected to be the main speaker despite being the youngest in the team..I felt a bit nostalgic....re-living 1985!! And I'm supposed to send her for a brain-storming session the day after...
Hajar has been quite a handful. She can climb, play with her abang-abang, etc....She's quite an eater....She just cannot hear any sound from the kitchen.....be it the cling of a pot or the sound of water.She'd grab her melamine plate or mug and put on a puppy face asking for food or drink! Making a mental note to video-record this!
Umar has been so whiny....and clingy.....(you'll know why soon). He's making good progress in school and is in to drawing all sorts!
Khandak House (Yusof)

Uhud House(Ib)

Yusof, the final leg (200m)

Yusof towards finishing line (4 by 100m)

Ib getting ready to make the dash

Ib in his telematch

Yusof with his 2nd placing in 200m

08 March, 2009

Nizam Ambia & Camwhoring PGL3

Warning : This posting is so last century

During PGL3 intermission I refreshed myself (after dozing off during the last part of part 1) by viewing and admirimg Nizam Ambia's artwork called aptly "The Puteri Series". I'm not an art collector neither do I possess wealth of knowledge re: art. But I do appreciate them.....I would buy what I like.

Nizam's work is what I really want to add to my collection now.....! It's eye-catching and full of colours!

Putri Gusti

Hang Tuah


and Bayan

05 March, 2009

Praise to Allah

Alhamdulillah......my sister was given the clearance of the dreaded big C. The pathology report was negative. I just got the news! I cannot imagine how the past week must have been for her...I sure know what she had to go through.
It began with intermittent high fever with three doctor visits in between. Dengue and Chikugunya were ruled out...If my memory serves me correctly, my parents and she visited us on the day she turned 32...On the way back she dropped by a prominent medical centre (once a centre of controversy because of its foreign shareholder) for a check up and was admitted the very night. This hospital was super slow in managing her case. The attending doctor only visited her in the evenings and there were days where she was not attended to....For a sizeable hospital, they claim they only have one radiologist. This I don't quite fathom!
But the minute they expressed their dissatisfaction and conveyed of her decision to switch hospital, the specialist came within the nexct minute! Well matey, a tad too late!
Her hubby had her move to another hospital which is of equidistant to their home and she was in the OT the following morning for a laproscopy!
Samples were taken via laproscopy about a week ago. A two cm cyst from the ovary (which according to the O&G was normal) was removed along with other samples for tests.
What the doctors (the three specialists who tended her) revealed to her was that they actually thought it was a stage-4 cancer based on the internal examination. Apparently her organs look like a toad with nodes everywhere. Now it's diagnosed as hidden tuberculosis and apparently from regular consumption of mamak fresh cow milk (eh????). Well, Praise be to Him!

02 March, 2009

Of Cupcakes and Charity

Can't believe we ahve entered the last month of the 1st quarter this year. Where did the time go? Last weekend just flew past us without noticing it! It was so hectic!
Wifey had to bake close to 200 cupcakes! 170 of them were sold through a couple of friends during a charity bazaar at GEM, Ampang. We sort of stumbled upon this project after wifey gave a few cupcakes to our friends who sell their hand-painted home accessories and polymer clay jewelleries at Bangsar, AmpCorp Mall and Mont' Kiara flea makets. It was damn tiring, I tell you, helping wifey with frosting the cupcakes....
Yusof and Khadijah were there at the Charity Bazaar supposedly to help Rozreen and Ryana sell sandwiches and cupcakes but in the end helped to put a dent to our wallets!
A famous actress who's the leading act in one of the evening slots, S**Q actually bought one of cupcakes....We sold 100 pieces during day 1 and 80 pieces during day 2......
Ryana, Rozreen, Yusof & Khadijah

The actress (in white) eating wifey's cupcake

on my mind certainly constantly

on my mind certainly constantly