Monday, December 26, 2011

01:20:10 - i love aman!!!

Rose bud by w0x0f
Rose bud, a photo by w0x0f on Flickr.
Sweet Love was something that I was supposed to concentrate on for the weeks behind. But a trip to Fraser Hill and Gopeng has taken over my weekend. Days after that have been really horrendous with deadlines and quarrels. (well, my dearest friends, you know who am I talking about now).

The past weeks have been really bad but Alhamdulillah, I went through it with help of good people around me. And this long weekend of Christmas was supposed to be spent quietly with Sweet Love from Sarah Strohmeyer; a book about long lost love in desert's class. Interesting, huh? I bet it must be really interesting. But I was still at page 73 - which means I have a long way to go!

I thought I could finish it this week but no...I spent Saturday with my parents and aunties. Then I went to a function at my boss' house before spending the whole day of driving everywhere (well, I went out with a friend too, but I did not buy anything in the end). Ultimately, I found a rusty nail on my tyre. That left me at the mechanic's on the Boxing Day; waited for my car to be fixed while reminded myself that I should do the tyre alignments in every 10,000 km of mileage.

Ok, stop it. We all know that this blog is not a diary. Let's talk about what I have done after my 2707 was finally on the road:

HINDI MOVIES.

Perhaps it was a consolation after watching the wasting-of-money - Ombak Rindu. Or perhaps it was because I couldn't get enough of We Are Family in Panggung Sabtu - starring Kajol, Arjun Rampal and Kareena Kapoor.

Dammit. I sounded like a desperate spinster! Or a love addict. Or...what?

Well, blame my brother for bringing his girlfriend's external hardisk. I finally watched Kal Ho Na Ho for...I don't know how many times.

There was Aman. Naina. And Rohit. Ceewwwaaahhh...!!! And there was the illogical things plus extra fantasy things that we have always dreamed about. Like how a man could be so free in matchmaking his dream girl. Or how nice a man would looked like when he was wearing shades of purple and lilac. Like Shah Rukh Khan. Or Saif Ali Khan. Hehehe.

Ok...ok...that was not my point!

My point was about the reason I was watching this movie over and over again back in 2003! It was because of...

01:20:10 - my favourite scene of the film. It was the time when Naina (Preity Zinta) decided to tell her best friend, Rohit (Saif Ali Khan), about her love to Aman (SRK). She was wearing this red dress and he was there with red tie and red roses.

He thought that she would confessed her love to him. Au contraire. She eventually mentioned that she loved somebody else! (ala, it was almost like Kuch Kuch Hota Hai...SRK hugged Kajol but mentioned Rani's name)

And as expected, he played no-I'm-ok. It was kinda obvious wasn't it? Most best friends would do that. Or a gentleman. Or an embarassed girl.

Like how it was in 2001...

Me: Hey...
Him: Sha...nak cakap sikit?
Me: Apa dia? Aku pon ada benda nak cakap dengan kau.
Him: Aku...aku...aku...
Me: Kau...kau...kau...
Him: Aku suka someone!
Me: Siapa...siapa...siapa?
Him: Dhia...kawan kau.
Me: (smiled bitterly)
Him: Aku suka dia!
Me: (grinned over brightly)
Him: Kau tolong lah matchmake kitorang. Boleh?
Me: Hah? Okeh! Boleh! (controlled the tears).
Him: Kau kan kawan aku. Kau je boleh tolong aku.
Me: Sure! (less words was better)
Him: Sayang kau, Sha...
Me: (sayang kau jugak)

And after my roommate, Wa, put on the speakers for this movie back in 2003, she just couldn't stop preparing her shoulders for me to cry on. That time, I was just thinking, "why treating someone so nicely when you loved somebody else in the end? Hang dok pi baik style flirting dengan aku bokpa?"

It's going to be 2012 soon. "Him" is happily married for years now. I'm still single. Nevertheless, I did have great love stories afterwards."Patah tumbuh hilang berganti" right? Like rosebuds. But who could have forgotten that part when the heart was wounded because you just had to see the one that you loved adored someone else besides you?

Matchmaking was not easy. I gave up half way and continued to be ignorant for years afterwards. But then again, if loving means letting go, then I had done it. It was awful at first but I'm not regretting it now.

Only Allah knows who is the best person for you, pon kan?

Halamaaak...what's with the jiwang mood?

Blame it on Karan Johar for writing that 01:20:10.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

pergilah air mata

Pergilah Air MataPergilah Air Mata by Hanni Ramsul

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After my last posting on Ombak Rindu, people might perceived me as someone weird. The book which has created a phenomenon in Malaysia has been given 2 stars instead of 5. People were thinking that I was such a mess; or perhaps I was blind for not knowing art.


My answer was simple. I loved independence. My late great grandmother - despite her naivette, was an independent woman. She did everything on her own; even if it took her to climb the stairs and repaired the roof of a kampong house. As much as that was concerned, I still thought that realistically, my amazement on the effort of avoiding the clingy character was much appreciated rather than just hoped above hope that everyone would become a Malay Cinderella.

So, that's why Pergilah Air Mata deserved a 4 star for me - 2 stars more than Ombak Rindu. Some aspects of Pergilah Air Mata are more logical and reliable; some have been researched and referred. Even though there was a question on monetarily logic in this book, I deferred this as something which I might not know and learn.

Indeed, Sabrina was an orphan but she did things on her own. And love did not have to be perfect. My favourite character in this book is not the hero or the heroien; I would much prefer the character of Badrul's best buddy, Darius and the character of Badrul's parents who touched my heart more.

Reading this book reminded me of how much I liked the other characters in Harry Potter without even liking Harry. Even though the other characters might have lesser plots and said so little, but we learned that these characters were strong and reliable in making things different.

I would sincerely say that in reading novels, especially the ones concerning love and romance, playing hard to get was something that I was looking forward to. In this novel, the women characters, despite the weakening touch of love, had principles of not being too naive and overly in love - they looked for logics before making the next action even though the decisions might not be the best that they have made.

And what else did I loved about the book? The comedy part, the sad part, and the love of parents. Maybe I re-read this book after reading The Language of Flowers; where sense of belonging was the main issue, and I was deeply affected. But having said all this, the book stood on its own, made an English novel reader like me put the purple colour book under the pillow and read that before I went to sleep last night.

Good job, Hanni Ramsul. I'm looking forward for your next creation. Let's just hope that this month's salary is early:P

* Thanks to my blogger buddy Nurul Amira for suggesting this book.


View all my reviews


Sunday, December 11, 2011

the language of flowers

The Language of Flowers


My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A mesmerizing, moving, and elegantly written debut novel, The Language of Flowers beautifully weaves past and present, creating a vivid portrait of an unforgettable woman whose gift for flowers helps her change the lives of others even as she struggles to overcome her own troubled past.

The Victorian language of flowers was used to convey romantic expressions: honeysuckle for devotion, asters for patience, and red roses for love. But for Victoria Jones, it’s been more useful in communicating grief, mistrust, and solitude. After a childhood spent in the foster-care system, she is unable to get close to anybody, and her only connection to the world is through flowers and their meanings.

Now eighteen and emancipated from the system, Victoria has nowhere to go and sleeps in a public park, where she plants a small garden of her own. Soon a local florist discovers her talents, and Victoria realizes she has a gift for helping others through the flowers she chooses for them. But a mysterious vendor at the flower market has her questioning what’s been missing in her life, and when she’s forced to confront a painful secret from her past, she must decide whether it’s worth risking everything for a second chance at happiness

"You should see the way she smiles when I rattle off the names of the orchids in the greenhouse: oncidium, dendrobium, bulbophyllum, and epidendrum, tickling her face with each blossom. I would'nt be surprised if 'Orchidaceae' was her first word."
- The Language of Flowers, p. 291

Orkid. Perhaps the purpose of buying this book was to own something which was closer to my heart. And indeed, it did. The book mentioned orchid several times. Well, I expected that, didn't I? The title of the book should have made me alarmed.

To be fair, the book was fantastic to me in a sense that besides loving books, I was also a flower freak. So, when you combined those 2 characters of mine at one time, you would definitely mark this book as my perfect birthday gift.

But then again, to those who just loved books and not flowers, well, you might find it a bit difficult to understand. Unless, you're romantic at heart or you're a green person - this book might tire those who despised flowers or had a perception that flowers meant to be for girly girls.

Strangely, we have always ignored the part that books; despite the magical touch of it, must be logical in certain ways. When I first read The Language of Flowers, I thought that things were too real and too painful; I nearly passed it out. I didn't.

As I kept reading, I realised that this was one of the books I wanted. The magical stories of the flowers were blended with the hard planes of life. Even though some part of the world might be beautiful, there might be ugly places as well. And...the main characters were not physically described! I didn't have to lay back on the cushions and started to compare the main character with Keanue Reeves or Aaron Aziz!

So, the beautiful things in the book were mainly because of the flowers; as it explained on the title. You hate flowers, don't buy the book. But if you're just like me - who read things and got the mini flaws out of simple elaboration in every book that I've read, then let's enjoy reading this book. You might laugh at how simple things which have been written in the 90s romance books were no longer written on 2011 books.

The language was simple and the research was done in good ways. To be objective, I could not ask for more. Things made sense in the book and I loved it. The book might be expensive and difficult to get but it was worth finding.

So...5 stars!

Except...well, I like the Pan McMillan editions more than Random House. It connected to the stories and everytime I looked at the cover, it would remind me of the story inside.

Hey, who said about not judging a book by its cover?





Wednesday, November 30, 2011

ombak rindu

Ombak Rindu


My rating: 2 of 5 stars

It is very hypocrite of me to say that I love this book tremendously. Yes, I like books. Yes, I read this book. But I can't say I read this book and I like it. Sorry. I hate cliches.

I have finished this book long time ago when I was still a student. I remember borrowing it from a friend who mentioned, "Idah nak percintaan Idah nanti macam Izzah!"

Well, I'm sorry but that might be the reason why I thought that the book was not having a good influence. We loved Nur Kasih when it was in TV3 because it appeared sweet with definite happy ending. But most of us (and I was not one of them) were disappointed to know the ending of the story when it was converted from a drama to a film?

When I surfed the net early this evening, I read huge expectations. I read about how most people cried when they read this book; how much the girls were admiring Izzah because of her "toughness". Hariz, in most of the girls point of view, might be the most perfect man in the whole world. And Mila, might be the most hated character even though she was not the real villain of the story?

Oklah. Let me be fair about all this. Let's be objective. It was a nice book. It made a young girl like me dreamed about sweet things in love. But...back then, even when I was a young girl I knew that this was just another love story. I was still disturbed with the fact that Fauziah Ashari made a very disturbing comparison between cauliflower and brocoli. That part had turned me off.

And...the most important part was when she made everything evolved around Johor...Johor...and Johor only. I knew she was from Johor but I personally felt that she was not really thinking outside the box at that time. I would say that her artwork AFTER Ombak Rindu showed more maturity compared to Ombak Rindu itself.

Maybe...just maybe...I wanted the book to be a bit more constructive and realistic in certain ways. But then again, based on experience, even as reader, we would love to be carried away by dreams, love, and lots...and lots of romance.

Besides, that's the purpose of reading a book, isn't it?

To be in the world where nothing is impossible:)

In that way, with due respect, I applaud Fauziah Ashari for her creativity in swaying the moods into the girls' hearts. Judith McNaught did the same. Why can't we just be more supportive?

Having said all this, I would have to admit one thing: Fauziah Ashari definitely swiveled my attention. Brocolli and cauliflower were my favourite vegetables.

Bring in some justice for the veges.

I can't wait to watch Aaron Aziz as my least favourite character. I loved the driver for slapping his own son! Ooopsss...sorry. I can't help spoilers.

But...we have expected happy endings, aren't we?



Monday, November 28, 2011

labour pain to money

" Due to over-population concerns, 'living time' has replaced money as the standard currency and people must acquire more time through labor and commercial means after turning 25 years of age, or die within a year..."
- synopsis of In Time starring Justin Timberlake

Last fortnight, I had a hugely satisfying day. After 2 years of working here, I have finally received the ING Medical Card with good coverage! It was even better compared to the ones that I've used at the companies that I worked with before. Well, they used ING too, but it was not as good as this one.

I mean, being single made it indifferent. But, who knows? With the policy that I held few days ago, I could foresee myself receiving benefits out of the medical and insurance implementation. I was happy enough to prepare the announcement of our medical benefits; my smile was getting wider when my superiors signed it and it was at its best when the team came out with the policy and guidelines for it.

It was all hard work but it was worth it. The moment I met the insurance people, I knew I looked ridiculously radiant. When they gave me the package which consisted of the medical cards, I nearly cried. We have been waiting for this in such a long time! At least I did. At least the team did. Nobody knew how much tears, sweat and blood we shed for those facilities.

I knew the staff in the office were ecstatic. After the insurance people went back, they called and yelped and screamed hysterically through the phone. Okay, that didn't sound nice wasn't it? They shrieked. They giggled like small girls. Especially those ladies who have kept the money beneath their pillow before they delivered their babies. Or the ones who have been waiting in long que for monthly check ups. And especially the ones who have been patiently waiting for the medical practitioners to attend to them when their children were sick at the general hospital. Some could not afford to have medical insurance on their own or for the family. Some was just being unlucky.

But then, hey, that was over wasn't it? At least, now, that has been covered as long as they are under the employment. They are not going to be THAT worried when they are driving to the outlets or event sites. They knew for a fact now that things have changed.

Well, at least that was what I thought. At least, I thought about it in a positive manner.

Some of my colleagues cried when they received the cards. One of the ladies who was actually called herself as "Sha's #1 Enemy" was actually thanking me non-stop and even made an attempt to call me and talked about it like best friends. I even received hugs and pats on my shoulders for handing the cards away. If I wanted to be carried away by it, I supposed, I could. But it was a team's effort with great leadership skills which brought us where we were yesterday. So, I could not take the whole credit by myself.

"Thank you, Sha..." was the nicest gift I had ever received in my whole life. And for my small team to be looked upon was what I have been dreamed of. (G...now I'm crying)

BUT...the critics would never stopped. Of all the people who have been saying thank you and who have been really greatful, there must be a small group of people who were still condeming us for not being "efficient". Our effort to equalise the medical and insurance benefit, leave entitlement, rights and facilities under The Koperasi or Sports Club with the parent company was not actually classified as struggle. They said, "this was not enough" or "this is nothing" or "well, the other companies are providing us better."

The reason being was because they felt that the non-monetary benefit (from their point of view) are not giving them a cash money. "Mana increment aku, Sha?" was what they asked me even after few months of receiving the increment letter from the very same hand who gave them the medical cards.

One of them even asked me, "Tak guna bagi benefit kalau aku tak kahwin lagi. Mak ayah bukan korang cover, aku jugak cover." Well, my eyes were a bit blurry when I heard that. They would never know about the day when I was alone on 15th October 2010. That was the date when my beloved mother went for her surgery, hospitalized for weeks and off-work for several months. I didn't talk about it, I had never complained about it. My parents were my responsibility - with the medical benefit or without it. Why should I complained about the company's policy when it was my lifetime commitment?

In my head, I was just asking, "Dengan mak ayah sendiri pon berkira ke?

I wonder how does it feels like if our mothers starts to think like the movie In Time. But it is not the time that they are concern about; it's the pain that they had during labour. The hurtful delivery which brought them on the verge of losing their lives.

And a mother says this to a son,

"Due to economy hardship concerns, 'labour pain' has replaced money as the standard currency and people must acquire pay for labour pain that their mother went through once they get a job, or die within a year..."

I wonder the riot that most employers will have to face...

*sigh*

Sunday, November 27, 2011

every breath you take

Every Breath You TakeEvery Breath You Take by Judith McNaught

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I have read few reviews on Every Breath You Take and I could not agree more: Judith McNaught was an auto-buy. Similar circumstances happened to me previously. When I was 15, I used to keep my pocket money just to buy Once and Always. I bought Perfect when I was 17 (also with my pocket money). I got Paradise as a gift when I was 18. To complete my Judith McNaught's collection, I bought the other books with my own salary when I was 23. That was just to complete the private collection. Realistically, I have read the whole collection by renting them way before I bought them:)

So, Judith McNaught's books, from my point of view, were what I have been getting throughout my entire life! There was no question whether the book was up to my expectation or a disappointment; because at the end of the day, it was the author that mattered to me. And she was Judith McNaught; an author whose books lived since I understood the word "romance".

However, I have to say that things were a bit compromised back then. There was no tool to actually give out your opinion about the books that you have read like Goodreads. So, my sentiments on Every Breath You Take were being bottled up and I could not mentioned it to anybody else who expected me to borrow the book before talking about the book itself!

I was a Perfect-maniac. Perfect was too good to be true; despite some of the unrealistic features in it. It was the Cinderella story for me, at least. I would read it before I go to sleep and I would re-read it the next day when I was stressed up about something. Frankly, Perfect's cover is no longer visible because of the amount of reading.

On contrary, Every Breath You Take was just Another Cinderella Story. It was a bit modernised, with few research on how the current things been done - like there was a mobile phone compared to letters in Perfect. But the intensity of this book was a bit less. If Matthew Farrell made me swoon (even though I was not interested in Cary Grant resemblance), I definitely felt indifferent towards Michelle Wyatt.

Why was that?

My reasons were simple: Every Breath You Take had a lesser part of playing hard to get. Like things were so simple an easy after they talked about the missing 2 years of not being together. The issue was not being properly addressed and the solution was too simple. It was as if the author lost the interest in writing the second part of the story.

We have been watching Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and etc. I believed that it was about time when some of the romance movies should turn into a movie too. But I won't recommend this book unless the film maker decides to edit the good part of the couple having a child together.

Bring some justice for Danny Boy in this book.

Other than that, JM will remain an auto-buy. I'm waiting for Can't Take My Eyes Off You and not seeing a copy here in Malaysia.

p/s: I re-read Every Breath You Take yesterday:)

View all my reviews

Monday, November 07, 2011

orkid's cafe: the man with a purple guitar

Well, life is not always about me. But since this is my blog and this is my private time, let's compromise about some details about me, first, will you?

Okay...you knew that I have been drooling over Jack Bass for years and years and have been dreaming about him for quite some time. Jack, in my opinion, was one of the cutest persons that I've ever fallen in love with; knowing that he was just a character in one of my favourite sequels.

After quite some time, work has taken most of my life and eventually I stopped writing about Jack. Similar to my real life relationship, I preferred to concentrate on the thing which was helping me to pay bills instead of someone who was giving me heartache or requires too much of my time.

Work vs. Boyfriend equivalent to Work on the winning side.
Boyfriend equals to Jack so Jack was at the losing side.

Jack was losing his grip since I signed my contract of employment with that company. He had the same fate like my real life boyfriend, who was gone with the wind after I went for my second interview. Well, some might say that I was over ambitious or not focus. Trust me, relationship came both ways so when all I needed was support so that things would work, I expected Jack to work it out. When he only appeared in only two or less series of Gossip Girl, it was easy to put him off my mind.

So now...I recovered from my sadness and moved on. Life was difficult but what the hell? I must move...and move on...

...and I discovered a new interest! At the age of 29! Woooohooo....guess who is he?

Okay. It happened accidentally actually. I was back from work, tired and depressed and sad and alone. I was gazing at the television with hope that I won't be having trouble to sleep. Sleeping was hard recently. My body was tired, my eyes were about to close but I couldn't sleep properly.

So, I watched Mary Santiago from the corner of my mum's sofa and thought of seeing cool things. Apparently all I could see was a set of musical drama which made my eyes wide open. Yes, I loved musical dramas. Otherwise I wouldn't watch Sound of Music hundred times in my life!

I gave it a go until I saw this character named Joey Parker danced in front of my eyes. Suddenly I was no longer 29. I was 9 - where my interest was New Kids on The Block. The time went Joey McIntyre was cute and funny. Then I was 13 when Kevin Richardson of Backstreet Boys was the macho hunk I fell in love with for the first time. I was 15 when we were mimicking AJ's moves.

...and I was 16 when I couldn't stop looking at Keanue Reeves. Or 20 when the late Heath Ledger was my funny hero in the Knight's Tale.

I was young again; smiling and grinning at the stupid television - regardless how old and tired I was.

I was in love with this man with the purple guitar:



All I wanted was someone who understood the meaning of exhaustion and the importance of securing a job. Someone who made me remember who I was.

Joey Parker made it real that night. Even though he was just a character in a movie.

I was melting like a butter:)

Thursday, November 03, 2011

orkid's cafe: the beggar from starbucks

day one hundred & fifty seven. by sen136
day one hundred & fifty seven., a photo by sen136 on Flickr.
Beggin'! Beggin you!
Put your lovin hands out baby.
- Beggin' from Madcon

A couple of years ago, when I was a barista, I used to keep the first paper cup which I used to make my first latte. It was a symbol of confidence; whereby every time I glanced at the tall size paper cup, I would think of the time when I was not as handy or as competent as I thought I was.

Those days were tough. Prepping the coffee was a privilege. The beginning of my career was filled with the days of sweeping and cleaning. There was no difference between me and the Bangladeshi who worked at the fast food restaurant nearby. Both of us had our degree and were not really stupid or useless.

We were just jobless and helpless.

Regardless, we tried hard to make ourselves reliable. I remember the days when I used to change clothes at the boutique where I used to shop. Before I fell into that situation, I used to buy some work attires from the boutique. I was a customer. Later on, I had to work really hard just to get a handkerchief for myself. Nothing was affordable in the boutique even though the boutique belongs to a friend.

Money, from my point of view at that time, was one of the most powerful tool to make someone weak at heart. If I was not strong enough during that period, I would have succumbed to the cruel facts of life.

But I was lucky. The time when I was working two jobs in a day had passed for 2 years now. Those days of getting up early in the morning, went through the hassle of teaching students in a secondary school where nobody wanted to learn were finally drew its final curtain. Those rushing days of getting to a coffee shop to perform the later-of-the-day-duty have finally taken its toll.

Alhamdulillah. I finally got a job and eventually managed to expand my career. But never...ever...I would forget the times when I was a teacher, a cleaner, and a daughter - all at once in a day.

Yes, I was lucky, folks. I was too lucky. Each time I remember the times when people spat on the floor that I swept, I would feel this huge lump in my throat. Those thoughts made me stronger and wiser: We're not always lucky in life and the biggest test would be given to the toughest people.

After 2 years of leaving those days behind, I was still having fears. Fears of living that kind of life again; thinking how difficult it was to be looked down upon each day. Being a barista was not that bad, but being a teacher was worst. Some teachers were not human. The term GSTT was too disgusting to them; they thought that what happened to me would never happened to their own children. Well, sorry teachers, not all of you were harmful. My parents were teachers too, but what happened back then - the jeers and leers and the proud exclamation were still at the back of my mind. Some people just thought that life would remain constant like a northern star. They were definitely wrong.

This evening, I saw a beggar sitting in front of the escalator at LRT station near Central Market. I have been seeing him for quite some time. He was an Indian man. I was unsure of his own religion and I never bothered to ask. What was so special about him was that he reminded me a lot about my life. The times when leftovers looked delicious. He reminded me about how lucky I was because the GSTT or barista were better than a profession called a beggar.

He was different. I knew I sounded so naive by saying this. There were several beggars in KL; we would never knew whether that person might be under a syndicate or just lived a hard life. But have you heard this: the eyes were the part of our body which would never lie?

Unless he was a good actor, his eyes were different. We could tell that some times beggars were not sincere but what he showed me was a plea - either he was begging me to help so that he could survive or he was begging because he would want to survive from those bad people who hurt him. I didn't know, folks. But I did know that he was one of those people whom I never hesitated to help even though it was just a coin of 20 in my pocket.

I was not trying to say that I was kind. I was just...drawn to give. For some reason.

Maybe it was his paper cup. Unlike my yellowish paper cup, his was torn and empty. Well, maybe people thought that he was just lying. But for me, he didn't have to be in the same race or religion with me. He was just another human who had worst paper cup than mine.

It has been months now since the first time I saw him at the same spot on the back from work. His paper cup was getting worst. I often wondered whether something could be done for him. He was sick! I knew he'll lose his eye sight - sooner or later. He lost his legs already. My assumption was that he might have diabetic. Things must be really difficult...

And there was a man, sitting beside me over dinner this evening; and complained about his job - non-stop! Over a plate of tasty nasi goreng kampung, I was hearing stupid...stupid confession.

"Saya malas betul nak buat kerja...buat apa, buang masa..." he said to me once.

He declined to do any tasks given, bad mouthing his colleagues, lepaking at any time he could, smoking during work, over utilised his leave and medical entitlements...well, what else could I say?

And he drank from a glass.

Didn't he realised that the glass could turned into a torn paper cup?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

orkid's cafe: marshmallow & chocolate

"Kita nak makan tak nieh?" Ain asked me nicely. My sweetheart. She has always been since day one.

"Kan kita baru makan tadi?" I answered the question with a question.She smiled while she held my hand tenderly.

In normal days, I was the one who was holding her hands or held her with confidence. But not last night. Definitely not last night.Not after she rescued me at 8.00 pm in the office. Definitely not after she heard my tearful voice on the line.

At 11 pm last night, I showed my childish side. The part where I was sensitive and desperate. The part when I was also a human.

"Celup-celup ada...satay ada...Kak Sha nak makan apa?" she showed the row of street food alongside Uptown Danau Kota. Frankly, I have never been to that place before. The place where my favourite scarves were sold at only RM10. It was a hectic location which I have never thought could become somewhere I liked even when I was having a chaotic mind.

"Makan macam tu...berat gak...kenyang lagi..." I said to her.

"Ain suka chocolate strawberry. Best kak...ada chocolate fondue kat depan sana!" her gay smile was what I have been missing for the past two months.

"Ada ke kat sini?" I asked stupidly. Chocolate fondue, in my narrow minded mind, was supposed to be available in hotels or malls. It was supposed to be sophisticated machine, wasn't it?

"Adalaaaahhh..jom...Ain bawak Kak Sha makan kat sana," she pulled my hand and gestured towards a small stall in front.And she was right. There it was, the small and clean chocolate fondue. With lots of varieties too!

"Ye kak....4 cucuk RM10 kak...ada strawberry, honey due, pisang...." the owner of the stall held the big banana in front of me.I smiled awkwardly. Hmmm...I haven't tasted strawberries with chocolate for ages!

"Marshmallow pon ada kak..." she promoted her stuff.

I grinned at Ain and said, "Strawberry, Grapes, Marshmallow dengan pisang..." and we squealed with delight.The girl went to the chocolate fondue and prepared our order. While waiting, Ain snapped my picture.

"Ain nie...tangkap gambar buat apa..." I grumbled.

"Kak Sha senyum! Senyum tau!" she ignored my statement and just tabbed her purple Samsung. I forced my smile. She frowned. She forced me to smile - over and over again.

After the skewers have been prepared, I handed RM10 to the lady and started to bite the strawberry. Ain fed me the bananas. I fed her the grapes.My heart felt soft and mushy inside. Looking at her smiley face made me stopped frowning for a while.

Nice. I have always wanted a little sister to feed. I never thought that she would be my own former assistant.

Well, who said that I couldn't take care of my own staff?
Maybe, if she couldn't stop talking about men and did not do her work.

Too bad, Ain was there for me for only a month. Yet, our relationship stays forever.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

orkid's cafe: 29 celup-celup

It has been quite a difficult week after I turned 29. Maybe 29 was a jinx. Maybe 29 was a signal when I should actually change something about my life. Maybe 29 was an indicator that I was eventually a qualified spinster. Or maybe...29 was a pure and simple saying of "I'm old."

I'm not too sure about that, folks. Maybe I was just being tired. Tired of people saying...

"Aku cantik dari kau..." or "Aku lagi kaya dari kau..."or "Nak buat macam mana, aku lawa...engkau tidak..."

Comparison after comparison have been the song that I heard over and over. I tried to pretend that those comparisons were actually my favourite song. Okay, that was a tough statement, actually. I had several favourites songs! Few hours ago, it was Marry You by Bruno Mars. It made me think of the message that I have received from Sepet last weekend.

Well, Sepet was being Sepet. He never got the point. When he talked to me, it has always been the first verse of Marry You:

It's a beautiful night,
We're looking for something dumb to do.
Hey baby,
I think I wanna marry you.


Haaaaiiii...pity me. I spent over five years of loving someone who did not really have the same view in life:(

Kwang...kwang...kwaaaaaaaannnggggg...

Oh, stop being so pitiful, Sha! You're worth more than 29 cents! So, let's talk about what happened on the night where the night was dark and the sky was without stars. Let's recap on the rainy night which was making the floor slippery for my stinky Hush Puppies to walk on. Let's recall the time when I got headache and runny nose or when the water was pouring down my face.

What did I do?

I went for a celup-celup session. That was the time when I've decided for something hot. Indeed, exhaustion brought me down. Too many things to do, too many people to deal with but I was still positive that something inexpensive would made me a happy girl.

When I reached the front of Ampang Park, my tudung was wet. I knew Abang Celup-celup was there with his bike and simmering broth. My colleague started to feel giddy about it but we were held by the thought of dipping sauce when we saw two girls eating under the hawker's umbrella. Damn. If only the weather was clear, we could just sit somewhere nearby without even depending for the umbrella!

The Abang was very patient. He prepared his sticks with speed yet such efficience and neatness. I loved the way he prepared his kangkung. He folded the vege with such skill until I wanted to request for training!

"Dik..." he acknowledged us.

"Takde tempat ni bang..." my colleague was acknowledging our situation.

"Hujan dik..." he said slowly.

The two girls under the umbrella appeared to be so decent until I felt guilty of disturbing them. So, I nudged my colleague and said, "Takpe bang...kitorang jalan-jalan kat dalam dulu...nanti kejap lagi kitorang sampai!"

And we ran into Ampang Park and browsed over tudung and colourful attires. But things looked so bleaked with moneyless pockets and pouches. Shopping was an impossible theraphy at that very moment.

Fifteen minutes have passed. The two decent girls were still eating under the umbrella. We held our breath for their feminism; for their lack of speed in eating. We controlled the urge in our growling stomach and laughed at stupid jokes...until...

The girls were leaving! They left! Yeay!

At the time we settled on the stools, I saw the Abang's wide grin. He must have found us hilarious: Two wet girls were sitting on the stool and looked like big bad wolf.

"Baru balik kerja ke, dik?" he handed out the paper plates to us.

We nodded while we stared at the sticks in front of us. Fish balls, quail eggs, prawns, tofu...yuuuuuumm....

Our hands grasped the sticks and put those into the pot of boiling water in front of us. I took the tofu, the balls, kangkung, and chicken liver. 5 sticks.

"I will spend RM5 for the celup-celup," I made some mental calculation while watching the hardworking Abang who was trying to make his place neat and tidy.

"Mana satu sos pedas ni bang?" I asked.

"Yang hujung tu...yang tengah kuah kacang...tepi tu sos hitam..." he explained while helping me with my sticks.

Once the balls have been cooked, he put the sticks on my plate. I smiled at him. Most of the time, celup-celup is a DIY (Do It Yourself) dish. But this man looked so worried about his business today, he spent his time helping the customers in the rain!

I poured the hot sauce onto the sticks and started to put the hot balls in my mouth. Mmmmmmm...nice...hot...chewy...and salty...mmmm....

It was such a perfect occassion. The rain was pouring down heavily around us; things were so cold and wet yet we settled down for something which was totally the opposite. The Abang, from my point of view, had his own strategy in business. Jalan Ampang was the place where things could be busy because of the offices, yet the foreigners loved to stay in the hotel nearby. The karaoke and clubs were opened until midnight. So, he would certainly got lots of customers.

I munched my kangkung and watched him took care of the rose syrup container. He has thought about it. No other drinks, just plain rose syrup which would quenched the thirst after having hot balls in the mouth.

"Tutup pukul berapa bang?" I asked.
"4 pagi dik," he replied simply.
"Tak tidur bang?!"
"Dah biasa kerja malam, dik," he smiled.
I smiled back. Definitely lots of customers if he stayed hardworking.

I saw my colleague took three more sticks into the pot. I did the same. While we were munching, we saw a white MyVi parked nearby. Three chuuby girls went out of the car. I thought they wanted to go to Ampang Park but they went to celup-celup instead.

The girls were speedy. They took some sticks,boiled them and put lots and lots of sauce. After they have prepared everything, they went to their car and ate. My mind was calculating the number of sticks that they have brought in the car. Surely, they must have taken those a lot. Their desire of eating has shown directly at their figure. None of them were wearing jeans sized less than 30. So...we were not alone in this hunger of hot balls. I bet it must have been twenty. Or thirty.

But, I was mistaken! Ten minutes later, when Abang was counting the number of sticks on their plate, it was twelve. Twelve sticks for three girls gave an average of four sticks per person!

I dipped the quail eggs into the hot pot and continued eating. My mind was still working. My lecturer used to tell me that the reality of baby boomers was that there was less entertainment back then. No astro, no pubs, and no video games. So, instead of watching football or go for celup-celup, a husband would rather settle down early and perhaps, make babies.

That's why they had twelve children. Or eight. Like my grandparents from both sides. I believed that the situation must have been too romantic, like how P. Ramlee phrased it, "di bawah bulan purnama...bercengkerama..."

And part of the reason why people settled down early at night was the rain. It was cold, so you would want something hot and calming...like celup-celup. Or celup mencelup...

Ooooopsssss!!!!

I realised that I have gone very far. So, I asked the Abang about our bill. He answered:

"20 batang...RM20 dik!"

Hahahaha...we ate more than the three chubby girls just now. In average, we ate ten sticks of celup-celup per person!

Maybe it was the cold. Maybe it was the rain. Lucky, it was celup-celup. The hot thing that we were eyeing for. The hot balls we chewed.

What if we were borned in the olden days. Where when it was cold, we searched for celup-mencelup..

"Bercengkeramaaaaa.."

Aaaaaah...I would certainly get ten kids out of that sporting activity.

*Naughty grin*

Friday, October 21, 2011

orkid's cafe: lemang periok kera

lemang periok kera siap by Pak Zawi
lemang periok kera siap, a photo by Pak Zawi on Flickr.

I'm too busy to update my blog right now. But I'm going to tell you this:

I am currently having a menstrual pain and for no reason acting like a pregnant lady. And how does a pregnant lady feels? She craves.

And I'm crazing for this lemang periok kera - something that I enjoyed back in 2005. It was way down the rural and unique place called Bandar Muadzam Shah, Pahang.

In Muadzam, they had this restaurant which sold Nasi Lemak Periok Kera. To say it was too tasty would be a lie; but the authenticity and the uniqeness were something which was not supposed to be missed.

Lemang Periok Kera.

The name itself makes you wonder:

Who would eat rice from the monkey's pot?!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

orkid's cafe: over a bowl of sukiyaki

Sukiyaki by lee.peter113
Sukiyaki, a photo by lee.peter113 on Flickr.
It's all because of you,
I'm feeling sad and blue
You went away,
Now my life is just a rainy day and I love you so,
How much you'll never know
You've gone away and left me lonely.
- Sukiyaki by 4PM


I loved sukiyaki. It was such an uncomplicated dish yet so nutritious. Plus, it makes me full too. But I couldn't find it everywhere in the country. No place was selling it in Seremban; and I only knew a place where I tasted my first sukiyaki: Teppanyaki, Mid Valley Megamall.

It has been years ago when I first tasted what I called "sup sayur Jepun". The bowl was huge! I could still remember eating that alone for the first time. My stomach was full and it looked exactly like a sukiyaki bowl. It was not an ordinary sup sayur. The sukiyaki consisted of chicken (when naturally it was supposed to be beef), fish fillet, tofu, green cabbage, jelly noodle and an egg with a delicious runny yolk. It was superb; especially after a tired day of studying. Eat that simmering broth without rice and I could suddenly remember the 4Ps the lecturer asked me to memorize for marketing test (do they have 4Ps or 5Ps these days?)

Well, student years have passed several years ago. 2011 would be my sixth year of working and I was eating it alone. Eh, wasn't this the dish that I would only eat alone? Yes, this was the only dish that I won't share it with anyone; regardless my brothers of close friends. I remember eating this when I was too stressed up about something or when I decided to have sometime just for myself and think about something. Or when I was too tired of the crowd.

It seemed to me that being in Teppanyaki that day was a bit like being in a sanctuary. Things were peaceful and nice, the smell of teppanyaki was all over the place. Fried garlic was the loveliest smell of the day and the clicking sound of teppanyaki utensils was like the music to my ears. Indeed, that was the day when I decided just to be by myself. I got some serious thinking to do.

So, I was expecting a teppanyaki to cool me down, made me more objective and provided me the spirit that I needed via the nutrition that I was digesting. Alas, the sukiyaki was a bit frustrating that day; it no longer bore cube tofu as they sliced it thinly nowadays; only a prawn was there in the bowl instead of two; with less chicken and no fish fillet. The only ingredient which was put in a better quantity was the jelly noodle. I could taste a budget cut down on my tongue but hey, why should I be complaining when the price was not changing a bit?

"Sayang!" my ears captured the male tone in front of me. He was on the phone.

I looked at his impressive Tag Heuer and neatly pressed Polo shirt. He smelled like a soap. He was fair and prestigious; any lady who looked at him would definitely thought of looking at him twice. His eyes were deep under a classy glasses, his nose was sharp and his lips were perfectly molded. He was...an image of Seth Tan but not similar to Aaron Aziz. You got what I mean?

But then, he was too fair for my taste. His ears were red and he looked as sour as yesterday's rotten curry.

He was angry.

"Yelah...I know. But tak boleh ke you datang sekejap je, sayang? I dah ada dekat sini. Tinggal ambik order je," his voice sounded like a plea.

Then he kept quiet. I pretended as if I was not looking at him at all. Well, don't let the guy knew that I was watching him across the teppanyaki table. I munched the mushroom softly. And slowly.

"Tapi...tapi...ni kan favourite you! I dah duduk sini dah. Nak tanyalah you nak makan apa. I tunggu sini ye..." he said softly.

Obviously, the girl or the boy on the other line was saying something that he hated. He looked like the prawn in my sukiyaki. As I poked the yolk in my bowl, I heard a sharp intake of breath across the table.

He looked devastated. But he looked up and caught me watching him.

Alamakkkk...

Lantak...Lan Botak...Lu makan taik katak!

I was so scared if he thought that I was evesdropping him. I was not! I was just...just....just...

...being busy body.

And that was because he was quite loud!

But...but...I was not supposed to look at him. Huhhh..where was my cabbage???

I bent my head low when I heard...

"I knew you were too busy, sayang. But think about us. Kita dah lama tak keluar makan. You asyik kerja aje. I tell you what. There is a girl here eating all alone. Takde pulak boyfriend dia nak temankan dia makan sukiyaki macam I teman you. Don't you feel lucky, sayang?"

Cesss...was he talking about me?! Hey mister, I might look like a loner but I chose to be one tau!

"Kerjalah sayang...biarlah I makan sorang kat sini...nak buat macam mana girlfriend I asyik busy..."

Then I heard a very quiet...

"I love you too..."

He smiled sadly at his phone. Then he looked up at me, smiled and shrugged.

I just shrugged back. Where's my tofu?

Sha kantoi!


Saturday, October 08, 2011

sha: you made me cry!

"2 tahun aku bercinta dengan dia. Tiba-tiba, satu hari, aku dapat kad jemputan. Dia kahwin dengan orang lain! Meleleh air mata aku, Zam..." said the old man in front of me.

I looked at his grey hair and 52 year old figure. He was not that bad. He must be someone who was "okay" when he was my age. Surely something had happened. Something really...really bad which was up to the extend where his long time steady girl friend would left him and married somebody else!

"Yelah. Kalau komunikasinya elok...macam zaman sekarang, mungkin kami masih bersama. Mungkin...tak putus. Dulu mana ada handphone, Zam. Dia dekat Melaka, aku dekat Johor. Habis belajar, kami dah susah nak jumpa...nak call pun mahal..."

He clipped his cigarette between his lips. Wowwww...I never thought that I one day I got the chance to hear it from a man. An old, experienced man! I used to think that man would not be so open. Apparently, sometimes they were not:)

"Yang boleh pun, masa tu...tulis surat. Tak ada sms yang mudah macam zaman sekarang. Tak mahal nak contact girlfriend. Bukan macam budak-budak zaman sekarang..." he looked directly at me. I blushed. I was speachless.

"Tapiiiiiii...aku ni pemalas nak tulis surat. Tulis niiiiiii...leceh....malas..." he sighed.

"Yelah uncle, bukan semua orang boleh tulis kata-kata, kan?" I interrupted. The elderly just smiled. Lucky I was not being scolded for menyampuk!

The old man nodded.

"Bercinta jarak jauh zaman dulu-dulu ni...susah...banyak halangan..." and everybody nodded.

I did not dare to say to him that he looked so frustrated when he was telling me about his ex-girlfriend. But he managed to say this...

"Kahwin pun lambat lepas tu. Sekarang ni dah tua, anak baru darjah satu. Orang ingat aku pergi sekolah bawak cucu. Yelah...mungkin dulu, kecewa agaknya. Meleleh air mata aku, Zam...." he said.

Folks, could someone got so frustrated and just closed his heart for anybody else?

***to be continued***

Monday, October 03, 2011

orkid's cafe: remis and reminisce

Malaysia Homestay Melaka House  Rsv 012-2501262  /  017-8801698 by HomestayMalaysia

They're all part of the list
Things that I miss
Things like your funny little laugh or the way you smile or the way we kiss
What I notice is this
I come up with something new every single time that I sit and reminisce
- Part of the List by Ne-yo

2003
"Chery..."
"Hmmmm...." I murmured lazily.
"Hang kalau nak husband...hang nak yang lagu mana?" she asked me.
"Lagu?" I asked stupidly.
"Nak yang macam mana?" she corrected herself quickly.
"Hmmm...cakaplah nak macam mana! Lagu...lagu...aku tak tau lagu-lagu nieh. Lagu rock aku tau," I grinned at her miserable face. Our dialect barrier has became quite serious.
"Dah macam tu cara aku bercakap, Chery..." she grumbled.
"Dah macam tu jugak cara kau panggil aku! Chery...Chery...orang panggil aku Sha la. Kau panggil aku Chery kat UNITEN ni siapa kenal..."
"Dah aku kenai hang nama Chery. Mana aku tau nama hang nieh sebenarnya Sha..." she protested.
I smiled.

Bawang Pink. That was her cyber name. Cheryna. That was my cyber name. Imagine two virtual friends became real friends after few years of addressing each other the name which was not stated on our IC.

...I was Chery to her. And she was Pink for me. I was a Doctor Love in her mind. She was a Doctor something else in my mind. We got to know each other in a forum; and we were totally strangers. But things changed when we met each other in person. She was my junior who was my age; so things got a bit complicated when it came to friends. Her friends were calling me Chery and my friends were calling her Pink. But when they wanted to address us in my public, nobody knew who were Chery and Pink. Or Pink Chery. They only knew Sha and Dilla. Different...it was too different.

But we managed. Who said cyber friends could not be friends in real world?

And that made it less surprising when she asked me that question that evening. It was cold with rain pouring outside. We were talking nonsense - about how lonely it would be to sleep along under certain condition. Okay, let's not elaborate, shall we?

"Kau nak tau ciri-ciri apa pulak kali ni?" I asked.
"Boyfriend hang..."
"Boyfriend aku?"
"Aku terkejut, Chery..."
"Apa yg nak terkejut?"
"Hang...kapel dengan orang Terengganu. Aku terkejut," she said.

I laughed.

"Hang gelak! Hang tak cakap siapa pun...tiba-tiba ada boyfriend. Aku tak kenai pon dia?"
"Aku tak cerita orang. Lagipun tiba-tiba nak jadi je. Aku pun terkejut, " I explained.
"Dah confirm ka hang dengan dia?" she asked.

I nodded.

"Serius?! Macam mana..." she didn't finished her sentence.
"Entah...tiba-tiba. Aku rasa sebab dia cam best pulak bila pakai kain pelekat."

Then she laughed.

"So, hang dapat la hero kain pelekat hang?!" she exclaimed.

I grinned.

"Hang memang nak sangat lelaki yang tau ikat kain pelekat kan!"
"Memang laaa....dia budak kampung, Pink. Takkan tak reti..."
"Bukan macam mamat KL kat UNITEN ni...betoi?" she assumed. I nodded.
"Tapi...ntahlah Pink...kadang aku takut sebab tu je aku suka dia..." I let out a heavy breath.

She gaped.

"Awal lagi ni. Aku tak tau...betul ke tak aku suka dia. Kalau ikutkan...macam kena....tapi..." I stopped.

"Okay...okay...hang suka lelaki yang suka muzik. Dia suka muzik?" I nodded.
"Pandai pakai kain pelekat?" I nodded.
"Belajar kos lain...tak sama dengan hang?" Again.
"Tak hensem..." I grinned.
"Orang jauh..." Wider grin.
"Kuat makan...?" I laughed.

"Semua hang dah dapat kan, Chery..." she concluded.

"Tapi...itu aje ke yang aku nak, Pink?" I asked her back.

"Chery...." she muttered a worried tone.

"Berapa lamalah nak kekal agaknya? Aku sendiri tak tau apa aku rasa..."

And we were silent after that.

2011

Eight years have passed. My relationship did not work out as expected. The doubts that I felt that night was never reduced. We ended it a year after. And...I did not realised how happy I was when I realised that it was supposed be ended that way. If only I gave chance to that relationship to continue last time, I would have never found a person whom I loved more than I loved him.

I looked at the tiny clams in my hands. They were everywhere around me. In the sand. I dug some the sand with one finger and found another one. And another one. And another...another...another...

Eventually I got a basket of it. Nice. I had never dreamed of such situation in my life. I was collecting remis at my cousins' backyard in Malacca!

Kuala Sungai Baru. The last time I visited the beach behind my cousin's house was during her wedding. It was like ages ago; when I was wearing purple kebaya which belonged to my late grandma and ate sambal kupang as a wedding dish. That was the time when I have decided that I wanted a kampong boy as my husband.

I had badly wanted a kampong wedding, with kampong wedding dish and kampong ambience. At the time I was checking out the crabs in baskets sold at RM8 per kilo, I had determined that a man with solid kampong background was what I was eyeing for. And I said, yes, I should be following my cousin's path. I could ride a bike with him. Or walk on the beach. Or dig for remis.

Ceehh...hopeless romantic la konon!

That was how I eventually made the wrong decision by accepting a boy that I did not truly loved.

My cousin was very lucky. She got married when she was 21 years old. Her husband was 32. We thought that she was too young to marry but she proved us wrong. She has accomplished so much in her married life which I believe was not easy for everyone. Pursuing her study while raising three healthy and beautiful children were not easy but she made it.

She was an iron lady with a great man behind her success.

And I...learned from my great experience that not all kampong boy was the same. Not all kampong boy would go and find ikan pari for her wife's family. Not all kampong boy would sacrifice his time to bring them to the beach and collect small clams or drove around the village to show beautiful scenery.

Not all kampong boys were as sincere and as patient as the one we knew for the past 12 years.

Well, I could have never been happier the moment we put the fresh remis in our plates in the evening; ate those like kuaci with the whole family. Alhamdulillah...that was the best rezeki for the day. And the happiest moment ever. I could never stopped smiling, knowing that my cousin was one of the wisest person who knew how to judge a person without ever classifying them into groups!

Unlike me who was too judgmental when I was young. How naive. How foolish!

Never mind. Learning is a lifetime experience. Right?

To Kak Emy and Abang Selan (and my lovely nephews and niece),

Thanks a lot. The memories that I had last week was too valuable to be shared (but I put some of those here, knowing it should be shared). Alhamdulillah, we were really happy last week and thanks a lot for fulfilling ibu's wishes. With deep gratitude, we wish your family happiness and good health, wealth and insya-Allah...with more and more rezeki from Allah.

We loved the fact that Kak Emy cooked such an excellent asam pedas for us. Waaa....when I was small, I have never thought that there would be a day when things were so beautiful. But my dearest cousin made it happened. Thanks again Kak Emy...

Years ago, when I was such a daydreamer, I thought things were as simple as just to choose. But you made me realised that open heart and sincerity were the most important thing to gain happiness. (ceh, I made my Kak Emy sounded like Aristotle now).

Haaaaii....Kak Emy is so lucky. She married a Kuala Sungai Baru guy and get to see remis everyday. Anything special to see if I choose a guy from Shah Alam?

Kerang rebus kedai tom yam adalah:(

p/s: P. Ramlee said to Tompel, "Jodoh, ajal, rezeki..semuanya di tangan Tuhan. Bukan di tangan bapak!"