Wednesday, August 31, 2011

merdeka: you chocolate people!

Almond London by Lydia's Corner
Almond London, a photo by Lydia's Corner on Flickr.
It was called fate. And my fate after I graduated with an accounting degree was to work in bank call center. I was grateful with the job since that job came with a good package. Yes, call me stupid but practicing account was the last thing I had in mind. At that time all I could think of was to go beyond the circle and to do what other people won't do. My friends were auditors, so what? My cousins were doctor and architect...so what...

I was in a multi-racial environment. At that time, we didn't have this 1 Malaysia concept or things like that. We were just US. A bunch of people who enjoyed life as it was, who were so thankful with the varieties of food every time we had potluck and cultural dance every time we had events. Name it, I learned several Tamil and Chinese cuisines, words and gestures. I even had samfu, sari and Punjabi suit of my own - just in case the team decided on colour or costume codes.

That day in 2007, I chose to wear kebaya nyonya instead. Oh, stop frowning! I used to have a body part called waist last time. With proportionate boobs and butt, I even managed to hook myself up with one of my seniors. In other words, yes...I was not totally tak laku...

My kebaya was blood red with alamanda embroidery and my sandal was gold. I wore red lipstick and traditional Malay make up on my face. I grinned at my friends who were wearing kurta and baju kurung while sending my perfect smile to this guy who was wearing baju Melayu. G...he was awesome! I remember the time when I used to adore men with ponytail. Especially when they had their baju Melayu clung to standard Malay men shoulders...fuuhhhh!!! You could see me gaping and drooling lah! Gerenti!

I was in jovial mood.

It was good to be jovial because in call center you have to smile when you answer calls. My trainer used to say this, "The customer could sensed your smile through the phone!" and my Team Leader used to put a mirror beside my PC. You see, I had reason why I preferred Credit Services compared to Collection or Sales. It made me all normal. When I was in Sales, I had to smile non-stop. Collection made me frown. But Credit? It made me smile and frown concurrently at the right time.

My shift was at 8.00 p.m Malaysian time. That was because I started work at 1.00 p.m UK time. The lunch hour. The Que was high and it was end of the month. Some customers were too happy because they just received their pay cheques, some were too grumpy because their money was swallowed by the overdrawn balance of their account or because they overspent on their debit card.

Well, Malaysians, those were the reasons which turned me a conventional customer. I learned my lesson well about debit card, internet banking and overdraft before Malaysian even knew what the heck were those thing (thinking that some people were so showy to me about what a bank can do...hehe).

That evening, I had Mrs. Cooper on the other line, asking for an increase on her overdraft. I ran through credit checks and said no. I mean, not "No Mrs. Cooper, you're not a good customer." Instead, it was "Apparently things are not as we wish, Mrs. Cooper; the system is not granting our request. Is there anything else I can do to help today?"

Well, I learned some manners in which it was not in my own language and not really going to help me to find a Malay husband but helped in polishing my skill in writing an English report. Or e-mail. Or whatever.

But Mrs. Cooper was not keen with my answer. She screamed at me!

"Nooo....noooo...noooo....you can't say I can't have it!"
"No, I didn't say you can't. I was saying that your application did not go through an appropriate reference check. Therefore, it was declined by the system."
"It's a same difference!"
"You can do something about it, Mrs. Cooper. I am willing to help you."
"What? You can find me another job, will you?"
"Maybe you can look into reviewing your income and expenditure, Mrs. Cooper. Job Seekers Allowance to be managed accordingly until your situation is okay," I said.
"Lady, you don't tell me what to do with my life!"
"Well, if that is how you look at it, Mrs. Cooper. We are also trying to assist you financially by providing the financial advice..."
"And which part of the world are you from, Sasha?!" she sounded so stressed up, I shivered. This customer would definitely blew my eardrums!

"Malaysia," I answered softly and nicely. Politely. Like a talking dainty porcelain doll.
"You're not even an English!" she exclaimed.
"I'm afraid I'm not, Mrs. Cooper," still polite.

And without me realising that it was 12.00 a.m (Malaysia Time) of 31st August 2007, she said,

"You chocolate people! I have no job over here and you're working in a UK bank! I repeat, it's our bank, dammit!"
"I thank my employer and your country for the opportunity, madam. Regardless where I am, I will help you."
"You moron!" she screamed.

My colleagues were singing Negaraku on the floor. Damn. This customer could kill me with her words!

"What's that sound?" she heard the national anthem.
"The national anthem, Mrs. Cooper." I said that with pride.
"What the hell...you're supposed to help customers. Not sing! Why are you singing?!"

Rahmaaaattt bahagiaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa...tuhan kurniakaaaaaaaaaannnnn...

"It's our Independence Day," I provided a simple answer.
"Independence? Hahaha....you're from the third world, aren't you," she provoked me.
"I'm from Malaysia."
"And who was there before, the Dutch? Spaniard? Italian? You are free people now, aren't you?"
"We are free from the British, Mrs. Cooper. The British was here."

And I heard her screaming. Again.

"And I'm here to assist. So tell me, what cause you to be in this situation, Mrs. Cooper?"

Raja kitaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa....selamat bertakhtaaaaa....

"F@*K OFF," and she hung up.

Well, the job required patience and attentiveness. She was a desperate lady with a wall of pride, so that was how the conversation ended. How I wished that she appreciated the fact that I was another human being regardless where I was coming from. But folks, I bet most of us experienced the time when we screamed at an agent in a call center, kan? Oooo...don't bluff. I screamed at TM, Astro and even Celcom! :P

Today is the day where two good things are celebrated in one splendid day. Let's be thankful that some of us are on holiday (I did not, at least for three years of working in the foreign bank). Be thankful for the fact that we still have our loved ones around us, including our directive mother in-laws or a brother in law who love to talk politics when you're eating rendang. Be thankful that you have a job and a plate of rice to eat!

"If you're ashamed to stand by your colors, you had better seek another flag."
-Mokhtar Dahari

Sha Cheryna:
* thanks to the people who have helped Ashraff Haziq during the London Riot and special thanks to my former mentor Helen J. Robinson for teaching me English. You're part of Malaysia too.

* I am eating lots and lots of Almond London and Chocolate Cake today:)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

diary ramadhan sha: boyfriend raya

DSC_5669 by nadi0
DSC_5669, a photo by nadi0 on Flickr.
1st June 2008 - I wrote about my trip to Aquaria and how happy I was to finally managed to cover one of my wishes in my wishlist. Then I also mentioned in my posting that besides Aquaria, I also went to one of my favourite places - Popular BookFest @ KLCC. At that time, my father was hopitalised and I took some time off to get some books to read while I was accompanying him.

14th June 2008 - I wrote about Cadbury Purple Reign the book that I have bought during the BookFest. Cadbury Purple Reign was an accident; I did not plan to buy it but since it was one of the kind, I bought it without regret. I called the book -"my precious" in my blog posting that day.

28th August 2011 - I read The Star this morning when my mum made a smiley request for me to read the books section. Well, actually she was asking me to read about an article written by an acquaintance, Daphne Lee, whom I met during British Council's Share Reading. I ended up reading the whole newspaper. And Kosmo too (well, they are showing the picture of Remy Ishak and Khairy Jamaludin (no my ex named Khairi ye...that one erased history already!). Thanks mum...you knew how to make my day. That was the first page she showed me this morning! (who said my mum was not encouraging my interest? And who said I didn't have any preference. I did. I liked tall dark and handsome ones, trust me).

I let a gasp of exasperation when I saw that there were articles of book sale this week. Damn. MPH with their MPH Distributor Warehouse Sale, Popular with their BookFest@Malaysia and BookXcess with 4th Year Anniversary Promotion. Thanks...I was being thankful about not having to go to KL for a week and look at how my mental was being abused this morning!

Arrrrggghhh...this is ridiculous!

I was dwelling with lots of emotions this morning. Hmmm...my budget was not for books only. In fact, I have set those aside for 5 books from BooksforCharity. I need to complete my Emily Giffin and Jeanne Ray's collection. And I have put a mental note about asking Kak Ida whether I can book another 5 that I've selected for my September's budget (well, I don't want to bug her, she is moving house and it's raya soon) Popular, don't tell me you're selling 3 chic lit books for RM29.90 only. Guess what? You're unlucky cause I already got some of the books you're selling!

It's going to be raya soon and as a well bred Negri Sembilan lady, I should be focusing on food shopping. I called my sickly uncle yesterday and he already asked me about what I'm going to serve him for raya. I should be focusing on that. I should also be focusing on the food that I'm going to cook for my brothers who apparently in a jovial mood this year.

I need to concentrate on food.

I sat on my bedroom's floor, reading Cadbury Purple Reign again. Then I glanced at the hampers that my dad has received yesterday. Well, book shopping was not that bad la, Shaaaa....you still have the books from BooksforCharity, Yes, you bought 8 books and you read 3 but that doesn't mean you can't reread your books!

And who would've the time to read during Raya?
My mum will definitely kill me. Hehehe.

Nevertheless, I could never stopped daydreaming.

Of a purple hamper with gold trimmings. The content? Cadbury chocolates. With Onward from Howard Shultz as the main character. I know it's odd. Cadbury chocolate and Starbucks CEO's book in one wrap...but who cares? The Help from Kathryn Stockett will be a nice addition:P

or a pink hamper with white orchids which consisted of Sweet Love by Sarah Strohmeyer, Be Sweet by Diann Hunt, Souvenir by Theresa Fowler, Things Worth Remembering by Jackina Stark, The Icing on the Cupcake by Jennifer Ross, It's All About Him by Collete Caddle, and You Don't Have to Say You Love Me by Sarra Manning.

Gatallah Shaaaaaa:P

But my birthday is in October. Patut cari boyfriend tak raya nieh? Hehe.
I think I gave the hint already:P

Thursday, August 18, 2011

diary ramadhan sha: strawberry cheesecake icecream

When my friend, Syura Aziz sent an invitation for Iftar with my college mates, I couldn't resist the temptation to say yes. I have left UNITEN 6 years ago without flying colours and I have not met most of my college mates since. Except...well, during some weddings, there was not that much of chance to meet each other.

The mediocre examination result, regardless how some people perceived it, produced a degree. That degree eventually bloomed the opportunities. Well, even though some might say that I am a nobody, I won't take my achievement lightly. Some said that I was from a private uni, it was not accredited and my pointer was not good enough. Apparently my employment history did not approved so. Alhamdulillah, I found jobs in three MNCs and one major GLC despite the criticism.:)

And...Alhamdulillah, regardless the reputation of IPTS student that we bore before this, my friends were accomplished people. Name it....auditors, lecturers, accountants, executives, analysts, engineers...they were all came from the same classes and uni. We even got one politician from UNITEN!

I looked at my friends and I realised that most of us have changed. We might not be best friends before, but the ones who came last night were mostly single and successful in our own career. At least we have something in common. I smiled at the way we talked and the topics we chose. If our issues were about text books and lecturers and study loans when we were students, the topics have swiveled to current issues when we're adults. Yes, I like this intellectual, yet full of humor conversation!

And for once in my lifetime...trust me, I felt intelligent.

Maybe that was because I joined the intelligent group. The people who have traveled and experienced lots of things. I have recognized the way I had changed recently. I came to a conclusion that I was not the same person before I met my friends just now. There were too many stupid incidents happened around me lately and I didn't know whether I have dealt with it with brain.

Let's read one of the sms that I have received this evening:

"Ko ada hantar selamat hari raya thru email ker?...Aku perasan tadi photo ko masa kat janda baik. Saloma cut paste kot....Tulis selamat hari raya dari annie....Betul ker ko yg hantar?"

Folks, I was lucky to have friends today! If indeed someone edited my picture, made joke out of it and sent it through e-mail, I had handled it well. I had a fun time with my friends today. Yes, the ques to Chilly's was too long for me to wait. And I just couldn't stand the stomach growling. But we also had good times and laughter when we were at Haagen Dasz; while we were waiting for spaces in Chilly's.

...And I had a good taste of Strawberry Cheesecake Ice cream.

When I received that sms, my head was dizzy and I couldn't see my way to Kinokuniya. I sensed that I couldn't concentrate on books that much just now. Not because I felt down, but it was because I tried to make myself smarter. If I jumped at the provocation, I would definitely fell into the stupid trap in Ramadan!

Everything went well during iftar. I loved the way friends were talking about their work, their traveling experience, the issues in UK or even the food and our former lecturers. Those were the things I need to keep myself positive. I knew for a fact that those stupid action was made by stupid people and I was not one of those.

I have friends. The smart ones. They taught me on how to be sensible.

And...that includes the one who made the fastest decision in for me today. Kak Ida, from BooksforCharity had quickly suggested a book for me when she realised that a book that I wanted was running out of stock. And she had brilliantly made the right choice! The thing that I appreciate the most was how sensitive she was towards my interest in Emily Giffin. Fine. Isabel Wolfe was not available. So, she suggested the next in line - the book which I plan to buy during my next order.

Not to mention that she had also tagged me photos of Sarah Addison Allen's books - the author who captured my attention after my first purchase in BooksforCharity. And without having to wait a decade to buy those books, I could sense that I would receive it by this week:)

I have been given a chance to laugh and sense of comfort tonight.

Just because people cared. Just because people were sensitive.

Thanks, intelligent friend. Thanks again Kak Ida from BooksforCharity.

You were sweet - like the strawberry cheesecake ice cream.

We'll deal with the culprit who edited my picture tomorrow.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

diary ramadhan sha: pengat strawberry

Strawberries by Sara's Kitchen
Strawberries, a photo by Sara's Kitchen on Flickr.
"Ruth loves to bake cakes. When she is alone, she dreams up variations on recipes. When she meditates, she imagines herself in the warm, comforting center of a gigantic bundt cake. If there is a crisis, she bakes a cake; if there is a reason to celebrate, she bakes a cake. Ruth sees it as an outward manifestation of an inner need to nurture her family—which is a good thing, because all of a sudden that family is rapidly expanding."
- a book synopsis : Eat Cake by Jeanne Ray


As I was contemplating with my options in BooksforCharity, I reminded myself of the things that I wanted to have during Ramadan. For instant, security, safety and good health. Things are going weird these days. Five years ago, when I was working in a UK company, I was cursed by one of my customers who called me "chocolate people". It happened on Merdeka Day. Since I was serving UK customers, I had to work even when it was a Malaysian public holiday.

Well, I signed the contract. Being cursed was part of the job.
And at time...I didn't know that London is going to be this bad.

So, when I received negative remarks at work yesterday, I was devastated. But I had also reminded myself that in the month of Ramadan, the challenges are greater and the burden is heavier. I kept thinking of the good things. Like the new books that I have chosen for myself.

And, I also thought of rewarding myself. There was this stall in the bazaar near my house which sold the caramel cake and cheese cake. I envied the seller for being so passionate about the things that she did and her courage to sell a non-typical bazaar's food. She looked so happy when she was explaining about the good way of eating the cakes. And I was impressed of seeing the cakes that she sold - she had buyers and they looked happy buying those cakes of hers.

While feeding the cake into my mouth yesterday, I couldn't help thinking about the weird recipes that I have seen throughout Ramadan. Apparently the lady's cake was a caramel pudding cake, so the layer of caramel pudding heighten the taste of the cake.

So, that was the cake. And I'm a conventional person.

My favourite is pengat. After viewing 5 rencah 5 rasa last week, I am craving for pengat strawberry. I can't wait for this weekend. I'm going to buy those ingredient for pengat and eat as much as I can!!!

Just replace the banana with strawberry. Di mana bumi ku pijak, di situ langit ku junjung.
Malaysian style:)

How do you think the taste will be, folks?Is it going to be as tasty as the Caramel Pudding Strawberry Cake I ate yesterday?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

diary ramadhan sha: puki

Sleepy Tuto by Lizette Greco
Sleepy Tuto, a photo by Lizette Greco on Flickr.

Puki. Puki. Puki.

For some reason, you love to sleep during Ramadan more than you love to sleep in Muharram, Safar, Syawal...or Bawal....

And like other sleepy person on earth, I crave for pillow. So, instead of talking about coconut, I force myself to write about my sleepiness.

Unfortunately, the picture of pillow in Flickr was related to another word.

Puki

Join group Puki Puki Play

I rubbed my eyes several times. I didn't read it wrongly. True enough, there is a word Puki in another language.

So, I used Google to check on the word Puki.

Well, you can guess my findings. But never in my wildest dream will I see a person name Puki.

Huh?

Then if the person comes to Malaysia, how am I going to call her without being fired?

"Hai Puki...nama saya Sha....Puki apa khabar? Sihat? Puki nak makan apa? Sosej? Okay...Sosej ada kat sana."

Arrggghhhh...can't imagine that right?

I'm just too sleepy, I guess. Beter get my sleep now.

And close my ears. I heard lots of Pukis today. They were not calling one's name. People still curse. Even if it is Ramadan.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

diary ramadhan sha: telur siapa masin?

salted egg by marsmelow
salted egg, a photo by marsmelow on Flickr.
For some people, Ramadan means talking about food when you can't have food. Check out your Facebook. How many of us are inspired to write their status based on food?

Example:
" Hari ini emak masak kari ayam, kailan goreng ikan masin, telur dadar. Desert pulak kuih lopes dengan pengat pisang. Disertai dengan sirap selasih. Ada katira jugak. Buka puasa dengan keluarga penuh keberkatan."

or

"Akan ke bazaar Ramadhan pada hari ini. Target: beli tepung pelita Makcik Kemek dekat hujung simpang!"

or

"Bilalah aku boleh berbuka air soya buatan Daud ni? Lambat lagi nak habis office hour."

Hadoiyai. If you compare the amount of posting like this during Ramadan and other days, you can tell the difference. Ramadan seems to be the time to talk about food. Regardless whether there are more interesting topics out there or not, we just can't take our mind off food. We gossip about food more than we gossip about another human being. As if food wears short skirt. Yelah, during other time, when you want to gossip, you check out the first lady who is wearing short skirt.

"Eh...pendeknya skirt dia. Mak dia tak ajar ke pakai sopan-sopan?"

but in Ramadan you tend to say...

"Kau tau tak...aritu aku pergi kedai Makcik Kemek dekat hujung simpang, tepung pelita dia tak sedap langsung! Hambar!"

Laaaa...pity that tepung pelita. Or pity Mak Cik Kemek. Or pity you for discounting your "pahala puasa." Hehehe.

Trust me. You can have this in Facebook, folks. Early in the morning, when boss is not coming to work yet, you can chat with your friend about the food that you ate during buka yesterday. And without you realising it, if you compare to the time when you were gossiping about Milah, you are now spending for food gossiping. Hurrayyyy!!!

The tab at the corner of your Facebook screen is tempting enough for you to gossip. About what? Food, of course. Here goes the updates. 1,2,3 messages - and if you're slow in replying, you will receive the message in your inbox:)

7.00 p.m - you log on to your Facebook while waiting for the azan. What will you see? Pick a guess:

a. A status stating - "AKU LAPAR!"
b. A picture showing the dishes that somebody bought from the bazaar.
c. An invitation for Iftar by ex=schoolmates, all discussing food.
d. All of the above.

In the world of modern technology...the challenge that you're facing each day is in your own Facebook. Just at your fingertips.

But how about a simple status like this?

Sha Cheryna Pires: Telur Masin

What will you think? What will you comment?

Don't tell me you're going to comment, "telur siapa masin?"

Double meaning statement is definitely a no-no.

Selamat Berpuasa, folks. I'll continue my diary tomorrow. We talk about kelapa ditebuk orang:)

Saturday, August 06, 2011

diary ramadhan sha: thank you BooksforCharity

36/365 by vanessa.paxton
36/365, a photo by vanessa.paxton on Flickr.

Ever since I moved from Jalan Ampang to Jalan Raja Muda Abdul Aziz, I became useless. I used to have at least an hour of therapy session in Kinokuniya, walking around the store to check on the new books available, inhaled the smell of fresh papers and delved into the other world where Sha was not Sha. Sha was...

...a journalist who wrote about scandalous spinsters. Sha Austen who came out with Sin and Stupidity.
...a lady firefighter who looked like Nurul Syuhada Nurul Ain; her aggression replicated Lara Croft and has a high sense of humor like Whoopi Goldberg (scary aight???)
...or a clumsy girl who met her dream guy during pre-wedding session in Saloma Bistro (eh, this sounds familiar kan?)

Yes. Besides having people around me to hang out with, I loved my celibacy and privacy. Where I could think of other things. Where things were just with me and me alone. Where I could daydream about things that only I knew. Reading, in my opinion was a way to release my stress:)

So, this was my story. It happened weeks before Ramadan:

My dearest sister, Sya Annur was about to deliver her third child and she was showing this picture in her Facebook. It was a picture of a pile of books she bought before her baby was delivered. The caption on the picture was about her plan on finishing all books during her confinement.

When I saw the picture, my breath was caught in my throat. Work has always made me exhausted and busy. It has also changed me into a boring person! It drained my ideas in writing and built this sense of high awareness and without me knowing it, it had also made me a paranoid. (G, I said this, but I couldn't helped saying that my work is my life. Hehe)

That was the first picture. The first glimpse of something which I have been missing dearly. And then, it happened again. Another friend introduced me to Goodreads Malaysia. And I couldn't help browsing about books. One fine evening before Bersih, I went to Central Market with my colleagues and started to search for secondhand books. The shop belonged to an Indian guy who had piles of books in his shop - mostly romance novels. Yes, it was a heaven but since the price and the quality was not that synchronized, I stopped at buying cheap Mills & Boons. For old time sake.

But, as I expected, the books finished in only few hours. Mills & Boons were predictable and the stories were too short:(

Huuuuuu.... I started to gaze outside the bus. 140 km of traveling per day and the best I could do was to close my eyes and snore. Well, I couldn't do that actually. Recently we had this issues of high pitch snores in the bus. The men sounded like the late Pavarotti in their sleep!

Therefore, I made a pact with myself. It was Friday. I left the office early and went to Kinokuniya. Being ignorant about the way people were staring at me or how they made fun of me was the best thing ever. Yes, I have been the workaholic. If only Sophie Kinsella wrote about a workaholic instead of a shopaholic, I would definitely volunteered my stories:P

When I reached my sanctuary, I was breathless. Oh my...you won't know how much strength did I used just to keep my composure. It was not easy. Books were everywhere and I did not managed to touch any for the past few months! So touching the first book I saw in that magical place was like touching a rose petal in a spa!

Folks, I was overjoyed and I couldn't stop grinning. I checked on several books. For several minutes, I was lost. I didn't know where too start. Romance books era was over. Malay novels were blooming like tulips in Netherlands but then again making the right choice of Malay novels has always been my biggest weakness. Chic lit? I grimaced. My best friend, Q, used to laugh at how weird it was seeing me with chic lit. Hello, even an iron lady needed a break!

Then, a girl caught my eyes. She was holding a heavy basket which consisted of...fifteen books? Wait, FIFTEEN? One and Five?!

"Alaaaaa...baca je tu..." I told myself.

But she looked so obsessed and when she realized that I was watching her, she smiled at me.

"Baca buku apa tu?" she asked. I smiled back and showed her my books.

"Sarah Addison Allen? Best ke?" she asked.
"Macam best...tapi entahlah. Tak pernah baca lagi buku dia. Baru nak cuba," I told her.
"Kerja?" she asked. I nodded.
"Mesti dekat KL kan?" she guessed. I grinned back.
"Awak?" I asked her.
"Segamat. Kat sana tak ada Kinokuniya. Inilah, saya balik ni nak beli banyak-banyak. Buat bekal bila balik sana, " she explained.
"Kenapa sampai macam tu? Taknak ke surf internet? Sekarang kan banyak orang jual online?" I asked her curiously.
"Saje...lagipun saya rindu kedai buku macam ni...dapat pegang-pegang buku...best..." she said innocently.

Then we talked and read and talked and exchanged ideas. We didn't tell our names to each other. We didn't exchanged phone numbers. When it was the time to leave, we left.

Few days after that, I surfed the internet and went to my Facebook. I checked out the page where my friends spent their time to buy the books called BooksforCharity. Well, frankly speaking, I have browsed this page several times. It was just that I had this discomfort of buying things online, I made myself an observer instead of a buyer.

But that day, things were different. I had this goal of buying the books that I wanted so I already knew what to buy. So I sent a message to lady. I checked on the page several times and read all the feedback that she received.

And I made my first order. Two books. Garden Spells from Sarah Addison Allen and The Stepmother's Support Group by Sam Baker. I sent the message Kak Ida, the person who was managing the page. She told me it was only for RM50. RM50 made me smiled the whole night. Yes! That money that I received from my salary increment was really worth it. I spent the money treating my brother yet I could still spend some on books!

The next day, I looked into paying the money for the books that I've ordered. I was not a good fan of online banking (well, I was a banker before and these banking terms and conditions made me a nervous person. I don't even use debit card). So I used the ATM to transfer my money. Sad to say, the machine worked out the worst that day. My receipt mentioned, "TRANSACTION TIMEOUT."

So, I messaged Kak Ida again and she told me that she received the money and would courier my books. My reaction? Well, you could ask my staff. I was ecstatic and I couldn't help smiling the whole day. Well, I was known as a mean lady boss. That day, I was not. Kak Ida punya pasal....

And...on the day I was supposed to receive my books...

I walked back and forth my room when the clock ticked at 4.00p.m. The dispatch boy was grinning ear to ear when he saw me.

"Kak....yang akak tunggu-tunggu dah sampai..." he said. I laughed joyfully.

My name. My address. The parcel felt like something familiar. So, I hurriedly opened them. My colleagues passed me the scissors with knowing smile on their faces. One of the girls started to tease me, "Consignment note jangan lupa bagi sini..." and everyone chuckled when they saw my eager reaction.

Layer after layer. The parcel was wrapped neatly. I started to feel nervous, and excited and thankful at the same time. My books were tended well. And...

THEY WERE BEAUTIFUL! The most beautiful books I have seen in months of depression and business and sadness. The cure to my hectic schedule and chaos. My treasure...my precious!!! (I sound like Gollum in Lord of The Rings now).

And like Gollum who kissed the ring, I kissed my books. That was....

...before my boss caught me doing it! Hehe. Now....now...

"Dah dapat apa dihajat?" he asked cynically.

I blushed.

Well, that was embarrassing, I knew, but I also knew that he smiled when I smiled. Yes, I have been frowning a lot recently and I only talked about work. Never mind then. Forget him. Look at my books!

So, my journey to work was never the same again. I read my books and smelled the papers daily. I spent time browsing the best books to buy from Kak Ida again. This evening, I asked Kak Ida about Emily Giffin, an author who had the best reviews in Amazon and Goodreads. It seems that she had several types of book covers for her books. And even though we said that we should not judge a book by its cover, I couldn't help drooling over the picture of Kak Ida's collection. And guess what? She answered my question in a nick of time too!

Well, I sound so happy, am I? Indeed, I am. The girl in Kinokuniya and Kak Ida have made me realized that there will always be ways to maintain your hobby and make yourself happy. My regret in meeting that Segamat girl was that I did not managed to introduce her to Kak Ida's page, otherwise she would have loved to browse, just like I do.

Sha, the bookworm, is back. Well, she has the time to stop reading e-mails and journals now. She has the time to be herself. And that's important.

Q, I'm girlish enough to read chic lits.
My dearest Kak Sya, Qemm, Bismi and others....you led my way for me to become me again!

Thanks Kak Ida!

* browsing to book 5 books for my second order. No baju raya is okay for me:P

Thursday, August 04, 2011

diary ramadhan sha: root beer rani

Rootbeer Float 2 by TripleScoop
Rootbeer Float 2, a photo by TripleScoop on Flickr.
Ramadhan has come and all of the sudden I feel alive! Several months ago, I was having this down time where my brain simply couldn't function properly and I had not idea when it came to writing. The draft of my latest story, Guitar Hero is still under progress. I typed something and at the same time pressed backspace or delete button on my keyboard. At the end of the day...I realised that I was not writing anything at all!

Where was my romantic sense? I need words!

So, I checked on my Facebook. Besides taking time in reviewing all the books that I wanted to buy online, I had also looked into possibility of new things to do. I mean, I needed inspiration to write and it was not easy to squeeze your brain when all I could think of was all the vulgar words...errr...not a good thing to do...

Miraculously, that was the time when I realised that a bunch of my primary schoolmates were forming a group in Facebook! What? I thought that it could never worked! Come on. I have seen people struggling to keep college mates together. I saw empty reunions among secondary schoolmates. Those people were not really separated. They have seen each other quite number of times after school. They were all contactable. But only few attended the reunion.

So, in what sense would a reunion worked? Or even a mini gathering?
Especially for those who have been separated for more than 15 years?

Layan. That was what I had in mind. I knew that primary school was not all fun, bubbly and funny but how about looking at it from the view of an adult? Look back into the days where we played teng teng and galah panjang. Remember the days when a teacher canned us and made us cry. Or the times when you thought that you had nice voice so you joined choir. Or when your big boobs was the talk of the school.

I joined the club. I talked about the old times.

Yes, it was not all easy. There were times when I couldn't stop thinking about the time when the boys made fun of my runny nose. Or the times when I frowned. Or even the times when I ate the curry noodle while the others watching. Just because I was a daughter of a teacher.

Well...well...well...as I said, when you looked at it as an adult, you would start to view things differently. There was a flash of anger, I had to admit that. I was a teacher's daughter whom being victimised by other teachers' words. And it was not something easy to forget.

But...who would have thought that I could go through it and even attended the first gathering! Yes. I made it! I had it! Even my mum was surprised to see to I had eventually accepted those years in my life as part of my life. Those were the teary years, if you knew me better. But those were also the years when I was Sha, who managed to run through the hurdles though she failed to catch the ball in the netball court:)

Frankly, I was nervous. What if they hate me? Or they look differently at me? I mean, they were not really my close friends. What if they start talking about my mum? Or how fierce she was in school? I could get defensive. Or worse, what if they make fun of my runny nose again?

My fingers shook when I put on my purple shirt. I was lucky, my driver was driving. When I arrived at A&W that evening, my confidence level was...almost zero. Or negative. I was damn scared.

That was...until I saw the familiar faces. Whomever the people was, they were not the same people I knew in school. A frog turned into a handsome prince, an ugly duckling turned into a swan, a sleeping beauty is no more asleep:)

People changed.

***to be continued***