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Thursday, March 31, 2005

Home sweet home.. and it'll always be in Penang no matter what

I went to Penang yesterday. The supposed reason for going there was for the traffic survey for the flyover at Jalan Masjid Negeri, but for me on the other hand, going to Penang always means so much more.

I went to fetch my juniors (who will be doing the traffic count.. and PAID, mind you, a hefty RM80) around 5.45 am, with the plan to perform our Subuh prayers at Masjid Negeri. Upon arriving, we quickly entered the mosque to perform our morning duty before heading out to the flyover. Luckily the side gate which was closed the last time we did the traffic count, was thankfully opened. Harun, Zariman and Mahadi quickly chose the aprroach closest to the mosque while Poksu, Fahmi and Yuhyi were left with the side across from them. After making sure everything was ok, I went to find some breakfast for them.. hehe, where else, at Taman Tun Sardon lah!

I had my breakfast with them. At first I sent breakfast to Poksu's site before crossing the road to Zariman's side and having my breakfast there. Since I wasn't the one doing the traffic count, I got a little bored after a while and proceeded to read my book I purposely brought along. Still, after a while, I was going crazy just sitting there so I excused myself and went to Tabung Haji in Bayan Lepas. On my way back from Tabung Haji, I passed my hometown, Sg Ara. I would have gone right through it if I didn't have this sudden feeling of wanting to see the place.

I entered at the exit near my home and, boy, it sure bought back memories. I laughed out loud when I passed the corner where I did my 'devillish turn' after I just got my license haha..

Upon arriving at the house I grew up, my heart was sudenly filled with mixed feelings of sadness and longing. I grew up in this very home since I was in standard 1 throughout my schooling years (eventhough I DID spend a few years in the hostel, but still I came back here during the holidays). Even when I started my matriculation and college years, THIS house was still the place I called home.

I had my first crush here (if I don't count that silly crush I had on Mark when I was 5 or something). My happy school days here. My first 'big exam' result a.k.a UPSR here, which ended in tears when I just got 3A's instead of the much-hoped-for 4A's (Abah didn't talk to me for days, still remember that silent treatment I got hehe..) I had my first period here haha, and was scared to death on that day when I realized I was in my first step to becoming a woman (though now I wonder, when am I really gonna grow up?) Even my sister Izati and brother Iskandar were born when we stayed here.

So many memories and only now would I admit that my best years were spent here. I wanted to go to my room but it was too dusty. And to think that once upon a time ago, that room was my refuge when I thought the world was not being fair to me. Haha, I still remember every night after dinner, I used to sit at my desk and pretend to study until my father checked on me. After that, I'd be reading my Dragon Ball comics or Dragon Quest comics or maybe one of my books I had in hand. Such a pretender, eh? It was in this room that Izati and Iskandar tried to hatch a chicken's egg right on my bed hahah.. I still remember how hard I tried to keep a straight face when I scolded them for messing up my bed and how I had to lock the room when they went out after being scolded because I just couldn't contain the mass of giggles that were threatening to burst out of my mouth.

Yes, I really love my room. If the room could speak, it could talk of my transition from a pony tailed girl who always brushed her hair 100 times before going to sleep and who always arranged cuddly toys around her bed, to a teenager who prefered fluffy and colourful cushions (and who struggled, every morning at 5.15am, to tie her long and thick hair in 1001 different ways so it won't show much under her school 'tudung') and (suprisingly) an almost woman who stepped back to her childhood days and discarded her cushions to her more favourable cuddly toys. My softboard was always full with birthday cards, poems, interesting quotes, Snoopy cut outs (yes, I was and still am a BIG fan of Snoopy), newspaper articles etc.. etc.. I used to love chosing different themes for my softboard whenever I got bored with the old one.

Haha.. the boys even had to use my room when they 'bersunat'. Iwan, Adi and Ikram. Their room weren't quite suitable for the cause so I had to surrender my room for 2 weeks. That event really brings out so much flash backs that I'd rather not tell here hehe..

Even the dining area bought out memories. We used to have dinner together and talked about everything though Abah was quite a spoiler coz he always chose dinner time to scold us. And I remember when all of us 'told' Ikram he was adopted. I'll never forget his reaction. My gentle brother (at that time la) suddenly leaped like an angry tiger and THAT left us stupefied (I'm borrowing this word from Harry Potter). We never tried to tease him again haha..

Then the living room. Whenever it was near raya, me, Adi, Ikram and Izati (Iwan and Iskandar don't really join us during this activity) would make biscuits together and the living room would be the placed where we cooled down the cookies (and ehem, ate about half of the batch we were making) The biscuit 'wajib' would be Melting Moments, Flap Jacks and Chocolate Chip + Coconut cookies. We'd line up the tins with brown paper before arranging them carefully and SEALING them so anyone who refused to help us during these night WON'T be able to 'steal' them haha.. But the part I'm still 'tak puas hati' with is when it comes to spring cleaning, suddenly everyone would be missing, leaving me all alone tsk.. tsk..

Then there's the kitchen where me and Adi used to pretend we were famous chefs. Mama used to scold us for being so noisy whenever we cooked together but I know, she must be happy seeing us like that though she complains that we use too much utensils. When Izati grew older, she joined the two of us and we used to make up cooking shows that would leave us in laughter AND a burnt meal. The fridge was almost always full with our experiments.

How about the stairs.. the phone used to be at the stairs so it would be fair for anyone upstairs or downstairs to pick up the phone. I remember once upon a time ago when I used to curl up with the phone till way past midnight haha (and THAT wasn't even in my teenage years.. more like my early twenties). I'd talk so quietly, being afraid to wake everyone up and how I'd be so embarrassed if Abah or Mama happened to wake up and catch me on the phone in the middle of the night thus prompting me to pretend arranging the telephone books etc hehe.. but that was a LONG ago story which I'd rather forget (have I?). Adi or Ikram used to sleep right on the stairs steps. Its a wonder why they never fell of the stairs anyway. The stairs were also our some sort of peeping 'hole' to see who has come to visit, or to see when my father has come home so we'd be able to hide all the things we were doing that we were NOT supposed to.

Wow.. there are lots of stories for everything in that house. Even the garden which looks more like a forest reserve now. Since Abah always planted bouganvilleas at the front, the plants were so huge that anyone from outside couldn't really peek inside. When it rained, I used to take off my tudung and ran in the garden to play in the rain with Izati and Iskandar (now, looking at the differance of age, I think I sure looked silly haha..) The fish pond was our fort back then and I'm sure if the fishes could speak, I'd be the one with the most scolding from them. Then there's the mango tree where Abah once tied Iskandar bike up on its highest branch. Iskandar used to dissappear after breakfast on his bike (and sometimes without even taking his bath) and only come back when he was hungry (which means, hardly ever) or we'd only see him at maghrib. So to punish him, Abah tied his bike on the mango tree and we were left to the mystery of its disappearance for quite a while.

Memories.. memories.. I could go on rambling about them, couldn't I?

Anyway, what greeted me that day, wasn't anything like before. Mr Long was still there though, he greeted me with his mournful 'meow' as if asking, "Where have all of you gone to?" Its sad, you know, knowing that things have changed so much. Looking around the house seemed to have awaken all the things I let to sleep. By the way, I AM wondering if Long was the one I put in the washing machine AND let it spin for about 5 minutes? I wonder if he's forgiven me for my childish prank (though I remember quite well that I was in form 4 during that unfortunate event)

I left the house, more sadly than when I arrived.. Though the house has changed so much, its still the only place I'd call home.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Gosh.. now I miss you guyssss.. :'(

Hmm.. I really wonder why is it that I'm going so sentimental over everything right now? Well, Ok, I do know.. errr, I think so la. Eversince I could remember, I've always been the first one to go all sensitive and all that..

For the past few weeks, I've been spending most of my time with my juniors who are on the verge of completing their studies. Time sure flies. I feel as if it has just been yesterday when I first knew them in MIMOL and now suddenly they've completed their four-year struggle for a degree.. sigh!

The feeling suddenly struck me when I went to bid goodbye to Lily. Then I realized, hey! I'm never gonna have a reason to go 'lepak²' at Lembaran anymore. Wow! That surely made me sad. I dunno, I guess, after my batch finished our undergraduate degrees and only a very 'select' few (hahah..) of us made it to the next level, I guess these 'adik²' of mine have been my only source of friendship here. Ok.. ok, its not like there aren't any other post grads here but they are WAY older or maybe foreigners whose sole mission to Malaysia is to complete their masters or PhD.

I miss them!

I miss them!

I miss them!

And how embarassed I was when I my voice broke when talking to Mozac.. sure kena gelak dah ngan budak ni haha.. Then Alem sent me this message saying that I'll sure be lonely when my 'adik²' have all gone home.. "Bila adik² tgh ramai, seronok la, bila kitorg dah balik, kan dah sedih² dah" Kan dah nangis dah pagi² buta, ampeh Alem!

Yes.. I do have pictures and all that, but I know after this there'll be no more joking around as much as we'd like to. No more hanging out. No more 'minum²'. No more going to the movies with them. No more chats on the messenger (hey, eventhough their workplace will have the internet, it doesn't mean they'll have time chatting anyway). No more 'buzz-buzzing' with Helmi. No more gossips with Lily. No more learning about different types of beverages (Milo campur ice-cream satu) from Alem. No more "Kak Ayu ni asyik bz ngan tuition je" from Mozac. No more 'Cerita Bujang Senang' from Salimin.. wow! I'm really gonna miss out on a lot of things.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

An 'ok' birthday.. 25 huh?

You can call it a quarter of a century.. or two and a half decades.. or the starting point of a real adult.. whatever you call it, it'll still be the big 25.. huh? 25 already uh?

I didn't really have any plans of celebrating it anyway, but still, I had a great time today.

It started with going out with the gang last night. First all of us (me, Yun, Lily, Alem, Mozac, Juty, Asrul, Khay, Pojie and Tengku 'pemalu')trooped into McDonalds. The guys had been craving for McDonalds eversince only-they-know. Made me remember the time we went there after MIMOL with Alem, Spyder, Helmi, Hasni and Nije. Then we went to watch Miss Congeniality 2, my treat. Though I must say, it was a bit of a disappointment. I was expecting more original laughter, or at least, the same amount as in Miss Congeniality 1 but thats ok. Like someone once said, "Its the company that counts". Since the company was great, the story became quite ok-la.

After nearly two hours in the cinema, we went to the bowling alley. At first I wanted to join in he game with them, but at the last minute I got my usual bowling jitters and proceeded to be just the cheerleader for them haha..

At 12 o'clock hehe.. I guess I didn't expect them to know it was my birthday so it came as a suprise when they sang Happy Birthday for me. Made me smile for the time. Then, as usual as for any birthday girl/boy, I had to focus my attention to the sms and calls I received. Thank you, guys! Well, suprise, suprise! This year IS different. I didn't really wait for the one call/sms I waited for like last year. Ok, maybe just a tiny bit but it was just a fleeting moment. Not like last year. Hmm.. and only now do I think of it. Maybe.. just maybe, I've finally gotten over him!

After 4 straight games, we headed to Pelita to have midnight snacks, though most of us just drank. We even had time to make plans for Saturday, to go for grilled sea food at Kuala Kurau. I guess I must have arrived home near 2.30 am. Kak Shima and kak Kt left a paper bag of my presents and a card. Thanx to my all my sisters there (Kak Kt, Kak Yun, Kak Zai, Kak Zura and Kak Shima, who added that she was the cutest one of the lot)Sleepily, I ironed my baju kurung to wear to work, but I was too excited to be REALLY sleepy anyway.

The next morning, I headed to work quite early. By 7.00 I was already on my way. Good thing too, Dr Wan wanted so much to be done, I was soon out of my breath trying to catch up. Something funny happened though. My colleagues organized a suprise party for me, with chocolate ice cream cake as the main menu. Somehow, they didn't do a very good job of hiding it so I knew about it hours before the event. I had to bite my lips just to prevent myself from laughing.

When the moment finally cam, I was really rushing around with Dr Wan's orders so I didn't really realize when they started to gather in kak Sue's room. Just for their credit, I was a bit suprised anyway, eventhough I knew about it before hand. Thanks guys. You made my hectic day, bearable! The chocolate ice cream cake was a hit. I guess we'll be having it for everyone's birthday after this. I have some picture but I don't know how to attach it to this blog.. guess I have to ask Pojie how he did it to his blog.

Then, after my tuition class, I only had time to wash my face a bit before heading to the Lembaran cafe to meet my juniors for their long awaited dinner of my treat. Coincidenntly, it happened on my birthday. They were having their thesis presentation throughout the week and their dinner tonight so it had to be on my birthday, right? Hehe.. not my doing..

We went to a place called.. arrgghh, I don't remember the name but it was a nice place at Bandar Perda. Cikgu was the one who suggested the place and it was a good thing too since I don't really know all the good places to eat around here. The food was great and not really THAT pricey. This reminds me of the guys. They were afraid if I didn't bring enough money that they ordered the cheapest food on the menu. They even discussed of pooling their money, just in case. I don't know if I should take it as an insult or should I pity them hehe..

The 'kids' took some picture but I haven't gotten the chance to see them yet. I went home, happy, contented and suddenly feeling so attached to these new friends that I felt a bit sad knowing that I might not see them again after this. I just hope they'll get work and be happy throughout their lives. Whoaw.. nearly forgot another thing. I also went home with a cute teddy bear hugging a heart shaped pillow given to me by Ramlah. A very thoughtful girl she is, I didn't think she'd know it was my birthday.

All in all, it was ok.. Ok, ok.. more than ok and I loved every single secong of this day (even the parts where Dr Wan kept me busy with my work-- it is MY work anyway)

Thursday, March 24, 2005

'Masters' Disaster

Aaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrggggggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!

Now, why am I yelling around like I've lost my mind or something? And, owwwww, look at the face.. scowling like a moody cat who's been shut out of the house on a stormy night (cam Gebu la plak.. the differance is, Gebu tak leh scowl.. but her revenge is something I would never forget.. mopping up my room at 7.15am on a working day is not really my choice of excercise!)

Hehe.. blabbering about Gebu has made me loosen up a bit.. and look, the smile is coming back.. :)

Its now safe to ask about my 'are-you-nuts' condition earlier, though I don't think anyone wants to know why.. but I always say, writing (or typing) is the best way to release all those pent up steam in your head.. hey! It worked for me when I was in school and though now I don't really have that much time to write (except writing for journals, papers etc.. ugghhh!!), it still works during those once in a blue moon times I try to write (Haha, and once I did try to write a childrens story book.. still have the draft at home.. err, somewhere)

Anyway, the one (err.. out of two) thing that is clustering my mind nowadays is my #$%*&@ masters! Frankly speaking, I simply HATE it..

After my finals in my final year as an undergraduate student, I was feeling as light as air, picturing my self as a full fledged engineer (perasan!). I typed out my resume as carefully as I did Dr Meor's assignments (haha.. now, THATS a truly original comparison) and sent them to various companies. Then out of the blue, I was offered a job with the company I did my practical with.. Life's good! But for a short while je la.. a quick 'discussion' with my father made me realize that, well, I'm not really in control with my own life :'(

I came back to the campus after only two and a half weeks at home.. like a grumpy hermit who's been forced out of his cave. I hated it from the start but, working as a research officer, my colleagues started to change my mind. Still, it took me more than a year to register as a post-graduate student.. I guess, deep down inside, I'm as stubborn as a mule though thinking back, I feel so stupid for wasting 16 precious months.

But I'd be lying if I say I REALLY HATE THIS.. sometimes, I love what I do.. especially when we come up with a new discovery.. or when we get to solve a problem.. haha, even when the lecturers praise us for our efforts (err, now THAT reminds me of myself as a 5 year old, wanting approval from everyone..) There are moments when feel I'm gonna love all of this. Like my first conferance presentation, though I was shaky and misereable all up to the moment of my presentation, when I finished it, I truly felt that I had accomplished something (for myself la.. I'm not really the public speaking type, you know)

Its times like right now that I feel sooooooooooooooo mad at myself. I don't think I'm the research type but thats what my masters is all about. I mean, there are times when I think I understand what I'm doing, but right now, I don't think I really understood it anyway.. Its not that I don't try, I do my best but still, there are these moments when being lazy is the most wonderful thing in the world.. and whats more frightening is: I'm preferring to be lazy right now!

Sometimes, waking up in the morning to the prospect of sitting in front of a pc doing the days work is sooo unappealing. I'd rather roll around the bed, dreaming.. but responsibility IS responsibility. At least the thought of that, more often than not, jolts me out of my fantasies.. but seriously, today IS not one of the days..

I guess, I have this love-hate relationship with my masters. I love the new knowledge I gain everyday.. but I also hate it for the same reason, coz the more you gain, the more stupid you feel haha.. I wish I could love doing this, just a tad bit more..

My advice, if you don't want to do post graduate studies, don't let anyone force you to do it.. You yourself know who you are.. what your limits are.. and what you want in life.. like me, I guess I really hate this because its not something I want to do.. I might like it, heck I might even love it if it was something of my choice.. These studies really are strictly for those who WANT to do it, so think carefully before making this decision..

Well, back to the real 'Masters' world.. cheerio!!

Monday, March 14, 2005

I miss him.. :'(

My brother, Ikram, left for Japan 2 days ago. He'll only be there for 3 months, but as crazy as it might sound, I miss him already..

6 years ago, he was still afraid of the dark. 6 years ago, I was still his sister that he looked up to. 6 years ago, I still lived beneath the same roof with him. 6 years ago, I still tried my best to protect him from everything (though, I never really admitted that).. now, everything has changed. I remember how excited he was telling me that his boss will send him to Japan and how instinctively, I wanted to go with him, just to make sure he'd be alright.

I still remember the day he was born. I was anticipating the birth of a little sister. Living with 2 brothers for the whole six years of my life up until then, was quite stressful hehe.. Yes, I was the bossy big sister, but still being bossy to the terrible two wasn't quite fun. When I knew we were getting an additional member to the family, I quickly made up my mind that the baby would be a girl, no questions asked. Besides, my parents already had 2 sons, and I was the only daughter, of course they'd choose a baby girl this time, shouldn't they?

The day finally came. It was exactly a week after my birthday and on April Fools day. The nurse suddenly called from the hospital and I was the lucky one to pick up the phone. While my father took the phone from me, my brothers and I gathered around my father to listen to the news. We were smiling happily knowing we had someone new to play with but my smile quickly faded when I saw my father's face. I knew it was a baby boy even before he said it. Bursting into tears, I just ran away from the room.

It must have taken my father a long time to coax me to follow him to the hospital. Lastly, I consented but deep down, I refused to even take a peek at the baby. However, it seems that God had other plans for me. As we reached the hospital, I managed to convince myself that I won't have to see the baby if I didn't want to. I stayed outside my mothers room while my brothers gathered around the baby. Suddenly, the baby cried. His cries somehow grabbed my attention, and try as I may, I couldn't help wanting to soothe him. I guess, finally, I did surrender to his charms.

As he grew, we became attached to each other. He'd follow me around, everywhere I went. It was like having a real live doll. I did nearly everything with him around. I couldn't even imagine not having him nearby. Even my mother once told me that on my first day of school, he was so restless at home waiting for me to come back and when I finally did, we hugged each other as if we had been parted for years (that's my mothers version of the story, though I didn't really remember it that much)

He used to sit with me when I did my homework, dragging his story books around and pretending to read them, when in reality, he was just making up the stories by looking at the pictures. That used to tickle my mother who always listened to him whenever he wanted to 'read'. I used to ask silly questions about the stories he read, but he would solemnly answer all the questions confidently.

He was a funny. He hated eating. It was a chore for my parents to make him eat. He could be really stubborn when he wanted to. But we stumbled on a secret accidently one day. It seems that he'd only eat his rice with kuah satay (peanut gravy) and that became our mission to buy as much kuah satay as possible every Friday when we had a pasar malam (night market) near our homw. He also hated medicine, but loved to see the doctor who'd hand over sweets to him on every visit.

One trick we used to play with him was to pretend to pull his nose off and throw it outside. He'd cry buckets if you didn't get it back for him and stick it back on his face. Sometimes, we'd even shut the light off when he's in the bathroom just to hear him begging us to switch it back on. Once we even told him that he was adopted, and he kept smiling while denying it until he suddenly banged the dinner table and ran to our room, locking it behind him.. and this came from a boy who was afraid to be alone. We never dared to tease him that way again anymore.

Then came the birth of my long awaited sister. As much as I loved my sister, I was so afraid that Ikram would be jelous that I tried my best to spend more time with him. It was during this time that I taught him to read and was I proud when he could read and write, though his hand writting was not really readable during that time. When he started standard 1, I must have been prouder than my parents though I could be there for him since I was supposed to register at my new school too. But I did go send him for his orientation.

I stayed in the hostel for 3 years before staying back at home though still with the same school. But during that time, things must have changed. My 'shadow' now has his own friends, and since he doesn't get to see me that often, he doesn't really depend much on me anymore. Somehow, that made me really sad.

Until now, I still don't understand my relationship with him. I mean, I'm used to talking about my siblings but seldom do I tell people about Ikram. Some of my friends sometimes experess their suprise when they know I have another brother aside from Iwan, Adi and Iskandar. Most of them wonder why I seldom talk about him. Even I can't answer that question. I DO realize that I don't talk much about him, though.

Its not that I don't love him. In fact, whenever I'm away from home, I miss him the most. The first day I sleep in the hostel, I cried thinking about how he was going to sleep that night. Even a few months ago, I suddenly felt so sad thinking of him, I really missed him since he went to KL to work.

I guess I just can't let him go yet. I still think of him as the clinging little brother who once became my shadow everywhere. I still fear that people would hurt him. I still want to protect him from everything. But most of all, I miss being his hero. He's capable of taking care of himself, yet I wish that he still wants me around. Its just that, I turned my back around for a second, and suddenly he's grown. I guess, parents aren't the only one that finds it hard to let go..

And to my brother, Ikram : Kak Yong misses you :'(