Thursday, July 22, 2010

22 July 2010 - My 10th Wedding Anniversary


......How can I sum up 3650 days (87,600 hours) of married life in a single blog entry? I can’t possibly do that for there are so many things to mention I wouldn’t know where to begin. The following are simply my thoughts, as I celebrate a great milestone in my married life. It has been a great journey.....and here I am, being married for 10 years and loving it!!!!!!......

My True Love Story

I got married to this beautiful and wonderful girl 10 years ago. It wasn’t love at first sight. We didn’t meet under a fairy tale like circumstances (more like a romantic comedy for lack of a better comparison). The relationship was moving at a record breaking warp speed, and before long we were already planning for the engagement, and within less than a year we were officially husband and wife.

It wasn’t consistent with what I had in mind. It was quite unusual of me really. I previously believed that it would take me some time to get to know a girl, we would have to work at gaining each other’s trust, time would be needed to be comfortable with each other and rushing things would only lead to the path of disaster. Yet, I completely defied those beliefs when I decided to marry her. But, it felt so right. To wait for much longer would be an utter waste when I knew she was the love of my life. Why wait when the answer was right there in front of me. It just didn’t make any sense to wait, I didn’t need more time.

The first sign was the conversation between us. We spoke for hours on the phone and it felt just right. It was ‘synchronised’ in a way, she knew just the right thing to say and when to say it. The talks between us just flowed effortlessly without the feeling that we needed to impress each other. When we met time seemed to fly, things around us didn’t matter as we only had eyes for each other. And leaving her was always hard and the return trip back to Lumut felt very lonely. She always made me feel that I could just be myself around her, and her aura of confidence and astute personalities just had me mesmerised in no time at all. In many ways, she had in her all the elements that I felt were missing in me.

And she was a beautiful girl alright. At that time the phrase probably sounded more like, ‘she was smoking hot!!!!’ She was beautiful when I met her and she still is 10 years later. She is beautiful in her own not so perfect way. And I’m glad this beautiful girl is mine.

My beautiful bride

We were already going steady within 1 month after we first met. At the 5th month point we were engaged and at 10th month mark I sat in front of my father-in-law and recited the akad nikah (wedding vow) as he gave away his youngest daughter to be married to me. I had no doubt she was the right one, and some signs I received from God Almighty through Solat Istikharah were the indisputable confirmation I needed.

With one 'lafaz', we became husband and wife

The rings are symbols of our love for each other

'Berinai' and 'Bersanding' at my wife's side

Cake cutting ceremony in Navy white

After the wedding she gave up her steady job at a prominent bank in KL, and followed me to live in Lumut. It was quite a sacrifice as she had been living with her parents for her entire life prior to marrying me. Lumut was very alien to her but she was very strong and tried her best to fit in. One year after the marriage, I whisked her away to Marseille, France and we lived there for more than 2 years while I was working with the navy helicopter project team. It was the best and the worst period during our marriage. But we managed to pull through, unscratched. And the best part, she got pregnant with my babies 3 months before we returned to Malaysia.

More relax during the wedding ceremony at my family's side one week after the 'akad nikah'

The sword bearer & cake cutting ceremony in full naval tradition during the wedding at my side

With my mother & my late father, they were so proud

We had plenty of time to set the right foundation for this marriage, four years to be exact. We talked a lot, made a lot of plans, worked laboriously on our expectations and came to a compromise in many things. Along the way there were bumps and bruises in the relationship but we eventually worked things out, bringing us closer and making us stronger every time. The twins arrived four years into our marriage. She’s not only my wife, but also the mother to my beautiful daughters. The three of them complete me. Yes, I am truly blessed, Alhamdulillah. I have a beautiful wife whom I love with all my heart and together we have these lovely little angels who bring us joy beyond compare.

At our honeymoon suite - Awana Kijal Terengganu

The key to our marriage I believe is in the fact that ‘we love each other dearly and so happens we are the best of friends’.  I like talking to her, I look forward to seeing her, I like going out with her, I like to hang out with her, I never feel bored around her......... it's always okay as long as we are together. I don’t know if it’s true but I like to believe that there had never been a day in our marriage that we didn’t speak to each other, even when I was away on overseas trips.  Communication as lovers and the best of friends has been vital, and through the thousands of hours spent talking to each other, sharing our thoughts, even arguing and eventually working out our differences, we have hopefully forged a very solid communication foundation between us.

Our marriage has now arrived at the 10th year mark. Looking back I can’t praise God enough for looking after us and for continuing to bless us. We have been through a lot of ups and downs. No matter what, we must always be together as nobody else but us who truly understand what it means to be us. This wonderful woman, Azlin binti Abd Aziz has been my pillar of strength and the arrival of our daughters have only strengthen this family to help us weather the challenges in the years to come.

I can’t describe just how lucky and blessed I feel right now. I just hope and pray that this bond of marriage will continue to prosper, and that we will grow old together as we experience what life has to offer. I hope we will continue our strife to become better Muslims in the true sense and hopefully God will guide is in the righteous path always.

Our 1st and 5th Anniversaries

Our 9th Anniversary - still going strong

So thank you Sayang for being a wonderful wife, thank you my lovely daughters Farhana & Farzana for bringing such joy to us, and Alhamdulillah praise Allah Almighty for blessing us and for making this marriage ‘alive’.

My beloved family

~ Happy 10th Anniversary Sayang, I Love You With All My Heart ~

Saturday, July 17, 2010

My Oldest Memorabilia

And the award goes to my “Birth Certificate”. As far as I’m concerned, this extremely fragile slip of paper is the oldest piece of personal belonging I have to date. Safely tucked inside a see through plastic pocket, this testimony of my grand entrance into this wonderful world has all the little details related to my birth. Apart from the usual information like my name, place of birth, address where I was born and my parents’ details, it also contains other trivia like the dates of all my immunisation shots and the date when I was registered for primary school on 20 Jan 1977 (one year before starting school). Glad to know I got all my shots.....the fact that the certificate clearly states that failure to do so would have resulted in my parents being fined $25 (“RM “ was still not used at that time obviously) might have something to do with that I assume.

The certificate is known as “Borang A – Negeri2 Tanah Melayu Perakuan Beranak”. The spelling and terminologies used are of the bygone days; “kechil”, “Umor”, Lain2”, “Chatitan”, “Sekshen”, “sa-bagai” just to name a few. I am sure this delicate almost 40-year-old certificate will not survive being taken out of its plastic pocket. The pocket still holds for now but I imagine I will eventually have to figure out something in order to preserve this vital document once the plastic starts to disintegrate.

It’s been a long while since I last look at my Birth Certificate. I was forced to rummage through my important document storage to look for it last Monday as it was needed in order for me to register for a “new” Birth Certificate at Jabatan Pendaftaran Negara. Older members of the Armed Forces....and yes, I’m in that category.....who still do not possess a 12-digit “civilian” IC Number are required to register with JPN and within 2 weeks after doing so, we will be issued with a “new” Birth Certificate bearing a revised IC Number. How fun...I’ll get to hang out with the younger dudes.....Man, my IC Number is not A XXXXXXX anymore, it’s now XXXXXX-XX-XXXX. We can be buddies then!!!! The good news is that I’ll get to keep the old Birth Certificate even after I’ve been issued with a new one.

While looking for my Birth Certificate, I accidently stumbled upon another important archive; my Primary School Report Card known as “Lapuran Kemajuan Murid”. This document really struck me deep in my heart knowing some of the historical data about me was inked more than 30 years ago. I found out I was only 40 lbs (18.14kg) at 3’8” (111.76cm) after 6 months in primary school. I continued to be a little midget throughout the 6 years in Primary School and my maximum dimensions when I graduated measured at mere 38kg in weight and 151cm in height.  I also saw that my weight and height were already measured in Metric in 1981 although Malaysia only officially migrated from Imperial to Metric on 1 January 1982.   Hahahaha....had to Wiki that info to make this utterly useless comparison:).

I was a quite a bright student in Primary School. My report card indicates that I alternately finished as the top or the second in my entire class for the first three years, and finally emerged as the most dominant student academically in the final 3 years. My average mark for the whole 6 years was 90.8. My highest single year average was in Standard 2 when I scored 97.7.  Hmmmm......

Students were divided into 3 classrooms (if I’m not mistaken it was Bendahara, Laksamana & Temenggong), with the total number rising from 113 when we started in 1978 to 120 in 1983. My best attendance was in my 5th year in 1982 as I only missed 2 days of school. Understandably that was a very important year when I sat for the Penilaian Sekolah Rendah (Primary School Assessment) examination. Funny enough, I was also assessed for my “Kebersihan” (Cleanliness) and aren’t I glad to discover I was given straight A’s every time!!! Don’t really want know what it meant to be given less than that.....

A trip down the Primary School memory lane also took me to the back of the report card which outlines some useful information for parents. The language used makes me smile, so for those of you who can understand this, enjoy......... (this is verbatim to the last dash and space):

1. Kedatangan anak-anak kesekolah patutlah di beratkan termasuk kelas-kelas bimbingan dan kegiatan kumpulan diwaktu petang.

2. Yuran-yuran yang ditetapkan oleh Jumaah Pengurus bagi tiap-tiap murid membayar-nya tolonglah jelaskan dalam penggal 1 tiap-tiap tahun.

3. Kemajuan dan kejayaan anak-anak tuan/puan tergantong diatas kerjasama tuan/puan bagi membantu pelajarannya di rumah. Tuan/puan mustahak sangat berikhtiar menambahkan lagi buku-buku pelajaran dan bacaan kepada anak-anak selain daripada buku-buku sekolah.

The two important documents tell a lot of stories about me. I am glad I took the time to reminisce the early days of my being through their windows. As I look back, I know despite the many ups and downs I have endured throughout my almost 40-year existence, I can take comfort in the fact that my early days were adorned with many beautiful memories, and some of the vary foundation and principles I hold dear to until today were conceived way back in those days. Syukur Alhamdulillah.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Dari Mimbar Masjid Salahuddin Desa Bayu 9 Julai 2010

Saya balik lambat sedikit dari pejabat tengahari ini. Dengan sedikit validasi klausa kontrak yang perlu dilangsaikan, sesi pow wow mingguan dengan 5 bakal pegawai jurutera dari UPNM yang menjalani latihan sambil kerja (OJT) 3 bulan di organisasi saya serta sedikit perbincangan dengan rakan setugas mengakibatkan saya sedikit terlajak di meja kerja. Dengan perut yang tidak berisi sejak melangkah kaki meninggalkan rumah pagi tadi, saya memasang angan untuk mengalas perut dengan roti dan berharap masih dapat ke masjid sebelum khutbah bermula. Gembiranya hati saya apabila sesampai di rumah isteri tercinta bergegas menceduk nasi dan saya makan dengan express agar dapat segera ke masjid. Alhamdulillah, sesampainya di Masjid Salahuddin Desa Bayu azan pertama baru selesai dan saya dapat meloloskan diri ke saf yang selesa tidak jauh dari mimbar.

Esok adalah hari Israk Mikraj (27 Rejab) dan topik khutbah hari ini berkisar mengenai peristiwa tersebut. Saya amat teruja mendengar khutbah yang disampaikan oleh one of my favourite khatib di masjid ini (untuk entry pasal khutbah oleh khatib sama sila klik di sini). Beliau menceritakan sedikit sebanyak sejarah Israk Mikraj mengenai kisah Nabi Muhammad s.a.w. menjalani pembedahan dada untuk mencucikan ‘alaqah’ iaitu tempat syaitan membisikkan was was dan kemudian dituangkan hikmat, ilmu dan iman ke dalam dada Baginda. Khatib muda ini juga menceritakan mengenai perjalanan Nabi dari Masjidil Haram ke Masjidil Aqsa termasuklah pengalaman Baginda menyaksikan pelbagai pemandangan yang memberi keinsafan dan meningkatkan iman. Beliau turut menyentuh mengenai Nabi menerima perintah menunaikan solat 5 waktu sewaktu peristiwa besar ini dan seterusnya mengingatkan bahawa solat adalah amalan pertama yang akan dihisab di hari akhirat kelak.

Imam muda ini membacakan khutbah dengan penuh bersemangat dan jiwa saya tersentuh mendengarnya. Selain itu beliau juga mengingatkan jemaah untuk mengambil iktibar dari peristiwa Israk Mikrak untuk meningkatkan keimanan dan ketaqwaan. Icing on the cake bagi saya untuk khutbah Jumaat hari ini adalah cara Khatib membacakan doa dalam Bahasa Malaysia di khutbah kedua yang amat bermakna bagi saya kerana nada dan bahasa yang digunakan benar-benar meresap ke dalam dan menyentuh jiwa saya.  Antara bunyinya lebih kurang begini, “ ..............Ya Allah, berikanlah kami ketenangan seperti ketenangan Mariam semasa mengandung ketika disekelilingnya dipenuhi cemuhan, seperti ketenangan Nabi Muhammad s.a.w. semasa menghadapi dugaan dalam menyebarkan syiar Islam......”

Khatib hari ini amat sempurna kesemua perbuatan dan perkataannya di mata saya. Solat diimamkan dengan amat baik disertai bacaan surah yang pendek serta jelas. Doa sesudah solat juga serba ringkas dan tidak meleret dan mendayu-dayu. Saya begitu kagum dengan khatib ini sehinggakan saya terpanggil untuk mengenali nama beliau daripada maklumat roster pegawai masjid bertugas. Alhamdulillah dan saya doakan semoga Allah s.w.t. terus memberi beliau kekuatan untuk berdakwah dan berjuang demi agama tercinta ini. Aminnn. Sejuk perut ibu yang mengandung.

Friday, July 2, 2010

All Work And No Fun Makes A Dull Life

My life has been fairly hectic and a bit “cacamerba” for the past few months. I had not much choice but to ride it through and face up to whatever the challenges that came my way. Obviously my rugby commitment was the underlying reason, but once the secondary effects spawned from that were taken into account, I had very little breathing space. Just throw in some unexpected turn of events and unnecessary but unavoidable distractions, I was in a “near crisis” or “real crisis” mode on a daily basis. I choose this life, so I know that should not go around bitching when I can do something about it.

I always believe in life’s little marvels that if we don’t pay attention to, they will likely go unnoticed. However, if we take time to look for them, embrace them and enjoy them, we might just be surprise by the reward we get to reap at the end. In my case, looking back at that frenzy phase, I’m glad I took detours from time to time to ease my mind off the pressure. Most were nothing spectacular actually as they were just your typical activities, but when I took them as timely scheduled little “escapades”, they turned out to be the much needed antidote, and sometimes did me good beyond I could imagine.

These were some of the activities I perceived as my life savers these past two months ........

Watching movies

I watched 4 movies during this period, how I found the time to do it with the family....don't ask. Prince of Persia, Shrek Forever After, Toy Story 3 and Karate Kid. Prince of Persia and Shrek were only so so in my opinion, and I even doze off for a short span during Shrek as the story line was exceptionally....flat. I really enjoyed the other two though. Toy Story had many hilarious moments that got my whole family laughing (Buzz in Spanish mode, Ken and Barbie “cheesy” moments, and Mr Potatohead clumsy misadventures just to name a few).  And Karate Kid was a fresh re-make of the original. It was not over the top, it was not trying to compete with the original, but in a discreet way, it stood on its own with Dre Parker/Mr Han at the centre of the student/kungfu master relationship as opposed to the Daniel LaRusso/Mr Miyagi in the original version. Karate Kid movies were part of my youngster years memories and being able to watch a commendable attempt to relive the legendary classic was really refreshing.


Good food is probably the most convenient sanctuary for human being in time of distress. In my case, discovering new food havens ranks very high in my list of stress busters. I tried a nasi lemak place called Nasi Lemak Ayam Kampung at Jalan Ali Pitchay, Ipoh. We stumbled upon the place by luck and what a treat it was. The ayam kampung was crispy and we even gave the fried eel there a try. Definitely a must try for Ipoh eateries.

The stack you see in front of the girl is actually all the friend Kampung Chicken...yuummm

As Seksyen 11 Shah Alam, nestled in the crowded shoplots is a place called Night Circle (FB link). It had all sort of food; western, satay, tauhu bakar, char kue teow, tomyam and seafood, all the fried rice and noodle varieties, and the gem of the place – bubur nasi (rice porridge). Rice porridge is rice porridge, but I really liked the side dishes that went along with it. Choices were abundant, from beef and chicken that could be cooked to your liking to fried anchovies and salty fish, and to vegetables and telur masin (salted egg)....yum....yum. I went there twice within about a week, although I knew there were hundreds of other alternatives in Shah Alam. That sums up how much I like the place.

The side dishes for the porridge

Along the way, my mother in law cooked scrumptious dishes throughout my 10-day stay at her place and her treats included sambal kerang, asam pedas, masak lemak pisang muda, masak tempoyak (tempoyak cooked with all sorts of ulam) etc. My mom also cooked me her out of this world “goreng bercili” which I devoured to my heart desire. Ohhh....bless these two wonderful ladies.

I-City Shah Alam

I discovered this place through Facebook. Little did I know that the place was only a stone throw away from my in-laws' house and I actually passed by it many times as I drove through my Shah Alam-Lumut route. It is part of a master plan for a digital commercial estates where “the whole city is a plug and play network”, but for now it is the “i-City, City of Digital Lights” where you can find hundreds of glittering artificial trees illuminated by LED lights. It was truly an awesome experience. Difficult to explain, the photos below depict some of its aura but you just have to go there yourselves to experience what it’s all about. Highly recommended!!!!!

Muzik Muzik 25

I tagged along for one of the recording sessions for the Muzik Muzik 25. This year is its 25th anniversary and my wife’s niece was in the production team for the show, so it was a good excuse to get a glimpse of the celebrities through her connections. My twins were over excited to meet Adira, the runner-up of Akademi Fantasia 8. Yeah…I know. As I said....I was dragged against my will:). It wasn’t half bad actually although the crowd was exceptionally small as it was a Wednesday nite. We were escorted to meet Adira and Marsha as they were getting their make-up done backstage. We also met Tomok and Ayu OIAM as they were waiting for the recording to begin. And eventually as the night progressed, we were treated to 11 different songs by.... (trying to remember....having trouble, difficult!!!) Adira, Marsha, Tomok, Ayu, Ezad (Exist), Daly (Ahli Fiqir) & Wana, Mirwana & Fiq, Mimie, Nabil (Mentor) etc. Hmmmm....not my cup of tea but then again, I still enjoyed it as it was an activity with my family but don’t think I could brave myself to go on my own (I remember feeling so out of place and “very alone” when Lin and the twins were whisked away to meet Adira and Marsha....for the second time).

Yes....I was there (photo with the host Faiz) and Adira was the only one that mattered for the twins

Adira on stage (left) and Shera, Lin's nice cum Floor Manager for the show (right)

Mimie and Mirwana & Fiq

Tomok & Marsha


Now....this is my cup of tea though I don’t always have the time to really indulge in this self-fulfilling interest. Despite the hectic schedules, I started reading a book called East Asia Dynamism just to get into the groove again as a student as I am scheduled to become one next year (InsyaAllah). Expectedly, the pace has been very slow but I found the topic about Japan, Korea and China, and their economic progress very fascinating. I also decided to try reading a detective novel called 9 Dragons. This is quite a stray from my usual spy and thriller books by the likes of Tom Clancy and Dan Brown where “he must do this or it’s gonna be the end of the world” was normally at the centre of the plot. This book by Michael Connelly started with a simple story of a murder at a liquor store in south LA, then a link was made to the Chinese triads, which then subsequently led to the abduction of the hero’s daughter who lived in Hong Kong by the Chinese mob. I am at where he made his way to Kowloon (it is also known as 9 Dragons, hence the title of the book) to find clues on where his daughter was held captive. I love far.


I jogged twice at Shah Alam Lake. Correction....I jogged once, and the other time I brisk-walked my way through the lake as my knees were too sore for me to jog. The lake is my favourite jogging place when I’m in Shah Alam. I normally complete the whole perimeter of the lake within 30+ minutes. Oblivious of the people around me, the quality time I spend there is really for me and my close encounter with the park. The spectacular view of Shah Alam Mosque from across the lake is something I always look forward to at the end of my run. The views below represent only a small portion of my jogging route at the lake, while the complete scenery has been permanently sketched in every detail in my mind, enough to entice me to make my pilgrimage there time and again.

The wooden bridge at the beginning of my track

Snapshots of my jogging route

My reward at the end of the jogging route....well worth it

Apart from those activities I’ve mentioned above, I also treated myself to other little diversions in order to give me the feeling that there’s more to life than just work. My family has also been a pillar of strength in helping me through, and during the challenging period I felt blessed to have them around me. The warmth I feel in their arms is a definite comfort in my time of need, and I am absolutely confident that with them as my corner, I could face up to anything that life throws at me in the future. And the little treats similar to what I’ve earlier described will continue to be my easy and convenient outlets to ease away the stress and pain. Alhamdulillah.