Monday, November 28, 2005

Heads Up, this is a coup!

I am executing a coup. I am temporarily taking over the discussion for The Gathering from YB Bertique, the official supreme chief executive officer of The Gathering.

The reason for my berkobar-kobar-ness is, by 7th of December, irregardless of whether modblog is up or not, I will have no access to the internet. So all discussions need to start within these few .. *counts* .. 9 days.
9 days?? 9 days!! oh my god.


For you who are not in the know, here's the 411:
1. We are having a gathering of bloggers (modbloggers especially, but other bloggers who know any modbloggers should know that we don't discriminate you by your blog engines). Breads, lions/lionesses, cats, fruits, flowers, dervishes, dried fish, mokciks and teenagers (or those perasan teenagers) and all and sundry are welcomed with open arms. Just bring something.
2. The gathering will be on Sunday Dec 18th 2005, starting .. erm 1pm was it ? (bert please clarify).
3. The gathering will be at Taman Rekreasi Wetlands Putrajaya, at one of the picnic islands on the lakes. You have to park your car, board a boat and will be brought to the island where there is a covered barbecue place, but no one will stop you from spreading your tikars and sitting on the well kept grass. There will be a fee of $10 per person.
4. The gathering is POT LUCK. no rahsia2 please.. every one have to own up in advance to what they're bringing.

Which brings us to this discussion: What to bring?
I would like to suggest we have picnic food, because it is much easier to bring to the venue (remember that your stuff have to be angkut masuk boat). This means: nasi/mee goreng, pasta (looks at onde2 a.k.a oneEe),murtabak (looks at lollies), nuggets, drummets, buffalo wings (cewah .. sapa terrer buat nih?), salads, etc. We can have barbecued meats (and burgers/sausages) if someone is willing to bring some. They have a grill at the picnic island. Up to your convenience.

I am thinking of bringing a potato salad. or if no one is bringing any, i will goreng drummets/fries for adults and kids. or if someone is bringing sausages+buns, I can also bring a bit of chili con carne.
Depends on what we decide lah.

So get your brains running and tell me what you think!
Tell me if you can come and what you're willing to bring.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Money matters

I just saw INXS' new video with JD. Can't remember the song title.. "After The Show"?
anyways. I hate to admit that I am begining to like that damn song.


I just realized that I may have complained a wee bit too much about my husband's frugal financial pratices in the previous post. And I think I do complain about it often. But please don't get me wrong. Even though his unwillingness to part with money for no good reason (according to his reasoning) sounds like a fault, i actually think it's a virtue. If it were not for his tightening our purses very early in our relationship, I don't think we'd be as financially comfortable as we are today.

I myself was not used to having money to spend. I remember only getting 30cents for school everyday and I always had to forgo buying them chikadees if I wanted to be full enough to last me the rest of the day. As I got older my mom gave me 50cents, and that was enough for a bowl of prawn noodles (the best I have ever tasted) and a glass of very thin air sirap (but that's okay, I brought a water bottle).
When I was in boarding school, my dad kept to the school's guideline of $20 per month, which meant that if I wanted to have the packet of nasi lemak that the makcik comes to sell at our dorms on saturdays (instead of the two pieces of bread, margerine and a spoonful of sugar that they serve at the mess hall), I would have to abstain from having any instant noodles for supper (instead of the two pieces of bread and a cup of very think nescafe with condensed milk that we'd have to line up for at the mess hall).
This experience thought me that "Money is limited, to enjoy one thing, you might have to sacrifice not enjoying another thing"

Though my parents might not agree, I don't think I asked for money from my parents that often. Even when I was studying in the U.S., everything I spent on, phone bills, car rents, clothes, food, books, were all from my scholarship. I would be that girl you see piling it on at the salad bar at the UIUC Student Union. Or the one that takes 2 packets of saltines instead of one with her bowl of soup. Or the one who buys notepads in bulk at Sam's that'll last her the whole year. After graduating, I worked for a while as a research assistant at Tulsa University's Drilling Research facility in Catoosa, Oklahoma and a turkey sandwich was my breakfast and lunch.
Hm.. come to think of it, maybe that is why I sometimes think I have the divine right to enjoy good food when I now can afford it. (Though I don't always get to, thanx to my husband).
But I digress..

If I had to tell you what my husband's financial motto is, I could probably suggest "if you don't need it, don't buy it". or "Why pay when you can get it free or cheaper".or "If it's all-you-can-eat, eat all you can, or don't go at all". or even "Kat mana makan murah, sedap dan banyak?". Something along those lines. Whenever I am asked if I ever worry about my husband's fidelity (especially when he started doing sales and are expected to bring clients out for 'entertainment', I would always say "He thinks too much about his wallet to think about his d*ck".

Ha ha. I'm kidding.

The truth is, Taufik used to be very focused on earning money and earning as much as he can while he can. He used to work on the oil rigs and would relish getting his assignments because it meant extra money on top of his basic pay. It really didnt matter to him then that he had to be away from me. But when I was pregnant with Ilham, I told him that it wouldnt be a healthy environment for our son to grow up with an absent father. I told him that I would rather we be poor and living in a shack than we be a rich but dysfunctional family. He mulled over this for a while. Two months before I was due, he decided to tender his resignation letter. He was willing to leave it all. Alhamdulillah, his boss offered Taufik his own position, coz he was planning to leave the country and spend more time with his own family as well. It was then I learnt that "All the money in world won't mean a thing without your loved one to enjoy it with". Since then, Taufik had never compromised this family's happiness for the extra buck. He always made sure that we stick together.

Another lesson I learnt from my husband is that "To be rich is not to make money, it is to not spend it". We have always lived beneath our means. My husband always expects us to save at least 25% of our monthly salary. When I just started working, I remember taking out half of my pay on the very day that it is banked in, to buy BSN's Sijil Simpanan Premium. With the money I saved, we managed to pay off the custom's tax for the CBR600F2 that my husband bought home from the US, and also pay partly for my wedding.
As long as I can remember, we only ate out at the local mapleys (stalls), no Modesto's or Picollo Mondo's or Starbucks for us. No Pasta primaveras and crepes and strawberries, only nasi goreng kampung and roti canai. I only shop for work clothes during Isetan or Metrojaya Sales. We wore our shoes till they split open. I bought a humble (and cheap) Proton Wira instead of eyeing that sleek Honda Civic.

Once, Ilham boldly asked his father, "Are we poor?" (perhaps because we didnt want to buy him a toy he wanted or we said KFC was expensive), and Taufik's response was "We are not poor, but we'd rather spend our money on something else, something more worthwhile".
I'm not saying wanting the things that I mentioned above is wrong. I'm just saying that our priorities are different. And because of that, we have managed to save up money to buy things that we think is important, like real-estate, or a plot of land where we can grow durians and mangosteens on, and now that we're expatriates, maybe even travel a bit. So, "When you have money to spend, spend it on something worth your while", coz the returns are much sweeter.

I don't think we're financially rich. I'd say the appropriate word would be financially 'comfortable'. Or maybe even financially 'secure'.
We don't have to worry that if one of us falls sick, we wouldn't be able to afford the medical bills. Or, Na'uzubillah, if one of us were to pass on, the one left behind would be left living in the streets.
I think this freedom has made us able to enjoy our lives better.
We're not at our target financial goal yet though.. even as I type this, Taufik is calculating how much more he has to save up before he can fully retire.
*rolls eyes*
Well I guess I have no choice but to just enjoy the lessons that I will soon learn ahead..

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Your life is what you make it, wherever you make it

I was reading Sunflora's post on being an expat's wife, and I am reminded of how I had felt when I first got here.
I think my experience might be slightly different (and less stressful) since I have my kids to ocupy my attention, but yes, I did feel depressed at first.
Imagine, I had friends and family all around me when I was in Malaysia, I was in constant contact with at least one adult everyday (excluding my husband), and suddenly, there I was cooped up in the house, with no other adult to talk to but my husband.
What made it worse was that I did not have a computer nor internet connection.
I started thinking, "Is this it? Is this what my life has boiled down to?"
I was lying down on my bedroom floor pretending I was doing my pilates when I started to feel like if I were to disappear, no one would even notice. As I lay there quietly, wondering when my kids would come looking for me I actually believed it.

Then I met other Melayus. The first group I met were mostly .. urm.. ibu2 mithali lah kira.. Their family is their life. They talk about how they take care of their kids and husband, tell me where to buy groceries, where to shop, talked about jewellery, talked about cooking, exchanged recipes and such.. I mean it's not bad, but, there surely must be more to life as an expat wife than this.
Then I met Shali. Here was a woman who has totally engrossed herself in being an expat's wife. She's a member of the compound's commitee, she teaches aerobics to some of the ladies, her kids enter swiming competitions, she learnt how to play tennis, she's actively involved in her kid's school activities.. In her I saw great possibilities of enjoying my life here.
After meeting her I made a resolution. I will not depend on my husband. I will not put my happiness or freedom into some other person's hands.
I decided to become a bus monitor in hopes that I can meet other expat's wife. I made muka tak malu and was not shy to say the first hello, to be the one who breaks the ice. Some might have rejected me due to my 'asian-therefore-maid' appearance, but I don't take them personally.
I noticed how the men here respond to the way a lady is dressed, so I dressed accordingly so as not to invite unwanted attention, disregarding other people's comments on how 'extreme' I look.
I learned the bus schedule and routes and took the bus to go shopping. First with other mothers I met on the school bus, then later, on my own.
I got involved in my children's school activities. I joined the Parents Volunteer Group so that I am updated whenever they need help, and offer help whenever I can.
And when my computer arrived, I blogged :)

Of course lah everything was not a bed of roses..
There were many a times when I practically had to coax my husband to bring us out, somewhere, anywhere. At one point I even complained to him, "I imagined moving to a foreign country would be exciting, full of adventure, of new discoveries, of learning new cultures.. tapi ... habuk pun tarak!". He knew I was dissapointed... but he asked me to be patient. He promised me he'll give me my adventure, sooner or later.
And then when you're at home, you have more time to melawa and stuff and you get all psyched up and turned on, and bila your husband balik, dia penat.. nak rest.."tunggu weekend boleh?".. ces.
tapi dapat gak buat lagi satu.. tee hee
Lagi teruk if you have a husband like mine, who is very very careful with money (read: borderline kedekut). Orang lain punya rumah, lawa dengan hiasan2 nya.. and diorang cincin besar2, gelang tebal seinci berutas2, abaya mengerlip-ngerlip..
kita? rumah kosong furniture standard, abaya ada 2 helai aje, jewellery jangan tanya lah.. blender pun tak mampu nak beli.
Memang takda gaya expat lansung. Patutlah bila I keluar orang ingat I ni maid..
Tapi kisah lah kan.. Those are all material things.
To me, what matters is that we're together as a family.

When we sit around the dinner table and I watch my family eat the food that I have cooked myself, watch my kids have a lively conversation with their father and me, see them break into a huge grin when they see me waiting for them come out of school, see them rush to hug their father when he presses the doorbell and opens up the door when he comes home from work, I think perhaps, this is all worth all the trouble after all.

Friday, November 25, 2005

if there's an award..

If there's an award for being patient and loyal to your blog service provider, I would probably win it.
It has been .. what.. more than a week? and I have absolutley abstained myself from writing here instead of there.
Until today that is..

Wehhh bila nak up nih?? Dah balik kampung makan ayam belanda ker??? Nampak gaya next week lah baru boleh kami 'balik kampung', ya?

Talking about going home.. i am reminded of the original reason of my writing this post.
I am going home on Dec 14th. My flight(s) have been confirmed and all. I renew my internet connection every month. This time it'll expire on the 7th of December. I'm thinking of not renewing it till I come back in January, coz I won't be around to use it anyways.
So why would this interest you?
This means that for at least 7 days, you have no way of contacting me. via the computer that is. and even when I reach home, I don't know when I'll be able to get my hands on a computer, since my usual 'internet-service-provider' (read: mokciknab) will be in Jakarta. But you can try calling me on my handphone. I will definitely call yat, famygirl or zan once I reach malaysian soil.
The reason I'm worried of not being able to be in touch is because of the gathering.
What am I supposed to cook, when are we meeting? somebody has got to keep me in the loop, okay?

btw, if this is your first time reading me, don't worry if you're confused.. this is like a personal message to my friends..

and Lollies, I was SO looking forward to see you and talk2 about your move. Maybe even make arrangements for a visit or something (It is possible to drive to Q@tar from here). But then it's okay.. we've still got our blogs, so we can still keep in touch, ya?

okay gotta go.

Thursday, November 24, 2005


I wanted to post something, but...
i'll wait till modblog is up.
sorry, folks.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Anis's Appetite (in Malay)

"Anis... Anis nak makan apa?"
"Anis tanak mashan apa"
"Kenapa anis taknak makan? Anis tak lapar ke?"
"Anish tak lapar..... bonda, lapar tu apa?"
"Lapar tu nak makan. Anis kenyang makan apa?"
"errrr ..... Bonda, shenyang tu apa?"
"Kenyang tu dah tak nak makan. Anis kenyang makan apa? Anis tak makan apa pun lagi.. minum susu aje"
"Anis syenyang sebab anis minum susu"
"Bonda masak soup nak?"
"Syanak. Sebab Soup ta best"
"Bonda masak macaroni nak?"
"Syanak. Sebab masheroni ta best"
"Dah tu.. anis nak makan apa???"
"errrr errrr errrrr syak cahu.."
"macamana anis boleh tak tahu?"
"sebab... anis.... syanak ... makan!"

Budak ni lah... kalau jadi anak Chef Wan pun rasanya mesti Chef Wan pening..

Blog Comments

Posted by:TheCharmedOne
Date: 11/13/05 at 10:41 AM (2M1d ago)
Dia panggil mak dia bonda ker? First time dengar ni.

Posted by: elisataufik
Date: 11/13/05 at 12:40 PM (2M1d ago)
yup.. my kids call me 'bonda' ... macam lagu M.nasir tu... ;)

"we were but stones, ... your light made us stars"

Posted by: +nectar
Date: 11/13/05 at 11:34 AM (2M1d ago)
tak palah tak nak makan, Hanna selalu macam tu. bila makan pun tak habis, asyik org lain kena habiskan sisa dia, sebab sayang nak buang makanan. now dahlah kat Jepun ni nak beli ayam halal susah, dia still juga makan kutil sikit2 and tinggal. tensionnya.

Posted by:elisataufik
Date: 11/13/05 at 12:45 PM (2M1d ago)
ha.. sebabtu lah kena tanya dulu..
kalau dah penat2 masak, pastu dia tak makan jugak, lagi lah tension..

"we were but stones, ... your light made us stars"

Posted by:nekbat
Date: 11/13/05 at 1:33 PM (2M1d ago)
Anis nak ice-cream?

Posted by:LoLlieS
Date: 11/13/05 at 2:54 PM (2M1d ago)
hah anis nak makan h? lollipop besssshh. anis nak? kalau gitu anis kena tolong auntie habiskan chicken salut in breadcrumb dulu. pashtu anis boleh makan lollipop.

Posted by:bertique
Date: 11/14/05 at 12:39 AM (2M1d ago)
heheh ..
dia tak sihat ka sis ??
awat cam susah jek nak mkn :D

Posted by:ondeonde
Date: 11/14/05 at 9:21 AM (2M16h ago)
she must be missing her relatives in m'sia..

Posted by:nutty
Date: 11/14/05 at 10:48 AM (2M15h ago)
kalau orang besar boleh shenyang macam tu kan best kan.. senang je nak lose weight.

Posted by:famygirl
Date: 11/14/05 at 2:59 PM (2M11h ago)
familiar je conversation nih... i have a hard time getting sofea to eat. during our beraya sessions, sedara-mara dok tegur dia kurus sgt, implying mak dia tak kasi dia cukup makan or mak dia tak kasi makanan yang berzat.

sometimes i just feel like giving up. hoping dia lapar and mintak makan.

Posted by:eebotak
Date: 11/15/05 at 1:49 AM (2M11m ago)
I wonder how if i have a son or daughter..

Posted by:kaezrinn
Date: 11/15/05 at 3:37 AM (1M4w ago)
wah dah dpt install old layout..ceria ceria selalu

Writer's depression

.. if there's such a thing

I told someone (okay his name is russell) that I am in a some kind of writer's depression.
I want to be able to write fiction, but I feel depressed about my lack of imagination in writing.
I think I want to blame it all on Roald Dahl.

I just finished reading "The Roald Dahl Omnibus", a collection of his short stories, and it made me depressed.
I mean, this guy, has written every possible bizzare situation you can ever imagine.

A rich man who died and kept is brain alive, to the delight of his opressed wife, coz now she can exact revenge.
A guy who killed a vagrant and hid him in a haystack.
A bizzare rat catcher.
A boy who was raised in seclusion, became a famous vegetarian cook but on his first trip to the city, was .. well.. slaughtered. literally. (which I thought, was perhaps the sickest story he has ever written)
The adventures of two men trying to poach quails by giving them sleeping pills.
The adventures of two men trying to win a dog race by entering 2 dogs who looks exactly the same, and how they failed.
The neighbours who decided to switch wives (without their wives' knowledge).

and I don't think I even need to mention his other (more famous) stories..
A girl with telekinetic powers fighting against an evil headmistress
An orphaned boy flying on a giant peach with his insect friends
The guy with the chocolate factory.
the big friendly giant.

After reading Roald Dahl, I wonder how anyone like me could come up with anything new.


And then I go on modblog and read gems from people like russell the master randomizer a.k.a. sevenwaysfromsaved, or +benthere (who by the way, not only writes on her blog, but also has her very own column in The Here and There) .. and I wonder "where do these people come up with these things???"


But then again, I go to the bookstores and there's hundreds and hundreds of books. Authors kept churning and churning out stories all the time. Some true, some made up. Some bizzare, some normal.
Everybody has got something to say and some of them may even be saying the same thing, but they tell it in their own unique way and attract their own unique readers.

So maybe I should get off my depressed (and I hate to admit it, but maybe a little bit jealous) horse and start writing rather than moan and groan about it..


Blog Comments

Posted by: nekbat
Date: 11/13/05 at 1:36 PM (2M1d ago)
I envy people who can write and tell a story. You including.

Posted by:+benthere
Date: 11/13/05 at 5:21 PM (2M1d ago)
You spin a pretty decent yarn yourself girl.
I have never really attempted be honest it kind of frightens me.
I am not sure I have it in my imagination to do it, and I have that fear of failure thing too :)

I find the best way to get around a block is to do that 30 minute thing...where you just write whatever is in your head for 30 minutes, no editing, not stopping...just random whatever comes out.
You write so incredibly well, never doubt yourself or your abilities.

Posted by:nutty
Date: 11/14/05 at 10:46 AM (2M15h ago)
err.. what ben said.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Raya recap

I thought twice about blogging about my raya. I thought maybe it was too late to do so, since it'a already been a week.
But then when I found myself having to write about it for the second time in replying emails from my friends, I thought, maybe I should blog about it. It saves me the effort of having to write about it over and over again..

As i mentioned in my previous post, I made sambal ikan a few days before 1st Syawal. I had really anticipated 1st of Syawal to be on Wednesday, so Tuesday night I cooked some peanut sauce. But then we heard no news, so the peanut sauce went into the fridge. My kids chatted with their grandfather over the webcam, and we made a date to chat again on EId itself, when my sister comes over to my dads with her kids.
Wednesday, the last day of Ramadhan, my kids got bored out of their wits, so I made them help me make some chewy peanut butter and cornflake cookies (no baking required). They had so much fun and the cookies smelled so good that Ihsan decided to break his fast right there and then. That night I boiled the only packet of instant ketupat (pressed rice cakes) I had (donated by a kind Malaysian).

1st of Syawal, Taufik was up and about really early coz the Eid prayers starts at 6:30am. Yes ladies and gentlement, I said 6:30 AM. Suffice to say, I did not get to go, not only because it was too early and the kids were still asleep, but also because I did not see any women going for tarawikh prayers at the mosques near our compound during Ramadhan, so I expect there wont be any ladies going for the Eid prayers either.
I was right.
When Taufik came home an hour later, he said he had to drive around to find the only mosque that was open, and there so many people, he and a large number of males had to pray on the street, on cardboard boxes from the grocery store nearby.
By that time I had taken my shower, was already in my festive attire, had reheated the peanut sauce, had cut up the rice cakes, had laid the table, had brought out the cookies (Thanx Nina and Firhad!!), and had laid out the kids' clothes.
Taufik woke up the kids, they woke up all excited and took their shower and put on their normal clothes (coz I know they'd spill something on them during breakfast) and we had breakfast as a family. It didnt feel like Raya back home, but it was close enough.

After breakfast we cleaned up the house a bit, cleaned the kitchen, mopped the floor, vacuumed the living room and I tried to get on-line. Got "Username/password is not valid". I thought, "ok", no reason to panic, this has happened before, would try again a few minutes later.
I got the kids to change into their Eid outfits and I got ready as well, coz I thought we'd look all festive for my dad, chat with my family a bit and then go straight to the Gathering of Melayus in Khaloud.
While the kids watched cartoons in their outfits I tried the internet again.
Same error message.
"Taufik, did you change the password by any chance?" I hollered.
"No, i didnt" he hollered back
"Then why can't I connect to the internet?" I asked.
"Eh, what date is it today?" he asked me instead.
"November 3rd, why?" I answered
"Did we pay the internet bill?" he popped his head into the room, his brows furrowed.
"aaarrrrggghhhhhhh no...!! I totally forgot!!" I said , as I banged my head on the keyboard.
So we went downstairs and took pictures instead.

Then we left for the Gathering of Melayus in Khaloud Village in Dammam.
We started feeling a little festive then. Everybody was in their prettiest clothes, and the spread of food was sumptous. There were Nasi Minyak, Nasi Impit, Gulai daging, Ayam Masak merah, Soto ayam, kuah kacang, pulut kuning with rendang, assortment of cookies and sweets. The kids got some goodies and duit raya and we all took pictures (which I won't put up here coz I don't know how some of the other ladies would feel about having their faces displayed on-line without their permission). By noon we were full, and the kids kept bugging us about the camel (which we heard was making an appearance in our compound) so we packed some leftovers for lunch/dinner and headed home.

When we got to our compound, we found that the club house had been decorated with streamers and balloons and there really was a camel, and also a pony. Many of the compound kids were already queueing up to ride the camel and pony, so we decided to just watch for a while.

The camel was really smelly though, and it was chewing some vile thing that made its teeth look greenish brown and we could see it everytime it opened its mouth and .. er.. moo-ed, sqwuaked, neighed, bleated.. or whatever it is that they do. So we decided to forgo the ride. Poor kids. We had to promise them we would go for a ride, some other place and occassion, when there was less queueing time.
We went back home where Taufik and I took a nap, and the kids kept going out to watch the camels. They even got all their raya money together to see if they had enough to pay for the tickets. To compensate, we let them go to the mini-market and get some doritos instead.
Taufik decided to invite some of his colleagues over for dinner and after I sternly stated my predicament of not having enough serving plates nor dinner plates, we decided to go to the supermarket to buy some. tee hee. Nothing beats shopping!

2nd of Syawal, I made Taufik pound onions+garlic+ginger+chillies. I cooked Rendang Cikgu Munah, which I think would've turned out better if I had a bigger pot and more coconut milk. Then we wbrought the rendang to another Gathering of Melayus in Ar@mco compound. We stayed and ate and chatted from 3pm to 10pm!

3rd of Syawal, We had another Gathering of Melayus in the apartment of a Malaysian lady who is married to a Syri@n. I had expected Ar@b food, but she served us Briyani instead. Oh well.. I'm not complaining.. it's free food.. heh heh. The gathering was in a typical ar@b setting though, where the men and women are seperated in different sections of the house/apartment. I heard from taufik later that he was kinda bored, but we ladies had a hooting good time. The hostess and her daughters even gave us a short lesson in belly dancing! Anis had a good time playing with the other kids even though she got scratched by a cat wile I was performing my solat.

4th of Syawal, a few people invited us to join them for a trip to Bahrain, but we couldnt go coz Taufik had to work. Bummer. In the evening we went to Ramez, and taufik saw for the first time why I liked it so much. We bought a blue+white porcelain vase and some jackets for the kids.

5th of Syawal, the kids went back to school, Taufik went back to work, and I went back to my usual routine of cooking and bus-monitoring. I paid the internet bill, and tried the whole day to get on-line, but only managed to do so the next day.

So, that was my Eid.. I don't really see that much 'festivities' in the Ar@b community.. I think most of it is spent indoors within their own family. There were no kids roaming in packs visiting houses to ask for duit raya (Which I found to be pesky in Malaysia, but now I kinda miss). But I did get my dose of eating and socialising, so I'm happy with whatever I can get :)

I hope your Eid was as happy and safe.

Blog Comments

Posted by:nutty
Date: 11/11/05 at 3:57 PM (2M3d ago)
banyaknya gathering melayu!
glad you had the raya thang.
got to ask.. orang arab punya baju raya macam mana? kaler hitam ke kaler-kaler?


Posted by:elisataufik
Date: 11/12/05 at 5:07 AM (2M2d ago)
Banyak gathering melayu... tapi we met the same melayus at all the gatherings.. :D. It's not that I minded, since I enjoyed the food and company. I live so far away from everybody else, i'm happy everytime I get to met any melayus.

When they are outside, all of the women are covered in black. Some younger ones might have flowers or glitter or tassles and colorful decorations on the abaya, but most of the older ladies would usually just wear their plain black abaya.
But inside.. phuyooo.. very ornate and expensive looking long sleeved dresses and head covers! Maikcik2 melayu mostly pakai baju kurung or jubah color2.

I asked taufik what the men were wearing during Eid prayers, he said most of the local men wore their white 'taup' (actually I don't know how they spell this), which is the white long shirt that looks more like a dress (with white pants underneath so that we can't see what color spenders they're wearing) and the white and red head scarves. Pakistani men wore grey, dark blue .. muted colors. Taufik was the only one in very bright green.

"we were but stones, ... your light made us stars"

Posted by:LoLlieS
Date: 11/11/05 at 4:14 PM (2M3d ago)
woo Ihsan dah puasa ya? bagus bagus

so duit raya dapat dala riyal ya? selamat hari raya elisa.

Posted by:elisataufik
Date: 11/12/05 at 5:13 AM (2M2d ago)
Ihsan fasted only during weekends and holidays. So this year he managed to fast for 8 days. :) He's quite okay, except sometimes he asks for a drink and I remind him he's fasting and he'd say "Oh, I forgot".
Yup, the kids got their duit raya in riyals. Each of them got about 20riyals.

"we were but stones, ... your light made us stars"

Posted by:nekbat
Date: 11/11/05 at 4:37 PM (2M3d ago)
In the end, anak Cikgu Munah yang tumbuk-menumbuk for the rendang. Heheh.

Posted by:elisataufik
Date: 11/12/05 at 5:19 AM (2M2d ago)
heh heh
and because it takes at least 2 hours to cook the rendang, I woke taufik up really early to get him to pound the ingredients. He sat cross legged on our kitchen floor while he pounded. I would check on him from time to time, teasing him with "Belum lagi tu.. kena halus lagi..", "Penat..? kan kalau ada blender senang..". But I'm so proud of him, he took it with stride and managed to pound the ingredients quite fast and well.

"we were but stones, ... your light made us stars"

Posted by:zan
Date: 11/14/05 at 7:50 AM (2M18h ago)
i never expected that taufik betul2 tumbuk dgn lesung batu...cayalah...

anis, dah besar n looks so masa gathering with the melayus, ada sessi karaoke ker, lagu siti ??

Posted by:famygirl
Date: 11/14/05 at 3:06 PM (2M10h ago)
a camel ride as a hari raya treat? that's something :)

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Mortar and Pestle

Mood: Besok Raya! Playing: Dendang Perantau by P. Ramlee

I think I mentioned before that I do not own a blender, and that I do all my grounding and grinding and pulping of spices in my granite mortar and pestle.
Well I've been doing alot of that during Ramadhan. Grounding chillies for sambal, grounding shallots and garlic for fish head curries, grounding fried coconut and fish for kerabu, grounding dried shrimp and cumin for kuih gunting... Everyday, without fail, you'd hear the 'tok tok tok' sound of rock on rock, my pestle hitting my mortar.
I think I have developed muscles on my right arm. I hope it's not obvious.. it would be weird to have one big arm and one small arm.

As I have also mentioned, I will be making my mother-in-law's Rendang Ayam Cikgu Munah this Eid. Since I will be bringing it to the Gathering of Melayus, it means I will be making A LOT. And it requires a lot of grounded shallots and garlic and chillies.
I mentioned my dread of having to pound that to Taufik, and my intention of maybe bringing it to a friend's house to use her blender. I think Taufik got a bit embarassed at the prospect of people finding out that he can't afford (or won't afford) a blender, so he said, "Let's just go buy a blender".

Last night we went grocery shopping (before the last minute rush of shopping by the locals) and I asked him again, "Are we getting a blender?".
To my suprise he said, "We have a mortar a pestle, we don't need a blender".
I was aghast. I went "Whaaaa????? But you said..."
"If we get a blender, what would we do with the mortar and pestle?" he replied.
We got to the supermarket and he did stop by the electrical appliances aisle and looked at a few blenders, but none satisfied his taste (or his wallet's taste, i think).
"Kita tumbuk je lah ya?" he said ("Let's just pound it ourselves, okay?")
"YOU tumbuk", I said as I walked away in a huff. ("YOU pound")
nak beli blender pun sikit punya susah! Senang lah dia cakap, kita yang nak kena tumbuk berpuluh bijik bawang nanti.. dia makan je.. Elisa bawak je lah bawang tu pegi rumah Kak Zaharah, biar semua melayu tahu that you're too kedekut to buy me a blender! Gaji ribu-ribu, blender 60 ringgit pun takleh beli..
(was what I was muttering all the way to the cashier, which I am too lazy to translate to english)

In the kitchen later that night while Taufik and the kids were having their evening meal of leftover pizza, spaghetti bolognaise, cereal and ice cream, I was sitting on the tiled floor pounding on boiled fish flesh to make sambal ikan.
The kids kept coming to sit down with me and asking "Can I help?" , "Boleh anis tumbuk?","Bonda, Ilham nak tolong bonda boleh?","Ihsan pun lah...Ihsan pun nak tumbuk jugak".
I gave each of them a chance to help me pound the ingredients. They sure had a lot of questions.
"What is this thing made of?" "Granite"
"Wow, how did they shape it like this?" "They probably have a machine to chip away at the stone"
"Why is it so heavy?" "So that it can pound at the stuff. If not you'd have to do most of the pounding"
"Beyat lah bonda.." "Kalau berat Anis tak payah buat lah.. biar bonda yang buat"

"Semua orang nak tolong Bonda, kan? Kecuali orang yang tak nak beli blender tu.." ("Everyone wants to help me, except the one who didnt want to buy the blender.."), I said, giving Taufik a sideways glance.
"Ilham, Ilham tahu tak, masa ayah kecik2 kan, ayah kena giling cili tau. Tumbuk dengan lesung tu.. takde hal.." Taufik retorted. ("Ilham, do you know, when I was little, I had to grind chillies using the flat grinder. Using the mortar and pestle is easy compared to that")
I had to turn around and look at his face to see his expression.
He had the tiniest smile at the corner of his lips.
"You mean when you were a teenager?" Ilham probed.
"No, when I was about your age. And my grandmother's flat grinder was huge!" Taufik told.
I imagined him sitting on the wooden floor in his grandmother's house. His gangly feet around the huge granite flat grinder. His skinny fingers gripping the cylindrical grinder and pushing and pulling and rolling the thing to grind the chillies. He probably had asked his grandmother "Tok, dah?" (Grandma, is this ground fine enough?) and when his grandmother said "Belum, sikit lagi" (Not yet, a little bit more), he would probably go on grinding till his grandmother says okay.
With 9 kids to feed (not including husbands and grandkids), there had got to be alot of chillies to grind.

Taufik's story made me laugh.
"So because you had to grind chillies when you were a kid, I now have to suffer and pound my own chillies??" I asked jokingly.
"Pounding is nothing. That doesnt look too bad" he said.
"This is just fish. Fish is nothing. Tomorrow I'm gonna make you pound the shallots and garlic and chillies." I replied.
He just laughed and the kids laughed listening to us laugh.

"Bonda, dah?" Ilham asked, showing me the pounded fish.
I took a spoon and tossed them around to see how fine they were and decided that they were plenty fine.
"Okay, I think we're done" I said as I gave Ilham the spoon so that he can scoop the fish out and put it inside a tupperware.
The kids helped me clean up afterwards, before we retreated to bed.

I thought about Taufik's story about grinding chillies with his grandmother, and I wonder if Ilham will tell his kids about how he pounded fish for his mother.
I thought about how I had never heard stories of childhood memories about using the blender.

I have decided, I still love my mortar and pestle.. :)

Less you think that Taufik is a financial control freak, let me clarify that even when I was earning a portion of our household income, we conferred before we buy anything.
Just like he wont go out and buy an optical mouse for the home computer without getting my okay, I would not go out and buy a blender without getting his okay. It's just our way of showing our respect for each other's opinions (and tastes).
It does end us up with not that many material things, but it sure saves us a lot of resentment.

Blog Comments
Posted by: elisataufik
Date: 11/01/05 at 8:25 AM (2M1w ago)
I forgot to say:
I want wish everyone Eid Mubarak and happy holidays.
Please do forgive me if I have slighted you in any way, either from my postings or from comments left on your blogs (or other people's blogs).
Please know that I seldom take anything to heart, so if you have ever struck a raw nerve with me from your posts or your comments, do be assured that all is forgiven.

kosong-kosong ya!!

"we were but stones, ... your light made us stars"

Posted by: ubisetela (View Website)
Date: 11/01/05 at 9:29 AM (2M1w ago)
Selamat Hari Raya Aidifitri.. selamat menumbuk dengan jayanya.. tukar2 tgn la so the muscle will be even forr both :)
My blender tak de sapa guna.. nak pinjam? hhehehe :)

Posted by: Hip Mum
Date: 11/01/05 at 1:34 PM (2M1w ago)
Haha that's so cute K.elisa... at least now I know you're not a saint... ada rasa geram gak kat Abg Taufik!! Else, I'd thot something is def wrong with ME! hehe.. Neeway, hubby & I are like you guys too... We'd first get each other's opinion before buying something - latest, he called me over & over again from Low Yat Plaza, asking if it's ok for him to get us a new PC (using HIS bonus $$). I was in a meeting, terasa geram gak, but then towards the later part of the day, I was smiling to myself.

I taught him well.


Posted by:famygirl
Date: 11/01/05 at 11:06 PM (2M1w ago)
Selamat Hari Raya to you and family... *huggles*

Posted by:+PrimaryBasic
Date: 11/02/05 at 10:27 AM (2M1w ago)
selamat hari raya to you and family too kak elisa. mintak maaf for everything. and thank you for everything.

btw, you could get the blender to blend fruit juices, and potatoes (buat mee kuah and the likes).


That which is striking and beautiful is not always good, but that which is good is always beautiful ~Ninon de L'Enclos

Posted by: ida
Date: 11/05/05 at 6:04 AM (2M1w ago)
Selamat Raya! Believe it or not, food cooked with ingredients pounded with lesung batu (heheh) lagi best drp food from the blender. Maybe because if we blend, we tend to use more liquid. If I'm rajin, I would use lesung batu. Kalau tak, hmm... blend le.... Wish I was there to see you pound those shallots. Ha!

Posted by:jalommah
Date: 11/07/05 at 9:07 AM (2M1w ago)
Selamat hari raya... kesian U, tapi betul kata Ida tu kalau pakai ingredients yang pounded the food taste better ( better be... penat woooo). Kat rumah my MIL pun dia prefer pakai lesung batu dari blender, tapi tengok kuantiti yang nak di masak jugaklah.

Me and hubby pun macam U jugak, tapi hari tu dia sibuk nak beli TV 43", I cakap tak yah yang dua bijik kat rumah tu pun dia tak de masa nak tengok ( Asyik mengadap PC). Tak paham betul.

Posted by: ninuk (View Website)
Date: 11/07/05 at 10:02 AM (2M1w ago)
i've learned my lesson about "kegatalan membeli" ni. see my husband seldom buy things, so when he mention of wanting to buy s/thing it must be s/thing that he really want. back in 2002 he wanted to buy UNSER, cewaaahhh punye le I against it, kereto beso susah nak parking, bayar installment mahal bla bla bla. Tup tup tup 2003 dia beli Oddesey.
Pelajarannya - SEKALI-SEKALA layan le kegatalan membeli, nanti terbeli yang 2 3 kali lebih mahal - tak tersenggih di buatnya.

Posted by: uneeq (View Website)
Date: 11/08/05 at 4:00 PM (2M6d ago)
(boleh tak i baru realise that i commented on the wrong entry? anyways..)

The Comment : My mom INSISTS on me using the mortar and pestle everytime I cook because she claims that it tastes better, the ingredients would not get too mushy blablabla. Don't tell my mom I'm telling u this, but actually it really makes no difference, to my taste. But I still do it only to workout my arms. Heh.

Selamat Hari Raya, Kak Els and family.

Posted by:elisataufik
Date: 11/11/05 at 12:38 PM (2M3d ago)
cik adikkkk
i noticed it, but i didnt care coz i was just glad that you finally re-appeared!
Where have you been lah??
macam nak nangis je bila pegi on the couch and found it was no longer there. Nyesal gila sebab dah lama tak visit.
Your new site ni slow sikit lah.. kena rasuk with the hantu at the 'front door' tu kot?

"we were but stones, ... your light made us stars"

Posted by: fiammepersempre
Date: 11/09/05 at 6:58 AM (2M5d ago)
Aw :-)

-------------------- -

For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream.

- Vincent van Gogh -

Posted by: yellowcab
Date: 11/09/05 at 7:41 AM (2M5d ago)
heheh kisah blender dan batu lesung di ambang raya... ehhehe
leh buat movie tuh.. :D

anyway..selamat beraya di perantauan.. maaf salah silap... tak sedey ke dgr lagu raya ek?


Posted by: sunflora (View Website)
Date: 11/09/05 at 8:34 AM (2M5d ago)
So sweet :) So sure laku your rendang tu? Do you find that it tastes different because its cooked on an electric cooker compared to cooking it on the gas cooker?

Posted by:bertique
Date: 11/09/05 at 9:21 AM (2M5d ago)
actually, i like using mortar and pestle compared with using blender.
lebih sedap, dan best rasanya.
ntah, seronok sgt biler i guna menda alah tuh .. jimat letrik ..

walaupun i ada blender, i jarang guna .. begitu juga dgn lesung batu tuh ..
biasa nyer chef kan ada helper, so i suh la helper i yg tumbuk or giling or blender barang2 masakan i :D

hahaha untungnya jadi chef.

selamat lebaran.

Posted by:zan
Date: 11/10/05 at 6:24 AM (2M4d ago)
kalau i guna lesung batu, habislah boleh bergaduh dgn jiran (org bawah esp) hehehe...

"Given enough coffee, I could rule the world" - The Unknown

Posted by:nekbat
Date: 11/10/05 at 1:32 PM (2M4d ago)
I still guna that dialogue every time my mom suruh tumbuk-menumbuk. "Ma, dah?" Tapi kenapa la the answer is always "Sikik lagi". Huwaa..

Posted by: lion3ss (View Website)
Date: 11/11/05 at 1:56 AM (2M4d ago)
Buster laughed at me recently whe I pounded black pepper. Dia kata - belilah grounded black pepper terus.