Thursday, July 28, 2005

A Beginning to an End - Part II

After 3 years, B has finally submitted his thesis. It's now lying on the HOD's desk waiting for him to sign the submission form. He can now breathe easy. Lately, I've even noticed that his face is a picture of serenity. Sometimes I even catch him expelling a sigh of relief.

Yes folks, it was a hard and long winded road to reach this stage of his Phd. It kicked of with the birth of Zareef followed by the unavoidable stress, strain, late nights, early weekend mornings, sacrificed weekends, complex and complicated codings, experiments mishaps, red tapes shebangs have now come to an end. Almost.

Almost because it's now the waiting game. Bidding his time waiting for the viva-voce.

I am truly proud of you, Aling!! I pray that all's well, ends well, InsyaAllah...

Friday, July 22, 2005

A Beginning to an End

"To my wife, Nora and son, Zareef
whom I dedicate
this thesis to..."

I'm so touched and overwhelmed. Nak pi lap mata sat...

p/s: Besok NEXT sale start pukul 5 pagi. I'm already there... huhuhu...

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

My Kid Says the Darndest Things

But he's only 2 years and 9 months old, for goodness sake!

Scene 1:

We were in the car ready to go to Sarah's birthday party. Zareef was strapped in his car seat at the back.

"Pakai seat belt la Daddy. Nanti mati!"

Huhhh?? Where did he get that from??? Must be too much of CSIs.

Scene 2:

I've switched off the bedroom lights and everyone is ready for bed and the little kiddo just jumped into our bed and pulled the duvet over him.

"Zareef, go and sleep in your katil please..."

"Mummy la tido katil Zareef. Katil Zareef best."

I would if I could but his bed is too short for my legs. So that night, all three of us crammed in one small double bed. Mind you, it was a very hot muggy night. Hmmmphhhh

Scene 3:

"Zareef, tolong tidy up your toys...!

"Mummy la tidy up toys Zareef. Zareef penat. Zareef nak rehat la"

And he immediately climbed on the sofa and lied down. Aduhhhssss... bertuah punye anak!!!
When I finally did tidy up his toys, he immediately came up to me and patted me on the back.

"Yeayyy... Mummy good girl!!"

Whattt??? Nih sudah terbalik...

Scene 4:

We were watching the telly one night and I asked B to pass me the remote. B threw it at me without giving any warnings.The remote landed on my tulang kering and I yelped out in pain.

"Kenapa Daddy baling remote kat Mummy!! Kan Mummy dah sakit!!!"

He then approached me and took my tulang kering and held it.

"Sakit ke Mummy? Zareef tiup okay?!"

Pfooohhhh.. he blewed.

My oh my this sweet child of mine!!!

Monday, July 18, 2005

Terror Within

Two weeks have passed since the London bombings. Since then, the aftermath of the tragedy has been felt all over the UK especially towards Muslims.

This Muslim does not condone such atrocious act. This Muslim is so sad to see 57 innocent lives taken away from them at a blink of an eye. This Muslim is furious that some extremists say that's it's alright for these men to commit such act as a way of martyrdom. Islam does not teach us to kill others for the sake of an eye for an eye. Two wrongs do not make one right. When our Holy Prophet went to war, he will always remind his men to spare the lives of civillians; the innocent bystanders, the mothers, children and the elders. Warfare at that time was more honorable unlike now you-attacked-me-so-I'll-attacked-you-back kind of war.

It doesn't help that the media is making a circus out of this horrible incident resulting in backlashes towards Muslims happening all across the UK. An hour after the bombing occurred, the media has the cheek of announcing to the public that these bombings were linked to Al-Qaeda without ever having even a speck of proof. All was done in the name of slander.

And it doesn't help also that a day later the media kept on saying that the bombers were British Muslims stressing the word Muslim over and over again. I mean, do they really have to say the word Muslim in every sentence? Did they call Ian Huntley a British Christian when he murdered Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman? None at all. He was just a psycho who happens to like young girls. How about the Oklahoma City bombing? Did they report Timothy McVeigh as an American-whatever-his religion-is cult extremist? Definitely not. The media just labelled him as an anti-government supremacist whose motive was to avenge the death of the Branch Davidians whom he thought were killed by federal agents at Waco, Texas.

As a result of religion-naming reporting, a hatred towards Muslims in the UK has sprung. Mosques were disfigured. In Nottingham, a Muslim man was killed in a religious feud. A muslim woman's hijab was pulled and later she was dragged to the ground. Last Friday night, here, in this small town that I call home, a fight between Asians and Mat Sallehs ensued by stabbings resulted in a police and helicopter mayhem. A friend in London had her car's windshield smashed with a beer can when she was just about to start the engine.

Isn't this terror as well? Cultivating a feeling of fear in the heart of those who are innocent of doing any kind of terror acts except of guilty for professing the Islamic faith. As far as I know, Islam is a peaceful religion and condemns any act of killings of the innocents irregardless of their religion. Then, why do we have to succumb to a life filled with fear as to what other religions perceive us when we have done nothing?

I will not deny that I fear for the safety of my family. I used to be able to wonder around the town freely with Zareef feeling safe and all. But now, I fear that if I do, some stupid clueless mat salleh would backlash me just because I wear a hijab which to them is a beacon of Islam. Verbal words, that I can handle. Icy glacier glares, that I can look away from. But what if someone would come to me and pull my hijab? Or even worse, do harm to my boy and I? That, I can't handle.

When 9/11 happened, I was in Malaysia. At that time, I didn't feel the effect of it. You know, the religious slander, the backlashes and all. But now that it happens so close to home, I do feel the heat. I hate it when the media kept on hammering in the word Muslim again and again, making us look like the culprits. Because of that, I kept on having to look behind my shoulders to make sure that the coast is clear. Because of that, I can no longer go on my half-an-hour powerwalks to the playground with Zareef. Because of that, I kept on having to be on my toes to avoid any unwanted happenings.

When I went for my Europe road trip last year, I breathed a sigh of relief upon reaching Dover after clearing the immigrations. It felt like coming home. Even when I got back home from Disneyland, I felt so relief when the Eurostar pulled into Waterloo. But now, I'm afraid of home. I'm afraid of any unwanted unforeseen circumstances that I pray to God will not happen to my family while I'm here. I love being a Muslim. Nothing can take that away from me. But my love for my religion has resulted me living in fear for now in this land that I call home. It looks like home now no longer feels like home.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Strawberries, Anyone??

One fine Saturday morning, we decided to go for strawberry picking at Wymeswold, about 20 minutes drive from Loughborough.

Lo and behold, upon reaching there, we could see throngs of Malaysians already there with baskets after baskets of red, ripe, juicy strawberries. Slurrrrpppp...

"Alamak Aling... nih Melayu ramai mesti strawberries dah habis"

"Tak lah... you tengok sana tuh... ada lagi satu padang belum kena kutip lagi"

Zareef's two best friends, Sarah and Yana were already there.

I tried the raspberries. Oh my god!! It was so sour that I spat it out immediately. So were the gooseberries. They were only good for baking and not for eating it neat.

Zareef pondering on whether to give Sarah a great big hug...

These strawberries are surprisingly mighty sweet unlike the ones sold in the supermarkets. Satu masuk basket, satu masuk perut. Lama2 kenyang makan strawberries je.

My son getting good at picking the ripe strawberries. But after an hour or so, he soon got tired of it. Instead, he preferred to roam and run about, resulting in some squashed strawberries along the way.

Trying to wash the strawberries before Zareef pops it into his mouth but he refused. So, sod it! A little bit of dirt and hay won't do harm to him. Who knows, it might even help to cultivate some friendly bacteria in his tummy, hehhehe....

Menu for the day was strawberries, strawberries and strawberries. There were so many that I decided to make them into jams. The basic recipe for a strawberry jam; 6 cups of strawberries, 1 cup of sugar, 1/2 cup of water and juice from 1 lemon. Simmer everything in a pot until it turns into a thick consistency. Let it cool and voila! you can eat it with bread and butter. Delicious with scones and cream too!! Ahhhhhh... nikmat sungguh!