Sunday, March 29, 2009

Running Out of Gas

did a major spring-cleaning during the weekend.
sweep, vacuum, mop, wipe, scrub, clean, wash, dry, arrange, keep, throw - the works.


longed for an undisturbed, much-desired, very rare, very appreciated nap.

there's something about the thought of a dust-free room, well-lit (or rather lack of) filled with the lovely, fresh lavender scent that sends the wake-up call on hold.

so to sleep must i.

mr. khairul spent the whole afternoon with khaleef as po the panda (don't ask) while kahfi seemed to understand and slept through my nap without waking up.

thanks boys.

be back soon.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

A Stroll Along Dubai Marina

fancy a walk?

one fine saturday, after a refreshing siesta, mr. khairul decided it was that time again to embrace dubai marina's pedestrian-friendly streets and lanes (minus the awful constructions happening left and right). we've walked to 'the walk' before but never tried walking all the way to the dubai marina mall.

read about our first time there, here.

no wonder it's called the new york of the middle east!

first, we walked along this safe walkway with waist-length stone walls separating the main road from the walkway. it's wide enough for cyclist to paddle along as well as joggers to breeze by. then we passed the marina. magical view of the calm marina water reflecting lights from the buildings.

the stunning marina

clothed in our most lepak gears, we trotted on towards the dubai marina mall. ala dekat macam rumah abah to medan gopeng. too far? ok lah! last time, when i feel like it, i just walk back home when the plusliner bus dropped me at the bus-stop in medan gopeng. other times, abah would pick me up.

and do you know my pal wani and i once walked from my abah's apartment in ttdi to OU? yup. walked. once in a while. try it!

after walking along the pedestrian walkway and passing the marina, we walked past the dubai marina yacht club. there's some makan place here which we have yet to try.

the weather was wonderful too. windy but not to the point of shivers down our spines. it's like malaysia on a cool night. however, on the way back the wind was a real scream! we had to remind khaleef to close his eyes as he sat in the stroller to avoid dust from going into his eyes.

awesome, awesome sights of shimmering lights.
upon the calm waters,
upon the streets,
upon the night.

*we planned to go on a walk again but mr. khairul is going for the ceramah @ pakpayne's house tonight. so it's just me and the boys during earth hour. lets switch off people! a little goes a long way...

Friday, March 27, 2009

Thinking of Mak

she would have been 52 today.

over facebook, yong listed out which of mak's signature dish did we inherit. because i told her we're lucky yong is able to cook mak's rendang that tastes exactly like what she used to make every raya.

alhamdulillah...sedikit sebanyak ada masakan mak yang kita tahu skit2... :))

syigim : masak nasik minyak mak...
syima : masak bihun mak...
syida : pandai cekodok pisang & bubur jagung mak......
azie : masak popiah / karipap mak...

okay le tu... :))


read about my tribute to her here.

always love you, mak.
270357 ~ 311203

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Hujan Batu di Negeri Orang

this happened last night. it was around 9pm and i was in the car with the sleeping boys, waiting for mr. khairul to have a haircut. we were somewhere around bur dubai. everything was fine when it started raining. hurray! i love rainy days and was enjoying the cool view when suddenly it grew heavier.

tu takpe lagi.

now all of a sudden it wasn't fun anymore as i heard a loud thud on the roof of the car. there was another thud after that, and another. soon i was starting to freak out as i heard thuds upon thuds of what sounded like beads of pretty big pebbles thrown against the windshield and the roof! it was so loud that i was almost afraid that the window might crack!

scared, i tried to call mr. khairul. he didn't pick up! were we parked next to a building under construction? nope! it was the rain. when i felt much safer, i investigated closer and saw tiny white crystal-like stones on the sunroof and the windshield!

amused, i said to myself, "it's freaking snowing in dubai!"

the view from inside the car - notice the thuds and the little white beads?

later on, mr khairul also experienced a commotion as the mamak gunting rambut joined his pals outside to take a look, and exclaimed the same thing in jest. "'s snowing!"

gulfnews reported the last night's hail stones and heavy rain, which is expected to happen during the next few days too. it's more fun to read the comments section - you'd see how very appreciative and thankful the people in dubai to see rain, especially the ones like "diamond"!

hujan batu di negeri orang ye, literally!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

In The Kitchen With Khaleef : Popiah


did you enjoy my mom's 'movie talk' show? boring, eh? she talks too much, eh? well, you should see me, then. my name is khaleef and i'll be your host today.

ok. ape yang kecik daripada kuman?

bulu hidung kuman!

ok, no that you're entertained, let's move on!

i was helping mak make the popiah!

mak first made for me the inti or filling using minced meat, potatoes, onions and curry powder. mak's mom used to make this popiah with this filling or a vegetable popiah comprises of sengkuang, egg and mix vege filling.

these are the popiah skin. flimsy pieces which, after fried, makes lovely crunchy sounds when you take a bite. wonderful symphony of crackles!

when spreaded nicely on a plate, i began dumping little bit of filling on top. put in the far corner of the square filling because, erm, it looks good. hmm. taste good you can even eat it on its own. pedas!

next, i folded the skin to wrap the filling inside. mak folded it into a cylinder-like shape but i prefer my own cool way - just sort off press and penyek and smudge it until you can't see the filling anymore. cool art!

finally dip the tip of the skin of the folded popiah into the egg mix. glue properly and then place nicely on a plate. you can stack 'em up to make a house or something. but mak would stop me even before i get to the roof...

when bapak comes home later, i can fry some for him! yum!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

What's Your Vote?

vote earth!

this is not some political plea. and no, 'earth' it's not a new party to replace the dacing, the eye, the rocket or the moon (although God knows we may need one). instead, this is an election like no other. all of us are in it. and it's not about which party you represent, or which country you're from. it's about which planet you're on.

so unless you're an extra-terrestrial living illegally on planet earth for the past decades and plan to go back to your home planet when earth goes bad from global warming, i suggest you choose wisely and vote earth!

This year, Earth Hour has been transformed into the world’s first global election, between Earth and global warming.

For the first time in history, people of all ages, nationalities, race and background have the opportunity to use their light switch as their vote – Switching off your lights is a vote for Earth, or leaving them on is a vote for global warming.

WWF are urging the world to VOTE EARTH and reach the target of 1 billion votes, which will be presented to world leaders at the Global Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen 2009. This meeting will determine official government policies to take action against global warming. It is the chance for the people of the world to make their voice heard.

At 8:30pm on Saturday 28 March, people from all corners of the world will turn off their lights for one hour - Earth Hour - and cast their vote for action on climate change.

Earth Hour is about taking simple steps everyday that collectively reduce carbon emissions – from businesses turning off their lights when their offices are empty to households turning off appliances rather than leaving them on standby.

Earth Hour began in Sydney in 2007, when 2.2 million homes and businesses switched off their lights for one hour.

We all have a vote, and every single vote counts. Together we can take control of the future of our planet, for future generations.

VOTE EARTH by simply switching off your lights for one hour, and join the world for Earth Hour.

Saturday, March 28, 8:30-9:30pm.

which building will go dark?
at precisely 8.30pm on march 28 new zealand will herald the start of the greatest global election the world has ever witnessed - Earth Hour 2009, being the first country to flick the switch off for the global event.

eiffel tower will go dark, as well as san francisco's golden gate bridge. over here in dubai, the bujr al arab - the one shaped as an enormous white sail - will also switch off all its lights for Earth Hour 2009.

back home, our pride, the tallest twin towers in the world - the petronas twin towers will also participate to go black for one hour that day. also joining in is dataran merdeka and putrajaya. mr. khairul, your penang bridge will be dark too!

how 'bout melbourne, syida? and london, niraku?

2,398 cities, towns and municipalities in 83 countries across 25 time zones have already committed to VOTE EARTH for Earth Hour 2009, as part of the worlds first global election between Earth and global warming.

who will you vote for?

why i want do do this
previously when i was at work we often tapau food and eat in the comfort of our office, and my boss decided it was time to make a change - so we brought our own container whenever we tapau food, instead of using the white polysterene packs. this is for you, mommy earth!

hey, it's not much, but we're doing something than nothing. i didn't start going around preaching the goodness of what i did - but i'm sharing it now so that you guys can think of ways how you can make a difference - no matter how little it may be, or how insignificant you think it is.

i'm not much of a green peace freakazoid. i don't usually reduce, reuse, recycle either, but i threw paper, plastic and glass in the appropriate recycle bin when i can. so, i want to do my part when there is a chance. and Earth Hour certainly seems to be a great way to do it.

there's a goose-bump feeling when you know that as you flick that switch off on march 28th, you're a part of something bigger than anything you ever joined before. knowing that more than half of the people around the world will be in on it for the same cause. and this little thing that you're doing can bring a difference.

i can't wait to see how dubai marina looks like sans lights!

what will you be doing?
boring? it won't be boring when you make it fun! as for me, we'd probably be out walking to dubai marina mall - we did so the other weekend and it was amazing to see the sight of the marina under the moonlight, the thousands dotted lights of the buildings along the way. that is why i am waiting to see if there would be a difference walking by during Earth Hour...

*Here are 10 different ways to spend Earth Hour and reduce your carbon footprint:

  • Attend a local Earth Hour event or organise your own by throwing an Earth Hour street party with your neighbours
  • Gather family & friends for a night picnic in your local park and look at the stars
  • Enjoy a family dinner by candlelight
  • Organise a treasure hunt in the dark
  • Take the dog for a night walk
  • Have a candle-lit bath
  • Sit in the dark and share ghost stories
  • Organise a family night playing board games
  • Share a romantic night in with your loved one
  • Blog your experience!

    when all five of us chat, (my four sisters and i) we call the 'conference' a pertemuan 3 benua' - as i am online from the middle east, syida from down under, and yong, syima and azi syida will be chatting from malaysia. (ok, fine technically uae falls under asia too but it's just fun to think we're in very different parts of the world!)

    that's why it's fun to think that all of us would be able to participate in our respective time zones! syida will be able to switch off first as melbourne turns 8.30pm earliest. she would probably be indulging in blissful easiest job to go black-out for her. azi will do her part next, 3 hours after that. she can do a little fun gathering in one of the rooms in her upm hostel and share gossips. and four hours after that, it's my turn!

    8:30PM local time, wherever you live on planet earth.
    Saturday 28 March 2009

    *sources from earthhour and voteearth.
    get banners for your blog from here.

    Monday, March 23, 2009

    Kahfi : Thr3e Months After

    how time flies when you're having fun.
    my 2nd born is 3 months old.

    today is kahfi's 3rd month with us and what a fantabulous 3 months it was.

    kahfi's highlights:

    • when he yawns, he really goes all out - very long yawns, complete with sounds of relief and ultimate relaxation. or boredom. wish you could hear it : huaarrrrggghhhhhhh...
    • he's a fantastically easy baby - he is constant in his sleeping hours. sleeps around 9pm or so, only to wake up once in the middle of the night, and again early in the morning, right at the time mr. khairul sets of to work
    • has become an escape-artist - able to wriggle himself free from being wrapped up in his napkin or blanket. tightly wrapped-up grub by night, arms high up by morning!
    • will smile with a look of pure bliss after each feeding time. adorable little weirdo!
    • doesn't fancy being clamored by overly-affectionate brother and father
    • as many other babies, really enjoys bath time
    • appreciate a good belly rub - starts opening his arms wide and flinging it in pure excitement
    • when relaxed, has the cutest habit of puting his left fist up in the air as he lie down, and then staring at it for some time as if seeing it for the first time... it's pretty intense.

    my favorite conversations with him comprises of series of interesting responses:

    me : ooo kahfi nak citer? yayang mak nak citer? ye? ye? ye? (in my most annoyingly cute voice! and yes, this has 80% chance of getting the most adorable smile in return!)

    kahfi : gooooo.....

    me : ooo ok. what happened?

    kahfi : gooo...gshhhh gshhh.

    me : ye? ye? really? owh, nowwwwhhh! (buldging eyes, exaggerated grin. the works. err, only less creepy than what i had just described)

    kahfi : aeeeeee.......aeeeee.....khhhhhh....

    me : really? wow! good job, kahfi! (clap! clap!)

    and a smile...

    what a darling..!

    Sunday, March 22, 2009

    Frost/Nixon Must Burn After Reading 7 Pounds

    hello and good evening. welcome again to another edition of 'movie time with syigim' or whatever you wanna call it. this time around we bring you four more smashing movies - a political showdown, a black comedy, a tear-jerker and a come-of-age tale.

    * * *

    a dramatic retelling of the post-watergate television interviews between british talk-show host david frost and former president richard nixon - not too keen at first. i have heard of 'watergate' but have no idea what it was all about. i have never heard of nixon's successor or other US prez save some - and he's one of them. see, i knew richard nixon was 'famous' for a reason!

    the way this movie was presented kept me glued on. it began with how the prez was forced to resigned by a 'liberal america'. a narrator always interests me to a movie and this movie has the actors playing 'real people' giving their testimony on what had ensued that leads up to the most famous, highest rating tv interview of all time.

    david frost interviewing president nixon.

    one scene showed the two teams hard at work - polishing their facts, acted out the possible responses from the other team and strategies their questions and answers - just like preparing for a debate or a trial.

    when they arrived at the interview set, both parties looked set to battle. nixon's lawyers stared on before moving into their room, while frost's team reciprocate with a confident look. it was as if they arrived for a hearing at a court.

    at another point, nixon's chief of staff (played by kevin bacon) comforted nixon during a shooting break during the interview as if he had just finished a boxing round with the tv show host frost.

    a debate, a trial, a boxing match - a duel. "no-holds-barred".

    if malaysia were to have this kind of one-on-one, just to make a politician admit his mistakes, or his wrong decisions that cost him the trust and faith of his rakyat, wonder which talk show host or newscaster would be able to twist and turn his ways in exchange for a humble apology?

    * * *

    A was just a CIA analyst. A wrote a memoir. meanwhile D and E found A's memoir and thought that it's some CIA "s**t" so off to blackmail A. A didn't want to pay so D and E went to sell it to the russians. D went to A's house for some more CIA stuff but was shot dead by C who's sleeping with A's wife. C thought that D is a CIA agent out to get him. at the same time, C is also sleeping with E but E didn't know that C is involved with A's wife and has shot dead her friend, D. when E confided in C about her 'missing' friend D and that they're blackmailing A, C went paranoid, thinking E is in on it too!

    it's all a big, comedic messy mayhem!

    the conclusion of the story is the icing on the cake and the cherry on top of the whipped cream - you just gotta see it!

    oh, please - just to see how freaking hillarious brad pitt is in his role. you have to love him in this one. bravo!

    * * *

    do you ever think about death?

    what if you knew you're gonna die, you finally reserve to the fact, dealt with it and was so prepared to go - and then you fell in love, and the only thing you want to do was live forever with this person you fell in love with?

    this is the underlying conflict of seven pounds that touched me so much.

    if you didn't know what the whole story is about, you might be lost in the first huge hours of the movie as you trying to figure out why this will smith character is going around meeting strangers who all have one thing in common - they're in need of an organ.

    ok for those of you planning to watch it, do not read further as i might be spoiling the pleasure of crying your eyes out for the ending -

    the most heart-breaking part was not when he donated his spleen. or during the tender moments he had with the girl he fell in love with. it was when he called his best friend before his final moments.

    will smith: "'s time. i love you." phone immediately switched off.

    and his best friend breaks down. and cries uncontrolably.

    there's nothing like the love shared between close friends. especially in the brink of death.

    * * *

    it's a story about boys. like in a boarding school. they had teachers, exams, and was divided into tasks, even get expelled. they experienced encounters with the opposite sex, share stories and private jokes. the students - there were the obvious leaders, the i-don't-give-a-damn type, the scareddy cat, the nerd and the trouble-maker.

    the only difference is - the students were all on a ship, or here, a schooner, during a summer school sailing trip. and instead of a principal, they have a captain whom they called 'skipper'.

    it's based on a true story happening circa 1960's.

    they learned valuable lessons in life - leadership, facing your fear, accepting responsibility and of course, a lesson in friendship. these analysed points were given by mr. khairul who was a boarding school kid himself. i'm sure it was a walk down memory lane watching the plight of these boys throughout this unforgetable experience. the early morning wake-up call, the not-so-tasty canteen food, the bullying, and the growing spirit of camaraderie.

    the ending is a reminiscing of the end-scene from 'the dead poet society' - a father-figure changes the life of this group of young men, he faces adversary, fought against by his peers, seems to be defeated but the group of young men rise and offer him their utmost respect.

    a white squall is a sudden, violent storm phenomena at sea - and from there you might guess what their biggest adventure and challenge was, that would change their lives forever.

    *this is an old movie, so have fun spotting the young talents like ryan phillipe and scott wolf amongst the cast.

    * * *

    alright. this is it with me and movies for the time being. i'm gonna hit the books now. my prrrrrrecious have been abandoned for quite some time now...

    Saturday, March 21, 2009

    Husna : 1 Year Old Tomorrow!

    just the other day we celebrated her big taiko's birthday and now it's her turn to blow one candle on the cake - husna will hit one year old tomorrow!

    • husna is my second niece after cuya
    • anak bongsu & only girl (so far) of my eldest sis yong
    • the 5th grandchild of my abah
    • born on the same year as kahfi - 2008

    born 'nur aisyah husna', if i'm not mistaken the beautiful name is a suggestion made by husna's gramma (abg mat's mom) before she passed away not too long ago. al-Fatihah. khaleef couldn't pronounce husna properly so he ended up with 'nuh-na' and now it's just too cute not to call her nooooonaaaaa..!

    nuna with her mama

    i cannot tell you about her habits and mannerism because when i left her she was just 7-8 months old. i miss her so much! at that time she wasn't that verbal, and her movements limited to squirming and wriggling like the most adorable little grub ever! hihi.

    now she's a pretty butterfly off to find adventures!

    little nuna with naughty brothers haiqal and haqeem

    happy birthday, husna - the first of many, many, many more happy years to come. abang khaleef and kahfi can't wait to see you!

    love always,
    auntie gim

    Wednesday, March 18, 2009

    Mau Minum Apa?

    i found these stuff in my kitchen cupboard. how did it get here?

    i didn't plan this. this is weird for me. i don't even take hot drinks. if i do, it'll be milo. come to think of it, i hardly take ice-cold drinks either. most of the time, i just drink plain water. but don't start to judge now - i'm not a health-freak-must-drink-eight-glasses-of-water-each-day. i'm just speaking comparitively.

    hey, i should drink 8 glasses of water. but i don't. so comparitively, i drink more plain water than anything else. mr. khairul, yes he drinks it hot. mostly tea. at times milo when the mood strikes. otherwise he prefers soda and orange juice.

    anywho - as we do our usual weekly marketing in spinneys - i find myself arranging a cupboard full of hot beverages to choose from. dah macam kedai mamak je.

    * * *

    whittard's smooth vanilla ground coffee
    i don't drink coffee. wait - i do not like anything that is remotely related to coffee, its neighbours or peers - coffee cake, kopiko, tiramisu and such. but this was a token of thought from my dear buddy niraku who who flew london-malaysia and dropped by dubai to see me.

    however, the smell is just tantalizing - it's the vanilla! not to the point of breaking me, though. i still don't like coffee!

    takpe niraku. khairul suka!

    * * *

    malay tea ginger
    tea, i drink. but i'm a proud, picky eater. drinker. whatever. so since this has ginger, eww, no thanks. yeah yeah i know it's good for me especially post-pregnancy - but i'll take the ginger with my chicken or ikan bilis any day okay?

    i think mr. khairul got this from one of the visitors to his office.

    * * *

    cadbury drinking chocolate
    i like chocolate. let's just say i love chocolate as much as i hate coffee. so there.

    * * *

    there's something nostalgic about this bottle of nescafe. it brought me back to ipoh, to days when my mak made coffee for abah every morning and afternoon, complete with coffeemate. over fried bihun, nasi lemak, bubur kacang or cucur udang. there's always two cups on the table, for her and him. us kids don't drink coffee so it's just mak and abah.

    i never made coffee when mak was around so i distinctly remember trying to make a pot right after mak passed away for distant relatives coming to visit. tokcik was there. yes, i remember. nerve-wrecking.

    'mai minum kopi manis ni.." from tokcik was enough to tell me that i did ok. *smile*

    incidentally, mr khairul doesn't drink hardcore coffee as well. he bought this because - ready for it - coffee grounds, when mix with water - can heal wounds. yup. khaleef had quite a cut one day, so he dabbed the water+coffee mixture on the wound. in no time, the wound was dry with minimal scar.

    try it!

    * * *

    my favourite! go to any mamak restaurant and i'll order milo ais or milo suam on a rainy day. nothing beats milo's chocolatey taste. and who made the bestest best milo in the whole wide world?

    mr. khairul!
    it's so rich and creamy and sweet and sinful! kalah ice-choc kat starbucks!

    want some yummies using milo?
    • take butter crackers and dip - yum!
    • eat with cornflakes (i remember my colleague jo does this)
    • my sis syima uses it in her kek batik
    • this one done by makcah, mr. khairul's aunt who took care of him since he was a baby - she would spread condensed milk on a piece of bread, then sprinkle some milo. voila!
    • when we were younger mak used to take left-over milo and put them in plastic cups in the freezer. result - cheapest ice-cream ever! so nice to sit around, us siblings, on a hot day, scraping the iced-hard milo with our spoon. it's like ice blended!
    • i love to sprinkle some milo on my ice-cream, especially if they're plain vanilla

    ..also, so good you can even eat it on its own!

    * * *

    lipton tea
    ok this one i like! plain tea with sugar and that's it. mr. khairul likes teh tarik and once attempted to tarik at home but doesn't taste the same! lucky enough found a nice spot here in dubai which serves a good teh tarik. here they call it chai.

    try green city for an awesome teh tarik!

    * * *

    twinings' english breakfast tea
    another souvenir from my buddy niraku when she dropped by dubai on the way from london to malaysia. well, it's tea. put a spoonful of sugar and warm water - hmm...

    * * *

    ceylon tea from sri lanka
    this i got when i went for the costumes show in abu dhabi. there were booths from several countries and some were giving out free stuff - traditional fans, brochures, sweets and such. so from sri lanka, i got these tea packets. have yet to try but i bet it tastes just as good.

    but then again, i really really really cannot take chinese tea or green tea. so i guess there are types of tea that i won't take...

    * * *

    ok, incik nak minum apa?

    Tuesday, March 17, 2009

    The Wrestler, Bolt Taken by Jig Saw II

    hello and welcome to today's show. i'm syigim and i'll be your host. what movies do we have today, mr. khairul? well, folks - tonight we have an oscar nominee, a disney's animation, an action flick and a horror film.

    * * *

    "the wrestler can really make people cry." so said mr. khairul. did he?

    never thought i'd be watching this movie. i was hoping to watch wil smith's 7 pounds before i even decided to watch this one. it's about an aging wrestler. i don't even like wrestling. i would immediately changed the channel if i happened to stumble unfortunately on a wrestling show.

    but i did see this one. especially since it was one of the oscar nominees. and for mr. khairul, he obviously wanted to watch marissa tomei. *eyes rolling*. who, i must admit still looks mighty good at 46!

    the verdict - a sad fall from grace, downfall of a mighty wrestler. it was not so much of him not being famous anymore - it's the other things we don't see - the relationship fall-out with his only daughter, his multiple wounds after a fight, painstakingly endured each blow and his sad, lonely nights in the trailer.

    it's a reminder that with old age, comes mortality. if we're not prepared with an umbrella, come rainy days, we would be forced to seek shelters that might not be there...

    * * *

    "mak, dog please.." as khaleef watched in awe of a super-dog in action.

    i'm nuts about disney animations. i love, absolutely love disney animation - from the super classic 'snow white' to the much anticipated 'frog prince' - disney's final drawn-animation, and its first with an african-american princess. i practically know every single song (i miss my cds - my disney cds were in my kembara when it was stolen..) and would be mouthing the lines as i watch 'em.

    oh, must you ask? of course khaleef loves them! he particularly enjoys 'the little mermaid', 'mulan' and 'finding nemo'. he can't enunciate very well yet, but he's already at par with me in the memorising-lines bit. ha ha. and oh, yes. he can sing...

    now bolt. bolt is an adorable dog who thinks he's a superdog. it's really cute when he slowly discovers that he doesn't have superpowers. the idea is interesting enough but it doesn't leave an impact as nemo or even the cows from 'home on the range' did. (but chicken little is still the worst, sorry!) oh, miley cyrus is likeable as bolt's 'person' but they can certainly do without the hamster. he's so not funny.

    i love the mafia-sounding pigeons. fuhgeddaboudit.

    * * *

    mr. khairul loved taken. he won't admit it but i guess it's a deep fatherhood thing in him that was stirred up when he watch as a father goes on a solo mission to save his daughter. he had always said that if anything were to happen to me or the boys (simpang!) he would hunt the man down and torture him. not kill him straight away - no, that would be a sweet release of death - but torture him. so in other words, mr. khairul tu perasan liam neesan tu dia la tu...

    to me, it was a surprise to see how attractive liam neesan can be in a role of an ex-spy saving his little teen-age girl. the mother and the girl were just irritating - they treated the dad like he didn't matter much (ok, i understand that it's him who were not attentive before because of his spy jobs) but after what had happen, it's still dad to the rescue.

    there was this very crucial scene - a scene scarier than ANY horror scenes i've seen before - because this might happen. this was reality. ghost, goblins and boogeyman in the closet won't suddenly come out to get you - but there are bad guys out there in the real world. a scene when the daughter realizes that some men were inside the house - thru the phone, the dad tried to calm her -

    "now. the next part is very important." pauses. closes his eyes. "they are going to take you."

    liam neesan, as the comforting dad, said in his coolest tone of voice, to his daughter who was hiding under the bed. then he told her she "..had 5, maybe 10 important seconds." for what? find out when you watch the movie...

    ! my sis syida too agrees how much impact this scene had on her. you should see the movie just for this scene.

    also, the pace of the movie is fast and to the point - instead of lingering on unnecessary scenes. mr. khairul also commented that it was a rare thing to see a car-chase done in a construction site and he applauded the originality.

    he really likes a particular exchange of words between the father and the kidnapper - which incidentally was the tagline on the movie poster itself.

    Bryan: I don't know who you are. I don't know what you want. If you are looking for ransom, I can tell you I don't have money. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills; skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you let my daughter go now, that'll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don't, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you.

    Marko: [after a long pause] Good luck.

    actually it was more like, "goodde luckcke" - probably you could ask mr. khairul to say it with the albanian accent because he has been doing it every single time the dialog appears as we watched it up to the point of intollerable annoyance!

    * * *

    yes, i may be ketinggalan already but i really just had my first experience with one of the infamous 'saw' movie series. saw II. sick sick sicko! but daymn the story was so interesting i just can't look away! it's not some empty movie on senseless torture and goriness - it's deep, man. the apreciation of life. solving puzzles. understanding that things may not be what they seem and words may just be what they are, literally..

    "..your son, safe and sound.."

    the end was so unpredictable for me! like, woah! no wonder it garnered so many fans. it's like se7en but triple the gore.

    i don't know what is it about gory, blood and torture that are so appealing in a movie! i guess it's the thought that while the characters are experiencing the horrendous ordeal throughout the movie, oh you, dear viewers are safely snuggled on your leather cushions in your comfort of your home, munchin kacang puteh. no madman here, no ma'am.

    my bro-in-law din likes it so much, he watches it up to 'saw V'. five episodes of goriness and filfth! man! my ol skoolmate jessica urged me to watch from 'saw 1', which i probably will since yong's buddy kak lala pun recommends watching from 'saw 1' - however, she did say it got mengarut once 'saw' entered its third installment...

    * * *

    ok, i'll draw the cinema curtain for now. join us next time as we unfold our thoughts on another set of movies. next change - 'burn after reading'!

    Sunday, March 15, 2009

    Costumes Show @ Abu Dhabi : Ladies Only!

    last night i had the pleasure of joining consul general's wife kak sara to a fashion show! far from being a runway of haute couture - it gave me a richer experience than that.

    the asian embassies' group, in collaboration with the abu dhabi ladies club invites us to the 'asian traditional costumes show' in conjunction with international women's day. this show features traditional garb from 13 countries.

    i hitched a ride with kak sara along with 3 other chatty ladies (yes, i enjoyed your company very much). when i arrived, i saw flags of participating countries in a row and a field with country-booths in a semi-circle showcasing items for display, for sale and complimentary, unique from each country as well as sweets to be sampled by visitors.

    the tourism gals who was supposed to man our malaysia booth had not arrived yet so i took the liberty to lepak at the booth welcoming people with my awesome malaysian hospitality. ewah! my must-ask question was "have you been to malaysia?" hey, i had fun!

    the only black dots of the event was that there were not enough food stalls - even then they were just snacks - must pay a "nominal" fee! - and i had imagined sitting at a table while a wholesome dish is served during the show! now i have to pay 20dhs for simple sandwiches!

    the show was held in a huge white canopy, made classy with chandelliers. the indian ambassador's wife mc-ed the fashion show with an arabic translator - where i really felt i was in the presence of international crowd. i enjoyed the show tremendously, in awed of the beauty that is us womenfolk; seep in tradition, culture and heritage.

    my only complain was that the music was far too loud - other than that, i was a happy clam clapping away.

    first up was china, going by alphabetical order. the models paraded the 'chang pao' (did i get this right?) from han nationality. the china dolls really potrayed the essence of a woman - confidence and beauty. some garbs show the beauty of a woman's curve - something the men would always find irresistable.

    (honey, you're missing on a lot! just your luck that this was a ladies-only affair!)

    next up was india, for what can only be described as a very festive performance. i dare say it was the most entertaining of all, with audiences clapping along to the beat. the usual sari was worn by the models, who then performed a dance from gujjurat - the west part of india. it had the dancers clicking two sticks together to the beat.

    i was particularly distracted by an enthusiastic makcik who were modelling a sari - and while other *normal* models would catwalk their way, she actually danced and boogeyed down the runway, much to the pleasure of the audience who cheered in support.

    during the interval, i actually approached her to give her due compliment for her cheerful disposition during the show. cool-lah makcik!

    indeed, indians have a culture made for loud festivities!

    the indonesians took up the stage after that. kebaya was the order of the day - showcasing their indon batiks which "symbolizes construction of women's identity and feminity". i thought they looked like the kebaya worn by the malays on their wedding day - shiny sequins and elaborate beadings.

    the models glide slowly on the runway, true to the demure image of an indon lass (or were they very precariously walking on that killer stilettos?) accompanied by the haunting sounds of angklung, a far change from the loud and fast beat of the indians that came on before.

    an indon 'princess' also presented a balinese dance, a dance of "happiness of welcoming guests" while holding a gift of some sort that may be a tepak sirih. beautiful.

    clap for these kazakhs women next! the moment they all stepped out parading their unique traditional costumes, the word wizards kept popping out.

    their peculiar-like (peculiar to me - for all i know they're also laughing at our 'berkemban' dress during malaysia's turn) pointy hat, complete with a flowing veil running from the point just seemed to me what the fairy godmothers would wear. add some moons and stars and you got yourself a wizard!

    they also performed a dance from their country - a folk dance which i can only describe as 'syok sendiri'. sorry kazakhs!

    later on it's korea! a fan dance and fulltime housewives as models? i won't miss this! the korean ambassador's wife said that in the olden days, only the royalties can wear the costumes that they're showcasing but nowadays people wear them on wedding days and special occasions like new year's day.

    while china had the tight-fitting cheong sam, the hard-to-breathe corsets on the thais and the indons with their kebaya, it's a wonder that koreon women don't mind looking like a pregnant lady!

    the gown looked regal, of course - and when one walks wearing it, she looked like flying on air with the huge bubble skirt hiding the feet. intricate embroidery lined the cuffs and corners, down to the shoes!

    it was certainly the most regal-looking of all performances - the models were poised and was made more when all the models bowed except one who wore the most elaborate of all the korean traditional costume.

    ..and she was an emirati!

    "welcome to malaysia" said the announcer, and with that, 11 pretty models paraded traditional malay garbs from 11 states - i can spot the nyonya kebaya as well as the kebaya labuh, kurung kedah, baju kurung johor - but where's puteri perak?

    after the catwalks, the song 'malaysia truly asia' reverberated throughout the makeshift hall. the models held their hands up in the air, and our adorable malaysian kids waved the jalur gemilang. our own ambassador's wife datin saedah showed her cool side, partying along with the crowd on stage.

    we brought out the most number of participants, next to philippines. it was a proud moment for every malaysian in the same room, cheering aloud, clapping enthusiastically and waving along.

    now, if only there was a traditional dance from malaysia - complete with headgear and songket - the infectious beat of joget or the more graceful moves with zapin. oh well, malaysia boleh!

    during the 20-minutes break i went for my rounds in the crowd, visiting the booths. i stopped longest at the korean booth as i wanted to get my korean fan - i was also lucky enough (there was quite a long line) to get my name penned in korean letters, using calligraphy. beautiful.

    i also took pictures with some of the performers, chatted with some, asking them about the significance of their costumes and the meaning of their dances. i collected some complimentary items such as sweets 'turkish delight' - a jelly-like candy with nuts inside, and a packet of sri lankan tea. have yet to try!

    then it's nepal's turn. i'm not sure i heard it right but the announcer did say the dance performed means "profound feelings of parental house of married woman". it was happy, breezy dance - the sort of you see at the beginning of a tamil movie when they're introducing the heroin working in the middle of a field.

    for the fashion part of the show, they brought out their own sari and the garb of the sherpa - known for courage and skills in climbing mountains. there were only four models, but the crowd clapped and cheered them on.

    we ladies have to stick together! girl power!

    i must say the pakistan narration at the begining was the most descriptive of what they're about to showcase. a "medley of colors", 'luxurious silk and breezy chiffon", '"representing the four seasons.." by using four different colors - red, yellow, green and white.

    the pretty models paraded their punjabi suits and then danced along with the beat. this was the first time i saw punjabi top worn with a tight knee length silk pants. they looked sexy and gorgeous. my mind somehow flew to my pretty friend mohana - and how great she would look in one of those. there was even a long-sleeved punjabi suit that i really like!

    boasting 1,700 islands, the philippines were next on stage with a "very diverse costume" - and yes, they ate up the whole stage with no less than 20 participants, including a singer with a soothing sweet voice, singing to a live music on guitar. lovely.

    "mabuhai!" and the show began. there were three different dances. they wore (forgive my mistake but i spelled them as i heard them) a baro - blouse, a saya - skirt and a tapis - wrap. also - i hope i got this one right - a trahedemistisa - worn by daughters of mix parentage - spain + philippines.

    the models were simply sweet and endearing. much like they are in person. i chatted with a couple of them at the philippines booth and they were friendly, with smiles and laughter. i mentioned lea salonga and that got them beaming with pride. even mr. khairul again and again asserts that phillipines are the best in the customer service field. indeed.

    another sari extravaganza - this time, interestingly called batik sari from sri lanka! they are worn at weddings and such. the models walked along with the tabla beat unlike others who strut along songs. even the dancers danced only to the tabla and drumbeat.

    they strike a pose at the end which was a favorite for the photographers!

    the thai silk looked mighty familiar - i have one of those! - from four regions, the thais paraded their cultural costumes with traditional woven pattern accompanied by folk music.

    oddly enough, while other countries adopt the same look or feel for each of the models (the indons walked slow, the malaysians strut their stuff, the chinese and koreans poised, the indians boogeyed away), the thais had models who walked slowly and demurely, while some walked with the 'bicycle move', swaying their hips exageratedly to the beat - both giving different impressions when standing side by side. one group standing poised, another group was like high on something...

    the last show we watched. there were a couple of other countries left but it was already nearing 11pm and we had to head back soon as we're travelling from dubai, 45 minutes away.

    turkey boasted costumes with shades of dark red, marroon and crimson - they were exclusively worn for weddings other ceremonial occasion.

    yawn. sorry turkey. it was already late and i was not concentrating anymore.

    nice costumes.


    the way back
    since we didn't get a single bite to eat or a sip to drink, we stopped by a burger king along the highway and munch our way back to dubai. thank you ladies - kak sara, kak yati, kak normala and kak anne - for a nice, warm trip to and fro - and for being patient with the awful traffic in dubai marina while sending me!

    and hey, i got myself some sweet delights from turkey, a korean fan to keep me cool in the coming dubai heat and some brochures on korea i hope to send back to malaysia for abah. he's going to korea this april. have fun! jangan lupa bawak balik tisu!

    count me in next time, okay!

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