Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Iftar With MCKK Sheikhs

‘sheikh’ is an honorific term in the arabic language, that literally means, ‘elder’. well, the ‘old’ boys of the malay college kuala kangsar (mckk) living in dubai are making yet another appearance in my blog – this time for their annual berbuka puasa session.

yes, i’m in malaysia, and no, obviously i did not join the berbuka puasa held in dubai – however, having this blog, i have become some sort of a journalist, reporting on my husband’s travels and activities. i enjoy every bit of it, even when writing about these ‘sheikhs’ from mckk, because both mr. khairul and my abah are from that school.


mr. khairul 96, bro faisal 84, bro zaim 82, and uncle dzul 66!

just like the previous iftar and dubai old boy weekend, mr. khairul organized this year’s iftar too, by ‘special request’ from an old timer – more on that later. he usually picked my favorite mandi restaurant al-tawasol as venue – but this year they decided to have the mcob iftar at a pakistani restaurant, ‘najaf’.

thanks honey, for NOT going to tawasol! hihi. well, najaf is not that far from al-tawasol, anyway - both restaurants are just across the street from each other!

why najaf? mr. khairul had just been told that this pakistani restaurant serves the best dry fried lamb dish! what better time to check out if it’s true!


mr. khairul, bro rashdan, bro zaim in red and bro nizalman in cream shirt

5 other mcobs (malay college old boys) joined in - faisal shon ‘84, zaim ‘82, rashdan ‘89, nizalman ‘90, and dzul ‘66. yeap, they were actually ‘graced’ by the presence of a real old timer (just a year younger than my abah!) whom i came to know as uncle dzul, from batch 66.

he wanted to meet the rest of the mcobs living in uae, that’s why he suggested to mr. khairul to arrange this iftar.

uncle dzul is actually working in yemen. he dropped by dubai every now and then, on his way to or from malaysia. during this particular visit, he made it worth while berbuka puasa with his mckk juniors.

i found him to be a refined man who has seen most of the world. he is soft spoken, but spoke animatedly about his only grandchild. he’s always a pleasant company, and i wish that one day i could come visit him in yemen so that i can try the authentic yemeni mandi rice that i’m already addicted to!


from left : bro nizalman & wife, mr. khairul in black, bro zaim in red and uncle dzul in white

while mr. khairul, bro faisal and bro zaim are ‘regulars’ in any mcobs dubai meet, rashdan and nizalman finally had the time to be a part of this dubai brotherhood meet.

turns out that bro nizalman ran on a tight schedule, having to travel abroad at least twice a month, sometimes every week! each time mr. khairul arrange an mckk dubai gathering, he was either about to board a plane, or just came back from a long business trip. in fact, he just came back from pakistan, but made an effort not to miss this iftar for a change! that’s the spirit, bro!

also, i was surprised when told that he was already in dubai for about 10 years now. wow! it made our measly 2 years look like tiny pebbles in the sands of time!

the chatty nizalman shared his stories of dubai, 10 years back where there were no malls, no sky scrapers and nothing that stood out except for the desert. bummer!

bro rashdan, meanwhile was described by mr. khairul as ‘diam-diam ubi berisi’. he’s been in dubai for the past 5 years – single, but not available! his wife and kids resides in malaysia.


i’ve never been to this pakistani restaurant najaf, so i can’t share any personal opinion. however, from the looks of it in the picture above – everything seemed delicious!

according to mr. khairul, the food was quite lavish – they ordered a couple of dishes and they all came in pretty huge servings.

they had fish briyani, a couple of lauk pauk like ayam merah and veggie dalca, steamed white rice, and their signature dish – the fried mutton.

40768_430693987556_732952556_4840152_4546082_n (1)the all-time famous fried mutton

mr. khairul said, what surprised him most was the steamed white rice. he said, it looked like it’s been sitting for a while, and probably not steaming hot anymore. however, a mouthful of that rice proved otherwise.

he said it’s warm and the rice has a distinct taste to it. a delicious, buttery taste that made the rice ‘enak dimakan begitu saja!’


now i’m REALLY looking forward to eat here at najaf. i’m a lamb-mutton fan and i’m sure the ‘suspiciously buttered’ steamed rice and the fried mutton would pair up just nicely…

ingat tau, bawak i makan sini bila kita balik dubai!


* * *

what always fascinates me about these mcob gatherings is that the juniors and seniors (plus super-seniors!) - some 20-30 years apart, some meeting for the first time - can still sit down and have meaningful conversations, just because they shared an alma mater.

i guess it's truly the *tie* that binds!


kay '96, faisal shon '84, zaim '82, dzul '66

the mckk sheikhs of the middle east had another great time reminiscing the past – well, as they always say – the malay college old boys never really left school…

click here to read about last year's mckk dubai iftar.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Merdeka! Merdeka! Merdeka!

i am a malaysian living in dubai. my sons kahfi and kazim were born in dubai, united arab emirates, but i will make sure the patriotic fire in them burns steadfast and true!

to that special someone in dubai, have you flown the jalur gemilang at our window? on the hood of the car?



to my readers, happy 53rd independence day. selamat menyambut hari kemerdekaan malaysia yang ke 53.

merdeka! merdeka! merdeka!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Ya Allah, Moga Mak Kami Dibenarkan Pulang!

dalam bulan ramadhan, roh akan pulang melawat jasad mereka, melawat anak-anak, dan mereka yang mendoakan.

"Menurut hadith Rasulullah, semua roh akan berkumpul di Luh Mahfuz memohon kepada Allah S.W.T untuk kembali ke bumi. Ada roh yang dibenarkan pulang ke bumi dan ada yang tidak dibenarkan.."

Ya Allah, kami mohon mak kami dibenarkan pulang.
anak-anak mak akan sedaya hati menyiapkan 'bekal' untuk mak bawa pulang ke luh mahfuz.
sayang mak, rindu mak.

klik sini untuk ke blog adik bongsu aku, dan baca selanjutnya.


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

“Mak, Bad Guy Take Kahfi!”

yeap, i heard khaleef screamed, “mak! bad guy take kahfi!” and with that, i saw a man holding kahfi who was wriggling to escape. the man did not let go. and khaleef kept screaming.

oh, let me rewind.

we were at a hotel in damansara with abah, and kahfi was his usual ‘cockroach’ self – run here run there – and we were starting to get ticked off with his constant need to escape. he even ran to the little ‘rumah kampung’ display at the hotel and brought down the pagar! oh, no!

at one point, one of the hotel staff took hold of kahfi, and brought him back to me, wriggling away trying to escape.

…and that’s when khaleef screamed out to me, “mak, bad guy take kahfi!

the hotel staff just smiled.


i can’t say for sure that this is the best way to educate our children about ‘stranger danger’ – but i always tell khaleef (or, sometimes, more to SCARE khaleef) that there are bad guys out there who can just snatch kids like him if he wanders off without telling mak or bapak, or if he doesn’t watch his little brother.

they just need to know that the real world out there could be more dangerous than having burgers fell from the sky, the magic of dibo the gift dragon or from the comforts of their own home.

* * *

lagi cerita kahfi.

kepala kahfi tersekat kat celah tiang tangga rumah abah. jerit-jerit dia. aku kat dalam bilik dengan kazim, tiba-tiba khaleef datang bagitau.

bila naik atas, nampak abah tengah cuba kluakan kepala kahfi dari celah tangga. kahfi dah bukan nangis lagi dah. dah terjerit-jerit. aku rasa bukan nangis sakit tu. lebih kepada nangis takut kepala tak bole klua!

aku pun cuba jugak. abah dah pegi bawah nak cari gergaji!

khaleef cuba membantu dgn membawa toys utk hiburan kahfi masa dia tersekat tu. bawak bola la. bawak robot la. bawak dinosaur la. macam-macam dia bawak tunjuk kat kahfi. ade satu part tu, dia pun tolong tekan kepala kahfi supaya bole klua!

aku cuma asyik cakap, “it’s ok kahfi. it’s ok. sayang mak.” supaya tenangkan kahfi. aku tau dia nangis tu lebih kepada takut. yang part sakit tu masa aku cuba tekankan kepala dia je.

hmm. kalo muat nak masuk, mesti muat nak klua. aku pun pusing-pusing, tekan-tekan, herot-herot – akhirnya dapat jugak kluakan kepala kahfi. merah telinga dia. nangis sedu-sedu. nasib baik atuk tak payah guna gergaji!

tu la. masuk lagi kepala celah tangga!

khaleef & kahfi (credit picture : tina)

member aku buat lawak. katanya, anak kedua dia pun ade je halnya. buat perangai pelik-pelik macam si kahfi. “second child memang macam tu ke, syigim?” erk, aku pun second child tau! kitorang bukan pelik, tapi terlalu kreatif sangat! hihi.

* * *

cerita kazim pulak.

kazim dah boleh bergolek lancar dengan bahayanya! kenapa aku cakap bahaya – sebab hampir nak jatuh katil!

pertama kali aku saksikan detik-detik dia bole bergolek tu memang la dah horay-horay dah, tapi dia dah tak ulang dah detik gemilang tu. jadi aku tak lah beria-ia letak bantal keliling dia kalau letak dia atas katil,

tapi baru-baru ni, aku letak dia tengah katil, sekelip mata je dia dah dekat hujung kepala katil! maknanye dia dah bergolek 4-5 kali untuk sampai ke situ.

terkejut gile aku!

jadi sekarang ni, kalo aku nak mandi lama atau keluar bilik, aku letakkan dia atas tilam kat atas lantai, atau kalau dia tido atas katil, aku akan buat kubu dengan bantal-bantal. dah laju dah budak busuk tu!

kazim & abang long khaleef (credit picture : syida)

* * *

ok budak-budak. bapak tengah jauh ni, korang jangan la nakal-nakal sangat ok. tolong mak sket! *senyum*

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Ihya’ Ramadhan My-UAE in Dubai

my beloved mr. khairul is now ‘single’ in dubai. but to his surprise, turns out there are a lot of ‘bachelors’ in dubai right now! masing-masing punya anak isteri dah siap tunggu diorang balik malaysia untuk hari raya!

and if you think they’re so uncared for during ramadhan, without a wife to prepare iftar dishes, and noone to wake them up for sahur – fret not – the association for malaysian professionals in uae (united arab emirates) my-uae pro organizes a wonderful event every friday during this ramadhan month.

everyone is welcomed – especially those ‘poor, lonely bachelors’!

dubbed, ‘ihya ramadhan’, it started with the bazaar iftar at the same venue, and continues on with the ‘ihya ramadhan’ program where malaysians berbuka together with an abundance choices of food.

my mr. khairul in brown t

one of the fridays, the malaysian ambassador to uae, dato’ yahaya abd jabbar also joined in to berbuka and perform tarawih prayers with fellow malaysians in dubai.

after berbuka puasa they congregated for the maghrib, isya' and tarawih prayers.

the tarawih prayer was followed by tadarus Al-Quran and concluded by a tazkirah session, lead by ustaz nazri. kudos for my-uae pro team for squeezing in as many religious activities as possible in this once-a-week program.

ustaz nazri

in fact, during the second weekend's berbuka session, the malaysians in dubai received an honorable guest – tuan haji jamaluddin elias or fondly known as pak jamal of ‘yayasan amal malaysia’. he actually shared his experience on the mavi marmara of the freedom flotilla. priceless!

tuan haji jamaluddin elias

not only that, after the tarawih prayers, they could also pay their zakat fitrah, in the amount of 20aed, at a ‘counter’ opened especially for that purpose.

events such as this not only fills up their ramadhan with amal ibadat, but also strengthen the ukhuwah between their malaysian brothers and sisters in islam of dubai. wish i was there with you, honey! awaiting your return on pins and needles!

*credit to ex-president of my-uae pro, mr affandy shaari for the nice pictures. thanks!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Ice Cream? Gelato? Gelare!

the other day, we were already out at the curve, so after berbuka abah suggested we get ice-cream or gelato. his pick - ‘gelare’, said to be the ice-cream with ‘no artificial ingredients’. it’s ice-cream, but it’s heavier with less air, giving it a thicker texture than normal ice-cream. sounds like gelato!

you can find the 'gelare' branch at the curve right next to manhattan fish market.


‘gelare’ is an italian word that means ‘to freeze’ or ‘congeal’. from its official website, it describes its ice-cream as ‘heavy, dense ice-cream with no over-run (air content)’. this is based on the way the ice-cream is churned.

what’s the difference between ice-cream and gelato you might ask.

  • gelato is ice-cream in italian
  • gelato is a frozen dessert made from milk, while ice-cream is made from well, cream
  • gelato is churned at a slower speed than ice cream, so the amount of air whipped into the dessert is lesser than in ice-cream, giving it a solid, richer texture
  • gelato is not frozen as solidly as ice cream - so it is smoother and creamier
  • for you weight-watchers, ice cream has a minimum of 10 percent fat, while gelato is made with a greater proportion of whole milk to cream, so it contains about 5-7 percent fat only
  • ice-crystals can form with ice-cream but not gelato


with the major use of colors black and red, ‘gelare’ at the curve has a much bolder theme than the cute pink-blue baskin robbins, or the classic haagen dazs. it also has a huge colorful mural painting covering half the wall of the cafe.

cool hangout, this is!


while baskin robbins and haagen dazs offer only ice-cream base items on the menu, gelare has so much more – pancakes, waffles, and even sandwiches.

the menu is certainly more extensive than a typical ice-cream parlour. hmm, cool decor, more choices on menu - looks like a nice place to be!

...except for -


azi and syida tried ‘gelare’ once here at the curve, when it was newly open. they said the staff who attended to them at that time were courteous, friendly and gave suggestions on what’s good on the menu. the staff were so chatty, that azi and syida comfortably went into a conversation on the whens and whats of gelare.

however – when we went with abah at this same gelare outlet at the curve, weirdly enough, NONE of the friendly staff azi and syida met were there. instead, the staff who were attending to us looked bored. they don’t smile, they’re not pro-active (introduce new flavors, or suggest flavors) and worse – they stare!

fine, i understandlah, tengah takde customer, bosan. but is staring the customer in any way a remedy for their boredom? they’re making us really uncomfortable. but being the feisty me – i STARED BACK! but not directly at them lah – (see aku pun tau nak respek orang!), i pretended to look at the menu board behind them.

soon enough, i was making THEM feel uncomfortable because i stared, and stared while eating my gelato, and i didn’t stop staring until they moved away. yay! however, i felt like my gelare moment was wasted on trying to OUT-STARE the gelare staff!

gelare management people reading this – please TRAIN your staff especially the ones at the curve! poor customer service!


anyway, since khaleef was already super-excited to eat ice-cream, we went ahead with our orders. khaleef the strawberry-flavor-freak had just that – strawberry ice-cream. i picked pistachio. i think azi had caramel or something.


one scoop, and i decided i didn’t like this one.

sure, its texture is more dense, and padat than ice-cream but it didn’t make it better than any other ice-cream. if it’s supposed to be gelato-like – it’s not that good. it’s stringy, and like abah said, “eskrem liat” hihi.

if i could describe it in my own words, i would say that the gelato looked like it wasn’t churned well, or wasn’t churned enough. macam tak habis kacau.

also, my pistachio flavor was a quite a disappointment, it doesn’t have enough pistachio umph. biase-biase je. azi tried khaleef’s strawberry flavor, and said that it tasted like bubble gum. that’s probably a plus-point for khaleef. hihi.


verdict – i’d rather spend my ringgit at baskin robbins or haagen dasz anytime. or better yet – rm1 for a mcd sundae! and for my dirham, i'd definitely spend it at coldstone creamery - bole tengok orang baling-baling eskrem!

well, maybe i could try their many waffles and pancakes if ever decided to return. that is, if the staff at gelare the curve learn NOT TO STARE at customers, especially when they’re eating!


well regardless, i think a big thank you from cucu-cucu khaleef and kahfi is still a must for their atuk’s gelato treat. i’m sure they enjoyed it the best!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Our Little Lollipops

this is for their bapak in dubai. khaleef, kahfi and kazim. our little lollipops, honey!

10 things they miss about you :

  1. they miss your hugs and kisses
  2. they miss you driving them around
  3. they miss massaging you by stepping on your back as you lie down
  4. they miss you tickling them silly
  5. they miss your bad singing
  6. they miss you taking them out for ice-cream
  7. they miss fighting over the x-box controller with you
  8. they miss you kissing their boo-hoos away
  9. they miss your protective arms carrying them around
  10. they miss calling out ‘bapak!’

they just miss you very much!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Biryani For Berbuka

before i start, it’s biryani, or briyani?

whatever it is, we had that spice-rich fragrant rice for berbuka today. since yesterday we berbuka with italian food, today we decided to go local. for that, we headed on to ‘ma’cik biryani’ at the curve, for pakistani biryani with a baba-nyonya twist!


it’s situated on the first floor of the western courtyard, the curve, right opposite bubba gump shrimp. we went as early as 2.30pm to reserve a table, leave a name, and even place orders for berbuka. the curve can be extremely packed during berbuka, especially so on weekends. i think that’s the best we could do to make sure we have a place to eat!

it has a baba-nyonya feel with the classic marble-top wooden table, old doors that are used as wall decor and divider and green plants often seen in a baba-nyonya setting.


today abah and i were joined by my other two sisters syida and syima with her family. it was also syima’s youngest daughter marissa's birthday, so we bought a cake to celebrate after the hefty biryani berbuka meal.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         me holding kazim, azi holding kahfi, syima holding birthday baby marissa with khaleef on front. my bro-in-law din, abah and umi

we ordered biryani lamb, and biryani chicken. interesting enough, the dishes were served in these metal pots with wooden handle, and a nice wooden cover complete with wooden ladle. cute.


it’s easy, you see – cook ‘em in these pots, and hey, why not serve the biryani right from this pot, without transferring them into another container?


the presentation was unique, and i enjoy scooping up biryani rice straight from a pot. now how was the taste?

for a restaurant that doesn’t try to be very indian, or very pakistan, they actually serve very delicious biryani. soft beads of basmati rice, cooked in rich spices, along with chicken, lamb, or prawn immersed into the rice while being cooked.

to me, biryani can be a little too spicy – with too much raisins, or nuts, or other thingamajigs. but this biryani was just right for my picky taste! in fact, i was surprise that the nuts in the rice actually improved the taste of the biryani – and i’m one of those people who prefer their biryani kosong without frills!


the biryani is served with a small plate of acar timun which i love. they partner well with the main dish!


abah also ordered sup tulang, tom yam, a plate of vegetable and pai tee.


once the call for maghrib prayers was heard, it was time for berbuka! suma senyap je enjoying the meal!


khaleef bored. khaleef sipped ice-lemon tree, free with every biryani purchased!


man, it was super-tough eating out with all 3 boys khaleef, kahfi and kazim, especially without their bapak (miss you, honey!).

khaleef would make excuses so that he won’t have to eat any spicy rice. kahfi will demonstrate extreme restlessness, until i sang him the dinosaur song from ice age 3. and kazim – kazim just being a baby!


thanks goodness for my sisters keeping them company! thanks azot and syidot!


good food, great company. thanks to my bro-in-law din for this biryani treat! surprise!

it was a great weekend spent well, especially those times when we hang out at each other’s ‘rooms’ just talking and laughing. these are priceless moments, ones i will take back to dubai with a heavy heart.

also, it was like old times, back in the days when mak was still around…


hey, i know another great place to get really delicious biryani. dubai. and that made me think of *him*. sob sob.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Share For Berbuka @ Italiannies

huge portion that is ‘so good, so share’ – that’s what ‘italiannies’ is known for. the name speaks for itself in terms of the type of food they offer – my big favorite – italian food la! pasta, spaghetti, pizza – i love ‘em all. heck, i’d be SO at home if ever i go to italy!

with cozy italian kitchen setting, i was more than comfortable. wooden window panes, chequered table cloth and a visible kitchen – combined, they make up a great setting for buka puasa as well! i love the stony floor, i love the little frames on the walls in groups. i even love the little details of kitchen stuff like pots and cans, on a plank high up near the ceiling.

i went to the one at the curve, damansara with abah, umi, my boys and my youngest sis azi who came straight from work.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         umi & abah

like i mention at the beginning, the tagline at italiannies is ‘so good, so much, so share!’ – and it’s there for a reason! the dishes here are fit for 2 or 4 people, maybe more! so if you come here in a group of four, it’s fairly enough for you to just pick one single dish, and share!

i confessed, when i was an italiannies-virgin few years back, i was with 2 other buddies and we each ordered a dish for ourselves. man, we were stumped when we saw the portion! rupanya memang banyak and meant to be shared!


i LOVE spaghetti. and my boys LOVE spaghetti. so there’s no second thought on what i ordered for berbuka today!

spaghetti, tomato sauce with meatball. perfection. oh, wait. near perfection, because i was hoping that the tomato sauce be more rich. other than that – perfect. even abah loved the meatball! speaking of meatball, in its true ‘so share’ motto – the meatball is huge!


we got 4 huge meatball on this plate, fit for 4-6 people, i guess. i think it wouldn’t be exaggerating to say that it’s about the size of my fist. yeap, ball up your hand now – that’s the size of the meatball. takpe, sedap!

see my abah, with the huge plate of spaghetti. besar kan?


abah also ordered fried calamari, which khaleef took a lot of, but turned out he only wanted to korek-korek the tepung goreng!


this next one will be my new favorite – chicken salad. ok, i’m sure it’s got some fancy name to it but lupa lah! but one thing for sure – the salad is so festive! meriah with so many colors of so many food items!

it has got chicken bits, of course, croutons, fresh lettuce, mango (yes, mango!), grapes, and tomato cubes! combine them all – excellent partner to my already delicious main course!


all in all, it was a satisfying eating experience for this italian-food-fan. thanks to abah for opting italian food over indonesian food (we checked out this ‘bumbu’ place before settling at italiannies, but the place was fully booked).

this is the beginning of a wonderful weekend as i’d be spending time with abah and my sisters. so abah, where to berbuka tomorrow?

or can YOU suggest any great place to eat at the curve? (cadangan ditutup pada pukul 4.30pm! hihi)

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