Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Anak Merdeka : Happy Independence Day, Malaysia!

my sons, you are inheriting an independent land. take care of it! happy 54th independence day, MALAYSIA!


"saya khaleef khairul. saya lahir di sunway hospital, selangor. walaupun makanan kegemaran saya ialah spaghetti, saya tetap suka makan nasi himpit. saya anak malaysia!"

“i’m khaleef khairul. i was born at sunway hospital in selangor. eventhough my favorite food is spaghetti, i still love nasi himpit. i am a malaysian!”


* * *


"saya kahfi khairul. saya lahir di dubai hospital, arab emiriyah bersatu tapi muka macam orang mongolia. namun saya tetap berjiwa malaysia. selamat hari merdeka!"

“i’m kahfi khairul. i was born in dubai hospital, united arab emirates but i look like a mongolian. however, i’m always a malaysian at heart. happy independence day!”


* * *


‎"saya kazim khairul. saya lahir di al-wasl hospital, dubai. mak saya orang ipoh, bapak pulak orang penang. jadi, saya made in malaysia! selamat hari kebangsaan."

“i’m kazim khairul. i was born in al-wasl hospital, dubai. my mom is from ipoh, and my dad is from penang. so i’m made in malaysia! happy independence day.”

* * *


p/s : t-shirt worn by khaleef, kahfi and kazim are sponsored by mak su nazirah sharifuddin. it’s a whimsical drawing of our beloved petronas twin towers – the world’s tallest twin towers. thanks, azot!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Salam Syawal Dari Dubai

selamat hari raya aidilfitri, maaf zahir batin. ikhlas dari saya syigim & keluarga di dubai, arab emiriyah bersatu (UAE) kepada pembaca-pembaca budiman.

eid mubarak, seeking forgiveness and good-will. sincerely from me syigim & family in dubai, united arab emirates (UAE) to all you wonderful readers.



* * *


my eldest sister yong syimee sharifuddin with husband and four kiddos; haiqal, haqeem, husna and adam harris in dazzling orange this year! quote from my sis, every year there surely be an extravagance in their color. selamat hari raya, yong!


haji sharifuddin’s 2nd daughter syigim with husband mr. khairul and three kiddos; khaleef, kahfi and kazim in pearly beige this year. except for the mak. show-stealer with colorful flower print haha. selamat hari raya!


my younger sister syima sharifuddin with husband and two pretty princesses; suffiya and marissa in royal purple this year. selamat hari raya!



my two youngest sisters syida sharifuddin in beautiful black, and puteri bongsu nazirah sharifuddin in pretty pink this year. selamat hari raya! (last year pun posing kat sini kan?)



i am missing from this picture. sob sob.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Learn About Arab Dishes @ Buffet Ramadhan, Dubai

the best that i’ve gotten from the buffet ramadhan in dubai (other than a satisfyingly full tummy) is learning about arab dishes, their names, origin – and actually get to taste them!

alhamdulillah, we got to try two different ramadhan buffet in dubai – one in pullman dubai, mall of the emirates, and the other one at al-murooj rotana hotel in sheikh zayed road. thanks honey!


* * *




at pullman dubai, i was faced with a myriad of dippings. while we malays have budu, sambal and tempoyak, the arabs have the popular hummus, moutabel, mujadara and warak enab (vine leaves). they’re all dippings and tidbits usually found in arab homes.

the one that i usually have when i go to arab restaurants is the hummus. i learned to love hummus while i'm here! to me hummus ni rasa mcm mashed kacang to be dipped with roti capati and grilled chicken or lamb. delicious!



clockwise from top left : hummus, moutabel, vine leaves (warak enab) and mujadara


  1. moutabel is a lebanese dip made from eggplant
  2. mujadara is lentil cooked with rice, campur bawang goreng
  3. vine leaves? stay away! haha.. to me at least! sour, bitter – i dont like the taste at all, but this is one typical dish in arab buffet spread. in arabic, it's called 'warak enab'



lamb shakriyah & chicken musakhan


accompanying the soft beads of fragrant rice were these delicious lauk. i tried a little bit of everything, but these two were my favorite.

  1. lamb shakriyah is lamb cooked in yoghurt stew. pelik, tapi rasa sedap! because i love lamb, and somehow the sour taste in yoghurt went very well with the soft, succulent lamb. a really delicious dish!
  2. the chicken musakhan is a dish from palestine. simply chicken n onion wrapped in flatbread, then baked. sedap, tapi mcm liat maybe sebab dah lama bake. i’m sure it’s much nicer when freshly baked




ok now this is NOT really arabic in origin, but i just can’t help mentioning it. picking out macarons straight from a tree? any macaron-freak’s dream come true! it’s really all-you-can-eat macarons! main petik je mane nak!

generally i don’t really like macarons – too sweet! but if i had to choose, my favorite flavor of macarons would be pistachio. so i took a lot of that!


* * *




pullman’s food was delicious, but the choice at rotana hotel was much more commendable! next we’re at al-murooj rotana having our berbuka at the buffet ramadhan.



seafood paella and hammour sayadiya


there were three type of rice at this buffet spread – the normal steamed rice was fried lightly with butter and green peas. i absolutely LOVE green pea, so the steamed rice looked really inviting! hihi.

  1. the seafood paella was surprisingly delicious, considering the fact that i don’t fancy seafood – especially this one where seafood is cooked in rice! this dish originated from spain, but has the distinct style of a plain nasi goreng!
  2. i can simply describe hammour sayadiya as fried rice with hammour. rice was good, hammour was deliciously soft.



mezzeh roughly translated means ‘a plate of tidbits’, originated from syria. ade yg rupa mcm karipap, ade rupa mcm samosa, ade yg rupa mcm pergedil – everything is small in size, but big in taste. the one they served at rotana were freshly fried and baked so it was a real treat after the main meal.



these are the mezzeh that i took : the one that looks like karipap (curry puff) actually has cheese in it, so it’s actually cheese puff! weird, but like i said - i love cheese! so sedap la ni haha. tried to make mr. khairul eat this other one with the green leaves inside, but he knew better! haha. tak sedap!!! i took one bite, and could barely finish it. i think the bitter green leaves were vine leaves.



time for dessert! there were yummy choices, but i took this one that looks like bread pudding – because, well it IS bread pudding but it is called 'um ali' – originated from egypt. it’s a traditional arabic dessert dish, with raisins and pistachio inside. i LOVE bread pudding and this one didn’t disappoint either. the sweetness is just right; absolutely delicious.

the chocolate one next to it looked so buruk, but intriguing so i took that one too. turned out tasting too sweet for me. it even has a cream in the middle that added to the dessert that’s already too sweet! how sweet do they want it to be? haha



a must-have dessert dish of jordan, palestine, syria, egypt is the kunafa nabulsia. the name sounds like some solar system in the deep space kan? basically it's dough with cheese. simple really! the name comes from the kunafa dough plus the nabulsi cheese.

mr. khairul who had been to syria claimed that he tasted a better one while in damascus; and said that this one is not fresh enough. well, i love cheese, so this is really awesome enough for me haha.




even the drinks were interesting! there were jalab, qamaraldin, laban and karkade. none of those boxed mango juice, soya drinks or boring freshly squeezed orange. these are drinks that comes from various middle eastern countries. just simple drinks, but i felt really privileged having this chance to try them out!



jalab, qamaraldin, laban & karkade


  1. jallab is a drink from lebanon made from grape, dates & rose water
  2. qamaraldin is basically apricot juice from syria
  3. laban is yoghurt drink
  4. karkade is an egyptian hibiscus tea, said to be a healthy drink to lower blood pressure. i tried this drink, tasted like ribena, but more sour – i like!


* * *

there is a healthy sprout of arab restaurants mushrooming all around the klang valley, so you people in malaysia might want to check out these dishes. pastu jangan lupa blog about it ok!

mr. khairul, there are still few more days till syawal – are we going to anymore arab-theme buffet ramadhan? *wink wink*

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Ke Makam Bonda : Noriza (1957–2003)

there is a tanah perkuburan near our home in ipoh.

the cemetary is at the area at the back of our home, so we hardly drove by that road. usually we just go from the big main road up front.

however, for some unexplained reason, weeks before mak passed away, we drove along that road that led up to the cemetery. then mak casually said, “oh, ade kubur ke kat belakang ni. senang lah ye..”

we thought nothing of it at the time. little did we know it was meant for her.

i went to visit mak’s grave at the cemetery with my younger sisters syida and azi. we asked faiz, azi’s other half to follow, because we need another hand at cleaning up the wild sprouts around mak’s grave, and having a guy around will avoid any unwanted incident.

(once, i went to the cemetary once with JUST my sister syima, and the caretaker of the cemetery warned us against drug-abusers who sometimes hid at the cemetery – so he advised us to come in big groups or with men.)

nampak tak faiz si baju biru? tu lah kubur mak. senang kan nak cari?

the cemetery is just a fairly small piece of land, but it looks spacious, calm and clean. the caretaker did his job well. there were no messy bushes, overgrown grass or uprooted tree.

mak’s grave was very easy to locate. just look for a narrow path in between the graves, and hers is just right at the end. you can see it as you walk along that path.

my heart sank with so much rindu in my heart, and yet so calm and peaceful to visit her grave at last. i tried hard not to cry.

i thank faiz naquiddin for bringing all the tools to cut and scrape and pull all the dry grass and wild sprouts on and all around mak’s grave with us. berpeluh-peluh dia. we read Yaasin, placed pandan leaves as we read Al-Fatihah, and pour water on the soil.

i touched mak’s gravestone and stared one last time before leaving, as i know that it would be quite awhile before i ever get to visit the grave again.

it’s so hard to continue writing as i think i will break down once again. dear friends, please sedekahkan Al-Fatihah for my mak, noriza mohd. anuar. only Allah will repay your kind thoughts and prayers.

* * *

click here to read about the first time i took mr. khairul to visit mak’s grave as husband and wife.

Ke Makam Bonda

Kami mengunjungi pusara bonda
Sunyi pagi disinari suria
Wangi berseri puspa kemboja
Menyambut kami mewakili bonda

Tegak kami di makam sepi
Lalang-lalang tinggi berdiri
Dua nisan terkapar mati
Hanya papan dimakan bumi

Dalam kenangan kami melihat
Mesra kasih bonda menatap
Sedang lena dalam rahap
Dua tangan kaku berdakap

Bibir bonda bersih lesu
Pernah dulu mengucupi dahiku
Kini kurasakan kasihnya lagi
Meski jauh dibatasi bumi

Nisan batu kami tegakkan
Tiada lagi lalang memanjang
Ada doa kami pohonkan
Air mawar kami siramkan

Senyum kemboja mengantar kami
Meninggalkan makam sepi sendiri
Damailah bonda dalam pengabadian
Insan kerdil mengadap Tuhan

Begitu bakti kami berikan
Tiada sama bonda melahirkan
Kasih bonda tiada sempadan
Kemuncak murni kemuliaan insan

~Usman Awang

Monday, August 22, 2011

Buy Gold at Vending Machine? Only in Dubai!

vending machines dispense different stuff. vending machines for can drinks, snacks, tissue packets, top-up cards for hp, and even condoms - but this new one that we saw at dubai mall really takes the cake. we were very surprised! terkejut!

a vending machine - to buy gold. yeap. the GOLD ATM. the first gold vending machine in the world. only in dubai!

we were just walking in dubai mall after berbuka, and suddenly saw this huge gold-colored box in between the escalator. at first glance, we immediately saw the words, 'GOLD TO GO'.

does this atm really offer gold? just like that? at a shopping mall? is it a trustworthy source to purchase gold?

there's a small display window where you can see and choose the gold coins and pendant you want to buy. crazy! there's one with panda on it, one with a kangaroo, one with flower, and there's even with quranic ayat i think. awesome stuff. in just a vending machine.

a monitor shows the details of each coins or pendant. pricing of the gold is updated in real time. unbeliveable. ternganga tengok.

...and where was this ATM? right in between two escalators, in the middle of a busy dubai mall. just placed there like any other ATM for money. like my friend commented in this picture i put up on my facebook; in malaysia there are metal bars in between the teller and the buyer, but in this arab country, gold can be simply sold like packets of tissue - through a vending machine!

only in dubai!

click here for more info on this world's first gold vending machine.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

7-Hour KL-Dubai Flight With the Boys

yes, i’m back in dubai.

i flew back with my 3 boys. mr. khairul had gone back even before the start of ramadhan. oh, did i mention i was in the aeroplane for nearly 7 hours with my 3 boys; aged 5+, 2+ and 1+? and i was alone, without my husband?

…and i survived! more on that later…



cuya, khaleef, syima, syida, me holding kazim & azot


as usual, my sisters sent me to klia – syimot, syidot, azot and her beau faiz tagged along to help out with the luggage.

my in-laws were there too to send off their beloved nephews – mr. khairul’s mom, younger bro and sisters were there.



me holding kazim, teh with kahfi & tina


* * *


now on to the *actual* story – my plane trip with the tiny terrorists.

  1. they had a very late nap at home – 8pm up to the time we’re supposed to leave for klia which was around 10pm. my flight was at 2am.
  2. i made sure i already checked in online, so everything was smooth when we got to klia – though it was still quite slow!
  3. the kids were fed – we lepak at mcdonalds, right by the international boarding gate
  4. the boys ran around with their aunts to tire them out for the coming plane ride
  5. by the time we entered the international boarding gate, it was already 12.30am; and by the time we walked, rode the train, and walked to our gate – it was a good 1am – just few minutes left before we board the plane, so there was no time for the boys to get restless waiting

on the plane…

  1. i sat in the middle with khaleef and kahfi on my left and right. alhamdulillah we got the front seat with the bassinet for kazim
  2. before boarding i made sure ALL of the boys wore jackets and socks
  3. before keeping my hand-luggage, i made sure i took out my pre-arranged ‘plastic bag’ which contained a couple of diapers, wet-wipes, biscuits and milk
  4. once we’re on the plane, kahfi drank his milk, and immediately fell asleep – and the plane hasn’t even took off yet – so far so good!
  5. khaleef immersed himself in disney cartoons and airline games while i breastfed kazim to sleep
  6. as kazim slept, i put him in the bassinet, just in time for the first meal served – the snack
  7. it was peaceful – the noisy kazim was asleep, the mischievous kahfi was asleep – just me and my eldest boy enjoying our snack
  8. kahfi slept through out the journey, while kazim woke up once awhile for his milk fix. still fine by me.
  9. just few hours before landing, khaleef grew tired and fell asleep. i probably had a SOLID ONE HOUR in that 7 hours with ALL THREE BOYS SLEEPING. unbelievable
  10. then the main meal was served – here was a bit tricky because 1) i had to save some of the boys’ food for later (since they’re both sleeping), and 2) while i was having my meal, kazim woke up and i had to move my tray to the floor
  11. and then later, i need to go to the lavatory. aiyo. how lah? i can’t leave all three boys sleeping unattended! then kazim woke up, and i was able to go, TAKING KAZIM WITH ME, and changed his diaper also
  12. by the time i returned to my seat, kahfi had already half-awake, khaleef still sleeping
  13. i turned on his fav movie ‘rio’, and kahfi was nailed to the chair – no fuss
  14. kazim was wide awake, fed him bread while he enjoyed ‘rio’ too
  15. by the time the plane was about to land, i woke khaleef up because i know how he enjoyed lift off and landing
  16. alhamdulillah the plane safely landed; now ALL THREE BOYS WERE FULLY AWAKE, and ready to leave the plane, to meet their bapak




at dubai international airport…

  1. mr. khairul took the ahlan ‘meet and greet’ service for us as he knew it must be taxing for me to drag all three boys across the airport – thanks honey!
  2. this service provides a personal porter who waited for us once we’re out of the aircraft'; holding out my ‘name’ on a small board hihi
  3. he was friendly; he took our hand-luggage, handled the immigration process and baggage claim – so all were super-smooth – he even asked whether we want to lepak at their lounge, or want to shop – i just wanna see my husband! haha
  4. sambil tu rasa macam vip hihihi because while everyone else queue up for immigration, we passed by a special counter without having to line up. the process is the same, but no waiting!
  5. later on, mr. khairul told me that a representative from ‘ahlan’ actually called mr. khairul 3-4 times just to update him on the progress of their ‘meet and greet’ – like whether they’ve met me, then another time when we’ve passed immigration, and another time when we’re waiting for our bags
  6. when we’re finally out and mr. khairul was there, then only the porter left us
  7. i recommend this service for those flying with young children (like i was!) or old folks yang tak larat nak tunggu lama-lama


* * *

overall, i would say it was a smooth ride!

before, i was actually very nervous – anything could go wrong – maybe kazim mengamuk non-stop, or kahfi refusing to sleep and want to walk around the aircraft, or khaleef could somehow lost control of his bladder and wet the seats – but we survived without any untoward incident.


good timing, always have a back-up plan, and don’t panic – the key to our survival!




* * *

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

MCOBA Dubai Iftar 2011 @ Abg Zaim’s

coming back to dubai after cuti-cuti malaysia, i was immediately hit with a list of berbuka dates with our dubai friends. one of them is the iftar with the mcobs (malay college old boys) in dubai held at abang zaim’s house.

to abg zaim and kak rozina; thanks for hosting this scrumptious berbuka feast!



from left : rashdan v89 (green t), zaim v82, faisal shon v84, kay v96, hassanal v90, suhaimi v00


mr. khairul is really big on anything associated with his beloved school mckk, so iftar with his seniors here in dubai is really a must. this year they welcomed another addition to the pack – a junior from the class of 2000, suhaimi. welcome, bro!

mr. khairul, you’re no longer the *baby* of the group! haha.

on the other hand, we’re saddened by the news that hassanal and wife hazleen are leaving dubai for good – work commitment. farewell, dear friends. for mr. khairul and hassanal, they will always have the maroon tie that binds!



with kak muna & kak rozina


as for me, i’m so thankful to Allah for bestowing me the kind of friendship that we have; tempat bermanja and bergelak ketawa as i had just left malaysia and my loved ones.. sob sob. thanks kak muna and kak rozina, for your warmth and kindness!




note for self : taking pictures during berbuka is really impossible! you’re too busy filling your tummies! so all i’ve got are the ‘after’ pictures – plates nearly empty, bowls halfway rummaged. we had nasi putih with few lauks – i especially loved the tomyam! and we also had laksa – with homemade laksa noodle by abg zaim’s son! how cool is that?

delicious meal! alhamdulillah…



serious mode, focusing on the words of wisdom from the seniors…



…and yet, never forget to laugh!


the boys? they STILL talk about school. no matter how many hundred times they meet. even the wives were perplexed! oh well, let them be. till we meet for raya, brothers and sisters!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Taman Mini Indonesia Indah, Jakarta

want to see all 27 provinces and 13,000 islands of indonesia in one day? come over to the highly extensive grounds of the ‘taman mini indonesia indah’ in jakarta. it’s kinda like our ‘taman mini malaysia’ in melaka, but i am sure this place is way bigger; with so many museums, a couple of theater halls, a huge lake in the middle, cable car ride, and even a castle!

and because it’s so extensive, you can actually drive your car inside the park – which i think is not necessarily the best way to enjoy the park, unless you have someone whose job is to JUST drive! yela, susah le nak keluar masuk kereta bila nak tengok 3-4 rumah yang bersebelahan.

other mode of visiting the park :

  • if you can take a car in, you can certainly ride a bike around the park. also a good choice
  • you can even rent a motorcycle or bicycle at the main entrance of the park
  • there’s a mini van going around picking up people all around the park – like a feeder bus inside the park – but you have to pay RM1-2 each time you go on one
  • you can also rent a mini van with a driver if you’re visiting in groups – however it’s about RM30 for only an hour – and i’m telling you it’s NOT enough to even visit one museum and one ‘house’!


though it seemed quite impossible at first, but us 3 ladies with 3 toddlers decided to see the park on foot – yes, by WALKING! it was a very tiring but enriching experience. plus, i’m sure we lost a few pounds that day walking around under the hot sun!




(utk yang tak tau, mr. khairul had to forgo this jakarta trip at the last minute because of work commitment. he had to be in saudi and flew a day before we were due to fly to jakarta. so it was just me and my boys, along with my sisters-in-law tina and teh. sad that we’re missing our captain, but we managed!)

what are my boys wearing?

just the day before, my sisters-in-law and i went shopping at thamrin city and bought the boys these matching outfits – hand-made batik with colors so vibrant, i just had to get them just so they could wear it to visit the *whole* of indonesia at this park.

*batik is the traditonal fabric of indonesia.



kahfi my yellow sunshine, khaleef the cool dude in white & kazim in bright red


just look at the map below. see, taman mini indonesia indah is freaking HUGE! we took this map after spending the whole day at the park, and we were barely halfway through!

sadly, when we went there the hand-held maps were all out, so we only have these boards to guide us. no worries though, it’s easily available by the roads as you walk past.




there are probably more than 10 museums all over the taman mini indonesia (told you the place is HUGE!) so we chose to go into only one; the museum indonesia. the entrance fee to these museums are not included in the main entrance fee, so you have to pay to visit these museums. no fret – it’s just about RM1 to enter!

museum indonesia, as expected housed myriads of exhibits depicting the rich indonesian culture. from traditional clothings to musical instruments and small models of different types of houses used for different purposes.



my sisters-in-law tina and teh with their favorite nephew khaleef


my favorite exhibit in that museum had to be the mannequins dressed in traditional wedding attire from the many, many provinces of indonesia – sulawesi, jawa, sumatra, maluku – the list seemed endless. i was in awe looking at the unique beauty of each clothings; thinking how one country can have so many styles that are so different from one another. one had an elaborate headgear, while another had a sparkling sash across the chest. one groom was even topless, and another sported a wedding attire similar to malay wedding attire. it was amazing to see.

the long line of mannequins were displayed in couples; wearing the traditional wedding attire. my sis-in-law had fun choosing which ‘style’ she wanted to have for her own wedding! haha.

no pictures? well, turns out we had to PAY to take pictures in the museum! so takpe lah. terima kasih, kami tengok je lah! hihi.


* * *




to write about each and every single ‘house’ we visited would be a difficult task for me – there were so many, and so vibrant in their uniqueness, that in trying to describe each one, i would probably be lost for words. they’re all so beautiful, with distinct identity.

the carvings on the doors and windows, the color scheme, the flooring, the shape of the roof, the height of the pillars that support the house – each one unique from the other.

if you’ve been to taman mini malaysia in melaka, you’ll know what i mean. and we have 13 states – while the indonesians have no less then 27 provinces and thousands of islands!



tina & khaleef at the big lake in the park. it had ‘mini islands’ in the water made to look like the islands of indonesia!




wah, wasn’t expecting a 4D theater in this taman mini indonesia indah!

when i found it while googling, i knew that we should just head on to this among other things and activities they have in the taman mini indonesia. at least we’d be sitting down with the restless boys, watch a fun cartoon, inside an air-conditioned hall!

we were greeted by a huge poster, ‘ayo nonton 4D. filmnya seru banget!’ haha.

the first time i saw a 4D movie was just few days before at universal studios singapore (USS). this one in jakarta is no less entertaining. with bubbles effect, water sprays and occasional burst of cool wind, the animation about a fish looking for a present for his grandma was every bit as enjoyable as ‘shrek’ which we watched at USS.

foreigners be warned though – it’s completely in indonesian language!




stalls selling souvenirs are located at various spots; by some of the houses, by the roadside, and in the theaters. you can buy local products like woven bags, masks, wayang kulit puppets, batik-based items, and the usual souvenirs like key-chains, magnets and t-shirts.




…and THIS is the castle that i mentioned previously! it’s a beautiful terracotta-colored castle, huge and it’s called, ‘istana anak-anak indonesia’ or ‘the castle of indonesian children’. we didn’t go in because by the time we reach here we were all drained out and ready to go home. i think it’s a small water-playground. again, entrance fee to this was not included in the main entrance fee.

overall, it was a feast of the rich indonesian culture all in one place. some of the houses were locked for some reason, which is a waste but we still had fun. when you’re in jakarta and are done with batik shopping, head on to taman mini indonesia indah!

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