Friday, August 30, 2013

Diyana & Syafawi : Classic White Wedding

alhamdulillah, on merdeka night last 30th august, my little sis-in-law diyana (fondly known as teh among family members) and this young chap syafawi were solemnized as husband and wife in a simple but meaningful ceremony.

big brother along and family (mr. khairul, me & the boys) were already back in dubai at that time, but we heard it was a beautiful affair. they are currently studying in cairo – met as friends, blossomed into best friends, and then solidified with an eternal vow to love and care each other.

from kau-aku, to i-you, and finally sayang-sayang. kih kih.

I remember meeting syafawi for the first time, and thought to myself, “muka dia ni macam muka hero filem melayu lama.” haha. and now this guy with the ‘classic malay hero look’ is my husband’s bro-in-law!



love : in black and white~


the nikah was done by my own father-in-law. alhamdulillah, just in one lafaz. you can see mr. khairul’s mom in brown tudung beside the bride, and his grandma on the other side in blue tudung.



alhamdulillah! the lovely bride and groom is officially husband and wife. some say it’s a picture of total contentment and bliss. I will just call it cute. hihi.


mr khairul’s mom & dad, with their daughter & new son-in-law


I love this shot. mr. khairul’s 3 sisters tina, diyana and sofia. an honest expression of their mutual love and affection for each other. also mutual craziness and teasing!


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that night, the newlyweds were celebrated in a white-green theme wedding reception – syafawi sporting a double-oh-seven look in his sharp all-white suit and sleek black tie; while wifey teh looking demure and resplendent in a gorgeous white gown, stepping into a whole new world! too bad I missed it!


I thank my aunt cik norzehan and uncle rosli, as well as my younger sis syima and din for spending some time braving the impossible merdeka night traffic to make it to their wedding reception. tolong wakilkan anak sedara and kakak di dubai ni! thanks for the pictures above too. that’s my sister syimot with my mother-in-law. thanks again for being there on my behalf!


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to teh and pawi (diyana and syafawi) marriage is not for YOU, it’s for TWO. so always remember that in good or bad, you be there for each other. have patience, understanding and respect. ALWAYS communicate, and above all, never forget to be silly and just laugh. may Allah bless this union with all the happiness and love you deserve. amin.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Movie Review : White House Down, The Lone Ranger, Prisoners & Blackfish

I’m reviewing an action-packed movie, a western comedy, an emotional drama, and a touching documentary. bring out the popcorn and kuaci. and a box of tissue when you’re watching ‘blackfish’.


* * *



‘white house down’ is a combo of ‘air force one’ starring harison ford, and ‘the rock’ starring nicolas cage and sean connery. something belonging to the president is hijacked, and it’s up to only 2 individuals to save it, and a whole billion other people.

SPOILER : even the dramatic ending is similar – in ‘the rock’, nicolas cage’s character dramatically stumbles outside with the green smoke to indicate threat is neutralized before alcatraz is bombed; while in ‘white house down’, the little girl takes a dramatic move of taking the white house flag outside and waving it to indicate that the white house is safe, just in time to stop the armed forces dropping the bomb on them.

america humors itself by making a movie about white house being terrorized – but NOT by outside forces; because it seems that the only way the sacred white house can be taken over is if it were occupied by its own people – the head of secret service to the president.

it contains all sorts of action flick cliché known to man :

  • girl disrespects dad; even calls him by first name and then boom – something happens, dad does cool stuff like saving the world and everything is rosy. she calls him dad again.
  • one man fights against an army of armed and dangerous soldiers – and survived without a scratch.
  • one tiny little girl saves the world, and the bad guy actually say, “when they come you will die first.” I mean, shoot her there and then and be done with it already!
  • amidst the chaos – with the country, and possibly the fate of the whole world on the line – the president has time to change his shoes – because he’s the freakin US president
  • that comic relief in all movies, that one guy who gets all the funny lines that should get him killed, but they won’t kill his character so that the jokes keep coming

I’m just glad that they didn’t have that ONE major cliché – a sexy love interest or damsel in distress who join forces with him wearing a tight tank top or torn skirt. I’m really glad it’s just hot channing tatum and adorable jamie foxx all the way!

but hey, I didn’t say that the movie wasn’t entertaining. I enjoyed it! cammon, it’s channing tatum rolling around, sweating. almost shirtless. and jamie fox as the US president. of course it’s a fun watch!

I hope those two team up again for another action-packed comedy!



* * *



‘the lone ranger’ is enjoyable simply because of johnny depp. change the casting and the whole movie is actually a drag.

justice-seeker lone ranger team up with a quirky native american. both out for revenge. in the middle of it all there are precious stones, suspenseful fights on trains and corrupted law enforcers. that’s the plot for ‘the lone ranger’. it’s mostly action, few funny moments, and odd native american philosophy and mystical ideology courtesy of johnny depp.

johnny depp’s ‘tanto’ is like captain jack sparrow disguised as a native american. and that’s not necessarily bad for a fan like me. he’s trying to make tanto as memorable as ‘willy wonka’, or ‘the mad-hatter’ but it just didn’t take off. the reason is, tanto is similar in character to captain jack sparrow – looks aloof and a little silly, but really smart and conniving.

however, as a fan of johnny depp, his not-so-perfect character is still loveable! I enjoyed the movie as a light watch before taking a noon siesta, simply to watch johnny depp. oh, and I didn’t know that helena bonham carter is in ‘lone ranger’ too. she has a few scenes here, but steals them all. a nice surprise.



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how far would you go to find your missing child? how would you deal with them being lost? does it make you as bad as the criminal just because you’re willing to hurt and kill? or does it make you less of a loving parent if you just sit back and wait for the police to do their job?

‘prisoners’ is an intense emotional drama that starts from the very first 15 minutes. it doesn’t need to drag on to establish the loving relationship between parents and daughters; or between friends before the panic starts. no – from the get go, ‘prisoners’ lets you know that this would be a movie about 2 girls allegedly taken in daylight, and the emotional and physical struggles of each parent in search of their missing daughters.

oscar nominees hugh jackman and jake gyllenhaal are amazing in their roles. hugh jackman is such a fantastic actor. he can be wolverine, he can sing as jean valjean AND he can be funny hosting the oscars. he’s is SO good-looking, and on top of that he’s such a loving husband to real-life wife deborra. I LOVE hugh jackman!

here in ‘prisoners’ hugh jackman as the desperate father, willing to do anything to get his girl back. he’s not a dad ‘..with special set of skills’ like liam neeson in ‘taken’, but just a regular guy that any father can relate to. mr. khairul said he would do the same thing; if not worse.

the movie ‘prisoners’ is a well-made movie with A-list actors; but as a huge fan of CSI and criminal minds, I can’t help but feel that the plot is just a longer extension of one of the better episodes of criminal minds. a crime has been committed, 2 little girls are gone, distraught parents go to great lengths and emotional turmoil in dealing with the loss; and a young police officer determined to find the perpetrator.

a must-see for the storyline, for the powerful acting and the intense drama. the plot that’s so close to us malaysians (remember little girl sharlini who is still missing, and nurin who was found lifeless in a gym bag after missing for many weeks). may Allah grant peace and jannah for these girls. amin.



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‘blackfish’ is a powerful documentary about the life of performing killer whale or orca named ‘tilikum’. the title ‘blackfish’ refers to another name in reference to the orcas, but less commonly used.

intertwined with the narration are the interviews with the marine biologist, animal activists, former staff of these water parks; and who had experiences studying about or performing with orcas. the stories are often revealing, at times shocking, and most of the time, touching and emotional.

all these while we’re presented with a picture-perfect image – the family-like atmosphere established in these water parks through the close relationship of the trainers and the orcas, the happy-fun activities and stunts performed by these talented orcas, and the satisfaction of performing for a happy crowd day in-day out.

the reality is shocking and all too saddening. the many deaths recorded of trainers attacked by these emotionally disturbed killer whales (when in reality, orcas eat fish or seal. no documented attacks on human in the wild). the ill-treatment of orcas while in captivity. the abuse and attack from bigger orcas in the same cage. the list goes on.

killer whales or orcas live and hunts in tight groups; they’re social animals. they display great intelligence from the many instances of researches. this is one of the many reasons why it’s a concern in keeping these orcas in captivity away from other orcas with whom they have had strong emotional bonds.

like one former orca-hunter said – “it’s just like kidnapping a baby from its mother.” tears falling down his cheek. it broke my heart to hear the screams of the adult orcas as the babies were captured.

the gripping tale of ‘tilikum’ the 12,000 pound killer whale – from the moment he was caught, to his sad, helpless days at the small cramp of a ‘pool’. I was feeling so sorry I enjoyed my time at seaworld san diego. these beautiful, intelligent creature of the sea belonged to the great big ocean.

highly recommended. the final scene when the former orcas trainers go on a boat, enjoying the view of wild orcas in the wild and free at sea will make you weep. that’s how it is supposed to be. free the orcas!


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Jungle in the City @ Kuala Lumpur Bird Park : World’s Biggest Aviary

amidst the hustle and bustle of hectic KL, traffic jam, shiny skyscrapers and big fancy malls, there is a precious green gem called the ‘kuala lumpur bird park’ – or ‘taman burung kuala lumpur’, located in lake gardens (tasik perdana) kuala lumpur.

this awesome park is a must-visit for all proud malaysians.


that early morning we went out to send my abah and umi to KL sentral. they’re taking the train back to ipoh. since we were already in KL area, and and it’s still early morning, might as well jalan-jalan. so we decided to take an impromptu detour to the kuala lumpur bird park.


did you know that our own kuala lumpur bird park is the world’s LARGEST free-flight walk-in *aviary (sangkar terbang bebas terbesar di dunia)? very impressive!
here i am, living in dubai; the land of the world’s tallest building, and the world’s biggest mall, and the world’s highest fountain – when back home, we have the world’s largest bird park!
*an aviary is a large enclosure for confining birds. unlike cages, aviaries allow birds a larger living space where they can fly; hence, aviaries are also sometimes known as flight cages. aviaries often contain plants and shrubbery to simulate a natural environment. ~wikipedia


that means, when you walk into the kl bird park, you’re walking into the largest cage in the world! the birds live, fly, and play in their natural habitat, simulated in this large aviary.

it’s somewhat a ‘cage’ per-se, but the natural habitat that they ‘built’ for these birds are so good and real, that researchers often choose this bird park to study behavioral pattern of birds!


fun facts on kl bird park :
  • open in 1991
  • it’s adjacent to lake gardens
  • there are over 3000 birds from 200 species!
  • 90% local birds, and the rest imported

one of the best features of kuala lumpur bird park – some birds walk freely among the visitors. pecking away in bushes. sitting on a branch, just within reach or simply taking a stroll right beside us!

the boys were super excited to see so many types of colorful birds!

here’s a picture of us with some of the most beautiful birds I’ve ever seen up close. and to have a few of them perching on my arm and shoulder was just so exciting! this was at the photo section where you pay to get a picture taken with these fabulous feather friends. I was more amazed at how the boys were able to sit still when the staff put a parrot on their head!

khaleef and the lovebirds. he said that the blue macaw were ‘blue’ and ‘jewel’ from the animation ‘rio’!

* * *

here’s another fun section – you pay to get cups of milk and some sunflower seeds, and you get to feed the friendly parrots around this section. the parrots were super friendly and tame, and didn’t mind perching all over you as they helped themselves to those yummy milk and seeds that you’re holding!

khaleef got ecstatic as one of the parrots started getting cozy on his wrist. he said the claw on his arm actually hurt a little, but he didn’t mind it. they were too cute!

kahfi loved this one so much! he didn’t budge from this one here.


* * *

one of the noisiest cages in the kuala lumpur bird park. they were literally communicating with the boys. using different languages, of course. but really, memang berbalas-balas bunyi. the birds would chirp something really loud, and kahfi would go like, “what? what is it?” and then the birds replied. and kahfi continued the conversation. super cute.

khaleef said this reminded him of ‘jurassic park’ – where the entrance to the pterodactyl’s cage is similar to this one.

a large pond and waterfall, making the birds feel at home; in their natural habitat.



* * *

the bird show was very entertaining. it was done entirely in english for the benefit of the international tourists. so happy to see the middle east tourists and omputeh laughing, enjoying the jokes and funny antics of the birds. our kuala lumpur bird park was alright!

there was also a section where we can learn how different bird eggs grow and hatched; as well as their different habitat. there was this cage with the most adorable chicks. ya Allah comel sangat! this is one of those indoor places in the bird park, so it’s air-conditioned. masuk-masuk je wow – legaaaa! sejuk!


for rm25 I think it’s worth it – walking into another world filled with greeneries and serenity, accompanied with chirps and hoots of wild birds, leaving the hectic metropolitan and traffic jam of KL behind…
try bird park today. world’s biggest aviary, yo! malaysia boleh!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

3 Cousins Kahwin Bulan Ogos!

I love weddings!

  1. sebab aku suka makan nasik ngan lauk kenduri
  2. sebab aku suka makan
  3. sebab aku suka nak tengok diorg serve nasik tomato atau nasik minyak
  4. sebab aku suka minum sirap
  5. sebab dapat telur rebus tu balik nanti bole buat egg sandwich



* * *


this adorable bride is my cousin yaya. my cousin on mak’s side. marrying her longtime baby boo amir. cute couple, fun couple. may Allah bless them with so much love and happiness till jannah.



gorgeous yaya waiting for the nikah to start. her baju kurung for that nikah was ‘beauty in simplicity’!



that’s my uncle rosli menikahkan sendiri his 2nd daughter, entrusting her to this young gentleman name amir. alhamdulillah, done in 1 lafaz!



adorable cousins. hihi. our moms are sisters. me with the blushing bride yaya



the sharifuddin sisters with the adorable bride yaya



me with cik, the gorgeous mother of the bride. black and yellow black and yellow!



love the spread during yaya-amir nikah. delicious lauk kampung; especially my fav kerabu mangga, my fav ulam kacang botol with that zingy sambal. perfection!



me and my boys with the bride & groom during the wedding reception. may Allah bless your union with a lot of patience and endurance, trust and understanding, and lots of LOVE! have fun yaya & amir!





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next here is my cousin on abah’s side – his mom is my abah’s younger sis; iskandar and his lovely bride. looking resplendent in my favorite color yellow – memang raja sehari betoi!



man, I’m getting old! this young chap aku still rasa macam budak-budak kecik je. tapi now dah berbini dah pon. moga Allah panjangkan jodoh hingga ke jannah, diberkati selalu dengan kasih sayang dan tolak ansur ok!



during the reception for iskandar & wifey : here’s me and my boys with abah’s younger bro; my uncle pak huri


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next is another one of my cousins on abah’s side. son of abah’s elder sis. I was already back in dubai at the time. congratulations to fairil or nama manjanya ‘eye’ and his beautiful bride, suria. tak sangka cousin aku yang nakal nk mampuih ni dapat bini lawa camni haha. tahniah eye!



eye ni memang nakal gile masa balik beraya kat kampung bahagia teluk intan. memang bersekongkol dengan abang dia si faisal dok kaco kami adik-beradik. haha. skang kamu udoh berbini, elok bebenor le dah ade org jagakan. be good!




ni keluarga belah abah aku. adik beradik abah 7 orang. 4 pompuan, 3 lelaki. abah anak ketiga, anak lelaki pertama. a picture of them with the bride & groom; eye & suria. moga Allah kurniakan zuriat yg comel secepat mungkin, dan memberi kebahagiaan yang berkekalan hingga ke jannah. amin!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Sabah’s Upside Down House of Borneo @ Tamparuli, KK

I’ve read about this upside down house in sabah (literally translated as rumah terbalik) so when my sis-in-law tina suggested we visit it, I was game. I was curious.

apparently it’s the first upside down house in south east asia and is a complete house with all the rooms and every single furniture glued and bolted to the ceiling – from the heaviest item which is the classic sewing machine down to the few coins and ringgit malaysia lying on the ‘floor’.


at first sight, it was amazing. an upside down house! wow! what an idea! but soon you realize that THAT is just about it. no more than furniture and stuff glued and bolted to the ceiling to give that terbalik effect. that’s IT.

well, you could be amazed at how they bolted the heavy items, such as the car! 

however, I would expect more traditional sabah items that are very local or used in the olden days in sabah – to give it a unique experience for tourists – but nope, the items are the usual stuff found in your own homes. kitchen cabinets, tv set, normal ikea bed haha, and toys you can find in jusco.

when you come here, and pay rm10 to enter, you better know that 1) you’re NOT allowed to take pictures inside the upside down house, and 2) inside the house, are normal furniture, electrical items you usually have in your house anyway. they’re just upside down.


only a small number of visitors are allowed inside the house at any one time. the house itself is not that big, and it’s easier for the tour guide to explain about the upside down house and be heard by everyone – but I’m sure it’s also easier for them to ‘control’ any itchy hands trying to take pictures inside. haha.

fyi, rm100 is the going rate for anyone caught taking pictures inside! per picture! ke rm50? a lot!

we were led by the tour guide towards the entrance of the house to a gong right by the door. one volunteer was asked to hit the gong 3 times before entering – a nice traditional touch. kudos. the guide was pleasant, fluent and spoke clearly. when we're about to enter, the tour guide explains how the house got upside down.

“there was a kid who was very naughty, until the he turned the house upside down. the end.”

hello? that’s IT? this is coming from the creative mind who thought about making this cool upside down house and THAT’s the best made-up story you can come up with? cammon, man! we all KNOW that the upside down house was constructed normally by normal human beings in normal circumstances, so if you wanna SELL another story about how the house became upside down, go BIG lah.

say la an unusual earthquake or tornado in sabah tumbled the house ke, or a giant mythical creature fought with a brave villager ke, or the house belonged to a sabahan beauty queen who was cursed ke…something exciting like that! kan? kan? we KNOW it’s a made-up story, so we just wanna have fun with it and play along!

budak tu nakal, rumah pun terbalik. ceh.

* * *

since visitors are not allowed to take pictures inside the upside down house, we just went full throttle posing outside the house.

this is another one of my qualms – if you’re only allowing visitors to take pictures outside of the house, could you at least give our money’s worth and put more upside down stuff outside?

there are basically only THREE places to take a shot – an upside down car at the front porch, an upside down garden with growing veggies, and an upside down bathroom.

the upside down car. there is a clear sign on the side to ‘not touch the car or stand under it’ but every single and I do mean every single tourist there defied that rule. semua amik gamba confirm nak pegang and stand underneath the car. pfft. termasuk la kami haha. but seriously, please exercise caution ok when taking pictures here!

careful wafa! mr. khairul’s niece looked like she elevated the car with her magic finger haha.

my sisters-in-law teh and tina at the upside down toilet at the backyard of the upside down house. pam jamban pun terbalik kih kih. I like the detailing – even the little toothbrushes and toothpaste in the small basket are all upside down.

haha. careful now! my youngest sis-in-law sofia getting silly at the upside down toilet!

with my bro-in-law asrar at the upside down backyard garden – upside down pots of plants


* * *

my suggestions to improve the awesome upside down house of borneo :
  1. the house should have more traditional items to give it a unique identity that separates it from the other upside down houses in japan or germany; not just for the overseas tourist but even for other malaysians like me. I would love to see an old-style kitchen or traditional tools and instruments used in the olden days of sabah – instead of modern big screen TV and monopoly game board bolted on the ceiling! this way, the guide will have more things to say to the visitors when she/he explains the use of the different traditional items.
  2. I read one comment saying that the story told by the guide is unnecessary because it’s ‘made-up’; but my father-in-law suggested adding more interesting facts into it. like if you’re gonna say crap about the origin of the upside down house, might as well go big – say that the house went upside down when a legendary flying creature fought with a brave sabahan village boy while he was trying to save the village-head’s beautiful daughter…bla bla. you get my idea kan?
  3. since we cannot take pictures inside the house, please give our money’s worth by putting up more cool upside down stuff outside of the house.  maybe add reban ayam or a patio where there’s a picnic spread happening with mangkuk tingkat and upside down food?

hanging out at the café. really nice and clean with reasonable choices of food and drinks. there’s a surau right next to it, and the ‘garden’ toilets are clean too.

the idea is awesome to have an upside down house and I’m proud that there’s one in malaysia, but I would like it to be more (refer to my suggestions for improvement, please! haha) especially to make it more traditional – closer to sabah identity. I would’ve enjoyed it more, learning new things about sabah homes.

entrance fee is rm10 for malaysians, and rm18 for others. rm5 for children below 12 years, and it’s free entrance for children below the age of 3.

they open till 7 pm but I strongly suggest visiting the upside down house in the daytime to take clearer pictures. since you’re not allowed to take pictures inside the house, there won’t be much to enjoy or take pictures of outside the house when there’s less daylight.

ok the next time you visit KK, go get a headache at the upside down house of borneo!

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