Wednesday, 5 April 2006

What a week!

Tuesday would have been perfect to start the week as it held exciting promises but as it happened, I had to drag myself out that Monday to do the most daunting task ever – a fifteen minute presentation while being filmed. But let me tell you about Tuesday. Work went about as normal but I had a lunch appointment with the BIG BOSS who was in town. Its the first time I met him since he took over the company and I must say he is a pleasant man, but throughout lunch, my mind was straying to what the evening held in store. A group of us girls, er well, some very matured girls, had planned an all girls night out to celebrate the marriage of a friend. So, in our finest bling blings, we trooped off to a Lebanese restaurant, Maroush, where there was a belly dancer. Suffice to say, the mak ciks in attendance of the bride to be, spilled out of the restaurant on to Edgware Road, at about midnight nursing some very aching joints.

Wednesday, well Wednesday 29th was circled in red in my diary – five o’clock to be exact – Brunei Gallery, SOAS. The speaker for the annual dinner was no stranger to anyone, nor the circumstances which cost him his political career. The last time I saw Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was when I went to cover his visit to Dublin – he as Deputy Prime Minister. Six years behind bars and he is still a crowd puller – especially now that he is on the other side of the political fence.

Thursday was spent preparing for an exhibition. A colleague had this crazy idea that everyone who had anything in print must exhibit their products. So I looked back to see what I had done that I could display in the corner that was reserved for me. Well, there was my fortnightly column ‘London Buzz’ that I started in 2000 and ended when I did my MA. That needed some airing. And all those features and articles for the various newspapers. Compiling them made me feel so nostalgic all of a sudden. All those interesting people that I met during the course of work, all those stories behind the scenes: the brothers who cycled around the world, the couple who made a similar feat at a ripe old age in their 4WD, the brave Siamese twins joined at the hips who were later successfully operated on, the mother who donated part of her liver to save her daughter’s life, tha anguish of the genious Sufiah who later ran away in search of her lost childhood, Malik Mydin’s conquest of the English Channel....and many, many more. All these came back to me as I labelled them carefully, thinking how these experience by just meeting them had enriched my life.

Then there are the features and documentaries that I did for television. The most memorable was a documentary of the above mother who gave part of her liver to her daughter. What a sacrifice. The other was Warisan Warkah Melayu – the story behind the tradition of Malay letter writing. I learnt so much from this experience that it is possible to say, I keep looking back at our roots ever since. It was amazing to see old manuscripts and documents penned by people like Raffles to our sultans and from our sultans to the British or the Dutch. I went to Holland to look at old manuscripts and in Germany I filmed and documented the most beautiful Malay letter, dated 1821 from the Sultan of Terengganu to Baron Van de Capellan – the Dutch Governor General. What fun it was then when I still had the energy to run around and be involved in all these productions. There’s the book published by Routledge, then another that I translated – Legacy of the Malay Letter (which inspired the above documentary) . I also had some very enjoyable moments when I edited and voiced works for children for Linguaphone and Dorling Kindersley. It had taken this one small exhibition to realise that yes, perhaps I had done something in my life – something I can leave behind for my children and grandchildren to see. Then there’s of course the rantauan.tv which a dear friend reproduced on CD and that I must say received quite a bit of attention.

Anyway, Friday was supposed to be THE Friday that I had been waiting for – that would usher in a weekend like no other for me and my beloved. But of course, things had to happen. At the very last minute, I was assigned to write something for the Sunday paper, which I duly did and sent off at about 6.30 London time. With my bag packed for the weekend, all I needed was to wait for my date at Paddington Station.

It was almost like our first date together. I was nervous and full of apprehensions. But all for the wrong reasons. What if the children forgot to feed the cats? What if some one came back late? What if, what if?.....

When I saw him in the crowd, with the weekend bag, carelessly slung over his shoulder, all worries disappeared and I was determined to make this a wonderful weekend together – courtesy of Sayang Mama Number One. We arrived at a very deserted station in Pangbourne at about 9.30 pm, walked to the hotel – a beautiful mock tudor building which in the moonlight looked a very romantic setting indeed. We settled down for dinner which was a bit disappointing but that didn’t spoil the evening. Something else did.
DO NOT DISTURB Posted by Picasa



The wall was paper thin – the goings on from the next room went on until about 2am. Aparently there was a hen night. I was more forgiving because I understand – remember Maroush? And by the time the noise died down, there was a ring! ring ! from my handphone. The sms simply said – “Story not in, pls resend! “ That was my editor. Thus started what must have been a scene from a sitcom. With no internet facilities in the room, a bad phone connection, I tried dictating my piece down the line. After several times being disconnected, we abandoned the plan and I decided to text the whole article until my fingers ached. Then, I got a brilliant idea – by which time it was 4 am and I decided to wake Sayang Mama Number One in London. The excuse was to wake him up for subuh and,” By the way, can u access my email and resend this story to KL office?” Suffice to say, he wasn't amused, but he wasn’t going to ruin what’s left of our weekend that he paid for.

Daylight revealed a delightful surprise. If Pangbourne station was any indication of what Pangbourne is, then it was quite deceptive. The Bentley garage just outside the station should have given us a clue. So was the housing estate displaying pictures of houses at jaw dropping prices. Anyway, after breakfast (what a difference it made having breakfast without six cats fighting for his attention!) we asked the receptionist about interesting places to see in Pangbourne. That drew a blank look ...there’s the walk along the Thames, and there’s the walk along the Thames. Ya, we will give that a try.
Pieces of Pangbourne Posted by Picasa

Pangbourne is a quaint little town with big expensive houses with driveways that say NO Entry – Private Property, properties that start from the main road and end with the Thames water lapping up the foot of the garden. An indication of what people here do for recreation – early Saturday morning, the road was already busy with cars with horse trailers. Every other car was transporting horses to a horse show. Over the bridge with a very good view of a very swollen Thames, we could see canoers navigating their way down the river. We walked down a small straight road going to don’t know where but was delightfully surprise to see a small toll house from the days of George III – every perfon (for that was the spelling!) must pay half a shilling while for every aff (ass) it was two shillings! Pangbourne is a kind of place, where people still say hello and good morning as you walk past them.

We then found ourselves in a very old cemetery and a very old church, again with another small pathway leading to the banks of the Thames. It was indeed a long walk and we took pictures and watch the ducks – it had indeed been a while since we had sometime to ourselves like this.
Just the two of us Posted by Picasa

But that was all Pangbourne could offer and we took the train to Reading and headed straight into the Raj for some naans and briani. It was already summer in Reading with music in the air and people spilling on to the pavement at the Oracle. And of course a Malay must seek out another Malay and we made a phone call to atok and family. It was always nice to catch up with them. I love his children – so talented and so adorable.
The Raj Posted by Picasa

The last night in Pangbourne was spent composing pantuns - hmm – pantuns in Pangbourne! and reciting them down the line to a friend in London. This was in preparation for the wedding that was to take place at Holiday Villa. I was looking forward to this – obstructing the party from the groom’s side with pantuns of sorts before he could join the bride on the dias. As I was also to be the emcee, more scribblings throughout the night. It was after breakfast that we said goodbye to Pangbourne, back to London for the wedding and suffice to say, fun was had by all!

40 comments:

Ely said...

kak teh, STOP! u seem to be talking w/o taking a breath!

glad to see u back :)

maR said...

I agree with ely *grins*
And boy what a week it was!

bergen said...

Nice shadows.

anedra said...

Love that pic of the shadows! Glad u had a good time with yr "wang and only wang". And hope u received my messages on YM. My phone kong..cannot sms! If u didn't, well..just sms me again on the 12th with the same message u sent me on the 3rd. That was Kak Oli's lah!!

simah said...

Glad u had fun....when u said you would be busy last week...u really meant it!! now kak teh... COme BACk to us!!! *grins* we have missed you...!!

ubisetela said...

I like that shadow pic too.

Atok said...

KT & AG,

Many thanks for visiting our kampung... and terima kasih daun keladi for the latte, choc cake, garlic bread, tea and especially for just being with us all; what a great company!

Please come again in the summer; (those swans are calling you back) - we can go boating along the Thames, admiring those mansions with their own moorings, helipads and colourful gardens. We could go downstream to the picturesque Henley-on-Thames via those many locks. We'll pack nasi lemak .... and AG bring keropok lekor. Ke guane :)

Nazrah said...

waaaahhh...low mein tick nyerrr...

lentok kak, jangan tak lentok.

AuntyN said...

Tak boleh tahan tengok shadow tu!!!.Aiyoooo, so romantik lorrr. :-)

mumsgather said...

Lol! I must agree with Ely there. Even as I click on the comment section and before seeing her comment, I was thinking to myself "I feel breathless just reading this!"

maR said...

Wah last night no gambaq2 kakteh... I love gambaq shadow tuh... romantic i tell u :)

Berisman said...

I like the photo-Just the two us.Three is always a crowd;-)

Kirim sale ke Awe Gone

Afzalmom said...

yes, yes, love the romantic shadows...awww

MA said...

* light bulb moment *

Ni nak carik matahari to get the right shadow angle for a family pic.

Great pic, the shadow !

atn said...

ah the great get-away

*smile*

re: yr contributions, you have lots and more to come kan?

Jane Sunshine said...

How absolutely romantic. Glad you both had a nice time.

About Blogreader said...

Kak Teh, I enjoyed myself so much being the fly on your shoulder. Just want you to know, I am still patiently awaiting your book, so I can read more stories like this.

tee said...

kak teh,

*wink* oooo... what a romantic gateaway... ... ... :)

LifeBloom said...

Waduh..even though you rattled on about so many things in your post...All I can think about was the picture of the shadows...Very the romantic..Cayalah K Teh!

Kak Teh said...

ely and mar, I agree - I was breathless too!
bergen - it was a split of a second decision and it worked hehe.
anedra - ya, ya, i know - will do that on 12th!!
simah, ya - memang terover kebusian tu! hehe - but yes, am back.

Kak Teh said...

atok, yes, the boatride will be nice and would love to see the children again! Thanks.
nazeah 0- lentok itu adalah satu kemestian semasa mengambil gambar!
auntyN, hahaha - the shadows!!!
mumsgather - what to do , such is life. thank God children are big now - so escape during weekends are made easier.
Pak Adib thanks - and dah kirimkan salam.
afzalmom - that was one of the sunny days in England - tak boleh lepas peluang.
Makandeh - hehe - good idea, eh?

Kak Teh said...

atn - insyaallah.
Blogreader, ditto - but I think u shd too.
jane, we did and its a must to do again!
tee, we need that once in a while. het away from the city into some quiet littleplace. and it was really wonderful.
Lifebloom, i knew it was going to be a long blog..even iw as breathless typing it. This or several blogs on several things.

Lydia Teh said...

Kak Teh, I love that pix of the shadow. So thoughtful of sayang mama no. 1.

Kak Teh said...

lydia, yes, sayang mama number 1 can be thoughtful...ada masa jugak tuhhhhhhh!!

pu1pu3 said...

Kak Teh,
Welcome back.Baik nya your sayang mama...
Good to have some time alone kan?
Makin kukuhlah & Rukunlah ur marriage.
Amboi..romantica d amore....

Kak Lady said...

Kak Teh...hehhe...taulah kak teh excited dpt jumpa Sayang Mama Nombor Satu...tapi...relex kak teh...tarik nafas panjang2...

Lady baca pun dah rasa penat...heheh..apa lagi kak teh yang merasa seminggu penatnya....

may said...

kak teh dear, I couldn't help but giggle at your first 2 comment, 'cos I skipped most of your words myself! how embarrassing to admit. I do so love the photos though, and that's what I enjoyed the most. especially "just the two of us". :)

MamiJarum said...

How romantik! :D

Maya said...

Z, you are not leaving those wonderful work for your children and grandchildren only, but to all of us who have read all those beautiful stories. Thank you very much!

Lovely to know that the thwo of you had a great time. Romatic shadow summore. Are you sure the only glitch was the story resend? How about forgotten backpacks? Hehehehe

Always wishing you both the best and many, many wonderful years ahead! Love K

sriperwira said...

aiseh kak Z, pi pangbourne rupanye. dah lama tak jumpa you. next time jumpa lah - Alia kena chicken pox so i pun terpaksa quarantine jugak.

Restless said...

Hehe!

I dread having to present. No matter how many times I do it, I'd have this torturous fit of my racing pulses. Argh!

Go back to what you enjoy doing once you're done with the big D (by the way, I'm still in the dark - is it done yet? Have you graduated from your second degree?)

P.S - Love the picture of (what I think) your shadow with your hubby; heads entangled. Such beautiful manifestation of love!
(and don't you go "Anim, Anim! Anim" on me again)

Heheh!

Kak Teh said...

putri - insyaallah and thanks.
lady, balik rumah selepas weekend break pun lagi penat!
may, I know!!!!! I knew that putting all those things in would make a dissertation our of the week's event - but I was just in the mood - so there it was!!!
mamijarum - sekali sekala mestilah lomantik!

Kak Teh said...

maya - yes, I promise you - its to do with resending the story and nothing more than that!!
sriperwira- hope alia is better. i know how depressing it can be for her yang selalu active.
anim - am finished - convo is on 20th July!!!

nadya said...

suka la cerita hari ni. :)

more story please.. (and pictures too!)

sue said...

kak teh:
like the others..i love that 'wayang kulit' photo..

swan said...

kak teh, I went to Raj once a month with hubby...the oracle is nice for shopping spree since our little town has got nothing much to offer....but finding a parking at the Oracle was a nightmare..

Romantic weekend in Pangbourne,,,,ahhh bliss!
Love your pic...just the two of us!

Kak Teh said...

nadya, next time we go to Reading and as promised by atok, a trip along the Thames, we will take more pictures.
traveller - that pix was taken just at the spur of the moment!
swan - are u in reading? where? where?

Noni said...

pssst... sure fun was had by all... but I bet the 2 shadows had the mostest fun...

Anonymous said...

kak teh what a lovely weekend away. yes, I would love to have one like that, but of course with little todd along. And the pictures argh... mmg betul2 membawa kenangan lama... nak pergi situ jugak lah... Have u been to cotswold. It's open between April - Oct kalau tak silap. It's also a nice gateaway jugak.
Kak teh apa contents of sultan terengganu's letter to the british? I would love to know the untold of our country history.

Kak Teh said...

noni, if only the shadows can talk and blog!
anon, yes u have been to cotswold and its beautiful. the trengganu letter is just abt request or trade and may be i will blog abt it some day.