Sunday, 30 March 2008
Thursday, 27 March 2008
And how we enjoyed the games of musical chairs and passing the parcel. Such simple pleasures.
I remember too some birthday surprises, one in particular that nearly gave my husband a heart attack. It was the day we were supposed to go for an important parent teachers’ meeting and he suddenly refused to go. Clearly upset, I made a unilateral decision to go by myself when a close friend called me up for tea at Whiteleys. We had tea and a bit of a rant about the strange behaviour of my other half. My daughter then phoned to say that the meeting was cancelled. So we decided to go to this friend’s place instead and drown my sorrows in a game of scrabble. I was certainly in no mood to go home.
When the door to her apartment opened, there stood my husband slaving over several legs of lamb roasting in the oven. The children and some friends were also there for the birthday surprise which nearly turned into a disaster, and one friend even came with a birthday cake the shape of a pair of voluptuous boobs that still gives me nightmares and an inferiority complex.
One year it was a drive to the countryside for lunch at a friend’s country house hotel by the Thames. It was lunch in style with some close friends and after the afternoon walk in the vast 100 year old listed garden, we settled down for tea before the long drive back into London. It was then that the French Chef walked in with a birthday cake, my name correctly spelt on the icing. What a day it was.
Anyway, this year’s quiet celebration wasn’t too bad at all. The children decided that a tomyam steamboat at Holiday Villa would be a good idea as the day was cold and there were snow flurries too. They invited some friends and Hafiz called up Uncle Jimmy and family.
It was the night after Raihan performed at the Royal Albert Hall. I was there to see their performance for Islamic Relief and what a performance they gave. And because I couldn’t have enough of their acapella, I invited them over for a bit of Tom Yam too.
Dato J was in charge of the steamboat and that was only the starters. Then we had nasi goreng kampong and mee goreng mamak. You wouldn’t believe what was served for dessert! Raihan kindly performed Assolatuwassalam - a favourite of mine!
And the family presented me with this new laptop that I am typing on.
Thank you Raihan! And thank you my sayang mamas!
Sunday, 23 March 2008
It was snowing ever so slightly outside. The snowflakes drifted down gently and melted before touching the ground. Snowbell made a dash through the cat flap bringing in a gush of cold wind into the sitting room, momentarily taking our attention away from the idiot box.
This time it wasn’t American Idol or Master Chef that demanded our attention. It was just after dinner of chicken and cashew nut plus sambal tumis sea-bass and sayur su’un, that the children wanted to have dessert served by P. Ramlee.
They grew up over dosed with P Ramlee slapsticks in Aunty Samina’s front room, watching Pendekar Bujang Lapok, Doh-Ray-Me in between Sangam and Kabhi-Kabhi with Uncle. And lately, thanks to You Tube, they’ve been enjoying snippets from old P Ramlee movies and one that got them in stitches was Pendekar Bujang Lapok, the one where Aziz or was it Ajis corrected the Pak cik on his pronunciation of Bongo, “Bukan Bangau Pak Cik, Bonggo!!!” Taufiq has a knack of imitating that, sending Nona and Rehana (making the cashew nut chicken), in stitches. “Bongggo” he said drawing out the “ggo” deep from the throat and the kitchen was filled with laughter again. It had just started snowing outside.
After dinner, I found several P Ramlee classics but none with subtitles, but sharing a duvet, four of us huddled in front of the TV and watched Madu Tiga.
It has been a while since we last did this. When they were small, the king size duvet would swallow all of us, and there would be enough for everyone. There was a time when all of us were watching a film and at that time a triangle would appear warning us of an imminent ‘rude scene’ at which point my husband would say, “everyone under the duvet!!!” and we’d dive under the duvet giggling, and waited for the scene to be over. But once when all of us waited patiently under the duvet, we heard a voice saying “It’s over now!” Oh dear!
It was Hafiz. And how we miss him. He’d do a good imitation of Ajis and never failed to have us rolling on the floor with his jokes. But now he has his own pad, the other side of
“What’s ‘Apa daaaa?’, why does he keep saying that?” would be the occasional interruption. “What’s ‘Tak sangka?’ In general they understood the language, except for the occasional P Ramlee lingo.
It is a long Easter weekend and we had spent the afternoon sorting out 20 years of old clothes to take to the recycling bin. There were many old kebayas, the ones that reminded me that I once had a waist, children’s clothes that they now cringe with realisation that they once wore those, sometimes under duress and one or two old jumpers and jeans that brought back memories of the Wan family, trooping up and down the streets of London, in what was then a big Renault estate meant for six. But they had to grow up and the MPV that we bought for seven eventually became too big and too lonely for just the two of us.
I felt quite sad leaving several big black plastic bags containing lots of memories by the bin outside Sainsbury. We have to move on. Children grew out of their clothes and inevitably grow out of the room they share with My Little Pony or Thomas the Tank Engine. They would want to move out. They want their own car and even the king size duvet is no longer big enough for all six of us.
Snowflakes and P Ramlee movies tend to make me feel like this.
Friday, 14 March 2008
I have lost a very dear friend, Datin Peggy Taylor. During the precious few months of our friendship, she had taught me a lot. She was 83. Like a history teacher, she narrated events leading up to Merdeka and beyond; the chitchats with the late Tunku, the contents of letters and communications with prominent politicians from both sides of the political arena, the social scene of the sixties and the seventies and many, many more that are now safely recorded in my tapes and notebooks.
And as I sat there by her feet, with the fire crackling in the background, I couldn't help but felt a sense of awe and admiration for this feisty lady who had witnessed the independence of three countries, hobnobbed with prominent leaders and celebrities and even made a mark in our country's political scene. Peggy, who was at the Padang to witness the raising of the Malayan flag on Independence Day fifty years ago and who later became a member of ADMO (Alliance Direct membership Organisation) for citizens who were not from the Malay, Indian or Chinese community, would be most amused by what is happening in post election
I remember the days spent with her, typing away as she dictated her memoir on her life in
Peggy left for
And now I remember Morrie's beautiful quote from Tuesdays with Morrie: Death ends a life, not a relationship.
Rest in peace, my dearest Peggy. Your words, your laughter will live on with me forever.
An article in the NST about Peggy.
Over the past few months, I have written a lot about Peggy and how she had touched my life:
Shamelessly Plugging Peggy
History in a suitcase
Weekend of sorts
A Painting incomplete
Magical Merdeka Moments
An Update and Message from David Kirkness in Johannesburg
Dearest Kak Teh, and to all of Peggy's many friends, I've just returned home from her funeral service, St Charles' Church, Victory Park, Johannesburg, at which I was privileged to speak in her honour. Marilyn had some beautiful words to say, and sung one of her own compositions "We Never Say Goodbye". What a true Taylor she is. A moving moment in time for me. On her behalf, thanks to all for so many wonderful wishes in this past week.
Friday, 7 March 2008
Assalamualaikum Kak Teh ucapkan,
kepada semua kawan dan rakan,
di kampong, bandar dan juga pekan,
esok undi mu penting jangan lupakan.
Mari seketika kita berseloka,
hilangkan penat, letih dan duka,
imbas kembali janji manis bercuka,
para pemimpin kita sejak merdeka.
Demam pilihanraya semakin rancak,
panas habanya semakin memuncak,
kami yang jauh pun rasanya jugak,
dari seberang laut pun kami berhak.
Esok harinya yang menentukan,
kalah dan menang akan diumumkan,
segala janji mesti ditunaikan,
bukan sekadar nak dijadikan umpan.
Seronok dengar cerita berkempen,
bertikam lidah semua pemimpin,
menunjukkan hebat zahir dan batin,
memancing undi semasa bertanding.
Kisah dakwat menjadi berita,
mahalnya harga tidak terkata,
sudah dibeli dari
sekarang katanya tak boleh diguna.
Kak Teh terfikir seorang diri,
termenung sejenak menggigit jari,
berjuta habis dalam beberapa hari,
duit yang hilang macam mana nak ganti?
Terbaca pula kisah Pn Maimun,
usianya lanjut semangatnya bertimbun,
dah masuk Facebook peminatnya berkerumun,
berbasikal berkempen serata kampung.
Pilihlah pemimpin yang dianggap wajar,
yang tidak sombong yang masih boleh diajar,
yang berpengalaman, berjwa rakyat dan sedar
tidak lupa janji kerana kemewahan dikejar.
Sekian dulu Kak Teh bermadah,
berpantun berseloka bukannya mudah,
ingat, pangkah yang salah membawa padah,
nanti bertahun menyesal tak sudah..
Kepada bakal pemimpin Kak Teh ingatkan,
negara kita yang kita sayangkan,
berbaktilah kepada negara dengan keikhlasan.
amanat rakyat jangan dialpakan.