Friday 5 January 2007


I suppose it is not too late to look back and see how 2006 had treated me as this will also give me a chance to look at lost opportunities and unfulfilled dreams. Looking back, I see moments that I want to treasure and freeze frame in my own archives of youtube to be played and replayed in the winter moments of my life.

There were several moments, beautiful and unforgettable ones and humbling ones too. Like the moment I set eyes on the kaa’bah. It was after zuhur prayers, just minutes after we entered the Holy City. The walk to the middle section of the Masjidil Haram could be likened to a slow magnetic pull and all the while my eyes were transfixed on the ka'abah. There were pilgrims doing their tawaf just like the images we see on TV and stories we hear from people who had been there. I reached the railings and was oblivious to the hundreds of people there – a sea of white robes circling the ka’abah. I struggled to read my doas as I couldn’t stop the tears from flowing, I couldn’t thank God enough for making me His guest here. Even as I walked back, I kept looking back as if I was looking at it for the last time. The feeling was indescribable.

If someone had told me three or four months before that I would be making this journey of my life time, I wouldn’t have believed it. But there I was walking in Covent Garden when I received an sms from a very dear friend of mine. We exchanged jokes and banters as we usually do and suddenly one message stopped me in my tracks. It simply said, “Jom pi umrah dengan I. I belanja you.” I had to read the message several times in case it was only an invitation to the theatre or to have coffee. But she was serious.

As I would be going without my husband, I needed his letter to get a visa. Even his simple letter was worthy of a sweet moment in itself to be treasured. It simply said, “Saya sebagai suami memberi izin kepada isteri saya untuk menunaikan umrah bersama....” It didn’t seem to matter that we were not going together. What was important was he gave me his blessings.

I flew back to Kuala Lumpur to get my mother’s blessings for this important journey. But Mak was frail. In fact she was hospitalised and I spent days with her at the hospital. But again, these are treasured moments. I sat by her bedside as she recounted her own journey by sea. How clear her recollections were, how lively she suddenly became especially when she remembered giving birth at Arafah. How we laughed and cried at the same time at my futile attempts to put her pampers on. But this was also a moment of truth when the doctor told me she has cancer. As her child, I felt helpless but I remember the urge to plunge into her insides and rip it out – take out whatever it is that is hurting Mak.

But I went ahead, even with Mak in such a state, bringing with me prayers for her well being and more importantly that she’d be there when I return. And she was. Alhamdulillah.

There were several moments during my umrah that I want to document. Like the time we were leaving Madinah, or the first sip of the zam zam water in Masjidil Haram or the feeling of being very close to God and feeling very, very small indeed. I would like to go back, this time with my husband and the family. Insyaallah. And to my friend, I can never repay you your kindness. All I have are my prayers.

One other moment that remained etched in my mind is the walk on the stage to receive that piece of scroll. It was as if it was played on slo mo. I remember trying not to trip on my robe with the high heels that Dt JC had made as a gift just for the occasion, with his signature at the bottom. And I remember thinking that my father would have been so proud because I was announced as his daughter, not as someone’s wife. It was the same feeling Pak had when abang received some awards in Belfast years ago, and abang said – they had called out Mr Othman. Pak was so proud he recounted the story to anyone who was willing to hear. During that two minute walk, the rows and rows of men and women in funny berets before me were just a blur as the long hours of slogging on my syair, transliterating on the number 7, nail biting moments outside the examination hall, presenting my first academic paper in Paris, came flooding back, just in time to stretch out my hand to get hold of that scroll. The VC must have noted that striding right before her was no spring chicken, unlike all the other fresh faces before that, and she had to adjust her small talk to me accordingly. “Must be quite a juggle,” she noted. Aaaah, if only she knew!

My heart burst with happiness as I was greeted with hubby and all the sayang mamas with a bouquet of flowers. And we took photographs on the steps of the uni, the very same steps I sat on two years before, contemplating my academic future, my feelings not unlike a new pupil on the first day of school. It wasn’t butterflies in my tummy, but more like elephants making a stampede – it was after all my first day at school after...30 years?
So, what is next, a PhD?

There was also this priceless moment I spent sharing a Krispy Cream doughnut with another very dear friend at Paddington Station. His familiar famous name and face not withstanding, this friend has accepted me for what I am - a Mak Cik blur to boot - and yet , there we were, sharing a doughnut at Krispy Cream Paddington Station, talking about our children, our life and our future. He has been a kind, far too kind a friend, who has shared many wonderful moments of his celebrated life with me last year. And for that I am thankful.

And gosh, this last year has seen the children all grown up and making poor mama and daddy feel so old. Seeing R & N wearing my old kebayas at a wedding last year, watching them coming to terms with grief a the loss of someone so close to them; they have all matured. And one moment that was captured on my digital – of my R in my graduation kebaya, sitting demurely at my feet, sewing up my hem. And one that I captured on tape, of my sayang mama T doing his first takbir raya. Awwwww!

And then there was the moment junior H presented us with a weekend away, just for the two of us as mama and daddy hardly ever spend quality time together. I remember waiting anxiously at Paddington Station and then I looked up and saw him with his suit bag carelessly slung over his shoulders striding towards me. That moment in time saw us young again with a spring in our footsteps and not a care in the world.

Just the two of us.

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Anonymous said...

1st wang dis taing... :D

as always, great piece. how i wish i could write this well.

talking about the Holy Land, my Mama phoned a couple of hours ago; wife of my tok sedara just passed away in that very land. she suffered from pneumonia. al-fatihah.

Kak Teh said...

atok, Al-Fatehah. She is certainly blessed to be there. Our condolence to you and family.

Anonymous said...

You are so very blessed. I am at a loss for words. The feelings you described are quite overwhelming, I am sure your mak was safely tucked inside your warm heart when you made that sacred pilgrimage. She went with you didn't she? Just like I had my dad with me (kept safe in a special place my heart) each important step that I took in life.

Anonymous said...

Kak Teh, I can sense a great feeling of blessing you felt from that trip.
This weekend away, was it at Windsor? AG and you look so romantic .... next time, camera must look at the face, not grass, ok? :))
What happened to all your archives on the side link?

maklang said...

Kenangan terindah kak...tatkala melihat kaabah buat pertama kali...

Besar pahala kawan kak teh tu...

Count Byron said...

Not a care in the world.. just the two of you.. ooohhh how romantic KT... i'm wobbly kneed here.. and condolence to Atok on the demise of Tok Sedara's wife.

Fauziah Ismail said...

Kak Teh,
I've travelled far and wide on assignments but one place I want to go but on my own is Mecca, either on umrah or Haj. Mom went there with Dad in 1979. She still speaks of the place as if she had gone there a year before.
I like reading peoples' experiences there. I want to experience the same, if not more.
Condolences to Atok on the demise of his tok sedara's wife. Al Fatihah.

Anonymous said...

why dont u put the picture of the 4-post bed of Goring :)

edelweiss said...

Kak teh,

great piece. you really poured your heart into it. One thing for sure , your mak is so proud to have you as her daughter.

as mak lang put it ' besar pahala kawan kak teh'. Ya, bertuah kak teh dapat kawan mcm tuh. i am praying that one day Allah s.w.t will have me as His guest there. Insyallah.

Tok asid, my condolence to u n your family.

Kak Teh said...

firehorse, no my mak didnt go with me. she was too ill. she had been there three times already. But, like you said, whereever we are, our mak is safely tucked in our hearts, betul tak?

eh, judy, that was review of last year. our son gave us a treat. a weekened away..hehehe - only in Pangbourne. butit was a weekend away, nevertheless.

mak lang memang betul. tak dapat nak bayangkan dan tak dapat kita nak cerita. memang betul. Insyaallah pahala besar bagi dia yang memang selalu bawa kawan2 pergi.

count byron, hehehe - so were we, so were we!

Kak Teh said...

s-matters, insyaallah. Sometime when we plan , it doesnt work out, and suddenly it is presented there for us to take the opportunity. Just like what happened to me. Rezki kak teh lah tu. Alhamdulillah. Insyaallah one day you will be there.

atok, woiiiiiiiiit! how about pix of that awful pizza?

edelweis, insyaallah you too will be His guest. and...i think you want to convey your condolence to atok, not tokasid. Ramai tok di sini! hehe.

Anonymous said...

Kak Teh,
You are a remarkable woman and blessed with so many talents and a wonderful family. Such sweet memories!
I was going to read the sequel to the entry you told me but all your archives have disappeared. Where are they? What happened? I belum habis baca semua lagi.

Kak Teh said...

wonda, i can see the links butu, edel and judy cannot. hmmm...may be u are using Internet explorer and i am using mozilla.

Kak Teh said...

wonda, edelweis and judy - try using mozilla firefox. I used Internet explorer just now and yes, no links.
and i really dont know whatis happening now. none of the comments go straight into my email like before and some friends have been saying that they cant comment at all.

Anonymous said...

Your entry is very heart warming.

KakNi said...

Kak Teh, nak ucap Selamat AidilAdha tu dah terlewat kot no...

Apa-apa hal pun saya nak ucapkan Happy 2007 kat Kak Teh dan a very big congratulation di atas graduation Kak Teh. Next step mestilah phd kan Kak Teh, janganlah stop, saya sendiri kalau ada rezeki teringin sungguh nak buat phd.

KakNi said...

Kak Teh, sori no, selama ni saya ingat Kak Teh dok ambik phd, ke saya ni yang blur heheheh

Kak Teh said...

missie, thank you.

ahni, lamanya tak nampak. selamat tahun baru juga kepada ahni. Taaaak, kakz baru MA saja..tak ke tahap PhD lagi. Tak tau bila dan mata sudah rabun.

k.d said...

KTeh..a wonderful 2006 you got. Wonderful children you have and great friends you got.

May 2007 be better for you for your hopes and dreams.

Anonymous said...

Kak Teh, as in the doa for tawaf wada, "Ya Allah, jgnlah jadikan hari ini sebagai hari / kali yang terakhir bagiku menziarahi 'rumah'mu ".

Moga-moga dimurahkan rezeki agar dapat berkunjung lagi ke Baitullah sebagai tetamu Allah. Amin...

Kak Teh said...

k.d. thanks. You too. Have a great year ahead!

ibu, terima kasih. betul kata orang. selepas balik akan sentiasa terasa seakan-akan kaabah melambai-lambai kita balik ke sana.

Theta said...

And I quote you: "saw him with his suit bag carelessly slung over his shoulders striding towards me."

This very description brought to mind one of my favourite scenes from Kuch Kuch Hota Hai when my beloved Hindi actor, Shah Rukh Khan slung his jacket over his shoulder at the exact same time his eyes were locked on Kajol's, the tomboy-turn-lady heroine. ;-)

Just for a lark!

nyonyapenang said...

such a poignant post, kak teh. :)


A'kum Kak Teh,
Selamat Tahun Baru. Sorry for the late wish, but hope all is well for you.
Take care.


Kak Teh said...

theta, hahaha! and i am sure that is a cue for the music to begin and the dancers to appear from behind the pillars. Thank you.

nyonya, must really do a more up beat post soon!

pu1pu3, you've had a long break! hope you put your feet up and had a good rest. I just came back from mawar and had a delicious plate of kueh teow goreng.

HCI said...

Kak Teh, ni mai dok baca entry Kak Teh. Ta apa, 2007 lagi best kot, kalau 2006 ada orang belanja umrah, 2007 mungkin ada orang belanja gi Haji pula.

Kak Teh said...

Has, Insyaalllah. Tapi kitapun kena usaha sendiri laaa. nak pi sekeluarga tu, ish kena kerja banyak tahun lagi lah kut. thanks for the wishes.

edelweiss said...

Alamak...mintak maaflah tokasid. tak pasai-pasai u pulak yang i hulurkan takziah.

Thanks kak teh. Semoga kita semua dimurahkan rezeki dan berkesempatan menunaikan ibadat umrah/haji.

Anonymous said...

i read this twice in a row, just because it is so well written. all i can say is you've got great strength within you, and with that, you inspire me.

Arena said...

Kak Teh,

What a colourful year you had. Alhamdulillah, atas segala rahmat yang Allah berikan pada Kak teh. Take good care of yourself.

P/s - mungkin boleh jumpa kak teh lagi Mac ni, hahahha ada apa2 nak pesan?

Kak Teh said...

Edel, Insyaallah.

Vern, are you still holidaying? All the best to you too.

arena, ada kemungkinan kita selisih kapal terbang kalau bulan Mac! email! email!

High Power Rocketry said...

: )

Anonymous said...

kak teh I meant you had your mom in your heart, not that she was physically with you when you went for the pilgrimage. Anyway drop by to say got Malacca chicken rice balls (halal of course) on the menu today, drop by kalau senang ok?

Anonymous said...

I reckon that you had a wonderful 2006 Kak Teh and many everlasting memories, especially of holy Makkah. May this year bring you more blessings from Allah swt. As for me, I am still lagging behind in termw of fulfilling my pursuit of a Masters and also to perform umrah. Insyaallah I can achieve these in the very near future.

Mama Rock said...

kak teh, here's to more wonderful things in store for you in 2007!

Kak Teh said...

rk2 :)

FH, aiyaaaa, blur again! yes, went to check out yr halal chicken rice! so sedap!! But I oredi made chicken kenyang now.

Yara, it has indeed been a wonderful time...esp withthe opportunity to do the umrah. That certainly is the highlight. Insyaallah for you the time will come, do yr MA and perform the Umrah.

mama rock, same to you! and more studies??

Anonymous said...

'freeze frame in my own archives of youtube to be played and replayed'..I must say that is so beautifully expressed. How nice.

Memorable and touching (and ehem that last romantic escapade) experiences you had.

Gosh..if all I can say in 3 words..BEST BEST BEST.

Kak Teh said...

ruby, hehehe! yes, how i'd like to have my own archives of youtube. each moment played and replayed..yang tak suka boleh delete, eh? ( yes, I am still awake, when you visited my blog...dah 0451! and it is so quiet save for the whirring sound of the fanheater or was it someone snoring?)

Jane Sunshine said...

Lovely. Here's wishing you and the family a spectacular 2007.

Anonymous said...

Salam to kak teh and friends.

Mula2 to edelweis: bukan tok sedara saya tapi tok sedara atok. Tak pa, tak marah aih.

Kak teh: memang perasaan melihat Kaabah kali pertama bagi kebanyakkan orang memang begitu. Rasa syukur dan terharu yg amat sangat.Rasa macam dapat seluruh dunia kat kita. Airmata mencurah2 tanpa segan silu. Tak kira lelaki atau perempuan. Masa dapat anak dulu pun tak terasa spt itu bagi saya. dan perasaan itu lah yg membuat setiap kali sahabat2 nak pi umrah atau bila tiba musim haji rasa amat rindu pada Kaabah,Masjidil Haram dan Masjid Nabawi(saw).
MasyaALLAh!Kawan kak teh tu hanya ALLAH akan membalas perbuatan dia. Sesungguhnya amalan umrah kak teh tu dia pun ada habuan sama spt yg kak teh dapat,ameen. Which membuat saya teringat kat adik saya yg kat Sacremento. She and sekeluarga( hubby and 2 anak) dapat pi Hajj yg baru ni di sponsor oleh seorang sahabat masjid depa.HambaALLAh ni orang Mesir(kot) memang kenal dgn adik and hubby pasai sejak pindah Sacremento adik dok tolong di Masjid(Islamic Centre)dok kelola macam2 dan dok pakat masak setiap jumaat utk tabung Centre depa.( adik pula full time housewife). Lepas adik balik sana dari cuti di Malaysia, hambaALLAH ni mai bagitau dia dah berhajat lama nak hantar adik and family pi haji.Adik kata masa tu dia terkedu dan terkesima. Dia dok ingat pak arab ni gurau rupanya serius.
Adik tak sangka pada tahun lepas dia gagal pi Haji pasai masa tu hubby tak dapat pi sama( tak dak mahram so tak dpt visa). Itu lah hikmahnya yg ALLAH kurnia pada adik dan keluarga dia.
Semoga ALLAH limpahkan rezeki dan keampunan dan RahmatNya pada kawan kakteh dan pak arab yg sponsor adik cek sekeluarga setiap masa,ameen.

Bila taufiq balik?

Kak Teh said...

jane, what are you doing up at this time?? it is 0145! all the best to you and M too. We need our new year celebration at maroush, right?

tokasid, ya, kak teh pun tak tau macam mana nak balas jasa dia. Cuma Tuhan sajalah yang boleh. dan begitu juga kepada kawan adik tokasid. Banyak betul amnusia yang mulia di dunia ini. Alhamdulillah.

Anonymous said...

happy belated anniversary to choc a blog! :0)

u know u r blessed in ur life kak teh.. masyaAllah.. i am happy for u..u r one lucky girl..May ur years be years of smile for u n ur love ones :0)

Kak Teh said...

simah, you are too and you know it!
Thanks for the well wishes.

Anonymous said...

Salam Kak Teh.

Alf here from Sg.

I've been reading your blog for 2 months now... quietly following your updates.

I just wish to tell you that I really enjoy your writing. Keep them coming in!

I think you've just inspired me to start blogging.

Hmm... Or shouldn't I...

We'll see. ;)

Anyways, thank you for the entertaining and insightful entries.It has always been a pleasure to read them!


Kak Teh said...

Alf, thank you for your kind words. Pls do start a can be so therapeutic! Mine is justa documentation of my feelings and day I'll look through the archives again and

ManaL said...

Is there any PULITZER or BOOKER prize or anything under the same group for best written blogs for a karyawan like u?

Btw, sorry aa kak teh, but were u thinking in english while u were writing those dimensi articles?

For u: "Just the two of us" by Grover Washington Jr. Or u can listen to Will Smith's remake version as well.

Kak Teh said...

manal, hahaha! sometimes, it does get in the way! I must really try to think in one language at one time! (and write in that language!)

Anonymous said...

Kak Teh, once again, you never failed to command a vast audience! I have always enjoyed seeing the documentary on the Holy Land. Too bad they won't allow non-Muslim to visit as one of the wonders of the world. I think more or less I'm able to feel how you felt (minus the tears) as that was exactly how I felt when I was at the peak of the Great Wall of China. I couldn't believe myself that I finally am standing on THE WALL and did climb all the way up!

Anonymous said...

kak teh I am on to you lah, mai makan nasi ayam at 2.00am sebab tak nak ikut I pi gym kan?
One more "trick" kalau you pi gym exercise, come back tell husband "I go gym today, now back sudah sakit can put minyak picit picit kah?

Anonymous said...

dear kak teh,
here i am, having difficulties coming to terms that my son is now in Std 1 and growingly independent of me.. i guess my question is answered here, it is so very difficult letting go of our children and it doesn't get any easier when they're all grown up either. (re ur previous post on sending ur son off)

happy new year!

Kak Teh said...

ilene, the great wall of china is another target for me too. I have always wanted to many things to do and see!!!

FH, ne'mind. tak sakit can also ask picit! I dont go to gym one, so lazyyyyyy!

shopper mommy, my phone bill is going to shoot up the roof! sms and is difficult letting go! Itis another four days and he'll be back!!

Anonymous said...

kak teh,
hope u'll have a great journey in 2007 as is like a novelkan, ada chapter yg sedih dan yg the end, bukan happy or sad ending that matters but what we've collected along the way

edelweiss said...


betul apa u cakap. bukan happy or sad ending that matters but what we've collected along the way.. :)

life's full of ups & down but itulah yang membuatkan kita lebih wiser & stronger kan.

Anonymous said...

hmmm tadak sapa ka nak belanja chek pi sana? murah rezeki kawan kak teh tu kan :) selamat tahun baru 2007 dan tahun Hijrah pun tak lama lagi bertukar angka...sat saja masa berjalan.

Anonymous said...

Looks like you had a great year, Kak Teh. And we your readers here are privileged to be able to share the memories with you. May this new year bring better things.

Kak Teh said...

sue, so well put! yes, it is what we gather along the way. It is not the destination, but we experience along the journey.

edel, hopefully, it makes us wiser...hehe, only sometimes, we refused to act as such.

anon, memang murah rezki dia dan hany Allah boleh balas.

QOTH, ithas been an OK year, but those two were the highlights and Alhamdulillah. Hope you have a great year ahead too!

KuGaris said...

Dear Kak Teh,
Found yr blog thru Rocky's Bru and I am glad I did.Your piece on the umrah was so similar to mine.My brother called me up one day and said he wanted to belanja me to go there.A slight hesitation first takut kena petir there cos of my colourful past!!But I did go and felt exactly as you felt when approaching the Kaaba.My tears flowed too...grateful tears for being given the opportunity to visit the Holy Land at least once during my lifetime.Every day that I was in Mecca, I did the tawaf and whilst doing so my imagination was like a showreel, documentary sort of thingy..I could sense that the path of the tawaf had been trodden by millions of Muslims for Millenia.From prophets to paupers.It was a continuous rhythmic movement of faith and now my footsteps were added on..Alhamdullillah!!!I have travelled extensively but in front of the Kaaba, I felt the purest feeling of intent to bring my wife and kids to be with me.To slot ourselves within the path around the Kaaba.To feel the purest and most resonant sensation of faith/iman I have ever felt in my life. Till today, I feel this connection to the Kaaba..and your blog just tweaked it a little bit more.

Take care of your mother!!Insyallah.

Kak Teh said...

kugaris, thank you for sharing your experience with me. Yes, reading what you have written, I can almost picture the first time I did the tawaf. While the first two we had a guide, I did my third umrah by myself. Alhamdulillah dan kak teh berdoa semoga segala ibadat diterima Allah.

edelweiss said...

terbayang kaabah di depan mata
ku gapai hilang rupanya angan
Ku berdoa padaMU semoga berupaya
menjeadikan angan2 satu kenyataan

Kak Teh said...

Insyaalaah angan-angan jadi kenyataan,
doa dan harapan Tuhan izinkan,
kita merancangan Tuhan tentukan,
manalah tahu, mungkin tahun depan?

Anonymous said...

KT, you write so beautifully. Mesmerises me everytime. When I grow up, i wanna be just like you!! Happy belated NY, if i haven't already wished you.


Kak Teh said...

blabs, when did you visit? Have not seen you for so long!
Happy new year to you too.