Syawal 2020

Our usual arrangement for Syawal is to spend the morning at my inlaws house, and then we drive to Selangor where my parents live. We would stay there overnight or for a few days depending on our work schedule. Later, on Day 3 or Day 4 of Syawal, we will have family day in Johor. Looks like this year, Covid-19 decided to change everybody’s plan.

As of now, my Syawal is spent by staying put in our homes and a brief ‘Hi’ at my in laws home. Visits are kept short with less than 20 people at one time. No takbir from house to house, no Eid open houses or jamuan later on. It is hoped that everybody could maintain social distances and practice good hygiene.

Our theme for this year is Dusty Pink. I bought my outfit and Ninie’s via an online store. It thankfully arrive before raya. The price was reasonable and the cutting was good. Meaning I could use it as ‘baju contoh’ for my clothes next year .

On the 2nd day, Mr Husband wanted to host dinner at our crib.The recipe for his marinated beef turned out to be a disaster. Bulgogi nadai.. You could tell that no one liked the beef. LOL. I guess I need to modify the beef afterwards. I stored them in the freezer with slices of pear with the hope that it will work its enzyme magic. I passed some Laksa Sarawak to my neighbour, Tan and his family. I think he will be one of my consistent receivers of food in the future.

How was your raya? Tell me about it.

Husband’s 35th Birthday

Husband turned 35 last week. I did not know what to get him as a gift so I just bought him a cake from Italy Bakery situated at Jalan Kenanga. It was a very low key celebration this year – we can’t go out to dine, much less going on a vacation or to the movies.

TQ husband for existing in my life as it has undeniably gotten better. It is not perfect but it is better. I couldn’t imagine someone like yourself being so patient spending your lifetime (insyaAllah) with me. I hope we have a good ending to our lives here in dunia and a wonderful journey together till its due.

I discovered the Tesco Order and Collect Programme while doing the Tabung Minci Covid-19 initiative

Throughout MCO, Tesco Malaysia introduced this programme. The ORDER AND COLLECT PROGRAMME. I would send a watsapp message to the Personal Shopper in charge at local participating stores. So do check first, if your store is involved. Once the PS have confirmed your slot is available, you send them your shopping list.

Each customer is limited to only 25 items per slot and these items need to be picked up on the same day. Since I am a TESCO fan, I can kind of remember where the things are in their respective aisles. So I would group my items accordingly so that it will be easy for the PS to find. On top of that with specific grams and such. We want to make their lives easy. If items on your list are not available, they will let you know and change as per request. Once the order is finalized, they will calculate the total, send it to you with the respective bar code.

All you have to do now is to walk over to TESCO, get in touch with their customer service personnel and your trolley is there for pickup. Wheel your trolley to the cahsier, pay for your groceries and voila.. settled.

I wish I used it earlier.

For the past 2 weeks, as part of the Tabung Minci Covid-19 initiative.. I offered help to get groceries or baby items for families in need. They contacted me via a Facebook Post stating what they needed. Alhamdulilah, I managed to help 3 families. This is a different experience altogether because instead of just donating money, this time I am buying things and getting them to where they need to be. I meet them in person and hand it to them. It puts into perspective the time required for a volunteer to make things happen.

In the beginning, I was shopping in a rush in between Speedmart and local kedai runcit because sometimes things run out of stock at one of these presmises. I did not go to any hypermarket because of the long long queue especially when I had to squeeze these errands during lunchtime because now is Ramadhan AND MCO. Hypermarkets close early too. Often, a single groceries list may take up 2 or 3 lunch hour sessions because I don’t finish my work on the dot at 1300H. A clinical case may require my attention exceeding 1300H. Plus, I need to be back at clinic by at least 1345H to pray and get ready to see patients by 1400H. So,minus driving time and all.. there is not much time to complete this in less than an hour. Weekends are confined to my husbands working time. If he is at work, I cannot bring the kids with me to shop. And no, I will not leave them in the car. So, my limitations are there.

So having this service really helped.

I was thinking that maybe in the future I could collaborate with a local kedai runcit or maybe smaller market like Ikhwan and KGrocers (I don’t mind if they charge me a small fee) with the intention of helping their business and these families at the same time. I will plan better for my next initiative.

I have compiled other Tabung Minci efforts in various post (still in draft mode) which I will share by the end of 2020. InsyaAllah. Please pray that my efforts are blessed my Allah and that the pahala can be given to my parents and husband and that my kids will have someone to look out for them too should I be gone someday.

Emerging NGI’s in Malaysia

There is no right & wrong way to be kind to another human being. As long as it brings a difference towards the better to the person at the other end, that is a big alhamdulilah. In the spirit of Ramadhan and restrictions arising from the Covid-19 pandemic, Malaysians have witnessed the rise of a few samaritans and philantropists.

NGI – Non Governmental Individuals

Some argue that you should not show the deed. Personally to me, if you have the star power and ability to influence a huge group of people, why not. Netizens favourites nowadays is Ebit Lew, Uncle Kwan & Syed Azmi. Of course, there are others behind the limelight doing their bits to serve humanity such as KakRed, Noorinora and but let’s focus on these 3 NGI’s for the sake of this blog entry.

FOCUSED, MEANINGFUL & BENEFICIAL

SYED AZMI

Rina benarkan Syed Azmi sumbang tenaga sepanjang krisis Covid-19
photo credit: malaysiagazette.com

I had the opportunity to listen to him speak about his work during IMAM’s conference about 2 years ago. He laid down a very important framework on how anybody can become an NGI. Everyone can donate something. Everyone can menderma. His BIG FIVE ways of contributing include Duit, Tenaga, Masa, Ilmu and Doa.

MONEY, MANPOWER, TIME, KNOWLEDGE & PRAYERS

Mr Syed Azmi deals with heavy issues as opposed to just giving a family a grocery basket or financial assistance like rape victims, domestic abuse, children issues. His work involves saving those in distress and placing them in a safe community so they could overcome the trauma, sustain their lives and improve their standards of living. Hence, at times we can see him breaking down, frustrated, merajuk and a roller coaster of emotions because these problems are real plus nerve-wrecking and that is how any normal human being would respond to it. Sometimes the law works in favor of him and at other times, against him and his efforts. Despite the hiccoughs, he always managed to pick himself up, recharge and continue what he has started.

UNCLE KENTANG

Kuan Chee Heng : Bukti Sifat Kemanusiaan Masih Wujud | Iluminasi
Photo credit : iluminasi.com

A former policeman, Mr Kwan Chee Heng is a Chinese samaritan famously known as Uncle Kentang. He defies dirty politics and bureaucracy. He was one of the NGI’s who helped me realize the importance of giving focused help and connecting with the community.

He operated the Van Jenazah with 24hours access by getting keys from the selected mamak eatery. His groceries package are personalized meaning an Indian family may need different items compared to a Malay family etc. That was eye-opening for me. Not everyone wants noodles and the same type of flour.

EBIT LEW

Mula Masuk Islam Sejak Umur 12 Tahun, Ini Biodata Lengkap ...
Photo credit : says.com

An islamic motivator, an apprentice of Datuk Dr Fadzilah Kamsah so much so that people associate him as an ustaz. Some consider him as part of tabligh, the good ones. Indeed, despite being a revert, he has the knowledge and his message is simple,

ALLAH SAYANG KITA

Whatever that we go through, it is because ALLAH SAYANG KITA. To me, he is a philantropist. When you do not have strings that tie you down and have the financial freedom to take care of the welfare of other human beings – this is what one should aspire to become. He has the money, time, knowledge, manpower and makes doa as well for every family he assists. Whilst other aspiring NGIs like myself , may be limited by funds, time and manpower – he was able to champion it all. How nice it would be to serve humanity without having to think about the law, money etc. How wonderful it is to just give, give and give.

I learnt a lot about charity work from these individuals and these are the BIG FIVE lessons I have gathered so far.

  1. It gets easier doing it with a team on the condition that you know how to pool and coordinate your resources.
  2. To have money is a huge strength to drive a cause. Without it, it is quite a challenge to get things where they have to be. I am not talking about bribes or anything. It’s just that while in some charitable acts, you may only need manpower – most of those in need requires financial assistance to move forward.
  3. Communication is important. We do not want to upset local authorities that may hinder future efforts. At the same time, we do not want the charitable gestures to be misconstrued. Yes, it can be a form of CSR to companies but lets try not to make it look like a gimmick.
  4. Apart from just offering help, they also actively look and search into the communities for those who are in need. This I feel is important because sometimes the marginalized members of the community may not know how to seek for help in the first place. Even so, some may not have the basic means to do so. They may not have phones, transport or even illiterate. Sedih, kan?
  5. Charity is continuous. Giving is not something they do in Ramadhan or near festive seasons. Their assistance spans throughout the whole year! This requires mental health stamina, support of loved ones, reliable contacts and networking. Not many people could do that but we hear of these 3 NGI’s activities all year round.

I have yet to see a government based NGI doing these on a large scale. Perhaps they are like me – worried of consequences that may tarnish the image of the government. We might step on toes of people who has certain interest in mine. Plus, when you are in a gov sector – everything is tertakluk to arahan and anything you plan to do, you need to have kertas kerja, surat and kelulusan. Even in your private time, you want to go for a holiday overseas, you still need to inform the kementerian. It’s part and parcel of being a civil servant. We respect that requirement.

Hence, if I intend to become an NGI, I must learn to navigate around my responsibilities, red tapes and what not. Jangan dipakaikan baju pada yang miskin, hingga diri sendiri terpaksa berte-lanjang. Know your limitations, educate yourself and learn from those around you. InsyaAllah for every good deed, Allah will bestow His rewards accordingly.

Ramadhan 2020 in the midst of Covid-19

Muslims are unable to perform congregational prayers especially Terawih in this holy month. I am sure other religious practices such as Sunday Mass are equally prohibited for the time being. As for myself, I have been performing Terawih ever since I became a mother – so this is a norm for me. But lately, I banyak tersasar. The mental drain and physical lethargy gets overwhelming towards the evening. I tend to sleep early at night.

There is no Ramadhan bazaar. There are only online options which is a bit limited and risky as in you need to find a reliable seller that sells tasty food as opposed to newbies who just wants to test the water. I miss legit taufu fa and apam balik crispy. I miss ayam percik, nasi kerabu, laksam and nasi dagang. I can’t seem to find sellers that sell less spicy popia sira, kuih bongkol (at least that is how Sarawakians spell it) and delish air kathira.

I ordered online food for Iftar yesterday since I was Working From Home (WFH) from Jaykam Katering Enterprise. I couldn’t really order online on days I work because the runner/rider’s timing might not coincide with mine. I do not want to trouble them in case I don’t reach home on time. Unless they can deliver to the clinic before 5PM. I tried the menu from this seller because I was craving for asam pedas tetel and paru goreng. Ee wanted Laksa Penang as well. On top of that, I tried their Jus Delima (pomegranate juice). The food was very spicy for my Sarawakian taste buds. Even my Malaccan husband had difficulty to tolerate it because he has a low threshold too. I bought other dishes too and I spent RM44 from this seller alone including runner service fee.

I also bought desserts from another vendor but since the food is disappointing, it is best not to leave a review.

My firstborn Ee has managed to fast for one whole day which is an achievement. It has been a few years of ‘half-day’ that we think, as parents it is time to take it up a notch. Thankfully, due to COVID-19 he does not have to endure school in Ramadhan as it is closed. The hot weather and tight schedule might put him off. Yes, it may defeat the purpose of fasting but I’d like my kid to observe fasting as something fun and memorable as a child. Not of pain and punishing.

As for the little one, she has more vocabulary than ever and often copycat her brothers words. She will commence her daycare session probably this Friday with necessary measures, of course. I hope she will be OK.