Hari Raya, happy ke?

Raya is supposed to bring people close together but somehow I felt a bit distanced this year. Perhaps its my self diagnosed cyclothymia. Or just the things left unsaid.

No proper family photo.

No sesi salam2 cium tangan, cium lutut (LOL) mintak ampun. When in fact, I was very enthusiastic in Ramadhan to clean my house and get it sorted for Eid early on. Despite that, I pulled through the festivities. Get those eyebrows don, eyeliner on point, plaster on a fake smile and here we go. Seeking pleasure in the little acts of kindness and sedekah. InsyaAllah.

20190609_162542-collage-012497607529289682686.jpeg

I like giving away duit raya to the kids. It  is not a hefty sum but it’s enough. It is a form of sedekah. We started our morning with light breakfast at my MILs house followed by the Eid prayers. Then, we went to visit my husbands relatives before driving off to my parents house 2 hours away.

I have never actually visited the graves of my grandparents. My parents never brought me. My parents never did the same. They also hardly spoke of them – kinda reminds me of the Pixar movie, COco. Did something happen before that I do not know off? To be honest, the only living grandparent I get to meet for a while was my maternal granddad. I only remember him loving to watch that late night show of WWE wrestling. I have very little memories of him. Hence, when people say he was funny or smart – I am unable to relate.

20190605_141740-012620753245519078808.jpeg

Kuih lapis is almost a must in any Sarawakians home for Hari Raya. Only difference being when you’re a Sarawakian living outside the state, your choice of kuih lapis is a bit less extravagant. We choose those simple straight line design but in Kuching (my hometown), you have all sorts of kuih design laid out on the table.

20190609_162924-collage-014100637543434320152.jpeg

My sister being the 3rd greatest cook in our family invited us over to her house on the 2nd day of Raya. Her menu spread was a fusion of Tganu-Srwk dishes which are Nasi Minyak + Laksa Sarawak. I think we spent about 5 hours at her place eating and eating with solat and movie watching in between. My dad even had an hour nap at her house. We watched The Pool ( A thailand thriller) and what was supposed to be a movie of suspense turned into a comedy once my brothers laced it with their humorous commentaries. Gosh. It was the same when we watched Misteri Delaila. Zul Ariffin became comical when I watched it with my brothers as they laughed at every emotional outbursts this muscular actor’s dialogues.

I had thought that Raya was over after spending 2 nights at my parents place but Mr Husband decided to end the trip with a short excursion to Bayou Lagoon Resort in Melaka. Till the next blog entry yah!

Kuching : Lime Tree Hotel

lime shower, banana fritters and laksa!!

I chose to highlight The LimeTree Hotel strengths through its breakfast selection and their special in-house lime shower gel. For this trip to Kuching, Sarawak I made 2 separate bookings using 2 websites. One is Agoda.Com and the other with AirAsiaGo.Com.

The LimeTree Hotel

Lot 317 Abell Road,
Kuching, Malaysia

 

I used Agoda.Com for my own booking as my flight tickets were already available. I only needed to sort out my accommodation. Through the Insider’s Deal feature on top of an Early Bird (non refundable) discount I managed to book the Deluxe King with City View room at a total cost of RM807.55 (including tax and fees). Its roughly RM143 per night as opposed to its usual RM190 . I planned to stay for 6D5N , so every penny counts. I paid with my credit card and within minutes I was booked. I only had to print the voucher to be presented to the reception later during check in.

Then, I needed to book my mother’s flight + hotel. she also had the same length for stay. so I turned to our very own local NO 1 Best Low cost airline Air Asia. Searching for one person was a tad costly compared to if you were to book for two people. Naturally the less popular flight hours were cheapest, and finally I got to make a booking for her (flight + hotel) at a cost of RM967.26 (including tax and fees). I then tweaked her flight itinerary a bit and ordered inflight meals at a reasonable cost (range Rm9 – Rm15 per meal). We were good to go.

img1468912237667.jpg

CHECKING IN

Standard procedure was to have an ID card of the main client at hand. What wasn’t standard was to also register the 2nd adult guest staying in the same room on the system. This was for extra security measures. I had to remind my mother that she can only bring in one of her sisters to accompany her in her room and not bring all the sisters for a slumber party. She cheekily obliged.

Guests were given only one room key and could only access the floors they are staying on. This also meant that my mother (at level 3) cannot freely stop on our floor (level 2) for a chat in the morning on her way down to the G floor for the breakfast buffet.

My mother had her reservation paid in full online – she had to leave an RM50 deposit during check in.

ROOMS

Impeccably clean with that lovely citrus scent. No complaints. The wardrobe was very tiny though but we made do. If only they had an extra drawer at the dressing table. I guess they were going for a minimalist concept. Ha ha. The showers had strong pressure and it was refreshing to use their in-house lime shower/shampoo gels. My son looked forward to his baths every time.

Each room has access to FREE WIFI. They also have their GREEN WAYS in running the hotel which I totally heart!

Daily complimentary beverages and bottled water was very nice. And they also have an inbuilt universal socket adapter which was very very thoughtful.

BREAKFAST

They have a varied selection to choose from  – asian, western etc.. but they may not necessarily differ on a daily basis. Meaning you will see laksa everyday. Chicken slices everyday. Banana fritters everyday. So guests must refrain themselves from having everything on that one day. Instead, reserve your appetite for a western breakfast every other day or so. Even so, I chose to enjoy the Laksa Sarawak and Banana Fritters every freaking day!! Whoever you have cooking in the kitchen is a keeper!!

wp-1469148796290.jpg

LOCATION

This cute hotel is situated in the city with nearby attractions – what more can I say.

Mr Husband and my mother enjoyed the stay very much.The staff were very helpful. The fact that they want to stay in this hotel again says a lot about its services and facilities. My mother, a very direct 59 year old lady who still loves wearing her leggings even went up to one of the hotel staff (ntah2 owner) and praised the hotel for its very nyaman goreng pisang!

Well Done LimeTree Hotel. keep it up!

EID 2016 : behind the meaning of ‘charity begins at home’

CHARITY BEGINS AT HOME 

I find this phrase constantly misinterpreted or misused by people to alleviate their guilt against being too generous. For instance, when we help Syrian refugees or the homeless in Kuala Lumpur – we are met with ‘haters’ arguing why go so far to help Syria if you could help Mak Ton at the kampung 5KM away. Well.. if you happen to stay near Mak Ton , then go ahead, no one is stopping you from taking action as opposed to just being ‘kesian’. There is no need to categorise Charity and make people choose.

Every NGI or samaritan has different goals and purposes – at least they are helping to make a difference to that one life they come across. The above phrase should not be made to support ‘kera di hutan disusukan, anak sendiri mati kelaparan ‘. It just shouldn’t. The latter proverb was meant to demonstrate a person being selfish or unable to prioritise. That is not charity.

This year I made my annual holiday visit back to my hometown Kuching, Sarawak. We stayed at LimeTree Hotel (a special entry on that later)

img1468911623375.jpg

As usual, it was a visit very joyful and boisterous since I brought my mother along. I wanted her to be happy and being able to see her siblings and other relatives there. We practically drove her everywhere and everyone she wanted to meet. Naturally, we met a lot of people from all walks of life – some well to do, the rest not so much. Some have happy families, a few are broken to pieces.

img1468911343867.jpg

Each house visit or ‘berjarah’ as we call it – was a life lesson to learn and digest for my family and I.

Lesson on Patience

This was perhaps the numero uno lesson we learnt multiple times. We had to endure long hours of elderly folks tale which were reminisced as far back to the 1940s. We had a hard time differentiating facts from fiction as we were unsure whether the storyteller had dementia to begin with. Not only that, the ‘laughing session’ too was difficult to go through as the same jokes were repeated from one house to another especially when we were visiting the same string of siblings house. But we understood that this was one of the few forms of elderly entertainment one gets when technology and apps like FaceBook or Twitter is so alien to them. The stories weren’t a bore, in fact rather entertaining – just on loop mode.

And of course we had to be patient when people started asking us about a second child or specializing. Not that we haven’t been warned by social media but this is something youngsters nowadays must be prepared to put up with. Older generations have no malicious intent when they ask these things – its just part of the conversation. There is no need to retaliate by asking them back, ‘you’re getting old – when are you dying?'” as suggested by some social media accounts. Kau ni biadap ke apa? Tkde rasa kasih pada orang lebih berumur?

Once we grasp the idea of being patient – we knew better to hold our tongue and construct our sentences in a polite tone. It does not hurt to be gracious. Even my young son Ee is learning to withhold his innocent urges. One night, during a house visit, he was so sleepy and wanted to go home but knowing that his grandmother was still in the middle of an amusing conversation with the other guests – he did not threw a fit and forced everyone to go home instantaneously. He did not say ‘dah.. jom jom’ out loud. Instead, he whispered to Mr Husband that he was tired and such. Mr Husband acknowledged his problem and muttered a response that he’ll need to be patient and we will leave once Grandmother’s done. My son waited quietly at the chair and we allowed him to exercise his patience too for a while (like another 10 mins) before finally signalling to my mother that we really need to go home.

Lesson on ‘listening more’

Sometimes we forget that those elderly relatives we are visiting were once young people just like we are. If they were previously English speaking executives – you would most likely still hear them conversing in English. apa ingat dah tua.. cakap Melayu jak?

Thus it is interesting to see how with age their perceptions on life becomes more relaxed and less materialistic. Yes, importance of continuous education be it in a formal institution or on the streets are emphasized even more. So are values of being a woman when it comes to raising a family. But now apart from talking about their glory days they too impart crucial advice about living life itself. To explore. To travel. To have proper human interactions – we had to praise ourselves for not checking on our handphones frequently as we immerse ourselves in their stories and such.

Lessons on Charity

Charity does not always have to come in the form of alms or money. It should instead be cultivated as a state of mind. The act of being kind and benevolent to each other. And this is something we can teach ourselves and our children.

Empathy is Charity. If we could put ourselves in a less fortunate persons shoes we soon learn that we tend to have more than them. And that we could help them improve their lives in one way or another. These help can be in the form of advice, motivation, yepp.. monetary aid or at times as simple as lending an ear or a shoulder to cry on.

Diligence is Charity. When you care about your job, perform your duties well and dare to take on bigger responsibilities  – that is also a form of charity. Especially when others could benefit from it. Imagine a diligent book keeper in a small town takes great pride in his choices of book collections and magazine choices – he is not only doing something that he loves but also sharing that with his town members as he leads them to discover useful interesting literature around them.

Or take a shopkeeper in a small town who prouds himself selling fresh fish and vegetable to the customers daily. He not only will gain financial profit for his business but unconsciously will set a trend of healthy eating among the people in his town. It may seem like something of no choice at first, but later people will thank him for helping them keep on a good heart and low cholesterol levels (medically speaking)

Righteousness is Charity. Which is something really hard to get by these days – adab and akhlak. A moral compass. Us younger generations are trapping ourselves into the web of championing human rights and all sort of #fightfor manifestos that we sometimes end up breaking the hearts of our parents or teachers who taught us morals not through self help  or parenting books but from examples and hand down family values.

Righteousness may not have a theory or hypothesis behind it – sometimes its just an act of doing something with well meaning intentions which makes you feel ‘right’ about it. And accepted by the major public.

And these are things you can learn and teach at home -starting from the young to the eldest member of the family. The next time you think about the phrase

CHARITY STARTS AT HOME

treat it as something along the lines of

MELENTUR BULUH BIAR DARI REBUNGNYA

Eid Mubarak 2016 : Bringing Sarawak to Malacca

“Selamat Hari Raya”
There’s a lot of greetings like above going on for the past few days as Ramadhan comes to an end. I will miss the time when we learn to solidify the traits of self-control and self-discipline. A time when we re-learn what and who to prioritize over wordly matters.

I enjoyed this years Ramadhan very much. I felt that the opportunities to do good were abundant – it was only a matter of whether I opt to grab these rewards or otherwise. There were times I got too tried after a shift – that I missed Sahr. Thank God that was only one time. Most times I find that I could actually wake up early to sort out the household and perform Tahajud prayers if I want to. Insya-Allah.. now I only have to make it a routine.

I also love Eid this year as my parents are coming over to my place for the celebration. In fact, my whole family will be staying here for a few days to join in the fun of beraya in Malacca.
wp-1467870095844.jpg

My little family is in red this year. Mr Husband bought our outfits during Raya Eve. Yay.. Free baju. He he..

After the routine Solat Raya and salam2 cium lutut – the whole family followed my husbands family to go house-hopping at the relatives and basically Eat. My father was concerned that it would be odd to have strangers (referring to themselves) barging in to another persons house but really – they are not total strangers at all. They have met before – when Mr Husband asked for my hand in marriage bringing his rombongan from Malacca to our house for the merisik ceremony. In a way – they would know each other. Then he was more relaxed. And he had the most fun – it was evident judging from the amount of food he ate.

We enjoyed rendang, kuah kacang, sate. Mother made her special Sarawakian Raya dish – Daging Masak Hitam. A sweet beef dish adorned with raisins. It was so good.. I did not want to share with guests. He he..

wp-1467870244636.jpg

The 1st day of Eid passed by really fast. Our energy levels were draining by the end of the day despite eating and drinking at every house we went to. Ironic right?

Did you guys do anything special for Eid?

Raya Aidilfitri 2015

Raya Aidilfitri this year was rezeki. I initially volunteered to be oncall on the 2nd day of Eid but something happened and I was somewhat rewarded with a day off on that day. My oncall slot was replaced by another colleague. It was in fact a swap as I became the bidan terjun for his call the weekend before.

Our little family’s theme was Turquoise. It was a decision made last year. Who knew it was a popular choice this year especially with the #makkohijau thing-y going on. We have also decided for the colour theme next year. ha ha.

11139378_10206590282812454_1221591580541407863_n

We celebrated the Raya morning at my in laws house – Mr Husbands kampung which was literally 5 minutes away. Ha ha.. bless Hazeeq for having his grandparents nearby. We performed the Eid prayers and continued with breakfast. It was also my nieces birthday , so a round of birthday cake it was.

We went in a convoy to visit relatives around Malacca and the kids collected their duit raya happily. Hazeeq alone managed to collect a total of RM400.00 over the 3 days of Raya celebration. Very generous people – thank you.

raya1

Since I was not oncall on the 2nd of Raya, Mr Husband suggested we go visit my parents and stay the night. My mother made the usual Ayam Masak Merah & Daging Hitam. Then, together with my parents we went to pay a visit to an old neighbour in Damansara – a place where I grew up in my early childhood years.

11752173_10206601584494989_1660245124425255086_n

3rd Raya was more entertaining. It was in Segamat – my MIL’s hometown. Every year her siblings would organize this family/hari raya gathering day. it’s a half day event filled with nonetheless eating and drinking, sukaneka, colouring competitions, medical screening, lucky draws & such. It felt weird the first time round but it felt more natural years after. I honestly secretly enjoy the activities.

My 3 year old boy participated in the colouring contest. He did not win of course but it was ‘exposure to competition‘. He did however won the Spongebob competition – where the toddler soaks the sponge and squeeze it in a cup. Any father-son team who got the most water in their cup wins. They received a hamper and boy he was overjoyed. Ha ha.

raya

3 days was enough for our Raya this year. Mr husband needed to get back to his work as well. Alhamdulilah for the time well spent with our families.