Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Sayang

Aiden, my witty 5 year old.

This scene has been repeating itself a few times, although with slightly different circumstances:

Me: Aiden, cepat la Sayang!
Aiden: Sayang?
Me: Yes, sayang!
Aiden: But sayang is goat!
Me: Mmmbbeeekkk (stupid response cos mummy just cannot be bothered to ask further, suspecting that it's probably his over imaginative mind!)

But tonight, he added, "My mandarin teacher said so!" And so I googled it. Anddddd yes, Shฤnyรกng means goat in Mandarin!!! Sorry Aiden, no wonder you act offended every time I call you Sayang - apparently I've been calling you a goat! Poor boy, I was not mandarin-savvy enough to understand it earlier!

#basicmandarin
#kindyistoughnowadays

Thursday, August 21, 2014

First Day of Eid 2014

Selamat Hari Raya everyone! Although this wish is probably three weeks too late, I hope you and your family had a blessed Eid Mubarak and a wonderful year ahead.

We celebrated our Eid in Ipoh this year. Since we departed Teluk Intan only after break of fast (and another session of fireworks!), we arrived in Ipoh close to midnight. The next day, it was no easy task trying to get the kids to wake up. They were both cranky due to the lack of sleep. In the end Hubby left without us to perform Solat Aidilfitri, and left the daunting task of getting the kiddos ready to yours truly. Thankfully I still had the maid with us then - so she got Ian ready while I attempted to get Aiden out of bed. I even had to promise duit raya to Aiden to coax him to get into the shower!

Finally, we got everyone ready and once Hubby returned, we started the day with breakfast. My favourite part about celebrating Eid in Ipoh - the nasi minyak, rendang pedas with lontong, lemang jagung and last but not least, the oh-so-sinful kurma kambing! Okay, I am drooling as I am typing this. After the very satisfying breakfast, everyone headed to Opah's living hall for the customary salam and minta maaf and ampun (to forgive and seek forgiveness) session. Since we had so many people in the room, in the end, each family took a corner for themselves then everyone took turns going to each family to ask for forgiveness and receive/give duit raya.

This was our corner. Hubby holding a stack of money envelopes, but only for the deserving! Money envelopes courtesy of KiddyBounce.
The only brother to receive duit raya from us this year. Everyone else is either working or married!
Our turn to ask for forgiveness from my stepmother. Ian was more than happy to munch on his duit raya.
A custom in the family. Everyone crowds around whilst someone throws money and the crowd is expected to fight for the money! Kids are strictly not allowed to participate - way too dangerous! 

After that, my Papa came and it was our turn to beraya with him. Aiden obediently went forward to salam first in anticipation of a big fat money packet from his grandfather! Guess what he plans to buy with all his duit raya? A brand spanking new iPad! Aaaahhh kids nowadays - so technologically savvy!

Tok kira duit raya!
Aiden must be thinking, "New iPad, come to me"!
The only reason why this picture is in this blog post is for me to show you how my baju raya looks like from the back. Full buttons all the way! Although those buttons are actually just for show, there is actually a zip at the back. *grin* I'm loving my new tailor!
Ian's turn!
Trying to get Ian to pose with his grandfather, especially since they both share the same birth date.
Family photo with my Papa. Ian was not amused!
Posing with the bigger family.
Our family - although Ian practically refused to look at the camera.
Us. Without shoes!
My three boys.
Selfie addicts!
I have to admit, I am actually quite satisfied with the wash and blow from the Teluk Intan salon! Can repeat this next year.

After all the camwhoring, we joined Papa for a second round of food (oh the calories!) and then waited for Hubby's family to arrive. Yes, they decided to take the short drive up to Ipoh to visit their besan.

Finally! A smile from the usually somber Ian.
Aiden trying to kecek duit raya from his favourite Datuk!
Collecting more money towards his new iPad funds!
Driving to Papa's house with my in-laws.
Hubby's family, clad in Tiffany Blue.
I was absolutely enjoying the udang galah made by my stepmother, that I didn't even notice this candid shot.

After visiting my Papa, we followed the rest of Hubby's family visiting relatives in Ipoh. By the time we got back to my stepmother's house, it was quite late, but we decided to still drive home to Shah Alam. Home sweet home, nothing can beat sleeping in your own bed!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Post Eid Long Hiatus

Sorry peeps, after blogging quite religiously for the past few months, I seem to have fallen to my old habit of neglecting this blog again.

As I expected, the Eid week was a really busy week for me, especially with the maid being off for 4 days (I repeat 4 days!!) hence I became the Bibik of the house for that week! My chores for the week included picking up after the three boys, preparing breakfast and lunch (by dinner I usually call it quits and just beg Hubby to take us out), washing and sterilizing the countless number of milk bottles (really, Ian - how many times do you have to drink in a day??!!), feeding Ian, washing poop, bathing the kiddos, washing dishes and even wiping the floor (because I was too lazy to take out the mop). Thank god I didn't need to do any laundry or ironing - I made sure everyone wore whatever was already in the closet, and gleefully handed over a basket full of laundry to the maid when she came back.

Apart from that, we spent all our weekends before Raya doing our last minute shopping.We went to PKNS three times - once because the brilliant tailor managed to lose Aiden's baju Melayu, a second time to see if he managed to find the lost baju, and a third time to tell him to just forget it -  we would just buy ready made baju Melayu for the two boys. Then we had to go get a matching songket for Hubby in Jalan TAR. Then I proclaimed that the bekas kuih raya at home didn't match our dining table, so Hubby and I managed to get new ones at OU. Thank god I had splurged on Aiden and Ian's baju raya back when we were in Houston last year (Ian wasn't even born back then!), so at least we didn't have to do that this year. Last but not least was picking up my baju Raya from my tailor. I tried a new tailor this year, and although she slipped from her original promise of getting everything ready before Ramadhan, at least she delivered everything a week before Eid. As for my normal tailor, she charged me a bomb this year - I totally lost it, I collected everything I had with her, paid her in full and severed all ties with her. Depressing - maybe I should just stick to ready made clothes in the future.

Anyway, before I blog about our Eid, let me recap our balik kampung trip to Teluk Intan. Since this year is my turn to decide where we would spend first day of Eid, I decided that we would follow Hubby's family balik kampung in Teluk Intan and then drive to Ipoh the night before Eid so that we could spend first day of Eid with my Papa.

On the way to Teluk Intan. We were stuck in a massive traffic jam, it took us 4 hours to arrive!
Bullying Ian whilst stuck in the traffic jam.
We spent two days in Teluk Intan. Aiden obviously enjoyed himself, although it was quite funny hearing Aiden attempting to speak in Malay (with his cousins). Since there was no network coverage in the kampung house, I gave up on connecting to Facebook or Instagram and simply left my phone in my handbag. The house didn't even have Astro so I had to watch the free channels on TV. So my days were usually spent with helping the ladies in the house prepare for break of fast, prepare food for Eid, watch free national TV, shop at the Pasar Ramadhan, and I even managed to squeeze in a trip to the local salon for a wash and blow!

Preparing Abah's special rendang ayam.

My favourite part about Teluk Intan is their local Pasar Ramadhan. It is located close to the Malaysian version of the leaning tower of Pisa - the Menara Condong Teluk Intan. Although you don't get as many choices as you could expect in KL, two local delicacies definitely made the trip worthwhile.

Acting like tourists -  this is the Menara Condong Teluk Intan.

Local delicacy #1 - Mee Rebus and Rojak Mastan Ghani. 

Different from KL, the definition of rojak in Teluk Intan is a fruit and vegetable salad dish, whilst mee rebus is what we KL-ites call rojak mee, i.e. yellow mee with the tauhu goreng and tempe and such. Well at least that is what I call it. Anyway, their mee rebus is scrumptious! There are two Mastan Ghani restaurants here (the stall in the bazaar is only available during Ramadhan), so if you are ever in the area and interested to try this local dish, ask for kuah campur - a combination of kuah kacang and kuah rojak.


Seriously, they should make this a franchise and bring it into KL!
There was a long line when we arrived, but service was very quick. Probably because they even ask you to kopek your own eggs! *grin*

Local delicacy #2 - Ais Bandung Menara Condong. 

One word - wow! Seriously, this sirap bandung is not the same as the one you concoct at home. This one actually has santan (coconut milk) in it! So creamy and really refreshing, especially after a long day of fasting. I don't know where you can get this outside of the bazaar, but some say that they have a stall close to the Menara Condong.

Check out the big weird looking pot that they use to make the sirap bandung. The drink is packed in long plastic bags, similar to the ones you use to pack Roti John.

Also, my favourite part about Teluk Intan is the crowd and the fireworks! Growing up as an only child with only my Mum, my previous Eids were typically very quiet. I only understood the meaning of balik kampung after joining Hubby's family. Sleeping camping style and wrestling for the blanket came as part and parcel of this balik kampung deal. Our nights counting down to Eid would be spent playing fireworks together, and lawan mercun (a competition to see who has the loudest and biggest fireworks) with folks from nearby houses.

However, this year I managed to coax Hubby to check into a hotel as I wasn't quite comfortable sleeping with Ian and even breastfeeding with everyone else in the same room. But that didn't prevent us from playing fireworks!

This year we even managed to get Aiden to contribute in the line up. He "wrote" the letter I and number 1 - which explains the height difference!
Family competition to see which family could come up with the most creative firework design!

So that was how we spent the days before Eid. Stay tuned for my next post about our first day of Eid in Ipoh!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Using my BMW White Card at the Plaza Premium Lounge

One of the perks of the BMW White Card is the complimentary use of the Plaza Premium Lounges, available at selected airports around Malaysia. Last week I decided to try the lounge at the Johor Senai airport on the way home from one of my trips to the yard. Since it was still Ramadhan back then, it I wasn't the food that attracted me. Rather, it was the shower facility that I wanted to try out.

After a long day of meetings and site visit at Pasir Gudang, I welcomed the idea of being able to take a shower before boarding the airplane. Imagine walking around site during fasting month - my throat was parched and my body was icky and sweaty. Also, I was heading for buka puasa at the Sama Sama Hotel near KLIA as soon as I touched down KL, so I desperately needed a shower to freshen up for the benefit of my colleagues who were dining with me! 

Before that, here's a lovely Lego model of the project I am working on right now. Pretty creative, right?

Proud to work towards installing the first TLP in Malaysia.

The model is placed in the client office at the yard.

Site visit during fasting month. Definitely not something I want to do again!

We left the site at 430pm - by the time we got through the traffic, we arrived at the airport just slightly under an hour later. Check-in was smooth and I immediately headed to the Plaza Premium Lounge, located on the first floor, just beside the escalator after the luggage scan and immigration check point. I simply had to flash my BMW White Card. They registered my details, checked my boarding pass and I had to sign a receipt that stated I was using my card for entry. 

The lounge was practically empty except for one person watching TV while another was working on his laptop while munching on lounge snacks. I asked for a towel to shower but was quite surprised when they immediately replied that they had "just run out towels". However, I was quite adamant about taking a shower, so I urged them to check whether they had hand towels which I could use. They then checked - and barely two minutes after, they handed me a towel saying that they "found" one. Really! I had a feeling that they didn't want me to shower or messing their shower room - I mean, how can a practically deserted lounge like that run out of towels??!! Quite illogical if you ask me.


Entrance to the lounge.
Light snacks, and a very comfortable high table which you can use to work on your laptop while eating.

Part of the lounge area - completely deserted.

Anyway, I grabbed my towel and headed to the ladies. The sink area is actually separated by a door from the toilet and shower room. Since there were no ladies in sight in the lounge, I actually locked the door after the sink area, giving me full privacy and use of the toilet and shower room. The shower room was dry and clean, and it came with a water heater. There was also a soap dispenser in the shower room, but since I had my toiletries with me I didn't need to use it. 


The sink area and the door leading to the toilet and shower room.

The shower room - water heater included!

After a quick shower, I changed into clean clothes, applied make up then went back into the lounge sitting area. There, I plugged in my laptop, settled down and used the free wi-fi to update my blog. Soon after that, the lounge staff announced that my flight was ready for boarding.

Blogging! And this is how the BMW White Card looks like.

The BMW White Card is given free to BMW owners who purchased their car from an authorized dealer (such as Auto Bavaria, Ingress) and is valid for 3 years. I think you can choose to extend your membership after the 3rd year by paying a nominal fee. Other than using it at the Plaza Premium Lounge, I have used it previously to buy discounted tickets to Aquaria, Petrosains and even to get a discount for food at Serai and Alexis. I have also used it to gain free entry to the CIMB Classic golf tournament (and saw Tiger Woods close up)!

Anyway, here are a list of Plaza Premium Lounges within Malaysia where you can use your BMW White Card:

  • Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA)
  • Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA2)
  • Kota Kinabalu International Airport
  • Kuching International Airport
  • Penang International Airport
  • Langkawi International Airport
  • Senai International Airport

My transportation home. Even after MH370 and MH17, I am still loyal to MAS.
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