How Long I Have Been Married

Daisypath Anniversary tickers

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Time To Start Writing Again...

Dear All,

I can't believe it's been almost two years since I last updated my blog.

Believe me, too much has happened to me since then that I now have enough material to blog about for eternity (okay, that was an exaggeration).

Bottom line, let's just say that I have a lot of free time at the moment to write. So write I shall.

Stick around. You won't be sorry...

Friday, July 27, 2012

Back Again, For Now

Hi there valued readers.

It's been too long since I last posted anything in my blog.

You can probably sneeze as a result of inhaling too much virtual dust collecting on this page.

My hiatus is supported by a very valid reason. I've been buried with work, hahahaha. The oldest excuse in the world.

Nonetheless, a lot of has happened in the past one year or so and I hope to share it all with you, InsyaAllah (God willing).

To all muslims who happened to stumbled upon this blog and this post, I guess it's still not too late to wish you all Happy Ramadhan Al-Mubarak.

Watch this space....

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Let me ask you this. And please answer truthfully, for your own sake. When was the last time you actually picked up the phone (or nowadays your handheld devices whatever that may be) just to say hi to your mom or dad? “Have you eaten dad?” or “How’s the new medication working mom?” or even a simple “Missed you.”

Yeah, you hesitated. It’s been quite a while right? Here you are, working at some swanky office tower in the capital’s central business district which is probably only a mere 20 or 30 minute drive from your folks residence, and you don’t even remember the last time you checked on them, unless you had some favour to ask of them, which is usually the case for a lot of urban Gen Xs and Gen Ys at this day and age.

No offence. What I just said is just a general observation and not directed to you point blank because for all we know, you are one of those rare breeds who still see their parents a few times a week, if not daily, ensuring that the bond is stronger than oak, as the Americans would put it. Which is good. Good because at a time when people are more occupied with the latest apps they could download for their iPads, it is alarmingly obvious that their expensive communication devices are rendered useless for failure to hit the eight digits which connects them to the two people who brought them into existence to this world.

I have learnt a long time ago to appreciate what my parents have done for me. Yes, all of us at one time wanted to run away from home when we couldn’t take their naggings due to our stupid rebellious teenage stands and beliefs. But when we reflect back, it seems that we were pretty stupid indeed back then, thinking we knew what was best for us, when the fact is, they knew better for us. As the saying goes – mom knows best. And dad too.

As I turn 38 this year, with two fast growing kids aged 10 and 7, I have painfully realized the pain-staking ordeal my parents had to go through to raise me when I was my kids’ age. That realization alone is enough to make me constantly aware of the necessity to reciprocate their love. Their unconditional love which we all seem to take for granted.

Our parents won’t be around for too long now. We need to savior every spare moment we can with them. If you find it difficult to do so, then you might regret it for the rest of your life because you didn’t have a chance to say thanks dad or thanks mom for:

1. Still buying you that ridiculously expensive Stefan Edberg Adidas tennis shirt in 1989 when you knew dad was a bit short that month.
2. Agreeing to buy a steeper priced Sony Walkman because the cheaper Hitachi Personal Stereo dad initially bought wasn’t cool enough for you in 1990.
3. For putting some sense in your head after your nonsense “I Love Her!” remark when you were only 17 and didn’t even know what the hell you just yelled at mom and dad who knew that the gal was trouble.
4. For paying through the nose for your education and to ensure you get that scroll which hopefully paves way for a good job.
5. For giving you the benefit of the doubt when you say this is the girl you want to marry.
6. For paying for the wedding reception. And the honeymoon too.
7. For willingly assisting to care for your kids because you wanted peace of mind which day care centres or nurseries couldn’t offer. When supposedly, they should already be free to gallivant wherever they please, be it at Bukit Bintang or Oxford Street.
8. For bailing you out more than once when you were in financial quagmire, despite you already earning your own wages.
9. For accommodating your junk of yesteryears collecting dust in dad’s basement storage room.
10. For believing in you, no matter how shallow your behavior is.

And I assure you, it doesn’t stop at 10. The list is non-exhaustive.

So there, ample testimony that you can’t quantify unconditional love showered by our parents to us. In the parent-child relationship, it is always lopsided, in favour of the child. Once we hit our teenage years, we no longer love our parents unconditionally. We are not being fair to them because rain or shine, mom and dad will still love us unconditionally, unless under some extra-ordinary circumstances, they renounce or disown you – which means you must be a real jerk. Which is highly unlikely because I’ve seen parents who still accept their son with open arms after spending a few in years in jail for committing a capital crime.

Why not change that. Why not we love them unconditionally too, and not just when dad help to settle your maxed out credit card or advance your down-payment for that turbo hatchback you craved for.

I am speaking from experience (of myself and others I know). So it is not me simply making judgements on others. We can make that change, and don’t expect our parents to change to suit us. They’ve done too much already and it is too much to ask them to do more.

It’s our turn now.

Take them out for teh tarik or something tonight. Or if they live in another city, town or village, make plans to look them up this weekend.

Just do it. Before you drown in your own pool of regret tears, by their final resting place. Before you start playing the torturing What If game.

Say hi to your folks for me, will you….

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Rediscovering Penang, The Island of My Maternal Grandparents

Penang is naturally close to my heart for the simple reason that my maternal grandparents called it home after my grandfather retired in the early 80s. On top of that, my mom's younger siblings all married Penangites, so the blood ties with the island once called Prince of Wales Island is strong in our family.

The demise of my late grandfather last year meant that the only family ties left on the island are my uncles and aunts whom also chose Penang as their home. I am determined not to dilute those ties by attempting to swing by as regularly as I can. Furthermore, my grandparent's final resting place are just next to each other at Masjid Jamek Sg. Gelugor not far from their residence in Minden Heights (next to the Universiti Sains Malaysia campus).
However, have to admit that my work schedule and own family commitments in KL sort of prevented me from going up north as often as I would have liked.

I think the last time I came was in March 2009, when my grandfather passed away. Yeah, that was the last time I really visited Penang. Subsequent visits to the island from that point onwards was merely for transfer from the Bayan Lepas International Airport to the mainland of Seberang Prai Utara or further up to Sg. Petani, Kedah; strictly work-related.

Hence I was determined to give the island of my maternal grandparents what's due - a full-fledged visit. And it couldn't be even more fitting that to bring my wife and kids for our year-end family vacation to Penang, before school re-opens in a week's time.

It was kind of spontaneous, and I thanked my wife for making all the arrangements. We reserved a beautiful junior suite at the swanky and contemporary Hydro Hotel perched on a hilltop overlooking Miami Beach, one of the sub-beaches sandwiched between Shamrock Beach and Golden Sands Beach, collectively known as, yeah you guessed it - Batu Ferringhi.

My daughters Farisya and Azureen were of course excited. Any place with a swimming pool excites them.

We travelled to Penang on Christmas Eve, on Friday evening. I would have love to leave earlier but my wife who is now a senior government educator had some work to do (she is an SPM paper examiner this time around), so we only managed to hit the road at around 4.00 pm. The entire journey took 6 hours, with a one-hour pit stop at the Sg. Perak R&R area for refuelling and early dinner.

We finally checked-in at Hydro Hotel, Penang at 10.00 pm, as I was what the Americans say "Doggone Tired." I slept like a log that night.

Our hotel - Hydro Hotel, Miami Beach, Batu Ferringhi, Penang

The following day, on Christmas, our first official day at Penang, we decided to play real tourists by rediscovering the island I once frequented as a boy, teen and young adult. But being me, I refused to succumb to the usual garden-variety tourist spots, because I am not a tourist, I am a traveller.

Even before leaving KL, I already knew one place which I wanted to visit - the newly restored Suffolk House at Jalan Air Itam, which was once the former residence of the Governor-General of Penang (then known as Prince of Wales Island) during the reign of our British colonial masters.

So, we paid a visit to Suffolk House which is now managed by an NGO known as Badan Warisan. The sight that met us was breathtaking. It is indeed a magnificient mansion, with a well-manicured lawn surrounding it, and the Air Itam river flowing dramatically besides it. Well, the river looks more like a polluted stream nowadays. I am sure it was crystal blue 250 years ago.

Suffolk House, which was once doomed after decades of neglect, has been restored to its full grandeur through an intensive fund raising campaign by the Penang Heritage Trust. I regretted not taking a better picture of the house with its lovely manicured lawn as the foreground.

Anyway, there is some dispute regarding the actual history of the house. The most consistent version is that it was built by who else than Captain Francis Light, the British East India Company officer who founded Penang in 1786. It is highly likely as Light hailed from Dallinghoo of Suffolk County, East Anglia, hence he aptly named the mansion Suffolk House to remind him of his home country back in England.

The house back then was built within Captain Light's pepper plantation and the naval captain resided there for about eight years before he died of malaria. The British Empire then took full control of the house, making it the official residence of its Governor General for Penang, and even at one time, for the Governor General of the Straits Settlement.

In the years that followed, Suffolk House continued to be the grand old lady of Penang, playing host to numerous social and official events of the British Empire until the 1920s when the Crown decided to sell off the property to a local Penangite, Lim Cheng Teik, presumably a tycoon of the island at that time. That marked the start of the house' downfall as it was then in turn sold off by Lim in 1928 to the Methodist Church of Malaya for the purpose of constructing a Methodist missionary school. In fact, the church petitioned to demolish the house to make way for the school complex but fortunately, the Penang Municipal Councillors at that time rejected the motion. Instead, the church built the school adjacent to the house which still stands until today.

World War 2 then followed where the house was used by the Japanese military administration and after that, the era of neglect began. For some cruel reason, the house was left to rot and declared unsafe for occupation in 1975 as deteriorating conditions hit the peak, on the verge of collapsing.

Fast forward to the year 2000 where restoration efforts officially kicked-off by a group known as the Penang Heritage Trust, with full support of the Penang State Government and I believe also with the blessings of the Federal Government.

View at the top floor of the house, with its magnificient pillars and wide verandahs, typical of colonial mansions built at the height of the British Empire

Fund raising was a monumental challenge as the State government only granted sufficient funds for structural reinforcement. The rest was up to generous contributions by various quarters which trickled in slowly but surely. Just when all hope was lost in completing the restoration, HSBC Bank came to rescue by injecting a cool RM2.5 million which assured the rejuvenation and reincarnation of Suffolk House. It opened its doors to the public early last year and charges RM10 as admission fee. Fair enough as they would need all the money to maintain this grand and stately home.

(To be continued...)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

My New Year's Resolution(s)

Since it's been almost a month since I posted anything in this pathetic blog of mine, I thought best if I shared my New Year's resolution considering that 2011 is just around the corner.

Just to recap, I think 2010 was a great year for me, careerwise, as I completed my first year at my current position (since my promotion in October 2009) and personal wise too in terms of my travelling as I clocked a new personal best of three overseas trips in January (Phuket; Thailand), July (Bali; Indonesia) and earlier this month (Krabi; Thailand).

However, it was quite a challenging year in terms of me managing my deterioting relationship with my wife of 11 years, though of late, I am pleased to report that things are slowly but surely getting better.

Anyway, here's my 2011 resolution which I pledge to attempt to do :

1. Worry less about the wellbeing of someone whom I really care about at the office as she already has a husband to do that job.
2. Focus more on patching things up with my wife by really cracking my head to come up with ideas to re-ignite the fire of romance which for some cruel reason has been lost after more than a decade of marriage.
3. Increase my savings for rainy days ahead.
4. Give more attention to my kids who will be in Year 4 and Year 1 of primary school especially in helping them with their homework.
5. Be a better leader and manager of my department by upskilling / equipping myself with all the necessary leadership elements / parameters / qualities set by my employer.
6. To spend less on expensive lunches and after work drinks.
7. To catch up on my reading - less fiction and more self-help books.
8. To lose a significant amount of weight by committing to a workout regime which includes a diet regime in tandem.
9. To focus, cherish and savour the company of true friends who really care about you rather than harbour hope to be inducted into the circle of friends of individuals who don't really care about you and just obliged to be nice to you because you are their superior or colleagues.
10. To rely less on my most capable subordinate so that I won't be so miserable in her long absence sometime next year.
11. To take my wife and kids to Gold Coast, Australia.

There it is, 11 resolutions for 2011.

May the force be with me...

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Saying Thanks, When It Matters Most

Is it so difficult to say thanks?

Do you say thanks to the toll booth operator each time you pay the highway concessionaire for passage to wherever it is you're going?

Do you says thanks to the cashier at the window of the fast food drive-thru for reuniting you with your favourite burger, fries and soft drink?

Do you say thanks to the gentlemen that held open the door for you to pass through?

Do you says thanks to the pump attendant who just filled your tank so that you get to continue your journey?

Do you says thanks to the flight attendants who provided that award-winning service which made your long-haul bearable?

Do you says thanks to your husband for taking out the thrash religiously every night eventhough his favourite tv series has started?

Do you say thanks to your wife for frying the rice for you at 6.00 am so that you can share it with your office mates at the pantry at 8.30 am?

Do you say thanks to your boss for allowing you to leave the office a little earlier so that you can get ready for the concert you're watching that night?

Do you say thanks to your secretary for preparing your mileage claim so that you get some extra cash while waiting for your next pay cheque?

Do you say thanks to your kids for still loving you unconditionally even if you came home late from work and forgot to buy the doughnuts they wanted?

Do you say thanks to your friend who is still willing to give you the benefit of the doubt under the most bizzare of circumstances?

Do you say thanks to someone who is willing to go the extra mile for you and ask next to nothing in return?

Do you?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Power Of Facebook and A Great Love Story

I bumped into my senior from varsity days this morning while having breakfast. Apparently, he has just been relocated by his company to the identical sister tower of where I work.

It was really good to see him again after 15 years. Actually, I have been communicating with him via text messages and Facebook prior to this, but we never had the time to actually meet up. Now that he's based here where I work, I guess we'll be seeing each other more often.

Anyway, he confided to me that he married his campus sweetheart earlier this year (second wife) after being apart for 15 years too! And amazingly, they were reunited via, yes you guessed it - Facebook!

My senior, Mr Z is really a lucky son of a gun. According to him, his first wife agreed to him marrying his old flame without much fuss (hmm, I find this hard to believe). Well, maybe a pot or pan flew across the kitchen before she finally agreed to sign the consent form. But nonetheless, he is now a member of the coveted "Double Barrel Club". Haha.

Anyway, what I want to share is how romantic and dramatic Mr Z got to be reunited with his old flame via FB. Apparently, after his old flame got divorced (after only 4 or 5 years of marriage if my calculations are correct), she frantically searched for Mr Z for the past 10 years but to no avail.

And then as well all know, Harvard dropout Mark Zuckerberg created FB (why do all these geniuses drop out from Ivy League universities??) So, with FB, Mr Z's old flame finally managed to locate him.

It was a sad love story for Mr Z in 1996, during his final year at varsity. His girlfriend (the old flame) dumped him without explanation and it almost killed him. He lost a lot of weight and the pinacle of his sorrows was when he met with a road accident which broke his collar bone.

The old flame married someone else which as we all know by now, ended with divorce.

Mr Z on the other hand moved on and met his first wife. And who would have figured after close to 15 years, Mr Z would be in touch again with his old flame via FB. The old flame left her phone number in FB and it took two days for Mr Z to make that magic phone call.

Mr Z told me that when they finally met, the first two hours was filled with cursing by Mr Z, demanding the old flame to explain why she dumped him 15 years ago without any valid reasons. I guess she owed Mr Z that much after all these years. Because if memory serves me right, Mr Z met with the accident as a result of driving under depression because of his broken heart. Or was it driving under influence, hehehehe.

They were married one month later. Amazing, right?

Both Mr Z and his second wife must be forever grateful to Mark Zuckerberg for creating FB.

And Mark Zuckerberg had better not announced his travel plans to Malaysia in the future, because probably a frying pan would greet his forehead at KLIA....