Wednesday, January 28, 2009

of cencaluk and budu

Variousness of things - Part 2

Previously,I ve posted an article on variousness of languages,dialects and slangs in Malaysia.In this Part 2,I d write on the variousness of dishes in Malaysia.

Mixing the budu(anchovy juice)

A combination of Johorean,Kelantanese and Kedahan dishes; fried tempe(fermented soya bean),curry prawn,budu(anchovy juice) eat with ikan cencaru or keronge and ulam-ulaman.I seldom cook as many dishes as these unless my children and other half are back.

My other half mixing and processing the budu.My youngest just couldnt wait..has started eating first.

One good thing about moving around so much is you get to taste a variety of dishes, from Melaka authentic Nyonya style dishes to Kelantanese traditional dishes.Due to its multi cultural society, Malaysia is blessed with zillions of mouth-watering dishes and appetisers.Thanks to the Al Almighty for we are still able to savour the many dishes unlike some of our brothers and sisters in war torn countries.Now with the influx of the immigrants, you can even find bakso and tanduri in your neighbourhood easily.

The dishes from my kitchen would change too, depends on our stop.Being born and bred in Johor,I grew up eating tempe,sayur lodeh(mixed vege cooked in coconut milk)tumis asam pedas,sambal belachan(pounded chilies with grilled prawn paste), mee bandung and sometimes beryani gam .

After I got married, my other half was posted to Melaka, luckily the dishes there are not much different.I could still enjoy tumis asam pedas ikan parang, but my sambal belacan had turned into cencaluk.In the market the types of fish sold are of the same species as in Johor.

However, my menu at home took a different course when we moved to Kedah.The sight of ikan parang and ikan jenahak is almost nil.Whenever, I went to the night market, I could only see a plentiful of fresh, sparkling ikan temenung or in the south it goes by the name of ikan kembung.What did I do with ikan temenung was making a curry out of it since any type of curries are very popular in the northern states.When I got enough of curry, I d just grill the fish and ate with ayak asam (a small bit of prawn paste mixed with tamarind juice,onions and chillies).Sometimes, when my kids got bored of eating rice, I would blend ikan temenung and make laksa penang.Now I can cook laksa penang better than laksa johor.

Then we moved to Kelantan, again our food changed depends on what are being sold in Kelantan market .Since there are many ikan ayo or ikan kayu, or commercially known as ikan tongkol,so I learn to cook singgang,a simple dish where you just boil the fish and throw in some ginger,onions,garlic,pieces of dried mango and galanga.In Johor we call asam pindang, but the galanga is replaced with tumeric.This dish is better eaten with grilled fish and budu.The budu must be processed first by adding onions,lime juice and lots of chilli burung to give an awesome taste, if not you would throw out the moment it reaches your taste bud!Well , you might be wondering what chilli burung is, in Johor it s called chilli padi and in Kedah it is chilli Melaka.

I think the Kelantanese are very creative when it comes to food.They can make out almost everything from a single slaughtered bird.Minus the meat, they make kerabu kaki ayam,satay kulit and satay perut and other inner organs.

Even the names are interesting. I flinched the first time I heard kueh tahi itik, but after tasting it for the first time as one of the desserts at Raja Kelantan's bitrthday banquet thrown at his palace, I kind of like it.If you have sweet tooth, you would enjoy jala emas,buah tanjong and akok..Though the names are not very becoming,these types of traditonal kueh are desserts at hotels and grand dinners.

What we have for breakfast is different here.Early in the morning we already have a choice of rice..either nasi kerabu(my favourite),nasi dagang, nasi berlauk,nasi tumpang or just plain rice with a variety of dishes to choose from.There are also pulut pagi(brown glutinous rice eaten with grated coconut and sweet red beans) and also pulut ikan kering(glutinous rice with dried fish and grated coconut)In Johor, pulut ikan kering is never heard of these days, so I was kind of surprised when I first bumped into this dish here. My breakfast also changed from a piece of roti chanai or a bowl of nasi empit to a plateful of nasi kerabu with grilled chicken marinated with honey or sometimes nasi berlauk and at lunch I would take rice again...

Kelantanese dishes have done wondrous to my appetite and luckily my taste bud is adaptable too!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

My experience in learning Quran-in response to read the Quran campaign

Those were the good old days...It was in 1972 when my parents moved to our new house in my grandpa's village.Before that we had been staying in a government quarters, near my mother's workplace which was about 3 km from my grandad's.
It was at this new place that I started to learn reading Quran in arabic from Mak Long Peah.Not that she was my auntie,but seemed that every kid in my village called her by that name,therefore she was also a Mak Long to me.
Mak Long was a different version of Tok guru.In those days most Tok gurus were known for their fierce demeanor and loud voice,but my Mak Long was a fair,soft-spoken lady with a sweet -smiling face.
So every weekend morning I would walk to my friend's house first.More often than not, I had to wait for Mon to get up.Her mother would shout her name from the kitchen to wake her up.As for me,I would wait patiently, sitting on the staircase waiting for Mon to bath and dress up before walking together to Mak Long's house.
Mak Long's house stood on a large piece of land.There was a giant asam kundang tree( a small yellow fruit with yellow flesh and purple seed) in front of her house and we would stop by to collect the fruits.If we were lucky, we d get a pocket full of asam kundang,but sometimes other kids had had their share first, so we were left with nothing on the ground. When we reached Mak Long's house, the smell of breakfast filled the air..either from a pungent smell of ikan kering..or a fragrant smell of Nasi lemak or nice aroma of chekodok pisang.. ..Since we were using the middle entrance, we could see Mak Long's family having breakfast and they would normally invite us to join.Of course, we would not disturb them,just gave a polite thank you.
Then we would start reading, repeating the previous verses.The house would be filled with humming chorus of the Quran verses from sometimes up to 20 kids.Mak Long, after finished her breakfast ,would come to us with a rattan in her hand and call us one by one.The rattan however, was seldom used,if ever she got angry she would just hit the wooden floor.As far as I could remember,the rattan had never had its victim..My Quran lesson from Mak Long went on until I was in standard 6 where I had a Khatam ceremony. It was not a grand one, no white lacy baju kurung or glittering tiara with a veil.It was just a simple Khatam Al Quran ceremony where I brought pulut kuning with rendang, boiled eggs and berteh(white ,tasteless pop corn) to Mak Long's .Until now I never know what that berteh was for.As for my friend Mon, she stopped going to Mak Long's house after a year of lesson. I never asked her why..
My Quran reading stopped there.I seldom read at home.In those days once you had khatam, that was it.There were only a few Quran lessons at school and religious school.Those were the only times I repeated reading the Quran.
After my SPM, I left for US.I brought along a small Al Quran with a translated version.I remember buying it with my late Pak Oteh at one of the bookshops located at Jalan Masjid India.Sad to say, I seldom read overthere .With all the literature books to read and a Shakespeare lines to memorize and analyse, I guess I was just too busy for my Quran reading.So,it was just lying dusty on top of my drawer until I finish my first degree.
I started picking up my small Quran and reading it when I began my masters.I guess it is normal for a person to look for a source of strength when things get tough and muddled.Al Quran was my solace at that time.Although I didnt quite understand what I was reading,still I could feel a sense of calmness and peacefulness..
When I finished my studies, my small Quran was still with me and I planned to bring it back to Malaysia.On the day I left US, I put my Al Quran in a paper bag with the intention of reading it on my 20 hrs journey.But God had another plan.My best friend Om,now better known as Prof Ummul Khair Ahmad,presented me with a beautifully wrapped present in a paper bag.It was quite heavy.I had two paper bags and a hand luggage to carry along on the plane.Seeing that my hands were full, my other friend, K Ros asked for my Quran.Thinking that I was going back to Malysia and could find a replacement easily,I handed my Quran to her and hope that she would use it all the time.Not that I chose a crystal vase (a momento from Om, for she knew that i love to collect vases) over a Quran,but I thought K Ros would need it more over in US.Now I didnt know where that Quran of mine is, either still with K Ros or maybe she left it in US.But whoever owns it now, I hope she will use it to the fullest.
Nobody is perfect.My Quran reading was like on and off when I got back to Malaysia.I guess I was still young and assumed that I had all the time in this world to read,study and understand the content of Al Quran.But Allah knows what is best for us. Our doas and wishes are granted in different ways which we as servants do not understand .In every doa, I would ask from God to make me a strong individual who can face any tests and obstacles from HIM.To be strong,I was made a defeated soul first,almost suffered from nervous breakdown, was backstabbed ,not by foes but by people I love,had a sick child in my hand and most of the time raising my children single-handedly.So, how did I face all these?Where did I get all the energy, the strength,the motivation and the zest to continue living? It is non other than Al Quran.I started to pick up reading the Al Quran again and had Khatam many times since.Once I had an elderly uztaz coming to my house teaching all the tajwid and hukum.But after a year of teaching he passed away.
Now I am reading the Arabic and Malay translation.My reading is a bit slow for I need to digest what I am reading and there are also times when a Tok Guru is needed for explanation and clarification.To me the best way to learn and understand what you are reading is from a Tok Guru, meaning uztaz or uztazah.You just cant understand everything by reading a translation on your own.It s not as easy as you think.
I d try and read Al Quran every night, at least a page.On Friday morning, I d recite Surah Sajadah and other mornings I d read Surah Al Waqi'ah and remember before you go to sleep every night try to read Al Mulk.Those are my favourite surah besides Doa Shifak andDoa Haikal.When ever my kids are sitting for major examination, I d read Surah Yassin 40 times before the exam day.Those are my practice.
For my kids, three of them had khatam the Quran at the age of twelve.I made sure they khatam before leaving for the boarding school, then I would be one satisfied mother who had done her duty well.For my youngest he is still struggling to finish it and at the same time studying for his UPSR.Hopefully he could finish it by the end of this year.
For my late Mak Long Peah who was my first Al Quran teacher, and Uztaz Mat Noh who had taught me the tajwid, may Allah blessed your souls and put you among the good and the pious.
For now,let s read and understand the Al Quran, the center of our lives, the guidance for now and the world after.

Monday, January 12, 2009

My Gaza

In response to the project 'To my friend in Gaza".For further understanding please read at

Up in the sky
Brutal machines roaring
With greed and speed
Preying on tame helpless targets
Raining merciless missiles
No souls to miss
Women and children lying battered dead

Down under
It s not Blair or Brown
But battered bloody bodies
Sprawling on the coffin streets
After the ruthless bloody spree

No where to run
No where to hide

The Heads meet
Lending deaf ears to pleads
But too many heads to lead
So it s just a trip
Down the posh hotel

Mutilated women and children lying dead
No bush to hide
But a Bush to fight

Contributed by

After nightline

Saturday, January 10, 2009

A quiet but fruitful weekend

With two kids back at their hostel and other half back to KL,things are a bit slow and quiet this weekends.Other than doing the normal household chores , I spend most of my time reading the book "Jadilah Wanita Yang Paling Bahagia"by Dr Aidh Bin Abdullah Al-Qarni.My other half is not coming back either, instead he is driving back to Muar to see his oil palm trees.Suddenly he has this zest of being an aspirated farmer.I let him do as he wish..

So I am left with my daughter and the big baby again. Since school just reopened, my daughter has less things to do except being a couch potato. I wont pressure her for she just had an exhausted year.My big baby is busy completing his homework.He is sitting for his UPSR this year and so workload has started to increase. This weekend alone he has to find the meanings of 75 words from Kamus Dewan and he managed to finish it by Saturday evening.Good boy..started to show responsibility

Last weekend I was looking for ' Rantings in 50 days ' by Marina Mahathir at Popular but it seems that the book hasnt arrived in KB,so while browsing i spotted tis book 'Jadilah Wanita paling bahagia" and now in my mid reading...

It s a book to summon all women to live peacefully and happily with their religion, to feel extremely content with the awards bestowed on them by the Al mighty and be immensely pleasing with all the good things blessed upon them.

Be a butterfly , light in appearance,beautiful to gaze at,flying from one flower to another..from one stem to another,from one garden to another..

Or be a honey,eat good food and yeild good produce.Alight on twigs without breaking it ,suck nectars without stinging,produce honey without wounding,flying and alighting freely with love and affection.Its buzzing sound angles coming down from heaven bringing good news..

Good bye to worries, sadness,anxiety,misery,nightmares,frustration..

Be a happy contented woman instead..

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

An advice from a mother to her children

My children..
Let me remind you that
life is no easy path, no bed of roses or
crystal staircase either
It has bumps along the way or
tacks in it..
and maybe long tall grasses that might scratch and bleed you
or sometimes boards torn up and places with no carpet..bare
but.. all the time you should be wallking,climbing..
reaching landings..
and turning corners..
sometimes there are dark tunnels..with no light at all
Dont turn back or set on the step or fall down..
keep going ..keep climbing..
keep reaching.
well my children,
You have failed many times before
You fell down the first time you tried to walk.
You almost drowned the first time you tried to swim.
You fell down from your first bike
but always remember
Failure is part and parcel of success

Along..did you able to hit all your balls and get most home runs in your games of criket?
You did not...but you manage to be a state player..

Angah...remember you were too scared to enter the inter-brigade Musabaqah Al-Quran..but after a few trainings you manage to compete well. almost couldnt make it into your school gymrama team but your persistence and strong determination managed to convince your teacher and you were chosen later....

Ijat..the big baby in the once failed to be the MC for the school assembly,you were dismissed in the middle of the ceremony..but later after a few trials you manage to become one..

My should not worry about failure
but worry about the opportunity you miss when you dont even give a try..
Life for me is no crystal staircase either or green green pasture
For momy too has failed before
not once but many many times
But until now.. momy could still stand...
tall and strong...

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Some Quotable quotes...

If there is light in the soul,
There will be beauty in the person.
If there is beauty in the person,
There will be harmony in the house.
If there is harmony in the house,
There will be order in the nation.
If there is order in the nation,
There will be peace in the world.

Chinese Proverb

Everybody can be great...because anybody can serve.
You don't have to have a college degree to serve.
You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve.
You only need a heart full of grace.
A soul generated by love.

Martin Luther King Jr.

Smile at each other,
smile at yout wife,
smile at your husband,
smile at your children,
smile at each other
-it doesn't matter who it is
-and that will help you to grow up in greater love for each other.

Mother Teresa

Spread love everywhere you go: first of all in your own house.Give love to your children, to your wife or husband, to a next door neighbour..Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier.Be the living expression of God's kindness, kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile,kindness in your warm greeting.

Mother Teresa

So, spread your love, kindness and smile to make this world a better,cheerful and peaceful place to live in...