Friday, February 29, 2008

Leap Year 2008

The look of my new blog site

Yes, today is a leap day, 29th February.

Anything interesting from me? I guess not.. I am spending the whole day at home.

Except that I've finally decided to move my blog to

Old postings will be left here, but new ones are there.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

GE 12

That's "12th General Election" for Malaysia. I am proud to say that out of the previous 11, I've voted 4 times :-)
This time round, it'll be my 5th.

But I am not proud to say that the coverage given to all parties is far from fair :-(

Try reading at or any of the main stream newspapers or watch the tv channels, what do you get? Biased coverage, of course! And the government had the cheek to say that there is no unfair playing field? My f**t!!

It's only 9 days to the polling day, and what do I see most, along the streets? These faces (as if we don't know them!):

A close-up:

Don't we all know them? Why must their pix be put up all around the neighbourhood? I guess the pix of the candidates for the parliamentary as well as the state seats are still not out of the printing house?

Talking about the posters, I think they are unnecessary, not-environmental-friendly and really a waste of money! 30 or so years ago, I can understand the function of the posters, as many eligible voters then were illiterate. They need to know which symbol to vote for, and some of the old folks then relate the presence of the posters as the indicator of the popularity of the party, i.e. the more posters they have, the more popular they are.

But now? When most of the voters are literate, with quite a huge percentage of them are professionals (at least here in Shah Alam), why do we need all these posters? We want to hear facts and figures, and real issues too!

I suddenly am reminded of the general election in Adelaide in the 1980s when I was a student there. There were very few posters, and almost all of them are pictures of the candidates who were running for the election - at least the posters helped the locals to recognize the faces of the people they were going to vote!

Today I'm still at this old blog :-(

When I was ready to move to the new "home", last night (after a couple of test posts), the site had some problem (while I was sleeping lat night), and kaboom! My new page is gone.

So, until the problem is rectified by the system_admin (that's DH), I will still be posting from here.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

My New Blog Site

Initial top panel of the new blog site. I hope to be able to edit it later..

Yes, friends, I've finally decided to move to a more permanent "house" at

Only new posts will be put there. Old ones will remain here.
I still intend to update some of the current pages which I promised to add more stories/pix.
I hope tomorrow and Friday will see me doing just that ;-)

As for now.... Good night...

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

SMZ is back to Work, Though not Fulltime

For those who have not been told, I have recently started work again :-)

I am now working from Monday-Wednesday as a consultant to a local IT company in Shah Alam. The view from the lift lobby (from the 8th floor):

UiTM Tower in the background.

So, to all regular-visitors to this blog, you can expect more postings between Thursday and Sunday (provided we are not traveling during the weekend).

Monday, February 25, 2008

A Wedding in Singapore - M & M

M&M stands for Mariani & Mono, the bride and groom :-)

Last Friday we drove down to Singapore to attend a cousin's daughter's wedding. We've not driven there since 1998! The last time I went there was in Dec 2004, but I took the bus instead.

This cousin is not just any ordinary cousin. She's like my sister. She was staying with my parents in Geylang in the late 1960s when I was in my pre-school days until she got married. Her (late) usband was a sailor, so when he was not around, she used to take me to stay with her (I never attended kindegarten - we were too poor to have such luxury). Or, maybe I leave this part of the story for later and just focus on the wedding :-)

Anyway, the wedding was the 2nd marriage for both bride and groom, but that didn't stop us from celebrating it as merry as we could.

The "akad nikah" (solemnisation of the marriage according to the Islamic rites) was conducted at 8.30pm last Friday nigt. We only arrived at their place at 10pm. No problem, there was still food around :-)

That nigt stayed up to catch up with stories as well as (most of the time pretended to) help in te kitchen. I know I peeled so much potatoes, carrots and sengkuang. I also de-skinned several pineapples. Helped to stir the mixture in the pot while it was simmering, etc..etc...

I had a short nap at 4am and woke up at 6am. After the morning prayers (subuh) and a shower, we continued with our cooking. All was ready by 1pm.

Guests started to arrive at 2pm. I took some pix, but soon after I was too sleepy. Furthermore most of the guests are strangers to us (us being the relatives from Malaysia), we ended up taking naps whenever we could!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Updates on Cikgu Hasan Baseri Budiman

2 nights ago I finally managed to get cikgu's number from another junior, Marlyna Maros.

I called him that night but couldn't get through. I then sent him an sms to introduce myself. Minumes later cikgu called back!!

It was nice to be able to talk to cikgu again. Any former teacher is still a teqacher to me, even though he didn't directly teach my class. He was part of the environment where I grew up for 5 years.

Interesting enough cikgu, like Cikgu Bahar, started teaching there in the same year as we started our schooling there i.e. 1979.

I left the school at the end of 1979, but cikgu left the year after (1980) to go back to him homestate, Kedah.

My classmate, Shukri, whom cikgu mentioned in his e-mail, called cikgu on the same night. Both teacher and student were so delighted to be able to communicate again.

Last night, Zahran, also from my batch, who was the monitor when cikgu was their class teacher called cikgu too. Another junior sms-ed me asking for cikgu's number.

Anybody else who would like to get cikgu's phone number can e-mail me directly because it's not my practise to publicise people's tel no.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Suara hati Cikgu Hasan Baseri

Cikgu, in the middle. Pic courtesy of Nisah Haron's blog.

Only today I found out that cikgu is a writer.
Click here for a recent news and also a pic of him.
Books by him:
Antologi Cerpen: Tekal
Hadiah Untuk Amirah

I am not sure if I should put it here, or on my other blog page, but I like it so much that I've decided to put it here.

What? you may ask. It's the posting of of a former teacher in an e-group where I am registered but I hardly visit. It (the e-group) actually belongs to my juniors, but they were nice enough to accept me in their e-group. As a show of respect, I set my membership to "no mail" and seldom visit their page. I only use my membership there to post announcements on our alumni activities, or whatever message that I'd like to share with them.

Little did I know that a former teacher by the name of Hasan Baseri Budiman is also a member. Touched by my postings in my othe blog, he posted the following (extracted from the e-group):


Terima kasih SABARIAh mohd Zain kerana mengizinkan
saya membuka blog SMSkel As I Remember. Semalaman
saya tidak dapat tidur kerana terlampau banyak
kenangan lama yang datang menusuk ke sanubari saya.
Saya tidak pasti apakah Sabariah masih mengingati
saya? (saya memang tidak pernah mengajar kelas Alfa)
Saya masih boleh membayangkan wajah sabariah dulu
serta murid-murid lain yang Sabariah paparkan dalam
gambar yang ditunjukkan. Dan rasa Cikgu Bahar lebih
bertuah daripada saya kerana dapat juga dia bertemu
dengan anak-anak murid yang masih mengenalinya. Saya
pun sebenarnya selalu memasang harapan untuk bertemu
dengan semua bekas pelajar SMSkel yang saya pernah
ajar. Tetapi sampai saat ini saya masih belum
berpeluang melakukannya (Saya sudah menemui Halim
Harun di Kuantan Oktober lalu). Insya-Allah moga
cita-saya akan termakhbul jua. Apapun Saya cukup
terharu kerana dapat melihat kembali wajah-wah Pak
Widodo, Cikgu Sharif, Cikgu Bakar, Cikgu Anuar dan
wajah Cikgu Bahar sendiri yang satu bertemu kali
terakhir dengan di USM pada tahun 2001 melalui
gambar-gambar yang dipaparkan oleh Sabariah dalam
blognya itu.
Saya melihat gambar di koop sekolah, Sabariah dan
Shukri (saya pasti pemain back tengah pasukan bola
sepak sekolah yang latih dahulu) serta gambar Zul
(mungkin Zulkifli Mohd Noor) yang saya sudah dua kali
bercakap dengannya di telefon tetapi tidak pernah
sekali pun bertemu dengannya selepas 30 tahu saya
meninggalkan SMSkel dahulu.
Saya tidak tahu apakah saya akan terus berpeluang
untuk melihat gambar-gambar lama (kenangan di
SMSkel)yang hampir semuanya sudah hilang daripada
simpanan saya. Saya pasti ada di antara anda yang
mungkin memilikinya. Kalau tidak keberatan paparkanlah
di e-mail ini. setidak-tidaknya kalau tidak dapat
melihat wajah-wajah terkini anda (sebahagian besar
gambar yang Sabariah paparkan dalam Then and Now
memang tidak mampu saya mengcamnya kalau saja berjumpa
mereka)dapat juga saya mengimbau kenangan lalu. gambar
Shah Reza memang selalu saya tengok dalam surat
Semoga anda semua gembira bersama keluarga dan
berbahagia selamanya- Salam sayang daripada
saya:(cikgu Hasan Baseri Budiman)

I immediately responded back to his posting, and I hope I'll get a reply from him ASAP.
I don't mind arranging for a meeting of some of my friends with him, because I know quite a handful who were once taught by him.

I also hope by putting the above message on this page, some "silent" friends who would like to join in the meet-up will sms me.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Our Web-cam Caught Aina's Friends

Today I came back later than aina, whose school dismisses at 12 noon.

When I arrived home, the house was noisier than normal - even worse than when all family members were present.

I tried to calculate the number of friends Aina took home, but failed. Several were in our little and miserable lounge, a couple in the room upstairs, and a couple more in the back room, or maybe the bathroom.

What's the occasion, you might ask. Her school finishes at 12 noon every Friday, but at 2.30pm there are extra classes for the kids to attend (parents pay for these). Aina has never joined such classes before, but since she's in Primary 5 this year, I thought, why not.. And we only registered her for the religious subjects (i.e. Fri afternoons only. The other subjects have their sessions on Saturday morning).

Anyway, back to my story for today, I came up to my room, check our webcam, and managed to see some of them as there were arriving:

Not all her friends who came were getting prepared for their extra cllasses. Some waited for their parents to fetch them, instead of at the school which is only 200m away, they come to our house to fetch their daughters :-)
Here's one caught by our webcam:

Now all of them have gone back to school, and the house is quiet again :-(

Personally, I think Aina is lucky to have the school so near to home!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

I am Going to Vote Again!

The parliament was dissolved yesterday, and today the Election Commission (EC) has announced that the election day will be on the 8th March 2008.

I first voted in the late 1980s (in Ipoh, Perak), and I've lost count on how many times I have voted (in other words I don't know how many elections there are so far!). But one thing for sure I have not missed any single opportunity :-)

This year I will be voting in Shah Alam again.

I know some friends who are of my generation and have yet to register, let alone to vote :-(
And some of these people are among those wo complaint a lot about the way the country is, about the government, etc..etc... Some of them are actually public figures (i.e. holding senior posts in their careers). If they are reading this blog, I would like to urge them to register with the EC so that next time they don't miss the chance to vote.

My vote? That's a secret :-)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Let's Support Earth Hour 2008!

Today, Karen, a fren from my SAHP e-group sent an e-mail about her joining the Earth Hour 2008 campaign, and encouraged us to do the same.

Well... I thought it's for a good course, so why not.

So, now I am inviting my fellow friends who are reading this to show their support too.
Just click on the Earth Hour 2008 and register!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Meeting an old Fren at JPA

I was at the JPA office in Putrajaya for a meeting, and met Shukri (picture), who's my senior during my school days.

We'll be seeing a lot of each other in the future, now that I am doing some consulting work for a local company that deals a lot with JPA.

Monday, February 11, 2008

CNY Jam on the PLUS highway

Yesterday, there were jams everywhere!!
We thought since we were going south (away from Kuala Lumpur), the flow was better. We were wrong!! We were crawling between Nilai and Seremban. The above bus that went into the ditch was the culprit!

As we moved on, we saw the opposite traffic (i.e. going towards KL) getting worse and worse:

On our way back, we decided to use the non-highway road instead, passing through Rantau, going towards Seremban but took the old road towards Bandar Baru Salak Tinggi, then to Cyberjaya (to send Bok) and back to S Alam. We came across a village that is already in the election mood:

CNY Weekend 2008

We spent 2 nights a Fraser's Hill. MIL, PIL and 2 BILs with their families followed us. It was really great to have them!

It was crowded there, and I was most of the time indoor, except for an outing to a nearby trail in search for Balanophora.

No time to blog but you can see the pix at
Hubby's album
Nuni's album

Along the way we saw some queue-jumpers who were nabbed by the traffic police :-)
Well done to the traffic police!

xIL = x-in-law

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Barbecue chicken

That's tonigh's dinner at Fraser's Hill. Yummy!

Early Lunch at McD

We're in section 9 Shah Alam and it's relatively quiet. Most people must have gone back to their hometown.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Happy Chinese New Year

Tomorrow is the first day of the new lunar year. I wish all my Chinese friends a very happy new year.

As for us, we are going to spend part of this long weekend break at Fraser's Hill. We are going up the hill tomorrow. I just hope the traffic will be better than last year (all of us were caught in the PLUS highway congestion between Rawang & Bukit Beruntung.

Almost like last year, this year we will have all the family members (except for Ayi who's in Canada), Nitzus aka Cu's family (they were with us too last year), Diman & gang, MIL, PIL and Yon (the bachelor BIL). With so many people, I look forward to the havoc! Bok can put up the tent on the balcony for some of the tougher kids to sleep :-)

But, first, DH and I need to fetch Nukman from school later today. We'll head for FH tomorow morning and will only come back to S Alam on SAturday.

As for me, I think tonight I need to edit some of the blogs that I promised to update :-(
And my other blog too!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

A Quick Balik Kampung (1-3 February)

Last Thursday(31st January), DH, Aina and I made a quick balik kampung (going back to our hometown). There were a few things to settle and also it was a good chance to visit some relatives. We decided to go back last weekend instead of tomorrow to avoid the heavy traffic. Oops, I forgot to mention that starting tomorrow, Malaysia will have a long weekend, with Thursday and Friday being the public holidays for the Chinese New Year.

We left Klang valley soon after 4pm (we waited for Aina to come back from school at 4pm). We stopped at the huge Petronas petrol station on Karak Highway for meal and prayers. With DH and I taking turns in driving, we managed to reach my in-laws' place just after midnight.

On Friday afternoon, we (DH, Aina, pa-in-law, ma-in-law and I) managed to visit our son in Pengkalan Chepa. We also took the opportunity to visit DH's nephew, Dini, who had just joined a nursing course in a nursing colege in Pengkalan Chepa too. Being one of the few males there, e was quick popular among his collegues :-)
The college was having a "Bubur Asyura" (Ashura Porridge) event.

I was lucky to be introduced to the deputy principal of the college, Kak Bee or better known among the students as "Bonda" (meaning: Mum). We had a great chat while waiting for the asyra to be ready.

After getting some bubur asyura, we left for our next destination - Bachok, to visit Che Nah's house. Che Nah is ma-in-law's sis-in-law. Her hubby was MIL's only brother but he passed away a few years ago. Che Nah had just had a new grand-son (born to Epa and hubby) :
Muizz Irfan, is Epa's second child. Pic "pinched" from Epa's album.

We went to Bachok via Kota Jembal (formerly known as Kedai Lalat). Along the too familiar way, we have on previous trips noticed a very nice "house" on the left of the road, near the river. We decided to stop by and found out that it is actually a nice restaurant, as blogged on that day. I tried to send other "photo blog" from my HP, but the connection was not good enough :-(

We only got back to Ketereh (that's DH's hometown) that night.

The following day (Saturday), despite the persistent drizzles and occasional downpours, we managed to visit a sick relative, an uncle whose son wedding on 8th February we could not attend and an auntie who recently came back from Haj. All done by 1pm.

Aina couldn't resist "sailing" her boat

At 2.45pm, I was heading towards Rantau Panjang with MIL, Aina and Cik (MIL's sister). We had our late lunch there :-)

A pretty nasty accident on the bridge, just before Pasir Mas.

Even though we didn't have much time to really shop, I managed to get some slacks and t-shirts for Aina as well as a kg each of cashew nuts (roasted) and pistachios. I can't remember when was the last time we were here.. maybe 3 or 4 years ago!

On our way back, I also managed to buy some keropok (fish crackers).

By the time we reached home, I was quite knackered!

And the next day (Sunday) we started our journey back to Shah Alam at 6.50am, soon after the morning prayers. We stopped over at Su's place in Paloh, just 30 minutes before reaching Gua Musang. Su (MIL's youngest sister) cooked nasi dagang for us (breakfast). Yummy...

We reached Segambut (at BIL's place) to drop MIL and PIL, and had lunch there :-)
The three of us finally reached home at 4pm, just about 72 hours after we started the "Balik Kampung" journey.

terms I adopted from the SAHP e-group:
Dh = dearest hubby
MIL = ma-in-law
PIL = pa-in-law
BIL = brother-in-law

Friday, February 01, 2008

Restoren Ukir Sri Anjung

We've just stopped for refreshment and light snacks. Too early for dinner :(

Addition on 6th February:

As we entered the premise:

we saw a display of some antics:

too early for dinner, we ordered some snacks and drinks:
The restaurant has it's natural air freshener in the form of the sweat-smelling flower locally known as "Bunga tikam seladang", or also known as "bunga kerak nasi" or "bunga kesidang".

Closeup of the shrub:

And the flower:

another view of the flowers:

Friday afternoon in Ketereh

Why not have a short nap while waiting for the time for Friday prayer.