Monday, September 29, 2008

I Am Not Greek And I Can't Cook!

Berbuka puasa do at Faizal’s place last Saturday was such a big deal for everyone. I kid you not – I had been reminded over and over again through out the week that I almost lost my sense of life purpose. It was such ‘an event to be’ that since Faizal is new to this hosting business, he had to appoint another friend to host the event (talk about big deal!)

And as everyone agreed that this was going to be a potluck thing, I just had to make an unfunny joke about it and announced to the world I would bring my "specialty", passed-from-generations-recipe, much revered; Ayam Madu Oat Ala Yunani (wherever I got the idea!)

O boy!

No, that wasn’t even the biggest joke; the biggest joke was that everybody didn’t get it. They totally oblivious to the fact that I am culinary challenged (or that I just recently discovered fire) and insisted that they would eat a horse if I had it. And it seemed to me they were so taken with my made-up, legendary Greek recipe that they apparently couldn’t wait to have a taste of it. Oh boy, from there on, I knew there was no turning back for me

Truth is, there’s nothing Greek about me, except for, erm my dashingly mediteranean good look.... and the closest thing I get to Greece is owning a DVD; My Big Fat Greek Wedding. This is bad.‘What do I do now?’ ‘What do I do?’

Not wanting to disappoint anyone and since I didn’t have much choice, I decided to play along. I decided to go "Greek".

The real “ayam madu” but I was taking a shortcut, remember? So here’s the dirty, little “secret”;

Ayam Madu Oat Ala Yunani


1 Honeyed, Grilled Chicken (a.k.a Tesco Chicken)

5 tbsp of Oats (Preferably Instant Oats from Tesco)

Blend together

1 Honeyed, Grilled Chicken (a.k.a Tesco Chicken)
5 tbsp of Oats (Preferably Instant Oats from Tesco)


Put the chicken in a bowl and mix with oats
Heat a microwave and put the oats-blended chicken in.


Voila. Enjoy this “simple” dish straight from the heart (or Tesco cash register!).

I know writing this is akin to writing my own suicide note, but I guess I owe my friends an apology. Guys, I am so sorry that I am not Greek and I can’t cook. Please forgive me, I mean, O come on, it’s Hari Raya within days, or shall I remind you, the day of forgiveness and it’s not like I put melamine in it, did I?

Selamat Hari Raya AidilFitri to all of you and Maaf Zahir Dan Batin.

Have a wonderful holiday everybody.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Most Popular Guy In The World

Hari Raya is more than a religious holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, it’s also one of the biggest popular contest; Who serve the best rendang? Who got the coolest drape? Who has, ermm, the biggest lemang? and, O, of course the most important question of all;

Who got the most Hari Raya Cards?

That’s right, everybody wants to know how many Hari Raya cards I received this year – yeap, as if my self-worth and reasons-to-breath were very much depends on it (pah!). Well, you know what, usually I don't give a rat's ass about it...but this year, since so many people ask, I might as well tell you;

I was never been the Mr Popular guy nor do I think I will ever be…but seven cards? SEVEN?! This is like the new all-time low! Gosh! I could well be the most un-popular, un-loved, un-remembered guy in the whole wide world right now.

Anyhow (sigh!) don’t be alarm, people; it’s not like the life, as I know it would be over. In fact I think I am quite al right about it. (Looking at the bright side, I’ve probably saved a few bucks on postage and some good papers). It’s just, well maybe, irked me a little bit when my keeping-score friends rubbing their Hari Raya cards off of my face and asked me why all my cards were from the same person. (Hello, are we still in 5th grade?!)

Now, I tried to make peace with the only seven cards I have. I hold them in my hands and savored the moment as if they would be the only seven cards I’d ever gonna get this year (get the hint already, people!). I picked out one card and then slowly opened up the envelope, carefully took out the card and whispered the Raya wishes in it. I thought my eyes were a little misty.

Chrismas Disambut Bulan Disember
Deepavali Pula Bulan Oktober
Hari Raya Bakal Menjelma
Baju Raya Ade Saiz Ke?

Makan Ketupat Bersama Kari
Dipagi Raya Membakar Lemang
Dua Tiga Kucing Berlari
Mana Nak Sama Encik Mus Sorang

Pecah Kaca Pecah Gelas
Sudah Baca Harap Balas

I am probably not the most popular guy in the world right now, but it certainly doesn't feel like I am anymore.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Star Wars

If you could have 3 wishes granted, what would they be?

Fame and Fortune? Jessica Alba’s good looks? True love of Anakin Skywaker and Princes Padme Amidala? Or simply the abolition of ISA?

Whatever that you were wishing for, I wish you well. As for me, I don’t ‘want it all’. I only wish for one thing. I want to be a Star!

What happened when there are too many stars in a room? Answer: War. Luckily we have “rules” in this country

I hate tooting my own horn but despite what my karaoke rivals might have told you, my talents aren’t limited to flapping my arms or twisting my tongue, I can scream in tune. It’s almost - let’s one forgets – hauntingly melodic. But then again, its an acquired taste – just ask my ‘scream’ buddies/rival stars; Hasmiron, Zack, Nazrol and newcomer Reena. We mean business.

Even though we are so-called rival, sonically speaking, but we love each other to death. We endure terrible pain listening to each other – and if this isn’t what good friends are made of; gee, I don’t know what is.

The food wasn’t really gastronomically fantastic, but whatever!!

We are karaoke freaks! Since we were introduced to this wonder of human invention, we have long understood the calming effects of singing and its therapeutic benefits. We become less restrained when we sing and it helps us focus more on positive thoughts, while projecting our own feelings through our individual “performance”.

Like when I had a real load someone to have around or found myself in a pickle, karaoke allows me to relax by vocalizing me pent-up grievances through lyrics of popular songs like perennial favorite Saving All My Love To You and (gasp!) Nazam Lebaran.

Sadly, picture of me “vocalizing my pent-up grievances” were dutifully omitted, to so-called protect the national security. (Nowadays, “anything” can threaten our national security, so I just have to be extra careful about it)

The world is full of pleasing love stories, like to the denizens of Star Wars, how Anakin and Padme were meant for each other. Stranger still, two of the coolest karaoke singers in the world look pretty much amazing together.

Maybe we should record a duet together, wouldn't that be something written on the stars?

To quote Hans Solo: ‘I’ve got a bad feeling about this.’

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Goods For Being Good

OK, here’s the deal; yesterday I received one big, generous hamper from my employer – and I mean really really generous. Not that it was really unexpected at all. In fact I have been bugging our HR like a certain kind of err..bug since the first day of Ramadan. O yeah, I am that no-shame cheapo, just say it!

Anyway my effort was paid off big time, as the hamper was awesome!

O don’t you feel your life sucks by looking at this?

To cut others some pain, I only took these two piccies, plus I was using my cam-phone darn it!

Actually, this is an annual thing here during Ramadan that most of us take it as one of our perks. So everyone was camping outside HR Dept since very early in the morning so that they get to choose their favorite color of the bag. You see, the hamper comes in a very attractive bag complete with our imposing bank’s logo on it. No flimsy, pasar malam basket and shiny plastic please!

Boy, am I glad I am part of this. I sure understand why certain organization can be so generous at this time of the year. They are spreading the joy of giving to their staff so that they can be more thankful and spreading the same joy to others as well…plus I guess they probably get a hefty tax rebate in doing so.

So once I was home, I decided to do the same as well. I opened the hamper/attractive bag and separated all the goodies into three categories; family, the less fortunate friends, and why of course me.

I carefully picked out items for each category - making sure that every item is to everyone’s liking and put them nicely in a box. Woo, I feel really good doing it. It was put-the-grey-skies-out-out-of-my-way kinda feeling.

I could have been vaccinating the children against malaria in Africa or saving the planet from melting polar ice cap, but I think, this feel as much fulfilling.

It does feel good to do good, doesn’t it?

I don’t doubt that for a second.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Before We Know It....

“OMG, it’s been a year already?”

Sounds like I have just woken up from some frozen ice tube in a bad sci-fi movie. I am not amused.

The worst thing that could ever happen to anyone is when we completely lost track on where has all the time gone. A minute is in a blink, a month is like a flash and a year is like yesterday!

So it startles me a bit to know that my dear Hasmiron, has come home for good. O yeah, the one I sent to the Airport exactly a year ago to further his studies in emmpp…gee, beats the heck out of me.

Picture perfect of a dysfunctional “family” - Zack, Reena and Hasmiron are doing the best imitation of their “best” behaviors.

My weekend was filled with oh-so-not-righteous pigging out and creating ‘public disturbance’ since I was totally tuned up my ‘catching up’ mode. We chatted, showered ‘praises’ to each other while ‘bersahur’ and break fast together - kinda like what we used to do (please, this is not obituary!)

And we planned and planned over the top of other plans on what fun things to do next in the name of what-have-you-been–missing-out-all-this-time. (So next week is karaoke and then ‘bersahur’ and break fast at everyone’s house and such...but tarawaikh was eerily missing!)

Welcome home Hasmiron. I hope you like our ‘grownup’ selves and hope you wouldn’t find any more different in us than say a year ago that you decided to go away from in the first place!

Time does fly but we’ve hardly been to anywhere, really.

A month is like a flash and a year is like yesterday – people always laments there’s no enough time in our life but the truth is time is never on our side. We have to make do with all the time we have and try to make the best of it. Unless you’re busy “taking over the government” or “chasing MPs in Taiwan”, time is always up before you know it!

...And before anyone can say ‘Icantjoinkaraokenextweekcausemyttmworksmorningshift’, time flashes before your very own eyes.

Now that’s kind of stuff that will put me back in my ice tube.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Children Of The Corn

I was like the Kanye West of MTV Video Awards. I never won anything. Not even the pitiable ‘consolation’ prize. I mean, this is ridiculous; everyone had probably won something at any point of his or her life right? But na’ah, not me - Nada.Zilch.Zero.Nil

My sad, strings-of-bad-luck story goes back all the way to my childhood not a very long time ago.

Remember in our younger days where we used to have this little craze over little ‘prized’ toys they put inside a selected snack for those ‘lucky kids’ only? Ding Dang, Chikedees, Toro, Tikam-Tikam (You get the idea). O yeah that’s what I am talking about. I would have probably bought the whole sundry shop and still would have walked away empty handed. (Thank Lord, I still have baby sisters to steal the toys from). I thought I was one of the Children of The Corn but my mom wouldn’t let me believe that. She said my luck just wasn’t in those trinkets.

But today, something miraculous happened to me. I got a letter from PR and inside it there was a cheque - it got my name on it!.

Me won a logo contest? Pinch me...hard.

Whoa, I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me. My eyes are still sore from the rubbing and – O don’t judge me! - crying. I am still basking on that glorious feeling. It’s a little bit overwhelming for me and then I called my mom.

“Mommy, hold me, I finally won something”

You've never been more right Mama - I am not the Children of The Corn. It was just a streak of bad luck but today my terrible bad luck was reversed. I am no longer cursed. I feel so, so…normal.

You must be very proud of me Mama. You should be.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Not Me!

I am sleepy but I cannot sleep
I am thirsty but I am not gonna sip
All day long I think when can I eat?
And wonder if I could outlast the afternoon heat

I am tired but I have to work
That’s why I am cranky and I can’t take no joke
I saw fault wherever I looked
And one poke on the rib, that’s all it took.

All day long I think about Bazaar Ramadan
And wonder if they opened throughout the month
I am counting the days when it will finally end
So that I can sleep and eat all I can

I am not eating ‘cause everyone is doing so
And I missed my tarawikh eight nights in a row

So I think I am fasting but my mama doesn’t think so!

2.31pm, 8 Ramadan

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Blame It On The Devil

Raya shopping came a little early for me this year. Not that anyone’s complaining. Let’s just say I hate putting off something that is so important and ‘of great consequences’ like this until the very last minutes. You see, I prefer to shop in ‘peace’.

But with prices of consumer knick-knacks skyrocketing by the minute, we’re going to have to be a bit prudent with our, sometimes frivolous, purchases, aren’t we?

O yeah you poor, poor kid!

So I had my Raya shopping list ready waaay back before BN lost 5 states to Pakatan Rakyat. The list is going on and on but trust me most of the things on the list are hardly frivolous, much less extravagant – it’s strictly ‘festive-related’ only, very prudent and sensible. Or so I hope.

Alas, two days ago, the words ‘prudent’, 'sensible’ and ‘festive-related’ took a tragic turn. I skidded to the darks side. The devil inside me was working overtime - wait, aren’t they supposed to be ‘locked up’ during Ramadan? – O well I guess it was just me being bad. Really really bad.

Say hello to these 'babies'. I guess this year Raya will be more about 'viewing' and 'washing' than 'visiting' and 'celebrating' eh?

I swear I hammered ‘NO’ repeatedly to the salesperson and then ran for a cover under the display sofa. Heck, I even pretended I lost my parents! But noooo, before I know it I received a call informing me that my purchases of ‘delights’ are on their way. Damn those! I could almost hear me banging my head on the wall right now.

God, I wish I had more money than JK Rowling – most of mere mortals can only dream about. They say happiness is the measure of true wealth. Rubbish; it’s money, and lots of it –all spend on those things you proudly show off to your guests on the first day of Raya and forget all about it the next day. Sigh!

Blame it on the Devil. I am innocent.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


I love my job – a little too much I guess. Up until last Friday, I still have about 20 days of annual leave to be cleared off - an achievement of some sort if you considered my murky past employment records.

So my boss was up on her toes, she suggested the obvious:

Mus, have all your leaves cleared before October, or you’ll disturb the entire cosmic balance!” (or something to that effect)

I was about to let it slip when I realized, “Hey! I still have a lot of annual leaves, so what in blazes am I still doing here?” I needed my break. I needed a rest. I’ve been working my ass off all these months and I seriously needed to ‘recharge’. The sign? Lately I have been in a bizarre mental space - I get irritated easily I could spit bullets.

It’s high time for me to get the balance. It’s called, wait for it, cosmic balance (sorry, can’t help it)

So how do I pick the week when to go? I have my own rules, some kind of ritual I have been following since the beginning of my working life - I look for these signs:

1. Public holiday. I can get my much-needed, longer, peaceful break at home knowing that nobody from office could ever call me.

31 August. Yeap, it’s Merdeka Day! It’s our nation’s 51th birthday and since it was on Sunday, so we got the Monday off (Yippe!). I don’t have any (new) wish for this year celebration. Having been kept disappointed for several years already, my wish remains the same – and I believe I speak for every Malaysian – stability, equality and trust.

2. It's Ramadan

It’s that time of the year again – the joy of giving, self-discovery and humility. Though the words “Mus”, “generous” and “unselfishness” don’t often find themselves locked together in the same sentence, but this year I vow to be a better Muslim, if not a better son, a better brother or a better friend. I dedicated the entire first week of Ramadan to observe religiously the true meaning of Ramadan. Sumpah!

3. Someone’s birthday.

Gosh it’s sure weird when it’s MINE. If there’s anyone should ever remind me on my own birthday is me. And only me! That’s why this year I try to be discreet about it. Try to get away from people who tend to have the stupidest idea that birthdays need to be celebrated aloud and with lots of surprises.

I hate surprises. So I guess the best way to remind that I am an ancient fossil is by crawling on my bed with my Kiki and Lulu. Age is only numbers, so I was told, but it's also the sign of maturity. Sigh!

And O just in case you are wondering, yeap, it’s 3 September.

4. Because my mother says so!

Well, How could you say No. How could you even begin to argue with the woman who gave you birth. If she says ‘come home’, you go and pack your bag right away. No argument. Being a good, mama’s boy, that pretty much sealed the deal for me.

Yes, I am on my weeklong leave since last Saturday and I still have another 5 days to go - to do absolutely nothing. I am gonna savour every single minute of it. No worries, no care in the world as if the clocks are completely stop ticking and nothing can bothers me at all.

So what am I doing right now? Picture me on a beach, sipping my non-achoholic drink, staring gleefully on the open water, wearing absolutely nothing. Pretty much sum up how I feel right now, liberating and naked. Now if you are offended by the notion of me in nude, please go check your meds. I am so not in the mood of caring.

See if I care next week.