Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Happy Birthday, Sunshine


Nazzim is twelve today. He smiled big and wide when I wished him this morning. He even allowed Sofia to kiss him when she wished him so.

He’s all grown up. He’s a far cry from the toddler who was so obsessed with cranes, then tractors and later on, washing machines, albeit anything that turns around. I was worried sick that he finds things that spin fascinating. But he outgrew that obsession in good time.

Nazzim is not a morning person. There are few grumpier people on earth in the mornings. More often that not, we’d be looking high and low, under the tables and in the closets for the other six dwarfs, for Mr. Grumpy is here among us.

Last Saturday, while I was out playing golf, he announced to Lina that he wanted roti canai for breakfast. Lina said that she didn’t feel like going out.

“Then I’ll go on my own.”, he added.

“I don’t think so….”, said his mom.

“Mama ni, semua Along nak buat tak boleh. Along dah besar dah tau!!”

He went off to sulk. Five minutes later she told him to go on and get his roti canai. Lina said that a very chirpy boy came back half an hour later. Of course, one roti canai could make a big difference. Being independent is a big difference.

That gave Sofia some bright ideas.

“For you my dear, the day you go on your own to get roti canai will be the day when tanduk kucing bertanduk.” , I said.

Or maybe when she is thirty-five.

His Papa Tok loves his company. A few weeks ago we let him and his cousin, who is of the same age, accompany their Papa Tok to the wet market in Seremban. We had two sets of anxious parents at home and both pairs were sure that they would only hinder their grandfather as he goes about trying to get things bought. But of course, grandfathers being grandfathers, he had nothing but praises for his grandsons, especially Nazzim, as they helped carry all the groceries, alerted their grandfather of oncoming cars, pointed him to the right directions and helped him go around the muck in and around the market. Yes, sure, as if the man has not been doing all that these previous sixty-five years.

Happy Birthday, Sunshine. For that is what you are to us when you came into this world.


Monday, June 20, 2005

Not So Easy Pickings


Sofia and I went back to my mother’s house to get some fruits yesterday. We “gait” some manggis, rambutans but I had to climb the dokong tree. One thing that never changed, the ants could really really give you trouble if they bite at the right places. Each time I plucked a bunch of dokongs, they’d be all over my hands and it took them just a few seconds to be everywhere. Their bites never bother me, must be the immunity that I have developed over the years. Except at some places, geli. Those small black ants are OK but not those bigger ones that we call “kelingkiak” or something like that. Now, those guys could hurt you. As bad as a hornet’s sting. Bisa. They usually make their homes in some hole that they burrowed in the smaller branches. You’d get a red welt that hurts like hell and would not go away for a day or two. When that happens, we'd get some chalk or kapur and smear it over the welt and drink lots of water and try to piss as much as possible as they said that is the best way to get the poison out of our bodies. You figure that out.

And I discovered that I could no longer depend on my arms to haul me around the trees like before. Hmmm, must be the jeans I was wearing. Or maybe I’m heavier. Or maybe the arms are weaker. Naaahhh… must be the jeans…. Never climb a tree full of ants in your jeans. Makes it difficult to get at the ants when they decided to bite you at some hard to get to places. It was pluck the dokongs, put them in the basket, brush the ants away, pluck the dokongs, put them in the basket, brush the ants away, punctuated by shouts of “Alamak semut ni, macam tak ada tempat lain nak diperginya….”, pluck the dokongs, put them......

And Sofia and her cousin Nadia a.k.a. Ya, would be laughing their heads off down on the ground.


Sunday, June 12, 2005

Another Wedding Tale


I just came back from a wedding, one of those posh affairs at a hotel in KL. Courtesy of Lina’s side of the family. Most fancy weddings at hotels that I attend are mainly from her side of the family. From my side of the family, it’s always at home or at some hall somewhere. Reminds me of the story about the twenty dollar and the one dollar bills. The twenty dollar bill gets to go to nice clubs, fancy hotels and other posh places but the all the one dollar bill did was to go to church, go to church and go to church. I’m like that one dollar bill.

Good thing people recognizes her.

“Oh anak Kak Long…..”, most of them would say. When I say them, I mean my mother-in-law’s cousins, second cousins, cousins once up to four times removed or whatever other terms that we might have for relatives. That is really a relief for me since I do not cherish running a gauntlet of maroon coloured ushers/relatives on my way to our table and them wondering who we are. And of course upon seeing Nazzim and Sofia they’d go “Oh, ini anak you ke…?” to her. That helped.

“Alright, come along”, I’d say, “these nice people have other folks to help find their tables….”

And among her relatives, she’s Gina….. Yup, she’s got another name. Nama glamour you….. Nazzim and Sofia were tickled pink when they heard that their mother has another name, a nama glamour.

“It’s one of those things when I was young”, she said when we first got married.

My, one thing I can tell you is that Lina has got some good looking relatives. A look from the corner of her eye put me back on track, heh heh…. If that does not work, a pinch would always certainly right any wayward man. Heh heh, just kidding, people look a lot nicer at weddings, yours truly included too lah.

As usual I was going “Who was that?”, “Now who’s that?” all night long as a retinue of people would pass by our table to greet her parents and her. The children fared a lot better than me because all they had to do was shake and kiss the hands of most everyone who came by whereas I had to pretend some sort of recognition with every handshake.

“That was Wan Alang? I thought that was Wan Asu and Wana Alang was that lady with the black tudung?”

She’d patiently explain who’s who again but by the end of the night, one Wan looks like another just as another Tok looks like the rest too and take into account the Mak Ngahs and Pak Andeks, things looked much more difficult than Einstein’s Theory of Relativity.

All in all, it was an agreeable night. The bride’s father, who is filthy rich, to be able to afford such a night, gave a very good, funny and not too long a speech. The food was good, the company excellent and no man could ask for more.


Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Temper Fi


I shouted at someone during a meeting yesterday but I think it was well-deserved and worth it.

Well, we, the team presented our case and this guy, let’s say he’s a member of the review panel and he didn’t agree with something that we proposed.

“I don’t agree with the location of this building/tree/road/well/drain.”

“Can you tell us why you do not agree?”

“Well, it’s not the optimum location.”

“Can you propose an alternative location?”

“No, I can’t because I have not seen the details but.........”

“Ya, you haven’t seen the details but we have and you simply cannot say you don’t agree with something but then not propose an alternative. If that is the case, I’d like to sit on the committee all day long and comment on other people’s work. Believe me, I could do that!!!”

“No, that is not what I meant mumble, mumble......"

After the meeting, one of my staff told me, “Boss, you were quite loud just now boss…..”

“Was I? Gasakkan dia, padan muka….”

Well, my weekly “thump a review commitee member” deed done, (that counts as a good deed) I left the office for a practice session at Ampang Bowl with my buddy ex-Joe.

Bad session.

Good day.