Thursday, 21 February 2013

Fascinating Malaysian Batik

Batik is a textile art of Malaysia. It is consider as a national dress to every level of general population. Batik Malaysia is recognised by it's distinguish pattern and vivid colours. Every Malaysian own at least a piece of batik. I have dress, skirts, pants and baju kurung made from batik. Batik is an evergreen that can never be out of date or out of place.
Yesterday, we had a "Fascinating Malaysia Batik Show" organized by the Embassy of Malaysia in Muscat. I was one of the committee helping out with the showcase. The Batik was presented by the Faculty Art & Design from University Institut Teknology Mara. They were also here in conjunction of the Muscat Festival that are currently held now. They are promoting the Malaysian Batik to locals.
The showcase that was held yesterday morning were more on promoting batik materials that worn by our beautiful models. The show was superb and all our models (moms) were so sporting. The audience were mostly expats and all the Ambassador's wives.
Beside previewing the show, they also had a chance to buy some Batik materials like scarves, pareo and sarong. There were also some demos on Batik drawing and painting.

It was a successful event for us and I am proud that our Batik has always be the favourite around the world.

Monday, 18 February 2013

The Next "MasterChef"

Woohooo... don't be petrified by the blog title. Frankly, I wish I could be one too - I mean the one that you watch on the TV, the MasterChef series. I actually wanted to enrol myself in the Malaysia MasterChef Season 1. I even filled up the enrolment form but didn't send it because of the many rules that I won't be able to accomplish like being away from the family and has to be fully committed to the program. And because of that I just be one of the die hard fans glued to the couch watching the series while at the same time dreaming I could be one of them!

Anyway, few days back I attended the Cooking Class organized by the Ambassador's Wife Group at the Shang Tai Restaurant. It is a famous restaurant here in Muscat that serves Fine Thai Cuisine. Obviously our class will be learning the Thai Cuisine! It offered the five courses menu from salad, soup and main course.

The class was handled by the famous Master Executive Chef Praiwan from Thailand. Chef Praiwan has a culinary career spanning 22 years, working in range of Thai fine dining restaurants across Middle East and Asia. The class was more on the cooking demonstration from the Chef. He showed and taught us how to prepare all the required ingredients for each of the respective menu.

The best part was I got to know some tips and secrets in preparing the foods. Chef Praiwan was so generous to share all his skills and secrets ingredients in the menu. Though I have cooked variety Thai cuisine at home, this class really an eye opener to me. I learned new things and new ways of preparing the food.

After about two hours in the kitchen, we were invited for a lunch. Yes.. the delicious dishes that were cooked by us. Correction - not us but the Chef Praiwan actually :).

I love to attend any cooking or baking class if time permitted. I have attended a few classes when I was back in Malaysia. Even though I can cook or can learn how to cook thru the 'internet' still I feel the hands on guided by the professional are the best way to learn.

So back to the "MasterChef".. I might not be winning or getting any trophy or money in any competition but I am already the winner in my children's heart. I am the MasterChef at home and I will always be.

Monday, 11 February 2013

When a Maid think like a "Professor"

Current Mode : TENSIONED and TENSED

Haih... memang di akui lah.. semua pembantu rumah ni bukan lah cerdik sangat.. Ye lah.. kalau pandai ada degree, PHD takde ah deorang keja maid kan... tapi I tak expect ah yang tahap kecerdikan sampai tahap bebal/bodoh sangat.. Sampai segalanya tak bole fikir dan tiada common sense!

I have a live-in maid stayed with us for 4 years. Dah memang serasi dengan anak2 and tau segala rentak kerja. 8 months ago, dia dah balik ke Indon. Alasan nak kahwin.. ok lah.. orang dah teruja gedik nak kahwin, takkan lah I nak tahan kan.. 

A month after she left, I started to look around for part timers maid. At first I thought that I wouldn't need one but after awhile.. badan dah sakit2 sampai demam and terkejar sana sini.. memang nak kena cari orang especially part mop dan cuci toilet.

I've interviewed a few potential maids. One that finally qualified, agreed to work. The deal was she came to my house from 8.00am-1.30pm daily for the salary of 100riyal per month. She was quite experienced and knew what to do. I didn't have to teach her a lot. After a week, I discovered that she stole something - my personal items and foods. Not that I was berkira in the foods part but please... tell me if you want. The foods that she took was the frozen ketupat daun palas. She took a whole plastic and put in her handbag.

I did not confronted her (my mistake) as I was so desperate of keeping her. I was 2 weeks away from performing my Hajj. I have to have a maid at home as I will leave my children with mother inlaw and cousin. I have to have somebody to come and clean up house daily. I did not tell anyone about her stealing our things. Tawakal je lah.. leaving her and I just pray that she won't take anymore valuable things.

After came back from Hajj, I paid her salary and told her that she did't have to come anymore. I told the reasons and of course she did not admit it. She even dared to challenge me to prove what are the things that I claimed she stole. When I said I found out she took a bunch of my panty liner, sanitary pads and Watson wet tissue which obviously we don't have Watson here - still tak nak mengaku. You know what did she answer?

"Ibu.. sungguh pun aku ini orang susah.. enggak punya uwang.. namun aku enggak mencuri.. aku ada barang aku sendiri.. aku memakai tisu basah jenama Johnson" Cewah... cakap memang tak mau kalah.. Menyampah bila baca..The heat went back and forth between me and her until I realised that no matter what I said, she still won't admit it. Why I should low down myself to her level by responding to her sms. I stopped at one point with sepatah dua kata to her. She kept sending me sms until the last one asking her one week salary (berani lagi setelah mencuri mcm2) - my simple reply was, "pulangkan semula barang yang kamu curi baru saya bayar duit kamu" Only Allah knows what else she took.

After couple week I got a new maid. Well.. look intelligent outside but stupidity inside! Dari segi kejujuran... setakat ni Alhamdullilah.. takde ah panjang tangan. Dari segi kerja.. Ya Allah... I ni bukanlah cerewet sangat.. asalkan buat kerja betul and bersih. Tapi dia ni memang dah tahap kronik. Ada benda yang simple pun mcm takde logik and common sense dia. Ajar menggosok baju.. berpuluh kali tapi masih buat salah yang sama. Lepas tu kalau kerja kasar.. Dah banyak harta benda I rosak. Once, she broke my vase and blamed the couch. She said she wanted to sweep the floor and the couch was behind her and when she pushed the couch it hit the vase. Bole? The latest was the toilet bidet in my daughter's room. Benda tu dah melekat bertahun kat dinding and bole tercabut dikerjakannya.

Alasan dia.. rumah ni dah lama and benda tu memang dah longgar. Eeeee... rasa nak sepuk muka dia masa tu. I told her, I have been staying here for a year plus, anak I pakai tkde tercabut. Benda tu bersemen kat dinding.  Kalau menjawab.. kalah professor. Haih... nak cerita memang tak akan habis pasal dia ni. 

On and on she still doing the same mistakes until I got very tensed. I've tried so many ways of approach until I decided to write on a piece of paper with list of do's and don'ts. I sticked on the door entrance and at the area I wanted her to focus more.

I was away on the day I put the notes. After 30min she arrived she sms me "Salam buk maaf kalo kerjaan ku kurang rajin inssak aullo saya terusin sebulan lagi sudah" I replied "Ibu tulis begitu supaya kamu ingat kerna bnyk kali ibu cakap dan ajar kamu asyik lupa. Kalau kamu mau kerja lama, kerjalah betul2. Ibu tidak cerewet kalau tugasan kamu bersih dan betul. Ibu bayar gaji mahal maka kerja kena ah setimpal dan baik" Nak berhenti? Baru a day before cakap nak kerja dengan I selama we all stay here in Oman. Susah nak cari kerja... nak buat merajuk ah ni..

At noon when I arrived home expecting some improvement but unfortunately.. failed again. I showed her the area that I left notes and still she didn't do anything about it -  I wonder now whether she can read or not? Her reaction of course dengan jawapan professor dia tu... 

Frankly... I give up now. PASRAH! 

My decision now.. at this moment I am writing.. I want to terminate her by end of this month. I think I have enough with her. With the amount of salary that I am paying her, more than the previous one - I, at least should deserve better than this crap. 

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Small Things Can Make A Big Difference

A week ago, I received a lovely surprise note from somebody that I respect so much. I felt that I have done nothing great to receive this kind of gratitude from her.

In our life, unexpected moments can sometimes make us feel good with ourselves. And syukur Alhamdullilah, the little small thing that I have done can make others happy. Here the story begins....

I love to cook. If you ask anybody that knows me, they will tell you that my passion is cooking and baking. I don't just cook for myself, or family, but I love to invite friends coming over to my house to try out my food or sometimes send food to them. 

Since I was small, I always see my mom busying in the kitchen cooking and baking. There were always visitors in our home. My relatives and my parent's friends always complimented my mom's cooking. Everybody loved it.My mom never get tired of cooking and entertaining people. 

She was not 'somebody' or a well known person, but just an ordinary woman with a big heart. I have grown up learning and seeing all these things. When I got married, this kind of spirit naturally flows into me. I always cook and invite my relatives or friends to join us. I am lucky as my hubby shares the same spirit. 

It's like a routine; there will be at least one guest coming over to our house once a week or two. Sometimes I will share my cooking/baking dishes with my friends by sending over to their home. It feels incomplete if we don't do this 'routine'. If you ask me - why do I have to do all these things? I have no answer for it. I just feel good doing all this routine, especially looking at the happy faces after eating my food. That is what makes me happy the most.

A couple of weeks ago, I cooked Laksa Utara. While cooking, I remembered this one special person. I sent a full set of Laksa to her house for her lunch as I remembered a day before we were having a chat about this Laksa Utara. I know her husband and she love it.

To my surprise, a few days later she returned back the laksa container with this special note. 

I was so touched when reading it. It was nothing special that I have done but just sharing something that I cooked with others. Something that I always do and love doing it. 

This story and letter could be nothing to others but it means so much to me. Not that I am always expecting reward for each deed that I do but sometimes these kind of notes can just make my day.

To this special lady, Datin Musrifah, who is the wife of Malaysian Ambassador in Sultanate of Oman - thank you so much for the lovely thoughtful note. You are such a special person with kind good heart. You are the best person who I happened to meet - many love and thanks!
"We won't always know whose lives we touched and made better for our having cared, because actions sometimes have unforeseen ramifications. What's important is that you do care and you act." - Charlotte Lunsford.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Cinta oh Cinta...

Memang indah kalau dikenangkan saat mula bercinta. Semuanya indah belaka. Kalau gi dating sure sentiasa nak pimpin tangan. Cakap pun lembut2 dan control ayu dan macho je. Kalau makan pun mesti nak kongsi2. Kalau tengah makan ada nasi atau cili terselit kat bibir atau gigi, nampak cute je pasangan kita tu.. Pastu.. suka buat joke nak kasi pasangan tu gelak. Walaupun joke bodoh.. tapi disebabkan sayang nampak lawak je.

Pastu apa yang pasangan tu buat semuanya okay dan beri sokongan. Apa saja perubahan pasangan itu pasti akan nampak - contohnya kalau dah tukar gaya rambut ke.. baju atau kasut baru ke.. Sure akan notice kan?  Then kalau pasangan tu masak ke... buat apa2 ke.. sure akan mendapat pujian.. Part yang paling best kalau merajuk je.. sure akan dapat pujuk.. kalau dapat bunga lagi ah kembang hati pasangan tu.. Gurau senda memang manis je waktu ni... 

Haih... itu semua masa tengah hangat bercinta. Masa awal bercinta atau masa berkahwin..

Ini pulak bila cinta dah tak hangat atau suam2 kuku..

Kalau keluar dating (jarang ah kut pun) jalan jauh2.. kalau rapat sangat rasa rimas. Kalau pegang lama2 lengan takut rosak baju dipakai atau lenguh tangan pasangan tu, Kalau jalan terhegeh2 kena jerkah. Kalau makan selekeh2 sememeh siap ah.. kena kutuk! Kalau buat lawak yang tak lawak memang cari pasal ah..

Kalau tetiba pasangan ada minat baru, kena nengok dulu samada dapat approval tak.. Kalau pasangan gunting rambut or pakai baju baru ke.. takyah ah nak mengharap pasangan tu notice. Kalau masak sedap2 ke.. juga tak payah ah mengharap pujian. Masak je apa pun.. makan tetap makan.. 

Merajuk? Tak payah buang masa.. buang karan je! Bunga? Tunggu ah kalau ada mood baru kut pasangan tu bagi.. 

Itulah senario CINTA. Mungkin mudah untuk mencari cinta tapi sukar untuk kekalkan nya.Cinta harus sentiasa disemai dan dijaga supaya ia sentiasa mekar. Jika ia layu pasti tiada lagi kewangian dan keindahannya.

Cintailah pasangan kita sementara dia masih ada. Hargailah pasangan kita sementara dia masih disisi kita.  Cintailah dengan penuh keikhlasan kerana cinta yang ikhlas adalah cinta yang paling murni.

p/s: Ini adalah cerita cinta biasa yang  tidak ada kaitan dengan sesiapa yang saya kenali.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Table Top Sales

Last Thursday for the first time, I got involved in the Table Top Sales in Muscat. This is actually like a car boot sale except you sell your things on the tables given. I and my friend shared one table slot. There were 50 tables involved and the event started at 8.00am.

As this is my first time (in my life too actually!), I didn't really know what to expect. I just did some survey from my friends who have involved before. There were actually lots of things in my house that I want to get rid but I just don't know where to start.

As for this event, I started with my children's clothes. There were two big plastics of their clothes that were stored so long. The clothes still looked new as my children just grow up so fast and blame me their mom that also just couldn't stop buying clothes for them.

I have brought probably around 50 pieces of clothes plus some toys and shoes. I came 30 minutes earlier to set up the table. People started coming as early as 8.00 am. For the first 15min, people just looked and passed by our stall without buying anything. Later on my friend got his first item sold - Ferrari baby car seat. Arrghh.. maybe clothes were not the hot items here but I saw there were piles of clothes and shoes sold opposite  my table.

After 5min I got my first sale. Yeehaaa.. and after that I was just busied selling my things as people continuously stopping at our stall. Alhamdullilah I and my friend had our items almost cleared around 10.30am. We waited another hour and we had sold almost 95% of our items!

I felt so happy as I reached my target. This kind of event does not actually helps the low income crowd to get a branded/quality items but also helping the seller getting rid of the unwanted items.

I have sold all my items mostly to the housemaids and general labor workers. Each time when I sold my items, I felt like I had done something good. It was not about making profit here. I want to get rid of my unwanted items and at the same time I want to make others happy getting something that are still new with a very low price.