Is that 13 Solar or Lunar Years?

23 September 2015 | Hisham | | Family Pics
 

And just like that, our once-newborn son is a teenager. As Irfan is so fond of reciting, "Masa berjalan begitu saja." Although Atok and Opah had treated us to an early birthday dinner with Irfan back in Sitiawan, we went to Burger Republik once more to commemorate the day.

From the urban inner city streets of Pandan Indah (which we rarely allow him to be on unsupervised) to the more relaxed conditions of Perlis! Happy birthday and may you continue to grow and burgeon with wisdom and positivity.

His birthday present, by the way, is a book.

 

Increments in Double Zero

18 September 2015 | Hisham | | Family Pics
 

Fiction is how ideas can be put forward to make one think. I use many methods to help develop Irfan's thinking skills - although I have no clue if they work efficiently.

A lot of fiction for children, when they involve conflict will usually gravitate to an environment with two sides: the right side and the wrong side. You know the cartoon shows. The bad guys make life difficult for the good guys, and the good guys have to surmount this difficulty to achieve some measure of victory.

Mobile Suit Gundam 00 however has a number of sides. Each side has those with a moral conscience and those who are assholes. Even the side that the protagonists are on has factions that are morally reprehensible. So I hope the lesson taught is not to see the person for his uniform or the colour of his skin, but to his intentions and especially his deeds.

And if there is need to act for the betterment of society and mankind, we should.

Meanwhile, Irfan used some of his saved up pocket money (and food sales earnings - a whole another story) over a couple of months to buy the Exia and Dynames Gundams from Double Zero.

Needs moar swords. Seven swords needed

Exia is piloted by Suran Ibrahim. Dynames is piloted by Neil Dylandy, then later Lyle Dylandy.

Is that a Super Substratospheric Altitude Gun in your pocket or are you happy to see me?

Thanks to some tinkering around, he created an Exia-Dynames hybrid Gundam for some sort of nefarious reason.

Ours will be a handsome child!
 

A Bit Higher Than College Age

14 September 2015 | Hisham | | Family Pics, Recent News
 
Needs even moar people that matter in this picture

It is nearly impossible for me to form the words to explain and describe the experience of graduating from college with a Bachelor Degree in English Studies at age 42, on top of the multitude of experiences positive and negative I underwent in the last 25 years or so. I know I prefer to harp on the negative, but on the whole it has been gratifying. After all is said and done, I guess here and now having the family, friends and tools that I possess is where I am actually supposed to be.

A big thanks to everyone that pushed me in this direction.

 

We're Not The Droids You're Looking For

03 September 2015 | Hisham | | Family Pics, Star Wars
 

Irfan got a present from his aunt last weekend when two aunts visited. He got this great t-shirt filled with droids. There's everything from the demolitions droid, some astromech droids, battle droids, a power droid to protocol droids. But there is no Bollux and Blue Max, sadly.

And there's no Great Heep on it...

So I too wore a t-shirt with a droid on it and took a photo of us. So we would have a photo. Of both of us wearing t-shirts. Of droids.

 

Visitors to Burger Republik

31 August 2015 | Hisham | | Family Pics, Food
 

When the visitors formerly from the tenth floor visited, we thought we would take them to some place fancy, namely Burger Republik.

People!

For the occasion, two tables were joined together to form the robot lion.

Oern Jus!

The day the sign was made, they told us that anyone who pointed out the spelling mistake of "oren" got a free orange juice.

Onions!

So anyway... this is Ciksu's burger. It has all the onions, which makes it more awesome than awesome.

Chikin!

Many ordered the chicken chop, including Ain, which as usual had a great flavour to its gravy.

Fish!

Cikma ordered the salmon.

Little burro!

I thought I would just enjoy the burritos. Because it should be a burrito day everyday.

 

Visitors Formerly From the Tenth Floor

30 August 2015 | Hisham | | Family Pics
 

Over the Merdeka Day Weekend, we received some visitors, two of which lived back at the Tenth Floor with us back in the day

Cikma, Ayah Cik the Younger and Ciksu travelled to the north all the way from Kuala Lumpur to spend time with us. Also, Irfan had some questions about Steam to ask Ayah Cik.

After an afternoon at Padang Besar where no padang besars could be found, we had dinner at the beach in Kuala Perlis, which for some reason I keep calling "Kuala Selangor" by mistake for no good reason.

Maghrib prayers were performed at Masjid Kuala Perlis which was built over water off the town promenade. It was the first time I visited this mosque. Unfortunately it was low tide.

 

Weekend at Sitiawan

10 August 2015 | Hisham | | Family Pics
 

Last weekend, we balik kampung to Sitiawan.

Coincidentally, we got to attend my cousin's wedding in Ipoh on Saturday. All except Opah Irfan went to the community hall where the wedding took place. She was unwell. As a bonus, we discovered some nifty new roads heading into the capital city of Perak by way of Batu Gajah. 

Twice the Yongs!

Yong Neni and her newborn with Yong Ain together again. We invited them to visit us in Perlis if time permits. It would be great to have them as houseguests and show them the sights.

Strawberry Cafe is its name

Later that night, Atok and Opah took us to dinner at a restaurant of Atok's old acquaintance. We drove past the restaurant many a time in the past, but failed to notice it. The ambience was good. The food was great. When Vin and Sila return, we should totally come here for dinner at some point.

 

Homeward Bound Over the Hills

23 July 2015 | Hisham | | Family Pics
 

Aidilfitri vacation was coming to an end. We left for home from Pasir Mas at 0430 hours and arrived at the eastern end of the mountain roads just in time for Subuh prayers. By the time we reached the Titiwangsa rest stop an hour later, this was what we saw while the cold winds buffetted us:

Travelling the East-West Highway in the dark could be a bit daunting, then the sun rises

We got one amazing view from the top of the hills as the sun peeked over the horizon. If only we could stay up there and enjoy the view forever.

This view beats anything back at the Tenth Floor

The photos here could not do justice to the view because of the low light conditions, as well as the sun coming up right before us. 

...is the love that I've found ever since you've been around

It was like the top of the world, with the layer of clouds were like a carpet of whiteness in the valley far below us and the only explanation I can find...

From Baling to Sik we passed through Kampung Memali

We stopped for breakfast at Baling, which we usually bypass.

Sik, dude

We also stopped for photos at Sik, because Sik.

Then we headed home, safely reaching home base after lunch.

Lunch at Subways.

 

Hari Raya at Pasir Mas

20 July 2015 | Hisham | | Board and Card Games, Family Pics
 

This year I was able to take a full week's vacation for Eid vacation at Pasir Mas. I was able to take a vacation because I had a job to take a vacation from this year, which is one of the many things I am grateful for this year. We arrived a couple of days early so Ain could work her magic in the kitchen. There was also a lot of orange soda thanks to Abang G.

Orange and Brown family

Eid was on a Friday. Irfan and I walked to the masjid, and almost missed the Eid prayers but got into the back line just in time.

Tok Bah and Tok Man, also a Tall Boy
 

Betty Was Missing

12 July 2015 | Hisham | | Family Pics, Recent News
 
Sad rainy day

A month ago, Betty went out for her daily roams and never came back. The neighbours reported not seeing her. She was gone all throughout Ramadhan. We live close to thick tropical-grade underbrush. One possibility is that she might have come afoul of local wildlife - and I don't mean squirrels. After three weeks, I had accepted that we would never see her or hear her little mewlings again.

For weeks only Comel, the neighbour's cat, hung around about the house. Here she is trying to persuade me to let her drive us to town. Well, not without a valid driver's licence, missy.

 

But on Sunday, while Irfan was playing with Comel's owners from next door, his classmate came a-visiting bringing with him Betty!

Thanks to Irfan's sustained crowdsourcing efforts and detailed descriptions, his friend from school recognized Betty's markings and her collar at a housing area half a mile away! At first she was somewhat reserved, but ultimately she went back to her old self, napping in her old shoebox.

 

She also still enjoys car rides!

We are overjoyed by her return! 

 

83 Months

22 June 2015 | sila | | Family Pics
 

83 months of Yaya!

Happy girl at the beach at night

* Mouse over the pictures for captions

 

Yaya loses a Tooth!

18 June 2015 | sila | | Family Pics
 

Yaya lost her first baby tooth today! June 18, 2015. She is a little over a month shy of her seventh birthday!

Buh-bye tooth!

* Mouse over the pictures for captions

 

Rafe - 41 Months

29 May 2015 | sila | | Family Pics
 

The boy is now 41 months old! Almost 3 and a half!

Happy roti canai-filled Adik

That is the face he made after eating his fill of roti canai at the Straits of Malacca.

* Mouse over the pictures for captions

 

82 Months

22 May 2015 | sila | | Family Pics
 

82 months of Yaya!

Yaya and Adik

* Mouse over the pictures for captions

 

Boy Spells Words

10 May 2015 | Hisham | | Family Pics
 

Irfan told informed us that he was invited by a teacher to attend some spelling bee. Later he told us the event was held at a local hotel: the biggest hotel in town.

He didn't even tell is it was this contest:

Irfan with buntings

You can read about the contest here.

Irfan with Mom

We arrived and I took some photos before Irfan joined his school contigent for registration. There were 150 attendees from his school.

Now that's one tall First Former

After registration, the teacher in charge briefed his contigent. It looks like there were representatives from every Form.

Irfan with other First Formers

Irfan and the other First Formers take a photo together. He was the only one from his class.

Irfan with Mom, redux

This appeared to be the qualifying round. There was only a preliminary written test for the attendees. If Irfan makes it past the preliminaries, the next event would be the State Challenge which according to the website would be held at Dewan Kapitol on the 8th and 9th of August.

 

Veronica - Hello and Farewell

07 May 2015 | Hisham | | Family Pics
 

Before we left for Kuala Lumpur and Sitiawan last weekend, Ain was enamoured with another stray kitty who hung around at a roadside stall nearby. She took to Ain very well, so she thought we would also adopt her and Betty would have a companion.

Neow neow buddy

We took in the new calico on Tuesday and named her Veronica. Like their namesake, Betty and Veronica did not really get along well. Betty was quite haughty and Veronica was a better-behaved kitty. They did things together, but once in a while they got into hissing slap flights. We thought that after a week or two of acclimatising, the two kitties would be okay with each other.

On Wednesday, while we were having lunch at home a neighbour knocked on our door and told us she saw Veronica get hit by a car. She was at the doorstep limp and lifeless, her eyes looking out to nowhere.

While I returned to work, Ain and Irfan sadly buried Veronica by the canal. We were all shocked by the sudden death. Even Betty appeared to be shaken by the event. She is less energetic and behaves better than she ever did now for some reason. Perhaps she regrets fighting with Veronica.

Here lies Veronica neow neow neow neow
 

So long, Veronica, and sorry.

 

A Return To the Tenth Floor

04 May 2015 | Hisham | | Family Pics
 

It's the Labour Day/Wesak Day long weekend. We were unsure if we were able to travel 500 klicks plus change to the old house back on the Tenth Floor in Kuala Lumpur.

We had planned on departing at 3AM, but because we were exhausted we awoke at six, and after gearing up were only able to push off from Kangar at seven. Twitter warned us of slow traffic on the highway ahead of us, which forced us off and into the state roads near Selama toward Taiping. Soon we decided to stop at Atok and Opah's in Sitiawan for a brief rest and Friday prayers.

We resumed our journey at 3PM and reached Kuala Lumpur by nightfall.

It was a strange feeling, returning there after five months away from the city. I don't believe we were ever away from the city anywhere near this amount of time. The strangeness was promulgated by the fact that it did not feel like we were away for five months. It felt like we were only away for a week or two.

Soon we were back at the Tenth Floor. A familiar sight of the Pandan Indah cityscape greeted us. The city lights were still aesthetically pleasing. That night we went for a drive around the city, like old times.

The Tenth Floor was all but a shell of its former self. Despite being our shelter and home base for the last fifteen years - the same number of years I lived in Sitiawan before I had to go away to study - it felt like a relief to finally being able to appoint a realtor to help sell it off. Irfan knew of no other home and it was here that he learnt to swim.

 

A Return to Burger Republik

30 April 2015 | Hisham | | Family Pics, Food
 

Because we sent some freelance proofreading work in the direction of the proprietor of Burger Republik, they invited us over for dinner on the house. I had the chicken kebab which was perfect and juicy. Especially the onions.

Because onions!

Ain had ordered a new item on their menu, the salmon. I thought the bean sprouts gave the fish a great taste and texture. Although I loved my kebab, I quickly wished I had ordered the salmon instead. But all is good, because we all share our food with each other anyway.

Irfan had a "Broadway Burger". But there was no photo of it, just this photo of Irfan devouring said burger.

Because we found the selection of Burger Republik's menu quite appetising, we shall return there!

 

Rafe - 40 Months

29 April 2015 | sila | | Family Pics
 

And so Adik is 40 months old!

And he's excited about it!

* Mouse over the pictures for captions

 

Atok and Opah's April Visit

26 April 2015 | Hisham | | Family Pics
 

Atok and Opah visited us in Perlis once more, this time to help ensure all went well during the my last ever semester final examinations. If I make it through this, then I would have a Bachelor of English Studies degree. And in a position to do something with it.

We planned for a picnic at Gua Kelam, but rainfall overnight caused a change in plans so we went to Tasik Melati which appeared to be overrun by ants and water lettuce, although the lily pads were pretty neat.

However, after breakfast at Tasik Melati we found ourselves at Gua Kelam anyway because we travelled quite a bit past Sungai Batu Pahat northbound toward Kaki Bukit.

We enjoyed the greenery at the Gua Kelam Secret Garden on the other side of the cave tunnel where we finished off the leftover of our Tasik Melati breakfast.

There was one way to prove that we were at the Secret Garden, which was to take a photo of the indisputably noticeable large words that labelled the locale as a SECRET GARDEN. Needless to say its secret was safe with us.

The next morning we visited the Pauh Pasar Pagi which was a unique combination of a farmer's market which also includes flowers and other landscaping material, and a flea market which even sells melee weapons including a not-very-hefty-looking wooden mace. With spikes and all.  

Atok and Opah were very engrossed with the decorative plants, which were sold right by the roadside.

Irfan smiles with glee at another flower stall which was located between a graveyard and a rubber plantation.

Opah bought for Irfan another flowering potted plant to look after. According to the seller it's a "Japanese Rose" however a cursory Googling confirms that it is not.

After exams were over, it was time for Atok and Opah to leave for Sitiawan, with a plan to meet soon during the Labour Day/Wesak Day long weekend.