Beside the house is a school

Moving Day Doesn’t Happen Every Day

After months of planning (and years of pre-planning, looking for a house) we finally moved yesterday. Thanks to Ain’s effort in looking for and finding a house that we could rent affordably, is comfortable and convenient for Irfan grandparents to move about and use the bathroom. The last time we moved was eight years ago. We have more stuff this time around. Because at the old house, there was a built-in bookcase, there would be less shelves for us to bring our books over. So I took my fair share of books to my office. This is the first time we live in a bungalow. Here’s hoping for a more peaceful life here.

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One of the two omelettes

August Omelette

Not a lot of things to report, other than I made omelette. This is of course nothing compared to the hundreds (thousands?) of meals that Ain made over the decades. But I thought it has been a while since I made dinner. so here is what it looks like.

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Jejawi and Salak Perdana teams

Rania Pre-Aidilfitri Visit

It is the day before Hari Raya. Based on our annual Eid schedule, we will be spending Aidilfitri in Pasir Mas. On the eve of our journey, we received visitors from Rania and family who will be spending their Aidilfitri Day One here up north with Farid’s family. It was great that Nia and Irfan had some fun together. Next day, we will depart for Pasir Mas in the evening, passing over the mountains overnight and hopefully arrive in Pasir Mas before Subuh.

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We wonder when the pandemic will end

Second Pandemic Eid of 2021

Sure, we had Aidilfitri a couple of months ago. Before long Aidiladha was before us. As usual we stayed at home. I imamed the Aidiladha prayers for Ain & Irfan. Ain made laksa johor with the help of my colleague Azreen’s pre-packaged spice. Ultimately we stayed at home and watched TV. (I put on The Empire Strikes Back for the most part.) And that was how we spent our second Aidiladha during the pandemic.

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Pizza One

Today There Is Pizza

…for lunch. Ain baked a pair of pizza today which are fusions of Eastern and Western ingredients. Of course, there is the normal sauce, sliced sausages, onions, capsicum and cheese laid out on the crust. However these were a bit different than regular pizzas because it had chilli flakes, small bits of cabai burung and some sweet & sour sauce. Additionally, there were grape tomatoes and Brazilian spinach, some baked into the pizza, some added on raw as ulam. This might not be a big deal for a lot of people, but this is a treasure for us.

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Then we headed for Bukit Jerneh

The Outbreak Aidilfitri II

Previously, on “The Outbreak Aidilfitri”… It has been 12 lunar months since the last Hari Raya and now Eid has returned, just in time for another nationwide lockdown. So that means we are unable to balik kampung again during the festive season. We had actually planned to spend Eid at a hotel but I decided against it for safety’s sake. For both days of Eid, we went for drives all around the state, staying away from crowds and other humans in generals. Day One On the First Day of Hari Raya, we went to nearby locations taking family photos. We stopped near Irfan’s history teacher’s house because of the greening bendang padi there. The riceplants were starting to sprout at their tapak semaian turning their nursery plots green after a month or so of being mud brown. We also went to the Grape Farm at Sungai Batu Pahat. But we […]

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Home team at night

First Tarawih of the Plague Year

Ramadhan Mubarak, everyone. Tonight was Ramadhan Eve. We had our first Tarawikh prayers of the year, during a semi-quarantine pandemic-based lockdown. Ramadhan usually brings joy, but with the outbreak everyone feels fear and uncertainty. The authorities have suspended congregational prayers at the masjid to prevent spread of the Covid-19 disease. This suspension also covers Friday and Tarawikh prayers. Some places in the world do feel a disquieting woe and sadness as thousands die of the plague. What will the future bring to us all?

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I'm an online teacher!

Remote Teaching

One thing after another throughout my life, I have needed to familiarise myself with matters that I had never considered before. Because of this excellent plague year, I now teach my course online for the rest of the semester. After a two-week break during a worldwide pandemic quarantine, the university found its bearings. Thus I was ordered to begin teaching week 7 onwards through the interwebs. I taught my students from Irfan’s room in the back. So far it has been good. I still wish that I had an audience to interact with. No, that’s not right. I do have one, but I wish I could meet their eyes to judge their growing understanding of the lesson. In the meantime, I have set up my “studio” so to speak. I address my classes via Google Meet. However, the laptop which runs on 32-bit Linux Mint 18.3 has a slight defect. […]

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Brand new container

Outbreak Outage

Besides having this Movement Control Order because of this virus outbreak, we also learnt last Thursday that we were going to have a water outage. The powers that be announced that it would last 3 days from Saturday to Monday. On Friday, Ain and I went looking at shops to find one that would tide us for the duration. Thanks to my colleague Rizal, we found a hardware store that sold lots of them. We spent minimum time purchasing the container, then headed back home as soon as possible. It is now Sunday morning, the container is full and standing by, and we have another 24 hours plus change left according to the waterworks maintenance schedule. So far, so good.

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Lockdown dice

Outbreak Measures

Malaysia has begun a 2-week movement restriction period throughout the country because of the Covid-19 outbreak. All teaching and university work has been suspended though the team kept in contact all day via Telegram. I spent the entire day with Ain and Irfan at home. I do have tasks to complete, knowledge to learn at home, which means I am back to my freelance illustrator work mode. It is just like when I was back in the city, except that I would not be drawing. Of course today of all days my Lazada order arrived from China: six sets of polyhedral dice. When it arrived, I immediately took it to the bathroom and dunked everything in a bucket of soapy water. Hours later, after they had dried, I split the dice with Irfan. Ultimately, we never even unlocked the gate until night fell when we needed to take the garbage […]

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Final artwork

Painting Exercise

Irfan asked me for some training in watercolours and poster colours. He had already pencilled the artwork in school and he wanted to see me paint it with poster colours. I showed him how to block the colours and he tried it out himself, starting with the sky. Then, I did some more and he did some more. I told him how to create soft textures with paint washes and how to create rough texture with thick paints. We used a variety of brushes. Additionally I showed him how to use the extra greens, yellows and blues to mix new colours. We did not waste a drop of paint in the palette. Ultimately we came up with the painting below: Good luck for your art paper in your SPM examination, Irfan!

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Friday lunch buddies

A Friday Lunch With Friends

My colleagues have been expressing a long time desire to sample Ain’s bihun goreng tom yam. They loved it when we offered packets of the food to be sold at my workplace. It has been a couple of years since stopped doing so. Recently, Ain invited the ones who has been asking her about her bihun goreng tom yam the most to lunch. Besides the bihun goreng, she also made nasi lemak ayam goreng pandan. They came over one Friday afternoon, bringing with them their own food, turning the affair into a pot luck party. After Friday prayers I took a photo of our guests. Sadly, I forgot to take a photo of the spread on the dinner table. Ain was testing her capacity to cook a meal for a group of visitors with this exercise. It was a success. Therefore, we will see if we can do an Open […]

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Post-rat disposal sunset

Rat Disposal Weekend

One other thing that occurred over the weekend was the success of our household in apprehending a rat. We heard it scritch-scratching once in a while in the attic and Ain set up a trap as usual. Saturday evening we took it out to a deserted spot by a main road and let it loose into the wild. On our way back to the house, the sky displayed quite a spectacular wash of bright, lively colours. (Click on both images above to expand them.)

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It them

Here’s the Ohio Crew By The Way

We have been talking to Ayah Cik Vin, Cik Dik, Yaya and Adik the Younger on Skype more these days. Irfan’s cousins are smart and loquacious young dudes and I enjoy talking to them. Yaya is a formidable artist and craftsperson for her age and Adik has a talent for music and languages. My niece and nephew will grow into amazing human beings.

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45 and Counting

I am now 45 years old. For the first time ever my family threw me a small birthday celebration. It began with Yaya and Adik’s family calling from the other side of the planet. We had a good talk. Yaya and Adik had plenty to tell us after they sang me the birthday song. When I got home from work Ain and Irfan sprung me with an unexpected birthday present. Besides the present Ain had also been working hard to make the above when I was at work! This nasi rempah with the spiced chicken lauk was delicious. To cap it all off, they even got me a birthday cake. The present Irfan got for me was a Gundam Super Deformed Sinanju which I thought I would assemble when I have the time and place it on my office table. We have never really celebrated my birthday before because it […]

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