Tuesday, February 9, 2016

So You Want To Travel ~ Umrah Journey, What to expect

It's no secret one of my greatest passion is traveling. I find there's no better education than going places and learning culture and life of others. It makes you appreciate many things, like your own country and what it feels like to be minority.

Some may say "duit banyak, pegi sana sini, tapi tak nak pegi umrah". Well, it has always been a dream of mine to go. And I want to be really ready when I finally go. However, I told myself, one can't be ready, sometimes we just need to do it and then we will force ourselves to be ready. That's exactly what we did.

It started with making this nazar. I promised I will take my family for umrah should Mira gets straight A for her PMR. Deep down, I know she will get that results. And Alhamdulilah, she did. Since we have rezeki lebih, we decided to bring our parents as well. So, that will make 10 of us to be on this journey. I jokingly told many people this is the real Rombongan Che Kiah, simply because my mom in law's name is Rukiah :).

There are so many things to share about this trip. Yes, so many things, I don't know how to begin and I don't know how to end. So, I will choose top 5 most useful info(at least in my definition). For the top 5 most memorable memories from this trip, I will share that in another entry which I hope will be published soon, subject to my tahap kerajinan :)

Top 5 most useful info

- Choose the travel agency for this trip wisely. We some what made that mistake. Apart from the price, we chose the travel agent mainly because their office is near to our house, we assume that will make things easier. Many things which were promised not delivered though some may say, "Nak beribadah, tak payah nak berkira sangat". I have different views. I don't think any travel agents should take advantage of people who want to go to perform ibadah. They should make it easy on them so the jemaah can really focus with the ibadah. So, ya, this is very crucial

- Know the current weather both in Mekah and Madinah. When we arrived at Mekah, the weather was quite ok. It can get cold later in the evening. Other than that, it was not too bad. However, I can't say the same about Madinah. It was really cold and Alhamdulilah, we came prepared. I can see some of the jemaah was not and they ended up not having jackets to protect them from the cold. Something I feel the agents should be advising their clients. (Yes, back to point number 1)

- Bring sufficient clothes cause laundry in Mekah and Madinah is super expensive. I would recommend to buy jubah there, it's cheaper than laundry. I only brought 2 jubah and the rest I bought it there. Between Mekah and Madinah, shopping in Madinah is cheaper and the jubahs are much nicer.

- Another expensive item in Mekah and Madinah is medicine so bring your own Panadol, cough mixture or what ever basic medication needed. Unfortunately, Isyraf was down with fever in Madinah mainly due to the cold weather and he was teething. We forgot to bring his fever medication and ended up paying about 36 Riyal (which is close to RM40). In Malaysia, the same medicine would cost us about RM15 the most

- If you get lost, don't panic! Masjidil Haram and Masjid Nabawi are huge and full of thousands of people. If you are going in groups, it is advisable to make ground rule. In our case, we made it a point should anyone of us get lost, to wait at Door 88 in Mekah or gate 17 in Madinah. If we have waited for more than 15 minutes and still no one showed up, go straight to the hotel and wait at the lobby. The reason why we chose this 2 doors mainly because our hotel is about 100 meters from the door.

Yes, there are many other tips, like bring the small water spray in case your wudhu' batal since the nearest ablution place is very far but I feel the above is the most important ones.

I still dream of going to Mekah and Madinah again soon Insyallah. May Allah choose us to be His guests soon....

Next stop, top 5 memories for the umrah trip....

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

So You Want To Cook ~ Pengat Labu dan Sagu (Pumpkin Dessert with Sago)

I always love cooking. I find cooking a therapy. And while the work I do, I may need to wait quite some time to see the results, cooking on the other hand, able to provide me instant results which can be satisfying, some of the time at least.

And today, I just have this urge to cook Pengat Labu and Sagu. Actually, Mira has been asking for this since we came back from umrah. Only today, I managed to make it for her. I also taught her how to make it. It's quite a simple dish and can be ready in less than 30 min.

The ingredients :
Labu (pumpkin) - Quarter of a medium size pumpkin, cut in big dices
Sago (my better half chose to buy the green one, nampak cantik katanya)
Sugar - the ratio is up to you, some may like it sweet. For quarter of a medium size pumpkin, I just put quarter cup of sugar
Santan (coconut milk)
Salt - about 1 teaspoon is sufficient

When I say it's easy, it really is.

First, you put the santan in the pot and add some water. Then pour the sugar and salt and stir it.

Once it starts to simmer, add in the pumpkin. Make sure you wait until the pumpkin is half cooked before you include the sago. Sago may also have thickening effect so do add water to make it thinner. Not too much though.


Told you it's simple.And now you can enjoy this with your family after a long day at work!

Monday, January 4, 2016

So You Want To Get A Job ~ Do You?

In my line of work, I'm privileged to meet and interact with many future graduates from various institute of higher learnings(IHLs). Some are very proactive, some are so so lah, some tak minat langsung. While we read and listen to many complains from employers how quality of our graduates have declined, I must say I still meet many good ones, possessing all the right qualities employers look for.

Rather than joining the bandwagon and continue to criticise, I thought to contribute beyond my scope of work by giving some guidance and tips to future job seekers to prepare them for their next journey in life. Yes adik2, after getting a degree, you will enter the next phase of life where you are expected to work to earn an income. My plan is to share this topic every Monday, subject to availability of time of course.

Well, before we even go to the technical bit like what makes a good CV or how do you prepare yourself for interview, first thing first. You need to ask yourself, do you really want to get a job.

Why do I say this?

I've met many graduates who are still lost and clueless in exploring opportunities. While many IHLs are doing their best to prepare their graduates for employment, many are just not ready or worse, not even interested. I can say most of IHLs I'm working with have career related initiatives implemented. Initiatives like career fairs, interviews workshop, CV writing classes to name a few are organised in many IHLs. Some even took the extra mile by inviting speakers from industries to ensure the content delivered are exactly what the industries wanted. Of course such initiatives are mostly targeted for final year students.

Coming back to why I asked "Do You Really Want To Get A Job". Cause many times when such initiatives are conducted, the turnout is very disappointing. There was this one time, I delivered such content to only about 15 students when the overall university's population is 21K! Can't even get 1to be interested to learn about interview technique. At first I thought maybe I'm not glamour enough, not well known so it is expected for the turnout to be low, however, this has happened before to more prominent speakers, even to the level of HR Directors.

I will spare the normal lecture how graduates nowadays are fortunate to have speakers coming to their campus sharing useful employability skills and how during my time, we had to self-help and self-learn. I'm sure you have heard all that before. But seriously people, what is a better way to learn than hearing tips from those who have recruited hundreds or thousands of people. And it doesn't cost you anything. Just for you to spare your time to learn. You also get to ask questions and get direct answers. If you are really smart, you will grab this opportunity without thinking twice, without being forced by your lecturers or deans, without your faculties have to impose this on you and making attendance compulsory.

Yes, the first step in getting a job is to ask ourselves, are we really up to it. Do we really want a job. Cause the answer to this can be sensed by interviewers. Yes, they can tell. They do this for a living remember?

If your answer is yes, look out for the next entry, probably next Monday. Till then, getting a job is not as hard as you think it is if only you put your heart and mind into it.