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.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

And the madness starts tomorrow

Yes, you read it right. Madness! MADness! Why madness?

Well, it's the start of the new school term. New class, new form, new learning. For those who are commenting, my kids are grown up so should not be a problem, let me set the context.

Amira, my first born, completed her SPM and will be getting her results later this year. This will then shape her next move, whether she gets to enter university, whether she gets a scholarship. Or whether we need to get a loan to finance her study. After all, education is getting more expensive. Ilham will follow suit, he is sitting for his SPM this year and Baby will be taking her PT3. All would require necessary attention, either in guidance also emotional support. Gosh, I wish they were still small. It may be tiring, at least it's more manageable. At their age now, things have to be handled delicately. They are fragile and sensitive, easily bruised. I'm sure you read in the news, so many scary things happening to our youth. Both my better half and I have done the best we can to raise them, the rest is us praying to Allah for them to continue be protected.

Of course, Isyraf will also be experiencing many major milestones Insyallah. Taking his first step, his first word, first of many things. While I'm excited with his progress, deep down I wish time can slow down a bit, watching him growing up too fast is something I'm not really ready to face.

Our routine and schedule will start again tomorrow. My better half with his business, me busy with work, Mira with her first job, Ilham and Baby with school and Isyraf keeping all of us occupied. Planning is key, so we can minimise the kelam kabut. Kelam kabut will still happen of course. Many things may not go as plan, as long as we plan, Insyallah we can try to manage the best way we can.

Personally, I intend to read and write more. I also want to spend more time with my old friends, from high school and college and former work places. I need to manage my time better if I want to do all this without neglecting the most important element in my life, my family.

Yes, madness will start in few hours. Bracing myself for yet another challenging year.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

For another fresh start

Yes peeps, it's the time of the year where we make new year's resolution. I don't see anything wrong with making one. It's always a good thing to have aims and goals in life. Whether we really fulfill it, that's secondary. We have to start somewhere.

I managed quite a lot in 2015. Alhamdulilah, we were blessed with another addition to our family. Isyraf completes us, bringing such joy to our family. He is also a reminder for me to slow down and I take it as a sign from Allah giving me second chance to be a better mother.

2015 is also when I finally get to pay my nazar. We performed umrah together as family. What could be bigger than this. Everything else since then become minor achievements.

For 2016, one thing for sure, I scrapped losing weight as one of the goal. Need to step out of the denial stage. If I want to really lose weight, I put more effort. With my eating habits coupled with close to zero exercise, this will never be achieved. If I really want it, I need to put more effort, simple as that.

Few things I want to achieve in 2016 :

1. I want to khatam Al-Quran this year. It's been ages since I did that. I must also confess, I barely spend time reciting Al-Quran. It's time to restart and as a bonus, to also do this with my kids
2. I want to start something on my own. I'm so proud of my better half for finally having his own business. It's a bumpy ride, and the challenges continue, however, what's important is he pursue his passion. And it's time for me to pursue mine. For now, while doing my day job, I will be starting on my second job.
3. I want to travel local more. I want to explore places in Malaysia which we have yet to discover. I want to have more road trips. Many interesting places await us!
4. I want to perform umrah again. This time with my better half and kids. Tak puas rasanya. It was very peaceful experience. We have nothing to think about except going to the mosques and pray. And continue praying. Nothing else.

I want to focus on this four first. No point having too many goals and end up not meeting any. Insyallah, this year things will be different....

Happy New Year again everyone! It will be an awesome year if you choose it to be 

Friday, January 1, 2016

Umrah Journey 2015 - When Allah gave me second chance

Alhamdulilah, after not being able to fulfill my nazar to Allah last year due to traveling restrictions, I managed to fulfill this promise this year. Since there are enough cash, we decided to bring my parents and inlaws along. However, this entry is not about the umrah journey, at least not yet.

This journey was when Allah gave me a second chance. Second chance to take care of my mom better. My mom, whom I call Mummy. Yes, our family may not be the lovey dovey type . Saying I love you to the kids is not my parents style. Hugging and touching are not as well. However, we show our love in some other ways. And the most important way is we are always there for each other.

Mummy has always been there when I need her. She was there when I gave birth to all my 4 kids. She will be the first one to be in my hospital room after I gave birth. She will rush to my home everytime I call her and inform her I'm not well. And she will always bring soup and other food for me to get better. When my better half got dengue, I called her around 3am to inform her. I was so afraid and I don't know what to do. My better half was very weak and I had to leave Isyraf with Ilham and Baby when I brought him to the hospital. So I called her and she arrived right after solat subuh. So yes, she has always been there for me, my better half and kids when others don't even bother to show up.

It was a proud moment personally for me when I got to bring my Mummy and Abah for umrah. The feeling is the best feeling ever. Even better than the London trip back in July. I know both of them look forward to this umrah. They were very prepared. They even prepared ihram for my better half and Ilham knowing we are busy and may not have time for that. Mummy also prepared jubah for our whole family, she knows very well I am not a jubah person. I can easily say, she made the umrah preparation much easier.

When we were on our journey from Mekah to Madinah, the moment we reached Kota Madinah, I heard commotion at the from part of the bus. I can vividly hear my Abah's voice trying to wake Mummy up. "Dah, Dah, bangun. Dah sampai Madinah ni" (I shiver and cry silently while I type this). I was carrying Isyraf at that moment, and wanting to know what's going on, I gave Isyraf to my better half and went to my Abah.

There she was, my Mummy. Not giving any response and she looked lifeless. Her face and hands were cold. She was not breathing. I can feel water on her face, my Abah wiped her face with water to wake her up. I was frantic. I called her and begged her to get up. She was not responding at all. And I started crying. I begged her not to leave me. Mummy, please wake up. Please wake up. Bukaklah mata Mummy....

And she was still not giving any response. I could not feel her pulse and there's not air coming from her nose. But, I was not ready to give up.

One kakak in the bus gave us air zam zam. We had ours, however it was stored in our luggage. I wiped air zam zam on her face, my mouth was reciting the selawat to our beloved Prophet saw, at the same time calling my Mummy. I then use my fingers to open her mouth, to get some drops of air zam zam into her mouth. From there, I can feel her mouth is still warm, unlike her hands and the rest of her body. From there, I know my hope for her to still be alive is possible.

And that's when Allah showed His miracle in front of my face. My Mummy was like inhaling the longest breath and she exclaimed Allahuakbar! Words can't even described how thankful I was. My Abah still look lost, I know he thought he lost my Mummy too. And when he saw her came back alive I can see him smiling and Abah being Abah, scolded my Mummy, "Tulah, tidur waktu Maghrib".

My Mummy was given her life back. She couldn't stop reciting Subhanallah, Allahuakbar and Alhamdulilah. And I'm very thankful I got my mom back.....

Later, I asked her what happened. She said she felt as if she was back home, and cooking my favourite cekodok. And my voice is the only voice she can hear despite the huge commotion in the bus. She can hear clearly I was calling her name.

And this is how, Allah has given me the second chance. I have been neglecting my Mummy. And Allah reminded me I should stop doing that. I have been busy taking care of the need of others when my Mummy is supposed to be my priority. From there I know, I need and MUST do better.

Alhamdulilah. Thank you Allah for reminding me. Thank you Allah for giving back my Mummy. She is the most important person in my life and it's my turn to repay everything she has done for our family. She has always been there for my better half and kids, calling and checking on us, making sure we are all ok. I should focus on her instead of others who only expect me to be there for them and love to complain, however when I need help, they are nowhere to be seen. And please do not make excuses about how my Mummy lives near me or dia takde kerja. It takes close to 2 hours for her to come to our home and she does have work. Everytime when she comes, she has to leave her goats, chickens and other matters that provide her income. So, don't give comments to belittle her just because you are making up for your failure not being there for our family.

Mummy, I never said this to you, I hope you know how much I love and care for you. Yes, I will do better and I will make a point to spend more time with you. That's the least I can do compared to all the good things you have done for us.

Other stories about our umrah journey, will share later.

For now, signing off, going to bed and looking forward to another exciting year. 2016, bring it on!