Thursday, July 30, 2009

Virus Influence Shaz

Since she's got the new look, I was influenced to have a makeover myself as well. (Not that anybody said anything about it anyway).

Actually I have tried customising my page few times but everytime I tried, I failed. So I figure I must a be a true blue IT blind gal..hehehe...But this one works yay!!! Thumbs up for me (double pleaseee...)

Monday, July 27, 2009

Hari Malas Sedunia......

After I realised that I screwed up, I felt demotivated and even downgraded to plain lazy.....this is getting really bad now that I am blogging about it. i was surfing and surfing and now I'm almost drown..

Hey I even googled on 'How to Overcome Laziness' kay? I did an online personality quiz as well. Bet many have tried this. The results is....(drumroll puh leezzz...)

Get to know yourself better

Your view on yourself:
You are down-to-earth and people like you because you are so straightforward. You are an efficient problem solver because you will listen to both sides of an argument before making a decision that usually appeals to both parties.

The type of girlfriend/boyfriend you are looking for:
You like serious, smart and determined people. You don't judge a book by its cover, so good-looking people aren't necessarily your style. This makes you an attractive person in many people's eyes.

Your readiness to commit to a relationship:
You are ready to commit as soon as you meet the right person. And you believe you will pretty much know as soon as you might that person.

The seriousness of your love:
You are very serious about relationships and aren't interested in wasting time with people you don't really like. If you meet the right person, you will fall deeply and beautifully in love.

Your views on education
Education is very important in life. You want to study hard and learn as much as you can.

The right job for you:
You have plenty of dream jobs but have little chance of doing any of them if you don't focus on something in particular. You need to choose something and go for it to be happy and achieve success.

How do you view success:
You are afraid of failure and scared to have a go at the career you would like to have in case you don't succeed. Don't give up when you haven't yet even started! Be courageous.

What are you most afraid of:
You are concerned about your image and the way others see you. This means that you try very hard to be accepted by other people. It's time for you to believe in who you are, not what you wear.

Who is your true self:
You are mature, reasonable, honest and give good advice. People ask for your comments on all sorts of different issues. Sometimes you might find yourself in a dilemma when trapped with a problem, which your heart rather than your head needs to solve.

I need re-boot myself maybe?

I feel bad

I screwed up at work. Something I did/ did not do/ or shouldn't have done. Trying to be honest and got caught up in the brouhaha with the top management. Ouch..this will not go away for a long time....**mn

May Allah Bless You

This is the second time I am writing obituary this year, within less than 1 month period. It is true, death can come knocking your door anytime,anyplace,anyhow.

She is a very well respected filmmaker. Her artpiece moved people, shows the unity among us, Malaysian. She was the pioneer on the new age movie making and although I have heard rumours (i.e doutbfull news) about her, she is the one that earns my respect compared to other Malay filmmakers.

Hope her movies will still be remembered as it is not just mere movies for entertainment, she educates her viewers as well. And for that long live education via film by Allahyarhammah Yasmin Ahmad. May you'll be accorded a place in Jannah, rest in peace and may Allah bless you. Al-Fatihah.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Is it too soon?

Its a bit too far fetch for me, but things that happens lately sort of ticks me to think about this. If you have a child, when would you start to save for his/her furture? My sister just got pregnant and she is the cautious type. She has already started to plan on opening an account for the baby.

But then again, how many of us think of that. Those who are well educated probably have thought about it from day 1. But what happen to those young parents who lack of awareness in this kind of things, or worse those who 'claimed' that they don't have enough to save yet?

Cost of raising a kid nowadays is on increasing trend, let alone the education cost. When people got married and start having kids, are they prepared to bite the bullet when it comes to future planning? Have seen too many bad examples in my family (own and extended) when it comes to the children education and rights for a good life.

For a start, open a saving account. Many choices nowadays, you can opt for private finance body (numerous choices for investment planning). There will be limitations for low income parents to set aside certain amount for the premium. And that is why government set up bodies such as SSPN and ASNB to help low income Malaysian (especially Bumiputera) to start saving/investing for future needs. Many people know this but not many act to what they knew (I am talking about Malay in general). I have friends and family who already have 2-3 kids and none of the kids have any kind of saving or whatsoever. Its sad much they prioritise on what they need today (fancy gadget, clothes..etc..) over their child's need for future and proper education. Its not like they don't know, just some of them have no discipline to start and dedicated to save their money.

I did a rough calculation, if you save RM50 for a child in a month from he/she is born, without fail and never once withdraw the money, by the end of 18th year, estimated total amount of saving would be ~RM16,000. That is as much as what PTPTN loan for Diploma level student. (Am not even considering an oversea degree here). So the bare minimum a parent should do is at least be prepared to provide some kind of fund for the kids education.

This is all assuming a well balanced family, with both parents present. What happened when one is absent (divorced,died,sick...etc). Is another parent prepared for these kind of situation? Worth think?

Coretan Untuk Bakal Suamiku

Found this in a fren's blog....

Assalamualaikum wrt. wbt.

Untukmu, Bakal Suamiku….

Tangan ini mula menulis apa yang telah dikarangkan oleh hati ini di dalam kalbu. Aku mula tertanya-tanya adakah aku sudah seharusnya mula mencari sebahagian diriku yang hilang. Bukanlah niat ini disertai oleh nafsu tetapi atas keinginan seorang muslimah mencari sebahagian agamanya. Acap kali aku mendengar bahawa ungkapan “Kau tercipta untukku.”

Aku awalnya kurang mengerti apa sebenarnya erti kalimah ini kerana diselubungi jahiliyah. Rahmat dan hidayah Allah yang diberikan kepada diriku, baru kini aku mengerti bahawa pada satu hari nanti, aku harus mengambil satu tangungjawab yang sememangnya diciptakan khas untuk diriku, iaitu dirimu. Aku mula mempersiapkan diri dari segi fizikal, spiritual dan juga intelektual untuk bertemu denganmu.

Aku mahukan pertemuan kita yang pertama aku kelihatan ’sempurna’ di hadapanmu walaupun hakikatnya masih banyak lagi kelemahan diri ini. Aku cuba mempelajari erti dan hakikat tanggungjawab yang harus aku galas ketika dipertemukan dengan dirimu. Aku cuba membataskan perbicaraanku dengan lelaki lain yang hanya dalam lingkaran urusan penting kerana aku risau aku menceritakan rahsia diriku kepadanya kerana seharusnya engkaulah yang harus mengetahuinya kerana dirimu adalah sebahagian dariku dan ianya adalah hak bagimu untuk mengetahui segala zahir dan batin diriku ini.

Aku khuatir amalanku bukan sebulatnya untuk Rabbku tetapi untuk makhluknya. Aku memerlukan dirimu untuk menghindari fitnah ini. Aku khuatir kurangnya ikhlas dalam ibadahku menyebabkan diriku dicampakkan ke neraka meninggalkan kau seorang diri di syurga. Aku berasa bersalah kepada dirimu kerana khuatir cinta yang hak dirimu akan aku curahkan kepada lelaki lain. Aku sukar untuk mencari dirimu kerana dirimu bagaikan permata bernilai di antara ribuan kaca menyilau. Tetapi aku pasti jika namamu yang ditulis di Luh Mahfuz untuk diriku, nescaya rasa cinta itu akan Allah tanam dalam diri kita. Tugas pertamaku bukan mencari dirimu tetapi mensolehahkan diriku. Sukar untuk mencari soleh dirimu andai solehahku tidak setanding dengan ke’soleh’anmu. Janji Allah pasti kupegang dalam misi mencari dirimu. “Lelaki yang baik adalah untuk wanita yang baik.“

Jiwa remaja ku ini mula meracau mencari cinta. Matang kian menjelma dan kehadiran lelaki amat terasa untuk berada di sisi. Setiap kali aku merasakannya, aku mengenangkan dirimu. Di sana engkau setia menunggu diriku, tetapi di sini aku curang kepadamu andai aku bermain dengan cinta fatamorgana. Sampaikan doamu kepada diriku agar aku dapat menahan gelora disamping aku mengajukan sendiri doa diperlindungi diri.

Bukan harta,rupa dan keturunan yang aku pandang dalam mencari dirimu. Cukuplah agama sebagai pengikat kasih antara kita. Saat di mana kau bakal melamarku, akan ku lihat wajahmu sekilas agar mencipta keserasian diantara kita kerana itu pesan Nabi kita. Tidak perlu kaya seperti Nabi Sulaiman dan wajah tampan seakan Nabi Yusuf, cukup cuma akidah sekuat akar, ibadah sebagai makanan dan akhlak seindah budi.

“Kahwinilah isteri kerana empat perkara; keturunan, harta, rupa dan agama. Dan jika kau memilih agama, engkau tidak akan menyesal.” Jika aku dipertemukan dengan dirimu, akan ku jaga perasaan kasih ini supaya tidak tercurah sebelum masanya. Akan ku jadikan syara’ sebagai pendinding diri kita. Jadikan akad nikah itu sebagai cop halal untuk kau mendapatkan diriku. Biarlah kita mengikuti nenek moyang kita, Nabi Adam dan Siti Hawa yang bernikah sebelum disatukan agar kita dapat menikmati kenikmatan perkahwinan yang menjanjikan ketenangan jiwa, ketenteraman hati dan kedamaian batin. Doakan diriku ini agar tidak berputus asa dan sesat dalam misi mencari dirimu kerana aku memerlukan dirimu untuk melengkapkan sebahagian agamaku.

Dariku, Bakal Isterimu…..

My comment...touching, bet many woman are feeling this day by day....

Thursday, July 16, 2009


This one just came in via Shaz, it was from Audrey (fellow BBGSians)

As you know, this previously overworked (but now with the economic crisis, slightly more available) '98 alumni couldn't make it to the amazing reunion spearheaded by Azita, Shaz, and others last year. I just got back from Singapore this morning but managed to make it to the AGM of the (yes, long name) Bukit Bintang Girls School Old Girls Association. A group of our seniors, including those involved with Project Revive, have been very keen to have this society reincarnated in order to bring our girls together in a more concrete and consistent fashion. A primary objective will be a focus on an education fund (named after our most endearing and well loved headmistress, Ms. Elena Cooke) which the society will run under a trust.
Ideas have been mooted and details of proposed changes to the current constitution and the manner in which the association will be run, will be in the next extraordinary General Meeting, in the near future. I have to say, I don't usually have such a privilege nowadays since we're all in all our late twenties dah, but I was the youngest member present! A new committee has been voted in with:

Phang Sow Yoong (who is featured on the back2bbgs blog) as President
Cheong Wei Lee (VP)
Anniza Jamaluddin (Secretary)
Khim Goh (Treasurer)
(Gen Committee)
Joanna Yeoh
Izreen Fara Ismail
Winnie Tang
Izan Satrina
Lai Ying
Audrey Quay

Yours truly has been included in the gen comm, quite likely becos some of our kakaks figured it would be nice to have "young blood" injected in. Note that many of them are in their 30s - 50s. If anything, I would very much want to be representing all of you - I related to them how our class pulled off the great reunion last year (plus souvenirs etc), and that I knew many of the "younger" ones were just as true blue BBGSians who know how to raise funds, run events, and most of all, live and perpetuate the true spirit of BBGS! To ensure that we have a voice, I would invite all of you to join the association - it's been going at a RM3 per year membership but since that's quite leceh, its been proposed that RM100 for life membership for all former BBGS girls should be encouraged. Please let me know if you'd like to join and I'll let you have details of the next meeting soon and once the minutes are out for today's meeting, as much as possible about that.

I won't be able to attend the first part of the August 4th event at Pavilion as I have a court case on but I have committed to be there in the evening. Those of you going, please let me know or come up to me so we can meet up and talk about how we can stay in touch via the association. It's very exciting I think, that we can be part of a pretty major education fund project which will live on, even though our building itself is gone (have to say after seeing all the old schools in Singapore preserved as museums, shopping areas, etc, I just felt...)

Girls, August 4th will be the first time I am stepping into Pavilion, which everyone in my circle of influence knows I consider sacrilegeous. But hey, we need the site, we need to make it something, and we need everyone knows the ethos of the school to come together. You know, I was most touched by what one of the other general committee members, Lai Ying, said, when the nominees were invited to present a short intro speech. She said "I'm not a big shot by the way. I work for my father and we deal in spare parts in Sungei Besi. But I am grateful for what BBGS has done for me and I would like to give back. I miss those old days with my family." I think that truly captures the spirit of BBGS, which was started for girls (considered unworthy of education in the 1890s), including and especially those who were poor and underprivileged (who cared about them but our great teachers and heads, like Ms Cooke who used to go to students houses to help them), and to see the potential in every rough stone to become a berlian. We've never been elitist and always believed in including those whom for some reason or the other, may have been forgotten. Nothing and nobody should be left behind, and even in succeeding, we have been proud, not arrogant. Even though we were considered a premier secondary school for a long time, we never forgot our roots, and I always tell people that after BBGS, none of us ever came out the same - we were always, in whatever way we needed to be, shaped and changed for the better, made more humble, encouraged to be ever more confident, instilled with a sense of responsibility and duty, inspired to dream dreams.
I have to say I just ENJOYED being with BBGSians again - although today I was with other years - it's really a good and productive fellowship that we have with one another. I'm glad that can be now formalised into an active association focused on promoting the interests of education. I would like to share one more thing with my graduating class of '98. We are just as special as all the rest of the old girls, and I think by the continued efforts I see in this group, we should definitely be part of this revamped association. Please try to let us know about joining up as soon as possible.

I know most of us are active on email and FB - add me using or (but please try very hard not to spam my work address, although I am much more reachable there for urgent matters) and I want to hear from you!

.....oowwww.......Audrey mentioned my name ;) She and me were not even classmate and I don't recall having any sort of decent conversation with her back then. But she acknowledge the work that was done by yours truly....

I am going for the 4th Aug event, probably driving straight from PD..ffuuhhh....

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Qudwah Hasanah

It means a good example.

I watched the repeat for BET 2009 Awards last night, and was make known that the organisers have to change the format last minute in order to pay tribute to late MJ. What kind of impact does a person leave, to have such a magnitude of tribute after his death. It is undeniable that MJ has been a legendary icon. Although the later part of his life were filled with controversy with all the courts hearing and many more issues, he is still much respected and adored.

I remember when I was small, my mom used to say that I would dance along his 'Beat It','Billie Jean' and even 'Bad' records. I couldn't even understand a single word and yet was a hardcore fan. As I was growing up, he produces more songs with message, Earth Song, Black or White, Heal the World and many more to mention here.

He is a person that has dedicated his life to entertain, and was gifted to touch many other peoples life. Whether or not he is a Muslim, Allah knows best, but all his good deeds has impacted many people. Even his songs are legendary and will last forever (I think).

This is one of my favourite song and message was deep. In other words, to make yourself a qudwah hasanah, it starts with the Man in The Mirror. RIP MJ.

p/s: hope they did not remove the clip yet.

The Final Analysis

Its been quite some time since I share a poem here. Again credit goes to Asma for this, actually sent from her father...

My dearest children,Below is a very inspiring and uplifting poem by Wayne W. Dyer, which is a version of the Paradoxical Commandments by Kent M Keith. Mr Dyer’s version below was read, and given to me by Professor Niren Vyas, a very kind and devoted Hindu, as well as a very able economist and teacher, now at Ahlia University, Bahrain, when I had the good pleasure of meeting him and his colleagues there 1-2 July. It has uplifted my spirit and hope it will do the same to you all, always. You may want to share it with your friends, but please do mention where I got this precious pearls from….Dad.

The Final Analysis
People are often unreasonable, illogical and self-centered:Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone may destroy overnight;Build anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;Be happy anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis, it is all between you and God;
It was never between you and them anyway.

(Wayne W. Dyer).

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Travelog Umrah : The Reflection

Looking back, I would love to go again, with my parents for Hajj and hopefully my siblings will have the same chances and opportunity, as I am to go there as well.

I even prayed for friends and others that I know who has either been good or bad to me to be given the same chance as well. Insyallah.. But before I go there, I have to learn Arabic. It has just move to my top language to learn. If it’s too hard, then maybe I’ll take Persian; at least I can converse with them or at least have the decency to understand what they were trying to say.

p/s: To ask where toilet is - Wenhammam?

Travelog Umrah : The Lesson Learnt

Many things that I can take away from this journey and experience. Some are more personal than others. These are the things that I can think of right now;

  1. Do not leave/ abandon your parents to stranger if you did not stay with them. If you are there with them, it’s the best time to serve them. A roommate who happens to be a stranger can help on certain stuffs, but the responsibility to get them to the mosque is up to you.
  2. Unity among group; obviously Malaysia is not as strong as other nation (Turkish and Iranian). From the moment they stepped into Masjidil Haram right to the moment they perform tahallul, they did it as a group. The group that I went with splits up even in the middle of tawaf. So again if you go with family (parents, wife, kids), stick to them. The experience is more precious if you are in it together.
  3. Both Masjidil Haram and Masjid Nabawi are places for ibadah, make full use of it, as we did not have the luxury to get there everyday. Shop if you must but don’t overspend and don’t spend time at the shop more than you did at the mosque.
  4. If you plan to recite Al-Quran inside Masjidil Haram, a flask of hot drinks would come handy, good for your throat.
  5. Get to mosque at least one hour earlier, to get a good seat (that is with Kaabah view). I found that many Iranians and Turkish always packing in this section. Not many Asian faces that I can locate.
  6. Patience, things happens for a reason, and take every incident (good or bad) as a test. What better place can you get a test if not the Holy land itself?

Travelog Umrah : The People

Being there, I appreciate the kind of person I am. The Asian (Malaysian, Singaporean, Brunei-an, and Indonesian) are the polite, well-mannered ones. Others are not so. However each race have their own pros and cons. I might gloat for Malay being well mannered and all, but as rude as the Arabs seems, I respect them.

Most all of the Arab men stick with their family. They take full responsibility of their family. You can see at almost every section, there will be a son pushing wheelchair and send his mom to a prayer spot, later picks her up again. A grandson diligently pushing his granddad or grandmother during tawaf. A brother constantly sending bottles of zam-zam water to his mom and sis while waiting for prayer. Where are the Malay guys? They either ditch their mom to some stranger like me or let their wife pray at the hotel room while they make their way to the mosque. Is that responsibility?

The Arabs also bring along their small kids to perform umrah. Its cute though seeing the 2-year-old running back and forth between Safa and Marwah in their ihram. I think they enjoyed saei the most.

During maghrib prayer one day, I shared my sejadah with an Iranian lady (apparent by how she dressed). While waiting for Isya’ I read Al-Quran, trying to catch up on my daily target. I was reciting very quietly, as I was embarrassed about my reading (tajwid,songs,pronounciation,etc,etc..).

She insisted that I read louder, while I was reading, she corrected a bit here and there. I finished the surah and she asked whether or not could I speak English. I was so glad that she does, as I have not found a single Arab soul yet that I can make a decent conversation with.

We got to know each other and chatted for a while, she did not have email but I gave her mine anyway. It’s good that I finally get to know someone. We promised to meet again tomorrow during Suboh at women prayer area that faces the door of Kaabah. But I failed to locate her; or rather she did not found me. It’s fated that we only met once there, which I’m still grateful for it.

One thing that I realize, the jemaah likes to give away alms. There are many people giving away foods, candies and dates to others inside the mosque.
There was one time; I was reciting Al-Quran facing Kaabah, then suddenly comes the cleaning lady offering me a cup of hot tea. I showed that I already have my supply but she insisted that I take it. My throat was soothed with the hot drinks.

Seeing so many faces, I realised there is no way to tell whether or not you are a Muslim physically (I mean by the look). I bumped into this Arab couple and I thought I've seen the guy before, after few minutes I realised who he reminds me off, Justin Timberlake, seriously, I am not kidding...There are few types of Arabs and I can say that some of them did not look much different from some Caucasian, so the point is look doesn't matter. Its all about what your faith are that will unite you.

Travelog Umrah : The Feeling

How can I describe? At first it was excitement that I finally made it!! But after second night in Madinah, it changed to something different…it started during the night that I went to Raudhah.

Before Isya’ I was battling with my own feeling of anger, and guilt for having to send the two MC back to hotel. Right after Isya’ I was rushing out to send them back and somehow it was fated that we stumbled upon another MC that is heading back, so I entrusted her to bring the two MC. I stayed and waited for turns to enter Raudhah with a group of other Malaysians. The moment it was opened, the Arabs rushed through. Malaysians stayed as the guard told us. Not long after that we were let in. they open bigger space for women. People where pushing from right, left and centre for a chance to pray in Raudhah area. In a split second I realized that I was stepping on the green carpet, it is Raudhah!! Somehow or rather in the midst of pushy crowd, a passage is cleared for me to perform solat sunat, and to top it all; I have quite an ample airtime for prayer in the area. I’ve got more than what I asked for, alhamdulillah….

When I was trying to exit the area, crowd pushed me to one side, and it was towards Prophet Muhammad’s tomb!! I can see what I thought was the door. At this time I though I have dried up my tears during prayer earlier, then it start to well up again. It was streaming down my cheek non-stop, I guess it was partly because of the blessed feeling of being there at that moment and partly influenced by others surrounding me at that time.

I prayed to be given the chance to come back, with my parents and for my siblings to be able to come as well. I walked out very slowly, appreciating each moment spent; I even managed to have a look on the green dome (original Masjid Nabawi). I felt humble and blessed at the same time. Not all people that came here are given chances to step into Raudhah, let alone pray,make request and doa’.

After reaching Mekah, I decided to fully make use of my time at Masjidil Haram, I do not want to waste anymore time, hence the decision made to cut ties with the two MC. I did not really abandon them, just that I let both of their mahram to take care of them. I did not step in and tried to concentrate on my ibadah.

I feel humble each time I faced Kaabah, its calming just looking at it and I would not be satisfied if I did not get a prayer spot that did not have Kaabah view. I was never satisfied with my time spent there. I could have done more. It was absolutely liberating not having to think about anything but what to do next in the mosque.

Travelog Umrah : The Places

  1. We went to 2 main places, first Madinah, then Mekah. I was asked which one I like better? Mekah or Madinah? Well, there is pro and cons for each places. Both are equally good, but I like both for different reason.
  2. I like Madinah for its calm city. Not much traffic near Masjid Nabawi and the city itself is better planned.
  3. I like Mekah for Masjidil Haram. Despite being the holy place, the area is chaotic and loud with heavy traffic after each prayer time.
  4. For the mosque, I like Masjidil Haram more. It’s a family mosque. No separate entrance for men and women. A guy can send his old mother right to the place she sits during prayer and later picks her back at the same spot. This way, the son can be fully responsible of the mothers well being.
  5. The rest of ziarah places are optional and good to appreciate Islamic history. There were also trips to Gua Hira' but I did not joined because I was too tired that day. However at each and every places that we stopped, sure enough there will be sort of mini bazaar going on.

pictures will come later :)

Travelog Umrah : The Ibadah

Nothing much to tell as all I hope was for it to accepted by Allah SWT. In Madinah I did all the compulsory one (5 prayers) and no additional ones.

This is partly due to my ignorance and partly due to me having to baby-sit the two MC. The day before we move to Mekah, it struck me, is this why I came here for, just sightseeing? Or is it more than that? And that night I fought hard with feelings on the desire to stayback and try to get into Raudah versus sending the two MC back to hotel and missed the opportunity.

Alhamdullillah, Allah is great. We met another hotel mate on the way out and she agreed to bring those two MC back to hotel.
While waiting to get to Raudhah, some of the people are finishing Al-Quran and it hits me, what have I done with my time here? I must do something.

So I start plotting my plan to finish Al-Quran during my remaining 6 days in Mekah.

I have to finish 100 pages a day = 20 pages during one prayer time.

I went early before each prayer and stayed back to finish my target of the day. In the beginning I was very slow, spent almost one hour for 10 pages, but later on, I managed to quicken my pace and completed 20 pages in 1 hour. I know that for sure my tajwid was a bit messed up, but I tried my best. There are occasions that other Arabic jemaah would try to correct my readings. May Allah bless them.

So by 24th I managed to khatam Al-Quran. I know my reading is not perfect, but I promised myself to work on that. After that only I managed to perform some solat sunat, I know I can do better. InsyaAllah there will be next time.

My favourite is tawaf sunat :) and of course looking at Kaabah..

Travelog Umrah : The Tests

Test 1:
I was tested even before I get there. First there were issues with travel agent. Of late, there were many scams on Umrah packages; my first booking with agent A was a bit dubious. They asked for RM500 more than said prices one month before the departure date. I was a bit reluctant and Alhamdulillah, managed to find another agent in short period of time that offers within my budget.

Test 2:
I was supposed to finish my menstrual cycle on the 15th june and by the time I touchdown Jeddah able to perform any ibadat that I desired. However on the 9th june, I did not have my period yet. Went to the clinic, and although it is not advisable to take any medication, I don’t want to take any risk. I wouldn’t want to miss my opportunity there. While on medication, I even prayed hard that I would be given chances to perform as much ibadah as possible in both Makkah and Madinah, and Alhamdulillah, I did.

Test 3:

If there is one thing that I like about long flight is the in-flight entertainment. Gulf Air has a good range of movies and it takes very strong will power not to succumb to the temptations…J

Test 4:
In both Mekah and Madinah I was placed in a room with two ‘makcik’ (MC). One of them comes with a husband and another with a son. We stayed in Madinah first and Masjid Nabawi has different entry for men and women. Due to this reason I took the responsibility of walking the two MC to the mosque and also picking them up for lunch although I have to race back and forth from the hotel to the mosque. I never really stayed back at the mosque, as they were not able to go back to the hotel on their own. At first I was glad that I helped them. Would imagine liking that my mother was treated likewise.

However, I sensed that this would go on even after we move to Mekah. Both of the husband and son totally let go off their responsibility to a total stranger, which is yours truly. I was a bit upset and angry, I know I shouldn’t be. Helping them is a form of ibadah as well. But how can I claimed my deed if I was feeling that I am dragged to help them? They were becoming a burden and I’m feeling reluctant every time I helped them. This has got to stop. I must make my feelings clear to them. On the first day in Mekah, I came clean, I asked them to arrange with respective husband and son on timing and how to go to the mosque.

It is not that far anyway, less than 300 m walk, its just that I feel that it is not fair dragging them to follow my odd timing as I planned to spend quite some time at Masjidil Haram, while they need to go back to hotel for dinner, snack break in between etc…So they agreed, they say they can managed on their own. I apologize for not being able to take care of them
(I actually can, but very reluctant as both were there with their mahram, I mean what is the responsibility of a mahram, if they could not even take care of the two MC?).

If I still do it, I fear that I will loose all of my pahala for not being honest. MasyaAllah…. it’s a daily conflict that I dealt with everyday in Mekah.

There were occasions that the MC did not go to the mosque because the husband did not pick her up….Subhanallah….

Test 5:
My patience was tested most of the time here. I'm the type that get on with what I am doing. So when we have to group for tahlil and Yaasin recital, I expected it to commence immediately at agreed timing. However, the ustaz here likes to gives muqadimah, nothing wrong with that, just that it was longer than the actual recital itself. I usually do not like this type of delay and it was really testing my patience. Hope I managed it well there and did not compromise my ibadah...

Travelog Umrah : The Journey

Day 1: 15th June 2009
It started on 15th of June 2009. In order to fit in my budget, I took the package that includes transit flight. So we (group of 30 something people, which none that I know) flew to Bahrain on a 7-hour flight. After 2-hours of taxi, we depart to Jeddah. Journey took another 2 hours. Upon reaching Jeddah, massive queue at immigration check point. We were stranded for nearly 3 hours (I guess) before we can proceed to move to Madinah. We took bus and 6 hours later we reached Madinah, just in time to catch Suboh in Masjid Nabawi. My first solat there was performed outside the mosque, as we were running late.

Day 2: 16th June 2009
After Suboh and breakfast, were asked to assemble again at 7 am to officially being introduced to Masjid Nabawi. The guys had the liberty to be accompanied by mutawwif inside the mosque, while we the ladies, found our own way. One of the mustajab places in Masjid Nabawi is Raudhah. Entrance for women is restricted to certain area and certain timing. We were grouped according to countries and waited for turns to enter Raudhah. The guards were responsible to keep things in order. For those coming from Asean, the method that they used to group us is by holding a sign. What does it says? ‘Penerangan Agama’. For first timer like me, am a bit puzzled, who is giving the ‘penerangan’ and ‘apa yang nak diterangkan?’. After some time, it dawn on me that it’s their way to group us together :). The rest of the day is free and I took the opportunity to perform every solat fardhu in the mosque. Did some shopping for my sisters after Isya’

Day 3: 17th June 2009
We had a scheduled ziarah to historic places in Madinah such as Masjid Quba, Masjid Tujuh, Masjid Qiblatain, Jabal Uhud and bazaar kurma. Went back for Zuhur at Masjid Nabawi and the rest of the day is for ibadat. After Isya’ I tried once again to enter Raudhah. Managed to get in, what a feeling.

Day 4: 18th June 2009
We are going to Mekah. All dressed up in ihram. Stopped by Masjid Bir Ali to complete the first rule – to express your intention of doing umrah at a border to Tanah Haram (miqat). The journey took 6 hours by bus and we arrived at Masjidil Haram just before Asar to complete tawaf. Only managed to complete saei after the prayer.

Day 5: 19th June 2009
No pre arranged agenda for today, I dragged both MC to mosque for Suboh prayer with me and send them back for breakfast. Went back to Masjidil Haram after that and picked them up again for Zohor prayer. And both of the husband and son was nowhere in sight. anyhow.. its Friday and I had my first Friday prayer of my life, although I did not understand one bit of the khutbah :p

I made friends with two other ladies and bounce idea with them on what to do with the two MC and that night I decided to confront them.

Day 6: 20th June 2009
We had another scheduled ziarah today. We only stopped at Jabal Thur, Arafah, and Jabal Rahmah. The rest we only passed by from inside the bus are Jabal Nur, Muzdalifah dan Mina. We were taken to a mosque for miqat and returned back to Masjidil Haram. Managed to complete umrah before Zohor.

Day 7: 21st June 2009
No prearranged activites, jemaah are free to spend time as we wish so I choose to stay in the mosque throughout, except for after Asar. There were talks held by Ustaz from Andalusia about good places and mustajab point for doa at Kaabah.

Day 8: 22nd June 2009
Same as yesterday, except that today we had Yassin recital and tahlil arwah. I was taken aback because it was held at the hotel. Why not make use of the holy place Masjidil Haram itself? The mosque is quite vacant after prayer, especially on the first floor. What the mutawwif has to do is arranged for a place to meet. I would have though that it would be more afdal.

Day 9: 23rd June 2009
Went to camel farm (not really a farm by a Malaysian definition) area, Hudaibiah truce area and the museum for the two mosques. I was a bit reluctant to join this trip as I will miss the opportunity to perform solat Asar in Masjidil Haram, however the plus point would be we were taken to miqat for final umrah.

Day 10: 24th June 2009
It was a free day, and I finished my Al-Quran today :). Slept in front of Kaabah and in between did some solat sunat and tawaf sunat while waiting for Suboh and tawaf wida’.

Day 11: 25th June 2009
Performed tawaf wida’ at around 0630H. An ustaz gave tips, a doa in front of Kaabah with the intention of coming back. I left feeling gloomy and very reluctant to leave the mosque. We left Mekah at 8 am heading to Jeddah.
1550H flight to Bahrain
1800H arrived in Bahrain – transit 2 hours
2040H depart to KL

Day 12: 26th June 2009
0940H arrived in KL
I took the KLIA express to KL Sentral and took taxi back home (its a working day, so I could not bother anybody to pick me up)
1200H reach home....

p/s: MC = makcik a.k.a my roomate

Travelog Umrah : Prologue

I have been meaning to do this for quite some time. Had plans with some colleague back in 2008. Initially only 2 of us, then it became 4. After some hurdles later, it was two, and then I am alone. I don’t think I can put it on hold anymore and decided to carry on albeit being the only one. So I signed up and here goes, my best recollection of what I have been through way back before 15th June 2009 up till today.

The theory & responsibility
What is Umrah? The last of five pillars of Islam is doing Hajj in Mekah for those who can afford it. Umrah is a simplified version of Hajj, which is a ritual done not constrained to any timing and less taxing compared to Hajj. Read more

For a Muslim, it is compulsory to do Hajj, however due to visa restriction and long queues, the first Umrah is recommended (for those who can afford it).

This post is going to be in installment each compartmentalised to its own topics that I thought would be relevant. Some terms used are in Malay as I either not sure of the English term or simply better left that way. Pictures will come later because at this point, I had it on my sis' laptop :)