Pretty Eveel Adventures

Pretty Eveel Adventures: September 2009

Monday, September 28, 2009

the taqwacores by michael muhammad knight- book review

this is a must-read for me, and i'm sure a must-burn for more conservative muslims who are against alternative narratives. when i read the preface, a poem/song called 'muhd was a punk rocker' to my hubby, he got pretty shocked (read: angry) saying that the lyrics defiled...

i on the other hand found the book refreshing. it's about a young south-asian muslim university student named Yunus in Buffalo, New York who lives in a muslim punk house. His housemates include a mohawked Sunni named Jehangir, a burqa wearing 'riot girl', a strict Islamic punk with tatooos covering his entire body and a gay Muslim. Their house hosts Friday prayers and in the evenings an all out party with booze, alcohol, weed, f***. but they pray five times a day, philosophise about religion, faith and islam- sometimes in a drunken stupor, other times high on weed.

Yunus, who ended up living in this house instead of the dorms because his parents believe its better for him to live amongst muslims (irony, irony) finds himself torn between his fascination for the logic and simplicity behind the islam that his punk friends profess, and the conservative traditional islam which he was brought up with. he struggled so hard between what he knew was acceptable about islam- and what was muslim, which was everything his friends were not, but at the same time he couldn't discount the depths of their faith in the religion and its core. it's core, it's principles. so he finds himself drifting along with them, following in step but not totally buying into their beliefs either.
what i enjoyed about the book- is the alternate narrative it offers. it questions the very fundamentals of our beliefs. although some parts shocked even Me (and i'm as liberal as they come) i respected that Yunus, although in his struggle he occasionally finds himself judging his friends and condemning them, he also realises- who is he to judge?

after a series of events, he eventually leaves the home, and his friends. but he does not condemn their memory or their actions. he finds the islam that he is comfortable with. to each his own.

"The jumaat was an almost silly mish-mash of people: Rude Dawud's pork pie hat poking up here, a jalab-and-turban type there, Jehangir's big mohawk rising from a sea of kufis. Amazing Ayyub still with no shirt, girls scattered throughout- some in hejab, some not and Rabeya in a punk-patched burqa doing her thing. But in its randomness it was gorgeous, reflecting an Islam I felt could not happen anywhere else despite Jehangir's travller tales of California taqwacore."



when i was a wee lil tot, we used to live in a flat in bedok. when we were ill, dad and mum would bring my brother and i to a clinic at the next block. there was a lovely nurse at the clinic whose name is agnes. she was really close to our family and loved us very very much.

as a little child, i couldn't pronouce her name- agnes. instead i called her aneng (prononuced ar-neng). the entire family then started referring to her as aneng. anyways, we were really close. apparently, when my mum worked, my dad would leave my brother and i at the clinic and he'd go wash the car or something. aneng, would watch over us.

we lost touch with her when we moved away more than 20 years ago. but i always remembered her. especially when i slept in the quilt that she gave me as a present (it was lovingly sewn by her late mother).

she tracked us down this year. she looked up my dad's name in the phonebook and then sent us a card. dad invited her to our wedding earlier this year, and this raya- dad invited her home for breakfast. i spent quite a bit of time chatting with her, hearing stories about!..and found out this year, that she used to buy milk powder for me and my brother. how sweet was that?


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Eid in the Kampung

This could be the last year which my family and i will celebrate the later part of our Eid celebration at my aunts kampung or village house which are in the LAST kampung left in Singapore. This kampung is called Kampung Buangkok near Seletar hills.

Every year for the last 29 years, we have spent out Eid ul fitr and Eid ul Adha in these 2 kampung houses. It feels so different when i'm there so far from the common urban landscape that we Singaporeans have grown so accustomed to.

I was delighted that this year, hubby had a chance to spend his first Eid in a kampung setting. I wish for my future children to be as priviledged, but i don't think we'd be as lucky. My aunts have been given their notices to resettle many years back and are just waiting for the final eviction letter.

This year, i spent some time taking photos of the kampung and my cousins enjoying themselves- playing with fire sparklers out in the huge open spaces which surround the wooden and zinc-roofed homes. Something we won't be able to enjoy when my aunts are forced to move into their HDB flats.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

first raya as hubby and wifey

we celebrated Eid ul Fitr, or in malay- Hari Raya Aidilfitri, on Sunday. Hari Raya Aidilfitri marks the end of the Ramadhan, which is a month long fast when Muslims abstain from food and water, and focus on the spiritual.

Just 2 days before Eid, my big boss asked me, 'Have you done all your hari raya shopping?' and i retorted with a ,'No la, where got time?'. He then dutifully reminded me, 'Oi, this is the first raya as husband and wife you know, must be special lah!'

Aiyor- i not so sentimental lah. Big Deal, i thought.

But come Eid proper, i was pretty happy and was feeling all blessed that i was with loved ones and that hubby was with me the entire day. I especially looked forward to that part of the morning when the family gathers and we ask for forgiveness from each other. It's a tradition which i grew practising and hope to continue when i start my own family.

This was hubby's first time partaking in this tradition. He spent a good few days thinking about what he'd say to my parents and we even had a test run. *grin* I did come to appreciate the fact that saying sorry does not come naturally, and does take some practice.

I'm glad that we do set aside some time, even if its once a year, to remind ourselves that noone is perfect, and that loving each other in a family means recognising your shortcomings and making apology for them, and KNOWING that no matter what, your apology would be welcomed with appreciation, forgiveness and a generous hug.

My favourite photo from this raya and the memory i will take from the lovely morning i spent with my family is this warm and loving embrace.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009


it's been a strange month- dream wise. i've had 4 strange dreams, i can only recall 3 of them as clear as day, almost every detail still milling about in my mind. i keep wondering why and what it all meant. Perhaps you can tell me? (warning- spoilers ahead)

Dream 1: Saving the loved ones from Disaster Ala the movies Premonition & Groundhog day

My day was on repeat mode. What i knew was about to happen was that this HDB building complex which housed all my loved ones (mostly from hubby's side of the family though) was going to collapse and decimate everyone except moi. The period of time moments before the actual collapse kept repeating like a broken video with only moi knowing what what about to happen. So it was up to me to convince everyone that the building would collapse and it was of the utmost importance that everyone evacuate. Silly things like my brothers-in-law forgetting their socks (other items of no consequence) and returning to retrieve them and then being crushed alive, were events that i had navigate around to ensure that i would be able to save everyone in the short amount of time i had. I was almost successful, only unable to save 1 family from the disaster.

Dream 2: Giving birth to Juon ala Breaking Dawn (warning: Spoiler ahead)

I dreamt that i gave birth to a baby just like Bella did in Breaking Dawn. Definitely not natural birth is all i'll say. As if that was not bad enough, the baby consumed milk like there was no tomorrow, sucking every bit of life out of me. It ate and ate and grew and grew almost instantaneously into a Juon lookalike. Crouching in the corner of our kitchen devilish-ly.

Dream 3: 2 Massive Crocodiles loose @ home
In my dream, some smart alecks gave me some eggs as a present. You know like cute little chicken eggs, that hatch into cute little chicks that can be kept as pets (we used to have a pet cock too). But instead of cute little chicks, the eggs hatched to reveal little baby crocodiles, that escaped and disappeared. They reappeared as HUGE ass crocs loose in the house, hiding in the darkness and crevices appearing to make their KILLS.

Okay, so hubby pointed out that this was real silly, as we'd definitely notice 2 huge-ass crocs in the house, and very few houses in Singapore would be big enough to for 2 huge-ass crocs to hide in. But i told hubby- you dream or i dream?

Anyway, i tried to get my 2 bro-in-laws (them again- repeating patterns here) to help me get rid of the crocs. and yes- hubby was not present in any of the 3 dreams (strange). They tried, but then gave up, saying that i should be careful when eating at the table or sitting around with my legs dangling, cos those crocs could just jump out at anytime at bite my legs off. They'd then laugh at how scared i was about it.

what's going on yeah?


baby news

this week's been full of baby news...some friends have had pretty pink bundles of joy delivered by the welcomed stork... one of them had twins delivered on 9.09.2009- how lovely! and yesterday another pretty baby girl was delivered into the arms of a most loving girlfriend. also heard some good news that two close couple friends of mine are preggie too!

i'm so happy for everybody-i absolutely adore babies and delighted when friends and family are blessed with bundles of happiness! i'll be praying that they'll all be blessed with happy and healthy cherubs.

i remember how over the moon i was about it.

i've let myself, only for a moment, revisit the sadness of our loss, to honour the memory of how different things could have been. i allowed my eyes to swell with tears but was careful to shed NOT a tear reminding myself that yesterday has gone, today is here and tomorrow is full of promise.

anyway- when discussing our 5 year plan (heh, this is another long story)...we've decided to wait a little more before we start trying again. maybe next april/may..this leaves us some time to hopefully head to europe next summer!

i'm ok- promise. can't wait to go shop for all the babies!


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

debt of honour

i've finally finished the 1008 paged 'Debt of Honour' by Tom Clancy. It was a struggle at times and a breeze at others. I've not read a Clancy book for awhile now, and i picked it up at Popular bookstore a couple of months ago- just because it was selling for only $6.90. =)

anyhow, i think i've grown as a person. when i was in uni and studying international relations with a love for realpolitik- i loved Clancy for all the detailed insights he had into ICBMs (inter-continental ballistic missiles), Stealth Bombers, F15s, Subs, Aircraft Carriers, Nukes and stuff like that.

Many years later, i find myself drawn more to the political negotation, leadership aspects of his writing. About what happens in the oval office, the strategic discussions that take place between CIA his National Security Advisor. It's the way decisions are made, how factors are considered as quickly as possible in light of heightened security threats that really interest me. Not so much the operational battles that happens in the field, and what kind of weapon delivery systems each country possesses.

Anyhow (spoiler ahead), i wished i read this earlier- didn't realise at all, that the book ends with a civilian passenger plane crashing into the Whitehouse killing the President of the USA and most of the congress and senate. Of course the hero- Ryan- emerges unscathed. =)

I'm not sure if i'd pick another clancy book up after this one. He's really heavy on the boy-sy war stuff that just doesn't appeal to me anymore. But i enjoy the main plots and the scenarios he presents- trade war-> China and US are in the midst of a trade scuffle right now and Japan-US relations aren't the rosiest as well, since the fall of the party (all these elements are in his book which was in this book which was published in 1995, and hey, passenger plane crashing into the Whitehouse, Pentagon, what's the difference?)

Maybe, i will pick up more of his newer books, just to see what else he'd thought off!


Monday, September 14, 2009

creating tradition in my kitchen

the traditional cookies i bake every year for eid are not traditionally traditional type cookies, if you know what i mean. it actually falls into the category of modern cookies or kueh.

Traditional kueh raya (eid cookies/pastries) would be the kueh bangkit, kueh makmur, kueh tart-type, biskut kachang type cookies. These are cookie recipes which date pre-1960s Singapore and uses traditional ingredients, i.e. no cornflakes, chocolate chips which are modern ingredients that only became popular and widely used in baking after the 80s.

But these M&M cookies that feature in our eid fare every year, for more than 10 years now, are traditional to my family although they fall technically into the modern cookie category (m&ms and chocolate chips!). My sister always looks forward to these and eid would not feel complete without these cookies (don't you just love the colours?).

I love that traditions are being created every day. So what are we holding onto anymore? Tell you what, i think i'll start a new tradition this year- something wacky like errrr...macarons for raya!


Saturday, September 12, 2009

semi-disastrous ROW

on our way to ITE College East Simei this morning at 8.30am, hubby asked, "what was it again that we signed up to do?"

Well, i began, "we've signed up for Ramadhan on Wheels (ROW) which is an event organised by 4PM. Not the band that played Sukiyaki but the Malay Muslim NGO. We're supposed to report with our cars this morning, and have a facilitator assigned to us. We're then to drive to our assigned beneficiaries home to pick them up, and bring them to Simei for a workshop on nutrition and for the opening ceremony. Then we drive them to a supermarket, where we get to shop with them and pay for their essentials. Up to $150 i think. And during the shopping, the facilitator is supposed to advise them on how to budget, and what are the nutritious items they should purchase to stretch their dollar. Then we drive them home, and help them put away the items and if they need help, to help clean up their home or do whatever chores necessary. Then we'd return with them to Simei, for the closing ceremony and a mass-iftar. We then send them back home about 8.30 or 9pm."

Hubby responded matter of factly with a question, "What if the beneficiary lives in AMK? We have to drive all the way back here?? "

I replied plainly, " No lah, i'm sure they all live in the East."

No lor, our beneficiary lived at AMK, about a stone throw away from our place on Upper Thomson!

The spirit behind the event was fabulous but the execution, was far from it.

One, you'd have surmised by now, that we'd be driving (based on the plan above) to and fro from Simei to AMK. Not a short distance yeah, a good 30 minute drive. So with all good intention to help the needy- we left a substantial carbon footprint behind. And hey, ours was only one for many many cars!

hubby and fren waiting for the organisers to get organised!

Two, the facilitator assigned to us was this CHILD. About 18 or so, she really wasn't up to the task of actually helping with the 85 year old man assigned to us. She was pretty helpless and i ended up doing almost everything. I'd ask her what the programme was, and she would give me a blank look and say, 'Hmm, ya, i'm not sure either!' We had only signed up as drivers, but i ended up babysitting her and taking care of our beneficiary.

Three, our beneficiary was an old 85 year old man. He was pretty fit for his age i must admit, but seriously the walk from the lobby to the auditorium at Simei East ITE was tiring even for me. We offered him the option of a wheelchair which he refused, and so he hung onto hubby hobbling slowly to and fro. This made shopping for groceries quite tiresome for him. We had to park him somewhere and help find all the groceries he needed. A thrifty old man he was too! *grin*

And finally, aiyor, the whole 'bring-the-beneficiaries-for-the-opening-ceremony' thing was a waste of time. It was just a fancy show for the organisers to show off to the GOH (our DPM no less) what a massive organisation it was. Because of this useless waste of time, an event that could have been completed in 2 hours was to be almost 8 hours long. *tsk*

Of Course, as expected, after shopping and returning home, our beneficiary along with many others decided to skip the 'coming back for the closing ceremony and the mass-iftar' part of the programme. Hubby and I didn't complain. We left too after making sure we settled all we had promised to do. We met up with the brunch kakis who were also involved and who were equally peeved with the entire organisation, and went to have a nice afternoon shopping at Singapore Expo and a sumptuous intimate iftar at Simpang Bedok.

Ok- complaining aside, I did enjoy my time with my beneficiary and appreciated how careful and loving my hubby was with him (since the facilitator groaned to me when we first met- Do i have to sit with him alone in the back seat of the car?), that i didn't have too bad a time overall.

I suppose i won't burn the free t-shirts lah- afterall they're in my favourite shade of green!


Friday, September 11, 2009

never enough greenery

another overexposed photo from my Nokia E75

snapped this pic of a newbie in the neighbourhood on the way to work today.

i was delighted to see this youngish tree being planted nearby the estate. where i live- there's already so much greenery. many leafy trees that shelter the roads, and makes my little neighbourhood look ever greener and even more beautiful than most parts of Singapore.

and even with so much lush greenery abound, it's so delightful to see another new addition to our family of trees. there's never enough greenery! doncha think?


comex 2009

shoddy photography courtesy of my NOKIA E75

while i was busy with a work event, hubby was happily shopping at COMEX 2009! i absolutely detest crowds, so i was quite happy that he out there on his own.

He came back with quite a bit of stuff. Note that he only actually picked up a pair of headphones and a new Mac Pro- the rest are just the free goodies that came along.

I've not used a Mac in about 10 years, and i did tell him when he left for COMEX- that if he was coming home with a lappie it'd better be a Mac. *heart*

he being a Mac virgin, has been hogging it eversince.

once you go Mac, you never go back. =)

now if only i can convince the public service, that we should be using Mac's instead of PCs. *fail*

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iftar buffers such a waste of $$$

i've always preferred to iftar (break fast) during ramadhan at home. i mean, who doesn't enjoy a lovingly homecooked meal prepared by a doting mother?

i especially detest iftar buffets. honestly, after your tummy is empty for approximately 13hours or so, exactly how much food do you think you'd be able to wolf down? It makes it worse when some of the restaurants and eateries, jack up the prices of the buffet for ramadhan to capitalise on all these folks who find it necessary to suddenly meet up and iftar together. i don't get it, you have 11 months out of 12 that folks can meet up have breakfast, lunch, high tea, brunch or coffee together, but noooooo, it must be during ramadhan that they must meet up. When it's difficult to find a good place to break fast which serves reasonable food, has good service, not too crowded and is near a place for maghrib prayers.

Don't get me started about how these lavish iftar buffets makes me wonder, how we value this holy month. What's the point of avoiding food and drink during the day, when you just end up stuffing your face when you break your fast. is this really hardship you're trying to experience? come on? *tsk*

anyhow, i had to attend a work dinner cum iftar event at the Carousel last night (some of our international guests were muslims, so we could only host them to dinner). Being the only good hotel halal buffet (aside from straits kitchen) in town, obviously they were also cashing in with an iftar buffet special. I think carousels spread is pretty decent, but what a waste, i didn't manage to eat very much. Definitely not enough to cover 52+++ price tag per head. and for some reason, their dessert platters were so disappointing. i wonder if the dessert chefs were also fasting and didn't get to taste what they were baking- it was all sickeningly sweet and MOI has a major sweet-tooth, and for me to think it's sweet- it's most certainly sweet!

i ended sticking to some cheese for dessert instead.


Monday, September 7, 2009

kek lapis volume 2

it was time to roll up the sleeves and try again! my first attempt wasn't exactly a dismal failure, but i was determined to get it absolutely right.

it didn't help that the ego was bruised, when after my failed first attempt, mum decided to bake one just to show me how it's done. *tsk* too bad hers was just a tad bit dry *snigger*. then sis-in-law baked a prune version *rolls eyes* (it was pretty good, i must admit).

and i was like- *double tsk* how come suddenly EVERYONE wants to bake kek lapis? huh? it was MY resolution to bake one for this raya.

heh. well. tried again. me no failure. and hey? this time it turned out really nice. really buttery and moist and the layers turned out nicely. doncha think?

(mom thinks its a tad bit sweet. *triple tsk*. i dun care, i think it tastes lovely)


meow meow

latest addition to the family is yellow meow-meow! brought all the way from vung tau city just for ME!

the office is crazy about these beautiful terry-cloth cats that we fondly call meow-meow. we first discovered these in a little shop in Hanoi, and everytime someone from the office headed to Hanoi, we'd all send our little orders for our meow-meows until we wiped that shop clean of their supply.

so when i saw a similar shop just walking distance from our hotel at Vung Tau, i was adamant that i must bring home a meow-meow for hubby and i to share. when i decided not to go for the second trip, i asked the girlfriend to get me one. and wonderful her picked the absolutely most perfect meow-meow i could ever have (i love it more than the green meow-meow that sits at my desk).

it's bright, cheery chikadee yellow, with a cheeky spot on it's face and an even cheekier grin!

it didn't even grimace or let out a painful purr when hubby parked his large bum-bum on meow-meow's face the other night!



bearing gifts from vung tau city

when the gals in the office told me that one of our other colleagues who was with me at vung tau brought back a gift for me from the pax we met over in vung tau- and that it was made of wood and pretty heavy, i thought- couldn't be that bad. right? maybe a wooden jewellery box of some sorts.

but...when he pulled it out of his toyota scenic, my jaw fell to the floor. It was a 5kg parcel, and really made of REAL wood. Real heavy dark wood! i couldn't believe he had to lug back 5 of those for those of us who left Vung Tau early. Lucky for him, the travel mates had sq gold class membership which allows for extra 20kg baggage- or not he'd have been slapped with a hefty excess baggage fee.

taken with my NokiaE75

we unwrapped it in the office together. it's pretty. but not quite me. a little corny i think. no? i suppose if i had a very jungle themed room, all in dark greens and cream hues, it may work. but still, quite corny i think.

anyhow, there's nowhere to display it at home, so its sitting at one of my bosses cubicle for now. until we get bored of it, and maybe auction it off for charity. i suppose



i want the QLOCKTWO! so sexy and sleek. *heart*


by the river

we broke fast yesterday by the Singapore River at the House of Sundanese food. the food was not spectacular, except the grilled fish which is so finger-licking good (you can't help but just dig into the bones, and nibble on the crispily grilled fins to savour every possible morsel your hands can get into!)

but what i enjoyed most was the view across the river of the Asian Civilisation Museum, where we held our wedding dinner, just a mere 5 plus months ago. couldn't help, hubby and i, but feel quite nostalgic and ridiculously happy that we had the wedding of his dreams *lol*.

of course we had a lovely view of the Fullerton Hotel as well. we'll definitely go back to fullerton to celebrate our first anniversary. wouldn't that be lo-ve-ly? *heart*

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ramadhan in the city

taken with my Nokia E75

attended a dialogue at Sultan Mosque. was expecting to talk about national day rally issues, but we ended up dwelling on issues that have been discussed over and over again. i wanted to stand up and say, ' sir, the first time we met was at a forum when i was in JC 2, all of 12 years ago. and hey are we still talking about the same issues? shouldn't it be time to move on?' but there was a long line of people with questions and comments which didn't interest me whatsoever. =(
only good thing about that Saturday, was the opportunity to participate in the festivities pre-iftar at kampong glam area- fabulous selection of food and colours. and of course, the chance to catch up with some old friends. some i didn't expect to meet that Saturday.

i'm glad i went, cos the afternoon zzzzzzzzsss almost kept hubby and moi in bed!

(jamz---> was soooooo good to see ya!)


Clancy what does he know?

i've been observing in awe the unfolding of events post Japan's elections. Not so much LDP's (Liberal Democratic Party) loss- which was expected but the DPJ's (Democratic Party of Japan) leadership's thoughts regarding its relationship with the US.

In Clancy's 'Debt of Honour', an accident with faulty Japanese made auto-parts causes a trade-war which forces the Japanese Prime Minister out of office. The new Japanese PM took a hard stand against the US, citing US's treatment of the Japanese as subordinate to the US. Wanting a more 'equal partnership', the Japanese launced a covert attack on the US stock markets, causing nation-wide panic, and the almost economic collapse of the US. The US dollar falls, and the Yen rises dramatically. At the same time, the Japanese also attacked US marine forces crippling its navy and submarines. Sound familiar?

I'm not quite done with the book yet (only 3/4 ways through) but i think there's also an event where a commercial plane crashes into a building (i'll confirm when i'm done with the book).

All this written in 1995. Now what does Clancy know that we don't?

TOKYO: Mr Yukio Hatoyama, Japan's incoming prime minister, believes his country should shift its foreign policy and look less to the United States and more towards

A centre-left leader who has promised to shake up domestic politics after more than half a century of conservative rule, Mr Hatoyama has also called for a 'more equal' partnership with Washington, Tokyo's traditional ally.

In an article published in the New York Times last week, Mr Hatoyama launched a spirited critique of US-style capitalism and 'market fundamentalism', which he called 'void of morals or moderation' and said harmed people's lives.
Not mincing his words, he predicted that 'as a result of the failure of the Iraq war and the financial crisis, the era of US-led globalism is coming to an end and that we are moving towards an era of multi-polarity'. Mr Hatoyama, head of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), stressed that 'the Japan-US security pact will continue to be the cornerstone of Japanese diplomatic policy', just as it has been since the end of World War II.
(extracted from 'Look more towards Asia, and less to US' - The Straits Times 31 Aug 2009)


Thursday, September 3, 2009

too late- sudah marah!

they overturned their decision they did. now malaysian muslims CAN attend the black eyed peas concert.


too late- sudah marah. i watch no-doubt in Singapore, and spend all my money in Singapore lagi better. help stimulate the local economy, and further improve the -3% GDP projection (macam my shopping budget into the millions like dat! lol).

or even better, i fly over our neighbours and spend money in Thailand instead.