Liverpool 1 - Arsenal 1

If I were a neutral spectator, I would have thoroughly enjoyed last night's match. But then I'm not a neutral, I'm a plucking Liverpool fan so you see I'm rather disappointed with the draw. Gerrard scored an absolutely fantastic goal and we defended it so well before that Fabregas dude leveled the score on the 79th minute. A win against Arsenal would have silenced the critics but alas it was not to be. I guess a draw would do lah for now, at least we didn't get trashed or anything in our own backyard.

So we're still unbeaten and the title race is still on as far as I'm concerned. I say screw the Champions League. Let's concentrate on the Premiership instead, our bread and butter. What, you expect us to win everything or something? Plus, sacking the manager in the middle of the season won't make us Champions overnight. Even the great Shankly took a few years to make us Championship winning material. At least give the boss until the end of the season to prove us wrong.

Keep the faith.


Dr. Sheikh Muszaphar is not the first Malaysian in space?

STAR CITY, Russia - Dr. Sheikh Muszaphar got the shock of his life yesterday when he was told that he was actually the second Malaysian to make it into space.

Dr. Muszaphar who spent 10 days, 21 hours and 16 minutes at the International Space Station (ISS) returned safely to earth on Monday despite being 340km off the designated landing site. The Soyuz TMA-10 craft landed on the Steppes of Arkylk in Kazakhstan at 6.37 Malaysian time and all on board members including the Russian cosmonauts Fyodor Yurchikhin and Oleg Kotov were reported to be in good health. "It's incredible, I always thought I was the first!" said the subdued Dr. Muszaphar after the revelation.

For the record, the first Malaysian in space was Ayah Pin (pic below), a resident of Besut in Terengganu. Ayah Pin regularly commutes to his Sky Kingdom beyond the earth's orbit so if anyone can brag to be the first Malaysian in space, he can. When asked of his mode of transportation Ayah Pin casually replied: "I use my giant tea pot of course, why do you think I build it in the first place?".

First picture

Tadaa !! First picture of our second baby (code name Wan Nor A.F.). Actually this pic was taken last month during Linda's first check up. Plus we don't know if it's a boy or a girl yet.

I still don't see anything, can you?

Our little Hari Raya gathering

Every year on the last week of fasting, our little company receives a few hampers from our suppliers, vendors and sub-contractors as a token of appreciation for doing business with them. This year is no different and we got about 8 or 9 such hampers.

It is also customary for us to share those goodies with all staff at the company. So last night The Boss held a small Hari Raya gathering where we ate some bihun goreng (again) and open up those hampers to enjoy among ourselves.

The ceremony started with a little speech from The Boss. “We’re gathered here to open these hampers together and also to celebrate Afif’s birthday tomorrow..” So sweet! But then my birthday is exactly one month away from today, duh! Apparently somebody at HR screwed up eh?

Although small, it was a fun and joyous affair and I managed to sneak back a couple tins of Famous Amos cookies for my loved ones.

My little red eyed monsters

Tis the season to get conjunctivitis. It started with Adam and then his baby sitter and finally his mother also got conjunctivitis too. It’s a wonder really that I didn’t get infected too. Adam suffered the most though. It breaks our heart to see him rubbing his eyes like that and to see his pretty little eyes all red and swollen. Fortunately it lasted for 5 days only. His Mama has yet to recover from it though and after 2 days of medical leave she has to start work again this Wednesday, red eyed and all.

Haven't you heard? Raya is over. Raya for me ends when I started work last week. So stop playing those Raya songs already. Forget those open houses. Don't invite me, I won't be going to any.

Music of the day

Imran Ajmain - Seribu tahun

Rela ku menunggu mu seribu tahun lama lagi
Tapi benar kah hidup ku kan selama ini

Biar berputar utara selatan
Ku tak putus harapan
Sedia setia

Rela ku mengejar mu seribu batu jauh lagi
Tapi benar kah kaki ku kan tahan sepanjang jalan ini

Biar membisu burung bersiulan
Tenang lah gelombang lautan
Ku masih setia

Ada kah engkau yakin ini cinta
Ada kah engkau pasti ini tuk selama lama nya

Rela ku menunggu mu seribu tahun lama lagi
Tapi benar kah hidup ku kan selama ini

Biar berputar utara selatan
Ku tak putus harapan
Sedia setia

Hari Raya blues

Three days is definitely not enough for me to celebrate Hari Raya. That’s why today I’m currently feeling the post Hari Raya blues here at the office. There are only 5 people here at the moment and the rest of us still merrily celebrating Hari Raya with their family and loved ones. Sigh. I could have taken a few more days off but then it wouldn’t be fair to my colleague/friend Bujal cause he’s been covering for us for many days now. Heck he’s already here right now working despite the fact that he worked till Friday, the day before Hari Raya. If you don’t call that commitment then I don’t know what it is.

We arrived safely here last night around 10 o’clock. That’s 9 hours of driving, an hour shorter than our Balik Kampung trip last time. Traffic was generally smooth from Kelantan to here although there was a 20-minute crawl after the Genting Sempah tunnel due to a car accident. Honestly after seeing the way some of those people drive, I’m not surprised at all to see such accidents occurring. I had a mild flu yesterday so driving was a pain in the arse for me with runny nose and all. Even today I’m feeling down and drowsy from my flu medication. No mood for work. Bleh.

My car is having a major problem starting up in the morning. I had to turn the ignition for like 20 times before the engine starts. What’s more I can’t send my car to the workshop until tomorrow cause they said they’re fully booked for today.

We had to take turns taking emergency leaves for today and tomorrow cause we can't leave Adam at the nursery yet because Kak Azi is not finished with her Hari Raya celebrations yet. Sigh.

I wanna sleep but then I heard The Boss is coming in some time today. More sigh.

To forgive & to forget

My family's bersalaman & bermaafan ritual.

Pasir Mas, 1 Syawal 1428H

Hari Raya celebrations (part 3)

Part 3 consist of mostly pictures that I took during the annual Hari Raya photographic session. As you can see this year's theme is Barney The Musical ha ha! My baju Melayu came with pants but I decided to go with kain pelikat (sarong) jer lah.

This all my siblings. From left Faiz, Lina (and Hairie), Izni and moi with Adam. Single- married-It's complicated-Married.

Adam couldn't keep his cloth on because he gets itchy easily.

My sister, Hairie and husband Zaidi. I almost thought he wouldn't make it to Pasir Mas this year but apparently he did. I have nothing further to comment.

Family portrait. This is only 3/4 of all my immediate family member. Uncle Din and co didn't get there until the 2nd day of Hari Raya. Adam is hiding under the table when this picture was taken. You can watch the video clip* that I made, all 11 minutes of us bersalaman & bermaafan.

*If I can get it uploaded successfully that is. So far not so good.

Hari Raya celebrations (part 2)

This is where my great grandma the late Hajjah Siti Fatimah binti Ahmad were laid to rest. Someday I hope I will be buried here too. After all we all gonna die sometime right?

Like time and tide, death waits for no man, young or old. The ultimate question is are we prepared it? As Muslims have we done enough to reserve a place in God's heaven? Or is it gonna be elsewhere?

At the graveyard we usually cite the Yasin, a verse from the Koran as a gift for the deceased. To my beloved nenek, I'm sorry I only visit you once a year. I wish I could come more often but you knowlah petrol price has all gone up and stuff. This is all Pak Lah's fault.

After that we return home to Kampung Dangar for the next Hari Raya ritual, bermaafan & bersalaman and the photographic sessions. Like always we bought several hundred sticks of satay to eat during Hari raya.

Usually I get to be the de facto satay burner every Raya morning but this year Faiz beat me to it.

Remember my Uncle who worked as a Mas engineer? Well this is him. He came back for Hari Raya every year without fail.

And this is his youngest kid, the twin Faqih & Falik (or is it Falik & Faqih?). I still can't tell between the two.

This is the 2nd most handsomest guy in Pasir Mas this week. Hmm, wonder who's the most handsome...

No they're not for sale. Just a collection of everybody's phone. 50 cent if you can guess which are mine.

Hari Raya celebrations (part 1)

Hari Raya morning to me is simply the bestest moment of the year. If I could choose one word to describe it, it would be 'magical'. This humble home in Kampung Dangar, Pasir Mas is where I spent most of my childhood at.

Lina's kid, Zuhairie was among the first to get up today. Adam woke us up several times last night because he was itchy all night long after being bitten by a few bugs.

We had this delicious nasi dagang for breakfast. Actually grandma ordered them from a neighbour next door. Beside auntie Yatie nobody has yet to master the art of making nasi dagang yet in my family.

As usual I went to the mosque early to get the best seat available. Actually they're all the same hard, cold stone floor but I came late once a few years ago and I had no choice but to pray on the parking lot. Lucky for me I always bring my praying mat along. Not that I'm complaining or anything of course.

I used to hang around the Pasir Mas mosque a lot when I was a kid. I went there every Friday for Friday prayers and for terawikh and Subuh prayers during Ramadan. Now I can only go there like once a year.

While waiting for the Aidil Fitri (Eid) prayers to start we chant along to the Takbir and Tahmid lead by the Imam. This the part where I get all nostalgic and sentimental. The siak (caretaker of the mosque) had been around (standing in blue) since I was no more than 7-8 years old and he was still young and burly back then. I'm amazed that he still works here after all these years.

After the prayer and a short sermon, everybody goes back to start their Raya celebrations or for many people like myself, we went to visit the graves of our dear departed.

Naturally a minor traffic jam is expected since every Hari Raya the population of small towns like Pasir Mas mroe than doubled as city folks return to be with their loved ones.

The day before Raya

We spent the last 2 days before Raya at Linda's place in Tanah Merah.

Adam had a ball of a time playing firecrackers & sparklers with his uncles.

We did some last minute shopping at the Pantai Timur supermarket nearby. Only in Kelantan can you buy 5 Spidermans for only RM8.90. Adam's been nagging me to buy Spidey since forever.

Usually we look forward to seeing his face announcing the date of Hari Raya but not anymore. Ever since they fixed they Hari Raya dates on the calendar these past few years.

On the final day of fasting we head back to my beloved home town in Pasir Mas.

This is Pasir Mas, where the pretty girls are legendary and the men are boleh tahan lah (not bad).

According to legend, this area which is now known as Pasir Mas was first opened up by Che Leh Ismail who was also known as Che Leh Tok Pendekar. Che Leh Ismail was forced to shift to Pasir Mas from Kota Bharu when his land was taken over by the Sultan to build his palace.

During that time, a religious teacher from Bachok, Kelantan came to teach the Quran to the villagers in Pasir Mas. The religious teacher returned to Bachok after his teachings were completed. However, a few days after the religious teacher returned to Bachok, three pots of gold suddenly appeared in some bushes. The pots of gold then rolled into a pond at the fringe of the bushes. The villagers who witnessed this happening shouted "Mas! Mas!" (Mas means Gold in Malay). Hence the place was subsequently called Pasir Mas. The word "Pasir" originated because there was a large field of sand at the bank of the Kelantan River, which was situated near Pasir Mas.

Hmm interesting, but still sounds like a lot of bull to me.

Paid my zakat Fitrah here at the town mosque. Unlike in Tanah Merah, they provide 3 counters for people's convenience so I don't have to queue for so long to pay my dues. That's why Pasir Mas rocks!

We had so much development over the years, even the road to my house is congested. Yeah right.

Proof that we should come back more often: "Papa look, anjing besar!" Haiya, that's no big dog man, that's a goat.

And those are chickens and they're pretty harmless too. Just like cats, Adam is terrified of chickens, goats and cows.

At night we played some more firecrackers.

That's right, I get to re-live some of my childhood memories when Lina gave me a bundle of those spinning firecrackers to play with.

Right after the last berbuka, Pasir Mas turned virtually into a war zone, with all the explosions and fireworks display. Police? What police?

My grandma made this little decoration in our living room.

Balik Kampung time!

So this is it, it’s balik kampung time! Tonight, right after our first astronaut Dr. Sheikh Muszaphar blast off into space we’ll also be off to our hometown in Kelantan. I’ve specifically take this day off so I can prepare for the journey tonight. The wife is still working today, heck she even had to do overtime some more generally because *bleep*

Anyway I’m almost ready now. Here’s my checklist of things to do today:

  • Tire pressure (including spare) – check
  • Coolant and battery – check & check
  • Full tank of Shell petrol (for more kilometers) – check
  • Isotonic & energy drink – check
  • 10 freshly burned music cds – check
  • Luggage – definitely not (we haven’t pack anything yet!)
  • Do laundry – check
  • Pay Zakat Fitrah – err can I do this in Pasir Mas?
  • Enough rest – not really, I plan to sleep from now till 4 o’clock.

As I usual I plan to use the regular Gombak-Bentong-Raub-Lipis-Gua Musang route. I pray that traffic is not congested from here to Gombak tonight. Last year when took off in the morning, the traffic jam was indescribable. Do pray for our safe journey to and back okay? Lastly I’d like to take this opportunity to apologize to all my dear friends and visitors of this blog. I’m sorry if I’ve said or wrote anything rude or offensive here all these while. I’d like to apologize to all my colleagues and my friends if I’ve wronged or hurt you guys in anyway. I hope everybody will have a smashing good Hari Raya with their loved ones and have a safe journey back home.

I’ll probably be offline for at least a week or so. I’ll try my best to hijack Izni’s notebook and do a dial up connection at home. Until then Selamat Hari Raya everyone! Maaf Zahir & Batin from everybody here at AfifPLC.

Hari Raya nostalgia

From Wikipedia

Hari Raya Aidilfitri (also Hari Raya Puasa, literally "Fasting Day of Celebration") is the term for the Muslim festival of Eid ul-Fitr. Hari Raya is also known as Lebaran. Muslims in Malaysia and Singapore celebrate Eid like other Muslims throughout the world. The term "Hari Raya" literally means "Day of Celebration" — it is also occasionally used to refer to Eid ul-Adha in the form of "Hari Raya Aidiladha". The main greeting used by Muslims in Malaysia and Singapore is "Selamat Hari Raya" which means "Happy Eid" in Malay. Another greeting is "maaf zahir dan batin" which translates loosely to "I seek forgiveness (from you) physically and spiritually", for Hari Raya is a time to reconcile and renew relationships with others.

During the Muslim month of Ramadan leading up to Hari Raya, it is mandatory for Muslims to fast from dawn to dusk. All Muslims except the young, old or infirm must fast. Many Muslims also abstain from pleasures such as cigarettes and sexual activities during the daylight of the fasting month.

I think I started fasting since I was 5 or 6 years old. During my early years of fasting I can fast only for half a day before I get really hungry and break my fast early in the afternoon. When I was 7 to 9 years old I begin fasting for a whole day but then sometimes I regularly drank while in the shower cause you know lah I’m still a kid and I get awfully thirsty at times. Even then I only drink water from the pipe and never eat in the open cause I’m still embarrassed of my family or everybody for that matter. It’s quite normal really, I bet everybody did that also when they’re a kid rightttt? Come on la, don’t tell me you fast the whole month when you’re seven?

Anyway I started fasting seriously when I was in high school in Machang. It’s only during the fasting month that the food improves a bit. Instead of the usual ikan gaban, we’re treated with extra special menu for the whole month. That’s why I always look forward for the month of Ramadan in school.

On the eve of Hari Raya, Muslims will recite the takbir, which is held in mosques and surau (smaller place of worship). In some communities, there will be congregations reciting the takbir from house to house.

In big cities and towns, shopping malls and commercial centres will hold big promotions and price discounts for festive shoppers as people purchase clothes and supplies. Decorations are hung in public areas and Hari Raya songs will be played in shopping complexes. The media, such as the television will host various programs in conjunction with the celebrations.

Like every other kid I look forward to Hari Raya because that’s the time when my parent bought me new clothes and I get to receive a lot of duit raya afterwards. But now that I’m all grown up, married and working, the table had turned and now I’m responsible for buying new clothes to my kid and giving out duit raya to the kids in my family instead. Sigh.

Many people also traditionally return to their hometown generally from big metropolitan cities to rural areas. This is known as balik kampung — literally going back to one's home town to celebrate Hari Raya with family and friends. At many times, the flux of vehicles on the roads nationwide increased the number of car accidents, including deadly ones, occurring during the festive season. Road safety campaigns are often launched by the authorities ahead of the festivities in the effort of lowering the discomforting number of accidents.

For 24 consecutive years or so balik kampung to me could only mean going back home to my beloved Pasir Mas town. But that all changed three years ago after I got married. Now I had to take turns to balik kampung between Tanah Merah and Pasir Mas. I don’t remember how but somehow Linda managed to make me balik kamping to Tanah Merah for two years running. So this year we will be celebrating the 1st of Syawal in Pasir Mas no matter what. No offence to the people of Tanah Merah but nothing compares to Hari raya in Pasir Mas. The anticipation, the takbir, the family members, the atmosphere is simply magic!

Usually on the eve of the celebrations, family members, especially mothers and housewives, will be busy preparing food, cakes, sweets, biscuits and various delicacies to be served on the day of Hari Raya. Delicacies such as ketupat or rice cake and a meat cuisine called rendang are among the most famous cuisines that are served during this day. Other family members will help in other chores such as decorating and cleaning up the house.

I remember the time when I used to help mother make various types of cookies and biscuits for Hari Raya (especially my favourite pineapple tart). For berbuka I get to eat my favourite ayam percik dish and onde-onde, washed down with ice cool coconut drink. Ah those were the good old days. Today my mother don’t make cookies anymore and we usually buy them from super markets since it’s more convenient.

Days before Hari Raya, house compounds, particularly those in the countryside will be lit up with oil lamps known as pelita or panjut. This display of oil lamps will reach its height on the 27th night of Ramadan, called the Tujuh Likur night. 'Likur' literally meaning a figure between 20 and 30, hence 'tujuh likur' means twenty seven. Originally during the early days of the arrival of Islam among the Malays, the purpose of lighting the oil lamps was to attract spirits and angels to descend to people's homes during the night of Lailatulqadar. However after ages has passed, such misconception is regarded counterfactual as much understanding of Islam were obtained. Nowadays the oil lamps are lit solely for decorational purposes.

Actually the Tujuh Likur night was not widely observed here in Kelantan compared to other states. We didn’t lit much oil lamps or pelita, instead we prefer to go to the mosques and madrasah to pray by the bundle.

It is customary for Malays to wear traditional Malay costumes. The dress for men is called baju Melayu while the women's are known as baju kurung and baju kebaya. Traditional textiles such as songket and batik are worn favourably during this day.

Muslims will attend Eid prayer in the morning and consecrate together harmoniously while taking the chance to meet and greet each other. Once the prayer is done, it is also common for Muslims in Malaysia to visit the grave of their loved ones. During this visit, they will clean the grave, perform the recital of the Yasin — a chapter (surah) from the Qur'an and also the tahlil or prayers for the deceased. All these are done in hope that their loved ones are blessed by God and they are spared from the punishment in the grave.

Every year after the Hari Raya prayers at the mosque, my family would all go visit my great grandmother’s grave without fail. We would clean up her grave a bit and read the Yasin and then head to my aunt Yati’s place who cooks the best nasi kerabu ever.

The rest of the day is spent visiting relatives or serving visitors. Hari Raya is a very joyous day for children for this is the day where adults are extra generous. Children will be given token sums of money, also known as duit raya from their parents and elders.

Don’t know why but nowadays I’m just too lazy to visit my relatives or friends house. Unless of course my mother made me visit one or two really close relatives. Usually they came to me and it’s the only time of the year I get to see my relatives since I do come back only once a year.

During the night, there are often celebrations with sparklers and firecrackers, albeit restrictions on playing firecrackers enforced by the authorities. Most firecracker stocks are purchased and smuggled illegally from black markets. Safety issues, especially among children are raised and alarming cases relating to injuries caused by playing firecrackers are often reported, which initially led to the banning of playing firecrackers. Despite of the enforcement of banning firecrackers, more Malay children turn to home-made firecrackers such as meriam buluh (bamboo cannon) as alternatives to commercial fireworks. Usually the lighting of firecrackers begins a few days before the end of Ramadan, and continues for about a week afterwards.

It’s relatively easy to get firecrackers in Kelantan especially in Pasir Mas cause were situated near the border to Thailand and they were smuggled by the busload into the state every year. When I was a kid I used to save my school allowance to buy those sparklers and firecrackers. One year I saved so much and bough so much firecrackers my drawer is filled to the brim with them. On the eve of Hari Raya I would lit most of them up and fill the house with so much smoke people thought our house was on fire!

Buka puasa dinner @ Mariott Hotel, Putrajaya

Last Friday my company treated us with a buka puasa dinner (breaking of fast) at Mariott Hotel near Putrajaya. Last year we went to Palm Garden resort just next door.

Since we don’t do annual dinners like other companies, the buka puasa dinner is the closet thing we get to that. My company paid RM95.50++ per head for the dinner. Is it expensive? You betcha. But do we deserve it? Definitely!

I got there about 5 minutes late cause I had to fetch Linda from work, pick up Adam and drop her at home. Wish I could bring them along but unfortunately the dinner’s only for staffs.

After all everybody’s invited for the dinner including practical training staffs which numbers to around 50. The food was in general okay lah, I give 3.5 out of 5 stars. I was already full after a plate full of rice, fried chicken and several mutton dishes. I did sample the Mexican food, barbecue mutton, satay, ABC and ice cream. But to be honest, I’d much prefer the menu at Pizza Hut than all the hotel foods I’ve tasted so far.

So for RM95.50++ I only ate for like RM50.00 worth of food that evening. Imagine the profit these hotels and restaurants made from such buffet dinners.

After dinner we hang around the hotel chitchatting and took pictures of each other. Bujal for example has requested that I took his picture with our new staff, Azira. (Like I don’t know you want us to gossip her with you)

What Bujal didn’t know is Azira got a boyfriend already maa! We just saw her boyfriend pick her up after work today. (Tough luck man ha ha!). I told you to get a new car. Chicks these days don’t dig beat up Kancils err I mean Ferraris you know. At least you should get a Savvy or something.

This is ‘abang seluar londeh’ posing for picture he he! What can I say? I lost an inch or two this past few weeks.

This is our new web developer, Nora (left). She’s responsible for developing and maintaining our company website. Hey check out our new and improved website (for those who knew where I work lah – it’s

Pictured here is some of our CFMS department member. That’s En. Latiff the department’s head (in the white shirt). He just got involved in a car accident recently. His Peugot Evente is almost a wreck but fortunately he survived the accident unhurt.

That’s (drum roll) The Boss enjoying the company of his female staffs. Just a few hours earlier he announced that we all got a generous amount of duit raya (pocket money) each yay!! Thanks a lot boss.

This is Mr. Shazrain and his kid. He’s so cute and well-behaved, just like my Adam Farihin! (yeah right).

And this is Acha (in maroon baju melayu). He’s our official company clown/jester. Aside from dispatching letters and documents, he’s responsible for keeping us amused with his silly jokes and funny antics.

I don’t know why but apparently the girls at my office have this thing for married men. That’s my manager Mr. Mazlan (in the middle) by the way. He’s also known as 7-Eleven because he just can’t stop talking/nagging.

Owh shite, I forgot to photoshop my stomach hold my breath for this shot.

This is Chip Fida, one of our many software engineers.

Although the place was quite crowded during berbuka time, overall I’m quite satisfied with the dining experience, the good food, great service and the music.

I only have one complaint though. The hotel management ought to have provided a proper praying room for Muslims customers instead of a conference room turned into a makeshift surau.

Anyway, many thanks to The Boss and my company for the dinner treat. We had a really good time there and we look forward to that Club Med holiday you were talking about in December. Till then, ciao!