Thursday, 9 July 2020

A memorable birthday in 2020

A few days ago, I celebrated my 58th birthday. This year's occasion is somewhat different from previous years because of a few reasons.

We are still in Covid-19 pandemic situation, although the daily numbers are encouragingly showing a trend of newly infected cases in single digits. Hopefully, we shall see zero cases being reported soon. The Malaysian government and its citizens have shown great resolve in fighting the outbreak. With the reduction in the number of daily infections, the government has relaxed the MCO restrictions. This includes the ability to travel between states.

Our second son and daughter-in-law both work at Hospital Sungai Buloh, the reference hospital for coronavirus cases. Our son is considered a frontliner as one of his duties include screening of incoming patients. As such, it is quite difficult for him to obtain leave to come visit us. I therefore made the decision for us to travel north to visit them last weekend. I was also conveniently looking for a reason for us to make social visits after being cooped up at home for three months.

The other (even stronger) reason was that I share the same birthday as my daughter-in-law, Aisyah Bt Abdullah, 6th of July. When their wedding was held in November last year, I had not known of this fact. At the time, I was too focussed on planning for the wedding, it didn't occur to me to ask about the birthday of our newest family member. It was only early this year that my wife told me about it. At last, I have another family member to celebrate the 6th of July every year (note : I had previously written about the Birthday Paradox in a post dated 20.12.2009).

Instead of my son and his wife travelling down to Johor to celebrate the special day with us, my wife and I drove the other direction so we could celebrate it with them. We had a birthday lunch at the home of my brother-in-law in Bukit Jelutong, Shah Alam, the main menu item being a home-cooked nasi briyani prepared by the mother-in-law of the birthday girl.

Indeed, a memorable family occasion to treasure for years to come...

Only two candles on the cake

Lunch of nasi briyani in both mutton and chicken options

The wedding reception in November 2019. Aisyah and her parents on the right

Thursday, 2 July 2020

Kena tembak sebelum masuk...

* 36.6 *

Angka tersebut adalah kegemaran saya buat masa ini untuk meneka jawapan setiap kali pistol suhu dihalakan ke dahi saya sebelum dibenarkan masuk masjid, pasaraya, restoran, pejabat kerajaan dan seumpamanya. Setakat ini, kadar ketepatan tekaan dianggarkan bawah 10 peratus, hahaha...

Di Masjid Bulatan, Kg Melayu Majidee, JB

Saturday, 27 June 2020

30 years worth the wait...

It was a beautiful morning yesterday, Friday 26 June 2020. The sky was slightly overcast but it did not rain. Perfect for some outdoor activity to release some sweat.

Far out west in England came the news that Liverpool Football Club has become the champions of the English Premier League after a wait of thirty long years. There are still 7 more games to go before the full fixture schedule (delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic) is completed, but the nearest rival is too far behind to catch up. We shall savour the moment and enjoy the weeks ahead as the 2019/2020 season comes to a close.

Great things happen to those who work hard and are willing to wait.

Morning brisk walk at Taman Merdeka in Johor Bahru

Sunday, 14 June 2020

Valuing friendship above feud

In early 1981, I was studying for my GCE A-levels at Aston College in Wrexham, North Wales in the UK. I cannot recall how many Malaysian students were enrolled there at the time, but if I was to make an estimate, I would say upwards of 40 persons.

Wrexham is not a big town. Prior to arriving in the United Kingdom, I've never heard of the place before. I vaguely knew that Wales is a separate country within the UK but it totally surprised me that the Welsh speak and write in an entirely different language. I lived in Wrexham for about a year and have pleasant memories of my stay there. The slight regret that I have is in not making an attempt to understand a bit more of Welsh.

Aston College no longer exists, having been merged with a few other colleges in North Wales and later upgraded to a university in 2008. A search on Google Maps indicates that my former A-level college is now known as Wrexham Glyndwr University. I also tried to search for the house that I stayed in the final term of my studies but since I could not remember the street name, the search was fruitless. What I can recall was that it was quite a walking distance away from the college, perhaps around 30 minutes at leisurely pace.

The house was an end unit of a row of a 2-storey terrace block, probably built in the 1960s. Although an old building (even at that time), the house was adequately renovated to serve as student accommodation. Each floor had been separated so as to make two different units (which they refer to as a flat). Each flat had central heating, a small kitchen and a bathroom. I stayed at the top unit with my coursemate named Yaacub Mohamed whom I know from our MRSM Kuantan days. The ground floor unit was rented by a friend name Khairil Faizi who previously studied at MRSM Seremban. I cannot remember who Khairil's housemate was.

Anyway, what triggered this post was memory of an event that was posted by a mutual friend of Khairil and me on his Facebook page. This mutual friend is Sofian Abdul Rahman or better known as Boe, who also formerly studied at MRSM Seremban. Boe was doing his A-levels at London at the time and had come to Wrexham to visit his friends. He slept over at Khairil's flat. Late one evening I went downstairs to see that Khairil and Boe were deeply concentrating in a game of Scrabble. As I watched them play, I noted that the scores were close. Towards the end of the game, Boe played a high-scoring word that would've made him the winner. Khairil vehemently protested that there was no such word. Boe laughingly said there is. The argument went back and forth and got a bit heated. Boe then looked at me and said, 'Tak percaya tanya Fadhil.'

At that time, my vocabulary was still weak and I could not give Boe the confirmation he was seeking. But I had a thick dictionary upstairs in my room so I offered to run up and check. Boe gave a surprising response. No need, he said... I concede that there is no such word. Which meant he lost the game. At that young age, I witnessed a true example of how to gracefully concede so as not to upset the feelings of your bro.

When I related this memory to Khairil recently (as a comment on Boe's Facebook post), he replied that Boe is that sort of friend. He values friendship above feud.

I still recall the word that Boe tried to play because I later checked and found that it is valid. I'm pretty certain neither of them remembers that. Maybe one day I'll tell them...

Me and housemate Yaacub. Wrexham 1981

Wednesday, 27 May 2020

MCO Haircut

In a previous posting, I mentioned that I do not mind if barber shops are not allowed to operate under relaxed MCO conditions. Among the reasons that I gave was that I have experience in sporting a long hairstyle before.

Who am I kidding, really?

My days as a rock fan are long gone. My hair is almost totally gray now. I have an itchy scalp problem and keeping my hair long doesn't help.

So when the electric hair trimmer that my son ordered online arrived yesterday, I asked him to give me a haircut after he was done trimming his. Abah nak style yang macam mana, he asked. Well... any style that you are comfortable doing, I replied. As long as it looks neat. Ok, he'll try one way first, he said. Just a little trim. If I don't like it, he will cut a bit more. To allay his fears, I told him not to worry too much. We can always go for the crew cut as a last resort. Hahaha...

As it turned out, he ended giving me a young man's haircut style. Very short on the sides and back with a pronounced thicker mop of hair on top. It's a look I'm not familiar with but I can live with it. It's not like I have to look good for a job interview or anything...

Thank you, son (Imran Azizi).

Not too bad a cut from an amateur barber