From My Heart


August 2009

My Grandmother’s Beauty Tips

My grandmother is a beautiful lady. Charming, graceful Javanese lady. If we were to stand side by side, and at the same age, I’d be pale in comparison. My grandmother with her fair skin, great complexion, a sharp nose that is the envy of many, slender figure, and at 72 she looked like she’s 60. She walks with a grace and stands up straight. No osteoporosis. She’s soft spoken and polite.
Her secrets? Well, these are among the tips that I managed to get when she was alive.

1. Healthy diet of fish and boiled vegetables.
My grandmother didn’t eat much. And so do her daughters. She’s a good cook. A great cook, actually. But she eats just right to live. Never eats like there’s no tomorrow.
Her diet consists of (A) ‘sayur bening’ – vegetables (carrot, spinach/sawi, baby corns) boiled with a bit of onion, garlic, salt and sugar; (B) Fish – usually fried marinated with spices, curry, grilled or taucu; (C) Self-reared kampung chicken (she’d never eat otherwise) as soup, bakar, curry or fried marinated with spices; (D) Soy sauce (Kicap) -based dishes – chicken, beef, eggs.

2. Limau nipis/limau purut as shampoo
No chemicals. Just plain lime, squeezed and lather onto hair and scalp. Great secret for soft, smooth hair.

3. Jamu
My grandmother is a pure Javanese lady whose ancestors are from Solo, Indonesia. Solo was one of the most cultured area in Java Island, being the center of government once upon a time. In Indonesia the best jamu comes from Solo.
My beloved grandma makes the jamu herself, from spices that mostly could be found in the kitchen. I meant to learn to make them myself, but I didn’t manage to do so (even after years staying next door…). My aunt Cik Uzi did keep the list of ingredients for the jamu, but I’m not sure if she knows how to make it. It’s a shame that such abilities are lost down the generations.
Jamu does not only make you feel healthy, it gives you energy to go through the day. Complexions better. And it’s supposed to be all natural. My mom (her daughter-in-law) and aunts (her daughters) did not ‘pantang’ too much during confinement (the food they take throughout life are what others may call ‘pantang’ food, anyway),but they took the jamu she made. That’s how all my aunts stay slender and young – you won’t believe their ages!!!

4. Hard work
She simply can’t sit around and do nothing! No sitting around watching soaps. No sitting down at dinner tables and chatting away. No hanging around other’s home gossiping. That’s so not my grandma. And she can’t stand seeing people do that too!
She cleans, she cooks, she bakes, she prays, she reads Quran.
My uncle once thought that she never sleeps. Because when he wakes up she’s already bustling away in the kitchen, and when he sleeps she’s still up doing something somewhere in the house.
Rolling stone ain’t gather no moss. An active woman ain’t gather no fat!
Oh….I’m so ashamed of myself by now….

5. Pure heart
Beauty is skin deep. Or really?
In the end it’s your heart that matters. My dear grandma was loved by her family, her neighbours, the kampung folk..I remember those years following her to the mosque during Ramadhan and Eid, how everyone was excited to see her there, how she’d hug everyone with her famous big hug, how she’d listen to everyone’s cries and sighs even though for a short while, how her eyes would show her empathy to those around her, how her soft voice and gentle words soothe the feelings of many amongst us. That’s the true beauty of my beloved grandmother.

Oh…now I miss her so so much.


I know, it’s crazy

I feel like a 16 year-old again

I wanna see you everyday

But I haven’t seen you for two months now, I think

Wanna hear your voice

Wanna talk to you like adults

Crazy, one might say

I’m becoming who I was before

You will never know what you have done

When I see that smile on your face

You will never know

This heart suddenly become so big

That I could feel it beating

And suddenly it’s as if I’ve been running

And running and running away



So that’s what a smile does

To a stranger

At Least….or…Really?

We’ve always said, “Terrible traffic!”
The response is, “Well, at least you have somewhere to go to.”

We’ve always said, “I dread Mondays…I hate going to work!”
The response is, “At least you have a job!”

“My car is so small and only fits 2.”
The response is, “At least you have a car.”

“I’m having bad flu.”
“Well, at least you don’t have lung infection.”

“My husband/wife spends too much!”
“At least you have money to spend.”

“I can’t join you guys, I have a husband to go home to.”
“Well, at least you have a husband.”

“I can’t go shopping with my girlfriends, my kids are sick.”
“At least you have kids to take care of.”

But really, is “at least” the right phrase to use?
Are they the least we could all have?
“At least” we have a car, a job, somewhere to go to, a husband/wife, money to spend, kids to take care of….I think that’s a lot to begin with!
Hmm….makes us ponder, isn’t it?

The Soundtrack of My Life

I haven’t written one note/blog for quite some time. It’s been a busy week or two. So this is it, while waiting for my brother to fetch me. The soundrack of my life.

Yuna’s Dan Sebenarnya
Reminds me of Auckland City…walking alone through the streets of Auckland City, mainly Queen Street, in the bright sunshine. Just beautiful. Felt so relaxed. Had no worries. I could just walk and walk and walk..

I love the bridge part. It could play on and on and on in my mind til it hurts my ears. Slow and steady.

Lovebug by Jonas Brothers
Yeah, I know it’s Jonas Brothers. And some would, like, “Euwwww…” But I don’t care. I kinda like this song.
“Now I’m speechless, over the edge and just breathless, I never thought that I’d catch this lovebug again…”
Ahaks! I’d say that this is my ‘crush song’. Wheeeeeeeeee!!! 😀 😀 😀

Jika Kau Bercinta Lagi – Flop Poppy (originally Alleycats)
Ok. The remake by Flop Poppy is nice. I would imagine a band of musicians having fun playing together. And I could really feel that excitement, the joy of making great music and giving all your heart into a song.
The original is by Alleycats. It’s such a mellow but beautiful song. Can’t remember who’s the writer. Reminds me of those days when I was a child, my father used to play Alleycats songs in the car when we travel. And we travel a lot. I really mean A LOT!! To his friends’ places, to the beach, balik kampong, to work….I guess by 3 years old I’ve traveled thousands of kilometers already.

What A Girl Wants and The Voice Within by Christina Aguilera, and Stick Wit’you by Pussycat Dolls
It was 2006. I was finishing med school. I think that’s it. Hmm…loads of fun.

Aku Scandal by Hujan
This is a sad song that sounds like a happy one. I don’t know why it’s made like that. But it reminds me of the time I was in my medical posting. The final posting of my internship years.
One day I was on call in 10C and Farah was ortho on call. It was almost 11pm. I’ve just finished reviewing a dengue patient with Kak Sharifah Aishah. After that this song came out. Farah was at the nurse counter. We sang and head-bang together. Haha.
Lagu ni sedih sebenarnya….
“Waktu duka dulu kita lalui bersama. Bahgia bagaikan malam ditemani bintang terang. Hancur hati bila kau undurkan diri. Meninggalkan aku…meninggalkan aku sendiri…..”

Kabhi Kushi Kabhi Gham and Bole Chudiyan
I don’t need to introduce these songs, do I? I know most people like Mohabbatein better than Kabhi Kushi. But I like this better. I love the songs better. I could remember all the dances….and Shahrukh… 😉
It’s a movie with loads of family values and how, being a man, although you could actually do just about anything you want, anything you think is good for your family, but you should, with all the brains given to you by God, you should think of other’s feelings too. We know we should oblige but all humans have their limits, you know.
I remember Nir (and I) crying when we watched this movie for the umpteenth time. She initially took one kitchen towel. Then another one. Then the whole roll!!
Really, it’s heartbreaking yet touching and enlightening too.

Cuba by Faizal Tahir
Really really mellow, really really sad, but not depressing, because his voice is sooooo yummy!!!! Funny thing is, it’s not exactly ‘rock kapak’, but it’s slow rock, and with all the electric guitars and the drums and violin…it’s just purrrrfect! Love it to bits. I love this part the most, the second verse:
“Coba kau lihat, coba kau coba renung ke mata aku bila ku kaku melihatmu. Pernahkah kau ada bila ku perlu tuk menyatakan sakit dalam diri? Dan bila kau perlu, setia ku menunggu, agar senang kau merasa….”
We’ve hurt each other so much but nobody needed to back out, really….
“Dan bila tiada lagi teman bermain, kau pulang mendapatkan aku, itulah aku….”

Hurt by Christina Aguilera
Do I need to say more?

Ya Maulai and Kaparinya by Siti Nurhaliza

“Orang berinai, berhitam kuku, mandi dijirus si air mawar; jikalau sampai hasrat hatiku, racun kuminum jadi penawar.”

“Belum tersurat dalam hikayat, ayam keluar mencari musang; Belum tersirat di dalam adat, bunga keluar mencari kumbang.”

I have always been in love with traditional songs. Although it’s the kind of ‘up and down’ love. Never out of love, though.

My father has always put on Pak Ngah’s collection of songs when we were in Kuching. It’s all instrumental, it’s nice and calming. I’d think of all the nice baju melayu and baju kurung and baju kebaya with all the selendang and songkok and songket. They are beautiful background music for weddings. I personally think that only traditional songs should be allowed in weddings. Unless the couple wear tux and dress, then maybe a nice jazz or ballads would be suitable.

I love kompang. I love gamelan. I love ghazal and zapin. And joget too. I grew up with P Ramlee. My favourites are Sekapur Sirih and Tari Tualang Tiga. And Joget Pahang too.

Once my father bought this pantun collection for STPM. I didn’t know why but I think my love for pantun is from him, well, actually both my parents. From form 3 to form 5 I was the representative of my school to Pesta Pantun held yearly. We’ve never won, though. But it was nice to write pantun. At times when we were in school we write just for the sake of it. But what I learnt from Enid Blyton was we should write from our hearts. That’s what I’m doing right now.

“Pintaku padamu bintang, kirimkanlahku sinarmu. Moga jadi kencana, hiasan kasih di jiwaku. Pesanku padamu, sayang, bawalah pulang hatiku. Moga `kan selamanya engkau bernafas di sisiku.”

“”Sungguhlah harum si bunga tanjung, hati nak petik si bunga mawar; Rindu dan dendam tidak tertanggung, budi setitik jadi penawar.”

I still don’t know what does ‘Kaparinya’ mean, though. Anyone?

Seribu Tahun by Imran Ajmain

I was in my fourth posting – General Surgery. I could still remember, and I’d always remember, a young man who met with an accident, injured his brain and…well….couldn’t survive with that much injury. And his wife…his young wife….was 8 months pregnant…when he stopped breathing I had to attend to him. But I couldn’t bring myself to inform his family members waiting outside the screen. I had to ask my MO to do it. One thing it made me feel – it made me feel so so scared to loose my loved one. Well, at that time it seemed impossible and the world would’ve ended..

On the other hand, sometimes when you’re too scared to loose someone, you’d do everything to make sure that it happens.. 

“Biar berputar utara, selatan, ku tak putus harapan, sedia setia…”

Jatuh by Adam

Simple, boy-band kinda song. At times tacky. But I love it. Not mainly because of the melody. It reminds me of the smiles of my cousins and my angel of a sister, the bright sunshine, the wide paddy fields of Kedah, the Penang bridge, the hot weather.

“Oh kasih, oh kasih, ku berterima kasih padamu kerana menyempurnai hidupku…”

Suziela by Flop Poppy

We were in Kuching. It was my birthday. Bright, sunshiny day. Our condo with white walls and floors and furnishing. My daddy’s taste is more modern than mine.

Anyway, I was opening my presents when my dear brothers put on this song from their CD. I felt so appreciated and loved. It’s such a happy song. It was such a happy moment. All six of us.

“Selamat hari lahir aku ucapkan kepadamu insan tercinta, iringan doa kekal untukmu. Semoga panjang umur, aku ucapkan kepadamu insan tersayang, selamat hari jadi Suziela.”

Kal Ho Naa Ho

Penang 2006. White walled house. With a cosy lawn. Green grass. Flowers blooming. Bright blue sky, of course. Wind blowing…not too strong but not too breezy.

Ku Mahu by Siti Nurhaliza

Again, General Surgery, end of 2007. Weekend rounds. My nurses would put the radio on after we’ve finished with our rounds. Hasneeza would put it louder. We’d be rushing to finish our tasks. Wanna go home early. Hate working on weekends but in surgery it’s not too bad, actually.

Ratu – Salahkah Aku Terlalu Mencintaimu

“Kutatap dua bola matamu, tersirat apa yang ‘kan terjadi. Kau ingin pergi dariku, meninggalkan semua kenangan, menutup lembaran cerita. Oh, sayangku, aku tak mahu…”

A lot of things run through my mind when this song is played. I first listened to this song when I was in Kuching. My brothers kinda love this and played it a lot. Then I learnt to play it on keyboard. Sometimes we’d sing together. They could actually recognise this song even though it’s played with a very low volume.

Also when I left Penang after graduation. Really sad to leave but I had to. I planned to stay but something happened that I had to go. I wonder now what would’ve happened it I stayed on. Maybe….maybe… But then again, God has his Plans.

“Salahkah bila diriku terlalu mencintaimu. Jangan tanyakan mengapa, kerna ku tak tahu. Aku pun tak ingin bila kau pergi tinggalkan aku. Masihkah ada hasratmu ‘tuk mencintaiku lagi?”

Sunday Morning by Maroon Five

Cool. Ballad Session 2005. Had a blast with my band. Harris, Shaze, Tasha, Ferraby. This is one of the things that made me wish that I could turn back time.


It’s Saturday morning now. I have to stop. I wanna publish this first, although I have loads of other songs.

I’m sorry for the mellow tune of this piece.

Reverie in Te Wahi

I have heard, but had never personally felt that nature has a power to bring peace and humbleness to the human mind.

I was sitting on top of the cliff near Te Wahi in Cape Reinga. The Tasman Sea in front of me. The sounds of the waves hitting on  the beaches, hitting on the stones. Seagulls flying and squawking away. The sky so blue and the sun so bright. The wind blowing all around…I was going to pray there, in the middle of pure nature, my knees a bit sore from sitting on the gravel.

Serenity seeped through me…

Inna sholati wanusuki wamahyayawamamati lillahi rabbil’alamin..

And God is Great

What am I doing in this world?

Who am I kidding, really?


God help me

You could create all this

The huge dunes and the vast ocean

The unreachable skies and the wind so strong

Creation and Destruction

It’s all Yours

Ash-haduanlailaha illallah

If You could make all this

Then I know You could make me feel better

I know You could make us all mcuh happier one day

After this turmoil in our lives

Wa ash-hadu anna muhammadarrasulullah

I have faith in You

I have faith in what You Do

I know it is hard for me, for us now

But I know God You could, and would Help me

Allahumma sholli’ala sayyidina muhammad

If You could make all this

You could choose to make me sad

But I know You’ll make me happy too

Happier than I ever did before

Wa’ala ali saiyyidina muhammad

And no matter what it is

I’ll take it because it’s all from You

Through thick and thin

You help is what I’ll seek

Your strength is where I’ll lean on

Fil ‘alamina innaka hamidummajid…

It’s All About Balance

In Islamic teaching, siratul mustaqim is a bridge, size of a seventh of a strand of hair. In the akhirat (hereafter), you’ll need to cross it in order to get to the syurga (paradise). If you can’t balance on it you’d fall into hell.

One might wonder, how do you balance yourself on a seventh of a strand of hair?

When you think about it, life is all about balance. Harmony.

It’s difficult for a man to balance between his mother and his wife.

It’s difficult for a woman to divide between her family and her job.

It’s difficult for a son to balance between his parents and himself.

It’s difficult for a human

to balance between his dunia (life) and akhirat (hereafter)

to balance between his physical needs, mind, emotions and soul

So then

Would it be right if I say, when it comes to the bridge

Anyone who could balance it all in his life

May find it easy to balance on the siratul mustaqim?

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