Monday, December 31, 2007

Fun at Taman Aman

What a fine day it is today. We thought we’d take the kids to the park, namely Taman Aman. It’s a really nice place to just hang out. We brought Daddy’s sisters: Aunty Yaya, Aunty Aryssa, Aunty Julia and Aunty Myra. We had lots of fun just playing at the many playgrounds there.

These are our fond memories our Kampung Tunku neighborhood in PJ. Daddy used to spend a lot of time here, jogging on the weekends, and taking bike rides. The Paramount LRT station is really close by, and Daddy used to wait here for Mommy with the kids.

It’s the last day of the year. Tonight, we celebrate New Year at Atuk Kas and Aunty Badariah’s house, also in Kampung Tunku. Everybody is so close by.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Reception at Bora Asmara

Just yesterday, we attended Uncle Lyle's wedding reception at the Palace of Golden Horses, hosted by the bride. Tonight, we attend Uncle Lyle's wedding reception hosted by our family. And this modest but quaint affair is held at Bora Asmara, located at Kampung Sungai Penchala.

Bora Asmara is a really nice place. I'd recommend it to anyone, but it's a little secluded, and kind of in the middle of nowhere. I thought I was lost getting here. I found two blogs you can read up on Bora Asmara, one written on Johnny Ong's Blogspot, and another on Just Nadia's Wordpress. Bora Asmara also appeared on Malaysia's The Star. Just Google for Bora Asmara, you'll find it.

Bora Asmara is mainly set outdoors, so thank God it didn't rain tonight. It was a perfect night to be outside, cool and pleasant. Daddy was a bit busy helping out with the hosting activities, greeting guests and doing my part to make sure everything runs smoothly. But I managed to spend some time with old friends and collegues I hadn't met since leaving for Vancouver. It was a nice reunion of sorts.

The food was really good, with a wide selection from various fairs, local and otherwise. Maybe I'm biased, having not tasted Malaysian food in a while. I enjoyed it. We also had live music, and I've always been a fan of that. Towards the end of the night, after some of the guests started leaving, and the atmosphere started to relax a little, the party began to really rock. We opened up the dance floor, and people were really started getting into the music. It was interesting to see some of our close and extended relatives dancing the night away. I enjoyed watching Melur and Arman dancing, though I'm not much of a dancer myself.

And this was my second night in Malaysia, with 2 consecutive wedding receptions for my brother “Uncle Lyle” (as my kids would call him). All the best to him and his new wife.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Palace of the Golden Horses

Tonight, we celebrate Uncle Lyle's wedding to Auntie Fazlin at their wedding reception held at the Palace of the Golden Horses. Daddy just arrived into Kuala Lumpur this morning from Vancouver, but spent most of the 21-hour flight sleeping, in preparation for a long first day with family. Daddy hasn't seen Melur, Arman or Mommy for over a month. And Daddy is looking forward to a nice dinner with family.

If you've never been to the Palace of the Golden Horses, you should check it out. It's quite immense with an attached golf course and many restaurants serving a variety of cuisine. Mommy and I came here a few years back, lured by timeshare direct sellers. We came out of that with a free buffet dinner (which was scrumptuous), but no time share – their loss.

The reception hall was grand. I took some pictures of the decor. Malay weddings in Malaysia, or even weddings in Malaysia in general, are always quite grand.

The food came a little late, which is not too surprising. Schedules tend to slip at any event. And the kids grew a little restless. Melur got a little cranky even, probably because it was past her bedtime. But they were both quite entertained with the festivities.

After the dinner, we said our goodbyes. Everyone formed a line to 'salam' (shake hands) the bride and groom on their way out. We took some pictures of the extended family.

And that was how I spent my first night back with the family in Malaysia. We spent the night at the hotel, compliments of the bride and groom. It was nice to skip the long ride back to PJ, and just relax in a cozy hotel suite just upstairs. And we have a nice buffet breakfast waiting for us tomorrow morning.

Congratulations Uncle Lyle and Auntie Fazlin
on your Joyous Union

From Melur, Arman, Roy and Kak Ayu

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Sleeping with Tudung

Melur spent the whole day playing with Arman. From the time she woke up early in the morning - almost non-stop. She plays with her toys, Arman's toys, Mommy's stuff, Mak Long's stuff, and of course Nenek Mus' stuff... Look here, Melur wearing Nenek's tudung. She sees Nenek wearing tudung and she wants to follow... Melur is tired now... from all that playing and putting on the tudung. She is taking a nap in the afternoon... something she has not done since she was 2 years old!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merhaban / Khatam Quran

Mommy and the kids attended another family event this afternoon, "Khatam" Quran for a few of Mommy's teenage cousins. The event was held at Cik Jie's brand-new house in Ampang. It is definitely a very nice house – a three-story linked house right at the corner. It’s very spacious - large kitchen, bedrooms, and family room, with security and a playground right next to the house itself. The neighborhood is very quiet...I guess Mommy has been watching too much of the Home & Garden TV (HGTV) channel. Mommy's favorite shows on HGTV are "Buy Me" and "Flip This House." Maybe one day Mommy and Papa will be able to afford a nice house like that.

Melur and Arman had fun with Aiman (Cik Jie's youngest), who was born the same year as Melur. Aiman used to play with Melur before we left for Vancouver.

For the "Khatam" Quran, the cousins took turns reading different verses from the Quran. Then there was the local "Merhaban" group. Lots of food as usual - "nasi dagang", "laksa penang" and several "kuih"... Mommy remembers the food so well. Overall, the event was quite nice... the kids sure had fun practicing their Malay.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Big Splash at Uncle Lyle’s Wedding

We all went to Kuala Pilah, Negeri Sembilan this afternoon to attend Uncle Lyle and Auntie Lin's wedding. Melur and Arman went ahead with Nenek Rahmah and Atuk yesterday, while Mommy, Nenek Mus (a.k.a. Nenek Mersing) and Mak Long went on the bersanding day itself. The couple looks good together, and we hope that it is not too late to say, "Welcome to the Family!" to Auntie Lin.

The food was good too. They served traditional Malay wedding food consisting of Rendang, Acar (pickled vegetables?), Dalca (curried vegetables cooked with lentils), Ayam Masak Merah (chicken in red sauce?), and Nasi Minyak (oily rice?). See, lots of question marks for the translation since Mommy is not so good at it. Mommy's favorite was the Rendang, which was cooked the traditional Negeri Sembilan way... lots of coconut milk and a bit spicy. Wishing that Papa were here to enjoy it as well. He loves Rendang.

The most interesting and unforgettable incident happened to Arman during the wedding. Mommy was looking at him at one point, and he was leaning close to the fishpond they have there. Mommy turned around a little bit... and then... there was a big splashing sound... the DJ made an announcement "ada budak jatuh dalam kolam"... which translated to... a kid fell into the pond... Mommy had a good idea who the kid was... and when Mommy turned around, lo and behold, Arman was climbing out of the fishpond. Mommy came over and he started crying. There was a bit of a Hu-Ha, and somebody from Auntie Lin's family was nice enough to lend Arman some dry clothes... He was happy and smiling again after changing into something clean... Arman, Arman... the world would definitely be a dull place without you... *sigh*

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Family Day Main Event

The third annual Ghaffur Family Day has finally arrived. Coincidentally, today is also Aidil Adha… definitely a non-traditional way to celebrate Hari Raya Haji.

We started the morning with a big buffet breakfast. The typical buffet spread in Malaysian hotels includes traditional Malaysian favorites such as nasi lemak, mee goreng and bubur nasi, along with Western items such as omelets, toasts and pancakes. This hotel is no different… a lot of yummy food to choose from. As always, Melur is a bit picky with her food, but Arman just gorges up everything. Mommy thinks it is OK to let the kids indulge a bit because you never know when we will be able to enjoy Malaysia again after this…*sigh*

Our first event for the day is the treasure hunt. We went around Malacca town in groups solving clues. Mommy, Melur, Arman and Pak Usu are all in the same group. The kids tag along happily without much fuss. Mommy thinks they are just very excited to be walking around sightseeing.

After the treasure hunt, the next event is high tea, which is actually the highlight of the Family Day. First, Tok Bak gave his speech. His main points are: (1) Thanks to the organizers, (2) We need doctors in the family so hopefully one of the grandchildren will take up medicine, and (3) Please expand the number of family members via marriage alliances (Along, Dada, Jaja, Fizah, etc). The speech is followed by more food (Arman was already asking the waiters to bring him food during the speech), exchange of gifts, and last but not least, the competition for Best-Dressed. The winner is the person who best represents this year's theme, which is BLACK & WHITE. Cik Akmar won the female category, and ARMAN actually won the male category. Mommy doesn’t think Arman can lose since he looks simply adorable in his 3-piece suite and tie.

At the end of the day, the kids ended up on stage dancing. It was a whole day with loads of fun. The fourth annual Ghaffur Family Day is to be held in Morib, Selangor. Mommy and the kids won't be around next year, but we are glad to be able to attend this year's event.

Have fun guys!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Sleepy Tired

So we finally arrived to the hotel in Malacca. We were quite late… started out late (Mommy thinks after 6pm) with lots of pit stops here and there along the way.

Everybody has a group and we have a series of fun games to collect points for the group. The first event, which was "family trivia", was almost over. Mommy was a bit tired and was too busy saying hi to all the aunties and uncles to take pictures during the game. The kids stayed around until the game ended but they were so tired afterwards. They went straight to sleep in their nice and cozy bed.

Awwww… just look at them sleeping… cherubic, Mommy thinks.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Third Annual Ghaffur Family Day

One of the things that Mommy and the kids get to do in Malaysia is to attend the "Third Annual Ghaffur Family Day." We all missed the second gathering last year. This year the organizer decided to have it in the Historical State of Malacca. We heard that last year was a lot of fun, and we are excited to be able to attend this one.

The customary tradition is to exchange gifts. Everybody is supposed to buy a gift under $20, and then there'll be a raffle at the end of the Family Day. You won't get your own gift of course since the idea is to exchange gifts with your uncles, aunties, and cousins. So Mommy, Melur and Arman, we each got a gift - Mommy just chose books for all since they were easy to wrap. Mommy and Uteh spent the night wrapping the gifts for the Family Day tomorrow, while Melur and Arman spent the night watching TV, "helping" Mommy and Uteh, and re-decorating Mak Long's apartment (see the upside down pictures of Mak Long and Nenek in the background).

So tomorrow we will be leaving for Malacca… can't wait to see everybody… I am sure the organizer has something great planned for all of us.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Something for Papa

Well, it has been almost a month since Mommy and the kids went back to Malaysia. We have been missing Papa a lot. Melur and Arman write letters to Papa almost everyday. They write things like "We miss you Papa, when are you coming home, we love you..." Tonight, the kids made drawings instead of letters. Melur wrote her name and decorated it with flowers. Very feminine and quite nice really. Arman... well, he wrote stuff...:) They asked Mommy to take pictures of their artwork so that they can show Papa later on. And we also have Uteh... who is just we took pictures of her as well.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Happy Birthday Arman

Today is a special day for our little man, Arman Farabi Azroy Ariff (or Azroy-Ariff as it is spelled in Canada). December 8, yup... Arman's fourth birthday. He has grown so much in these past four years. Mommy and Papa can still remember him as the extra chubby baby, always smiling and making others smile.

Mommy, Melur, and Arman are in Malaysia right now. Since Papa is not around, we decided to have only a small celebration for Arman. Nenek, Mak Long, Uteh and Pak Usu are here to celebrate with us... having them around made it a bit more bearable without Papa at our sides. In the morning we went to Toys R Us at 1-Utama to buy the gifts. Mommy, Nenek and Mak Long each bought a gift for Arman. We let him chose and surprise, surprise... he chose a remote control car, a big truck, and a set of small cars... Hmmm... See a theme here?!!!!

While waiting for the gifts to be wrapped, Arman cannot stop asking why this, and why that. The "wrapper boys" were very impressed with Arman's English. They think he is a genius (Mommy thinks so too). But little did they know that Arman hardly speaks Malay at all... got to work on that.

Afterwards we went to Secret Recipe. Birthday boy gets to choose the cake. But Mommy thinks that Kakak Melur exerted her influence quite well. We ended up with chocolate cake... yummy! It’s a good thing that the whole family loves chocolate.

Around dinnertime, we celebrated Arman's birthday with chocolate cake and soto (courtesy of Nenek and Uteh). We sang "Happy Birthday" around Arman. Mommy is wondering what Arman wished for as he blew the candles... More cars maybe?

Arman talking to Andak on the phone before starting the party

Singing the Birthday Song, and Blowing the Candles

For more videos of Arman's 2007 Birthday Party, check out YOU TUBE.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

All Alone

It’s Sunday, and Daddy’s at home all by himself. It’s been snowing since yesterday, and finally for the first time this season, there’s some accumulation. And the kids aren’t around to enjoy it. Where would you rather be - In warm sunny Malaysia; Or cold snowy Vancouver? I think I’d go for the former…

A lot of people ventured outside on this first day of snow this winter. I stayed indoors. It’s not as much fun without the kids. I took some picture of our lonesome abode. We got a new bedspread for the sofa bed, in anticipation for Nenek who’ll be joining us in Vancouver in January.

The kids’ room is clean and cozy. Do you guys miss your room in Vancouver? This is what it looks like with the snow outside. It’s very bright outside when there’s snow.

Anyway, that’s all for now from Daddy in Vancouver. I hope Mommy can contribute some stories from her adventures in Malaysia with Arman and Melur.

How are you guys doing? Miss me?