Thursday, December 8, 2016

Let there be spaces | Let it be a moving sea


Thank God it's Thursday. It's the 8th of December already.

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah for all the blessings that have come our way to this very day of our lives.

It's been a long time since we last savored the words of wisdom of Kahlil Gibran. I found this one as re-created in the above poster. I thought it's a fitting reminder of the needs to be free even in togetherness. There should be spaces in our togetherness, says Kahlil. 

I think it takes strength to be detached and free. It takes strength to stand comfortably on our own and be confident about being independent, even in togetherness. Because that shows that you are not afraid to let go of love because you know it will always be there like the moving seas between two shores.

You know there's this popular song that goes like this:
I am going to love you, like I am going to lose you.

But why not love without being afraid of losing, because how can love be lost if its made of something eternal, with purity and sincerity of hearts.   

May you have a wonderful day and a pleasant weekend.

[The wall in my Bandung hotel room.
I kinda miss the place.]

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Hameediyah Restaurant - Penang's Jewel In the Crown


Gosh...some of our ardent readers expect me to post a lil something from Penang but it's 11 pm and I'm catching 40 winks as I sit and compile my photos of the one and only Hameediyah Restaurant in Penang. It's legendary the resto. It was established even before my parents came into this world. It has been around since 1907. They have been at Campbell Street in Penang for as long as I can remember. The food there is not quite the same as it used to be when I was a kid. Many people would agree with me. 

But just recently they have opened a new branch in Butterworth near my sister's place. And my oh my...they have made a great comeback indeed! I am a Penangite and like most Penangites, I have got Indian blood and we are so used to eating great food here on this lovely island. If people like me suggest you should go to the Hameediyah's new outlet at Butterworth then you gotta run there LOL.

Hameediyah is the oldest Nasi Kandar in Penang. Those other Nasi Kandars sold outside of Penang that are not Penang-related, they are just a wanna-be, they are pseudos LOL.

Good morning folks,
Okay so here are some photos of the newly opened Hameediyah Restaurant at Butterworth, Penang.

Established in 1907
Hameediyah is run by the Rawtheer clan

A big image of their legendary branch on Campbell Street
adorns the new outlet
They have got their own poultry farm I am told.
My favourite dishes include Chicken Onions, Dhall, Prawns, Grated Coconut Paste and Beef Kurma.

109 years of original recipe

The Rawtheer clan who contributed to Penang's remarkable culinary reputation.
The praiseworthy Hameediyah Restaurant is now into its 7th generation. 

So we learn from establishments like Hameediyah that having a relentless dedication, perseverance and passion can take you really far on the path of success. But it's not just about oneself or one's clan, it's about adding value and bringing happiness to other people's lives as well.

Penangites are really blessed that we have grown up and we grow old on good food and good vibes. Alhamdulillah we praise Al Hamid, for giving us a happy, spicy inspiring life : )

During my first trip to the new Hameediyah outlet, I met another Hameediyah fan, a pious friendly lady who taught me a duá, out of the blue.
God bless her heart, she is a widow who cares for her 90 year old mother and a younger brother who's a PWD (person with disability). She and her brother visit the new Hameediyah once a week. It's their entertainment, it's their escapade.

The other good reason for Malaysians/tourists from abroad to visit Penang is of course the newly officiated Design Village premium brands outlet which is located just before you get on the second Penang Bridge. Design Village is a lot bigger, better and cozier than the Johor Premium Outlets. Hoping the rest of the shops at Design Village will open a.s.a.p.
But wait no more folks, go north, visit Penang, it's a wondrous place for you and me 😁💜

Causes of joy


Good morning from Penang - Pearl of the Orient.
It's always a joy to write from my crib in Penang.

Was going through my old photo albums and found these precious photos of my first housewarming gathering circa 2001. Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah.

Our special guests were the girls from Penang's Orphanage Home on Scotland Road. I pledge to have another gathering with them soon InshaAllah.

Just looking at these photos make me happy and because this is my space, I will post anything I like. LOL. Thank God for the blogosphere so we could have our memories immortalized here and need not worry about losing any old photos.

They came in one bus. Looked pretty cramped to me.

I remembered them occupying every corner of the house.
And everyone prayed in my bedroom which doubled as a temporary musolla
and we had ice-creams afterwards. 
Such a sweet memory.
Cheerful countenance.
Innocent unassuming characters,
not conscious of their own beauty and that to me is real beauty.

Majority of them must be in their mid twenties or early 30s now. Let's pray these orphans are doing well in their respective careers and roles in society. Ameen.

Can't wait to show these photos to the new batch of girls, so that they know everything shall pass - periods of loneliness, feelings of hopelessness on account of being dependent or whatever it is that makes them worry about their future, will eventually get replaced with more positive and happier outcomes, bi iznillah. Indeed, with every hardship comes ease.

Pray Allah grants us a discerning and grateful heart so we could continue to spread some joy year in, year out. Ameen.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Whatever makes you happy | TGIF - Thank God It's [Great] Food


Hello from KL. How can I not greet you this weekend - you my loyal genuine readers from all over the world. May you remain healthy and happy always.

What makes you happy this weekend?
These make me happy:
  • A new mug that says: "Whatever makes you happy, just do that!"
  • A good Architecture/Interior Design magazine. [Because I have got two ongoing projects - building another small bungalow bi-iznillah and renovating the back patio of my existing home so that we could have kenduri/party for 40 people in total without having to rent a temporary canopy outside of the house. I am all for entertaining guests. I said guests, not gate crashers, LOL!]
  • And of course, sweet sweet cream puff makes me and anyone happy.

Whatever makes you happy

Although, I wished we have got Murtabak San Francisco in KL, like those in Bandung, Indonesia. It's strange how we all name our foods after a place that has got nothing to do with the food at all. For example, in Malaysia, we have got a noodle soup called Mee Bandung. No way you can find that in Bandung. 

Murtabak in Malaysia is eternally savory. Murtabak in Bandung can be utterly sweet like the pic below. But of course Bandung is a city of culinary adventure, so anything goes, I mean not just anything, only super delicious anything. Yes!

Murtabak San Francisco - but only in Bandung.
San Francisco (SF) used to be my playground, I can't recall seeing this there, then. 
Anyhow, I'm confident Clam Chowder still is the go-to comfort food in SF and not Murtabak San Francisco. LOL.

Oh yes, this posting is looking like another rambling. The bottom line is, we praise God for giving us great foods. Alhamdulillah.

Below are more photos of some of the great food I tried during my trip to Bandung. Hope it would inspire you to travel and taste God's generosities in all seven continents and God knows how many islands.

Malaysia is famous for Banana Fritters too.
But the Banana Fritters at Kampung Daun, Bandung (pic above)
was simply out of this world!
Cakes at Kartika Sari Bandung
can make you go berserk

And this is one unforgettable BBQ Oxtail dish
at Paris Van Java mall in Bandung

OK enough of food.
Wish you a happy weekend. It's the last weekend of November, soon we shall embrace the ever so exciting December. Let's exit the year with gratitude.

Alhamdulillah hi hamdan yuwafi 
ni amahu wa yukafi u mazidah

Gotta record one more sweet memories from Bandung.
Received a text about an Indonesian newspaper wanting to interview me, but ended up having CNN Indonesia doing it. Felt like a celebrity for 3 minutes LOL. 

Friday, November 25, 2016

Andainya Takdir | Kembalilah kepadaNya


I wish to apologize to the non-Malay readers. This has to be written in my mother tongue. The song is about a woman who shunned her other half and child when she was at the peak of her career/life. It's about her man accepting the sudden turn of event and willing to accept her again should she ever want to return to him. The melody is beautiful. It's a sad love song no doubt. Each time I hear the chorus, I can't help but imagine the Lord calling us back to Him should we fall. He is waiting for us to turn unto Him when dreams don't seem to come true. He is there waiting anytime we need Him.

Sememangnya ramai menyukai kelunakan suara dan lagu dendangan saudara Anuar Zain. Lontaran maksud lagu dari jiwanya sangat kuat, lagi merdu. Untuk lagunya yang terbaru ini, setiap kali saya mendengar ulangan bait-bait korus, entah kenapa saya merasa seolah Sang Pencipta yang "bersuara" memanggil kita kembali kepadaNya di saat impian kita lebur, di kala kita melalui peristiwa duka. Betapa Sang Pencipta seolah membiarkan kita bebas menjalani kehidupan mengikut rentak dan gaya seadanya, namun Dia tetap menunggu di pangkal jalan andai kita rebah dalam langkah yang seringkali salah, tidak terarah. 

Hayati kata-kata ini:

"Kembalilah kepadaKu
tika punah mimpi-mimpimu
di saat perlu
episod-episod duka
biar berlalu

Biarlah waktu ini
kau bebas berlari
jika tersasar hilang arahmu
pulang ke pangkal 
Ku menunggu"

Hidup ini begitulah. Ke kanan, ke kiri, setiap langkah biarlah diperbetulkan menuju ke pangkuan Tuhan. 

Tuhan itu Maha Penyayang lagi Maha Mengasihani dan Dia sentiasa menanti.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Year end walk through | Walk of gratitude


Found this inspiring piece of writing in my Inbox yesterday. It's about 8 strategies super-successful people are using now, to accomplish more next year. It's compiled and written by Michael Hyatt. Some of them may already be familiar to us, still I considered them refreshing and motivating. 

The eight strategies are listed below and I have summarized the key points for my own reference. May it be useful for you too. 

1. Reflect on the past year
We should block some time, the last week of December or just one day before year end, to review the year's calendar, go through our accomplishments or wins in the various areas of life e.g. work, family and decide what things we want to make happen next year so that we can live the most purposeful life we can in 2017.

2. Stay positive
We should leave the old year where it fell. Don't focus on the regrets or the negatives, build on our strengths instead. 

3. Express gratitude
Prepare a "gratitude flood" that is recall or write down every good thing or try identify 50 good things we can remember in 2016. Then ask ourselves what it is that we want to be most thankful for, one year from now. Perhaps, it's better health/weight/waist line or one new skill acquired? John Gordon takes a daily "walk of gratitude", while walking, practice gratitude and pray.

[I find having this blog useful so I could go through my postings beginning from January and see places I traveled to, photos I took, what made me tick, what bothered me etc. Similarly, going through our Instagram photos could help with this "gratitude flood" process.]     

4. Eliminate the excess
Try eliminate the bottom 30% of our activities, projects or commitments that did not give a good pay-off, those under performing tasks which we either hated or loved. By removing these from our calendar we will have freed up more time for activities which could bring in better yield. 

5. Set compelling goals
Set a clear vision for what we want to accomplish in 2017 and why we want to accomplish it. The why is crucial. Think about things that we can work on in 2017 that would make us smile. Then move on from the strategic to the tactical and organize our work accordingly so we can have that smile.

6. Break it down
Once we have decided on our goals for 2017, we should chunk them down to three or four manageable ones which we may want to achieve on quarterly basis. Lisa TerKeurst identified 3 goals namely: giving, family and personal development. She said: "This is a great year to become an expert on something. By pre-deciding what that something is, I can become a strategic student and an eventual expert." 

A great year is a result of a good month, a good week and a good day. "Best years come from best efforts performed daily." - Chris Brogan

[I want to be a fluent/better reciter of the Quran who understands the tajweed rules very well. And I want to learn the Arabic terminologies of 10 salawat which I have identified/memorized. To this end, I am grateful to have found a good Quran teacher who comes to my place twice a week. May Allah increase us in beneficial knowledge. Ameen]

7. Schedule the year
Map out the entire year by blocking out our calendar for the most important things we want to achieve in 2017. When we see the big picture in advance, we will be able to work with more purpose throughout the year.

8. Unplug for a time
Schedule your vacations/time-off to focus on God, family and fun and all other good things except work. A good time to do this is during the last week of the year so that we may embrace the new year feeling refreshed, revived and renewed.
Click on the link below to read the full article written by Michael Hyatt.   
Achieve What Matters Most in 2017


And folks, don't forget to wear a "gratitude face" : )
May the Light shine on us all, everyday of the year, this year, next year, and the next, next, next...

I post whatever photos of me I like.
My blog is my free country.
I am not apologetic about looking prettier in pics or in person or whatever.
No need to ask me what filter I used.
I wear a face of gratitude.
Shuh...skip this space, if it brings out the worse in you.
They say, kill your darlings, if you have to.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Greetings from Paris Van Java


Assalamualaikum warahmatullah
Just a quick greeting, hoping your Monday is ok. My Monday is A-ok cos I have been busy holidaying and seeking knowledge in beautiful Indonesia. Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah.

Of course, most of you know Bandung whose nickname is Paris Van Java is a city well known for its factory outlets, great food, volcanoes and cool weather. It's the capital of West Java province, Indonesia. Bandung is about 150 km southeast of Jakarta. It's been two decades since I last visited Indonesia! It was for a conference in Purwakarta, which is midway between Jakarta and Bandung. 

OK, I don't intend to bore you with another typical Bandung-trip story. Don't have plenty of spare time to write a lengthy posting. Just wanted to share some photos of mine taken at two special places in Bandung and in Cimahi (outskirt of Bandung).

Masjid Raya Bandung (below pic) is Bandung's central mosque. The mosque is indeed inviting and visitor-friendly not just for adults but also school children. Thanks to the huge compound in front of the mosque's entrance where kids could play joyfully and adults bask in Bandung's lovely climate. 

What you see is just one third of the field.
This mosque is arguably the one and only mosque in Asia that has got the biggest playground. 
I have had all kinds of pleasant moments in this chilly city, but one chance meeting (or rather a fated encounter) at Masjid Raya Bandung shall remain the best highlight of my trip. I think that's the beauty of brotherhood in Islam. It's wonderful to have an old pious-looking woman, not only greet you but unexpectedly hug you, kiss you and make a lengthy duá for you, voluntarily. She's old and looked a little frail, yet energetic enough to travel from Cimahi to Masjid Raya Bandung, to pray and attend a class, twice a week. She's a senior tholabul ilmi (seeker of knowledge). She exuded a brilliant aura, almost angelical in her speech and demeanor. MashaAllah tabarakallah. Pray we will meet again someday. Ameen. When that happens, let's call it a miracle because I doubt I got her address correctly, due to her heavy Indonesian accent. We shall see.

Another unique discovery was a minimalist yet extraordinary mosque near Cimahi: Masjid Al-Irshad Satya at Kota Baru Parahyangan. 

We are all used to seeing/visiting elaborate mosques in all corners of the world. But I must say Masjid Al-Irshad is in a different league as far as mosque architecture is concerned. Imagine the imam leading prayers facing a fish pond that overlooks to the farthest horizon beyond a specially crafted Allah-globe, reminding a worshiper of the aim of his/her worship. 

The unconventional open air mihrab at Masjid Al-Irshad Satya,
Kota Baru Parahyangan, Indonesia.
I vote Masjid Al-Irshad as the most Zen-like mosque
in the whole wide world!
The perimeter walls of the simple square mosque are specially constructed depicting the kalimah La ilaha illallah. And the ceiling lights that you see in below photo are actually 99 Names of Allah. Each light has got a carving of each of the 99 Asmaul Husna. I wish I had taken a better shot of the lights. Anyhow, it's evident that this mosque is one of a kind.

Notice how the building is "wrapped" with La ila ha illAllah.
99 Asmaul Husna ceiling lights adorn Masjid Al-Irshad, Indonesia.
Notice that glorious flood of natural lights
coming through the "open-air mihrab".
It takes a graceful soul to design such an elegant mosque.
Kudos to the architect and all the craftsmen involved in its construction. 
OK folks until the next posting, wish you all a stress-free and productive Monday. I cherish spending Monday far...far... away from my office. LOL.

Alhamdulillahi hamdan yuwafi ni'amahu 
wa yukafi u mazidah.

Next stops: Surabaya and Jakarta InshaAllah