Saturday, February 5, 2011

Love, Life and death

Five days ago, I was saddened by the news of the sudden demise of the wife of a friend.

He was a client of mine when I was working in a bank during the last millenium. Through the years we developed quite a rapport and got to know bits and pieces about each other's personal lives. However the `relationship' (if you may call it that) went into hiatus when I left my employment.

I was delighted to receive an invitation from both him and the wife a couple of years back. Being stranded in an unexpected traffic jam, I was about a half hour late for the appointment and the tea which was prepared for me had gone cold together with the kuih. But the reception I got from the couple was much much warmer than the tea. What surprised me though was the fact that it was not the wife I knew from before. For you late bloomers, in simple words, he had taken a new wife!

Later I got to know that he had married her when her husband passed away, leaving her with 4 young kids.Unable to accept being `honeyed', the first wife with whom he has 3 children , filed and obtained a divorce. During the time we did not keep in touch, he and the new wife had 3 children together.

Now, that makes it 10 children between them, some of whom are his, the rest are hers and theirs. There was a family potrait of them with their ten children, which drew a remark from me, ~Mesti meriah kat rumah ni!' Their joint reply was, `Ya , kalau depa semua ada memang meriah'. As it was, only the younger 4 children were with them as all the rest were either in Jordan, Syria or Egypt studying. Imagine having six children studying the Quran, Usuluddin and Syariah! I said a silent prayer for all of them.

News of her sudden death of a stroke at the age of 41 left me sad. Knowing full well that we belong to God the sadness was not due to her untimely passing but for the 4 children she had with her previous husband.

As I look at my nieces and nephews who came to stay during the CNY break, I can only imagine the helplessness the children may feel.

For his children, they may have lost their mother during the divorce, but she is still around to share their ups and downs. For their children, they still have their father although they have lost their mother. But for her children, they have lost their father early on, experienced their mother re-marrying another, and now losing her and leaving them to stay with their step father.

I pray to GOD that my friend will be blessed with the courage to bring up the children with hikmah and that GOD will pave a way for him to carry such a big burden.

I am reminded of God's words, that we are tried only to the extent of our ability to handle the problems and pray that God will help him along the way.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Garden scenes

The garden needs some tidying up

Periwinkles growing wild

In Nature red and green go so well together

Balung ayam-love the colour

Beautiful butterfly shaped

Silver and mauve

Beautiful yellow cattleya, almost 9 inches across in full bloom

MOK-MOK & TAMTIH-yet untamed

Jejari hantu

From Bandung to Surabaya and Lawang/ Malang part 1

I agreed to accompany him. Though he has been there many times, this trip was different cos he wasn't feeling well.

A few days before the trip, his Cardiologist had seen fit to order a multilayer CT scan of his heart. The result was known upon our return...a 90% block in one the vessel. Subhanallah...had I known...

Whatever, we made the trip and Alhamdulillah we returned safely.

We arrived at Husein Sastranegara greeted by a light drizzle that morning. My second time there, but the first was just a hazy memory from all the shopping done. A cup of cappucino (what else? I had to have my morning fix lest I stop functioning) and a long glass of jus tomat (tomato juice) for him set us back only IDR40,000 (RM14)

(Bandara is short for Bandar Udara or airport-the Indonesians are fond of joining words and abbreviating them)

Plants in the vicinity of the airport

Cappucino for her and a long glass of tomato juice for him

I promised myself, this time I will take a closer look at the people. And I did! They love their whistle! Whistles being blown right, left and centre by security guards (locally known as satpam) directing traffic at the airport vicinity. The drizzle which greeted us was to be seen throughout the 8 days and over 900 km journey between the West Java and East Java. The `funny weather' was directly linked to the active volcanic movement they have been experiencing.

In Bandung we stayed at Arion Swiss-Bel...nice place and very close to the train station and Pasar Baru Trade centre. Buy your hotel discount vouchers at agents located at the airport. We managed to get a hefty discount off the rack rates. After a little shopping, we walked through the streets and enjoyed the cool night air and popped in and out of a few factory outlets. The foreign exchange was in our favor, but shopping was not our main intention, rather we were scouting for different experience from run of the mill tourist.

(Waiting to be checked in)

(Fancy a room for 1.2Million albeit rupiah, anyone?)

So we found out...a full set of dentures was available at a Tukang Gigi for IDR100,000 ie equivalent to about RM30-00, a 2 month old super red Arowana for IDR3juta (equivalent to RM1,000), a full meal for two at a decent restaurant consisting of Onchom (a kind of bean) pepes, ulam, sambal, ayam bakar, and heavenly apokat (local lingo for avocado) drinks with chocolate swirls in it for only IDR 52,000 (RM14) (My SIL's bibik made us promised to try the onchom pepes....enak buk, katanya... and it was) He bought me an Indonesian prepaid SIM card for IDR25,000 and i used it to make daily calls to my anakanda in Penang throughout our stay (Murah! A two min call would only cost about 2,000 rupiah!) Short sleeved cotton batik shirts costs IDR30,000 (RM10). Many food outlets sell Bebek and this is not to be mistaken for Kambing (which makes similar sound) cos it is duck meat. We bought a pot of boiled kacang pol (Fava beans XL in size) for IDR15,000

(First night dinner and shopping spoils)

The hotel room comes with 2 buffet breakfast. We were up at 4am plus cos that is about time for Subuh. By 7am, the day is already bright but it is still very early to an average Indonesian. Since Bandung is the 3rd largest city, traffic snarls or macets (pronounced machet as in chettiar) are the order of the day. Infact macet is omnipresent everywhere we went without exception. By 7am Malaysian time, our stomaches growling, we were only the second at the breakfast room. A hefty meal with fruit juices starters, fresh fruits, cereals, toast with butter and jam, half boiled eggs, Soto, cold cuts, rice with vege and black peppered beef stew and free flow of coffee/ tea. A leisurely breakfast fit for a king.

(Breakfast on the terrace)

(Later, the macet of Bandung, Angkotan Kota prevails!)

After breakfast we took a beca (trishaw) ride to the nearby train station (just for the experience cos it has been so long since we were ferried in one), made our travel arrangements for the evening and then took an Angkutan Kota (similar to our bas mini) ride to Pasar Baru. At the entrance, he received a call from a friend he was supposed to meet, who was waiting at the hotel and had to leave me there on my own. Although in the beginning I was apprehensive, the minute I laid my eyes on the beautiful cotton textile on the 5th floor of Pasar Baru, I was happy to be left to my own devices. Thanks to Johnny and Molly (formerly from JB, now married to Johnny and thus an Indonesian) I indulged in cotton from Japan, Australia, Egypt and was lost.

The many cotton material I bought would be enough to set up a small textile retail here so I opt to not share the pic here cos it would take up the whole page, hehehe....