Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Long Overdue Diet Plan

As usual, it was 'living in denial' for me. I know I am 15kg overweight and I should have taken measures to overcome the problem years ago. Except that I gave excuses like I'm a mom of three, what do I expect? Or I am too busy now, I'll do it when my current project is done. Etc etc.

Today reality hit home. My dietician cousin E casually asked whether I was overweight...err...yup, I am. Then we talked about health risks that run in the family, and how we should try to avoid them at all cost. And the dear girl offered to plan my diet based on my BMI. For which I am grateful.

I received my diet plan and am quite excited to start on it! (I hope this time it is not one of those typical lukewarm attempts like I did every time after giving birth). E said that reducing 1-1.5kg per month is achievable...and so we target a loss of 7kg by October this year. (Would be good to have a makeover by my 36th birthday).

I'm going to really give this a go. No lame excuses. No excuses allowed. Here we go, mom. Stick to the diet plan. On your mark, get set, go...

Monday, March 30, 2009

birthday and earth hour

My eldest girl, Sandra, turned 11 on 28th March. She had a pool party with her friends at Bayswater Waves. The girls had a wonderful time with their party leaders. The food came late but the fantastic activities with the party leader more then made up for that.

At night, we tried to observe Earth Hour. We lit up 3 candles and sat, pretending that we were back to olden days. But then the girls decided to compromise and watched the TV. They felt that they had half-observed Earth Hour, and that it was a good attempt :-)

Well, I had to worry about decorating the cake I baked earlier for another birthday picnic with family friends the next day. I had a mixed feeling about that- excited, because I was actually going to decorate a cake, and worried because I didn't get to buy the necessary tools like spin-table and hooked spatula as I saw on youtubes. Nonetheless, I did it anyway. And this is how my novice cake looked like. It was far from professional but at least it was edible. Who knows my second attempt might be much better :-) (Thanks to people whose cake blogs inspired me, and gave me courage to do it).

Friday, March 27, 2009

Religions, to my way of thinking...

I've been reading religious blogs today. Some have peaceful, harmonius tones, while some have this high and mighty "I am the truth" tone. For some reason I always feel insulted when people say "my religion is the truth" by giving all the arguments about how false other religions are. Even people from my own religion! I can't take such attitude. Anyway, it's their right. And I console myself that it's my right to think this:

Once upon a time, during the stage of evolution, people were really really bad (at some part of the earth) that God decided he had had enough and sent Moses to correct their ways. And thereof came Judaism. Some people became good, and yet some were still bad. So he sent Jesus to correct them. It took Jesus' dying on the cross to convince some people of God's love for them. And so Christianity started. And yet some people still refused to change their old, bad ways. So God sent Muhamad, the great prophet to teach them. And so the three religions remain. People who are comfortable with Judaism practice it to this day. People who are comfortable with Christianity practice their beliefs, and those who are comfortable with Islam, become its followers. Thus, God must see that different people have different needs, that He let them practice their religions and accepts them all with love and grace, for if He should want only one religion to exist, I believe He could easily make it so.

And so I think, in some parts of the world, people who can become good without the God from the Book, found their own means to reach God. Thus, there are Hinduism, Buddhism etc. One universal God, but different conception and means to reach Him.

And yet people are still searching in today's world...will God send another great person to teach them? Or should the believers lead them to the God they know? Would it be to the extent of spilling blood in the name of God?

It's all a matter of beliefs. I very much believe that God doesn't want people to spill blood because of religion, for that contradicts God's loving nature. To me personally, I am comfortable believing in God the way I do. A simple me...thanking God for my existence...

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Jim died (Ghost Whisperer Episode 15)

It's weird how Jim's dying affected me..the show is not even real, but it managed to affect me so much I couldn't stop thinking about it. Melanie and Jim were perfect together. You'd think that such thing should last...alas, how wrong could one be. Jim the ghost couldn't accept that he died. And that makes me even sadder...I'd be like him if I died unexpectedly, I think. I'd miss my family so much, especially my kids who are still young and can't look after themselves.

Oh well...I guess one message is being conveyed, loud and clear. Detach yourself from worldly thing. When your time comes, you go alone. Aww, sad...but that's the reality of dying.

Moral of the story- make the best of my time here in this life. Say 'I love you' often (although having been raised the way I did, it's not very normal to do that). I guess writing it in a blog is much easier - I love you, and I mean it (to my hubby, my kids, my family members, and my friends)...

monsters to face

I've been putting off dealing with the monsters of my work. Things that I need to think of carefully and make decision on. I tend to skip and hide from the reality. I shifted to easier ones that give me a false sense of achievement. But I know I actually don't achieve anything by doing that. Today I saw these words, "Reality is never as awful as you fear it will be, especially when you are thinking positively". Thanks to whoever wrote it...I am now more courageous to face my monsters. Time to face the monsters....

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A moving blog by a man with spine...

I like reading RPK's blog. It's not only his way with words, but also the sincerityof his tone that impress me so much. This particular piece moved me to tears...well, one has to read this to know what I mean:

"I am now persona non grata and living in exile

Posted by admin
Sunday, 22 March 2009 13:51
As a loyal subject of the Sultan of Selangor, I bow my head and sembah in an act of loyalty. And as I have refused to abide to the wishes of the Selangor Palace for me to apologise and retract what I wrote, I am prepared to exile myself from Selangor and never set foot in Selangor again.

NO HOLDS BARRED - Raja Petra Kamarudin
Dear Peter,Assalamualaikum,It would appear that you have misinterpreted my letter of 14th March 2009 to you.In all fairness to your readers, I urge you to post the full text of the letter in your Blog.Thank you and Wassalam,Yours,Aunty Fuziah
Dear Peter,I am sending you this letter as you have not responded to my telephone calls nor to my telephone message inviting you to the house on Saturday afternoon to talk over family matters, particularly in connection with the open letter to Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin, which you posted in your Blog on 2nd March 2009.As you already know, I admire your ability to write and express your thoughts, ideas and comments about events in your Blog, especially your mastery of the English language. I have also often reminded you that truth should always prevail in communicating these things to the public. It is also not for you to decide ‘what is clearly lawful’.Had Tok Uda been alive, he would have considered the content and manner of what you wrote in the open letter to Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin, as a betrayal of the code of conduct and values which he had subscribed to, cherished and passed on to us. And for this to have come from his favourite grandson would certainly have made him collapse in a state of shock.While Tok Uda, as a true Royalist had demanded loyalty and the upholding of family honour, tradition and adat, he had, on many occasions, also emphasised that we are entitled to our own personal views, accepted our sense and spirit of adventure, freedom of thought and action as you may well have known from the family history. But “RESPECT FOR THE LAWS OF THE COUNTRY” or “UPHOLDING LAW AND ORDER“ was his cardinal principle, to be dearly valued and respected by the family at all times.I believe that in the case of the open letter, you have crossed the line. Such writings would appear to be seditious. Therefore, for the sake of Tok Uda, and, in upholding the family honour, I feel that the only discourse open is to diffuse/redeem this and for you to apologise through your Blog to the rulers and the public.We all love you Peter in our own small ways, but I have this task to keep the family together, so help me Peter. And so help me too, Ya-Allah.With my personal good wishes and love to you and Marina and the family,I remain,Yours,Aunty Fuziah
My Aunty, Raja Fuziah Tun Uda, was referring to my Open letter to Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin (http://mt.m2day.org/2008/content/view/18734/84/). In that piece of 2nd March 2009, I wrote as follows:Dear Datuk Seri,I am going to make this short and sweet. No more cheong hei article from me.They can lock the Perak State Assembly building if they want. The building is not important. If the building is inaccessible -- say like there is a flood or an earthquake brings it down -- does this mean the State Assembly can’t meet?Of course it can. It can meet anywhere, not necessarily in that particular meeting.Go find another meeting place, tonight, now itself, and hold the meeting there tomorrow. Pass a vote of confidence to support you as the Menteri Besar. Then pass all the other motions, including the motion to dissolve the Perak State Assembly. Then drive up to Bukit Chandan as soon as possible and inform Tuanku of the State Assembly’s decision.If Tuanku refuses to comply with what is clearly lawful, then challenge him and, if necessary, trigger a Constitutional Crisis like never before seen in the 52-year history of this nation.The people are ready. The next ‘revolution’ is not going to be a race riot a la May 13. It is going to be a class struggle. And I am with the Rakyat on this, never mind my so-called Royal background.I speak as a Royal but speak for the Rakyat. And rest assured there are many other Royals who share my view. Don’t allow a handful of those who sit on the throne intimidate you into thinking that you are alone, representing the Rakyat, against the Monarchy. No, we are with you, as are many other Royals.Grab the bull by the horns and bring it to its knees. And if this bull wears a crown so be it. The Rakyat have spoken. Don’t back down now. Go all the way or forever lose that advantage. And if you fail to go all the way, the Rakyat will never forgive you and you will lose our support till the end of time.Daulat Tuanku. Daulat Tuanku. Daulat Tuanku.Patek yang hina sembah Tuanku dan memohon perkenan agar Tuanku jangan kecewakan Rakyat. Hasrat Rakyat ialah untuk mencari kebenaran dan keadilan. Biarlah ini juga menjadi hasrat Tuanku.Daulat Tuanku. Daulat Tuanku. Daulat Tuanku.On 14th March, my Aunty sent me the e-mail above and my response to that can be read in the following piece called Raja adil raja disembah, raja zalim raja disanggah (http://mt.m2day.org/2008/content/view/19258/84/), which I wrote on 16th March.At my Aunty’s request, I have published both e-mails. My stand, however, remains the same. I see no need to apologise to His Highness the Sultan of Perak, as I do not feel I have acted in a treasonous or seditious manner. I have already explained why I feel that way in my article of 16th March, so there is no necessity for me to repeat what I have already said.I have been told by palace sources that the government wants to arrest me and charge me for treason. My lawyers have advised me that no such law exists. Nevertheless, they can charge me for ‘waging war against the King’, like how they charged the Al Maunah group -- who were subsequently found guilty and soon after that hanged in the Sungai Buloh Prison in October 2006.My reluctance to apologise for what I wrote would certainly be interpreted as an act of defiance on my part. The government will also take the view that my two Internal Security Act detentions in 2001 and 2008 have not ‘done the trick’ and have instead made me more ‘difficult’. This would mean Internal Security Act detention is ‘wasted’ on me. The only way to silence me would be to charge me for ‘treason’ and then send me to the gallows to end my life. I have no reason to believe they would not secure a conviction. My three ongoing trials and the way they keep ‘moving the goalposts’ every time they appear to be losing their case against me only strengthens this belief. I have written about this many times so I do not need, again, to go through the points of not only my concerns but that of my lawyers as well.I do not believe that apologising, as my Aunty has asked me to, will change anything. The government will not spare me just because I have apologised. The only way I can be spared would be for me to renounce the opposition and announce that I am joining Umno. I would be expected to explain that I had erred in supporting the opposition and did not see, at the time, that the opposition is wrong and has been misleading Malaysians. Maybe, and I repeat, maybe only then will the government spare me.But I will not do that. I can’t do that. I have come so far, 30 years to be exact -- the last ten years through the Reformasi Movement -- to now change my stand. Why would I take the trouble of spending more than half my life opposing the government and then, towards the end of my life, do a U-turn, especially if the purpose in doing so is to settle the many legal problems I am now facing?I never intended to bring shame to my family, in particular to smear the name of my late Grandfather, Raja Sir Tun Uda. If my family feels embarrassed about my actions I apologise for that. But I offer no excuses for what I did. While I apologise for bringing shame to my family, I do not apologise for what I have done and will stand firm in defence of my actions.I understand my family would now have to disown me. I can never be regarded as the grandson of Raja Sir Tun Uda -- or a grandson of Tengku Badariah binti al-Marhum Sultan Ala'uddin Suleiman Shah of the great-grandson of His Royal Highness Sultan Ala'uddin Suleiman Shah ibni Raja Muda Musa. As much as I am proud of my heritage, my love for my family is more important. And if I have to save my family by becoming an outcast then this is what I must do for the sake of my family.Yes, I am the grandson of Raja Sir Tun Uda as well as the great-grandson of Sultan Ala'uddin Suleiman Shah. But I am a rakyat’s man. Just because of my royal lineage I can’t take the side of the palace when the rakyat has been wronged. Justice demands I stand on the side of truth. My personal affiliations and family loyalty can’t stand in the way of truth and justice.I understand I am a Raja first and all others second. And, as a Raja, I am expected to take the stand as a Royalist and defend the palace whenever it is under attack. But that is just it. I did do that in the 1980s when Umno attacked the Rulers. Anwar Ibrahim, then, was in Umno and I turned my back on Anwar when he sided with Umno against the Rulers. I ‘disowned’ Anwar in spite of my earlier support for him when he did not defend the Rulers from Umno.But I defended the Rulers and turned my back on Anwar not because I am a Raja and therefore must take the stand as a Royalist. I did so because the Rulers were being unfairly attacked and Umno, through the mainstream media, was spinning lies about the so-called misconduct of the Rulers. No doubt, some of the Rulers had misbehaved. But this does not warrant attacking all the Rulers, in particular those who were innocent and had done no wrong.I paid a heavy price for that. I was then living and doing business in Terengganu. Umno Terengganu, at the behest of the Menteri Besar, went out of its way to bring me down. Eventually, my business was brought to ruin. Umno approached my foreign partners and told them that as long as they had Raja Petra as their partner their business prospects in Malaysia would be very bleak. After awhile, when they realised they were being blacklisted just because they had me as their partner, they ended our partnership and took new partners ‘recommended’ by Umno.By 1994, I could hardly do any business anywhere in Malaysia. My name was untouchable. The very mention of my name meant you were doomed. The only option I had left was to close down all my businesses and retire, at the age of 44, into my new life as a writer. Umno ‘advised’ me to leave Terengganu, which I did, for my safety and that of my family.I started writing for the cycling and motorcycling columns of The Star in the early 1990s. In 1994, when I had left Terengganu, I started my own website and wrote about political, social and economic issues. My time was spent staying at home churning out an article a day on various issues. My wife baked cookies, curry-puff and whatnot, which I went around on my motorcycle to sell.At one stage we were so tight for cash we could no longer even buy new clothes. My wife had to be contented with hand-me-downs from my daughter and, for me, hand-me-downs from my son-in-law. To put food on the table (we ate once a day; dinner only) my wife sold rice in front of the mosque in Sungai Buloh.One Friday, my wife could not sell even one plate of rice. She sat there for hours waiting for customers but no one bought any. I told me wife I needed to go home for a short while to write an article and left her in front of the mosque all alone. I lied. I just could not stand seeing her sit there with an anxious look on her face, wondering if she was going to sell anything that day. I went home and had a good cry. I cried like a baby, wondering if I had done the right thing in opposing the government and subject my family to this very uncertain future.Yes, I paid the price for my ‘folly’ in opposing the government. I took a stand and suffered for it. But I never once went to my family to tell them of my problems. My family knew me as a successful businessman with plenty of money. The truth is, I was broke and could not afford to even feed or clothe my family. I suffered in silence. My family never knew what we were going through.When the situation demanded it, I took the side of the Rulers against Umno. I even turned my back on my friends in Umno, people like Anwar Ibrahim who later became the Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia. Those around Anwar became rich. I too could have become rich. But I chose to be poor on grounds of principle. I never sold my principles just to end my financial predicament.When they sacked and eventually jailed Anwar, I rallied to his side. Yes, Anwar who had wronged the Rulers, as far as I was concerned. And for that I suffered arrest and detention, to add to my financial predicament, which was still unresolved at that time.When I said in my 16th March 2009 article that I have earned the right to take the Rulers to task if they err or misbehave, I meant it. And I knew what I was saying when I wrote that. I had never shied away from pain. Even when the pain became unbearable I stood my ground. I just sneaked away and cried. But I never sold out my principles.Today, my family is unhappy with me because I have acted treasonously towards the Sultan of Perak. Maybe, maybe I am treasonous. But I do not see it as treason. I am of the opinion that the Sultan has erred. And that is why I wanted Nizar to hold his ground and not back down -- which he did. And, most importantly, I have earned that right, the hard way, to take the Rulers to task if they err. And, this, I did.As a loyal subject of the Sultan of Selangor (my late father has a certificate Kerabat Selangor), I bow my head and sembah in an act of loyalty. And as I have refused to abide to the wishes of the Selangor Palace for me to apologise and retract what I wrote, I am prepared to exile myself from Selangor and never set foot in Selangor again. That is what is expected from a loyal Kerabat Selangor who has acted treasonously (durhaka) and has incurred the wrath of the Sultan and the Selangor Royal Family.As of today, I am persona non grata in Selangor and will live in exile outside Selangor. My decision is final and my stand is firm. There is not a soul on earth who can persuade me to change my stand.Daulat Tuanku."

Well, that's RPK for me. A man with spine, who could have chosen the easy life but didn't. May God bless him always....

On lullabies and religions

I was singing lullabies to little Noel earlier. I started with his favourite "Hush Little baby", then our routine "Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name..." I know this can hardly be called a lullaby, but it is to us. Day after day without fail, it puts my little one to sleep...anyway, I started reflecting why it is such a comforting song. Could it be because of its melodious nature, or could it be the words?

One thought led to another, and I started seriously thinking about faith, and life and believers...Am I a true believer? I guess although I can't call myself purely religious, I must be a believer enough to be able to feel that in my lowest moment, there's a hand that always pulls me up. In times when I feel that life has no meaning and direction, there's a soothing nudge in my heart that makes me able to feel good again. It must be some powers out there that I've known as God. And I feel content simply to feel that this God is always leading me to love- myself, my family, my friends, strangers, and even foes.

I thought I must be in the category of people who stick to religion NOT because they want to find The Truth, but because religions make them feel positive. I guess I feel positive because what I believe in emphasizes in Love, which suits me very well. I can't say I have a good knowledge about religions, but I've seen how religions affect people (in some ways). There's this camp that practice the teachings of their religion and generally become good. And yet another camp thought that everyone should embrace their religion (and this applies to many religions) because theirs and theirs alone is The Truth. Well, I have no objection to people believing that their way is The Truth. That, I believe, is personal. But I have an issue with people who coerce, and force others to follow them in the name of God. That, to me, is negative. It is such attitude that leads people to hate and even kill each other...and I wonder if they feel good because of that.

Anyway, I am happy enough to be in my camp. I might not know whether what I believe in is The Truth, but my life is meaningful because of that. For the simple me, it is enough that I can live positively in this life, trying to love others as I feel loved...

Guilt of a studying mom (July 2007)

Here I am at 5am trying to read Optimality Theory. My babe is asleep on my feet, all wrapped up in a thick blanket. Looking at him, an enormous guilt sweep over me. I know he is 4 years old, and in some families, he would have been an independent little man. But not this one…he is my "stick-on". For some reason, perhaps being the youngest, he is still unable to wean himself from mom. I know he tries hard sometimes…three days in a row last week he did try to sleep in another room with his sisters, but they always ended up sending him back to me because he made too much noise. Often in the middle of the night when I left him sleeping on the bed, he will come looking for me in the study, all teary eyes and complaining "I want to sleep, but I just don’t know why I can’t". I’m often torn between him and my studies. I’m here to study, and I have to get this done on time. And yet I feel like I’m neglecting my children’s need, him especially. God let me finish soon…let me have enough time to do things with my children. Let me grow up with them and see them unfold…Meanwhile, I’m so sorry little one, you’ll just have to continue sleeping on my feet while I try to digest these theories…

In Memoriam INA' (Grandmother) (reproduced from 2007)

3.10.07, 2am- she slipped away peacefully in her sleep. It’s her freedom, at long last. She was confined to bed for 3 months, after suffering a stroke on 29 June 2007. There’s no final good bye from me to her, and yet I felt that I did say my goodbye. In her final days of strength when I met her a few times, I spent the time viewing her from a different angle. She seemed mellower and smiled more than she ever did in at least 30 years of my memories of her. She was a tough woman, hardened by the hardships of the past. She ruled her family with iron hands, never once showing any 'weak' emotion. I didn’t see her when she was bedridden, when she had to depend on her family members for simple tasks. So in my memories she IS a strong woman, if not physically, emotionally and in spirit. I didn’t shed any tears because I felt she would have disapproved of that. But I did have pain in my heart, knowing I’ll never ever see her again in this life. She, our grandma, the one we called ‘ina’ was gone. Our last link to the past, to chants and rituals and many forgotten traditions. From afar I sent her prayers, and yellow memories, because yellow is the colour I associate most with her. Gone was ina'. In the other world, rest in peace.

My momhood turns 11

*Sigh*. Can hardly believe it. My eldest girl, Sandra, is turning 11 in 3 days. How time flies. How does a mom for 11 years act, I wonder? Should I feel old? Nah, don't want to feel that. I still enjoy my internet activities- in fact more than ever. What with Facebook and whatnot. Anyway, I'm organizing two birthday celebrations for Sandra. One at the pool with her classmates. Another at the park with close family friends. She's been busy preparing lolly bags and stuffs :-). That's one good thing when they are older- they do many things on their own. Even write their own invites. Much that I'm busy with my work, I can't deny her the pleasure of celebrating early teenhood. It's indeed a milestone- "having lived now for a full decade", in her own words. And I have been a mom for a full decade too. Yup, I should celebrate...so this weekend, parties to celebrate a decade of life and momhood...

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