Thursday, April 28, 2011

Raising the stakes!

A decision on our future here has already been made. For once, after several discussion, my DH and I found this future arrangement reasonable and acceptable. I am actually very pleased that DH found my recommendation workable. This new plan also meant the stakes has been raised. I plan to use this as an encouragement and motivation to finish this PhD journey. May Allah's grace be with us all. Amin.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Kira-kira

Pagi ni aku tersenyum sorang2 kat pejabat membuat kira2 sambil mendengar mp3 Micheal Jackson menyanyi2. Tiba2 teringat pulak masa kematian MJ tahun 2009. Mesti aku akan ingat punya sampai bila2, sebab hari tu aku ada appointment full scan 12 minggu Luqman. Masa tu tak tahu lagi lah Luqman akan jadi Luqman kan he..he..he.. So sambil lab tech dok scan perut aku, lagu2 MJ pun dok berkemundang di corong2 radio yang berkumandang di seluruh lab, sebenarnya seluruh dunia pun. Borak ngan lab tech pun pasal MJ gak hu..hu..hu..

Actually, DH sgt minat pada MJ. Aku pun sebenarnya, tapi takderlah sampai 'mati keras'. Aku diperkenalkan kepada MJ secara tak langsung masa aku umur dlm 10 tahun ker gitu oleh pakcik aku, Pek Tam yg sedang belajar di UM masa tu. Ni dah nak mid 80s lah. Dia tinggal sekali ngan kami sekeluarga, masa tu kat Bukit Petaling. So bila dia pi campus, kami dua beradik yg besar ni selalu gak lah dok merepeh2 bilik dia (Sorry arrr Pek Tam). Dia ada macam2 koleksi lagu, salah satunya MJ yg selalu ada dlm radio mini compo dia. Kitaorg tinggal tekan play jer kadang2 tu ;-P. So that's how we encountered MJ and 'Billie Jean'! 

Aku rasa MJ sememangnya sgt exceptional orangnya. Allah has actually given him quite a talent. But then again, whether he has made full use of it is another story. Apa yang menyebabkan aku tambah nak tersengih sorang2 semasa membuat kira2 di musim cuti Easter ini adalah memikirkan bagaimana org2 yg byk duit cam MJ ni, pun boleh berada di dalam keadaan macam 'ketersepitan' sepanjang hayatnya. Last2nya apabila sudah tiada di dunia ini, byk ke sikit duitnya, makes no difference! Jadi apabila aku fikir2, keadaan kewangan dan 'ketersepitan' aku ni taklah teruk sgt kut ha..ha..ha... dugaan kecil. Pasti boleh ditempuhi, Insya Allah. 

Aku pun sambung senyum2 lagi, nasib baik tak ramai org kat opis ni, kalau tak mesti org ingat aku sudah separuh 'gone' :-D. Aku terfikir berapa kali aku sepanjang 10 tahun ni aku dok buat kira2 semacam ini. Banyak kali, tak terkira. Kadang2 sgt stress, terseksa dan menyesakkan. Tapi kata org, biarlah bersusah2 sekarang, bersenang2 kemudian. Dulu2 walaupun aku tahu, aku selalu bersenang-senang, lupa pasal tabungan masa depan. Biasalah, baru kerja, kawin, beranak, semua nak dibeli. Lepas tu terjebak pulak ngan credit card, aduhai. Alhamdulillah, sudah bertaubat! Allah memberi peluang kedua. Selepas ini nak balik dan mengapplikasikan apa yang telah dipelajari. Semua perlu kira2, semua perlu pertimbangan sewajarnya. Bukan main rembat je macam dulu2. Perlu contohi how mama (yang gaji separuh jer drpd kami semua adik beradik masa dia mula2 kerja dulu) manages the household's expenditure. She also manages abah's income and expenditure, (sampai sekarang abah tak berapa tahu nak guna ATM, actually he...he..he..)  and dia tak pernah pakai credit card, tapi semua boleh dibelinya secara tunai. Takjub sungguh :-D

How lah, can be like that one... ooo must strive hard, even harder. Must start with the (wo)man in the mirror! Semoga Allah permudahkan, Insya Allah, Amin.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Sajak dalam hati - Kerna Hagia Sophia

Dua bulan ini terpaksa mengikat perut.
Bajet mingguan yang ketat perlu diikut.
Setiap minggu duit akan dikeluarkan
kemudian diasingkan mengikut kategori perbelanjaan di dalam sampul masing-masing.
Selain perbelanjaan wajib,
tiada sebarang pembelian tidak teranjang akan dimasukkan ke dalam bajet bulanan.  

Setiap hari selepas 2-3 perenggan menulis,
aku pun akan melihat harga tiket di alam maya. 
Setiap hari aku berdoa,
'tolonglah, Ya Allah, kekalkan lah harga tiket ini sehingga sekian2 hari bulan' Amin!
Ha..ha..ha sungguh kasihan sekali.
Tapi sesungguhnya sudah berjanji kepada diri sendiri, jadi perlu ditepati.
Semoga segala perancangan kami berjalan lancar, Insya Allah. 

Bukan apa, aku ingin ke Sultanahmet tanpa perlu berhutang keliling pinggang he..he..he..
Geran universiti pula tidak dapat menampung keseluruhan perbelanjaan untuk menjengah Topkapi.
Maka hanya bajet ala-ala zaman Jepun lah yang perlu diaplikasi.
Apatah lagi Luqman perlu dibawa sekali.
Yang pasti untung sungguh anakanda yang seorang ini :-D 


Hagia Sophia, tunggulah aku datang secara aman, Amin.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Autuum in my heart

Near Aliyah's school....

It's full fledge autuum now. I don't usually enjoy the season, because it will always remind me of the upcoming winter. Besides autuum usually make me feel a bit mellow and melancholic. Anyway, in a few days, it will be May. How time flies. This will be my last autuum here, Insya Allah. Soon, I will be back on home ground. The thoughts of coming back to the 'workforce' is kinda daunting! It gets worst when most of the people you talked to gave basically 'scary' impressions.

A few days back, I was chatting with a friend I knew back in my early days in Melbourne. She's in the midst of trying to get another job in Melbourne. For various reasons I can't highlight here, she simply just can't stand working in KL anymore, she's at the brink of giving up with the country. I asked myself, is it that bad?! In her case, I guess she has a choice, fortunate enough to have the right to choose. But for many Malaysians, Malaysia is the only place they know, the only place they have been to, the only place that should and could have given them the security that they needed and wanted. So they have to make it work.

I told her, I am not giving up as yet. I wanted to go back home and try to do something, anything, to help improve lives in ways that I can, that I am capable of. I have to make it work. Sometimes you don't need money and power to make changes, sometimes all you need is passion, efforts, patience, belief and putting your trust in Allah. Insya Allah, He will show the way.

A/T: Autuum in my heart - Vaccinated at last!

Monday, April 18, 2011

A Birthday Royale

Yesterday, we were invited by proud parents, Imran and Noreen to celebrate Hanna's, their princess, 3rd birthday. The party was held at the cute and homely Jika Jika Community Centre near Westgarth Station in Northcote. It was a sunny autuum, perfect for a birthday celebration :-)

Outside Jika Jika, we all menumpang on an alligator ;-)
Noreen cooked up a storm! :-D
In the middle of the party, Princess Belle (tuan puteri celup) dropped by to entertain the children. She danced, played with the children and also face painted and blew artistic baloons for the children. Aliyah enjoyed the Princess very very very much. In fact, she was one of the active participants :-D 
Entertained by Princess Belle



A Butterfly on my face ;-)
 


One last shot with Hanna, the Birthday Princess and Princess Belle

So later at home, when she said: "Mama, can I have the princess come to my birthday party?", it wasn't totally unexpected! huwaaaa....

Anyway, I told her, since she wanted to celebrate her birthday with her classmates at school, I doubt the teacher will allow the princess to do her 'entertaining' during class time. Further I said, the princess is royalty that would cost a considerable amount of money. She said she have money and bring along her (Tabung) can bank to show me all her coins collection. hu..hu..hu.. I commented: "Well, you need a whole lot more of that, maybe 5 tabung to get the princess to come". And she started sulking, of course. So I consoled her by saying, "Not to worry, when we go back to Malaysia, then mama have more money, we can get the princess to come to your birthday party" And she instantaneously said: "There is no princess in Malaysia!!" ha..ha..ha..isn't that obvious.

Then I said, "Never mind then, we'll just packed a party pack for all your classmates, ok? You decide what we should put in it..." So she seemed consoled by that idea. She said she don't want to put chocolates inside the pack, because all her friends will eat them up and they will be gone. Hmmmm...who would have thought of that?! he..he..So I suggested a few non-edible items to be included in the pack. I really hope that puts to rest the idea of a princess coming to town. But then again, her birthday is a whole month away. ;-)

Anyway, thank you to Imran and Noreen for inviting us. We, especially the kids, especially Aliyah had lots of fun! I am sure she would want to thank you guys for introducing her to the princess. Maybe, maybe, maybe, we'll have to save for that royal invitations after all ;-)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Call me what I am...

Yesterday I had a call from my supervisor at 5.40 pm. He was complaining about my grant application forms.

SB: "Fadzlina, I would not want to appoint you as my lawyer!"

Me: Gulp..."hmmm...okay" (ha..ha..ha..dlm hati apa hal pulak ni) " I gather that you have received my forms"

SB: "Yup, I have some issues with them. Anyway, I got some good news. LM (my other supervisor) have gone through surgery. It was a success and he's now recuperating. Hopefully in another 3 weeks he can help you with your thesis" 

Me: (Alhamdulillah, yeay! tp tak cakaplah gitu kan he..he..he) "Well, that's good news, indeed!"

SB: "Yes, he's a good chap. It's sad what happen to him, actually... (which until today, aku don't know what it was) Anyway, back to your application forms. The total amount you requested does not add up and my email address is wrong!"

Me: "But...I know the grant is for AUD***, and although the total is more, I am asking for up to that amount only. And ...OOO is the email address incorrect..errr..."

SB: "Fadzlina, it's wrong, you missed something, you better fix it. Do you want a letter of reprimand for this? (while laughing out loud)

Me: "Ok, I will look at it again"

SB:" By the way, I don't like to be called Associate Professor"

Me: (Dlm hati - what??) "Why not? So what should I put on the form?"

SB: "Associate Professor is half of a professor, and I don't like it - LOL! Just...just call me what I am...

Me: LOL! Alright, I will see to it. Thanks for calling.

SB: Bye, then.

A/T: Imagine the level of pedanticity I have to deal with. Arghhhh....Anyway, Alhamdullillah, for granting me a 'tarik telinga' supervisor. Stressing me out to the core - or else I will still be dreaming :-)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Flu Vaccine

Hari ini cuti sekolah Term 1 bermula selama 2 minggu lebih. Hooray! he..he..he..bukan apa, sebab ingatkan plannya cuti sekolah ni nak pi kerja lepas Subuh dan balik selepas masuk Zohor. Ini hanya boleh dilakukan masa term break, sebab tak perlu nak kalut pagi2 hantar budak2 berdua tu ke sekolah, tapi dgn syarat kena balik awal pulak - utk 'crowd control' ;-P

Anyway, dah siap2 pakai baju nak keluar, tgk weather forecast - aih 5 degree ke? Biar benar? Biasalah rumah kitaorg selalu lambat 'react' hu..hu..hu..so tak tau pun malam tadi sejuk sebenarnya. So kenalah tukar baju - tambah baju dan tukar sandal kepada kasut siap berstokin! Bila dah keluar rumah - kalau nak tau betul tak under 10 degrees, aku akan selalu cuba hembus nafas drpd mulut, kalau dah berasap2 tu betul lah bwh 10! Jadi melihatkan kepada 'kepulan2' asap yang keluar dr mulut - so I figure, cool - I am not underdressed ;-).

Itulah cuaca Melbourne. Baru seminggu lepas, malamnya belas2 degree, siangnya in the mid 20s. Beatiful Autuum weather. Alih2 bila dia nak hujan jer, dia mulalah merudum semula. Weather forecast adalah suatu keperluan kehidupan di sini. It's taken quite seriously.  Nak pakai baju apa, kasut apa, nak pergi mana, berapa lama - semua depending on the weather forecast and eventually the weather itself. Kalau kat M'sia tak heran pun kan. Lagipun nasiblah kalau hujan, dan baju di jemuran lagi, sbb esok selalunya mentari kan kembali bersinar. Di sini - belum tentu! Jadi sekarang ni barulah tau kenapa kalau tgk2 citer2 omputeh, depa selalu tanya pasal weather? Cuaca dan musim adalah latarbelakang kehidupan yg sgt penting bagi mereka. Apatah lagi di Melbourne yg infamous dgn cuacanya yang '4 season in one day'.

Tapi sebenarnya, personally lah aku sebenarnya suka jugak - sbb adventure sikit. Taklah flat line gitu jer kan. Adalah variasi - warna warni ;-P (please ask me again in winter, and see whether I have the same sentiment! he..he..he)

Anyway, bila dah sekejap panas, sekejap sejuk, Uwais yang baru mula tadika, kerap juga kena batuk dan selsema. Rasanya dalam term 1 ni jer dia dah kena dekat 3 kali. Masalahnya, nama pun baru 4 tahun, so bila dia dok bersin tu, tak der 'portion control' langsung. Habis semua orang kena, including Luqman lah. So sianlah dia, tak pasal2 pun sangkut selsema jugak. Aku pun berkira-kira nak pi ambil flu vaccination for all of us utk mengurangkan impak winter kepada the children, especially.

So macam biasa lah, aku akan research the matter to death ;-D. Aku siap tanya supervisor aku - dia kata ada gak dia ambik, tp rasanya mcm lagi byk kena jer ha..ha..Agaknya dia dah immune kepada the vaccine tu, sbb dah bertahun2 ambik. The windows of opportunity to take vaccine is closing soon, sbb winter is coming. Meaning kalau nak ambik jugak, kenalah buat dlm bulan ni, kerana mereka perlu 2 shots, with a minimum interval of 4 weeks after the first dose. Harga vaccine pula dalam AUD16 seorang per dose.  

Ada beberapa jenis vaccine yang dicadangkan oleh kerajaan Victoria:

Fluvax® (CSL Biotherapies)

Influvac® (Abbott) and

Vaxigrip® (Sanofi-aventis).



Utk kanak2 Fluvax adalah tidak digalakkan kerana adanya tendency utk demam beserta febrile convulsions. This was found to be the case when children under the age of 5 years were vaccinated with Fluvax® or Fluvax® Junior in 2010. So clearly in my view - Fluvax is out lah.

So tinggal lah Influvac dan Vaxigrip. Influvac contains gentamycin (an antibiotic) and chicken protein and Vaxigrip contains Neomycin (an antibiotic) and thimerosal (a preservative in contact lens solution) and chicken protein. OK, when I first read the ingredients list, the word chicken really jumped at me. Thinking - alamak tak halal ke? But upon further reading, the chicken protein seems to refer to the eggs. I will have to confirm that again, by emailing the company that made them. Another thing, I felt rather loya pulak thinking I would have to be injected with 'contact lens solution' if I were to take Vaxigrip. Macam lah aku nak kenal telan ha..ha..ha.. Anyway, I will email them first, see how it goes. If all goes well, as soon as everybody dah sihat, we will all have our seasonal flu vaccination.

Further details mengenai Influvac boleh dibaca di sini. Manakala details mengenai Vaxigrip boleh dibaca di sini. I also found this FAQ berkenaan vaccine2 di atas dan isu2 berbangkit berkenaan flu vaccination (although for Canada) very informative. Happy reading!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Crossroad

Pic - Courtesy Jep (TQ!)

Early this morning as I was lulling Luqman back to sleep, it suddenly hit me how he's grown. It seems like yesterday I was still pregnant with him whilst busy attending weddings with him rocking in my womb :-) Even my supervisor couldn't put to the rest the fact that I had him quite some time ago actually. He kept highlighting that I got away being pregnant right under his nose ;-) almost every other meeting with him! He'd be suprised if he had seen Luqman now. He has yet to see him, though. Maybe one of these days, I will bring him for a stroll to his office.

Anyway, a few turn of events, has brought me at a new juncture in life. I am at a crossroad. It doesn't really matter how I look at it, there's no 'winning'! (I won't be paying Charlie Sheen for using that term!) My options are limited. My time are scarce. Soon I will have to make a choice. Soon I will be left in the state where "you don't know what you got till it's gone", soon ...when a big yellow taxi took all of them away :-( 

A/T: Speaking of being at a crossroad...Al-Fatihah buat Allahyarham Mohd Arif Azman, staf UiTM Shah Alam yang meninggal dunia di Footscray, Melbourne pagi semalam (6 April 2011). Arwah meninggalkan seorang isteri dan anak berumur 9 bulan. Salam takziah drpd kami sekeluarga. Semoga roh arwah dicucuri rahmatNYA. Amin.



Big Yellow Taxi



They paved paradise and put up a parkin' lot
With a pink hotel, a boutique, and a swingin' hot spot
Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you got till it's gone
They paved paradise and put up a parkin' lot


They took all the trees, and put em in a tree museum
And they charged the people a dollar and a half to see them
No, no, no, don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got till it's gone
They paved paradise, and put up a parkin' lot


Hey farmer, farmer, put away your DDT
I don't care about spots on my apples,
Leave me the birds and the bees - please


Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you got till it's gone
They paved paradise and put up a parking lot
Hey now, they've paved paradise to put up a parking lot
Why not?


Listen, late last night, I heard the screen door swing,
And a big yellow taxi took my girl away


Now don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you got till it's gone
They paved paradise and put up a parking lot
Hey now now, don't it always seem to go


That you don't know what you got till it's gone
They paved paradise to put up a parking lot
Why not, they paved paradise
They put up a parking lot
Hey hey hey, paved paradise and put up a parking lot


I don't wanna give it
Why you wanna give it
Why you wanna givin it all away
Hey, hey, hey

Now you wanna give it
I should wanna give it
Cuz you're givin it all away, no no
I don't wanna give it
Why you wanna give it


Why you wanna givin it all away
Cuz you're givin it all givin it all away yeah yeah
Cuz You're givin it all away hey, hey, hey
Hey, paved paradise, to put up a parking lot
Paved paradise, and put up a parking lot

Monday, April 4, 2011

Turning 4


My Cake! (Pic Courtesy Jep - TQVM)

Yesterday Uwais turned 4. Happy birthday to our darling boy! He can be a handful sometimes ;-) but we are so lucky to have him in our lives. No amount of wealth can replace experiencing such a wonderful son :-) Alhamdulillah, and may Allah gave us the strength and dedication to raise Uwais and his siblings to be the best of Mukmin, Insya Allah, Amin.

In line with the occasion, we threw a simple party for some close friends. To tell you the truth this is our very first time arranging a party on our own – no catering, no extra sets of assistance, no side orders. We have never ever done it before, whether in Malaysia or Australia. So this is a big achievement for us, actually. My mum will be very proud! Well, at least I am he..he..he… But I can assure you, it’s not an easy feat, and I can promise you, once I am back home, I won’t be doing it again – on my own that is ;-) I will let others share the workload and expertise hu..hu..hu..

Pic - Sekitar majlis
Anyway, we wish to express our gratitude to our guests, friends who had spent the evening with us, gracing our humble abode. Thank you for all the goodies and presents too. Uwais and his sister and brother really loved them. We wished all our friends the very best and pray Allah will aid their future undertakings, Insya Allah.

Unplanned in red ;-)

Friday, April 1, 2011

Tragedi

Seorang pelajar lelaki yang menetap di Barnes Way telah membunuh dirinya pagi tadi. Umurnya baru sahaja mencecah 19 tahun. What a day to start my April. Seumur hidup, inilah pertama kali berdepan kes bunuh diri.

Pada awalnya aku fikir hanya ada kecurian yang menyebabkan polis dtg ke Barnes Way. Begitu ramai sekali org yang keluar masuk dr rumah site/RA supervisor ku, Rabea dan blok berhadapan rumahnya sejak jam 11 pagi, menyebabkan aku rasa tidak sedap hati. Manakan tidak, aku boleh nampak semua aktiviti-aktiviti ini dari tingkap ruang tamu rumahku.

Panggilan telefon dan sms ku kepada Rabea tidak berbalas. Kemudian apabila Ambulance dan Fire Brigade pula tiba setengah jam kemudian, aku pun tak sanggup lagi berada di dalam keterujaan, maka aku turun dgn Luqman dan DH.

I can see every 'movement' from the lounge's windows.

Melihat aku mendukung Luqman, Director Residential Services, menuju ke arah aku. Maka aku pun terus tanyakan 'What's going on?'. Katanya ada seorang pelajar baru meninggal dunia. Tidak banyak yang mahu dia maklumkan kerana isu-isu kerahsiaan. Tapi aku nyatakan juga rasa terkejutku, sebab aku sangat pasti si mati masih muda. Dia mengiyakan, tapi tidak memaklumkan bagaimana pelajar itu mati. Aku balik semula ke rumah. Dalam hati - sudah ajal, bagaimana mahu dihalang lagi.

Tiba-tiba jam 1 ptg, Rabea dtg ke rumah aku, diiringi Mark, supervisornya. Dia nak memaklumkan kepada semua RA Barnes Way, termasuk aku, kisah di sebalik kematian pagi tadi. Kata Rabea, si mati telah menggantung dirinya di dalam biliknya. Sebetulnya unit si mati sepelaung shj drp unit kami. Tapi aku tak fikir aku kenal pun. Orang Melbourne, kata Rabea lagi. Aku lihat Rabea begitu terkesan sekali. Maka semua RA diarahnya bertemu kaunselor petang ini juga..adus.. 

Selepas Aliyah pulang dari sekolah, maka aku pun mengadap kaunselor, Richard namanya. Aliyah dan Luqman ikut sekali, sbb DH perlu ambil Uwais dr tadika. Jadi mereka berdua pun telah di'kaunsel' jugak, sambil makan2 coklat ;-). Aku tanyakan tidakkah ada cara utk sesiapa di sekeliling menghalang daripada seseorang membunuh diri. Richard secara am mengatakan - tidak! Pilihan itu sentiasa berada di tangan orang itu sendiri. hmmm... sungguh tragis dan sia-sia sekali. Sesungguhnya Islam telah secara terang dan jelas mengharamkan bunuh diri. Nyawa kita adalah amanah dan hanya pinjaman buat kita. Maka perlulah kita pelihara dan menjaganya sebaik mungkin. Bukanlah hak kita utk disia-siakan dan dimusnahkan. Tapi how do I tell that to Richard...atau si mati yg kini telah kembali kepada Penciptanya.

Today's incidence is definitely no April's Fool. But someone was foolish enough to ...