Wednesday, November 26, 2014

happy anniversary, evil you!

I realized that I've 'stop' writing about my health condition for quite a while.
Perhaps I'm not sure how I really feel, whether I'm healthy or not.
Perhaps I'm not sure how I would react, whether to laugh or cry.
Perhaps I'm not sure how I should be, whether to endure or surrender.
Fact is - it's everything and anything.
It's been a year! Yup! At these time last year, I was nervous, cried buckets of tears, worried, in grievance and tried to put my daily happy face just to tell everybody I'll be fine.
Yup! It was these time, last year.

(Now I know why I can't write about my health updates! It's too much to take. I haven't started talking about it, yet I'm crying mentally!)

Truth is, I don't know how, where and what to start ranting about when people asked me "how are you doing?"
It was a genuine question. People do want to know how I'm doing.
I just didn't know if I should start blabbering telling about all the traumatizing experience  I went through or describing how tiring of me being weak most of the time, even after a year.
Usually, I would just answer them the truth "Alhamdulillah, I'm coping well. I beat the evil cancer!!"
Fact is - the treatment left a very significant mixed feeling whenever I think about it. Though I've beat cancer, I still couldn't get things out of my mind..

Cancer is evil. It was nothing when you didn't realized it. And suddenly, pop! Out of sudden, you were all weak. Friends, take it from me, find time for yourself and your loved one. Get a health screening package, check your body out. Yup, if it's faith, it is..but, even in the Quran do tell us "usaha".. work things out! Get it done - mammogram, pap smear - everything. Live a healthy life. Go organic, if you could. Eat good cleaned food. Reduced junk! Yup, it's not easy. I'm in a remission and still couldn't get these right.. but, we can just try, try! They don't simply prevention is better than cure for nothing. It's true, prevention is better than cure.

I've completed my whole treatment cycle in March, and here I am, after eight month, still on my road of recovery.

It is tiring.

Nope, I'm not complaining.
But allow me to explain.

The recovery is terrifying.
The tasteless buds is saddening.
The burning throat is unbearable.
The buzzing noise seems to consistently humming in the ears.
The runny nose is a never-ending issue.
The breakdown of the nerves system is a frequent dilemma.
The physical imbalanced judgement is frustrating...o my, it's endless

It was horrifying and still haunting.

The chemotherapy kills all the bad and good cells.
My blood cells reduced, and still counting. The red, white blood cells and everything.. it is still low for the body to cope.
I got sick easily. Like a baby.
In a week, I would have fever, coughs and everything under the sun.
I went to the GPs and got fed-up after a while.
Tiredness is a disease too. I could sleep for days.
If a 'normal' person could still survive after Wednesday, my week got shorten.
Should I have a full Monday, my body started to feel tired on Tuesday, and got weak on Wednesday and by Thursday I could collapsed. It took me three days to rejuvenate!
After a while, this routine is ruining me.
I became grumpy.
I felt useless.
Most of the house chores done by my husband, and I could hardly accompany him for a chat while him doing chores just because I prefer sleeping.
Things got tenses once a while.
I felt tired.
Everything is irritable to me, yet, I thought I was being rational though I doubt it.
There were one time that I went to the GP, complaining of headache and toothache and she referred me to the dentist. The dentist then checked and told me it was the sinus. My sinus vessel has been filled up with fluid.
Of sudden, instead of fluid flowing out from my nose, it came out from the ears! Yup, you read it right, from the EARS!
It was scary, but the onco, with his straight faced, told us "It's the normal effect for those who completed the head and neck radiotherapy. The issues with the ears and the nose will always be there for the next two or three or maybe even five years. The radiotherapy killed all the cells and hairs at the area, hence, everything is developing new. As for now, the nose and ears are 'unprotected'"
My emotions fluctuate highs and lows.
I could be angry and screaming on top of my lung.
I could get violent.
I could just stop talking and shut everything off.
I could cry non-stop just because it was raining.

As I would say it..
I'm tired of getting tired
I'm tired of getting sick
I'm sick of getting sick
I'm sick of getting tired
But it was all a blessing.
A great blessing.
As I read the Quran yesterday, tears flowing.
I have no idea what I was reading.
I don't bother reading the tafseer.
But I was crying.

Betapa cantik bahasa Allah.
Betapa merdu susun lagunya.
Betapa agung ayat-ayatnya.
Betapa mahal patah baitnya.
Betapa bertuah diri ini, dilahirkan dengan agama semulia ini, diberi nikmat dunia akhirat.

It's all up to oneself.

Kalau baik mintaknya, baiklah jadinya.
Kalau lalai melata, usah disalahkan Maha Pencipta.
It was a ride.
But as the days passed, I cried today for the blessing.

My auntie cooked the best assam pedas, sambal ayam, ikan bakar with the greatest air assam.
I was her number one fan when it comes to food.
I remembered how guilty she was when we had a makan-makan few months ago and she've prepared all the food in everyone's list and overlooked on my 'disability' at that time.
I was crying when all I had was a plain rice with fried egg.
It was unfair.
I couldn't take spicy food. Even the ikan kicap was spicy for me!

Last week, after nearly a year, on the day I was crying and made my colleagues teary, too (don't deny me girls, I knew you were!), throwing tantrums, pulling out dramas and stormed out from the office, Ar-Rahman Ar-Rahim, Maha Pengasih Ya Allah gave me among the greatest gift.. the sensation to withstand the spicy air assam.. After a year!!! All the small things!!!!!!!!

Surah Hud, Ayat 9,10&11:

Dan demi sesungguhnya! Jika Kami rasakan manusai sesuatu pemberian rahmat dari Kami kemudaian Kami tarik balik pemberian itu daripadanya, mendapati dia amat berputus asa, lagi amat tidak bersyukur. 

Dan demi sesungguhnya! Kalau Kami memberinya pula kesenangan sesudah dia menderita kesusahan, tentulah dia akan berkata: Telah hilang lenyaplah dariku segala kesusahan yang menimpaku. Sesunggnya dia (dengan kesenangannya itu) riang gembira, lagi bermegah-megah (kepada orang ramai). 

Kecuali orang-orang yang sabar dan mengerjakan amal soleh maka mereka itu akan beroleh keampunan dan pahala yang besar.

Who am I kidding!
It has always been a blessing.
I got sick, but my kids were taking care of.
They got to one of the good school. They performed well. They even memorize few of the juz amma which I didn't managed to up till now.
The stubborn me learned and still learning to be a better muslimah, wife, mother and daughter.
The material world which seems never enough is actually suffice.
The nikmat are abandon..
Yes, I regret that I didn't realized how much Allah loves us before I was diagnosed with cancer.
Tapi syukur, sebab cancer, I wanted to change to a better life.
It feels great to know the purpose of living.
It time to achieve.
Jom semua, kita work towards Jannah, Insyaallah.


Monday, November 24, 2014

what courage is..

we had the whole clan sending my cousin sister to her college.
it was mixed feelings.
my extended family is really extended. and we are very close. we argued, we yelled, we screamed and we laughed at each other - the bonding we cherished..
when i was on my long summer holidays, i remembered having her sleeping on my chest, so that I could take a nap too.. it was  soothing to have that small warm tiny baby on your chest that was so fragile!

that was eighteen years ago. and this baby made us proud for being offered a place (finally) in uitm jengka to pursuit her (or maybe ours) ambition.

well, it's a normally sob stories of a girl coming from a poor family and made it through (insyaallah).
but, i felt like writing about it, just as a reminder to myself, herself or anyone who might have forgotten how blessed life is..allahuakbar
she's the little daughter of my aunt. her dad, who has three wives and dozens of abandoned children, was barely there in their life.

my aunt, the only one who never received any formal education out of eleven (twelve?) siblings, was so in love with this guy and got married without the parent's approval and became the second wife. i'd still say she got conned by this man, but, once a while, when she talked about him, despite all the mean words and hatred that came out from her mouth, deep inside, i could still figure out the love never dies, partly.

my aunt raised both of her daughters by herself, with the altruism from the family members. nope. not a single cash came in from that irresponsible father of my cousins. maybe there were, but if there were, i knew it was never suffice. in fact, i remember hearing him asking money  from my aunt. i never knew this guy. i just hate his gut that i never was interested to know his issues! they said, he was actually a nice person.. but any man who left his family behind, ignoring them and pretended as if they never exists never deserved to even be called a person!

my aunt took care tens and tens of stranger kids and babies (some have been all grown up and still came and paid her visits), cooked food  (nice food) to sell every morning before the sun even rise. just so to feed herself and her daughters and survive in this while as much as possible. she barely bought things for herself. she took care of us, too. when we were small, when our parents were away for work, she babysit us, provided us food, bathed us, and washed our laundries. and now, she still did her routines for our kids. it was cheap hard labour, but the least she can do. as much as she might think she was lucky to have us, i wanted her to know we were the lucky one to have her throughout our lives.. she has not only two daughters, she raised so many of us, the cousins and our babies too (that would be for my case)!

i remembered when i was in my primary and the mailman came to deliver a courier. she never knew how to write, and she was supposed to sign the received consignment. she wrote a crooked 'z' representing her name, zaiton.. at that time, i found it cute.. but thinking back, i sympathized! i knew she was struggling, in front of her growing niece and that mailman.. she could hardly hold a pen!

i remembered when i was a teenager and saw her hand-washed my dirty underpants. it was nothing back then, 'ala, mamiton memang basuh baju semua orang'.. and thinking back, allahuakbar, what have i done! i knew she wouldn't mind, but what was i thinking? what was everybody thinking?

i remembered when i wanted to further up my studies oversea, and all she did day and nights were cleaning the anchovies for the sambal she would cooked for me to bring it to the UK,,, she could have just asked my mom to bought the cleaned anchovies to make her life easier, but she said "tak sedap sambal bilis pakai ikan bilis yang dah siap kopek'. as she was the expert in food, we never complained, after all, we never helped! .. and thinking back, how could i do what i did, ignoring small things and noticing how much she cared.

i remembered when i just called her "miton, boleh jaga aidan aimar tak, ain nak gi tengok wayang ngan acap?" and her respond will never fails me..up until today.

i remembered how excited she has been to learn the quran from my boy just because she never knew how to read.

my aunt, seems like non-existing insignificant no-body type of a person, but she's everything.
she is (still) my mom's and my babysitter
she  is the best "washing machine" (never broke unless she was attacked by fever) we could have, and she made the white shirt whiter than you first bought.
she is definitely the best chief we ever had..when others' were telling how much they missed their mum's cook when we were in boarding school, i missed mamiton's food (sorry mama, you still cooked the best nasik tomato, though)
she is our mom.. and she just do hard labour for us..
my aunt, she's everything..

and as we sent her daughter away, as much as we were so proud of her for making it to the university, all the credit must go to my aunt. she has no knowledge how school was, she has no idea how reading was, she learned her basic english words 'jump, run, no, yes' from my children, she has no educational achievement that her daughter can be proud of.. but all of us knew, she will do what it takes to make sure her daughters get what she never get!! if courage is a person, courage is her!

nana, ni akak nak pesan.
orang tengok korang orang susah, orang tak bijak pandai..
orang tau tengok je
orang tak rasa susah mak, dah takkan paham susah mak.
alhamdullillah, ada rezeki sepupu2, kite semua tolong sesama kite.
mak berjasa bukan kat nana and tasha jer.. mak banyak jasa kat kitorang.
nana, mak mungkin ada buat silap dalam buat keputusan hidup die dulu.
tapi, akak tau, die bersyukur dapat nana tasha sebagai anak dia.
nana, kite semua tau, takde orang yang boleh tolong kite, selain diri kite sendiri.,
walau mak tak lafaz dekat nana setulusnya, akak tau, dia nak nak belajar betul2, score habis2an..die nak goreng sambal bilis bekalkan nana pergi belajar oversea nanti, insyallah.
nana, belajar betul2.
belajar supaya nasib terbela.
belajar sampai berjaya.
biarlah kawan2 kolej boleh pakai iphone6, kete myvi pergi kuliah, handbag coach latest design, baju sutera yang cantik2, nana belajar je lah. belanja sekadar mampu, tapi pulun habis2an kat university tu.
ari tu 3 kerete hantar nana, though ramai lagi yang nak ikut...nanti, satu bas kita sewa bile nana grad with deans' list, insyaallah.. berkat doa kitorang semua.. berkat doa harapan mak!

akak nak kasik ingat
1. jangan tinggal sembahyang
2. jangan lupa usaha, belajar molek2
3. jangan putus berdoa
4. jangan lara, leka dengan benda2 yang melalaikan
5. set your target high, aim for it and work for it..

belajar tu, part of fisabillillah..
jihad untuk diri, mak, agama, bangsa.

good luck dik
nice shot of miton, nana & tasha
..gosh - u people so young and this was only five years ago!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

the awards

I am too ecstatic to sleep, to the extend that I need to complete this post before I go to bed, tonite! now!
I wanted to resolve for a long FB post, but, it has been a long day for a long  status update in the FB would suffice. Well, the day was not as long as it may sound. It was the school's Ihtifal day.. Kids, thirty years ago, we called it "Hari Penyampaian Hadiah" or "Award Ceremony Day".. apparently, it evolved in times.
Truth was I stopped looking forward for the day when my eldest was not invited to his school's award ceremony day two years ago. Yup, as much as he scored and was first in his call during the 1st term exam, he was not concluded as a Band 5 or Band 6 student at the end of the year. Well, well.. don't let me start with this band 1,2,3,4,5,6 thingy.. I have mountain-list of how bad to horrible damaging it could be!!
During my school years, my name would always be printed in the school's magazine as the award recipients and I would be hella-of-a-time practicing my acts, dances, songs, performance on the very special day, every year. I was an active student, blessed with good brain, alhamdullillah. I was flabbergasted when Aidan was not even asked to attend the event when he was in his first grade. Horrible school! I wasn't expecting any award, but, depriving the kids from joining the fun when they deserved it after a whole schooling year and to spark some inspiration in their mind that they might want to think " year, it would be me on the stage.." is not the way it should be! it's all back to the own effort of the school and the people who made the school!
Somehow, this year, we were all invited... and here's the story..
After two years in the public school, I couldn't agree much in the education system. I comforted myself, it might not be the system, but the school itself. I came from not a reputable primary school, but the system was fine and shape me the way I am today. Aidan's school was ran by an unmotivated principal who oblivious enough to warn the parents during the PTA meeting with statement such as "if you don't like my way, you could make a formal report to the ministry..not that I care much.. I'll be retiring in few months time".. and that concludes everything!
I've been patience with the school for two years. My expectation was not high. I understand it was a public school and the fees was minimal. But then again, I believe if we can't agree more with the system, leave. I managed to persuade my husband to give a try to the local private school. Both the boys secured a place, though Aimar was on a waiting list. Aimar got thru at the eleventh hour and I could never thank Allah. Itu satu rahmat. At times I was diagnosed with NPC stage III, Allah bukak jalan, kasik Aidan & Aimar dapat masuk the Khalifah Model School. Truth is, after today, I still can't believe what a blessing has it been.
Sekolah tu bagus. I can't complaint much. I'm not complaining at all.. Dari SRK St John 2, Aidan changed a lot.. and not only academically. Cikgu2 semua bagus2... sampai kadang2, rasa kesian pun ada dengan telatah first-time parents yang cikgu2 kena handle. But, the teachers were superb. The were true educators. They educate, penuh tulus ikhlas. The school arranged so much activities, get their students involved, and even the parents too.
Mama yang merangkak2 nak hafal suruh Al-Asr, kene sama2 hafal surah Al-Qariah sebab anak bujang yang excited nak wakil kelas masuk pertandingan hafazan dekat school.. the add to the thrill, Aimar even 'forced' me to memorize with him the tafsir in English - shakespear English, not my blog English!
Mama yang memang nak lukis satu garis lurus pun menggeletar2, kene study youtube "How to create a 3D object" sebab Aidan nak submit his science project die on-time and can't wait for aboh. Struggle la hai...
Bukan sebab Aboh takmo tolong.. Cuma I was 'unlucky' when those 'difficult' assignments came when Aboh was working offshore.  
Nope, I'm not complaining.
I enjoyed the time well-spent.
And, during the assessment and exams, my blood pressure skyrocketed. I got anxious quite fast. I was sick during the final exam week, and was crying when I couldn't do revision with the boys and their dad was away for work. I cried when I couldn't help them with their Arabic revision as I could hardly got it right with the numbers for a start.
But today, during the prayer, my eyes were filled with tears. Tears of joy. I was grateful. Alhamdullillah. Allah nak bagi rezeki lebih dekat kitorang anak-beranak.
After their final exam, all I can talked about was "how was school, dapat exam result?".. and the answer always negative. Kekadang nak marah pun ada.. teacher ni suke nak buat orang nervous. The boys didn't care about the results. They were having fun practising their performance for the day. Even during the dry run, when I asked them "so, you knew who will get the award".. they sweet genuine answer was "mama, teacher tak bagitau, teacher cakap surprise and just be alert on the day itself".. adoi teacher, my boys can be anything but alert! Last week, I stopped asking. I knew my boys have done their best. That's what I've told the boys "no matter what the result be, I knew you boys have done your very best, and let us just pray moga Allah bagi rezeki kat kite"..
This morning, as we woke up, got ourselves ready for the day, we were just fine.. we were not the first to arrived, but we were okay. And as the boys made their way to the hall, I was telling myself, I missed award ceremony day.. not really on getting the award, but to perform on stage after tonnes and tonnes of practices. yup, I missed those days. Walking to the registration booth,  our concerns were more to looking for a place to sit and eat for quick bite. I hardly acknowledge to browse through the agenda book that the teacher-in-charge passed to me.
We sat in the cafeteria, and I started browsing.. Allahuakbar.. the greatest joy was when you expected the least, always! There were typo here and there on the boys name.. and I was still doubtful though half of me has already jumping for joy.
Alhamdullillah... our boys did it!! They made us proud!!!!!!
Aidan got the best in art & craft in his class. I'm sure that was not from my gene! That is surely aboh's dna! He was proud of that. I remembered he came back from school and told me he drew badly during the exam. But he managed to colour the whole page, as he realized how ugly his drawing was.  
Aimar was awarded the best in Arabic, Maths & Computers. Top class for Arabic? How the hell he did it right? I remember asking him to teach me what he learned in Arabic and he told me "ala, you won't know if I was telling you the truth or not"... and of course I defended myself with "mama boleh google". Aimar always great with Computers and gadgets. The gift he got from aboh's genetic, I believe.. not me! And math was easy peasy for this boy!
And when I thought that was enough to queue once, and my boys queued again..
Aidan was called for the Ulul-Albab award - the best performance in academic for Year 3 Fayruz. Well, he wasn't a scorer to any other subject than art, but he was the 1st student in his class!!! Of course we were happy! He obviously played his cards well, he was jack of all trades, and no worry darling dear, mama is sooo looking forward to bring the master in you! Aidan also got the award for best student in for punctuality, which was evaluated based on timely submission of works and schedule... Aidan and time.. Of all the person I knew, I can't think of anybody else than him to be given such title! He is always punctual!!!!I know, I can always rely on him with time!
Yesterday, my husband told me "Aimar would be the best candidate for all-rounder student award".. I kept silent. I didn't want to put hope, especially when I knew the result was there and fixed.
Yet, Aimar made us proud too. His name was flashed for the best in co-curriculum award.. based on his sport's involvements, martial arts and activities he joined. And he also got the best student in dinniyah as he has memorized a long list of surah from the juz amma (which mama is still struggling to memorize).
My boys did us well. We were so proud of them. And my hubby said I should take the credits too :)
quick note
1. find a good school, with good teachers - don't forget to keep reminding yourself, the school and teachers are the system.. they are not your kids' parents. throw away the mindset that 'I've paid for the school, the teachers have to do their work'.. educating is still we, parents, responsibilities.
2. get involved - so what if you are working? it should never be the reason of you couldn't find time for the kids. they need colour paper for art, get them colour papers. they require a fish for science, go to the pet shop. they want to know how to fold an origami, google it with them and learn! if your weekdays are full, you only have weekends.. it will only take an hour or two. just keep a reminder on things you need to prepare for the kids school, and do it during weekend.
3. practice makes perfect- who likes extra work when they already bogged down with homework? but, they need to practice. let them learn how to tackle different ways of questions for the same answer. it's check and balance. assigned 'mama's work', checked their work and do correction with them, together. as much as they would know how it works, we can tell how they think and it's important so that we understand their understanding.
4. discipline - yup, you can't banned their obsession with games, ipad, PCs, TVs etc.. set time. if its way too much, ask them to stop. but, I sometimes used the gadgets as the baits. If you do good, you'll have extra half an hour. If you don't behave, you'll lost one week of gadget times, and if you were caught red-handed for not obeying the penalty, the extended penalty will make you suffer:)
5.doa - okay, this shouldn't be the last. this should be concurrent to all the steps we are taking. but, do doa! doa ibu, doa bapa.. use the right words when you are angry. betul, kata2 itu doa! baik kata kite, baiklah jadinya.. and vice versa.. ajar anak2 berdoa too. during the exam week, i requested my boys to solat hajat.. it was their first time. but with their result, i told them, allah dengar doa aidan aimar, and allah suke bile aidan aimar mintak doa kat dia.
my list could go on..but,, that would be it for the time being.
thank you allah
thank you abang - trust me, i won't be able to do it alone.. take some credit, will ya!
thank you sume adik beradik sedara mara kawan baik yang sama2 doa
thank you boys
tahun depan, kpi mama kene up lagi.
but at least, i knew, my performance this year is "meet expectation" (ke "exceed" dah?)

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Beauty Queen - an extract from NST 50 yrs Merdeka Edition

Shannon Teoh
New Straits Times
Beauty queen
Byline: Shannon Teoh
Edition: Main/Lifestyle
Section: Supplement
Memo: Celebrating the Malaysian spirit

VERY much the archetypal makcik, Latifah Tak found her niche in life - and with it financial freedom and opportunities to globe- trot too! - by being an Avon lady. SHANNON TEOH finds out that when all else fails, a cliched life may be a good thing.

The life and times of Latifah Tak are in fact, littered with cliche. But when you put each degree of cultural and historical truth in her life story together, you get an unflinchingly quaint story of a Malaysian who's been there all through our 50 years - meaning the sum of the cliches is a cliche.
She was there when we first became a nation, she grew up in a kampung, she sought her fortunes in the city, she sent her children overseas to study and now recalls fondly the days when things were simpler and less evil.

She is very much the archetypical makcik, and so, is in fact, a sculptured result of Malaysia-hood.

Even more than that, she was and is part of a legion of women who have been empowered by the global phenomenon known as Avon and there is no overestimating the effect that the world's most-recognisable direct-selling cosmetics company has had on thousands, if not millions, of Malaysians.

The Avon lady is yet another cliche, but when you find someone who has found success through it, it is a joyous one.

Kak Pah, as she seems to be referred to by everyone other than family, has gained more than her share of fortune from signing up as a dealer one fateful day in 1977, although it was a case of necessity rather than initiative.

"I had just given birth to my first child and my salary was tiny. I was earning RM600 but the house loan was RM400. I needed a form of side income.

"I have always been interested in business, but I had no capital. Then I saw one of Avon's first advertisements saying `We need dealers!' So I called the hotline and a sales manager, a Chinese lady, I remember, brought over a huge catalogue. And suddenly, I was selling RM200 of products a campaign. Nowadays, I can sell RM8,000 a campaign," Kak Pah told us at the Avon Beauty Boutique (ABB) in Ampang Jaya.

The ABB is part of the direct-selling system Avon employs nowadays, allowing dealers to place orders and collect products instantaneously at a store close by.

In its humbler beginnings in August 1977, Avon had only six staff in a little office to service its 400 dealers, who included Latifah Tak.

The system for which Avon is famous for might have undergone some tweaking as the years passed - for example, a campaign, which involves tactical discounts and promotions, lasts only two weeks as opposed to three when they first started - but the basic elements remain the same.

You sell the goods on micro-credit based on orders from your customers and Avon only collects on this. It's risk-free and the more you sell, the larger your "discount", which is in essence, your cut of the takings.

This has led to a phenomenal 370,000 dealers finding themselves on Avon Malaysia's database, selling RM280 million worth of Avon's expanded range of products per year, from the original line of cosmetics to undergarments and even household items.

Kak Pah was, in fact, once Malaysia's number one dealer, according her legendary status amongst her peers when she breached RM60,000 back in 1982. But as the brand gained a foothold, even sales of RM250,000 didn't win her the award again.

She hovers at about half of that nowadays but this still means that her own coffers were enlarged by over RM45,000 last year.

Now aged 60, she might have slowed down a bit and enjoys the pensioner's life, but she's still quite the prolific salesgirl, claiming that in half-an-hour's walkabout in her "turf", she can hit sales of RM1,000.

"When I was still a phone operator in Mara, I used to only have the two breaks to take orders. But if there's even a few minutes when there are no customers, I get itchy. It's like a phobia. I'll immediately get up and start looking for orders.

"I won't even stop to chat. I'll say, `You want to order or not? Don't want, don't waste my time.'"

Despite her caustic manner, she is admired far and wide. Even her superiors at Mara hail her as a success story and use her as an example at seminars.

"A lot of Malays come in asking for loans to start businesses. My director used me as an example to other entrepreneurs - that one does not even need to borrow a single sen."

Nowadays, she's enjoying the fruit of her labours. When visiting her happy hunting ground near the Mara building on Jalan Raja Laut - which includes several government offices and both Sogo and Pertama Complex - she'll even stop by at the old cafeteria and sit down for a chat.

"It's basically a ladies' club. No guys allowed. Just for us to sembang-sembang."

It mirrors Avon's nearly jaundiced commitment to women.

As Kak Pah says, from "top to bottom", Avon covers a spectrum of women's products. Its corporate social responsibility revolves around breast cancer, with a programme called KEBAL, an acronym for Kesan Barah Awal (Detect Cancer Early).

Kak Pah is unflinching and nearly militant about what Avon has done for women around the country.

"When I needed help to support my new family, nobody helped me. Only Avon was there," she claimed emphatically.

Yet, at the same time, it is her own canny business sense that has seen her prosper. Unlike the typical Avon lady, she has never gone door-to-door.

"If you go around the neighbourhood to housewives, their money is all derived from their husband, so they need permission. But if you work the office-going circuit, then these are empowered women with disposable income. They are the ones who will buy whatever they want."

And the young female executive in KL, above all else, apparently wants to smell nice.

Kak Pah sells hundred-ringgit bottles of perfume by the dozen each campaign and fondly recalls a time when this trend saw her bag an incentive trip to Paris.

"They were asking us to push some perfume back in the mid-90s. It was RM79 per bottle of perfume and we had to sell 300 of it in a year. Senang aje, in one month habis. After that, Avon never challenged us again. I wish they would," she snickered cheekily.

For someone who grew up in the kampungs of Kampung Baru and Jeram (near Kuala Selangor), visiting places like Paris was quite a thrill even if by then, she had been to cities such as Cairo, Istanbul and London.

She remembers her first overseas trip though, and despite the immaculate makeup she had on, there was a slight blush when she related the tale.

"Avon took the top 20 dealers in the country to Bangkok in the early 80s. I wanted to buy some cloth and mistakenly thought 2,300 baht per metre came up to about RM20 when in fact, it was more than RM200. When he was cutting it, I realised to my horror my mistake. I told him I had to look for friend. I went into the bus, sweating profusely, refusing to come out. I was afraid I'd get walloped by those Siamese! I was as pale as a ghost!"

But all her success was not driven by greed or ambitions to see the world - although she often ironically refers to how glamorous her life is - but by a deeply rooted sense of maternal instinct.

The same way Avon affords her credit, she also extends the same privilege to her customers, many of whom are young `uns still making their way in life.

"They like to joke about how shopping at Kak Pah's is the best in the world because you don't have to bring any money," she told us.

There's always a good helping of beauty advice and recommendations on bras, girdles and corsets. One of fondest memories are girls as young as five coming up to her and asking to buy lip gloss. Then there's the 38-year-old woman who called her `cik', only to learn that she was pushing 60.

"Her skin was so bad, her face so wrinkled, so I took her under my wing for a few months to show her how to turn back the clock.

"It's hard to imagine Malaysia without Avon. Malaysian women are so beauty conscious, and Avon has made it affordable," she said with a somewhat ridiculously philosophical tone.

But it isn't really that ridiculous. She's seen her fortunes shoot through the roof because of Avon, so why not any number of these women?

Certainly, she attributes the funding of her two daughters' education in the United Kingdom - four years apart with a brother aged 28 between them - to Avon. In that indirect sense, Avon has affected these women's lives who are now both successful executives in their own right.

The elder of the two did obtain help from Mara and the younger worked part-time to ease the burden but Kak Pah insists that the steady flow of income from Avon was a big help.

"I remember my youngest worrying that she might not attain her dream of following in her sister's footsteps because her mum was "just an Avon dealer". So one day I told her, "Open my handbag and look". When she did, she found it stuffed with cold hard cash from my sales. That was the end of any money worries."

(Both Mara and JPJ had also rejected her daughter's applications for financial aid, claiming that their orders were to look into "critical" fields such as medicine and engineering.)

"When she graduated, the Malaysian embassy in UK wanted her to work for them. My daughter was keen but I insisted she come home. Tell the Government to hire their `critical' graduates," she pointed out sarcastically.

"Avon kept me too busy to raise more children. I didn't really have much leisure time when I was working either. I'd go with my husband to watch a movie or a live band at a hotel but mainly I kept myself occupied with Bakat."

Officially the Armed Forces' Family Welfare Organisation, it is also known as the Wives Assocation Movement and Kak Pah was chairperson of her particular branch. Even here, she showed her matriarchal side.

"I really didn't like the protocol involved with the officers' wives. I preferred mixing with the lower-ranking girls, playing badminton or berjoget."

Her service in Bakat eventually earned her a Pingat Pangkuan Negara from the then Agong, Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin, the Raja of Perlis.

But more than a businesswoman, more than a kampung girl done good, Kak Pah is first and foremost, a mother. And she is a mother to her country - you can see her brow furrow when waxing philosophical about our current state of affairs.

She is unreserved in both her enthusiasm of living in Malaysia but also wistful in wishing it didn't come with so many side effects.

Like any proud mother, she sees this nation as successful and affluent although she believes that the moral landscape of today has taken a turn for the worse.

"Actually, I've never felt the economic downturns. Working for Avon, I've always hit my targets. You look around and people have more disposable income than ever. Now we even consider things like cosmetics and beauty products to be necessities. How many KL women go around without their compacts and moisturiser?

"We used to take taxis from Kampung Baru to the shopping centres, paying just 40 sen. Now, we sit in a Mercedes and our younger generation drives Japanese cars. Maybe our roads are a bit sesak, but it doesn't bother me.

"What bothers me is this fear. I just pray May 13 never happens again. I mean, I was living in Kampung Baru itself. We were afraid of everything and everyone. We couldn't even go to work!"

Kak Pah's other fear is how jahat people have become, in particular, sexual fiends.

"Nowadays, we even have fathers raping daughters. I wonder if the problem is due to the television and the Internet. Since the 90s, people have access to all sorts of sexual content.

Back in those days, boys climb trees and spy on you but they won't touch you."

"We used to walk 5km to school and we'd be safe. Now, people get killed by snatch thieves outside their house. I used to hitch lifts on bicycles to go for my Quran classes. Does anyone dare to take a lift nowadays?"

She recognises all this is somehow inexorably linked to the progress we've had and will readily admit that she's enjoyed as much modernity as the next person. But when push comes to shove, she'd rather things the way they were.

"My hope for the future is that Malaysia becomes a safer place. We want our development and people want bigger pay cheques. But the smiles you see when they get their bonuses can so easily be wiped out by the evil things that could happen to them."

But as Kak Pah settles to life as a matriarchal grandmother, she can look back at a life that was lived to the full with experiences and wisdoms that will be passed on to her children and grandchildren - as cliched as that might seem.

(Copyright 2007)

Thursday, October 9, 2014

the root

been thinking about my parents lately..
it was the eid, and as my hubby was not around, i followed abah celebrated raya haji in jitra. truth is, i don't really look forward to go back to kedah. it has always been like that since like forever. the journey was long hours, dragging and tiring. and there were no good source of entertainment back in that small kampung of mine...
but somehow, this time, i was reminiscing. i was reminded of how we used to stop by the road just to enjoy the durian eating session, though i was never a fan of durians. i was brought back to those times when i enjoyed the stop at bukit berapit, having mama's nasik lemak by the waterfall, swimming in the cold cold river flows. it was all fun and laughters. i remembered having good kampung meals by the sideroad where the food were good and demn cheap.
all the boys get nowadays is just a rnr pitstop.. how boring!
nope, i would consider that as unlucky.
as we reached the old house, i saw cute little ketupats, homemade by my 87 years old half-senile grandma. it's heartbreaking. she would always prepare her own curry spices using her batu giling, barbequed the fresh meat with that good sambal asam of hers. she would ask my grandad to catch their own chicken breed, the real ayam kampung, to be fried for her grandkids from the city. she would force my wan to pluck the mangoesteen, rambutans and many sweet local fruits straight from the trees to fill our stomach.. sometimes, i wondered if her intention is to stuff us to death! i never realized all these little things she did, but somehow, now that she's aging, too weak to do anything, too old to remember where she put that glass of water that was on her hand two minutes ago, i was heartbroken. i cried. i wonder if i can bear to even imagine my mum or myself in that condition. my wan was another case. he has always been the tough healthy man. he still is at 95 years of old. but he's not as strong as he used to be.alhamdullillah.. he still recites the quran like he used to be. he has no memory loss, and that's great news. but then again, as i slept in on of the night and the electric breaker went off out of blue in the middle of the night, i cried. after the short raya stay, we'll make our move to go back to our own home. my cousin sister who they raised and stayed with them all this while will need to travel back to her college. what's left are just the two of them. two helpless old folks. they never wanted to leave the house. we totally get them. but of course, when the breaker kicked off in the middle of the night, will always end up them being in darkness, with the humid environment and mosquitos all over until someone come and check them out the next morning. yup, they used to hardship. they grew up with just candles and no fan, but they are now greatgrandparents. their strength were never the same as they used to be.
i cried.

of coz i was brought to mind about my beautiful atuk and nenek of kg baru. i missed them sooo much. sooo very much. it has been soooo long since i saw them in my dreams. i dreamed of nenek last month, she came in my dream. she was in the white telekung, looking at me and smiling. she was all bright and pure. and i still can recall that smile she carved for me. i miss her that i cry everytime i think of her, up till now. moga atuk nenek berada dalam keberkatan dan digolongkan dalam golong orang2 beriman. ya allah, sampaikan doa ku untuk mereka. both atuk nenek will always have a special place in my heart. that smart looking atuk who will bring back a pack of goldleaf ciggies with some sweets or icecreams for us. that beautiful ceylonist nenek who will make sure the grandkids were all done with food and enough sleep. i miss them, and i can see them again, as much as i wish.
i cry.

as my dad drove back to kl after the short break, we passed through simpang pulai. my dad was so excited telling the boys how he fought the communist last time. he still remember there were pokok pisang where the communist would still the bananas, there were hills up high where the communist would ran and dissappeared and their operations took days and nights, and yet, it was unsuccessful as the communist managed to hideaway. and as my elder asked his grandpa 'was it a difficult life before merdeka, atuk?' i started my version of "you know, aidan aimar.. you boys are very very lucky. i was lucky and you guys are luckier. atuk, nenek, tok wang, tok ki did not have an easy life".. and my mum continued with sharing her life being a 'gung-ho' as she need to survive in the village and would just 'stole' the neighbours banana leaf so that she can sell it off for an exchange of few coins for her to pay for her bus fare to the 5km walk school. and the life they had was never an easy one, and they were such a survivor.. a successful one when they can raised all of us in the most convenience life we had. they still survived and worked till today. and i was reminded of how i easy i had my walk of growing ups at their expenses.
i am still crying.

i won't know what will both my hubby and i will become. we know where we come from, and we much aware of the path we are taking. next, it has been written perfectly by the almighty.  

aidan, aimar, aivey,
as you read this posting of mine, i want you to remember where we came from. a looooonnnggg way. we owe everything to the ancestors. to atuk, nenek, tok wang, tok ki, moyang, tok nek, tok nyang and many more. go and travel. explore the world. but always remember your roots.

aidan, aimar, aivey,
mama aboh always wanted you to be successful and happy life. but what most, mama aboh prayed hard for you to become anak yang soleh solehah, getting a barakah in life and hereafter. we may not be as rich as you might wish (gosh, the house is way too expensive nowadays, and i'd wonder how much it will cost to own even a room in your future life).. but we wanted you to learn and make use the knowledge you gain for good sake, dunia akhirat.

aidan, aimar, aivey,
nanti, bila mama aboh tua, nyanyuk dan tak larat, jangan sampai kitorang kene minta simpati untuk dibela. mama aboh tau kitorang besarkan anak2 yang baik, soleh, solehah yang tau tanggungjawab anak. carik isteri suami yang solehah soleh. jaga mama aboh, jaga mentua sebaik mungkin.

aidan, aimar,
jadi lelaki banyak tanggungjawab. tanggungjawab dengan allah, rasul dan agama. tanggungjawab kat mama aboh and mentua. tanggungjawab kat adik beradik, tanggungjawab kat isteri anak2. tanggungjawab kerja dan amanah. dan semua lagi. mama aboh are trying our best to prepare you guys for that. you guys are good kids. insyallah, it's not difficult. but sometimes, we human being keep forgetting. memang syaitan dah janji ngan allah nak buat kita lalai. kita sama2 doa. kita sama2 usaha. insyallah, anak2 hero mama aboh ni bagus2, bijak pandai. ingat antara pinta mama, nanti, kalau sampai umur kitorang berjumpa yang Esa, tolong mandikan kami, jaga aib kami, kafankan kami, solatkan kami, teman kami hingga ke liang lahad, dan jangan putus sedekah doa dan amal untuk kami. that will be my request, if i only have one request. ingat ye sayang. if i have to beg, i am begging. but then again, mama aboh tau, anak mama aboh ni bagus2 orangnya. insyaallah, aidan aimar ingat pesan mama tu.

jadi perempuan tak senang. ye, dosa pahala masa tak kawin aboh tanggung, dah kawin suami tanggung. jangan lupa ye. aboh sayang vv. husband vv sayang vv, insyaallah. sebab diorang sayang, vv tolong diorang jaga diri vv. carik suami yang tak tanggungjawab suami. carik yang boleh bimbing vv. carik yang tau tanggungjawab dia dekat mak abah die, dekat mama aboh vv. vv belaja sungguh2. jadik budak pandai. ye, kite kene dengar cakap suami. mama selalu jadik budak yang dapat hadiah masa kat hari penyampaian hadiah kat sekolah. mama gi oversea direct lepas SPM. mama duduk belajar kat negeri omputeh 5 thn. mama keje jadik engineer, siap gi iraq masa saddam hussein hidup lagi, panjat plant mtbe nak install 24" valve, keje kat 52nd floor of world's tallest twin towers (still, at times of writing).. pastu mama is looking forward to the long break in my life. sebab mama yakin dengan suami mama. die cukup bertanggungjawab, insyaallah. pesan mama, vv ingat allah, rasul, dan agama. vv jadik anak, adik, isteri, ibu, nenek yang sebagus boleh. vv anak mama aboh. anak mama aboh semua bagus2, bijak pandai, sopan santun, baik amal budi tutur. insyallah, vv ingat pesan mama ek.

you are fine, you'll be fine, you'll do fine
doa banyak-banyak
you came from the best root, you surely will survive fantastically.


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

our unsung hero

i know, what i'm about to write was never in my outstanding list.
but then again, before the heat gone mellow, i need to write this out.
congratulation along!!
well, i was not much an athlete myself, but others than kak ain is! i am more of the nerd and geek in the family.

yesterday, my cousin, mohd ezuan bin nasir khan came back from incheon, korea. after so many trips, after so many arrivals, after so many competitions, after so many years, his arrival yesterday was the most waited one.. truth is, it was not the usual comeback. it's payback time.

when he got in the sek bukit jalil to be trained as one of the candidate to become a national shooter, i was impressed. all of us were. i didn't even knew that he was into shooting. it was a hobby that he put in when his dad-who-spoilt-his-kids-to-death included along's name to join the subsidized shooting club at his workplace. obviously, the expert saw him, and offered to train him professionally and he was only fourteen (if i wasn't mistaken). i was not supportive as i never knew he would go far being a sportsman in malaysia. anyhow anywho, he was in bukit jalil like as long as we could remember.

he was progressing quite well, representing kuala lumpur, selangor and in the national team (but was usually the benchwarmer).  when he won the gold in sukma the first time, the whole family were so proud of him. then, he won too many national medals, but never internationally. so, the medals were norm. as shooting was never the favourite game like football, badminton and few others, the attention from the nation and us the family were so-so. when he won, he won, when he doesn't, no harm done.
somehow, he wasn't performing at par and was being 'kicked' from the national team. the navy took him when bukit jalil slashed him out. of course there were politics and dramas, but am in no position to write about it here.

July this year, he impressed me when he told me he was leaving for scotland to represent malaysia in the commonwealths' games. the family and i were never been so proud to know one of the sportsmen leaving for the country was this skinny bone guy, along, as his nicked has always been. he missed the eid celebration and the lil brother's engagement event for that. he didn't won anything, but being in the 6th place for the 10m air rifle men in the commonwealths' games was something that he should be proud of himself. we were hopeful, but was never disappointed.

and this month, he was off to incheon. the family prayed hard. we wanted him to win a medal for us. we wanted more than anyone can imagine to see jalur gemilang being flagged during the award ceremony, and if we were lucky, we even hear negaraku to be played.

like the usual, we didn't send him off. his twenty five and that was not his first international games. and mind you, travelling on a ticket of being not a favourite sports, he wasn't being spoilt with hard cash.. maybe it's the same to all sportment.but to along, i sympathized. he went there with not much of a pocket money. he didn't earned much from his monthly navy's income. and due to him going to the asian game, he was not been given any allowance. yup, no allowance given when he went to scotland two month before, and even now. hmmm.... i wonder where the tax money i paid to the lhdn all these while.

i remember telling him "long, i won't be asking much, at least as silver medal"..

like the usual, his dad will be updating us religiously on his son's progress. he would text the group asking for prayers. he would text the group telling his son was doing ok. until last thursday, he text us "tengok awani, along masuk final 50m rifle"... and we were like ...ha!!!!!!! biar betul.. most of us were in the office that noon. but, never could i managed to describe in words how proud we were when our uncle told us "along dapat silver"... i knew, my uncle was still shocked. he always believed in his son. when others pushed him away, my uncle never failed to support him. at times me writing this, i was smiling.. my uncle was telling us how everybody in his office was taking photo of his son's medal - what the heck he brought the medal with him to the office? :)

that night, when we saw how calm he competed, and was defeated by 0.6 points (suddenly we knew about rifle scoring.... bimbo us!).. i got goosebumped. this boy, m ezuan nasir khan, 25 years old, has his future ahead.

it was never in the list of medal to be won. and as-to-date, out of 20 medals from the athletes for putting malaysia on the 10th place in the game, came from our dear cousin, m ezuan nasir khan. it was the first time ever for men's shooting team to ever won any medal in asian game.. this nobody kid from kg baru wrote the country's history. if we were proud of him, i couldn't describe how both my uncle and auntie felt. he came back yesterday. my aunt cried hugging her elder boy. i wasn't there, but as i saw the clip from the news just now, i knew the emotion was everywhere.

takpelah long orang tendang ko sana sini
takpelah long keje ntah seberapa gaji ntah banyak mana nak mewah2 mmg tak logik
takpelah long takde banner sebesar klia yang datang sambut ko balik
takpelah long
pandai2 kitorang ni, belum lagi tersampai nak dapat peluang harumkan nama negara ni
bijak2 kitorang ni, belum lagi termampu nak masuk tv, reporter interview tanye apa rasa bila buat satu malaysia terkejut
terer2 kitorang ni, belum lagi terdaya nak buat mama papa bangga bila dengar orang cakap "wah, anak kak aya menang medal untuk malaysia.."
ada orang dengki cakap nasib baik je tu
ada orang iri cakap, la... naper silver, dapat gold baru gempak
ada orang tamak cakap, banyak ke duit dapat menang silver?
ada orang cemburu cakap, bukan favourite sport pun, competition gitu-gitu je

whatever it is, please know, we were proud of you.
on  behalf of the family, thank you along...
kalau panjang umur nenek atuk, mesti happy diorang cucu die harumkan nama negara
thank you, along.

Monday, September 22, 2014

bila keadaan memaksa

Dear Human Resource of a Prestigious Multinational  Oil Company of Malaysia, 

I am writing this on my fourth anniversary of me working with this company that I once adore so much. Sadly, the tone of my writing won't be as excited as I was four years ago. In fact, thinking of what was in my head and my heart, I've cried a river...

I've submitted my resignation two weeks ago.
The reason was straight-forward -. NO EMPATHY from the so-called "HUMAN" Resource Dept.
As I was made known that in any big organization company, an exit interview should be done prior to any departure of any staff, I am so looking forward for the session. However, just 'in case' the 'time' and opportunity is not there for my exit interview, I'm summarizing everything all at once in this posting. 

I'll try to'behave' in my writing, I'll try to 'understand' the overall picture but I can't promise that I won't be 'bias' in my own opinion and thoughts. I have no intention to compete with the infamous farewell letter by Mr Rafizi, though I really wish I could have such a good structured writing skill like his. I have no intention to join the politics should anyone would ask "what will you do after Petronas?"

so.. here's the deal..

i want to be part of PETRONAS
When I've completed my BEng (Hons) in Communication and Control from UMIST, Manchester, UK (which was listed as top 5 engineering school in 1998) I always wanted to join PETRONAS. Being a MARA scholar and was in UK right after the SPM, we (the MARA and JPA scholares) were normally a 'second' class rated scholars as our monthly allowance was not as lavish as the PETRONAS, SHELL, Bank Negara scholars. We shopped at the OXFAM while PETRONAS scholar can afford the New Look. I envied them, and I always wanted to join PETRONAS. The student body took care of their students well-being. I didn't managed to get hired by PETRONAS once I've graduted though I've been sending my resume every six-monthly. Somehow, I ended up marrying my PETRONAS-scholar boyfriend who was assigned to PMO, PCSB. 

My hubby, always a smart genius. At least, in my opinion. Though he's too 'mobile' as his manager would put it, he scored well during his PPA. He managed to secure handsome bonus every year. Being as one of the top rated, high-flyer, and even in the HPS list, he was rewarded very well, just as much as the company valued him. On the other hand, him being bonded with PETRONAS would mean I won't got a secure direct employment job offer from PETRONAS. 

And there was my younger sister, getting an offer as a HR executive with PETRONAS. Her stories was like a fairy tale. She went for a lecturer post interview, just to get slammed down by the interviewer due to her too specific degree course. Of course, she was bold enough to 'slammed' back the interviewers by giving them her own piece of mind. She impressed the PETRONAS interviewer who happened to be one of the panel. She was offered a job way before her graduation day. She was a hardworking girl, trust me, she's a sad workaholic if i have to label her. But a person with such high commitment and full of integrity, being a HR exec in PETRONAS is never and easy task for her. Typical 'orang kita', she was harassed for recommendations, begged for sympathies and threw at with vulgar words when she 'couldn't' help anyone being employed by PETRONAS. As if she owned the company. What i'm trying to tell is that, she couldn't be bother to 'sell' my resume to any of the PETRONAS management, just because... but of course, I envy her. She excelled with flying colours in what she was assigned to. Her higher management speaks highly of her.  

PETRONAS rewarded good people like my husband and my sister very well. yes, they rewarded others as well, but if you are excellence, the rewards were awesome! This is how they value their staff. 

my creditiantals
My first job experience was with a local company, which happened to be able to secure few jobs with the Iraqis under the UN sanctioned program. I was a fresh, young, lady engineer  involved with multi millions control system contract in Iraq. The company trusted the team and I so much and sent us off to Baghdad despite the challenges. It was surely a lifetime experience that no one could ever pay me with money. It was great. 

Somehow, being the ambitious me, despite of the great Iraqi experience, I took up the Western Digital product engineer. Just because, this are a MNC which just be awarded best employer of the year at that time. It was impressive to deal directly with the westerners after my middle-east experience. But, it didn't last long. I need to be in the oil & gas industry again. 

I got a great offer with one of the local contractor that was a joint-venture MNC based in US. I smoothly impressed the Greek-born VP and was handed the offer letter right after my interview. The company treated me well. It sharpened my technical knowledge with complete training, it challenged my leadership skill, it exposed me on how PETRONAS engineers really work (and nope, i'm not going to start on that..) I was satisfied with the company, despite the less than 3% yearly increment. Still, as my husband left PETRONAS, I saw my long buried ambition was re-lightened.

the opportunity not to be missed
I submitted my resume online. yup, i did ask my sister for a favour, but all she did was telling me we've received your resume. I was called for a chit-chat session which then led to the interview. Alhamdullillah, rezeki Allah tentukan, I was offered a post with SCM PCSB. Despite the reduced benefits, i was still thankful. Frankly, my husband hesitated. He was quite skeptical of letting his outspoken wife to be working in PETRONAS, especially the idea of me working in KLCC. But, he knew it has always been my dream, and that was the sacrifice he made for his love. My close friends doubted me. They said i won't be able to adapt with PETRONAS environment and culture. Somehow, the ambitious me who been wanting to be part of PETRONAS family was too strong in my veins, i put full confidence and took up the job offer. 

My first ten-month of working in PETRONAS was not something I was proud of. Asked my friends, I kept complaining.. not because of the high workload, but I felt my integrity was being put in jeopardy. My superior 'refused' to load me work, and I felt like I was overpaid and underworked. And as the department reshuffled, I was blessed for been given such opportunities to shine. I've gone through 2 PPA sessions,and I excelled in it. Being rated 2 in two consecutive years, it is something that I could bragged about. My management, up to my General Manager recognized my work. As a service provider, I believed I've done well and my users prefer to work with me for the next project though my superior had to reject the request as I was tied up with other assignments. I love my job. 

and i fell sick
And wham bam! I was diagnosed with Nasal Cancer Stage 3 in Nov 2013. I was needed to be put in the treatment right away. I told my superior and my management were made aware of my condition at that time. it has always about work when it come to my colleague, but i heard they initiated a solat hajat for the whole department, just to send prayers for my well-being, i shed tears.. never have i imagined i was so close to their hearts. with my loud voice, i always thought they won't bother about this girl who talked whatever she likes. but i was wrong. they proved me wrong. my Senior Manager cried when she met my sister asking my well-being back then. 

I've went through three chemo cycle in December. one cycle would take up three weeks. and after completed the chemo, I was put through a daily-thirty-three session of radiotheraphy. It wasn't an interesting experience to share. Even at the times of writing this, the side effects still around, and I was constantly reminded of the worst anyone could ever gone through. I shut everybody off during the treatment. I didn't accept any visitor as I couldn't be the cheerful me that they used to know. In june, I went through the MRI, and my oncologist told us there's no more active cancer cell behind my nose. alhamdullillah. we've fought the battle and won. 

I decided to come back to the office after raya, that was the first week in August. 

So what's missing here... the PROCEDURE and Company Policy. Yes, I was well aware with policies and procedures.. especially working with SCM, i respected policies, procedures and contractual agreements. something that i've learned, and upheld strongly. 

so here's the missing link..

such a commotion
i was sick since Dec, and shut everybody off even my sister during my weakest darkest life experience. it was only three months after that i talked about worked with my sister. i told her, please checked on things i need to submit to the HR as I've waaay past my MCs allocation. The HR Manager, Pn Fatimah, wrote an email to my manager, informing that she just got to know my condition and the email dated March 5th. Yup, there was a missing link when my manager didn't advised the HR accordingly right after. He was newly appointed, and if only other to be blame, being lack of experience would definitely be his defense. Shouldn't the HR briefed him well enough on his roles and responsibilities?  Anyhow, as I was requested for a medical report from my oncology for the HR to proceed with relevance leave documentations, my sister could only managed to to forward the medical report on April 22nd. My bad for being sick, it did take more than a month for me to get the document prepared and submitted to HR accordingly. 

The email chain stopped since then, and my sister wrote to the executive in-charge, Miss Siti Nadhirah, to pick-up the updates on June 26th, wanted to know my 'prolonged' illness status that we were under the impression the HR has been working on as there were no communication after April 23rd. A reply from Nadhirah came on June 28th., telling my sister in the email (which I was not in the loop) the followings:
i. HR is currently deliberating based on the report submitted and engaging the Internal Health Advisor (IHA). At that moment, HR are not able to advise any status yet for the way forward
ii. (Due to my scheme B insurance plan, my insurance benefit reached its limit and kindly HR is considering to increase the limit) HR requested the rejected medical billings to be submitted for their further perusal. 
iii. HR advised me to take up MCs eventhough I insisted to start work in July (blimey!), and HR will follow up with the IHA and expedite the matter in order to see whether I is fit to work immediately. 
On July 1st, Nadhirah wrote back to my sister (who is by the way not the same entity of my Operation Unit),stated that HR has submitted the medical report to IHA, but still not getting any feedback from them. HR advised myself to take up MCs as my sister's observation that I was still weak. HR requested me to submit MCs which I got a little confused in this request. Was the expectation is for me to get the MCs for every single day throughout my treatment? Aren't the medical reports stated is sufficient enough that I was having a treatment and won't be fit to work at that time? The HR also informed my sister that the rejected medical claims by the insurance were on their level 26 and will search and assist accordingly. 
Nadhirah, the executive in-charge, finally managed to get hold of  the patient's number (which I don't understand why couldn't they checked in the system) for her sister and called me on July 1st. She told me it was a courtesy call, and HR would like to make a courtesy visit if it was okay with me. well, can i deny such a courteous gesture? of course not. i text her my address, and i remember texting her correctly i.e. i leave in Ampang, Selangor and not Ampang, Sarawak. anyway, the text was left unreplied, and the visit was never in the picture. how silly of me to think that any HR officers would care about a cancer patient? I didn't even get a bouquet of flowers when i was warded.. my good must be not good enough to the organization that even the Human Resource doesn't care about me. 

Anyhow, on July 13th, Nadhirah wrote to my sister informing that the IHA was outstation for 2 weeks. Nadhirah requested MCs from me for their next course of action (and as-to-date, I still wonder what sort of MCs she was expecting for.. the MCs for a GP? my oncologist letter is insufficient?) She also informed that she has received the rejected AIA claims to be forwarded for the Management's consideration (on the request to increase the burst limit). 

I came to the office after the long raya holidays. Truth was, I wasn't very well, but waiting for the IHA to set a meet-up date with me was like forever. Furthermore, I'm sure all Nadhirah would advised was for me to go and get MCs, again and again. She might not know, I was not an MC person. I would prefer to take EL if I were down with migraine, and sleep whole through day and back on my feet the day after. Even I was dead sick, and the GP was not giving me the MC without me asking, i would make time to go to the office. and so, I came to the office, reported to my manager, after nearly eight month of not working. finally, it's not really the work, but as the company never fail to pay my monthly salary, how could i just sit at home and take up the payment for not doing anything. yes, my physical strength are surely limited, but, doing some reporting, analysis, readings and few documentations might help my brain to start exercising. 

the first thing i did was called Nadhirah up. She shut me off. She said she's bit tied up on that day, and let's make up on Friday for brief chat. and how silly was i, of course i have to go to their floor rather than them visiting the 52nd floor of the same tower. The Friday chit chat was never been materialized. Nadhirah never returned my call. I was informed that she was busy with Malam Sekalung Budi. Poor girl, for an executive (E1, perhaps), she was tied up with sooo many responsibilities. so i fully understood how busy her manager would be as I never heard from this famous Pn Fatimah. 

I finally wrote an email to my HR on Sept 2nd, requesting a session to meet up with them and my manager was also asking the same. Nadhirah did not reply, but Fatimah replied on Sept 4th, requesting to meet up at their level (level 26) of the same day. My manager and I came down to 26th floor and were caught by a surprise as the brief chit chat happened to be formal discussion in the Senior Manager's office, Pn Farizun. That should be better. The senior management concerned. 

As I was greeted, the first few words I heard from her was "your case were brought to our attention quite late, it was like two months ago...".. and there goes my expectation to understand the company's requirements, policies and everything went ka-ba-boom!!! yes, called me not professional and was way too driven by emotion, but a senior manager of an HR department of a prestigious company, a Fortune500 listed company speak her mind loudly and in the open to a senior executive, who thought she did well in her job all these while and were always given a handsome bonus every time the PPA result were concluded, who just came to work to the office after her long medical critical illness treatment, who was diagnosed as a nasal cancer stage 3 person and will always need to tick the cancer box in m on any of the past health history screening form, a person who felt obligated to go to work because she received monthly payments despite she was away for medical treatment, an employee who has limited benefit and yet her husband paid for the medical expenses without complaining and she still insisted of devoting herself to her so-called career...yup, the ice-breaking conversation spoke by Pn Farizun, the senior manager of Human Resourced Dept of PETRONAS Carigali Sdn Bhd, at that point of time really stepped off the wrong foot. 

Yes, I was made understood that the HR can't proceed with my paper work due to no MCs from the hospital.. for goodness sake.. my oncologist has put it in his report clearly I was diagnosed with Nasal Cancer Stage 3, had undergone the treatment of both chemo and radiotherapy and has compiled the almost-daily blood test report for any health professional could interpret as me not fit to work. And the HR couldn't proceed with my case and pending the paperwork. How professional the PETRONAS IHA, anyway? and should there be any pending documents, how difficult for the IHA to be in touch with my oncologist, who happened to be a panel doctor for PETRONAS as he was in Prince Court Medical Center which PETRONAS identified as the listed panel hospital? 

My manager admitted that he didn't advised HR immediately when I was away for my medical treatment. So, has he just been getting the promotion, was there really a session by a HR officer to advised him his roles and responsibility? I wonder..

Without the HR asking, I told them my traumatized treatment experience. I was teary. Not because i was playing the sympathy game, but, truth was I hate thinking of the moment.. not even at that point, not even now, not even ever!

There goes the HR playing their roles game. I was briefed that due to the late acknowledgement (March was still late and this meeting took up in September when Farizun blasted me with telling without checking her facts right that they only got to know about it two months ago, so was it May now??????) to them, and insufficient documents, for goodness sake, they will still proceed with my case, but will need to back-dated everything. In the meantime, I am still considered as an AWL employee.. offense no 1 in the Code of Conduct!!!!!! As for my appraisals and others, there won't be any increment or anything as I was away from the office for more than six month.

I was sooo clueless at this point of time. 

Nope, not because of the increment and appraisal. I fully understood that. How could I be appraised and deserved and increment if I was not working? I just wanted to hear from the HR that I won't be in the non-performance list as that won't be fair to me and my employment record. Yes, I believe in reputation and recorded as non-performance will surely be damaging to my beautiful record. 

I was clueless when she mentioned I was an AWL case. What the hell was she thinking and saying that out loud straight to my face and all her executive and manager i.e. Nadhirah and Fatimah did not utter a single word! What was she trying to prove? That I am at their mercy??

I was clueless when she explained that she will have to backdate all the report bla bla bla. Do whatever you have to do ladies. But don't put me in your guilty loop. The Human Resource Dept that should promote integrity was trying to tell an executive that the report to their management might need to be backdated? at least, that's how I interpreted it. If at their defense, they don't mean that, I apologize. You might need to brush up your communication skill especially in conveying information. 

I was still clueless with her just made known about my case two month before Sept. Pn Farizun, though your manager started contacted my manager in the first week of March, and you were only being put in the email loop in April, that was not two month, that was five month.. and it might even have dragged if I didn't initiate the email to officially requested for the session with HR after I came to the office. It took one month and you executive Nadhirah just left me blank. Do you research well. Dig out the old the trail..all Nadhirah was asking is to ask my sister to ask her sister to go to the panel doctor for the MCs. Don't come to work. The IHA will be in touch, but till now, I wonder what was the result of the first medical report that I've submitted and was sent to the IHA in June. Nobody in HR answered that question, and until today it left unanswered, mysteriously.

I was still clueless on many things, and I was still clueless how could a HR person who never seems to pretend to care could show NO empathy at all on the first brief meeting that intended to bombard a cancer survivor named me. 

The day after the meet up, I wrote the resign letter. It was out of emotion, but yes, up until today, I was ashamed to be associated with this prestigious company after what I've gone thru with the Human Resource Department. 

I night be just one person, a low-profile executive and worth not much to the company. My views might not do any harm to the organization, not as much as the famous Rafizi's letter. But I need to write this down. I need to tell others, how shattered a person could be when she looked up into such prestigious organization, speaks highly of the company, being proud of been able to work in the tallest twin tower, and was bullied by the Human Resource Department by the name of work policy and denied empathy by any human just because she was a cancer survivor. 

It's not worth my time. 


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

a no title

again and again,
i would start my blog with ".. gosh, this is long overdue posting.."..
but what the heck
there's a few in the list

i. the 10th wedding anniversary
ii. the kenduri kesyukuran
iii. the tun mahathir's encounter
iv. the aivey is now 3
v. the 4th working with petronas anniversary and sooo looking forward for the last day of working
vi. the health update
bla bla bla

bear with me

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

all of us

"vv ni manje sangat lah"
"vv tak manje, mama manje"
"mama manje? kenapa mama manje"
"aboh.." (a going-to-be-three-year old girl's answer, trying to tell her mama that was what her father's called her mom, 'manje'

it's august...
tomorrow, it will mark our tenth year wedding anniversary, the day i was officially his wife, the day he was my 'abang', and we pray it's for eternity, insyaallah...
i was soaked with emotions lately.
it's been a decade..
of course i've imagined this day will come..
we were happily married.
we celebrated the anniversary in the most grande celebration..
he showered me with lots of expensive gifts..
and many more..
but then, he won't be around on the day itself.
he's going to be working, offshore..
but then again, we'll be clebrating it once he's back..soo looking forward for the day..

i want this feeling, eternally
feeling of being the most luckiest girl having him as my husband
feeling of being endowed with sooo much blessing for the life i'm in now
feeling of being so true to myself and could never thank allah enough with all that has been bestowed upon me and our family

he may not be a perfect spouse and neither do i
i won't lie that there wasn't a time that i locked myself in the bathroom for crying outloud as a protest of being pissed at him
of course he raised his voice at me once a while when i was in my stubborn-head mode (and it scares me when i see myself in aivey's)
there were times we yelled at each other just because we were sore losers and we forgotten about each other's feelings
and the list goes on...

that's the beauty in one's marriage life!

we went through a lot
sweet and sour
hot and spicy
and i can never thank allah for letting me the chance to build the life with this special guy
he's handsome - he's my full time model
(and if zul ariffin is sweet when he smile 'senget'ly, wait till you see his senget original!)
he's smart - he's my wikipedia, my google, my walking dictionary
he takes up responsibilities - what a lucky wife i am, i spend my money, and i spend his money too.. i spend his money more than he spend his!
he's full of tolerance - trust me, you don't want to deal with a half dead human being who is going through 8 times chemo and 33 times radio.. ask him - it's a hell..
he's rational -you can never win an argument with the girl you love, but win their heart, and you'll be your own winner
he picks fight - he asks questions until he gets the answers that he wants to hear, not the answers what his wife tells him.. carik pasal kan tu?
he breaks promises - when he said "be there in five minutes", don't take his words unless you want to waste your time nagging about time management
he sleeps unconsciously - be it a fire in the house, may we were there with him or he'll fry himself
he's hopeless romantic -  he dedicates to me a song (finally, it;s a mellow love song): lagu john legend, all of me. fyi, the last song he dedicated to me was butterfly, crazytown (still love that song though)
he's so chandler - he's full of sarcasms and yet you laugh
too many of him, as much as me in us
i love him head to toe
i love him for all he is for he love me the same
i love him
i love him
i love him

happy 10th anniversary and let's pray for a lot of tens more, insyallah
i still want to do a lot of my first times with you..
and i want to go through with you for your many firsts too..

150 Juta - Fynn Jamal
Untuk kali keseratus lima puluh juta
Mereka tanyakan engkau soalan yang sama
“Eh kenapa kau masih lagi mahukan dia?”
“Apa kau buta, apa kau pura-pura suka”

Di seratus lima puluh juta kali itu
Di depan semua engkau tarik tangan aku
Yang sedang buat muka kosong tak ambil tahu
Sambil ketawa engkau bilang satu per satu

“Dia mungkin bengis seperti singa”
“Tapi dia nangis tonton cerita Korea”
“Dia mungkin keras bila bersuara”
“Tapi dia jelas, jujur apa adanya”

“Aku lagi kenal dia”

Dah lebih seratus lima puluh juta kali
Aku pesan padamu apa yang bakal jadi
Engkau dan aku ada mungkin tidak serasi
Engkau sangat manis, aku ini pula dawai besi

Di setiap seratus lima puluh jutanya
Aku pun dalam hati semacam tak percaya
Apa kau lihat pada aku jujurkan saja
Terus kau cubit dagu aku, sambil berkata

“sayang mungkin baran tak kira masa
tapi sayang tahan kalau yang salah saya
sayang mungkin saja keras kepala
tapi sayang manja bila kita berdua–

saya kenal sayang saya”

Buat apa dicerita
Bahagia kita rasa
Biar tak dipercaya
Peduli orang kata

Baju ronyok tak apa
Asal pakai selesa
Berkilau tak bermakna
Kalau hati tak ada

Aku lebih bengis dari sang naga
Tapi bisa nangis semata demi cinta
Suaraku keras tak berbahasa
Kerna aku rimas gedik mengada-ngada

Aku mudah baran tidak semena
Mana boleh tahan angin cemburu buta
Dan aku sengaja tunjuk keras kepala
Aku punya manja, kau saja boleh rasa

Rahsia kita berdua. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

and after three months

the MRI report was out on 23rd June, yeen's 32nd birthday (sorry sis, no intention in stealing the limelight from you...).

I was nervous, very, indeed. it was good of my dear hubby to console me over and over. we went in the morning and was told that our oncologist will only be available in the afternoon. yup, I even messed up the appointment time. we were supposed to meet the onco in the afternoon, but we came in the morning... told 'cha, I was nervous!

so, our morning were filled with other chores. time flies without us realized it.. and it was time for the appointment.

despite my nervousness, my blood pressure was pretty low.. 70/44.. hmmm
as we were called upon, we went to the clinic with hope, questions and many more.

it was a routine check by the onco, and he finally broke the news that from the MRI showed that there's no more active cancer cells in my neck area...

until today, when i looked back on the journey, it still left me unspoken. it's definitely allah's blessing allowing to live life to become a person i should rather than the person i've been. alhamdullillah. i broke into tears and i still do when i recall the moment. its a life experience that i want my kids to know, one day.

and of course, i wasn't alone.
yes, it was a sufferings getting through the meds and treatments.
yes, the recovery was not easy as i might have thought.
yes, it took a toll on every loved ones who surroundings me.
but alhamdullah..
with allah's blessing, i am where i am now because the love showered on me
the patience my hubby put up with all my antics
the sleepness night my parents had taking carw of their grown up eldest child
the time and money on travelling back and fourths my siblings and my in-laws spent
and i must say, with all my heart to all our relatives and friends, near and far, physical and virtual, the well wishers really helped me going through the days..
nobody could imagine  how powereful could it be for even a 'like' on a fb status on a statement such 'its better than yesterday' really made my days... true! i can't imagine too...
those buddies who wanted to come and visit me but i resisted, please accept my apologies. i won't lie, i was sick and at that point i felt soo useless that i prefer to be alone.
but today, looking back, all those prayers from a friend that has been lost touch with you for nearly two decades did helped me went through 'that' phase of my life....

i can never be thankful enough
these blessings are beyond words
my syukur to allah, and keep on praying that i will always remember the purpose of me living
my prayers and well wishers to all kind hearted people who care sooo much
terima kasih dan moga dirahmatiNya