20 Feb 2011

Wan's wedding preparations

My second son - Ridzuan is getting married in April - months earlier than he expected. A  normal Malay wedding is full of tradition and needs a lot of preparation before hand - for some even the engagement ceremony is again full of age old customs and traditions. There's the merisik ceremony, in which the groom's parents goes to the bride's house to formally propose. In this ceremony, the groom's parents will normally bring a ring as a sign of intent. After the usual chit chat and social niceties, the parents will broach the subject to the girl's parents. If the parents agree, then a dowry and an engagement date is  set.  

In Wan's case everything was made easy by Emma's family  and we agreed to have the wedding in April. Since then, every weekend has busy for me. This week it's putting on the final touches for the door gifts - the thank you cards. I'm glad nowadays we can get almost everything ready made. We bought all the gifts a few weeks back at Nilai. What with teaching and rushing around getting the preparations done, I'm left with very little time to read or  with anything else. As with most Malay weddings , we will have the  bersanding ceremony where the bride and groom sit on a dais and receive blessings from their family and friends. The dais or pelamin is a raised platform upon which the young married couple will sit. They will be dressed resplendently in wedding finery and the dais will be decorated to make it look like a throne. After blessing the couple, guests will receive a token, normally an egg to symbolise the fertility of the marriage.  All preparations will be done by the family of the bride and groom ( ie. the mother) and there is literally tons to do. The flowers to be ordered, door gifts to be prepared, the dais, the wedding finery, the food to be catered or cooked... guest list to be drawn up and invited. The mother is wedding planner, financial advisor, gift buyer, postman and flower arranger.

This is a picture of the dais that we have to prepare in the typical Malay wedding. I'll post actual pictures later!

This is the dais or pelamin on which the bride and groom will sit

I may complain about having no time to pursue my favourite activities but I'm excited and happy. After all, it's not every day that my son is getting married! However I still have time to read ! Just finished one book in fact - Then Comes Seduction by Mary Balogh, another Huxtable family saga. But I'll tell you about it later.

10 Feb 2011

My cats (without Chichi)


Mulan is six months now. Soon I'll have to take her to be spayed, a job I don't really look forward to . She has started bugging Ginger too - chasing Ginger around the room. Poor Ginger has been told by the doctor to lose weight. She  weighed about 5.95kg  yesterday when we took her to the clinic. The naughty girl refused to take her antibiotics so we had to take her back to the clinic. Dr Sam said she's a bit overweight so we have to make sure she exercises more!

 Ginger in her favourite sleeping position

 Mulan however has not gained any weight since I took her from Min my sister. She's a fussy eater and doesn't really like to eat the dried cat food, preferring the canned variety. I wonder what to give her instead, since the vet says its not really nutritious enough.

 This is Karupin, one of the Persian monsters. He's quite old, or at least older than the others. His favourite activity is sleeping and being combed by anybody.

Karupin or Apin as we call him is 10 years old and the last of my sister Lela's persians. Lela used to have half a dozen of them at one time!


This is Momo, the twin monster. Like Apin, his favourite activity is sleeping and maybe eating.I can never get a picture of Momo because he is either under the sofa or under the bed, his two favourite sleeping places. He has two baskets, - sometimes he goes there when you try to comb him because he hates being combed! Once I had to resort to cutting his furballs and left him patchy for a while.Another things he hates is visiting the pet groomer and once they even had to give him an anaesthetic just to groom him! After that I stopped taking him to the groomer - I'd rather do the grooming myself, even if the results are not that fetching.

This one is Blackie, who is actually more grey than black, giving a pose. Wan my son says she's more monkey than cat!

And this is Mulan, sleeping blissfully

6 Feb 2011

Goodnight Mister Tom

Goodnight Mister Tom  was written in 1981  by Michelle Marjoram and is a beautifully written and touching story of William Beech, a child evacuee during the Second World War. Set in England in the years just before the war, this book is a children's classic. Young Willie Beech is evacuated to the country just as Britain stands on the brink of war with Germany. Given to the care of Old Tom, a cantankerous sixty year old widower who lived beside a churchyard, William was a sad,sickly, silent, deprived child who had been abused by his mother. Afraid of everything, illiterate and never been loved, the little boy blossoms under Tom's care. Much to the surprise of the whole village, Old Tom  himself changes. The grumpy old man who used to shun village life after the death of his wife and son is now very much involved in this little boy's needs.

What does Mister Tom think of Willie?

"The tales he had heard of evacuees didn't seem to fit Willie. 'Ungrateful' and 'wild' were the adjectives he had heard used or just plain 'homesick'. He was quite unprepared for this timid, sickly little specimen."

It all becomes a bit clearer when Tom unpacks the brown paper carrier bag that Willie has brought with him from his unforgiving London home. There are no warm, spare clothes. There is an old Bible and a leather belt to beat him with. Willie is obviously used to being beaten - he is covered in bruises and bleeding sores. He is so malnourished he can't keep a proper meal down, he wets the bed, he can't read or write, and he shivers and trembles a lot.

Slowly old Tom Oakley discovers that he is falling in love with the sad little boy. He wants to see him smile and be a normal happy boy. He buys Willie his first warm clothes and watches the boy flourish under his care.William learns to read and makes friends with Zach, an outgoing, friendly and optimistic boy the same age as William.

But Willie's life with Mr Tom is about to come to an end - his mother summons him back to London where untold horrors await him at his old home. Tom, worried about the boy, finally goes to London to look for him. He finds William tied, grimy and deep in his own waste carrying the dead body of his infant sister in his thin arms. William is rescued but in danger of being put into a children's home. Again Mr Tom comes to his rescue - this time he kidnaps the boy and takes him back to the country where slowly William gets back his health.

A powerful and moving story of the growing relationship between a grumpy old man and a sad and deprived little boy,  this story is devastatingly sad in places and yet it's also full of scenes of  happiness and beauty. It shows how William deals with his grief and matures in the end. Beautifully and sensitively written, with a a lot of research done on life during the Second World war, this is a good book for all everyone - adults and children.

3 Feb 2011

New titles

Went to Kinokuniya yesterday and bought myself some new books, including one by Jessica Day George - Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow. After reading Princess of Glass by the same author, I wanted to read more of her books. Last week I read Princess of the Midnight Ball which was actually a prequel to Princess of Glass. Princess of the Midnight Ball was a re-telling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses. If you loved fairy tales a child you will love this one and its sequel - Princess of Glass.

Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow is also a re-telling. This one is a Norwegian folk tale entitled East of the Sun and West of the Moon.

The main character in this story is the youngest daughter of a poor woodcutter. He had so many daughters that by the time this youngest girl came along he had no energy to name her. The family called her Lass or Pika, which means Lass.As the girl grew up she realised that she could understand animal talk and so when one day she met a polar bear and talked to him, the bear persuaded her into going away with him.Lass followed the bear to his castle deep in the mountains and stayed with him. Her every desire was granted except one thing - she must never ask him questions about himself nor talk to anyone else about the secrets of the castle. Lass however wanted to know more. She was curious about many things - who was the bear, who was the man/ person who slept in her bed every night but disappeared every morning/ why were the servants disappearing? Lass finally realised that the bear was actually under a curse and to help him she had to brave all kinds of obstacles and go where no one dared to go.

A moving story of love and devotion, made real by the lively characters and beautiful descriptions of the northern lands.

Other books I bought yesterday:

  1. And then Comes Seduction - by Mary Balogh
  2. The Darcy Connection -by Elizabeth Aston