24 Jan 2013

What it's 2013 already?

I know its usual to write before the year begins or at least at the beginning of the year - but I've decided that I prefer to wait until at least half a month is over. Too many things have been happening anyway. Oh yes, welcome to the year of the SNAKE! What were the predictions for this year? Most Chinese believe that the Snake year is a good year financially so I hope it will be true for me. Or if not good at least better than last year anyway. So what has been happening that I couldn't write earlier ?

Best news of 2013 - I got a brand new Mercedes Benz 200 C class!
Me and my car 
First of all I took in my niece Nur Hanis, a 13 year old. She's my brother's daughter and what I'm trying to do is help my brother financially. I send her to school, buy her her uniforms and some books, send her to and pick her up from school, give her pocket money and all in all treat her like my daughter. It's some work actually, because she's quite far behind in school and needs a lot of personal tuition to make up.The fact that I have to send her to school every day at 6.50am and pick her up at 3 or 4pm daily is no joke. But I already love her - she's a sweet girl and is worth any amount of work on my part.

Then there was also the Haji Tahir Family Day which was organised by my sister Jasmine. It was held at the Umang Umang Chalets, in Lubok China, Malacca. This place is beautiful and really serene and far from the madding crowd. The family day t shirts this time were btight red in colour!  The usual games and competitions were held plus one or two new ones which were the ketupat making competition and Xplorer race. The winners of the annual Treasure Hunt were my nieces Azlin and Annie and the ketupat weaving competition was  won by Intan, with Mami Lela, my second sister a close second.
My sister weaving the ketupat leaves

The younger generation of Hj Tahir family - (if only my father could see them!)

Tomorrow I will be seeing my grand daughter Sophia. She is a big girl now - 5 years and already attending school in Singapore. Soon there will be another grand daughter to look forward to - my son and his wife are expecting a baby in May . So far so good 2013!

Sophia celebrating Diwali and wearing a sari!

10 Jan 2013

The Flying Carpet of Small Miracles - review

Title : The Flying Carpet of Small Miracles (published by Penguin Group July 2010)

This book, a first effort by Lebanese journalist, Hala Jaber, tells of  some of the horrific consequences of the Iraq war.It tells of the determined efforts of childless journalist Hala who was covering the war with her photographer husband when she was told of the sad case of a child Zahra, badly wounded in a misile attack and her efforts to save the child. The child Zahra had suddenly become an orphan as almost all her family died in the burning taxi - her six year old brother, her teenage sister, her parents and her grandmother. The only members of the family that survived were Zahra (3 years) and her baby sister Hawra, just a few months old, both of whom were thrown out of the burning taxi by their mother knowing she herself could not be saved and hoping that her two youngest might yet survive.

It is a painful reminder of what 'collateral damage' really means and what it costs to human lives. Jaber tells the story of her hunt for the orphaned children through her research and visits to so many hospitals across Iraq and of her experiences while looking for Zahra. It is a picture of war and devastation told in an objective yet compelling voice. When at last she finds the children, however, it is too late to save them but Hala Jaber moves on, using her experience and knowledge to save other victims of war. Childless Jaber maybe, but in these harrowing accounts of Iraq's war with America, she shows us that motherhood does not only mean having and giving birth to children and that there are other ways to be a mother.

I would vote for this book and give it a 4 star rating. Some incidents may be a bit too harrowing for some readers but it is well written in journalistic style. Hala Jaber is a well known war correspondent and has been named Foreign Correspondent of the Year twice at the British Press Awards. Today she lives and works in Beirut and still chases after war stories.