Sunday, June 26, 2005

Dance of the Universe

I wish I had my camera with me. Mecury, Venus and Saturn at this very moment are in alignment and appeared on the western horizon just after the sun has set. It was my first time looking at the planets with my naked eyes, and what more, three of them together.

Dhoby from Birmingham had alerted us on the event on Friday. I completely forgot to about it on Saturday, and when Feisal and rest kept talking about it, I set my reminder to make sure I wouldn't miss it.

I went out of the building just after sunset. I was at first dissapointed as the sky was very cloudy and there was nothing to look at. Just as I was about to go back into the building, a bright star peeked out of the cloud. And then another one, dimmer and smaller, appeared. Finally, there was a faint glimmer of the third one.

My office building is at the top of Bukit Bandaraya, with a superb view of KL, PJ and surrounding areas. Remember the picture of the sunset in my earlier post? Well, that is the same area where the three planets appeared.

This particular alignment won't happen again until 2070. I'm glad I was there to witness it. I just had a look outside the window. The clouds have covered them now. My encounter with one of the many dances of the universe had been brief. But in that brief moment, I experienced eternity.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Took a Short Blogging Break

The wedding weekend had been exhausting, and I returned straight back to work on Monday, preparing for Tuesday's exhibition for the Microsoft Government Leaders Conference in Putrajaya.

Wednesday was filled with meetings with clients and partners, and Thursday I started work on a tender which is closing on Monday next week. Looks like it's going to be another working weekend for me.

Thank you all who came to the wedding, and thank you also to those who wished us well in the blogsphere. Your kind words mean a million to us. I'm sorry if I had not managed to respond to the comments one by one. I was having some problems posting comments through my PDA.

I forgot to bring the charger for my digital camera during the weekend and it ran out of juice Friday nite. I'm waiting for the images from the professional photographer to create our online wedding album.

In the mean time, here's a sneak preview. The picture quality is not as good, but I hope it would help to share the happy moments with those who weren't there.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Approaching the Final Hour

My, it has been a tiring day, and it's not over yet. I was running around all day to get this and that. Bought a pair of cheap shoes and some socks in Nilai 3. Got a blueberry cake in Cempaka after searching for a bakery all over Nilai. Almost forgot to get a picture frame to hold the cheque for the duit hantaran.

Lisa called just after lunch. She sounded cheerful over the phone. It was really sweet to hear her voice. She called because one of the Star Wars DVD wasn't working. Before hanging up, she wished me well. "May the Force be with you," she said. She has gotten the Star Wars bug, too. Never stray to the dark side, my dear.

We left Bandar Seri Putra around 4:20pm. Reached Rembau 45 minutes later. Stopped by Cec's place for tea, and then proceeded to stay at her mom's cousin's house, 500 meters away.

The ladies worked to finalize the hantaran. Some of the gift baskets needed to be filled with chocolates and other things. They picked some fresh sirih leaves nearby, and arranged them in the tepak sirih.

I'm all sweaty now, and need to get a shower. Kak Yah has ironed my baju melayu and the matching pants. I look forward to put them on, and eagerly wait for somebody to invite us to go over to Cec's for the ceremony.

The day it's not over yet. But I know it is going to end well.

Within 24 Hours

It's less than 24 hours now before the akad nikah. My parents, my two sisters, Kak Yah and Kak Na, with their families, and my cousin with his wife just arrived from Kelantan about two hours ago. Surprisingly, my primary school teacher and his wife also tagged along with the convoy.

My mum managed to dig out an old tepak sirih from the store, to accompany the sirih junjung. We don't have the sirih yet, but we were told that we could pick them fresh in Kg. Berkat Chembong in Rembau. I sure hope we'd find some. Otherwise, we would have to replace it with some other leaves. Hmmm ...

And I have yet to order the wedding cake. Neither have I bought myself a pair of shoes to wear for the day. Or some pairs of new socks for that matter. Well, I hope I could find a cake shop on the way to Rembau tomorrow. And I pray that a few doors away, there'll be a shop that sell shoes.

A few hours ago, I didn't know that I have a pengapit either, until I was told that my dad had asked Ayie to be there by my side. I have known Ayie since I was 11, and he has been my good buddy whenever I would come home for the school holidays. Little did I know that two and a half decades later, he would turn to be my matchmaker. Yup! If not for Ayie, Cec and I would probably not have end up together. Thanks, buddy! I owe you a lot.

Cec should have her hands covered in inai by now. She wanted me to put it on as well, but I said the fashionable inai look wouldn't go too well with my conservative shirt and tie when I go to work on Monday. Sorry, dear. I hope you had a splendid berinai session, surrounded by loving friends and family. :)

The ceremony will be after Isyak. We'll be blog-casting it here live with minute by minute updates for those who are too far away to make it. Heh! You wish. :) But you'll be there in our hearts, I'm sure.

To Lisa and Joey, my precious darlings, I'll always be your daddy, no matter what. I understand how the news of your daddy getting married might overwhelm your thoughts with worries and perhaps distract your emotions with anger, hurt and jealousy. But I also know that deep within your hearts of heart, lies your very being, unscathed by the passing thoughts and emotions, unfazed by the illusory dramas in life situations. Seek your true selves, my children. Go within. There you will find the true me. And we shall know only love. For there's nothing else in life worth pursuing.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Twilight Beauty

There was a beautiful view of the sunset from my office today. The sun was big and round and orange. Unfortunately, my digital camera was not sophisticated enough to seize the beauty in its full glory.

The image doesn't do the actual scenery any justice, but I hope it could remind me that life is good, and God is Great. Amen.


"Time is not a line, but a series of now points."
-- Taisen Deshimaru

We understand time as a continuum. Our memories link the moments of the past and our imaginations draw on the patterns of our memories to project the future.

If we leave the movies of the mind behind, time can only be experienced now -- moment by precious moment. Open in awareness to what is happening right now. Appreciate all that is. Immerse yourself in the joy and wonder of every now and life will be a gift.

"The responsibility for both present and future is in our own hands. If we live right today, then tomorrow has to be right."
-- Eknath Easwaran

Sunday, June 12, 2005

5 Days to Go

We went to Dataran Senawang, near Seremban, to try out the songket costumes rented from the mak andam for the wedding. She was not around when we arrived, so we waited for her in a restaurant several doors away. They served excellent bubur nasi. So, if you ever end up in Dataran Senawang, do try out the bubur nasi at Restoran Sri Salak.

After Cec finished her bowl, we noticed a business in the middle of the car park renting out mini bikes for kids. The two-wheelers look exactly like the superbikes, only smaller in size and meant for kids. They blocked the entrance to the car park and turned the place into a small circuit.

Zie, the mak andam arrived around half an hour later. They just came back from one of the many kenduris during the school holidays. Their shop is trendy and cozy, complete with a sofa set which came in handy for the guys to hang around while waiting for the ladies to finish their business. ;)

I tried out the baju songket, and it fitted nicely. I thought baju songket would be uncomfortable to put on, but thanks to the lining inside, it didn't feel too bad.

Cec took bit longer with her fitting which gave me the time to update my blog. :)

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Voice-Over and Old Desk Cover

I was in the office when I received a call from Teecee (he's from Teluk Cempedak, if you could guess from his nickname) requesting me to do a voice-over (VO) for a documentary that he's producing. It's not something I've done before, and I always cringe when I listen to the sound of my recorded voice.

But I thought that it would be an interesting thing to do, and I could use some extra cash to buy a Secret Recipe cake as the hantaran for the wedding. The money is not a lot as an amateur VO talent can't demand much. I was really doing it for the experience.

Teecee picked me up from the office, and after dinner we arrived at the recording studio in Sri Gombak. We were greeted by Leb, the sound engineer for the studio, who then set up the equipment and briefed me on the do's and don'ts.

Jojie, a professional VO talent, arrived a while later to do the female part of the 20-minute documentary. She works for Astro, and chances are, you might have heard her voice on some of the commercials they aired on radio.

The job was more or less satisfactory, other than several mispronunciations on some words. I had trouble saying 'mengemukakan' and had to change that to 'memberi.' It was not easy to read smoothly without making mistakes, and I could really appreciate the coolness of TV and radio newscasters.

After completing our tasks in Sri Gombak, Teecee and I then proceeded to join Andy, Nul and Mon (Jojie's hubby) for a TT in KL. The discussion revolved around the upcoming MCOBA weekend in KK, where they will be performing in a band.

I then followed them to MCOBA Penthouse. They were going through songs selection while I watched TV and talked with Cec over the phone. Towards the end, Mon was showing us his collections of memorabilia from koleq days. There were 3rd class train tickets from five years, '86 Speech Day souvenir book, and other things. But the most precious of all for me was a large piece of paper I used to cover my desk during SPM exam. There were things I jot down and drawn almost 20 years ago. Other friends had expressed their creativity on it as well, bringing back tons of memories.

I finally reached home at 4am, and it didn't take long for me to make the transit to slumberland.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

"The Rhythm of Our Hearts"

The Light of your Face
illumines the universe;
And from that Light, in all ages,
you have taken form.

You are the Saaqi
and the wine of victory -
That is what you will always be.
Can blown glass return to the fire?
Can aged wine turn back into grapes?

You shape the destiny of every soul,
renewing this weary world.
Every night you bring another joy,
every night a celebration.

Love and ecstasy is our calling now -
O Beloved, you will dance forever
as the rhythm of our hearts.

Ghazal (Ode) 2209
Version by Jonathan Star
"A Garden Beyond Paradise: The Mystical Poetry of Rumi"
Bantam Books, 1992

Monday, June 06, 2005

Countdown to the Big Day: 11 Days to Go

I'm getting married in 11 days. In my awareness that time is ultimately an illusion, the 11 days are merely physical periodic calculation signifying 11 rotations of the earth on its axis, creating 11 sunrises and 11 sunsets.

I had been very relaxed about the day itself all this while until after I received the decorated baskets for 'hantaran,' prepared by Mak Ros (thank you so much!). I realized that there are quite a bit of preparations for the day which I need to work on.

Cec and I have agreed on a simple ceremony and neither of us believe in spending extravagantly for our wedding. But simple as it may be, we'd hope to share the happy occasion with family and friends, and thus we'd like to put our hearts in giving our best to prepare for the big day. Hopefully, the simple ceremony would satisfy some of the cultural expections from relatives of how a typical Malay wedding should be. Kurang-kurang, sirih junjung kena ada, kan? :)

What would be most important for me, is that everybody could join us in celebrating another passage in our lives, and pray that we would continue to be conscious of all the love, the bliss and the blessings surrounding us, and surrounding all of humanity for that matter.

By the way, if you don't mind travelling to Rembau to have lunch on Saturday June 18, you're are invited to our wedding. We'd be glad to have you.

Friday, June 03, 2005

The Watering Hole

The Watering Hole is where I usually hang out online. We talk about any topics under the sun, and we've been having good, clean fun for almost two years now.

The place is now open for public. Come for a visit, meet a bunch of interesting characters, and have a good time exchanging opinions.