because love sucks.life's the pits.it is so wonderful that i couldn't ask for more than this.

52. Silvery Night 2017

Posted in A Series of Misfortunate Events by justlikeasugar on October 5, 2017

Just like the past year; around this time of the year, my service yard is littered by noise.

It was of a rather pleasant kind. Neighbours came together to celebrate the Lantern Festival. As compared to Boon Lay which had her noisy quirk of her own; I felt warmth tingling on my toes as I watched the young mingled with the elders, various races watching spellbound by the both the lanterns they lit and the beautiful silvery full moon.

It brought back some fond childhood memories too.

Unfortunately; due to the Gublets’ sleeping time and the fact that I overlooked the neighbourhood’s memo about the celebration made it impossible to join in the fun.

The Pahdawan kept asking me if it was ok for us to go down and joined the fun as he was observing the crowd with me from the service yard.

I know it looks fun down there, dearie but unfortunately, not this year.

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49. Loco For Ringo

Posted in A Series of Misfortunate Events by justlikeasugar on September 16, 2017

Initially; it was supposed to be a visit to see the latest addition of RAs’ edition of Eiss and Aisyah’s. As conversation got dragged deeper in catching up; I ended up following my cousins to Uncle Ringo’s fair, held at Jurong Point.

It was ironic considering I did not know about Uncle Ringo or planned on going even after finding out about its existence.

Before reaching, I have had my reservations and even wanted to can halfway for a simple reason: I foresee dragging the Gublets off home due to having too much fun.

I was glad I did not follow through.

We paid for a card package which see the kids through a paddling waterboat activity, swing carousel and for some strange reason, a crane operating activity.

The main highlight of the fair was the Gublets enjoying themselves. Seeing their joy reminded me of a memory of being in a roller-coaster when I was younger.

It was another time.

Another phase.

A time where Venusrazella, Cuzzy Y and Bro Hashim were easily located within Singapore. A time where she was still around.

I hope the organisers make Uncle Ringo a yearly affair.

Being an adult in Singapore is not as scary as being a kid. As sand playgrounds were demolished to make way for useless playground – thanks but no thanks to HMFD and pressure-cooker education, Uncle Ringo provide a good distraction and embrace all things that are well… kid-ish.

The big bonus was when upon reaching home, the kids washed up and KO without all the usual drama.

Below was one of my favourite pictures to date. Favourite because my favourite kiddos are in it. Memorable because well; for what excitement is worth, the kids seem to handle it well. Their mums and auntie on the other hand were too excited, they ended up making the most cheerful noise there.

You are never too old or too young to get on swings.

48. Overwhelmed

Posted in A Series of Misfortunate Events by justlikeasugar on August 20, 2017

Overwhelmed.

It is definitely the recurring word for the past weeks; as D-day approaches.

Abah finally decided this week would be his last after several postponings of moving back to Boon Lay upon the completion of the house’s renovation.

The whole decision itself evoked mixed reactions within me.

Relieved that the house is back to its original occupancy as the past two months due their temporary stay. Movement and space became slightly restrictive and adjustments were made to re-accomodate to everyone.

This part did not bother Encik and me the slightest bit.

Sad because this also means we are back to our usual routine. The empty feeling knowing no one awaits me and the kids when we reached home. Standard lights out means 2130 hours and that is that.

Slightly glad that we are getting back our personal space.

Do not get me wrong.

The past two months were by far one of the best ones for this year. I got the chance to celebrate Eid Aidil Fitri with my biological family. Communicating face-to-face has a better feel than catching up over video calls/Whatsapp. More importantly, it was easier to monitor Abah’s condition.

However; it also reminded me how it is like living with them prior. I have forgotten we used to drive each other crazy when we were living in the same space before I got married.

Even when ASB (Angin Satu Badan who is the youngest among us siblings… complimentary or insult depending on the situation, just accept he as he comes la kan) and Gendut moved back a week ago.

With the “AV” member of the original household gone; my weekend movie marathon was no longer.

As if separation anxiety is not nagging at the back of my head enough, I am going another kind of special crazy at workplace.

Last year; a vessel with a vile bitchy name – thanks to this, I illogically dislike anyone who shares the same name as the vessel – caused me sleepless nights and endless berates from the Director; let’s call him Ostrich.

His perfectionism is out of this world.

I am not kidding.

It was frustrating and you felt you were treading on a minefield hourly. I had to admit though, I learnt to understand, coordinate and supply parts better when faced with pressure and utilise Time fully when it constrained.

Through a bizarre twist of Fate, I was made to handle another project for another vessel.

Thanks but no thanks to Kravy Kev; the Project Manager who keeps approaching me for parts sourcing. Within the same day where I collate and emailed KK the information, Ostrich came out the room just to tell me I was assigned the project; overseeing the parts.

To no one’s surprise, my team immediately sniggered hearing that.

While at least this vessel has no vile bitchy female name, the fact that the vessel has been laid down in the yard for the past three years is not a good thing either.

Let’s just say, they should just build a new vessel instead of complete overhaul.

Just to offer bolts-nuts-washers for bearing stage, I spent two days of going in and out of Ostrich’s room getting berated, listening to him berating and watching him berating someone else because the suppliers could not offer fast enough.

He seems to have conveniently forgot about that Time Zone exists. Which is ironic for someone who is not local born. Or local bred.

While this mean indefinite sleepless nights, I pray to keep calm and stay cool (ya ya I know they mean the same) when pressing situations ensue.

With dramatic moments beckon around the corner, chaos are sure to ensue.

Some people just love watching the world burn.

47. Run Ina Run #shaperun2017

Posted in A Series of Misfortunate Events by justlikeasugar on August 13, 2017

When you only managed to squeeze in 2km-route training prior to a 10km run… balance 8km is survival, Dok.

The aftermath of aching joints and hips that feel like they will come out of their joint sockets feels all too familiar.

But then it is something I will do it all over again in a heartbeat.

One down.

One more to go before I hang up the running shoes for year 2017.

46. Google Doodle 11th of Aug

Posted in A Series of Misfortunate Events by justlikeasugar on August 11, 2017

Pic Credit: Google

Simply because this is too pretty to be sitting around, staring at me across my work desktop.

#googledoodle #howhiphopstarted #onthisdate

44. Festivities

Posted in A Series of Misfortunate Events by justlikeasugar on July 5, 2017

Maal Hijrah

Birthdays.

Anniversaries.

Eid Mubarak.

With the exception of Ramadhan; everything felt dull and lifeless after the passing of Mama.

With her passing; if feels like she does not only rip my heart, she also left a huge irreplaceable void.

I was not lying when I had told Encik that I wanted to die. While I had never experienced heartbreak over failed relationships; I could safely vouch no heartbreak could ever win the loss of your parents’.

Parents.

It is funny how they raise us to surpass in every aspect of theirs but they did not raise us to live without them when the Time comes.

I thought I could not move forward and this was it.

Or so it felt.

While the void remains irreplaceable; bit by bit, I pick up myself up and inch forward whenever self-realisation comes to me after fulfilling fardhu prayers.

It teaches me that wounds; even if it takes time to heal, eventually will recover. In time to come; one will barely notice the scar that remains after the wound is completely healed.

Piece by piece; remedy comes in different forms of love as they heal the soul:

It comes in the form of the Encik.

Of the Gublets.

Of my lovely girlfriends and the usual suspects.

Importantly; of the form of my family both biological and extended alike.

Verily; if you have Allah swt in your heart, how can you ever be lonely?

Masha’Allah

Even after all this time,

the Sun never says to the Earth,
‘You owe me.’

Look what happens with a love like that.
It lights the whole sky.

– Hafiz 
(Persian Poet)

43. Selvaganesh

Posted in A Series of Misfortunate Events by justlikeasugar on June 28, 2017

It was a rainy day and the public toilet was crowded.

It was my first run in since I left school and the Physical Education (PE) curriculum. I was forced to join the run; simply to get it over and done with.

That race always held a special meaning for me because it not only bring HS into my life; it also introduced you to my life.

Sadly; the promise to meet for a catch up session or running together for a marathon never come to fruition after we both left ST.

It was after HS’s text did I found out about your passing via Facebook.

Today; the marathon world lost one of its best runners it ever had.

Rest in peace, friend.

42. Sustenance

Posted in A Series of Misfortunate Events by justlikeasugar on June 27, 2017

===========================================================

From: The Recruiter
To: Mycallalillies
Date: Jun 27, 2017, 9:44 AM

Subject: Updates: Interview Feedback

Hello Mycallalillies,

Good day to you.

I am regret to inform you that the position has been closed. Thank you for your interest and time working with us on this search.

I would like to share the feedback from the hiring manager. It is very difficult for them to make decision. They have interview 3 person, including you.

Among this 3; 1 has been rejected and left you and the other candidate.

Overall; hiring manager has positive thoughts about you, mentioned you are humble and friendly. You are perfectly fit for this role.

Nothing negative comments about you. However, due to your 2 months’ notice period, they have chosen another candidate who can join them earlier.

At this moment, they will keep your profile as record, and should any suitable role arise in near future, they will like to touch base with you.

Thank you and I wish you success in your endeavours.

Let’s be in touch!

Best Regards,

The Recruiter

===========================================================

To be fair; prior to the interview, I immediately wrote off this job opportunity as another dud to kill any hopes of securing it.

I was still reeling from another rejection from previous callback and seeing my Jobstreet job applications’ status were almost immediately updated as “Not Suitable”. It had made me questioned my credibility as a company’s asset whenever that happened. From those self-doubts; two questions never fail to haunt me:  Am I past my peak? Am I fated to “die” in this company?

As days passed before the actual day; that tiny glimmer of hope sparked into a small flame before combusting into a full wildfire.

In spite of reaching uncharacteristically punctual for the interview; the moment I stepped into the office, I did not realise how badly I wanted to work there.

Sadly; just like the other two callbacks for this year, I was passed for the job opportunity all because I have to serve two months’ notice.

It does not matter if one have the work experiences and qualifications; it is all about the early bird catches the worm. Literally, of course. Because if it is all about really getting worms in real life, I will just give it a pass. Maybe, it is really just about being at the right time and at the right place ie Luck.

But at times like these; I just can’t believe my luck.

As Mimi-chan says; nothing like a death grip on an employee when she has to serve more than  a month’s resignation notice.

Why don’t you give one month’s notice?

For obvious reasons.

Don’t get it?

It is ok.

When you are already married with kids and bills to pay, please get back to me if you can afford to work for a company for a month’s worth for free in order to forfeit the balance second month.

Trust Abah; though, to put things into perspective when I was confiding to him about my disappointment:

Rizqi; if it is meant to be yours, it will still be yours regardless of how long it takes.
You should have faith in Allah swt for verily (ed: yes, he actually quote the word “verily”) He is the best Planner and only He knows what’s best for you.
So, Kak, do not worry so much. Importantly; do not chase after rizqi because it might not be meant for you after all.
Let rizqi comes to you at the right time and at the right place.

Mashaa’Allah.

A timely reminder and I calmed myself down after that.

Well, I was not proud of myself either.

I guess I have to wait until end of year before deciding what is my next course of action.

(Unless Mr Backpack gets prick of conscience and decide to recommend me to his company. Ha!)

‘Til then; I am keeping faith that when one door of opportunity closes, another door of better opportunity beckons waiting to be opened.

In shaa Allah.

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-Surah Al-Ankabut, Verse 62

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41. Miss Kitty Skechers

Posted in A Series of Misfortunate Events by justlikeasugar on June 17, 2017

​Kitty Skechers: Salam gerls

I nak cakap but jgn shock ok

between us

KotakPermataHati: Yes?

Ada apa KS?

Mycallalillies: Yes dear..

Everything ok?

KS: I dun noe who to share onli u gerls doctor

KPH: Apa doa KS

KS: Doctor diagnose growth ony kidney cancer 90%

I don want my family know da banyak the go tru

Especially Princess having PSLE.

Just like that.

That feeling where it is like  you are being lifted 200-storey high building by a lifting crane sans safety gear and without any warning; the crane grab just release you to plunge to your end.

The bad part?

This is the second news about a loved’s one whose condition taking a turn for the worse. First was knowing Abah’s latest medical condition post-emergency surgery. And now; this.

The worst part?

It is not even middle part of the year, yet.

Ya Allah ya Rabb, please fulfill my wish of making through this year with my loved ones.

😦

40. The Name(sake) Game

Posted in A Series of Misfortunate Events by justlikeasugar on May 26, 2017

While I always love self-appointing myself as Mrs Takuya Kimura/Julian Farhat/Ville Vallo (Disclaimer: Well, it is the truth… except they don’t know it… yet) – purely to annoy the hell out of everyone; what remains one of my treasured possessions is my own name.

Ironically; I grew up feeling the opposite.

I was not sure how the dislike came about.

Maybe finding out my name does not mean anything in Islamic context upset me a great deal then.

KotakPermataHati: But my name does not have any meaning too.

Nyah, you have a cool short name; which means a gemstone. To a shallow ten-year old self of me; when you have a name that does not carry good nor bad meaning, it counts for something.

It does not help being surrounded by friends and relatives who have either a) one-word names with good meaning or b) two-word names with even better meaning.

When I was in Primary 6; most of my classmates have names with that begins with a “Nur” light or a “Siti” lady.

Most of my cousins’ names begin with a “Nur”, even TJ. Hell; even the meaning behind TJ’s name (Light of My Eye) kicks way better ass than mine. 

It made me wondered if there was a particular fad about naming your daughter a “Nur” or a “Siti” going on in the 80s’ and my parents might have missed the memo.

Or maybe because my name is subsceptible to name-calling. Most common one was buah kana. Worst one was a particular word that rhyme with a certain Hokkien expletive; thanks but no thanks but to short-tongued friends by no coincidence, all belongs to the majority race.

Countless of times; Mama would recount to me of the origin of my name. That it is a modified name from the combination of Abah’s name and Mama’s pet name.

Can you imagine if my name is Satina.

I can’t either.

Hence; the slight tweak though in all honesty; even Mama thought the alphabet h was a waste of space.

Serena, is mostly how they pronounce my name anyways.

However; another belying story behind my name is that the name was supposed to be something else.

My Obe proposed Nuraini surprise surprise while Mama was particularly keen on Nur Ashikin.

These two names were immediately canned by Abah. He stressed that a good name must be given; contradicting himself later when he gave TJ her name. The real reason he never concede to Mama’s request was because… Nur Ashikin was the name of his ex.

Oh… Macam gitu kah?..

Possibly; it is due to the fact I was always reminded that I frequently fell sick due to my name. The Muslim community believes in giving good affable names to your newborns for obvious reasons; the Malay community believes that sometimes a name is “heavy” for that baby to carry; hence they will give other names to counteract the effect.

While I am called Ina by everyone, I am known as Ani to my paternal side.

Both names reek old school too.

How do I counteract the situation?

By asking and when I say “asking”, I meant forcing friends to address me as Siti Musliha when I was a tween. Or Waqin, where I was a teen.

Friends; they actually concede to my request. Good, well-intentioned friends entertained me to such extent before they bakul me.

SH: Siti Musliha? I think your name suits you better.

This comes from someone whose name starts with Siti.

QB: Honestly; I prefer Ina to Waqin. Anytime of the day.

HS: Your name suits your strong personality.

The last one is, of course, one of the many gems from the sister itself:

TJ: Seriously, Kak. I can’t imagine if your name is not Sarinah. Other name does not suits you.

(Then came the punchline which double served as a TKO)

Bitchy name for a bitchy sister.

Haramjad sungguh.

By saying that not only did she reinforced the love-hate sisterhold we shared back then; she also reinforced one of the bad habits from our paternal gene of which when one family member was down, you showed love by kicking that person harder to the pedestal until that person realise there was no way that person go lower except to climb back up.

I did not know whether I should accept it as an insult. Or a compliment. But the silent grudge I held against my parents for giving that name continued until I came across an article when I was twenty-one years old.

By then; I already knew what my name meant in other languages. I reconciled with the fact that my name is their first and one of the best presents my parents gave and I should wear it proudly like a medal.

Before Encik; I had plans of adopting a child since I was nineteen as I did not see marriage on the cards due to then-career aspirations.

If it is a baby boy, I will name him Luqman (Wise), calling him Loki for short. If it is a girl; the name of my favourite grandmother, Habiba (Beloved) was a shoo-in; calling her Bib for short.

You know what they say about how things will never work out in one’s favour.

:/

When Encik happened; we came to a compromise when it came to naming the kids: he call the dibs on the name if it is a baby boy, and I, if it is a baby girl. It was an uneasy compromise on my part because if I gave birth to all sons, I would be biting my fingers in frustration. If I gave birth to all daughters, I would still bite my fingers in frustration because of the unreasonable guilt that Encik did not have a say in naming his kids.

At least if there is the other thing we agreed on is that we are both equally lazy enough to give only one-word names to the kids.

I was not even half into my first pregnancy that I realised this naming issue would be hard.

It is not only one of the parents’ prime responsibilities to their newborn child, it is something that is not to be treated with triviality.

The Holy Prophet has said:

“It is the responsibility of every father to choose a good name for his child.”1

“The children have three rights over their fathers. The first is that they are given good names. Secondly, they are provided good education; and lastly, they help them to select good spouses.”2

Encik is too well aware that I was only six months into my pregnancy that we finally gave a name to the Pahdawan.

Before; I had suggested Matin, Luqman, I remembered pushing for Syed. Just as quickly as Abah had canned the name Nur Ashikin; Encik had done the same, stating the names did not seem to gel.

On the other hand the name of a person has a lot of social significance too. It is his name, which gets recognition to a person that he belongs to a respectable family. If the parents have high regard for a well-known poet, they may name their child after him. If the parents are fond of high learning they may select the name of a reputed scholar.

The highly religious parents name their children after the prophets, the Imams and other religious personalities. If the parents desire their children to struggle in the cause of the faith, they name them after Muhammad, ‘Ali, Hasan, Husayn, Abul Fadhl, Abbas, Hamza, Jaffar, Abu Dharr, Ammar, Saeed etc.

The name came after the realisation that Pahdawan would stop kicking in my stomach whenever we switched on to listen to our favourite Qari’s recital. Of course; it is also done with the hopes of emulating the Qari’s good attributes and also; the other meanings of the name as well.

I thought Encik was being too fickle-minded for taking too long. It was not until I found out I was carrying a girl during my second pregnancy that I realised… It is that hard.

Initially; I wanted to stick to the name Habiba and be done with all the hassle.

However; as the pregnancy progresses, I seemed to detach farther from the name as various choices of names started shoving themselves in my face.

If the parents are enamored of any sport they like to name their children after renowned players of that sport. Similarly if the parents appreciate the art of any musician, they may prefer to name their child after that person.

It’s like chilli crab, medium-rare Angus steak, lamb chops, assam pedas sting-ray, spring chicken, Charcos ribs and your other favourite foods all spread out on the table but you have to choose one.

Humaira. Aaisya. Ayse. Inaya. Shereen.

I don’t really think much about flowers in general.

While I taken a shine to daisies or sunflowers (someone in Facebook pointed out those flowers are commonly used as wreaths in funerals), I never thought much about orchids either.

While they require little care and can grow anywhere; but caring for them is leceh, worse than when you are caring for other flowers. Plus the orchid is an unforgiving fragrant-less flower.

Surprisingly; the only time I took fancy to them and paid serious attention was when I was carrying Srikandi in my stomach.

The flowers seemed to be everywhere and in abundance, shoving their existence  to my face everywhere.

As wallpapers with variety of colours on few engineers’ desktops when I passed by their department.

When I passed by neighbourhood.

Or reading some magazines.

When I was watching Sepet re-runs. Or how the late Orkid Abdullah’s Penawar Rindu seemed to air more frequently of late.

Another name came to mind too when the name of the person whose smooth rendition of the Asmaul Husna always air on the mornings of FM 94.2 Warna radio station.

Ilma Plojovic.

Ilma vs Orked.

Knowledge vs Resilient Flower.

It was a tough fight but looking at the status quo; it was not easy coming to a decision.

Ilma was my initial choice.

Which parent does not want the best for their kids?

I want my kids to be smart; be it streets or books. I want my kids to grow up achieving their aspirations; both duniawi and ikhrawi. Parents spend their time – in my case; I spent the first three months eliminating many names and then next seven months tryin to decide I or O – poring over the names to give to their kids in the hopes of their kids emulating the virtues and goodness deriving from the names.

Realistically; growing up with my given name when my paternal family called me other name also made me realised I could not be ambitious either.

Ilma Abdul Malik.

It was unique as I had hoped for and a simple four-letter word name.

The knowledge of the servant of the King.

The meaning is great too.

But knowledge is a heavy word and I am very scared just like it happen with me; history will repeat itself.

When I decided to go with the other name; I chose it with the hope just as Srikandi emulating the resilience of the flower and the virtues of the Orkeds – fact & fiction (randomly… HIGHLIGHT’s title album) I have known.

All in all; from both kids, though at times, there are many “thunders and storms”, I get good temperament so far.

Eh… Only one word ah?

Yes.

One word names as we; the parents of the kids and not, promised.

No Muhammad?

Nope.

No Siti.

Nope.

Why Orked? Should be Anggerik.

You’d be surprised at some things people said, as though they are the ones who gave birth to your kids.

But I let it slide.

Names are the least concern to me by now. Responsibility as a parent does not stop after you give them their names. The next (and definitely the hardest one) is raising them up to be responsible, good individuals.

In shaa Allah.

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