Saturday, 31 May 2008

Emilie Simon--La Vie en Rose

Celine Dion - La vie en rose

Edith Piaf - La vie en rose (in English)

Stage Fright

Funny how a certain something that crosses one's mind at a certain instant brings one back to the far, far away of one's childhood. I cut my finger in the kitchen a minute ago and while rummaging through an inadequately stocked first aid box, started singing…

Biar luka dalam dada
let the wound be in this heart
Biar derita jiwa tersiksa
let it suffer, this tortured soul
Apa guna kata mesra
what is the use of loving words
Menambah luka
deepening the wound
Di dalam dada
within this heart
Biarlah aku pergi
just let me go
Tak usah kau cari lagi
Don’t you come searching anymore
Rela aku berkelana
submit I have to being alone
Dengan hati ku
With my heart
Yang hancur luka
into pieces broken

The school was putting up the annual concert on Prize Giving Day. In a previous school, I had been dancing and singing once or twice, and my new teachers could have heard of the potential there. So it was that a budok joh nnang (child in standard six) marched me to the staffroom to see the teacher in charge, Cik Gu Samsu, and before I knew it, I was in a vacated classroom, facing the band that came for the practice session the day before the concert.

I sang the first line as asked. Cu tera A minor” (Try A Minor) the kindly Cik gu suggested and a balding man who appeared to be the band leader obliged on his guitar. “Ye gamok, …doh lloh ah” (Right maybe …let’s do it) said the lead guitarist, turning to nod at the drummer. “A wang, tuu, trii…” (A one, two, three…) and the band started playing. I was terrified, had never sang with a band before, but saw Cik Gu Samsu nodding his head, right arm raised. Nod, nod, nod then down came the arm as if sending me off on the hundred meter dash on Sports Day. I took the cue and started singing…”Bi yya lukkaa, ddaa laang daa daa…” (Biar luka dalam dada).

It was a great relief to get to the end of the song. The band was still playing and Cik Gu Samsu was still nodding away, eyes closed. I stole a glance at the guitarist but he seemed to be busy comparing his guitar with the rhythm guitarist, like they always do while performing, playing to each other. So I looked at the drummer to come to my rescue which he did, with the “doong, doong, doong” of the drum followed by the “cheay” of the clashing cymbals, he pointed to me, drumstick in hand, and I started singing all over again to the end, then the band faded to a proper close.

“Skali agi ah…..dok soh ccakak teganung, ccakak luor….nynyanying macang Saloma tu ‘o! Hoh ambek mai’k ning” (Once again….lose the Trengganuspeak, use the standardspeak…sing like Saloma…take this microphone) Cik Gu Samsu said, a little advice, more reproach, while he handed over the microphone. We did the song again, twice, and I could feel the confidence building up each time, although I could not hear myself over the din of the band and I still depended on the wise Cik Gu to start singing. Before leaving, he intimated, “Esok Cik Gu dok ccacang ka’k pitu nning, awok atah steh tengok ttang Cik Gu biar Cik Gu wi sigena, pahang do’k?” (Tomorrow I will stand up at this door, you on the stage must look my way let me give the signal, understand?) I nodded, made doubly sure of which door to look at for his cue, and ran all the way home to break the news of the imminent stardom, the sound of applause already ringing in my ears!

Sekolah Pusat Bukit Besar (Bukit Besar Central Primary School), although new, did not have a hall. For the weekly assembly we stood in rows facing the flagpoles in a small tarred area between the two single storey blocks. So for the concert, the bright green collapsible partitions separating our classrooms were pushed to the side walls, some tables were arranged at one end to form the stage while the chairs were placed in rows, a dozen on each side of a central aisle, and hey presto! A concert hall it was!

Concert day came as anticipated. The hall was filled to the brim with pupils from both the morning and afternoon sessions together. Parents came too, some with their toddlers, others with parents of theirs and their neighbours. Right after prize giving the seniors sang and did a sketch, and then it was my turn, the first solo performance for the afternoon.

The walk up the stage was brisk, followed by a prim and proper curtsey, directly towards the important people from Jjabak Pelajarang (Pejabat Pelajaran – State Education Department) and our headmaster on front row, center. Then the band started playing and I confidently glanced towards the door identified the day before. I looked, blinked, and looked again, there was no Cik Gu Samsu, not at that or any other door! Images of the other teachers swirled around in my head, Cik Gu Ramlah, Cik Gu Nik Lah, Cik Gu Hajjah, Cik Gu Wan Hassan, Cik Gu Hassan Sabri, Cik Gu Badaruddin….but where oh where was Cik Gu Samsu?

It must have been the first time I turned into stone. From somewhere far away I heard a faint “doong, doong, doong, cheay” I opened my mouth on the next crash of the cymbals but no voice came forth. I stood there transfixed, letting go of “doong, doong, doong, cheay” one after another until I heard the bald headed guitarist breathe down my neck “Nynyanying dderah ah Mek, bbunying macang reko’k buru’k doh ning” (Sing quickly, girl, we sound like an old record now). That made me jump out of my skin and I finally bellowed into the microphone, the guitars and the drums haphazardly trying to keep up with me for the rest of the song. It felt as if a whole year went by before the song came to its end, a close to tears curtsey, and off I went, down the stage through the nearest door, sobbing all the way home. But they did applaude, surely they did, for the entertainment value if nothing else.

Guess I got over the stage fright later on in my teenage years as I gave in to the cajoling of aunties and cousins into singing at weddings, usually after most of the guests had left, and I did come second in a school talentime. Still, I am happy to report that my career now is not in the performing arts or music. As happened this morning, the singing is confined to the kitchen and more often, the shower. And if you ever catch me singing a Karaoke, I’ll have you know that it is because, in some obscure way, my life depends on it.

Thursday, 15 May 2008


This is not a whisper
neither is it a shout
can't say it will even tell
what it's all about
but pictures may prevail
where words do fail
yet the mind roams free
beyond all that the eyes see
still, do please stay a moment
or even a little while
and hopefully maybe
to the heart it will bring
a sincere smile

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Thank you for the Carnations

Mother's Day came and went so fast!

Aquan was the first with the wishes, on the dot at midnight. In the morning, or rather noonish, JJay did too. Next came a dozen smses from near and far; from my bosses and bosom buddies, and a sweet surprise from JJay's friend I have not met, incredibly sweet!

The biggest surprise though, was a bouquet of carnations, in my favourite colour, sent by my baby girl from over the oceans. And the card read:

To Maman
To my dearest Maman,
I love you forever and ever and ever and ever and
ever and ever and... oh yea, HAPPY MOMMY'S
DAY... and ever and ever and ever and ever and
ever and ever... You got the picture!!
From: xoxo, Chah

The evening saw me and JJay fulfilling our 7pm invitation, Aquan still had fever and stayed home. We arrived on the dot, right when the "caterer" was being summoned. But the catering was not topmost on our minds, it was little Amir Harith, my oh my, how he has grown, strong and handsome! He was playing with his Wan, refusing the new bottle offered him, preferring his old, more expensive one! Oh dear, did he get that from his Nyang? I pray no, not after me, but then, who?!

We all sat down to a lovely dinner from pizzaH; 3 mothers were guests of honour, queens for the day, honoured by daughters and sons, cucus and cicit! It was a simple dinner concluded with a durian cake for Wan and Nyang, and a mint chocolate one from Amir Harith to his Mama. Not sure if it was the food, I suspect it was more the company, or just the simplicity of it all that filled me with the warm glow inside. Thank you, Che Pah & Co, alhamdulillah.

Got home to more presents, a pair of froggy slippers from Aquan, my ever thoughtful middle child. All five of them are thoughtful, actually, so I was a little worried when there was no news from the trio in Doha...ah well, may be they don't celebrate Mother's day there...ah well....

Then it was time to go online, see if my Baby Girl would be there. Yes, she was waiting for me, demanding to know if I got her carnations!

Yes, Chah, got them, Chah, thank you so much Baby...Yes, love the colour, Chah, perfect, Baby, yes! was a real surprise, thank you!

We chatted for a bit, may be 2 minutes, then the questions came again...

Yes, really excited when I got them, Chah...really lovely...yes, will take some pics, but camera low batt...yes, I love you too, Baby, thank you!

Another 5 minutes about her coming exams, then...

Yes Chah, was really surprised! Yeah, really cute idea, yes, love the card too, yes, you are cute! took after me there, Chah...whew!

I really don't know who was happier about the carnations, the recipient or the sender! But that is my Baby Girl...

Mother's Day came and went, much too quickly, just like the phases of our lives as mothers; despite the responsibility of carrying and nurturing, despite the worries and the sacrifices, all too soon the time would come. They fly out of the nest, even if you never want to let go... and all you can do is wait for their calls, or call them often, or wait online. And if you are lucky, you get a bouquet of dark pink carnations on Mother's Day.

Sunday, 11 May 2008

It Couldn't be Lovelier

So I'm home from Geneva - been home for week, and how that week whizzed by! Recalling the trip now, must say, c'est on ne peut plus beau! Since my last post from the G-lounge, this is how it went.

The flight was at most uneventful. Stowed the hand luggage as usual; said Hi to the person in the aisle seat; ate the satay, the fruits and whatever else on the tray; watched a movie, listened to Michael Buble, played sudoku and walked up and down the aisle until it was safe to ask for a chamomile tea that hopefully would make me fall asleep.

Did I say uneventful? Well, not exactly. I managed to spill a drink on the young man in the aisle seat, and that's a first. He said it was alright to my profuse apology and I left it at that. After all, he was going to smell of the strawberry yogurt drink when we land, incredibly sweet!

As expected, we ended up at an unidentifiable part of Heathrow. Told a fellow passenger that I was connecting at Tlima and he laughed, saying I had just kissed my luggage goodbye! Awww...that threw my jantung right onto the tarmac, but I said a little prayer, no, actually I zikir all the way to the gleaming Tlima transfer desk and the gate and even while munching on a tasteless cheese sandwich a la vol.
The flight to Geneve was really uneventful. But you know what they say about Murphy's as expected, I really did lose my luggage when we landed. So did about a dozen or so other fellow passengers who crowded the ground handler's office to fill the necessary forms. Ah well, there goes my maggie and serunding and kain batik and baju kerja and baju tidur... may be it will come on the next flight...may be, kalau ada rezeki....

There was a Free Tibet demonstration in front of the ONU, but Rue de Lausanne was deserted, well, it was Sunday.

I checked into the hotel explaining the absence of luggage but for the bloated document bag; and yes, that is the correct check-out date; the free flow of tres bien, Madame was getting on my frayed nerves.
It was not until I came back from the pasar minggu at Plainpalais and early dinner at Ali Hayder's did the reception tell me that my luggage was coming on the 7pm flight and would reach the hotel tennish. Whew! can look forward to maggie and serunding dinner tomorrow dan hari-hari berikutnya, alhamdulillah!

The April meetings were not as contentious as those earlier in the year, but they did spread out, and the weekend in between presented a very rare opportunity to drink in some sights. Made the most of le retour des beaux jours and went on a journey to the top of Europe...

And the fever rages on,
even on Jungfraujoch

.....and then there are the tulips of Morges

...and the sails....

and yes, hopefully this belated spring will blossom into a timely summer for the football fans.

The journey home began with an early taxi ride to the airport - very chatty driver - so full of praise for bonne societe, tres amicable, pas fanatique...merci encore, well, he could be propping me up for a big tip!

In truth, I cannot say that the flight home was uneventful. There was an instance when the plane shook really hard and the entire cabin went into complete silence. My guess was may be we just dodged some part of Nargis; it was 2nd May and we were flying over the Bay of Bengal! Alhamdulillah, we touched down on the good solid earth of KLIA as scheduled. Luggage worries proven unfounded, 28 minutes on the ERL, then home sweet home. Encore, c'est on ne peut plus beau!