Father of the bride – finding Iman and TAQWA

October 29, 2011

How do you identify those who are TAQWA? To ask that to a pair of young prospective couple could be a lot to ask for but these are the basic pursuit of life. The whole journey of life is about putting in practice the simple do’s and dont’s

As a simple guide see if he or she does or practice the following. Or in your conversations you can actually pick up and understand one’s value system. it is simple, but first and foremost you yourself have to subscribe to these.

“Take not with Allah another object of worship”

“Be kind to parents. Whether one or both of them attain old age in thy life, say not to them a word of contempt, nor repel them, but address them in terms of honour”

“Render to the kindred their due rights, as to those in want, and to the wayfarer””

“But squander not your wealth in the manner of a spendthrift””

“Make not thy hand tied (like a niggard’s) to thy neck, nor stretch it forth to its utmost reach, so that thou become blameworthy and destitute”

“Kill not your children for fear of want”

“Nor come nigh to adultery: for it is a shameful (deed) and an evil”

“Nor take life – which Allah has made sacred – except for just cause””

“Come not nigh to the orphan’s property except to improve it””

“Give full measure when ye measure, and weigh with a balance that is straight””

“Pursue not that of which thou hast no knowledge; for every act of hearing, or of seeing or of (feeling in) the heart will be enquired into””

“Nor walk on the earth with insolence: for thou canst not rend the earth asunder, nor reach the mountains in height”


Father of the Bride – Mother over-exerted herself

June 3, 2010

She wanted to know everything related to the wedding. Her 20/20 eyesight meant that no stone  or brick was to be turned without her knowledge. Literally and actually speaking. Her favourite past time has always been the garden, but her taste was rather French, straight line bushes, flower pots, brick lined flower beds. She like bricks.

I did a French Revolution on her. I overhauled the garden. I like Tropical garden, lush, chaotic, plants from the forests, open spaces. When I did the restoration of the house, I also did away with the flowerpots and the painted bricks. There were fierce resistance. There were numerous occasions changes I did were overturned the moment I left for Kelana Jaya.

I had been fairly patient. I had a few frustrations too. The lush siantan plant suddenly get cropped. The 6 footer pandan serani which took years to grow to that height suddenly became a midget. The kantan plant that grew suddenly disappeared. I blew my top. I finally managed to control it by telling Osman the Bangladeshi gardener that for every shoot that he cut off I was going to charge him Rm 10.

Then there was this trend on orchids. Suddenly I found orchids filling the front rows.

Now we are more or less at peace as far as the garden was concerned. I was pleased, finally she appreciated the orchid bed combination that I came out with. Instead of miles of straight lined beds, I broke the monotony by combining the orchids with other plants.

With the wedding approaching, the garden is maturing. At the very least I expected one of her prime areas of concerns would have been taken care off. She would be able to enjoy the big tree, the bungor, the red hot halia bara, the flowering orchids, the siantan.

That was not to be. Only yesterday she was asking why the bungor was not flowering. Why are the orchids not having so many flowers. Her 20/20 vision and sharp faculty put a strain on her physically.

The wedding planner in her got the better of her. She ordered the rempeyek  her favourite tit bits. She ordered the serunding.She ordered the orchids.

The primadonna at work.

She walked with her cane inspecting. The extra walking was not doing any good to her. Yesterday she complained of difficulty in breathing,  she asked to be sent to the doctor with a proviso, only to Dr Nor not the Hospital.

That was not good news. She has always been reluctant to go to the doctor. So off  we went to Clinic of the Family Doctor.

Do not send me to the hospital, she said, always 3 steps ahead in her thinking. But Dr Nor our  good neighbor and doctor, told her otherwise.

“mak mah kena jumpa pakar” she instructed.

So, at midnight we were at the E/A of the Putra. Dr Kee her able specialist was quick to attend to her. Her Bp was 217/100. Not good news.

“Not to worry” said the doctor, “She is now stable”.

“Mak cik kena duduk Ward”

‘”Tapi doktor, cucu saya nak jadi pengantin. Saya setuju tapi esok mesti balik”,  her pointed finger giving directive to the good doctor.

“Ok saya setuju” the doctor relented,

It was good for her. She needed the rest.

Father of the bride – Deciding on the Menu

June 1, 2010

During the Engagement we agreed to go Minang and Rembau. For the wedding it had to be Javanese.  We all agreed that is was not going to be Briyani although Batu Pahat is famous for its Bariyani.

Having decided on the menu, we requested for a Food Test. The session was hilarious. Everybody wanted to give opinions which was the right thing to do but then I realized that Caesar has to decide having considered all opinions. You cannot have too many cooks spoiling the soup. But I must say in this case our taste was quite consistent.

The salad was too sweet. No sugar but more belacan.

the pecel was quite good but do not put salt on the chicken. We want the natural taste of the chicken.

The chicken in soy sauce must not be made chinese. We do not want oyster sauce. No MSG please.

The rice was soggy. We needed a separate test for rice. Finally we opted for Bashmati.

The deserts were choices of the the two mothers.

The fun thing was this video showing us taking votes “bulu ayam” versus “kurau”. At the end Caesar and the Mother of Caesar used their vetoes.

I insisted on another food test particularly for the chicken. We discussed on scenarios if we do not like the chicken. I said I was prepared to change the cook. That was too much for The EM. She walked out. That was silly of us speculating on something hypothetical.


Kari Bebiri Organik Dari Ladang

Organic Lamb Curry Malay Style

Urap Kerabu Jawa Bercekur

“Urap” Javanese Herbal Salad

Ayam Kicap Berempah Batawi

Batavia Chicken in Spiced Soya Sauce

Sambal Goreng Pengantin

Javanese Tofu and Tempe in Assorted Condiments

Serunding Kelapa Gaya “Ambeng”

Fragrant Coconut “Ambeng” Style

Kurau Asin

Salted Kurau Fish

Manisan (dessert) :  Terumba, Sarang Semut

I hope everything would go well. We have planned and time now to tawakkal.

Father of the Bride – Unearthing a hidden gem of Bagan

June 1, 2010

We the people of Bagan are very proud people. We would rather call ourselves the People of Bagan than being referred to as Orang Batu Pahat. To us Johor is another state. Johor to the us is Johor Baru and its surrounding territories.

Why not? Bagan existed long before Batu Pahat. My kampong house was built in 1860. The town of Bandar Penggaram or Batu Pahat was opened up by Dato Bentara Luar together with the people of Bagan as its pioneering sponsors and promoters in 1890. The facts spoke for itself.

Bagan in Malay means the preferred landing point. It was a port for the import and export of goods for the surrounding territories. The only Kampong that preceded Bagan was Minyak Beku where the Well of Batu Pahat of Awi dichu that Siamese admiral resting port is located.

With its position as the landing point, it outshone even Minyak Beku. It became the preferred settlement amongst Javanese and Banjarese. Even The Malaccan Malay made it a kampong after the fall of Malacca.

With its popularity and growing settlement so was trade, followed by the development of culture and the arts.  In education I have been telling friends no Mukim in Malaysia would be able to match the number of professors Bagan has produced. At  the last count there were 8.

In Arts and culture Bagan was famous for the Zapin and Ghazal. The arts and culture and the newly defined religion to the folks of Bagan was seamless. May father was an Imam. During my sister’s wedding he would be dancing the zapin. Yes I remember that vividly.

That was the late 60s. In the 70s the Malaysian version of Taliban emerged. Anything cultural was haram. Zapin was haram. Ghazal was haram, masadeke was haram. Even the authority of my father the imam was challenged. There were family arguments and boycotts. There were those who refused to follow the solat of my father as Imam. It was stressful times.

Looking back I must say it was not unlike the cultural revolution in China or the Pol Pot regime of the Khmer Rouge.

It has been 30 years since the last Zapin was being performed at the Big House.

I have been determined to revive the Zapin at the Big House. What an astonishing discovery , a Ghazal and Zapin Party existed that withstand the onslaught of the Malayan Taliban. It has been aptly named as Sri Bagan.

It has been amazing the resilience of these passionate lovers of the arts. Who are we to tell that and that are Haram?

Last Saturday, I had the honour of joining these die-hard lovers of the arts in the thing they love to do, the ghazal, the zapin and the joget. It was a preview of the performance for the Big Day.

I am proud to be a Bagan Boy. A 30 year wait is going to end, Insyallah.

Father of the bride – primadonna or dowager empress

June 1, 2010

Sometimes I forgot emak  was a primadonna.

By definition “prima donna” is Italian for “first lady”. She was never  the leading soprano in the opera company, but she was indeed a performer and a passionate one at that as a Mak Andam or wedding planner.

To her I have been  encroaching into her territory.

Legendarily, these “prima donnas” were often regarded as egotistical, unreasonable and irritable, with a rather high opinion of themselves not shared by others. The term  Prima donna is often used to describe a vain, obnoxious and temperamental person who, although irritating, cannot be done without.

Emak was never vain nor obnoxious or egotistical. As a mak andam she was the one the kampong folks could not do without and she was good at her trade. She could be irritable  though if she could not get what she wanted.  The people of the kampong have high regards for her,she was indeed numero uno. From the preparation of the pelamin to doing the makeup and on the day itself as the event manager almost every wedding in the kampong she would be the choiced mak andam.

She inherited the trade from her mother, nenek. As a performer Emak had few competitions.

Dont you remember I did The Tampin wedding for Pak Jid the District Officer of Tampin? Dont you remember I did the Pak Isam’s daughter’s wedding in JB, the CPO of Johore?  Both were her cousins.

I had been a mak andam in Malacca, Klang and Kluang. What about Batam mak? I quipped.

Yes Emak I remember. Perhaps that explained why I have been sleeping with Nenek until I was twelve. You were often away.

At 86 , there were many things she desired that she could not do. It must be fairly frustrating for her. At times she could be unreasonable, asserting her authority but given time and  a healthy dose of patience she could stand to reasons.

But so far she has be getting almost everything she wanted. That is God’s way of testing her  children.

So yesterday when the make up artist came to the house to do  a trial on the bride, Azi and I made it a point for the junior Andam to pay respect to the Primadonna. She enjoyed it.  With the courtesies done with she would leave the mak andam and the manager alone.

With 4 days to go there was only one thing she wanted that I have not given in- the bersanding. She is not fully satisfied. The Pelamin is ready she could not accept that there would not be any bersanding. I could notice the strategies and emotional blackmails but keep on ignoring.

Seeing her seated with the cane in one hand you could see how commanding and regal she was particularly when she started using the cane to point and direct.

I forget she is not only the primadonna but she is the dowager empress, mother of CEASAR.

Father of the bride – I bought myself a pair of “capal”

June 1, 2010

I bought myself a pair of capal. A capal is a Malay sandal. The last time I had a pair was about 30 years ago. It was a cool combination of my ragged  and faded jeans and the Malay Capal. I must say the design is pretty cool. It has not changed, rightfully so  being a traditional footwear.

It cost me RM 38. Without asking for a discount the young lady at the Mubarak Store in Batu Pahat gave me a RM7 discount. I also bought a songkok. My favourite songkok which I bought in Kuala Pilah has disappeared. It must have been kidnapped and going to be held ransom by a fair maiden, my secret admirer. That reminded me of the story of my Pak Long. In the days of yore it was enough for the Penghulu to summon a young man into marriage if evidence of songkong and the sarong were presented by the family of the girl. He must be an adventurous young man. He ended up marrying a relatively elderly widow who had in her possession Pak Long’s songkok and sarong.

The songkok cost me RM90. For RM 128 the Malay Budiman had all the accessories to complete his Baju Melayu on the wedding day.

When I got home, Emak was pleased.

“do you know that your Atok was a Capal maker? she asked.

“Yes you told me so” I replied

She continued reminiscing how busy atok was during Ramadan. The built-in lockers next to the main staircase served as his workshop. The two lockers remained intact to this day. When He died, all the tools and implements of his trade disappeared. There was no one to inherit the trade.

This is the very house where the wedding is going to be held.

So those groom out there who wish to cut down on your budget , yet want to look elegant, go opt for the Malay Capal. At Rm 38 it is a bargain. You can spend your money on the Ferragamo once your children’s education fund is taken care of.

Father of the bride – while the preparations were on-going……..

May 28, 2010

while the preparations were on going…

we got a message from Adam’s tuition teacher. ” i am giving up …..” . So there I was sitting on the kerb of the flowerbed, listening attentively to Joyce.It was an earful,  short of getting a reprimand. I was thankful to Joyce. I have been coming back for lunch just to see the two young ladies get off to school and adam safely back. I have not asked too many questions but I will. He had his own stories told to Joyce. I will make sure he takes his shower before going to Tuition and I will make sure he does his work.

while the preparations were  ongoing…

.. the young adult had problems managing her purse and gadgets. We had hell breaking loose. I made my point clear. Accountability has nothing to do with trust. It was a lesson in life which everyone had to go through. Just that it varied from one to another. It happened to me when I was 18, finding my expenditure exceeding my Stg 70  monthly scholarship. She had her privileges withdrawn. It was another lesson in life that privileges have to  be earned. After two weeks we made up hopefully stronger and my understanding and practice of ASSABR will be victorious as promised by Him. Alhamdullilah

While the preparations were on going……….

.. I received the news that the dispenser we were designing and constructing did not deliver the designed flow rate. That was indeed bad news.  It was back to the detailing calling the UK and Italy. After hours of tiring brainstorm and what seemed to be doomed we theoretically found the solution. I wish I could meddle with the valve there and then. We had to wait. It was not until past noon the next day that we got the news that the solution worked. Alhamdulillah

while the preparations were going on….

there was a big debate and a lot of posturing about going to Malacca to handle the arrival of a maid for Emak. Everybody felt overworked, overstressed, . They pent out their frustration to Caesar. Had I been Julius, they would be sent for solitary confinement.  Had they been the Emperor’s concubine Sun Tzu would recommend  their head chopped off. I trust good sense and level headedness will prevail. The wives of Caesar  levelled up their senses. Alhamdullilah.

while the preparations were ongoing………..

…we lost the tender.

while the preparations were ongoing……..

The HOme needs tending, the Office needs commanding, the clients need  caring. Safia wanted her medical certificate.

TOPCAT kept his cool. Keep it Simple S…..