Sunday, May 13, 2007


I found this in the Sunday Star. I would like to congratulate fathers who have been successful in getting a tick for every criteria. I relinquish any form of responsibility which has given the children of such fathers their current point of view about their fathers and stepmoms.

You can also read it here
Here’s a ‘guide’ to turning your brood against their stepmother.

In choosing a stepmother candidate, pick a person who is rigid and inflexible. Even better if she is a control freak.

It would also be preferable to marry someone who has never had children and knows zilch about parenting.

People tend to imagine all stepmoms like the evil queen in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
If she has children of her own, ensure that they come first and are treated better than your own.

Forget about merging parenting styles; let your new spouse assume total parental control. Allow her to set the standards in the household and mete out punishments.

Never let the children see you making an independent decision in her presence: they have to see that you are helpless in her evil grasp so that they can be angry with her and feel (very) sorry for you.

Encourage the stepmother to harass your children. The more she pesters them, the better it is to set her up as the bad guy, and you as the goodie-two-shoes.

To build up resentment for her, force them to participate in family activities and make them do household chores. Ensure that the children never see their stepmother picking up a vacuum cleaner, washing dishes or even scrubbing the toilet.

Never contradict her in front of your children. She is “perfect”, and your children just the opposite.

Be sure to tell the stepmother your conversations with your children. This will allow your children to understand that your relationship with her is much more important than yours with them.

Remember to tell people how you believe that she is a much better parent than their real mother. Make sure the children hear this so that they hurt deeper, setting the stepmother up for resentment.

For extra points, have children with the stepmother and compare their good qualities to your children’s bad.

Pretend your children don’t notice the change in your behaviour since their stepmother came into the picture. Although you risk losing the respect of your children, for the spineless man this is a minuscule price to pay.

After all, having someone to mother you is more important than your relationship with your children. – By ROSE YASMIN KARIM

Friday, May 11, 2007


It is almost a tradition in our family now, these midnight birthday parties. First there was Huzaifah’s birthday in August last year. Quite grandios with lights off and the big shout out 'SURPRISE', superman cake, balloons, presents and all. Still confined within the family though.

Then each of the March babies, Muaz, Umair, KT and Ammar. Due to financial constraints we managed to buy a discounted half cake from Strudels for each of them, discount courtesy of good ole Johan. The cake i must say is one of the most delicious’s shaped like a pyramid and it is so finger lickin’ good.

Then there's the May babies, Amira and Mariam. We had a nice family affair at my sister Nani’s house. 12 midnight again, we had a cake blowing session and some makan-makan pizza. The next day was Mariam’s birthday, but even the birthday girl couldn’t keep her eyes open. But she had a big do at the hockey stadium with her hockey mates from school and St John’s after their training session that evening. All of us went, umair arrived just on time for the table cleaning session..poor fella. But that’s what you get if you are late, right?

But the most looked forward to birthday is the grand Matriarch’s birthday, our wonderful MAMA, the kids lovely TOK.
I brought the cake, Nani the murtabak, and we gathered at Nani’s house again for the midnight celebration..gosh it’s almost like an occult. Mama was all set for bed after making sure everything was spick and span and was quite surprised and perturbed to see us at the door since the next day was a school day. But all of us “buat bodoh” ..we went in leaving the cake on the shoe cupboard to be sneaked in later. It was 15 minutes to midnight when we arrived. Huzaifah with his innocent face mumbled Happy Birthday, Tok, as he walked into the house. Everyone stopped short in their tracks and glared at him..and he glared back ..and mouthed "What", we glared at him even harder..hoping that that would shut him up somehow, but he glared back. Then he ran to Mama and gave her a hug around her middle and said in his manja voice Happy Birthday, TOK!! Everyone went ..alaaaaaa..there goes the surprise!!! Mama’s face immediately lit up...”ooooo..laaaa..i was wondering why Nani bought so many murtabak..i was going to keep them in the fridge but it was still too i just left it on the table.” She was so delighted and touched. I could almost see tears in her eyes. I suppose at that age, simple things like family gatherings and appreciations like this mean a lot to her.
KT brought in the cake and placed it on the dining table. “That’s my cake,” Muaz cried. I want candles. Kt began putting the candles on the cake. “That’s not your cake’s tok’s birthday, not yours," she said.
“No! it’s Muaz cake!! Muaz caaake!”
“Okay okay, muaz’s cake ok?,” the tok said.
“Alaa tok”, KT said.
“KT, he is still’s ok”
KT pulled a face at MUaz and Muaz glared at her.
“Spoilt brat” she mumbled.
We gathered around and sang Happy Birthday..and when mom blew the candles..muaz screamed..”Noooo muaz birthday” Mama stopped, we told her to ignore him and carry on..she carried on to blow her candles and we all clapped. Meanwhile, Muaz slipped down from the chair and ran into Adeil’s room and screamed “Muaz birthday..muaz birthday..” So we lit the candles again, dragged him out of the room..and sang him a birthday song and let him blow the candles.
Peace was once again restored. We sat chatted and later Umair called from Cyber to wish Mama, that made her so very da very happy.
Now that we have reached this age, we realise what a wonderful Mom Mama has been. What a great and perfect family we came from. Mama is a mother with such a big heart that she just give and give to her children. She has always been very careful with what she says because she is well aware that what ever she says is a supplication, which Allah will grant. No matter how we hurt her, she will only pray for the best. She is truly the epitome of love itself.
I saw her staring blankly into space..a far away place where perhaps her memories are kept safely to be replayed in her own time. I know at times like this she misses Babah. They were such a loving couple and Babah being taken away so abruptly like that, really broke her. On her birthdays , Babah without fail would buy her something special, be it a diamond ring, a bracelet or watch or anything that he knew she fancied. I grew up believing that the men folks’ task was to spoil their other half ...with gifts and love. How wrong i was.
Mama used to be so full of life, heading the Wanita UMNO in Penang, being the examplary headmistress, giving all she could to society and helping anyone who requested her help in the area of education. But joy has been grabbed from her when Babah passed on. She decided to confine herself to the house venturing out only when necessary.
But I am glad my sister and I can be around her now. My children and Nani's keep her company, Muaz being her favourite.
Mama is all I have now. It’s her arms i run into when i am down. Her lap that i rest my head on when my burden gets too heavy. She has always been there, with all faculties ready to help anyone of us. God alone knows how afraid I am of losing her as i see her age every day.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

My sister..

“Why are you so fat, now?” my sister jested. “You don’t want to slim down aa”.
I know I have put on a lot of weight. I can't wear most of my office attire now..and can't afford to buy anymore. So I have resorted to wearing the good old faithful baju kurung.

“Can’t help it..I am happy la.”

“Not a nice way to celebrate happiness, is it..being fat..” My sister quipped.

Now the annoyance set in, mainly triggered by guilt of course..of not watching what I eat and not exercising as I should.

I had to come up with something...hmmm

“There was a time when we didn’t have enough to even have a proper meal. I can’t keep coming to you to ask for help..I know you will never deny us, but i also know you had your own problems too..and I have seven, ok.” I began..

“Do you know that we used to go eat at the Mamak shop and really tawakkal. I would tell the we have only enough for half a roti canai each, ok. Let us make doa that Allah will make this sufficient for us, ok, that this will be filling enough for us and will give us enough energy to carry on. Be thankful that we do have food. Don't worry, this is temporary..things are going to get me.."

Now that was what we used to go through during the first few months ..

Now I can afford the simple pleasures of buying good food, why not..
What better way to show gratitude than to eat what is there, what I like. We used to look at chocolates and salivate, and it used to break my heart when the little ones ask for some and I couldn’t afford any. And of course la, we share la what we have with those who don’t."

Now that was almost a full discourse ...giggle.

My sister pouted with a glint in her eyes..which said, "Excuses, excuses" written all over it.

Looking back, I realised we have come a long way from those days when I almost lost my self esteem and all my dreams. I was just living from day to day. All I knew was I had to live for my children. I was so fortunate to have my mother, my sister and my brother who were always there for me. My sister especially, never failed to inspire me. When i was down, she would tug me from the ever demolishing state of self pity. She has been a pillar of strength and never once has she ever denied me her help. I also am so blessed with friends who were ever ready to help. In fact I need not ask, they sensed and they held out their hands. All these people offered whatever they had, their ears, their shoulders to be wet by my tears, while others emptied their purses to help put my feet back firmly on the ground, they made sure that i could stand on my own. They saw my transformation into someone different, not very amiable at times, but they never deserted me. These friendships, some forged so long ago, when I was growing up and studying locally and overseas, while others when i first started working, have been my CPR at the most critical of times..

During these trying times, I saw that pure hearts are simply pure hearts. It need not be cloaked in any form of dress code. They transcend race, faith and every other criteria which man created to categorise the human race. It simply shines through sincere acts of compassion and kindness. And you can see it gleam even in the darkest of rooms.

I just hope that I will be able to return the same favour to someone in need, one day. If I can come out of this..anyone can. They just need some firm push from sincere hearts,like i was lucky enough to have.

Now time to figure out how to get back into those office attire...