Sunday, December 7, 2014

HERE COMES THE RAIN AGAIN

It's been raining almost single day now and most of the time, quite heavily and in the evening too. I don't really mind the cold weather that comes with the rain but there is something strange about the rainy season this time. For the past month, I've been seeing clouds (or are they only mist?) hanging real low in the mountainous area near my home. I've never seen anything unusual like that before and it can be quite scary to think that the clouds can look like that. I have always liked the weather to be slightly cold (it gives me enough reason to sleep in a little bit longer) but not the heavy rain and grey sky which can be quite dampening to the soul and the spirit. I am not complaining but when the weather is gloomy and it rains in the evening, it's not fun to go out at all. That also means there will be no tea or light snacks alfresco in the evening. I also feel sorry for the people who depend on the 'pasar malam' for their livelihood. Just imagine if it rains every single day. How will they survive? As for me, being cooped up in the house with nothing to do can be quite depressing. Of course, there are a lot of things I can do around the house but it is much more fun to be outdoors in the sunshine!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

CYBER SPACE EXPLORATION : DEAD BLOGS

I decided to write on this topic since I had almost neglected this blog without ever knowing whether I would ever come back to update it or not. Wandering in cyber space, it is sad to see some blogs abandoned and neglected by their owners. The cyberspace is literally littered with blogs which are no longer taken care of. Like cold fragments from a no longer burning star, these blogs are not often seen but are still there. I often wonder what caused the owners to suddenly stop posting and leave their blogs in blog purgatory. Where have all the owners of these blogs gone to? Sometimes I even wonder if they are still around. These abandoned blogs are an enigma to me; leaving me with questions that will never be fully answered. These bloggers must have been pretty excited the first time they started their blogs. I know I was. I truly believe that they must have given a lot of thoughts regarding their blogs at that time. I wonder why they do not keep their blogs alive. Could it be that they are no longer interested or time does not permit them to sit down and write something in their blogs? Could it be that a tragedy has struck and they are no longer able to write or could it be that the bloggers themselves are no longer around? These questions bug me since I feel that I need to know what has happened. Some bloggers keep their readers waiting with the promise to come back but I rarely meet those who do. To suddenly abandon a blog seems like unfinished business to me. I have learned a lot from being a silent reader of blogs that I follow over the years. They have widened my knowledge, fed my soul, enriched my life, enlightened me, put a smile on my face or in my heart and sometimes, even made me cry like a baby. I often look forward to their postings although I do not know these bloggers personally. It's not really that far-fetched if I say that sometimes I can feel what these bloggers feel. Discovering that your favourite blogs have suddenly been abandoned is a terrible let-down. It's akin to someone leaving you without saying anything at all. No goodbyes. No waving of hand. Not even empty promises. No closure. Looking at the bright side, I'm sure there will be new blogs emerging and popping up from time to time in blogosphere. Some which will be more outstanding and prominent than others. Just like newly-born stars in the vast universe replacing the ones which are dying or already dead.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

MY COMFORT FOOD : LAKSA

As much as I love food, I rarely write about it. I love taking pictures of food but so far, only a few of them have appeared in this blog. I love food. I enjoy going out to places where the food served is good. I get excited when the food is garnished to tantalise my taste buds. It does not really matter to me where the food is sold. It can be a restaurant, a bistro, a cafe or even a roadside stall. As long as the food is good and halal, the price is reasonable, the location is not too far away, I will try that place out. If I like the food, I will most probably go back again and again. There are many types of food that I consider as my comfort food. One of them is laksa and I can be quite particular with the laksa that I eat. There are many types of laksa and I'm quite partial to the the one that has that balanced sour and hot taste. A few months ago, my Mum and I with two of my friends CoCo and Aiza, ended up in Kuala Kangsar which is famous for its own version of laksa. We were driving around when we saw this 'laksa' stall by the roadside. Without thinking twice, we stopped there to try the 'laksa'. We were not disappointed. The laksa was simple, original and delicious. I'm not particularly fond of laksa that is laden with new 'condiments' which are usually not found in the traditional laksa. Somehow, I find the authentic taste and flavour of of the laksa is compromised when the focus is more on the condiments rather than on the laksa itself. There are many types of noodles for the laksa and they can be quite different in taste, texture, length and colour. I have always preferred the soft and shiny ones and not the slightly hard and easily broken ones. I don't even like the dry ones which have to be blanched or soaked in water unless there is no other choice. To me, a good laksa should be simple. Just the noodles, gravy (which should not be watery), half a boiled egg, shreds of lettuce, slices of pineapples, cucumber and chillies and not to forget, 'otak udang' if possible. That will be enough. No fishballs, no chicken and no fried eggs. Not even unnecessary garnishing. If the laksa is really good, I can even finish two bowls at one seating. There certain types of food which, to me, should stay the way they are. That is why I am quite hesitant to try out new dishes which have been augmented just for the heck of it. One good example is pizza. I don't understand why there should be curry-flavoured pizza or 'tom yam' flavoured pizza or even pizza with 'rendang' toppings. It just doesn't make sense to me. I am definitely not against improvisation or fusion dishes but sometimes, it's better to leave certain food the way it is.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

MY NEW PML AND CROWN LAMP

My new PML! Yes, in this post, I will be babbling about my new PML or 'pinggan mangkuk lama'. I had been wanting to replace my Mum's old set of crockery for quite some time but somehow, the online traders whom I sent my email to never replied any of my queries (maybe they thought I was not serious enough). My Mum's old set of crockery is very precious to me and I believe, to her too although she has never explicitly said so. According to her, my late Abah (may Allah bless his soul) bought the set way back in the early 1960s, a few years before I was born. The whole thing cost about $200.00 (it was $ back then and not RM like it is now), an exorbitant amount of money at that time I would say. The set was rarely used except for very important family occasions such as weddings and such. Due to lack of proper handling by those whose who didn't know how to appreciate it, a few pieces were cracked, chipped, broken or missing. Earlier this year, I discovered a tea set exactly like my Mum's which was on sale on the Internet. I got pretty excited that I almost peed in pants (or was it a sarong that I was wearing at that time?). Immediately, I sent an email to the lady to obtain more information. I was really hoping that she would not be like the other traders who ignored my email. She answered my email and gave me all the information that I needed regarding the set. I decided to buy the set from her and we discussed how I wanted the set to be delivered. I did not want the set to be sent by courier since I did not want to take any risk at all. I paid half of the amount and asked her to keep the set aside for me for a while. The other half of the whole amount would be paid in full when I went to self-collect the set from her. Unfortunately, I had to postpone my meeting her (a few times actually) due to some unforeseen circumstances. Both of us finally agreed to meet during the first weekend of the school holiday since that would be the only time I could go and travel to meet her. She was accompanied by her family and I have to say that they are very nice people. They are genuinely friendly and I felt very comfortable with them. I almost cried (I was truly overwhelmed so what do you expect?) when she handed me the set, carefully unwrapping a few pieces for me to see. To top that, she even gave me a gift! That was something that I never expected at all since that was our first time meeting each other. She gave me an old oil lamp which now sits together with my Mum's old PML in the cabinet. I think the oil lamp is called Crown lamp because either the clear hobnailed body with the red, blue and green 'jewels' around it somehow resembles a crown or the brass ring burner securing the red glass chimney (which is very fragile) looks very much like a crown. This type of lamp was very common way back in the 50s, 60s and 70s when many homes in Malaysia still did not have electricity. They were not that expensive and most of them were made in Hong Kong. My Mum said it was her responsibility to fill the lamps with kerosene for the whole household when she was young. She also said that there were many other types of lamps which were used back then. Some were cheaper and those which were made in England were definitely much more expensive. Now, let me get back to my new PML. This pattern is is called The Old Mill (available in pink, blue, purple, brown and multicolour patterns) and was produced by Johnson Brothers, a tableware manufacturer founded in 1883. Production for this pattern ceased some time in the 1970s and replacements (although available) can be quite costly and sometimes, are not as advertised. There are other patterns as well with names like Khyber, Friendly Village, Bird Of Paradise, Harvest Time, Garden Bouquet and Old Britain Castles. The new modern range such as Athena, Denmark, Devon Cottage, Rose Chintz and Melody is much more durable and comes in more contemporary patterns. The tea set that I bought is for six and consists of six cups, six saucers, six dessert plates, a sugar bowl, a creamer, a tureen and a teapot. At the moment, the whole set is still in a box and I haven't had the chance to put all the items in my display cabinet. My display cabinet is quite small so I will have to figure out how I'm going to rearrange everything in it. I also have a few other items kept in the cabinet and I think some of them have to make way for this new set. No words can truly express my gratitude to this lady who not only sold the set and gave me a wonderful gift but also shared some valuable information with me.

Isn't the lamp beautiful?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

WHITNEY HOUSTON 'THE MOMENT OF TRUTH' TOUR BOOK

At present, this is the second Whitney Houston tour book that I have in my collection. I saw it on sale a few weeks ago and I was quite surprised that it was relatively cheap (well, at least it was much cheaper than the ones offered by other sellers). The tour book arrived much earlier than I expected. There aren't as many exclusive pictures in this tour book as in the other one that I have but that is fine with me. The book is almost in mint condition and I have no complaints about it so far. After all, you cannot expect much from a book that dates back to 1987. This is Whitney's tour book for her second worldwide tour which kicked off in Tampa, Florida and ended in Hong Kong. I wish I had seen Whitney when she was at her prime. I would have had a blast! The only time I saw her live was when she came to Kuala Lumpur for the 'Live 'N' Loud' show back in 2007. Sadly, her voice was already deteriorating at that time. I have been on the lookout for her other tour books online but none of them even comes close within my budget. I am quite sure her more recent tour books are much better than her earlier ones in terms of quality and content. I know her 'Nothing But Love' tour book (her final tour before she passed away) contains lots and lots of beautiful pictures specifically taken for it. Here are a few pictures of the tour book that I took before it was safely placed in my book cabinet together with my other 'precious' items.

The Moment Of Truth Tour Book

The centrefold.

Whitney's sexy pose.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

LET'S KARAOKE 31 : TONI BRAXTON - UN-BREAK MY HEART

This is probably Toni Braxton's most well-known song and I don't think she will ever repeat the success that the song had either in terms of sales, popularity or longevity. It was released as the second single from her sophomore album 'Secrets'. The first single was 'You're Makin' Me High' which became her first number one hit. With 'Secrets' also came a drastic image change for Toni. Replacing her short and sassy locks were long and wavy hair extensions (or were they weaves?). She had also lost a lot of weight by then and was quite comfortable displaying her new toned body in extremely revealing clothes (remember the shocking almost not-there-at-all Gucci dress she wore to the GMA?). The video clip for this song featured Tyson Beckford (Ralph Lauren's former leading model for the brand's male sportswear line) who played Toni's lover and whom she was mourning for. There is also a Spanish version of the song titled "Regresa A Mí' which literally means 'Return To Me'. The complete video is actually much longer than the version usually aired on television. It shows Toni in the kitchen preparing breakfast for Tyson and reminding him about her performance. The song is one of my favourites whenever I go for karaoke sessions with my friends. I used to listen to this song and watch the video repeatedly even though they would make me feel so depressed. Now, only memories remain....

The single's cover

video

Don't leave me in all this pain
Don't leave me out in the rain
Come back and bring back my smile
Come and take these tears away
I need your arms to hold me now
The nights are so unkind
Bring back those nights when I held you beside me

Un-break my heart
Say you'll me again
Undo this hurt you caused
When you walked out the door
And walked out of my life
Un-cry these tears
I cried so many nights
Un-break my heart
My heart

Take back that sad word good-bye
Bring back the joy to my life
Don't leave me here with these tears
Come and kiss the pain away
I can't forget the day you left
Time is so unkind
And life is so cruel without you here beside me

Un-break my heart
Say you'll love me again
Undo this hurt you caused
When you walked out the door
And walked out of my life
Un-cry these tears
I cried so many nights
Un-break my heart
My heart

Don't leave me in all this pain
Don't leave me out in the rain
Bring back the nights when I held you beside me

Un-break my heart
Say you'll love me again
Undo this hurt you caused
When you walked out the door
And walked out of my life
Un-cry that tears
I cried so many, many nights
Un-break my

Un-break my heart
Come back and say you love me
Un-break my heart
Sweet darlin'
Without you I just can't go on
Can't go on.... 


p/s This post is dedicated to A. May you rest in peace.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

REVIVING MY BLOG

I've decided the hiatus that I took from writing this blog has got to come to an end. I stopped writing a few months ago due to circumstances that somehow dampened my spirit and motivation. Too many things (especially heartbreaking ones) have been happening to me and at that time, I thought of giving up writing altogether. I could not find any reason to write anything at all. None, whatsoever. It wasn't any form of writer's block since there were things that I could have written in this blog but I did not feel like telling them to other people. I wanted to suppress what I was feeling since I thought it would be better that way. At the same time, blogs are also becoming somewhat of a passé (some even say that blogging is dead). Netizens (especially the younger ones) have found newer services, social media streams and mobile apps that can cater to their needs such as Twitter, Instagram, WeChat, WhatsApp, Pinterest, Snapchat and tumblr. But then, I realised that too much love had been put into this blog and to simply abandon it would be a big mistake. I also realised that I did not have to follow what others were doing. All the other social networking sites, media streams and mobile apps are into what is 'now'. My blog is all about my life, my thoughts and my passion : past, present and future. It has been part of life for the past 6 years and I cannot leave it to crumble although many other blogs are dropping like flies. I am not giving up just yet. I also do not want everything that is deemed important to me to be transient and fleeting. I want everything to be recorded for my own reference in the future. That is why I have decided that I will write again. I might have to make a few changes here and there to accommodate the current trends and preference. I know it will be quite difficult but I am determined to write at least until blogger.com is no longer in existence. Until then, viva Elixir Of Love! 

Saturday, July 5, 2014

AL-FATIHAH : SHARIFAH AINI

She is one of my favourite singers and I've written fondly about her a few times in this blog. I even collect her albums whenever possible and now, she is gone. I knew that she was not well based on her absence on facebook after she stopped writing altogether at the end of last year. Before that, she would write almost on a daily basis. From her facebook, I got to know Sharifah Aini not only as a singer but also a person with a big heart. She would give motherly advice (she addressed herself as Ummie Sharifah to her fans) from time to time and allow her fans to get a glimpse of her life and home. Now, even her facebook is no longer there. I know that I'll be missing her posts and above all, I'll be missing her. Al Fatihah for a singer with a voice of a nightingale. Sharifah Aini, may Allah bless your soul and place you in jannah. آمين

Sunday, June 29, 2014

RAMADHAN 1435H

As I am writing this, I have already finished my 'sahur' and performed my prayers. My Mum can't fast anymore and it seems that for this year's fasting month, she won't be doing any cooking either. Her fall last month has affected her mobility a little bit and I have forbidden her to do anything that might can risk her health. I will be missing her cooking but that is a very small price to pay compared to her health. At the moment, she is still in the room, reading a few pages from the holy book after her prayers. It is very cool this morning, unlike yesterday which was scorching hot and I hope the weather is going to continue like this for the rest of the day and the month. There is not much preparation that I have done for this fasting month except for a little bit of grocery shopping that I did yesterday and that was that. A lot things have happened this year and I am taking everything slowly. I am also hoping that this Ramadhan, I can become a better person and do more for those who are in need. As usual, I pray that there will be peace of mind, wisdom, patience, forgiveness, benevolence and humanity for all.  آمين To all Muslims, have a wonderful Ramadhan.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

LET'S KARAOKE 30 : MICHAEL JACKSON - WHO IS IT?

Today is the fifth anniversary of Michael Jackson's death and I'm posting this karaoke as a tribute to him, one of the greatest entertainers ever. It was a very sad day for millions of his fans when the King of Pop was finally laid to rest five years ago. He was about to embark on a new tour and many of us were holding our breath to see what he had in store for us when news of his death came as a shock to us. His music has touched the hearts of millions of people and it'll be quite a while before we can find another entertainer like him. He might be gone forever but I'm sure that his music and legacy will live on. RIP, Moonwalker.

The single's cover

video

I gave her money
I gave her time
I gave her everything inside one heart could find
I gave her passion
My very soul
I gave her promises and secrets so untold

And she promised me forever and a day we'd live as one
We made our vows we'd live a life anew
And she promised me in secret that she'd love me for all time
It's a promise so untrue
Tell me what will I do?


And it doesn't seem to matter

And it doesn't seem right
'Cause the will has brought no fortune
Still I cry alone at night
Don't you judge of my composure
'Cause I'm lying to myself
And the reason why she left me
Did she find in someone else?


(Who is it?)

Is it a friend of mine
(Who is it?)
Is it my brother
(Who is it?)
Somebody hurt my soul, now
(Who is it?)
I cant take this stuff no more

I am the damned

I am the dead
I am the agony inside the dying head
This is injustice
Woe unto thee
I pray this punishment would have mercy on me

And she promised me forever that we'd live our life as one
We made our vows we'd live a love so true
It seems that she has left me for such reasons unexplained
I need to find the truth
But see what will I do


And it doesn't seem to matter
And it doesn't seem right
'Cause the will has brought no fortune
Still I cry alone at night
Don't you judge of my composure
'Cause I'm bothered everyday

And she didn't leave a letter
She just up and ran away

(Who is it? )
Is it a friend of mine
(Who is it? )

Is it my brother?
(Who is it? )
Somebody hurt my soul, now
(Who is it? )
I cant take it cause I'm lonely

(Who is it? )
Is it friend of mine
(Who is it? )

To me I'm bothered
(Who is it? )

Somebody hurt my soul, now
(Who is it? )
I cant take it cause I'm lonely

And it doesn't seem to matter
And it doesn't seen right
'Cause the will has brought no fortune
Still I cry alone at night

Don't you judge of my composure
'Cause I'm lying to myself
And the reason why she left me
Did she find in someone else?

And it doesn't seem to matter
And it doesn't seem right
'Cause the will has brought no fortune
Still I cry alone at night

Don't you judge of my composure
'Cause I'm bothered everyday
And she didn't leave a letter
She just up and ran away

And it doesn't seem to matter
And it doesn't seem right
'Cause the will has brought no fortune
Still I cry alone at night
Don't you judge of my composure
'Cause I'm lying to myself
And the reason why she left me
Did she find in someone else?


And it doesn't seem to matter
And it doesn't seem right
'Cause the will has brought no fortune
Still I cry alone at night
Don't you judge of my composure

'Cause I'm bothered everyday
And she didn't leave a letter
She just up and ran away

And it doesn't seem to matter
And it doesn't seem right
'Cause the will has brought no fortune
Still I cry alone at night
Don't you judge of my composure
'Cause I'm bothered everyday
And she didn't leave a letter
She just up and ran away

And it doesn't seem to matter
And it doesn't seem right

'Cause the will has brought no fortune
Still I cry alone at night
Don't you judge of my composure
'Cause I'm lying to myself
And the reason why she left me
Did she find in someone else?