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?

WHITNEY HOUSTON 'I'M YOUR BABY TONIGHT' TOUR BOOK

I was supposed to publish this more than 2 months ago but I was extremely busy that I totally forgot that I was planning to do so. This tour book actually arrived in the mail after three weeks of waiting. Three agonising week, I'd say. When I saw the tour book being sold on ebay, I got extremely excited especially when I saw that it was quite affordable (it is always the shipping that puts a dent in my pocket). I immediately asked a friend of mine to get it for me. The only tour book that I owned before this was ABBA Live In Australia 1977 which once belonged to my brother-in-law. The ABBA tour book is no longer in mint condition but it is still part of my treasure trove. This tour book also comes with a large fold-out poster of Whitney dressed in torn jeans, leather jacket and leopard-print boots. I'd say she looked her best during that period before time and drugs took a toll on her. How I wish that the poster is not folded so I can make a big copy of it. The tour book is in very good condition and I did not regret to spend my money to own this piece of pop history (others might think that I should have spent my money on something else but hey, to each his own). There are many other tour books of hers available on ebay but this is the only one I can afford at the moment. In due time, I am sure they will be mine.

ABBA - Live In Australia 1977 Official Souvenir Programme.

I'm Your Baby Tonight Tour Book.

Whitney's sexy pose and the poster.

The picture used for 'All The Man That I Need' promo CD single and the poster.

OLD FRIENDS

I was preparing my 'cucur bawang' for breakfast last Sunday when I received a phone call from one of my old friends, Ting. Ting and I became friends almost 25 years ago when we were introduced by my ex-schoolmate, El, who was doing his industrial training where Ting was working. Both of them became housemates when El graduated and started working with Tenaga Nasional. After I graduated, I stayed with both of them when I was looking for a job in Kuala Lumpur and I have to say that it was one of the best times in my life. The last time I met Ting was more than two years ago when he came to visit me during Eid. After that meeting, we only exchanged news through facebook and text messages. When Ting arrived, I saw that somebody else was with him. I jumped up and down with joy (yes, I did) when I saw Cik Nan with him. Cik Nan is also another old friend of mine whom I had not met for more than 10 years. We became friends through another ex-schoolmate of mine, Gush. Through Gush and Cik Nan, I got to know Mus and Mudasir. Time passed and everyone had to move on. I had to leave my carefree life and move to another state. Ting found a new job with another company. Cik Nan was posted to Vietnam and Mozambique and only came back a couple of years ago. El did his Masters and got promoted. Mudasir relocated to Penang. Gush adopted a child and moved to Kuantan. Mus quit his job in KL, finished his doctorate and became a lecturer in one of the universities up north. Everyone also got older and supposedly, more mature. I still keep in touch with my friends and we still laugh at our old ways and antics whenever we meet (which is not that often) or talk on the phone. Ting and Cik Nan did not stay long since Cik nan had to rush back to KL to catch a flight. Though we rarely meet each other anymore, I am happy and grateful that my friends have not forgotten me. We might have found new people in our lives, discovered new horizons and developed new interests but I know that there is always something special that binds us together. The times when we were young and naive and still trying to find our paths in life will always be cherished forever in my heart.

CoCo, Shi, Ting and Cik Nan getting acquainted while enjoying my 'cucur bawang'.

Monday, June 23, 2014

WELCOMING RAMADHAN KAMPUNG-STYLE

I am not sure about other states but here in Perak, it is almost a tradition to have 'kenduri menyambut puasa' (usually a week before the fasting month starts). One of my bffs, Shi, came back from KL since his family had planned a kenduri to welcome the fasting month at his late grandfather's house. My Mum and I was also invited and we went there at about 2.30. We went there after almost everybody had left except for Shi's family members who lived quite far away. There was nothing fancy about the food served but it was simply delicious. Everything was prepared by Shi's family members themselves. The main dishes were 'kari ikan merah' and 'ayam masak kicap' and there were also 'ikan kering masin', 'ulam-ulaman' and 'sambal belacan'. We had 'bahulu kemboja', 'bubur pulut hitam' and watermelon for desserts.  We sat on the floor to eat just like kampung folks do and I was glad I wasn't wearing my jeans! I ate more than I should but I just could not resist the fish curry. I gave it an A++ and I don't mind having it again! We.stayed to chat with Shi and his family and after that, I went to explore the 'kampung'. The 'kampung' is no longer what it was many years ago. The old mosque that was once used for Friday prayers is still standing but nowadays, only daily prayers are held there. Many of the elderly folks have passed on and quite a number of houses are abandoned. Luckily, Shi's family house is still occupied by his three uncles and this is where the other family members usually stay during family gatherings and Eid. All in all, I have to say that 'kampung-style kenduris' are still the best compared to the fancy-schmancy ones. Who needs fancy tents when the living room (and sometimes the front porch) is good enough to accommodate all the guests? Who needs food caterers who charge ridiculously when simple food cooked with love is what makes our mouths water? Who needs expensive crockery when the mismatched plates, bowls and saucers can function as good as the expensive ones? Certainly not me. I'd settle for simplicity anytime over something over the top.

My Mum, CoCo, Shi and Shi's uncle.

Shi's family members enjoying the food.

Shi's Mum.

CoCo and Mira smoking after lunch outside the house.

p/s Thank you Shi for inviting us. We love the food and we love you!