Monday, August 23
Its a neck to neck election this year which leads to a hung parliament. Its also scary that the fate of the government lies in about 5 independent politicians. 1 is enough to be untrustworthy let alone 5.
I'm betting the liberal win. Here are some of my amateurish views on why:
1. All mining counters closed higher in the the market leading to believe that mining tax and Gillard will be dropped.
2. If indeed mining men are like the oil men in the US, labour will go out like a bomb. They had enough power to get rid of Rudd.
3. SportsBet put up odds in the favor of liberal and we know they do their research diligently.
4. Both arent trustworthy, but labour proved to be wasteful. Which is a cardinal sin in this financial times. They just messed up the theory of "spending creates a healthy economy". Oz is not hard hit by the recession cause of its way of being conservative - and it works!!
But these views are from somebody who barely understands the politics here so please take it with a lot of salt and Green (just like the party which won the melbourne seat - the only green seat in parliment).
Wednesday, August 18
Its a little late but I would like to wish everybody a blessed ramadhan and would like to apologize for any wrong doings. It is the favorite month in my calender but this time around its a little different.
When back home I can really feel the excitement and peace that comes with the month. The pasar, the gathering during breaking fast and the cleansing feeling when going to terawih and praying. I'm not getting that much here now being abroad. Namely cause everybody else don't fast and doesn't understand why we are doing it after i told my OZ friends of Ramadhan and fasting. Apparently the guy that impressed me with his Ramadhan understanding was my course instructor that had just came back serving in the army from Afghanistan. He even knew when Ramadhan started before I told him.
It was kinda hard to explain about fasting and I had to emphasize that I'm doing it out of will instead of being forced upon. If anybody who is knowledgeable can better explain things please do tell me. Its not my area of expertise. Most people I talked to was thinking it was extreme to fast like we are. I beg to differ. So please help me in explaining.
All seriousness aside, being new to the area I still cant find a place to go terawikh. I know a few but they are so far away. I don't even know who to ask cause all of my muslim friends are not used to this area. I guess I can still terawikh at home but I would rather find a mosque/surau soon.
On a positive side, we break fast at around 540pm. Early right. Sometimes its too early and the food isn't ready yet. We had our share of opening fast with some chips in the car. I realize too that we dont eat that much to overcompensate like what we used to especially after visiting the pasar ramadhan and the buffet's.
Talking about buffet's and pasar... I sure do miss them. Although I can still get the laksa's and nasi lemak's here theres more I would like to get my hands on. Here is my dream list:
- Roti jala with rendang
- murtabak raja not the murtabak kedekut daging
- putu piring yg tak kedekut gula murah
- Tau foo fa yg brown bukan white
- popiah basah and goreng smothered in the sweet chili sauce.
- Apam Balik special - lots of jagung with chocolate toppings
- Keropok lekor ori nya dari Kuala Terengganu
- Butter prawn dari hotel Concorde Shah Alam
- Kuih pelita
- cucuk udang yg banyak udang and sos cili sedap and not watery.
Enjoy the rest of Ramadhan everybody. May everybody be in peace. Salam
Sunday, August 8
Last weekend was a really great experience for us the Zazamazu's. We went to Mount Hotham Ski Resort. It was an awesome adventure but in Gel's words 'EXTREME'. Apart from the family there were 9 others . Iqbal the organizer/chief of the tribe, Suhayl the Jester with Hanom as sidekick/bik, Aina and sister Eli (i might gotten the name wrong) - Zuber sisters lah senang, Pyan the talented architect(direct words from Fariz Helmi) with wife Wani, and the ever good looking couple Jel and Eza.
Seeing that none of us had ever been to Mt Hotham (which is considered a more luxurious ski resort in Victoria comparatively) we (80% of it was from Iqbal's effort) did a lot of research and planning for the trip. Siap buat meetings and tons of email. It paid off cause if we didn't it wont be enjoyable or safe enough. Extreme lah katakan (yes.. your gonna see a lot of the word 'extreme'). First and for most... it took us 6-7 hours drive to the hotel/apartment. Extreme tak.. especially arriving at 230am. In my case, I took a half day and started in the rented car at 230pm so I was really tired after all that time in the car. Had to pickup everybody - wife (port melbourne), kids (Ormond), Gel(Heidelberg) and Eza (Doncaster). The drive was also a little stressful cause we had to rush and reach the bottom of the mountain before 12 midnight to get the snow chains at a rental shop. It's against the law to go up without chains in the car. Good reason too... you wont get anywhere without it.. being stuck and slippery... dangerous too.
The drive up was really scary. It was late, dark, slippery, snowing, windy and extremely foggy. Horror pikir balik. I wouldnt want to do it anytime soon. You know the feeling of slipping and sliding during brakes and turnings.. well we got a lot of that dah lah ngantuk giler (jeles dengar budak dengkur baik kat belakang) at the time. Plus the sesat and slow drive... adventure giler.
So after what seemed like ages, we reached Lawlers Apartment. The best located Apartment I believe in the whole resort - Good choice Iqbal. You can literally ski all the way down from the front doorstep. But the sucky thing was that booking only one apartment we got only one parking spot. So the other van had to park 3 km's down the road (thanks pyan for doing that). Traveling in snow, even a meter seems far. Unloading the stuff into the apartment was also considered a tough task. Everything seems harder and heavier especially walking up hill.
Once everybody was safe and sound in the apartment. We had snacks to get back our energy. The apartment was old but it was very well maintained. It has everything... even washers and dryers. Good cause we plan to cook and everything. So after settling in we slept while dreaming of snowboarding the next day.
Early in the morning, I was excited although with 3 hours sleep. Can't wait to play snow. So being a strategist that I am, I made sure I played with the kids first before I have my own snowboarding time. We made a few snow man and played with the sledges or known here as trabugan (or something that sounds like that). The kids didn't last long in the cold maybe abour 30-60 minutes only at a time. Maybe cause I didn't get them proper gear. Sorry. But I think they didn't mind. They had heaps of fun nonetheless. Ohh.. the frustrating thing about the whole thing was sometimes it took us longer to get dressed/undressed than to actually be outside.
So after some quality time with the family, I had some quality time with the snowboard. I ABSOLUTELY love to snowboard. It was the best thing that I did and most missed when I was in NY. When we were in the states, we went snowboarding every winter.. we even went all the way to Aspen, Colorado the Beverly Hills of snow. So after strapping up the board, I was super excited. Didn't even wait for the other guys. Sorry friends. I bought the lift tickets and down I went. What a feeling especially I found out I can still snowboard after 6-7 years on being dormant. AAAHHHH the feeling of freedom and rush. Wosshh Wissshhh going sideways feeling like a seasoned boarder.. best gilerrr!! but then KEDEBAPPP!!! Now I remember how much it hurts.... But I loved it and kept going for several rounds.
The trails were pretty hard, steep, fast and narrow in compared to the ones I have been to but it was still manageable. You tend to get lost too cause of the various branches of trails and more sky lifts than I can count. Another thing worth mentioning is that Mount Hotham Ski resort is on top of the mountain while most other resorts are bottom based. So getting to the right spot you started was also an adventure. It took me an hour to find the right trail (extreme lagi). Yup being lost and all I sometimes end up in the hard trails (black diamonds category). Thats when I tend to KEDEBAPPP most and learn to read the signs more diligently. Unable to see past 10 meters due to the snow storm wasn't helpful too. But the best thing of all was the snow was super fresh and powdery.
After all the snow play, everybody was exhausted. We didn't really do much that night apart from sharing stories, healing and feeding. Lots of bruises and aches. One story involved was about a run away snowboard. Apparently Iqbal lost and watch his snowboard fall into the bushes with despair. What bad luck... he has been unlucky the whole trip. Another story involves getting the snow patrol in a minor rescue mission but lets keep that confidential.
Moving to the next day, we played with snow again ... it was fresher due to the storm on thats still going on. After the play, I had to get the van. It took forever to get it. Had to get the shuttle bus to get to the car park. Rasa macam kat Alaska cause nobody else was around. Shoveling snow with my legs and fitting the snow chains was no easy task. After getting the van... we loaded our luggage on off we went home. The drive back was still a little scary but at least there were more cars on the road and we can actually see whats over the cliff. The astonishing thing was when we descended there wasn't any snow suddenly.. passed that snow barrier thing. The rest of the drive was nice but still we were cautious of the 'black ice' thing.
After the drive, we reached home around 5pm ample time to rilex for the coming week. I sent the rental van in the city and enjoyed my train ride home replaying the snowboard and snow experience feeling satisfied with the adventure.
If you realize I havent mention the cost of anything cause it was truly madly deeply expensive. It was more expensive than Aspen I reckon. But playing snow is priceless.
ps... so Zareef jangan cakap ayah tipu.. there is snow in Australia!!
Tuesday, August 3
Just had a conversation with a very dear friend (AZ) yesterday. I have always enjoyed our conversations (dah lah I found out dia start pergi Gym - that SOB dulu ajak jalan ke canteen pun malas). It somehow rekindles what I'm missing.Trust and bonded friendship which is build by years and years of putting up with each other. So to maintain that link I reckon we should swap stories in a way to catch up. So this is my part of sharing. Hope those who read will comment with theirs.
1. My birthday celebration - very modest with just the family celebrating. I quote Bo's post on my FB wall - "selalunya kita celebrate pergi dinner ke ape but kali ni ..... " Saja je nak bagi sedih but we did have cake. In actual fact we had 4 cup cakes. My self chosen/ordered present is still in the mail - bila lah nak dapat ni (I will definately write on it when I get it - lagi excited lagi lah lambat). Later that week, Gel and Eza visited us and we found out EZA and my birthday are close so the wife baked a cake. Unfortunately we had no candle so I downloaded a candle Iphone apps. To our surprise it worked - everytime you blow on it the flame does go out. Kids were happy and we were amazed on the power of Iphone apps.
2. We had other friends coming over which is always a delight. This time its Farah and Faiz. Brilliant TNB scholars.. pun intended. They are such a nice couple not to mention helpful. They were there to help us from the airport, give tips on everything, letting us use their address etc etc and we do very much appreciate it.
3. Melbourne Zoo - We taught that without seeing any koala's, kangaroos, wombats it doesnt mean much being in Oz. The day we went was a beautiful day although considered to be winter. The zoo is just 30minutes away. North of the city so the travel wasnt taxing either. All in all everybody had a good time. Kids love to see the animals. I took some really nice pictures. The wife enjoyed the nice weather. We were just a little disappointed cause most of the animals were sleeping and not animated at all. "tidurrr jeee animals ni.. boringlah" said Zareef. Another thing to add, the zoo was really beautiful. You can see ppl bringing in food and having picnics and all. Fantastic!! Oh yeah.. we found out what a wombat and wallaby look like. We loved the wombat cause it reminded us of "Ewok". Comel giler dah lah slow jalan.
4. Doing everything ourselves can be tiring. So we started to teach the kids to help out around the house. I hope this doesnt count as child labour.
5. Started meeting new friends. Linda was nice to have us for lunch. Shes into scrap booking just like the wifey. Baguslah ada gang. She has a son too near Zareefs age. She has a beautiful family and home. Dah lah dekat gak rumah diorang.
6. Went to Philip Island down south east of Victoria. Took us about 2-3 hours drive (the car engine went colder the more we drove cause of the cold air - power giler kereter merah kitorang). Lawa and very scenic. Went to the town (laid back near the beach), the wild life park (where u can feed the animals - went there cause kecewa ngan zoo the previous week or so), the nobis centre (cantik gilerrr with the rocks and tides), the penguin parade (tapi takde penguin - diorang naik malam. heard they come in the thousands) and the GP motor circuit. All in all, it was a beautiful place and a pleasant day trip. One thing about the wildlife park... the animals are over friendly sampai this emu nearly sprayed you know what at Zara. Dah lah bontot dia higher than Zara. Scary. Oh yeahh... there were $h!t all over the place but somehow it didnt smell bad just looked disgusting.
7 Mt Hotham. A ski resort up in the Victorian Alps. I would like to write more about this cause a special entry is needed with all the experience we had. But here are a few preliminary pics.