Getting back to reading … small steps

Whenever I tell someone I’m a librarian, he/she assumes that I love to read. Yes, I do but when I was working I did not read as much as I want to. But please don’t get me wrong. I do read but mostly scholarly articles, chapters in books and books. Reading novels was a luxury then and I only read novels when I travel whilst waiting for my flight or onboard flights.

Over the years I accumulated a number of books. I normally buy them on my travels, during book fairs and book sales. I amassed quite a collection and each time I buy them, I tell myself that I will read it one day. And of course that one day comes when I officially retired on 28 May 2017.

So, what have I read so far? Not as many books as I want to – only 9 to be exact – from 1 June 2017 until 31 December 2017. Here goes:

  1. Cantik Itu Luka – Eka Kurniawan. Jakarta: Gramedia, 2015.
  2. The Shadow of Me – Azlena Abdul Hamid. Kuala Lumpur: Kalsom Taib Publishing, 2017.
  3. If I Stay – Gayle Forman. New York: Speak, 2009.
  4. Theodore Boone: The Scandal – John Grisham. London: Hodder, 2016.
  5. How Starbucks Saved My Life – Michael Gates Lee. New York: Avery, 2007.
  6. Suleiman The Magnificient – A. Teyfur Erdogdu. Istanbul: Rumuz Publishing, 2017.
  7. Life in Harem. K. Erhan Bozkurt. Istanbul: Keskin Volour, 2010. Translated by Stuart Kline.
  8. Micro Malaysians – Anwar Hadi (Editor). Petaling Jaya: Fixi Novo, 2017.
  9. Joseon’s Royal Heritage: 500 Years of Splendor. Seoul: Korea Foundation, 2011.

As you can see, I read all genre since I don’t have a particular author that I read. I use to read John Grisham’s work but the last one, Pizza Man, took such a long time to finish reading it. His works are good but you really need to focus on what you are reading since all his works are law related. I still have 5 more books to finish up and hopefully I can get to read more and hopefully I can identify a genre or maybe an author I like. However, my choice of books is highly dependent on the font size. I totally skip books with small font size and I grab books with large font size.

What am I reading now? The Girl Who Wrote Loneliness by Kyung-Sook Shin. It is translated from Korean and published in 2015 in New York by Pegasus Books. The setting for this novel is Jeju Island and the author is a Man Asia Literary Prize  winner. But most importantly, the font size is large. My other constant read is AlMumayyaz. So, 9 books in 7 months … an accomplishment for me.

 

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October 2017 – it’s a wrap

OCTOBER – Knowing or unknowingly, I registered for the My10K@UPM Farm Run and roped in Amelia as well. But bear in mind, I do not run but walk. Was it a good walk? Yes and no. Yes – I was walking along a new route in UPM and the weather was good. No – my timing went out the door and I was dead tired as a result of no training and no exercise.

Done … every one who completes the run gets a finisher’s medal

However, the highlight of October was my holiday in Yogyakarta with Sue and Azwa from 3 to 6 October. It was unplanned but since I had to deliver a presentation at Rapat IPI for PPM, I decided to go for a short holiday with my girls. We stayed at Hotel Ibis Yogyakarta at Jalan Malioboro since this was meant to be a foodie holiday and there are loads of eateries here. Azwa loves going on the plane and she takes to it easily. She adapts well to hotels and tries her best to try the different food a place has to offer. Her only requirement is that we have to allow her to play at any playground that we come across and luckily for her, almost all the malls here have a playground. We came back happy but I was definitely not rejuvenated but that’s another story.

Presented and capturing moments with my Indonesian counterpart

She loves doughnuts

With Camar

My first ever visit to Taman Sari

Apart from that I had four meetings, a wedding and a birthday party to attend. But, the highlight of October had to be the birthdays of Sue or Suraiya on 9 October, Amy or Mimi or Amelia on 7 October and Sue’s husband on 10 October.

Happy birthday

The last weekend was spent indulging Azwa with Halloween celebrations. As a family, we don’t celebrate Halloween but I feel its important that Azwa enjoys the best of all cultures.

Happy Halloween

Sugar overdose

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September 2017 – it’s a wrap

I designated September as a stay-at-home month since I needed to recuperate after my back-to-back travels which involved a whole lot of walking. I was also nursing a badly bruised thigh which resulted from a fall on the first day of my Turkey trip. There were six meetings, two lunch dates and a wedding lined up in my planner. I attended all but one, I think. Hectic but it kept me up and about for September.

A long overdue lunch date with friends

The next big do for me was the Persidangan Perpustakaan Se Malaysia held from 12 to 13 September. This conference involves Malaysian libraries and librarians. I made my so-called stage appearance – moderated two sessions which went quite well. This conference gave me an opportunity to meet up with friends, colleagues, past and present students. All in all, it was an exhilarating experience.

Day 1 – led a discussion on TN50 with the President of PPM

Day 2 – moderated a session on IFLA WLIC 2017

The next day I attended a one-day conference titled MyNext and it was all about how to manage an event.

With colleagues at the MyNext Conference held at One World Hotel

And before I forget, this is also the month when Malaysia celebrates her Malaysia Day on 16 September. Malaysia was formed on this day in 1963 when the Federation of Malaya together with Singapore, Sabah and Sarawak formed Malaysia.

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August 2017 – it’s a wrap

August is an important month for Malaysia. We were declared as an independent nation on 31 August 1957 and this year we are 60 years old and coincidentally I was born in 1957. It was also a busy month for me or rather I can say the busiest month for me so far and there were also a lot of firsts for me. On 5 August 2017, Amelia treated me to my first ever concert at Stadium Negara as my birthday treat and the artiste is my fav artist as well – Sheila Majid. It was a mind-blowing experience – the stage, lighting, sound system, accompanying band and definitely the artiste herself.

Our seats were quite high up but the screens were good enough for me

The light works were spectacular

The concert has ended but the audience were still glued to their seats

In order to get to the concert venue, we decided to park our car at the Ara Damansara LRT Station and took the LRT all the way to the Pasar Seni Station and we then switched to the MRT line. This was a first for me and I was quite impressed with the interior of my last station which was the Merdeka Station.

You change from the LRT line to the MRT line at this station

The five principles of the Rukun Negara and me

The Malaysian flag with the first Prime Minister of Malaysia who cried out Merdeka, Merdeka, Merdeka on 31 August 1957

I also got to ride in a Grab car for the first time. By the time the concert ended, we could still catch the MRT line to the Pasar Seni Station but the LRT has shutdown for the night. So, the next best alternative is the Grab car service.

Another big event for me is the farewell given by the University of Malaya on 7 August 2017 for me and the previous vice chancellor, Tan Sri Dato’ Professor Mohd. Amin Jalaluddin. It was more significant to me since it was held at the UM Art Gallery – my home turf. All in all, it was a memorable moment for me and never have I felt more appreciated since I it’s where I have been earning a living for more than 26 years.

This photo sums up my feelings – outgoing VC, acting VC, outgoing Chief Librarian and the Registrar ~ Photo courtesy of University of Malaya FB

My last speech in UM and thanking all those who have stood by me ~ Photo courtesy of University of Malaya FB

With friends and colleagues who I’ll definitely miss and the youngest there is my Amelia ~ Photo courtesy of University of Malaya FB

My colleagues from the Dept. of Library & Information Science, Faculty of Computer Science & Information Technology of the University of Malaya hosted a farewell lunch for me at Armada Hotel on 10 August 2017. I have worked with some of them but only for a short time from 1999 to 2007. The food was good and the company was as always, excellent.

My friends and colleagues from DLIS – thank you for all your support

Next on list was something which I will never do whilst in full-time employment i.e. travel overseas back-to-back with only a day separating my arrival and departure. From 14 to 24 August 2017, I travelled from Kuala Lumpur to Prague via Dubai with a group of volunteers for IFLA WLIC 2017. From Prague we took a bus to Wroclaw in Poland, the venue for the conference.

Roaming the streets of Prague before boarding the bus to Wroclaw

Reporting for duty at IFLA WLIC 2017 in Wroclaw

All in all a good experience

After staying at home for a day to touch base with my daughters and granddaughter, I left for a trip to Turkey from 26 August to 3 September 2017. This was a trip with a travel agency with more than 36 unknowns except for my sister, Nor Edah Nasir. We left for Istanbul via Tehran and we came back to Kuala Lumpur via Tehran as well. The trip was tiring since it involved getting on and off the bus and in and out of hotels but it was an enjoyable trip. I get to see and experience the culture of Turkey and enjoy basking in the history of Turkey. Most importantly, I celebrated Hari Merdeka and Hari Raya Aidil Adha in Turkey with new found friends.

Aidil Adha prayers outside the Blue Mosque in Istanbul

Turkey

 

p/s: The photos in Poland and Turkey are just teasers. I will definitely write about them.

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July 2017 – it’s a wrap

I attended five meetings and surprisingly only fulfilled one wedding invitation. The most memorable event in July was the Retirement Farewell given to me by PPM. It was held in conjunction with PPM’s Jamuan Hari Raya. I was indeed touched by the attendance of those whom I have been actively involved with in PPM but at the same time saddened by the absence of colleagues who could not make it.

Delivering my thank you speech

Receiving a beautiful present from the President of PPM

I also managed to meet up for lunch with friends from my secondary school days at MGS Kuantan. We actively communicate on Whatsapp but it was good to put a face to a name. We also took the KTM Komuter from Shah Alam  to Seremban – a first for me – for dinner at another one of our  friend’s house.

Me and my schoolmates from MGS Kuantan anxiously waiting for the train

With the same group of friends from my school days attending a wedding in Putrajaya

Towards the end of July and moving into early August, I drove down to Kuantan with Sue and Azwa. I had to attend a meeting at the Pahang State Library and at the same time one of my siblings came down with something and I had to see her before I leave for my August trips. Along the way, we stopped at my cousin’s house in Temerloh to meet my one remaining aunt who is my late mum’s youngest sister. We also stop by the Temerloh Hospital to visit my cousin.

With the Board Members of the Pahang State Library Board

Towards the end of July and moving into early August, I drove down to Kuantan with Sue and Azwa. I had to attend a meeting at the Pahang State Library and at the same time one of my siblings came down with something and I had to see her before I leave for my August trips. Along the way, we stopped at my cousin’s house in Temerloh to meet my one remaining aunt who is my late mum’s youngest sister. We also stop by the Temerloh Hospital to visit my cousin.

All in all, a very good month after the slow month of June. So. let’s end this with a pink hibiscus. Hibiscus or commonly known as bunga raya is the national flower. They are predominantly red but I have see white ones, orange ones and finally a pink one.

Our national flower = hibiscus or locally known as bunga raya.

 

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Adjusting to a new way of life

My last post was in August, 11 August 2017 to be exact and today is 31 October 2017. It’s not like I’m short of stuff to write about ‘cos a lot of things have been happening. It’s just the writing that is my main stumbling block. I do look up to bloggers who blog consistently and the latest that caught my eye is  Suzy Marie http://www.fromthefringe.co.uk/ . Her titles are interesting and her writing is sincere and to the point. Her photos are beautiful but, I particularly love these one – Five Things That Made Me Happy This Week with her latest being #33. It’s a good start for people like me who procrastinates constantly. Another favourite of mine is the one by Vivy Yusof  http://www.proudduck.com/. Yes, she’s a celebrity and yes, she has a great following but please bear in mind that she started blogging from way back and her posts are really good. Both these blogs allow one to have a sneak peek into their lives and there’s always a meaningful message attached to each post – that’s if you really read through it.

I retired on 28 May 2017 and since it was a Sunday, my last working day was 26 May 2017 which was a Friday. Lucky for me, the next day, 27 May 2017, was the first day of the holy month of Ramadan. Lucky ‘cos for the next 29 days, I would be kept busy 1. preparing food for the berbuka puasa or breaking of fast, 2. preparing food for sahur, and 3. prayers. Apart from that I had to cleanup the entire house or rather unit which I have been staying in since December 2003 but has done no major cleanup. Then I had to sort out my entire closet/wardrobe and put items in boxes of –  to keep, to give away and to discard. Truth be told, I gave away more than 50% of my work clothes  since I don’t have to go to work any more. All that kept me busy for a whole month. For Hari Raya Aidil Fitri, I made a conscious decision to stay in Kelana Jaya with Amelia. We just stayed home and lazed around for a couple of days and then life returns to normal – no more fasting month and things associated with it. This is when my mind drew a blank. What do I do every day from now until the day I leave this earth from the time I wake up to the time I fall asleep?

Our mandatory Syawal photo – with the help of a timer

Every one I met use to tell me that retirement is the time you do all the things you wanted to do but could not whilst you were working. Ok … I wanted to be closer to Allah SWT, travel, catch up on my reading, tend to my tiny garden, blog, hang out with relatives and friends, be actively involved in my association and redo my entire unit. That’s it then but looking back, I now have to admit I was totally naive about retirement and what is involved. So, I had to readjust my retirement plans accordingly.

In denial – courtesy of Lee Gaitlin

 

 

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Day 4: From Kuantan to Kuala Lumpur and home

Friendly errata: There was a mixed up in writing about what we did in the morning of Day 3 with Day 4. 

Whilst Sue and Azwa were still in bed, Edah took me to Restoran Zaman for breakfast. The restaurant is situated on the left hand side of the road from Kuantan to KL and we were there ‘cos we will be driving off to Ma’s house. Ma is my sister and the 6th in our family of 8. There were quite a crowd but we managed to get our seats. Edah had roti telur and teh tarik, and I ordered nasi lemak and teh tarik as well. We packed roti canai for those at home and bought 2 packs of nasi lemak for Ma and her husband, Halim. We finished our breakfast and drove to Ma’s house but she has gone off to the hospital but Halim was home. We had a quick chat and left but had to return since we forgot about the nasi lemak. Sue and Azwa had their packed breakfast and we then loaded my car for the drive back to KL. Edah came with us since she will staying at her daughters’ home for a few days.

Nasi lemak tastes better when wrapped in banana leaves

Rice cooked in coconut milk, sambal, cucumber and boiled egg = nasi lemak

There’s 4 of us now

We exited at the Gambang Toll to take the LPT back to KL. Depending how fast or slow and the amount of traffic and how many stops you make, it should not take you more than 3 hours to reach KL. We made a stop at the Temerloh R&R for a light lunch and then we are on the road again.

The Temerloh R&R – the one on the LHS as you drive down to KL

Good selection of local food

There are side stalls as well selling local products

Her fascination for machines and gadgets is boundless

All was well and dandy until we left the Bentong Toll. The car’s air conditioner was not cooling the car but was blowing out warm air. I decided to wind down my down the window a bit to allow fresh air to come and we were in luck since it was drizzling all the way to KL. We arrived at the Gombak Toll and headed to Jalan Klang Lama where I dropped off Edah at her daughters’ house. Then it was straight to the mechanic to get the AC fixed. We were there from about 3.00 pm to 6.00 pm. Finally, the AC is repaired leaving a dent in my purse. The mechanic said he magnetic coil in the condenser broke and he replaced it and managed to salvage the compressor. Rascar Auto has always done a good job with my numerous cars over years.

Keeping herself busy at Rascar

Walked over to the mamak shop for soup and teh tarik

So, it’s back home but not after a stopover at McDonald’s for my spicy Korean burger. I’m addicted to that now – the burger but not the fries and drink. All in all my road trip with Sue and Azwa only was a success. Here’s looking forward to another road trip with them. Let’s start saving the pennies.

Home at last with my spicy Korean burger

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