Day 2: In Kuantan for a meeting

I woke up early feeling tired but determined. Late last night, Edah talked about frying rice noodles for breakfast but I told her that I wanted to have nasi dagang Ubai for breakfast. Since it is a working Tuesday, we had to go there early so as to avoid the jam.

Ubai is located on the left hand side of the road if you are travelling from Kuantan to Pekan. The nasi dagang stall is located at a corner on the left hand side of the road and opposite a Petronas station. However, the stall has been demolished and the operator will be moving to a newly constructed row of shop houses which have yet to obtain the CF. So, for the time being, they operate from makeshift tents but the nasi dagang is still as awesome as ever.

We each had a plate of nasi dagang and we brought home with us nasi minyak, laksam and pulut palas. What is the hype about nasi dagang? Literally translated, it is known as traveller’s rice. This dish originated from the state of Terengganu. The rice itself is a combination of Siamese rice and glutinous rice but you need to get the proportion right. The rice is soaked and steamed and then coconut milk is stirred into the hot rice. You also need to mix in thinly sliced shallots and halba or fenugreek. The rice is then served with a coconut-based gravy with pieces of fish in it. Most operators now serve the gravy with pieces of chicken in it. The gravy is the test of the dish. You have to get it right since it is the crowning glory of nasi dagang. You also need to serve a mild cucumber salad with this dish. My late mum cooks her own nasi dagang and I have helped her prepare it so many times that theoretically, I know that I can cook the rice but definitely not the gravy. Just last week, I stumbled upon my late mum’s recipe and I guess I need to have a go at this.

Well, I had my plate of nasi dagang with a hot steaming mug of teh tarik or pulled tea.

Nasi dagang and teh tarik – the plate is layered with paper since the operator has limited access to water supply

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Nasi dagang and teh tarik from the same stall in March 2017 when they were operating from their stall

An assortment of kuih for breakfast

With our packed food in hand, we went home. Sue has always liked nasi minyak and Azwa now likes the ayam masak merah that goes with the nasi minyak. She calls it ayam orang kawin since her first encounter with this dish is at a wedding reception! You fry the chicken pieces and then stir them into a tomato sauce based gravy. You need to add chilly paste if you want some heat in it. I had another plate of nasi dagang and laksam and pulut palas.

Laksam

We spend the rest of the morning at home and Edah had to do her weekly shift duty at the retiree’s association. She came back with beef soup, kerabu sayur, ikan sumbat and sambal tempoyak. We cooked rice and after a quick lunch (since I’m still full from my 2nd breakfast), I left for my meeting at the Pahang State Library in Jalan Kemunting, Kuantan. For those who are familiar with Kuantan, Jalan Kemunting was a housing area for government servants and the new state library is built on the site of a house we stayed in for about 9 years. Five of my siblings were married there.

The meeting that I attended was the Pahang State Library Board Meeting and I represented Persatuan Pustakawan Malaysia. This meeting was chaired by the Menteri Besar of Pahang. It was short and sweet and we were then taken on a tour of the new state library. I was totally blown away with the decor of the library and can’t wait to explore further when it opens to the public on 4 September 2017. The Book Cafe is breathtakingly beautiful and we were served tea there. I had a bowl of laksa utara and after a round of good byes, headed home.

Here we go

With the MB of Pahang and some of the Board members

Giving the Jawi script prominence

Sneak peek – you have to wait till 4 September 2017 for the full view

Looking forward to this

Laksa utara at the Book Cafe

Entrance to the Book Cafe

We stayed in for the rest of the day and had leftovers from lunch for dinner. It was an early night for all of us. Tired but happy and looking forward to tomorrow.

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Day 1: To Kuantan instead of Penang

I had made plans with Sue (Suraiya is my eldest daughter) to travel up to Penang on 30 July 2017 and return to Kuala Lumpur on the afternoon of 2 August 2017. The main reason for the trip is for me to attend the opening ceremony of the International Conference on Libraries 2017 or ICOL 2017 organised by the USM Library. The venue was Hotel Vistana and going earlier would give us ample time to explore Penang. But, we had to change our plans since I had to attend a meeting of the Lembaga Perbadanan Perpustakaan Awam Pahang on 1 August 2017 in Kuantan. So, change of plans … from Penang to Kuantan. No regrets since the last time I was back home was in May 2017 to lay my brother to rest and I had intentionally skipped celebrating Aidil Fitri in Kuantan this years.

So, with Sue, Azwa (my 4 year old granddaughter), 2 bags and an assortment of plastic and paper bags we left home at 11.00 am on 31 July 2017.

A quick stop at BHP to fill up the petrol tank and pump air into the tyres, we headed for the Gombak Toll stopping at McDonald’s to get a packed lunch. The weather and traffic were both good. We stopped over and ate the Spicy Korean Burgers from McDonald’s. I ordered the set (which came with an ice blended coke and really crispy criss cross fries which Azwa likes) and an ala carte, each costing RM15.99 and RM12.99 respectively.

Choosing our packed lunch

Spicy Korean burger

Stopped at the Karak Toll and Azwa was spoilt for choice

Sue with Azwa’s goodies

She does not want to be photographed

We then continued with our journey and exited the Temerloh Toll and headed to my cousin’s house in Taman Temerloh Jaya. My sole intention was to visit my one and only aunt (she is my late mum’s youngest sister). My cousin (Ros aka Rosalin) told me earlier on that her mum is feeling poorly and not eating well and so I decided to drop by and say hello. She’s 84 (I think) and alhamdullillah, she looks good but her memory does fail her. It took her quite awhile to remember my late mum and my connection with her but in the end, she had it all figured out. We had lunch – simple but delicious – rice, fried fish, fried chicken, spinach soup, ulam and sambal tempoyak (my all time fav) and my aunt ate heartily and so did I.

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Having lunch with my aunt

Ros then informed me of another cousin of mine who has been admitted to Hospital Temerloh and we agreed to go and see her. Ros, Sue, Azwa, my aunt and I got into Ros’ car and she drove us to the hospital.

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I knew her from way way back

Whilst Sue and Azwa stayed behind exploring the lobby, the rest went up to see Ngah Limah (her late father is my late mum’s brother from the same mother but a different father). Her daughter (my niece) Salmah was there but Ngah Limah has been taken out for a scan. We waited and waited and then Ros took is up to another ward to see another relative who is very sickly. Her husband is related to my late mum – a cousin or something to that effect. We spent some time with her and then went down to see Ngah Limah. She is cheerful and wants to go home but she has to stay awhile cos she is so dehydated. I had to excuse ourselves since I still have to drive down to Kuantan. We got into Ros’ car again and stop over at this shop to get coconut shakes, coconut water, coconut water + lemon and cekodok. After downing 2 glasses of drinks and lots of cekodok, we said our good byes and left for Kuantan but we still had to make a stop at the nearest R&R for prayers.

Highly recommended

You sit in the car and they literally walk to your car to take your orders

Coconut shake – not too sweet but just right

We got into the car once again and I took the wheels only to ask Sue to take over cos I was getting sleepy. Both Azwa and I slept and only woke up on reaching my sister’s (Edah) house in Taman Guru, Kuantan at 8.45 pm. We unpacked and had home cooked dinner and slept.

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Losing my boss and my teacher.

I wrote this on 19 March 2015 but never posted it to the blog. I really don’t know why. But today, I picked this up as a draft in my WP and I feel its time to post this.  Here goes:

On 8 March 2015, I posted my birthday greetings to him. Normally, it would just be “happy birthday” but this time, I thanked him for all his guidance and patience with me in my early years in the profession.

“Happy birthday Mr Lim … thank you for all you guidance and help when I first embarked on this profession. I would not be where I am now without your guidance. Have an enjoyable celebration”. I was quite a “rebel” then. He replied on 11 March 2015 saying that he’s proud of me.

“Tq Edzan Nasir for your kind wishes n your flattering words; you have done extremely well with your own courage n diligence, n I am very proud for you!”

I replied “Thanks Mr. Lim Chee Hong … my early years at USM Library surrounded by knowledgeable seniors helped paved my way. Thanks again.”

On 17 March 2015 or maybe 18 March 2015, I was talking to Rugayah Ali​ (a friend and fellow librarian from USM) about him. But, on 19 March 2015, I received a WA message from Maimunah Kadir​ (a friend and fellow librarian) informing me of his demise. RIP Mr. Lim and I will definitely miss our FB exchanges. This is a reminder to me and the time we have left on this earth.

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Binti Nasir or Binti Che Nasir : a rose by any other name would smell as sweet

I was born on 29 May 1957 at 5.05 am. at the Kuantan District Hospital. I was given the name Nor Edzan and Nor Edzan binti Nasir is the name I carried with me throughout my primary and secondary school days. It was also the name that was written on my first IC or identity card (all Malaysians carry an ID). However, on reaching 18 years old (I think) I went to Jabatan Pendaftaran Negara in Kuantan to change my IC ( we cannot be carrying an IC with a photo of a 13-year old us when we are 18). The officer was checking my IC against my BC or birth certificate and he/she said something like “your father’s name on your IC is not the same as that on your BC”. Hah? “Your BC has your name as NOR EDZAN, mum’s name as ZABEDAH BINTI ZAINAL and dad’s name as CHE NASIR BIN ISMAIL Your IC has your name as NOR EDZAN BINTI NASIR.” Do you get where he/she is coming from? I had no choice but to put my name as NOR EDZAN BINTI CHE NASIR on my new IC. “But what about all my documents since the day I was born that has BINTI NASIR?”. He/she said “Just go to court and make a declaration.” Or maybe he/she said the Commissioner of Oath not Court. Who remembers after all these years?

My BC

On reaching home, I showed my abah aka dad my BC and he said “Oh, everyone referred to me as Che Nasir at the hospital and I guess the MO just wrote it down without giving it much thought.” FYI, my abah was a radiographer at the Kuantan General Hospital and that is an important post then and since he was also educated in India and the UK, he was a big deal at that particular hospital. So I said “What do I do?” He said “It’s ok lah. I know you are my daughter”. Ok … point taken but my siblings could not leave me alone from then on. Every time I misbehave, they would say that I am not eligible for any inheritance when the time comes ‘cos my father’s name is different. So be it.

The first ever competition I entered and won. The it was a book titled Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa – common judges, I was only 7 then but finally read it when I was 17. Another form of my name. from MGS Primary School Kuantan.

My name then until I changed my IC when I wa 18 years old.

And yes, I can sew very well. I made 2 stuffed toys but did not win. This was when I was in MGS Secondary School Kuantan. They love to join my first 2 names.

Form 5 and that’s how the school writes my name.

The exam syndicate got it right

I went on to tertiary education, got a job and all was well and dandy until I started writing.  In my scholarly writings, I use N.N. Edzan as  my writing name and when inverted it appears as Edzan, N.N. I did this ‘cos I want other writers to quote me as Edzan and not Nor or Nasir. So far my name is not an issue until I ehem ehem became “famous”.  I was interviewed and invited for presentations and appeared in mainstream and social media and lo and behold., CHE NASIR became prominent.

USM loves doing this

UNSW always drops the Che

LMU got it right

This is what I go by now

I tried getting rid of the CHE but some one who knows the ins and outs of protocol said NO – that’s your legal name. Ok … point taken.

The name I went by in my last post

So, abah, sorry for this but I still carry your name with pride with or without the CHE. Who would have thought your youngest girl who was so restless in school, rebellious in her university days would have her name in print. My only regret is that you and mak did not get to enjoy the fruits of your labour.

With my late abah on the porch of our house in Bromley, Kent.

With my late mak in Traflagar Square, London.

With my arwah Yee, my eldest brother. This could have been taken at the Clifford School, Kuala Lipis.

I am constantly doa for you, mak, Yee, Yan and Selis. We will meet again one day, in sya Allah. Al-fatihah and may Allah showers His blessings on you all. I truly miss all of you.

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Revisiting my blog – “The Other Side of My Life”

I started this one and only blog in 2009 and my first posting was set in stone on 28 December 2009. It went something like this or rather this was what I posted “Salam & hello everyone out there. I’ve always wanted to blog but never really got down to doing it. The hesitation is not brought about by laziness or procrastination but rather the decision on the focus of my blogs. People might just interpret what I blog as my organisation’s viewpoints and that is a no-no. So, finally, this morning, I registered and my blogging life begins. Contents …. definitely not work-related (I hope) as the tagline suggests. It would be the other things I do to keep me alive.” I made a silent promise to myself then that I will blog at least once a month and yes, I do have lots of stuff to blog about since I was constantly on the move and my days, weeks and months were packed with activities.

Today, out of the blue, I decided to take a peek at my blog. I could remember the URL but totally lost out on my password but me being me, I have written and kept it safe. So, here it is – the blog that I have kept for 8 years, with 40 posts, 41 comments and 11 followers. Sounds utterly pathetic but did I expect a zillion followers? Eleven is reasonably good for a random person like me. Only 40 posts? What was doing all this while? I kept notes and I did take tons of photographs but I procrastinate – to procrastinate simply means to delay or postpone action; put off doing something – that is so so so true of me.

I just remembered a tweet I read this morning – make peace with your past, enjoy the present, and hope for your future. Well, let’s not dwell on the past and let’s move on and get down to some serious business. I retired on 28 May 2017 and what that means is that I’m 60 years old and I don’t hold a 9 to 5 job any more and I’m free. Am I? My last date of work was 26 May 2017 and the following day was the start of Ramadhan which lasts for a month. This Ramadhan was especially meaningful to me since I get to spend it with my daughters (31 and 27 years old respectively) and a granddaughter (4 years old) in the true sense of the word – no rushing from the office and making do with fast dishes for iftar and sahur. I get to prepare food that are their favourites and mine as well. On top of that, since there is no need to prepare breakfast and lunch, I managed to utilise the entire month to declutter the entire house and cleaned it as best I can from top to bottom.  We then celebrated Syawal and we did our Syawal fasting for 6 days after that. Once that is over, I settled into a set routine from 6.30 am. to 11.30 am. and it’s a routine I follow diligently since it will leave me with time to do the things I want to do for the rest of the day and night.

So what do I do? I attend meetings at least twice a month since I still sit on a number of Boards and Committees.

Meeting 1

Meeting in Shah Alam

Meeting 3

… and meeting in Putrajaya

Meeting 5

… and meeting in Kuala Lumpur

Meeting 4

… and another meeting in Kuala Lumpur

What else? I read a lot more nowadays,  do lots of editorial work and I write short pieces for an official blog.

Read 1

Reading this now for a short write-up

Read 2

… and this as well but literally crawling since it is an Indonesian novel

I tend to my small patch of garden on my balcony but 4 pots of my orchids have wilted. Yours truly confidently walked into a hardware store and came across orchid potting medium flown in all the way from the USA. I bought it and transplanted all my orchid plants to the new potting medium. My youngest said something to the effect that sounded like “Malaysian orchids in US soil? What were you thinking Ma?” Point taken. I was also given a hoya plant and I’m looking after it with so much TLC that the other plants are jealous. Some time back I bought 4 air plants but only 1 survived and I pathetically asked for one from the hoya plant owner. Both air plants are doing well.

Hoya

This is not mine but I found this on the Web. Praying for mine to surprise me one day

What else do I do? NO … I am definitely not a couch potato. Someone once advised me not to watch to much TV or else my mind would become dysfunctional and I’m sticking to that advice. What else do I do? Definitely enjoying the company of the one lil’ monster in the form of my 4 year old granddaughter. She is a blessing in my life and is one of the many reasons I wake up each day.

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My 4-year old bundle of joy

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And I also do a lot of catching up with long lost friends … these are from my secondary school days

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Catching up with retired librarians at a Hari Raya do

So how do I fit in this blogging thingy in my new lifestyle? Well, I have to blog at least once a week – but then, do I have enough stuff to write about every week? There will definitely be lots of stuff to write about as I journey through the remaining years of my life but once a week? Hmmmm … but first things first, I need to change the name of the blog. When I started out, it was to record the things that I do that are not work related. But now, as a retiree, The Other Side of My Life is so so so inappropriate. Here goes then – Life of a Retiree, Ramblings of a Retiree, My Life Now …. or let’s go for The Other Side of My Life Then and Now. And another thing, I need to start lugging my digital camera around ‘cos my S6 hand phone does not capture moments brilliantly. Or, should I get a new hand phone?

So I now leave you with this which sums up my life right now.

 

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24 May 2017 – Saying goodbye is never easy

It’s bitter sweet. I was looking forward to this day but at the same time dreading it. My IG post sums it all – a cocktail of emotions. We had our club’s AGM and this was followed by my official farewell do – Majlis Sanjungan Budi, Lambaian Kasih Dr. Nor Edzan Che Nasir. One of my colleague read my biodata and another narrated her association with me (we attended the job interview together in 1990 and reported for duty three months apart in 1991) and this was when the tears trickled. When the time came for me to deliver my farewell speech, I was a wreck. I overcame with emotions especially when I remembered the first staff who left us so suddenly in 2008 and this was followed by two more and I knew them very well. At the same time, I was also reliving the passing of my brother just last Thursday. It took me some time to regain my composure and I finally had no choice but to literally read my speech punctuated by sobs and tears. However, towards the end of my speech, I was able to regain my composure but towards the end whilst apologising for whatever shortcomings during my term as the Chief Librarian, the tears came back on. But, I’m happy ‘cos I was able to say what I wanted to say and bid a proper farewell to most of my staff. And yes, I did receive gifts, flowers, cakes and lots of chocolates. The best part of the day was definitely when I was able to spend time and thank them personally for their support in the 9 years and 6 months I have been with them. Thank you my dear staff from the Library, Museum of Asian Art and the UM Art Gallery. I truly cherish all your support and encouragement. Without you, I could never do what I have done. I have nothing but fond memories of my time at the UM Library, Museum of Asian Art and the UM Art Gallery. All the best and may you all have a prosperous life ahead.

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Farewell lunch at Sime Darby Convention Center courtesy of the professional staff

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My office staff treated me to their own version of shell out

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I could always depend on them at all times – thanks Haslan, Amir, Azrizal, Faizal and Rizar

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They surround me daily – thank you Kamal, Emy, Liza, Ila, Rziyah, Ainy, Nad, Rajah, KAP and PM

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Last birthday celebration with my office staff

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I will be a permanent fixture in their lives from now

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Clocking out for the last time from University of Malaya

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Birthday celebration with the family

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I never had so many cakes ever – thanks Edah & Zafe

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2015 … its a wrap

It’s 12.21 pm on the first day of 2016 which falls on a Friday in Malaysia. We get the day off and a pretty long weekend this time round. I’m “parked” in a room at Pullman Putrajaya with my immediate and extended families. The reason for this? My niece will have her akad nikah ceremony this afternoon and her wedding reception tomorrow.

The last hour of 2015 was spent with my 2 daughters, grand-daughter, brothers and sisters-in-law, nephews, nieces and new-found friends putting henna on our hands. It is customary for the bride-to-be to put henna on her hands and feet. For the rest of us, it’s just good fun. The henna artist was BUNGA : PASSION OF BEAUTY and she can be reached at cikbungaleen@gmail.com or at her blog cikbungaleen.blogspot.com. I totally missed the fireworks but some of us did manage to catch a glimpse of it from the hotel room balcony.

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Henna on Azwa’s hands – filigree design

Amy and Azwa with the bride Fatima Soliha Nawawi at her akad nikad at Masjid Putra, Putrajaya

Amy and Azwa with the bride Fatima Soliha Nawawi at her akad nikad at Masjid Putra, Putrajaya

With the bride and bridegroom after the solemnisation ceremony

With the bride and bridegroom after the solemnisation ceremony

2015 has been a busy year for me as I sit on a number of library advisory boards which requires me to travel abroad for meetings. I’m not complaining since I get to travel to new places or  revisit places I’ve been before. Apart from that I have also accepted invitations to give talks/presentations although I did say that I must learn to say no more often. BUT, at the end of the day I truly feel that I need to share /impart the knowledge/skills that I have acquired over the years.

In June 2015, I managed to bring out my grand-daughter on her first long haul trip and this was to Osaka, Japan. Both my daughters were in tow. I was worried but Azwa took it all and we had a memorable time together as a family. My son-in-law stayed behind since he has a thing about flying and being in an enclosed space for too long.

Azwa and me at Universal Studios in Osaka

Azwa and me at Universal Studios in Osaka

The girls at the entrance of Universal Studios in Osaka

The girls at the entrance of Universal Studios in Osaka

The girls at the Takoyaki Museum in Osaka

The girls at the Takoyaki Museum in Osaka

Work will never cease but throughout 2015 I have managed to do the best I can with the never-ending support from my colleagues and staff. They are my strength in all I do. No one person can run an organisation without the continuous support from their staff and 2015 has indeed been a good year for this.

Malaysia as a country went through a number of “down” moments but we as a nation managed to keep our heads above the water. There were a lot being said about the political going ons but at the end of the day I truly believe that one has  to assume responsibility and accountability for one’s actions. Whether one will actually do it, it’s anyone’s guess. I am proud to be a Malaysian and Malaysia will always be my home.

2016 is here to stay and in sya Allah, I will do the best I can in all that I do. On my plate would be tasks that I have started which have to be completed in preparation for my retirement in 2017. And yes, my last clock-out would be at 6.00 pm on 28 May 2017 … in sya Allah. Resolutions? None cos I have given up since I don’t keep any of them but I do intend to participate in a few runs to at least add a finisher medal to my non-existent collection. Wish me luck then.

To all my family near and far, my sincere apologies if I have offended any of you in any way. To my friends, colleagues, staff, students and all that have come in contact with me either directly or indirectly, I apologise if I have wronged you in one way or the other. Happy New Year 2016 and may we be blessed in our family and working life.

La familia

La familia

 

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