A long way yet to go

It’s the 2nd week of the government imposed Movement Control Order. The Covid-19 cases are increasing exponentially worldwide, and Malaysia recorded it’s first few deaths too. The situation is definitely getting scarier, and is not helped by the fact that some people choose to flagrantly flout the MCO and still be outside unnecessarily. Honestly, what is their deal?? It’s also hard on those of us who have to fight tooth and nail to keep our parents isolated, indoors. Goodness knows they could be the stubbornest bunch of all. Anyways, here’s how things have been going on my end

Day 8 – Wednesday 25th March

Spent the morning discussing various work related things on Whatsapp and then waited for the PM’s announcement around lunch time.

The government announced that the MCO would be extended til 14th April. Although I was expecting this, and was happy as it was absolutely the right thing to do, I also couldn’t help but feel deflated. I think for the first week, the novelty of being at home with my family kept me in a kind of happy bubble. “2 weeks wasn’t that long anyway, right? Things would be back to normal in no time.” But the announcement definitely popped that bubble. And although my spirits are a bit dampened, I’m okay. I can’t imagine what people who are alone feel like. The ones who are far from their families. The ones who are not as fortunate as we are to have comfortable homes, stable income, sufficient food and enough entertainment to preoccupy us during these hard times. What kind of feels like a weird extended vacation at home for us, might feel like a prison sentence to others. May Allah help us all.

Shafiq’s shipment of plants came today, so we’ve added those to our little plant corner, which we’re still figuring out. Hope these babies thrive and don’t die on us!

Made sup daging today. well, tried to anyway. I simmered the beef for what seemed like ages and it just refused to soften. Also my ratio was wayyyy off – it was more like potato and carrot soup with bits of beef in. Plus I made way too much. we ended up freezing more than half of it. Oh well. Live and learn.

Day 9 – Thursday 26th March

Had a work meeting around 2pm so Shafiq made a quick lunch of nuggets and fried chicken for us. Got a decent amount of work in during the day. Shafiq went to the store to look for a few items, and asked if I wanted to go out and get some sun, as it had been more than a week since I last stepped out the front door. So I went for a tiny drive around the housing compound  in the late afternoon sun. Spent a good 15 minuted just sat in the car parked in our parking space listening to a random talkshow on the radio and pretending like everything was normal. It was much needed. Even the short walk from our car to the apartment I took reeeaaaaly slowly savoring the outdoors.

Came back and found Shafiq reorganising the store room, which he had been planning on doing for a few days now. So we spent the entire evening clearing out old boxes and sorting through junk. It felt good to get that off the list, and to have a more organised and trimmed down storage corner. Dinner was butter chicken and rice which Shafiq made. Really miss spicier food tho! Having kids with us and being too lazy to make 2 separate menus means we eat whatever the kids can eat, which means no cili. Alhamdulillah ala kulli hal.

Shafiq has been telling me to pick a PS4 game for myself so after a few days of research i narrowed it down to three. My criteria was quite simple – no violence/gore/etc2, nothing scary, and simple-ish gameplay. Also I like puzzles and adventure so I veered mostly in that direction. The three that I narrowed down were Journey, The Talos Principle, and The Witness. Shafiq wasn’t too keen on Journey – he said it looked boring. The Talos Principle he didn’t have much to comment on, but he did seem intrigued by The Witness. So we were all set to buy it but then saw it was for like RM170. Change of plans lol. Journey was only RM55. Since it was my first game I didn’t want to spend a lot of money and afterwards maybe discover that I didn’t like it, or the controls were too hard etc. So journey it was. But since it was already midnight, banking was offline so in the end tak beli pun zzzz.

Day 10 – Friday 27th March

Kids woke up early, as usual, and after breakfast of cereal and apples dipped in yogurt I showered the kids and did a morning workout. I clicked on a random low-impact cardio workout on youtube from TheBodyProject, and I have to say I quite like the instructor. He is relaxed and has just the right amount of humility mixed with encouragement. Managed to do the full video which I was quite proud of! Lunch was paratha made into roti tampal coutesy of Shafiq. Heated up the leftover soup I made from the other day and added more beef to it. I din’t want the beef to take forever to cook and still be liat, so i googled how to tenderize beef and tried velveting it using baking soda. Worked a treat! The revamped soup was good, although a bit too salty for my tastebuds.

Day 11 – Saturday 28th March

Kind of a lazy Saturday. Slept in (well, as much as the kids let me) and had a breakfast of peanut butter and honey sandwiches. Was feeing very lethargic in the first half of the day, not sure if it was because I slept a bit late last night, or because I didn’t do my morning workout? Anyway. Spent a lot of the morning lying on the sofa. Shafiq has been craving nasi kandar/ kari mamak for a while so we decided to order lunch and dinner. I don’t know what I was expecting but the kari kambing was not what I had in mind – obviously it was kari mamak not kari melayu haha. I planned on washing all the curtains today, but like I said, lazy saturday, so I haven’t done that yet. Maybe tomorrow. Started playing Journey – I quite like it, the graphics are beautiful and the physics are quite realistic, but I’m not so sure about the gameplay. It seems a little simplistic, like there’s always something helping you out. I don’t know tho, I’ve only played up to chapter 3. We’ll see how it goes.

Day 12 – Sunday 29 March

Finally got around to washing the curtains today, and hemmed them as well since they were too long. Accidentally hemmed one pair too short but oh well. Felt like eating cucur so I looked up a recipe, but after mixing everything, the batter seemed so thick. so i added more and more water but when I tried frying them, they basically turned into one big flat mess. So I had to add flour and more fish powder, basically doubling the recipe. Way too much cucur so we had those for lunch. hopefully will get around to cleaning the balconies today or tomorrow. But not sure about tomorrow since I plan on fasting. We’ll see how that goes too, inshaAllah

Movement Control Order

2020 has been some kind of crazy…I can’t even remember everything thats happened in between the Influenza A epidemic, forest fires, political circus happening, and everything else before. But Covid-19 is a whole other level.


Shafiq had a string of back to back weekend jobs coming up so we decided to take a small family vacation to Terengganu, since Mak, Abang, and Kakak’s families would also all be there for a wedding. But due to the Covid-19 situation, we decided to skip the wedding and just hit the beach. We planned on staying til Monday but I took and extra day off of work because I didn’t want to be tired and exhausted coming in post-holiday. But after seeing the news about how bad the health situation was in KL, we decided why not just stay that extra day in Terengganu, since at the time, there were zero reported cases there (as opposed to hundreds in KL/Selangor). Decided to stay at a secluded place 20mins outside of Dungun, where we were  definitely socially distanced from everyone.


On our last day in Terengganu, news broke that starting on the 18th of March, the government would impose a movement control order to actively force people into social distancing. I totally agreed with the call, and as we made our way back to KL we stopped at a few small grocery stores to stock up on supplies. No, we did NOT panic buy, but it was funny – since we rarely cook at home, I was peering into other people’s shopping baskets and trolleys in case I missed out anything. But most of the things they bought didn’t really apply to me. Eg, cili boh, tepung, gula, belacan etc. I properly fail at malay cooking. dah try nasi goreng, sup daging. semua rasa kurang. Loaded up on pasta and tomatoes and cheese and the like.

In response to the situation also, as it turned out, all of the strings of clients and jobs Shafiq had lined up for the next few months unfortunately, were all postponed or cancelled. Allahu musta’an 

First few days

Since we had been away from the office since last week, we decided we would both pop into work today to get everything we needed to continue working from home. Packed up the kids around noon and headed off to Setapak. The roads were pretty much clear but not empty. At first I thought of hauling my PC back home but I decided against it. The hackintosh seems pretty fragile anyway. Spent a couple of hours copying files and then headed back home, and the rest of the day was just discussing work stuff and then prepping for dinner, which was paratha with scrambled eggs and sausages. Rojak kind of english breakfast lol.

Even though we had gotten a lot of groceries on the way back, we were still missing quite a lot of fresh produce like chicken and beef. So the next day Shafiq headed over to Giant to finish grocery shopping. I felt very nervous – like he was going off into a battlezone, which when you think of it, he kind of was. 


The kids seem very happy to be at home with both parents around – though keeping up with them is a challenge to say the least. Even though we are both used to having kids around at work, at home there was us and only us to layan their every request. At least at work there are other people who they can kacau, lol! 

Being at home reminded me of the time when I was a haughty “mom”, before I had kids. I was that person who said things like “my kid will have very limited screen time. I will definitely homeschool them. They will eat healthy homecooked food everyday.” HA HA HA. Jokes on me. I do still harbor big ambitions, but I also know that I have not nearly enough patience and dedication to pull that off. So I’ll try with whatever I can whenever I can, even if that just means a staccato 10 minute struggle with keeping eesa focused through phonics or fine motor skills or math. Or if it means an hour coaxing him to eat, just eat, for the love of God, whatever is on the table.

A lot of the days are spent entertaining the kids, because they need A LOT of entertaining. The amount of times I hear Ummi, ummi nak minum/nak makan/lapar/jom main/ummi sini la/come here/nak ni/tak nak ni is endless. And for some reason, no matter how late I let them sleep they still wake up at 7.30-8am, and pounce on me of course. Abah dia gets to sleep in, easy.

Interpersonal relations

Although it’s wonderful having time with family, it can also drive you a little bit crazy to say the least. As an introvert, being constantly surrounded by people can eat away at your soul and sanity. I was kind of scared we would get on each others nerves too much, but so far alhamdulillah it’s been ok. Not smooth sailing and definitely a lot of deep breathing moments, but ok. We know to spend time on our own in corners of the house so we each get our me-time away from everyone else. Hopefully it gets smoother along the way.

Home and living

On day 5 we were feeling kind of restless I guess, so Shafiq took it unto himself to reorganise the living room layout. We finally hung up the big mirror in the entryway, and hung up the frame that had been in a box for ages. The new layout is much cosier, I think, and defines the living room area a lot better.

One of the things that remains the same whether we’re working at the office or working from home is the eternal conundrum of what to eat. The only difference is, at home, we’re wondering what to cook every day. I’m not big on cooking, especially complex Malay cooking. So far, our menu has been pretty basic, from what I can remember:

  • Day 1 – Paratha with scrambled eggs
  • Day 2 – Breakfast – Cereal + Apples. Grilled cheese with sardine – Lunch – Dinner – Nasi + Ayam masak merah
  • Day 3 – Breakfast – Cereal. Lunch – Spaghetti goreng, Dinner – Nasi putih, kicap, telur mata
  • Day 4 – Breakfast – Pancakes, Lunch & Dinner – Nasi Goreng
  • Day 5 – Breakfast – Cereal + Apples. Lunch Nuggets, wedges and fried chicken, Dinner Sup daging
  • Day 6 – Breakfast – Cereal & bananas. Lunch – peanut butter and honey sandwich


The abrupt slowed down pace of life has been a blessing. It has given time for introspection, for scooping up loose pieces of our lives, and for thinking about the future.

Things I am thankful for, among others, in no particular order and off the top of my head, 

  • praying more jamaah
  • cuddles with my babies
  • taking care of our home
  • not rushing
  • creative and physical energy 

Next week we plan on cleaning the store room and Eesa’s room. We’ll see what else pops up out of this cabin fever. Til then, May Allah protect us all.

Image via @sunnahscene

Penang getaway

It’s been a while since our last family holiday; we’ve been so busy with getting back into the groove with two kids and because Shafiq works a lot of weekends it’s quite rare for us to get time off as a family. So we decided to take a weekend getaway.

At first we didn’t know where to go..Shafiq suggested bandung, i suggested Kota Kinabalu, but after thinking, we shelved those ideas since I wanted to go to both places wth more planning time involved. So then it was really not that much choice left – the east coast was off limits since the monson season was rolling in, so that left Melaka, Perak, and all the Utagha states. I felt like going to Ipoh for Lost world of Tambun but Shafiq qasn’t too keen. so we settled on Penang a day before we were supposed to go. Booked the hotels near midnight and the next morning we headed off in the rain. Yep it rained all the way from KL to penang and throughout the first day, thankfully it was mostly drivng and stopping for food je, but we finally reached the hotel at 5pm. (penang is smallm but the jams make it feel so big lol)

We had decided on staying in the Batu Feringghi area since we already stayed in Georgetown the last time we were in Penang. The hotel was quite nice, though it wasnt directly on the beach. They had a cool kids pool but of course, Eesa was too scared to play in it >.>. I prayed so hard that day 2 wouldn’t be rainy, and Alhamdulillah, we woke up to dazzling sunshine. Hit the poolside straight away, and then took a quick walk to the beach. by then it was noon so we headed back, changed, and headed back out for lunch. When in penang, they say you HAVE to eat Nasi Kandar. Shafiq of course loves it, I’m just so-so. not the biggest fan. Shafiq called up his friend to ask where the best places are, so we headed off to one. It seemed rather innocous but even then there was a long line down the kaki lima. I told shafiq to get me sotong and please, no kuah banjir! Food was alright~

Our next destination was Bukit bendera. i’ve been wanting to go since forever, the last two times we were in Penang 1) it was closed for renovation 2) we didn’t have enough time. We made a wrong turn and ended up at the penang botanical garden instead, for the jeep rides up to penang hill, so we turned around and finally got there at around 4.30pm. Waited in line and finally got on he funicular at 5.30, and by the time we got to the top a light drizzle was already getting started. Oh well. Strolled around but couldn’t really explore everywhere because the rain just got heavier and heavier. by 7 we decided to call it a day and head back down (upgraded to fast lane tickets because boy was the line looooooooong)

Dinner was Subway and McD because we were too tired to go find a place to eat plus rain plus kids.

The next day we hit the pool again, and it was another struggle to get eesa out, lol. Checked out and headed to another Nasi Kandar place. Bungkus je coz the kids were knocked out, and decided to head back to KL, stopping on the way at a small RnR to gobble down the food in a pondok by the pakring lot so we could keep an eye on the kids still sleeping in the car.



Part of my job involves copywriting – more specifically, coming up with stories to enrich our products and build connections between ourselves and our customers. Giving them something to vibe with, so to speak. Some of it gets used, a lot of it doesn’t make it past the planning board. I was asked recently how i got into copywriting…well, it was kind of given to me to be honest. I have always been around writing. i do read quite a bit (well. now not so much). In high school i enjoyed english class assignments more than any other homework. I still keep some of my essays, and I can vividly remember certain assignments I completed. I even remember my IGCSE English exam essay. I was editor and writer for our school newsletter for several years. In Uni i was always put in charge of reports (perhaps also self-appointed because I could not bear the typos and glaring grammar) and when i entered the workforce my bosses also asked me to write, from company profiles to project write-ups and other non-design related things. After my 2nd degree, I joined an NGO were i was in charge of social media updates, and this also followed me to my current job, but I’ve since left that for more product related content.

Why do I write?

Writing is easier, in a way, than talking. In my head, thoughts are jumbled up in multi-track thought trains which collide and careen off in every direction. i can spend hours trying to think of what to say. But in writing, you can see you thoughts clearer. you can trim, crop, and nip superfluous sentences. You can rearrange and review and reflect. most importantly, you can express more clearly. you can think of nuances, of rhythm and pace, of structure.

Some people are gifted with the ability to do this in their heads, so that whatever that comes out of heir mouths is at the very least, coherent, and at best, dripping with eloquence. I am neither. In between stammering and jumbling up my sentences, it’s hard to express a thought, let alone an emotion, even after rehearsing I in my head 20 times.

I used to write a lot. I had more time, and i suppose, more random things i felt like writing about. i had a tiny scattered audience of friends and acquaintances. And then i stopped. A friend once told me maybe a stopped writing because i found someone who listened. Quite deep, and perhaps that was also true. Honestly, i still do like writing. I won’t claim i’m any good at it, but whenever i re-read old posts, i do enjoy remembering. I think my problem these days is i start writing. but end up not knowing where I’m going with it. So I have amassed so many drafts, just hanging with no end. Does a post have to have an arc? A conclusion, or a tie-up? I don’t know. Less thinking, more writing, at least for now.


I made a dress for Hudaa the other day and despite the very wobbly and uneven seams, crooked pleats, and shoddy workmanship in general, I was so happy and proud of myself. It’s been a looooong time since I felt that way. A lot of people replied to my ig story post and it got me thinking, and I suddenly had an epiphany moment.

My epiphany moment was this:

I’m more of a crafts person rather than an arts person.

Hand-on creating physical useable things. I have always liked arts and crafts. I distinctly remember in kindergarten really wanting to play in the “woodworking tools” section but never getting assigned there (got the painting station, which was 2nd best). Then in primary school I would look forward to kemahiran hidup when we’d go to the bengkel. I loved sewing little outfits for my dolls, and even sewed a bag for myself out of some scrap fabric I had lying around. I liked art too – drawing and painting felt good and I was moderately good at it – but for some reason I was never satisfied with my work, and I oftentimes didn’t finish any pieces I was working on as a result. Also it was way too easy to have sever inferiority complex when looking at other people’s art.

My fav subject in high school was woodshop, and even though I also took an art elective, my fav module in that class were the ones that were more…physical. Like linocut printmaking, collage making, etc. I adored making pop-up cards for friends and family. I loved trying new things; in uni I tried crocheting and knitting, and after uni in my whovian days I sewed a tardis pencil box for myself. Whenever people buy Ikea furniture I jump at the opportunity to put it together.

Obviously these are all very small projects for people who are serious crafters, but for someone who never really knew why she just could not get into art this was a huge awakening.

I’m trying to think of why I prefer crafts. I think its because art is too abstract, too personal, too emotional for me. It feels like you need to have your head in the clouds for a lot of the time. It is deep and subjective and the end product is usually just something pretty. Working with my hands means I know what I’m trying to do, I can construct the product in my mind and reverse engineer how to make it. I can do trial and error and experiment and modify. And at the end of it, I have something tangible. It feels much more ‘real’.

So with this realisation, I have a new resolution. I want to be crafty starting now! That means I want to get back into knitting/crocheting and actually make something me or my ids can use. I want to try my hand at linocut prints again. Get back into bookbinding. I want to sew more. I want to MAKE.


The 4th trimester


You know before I gave birth I always used to hear people say ‘selamat berpantang’. I never really understood why they said that. I assumed they meant something like happy holidays..boy was I wrong. Pantang or confinement was sort of horrible.

Post delivery

After giving birth I was allowed to rest for a short while in the labour room. I immediately fell asleep from exhaustion. The nurse came in and told me I could move to the ward, but I really didn’t feel like moving. Not that I had a choice. My pelvis was still in a funk so I really couldn’t move and it took me all of 15 minutes just to get out of the bed. and then just standing up to get to the wheelchair i almost passed out, my head was spinning and i was seeing blurry and blacking out. Probably my low blood pressure or something. They gave me some Milo and I asked for more. Milo always makes it a lil bit better. I was too weak too hold Eesa, so the nurse wheeled him in his cot alongside my wheelchair to the ward.

Coming to the hospital I wanted to be placed in the first class ward, because I wanted Shafiq with me. But the ward was full, and so we went to the regular ward. the whole day i was sleepy and sore all over. I still couldn’t move so it was heartbreaking when Eesa cried and i couldn’t even move to pick him up. Shafiq couldn’t be int the ward with me to help. I felt utterly alone and helpless and scared. The nurse came by and rattled on about changing the baby’s diaper and i was suddenly so overwhelmed and distraught i burst into tears.

It was like all of a sudden, all this new stuff, these new responsibilities were dumped on me. Not to say I dint know what i was getting into, but i thought at the beginning that i’d have some kind of guide or help to get me going, not all of a sudden be expected to know everything. I guess i was in shock or something. Being a mom is all kinds of terrifying.

Alhamdulillah that night we were able to move to the first class ward and Shafiq could stay with me. Alhamdulillah alhamdulillah alhmadulillah! i don’t know how i would have survived that night all by myself, with the baby crying and me not being able to move. We were held overnight because I still wasn’t able to pee, so we couldn’t be discharged. the whole day went by and i still hadn’t been able to go to the bathroom even though my bladder was really full. they had to do an in out procedure to empty it out. The next day was the same, except this time, every time i tried to stand up to try and force myself to pee, my bladder sphincter muscles would just give way. Zero bladder control. In the end the hospital decided to hook me up with a catheter and sent me home on day 3.


Confinement blues

Ummi never did any kind of pantang since she gave birth in Canada, and mostly alone. So my pantang period was pretty loose too. I couldn’t handle wearing socks (panas gila tau tak) and i ate almost everything.

Honestly I don’t know how people manage doing the whole pantang shebang. Where do they find the time? maybe their babies sleep more, unlike Eesa who refused to nap in the day at all. I mean, I could barely find time to eat, let along tangas tungku urut pilis mandi herba etc2. The only good thing about my catheter is that i didn’t need as many potty breaks.

The thing that was hardest to deal with in the beginning was breastfeeding. Eesa cried and cried and didn’t want to sleep even after nursing all day. It doesn’t help when the people around you keep saying you’re not producing enough milk and therefore force you to eat 24/7. my appetite was really low..i even vomited several times after forcing myself to eat eat eat. I grew pretty tired of everyone forcing food down my throat too. Another thing they kept saying  was “you have to be happy, stay positive” which is absolutely hard when you’re overwhelmed and terrified and suffering postnatal blues. I did end up supplementing Eesa with some milk from Munira..It’s the only time I ever saw Eesa have a milk coma. Sad that it couldn’t be from me, but as long as Eesa is happy and healthy i guess.


The second hardest thing to deal with was missing my husband. We used to spend most of our time together, and suddenly it all evaporated with me being preoccupied with the baby. No more spontaneous dates, hanging out, cuddling etc.

I spent the first 2 weeks basically in tears. Overwhelmed with everything. To make things worse, Shafiq came down with a really bad flu a week in so he had to stay far away from me and the baby. I’ve never felt so alone in my whole life. Support and even just the physical presence of your loved ones around you are so important in these times. Hats off to all the single mothers out in the world

But in between the loooooong hours, of course, there were precious moments, gems and heart melting smiles with my lil boy.




Reflections pt1

Once in high school my classmate accidentally swallowed a pin, jarum peniti, while she was fixing her scarf. she was brought to the clinic and the news traveled trough our school. It was a very small school mind you, every grade only had one class and in each class was less than 20 students. so everyone knew everyone, and our whole class was abuzz with this news. when she came back from the clinic and i bumped into her coming up the stairs, i asked her what happened and if everything was okay now. and maybe she was tired or something but she answered with “you know Maryam, you should mind your own business”

i was taken aback and kinda saddened because i was asking out of real concern. and i find that ever since then i tend to hold myself back myself from caring too much. some people dont want you to care i guess. now i have to relearn how to do that.

National Poetry Month

Last month April was National Poetry month in certain parts of the world and us kata.mata peeps decided to give it a go. The aim was to write one piece per day at least. I tried my bestest and came up just short at 23/30, which is alright I guess? Not that they are any good, but some of them I really liked.

Here is a link to all my April poetry, and below are some of the ones I liked best. Enjoy!

“The Everywhere House” by Maryam H

The everywhere house
sits on anywhere street
filled with everyday men
doing any day feats

“I don’t keep well” by Maryam H

I keep my hands in my pockets,
Or my arms folded across my ribs
Entwined in a clumsy half-knot
And my fists gently clenched

I keep my legs crossed, one over the other
Left over right, right over left
My dangling foot, tapping, dancing, and then still
Shifting my weight and drawing myself in

I keep my eyes darting and roaming into the distance,
Fixated on a faraway oblivion
And then flickering down at my hands, my feet
A perpetual, evasive drill

I keep my hands, my feet, my eyes from you
But still my heart finds yours

“Who wouldn’t?” by Maryam H

did you hear about the girl who never said a word?
they say she holds a milliom gems in her mouth
and when she opens up,
well. i guess we’ll never find out, will we?

well i heard she has a heart that pumps liquid gold
they say thats why she seems so heavy
it kills her, of course, but she’s already broken.
and when she bleeds,
well. she rarely ever does

i heard when she cries, her tears are falling diamonds
hardened with pain and warm with fury
perfectly cut each time

i’d cry all the time if i was her
i’d cut myself and bleed each day if i was her
i’d talk non stop if i was her

who wouldn’t?

“Please, will you not let me” by Maryam H

Please, will you not let me
Trace the contours of your supple words
Indulge me with the presence of your shadow
Give me the pleasure of your warm hand
And I would gladly return the favor

“Periscope” by Maryam H

We plan and we conspire
Whispering secrets and knowing glances
The world was never smaller when we were apart
And never as together as when we were near
We plan and we conspire
History is something we’ll never have

Zombie and Architecture Superhero dreams

Okay this is going to be a short and possibly weird post about two dreams I had, one yesterday and one the day before. Let’s start with the zombie dream.

(Please note that, according to my mom, my dreams never make any sense, or have any point. let’s begin)

The scene unfolds where there are 2 people in a dark room, on a dark night. A Man and a woman. They are arguing, but not violently. The woman asks the man about an ex he used to have, and some issues she had with her. The man has his back to her, and is putting away folded laundry into the dresser. He looks at the woman through the mirror atop said dresser. Suddenly the woman hears soft, haunting singing coming from the window, and you can see a lady with blonde hair perched on the sill, singing. It is the man’s ex. the woman asks, what is she doing here?? But the lady on the sill hides from the man’s view. The man is about to wave it off when the lady appears in full frame of the window, this time laughing and singing hysterically. Her eyes are bloodshot and her hair is a tangle. Her face is terrible. She is a zombie. The woman is frozen in shock while the zombie lady scratches on the window pane and starts knocking on the glass. The man wheels around and then quickly turns back, rummaging frantically inside the dresser, and finally pulls out a revolver. The zombie starts pounding on the glass and the woman is shaken out of her frozen state and starts screaming in terror. The man aims and fires off a shot, killing the zombie. But just as she falls dead another zombie, this time a man (who was infatuated with zombie lady) appears and is furious that the love of his life is dead. He bangs on the window and another shot is fired, and he also drops dead. The man and woman stand there breathing hard when the bushes start trembling and out bursts a whole legion of zombies, who start smashing the windows. There are too many zombies, and not enough bullets. The man and woman crouch down and run through the house trying to find an escape from the inevitable.
Darkness ensues.
The end.

n.b. I don’t know anything about zombies so the accuracy of the happenings in my dream can’t be guaranteed. I’m heard zombies don’t die when you shoot them. Which is the problem I suppose.

The next dream is a short one. It features me and my siblings, and we form a legion of superheroes with architectural powers. The mission was to erect column on an empty hall that was going to be used as a wedding hall for my cousins wedding. I was the master commander person who orchestrated and directed the whole operation. In my dream there was a real sense of urgency, as if you were fighting evil, even though it was just putting up columns. I suppose we were chasing a deadline. So my brother, rec man, would zap out 4sided shapes also known as squares onto the floor. My other brother would color it, he was b man (b is the shortcut for paint bucket in sketchup) then there’s p woman, who could push/pull like that sketchup tool. And together we successfully put up the required columns in a relatively quick time and our cousins got married happily in that hall.

Also, all of us architecture superheroes could fly!

Invasion of the floating cubes by ~saramondo

My rant against the world

//be forewarned. This is a rant//

I feel like a kid who, after being told to be a good boy or else Santa won’t be dropping by this year, finds out that not only was he not good enough, but that HAHA Santa isn’t real.
We are told that if we work hard, strive to do our best and be the top among the rest, that there will be some sort of reward at the end of it. That we will get what we want, because we tried and worked so hard for it. And being stupid and naive we believe this. Putting in all our efforts into trying to be the best because we want that bright future that is promised. Like donkeys and carrots. Why do they do that? And why did we believe them? In the end after doing our best, we EXPECT some sort or return. some sort of lauding from the world, a pat on the back saying, well done, chap. now that you’ve shown that you can jump over hurdles and make it through relatively unscathed, here’s a little present to make your going forth a little bit easier. There will be more challenges, of course, harder ones, but if you do well enough, there’s another reward at the end of this tunnel, this road. Go forth, and prosper.


There isn’t. Being the best is not good enough. You have to be better than the best, and be sufficiently normal and extraordinary at the same time. You have to have the luck of a thousand rabbit’s feet, your pockets heavy with horse shoes, and your hands green from all the four leaf clovers you clutch. You have to have a spider web of strings you can pull on. You have to have a group of people holding you above their heads, pushing you into the limelight.

And after trying our hardest, when we don’t get any kind of reward, we sit back and quietly cry, and then toughen up and tell ourselves that well, we were just not good enough, and so we try harder. And every time the same thing happens and we feel like giving up because having our hopes and spirits broken time and time again is tiring. But it’s our own fault. We were dumb enough to believe. And then we really feel like giving up but a part of us still says, no, you’ve still got to try. And try we do.

But this time with the jaded, disillusioned realisation that,

The world can never guarantee us anything.

But Allah can, and does.

p/s: I’m not usually this rant-y. Sorry about this. I have much to be thankful for, I know. I could be getting this all wrong as well. Happier posts are on the way!

note to self:

Ya gerels :'(

Just found out that my old Arabic teacher from high school passed away yesterday in a car crash in Sudan. Tr. El-Fateh was definitely one of the nicest and funniest teachers I ever had. Even the way he carried himself was light and limber. I remember getting into all sorts of laughing fits in his Arabic class as me and Zah would write the most absurd Arabic essays (one I distinctly remember was one about going to the moon to get cheese) but Tr. Fateh always laughed along with us, encouragingly. The 2 years I studied Arabic with him was when I picked up most of my Arabic. More than the 5 years I spent in Al-Amin. So much more. He also taught me geography, and I remember learning about Burkina Faso, at the time it was the first time I had heard of this country. He was so approachable too, you’d never be afraid to just walk into his office and have a chat, or use his office phone, or just sit down. And if he met you in the hallways outside of class, there was this one phrase he used to say that was hilarious. He you’d say Ya girls! “ya” as in “wahai” in Arabic. but the way he pronounced girls, it became a 2-syllable word, ge-rels.

He was a teacher to some, neighbor to many, vice-principal to the school, and friend to all. Teachers, and humans like him are rare to find, and his parting is a loss to the world, but Insha’Allah he is in a better place.

May Allah forgive his sins, bestow his mercy upon his soul and grant him the highest paradise, Jannatul el firdaus. Our prayers are with him and his family.


Little Red Dot on the Map

After ages and ages my long awaited trip to Singapore finally happened! A lot of people (read: mom) have asked me, why Singapore?? Well the short answer is that it’s the nearest faraway place, nearest different country. Also, the last time I was there I didn’t get to do much at all, being only there for a day and a half. For the most part, I was busy with work so coordinating and planning the trip wasn’t the easiest thing to do.

Thursday night after work I rushed home and got my stuff together coz our train was at 11 pm from KL central. This was the first time I’d taken the KTM train somewhere far away, and I was super excited. Something about travelling by rail is very…romantic? No that’s not the word. Or maybe it is. Romanticism for the past maybe? Anyways, we all got top bunks, which were more cramped than the bottom ones but had more privacy. Me and Ilham were extra giddy and excited hehe. Ayesha, ever the seasoned traveller, was pretty chill. The bunk across from mine was inhabited by this guy who studied in NTU if I remember correctly. He was weird but nice I suppose. He kept asking the German couple below us random and utterly hilarious questions. The journey was okay, slept for the most part. I thought I would have trouble sleeping at first since the train wasn’t exactly smooth as silk or in any way quiet, but once I pulled up the blanket I fell asleep almost instantly. Old trick. OH! I mentioned how our train was at 11, well in reality it got delayed twice so we ended up boarding at around 11.45. That messed up our itinerary a bit. Arrived at the JB customs at around subuh and at woodlands at just before 8. The funny NTU guy lead us out of the gorgeous KTM station (soon to be torn down if the grapevine speaks true. It also smelled a bit too much of piss. But the architecture was stunning) walked for about 10 minutes through the streets of Singapore to the nearest MRT station, and then rode all the way out to Tampines where we were staying throughout our 4 day 3 night stay.
Rushed back out and made it to Chinatown by noon, where we met up with the lovely Hamimah. On the first day we ended up going to Chinatown, little India, orchard road (where we met up with Sarah, Ayesha’s cousin and whose room we were invading :P) and later at night Arab street/kampong glam for dinner where we met up with Amine, Sara’s sister with the super adorable hair and who has perfected the puss in boots wide eyed look haha!

On the first day I managed to make some field notes, very sparse ones mind you.
Finally got a move on at 11.45. Trying to go to sleep but it’s noisy + bumpy. Should bring earplugs next time. Revolution stuck in my head. Compartment buddies. German architect? First song in Singapore – elite – tamparan wanita hahahah! Courteous ppl. Neighbourhood was lively and active. A lot more old people on the move and outside, out and about. Big landed properties. Urban planning. Birds here don’t poop? Fun on Arab Street. Food and atmosphere of kampong glam at night. Orchard road architecture. Ice cream. Authentic little India. Most walking I’ve done in 6 months or more.
The subsequent days I was too busy and tired to make notes! Will try to remember all the best and interesting parts though hehe

Day 2
UNIVERSAL STUDIOS!!!!!! Weeehooo! Okay first a confession. I couldn’t help but compare everything to Disneyland. Of course, that’s not at all fair. But I was still very the excited about USS. We got there about half an hour before the gates opened and even then there was already a large crowd there. One bummer was that the largest and wildest ride wasn’t open yet, and one other ride was under maintenance. Also, it rained in the afternoon. Pretty heavily, but thankfully I had bought a poncho for the water world show so I put that on. My feet and most of my legs were still soaked, but it was fun, can’t remember the last time I splashed around in the rain 😀 we also took advantage of the rain to ride the hell out of one of the indoor rides, the one we lined up about 40 minutes for before as a group, but on our subsequent rides we all went solo and had fun making faces at the camera. Actually, the lost world was one of the best parts of the theme park. One thing about USS is that they constantly have people in costumes walking around for photo-ops so we harassed a hunky pharaoh and his jealous Cleopatra-like lady. And then Aminah went all vixen on a pair of Anubis or Seth-like creatures on power stilts. That was a lot of fun haha! Wish we captured their exchange on video but we didn’t :/ some of the shows that we went to were a lot of fun, like the Donkey live show, but there was one in particular that was just WHAAT. So not the way I pictured my first “rock” concert ahah. We planned to go zip-lining after USS but because of the rain we couldn’t. Waited the rain out a bit and then went up to imbiah lookout point for the luge. So much fun! Wheeee~!! Can’t say the same for the skylift back up the hill. We thought it would be a little lift up but it was quite high up and with no harness/restraints keeping us from tumbling down. A very nerve wracking ascend. Never knew I was giddy about unprotected heights. Oh wait. Yes I did :p definitely didn’t feel like jumping this time.
Wanted to wait for the 9.30 fireworks over USS so we stayed up at imbiah lookout and played a spot of truth or dare, for lack of better things to do. The dares had me in stitches!!! Aminah was such a sport and definite cheerleader material 😀 poor coffee bean workers. Getting harassed by us. In the end the fireworks went off but behind a building so all we could see was smoke =.=
Got home super spent.

Day 3
the plan for day three was Singapore River and surroundings, science centre, and night safari. We did manage to go do all three but didn’t get to spend as much time as I would have liked on the first two. We did do quite a bit though. Visited a burhani mosque near city hall for zuhr, to the disappointment of some there was no one inside to observe. The science centre was extremely fun, sadly only got an hour or so to play around with the exhibits, so we were running around like mad children trying to do see hear touch everything! Fun fun times. Definitely must go back there and go through all the sections more thoroughly.
Night safari was also a lot of fun. The animals were alert, alive, and very close-up. Our tram guide person had a very exotic way of saying babi rusa 😛 by stroke of luck we were allowed to bypass some people and get onto an earlier tram, so when we finished the tram ride we got off and rushed to the animal show place. When we got there the sign said it was full but we hung around and they managed to let us in. Yay!!

Day 4
by day 4 I was pretty much broke. But we wanted to check out some shopping so we headed over to bugis. Tried on these amazing trousers from topshop and had a good hearty laugh over the price. Crossed over to Bugis Street, which was almost exactly like Petaling Street or Times Square, so didn’t buy anything. Shopping usually gives me a headache, especially in places that are super crowded. Ilham wasn’t feeling too swell either so we ended up just having lunch at pastamania and talking in hushed tones about our opinion of what Singapore really is. Headed back to Novena to board the bus, but whaddaya know, we couldn’t find our bus tickets! Panic! Scramble and rummage through all our bags. No luck. Thank god we had only bought our tix earlier that morning so the lady had it in their records kot, so we managed to get on the bus and waved ta-ta to Singapore….

This was written a while back but never got around to publishing it. My overall impression of Singapore is that it’s a very orderly city, everything works efficiently and smoothly and almost perfectly. Its clean and modern and full of people. Its bigger than I expected, meaning that there is actually distance and length of time for getting places ahaha! I was impressed that cars will stop for you at zebra crossings, which pretty much never happens in Malaysia. It’s a very impressive little country. Nevertheless, in the four days that I was there, I felt like there was something terribly off about the country. Something wrong. Something incredibly odd. I don’t know what it is. Maybe it’s the people and how they are so uniform in mindset? Individuality is very different here, somehow. I still don’t know what exactly what is weirdly offish. But I’m glad to be back. Malaysia, with all its flaws and grit and issues, is still a pretty great place to be, Alhamdulillah 🙂

Mapping directions

If only my sense of direction in life were as good as my sense of direction on the road

Then I’d be all set.

I was thinking about this yesterday on the way back from work in my (dad’s) car. On the road, I don’t mind getting lost, taking wrong turns, making those kinds of mistakes, because to me, it’s just a matter of knowing your bearings, where you came from and where you want to go. And anyways, if you take a wrong turn there’s bound to be somewhere you can make an illegal u-turn up ahead and get back on track. Now how do I apply that principle to life?? I know where I come from, yes. I also know where I’m headed or rather where I want to go, generally. But how do I get there? Life doesn’t come with a gps device, a mapbook, or google earth. Or maybe I just haven’t been looking in the right places? When im lost on the road, on the rare occurrence that it does happen, it’s my general directional compass that comes to the rescue. That, and my past experiences. Also instinct. When I was a little girl I loved car rides and whenever I wasn’t falling asleep I was gazing out the window. I guess that helped kot. But even before that, I still remember the route I used to take walking to kindergarten, the route my bus took in first and second grade. Point is, roads are great. They are easy for me. Cant say the same for life, although that said, I don’t think its meant to be easy. Ive had a VERY blessed life Alhamdulillah. I’m digressing.

I don’t like making mistakes. I think, im scared of making mistakes because I would be letting myself and other people down. And because of this I don’t take risks. I think I have to keep reminding myself that, like on the road, mistakes aren’t generally the end of the world, and are in fact quite necessary to be able to build up a more comprehensive map of the world/life.


In 9th grade I was faced with a decision – what electives do I want to take? Out of the 8 subjects we were allowed 3 electives. I had already taken Japanese and art in my first semester, and for my second semester I was torn between IT and carpentry. I was really interested in both. Hem. Haw. Mull. I checked out the computer labs and the woodshop. I considered asking advice from my guidance counsellor, in the end I ended up asking my mom. (Basically the same thing) At the start of my school year I had already registered IT as my third elective but the more I thought about it, the more I felt myself leaning towards carpentry. I figured, I can learn IT by myself, all I need is a computer at the very least. Why pass up the opportunity to work in a fully equipped woodshop? So a few days before the closing of the course change petition closed, I submitted my request to change from IT to carpentry. And im glad I did, because I loved it! And some friends of mine who took IT confessed that it was actually pretty boring.

In 10th grade my toss up was between history and physics. Again, I loved both. This time I don’t know what made me go with history. But im glad I did because I had a great teacher and our class was just 3 people. Teacher included. So a lot of the classes were spent watching movies like Schindlers list. And then in A-Levels I decided to not tae history because that would’ve been too heavy and my teacher pun left the school. Instead I switched to physics and I was worried that I might not be able to cope since I didn’t take O-Level physics so I sat in the O-Level physics classes when I could and the teacher who taught Olevels was the same teacher who taught A-Levels so that was good. And he was an awesome teacher too. Come to think of it, all my physics teachers were pretty great. In high school that is. UIA lain cerita.

Point of this blogpost? None really. Just bored. Also, its time to choose.

A wandering mind

On the way to work today I glanced at my neighbour’s house where there was a long rainwater downpipe which was supposed to be attached to the gutter at the roof but this down pipe was not really fully attached and so I thought they should put a funnel there so the water flows down the downpipe and doesn’t just splash around. And then I got to thinking how a funnel wouldn’t really help if the rainfall is really heavy since the downpipe was kinda small in diameter and then I got to thinking about hydrodynamics and the people who study them and that lead me to think about the people who study hydrodynamics to make artificial white water rafting courses and I thought, they have to study the stuff *under* the water since that’s what makes the water churn and undulate and all and I thought that’s difficult, its not like they can just hold up the river and scan the riverbed and then I thought of damming rivers and that made me think of beavers and how they dam up rivers to make their homes and I remembered a book I used to read as a kid about beavers and their dams and how they build the entrances to their homes underwater so only they can get it but inside their home is dry and my mind flashed to Narnia where I don’t recall the Pevensies having to take a plunge into icy water to enter the beavers den. Then I started thinking about beavers and drawing them and how some people draw beavers tails with cross hatchings on it even though they don’t actually have lines crisscrossing their tails and after that I thought to myself, hmm, I haven’t thought about beavers in a long time, and come to think of it, I haven’t thought about Canadian animals in a long time too so I made a list of Canadian animals I used to think about and that list included beavers, moose, killer whales, narwhals and polar bears and just as I was thinking this a black myvi was driving towards me and I thought, it kinda looks like a killer whale and then I had to get out of the way coz I didn’t wanna get hit by that killer whale myvi and then I remembered the three not so nice dreams I had last night one of which involved a car accident and the other ones were about missing an exam and slapping someone and I didn’t want to remember them so I stopped thinking about them and thought instead of how I had gotten to thinking about Canadian animals in the first place, which made me retrace my thoughts and remember this whole story and so I wrote it down and now you’re reading it.

The end.

The consequence of sounds

My rhyme ain’t good just yet,
My brain and tongue just met,
And they ain’t friends, so far,
My words don’t travel far,
They tangle in my hair,
And tend to go nowhere,
They grow right back inside,
Right past my brain and eyes
Into my stomach juice
Where they don’t serve much use,
No healthy calories,
Nutrition values.
And I absorb back in
The words right through my skin
They sit there festering inside my bowels
The consonants and vowels
The consequence of sounds
The consonants and vowels
The consequence of sounds
Got a soundtrack in my mind,
All the time. Kids-
Screamin’ from too much beat up
And they don’t even rhyme,
They just stand there, on a street corner,
Skin tucked in
And meat side out and shot,
And I’d like to turn them down
But there ain’t no knob.
Run into picket fences
Not into picket lines.
All this hippie-shit for the 60’s
And another cliche for our time. But,
But a one of these days your heart
Will just stop ticking,
And they sorta just don’t find you till your cubicle is reeking.
The consonants and vowels
The consequence of sounds
The consonants and vowels
The consequence of sounds
Ahh ah ah ah ahh ah ah ah
Did you know that the gravedigger’s still
Gettin’ stuck in the machine
Even though it’s a whole other daydream.
It’s another town it’s another world,
Where the kids are asleep, where the loans are paid
And the lawns are mowed.
Whad’ya think?
All the gravediggers were gone?
Just cause one song is done
There’s always another one,
Waiting right around the bend,
Till this one ends,
Then it begins sqeaky clean,
Then it starts all over again.
The weather report keeps on
Tossing and turning,
Predicting and warning,
And warning and warning of,
Possibly it could be news publications and,
Possibly it could be news TV stations. That
Very same morning right next to her coffee
She noticed some bleeding and heard hollow coughing and
National Geographic was being too graphic,
When all she had wanted to know was the traffic
The worlds got a nosebleed it said
And were flooding but we keep on cutting
The trees and the forests!
And we keep on paying those freaks on the TV,
Who claim they will save us but want to enslave us.
And sweating like demons they scream through our speakers
But we leave the sound on ’cause silence is harder.
And no ones the killer and no ones the martyr
The world that has made us can no longer contain us
And profits are silent then rotting away ’cause
The consonants and vowels
The consequence of sounds.
The consonants and vowels
The consequence of sounds.
Ah ah ah
My rhyme ain’t good just yet,
My brain and tongue just met,
And they aint friends, so far,
My words don’t travel far,
They tangle in my hair,
And tend to go nowhere,
They grow right back inside,
Right past my brain and eyes
Into my stomach juice
Where they don’t serve much use,
No healthy calories,
Nutrition values.
And I absorb back in
The words right through my skin
They sit there festering inside my bowels
The consonants and vowels
The consequence of sounds
The consonants and vowels
The consequence of sounds


What motivates you?

I was at work today, and during my bouts of sleepiness I was caught thinking, why am I here? I got up, walked to the bathroom, and washed my face. Earlier, I had been feeling quite down, this project I’m working on is daunting and my co-worker who started it but passed it on to me is a super duper awesome designer. How am I supposed to carry that same awesomeness throughout the rest of the project? Standing in front of the mirror, my robot brain started taking over. Breaking down the task into manageable little chunks. (Warning. Monologue ahead)

Robot: Maryam, stop being so down and start doing something. See? All you have to do is this and this and this. YOU CAN DO IT.
Maryam: hmm…ok…Yeah… I CAN do it!

And then,

Small unidentified part of brain/heart: but do I WANT to do it?

Which led me to thinking about some stuff. I suppose it stems from the fact that my sister and KAED friends are all just about done with their exams, and there’s a certain calming finality in having a set end period. With work, you just go on and on and on. There are no term/semester breaks, no skipping classes, no lazing about. Work is work and at work you do work. Whenever I meet my boss in his office, I always think. He’s so good at what he does. I don’t think I can do this. I’m not so detail conscious, not a mastermind planner, not particularly capable of handling sensitive/difficult persons and situations, neither am I one to be a “boss” over a group of people, be it clients, contractors, consultants, or my own staff.

I don’t have any answers yet, and I’m still trying to figure out what my goal in life is. I mean, I have a general goal, which consists of me being happy and feeling fulfilled and learning and improving myself, but how do I get there? Maybe that’s just it though…you can’t really have motivation unless you have a goal, right? one to set your sights on and with that in mind, drive yourself over all those bumps, potholes, twists and turns, anyway you can to get to that goal. Maybe?


Little Miss Muffet

Last night Muhsin, Ummi and I were having dinner. afterward Ummi was snacking on a plum and the subject of nursery rhymes came up. Personally, I LOVE nursery rhymes, and I still remember most of them Such pleasant memories. So I decided to quiz Muhsin. Suffice to say Ummi and I were left in stitches. Enjoy.

“Jack & Jill”

Jack and Jill went up the hill,
to get some water.
Someone fell down.

“Humpty Dumpty”

Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall
(long pause)
All the kings came,
And tried to put him back on the wall