Saturday, February 24, 2007


Saturday 25th Feb 07

Today is our last day in Dublin. Tomorrow we head for home. "We" represent the Mem, Aqim and yours truly. I look forward to be back to familiar territory, to the nasi lemaks and the nasi berianis and....all the spoils. I look forward to warmer weather, hopefully dry too. I need to shed off all the inactivities of the past 28 days in the cold. While I look forward to the spoils back home, I was also spoilt here. The cold somehow whets the appetite. Alhamdulillah, my taste bud has not decreased with advancing years. Somehow, I felt it's even on the contrary and the mem continues to call me Mr Rice Pot.

To add to the title, last night we just could not refuse an invitation to dinner. Try as we had, we just can't say "NO" to a young couple of Farid and Su. Both are doing their time in Dublin to gain valuable working experience before venturing back. And they had a little bundle of joy, and that's my date for the night - QIS. Mem too was enjoying QIS' company too, almost monopolising her.

By generation, Qis will be a grand-daughter. A very very cute one! The couple were passing remarks that perhaps it's high time we (Mem and I) have a "toy" to play too.

That's a strong signal to our eldest boy, but alas, he wasn't within hearing distance. He's back in Malaysia. Of course our second boy Aqim was there, but he had been very secretive. It will be too early for Mimi. She had to first finish her degree in May. Then it's ACCA. So, another 3 years minimum for Mimi in Dublin. The other daughter back home is busy with her career, but she'll have to find time too.

Baby Qis is 4 months old. Not a cry, nor any annoyance. She was enjoying every bit of the attention given, passed from person to person. Baby QIS also enjoys the company of 2 other equally loving aunties - Anna and Wahida. In other words, Baby QIS was spoilt for choice.

The food...ah the food. We spent so much time with Baby QIS we forgot the food on the table. Really??? No la. Got to do justice to the efforts put in by Su to cook. Doing justice was easy. The food was marvellous. So was dessert and teh tarek. I'm not actually a teh tarek fan. But I do enjoy this particular one. Farid, better watch yourself. You can eat but you must also burn. How about cycling to burn the excesses??? Not that you have any, but you might!

Quite engrossed with tucking in, I forgot to capture the moments of eating and capture the young couple with Baby QIS. Sorry for that. But you can always invite us again the next time we holiday here.

Terima kasih daun keladi Farid and Su, and Anna and Wahida. Bila balek Malaysia, jemputlah kerumah. Aunt will cook for you all in return.

Bye bye my date Baby QIS! Sampai jumpa lagi

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


My original plan to get out of Dublin for a few days didn't materialise for a two "C" factors - Cold & Cost. Due to the COLD factor, the COST becomes Tak Berbaloi. I will be indoor too much. The mem too felt the same way...phew! There's always summer next year.

Mem has a new companion, my son, who has just arrived. They do share the same passion, the walkbouts at those places I don't quite like to frequent. So, off they go on Sunday to spend, hopefully their time, more than the credit cards. Anyway, they are responsible spenders.

I was therefore liberated to do some jalan-jalan. I revisited the Stephen Greens Park. I'm beginning to love Parks, luckily at this stage in life and not during my teenage years. The weather is warming up, and the hibernating flowers are beginning to bloom.

I noted a lone figure on a bench, sitting quietly and almost motionless. Her attire reminds me of the eskimos out in the colds of the Arctic. She appeared to have a lot in her mind, but it's not something I'm ready to explore.

This picture of the steps in the park caught my eyes. It's open to interpretations.

Out on the streets, it was a great day for outings too. The Dublin artists took the opportunity to display their work of arts. Plenty of admirers, but I hardly see any admiration converted to sales. I'm sure there were, otherwise there'll be no artists around here.

Of course, life is tough. We see this everywhere, on the streets...

...or up in the air

I ended the jalan-jalan with a difficult choice to cross the street, when the traffic light turned amber. I need to ask how the Irish did it horizontally

Monday, February 12, 2007


Sunday 11th Feb.

Finally, the sun was out. The sky was blue, though cloudless. And it's a Sunday. And Mimi has no classes, but exam is looming in 2 months time. Oh, let's not spoil the mood.

St Stephens Green Public Park is a 5 minutes walk from the apartment. A few days earlier, it would have been a 5 mins there and an immediate 5 mins walk back. Today, the weather was inviting and excellent. We would stay longer and breathe the fresh morning air, a respite.

Dubliners were there too. It's still chilly and we still had our layers of clothings, but we enjoyed the walk and recording the visit on my digital.

So, it's KUSH KUSH HOTA HEI ........

And not so KUSH KUSH

Outside the park, we heard drums beating. It was a mini carnival time, in 5 degree F weather. Reminds me of Mardi Gras in New Orleans. These dancers must have layers of hidden fats.

And there was free ice-creams and Mimi just can't refuse the invitation

and I can't resist snapping these cute twins

All in a refreshing 30 mins walk in the Park. I pray for more bright and sunny weather

Sunday, February 11, 2007



It's FUTSAL day. Nope, ain't for me. For Mimi, and her gang of newbies. Wife didn't sleep much the night earlier. Cooking for the Futsal ladies, to "tapau" to the event.

Sat morning didn't promise good weather. It was grey and cold, the norm. 4 layers of clothings on my body, glove, head cover, muffler and a haversack fill with plates and a blanket. We trudged on in the slight drizzle for the bus stop to take us to UCD. That's University College Dublin, a full campus University which Mimi always dreamt of. Reality though quashed the dream. "You want to be a professional accountant or a lecturing accountant?" The $ and the Euro signs flashed in her rounded eyes. So, it's off to DBS, a business school for business-minded accountants! Forget the campus life. Just go there for Futsal.

Alighting at UCD, I was in conversation with a medic student. A handsome young man, later found out that he hailed from Kelantan too. No wonder so handsome! His father, the late Dr Ramli Idris was someone I know, a senior from my alma mater. A very industrious Dr too. Medicine ran in the family. The eldest brother is a ENT specialist. Al-Fatihah to Allahyarham Dr Ramli.

At the Futsal pitch, there was no where to hide from the biting cold. I was obliged to be the cameraman, and I need to remove my glove to operate my EOS. Instead of freezing the action shots of the game, my hand was frozen! Anyway, here are some shots.

I was "saved" from the biting cold by Suraya, a friend's daughter. She was there to send the husband Farid for the game. I gladly accepted her invitation to balek to her house, to the warmth and to a cute 4-month old Baby Qis. It was love at first sight, with Baby Qis. Immediately I envied Baby Qis' grandfather, Kamarudin.

Din actually is a childhood friend from Tumpat days. He had been instrumental in my decision to send Mimi to Dublin. Thanks a trillion Din.

Su cooked for us. And I obliged, with double helping. She promised us a proper lunch invite before we leave for home. Waiting........waiting......

Thursday, February 8, 2007



Airports closed. Snow on the ground. Windows foggy, weather dull gray. Wet. Too cold to bathe, too lazy to move. What a morning and what a day it will be.

Stuck here in the living room at Apartment 19 Sherborne, Aungier Street, Dublin. Muna, fully wrapped up, maintaining her wudhu from Subuh for Zohr.

Read a few surahs from the Quran.

Must reman productive. My E-Book, yes my E-Book. Opened up Jim Rohn's life philosophies. Mind map the relevant points.

Back to the Irish weather. Ah...another day


Back home, we take our weather for granted, well almost. When you are out in the sun and feeling hot, you look for shade, you open the windows, switched on the fan or the air-cond. You can also remove your clothes. Solved.

But what do you do when you are trembling cold and the thermostat reads even - 0 degree F. You on the small heater, and you worry about the heating bill. You put on more clothes, you are still cold. Everywhere is icy. The water, the uncarpeted floor, the bathroom, the bedroom, the blanket - cold. It's like living in a freezer, except bigger but still no where to escape.

But, ah the bliss. Head to the huge shopping complex. It's warm enough to remove your muffler and your head cover and your gloves. Buy a drink and french fries at the fast food. Savor your diet ever so slowly, take advantage of the warmth of the central heating.

Read an article on affordable homes in Dublin. My jaw almost dropped - 300,000 Euro! I recounted the zeroes. No mistake. How much does an average Dubliner earn in a year?

Insyallah, Mimi will also find a job here after completing her Accounting degree. She'll stay on here for a couple more years, to get her professional degree. Then she will return, to warm sunny Malaysia and to affordable home.

P/s. Our last drop of budu finishes today!

Tuesday, February 6, 2007


It's true. When it's cold, everything freezes. Including the brain! I've arrived in cold Dublin for the last 5 days (since 2nd Feb 2007). Temp is almost a constant 5 degree C, add the chill factor from the winds and the mind freezes. My wife and I will be here for another 20 days, enduring this weather. Why? They say a picture paints a thousand words. And where was Dad?...sob...sob...

We came very prepared, food wise. The only thing my mem didn't pack for this trip was the kitchen itself! The box for food took up 60% of the allowed baggage. At KLIA, it was plastic wrap. When it arrived in Dublin, the box was gaping. The food supplies were restrained by the plastic wrap. Do I complain about the almost excess baggage? Only at home while packing. Over here, must quietly thanked the thoughful wife. Cold freezes the mind but opened up the stomach muscles. Funny.

On 3rd day of arrival (Sunday), Mimi invited her friends (14 of them) for a nasi kerabu feast. Yes, nasi kerabu in Dublin, with ulam and budu thrown in. Very ori and very full filling (aka fulfilling). You can see from the smiles from these Nasi Kerabu kids how satiated they were.

"Terima Kasih daun keladi Aunt Muna"

Thus far, I've only talked about food and weather. So, what else did we do for the 1st 5 days? Overcoming jetlags was one. Moving around a little bit from where we hibernated on Aungier Street was another.

First place of visit was Trinity College campus of University of Dublin. I arrived and was greeted by a look alike. I never realised I was already cast in stone during the medieval ages.

And I almost stepped on the campus lawn until I read the translation. Trinity College is an old establishment.

The campus is not as big as that of University of Malaya where my wife and I studied in the early 70s. But, it brings back fond memories of campus life. Back then, we didn't really got around to sit together on a bench, in the campus garden. Do that too often, we would have no degrees to show our irate parents! So, we just imagined how it could have been. Hmmm

We moved on. Next stop must be the street mall. It was Saturday and the Dubliners were out almost in full force. A street performer was doing his stuff. 90% of doing his stuff was not doing his stuff. He remained frozen until some kind soul tipped his pail and he moved with the rythm of music from his juke box. Indeed a great act.

Somehow today, I keep bumping into something that tells a story of my life. One notice suggested that I learn a new skill if I want to save money on grooming whatever that's left to be groomed. And that's bloody expensive for the little effort that the barber needed to put in!