Sunday, June 20, 2010

Aunty Stylo

Today was the first time in my official traveling that I had to (the word is HAD TO) ride on Air Asia. One of the reasons why I am not a fan of school holidays (despite the clear roads on weekday mornings) is that MAS flights would fully booked (to Miri! Can't imagine..). And I hate going to LCCT. And the fact that I was sitting on a Hot Seat position didn't really help either. I dunno, but it felt quite crampy. Well maybe it was just Sharifah being mengada.. I should have booked my tickets two weeks earlier. Sigh.

So today, a lady whom I perceived to be of age 60 (well she did look aged to me) sat beside me in the Hot Seat row. I was busy reading my novel to complete by July. Upon sitting, she started to complain. How small the space was and started to compare with other Air Asia overseas flights she had been on, how hot the cabin was and she couldn't stand sweating. Oh well, I usually do have complaints too; it's just that I seldom voice them out.

I tried to be give the best assistance I could (though I was not the FA!),  so I adjusted her air-conditioning nozzle and directed it to her. She blushed out of ignorance about the nozzle being closed

Because she moved a lot, I couldn't help but to give her a few corner eye gazes. Hm, two handbags: one was Coach in yellow and one was a black Versace. "Boleh tahan brand conscious," I thought. Original or not, that would be another story. Siti Nurhaliza-type scarf (tak tahu, sila google!). She adjusted her wristwatch, clear enough for me to see it was Cerruti 1881. In short, ada gaya mak datin la. Occasionally she asked me a few questions, and I responded courteously. She saw I was wearing rings.

"Oh congratulations.. when was it?"
"Just exactly three months ago"
"Aww that's nice.."

I smiled. And I continued my reading.

The seats were filled, and eventually a couple with their two kids sat in front of us. The eldest boy was about 3 years old I think, and it was as if he just began saying a few words. And when he saw the lady beside me, he quickly utter,

"Nenek! Nenek!"

The lady was restless when the little boy called him 'nenek'.

"Nenek pulak. Aunty lah!"

The dad overheard the lady's murmuring. He convinced his son to say "Aunty.. bukan nenek.." He was somewhat guilty-conscious. Ok, nenek perasan muda rupanya.. hehe.

I never had the slightest idea that an elder women didn't like that word. I just knew if I were a pensioner (or almost that age), I would love to be a granny. Well, maybe she was a bit disapproving because he wasn't her grandson afterall. The boy was really cute, and everyone (I suppose) should have a penchant for cute kids. But the case definitely didn't apply for this lady. I was trying to be friendly to the boy when she said,

"Don't bother to play with him. He'll bug you through the rest of the flight. You won't be able to read.."

I understood that she required some privacy for our row. But a kid being a kid, the boy continued to look back at her and said, "Nenek! Nenek!" She remained uneasy with the greet, and tried to divert her attention to her things inside her bags.

I tried to sweet talk her, "Maybe he thinks all scarfed women are nenek.." and I laughed.

But then, as if the boy understood what I said and wanted to prove me wrong, he turned to me and said, "Kakak!"

Oh s**t. This boy did know how to differentiate faces. I was really impressed. I just smiled at the boy and continued my reading. The lady gave a few gazes at me and started talking.

"I didn't have enough sleep last night. I'm feeling drowsy.."
"Oh yeah, why didn't you?"
"My friends stayed over my place until like 2 am in the morning.. you know, the grown up gathering type.."

Basically I have no idea on how she was trying to make me picture. But I just nodded.

"Well, if you love your sleeping hours, maybe you should tell your friends that you have a curfew time to adhere too.." I chuckled.
"Nah, it's okay. They are my good friends. I hope I could get some sleep for a while.."

I nodded and smiled. Speechless.

I really wanted to read, so I tried not to pay attention to her movement beside me. As soon as I realized, she dozed off. Eventually, my eyes were closed and suddenly Kristen Stewart was somewhere in front of me.

The plane safely landed and we quickly got off the plane. We were all waiting for the luggage for quite a while. She saw me and stood beside me. She saw her luggage coming our way when she said,

"Calvin Klein, Calvin Klein! Please look if it's CK. Yes yes.. it's my bag!"

"Aunty ni.. pening kepala aku," my heart murmured.

"Here you are.." I helped her to place her bag on her trolley. She thanked me and bid farewell. I smiled. "Bye Aunty, take care."

I saw her taking a taxi just right before me. That was the last of her that I saw.

Oh well, who knows I might bump into her in this average-sized town. It's not impossible anyway.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Singing & Me

What is Sharifah Zahira without melalak pagi2 dalam bilik air pada hujung minggu? Hm, bukan Sharifah Zahira. Kat residential college ke, kat rumah ke, sama je. I'll sing when I'm happy, and I'll sing when I'm depressed. I look at singing as a form of life's elixir. A form of self expression. A tool to reflect. A means to break away.

As far as I can recall, the interest for singing developed when I was in love with nursery rhymes, Sesame Street and Disney animations. At that tender age, I would be really frustrated if there was one nursery rhyme that my kindergarten teacher taught that I didn't know in advance. Sesame Street and Disney princesses collections filled my time at home. Oh yeah, one of the earliest movies my mom bought for us was 'The Sound of Music', which eventually became our favorite. From which I learnt Do Re Mi. The kindergarten teacher saw my inclination towards singing and art, and made me perform a few songs and traditional dance for our Prize Giving Day. I really loved it.

"The hills are alive with the sound of music.." thanks for the music Maria :)

When I stepped into primary school, the environment to show off talent was quite inviting. Apart from storytelling and spelling competitions, I braved myself to also participate in singing contests. It is still clear to my memory, back in 1992, the school organized a singing competition. At that time, the Malay group Exists was really a hit with their song 'Oh Ibu'. Nearly 80 percent of the contestants sang that song! Together with my 2 classmates Zamila and Wan Norehan, wanting to be different, we sang 'Janji Manismu' by Aishah. We got to the finals, but didn't get to the top 3. 

Again, in 1994 and 1996, school talent time again, haha! But my parents started to notice and didn't really approve of our interest in music. I took note of that. But to me, a hobby is a hobby. No harm in doing it as long as my grades were excellent. No one could deny that I was a tough competitor.

Stepping into secondary school, the musical influence were changed. Beginning in 1996, the boyband fever strucked girls around the world, and my siblings and I (minus my bro) were among them. Simply said, every dance moves in the video clips of the Spice Girls and 'NSYNC were at the tip of our fingers. We then made a performance during Teacher's Day, of Elite's song 'Tamparan Wanita' (Lepas tu kena blacklist dengan Ustazah, hadeh..) We practised a lot for the performance, and Maktok even made her way to school to support us for the audition. Maktok memang the coolest ever. Even my parents didn't know about that (unless if my mom reads this post la..)

Used to really like them.. before they were defunct

Their best album ever!!
(I used to have the idea of saving money and go to Hollywood to meet them)

Not so much of singing in secondary school, because my attention was more to the prefects' matters, Girl Guides and debate competition. Form 5, it was strictly studying and prefects only. My mom preferred if I was only focused into my studies. But being a prefect was a part of my life too (Hey, I was the boss! And school rules were my Code of Conduct, hehe)

After I finished school, I learnt a bit about wasting time (haha) before I got into the University. I had 3 goals upon entering the Varsity: 1) to get final results of 3.0 - 3.5 (which I did, agak malas nak study gila2 dah) 2) to find that perfect guy (found him during the convo, and we are married almost 3 months ago!) and 3) to have fun in my own definition.

Yerp, I had fun. A series of emceeing since first semester until now, and organizing varsity events. I totally loved it. Singing came in a bit later. It was during the final two semesters that I discovered my old interest back again. Thanks to Star Search competition (I got third place I think?) and Euphonious, alike to battle of the band (my group 425 won 2nd place). Even though some time were spent on practising and jamming, I felt safe because my classmates were in my band, and I trusted them to take care of me too. One of the singers, Bong is happily married now with his long-time sweetie. I'm so happy for him.

After joining PETRONAS, I had a few chances to sing during the forums that we handled for the company. (hajat hati nak present paper, bukan nyanyi! Takpe2, chances will come soon Sharifah..) My friend Feisal@Pacat was a great duet partner everytime he was around. After this, he will have to find a new partner to sing with. I'm out of the game permanently.

Well, nevermind, it's worth it, because I've got a lifetime fan :) and a lifetime critic as well, haha!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Honeymoon Episode 2 - Ho Chi Minh City

To Hubby: In case you read this, I finally got to post this entry!

Okay, this idea of having a series of honeymoons came from my husband actually. He loves to travel. Not that I don't like to, but the idea has never really crossed my mind (since I'm mostly travelling on work assignments, so I am quite appreciative of my time in KL..) Believe it or not, we actually have another destination coming.. but I guess we will have to miss it (or go with my sister instead). Husband's not around, and I will just get to see him in 2.5 months' time.

And so, we went to Ho Chi Minh City last month. My husband was here on work matters before we were married, and he told me before that he would love to come back again as a destination for honeymoon, and SHOP! He managed to get us a good deal on the flight ticket price, and also a strategic hotel location in District 1, HCMC.

So here's a lil bit of the story.. enjoy!

About to touch down in HCMC. I was really excited. And I didn't have the slightest idea that HCMC would look like this from above.

Hm, quite a modern airport. I like!

We checked in, and took a stroll after that around the city. It was a busy city. Full of motorists, even at night!
Sweep panoramic version of an area nearby this monumental building. It was a splendid view I must say.

One side of HCMC from our hotel rooftop. Very few tall buildings. Definitely not like KL.

We went out to begin our shopping the next day. Along the road, we saw many stalls selling flowers. Pretty! Flowers of many sorts were being sold here, from morning till evening.

 My husband began the shopping agenda, haha. I must say he is an awesome bargainer. I reserved my shopping for next day :)
*Siapa suka kain cotton sure pengsan tengok banyak sangat kain cotton cantik kat sini :)

We had an early dinner that night at Four Seasons Restaurant, because we didn't have a proper lunch (sibuk sangat tengok kain!) We found out about this restaurant from a website that lists halal food outlet. Try googling Zabihah Halal Food. They will give a complete set of information, from the name of the restaurant, the address, phone number and visitors' rating! Somehow the 'Four Seasons' name reminded me of South Korea. Dunno why. But the food here were great. And most importantly, they were affordable.

 Inside view of the restaurant

Upon breakfast the next day, we stuffed ourselves so that we would not really need to go for lunch. Then we went shopping again. Finding things for ourselves, and yerp, we got a good bargain (after a long arguing with these ladies, and walaupun setelah dibodek oleh mereka, haha! "Ala abang, spend a little more for your pretty wife lo.." that left me blushing, hihi) They were trying to sell the items at high prices, but hubby was uncheatable, haha. Sorry and thanks ladies!

Eksyen je bertudung tu.. bawah pakai seluar pendek, haha.

We dropped our things back at the hotel, had a little rest, and we hit the city again. To take a stroll and enjoy the scene, and to hunt for early dinner. Like the day before. HCMC definitely had a pretty view. Clean city.

The post office.The inside was brilliant
Hehe.. makan ice-cream jap, sebab dah start lapar :)

There was a beautifully-landscaped garden in front of this building. Just had to take a picture here.

We had our dinner at Alibaba Restaurant. It was a restaurant of north indian cuisine. I must say we had great dining here. The briyani and naan were superb! But it was quite expensive. About RM8 just for the dhal gravy. Tapi sedap, I could say it was worth every cent. Eh, Vietnamese Dong!

So after dinner, we walked again to explore the city. The streets were decorated with colorful lights. Youngsters were everywhere, either on foot or on motorcycles. We marched to the riverside and there was a park there, filled with young lovebirds and families who wanted a nice timeout with their little children. 1st time tengok orang dating tanpa perasaan. Kalau kat KL, mau nak lempang je, heheh.

And this was a so-called boat. It was actually a floating restaurant. We didn't dine here, not really a fan of seafood.

The final day, I still had time to finalize my shopping. Got myself 3 baju kurung for USD 60! Hehe.

Bidding farewell to HCMC, and to Ben Thanh especially, hehe.

About to check out from the hotel (sempat lagi tu..) and waiting for the hotel car to send us to the airport.

Farewell Ho Chi Minh City.. from Fairuz & Ira :)