The Grand Family Day @ Raub
I have a rather big family. Nine siblings, of which two have passed away. And most of us are married and have children of our own. And few of these children are also married and have children too. Apart from Hari Raya celebration, we rarely gather together. So when we planned for our Family Day, we planned it BIG. So, this is the story...:)

The date was confirmed: 24-26 December 2015. The programme outline was discussed and approved. Once the layout was established, the preparations for the Family Day started. We even had several committee to tackle different tasks. And more whatsapp groups were created just for this purpose...:D

When I said we planned it BIG, I really mean BIG. We had Tshirts designed specially for the Family Day, we had specially designed plaques as souvenirs, we had food hampers for prizes and we had goodie bags to be given away to each family member.


24th December 2015
We started the grand weekend with Maghrib and Isyak prayers, selawat nabi, Yassin recital and a short tazkirah from a specially invited ustaz. 

The goodie bags were distributed that night which consisted of a copy of Yassin, shawl (for female), kopiah (for male) and a decorative cup.

And of course dinner, afterwards.

25th December 2015
BBQ and talent show nite. We had chicken, lamb, sausages, potatoes, salad, fried rice and aglio olio spaghetti. 

And the highlight of the night, the performance by the family members. 

Here's the recordings of some of the performances from that night.

Nasyid: the first and second from right are my daughters. :)

The Band Boys performed several songs. They are my nephews and they are good.

The Aci-aci Buka Pintu musical theatre. A hilariously funny act. Directing, costume designing and props were done under the supervision of my niece. 

The Fashion Show.

We had Ultraman fighting off the monster

We had Sadness, the character from Inside Out

We had Qu Puteh, Dato Seri Vida.

We had Tuan Anas Mikael.

We had Labu & Labi who were voted as the favorite.

We had fun and laughter that night. I think my parents also enjoyed the show. Anak-anak, menantu-menantu, cucu-cucu, cucu-cucu menantu and cicit-cicit production house...:)

26th December 2016
We all woke up early and got ready for the badminton tournament between Team A and Team B. 

Team A

Team B

Mencabar dan kelakar sungguh main badminton ni. Ada yang tak tahu rules game, ada yang jadi referee terover excited bila team dia dapat point, ada yang jadi linesman kena berpayung sebab tak tahan panas, ada yang kena body smash. Yang pukul tak kena shuttle or shuttle tak lepas net pun banyak. And imagine main kat area yang kuat berangin... On one court, pukul perlahan je dah lepas net. On the other court, pukul kuat giler pun, shuttle jatuh balik kat court sendiri... Ha ha....

Anyhow, as reflected in the picture above, team A bukan sahaja menang gaya, but also won the tournament...:)

We were supposed to have a telematch later in the afternoon that day. But unfortunately, we had a temporary water supply interruption. Thinking of the hassle of no water and having to bathe after the telematch, we decided to scrap off the telematch, and this happened instead:

So we had fun getting wet and cold at Pulau Chekas, Ulu Dong, Raub.

And eating leftover marinated chicken from the BBQ nite.

Thus, concluded our Grand Family Day activities. Hoping this event strengthens the bond between us, even though we may not see each other that often. As the quote goes, “Family is like branches in a tree, we all grow in different directions, yet our roots remain as one”
Looking forward to the next Family Day, inshaAllah.
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20-minute pizza
This 20-minute pizza mission started when I saw it in my FB newsfeed a few days ago. A friend from high school, Intan Zubaidah, posted about it and I made a mental note to try it during the weekend. So, it  is weekend. And I kept my word.
Pizza without having to knead the dough and without having to use the oven. You just need a pan with a lid and a stove. How cool is that...
These are the ingredients. And the instructions on heating the pan. Hubby had to stop by the grocery store just to buy the self-raising flour. He he...
Put the dough ingredients in the pan (flour, water, salt, dry yeast and honey). Mix and spread the dough in the pan.
Spread chili sauce and add on the fillings. Top up with cheese. I also sprinkled oregano and black pepper powder.
Put the pan on the stove with the lid on.

The instructions said medium heat for 5 minutes. Then adjust the lid to let the steam out. Turn the heat to medium low and cook for another 10 minutes.
A bit tricky with the heat actually. My first try was not quite successful. The bottom was quite burned but the top part was still edible. So I  just had to try again. Second try was not bad. The kids makan sampai abis. Pardon the messy presentation.
Tried and tested. The recipe works...:)
The video of this stovetop pizza can be viewed at Intan's blog page. I wonder whether we can just pop the pizza into the oven using the same no-kneading recipe...
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How I survived boarding school
I am going to send off my eldest daughter to boarding school tomorrow. She has just got the offer to register as Form 4 at Sekolah Menengah Sains Hulu Selangor (SEMASHUR). After coaxing  her to accept the offer, she finally agree to go. I am excited for her since I too studied in boarding school once. Unlike her, I entered the boarding school, Sekolah Tun Fatimah, since Form 1. And the school is many many many miles from home. My daughter is considered lucky since SEMASHUR is just 30-40 minutes away from home.
Anyhow, I survived 5 years of schooling in STF. And I dedicated some of  these survival skills to my daughter...:)
1. I labelled my personal things with my name to prevent them from missing. Over the years, the label Norazlina Mohamed changed to Leena punye.

 2. I made friend with the bell. Bell for breakfast. Bell for every learning session. Bell all the time. We even have this tagline Hidup tak bermakna tanpa loceng.

3. I often woke up early to be among the first to use the shower.
4. I quickly learned about the booking system for the shower. We used to have towel booking system or pail booking system. More towels/pails at the shower mean more people queuing for that particular shower. So when I woke up late, I looked for shower with the least number of towels or pails. When I was extremely late, I learned how to brush my teeth and shower simultaneously...:P

5. When ironing school uniform, I saved time by only ironing the visible part. Ie only iron the bottom part of my kain baju kurung.

6. When hand-washing the clothes, I avoided wringing the clothes thus less wrinkles, thus save time to iron. (Something I learned when I was in matriculation... Not too late to learn...)

7. Laundry room was often full. I had to find time when there was minimal usage. I used to skip lunch to do my laundry or do it in the middle of the night. Skipping lunch especially when the menu was not that appetising.

8. I made prep hours bearable by having friends to chat with. I also listened to music during prep hours. I used to have walkman (those were the old days when we didn't have ipod or whatnot). Couldn't remember whether bringing walkman during prep was illegal or not.

9. Supper was the highlight before bedtime. Me and my friends often lingered around the dining hall after everyone has taken their supper. Then we went around and salvage what was left. Biscuits were nice snacks to be eaten in the dormitory (err again... Illegal ke ni?) Of course, entering dining hall in the middle of the night was considered extracurricular activities and illegal (but keep you survived...)

10. After lights off, study rooms were available for staying up to study. But can be limited too. There were always corridors with ample light to study. I had few corridor study-buddies who owned spots in the corridor.

11. I enjoyed the flora and fauna around the school, flowers and fruit trees. Sometimes I studied under a tree. Sometimes I walked around the school compound with friends. And sometimes we spiced up things a little by having middle of the night missions of harvesting mangoes and jackfruit from the trees. :D

12. We had TV room to watch favorite TV shows. But sometimes the favorite TV show was aired at inappropriate time such as during prep hours and we just had to sacrifice the prep hours. And avoided being  caught by wardens or prefects...

13. Outings were something that we looked forward to. As if prisoners being released from the prison. The shopping spots that were famous back then in JB were KOMTAR and Kimisawa.

14. I had a hobby as my stress management kit. Collecting rock songs cassettes of various groups. Search and Wings were top in the list then. Of course, I have friends with the same passion.
15. We had water coolers to quench our thirst. At times of extreme measures, the water cooler was used to prepare instant noodle, served cold. And hey... we survived...
16. During weekends, I had to be alert for spot-checks by wardens and ready to made the bed  in a jiffy and stuff anything unwanted into the locker...

17. Made friends and not enemies. The friends from the schooldays made the activities that I joined fun and enjoyable. Be it academic, sports, weekly Yasin recitation, fasting month with Terawih prayers, weekly movie etc. Those are the friends who still get in touch with each other and we shared more than just memories. Friends until jannah, inshaAllah.
I am really happy that my daughter will experience this and hope she will treasure every moment of it. Even though she will forever be labelled as Budak Form  4 baru, I hope she will embrace the label and regard that as the unique thing about her. I also hope she will make full use of this opportunity and focus on study. And on top of that, don't forget to have fun. After all, school is supposed to be fun... And sometimes, rules are made to be broken...;) But try not to be so obvious eh... Ha ha...
Finally, remember that the boarding school is a small community. Even though small, the same principle of hidup bermasyarakat applies. Be good to others, mind your manners and display good attitude.
Bak lirik lagu Joget Pahang "Kalau baik hati, nanti orang pun sayang..."
Hudud...explained in simple words
The whatsapp group of my high school friends is the busiest, most entertaining, most havoc, most dramatic and many more among the whatsapp groups I am in. We would be chatting about kids one moment, then about school next, then cosmetic, health tips, recipes pun masuk, shopping and everything under the sun. Not to mention heavy stuff like politics, tax, GST. During the 370 mystery, we were like the aviation investigators or the transport minister ;).
Today was no exception. We were chatting about perfume and shoes sale at Menara Maybank and next we shifted gear to hudud.
One of us asked how to explain about hudud in simple words to her non-muslim friends.
A lawyer friend explained it beautifully and I just had to share:
"Hudud itu hukum dari Allah. Kalau you percaya Allah lagi senang i nak explain.  Anyway, hudud itu special utk org Islam shj. Sebab Allah sayang org Islam, so Allah beri satu had/batasan utk cegah org Islam dari buat dosa. Hudud itu asal dari perkataan "had". Batas. Allah selalu beri batas utk make sure org Islam tak melampaui batas. Contohnya zina itu salah satu jenayah dalam hukum hudud.  Dan indahnya, menuduh org berzina tanpa saksi juga bersalah dlm hukum hudud. Jadi, utk jlnkan hukum hudud ini kena piawai yg sgt tinggi dan adil. Semua ini ada dlm AlQuran. Dlm Quran ada macam macam hukum & cerita Nabi Nabi. Very interesting😊. Don't worry...hudud is specially for me from my God. If u r interested, i'm now inviting u to Islam"
Translated to English:
"Hudud is Allah's law. If you believe in Allah, it would be easier for me to explain. Anyway, hudud is special for Muslim. Because Allah loves the Muslims, so Allah puts a limit/boundary to prevent the Muslims from committing sins. The term hudud comes from the word "had" which means limit. Boundary. Allah puts these boundaries to ensure that the Muslims don't exceed the limits. Example, adultery is a crime in hudud law. And the beauty of it, accusing a person of adultery without any witness is also a crime in hudud law. So, implementing hudud  law requires a very high  standard and justice. All these are in the AlQuran. There are lots of laws and stories of Prophets described in the AlQuran. 😊. Don't worry...hudud is specially for me from my God. If u r interested, i'm now inviting u to Islam"
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2nd International Conference on Advances in Medical Science
Three research groups in UKMMC, namely the Bone Metabolism Research Group, Cardiovascular Research Group and Stress Enzyme Research Group, are organizing the 2nd International Conference on Advances in Medical Science.

When? 14th - 16th April 2015
Where? Concorde Hotel, Kuala Lumpur.
Abstract submission still opens. Click here for more information.

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HK... Lu tunggu wa datang...lagi
OMG!!! It was a year ago when I made the trip to Hong Kong. And I only got to write about it now?? Really pathetic. The trip was made soon after my UK trip (Part I and Part II) last year. I was equally excited because I have never been to Hong Kong before. And when  I checked the weather forecast, it was quite cold. Temperature between 15-20 degrees. Had to standby thick clothing. But not as freezing as London.

So, to Hong Kong I went. I made the trip with another colleague. When we arrived at the HK airport, we had to make our way on foot to the bus stop. One of the cheapest ways to get to the hotel is by bus. We had to know the exact bus number that travels via the correct route though.

The ride on the bus was comfortable enough and uneventful. It has a spacious luggage compartment.

We had moments of uncertainty and were not sure where to get off from the bus. We stopped  at one of the bus stops and were disoriented for a while and had to figure out where the hotel is. We had to walk for some distance before reaching the hotel. Luckily, I didn't have lots of luggage.

Finally, after some foot work, we arrived at the hotel. The Harbourview Hotel. Not to be confused with Renaissance Harbour View which is also close by. The hotel that we stayed in, besides quite cheap, it is also close to the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, the venue for the conference.

The room is quite small. And the view from the window is dismal. I can only see the wall of the next building.

Besides listening to the talks during the conference, we managed to go for sight seeing. But since the weather is foggy, and at times raining, we were not able to enjoy the scenery as much as we can. One good reason to visit Hong Kong again in future.:)

The conference:
One of the attractions were the booths. The organizer arranged for booths that display the Chinese culture and crafts. 

The sight seeing:

We bought a travel package which includes train trip to airport and unlimited MTR rides for 3 days. Saved us some money,  I am sure. Because we fully utilized the MTR. And I like how organized the MTR is. Lots of people but the ride was smooth because the trains are punctual and very frequent. Waiting time was less than 5 minutes. I don't mind if  I don't own a car with the excellent MTR service.

We took the ferry to mainland and walked around the area of Tsim Sha Tsui. 

We walked along the avenue of stars. And saw lots of names on the stars and did not recognize most of them. And we only took pictures near the few names that we recognized.

Jackie Chan is a must la. Dia legend.

And of course Bruce Lee.

We also went to Ladies Market. Twice. It was full of people and the rain made it worse. However, macam-macam ada kat situ. Shoppers' heaven.

We also stopped by the Kowloon Mosque.

And walked through the Kowloon Park. In fact, we did a lot of walking. Kalau lama lagi duduk HK, sure selim melim dah...:)

Night view along the waterfront of Tsim Sha Tsui is amazing. With the symphony of lights displayed on the buildings.

Food is no problem. There are several middle east halal restaurants.

On another day, we left early to board the Ngong Ping 360 cable car. We bought the package ticket which included the cable car ride, bus and boat ride. It was raining and foggy thus we could not appreciate the scenery during the ride up. 

The scenery and the buildings at the top (Ngong Ping village) are very nice. There is a halal restaurant there, so no worries about food. There is also a huge Buddha statue on the top of the hill. Lots of visitors climbed up the hill to get a closer look of the statue. We didn't think it was worth while to climb so we just took pics from far. With that kind of foggy weather, we can barely made out the silhouette of the statue. Jadi la daripada tak nampak langsung. :)

We went down the hill by bus. Stopped at Tai O, a fishing village, for a short boat ride. And boarded the bus again back to where we started.
Using the MTR pass, we also took the MTR to Disneyland. There is a special train that travels to Disneyland station. The coach is decorated with Disney's designs and characters. Very nice. The station is equally decorated. 

We decided that it will be no fun going into Disneyland without our family thus we just walked outside the gate and took pictures outside. 

Macam rugi je kan tak masuk Disneyland? Well, not really. Let's call it a strategy to inspire us to visit HK again some other time. Until next time, lu tunggu wa datang lagi... InshaAllah...:)