Man of Steel: Addendum
This is an addendum to the previous post.

Alhamdulillah, the operation went well.
A picture of him before being wheeled into the OT.

After about 3 1/2 hours, he was wheeled back to the ward.

And my father is on the road to recovery. However, compared to the first TKR operation he had, the recovery this time was not as smooth. He developed breathlessness the night after the operation. It gave a hell of a scare to my brother who was with him that night. Almost took my breath too when I heard the news. He was also nauseated and his blood test showed low hemoglobin.  He had to be given blood transfusion and he underwent an endoscopy to rule out any ulceration of the gastrointestinal tract and internal bleeding. But the results were ok.

Other than that, he looks ok. I pray that his condition will improved and he recover well. Aminn...
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Man of Steel
In April this year, my father underwent total knee replacement (TKR) operation on his left knee. He has been having osteoarthritis (OA) in both of his knees for some years now. He has been taking pain killers to control the symptoms and glucosamine pills to counteract the progress of the disease. But this degenerative disease is one that cannot be reversed that easily. So finally he decided to go for an operation. Alhamdulillah, the operation was a success.

Besides having OA, he has also been diagnosed with hypertension and diabetes mellitus many years ago. And he has been popping medications day and night like they are sweets or candies. And I'm amazed with his discipline. He stick to his routine of taking the medications without fail. And never complaining. Should I compare my compliance with his, mine is pathetically way behind blushing.

Now, 2 months after the operation on his left knee, he's going to do it again on his right knee. Earlier, the doctor advised him against doing on both knees simultaneously considering his multiple health conditions and his age. Now, after a couple of months of recovering, he's ready to do it again. Today (29th of June 2010) is the day. So instead of one, he's going to have 2 knees with titanium implants. He's literally the man of steel. I pray the operation will go as smoothly as the first one praying.

The x-ray of my father's left knee, post-operation.

My father is turning 82 this September. He's very fragile now, I know, but I still regard him as the strong, protective father figure trying his best to give the best to his children. In fact he has been the man of steel all these years. I guess, it's the children's turn to be the steel for him to depend on.

This is rather late but I am wishing happy father's day to all fathers, especially mine and the father to my kids.
To US and back, twice
I had this on my FB status some time ago: 'Norazlina Mohamed is off to US'.

And I received a few comments, all of 'em thinking I'm going to United States. But in reality, I was actually off to Ulu Sepri, a small remote place in the state of Negeri Sembilan. Ha ha... laughing These acronyms can be interpreted in so many ways. Like the PPD module that we have in our curriculum meant something else to other unknowing person. Might meant Pejabat Pendidikan Daerah to them. Another example: LOL. Generally known as laugh out loud. But can also means Lots of Love, Lots of Luck or maybe Lack of Laughter. Because when you typed LOL, you may not even laughing out loud or smile.  rolling on the floor (FYI, I wasn't rolling on the floor laughing when I put that emoticon there)

Ok, I'm digressing from the topic. So, I went to Ulu Sepri. There's a national camp site there and our faculty has been using camps like this for our students as part of their curriculum. 

En route there, I saw a  hot spring place. I think it would be nice to try it out one day.

During the camp, the students will be involved in activities pertaining to issues relating to their life as medical students as well as in their future career as doctors with much emphasis on generic skills.

The activities include:

small group discussion
(credit to Dr Khamsiah Nawawi's FB photos for this photo)


morning aerobic
(credit to Dr Khamsiah Nawawi's FB photos for this photo)

jungle trekking


and splash time. The camps that we have been using for this activities are usually near to a river. And students are given a slot to have some fun time in the river. I would like to take a dip too but decided not to when the river's condition is like this. Such a pity.

Being a facilitator to the students, my accommodation in the camp was considered tolerable. I've been through worse winking. The facilitators stayed in Rumah Tamu. 

This is the interior. 3 rooms with 3 bathrooms and a kitchen as well as living room and dining area. But no TV. wits' end

I was not VIP enough to stay in this VIP house big grin.

Meals are more than enough. 6 meals per day. I skipped some of the meals especially the supper and morning tea. 

We had nasi lemak one morning. These trays reminded me of my school years. You have to peel the boiled egg yourself.  And the regulations in the camp is that, you need to wash your own trays and cups regardless whether you are the Professors or even the Dean. Once in a while, you need to have some feelings of humbleness.

Besides this camp in US, I have also been to the camp in UK (Ulu Kenas). And earlier, my family and I made another trip to US. Not Ulu Sepri, but Universal Studio big grin.

IMHO, I think I have had enough of acronyms in one entry. GTG. ICYAL8ER. peace sign
World Cup Drama
Hubby and I have some kind of agreement with the kids regarding TV channels. Generally, we let the kids watch the TV (or conquer the remote) during the day. So, at night time, jangan kacau. Mummy's and daddy's turns. And later I found out that my 3 older kids have an agreement among them as well. In the morning from this time until a certain time, it's Along's turn. Then Angah's turn. Finally Uda's turn. Isyh...

So, at night, the selection of channels will revolve around 701, 708 or 711. Sometimes 103. Occasionally 411, 412 or 413. And my hubby grumbled. Bila nak tukar to channel 800++? Last2 dia pegi tengok TV kat kedai makan depan rumah sambil minum teh tarik. Especially during this World Cup period. Well, being the single male in the family, of course he had to give in kan batting eyelashes. Takkan I nak angkut anak dara yang 4 orang tu gi tengok TV kat kedai, ye tak? big grin 

These are mobile phone charms that I got when buying Jack n Jill potato chips. Mana nak sangkut pun tak tau. My BB doesn't have space for these... he he..tongue
From Singapore with love
This entry is soo.... long overdue. I attended a conference in Singapore last month. I usually have one or two outstation conferences in a year and when affordable, the family goes with me. So, we went to Singapore despite 2 of my kids having exams in their agama schools. Ibu mithali sungguh…shame on you 
We decided going by bus. The Aeroline bus. The bus pick-up is at the front of Corus Hotel in Jalan Ampang. For one-way trip, the tickets are priced at RM90 for adults and RM65 for kids. However, on Wednesdays, there's a discounted price for adults, ie RM69.
The bus seats are on the upper deck and are quite comfortable.
For more relaxing sitting, there’s a lounge area on the lower deck but can only accommodate 6 people.
The passengers are attended by a cabin crew (just like on a plane) who serves drinks, meals and offer blankets. This was what I had on the journey to Singapore.
The journey took about 5 hours with one stop in Pagoh and we faced some delay at the Singapore’s immigration check point. Ramai betul manusia.
In Singapore, we embarked at the Harbour Front Center. Here, you can see cruise ships and there's a boarding terminal for the passengers going for a cruise.

And we got something to eat over there before heading to the hotel. The food court is divided into 2 areas. The halal and the non-halal place. One of my kids ordered this char kue tiau.

The conference that I attended was held in National University of Singapore so a few weeks before the conference dates, hubby and I surfed for hotels in the NUS vicinity. We were considering hotels in Orchard Road as well as hotels in Sentosa Island. Since we have no intention to shop and Sentosa Island sounds more exciting especially for the kids, Orchard Road was vetoed out. And of all the hotels in the Sentosa Island, we chose Hard Rock Hotel. Sebab yang lain, either dah penuh or terlalu mahal or tak menarik sangat… Well, my main choice of hotels, must be one with a swimming pool, for the sake of the children. So, some hotels are ruled out just because they don't have one. 

Hard Rock Hotel is one of the hotels in the cluster of four. The other 3 hotels are Festive Hotel, Michael Hotel and Crockford Hotel. Harbour Front Center is just minutes away from the hotel. (but then again, Singapore kan… pegi mana2 pun tak le jauh sangat winking). 
The room has two queen beds. One of the beds has an extra bed underneath. Just nice for my family yang dah mcm gerabak keretapi ni happy.

The bathroom

The tea/coffee making cabinet

The TV (ni pun nak ambik gambar??? sheeshh...tongue)
The view from the balcony. We were lucky to have this view, because some rooms may only get to see construction works. Yeah… looks like the whole of Sentosa Island is under construction. No la, kidding, some parts je la winking.

There are buses which we can hop in from the hotel for free to Vivo City, a shopping complex which is located next to the Harbour Front Center. The hotel also provided free monorail tickets and you get free rides for 3 days.

So we tried out the bus.

We strolled around the Vivo City area.

There’s a play place for the kids.

We went back to the hotel by monorail. Of course, you can also go back by bus but that’s going to cost you SGD2 per person.

At the hotel, kalau tak berendam kat pool tak sah budak2 ni. Err… bapak budak also?? I think the pool is shared by the four hotels I mentioned earlier. Lucky for us, since we don’t have to walk very far to get to the pool compared to the other hotels. Very nice place. Got jacuzzi pool, got slide as well, got man-made beach. Boleh kata pagi petang the kids went to the pool.

Ok now, why was I in Singapore again? Oh… the conference tongue. A colleague, Nur Azlina Mohd Fahami aka Lin, who attended the same conference, also stayed at the same hotel, so we shared a taxi going to NUS during the conference. The conference was held in the University Cultural Center (UCC).
During one lunch hour, we managed to go for a tour to the Department of Anatomy, Medical Faculty of NUS. One word: IMPRESSIVE!!
I was amused by this poem which is pasted on the wall of one of the labs there.

I found a similar version of the poem here.

Ten little lab workers, Feeling fit and fine,  
One smoked in the solvent room... Then there were nine,

Nine little lab workers, Thought they'd be late,
One cut through the magazine…Then there were eight,

Eight little lab workers, Dreaming about heaven,
One didn't use a safety shower..Then there were seven

Seven little lab workers, Liked to watch magic tricks,
One poured water into acid…Then there were six,

Six little lab workers, Happy to be alive
One did not wear eye protection…Then there were five,

Five little lab workers, Wasted gloves by the score,
 One couldn't find a pair... Then there were four,

 Four little lab workers, Could not find the SOP,
 Mixed incompatible chemicals... Then there were three,

  Three little lab workers, With lots of work to do,
 One skipped reading the MSDS... Then there were two,

 Two little lab workers, Liked to have fun,
 One ducked the training program... Then there was one,

 One little lab worker, Thought of the other nine,
 Began to practice safety... Now he's doing fine!

This photo was taken outside the UCC. The words actually said I WAS HERE. But the tree blocked the view of the last E so jadi I WAS HER. Hmm… thinkingcontroversial sungguh statement itu.

Ok, enough about the work. Now the fun part. Err… don't remind me of my objectives going to Singapore.. I forgot already.big grin

The most correct thing to do if you are staying in Sentosa Island or you are in Singapore, is of course visit the Universal Studios. It is within walking distance from the hotel we stayed in.

Make sure you get the tickets earlier, buy online if possible or you will face this.

Ticket's price is more expensive on weekends. We paid SGD72 per adult and SGD52 per child aged 4-12. But for each ticket, you get a meal voucher at SGD10 and a gift voucher at SGD5. So, not a bad deal at all. Visitors who bought 1-day pass are allowed to re-enter on the same day eg you arrived at 10 am and wished to take a break at 12 pm and relax for a while in your hotel room (esp if you are staying nearby) you are able to do so and then come again later, maybe at 2 pm, using the same pass.

Our first stop in the Universal Studios was the Madagascar. Too bad the Crate Adventure place was closed for renovation. Thus, we headed for King Julien’s Beach Party-Go-Round. The queue was unbelievably long even though we were there as early as the gate opens whew!.

Then as we walked to our next stop, we saw Puss in Boots getting ready for photo shoot. Not wanting to waste our time queuing to snap photos, I just took this photo from outside the castle. 
And coincidentally, the Penguins and Lion characters of Madagascar were getting ready for their street show. Snap je gambar mana sempat. Tak kuasa nak tunggu untuk beratur.
It was a blazing hot day. We stopped for ice-cream at this food outlet. The Universal Studios brochure clearly indicates which outlets are halal.
We then moved on to Far Far Away section. We watched Donkey LIVE interactive show. It is a Donkey animation show which involves some interaction with the audience.
And we went up the Magic Potion Spin ferris wheel.

We skipped a couple of attractions here due to the long queue ie Shrek 4-D Adventure and Enchanted Airways roller coaster. That’s the cost of going there on weekends. The crowd was extremely large. Weekdays should be a better option.

Next we went to the Waterworld.
We were just in time to see the 1 pm show. The show was also scheduled at 3 and 5 pm. It was extremely exciting and enjoyable. The bad vs the good. The bad guys abducted a woman and the good guy came to the rescue. There were explosions, shootings and fist-fightings. The kids loved it. And thanks to Hemy, a friend who has just visited Universal Studio recently, I knew what to expect especially about the water cannon and about getting wet. Luckily we were standing at the very top of the arena thus far from the centre stage. Those who were sitting in the front came prepared with umbrellas. I don’t think the umbrellas did any good.
Dah duduk jauh kat belakang, gambar pun dapat ambik sayup2 je. Dah abis zoom dah ni.
We got the chance to take a picture with 2 of the casts from the Waterworld. My elder kids, Syakila and Syahirah, refused to join us in the picture. Takut agaknya..

We then stopped for lunch at Oasis Spice Café over at the Ancient Egypt section. We used up all of the meal vouchers there and had to top up a little with our own money. We had briyani rice set with chicken and briyani rice with bread.
There were also these desserts included in that set which I don’t even know what. I  had one spoonful of both desserts and that was all I could take. Too sweet, tak tertelan.

After lunch, we entered the Jurassic Park.

All of us went up this Dino-Soarin ride. During the ride, there's a button you need to press so that the Dino soars up.
We skipped the Canopy Flyer. I don't remember why. The kids don't want to, if I'm not mistaken. Ke mak dia pun takut gak? Anyhow, just look at the queue. Bercinta...
But we tried out the Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure. Visitors travelled in a raft along a river and the ride was bumpy at some places and the water may splashed into the raft. Sangat sesuai untuk yang belum mandi coz you may ended up soaking wet winking. Along the river, there are replicas of dinosaurs which may shoot water at you. Double wet. And towards the end of the journey, the raft climbed up towards a dinosaur  which was roaring at the top. Don't forget to smile, your pic is taken at this point and you can buy the photo at a certain price.  Then the raft underwent a sudden drop from that certain height and landed back onto the water. Major splash this time. My 3rd daughter, Syahidah, was quite terrified from the experience. I don't ever dare to take out my camera during this ride. Tak pasal2 basah ke, jatuh ke... naya je... 
By the way, we waited more than an hour for this. And since my youngest daughter is not allowed to ride, I had to wait for my husband to go first before I had my turn. But there's a Child Swap service so you don't have to queue all over again and can immediately go once your partner has completed the ride. And I repeat, going to Universal Studios on a weekday is definitely a very good idea.
In the Ancient Egypt section, the roller coaster Revenge of the Mummy is not suitable for small kids. So we skipped this as well. That's the entrance at the back. Ambik gambar pintu masuk pun jadi la..
We settled for Treasure Hunters ride instead. We rode in jeeps through Egyptian excavation site. Note: This is a 3-minute with 45-minute waiting time. Sheesh...angry

Along the ride, you will encounter this
and this... and other things that you may see in Indiana Jones movies.

Next, at the Sci-Fi City, both the Battlestar Galacticas (Human and Cylon) were closed.Kalau bukak pun, I don't think I would go for a ride.
The kids and hubby tried out the Accelerator. Just looking at it made me dizzy so I opted out.
Along the way, we took photos with these characters which I don’t know from what film or what they are.
Finally, we stopped by the New York section and went into the Lights, Camera, Action set.
There is a stage where they set up a hurricane in kengkononnya New York City. Nice set-up. Got heavy rain, thunder, lightning and boat crashing. Again, some people may get wet in the process.
We sighted Kung Fu Panda but the queue was very long so I just made do with this photo. Isyh... blur la pulak...
We also had our pictures taken with Frankenstein.
And what’s his name?
And acted silly by trying out these hats at The Brown Derby outlet.

That's the end of our Universal Studios journey. We went back to our hotel exhausted.
Before we went back to home sweet home, hubby bought some T-shirts from here.
These are some of the souvenirs on display.

On the departure day, again we had lunch at the food court at Harbour Front Center. I had this dish, Crispy Noodle something. Forgot the name already.

Interesting fact in the food court: most of the staffs that cleared the tables are elderly people. As opposed to Malaysia, the staffs are dominated by you know who. Hmm…thinking
Overall, we had fun in Singapore. Anyhow, I had my own grumbles:

1. No surau or praying place in the shopping complex. I’m not sure whether this is a global phenomenon throughout Singapore but none is available in the Harbour Front Center.

2. No water hose or bidet in the toilet at the hotel. Something that does not fulfil our hygienic satisfaction.

3. No water hose or bidet in the toilets at the shopping complex either. And imagine my despair when my youngest, Syafiqah, did her no. 2 while we were there. Jenuh beb… Maybe I should change the title of this entry to ‘From Singapore with Lap’ instead. Get it?? Lap, the Bahasa Melayu word for Wipes? Ha ha…laughing No offense to Singaporeans.

However, I would very much like to visit Singapore again next time. And I am going to make sure that the visit to Universal Studios is on a weekday. Rugi je bayar mahal2 tapi tak dapat enjoy some of the attractions.