Sunday, 22 December 2013

A Beautiful Holiday

We just came back from Langkawi. Thoroughly enjoyed our time there that I feel compelled to write about it. I was apprehensive at first about the trip. Can we manage 4 screaming kids? 500 km on the road and 2.5 hours of ferry ride? But thanks to Papaboyz's meticulous plannings, we survived! I decided that i should allow myself to relax (not that I can do that much with 4 boys running and jumping), but I refused to think about the patients in the ward, the pending consultant referrals and medical reports. Or my upcoming medical exam and the lectures and the 3000 questions I need to do. Or my arabic classes and the fi'il conjugations and sarf and vocabs and AlKahfi grammar reviews... (yeah serve me right for not choosing arabic at school). Or the renovations of a new unit that we've got. I decided not to think about any of it. 

It's just time for sightseeing, shopping, chocolates, eating, swimming. And 4 screaming kids. (means no spa for me).

We took Langkawi Ro-Ro's ferry from Kuala Perlis (brought our car to the island). Quite a nice experience. The sitting area was comfortable and air-conditioned (with movie shows) and it had a shop that sold coffee and snacks. But the top deck was amazing. Open sitting area with magnificent views of the sea and small islands. On the way back we camped there, enjoying the strong sea breeze. I just loved the smell of the sea and watching the sparkles on the waves under the hot sun. 

We stayed at Bella Vista Hotel. OK. Loved Lonepine Penang more. Not generous I would say. 

We visited Oriental Village and Langkawi Skycab (cable car). Very very nice place. It reminded me of some of tourists' attraction places in Europe. The cable car although Papaboyz had to queue almost 90 minutes for it but the management let me and baby Anas along with the boys to wait at a dedicated rest area. So it was comfortable. And the ride was spectacular! We were hit by fog and our ears became full and we found out that Ammar was afraid of height. There were 2 stations. The 2nd station was 700m above sea level and we had warm burgers on wooden platforms there. The birds and crickets were loud and the wind cold. The skies couldn't be bluer. I almost wished I could pray there. In peace I mean.

Then the wildlife park was also amazing. The kids (and me) get to feed the animals from our own hands. I noticed the parrots' tongue looked hard, I think. And black, haha. And I watched the birds skillfully cracked the sunflower seeds. They are in bright colours, and one pheasant even looked golden. Colours don't match, but they were beautiful. Allah Al-Musawwir. You can pet donkeys and hug rabbits there, but errr.. not for me. And if you want to try feed porcupines with long beans while they climb on you, this is the place. Yes, I do think whoever enjoys feeding porcupines are special people. Like the park staff who did that. The porcupines loved him. 

We also went to Galeria Perdana. Of course I could not miss that. Not many people were there. The kids could not appreciate the place except for the vastness of it. I could understand why the place was built. Where else Tun M could possibly store all those gifts? But the thing I admired most was the portrait of the 2 great men and, of course, the magnificent ceilings.

Everyone knows Langkawi is a duty free chocolate heaven. We allowed unlimited chocolates for the boys. They said this is chocolate vacation. The ate chocolate for breakfast, snacks and supper. Papaboyz said maybe I should work in Hospital Langkawi. Yeah, I should consider it. Seriously. 

We ate lots of food. We searched the famous Laksa Power, rice noodles in thick spicy fish gravy sold from a lorry. They open tables by the beach near Langkawi Airport. It was served with cold sweet creamy cendol. I looked around. No other attraction there. The beach is not suitable for swimming. The sand hot. No shopping malls. People came solely for the laksa. Yes I ate 2 bowls. I declared it the 2nd best laksa I've ever tasted. (The best laksa is my Mom's, and I don't say this because I'm her daughter). Laksa Power reminded me of a Laksa Kedah stall in Chow Kit Road that I used to frequent during my student days in Hospital Kuala Lumpur.

We also went to Wan Thai Restaurant. Authentic Siamese cooking. Even the omelette was crispy and extra yummy, I wonder why. The sweet sour prawns were superb, I could tell the fresh prawns were fried in butter first (I don't know whether this is true or not). Haha. Whatever. 

Adam finished 3 mystery novels during our vacation. I didn't finish mine. That's how 2013 is. I only read like 15 books! tsk tsk tsk...

Now we are already back home. I'm 2 kilos heavier and a tone darker. But it was worth it. Tomorrow our lives will resume its usual schedule. I'll be back in my elements. I love the wards. And the seas. Haha. No they don't contradict. Both have abundant signs from the Creator. If only I stop and think. 

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Friday, 15 November 2013

Secrets of longevity...

is in the nature, in strong faith and in your family.

It's not a new thing. Our ancestors have known these for so long. The subjects of longevity and food pharmacy have always been my personal interest. Recently I read a book titled Blue Zones and it is the latest edition to my list that I called mind-changing non-fiction, alongside Toxic Childhood,  Leaving Microsoft to Change the World, Rich Dad Poor Dad and Anticancer: A New Way of Life.

This book is about a group of National Geographic researchers/ scientists that studied 4 places that have the highest concentration of centenarians (people more than 100 years old). These centenarians are healthy, functioning, some still working elderlies, with no heart disease or cancer whatsoever, and are as energetic as 60 year-old Americans. If you are still thinking whats the big deal, ponder this. Chance of you meeting a centenarian in America is 1 in 5000 but at these places it's 1 in 200. 

The places are:
1. Okinawa, Japan
2. Sardinia, Italy
3. Loma Linda, California
4. Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica.

The scientists studied their lifestyle, diet, habits, values, soil, water, air, stress level etc. Of course each population is unique, but there are a few common factors:

1. All have strong faith either to God or ancestors. They call this external locus of control. This helps them in dealing with hardships and stay positive.

2. They are non sedentary. They walk miles everyday to get provisions, to tend sheeps, to visit relatives. They wake as early as 4am and retire early at night. They are very connected to the nature.

3. They have strong family support. 5 generations live near each other in one neighbourhood. They visit each other daily. Walking, of course.

4. They eat fresh foods. Local. Mostly from their own backyards.  Different population have their own "superfoods". The Okinawans eat tofu, sweet potatoes, mugworth. The Sardinians eat pecorino cheese, drink goats milk and red wine. The Adventists eat nuts, tomatoes, and big succulent berries. The Nicoyans eat rice, beans, tortillas and tropical fruits. The fruits that Nicoyans consume are similar to our fruits- papayas, bananas, oranges. The key is eat fresh local food. Processed foods and fast foods are unknown to these centenarians.

5. They all have 'ikigai' or in english- reason of waking up every morning. If anyone lose this, their health will deteriorate very quickly. They actually do have a study on this- teachers and policemen lost their roles in society after retirement and once they stop working they decline rapidly. Some of the centenarians are still healthy and working (in their farms, none worked in an office) because they still feel they are useful and providing sustenance to their families.

This strengthened my beliefs that health and longevity do not depend on costly healthcare, medicines or supplements. Definitely not the shakes, meal replacements, collagen drinks, pill sunnah or whatever there is in the market. 

Would like to share an excerpt from the book, a story from Costa Rica.

Down the block, in a general store stocked with canned goods and wilted produce, he bought sweet corn bread. This was not for him."It's for my son" uttered 101- year old Don Faustino in his soft voice. "It's his favourite". This bit of thoughtfulness conjured images of a little kid receiving a much-awaited treat until Jorge reminded me that Faustino's son is 79.

And in Loma Linda the author met with a 93 year-old cardiothoracic surgeon who was still operating! (google Dr Ellesworth Wareham). Imagine the good eyesight, strong back and fine motor control af his hands to be allowed in a surgery. 

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Our 4th son

Introducing our latest addition :) Muhammad Anas Hafiy, born 12th April 2013 (and I remain Mamaboyz!)

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Cool Boys Super Sons

Borrowed this book from Mynie (thank you!!!!) and would like to share some tips that I think are very important.

Tips no 1: Focus on EFFORT

We know boys can sometimes be overconfident on their abilities and hence we usually see them feeling satisfied with less work / revision as compared to girls (girls tend to be more hardworking). So the author (Jamilah Samian, mother of 5 boys and 1 girl) suggested that when we praise boys, we focus on their efforts, rather than abilities. Eg. if they do well in exams / projects, say

"All that revising pays, isn't it?" rather than "Clever boy! I know it's in you!"
"I can tell that you have been paying attention in class" rather than "Lucky you to be born smart!"

Tips no 2: Boys need high expectations

Boys love challenges. So they are more motivated to do well to meet their parents' expectations rather than to get rewards. Help your son to develop a vision of who he wants to be. Consistently place your son in an environment where he is challenged to do better. And aim for small breakthroughs that will give him a steady sense of achievement.

Tips no 3: Accept them as they are, and turn their weaknesses into strengths.

Whatever character your son is born with, look at it as his strength. Eg if he is talkative, take time to develop his contents of speech and flow of thoughts so he can be a good public speaker. If he is stubborn, he is not easily influenced by others, which is a good quality of a leader. Guide him in decision making and critical thinking to prepare him to be a leader!

Sunday, 17 February 2013

First biography this year

Just finished the biography of Syed Mokhtar AlBukhary (in 2 days! haha a record for me) and can't help being inspired by him.

Have to jot some words down as I don't want to forget this book. His father taught him to become a businessman, but his mother made him the philantrophist.

He says "my mother taught us nothing is yours until you have given it away with all your heart in the hope it will make someone's life easier."

He started giving away a portion of his salaries since he started working, not after he has made millions. It reminds me of the story of the man who could call the clouds to bring rain to his farm. You have to give first before you spend, not spend and give from what is left.

He is worth billions but still he has tea and dinner with his family daily, and pray the evening prayers with the children, before starting his meetings with advisors and CEOs from 10pm to 3 am everyday. How long does he sleep? tsk tsk...

All his businesses he acquired for ulterior motives- to create jobs, save jobs, save Malays/ Bumiputera's equities, develop communities etc.. It is just mind boggling reading his large and diverse portfolios. Reading him makes me wonder again of 'keberkatan masa' which is really a gift of Allah to some of His servants. (I wondered about this a lot while reading about the 4 Imams).

Quoting his close friend, Mohamed Ali Alabbar (Chairman of Dubai Emaar Properties- the developer of Burj Khalifa, tallest building in the world)- what makes Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar different from other businessmen is that the more he moves up the more he focussed down (the society).
Generally, businessmen today finds an opportunity and create profits out of it, and as they climb up the ladder, they start to believe in themselves too much. They become super human beings and lose touch with reality (the reality is God selects you among millions and gives you a chance to succeed).

I believe this is not just among the businessmen but also among the professionals too.

Must read book of the year! Chioww...