Tupai's FotoPage
Arabian nights revisited
By: Tupai O ais

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Friday, 4-Nov-2005 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Tupai's Eid Mubarak & Lost in Translation, combined

Smile. You are on candid SonyEric 0.3Mp camera-phone
Tis tent is for the men. But they have left, or are on the pitch
Having a ball. Non-injured men in some footie action.
More magical moments this raya. Another saviour to the fore.

On the second day of raya, a kind colleague, Bara', came aknocking at the door and had kindly invited me to join his family & friends for an eid get together at a rented istirahat (an enclosed place with separate tents for the men and women) in the south of Riyadh. I had a little apprehension initially, because my arabic is only slightly better than my swahili (which is non-existent). But since it was eid and it was an honour to be invited to join an occasion as this, I agreed to it. Also, the idea of playing footie and testing my fitness made it an invitation I just could not refuse. Just like Brando's offer.

I enjoyed the experience. Forcing myself to speak arabic aloud in front of about 50 arabs was good. Having Bara' to translate some of the conversation was a major help too. His venerable father is a very knowledgeable doctor, and has a patriarchal role in the Syrian community here . The food was absolutely mumtaz (excellent), and for the first time, I had enjoyed drinking laban.

When it came to the kickabout at the end, mine was disappointingly swift and brief. Watching from the sidelines was never fun. I thought I could redeem some of our pride from the defeat of Skuad Pak Belang to Syria in the Islamic Solidarity Games (April 2005, we lost to their youth team 1-3) and show what real Malaysian footie is all about. Maybe I just did.... Malaysian football is just as poor as my cartilage. The only difference is that I need more rest, but the national team & management need some serious kick up their backsides.

Will we ever be in the World Cup? At least in my lifetime?

In the mean time, thanks very much to Bara' and his Syrian connection.

Thursday, 3-Nov-2005 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Tupai's quiet dendang perantau

Couldnt get inside the mosque, but they have big carpets outside
Oit.. sign your name in the guest book first
Part of the courtyard, no mosquitoes though
View all 16 photos...


It is official, this year's raya is my most low profile raya ever.

It was, in fact, close to becoming a non-event. After the eid prayer (performed as early as 6.15am... almost missed it, got the 2nd rakaat in jamaah though!) I did not go out of the house or see anybody until the evening, 6.30pm to be precise.

Thanks to fellow Riyadians, Messrs Sharif & Azman, they rescued my raya and brought me to the ambassador's residence in the Diplomatic Quarter in the west of Riyadh. It was a good get together for those who are still left in Riyadh for raya, my guess is that about 200+ came to hear a speech by our new ambassador, Dato' Dr Ismail Ibrahim (previously of IKIM). After that, we went makan.

As anticipated, the customary nasi himpit & kuah kacang was served (hence my raya finally felt like raya), alongside nasi beriyani, bihun goreng, biskut cornflakes and others. Whew, what a relief!

If given a choice, I would rather celebrate at tanah tumpah darah anytime.....

Friday, 28-Oct-2005 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Tupai getting tested

The bus looks better this time, but is slower than the last!
Wotsitname hotel. A downgrade from Al-Baiyan Hotel
View from the 2nd Floor of the mosque
View all 6 photos...
After 2 cancelled plans of going to Makkah, Alhamdulillah I managed to finally get there in the final weekend of Ramadan.

It is said that an umrah performed during Ramadan is given a reward of doing haj. Indeed, true to the reward, it was nothing like an umrah in other months. It was a real testing one... in every aspect there is - mental, physical, patience etc.

In short, expect the time and physical strength required to complete the tawaf and sa'ei to increase by 100-150%, which is by the way, about the same increment of the normal price of the fare to get there & hotel rates in Makkah. The crowd is just amazing. Imagine that pilgrims were denied entry into the mosque for Jumaat prayer about 2 hours before Zuhr time because it was full. For many, it was sitting outside in the scorching sun while fasting, waiting for more than an hour for the khutbah to begin. Alhamdulillah I got in just before they completely refuse anymore people into the mosque. But it was not easy getting a place to sit. I was standing for quite a while until 2 kind Yemenis let me squeeze in and have my own little space.

There is no doubting that the peak season has oficially started. Starting from 1st Ramadan, peaking to Eidul Adha and then ending gradually at about 2-3 weeks after 13th Zulhijjah....

Tuesday, 4-Oct-2005 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Tupai pulling a Fast one

Roti canai 2 for 1 riyal, bought from local new restaurant
Name unknown: Mini pancakes with custard & drenched with honey
My over-zealous first attempt at nasi lemak after 12 years
Many have asked what it was like to fast in Arabia. So this is my personal account of it:

1) This time of the year, the fasting duration is about 1 hour less than Malaysia, which is 13 hours per day. It is late autumn.

2) I think, because of the low humidity, I got dehydrated faster here and hence felt tired and lethargic easier. So, fasting is more trying.

3) There is no bazaar Ramadan madness, you do not see anyone suddenly becoming an expert kuih/lauk maker once a year here (how many times have we bought kuih-tak-sedap during Ramadan?). The local Ful (an arab dish made of beans) shop finished their Ful early.

4) The local mosque holds daily breaking of fast service with a quick bite on dates, samosas, soup and drinks before maghrib prayers. After that it is a generous rice+chicken+lamb combo served on trays, to be shared by 2.

5) Isha & tarawih prayers are delayed about 45 minutes to let everybody enjoy their post-maghrib iftar and have a bit of rest afterwards. The number of rakaats for tarawih may differ between mosques, either 8 or 20.

6) Many offices especially government ones open later and close early. I was told some would open for about 3-4 hours only. My office turned 9-to-3.

Tuesday, 27-Sep-2005 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Tupai says "To Do is To Dare"

The Jermain(e)s Have Landed! This one is super JD.
Guess where the real Mr Davids is. Not the imitation Edpek ok
Jerm warfare has left the Cottagers paralysed and destroyed
So what's a man got to do to keep himself sane?

Among other things, it is most definitely to subscribe to live EPL telecasts. In peaceful times, there is too much testosterone in everybody, so footie is a good outlet. Never mind that you cannot become a hooligan in your own house (not anywhere anyway!). Never mind that the commentary is devoid of Martin Tyler and at most times it is either frustratingly incomprehensible or innoyingly emotional, or both. Never mind it cost me a bomb to pay 6 months subscription upfront... tsk.

At the moment, with my limited understanding of the language, I suspect that the quality of the narration is no better than our own Hasbullah. Which is a lot to be desired really.

The good thing is, ALL of the matches are shown either live (2 or 3 simultaneously) or delayed. Better than Astro's limited and selective matches, those non-fans of MU/Chelski/Arse-scum/Pool quartet like me will be Jolly happy!

By the way, Mido has got a big fan base in this region and has his own footie show called "Mido@London". I guess, as purported, he is really the Becks of Arabian soccer then.

COYS!! Martin, Martin Jol! He's got no hair, but we don't care!

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