Sunday, 26 December 2010

Brothers in Arms

Assalamu 'Alaikum

After a hectic long week with two insurance renewals, coupled with a day of sick leave, I finally took a break in Bandar with the family. The GemboKids have a chance to sleep over with their cousins, at my wife's sister's place (easier to say my sis in law), or my best friend's sister in law's place (basically the same person).

Talking about best friends, Alhamdulillah I am blessed with quite a number.  At the movie yesterday, watching Gulliver's Travel, I met one of them with his family, my very own 'Barney Stinson' if I were to be Ted hahaha (You'll only know this if you watch How I Met Your Mother).  I will be seeing another best friend today, a visit to his new crib, as I couldn't make it to his housewarming thanksgiving prayers recently.

**pause** went to the Tungku Beach with our host for ATV rides and played with the waves.  On the way there, we stopped by a minimart, and guess what? I met another best friend.  Small world.  I guess Allah has willed that I meet as much best friend during this long weekend.**

Yeah, I was about to write about Brothers In Arms.   It is actually a song by Dire Straits.   The lyrics are quite poetic, but these lines always reminded me of my very own dire moment - no pun intended - in February of last year.  My brothers along with many other caring individuals came to my bedside, to pray for my wellbeing and offered support to my dear wife.  I haven't seen some of my brothers for years, but they came in the droves when they heard of my illness.  I love you bros.

...... In the fear and alarm

You did not desert me
My brothers in arms

These are my brothers in arms (not all of them).


Thursday, 16 December 2010


Assalamu 'Alaikum

This has been a hectic time of the year at work, not just because it is the year end (chasing targets, KPI etc), but in my case, I have to renew insurance programs.

In the absence of a few key people, others have to deputise as the signatories, and one happened to be a good friend of mine.  Approaching him professionally, we reviewed the renewal proposal together and he suddenly laughed out loud.... "You have too much 'however' in this submission!", and he said that kind of words would normally jump out, and in most cases viewed as negative..... well, couple of things, you have to hear me out....

Ok, in my defence the 'however' was to negate the negative, so it becomes a positive - for those you studied math, minus times minus equals plus, right?  Like a salesman, I convinced him just that, that is negating the negative (that's a fact, I wasn't trying to screw him heheh), and he finally approved!

Secondly, I didn't realise that I used too much 'however' until he pointed it out. And it's just not in this proposal, but in many others. I guess it is my OCDs or what the Bruneian Malays would call 'paingan' hahah, which also reminded me of my early days following graduation. As a government scholar, I had to apply for jobs with the government and had to write in the application letters in Malay.  After the first cut, I asked my then girlfriend (of course MrsG!) to review, and she counted more than TEN 'juga' in the 3 paragraphed letter - 'juga' is Malay for 'also'.... oh, she still remembers that till today, and still laughed about it when she recalled that letter.

However, it is 10 now and I have to hit the sack, however I need to ensure the kids are all asleep. I could just go straight to bed, however if they are still up, they will definitely knock on the door.

However, I have now checked on them and its confirmed, they're all asleep.

Thank you and good night.

Be safe.


Lloyd's of London

Assalamu 'Alaikum

Fortunately I am up early this morning, so need to clear of this spider webs :-)

Browsing through my iPhoto, I came across some pics from my recent honeymoon holiday to UK back in July. Can't remember whether I blogged about that holiday though.

Anyway, despite not a long trip, I somehow managed to squeeze half a day on courtesy calls to our insurance brokers, underwriters and also visit the Shell centre! My wife didn't mind much, as she got Westfield to keep her busy.

For those who know me personally, will know my career has always been in insurance and for those who know me professionally, I deal with insurance which has at some point, to be insured at this respectable institution.

The building below is Lloyd's building in London, a very fine piece of architecture housing the Lloyd's of London, an international insurance and reinsurance market with history stretching back to the late 1600's. Here the broker I was with asked me to pretend to be a broker and carry his slip file. Do I look the part?  Anyway, what is not shown here is the 'market' itself, the lower floors housed the 'boxes' which are manned by the underwriters, with brokers queueing to get these underwriters to participate in their clients' insurances.... I know, too much insurance lingo, but my insurance friends should be able to understand this... i hope.  Anyway, I couldn't show the pics here cos' there were no pics - camera's are banned boohoo.... but, nah just enjoy whatever I could snap below.

The photo below the Committee Room at the 11th floor, an 18th century dining-room designed for the 2nd Earl of Shelburne by Robert Adam in 1763; it was transferred piece-by-piece from the previous Lloyd's building... Yikes!

Now this is also an interesting office building in London, nicknamed the Gherkin, cos' it is shaped like one! This is the Swiss Re building. Unfortunately we do not have direct dealing with Swiss Re or anyone there so no reason for me to visit.

That's a quick short update & should keep the spiders away.

Till next time, be safe.


Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Uh oh..

Assalamualaikum everyone..

It's coming back again... the spiders are coming back to build their webs on my blog. Was about to blog about the gifts, and the work stress, and my impending move....

...but, by the time my wife and I reached home from work, solat Asar and Maghrib, we're left with just hanging out with the kids with whatever ounces of energy left, let alone to blog.

On my last blog, all of you (macam banyak saja hehehe) guessed right. My dear wife bought me a luscious red Kitchenaid mixer, and I got her an iPhone4.  It's obvious what she wanted me to do, right? Well, she felt so sorry to see me baked carrot cakes and cheese cakes and many more on a flimsy mixer, and she got me the granddaddy of mixers :-)

So far I've used the mixer to bake choc chips cookies and mixed cream for my scones. I will try to post blogs on my future bakings/cookings on this dusty *cough* blog of mine... InsyaAllah.

Till then, be safe always.

Mr G

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Our 10 years anniversary gift to each other... Teaser

It has been more than 3 months since our 10th wedding anniversary but only recently that we got to give each other our anniversary gifts.

Can you guess what they are and who gets what :) ?

Oh, this isn't part of the anniversary gifts, but I got it just last weekend too :-)

Empire Strikes Back!

After a year filled with travels, I'm left with only one day of leave, which I decided to carry forward to next year. Luckily, I joined my supervisor to conduct a training at an offshore platform, on a WEEKEND a couple of months back, that I had a leave given in lieu which I decided to use on Monday, thus made my own long weekend as today Tuesday is a public holiday.

The Gembo Kids had their fair share of travels, to the Universal Studios Singapore and seeing their cousins in Kuching for Hari Raya, so we decided to have a local holiday at the Empire Hotel. The attraction for the kids were the vast pools, the man-made beach as well as the cinema and bowling, although this time round we spent more times at the pool, and for Muhammad, on his skateboard and a mountain bike. 

Enjoy the pics...

Our room is at the third floor (to the left of the pic). Mrs G is seen at the bottom of the pic, looking at the kids trying to build sandcastles.

This place never fails to impress me with the architecture and built, and of course the landscape and ocean view. The same cannot be said of some of the services :-(

 It was snowing when we were there.. INSIDE the buidling :o

The Gembo Kids enjoying the 'snow'

If this is a house, this big marble pillar would have been the tiang seri or the main pillar. Again, very impressive, and the Empire Hotel has decorated it appropriately for the holiday season.

A poor monkey was caught in the snow heheh

These are my very own 'Ramona and Beezus' - I love you Iman and Aaeeshah

It got too cold, luckily Iman found a fireplace to get warm

The Gembo Kids creating their own Gingerbread Men

... whilst my sister Leeja was served drinks by Little Lady Santa

Here are their creations...  from the left, Iman, Muhammad and Aaeeshah

Here are the creators of those Gingerbread Men

Iman and Aaeeshah found their own snowmen

Aaeeshah would love to see this pic posted on my blog

The Gembo Kids energy levels were really down after a long day at the beach.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

3 more months....



Assalamualaikum Warahmatullah

Over the past week, I have heard the sad passing of three people we knew... my wife's late brother's friend, my classmate and best friend during primary 2 Religious school, and the father of our close friend.

The first 2 shocked us, as they were at almost the same age as us. Uncle was 60+ when he passed.

Whatever the causes of their passing, Allah knows best, but we as Allah's humble creation should always remember that we will not be spared. Our time will come. We will not know when, but what we can do is prepare for the next phase.

Different beliefs have different needs or preparation. In my belief, there is an afterlife which InsyaAllah will be secure for us provided that we obey all our obligations to Allah and leave those that Allah forbids.

In terms of worldly preparations, I believe there is no difference to the different beliefs, but rather to the attachments with whom we will leave behind.  In most cases people would ensure that they leave behind a roof for their loved ones, and education to prepare for the rest of their life. Of course, those with additional income will ensure they leave behind wealth to ensure their loved ones have something to start with.

I often cried quietly on hearing these news, on losing friends and also the thought of what if this happens to us.  It will inevitably happen, so I have to constantly remind myself to prepare.

Inna lillahi Wainna Ilaihi Rojiun (Truly we belong to Allah and to Allah we shall be returned).

Mr G

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Kalau babah jadi bintang...?

Assalamualaikum friends

This past week has been a tiring one, all in all I was only at my desk not more than one full day, attending meetings and all that, preparing for our 2011 insurance renewals.

Lots of things over the past few weeks, mostly work but a few family ventures...

Exams! and the results.
Alhamdulillah, the Gembo kids passed with good results. Aaeeshah got 8 A's and 1 B... heheh, but in Kindergarten anyone could get A's, but Alhamdulillah, her teacher said Aaeeshah can read slowly, which is good preparation for her Upper Kindergarten next year.

Muhammad improved on his mid year's exam, his average increased from 89% to 91%, and up from 6th to 5th. He was quite said that he didn't get the top three (so no Wii (1st), no iPod touch (2nd), no Nitendo DS (3rd)).

Iman. Whenever we asked her to do revision, she said OK. When we asked her teacher before the exam, she said Iman is the least of her worries. When the result was out, she end up no2 and her average was only 0.03% lower than no 1. She definitely will get her iPod, sadly it ran out of stock when we were in Bandar yesterday. 

3D Movies!!
Last weekend we tried out the 1st 3D cinema in Brunei at the Mall. The kids were restless as they had nothing to do at home, now that the exam has finished and nobody bothered to turn up at school. So we brought the kids to watch the Megamind 3D movie... It was a strange superhero movie, but don't get me wrong - the storyline was great but the 3D effects made it even much better. It's just that the villain end up as the superhero when the real superhero just called it quits! I also didn't realise it was Brad Pitt in the movie too, of course as the superhero and Will Ferrell is hilarious as a villain - I don't think Jim Carrey can pull it off with the same effect.

Meanwhile, yesterday we watched Rapunzel: The Tangled Tale 3D movie... it was a great movie, typical of Disney cartoons with little animal characters and of course, songs. Kids love them, and we did too. The 3D effects are real real nice... I'd recommend you to watch it. Five stars from me!

It's no secret that I'm a fan of Man Utd...  There was a game last night against Blackburn Rovers. We arrived home from the family outing, at 11.15 and I went straight to watch the live game on telly, as well as the usual banter on FB. It was already 2-0 by the time I watched the game, and watched all the remaining 5 goals, oooh by the way, we won 7-1 last nite :-). It was a great result considering Blackburn have always been a resilient opponent to Man Utd for many years... and oh, we're now on top of the Premier League.

Kalau Babah jadi bintang
This morning after breakfast, as Aaeeshah was watching her Spongebob tv show, I asked her a few silly questions heheh... here goes.

Me: Asha, kalau babah jadi aeroplane, Asha mau jadi apa? (If daddy becomes an aeroplane, what would you be?)
Asha: Aeroplane, pasal Asha mau terabang sama babah (Aeroplane, so I can fly with you)
Me: Oooh, sweet... kalau babah jadi bulan? (If daddy becomes the moon?....)
Asha: Asha jadi bulan jua (I'll be a moon too)
Me: Mana buleh, pasal bulan satu saja (That cannot be, cos there is only one moon)
Asha: Buleh, pasal Babah bulan basar, Asha yang kacil (Caaaaan.. cos daddy becomes the full moon, and Asha can be the small one - shaping her hands like a crescent)
Me: Ok lah, kalau Babah jadi bintang? (OK, OK, if daddy becomes a star?)
Asha: Asha jadi 'love' (Asha can be a heart - shaping her hands like a heart)
Me: Kenapa jadi 'love'? (Why be a heart?)
Asha: Pasal, Mama sayang sama Asha (So, mummy loves Asha)

Asha, Babah and Mama loves you so much. You too Iman and Abang, we love you both so much. Well done on the exams!

Mr G

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Words of wisdom to my dear son Muhammad


This morning, after his morning shower getting ready for school, Muhammad came sitting close to me while I was fiddling with my Mac.

I praised him for a job well done with his Ugama school (Religious school) for 2010, despite not being in top 3 (he finished 4th), his average was quite high at 95%. He was disappointed still of not being no 3, as he's got a prize for that last year.

He said "Dimana Muhammad buat salah Bah ah" (Where did I go wrong, Dad?), so I just said "OK sudah Muhammad tu, jangan tah ingau banar" (You've done well son, don't worry). The thing about Muhammad is, he is very competitive.

To cheer him up, I said he's been such a good boy all along, and I advised him only three things, which I said will help him succeed:

  1. Don't forget the 5 times a day prayers - I told him if he do this, Allah will love him, protect him and keep him on the righteous path
  2. Study well - He will have the knowledge to succeed, if he studies well
  3. Be respectful to others - He will be respected, and the Angels will pray for him
This may not be a complete advise, and I am sure most of you would have better advises, but it sure brought the smile to his face - very much like this - as if he's got his candy after a long day of fasting.

Muhammad at 3, at the Empire Hotel. Not schooling yet, and notice the hair, never cut since he was shaved during Aqiqah at a week old

I love you Muhammad. You did well son.... now, we'll see the Primary school results :o

Mr G

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Salam Aidil Adha from the G Family

Assalamu 'Alaikum Warahmatullah


We would like to wish all our friends Eid Mubarak or Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Adha. May Allah bless all our prayers and sacrifices, and forgives all our sins. Amin.

Let's glorify the night by reciting the Takbir... AllahuAkbar AllahuAkbar AllahuAkbar WalilLahilHamd


Iron Maiden! Winston S Churchill: We Shall Fight on the Beaches...

Friends of mine are now eagerly awaiting Iron Maiden's concert in Singapore next year.
I was really into their music in my teens and bujang days, but have toned down a bit, not driven by Mrs G, but rather by the song requests of the kids during our daily commute.
Anyway, one of my favourite songs is Aces High, which opens with Sir Winston Churchill fine speech to prepare the Brits against Hitler's attack during World War II.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Reached out... beyond borders


I once wrote about blogging to reach out? Well, my Gembo house blog had found me friends in Brunei (mainly friends at work) and beyond borders...

Will not write much about it, but as the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words, well here are a few thousands and some....

The Voguers from Singapore...
 From left: Little Ms F, Little Aqil, Shoppermama, Mr G, Kak Pah, Nadh, Raf, Mrs G, Kak Moralle and Ms Pearl. Mrs knew about them from bloghopping Shoppermama's shopping tips and collections, and Nadh's witty posts and the Voguers spirit of togetherness in good and in sadness

The Kecik Family, Malaysian currently working in Brunei
Out of pure coincidence, the 'Not the kecik's dad' worked with my first cousins. How did we find out you asked? OK, look at the white mugs in front of them (pic above), those were extra door gifts to our wedding guests 10 years ago, and before the Keciks even knew about us, they have got a few from their employer (my cousins) to help with them settling down when they first arrived.... so when we served them hot drinks for Sungkai (Iftar) last year, they suddenly said, "Hey, we have some of this at home..." and then that's when the 'jejak kasih' unfolded heheh.... ok here's a closer shot of the mugs...

The mugs... (heheh Mug shots??)
 The one with blue prints were given to my guests (we have separate receptions, prior to the bersanding), and the red prints were given away to my wife's guests

Red Mummy
Redmummy is a professional blogger, she had helped us in our recent travels, mainly to KL and our recent honeymoon to Paris/UK. 

Friday, 12 November 2010

Safety Belt Really saves Lives

Bismillaa Hirrahmaa Nirrahiim

Looking forward to the weekend? Be safe always...

Anyway, I'd like to share a video being used on the safety screens around our Company's entrance. Very funny but just proves to show that seatbelts do save lives.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

$30 is not equal to $1.44!

Bismillaa Hirrahmaa Nirrahiim

Raise your your hands if you are an accountant. Good. Now, I need your help.

You see, I am not an accountant, but my job requires me to charge others on a monthly basis for the services that they have received from us. That's fine with me, especially as I have a colleague to do the accounting - I like!

This fellow knows his stuff that he wouldn't have problem reconciling the account every month end, even though I made those charges heheh..... Until one day.... he had to be transferred temporarily to manage other section. 

As a result, I have to do the monthly account reconciliation but thank goodness he was there if I need guidance.

Months had passed and all seems to be ok, referring to the handover notes everytime of course, with possibly a few more grey hairs every time the accounts have successfully been reconciled!

But today, I have spent $30 to find $1.44!

Well, I knew where the $1.44 came from but I spent $30 of my precious time to look for where should go... Oh, $30 is pro-rata of my pay... don't do the maths lah, my salary is just enough to live from hand to mouth :o

What I understand about economics is simple - you spend less to get more, correct? Well, at least that is the general idea where I work (Oil & Gas), no point building a $10M facility to extract $1M of gas! Correct?

So, it is not economical to spend $30 to look for $1.44, right?

Wrong! Accounting as I was told is somewhat different - the accounts have to be reconciled, debit/credit balanced, etc etc at any cost! But having spent well over an hour today looking for the hole to put the $1.44, I had to draw a line and stop the madness. I just couldn't do it any more and will have to concentrate on other 20 items on my to do list. I will need to get the expert forensic eyes of my colleague to look for that hole (FM, I hope you're reading this heheh - don't go on leave yet!)

On the way home for lunch following that futile attempts, my thoughts were with my other colleagues who had to do all these things,the balancing or reconciling thingy, but having said that, they are probably well equipped with proper trainings, bionic eyes, extra brain cells (and lots of patience) than I do.

Oh well..... $1.44.... please come to papa.... please!

Mr G

Ciggies? Or Rice? .... Your choice!

Bismillaa Hirrahmaa Nirrahiim

Brunei has recently seen a tax hike on cigarettes from 1st November this year, to B$0.25 per stick - so what used to cost $3.10 a pack is now $7.60, and some are $8.50.

According to the Brunei Times the amendments were implemented in the interests of the health and well-being of the people, especially in helping to reduce the risk of chronic diseases related to smoking.

Interestingly, a colleague of mine overheard this conversation at a minimart recently, which just shows how effective the changes have been to peoples mindset:

 Mr A: Berapa harga sigup Pirellys? (How much is a pack of Pirellys?)

Shopkeeper: $8.50

Mr A: Adih, mahalnya (Gosh! That's expensive)

Mr B (A Filipino bystander): Tidak guna bali lah boss, harga beras siam tu (You don't have to buy that Mr, that's as much as a pack of Siam Rice)

At the end, Mr A left without buying the cigarette.

You see, a pack of Siam Rice (10kg) can feed a family of 6 for more than 2 weeks, and that at 2 meals a day!

Questions now have to be asked, is it a necessity? Does it bring benefits? Thanks goodness I stopped ages ago :)

Mr G

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Reaching Out... Blogs?

Bismilla Hirrahmaa Nirrahim

I had to work from home yesterday, as my little Aaeeshah had a little bout with food poisoning and also to allow me counter the lack of sleep from her vomitting sessions on our bed the night before. Alhamdulillah she recovered today.

Anyway, despite not working, I couldn't turn down an appreciation lunch hosted by our supervisor (it's only a minute drive down the road from where I stay, and it's Italian, how can I turn that down?), for the good result in the annual feedback survey on how well the leaders treat the staffs, the company's benefits, where not only was our result better that other sections in the department, but also amongst peers throughout the company *clap-clap* well done to us...

Having said that, not one to rest on his laurels, the boss asked what can be done to improve things - apparently our weakest point was communication... 'Reaching Out' to our clients, all 4,000 of the company employees whom our section handled the salaries and pensions, and whose operating assets we insure...

He asked for suggestions? Well, we've got emails, web bulletins in place but the questions begged on how to improve further... We can send out tons of server clogging emails, yet if nobody cares to read them, then what? Web bulletins would be good, but they're bland..... So I suggested blogging - to reach out to 2/3rds of the the population eg Gen X and Y, with the downsides being 1) who would write the blog and 2) would it be sustainable?

Whilst enjoying my pasta, I recalled another department had (yes, had) a blog, yet last I checked a couple of weeks back, the last entry was in June and it was to welcome people to the department blog - that showed it is not even a question of sustainability but just to move forward is difficult enough...

So... question is, is blog the best way to reach out? who knows, but I knew my houseblog reached out and helped a few friends with their house plans, so I guess it depends on what is blogged about, right?

Like I said, I think a lot, so to anyone who cares to read my thoughts, thanks.

Mr G

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

uh oh... important posts that I've missed!

Guilty as charged! I guess that would be the verdict by The High Court of Blogging for me to miss out important posts ~ Birthday posts! and a special visit of an old friend (and well known cartoonist).
My birthday in May

Our hero Muhammad's 9th birthday at the end of May

My beloved wife's birthday in July

Special visit by Cuboi

*Dusting* the blog....

Bismilla Hirrahmaa Nirrahim

Been quiet for a long while - last post I did was on Iman's birthday, and I have not written anything about the Gembo Hari Raya (including our Hari Raya to Kuching)... Not even any entry on our honeymoon trip to UK/Paris...

Could it be the my passion for photography and blogging has dwindled? I don't know, I am somehow too drained when I reach home from work.

Life has been very busy lately, very trying I have to say since the last few months.

Work has been great, enjoyed it enormously, although now stretched when my colleague (my right hand man) had to be moved temporarily to another section since July until end of this month... Look forward to have him back in my team for the busy December period! And Alhamdulillah I will switch to a new role by March 2011... watch this space.

Alhamdulillah, my wife and I have reached the 10 year wedding anniversary in August and InsyaAllah looking forward to more milestones, Amin.

Kids have been well, now in their exam week, but Aaeeshah had been unwell since the last two weeks. She was admitted to hospital couple of weeks back with high fever, and just this morning was diagnosed with mild food poisoning - yes, mild but she vomitted at midnight and at 4 in the morning that I am now suffering from the lack of sleep. Alhamdulillah however that I can bring her home and no overnight stay at the hospital although she will miss two days of her kindergarten exams :(

Aaeeshah at the Ward playground. Note the drip at her right hand

Will this entry spur me to start blogging again? I dunno, but I do hope so. My cameras are nicely kept in the cabinet, batteries charged and memory cards cleared but we'll see. Now.... that took me 25 minutes to write.... we'll see about it.

Mr G

Friday, 17 September 2010

Alhamdulillah. Happy 7th Birthday Our Beloved Iman

BismilLaa HirRahmaa NirRahiim

Today, 7 years ago we became a proud parents of a beautiful little girl, the first born girl in our family and the second child after Muhammad Abdurrahman.  My dear wife gave her the beautiful name of Iman 'Aaliyah, from Arabic translated as "The Highest Most Exalted Faith". 

My late mother was so proud to have a granddaughter, for it was no secret that she needed more girls in the family (my youngest sister is her only daughter after three sons!).

Alhamdulillah, Iman has grown up well and healthy, and Alhamdulillah is also doing well academically. Iman loved challenges and will try her best to overcome whatever comes her way, be it puzzles, games or homework. That's why I was not the least surprised when she actually completed a full month of fasting in the recent holy month of Ramadhan. 

Babah and Mama is so proud and happy for you, and on this auspicious day, we wish you a very happy birthday, we pray for Allah's continuous blessing upon you every day and every moment, and may you grow up to the beautiful name that we have proudly given you. Always remember that we love you so much, Sayang.

Babah, Mama, Abang Muhammad and Adik Aaeeshah.

This picture was taken few hours after you were born. 
Grandma Babu loved your lips :-)

This picture was taken when you just turned 1. 
You had Babah's cheeky smile (and chubbiness), and Mama's beautiful eyes.

This was taken when you were two. You've got that fashion sense,
got it from none other than Kaka Ateul.

Taken during your third birthday... no secret that you love pink...

... and also wanted to be princess. This was on your 4th birthday

This was taken when you were just 5. Short hair?
I still remember you begged Mama to have it cut at the saloon ;-)

Remember this? We celebrated your birthday on the first day of Hari Raya 2009....

And this last picture was taken just last week.

Happy birthday Sayang. We love you so much.

Babah Gembo

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

What's your name?

Bismillaa Hirrahmaa Nirrahiim

So, what's your name, or rather what's behind your name? Do you know the history or background to how you got that name?

I grew up with my grandparents, and only saw my parents in the weekends as they had to work in the capital.  My Mama (grandmum) raised me and my brothers lovingly, and one thing I do remember about Mama was she loved to tell stories.

I still remember one story about my name... I was named Awangku Azmi Rizal by my parents. My grandad however wanted to name me 'Ulul 'Azmi, after an expression he found in the Al-Quran. If my parents were to have another boy (which they actually did) he would have suggested 'Ulul 'Amri for his name, but that is not the subject for this story now.

'Ulul 'Azmi literally means the chiefs, or people who have stout/strong hearts.  However, in Al-Quran this title is accorded to only five Rasuls (prophets) for their perseverance and unusually strong commitment to Allah in the face of great suffering: Nuh, Ibrahim, Musa, Isa and lastly, our beloved Rasul Muhammad Sallallahu 'Alaihi Wassalam.

My parents were worried that if I were to be named 'Ulul 'Azmi I would be subjected to sneers, as the word 'Ulul rhymes with tahlol or bahlol (stupid).  

So eventually it seemed my grandad and my dad had a compromise, as my grandad got to name me 'Azmi and my dad added Rizal at the end - why? His name is Abdul Razak, so he wanted to maintain the AR... both my brothers are AR too.

Anyway, 'Azmi on its own means Ambition and Rijal (from where Rizal is derived) is man... I concluded myself that my name 'Azmi Rizal mean a Man with Ambitions heheh.

Gembo @ 'Ulul Azmi


Bismillaa Hirrahmaa Nirrahiim

I publish this sequel to my last post due to special request heheh...

Still wondering why Indomie?  Well, Brunei is a small country, very small.  As fate has it, my best friend Aji Emran's elder brother is married to my wife's elder sister.

During Hari Raya in her first year 1996/97, R (my wife) went back to Brunei for Eid/Hari Raya. On her way back to UK, Aji's mom asked R to bring a box of Indomie for Aji (Indomie was so expensive in UK then).

Anyway, as fate has it again, Aji was on a rare visit to my place one weekend (our cities are 6 hours train ride apart, hence the rareness). It was during this visit that he got a call from R to say that she's got his Indomie.

Remember in my last post that R and I were good friends (oh, we still are).... so I thought why don't I tag along with Aji to pick up the Indomie, at least I get to see my good friend R whom I haven't met for a while, and furthermore, it was Hari Raya so more excuse for me to visit her.

I can still remember the tingling I felt in my chest, probably my heart was beating so hard when I first saw her again.

From then on, I took many excuses to visit her (even before I have the guts to express my true feelings for her). The Indomie episode was in February '97, and only expressed my true love to her in June '97.
Four months!

Anyway, as it was my final year and her 1st year, so we spent the next year on a long distance relationship.

Alhamdulillah, our patience and perseverance paid off, and in a couple of years after that I had to conjure all the strengths in the world again, to ask three ladies for me to tie the knot with R... my late Mama (grandmum), my late Babu (mum) and of course my dear R.

We're engaged on the 27.2.2000 and solemnised our marriage on 25.8.2000. Alhamdulillah.


Thursday, 26 August 2010

Ten years. 25.8.2000

Bismilla Hirrahma Nirrahim

Alhamdulillah, Praise to Allah, Whom have granted us with health, wealth, patience and wisdom, that my wife (R) and I have today come to a milestone in our lives, celebrating our 10 years wedding anniversary.

We've come a long way. My wife and I were classmates in From 3 to From 5 (1988-90), we then went on to study at the Sixth Form College (1991-92), upon which we went separate ways - she went straight to work with Brunei Shell and I got a scholarship to UK.

I have been attracted to her since in Form 3, but never had the guts to pursue further. Even in Form 6. It goes without saying that we were good friends, we helped each other with studies but I never had the guts to express my feelings for her.

But Allah is Al-'Alim (The All Knowing), I met her again during my final year in the UK when she was sent by the company to further her studies.  Thanks also to my best friend Aji Emran and a box of Indomie.

And then as they say, it's history.  R and I tied the knot 3 years later, and we have since been blessed with a boy, Muhammad and two girls Iman and 'Aaeeshah. Alhamdulillah.

I continuously pray that Allah grants us patience and wisdom to see us through to eternity, till death do us part.

Mr G

Friday, 20 August 2010

Vindicated and Perseverance

The words of the week for me, and hoping for a closure to a challenging year (or two). I believe there will be light at the end of the tunnel and I know somebody tried his best to light it up for me. Thanks E.



Al-Quran - How lucky we are, Alhamdulillah

Assalamualaikum Warahmatullah

Alhamdulillah, Allah have blessed me with another Ramadhan, the holy month which strangely enough, over the years I have been able to complete recitation of our holy book Al-Quran, which I couldn't even do in the other 11 months. For the last 11 months, I have only read less than 3 out of 30 Juz' of Al-Quran.

Anyway, after Subuh prayers at our local masjid this morning, I took one of the wakaf (donated) Al-Quran and sat with my back to one of the masjid pillars (my usual spot for the past 10 years!).

Getting ready to read, I had a look at the cover and saw a price tag of $8.90.  I immediately thought: How lucky we are, at this day and age, 1400 years after the revelation of Al-Quran that we are able to read Al-Quran, for a measly effort - each household would have at least a copy (I really hope so), every masjid has one or you can get it easily at the muslim bookstores. Just pick it up, Bismallah and you can read it.

Suddenly my mind travelled back to the infancy days of Islam, shortly after the passing of our beloved Rasul Muhammad Salallahu 'Alaihiwassalam. 70 Al-Hafiz (Al-Quran memorisers) died as martyrs in the Battle of Yamamah, between Muslim followers of Khalifah Abu Bakar against the Murtads (those who left the Islamic faith).

This loss was seriously felt by the Sahabah (companions of Muhammad Salallahu 'Alaihiwassalam.) who were concerned that more of the Al-Hafiz will fall in battles, that they should put the Al-Quran together otherwise it'll be gone just like that.

It was not until the third Khalifah, 'Uthman bin Affan that the Al-Quran became systematically organised into the 30 Juza - of which more details can be read from here.

Bismilla Hirrahmaa Nirrahim. Alhamdulilla Hirabbil 'Aalamin.


Thursday, 12 August 2010

Salam Ramadhan

Assalamualaikum Warahmatullah

Here's wishing all my families and friends a happy and blessed Ramadhan, may Allah grant us the strength to overcome the challenges of completing our fast, not just from thirst and hunger, but from all other elements.

I hope the 'Highway Code' below can guide us.

Mr G

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Where have the days gone?

Looking at the date today I realised that it has been exactly a month since we left home for our holiday, coming home back barely 2 weeks later.

Recalling my boss' comment to a colleague yesterday (he was on leave the same time as I was), "Work is  very hectic and our holiday was a distant memory"He couldn't be more accurate, indeed it was a distant memory, squeezed down by the bulk of work being accumulated in my absence.

Anyway, this blog has sadly taken the lowest priority in my life and not given the attention it deserved, more backlog it seems. I just hope, sincerely hope, to be able to share the photos of our travels during the last 2 months.....

..... and quietly praying that my leave in September will come

Oh, before I sign off, just to share... We went to see quite a famous lady during my holiday