Wednesday, November 15, 2006

It's a girl!

It's confirmed. This morning at 2.25am, my wife gave birth to a healthy baby girl, all 2.6kg of her.

We were quite unprepared as the baby was actually due on the 23rd. But luckily yesterday I spent the night at my wife's home in Bangi, so by the time she complained of pain between 12.00am-1.00am, I was able to quickly pack the boys off to my parents' place and rush her to Subang Jaya Medical Centre, some 30km away.

It was a fairly easy delivery. I could see that the doctor and nurses were very pleased about it. My wife and I went into the delivery suite at 2.00am and in less than half an hour, everything was over.

You're probably wondering what the baby looks like. Well if you ask me, all newborn babies look the same. They all have puffed up face, slit eyes and long sideburns. My second son, Ahmad Zuhayr, looked like our former Transport Minister Ling Liong Sik when he was born. It's only after 3 months that they start to develop their actual features. :)

Mother and daughter are resting now, and I'm online looking for some ideas for the baby's name. I'm looking for an Arabic name that is simple and has a good meaning. Unlike some parents that I know, I don't go for complicated, multi-syllable names. Why bother? People won't call her by that painful name anyway. I have a friend named Tiia and I like that name, but it's not Arabic and I don't know what it means. Right now, I have Kauthar (a river in paradise) and Khaulah (one who has beautiful features) and Alhan Farhanah (happy songs, or so I was told) in the short list. The last one actually belongs to a former classmate in Kolej Islam Klang.

This whole episode is bitter sweet for me. We're all excited about the arrival of this new member of the family but at the same time, everyone's aware of the state of my marriage. Most of them are hopeful that the baby will factor in the R-word (reconcillation) but I don't think so. I'm a kind person and I will be kind to her until the divorce is finalised in about 3 months' time. And after that? I will continue to be kind.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The dog that wouldn't go away

This morning, as I was walking to the LRT station, a dog came running from far away towards me.

Normally if I see a big dog running like that, I would lari litang-pukang. But since this one was small, I tried to remain calm.

For some unknown reasons, the dog seemed so glad to see me.

It started walking alongside me towards the LRT station. Sometimes it would be on my right, sometimes on my left. I thought, "biar benar anjing nie."

If a stranger comes running towards you saying, "hey, so glad to see you. Can I walk with you to the LRT station?", what do you say to that? "Um, sure." Yeah, but you'll also be thinking "but why? The street not big enough for you, buddy?"

As with many Muslims, my only concern was if the dog was wet or if it licked any part of my clothing, I would have to samak (wash with earth water) that part of the clothing. It would just be cumbersome.

I was also concerned that it wanted to follow me all the way to NST.

I tried to shoo the dog away nicely but it continued to follow me. I had a feeling that some of my hand gestures actually made it think I wanted to play.

This went on for a good ten minutes or so before the dog decided to make a pee-stop (as opposed to a pitstop). That was when I seized the opportunity to run away and cross the road and disappear from its view.

Till now, I'm still wondering what that was all about.

Theory #1: I look like its owner. Maybe the owner is also bald. But then again, dogs can recognise their owners through smell, no?

Theory #2: I look and smell like the owner. Time to put on those perfume.

Theory #3: I don't have Theory #3 yet

Friday, November 03, 2006

E-mail to a Swedish contact

Here's an e-mail that I just sent to an acquaintance of mine, Alan, who last time I checked lives in Stockholm. He's an American who married a Swede and has decided to make Stockholm home.

I sent the e-mail mainly to learn the truth about the race relations in Sweden.

Hi Alan,

Hope this finds you well. We haven't been in touch for quite some time, have we? Did I tell you about that story that I wrote about what makes Swedish people beautiful? Well it was very well received among my friends and relatives (they were asking whether Maria really existed!). Maybe it wasn't journalism in the classic sense but most of them said they learnt something about Sweden from that story and I would say thanks in large part to your very elaborate comment on the subject! :)

I am still with NST and Allan is still with The Star. The past one year has been pretty interesting for both of us; ever since we came back from Stockholm, Allan has had a break-up with his girlfriend and I am at the final stages of getting a divorce. We both think the chicks in Sweden had something to do with this! Ah but don't worry so much about it. It's probably for the better. In any case, we're happy to be back in the market. ;)

Are you still living in Stockholm?

After almost a year, I'm happy to report that I am still very much in love with Sweden. My eyes light up every time that country is mentioned. Can you relate to this? I have been reading a lot about Sweden and have even toyed with the idea of learning Swedish! My friends call me crazy. Love is abstract and it's true. My preoccupation with Sweden is difficult to explain. It's actually a lot of things coming together and not just about those beautiful blonde babes. I can relate to the cool Nordic temperament, for example, and I love the ideas of democratization of design and social insurance and the preoccupation with road safety. Not to mention that as aMuslim, it heartens me to no end that Sweden shares some of the same values with Islam, such as those about moderation, equality, alcohol and prostitution. I am not exaggerating when I say I have become more humane after having gone on that Stockholm trip! :)

At the same time, I've also read about violence that are getting rampant in the streets which are apparently perpetrated by immigrant youths (read:Muslims). They say Malmo is on the verge of being taken over by these immigrants, that the police no longer have control over some parts of the city and that Swedes themselves have become a minority in their own land. Is this true? It seems as though Sweden's ambition to become the world's most multicultural society has come back to bite it on its hands and I'm really concerned about this. Based on your experience, how are the race relations over there? Do you know any Swedish Muslim? Do you see hope in the future? I really hope you can advise me on this. It's just for my personal knowledge although I'm not discounting any good story idea that might come out of this. Malaysia is a multicultural society too, after all.

Warm regards,