Friday, March 27, 2009

AN EXAM

Pertubuhan Akitek Malaysia or widely known as PAM, organized the yearly Members’ Night event few weeks back. Like the norms, newly elected Corporate Members were presented with the certificates during the Night.

my... i am so short!


I received my certificate during the night too since I was one of the newly elected. For any graduate architects in Malaysia to be entitled into the Corporate Member category, one gigantic hurdle to leap over is the Professional Part 3 Exam.

It is to my believe that this exam is known as a ‘very-very scary’ exam due to it's toughness to most who ventured into architectural line, right from the start being a student of the course. The fact that failing rate triple the passing rate every year makes this scary feeling even more sound. Repeating to sit for the examination is considered as acceptable. Some do it 2 times, 3 times, 4 times…. Even 12 times.. I heard before. Some lost the battle to fight and could no longer be bothered to further sit for the exam.

I knew I’ve got to at least try to sit for the exam since my university study, but I admit it’s my boss whom actually had driven me to do so. That – I thank him lots. From the early months that I was attached to the company, he had been implementing into us all young graduate architects to take on the exam. Also, with my cousin Safrul’s success being entitled as a Licensed Surveyor and of what he told me, that I’d never know how the exam be until I sit for myself…….. ya…I was pretty sure, I’ve got to give it a go.
Not only after two years of working I did fill in my practical experience log book, being a requirement to be fulfilled prior sitting for the exam. So, the lazy me. Two years is the minimum period mandatory for log book and to be submitted by end February, a year in-advanced of your intended year to take the exam.
So, I submitted mine in 2007 only to sit for exam in 2008.

When I mean to sit for the exam, never that I expected to be gotten pregnant. But, it was okay…. The whole of pregnancy was fine… and bukannya study pun! Again, so the lazy me. I gave birth to a long waited lovely girl, Nada Firas bt Abdul Harris on end January 08.

The written exam is usually scheduled in July yearly with a compulsory pass of oral exam earlier being carried out in May. So, before giving birth, I thought I would gonna have a lot of time to study during the confinement. Damn! I was wrong. With a newborn to juggle, myself to take care off… not much time left. Should there be any, I just wanted to lay my feet up and relax.
Errrrrr…. Or also I wanted to accompany my mami watching all the soaps on tele. 10.30am – drama Melayu on tv2, 11.30am – drama Indon on tv3, 2.00pm – drama Hindustan on tv2 again, 4.00pm – drama Taiwan. Well, pick one!
He.. he… So don’t blame on the time. It’s not the real thing.. Time and again, the lazy me.

In April PAM conducted optional tutorial classes with certain fees to be paid for whom are taking the exam. It was actually my turning point to realize the exam was not far away as I attended the tutorial classes and I was snapped off from my lay back period. When I attended the classes, I noted how advanced other candidates were in way of their preparation. Some have already have their thick notes being marked according to chapters, scribbles shown it has been read… maybe twice or even over and over again. Some told me they have been having study groups for a year and had weekly discussion, that the exam was getting closer, they have it twice a week. Some remember contract clauses by heart. Not that I do not know the clauses… but I do not memorize the clauses numbers! My notes were so clean with no single scratch. I just bought a day before the class started. Aduh… I got kan-chiong.

After the first class I ran to my ever-dependable husband Harris, to share my kan-chiongness. This guy, he can take every thing lightly.(except if he’s late to catch for a flight). I was told to face the exam my own way, never in anybody else’s shoes. I thank him dearly for all his words and supports. When I say I got backache sitting on the stool to study, he bought me a new chair…. He knew I hate driving, and so willing to send and pick me from classes with our baby girl in the car seat – barely 3 months old. At times he would bring Nada for outings to malls while waiting for me. He would make sure he had completed all his “attending-to-toilets” business at home before leaving for the malls and not to eat or drink a lot. If not…. How la? As for praying time, he would pushed the stroller into the surau, let Nada waited in it while taking ablution and placed Nada by his side during praying!… Cool, huh! For a man that can do this?

If some people, by some means do not have the privilege to pursue their plan in studying or taking exam of such due to pregnancy or a newborn…. I am grateful enough that I was able to pull through with the great support from a husband.

Realizing that I needed a plan, I structured my own study considering the tons of reading materials and the past years exam questions that I have to go through. Truly, not much time left for me until the exam. Making a plan was easy but to diligently abide by the plan, was a different story all together. I am not the burning the midnight oil type to study even though I was an architecture student. (Well, in university…. Arch. students are always known as “burung hantu” for sleepless nights). I just can’t and always need the good full doze, only an hour or less was spent at nights to study after putting Nada to sleep. Mostly, I would also tertido while tido’kan Nada!

Half hour in the morning before going to work and another half hour after work while waiting for Harris to fetch me. That was about all the time I could squeeze to study during weekdays.
Longer period would be on weekends, sometimes up to two hours a session. Mostly the sessions were after Subuh prayer and during Nada’s morning and afternoon sleep. Again, I was fortunate to have Harris to entertain Nada whenever she was awake.

Baby Nada "accompanying" mommy for before work-morning study

The studying period might look short and insufficient but I just got to do with that. A good way that I always practice myself was, to do the thinking and digesting whatever I learned from the books while doing other things. I might be deep doing house chores but I had my brain doing ‘her’ job too. That was to think and comprehend. Sometimes, Harris also got puzzled with me when I suddenly went – “I think I know the answer ………….. blah, blah, blah” right after I came out from toilet. I did the thinking during my before sleep teeth brushed. Until then, he got used to it already.

However, I do not force the brain to be on the same subject whenever ‘she’ doesn’t want to. Example, if I was watching my favorite programs on tv, the brain usually was concentrating on tv too and preferred not to be disturbed. Should I was watching Prison Break… I’d be Michael Scoffield myself! He he. I am a tele-lover!… for programs that I love la… Not all.

For the oral exam, I begged Harris for a new outfit. Saje je, just to make me a bit happy and gained confidence by the outlook. He bought me a Moschino shirt – my first ever, and I was delighted.
I freaked out on the oral exam day itself, that I called my boss. (of all the people!) Despite having an appointment with a client at that time, he still talked to me. He’s not all that bad after all. My boss told me – “If you fail the exam, Yanti.. I don’t really know who can actually pass!” ???????? Hmmmm, I don’t quite understand either. We ended up the conversation with the client also wishing me good luck. But my boss insisted for NOT wishing any luck as he said I don’t need one… Aparaaaa.

I did fine for oral exam and was notified the results on the spot. Phew, one hurdle leaped.

Near to the written exam, I called my mami to notify that I’d be facing a big exam and wished for her prayers. My mami ( ……… urh…. I can’t even think of what she had helped me on )…., I was emotionally sober to knowing that she made an effort to wake up from her sleep for the midnight Solat Hajat, praying for my success. Shameful, I didn’t even do it for my own self! How can I ever thank her?

I took three days off from work before the written exam day to really concentrate on studying at home, all alone. Even sent Nada to her Nanny’s. I glued myself to the chair with nothing else except books and exam questions. I gathered as many questions as I want to ask or discuss with my colleague whom is a Professional Architect himself that I regard as my mentor. I made it a point to drive myself (mind people – I really hate driving) to office at an ease time for him to attend to me, since I was the one who’s seeking for help.

Day of the exam, I was sent by Harris and of course Nada too. There were two papers to sit, one in the morning and one in the afternoon with lunch break in the middle, making both of them waited for me all day long every where around KL. The Mall, Pavillion, Bird Park….. I made Harris promised that I‘d be able to see him first every time I came out from the exam hall. He kept his words and sure he was right in front of the hall cuddling our precious baby girl.

I was chairing a meeting when I received the text from a friend informing the exam results have been announced and asked for what I’ve got. The usual long winded meeting was sped up and cut short for I can’t wait to reply the text. I was surprised to know it was out and at that moment, I still haven’t received mine. In fact, my results only reached me 2 days later than others at office address.

Seeing the results, I knew I had put in my best effort… but of course there were some reserved deep inside for any failure. So, the fact I passed – what crossed my mind was “I actually made it the FIRST time?” – percaya ada, tak percaya pun ada. Straight I went for an ablution and performed Sujud Syukur, then made the important call to Harris.
After such, only I gave an extreme loud shout that whole office were shocked! He he… bikin gempak sikit. Hmmmm… it really feels so GOOD!
My boss gave me a strong congratulation hand-shake. Pergh ! Harris belanja me a good dinner!

News traveled fast. Meeting clients – they call me Architect ! (must be my boss whom told them..) Conducting site inspections – the contractors call me Architect !. Notes from my boss – he never forgot to put Ar in front of my name. Balik kampong – my cousins call me Ar ! ( this… because I announced it in my blog, he he) even though I have yet to register myself.

Able to be called as an Architect is ‘SOMETHING’ and far difference from Medical Doctors whom may be called as Dr once graduated from school. That’s not the case for my line.
Having the title however, is just a start for me. I am so-so distant from what can be say as true achievement. There are so many things I want to do and I got to work hard for what I want.
For myself - GAMBATE KU DASAI!!!!

I’ll be happy if my write-up here benefits anyone whom reads it, especially my still-schooling young cousins whom all I love. For those who can, many lines may be picked up as reference, guidance and motivation. Like,
… it’a ok to be kanchiong – but, chill! More important is to find ways to get rid of the kanchiongness.
… must plan !
… train ur brain.
… do not complain for not having enough time. Make use of time.
… sought help to anyone who is reliable
… remember, a mother’s prayer will always be the best
… and many-many more.

However, I am not writing intentionally for any other people than for my very own precious love – Nada.
Daddy is right – Always do things in your own shoes and never in anyone else’s.
Mommy is right too – You got to plan your ways in things you want to do and must at best put the highest effort to secure success. Never that it will come to you in a golden plate. One might has best brain but is useless without strain.

Still you fail, you know you have done your best….. and in whatever shape you are, you know you will always have mommy whom loves you unconditionally to run to should you need a shoulder to cry on.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

THINGS I LOVE TO DO FOR NADA

I completed another gorgeous dress for Nada. Unlike my first self-made dress for her, this one was quite a bit of intricate to do even though the finished dress looks just as simple. The preparation of polar was helped by my mami and she had earlier warned me, the dress would not be that easy to do. There would be a lot pre-hand stitches if I want the complete product to be nice and neat particularly for the neckline. Briefly, my mami explained to me the areas that she thought I needed help with a piece of old newspaper.

…. In her soft way ….. “Adik ambik kain ni ‘manje gak, Adik letok tepi beloh. Pah gak jahik haluuuuuuh…. Pah balik kok ni. Pah tindih bui kemah. Pah jahik haluh kok tepi ni……..” Her hands treating the old newspaper like a piece of cloth. And me… I also got pening, I knew I’ve got to somehow further figure out by myself.

Any free time I had, I did a lot of thinking on how to execute the dress. During my bathing, in the car during traveling to and from work (good that I don’t have to drive myself) or when my boss starts with his grandmother’s story and I don’t feel concentrating to what he says even though my facial expression might show the opposite. (Sorry, boss!)

Despite the thinking and planning, I still made a mistake for the cloth first cut that I had to re-do. Skill does not come in a day and my mami always told me, if I want to see good end product, I should be patience enough to try until I get it. I am fine with that. Further more I was doing something I love for someone I love so much.




Nada during the dress fitting


Nada wore the dress for first time for an outing dinner with Mentibang’s family. Harris commented, even though the dress’s Sunday is intended to be longer than the Monday ….. somehow it looked to much longer than it was supposed to be.
My eyes too, sense it was not there yet.



Nada was posing in the new dress before dinner.

Indeed, the Monday WAS too long!

I made an alteration in shortening the length of dress lining so that the frills fits just right to be seen. Also, after considering few alternatives in accentuating the look of the dress, I decided for some simple thread embroidery at middle part of the dress.




This finished product – I love it!



I love crafts works, ……MORE than that, just LOVE to make dresses for Nada.

It is a norm event for us to dine out that I can admit our ‘eats’ do take quite a fraction of our monthly expenditure budget. Be it at warungs, restaurants, clubs, hotels where ever. But thus far, I hardly feed Nada any other than homemade food. Fear for suitability, cleanliness, MSG, salt and sugar – I guess.
So, even if we eat at a hotel restaurant, I still pack for her the homemade food.

Small percentage of Nada’s diet would be baby food from supermarket rack like jar food, biscuits, baby yogurts, baby cereals and stuffs. When I started introducing solids for her I did depend on ready baby cereals for about one and a half months, in her 7th plus. Not long, I feel sad for her ….. even though there are so many choices of baby cereals. I do not want to use ‘no time’ as an excuse. So, I followed the advices and suggestions in Baby Food books that I have, by storing homemade puree in the freezer.





All the while, I never thought to take the photographs of all these frozen purees, but Harris…. Semua benda nak ambik gambar!

I am glad I did take the effort. It was an easy-peasy. I just need to thaw the puree in refrigerator overnight. Or… in the morning, make some rice porridge before adding the varieties of puree in. Sometimes, it could be pasta – macaroni or spaghetti. If my morning is early, I freshly cook porridges for her.

3 numbers of Nada’s front teeth had erupted in last 3 weeks and her appetite gets bigger! Usually, I supplied biscuits / ready baby cereal for breakfast and home made porridge for lunch and dinner topped with 3 times 7oz ratio of formula milk to her Nanny’s.

I observed Nada wants to snack quite a lot lately, so I decided…. Before going to work, to also make some breakfast apart from cooking her lunch and dinner to bring to her Nanny’s and leave biscuits for her snacks.

I think I am not that good with cooking but I do love to cook for my girl. Nada is like daddy, she has no rejection for whatever new recipe I tried thus far. It seems…. Semua sedap to her! She used to detest carrot but now I have got no problem with carrots anymore.

Last week I experimented a new recipe for breakfast I got from googling the Toddler Food sites.

MINI MACARONI CHEESE for 8-18 month babies
1. 1/4 cups milk1 bay leaf
2. 4 oz. macaroni or small pasta shapes
3. 1 oz. unsalted butter or margarine4 tablespoons flour
4. 1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese
a.Heat the milk with the bay leaf until almost boiling. Remove from the heat, cover and leave to infuse.
b.Cook the macaroni.
c. Melt the butter in a clean pan, remove from the heat and stir in the flour. Gradually stir the milk into the pan.
d. Stir the sauce over a medium heat until thickened. Simmer for 3 minutes and then stir in half the cheese and all the macaroni.
e. Spoon into four small baking pans or heatproof dishes. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over each and cook under the broiler until golden.

Chill out…. Who wants to get bay leaves and just use one! I didn’t even try to look for it and replaced with McCormic mixed herbs instead, which I already have it in my kitchen. I do not have an oven, so I steamed the dish using the normal rice cooker.
It turned out well. Nada’s Nanny asked me if I could bring extra because the others liked it too. (She has 3 in her care including Nada). Well, whatever I cooked …. I always reserve for others too. But any extra than that….. with cheese… expensive unsalted butter…. Alamak, I’ll try my best la Cik Nanny.





Nada dines at restaurant, Nada dines on her high chair, Nada savouring every single feed, Nada shouts for more food!


As much as I love to try new recipe for Harris, I love doing the same for Nada too.
Never that I feel so excited when it comes to possessing a gold jewelry… not until I made one for Nada. I have already received the phone call from Habib that her name pendant is ready for collection. Working weekdays seems impossible for us to drop by at the franchise, so I guess we will wait for the coming weekend to pay the visit. I really hope it’s gonna be a beautiful one. OW..
can't wait!
Of all, I hope I will not develop this love to do for Nada into an obsessed.

The US economy must be really bad.... I've been trying to call my share agent in Wall Street and Nikkei, no one pick up my call. Hallo ! Hallo !

THAT'S MY GIRL....