Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Holy Cow! (oops Turkey!)

Thanksgiving (22 November) was spent in Connecticut with Steve's family. Instead of Steve driving us like last year, I 'flew' with my X-wing fighter to Waterbury and Ali remained in Bethlehem to spend Thanksgiving with his family.

New England is as picturesque as ever. How time flies since the last Thanksgiving! Mike (Steve's brother) and Linc (Steve's dad) looked slimmer. Rita (Steve's mum) was as stylish as ever. She even gave me goodies bags :) and Uncle Jaime did not grill me with his harsh political questions... *lol... he said he asked all those questions last year. Dinner at Juniper's (Steve's uncle's posh restaurant) was scrumptious and we had a lovely time. Supper at Beth's new gothic mansion was fun, with little Ava experimenting with the make-up set I gave her. Gosh, I will miss everyone when I leave the USA. It was surprising that I did not shed tears as I bid farewell. God willing, I will meet them again...

I also spent time at Zalman's in Hartford. As it was too cold, we just chilled at home, playing with Nuha, Naqib and baby Rayyan. I told Masyitah (Zalman's wife) how ironic that we would spent hours driving just to see each other but did not do the same in Singapore even though we lived so near... Does distance make the heart grow fonder?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Journey of the Rice Cooker

I must be such a sight, in my black Parisian winter coat, lugging a rice cooker and running across Penn Station to catch the New Jersey Transit one early November 18th morning. I panicked when the screen showed - Trenton: Delayed. Merde! The next available train was hours away at 12.14 pm (if they could fix the faulty wiring). Oh no, Fadzilah, Azan and Nida would be waiting! It would take another 1.5 hours to reach Princeton Junction and then there was also the Dinky ride. What should I do? Give up? Arghhh…

The gentleman beside me looked at the screen in equal exasperation. He was going to Princeton Junction too. What should we do? We decided to be adventurous and take the Path (what the heck was the Path?) and see if there was any alternative transportation. No one knew anything. No one gave us any information about what was going on. How could we all squeeze in the Path train and where would we be heading? The other passengers were just as clueless. But we joked and laughed and that somewhat lifted everyone’s spirit and gave some sort of assurance that things were going to be alright.

Daniel Harray, that gentleman at Penn station (an actor) became my incidental travelling partner who offered me my first Krispy Kreme and with whom I discussed politics and trashy reality shows like 'Shot at love with Tila Tequila' and 'I love New York'.

After what seemed like never-ending train hopping and detours to other places we never knew existed, we finally reached Princeton Junction. A nice old woman at the train station offered to drive me to the Wawa shop (of course the Dinky 'chose' not to run that Sunday of all days!) where Fadzilah would be waiting. Daniel smiled as he looked at my big bag. “Your friend better appreciates that rice cooker!” I laughed, bid farewell and thanked him again for the Krispy Kreme (the donuts my friend Gwen raved about and which I had been longing for).

Fadzilah and I huddled in the rain and walked around Princeton University. We then had a late lunch with a family friend’s son, Azan and his wife Nida. What good food - satay, rendang, sayur pucuk ubi, kuih hari Raya... It felt like we were back home in Singapore! Laughter and conversations in Malay flowed with the evening.
The moral of the story: You have to go through arduous journey (be brave to take alternative routes, be patient, maintain that sense of humour, don't give up, encourage fellow passengers along the way) before you can reach the ivy-covered tower. Just ask the rice cooker who endured the hardship and is now in Fadzilah's Princeton...

The Guggenheim

Due to the ongoing strike by the Broadway stagehands, my sorority sisters and I could not watch Mamma Mia! on Saturday. Instead we spent the afternoon (after a scrumptious French lunch at Le Rivage) at the Guggenheim. Ah… I simply love Frank Lloyd Wright’s architectural style.

“The Guggenheim Museum is an embodiment of Wright's attempts to render the inherent plasticity of organic forms in architecture. His inverted ziggurat (a stepped or winding pyramidal temple of Babylonian origin) dispensed with the conventional approach to museum design, which led visitors through a series of interconnected rooms and forced them to retrace their steps when exiting. Instead, Wright whisked people to the top of the building via elevator, proceeding downward at a leisurely pace on the gentle slope of a continuous ramp.

The galleries were divided like the membranes in citrus fruit, with self-contained yet interdependent sections. The open rotunda afforded viewers the unique possibility of seeing several bays of work on different levels simultaneously. The spiral design recalled a nautilus shell, with continuous spaces flowing freely one into another.” - http://www.guggenheim.org/

I remember quoting Wright on my Gedung Kuning’s architecture page – “Noble life demands a noble architecture for noble uses of noble men. Lack of culture means what it has always meant: ignoble civilization and therefore imminent downfall."

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Crow Warriors

"Wouter Deruytter: Crow Warriors" is currently being exhibited at the UN New York.

Hidayah Soaring Eagle wished she had met some Indian warriors on the great plains of the United States and learned more about their culture and battle scars but alas...

Monday, November 12, 2007

Land of the Wizard of Oz

Just came back from the Alpha Delta Kappa (ADK) ITE weekend in the Land of the Wizard of Oz. It was so good meeting up fellow sorority sisters from all over the USA and new sisters from Peru, Indonesia and Canada. Everyone is so intelligent, passionate, kind and warm.

Agnes Robertson would be so proud!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Cempaka & Melati

Cempaka (Michelia champak)... how beautiful and fragrant! The subtle Cempaka hinted at honour, sacrifice and true love in The Legend of Suriyothai. Whereas the smaller, almost similar Melati (Jasmine) symbolizes purity, eternal love and nobility in Puteri Gunung Ledang.

I remember asking Nenek why she often put Cempaka or Melati on her hair. She smiled and handed me some to smell. Ahh, their beauty goes beyond mere fragrance...

apa namanya bunga melati,
cantik mekar harum setaman;
kenapa ditanya pada hati,
cerdik akal harus dahulukan.

~ Zaleha Ahmat