Money talk

Dec 9, 2013

It's spring in our little garden!

We don't have 4 seasons in Malaysia for sure.  And lately we only had downpour and drizzle.  However, when all plants in our garden are blooming, that's what I call 'spring'.
An angle that can show most of the flowers

The yellow roses, miniature daisies and orange bougainvilleas

The purple rose

The orange, pink, peach and red roses

The purple wishbone flowers

The peach roses again ...

So full that a stem can have up to five blooms at a time! 
The red roses

And the bright orange hibiscus
Due to the space constraint (sob ...  sob ...), I had to place the hibiscus and the other bougainvillea outside the fence.  They are still thriving though, because they still get the same love and care.  The roses apparently need dead heading soon.



Nov 20, 2013

My peach roses


My peach rose plant has grown so much, after just a few months.  It flowers a lot too.  A stem usually has three buds.  Some even have five!
Was ...

Now
It suffered from a bout of thrips attack recently and fully recovered now, Alhamdulillah.  I could hardly spend my evening in the garden lately due to the unfriendly weather.  It rains heavily during late afternoon, leaving the soil wet in the evening.  I don't like gardening when the soil is wet.

Nov 13, 2013

Roses in the garden

Roses in the garden are doing fine so far.  Please continue to thrive in our garden, under my care :)


Three on the still-in-progress flower bed

Two in the pots

One (at the far end) is yet to be transplanted
I didn't plan to buy the last one.  Five rose plants to me are more than enough to keep my hands full.  But I just couldn't resist its beautiful, bright yellow colour with large petals.  And sold at only RM8.  So here it is, waiting for the second round of bloom.
Blooms of the first round
New shoots coming up



Nov 8, 2013

My wish list for the garden

I have no specific theme for our little garden.  However, I notice my inclination towards English garden.  I think it is cute and it suits my taste.  Not long after, I found myself in the lookout for the following items.
Decorative Pine Wooden Wheelbarrow Planter for the garden or patio
Wooden wheelbarrow planter

Urn planter
To have a complete English garden is costly.  Therefore, I am going to dedicate just a section of the garden for this. I am going to place garden fence, wheelbarrow planter, urn planters, hanging sign post, hanging planter, solar lantern and large white pebbles there. Sounds too many? We'll see the result later. Hopefully soon.

Oct 29, 2013

The making of a raised flower bed - the sequel

After a month of part time hardwork, the raised flower bed is finally taking shape.  It was not without compromise though. The retaining wall blocks that I thought were perfect for the flower bed of my dream was found to be too big for our little garden.  When I was about to give up, stop dreaming and accept the fact that I have to resort to using the ordinary bricks, my handsome little brother shed some light into the dashing hope by sending me this photo.
Credit to Genius Greenway Sdn. Bhd.

They are called the IBS interlocking bricks.  Well, I thought that they are at least better than the ordinary bricks and I should give them a try.  A series of short messages and replies led us to Jalan Jelebu, Pantai, Negeri Sembilan where Genius Greenway Sdn. Bhd. is located.  It was about an hour drive from our house.  With the help of the GPS and of course, my beloved husband, we managed to locate the place and met the owner, whom I forgot to ask the name :( but whom hospitality and courtesy we would never forget.  He took us to the production site after listening to our intention of coming there and looking for the bricks.  To make the story short, we came back with 30 wall bricks, 16 curved bricks and 3 half bricks after paying a total of RM72.

It took us another one week or so to stack the bricks together according to our plan and by the end of last weekend, tadaa !!!

The still incomplete flower bed
It is still very much under construction.  I need to clear the existing soil in the flower bed from stones and dried grass before it can be filled with fresh soil from Sungai Buloh.  That will probably take another month to complete!  Ha ha ha ...  But at least, 80% of the hardwork was done, I guess.  I will post the final part of this raised flower bed story when its construction is complete, Insya-Allah.

Oct 10, 2013

The making of a raised flower bed

There is this one area at a corner of our little garden that I have cleared up and uprooted all the grass.
It was hard work, no kidding.  But with proper tools, it was bearable.  The plan is to have a raised flower bed, something like below, but not in a circular shape of course.  However, until now, which is more than a month since the project started, the flower bed is nowhere to be seen and the corner remains bare.
I have difficulty in finding the kind of stones that I want.  I guess I was searching using the wrong term.  Only recently that I got to know the right term for such stone.  It's called the retaining wall block.  Hope to be able to give some positive updates on this soon :)

Sep 1, 2013

It's white rose

I think the bud is taking a longer time than usual to open. As if it knows that we are eagerly waiting to see who would be the winner of the guessing game. I was beginning to wonder if it will ever bloom at all. There was no sign of thrips attack though. Hopefully it is just the gene.

Finally ...
A peach rose
Here we are. Not fully bloom yet, but already revealing its colour. It's light peach. It may turn white when it blooms. So, the winner is ... Along!  Clap, clap, clap. 

Presenting the first bloom in our little garden ...
From bud to bloom


posted from Bloggeroid

Aug 29, 2013

Being bossy

During our usual ride to the nursery today ...
Little boss huh?
Well, I know it is an MPV.  But do you really have to be on the very last row to show me your point?

Aug 26, 2013

Guessing the colour of roses

I bought a small rose plant that day.  It was amongst the three pots of roses left in the nursery.  The soil was dry and I think it was going to be on the to-be-disposed list.  I managed to get it for the price of RM 7.  A bit expensive and not worth it maybe, but hey, this is not Sungai Buloh okay.
Fresh from the nursery
There was not a single bloom when we bought it.  After a week, it has started to have buds and shoots.  So we played a guessing game yesterday.  Along guessed that the colour of the roses is going to be white.  Angah said that is will be red roses.  And Achik said it is going to be pink.  We'll see ...  Hopefully we will be able to see the result in a couple of days.  I am kept in suspense too!
After a week

Aug 19, 2013

After the long 'eid break

It's the first day of school after a long 'eid break.  Here is my to do list this morning ...

Ironing everybody's uniform/clothes
Ironing Achik's raya clothes.  She will be having a raya celebration at her nursery today.
Preparing super duper simple breakfast for Along and Angah
Packing 6 pieces of raya cookies for Angah - He requested 6 pieces and he did count them when I gave them to him!  Unbelievable.
Packing Achik's bag, including a new milk bottle and a bottle of paracetamol.  She had slight fever last night but she was fine this morning.  Just in case.
Putting Along's and Angah's shirts and slippers into the car - for change later after school.
Hang the washed clothes to dry.
Watering while checking the flower plants.
...

Mr. boss, please don't ask me much if I can't be in the office by 8 am :-)

Aug 16, 2013

Salam Aidilfitri 1434H


Salam 'eidul fitri.  Maaf zahir & batin.  It was the fourth 'eid for Achik and the fourth that we celebrated as a family of five.  It is expected that next 'eid will be the same :)  We were in purple this year.

'Eid this year was a bit sombre though with what is currently happening in Egypt and Syria.  It is difficult to enjoy the moment, knowing the hardship that our beloved brothers and sisters are facing over there.  Some have even met their martyrdom.  May Allah bless them.  Eternal bliss is indeed for them.  Our prayers are with them.  The truth will surely supersede the evil and wickedness.  It is just that Allah hasn't decreed it to happen yet.  Maybe we haven't done enough.  We have to strive harder.  To work in unison, to disregard the national and international boundaries introduced and created by our enemies.

Jul 19, 2013

Sign of judgement day (qiyamah)

As she inches closer and closer to her 3 years old check point, Achik now has a 'collection' of behaviours that, to certain extent, intolerable by her brothers.  Being bossy in the sense that everybody-must-follow-what-I-say-or-else-I-would-scream-out-loud-and-cry is one of them.  And when she starts to cry for not getting what she wants, the brothers will usually be asked or rather instructed to give in.  Somehow, this has been mistakenly translated by Along as my husband and I are following whatever that Achik says.  He warned me that day.

Along: "Ummi, jangan ikut cakap Maryam sebab itu tanda kiamat." 
           "Tanda kiamat ibu bapa ikut cakap anak-anak."

Certainly laugh of the day.  But silently of course :-)

Jul 8, 2013

Dates from Palestine for Palestine

This coming Ramadhan, we are doing some non-profit making activity by selling Medjoul dates from Palestine.  We are not getting any money out of it.  We are just helping Aqsa Syarif to reach its potential buyers.

The dates are available in two sizes, medium and jumbo.  The medium size is priced at RM32 per box and jumbo at RM35 per box.  Each box contains 500g of dates.  Medium size dates are about two third of the jumbo sized ones.  At a glance, they look almost the same.

Jumbo size (left) and medium size (right)
They are hot selling really.  My husband was allocated two cartons to sell as part of his circle project to help our brothers and sisters in Palestine.  But were are into the fifth carton already!  Profits from the sale will go to Aqsa Syarif for their projects that will benefit the Palestinian people.
They are nice!  A must try!

Jun 28, 2013

How did I become a computer engineering graduate?

As if anybody care, ha ha.  Well, post SPM is the time when one would start seriously thinking about what one wants to be. In fact, it begins as early as post PMR when one has to decide whether to continue into the science stream or art stream.  For me, the decision to continue into the science stream was made because my SRP (PMR now) result qualified me to do so.  Simple.

When the SPM results were out, like others, I had to make another decision. Popular choices amongst my schoolmates from the science stream at that time were to become medical doctors.  I was like 50-50. I was not that eager to become a doctor.  And I certainly did not want to be part of something just because it was popular and famous.

The other obvious choice was engineering.  I chose chemical engineering because it sounded more feminine to me.  Next, I applied for an A-Level sposorship, hoping for a chance to study overseas.  That was the time when one of my uncles told me about the job prospect of a chemical engineer, which was not very good at that time.  Reality hit.  He suggested that I pursue computer science course instead.

Well, I spent two years in the science stream.  I could have just continued into the art stream and lead an easier life if I were to enrol into a computer science course.  I saw a bit of waste of effort there. So I insisted to do something 'engineering' and Alhamdulillah, found a good combination of both, the computer engineering course :-).


Jun 27, 2013

When the sun shines ...

Coming out from the house this morning, I noticed the bright sunshine.  After a hazy week, there was this sudden surge of relief and happiness that I could feel upon seeing the 'healthy' sun.  Alhamdulillah.  Indeed, this is the kind of feeling that I should have every morning.  Very true.  We will be reminded to better appreciate and be more thankful to everything that Allah has bestowed upon us when it was taken away from us.  Astaghfirullahal'adzim.

Jun 26, 2013

Wordless Wednesday #2


posted from Bloggeroid

Jun 24, 2013

It's the haze (again)

Sigh.  Year after year, it is the same problem that we have to face during this time of the year.  Is there any other solution to this?  Putting our health at risk is one thing.  Unexpected closure of schools is another.  For families like us, who have no helper to rely on, impromptu action and plan are needed when such announcement is made.  Luckily, I only have a one hour lecture today.  I can still perform my duty while taking care of Along and Angah.  Leaving them unattended for one hour is still acceptable.  But I have 5 hours of lectures to deliver tomorrow!  What if the school is still close tomorrow?  I can't possible leave them alone for 5 hours.  I hope the university is also close tomorrow.  Sigh.

Jun 2, 2013

Umrah journal: Summarising Makkah

7 March 2013

The remaining 9 days of our trip were spent in Makkah.  Nada Deafah hotel where we stayed was just about 120 metres away from Masjidil Haram, making it possible for us to be there five times a day.  But with the kids, we had to take turn of course.  On one occasion, Angah was able to return to the hotel from the masjid alone!  On one of the days, we were taken to visit Jabal Nur, Jabal Thur, Arafah, and Jabal Rahmah.  The rest were spent on our own.  On the way back from the masjid, we took time to drop by at the many shops within the vicinity of the hotel.  I didn't spend much.  Well, when you have taken the whole family for the umrah trip, you just don't have much left to spend :-)

Dragging the kids along, we spent as much time as we could at the masjid, performing as many prayers and tawafs whenever possible.  In between, we took photos and strolled along the area around the masjid.  Dust resulting from the demolition of the buildings around the masjid permeated the air, preventing us from lingering around the area.

Our utmost gratitude to Allah the almighty for accepting us as His guests.  Seeing Kaabah for the first time, praying and supplicating right in front of it was an unforgettable experience.  The feeling was indescribable.  The feeling that you can't get anywhere else.  We will definitely come back.  That was what we asked during our last tawaf before leaving Makkah.  May Allah grant our wish, Amin.

Umrah journal: From Madinah to Makkah

6 March 2013

Our stay in Madinah was shorthened by one day due to slight problem with the hotel arrangement.  After spending two nights in Madinah, we visited the prophet SAW and spent few minutes at the raudhah on the third day morning.  In the afternoon, we were ready to leave Madinah in ihram attire.

The journey from Madinah to Makkah took about 6 hours with a short stop at Bir Ali mosque for performing ihram.  There wasn't much to see along the route.  Only desserts and barren hills, giving us the chance to closely imagine and contemplate the journey that our beloved prophet and his loyal companion, Abu Bakr, went through during the their migration to Madinah.  Achik slept during most of the journey, which was to my great relief.

Arriving at the Nada Deafah hotel in Makkah, we had our late dinner and and then getting prepared for our first umrah.  It was about midnight when we eventually entered Masjidil haram.  Along and Angah were already exhausted from the long journey and were dragging their feet to complete their saie. 

May 29, 2013

V-day

May 2013 is coming to its end and there isn't a single post yet this month!  Well, May is always a busy month for me.  This May, I especially dedicate it for this entry.  Yes, Alhamdulillah thumma Alhamdulillah, I have passed my PhD viva voce yesterday with very minor corrections.  It was a smooth session conducted in a very amicable ambience.  It lasted for only 50 minutes or so, where half of it was my presentation.  I didn't prepare much really.  I waited for so long already for this session and when the time came, I just wanted to get over with it.  Few hours before the viva, my supervisor told me that one of the external examiner was not able to make it to the session.  Well, I thought that was a good sign.  If he decided not to come, that would probably mean that the corrections are minor.  Half an hour before the session, my supervisor told me that reports from all examiners indicated minor corrections.  That news was such a great relief to my butterflies-filled stomach and I proceeded to the viva session with comfort and confidence.  Upon entering the room that had already had seven people in it, I tried to smile nervously at everyone.  That was when the external examiner told me that everything looked okay and it was going to be positive.  Alhamdulillah.  And the rest of the session was just a formality.

I hardly write about my PhD journey here in this blog.  This was the only entry about it before.  And I guess this is going to be the last.  I would like to thank every single person that had made it possible for me to end this journey with a happy ending.  My supervisor, my husband, my mum, our beloved kids and friends.  Special thanks from yours truly, Dr. Hazleen.

Apr 30, 2013

Interbank GIRO transfer charge is only 10 cents!

Effective 2nd May 2013, that is, the day after tomorrow, an interbank GIRO transfer will only cost you RM0.10.  Yes.  10 cents.  Which means that we can happily transfer money from one bank to another and for each transaction, we will be charged 10 cents.  At present, CIMBclicks charges RM1 per transaction and Maybank2u charges RM2.  This is surely one of the many more great news to come when the coalition forms the gevernment soon, he he.  A news that I have been waiting for so long, and I think should have been implemented years ago.  No more cheques alright because a piece of cheque costs you 15 cents ;)

Apr 23, 2013

Children and politics

The election mood is certainly permeating the air.  The obvious proof is when Along is also asking questions that 'smell' politics.

"Ummi, kita mesti kena sokong PAS ke?"
"Ummi, kalau kita sokong PAS nanti kita dapat wifi percuma ye?"
"Saya nak mengundi PAS lah." - Err, you're not eligible yet, okay.
"Kalau PAS menang nanti dah tak adalah perkara-perkara yang haram yang tak elok kan?"
"Nanti siapa perdana menteri kita kalau PAS menang?"

He did ask one question about Datuk Najib, but I did not remember ...  Interestingly, why were all the questions have PAS in them?  I wonder what he has been chatting with his peers at school lately.

Achik will just comment on the many moons that she sees along the roadsides.  Few interesting facts:
During general election 11 in 2004, Along was 2 years old.
During general election 12 in 2008, Angah was 2 years old.
We're supposed to have our general election 13 in 2012, when Achik was 2 years old too.  But due to the infamous delay, we're going to have it this year when Achik is 3 years old, spoiling the figures.

Well, enjoy the moment kids.  It comes only once in 5 years.

Mar 20, 2013

Umrah journal: Visiting outer Madinah

5 March 2013

We first went to Masjid Quba', the first masjid built by our beloved prophet upon reaching Madinah.  We performed tahiyatul masjid prayer and one other sunnah prayer there.  We were not given much time as there were few more places to visit after that.  From Masjid Quba', we went to Mount Uhud.  It was very hot, dry and dusty, so we didn't linger there for the sake of the kids.  The sun was shining so bright that we could hardly open our eyes.  We took few photos, visited the martyrs graves and quickly went back to the bus.

With Mount Uhud at the background

On the way to the date orchard, we passed by the Qiblatain masjid.  We didn't stop there.  According to the mutawwif, the qiblah that is facing the Masjidil Aqsa has been demolished, leaving only the one that faces the Kaabah.  We finally visited the date orchard and did some shopping there.  Dates, chocolates and nuts.  We got back to the hotel just in time for lunch.  Lunch at the hotel was superb.  At par with buffet lunches that you can find in most of the hotels here.

After Asr, we went around Masjid Nabawi to visit the Baqi' Cemetery and the Baqi' market.  While waiting for the Maghrib prayer time, we sat on a spot right in front of the green dome of the masjid, retrospecting the sirah.  The wind was blowing strongly.  The kids were enjoying themselves.  Achik was singing and dancing around.  What a place to dance!  Along and Angah were excited to see the giant umbrellas at the masjid being automatically closed during sunset.  It was a wonderful moment that we are going to cherish forever.  Already missing it =((

The lost Japanese tourist with her bodyguards :)

"It's the green dome, don't you see?"

Mar 13, 2013

Umrah journal: The journey to

4 March 2013

It's the departure day. We were supposed to be at the check in counter at 12 pm. But at 12.15pm, we were still in the car. Finally, we managed to check in at 12.45 pm with the help of officers from Wira Saujana. We were briefed about the journey at 1 pm and went through the departure hall shortly after that. It was already 2.30 pm when we boarded the flight. Everything went smoothly except that we didn't managed to have a proper lunch :-(

In the train to terminal C KLIA
The flight stopped by at Riyadh airport to disembark few passengers. To my slight dismay actually because I was hoping and was promised a direct flight. We continued our journey an hour later and arrived at Madinah airport at 8.30 pm local time.

Upon reaching the hotel, we caught the sight of Masjid Nabawi. It was almost midnight, but I promised myself to perform my jama' ta'khir solat there tonight. The kids, though exhausted and drained out from the long journey, were all excited the moment they stepped into the hotel room. It was very comfortable. The five star Anwar Al Madinah Movenpick hotel which is just 20 metres away from the masjid. We went there right after cleaning and refreshing ourselves.

In front of Masjid Nabawi
posted from Bloggeroid

Feb 28, 2013

Wordless entry #1

Feb 26, 2013

Accompanying children in ward

Alhamdulillah, Achik was discharged from the hospital yesterday at 6.04 pm.  Hospital stay this time was a lot more bearable due to the short duration, the home leave and the collection of 'accessories' that we took along with us :-)
Cooking utensils ...
Cars ...
Books ...
Colour pencils ...
Bed time story book ...
I let Achik have them all at one time.  For longer hospital stay, you may want to consider not showing all of the toys at once.  Show one at a time and change when the child gets bored with the one she is currently playing with.  We also received a goodies bag filled with activity book, pen, pencil, stickers, pillow and stress cow - it's like a stress ball, but it's a cow.


Her next appointment with Dr. Khairul is on the 1st March.  I have to make sure that she recuperate well and is fit enough on that day so that she will get a clean bill of health for the umrah trip.  This will be her medication schedule for the next two days which adds up to the existing schedule that we have already had.

6.00 amrhinathiol (cold), zyrtec (flu)
8.00 amflyxotide (inhale)
10.00 amantibiotics, ventolin (inhale)
2.00 pmrhinathiol, zyrtec
4.00 pmventolin
8.00 pmflyxotide
10.00 pm antibiotics, rhinathiol, zyrtec, ventolin, singulair (diluted)
4.00 amventolin

Feb 25, 2013

Achik and pneumonia

It has been one and a half year since Achik was last admitted to the hospital.  She is back this time for the same reason.  She started coughing last Wednesday and didn't sleep well that night.  She was breathing fast.  We took her to a nearby clinic on Thursday night and the result was not good. We were given a referral letter, which meant that Achik needed to see a paediatrician.   I took her to see Dr. Khairul on  Friday and it came as no surprise when he told me that Achik had to be admitted.
Where we are this time
Because the rooms were fully booked and occupied that Friday, we only managed to 'check in' on Saturday, after Maghrib prayer.  Prior to that, we had to commute to the hospital every four hours for her nebulisation and Oxygen reading.

Feb 20, 2013

The timetable of a family without a maid

UmmiAbahAlong & AngahAchik
6.00amWake up, wash clothes, iron clothes, solatWake up, bathe, solat (at the surau)Sleep(Please) sleep
6.45amPrepare breakfast (or still ironing the clothes)Prepare breakfast (if ummi doesn't)Wake up, bathe, pray, have breakfast(Please) sleep
7.15amBathe, preparing kids for schoolGetting ready for workGetting ready for school(Please) sleep
7.30amHang clothesLeaving the houseLeaving the house(Please) sleep
7.45amGetting ready for workOn the way to schoolOn the way to school(Please) wake up
8.00amLeaving the houseOn the way to office(Supposedly) At schoolLeaving the house
8.30amAt officeAt officeAt schoolAt nursery
4.00pmPickup Along & Angah from school, take them to officeAt officeAt 'office'At nursery
5.30pmLeaving the officeAt officeLeaving the 'office'At nursery
6.00pmPick up Achik, drive homeOn the way homeOn the way homeOn the way home, singing, yelling and sometimes crying
6.15pmArrive home, solat, preparing for dinnerAt office?  On the way home?Bathe, solat, freestyleBathe, freestyle
7.00pmPreparing for dinner, solat MaghribArrive home, do whatever with Achik as long as she does not disturb ummi in the kitchen, solat MaghribSolat Maghrib, hafazanFreestyle
8.00pmServe dinner, have dinnerHave dinner, then pray Isya' (at the surau)Have dinner, then pray Isya' (at the surau)Have dinner then ask people to pray Isya'
9.00pmHelp Along and Angah with exercises/attending to AchikHelp Along and Angah with exercises/attending to AchikHomework & exercisesFreestyle, making mess, watch 30 minutes with Ust. Don :-) ...
10.00pmDoing some housechoresRest with AchikFreestyleFreestyle
10.30Putting Along & Angah or Achik to sleepPutting Along & Angah or Achik to sleepSleep(Please) Sleep

How's that?  It is not of course as rigid as a duty roster, but this is how our everyday is like most of the time :-)

Feb 13, 2013

Tabung Haji bonus 2012

Tabung Haji (TH) announced 6.5% + 1.5% bonus to be given to its depositors last Thursday and the amount was credited into the depositors' account on February the 10th.  But somehow, I think the formula for the bonus calculation shown in its website are missing the word 'Jumlah'.  They should read

(Jumlah baki minimum bulanan dari Januari 2012 hingga Disember 2012)/12 x 6.5%
+
(Jumlah baki minimum bulanan dari Januari 2006 hingga Disember 2012)/84 x 1.5%

The way they are written is confusing, at least to me and some of my friends.  We thought that it is the minimum balance of all rather than cumulative minimum balance that is to be divided by 12 (and 84 respectively).  If that is the case, then the 8% bonus is meaningless ...
And this is mine, a total of RM596.80
My pocket money to be spent in Makkah next month :-p

Feb 5, 2013

Umrah: All are set

One more month to go and the needed documents are all ready.
The required documents
I went to the travel agent yesterday to submit the documents. It was a long journey to Batu Caves, but managed to get there without getting lost, thanks to the google map and the built in GPS. Yes, we have chosen to travel with Wira Saujana Travel & Tours after considering and comparing some eight to ten travel agents. Hope that we have made the right choice.

Because of the visit to the travel agent, I was late by one hour to pick up the kids from school.  And the price that I had to pay was ...
the injury that Angah had sustained from falling down while chasing after Along.  The rain had just stopped and he was pulling along his school bag behind.  What a scene.  Moral of the story: with these superactive boys, just be on time!

posted from Bloggeroid

Feb 2, 2013

Passport renewal at Kajang Immigration Office

We arrived there at around 8.45am yesterday. The initial plan was to renew my mum's passport only. On a second thougt, I decided to take Achik along, half hoping that I would be able to renew her passport within a reasonable waiting time.

Right after coming out of the lift, I immediately saw the excessively long queue, extending beyond the office door, almost forming a square shape around the still escalators. Alhamdulillah, I managed to skip the long queue because I came just to collect the renewed passport and because my mum is over 60 years of age, hence eligible for 'warga emas' turn.

As for Achik, Alhamdulillah, the officer was kind enough to give her some consideration. All in all, we left the office at 11.15am. Still AM :-)

posted from Bloggeroid

Feb 1, 2013

Updates on passport renewal procedure

I am not sure about the procedure at other Immigration offices.  This was what I experienced this morning at the Immigration office in Kajang.  I had already renewed my passport online last Tuesday.  I came to collect it this morning.  I was told that I have to bring one copy of my passport size photo, even though I had already uploaded one when I did the online renewal.  It doesn't have to be the same as the one that you have already uploaded, which means that you can simply shoot another set of passport size photos at a nearby booth if don't have any with you and lost another RM10 of course.  That was what happened to me.  And in my case, the photo that I uploaded was exactly the same as the one used in my existing passport.  So it was rejected and they used my newly taken photo instead.

No form filling is required anymore for both, renewal and new passport application.  Just bring your identity card (IC),  its copy and 2 pieces of your passport size photos.  They will retrieve the information from the system and print the filled form for you.  Then you will just need to sign the form.  So don't bother to download the forms from the internet anymore.

I didn't find the above information on their official website.  Their website apparently needs updating.

Jan 31, 2013

Umrah: Additional costs that you need to prepare

Do spare some money on top of the whatever amount that you have to pay to the travel agent.  At least three additional costs are known so far.

  1. Passport size photos
  2. Passport renewal
  3. Meningitis vaccine jab

Passport size photos are needed for passports renewal and umrah visa.  For umrah visa, the background is white.  It costs RM10 per set of four photos, without softcopies i.e. no CD given.  Passport renewal for kids below the age of 12 at the moment is RM80 for two years.  For adults, it is RM 100.  Luckily, Along's, Angah's and Abah's passports are still valid until next year.  So, only mum, Achik and I need passport renewal, the total of which is RM260.  Meningitis vaccine jabs cost sob sob RM120 per jab.  The total of RM720 for six people.

In our case, the additional costs are:
Photos
RM77.00
Passports renewal
RM180.00
Jabs
RM600.00
Total
RM857.00

Jan 23, 2013

In the search for an Umrah package

I have always wanted to perform umrah.  Who wouldn't?  Ask any muslim.  But at the same time, I always found excuses for 'not to go yet'.  Having small kids is the main one.  But this time around, I just think that it is time.  I will take all of them with me to Makkah, Insya-Allah.  Along and Angah are all positive about going to see Ka'abah and Abah is willing to take unpaid leave from his newly joined company.  It is now semester break and I will not be having any classes until this June.  So the timing is perfect. 

The next thing is of course to look for a 'suitable' umrah package from a reliable travel agency.  There are so many options available and to make a decision is not easy.  Here are basically what I am looking for in the offered packages.
  1. Flight.  It has to be MAS.  I don't have much experience travelling with other airlines, even for domestic flights.
  2. Direct flight.  No transit.  Because we are taking our kids along.  The preferred route based on my reading and recommendations from other people is KUL-MED-JED-KUL route.  Yes, arriving at Madinah and leaving from Jeddah.  The point is, we will only need to ride on a bus between Makkah and Madinah once.
  3. Price.  It has to be affordable, of course.  We will also be taking my mum along, which means that whatever the price, it has to be multiplied by 6 more or less.
  4. Distance between hotels and the two masjids, Masjidil Haram and Masjid Nabawi.  Again, taking into consideration my aged mum and the kids.
  5. All in one room.  It will be good if all of us can stay in a room, rather than having to pay for two rooms or having my mother stays with another lady in another room.
And the search begins ...  I will let you know the result later :-)
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