Archive for the ‘Haziq’s obstacles’ Category

Of festivals and feasting


SELAMAT HARI RAYA to all Malaysians and a Happy Eid Mubarak for the rest of the world. Another year of completion of the month of fasting.

I'm on the right in my usual stiff pose. Behind us is Granduncle's kampung (village) house.

Last week we went back to Linggi, our kampung (village, hometown) to celebrate Hari Raya with our huge extended family. How huge? Picture a football-sized field (almost) with dozens of parked cars and a sizeable canopy enough to shield close to a  hundred people from the sun while they enjoyed a hearty feast. I do not know half of the family and I don’t remember the names of the half that I do know. Festivals like these are more often for me just blurred memories filled with laughter (of other people), lots of food and relatives dressed in their best. The part I like best about going back to the kampung is the chance to pet and feed the baby goats that belong to grand-uncle.

It used to be a terrible, tormented time for me because I would keep my hands pressed on my ears to keep out the painful noise and when it got too much I would just sit and cry for hours. Mum refused to stay away or keep me secluded in a quiet room. She kept whispering “it’s alright, we will overcome” as she rocked me back and forth. And I did overcome. By the time I was 5 years old  I was able to join in the festivities without freaking out. The next thing I had to learn was to fight the temptation of  the sweet stuff. It was everywhere I looked, unlike at home where there wasn’t a trace of sugar due to my strict no-sugar diet. You can’t imagine what it’s like to see the spread of mouth-watering desserts and not being allowed to eat it. Of course, the ugly tantrums made its appearance. Relatives told Mum to relax, let the poor kid have some…after all it’s Hari Raya. Mum did not budge. The only exception she made was to allow me the colorful non-aerated drinks…….diluted so much that it tasted like plain water but I was none the wiser.

Road sign named after my great-grandfather

This road is named after my great-grandfather, Dato' Hj Mohd Yusof. A school behind me is also named after him.

On the way home, Dad stopped by a road sign and told me that the school and road was named after my great-grandfather, Haji Mohd Yusof. Wow, I think its cool to have a school AND road named after you don’t you think? Never mind if it’s just a small road in the village. It means my great-grandfather must have played an important role in the community and this is the way he is honored and remembered by the said community. He was known to be a serious, highly respected man whose occupation was then known as  ‘visiting school inspector’. Mum said I may never have a road named after me but hey, I have a blog in my name. That’s pretty cool too.

“No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave.” –

Calvin Coolidge, American 30th President of the U.S.A

“You never monkey with the truth” – Ben Bradlee


Shodo Shima, Japan - Huddled for warmth, macaques press their bodies into a vast ball of fur. The monkeys' relaxed social hierarchy allows high- and low-ranking individuals to share the same tight space. (Yushiro Fukuda)

These macaques keep warm by pressing their bodies into a big ball of fur.

I like this photo lots. I have never seen anything like it. I’ve seen plenty of monkeys (these are macaques actually) but not with funny red faces. What I don’t understand is how they can all press closely together like a big ball of fur. They actually seem to enjoy it!. Mum explains that macaques do that to keep warm because the climate there in Shodo Shima, Japan is very, very cold. I’m glad I’m not a macaque because I would not be able to handle that much of body contact. I guess some of you may know that autistic people  have different levels of tolerance to touch. I enjoy a hug or two even though myposture is a bit stiff. I had to get used to it cos Dad always kids around with me, giving me claps on the back and big bear hugs.

But till today, in about a minute I’m squirming to get away. However, on the morning of Hari Raya (Eid, celebration of completion of the fasting month) I accept the hugs willingly. It feels right. I don’t winch.

A bear hug from Dad

Why?. Maybe it’ s because of the joy in the air and some part of my brain tells me its okay, relax….. today is after all, a special day.

You would think that a guy who doesn’t do hugs all that well would clearly understand the concept of “personal space”. Well it doesn’t work that way. For a very long time Mum had to train me not to stand too close to another person (especially female). It makes that person very uncomfortable or even angry she says. Something about it ‘not being right’. Duh, SOMEBODY TELL THAT TO THESE MONKEYS!!

* Haziq’s Mum here. I try to end each post with a meaningful or humorous quote. Surprisingly I could find only 2 quotes on the subject of personal space. One was more like a cheesy pick-up line than a quote and the other?? Are you ready?  Utinam barbari spatium proprium tuum invadant! – May barbarians invade your personal space! ….. Now if that’s not a bone-chilling Latin curse; I don’t know what is.

Footnote: For the rest of us, evolution seems to have programmed this discomfort via a brain structure called the amygdalae, a pair of almond-shaped brain regions deep within each temporal lobe that control fear and the processing of emotion. It’s your amygdalae that keep you from getting so close to another person that he could easily reach out, gouge an eye, and then drag you off by your hair. Be convinced at http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1919910,00.html

With……imagination


Wish you could ride a bicycle ? If you’re like Haziq, with a balancing problem that makes riding a gargantuan task then read on. Here’s a temporary solution for balance-challenged folks like yourselves. Use your imagination says Spongebob and this creative chap below.

Spongebob: With…imagination (makes a rainbow with his hands) ..I can be anything I want! A pirate! Arr! A football player! Hutt
Patrick: A starfish!
Squidward: Patrick, you’re already a starfish.
Patrick: See, Squidward? It works! You try!

I'm using my imagination. Pedal faster, faster

I’m sorry Dad


Today is a BAD day. This morning I fought with Dad. Actually I went into a complete rage. I tried to hit and kick my Dad. He was shocked. I have not lost control like this for a very long time. I let myself step off the edge and plunge into that black hole. I see the disappointment on Mum’s face. I hang my head low. I am ashamed.

All is calm now. My face is no longer red and my hands have stopped shaking. Dad and I have cooled down and made up. He tells me to get ready to go to the barber. That’s what the fight was about. He promised me a haircut.

*a note from Haziq’s Mum – Dad admits it was mostly his fault. Yesterday he promised to take Haziq to the barber at 10.00am and did not keep to it. Worse, he started to scold Haziq for disturbing him. One thing led to another and tempers flared. A word of advice; keep your promises to your children. You are the whole world to them. They cannot bear to be let down by people they look up to in life. Doesn’t matter how trivial the matter. Nothing promised is trivial to children …especially to special children.