Uber Uban

I googled “Brunei Melbourne” and several of my old blog posts showed up on the results page. Clicked randomly, and i was redirected to a blog post dating back to 2/8/2008. It’s like the universe is plotting to remind me that i would be turning 30 in a few days time. I don’t really like reading my old posts as most of them are cringe-worthy. Typically, I would usually just eye ball the page until i get to a picture or and old youtube video that i really like. Anyway, what caught my eye in this particular post is how i began the post by writing that “i have turned 17 and that i have another year before i can drive.”

The numbers just didnt add up. I’m pretty sure i was older than 17 in 2008 AND if it was ANYTHING that i can do, it was DRIVE. Also,if i was 17, in 2008..shouldn’t i be less than 30 in 2015? As i scrolled down the pages, it finally made sense; I’ve always celebrated every year of my birthday by turning 16! Naturally, 2008 wasn’t an exception. lol.

I was simply staying true to my age-defying skills. Anyhow, what really struck me is the fact that i have been lying about my age online for more than a decade. I remember the first time I started turning 16 every year…. i was only 18…and now…

i’m 30.

THIRTY…pretty trippy.

where did the time go??????
where have i been???
what have i achieved??????
what’s going to happen next???
WHY AM I NOT A MILLIONAIRE YET?????

I woke up today to the realization that the white streak in my hair is aged-induced..and not the delayed results from the use of cheap shampoo and rebonding procedures in my teens.

*gulp*.

sakkueyyyy…sakkueyyy…

Ok. let me just take some time to reflect (and listen to Back Street Boys) on this and i will revert with a more calm and collected post.

What i listen to these days.

In the car, i like to tune in to “Fun radio, le son dance floor”. i think it means, Fun radio, the dance floor. or something like that. there are two versions of the radio station. One plays alot of pop and the one i listen to plays mostly dance songs or pop songs that have been remixed to death. i like to call it: ‘fun radio, le son euro dangdut’. europeans like dancey tracks. and now, i kinda like it too. in moderation. some tracks that come on are just tres cringey. macam lagu ani:

ok. i admit, if i knew how to find the other channels on my ‘abang abang radio’ , i think i’d be listening to other stations that plays real music. but for now. in the name of convenience, let me le son dance floor! wooo *shakes hips left right* *fist pump* *fist pump*.

It’s an abang abang radio, because its one of those radios that you would find in car.. like a suzuki swift that has been modified to look like a mini cooper. lol. it has blue back lighting with words in digital font. the kind of font you’d see in a ticking bomb. hahaha. and i love it. i love my kereta buruk. it has everything and it gets me everywhere.

turning 30 in a week.

LE SON DANCE FLOOR!!

not……

edit: i google translated ‘le son’ and it actually means ‘the sound’.

Fitnah

What do we call a person who loves to spread Fitnah?

Cross-FITNAHter. hwahwahwa.

Unfortunately, someone closest to me became a victim of fitnah and i realised that this is something you wouldn’t even wish upon your worst enemies. Thank god, to date, i have been lucky that i’ve never been on the receiving end (or the one spreading it), but from what i’ve observed it can be pretty intense. mcm how the fuck do you bounce back from a fitnah? how do you prove to people that you’re not in the wrong? so you’ve decided to become the bigger person and choose to say nothing.. how do you sleep at night knowing that somebody out there is spreading fitnah about you and not Nutella?

mental ku eh. barat mata memandang barat lagi bahu memikul. org yang memfitnah atu siok plang eh..kikik kikik ya meliatkan giginya, puas atinya sudah ia MANANG…turunkannya sudah sleeve bajunya, ani kan sambung tidui ia takutnya nda sampat bangun sahur.

haha. but eventually, it will pass. let’s just hope it passes as quickly as it came.

folks, this is something that you shouldnt play around with. defaming others with baseless accusations. making up stories from thin air. a wise woman told me a long time ago.. something along the lines of never to deprive others from their fortune or rezeki. this probably falls into the same story line. it’s one of those things that you should really really stay away from. Why put people’s lives in jeopardy like that?

the way i’d approach it, if i have a problem with that person, its either i ignore their existence completely unless ia mengacau aku OR if it’s something no longer tolerable, ku bawa tia kali duduk bisai bisai menganyam bakul. but hey. that’s just me. i’m confrontational like that. not confrontational in the way that i seek to crush and destroy but more of trying to understand why this person is acting the way that they are. this would be better than going ape shit and spreading lies.

[mun ia nda kan paham paham jua..bah maritah..BETATAK tah tani…aku pasang kuda kuda ni sudah. kek tapak kuda, 5 roll. semua bekacang. buruk tah gigimu ni…]

baik plang betikam ni daripada main fitnah fitnah ani. so yes. beumpama tah ku kan cerita ani, i now seek protection from fitnah in my daily doas. not just for me, but for my family, friends.. and you, reader of this post.

Selamat Hari Raya in advance everyone. Maaf Zahir dan batin.

ok. i will see you in court.

(squash court)

abientot.

Topik hari ani adalah Kurma.

Assalamualaikum selamat berpuasa *lirik lirik mata perasahan cute*

Topic hari ani adalah mengenai kurma, dan saya akan mulakan blog post ini dengan bertanya kepada kamu semua; APAKAH JENIS KURMA KEGEMARAN KAMU?

Kurma kegemaran saya adalah Kurma Mejdool kerna texture nya yang lembut seperti memakan dodol. Mungkin namanya sebenar adalah MejDODOL.

Selamat berpuasa semuanya.

(i have ran out of things to say in Malay)

My friends: Chocolate Chip Cookies.

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I’ve been craving for Chocolate chip cookies since i got here. Sure, gourmet chocolates are in abundance, pastries and breads but American desserts or at least the generic stuff that we’re used to like brownies, cookies, cupcakes are really hard to come by here. Particularly good ones. I think it was only quite recent that American inspired cafes started popping up in the city, and it seems that the bagel and cupcake wave is here to stay. I guess, I’m just going to have to wait a while until they’ve matured to the quality that i’m accustomed to 😛

I came from work exhausted, napped and woke up to the sun setting at 10pm. Because it was a Friday night, i decided to have a delicious conversation with my new housemate, Kitchen Aid. I got out my leftover salted European butter from the fridge (well here it’s just called butter) an egg , some flour and a bar of Varlhona from the pantry and browsed the web for a chocolate chip cookie recipe that uses salted butter.

I love salted butter, i grew up eating kueh-mueh made with Golden Churn..even after the controversy, it stays in the family like an adopted sibling. Unfortunately, i have not been able to bake with it as much as i want to. My enjoyment for baking with salted butter can only be fulfilled in certain baked goods like banana cakes and pastry dough for my portuguese eggtarts. I tried using them in my brownies but it failed to rise to the occasion. Read somewhere that the salt content may not work well in some recipes. Still, i like to keep some in the house, for those days when i crave for salted butter + Kaya on toast or salted butter on white rice + soy!!!!!!!!!!!

The way they’re sold here in grocery stores is interesting. In Brunei the unsalted butter are always labelled clearly on their packaging, here, it’s the other way around.. although i’m not quite sure since the labels are in French or Dutch or BOTH (like having them labelled in both French and Dutch would make it any easier for a foreigner kan?), but i have an inkling that unsalted butter is just ‘butter’ whilst the salted ones are clearly labelled. I need to get back to you guys on this. I’ve just bought a block without a label.. will let you know if my speculation is on point.

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Another thing that confuses me is the fact that i have not once seen Belgian baking chocolate at my local Carrefour. I found some Valrhona ones the other day, but they’re French, not that i’m complaining but i just think it’s a little bit odd.. its either they really dont carry them in normal grocery stores..or it’s my deficiency in the French language.. for all you know they’ve probably been staring at me from a section of the grocery aisles calling out to me in French, “Mademoiselle siti, cest moi!!!! le chocolat pour baking!!! ” and i’ll be like “Ai….kacang”.

Come Alive from Syazwana on Vimeo.

I love me some quality baking chocolates and i personally think that the best way to enjoy them are in chunks..be it in brownies or chocolate chip cookie and ice cream. You can’t really appreciate its quality when you’re incorporating them into cake batters. I also prefer using them in all-chocolate baked goods, the ones that are meant to be chocolatey in texture macam mousse kah.. pudding kah..those molten lava cake things kah ganache kah… So anyway, that’s exactly what i did. i chopped them up and folded them into my cookie dough mixture, chucked them in the oven and 7 minutes later i made myself a new group of salty-sweet-chocolatey friends, took pictures of them, tagged them on instagram and happily devoured them with a tall glass of milk.

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I adapted his recipe, changed the ratio of caster to brown sugar ever so slightly and they came out wonderful. I didn’t include any nuts in the recipe but it could’ve benefit from a sprinkling of nutmeg and cinnamon. The recipe’s also a good base for other flavoured salted chocolate chip cookies.. an image of matcha cookies with white chocolate chunks just popped up in my head as i’m typing this.

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I had left over dough and decided to make some more this morning in two batches using different cooking times – because i don’t have a life.

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The one with longer cooking time yielded a crisp textured cookie whilst the ones cooked slightly under stayed soft and gooey. I loved both. ok. i’m going to go talk to myself and follow the political developments of the #LGBT Movement in the Republic of the Kardashians.

Oh Bruce!

Happy weekend.

I’m a Century Gothic.

I’ve changed fonts. I’m reaffirming my commitment to blogging. Soon you’ll be seeing pictures, 6 second videos, double rainbows and flying pigs! Holla if you see me in Century Gothic. I’m a fan. Although, some people would take me for a Comic sans Script. I understand its essence, but the presentation is the tackiest of all fonts.

Century Gothic is probably a font that resembles my handwriting the closest. It also gives the impression of a neat and organised author, who comes across as serious tapi sebenarnya, inda. Like a shift dress, its versatility can take your look from day to night #banaitahtew lol. I like to think I’m every inch of a Century Gothic, but unfortunately, I’m only half neat, never organized and half the fun that I used to be, which really would make me HALF A CENTURY GOAT CHICK.

Since moving to Brussels, I’ve only started getting into a routine again. The last three months were a challenge, everyone talks about how wonderful it is to get posted but no one ever mentions the harshness of trying to adapt to a new environment, especially in the first few months – which I have now coined “posting blues”. I left Brunei on a high only to be dragged down by the European winter. I think I’ve touched on the challenges of transportation in my last post. Aside from weather, mobility, the language barrier, loneliness has a way of creeping in.

Fortunately with time, things have gotten a little better around here. I’ve started Bikram again and have been dragging myself to go every day after work. I’m in my fifth day and I’m already feeling alot better about myself. Between hot yoga and running, honestly I’d stick to running, but this tropical gal is not used to running against chilly winds.

Then I’ll drive home, make myself dinner, shower and fall asleep with whatever random Netflix movie playing in the background. Thank god for Netflix. I love Netflix. I love it. Love it love it. I think I’d die without it.

I’m looking forward to June just so that I’d have a new selection of things to watch. I’ve been staying home to watch TV so much that I’ve covered most of Netflix from A-to-Z including the Kids section. I finally saw the Prince of Egypt the other night. Following this, I’ve seen all the documentaries related to the book of exodus, bible, Egyptian Pharaohs the works of Aristotle and alexander the great (don’t worry, aku masih Islam, Alhamdulillah). Haha. But yeah that’s what happens when you put me in front of streaming media, once I start, I cannot stop. It’s like a sickness. It’s the same on YouTube, I know when I’ve reached the dark side when I can tell you the story of how Ayah Pin (the cult leader) was brought down by the Malaysian government. Hahahaha. I should really channel this obsessive compulsive behaviour to something that is more meaningful..macam…. macam…..*garu garu kepala*.. If I knew I won’t be spending so much time on YouTube and Netflix.

Oh. ya ah. Aside from that I’ve also been keeping myself busy in the kitchen. A craving for a Zinger was ultra-strong today. Belgium does not have KFC by the way, but they do have something similar called Hector and it’s just as delicious. Hector has been my psychiatrist since I arrived, prescribing me with daily painkillers of crusted fried chicken with a side of fries and drink. Comfort eating has never been this easy. Though it has been almost a week since I ditched him for a new therapist by the name of Bikram.

Anyway, going back on a diet isn’t as easy when you’ve spent three months of drowning your sorrows in fried chicken. So naturally today, I was craving for it. But I turned to my trusty air-fryer instead and made a healthier version of a fried chicken sandwich.

Airfried chicken sandwich

Didn’t really have an exact recipe for it. but I sourced inspiration from here.

One thing I love about living in Europe is the abundance of good butter and the wide variety of fresh bread. For this recipe, I used golden brioche buns, chicken was rested on a bed of spinach and cherry tomatoes topped with a dollop of peppered Kewpie. One thing I’ll do differently next time is to brush the battered chicken lightly with olive oil instead of coconut oil before popping it into the fryer.

I also took the liberty of brining the chicken breasts first. I’m always careful when frying chicken breasts in the air fryer as the end-product could come out dry, tasteless and FOWL.

Hahahaahahah this is why I’m COMIC SANS SCRIPT. Urghh.

Anyway, goodnight.

I’m going to start something.

I’m not sure what it’s going to be yet. But it’s going to be something. My thoughts have been bugging me to write frequently. But I’m not sure how appropriate that would be given my circumstances. Unlike a teenager or a university student, I don’t exactly have the same freedom to write whatever I want without being given shit for it. But I’m sure there’s a way out of it. I’m sure it would be ok if I was to just stick to non-work related stuff. Inda kan atu jua inda dapat kan? Is there anyone out there who would criticize me for writing about how the other day I was honked for taking up too much lane space kah or how the other day the butchers sent me home with free sprigs of coriander sama mint? Maybe I think too much. Maybe I care too much about what people say to the point that it stops me from doing the things I love to do. I’ve been documenting my life ever since I was introduced to the concept of journal keeping. I think it was in 1995. I was in primary 5 then. Mom bought me a diary with a nice lock on it…on a second thought perhaps.. I should keep this thing locked? haha. I think too much.

So ok.. how have I been settling in? I’ve started cooking again and gaining weight (again). I think I’ve gained a total of 10kgs since I arrived Bruxelles. Apart from forcing myself to go to Bikram Yoga I’ve also been trying to avoid sugar at all costs (and miserably failing) mcm rasanya kan ku putung ni tangan ah. Just this morning I had a Portuguese egg tart and 2 pcs of ‘biskut london’ …i only had two pieces pasal the rest i had all to myself a week ago. antah bagas raya tahun lapas kali ampai2 di opis. nyaman jua. di makan jua. ampai ampai tia pebaik lapas raya tahun 1991…ku makan jua tu.

Sunyi disini ani. I don’t have that many friends. I know I should be out making new friends but it’s not as easy as you would think. I’ve never had problems making friends before but it has proved to be a challenge when you live half an hour outside the city centre and you need a car to get you everywhere. Unlike New York, Melbourne, Singapore…all other great cities of the world, a car is a necessity here. Pebaik tah kan membali barus gigi ataupun barus dawai arah kadai runcit sebalah. beguna jua masih kereta. Yep. Macam di Brunei, but on un-subsidized fuel hehe.

I’m still getting used to driving on the WRONG SIDE OF THE ROAD and in MY lane. Don’t get me started on how small the lanes are in this country. It’s so small… you wonder how they are allowed to DRIVE CARS in the first place. and then you have the hook turns. hook freaking turns. I’m familiar with the concept. it was a ‘thing’ in Melbourne too. It’s where you drive slowly to the middle of the road (remembering to stay in your innie minnie teeny weeny lane) and turn in to the simpang of your dreams when there’s no more oncoming traffic. Between focusing to stay in my own lane and anticipating the right time to turn.. honestly, I’d rather be donating blood. Same level of anxiety. Tapi at least di hospital, aku inda kana HON.

Such a paloi practice. but I guess if it saves up the government’s money by sticking to the 3-coloured traffic light saja… I GUESS IT’S OK. I GUESS LAH. GUESS. I’m not sure, but I’m just GUESSING………………………*takan hon kuat kuat* …mahal bah indicator arrow kekanan atu.. arrow kekanan sudah $1…arrow kekiri sudah $1 bagi lampong lagi $0.50 #banaitahtew tau tau yang menghon ani bebayar jua.

I’ve had my car for almost a month now. I can drive to Carrefour and Bikram. Carrefour is this world’s version of Huaho. It’s not pronounced as CARREY FOUR (like how ive been pronouncing it in the last 5 years of my life)..but KAR-FU. French tah jua banar. I’m just sick of being corrected all the time. like the English language, the same arrogance is applied to French.

Take the word BOBOI for example. No, it isn’t BO-BOY. It’s BO BWAAAAAA.. *magic fingers* . And just when you think you’ve got the hang of reading French. Guess what. No, madame. You don’t. The other day in the car, I saw a sign that read ROCHE BOBOI.. thanks to Ferrero Rocher, I thought I had in the bag. My mistake was to have read it out loud. Hehe.. ROSHEY..BOBOY.. driver turned to me and went..’its Bo BOA huh!’. And then there’s the french and their HUHs …they sound like they’re asking questions all the time. Mcm “huh?”, ” Huh?” ” Kau nda tau? Aku lagi inda tau”.

But yeah this whole french pronunciation dilemma, it can be a tad patronizing. Haha. So sometimes, just to fuck them up balik, I like to respond in my most poshest English accent. Even if ITS MEANS I’M TALKS LIKE THIS, JUST MAKES SURE YOU ACCENT IS ENGLISH TO THE POWER OF 10000 HORSE POWER.

Easy.

I hope to write again soon.

Ok. A bientot (the T is silent in this one cause there’s no vowel at the end, mana saja lah pak yoU).

Style ku seratus.

Constantly wiping off croissant crumbs from the corners of my mouth, dari baju, dari mija , dari screen telipun, dari screen laptop… a sure sign that 1. IM DEFINITELY NOT HUNGRY 2. im being over-fed with croissants. mcm grass-fed chicken rasaku.. tapi aku croissant-fed human, kalau ku kan kana sembalih awal ani lamak kali, mcm mentiga.

Croissant crumbs for me these days are the equivalent to cat fur.oh, whaddaya know! have a new pet croissant.

ive moved in to my VERY SMALL house (with 5 bedrooms and a futsal-sized backyard). thank god babu and twana rose are here to help me pack and unpack. of course, it would be even better if the rest of the Harun pack were here.i have all the space in the world to fit 2 families in my home. It’s ok. i still consider myself the luckiest gal in this whole wide world for 1. being fed croissants on an almost-daily basis 2. having the best mommy and sister in this whole wide world 3. lawa lagu “Baek” ani.

ive bought two sets of tv. satu untuk living room. satu untuk bedroom. at least inda sunyi. isuk isuk tetalan tv. juling ku meliat tv the whole weekend ah. im toying with the idea of getting a cat. but im trying to jaga hati Pepinot. Tapi ku dangar, Pepinot is growing fond of Maimunah (the housemaid).

maybe i should get a Maimunah, just to piss him off. ada ada saja nama amah kami dirumah atu.. ariatu si Maggi, sekali si Nini..lapas atu si Maimunah. kami tukar tukar amah mcm tukar baju dalam. bukan pasal kami mau. pasal pandai hapak.

in anycase, its not even April yet and im already broke. I made it rain in Ikea and Media Markt over the weekend and now i have to raise money for a car. I’ve accepted the fact that i’m going to be staying in the ulu-ulu of Brussels. i just need to seal this acceptance with a second-hand car.

i will try to make the best out of these 3 years. i don’t want to go home feeling that ive wasted my time on something that i i had initially wanted so badly.

always fucking count your blessings syaz. even if your fingers are numb from the unforgiving cold weather.

“COME WHAT MAY” GAME ON STRONG.

Mesti pandai beshukur. tahu beshukur. ingat beshukur. beshukur lah. kalau nama mu si Shukur, shukur alhamdulillah.

kiss me.

Jemapelle Sas, Je suis Bruneian.

In a new land. This time for a 3 year stint.

So it’s just me and my thoughts again- and a bottle of what i had mistaken for ‘strawberry milk’. That’s one of the things i hate about being in a foreign land – the language barrier. It’s even more difficult when this foreign land has two official languages. Dutch and French. Trips to supermarkets can’t be anymore confusing! Aisles and Aisles and Aisles are stocked up with products labelled both in Dutch and French. Good thing i have been acquainted to smoked Salmon..bringing home the BACON is just something that doesn’t apply to me haha. And so, the struggle to tell the difference between strawberry milk and strawberry YOGHURT DRINK begins. It may take a while. But i’ll get there.

I’ve enrolled in Bikram Yoga cause i’ve made up my mental strength that i am not able to run in the dead of winter. I had my first class today and fortunately it was carried-out in English with a heavy European accent. It was hard not to giggle when the instructor kept on telling the class to POO (pull) POO (pull) POO and POO (pull). So there i was POO-ing the afternoon away in a 40 degree heated room, like it was nobody’s BUSINESS. hahahahaha see what i did there?

It’s the weekend. The city’s pretty quiet in comparison to NY which i had the opportunity to spend 3 months last year for work. I guess any city dims in comparison to NYC. hahaaha there’s no place quite like it. I just realised that i didn’t document any of my time there on the blog.I guess work had kept me busy.

It’s funny how i get to spend a full season of winter, the first half in new york and the second in Brussels with a short break in the tropical island of Borneo in between. Haha. I think my tan gave me away here.. one look, and these people know that i’m fresh off the boat.

Being alone again also means that i have upped my social media game..i am now not only Facebook, Twitter and Instagram but i’ve also signed up to Path, Soundcloud, SNAP CHAT, Oovoo, skype, google+ , vine….and the list is endless. I am also happy to find out that NETFLIX have just gone online in Belgium – i am over the moon.

Anyway, i should shower. I hope to write again soon.

a bientot.

kiss me.

Sounds of home.

so puasa came..and went. raya’s practically over now that i have started work again. but its ok. i think i made the most out of ramadhan and raya this year. i caught up with my running and i think i’m the fittest that i’ve been since the start of last year. i just realised how much i love being outside. i enjoy watching sunsets at a pace of 8km/h. Sunsets in Brunei are not to be missed. even when its hot and it feels like a hairdryer outside, one should never take the blue bruneian skies for granted.

ive to come to realise this raya that it’s the little things that matter. i’m at my happiest when i’m at home. it’s a good thing that i live in a full house ..although it can get pretty quiet… but most times there’s just so many things going on that i dont know where or how to start documenting it..

haha like the other night as i was going to bed, i could hear my dad replaying what could be a video of him belting out to Ismail Marzuki’s Rindu Lukisan over and over and over and over and over and over to the point that i fell asleep.. half annoyed at my dad’s narcissistic side.. half of me also felt secure knowing that my dad is still up to protect the house and family from any harm.

And then there’s the happy giggles and cries of baby Safa – my one year old niece, whose presence has only made the house an even more better place to live in.

In the afternoons or sometimes even in the middle of the night there’s always at least ONE family member including myself or BAPA calling for Bane (the house cat, we have TWO) to come home. Pepinot (the other cat) every now and then would also kick up a fuss if Bane’s away from the house for too long..at this point Pep would start meowing AT ME to call on Bane to come home..and i would immediately obey.

Every Sundays from 2-4pm there would be continuos ringing of the door bell for Brownie o’clock thats when we have people coming over to collect their chocolate fix. I also love it when my siblings come together to sing on the piano or the guitar and the laughter that would follow from the jokes and make fun that we throw at each other. It’s also a wonderful thing that we live near the mosque and i find comfort in the calls of prayer through out the day.

one of the most valuable lessons that i’ve discovered in the last couple of months..is that one must truly know how to laugh at themselves BEFORE ANYTHING ELSE. it doesn’t only make you realise that you are not any better than anyone else..but at some point..i believe that it does help with things like….self confidence..some say, you only grow up when you have your first real laugh – at yourself! haha so yeah happy belated birthday to me :)

this is going to be the LAST YEAR of my twenties *gasp* Note to self: find a husband.

work is back on full gear. i can only hope that i don’t fall off this happy bandwagon that i’m currently riding. i must for the life of me..learn to multi-task efficiently. i must find that elusive work-life balance that people are constantly promoting.

so before i start ranting about work.. i should stop at this happy place and i would like to wish my readers.. whoever you are, i hope it’s not too late for me to wish you a Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Maaf Zahir dan Batin, i doa for you all the peace and happiness in this whole wide world and akhirat.

kiss me.