Tuesday, 21 February 2017

14. Home

Home is where the fridge is always full.

Home is where the wifi connects automatically.

Home is where I'm most comfortable to take a dump & pee (I avoid public toilets to the best of my abilities).

Home is where my siblings' neverending rows take place, where I preside as the peacemaker.

Home is where my relatives & I tease, insult, and make self deprecating jokes about each other.

Home is where Nenek lies down and beckons me to massage her feet.

Home is when I make a bolt for the freezer and take out the meat-filled ice cream box and pray to God that every traffic light turns red on Mama's way home.

Home is when people at a kenduri reckon me as the youngest of my siblings because I'm the shortest.

Home is when I throw my hands up in chagrin as my siblings' yells go on and on, but never will I give them up as a lost cause.

Home is when I slam the door shut one night and open it again the next morning, in silent reconciliation with Mama.

Home is where Atuk smiles and waves and says, "Teh tarik satu,".

Home is when I ring them on Facetime, and the iPad gets passed around because no one wants to talk to me at 6.30 pm on a weekday. Apparently a Malay drama on TV3 > me -_- And even when I phone at a different time, there'll be the usual banter "Siapa delete cerita yg Mama record?!".

Home is where my little cousins are, crouching behind a sofa in a game of Hide & Seek, or perched in front of Upin & Ipin, or in a circle with their feet pointing to one common spot as one of them sings Din din din, aladdin.

Home is where my cousin Kak Aisyah's shrill voice fills the space, "Miqdad meh sini pakai bajuuu,"

Home is when my younger brother greets me with his default "Oi gemuk. Tengok tu, pipi je dah makan separuh screen ipad ni ha,"

Bonus :

My MOSTTTT favourite video on Youtube. SO. CUUUUTE!! Especially her, "One day I'm gonna whistle?" at 1:48.

6 years later, and now she can whistle!!!!! My heart!!!!! :')

What/where/who/when is your home?

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Slow Week

So I had a lackadaisical week last week. Time behaved in a peculiar fashion, I thought all the clocks around me had arthritic hands because the week was going by very, very, very slowly. I was tired and uninspired and unmotivated, except for that one time I had an argument with a patient about my age.

We were in the flexible cystoscopy (a camera test up your urethra to look at your urinary bladder) room, the patient and I, as well as a registrar and two nurses. After getting the reassurance that his bladder's all clear & normal and that he has nothing to worry about, he profusely thanked the registrar, and then turned to me looking slightly perplexed.

"Aren't you too young to be a doctor?"

"I'm not a doctor yet, but I'm 23,"

"23?" his eyes widened before he added, "IMPOSSIBLE! You must be 16,". He shuffled out of the room and then told the nurse at the reception, "There's a 12-year-old girl in there,". Hahaha.

But yeah apart from that, I was not in the mood at all. My head was not in the game. I just wanted Friday to come quickly so I can go back to London.

Friday finally came!! I know it's just mind over matter but it was a beaaaaautiful day!! The weather was not too cold but it was not too hot either, just nice. The sky was blue. Birds were chirping. Ducks were quacking. I felt a sudden upsurge of motivation. I boarded the train to London, and 1 hour+ later I found myself pushing the key in the lock of my flat door in London.

If I could just kiss the carpeted floor!!! 

And hug my bed!!! 

And profess my affection for the kitchen!!! 

And tell Ulfah that life just isn't the same without her!!!

How was your week?

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

5. This Road

For some reason I was standing in the middle of a long, winding road.

Wait, where was I?

"Fucking hell!" that came with a complete set of rage, drops of sweat, a middle finger wagging left and right, wrath and a furrow so deep it almost swallowed the almond shaped eyes of the lady. There before her eyes laid a standstill of vehicles big and small lining up in what seemed like an endless queue. God knows what awaited at the end of it. Her fingers which were clenching the steering wheel just seconds ago were now balled up into a fist, hitting the central area hard.

Off went a honk. And another. And another.

"Just move along already!", she yelled. She had hoped that any of the things she was doing would somehow ease the congestion but for what it's worth, if not completely stagnant, everything in front of her seemed to be moving by only a few millimetres. 

The chemicals on her face melted away in the blazing heat. "And you son of gun of an air cond decided to just not function today? Of all days!", she muttered under her breath, before adding "At least he gets to be in an air conditioned misery," as she eyed the silver BMW next to her.

He stole yet another glance at the time on his wrist. It'd been 58 minutes and 30 seconds. 31. 32. 33. "Oh come on! Are you kidding me?!". Seated right next to him were piles of paperwork and files, on the topmost written the name Richard Johnson.

Hey, I knew Richard Johnson.

This BMW guy was late, I assumed. Had he chosen a different route to his office, had he taken a lighter breakfast, had he taken a shorter shower, by now he'd probably be shaking hands in exchange to the largest deal that the typhoon Richard Johnson was going to give him. But damn it he misjudged the whole situation that would happen today, and now the error of judgement was going to cost him his own company. 

"For crying out loud!! Make way!!!" and with that, another honk went off in the air.

What was I doing here?

I realised I was the odd one in that scene. I was on my own two feet in a sea of immobile cars. Taking a few steps further to the front, I saw a guy on a motorcycle precariously finding way through any fenestration that would permit him.

"Excuse me! A full bladder coming through," he said, the edge of his motorcycle so close to making contact with the car next to him. "Jesus christ I need to pee!!" he exclaimed defiantly at the disapproving, disgruntled honks of other drivers.

Where was I?

I paced further to the front, observed and analysed more drivers. The only thing they seemed to share in common at that point of time was anger. Everyone was at their boiling point. I ran further, stopping in my tracks several times to inspect and speculate.

An elderly man who was probably running out of time to catch his granddaughter's piano recital, and judging by the grey that was taking over his head, was he running out of time for his life as well?

A group of friends whose best lain road trip plan had gone awry. I wondered if this trip strengthened their friendship or ruined it.

My running feet brought me forward. 

A student without a driving license, praying in sky high hopes that the cause of the traffic jam was not the goddamned police. Was this not his first time sneaking away his father's car? Was he up a creek if caught, again?

An average man with a nearly empty petrol tank. I wondered if he could make it to the nearest petrol station before his engine dies.

A middle-aged woman who was trying to hush the deafening cry of her temperamental infant with Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, but there was a strain in her voice and the vein on her temple was bulging. I wondered if she remembered how she first set eyes on her newborn baby.

"Why is it called the rush hour? EVERYONE, STOP RUSHING!" a guy in his 30s shouted to the stock-still traffic. The bags under his eyes gave him a rather doleful look, like he was this close to a breakdown, like he was on 9th cup of coffee no matter what time of the day it was. He reeked of cheap aftershave and yesterday's takeout. I wondered if the office life was everything he had hoped it to be when he was 20.

There was more of the road ahead to wander and more people to wonder about, but most importantly I wondered why was I here. Where exactly was 'here'? In all the kerfuffle on this road, nobody seemed to notice me. Nobody batted an eye on a lone guy running in the middle of the road.

I ran further and further and further. And then, there it was. In the middle of the road, there lied a horrendous mess of black, green, white and red. Whatever that was. 

But God did it smell awful! I cringed once my detectors sensed the foul stench, it smelled like bad milk and egg fermented for over 3 months. I took a few steps forward to take a closer, clearer look of the mess. As I moved closer I got more and more disgusted, as more and more details unfolded before me.

Was that.. flesh? What the hell. 

And that? No. That could not be it. That could not be a detached organ. And those? THOSE... INTESTINES? I began identifying discrete body parts. Aghast and horrified at the discrepancy of it all. The lacerated skin. The phalanges. I took all of these in, absorbing, trying to digest and compute the information I just perceived via my senses. The whole enchilada gave me tremors. I quivered when I came to realise that..

The red bath... Was blood bath.

I drew the conclusion that this tangled, haphazard mess was once a normal, one-piece body. Like a puzzle, I put the pieces back to their designated places.


Was that... sauce? Chili sauce? Crack. What the hell did I just step on? I bent, only to find a piece of glass cutting straight into my foot, but why didn't it hurt? On inspection of all around me, I then realised around me there a million pieces of glass, covered in the unmistakable chili sauce.

And then it occurred to me. This whole scenario invoked one thing in particular. The faint voice of my mother resonated in my ears, eerily loud and clear. "Aaron, don't forget to buy the chili sauce."

The carcass belonged to.. me?

Everything rushed from the back of my head, a blizzard of memories. One information after another, hastily resurfacing. I began recollecting, I remembered the bickering, I remembered stomping on the floor. I remembered refusing to obey the order my mother. And most of all, I remembered the last words my teenage self mouthed to her, in enmity, prior to my leaving the house.

"I hate you, mum."

I wondered what my mother would say if she could see me now, on this road. I wondered if this was a good litmus test to elicit her knee-jerk emotion: frustration that the chili bottle had shattered or sadness that her son had passed on.

Thursday, 9 February 2017


Story time!

3 years ago when I started applying for universities and the UK Visa, I made the gaffe of putting Binti at the beginning of my surname instead of the end of my forename, unable to foresee the repercussions of my action. So yeah, in other words, my last name is effectively Binti Hasbullah. 

If only I knew what kind of domino effect that one little seemingly harmless action can set off....

I'll tell you about one fragment of the domino effect.

There's this consultant at the hospital I'm currently attached to who calls me Binti. 

Today, he decided to give me a nickname.

He called me Bin.

That's right, guys. I'm no longer Shahirah. Uh please, Shahirah is so yesterday. I'm a brand new person today. Allow me to reintroduce myself.

You have no idea how agonising it was to refrain myself from laughing in front of him & the patient.

PS: The word bin and binti can be translated as 'son of' and 'daughter of' respectively. They originate from the Arabic word ibn which is used to indicate a person's heritage essentially. Ibn Sina (known in the Western world as Avicenna), for example, literally means 'son of Sina'. So calling me Binti is equivalent to calling me Daughter Of. 

Not only is it funny, it makes no sense, hahaha.

And calling me Bin just turns me into a male....... HAHA.

Take it from me, guys, don't put bin/binti in your last name!!!

Monday, 6 February 2017


Walked into Primark wearing a Primark top & a Primark bag and feeling like an absolute thief.

You can call me Primark Girl

Don't know why I feel the need to blog about it haha, some quality blog content right there.

Have a good week ahead, yeoreobun! Stay warm, stay hydrated, and stay tuned for more posts from me cewah hahaha okay that's enough.

Tourist Guide

One of the perks of studying in London is there's almost never a shortage of guests to host because people come here all. The. Time. From other parts of the UK, from the US, from Aussie, from Malaysia. I instinctively assume the responsibility of making their stay in London the best traveling experience yet, which involves putting my Tourist Guide cap on and revisiting touristy spots again and again and again and no, it doesn't get boring. Every single time is refreshingly fun with different people :)

But it's a load of pressure to be honest, because I feel like London doesn't have that much to offer to begin with - I mean, it's a big city with nice buildings, sure, and that's about it. What else is there? I want to brag about the transportation system but who does that???

"I never have to wait more than 4 minutes for the Central line, talk about efficiency," (flares nostrils) (ignores the fact that the Hammersmith & City line doesn't even tell when the next train is coming, in 5 minutes? 10 minutes? Wallahu'alam). Uhhh not fab.

So I end up squeezing every last drop of London's juice by hyping things up with facts & trivia that I'm sure half of the world already knows. 

Like, "Oh you probably thought London Bridge is the pretty one but tetttt you're wrong. It's actually Tower Bridge. London Bridge is just another typical, boring bridge,".

Or, "Big Ben is actually the name of the bell itself, y'know. The tower is called Elizabeth Tower," (cue my intelligent smug face).

The hyping strategy, and also praying hard that the sun comes out for the love of God!!! It incurs great damage to my reputation when I have to constantly apologise for London's gloomy weather & convince my guests that "London's actually gorgeous ok it's just a bad day we all have bad days,".

Shaza ft Tower Bridge

Shaza ft Big Ben (love this photo for some unknown reason!)

I hereby dedicate the song Tolong Tepi Sikit to the uncle who's blocking the view

Ezryn & Shaza ft Oxford Street's Christmas lights!

To buy or not to buy; that is the question -Soliloquy of a millennial.

Here's my friend from primary school, Fat! We go waaaay back.

Fat & her family at Hyde Park

We used to be the same height. But she grew up, I grew sideways...

Najah & Mahi, who are my friends from MRSM, and Tini, their friend from Aussie

Mahi and myself

Breaking ribs from laughter & eating ribs for lunch at Big Moe's Diner. These girls brought sunshine to a cloudy day