Saturday, April 14, 2012

Introducing Wan Amirul Asyraf

A brand new family member joined us today (April 14, 2012), Wan Amirul Asyraf, a 3.32 kg baby boy to our son Wan Mohamed Nazim and wife, Nor Sherliza.  He came in early in the morning at about 3:40 am via cesarean.  The C cannot be helped as his heartbeat was getting irregular and no longer in synchrony with the mom's.  So rather than risk it, a C it was.  Alhamdulillah, he came out healthy pink.

Hello I come

Thursday, April 12, 2012

My quip collection

We had our hotel assigned for our Mekkah stay.  But as always, one should never be too sure when dealing with these people.  Either they are a confused lot or never get to understand the word 'reserved' and 'paid for'.  Just because a new somebody offered to pay at a much higher rate, come the day the unlucky ones would have no place to lodge.  That was what happened to our jemaah during our recent umrah trip.  Good for us that our travel agent is experienced and has been through such treatment before.  So there goes our abode that was meant to be close to the Al-Haram.  Our mutawif is never without humour.  Though to take it as a test (dugaan) we were warned not to blanket our condemnation but be specific.  So no such saying as, "tak guna punya Pak Arab", we are to limit it to, "tak guna punya orang Saudi!".  The caution is that the Holy Prophet was also an Arab and he remained an Al-Amin to the core. 

For the Mekkah stay, distance matters a lot as we would prefer to be at the Al-Haram Mosque possibly for all the five prayers.  While on the bus towards Mekkah, we were told that the new abode would be a 5-Star establishment but slightly further away compared to what was previously reserved for us.  The mutawif again humorously warned us, 'It's not that far from Al-Haram but it'll be near to the eyes but a slight distance to the feet (dekat di mata, tapi jauh di kaki!)'.  Indeed it was a 15-minutes walk one way in the dusty heat amidst the umrah crowd.

As always one of the trips that we took while in Mekkah was the one to Arafah.  There was much improvement in physical facilities compared to on my last visit about 10 years back.  While my son and daughter took to conquering Jabal Rahmah, we walked around at the foot of the hill.  Our mutawif again came up with tales how jemaah were immediately rewarded for their prayers.  In the heat, one is bound to ask for rain and rained it did.  Upon scrutiny the rain was from the time relay sprinklers rather than from the sky.  What matters was that it was a prayer answered, a respite from the blistering heat!

We have nine year-old Ikmal in our group.  He did OK in performing two umrahs but was pestering to be assisted in the third do, especially in performing the saei', the seven round Mount Safar-Marwah walk.  The mother was full of encouragement and narrating the difficult time that Siti Hajar was having and for him to have the willpower to do likewise.  His response, "I have the willpower but I need the wheelchair more!".  It took our mutawif to pacify him and walked he did.  Great boy Ikmal, just that no way was he going to shave bald his head for the tahalul.  "My head is already small, I don't want to look funny".  Vanity won the day.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Latest.....Closure of the Ottoman Empire (Yahoo News; April 4, 2012)

Twice-exiled former Ottoman princess dies

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Neslisah Osmanoglu, an Ottoman princess who married an Egyptian prince and was twice forced into exile when both royal households were abolished, has died. She was 91.

Neslisah Sultan, or Princess Neslisah, died in Istanbul on Monday, according to her nephew, Abdulhamid Kayihan Osmanoglu. He didn't give the cause of death, but new reports said it was a heart attack. A funeral ceremony was being held Tuesday for the princess, who was the oldest member of the Ottoman dynasty.

Neslisah Sultan was born in Istanbul on Feb. 4, 1921, two years before the Turkish Republic replaced the Ottoman Empire, which had ruled Turkey, parts of the Middle East and eastern Europe for 600 years.

Her grandfather, the last Ottoman Sultan Vahdettin, and all other members of the dynasty were sent into exile in 1924, and the princess spent her childhood and adolescence in Nice, France, before moving to Egypt.

"When we were in exile we lived longing for the country," she told historian Murat Bardakci, whose biography of the princess was published last year. "My mother had friends who would go to Istanbul. I would ask them to bring me back a bit of soil from Istanbul, but none did."

Ottoman princesses were traditionally married to members of Muslim royal families, and in 1940, Neslihan Sultan married Egyptian Prince Muhammed Abdel Monem. Prince Monem headed a regency committee that ruled from July 1952 to June 1953, when the new rulers of Egypt turned the country into a republic.

The royal couple were placed under house arrest, accused of being part of an international plot against the Egyptian government of Gamal Abdel Nasser, but acquitted and forced to leave the country.

Exiled for a second time, Neslisah Sultan returned to live in France with her husband.
In 1952, the Turkish government allowed female members of the Ottoman family to return to Turkey, and the prince and princess moved to Istanbul in 1957.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan praised the late princess.
"She was the poster-child for nobleness who carried the blood of Osman," he said in Parliament, referring to Osman I, the Anatolian ruler who established the Ottoman Empire. "We remember her with high regard and our blessings."
The princess took the surname Osmanoglu, or son of Osman, along with other surviving members of the dynasty.

"When I go out in the streets, I see that all nice things were built by my grandfathers," she told Bardakci. "I therefore cannot help think that they belong to me. I feel like I am a part of this place and that I belong to this land."

Prince Monem, who was born in 1899, died in Istanbul in 1979.

Neslisah Sultan is survived by a son, daughter and a grandson.
Associated Press writer Maamoun Youssef in Cairo contributed.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Istanbul Experience (Part 2)

Food is no big worry travelling in Turkey.  For one getting halal food is no big issue.  EgyptAir serves all halal food and rice has always been on the menu.  Having rice on the menu is critical to the one particular Melayu totok in the family.  We travelled nights and flying away from the rising sun, so it was dinner after dinner.

The EgyptAir dinner.

Turkish lunch is laden with vegetable and bread with lentil soup.

Else it'll be BBQed chicken or beef.

The Turkish Grand Bazaar.  It boasted of over 4000 shop lots but
 we were  given over an hour to browse the place!
Must understand the rush to get the 'I love Istanbul' T-shirts.
The ceramics on display........

Aiman pride herself with her choice, a pair of hand crafted canvas shoes
 with leather linings.  A delayed purchase after a day of shivering in the cold.

Next stop, the Spice Bazaar.  A variety of Turkish delights on display
apart from the heaps of spices.  Makes you wonder who the consumers
are when nearly every shop lot display nearly about the same thing.

Our final day in Istanbul.  Getting ready for the Bosphorus
cruise enroute to the airport.

Aiman & Abah on the Bosphorus cruise.
Nazim enjoying himself on the cold windy ride.

Relics of the past, the fortresses guarding the old Byzantine empire.

Palaces of previous grandeur.

Ripples in the water signaling the meeting of the Bosphorus with the Tamara Seas.

Nazim was elated to see 'his' Kembara surviving the Turkish winter.

Later build mosques mostly have this vertical character as
land are getting scares within the city limit.

Istanbul is indeed a place to be.  Rich in history for all to enjoy.  Would indeed love a repeat visit should there be sufficient resources.  Erkan recommended that we should plan to spend more time as each locality within the country as one can be very different from the next.  InsyaAllah, that will be our wish.