Monthly Archives: June 2017

Raya day 1 – the 3 fathers – late father, father-in-law, and stepfather

1st day raya, woke up 5am, pondered if I wanted to do an early morning run or ride. Didn’t.  Weighed myself at 87.2kg.

10am prepped to go to a annual function on my late father’s side. My uncle often organizes it. The only time I get to see all my relatives on my father’s side. To be honest, I don’t know half of the people. Especially considering my father’s severed relationship with them. I grew up rarely seeing most of them. Arrived late, missed the tahlil, just when they all started eating. Ate fish fillet, some rice, chicken, some water melon. Nearing the end of the meal my uncle did a quiz on our lineage. I didn’t get to answer any of the questions. As I was leaving, salam (malay/Muslim version of shaking hands) with my 7ncles and some cousins, met my grandfather, he hasn’t attended this function in a long time. Might be last 5 years since my father died. 

12 pm, picked up one of my wife’s sister and her kids from lamunin, to go to Kuala Belait to my father-in-law. Met with the sibling in laws (is that a thing?) all the nephews and nieces made the house so lively. Had beef soup, cucur udang, some vegetables, a lightly spicy fried floured chicken, a banana and a drink soya bean. After that had a group photo before visiting a close family friend of in laws, a few minutes drive nearby.  There I had spaghetti, some rice, prawn, beef, and a fruit cocktail drink in sweetened milk.

4pm. Left and sent back the sister with kids to lamunin, had a pitstop at home in kulapis to go to the toilet, and to throw away the rubbish bags from house cleaning yesterday. Then headed to meet with my mother along with my stepfather who was headed towards his relatives at jangsak.

Before 6pm. We arrived jangsak a few minutes before my mother and stepfather. 2 tanah jambu family members were missing, one was working offshore, another probably has a shift coming up. I had a few pieces chocolate cakes with chocolate cornflakes, and a can of pepsi. My nose at this point started to sniffle, it was only later at home I remembered that this house has cats along with other exotic pets, which might have triggered my runny nose. Went to the house next door for dinner, which then I had some Kampung rice, yellow rice, beef in soysauce, and I think was goat in curry, and sayur umbut (boiled bamboo shoots cooked in coconut milk).

7pm, we left for home. 5 houses and I was already bloated and gassy. In my youth I seem to remember hitting at least 10 houses in a single day. But then again not all of those houses had buffets. During my time we walked around to go from house to house, I didn’t see any kids walking around today. Heard a few more firecrackers tonight, but not so close to home this time.

I couldn’t properly sleep with a gassy tummy and a stuffed and runny nose. Didn’t flush and drain my nose properly while taking a bath. Used the buteyko method of controlled hypoxic breathing to help clear my nose enough for me to sleep comfortably. Slept before midnight, but woke up at 3am, slept back after 5am.


Day 30 – dreamt of lailatul qadr, henna wife’s hair, house cleaning 

Woke up at 4am, drank 750ml of water, couldnt go back to sleep, so I read online stuff again, slept after 5am. Woke up after 8am. That last sleep I dreamt of seeing lailatul qadr, keep in mind I am not saying I saw it, I dreamt what I think it would look like, in my dream anyway. Must have been that fake picture that people claimed what it looked like, found out that it was actually pictures of an annular eclipse.

In my dream I saw at night alongside the new moon was a faint circle, that if looked at closer was a reflection of the earth, in my dream I was even rationally trying to explain the phenomena scientifically. It was either the angle of the celestial bodies or the weather conditions.  In any case I woke up wondering how it would look like in reality. Apparently no one has, or at least no one has seen it has posted, and then there those who posted a few fake claims that didn’t make any astronomical sense to me. Maybe lailatul qadr isn’t of what it looks like, but more of what it feels like. I guess I may never know. Looking up, lailatul qadr either means the night of power, or the night of decree. It is only said that the night will be quiet, and the sunrise will be clear with no rays.
Almost mid day and my wife asked me to help her with dyeing her hair with henna, looked up a few articles and youtube videos for some guidelines. It took a painstaking long time. Especially in order to make sure every strand gets covered. I understand why saloons charge high for this type of services.

Today is one of the rare days we didn’t go out, our break was water, kurma, maggi noodles 🍜 , an egg 🍳 , some biscuits 🍪 for dessert and later veggie juice.

Spent the night cleaning house, while the the neighbours were playing firecrackers. (It is actually illegal without permission.  But people are able to acquire and pay them any way). While cleaning found a lot old lost items. Cleared out a few expired items in the kitchen. 

Today will be the last day of ramadhan,  but it won’t be my last post. I will be posting on open houses and food I eat during syawal, as well as my training and sports events. Hopefully intermittent fasting during syawal and a few training will maintain my weight loss and improve my performance.

Day 29 – servicing the car, fuel traffic jam, and eid moonsighting announcement

Woke up at 4am, but didnt sleep till sun up. Booked an appointment for car service today by calling last Wednesday. Thankfully Saturday morning was available. Got picked up and went to post office at airport lama to try to get a package, but the mislabelling on the card didn’t state it was supposed to be picked up at sengkurong instead. I guess I will pick up on thursday when all government offices are open.

My car has been making screeching sounds ever since I drove through floods a few months ago. Before that the engine has been rattling when it goes up hill. Apparently, it was related to the fan belt. The workshop also recommended replacing the air filter. I just accepted. It all amounted to $215. That used up a bit more than my usual car budget. With the recent bike purchase I need to tighten my own belt.

Planned to buy fuel, but every fuel station was jam packed. I guess everyone was preparing for their long trips on the first day of raya. I decided to forego until convenient. Slept most of the afternoon replacing my lack of sleep in the morning.

Broke fast with air bandung, fried noodles, sardine puffs, and dessert with mangoes. Checked whatsapp for any updates regarding the moon sighting,  but it was mostly filled with jokes. A few reliable sources shared.  But from past experience, it was best to wait for the official announcement. At 7:30pm, the announcement came, no new moon sighted. I bet its due to the weather. So Brunei wipl celebrate Hari Raya Aidilfitri or Eid on Monday. Later found out that. Malaysia and Indonesia announced that they will celebrate it on Sunday. Its funny how Brunei doesn’t follow Malaysian ruling on moon sighting anymore. It was even more funny to think about the consequences of crossing the border to Malaysia on a Sunday. Would I fast? Or do I celebrate raya? Especially considering the first day of raya is haram to fast. In any case I would be grateful in either case.  If eid was on Sunday,  then it would be 4 consecutive days of raya.  If it was on Monday it would just be 3, but it would be an extra day to fast in ramadhan. 

Slept early, expected to sleep in on sunday morning.

Day 28 – small workshop, afternoon cycling, and an amazing swim class

In the morning had a business plan workshop, it was disappointing to have a significantly smaller number on the last day of the workshop, but not unexpected. Kinda felt tired, but that might be from the disappointment, at the end of the class, a few people left early. I dont blame people for being unable to come or that they have to leave early, as I understand people have priorities.  The last friday of ramadhan is often a day where families visit graves, also considering pay day a few days ago and raya is upcoming, some people might need to go to the bank today in the morning.

The friday sermon or khutbah today was started with something about how complicated and fragile the human body is, and ended with the importance of masjid, or the place of worship. Mentioning on the newly (and amazingly quickly) built masjid in mentiri. It burnt down in early April 2017, but it was finished this late june 2017.  That’s like 3 months to build a structure that can house hundreds or maybe a thousand people. Which just shows with power, money a stong desire, a lot can be built in a relatively short amount of time. Inspires me to be rich and powerful to do something as great. 🤔

In the late afternoon after a power nap, my wife and I went out on a bike ride, me with my new bike. Originally she felt lazy, but she incentivize herself to bike by requesting to eat out afterwards. So I agreed. I was setting up, I realize how many important accessories I need to buy for my new bike. A new saddle bag for emergency repair kit, maybe a bag to put extra items, and some lights. Temporarily I transferred from my old bike to my new bike and we went out. And then due to larger frame and taller saddle, I had to remove both wheels instead of the usual front wheel only, in order to fit 2 bikes in one car. Also testing out my new bib shorts and cycling jersey that arrived yesterday. Which coincidentally matched the colour of my bike. I think green might be my new colour.

When I tested the bike previously, it was around the stadium, so I couldn’t go full speed at extended periods. This time around I wanted to see how well I would do on the highway. We started off easy, as a warmup. I cant fully experience going fast on a steep climb yet on the highway, as we went sliw and relaxed. My wife didn’t want to go too far so we settled for the 8km mark and made a u-turn. It was only then on the way back with a lot of descents that we went fast, I thought I might have gone too fast and left my wife far behind, but she was doing well keeping up just behind me, so I was able to go faster with her keeping up. I was surprised how I could maintain my speed, and even more surprised that my wife could keep up. Well for a while anyway, but it was still impressive. We went fast downhill and maintained a bit of speed uphill as well. Going downhill with my urata, I would have to pedal faster to avoid the dead zone to convert the pedaling to get speed, but with the smaller teeth of 11t vs a 13t, I was able convert more of that pedalling to speed without any dead zones. That means I could potentially go faster. Our last ride was 44 mins, this time around with the longer wait at the u turn we did 42 mins.

Looking at the speed graph below, potentially without the warm up, we could have averaged 30kmph. Previously with my urata, and withput drafting. I struggled to get to and maintain 30kmph. 27kmph would have been the average. What a difference a higher end bike makes. Of course I think the power I have built up with the urata over the years helped. The bike’s function is to convert that power into speed. And oh boy, did that new bike transferred that into speed. I feel more confident that I can keep up with the big boys. I look forward to riding with a group, or joining a cycling event. Just to see how much my speed is improved with a better bike. 

As we finished, I shared with my wife how impressed I was with her ability to keep up. Her faced was flush red from her attempt. I remembered this time around to do some stretches for myself an my wife, before we headed home.

We got home and prepared to go out. It was only then I realized I had a few invites that day, one was a function nearby. I decided to forego the functions and just treat my wife for her achievements today. Unfortunately a lot of restaurants were full for the iftar. So we decided to delay my break (and her treat) and went off to buy some bike accessories instead at the bike shop. Bought some lights and a bottle cage, will have to look for the saddle bag elsewhere. 

When we went to the restaurant,  they were a few available tables. We noticed that there were others that were waiting to be served as well. We were prepared for some slow and possibly bad customer service. My wife really wanted her treat, her reward, so she was willing to wait. For starters the table we got want wiped clean yet. Then it was a few minutes before we got the menu, thankfully we knew what we wanted and ordered on the spot. There a few food items that were out of stock, but there were acceptable alternatives. We noticed while waiting, a few other people left as they weren’t serviced fast enough. I acknowledged my wife for being patient as she used to be one of toys impatient people, but she shared she knows what she wanted, and wouldn’t go any where else, as if she did age any where else or anything else, from past experience, she knows she wouldn’t feel satisfied.  So the food was worth the wait. 

The cucumber and carrot slices with the sambal paste and ambuyat sauce came first. A few more minutes passed by before the ambuyat came along with leafy vegetable, we waited a bit longer before the plates and the utensils were provided along with the hati buyah, and finally our drinks. We noticed that the service was improving as one staff from the 1st floor kitchen came down and coordinated their efforts. We empathize with the workers at the restaurant, it is not often that they have a full house. I wondered when if they did at all, broke their fast. The service was uncharacteristically slower, but it was not bad. Aminah Arif was having a good bad day. Good that they have a lot of customers. Bad that they couldn’t keep up.

Done with the main course we dropped by a convenience store to buy some snacks as desserts. Soft drinks and ice cream. Then my wife dropped me off to the swimming pool for my class.

During non-ramadhan my classes were 4 sessions x 1.5 hours. But because the pool only opens at 9-10pm during ramadhan, my classes turned to 6 sessions x 1 hour. So my syllabus changed a bit. But then again, my syllabus is very flexible, as it accounts for different people’s abilities. Tonight is the 2nd last class, but 1 out of 2 of my students were able to do 50m non-stop at the basement pool. But she has the advantage of being a floater. Their next session will involve swimming at the lap pool above, after refining their technique a bit more.

If it wasn’t for the rain and my wife waiting in the car, i would be tempte to run. So we went staright home. When we arrived, we were so tired and sleepy. My wife wasn’t able to juice as she usually does , and I went straight to bed and dozed off.

Day 27 – back and forth to the post office, equilibrium, and big meal with the father-in-law

The morning before going to work, I dropped by the post office to send my DNA swab for DNAFit, as well as to pick up a few parcels. Paying for the delivery I didn’t have small change, so I went out to buy fuel to break my hundred and go back to the post office. When I went to the office, there was another parcel delivery card, so I had to go back to the post office again.

At work I was preparing for the workshop the next day. After work spent a significant amount of time to post the previous days blog on my bicycle purchase and review.

Went home after 3pm, getting ready to go to KB to dine with my father-in-law, with rest of my wife’s siblings. On the way, we dropped by tutong to visit my wife’s late mother’s grave. And before reaching the house in KB, we dropped by a convenience store to buy a few extra things. When we were at the KB home we were surprised to see a lot of food, leftovers from the fathers foodstall business, but even more surprising was the fact we all finished it anyway, while I personally didn’t eat until I was bloated. Just enough when I was full. I had a chicken rice, fried prawns,, popiah ubi and sayur, grilled sting ray, kueh malaya, coconut water, cendol and teh tarik. Dessert was my wife’s nutella mini cake with some ice cream.

Drove home while watching/listening to equilibrium on netflix, a cult dystopian classic starring christian bale before he was batman.

Check out “equlibrium” on netflix

At home my wife prepared juice before going to sleep. I couldnt sleep that night, despite knowing I have a workshop the next morning. I was reading stuff online. At 1am I told myself that I can only function with a minimum of 4 hour sleep, so closed my mobile phone, and did some breathing and relaxation exercises that helped me to go to sleep.