web counter The Madness of MokcikNab: January 2005
The Madness of MokcikNab
Motives, movements and melodrama in the life of a thirty something mum.

Monday, January 31, 2005
This One's for Idlan

If you're a new visitor, you may not realise that this blog is also a repository of inane songs and jokes collated from the minds of ten year old Sekolah Rendah Kebangsaan boys.

Here's one courtesy of Adam's friend A.B (which is the short and cool nick of Abu Bakar)

Adam : Mummy, mummy! I have a new joke from AB.
Mummy : Okay *sigh*
Adam : What do you get when you say these words in English : sejuk, jala, pergi muda, pergi muda.

Mummy does the translation, and takes like, 15 seconds before she figures it out. Before she goes, "Adam! That is horrible! Do not repeat that joke."

But since I was trying very hard not to laugh while I said that, I don't think Adam took me seriously.


Gratitude and Apologies

Thank you so much to all our guests who turned up at the Nasi Dagang Party on Saturday night. I have to profusely apologise for not starting on time. You should have seen the drama that preceded the event : when my husband said he was going to cook up a storm, he wasn't joking. I had to keep my hands off cleavers and knives, or else it would have been a Peter Greenaway movie.

But in the end, things culminated into a happy ending. My father, my siblings and I are eternally grateful and we enjoyed the company tremendously. Can't wait for the overseas branch of Kelab Penyokong Pokku to return home so we can do this, once again :)


Friday, January 28, 2005

Here's how you get to Coffee Hut in Jalan Burhanuddin Helmi, Taman Tun.

First you have to get to Taman Tun Dr Ismail, which I trust, you don't need help with. Drive on the LDP as if you're going to One Utama. At the One Utama traffic light exit, turn right (left goes to One U) . You would already be on Jln Burhanuddin Helmi. However, your destination is on the right side of the street so you'll need to turn a few tricks. Turn left at the first traffic light (you'd be able to see the Mofaz showroom and a very famous newscaster's house) , and then turn right at the T junction. Drive down, past Maybank, and then turn right again. You should then arrive at another traffic light. In front of you would be an Esso Petrol Station and Balai Polis.

Drive across towards the petrol station, where you would by now be able to see a row of gerai gerai makan. The gerai makan is Rasta.

Just before the gerai makan, next to Esso, is a structure that says it's a carwash. Ladies and gents, that is the Coffee Hut. Don't panic, no one would be asked to bring a squeegee. Trust me, it's a rather nice place. Drive your car into the compound, and there should be ample parking space at the back.

See ya's!

Do check out the updated guest list below. I am still assuming that a few would turn up unannounced. Insya Allah, there will be enough nasi dagang for everybody :)


Thursday, January 27, 2005
Last Call : Nasi Dagang, Kopi Hai Peng


You are Cordially Invited to
A Nasi Dagang Party
in honour of

Date : Saturday, 29 January 2004
Time : 8.00 pm
Place : Coffee Hut at Rasta, Taman Tun Dr Ismail
RSVP by 12.30pm, Friday

We will be serving Nasi Dagang, Buah Bung, Kerepok Lekor and the Best Coffees in Malaysia, including Kopi Deko, White House, and of course Hai Peng. Muar 434 oso got.

At the moment, the following individuals have confirmed attendance :

Bibi & Ammar
Jordan & Mrs Dentist
Nadia (plus sister and friends, I presume)
Farid & kawan-kawan
DJ phuturecybersonique
Amir dsbnya
Blabarella and other half (better late than never)
Sham dan gerabaknya
Mack Zulkifli (wajib)
Pak Adib
Lioness and Buster
No Parlez Anglais
Encik Dudae
tynn and family
Leez and Woodstock
Mush and 2 friends

I am assuming the following are also coming :

Kupu Kupu (since ada keropok lekor)
Abuya's kuncu-kuncu (berapa orang la konco-konco you ni?)
Hazel and Chef (pacat free venue! I will sulk, if you guys don't turn up)
Pok Dogo
Senor Fake (you don't have to eat, just turn up)

If you would like to come but leceh to e-mail me, just confirm your attendance through the comment box. I will also monitor my dad's blog, for confirmations. Don't worry, I'll assume that you're not attending solo; but do warn me if you're bringing along a busload of tok peraihs. You may e-mail me at mokciknab@yahoo.com for directions to the place.

Saiffuddin will be cooking the nasi dagang, and it would be a big help to him if you could confirm your attendance by 12.30 pm, Friday 28th Jan. Yup, that's noon tomorrow.

Come lor! It'll be fun. My father still has some teeth, literally and figuratively speaking.

Post Script : We regret that we are not able to deliver the Nasi Dagang to blogreaders outside of the Klang Valley. Should you insist on eating the Nasi Dagang, please e-mail us for the recipe. Kalau tak, cepat beli tiket and show up!


Wednesday, January 26, 2005
Sister In Seattle, Take a Bow

Like my new togs? I absolutely love it! This spanking new template was tailor-made by my youngest sister, Didi, based on ideas we discussed when she was back home, a couple of months ago.

I especially adore the banner, and each picture means something to me. Do allow me to introduce them to you :

The four human beings you see here, are of course my family : the grinning boy is Adam, my sage ten year old, while the two sisters are my daughters Aiysha and Aliya, who are seven and three and a half, respectively. The man in the denim jacket, so dark you almost could not see, is Tengku Saiffuddin, the Achehnese who had the misfortune of marrying me. Or good fortune, he pipes in.

You see lots of butterflies because I have a thing for these creatures. It's the idea of living a brief, brilliant life that fascinates me, I guess. The first butterfly in the banner is called a Malay lacewing - I just thought I should include an element signifying my ethnicity. Likewise, the zoomorphic Thuluth script, in the shape of a bird, signifies my faith.

The Japonais woodcut print of the lady pertains to my nickname in college, which was Jap. Besides, I like the lady's stance - you can't tell if she's dancing or ready to strike. And the last picture, the one next to my husband, is of a pathway in Fawkner Park. As you may have guessed, Saiffuddin and I took walks there, when we were in Melbourne.

So that's it, a piece of Mokciknab, stretched out in a banner. Hope you'll keep on reading, to figure out the rest of me!


Tuesday, January 25, 2005
Interpol : NYC

I had seven faces, thought I knew which one to wear
I'm sick of spending these lonely nights training myself not to care
The subway is a porno, pavements they are a mess
I know you've supported me for a long time
Somehow i'm not impressed

New York Cares (got to be some more change in my life)
New York Cares (got to be some more change in my life)
New York Cares (got to be some more change in my life)
New York Cares (got to be some more change in my life)

Subway she is a porno and the pavements they are a mess
I know you've supported me for a long time
Somehow i'm not impressed

It's up to me now turn on the bright lights
It's up to me now turn on the bright lights

New York Cares (got to be some more change in my life)
New York Cares (got to be some more change in my life)
New York Cares (got to be some more change in my life)
New York Cares (got to be some more change in my life)

It's up to me now turn on the bright lights
(got to be some more change in my life)
Oh, It's up to me now turn on the bright lights
(got to be some more change in my life)

You know the mokcik is procrastinating when she actually replies to comments on her haloscan box, and she posts two days in a row. If only to demonstrate that she's been scrounging around some music downloading site (Of course, it's legal. How could you, to think, otherwise)I've even downloaded Maroon 5!

I would have posted a picture of Interpol, that band that is surprisingly not British, but they were rather pale looking fellows. This song is the perfect antidote to the Damien Rice invasion in my head.


Monday, January 24, 2005
No Hero in Her Sky

And So it Is, the man sings at the beginning of the film. And so it is, that I have to write about "Closer" because Saiffuddin is so sick of arguing out the meaning of the story with me.

So now, I argue with you, yes?

First, you have to have seen the film. It's quite unlikely that Closer will see a general screening in Malaysia because of the adult content, and most importantly, because it's talky and cinema operators know the larger part of the population would not pay nine bucks to hear dialogue. Therefore, if you haven't already, I suggest you watch Closer in the comforts of your own sofa. (How? Cannot tell la, lest I get a bullet ricochet into my left shoulder while I'm eating kuay teow kari)

This is not a movie to hold hands over, and if you're going through issues in your current relationship, maybe you should skip Closer and watch something more reassuring, like "Meet the Fockers", for instance. (That's the mokcik talking) I won't attempt to review the film, you'll find better pundits elsewhere on the net. Like this one from the Rolling Stones.

Okay, here lies the point of no return. If you're reading beyond this paragraph, I will assume you have watched the film. Be forewarned, there will be spoilers.

My husband thinks I am reacting to Closer the same way I reacted to The English Patient, because I couldn't stop thinking about the story for days. There is a fundamental difference : like most women, I fell in love with all the characters in the Ondaatje novel, and subsequent film. In Closer, it is impossible to have a modicum of fondness for any of the people who inhabit the screen. Here are four people who utimately want not love, but control, or perhaps love they could control.

Here's the thing : we all want the kind of love we could control.

Anna, Alice, Dan and Larry may be reprehensible but what scared me was how familiar were the tricks that they turn, in order to reign over the one they love (or think they love). Okay, maybe not many of us would think of cross-merchandising when it comes to married acquaintances, but I think Philip Marber contrived the situation in order to illustrate a point.

It's the little, little things that get me. Alice and Dan attend Anna's exhibition, after which Dan is supposed to take a train to his father's funeral. Alice is not allowed to accompany him. They leave to take seperate cabs, she tells him to take the first one, "because you'll be late for your train". It seems kindly, but you know what she's doing - she wants to ensure that he actually gets on the train and not turn round and walk into Anna's arms. To a lesser extent, I own up to doing something similar -- suggest something that appears to be in my husband's best interest, because I want a certain outcome.

When you know you have influence over your loved one, how many times have you used that influence to get things done your way? Me? I do it on a daily basis -- from mundane things like getting the first go at the loo in the morning, to big decisions like the purchase of a car.

When you know a person like the back of your hand, how many times have you exploited that knowledge? Saiffuddin, for example, can second-guess me with unnerving accuracy, and "anticipation is what makes a great servant", said Mr Stevens in Kazuo Ishiguro's Remains of the Day. Saiffuddin is an extremely attentive husband, but is it only because he knows it makes him utterly indispensable?

In the film, Larry reminds his adulterous wife, Anna that he's "always kind", and when she compliments him on being wonderful, he tells her, with a smile, never to forget it. Larry peddles kindness, and extracts guilt from that kindness, if you can call it that, to ensnare Anna. In the end, Anna stays with her husband, despite having the option to a Jude Law who "tastes sweeter".

When we go through great lengths to please our significant other, are we doing it out of love, or out of our need to retain that love? Don't we always expect something in return? In my marriage, there certainly is an imaginary ledger of favours taken and promises to be encashed -- in a year, within a month, next week, by the end of the day.

Within the scope of this largesse, the biggest obligations are almost always about sex. In Closer, sex is a weapon, a shield, a tool, a bargaining chip. Stripped to its essence, this is what sex is in a marriage, or in any relationship. "Do you love me because you desire me?" is a question more sinister than "Do you think she's prettier?", because yes is at once, an answer you want and don't want.

Are the calculative characters in Closer, too close to home? Is that why I can't stop the images from churning and churning, long past finis? To me, it was a film that deconstructed the post-modern liaison, and the cruelty was a composite of the nastiness that, unfortunately, exists to a smaller or larger extent, in a subsisting relationship.

Saiffuddin of course, thinks I'm wrong about the film. In bits and pieces, there is always you in every story, he says. In bits and pieces, you could identify yourself with either Mussolini or Mother Teresa.

"Look at the whole picture", he explained, "it has a very moral tone". Really? Hard to believe when you have Queen Amidala doing a split beaver in a strip tease joint.

Saiffuddin didn't think that the characters represented EveryMan and his EveryWoman. "They're abnormal. People don't love like that". (Welcome to KL, I said)

The aim of Closer, according to my husband, is to illustrate that love has to be about selfless sacrifice. At the end of the film, Dan revisits a shrine dedicated to ordinary people who performed heroic acts, a place where he and Alice walked by when they first met. It was then that he realised that "Alice" was not her real name after all, but an epithet plucked from the dozens of epitaphs lined up on the wall. It so happened that the Alice she picked, gave up her life to save three children. Children who were strangers, which in the end was what his Alice was.

"Now juxtapose this with Anna, Alice, Dan and Larry, who knows nothing of sacrifice, because they think it's cool and hip to be self absorbed. This is set in Britain, and old, old state, where sacrifice, not lies, used to be the common currency. You were expected to die for God, King and Country. To be selfish is such an anomaly".

Okay, that could work. Won't stop me from thinking about the movie, though. Damien Rice sings in my head and I wonder if I'm sacrificing or sacrificial. Or a pupil in denial.

And so it is
Just like you said it would be
Life goes easy on me
Most of the time
And so it is
The shorter story
No love, no glory
No hero in her sky


Thursday, January 20, 2005
A Pain for Your Thoughts

Our young staffer, Ian recently acquired a new girlfriend. We like her very much; and have jokingly told Ian she's too good for him. The Girlfriend has a great sense of humour, seems to have a level head on her shoulders and doesn't flinch when a wayward colleague talks of having sex in a steambath (with another man) . Now you see why my sister stays away from my office.

The Girlfriend visited us one night, when all of us were working late.

She sat patiently by Ian's elbow for some time, as her boyfriend furiously tapped away on the PC.

Then, suddenly, like a waft of cool breze, I heard her ask : "Do you think Miss XYZ is hot?"
Ian, clever boy, grunted something inaudible, which in caveman probably meant "Me want to live. Me no answer question".
Nevertheless The Girlfriend persisted; cooing ever so sweetly, "You don't think she's good looking?"
Long pause. I could almost hear Ian wince.
"Well", she said with some finality, "I think she's good looking".

If you're female, you've probably inflicted this trick on your man, at least once. Or if you're me, at least once a month. (And no jokes about when in the month, please) In the beginning, Saiffuddin was naive enough to think I wanted an honest answer, and contributed his opinions with much enthusiasm.

"Oh yeaaaah, look at her tits/legs/ass."

This is polite conversation if you're among heterosexual males slightly woozy from too much cigarettes and coffee (or in some circles, weed) . But to say this to your lady companion is akin to punching in the password to DefCon 1. When it comes to discussing Gray's Anatomy as it relates to Charlize Theron, your girlfriend is not your mate. She's lying in wait, setting traps, gathering ammo.

Saiffuddin once made the fatal mistake of casually mentioning that he thinks a certain newscaster is attractive. The newscaster is an acquaintance and has even been to our house on several occassions. For months, I ribbed him about it. When she got divorced, it was in the papers, and I blithely waved the announcement under my husband's nose.

"There, your girlfriend is now available", I mocked. (Ladies, never try this line unless your husband is peniless and therefore unable to carry out said threat)
Caveman grunt ensues.
"You like her, whaaaaat? You think she's prettier than me, kaaaaan?", said as bright as I could. Here, you can see how deep my neurosis goes.
"Well, she is pretty". Oh, wrong, wrong answer.
"You do think she's prettier than me, then", I simpered.

My friend, Kamarul thinks I'm ridiculous.
"Ya la, she's prettier, but there are other things you have that puts you ahead, for God's sakes".
"I know she's prettier," I laughed,"I'm ok with that, really. I just want my husband to tell me I'm prettier".
Kamarul screwed up his face : the universal sign for men everywhere who've given up trying to understand women.

The best defence, gentlemen, is deceit. In other words : lie through your teeth.

Over the years, my husband has become rather good at this game. In a shopping mall full of gorgeous girls below the age of regret, you won't even see his eyes waver. If I ask him if he thinks a certain so and so is looking swell, he'll take my hand, put it to his lips and say he never noticed, "because I only have eyes for you". I know he's fibbing, but who cares? It's not as if he'll pursue the woman, anyway.

And therein lies the irony. If I knew my husband is the sort who would chase after any skirt that swishes by, I would never, ever ask. If I had the slightest suspicion that he harbours the thought of an affair, I would run as far as I could from that truth. But because I know he is besotted with me, I test the limits of his patience. For fun, seemingly. Okay, I am ridiculous.

The good news is, as the years roll by, husbands who are well-behaved tend to get more leeway. We once watched a movie just for Monica Bellucci's heaving breasts. I'll buy him a magazine if it features his hearththrob on the cover (Which reminds me, there's one this month, and daaamn, she does look good)

Of course, it's all reciprocal. When you're 36 (okay,37) you'll have the confidence to put on a near naked Ljunberg as your screensaver. And you don't want your husband to sulk, pout and ask : "You don't think I'm prettier?"


Pengumuman Nasi Dagang

Dear people,

Details of the Nasi Dagang Party are as follows :

TIME : Malam
DATE : Saturday, 29th January, 2004
MENU : Nasi Dagang, Buah Bung, Acar Carrot and Sengkuang (courtesy of Bibi) and other stuff
DRESS CODE : Come as you are. Subang bong optional

PLACE : Errrr.. donno yet

I'll keep you posted on the location, and yes would appreciate more inputs. In the running at the moment : Coffee Hut at Rasta, the hall at MIIM ( can get my dad's students as cheap labour) and RumahKu, a restaurant near my office.

Just keep the date free, yes? Please email me (mokciknab@yahoo.com) if you wish to attend because I will need to know how many kepuks of rice I need to cook. I would appreciate real names and phone numbers, although I do understand if you wish to remain anonymous. I'll just say straight away that men in masks ala Phantom will be kept out.


Thursday, January 13, 2005
Come Lor, it's Free!

JAWATANKUASA Seniman Prihatin, with the support of

Akademi Seni Kebangsaan and Yayasan Kesenian Perak,
presents Malam Tunas Jiwa, a no-frills artists'
response to the plight of tsunami victims in the
country and abroad.

The concert was organised as a show of support and
sympathy towards victims of the disaster, in
particular, comrades in Acheh, who have suffered
untold losses.

The event will include poetry recitals from luminaries
such as Dinsman, Dr Zakaria Ali, and Prof Muhammad
Haji Salleh. Dr Siti Zainon Ismail, who has close ties
with Acheh, will read personal messages from artists
in that district.

Also featured are Hazami, Zubir Ali, folk musician
Meor, and performances by gambus ensemble Dewangga
Sakti, Electro Primitive, as well as students and
staff of ASK.

The public will also be able to hear first hand
accounts from the Malaysian Red Crescent Society and
Global Peace Mission volunteers who have just returned
from Acheh, and hopefully be inspired enough to
thereafter register with these organizations.
Registration booths will be available at the concert

Malam Tunas Jiwa will be on at 8pm, Saturday 15
January, 2005, at Laman Akademi Seni Kebangsaan, near
Padang Merbuk, Kuala Lumpur. All are welcome.


Thank you Amir EtCetera for the help with Hazami. Next time it's Anuar
Zain, yes? Folks, if you have any questions, please email me. Or else, I
absolutely expect every one to be there. Not the puisi type? Just come to listen
the stories from volunteers and register to assist the Red Crescent. Come lorrr!


Monday, January 10, 2005
Needed Urgently : Venue for Nasi Dagang Party

Dear people, especially those who have kindly voted and made Terengganu culture the default currency for a small group of blogreaders : thank you so much for diligently voting. Now, as so many have reminded me, in this blog and my father's : I need to make good my promise.

Nasi Dagang is no problem, and I am happy that some have also volunteered other food. Tepung pelita is good and acor timung is most welcome. What I urgently need help on is a venue for the meet. I am sure Pok Ku is eager to thank everybody personally and it's also a good opportunity for us to get to know the face behind the names. Oh what the heck, any excuse for a big makan.

Any suggestions? I like the idea of a picnic, but bearing in mind we live in a tropical country, it might not be so comfortable to make friends in the sweltering heat. I have a tiny house, and my dad lives in an apartment. We have no budget for a big hotel do, since the Blog Award does not come with cash prizes. So how? Any suggestions? Anyone want to volunteer as location manager? *flutters eyelids, not that I have any*


I'm Drowning in Charity

Does anyone know of a painless cloning technology where you can duplicate yourself; and by that I mean, as an adult, straightaway? None of that slow process of having to be a foetus first? You see, I need another me, or even two of the same, so that the real Mokciknab can sit at home and watch Oprah and stalk her kids in school. Meh, I won't do that. If I have three of me-s, what I would do is probably find even more charities to do work for, and overstretch myself three times over.

"You're spreading yourself too thin," chided my husband, and he wasn't talking about sex (this time). I know, I know. I've gotten my over-enthusiastic self into all sorts of commitments which hur hur hur, I am unable to properly fullfil.

Apart from volunteering at the Red Crescent, I've also said yes to helping a friend put up a "tsunami art concert". (Konsert Dermaga Jiwa, by the way, is happening this Saturday at Akademi Seni Kebangsaan featuring January Low, Siti Zainon Ismail and errrm, we have to figure out the rest --- see what I mean?) During my meetings for that project, I've come to forge a friendship with a dear, dear old activist couple (the husband is a major painter) and they've convinced me I should work on another two things : an initiative for children in tsunami stricken areas; and a tree planting endeavour at the same places. Before I know it, these small innocuous ideas have become full-fledged undertakings, with names like Unicef and Marditech bandied around.

Help, said little Mokciknab. I still have to earn a living. Trust the big-headed, I-want-to-organise-everything Elida to overlook that one small point.

The New Year fog which had hitherto enveloped clients and the salaried world in a daze has now gradually lifted, and that means no more goofing off for me. I am staring at deadlines and guarantees, and I see sharp teeth.

To make matters worse, my principal partner said he has agreed, kindly on my behalf, that I should teach Business Development in Media at a local college. This does not bode well for the college's reputation, I think. When the college called I said, look I have no academic qualifications in media management and it might actually affect their LAN accreditation. To my relief the rep said, okay he'll check it out with the Dean. He didn't call for a week, and I had visions of the LAN Board clutching their stomachs in mirth when my name was brought up, and those were good visions. So, on Sunday (Sunday!) the rep called.

"Mokciknab, you start on Monday morning, okay?"
"Your Business Development class"
"but I thought, you know, I have no qualifications"
"LAN accepted already. We put you down as industry expert".
"Haaaaa? This is not a course in plumbing."
"Very funny. Okay, if you can't make it Monday, then 9 o'clock Tuesday. And can you also take another class? Risk Management and Analysis?"
"Absolutely not. I'm a very careless person".

I now have my head in my hands, as I try to shield myself from the reality of burgeoning responsibilities. No other means to get through this, except to plow my way through. Hand me a shovel, please.

Ah yes, there's also the nasi dagang party, lest you think I have forgotten. I promise you, that, at least, is a pleasurable task.


Thursday, January 06, 2005
Fiat Sapientia Virtus

I'm really really busy. Just like everyone else, I'm still trying to get into a routine in the New Year. So, I'd like to just write a small post to get everyone worked up for the time being.

My husband's school turned 100 the other day. Yes, that school. It either makes your eyes light up or it'll make you groan, and not in a nice way.

He pointed out that at the moment there are only about 5,000 former students of MCKK still alive. Not a large number. "A little more than rhinos", he lamented.

"Well," I said helpfully", I know a lot of women who would like to kill every single one of you".

And then a thought occured. Amidst all these brouhaha about the Centenary, maybe there ought to be another Association launched : The Society of Ex-Wives of Budak Koleq. Eton Rifles, Eton Rifles.


Tuesday, January 04, 2005
Meet Dr Aiysha, PhD in Brown-Nosing

WARNING : Gloating mommy ahead. Should nausea develop, stop reading immediately.

Aiysha is my second child, and today is her second day in primary school. She's gotten into the swing of things, by the looks of it. She came home by bus, dropped her bag by the door, and sang me a song she learnt in class.

"Puan Raisa taught me the song! We learnt it during English. Oh, she asked if anyone wants to introduce themselves, and I put up my hand!"

I can just imagine Aiysha doing this with gumption, for it is not without reason that she earned the moniker Ms Eager McBeaver from her cousin, Ilham.

"You know, Mummy, I said my name is Aiysha, I'm six years old and I live in XXXXX", Ms McBeaver tells me, eyes wide as saucers, " and I said it loudly, so that everyone can hear, because all the other kids said it so softly", here she crinkles her nose in disdain, "and I don't want to be like that"

"Good for you!", I said, although I'm not sure she needed any more encouragement.

"And I asked Puan Siti Aminah, my class teacher, if she needed any help when I saw her carrying so many books. She was so nice to me, Mummy. We had a nice chat ".

Oh, wait till Adam hears this. Puan Siti Aminah was also Adam's class teacher in Primary One, and I'm sure she made him stand on his chair more than once.

"I also helped Amir", she announced. "I helped him buy some chicken nuggets in the canteen". Amir was my neighbour's grandson and yesterday he wouldn't let go of his mom's hand. He's relatively small and wears a worried look, traits that automatically puts Aiysha in Big Sister mode.

"Kesian dia, Mummy", Aiysha explained, "He was hungry but he didn't want half of my tuna sandwich, and there were so many big kids just fighting to buy food".

Okay, I have admit, that made me rather proud. I also have to admit, if I had known an Aiysha in school I would have rolled my eyes and called her a show-off. But you learn to appreciate the fine line between self-confidence and swagger when it's your own daughter, I guess.

I'm hoping she would be able to match the brown-nosing with real academic work, so that can she can actually achieve that"Doctor" in front of her name. On certain days, she insists on being addressed as Princess Dr Aiysha, because, you know, she's a dentist and a Barbie royalty.

"I want to be a dentist, Daddy", she declared to Saiffuddin, " because they make more money than engineers". I think she ought to try for public office.