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When today is more than just a birthday.... (1 March 2009)

I sat alone in my study room ignoring the dozens of work emails and sms’s received that I would otherwise reply. My maid brought my hot coffee. The time now is 430 in the morning. I sipped the hot coffee and was wide awake. It is routine to start the day early with morning gym or cardio exercise, but today, I sat quietly thanking Allah swt for yet, another year to see my birthday.

A birthday seemed so much commercialized akin of a shopping day for presents instead of heart-fully celebrating the special meaning of the day. Such capitalist our society has evolved.

I am blessed to have such a darling family, siblings and friends… whom lavished me with endless gifts and presents. Every year, dad happily give designer watches, 5 figure cash or whatever that is desired as a birthday present whilst mum would shower those designer diamonds, jewels and any other luxurious items. Birthday gifts from siblings and friends will usually replaces half of my wardrobe with new designer clothing, belts, shoes etc…. I appreciate and am thankful for all the past gifts and presents from family and friends but this year, 2009 as part of my New Year resolution, I WON'T accept any presents and gifts for my birthday. Instead and indeed, I am blessed and indebted beyond word for the love, support, wonderful relationship and friendship that I have. My appreciation for family and friends are beyond presents and gifts however much the value is.

Particularly for my birthday, I am thankful to my parent (not for the watches, diamonds and wealth) but for having the right genetic recipe in giving birth to me..

My dad has been my pillar in strength, the shoulder when I am in need and the comfort and security when I am lost (quite frequently in the past). Raising a son like me (oh god) is far from challenging (almost impossible) but you never gave up (though I am sure you must be cursing at time). I have been both a pain with endless childhood rebels and notoriety as well as endless sickness. You sacrifices everything (except for your new ASTON martin DB9) and make me the person I am today. Tirelessly, you gave your love, support and the confidence in me to proceed with my dream. Having that from you is the best birthday gift any son can get. It means more than any designer watches or wealth...and car.

My mom, no matter how fat, sick, bad, naughty, disgusting and obnoxious that I can be… will always see me as the most handsome, an angel and the perfect son (though I don't think she is wrong..hehee). When I was sick and in ICU isolation for many months, you stood by my bed without leaving me for a second or a day (for the whole of 3 months in a solitary confinement of the ICU room!).. you were beside me every day and every moment. As I grew up, I became rebellious and had at time even neglected and was even rude at you taking for granted the love of a mother.. but you never sulk nor took any offense. Instead, you showered me with more love and care. This is a priceless gift from a mother and values more than any diamonds and jewels. Your love and care is a lifetime gift that I ever wanted, not diamonds and jewels. I am grateful to Allah swt for having another year with you as my mother.

With my medical history, and both dad and mum’s old age, we sometimes jokingly bet who will ‘go’ first….

My lifetime soul mate.. my one and only darling... Thank you for the non-exhaustive ideas to learn and cook various recipes for my everyday meal. Being me, although I am not fussy with food but the perks of being me comes with cholesterol, diabetic, gout and stone to say the least, over and above the blood type diet that I strictly follows. Thus limiting the choices of food that is available, but you never gave up and kept changing the menu (within the limitation) so i don’t get bored (though at times, maybe you purposely wanted me to be fat haa! :-p). Although we are very open and liberal in many ways, you always care for our pride and dignity. Your beautiful voices when singing cheered me everytime I am down and your endless encouragement (and nagging!!) in health motivates me to wake up as early as 4am to exercise everyday. I appreciate your endless and tireless care for your physique and look to always beautify yourself for me. Your patience and understanding coping with my mood and temperament kept us strong and happy together. you are perfect in every sense and it is an eternal gift that any man can ever prayed for. I am a lucky man.. the perfect you is all that I ever wanted for my birthday….

Chempaka Emalin, my one and only older sister is nothing but a perfectionist and systematically meticulous (sometimes absurdly :-p) with the smallest details that she is. For as long as I can remember, she will never fail to be punctual (at the stroke of midnight) with greeting cards, branded and boutique presents on my every year birthday although I have to admit that sometimes (or always rather), I never gave her any compliments, birthday cards or any present for many years (sssh.. she may not remember and she is not on FB or internet). BUT she, being the caring sister that she is, NEVER took offense, held any grudges and continued to generously lavish me with support, care and branded gift. The generosity, care and responsibility, is a gift that I can never repay….suffice with being what you are, I don’t need any other presents and gifts…

Azhar Sulaiman although a brother- law but is the elder brother I never had.. Since the day I knew you, until the day you married my sister, you have been very accommodative with the temperament of my family, especially me, may not be easy but your patience, endless compromise and understanding make you the best older brother I can ever dream to have. Thank you and that is indeed the best present from you………. No other material gift can ever be a substitute.

Melor Edina almost a twin sister to me (being the same age for 3 days every year and is less than a year apart from me) is the sister that I am most over-protective during childhood. Although she had to live a hard life with an over-protective brother, restricting her every movement but she had never complained (actually she had no choice.. :-D). Truthfuly, rhiza is the only real boyfriend you ever had.. and you married him (unless behind me, you happily dated other guys Grrr). In fact, she is ever-forgiving and is always there everytime I am down although my problem was never spoken to her. She knew (akin of a twin sister feeling my pain) and would appear at my house in a sudden. Thank you for being such a darling and for always been there for me. Indeed that is the best ever present from you.

Rhiza Ghazi, is more a family than ever an in-law. Having you as part of the family is a great comfort. Having a responsible brother that is always protective and family-centred has gained every sibling's trust. you being you… is already an invaluable gift than any material present can ever replace. Although I don’t accept any present, I will still claim the RM1,000 betting if I win the 6-pack contest.. kikiiii Thank you brother.

Teratai Edithy (Dr, Puan, Mummy, Mekta) is indeed the best Koya’ing partner anybody can have. Your forever concern for every sibling and friends’ welfare, makes your career as a doctor the best choice… and also a good mummy. I am very proud to have you as a sister. Your endless concern, care, love and ‘gossips’ is the best birthday gift i ever wanted from a sister. No matter how good London sale is, please shop for yourself and not for me..

Wawa Asari is a dream in-law any brother can imagine. Being forever helpful, fun, humble, adaptable to all kind of temperament and the best partner to sing out of tune karoeke makes you a great brother. That is in itself the best birthday present I can get..

Rose Emini (baby sis, chik, mek cewi) although you were 70kg.. you are still my baby sister. You are the baby-iest sister and my life saviour… you were 7 years old... although you had no choice but you voluntary and happily sacrifice your bone marrow (for my Bone Marrow Transplant) when you knew I was dying. That meant the world to me. Your patience, undivided love and dedication is the best gift you have given me beyond any other present.. thank you

Amnan Bazli, my one and only brother…… at 23 years old.. is still acting a baby.. the ‘bongsu’ syndrome.. hehee I prayed for a brother everyday during my childhood and my prayer was heard… I got you…. although you never gave me any birthday present except for a yellow tie 6 years ago, your happy-go-lucky and fun to be with, always leaves me smiling especially during most ‘mengumpat’ session about you with our sisters… hehee Having you around is the best gift and suffice without any other present. You are the best. Thank you

Last but not least, the endless list of cousins and friends that stood by me for years sharing my worst and best moment without ever seeking for anything in return but continued to lavish me further with endless presents. You know how much I have always appreciate your presence in my life.. Enough without the need for any more gifts and present, your endless support, non-hypocritical friendship, and prayer for my well being, health, wealth and joy is already the best

Every year for the past 5 years, I always take leave on my birthday with a sole objective of mesmerizing and appreciating another year of life. Every year too except for this year, I failed to do that… this year… I did just that (the whole day!!)……… and I am filled with joy to be blessed with wonderful family and friends. Life can never be as perfect even with the most money, without a wonderful family, relatives and friends. Thank you all for being what you are.. Which is the best ‘presents’ for my birthday!!! May Allah blessed and return the invaluable present that you have given me. Allah Huakbar..

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