Yesterday, I saw a coffin.

“Yesterday, I saw a coffin,” my grandmother said.

“Really?” The wards in the Klang hospital were really crowded, about a few feet of space to walk between the rows of beds that are placed so closely to each other that patients practically sleep next to each other. I can hardly imagine a coffin in these wards.

“She means that someone died yesterday,” the elderly asthmatic patient whose bed is next to my grandmother said. She had been hospitalised longer than my grandmother but I could tell that the two of them have become fast friends.

“Uh…okay.” I’m squeemish about bringing up the subject of death around, you know, very sick people but this lady, with a nasal cannula for her asthma issues just shrugged. “We’re right by the ICU.”

“Chinese lady,” my grandmother said.

“The other lady was a Malay woman,” the severe asthmatic patient said. “Yeah, they died yesterday.”

“Yeah. They died. Guess it was their time.”

Klang Hospital feels like the busiest hospital in Malaysia. In fact, it feels like the busiest hospital in the world. The wards are clean but cramp. And then during visiting hours, it feels like a wet market with relatives piling in to visit. The humanity packed into one room is almost frightening. One patient had about ten members visiting her at one time with three babies, one a wee newborn, piled on her bed.

The atmosphere in the wards are a combination of joy and sorrow. One family was fast talking and their merriment punctuated with loud hearty laughter every so often. While another, a husband holds onto his wife’s oxygen mask as she lay there. I am not sure she is even aware that her husband is there while his face was a blank look of defeat.

I don’t know if my grandmother can see any of this, or is easily defeated by the sadness in the ward. I’m the sort of person who notice the sorrow and helplessness. Hours after I left, it was the faces of concerned and sad family members that remain etched in my memory. On the other hand, my grandmother epitomises optimism, she makes fast friends and was quick to point out to me everybody she had met: “This aunty here has kidney problems. This one has diabetes. That one – Parkinsons” and everyone is happy. The kidney patient is not sad, she has a doting daughter who takes good care of her.

She seems cheerful. The three ladies all requested that I bring them prunes tomorrow because “we can avoid taking the medicine that makes us poo”. I offered to bring orange cake that I baked for her but she said to save it for Eid which is in 5 days time. I tell her we will come back tomorrow.

There is ash on our car when we leave. I can’t help but hope it is not an omen.


It is difficult to reconcile how I feel. On the one hand, I know that government hospitals do have some of the best doctors and specialists around. On the other, well, it is a government hospital. There is no aircon, the wards are cramp and from the outside, it looked like it caught fire and continued to function as a hospital despite the disaster. And there are rats that come out to play at night.

We are continuously debating whether to move my grandmother to a private hospital. But the answer is not that straight forward. To put it simply, private hospitals especially at my grandmother’s age will be very expensive. Even more so because she does not have insurance. She is too old for insurance and everything will have to be paid out of pocket.

The thing about private hospitals is that niggling doubt that I have. You’re always wondering, is every procedure necessary? Do I need to take this drug? Are you really watching out for my best interest or are you milking me for money? My own experience at private hospitals is mixed. I had an excellent specialist who cared for me during my asthma episode and helped me recover. On the other hand, I paid nearly RM 300 per visit from a gynaecologist who came by to my room twice a day to say “Hey there, how are ya?” He’d stay for 3 minutes, max, we timed him and pocketed a cool RM 600 from me daily. RM 100 a minute.

In government hospitals since it’s public healthcare means continuous care even after you have been discharged. They will move your case to the KK and you are always monitored for the ailment that you came in for.

In a private hospital, well, once you’re done, you’re done. There is no continuous monitoring – you’re on your own kid. But there is comfort in a private hospital, it feels like a hotel. The rooms are air-conditioned, there is cable TV and room service.

Do you show that you love someone by taking them to a place where its more comfortable as they recover despite always wondering if the healthcare is better? Relatives assume that you don’t love your parent enough to actually spend money and put them in a cushy hospital.

Or do you grit your teeth and put up with the rats, the cramp spaces because it was in this hospital, the head of trauma, following his gut instinct refused to let a seemingly okay patient go? Because it was also this hospital that a specialist noticed something so minor in a blood test that most would have just discounted and noticed that it was a symptom of a far graver problem.



Goodbye 2012, Hello 2013!

Eizwan tells me that I have a poor habit of looking back to yesterday and then moaning about how much I have not done for the year. Or I could look back at the past years and only focus on the bad and the terrible and not see the good stuff I had done.

2012 as some of you may or may not know – had been a very difficult year for me. Mostly emotionally it was very poor and a chunk of the gains I had made in 2011 – like weight loss, my health – I had let it slide. I spent a lot of 2012 with introspection, not necessarily the best kind. More like ‘Woe is me’ of Shakespearean proportion and I have spent more time obsessing on past sins than Lady Macbeth ever had.

Thankfully, I am not like Lady Macbeth. I have yet to convince Eizwan to murder his boss.

So, a retrospective look at 2012 – here we come.

The Good Tea Company


Stacking up our tea

2012 was the year The Good Tea Company really took off. I had been toying and being rather coy about the idea of starting a business but 2012 was the year I really took the plunge.

You can say that starting a business is nerve-wrecking. But that would be an understatement. I think the accurate analogy would be akin to throwing yourself off a cliff without having a parachute on. And hoping that maybe you could build yourself a parachute as you plunge down at the 32 feet per second x per second.

But it has taken off. I have a product with a gorgeous design (designed by my brother) and a small but hopefully growing following. Sometimes when you run a business, you think you’re crazy. Like would anyone taste this tea and think ‘Cor, that’s the best tea I ever had!’ or would they think ‘They headed all the way to India to buy meh tea?’.


One of our successful tea hampers that we sold at The Curve for Eid

The doubt is giving way to confidence that The Good Tea Company has brought in some of the best teas in the world. Yes, I’d go that far. I love the teas I bought, I can make a tea lover out of a non-tea lover and on a lousy day, nothing makes me feel better than a hot mug of Afternoon Tea. I think about it so fondly as though it is my own child. And our teas have a great following amongst my small but growing customer base with some customers obsessing over teas that I never thought you could obsess about.

So. How about it, readers? Willing to give it a shot? Head on over to The Good Tea Company or you could always drop me a line at adlina[AT]

Unfortunately, you can no longer message me on FB because

I’ve switched off Facebook.

Sometimes, you have to know what is debilitating and soul destroying. Facebook was doing that to me – each time I checked it, I felt lower and lower despite knowing full well that people go on Facebook to show off. No one actually goes on Facebook to say the full truth i.e. ‘I’m showing off pictures of my wonderful children because I need to make myself feel better because really, they are brats that I feel like throttling and killing and my loving husband is actually a douche who only comes home around midnight. And I think he might have a mistress.’

I used to feel like I am raining on people’s parade by doubting their happiness. Perhaps they truly feel the need to share their happiness with their friends. Perhaps they really are genuinely happy and successful as they fly first class to London to party it up with the Rolling Stones.

Either way, it was eating me alive, going on Facebook was like putting a microscope on my own flaws. Look at me, rotting at my home, not flying First Class (heck, not even flying Air Asia last year) and not shopping in Paris. What am I doing wrong?

And therefore, it was time to get off. I’ve killed off Instagram even though I adored their filters (although, I stopped like it as much after College Humor made their Instagram parody. It made me feel utterly common) and deactivated it for a while. I might go back online when my sister heads to Australia for her PhD and since she practically lives on FB.

A New Home

Speaking of rotting in our home, I was not kidding. Eizwan and I currently live in a rental, in our bid to be as independent as possible from our parents. But it’s an old house and bits and bobs of the house has been falling apart. When I mean falling apart, I mean, plug points melting to a pile of plastic goo, ceiling almost collapsing from water log and our current favourite, a toilet that keeps backing up because the plumbing possibly dates back to the Roman era.

When our landlady sweetly asked to increase our rent, I threw a massive temper tantrum for a week and made the decision on behalf of the family to buy a new house since rental and mortgage were nearly on par to each other. It took a while for Eizwan to get on board and when he finally did – we hunted for a home. We signed November last year and we are on our way to a house ownership!

The keys should be handed over in end Jan and Eizwan and I, and our three cats (because this is the year we added a new kitty to our brood!) will be moving to our first owned home.

The Third Cat


Marty is on the right, Nadal is on the left. Marty is the cutie pie that loves to irritate all the cats in the house.

This little kitty adopted us, not the other way round. A small manky kitten made her way into our backyard and despite shooing it away countless of times, she kept coming back.

I’m a firm believer that you don’t adopt cats – cats adopt you. It was a difficult transition at first, our cat Marie is a real gangster and showed her true mafia colours on the kitten. It’s been more than 8 months now and we are one big happy family.

Our cats are Nadal, Marie (short for Maria Sharapova) and Marty (short for Martina Hinggis) No points for guessing who they’re named after.

Adlina the Hippy/Masterchef


Spicy Miso Ramen – during my ramen craving times.

My sister frequently accuses me of when I like something, I never go ‘Hey, I gotta take my friends and family here to try out this cake! It’s so good.’ It’s always, ‘Wow, this cake is amazing. I gotta MAKE this!’ She said, if I could, I would probably make my own shoes and handbags if I like a design.

2012 was the year of experimentation food wise. I have cooked so many cuisines the past year, experimented on some of the most difficult cooking stuff and done some Mad Kitchen Experiments. Roasted sambal anyone? I’m sorry I can’t share the recipe yet – the sambal I made was so potent, I nearly killed Eizwan. There are some recipes that have become staples in both my home and my mother’s household – the Dry Chicken Curry and Mapo Tofu being our favourite.


Peanut butter brownies – I have killed some friends with these brownies. It’s okay – they died from happiness.

Unfortunately, I had never bothered to document my successes that I frequently sit down and wonder – what on earth did I make that day? So the aim this year is to document everything down so that I no longer have to figure out, what on earth did I make that time. I am hoping to build an epic kitchen so I have a place to do all my Mad Kitchen Experiments as safely as possible.

So what is there to look forward to in 2013?

The Good Tea Company

I am extremely passionate about this company. I want it to grow, and I want Malaysians to have access to great teas. One of my fondest memories that I cherish is sneaking off from class to have dessert and tea with my best friend in uni. That’s how I feel about tea – you can have it on your own, as you sit down to write but it’s better when you have a good friend and a good dessert in front of you and have long conversations with a good friend.

A bad cup of tea is just that, a bad cup of tea. But a good cup of tea makes you smile, makes you feel warm inside. I want everyone to have a chance to have a great cup of tea to accompany them as they build up friendship and love.


If you noticed, 2012 was a dismal failure when it came to writing. I wrote a few business plans, completed one short story but struggled to do anything else. I see myself first and foremost as a writer, despite having my own tea company.

This year, I want to complete a novel and then to try and get it published. I’ve said this before, year on year and had failed to keep up my promise. But I got my tea company up and running right? So, even if it means a lack of a social life this year, limiting it only to the Garoupas and close friends – so be it. It’s time to let my writing take priority.

Adlina the Hippy

I let myself down in 2012. I let my health slide and I stopped taking care of myself. I pined so much for something I could not have that I stopped looking at the now, looking at what I could do today. Perhaps, I am not meant for what I was pining for and perhaps, I will get that chance in the future. My mother reminded me that perhaps God intends me to have a differing role than everyone else and that it isn’t a bad thing.

This year, I am going to put me first. I am putting my emotional and physical well-being as priority. It’s true what they say – you can’t take care of others when you’re not taking care of yourself. I want to focus on my ambitions and my dreams and I want to have a more holistic view of my life.

And since I’m a hippy, I’ve started this year by tossing out all my face care products out and doing my face using only natural products. No, we’re not talking about natural face care products. We’re talking putting the contents of the fridge on my face. Yeah, I never do things the easy way.

2013 is going to be a great year. I can just feel it.

Tales of a Shopgirl

There you go. I’ve done it. I took one good look at my American High School Diploma, my International Baccalaureate Diploma (because I’m such a greedy mofo, I had to do two diplomas) and then my prized Warwick University degree and said, “F*** it all! I am going to be a shop girl.”

Well, not quite. I’d like to think that I have, or more accurately, my family has taken on the mantel of the entrepreneur. When you read business magazines and economics textbooks – there is something undeniably romantic about being an entrepreneur. We are, as they say, the engine of growth in any developing or developed country. We are the bastions of innovation, we are drivers of growth and <<insert all other compliments business schools use to encourage people into entrepreneurship>>.

This is the sexy part about entrepreneurship. The fancy packaging done by my extremely talanted brother, the gourmet teas and rustic feel…

I am a big fan of academics. I am not one to knock off the scholar – but I do get a wee bit frustrated when the sexiness of “engines of growth” doesn’t quite tally with my experience of a very confused shop girl. Because as I realize painfully on my first day at The Good Tea Company’s stall, that my over-privileged education has not taught me how to use a cash register. Yesterday was Day 34 at The Curve and I still got it wrong. Not so sure how something that should have total RM 45 became RM 92.50 on the cash register.

It seems I can’t pretend that RM 25 somehow adds up tor RM 92.50.

And it would not be good business practice if I charged my friends who came to support me, RM 92.50. Despite the temptation to do so anyway.

Don’t get me wrong – I love what I am doing. I love the tea that we’re bringing to market, I love meeting customers and explaining to them about the teas. I am so touched when my friends and family come over to support our little endeavour. We have put in tons of effort, sweat and tears – and to see that lovely and fantastic response makes us well up. I am tearing up here. I surprise myself with a heart sometimes.

But as with all the sexy parts, people tend to censor the non-sexy bits. Like when two Hollywood actors make love on screen – they show the heaving bosoms, the breathiness and the perennial hotness that both actors have. They never, ever show the part where the man farts under the blanket and you can’t get the blanket off you as quickly as you’d like.

This book kept me company for a total of 2 days. And then unfortunately, I fell asleep each time I read it. And then I left it on the table to seem more well-read than I really am.

I’m just saying, that sometimes, on the very quiet days where I can roll on the floor from the North Entrance of the Centre Court of the Curve all the way to Ikea without knocking anything, or anyone at The Curve – that is the fart under the blanket with you being trapped under it, with nowhere to escape. You’re sitting there, eyes glazed hoping, someone, anyone would turn up or anything would happen. Like a meteor were to strike the deejay who keeps playing Siti Nurhaliza on constant repeat for 5 weeks running. She may be Malaysia’s sweetheart but she sure ain’t mine.

Also, The Curve tortured us with their “Eid Dance Extravaganza” for 5 weeks straight. The same dance, twice a day, every bloody weekend. I did however, have a soft spot for the dancer on the left. He was so painfully awkward, that it was pure pleasure watching him dance.

Doing retail work is more exhausting than I expected it to be, especially when we are usually here around 9:30am and we leave around 10:30pm. On fasting months, days seem a lot longer but days are willed by through  endless debates on what we would have for dinner. The first three weeks, we practiced bento, my mother tirelessly packing food for us as we did shift work at The Curve – the last two weeks, Sakae Sushi and Popeyes knew me by name. I leave it up to you to make up your own conclusion of what happened.

It was a lot of hard work, late nights and sometimes, a lot of tears. Entrepreneurship is not easy especially one of the most difficult requirements of opening our stall at The Curve was working on Eid day itself and the whole week after Eid. It was hard to remain cheerful working on Eid day itself – I looked at the pictures of everyone’s celebrations with unbridled jealousy. And then pettily comforted myself with the knowledge that some of you guys probably got food poisoning on Eid day itself.

Did we just hold our Eid celebrations in a mall? Oh yes, we did! Photo courtesy of zayni.

Like it’s not Eid unless someone ends up in the ER with a shot to stop the purging.


It was a wealth of knowledge and experience this past 5 weeks. As a company, we had grown from a very gawky entity which can’t seem to work the cash register to something akin to confidence. We are braver, a little wiser and more mature. We’re understanding retail, we’re understanding sales and we even, have become a little bit more ambitious on where The Good Tea Company is going to go.

Like the USS Starship Enterprise, we are going to boldly go where no (tea company) has gone before.

If we’re willing to put face clamps on our face, we’re willing to go to the ends of the earth for the best tea ever.

Tomorrow, it is with bittersweet feelings that we’ll close our retail presence at The Curve as the Raya promotions end. I say this with mixed feelings as I will miss the customer interaction that I get daily but I have to say, feeling incredibly happy that I will be able to rest again! Yay for sleep. But! There is no rest for the wicked, and should you want to get some teas, feel free to bother me by texting me, calling me or emailing me or online at our website or our Facebook page.

Alternatively, you could bother these people as well.

Thank you all for your tremendous support. Thank you to everyone who came by, for making me feel that this is worth doing. That this is something very special and precious. I’ll see all of you again soon.


Edited: Upon posting, I noticed that there isn’t a picture of the true hero of this entire endeavour and that would be my boss i.e. our biggest investor and/or Venture Capitalist – my mum.

Here is the VC with the sister who was channeling Tutankhamen.

The Night We Eloped

Sometimes, you can be so stupid as to tempt the universe. As I lazily woke up on Friday, I thought, my life had been very quiet as of late. And then as I got ready, I thought to myself, ‘Gee, life has been very quiet lately. If only it were a bit more exciting.’

The Universe heard me and declared, ‘Challenge accepted’.

Which explains why, on Friday night, in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, the husband and I were stuck by the side of the highway, me in our pretty baju kurung and Eizwan in his baju Melayu complete with his sampin, waiting for Eizwan’s cousin to rescue us. The rain was getting heavier, and I was trying very hard not to feel low.

‘This is my fault, you know,’ I say to Eizwan. ‘I tempted the universe.’

‘You did what?’

‘I said my life was unnaturally quiet the past two weeks. The universe responded.’

‘You what? No-lah! These things happen. It’s not your fault.’

I pause, and thought about what he said.

‘You’re right, I said to Eizwan. It’s your cousin’s fault.’

‘Syeda? Syeda’s fault?’

Yes, the last time she got engaged, we got locked out of our house. Twice. Now, on the day she’s getting married, our car broke down in the middle of the highway, and we’re standing here with no way out.’

‘Hey, that’s not true. I mean, this is just a coincidence right?’


‘…Or maybe she secretly does not like me very much. Maybe I’ve wronged her somehow and this is punishment.’ Eizwan replied miserably.

‘You know what this means, right? This means that the next time a major event happens in her life, like if she has her first baby or something we’re staying far, far away.’


Our car died the way the universe would, not with a bang but with a whimper. Well, actually, it died in a spectacularly creepy way – the lights started to flicker, the radio came on and off before it all started to dim down and faded away. Despite Eizwan’s insistence that he could coax the car forward and that we CAN get to the wedding on time, 100 metres before the toll on the AKLEH, it quietly said good night.

We handled the situation fairly well, you know, like motherfucking adults. We called the insurance company which then called up the tow truck company. And then we called Eizwan’s parents to come rescue us. The tow truck came after half an hour, and the super nice tow truck driver gave us a lift to the waiting area on the other side of the toll where it would be safer to wait. Eizwan’s parents said that his cousin was on the way, and that he would get there in about 20 minutes.

Of course, as everyone knows, the best-laid plans are always obstructed certain Mr. Murphy. We might be only 20 minutes away from Syeda’s home, but Eizwan’s cousin decided to play it safe and take a route that he was familiar with to where we were. Unfortunately for both him and us, that route was Jalan Ampang. On a Friday night.

He was joined by about a million other people on that 1km stretch.

But despite Eizwan and I being stranded by the roadside, Eizwan and I were in surprisingly good mood. I was determined not to feel low, a car breaking down was already stressful for Eizwan – no one wants to spend any more money on a car, and we were bound to miss Eizwan’s cousin’s solemnization – so I did not want to upset him any further.

We kept ourselves amused by identifying cars, talking about everything and nothing and taking random pictures with the camera.

‘I don’t get why people are staring at us,’ Eizwan said. ‘You see that guy there? And that other guy there? They’re all staring at us.’

‘Maybe they’re not used to someone as hot as me being stranded,’ I said, flicking my hair to the back.

‘Modest…. Hey, stop staring at my wife!’ Eizwan shouted.

I shrug. I really did not care if people were staring. But it really bothered Eizwan that everyone was staring. And it was kind of funny that they were. We were not the only ones stranded by the side of the road – but the ones gathering the most attention was us.

‘I suppose it’s because we’re dressed the way we are. You know, we look nice, we look like we’re going to a dinner or something.’

‘Yeah, I suppose.’

But after a while, even I could not keep my spirits high. I was starting to get hungry, the fumes from the cars whizzing by were horrible and my throat was starting to dry out. Eizwan noticed my shivering. It was getting cold from the rain and he pulled me closer. He pulled out my t-shirt from the rucksack that he was holding. And I covered myself in efforts to cover myself from the rain.

People finally stopped staring. I think they were starting to think we’re kinda creepy.

Eizwan and I finally got to the wedding 3 hours after the wedding was supposed to start. By the time we were picked up,  Syeda and her boy, were now man and wife.

Of course, nothing was more comforting than arriving at a wedding 3 hours late, looking like the cat dragged in than your relatives cracking up at you the moment you walk in. And Eizwan finally got his answer as to why people kept staring at the two of us.

‘Oh my God. Did you really stand by the roadside dressed up like that?’ Abang Khalid sputtered in between giggles.

Apparently, as Eizwan’s cousin pointed out, the two of us, in our themed baju kurung and baju Melayu, me in my pretty make up, Eizwan with his rucksack on his back and standing by the side of the road looked like we were about to run away and elope.


Wedding Experiments

So…I have finally decided on the wedding invites. Ish. More like I finally managed to drag my brother (the super creative one – the only one with skills. In times of difficulties/flooding etc, he would be the only one who would be able to write ‘Will draw for food’. On the other hand, mine would read something like ‘Will regale about Economics for food’ – and will be promptly ignored whilst Hani’s one will read something like ‘Will point at brain parts for food.’ Actually zombies might approve) to the table to help me think up of an invite.

I do want something unique and simple, a plain card that is quite popular in the West as opposed to the birthday card concept in Malaysia – but translating that idea across to my brother was going to be difficult.  Jan is an artist with all the classic trappings of an artist. ‘Bah, ca n’est pas interesant! Pas magnifique! I want beauty! I want unique!’ and proceeds to tear into all my ideas.

Well, it did not quite go that way – Jan doesn’t speak French, he speaks Spanish, I don’t speak Spanish – but he did tear into all the ideas I showed him.

‘Urgh. Word templates. People pay for this shit?’

We did come up with an idea that all three of us liked yesterday – my mother being the third person. Her presence was solely to make sure the artist did not go too wild – ‘Please, no pointy breasts when you do your drawings’. The final decision is definitely unique, so it either be made of Awesome Sauce™ or made of Great Fail™.

‘So, this is a carte blanche to do whatever I want?’ says my brother, with a Cheshire Cat-like grin.

Your wedding should not be the time to experiment and clearly, I’ve taken this advice and thrown it out the window. Come June 5th, it will be an eclectic experiment of vintage ideas, modern art and a certain je ne sais quoi thrown in  with a bit of ‘What the hell?’

Detraction from the recipe

My grandmother when I ask her about how to make Laksa Johor:

‘…and then you mix with curry spices. Fish curry spice.’

‘Really? You mean, there’s no special laksa johor spice?’

‘Well, we’re in KL. That’s the best you can do. When I was in Johor, I used to get this spice from this lady, Sharifah Fatima was her name. Well, she’s dead now. So well, there ended the spices. So use curry powder instead.’

Please Don’t Stop the Music

After dinner this evening at Eizwan’s,  his family gathered on the living room sofa with two guitars, and sat around for a good conversation and some music. The star of the evening was young Hanan, a talkative and confident eight year old who was addicted to pop music and singing. Eizwan’s dad and Eizwan had their guitars out, they accompanied the precocious child through her song catalogue, which I had to admit, was impressive for an eight year old.

When I was eight, the only music I heard was Michael Jackson and the ridiculous Now, That’s What I Call Music albums. This young girl sang Billy Joel, Beatles with a mish-mash of music from the 1950s courtesy of her ancient music teachers in school.

‘I know, ‘Oh Carol” the child announced.

‘Oh, wow!’ Eizwan replied.

‘But I only know it as Oh, Rainbow.’

‘Oh what?!’I interrupted. What are they teaching children these days? Did I hear that wrong?

Hannah proceeds to sing a child-friendly version of Oh Carol, which lyrics were about the colours of the rainbow.

‘Oh, I thought you were singing ‘Oh Rambo!’ I exclaimed with relief.

In moments like these, I think how different Eizwan and my family are. They use music to relax. Music in my family is a very formal thing, with Jazz nights and music education. We don’t come together through music, we each have our Itunes list and our preference in music is eclectic. I’m currently partial towards retro and modern electronica, Hani towards ‘sad emo music’ while my brother, well, Kenny Chesney’s ‘She thinks my tractor’s sexy’ graces his playlist.

It’s not a bad thing, but it did remind me that I am a little uptight when it comes to music. I can’t just let loose like Eizwan; pick up the guitar and then sing with a group of small friends. Music is about hours of preparation and then standing on stage, darkened room, spotlights as you’re finally ready to play. It’s the theatre person in me.

I’m uptight and serious.

‘Hanan, why don’t you sing a new song!’ her mother said. ‘What about something by Lady Gaga.’

‘Oh, I love Lady Gaga,’ I exclaimed.

Hanan beamed as she began singing ‘Just Dance’. She stops singing it halfway. ‘I can’t remember the lyrics. But I can remember Poker Face’

And as the child started to belt out Poker Face, I can’t imagine how everyone would feel or worse, how I would feel if she started to sing at her top of her lungs, ‘It’s love if it’s not rough it isn’t fun!’

‘Tell you what! It’s late, so why don’t we sing another song?’

Hanan was a little disappointed. But yes, at that moment, it crystallized for me. Yep. Definitely uptight.