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Showing posts from 2013

Another Birthday

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My birthday this year was a happy occassion, mainly for two reasons. First, it fell on Eid Adha. So this means I get to celebrate it with my family, in my hometown. Second, it was kinda like a double celebration. Five days before my birthday, I had successfully defended my thesis, which means I had fulfilled one of the major requirements for getting a PhD in UM. All I have to do now is finish the last two chapters! I was overjoyed, and this euphoria continued on until my birthday. Naturally. Hehe. I woke up in the morning with some kind of zest. After a scrumptious breakfast comprising of ketupat, rendang and the like, we headed to my late Dad's grave. It's been a while since I stepped foot at the graveyard. 8 years have passed since my Dad's tragic death. If he were still alive today, I would have asked him to forgive me and to pray for my success and happiness. I miss my Abah, my favourite guy. A guy who had never let me down and loved me unconditionally.  My sis surpri…

Trip to Miri

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About a year ago, a colleague, Megat, asked me whether I wanted to be part of his research team, which was going to produce a documentary about the bird's nest industry in Malaysia. My part, he described, would be to write the text in English and to go for sales-pitch once the documentary is ready. I agreed immediately, as I had worked with him before. He is easy-going and has helped me on a number of occasions. Plus, I am thrilled with the thought of writing the English text for the documentary, which is a great challenge. I haven't been writing texts/scripts for TV for quite some time. This venture would also serve as a break from the monotony of writing my thesis. Recently, Megat took me on a trip to Miri, Sarawak. The writing stage for the documentary has not started yet but he wanted me to get a feel of the shooting/filming process, as well as hands-on knowledge of the bird's nest industry. He had already  stationed his research team at Sandakan. Now, they're mov…

The Joy of Eid

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I guess I had a different kind of Eid celebration this year. The month of Ramadan that preceded it flew so fast. I've been having a lot of emotional turbulences before Ramadan came, so Ramadan came just at the right time. Like what God has ordained, during this entire month, I tried to place more emphasis on my religious actions as opposed to my daily routine and emphasis on worldly matters. The essence of Ramadan, which is to become humble, simple and free from ill-will, anger, and hate, really came through to me this time. I found solace in Ramadan. And in God. Eid came soon after. I felt like a kid, counting the days when I would head home and join my family and  cuddle with my baby nephew, Qaleef. I even baked some cookies, my first-time ever! Luckily they turned out fine. I guess next year I won't have to buy any cookies! Haha. We'll see. I don't know why but this time around I didn't say no whenever my mom asked me if I wanted to join her visit our relatives…

Baju Raya or Baju Kurung?

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Now that Ramadan has entered its second week, I can't help but notice the countless ads and promotions of baju raya on TV, newspapers, magazines and Facebook. I notice that somehow the baju kurung has lost its originality and losing popularity as the baju raya. Facts that don't really sit well with me.  Back when I was young, the baju kurung was the only baju raya that I knew. Occassionally, baju kebaya was also worn as baju raya but in Johor we used to be proud of the traditional baju kurung. Johor takes pride in its baju kurung Teluk Belanga, its distinctive style is known from the cutting style at the neck. The Teluk Belanga style has no collar and the neckline is stitched in the style known as tulang belut ("eel's spines or bones"). My mom used to sew our baju kurungs herself. She would spend hours stitching the seams, as well as stitching the tulang belut, a skill which I unfortunately didn't inherit. Sigh. Nowadays, it is difficult to find tailors will…

Bundle of Joy

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Babies are the best gifts God can give us and I am thankful to God my family received one recently. On 9 May 2013, my sister Wani gave birth to a baby boy. I was overjoyed! I think if my Dad had been around  he would have been overjoyed, too. Yes, in my family, except for my late Dad, we are all girls. There's my mom, me and my two sisters. It must have been very lonely for my Dad, to be the only guy in the family *chuckle*.
When my sister Awin gave birth to her first (and only) child, it was a girl. My Dad was around at that time. I don't know whether he was disappointed or not. I guess deep in his heart he regretted the fact that he didn't have a little guy of his own. He had more or less mentioned it to me, albeit in a joking manner. But when Arina arrived, he became a doting grandfather instantly. She became the apple of his eye. When my sis Wani got married, my Dad was no longer around. Two years after she got married, she gave birth to my niece Qaleesha. When she went…

Election Afterthoughts

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Finally the general election is over. For politicians and analysts, the work of number crunching, deciphering the results and trying to understand the choices made by voters is just beginning. ~ Lim Teck Ghee

General election came again, after 5 years. I did my duty as a citizen. I must admit I was extra excited this time around. All the events, propaganda, bickering  and drama leading to GE13 were really entertaining, as well as enlightening. As the norm whenever the GE was around the corner. Only this time, it was more intense and I don't think this intensity could ever be matched by previous GEs. The Opp really laid their cards on the table, backed by alternative media that are abundant on the Net. They were really becoming increasingly popular and convincing.  When I was younger I couldn't really be bothered with politics. But after doing a lot of readings for the past few years, mainly those that revolve around politics and the environment, I could see how politics govern…

Paris! Oolala!

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Eiffel, here I come!!!

So, picking up from where I left. From Lisbon, Kak Wan and I flew to Paris. Reached Charles de Gaulle airport in the afternoon. My friend, Putra, and his girl friend had already arrived in the morning. Before we departed, he'd already given us instructions through Whatsapp on how to get to our hotel in Opera, Paris. So the minute we landed in Paris, we took the Roissy bus, which took us straight to Opera. It cost us 10 Euros each.
Day 1 When we reached Opera, Putra was at Galeries LaFayette, the Paris-version of Harrods. He told us to meet him there. It wasn't that far from the bus stop. Also wasn't very far from our hotel, Prince Albert Opera Hotel. Also wasn't very far from the  Opera building, the setting for Phanton of the Opera. We checked in to the hotel. It was so, so, so different from our 4-Star hotel in Lisbon *grimace*! The room was so small! I couldn't believe my eyes. But then, th…

Wonderful Portugal!

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I've always wanted to visit Portugal. After watching Samantha Brown, I was enticed. But all of my travel-potential friends didn't seem the least bit interested when I mentioned it. So I just buried Portugal deep in my heart. When I learned that I could actually apply to go to a conference overseas once throughout my PhD studies, I was elated, and started looking for a conference, with the hope that I could find one in Portugal! I got my wish, and until today it is still hard for me to fathom out how lucky I was :-)! My application for funding was approved after 3 months. Earlier on I had geared my paper to suit the conference's varied themes on trauma. Luckily, a small part of my on-going thesis touches on trauma. As usual, the minute I knew it was approved  I started to worry how I was going to travel to Portugal alone. I suppose if I were a man I wouldn't worry at all about travelling alone. When I submitted an abstract to the conference committee, I 'd forwarde…

Of Hope and Shelter

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It took a lot of blood, sweat and tears to get to where we are today, but we have just begun. Today we begin in earnest the work of making sure that the world we leave our children is just a little bit better than the one we inhabit today. ~ Barack Obama
A few weekends ago a friend of mine organized what he called 'A Charity Birthday Party' at one of the shelter homes in KL. Basically what he did was organize a hi-tea party where  guests were asked to donate some money, instead of giving him birthday presents. I thought it was a novel idea and was more than happy to come. Besides this, I was also curious about the shelter home. I'd never been to one.  On the day of this charity event, I drove up to KL. Alone. The shelter home was located  in the posh Titiwangsa area. When I first saw it I thought it looked a bit odd, kinda displaced. The home pales in comparison to its neighbouring luxurious bungalows. How it managed to operate there for many years, without being demolishe…

Pillar of Strength

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Mothers and their children are in a category all their own. There's no bond so strong in the entire world. No love so instantaneous and forgiving.” ~ Gail Tsukiyama
Last weekend my Mom had come over, having to attend an umrah course in KL. In a few weeks' time she will be going on another umrah trip, with her brother and his family. About the same time I'd be departing for my Portugal trip. Sigh. Since my Mom had gone on a Hajj and umrah trip before, I asked her why she needed to attend the course. "Oh, It's been years, I probably have forgotten some of the things", she retorted.  This is probably one of those rare trips where she came to KL alone, by bus. Usually she'd come with my sis and niece. I picked her up at Hentian Serdang and sent her off to my uncle's place in BB Bangi. But not before bringing her to her favourite restaurant, Ayam Penyet Wong Solo.  I normally don't eat rice for dinner but maybe I was too happy to see her, I ordered e…

You Have No Idea...(Oh, But I Do...!)

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You have no idea how hard I've looked
for a gift to bring You. Nothing seemed right. What's the point of bringing gold to the gold mine, or water to the ocean. Everything I came up with was like ... taking spices to the Orient. It's no good giving my heart and my soul because you already have these. So I've brought you a mirror. Look at yourself and remember me.

This poem was written by Rumi (1207-1273), a remowned Persian poet. I have always loved his poems. I think I have about 3 or 4 books by Rumi. Some I've read and some I haven't. What I love about his poems is the ambiguity, or, the different layers of meaning. Sometimes however, it is not easy to decipher these meanings. Like onions, you have to peel these layers one by one.
Known as a Sufi poet, his poems naturally revolve around God, but as can be seen from the poem above, his  poems can also be read as love poems. As in human love *chuckle*. I can relate to the idea of giving gifts in the first stanza. One usu…

Time For Success

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We realize our dilemma goes deeper than shortage of time; it is basically a problem of priorities. We confess, we have left undone those things that ought to have done; and we have done those things which we ought not to have done.“ – Charles E. Hummel 
Some time last year my BFF, Ann, shared with me some invaluable insights into leading a successful and  meaningful  life. A colleague of hers had done a mega-scale research on the secret of some really rich Muslims in Malaysia and beyond, and had learnt some really useful tips. She shared one of these tips with Ann, which was given by a very successful and rich female Muslim banker in Malaysia. Ann captured this tip in a pie chart, which can be seen below:

So basically, this pie chart describes the EIGHT things that one must allocate time to (sincerely and earnestly) in one's daily life:
1. God 2. Family 3. Work  4. Knowledge 5. Your interest 6. Charity 7. Recreation 8. You (as in having time to yourself)
As Ann went through each o…