Sunday, November 30, 2008

.: Gifts for life :.

Muslim Aid Asia.

Eid is about 1 week away. Mum asked whether my sister and I would like to do qurban back home. Wanting to do something different, I scoured the net in search of other alternatives. That's when I stumbled on Muslim Aid Asia's (MAA) blog. Reading the blog and perusing the website alone weren't sufficient for me, thus I visited their main office in Bangsar to get further information.

~ Taking into consideration how volatile the Internet can be, on top of the amount of dubious swindling individuals loitering around in cyberspace, one simply can't resist the temptations to seek legitimacy.

Here's an excerpt from ther Qurban 4 Life (Q4L) webpage ::

Muslim Aid Asia (MAA) calls on you to donate your sacrifice, religious duty, to the world's most needy families-give a Qurban4Life. MAA monitors the certified halal process of your Qurbans. As part of our effort to provide quality food aid distribution, MAA sources livestock according to Islamic specifications.

Slaughtering will be carried out on the 10th to 13th Zulhijjah 1429H (December 8-11,2008) at facilities chosen by MAA. The facilities are those certified halal by the Australian Federation of Islamic Development (Jabatan Kemajuan Islam Malaysia-JAKIM).

Food For Life - Q4L Mechanism:

Slaughtered meat are distributed either in canned, frozen or fresh forms. The form differs depending on the country's needs, logistics, living conditions and present situation. Meanwhile, each sheep makes about 24 cans. Neither the wool nor the bones are spared as it will be distributed as coats, blankets and other items. This time around, the countries that receive the food aid are Indonesia, China, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Sudan, Somalia, Kenya, Afghanistan, Palestine, Iraq and Lebanon. For other aids, it is extended to Somalia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Malaysia.

UK Brochure

MAA Q4L Blog (in Malay) ::

Further delving into the other MAA's ongoing projects, are the "Water For Life", "Micro Enterprise", "Health Matters", "Education & Skills Training", "Sustainable Development & Agriculture", "Orphan Aid" and "Donations" projects. Every project is supplemented with descriptions of its products, however the mode remains relatively similar to Q4L. Donors are expected to donate by purchasing a product under the respective projects. Examples of products are water wells, fishing boats, vaccination kits, teaching aids as well as farming tools. Alternatively, there is the Sadaqah.

Past projects include "Glitters of Tomorrow", "My Kitchen Garden" and "Fast 2 Feed".

Spreading the word. ^
9.34pm Malaysian Time

.: E.R. :.

Remember Dr. Doug Ross?

The post entitled Time Away brought upon some rather fetching comments. Never know there are so many curious cats purring around. To clear things up, at the same time putting it to rest, here's the background of what made the statement being uttered.

In Muzdalifah, I became seriously ill. That was how my close relationship with the medical team and mutawifs began. While the doctors shared their medical knowledge, the mutawifs aided in other areas.

Our conversation were::
Dr. 1:: Here is your prescription.
Me:: Are those tablets or capsules?
Dr. 1:: It comes in both.
Me:: I don't know how to swallow. Can I cut or dilute it?
Dr. 1:: You are really a child.
Me:: I'm serious. Can't you jab me instead?

Another doctor.
Dr. 2:: Here. Eat it in front of me.
Me:: Can't I eat it in my room?
Dr. 2:: No. I want to see you eating it.
Me:: Can I melt it?

Third doctor.
Dr. 3:: Try placing it at the back of your throat and gulp lots of water.
Me :: Tried that. Sometimes it work, sometimes it doesn't.
Dr. 3:: What happens when it doesn't?
Me :: Depends. I can continue gulping water, chew it or throw it.
Dr. 3 :: Doesn't taste awful?
Me :: Used to it.

After several similar accounts, one of the brothers brought the statement up. Anyway, this clearly explains why I dread going to the doctors. It is the medication that deters me. I am not embarrassed to admit that I have problems in consuming medication. Some people find my inability as silly, whereas others think it's cute. Perhaps I should take an apple a day, to keep the pills at bay.

I'm back. :)
4.54pm Malaysian Time

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

.: Time away :.

From blogging.

Up till end of this month, I shall cease blogging for a while. Reasons being that there are a few things that I have on hand plus, something has been bothering me of late and I am hoping to get some answers soon. Alhamdulillah, I can still maintain my composure, thus avoiding the whole freaking out fuss from happening. This doesn't necessarily mean that I am cutting all ties from the online world. Every other day, I'll spare a few minutes to check my mail, so be rest assured that I shall reply promptly. Insya'Allah. ^^

In some way, my present situation reminded me of a statement I got during Hajj. Uttered by a fellow brother.

Brother :: "Saya doakan awak kahwin dengan Dr."

- I pray that you get married to a Dr.-

Bloody freaky.
12.37noon Malaysian Time

.: School's out :.


Officially on Nov. 15th till next year. There I was, on my way to work from KL Sentral when I stumbled upon a group of primary school students with a couple of teachers having breakfast. At a glance, I am assuming that they are having an excursion to KL. *schools typically organize such trips, funny how I never took part in any of it.*

I love school. I do. Just that I love school holidays more. *don't we all? haha~* Once the holidays start, my mum and dad would send me off with my brother, sister and aunt to
some other place. My parents aren't that mobile, thus my aunt is our caretaker. She's like our second mum. :)

Sis said that the best years are in high school. Mine is really in primary school. How I miss school life. *the hols, more than ever.*

:: To all school kids ::

From kindy to primary to high school to colleges and universities. *to me, you are all kids* One month plus of holidays! No school! No books! No teachers! No lessons! No assignments! Irregardless of how you choose to spend it, spend it well. Even if you are wii-ing it up with your chums all day long. Whatever that you deem is worth your while. :)

*mums, dads ... it's really not that bad.*

Note :: this post is pucked under the festive label with the notion that it is a festival. At least, in my books. :P

Basketball anyone?
9.28am Malaysian Time

Saturday, November 15, 2008

.: Blut ist dicker als Wasser :.

Care for a sip?

"Kuih Bangkit." One of the many choices of cookies baked during Eid. Mum used to bake it by the dozens, and I'll pile it up in the cookie jars. Nowadays, mum prefers to make the chocolate-based varieties since most of my little cousins favor it. There's really nothing wrong with the chocolate ones. Only that I much prefer the ones I had when I was a kid. I guess I am still deeply rooted with our traditional fare. Insya'Allah, I'll badger my mum to make some when she comes over. *nothing beats mum's cooking, I'll help out of course.*

All along, I never know the origins of the cookies that my mum bakes. Whenever I ask her, she'll say it has been in the family, or that she got it from someone. Our conversations often get sidetracked along the lines of the family tree and history.

*direct translations of Kuih is cake, but it can also be cookies or biscuits. Bangkit really means rise, as in the cake rises, so "Kuih Bangkit" can be referred to as raised cookie.*

Did a little research of my own.

Kueh Bangkit were originally used for altar offerings for the ancestors. Then they were made in the shape of currency. Today they are made in various animal or floral shapes with their own symbolic meaning such as goldfish, peonies and chrysanthemums. They can be sprinkled with sesame seeds to symbolize fertility. Tan (1991) stated that kueh bangkit are typical of the evolution of the cultural osmosis from mainland China to overseas Chinese communities.

Source :: Asian Festivals and Customs A Food Exporter's Guide by Grant Vinning and Kaye Crippen

Like the pineapple tarts that my mum makes, the "Kuih Bangkit" is in fact a Chinese New Year Goodie. The justification of us taking it as our own can most probably be traced back to our ancient ancestral roots, particularly on my dad's side.
All that mattered to me is how scrumptious they are. *they're really good ... all light and crumbly, they seamlessly melt in your mouth.*

Here are my little cousins. *they aren't that little anymore, are they?* Time sure pass fast.

Eid is most likely the only time I get to see all my relations. Now and again, we do have family functions, yet not everyone are present. Though we hardly meet, the bond is very much intact. Alhamdulillah. :)

I reckon in a couple of years time, these girls will be much bigger than I'll ever be. As it is, they're almost the same size as me. *some have surpassed me.* Is it just me or are kids today becoming bigger? *haha~*

Love the smiles. ^^

12.50am Malaysian Time

Thursday, November 13, 2008

.: Growing pains:.

Age is just a number.

Ever had a time when you wished that you are older? *or younger?* In my early years, I envied my brother and sister tremendously. They are fairly older than I am, hence there were quite a number of things that I am unable to join in or restricted from doing. Every time I wanted to emulate them, my parents will say I am too young. Because of that, I often envisioned how it'd be like when I'm finally their age, also my mind goes uber frenzy.

In my tiny little head, my brother was Indiana Jones. *now, no longer ... haha~* Later, he hooked me into Mechwarrior, Warcraft, Prince of Persia etc. He contributed immensely to the increase of my spectacles power. In contrast, my sister was the homemaker. She roped me into doing what most girls do. Chores. Honestly, I dreaded it. There were times when I actually broke down and cried because she'll scold me when I didn't do it right or on time. I suppose, the outcome of it is that I learn to be more disciplined, tolerant and levelheaded. The only thing I looked forward to being her age was to get behind the stove. *I love food.*

I briefly recalled a conversation she had with my mum when she instigated me with the chores.

Mum:: "Your little sister is still too young to do chores."
Sister:: "Because she's still young, that's the best time to teach her."

Retrospectively, there were so many things I wanted to do then. Things like driving, traveling, extreme sports etc. As peculiar as it may be, when I've finally reached the actual age, somehow those things are insignificant. Sometimes people are excessively focused in planning for their future; on the things that they want that they literally stopped living in the present. There are people that reflect on their past and regret not doing certain things then. The young ones can't wait to get older whereas the old ones want their youth back. These days, I just take things as they are and am grateful for whatever that comes by. :)

What about now?
12.08noon Malaysian Time

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

.: Minting mettle :.

Darwinistic "Evolve or Die" maxim.

Here's an expression that's quite commonly used amongst my circle of friends. "You die, I die, we all die." *what kind of friends does she have?* Shedding some light, the statement is meant as in if you sink, then we shall all sink. In other words, we are all in this together. *no attempt to sound like HSM*

Hooked up with a close friend of mine, Nora last Monday. Haven't seen her for close to 4 years. In fact, it was only end of last year when we contacted one another. Between us, nothing much has changed. She is definitely one of my pillars of strengths, great person to confide to, and continuously update me on the well-being of our friends. I always say that she's the link that ties us altogether. Talked quite a bit, and will be doing more of that since I'll be around more often. Seriously need to make it up to her, after all those years of neglect. Insya'Allah.

The meet-up was at KLCC. She was still at home when I arrived, thus I made my way to Kinokuniya. Bad move. As it is, I'd already splurged on books the week before, and the week before that. Had meant to ease it up a little, except I couldn't resist to get my hands on a couple more. *this only happens with books* Cutting the story short, I managed to control myself to purchase just one book. Had my choices narrowed down between Girls of Riyadh and Chronicles of the Maya Kings and Queens. I settled for GoR. Definitely not my average choice of reading material, but I was looking for some light reading. Pleased mixed with aghast feelings, I proceeded to 1901 (a hot dog store). Normally, I will wait till the person arrive. Somehow, my tummy got the best of me. Believe it or not, it was my first time eating there. That was our meeting point.

Soon after, Nora arrived.
*she walked all the way to KLCC from Bukit Nenas ... no clue on how far that is ... the look on her face made it clear though* She felt that the surrounding wasn't fitting so we shifted to Nando's, making it my fourth time there. *I hardly eat out ... that's why I can roughly recall the number of times I actually frequent somewhere* While we were busy reconnecting, there was a child seated near to us. I am guessing he's about 5. He kept popping his head and enthusiastically chimed "Hi! and "Cak!". Nora was telling me that I have an admirer; which is really cute. *he is cute ... like any other kid ... I once heard someone say that babies look like monkeys ... guess that's where Darwin got his theory ... no offence.* Ended close to 9.45pm and headed home.

To most people, I decline to have any outings at night. Nora is an exception, as like a handful of others. Feel free to discover the reasons yourself.

Now that takes an awful lot of spunk. :)
5.35pm Malaysian Time

Friday, November 7, 2008

.: Anonymity cloak :.

Harry Potter?

*Typical traditional Malay formal attire with a twist.
"Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."

Dr. Seuss
What is life without a little aggravation? Regardless of how constructive or vile it may be, some react to it sensibly whereas others choose to live a life depicting themselves as something they're not; masked in a life full of lies, half-truths and innuendos. Thus is the bitter realization on the existence of charlatans.

As a child, my mum used to scare me with stories of how someone will cut off my tongue if I ever lie. *she has a tendency to relate horror stories, all in the name of instilling good moral values ... as preposterous some may be, it must have worked as I believed in all of it then.* It's not like I have never been deceitful before. There are skeletons in my closet, and I'm sure everybody has their own dirty little secret that they will resort to just about anything so that it remains as a hush hush. I suppose, one can never reveal all of oneself let alone being completely true to others. That's fine, albeit what irks me is when deceptions are habitually done. In the place of a sanctimonious two-face, why not be like the headless mannequin represented above? Works the same for me.

People have been telling that I should change. Nothing related to those characteristics or behavioral patterns, but more towards my outer appearance. It's pretty sad when it's uttered by people that I consider as friends. Statements such as "Wear a smaller hijab, career-wise you'll advance further." *
shouldn't it be based on merits?*, "You're young. Why do you confine yourself?" *so we are the young and the restless?* and "Use make-up!". *No. Had enough of it.* Fully aware that there are people that judge you base on appearances.

Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn. :)
12.30 noon Malaysian Time

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

.: Intriguing theory :.

It's proven.

Perhaps my friends are right when they say I think too much. Second day at my new place and my colleague already pointed out that he thinks I think a lot. *it can't be that obvious, right? it has only been 2 days!* I can practically hear my sister hollering "Geek, supreme geek and mother of all geeks!". *so I amplified it, at most she'll just say geek, geek and geek.* Not that I have any qualms particularly since, erm ... better not mention else I'll never hear the end of it.

To my sister :: "You owe me. Big time. A treat should suffice." :)

Knocking off from work. :)
5.32pm Malaysian Time

Sunday, November 2, 2008

.: Beyond words :.

Make a prayer.

Over tea, I had a brief discussion with my sister pertaining to the repercussions of our Hajj. Adjacent to our dining table, there are 2 framed blown up photographs at the King Abdul Aziz International Airport, Jeddah whereas another at Mina courtesy of my uncle. One of it is featured in earlier entries of my blog under the Hajj 2007.2008 label. *the thinker pose* Of all the photographs taken, I do not wish to comment on his choice of selections.

To summarize things, we noticed changes in ourselves together with the rest of our entourage. I for one felt that each of us reaped immense constructive knowledge. Sis mentioned that she now dons the hijab whenever she's out. Dad reads the Qur'an almost after every solat. Can't say much about the others since I hardly see them. On the other hand, I'm reading up more on Islamic materials. Pretty hilarious when during a recent visit to a bookstore the owner was recommending me a few good reads and each time he handed me one I'll tell him that I already have it. This followed by the part when I bought books by the bulk. *he must have thought I have a library for a house* At least my family know where to find me if they lose sight of me at the mall, and which section to start it off with. *to which I believe is much to be expected, haha~*

Truth be told, it is really great to reminisce about it once a while. Seeing the programmes and news on Hajj as shown on the telly unfettered the encounters then.
A statement I recalled from my superior upon seeing him after my return was, "I told people that my sister is somewhere in the sea of people. There! I think that's her!"

Absolutely amazing.
11.22pm Malaysian Time

Saturday, November 1, 2008

.: Bales of silk :.

Sheer resplendence.

"With time and patience, the mulberry leaf becomes a silk gown."

Chinese Proverb

*Down with a slight case of influenza. Hit by the flu bug. Insya'Allah, I'll be fine after a good night's rest. :)*

In each passing day, I always find myself in situations thereby I am constantly acquiring some new found knowledge from people that I least expected from. Most certainly, there are specific lessons that are taught in books or classrooms, though the lessons in life I presume can only be obtained from real-life encounters. Over the years, I learn to be more conscious of my surroundings which in due return benefits me tremendously when it comes to gaining an understanding on the incomprehensible human behavior. Being an inquisitive person to a certain extent, I am relentlessly intrigued by multiple questions on it particularly the subject of identity.

Often I wonder, what is the story behind the beachcomber? How is life for the average Joe? What is their perspective as well as expectations in life? To be able to have discourses with people from various backgrounds which in hand allow me to delve a little further into their lives; enabling me to comprehend things their way. Bear in mind, I am definitely not a nosey parker that pries into the business of others. *relinquish the thought* I do know when to limit myself, draw the line or back away when not wanted. *I do, trust me.*

Is a smile, really a smile? And how do you measure the happiness of others?

There is still a long way for me to become a silk gown. For one, I doubt I'm even a leaf.
Yet, it does not hinder me whatsoever. Learning is after all, a lifelong journey. *along the silk roads? coughs*

One at a time.
8.47pm Malaysian Time