Saturday, July 25, 2009

.: Sky high :.


Clear day.


Thanks to all that sent me well wishes. I'm going off in 3.30hours and hopefully, all will be alright. By the way, I won't be able to blog or access Facebook since both sites are blocked by The Great Firewall of China. *unless I bypass the proxy yadaa yadaa yaadaa takes too much time and I'm too darn lazy for that ... :P*.

Take care all.
5.52am Malaysian Time

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

.: Coincidental vestige :.


Embody the trail.

"If you believe it was destined to happen it is most likely to happen, if you believe nothing has been decided then most likely nothing has been decided"

Yuko Ichihara, xxxHolic

After exposing my excursion to a selective set, here are some of the reactions received:
  • You’re going there to see your boyfriend, aren’t you?
  • Why there of all places?
  • You can contract H1N1.
  • Have you lost it? You're going alone!
  • They kill Muslims there.
  • That place is filled with pickpockets.
  • How are you going to pray? What will you eat?

Perhaps I am a vocally determined person because I happen to have answers for all of the above. Or I am just too pigheaded to make room for other forms of reasoning. I will go with pigheadedness.

I guess the reaction that sort of stumped me is …

"Why there of all places?"

There’s a stronger pull there compared to anywhere else and I don’t know why. I really have no clue. I just know when I returned from Hajj, I got on the net aimlessly thinking about starting a blog and I came across Guangzhou. In actual truth, I forget things easily. Yet, I wasn’t able to shake it off my head. I deduced, something must be there.

Mum :: Are you really sure about this? Whatever you do, if you are unsure, seek guidance from God.
Me :: How can something that feels so right, flows so perfectly be so wrong?

One a half years later, 2 days from now...

I’m finding out.
12.08noon Malaysian Time

Sunday, July 19, 2009

.: 8 things meme :.


Tagged by Hajar Zamzam Ismail.

Thanks sis. I am tremendously sorry for the delay.

8 things I am looking forward to:

1. 24th July :: Seeing friends.
2. 25th July :: Flying to Guangzhou, China.
3. 1st August :: Flying back to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
4. 3rd August :: My sis's birthday. *what kind' a spasms am I gonna thrill her with this year???*
5. 22nd August :: Ramadhan.
6. 20th September :: Eid.
7. 31st August :: National Day.
8. 18th December :: New Year.

*Tentative dates applied for all.

8 things I wish I could do: *this is fun*

1. Understand the whole Al-Quran ul Karim.
2. Become a much better person every single day.
3. Swallow medication like normal people do.
4. Eat spicy food without suffering later.
5. Be more sensitive to other people. *Seriously lacking on this one*
6. Not think so much.
7. Add in more time in this lifetime.
8. Help more people.

8 things I love:

1. God.
2. Family.
3. Friends.
4. Food.
5. Sleep.
6. Casual strolls.
7. Observing.
8. Learning.

8 things I did yesterday:

1. Napping. :P
2. Blog.
3. Catch up on other blogs; read and comment.
4. Photo editing.
5. Reorganized files.
6. Analyzed data.
7. Tried to bridge a generation gap, screwed up mid-way although things worked out eventually.
8. Communicated with my good friend for close to 1 hour. She still thinks I'm goofing around.

8 Shows I watch: *Bah~ I don't watch TV!!!*

1. The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy *Biiilyyy~!!!*
2. Pucca. *she cracks me up*
3. Anjakan Paradigma Bersama Dato' Dr. Fadzilah Kamsah *a local production discussing Islamic issues*
4. ...
5. ...
6. ...
7. ...
8. ...

8 people that I tag:

Consider yourself tagged if you're reading this. Kindly let me know if/when you've done it and I will add the reading part in my list of to-do things. :)

It's a beautiful Sunday.
8.42am Malaysian Time

Saturday, July 18, 2009

.: Walimatul urus :.


Wedding.

I noticed that I hardly do posts about Malay culture. Photos speak a thousand words, hence let it speak for itself. *Alright, I will admit that I am just lazy to create a draggy post*

Anyway, these Malay wedding photos were taken mid last year on my cousin's wedding day. Akin to weddings by other cultures, conducting this grand scale affair requires ::
  1. Intense Planning --- and executing it flawlessly
  2. Budget --- don't ask how much the family splurged on this
  3. Manpower --- don't ask how many people worked on it
  4. Attitude --- don't ask how many people blew / almost blew their heads off
  5. Hard Work --- excruciatingly tiring, nevertheless fun

The Wedding Dias --- Pelamin in Malay










Family and friends. *Where's my sister? She's in the picture by the way. :)*



The ermm ... banquet table? I prefer to name it as the heavenly yet devilishly tantalizing source of supreme sustenance! Food parade!!!


Oho! Ghazal! Rather odd since my cousin is not from the South. *the unmistakable distinct influence of Southerners ... coughs*

The hall after the wedding.


*Click on the photos to enlarge it.

I was the unofficial photographer for the bride's side, however those photos were taken using my cousin's camera. These are just the random snapshots I managed to shoot offhandedly with mine and a couple are actually credited to my uncle. Insha'Allah I'll showcase another typical Malay wedding scenario in future posts.

Off for breakfast.
8.54am Malaysian Time

Friday, July 17, 2009

.: Dance of the flowers :.


Destiny.


I was 10 when I was separated from my best friend.

I was 12 when I ran back to the exact spot where we last said goodbye even though I know he’s no longer there.

I was 15 when I broke down and cried for weeks in dad’s presence because the pain was no longer tolerable.

That was the time dad hugged me after so long and made sure I prayed congregational prayers alongside him, to seek solace from God.

"I cannot say that I understand your pain. But it is painful for me to see you this way. I cannot replace what you have lost. All I can do is to comfort you. The one that is able to ease your suffering is God. Seek for him. Insha’Allah, you will overcome this."

I was 19 when I opted to make the closure.

I was 22 when I realized I made the mistake of my life through endless denials and sought to set things right.


__________________________



Now, I’m going through life, believing that even in my darkest hour, God never left me. Concluding that there is a reason why I am unable to let go of this memory no matter how hard I tried and prayed for it.

__________________________

Things happen for a reason. For each broken piece, we strive harder to attain the next best piece. We do not give up. As long as we keep on trying, our efforts and determination shall be noticed. Afterward, we just leave it to God to move the heavens for us.

Happy Jumu'ah everyone!

5.58am Malaysian Time

Sunday, July 12, 2009

.: Fruit season :.


Bountiful blessings.



If a Muslim plants a tree, that part of its produce consumed by men will be as alms-giving for him. Any fruit stolen from the tree will also be as alms-giving for him. That which the birds eat will also be as alms-giving for him. Any of its produce which people may eat thus diminishing it, will be as alms-giving for the Muslims who planted it.
Bukhari & Muslim
















There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.
Mahatma Gandhi
:: Local fruits ::

Rose apple, Mango, Mangosteen, Lychee, Pomelo and Bananas.


Photos taken during an excursion to Perak.
3.23pm Malaysian Time

.: Language dilemma :.


The English level.


Is there a need to revert?
Addressing fears and concerns of parents
A poor legacy for our kids
Poor English a result of the system

I addressed this issue among a group of friends and relations a couple of months ago. Here are my stale opinions of it, after realizing that to probe any further is futile.


_______________________

Almost every weekend, my little cousins and their friends will come over for English lessons. It usually coincides with my experimental cooking days, so sometimes I am off the hook, and the task is shouldered by my sis and aunt.


A highly debatable matter in Malaysia is the transitional usage of English as the medium for Maths and Sc. subjects. Going by the level of my student’s English, they are suffering. They are not able to grasp English as a subject itself let alone applying it in Maths and Sc.

Aunt and sis find the state of English proficiency the kids possess as terribly alarming. Aunt was an English teacher in Singapore. Sis had her entire educational experience there, with the exception of tertiary in Malaysia and the UK. I’m the closest to understanding the situation the kids are facing as part of my elementary level right up to tertiary was in Malaysia. I grew up in an English speaking environment, and being placed in a Malay speaking atmosphere suffocated me tremendously. Mine was somewhat more severe as, it is rather sad that as a Malay, I had issues in my native tongue. *I will not disperse the fact that I failed.* These kids are experiencing the very opposite.

From the queries I posed to the people around me, ranging from teachers, parents, educators down to the students I obtained varied feedback. Ideally, there is an assumption that Maths and Sc. taught in English shall produce as well as constitute ingenious students taking into consideration that it is the generally accepted lingua franca. An alternative view is, if the Japanese can excel while being true to their patois, why can’t we? One of the many arguments include:

The teachers themselves aren’t capable of delivering in English!

Speaking from experiences, my drive for Maths and Sc. shattered the moment I had to make the switch from English to Malay. Yes, I am Malay. But the transition wasn’t smooth sailing. Days in school were spent flipping through the English-Malay dictionary just because my teachers were unable to reach out to me. My responses to queries were often stalled just because I had to translate the words. It was a struggle. Nonetheless, I made it through. Alhamdulillah. I suppose, this is what the kids are forced to endure when proper mentoring is not applied.

Sis gets agitated when the kids fool around, or give a delayed response. As a result, the kids label her as dictatorial. On the other hand, kids brand me as the court jester as I inject humor when teaching them. The fooling around nature is much to be expected from kids, and in some cases I believe it is their only outlet to escape from the incomprehensible. Call it play therapy.

Both of us have different teaching approaches. One can say, it contradicts one or the other. I don’t question my sister’s methods, neither does she with mine. Her students comprise of the older kids, aged 12 above, whilst mine are the younger ones. In reading, sis corrects their pronunciation by saying it and getting them to repeat it. Mine is to take it apart, syllable by syllable; connecting it with a common Malay syllable or at least something they’re familiar with. In terms of vocabulary, sis gets them to guess the meaning by constructing simple English sentences of it. I choose to explain it like a story or using visual aids. In the end, the prime objective is to ensure the kids understand and do not misconstrue things. Getting the foundations right and subsequently making it better, otherwise, a debacle is bound to hit the shores.


Sis:: Remind me never to have kids.
Me:: You’re just tired. You don’t mean that.

Kids are able to absorb things, although not all kids own this blessed trait. That is why kids are streamed base on their ability. My cousin is totally against this system. As I had undergone it, this issue will Insya’Allah be addressed in future. For now, it may be bonkers to suggest to the educational ministry to create separate school sessions, one that retains Maths and Sc. in Malay/Chinese/Indian while the other crosses over to English. As it is, we have one too many choices of schools.

Whatever the outcome, at least get the system and educators right. On the other hand, parents, please play your roles.
My parents speak and write ANCIENT Malay, albeit it didn't hinder them from making sure their kids do not stay in the dinosaur ages with them. Constant monitoring, no matter how busy they are with life. Education at least in my opinion, does not begin and end in school.

Grown-ups never understand anything for themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them.


Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
The chronicle continues.
9.25am Malaysian Time

Saturday, July 11, 2009

.: Life persists :.


For one more day.


“What would you do if you had one more day with someone you’ve lost?”

It will be the longest day ever.
8.52am Malaysian Time

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

.: Sisterhood :.


Introduction.


On several occasions, I will have the urge to make this post, but I’ll drop it off at the last minute simply because I wasn’t sure how to start it. *besides rambling baloney*

Throughout the course of my ramblings, I have gotten to know some of my commentators on a personal scale, in which the topics of discussion range from intellectual to should I say gibberish bits through email, Facebook and the blog. Insha’Allah I’ll meet-up with Sister Shahnaz when I pop over to Singapore later this year. *still in the works* I had promised Miss Unique that within 5 years time, I hope to be able to visit her in Saudi, Anisa gave a holler that she is alright with me bunking at her place *I’ll squish those mangy monsters for you* and as for Farhana, it’s really our little secret, is it not? *coughs* And there may be a truckload of other sisters that I may have left out, so do forgive me if I did.

Hence, I may just do a backpacker’s trip when I’m 30 to visit the lovely sisters. Provided I am still unattached. Or I can always lug the other half in the baggage carrier. I’m sure he won’t mind. He married me, did he not? :P *coughs .. Farhana … coughs ... coughs ... coughs*

To the brothers, I don’t have any plans yet. It does seem really odd if I were to travel half-way across the world just to see you. But if I do, nah … then again … nah … well, it might happen therefore bully for me.

Funny how in the real world, I’m mostly surrounded by brothers *WHY??? WHY???* and in the virtual realm; I come across these beautiful sisters. *and more brothers ... aih~* It’s only a matter of merging it together, bringing out the best of both worlds I guess.

For the silent readers, you can interact with me if you want. Although I am selective in friends, it doesn’t mean I will wipe out any possibilities of expanding my social network for the benefit of forging respectable relationships, and empowering knowledge.

To get the ball rolling, I’m Hajar. Born in Singapore, and been staying in Malaysia close to 20 years. *I am not 20 and I was born in the south-western part of Singapore … so technically, I AM A SOUTHERNER!* I hold a Bachelors Hons in Multimedia, but I’m really not doing much in that area these days. Please do not ask me questions related to IT as I am able to genuinely exhibit complete ignorance by now. Yes, I wear spectacles full time. Born as a Muslim, I reverted *as in trying to be a good practicing Muslim* after returning from Hajj in Jan 2008. Presently, I can be found in Kuala Lumpur and this is not a marriage vitae.

Hey, it didn’t turn out that bad.
8.30pm Malaysian Time

Saturday, July 4, 2009

.: Walk away :.


Ignorance is not always a bliss.

I was out with friends. They’re not Muslims. They’re not Malay. And some are not even Malaysians. Over the years, I have become immune to the stares that people hurl at me whenever I am in the company of non-Muslims/Malays.

For a fact, I do know that my actions will bring about assumptions more often slanted towards the negative aspect. Just the other day I got ticked off by a cab driver when he found out I’m meeting a Chinese guy at a public area in the afternoon. I told him it’s a business meeting, yet the words swept past him next to nothing.

Cab driver :: There are so many Malay Muslims! What business can you have with a Chinese guy?
Me :: LoL~ It’s about work.
Cab driver :: The next thing you’ll be telling me you’re marrying him!

From then onwards, I chose to remain silent.

Presumably, everything is over and done for. The stares of disbelief or treachery continued when I met my friend. Looking back, years ago when I wasn’t in hijab, no one gave a second look at me when I’m out and about with my friends. With hijab, things sort of went on a 360 and became all the more disparaging.

Sometimes, this just tires me.

8.56pm Malaysian Time

Friday, July 3, 2009

.: Nervous tension :.


Strained.

“Seek knowledge as far as China”

There is still a long list of things to do, though I feel obliged to blog a few updates down my end. Thanks to all that left well wishes in an earlier post. Not forgetting the ones that emailed and contacted me via FaceBook just to inquire about my well being. Alhamdulillah, I am doing just fine. Albeit this is with the exception of item 3, that had somehow rather sparked a series of shocking alarms among peers and relations.

  • Guangzhou, China :: Counting the days. I received various feedback pertaining to my trip, and part of the drama had worn me down to a certain degree. Nevertheless, nowadays, I couldn’t care less any longer. Coming back from there, shall be a brand new chapter. Insha’Allah. Granted an opportune time, I shall blog on this one of these days.
  • Friends :: Managed to visit friends in my former workplace. Will be having a second trip on 24th July. ^^
  • Weight loss :: From a BMI of 18.3 I dropped to 16.8 in a span of almost 1 month. Normal BMI for me is in the range of 18.9 – 24.9. Total weight lost = 4kgs, approximately 1kg per week. Talk about running for The Biggest Loser show.

Any suggestions on how to gain weight, ASAP?
8.42pm Malaysian Time