Saturday, December 22, 2007

TIMES Bookstore Year-End Warehouse Sale

I wrote in the previous entry that I have so many books lined up to be read.

So, when my sister asked me to go to a book sale with her, I only tagged along to keep her company. I quietly resolved not to buy anything.


Turned out I bought 6 books:
1) Hegemony or Survival by Noah Chomsky
2) The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid
3) Enemy Combatant by Moazzam Begg
4) The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
5) Tears of the Giraffe by Alexander McCall Smith
6) The Kalahari Typing School for Men by Alexander McCall Smith

All of them cost RM12 each.

Surprisingly, the warehouse sale has a lot of new titles as well. So, do check the place out if you have the time :)


Al-Jaahiz, the writer, advises you to repel anxiety through reading books. It will repel boredom and depression. He said:

"The book is a companion that does not praise you and does not entice you to evil. It is a friend that does not bore you and it is a neighbour that causes you no harm. It is an acquaintance that desires not to extract from you favours through flattery and it does not deceive you with duplicity and lies. When you a poring through the pages of a book, your senses are stimulated and your intellect sharpens. Furthermore, your tongue will find eloquence and grandeur. Through reading the biographies of others, you gain an appreciation of common people and you learn the ways of kings. It can even be said that you sometimes learn from the pages of a book in a month, that which you do not learn from the tongues of men in a century. All this benefit, yet no loss in wealth and no need to stand at the door of the teacher who is waiting for his fees, to learn from someone who is lower than you in manners.

The book obeys you by night as it does by day, both when you are traveling and when you are at home. A book is not impaired by sleep nor does it tire in the late hours of the night. It is a teacher who is there for you whenever you are in need of it and it is the teacher, who, if you refuse to give to it, it does not refuse to give to you. If you abandon it, it does not decrease in obedience. And when all turn against you, showing you enmity, it remains by your side. As long as you are remotely attached to a book, it suffices you from having to keep company from those who are idle. It prevents you from sitting on your doorstep and watching those who pass by. It saves you from mixing with those who are frivolous in their character, who are foul in their speech, who are base in character, and who are woeful in their ignorance. If the only benefit of a book was that it keeps you from foolish daydreaming and prevents you from frivolity, it would certainly be considered to be a true friend who has given you a great favour."

Taken from:
Don't be Sad
by 'Aaidh ibn Abdullah al-Qarnee
translated by: Faisal ibn Muhammad
International Islamic Publishing House
pg. 136

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

from Leaving Sydney to Eid al-Adha

Dec 13

A farewell gathering was held for us Cohort II. It was nice to talk to our lecturers one last time; to had the chance to tell them how much we loved and enjoyed our learning experience with them.

Some memorable parting words:

Ilija Casule - "We'll miss your unique presence on campus. You girls brought something else to Macquarie" [girls in hijab]

Jean Brick - "You have to write a book about Malaysia, not me. I'll be your editor (!)" [Jean wrote a book entitled China: A Handbook in Intercultural Communication]

Rod Lane - "You'll make a great teacher"

Dec 14

Alhamdulillah, we all got through check-in even though our luggage were grossly over the weight limit. It was a pleasant 8-hour flight. Glad to have Tasha sitting next to me. We shared our lunch. I chose the Beef Rendang while Tasha chose the Chicken Pasta. Tasha finished my salad for me :) The food was really good!

Arrived at KLIA around 9pm, Malaysian time. The Arrival Hall was full of people, mainly Malaysian athletes who just got back from the SEA Games in Thailand.

Caught sight of Mama. She was waving wildly. She looked so happy.

It felt good to be home.

Dec 15

It was a difficult day. I was having a hard time adapting. It seemed my eyes had turned very critical. I found fault with a lot of things:

-The city is dirty. There are litters everywhere
-The waiters/waitresses are brusque and unfriendly
-The buses look shabby

I felt like going back to Macquarie right then and there.

And another thing: It felt weird blending in with the crowd. I felt exactly like what V. S. Naipaul wrote in his book The Writer and the World:

"An Indian, I have never before been in streets where everybody is Indian, where I blend unremarkably into the crowd. This has been curiously deflating, for all my life I have expected some recognition for my difference; and it is only in India that I have recognized how necessary this stimulus is to me, how conditioned I have been by the multi-racial society of Trinidad and then by my life as an outsider in England. To be a member of a minority community has always seemed to me attractive. To be one of four hundred and thirty-nine million Indians is terrifying"

Dec 16

Thankfully, common sense prevails. Talking to friends who are going through the same phase helps a lot. I find that focusing on all the good things about being home is a great comfort.

Here is my I'm lovin' it list:
1) Mum's cooking
2) Playing with my cats, who are all shameless attention seekers
3) Live Azan from the Masjid instead of from the computer
4) Kenduris!, which equal good food
5) Talking books with Kakak. There are so many books to read at home that I'm all set for the whole year :)
6) There are proper praying areas at public places. There's no more need to crash in at any parents room or fitting rooms!
7) I get to eat Roti Canai + Teh Tarik for breakfast instead of Nutella on toast

Dec 17, 18

Did settling-in stuffs:

- Bought a SIM card
- Registered as a voter
- Cleaned up room
- Retake my driving license ... with my dad of course!

Dec 19

Helping Mama with Eid al-Adha preparations. Took a break to write this entry. Better stop here and make myself useful again.

And yeah, my air-freighted things will be available for pick-up today!

Eid Mubarak people!
Wishing you all a very happy Eid al-Adha.
May Allah the Compassionate bless us all on this festive occasion :)

Monday, December 03, 2007

Tak kenal maka tak cinta

During the last "Malam Jumaat" gathering, we did a sort of heart-to-heart session. heh~

It was the last gathering before the cohort 3s leave for Malaysia. So, after Ma'thurat & Yasin, the floor was opened for everybody to say their "last words"...

There were 10 cohort 2s and 6 cohort 3s. Every single one of us said something. Even those who are reluctant to say anything, were forced to :p

All the speeches were beautiful. Some were funny, others were mostly profound / poignant / sad /touching.

The funniest speech has got to be Syal's:
"Waktu mula2 datang dulu, kena ta'aruf: perkenalkan diri, asal dari mana... rasa: Alamak! poyonyer!"

[insert shrieking protests from the cohort 2s]

"Tapi dah lama2 rasa best. macam Kak Jaime kata: tak kenal maka tak cinta"

Syal, that speech was priceless! :)

I really hope that we'll stay friends forever - ukhuwahfillah abadan abada - insyaAllah
Like what Amrien says in her blog, we may have hundreds of acquaintances, but true friends are hard to come by...


"Friends on that Day will be foes one to another except Al-Muttaqun" (Az-Zukhruf: 67)

Thus, let us constantly "recommend one another to truth, and recommend one another to patience" (Al-Asr: 3)

Thursday, November 22, 2007


We all need reminding all the time...

"And remind, for verily, the reminding profits the believers" (Adh-Dhariyat: 55)

I love watching the "In the Shade of Ramadan" videos on YouTube. The videos are made by MAS Youth, a division of the Muslim American Society for young people.

The short videos are actually made for Ramadan. There is a video for each of the 30 days of Ramadan - so they serve like daily reminders.

There are about 60 videos in all. 30 videos from Season 1 and another 30 from Season 2. I've watched until Day 13 of Season 1. All of the videos are great. The messages are conveyed in a simple, appealing fashion.

Among the topics they tackled are:
-Taqwa, Good Deeds and Character
-Different Types of Fasting
-Keeping the End in Mind (i.e. Jannah)
-The Value of Ramadan
-Purification of the Heart
-Victories of Ramadan
-The Flip-Flop Phenomenon
-Prayer (Salah)
-Du'a (Supplication)

So, although the series is called "In the Shade of Ramadan", it is still a relevant viewing post-Ramadan :)

These 2 videos are among my favourites: Patience (As-Sabr) Part I and Part II.
Both are by Dr Imad Bayoon.

Happy viewing :)

Gorgeous Photos

After my exam the other day, I went to the library to check out the photo exhibition that I've been meaning to see. The exhibition is titled: The Mosaic Middle East. It is located at the Macquarie University Library Exhibition Area (next to the borrowing counter). The exhibition is on from Nov 16 until Dec 14.

The photographs are taken by Alex Marlow, a recent graduate from Macquarie University in Political Science. He took the pictures in 2005 and 2007. The photos feature 5 countries: Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria & Egypt.

I really like the photos. They are absolutely beautiful!! Among my favourites are the photos of the separation wall in Palestine and the photos of Petra in Jordan.

The photos of the separation wall are moving. There is one which features a graffiti asking "W H Y ?". It was a simple image yet so powerful.

The ones of Petra are magnificent. I'm reminded of the story in Quran of the Thamud people who are skilled in carving out dwellings in the mountains.

So, even if you had no reason to go to the library now that the exam is over, do pop in for a while to check out the exhibition :)

Friday, November 16, 2007

1 month countdown

I turned 22 yesterday.


dah tua tu.

old enough to ditch childish behaviours.
yet young enough to feel that my whole life lies right in front of me. (kalau panjang umur la)

In 1-month time, I'll be back in Malaysia (iA). Most of my friends don't want to come back. Actually, they do but they wish that it's only for a holiday and they'll get to come back to Australia again.

I guess I'm pretty neutral about it.

I'm excited to see my family again. I can just picture the exhilaration of seeing Mama, Papa, Kak Yom, Abewan + Kak Lin + Damia, Abafan & Kakak at the airport.

I especially long to give Damia a big hug since I had only seen her in pictures so far.

I'm excited to see my friends again, many of whom are graduating this year. I want to catch up and know what they're up to now.

And then?? Then...
I dunno...

I definitely want to spend more time with my family - my parents especially. During calls to home, I often get the feeling that our house feels "empty". With my siblings flying out of the nest, I guess it's my responsibility to keep my parents company and do the other stuffs like:
-prepare meals
-do the laundry
-go to the post office to settle the bills
-visit Nenek regularly
-accompany Mama & Papa on family gatherings
-feed the cats
-do the groceries
-ferry Kak Yom and Kakak to the LRT station

Basically, be an exemplary daughter that I've never really been ... heh

Looking at the above list, I realize that going back to Malaysia equals assuming back the responsibility I've temporarily been excused off.

It's such a big, intimidating word isn't it?
oh well, I'm 22 now; life is no longer about me, me, me.

So I have to say goodbye to my carefree life here. I'm sOo going to miss:
-my own private room with an en suite bathroom
-life which is often spent chillin' with friends and housemates
-the opportunity to go travelling with like-minded friends - and with no chaperons in sight

Putting aside assignments, I can easily say how relaxed my life has been here.
May be I'm glossing over the bad parts.
Or may be I just have a short memory to remember them all.

Oh, there's definitely the not-so-nice things I've experienced here. A flick through my journal can attest to that.

But I can sincerely say that, overall, it has been a very positive experience.

It's a cliche but living overseas does make you a different person; a more wiser, mature and confident person.
You also learn to be more socially-engaged with world issues. And most importantly, you start to recognise what's culture and what's Islam.

So I guess the conclusion that I've come to after writing this is: I don't dread going back.
I love Macquarie Uni,
I love Sydney, and
I love Australia

I love going to Auburn & Lakemba
I love browsing at Macquarie Centre's BORDERS
I love eating Krispy Kreme's original glazed, chocolate glazed and iced chocolate with custard fill
I love drinking Easyway on a hot day
I love the cold autumn and winter weather
and I love that people are so much more environmentally-friendly here. Recycling things aren't a hassle at all. And you save water with the dual flushing system. (I'm getting off track here so I'll stop).

But despite all the fantastic things about Australia, Malaysia is still home.
Taman Sri Keramat is still home.
I have a family there and there's nothing that could compete with that.

I hope that I have made the best out of my stay here. My former classmate remarked recently that "I've changed the most". I didn't press for him to elaborate further but deep down I hope that the change had been for the better.

I'm 22 now.

"Ingatlah masa muda sebelum masa tua... hidup sebelum mati"

“Pada hari kiamat tidak seorangpun hamba diperkenankan meninggalkan posisinya kecuali ditanya lima perkara: Tentang penggunaan umurnya, masa mudanya, kekayaannya dari mana dia peroleh dan untuk apa digunakan dan apa yang dilakukan terhadap ilmunya.” (HR Tirmidzi :2416)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Why Democracy?

Last night, I watched the documentary "Taxi to the Dark Side". It's one of the most disturbing things I've seen :(

About the film:
Over one hundred prisoners have died in suspicious circumstances in U.S. custody during the "war on terror". Taxi to the Dark Side takes an in-depth look at one case: an Afghan taxi driver called Dilawar who was considered an honest and kind man by the people of his rustic village. So when he was detained by the U.S military one afternoon, after picking up three passengers, denizens wondered why this man was randomly chosen to be held in prison, and, especially, without trial? Five days after his arrest Dilawar died in his Bagram prison cell. His death came within a week of another death of a detainee at Bagram. The conclusion, with autopsy evidence, was that the former taxi driver and the detainee who passed away before him, had died due to sustained injuries inflicted at the prison by U.S. soldiers. The documentary, by award-winning producer Alex Gibney, carefully develops the last weeks of Dilawar’s life and shows how decisions taken at the pinnacle of power in the Bush Administration led directly to Dilawar’s brutal death. The film documents how Rumsfeld, together with the White House legal team, were able to convince Congress to approve the use of torture against prisoners of war. Taxi to the Dark Side is the definitive exploration of the introduction of torture as an interrogation technique in U.S. facilities, and the role played by key figures of the Bush Administration in the process.

The film is one out 10 one-hour films focused on contemporary democracy. The 10 films are broadcasting in October 2007 across all continents, with an estimated audience of 300 million viewers.

In Australia, SBS is the broadcaster for the series. The series kicked off on Oct 7. Several films have already been shown but there are still 5 more to catch:


20:30 - Egypt: We Are Watching You

22:00 - Dinner with the President

23:00 - In Search of Gandhi


20:30 - Bloody Cartoons

22:00 - For God, Tsar and the Fatherland

More info can be found on the Why Democracy website:

To quote the review in Financial Times: The series is able to transform us "from couch potatoes to sofa philosophers"...
Happy viewing ~

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Raya Diaries

Eid Mubarak fell on Saturday. That Friday, the last day of Ramadan, I felt a bit out of sorts. I was not in the mood for Raya. The month of Ramadan went by so fast. I wasn't ready to let go. I haven't made the most out of the blessed month. Too many Ramadan resolutions are still unaccomplished.

Thankfully, I have my house mates with me. They were in full-swing Raya mood. They have made Raya cookies a week ago, put up 'lampu lip-lap' in our house, bought ingredients to cook the Raya delicacies, put Raya songs on full blast, etc... If it weren't for them, this Raya would have been very gloomy indeed.


Woke up at 3am that morning. Planned to go to Lakemba for the Eid Prayer with Farah and Rym. Took a taxi at 5.45am and reached Lakemba 25 minutes later. The taxi driver was also a Muslim. He's very friendly and talkative. When we were nearly there, we could see people in groups walking towards the Masjeed. It was a beautiful sight.

A long stretch of road (about 150 metres??) was closed for the Prayer. The traffic marshals were all wearing a white jubah with a skull cap. We entered the Masjeed. The women's section was packed but there was still room for us. Prayed tahiyatul masjeed and settled down. There was a big screen in front showing the imam leading the Takbir. Looked around and was thankful I had the chance to experience all this...

Finally, it was time for the prayer. The imam's recitation was beautiful. It was slow, steady and deliberate. After it was over, people started to embrace and wish each other 'Eid Mubarak'. We didn't stay for the khutbah since it was in Arabic.

At the back of the masjeed, there were sisters selling hijab. I impulsively bought one in cream :)

When we exited the masjeed, we saw just how large the gathering was. The closed road were filled with people. Subhanallah! the feeling was indescribable. Rym said it reminded her of the time she did her Hadj. (In the newspaper the next day, it was reported that the gathering was attended by 40,000 people).

We walked towards the train station. Most of the shops were closed. Only bakeries selling baklava seemed to be opened. Farah and Rym bought some. It was then that I realized I was hungry and that I haven't eaten much since morning.

Rym wanted to visit a family she knew that lives nearby but they couldn't be contacted. So, we sat on a bench, ate the baklava and chatted to while the time away. After some time, the family was still unavailable, so we decided to go home. But first, we wanted to go past the masjeed one last time.

We took a different route on the way to the train station. It was a quite an exercise. Finally we reached the train station. The train to Central just past us by. The next one is due in 23 minutes. I suggested that we take the train on the next platform.

Bad move. We ended up changing trains 4 times:
-From Lakemba to Bankstown
-From Bankstown to Lidcombe
-From Lidcombe to Strathfield
-And lastly, from Strathfield to Epping.

Fuh! We finally reached Epping at 11.30pm. I panicked a bit. My house is supposed to have its open house at 12pm! Reached home in time. Everything was ready. Felt bad for not helping my house mates. Prayed Zuhur and just then out first guest arrived: our lecturer: Pamela.

More people started to come and the atmosphere was lively. It was nice to see everyone in their best attire and with a big smile on their face. Everyone was greeted with the customary embrace and a "maaf-zahir-batin".

Everything ended around Asar. After that, we came over to Unit 38 (Fatin, Farah, Fariza, Wanee & Hannah). That night, the juniors came over. We played bunga api together. It was fun. I was so tired that I slept at 8.30 that night. Tomorrow should be less tiring, I thought.

Boy, was I wrong. The day started off with Unit 36+37's open house. I went back early because I remembered that I haven't properly talked to everyone back home. After talking to my mum, dad, Kak Yom & Abafan, I went downstairs.

People who didn't come yesterday came that day. There were probably more people who came that day. We were a bit frazzled - will there be enough food?? Nisa whipped up Pengat Pisang & Tom Yam in record time. Alhamdullilah, everything went well.

I was a lousy hostess though. I really didn't know how to entertain the guests, especially the ones that I'm not closed to. So, I shirked from my duty by busying myself in the kitchen, washing the dishes.

After Asar, we went to the juniors' house: 128 + 110. By the time we reached Amrien & Syikin's house, we were so full, we couldn't eat much. There was still one more house to go that night: 107.

So, after Maghrib, we stuffed ourselves again at the Lysa+Aini+Aimi+Ida+Ain's house. They really outdid themselves by cooking beryani, satay, serunding, etc...

That night, I slept around 8.30pm again.
The next day, I have a class test which I still haven't studied for.
I'm banking on my MCQ-literacy to get through the test (!)


A friend I haven't contacted for a long time wrote me a letter. It was a very intimate letter detailing what she's been up to and her personal thoughts and feelings.

I felt touched. We used to be so close. But we've grown far apart ever since we changed schools. I thought that we are far too different now that it's unlikely for us to be close again.

Then I received her heart-felt letter... *lump in throat*

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Art & Islam

In conjunction with Macquarie University's Islamic Awareness Week...

There will be a talk tomorrow on "Art and Islam". The speaker is Peter Gould, a Sydney-born designer. He is passionate about "contemporary graphic design, art, photography and the rich visual & spiritual traditions of the Middle East. His travels and studies throughout the region have inspired a unique cultural fusion that is reactive to a world of misunderstanding".

Do see his website which features beautiful samples of his works.

Date: 10th October 2007
Venue: W6B 325
Time: 1-2pm


The talk on "Terrorism Around the World" today was okay. But I still think that it is a rather ineffectual way to get the message across. You could say what you want in a lecture but people would not be so easily convinced. People are more influenced by the everyday actions of the Muslims around them no?

Friday, September 28, 2007

16 Ramadan dah

Last night, Unit 38 held iftar jamie. Thank you guys!! The food was delicious. The menu was:

-Kari Ayam
-Daging Masak Merah
-Puding Roti
-Shepherd's Pie
-Sarawak Telur (I hope I got the name right...)

urm... tak berapa nak dapat praktikkan "Increase Faith, Not Weight" tu... *sheepish*

Tonight, it'll be our turn (unit 82) to host the terawikh and witr prayers. Durra cleaned the house inside out this morning. Jazakillah Durra! Sorry we weren't much of a help.

Today is already the 16th of Ramadan. Time does fly huh?
I've been feeling a bit under the weather this past few days. Have been troubled by the:

-yet-to-be completed assignments,
-feelings of homesickness, and
-the unaccomplished Ramadan Resolutions :(

14 more days to go. Hopefully, I'll get my act together in that space of time, iA...

On another note, while waiting to break fast the other day, we discussed about Raya preparations. We have set the menu as well as the Raya cookies we are going to make. We are to pool together some money to buy the things we'll need. Thus, Nisa volunteered to be the treasurer.

Then someone said (identiti dirahsiakan): "Mana boleh Nisa je yg ada jawatan. Kitaorang pun nak jawatan jugak".

So, after much lively debate, here are the full list of the committee:

Bendahari: Khairun Nisa
Setiausaha: Majidah
AJK Makanan & Tatarias: Syajaratuddurrah
AJK Logistik, Peralatan & Hiburan: Ana Shirin
AJK Teksi & Kebersihan: Rosyada

I don't mean to sound power-hungry... but AJK Teksi???


That, ladies and gentlemen, is a short snippet of life in Unit 82 :)

Apa-apapun, kita puasa dulu ek?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Selamat Berpuasa

Ramadan is finally here :)

Semoga kita semua dapat memanfaatkan bulan ini dgn sebaik-baiknya. Amin...

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Ramadan Reruns & Seasonal Muslims

Ayat-ayat Cinta

I received the book from my sister through post three days ago. I made up my mind to read it ONLY after I’ve finished my two assignments. Both assignments are due next week. But I succumbed to temptations and started reading it yesterday. And I’ve finished reading it today. I’ve done little else but read the book all day long.

Ayat-ayat Cinta.

The book that I first heard of last July. I saw my friend reading it. The title piqued my interest. The title sounds like a chick lit. A chick lit of the Malay kind of course :p

“Why is she reading this book?” I thought.
It’s just so uncharacteristic of her to read such books.

Turns out, Ayat-ayat Cinta is NOT a chick lit. It’s of a completely different genre. In its cover, the novel proclaims itself to be: “Sebuah Novel Pembangun Jiwa” (!)

The book was a phenomenal success in Indonesia. It was reprinted 11 times as of 2006. Malaysia soon caught on the hype. It was first released in Malaysia in 2006 and has since been reprinted three times.

With lots of excitement surrounding the book, I naturally had high expectations of it. The author, Habiburrahman El-Shirazy was even coined “HAMKA kecil”. I, being a huge fan of HAMKA’s classics, just had to read the book and judge for myself how true the comparison is.

My verdict? I personally think that HAMKA is still unsurpassed. His works evoked much stronger emotions in me. But this is not to say that Ayat-ayat Cinta is not good. It is - just not in the same mould as HAMKA.

In the introduction, Hadi Susanto posts a question: “Ayat-ayat Cinta: Novel Budaya, Novel Keagamaan, atau Novel Cinta?” I think that Habiburrahman El-Shirazy manages to make the book serve all three purposes.

It’s a Novel Budaya because it convincingly depicts Egypt - its climate, people, customs and mores. It also realistically depicts the lives of the Indonesians students there. Like what A. Samad Said commented: “Maka itu, tidak membacanya seperti sengaja melepaskan peluang untuk mencium bau, merasa iklim dan memahami gerak hidup insan Indonesia baru di luar dan di dalam negaranya”.

So true. There were times while reading the book when I wished I was a student studying in Egypt as well. That’s highly unlikely. So I fervently hope that one day, I would at least be able to set foot in Egypt.

It’s also a Novel Keagamaan. There are numerous references to Quranic verses, hadiths and Islamic teachings. But these references were inserted judiciously which prevented the book from being too ‘preachy’.

Lastly, it is also a Novel Cinta. The protagonist (Fahri) is in a quandary; he has to choose amongst four women. Yes: FOUR. A friend of mine has a problem with this. To quote her: “Mana ada lelaki yang semua perempuan suka kat dia”

She has a point but Fahri’s character is believable to me. So, I have no difficulty imagining four (or more) women vying for his affections.

My measure of how a good book is how long and deep I think and mull over it after I’ve finished reading it. And also how strongly my emotions were evoked while reading it - how drawn I was by the story.

My writing this review with such diligence should give you an idea of how good I think this book is.

What struck me the most is Fahri’s character. It’s truly exemplary how determined and devoted he is to his commitments. He would strive hard to achieve what he promised himself/others to do - even if it means toiling through an unbearably hot weather (40 degree Celsius) or even when his health does not permit him to do so. He’s also super organised. He actually carries out what he plans to do (unlike me... huhu). No procrastinations nor a lazy attitude.

He’s also ambitious and forward thinking. He has a 10-year plan of his life. I think I should have that too instead of going through the motions day by day and aimlessly go where the winds pushed me.

I think I also need to be more ambitious. Unlike most people that I know, I don't have a plan to do my Masters and Ph. D. I just think that I’m a lousy student. I love going to lectures and learn from my brilliant lecturers but I HATE doing my assignments. 2000-word essay pun susah nak buat… inikan pula 10,000-word dissertation???

But, I need to change that mentality.

Acquire knowledge because doing so is good
Seeking it is worship
Reviewing it is glorifying Allah
Researching it is Jihad
Teaching it to the ignorant is charity

Further, I cut out a picture from the SMH last Saturday. The picture is of the Palestinian students celebrating their graduation from the An-Najah National University in the West Bank City of Nablus. The picture is titled “Degrees of Pride”. It’s truly inspirational how these people managed to graduate even under extremely difficult and challenging circumstances. What's preventing me from achieving doing as well?

So, that’s what I got from Ayat-ayat Cinta.
Those who haven't read it are welcomed to borrow it. Tapi make sure assignments dah siap ye...

Friday, August 31, 2007


When I was a kid, I used to grudge and envy my brothers.

Boys, it seemed, could get away with ANYTHING.
They could do whatever they want AND they are exempted from doing housework. A gross injustice!

I particularly thought that it was unfair for guys to eat first during kenduri such as doa selamat when they didn’t even lift a finger to help.

So, I grew up thinking that the world’s unfair. Males are preferred and valued more than females. Being a female just has too many disadvantages.

Gradually, I began to realize the truth. Women are NOT inferior to men – women and men are EQUAL. Men and women just have different roles in life due to their different psychology, physiology and biology make-up.

I’m actually writing this entry to talk about women’s self-respect (or the lack of it). Islam has put women in an honourable position. Really, it has.

Why then do women do not respect themselves?? It saddens, grieves and angers me all at once.

Why do women have to display themselves so?
Tak malu dengan Allah ke? :(


Just a forwarded e-mail I'd like to share...

My Dear Muslim Sisters,

Between the Israeli assault on Lebanon and the Zionist "war on terror," the Muslim world is now center stage in every American home. I see the carnage, death and destruction that have befallen Lebanon, but I also see something else: I see you. I can't help but notice that almost every woman I see is carrying a baby or has children around her. I see that though they are dressed modestly, their beauty still shines through. But it's not just outer beauty that I notice. I also notice that I feel something strange inside me: I feel envy. I feel terrible for the horrible experiences and war crimes that the Lebanese people have suffered, being targeted by our common enemy.

But I can't help but admire your strength, your beauty, your modesty, and most of all, your happiness. Yes, it's strange, but it occurred to me that even under constant bombardment, you still seemed happier than we are, because you were still living the natural lives of women. The way women have always lived since the beginning of time. It used to be that way in the West until the 1960s, when we were bombarded by the same enemy. Only we were not bombarded with actual munitions, but with subtle trickery and moral corruption.

They bombarded us Americans from Hollywood, instead of from fighter jets or with our own American-made tanks. They would like to bomb you in this way too, after they've finished bombing the infrastructure of your countries. I do not want this to happen to you. You will feel degraded, just like we do.

You can avoid this kind of bombing if you will kindly listen to those of us who have already suffered serious casualties from their evil influence.

Because everything you see coming out of Hollywood is a pack of lies, a distortion of reality, smoke and mirrors. They present casual sex as harmless recreation because they aim to destroy the moral fabric of the societies into which they beam their poisonous programming. I beg you not to drink their poison. There is no antidote for it once you have consumed it. You may recover partially, but you will never be the same. Better to avoid the poison altogether than to try to heal from the damage it causes.

They will try to tempt you with their titillating movies and music videos, falsely portraying us American women as happy and satisfied, proud of dressing like prostitutes, and content without families. Most of us are not happy, trust me. Millions of us are on anti-depressant medication, hate our jobs, and cry at night over the men who told us they loved us, then greedily used us and walked away. They would like to destroy your families and convince you to have fewer children. They do this by presenting marriage as a form of slavery, motherhood as a curse, and being modest and pure as old-fashioned. They want you to cheapen yourself and lose your faith. They are like the Serpent tempting Eve with the apple. Don't bite.

I see you as precious gems, pure gold, or the "pearl of great value" spoken of in the Bible (Matthew 13: 45). All women are pearls of great value, but some of us have been deceived into doubting the value of our purity. Jesus said: "Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you" (Matthew 7: 6). Our pearls are priceless, but they convince us that they're cheap. But trust me; there is no substitute for being able to look in the mirror and seeing purity, innocence and self-respect staring back at you. The fashions coming out of the Western sewer are designed to make you believe that your most valuable asset is your sexuality. But your beautiful dresses and veils are actually sexier than any Western fashion, because they cloak you in mystery and show self-respect and confidence. A woman's sexuality should be guarded from unworthy eyes, since it should be your gift to the man who loves and respects you enough to marry you. And
since your men are still manly warriors, they deserve no less than your best. Our men don't even want purity anymore. They don't recognize the pearl of great value, opting for the flashy rhinestone instead. Only to leave her too.

Your most valuable assets are your inner beauty, your innocence, and everything that makes you who you are. But I notice that some Muslim women push the limit and try to be as Western as possible, even while wearing a veil (with some of their hair showing). Why imitate women who already regret, or will soon regret, their lost virtue? There is no compensation for that loss. You are flawless diamonds. Don't let them trick you into becoming rhinestones. Because everything you see in the fashion magazines and on Western television is a lie. It is Satan's trap. It is fool's gold.

I'll let you in on a little secret, just in case you're curious: pre-marital sex is not even that great. We gave our bodies to the men we were in love with, believing that that was the way to make them love us and want to marry us. Just as we had seen on television growing up. But without the security of marriage and the sure knowledge that he will always stay with us, it's not even enjoyable! That's the irony. It was just a waste. It leaves you in tears. Speaking as one woman to another, I believe that you understand that already. Because only a woman can truly understand what's in another woman's heart. We really are all alike. Our race, religion or nationalities do not matter. A woman's heart is the same everywhere. We love. That's what we do best. We nurture our families and give comfort and strength to the men we love. But we American women have been fooled into believing that we are happiest having careers, our own homes in which to live alone, and freedom to give our love away to whomever we choose. That is not freedom. And that is not love. Only in the safe haven of marriage can a woman's body and heart be safe to love. Don't settle for anything less. It's not worth it. You won't even like it and you'll like yourself even less afterwards. Then he'll leave you.

Sin never pays. It always cheats you. Even though I have reclaimed my honor, there's still no substitute for having never been dishonored in the first place. We Western women have been brainwashed into thinking that you Muslim women are oppressed. But truly, we are the ones who are oppressed; slaves to fashions that degrade us, obsessed with our weight, begging for love from men who do not want to grow up. Deep down inside, we know that we have been cheated. We secretly admire and envy you, although some of us will not admit it. Please do not look down on us or think that we like things the way they are. It's not our fault. Most of us did not have fathers to protect us when we were young because our families have been destroyed. You know who is behind this plot. Don't be fooled, my sisters. Don't let them get you too.

Stay innocent and pure. We Christian women need to see what life is really supposed to be like for women. We need you to set the example for us, because we are lost. Hold onto your purity. I hope you receive this advice in the spirit in which it is intended: the spirit of friendship, respect, and admiration.

From your Christian sister with love.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Kepala besar

RS: hasnor tahu x ada buku salah faham ttg Islam kat musolla?

HF: yeke?

HF: wahh..

RS: a'ah

HF: besnye kalo leh terangkn yg tuh kt org

HF: tp cm bahaya je

RS: syada ada pinjam bawak balik tp kalo hasnor nak baca dulu ...

RS: sbb syada x abis lg buku tariq ramadan

RS: huhu

HF: takpela syada..

HF: sbb byk buku tak abes lg

RS: tu la

HF: iA bile sume dh abis mintak kt syada, ok?

RS: ok

HF: lgpon terasa la.. syed qutb ckp dlm buku petunjuk spjg jln

RS: dia ckp apa?

HF: sahabat2 dulu belajar quran bukan setakat nk tambah ilmu, so that derang boleh berlipur lara, etc.

HF: tp derang belajar utk melaksanakan benda tu, utk buat

RS: ouch!

HF: so, kalu boleh nk amalkn apa yg tau btul2

HF: b4 tambahkn lagi dan beratkn lg kepala

HF: ouch jugak!

HF: mcm analogi kepala besar tu la..

HF: kaki kecik, hehe

RS: agak la

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Blood Donation Drive

Kawan2, mari kita menderma darah...

The Australian Red Cross Blood Service mobile unit will be at Macquarie University from Aug 8-10. The mobile unit will be at the SAM Building Atrium (below the cafeteria).

On the day of donation please ensure that you have consumed four glasses of water or juice and a good sized meal in the few hours before donation.

Donors must also weigh at least 45kg and feeling well on the day :)

Wed, Aug 8: 11.15am - 4.15pm
Thurs, Aug 9: 11.ooam - 4.15pm
Fri, Aug 10: 9.45am - 3.00pm

Remember: your donation can help save three lives.

"it takes someone special to give blood"

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

After Melbourne

My last semester at Macquarie Uni kicked off yesterday.

I'm quite psyched about it. My lovely winter vacation has certainly rejuvenated me - not just physically and mentally - but spiritually as well :)

On a more sombre note, yesterday, I've gotten to know that my brother Erwan's house was burgled. Burglaries are so common in Malaysia now that you hardly bat an eyelid.

But this burglary is slightly more chilling. The burglar leveled his knife to my 10-month old niece. He also left a message to my brother: "Tuan rumah jangan nak berlagak"

Huh?? berlagak?? Apa kes??
I've never been to my brother's house in Kuching but from the photos that I've seen, his rented house looks very modest. It doesn't look remotely luxurious.

I felt so angry and sad. What's happening to Malaysia?
Crimes are so widespread and common that you don't feel safe anymore... not even in your own house :(

Tetiba rasa takut nak balik Malaysia hujung tahun ni... huhu

Monday, July 02, 2007


13:45, July 2, 2007

I'm supposed to be on flight JQ1 right now.
And that plane is supposed to take off for Melbourne at right about now.

But I'm not on that flight. I've been transferred to another flight that does not leave for another 3 hours and 25 minutes.
Why the deferment??

Well, I happen to leave my PASSPORT at home.

Yes, my PASSPORT. Can you believe it?? Out of all things, I had to forget to bring my passport. So, for security reasons, I can't board my original plane as it departs from the international terminal. I had to catch a plane to Avalon that takes off from the domestic terminal.

Right now I feel like Tom Hanks' character in the movie 'The Terminal'. I've been stranded only for a while but I'm bored out of my mind. Travelling alone is so not fun :(

So, a little humble advice to all:
The next time you're travelling somewhere, and people start to ask you "Do you have your passport with you?", don't get all exasperated and irritated. Just check again and reassure them. Because though it might sound implausible, some people do forget to bring their passport - as I myself know only too well...


Jesteru kesulitan merupakan kesempatan emas untuk semakin mendekat kepadaNya, menjaga diri dari berkeluh kesah, bahkan jesteru menggesa diri untuk tetap membantu saudaranya yang lain yang lebih membuntuhkan...

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Nisa and I went to watch 'Temple of Dreams' on June 24. We both really like the film; it's funny, thought-provoking and moving. The director, Tom Zubrycki, was called to make a film about young Muslims because he was "incensed" about the way in which Muslims were treated nowadays.

The film basically revolves around a group of young Muslim Australians who spearhead an organisation called ICRA. ICRA, which stands for Independent Centre of Research Australia, aims to address the needs of the disadvantaged Australian Muslim youths.

ICRA's youth centre and gymnasium are located in Western Sydney and occupy the space formerly used as a Masonic Temple. Hence the title of the film.

The film, shot in 2006, features some of the organisation's activities. One that I find most interesting is the seminar series 'All Eyez on Youth' conducted by an ex-rapper, Napoleon. Napoleon, who hails from the US, is also a former gang member and a close friend of the late Tupac Shakur.

The film received very good feedback from the audience. SBS plans to screen a shortened version of the film later this year. So, hopefully, we all can watch it then :)

Until then, do watch the clip below. It's the talk by Napoleon in one of the seminars organised by ICRA. I really like the clip. After all, bukan selalu kita dengar ex-rapper bagi ceramah :)

Saturday, June 23, 2007


For those looking for something to do this winter break...

Here are some interesting events you might like to go to:

1) Temple of Dreams

A timely film which provides a very different take on the Islamic community in Australia. One of this year's Sydney Film Festival hits.

Date: Sunday, 24th June 2007
Time: 12.30pm
Place: State Theater (opposite Myer in Market Street)
Price: $11.50-$16.50

more info here

2) The Arts of Islam exhibition

This significant exhibition presents the finest display of the arts of the Islamic world ever seen in Australia. Over 350 masterpieces reveal the far-reaching contact between the Islamic empires and their conquered lands from Spain and Morocco, across Northern Africa and Egypt, the Middle Eastern nations of Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Palestine and as far east as Mongolia, India and China. The Nasser D. Khalili Collection in London is recognised as the best private collection of Islamic art in the world.

Date: 22nd June - 23rd September 2007
Place: Art Gallery of NSW
Price: $15

more info here

3) Australian Muslims Public Symposium

As a framework for living with cultural diversity, the idea of multiculturalism has come under attack in recent years both in Australia and overseas. In the last two years, a subtle shift in policy and discourse has begun to take place involving greater emphasis on notions such as 'integration' and 'social cohesion'. This shift comes at a time of increased concern in some circles over the ability of certain ethnic communities, especially Muslims, to integrate into Australian society, despite Australia's reputation as a nation committed to the notion of a 'fair go'. This symposium will provide a platform for informed debate on these current trends in Australian multiculturalism.

Date: Friday, 29th June 2007
Time: 6.45pm for a 7.00pm start
Place: Mason Theater, Building E7B, Macquarie University
Price: $15

more info here

4) Sounds of Light concert

An Islamic concert organised by the Human Appeal International. Raihan is one of the 7 performers slated to perform.

Date: Saturday, 28th July 2007
Place: Acer Arena Olympic Park
Price: starts from $30

more info here

x x x

Wish that I could go to all of these events but... duit mcm tak cukup je...
We'll see how it'll go...

On another note, thanks for all the supportive comments given in the previous entry :)
I really appreciate them. I've just realised that I should have been bold & strong instead of feeling so vulnerable. But I'm all better now :)

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Suatu petang di Myer

Something very unpleasant happened to me yesterday. Fifa and I were accompanying Etty shopping. She was looking to buy watches for her mom and dad. While Fifa and Etty were busy choosing, a man approached me.

I noticed that he was giving us that "look" from afar. The "look" that Muslim women with headscarves get all the time.

He started to small talk with me: where I came from, where am I studying, etc... Then, he complimented my winter coat. Gesturing to my coat and Fifa's and Etty's windbreakers, he said: "You know, the infidels created them - infidels, not Muslims"

With that, he asked to shake my hand and left.

Fifa and Etty asked me what happened, and I related our conversation. We just shrugged it off. Apa2 je lah pak cik ...

BUT he had the audacity to come back.

"Remember me?" he said.

Dlm hati: How can I forget?

I was by myself again. Etty and Fifa were still dealing with the salesperson.

He questioned why Muslims hate the "infidels" so much. I tried to explain that that's not how the majority of Muslims feels. But he either didn't understand what I was trying to say or refused to.

He said that he came from a religious family background. There are 4 priests in his family but he himself is not religious.

"I want to be FREE. I don't believe in (making prostrating actions). And I want to sip a glass of wine sometimes. Is that wrong?"

He said a few other things but I couldn't make out what he was trying to say. His English was a bit difficult to understand.

When he left, I felt so overwhelmed. I was angry and sad all at once.

I was angry because he couldn't understand my explanation
I was angry that he attacked my faith and I FAILED to defend it
I was sad that people had such a distorted view of Islam

I cried in the midst of the Myer store for having the misfortune to meet such a hateful man.

To be personally attacked like that was a very unpleasant experience.

Throughout the bus ride home, I kept replaying the scenes in my mind. I kept thinking of the things I should have said and the ways I should have explained.

Moral of the story???

Saya pun tak tahu... :(

Thursday, June 14, 2007


I just bought a new book to read now that I'm officially assignment-free :)

The book is entitled: "Islam, the West and the Challenges of Modernity". It's written by Tariq Ramadan and translated by Said Amghar.

In his introduction, Tariq talks about the memory of his father, Said Ramadan:

A few months before returning to God, he said to me, with the strength of his sad, drowned look: "Our problem is one of spirituality. If a man comes to speak to me about the reforms to be undertaken in the Muslim world, about political strategies and of great geo-strategic plans, my first question to him would be whether he performed the dawn prayer (fajr) in its time"


Sunday, May 27, 2007


I'm currently working on my LING312 major assignment.

Among the books I loaned from the library is: "Pidgins, Creoles and Lingua Francas - A sociolinguistic study" by Max K. Adler.

It is an inconspicuous-looking book; thin, colourless and outdated (1977)

but it has verses from the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the Quran in its preface.

All the verses had something to do with linguistics.

The verses from Quran are taken from Surah Ar-Rahman, Verse 1-4:

In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful
It is the Merciful who has taught the Quran. He created man and taught him articulate speech.

The verses in Arabic are very familiar to me but I never think deeply about their meaning and how related they are to the field I'm currently studying.

I always bemoan how much I hate linguistics but these four verses may have just changed my mind.


Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Islam in Australia

I was very apprehensive when I first caught glimpse of Herald’s last Saturday front-page feature. ‘Islam in Australia’ was the title. After last week’s dodgy piece on the so-called “Super-Max Jihadists”, I was starting to think that Herald is as bad (and biased) as the Daily Telegraph when it comes to portraying Islam and Muslims.

Thus I was pleasantly surprised when I read the introduction:

“Six months ago, the Herald set out to discover the face of Muslim Australia. Where do Muslim hail from, where do they live, what are their hopes, fears and frustrations? Our reporters met Muslims, earned their trusts and sought to transcend stereotypes. Today we launch a series exploring the diversity of Islamic life and opinion in Australia and opening a dialogue about what it means to be both Muslim and Australian”

I must say that the report was very good. It shows Islam as a beautiful, peaceful religion. And it also sought to correct the mass public misconceptions about Islam. A very commendable effort indeed.

Though I’m not an Australian, I can certainly relate to a lot of the issues raised in the report. Such issues include:

  • The ‘us’ versus ‘them’ attitude held by some Muslims and non-Muslims
  • The feeling of alienation by society
  • Being “forced” to apologise for the actions of other Muslims
  • The challenges of finding a place to pray
  • The conscious effort to be a better Muslim resulting from all these pressures

Back in Malaysia, you don’t face any of these issues. Islam is the religion of the majority of the population. So, finding a place to pray was never a problem. There’s bound to be a surau or a masjid anywhere you go. And you don’t get sideway glances or second looks just because you wear a hijab. And there’s no Daily-Telegraph-yang-jahat equivalent there.

When I first arrived in Australia, it took some time for me to get accustomed to being strongly identified as a Muslim. It was hard dealing with people’s curiosity, ignorance and sometimes even hostility. But it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I’ve come to know more about my own faith. And consequently that made me strive to become a better Muslim.

I hope the report is able to mend a lot of people’s misconceptions about Islam. Islam did not blow the twin towers. Islam does not breed terrorists and “fundamentalists” (whatever that means). And Islam does not oppress women.

I think a lot of the tensions and mistrusts between Muslims and non-Muslims are caused by ignorance. And ignorance can be overcome. It’s not a permanent state.

There's a light at the end of the tunnel after all ...

P.S: For those who haven't read the articles, you could do so here:

Friday, March 30, 2007

All in the name of “Research”

I never knew that there are so many movies about teachers around until last week. Our latest EDUC 390 lecture was on Effective Teaching and the lecturer recommended lots and lots of movies about inspiring teachers.

Some of them I have seen …
-Dead Poet Society
-To Sir, With Love
-Mona Lisa Smile
-Sister Act 2
-Mr Holland Opus
-Dangerous Minds
-Good Will Hunting

and some others I have heard about …
-Educating Rita
-Finding Forrester
-Remember the Titans
-Coach Carter
-The Emperor’s Club

There are quite a few others I have never heard of:
-Stand and Deliver
-Goodbye Mr Chip
-Lean on Me
-The Substitute
-The Prime Miss Jean Brodie

I faithfully copied down every movie recommended, resolving to see each and every one of them. In fact, that’s about the only thing I wrote in the entire 2-hour lecture.

Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who felt that way. Afterwards, Ana bought “To Sir, With Love” DVD, Fariza bought “Dead Poet Society” and Tasha “Good Will Hunting”.

We watched “To Sir, With Love” together and all of us were moved by it. It’s such an inspiring story. To those who haven’t watched it, boleh la pinjam kat Ana .. hehe.

Anyway, that made us want to see all other movies even more.

Ana even came up with a brilliant idea to ease the guilt of splurging on DVDs: “We do this all in the name of RESEARCH” (Our 2nd assignment for EDUC 390 is a reflective writing task on Effective Teaching)

Who can argue with that???

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

6 Weird Things About Me

1) I'm superorganized. I obsessively note everything in my little organizer:

-People's birthday
-Things I did
-Things to-do (I don't necessarily do them, I just need to list them)

2) I can stomach films with lots of violence (e.g. Kill Bill) but not horror/scary films. I would never watch Ju On, for example, even if I get paid for it!

3) I take my time washing the dishes. I compusively need to be sure that they are really, really clean. My mom always complains that I use too much soap + water.

Then, after washing, I have to neatly stack everything so that they can dry easily.

4) I don't sleep on my bed. I sleep on the floor inside my sleeping bag. This is a recent habit (1 month old). I only use my bed for short naps, when I'm too lazy to spread and later refold the sleeping bag.

5) I set two alarms to wake me up in the morning. 1 is with the radio clock, and 1 is with my hand phone. I distrust snooze buttons.

6) I have a low stamina for shopping. I get tired easily. I know, shocking isn't it?? :p

Monday, February 26, 2007

1st Day of Uni

My first day isn't going too well. I had to drop LING317 for LING312. That means I have to face the intimidating V once more :(

Do you think that it's acceptable to drop a particular unit - despite of its relevancy to your future career- because of its lecturer??

Well, that's what I did.

I opted for 317 because I wanted to avoid 312.

But a few days ago I found out that 317 clashes with 340. And since 340 is a core unit, the elective 317 has to make way for it.

Which also means that - like it or not - I have to take 312 (the only other elective available).

Sue apologises for the timetable clash. She said it shouldn't have happened.

oh, well ...

semua yang terjadi mesti ada hikmahnya kan??

Then, I remembered what Durra shared with us the other day:

If you're thinking "Kenapa aku tak mendapat apa yang aku idam-idamkan?"

--->"Boleh jadi kamu membenci sesuatu, padahal ia amat baik bagimu, dan boleh jadi kamu menyukai sesuatu, padahal ia amat buruk bagimu; Allah mengetahui sedangkan kamu tak mengetahui." (Al-Baqarah:216)

That made me feel slightly better.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Summer of 07

It's been a month since my last post. I'm guilty of neglecting this lil' blog of mine. But today I promised myself that I'll post 1 entry. So here are a few things that I've been up to:

Boating at Lane Cove National Park

Went boating and picnicking with Acaq, Alin, Farah, Durra & Nisa. Sadly, I was rubbish at rowing. I either made the boat (unnecessarily) turn 360 degree, or I veered it off course. But, it was a fun experience nonetheless. Especially when we stopped to eat our packed Nasi Lemak + sandwich + chocolate cake!

Brisbane Trip

Went to the Sunshine State from Jan 28 - Feb 4 with Nisa, Durra, and Farah. Stayed at Nisha's and Fifa's place at the Unilodge.

Highlights of the 7-day 7-night trip:

1) boarded the Citycat on a beautiful full-moon night. The boat can accelerate and slow down quickly. Makes for an exciting ride.

a picture-perfect moment

2) went to the Sunday Green Market. It's unlike any other market that I've ever been to. There are people from many nationality and they sell things like Hungarian Pastry, French Crepe, fresh produce, shawl, vinyl record, etc ...

The people there also have very colourful personalities and an interesting fashion sense! Something like the gypsy community in the movie "Chocolat".

3) Now, I wouldn't call the 14-hour train journey to Brisbane or the even longer 17-hour journey back a "highlight" but they are things that I'm unlikely ever to forget!

Moral of the story: book flight tickets very early on so that you could afford them!

Mr Froggie

Back at MUV, we had an unexpected visitor one night. I was upstairs when I heard the commotion. A little frog had found his way into our living room. Durra & Nisa had already jumped on top the couches for security. So, I was responsible to get the lil' froggie out of the house. But that proved to be more difficult than I had thought. My plan of sweeping him with the mop towards the door backfired when he jumped not towards the door but towards me!

Instinctively, I threw the mop and joined Nisa & Durra on the couch. We needed reinforcement. So, we enlisted the help of our neighbours. When told of our predicament, they said; "oooh, so that's what the screams are all about" (!)

One of them took a paper towel, pulled Mr Froggie from the wall, and then put him outside. We all breathed a huge sigh of relief.

Sisters from Melbourne

We had a visit from friends from Melbourne: Kak Dayah, Kak Syikin, Kak Aida, Izzah & Hannah. They are actually acquaintances that Nisa, Durra & Farah made when they went fruit-picking. They arrived on Thursday and left on Saturday.

On Friday, we went for a picnic at the Royal Botanic Garden. It was a very lovely afternoon.

I thank Allah for the privilege of knowing these 5 beautiful souls :)

Cohort 3 juniors

They arrived on Feb 10 (2 days ago). They had an inauspicious start when the shuttle driver dropped them off at the old MUV admin building. So they had to trudge the hill on foot with all their heavy belongings (luggage, hand luggage & laptop) to get to new admin.

Brought them to Macquarie Centre on their first day, and to the city on the second day. Seeing them getting excited over the Opera House, Harbour Bridge & Manly made me remember how I felt when I first came here. It's been 1 year already ... wow. How time does fly.

x x x

2 more weeks before the new semester starts. Bila kwn2 saya yg balik Malaysia nak pulang?? :P

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Oh, Tursunov!

Medibank International (aka Sydney Open) was the nearest thing to a Grand Slam or an ATP Masters event that I could see. So, I just had to go and watch it. Besides, the ground pass ticket isn't that expensive ($20).

Durra & I weren't supposed to go that day. That day, according to the original plan, was to be spent at MC. Nisa & I had something to post, and Durra & I were to buy the tickets at the Ticketek booth there.

Fate intervened.

I found out through the morning paper that Tursunov was slated to play that day at Centre Court. The day's weather seemed lovely; not too hot, not too cold. Suddenly, Durra & I were "inspired" to go to the Medibank International that very day.

Dmitry Tursunov

We went straight to the Olympic Park, hoping that tickets were still available. Thankfully, they were. And unexpectedly, we got the concession price of $15! Yippee!! :)

A Ground Pass entitles you to watch any match that's on that day except those on Centre Court. It was only the 2nd day of the event. So, the matches in all the other courts were generally between the relatively unknowns.

After consulting the main board, we decided to catch the action on Court 4 as Tatiana Golovin and Sebastian Grosjean were slated to play there. While watching the Golovin vs Peng match, we could hear the crowds' noise from Centre Court. Bestnyer!! We felt so envious and wished that we had bought the Centre Court tickets instead. If only we could upgrade ...

After the match, we went outside the ground to pray. On our way out, we saw a "Ticket Upgrade" booth (!!)

Yeay! We could upgrade!
Er ... but could we afford it??

After much contemplation, we decided to upgrade. By upgrading, we could see Hingis in action, plus Baghdatis, plus TURSUNOV!!! Tu yang paling penting tu ...

To those who are wondering who this Tursunov guy is, you could be forgiven for not recognising him. After all:
-He's not the number 1 player in the world
-He's not even in the top ten! (he's number 21)
-And he never won a Grand Slam before

Comel ke?

Well ... Not really. comel lagi James Blake, Marat Safin, Tommy Robredo & Mario Ancic.

So why do Durra & I want to see him so much??

Well, we are his fans ever since reading his witty Estoril blog (must read!!) and after seeing him in the Hopman Cup earlier this month. We think that he's very funny and likeable. And that package beats a very cute and talented guy any day of the week.

Anyway, we put in another $15 to upgrade our tickets (nasib baik tak mahal sangat). Tursunov's match is 6th in the order of play. It was already 2.30pm. But the 3rd match had only just started (Jelena Jankovic vs Martina Hingis). It was to be followed by Ernests Gulbis vs Marcos Baghdatis. Then: Dinara Safina vs Nicole Pratt.


Lama lagi tu ...
So, we watched tennis after tennis after tennis
Sampai mengantuk-ngantuk

Semuanya demi _______

Centre Court

Anyway, by the end of Baghdatis' match, we were so exhausted that we went out to get something to eat. Then, we prayed Asar & Maghrib.

We were gone for 2 hours. We thought by the time we got back, the Safina vs Pratt match would be over.

We were wrong. It WASN'T over. The match had gone into rubber set - Grr!!!

It took another 10-20 minutes for the match to end.

At last ...
This is IT ...
This is what we had come for ...

We took our seats and waited for the players to come in.

Then, there was an announcement. Uh-oh ...
I have a bad feeling feeling about this ...

And true enough: the announcement said that Tursunov had to make a late withdrawal due to his wrist injury.


Durra & I were gobsmacked.
It took quite a while for us to regain composure.
And the first thing we said was: "Tu la ... memang Allah nak tunjuk!!!"

That was to be our "mantra" all the way back to Epping.
It was all so surreal. After all that we've gone through ... to be denied the 1 thing that we wanted so badly to see ...


On this beautiful Wednesday morning, 2 days after the incident, I realised that, on the whole, it was an enjoyable outing. I've always watched tennis on TV with my dad and have always wished that someday, I could see all the action live.

And I did just that.
Well, sort of. It's not a Grand Slam but I get to experience the "feel" of it. I don't think I could afford a Grand Slam ticket anyway.

And it was exciting to be in the midst of the action, to spot the players, and to be in close proximity to them.

It was a day to remember; both for its good and bad moments :)

P/S: Just don't mention the name _______ to me this few days ...

I'm still recuperating :P