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)