Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Festival Jualan Buku DBP 2008

Tarikh: 12 Dis 08 - 11 Jan 09
Masa: 9.30 pagi-6.30 petang
Lokasi: Kompleks Dawama,
Lot 1037, Jalan AU3/1,
54200 Ampang/Hulu Kelang,
Selangor Darul Ehsan

Keterangan lanjut, hubungi: 03-4107 9037 atau layari


It has been a while since I've gone to DBP Book Fairs. I used to frequent it often as a kid. The fair is usually held at the above-stated Ampang Hulu Kelang complex, so the distance was convenient for my parents to drag 5 kids along (In hindsight, I am forever grateful to my parents for instilling the reading habit in me and my siblings since young).

I don't know what happened but I stopped coming to the fairs. Until today that is. Being under the white tents and checking out the familiar Malay-language books bring back fond memories (they are still selling old titles).

One of the obvious reasons I studied TESL was because I love the English language. I love reading Enid Blytons as a child, followed by Nancy Drew, Sweet Valley series, Fear Street, etc.

And since I am going to be an English language teacher, I devoted much of my time to improving my English, to the detriment of my Malay. Being a non-NEST (Non-Native English Speaking Teacher) makes you feel inadequate about your level of competency at times. Complaints in the newspapers about incompetent English teachers exacerbate my feelings of inadequacy.

Though my conversational Malay is all right (it is my first language after all), my written Malay has deteriorated. I feel more comfortable writing in English now, as is evident in my blog. This is not something that I'm proud of, as I would very much like to be highly-competent in both.

My current imbalance state reminds me of a theory in bilingualism (appropriately called The Balance Theory); where a bilingual person is pictured as having two language balloons in his/her head. These two balloons are half-filled/less-filled. And if one language is "pumped" higher, the other language, diminishes in size. In contrast, a monolingual has one well-filled balloon.

Other theories have since supplanted this theory. Our brain seems to have an unlimited amount of "room" for languages. So, being a balanced bilingual (or multilingual) is not an impossible aim. The renown Adibah Amin is an excellent example of one.

So, though I originally didn't plan to have new-year resolutions, I'll make one regarding this; I plan to read more Malay books in 2009.

*My long-deserted text-book: 'Foundations of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism' by Colin Baker came to the rescue when I was trying to recall and explain the Balance Theory.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Image taken from:

[] On Saturday, December 27, 2008, a massive wave of Israeli air strikes against the sealed off Gaza Strip claimed the lives of at least 230 people and injured several hundred innocent Palestinians. The Israeli onslaught continues unabated over the already starving, tired and wounded people. Many commentators and reporters affirm that this is the worst massacre Gaza has been subjected to since Israel occupied it in 1967. Meanwhile, none of the formal parties whether they are international, Arab or Islamic have done anything yet to stop the continuing genocide.


Now, 3 days into the attacks, the death toll has reached 300 and the wounded 1000. These numbers are bound to increase as Israel promises further attacks.

Seeing the news on CNN/BBC makes me angry. Any Muslim would.

And the EXTREMELY BIASED reporting makes me even angrier.

I particularly loathe the Israeli Foreign Minister: Tzipi Livni for saying things like:

  • "Hamas, not Israel, is the one who needs to be condemned by the international community."
  • "Israel is a state that implements its right to defend itself and its citizens."
  • "Hamas [is] responsible for breaking the cease-fire and for the renewal of violence in Gaza."
  • the Jewish state had "no alternative" but to launch a series of attacks in Gaza
  • they had tried everything in order to avoid this military operation, but that Israel would not live under attack by Hamas.
  • "Israel is looking to give its citizens a decent life, the right to live in peace and quiet like any other citizens in the world."
Oh, the dripping hypocrisy!
Makes you want to throw your shoes at her, no??

Friday, December 05, 2008

Revealed: The Hajj

Image taken from:

I was happy to learn that The Discovery Channel will be screening the documentary Revealed: The Hajj again. I saw the documentary some time ago and really liked it. I watched it before I went for umrah, so many things were unfamiliar to me. I'm looking forward to watch it again and "relive" my umrah experience.

Admittedly, umrah cannot be compared to the Hajj. Hajj is attended by millions of people. Makkah is the most crowded place on earth during the pilgrimage. Watching the documentary, you will get to see how engineers, logisticians, doctors, paramedics, etc prepare to cater to such a huge crowd. It truly is fascinating.

The documentary also tells about Matthew Nelson, an Australian who is a recent Muslim revert/convert. His spiritual-quest story provides the foil to the (more dominant) scientific perspective of the Hajj.

So, celebrate Eid Al-Adha this year by watching this documentary if you can. Show times are shown below:

Discovery Channel (551 on ASTRO)
7-Dec-08: 10.00am
7-Dec-08: 3.00pm

Alternatively, you can see it on (where else?) YouTube. The documentary has been divided into 12 parts.


Thursday, December 04, 2008


News has it that the majority of us (B. Ed. TESL Menengah) will be posted to Sabah & Sarawak. And the majority of that majority (am I making sense here??) will be posted to Sabah.

This piece of news has perturbed/unnerved/shocked everyone concerned.

I just told my parents about it today. I was keeping the news to myself because I don't want them to be overly panic. But my fears were unfounded. My dad just said "So, you now have to prepare yourself mentally...".

He thought I would be the hysterical one (!) haha

The reason I'm not pushing the panic button yet is that nothing is CONFIRMED. When that fateful day finally arrives, I'll tell you how I react.


Below is an advice given by Imam Ibnul Wardi:

"Kegemaranmu tinggal di kampung merupakan satu kelemahan yang ketara. Oleh itu pergilah merantau mencari ilmu pasti kau temukan ganti dari keluarga yang ditinggalkan."

"Air yang tenang itu akan menjadi busuk. Begitu pula seandainya anak bulan itu tidak berjalan, maka sudah tentu ia tidak akan menjadi bulan purnama."

Image taken from:

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Shots of Practicum

My teacher name tag on top of the Rekod Kerja
L-R: Sharifuddin, Raqib, Rafis, Haziq, Zarir, Naim Syafiq, Ikmal, Hasriq, Hafiizhuddin
The incorrigible boys of 2 Cekal
A farewell gift for each student
Couldn't have asked for better practicum-mates: Nada & Dayah :)


Pictures of 2 Amal coming soon

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Last Day

On my last day of practicum, my students surprised me with their kad rayas, presents, letters and thank-you cards. I was so touched. Maybe I am not such a hopeless teacher after all.

Here are snippets from a student's card. She used to display such an indifference to my lessons. It was so hard to get her to smile. So, what she wrote meant the world to me.
  • disini kami nak ucapkan Selamat Hari Raya buat cik Syada yang telah mengajar kami, walaupun kami percaya, kelas kami adalah kelas yang paling nakal, degil and sukar dikawal... (hehehe)
  • disini jugak, kami nak mintak maaf atas segala kenakalan kami and kalau cik syada ader rase sedih dan sakit hati disebabkan kami, kami harap cik syada maafkan dan lupakan.
  • tak dinafikan, sejak cik S. masuk ke kelas kami, ramai diantara kami yang tak sabar menantikan jadual Bahasa Inggeris! Kalau dulu... biler tiba jer mase BI, separuh dari pelajar lelaki semuanye keluar, kalau aderpun, tu kira nasib baik... (hohoho)
  • so bile dengar cik S. dah nak pergi..., kami semua berase sedih and sayu... Tapi, kami doakan semoga cik S. berjaya di luar sana nanti
  • datang tiba-tiba, pergi pun tiba-tiba, semoga cik Syada selalu bergembira, kami di sini jangan dilupa...
*sob sob*

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Teachers are a positive bunch of people!

These mutilated forks are displayed in my school's teacher cafeteria.

The accompanying note says:

Kreativiti Pelajar SMKHC
-Aktiviti Rehat-

Sunday, June 29, 2008


From June 23-September 26 2008, I'll be undergoing my teaching practicum at a secondary school in Gombak.

1 week down, 11 weeks to go!

Whew! I never knew that teaching is so tough, so stressful, such a roller coaster ride!

I'm teaching in the afternoon session so I usually arrive at the school at 12.30pm (except on Fridays) and leave at 7pm.

But that six and a half hours is so exhausting. I can readily attest to the "overworked but underpaid" complaints.

Concerning the roller coaster ride:
Sometimes, when lessons went well, you feel so exhilarated.

But when they don't, you feel so demoralized.

The students can make you smile, laugh and even melt your heart.

But most of the time, they test your patience to the limits.

It's true when teachers say that they remember the naughty ones' names first. I've memorised several already.

But despite its ups and downs, practicum beats Sem 1 anytime.

I now have my own list of "students say the darndest things":

1) I wrote on the board that I came from Institut Perguruan Bahasa-bahasa Antarabangsa.

One student then quipped: "Jadi Cikgu tahu Bahasa Iban la?"

2) I told them that I studied in Sydney, Australia for 2 years.

The next day, another student asked: "Cikgu kat Sweden diaorang main baseball tak?"

Me: "Kenapa Sweden ye?"

Student: "Kan Cikgu belajar kat sana"

Me: "Oh, saya belajar kat Australia - Sydney. Bukan Sweden"

Student: "Ha.. kat situ la!"

3) Yet another student wrote in her biodata: Favourite actor: Ronaldo DiCaprio.

Oh anak muridku!


I've been meaning to finish my Umrah journal but I couldn't find the time...
InshaAllah, I'll update later.


To my fellow comrades, all the best surviving the next 11 weeks! We can do this!!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Makkah & Madinah Part 2

June 3, 08

I woke up to the sound of azan but it was not Subuh yet. Turned out that they make the call of prayer twice; once as an early wake up call and the other to indicate Subuh. The former does not have the "assolatu khairum-minannaum" part in order to differentiate it from the latter. There is a 1-hour gap between the two.

After breakfast, I explored Masjid Nabawi's outer complex for the first time. The masjid is huge so circling it was quite an exercise. But it was a beautiful morning so the morning stroll was pleasurable. It was some time before I caught sight of the Green Dome - It was quite a sight which evoked strong emotions.

Dawn in Madinah

Everything in Madinah looks so foreign: the men in their aba and kaffiya, the women in their all-enveloping black veil, car plates with Arabic alphabets and numerical symbols, and beautifully carved wooden windows. Even the restroom signs are different! Pictures of a veiled woman and a man in kaffiya replaced the conventional stick figures. It's like I've been transported into a different world altogether.

Therefore I was very, very surprised to find the shop below 10 metres away from one of Masjid Nabawi's gate. It looks so out of place despite its Arabic scripts. One of those "clash of the civilisations" scenes.

Starbucks outlet

I tried to practise my Arabic there but it wasn't met with much success. I kept on forgetting the names of things. Further, most shopkeepers there know Malay. So, transactions were often done in Malay rather than Arabic.

One of these attempts at Arabic ended quite hilariously.
When asked by a shopkeeper how are we related, my Nenek incorrectly answered in Arabic "jaddati" (my grandmother) instead of "hafidati" (my granddaughter).
To this, the shopkeeper exclaimed in surprise: "MashaAllah, MashaAllah!"

*to be continued*

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Makkah & Madinah Part 1

Alhamdulillah, I'm safely back home.The trip was quite an eventful one. When relatives asked, "Seronok tak?". I didn't know how to respond. Somehow 'seronok' is not the right word to use. But to say 'tak seronok' is misleading too.

The trip to Madinah and Makkah was unlike other trips to anywhere else in the world. In fact, 'journey' is a better word than 'trip', as the latter connotes a vacation. The journey to Makkah & Madinah is for an entirely different purpose: to fulfill one's religious obligation. But instead of being a burdensome obligation, performing the umrah or the hajj is what most Muslims yearn to accomplish.

Here's my journal of the 11Day, 9Night-Journey.

June 2, 08

At KLIA, before leaving, Kakak gave me her amanat: look after and assist Mama & Nenek during the pilgrimage. Kak Yom, however, gave me a contradictory advice: be adventurous! explore your surroundings. Kalau ikut Mama & Nenek je, "sini tak pergi, situ tak pergi"... I nodded my head to both advisors, wondering whose advice should I heed.

We took off for Madinah at 1500 in a Saudi Airline. It took 8 hours to reach Riyadh. We transited there for an hour before proceeding to Madinah (which took another 1 hour). I couldn't sleep throughout the 10-hour flight. So, I spent the time reading and eating. The air hostesses were quite garang. I was particularly terrified of the one who patrolled my aisle. Malaysian Airline's stewardesses are way nicer in comparison. No wonder they won the Best Cabin Crew award.

I also browsed through the in-flight magazines (all in Arabic). Something felt a bit off... Then I recognised what it was: all the advertisement featured male models! It was a unusual sight I tell you. Instead of pouty, sexy women filling in the pages, male models were employed - all looking dashing and distinguished in their jubah and serban.

Anyway, we finally arrived in Madinah at around 8pm local time. Although it was already night, the air was still warm. The air smelt and felt so different too! It's the desert's air, I suppose...

The Madinah airport is quite small. The garang air stewardesses were replaced by garang airport officials. Our visa and passport were checked before we were allowed to collect our bags and enter the city.

We traveled under Andalusia Travel & Tours. Their people already awaited us outside of the airport to take us to our hotel. Our whole party consisted of 42 people.

Our hotel is called Al-Fayroz Shatta Hotel. And it is just about 50 metres from one of the entrance gate of Masjid Nabawi. Each room is to be shared amongst 4 people. I was grouped with my mom, Nenek and Mac Cik Halimah.

*to be continued*
-Pictures will also be uploaded later, InshaAllah-

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Performing Umrah

InshaAllah, I'll be performing the Umrah from June 2-11. I'll be going with with my mum, grandmother, uncle, aunt, and their son.

This will be my first trip to the Masjidil Haram.

I'm in the midst of packing for the trip. I should have started long ago but I simply didn't know what to bring. Now that the trip is barely 3 days' away, I just stuffed things in my bag.

Jaime called a few days ago to bid me farewell. She asked whether I've memorised all the du'as. I regrettably answered in the negative.

It's not that I'm not excited at going... I'm just overwhelmed by the whole thing.
At the back of my mind I kept thinking: Am I really going to set foot in Makkah? Despite receiving the itinerary from the travel agent, despite passing my exams (so I don't have to stay back to resit them), despite the looming flight date, I still couldn't believe I'm heading there. And until I actually set my foot in Makkah, I will still have doubts.

[That's one of the reason why this entry will only be published after June 3]

While NOT memorising and packing my stuffs, I was reading "One Thousand Roads to Mecca - Ten Centuries of Travelers Writing about the Muslim Pilgrimage". The book is edited by Michael Wolfe.

The title is self-explanatory. It contains 23 travelers writing about the Hajj dating from the Islamic Middle Ages (during the Abbasiyyah Rule) to this present "Jet Age".

It contains writing by illustrious figures such as: Ibn Jubayr (1183-84), Ibn Battuta (1326), John Lewis Burckhardt (1814), Sir Richard Burton (1853), Muhammad Asad (1927), and Malcolm X (1964).

The writings show that although Hajj has been performed for 1400 years, the perennial rites remains unchanged. Although camels and vessels have been replaced with modern transportations, performing Hajj still means the same thing. As the editor notes: "...even today's very modern pilgrims, with their ritual choreography and ancient-looking robes, seem to have stepped out of the pages of the Scripture."

Please pray for me that I will perform the Umrah dengan baik - to arrive and come back safely, to manfaatkan the chance that I have as well as I can, to receive Allah's blessings and guidance.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

A Land Called Paradise

It has been more than a month since I last posted something. Still am not in the mood to write. Maybe writing all those assignments put me off writing (!).

But thought I'd share this video with all.

It made me smile and feel warm and fuzzy inside :)

Saturday, March 29, 2008

So True!

A friend forwarded me a video entitled Sleep is Better than Prayer. It was a good video (and so true!) - I went on to watch the other videos related to it. My favourite is the one entitled: Don't Wear Hijab, You Will Look Ugly.

I can easily identify with the girl in the video. Oftentimes, I hesitate to go out thinking 'Am I dressed up to the occasion?', 'Is what I am wearing ok? or does it look too prudish?'.

Instead of asking 'Am I covering my aurat properly?', I sometimes ask 'Do I look fashionable enough?'

Who am I trying to impress here?

Friday, March 28, 2008


I became a fan of Iranian films ever since I saw Majid Majidi's Children of Heaven.

Thus, I was very excited to find out that there is an Iranian Film Festival in Kuala Lumpur from March 20 - April 2.

I grew more pleased when I found out that 'Saint Mary' (also known as Maryam Al-Muqaddasah) is one of 10 movies shown. When I was in Macquarie, I was shown a snippet of the movie and I've always wanted to see the full film.

The snippet was shown during a talk by Affinity Club entitled 'Who is Jesus Christ in Islam?'. Muslims do believe that Isa (Jesus) is the Messiah and that he was born miraculously. We also believe that Maryam (Saint Mary) is one of the most pious and purest women ever. So, the talk and the movie served to show the similarity between the Islam and Christianity.

The film is actually a condensed version of a television series of the same title.

I feel that it is a very beautiful movie. The most powerful scene has got to be the ending, where Mary returned with her newborn to Jerusalem. A big crowd has gathered to see whether the rumours surrounding her disappearance are true. When they saw the baby, they hurled insults and accusations at her. Maryam just kept quiet and gestured to her baby.

This scene is taken from Surah Maryam, verses 27-33:

27. Then she brought him (the baby) to her people, carrying him. They said: "O Maryam! Indeed you have brought a thing Fariyy (a mighty thing)."

28. "O sister of Harun! Your father was not a man who used to commit adultery, nor your mother was an unchaste woman."

29. Then she pointed to him. They said: "How can we talk to one who is a child in the cradle?"

30. He [Isa] said: "Verily I am a slave of Allah, He has given me the Scripture and made me a Prophet;"

31. "And He has made me blessed wheresoever I be, and has enjoined on me Salat (prayer), and Zakat, as long as I live."

32. "And dutiful to my mother, and made me not arrogant, unblest."

33. "And Salam (peace) be upon me the day I was born, and the day I die, and the day I shall be raised alive!"

The movie is in Persian with English subtitles. Its running time is 114 minutes. Oh yeah, the ticket costs only RM5!

For showtimes and the synopsis of the other movies, go to

*Nisa kata dia nak tengok SEMUA

Sharing is Caring

A few weeks ago, I loaned my book, 'Does My Head Look Big in This?' to a friend in college. After she has finished reading it, she passed it to another friend, and that friend passed it to another, and another and another.

By the time it reached the ?th person, I got to know that a section of the book had fallen out.I was crestfallen... It was after all, a book that I adore.

Some time later, I read what Paulo Coelho has to say about books and libraries (in his book, Like the Flowing River - Thoughts and Reflections).

He said that despite of his love for reading, he doesn't own a lot of books. He only keeps his favourites ones and donates the rest to public libraries or gives them to other people.

He believes that "a book has its own journey to make, and should not be condemned to being stuck on a shelf".

He also says that he loves it when, "at a book signing, a reader comes up to [him] clutching a battered copy of one of [his] books that has been passed from friend to friend dozens of times".

After thinking about it, I now subscribe to his point of view. I would rather have my books become battered through much sharing than to have them looking brand new, on the shelf.

Sharing is Caring.


The book is about Amal, a Palestinian-Australian Muslim girl. She decides to wear the hijab "full-time". The book details the reactions she got from her classmates. The book also deals with issues like
* the stereotypes people have of minority groups,
* the common perception that Muslim women are "oppressed",
* culture vs. religion,
* etc.

The book is actually for young adults but older readers will enjoy it as well.

The author, Randa Abdel-Fattah (an Australian-Muslim herself), has another book entitled '10 Things I Hate about Me'.

*Image taken from

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Sirah Junjungan

It was touted as the first ever Islamic musical theater in Malaysia.

I didn't plan on watching it but Nada, Fa & Zue strongly recommended that I do. They said that it was really touching (especially towards the end).

So I went with my sister. We were expecting a small crowd, like the one on Wednesday. Nada, Fa & Zue got upgraded to better seats since the audience was so small.

But on Friday, the place was packed. We had trouble finding a vacant parking space. There were bus loads of people. We were hoping that there are still tickets left (fat chance of being upgraded though).

Thankfully, there were tickets still. The RM50 ticket placed us on the upper circle of the Panggung Sari. Unlike Nada, I didn't get to see Jamal Abdillah "depan mata" (qoute, unqoute) :p

The show was around 2 hours' long. At times, I felt that it was a bit draggy.

On the whole, I was a bit disappointed. I was kind of expecting more. I wasn't "touched" as Fa promised I would.

But there are two parts in the show that I felt a lump in my throat:
Firstly, when Jamal Abdillah sang the song right after Rasulullah became an orphan.
Secondly, when the people of Madinah sang joyously to mark the arrival of the Prophet.

The most annoying part has got to be the "Latta Uzza" song. Hind's high pitch cackle is a close second.

When I told my mom that I didn't like the show, my sister reproached me: "Jangan la kata tak best... cakapla it was a commendable effort. After all, it was the first theater of its kind in Malaysia"

*terkedu seketika*

Saturday, March 15, 2008

We're Just Friends


This is a sensitive issue but an important one to be clear on.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Learning Arabic

I started learning Arabic recently. I joined the IIUM Arabic course for the public.

I was interested to learn the language since last year.

Before this, I recite the Quran without reading its translation. After I started reading the Quran hand-in-hand with is translation, I began to realize the importance of learning the language.

Knowing the meaning makes reading the Quran more "powerful" (it's a bit hard to describe its effect). But translations are only poor substitutes of the real thing. They could never convey the true essence of the message.

So, I enrol with my sister to learn the language. Classes are held every Monday and Wednesday, 8-10pm. There are 25 sessions in all. There is an examination at the end of the course and if you passed, you may proceed to the next level.

There are 20+ students in my class. Most of them are working adults or retirees. Only a handful are still studying. I like the ustaz who's teaching my class. He is so funny. But he scares me a bit since he often bombards us with tough questions. You really have to be alert and do your homework!

I also like going to IIUM at night. The buildings look so majestic. You also see people of various ethnic backgrounds. It's so multi-cultural that it reminds me of the Musolla at Macquarie University.

I think I would like very much to further my study at IIUM one day.

2 years ago, I learnt French and German as part of the B. Ed. (TESL) Foundation requirement.

And now, I could only remember bits and pieces of the language:

J'taime, Au revoir, Oui, Bonjour, Merci

Hopefully, my foray into Arabic won't suffer a similar fate.


From Marianne's handout:

Learners learn a language best when:
  • they are treated as individuals with their own needs and interests
  • they are provided with opportunities to participate in communicative use of the target language in a wide range of activities
  • they are exposed to communicative data which is comprehensible and relevant to their own needs and interests
  • they focus deliberately on various language forms, skills, and strategies in order to support the process of language acquisition
  • they are exposed to sociocultural data and direct experience of the culture(s) embedded within the target language
  • they become aware of the role and nature of language and culture
  • they are provided with appropriate feedback about their progress
  • they are provided with opportunities to manage their own learning
Taken from:
Pocket ALL: a user's guide to the teaching of languages and ESL
David Vale, Angela Scarino & Panny McKay


From Jill Murray's handout:

A good language learner:
  • attends to whether his/her performance meets the standards he/she has learnt
  • enjoys grammar exercises
  • begins learning in childhood
  • has an above average IQ
  • has good academic skills
  • has a good self-image and lots of confidence
  • is a willing and accurate guesser
  • tries to get a message across, even if specific language knowledge is lacking
  • is willing to make mistakes
  • constantly looks for patterns in the language
  • practices as often as possible
  • analyses his/her own speech and the speech of others.
(Spada & Lightbown, 2001)

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Election Day!

I cast my first vote today! :)

Kak Yom, Abafan, Kakak and I walked to our polling station: Dewan Serbaguna Taman Keramat at 9am.

Someone in a PAS-decorated car offered us a ride but since the Dewan is just a short distance away, we politely declined.

After checking our names, we joined the long queue. I met three of my former schoolmates there! They all have finished their study and are now working.

After about 30 minutes, our turn finally came. Kak Yom went in first, followed by Kakak. Both of them took a short time to cast their vote. I guess they made up their mind long ago.

Then, came my turn. After ticking off my name, the SPR officer said loudly: "ROS-YA-DA Sulaiman". I grimaced. Boy, I do hate people mispronouncing my name like that.

Surprisingly, being the fence sitter that I am, I also took a short time. I looked at the candidates' names, took a deep breath, proclaimed Bismillah, and ticked. Went to the boxes to slot my voting slips and then it was over.


So that's how voting feels like.

Leaving the Dewan, a Keadilan man casually asked: "Dah pangkah dah apa2 yang patut dipangkah?".

My sisters just smiled *undi adalah rahsia* in response

When we arrived home, Mama & Papa have not left home to vote yet. They are supposed to vote in Sek. Ren. Agama Taman Keramat.

Then Mama dropped the bombshell. They haven't left home yet because Papa decided NOT to vote in this election.

*G A S P*

Papa?? Not Voting??

That's so unlikely. Papa & politics go hand in hand. He's like the most "politically and socially engaged" person in the house - He devours the newspapers daily - He keeps tracks of all the latest election news...

What's happening here?

Braving myself, I asked Papa why he's not voting.

He replied that he has no confidence in the present leadership and yet he did not believe the opposition either.

Oh. I see.

I guess Papa feels the same way as me. I guess a lot of people feel the same way as well.

If they did vote for the opposition, it's not due to the opposition's capabilities, but more of a protest aimed at the government.

The list is rather long isn't it?
-The indelible ink fiasco
-The V. K. Lingam video
-The whole Khairy controversy
-The biased media
-Widespread corruption

Will the opposition make a better government? I have my doubts. But I do think that we need a strong opposition in the Parliament. Otherwise, there's no check and balance system in place.

We shall see how Malaysians vote tonight. Whatever the results, to quote Malaysiakini, "Those elected, please get down to work tomorrow!"

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Paradise Now

My friend 'Ainur recommended the film to me. The movie was an Academy Award nominee for Best Foreign Language Film in 2005. It won the Golden Globe award for the same category. Intrigued, I bought the DVD.

The movie is about two lifelong friends, Said and Khaled, who are chosen to carry out suicide mission in Tel Aviv. The mission went wrong the first time. Said and Khaled got separated. With explosives strapped to their body, Said and Khaled start to question whether they are doing the right thing. Suha, a female acquaintance of theirs tried to persuade them to change their mind.

The movie really made a big impact on me. It got me thinking about a lot of issues.

I was particularly struck by how different Palestine and Israel look like. The former is so bleak while the latter is thriving.

Below are the three scenes which affected me the most.


Said visiting Suha on the night before the operation

Suha: Do you go to the movie?
Said: No. There's no cinema in Nablus anyway.
Suha: I know. Have you ever been to a cinema before?
Said: Yes, once. Ten years ago when we burned down Revoly Cinema (deadpanned)
Suha: (shocked) You did that?
Said: Not alone. There were lots of us.
Suha: Why? What did the cinema do to you?
Said: Not the cinema. Israel. When Israel decided not to employ any workers from the West Bank, we demonstrated. Then we ended up in the cinema and set it on fire.
Suha: But why the cinema?
Said: Why us?
Suha: I don't know...


Suha trying to persuade Khaled to abandon their mission

Suha: Why are you doing this?
Khaled: If we can't live as equals, at least we'll die as equals.
Suha: If you can kill and die for equality, you should be able to find a way to be equal in life.
Khaled: How? Through your human rights group?
Suha: For example! Then at least the Israelis don't have an excuse to keep on killing.
Khaled: Don't be so naive. There can be no freedom without struggle. As long as there is injustice, someone must make a sacrifice.
Suha: That's not sacrifice. That's revenge! If you kill, there's no difference between victim and occupier.
Khaled: If we had airplanes, we wouldn't need martyrs. That's the difference.
Suha: The difference is that the Israeli military is still stronger.
Khaled: Then let us be equal in death. We still have paradise.
Suha: (exasperated) There is no paradise. It only exists in your head!
Khaled: Astaghfirullahalazim .... Astaghfirullahalazim. May God forgive you. If you were not Abu Azzam's daughter... Anyway, I'd rather have paradise in my head than live in this hell. In this life, we're dead anyway. One chooses bitterness when the alternative is even bitterer.
Suha: And what about us? The ones who remain? Will we win that way? Don't you see that what you're doing is destroying us? And that you give Israel an excuse to carry on?
Khaled: So with no excuse, Israel will stop?
Suha: Perhaps! We have to turn in into a moral war.
Khaled: How, if Israel has no morals?


Said explaining his motivations

"I was born in a refugee camp. I was allowed to leave the West bank once. I was six at the time and needed surgery. Just that one time."

"Life here is like life imprisonment. The crimes of the occupation are countless. The worst crime of all is to exploit the people's weaknesses and turn them into collaborators (Palestinians working for the Israelis). By doing that, they not only kill the resistance, they also ruin families... ruin their dignity and ruin an entire people."

"When my father was executed, I was 10 years-old. He was a good person. But he grew weak. For that, I hold the occupation responsible. They must understand that if they recruit collaborators, they must pay the price for it."

"A life without dignity is worthless. Especially when it reminds you day after day of humiliation and weakness. "

"And the world watches cowardly, indifferently. If you are all alone, faced with this oppression, you have to find a way to stop the injustice."

"They must understand that if there's no security for us, there'll be none for them either."

"It's not about power. Their power doesn't help them. I tried to deliver this message to them but I couldn't find another way."

"Even worse, they've convinced the world and themselves that they are the victims. How can that be? How can the occupier be the victim? If they take on the role of the oppressor and the victim then I have no other choice but to also be a victim and a murderer as well."


The trailer

For more info, click here

Saturday, January 26, 2008

3 weeks into IPBA

Despite having to wake up extra early to go to college, I do enjoy staying out of the hostel. Commuting is not so bad; You just have to avoid the peak hours. And to combat boredom from the 20-minute journey, you just need to have a book in hand or occupy your mind with thinking about something.

It's also nice that I have my sister with me. We usually stop for a roti canai at the Kerinchi station before embarking for IPBA/UM. The 15-minute morning walk is refreshing. Seriously. No embellishment here.

I do miss IPBA occasionally. I miss going for dinner with friends, going to the surau, playing volleyball, and having a nice afternoon nap in my room after one whole morning of lecture.

Semester 1 is quite ok thus far. I like all my tutors. They are all wonderfully-different from one another. One lecturer likes to narrate his experiences at the expense of not completing the task at hand. But that's ok because I really admire his love for the teaching profession and how he always have the students' best interest at heart.

Another lecturer likes to give homework *groan*. But the tasks she set us will tremendously help us prepare for the exam, so that's ok too I suppose. Plus, she cracks us up with her "umbrella, ella, ella" joke.

I have a former lecturer as my tutor for another subject. I've always like her so there's no problem there. Another lecturer is a very lively individual. That makes learning so much more enjoyable.

But while tutorials are all right, lectures are quite hard to endure.
I find it difficult to pay attention, or even keep awake. I've tried sitting in front - it didn't work.
Need to find another strategy!


Excerpts from "Ketika Cinta Bertasbih"
by: Habiburrahman El-Shirazy

Bakda shalat Isya ia tetap di masjid untuk mengaji kitab Al Hikam karya Ibnu Athaillah As Sakandari dengan Adil Ramadhan. Malam itu ia mendapat pencerahan sangat berharga dari kitab Al Hikam tentang hal yang sangat penting baginya sebagai seorang penuntut ilmu. Ibnu Athaillah mengatakan,

"Khairul ilmi ma kaanatil khasyyah ma'ahu. Ilmu yang paling baik adalah yang disertai khasyyah."

Adil Ramadhan menjelaskan bahwa khasyyah adalah rasa takut kepada Allah yang disertai mengagungkan Allah. Maka segala jenis ilmu yang tidak mendatangkan rasa takut kepada Allah dan juga tidak mendatangkan pengagungan kepada Allah tiada kebaikannya sama sekali. Adil Ramadhan berpesan pada Azzam,

"Untuk mengetahui ilmumu bermanfaat atau tidak cukuplah kaulihat bekasnya. Jika dengan itu kau semakin takut kepada Allah dan semakin baik ibadahmu kepada-Nya, maka itulah tanda ilmumu benar-benar bermanfaat. Jika sebaliknya maka berhati-hatilah, Saudaraku!"


"A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell, where his influence stops"
-Henry Brooks Adams-