Saturday, September 28, 2013


I’m taking a short break from this proposal writing. A lot of editing needs to be done. As usual need to distract myself a bit, so I can fully refocus on this task later.

I went to Summer Mall this morning, for our assignment. This was my only third time going there, despite the fact that I didn’t go back for my semester break. I knew some people went there twice a week, even thrice a week.

We got what we needed, and did some shopping later. When I was about to pay, I noticed a strange situation. The cashier that I was approaching was a supermodel. I backtracked and changed into another lane, but the same thing was happening. The cashier over there was also a supermodel.   

In fact, almost all the cashiers there were very good looking, supermodel-like.

Something was not right. Something was not in place.

In economy, there is this phenomenon termed “Hot Waitress Economic Index”. I’m not so sure about the plausibility of this theory, but it had already featured in prominent publications such as CNBC, Time, and Business Insider. That speaks volume about its popularity.

According to this theory, when we see waitresses, or to some extent baristas and cashiers, are all good looking, that means something is wrong with our economic condition. It's some kind of economic indicator. In simpler word, when waitress / barista / cashier appears to be very good looking, it's a good indication that our economy is spiraling downward, it’s going into uncertainty.

It happened in Penang circa 2009, when suddenly there was a surge of attractive women filling the positions in various hypermarkets and shopping malls. We had a recession in 2008, so either they were forced to work there after being retrenched, or their parents were retrenched and they were forced to get out from the comfort of their home to find extra money, I was not so sure. But it did happen.     

I knew that this theory is vaguely sexist in nature. Maybe a large majority of women in Sarawak is attractive, that could be the explanation of that strange phenomenon. Or maybe it was a pure coincidence. Or maybe I was half awaken...because I slept very late the night before. Who knows.  

But I heard that sirap in pavilion was already seeing a price hike. And prices everywhere are shooting to the rooftop, literally. I am yet to witness a major price increment myself, because I rarely bought items, but I think there is some truth in it. No major price hike, but there exists a price hike in several items.

And today I made one of my best friends moody. I promised to go out for a pizza together, but had it postponed for two weeks. I think she was disappointed. Maybe next week would be ok…for now, this proposal is killing me.

Almost forgot about my proposal…time to refocus.

Friday, September 27, 2013

A Good Day

I’m in a good mood today. I'm beaming with a radiance of joy.

Settled a persistent issue with a stroke of an unexpected luck.

Thank you, Dr Wong. I’ll remember your good deed for the rest of my life. You are one in a million.

I have nothing much to say actually, still busy editing my proposal.

My supervisor wants an Everest-grade proposal. Currently I’m only reaching a Kinabalu grade. Still a long way to climb, but I’ll keep trying to scale that height.

And, Pancasara turns six today. Happy birthday, and thanks for being my faithful companion all these years. You are also my one in a million.

I hope better days are coming.

For the moment, just want to savour this good feeling.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Battle Is On

I think I'm feeling the heat right now.

This intense pressure is slowly building up its fortress to assault me physically and mentally.

I won't give up easily. I'll strive to overcome this challenge.

I'm a Saiyan. What doesn't kill me, makes me stronger.

I'll keep fighting.

Starting now.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Let's Not Burn The Bridge, Just Yet.

I am taking a short break from notes. As usual need to pen down something to clear or digress my mind a bit from all these notes.

Have exam today at noon, and need to edit my proposal. Have bulk of works to do. Need to properly reorganize myself.

Missed another class today. I promise to myself this is the last one.

Read something over the net, regarding a so-called “Malay-Intelligentsia” proposing to scrap Article 153 of our Federal Constitution.

That was an uncalled-for suggestion. For someone who had received all that assistants and now is fiercely calling for its abolishment is absolute absurd. 

You've safely crossed the bridge, but now you are calling for the bridge to be burned.

We are not ready to battle openly on the same level playing field. We were never ready. Even the playing field is not level.

Fact is no fiction, and fiction is no fact. We need to separate between the two.  

I think I need to write something related to our history. Just to get it out my chest.

Many are unaware that special privilege accorded to Malays was there even before our independence. The British created this provision to protect the indigenous peoples (Malay) as they were being swarmed by immigrants.

UMNO didn’t create this provision. This is the hard fact.

UMNO just continues the enactment of this special position of Malay to safeguard the rights of the native peoples. This was agreed upon by MCA and MIC, where they formed a partnership known as Perikatan.

This was the precursor alliance of the current ruling government of Malaysia, the Barisan Nasional.

When Malaysia was born, the term “indigenous peoples” was expanded to include the natives of Sabah and Sarawak, so the birth of the “Bumiputera” term.

One of the reasons of the formation of Malaysia was to balance the population of Malay against the increasing number of immigrants. At one time, Malays were outnumbered by the combination of Chinese and Indians in their own land.

When Malaya achieved independence, the British left, the Chinese took over most of the gaping holes of the enterprises and businesses left over by the British. With almost 4000 years of history, a competitive streak, shrewd mind and acute strategy, they controlled the economic sector up until today.

Tun Dr Mahathir, in his controversial book “The Malay Dilemma’, succinctly said that “The British at least left something for the Malays. The Chinese left nothing, not even crumbs”.

I read that book thrice during my younger years, and I still remember much of its content. And much of its content still holds true to this day.

Special provision of the Malays is not just there as a protective measure, it also serves to crack open the hard wall of opportunities for the community at large.

Many are unaware that a lot of Malays are still living in deplorable conditions. They are being deprived of opportunities to leap out of this hard knock cage. I understand it better than most of the people because I live my whole life in it.

We are a young race, below a thousand years in age, with half of that was spent under the clutches of multiple colonial rules, still plying and learning the trade to compete with the rest, with their own history spanning more than a thousand years old.

Plus with our lay back attitude, honestly could we be on par with them? Without quota, a portion of us wouldn’t step foot in university. Half of us wouldn’t even get scholarships, including the illustrious JPA or any other government-linked companies.

My youngest brother didn’t do very well in his UPSR, yet he received full scholarship to study in a boarding school. With his result, he couldn’t enrol in that school if pure merit was the criterion.

But the government saw his potential, and took into consideration of our family’s economic condition. Sometimes he was ridiculed by his friends because of his not-so-stellar results. I just hope that he keeps working hard and proves everybody’s wrong.

Even with his scholarship, he struggled to keep up and almost drop out of school because my parents couldn’t afford to buy him new school bag and stationery. Lucky my scholarship came in time, and it was spent for his purposes.

There were times when I shuddered when he wanted something, because I knew most of the time my parents couldn’t afford to buy it. I tried my best to satisfy his whatever wishes, because I love him very much.

Without him being awarded the scholarship and the quota entrance to that boarding school, I don’t think he could continue his study in his secondary school.

Full scale meritocracy wouldn’t work in Malaysia. Not for the distant future. We need Article 153 to safeguard our future, and our next generation’s future. It’s not just there as a protective measure, it also serves to open up possibilities and break the cycle of poverty that has entrenched us for generations.

For the holders of scholarship, just bear in mind and ask yourself, do you deserve it?

Are you really fully deserved of it?

Keep working hard and don’t ever rest on your laurels. Count your blessing. They are many more people who are not so fortunate.

Sunday, September 22, 2013


Taking a short break from study. I’m writing this to clear my mind a bit.

There were some ups and downs for these past two days. Giha called me in the midst of yesterday’s morning rush just to make sure that I’ve already woken up. I think it was kind of funny. But I do have a habit of waking up very late, plus my sleeping disorder lately.

I love order…I love being in order. And I love doing something in an orderly manner. But my life is currently in turbulence, literally. It was all a mess. And I’m trying my utmost best to put myself in order again.

We were scheduled for a practical session for our project. After listening to our supervisor’s lengthy explanation, I let out a huge sigh. The whole procedure was complicated, and laborious to say the least.

We need to cross-pollinate the flowers, observe its progeny, and build molecular markers. It’s a tedious work. We even will be having a work-station erected just outside the Persaintek room for the sake of our project.

We will wear a spacesuit-like dress, and we’ll be belting the hell out of all that filthy germs that have the guts to pollute our sacred pollens. And we’ll defeat them. Definitely. We’ll emerge victorious in the end. This is our war. I’m getting ridiculous here.

On the way home, Freddy asked whether we knew possible good students from the current junior batch, because he wanted to screen them out for his future project. I joked that maybe we were all vetted by him in the first place?

To which, surprisingly, he answered yes.

He revealed that my name was recommended to him by our head of department. No wonder he personally invited me to do this project with him. It was such an honour…I promise not to let him down. I’ll give my best.

Back in faculty, I came across Azizul and Farah. We were having a casual conversation when Dr Aida approached and interrupted us. She asked whether I told something to our junior crop of students, to which I denied.

She revealed that her class was almost empty (15 students out of maximum quota of 50) and this was due to a mischievous senior that has been spreading words about the difficulty of that course. And she suspected me. It was certainly not me, Dr Aida.

I knew nobody from our junior batch…so it can’t possibly be me. But whenever unknown juniors asked for my opinion, I would always say every subject is a challenge. This was to drive their determination further. Nothing could ever be taken for granted. Nothing is easy in this world. We have to fight to get anything.

Maybe that was why I came under her suspect.

Enough rambling for today. Time to get back to work. 

Friday, September 20, 2013

Fever & Anger

I’m struck with a mild fever today. I think my body has reacted to all the torments it has been subjected to in these past few days. I rarely contracted fever…I took this as a signal to slow myself down a bit.

I gulped down a Panadol before having a deep sleep just after Maghrib. Woke up around 11.30p.m, my head still felt a bit dizzy, but it was a lot better. I’ve already notified my ‘steamboat’ friends of my condition…they cancelled a car because I couldn’t attend the function. One or two of them showed a degree of concern…really appreciate it, although I don’t really give a hoot whether anybody is concern or not about me. I can take care of myself. I can live by myself.

There was a bit of a situation in the English class last evening. The lecturer (a young Chinese) was giving a lecture on diversity of cultures, when she implied that Malay is a kind and polite race. She asked the opinion of the class, when suddenly a female Chinese student daringly said that Malay is not that polite.

I suddenly raised my voice, telling her off that we (Malay) are indeed a polite people. She changed her tone afterwards, perhaps partly because of my directness, saying that majority of the Malays are polite, with few bad apples, as with other races.

How impolite to say that a certain race is not polite in front of the whole class? This has never occurred before. They are getting very loud and vocal lately. A case of superiority complex? They claimed to be treated as a second class citizen, whereas they continuously depicted us (Malay) as having a second class mentality.

There was this case last semester when a Chinese student indirectly saying in front of the whole class that Malays are lazy. It didn’t help to have a lecturer who was more of a liberal Malay apologetic. For me, this was not a laughing matter.

There was another situation in the same class (economy), where I tried to explain something (related to the subject) to a Chinese student, in which she listened half-heartedly. I knew what was playing in her mind. For her, as a Malay, I did not have the intelligence to digest the subject better than her.

When the mid-semester result was out, in which the lecturer called out the names of the top scorer in front of the class, my name was among the list. That Chinese girl looked at me in disbelief. There were two or three more Malay names on the list besides me. Surprised to see us Malays do have a brain, eh?

Also on the list was this one quiet Chinese guy, who always seated next to me at the back row. I admired his personality; calm, quiet, never uttered a single word. And most importantly, he was not boastful. He explained to me that his goal was only to pass the subject, not scoring an A.

He reminds of a quote from Plato “Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something”.

I have nothing against the Chinese, almost all my good friends in Penang were Chinese. In fact I worked under them closely for three years. I went out with them, hang around with them. We ate together, went to cinemas together, played badminton together, gossiped together, and argued together. But a handful of them just raised my temper indefinitely. And I really couldn’t stand it.

I think my fever has slowly subsided. Will watch some episodes of Spellbinder 2 before reviewing one or two subjects. Need to do some practical work tomorrow. I hope everything goes as planned.

Thursday, September 19, 2013


I still couldn't sleep tonight. This has been the sixth consecutive nights. I missed classes today, the first because of a stupid mistake, second because of peer pressure (it’s not really a pressure…but when you see two of the best students in your course sitting on the bench, chatting while the class is being conducted just across the corridor, what would be your reaction? For me, very simple…join them :-) . Had a good chat with both of them…we talked about myriad of issues, ranging from friendship, outings, proposal, project, car(?), raya and so on and so forth.

We planned to have pizza on Friday night. Another small circle of my friends invited me to a special treat tomorrow…steamboat. As if I have that much money? I am so broke now that I have to ration my daily expenditure. I gave a big portion of my scholarship to my parents. They need it more than me. I am left with almost nothing. But that’s far off from being a cause of concern for me, as money doesn't interest me much. I could survive on a very limited, shoestring budget. I was trained that way since at a very young age. In fact, when I first step foot on this campus, I had literally nothing. No money, no friends, no nothing. I applied for TBP (Tabung Bantuan Pelajar) and was granted the highest amount ever approved. I’m not sure on what criteria did they assess my application, but I think they somehow understood my condition (I was informed that TBP was capped at RM500…but I’ve seen cases where students received up to RM1000. I received much more than that).

I’m still in two minds about going out tomorrow. RM20 for that steamboat may be insignificant for the rest of us, but for me, that amount is equivalent to four days of my expenditure. But as they say, money can’t buy all those good times with your friends. Of course money can’t buy that sort of thing, but it definitely could buy me lunch and dinner for four consecutive days, instead of splashing it on just one night, no?

I'll rethink it over tomorrow. Now I need to force myself to sleep. Don't want to miss another class tomorrow.

Update 20/9 : TBP was set at maximum amount of RM1500, not RM500. My mistake. But still I was granted above that max allocated amount. I remember during the interview, I was asked point blank whether I would want to continue my study in Unimas for the post-graduate. I preferred a research university, that was my answer...for which she (TNC aide) emotionally replied that by 2015 Unimas would achieve a research status university. I must have ruffled her feathers then.       

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


I think I've exhausted myself already. Four days locked into this room with a stack of reading materials to review, did I overstretch myself too much? My sleep pattern was already unregulated…I fear my old insomnia would come back to haunt me. There were times in the past when I didn’t sleep at night for the whole year.

I’m writing this to distract myself for a while. This is how I release my pressure.

Six years ago, blog was just an instant diary where people put their daily activities online. Then it evolved into a platform where people put their thoughts online. Now it has become a place where young students socialize, making new friends, posting pictures and so on. I still stick to my original intention of Pancasara, to record my thought, my life and my times for future reference.

Pancasara is an entity. It has its own distinct existence. I regard it as my best friend, who has been with me through my best of times, through my worst of times. It’s been with me through thick and thin. I never wished to live long, so when my time is up, Pancasara would live on to tell my side of the story.

I feel a bit of melancholy tonight…maybe because I’m tired. Last night I was worn down by overwork, but I quickly recharged myself after that short break of writing. But tonight I feel completely different…there was no more energy left. And the passion is slowing down. Maybe I think too much? I think something is bothering me. Something fuzzy.

I don't like this feeling.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Staying Up 2

I’m still struggling with my proposal, now I’m taking a bit of time to slack off and doing something unrelated to all that molecular things. I've been reading insurmountable amount of journals that were loaded with all those scientific jargon. In the past, when I was under intense pressure, I used to write incessantly without any specific goal and tended to type profanity here and there just to express myself. That folly of youth. Now I seem to be more in control of myself and rarely used it unless I was under immense pressure or in an emotional distress.

But luckily I’m slowly getting a good footing of its flow. The flow of discerning the intricacies related to the process of scientific writing. It’s all about getting used to the flow of the whole process. Reading is a process. Writing is a process. Thinking is a process. Combine this three and slowly integrate it into a holistic view. I just need to find a good balance between the three. And then there it is…the beauty. The beauty of scientific writing.

Now I’m slowly enjoying this whole process. It’s actually a joy sifting through the pages of all these journals…some dating back to the Jurassic period of 1948. 1948! Nineteen forty eight! That was way before Malaysia was even born. By the way, today is an historic day. Malaysia was born today fifty years ago. From an economic backwater, this beloved country has progressed much to what it has become today. Now it is approaching the second or third generation of Malays coming through the after period of NEP.

We have achieved much. In my early years, my mother would cycle me around the village to find a house equipped with computer. I was 13 at the time. Of all the houses in the whole village, only two had computer. And they somehow managed to trick us by saying that their computer was either dysfunctional or under virus attack. Computer was a luxury at that time, I cannot blame them either. I bought my very first ever laptop early this year. There were rumours going around that I was the only IPTA student in whole Malaysia that went through the entire academic year without the aid of a laptop unscathed. I knew that was a bit of an exaggeration, because deep down, it was just the tip of an iceberg. I knew people who faced a lot more hardships than I am. And some of them never complained…not a bit. They just live on. These are the real warriors. These are the real heroic figures.            

Time’s up….time to get cracking again. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Staying Up

This is the third running nights I've been staying up this late. Here I'll just ramble on shortly to distract my mind from all these ridiculous molecular things. It's an interesting topic actually, but it needs deep and elaborate readings to fully understand its content. I have the passion and perseverance, but I don't have time. Still have two days to complete this proposal. I am not that sure whether I could finish this on time.

Watched the final of Pestabola Merdeka just now. Malaysia vs Myanmar. With a stranger. He walked pass the corridor in front of my room, heard the commentator's voice, came over to my room and just sat on my bed and started watching with me (live streaming from my laptop). Don't know his name. Don't know who he is. No idea what year he is now. We just watched it together. I even gave him a pack of my chrysanthemum tea as his refreshment. Maybe that's the reason they say football can unite people. It can even unite us with a stranger, as long as we share the same passion for this beautiful game.

Malaysia won the game convincingly, scoring two goals. Then I continued with my proposal writing, until I came to a halt. A mental block. I knew roughly what my research proposal is all about, but I just couldn't link it all together. There are some missing pieces...some missing links to make it into a complete jigsaw. And the problem of arranging all the ideas into a finely-written concept. All this taxing pressure is taking a huge toll on me.

Sidiq also paid me a rare visit just now. He didn't stay long, he just passed by. His younger sister contacted me, asking me whether I want to collect her book tomorrow. She gave me a book last semester as a present, written by the famed Amin Idris. I must admit it was rather a good book, I learned a thing or two from that. She was clearly elated by her last semester result (Dean List), but when I teased her about it, she humbly brushed it off, implying that the result was purely because of her luck. 'Tuhan Sedang Menguji Kita' by Ustaz Kazim Elias...that is the title of the book that she'll be giving me tomorrow. I heard that book received rave I'll give it a try. At least when I'm about to crack under pressure because of the proposal writing, I'll have that book to read through.

Enough rambling, time to work.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Friday Sermon

Just finished my weekly Friday prayer. The sermon was a bit casual, and it was not a topic of great interest. Ustaz Yahya's emotionally-driven sermon was still playing at the back of my mind, even though it was a distant three weeks ago. He studied in Madinah under government scholarship, and now teaches Arabic language. In that sermon, of which he delivered directly without looking at the text, he touched on various subjects; marriage, war, social problems affecting youth and so on, but he stressed more on the brutality of Egypt's new ruling military government, and the atrocities committed by Bashar Assad-led Syrian government.

He was clearly distracted by the killings of innocent Muslims in Egypt when we paid a visit to his Raya open house four weeks back. He was conducting a special meals for his Arabic inter-sem students. I was not one of his students, but somehow I managed to squeeze through (with his permission) together with two of my closest friends. He is a mild-mannered, soft-speaking in person...and he visibly cared and was very concerned about his students. During our conversation, he spoke mainly about his students (I counted that he mentioned Aaqillah three times, Husna two times. I guessed he likes this pair a lot, because he mistook a student's name with another student, and completely forgotten the name of another female student. There were fifteen of us at the time). He asked me where did I hail from, of which I answered Kedah. He paused a bit and replied that was the birth-state of our DVC Prof Fadzil. I didn't know that before.

When it came to the topic of Egypt, I asked him about his opinion. I still remember vividly, he suggested that the sole reason they were bombing the hospitals to the ground was to eliminate all the corpses, thus eradicating all traces of evidence. So the official tally of the deceased would be very difficult to prove in hard figure. He was (in my opinion) without a doubt, a supporter of Mursi. Then we talked about other stuffs, including the price of his house (I have no idea how this topic popped up?), his real race (he is Melanau) and other redundant matters.

It never crossed my mind that he would switch from his mild-mannered figure to an emotionally-charged person when he delivered that Friday sermon. My eyes were set on him at the said time, and I think he recognized me because there were not many people around. He even led a 'doa', in which he asked for the destruction of the enemy of the fallen Mursi and the government of Bashar. It sent chill to my bones. I still reserved my judgment on the situation in Egypt and Syria, because of the conflicting reports that are coming out from there. It's very hard to differentiate between the truth and the lies. But it surely is a bad situation for us as a Muslim. I hope it will be over soon.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Friendship 2

This semester started with a bang...a big bang. Yesterday had classes all day long from early morning right to late evening. Still have few clashes of schedule, and unregistered courses. It may take a while for all these conundrums to subside.

The most fascinating thing happening yesterday was my unusual chat with Nadia. We had a fight last semester over a silly thing...more of a misunderstanding.  It's been more than three months since we last talked...I think we somehow had buried the hatchet. Ever since our argument erupted, I never told anyone about it. Nor did I talk badly about her to anybody else. I knew she said some nasty things about me behind my back (I have reliable informers), but I was able to resist myself from firing back. I have my senses, if you keep hitting and hurting somebody else to satisfy your ego, it won't solve anything.

I cannot stop people from talking behind my back. But I could stop myself from talking badly about my friends behind their back. A good friend will criticize you at your face, a bad friend will badmouth you behind your back. A good friend will scold you privately, a bad friend will scold you publicly. You just cannot satisfy everyone. It's just impossible.

I fight with girls every now and then. I never had an easy relationship with them, except for a few. Girls are mostly unreasonable. They cannot think properly, they use their emotion more than their head. To this date, my biggest fight was with Najwa. It was the most bitter and has a long lasting impact on the both of us, especially me. Come to think of it now, I did what I think was right for her. She went to Mecca to find her inner peace. When she came back, I asked her what did she learn from the holy place. She answered that there was no way I could forgive her, so she won't apologize to me, she just asked forgiveness directly from God. I shot back, arguing that was not the teaching of Islam. In Islam, you ask forgiveness from the person that you have committed the mistake, if he or she is unwilling to forgive you, then you resign and submit your fate to Allah. I guessed even the most holiest place couldn't alter her mounting ego.

I am no angel either, I have my own share of mistakes. I've committed many mistakes...there were people who I'd left behind in pursuit of my life...and there were people who'd left me behind in pursuit of their lives. I hope they have forgiven me by now, as I had forgiven them a long time ago. Allah always give us a second chance to redeem ourselves. Whenever I was sliding away from the track of life, I knew Allah would always be there to guide me back to the original lane. The most important thing is to resign yourself to the Almighty. Seek His forgiveness. And try not to repeat the same mistake again.

Talking about friendship, a group of my friends helped me with my EPP registration this evening. That solved my 'generic' issue. Daus came over to my room last night, and we watched KL Gangster 2 together. And ate his kueh raya together. Zira called to inform me that she will come to training, and she called back to inform me that she cannot come to training. It was kind of silly. I was introduced to a young first year mechanical engineering student, Faiz, who won third place in squash KAKOM. I watched him play and he has a raw talent, but needs further polishing. I didn't have friends before this, but Unimas somehow has given me two precious gifts. Friends...and friendship.

Monday, September 9, 2013

An Olympian That We Never Had...

Just read the breaking news from Buenos Aires. Wrestling has "wrestled" back its position as one of the core sports of Olympics. The argument was that wrestling has a rich history, dating back to ancient time of Greece. So much for the nostalgia. Those 49 IOC members who had voted for wrestling should just admit that they were simply currying favour with the United States and Russia. And Iran.

Wrestling is for the past, squash is for the future. Nobody would have missed wrestling. Wrestling is no Brazil. Brazil would be sorely missed if they were to be dropped from the World Cup. But wrestling? All this exercise is just contradictory in axed wrestling to give way to a new inclusion of sport into the glamour club of Olympics...only to reinstate wrestling? What the...? Where is the introduction of the new sport then? You create a system to introduce something new...only to retain the status quo afterwards? What a circus.

Nicol David deserves to be an Olympian. Her hard work, determination, and humility have inspired a lot of people across all strata of life. She is an Olympian that we never had. It's a gross injustice to such a talent.

Sunday, September 8, 2013


I was wandering through a number of websites, before my eyes caught this small quote, located on an anonymous webpage.

I think I remember something...I think I remember somebody...

Friday, September 6, 2013

Back The Bid 2020

"Squash is the world's healthiest sport", beams the influential Forbes magazine after a survey they had conducted in 2007. Squash tops the list ahead of other popular sport such as rowing, cycling, basketball and swimming. There is this popular quote about squash that I learnt as a young boy, which reads "You don't play squash to get fit, you get fit to play squash".

Squash is indeed a blend of the fitness of our body and the creativity of our mind. This is the reason why this exciting sport is sometimes dubbed as "physical chess" because it requires more than a physical prowess to play the game. Our mind needs to constantly think and evaluate all the possible strategies, because creativity is key in squash. We need to think one step ahead of our opponent, executing the right shots as well as keeping our emotion in balance.

Squash is trying its level best to be included as one of the sport of Olympics 2020. Numerous big names and superstars outside squash are lending their hands in support of squash's bid, including Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Lee Chong Wei. Nicol David, in particular, is tirelessly trying very hard to make sure squash is included in the 2020 Olympics. She will be hitting 36 by then, a bit too late I guess, considering the surge of explosive young players emerging from Egypt now. Maybe by then, Low Wee Wern, currently world no 6, can assume the mantle of Nicol as the supreme queen of squash, and brings home our first ever gold medal of Olympics. Or maybe we can rely on Vanessa?

Vanessa Raj (centre) strikes gold in individual and team events in recently concluded Asian Youth Games (23 Aug 2013). Gone are the days when I could bully her around the court.

Vanessa will be sitting for her SPM late this year, and she is still considering her future in squash. She faces the same dilemma as her older brother, Bryan Raj. Bryan was the top rising star in Penang and Malaysia before deciding to call it quits to further his studies in medicine back in 2009. I still remember the first time I played him, he thrashed me 11-0 without breaking a sweat. He didn't exactly tell me his reason to give up competing after SPM, but their father gave me a slight hint that men's squash is overly competitive, especially considering the rise of the Egyptians. I think Vanessa is having the same thought on her mind right now...the young and rising Egyptians. They are producing world class talents with or without the revolution and uncertainties that are currently surrounding their country. Egypt will certainly dominate the world squash for many more years to come.

Two days to go before the voting takes place, I placed no hope for squash to be admitted as one of the sport in 2020 Olympics. I think wrestling will get the nod because of their rich history, and to please America and Russia as well. But it's not wrong to have a little faith, no?

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


It's raining...

Just had my lunch. A simple lunch. Rice with fried egg. RM2.

Started reading book after that. A small book criticizing liberal Islam. One of the contributing writers was former Perlis mufti, Dr Asri Zainal Abidin. I've learnt a lot from him, and have a great respect for him. The last time I saw him was when I was trying to catch my flight to Kuching almost three years back.

I love reading right after meals. It gives my mind something to ponder. It's some kind of refreshment. But our culture makes everybody stare at me as a freak. That's why now it's the best time to enjoy books in cafe. Because nobody's here. Nobody's going to bother me...and I'm going to bother anybody. Come next week, this place will be populated by students and I can no longer enjoy a companion of book without those weird lingering looks.

I'm thinking about my past, my present, and my future.

What have I done lately?

Finished "Albert Einstein Lived Here", written by his close associate, Abraham Pais. It chronicles the life of the great man through newspaper articles. Beautifully written and compiled, Pais displays the other side of Einstein that people often overlooked or misconstrued. That famous equation E=MC2 was never the cause of atomic bomb creation, despite popular belief. Even Einstein didn't believe atomic bomb was possible at first, he changed his mind afterwards. He was not even on the team of the Manhattan Project, as he was accused of being a communist sympathizer.

Also finished "Fatwa Yusof Qardhawi". Among numerous Islamic scholars, I think he offers the most plausible explanations to various problems affecting Muslim worldwide. There was this one awkward moment that occurred to me when we were visiting a friend's house for her raya open house last month. Her mother (old woman) offered her hands to two of my friends, but they refused. I was the third in the row...should I refuse her as well? After quick thinking (I remember Yusof Qardhawi permitted (harus) a handshake among older relatives as long as there is no traces of nafsu or fitnah, HAMKA said the same thing as well) and as a gesture of goodwill, I received her offer of hands. What I failed to consider at that particular time was that she's not my relatives...not even distant ones. So that Fatwa is null and void, inapplicable to my situation. It is still forbidden. But it was kind of weird to refuse the host's offer of handshake after all of her hospitality, no? (actually we just wanted a simple nasi goreng, but my friend's mother went as far as to prepare laksa sarawak specially for us. Her laksa sarawak was the best so far). But Islam comes first, after all. We need to abide by the rules.

Got a hold of Thomas L. Friedman's "Hot, Flat, and Crowded" from CAIS. I read (actually bought) his previous book "The World Is Flat" somewhere around 2009, and thoroughly enjoyed every pages of it. Now looking forward to reading this book.

Next week going to be a hectic one. Should brace myself to imminent workload that is lurking on the horizon. Planning, moderation and hard work are keys. And passion too.

Time for my training.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


It's half past twelve and I still couldn't sleep. So I'll write a bit until I'll fall asleep.

Liaison Officers (LO) are making stupid preaches to the new students. They are so loud, it bothers me to no end. Just now one of them knocked on my door, asking me whether I am a senior student. Of course I'm a senior on earth could I stay in single room if I'm a first year student?

I asked what happened, he just told me in passing he was just checking whether juniors are playing truant. The new intake is scheduled for intense orientation week starting today. I saw they were assembled inside the stadium just now, although I don't know for what programme. Maybe they all have to run 2.4 km under 12 minutes. Who knows. I bet even the LO's themselves couldn't do it.

I remember during my orientation week previously (not in Unimas), we had to walk to and forth to DTSP. It was quite a distance. We were staying in Indah Kembara, me, Ijal and Fahmi. Fahmi was a kind of reclusive person at that time...spending time alone with his guitar. He was deeply in love with his newly declared partner, sadly I couldn't remember her name now. It was a long time ago. But later, he was to become one of my closest friends, spending endless time and sharing many beautiful moments together.

I bought my first SIM card a week or so afterwards. I never had any hand phone before that. It cost me around RM80 to get that SIM card. It was loaded with RM50 airtime. The call rate was ridiculous (compared to now), it was sixty cents (peak hours - 6am-12pm) and thirty cents (off peak - 12am-6am) per minute. The first person I called was Najwa, who was in UM. I remember her voice was like a freaked me. She explained (excitedly) that she was cheering on top of her voice during the orientation week that she lost all her voice. That was how the transformer voice happened. Whatever. For all I care, I was really pleased to hear her voice.

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. An age of foolishness, an age of incredulity.

Maybe it's time to sleep now.

Sunday, September 1, 2013


Went to Stadium Negeri last night for Malaysia Cup match. Sarawak vs Kedah. This is the first time I watched live-action football in a proper stadium. I watched FAM league (third-tier competition, a rung below premier league) way back in 2003 in Langkawi stadium. It was between LADA Langkawi and another team (can't recall what team).

Then the premier league matches between USM and Pahang, I paid RM10 for VIP (rooftop) seating. One of my friends was playing for USM...Fahmi. We called him Maicon USM. I played against him once and lost (football match...but not the real one, it was PES). 

Abang Khalik warned the situation could be rowdy...because Sarawak fans are quite rough. Along the way, I could see fans in droves (could be spotted easily because they were wearing Sarawak jersey) headed towards Stadium Negeri. It was a bit of a traffic congestion near the stadium, but we went smoothly and managed to find a good parking spot.

There were already large movement of people towards the main gate of the stadium, and the atmosphere was terrific. Most of the people were wearing jerseys, and I was on jersey as well...Malaysian jersey. Inside the stadium, wave of stripes of reds and blues were filling the stadium. The stands were loaded with fans to the core. The kickoff was brought forward to 8.15 p.m.

Some observations :
  1. Sarawak fans are passionate about football...this could be seen by their bold, giant attendance. Abang Khalik explained this was due to their recent blazing forms (unbeaten in premier league). Before this, patches of empty seats could be seen everywhere. Everybody likes winners, after all.
  2. The stadium could fill 40,000 in maximum capacity. There were some fans who were left standing, so I bet the attendance was more than that.
  3. In a city where the majority are Chinese, what probability a Chinese was spotted in the stands among the 40 000 raucous fans? Should be pretty high, no? But I saw none. I sought everywhere, no Chinese faces. This 40 000 ardent supporters came from all over Sarawak (I was told some came even as far as from Miri) but almost none were Chinese. Where were the Chinese?
  4. Girls. A noticeable amount of girls were present in the stadium. Why? Some didn't even know the name of the players.
  5. Firecrackers. For each of the goals scored, firecrackers were thrown to the pitch. It was no ordinary 'mercun bola' or 'mercun papan', it was 'mercun ketupat'. For those who knows a bit about firecracker, ketupat is the most dangerous among all. When I was in standard six, we got a hold of it. I remember my best friend at that time, Pion, lit it using a 10 meters galah. He was the bravest among us, but even he was scared of it. Imagine if one of those flying ketupat landed on our head instead of on the pitch?
  6. Manners. A very young boy in front of me kept uttering profanities every single time the ref blew the whistle to stop the play. He was not passionate about football, he was just passionate of making a scene. And his father didn't say anything...minus in one occasion where he went over the top with some rude remarks and his father finally asked him to sit down. He should have ticked off his young boy much earlier. Such a shame.
Kedah was roundly beaten 4-0. It was a deserved victory for Sarawak. Kedah looked sloppy...their backline were a mess. That second goal was a beauty. Khyril Muhaimeen and Baddrol Bakhtiar were having an off day. They can now kiss goodbye to their Malaysia Cup campaign.

Update 4/9/13 - Syawal told me that Syafira saw me after the match and tried to call me but to no avail (I heard nothing by the way, the crowd was so noise. I was also in a hurry to exit the stadium because of the fear of the incoming firecrackers). Syawal couldn't attend the match because of kenduri.