Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Till We Meet Again!

I made Pancasara public a day after my outburst with somebody.

It was a moment to forget. It brought my soul to its lowest abyss. I never felt that low in my entire life.

I came across her yesterday in the office. It was an awkward head-to-head encounter. She looked agitated, so was me.

I wondered what was on her mind...I think she was wondering the same thing about me.

I really hold no grudges against her.

She was the one who encouraged me to broaden my friends' circle, to which I did.

I am on my own before this, without any friends.

So much has changed since then. It was all thanks to her advice.

Sometimes, you lose a friend but get a thousand new friends afterwards.

But even that one thousand new friends can't even come near to replacing the one friend that you had lost.


The last time Pancasara resurfaced was a very long time ago. Even then, it was only for a short period.

This is the longest period that Pancasara has ever been available for public view.

So I think it's about time that Pancasara returns to its former reclusive state.

I'll just let it float for another day or two. It will be a very long time before it will resurface again.

Till then...

Nil desperandum. Dum vita est spes est. 

(Never despair. While there's life, there's hope.)

Saturday, November 9, 2013

A Lab-orious Day

Just came back from lab, totally exhausted.

A lot of remarkable things happened today, so will just note it all down here in a flash so that I won't forget all these memories :
  • Woke up late as usual, but there was an improvement compared to yesterday. As usual Freddy was not mad, I should learn to be more patient like him.
  • Freddy went to extra length to explain in details regarding PCR. Now I fully understand the inner working and function of the mixture.
  • My DNA extraction yesterday was successful, much to my surprise. There were bands developed. I think I did it playfully.
  • An unknown number appeared when I was listening to Freddy's detail explanation. I ignored it at first but called it back when Freddy finished. Surprisingly it was Ziqa, later I found out that she got my number from Biha.
  • Ziqa was to fly home later this evening. She missed her family, as she told me. That was so sweet. And it was even sweeter when she bought me snail repellent. I didn't ask for it. I only asked for a piece of her snail repellent. 
  • If only I had a younger sister like her. My younger brothers are all so mess up that I really wanted to kick each one of them when they started messing things around.
  • Did PCR practice. My hands were trembling, Freddy jokingly said that I was having a Parkinson.
  • A Master student accidentally poured Liquid Nitrogen into the sink. Hastalavista. That was the same Liquid Nitrogen that momentarily killed the bad terminator in Terminator 2. She was terrified as I teased her about the horrible outcome that was forthcoming.
  • But later it turned out that it was all OK. No need to panic. She called me repeatedly to show that the sink was doing OK. OK sis, I got it. But be extra careful next time.
  • I used the same Liquid Nitrogen for my DNA extraction. Daus was so terrified with it that he distanced himself a near 1 metre from me when I was conducting the experiment. When I jokingly tried to pour it into him, he ran out of the lab. Classic.
  • PCR took almost four hours to finish. In the meantime, I went to CAIS. 
  • Freddy called for dinner. He also asked whether I had performed my prayer. Where else can we find a peculiar lecturer like him? He is one of a kind.
  • He took us to a shop just across the campus main gate. And he left us there as he went back home. Wee Soon, Chieng and me were left puzzled. If only I knew it from the start, I wouldn't have followed them.
  • Walked back towards Cempaka. It was a long journey. The concert was about to start, but I chose to head straight back to my room. Performed my Isyak in surau before heading back to lab. 
  • Freddy, now dressed in T-shirt, short pants and earphone hanging from his ears, continued with his thesis writing. It was a cool sight. I very much hoped to imitate him. I was too serious with my studies sometimes...may be need to chill out and enjoy life a bit. All work and no play make Jack a dull boy.
  • Daus and Amir arrived just in time when I finished PCR. After waving goodbye to Freddy and my fellow FYP'ers, we went to convocation stalls.
  • Nithya called to give me something, a 'manisan'. I don't know what they called them in English...a "sweet"? It was rice..a very sweet rice. It was as if the rice were covered with sugar. Thanks, Nithya. And you looked beautiful in that outfit.
  • We went to FAMA stall, where one of my friends were in charge there. I was quite surprise to see Baihaqi was also there. What was he doing there? But the Laici drink was cheap...Daus paid for me. Twice. 
  • Had a chat with Munirah. I knew her from our English class, we were always seated next to each other in class. She owned a kiosk in CTF4. She was very business-minded, she even asked me to join a seminar about business two weeks back, although I was not very sure what she was talking about then. 
  • She is also a hijabster, although she clearly belongs to the moderate group. There were instances when hijabsters refused to talk to me out of fear of fitnah. Is that Islamic? May be yes, according to them. I don't know.
  • In 2002, fifteen Saudi schoolgirls were left burning to their death when the Muttawa would not let them out of their burning school building, or allow firemen in, because the girls' faces and bodies weren't covered. Is that Islamic? Yes, according to the Muttawa. Again, I don't know.
  • We were having a great time...Daus, Amir and me. We were having a great laugh all the way along our journey back to Cempaka. It was reminiscence of our beautiful memories of the past. Amir is going to graduate this Sunday. I wish him a very good luck.
  • Before I forget, many thanks to my precious friend in Penang, who sent me a box of chocolate today. That just made my day. If you are reading this (which I think you will), I will treat you back when I come back to Penang. This is a promise. May Allah bless you.
I think that's all. Tomorrow is going to be another hectic day. I need some rest now. This is definitely a day to remember.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Dum Spiro Spero

The old Kingdom of Sarawak Coat of Arms

I was doing some extra readings for my term paper when an image struck me.

It was a fully loaded truck with a banner that read "While I Breath, I Hope". The truck was transporting logs from rural areas of Indonesia. 

The workers were living in abject poverty but they kept fighting for their life. With every breath they took in, they never stopped hoping for a better future. It almost moved me into tears. I can't upload that deeply moving image because it was in PDF format. But all I can say is, we are very lucky to be born in this blessed country called Malaysia.

I searched the origin of that phrase, and it turned out that it was a direct translation from Latin, Dum Spiro Spero. Latin is practically a dead one speaks in this extinct language anymore. 

In its heyday, Latin was the language of the elites...Sir Isaac Newton used Latin to describe his famous gravity equation. Every plant species found should be described in Latin for age old ruling that was lifted only last year. This once mighty language fall from grace and how it went to grave are still incomprehensible to me...but Latin still holds some of the most memorable quotes in history.

In a rather quirky coincidence, this phrase was the motto of the old Kingdom of Sarawak. In Malay translation, it is called Berharap Selagi Bernafas. Selagi kita masih bernafas, kita tak sepatutnya berputus harap. Allah akan bersama orang-orang yang terus berusaha.

I will keep fighting. Dum Spiro Spero. While I Breath, I Hope. Berharap Selagi Bernafas.

A Promise

Found this hilarious picture at Nury Vittachi's blog.

It shows that Apple is smart, Samsung is trying hard to copy, while Nokia is a lost cause at the back.

This pretty much sums up my day.

I owned an Ipad2 some time around two semesters back.

My friend sent an entry for a competition using my identity card.

When the result was announced, my name appeared as the grand winner. I took the prize and my face was splashed on its official facebook page.

The problem was, who owned that thing? Me or him? That was the dilemma.

So we struck a deal. I would use it during 'on' semester, while he would use it during 'off' semester.

A sweet deal. Nice and simple.

But unfortunately, he reneged on that promise. What was I to say?

I kept my silence all this while, hoping that he would somehow and someday realize that he had made a mistake. A promise or a deal should be respected whatever the circumstances. Even Islam prohibited us from renegading from any promises.

But he never did. Maybe he forgot it all subconsciously.

So I just move on with life. As I said many times, money or whatever trendy gadgets people are using nowadays don't interest me at all.

I just want a good book, a good read, and a good time for myself. And to help other people in need to the best of my ability.

Today is a resoundingly a good day. Visited greenhouse to clear all the poly bags. My plants were heavily attacked by snails.

Ziqa remarked that we shouldn't be fooled by their appearance. They are cute but deadly at the same time.

She was dead right.

She was accompanied by Ainul. I never really knew them before. But since the start of this semester, I was trying hard to get out of my shell and meet new people. I think so far I've succeeded.

Both of them are quite shy...but as thing goes, we are getting comfortable with each other, particularly Ziqa. I used to regard them as 'rigid', as my former experience with hijabsters would testify. But I think I was off the mark this time.

I don't know what they thought of me, but I viewed them as my sisters. They are even younger than my second brother. The breakfast, prepared by them, was among the best that I've ever indulged.

I settled all the required works (with Jefrey and Anis) before heading back. Somehow all the beautiful memories from Langkawi kept playing at the back of my mind. It was fascinating as well as intriguing at the same time.

How are they now? I left them without saying a word, leaving them totally in the dark. Faisal in particular, used to contact me repeatedly to find my whereabouts. But I ignored him. I ignored all of them. It was done for a reason.

When the time comes, I'll revisit all of them.

This is my promise.

And unlike my dear friend of above, I will never renegade my promise.

Saturday, November 2, 2013


It is raining mildly. I've been reading articles since I came back from DI two hours ago. I have nothing to write actually, but looking at this peaceful rain makes me want to write down something.

I miss my hometown really much. I haven't been home for almost two years. I have no idea what Jitra would look like now, the last time I was back there it was a totally different city from the one I used to cycle back and forth during my early days.

Jitra was a quiet city, before the mushrooming of learning institutions disrupted its peaceful existence. UUM, KMK, SBPs, MRSMs and even KMP contributed to the sprawling growth of Jitra. Now it is crowded with outsiders. It is not uncommon now to hear outside dialects being spoken in Jitra, a rare occasion twenty years ago.

I was not born and I've lived half my life outside Jitra, but I still regard it as my only hometown. I miss Kedah dialect, that is my natural language and I haven't spoken it for a long time. It's hard to find a fellow Kedahan's here.

That is all for today. I want to fully enjoy this peaceful rain. With every drop of this rainfall, it was as if my problems were slowly washed away with it.

Maybe that's the hidden power of rain. It secretly soothes the soul.

Friday, November 1, 2013

"If we knew what we were doing...

...then it wouldn't be called a research" - Albert Einstein

The above quote was the opening line of Siddiq's proposal presentation yesterday. It drew a nice and warm smile from Puan Dayang, his supervisor. And it created a fine starting atmosphere for his presentation delivery.

He dressed just like me a week ago…the same shirt, the same tie…it was as if I were looking at myself giving a second presentation. We shared so much in common. My heart beat faster as he moved smoothly from slides to slides, I think I was more nervous than him.

I skipped the first half of my class to attend his presentation. He has been practicing with me to prepare for his eagerly awaited D-day. I gave insights on how to improve his overall performance…his slides, his delivery and his confidence.

A JPA scholar, he has natural talent for academics. I have cordial relationship with his supervisor, Puan Dayang. Our relationship went back a long way. He did his project under her guidance partly because of me. Although we were separated by different courses, our bond still binds miraculously.

Siddiq's main problem seemed to stem from his unusual penchant for British accent. I tried hard to help him suppress this annoying habit, because I really couldn't afford to have another carbon copy of Zamir. One was enough to drive me into the brink of insanity, two would surely make me a mad man.

He did well to deliver his points. And he kept his presentation well within his allocated time, much to my relief, because during our practice, he usually went beyond that. Overall it was a good performance.    

My only complaint was his opening quote. Although he claimed that was attributed to Einstein, I doubt it very much. I've been a keen follower of Einstein pretty much throughout my whole life and never once did I come across that quote in his official records.

It makes me think of this virally-shared quote from Abraham Lincoln. 

The problem is, Abraham Lincoln died long before the internet was even created. But people kept sharing this nonsense as if it were the holy truth. Where is the common sense?

Time to get back to my work.