Saturday, May 28, 2016

A New Day

It's a smashing new day, and I would like to kick start it with something refreshing.

Due to two main reasons (which I will explain in the next chapter, hopefully), I will write more in the forthcoming future.

This should be a norm long time ago, but procrastination has always have the upper hand upon me.

This, also hopefully, will be a thing of the past starting today.

I'll start off with a mini review of this book:

I was checking what is the best-selling book currently in Malaysia last week when I was alerted to this book.

This small book sits well among the best selling titles currently in Malaysia (at least according to on-line Popular book store).

And it sits well right in front of me, as Nora bought it weeks before (I informally share a place with Nora in the lab. We swap places at exactly 6 p.m everyday).

I had no interest in this book before, but upon realizing that it received warm welcome from readers, my interest deepens.

Written by a very young medical student currently in Eqypt, this book dwells on his current and past undertakings of his life.

A simple book by its nature, it breezes through his experiences when dealing with life. There is no particular point of interest that makes this book stand out...but there is no particular point that makes this book stand down also.

It was a good read anyway to fill time. This book is loaded lightly with quotes from hadeeth, which keeps my interest in check. I finished it about an hour later.

All in all, it's a good book for light reading.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Mis-Quote of the Day

"melayu itu pantun...
...pantun itu melayu"
- Professor Diraja Ungku Aziz

"melayu itu melayu...
...pantun itu pantun"
- Pancasara

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Throwback Saturday

Original date of writing : November 8, 2013 (Friday)

I wrote this short (and unfinished) essay when I was still in Unimas.

It was part of a very long story...but up until now, I've never had the required time to finish it completely.

Maybe some time in the future, when I was totally free, I'll try to put a finishing touch to this piece.

I hope so.

(To new readers, throwback is a series of my unpublished stories, dating as far back as ten years ago)

It was mid 90's. While almost all of my friends here were still in cradle, I was already heading a Rakan Muda programme. It was Rakan Cinta Alam.

There were not many members, they were all my close friends. I designed its logo, planned its programme and charted its overall activities.

We hiked up bukit Tunjang on a regular basis, most of it without prior permission. On one occasion, we brought along a long tape as a marker. We would tighten the tape on selected tree trunks to mark our path, so that we won't get lost.

It was very risky venture...there were no telecommunication devices back then (hand phone was as big as a water bottle, and it was the luxury of the elites). We would begin hiking right after school hours and went home late in the evening. During those time, all the computers and game consoles were at the very end of our wildest dreams, we can't afford to have one. So we plunged into nature to fill the void of our time.

I love nature. And I love being deep in a forest. I read one of of Japan's most celebrated writer, Haruki Murakami novel, Kafka on the Shore and almost immediately identified myself with its main character, Kafka.

On one of his retreat, Kafka hesitated to venture inside a deep and mysterious jungle because the jungle is described as a "one way journey". Those who chose to go in never went out. He eventually chose to go in. The rest, as they say, is history.

I once hiked up bukit Tunjang alone, when I was still a raw, primary school boy. I almost got lost in the process, because bukit Tunjang is no ordinary hill. To this day, I still count my blessing...I may end up being just like Kafka.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Breaking the Break

On second thoughts, I've decided to reverse my previous decision to hibernate.

What else can I do in times of my current predicament, rather than writing?

I recently wrapped up these two books:

Finished this one the day before yesterday. I bought this during last month's Big Bad Wolf in Penang.

They say Tim Harford is Britain's version of Malcolm Gladwell...well, maybe he falls a bit short of that mounting expectation.

This is in no way a disrespect to Harford's cunning ability to write, it was down to Gladwell's more convincing and persuasive ways to present his ideas to his audience.

Finished this one almost a week ago (I read many books simultaneously, that's why sometimes in a week I could end up finishing two or three books in a row).

It took me almost two months to read this giant book. Michio Kaku is one of my favourite writers, so it's not hard to fathom why I consumed a great deal of my time on this book.

The first part of the book was a bit only picked up pace right into its second part. Kaku's range of knowledge is very impressive.

And today, or this morning to be exact, I watched this:

It's a so-so movie. Not too bad, not too good either.

Now I'm in the middle of watching this:

So far, this movie is ok.

That's how I spend my Saturday this weekend.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Taking a Break

So I just finished watching these two movies:

Well, the first one was quite good...while the second was quite average.

I'm in mess currently. 

So that's why I read and watched movies. Lots of them.

It helps to soothe things down.

I'm taking a short break from Pancasara, because history has taught me well that I prefer blurting out nonsense when I'm writing under duress.

I want to avoid that.

I'll come back when I regain my normal self (I was never normal to begin with).

Until then...    

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Midnight Snippet

I have a degree of free time to waste, so I re-read some of my past postings. As expected, there were errors that I failed to realize in the past, particularly grammatical mistakes, so I've made necessary adjustments as best as I could.

Grammar is the backbone of English. No matter how good you've become accustomed to the flow of the English language, you are almost certain to make mistakes. That's why we keep learning. Once we stop learning, we stop questioning.

This is one of the examples, from "A Strange World We Are Currently Living In...":

We can support something but not to the extend extent of blindly supporting it.

I may not know everything, but at least I try to improve myself bit by bit everyday. It sickens me to see some of my friends already stopped learning anything new once they've grabbed a good job after graduating. 

Education doesn't stop after university days. It continues throughout our lifetime. To live everyday without gaining any new knowledge is to live defeated everyday. What's the purpose of living if you didn't accumulate any new information to add to your existing knowledge?       

Learning never stops. Learn something new everyday. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

My Encounter with Missionaries

Circa 2010, when I was staying in Sunway Ceria, something out of ordinary happened to me.

After packing my lunch and parking my bike, I was approached by two young individuals. A man and a woman. They looked different from our local Chinese...I guessed they were of Korean's origin.

Upon approaching me, they asked me whether I have a minute for them. Their first question was, of what religion am I? They later inquired about the composition of my apartment's dwellers, of what religions are they.

It was then when I started to realize that they were indeed Christian missionaries.

'I am a Muslim' was my short answer. I further explained that the majority of Sunway Ceria's inhabitants were Chinese, who were practising Buddha or Christian as their faith.

They later indirectly confessed that they were in fact missionaries trying to introduce Christian to non-believers. From their demeanour and weak command of English, I think they were an upstart with no real experience in preaching.

They were free to preach Christianity, as long as it was not towards Muslim, was my short explanation to them. This was in line with our constitution, because in Malaysia, it is forbidden to preach another religion other than Islam to Muslims.  

This law explains why television programmes such as al-Kuliyyah, Forum Perdana Ehwal Islam, and a host others are permitted to be aired over our national TV channels whereas no such privilege is enjoyed by other religions, although we are accorded with freedom of religion as enshrined in our federal law.

So it boggles me when someone who was trained in law, such as Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz, to openly question why other religions were not permitted to be preached in Malaysia (this was his retort towards his disagreement with influential speaker Dr Zakir Naik's programmes in Malaysia). 

That's why I am not a fan of lawyers. They tend to manipulate the law for their own good. The law must serve them, not the other way round.

Those two polite missionaries readily accepted my explanation and proceeded to find another person to preach. For all I remember, that was the first and last time I ever encountered missionaries.     

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Where Are the Golds?

This is, I was informed, the final standing of recently concluded Kesumas 2016. Kesumas is an annual sporting event in Unimas, running usually from one to two weeks, involving all of its faculties in various sports disciplines for the coveted overall champion's place.

Prior to our graduation, FSTS (or Faculty of Resource Science & Technology - FRST) and FK (Faculty of Engineering) were fierce rivals. Both constantly jostled for the first top two positions, resulting in constant exchange of places between them in breathtaking neck and neck position.

I still remember, on the final day of Kesumas, FSTS was only a gold behind FK for the champion's slot. FK was known for their women's prowess...almost all their golds were delivered by them. FSTS meanwhile, depended solely on their men's department to deliver the goods. I can't recall any gold medal produced by women of FSTS.

Earlier that week, I delivered two golds for FSTS, both in squash (squash individual & team gold). My good friend and housemate, Syairazie, known for his athletics quality, produced three medals in three different events (I am not sure about the colour of the medals he received, probably two golds & one silver. He was so multi-talented that I could not remember how many events he contested. After playing volleyball, he ran the entire length of the field to play squash, and he won. Others would have died of exhaustion, but not Syairazie).

On the last day of the tournament, I looked at the big signboard across Unimas main stadium, where they displayed the current standing. Only one gold separated us from the first position. FSTS were to play football match that day, a final match between FSTS and FSS FSKPM. If we won the match, we would be crowned overall champion (based on the fact that FSTS collected more silvers than FK).

In a show of force, FSTS calmly resisted the challenge of FSS FSKPM to emerge victorious. I was at the main stand, watching my fellow friends slogged a decisive victory against our arch enemy. It was truly a memorable moment, we were finally the overall champion, and I was one of the tiny contributing factor by my squash's gold.

Three years later, our sweet victory was shattered into pieces by this current crop of FSTS students. I do not mind much if we didn't win the overall title...but no gold at all??? This is outright shameful. I can't remember the last time FSTS performed this badly before.

Update 11/5/2016
Upon further clarification from Fawwaz, I realized it was FSKPM who FSTS had beaten en route to them winning the final. FSS was beaten during the semi's.

I have made necessary corrections. 

Friday, May 6, 2016

Do You Really Know The True Meaning of Hardship?

Ogy (Kechik) really hit the nail on the head with this post.

Everywhere I go, I heard people complaining about their purported hardship in life, how they were living on meagre salary with nothing to spend at the end of the days.

What struck me as an odd occurrence was their ability to lavish their supposedly pittance on stylish cutting edge smartphones, having pizza or KFC's every other week, and spending cash on numerous other unnecessary products.

If those are their measure of hardship, then surely if they were in our place, they would be running out of words to describe our condition?

Hardship and poverty are really a massive understatement nowadays. People get hoodwinked by the definition of poverty by measuring themselves up against the elite. You do not, in any way, measure poverty by looking up. You measure poverty by looking down.

Especially by looking to family as ours.

We are a rare bunch of family who goes through life by hardship. Money is a rarity when I grew up...even chicken (yes...the one you eat everyday now) was considered a luxury during my teenage years. 

Growing up, I ate what Kedahan's called "tokua" (tauhu) as my usual dish. Up until today, tokua is still my favourite food. Being accustomed to this spartan way of life, I am filled with disdain whenever someone complains that certain food is not good. 

Boy, cease your never ending complaints...having food to fill your stomach is good enough.

I still spend RM5 per day for food nowadays (you didn't read it's RM5 per day - RM2 for lunch, RM3 for dinner). So the next time you want to spend your precious Ringgit on some unnecessary foods, bear in mind there are others out there who strive to even fill their stomach with adequate food.

I am far better off today than the yesteryears, but it is still far off from the finishing line. We still strive to provide a better living, especially to our parents. I made mistakes that broke their hearts before, now I'm amending it.

So if you ever feel your life is hard enough, think again. Others may not be so lucky as you are.     

Thursday, May 5, 2016

The Essence of an Argument

I just finished doing my little bit of explanation to an on-line audience. It is my fair bit of contribution to the people...if I have an adequate knowledge about something, I'll try my best to disseminate it. 

There are many misconceptions and misunderstanding flying around in cyberspace nowadays, resulting in confusion to the masses to distinguish between the truth and not-truth. I have always maintain my position that fact is central to any argument...get the right fact first, whatever interpretation that follows comes second.

This "First Fact, Interpretation Second" has always been my mantra. You just can't have an argument if all your facts are a mess up. Fact is a pillar to base your argument...without this pillar, all your arguments are rendered null and invalid.

Take for instance, a recent occurrence in our What'sApp group. Fahkrul, my dear friend who is currently pursuing his Master's, caused a bit of a storm when he boldly claimed that touching non-Muslim will nullify our wuduk.

He based his argument on this passage from Holy Quran:       
Wahai orang-orang yang beriman! Sesungguhnya orang-orang musyrik itu najis, oleh itu janganlah biarkan mereka menghampiri al-Masjid Al-Haram sesudah tahun ini. [al-Taubah 9:28]  
According to him, as all non-Muslims are considered 'najis' in the above verse, touching them would result in nullified wuduk. 

To his credit, he did mention a brief interpretation of the above verse. Fakhrul explained that there are two differing school of thoughts among Islamic scholars regarding this verse, one claims 'najis' in the above verse could directly be translated as real 'najis', whereas the second group insists the 'najis' in the verse above is not physical, it refers to spiritual perspective.

This in Ibn Katsir's interpretation of the above verse:     
Maksud perkataan "najis" dalam ayat di atas ialah najis dari sudut agama, bukan fizikal. Ibn Katsir rahimahullah (774H) menyatakan: "Allah memerintahkan hamba-hamba-Nya yang mukmin lagi suci agama dan dirinya agar mengusir orang-orang musyrik dari al-Masjid al-Haram kerana mereka adalah orang orang yang najis agamanya……ada pun kenajisan tubuh orang musyrik, maka menurut jumhur ilmuan, tubuh dan diri orang musyrik tidaklah najis." [Tafsir alQur'an al-'Azhim (Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiah, Beirut, 1181999), jld. 2, ms. 329-330]
I could not find scholars who came up with the first argument, those who said Musyrik is 'najis' physically, as per Fakhrul's claim.

Regardless, a flurry of arguments ensue in the Whats'App group discussion. I joined the discussion quite late, because I rarely online during office hours. When I was told about the topic, the argument was getting a bit tense, although not heated. We are all friends, by the way.

I threw a simple/basic fact - touching 'najis' does not nullify our wuduk. So whatever interpretation of surah al-Taubah above didn't affect anything.

Some of my friends looked stumped...which was weird. I thought it was basic fact learned in primary school that touching 'najis' does not nullify our wuduk?

This is taken from JAKIM:
Seseorang yang mahu mengerjakan solat wajib berwudhu'. Terdapat 5 perkara yang membatalkan wudhu' iaitu:
  1. Apabila terkeluar sesuatu dari dua jalan sama ada melalui qubul atau dubur (hadas kecil)
  2. Tidur yang tidak tetap punggungnya, tetapi jika tidur dengan mengiring maka tidak batal wudhu'.
  3. Hilang akal dengan sebab mabuk atau sakit.
  4. Bersentuh kulit lelaki dengan perempuan yang bukan mahram tanpa alas atau lapik.
  5. Tersentuh kemaluan hadapan atau sekitar kawasan punggung lelaki, wanita atau dirinya sendiri tanpa alas. Tetapi jika tersentuh dengan belakang tapak tangan maka hukumnya tidak batal.
Since when touching 'najis' nullifies our wuduk? Batal solat, yes. But not wuduk. If we touch 'najis' after wuduk, we just need to wash off the 'najis', and proceed with our incoming prayer.

So argument concerning the interpretation of whether non-Muslim is 'najis' or not from surah al-Taubah above was rendered useless (for this discussion), as touching 'najis' is never considered to be the cause that could nullify wuduk in the first place.

I remember Izzudin asked me afterwards, who was responsible for spreading the mis-information that touching 'najis' will nullify our wuduk? 

I honestly do not know. Sometimes, people strive to learn more advanced things that they inadvertently neglect the most important thing, the basics.

Keep the basics intact, the rest will be ok. 

So the discussion of whether touching non-Muslim will render our wuduk nullify or not was finally put to rest.  

In an extreme example, I remember Dr Asri once said, after wuduk, if we happened to unnecessarily touch a pig, we should samak (some people prefer the term sertu) and could continue with our prayer  afterwards without repeating the wuduk. 

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Throwback Sunday

Original date of writing: October 24, 2007.

I wrote this short ranting piece almost ten years ago, for reason that I've already forgotten. Probably I was mad at somebody? Most probably yes...although I already forgot who that unlucky person was.

It was kept safely in the draft mode away from public view until today, when I finally decided it is time for this piece to emerge for public view.

If you asked me whether I still loathe girl today, the answer is yes. Majority of them are very difficult to deal with. But those rare few who are okay...they are an absolute delight to be with.


Just What It Means When A Girl Starts Crying?

Just what does it mean when a girl starts crying? To express their inner feeling? To show that they are hurting inside?


Girls are naturally a good actress. They are born and made to be one. They can break into tears out of nothing. If their bf happens to buy a big necklace for them (a fake one actually), they cry...when their bf ignores them for a brief moment, they cry...when they see a cute guy winking at them (a gay actually) they almost cry (inside). What an idiot. They seek attention whenever pull as much attraction to them as possible.

Back in 2005, a friend of mine (a girl) told me crying is woman's secret weapon (now that she'd told me, so it's not a secret any more). "Secret Weapon"? Is it some sort of a sniper? Is it powerful? Powerful enough as to atomic bomb dropped in Hiroshima back in 1945? Can it blow a man's heart out....melt it to the point of setting aside all their ego's beforehand?

They (girls) burst into tears as a special WMD (the one Bush & Co failed to find in Iraq-Weapon of Mass Destruction) but this requires a bit of an alteration. Girls use it as a Weapon of Mass Distraction...or Weapon of Mess Distraction...whatever. They distract us from whatever wrongdoings they are currently in, making us to forcefully shift our emotion towards them.

They cry for themselves...and then move on with their daily routine. For them, they are the centre of attention, anything else is none of their issue. Worst still, they can easily be manipulated by losers out on the street. It's OK if they committed a mistake but it's unforgivable if somebody else made the same mistake. It's the unseen rule of man and girl.

They cry as if they had already realized their horrendous mistake, but ironically they go on making the same mistake afterwards.

I've known quite a number of good girls...but it's just the minority. I'm yet to see a girl with true grit and determination, not an overqualified actress, certainly not a faker (the one who said one thing and did another).