we declare Your Perfection above and beyond all: we have no knowledge whatsoever except what You have taught us. No doubt it is You, and You alone that is all Knowledgeable and all Wise. (al-Baqarah, 32)

Sunday, December 28, 2008


This is my 2nd post today.. or is it?

Here's something that some people might not know. In the Islamic calendar, a new day is NOT when the sun rises, but when the sun sets and today, is the first day in the Hijriyyah calendar. i.e. its new year's day! Muslims worldwide refer this day as Awal Muharram, the first day of the month Muharram (kinda like January)

The Hijriyyah calendar is lunar-based, and began when the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his companions moved (Hijrah - thus the term Hijriyyah) from Mecca to Medina, approximately 1430 years ago.

Of course, people don't celebrate Awal Muharram like people celebrate New Year's Day. It is much more significant than a celebration. It is a sign of moving (hijrah) from bad to good, and from good to better. I've been reading a lot of the al-Quran recently and I realized that one of the recurring verse means something like : "God will be with those who seek to improve in their deeds". So in spirit of Awal Muharram, lets keep improving until we reach 'the best'. God will be with us, and He is the best guide that man can ever depend on.

OK, lesson's over.

Now on to the second part : reflections...

Have I moved to become a better person over the last 1 year?

In many ways, yes. I've learnt a lot more about religions, my religion in particular, and about life in general. I believe I have the most faith in my religion this year as compared to the last 22 years (minus the childhood years) and I would largely credit that to me getting into reading the al-Quran, something that I am ashamed to say I had neglected for quite a while. And this time, I tried to understand it more as I read and had learnt a lot as a result. Alhamdulillah, God had shown me the light and given me the chance to redeem myself.

And then there is also that part of me that which I tried to change but, well...did't manage to. I need to try (and pray!) harder

Also, I'm engaged =) So that's definitely a move for the better. I thank God for allowing the process to be carried out as smoothly as it did for I truly understand now, everything is rightfully and truly His.

I think I can

What with all the postings supposed to be coming soon, I've had many people, close families and former teachers alike, telling me how I have it easy. Everyone goes around saying : "Oh, you can ask your parents to get you posted anywhere you want." True enough, my parents do have some ties to the mob higher ups around here. In fact, they once told me they'd do something about my posting so that I'll get somewhere nearer to home (and far from Borneo).

I spent some time thinking about it.

Yes, I can..but then, should I? I understand that this is something that many people do these days be it for getting their postings, or even to win a tender for a certain project. The scale might be different, but the two of them are actually the same thing. And it occurred to me, if I were to say 'yes', I would be unjust to every other people out there who don't have that certain link people refer to as 'cable'. Especially so to my friends from my institution.

Whether big or small, stuff like this is a form of corruption, i.e. using the advantages you have or your own selfish gains. Many people do this, and I can't really blame them either. It's basic human nature to want to save your own skin. And it made me realize the purpose of all the do's and don'ts we have in religion :

to suppress those negative human nature so we can be better individuals.

And my religion (and probably every other) forbids corruption be it in any shape or form, for obvious reasons, I might add. The lesson; stay true to the teachings of our religion. If everyone does, I'm sure the world will be a much better place for everyone.

The following day, I politely declined their offer. Just because people do it, it doesn't mean its' right. Just because I can, it doesn't mean I should.

I think I can, performed by the legendary Japanese rock band, The Pillows

Friday, December 26, 2008

Best I ever had

Ever had a murtabak? If your answer is anything, anything at all but 'I've had the murtabak they sell in Pekan', then I would have to take your answer as a 'no' because nothing - absopositively nothing - says murtabak quite like the murtabak they have in Pekan. It is the epitome of what can be considered as a murtabak.

There are 2 restaurants which sells these murtabak but one of them only operates during Ramadan. The one that's open all-year round is called Murtabak Mengkasar. The restaurant thrives selling ONLY murtabak and still people go there everyday.

The murtabak we have here in Pekan, looks just a bit different than what the other parts of Malaysia consider a murtabak

Behold! This is a murtabak! Whatever you might have eaten, isn't .

but in terms of its texture and taste, hoo boy, it's like heaven and earth. Also similar to most other self-proclaimed murtabak is that it is served, and should be eaten with pickled onion. I hate onions and I sure am no big fan of the colour pink, but somehow this is the one type of onion I am to tolerate and like.

Most people I know.... actually, everybody I know eats the murtabak with chilli sauce. I'd say that the thing isn't complete without chilli sauce.

If there was one thing that would make me happily say I'm proud to have been born in Pekan, is that the murtabak here is the best in the country. I'd give it a 5/5, and for a mere RM5, it's a steal. If you ever come around these parts, stop by and give it a try. Caution : once you do, you won't ever consider anything but this as a murtabak

*Best I ever had is a song performed by Vertical Horizon.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Crazy Train

Some time last week. A cousin of mine asked me whether I be interested in going with him To Malacca. Me, who'd do just about anything to take a break from home gave a quick yes. And that lead to what I can sum up as a crazy 2 day holiday away from home. The whole deal is rather lengthy so here's the long short of it :

Day 1

Arrived at Malacca at about 1. Had lunch with the cousin and later parted ways. I was only informed that he was 'going to meet a certain someone'. Totally classified stuff, see.

I thought about walking around town but oh how naive of me to think that possible. The road in Malacca (and probably anywhere in Malaysia that I can think of) is very on-foot unfriendly.

Malacca city centre is suprisingly jam packed with vehicle despite it being a Monday but the traffic grows thin as the sun sets.

Saw Sue Fin and her sister. They introduced me to a fine bubble tea. Good. Not as good as in Wellington (cause they don't have vanilla, apparently), but good nonetheless. Recommended to anyone with the slightest interest in bubble tea.

The plan was supposed to meet her, have a drink or two and then split, but I ended up tagging along with the sisters for the most part. I bet by the end of the day they must've been annoyed by me messing around with their shopping...hehe. Sorry

Accidentally ran into Justin! Of all the places, the world really isn't that big after all. Highlight of the event - He told me he saw Sue Fin the day before. I said : "she's around (Mahkota)", to which he replied : "I know, she lives in Melaka". I had to say it 3 times before he finally understood what I was getting at. Funny.

Toilets! Is that too blatant? Ok, maybe I should say..washrooms. I went to 3 different washrooms. 2 in Mahkota and 1 in Melaka Sentral. I'm not sure about the ladies washroom, but the guys, you know how the doors in the stalls always had something (usually indecent stuff) written or drawn on it right? Well, all 3 that I went to had decidedly gay remarks all over the door. That's right, all of them, all over the door, which leads me to 2 hypotheses :
  • most guys in Malacca are gay, or
  • most gays like to go to Malacca.
Ate at a restaurant aptly named 'Chicken Rice Ball' for it sells 'chicken rice ball.' Wait. What exactly is a 'chicken rice ball'?. It can only mean
  • rice ball with chicken filling, or at least tastes like chicken, or
  • its a chicken rice with chicken balls (not likely)
It turns out that its the former. The linguist in me protests, but I digress. Also, the dish was out so we only had the normal chicken rice.

Melaka Sentral is the best station I've been to. There's lots of shops and restaurants, its clean, bright, not as crowded as KL sentral and the surau is very comfortable.

I realized that I'd forgotten to use my camera. Dank. Reached the cousin's place just over 1a.m. Slighlty later that planned.

Day 2

Invited the cousin for a trip to the beach. Him driving of course. I wouldn't be caught dead driving somebody else's car (had a trauma). I wanted to go to Cherating. He didn't want to because TC was nearer. In the end, the one who drives, wins. Fine, a beach is a beach.

If yesterday taught me something, its 'use thy camera!'.

Went to McD for some snacks as we walk along the beach. Saw a familiar face as I walked out of McD. I wasn't too sure so I hesitated to wave, but my hand moved even before my brain could send the message. I turns out that I wasn't wrong

As if meeting Justin in Malacca wasn't surprising enough. Yes. That's Qi Su. She's from Johor, on a holiday with her family and friends. Truly a chance encounter. Further proves that the world really is a small place.

And thats our snack. My treat of couse, since I'm the older of the two. Haha.

By the way, here's 'the cousin'

The wave was bigger than usual that day so I had to take some snapshots of it, even if I had to risk my life wading through the water.

Look behind ye!

But when I turned, its gone...

Also, I really should remember to not bring my wallet when I go to the beach. The wallet, and everything in it was soaking wet. Fortunately, no casualties.

TC was not bad, I hadn't been there in ages though the authorities could probably do better in collecting the rubbish. That being said, the blame ultimately goes to the people who litter in the first place. Also this particular group is part of the problem...

beach monkeys. You read that right. Beach Monkey.

The night before I went home was spent on countless hours of reading Eyeshield 21. I think it was about 2 a.m that I submitted to the spell of sleepiness.

A rather long post, for a rather crazy 2 days holiday. One that I was seriously in need of or I'd seriously go crazy.

*Crazy Train is a song performed by Ozzy Osbourne

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Here In My Home

I came across this piece of art done by fellow Malaysian whom at the time, I knew only as bem69 at his DevianART page and it instantly clicked with me. It is a perfect summation of what being a Malaysian is (whether you think is good or bad, is totally up to you). We are a community of different colours, culture, beliefs, practices, (I could go on and on and on again about this so I think I'll just stop there) yet all of us stand under this one flag.

Oh.. one more thing. It turned out that dude bem69's real name is the same as mine. Talk about coincidence.

Here In My Home - Various artists. If you're a Malaysian and have yet to hear this song, I'd really suggest you do. Its free for download here

Monday, December 15, 2008

My sacrifice

Exactly a week ago, we celebrated what most people know in Malaysia as Hari Raya Korban (lit. Big Day of Sacrifice). My family celebrated it in our kampung in Baling, Kedah. They had a cow sacrificed there. The whole process of sacrificing the cow is done at the butchery (by the folks there, no less) but the rest of it, which involves separating the flesh from the bones, mincing the meat into fine think slices and cutting them bones are left to the family.

I wish I could post some photos of it, but they are potentially graphic and with me having low tolerance to massive volume of blood, I think I'll pass. Heck, I kept my distance from where they did all that stuff. I feel kind of bad about it now, but if i were to get close, I'd feel worse then .Weird is that I don't seem to have a problem if its my own blood though. Anyways, many know of this day, but there are equally as many who do not know how it originated.

The history of sacrifice dates back to the very beginnings of mankind, when the Adam's two sons offered their respective sacrifice to God. This however, isn't where the story starts. It began much later, during the era of the prophet Ibrahim (also referred as Abraham in some cultures). The prophet Ibrahim and his son, Ismail (Ishmel) were instructed by God to rebuild the Ka'aba - the structure to which present day Muslims face during their prayers - on the foundations where the first man, Adam had originally built it in ages past.

Upon the completion of the Ka'aba, Ibrahim saw a dream in which he slit the throat of his son as a sacrifice to God. Unsure of whether it was an order from God or merely a dream, he consulted his son Ismail (Ishmel), to which he responded : "My father, do what has been told by God, God willing, you will find me among the patients".

Just as Ibrahim wanted to sacrifice his son, God, most merciful that He is replaced Ismail with a kibas (a kind of sheep)*. This event serves as a testament that there is no cost to great for the cause of God and Ibrahim and his son Ismail has shown that their faith to God was so strong that they would surrender everything, be it their own life of the life of one they love for God.

We probably don't have it in us to go to the extent that they did, but sacrifice can come in many way. Going to the 'ulu' places, far from the confort of civilisation to teach could be a sacrifice as well, if you know what I mean...haha.

*note : just to clarify, the sacrifice (ie. the cow) isn't for God, rather, it is the act of sacrificing is what is dedicated to God, for He, most glorious that He is needs not from us.

My sacrifice, performed by Creed.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Livin' on a prayer

"Every living being will taste death"

A cousin of mine, Abang Kamil got caught in a horrible accident which claimed his life late last night, December 10, 08. He was a very good person and his demise will be sorely missed.

Its times like these that you can't help but to feel how fragile a person really is. The prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) says that the average lifespan for his people is around the age of 60. 60 years... I'm already over the age of 20 so mathematically speaking, I've got another 2/3 of my lifespan to look forward to. But then again, my late cousin passed away when he was barely 50 so one can never be too sure.

One thing is for certain though - we will all, at one point or another, leave this world. And its because we don't know when our time will come, that we must prepare ourselves for the life promised after this life is over. Our actions in our current life dictates the very consequences that awaits us in the next life, and that life is by far more important than this one. A fact, for those who wants to think.

They say time waits for no man. Likewise, death too, doesn't. So live today as if your life would end tomorrow. And remember - the only thing that can help us to a better tomorrow is our prayer today.

Livin' on a prayer - performed by Bon Jovi

Sunday, December 7, 2008

To all my Friends

To all my Friends,

I wish I could tell you how much I'm glad to have known the lot of you, but my feelings towards you simply cannot be put into words. I am glad that we have met and I really hope that at some point our paths will cross again. Thank you for all the memories you have blessed me with, for being friends with me these past 5 years, even when there were moments of ups and downs. You, my Friends, won't simply be just memories because you are a part of my soul.

To all my Friends...

Thank You
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