Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Selamat Hari Raya

Di sini, 1 Syawal disambut pada hari Selasa. Perancangan untuk beraya di hari Rabu terpaksa diawalkan. Memang ada clash dengan beberapa aktiviti lain. Namun, alhamdulillah, sempat setidak2nya untuk solat raya.

SELAMAT HARI RAYA
Mohon maaf segalah kesalahan yang terlihat dan tersembunyi.
Moga dengan kemaafan dari kalian dapat membawa diri kembali ke fitrah yang suci.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Kuih raya

Ni posting straight forward je. Tak de alusi Musang Berjanggut mahupun elemen aliterasi atau asonansi.











Tu la dia kuih2 yg berjaya dihasilkan setelah semalaman bermain tepung sambil melayan lagu2 raya (ihsan assistant chef Asri - bukan dari Rabbani).












Close-up: cornflakes golek. Resepi dari Restoran Pak Amir ni memang dibuat setiap tahun sejak mula mencubanya. Senang je membuatnya..... golek & gentel.














Ni pulak biskut mazola. Utk bancuhan doh kali ni, macam minyak murah la pulak... tapi taste dia sama seperti yang dicuba pertama kali dulu. Kira ok la. Biskut cornflakes dan mazola ni ada orang tempah dan beli. Kalau buleh jual kat mat saleh masa Krismas nanti best jugak... buleh buat bisnes.













Kuih yang ketiga melibatkan acara menumbuk biskut. Memandai je pakai rolling pin sebagai alu lesung. Janji biskut jadi hancur berdarai. Lepas dihancurkan, dicampur dengan mentega, garam, dan gula. Seterusnya, adunan dimampatkan dalam acuan.













Hoh.... mampat ke tu? Bila dah mampat, taburkan kelapa kering (bukan kopra), cip coklat, dan kuaci. Untuk mengemaskan lapisan atas yang longgar ni, siramkan dengan madu secukupnya. Bila dah selesai siram, masukkan dalam oven dan bakar pada suhu 180 C dalam 30 minit. Hasilnya......... 'Sunflower Surprise'. Rasanya tak tau lagi... sebab buat waktu pagi. Lepas berbuka nanti la baru nak tahu apa rasanya. Harap2 pleasantly surprised.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Eid Mubarak















Selamat hari raya Aidil-fitri

Tiada juadah yang cukup manis untuk menawarkan sambutan lebaran tanpa yang tersayang. Tapi panas semangat perjuangan cukup untuk mengurangkan dingin di rantau. 
Moga cukup senyum dari manis iman di hati.

Ampun maaf zahir batin.

Friday, September 26, 2008

This made my day

A letter that I received from the Department today made my day. Alhamdulillah. I am now formally a PhD candidate.

=============================

Dear Harris,

Your DoR, advised by the satisfactory reports from your Supervisor and your Viva Chair, has recommended that your registration be transferred from MPhil to PhD. 

=============================

Anak-anak KAFA


Ini la anak2 Masyarakat Melayu Loughborough group 4-5 tahun. On this particular day, 8 attended the KAFA class. Dan, kebetulan, 4 pakai pink, 4 pakai hijau. Ini baru kali kedua mengajar kelas KAFA. Rasanya, deliver lecture atau conference paper lagi mudah daripada mengajar kelas ni. Memang la kurang sangat skills nak mengajar bebudak umur macam ni.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Kampung scene

One common activity at kampung during Ramadhan is making putu kacang. Opah and tok would sell the putu at the local bazaar and also directly to regular customers. Some of the regular customers include relatives in KL. The putu, ni nak promote nih, is brighter/whiter than mass produced putu in the market. Memang cantik dan sedap. Opah still use traditional method to pound the kacang and sugar into fine powder.


To see the pounding process, and a hardworking Pak Teh, click the following link.
http://alquswa.blogspot.com/2008/09/salam-ramadhan.html

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Bahteraku Merdeka


























Ini le dia rumah baru.... memang lapang lagi. Baru lepas sign arrival forms depan wakil tuan rumah.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Tongkang Pecah Di Selat Inggeris



















































Ini la keaadaan bilik di rumah lama semalam sebelum berpindah. Bilik ini dihias dalam gaya "Tongkah Pecah di Selat Inggeris"

Monday, September 22, 2008

Mungkin - personalised



Biarkanlah saja diriku sendirian tanpamu
Biarkanlah saja diriku sepi tanpa kata
Bukan maksud untuk membisu
Sepi tanpa kata
Terpisahnya kita kerana mengejar impian

Mungkinkan bersama
Dua jiwa ini
Dalam mencari cinta sejati(nan suci)
Mungkinkah segala derita di jiwa
Akan terubat jua akhirnya

Biarkanlah saja diriku
Sendirian tanpamu
Terpisahnya kita kerana
Mengejar impian

Hanya satu pintaku
Sabarlah menanti
Ku kan pulang bersama cinta

Impian itu besar
dipupuk sejak lama dulu
yang dicari adalah ilmu
buat membaiki diri
mencari cinta hakiki
moga pulang nanti
membawa cinta yang besar
cukup untuk kita kongsi
dan menghidupkan hari-hari
sebelum mati.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

what's for sale















Look carefully. After you're done shopping clothes, jewellery and shoes, you can buy students. ??? I want to buy two, please.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Anak Libya




















Anak udang, udang juga
tidak sama anak tenggiri
anak orang, orang juga
tidak sama anak sendiri

( pantun tradisi)


Dari darat menuju ke hutan
di teduh sena merehat diri 
bagai sarat mengendong intan
ke tangan mana hendak diberi

Di teduh sena merehat diri
daun jatuh menyentuh semalu
ke tangan mana hendak diberi
tangan yang jauh teringat selalu

Daun jatuh menyentuh semalu
mengikat rotan sampai ke malam
tangan yang jauh teringat selalu
tersimpanlah intan di dalam genggam

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Mini Cooper















This is my second painting project. Got the outline of the drawing from internet. The painting method is very different from the first project. I have to learn to control the wet paint more carefully. The next project will use the same method, with flowers as the subject.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

sabar.... jangan sampai mencarut

Selepas Pak Lah menyatakan 'terkejut' dgn statement Muhyiddin, dan menegaskan pelan peralihan kuasa tidak perlu dipertikaikan lagi, bayangkan betapa terkejutnya bila membaca headlines di bawah ni. To amplify the shock, see the time difference of the two reports - a mere 2:45 minutes difference. Flip flop is getting close to the rhythm of tick tock. Pak Lah yang flip flop, atau suratkhabar yg gigh mencetuskan suasana tak menentu?

Sabar.... sabar... aku ni berpuasa.... jangan terkejut sampai mencarut.

===================

Utusan Malaysia Online

Tempoh peralihan kuasa tetap 2010

17/09/2008 2:28pm

PUTRAJAYA 17 Sept. - Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi mengumumkan beliau dan Timbalannya Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak akan tetap mengikut tempoh peralihan kuasa pada 2010 yang ditetapkan sebelum ini - Bernama

Pelan peralihan mungkin dilaksanakan lebih awal - PM

17/09/2008 5:13pm

PUTRAJAYA 17 Sept. — Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi berkata pelan peralihan kuasa yang telah dipersetuju dengan timbalannya Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak pada 2010 mungkin dapat dilaksanakan lebih awal.

 

 

Reading for leisure















These are three graphic novel that I read during last weekend. Each comes from a different comic genre. Pride of Baghdad is based on a true story that unfold during the US-led invasion of Iraq. Four lions escaped from the zoo, only to be killed by the same force that set them free from the zoo. Perhaps it's an analogy for the Iraqis.... they managed to escape from Saddam, but then fell into the hands of the Americans.

The second graphic novel (It's a bird) took Superman to a very personal level. The main character (perhaps it is semi-autobiographical) clearly had a personal issues projected towards Superman. Just as kryptonite cripple Superman, the character in this story is being crippled by the possibility of inheriting Huntington's disease.

The third comic is a standard fantasy comic with beasts, flying creatures, ancient maps, and the whole malarkey (hehehe... can't resist using this new word that I've learned). Not as engaging as It's A Bird, but it has some dark quirky humour in its allusion to other celebrity characters like Batman, Riddler, Princess Diana, Superman, etc. Or, may be the writer simply ran oout of ideas.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

More flora




























































Even towards the end of summer, there were some flowers coming up. Again, these are from my backyard, except the first pic. That's a white lilly - soon to find a new home, insyAllah

Monday, September 15, 2008

Berbuka beramai-ramai




































































On Saturday, at Kegworth, there was a majlis berbuka puasa beramai-ramai organised by MML. The table spread above was for brothers. There's another spread for sisters. All in all... there were loads of food. No worry about not getting enough food over here. And, alhamdulillah, my nasi minyak taram was fully consumed.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Half a moon
















Give me one half of a moon
to reach halfway
to the other side of the world

Give me the reflected light
from one half of a moon
to finish my song, a song
about an incomplete longing

Through the window of a roof
that made me see half a moon
let me whisper
the total truth
in my heart

Saturday, September 13, 2008

An Unnecessary Scare

When I woke up the other day, I had a feeling that something was not right. It was like a dark cloud hanging over me, just beyond my reach. And while preparing to go to my morning job, it suddenly dawned on me that I have a meeting scheduled for YESTERDAY. OMG! OMG! Did I missed the meeting? Sympathetic nervous system kicked in.

I spent the whole morning fretting over the thought. Was the meeting yesterday or today? Is it even this month? How irresponsible of me! It was a meeting set up by my SV. It is important for my PhD. If I missed it...... I began to create excuses and reasons for missing the meeting. But they sounded pathetic to even myself. I just could not think why I would have missed the meeting. 

So, for about 3 hours or so, I dreaded having to face my SV. The dark cloud had turned into a thunderstorm, trying to swallow me into a vortex of darkness  (aiyoo.... pardon the dramatic exaggeration). But I was really scared. One thing that lightened up my horizon was the thought that I had something else scheduled for October. So, may be I did confuse the dates. At last, I resigned to the fact that I can't undo what had happened. So what? If I had missed it, it's not the end of the world. I can make other arrangements to achieve the meeting's objectives. 

When I ambled to my office desk later at around 10:00, I grabbed my year planner. There, a small note about the meeting was pencilled in: it was TODAY. Sigh. Whew. What a relief. 

Countdown

It will be 10 more days to move to the new house. Can't wait to get out and move in. I can't remember feeling this excited about moving. I've done my fair (or more than fair) share of moving. Five times in Canada, four times in Kota Kinabalu, and three times in KL. In Loughboroug, I've moved around once. This will be my second. And hopefully, the new house is good enough to last till the end of my PhD here. Amin.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Melawan Kesepian - personalised

Apapun yang terjadi
berjalanlah tanpa henti
airmata tertahan
waktu untuk dijatuhkan

Ini jalan yang ayah pilih
inilah jalan yang Allah permudahkan untuk ayah
dan kiranya itu jalan yang perlu Marwan tempuh
...........
telah jatuh
jatuh 
dan jatuh lagi

Nanti kita kan tahu
betapa bijaknya hidup
sepahit apa pun ini
pelajaran yang bererti

Pelajarilah, rasailah kepahitan perpisahan dalam sirah
dan rasai juga kegirangan bertemu semula
kepahitan menguji kesabaran
memaniskan iman

Semoga kepergianku
tak akan merubah apa pun
semoga mampu kulawan
kesepianku

Walau sejauh ini ayah melangkah
segenap rasa yang ada tidak berubah
dan moga Marwan juga tak berubah hati
walau apa yang diperkata
orang berkata, kita yang merasa
diulit benang rindu, sedih, dan sayu
moga tahan, ayah dan Marwan, melawan kesepian
yang luas terbentang

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Ujian Sang Nila Utama

Apa beza perempuan dan betina? Menurut Sang Nila Utama, ada bezanya. Dan dia ada ujian untuk membezakan antara kedua-duanya. Sesiapa yg pernah menonton Musang Berjanggut akan maklum tentang ujian yang dibuat untuk mencari perempuan yang layak diperisteri SNU.

I've used his test in teaching as an example of the use of deception in research. If he was being truthful, he wouldn't get a 'genuine' result. But, the point that I want to make here is not about the ethics of research, but about the wisdom behind the test. 

Basically, SNU carried a sack full of rice, sugar, salt, onions, garlic, spices, etc - all mixed up. When he passed the sack to the fair maiden of the house - of which he stayed for the night - he'd requested that she cook whatever is in the sack. All the women rejected such request. Some simply nodded their head. Some even called him mereng.  And he took note of each rejection with a knowing smile. He knew that such women are mere 'betina'. That is until he met Puspa Wangi. Her wisdom was apparent within the first few hours he was with her.  When she displayed a spread for dinner with the ingredients from his sack, he has met his 'perempuan'.

Please, please don't take me wrong. I do not endorse sexist remarks and thinking. I don't think it is women's job to cook. Women should not be in the kitchen most of the time. That's not my point. My point is the way Puspa Wangi, and men and women in general, reacted to a seemingly absurd request. The story of Nabi Khaidir a.s. and Musa a.s. demonstrate the same point. After being warned to be patient, Prophet Musa a.s. lost it and questioned Prophet Khaidir 3 times. So, it is not just women who can't bear to face a seemingly illogical behaviour.

Back to Puspa Wangi, she was in no subservient position with respect to SNU. She's not his wife. And yet, she made the effort to separate the rice from the spices. Did she know SNU would marry her if she did so? No. She did it, I think, because she thought things just didn't add up. A respectable young man like SNU - though with unkempt beard and all - does not usually carry a mix bag of food. There must be something else. She was curious. Her frontal lobe was fully functioning. I believe, SNU must have like this curiosity that PW displayed. It was a sign that she's thinking. And that makes her a proper lady.

Where am I going with this? Well, i'm getting closer to the point now. The passing month of Ramadhan means Syawal is getting nearer. And Syawal, among Malays, is invariably associated with kuih raya. Would it be treacherous for a husband to request his wife to make some kuih raya? She can either do it begrudgingly, happily, or flatly reject the request as unreasonable. "Afterall, kuih tunjuk kan ada? What's the fuss of making our own kuih? It's not like you don't have money, do you?". In light of the story just told, such responses would put the women in the 'betina' category. Not worth to be SNU's wife. Move on. 

A proper lady, according to SNU, would happily fulfill the request. It may be perplexing at first. But there are opportunities along the road to ask for justification, or rationale later on. If not from the husband, she can try to think on her own. Try to switch on the frontal lobe. Don't assume the worst for the husband.  There can be numerous reasons for the request. Below are some possible ones.

The husband would really like the wife to learn to make cookies. It is a good skill to have. Knowledge and skills upgrade are always a plus. Moreover, if later, say they have to go overseas where kuih tunjuk is not so readily available, then she would not have to worry about not having kuih for raya. Or worry about making an experimental version of biskut mazola, or some such. 

The husband may also want to part a part of his knowledge to her. He might have some skills, confidence and knowledge that he can share with her. Sort of transfer of knowlegde; not among business partner, but among life partner. And it would also mean they can spend time together in the kitchen.

Thirdly, kuih tunjuk is all right. The same way that formula milk is all right. But breast milk is always better, right? I'm not suggesting for the wife to put her breast milk as a kuih raya ingredient. Not at all. If you're thinking so, then you've lost the analogy. What' I'm trying to say is that kuih raya made at home is better. You know what you put in - no preservative, no chemicals. You know the level of cleanliness of the kitchen. And you can make it with 'penuh kasih sayang' (Mazrah and Dino's pet phrase). Admittedly, 'kasih sayang' is a very expensive ingredient. I can't see how the mass producer of cookies can put that much kasih sayang in their product. Now, I can't really tell how much kasih sayang a cookie has. It shouldn't matter to me, right? Can anyone test and declare how many grams kasih sayang is in a jar of cookies? No one really knows. But Allah does. Those kasih sayang translates into hasanah. Into redha. Into jannah, insyaAllah. 

Of course, what I've said so far would apply if the husband has as much wit and wisdom as SNU. If the wife doesn't need more cookie making skills and can resource high quality cookies from a trusted supplier, then there isn't much reason to force her to slave around in the kitchen. Especially if the husband has a chronic tendency to raise is his voice than to raise a finger. A self-respecting woman, and man, should assess themselves and their situation before making a decision. Don't commit the mistakes of numerous betina who turned down SNU, thinking he was beneath them, when in fact they were beneath him. Don't make an idiot of anyone if you're not an Einstein yourself. SNU's is just a small test. Think about the other ways Allah is testing you. Would you qualify as a proper abid, or end up as a pathetic waste of flesh.




Pasang Niat

While managing the posts that I've made, I noticed this one in draft version. I don't know why I've kept it for long. may be because of the last point. So, I've deleted the last (tenth) point.

==============================

Alhamdulillah, salah satu penantianku telah berakhir. InsyaAllah, aku akan bermukim di Loughborough pulak untuk 3 tahun yang akan datang. Antara matlamat yang ingin aku capai masa di sana nanti:
1) Menyiapkan PhD dalam masa 3 tahun i.e. menghantar draf pertama tesis dan sesi viva.
2) Menyediakan sekurang-kurangnya satu cadangan penyelidikan daripada senarai berikut
a. susulan tesis (replication study in Malaysia, same industry)
b. susulan tesis (extension study in Malaysia, same industry – towards HF research cluster)
3) Menyediakan sekurang-kurangnya satu cadangan penyelidikan daripada senarai berikut
a. Kajian bersama dengan penyelidik/alumni Loughborough (new related topic)
b. Kajian bersama dengan penyelidik IPTA (new related topic – towards HF research cluster)
4) Menyediakan sekurang-kurangnya satu cadangan projek perundingan (berkaitan tesis)
5) Mengenalpasti seminar/konferen untuk dihadiri dalam tempoh setahun selepas pulang ke Malaysia
a. Menyediakan sekurang-kurangnya tiga draf kertas kerja seminar
6) Menyediakan sekurang-kurangnya satu draf artikel untuk jurnal (selain yang diperlukan untuk program PhD)
7) Menyiapkan potfolio fotografi digital dengan sekurang-kurangnya tiga tema (psychology , people, nature)
a. Memiliki sebuah DSLR Canon (at least EOS400D) atau Nikon (at least D70) beserta slave flash
8) Mencapai tahap 10% atau kurang lemak dalam badan sambil menambah sekurang-kurangnya 2kg otot
9) Mencapai tahap kecergasan setara umur

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

About A Boy

It is not about me.. coz I am not a boy. But it is about Nick Hornby's novel that I finished reading last night. I had started reading it a long time ago, but the slow pace in the beginning weighed me down. Fortunately, when I decided to pick it up i was in a better mood - having read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallow. The rest of the book went down easily, most likely due to the humour that I found along the way.

This novel in is not the same as Tony Parson's Man and Boy, even though both tell the story of a man and a boy. One stark difference is the tenderness, and the lack of crude language in Nick's story. Okay, he did wrote the F words a few times, but overall, his book is cleaner than Tony's. One big point for Nick.

Nick managed to narrate tragedies - e.g. Marcus' mum attempted suicide - without resorting to sappiness. It is a sad story without the tears. There's just as much emotion as a 36 year old man and 12 year boy can muster. Of course, I'm stereotyping here. But the contrast that is painted can't be much clearer. Whereas Marcus was laidback, content being himself, and not understanding why people laugh at what he said, Ellie (his 15 year old female friend) is temperamental, rude, and prone to anger outbursts. The same can be said for Will (the man) and Fiona, Marcus' mum. In short, he's cool, and she's a nutter.

I can totally identify with Will's desperation in trying to speak logically with Fiona. It seems that she is incapable of speaking clearly. She kept conveying self-contradictory statements/accusations (mmmm..... macam pernah kudengar, tapi di mana ya?). And I, like Will, usually resort to not saying much at all. There's no point. Even Marcus tried to see the logic in his mother's arguement when they try to discuss an issue. The only time that he ever won an arguement was when he used the same weapon that his mother used: ill logic.

One new word that I learn from this book, and like, is MALARKEY. It's a slang for exaggerated foolish talk usually used to deceive. For example, the government, upon increasing petrol price, would say that the increase does not burden the people, the subsidy was too high, the price is still the cheapest in the region, and the other usual malarkey. Note that malarkey may make one sick as if inflicted with malaria, and that it get stale eventually i.e. not malar-segar.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Last of the Series

My early morning outing last Saturday led to a wonderful magical world that consumed the whole day. After looking, and salivating, at fresh sweetcorns at the market, I went to the town library. My intention was to borrow a book on painting. Not only did I get to borrow that book, but I also found Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. 

That book sat at the 'new books' shelf, beckoning me to come and grab it. It was as if someone in the book issues an "Accacio Harris". And came I did. It was a reallynew and fresh copy. Examining the return date slip, I found no evidence that anyone had borrowed it before. With an unqualified smug, I went to the checkout counter to borrow the book.

At home, I started reading HP&TDH immediately. It was almost 800 pages long. I'm determined to finish it before its due date. So, there I was, on my bed, clutching a book, ready to embark on the last and final adventures of HP and friends. It felt as if I was racing through the pages. I reached the 100th page; and I had'nt spend more than an hour since I started. This speed gave me a confidence that I can achieve my target. However, after a while, I decided to take a nap. I had been up since 4:00 am. Sleep overtook me, and I drifted away. 

Upon waking up, I continued reading. Not needing to have lunch, I whiled away the whole day reading it. I stopped at around 7 pm with a couple of hundreds pages to go. During iftar at my friends' house, I did not think much about the book. After iftar, and a long chit chat, plus watching Kong, I returned home after midnight. i had to tear myself away from the book to perform Isya' and tarawih. My stomach was still full, so I wasn't in great need for sahur food. I drank and munched on cookies. By fajar time, I finished reading HP&TDH. This was the second time that I had a marathon session for reading a book. The first one was for Sidney Sheldon't Tell Me Your Dreams. 

About the book..... I did enjoy reading it, even though I've read its synopsis. Knowing the ending did not spoiled the fun. In fact, it made me more informed to enjoy the fun. The book did not disappoint me. 

It even made me think of the curreent situation in Malaysia, a muggle bolehland. The government in Malaysia seems to suffer from the same 'avoidance of the truth syndrome' that strucked the Ministry for Magic. The Minister of Magic repeatedly tried to deny and quell the news about the return of Lord Voldermort. The Ministry refused to subscribe to Albus Dumbledore and Harry's information even though the evidences are overwhelmingly pointing to the truth. In a perverse way, the Ministry even attempted Harry to be a spokeperson and an official liar. The Ministry was more concerned about making up rules to maintain itself in power, as if the power can turn truth into a fantasy. 

In the end, as narrated in TDH, the Ministry fell to Lord Voldermort. The very thing that they deny brought them down. What a pity. Harry and those who believed in him continued the fight even without the Ministry's assitance. There were many who died in the fight, including those who were close to Harry like Fred, Lupin, and Doby. But he also realised that many more became more alive, like Ollivander, Luna, and the refugees of the Ministry's oppression, due to their participation in the fight. They combined their strength to defeat darkness. In the aftermath, Kingsley Schaklebolt, a member of the Order of the Pheonix, was made the temporary Minister of Magic. He fought against darkness, and gained political power as a side-consequences.

I'm worried that the truth-avoidance-syndrome, and truth-bending-policy of the current government will bring them down. What if there are the likes of Lord Voldermort and his Death Eaters planning the downfall of the government? What if Malaysia fall into Darkness? Do we have the likes of the Order of the Pheonix who fight for justice, and not for personal glory? Do we instead have a person fighting for political power, and justice is just a side-consequences? Do we have Severus Snape who worked for both good and evil but lived ultimately for the greater good?

The book is not written as a political satire for Malaysia. There are some similarities, but i don't let myself carried away too much by the parallel. But I do feel very strongly that political spin, half-truths and outright lies can only go so far. Anyone, even a mighty 50+ years political empire can buckle under the weight of cummulative lies. Whose magic will save the day? 


Saturday, September 06, 2008

Student - lecturer interaction

In a discussion with a friend yesterday, the issue of lecturer-student relationship was raised. My friend has the opinion that many students nowwadays do no have respect for their teachers and lecturers. While agreeing with him, I offered my own rough classification of student-lecturer interaction.

1) Some students, usually bright and have a sense of purpose, do respect their lecturers. Some even feel scared when they see their lecturers. They would come up and see their lecturer to solve or explore a concrete problem. For me, it would be most satisfying to help these students work out the problem. More often than not, I end up learning from them and the interaction.

2) Some students, usually average and can't be bothered to have a definite good niyyah for being in the university, are indifferent towards their lecturers. Neither respecting, nor disrespectful intentionally. However,  their indifference can irritate and annoy the lecturers. For example, their face draws a blank even when the lecturers is explaining a point. Their facial expression does not correlate at all with the interestingness of the point. It seems almost pointless to rouse these students' interest. It can be a real test of patience.

3) Then there are students who are deliberately disrespecful towards the lecturers. So far, alhamdulillah, there's not many that I encountered. And I seek Allah's protection from these group of people.   

Friday, September 05, 2008

Malaysian Olympiad

With only 1 silver medal from the Beijing Olympics, Malaysia really need to think hard on improving the medal tally. One of the best chance for London 2012 is giving Michael Phelps a Malaysian passport, and Tan Sri-ship. Fortunately, that's not the only way.

I believe Malaysia can tap into the rich history of the nation to come up with high-calibre athletes capable of wiping out the competitors to a sorry state. On top of my list would be Badang. *sigh* wouldn't it be so cool if we have Badang representing Malaysia in the Olympics. He can participate in events where brute strength is all that is needed to succeed. I'd sign him up for weightlifting, and atheletics events like hammer throw, discus throw, and shot put. He'll be the first athlete to haul gold medals from two different sports.

Now, if we still have Hang Tuah, he can take part in any of the martial art event: taekwando, or judo or both. In aquatics, I'd nominate Luncai. Not only he can dive, he can do it while holding his labu! Sure get bonus points for that.

For rowing, Lebai Malang would be a good candidate. He can row downstream AND upstream even when he is very hungry. Imagine how he'd perform if he is well fed.

Last, but not least, fencing. We actully have many talented people for this event. Nonetheless, this event requires the opponents to face each other. Malaysia would be much better off if fencing allows backstabbing.

Ok, those are the athletes. What about the support system? The bomoh, pawang, dukun, tukang sihir and the lots can call themselves physiotherapists, sports psychologists, or any other medical soundign names to fool the IOC. We can use the expertise of these paranormal performers to enhance our athlete's performance. For example, the bomoh can put oppenents in badminton into a stupor using chu-cha, or any other hexes that would demotivate and have a limping effect. Alternatively, the pawang can use his jinn to help pole vaulters 'fly' clear of the bar. Since we have Badang in the weightlifting event, we don't need the hantu raya to help around. The hantu raya can be helpful in other events like cycling. The hantu raya can imitate the cylist and perform while the cyclist take a rest. If the drug testing agency get suspicious of the result, then they can test the real cyclist who is totally drug-free. The closest that our athletes would get to drugs are sirih, gambir, and pinang. All other food intake are legit.

That's how we can stand tall - by having dreams. Or, we can get rid of corruptions that plagues our sports. But, that seems like a grander dream.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Hollympic events

I've been thinking a lot during the Olympic Games. It's wonderful that Phelps got 8 gold medals. Equally stunning is Bolt's record breaking performances in sprint event. What a pity; someone as talented and powerful as he, only managed to get 3 gold medals.

It's not fair that swimming has so many races. That's how Phelps can scoop up medals. Just imagine if track events has various variations in the races. Then we can see multiple-medal winners from the stadium. On top of the regular 100m sprint, which I call free-style runnning, we should add 100m butterfly (the runners have to flap their hand as if they're butterfly), 100m backstroke (running backwards while vigorously moving their arms about), 100m skipping - with and without rope-, 100m crab-walk, 100m coconut-shoes run, and 100m run in the sack. I think Malaysia can produce champions in one of those event. Furthermore, instead of a purely men or women relay teams, why don't we have mixed team, just like mixed doubles in badminton?

What about soccer? It is treacherous that the whole team compete for only 1 medal. While Phelps was gunning for medals in 8 event, 11 guys in a team tried to gun down only 1 medal. So unfair. So, why don't we have another soccer event? Just as field hockey has ice hockey, field soccer should have one too. This way, soccer would feature in the Winter Olympics, and the soccer team would now have double the medal targets.

And, why do we have only 2 categories for soccer? Most western countries now ban discrimination based on sexuality. So, when are they going to allow transgendered persons in the Olympics? So, on top of having events for man, woman, doubles, and mixed doubles (as in badminton), we can add she-man, and he-woman event. You try to work out the permutation for mixed doubles; I'll start you with man+she-man. Now we're talking about serious medal hunting.

As for shooting events, we have rifle, pistol, and archery. I'd like to suggest one more: sling (lastik). This event would enable countries that can't spend too much on sports to send participants. It would be dirt cheap to take part in this event. That is, before Nike, Adidas and the likes start to produce patented rubber bands. None the less, it would be great for the Palestinians who used the slings a lot. If we have sling duel, like in fencing, just imagine a Palestenian athelete competing against an Israeli opponent. Now, THAT woould be a fairer fight than the one that CNN likes to not report.
NSTOnline 4th September 2008


The government may again review petrol prices in October, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said today.

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Wait a minute. Wasn't it announced before that the government will review petrol prices monthly? How is this new 'announcement' a news then?


Feedback on report

After today's lab meeting, I got feedback from Patrick on my first year report. That was quick! What a great supervisor that I has. He also gave me several suggestions to 'jazz up' my thesis. More work now: read on signal detection theory. 

On a personal matter, fasting has been kind to my body. No serious hiccup other than pulsating veins on my forehead on the first day of fasting. I feel full most of the time so far; probably because I sleep not long after having a meal or a light snack. My first iftar was at my housemate's friend's house. I spent a lot of time eating, because there were so many food. Food arrive at the living room as if from a hotel's kitchen. I say that because I don't see the cook. The wife, I assume, was never seen or heard at all time I was there. Best of all, Muhammad, a four year old boy kept me entertained with his "look! look!" game. And he taught me some arabic words as well. 


Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Bunga bawang

I've never seen an onion flowering before. I've seen garlic's bud, but not yellow oinion's. As it flowers, the stalk become enlarged in the middle, sort of like keladi bunting.




















Later, these tiny yellow things (stigma? stamen?) appear.

















Here's an upclose view, albeit out of focus. If possible, I want to harvest the seeds, and try planting them.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Sunflower















Matahari belum terbit




















Matahari sedang memancarkan sinar















Seekor lebah sedang membantu dalam proses membuat kuaci.
















Banyaknya bunga dalam bunga

Monday, September 01, 2008

Neka muka


Apa ke maknanya posing ghopa ini? Separuh senyum, separuh idok. Idok le enigmatik macam Mona Lisa tu. Mata sepet sebelah. Apa kebaatannya?
Yang sebetuinya, terasa happy bebenor lepeh semayang Zohor tadi. Apa idoknya, lepeh semayang, pegi ke opeh untuk nganto laporan tahun pertama. Ate, seronok bebenor le bila si Helen tu ngambik laporan tu dari tangan. Rasa ringan sikit badan. Dah berhari2 menulis sampe sakit2 badan. Dah hantor laporan ni, rasa lega le sikit. Itu le yg buleh buat tersenyum.
Lepeh ni, kena ngisi borang untuk dihantor ke jawatankuasa etika. Banyak bebenor benda yg nak ditulih dalam borang tu. Naik berpinor mata kalo nengoknya. Aje nak meranjo org gamaknya. Kawan yang satu opeh hari tu, berbulan dia ngisi borang je keghojenya. Harap2, idok le sebegitu lama teman nak ngisinya nanti. Itu le yg buat senyum kelat sikit.
Ingatkan, lepeh nganto laporan ni, boleh le ringan kepala otak... idok berserabot. Ghopa2nya, makin banyak keghoja yang menunggu. Borang etika, persidangan, nokok-tambah laporan untuk ujian lisan, buat Power Point untuk pembentangan, nulih interbiyu...... Ya Rabbana.... makin pepak lerak le meja kat opeh ni. Makin putih le rambut teman.
Apa2 pun, dalam minggu ni teman nak bergunting rambut. Tak dapat ngurangkan serabut dalam otak, kurangkan serabut atas kepala ni pun jadi le.