Friday, February 8, 2008

Falling in Love with this Girl

Who's this? Is she another American Next Door lass, you may ask? A fair question. The answer is... yes! But NOT just another American next door girl. To be honest, I have so much love with this girl (wow, it's amazing to make an open confession of love in a public blog like this. Now gossips would spread... haha). She's young, she's pretty, I agree. But there's more... much more than those. What are they? Perhaps this video would tell:

Now you know why I love her. You even know her name; it's no secret.

Insya Allah, in the future, I will write more about this wonderful girl, her life, her cause, and reflections that we could learn from her.

For now, it is suffice for me to stop here for the love story may be long; the love story well beyond Romeo and Juliet, Sita and Rama. This is a love story of peace and justice; a love story transcending nationality, culture, race, and beliefs...

Sunday, February 3, 2008

No More SN's Masterpieces in KOMSAS?

The video is about A. Samad Said's grievance regarding the absence of of SN's (Sasterawan Negara) masterpieces in the new syllabus of KOMSAS (Komponen Sastera). In this video, he also renounced his Sasterawan Negara title. He now claims to become 'Mantan Sasterawan Negara' and will not accept any invitation for a speech in events except by his own name without the title.

There is a rumor that the SNs and the Literature Prize Winners' writings will be replaced with excerpts from the pop-novels by Ahadiat Akashah, Zaid Akhtar, and Sharifah Abu Salem.

From Utusan Malaysia:

“SAYA [A. Samad Said] kini mantan Sasterawan Negara dan tidak mahu lagi menggunakan gelaran tersebut. Saya juga tidak akan menerima sebarang jemputan ceramah atau program berkaitan Komponen Sastera Dalam Mata Pelajaran Bahasa Melayu (Komsas).

“Mungkin saya lebih selesa bergerak atas nama individu dalam kegiatan-kegiatan sastera dan jika ada jemputan, lebih baik atas nama peribadi,’’ kata Sasterawan Negara, Datuk A. Samad Said.

Beliau menegaskan, tindakan tersebut merupakan aksi demi masa depan generasi sastera dan dunia kreatif di negara ini yang kelihatan semakin terpinggir.

Ia berkaitan dengan desas-desus terbaru bahawa karya-karya Sasterawan Negara dan penerima Anugerah Penulisan SEA (SEA Write Award) tidak akan tersenarai sebagai buku yang dicadangkan untuk teks baru Komsas bagi sekolah menengah yang disemak semula dan dijangka digunakan pada 2010.

Selain itu, semakan tersebut juga tidak menyenaraikan puisi, cerpen, novel dan drama dari pemenang Hadiah Sastera Perdana Malaysia (HSPM), hadiah sastera peringkat negeri dan swasta.

Kementerian Pelajaran telah mengumumkan baru-baru ini untuk menukar teks sastera sekolah dengan novel-novel remaja popular seperti karya Ahadiat Akashah.

Antara alasan yang dikemukakan oleh Pusat Perkembangan Kurikulum (PPK), Kementerian Pelajaran ialah sebahagian teks sedia ada terlalu berat dan tidak sesuai untuk pelajar di peringkat sekolah menengah.

Sebaliknya, karya-karya popular yang banyak beredar di pasaran tempatan hari ini dapat mengurangkan tekanan dan kebosanan yang dihadapi oleh pelajar.

Hingga kini antara pengarang karya popular yang disenaraikan ialah Ahadiat Akashah, Zaid Akhtar (Mohamad Yazid Abdul Majid) dan Sharifah Abu Salem."

If the news regarding the replacement of KOMSAS materials is true, then it will be a sad news for the intellectual development of the young Malaysians. This is so because the secondary school students will lose the opportunities to address and to analyze the economic, social and political issues raised by thinkers such as Pak Samad in their writings. I deem that the awareness of the younger generation regarding economic, social and political issues is important in order for them to be able to realistically reflect the issues of local communities and at the same time, to give them room for their creativities to prescribe the solutions from the questions raised by those thinkers.

If the difficulty of understanding the masterpieces written by those thinkers is the main reason for the abolition of their writings for the KOMSAS syllabus, then we should analyze why. These include identifying whether it is truly the pieces that are difficult that they contain some outlandish philosophical arguments or is it caused by other factors such as technical and pedagogical shortcomings.

I am convinced that the other factors, other than the unconventionality of the ideas presented in the writings, play more role in shying away the pupils from the literature. This is so because the way that the literature is taught is too dry and boring. The pedagogy is too focused on the 'schematic answers' provided by the teacher and that other interpretations are rendered awkward, if not unacceptable.

Furthermore, the syllabus is too focused on the technical aspect of the literature - the diction, the syntax, the plot etc. rather than appreciating the artistic, moral, and social values advanced by the writings. I still remember during my heydays in the secondary school. When it comes to Malay literature, the first thing I knew was I must memorize some verses from the proses that were speculated to be out in the exam so that I would be able to justify my answer that those articles indeed contain 'literary values' such as alliteration, assonance, etc. Little that I went more than by citing more five or six lessons (pengajaran cerita) as noted by Sasbadi reference book.

What about literary critique, authors' reflection of the literature, or at least... some open-ended argument sessions? Almost none... or none!

Why this rote learning? Why do we reduce the value of literature to its technical aspects that we lose grasp of the purpose of why the literature is written in the first place?

So, is replacing those masterpieces with the pop version of literature would make things better? Well, to catch the attention of the early teenagers with metropolitan love stories, of the heroism of mat rempits, and the higher-middle class ideals, maybe they will be more interested in those... But remember that the danger of the impending mental laggardness of the younger generation if those are the values that we expect to ingrain to our children and younger brothers and sisters. We will be the community of pop-cultures instead of high-cultures. We don't want our children to be able to recall every gossips regarding Britney Spears and naming the top fifties in the MTV while not knowing a single fact about the maladies of our society, do we?

Thus, please... don't remove these diamonds from their rightful place. Don't replace them with glasses... Yes, glasses are cheap many would easily buy. But those who really work hard to obtain the diamonds would be truly deserving of their worth and beauty.

Connie Talbot and Her Musical Talent

Now this is a rising star in Britain's musical industry. No, she's not a 20 years old American next door hottie nor a 14 years old Hannah Montana from Disney; she's an adorable, innocent, teethless (her front teeth were missing), 6 years old girl at the time when she competed in the BGT (Britain Got Talent) final.

"The best six years old in the world" as she was proclaimed to be, perhaps this young girl would wreck the current musical industry with her magical musical talent and her childhood innocence.

She sung "Over the Rainbow" for in the final and ended up being the first runner-up.

Over the Rainbow (Arlen-Harburg)
Singer: Connie Talbot

Somewhere over the rainbow
Way up high
There's a land that I heard of
Once in a lullaby

Somewhere over the rainbow
Skies are blue
And the dreams that you dare to dream
Really do come true

Some day I'll wish upon a star
And wake up where the clouds are far behind me
Where troubles melt like lemondrops
Away above the chimney tops
That's where you'll find me

Somewhere over the rainbow
Bluebirds fly
Birds fly over the rainbow
Why then, oh why can't I?

If happy little bluebirds fly
Beyond the rainbow
Why, oh why can't I?


Psst... another Cat Stevens/Yusuf Islam on the rise? ;)

A New Place, A New Hope...

Hello there,

I guess this is a new place for me express my thoughts. I tried to move to WordPress before but I found out that I was 'lost' with all the tools it had. So, I guess this one would be more fitting to me.
Happy reading!

ATU 12 in Memory

If you ask me about what is ATU a.k.a ADFP (American Top Universities @ American Degree Foundation Program) about a year and a half ago, I wouldnt' be able even to give a hint of it. None that I know that it is a preparatory program specially designed for students going overseas (or more specifically, to The United States of America). Nor do I have any idea studying overseas is all about; until one day, everything has changed - I signed myself for ATU (twelfth batch) program and the story unveils...
Being an alien in a foreign land (well, Peninsular Malaysia was quite alien to me by then), I stepped my foot to INTEC Section 17, UiTM Shah Alam. OMG, where the hell in the world is that place? All I knew was everything new. There, I saw people like me hustling and bustling around busy completing their chores of registration and getting familiar of the condition itself. That time, I still remember that I left a very important document back home in Kuching! My father was mad at me then! Huhuhu...
Then I stepped in Cemara Block 1 room 511 of where I lived for the first semester. Cold and dingy the room was. When I first stepped in, I was downtrodden by the 'aura' of the room itself, how dirty! Cobwebs everywhere on the ceiling, 3-inches age-accumulated coal black dusts on the malfunctioning ceiling fan with a dead bee on it, not to mention the sticky and slimy sensation of the foot as I walked in the room! *sigh*
Soon I met my first roomate, Kai Yuen, ahaks! He looked as innocent and heartbroken as me as he entered the room. That time, he was with his parents and sister, Kai Li (of which I thought to be his younger secondary school sister, which is false). Then we greeted each other and made a pact to spring clean the room. Hehe, thanks for Kai Yuen's mom and Kai Li, they were really good cleaners!
Then came Yazid, or Hotai Melaka, and Usamah. My heart was then further levitated when I knew that they are from Qisas, ahaks! (A place for reference in religious issues!) And after the mild greetings and further spring cleaning, the life of the first semester begins...

During the first semester...

I was in ATU 12A California, where I really learned a lot not of our similarities in getting A's, rather our differences and unique personalities. There, I met people with differing, and even opposite, view of life than I. Below are some of them:

Joe the philosopher: Huhuhu, I always pondered (and wondered) what is inside his mind. He writes unconventional English with outlandish ideas. Yet his ideas are intruiging to my mind! A SAT genius... I really admire him for that.
Chear the computer expert: This is the other kind of a talented person. I am grateful to be able to meet this genius in computer. His genius is well reflected in OC presentation class when he presented a virtual robot to the class that made us and Datin Minda agape!
Fizah and Fareza: Huhu... I often confused the person and the name. They has opened my eyes to the world of feminine. Well, I never quite understand why girls love pink until I met these two lovely and lady-like girls.
Khirul the Class Rep: The one who sits next to me in the class. An outspoken and well-groomed person he is. He helped me a lot in SAT maths (thanks Khirul!). We often played poke and choke when we are sleepy (right, Khirul? hehehehe...).
And others... lecturers and Californians... all are very intelligent people.

To be continued...

The Blessings of Leisure Time

Tonight, I have just done with my final paper for this long, tedious, busy semester. Well, it is indeed a hard time for me... working and taking overload hours at the same time and somehow I feel that the burden is overbearing for my shoulders of responsibility. Alhamdulillah, it is done now and how relieved I am to treasure this moment of leisure. And yes, at this moment, I would like to talk about the bliss of leisure, in commemoration of my "liberation" from the arduous semester that basically drains my physical energy and mental vigor.

When talking about leisure, one may not miss to talk about free-time. And yea, I believe the theory of scarcity stands true here, when we talk about the value of free time: it is much more valuable to you when it is scarce. Have we ever pondered about boredom? Well, boredom can mean two things... either one has too much free-time until he/she does no longer treasure the leisure time he/she has, or has too few free-time until he feels tired of everything he/she is working on with.

The symptom for the former is because either one is too lazy, to complacent in his dwelling in time, because of it is too plentiful. Like a tap water, we often ignore valuable time passes over with little regards of its value because it is 'cheap' and 'easy to get'.
If we look at the diametrical opposite, the all-time busy schedule, we get the same result, I think. That result is laggardness, too, as the outcome from the exhaustion from the relentless work.

This is easy to tell for students who had been studying nights and days, especially for the "cramming ritual" that they usually have near the end of the semester - they have these sort of rebellious feeling against the tenacity of work as compared to the opposites of 'having fun'.
But, is 'having fun' really have to do with 'leisure time?'. For me right now, yes! Because the leisure time itself is like a relieving release from the chains of chores and business. The feeling is that as if I am free to decide what I want to do with my own time instead of what my schedule dictates me to do with the time I have. Hmm... sounds rebellious to the order of schedule? Sure, especially when the schedule is 'cruel', too demanding, like a tyrant, coveting his servants' properties like his own.

But will this notion of freedom last? Of course not because it is the tendency of human being to forget things that are plentiful to him/her (for this, just observe the food on the table, and compare how we disgust the food and waste them, seldom to pause a second to think about the less-fortunate in Palestine or Africa). That is where I think that the best means to maintain 'fun' of having the leisure time itself is to make a 'just schedule'. Like a just ruler, it will give some sort of meaningfulness and direction to the life of its follower and so the well-balanced schedule. I think, if I were to list what do I learn most this semester, that is to teach myself to treasure the value of making a fair schedule for myself - not pushing myself to the brink of madness.

So, let's recap. The equation of blessings in leisure time is simple. Keep some of the leisure time for yourself, do whatever you like with it. Make sure that its not too much until you feel that that the things that you are supposed to like turns out to be a chore already, and not too few that you crave for the next 'leisure time' like a thirsty man in a blazing desert. Just like making a tea, good to have it sweet, but not too sweet, neither too bland. ;)


Puji-Pujian (Raihan) Guitar Chord


Chord yang diguna pakai di dalam nasyid ini ialah: A,D,E,G
Sementara memetik gitar, saya telah mencuba-cuba untuk menghasilkan guitar chord untuk lagu nasyid Puji-pujian oleh Raihan. Ini adalah hasilnya:


Ash hadu an la ilaha illallah


Wa ash hadu anna Muhammadar rasulullah


Ash hadu an la ilaha illallah


Wa ash hadu anna Muhammadar rasulullah


Tiada Tuhan selain Allah


Nabi Muhammad pesuruh Allah


Alhamdulillah pujian bagi Allah


Subhanallah Maha Suci Allah


Allahu akbar Allah Maha Besar


Segala puji hanya bagi Allah


Bila dipuji kejayaan kita


Sebenarnya bukan milik kita


Oleh itu sedarlah sentiasa


Semuanya dari Allah


Ash hadu an la ilaha illallah


Wa ash hadu anna Muhammadar rasulullah


Ash hadu an la ilaha illallah


Wa ash hadu anna Muhammadar rasulullah


Tiada Tuhan selain Allah


Nabi Muhammad pesuruh Allah


Hati gembira terasa bahagia


Itulah tanda nikmat dariNya


Ingatlah Allah syukur padaNya


Ucapkanlah Alhamdulillah


Alhamdulillah pujian bagi Allah


Subhanallah Maha Suci Allah


Allahu akbar Allah Maha Besar


Segala puji hanya bagi Allah


Lihatlah alam terbentang luas


Langit cerah memayungi bumi


Hati terasa kebesaranNya


Ucapkanlah Allahu akbar!


Ash hadu an la ilaha illallah


Wa ash hadu anna Muhammadar rasulullah


Ash hadu an la ilaha illallah


Wa ash hadu anna Muhammadar rasulullah


Tiada Tuhan selain Allah


Nabi Muhammad pesuruh Allah


Alhamdulillah pujian bagi Allah


Subhanallah Maha Suci Allah


Allahu akbar Allah Maha Besar


Segala puji hanya bagi Allah


Ketika hati sedih dan pilu


Kerana ujian melanda


Ingatlah Ia sementara


Ucapkanlah innalillah


Ash hadu an la ilaha illallah


Wa ash hadu anna Muhammadar rasulullah


Ash hadu an la ilaha illallah


Wa ash hadu anna Muhammadar rasulullah


Tiada Tuhan selain Allah


Nabi Muhammad pesuruh Allah


Alhamdulillah pujian bagi Allah


Subhanallah Maha Suci Allah


Allahu akbar Allah Maha Besar


Segala puji hanya bagi Allah...

Harap boleh komen dan memperbetulkan kesilapan jika ada, terima kasih.

Selamat bernasyid! =)


Hakcipta nasyid ini adalah terpelihara penerbit asal. Artikel ini adalah pandangan dan interpretasi penulis sendiri terhadap nasyid ini dan tidak semestinya bersamaan dengan penerbit asal.

Chord untuk Puji-Pujian ini juga boleh diguna pakai untuk Puji-pujian 2 (Raihan); anda cuma perlu menukar liriknya.

Keluarga Bahagia (Saujana) Guitar Chord


Alhamdulillah akhirnya saya telah berjaya meng'compose' guitar chord untuk lagu nasyid yang saya anggar tidak asing untuk semua yakni Keluarga Bahagia yang dinyanyikan oleh kumpulan Saujana.

Chord yang diguna pakai di dalam nasyid ini: G,C,Am, D, D7, B, E

Berikut adalah chord guitarnya:

-----G-------------------- C---------------- Am ------------D

Sedamai taman Firdausi limpahan kasih sayang sejati

------ G---------------------- C-------------- Am------------ D

Seharum semerbak kasturi mengharumi hidup insani

------- G ----------D7-------- Am-------------- D

Indahnya damainya keluarga yang bahagia

---G ------D7------- Am---------- D

Itulah idaman impian setiap insan


Yang dahagakan belaian serta kasih dan sayang

----- G---------- C----------- Am------------------- D

Ketika insan lain berbahagia bersama keluarga

-----------G--------------- C----------- Am---------- D

Namun kita masih meniti titian rapuh perhubungan

-------- G---- D7---- Am---------------------- D

Mengapa kita terpisah daripada rahmatNya?

-----------G----- D7------- Am-------------- D

Mungkinkah kita seringkali melupakanNya?

------ G ---------------C --------D ----------------G

Ayuhlah bina semula keluarga diredhai Allah

-----G---------B-----------E------- Am--------- C-------- Am-----D7---------D

Oh ayah oh ibu dengarlah rintihan dan luahan hatiku kian dahaga kasih

------G----------------- B----------- E--------- Am

Jiwaku terasa tersiksa ketandusan kasihmu

------C--------- Am-------D

Marilah kita bina bersama-sama


Keluarga bahagia

Silalah komen dan perbetulkan jika ada kekurangan dan kesilapan, terima kasih.

Selamat bernasyid! =)


Hakcipta nasyid ini adalah terpelihara penerbit asal. Artikel ini adalah pandangan dan interpretasi penulis sendiri terhadap nasyid ini dan tidak semestinya bersamaan dengan penerbit asal.

Respons kepada artikel 'Kemiskinan Daya Imaginasi'

Berikut adalah respons saya kepada artikel 'Kemiskinan Daya Imaginasi'. Anda boleh mengakses artikel asal pada pautan yang berikut:


Pada hemat saya, inilah punca kepincangan masyarakat hari ini dari sudut menilai nilai ilmu itu sendiri dengan hanya memberi ‘face value’ kepada ilmu itu sendiri seperti kata Prof. saudara, “para ibu bapa pastinya tidak bersetuju jika mereka membelanja puluhan [ribu] dollar untuk pendidikan universiti anak mereka semata-mata untuk menjadi seorang ahli sejarah, ataupun antropologi. Hanya bidang profesional dan sains tabie menjanjikan pulangan setimpal dengan pelaburan wang sebegitu besar.”

Kini, bidang ilmu seolah-olah dinilai dari sudut sejauh mana ilmu itu boleh menyumbang penimba dan pengamalnya kepada alam kebendaan; seolah-olah ilmu itu serupa seperti ‘normal goods’ di pasaran yang bertindak-balas terhadap fungsi penawaran dan permintaan semata-mata; makin besar ‘peluang pekerjaan’ yang dijanjikan oleh bidang-bidang yang berkenaan ilmu itu, maka semakin sibuklah insan mengejarnya.

Apa yang menjadi ukuran? Bukan penguasaan terhadap tunjang kepada ilmu tersebut, tetapi sejauh mana kita mampu ‘menghafal’ dan ‘menuruti’ apa yang sudah termaktub di dalam buku-buku teks. Tidakkah kita bertanya, adakah semua ‘teori’ dan ‘fakta’ yang dilontarkan kepada kita itu betul? Siapakah yang melontarkan fakta-fakta itu, apakah sebabnya? Atau penjelasan alternatif atau kelemahan-kelemahan yang membatasi kesahan (validity) hujah yang dikemukakan? Rentetan daripada itu, ilmu itu akhirnya hilang nilai intrinsiknya - yakni hilang daya untuk membolehkan ia diperkembang dan secara tidak langsung menyekat manusia daripada menghayati nilai-nilai manusiawi yang menyirati ilmu-ilmu tersebut.

Saya tidak bersetuju jika dikatakan di Eropah itu tiada golongan fundamentalis - Zaman Gelap (The Dark Age) penuh dengan golongan-golongan seumpama ini baik dari sudut ketaksuban mereka terhadap pemerintah mahupun institusi agama. Jika kita bercakap di dalam konteks sejarah kontemporari, boleh sahaja kita ambil bahana terbesar ideologi fasisme Hitler sebagai contoh fundamentalis terburuk pada abad lepas.

Bagi saya, golongan fundamentalis ini boleh wujud di mana-mana sama ada ianya berhaluan kiri atau kanan, ultra-konservatif atau liberal, ortodoks mahupun sekular - bergantung kepada norma sesebuah masyarakat itu sendiri.

Pun begitu, apabila kita bercakap tentang pencambahan ilmu, tidaklah patut kita bercakap tentang kategori atau sibuk mengkategorikan lontaran hujah berdasarkan ‘continuum’ kanan atau kiri semata-mata. Apa yang lebih penting adalah kesahan (validity) hujah itu - baik dari segi praktis dan teorinya, boleh dipergunakan sesuai dengan kehendak semasa berdasarkan batas-batas yang ada.

Saya setuju, perdebatan-perdebatan kemasyarakatan dan kemanusiaan kontemporari memang perlu, dengan syarat ahli-ahli debat serta para pendengarnya perlu bersiap siaga dengan i. keupayaan mencerakinkan ilmu (baik dari sudut penguasaan bahasa, induksi logik, dsb.) ii. pengetahuan tentang isu semasa (isu debat), dan iii. keterbukaan minda. Jika tidak, debat itu mungkin sia-sia atau mendatangkan lebih banyak kekeliruan daripada melahirkan idea-idea baru yang bernas.

Oleh itu, cadangan saya ialah setiap unit individu perlu melengkapkan diri dengan rekuisit-rekuisit tersebut terlebih dahulu sebelum bertarung di arena debat. Dan jika debat itu diwujudkan pula, janganlah topiknya bertemakan klise-klise lama dan hujahannya tak ubah daripada menitip idea-idea orang lain semata-mata; hendaklah ada keaslian idea itu sendiri yang lahir daripada penaakulan dan imaginasi yang mendalam.

Mungkin kita (dunia Islam) pada hari ketinggalan sebab kita adalah golongan pengguna (hatta dari sudut idea pun kita mengguna), bukan pengeluar. Persoalannya, mahukah kita membuka minda kepada penjelasan-penjelasan alternatif tentang kemajuan (menurut perspektif Barat?) atau suara-suara selain daripada aliran perdana daripada golongan kita sendiri tentang bagaimanakah caranya kita hendak maju tanpa mengetepikan agama?

Sekadar pandangan.



(respons ini telah diubahsuai bagi memperbetulkan kesilapan tatabahasa, konteks dan ejaan)

A Credit to Siti Nurhaliza, Ella, Ezlynn, Misha Omar, and Waheeda - A Premonition of Hijrah?(!)


I would like to express my heartfelt congratulations to Siti Nurhaliza, Ella, Ezlynn, Misha Omar, and Waheeda for the wonderful nasheed performance performed by them entitled "Mohon PadaNya Sujud PadaNya (Ask from Him, Prostrate to Him)".

To those who may not know Ella, Siti, Misha, Ezlynn, and Waheeda, they are among the most prominent Malaysian female artistes, respectable in their own caliber (Ella in Rock, Siti, Misha and Ezlynn in Contemporary Ballads, Pop and Irama Malaysia, and Waheeda in Nasheed).

This is indeed a positive progress towards them representing a character, or at least, part of the character of a Muslim lady - an exhibit of modesty of wearing the hijab. What more, the message carried in the nasheed is indeed noteworthy for us to listen and learn.

Is this the premonition of Hijrah; the rebirth and resurgence of the higher conscience to come? Or is this a one time-off nasyid performance discreet from the norms? I sincerely hope that it would be the former. I'd love to see those female celebrities carry the good name of Islam with them, knowing the fact that they are the Muslim themselves, through positive songs like such and of course, their beautiful yet modest apparels - especially the hijab. For certain, if this is to be kept consistent, it would truly lead to a positive social change to their fans, especially the younger ones.

No, I don't ask them to abandon their career and God-given talent; by all means, do continue o Ella, Siti, Ezlynn, Misha, and Waheeda in your world of Rock music, Contemporary Ballads, Pop, Irama Malaysia and Nasheed, for we'd love to listen to your beautiful songs! It's just that I sincerely believe that the beauty of those songs could be extensively compounded if included in them meaningful advices and modest appearances as reflected in this very nasheed you all sang.

For the rest of us, let us support this revitalization of conscience! Let us awake from the nightmare of forgetfulness that had lead us astray from getting closer to our Creator.

To watch the video, cut and paste the link below to your browser:

I admire her


No, I'm not writing about a love story here. Rather, I want to share an interview that I've found in YouTube.

For what you about to watch is an interview with the best SPM 2006 student (no, I won't be mistaken this time).

In the interview, she mentioned her success formulas in the SPM as well as her future ambitions and expectations as a student and a scholar.

This is, as the way I see her, a true success story. Not only in the academic that she scored the straight A's; she is well versed in the Qur'an (up to the date of the interview, she memorized 13 juzuks!) as well as her pious character and commendable behavior - very soft spoken and humble.

Thus, it is my wish to call into attention of the readers out there to watch the interview with this amazing and beautiful character - meet Siti Fatimah!

I highly recommend this to my siblings who are currently in secondary and primary schools, junior TUNAZIANS, and current and future SPM candidates.

Others who are interested to learn the Fatimah's general success formula as a student, what more - as a Muslimah, are also welcomed to watch the video.

To watch the video, copy and paste the link below:

To Siti Fatimah, May Allah's blessings shower you always. I pray for your success in this life and the hereafter. May one day you will be the spearhead who contribute to this Ummah, our Nation, and the whole humanity, amin...

Jika Aku Jatuh Cinta

My heart wishes to speak. So, I let it speak...

Ya Allah jika aku jatuh cinta, cintakanlah aku pada seseorang yang melabuhkan cintanya padaMu, agar bertambah kekuatanku untuk menyintaiMu..

Ya Muhaimin jika aku jatuh hati, izinkanlah aku menyentuh hati seseorang yang hatinya tertaut padaMu agar tidak terjatuh aku dalam jurang cinta nafsu…

Ya Rabbana jika aku jatuh hati, jagalah hatiku padanya agar tidak berpaling daripada hatiMu..

Ya Rabbul Izzati jika aku rindu, rindukanlah aku pada seseorang yang merindui syahid di jalanMu…

Ya Allah jika aku menikmati cinta kekasihMu, janganlah kenikmatan itu melebihi kenikmatan indahnya bermunajat di sepertiga malam terakhirMu..

Ya Allah jika aku jatuh hati pada kekasihMu, jangan biarkan aku tertatih dan terjatuh dlm perjalanan panjang menyeru manusia kepadaMu…

Ya Allah jika Kau halalkan aku merindui kekasihMu, jangan biarkan aku melampaui batas sehingga melupakan aku pada cinta hakiki dan rindu abadi hanya kepadaMu



From 17 1A's to 19 1A's for SPM; A Call to My Junior TUNAZians

And yet another history has been unfolded in the history of education in Malaysia where Amirah Nadiah of Johor had scored 19 1A's in SPM 2006.

The young lady has taken a daring effort; she quitted herself from an SMS (Sekolah Menengah Sains) and moved to a normal secondary school to achieve her goal: to take the extra eight subjects in the SPM.

Not only that, she is active in extracurricular activities especially in public speaking (she joined the Red Crescent as well). She won the 'Pertandingan Pidato Piala Diraja Peringkat Negeri Johor' for two consecutive years since 2005.

Indeed, this young lady is an icon for today's excellence in Malaysia's secondary education.

Now, reflections must come to mind. What about the Tunazians? Can we breed students of such extraordinary achivements? This is a call to my fellow juniors who call themselves Tunazians who is now studying in our beloved school, SMKA Tun Ahmad Zaidi Kuching, regardless of whatever Forms you are in. Interested about the reflections? Read on...

It is undeniable that our school has produced the best students for our state, Sarawak. In the recent years, there has been a sudden boom of the teens A's SPM scorer in our school. To name the few, Siti Kamilah (13 1A's SPM 2005)and Dzul I'zzat (13 1A's SPM 2004) are surely familiar to us. Izzat was my fellow playmate and classmate and Kamilah was just a year younger than I and my fellow member of the Students' Representative Council (MPP) during my time. When I pondered back to history, this excellent result seemed unlikely, but in truth, our school has managed to produce the very cream. Now, as a student currently studying in SMKA Tun Ahmad Zaidi, ask yourself - can I be like them? If so, how? ... in light of the current event with astronomical 19 1A's national record.

First, I would like to bring your attention to the background of these so-called excellent students. Based on my experience of mixing and playing around with them, they are much like you and I - they played hard and they laughed hard. We went to school 5/6 days a week - some lived in the hostel while others commute daily from their houses. The majority of our parents are in the middle or upper middle class. We ate nasi ayam and french fries at the school canteen (masih ada jual ka?) and much so doing things like you did in TUNAZ. My point is - there is nothing much difference in terms of your background and their background. But, what makes the difference between the average students and the excellent students when their background is almost the same?

I believe the answer is the attitude, the will, the strategy and the action. Let's talk about the attitude, first.

The attitude towards success for these high achievers is that they are optimistic in achieving their goals. That's why in our school pledge, one of the creed being 'optimis dalam mencapai kejayaan masa depan', is what I saw in them. Not that they always say that it is plain sailing all along the way from Bahasa Melayu to Additional Mathematics, but there is always a certain degree of hope that they instill in their heart and actions that reflect they can get the A's in those subjects. I still remember, when I asked I'zzat, "how was the exam?" - and he giggled. From the giggles I knew that he indirectly replied to me, it was good!

The second is the will. As I said before, to it is NOT easy to get the straight A's result. No, this is not pessimism, this is reality. That is where the will comes into play. I WANT IT THEREFORE I WILL WORK HARD FOR IT! That is the key phrase for it. Do you think that these students always get a 90 and a 100 in each and every time for their exams? Do you think that they always smile and be happy while they were in TUNAZ? No, not quite. They in fact did fumble like you and I. Sometimes their mark got 'crashed' and they whine about tedious and loads of homework also. Not only that, the had other commitments, a number of them. I'zzat was often busy with his poems and poetry because he was the representative for the school at the time while Kamilah was a dedicated School Prefect. Believe me, those activities were not the only activities they were engaged in - they were many, many more! So how did they manage it? It is the will! I WANT to be a champion in the poetry competition THEREFORE I WORK HARD FOR IT. I WANT to score 1A for History THEREFORE I WORK HARD FOR IT. Does the strong opposition from rival school lessen my effort to be a champion? No! Does getting only a 50% in History in the Mid-Term means doom to my SPM? No! Make sense?

Third, the strategy. I am always intrigued with the quote "a bad plan is better than having no plan at all". Yes, this all spells out the strategy. With will and attitude alone, it is not enough to reach the intended goals. So, how do I set the strategy? Well, first, plan! Make a plan... I plan to be a doctor... therefore I must be taking Biology and be excellent in it. And in order to get an excellent result in Biology, I am to make study group with Alia, Bashir and Ahmad who can help me with the subject. Second, capitalize your advantage. I'm good in arts. Why not I DRAW my notes instead of writing them all with words? It makes revision much more interesting, right? So, discover your strength and use it! Third, neutralizing/minimizing the effect of your weaknesses. Well, we are not always gifted in every field. Sometimes, they are certain things that are just not cut for us. For example, some people are consistently putting Math as their least favorite subject (one of them is me!). But that is not the excuse of not working on it at all. So how do we overcome it? I found two ways - utilize the strength to cover the weakness or work out something from the weakness to minimize the weakness. Confusing? I'll explain in a minute. To utilize strength, say you have strength in memorizing, and you have weakness in calculating, u can memorize the Math formulas and some of the math solutions and then recall back what you have memorized and apply it back to the exams. There is a drawback for this, though. Not all types of strength is suitable to cover all types of weaknesses; I just can't relate the ability to draw and how it helps in calculating. But now comes the second part; work on your weakness - do it, the hard way (Hey, life is not always easy, remember!). Do lots of Math excercises. Spend more time for it. Buy reference books -those are some examples of "sacrifices" needed to work on your Math. Hard? Well, wanna get 1A?

Last but not least, the actions! Don't just have the attitude, the will, the strategy and sit there like ducks! The actions are simple; do whatever you have planned! And don't forget to pray and ask from Allah. And after that, tawakkal. If you have done all the right effort, Insya Allah, I am very confident that you will get what you want. And if you feel that even that you have worked hard and you still do not get what you want, do make reflections - perhaps there are things that require corrections. And in the very ultimate end - be thankful of what Allah has given to us. Redha... Don't wail on it.

So, now, don't you think Nadiah, I'zzat and Kamilah share these characteristics that I've mentioned? If so, you may certainly join their ranks if you possess these similar characteristics, right? Why wait? If you WANT IT, NOW IS THE TIME, GO FOR AND WORK HARD FOR IT! (And stay away from distractors: i. excessive doses of TV's, Movies, Musics etc. ii. unhelpful & bad friends iii. mind poisons (i.e. drugs, cigarettes, gossip media etc.) iv. heart poisons (i.e. hating, slandering etc.) and Insya Allah you're on your way to the shooting stars!)

If you have been reading thus far, congratulations! I pray may Allah grants success to us in our future endeavors!

Don't just be Tunazians, be successful Tunazians!

Written by,

Mohd Shazani bin Masri,
Tunazian Batch SPM 2004,
Freshman in Economics,
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign,

This article can also be found at:

Hijab to the eyes of a Christian-American man


If you could spare just 10 minutes of your time, please do watch the You Tube video that I'm putting the link here:

Answering to an atheist video in the You Tube about Hijab


When I was busy raking through the videos in YouTube to watch (well, it’s Friday night), I suddenly stumbled upon two very contrasting videos regarding hijab, the head cover that Muslim women wear. First, I encountered the video promoting hijab, posted by a Muslim lady, and second, the video questioning the wearing of hijab, posted by an atheist lady. The atheist lady by the name of Naomi poses some intriguing questions and claims about hijab that made me so moved to reply back of what she had said.

So, I am writing this post in response to Naomi’s video in the YouTube regarding hijab wearing by the Muslim women.

Her video, about 8 minutes 43 seconds long, can be directly reached with the link below:

I highly encourage the readers to watch it.

Here is the short summary of her statements in her brief video clip:

1. There is nowhere mentioned in the Quran that women were to cover their body.

2. The Quran does not specifically mention which part of the body should the women cover.

3. Wearing hijab is about culture and indoctrination.

4. Responsibility is placed on women for the men to be pure.

5. The whole premise of wearing hijab is that because of the assumption of men are “like animals who can’t control that dirty nasty thought”.

6. Wearing the hijab denies the right to choose whatever a woman wants to do with her body.

7. Wearing the hijab attracts unwanted attention.

8. Notion of “I have to cover myself up”.

9. The entire system (Islamic system of belief?) is telling the Muslim men that they are not capable of thinking for themselves (because it needs women to wear hijab to keep the men’s heart pure).

10. Rape happens to everybody: men, women, boys, girls and the elderly – not the exclusive for women; rape is about power and control.

11. Only men can stop rape.

12. Are the Muslim men not offended because they are being implied as “animals who can’t control that dirty nasty thought”?

She also mentioned that she sees according to mainstream American culture. She also said that her uncle and brothers don’t jump to women simply because they are not wearing hijab. She also told men not to stare at women at the street – it’s rude!

Her final message to men was know that they are not animal; they can think for themselves.

As a Muslim and a thinking man, my replies to her questions and statements are as below.

  1. There is a verse in the Quran mentioning that women should cover there body. The translation of the verse is:

"0 Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their outer garments above themselves ( when they go out). That is better so that they may be recognized and not molested. And Allah is Forgiving, Merciful." (33:59)

  1. The Quran also tells which part of the body that should be covered:

" And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and guard their private parts from sin and not show of their adornment except only that which is apparent, and draw their headcovers over their necks and bosoms and not reveal their adornment except to And that they should not I strike their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments. And 0 you Believers! Turn you all together towards Allah in repentence that you may be successful." (24:31)

  1. Hijab is not about culture and indoctrination; it is about faith and an act of purity. That is why in every Muslim societies, be it the Irish Muslim society in the West, the Chinese Muslim society in China, the Arab Muslim society in the Middle East, or the Malay Muslim society in Southeast Asia, the Muslim women share a same charactericstics – they wear hijab. No, they don’t wear hijab because they are an Irish, a Chinese, an Arab, or a Malay; they wear hijab because they are Muslims! Yes, the styles and fashions of wearing the hijab differ; a Malay women may wear long loose ‘tudung’ with baju kurung (a traditional Malay costume for ladies) while an Afghan lady may wear the hijab with burqa – it is all right as long as it fulfills the requirements of the proper ways of wearing the hijab. No, it is not indoctrination either. In the Holy Qur’an, men and women are constantly being invited to think about the Signs of God in every aspect of life. This includes the wearing of hijab. So, implying that every Muslim women who wear hijab today as being mindlessly indoctrinated is erroneous. (You don’t think that millions Muslim women are stupid because they are wearing the hijab even in equatiorial countries such as




    just because the weather is hot there, do you?)
  2. In Islam, the responsibility is placed for both men and women to be pure. For women, wearing the hijab is part of the act of purity. By wearing the hijab, a woman can purify her soul from jealousy or the notion of being physically attractive against other women in order to reflect her self confidence or to attract men. Hijab also is the outer reflection of obedience of God’s order and a sign of faith and taqwa. For men, their responsibility is not only limited to not gazing on the women’s body. They are required to respect the women, whether they are wearing hijab or not. They are also required to protect their desire so that it does not become wild that it would harm others. That is why fasting is encouraged in Islam. Even men are required to cover parts of their body from the eyes of foreign women. Why? For the very same reason: so that the women’s desires do not become wild as it much as the men could.
  3. No, I cannot agree on that. The whole premise of wearing the hijab is because of faith and a prove of submission to God. True, men’s desire and thought can even go wild sometimes (and so are women). But the problem is that the wild thoughts and desires do not come on their own without a stimulus. (Proof: Who do you think, for most normal person, would most probably be sexually excited – the one who is watching a pornographic movie, or the one who is watching a soccer game). Because I’m a man, I know, what plays in the man’s mind. We are tempted with the ‘free shows’. Some goes further by sexually molesting others and in extreme cases, raping. So who is to blame? The men? Of course! But isn’t the women share their part because of stimulating the situation? [I am aware of some may argue on the women of self-expression part. It will be explained later on as I answered the succeeding questions].
  4. No, wearing hijab does not limit a woman of what she wants to do with her body. She still can wear jewelries, work, play, just as any men could do (and even men are prohibited to wear jewelries, for some reasons). On the contrary, instead of limiting, wearing the hijab is liberating. Women can now give full concentration of what she is doing instead of what people may think of what her physical appearance looks like.
  5. In the Muslim majority populated countries, wearing the hijab does not attract unwanted attention, but wearing scantily clad clothes does. So, where is the notion of attracting unwanted attention comes from? Thanks to the heavily manipulated media that is doing a very good job of bombarding the people’s mind, depicting veiled women as ‘oppressed’ and naked women as ‘liberated’. In fact, many Muslims who live in non-Muslim countries do not complain about getting unwanted attractions. So, now you know who should be ‘thanked’ for this? ;)
  6. Not I have to, but I need to cover myself up – that is the notion of why Muslim women wear the hijab for the reasons they themselves understand. Even Muslim women who do not (yet) wear the hijab understand the necessity of wearing it – they do not falsify the imperativeness of wearing the hijab. So, if Muslim women do not complain about wearing the hijab, why should others do in their behalf?
  7. The entire system, the deen of Islam, endlessly advocates thinking. In the case of hijab, it does not only limits itself to only rape, crime, or men-women relationship issues. It extends far more beyond that: that is why the system of muamalah, munakahat, syariah exist in Islam. Does secularism offers this? And oh, because the presumption that “men are animals who cannot control their desire” do not exist in the first place regarding to the wearing of hijab, so I think, the notion is irrelevant.
  8. Yes, rape happens to everybody. But, according to statistics 98 percent of the victims are women. That’s why every woman is given a whistle to blow in case somebody is trying to harm them in my university (




    at Urbana-Champaign – an American university). There is even a law enacted exclusively to protect them if such cases do happen (and oh, the whistles are not given to us, men).
  9. So, does that imply that without men, rapes don’t happen? There are women rapists, don’t they? Men and women should stop rape together!
  10. Of course I’m not because I don’t even believe I’m an animal with such inferior qualities that you mentioned. Moreover, that is not even the assumed premise of women wearing the hijab. And oh, I’m a thinking Muslim man, that’s why I think hard to answer your questions! :)

And for my fellow Muslim sisters out there, know that you are very much treasured by your Muslim brothers because you are wearing the hijab. It soothes our eyes and our calms our heart just by simply looking at you sisters in your hijab, Masha Allah!

Here, there is a song for you sisters, sung by Dawud Wharnsby Ali, regarding the Hijab, entitled The Veil:

They say, "Oh, poor girl, you're so beautiful you know
It's a shame that you cover up your beauty so."
She just smiles and graciously responds reassuringly,
"This beauty that I have is just one simple part of me.
This body that I have, no stranger has the right to see.
These long clothes, this shawl I wear, ensure my modesty.
Faith is more essential than fashion, wouldn't you agree?

This hijab,
This mark of piety,
Is an act of faith, a symbol,
For all the world to see.
A simple cloth, to preserve her dignity.
So lift the veil from your heart to see the heart of purity.

They tell her, "Girl, don't you know this is the West and you are free?
You don't need to be opressed, ashamed of your femininity."
She just shakes her head and she speaks so assuredly,

"See the bill-boards and the magazines that line the check-out isles, with their phony painted faces and their air-brushed smiles?
Well their sheer clothes and low cut gowns are really not for me.
You call it freedom, I call it anarchy."

This hijab,
This mark of piety,
Is an act of faith, a symbol,
For all the world to see.
A simple cloth, to preserve her dignity.
So lift the veil from your heart to see the heart of purity.
Lift the veil from your heart and seek the heart of purity.

To listen to the song, do go to this link:

This link will also provide reasons why women should wear the hijab.

Also, you may want to visit the link below to see hijab worn by different cultures of this world; the symbol of diversity in Islam, Masha Allah!

And I very much agree to how a woman should be judged as outlined by the video.

A women should be judged by:

1. Her intelligence

2. Her behavior

3. Her actions

4. Her faith

Wallahualam… :)

Mohd. Shazani Bin Masri


bosoms = breasts
hijab = the veil or the headcover
atheist = the one who do not believe in God

Seeking for the True Solace

The heart will never be at true solace,

If the mind refuse to venture,

Far beyond the comfort and hassle,

Of the ordinary and the trivial.

The flesh may think it is all enough,

For just to sit there and eat and drink,

Without a hint of how this world spins,

Save for whether or not the belly is full.

Even if the belly is full right now,

Do take heed!

Deception, deception!

For simply to think,

That it will never be empty tomorrow.

If we say the concern of the world is not ours,

That they are many others who are starving, sick,

Oppressed, depressed,

And the excuse is…

That’s not out our problem, it’s theirs!

How deceiving such deception is!

And to the nature,

Her virginity we do rape,

The trees we cut, if we can, cut them all,

The hills we flatten, we replace with condos,

The creatures we kill, overmuch,

For the economy, we say,

Is that true?

But the Theorem says – maximum utility we get is at the moderation, not excessive.

So how can we explain the rape?

And if we insist on the excuse…

That’s not our problem, it’s theirs!

How deceiving such deception is!

And our mind, we guard not or choose to guard not,

From the arrays of the so-called facts,

When we hear a grandiloquent speech,

Read the tomes,

Watch the media,

And oh, we say, this must be the truth

Because they say so!

But have we reasoned enough?

Or care not to reason?

Again, the excuse…

That’s not our problem, it’s theirs!

How deceiving such deception is!

About God, how many times do we remember Him?

Ah, today, I’ve got an appointment with Mr. President,

This evening, I’ve got a club meeting,

Tonight, I’ve got a great movie to watch.

Work, fun, eat, and then sleep,

Work again, fun, eat, and then sleep.

Now, should we again come with the excuse…

It’s not our problem?

And we claim piety,

But piety is not merely reading the Holy Book,

But more of practicing what it says,

Do we bother to filter the rhetoric?

And be able to think for our own?

For that, should we excuse ourselves again and say…

It’s not our problem?

Too many it is to spell each and every culprit

Of the true solace…

We haven’t touch about the philosophy, yet,

Nor about the arts,

Or much about the ethics,

Let alone the science…

Even so, this poem still gets too long,

And preachy.

As how overwhelming it may be,

To read this poem up to this long,

And to bear with the nags,

Perhaps, that is the weight of our misdeeds, or more.

I don’t really know.

But what I know is,

For every moment we breathe,

We owe debts to our Creator,

I know we can never be perfect,

Nor He expects us to be perfect,

But is that an excuse to not better ourselves?

And should we again say…

It’s not our problem?

Wake up, wake up now!

The true solace…

Do seek!

The Words Unexpressed

The words unexpressed,

Choke worse than bones,

First, the words choke the throat,

Then, the mind,

Then, the heart.

When the mind and the heart are choked,

They give way for the soul to be choked.

And when the soul gets choked,

We die strangulated without realizing it.

The Minstrel, The Lute

A minstrel picks a dusty lute on the shelf,

And wipe it with a damp white cloth,

The minstrel rests the brown lute upon his lap,

And he tries to strum the lute like the old days.


The minstrel gazes the lute instead of plucking it,

And rub his fingers upon its strings and pear-shaped body,

Ah! He noticed and say, “Still my good lute!”

And he tries to strum the lute like the old days.

As he tries…

“What is the chord again? Let me see…” says he,

And the mellow “C” chimes out finally,

How nice, how nice, isn’t it?

Tis’ lute starts singing again!


Is the minstrel still the minstrel?

Or has he turned to a ventriloquist instead?

His calluses have all gone,

What is left?

Then the minstrel stopped, mesmerized,

Am I still I?

And the minstrel looks at the lute;

The lute looks old…

The minstrel then plays a note, then a chord, then a song,

Ah, the lute is still mellow just like the old days!

Perhaps mellower because the memoirs sing along,

Chanting and clapping with rhymes of wisdom.

Am I still I?

The minstrel smiles,

Is that lute still the lute?

If it is, then I am still I indeed.

Thank you my family and friends for remembering my important day in life! :) [And the story about the day]

i am posting this blog to commemorate and thank my family and friends for their remembrance of a very important day in my life, my birthday.

first of all, I would like to thank my parents - we had online chatting a day before my birthday and she wished earlier and my father who sent a brief YahooIM message at early hour of my birthday. Next, goes my siblings... Hani, Elina and others for their friendster and yahoo messages.

next most important are my friends, or should I say, family, here in UIUC. Thanks to them, my birthday can't be more memorable despite the absence of my loved ones - my immediate family. And here the story goes...

midnight (about 12:15am, 2/13).

i went out with is, nad, ezra, and ijan to play snow and catch some pictures. those were the earliest who verbally congratulated me for my birthday and the earliest who gave my birthday 'present' - hurls of snowballs! Sure, after that, we did crazy (literally, crazy) things during the eve of the snowstorm - we played snowball fight (that's a prerequisite everytime when it's snowing), walked upon the frozen (umm... not so frozen) lake and took pictures while posing on it ( at the same time, secretly wished that the frozen surface won't crack), mocked dead on ice, climbed on trees, pretending to be snow angels, and buried ourselves in ice. The jollymaking ended at about 1:45am.

and oh, before we went out playing snow, my dorm mates (Global Crossroads residents), those i could recall - dustin, steph, takashi, sameeraj, and few others, swarmed on me and wished me a happy birthday! I was surprised! How did they know my birthday? I suspect facebook must have told them. They cheered and clapped. For that, i thank them.

yea, throughout the dawn till dusk, i received streams of yahoo messenger , friendster, and facebook messages from my family members, friends and acquintances - all kindly wished my birthday. Those are my old friends - primary school friends, fellow Tunazians - now in PTPL, MCIIUM, IIUM, UNIMAS, TUNAZ, Jordan, etc.; INTEC mates, my inner circle cliques, fellow GC members and even friendster acquintances. Thank you for the friendster and facebook testimonials, messages, and kind wishes!

about 8:15pm, 2/13

and perhaps the climax of this day is when they, my UIUC friends, invited me to Busey to 'have some coffee'. at first, ijan called me. then, ann msg-ed me and meena's msg followed. i was too lagged by those invitations - i didn't want to go to Busey because it was way too cold and a blizzard outside with an 8-inches to 1-feet of snow to trudge upon. Thanks to ann's, meena's and ijan's clever words, ehem... persuasion, i fell for it. fine, i'll go!

on the way to Busey...

shoot! such a loooong and tiresome excursion. The PAR contingent (safwan, ezra, nad, ijan, asma, milah and i) made our way, with hardship, stomping upon the 12 inches thick of snow at the Illini Grove. Gosh, going to Busey had never been this 'far' and hard. But still, for a cup of starbucks coffee in my mind, plus with mates already waiting me at Busey, and a holiday at the next day, I persevered and made it to Busey. (Of course, along the way, the PAR contingent indulged themselves with some snowball fighting, ice 'swimming', body slamming on ice, and the classic picture taking - until we realized that we were gasping and there is a long, harsh, way to go)

at Busey... fuh... *sigh of relief*. Thank God, we made it at last. When we arrived, I saw Nick, Ezamil and the LAR girls were already there. Okay, I thought, such a jolly night - thanks to the snowstorm, the classes on the morrow are canceled, and those are as far as my expectations go.

then, i realized something fishy was going on. Why are those people relatively quiet? why are some of them whispering? hmm... i didn't care that time. i proceeded with usual chats to those who sit nearby me - trivial talks as usual.

then, ann, resty, qilah and ziha arrived. okay, the LAR girls were all present, with ann (wearing hijab! masha Allah and alhamdulillah!) and then somebody presented a round of chocalate cake - my birthday cake, and suddenly they bursted, singing Happy Birthday song to me! Masha Allah, such a great moment to celebrate with such great friends. And yea, then the picture taking spree was in the air - ezamil was excited, with of course the usual cake-cutting session (and i was not very good at it, so, i requested milah and asma's help) and there goes the night at Busey.

about an hour and a half later, we dispersed but the celebration did not end there. along the way, again, i was greeted with snowballs, this time, massive in size as Nick, Ezamil and Ezra made a set up upon me. Occasionally, girls also threw those snowballs upon me! (Of course, I was not on the defense everytime, hehehe...).

after the crazy snow fight was over, people now generally dispersed. But nick, ezamil, ezra, ziha, ijan, rai, and i stayed to play nearby the frozen pond on the way to Illini Grove. Gosh, Ezra rolled like 'kuch kuch hota hey' kind of stuff and accidentally fell into the unfrozen part of the pond! Thank God he was not that too far away from the pond edge. Ezamil and I went quickly for him and he was okay. After the undue melange of events, we did crazy things, again; ziha and ijan attempted to walk on the not-so-frozen pond, nick and i tried to bury rai in ice (of course, rai shouted and tried to shower the snow back to us, but, to no avail), and ezamil was busy slamming himself on the fluffy ice. After tired with the crazy stuff, we finally 'ceased fire' and settled down, lying on the velvet white snow, gazing upon the night star, pretending to be snow angles, and chatted and chatted...

at about 12 midnight, we dispersed. nick and ezamil followed rai and ziha to LAR and ezra, ijan and i returned to PAR. Still, a long walk to PAR but not as eventful as previous PAR-Busey walk.

and the bottom line of the climax? Personally, i see concern and love as friends that made my February 13th, 2007, a great day. Thanks to resty, qilah, rai, meena, ziha, mar, ann, nad, ijan, milah, asma, safwan, ezra, nick and ezamil for being present to celebrate my birthday at Busey. Thanks to whoever covertly organize this wonderful birthday celebration for me. Thanks to whoever bought the chocolate cake. Thanks for the birthday card with genial wishes in it. Thanks to whoever bought/made the card. Last but not least, thanks for being my great friends, no, family, here in UIUC. My life in UIUC has been made memorable by your kind deed today.

as to those afar who reached me with wishes through whatever means, also, thank you to you all. Despite your absence, i know, because you remembered me that you made an effort to send me the birthday wish. For that, I am indeed delighted.

now i realized that my age has progressed to 20, already. As time tickles, much history of the past has shaped to be what I am today. I guess it is time to think and rethink about where to direct this course of life for the greater betterment. Now do I feel a great responsibility - to Allah, to my loved ones, to my friends and others around me. Yea, a day today is indeed a milestone in my life; on one hand, i had fun and i turned twenty - i'm a big boy now, hehe. on the other, responsibility awaits!

all in all, thank you again to you all of whom remembered my birthday. Alhamdulillah, thank you ALLAH, this is indeed great blessing from You - blessing of caring friends. Praise be to You o ALLAH, ever and ever, for this magnificient moment. And yea, thank You for giving me the chance, by pure coincidence to my limited understanding, to speak with the one near to my heart, just a day before my birthday, even with just simple typings on yahoo messenger. :)

For the one, half a world separated we may be... but if you read this, know that you and your wish is special to me! :)

All these are indeed priceless gifts, alhamdulillah! :)

Wondering what is what? Here is a glossary that you may find useful:

LAR (Lincoln Avenue Residence Hall) = An all girls' dorm where resty, ziha, mar, qilah, meena and rai live. It's about 5 minutes eastward walk from Busey.

PAR (Pennsylvania Avenue Residence Hall) = The dorm where alan, is, syafiq, safwan, ezra, shamini, milah, asma, ijan, nad and i live. It's about 10-15 minutes westward walk from Busey. It is a home to Global Crossroads (GC) living and learning community where international students usually reside along with Americans who are interested in learning foreign cultures and values.

Busey (Busey-Allen Residence Hall) = A home to one of the two coffee breweries in UIUC. We go there often to sip cup of coffees, snacking, socializing and studying. It has a classic-romantic-esque ambience; very suitable for hanging out without getting loud.

Illini Grove = A small mainly coniferous tree grove in between the road to LAR-PAR and PAR-Busey. It's a place where we usually have some sports and play some physical games.

The frozen (actually, not-so-frozen) pond = A peanut-shaped pond perhaps 20X35m in dimension. It is located northwest from Illini Grove and it takes two minutes walk from the grove to there. It has two fountains at each of the the fair sides of it. (Perhaps the sprinkling fountain keeps the not-so-frozen pond for being completely frozen).

Wisp of Glory

By the bounty of nature,
Fly the air of serenity,
At the hill of mature,
Boast chaos like eternity.

O wisp of glory!
When will thou come to me?
For ages hath I suffered fury,
But light is still gleamy.

(And sayeth the wisp...)

O ye! O ye!
Never will I come to thee,
Till ye know ye be,
Clear in what ye see.

Mohd. Shazani Masri

Renungilah (Jiwang? agak arr.. but still, it's worth a read)

Hi there. Once again, while I was flipping through my e-mailbox, I've found yet another insightful words of wisdom I deem worthy to ponder about. Thanks to Khairil for sending this message to me and I'm referring the source of this to you, Khairil.

May we learn something from it! :)

Jika kamu memancing ikan...
setelah ikan itu terlekat di mata kail...
hendaklah kamu mengambil terus ikan itu...
janganlah sesekali kamu lepaskan ia semula ke dalam air begitu
kerana ia akan sakit oleh kerana bisanya ketajaman mata kailmu...
dan mungkin ia akan menderita selagi ia masih hidup...

Begitulah juga setelah kamu memberi banyak pengharapan kepada
setelah ia mula menyayangimu hendaklah kamu menjaga hatinya...
janganlah sesekali kamu terus meninggalkannya begitu sahaja...
kerana dia akan terluka oleh kenangan bersamamu...
dan mungkin tidak dapat melupakan segalanya selagi dia mengingatimu...

Jika kamu menadah air biarlah berpada...
jangan terlalu mengharap pada takungannya...
dan janganlah menganggap ia begitu teguh...
cukuplah sekadar keperluanmu...
Apabila sekali ia retak...
tentu sukar untuk kamu menampalnya semula...
akhirnya ia dibuang...
sedangkan jika kamu cuba membaikinya...
mungkin ia masih boleh digunakan lagi...

Begitu juga jika kamu memiliki seseorang terimalah seadanya...
Janganlah kamu terlalu mengaguminya...
dan janganlah kamu menganggapnya begitu istimewa...
anggaplah dia manusia biasa...
Apabila sekali dia melakukan kesilapan...
bukan mudah bagi kamu untuk menerimanya...
akhirnya kamu kecewa dan meninggalkannya...
Sedangkan jika kamu memaafkannya...
boleh jadi hubungan kamu akan berterusan hingga ke akhirnya...

Jika kamu telah memiliki sepinggan nasi...
yang kamu pasti baik untuk dirimu...
Mengenyangkan. Berkhasiat...
Mengapa kamu berlengah dan cuba mencari makanan yang lain...
Terlalu ingin mengejar kelazatan...
Kelak, nasi itu akan basi dan kamu tidak boleh memakannya...
Kamu akan menyesal...

Begitu juga jika kamu telah bertemu dengan seorang insan...
yang kamu pasti membawa kebaikan kepada dirimu...
Menyayangimu. Mengasihimu...
Mengapa kamu berlengah dan cuba membandingkannya dengan yang lain...
Terlalu mengejar kesempurnaan...
Kelak, kamu akan kehilangannya apabila dia menjadi milik orang lain
Kamu juga yang akan menyesal...

sekadar berkongsi...

Khairil Anwar

Of the Red Rose and the Carnation

Tonight as I sit alone,

My heart doth speak of the stories bygone,

Of the red rose and the carnation,

Odiferous yet thorny.

Tonight as I sit alone,

My mind rambles and shambles,

Thinking hard, usually, except now – harder,

Of the red rose and the carnation,

Lush the garden is with canny buds,

And brambles and herbs sprawl therein,

As the bees dance to the chords of winds,

Still, they know not about the red rose in.

For the rose despite its color,

Does not lie amongst those beds of garden.

Beauty is the carnation; it’s worth a thousand gazes,

Gay is the hue of its purple-red flair,

But still lies a discord within,

Not of the carnation, but of the heart.

Scar does the red rose bring,

When this hand doth grasp upon it,

And when released this hand doth bleed,

But still, it is the red rose – odiferous.

Tonight as I sit alone,

My vision doth ponder and wonder,

Of the red rose and the carnation,

And the garden lush of brambles and herbs.

As the bees dance to the chords of winds,

Still, they know not about the red rose in.

-Mohd. Shazani bin Masri