Sunday, July 28, 2013

WARNING: Do not be swayed by a pretty face...

It was one fine Sunday afternoon during the summer as I hurried towards the bus stop on St.Aldates Street, oblivious of the hustle and bustle around me. During this time of year, Oxford has never failed to attract thousands of tourists and high school summer students from the world over who are ever fascinated with the history and beauty of the 'city of dreaming spires' that houses the oldest university in the English-speaking world.

Oxford University has no official date of establishment but teaching could have started as far back as 1096 (approx. 900 years ago). The university rapidly expanded since 1167 (approx. 50 years later) when King Henry II banned English students from attending University of Paris.

As I juggled two plastic bags, the product of today's shopping spree, I was stopped by a voice coming from beside me:

"Excuse me, do you know which way it is to the river?"

She said, while lifting her designer sunglasses off her eyes. Her lips glistened as they catch the sunlight, a sign that they are lathered with a thin layer of lipgloss. Her makeup was light, enhancing her naturally flawless face. I could not spot even a dot of imperfection. For all I knew, she could have been a movie star from Hong Kong.

"Which river?" I stammered, stunned by her beauty.

Her brows furrowed, deep in thought. A split second later, her face lighted up as she exclaimed, "The Thames River." Her lips curled into a smile, proud that she knew exactly what she was looking for.  Such beauty must belong to the Hong Kong movie industry.

It was then my turn to be deep in thought. Eventhough I have been a resident of this city for two years, I must admit alas shamefully, I still dot not know this city like the back of my hand. I looked around, attempting to orient myself, desperate to help.

Impatient with my deliberation, she then said "Is it this way?", while lifting her left arm to point towards St.Aldates, and to my horror, revealing a bush, underneath the junction between her immaculate arm and slim shoulder. Not a few strands of hair, or even many strands of hair, but literally a BUSH. A wild bush that must have not been unattended to for many months. How she was not distracted by it is unfathomable, it is beyond my imagination.

"Well..." I stuttered, shocked and dismayed with what I had just witnessed. "There is a river down St.Aldates but there is also a river down High Street. But I'm not sure what they are called or whether it is the same river. This city is surrounded by rivers!"

I said earnestly. I shouldn't have asked which river she is looking for if I didn't know the names of the rivers, I scolded myself. The city of Oxford is centered on Carfax, a cross-roads which forms the junction between four main streets: St. Aldates Street, High Street, Cornmarket Street and Queen Street. St. Aldates' center of attraction is Christ Church College, the most famous college of the university - the dining hall of Hogwart in the Harry Potter movies franchise was inspired by the Christ Church's dining hall (it was even believed that some scenes in the movie was shot in-situ, which I have yet to confirm because I was told that most of the scenes were actually shot in a replica of the dining hall in a studio) and the author of 'Alice in Wonderland', who was a professor of Mathematics at Christ Church, drew his inspirations for the story from the buildings and lawns of the college.    

Christ Church College - Its beautiful lawns and buildings provided inspirations for the makers of Harry Potter movies and the author of Alice in Wonderland

"Oh ok...." she said, she looked around her. Trying to decide which direction she should take. "Maybe I should just walk this way." lifting her arm again while pointing down St.Aldates.

I couldn't help but stared again at the bush. Is she teasing me? Or is this some sort of a prank? Is there a hidden camera nearby installed by a television show to catch the reactions of ordinary people like me towards a girl with a pretty face but not-so-pretty armpits? How could someone so polished - one who takes such great care of her face, has the time to put on makeup, and even has the money to travel, does not have the time to shave her armpits or the decency to cover them if she forgot to shave?

Please do not jump the guns by citing cultural differences. She looks like a movie-star, she must have seen alot of movies and advertisements splayed across the billboards or on television: Have you ever seen a girl with unshaved armpits on TV? No you have not, because it is NOT ACCEPTABLE for a girl to display her unshaved armpits. Unshaved armpits are NOT for public viewing. I swear I could smell the sweat lingering within her bush. 

"Sure. You'll see a river down there." I said. She thanked me and we parted ways.

Moral of the story: Do not be swayed by a pretty face. You never know what lies in her armpits!

And I am forever scarred for the rest of my life. LOL! :)

Question of the day: Do you agree that unshaved armpits are not public viewing?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Of becoming a writer

Since my return home from the United States in November 2009, my dad has been relentlessly encouraging me to write.

"You are a science person, so you should become a scientific writer. You can write about your research and send them to an appropriate magazine. They pay approximately RM350 for a two-page article!"

I jumped in delight to his last sentence. As stated by Steven Levitt, the author of 'Freakonomics', human responds to incentives :) And, money sure is the best incentive for a penniless unemployed fresh-grad like me! My dad handed me a Dewan Kosmik, a magazine published by the renowned Dewan Bahasa and Pustake, which specifically publishes science articles. This will be the magazine that you will send your articles in, he said.

But life happens.

Him: Did you ever even have a boyfriend?
Her: Of course.
Him: What happened, why didn’t they work out?
Her: What always happens? Life.
(500 Days of Summer)

It is already July 2010, and I still have not written anything. I have a topic in my mind, but I can't seem to put it down on paper.

Me: Writing is hard. I don't know how to make my article interesting. And I am sure somebody has already written on the same topic that I am going to write.
Dad: If you show me your draft, I can help you make it interesting.

Well, do you think I will become a writer? Do you think my article will be published in Dewan Kosmik one day? What will my topic be?

Will definately update you on that :)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


She giggled and whispered seductively, "The present that I wanted to give you is a french kiss!"

"Setiap org pasti ada prinsip dalam hidupnya. Biasanya berdasarkan apa yang diyakini kebenarannya. Prinsip hidup saya berdasarkan Al-Quran dan Hadith. Dalam agama kita, masalah kesucian selalu diutamakan. Itu terbukti kenapa pelajaran pertama dalam buku Fiqh tentang bersuci, agar penganutnya selalu menjagakan kesucian lahir atau batin. Diantara kesucian yang harus dijaga adalah kesucian antara pria dan wanita. Kalau saya melakukan ciuman dengan wanita yang tidak halal bagi saya, ertinya saya menodai kesucian saya sendiri dan kesucian wanita itu kan. Maaf, itu adalah satu musibah bagi saya... Saya bahagia dengan apa yang saya yakini kebenarannya." - Khaerul Azam in 'Ketika Cinta Bertasbih'.

After watching ‘Ketika Cinta Bertasbih’ last night, serenity settled in - I felt so much at ease with myself. Now, I truly understood what I read a while ago:

‎"You have to be the type of person you’re looking for. When I began my search, I wanted someone very ideal, while I was, in the beginnning of my search, not as practicing as I should have been. It was not until Allah guided me to change myself that I finally married the type of partner I wanted, alhamdulillaah." -


What you give, you will get back.

“And women of purity are for men of purity, and men of purity are for women of purity”[Surah An-Nur :26]


When I was a student, I literally promised myself that after graduation, I would grant myself the luxury of being 'Brain Dead' - I would not read books; I would not read anything concerning politics, or economy or anything considered as a 'heavy topic'; and I would not think of the problems in this world like I used to. I would just lie in bed and enjoy the privilege of being NOTHING.

After half a year of being Brain Dead (Well, not exactly, because I actually got a job as a Research Assistant at a university, took the GRE, and did alot of reading on latest discoveries in medical research), I decided that it now time for me to metamorphosize into my old self.

Tuesdays' With Morrie by Mitch Albom is the first book that I cracked open this year. Although it is pretty embarrassing to admit that I have not read a single book this year (gosh, is it really July already?!?!) except for this book which I started reading two days ago, I would not give myself such a hard time. Give me a break, will ya? ;) Here are some of life's greatest lessons that I learnt from this book:

"Life is a series of pulls back and forth. You want to do one thing, but you are bound to do something else. Something hurts you, yet you know it shouldn't. You take certain things for granted, even when you know you should never take anything for granted."

"The culture we have does not make people feel good about themselves. And you have to be strong enough to say if the culture doesn't work, don't buy it."

"So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half-asleep, even when they're busy doing things they think are important. This is because they're chasing the wrong things. The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning."

"Love wins. Love always wins."

"Why are we embarrassed by silence? What comfort do we find in all the noise?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Teori Jaguh Kampung

I am not a writer and writing doesn't come easy for me. The *ONLY* non-academic article that I've ever written was the one I submitted to a friend's blog in 2006. Here it is:

Kampung Malays Theory (Teori Jaguh Kampung)

Being a Muslim studying in the West, it is heartbreaking when most great neoteric scientific discoveries, literary works, and many other branches of knowledge that you study all have its roots in the West. The Judeo-Christian world is the power, the knowledge, the monetary source. The Golden Age of Islam has long gone and if one cogitate the condition of the ummah today, one would agree that there is no conspicuous sign of it to resurface.

If other Muslims choose to whine about the fate of the ummah; if other Muslims are busy killing each other, branding other Muslims as non-Islamic, nationalist, Hadharism, cronism, ‘UMNO’, nepotism and Al-anwariyyun (just to name a few - if I give the full list of censures that Muslims use to attack each other, it would fill up the whole blog), I have decided to take on the responsibility of pioneering the revival of the Islamic Golden Age movement in this blog and hopefully other writers/readers would follow suit. I have decided to follow in the footsteps of Al-Kindi, Nasir al-Din Tusi, Ibnu Bajjah and many others. I have decided to become a failasuf (a philosopher).

Eminent philosophers like the ones mentioned above produced books and theories that touched millions of people. My hope is that my effort would touch you, dear readers. I have indeed acquired the inspiration to contrive my first theory from my observation of this blog, thus it is only fair that this blog has the honor of hosting my theory which I have called the Kampung Malays Theory or Teori Jaguh Kampung.

Name of theory:
Kampung Malays Theory (Teori Jaguh Kampung)

Description of theory:
Raja Petra Kamaruddin of once claimed that
one could easily take the Malays out of the kampong, but never the kampong out of the Malays. Observing the status quo of this blog a few days ago when a writer pointed fingers to Kelab UMNO NJ/NY for its ‘ambiguous’ basis of formation and the quarrels over trivial matters that Malaysian Muslims always find their ways into, NOTHING could falsify his statement thus I have incorporate it as the foundation of my theory. In short, Kampung Malays or Jaguh Kampung refers to Malaysian Muslims that have already moved out of their own kampong to pursue knowledge but still appear like they have never been out of their own little shell. I hereby would like to propose the social, biological and psychological characteristics of these Jaguh-jaguh Kampung as a guideline for you, dear readers.

1) PSYCHOLOGICAL characteristic
A large portion of Kampung Malays are those that were selected by the government to study in other countries (the
United States for example) because they are (supposedly) the cream of the crop. The fact that these Kampung Malays could speak fluent English (the language of knowledge and technology), the talent to write brilliant articles in various topics and read great books written by renowned authors, makes it inconceivable for one to forebode that these people are actually Kampung Malays. After all, Kampung Malays have made persevering and painstaking efforts to make sure that their true identity is safely tucked away lest people would recognize that they are Kampung Malays. However, if one is a Kampung Malay, he would always be a Kampung Malay. If provoked, he would promptly brandish his keris in the air and start attacking his adversaries – a specialty of this group of people. Gone is his controlled self-composure. However, would a Kampung Malay stop and contemplate the reasons for such criticism towards him? NO! Would he take the effort to invite those people for a discussion? NO! Psychologically,Kampung Malays could be classified as a group of people that could not stand criticism but do nothing to elucidate the problems arose.

2) SOCIAL characteristic
Kampung Malays are well-known for their manners. They are truly courteous, considerate and ‘civil’ to the extent that if they disagree with their neighbors they would not articulate the problems that are burdening their hearts to those neighbors lest they hurt those neighbors’ feelings. INSTEAD, a Kampung Malay would disseminate the issue to EVERYBODY ELSE. He would meet all ends to make sure he has broadcasted the issue to a fair amount of audience – he would write in his blog, keep up with the discussions that followed and voluntarily provide different aspects of his neighbors that he believed to be dubious, to the readers. But has he tried to straighten out the issue with those neighbors? NO! Did he have a man-to-man dialogue with the neighbors? NO! Did he even
know those neighbors well enough to make such accusation? I believe the answer is no. Kampung Malays therefore is the perfect paragon if one wants to illustrate the human race most primitive talent – the ability to propagate unnecessary chaos J

3) BIOLOGICAL characteristic
It was astonishing to see that many people reacted to the entries about Kelab UMNO NJ/NY (and the harsh words they use to express themselves are even more astounding!) but the fact that none of them used their real name did not catch me by surprise. You see, Kampung Malays would throw rocks or bombs, would cry for reformation in the government or even call for Jihad AS LONG AS they remain anonymous. When they are masquerading, the Kampung Malays are the bravest type of Muslims hiding behind names such as Bangku, Hamba Allah, Bukan Islam Hadhari, Hidup UMNO NJNY (just to name a few) but one would always wonder why these brave Muslims recoil from the idea of revealing their true self. If they have nothing to hide, why are they hiding? If they are speaking the words of truth, who do they fear? I have consulted a future physician, Adibah Abdullah, on the biological aspect of the Kampung Malays because a theory is irrefutable only if the reasonings and proofs for it come from a reliable source. Adibah has a simple but concise answer to it,
“tak berani letak nama sendiri tu namenye ado testosterone tapi ciri-ciri kelamin sekunder tak abih keluar.” I therefore incorporate the statement from this future physician as the biological characteristic of the Kampung Malays.

My goal of reviving the Golden Age of Islam could not be accomplished if I am alone. All Muslims especially we, the youth of the ummah must work together to achieve this if we truly love Islam. It is heartbreaking when Muslims just could not refrained themselves from pointing fingers at each other, or put certain ‘labels’ on other Muslims. Oh, by the way readers… If you ever come across a Kampung Malay, please do not despise him. Kampung Malays need help, and I believe if we all work together we could salvage them…. All for the sake of the ummah…

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


One of my fondest memories regarding the issue of halal was during the 2007 BBQ party organized by the university's Malaysian Students Association. Martin Tham, my predecessor as the President of the association, also notoriously known as very cheeky and a sweet-talker, playfully attempted to put his arm around me during a photo session. Realizing so, I twisted myself away from him and shrieked:

"Don't touch me, that's not halal!"

Everybody erupted into laughter including Martin's girlfriend who was looking after the meat grilling on the barbeque set. The set was ofcourse divided into the halal section for the Muslim students and the non-halal section. She then exclaimed:

"If it's not halal, Martin must be a pork then!"

Martin as a pork sure is the funniest remark ever! :)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Home Made Steak 101

I once made a promise to myself that when I am married and move into my marital home, the first thing that I would do is put up a big banner that reads:

"Why go out for hamburger when you have steak at home?"

Don't read me wrong, I have no issue at all with hamburgers, but what I do not and CANNOT fathom is that why would anyone STILL go out for a hamburger or two when he just had a delicious home cooked steak at home?