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Showing posts from 2008

Waiting for The One

How do you decide if the person that you are with will be The One?
This is a rather tough question I think, one that does not have a real solid answer. 
Do you list down all the criteria you look for in a perfect match, and tick them down methodically as you progress through a number of partners, and then decide who scores the highest?
Do you look for someone who can give you the security of a good marriage - good religious upbringing, loving personality, safe relationship? Or do you go on the wild side, and look for someone who makes your world go round, someone who makes sparks fly when you are with them, someone who fills you with the highest level of passion? Is that what you would look for in a marriage?
Of course, ideally, you would want it to be a combination of all the above, but what if you don't get all that, and you had to choose between the two?... 
Or would you let God help you in making that decision... In making impossible to make the choice, until The One indeed comes a…

And she arrives, at long last

It was like time stood still as I walked through the passageways of the Kulai Hospital...
So many memories, both good and bad...
But the best memory here would be walking down these very halls to see my newborn son, just over two years ago. Two years and still fresh in my mind, the feelings of absolute rapture, of absolute love, when I first held my little boy in my hands... My son. 
De ja vu...
But this time, as I enter the ward, I am greeted by the the tired smile of my sister-in-law, spent from 36 hours of labour, looking every bit as tired as my own dear wife when she delivered too. My mother looking lovingly at her second grandchild... Two days before the wedding of her own second child - my sister. My brother, every bit the proud father, looking adoringly, almost moony-eyed, at his newborn daughter.
Welcome to the family, Aimie Sophie Binti Ammar...
Long have we waited for you, my little niece.


Attention to TLDM cadets

This post is an announcement to TLDM cadets. Apologies to my other readers.

Cadets, If you are reading this, please take note that I have yet to receive the name list which was supposed to be given to me by your cadet CO. The list should contain names and email addresses.
Additionally, I need to get into contact with one of you to send the questionnaire that I told you about before I left. Please e-mail me at abdullahmnawi@utm.my, or amnlobo77@hotmail.com ASAP. This delay has been a great inconvenience.

Thank you.

Cadet life

Life as a cadet in the Royal Malaysian Navy is a simple one.

You wake up at 4am.

You iron your uniform.

You polish your shoes.

You start Early Morning Activity (EMA) at 5am. This can include an intense combination of the Base Run (a run around the base of nearly 6km), sit-ups, push ups, jumping jacks, and a myriad of other activities that equal to getting your ass kicked.





Of course, you will be guided through this tough time by extremely kind people who are known as drill sergeants, or drill instructors as they are known in the Navy. These kind people will be there, step-by-step to show you how everything is done.



And of course, we all know how though all this stress can be for the mind, and even the human spirit. Never fret, because you can request for a counseling session where the drill sergeants will use all their expert knowledge to give you the much needed words of encouragement.




Sometimes it is difficult to just hear advice that is given. We all know how rebellious some young people …

Permission to Come Aboard...

Picture credit here

"Atteeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeen-shun!"

31 bodies in immaculate white uniforms snapped smartly to attention, sitting rigidly in their seats. 29 cadets with faces unsure of how this person standing in front of them would be - strict, rigid, disciplined?... or relaxed, easy-going, and a slacker for the rules? The 2 officers among them looked cool and unaffected.

I walked briskly but surely to the table at the front of the room, put my things down, and faced the class.

The cadet-in-charge for the day got up from her seat and walked smartly in my direction. Upon reaching the spot exactly half a metre from me she halted and snapped to attention.

"Assalamualaikum sir!" She said in a clear, clipped voice. "29 cadets and 2 officers reporting for duty, requesting permission to carry on, sir!"

As if by imprinted on a cellular level, my body responded almost automatically through half-remembered gestures and nuances.I was transported to anothe…

At last... Some respite... (Repost with minor changes; same situation)

As I mouse over the sign "SIMPAN" on the UTM marks website, I hesitate.. could it really be over?... My finger trembles for a while, both from lack of sleep and an overdose in caffeine...
Like a Gulf War veteran, vivid images of dazed days and sleepless nights overwhelm my senses... oh the horror... the desolation... the senseless destruction... the red pen in my hands bleeding dry, as the blood red ink pours itself onto tons and tons of paper pages... oh the horror...

Suddenly, I am back in my room in UTM... The clock reads 11:10pm... Way too late to be at the office... How I long for the comfort of the bosom of my loved one... This tour of duty has gone on for too long... (Soundtrack: Soldier of Fortune by Deep Purple)

I press the mouse button...

After what seems like an eternity, the grades come to life... I blink in a daze...

I blink again, and comprehension registers...

I have given my students their due... Time to get mine...

At long, long, last... my nightmare is over...

Time…

The Battle Commences

Photo credit here


It is that time of year again, where the students feel exhausted, light-headed... but relieved...

Their tour of duty is over...

Soon they would be home with their loved ones, leaving the battlefield behind... No more operation manuals! No more midnight patrols!... At least for a month and a half, they would be free...The airlift back to civilisation awaiting them at the base.

Leaving us here...

Time to take out our torches and burn the midnight oil.

Time to get out the blood-red ink, ready to stain the piles and piles of lined papers, where they left their scrawny handwriting behind.

Time to start marking those exams papers, lads...

We'll hold the fort until they return.

The Ones That Got Away: Look into your heart

For those who have read my earlier posts, you may be aware that I have written several songs dedicated to different people in my life.

Well, this was the first, dedicated to her... Written during the time when she was beyond the sea and far away.


(XXXX represents parts of corrupt memory... I really can't remember these parts)

Here goes...


Look into Your Heart

We've been friends for so very long
Our friendship's so strong
But I don't want to end it today
By what I have to say

I've been waiting half my life
For something to arrive
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXX

Chorus:
Be careful what you hide
Please don't take me for a ride
Just look into your heart
And you'll see who's inside

I remember when you went away
I begged you to stay
You left me alone in fear
And a mountain of tears

When you came back again
To comfort your old friend
Then what I felt right from the start
must reach into your heart

Chorus

Just look into your heart
and you'll see...

Who's i…

The Ones That Got Away : Somewhere beyond the sea

"You're going to do what?" I asked, stunned beyond belief.

"Don't act so surprised" She replied, her voice brimming with barely controlled amusement. I knew that she was probably rolling her eyes and smiling her quirky smile on the other end of the line. "Besides" she continued, "It's not going to be that far".

"But you'll be in another country..." I protested, still not quite sure about what I was hearing, "And whatever happened to finishing university together?". It seemed to be such a shame, I thought. Here was perhaps the cleverest girl in school, a killer combination of brains and beauty, who could run circles around me in all subjects, except English (even then she came a close second), talking about doing something else besides finishing university.

"I already told you my reasons" Her voice finally showing some signs of strain, "I thought you'd be more supportive of this"

I was torn…

The Ones That Got Away : The sign

I couldn't believe it!

I actually managed to pass my Chemistry Finals!!! All the blood, sweat and tears that went into trying to understand my most hated subject finally paid off...
I held the result slip in my hand, not daring to let go... As if letting go would mean that I would let go of the pass that I had obtained.

I smiled.

We both knew we would finally be where we dreamed of the entire time we were in school... University. That magical place where dreams would be made into reality. That place where we could become all that we wanted to become... To start our journeys into adulthood, into the real world.

And so when we got our offer letters, it was with mixed feelings that I said goodbye to her... Part of me was sad because it meant going our separate ways, but part of me was excited to start a new chapter in my life... I guess it didn't make a difference back then, because I knew that in my heart of hearts, we would be together in the end, no matter how long or winding the r…

The Ones That Got Away: School daze

NOTE: Before proceeding, it is of paramount importance that this post is a reflection of memories, not of regrets...especially when one is happily married. In this life, there is precious little time to waste on regrets. There are incidents and lessons we learn, before we move on, taking with us precious memories along the way.

***

Within each and every adult there would be bits and pieces of certain memories that they treasure. Memories of times gone by, memories of people they had known, and for many, memories of the ones they would forever remember as 'The Ones That Got Away".

I must admit, I do carry a few of these in my mind, though the one that I will always tell with an air of Greek tragedy would be my first.

High school. Final year. Exams looming in the horizon.
I knew that I needed help with my chemistry, and I needed it quick! In my mind, there was only one person that I could depend on for help - my best (girl) friend (This distinction is very important because I also h…

Blindness in the dark

Photo credit here

When blinded by the dark one must always take extra care not to wander about aimlessly, lest she bumps into a stone wall, or steps on some nails, or anything of the sort.
A person blinded by the dark can only grope at anything they find, any leads from any source, be they good or bad. A voice in the dark can goad them to move forward without taking heed of anything under them. A flash of light may give them false hope that they are actually able to see, and again, throw caution into the wind.

Such is the nature of blindness.

When blinded by the dark, a person wandering aimlessly not only becomes a danger to herself, but to others as well. She is a juggernaut that crushes everything in her path, leaving only destruction in her wake... Until she actually pauses to reflect, and waits for the sunlight to come and guide her once more...

But usually by then, the only thing that she will see is the destruction she left behind.

'I was mislead' says she, with a heaving sigh…

Always & Never

Picture credit here


Always. Never.

What do these words mean?

Simple enough words - Two syllables, direct spelling to pronunciation, timeless in their application in our daily lives.

But what do they really mean?

For instance, two best friends, before parting ways to go to university, exchange a very teary farewell - they exchange gifts, exchange cards, each pledging to be best friends for always...forever... and that they always call and never forget to visit each other when they go back to their hometowns.

Of course this scenario is a girls only scenario. For guys the scene would be a quick hug, a few pats on the back, and a salute as the bus drives away... Less words, less outward displays of emotion, but nevertheless a quiet ache in the chest and a steely determination to always be friends, and never forget the bond brotherhood that had been forged.

Or even former lovers, as they forever part ways... The parting speech before they embrace for the last time, where each vows that they woul…

The Forbidden Kingdom No More

Yesterday is a day that would forever go down the sands of time as...

"The Day I Fed Two Hundred Ravenous Mouths with Bottomless Pits"
Oh the horror!... The Pain!... The Suffering!!!
Like a swarm of locusts they came, wave upon wave upon wave... Like a farmer protecting his crop I could only look on and stare, as they darkened the sky, before zeroing in for the kill... Tears streamed down my eyes as I watched them strip every last grain of maize and corn that I had planted at the begininning of the year...
My knees thudded to the ground, as I numbly watched the carnage around me, my tired brain barely registering what my eyes perceived.
"So this is what it feels like"... I thought in my brain...
"This thing called Open House"
. .. ...
Buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuut I'm just being dramatic here ;)
Yesterday was actually a day that I'm going to remember for a long time, simply because it was graced with the presence of those eager young minds I help shape on a daily …

Eid traditions

It is almost that time of the year again. Children aren't complaining as much as they used to, as if transfixed on an idea of what the next few days would promise them.  Adults seem to have a distant look in their eyes, as they mentally start their journeys of 'balik kampung', even before the workday is officially over.
Excitement is buzzing through the air,  and everywhere, the atmosphere seems charged with an almost magical energy.
Eid is only a few days away...
Soon the hunger will be satisfied.  Soon the wallets will be full of money 'extorted' from relatives.  Soon the happy faces of family and loved ones arriving at the doorsteps, arms outstretched  and full of embrace.
As the countdown to Raya grows nearer, families start their ritual traditions...Some start buying ingredients to prepare the sumptuous array of ketupat, rendang, and sambal kacang. Some start taking their best curtains out to the wash, or even buy new curtains to show off to the neighbours.
My family …

Premature Mid-Life Crisis?

"Sejak bila lu jadi mat rempit beb?" (Translation: Since when did you become a street racer?) Were the first words that blazed onto the screen of my Dopod PDA Phone when I told my cousin that I had bought a bike.
I mean...Is it that strange that I happened to work my butt off, save up, and buy one of the meanest most beautiful bikes I ever set my eyes on? I mean...just look at it... Shiny jet black finish, laced with highlights of blazing red, topped with rugged racing streaks... 
I think I just wiped a tear off my face...
No, no, don't get all worked up... I haven't gone off the wall. It's just that with the increase in fuel price, it seems silly to spend RM600 just going to and from work every day... Think about it, that's a month and a half's pay for my maid! Just to get to and from work! 
So, I figured this would be a good compromise - maybe 2 or 3 days a week going to work by bike, and going to the local stores, local eateries, and even the local mosque, …

Return of the MC

Sounds like a line from a rap song doesn't it?But no...This time it isn't. The MC in question here is me. Lately I've been getting a lot of requests to become MC (Master of Ceremonies) for official UTM functions. The last one I had to do was barely two weeks ago... But I really had a lot of fun for that one. It was entitled "Hi-Tea With Her Royal Highness Raja Zarith Sofiah", and yes, I did meet Her Royal Highness and chat for a bit with her. In many ways, she surprised me more than I would care to admit... For so many years, at the end of our Friday Prayers, the Imam would recite a du'a which would be considered strange to people who are not from Johor, because at the end of the du'a, the imam would launch into a roll-call of all the members of the Johor Royalty, asking the Almighty to bless each and every one of them... The interesting thing is in my observations, many people would just simply zone off at this point, simply because for many people, the …

Of parents and Ramadhan

Ever since I can remember, especially in my younger days in the UK, Ramadhan for my household had always been a solemn affair - especially to a young boy of pre-teen years, who would rather be outside the house playing with his friends, or simply idling and wasting time - what young boys like to do.

But of course, this month was different from other months, and I would notice a big change in my parents. They would seem quieter and more inward-focussed than usual, busying themselves with prayer and other religious duties. I used to remember my father telling us that during the month we shouldn't be too frivolous in our actions, and that we should not watch too much TV, or get lost in too much entertainment. Instead we should devote ourselves to Allah, thinking about Him and how to please Him in every way we can. This we did by increasing our readings of the Quran.  In fact this was what was expected of us, and this my father ingrained into us every day.  When it was nearing Maghrib, h…

My nightmare come true

This is it. It's finally happened.
The stuff of bad dreams for many language teachers has today materialised for me, rearing its ugly head, scoffing at my abilities as a language professional.
This is an actual letter from one of my students as part of their coursework.
Final year student. Soon to graduate and meet the workforce of the nation.
Read it and weep...

Inside the Forbidden Kingdom

It has now been a week since we uprooted ourselves from our old house. Come to think about it, that house was really special...

It was the first house that my wife and I stayed in as a married couple..

It was the first house my son came home to after he was born..

Three years is quite a long time by my standards, seeing as to how much we used to move around in my childhood and teenage years.

But it's time to move on.

The nostalgia of my old house can in no way compare to the euphoria of living in my very own house. Every wall is a labour of love. Every blade of grass a blessing from God. Every nook and cranny a hidden treasure just waiting to be discovered.

It's like waking up in a hotel room every single morning. I know that like a new relationship, the 'honeymoon period' is not going to last, but I'm enjoying every single moment of it to the max!

Here are some snapshots that I would like to share:


Living room. Modern concept. Lots of contrasts between white/cream and bla…

Si Tenggang's Journey

In the wake of my grandmother's passing, I begin to reflect on a few things...It has been three years since I had gone back to the land of my father's ancestors... Three years since I had kissed the fresh breeze of its morning sky... Three years since I had gone back to Kelantan.I had always felt at home there, waking up in my grandmother's house, or even my aunt's house. Waking up to the lilting sounds of the Kelantanese dialect - a musical language, whose beauty is apparent to all, but whose true meaning can only be appreciated by one born of the tongue, or in my case one who is half-born to the tongue.I remember there used to be a time when a sense of calm and happiness would engulf me as we crossed the borders into the Kelantanese lands... My affinity with the land and its people... My paternal tribe...Yet at the same time, as much as I felt at home there, there was still a sense of alienness, that I was still not a part of the people, as much as I had wanted to be…

Moving house

A couple of months ago, when my parents moved house, I saw the biggest collection of stuff I had ever set my eyes on. Old stuff, new stuff, used stuff, unused stuff... You name it, they had it.

And it all had to be moved...

It was then that I said to my wife these words:
"We're lucky. When we move it's going to be much easier, cos we don't have that much stuff..."

Boy...

Was I soooooooo wrong...


Two weeks of pain...packing.

One day of pure agony...lifting and sifting.

Unending torture...unpacking.


Pain...Agony...Torture...

But at the end of the day, the best feeling one could ever have.


I now have a spacious, beautiful house

To call my own... :)

Thank you all

I wish to convey my most heartfelt sense of gratitude and appreciation to everyone who has given me strength and comfort throughout this difficult time.

May God bless you all...

Hospital Horror

Being hospitalised changes you. You are no more the same person after spending an extended period of time in a hospital bed.I should know...I was warded for almost 2 weeks. Every day asking the Almighty "will I make it through this?", and praying, every second of the day "Lord, please help me through this... I want to see my beautiful wife, my darling little boy, my loving family..."These thoughts streamed constantly through my mind, like a litany for the forsaken...And though its OK most of the time for me, there are certain times when the phobia overtakes me...And this is one of those times...I am now in the hospital ward, keeping vigil for my grandmother, who may very well be on her deathbed. Just half an hour ago, I relieved my father, who had been by her side for hours...His mother...the woman who was his world...who brought him and raised him in the best way possible...I walked up to my father, clasped his hands and kissed him on the cheeks... He seemed tired…

The Venician Pizza Guy

Inspiration...
It comes to us in many different ways, in many different shapes...
Some of us search high and low to the ends of the Earth looking for it.
For some it just comes when we least expect it. And for a few lucky people, it comes and visits quite a few times throughout their lifetime.
For me, one of these rare moments came from the most unexpected of places, in the most unexpected of times...
Venice, the City of Romance...

Its lush waterways and canals enticing every single soul that sets its eyes upon them... A magical wonderland, with the Renaissance lingering in the very air that the city breathes...

Venice...the City of Romance...
And me nursing a broken heart, which I had left behind somewhere in the Highlands of Scotland...
Irony at its finest...

It was summer, and summer in England was nowhere like summer in Italy. We were roasting in the sweltering heat, sweat continuously pouring down our foreheads... My cousin and I had arrived in Venice for a couple of hours, and were having q…

Student Teacher Trauma

If there is one thing that I have observed about student teachers (trainee teachers on teaching practice), it is that many become a nervous wreck when we the supervisors drop in on them to observe them teaching.

Why is that? Is it because they are afraid they will mess up? Is it because they are afraid they will not live up the standards and expectations of their supervisors? Is it because they are afraid of getting low marks, even in the initial stages of teaching practice?

To be fair, I do remember the times when myself was a trainee teacher... Those were good days... The excitement of being a teacher, able to be in touch with the students, shaping their minds... It was really exciting...

And then the supervisor decides to drop by... But the strange thing is, I don't think I was ever really that nervous of being observed... This was simply because I try to treat each and every lesson the same - make your students enjoy what they are learning, and make sure they learn something! And…

First two weeks of pandemonium

These two weeks have been hectic like heck:
Classes - 6 additional hours of a new subject I never taught before.
Part-timers - 70 exam scripts to mark before the end of this day.
Drama - Oversee TESL Drama preparations
House - Moving to a new house soon. Need to settle:
1) Housing loan
2) Personal loan
3) Electricity
4) Wiring
5) Telephone
6) Grille
7) Lighting
8) Painting
9) Minor repairs
10) Complaints
11) Minor repairs of current house before moving out
12) And as ton of other smaller things to do


Sorry for the yet unanswered tags girls...

Sticks and Stones

As the old playground chant goes:
"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me"

It suddenly crossed my mind to revisit this old adage and verify its validity and relevance in my present stage in life.

First and foremost, this chant was designed by children (God knows in which day and age this came about, but I'm pretty sure it's almost as old as the modern English Language we have come to know and love in this present day) as a defensive response to infuriate the offender (the one who utters the insults or profanities). So effective is this statement that sometimes it often renders the offender frustrated and speechless at the impotence of his or her choice of colourful vocabulary. As the level of profanities escalates in volume, so does the response, until ultimately, the offender becomes frustrated enough to leave, or conversely, take up the challenge and does indeed proceed to break your bones with sticks and stones...

However, if this mechanise…

And They Leave the Nest

Words fail me as I look as the images of Language Camp 2008, beautifully planned and executed by my very own students...Each smiling face a bright splash of colour in the tapestry of my life...I remember the first time I ever set my eyes on each and every one of them...All so young and full of life...So full of hope... So full of ready smiles...And watched them grow throughout the semester, gaining strength upon strength, slowly but surely becoming the educators they are destined to be... Dedicated, knowledgeable, serious in their work but at the same time able to have fun, enjoying their work...In fact this element is central in what I teach my students - Know your stuff but never, ever forget to have fun...Remember that, and you will be teachers that your students will remember until end of their days...My gaze drifts from image to image...Some of my students...Some of their students... Each one with a such a strong sense of life in their eyes...My eyes start to moisten... Probably …

The Price to Pay

Tired...Weary...Burnt-out...Some of the adjectives to express my current state of mind and body. It is now 7.05 in the morning, and I am at 32,000 feet, soaring through the clouds... The wisps of angelic fluff litter the landscape, encompassing the horizon, as the deep blue shades of the South China Sea meld with the growing light of the coming day... The rays of the sun reflecting off the surface of the clouds, lining the tranquil scenery with multiple shades of gold...Yet, through all the beauty emanating through these closed circular windows, I am unable to fully enjoy the view... It has been too long that I have been away from home during the weekends... Usually this was the time I would get up in the morning to play with my bubbly little boy, watching him jump up and down tapping my face to wake me up... This was the time I would usually get up in the morning with my wife and go brisk walking around the lake gardens, and have breakfast at the local Mamak restaurant - Roti Telur w…

My Sarawakian Sojourn (Otherwise known as What I Did With Whatever Free Time I Had After Finishing Lectures in Kuching) - Part I

Saturday - 7.30 pm.At last, a long day of assessments finished. I don't think anyone outside the education industry really has a firm idea of what superhuman effort is needed to sit through 6 hours of hearing students give a presentation on a topic of their choice. Some of them do try hard, bless their souls. It's always a pleasure to get students who try their best, even though they don't deliver a superb piece of work. Bravo to them. However, you do get the other side of the spectrum, where even after being given 3 weeks the best they can come up with is a scrap of paper that was just jotted down a half an hour before their presentations...sigh...Anyway, I'm rambling. Back to reality. 7.30pm, and my student Rackford agreed to send me back to the hotel for a long-deserved rest. Upon reaching, I straight away did a flying dive for the bed... perhaps on par with the Malaysian diving team, but with the grace and style of a hippo belly-flopping into the water... I longed …

OMGIF (Oh My God It's Friday!)

This title is in direct opposition from my Nordic friend's title... It's an early weekend for her... Aaahhh... if only I were so lucky...This is what Fridays have been like for the past month or so for me:8.30am: Drive to work. Mild traffic jam, but usually bearable. Enough for me to read a few chapters of a book before arriving to work.9.00am: Arrive at my office. Yawn once before opening the door. Enter room.  Strategise what to do with the day. Start doing what needs to be done.5.00pm: Drive home. Honk at the customary road hogs. Give the occasional finger here and there.5.45pm: Start packing for my trips to KL or Sarawak (Actually start pointing finger to what needs to be packed, and the lovely missus takes care of the rest, bless her heart).7.15pm: Drive (fly) to the airport. Always a blessing if the cops are on holiday during this time.7.30pm: Check in. Smile at the pretty girl at the check-in counter. Walk to departures. Smile at the not so pretty policewoman at the ins…

Angel of Mine

At last, I managed to piece together another song I wrote in 1997 (though there are gaps here and there that I still can't remember [indicated by the XXX]... Believe it or not, I composed this song in a single night to sieze the moment)
After I got to know what I needed to know from the girl (not the one from my first song), I rushed back to my room and locked myself in... Just me and my Yamaha classical guitar that had become my trademark as the wandering traubedour... and a tape recorder...
Slowly but surely, the words flowed from my pen... An irrepressible flood of emotions that I could hardly contain... And then a melody jumped into my head...
I smiled...
I knew I had a winner...
After a few hours I emerged from my room, with a cassette in hand... Holding it like one would hold a newborn... Tenderly... Preciously... Full of hope and expectation...
I passed my baby to a mutual friend with the message
"Please pass it to her"...
A look of understanding and a sense of agreeme…

Tagged, Bagged, and Gagged...

I crumple to the floor... My superhuman strength of will drained, as I stare in disbelief at my computer screen...

No sooner did I finish pressing the 'publish post' button on for my tag, another tag hits me like a 10-ton truck carrying a nuclear payload...Courtesy of The Nordic Convert...

Must...gather...strength...

I pull my limp body up to the chair again...

I sit...slowly...painfully...

I flex my fingers...as deft as a concert pianist about to present a recital...

The tag:

8 Random facts about me

1. I was born 2 months premature. I was a TINY baby, but looking at the hulking mass of lubber in front of you now, you would never have guessed.

2. Ever since I was born, my parents (God bless them) never called or condoned the shortened local variations of my name (Abdullah) to 'Dolah', or 'Dol', and even once wrote a letter for me to pass to my standard 1 teacher, requesting her to do so as well. I remember the amused expression on her face as she read the letter... In…

Tagged and Bagged...

Alamak... begini ke rasanya kena tag nie?


Hatiku panas membara kerana telah ditag oleh studentku sendiri...


Sampai hatimu Tiqa... tidakkah daku cukup memberikanmu kasih sayang dan perhatian dalam kelas? isk...isk... (There goes my drama skills kicking in...hehehe)


Anyway, it looks like I've been tagged... and the topic is...


'The age that I wish to go back to...'


I think with me there isn't really an age that I would go back to just to change anything, because to me, all that has happened in the past has shaped me into the person I am today...


However... I would like to relive the events that happened to me when I was 22... Yes... That was one heck of a good year...



Canterbury, Kent... England...


A year of love gained and love lost...


A year of the best friends a guy could ask for... Enrique Garcia Ruiz...Maria Isabel Poveda...Cindy Barquero...Katherine Fiallho... Junji... Takako... Ainara Andueza... Miguel... Jayne Ann Kilvington... and a host of others too numerous to mention…

Corrupt Hard Drive

Sometimes it's really frustrating when you try and access some crucial data from your hard drive, and then you hear a 'click...click'... and you know you're doomed...
All that data from the past gone up in smoke...

Kinda pretty much the same as my brain I'd say... lately, I'd been trying to muster up the lyrics of songs that I wrote a decade ago... and it's really frustrating cos most of it's coming up empty...

However, I did piece together most of the words of the first song I ever wrote...
(XXXX represents parts of corrupt memory... I really can't remember these parts)

Here goes...


Look into Your Heart

We've been friends for so very long
Our friendship's so strong
But I don't want to end it today
By what I have to say

I've been waiting half my life
For something to arrive
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXX

Chorus:
Be careful what you hide
Please don't take me for a ride
Just look into your heart
And you'll see who's inside

I …

Heaven Knows

Does anyone remember this song back in the day?
I think I just started college...



Only Heaven Knows
(Sung by Rick Price)

She's always on my mind,
from the time I wake up
'till I close my eyes
she's everywhere I go
she's all I know

though she's so far away
it just keeps getting stronger
every day
and even now she's gone
I'm still holding on

so tell me where do I start
'cause it's breaking my heart
don't wanna let her go

chorus:
maybe my love will come back some day
only heaven knows
and maybe our hearts will find their way
only heaven knows
and all I can do is hope and pray
'cause heaven knows

my friends keep telling me
that if you really love her
you've gotta set her free
and if she returns in kind
I'll know she's mine

so tell me where do I start
'cause it's breaking my heart
don't wanna let her go

chorus

why I live in despair
'cause wide awake or dreaming
I know she's never there
and all this time I act so bra…

The Way to a Man's Heart is Through His Stomach...

Ahh... Isn't that one of the loveliest things you've ever set your sights on?...A truly irresistible combination of heavenly gastronomic delight...Piping hot succulent Baked Fish Pasta.. Light and crispy Garlic toast... Thick and creamy mushroom soup...Tantalising to the eyes, and totally enslaving to the weak of mind (I mean that in the kindest way to such people as myself, when it comes to delicious food), the food taunts me...I am powerless to deny its power...The pasta calls out to me...I obey...I slowly dip my fork and spoon into the heavenly mix, and as I twist the pasta round and round my fork, it releases a mouthwatering scent... The promise of infinite pleasure...I bite...I chew...I pause...Ahhh.... Heaven...If the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, then I have pledged my undying love to you...Only to you...Vivo's....

Photographs

I was going through some stuff the other day, and I found a small collection of photographs belonging to someone I used to know...

It really brought back memories..

I didn't have many pictures of her left...

One of her and her friend..
One of her at the hairdresser...
And one she took of herself..she looked really thin in the pic.. I wonder if she was eating ok at the time...


Funny things, photographs...
How they magically transport us back through the sands of time... Sifting through the meaningless maelstrom of images until we finally see meaning in them... How each sound reverberates through space and time, echoing in the vast caverns of the human mind...

Faint, and barely discernable... the images start to become clearer.. like an old film reel projector whirring to life...

I sit and watch those images in my mind, a lone solitary figure in a huge ampitheater... pitch black, except for the moving images on the silk screen...


Funny things, photographs...
Spend too much time on t…

At Last... Some Respite...

As I mouse over the sign "SIMPAN" on the UTM marks website, I hesitate.. could it really be over?... My finger trembles for a while, both from lack of sleep and an overdose in caffeine...
Like a Gulf War veteran, vivid images of dazed days and sleepless nights overwhelm my senses... oh the horror... the desolation... the senseless destruction... the red pen in my hands bleeding dry, as the blood red ink pours itself onto tons and tons of paper pages... oh the horror...

Suddenly, I am back in my room in UTM... The clock reads 8:47pm... Way too late to be at the office... How I long for the comfort of the bosom of my loved one... This tour of duty has gone on for too long... (Soundtrack: Soldier of Fortune by Deep Purple)

I press the mouse button...

After what seems like an eternity, the grades come to life... I blink in a daze...

I blink again, and comprehension registers...

I have given my students their due... Time to get mine...

At long, long, last... my nightmare is over...

Time …

NEW STRAITS TIMES (11/04/08)

Barriers to learning English
By : Shenton Thomas De Silva


JOHOR BARU: Efforts to raise flagging English language proficiency levels in Malaysia are being hampered by children's poor reading habits as well as the cultural factor.

That is according to an English Language lecturer from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, who cited the two stumbling blocks as sources of frustration for many English teachers in the country.

Abdullah Mohd Nawi, from UTM's Faculty of Education, even went so far as to say that English books may soon be phased out in the country within the next ten years.

"Students nowadays will not read any literature that does not directly feature in their exams.

"If they do pick up a book, it is either a comic book or manga.

"The sad truth is that students do not read any of the good and substantial reading materials available," said Abdullah.

Asked whether the poor reading habit among Malaysians was a cultural phenomenon or a symptom of the education system,…

Agenda Barat memalukan Islam?

“Sebenarnya ini bukan sekadar soal seorang gadis bernama Sufiah, tapi ia soal Islam yang dihina dan diperlekehkan. Bagi saya, apa yang berlaku ke atas Sufiah adalah agenda terancang pihak Barat untuk menjatuhkan maruah Islam" - Metro (4/5/08)

Aku saban hari terfikir, mengapa jika ada apa-apa berita mengenai orang yang beragama Islam yang tersilap atau 'terpesong', secara automatic ia akan dianggap sebagai agenda Barat untuk menjatuhkan maruah Islam?

Mengapa setiap sesuatu bencana yang melanda umat Islam dianggap perbuatan Barat yang durjana?

Mengapa setiap sesuatu yang dilakukan 'menjatuhkan' martabat orang Islam?

Tidakkah orang Islam sendiri sedar bahawa di atas perbuatan mereka sendiri, 'martabat' yang mereka agung-agungkan itu sebenarnya bagaikan satu 'fantasi' di mata dunia?

Aku termenung... Kusut fikiranku... Apakah systemic disfunction yang wujud dalam umat Islamku yang tercinta hinggakan mereka tidak sedar bahawa kelemahan itu wujud dalam diri m…