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Showing posts from September, 2010

Reflections of Ramadhan and Eid Mubarak from quake-stricken Christchurch

Image credit here
It is the last day of Ramadhan.
I pause to reflect on the events that have transpired this past month.
So many questions come to mind - Did I make full use of the Ramadhan? Did I manage to get closer to God? Was there anything that I could have done differently?
And the answer always seems to fall short of what I want.
It is not the not eating and drinking part that I have found difficult the past month. The challenge for me was more of the other aspects of Ramadhan: having to avert my eyes at impure sights ( a big challenge here), avoiding impure thoughts, and most of all, sustaining my supplementary prayers and du'a throughout the entire month.
But Alhamdulillah, I am glad to report that I did manage the latter - I almost always managed to pray and additional solat taubah and solat hajat after my tarawih, and an additional solat taubah and hajat after Subuh prayers. Of this I am infinitely grateful that Allah gave me the strength and will-power to accomplish this - s…

Day 5 - from building to body

As I am writing this I feel weak, not able to concentrate properly. Only my strong desire to chronicle my experience here has given me the push to type out this entry on my iPhone.

It's still relatively under control, this thing my body is experiencing. Yesterday night, it started with burning and spasming in my stomach. I just couldn't sit upright. Lying down made the pain bearable.

It was now 1130pm, a time when I would usually pray my supplementary Tarawih prayers for Ramadhan, but I just didn't have the strength for it.

And so I slept.

Or try to sleep. The dreams I have just keep on referring to the burning in my stomach. I can't remember the last time it hurt this bad. An aftershock rocks the house slightly.

I wake up at 3.30 in the morning to a dream that was very unnerving - I dreamt that my stomach acids had burnt away my stomach and mouth. I shake off the dream, and drag myself to make ablutions and pray my Tarawih.

As I pray, every movement seems like swimming in …

Update - Day 3

It is now the third day into the Canterbury Earthquake crisis.

Only now are we beginning to grasp the full extent of the damage and trauma Cantabrians face.

So far there have been 15,000 insurance claims on damages, and a full 50% of the homes in Canterbury have been damaged in some way.

As I watch the news, my heart goes out to those whose homes have been totally demolished, or condemned. Homes, old and new, some worth a million dollars or more per house, all gone in the blink of an eye. Some have no electricity, no toilet facilities, no running water.

Stories have cropped up today of so many close calls, of bricks falling down exactly where there people's heads had been just moments before, some of people suddenly falling into silt and quicksand, but managing to to escape.

Many were in tears as the news crews interviewed them, voices shaking, still reeling from the shock at the events that had transpired over the past three days.

Even my fellow Malaysians here were not spared…


Picture: Manchester Street, just off where I work. Very thankful the language centre is OK

It is now a full day since the monumentous earthquake rocked Canterbury, and Cantabrians find themselves changed forever. The safety and sanctity of their idyllic little world came crashing down the very instant the first brick dislodged and disintigrated onto the ground.
The city centre is now in lockdown. There is a police curfew in effect from 7pm to 7am, relegating Christchurch to become a ghost town after dark. Businesses are expected to be closed for at least a week. My language centre is closed for a few days at least. The University of Canterbury declared a closure until Monday the 13th.
And yet, be that as it may, I see Cantabrians still getting on with life. The streets are a lot quiter, and there aren't as many people jogging, but the mail is still sent, flyers from supermarkets about their latest price promotions still litter the lawn, dogs are still being walked.
Life seems to have …

The end of the world - what a 7.1 magnitude earthquake feels like at 4.35am

Never have I felt totally powerless against the awe of Nature, before the might of God.
I awake up with a jolt. Pitch black. A roaring sound in my ears and the house shaking on its very foundations.
I do not comprehend what is happening.
My heart thumps like a hammer on an anvil.
I draw the curtain, and what I see stops my heart. Darkness...and a sudden flash of light... like something exploding in the distance... And then the heater suddenly switches off. And the street lights blink and die. My mind still does not know what forces are assaulting it.
Earthquake? But what was that explosion?
Was it a plane crash?
Is is the end of the world?...
Total pitch darkness.
And the roaring continues, filling my ears with cacophony and my heart with dread.
The house continues to shake in waves.
With no electricity and the outside temperature being 1 degree Celcius, my mind starts to panic. No electricity in Malaysia means a pitch black night of sweltering heat, sweat, and no TV. No electricity in NZ in lat…


Click... First slide comes on and I'm in the zone.

As I open my mouth and greet the audience all the apprehension that I faced the night before seemed unfounded.

I was in the zone. Each point was explained in just enough detail to get the audience interested, and keep them interested. All the points that needed to be highlighted were emphasised with clarity and precision. And best of all, I reached the end of my presentation at exactly the same time as the timekeeper's bell.

Toastmasters trained me well.

And at the end of it all, it was just so rewarding to get the audience asking questions, and telling me afterwards that they were amazed at how much passion I had for my topic.

The thing is, I was getting bored of the topic and wanted to modify it, but they didn't need to know that...

I finish my slot, and head out of the door, ready to go to work... Satisfied and happy with my first conference presentation outside Malaysian soil.