Saturday, December 27, 2008

Getting engaged!

Assalamualaikum...

Today, 27th December 2008 is my Engagement Day. Hmm, suddenly it sounds like 'Judgement Day!" But never mind that; yeah, i'm getting engaged today!

The story of my 'love story' - if you can call it that - is sooo ordinary... which in turn makes it kinda extraordinary.
Well, if you're arching your brows right now reading that, hehe, i'll defend myself by saying, that's not my 'saying' actually. That came from one and two of my friends!
Simply said; they told me, for a guy, who is not so 'melayu' (they said, not me!), i chose a very conservative and old-fashioned way of finding a spouse!
And you know what? i happened to agree with them. But, that's the story for another time. Because for now, i'm too edgy to tell anything in here...

Right now, i'm going to grab something to eat, and maybe later, go to gym...
Oh and one more thing, i won't even be there today. i just leave everything to my family. Ironically, i have 'kursus nikah', this afternoon, here in KL.

Hmm, kursus nikah in the midst of engagement day. Not bad huh...

Bye,
AidanZ







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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Parroting...

Assalamualaikum...

Ok, it's officially has been sooo long since i last write in here.
Since Obama's win... i just realized now.

The last couple of weeks has been quite eventful and hectic for me, although i do not blame that as the reason i can't write anything in here. Not in the slightest.
For me if you want to write, you can absolutely write. It's that simple.
Either you do... or you don't.

So, since i just un-block my 'no-writing' mode - at least for today - i want to share about something very light here with you.

I got this yesterday, during a writing workshop near Wangsa Maju. Just so you know, it's not the main lesson. This thing i wanna share is actually from an article that we have to read and then were asked to do it all over again in our own word.

The title of the article: How To Never Need To Wonder, "What Do I Say Next?"

Nice title, isn't it?

In summary, The article discussed about what to do when you're at lost of anything to say in the middle of conversation. Especially, when the person is someone you just met, or a long-lost friend that you still need time to get familiar again. Hmm, on the other hand, maybe you can include anybody that you distaste or even despise, but you know you need to make good impressions on him/her! (Hmm, your boss, maybe? hehe)

So, the author introduced a rather nice word - PARROTING - inspired by parrots that will repeat other people's word.

In the article, he gave a quite hillarious example of him using the paroting tecnique to coverse with his friend. But i'm not gonna copy that down here.
Instead, i realized i also happened to be in the same position this morning with my housemate, in which i used the technique without i realized it.

One advice beforehand, especially if you're known as a 'good listener' among your friends and peers, this technique will help you greatly.

So this morning, as usual, i was sitting in front of my laptop in the living room, and tried very hard to do my writings.
And then one of my housemate came and sat beside me. For the sake of this entry, i will call him B and just so you know, lately he just developed an interest in Music and has actually been searching for Piano class...

The conversation was something like this:

B: Abg Zahar, yesterday i went to One Utama and there are two Music Shops there, selling musical instrumens.
Me: Music Shops?

B: Yup. But i only went to one of the shop because the salesgirl is really cute.

Me: Huh? Cute salesgirl? Hehe.

B: Yes, really! Anyway i asked if there's piano lesson offered there.

Me: Piano lesson... there, in the shop?

B: Aah. She said yes. And she told me the fee is blah...blah...blah... Really expensive.

Me: Expensive?
(Then somehow i remembered about his other survey)
Me: Compared to before?

B: Expensive. (He confirmed)


Then things got quite for several seconds. In case you're wondering, i still struggle with my writings at the time, which made me quite annoyed when he continued talking.

B: But if i take the piano lesson, i need to buy a piano, maybe a classic piano. To practice...
Me: Classic piano?

B: Yeah, classic piano. It differed from 'Keyboard' and 'Organ'

Me: Keyboard? Organ?

(Patiently, he explained to me the difference between those three. I've to admit i can't remember a thing of what he told me. In fact, what i remember was me and my friend, Amir, made a joke out of it until my stomach hurt) Then,

Me: Go buy
lah. (I suggest, rather uninterestedly)
B: Expensive!


(And at that time, somehow the topic shifted away and although i was still required to be in the conversation, i can't recall any of it.)

Later, i was thinking about something, when suddenly i remember about the 'Parroting' technique i read yesterday and the conversation i had this morning.

At the time, i realized... Wow! I've been using this technique for so long without i realized it. I've survived long and boring conversations with this technique, and i am known as 'the best listener' among the lot!!

Hu, then everybody can be a good listener, right?
Just repeat what your friend is saying, stress the last word to indicate that you want explanation or you're asking question, and believe me he/she will gladly comply and do all the talking.

And while you 'listen', you can do other things also, such as, thinking about what you want to eat after that, perhaps?

(Hehe, But please, never, never do this technique to play-play with people's heart ok...!)

TQ


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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Barack Obama - The 44th President of USA

Assalamualaikum...

It's confirm now!

Barack Obama, 47 is the new President of United States of America!

A son of a black man from Kenya and a white mother from Kansas, Obama is the first black president in the US history.
As now (1345) , he leads John McCain, 72 of Republican with insurmountable lead of 338 Electoral Collage compared to McCain's 141, far surpassed the 270 needed to be the president.
Other than traditional Democrat-leaning State such as California (55 AP), New York (31 AP), Obama managed to snatch almost all the swing states that are tightly contested between the two candidate.
Ohio (20), Pennsylvania(21), Virginia(13), Florida(27) and Colorado(9), all tilted towards the Democrat, giving him the decisive victory over McCain.
The landslide victory is as predicted as the Americans facing their worst economy crisis since 1980, which many pundits put the blame on the failed policies - foreign and domestic - of President Bush's government.

The peril journey of this remarkable man from Chicago is nearing it's end as the next challenge as the president of the most powerful nation in the world, looming ahead of him.

Said Obama, "Yes, We Can!"



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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Autism dan Anda

Telah lama penulis tidak menulis dalam blog Aidan ini. Dalam entry pada kali ini, penulis akan membicarakan tentang sebuah buku yang ditulis oleh Jenny McCarthy yang bertajuk 'Louder Than Words'. Buku setebal 200 muka surat ini adalah berkenaan tentang anak Jenny McCarthy iaitu Evan yang menghidapi penyakit autism dan pengalaman Jenny apabila berhadapan dengan masalah ini


Apakah itu autism? Autism, mengikut pandangan peribadi penulis, ialah sejenis penyakit mental atau dengan lebih tepat lagi penyakit 'neuroimmune' dan adalah hasil daripada gabungan genetik dan persekitaran. Mengikut buku tersebut, pada tahun 1970-an, 1 daripada 10,000 orang menghidapi penyakit autism dan meningkat kepada 1 dalam 150 orang pada kurun ke 20. Walau pun penyakit ini merebak dengan cepatnya di Amerika Syarikat, penyakit autism ini semakin dikenali di Malaysia walau pun jumlahnya kecil. Buku ini merupakan buku bukan fiksyen kedua yang penulis baca yang ditulis oleh seorang wanita. Buku pertama bukan fiksyen yang pertama dibaca oleh penulis yang ditulis oleh seorang perempuan ialah buku 'I am Muslim' oleh Dina Zaman.
Jenny McCarthy menceritakan bagaimana dalam menghadapi krisis ini, beliau telah dilanda masalah emosi dan kekeluargaan yang dahsyat. Bayangkan, dalam usaha mendiagnos penyakit yang dihidapi oleh Evan ini, Evan telah mengalami 'seizure' sebanyak 8 kali. Doktor demi doktor dan hospital demi hospital gagal memberi keputusan yang tepat berkenaan tentang penyakit Evan ini. Sehinggalah apabila Jenny membawa anaknya bertemu dengan seorang doktor di Texas, Amerika Syarikat. Baharulah diketahui bahawa anaknya mempunyai penyakit autism.
Untuk maklumat yang lebih lanjut tentang bagaimana Jenny McCarthy menghadapi masalah autism ini dengan jayanya, capailah buku ini di kedai buku yang berhampiran......Jumpa lagi.....

Sunday, November 2, 2008

US Presidential Election 2008

Assalamualaikum...

The US presidential election is held on the Tuesday after the first Monday of November, once in every 4 years, .

Which means, this Tuesday, on 4th of November. And no matter what the outcome this Tuesday, it will create history of either the first black man ever to hold the presidency in the form of Barack Obama, 47, or the oldest US President ever in the form of John McCain, 72.

I've followed this election since February this year, when Obama first made a huge surprise by upsetting the clear favorite at the time, Hillary Clinton, 60, in the first presidential primary in Iowa - to determine who's going to be the candidate for their party.
Then, in early August, i cheered heartily when Obama finally clinched the nomination for Democrat Party to face McCain of Republican, in November election.

Many pundits say, this election is for Obama to lose, meaning he's supposed to win -and with a big margin at that. Why? It's simply because the Americans are sick of George Bush, the Republican who has steered US into almost-complete chaos, mainly because of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and also because of the Economic recession.

Some even said, IF - and it really is a big if - Obama lose, there will be blood in the cities. America will be divided, Democrat and Republican will clash as never seen before, and worst of all, racial crisis will once again arised.

Foreign Polls conducted by International newspaper all around the world showed overwhelming support for Obama. They said Bush presidency has managed to alienate the world with wars and harsh foreign affairs, especially in the middle east. Obama, they said will exercise more diplomatic foreign affairs, which is what the world needs. More than ever now.

Personally, i believe- i hope, Obama will win. He is the epitome of younger generation, educated, and most importantly, fresh from the old politics of Washington that has been there for so long now. His motto of 'Change' echoed across the America. He managed to rally 100,000, 75,000 people wherever he goes to campaign. He amass hundreds of millon dollars from his supporters and run the most expensive election campaign the world ever see.

And with just i day to go, the world is holding it's breath to see if the young, black, first term Senator from Illinois, who came from nowhere suddenly on the verge of becoming the most powerful man in the world.




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Monday, October 27, 2008

Baca Novel...


Assalamualaikum...

Alhamdulillah, saya baru balik dari kampung di Melaka, dan terus terasa hendak menulis sesuatu di sini. Lagipun dah lama sangat rasanya tidak mencoretkan apa-apa, dan lebih lama lagi tidak menulis dalam bahasa Melayu. So, minta maaf awal-awal kalau tulisan ni sedikit tunggang-langgang ek...

Balik baru-baru ni, dua kakak saya dan anak-anak saudara saya semuanya sedang dalam 'mood' membaca novel. 'Ayat-ayat Cinta' dan 'Hijab Sang Pencinta'. Untuk pengetahuan anda, mood membaca bukanlah sesuatu yang aneh dalam keluarga saya kerana kami boleh dikategorikan sebagai ulat buku. Malah, ia adalah situasi biasa jika kedengaran mak saya memanggil, namun tidak mendapat sebarang jawapan lantaran semuanya sedang sibuk membaca!
Namun, jangan risau. Panggilan kali kedua biasanya akan terus mendapat reaksi positif daripada kitorang semua kerana suara mak saya... huu... nyaring betul! Hehe, Sori Mom...!

Berbalik kepada kisah membaca tadi- bagaimanapun. ada sesuatu yang sangat berbeza sebenarnya di sebalik 'kebiasaan' itu. Iaitu material bahan bacaan kami; novel berbahasa Melayu.
Sebelum weekend baru-baru ni, sudah lama benar rasanya tidak ada novel Melayu di rumah kami. Sebulan sekali kami balik kampung, masing-masing pasti akan membawa buku masing-masing. Namun, semuanya buku omputih. Sesekali kami kongsi 'review' buku yang kami baca dalam bulan tu, juga tiada satu pun buku dalam bahasa ibunda.

Dan seperti yang saya katakan tadi, hinggalah hujung minggu ini.

Saya telah membaca novel 'Ayat-ayat Cinta' lama dulu. Memang best! Mungkin novel bahasa Melayu paling bagus yang pernah saya baca. Kakak saya baru nak membaca novel itu sejak menonton filemnya baru-baru ni. Dan anak-anak saudara saya pun baru nak menurut langkah. Since saya sorang saja yang dah baca buku tu, saya pun bagi review pada mereka. Saya katakan pada mereka, novel itu memang bagus, dan mereka memang patut membacanya!

Namun, bukan itu yang hendak saya ceritakan...

Buku yang kedua bertajuk 'Hijab Sang Pencinta', tulisan Ramlee Awang Mursyid, terbitan Alaf21.
Buku ini adalah buku ketiga dan menurut penulisnya, buku terakhir, dalam siri kisah Laksamana Sunan, watak utama dalam buku itu. Buku pertamanya, Bagaikan Puteri, diikuti, Cinta Sang Ratu, dikatakan telah menjadi 'best-seller' dan dijangka buku ketiga itu juga tidak ada masalah untuk mencapai status yang sama.
Saya harus akui, ketiga-tiga buku ini adalah buku-buku yang saya betul-betul suka. Begitu juga dengan ahli keluarga saya yang lain. Jika tidak, masakan saya harus 'beratur' di belakang anak-sanak saudara saya untuk membaca buku itu!

Jadi, di sini saya ingin ambil kesempatan untuk memberitahu, barangsiapa yang seperti dalam mood untuk membaca novel Melayu yang sedap dibaca, saya sarankan ketiga-tiga buku Ramlee Awang Mursyid tadi. Banyak unsur-unsur supernatural diselang-selikan dengan unsur islamik. Unsur sejarah yang menjadi latar belakang buku ini berjaya dikupas dengan menarik, di samping unsur 'romance' yang agak ringan... InsyaAllah, anda akan menyukainya.
Hmm, dalam kealpaan saya, perkembangan buku Melayu sejak kebelakangan ini sudah semakin rancak, dan saya lebih daripada gembira untuk mengikutinya. Jadi, jika anda pernah terbaca buku/novel Melayu yang baik/best, bolehlah beritahu saya ye. Sharing is improving...

Terima Kasih...



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Monday, October 13, 2008

Hamba Ramadhan @ Hamba Allah?

Assalamualaikum...

This is the first post-Ramadhan, post-Aidilfitri entry i write in here. For most part, life has gone back to normal, yet i still cannot make myself to write anything in here. In fact, everytime i opened the 'create post' page for this blog, i can only stare blankly at the screen while frowning deeply, until i closed the page and went to do something else.

But tonight, i vowed that i will write something. Anything. Just to get back 'the mood', i told myself. And so i choose to write about something i read in the newspaper recently. Perhaps because it struck me squarely on the face. Perhaps because i hope it will serve as a reminder to us, myself especially, for this post-Ramadhan period.

The topic is, are we the servant of Allah or the servant of Ramadhan? Sounds controversial. But, that's the fact most of us didn't realize.

The issue is, why during Ramadhan, we can do all sorts of ibadah, such as reading Al-Quran, Sedekah, Solat sunat, Control our nafsu and anger, and so many things? Then, once Ramadhan's over, all that seem like a distant memory, if not history?! It was as if, we're two different people; strong and obedient Muslim during Ramadhan, while weak and 'culas' during post-Ramadhan period?

I must admit, i happened to be one with the 'split-personality' as well. Like i said, that revelation struck me squarely on my face. Without realizing, I have been the servant of Ramadhan, while not really served Allah, the Only, and Truly God of mine! Somehow, I'd forgot that Ramadhan is only the medium for me to get closer to Allah, not the end target of my ibadah!

God, it was hard. To maintain the level of Ramadhan for the next 11 months, huh, it was like.. impossible. Just look at 'Puasa Enam'! I don't know about you, but it sure was impossibly hard for me! (and i still didn't finish it yet!)

So, what are we waiting for? Let's check whether we're truly the servant of Allah... or not?!

May Allah bless us...




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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Salam Eid ul Fitr

Assalamualaikum...

Today is Saturday, 27 Ramadhan/27 Sept 2008. 4 more days to complete the fasting month of Ramadhan and 4 more days to celebrate 'Idulfitri. Yet, the feeling all around is already in a celebration mood, don't you think? My house, for example, has already gotten empty. 3 of my housemates already off to their hometown on Thursday. I will go back tomorrow (Sunday) and so will the other two.

So far, i've restrained myself from saying anything -any word- about Raya. That's the rule i strictly put upon myself. I said to myself, it's Ramadhan that matters the most. Not Raya. Finding LailatulQadar is the target, not Raya! After all, there must be reasons Allah made Ramadhan, 30 days of 'wajib puasa', followed by only 1 day of 'haram puasa' to celebrate (30 : 1 in value and importance?) Well, that's what i reasoned with myself.

However, i also realized one thing. If we have tried our best -real effort- in this holy month, then we have every reason to celebrate Raya with all the happiness we can muster. Because, we truly deserved it.

So, to all the readers, in the spirit of upcoming 1 Syawal, i wish you Happy 'Idulfitri. May you find joy alongside your families and your loved ones. Take care of yourselves and don't forget to pray so we can still meet the next Ramadhan.

May Allah bless us and accepts all of our ibadah...


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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

An Eventful Day.

Assalamualaikum...

Have you ever had a day, you really want to rip your own hand off of you, being chased by a police patrol car, and being told 'Sir, it's time to break fast' by a Chinese guy?
Well, i had all that yesterday.

In what could arguably be one of the most eventful day for me in this Ramadhan, i experienced all the above situation with lots.. lots of emotions - from anger, frustration, horror, shock, regret to awe, humbleness and grateful.

Let's go to 'bad' emotions first.

1) I twisted my right wrist - the starting of everything!
I would say, this was the worst thing that happened to me yesterday. My tennis hand was twisted! What could be worse? That was the first thing that flashed through my mind - and with horror too - as i suddenly felt the sharp pain when i lifted my rather heavy bag yesterday.

Despite my vow to not get angry in this fasting month, i felt very very angry with myself! Why did i always have to rush to do things - in this case, lifting my bag. If only i was a little bit more careful, and patient, it won't happen, I chastised myself.

And as the anger - and panic - enveloped me, i made things even worse by twisting my wrist really hard in every direction possible, hoping the pain will subside, but to no avail. And as i learned soon after that, that reckless action of mine just made my wrist hurt even more by the hour!

2) Soon after that, i was in my car, in a hurry to go to One Utama. I was asked to book a table at Shogun, a Japanese Buffet Restaurant, where i planned to break fast with my friends, Aiman and Amir.

No need to say, i still didn't do the booking. While i could't find where i put the phone number of the restaurant, and my watch showed it was already near 6 o'clock, i sped my car heading toward OU.

Come this one intersection at Damansara Perdana, i made an illegal U-Turn, only to see there was a police car there. I felt a bit panic then, but i said, what the heck, almost everyone did that!

I realized the patrol car was following behind, and i saw the light started to flash together with the siren sound. But still, i didn't slow down. I still think that patrol car was after someone else!

At last, when i realized the police started to edge my car to the side of the road, only then i knew, it was me who they were after!

No wonder the policeman was really angry after that! With a glare and a really harsh tone, he asked for my I.C and license and went away for almost 30 minutes! He didn't even tell me what was my mistake and why he needed to give me tickets!

The 30 minutes was supposed to be the time where i felt humiliated - all the other cars were slowing down to see who was the bad guy! - and upset, and frustrated. But I didn't!

As i sat silently in my car, waiting for the ticket, i felt oddly in peace with myself. I stared at my painfully-throbbing hand, as my mind adjusted to what had just happened to me.

Hmm, i said, these - my twisted wrist and the police incident - are obviously a test for me! A Ramadhan tests! To see how i would react and cope with it. I would say i failed for the first one, but i learned to get over it for the second one.

When the policemen came back to me, he almost threw the ticket together with my IC and driving license, but i offered him a smile and a thanks. He didn't return any of them, but it was understandable. I made the mistake, i paid the price.

3) Lucky, during my brief 'arrest', Aiman arrived at OU, and i asked him to do the booking instead. He came from Shah Alam but he was earlier than me, the 'local guy'! hehe. If Amir also managed to be earlier than me, i was dead. He's from Perak!

It was the first time i've been to Shogun and the food; wow! I glanced around and i can see we were not the only Malay there. Quite many, actually.

As we settled down with food almost covered the table, Aiman and I talked. (Amir didn't arrive yet) We talked about old friends, and many others. Then, suddenly one Chinese waiter came to our table and said something like, "Sir, it's already time to break fast!"

Instinctively i looked at my watch. "Haah lah! It's time!". Then Aiman and I laughed! It was so bizarre! And as Aiman said, "It wasn't everyday a Chinese guy come and tell you to break fast! You should write this in your blog."

Later, Amir arrived and we shared the story with him. Oh, and along with so many other stories. As a result, we were among the last group to leave the restaurant.

Although I felt a twinge of guilt for the missing tarawih in the mosque, i was lying if i said i didn't enjoy myself. I'll make it up later, i said, to my conscience.

As for my day, I would say, "All's well when end's well"
I certainly learned my lesson.
and
I certainly need to find a good masseur to do something about my wrist before the holiday finished! Or i have to tell my tennis-buddy Sham, about the 'grieving' news.

Pray for me, will ya? (desperate...)

P/S: My friend told me i need to buy a camera so that i can put pictures in here. A picture worth a thousand words. He's right. But until then, please bear just with my messy writings, ok?




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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Malaysian teenager's Quran recitation wins hearts

Assalamualaikum...

Dubai: The young Malaysian participant who was eventually declared the winner of the recitation event at the Dubai International Holy Quran Award (DIHQA) event had the jam-packed audience in a thrall.

The contest began at midnight on Thursday after the conclusion of programmes associated with the event. The prizes will be announced on Saturday at 9.30pm in the presence of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, at the Cultural and Scientific Association.

There were seven participants in all who vied for the top three prizes. A Turkish contestant and a Kuwaiti participant were adjudged second and third respectively in the recitation event.

Showcasing talent

Thirteen-year-old Mohammad Bin Ahmad Zahid's performance moved some members of the audience to tears.

His recitation of verses from Surat Ar-Rahman (The Beneficent, The Mercy Giving) of the Quran during the stage of the competition when each participant was given seven minutes to showcase his talent went down especially well with those assembled.

The other contestants in the fray were from Yemen, Mauritania, Libya, and Somalia.

Speaking to Gulf News, other participants at the event recalled how they had pursued their Quran studies. Senoussi Daoud from Chad said he had memorised the Quran along with his three siblings in a Khalwa, a traditional mosque school in Africa.

The 20-year-old is a high school student at a public school that imparts the Saudi curriculum.

"Memorising the Quran is part of one's cultural upbringing in Chad. Most people in my hometown memorise the Quran," said Daoud.

Solidarity

He told Gulf News the Khalwa also served as key centres of education for those wanting to learn the Arabic language.

"Everyone in the Khalwa shares equally what is available. The values and the experiences of the Khalwa help to forge a solidarity among its members which lasts for a lifetime," said Senoussi.

Ahmedou Salem Taleb, a 21-year-old participant from Mauritania, said students used a lawlah, a small wooden tablet, to take notes while memorising the Quran back in his home country and generally across North Africa.

Students would then repeat what they memorised around 300 times-using the Misbah (counting beads), he said.

**I got this article from Gulfnews and i felt compelled to put it here.

I know adik Muhammad (above picture) because he's a constant figure at Masjid Taqwa, TTDI. Although i didn't know him personally, i can tell he is the pride of TTDI residents. I had a conversation with his father once and he told me adik Muhammad is a Hafiz since he was 8 years old! And his other siblings also wanted to follow suit.

Amazing huh! When i asked how he did what he did, he said he planned everything about the education of the children wih his wife since they were really little. They sacrificed a lot in the early stages, instilled interest of Islam and Al-Quran in their children's heart while at the same time worked hard to balance their childhood life.

It really sounds like a lot of work, but for all i can see now, it was all worth it!
In my heart, I hope i can do the same with my children when the time come...


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Krisis Kewangan??

By Mullah

Assalamualaikum dan Alhamdulillah, penulis dapat menulis lagi dalam blog ini setelah sekian

lama menyepi dan memencilkan diri daripada dunia penulisan. Alhamdulillah jua kerana penulis

dapat menulis tentang krisis kewangan yang melanda ketika ini

Menurut laporan akhbar, 10 bank di Amerika Syarikat telah 'gulung tikar' kerana krisis sub -

prima sektor perumahan dan baru-baru ini, AIG (American International Group) telah kerugian

USD 18.5 billion (RM 68 billion) dan mungkin akan diselamatkan oleh Federal Reserve. Hhmmm

Di Malaysia, saham kita telah mengalamai kejatuhan yang teruk sejak 2 tahun lepas dan

menurut laman web The Star, saham kita telah melonjak naik ke paras 1025.7 apabila ditutup

pada 19 September 2008 yang lepas. Jadi, apakah penyelesaiannya???

Di sini, penulis ingin berkongsi ilmu daripada sebuah buku yang sedang dibaca oleh penulis iaitu

'Make Money, Not Excuses' yang dikarang oleh Jean Chatzky, seorang penasihat kewangan

terkenal Amerika Syarikat dan pernah muncul dalam rancangan Oprah. Pesanannya ialah :-

1. Maksimakan Pendapatan kita

2. Minimumkan lagi Perbelanjaan

3. Laburkan Simpanan kita (minimum 10% setiap bulan) dan

4. Lindungi Simpanan kita

Okaylah, sampai di sini sahaja penulis berkongsi idea dan ilmu. Jumpa lagi



Thursday, September 18, 2008

What i really missed during Ramadhan?

Assalamualaikum...

I don't remember where i got the question.

What i really missed during Ramadhan?

I said that was easy. I can think of one immediately. In fact, i didn't really have to think at all. I really missed this one thing, it's always there in my mind.

But the questioner didn't satisfied. That, i remember, because i was asked to list 10:
Okay, i said. Here is the list:

1) Tennis
2) Tennis
3) Tennis
4) Tennis
5) Tennis
6) Tennis
7) Tennis
8) Tennis
9) Tennis
10) McFlurry

There. That's my list of what i really missed during this fasting month.

In fact, whenever my friends told me about 'Raya Sales', here and there, i surprised them by asking: hei, do you happen to know if there's Sales for Nike' or Adidas' Tennis Shoe?
Well, I just couldn't help it, really.

And there's also this one 'secret' i never told anybody.
Everytime, i got back from Tarawih or Subuh Prayer from the mosque, i'll almost certain to wander away from the main road and follow this one route back to my house.
Along the way, exactly at one particular quite spot, i'll slow down my ride a little bit and stare longingly to one simple structure by the side of the road.

A tennis court. Where i played almost daily before the start of Ramadhan.

Huhu, How i really missed playing Tennis!

Only long after that, did i realize, somehow, i also missed McFlurry...



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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Anouncement

Assalamualaikum...

One quick announcement:

Tonight (17 Sept/17 Ramadhan), an imam from Masjidil Haram, Syeikh Abdur Rahman will come to Masjid Wilayah, Jalan Duta to lead the Solat Tarawih.
So, for those who are free tonight and lives nearby, let's go to Masjid Wilayah.

It may be awhile for us to go visit the Masjidil Haram itself, so this opportunity may served as an intro to the visit later huh...

InsyaAllah, i'll see you there...

Aidan Z


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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Another Half left...

Assalamualaikum...

I remember when i was little, i always dreaded Ramadhan. For some reason, i just couldn't stand not eating and drinking for more than 12 hours everyday, moreover for a month. I still remember pleaded to my mom to break the fast, giving her all sorts of excuses that crossed my mind, hoping she would bend to my childish whining.
Well, it was useless anyway because Mom only needed to raise her voice once and i will scramble to save my butt from her effective 'rotan'.
Hmm, thanks Mom!

Alhamdulillah, that wasn't the case for me anymore, (otherwise there's something very very wrong with me, right?)
In fact, i love Ramadhan now.
Not just because of the good(s) and barakah(s) in it, also because of the way this holy month makes me feel of myself and life in general:

1) This is the month i can maintain my weight.. and health too.
Well, that's the most natural thing to do, don't you think? We're fasting.. we cannot eat...
3 Ramadhan ago, i started my 'diet' program. and from there on, i successfully reduce my weight from 76kg, (one time it went as high as 78kg) to 62 kg within 5 month... and Alhamdulillah, i've maintained the ideal weight until now.
To my good friend, M; and H too: come on, you can do it!!!
Oh, to A, and another M, you too can do it, mate...

2) I can control my temper.
Well, a lot of people, even my close friends didn't know that i have some temperamental problem! I may appeared mild-mannered and happy go lucky to most eyes, and Allah knows I am. But very few knew that i also have this problem i am still learning to control. 'Short-fused'... that's what my brother said of my temper. He knew better, as he was sometimes been at the receiving-end of it. (Sorry, abang!)
Maybe you can ask my tennis racquet, especially the broken one, which i smashed to the floor after i missed several easy shots not long ago.
But no need to panic my friends, Ramadhan is here. The special month is here. And if there's something i really want so badly after the fasting month was over, is that my temper still very much in check, if not reduced. I pray hard to Allah so that He, who Himself is the Most Merciful and Graceful towards His servants, will grant me the patience that has eluded me so far.. Amin.

3) I feel so peaceful with myself and with the world.
Just like everybody else, i have high expectations on myself and world itself. Sometimes it worked the way i wanted and more often than not, it wasn't. It was either i put so much pressure on myself or i didn't put enough pressure. Maybe both.
But come Ramadhan, all the worries seemed to evaporate into oblivion. It didn't matter. As if somebody just soothed all my worries, saying things like, 'it's okay, you know can always start anew', and more importantly, 'no fuss Z, Allah is with you. Everything happened, happens for a reason. There's always 'hikmah' behind each of it...'
And i will smile, to no one in particular. A knowing smile, comes from within, feeling peaceful and happy the way i can't describe, even to myself. Alhamdulillah.

4) Be a Grateful servants.
All the above and other things, made me think, i've spent so much time worrying and complaining about things i didn't get. But what about things i do have? Did i spend a lot of time thinking about how lucky i am to have what i have? Did i ever complain when i got what i wanted? And, have i gone too far into becoming an ungrateful 'jerk' to Allah The Almighty?!
So i closed my eyes, breathing hard while asking for forgiveness from the Most Merciful for all my ignorances. Forgive me, Ya Allah. I'm nothing without You, and Your Blessing. Open my eyes to what clouded my eyes from seeing your Gift to me and let me become one of your grateful servants...

Therefore, i urge and implore all of you, my fellow friends, brothers and sisters. Let's find our inner self during this holy-month. Ask ourselves, are we really living the Ramadhan the way Rasulullah taught us to? Are we really embracing Ramadhan the way Allah wants us to?!!

Ramadhan was already half-way. Take this opportunity!
Who knows maybe this is the last Ramadhan... for any of us...




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Monday, September 15, 2008

Confessions of an Old Boy by Kam Raslan


Assalamualaikum...

I started reading this book soon after i finished Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I didn't practice that very often, i mean, about reading one book right after another. Because i'm the type of guy to savour the feelings/essence of every book i read (sometimes for days - the longest was Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. Huhu, really..) and i have to tell you 'Eat Pray Love' also had almost the same effect to me.

But still, i decided to read this book right after Ms Gilbert's book anyway.

The reason? I made a 'mistake' of reading the first chapter of this book, 'A letter to a newspaper' -the most hillarious first chapter i've ever read- and i was instantly hooked. After several minutes, i already finished one fifth of the book and i knew i've to finish reading the book straight away!

Maybe i have to explain here the reason i didn't practice reading one book exactly after another, other the 'savoring' part i mentioned above.
The reasons are many but very simple. Different genre, style of writings, depth of the story telling, memorable characters, just to name a few.
Simply said, i won't read Harry Potter books soon after i read Jack Welch's book. Or even after a John Grisham's book. And neither do the other way around. It just feels... wrong. Each author has their own strength and style and obviously different genre. And i felt -personally- as if i will do them unjustice if i didn't take time to -again- savour their work.

And in this case, i definitely worried because i never heard of Kam Raslan before. And after reading such an impressive book in Eat Pray Love, i was really sure that 'Confessions of an Old Boy' won't stand a chance.

I was wrong!

The story of Dato' Hamid' life and his adventures in this book was told in such a way, you want to believe and not to believe it at the same time. At times, it felt so real, so convincing, we believe Dato' Hamid was real. He was somewhere out there, just finished sharing the story with us. At times, it felt outlandish and bizarre, hard to believe, but still want to believe it anyway!

If there's one word to describe the book, I would say: Intriguing

For me, Kam Raslan is an excellent author. I love the way he told his story (which can be very complex in an inexperienced hand, like me, heheh) in such a relax and simple manner. As a reader, sometimes i love to feel the pressure of the story plot, and sometimes i don't. This book falls onto latter category -it could be really overwhelming to younger readers, in my opinion- and Kam Raslan delivered it perfectly. His writings was sly and cunningly appealing, cynical and brilliantly hillarious. I laughed so hard sometimes, and i thought i smiled all the way to the end of the book.

Dato' Hamid's character, hands down, is one of the most exciting character i've ever read. And i think, Kam's words at the back of the book, summed it best.

"You'll never meet anyone quite like Dato' Hamid, but you'll know him."

Okay, now to the 'not-so-nice' part. And surprisingly it all came down to one particular subject only. As you can see below..

Firstly, the name of the character, Hamid. I dont have problem with the name Hamid. In fact it's a very good name. No, not just that. It is a very very very good name, it also happened to be one of Allah's name, in Asmaul Husna. Kam is right when he named the character Dato' Abdul Hamid. But as you learned when you read the book, the name Hamid wasnt really suitable to the 'bad boy' character of Dato' Hamid in the book, which will make my point no 2 below.
I believe, this minor flaw -not quite minor for some people i afraid- is accidental, but still it would be nice to be extra sensitive about things like this.

Secondly, the 'bad boy' character of Dato' Abdul Hamid. In the book, Dato' Hamid is an 'Old Boy', meaning he lived in an era of not-so-islamic way of life. Women and liquor, are part of the lifestyle, especially from an elite family like Dato' Hamid. And Kam did very well to describe all that in the book. In fact, too well, too casually told, it didn't even feel wrong to any of it! Which made it all the more wrong then, if you got what i mean..

I understand, this is an English-languaged novel -which for some mysterious reason, Malay/Muslim guy/gal didn't even know/interested to read- but for me, again, Kam needs to be sensitive to such issues. I can understand the needs to put all that in the book, but maybe it won't have to be apparent/detailed, you know..

That being said, i strongly recommend the book to everyone. It is a Malaysian book, everyone can read it and will enjoy it immersely. Except for that particular subject above, 'Confession of an Old Boy' is an excellent read, one of few local book i really love, and enjoy immersely.
And i wil eagerly await for the next book from Kam Raslan.

To all my government servant friends, this book is for you.
To all my non-government servant friends, this book is also for you, hehe.

Why I made such 'toast', you have to figure out by reading the book...

If there needs to give star, i'll give 7 out of 10.

P/S Thanks to Mullah for lending me this book. Maybe i should get one for myself, huh.






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Saturday, September 13, 2008

ISA, 16 September, agriculture study tour

Assalamualaikum...

As i write this entry, 3 have been detained under ISA -which allows indefinite detention without trial- so far: Blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin, Sin Chew Daily reporter Tan Hoon Cheng, and Setapak MP, Teresa Kok.
The arrest followed the warning by Pak Lah earlier this week that ISA might be used against those who may caused racial crisis in this country.
One question: then why didn't Dato Ahmad Ismail of UMNO Bukit Bendera be arrested as well for his racially sensitive remarks during Permatang Pauh election?

Last night, Pakatan Rakyat which compises of PKR, DAP and PAS issued a statement that the transformation of new government -in other word, the toppling of BN government- might be delayed from the 16th September.
"The process of transformation to a new government... is proceeding smoothly and we believe that Barisan Nasional will be replaced in a very short period," the statement said.

Although i'm sure many have a mixed feelings about this - some said this is Anwar's personal agenda or revenge, others questioned about Malay MP's majority in the new government will decline greatly as those who will defect from BN to Pakatan Rakyat are most likely non-Malay (non-Muslim), while others more worried about whether this is better for Islamic constitution or will be exactly the same as in UMNO-led BN government - I would say, still, the new government would be better. Hmm of course, it's still open for debate.

Also, in the news is about the agriculture study tour by 51 BN MP's to Taiwan (Some reported 41, or 49 - who cares!). The tour ended prematurely... yesterday (Friday). Huh? I wonder if it has something to do with the plan of 4 PKR MP's to tail them there! The earlier statement said the tour will finish on 17 Sept (hmm, another suspicion), and now suddenly it finished 4,5 days earlier. And about the MP's, the news said, it's up to them if they wanna go back to Malaysia immediately or not, as they will pay for their own expense...

Oh, did i mention, Pak Lah vs Najib drama is heating up...?

Take a deep breath, sit back, enjoy...


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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Maghfirah... Let's go get it!

Assalamualaikum...

Tanpa disedari, kita sudah masuk ke fasa kedua bulan Ramadhan Al-Mubarak, yakni fasa 'Maghfirah'.
Saya teringat kata-kata seorang rakan yang merupakan seorang ustaz, fasa ini adalah fasa berlari-lari anak, sebelum fasa memecut dalam sepuluh malam yang terakhir, mengejar Lailatul Qadar.
Lalu saya menge'check' diri saya, dan ingin mengajak sahabat-sahabat menge'check' diri masing-masing juga. Bagaimana dengan tarawih, tadarus, solat sunat, sedekah dan amalan-amalan lain. Adakah bertambah, atau kekal di takuk lama, atau -na'uzubillah- berkurangan?
Dan lebih penting, adakah Ramadhan kali ini -setakat ini- lebih baik daripada tahun-tahun lepas...

Berbalik kepada fasa Maghfirah-

Janganlah kita lupa bahawa Allah dengan sifat Ghaffar-Nya, sangat suka untuk mengampunkan serta menutup kesalahan hamba-hambaNya.

Di dalam Al-Quran, Allah mengulangi perkataan al-hukmu (hukuman/punishment) sebanyak 117 kali, namun rupa-rupanya Allah mengulangi perkataan-perkataan yang berasal dari ghafara (pengampunan/penutupan dosa) sebanyak 234 kali. Lebih dua kali ganda!

Adakah ia kebetulan? Maha Suci Allah yang Maha Bijaksana. Adakah Allah mahu menunjukkan bahawa setiap satu kesalahan/dosa yang kita lakukan, terdapat dua peluang untuk mendapatkan pengampunan? MasyaAllah.

Sesungguhnya antara makna Asma' Allah, Al-Ghaffar, adalah Yang menutupi dosa-dosa hamba-hambaNya. Menutupi bukanlah bermaksud menghapuskan. lalu saya tertanya, bukankah lebih baik kita memohon Allah menghapuskan terus dosa-dosa kita. Bukan sekadar tutup-tutup sahaja.

Namun ternyata Allah itu Maha Sempurna. Penutupan dosa itu rupa-rupanya adalah antara Nikmat terbesar Allah untuk hambaNya di syurga kelak. Bagaimana?!

Kita sedia maklum, tidaklah kita mampu untuk masuk ke dalam syurga Allah semata-mata dengan amalan kebaikan kita. Bahkan tanpa rahmat dan keizinan Allah, bau syurga pun tidak akan singgah kepada kita. Lalu, di syurga nanti, Allah akan tunjukkan kepada kita dosa-dosa kita yang telah lalu dan telah ditutupi oleh Allah dengan sifat GhaffarNya, sekaligus menunjukkan kepada kita betapa besarnya nikmat yang sedang kita kecapi di syurga ketika itu! SubhanAllah.

Lalu, sahabat-sahabat sekalian, marilah kita mengambil kesempatan ini untuk memohon keampunan dari Allah SWT. Serulah Allah dengan nama-namaNya yang mulia dan mohonlah keampunan di atas dosa-dosa kita dan ahli keluarga kita.

Sesungguhnya, Allah lebih suka memasukkan hamba-hambaNya ke dalam SyurgaNya dengan taubat mereka, daripada memasukkan mereka ke dalam nerakaNya dengan sebab dosa-dosa mereka...






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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

US Open 2008

Assalamualaikum...

The final grand slam of the year finished earlier this morning (Malaysia time) with Roger Federer -2nd seed- retained his crown for 5 consecutive years! The win means Federer now has 13 grand slams, just one short of all time record, 14, by Pete Sampras


He defeated Andy Murray of Britain -the 6th seeded player who upset Nadal in the semifinal- 6-2, 7-5, 6-2. The paycheck for the champion is USD 1.5 million


In the women's side, Serena Williams defeated Serbian Jelena Jankovic to lift her 9th grand slam in her career.




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Sunday, September 7, 2008

Masjid Wilayah

Assalamualaikum...

Yesterday, me and my good friends Mullah and Iidil went to Masjid Wilayah, Jalan Duta. The idea was to catch this very famous imam from Mesir, Syeikh Jibril, leading the Tarawih Prayer last night, only to find out it was actually on the day before.

However our disappointments didn't last as we found out that Tarawih Prayer in this beautiful mosque will be led by this one imam from Syria, for the whole Ramadhan. Syeikh Mu'tasim, if i'm not mistaken the name of the imam.
For my part, this is the first time i become a ma'mum to an Arab syeikh. So, i have no expectation, or rather i don't know what I’m supposed to expect.

Enter Isya' Prayer, we prayed as usual. The imam was local imam with a nice voice and a very soothing recitation. i thought to myself, the imam was really good and i felt comfortable already.

Then, i's time to Tarawih and the syeikh from Syria stepped in as the congregation followed suit. "AllahuAkbar", the takbir. We followed; try to focus hard on the task at hand.

Then he started reading...
"BismillahirRahmanirRahim..."

The moment he opened his mouth, i just felt so overwhelmed... with awe and respect. The voice... that was the best voice -"live" in prayer- I’ve ever heard in my life; and the flow, the accent, the 'burdah'... they was just as perfect.
When he launched into Surah after Al-Fatihah, the distinctions was even more pronounced. He recited with full forced and eloquent without slightest hesitance -unlike us and even our imams, obviously, he has the advantage of Arabic as his mother tongue language, which was more apparent by the minutes! Sometimes, his voice soared, reaching the high notes without slightest hitch. Sometimes, so low, just like baritone, vibrating and engaging.

I have to admit, the first two raka'at of the tarawih, i cannot focus at all. It was like, i was in shock and it took me some time to recover.
But then, put aside the awe and the excitement, i started to creep my way, deep into the prayer, feeling very very focus and comfortable. No need to say, the task made easier as the Syeikh was reciting in a very clear voice and from familiar verses of Surah.

There was one downside though. He read only 2-3 ayat per raka'at, too short to my liking. Even though, maybe it was also an advantage since you will feel as if that is not enough and will stay longer to finish until 20 raka'ats.

So, for those who likes to search for a new place to break Fast and Tarawih, i strongly suggest you to come to Masjid Wilayah, Jalan Duta. The food was quite ok, but more importantly you will get new experience in this precious Ramadhan Al-Mubarak. You can even bring your families along too..
I, personally will definitely come again and maybe i'll see you there..

Meanwhile, 'the hunting for Jibril' (Syeikh Jibril from Mesir), as my friends called our mission this weekend, will continue...

*Few of my friends asked the other day about imam with good voice and melodic style of recitations. Isn't content more important than style of readings? What if people go to Tarawih simply because 'bacaan imam tu best'?
I said obviously, as human, we're attracted to beautiful and nice things. Even in ibadah! Some would say superficial, which i agreed, but i also believe, on the other hand if that can help and encourage people to perform their ibadah, why not?
Sometimes we need some kind of 'boost' to do good in our life, especially ibadah. And that exterior/luaran thingy might be just what we need.
Just be careful with the 'niat' after we take that first step, so that it will be valued as ibadah to Allah the Almighty.

May this Ramadhan will bring 'Berkat' and 'Rahmat' to us and to our families. Amin.


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Thursday, September 4, 2008

Pokok Melor and me...

Assalamualaikum...

Couples of month ago, my housemate brought back two tiny 'pokok melor', in a tiny black bags-or sacks... whatever - and put them at the front porch of my house. I knew they were pokok melor because i asked him, although now i realize, i didn't asked him why he brought back the plants to our house at the time..

A month later, the plants died. Emm.. almost died.

Truth is, i totally forgot about the plants' existence! Until today, i still don't know what took me so long to realize about the poor dying plants. They were there, just waiting for someone with heart(?), to pour them some water to survive. But nobody seems to even spare them a glance, moreover to attend to their needs. Not even their owner!

And that was the time when i decided to be a hero, to play life-saver for the plants, hehe. First of course, i gave them water. Well, that was the most logical thing to do, and i did that. For a few days, i waited, rather impatiently, for something, any changes to happen. Nothing.
The once-gloriously-green leaves still as brown as ever, and the dry stems still as charred as ever.

Then I remember something. I used to help my mom attend to her flowers back at home and -inhaled deeply- i have to make sure it wasn't all for nothing! That's when the idea struck me squarely in my head.

In order for a new life to grow, the old life has to give way..

So, i cut all the dead twigs with scissors - i saw my mom did that before - leaving the plants bare naked with nothing except for their stump gray stem. Then i cleared the space surrounded the plants so they got clear shot at the sunlight. All while pouring water every single day, of course.

Syukur, within a week after that, my 'patience' was rewarded. Small and greenish buds started to appear, and soon, i watched delightfully when young leaves began to replace the buds and grew bigger and healthier everyday.

A little more than a month after the near-death-experience for the plants, they stood proudly, limb towards the sunlight and ready to reveal their first blossom! And blossom they did!
I still remember, every time i poured water over the plants, i will crouch beside them and smell their beautiful scent, with -i'm sure- a wide smile on my face.
In my heart, i savour the scent as my little triumph against the odds and i didn't lie when i said i was really proud of myself!

But all that changed exactly a month ago...

I went back to my hometown for 3 days and i totally forgot to ask any of my housemates to look after the plants- my bad. As if that was not enough, when i got back, i was so busy, plus distracted about something, it was over a week -almost two actually- for me to realize that my favorite 'surrogate' plants were dying, AGAIN!

I took the 'failed deeds' really hard and i fully blamed myself for it.

With regrets, i started everything all over again: poured water, cut dry twigs, cleared space etc...
I was really angry with myself. How could i be so reckless and thoughtless, i asked myself repeatedly, feeling somehow guilty to the plants... and to the Creator!

As i typed this entry, young leaves just sprouted out from the stems, again, and this time i am determine NOT to make the same mistake again. The excitement than once energized me has gone, only redemption left for me now. Somehow, i felt like i have to redeem myself. To the plants, to myself and to Allah, the Creator.

For Aidilfitri, it sure looks like the plants will accompany me back to my hometown...!

***Oh, about the real owner of the plants, i asked him once -sarcastically- about the plants he brought back but did nothing to tend them. You know what his answer?

"Laa, i didn't know you took care of the plants. i saw them ok je, i thought they grow bigger by themselves...!"

I thought i was going to punch his face that day...











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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Ramadhan 1429H

Assalamualaikum...
Di sini, saya ingin mengambil kesempatan untuk mengucapkan:
SELAMAT MENYAMBUT RAMADHAN AL-MUBARAK

kepada semua pengunjung blog AidanZ dan Lagenda Elfarren
Semoga kita dapat mengambil kesempatan ini untuk mendekatkan diri kepada Allah SWT.

Semoga Ramadhan 1429H lebih baik daripada Ramadhan sebelum ini dan semoga kita tergolong dalam golongan orang-orang yang bertaqwa dan berada dalam perlindungan Rahmat dan Kasih Allah....


AidanZ


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Friday, August 29, 2008

Best Friend (3)

Assalamualaikum...

Continue from Best Friend (2)...

Mouth wide open, he walked slowly towards his best friend and sat beside him in silent. His face felt hot all of a sudden. Mixtures of indescribable feelings overwhelmed him, made him struggled for words, any words, to come out.

"Why-" At last, after several agonizing minutes, the words came to him. "Why did you write those words, buddy?" His voice cracked a little bit, but that was all he could do to withhold rushes of emotions inside him now.

First the writing on the sand; 'Today my best friend slapped me in the face'; Now, etched on the stone; 'Today my best friend saved my life'.

Why?!

For a long time, his best friend didn't answer him. He just tilted his face and studied the canopies of trees above him, as if the answer was there. His face had nothing on it but peace. From afar, he looked so content and fully at ease, as if he just discovered a secret of happiness and secretly enjoy the knowledge...

Then, he answered.

Looking straight into his friend's waiting eyes, he smiled as these words flowed out of his lips.

"When i first wrote the writing on the sand, i was really hurt buddy. It wasn't as much about the pain you inflicted when you slapped me. Instead, it was more to do with the manner things happened at the moment. Aren't we best friend? I keep asking myself. Didn't that count for something when things got out of control?
"Yeah, things do get messy sometimes, but that was the time when we can rely on our so called friendship to help overcome the situations. Which in our case, didn't happened.
"One great test from God, and our friendship almost crumbled into pieces. And that was what really saddened me at the time..."

He paused. Once again he tilted his head up, this time with his eyes closed. The now sad smile on his face somehow made him looked like an old man with a lot of things going on in his mind.

Watching his best friend through now-blurry eyes, he felt his egos falling one by one. He can never be as good friend as his best friend there to him. Even just now, when he had the chances to blast him for his bad antic yesterday, he didn't do it. Instead he talked about it with smile, as if he just talked about the good weather or the good food they just ate at one fine restaurant in town.

"But i still didn't answer your question just now, did i buddy?" His best friend was back. Again with the smile. Again with the piercing eyes on his face.
He nodded.

"I have to admit buddy, i did that, partly to hurt you. I won't punch you back. Never in million years. You know that, don't you?" He didn't wait for answer as he continued, "So, i did the only thing i knew will affect you. I wrote the writings on the sand..."

His best friend paused, then he continued

"This morning, you saved my life. Even though you are not really a good swimmer, you still dove into the raging river and tried to save me. At first i was angry with you. What if something happened to you? But soon, i have nothing but gratitude in my heart. I was grateful to God for giving me chances to still be alive and even more grateful to Him because He sent you to save me!"

Once again his best friend paused. From the corner of his eyes, he can see his best friend tried his best to fight off his tears. So he looked away. He understand what his best friend went through at the moment. He waited, and after a while, his best friend continued,

"I cannot say how thankful I am for what you did for me. You saved my life! That was the highest sacrifice a friend can do. And you did it buddy. For me!"

The voice cracked. But his best friend didn't finish yet,

"After you asked me to get some rest, i did a lot of thinking. About what had happened yesterday and then today. Only after that did i decide to engrave the stone with another writing. This writing!" he pointed towards the writings on the stone (Today, my best friend saved my life)
"I am very thankful to God the irony of what i've done didn't escape me. In fact it gave me reason to believe that what happened today and yesterday held a very powerful 'hikmah' behind it. It served both as reminder and lesson to me about life in general and our friendship in particular."
He nodded slowly. He didn't really understand what his best friend just said. But at this point, he decided he will agree on everything that came out from his best friend's mouth.
If only he knew it was all too transparent on his face, that despite his best friend's soberness at the time, he smiled a little bit while he explained what he meant just then.
"When i wrote the writing on the sand, never once the significance of it crossed my mind. However, God opened my eyes, and i see it clearly now, as i see the flower in the morning and the brilliance of the moonlight during the darkest of night...
"Can't you see, buddy. My hurtful words on the sand, brought up by my anger will soon be erased by the wind of forgiveness. But my engraving on the stone, which came from gratitude for what you have done for me, will always be there. Nothing can ever erase it! The etching on the stone will stay, as will the memory of your sacrifice, in my heart..."
-The End-







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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Book Review: Eat, Pray, Love

Assalamualaikum...

For about 5 months, this book was sitting in my book rack. Occasionally, i moved it around. On the table, on my bed, in my bag, on the floor and even in my car... before once again, in my book rack. Each time, i told myself, i have to start reading the book, i have to finish it!

But for some reason unknown to me, i found it very hard to read (i mean, to start reading) the book - which was so not me! Maybe, because of its unique title (what kind of book with that title!), or maybe because the genre is unclear to me (at the time), i wasn't really sure.

The only sure thing at the time was constant reminders from Mullah (whom i have to thank here for lending this book to me), urging me to read the book.
"You have to read the book, abang Zahar!" said Mullah to me repeatedly. Sometimes he added, "The author made appearance in Oprah!"

So, three weeks ago, i opened the book (for the umpteenth time) and started to read it. And a week later, i finished it. Since then, i knew i have to do reviews for this book. i just have to!

In general, i would say Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert is an excellent, informative, refreshing, hilarious book, and i must add, very thorough and meticulously done.

It is a true story, a travelogue, told by the author herself. Following her painful and long due divorce involving large sum of settlement, the author, Ms Gilbert, spent a year traveling... and thus, came this story. It is built on the notion of a woman trying to heal herself from a severe emotional and spiritual crisis.

The journey took place in 3 countries, which represents each of the verbs.

Eat - Italy,
Pray - India,
Love - Indonesia.

To quote her in the book, Ms Gilbert writes "I wanted to explore the art of pleasure in Italy, The art of devotion in India, and in Indonesia, the art of balancing the two."

In her sly and witty style of writings, she shared about her story in each country and the effects the journey had on her.
We learned about the Italians and their love for foods, about an ashram in India, where people from all over the world came to meditate, and lastly in Bali, where the beauty of natures healed the wound to start anew.

Each story, told smartly and meticulously, we felt like we are on board with her, together making the journey, and from her eyes, seeing the world in a different perspective.
The task made easy as she used "I" in her narration, coerced us to feel what she feels, and to experience what she experienced.

I particularly loved the first (eat) and third (love) part of the book. Partly because she shared a lot of new things about Italy and Bali that i never knew before. Oh, and i want to give you example here:

In one chapter, she was in Italy, and that night she went out with her friend, an Italian guy named Luca Spaghetti (delicious name isn't it?) and a bunch of Luca's friend. The destination? To a stadium, where a football match between Lazio and Parma were held. Luca and his friends are Lazio fans (Luca said they can't help being Lazio fans. They were born into families where loyalty was already established; meaning they will follow their ancestors into becoming a Lazio fan! They can changed their wives and even nationalities, but they will still become Lazio fan until they died!).
So, that night, Lazio lost to Roma. Thinking that those guys are just like the Americans or Englishmen to go and sit in the bar and maybe gotten into some fight to channel their frustration, she was shocked when Luca said they were going somewhere else.
Guess where?
To a bakery! Huh!
That night, they were talking about the game, while eating cream puffs!!!

Now, about the second part (pray), i didn't really like the part because somehow it made me pity her. She was in India for about 4 months, in an ashram, meditating her way to finding 'God' but with little success.
While she elaborated lengthly about yoga and meditation (which i have no problem with..) the part where she thought she found 'God' was a ridiculous notion to me. I didn't know how to explain it here, you have to read it yourself.
But, one thing i can assure you, it made me feel really grateful that i'm a Muslim. i already have my God, Allah; with Whom i can reached in my prayer, with Whom i can asked for forgiveness every time i have sinned, with Whom i can depend and asked for help when difficulties befallen me...
Just one word... Alhamdulillah...!

So, except for the second part, i really enjoy the book, especially when it ends beautifully (Oh, i always up for anything with a happy ending!).
In my heart, i knew, in more than one way, Eat, pray, love taught me about living the life that i want! Perhaps more importantly, i realized that i also want to do the same thing.
That is to go travel around the world some day, learning about a whole lot of new things out there, and share all about it in my writings...




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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

US Open

Assalamualaikum...

I almost forgot...
Lucky one of my acquaintance reminded me...

The fourth and the last Grand Slam of tennis started yesterday, until next next Monday (Malaysian time).
And it's the first time Rafael Nadal, the new world no. 1 is seeded first here, while Roger Federer, seeded second.
Hmm, it will be an interesting 2 weeks for me and tennis lover all over the world.

If you're interested, don't forget to watch all the action on channel Astro Supersport, 811...

Vamos...!!!

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Sunday, August 24, 2008

Or... Maybe...

Assalamualaikum...

Bon week-end.
Right now (as in my right now), i'm sitting in front of my laptop, staring blankly to the screen, thinking hard of what i want to write in this entry.
I just finished playing tennis with my pal, Syam, and as i nursing my ached body, the bruise on my palm and on the sole of my feet (I need to buy a new shoes), i still didn't know what to say here.

Well, to tell you the truth, it's not like i don't have anything to share here. I just finished reading this one excellent book i borrowed from my good friend, Mullah.... two books actually, and i can do reviews for the books. Yeah, one of my friend keep telling me to write book reviews in here, so, maybe i will.

Or maybe, in the spirit of the upcoming Ramadhan, i can share about this one kuliah i heard this morning about 'Doa'. Just to reflect back our 'manner' when we asked something from Allah the Almighty, while hopefully can help preparing ourselves for the fasting month... Yeah, maybe i should do that.

Or maybe i can share about one bizarre and torturous conversation i had a couple of weeks ago with two siblings about: Allah (why can't we see Him?); Nabi Muhammad SAW (this guy was dead long time ago..!); and Al-Quran (do you actually believe everything written in there?)..!
Oh, and just so you know, the siblings are Form 1 and Standard 5 kids, and both are Muslims!
That explained why I almost choked when i heard most of the things that came out of their mouth...!

Or, maybe i can just continue about my HK experience. One of my friend ask me why i didn't continue about my HK stories. Especially, about the dolphins and pandas as he also some kind of animal lover like me. He said he didn't care about the Disneyland, but he especially wanted to know about the culture and the people there. That's kinda heavy, don't you think? But still, maybe i can try to do that... After all, this is my experience i'm talking about, right?

Or, maybe i don't have to write anything! Yeah, there's always this choice, no matter what we do in this life; to not do it!

Hmm, I'll think of something later. The least i can do is to continue my story from the previous Best Friend (1) & (2). I got the idea from this proverb i read not long ago, and i tried to write a story around it.

Well, now i just realized something! Who said there isn't anything to write or share. The only issue is whether you want to do it or not! And i also realized there are too many or and maybe in my dictionary.
Hmm, maybe (not again!) i should just ignore all the or's and maybe's there. Just do it! Like Nike said. After all, too much analysis can lead to paralysis, right?




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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Do not...!

Assalamualaikum...

Do not say all you know
For he who says all he knows
Often says more than he knows

Do not tell all you hear
For he who tells all he hears
Often tells more than he hears

Do not spend all you have
For he who spends all he has
Often spends more than he has

Do not covet all you see
For he who covets all he sees
Often wants more than he sees



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Monday, August 18, 2008

Phelps and Nadal Won, Chong Wei... lost!

Assalamualaikum...

Although Olympic still has another week to go, for me, it ended yesterday.

As expected, Michael Phelps won yesterday, taking his great haul of China to the unprecedented 8 Gold Medals, making him the most successful Olympian ever!

Next, Rafael Nadal cemented his new status as World's No 1 by winning tennis gold medal after he beat Fernando Gonzalez of Chile by straight sets, 6-3, 7-6(7-2), 6-3.

The gold medal is the eighth title the Spaniard won this year, together with French Open and Wimbledon.

He put a stop to Federer's 237 successive weeks as World No 1 effectively today.

As usual, Vamos Rafa!



Lastly, Lee Chong Wei, the sole gold medal hope for Malaysia, crashed down easily to Lin Dan of China, losing straight sets, 21-12, 21-8.

Hmm, mixed result huh. I don't want to comment anything about Chong Wei (still hurt by the manner of his lost last night); but if anything, i would say, Beijing 2008 created new history, new height and new standard for the sports and the athletes; but apparently not for Malaysia...!


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Saturday, August 16, 2008

Olympic 2008

Assalamualaikum...

Everywhere now, the hottest topic around - other than Anwar alleged sodomy case and Permatang Pauh election - is Summer Olympic 2008 in Beijing.

As a sport fan - although not really an excellent sportsman myself - i really follow this Olympic with great interest. Of all 28 sports in current Olympic, these are the sports that captured my attention the most:

1. Tennis (of course)
As one of the most elite sport in the world, tennis always seen as not really belong to the Olympic. Why? Because unlike swimming, gymnastics, athletics and badminton, just to name a few, Olympic is not the grandest or the ultimate championship for tennis. In fact, just like Golf, Tennis has its own Grand Slam - 4 - that far more prestigious than Olympics. In terms of prize money, point accumulated, seedings, and even global acceptance, these 4 Grand Slams and even its 10 Master Series tournaments around the world, are more superior than Olympic..

That being said, Beijing 2008 actually marked the first time all the world's top players showed interest to represent their country for gold medal. Kudos to ATP and WTA (two governing bodies for men and women's tennis), Olympics now is regarded as Master Series-level Tournament, therefore attracted all these top players.

As i typed this entry, my favourite player, soon-to-be-World-No-1-replacing-Roger-Federer, Rafael Nadal of Spain just defeated World No 3, Novak Djokovic of Serbia for a place in final tobe held Sunday. And that my friend, is enough reason for watching tennis Olympic.
Vamos, Rafa!

2. Swimming.
Other than the fact that i don't know how to swim - don't laugh ok. i planned to learn swimming soon! - I really want to see Michael Phelps of US, broke the record of 7 gold medal in one Olympic, by getting the 8 he targeted. So far he already got 6, and only 2 to go.
Go, Phelps!

3. Volleyball.
I simply love to see the players spike the ball as hard as they can. And then see if the other side can retrieve the ball. Seriously.. really amazing!

4. Badminton
I have to admit, i didn't pay much attention to this sport because as it represent Malaysia's only hope for gold medal, it was hard to see them faltered under the pressure and sheer power of Chinese players.
So, when Lee Chong Wei managed to go to the Final, my interest was back. And now, i really hope he can deliver the first gold for Malaysia!
Tomorrow (Sunday), the D-Day!

5. Archery.
Last week, i went to Sunway Pyramid with my good friends, Aiman and Amir. The original idea was to go ice-skating. But we changed our mind. Partly because none of us can really ice-skating, (except Aiman i guess). And as we - me in particular - were not in the mood to look like a cow skated on ice, we changed the program. To Bowling, as usual I won, heheh, and... Archery!
Oh, we were having so much fun that night! And guess what, we were actually, quite talented in Archery! Hmm. and i was thinking, maybe the three of us should make the Archery national squad for London 2012 huh!

So, that's the top 5 sports for me in this Olympic. The list will change by time, but for now, i will just enjoy the world's top athlete competing against each other to be the best among the best.

*i will update some of the results later.






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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Last weekend...

Assalamualaikum...

Last weekend, i went back to my hometown in Melaka.
Normally, it was one of the highlight of my life - monthly basis i mean - because i can see my Mom, my siblings, and all my nieces and nephews.
Normally...

But not last week...

The reason? My cousin's wedding. The last of my cousins. Well, except me. Obviously, because i am not my cousin.
Ok ok ok. What i mean is, of all my cousins, including me - which i think would be almost 40 of us - everyone is married. Except two of us (We are the youngest of the lot). Well... that is... until last Friday.

And now, i'm the only one left.

Hehe, as all my aunties and uncles kept reminding me when they saw me last weekend, 'ekau tu bukan makin mudo, Zahar. Jangan lambat2 bonar.'

Well, they got that right, right? (sighing...)

Hmm, next year... maybe?!

(sorry, this entry is a little bit haywire. one can only guess why huh...?)




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Thursday, August 7, 2008

Best Friend (2)

Assalamualaikum...

*Continued from Best Friend (1)

"Today my best friend slapped me in the face..."

Silence...

'What have i done?!' The still standing friend asked himself. He felt like shouting his head off, but no voice came out from his throat. He shivered slightly as the full effect of what he just did sank in... slowly, but surely.

He looked at his friend. His best friend!, fiercely he corrected himself, feeling the word echoed in his empty heart. Once again, he glanced at the clear writing on the sand. Once again he closed his eyes, feeling the vein inside his chest pumped wildly. His heart ached. What kind of person slapped his very best friend?
My God... what have i done, he asked again and again in agony.

"Friend!" His eyes sprang open. He couldn't believe his ears. His best friend just called him! Just minutes after he slapped him!
"Let's go buddy. We don't want to be late for our journey. I thought i heard the great river we talked about not far from here." The voice was really calm, and so was the face. In fact, if he wasn't so shocked, he might noticed a little smile on his best friend's still red face.
How could he be so insanely calm?

What happened after that were just a blur to him. No sooner after he collected himself back to the real world, they had arrived at the great river that his best friend talked about just now... or was it couple hours ago? He still felt numbed and out of sort. He just nodded when his best friend told him they will camp there for tonight. Also when he was told to eat something after dinner was ready.

Huh! He was the one who slapped his best friend; and suddenly, he was practically being fed by the very same guy he slapped! What on earth happened to this guy? Consumed by guilt and regret until cannot moved by his own?! Well... maybe that was not totally unexpected. He let his anger got the better of him and he was paying the price straightaway after that.

Little did he know that God had other plan for him to help ease his guilt-ridden suffering.

The following day, he woke up knowing he would ask for forgiveness from his best friend. He realized their friendship meant so much to him, and he would do anything, anything, to turn things back to normal.

"Friend!" He called. "Buddy!" He called next. Louder this time. Eyes shone with determination. Both hands clasped tightly into a fist beside him. Yes, he will even beg for forgiveness from his best friend if he needed to!, he told himself repeatedly.

Then, almost immediately he saw something that made his heart almost jumped out of his chest. His legs felt weak as he saw his best friend was struggling to stay afloat in the wild current of the great river!! His best friend fought very hard, kicking wildly in the water while gasping for air, but it was soon apparent that he was fighting a losing battle.
Any second now, he will lose and became the latest victim of the wild great river.

At the riverbank, the friend quickly recollected himself, and without any second thought, took off his shoes and jumped straight into the wild river. Never once he stopped to think that he wasn't as good swimmer as his now-struggling-for-his-life best friend, or to think about a plan to make sure they both could survive the critical situation.
All he could think of were, the scenes from yesterday. The slapping, the writing on the sand, the calmness on his best friend's face afterward... and the regret he will bear for the rest of his life if things ended with the dea-

NO!!!! I WON'T ALLOW IT! PLEASE GOD! HELP ME!!!

Then, something happened! Later in his life he would say that was God-intervention in the form of one great miracle bestowed upon him to help him save his best friend's life.
A surge of energy suddenly entered his body, giving his strength he knew he never would have conjured by himself. With one powerful stroke, he found himself besides his weakened friend, and seconds later, he swam his way to the riverbank, his best friend safely in the clutch of his other hand.

THANK YOU GOD!! THANK YOU FOR SAVING MY BEST FRIEND'S LIFE, he said with tears.

That evening, as he prepared dinner for both of them, he caught his best friend did something to a big rock near his resting place.
"What are you doing buddy? You're supposed to get some rest.." He frowned at his best friend. But the frown lasted only for 2 seconds..

Because in front of him, etched on the stone by his best friend, was a writing,

'Today, my best friend saved my life'


*Hmm, i think the story isn't quite finished yet. So, wait for the conclusion of the story in Best Friend (3)


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