Saturday, August 30, 2008

Ramadhan 1429H

Di sini, saya ingin mengambil kesempatan untuk mengucapkan:

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....


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Friday, August 29, 2008

Best Friend (3)


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'.


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


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


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...


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Sunday, August 24, 2008

Or... Maybe...


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...!


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!


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


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...


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.

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)


*Continued from Best Friend (1)

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


'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-


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.


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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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Best Friend (1)


Not so long ago, not far from here, there were two best friends. How they became best friends wasn't really important, as this story takes place years and years after that - at one time when they were walking side by side on their journey home from one of their great adventure.

Just like any other great adventures in this world, the journey was very hard as they had to cross a scorching desert, climbed a steep cliff to a mountaintop, walked through wild forest and dangerous swamp, and many, many, other obstacles we can only think of.

After several weeks, all the hardships of the journey began to take their toll on the two friends. They started to quarrel a little more often than usual, sometimes over something very trivial. Like why you always make that sound with your tongue when it's cold huh?, or, why you always drink more, when i'm the one who fill the water supply throughout this journey?!!
And many others.
It was as if, they wanted to release their frustration over the long journey by irritating the other, or maybe they simply derived pleasure by doing that, nobody knows.

Until one day, as it happened, their quarrel became really intense, and they started to shout to each other. This time, on top of their lungs. Bad remarks, dirty words - name it - flew from one to another, giving clear picture of how deteriorated their friendship had become at that point!
Such intensity (some would say fierceness), it wasn't really came as a surprise when suddenly one of them came lurching towards the other, and in one split second, slapped the friend really hard across the face!

The moment, even though somehow, was expected, never seriously crossed their mind! As the friend who was being slapped fell onto his back to the sand, the harsh reality of what just happened, came crushing on both of them. The still standing one, looked hard on his hand, cannot believe what he just done, while the other, both hands covered his now-red-face, blinking rapidly while trying very hard to contain tears that i would say, have nothing to do with the pain on his face... if you get what i mean.

The silence afterward was really unbearable for both friends. Almost to the point of deafening, if i might add. Nobody really wanted to move. As if by moving, they will finally admit the inevitable; that their friendship was failing! And that, they just realized, was something they were not ready to face... yet.

The first one to move was the one with the red face and broken heart. He pushed himself up into sitting position and stayed there longer than any of us would. Well, who could blame him? The guy was just hit by his best friend!

What he did next, was really unexpected. Even to himself.

Silently and slowly, he wrote something on the sand beneath him.

'Today, my best friend slapped me in the face...'

*Wait for the second part of this story in Best Friends 2

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