Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Yesterday was the day my brothers got a laptop each. Mama apparently promised to get them one if they get decent grades for their Os. Note to self: Never underestimate your children.
While I may think it may not be necessary for them to have one at the moment, I can't possibly imagine the going-ons in my brothers mind. Excitement perhaps? Motivated? I hope them seeing Mama fulfill her end of the deal will drive them to more success in future.
As expected, the laptops came with a string attached: "Promise me to give your best for the next 3 years." And this time around, it was my mama who quietly hopes that her sons will fulfill their end of the deal, insyaallah.
Sunday, March 28, 2010
It's funny though how silly his thoughts can get sometimes. Nevertheless, he's glad he has silly friends to entertain such silly thoughts of his. It's times like this when this bore of a guy feels young and kiddy again! GOSH!
2 oral presentation and a lab report due this week. Lots and lots of prepping to do for the exams. PRESS ON!!
Friday, March 26, 2010
Today's the day when my sister called and told dear Mother she's secured a full time job! Finally, someone in the family's bringing back home real money. The brothers will be starting their polytechnic education real soon so the timing couldn't have been better. Alhamdulillah.
2 years. 2 years to financial stability, insyaallah.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Sunday, March 21, 2010
On the authority of Ibn 'Umar r.a, who said: The Messenger of Allah (SAW), took me by the shoulder and said:
"Be in this world as though you were a stranger or a traveler/wayfarer."
Ibn 'Umar r.a used to say:
"When evening comes, do not expect (to live till) morning, and when morning comes, do not expect (to live till) evening. Take from your health (a preparation) for your illness, and from your life for your death." [Al-Bukhari]
If your mind's currently in a mess, reflect upon the above as you digress from your revision. Let's not be too overwhelmed by tests, quizzes, assignments, reports, presentations and the inevitable final exams. When the going gets too tough, remember that we're only a traveler in this world.
As we prepare for the final exams, as we push ourselves beyond our limits, try ask ourselves if we're prepared for our next life. Maybe then, if the answer is no (I noe mine's a big NO), it puts the stress we're facing in perspective. This balance is hard to achieve I know. But we can try.
To achieve the best of both worlds, always.
Saturday, March 20, 2010
It's funny how a game can make one feel so disturbed. I've never been this passionate about sports - let alone sports that I'm totally new at. I'm somewhat addicted. An addiction bordering obsession.
Frustrating. Depressing. It feels as though I've let the team down coz despite the plan, I played my worst game. Need to wear contacts during future games. I wanted to have a feel of what Mourinho must've felt like when he planned his game against Chelsea. I ended up feeling like Ancelloti.
Sometimes, we win like we did during the group stages. As we advance further, the competition gets tougher and when things do not go our way, it only means we'll come back even stronger. Now it's time to translate this passion into my exam prep.
On the plus side, despite everything, bonds were strengthened. Friendships were made. Life is still awesome.
Sunday, March 14, 2010
"Be patient (in adversity); for, verily, God will not let the reward of the righteous be wasted."
— The Holy Quran, Chapter 11, Verse 115
"[W]hoever abstains from asking others, Allah will make him contented, and whoever tries to make himself self-sufficient, Allah will make him self-sufficient. And whoever remains patient, Allah will make him patient. Nobody can be given a blessing better and greater than patience."
— Prophet Muhammad (s) as reported by Abu Said Al Khudri in Sahih Bukhari, vol 2 hadith 548
I can feel a wave of panic and surrender coming. Negative Facebook statuses and comments like how one's tired of everything, tired of school, tired of life are beginning to affect me. My mind was not at ease despite the countless entries on sweet distractions. How could I not have noticed that the frequent entries about my sweet distractions are signs to myself that I'm being distracted from school. The harder school gets, the more I try to distract myself. It seems to me that such entries are my way of escaping the harsh reality of school. I seem to be calmer and "more in control" due to my ability to shift negative stresses to something that I like - things like writing. But is it good?
Nevertheless, I know that no matter how hard I try to be in control, I'll crack the moment I say that I've got things under control. Hence why I'll try to never again say that I'm in control of my situation. Coz I'm not. He is. And time and time again, I forget that He's in control. And I forget to be thankful and grateful.
As Muslims, we are in direct communication with the Almighty. He is the only One Who not only hears and knows all, but Who can change our situation and give us the patience to deal with our difficulties.
"Remember Me, and I shall remember you; be grateful to Me, and deny Me not"
39 more days to the finals. Stay positive. Keep working. Keep trying. And doa. Insyaallah, all will be fine.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
This was an article written by me for a school magazine. I've been waiting for 7 months to read it on print. However, since there's no sign whatsoever of the magazine in its entirety being published, I guess the next best thing that I can do is to publish it here on this space of mine. Assignments and meetings are currently keeping stories buried deep within my story box so until the day I can really breathe easy, here's an old thought just for you - whoever you guys are.
I recently attended MENDAKI Club's Inaugural Collegiate Symposium 2009 – where tertiary students come together in the spirit of learning from the sharing of experiences and perspectives by professionals in various fields.
During the symposium, I just can’t help but sense several things. Firstly, we seem to create excuses for ourselves not to succeed – without us even realizing. Could this be due to our construed understanding of takdir (fate) and how we simply choose to be contented with what we have? We also seem to lack the motivation, discipline and courage to push boundaries in order to achieve our desired goals. And some simply love playing the role of conspiracy theorists that have the ability to see (or create) invisible walls that prevent us from reaching our goals. We want to be fighter pilots, Armour officers and one even wanted a Malay Prime Minister, yet we do not bother to fill up the application form because of the “invisible walls” that we see. And when we see the first Malay BG in the SAF, we dismissed it as an act of tokenism, propaganda or one subtly blamed it on the fact that his wife is a Chinese. Perhaps we should start asking ourselves the following: Do we believe that we are really good enough to take on these roles in first place? And if we aren’t, are we doing something about it?
However, one can seek solace judging from the tremendous response to the Symposium, that we do care about our place in the uncertain future. It was really heartening to see fellow Tertiary students wanting to succeed. It’s just that we either feel incapable or are in need for a little guidance. We seem to create obstacles mentally through our self-thoughts – making an initially possible dream seem impossible. We seem to be lacking in self-belief.
It seems to me that many amongst us have the mentality that Malays will never be as good, if not better, than the Chinese and Indians, let alone the international students, even though we do not necessarily believe so. For instance, we feel like doing certain things like taking up leadership roles in schools or signing up to be a Pilot or an Armour officer, but stop short when influenced by what others like our peers and family say. Why stop short of applying just because someone told you that a Malay will never be an Officer of an Armour Brigade? I’ve applied to be a fighter pilot. Passed their medical tests but during the interview stage, my answers to their questions weren’t exactly the smartest of answers. Who would want to recruit someone who’s afraid of doing some collateral damage?
However, instead of a curt “You’re not selected” (that was what they said to the other pilot hopefuls standing in line before me), I was told by the interviewer that I wasn’t ready to be a pilot just yet, and that whenever I’m ready, I’m welcomed to apply again. And perhaps one day, I will. All I am saying is, we should not create excuses whenever we fail to get the things we want. Instead, each time we hit a dead end, we should continue pushing boundaries and not limit our dreams to what others may say.
Role of environment in our development
The environment we live in also seem to play a crucial role in our development. I feel that it’s the littlest things that we see, hear and experience as a child that makes all the difference. Personally, I was told that I wanted to be a grass-cutter when I grow up – just like my dad was. Years later, playing flight simulators made me want to be a pilot. But growing up in an environment where going to ITE seems like the norm and where only one of my many cousins went to University, I kind of believed that my destiny has been written. However, it was my mother’s insistence that I do not join Soccer in Primary 3 and also her insistence that I put Anderson Secondary as my first choice made all the difference. Never had I dreamed of achieving such an aggregate for PSLE, but I’m thankful my mother saw the better of me. Alhamdulillah, I ended up getting my first choice and the friends I made had been instrumental in my development and in the decisions that I needed to make. Having mentors during my JC days and beautiful individuals along the way made planning for my future all the more easier. However, there are others who might not be as lucky as me – like those who feel neglected by parents who are struggling to make ends meet. Or those who feel like they’re losing out to peers who have tuition simply because their parents do not have the means for it.
In addition, kids nowadays might want to be Taufik Batisah and Hady Mirza – the first 2 Singapore Idol - when they grow up. They will also probably see their Abangs (brothers) riding cool sports bike delivering McDonalds and want to follow their footstep. Right now, we may be Taufik, Hady and McDelivery riders but we’re definitely capable of more. It feels as though we’re allowing others to dictate our roles in our society.
I believe it’s time for us to determine for ourselves our own roles in society. Perhaps engineers, doctors, lawyers, businessmen and military leaders out there can make themselves seen and known. That could perhaps give us the chance to see and dream a bigger dream.
Creating a difference
If it’s the littlest things that we see, hear and experience as a child that makes all the difference, then perhaps that is exactly where we should focus to create a difference.
I also strongly feel that more should be done at a younger age. Our younger siblings, neighbours, relatives and in future, our children, should be free from a mentality that only serves to limit their potential. This is where parents, teachers as well as undergraduates can each play a small role in achieving the bigger picture. Parents (not just mothers) should play a more proactive role in encouraging their children to start pushing boundaries and not make them see walls that do not exist. Teachers can also instill a progressive attitude among their Malay students by asking them about their hopes and aspirations and by exposing them to fields like the various engineering fields, law, journalism, and medicine.
Lastly, there are a number among us involved in community outreach programmes such as Alterisk, AAM and the AMP Youth Enrichment Programs. But there are still many of us who might want to help in one way or another but are unaware of the existence of such programmes. If such programmes could come together under one united umbrella, goals and objectives can be achieved and the effect can be felt in a much wider scale.
We are a community that can strive and must. It’s time we band together and work towards a better uncertain future for us, and our family.
Sunday, March 7, 2010
Life is like a roller coaster. You can be happy one day, and depressed the next. But today, I'm happy. All smiles and hoping for the final weeks of school to be riddled with obstacles that i can overcome.
I've been told I'm an interesting writer but thinks like a girl. Do I really?
Saturday, March 6, 2010
Life is like a roller coaster. He's afraid of roller coasters and all its vicious twists and turns.
After a long day of project discussion, his brain was fried. Fried like eggs that was left on the stove too long coz while cooking, a telemarketer called and went on and on about products he knew no one will buy and when he noticed that awful smokey smell, he knows it's too late. He knows that the eggs have been fried beyond recognition and that there's nothing he can do.
"Stress. I feel like driving a car into a wall."
He clicked "Send SMS" after having double checked the number of his receiver. He waits patiently for a reply as a thousand thoughts ran through his mind.
He got home to an empty house. He hates empty houses.
He washed up. Prayed. Read the Quran.
Dear God, please give me the strength to carry on. I feel so weak. I'm losing the plot. Help me. Please.
If only there was a reply.
An hour later, the siblings came home with Mother right behind them.
"Ma, the meeting was long. I feel so tired. Why is it so hard? I thank God for the strength he's given me for if I wasn't strong, I would've done silly things. Why?"
She looked at him in disgust. He saw it coming. Mama hates it whenever he talks about giving up to the point where it sounds as though he's at world's end and will take that final leap off to nowhere. But Pablo just needed to see that look of disgust to know that Mama's paying attention. He felt her concern. She was all ears.
"This is getting tiring. 2 more years. I need to hold on for 2 more years Ma. It's hard."
"Then why is it that your other friends are doing well?"
"I don't know lah Ma. I've been thinking. When a Muslim is stressed, he prays. He reads the Quran. He asks for help and guidance. When a non-Muslim is stressed, they do not pray to God. They try harder. But why do they always end up doing so well? I just don't understand. Is this God's way of testing my patience and willpower to carry on? If it is, I don't think I can go on lah Ma. It's hard."
He knew better than to ask questions no one can answer. But he just needed to ask them out loud.
"Pray. And tell Him that the pressure's too much for you to handle. Ask him to lighten the pressure a little. Perform Tahajjud in the late hours of the night. Insyaallah, things will be better."
"Mama, the Tahajjud's the hardest to perform. I can hardly wake up for Fajr. And besides, if this is too much for me, what about the suffering of Nabi Ayub? He suffered more but he didn't complain. And Ma, I also do not know why I am complaining. It's hard lah Ma." Pablo sighed.
He smiled. Everything's out on the table. Mama knows her son's upset and loosing his composure. She has done her part to get him back up on his feet. Now it's all up to him.Dear God, please give me the strength to carry on. I feel so weak. I'm losing the plot. Help me. Please.This time round, he doesn't need a reply.
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
"Think of the million random choices that you make, and yet each and every one of them brings you closer to your destiny. Do you know why that is? Because it's not random; it's not chance. It's a plan that is playing itself out perfectly."
The quote above is something nice that I saw on FB's News Feed that was apparently quoted from Supernatural the hit television series that I'm not bothered to follow. He hates horror. I digress.
The quote reminded me of the many choices that I made ever since the day I made my first. It reminded me of the best and the worst of decisions. Do I regret having made poor decisions? Sometimes, yes. They do haunt me. However, I quickly realize that these mistakes are mine to make. I'm pretty sure that had I not made them when I was younger, I'll be making them now. Those seemingly random choices does seem to be "a plan that is playing itself out perfectly" - a plan written by an invisible hand.
Decisions, as silly and stupid as they may seem, brings us closer to our destiny.
Monday, March 1, 2010
If my little ruby red Nokia E63 has a name, she'll be known as Alice. But guys don't name their stuffs like girls do. A phone is just a phone. A diary is just a diary. A cat is just a cat. A girl.... well, a girl could be Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Anne, Avril and such. But a phone, is just a phone.
If her name was Alice, then I hope she's lost in wonderland. Most probably though, she isn't coz after I realised I left Alice (the phone) at the public toilet, I called her using a friend's only to hear the dialling tone. No one answered. What an idiot!!! Im assuming the guy that found it isn't someone who has no sense of hearing or touch. I'm very sure that fella can definitely hear the ringtone and feel the vibration! Idiot!! Grr..
I know that I am the bigger idiot for leaving Alice in the male toilet all by herself but that's not the point of this story. Now, Alice is lost in not-so-Wonderland. And I miss her. The QWERTY keypad, the big screen, the little hours I've spent on Facebook Mobile.
I miss her. :(