Friday, November 16, 2012

The kid and her father

Each time the little girl tugged her father's trousers, he lowered himself to his daughter's height. She would then ask him how many more stations till they reach their destination. And at the next station, she asked him which station they're at. And at the station after that, she asked him why she has to wear her seatbelt while sitting in her stroller. She asked why he carries a bag, why is the strap of the bag long, why she doesnt carry a bag, how many more stations till they reach their destination.

Each time the little girl tugged her father's trousers and asked the above questions in the politest of ways, he lowered himself to his daughter's height, answered her and showered kisses on her face and she would giggle and smile.

How I wish every train ride back home were as sweet as the one today.

Sunday, November 4, 2012


Word pops to mind cause I was feeling frustrated.

Frustrated I was at the state of my room - no matter how much time I spent cleaning it up, and no matter how much stuff I threw away, it is in a consistent state of mess. Frustrated I was looking at the notes I wrote, struggling to decipher my scribbles. If only I had nice handwriting.

And then I realize I can't really think of anything else frustrating, Alhamdulillah.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Life: Fast Forward

While testing out a Project Management app on my sister's Note 10.1, I slowly found myself sketching life till I turn 50 (the app doesn't allow me to go beyond 2038). I briefly planned, but He decides what's best for me.

And then I realized that actually, every little things that I'm doing/not doing right now are steps towards those dreams. A day that passes by without doing those things I felt that I ought to be doing are days gone to waste. Demi masa, sesungguhnya manusia dalam kerugian. Following a schedule/plan requires discipline - something I'm so lacking of. It's been at least 2 years and I can't even commit myself to memorizing Surah Yasin. And over the same time period, Surah Ar Rahman and Mulk erased themselves from memory. 

Gotta find the missing D before 2018. Without discipline, I shudder at the thought of the M word. But some would argue that the missing D that I'm looking for comes together with M ie. Having committed myself to spending the rest of my life with someone else will naturally make me someone more disciplined. 

I then quietly said to myself, "What if Discipline doesn't come with M? What then?" 

May Allah guide me through my journey in this temporary world.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Shopping for Work Attire

For the past four months, my work attire has always been a pair of jeans and a yellow dri-fit t-shirt (I managed to collect at least 6 yellow dri-fits over the four years of Inter Faculty Games during my University days). No one said anything about the attire. Working at the construction site also meant that attire didn't really matter much.

However, a week into my new posting, I was asked to attend a meeting at the thirteenth hour. I duly attended what turned out to be a 4 hour meeting in jeans and my faithful yellow tee. While my managers never said a word regarding my attire, my mind was telling me to look around and see what the others were wearing. Granted, they're way older and more experienced than me. As I attempted to imagine them wearing something as casual as mine, I realized that attire and image does matter somewhat.

After a long day's work, I decided to drop by a mall and look around for a new top. I wanted something not too casual but I didnt want it to be too office formal - being under the sun requires me to be in something comfortable. 

I touched countless shirt materials and flipped as many price tags. Im amazed that the shirts whose materials or designs caught my eye were way beyond my usual budget (It's been a long long time since I actually went shopping). 

My last stop saw me entering a shop that sells sportswear. A long-sleeved shirt whose design and material caught my eye. It's not your typical office wear. The tag says "Mountain Hardwear" and there's a picture of a guy fishing. The material's breathable and cannot be ironed (ironing is always a hassle, thus the strong attraction to this shirt). I looked at the price tag - higher than my usual budget but judging from the many other price tags I've seen, I guess it's relatively cheaper.

I then saw a short sleeved shirt - green and checkered and thought it looked different (my sister said it's ugly and my brother said I shouldve gone for brown or blue or black). I tried both, liked them both and got it. Even after the discounts, these are the two most expensive shirts in my possession.  

Mama then shared dad's story. During his younger days, he too used to spend good money on good quality products (unlike Mama who prefers to buy cheap decent products). Mama then went on to say that after he got married and several children later, he was buying cheap decent stuffs. 

Funny, I thought. I hope I'll follow his footsteps should I get married and have kids one day. 

Monday, October 8, 2012


Supporting my family is my main motivation to work.

Whenever I see my brothers wake up and leave home for work at 6 in the morning on a Sunday only to return home at night, I wonder what drives them to do so. I observed that they are very committed and responsible when it comes to work. May these two brothers of mine will grow up to be fine individuals.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


Alhamdulillah. I turned 25 yesterday. It was just like any other day except a gift from Mama, my brothers and sister - a pair of leather shoes and a leather sling bag to match. Timely gifts that coincided with my confirmation letter in the company.

Yet despite hoping to be someone better going into 25, despite being blessed with love from family and friends, I still do not feel that I've done enough to deserve these. May I continue to strive to be someone good. Perhaps, I should start writing down the steps that I'll take to be someone good.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Transfer

3 months and a couple of weeks later, I learnt about my transfer to a new site. Work has been a good experience - made better by fellow colleagues and workers. October takes me to a new site, a new boss, a new team. I'm thankful to have been given the opportunity to be part of a new project. The chance to work at the very early stage of a project will allow me to understand and learn the activities and procedures involved. 

Work takes me to Potong Pasir - approximately an hour away from home. Away from the girl who always sends her younger brother to school at 7.20am. Away from my fellow project engineers who were always there for me whenever I'm lost. Away from the uncles who never fails to share advice and their experience in hopes that I'll keep their sharing in mind should I become a project manager one day. Away from morning chats over breakfast with Mama. 

Sometimes, I feel as though work takes me away from my old self.  

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Journal Writing

Yesterday, I encouraged the P6 kids to continue writing journals even though it was their last APEX session. I shared how writing journal entries will eventually help them express their thoughts better as well as improve their command of English. Told them how after much writing, they'll eventually pay attention to the spelling and grammar and how the sentences sound.

I urged them to be reflective. Writing about stuffs makes one think and reflect. For the kids who disliked journal writing sessions (most of the guys, it seems), I told them to be reflective without writing. I urged them to reflect on every action, mistakes. I said how words and bullying may hurt others and by being reflective, hopefully they'll be more mindful in their interactions.

To the kids who wrote well, I reminded them not to throw away their journals. I even volunteered to help safekeep them if needed. I shared how I wished I still had the journals I wrote in the past and wondered how my thought process was like back then to see how much I've grown.

I mentioned that the person they are right now will most probably be the person they'll become 15 years down the road so I again stressed on the importance of being reflective. Build on their strength, identify weaknesses and bad traits and try to minimize them and change for the better.

Life is more than just the PSLE. I told them that I know of individuals who have done well in primary school but do not do as well 15 years down the road as compared to those who've not done as well.

Many was said. A kid raised her hand and told me to extend her an invitation to my wedding - to which I replied, "Insyaallah. Not in the near future though." On hindsight, I smiled on my way back home wishing I had replied, "Insyaallah. Do make dua for me so that I may find that someone in order to make that wedding invitation possible."

It's nice to see the kids happy to see me after 3 months of absence. May they grow up to be nice individuals.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

One train hides another?

Funny how I feel somewhat disappointed with myself when I found out that someone who once caught my attention is being courted by another - even though I don't see myself doing anything (which adds to the disappointment).

Courage? Fate? Perhaps now's not the time? Or perhaps I'm too used to spending time without anyone else. Insyaallah, one day.

On my way to work every morning, I often cross path with another who holds the hand of a younger brother and waits for his school bus to come. Some days, the bus would wait near the traffic light impatiently - judging from its incessant loud honks. And as I walk towards the traffic light to get to the train station, I would see her walking briskly with her brother by her side. I couldn't help but notice that her brother was wearing the uniform of a special school. I couldn't help but wonder her routine every morning. Her patience and love for her younger brother every morning catches my eye. 

Sometimes, if I'm a minute later than usual, she'd walk towards me, towards where she came from. And I'd look anywhere but her like as though I never noticed her. Perhaps one day, I'll look at her and smile. Say hi.

Or perhaps not.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Work is beginning to consume me. This past week was a lesson about patience and anger. For the first time, anger felt like a fire that spreads when one fails to extinguish it fast. A careless comment by an individual had sparked a flame deep inside me. My inability to control it resulted in me passing on that anger to those who cross my path. Passing that anger on not only made me more angry, it didn't make work any easier.

Note to self: Douse the flames of anger as quickly a possible.

A week on, looking back I realize that work will never be forever rosy. Roses will one day wither. And then a new one appears.

Be patient. Persevere. Stay strong.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Eid 2012

Eid this year felt different from previous years. Everyone seemed more mature in thoughts, more patient with faults and flaws. More analytical too, it seems. Overheard from my bedroom my brothers and sister giving Mama an analysis of herself based on their observations. I later joined them to balance out their viewpoints. Bottomline: Each of us are unique individuals with our own unique strengths and flaws. We're meant to complement each other, not to make the other be like us.

Mama turns 60 in a week's time and she has hinted that she wants a gift - something that hasnt happened for a very long time. The last gift I bought her was an eraser from the school bookshop - it was designed like a lipstick and smells like strawberry. I really thought she'd like it - me being a little kid buying something for someone. But to my surprise, and disappointment, I was scolded for wasting my money. On hindsight, looking at myself now, I mustve been traumatised by the way she reacted and never bought her anything for her birthday (as well as anybody else's).

She added that since all of her children are all working full-time or part-time, we could get her something for her 60th.

I wonder what we should get, and how much it should cost. A couple days back, she did say that she liked the swarovski bracelet my aunt was wearing. hmm.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Deeper Conversation

"Bro, I've a friend who asked me to help her to ..."

And immediately I know where the conversation will head to for the next 15 minutes.

"She's my friend from secondary school. Likes to keep a low profile. A good person. And I'm asking you first."

In my heart, I wondered if this was how I'll be introduced to my future special someone. Funny how conversations during occasional gathering of friends slowly evolve. One asked if we've actually done calculations as to how much money is required for marriage in Singapore - the majlis, the hantaran, gifts, the ring, getting a flat, savings to renovate and furnish that flat and so on. Such high activation energy. I tried to do a quick mental sums but some values are unknown to me - like how would I know how much a ring would cost me or what's the current "market rate" for hantaran. From the couple of Facebook pictures shown to me, she does seem to fall in my definition of nice.

"Ali, you look deep in thoughts. What are you thinking about?"

I didn't know people could see me thinking.

"So how? Interested tak?"

How, he asks? I could write a hundred pages and still not know how it's supposed to be like. At the moment, I've got nothing to offer anyone except my dreams. Committing to someone - even if it's just at the introduction stage - would be a tremendous commitment to make. It's one that I'm mentally, emotionally, financially and spiritually not ready for. Not yet, and I do not know for sure when I'll be ready.

Seeing many of my friends go in and out of relationships ever since my secondary school days, I sometimes do wonder how they do it. Don't hearts get broken when the relationship fails? Do hearts really get stronger after such an episode? Gotta think of a reply fast, I reminded myself.

I smiled. "At the moment I'm not really ready yet."

But I'm honoured that I'm the first person that came to mind. You must've seen something within me that I myself could not. I hope one day I'll wake up and realize what I need to realize.

"Ah, the food's here. So tell me, how's work?" Smiles and changes the topic.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The grass is green on your side too.

Work ended today with a conversation between me and 4 Bangladeshi workers. We talked about work hours, fasting, and eventually (their) salary. One asked about mine but I managed to skirt around that question.

Talking to them makes me wonder if its fair for them to be paid as such. It makes me wonder how much of my salary and future bonuses belong to these workers who break their back and breathe bad air just so that deadlines can be met.

Why is life so unbalanced? As I stand on my patch of green grass, I cant help but wonder what I can do to make the dry grass of these individual green once more. Coz clearly, life isnt supposed to be like this.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

All psyched up

Every day is a test of my ability to stay optimistic. 

Sometimes I tell myself that I'm in this to learn. Bersusah-susah dahulu, bersenang-senang kemudian. Work hard early on so that later on, life becomes easier. Sometimes I tell myself that I'm doing this for my family - I've been on the receiving end for the past four years and it's my turn to give back.
And sometimes, I tell myself that I'm doing this for my imaginary kids. At the moment, I'm working 6 days a week without much complain in the hopes that my struggles will take me one step closer to seeing them.  

And the cycle repeats itself. Week 8. 

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Sleep and Dreams

The best sleep are often the sleep you fall into while still wearing your not-so-clean work attire; the dreams are often so deep and real -it feels as though there's a dream machine that weaves details from work, me visiting Grandma, my inner thoughts and reflections as well as random Facebook pictures and comments that left an impression as I speedscroll down my newsfeed - that it does not feel like a sleep nor a dream.

Alarm rings. Mama wakes up. She cooks something up. Everyone else wakes up. Goodbye, night. Hello, brand new day.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Graduation and Other Scribbles

It's been a while.

It's been almost a week into Ramadhan. I've always wanted to lead the family for prayers but for some reasons, getting everyone together all of a sudden just wasnt easy. But when Mama reiterated her desire  to pray together, I realized that perhaps it's about time I tried once more. Perhaps in time, my siblings will be more receptive to the idea of praying in a congregation. Meanwhile, I don't mind being mama's imam. That's a start.

The day I put on my graduation gown finally arrived. I don't feel the excitement nor the need to celebrate. Loved seeing old friends though - friends whom I will miss. Wished I could hug and thank them for being such lovely friends but I have a problem expressing feelings. So I hugged and thanked them in my mind and hoped that somehow, they get that vibe. Studying felt like an obligation I needed to fulfill. I stuck to my job, completed it and now I'm slightly more than a month into my next obligation - work.  I didn't see the need to be happy nor be proud of my achievement cause honestly, I do not feel as though I've done much. All I did was study.

Thankful I am to have been given the opportunity to have gone this far, alhamdulillah. I want to start thinking of ways and means to live a life that'll make a difference in someone else's life. Hope to start with Mama, and then the family and more.

Grandma was admitted to the hospital again. One could only pray that she gets well soon. 

Graduation to me feels like a day to reflect and be thankful to all who's been involved in my life. My father, grandmother, mother, auntie, sister and my brothers as well as the friends whom I've met and made friends with all these years. My heartiest thanks.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


As we stood at the train platform waiting for the next train to arrive, I noticed an MRT employee who was probably in her early fifties walking up and down the aisle. Couldn't help but notice the slight limp as she walked. As she shook her tired arms, one could only imagine how badly it must've ached.

I told my mom that someone her age should be at home relaxing and enjoy the support of her children. Upon some further thoughts, I said that perhaps, she's not married. Upon much more thought, I said that perhaps, she's married but her children aren't supporting her well. Or perhaps, she got married to a  problematic guy. Or perhaps, she's married but doesn't have children. Or perhaps ...

And finally I said to her, just goes to show that life's unpredictable. No matter how much one tries to plan, the end result may not always be as we want to be. Getting married or not has it's own pros and cons. Sometimes, we try to give our kids the best of upbringing yet they do not turn out as well as we want them to be. Mama said she simply let us be and am thankful that the four of us turned out fine. She added that everything that happens in life test our character. Just gotta be patient and react accordingly.

Along the way back, I remarked that I've been coming back home everyday with dusty socks, shirts and jeans. Mama replied that when Dad used to cut grass for a living, he'd come back home with grass everywhere. Guess we're similar in some ways. Even though we didn't talk much, the subtle things that he does I seem to adopt.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Heart and Soul

Anonymous once commented that I've got a philosophic, poetic soul that threatens to rip my heart into pieces.

I'm still learning how to mend hearts.

Saturday, July 7, 2012


So I didn't write for nearly 3 weeks. There's much to write and reflect about but work just makes me wanna just lie down and let the tiredness slowly dissipate.

Last Friday, my grandma was admitted to the hospital due to stroke. It's her second. Somehow I just can't help but think about my late dad's second stroke. Like dad, my grandma's stroke resulted in her loosing her ability to speak. She struggles to open her eyes. The grip of her right hand no longer as strong. The movement of her right foot the only clear sign that she's awake.

I know she hears us. Recitation of the Quran brings tears to her eyes. I whisper simple and short surahs into her ear hoping that she hears and recite it with me in her heart.

If I were in her shoes, I'd want someone by my side to read to me the Quran. To tell me stories and talk to me about nice things. I'd want someone to hold my hand or massage my feet or aching back. It must be pretty uncomfortable to be living life with your eyes closed - so hearing familiar voices might help comfort me somewhat.

Tomorrow might only be my 3rd week at work, but I'm already thinking about the end of my life. I wonder if anyone will be by my side should a similar situation happen to me. I wonder if I've done enough during the course of my life to be ready to greet the angel of Death. Having looked forward, I then look back to today and remind myself to live life carefully henceforth.

Looking at the amount of time available between now and the end, I probably need to start drafting a plan.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Day 1: First Real Job

I worry about stuffs that I know is pointless to think about - so I'm shutting that train of thoughts down.

There's no use worrying about first days.

My colleagues were welcoming. The manager was very friendly and feels like someone I'd work hard for. Sadly though not surprisingly, there's no females in the workplace. Perhaps one day from now till the 3Q of 2013, I'll bump into a nice teacher from the primary school next to my site during lunch time or something. But I digress.

It's been a pretty decent first day, alhamdulillah. Real work begins tomorrow. May He always keep me safe from the unseen dangers that exist at the construction site.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Fathers Day

Fathers Day reminds me that that it's been 6 years since the day Dad left us. The date was the 18th June 2006.

6 years later, 18th June 2012, I struggle to fall asleep. My first day of work - and I'm nervous. I worry about stuffs that I know is pointless to think about - so I'm shutting that train of thoughts down. The mind still thinks that I'm a student. The heart feels that I'm still Mama's eldest little boy and that I'm still just that annoying elder brother to my siblings. As I select what to wear for my first day, it's starting to sink in that I'm not getting any younger.

The shoes that Dad left me is starting to fit in pretty nicely. As I become the guy with that slightly deeper pockets who'll spoil his mum and siblings more often, I guess I'll have to start asking myself the question: "What's next?"

"Wahai Tuhanku. Sayangilah kedua ibu bapaku sebagaimana mereka berdua telah mendidik aku dan adik-adikku sejak waktu kecil lagi."

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Essay on The Heart

Some of the little "me" time in Mecca was spent at a couple of bookshops just standing and looking at books on display. Being in a foreign country with foreign money, one tend to be less stingy with one's spending. 10 little books caught my eye! I even bought 2 copies of the same book coz I couldn't recall if I already have a copy. I didnt want to risk not buying it coz one gets lost pretty easily and finding the same book shop would take away more precious time.

Currently, I'm reading a thin book entitled A Commentary on Ibn Taymiyyah's Essay on The Heart by Dr Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips. Reading it constantly reminds me that my heart is not yet ready to read such books. The eyes see and the mind processes information but the heart struggles to keep up, somehow. I guess in some ways, the following paragraph in the book puts it nicely:

"As the heart was created to know things, its pursuit of things out of a desire for knowledge is [called] thought and reflection, just as the ear pursuit of speech desiring to hear it is [called] listening, and the eye’s attention to things trying to view them is [called] sight. Thus, thought relative to the heart is like listening relative to the ear and sight relative to the eyes, etc. If [the heart] comes to know what is reflected on, that was its goal, likewise, if the ears hears what it listened for, or the eyes sees what it looked at."

For a while now, I've been going on about listening to the heart and the head. Perhaps, this thin book could help shed a little more light on the heart. And who knows, perhaps in future, I'd want to listen to my heart a little more often.

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Shaded Seven

The Prophet said:

There are seven whom Allah will shade in His Shade on the Day when there is no shade except His Shade: a just ruler; a youth who grew up in the worship of Allah, the Mighty and Majestic; a man whose heart is attached to the mosques; two men who love each other for Allah’s sake, meeting for that and parting upon that; a man who is called by a woman of beauty and position [for illegal intercourse], but he says: ‘I fear Allah’, a man who gives in charity and hides it, such that his left hand does not know what his right hand gives in charity; and a man who remembered Allah in private and so his eyes shed tears.’

Narrated by Abu Hurairah & collected in Sahih al-Bukhari (english trans.) vol.1, p.356, no.629 & Sahih Muslim english trans.) vol.2, p.493, no.2248

The above hadith was shared by the mutawwif (guide) during the recent Umrah. Before we went our separate ways, he shared that everyone of us are individuals who have met and gotten to know one another for Allah's sake, and will part upon that. He suggested that we love each other for Allah's sake just so that we may be shaded under His Shade on the Day of Judgement.

Over the years, friends come and go. Antisocial me doesn't really mind it either. But of late, I realize that there are friendships that seem to last longer than most. And I realize that these are the friendships that I should try to hold on to as much as I can, for Allah's sake. We could exchange advice and reminders, and offer help when help is required - for Allah's sake.

For His Shade - on the Day when I need kind righteous individuals to save me from the Fire.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A wonderful experience

It's been a wonderful experience - one that I wanna relive over and over again. Travelling alone was fun - as I had the freedom to move around freely. But as I spend my time at the mosque looking at families with cute little children, I quietly pray that the next time I'm here, I wouldn't be alone.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Till next time, insyaallah

Dari Surah Al-Isra' Ayat 23-24:

23. Dan Tuhanmu telah memerintahkan agar kamu jangan menyembah selain Dia dan hendaklah berbuat baik kepada ibu bapak. Jika salah seorang di antara keduanya atau kedua-duanya sampai berusia lanjut dalam pemeliharaanmu, maka sekali-kali janganlah engkau mengatakan kepada keduanya perkataan "ah" dan janganlah engkau membentak keduanya, dan ucapkanlah kepada keduanya perkataan yang baik.

24. Dan rendahkanlah dirimu terhadap keduanya dengan penuh kasih sayang dan ucapkanlah, "Wahai Tuhanku! Sayangilah keduanya sebagaimana mereka berdua telah mendidik aku pada waktu kecil.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The End of a Chase Marks the Start of Another

Alhamdulillah. The results are finally out today and it turned out fine. After 7 semesters, I finally managed to pull up my GPA to above the 3-point mark. So come July, I'll be graduating with a 3rd Class Honours (a Class that is insignificant to most, but valuable to my mother nonetheless). When I broke the news to Mama, she hugged and kissed and was visibly much more happy than I was. SMSed my younger sister, who replied she was proud of me. Didnt got the chance to tell my younger brothers - but Im sure Mama's done that for me when they left for school.

I then looked back at life prior to today and revisit the many individuals who have been such a huge influence in my life - whether they realized it or not. I feel so thankful and grateful to have met them along the way. Life would've been different without them. May Allah reward them and their loved ones both in dunya and in the Hereafter.

I then looked forward at life henceforth. As I pack my bag for Umrah next week, it feels as though I'm moving from one life to another. I really hope that my pilgrimage will be accepted and that insyaallah, I'll come back a better person.

Alhamdulillah, a week before my leaving, I've been greeted with good grades. A week after my return insyaallah, I'll be greeted with my first job. I had agreed to start work on the 18th of June without me realizing the significance of the date. Mama pointed out that it was the day of my dad's passing 6 years ago.

6 years ago, I wrote, im only 18. But God willing, we'll sail out of this darkness together as a family. 6 years later, here I am writing on the same old blog - bursting with joy and elation inside.

“In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all the Worlds
The Beneficent, the Merciful,
The Master of the Day of Judgment
You alone do we worship, You alone do we ask for help
Guide us to the Straight Path,
The Path of those whom You favor, not the path of those who are astray.”
Quran (1:1-7)

Friday, May 18, 2012

Sweet Distraction

It's been a while since I got sweetly distracted - the last one being a little kid I met on the train way back in January. Back then, school and my final year project were top on my mind. Besides, lessons from past distractions remind me that it's foolish to allow myself to be distracted.

However, now that school's over, it's a slightly different story.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


As we waited outside the seminar room, we saw the professors come our away. They were surprising smiley and happy. And throughout the presentation, they were surprisingly smiley even though we forgot our lines. During the Question and Answer session, we could answer most of the questions. And thankfully, my project supervisor even added on to our answers to support us. It went really really well, especially when compared to the horror scene I played out in my mind.

I guess sometimes, I worry too much.

I thought about celebrating the end of FYP by watching a movie or something. But settled for lunch with my FYP partner. It was one of the quietest meal we've had. He was the first guy I made friend with on my first day in school and it's funny he's the guy I end my last day of school with. I looked back at all the tough and rough times we had and realized that if I felt that my patience is being tested, he too must've been as patient, if not more patient - to have tolerated my demands and moods. We said our goodbyes and went our separate ways.

Friends, I'm gonna miss them.

FYP Oral Presentation

Plenty of horror stories from Day 1. Mine's in 12 hours time.

Looking back, as always, things can be completed a lot earlier but somethings are just beyond my control. It takes two to tango. I find my patience constantly being tested - perhaps, that's the best learning point from this FYP journey. Advice, help, and perhaps some pushing can help one perform better. As I was doing up my slides, I told my partner that I need his help to criticize my slides and script. I told him that I find it easy to listen to others and give my comments about the presentations, but struggle to advice my own self. I can't criticize and improve on my own. I need someone else to tell me what I'm doing wrong, and advice me on what I should do. Thankfully, he was there to help.

Could it be that the reason why I'm ever so willing to give in, listen to others, and help the people around me is because secretly, I yearn for someone to listen, give in, and help me when I need help? I don't know. Probably. Maybe. But me being me, I wouldn't admit if this is true, would I?

May He make tomorrow's presentation smooth-flowing. May I don't forget the things I'm supposed to say. May the professor and moderator be kind and friendly and generous. It's been a long journey. Right now, I can't wait for tomorrow to be over. I'm so looking forward to a good night sleep.

Friday, May 4, 2012


When my younger sister goes on a holiday, the house feels unusually quiet. And a part of my heart feels vacant like her now empty room. It feels lousy to be separated from family. It reminds me of my recruit days in Tekong - the nights spent talking to my mum on the phone and how I look forward to coming back home every weekend. Perhaps, that's why I prefer to spend my holidays at home.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

There's so many things on my mind right now ...

..and I just can't sort them out into nice paragraphs of words.

The exams are over. It was over last week. But a post was scribbled and left with the many piles of drafts coz it was deemed mundane. The numbers of Saturdays I have left with my kids are numbered. I'm probably left with one. Have yet to let them know. Am thinking how best I can say farewell. And then there's the preparation for next week's Oral Presentation. Trying to put the report into presentation slides and coming up with a 20 mins script and rehearsing seems pretty daunting. The problem with me is that internally, I break down when required to come face to face with a monster. I've yet to cultivate the ability to tell myself:

"Now son, look at me. Stop looking at too big a picture. Zoom in on one thing at a time. In your attempts to try and kill two birds with one stone, you almost always end up killing nothing at all. So please, dear boy. Focus."

Half my mind is somewhere in Mecca - thinking of the things I wanna do, wondering what it'll feel like. And there's the packing. There's also post-exams activity to look forward to - people to visit, say hello to, catch up. There's so many people I'd like to meet and thank personally for being such wonderful people in my life.

I recently attended a talk about the Malay Community. And I want to do something to help (and the brain starts to overwork itself again by looping arguments over and over again). Attending that talk made me realize that I'm not exceptionally good at anything. And when I asked myself what I wanna be exceptionally good at if given the opportunity, it's the ability to understand and appreciate the Quran. I wanna be able to know which verses are where and the reason and place and context in which the verses were revealed. And in order to do that, I need to make the Quran my companion and do lots of reading. I'd need books and references and teachers and classes.

And then there's the driving test in 2 weeks. It's 2am. Got a driving practical tomorrow morning. Slides and script at probably 30% completion. Slight headache.

So many things on my mind right now. May Allah ease me in my journey to accomplish these tasks and dreams of mine. May Allah ease you in the journey you're on.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Manchester United

I dun think I've ever written an entry about them United. They drew Everton last night, conceding 2 goals in the last 10 minutes of the match. As much as I tried to be all positive about the draw, the frustration is eating me up inside. I hate Manchester United. I hate when I get my hopes up so high only to see it crash 30 minutes later.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Morning Prayer

I was awaken by my brother this morning. He was praying in my room and I found it odd that he's up earlier than me. I looked at my watch and it was 5.50am. Found out he was working today. It's not a good feeling to see him up so early to work. No one forced him nor his brother to work, so I take comfort in this. My baby brothers have both grown up.

alhamdulillahil ladzi ahyana ba’da ma amatana wailaihin nusyur
Segala puji bagi Allah yang menghidupkan aku kembali setelah mematikan aku dan kepada Allah akan bangkit.

I also thanked Him for watching over us all this while. I got up, washed up, and prayed.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Little things I remember...

I was checking the mail at the mail box and saw a neighbor of mine - a friendly chinese uncle. A couple of years back, his wife bought us a tub of Meadow Gold's Cookies and Cream ice cream for no apparent reason. And the ice cream turned out to be heavenly. For some reason, that little act of giving struck me. Being the rational person that I am, I just couldn't see why she'd buy us ice cream. But I'm touched nonetheless.

That little act of kindness has taught me that kindness knows no boundaries and a simple seemingly insignificant act can leave a huge and lasting impression. I want to be someone like that. All it takes is a tub of icecream.

Lest I forget.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Dreamer

I prefer to be a dreamer among the humblest, with visions to be realized, than lord among those without dreams and desires.
Kahlil Gibran

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Conversations with Mum

Alhamdulillah. The end of a chapter marks the beginning of another. I've written countless times that life works in mysterious ways, yet I'll say it again: Life works in mysterious ways and usually, if you think about the events that took place in life, there's usually a reason why they happen. People will usually interject and say that I'm simply overly optimistic, but that's fine by me. Mama seems to be the only one who listens with an open mind and add in her take on the stuffs I share with her.

Alhamdulillah. A job offer was made to me yesterday for the position of Project Engineer - which I duly signed after much thought. I signed on the dotted line with a clear mind and hope that this path leads me to heaven. 6 days work week may seem overwhelming, but each time I'll simply try to convince myself that I'm doing it not for myself but for those around me.

Chanced upon a quote that goes, "Good character towards mankind is that you do not burden others to achieve your own desires, but rather to burden yourself to gratify the wishes of others, as long as these do not go against the dictates of The Divine Law." I hope to start seeing work as something that helps improve my character rather than a chore. At the same time, perhaps save up for the future - just in case dearest brothers decide to further their studies. And other stuffs.

I look forward to spending nights after work at the dinner table with my Mama. I'd tell her about my day, share some stories in the hopes that she'd share some of her personal stories. All along, my brothers will be nearby listening in to our conversation as they surf the net or watch the tele; the living room is their bedroom. And I'd secretly hope that my brothers subconsciously pick up lessons and advice from these conversations and apply it to their own lives. I told her to write down her stories whenever us children are out schooling or working. I'd really like that. There's this selfish urge to write a book just to see how many books I could sell.

I look forward to nights just like tonight.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

PE: Project Engineer

O Allah!! Behold I ask You the good through Your Knowledge, and ability
through Your Power, and beg (Your favour) out of Your infinite Bounty. For
surely You have Power; I have none. You know all; I know not. You are the
Great Knower of all things. O Allah! If in Your Knowledge this matter be
good for my faith (Deen), for my livelihood, and for the consequences of
my affairs, then ordain it for me, and make it easy for me, and bless me
therein. But if in Your Knowledge, this matter be bad for my faith (Deen)
for my livelihood, and for the consequences of my affairs, then turn it
away from me, and turn me away therefrom, and ordain for me the good
wherever it be, and cause me to be pleased therewith.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

A world without pictures

Toying around with the settings on Google Chrome resulted in me "turning off images". What this does is prevents websites from displaying images, thus reducing the loading time of webpages. In a weird way, it also makes the Net cleaner and less cluttered. It feels as though I'm walking through a wide and open and green meadow - free from distractions.

What seemed like taking a step backward begins to feel like taking a step forward. Slowly I start to realize that Facebook feels different without pictures. The absence of profile pictures allows the mind to paint the best pictures it could paint of my friends. The ever inquisitive and curious brain is no longer encouraged to take a peek at the lives of others. The mind feels freer. But I know, it's only been 10 minutes.

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Heart

“Ya Tuhan kami, janganlah Engkau jadikan hati kami condong kepada kesesatan sesudah Engkau beri petunjuk kepada kami, dan karuniakanlah kepada kami rahmat dari sisi Engkau; karena sesungguhnya Engkau-lah Maha Pemberi (kurnia).”
(QS. Ali Imran: 8)

Ya Allah yang membolak-balikan hati, teguhkanlah hatiku diatas ketaatan kepadamu.

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Paper Chase

Post O-Level, I went to a junior college and studied in the Science stream instead of Arts despite scoring well for my Arts subjects. I opted for pragmatism instead of idealism. Some how, growing up, my teachers have given me the impression that guys usually study engineering and that an engineering degree opens up many doors. I scraped through.

Post A-Level, I contemplated my next step. Having scraped through my A-levels Physics and Chemistry, I realized that I might have made a mistake studying Science. I toyed with the idea of Psychology, teaching, Social Work and sociology - artsy stuffs that seemed interesting. Studying people and trends seemed interesting to me, as opposed to studying more maths and physics and engineering stuffs. Yet 4 years ago, I was told that I wouldn't be well paid if I were to be a social worker. I had no idea where sociologists end up. And that Psychologists had to study up to Masters to be recognized ... or something like that. So engineering it was. Artsy courses took the remaining few choices in my application form. I secretly wished I got into an Artsy course. Yet somehow, I managed to secure a place in Civil Engineering. Very thankful, for many others fail to get a place despite getting better grades.

Each year in NTU, the grass always seemed and felt greener on the other side. NIE seemed like a wonderful place to be in and I saw myself being a happier person as a teacher than an engineer. Years went by and I told myself I was gonna be a teacher when I graduate. But things changed in my 3rd year of study: During my Industrial Orientation, my supervisor managed to convince me to give Engineering a shot. Along came my final year. Like many of my peers, I started looking for job opportunities. I looked at organizations like LTA, HDB, BCA, private main contractors, Keppel, Sembcorp and many others. I knew of the long working hours and the 6 days week but the high pay attracted me. Again, it seemed as though I was opting for pragmatism instead of idealism.

Year 4 Semester 2. Just a month before the exam, I looked through the list of e-mails sent by the school.

Looking for Singaporean Site Engineer. Project Engineer. Rail Engi. Production En. Design. Struc...

MOE. Career Talk. PE teacher. Avoid it like how you avoided your crush, I told myself. 21 March came. 10 mins to the career talk and I find myself sipping Ice Lemon Tea. A friend appeared and asked me why I was just sitting and staring into thin air. I mentioned something about just thinking about nothing and the career talk. He said he was heading there too.

An hour and a half later, the mind changed it's mind again. Teaching PE seemed like something I'd enjoy doing. And if I were to indeed become a PE teacher, I realized I could afford myself the time to pursue a Masters in Social Work at UniSIM so that I could be a social worker when the scene improves in the distant future. Just ideas I'm currently toying with. Some how, I find myself at the end of a full circle. Perhaps, pragmatism and idealism can co-exist afterall. Perhaps one day, I'll be that teacher I've always wanted to be. Perhaps too, a social worker trying to solve an intractable social problem through a pattern-breaking change. That would probably be my idea of a happy ending to this fairy tale I'm trying to live... if i get shortlisted and pass the interview that is.

8 years on, it seems I'm still pretty much the same person, still chasing the same dreams.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

On writing journals

I sat at the back of the class as the journals were returned to the Primary 6 kids.

I noticed each one of them immediately flipping to their latest journal entry and reading through the comments they received. I saw a boy smiling and showing the kids around him the little star-shaped sticker he got. And it reminded me of the time I received 7 stickers a long long time ago. I noticed a couple of the kids stealing glances at me, for I had left comments in their journal. I'll never know the effect of the little comments that I left at the end of their writings but I hope it encourages them to keep writing.

Little gifts had been given the week earlier to 4 kids whom we felt were pretty good writers. A disclaimer was shared with them: The prize winners are only 4 out of many good writers, so keep writing and you'll never know when you might be next. Again, I hope it encourages the good writers to keep writing and the ones who've been writing three-liners join in the fun.

Yes, writing is fun. It's like listening and talking to an imaginary friend in your mind.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Every action has an unequal and opposite reaction.

Sometimes, it's easier (and probably encouraged) to be silent than to speak your mind coz you'll never know when your words might hurt or offend. So thoughts usually remain as thoughts until I can mentally arrange them into careful words. But sometimes, just sometimes, I like to experiment by speaking my thoughts out loud just to get some immediate feedback. People say Im too reflective.

One day, I shall find a quiet corner and write a page or two or three about why I'm such a reflective person.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Friday.. no, it's Saturday already

After almost 4 years of university trying to set a good example for my siblings, I realized a couple of things I shouldn't have done. I shouldn't have stayed in school till late only to reach home at midnight. I shouldn't have spent some nights in school just to study and clear assignments.

These actions of mine will come back to haunt me should my siblings enter a university one day. They'll probably say, "If Abang Marzuki boleh, kenapa kita tak boleh?"

By then, I'd probably have learnt to be less controlling and protective of my siblings. May Allah protect us and keep us on the Right path.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Climb

I guess I can safely say that I've learnt that life will always be filled with ups and downs. Nothing said or done can be unsaid or undone. We forgive and be forgiven.We move on. We vow never to repeat the same mistakes again. We vow to change.

We then pick ourselves up once more. And live life better than the one we used to live.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

One week you're up ...

... another week you find yourself trying to climb up where you once were.

Monday, March 5, 2012


A trial indeed. A trial that I fail to conquer. The mother has always been the patient one, never giving up. But I on the other hand, have less tolerance to raised voices and disrespect. I admit that everyone ain't perfect, ain't free from flaws. But really, to reduce the status of a mother to that of friends whom you can talk down to is a little too much for me to handle. Words do hurt and each time I feel like clenching my fists, I take a step back and breathe. I rather walk away and let you do as you please, even if that makes me an irresponsible brother who walks away from a responsibility.

Life's not always rosy. I can never dream of starting a family of my own until I can handle the little challenge at home.

Friday, March 2, 2012

2 interviews later ...

... and little talks with some friends have left me thinking about life in just a couple months time. The mind's a tangled mess but right now, more pressing issues include draft FYP report, mid terms, catching up on lectures and tutorials and ... yeah that's probably it. (:

As I select "future" as one of the labels of this post, I realized one thing. The future I've been writing about in past is coming.

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Interview

Had my first ever job interview over and done with a couple of days back. They asked about the activities I'm involved in outside of school hours, my interest, my career aspiration, the subjects that I like in school and my opinions on issues like "Do you feel that the customer is always right?". The more I talked and the more I hear them explain about the job scope, I felt that the job was right for me. 5 days week. Close to office hours. A decent salary. And I'm hoping they call me for a second interview.

But since the interview, many thoughts crossed my mind. I asked myself at this relatively young age the factors I should consider when choosing the first job.

Should I be aiming for a 6 days week job that is related to my course, pays more, with better career progression? Should I be aiming for a job that pays $500 more than the decent salary and strive through a cycle of morning shift, night shift and two off days?

I know someday (within the next five years in the near future) I want to get married and start a family. I know that I do not want to work long hours 6 days a week coz my partner/wife would not appreciate it, and I wouldnt like it either, but I would if it means more income to provide for my family. Also, I want to have time to attend talks, classes, family gatherings, visit the parents and stuffs like that on weeknights and weekends. There's just so many things to consider!

I know that this journey I'm embarking on upon graduation is one that has got to bring me close to Allah above all other things. Life's all about what-ifs and I hope that things will be clearer upon Istikharah and whatever decisions made will be decisions that I will not regret.

Things, always happen for a reason. Allah is the best of planners.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquillity in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for people who give thought.

~Surah Ar-Rum Verse 21

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Job Hunting

This week saw the coming and going of two career fairs in NTU.

Looking through the list of jobs available and their job description, I'm starting to question my strengths, where my passion lies and which industry I'll fit in best. Some resumes have been sent. Shall look through the government portal for jobs that interest me. And I pray that the job that comes calling for me will be one that will make me a better person.

Pray for me.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

From "Life's Memorable Moments"

"But the main thing that we have to think when we remember our life's memorable moments is that it will make our heart peaceful and sometimes sad. But to me, when I think about my memorable moments, I thank Allah for giving me the chance to experience these moments."

- One of the Primary 6 kids

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Smile

She sat quietly opposite me on the train ride back home. I can't help but steal some glances. Our eyes met and we played the staring game. I smiled at her, and she smiled back. I smiled a little wider and she smiled a smile that's slightly wider too. I looked away...

... and smiled in my heart. I closed my eyes and thought about school, anything that'll make me stop smiling. I opened my eyes ...

... and there she was still looking at me. I tried not to look away this time round - hoping to win the staring contest - but I cant. There's something about her that's just so sweet that if I had looked into her eyes any longer, I might fall in love and fall through the window of her soul.

I looked away and rested my head on the palm of my left hand. I tried to hide my smile as best as I could, for her parents were right by her side! I closed my eyes and thought to myself, "It's not everyday someone returns your smile."

When I opened my eyes, there she was, resting her head on her left hand with a tiny finger in her mouth. She was clearly imitating me and was looking right at me, smiling. I smiled back.

As the train approaches Choa Chu Kang station, it was time for her to go. She held her dad's left hand and her mum's right hand and off they went - leaving me with memories of the sweetest smile I've seen in a long while. She's probably a little older than one, that sweet little girl.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


I pray that all of us have our own Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman and Ali within our circle of friends. If not now, perhaps in the near future.

Monday, January 23, 2012

I Remember ... Life's Memorable Moments

"Abang Ali, what is the meaning of"

Good question,
and I then asked the class if anyone knew it's meaning. A girl at the back of the class raised her hand and answered, "Something you remember in your memories."

At this point, I wished that I had checked up the meaning of memorable before conducting the Journal Writing session.

"Abang Ali, must it be good memory or can it also be bad memory?"

At this juncture, I really wished I had done my homework.

"Class, I believe something memorable is usually something good. But it can be due to bad experiences also. So let me give u an example by starting the session off by sharing with you something that I remember - one of my life's memorable moments.

I remember, when I was in K1, in the bus, on the way to school, I stuck my head out of the window and the wind blew my songkok away! I asked Cik Amin, the friendly bus driver if he could help me get it back. He then said,'Dear son, your songkok has probably been flattened by the wheels of a thousand cars. There's no way we can get it back.'

That was the last time I ever stuck my head out of a moving vehicle. It was also the last time I let the wind blow my songkok away."

Some of the kids laughed. Some smiled. I was glad they liked it. I then asked a fellow mentor to give the kids another example by sharing with them one of her life's memorable moments - which was about her experience at a story telling competition when she was in primary school.

As soon as her sharing was over, I asked the kids if anyone would like to share a story they remember with the class. Little did I know that the next few minutes would go into my list of life's memorable moments.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Life's Memorable Moment

Saturday mornings spent mentoring young kids at the nearby madrasah are time well spent, alhamdulillah.

The kids are cute, adorable and their personal stories are just so priceless and heartwarming. Talking to the kids as and when I have the chance always opens up an untapped section of the heart which in turn sets the brain into producing endless train of thoughts. The floodgate of emotions opens and for some reason, I feel emotional.

Abang, where do you stay?

I stay in Sembawang. Why do you ask?

How did you get here? MRT and bus?


Then why were you late? I stay in Tampines and reached here at 7. I wake up early, pray subuh cepat-cepat, run to the nearest bus stop to catch the 6:02am bus. And then midway, I'll change to another bus at 6:24am and reach the school at 7am.

His story on punctuality and how much effort he puts in to be punctual or early for class was a reminder for me and the amount of effort I put in for the stuffs I participate in. Granted 735am is not too late considering that we're supposed to reach at 730am, but still... Also, I watched somewhere in a movie that one of the ways for teachers/mentors to build bonds with the kids is by getting them to teach you something in return. They teach, I teach, we learn from each other. They'll be teaching me some Arabic phrases.

At the end of the day, I had the opportunity to spend 20mins on a journal writing activity. Having thought of a million and one topics that I could do with the kids, I chose the title: "I remember... Life's Memorable Moments." What happened during that 20mins will definitely be one of my Life's Memorable Moments. A story to be shared in another entry perhaps.

It's puzzling how I feel more attached to these kids than to siblings of my own. My siblings were once like the kids at the madrasah, but as they grow older, they become bolder and prefers their own space. Perhaps being the eldest, I do not know how it feels to be disturbed or loved (irritatingly) by someone older than me. Anyways...

.. however puzzling I may feel, I pray that I'll be a good son to my mother, a good brother to my siblings, a good mentor to my kids, and a good friend to my friends.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A Good Friend

A good friend is someone whom you argue over the littlest things in the lab and then over dinner, he asks you about your love life. Life's beautiful like that.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


Reflecting on the past, looking forward to the future - to do it on the 4th of January seems a little odd.

Stuffs of note include the last Inter-School Games. My last floorball match representing the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering. We ended up in 4th position, again. Very tight matches, so close yet so far. But what struck me was the fact that a wish I had 2 years ago came true. It's always nice to talk to individuals you rarely get to meet. Though the ending wasn't quite the ending I had hope for, it was one that I'd be contented with. (Things happen for a reason.)

Other stuffs of note I've already noted down in my entries, so I shall not repeat myself.

Looking forward, it's all hazy and mysterious but I'm looking forward to what's been planned for me. And I do hope that certain aspects of my life improve for the better, insyaallah.