About Me

My photo

She writes simply to put her thoughts together.
Sometimes they're well-structured, sometimes they're in absolute mess.
But always, they're personal.

Ultimately, this is all for Him.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Coffee chat

Siapa kata summer kita dok lenggang ja?

Dia punya penat tu rasa macam nak have a long coffee chat with a loved one.

Nak rant, nak complain, nak share my biggest fears, nak share my happiness.... Basically nak jadi human.

Mungkin ini cuma after effect orang yang dah lama tak telefon rumah. Almaklumlah, timezone punya beza dahsyat sangat. Yang kat Malaysia sibuk raya, yang kat sini sibuk bekerja.

Homesickness, kau main jauh-jauh!

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Time vs Money

I recently moved out from my old house in E and moved into a house in C (which is closer to the university) for the summer. Cycling from this new house to my workplace takes about 5-7 minutes along flat ground (whilst the previous house requires 13-15 minutes downhill to uni and 20-30 minutes uphill going back). Besides having to only leave the house just 5 minutes before my office hour starts, I can also come back home for lunch. Talk about not having to pack my lunch early in the morning and have a very comfortable place to pray dhuhr!

Before moving to C, I had to commute from E by bus to my workplace because my old bike got stolen and I hadn't replace it yet. The bus takes about 10-15 minutes to reach the university with waiting time that can range from less than a second (in the event of my having to run to catch my bus) or 20-30 minutes (in the event that I missed my bus). I had to wake up at least an hour and a half before my office hour starts to get myself and my lunch ready. During lunch hour, after a very rushed lunch, I had to walk at least 10 minutes to a multifaith prayer room, of which I had to take my wudhu' in a toilet.

Having a bicycle is such a blessing, living near to my workplace is another!

This made me reflect on Malaysian's lifestyle, especially those who live in KL. So much of our time is spent on the road, getting from one place to another. On one hand, this is good for the radio companies as the demand would always be there. On another, too much stuff are wasted! I remember being stuck in a traffic jam in KL. When I looked around, almost every single car has only one person in it. Not just that we are wasting space (as one person would at least occupy 10 metres squared of the road) that leads to congestion, we are also wasting our petrol being at standstill or moving so slow at a time due to the congestion, and hence wasting our time being stuck in the congestion which could be spent to do lots of other things!

But of course, issues are easier addressed than solved. Most of us have no choice but to submit to such "wastage". Like in my case, I can't afford living in a house in C throughout the year. The houses in E generally have monthly rental of £100 less than the houses in C. So that's approximately £1000 savings per year! The reason that I'm able to do so now is only because I'm living on top of my friend's rent who's back in Malaysia for the summer (I pay a little bit less than she should). Although this house is undeniably cheaper than the other houses in this area, I wouldn't want to live in it outside summer because the house is too cold to live in. Even in summer right now, I stay in my duvet most of the time. So really, it's a matter of balancing time, money, and comfort.

As a student with money being crucial to life, I can only sacrifice what is free of mine, which is time (and sometimes, comfort). Hence the willingness of having to spend more time to commute. I guess it applies to most students too. Some are willing to cycle everyday through wet and snow throughout the year just so they don't have to buy the £350 yearly buspass. Some, make use of the little contact hours that they have in their course to work for £7 an hour instead of reading/studying.

Everything has a price to pay. 
If you choose to save money, then you are required to spend extra of your time and/or sacrifice your comfort. 
If you choose to have more time and/or be more comfortable, you need to agree to have less money. 
Whatever the choice is, just remember to spend wisely.

One of the characteristics of a mu'min is
"being heedful of time"

Hopefully I've optimised the balance between time and money in my life right now so that I can answer it well on the Day of Judgement when I'm asked "How did you spend your time during your youth?". Although, I do hope that one day when I have my own family, I can afford to have more time to spend with them. Wouldn't it be wonderful if by then I can live like how I am right now? i.e. not having to rush to work so I can send the kids off to school, being able to come back home midday to have lunch with them and arrive home early to spend the rest of my day/evening with them.

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Graduation day

14/7/2015 marked an important day to a beloved friend of mine, namely (here) Kak S. She graduated from the University of Warwick with Degree of Masters of Engineering (Hons). Since the professional photography session would cost her a fortune, she opt for my service (lol, "service") as her personal photographer for the day instead. Of course, as an amateur recreational photographer, I don't produce pictures nearly as good, especially since I never covered a graduation ceremony before. Nevertheless, I decided  to post it up to commemorate the day.

Academics on stage, with their colourful robe, and Hogwarts-styled procession.

British style of "cap mohor kebesaran".

The choir group with the conductor. Unseen is the wind orchestra.

The celebrated person of the day, amongst the many seated graduates in the hall.

So I was placed at a seat with the worst view for this.

Part of the Sulbah "gang"

I suppose they set up this flower stage just so there's a scenic view for graduation pictures :P

In front of the department she was in for 4 years.

So the next couple of pictures were taken in the rain. It was heavily drizzling that day and we had to find shelter. After a few minutes of sitting down underneath an overhead roof, Kak S decided to stand in the rain and pose for some pictures whilst I remain un-wet under the shelter.

What are graduations, if there's no mortarboard-throwing picture, eh?

And that was it. Nothing fancy with studio photography or whatnot. Just some bunch of girls having fun celebrating their friend.

Congratulations Kak S! May Allah guide your ways and may you be blessed always :D

My Hijab Story Day

The other day, I went to a seminar on the X-ray facilities available at my university. At the end of the talk, we were able to visit any of the facilities if we want. I didn't intend to but ended up going because I hung around the concourse too long that I got invited to join them and just went anyway.

As we reached the lab, there were two people at the computer near the X-ray instrument. I recognised a face belonged to an undergraduate that I know is doing a summer project. We sat on the same table during our Get Started briefing and talked a bit at that time. I thought we went along fine so, intuitively, I expected a "Hi" or a smile at least, as a gesture from him. But he didn't. So I wanted to act that way to him instead, but having to realise he was avoiding any eye contact from me, I dismissed that thought. Oh well, never mind. The other person was an academic, whom I'm not sure whether he taught me before or if I had any interactions with him (as I am awful at remembering people's names and faces) but I recognised his face as well.

Our tour guide introduced the three of us (yes, there were only 2 who were interested in visiting the facility except for me) to those two people. First he introduced this one lady who is a chemist, from the Chemistry department (obviously). As he was about to introduce me and this other guy (who's a physicist), the academic immediately said "Oh I know them. You don't need to introduce them to me."

I was shocked. Partly embarrassed because he knows me although I can't remember him (but that happens too often) but I was mostly shocked due to the fact that he knows me well enough to not be introduced. Being an antisocial in a very non-sociable course, I can count the very few interactions I had with any academics. With this particular academic, I'm pretty sure that we haven't had any active interactions before. The closest contact I could have had with him is most probably of him being my lecturer (of which I can't remember for which module). If that's the case, it's not actually surprising that he knows me - but surprising still, that he remembers. I am in fact the only hijabi (specific term for a Muslim wearing a headscarf) amongst my batchmates in my course. With a selective number of the students being female, it is indeed really probable that I stand out from the rest of the class, physically.

That's one of the perks of being a female practicing Muslim. Your very presence is enough to make yourself memorable. You don't have to do much to get people to recognise you, if not remember you. It's good and bad, depending on how you see it and how you behave. If you do good, then it's not hard to gain a good reputation. Meanwhile, if you do bad, it's much easier to create a bad reputation. Like if I ask a question in a lecture hall, people would immediately take note of me - unconsciously if not consciously. One of my coursemates once remarked me as someone who's active in class (lecture) although I might have only raised my hand in the lectures a couple of times. On the other hand, once during my early days in my first year, I'd forgotten to bring my lab script and asked a very naive question to the lecturer "do I need my lab script for the session today". He rolled his eyes, said nothing, and disappeared. As I sat at a table, I felt a smack on my head and it was the lecturer, handing me a new lab script. See, I didn't even introduce myself. And the lab isn't tiny, with students sitting in a very scattered manner, assigned to various lab assignments. The fact that he could remember me without having to say a word, sends chills down my vein on the effect I can create if I slip at being good.

Later that day, after I got back from the visit of the X-ray facility, there was another incident.

I was at the bus stop near my house, waiting to catch a bus to go to the prayer hall to break my fast (it was still Ramadan then). I was on my own and later a man came and looked at the bus timetable. As the real time screen at the bus stop was not on, I told this man that the bus to the university was going to arrive in just 5 minutes time. We chat a bit about trivial stuff, like how the British does it. At the end of our conversation, he complimented my scarf of which he followed by asking "if you don't mind me asking, which religion is that?" and later I told him a bit about Islam, and that it's fasting month and I'm on my way to break my fast and stuff. He seemed interested.

That experience left me awestruck. One, because I seldom get to tell a non-muslim about my faith (which is a shame for someone who declared herself as being a daie) and two, because it wasn't just a compliment by a man (which is still unusual in Britain) but a non-muslim man. I mean, it's normal for us here to receive compliments from non-muslim women (mainly because it's a fashion and they don't usually know how this hijab fashion works so to see a Muslim working it, is something) but from men, no. And believe me, this wasn't the kind of questions that guys throw to pick up a woman or being flirtatious. It was completely honest (at least as how I see it) and he seemed so keen to know that I told him as much as I can tell in the little time I had.

I was wearing this hijab from Amsons, Birmingham.
Bought it for the one time we joined a nasheed competition.
(This maxi dress is from Poplook, Malaysia)
This encounter reminds me of the kind of encounter that Idris Tawfiq had on his holiday in Egypt when he wasn't a muslim. He told us in his talk at our university that there was this one boy on the street who constantly greeted him with "Assalamualaikum". It wasn't much from the boy but it was Tawfiq's first encounter to Islam. Later on he commented that he doesn't know what happened to the boy and the boy - who should be a full-grown adult now - must've not known of what happened to him later on as well. But he said, as he's an Islamic speaker, all of what he said in his talks that touched people's hearts, all of the people who came to Islam by his means, these all started with the simple salaam from that random boy on that random street. Imagine the amount of reward Allah would've given to this boy, collected with the simple act that he did.

This story truly motivates me in being a good ambassador of Islam, spreading the goodness of Islam by any means. And being a hijabi is actually a given advantage because I can "preach" Islam to people effortlessly.

Indeed, Allah has chosen that boy. May we be amongst that He chooses as well :)

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Scalding Heat

The other day I went to have iftar at a sister's house in London with a bunch of other sisters. My friends and I decided that we want to make murtabak, a type of Malaysian stuffed pancake (as how Wikipedia described it lol). After much considerations, we thought of making the fillings beforehand and cook them at that sister's house so we can save time and the murtabak can be eaten as fresh as possible.

Initially, everything went well. Well, quite. Londoners have a comparatively smaller house than non-Londoners hence the appliances that they fill up their house with are fairly limited. The sister didn't have a large pan for us to fry the ready-to-be-cooked murtabaks so we had to fry them one at a time. It took a while but we managed.

Running simultaneously in the kitchen (or the living room, I should say) were the preparations for the main dishes and whatnot. One of the things that were going on was two large rice cookers, cooking 10 (or more) cups of tomato rice. Everything was manageable until suddenly one of the rice cookers went out and caused a short circuit to the power plugs of the whole house. The lights and the electrical stove were fine though. Just the power sockets. Several attempts were done to fix it but all came to a failure. We had to resort to cooking the rice manually on top of the hob.

There were 4 hobs on the stove, with one not working so well. Now the rice occupied a good two thirds of the whole thing. Since the main dishes were yet to finish, they had to stop the process of our cooking the murtabak since it's just a side dish and we already made enough to feed the people for iftar. So we stopped.

After iftar, before our maghrib prayer, our murtabaks were high on demand. What served were cleaned, and we had plenty of uncooked ones left. Someone came up with the idea of cooking them in the oven simply because unlike the hobs, the oven was available. The murtabaks needed to be cooked that very night anyway, otherwise it would be spoiled. And it seemed like a good idea since we could cook several in one go and we didn't have to attend it the whole time. So we did just that.

It didn't turn out as how murtabak should be, of course. It looked more like a stuffed pastry than a stuffed pancake. We called it "murtabak puff". Nevertheless, they were still good in taste and by the time of suhoor, all of them were wiped off the plate.

What an actual murtabak look like

What our murtabak puff looked like

One of the incidents whilst handling the puffs in and out of the oven was that the tip of my finger accidentally touched the oven tray. It was just for a fraction of a second but my skin suffered from minor burn. A similar incident happened to me again when yesterday, I was with my friend, baking a cake. This time, my skin went purplish red after a few hours.

I know I might sound like a spoiled kid never getting rough or even a scratch but no. I just find it weird for me to get burns a couple of times over the span of just a few days. I've always considered myself being sensible enough around hot objects since I never get burnt scars before (but scars from other activities, plenty). The effect it has on my skin (decolourisation, pain, etc) still dazed me a bit. I mean, that's just a tiny burn from a fraction of a second in contact with a hot object. I cannot imagine what Khabbab, one of the companions of Rasulullah had to face - when he declared that he became a Muslim, he was tortured (like many other early companions) and one of the most distinct tortures he had was to have his clothes taken off and dressed in iron armor and left on the ground in the middle of the city where the sun was in zenith and the ground was scorching hot.

And I can never imagine myself being in contact with burning fire, let alone living in the hellfire. Just the thought of being killed in a fire gives me chills. My skin can't even handle the heat of the world (not even the maximum of it. For goodness sake, it was just a 170 degree oven temperature). Nauzubillah, may Allah protect us from anything that would lead us to be thrown into Jahannam and never allow the flames of Hellfire touch our skin.

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Playing with Probabilities

The subject statistics taught us that if there's a bag of 10 sweets, with 7 being green and 3 being yellow, the probability of picking a sweet at random from the bag is higher for the green sweet, for obvious reasons.

Any layman can make sense of that.

Try this.
So say for us students (now I'm just assuming that my readers are mainly of my circle of friends lol). If most of our time is spent at the university studying instead of at home watching TV, the probability of us being called to meet our Creator whilst studying is much higher than whilst watching TV. And vice versa. That's why we should never stop working for His sake. Both for the reasons that we never know when would be our time, and also to increase the probability of having husnul khatimah (a good ending). Of course, everything is due to God's willing but Allah also stresses on the need to follow the sunnatullah a.k.a. the "law of the universe". For example, if you don't revise for an exam, you would most likely fail that exam and have almost zero chance of scoring it well. You can't expect to score magically well, do you?

Today I heard of the news of the death of brother Bashir Osman, who was the president of FOSIS (Federation of Student Islamic Societies) which is the organisation that managed the well-being of the muslim students in the UK [I attended the annual conference last year and blogged a bit about it here]. He did so many amazing works and even with his departure, he's in the middle of achieving some things. There is a facebook page that the brothers and sisters who are close to him set up to dedicate to Bashir, in the efforts of finishing his work.

The news of death of the people in my close network is not alien to me. I was really shocked when I first encountered it but I'm no longer surprised now. In fact, I long for my own death, if it means meeting my Lord. I only hope that Allah would choose me when I am in my best state i.e. Him being pleased with me and I'm being pleased with Him. Much like the state of the people in 89:28 (from the Quran). And this particular ayah resonates this fact about death really well.

"Every soul will taste death, and you will only be given your [full] compensation on the Day of Resurrection. So the person who is drawn away from the Fire and admitted to Paradise has attained [his desires during his time in the world].

And what is the life in this world except the enjoyment of delusion"
- (3:185)

Really really envious of those whom Allah invited to meet Him at the highest peak of their amal, much like the case of brother Bashir. May Allah spare His mercy on him and grant him the highest level of Jannah.

Friday, 3 July 2015

Seusianya Bahagia

"Bahagia itu dari dalam diri,
Kesannya zahir rupanya maknawi,
Terpendam bagai mutiara di dasar hati.

Bahagia itu pada hati,

Bertakhta di kerajaan diri,
Terbenam bagai mutiara di lautan nurani.

Bahagia itu ada di jiwa,

Mahkota di singgahsana rasa.

Bahagia itu adalah suatu ketenangan."

-Hakikat Bahagia, UNIC

Hari lahir tahun ini terasa lain dari yang sebelumnya. Walaupun keputusan peperiksaan baru-baru ini bukanlah seperti yang diidamkan, hidup telah banyak sakit dan perit, tapi entahlah, hari ini cuma terasa bahagia. Betullah, hati tu Allah yang pegang. Gembira dan bahagia kadang tak perlu bersebab. Kurnia Sang Ar-Rahman buat hambaNya di atas muka bumi.

Teringat bila dikatakan dalam al-Quran, seorang manusia yang melalui kehidupan dunia yang sangat perit sepanjang hidupnya, tatkala dicelupkan ke dalam syurga, dikatakan ia hanya merasa bahagia. Seakan tak pernah berbekas runtunan jiwanya selama di dunia. Sedangkan aku ini, baru dipinjam secebis rasa bahagia, dah rasa terpadam sakit dan luka yang dulu. Tak tebayang apa perasaannya nanti di syurga :')

Bila disoal apa perancangan untuk menyambut ulangtahun, sungguh aku tiada apa rencana. Cukuplah dengan aku mengenangkan segala nikmat yang telah dikurniaNya.

Di tengah-tengah jabatan Film and Television Studies,
kumpulan Magnetic Resonance dari jabatan Physics mendapat tempat dan makmalnya.
Di tengah-tengah liku-like bangunan yang membingungkan,
Allah menunjukkan cintaNya kepada seorang hamba yang hina.

Disampaikan lagi ke Ramadan, dan disempatkan melalui separuh perjalanan, walaupun dengan ibadah yang patah-patah.
Dipilih untuk menyambung perjuangan orang lalu sehingga ke hari ini, walaupun hati dah hitam legam dengan karat jahiliyah.
Dikelilingi orang soleh dan orang yang cuba hendak menjadi soleh, walaupun hidup dalam lautan maksiat.
Ditawarkan pekerjaan yang sangat mengujakan diri, walaupun sebenarnya sangat tak berkelayakan.
Diberi rakan sekerja yang sangat baik dan mentor yang sangat sabar, walaupun diri ini susah sangat nak dipupuk untuk bersifat demikian.

Itu sahaja yang boleh aku katakan untuk hayatku genap 22 tahun ini. Alhamdulillah. Semakin dekat dengan mati, semakin dekat menemui Illahi. Ah, tak sabarnya!