Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Quiet Strength

I guess some would call my nenek unlucky for having not one, but two strokes; I argue that she's lucky for surviving both without permanent damage. Regardless, she epitomizes this year's Raya Eve.

This year's Raya's Eve was markedly quieter than previous years. Frankly, it wasn't that fun either, due to the following reasons:

  1. No takbir (going house to house on Raya Eve) at my nenek's neighbourhood in Klang this year, the first time no takbir in many years.
  2. Only a few cousins stayed over at nenek's house this year.
  3. The only fireworks we played were Pop Pop, hardly an adrenaline-pumping edge-of-the-seat experience. Even then we were stopped by an "Oi, nak tido la!" from the neighbor.
  4. I lost a badminton match with my 9-year-old cousin. Whatever. I am more of a ping pong person :-/

Still, I have to give due credit to the few cousins who came (yes, even the 9-year-old Lin Dan wannabe) for the amount of noise and Raya mood they generated in brave defiance to the "Oi!" neighbor. Also, our lust for fire was eventually satisfied with an improvised bonfire fuelled mostly by cardboard Pop Pop boxes. Special mention has to go to Adik and Inayah (Penan) for doing ZILCH while Taufiq and I had to be the MATURE ones and sweep up the resulting smoking mess (terkejut ke…?) :p


Sorry Pak Yep :p

Anyway, there is a reason for this year's lack of atmosphere. My nenek, after all, was recovering from her second stroke. Being the tough lady that she is, she happily received her grandkids despite her obvious frailty. We couldn't be too noisy though because nenek still needed her sleep.

I wasn't too depressed, though. Recent events have taught me the true meaning of Eid. It is more than ketupat and lemang, or duit raya and mercun. It is about quiet strength. And my nenek is the perfect embodiment of that.

Her legs have been weakened, but still nenek insists on walking herself. Admittedly, she complains of her condition (my aunt bears the brunt of that), but they are complaints usual for a lady her age, and does not stop her from living life. If anything, I now respect her as a fighter. An unlikely one, but a fighter nonetheless.

I was right beside her the night nenek had her second stroke. My leg was supporting her head, actually. Seeing someone I've known my whole life face such physical distress right in front of me had a deep effect on me. I was scared, unsure if any moment could be the last one I would share with nenek. But despite falling into semi-consciousness, nenek steadily whispered the kalimah syahadah until the ambulance arrived.

Quiet strength.

We can all learn from nenek. Whether its Adik, who will be having her SPM trials after the hols, or me with the tonne of assignments I've been worrying about (but barely touched), we could all use some quiet strength now. To quote a good friend of mine (and I am quoting from an SMS here): "u know what, take this as a phase in life. Lifes surely wont get any easier, buts its us to choose to be stronger, wiser or not. Er am I getting this rite?"

Yea, you got it right, Sya. A little discreet determination is all we need :)

I am inspired by what I've seen today on the first day of Raya. My entire family was here, at least before 11a.m., and for the morning I was a kid again. Underneath all the troubles of the recent past, family bonds are as strong as ever. Stronger, in fact because of what has happened to nenek. Quiet strength.

It is also worth mentioning that I've finally beat my 9-year-old cousin (by unofficial count) today. Quiet strength, Aqashah :D

Coming to the end of this post, I have to get something out of the way: in the past year I have hurt many people, not least my mum (I made her cry). To all; family, friends and foes, I apologise. My pahala this Ramadhan would be insipid without your forgiveness, zahir and batin.


The last year has been fun and challenging in equal measures (or is the challenge the fun?) but personally, at least, I think I've come out a stronger man. Dang…still weird referring to myself as a man :-/

Salam Eid everyone.

Stay quietly strong J



The tough old lady drinking Milo after being discharged from ward
*the song "Fikirkan Boleh" playing in the background* :DD

Friday, August 26, 2011

Megatron: Maaf Zahir dan Batin

From the Decepticon ship, Astrotrain, somewhere in the dark reaches of space; a special broadcast from the Leader of the Decepticons:


-Start of Transmission-

Greetings.

My name is Megatron.

I am a strong character. I don't care if I have to step on some toes (robot or human) to get what I want. If that makes me a villain, then so be it.

You say I am evil. And you may be right. Thus it may surprise you that I am saying this:

Now that Ramadhan is over and Raya comes along, I would like to apologise to all the Transformers I have offended in my life. Yes, this is as a sudden transformation, but I guess I'm just doing what I do best.

First off, I would like to apologise to the Decepticons. With you, I have been pushy, and I have been intimidating. I have led you into battle after vicious battle, with little to show for it. My Leadership is Tyranny, plain and simple. There is no place for compassion under my watch.

I just hope you understand that I have to be that way. You Decepticons are, to put it mildly, a bunch of strong-minded individuals with high ambitions and over-zealous personalities to go with it. How do you expect me to lead you effectively without the iron grip which I have maintained for all these years?

Yes, I have not been the best of leaders; but let me get this clear, Decepticons: among you, I am the best leader you can have.

But there is one Decepticon I have to single out here - my less-than-loyal sidekick, Starscream. We have had issues in the past. I have screamed at you, threatened you with destruction and you've even had the guts to take over my leadership!

Starscream, let me be clear: you are not the best sidekick. Often times, I've been driven to violent irritation by your idiocy, treachery, and plain incompetency!

But as Ramadhan comes to a close, let us clear the bad blood between us. If not for anything, let it be for the good of the Decepticons. And that is an order!

Moving on, this apology would be insipid without an acknowledgement of the Autobots. I have made your lives hell through my life – and you have happily returned the favour. I have treated your lives with little worth, but let me remind you that you show little concern for the well-being of my Decepticons either.

Nevertheless this is not the place to mull over that. Here I honorably ask for your forgiveness. And if you choose to not give it, you will live to regret it.

If there is one Transformer who deserves my apology the most, it is the leader of the Autobots himself. Optimus Prime, I have called you weak in the past. But secretly I admire your strength. How you naively choose not to kill, to side with human beings who barely deserve your acknowledgement.

In my private thoughts, I have often wondered: why do we even fight in the first place? We both want the best for our home, Cybertron. But you operate on a different set of principles than I do. That is regrettable, but it is so. My actions speak otherwise, but let me say this: I do not hate you. And I am sorry.

If you see this as a sign of weakness on my part, whether you are a Decepticon or an Autobot, you have committed a grave error. The feud between us will not end until the final victory is in my deserving hands. I call for a brief peace in commemoration of this holy period of Aidilfitri. But be warned: this peace is as temporary as your pathetic existence.


This Raya, let my arm-mounted fusion cannon be used to prepare lemang instead of blowing your brains out. Let the Ketupat be our shared passion, instead of the Allspark.


I wish you "Selamat Hari Raya" and "maaf zahir dan batin".

If you know what is good for you, you will do the same.

-End of Transmission-


Saturday, August 13, 2011

Devil in Disguise

It is said that during the holy month of Ramadhan, all setans and iblises (devils) are tied to trees, allowing humans to live the month in total abdication to God. Unfortunately, one setan escaped it's bounds:


Yes, the ping pong table has caused much distraction to me in the last two weeks. Late nights have been spent in humble addiction to its unholy pull; its bewitching tempo…

There's nothing exceptional about the ping pong table at my dorm. If anything, it is an ugly wreck - its surface warped and twisted by rain and shine. Water damage has made the surface as pockmarked as my face after running out of face wash (yes, that bad)



Playing on the table once referred to as "the surface of the moon" by a friend of mine requires a whole lot of patience - and a whole lot of stamina too as the ball can easily fall into the drains located haphazardly beside the ping pong table.

But still I am smitten. And after playing 16 straight sets of ping pong with my roommate, Boboi (not his real name) - with Boboi winning 10 of those sets - it is absolutely necessary to question:

What do I love so much about ping pong?

I can't say for sure.

Is it the friends?



Or the mind-numbing pleasure of hitting an orange ball back and forth across a (non) flat surface?

The fact that your day's stress just drips away at the sound of the ball hitting the bat?

Or is it the trance-like feeling when the ball is heading towards you? When it seems like the whole world has stopped – and its just you, the bat and the ball?

Or is it the fact that I am FREAKING AWESOME at ping pong? ;D



I just don't know...

But whatever it is, if I don't do anything, I will be addicted to this sport until I resemble this:


eww
 

So, I shall now bring a stopwatch before I even step near the cursed table. And I shall be strong. Against the devil in disguise.


Monday, August 1, 2011

The Declaration of the Rights of the Announcer

Foreword:

This declaration is made in the wake of several complaints/requests to the Public Relations Bureau of the Students' Representative Council (SRC), along the lines of:

  1. "There are too many announcements…its becoming boring"
  2. "Can't the clubs use the notice board to announce stuff?"
  3. "Perlu ke announce dalam BM?"
  4. "Mike, are you OK?"


     

From these comments, several underlying tenets can be obtained. This declaration is based on those fundamental principles, which we take to be self-evident.

  1. The right of all KMB-ians to information, from whatever medium.
  2. The right of all KMB-ians to carry out activities, scheduled or unscheduled, without interruption.
  3. The right of the announcer as a KMB student.


 

With respect to the above principles, several flaws to the current use of the PA system can be condensed into three chief points:

  • Too many announcements
    • The announcement of every trivial detail through the PA system makes the PA system irrelevant and the notice board redundant.
       

  • Interruption of vital college activities (i.e. classes, kulsem) by announcements
    • This obstructs the right of teachers to teach.
       

  • Stress to the announcer
    • An effectively 16-hour "on-call" period daily for every little announcement causes the announcer unnecessary physical, mental and emotional stress.


 

The Declaration of the Rights of the Announcer:

As such, the Rights of the Announcer are thus Declared:

  1. The right of the announcer to announce only college activities, not club activities.
  2. The right of the announcer to refuse to announce trivial announcements.
  3. The right of the announcer to refuse to make announcements during class; but circumstances of the announcements will be taken into consideration.
  4. The right of the announcer to make special announcements, i.e. at the request of the college administration, teachers, or the Students' Representative Council (SRC)
  5. The right of the announcer to make announcements in Malay, English or both; but preference will be given to English due to the results of a Facebook survey.


 

A description of the implementation of this declaration, effective the 2nd of August 2011:

  1. Clubs will have to rely on the notice board to disseminate information.
  2. The PA system will only be used for official college activities, stated in the annual schedule (takwim). However, clubs carrying out activities for those college activities (i.e. the Interactive Peers during the college-sanctioned Banting Extended Experience program) may utilize the PA system, but only during the course of the college activity.

    

Afterword:

The principles of this declaration will be exercised by the Public Relations Bureau for as long as such a post exists in the SRC. It may seem to be a shirking of responsibility by the Bureau, but, as justified below, it is not.

KMB clubs will be the party feeling most hard done by this declaration, but in the long run it benefits the students, teachers, the announcer and even the clubs themselves by reducing the dependence on the PA system. KMB-ians can also benefit from a quieter KMB, with a drastically less active PA system.

Make use of the notice board, as KMB-ians of generations past have. In the words of a KMB-ian:

"If our seniors survived without the PA system, why can't we?"

In the spirit of independence and survivalism inherent in us KMB-ians, may the spectre of the PA system be put to rest. And may we always


 


 

"Strive for Global Excellence"

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