Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Conference on gender,ethnicity and nationalism in Malaysian postcolonial literature

It's going to be on January 6, 2007 (conference fee for students RM25, public RM50). It's going to be exciting cos' we have all the choice scholars in town to update us on changes in their respective areas (Malaysian Lit in English/Malay/Chinese and we hope Dr Krishanan will respond to our invitation to speak on Tamil Lit in Malaysia)

Prof Khoo Kay Kim will also be there to speak on the changing notion of the meaning of 'nationalism' (Malaysian context)

Writers include: Wong Phui Nam, Kee Thuan Chye.

Beep Sheena at mpclseminar2007@gmail.com if you are keen on attending. Venue is at the Experimental Hall, IIUM Gombak (Jan 6 from 8.30 am to 5 pm)

We will have exhibitions, performances all week (in conjuction with our English Literary Week). The folklores of 5 countries will be staged Jan 10 and 11. Don't miss them!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Another fun evening at Indie Scene Cafe

Sharanya Manivannan is a new poet friend I met at the British Council workshops I attended. She's born in India but grew up in Sri Lanka and Malaysia.Very2 talented and artistic.She handcrafted her own book of poetry called Iyari.She reads (or performs) well too.
Find out more about this inspiring young lady at http://sharanyamanivannan.blogspot.com/

Sharanya has kindly invited me to read at her book launch on Friday (Dec 22).It will be at the Indie Scene Cafe in the Piccolo Galleria (between Lot 10 and the KL Plaza, she says). It will begin at 7 pm.I guess I will do my Maghrib therelah before the 'readings' (by right we should be 'performing poetry')

For those who have read my Art of Naming: A Muslim Woman's Journey (2006), can you suggest which poems you'd like me to read/perform? I had done 'Balancing Acts in Hanoi' and 'The Death of a Great Man' (cos' they were favourites with a few people). I know Sharan likes 'My Veil,My Body' piece which got anthologised in Sarah Hussain's edited book Voices of Resistance: Muslim Women on War, Faith and Sexuality (2006, published by Seal Press, USA). Sharan said she saw the book at Kino at RM60.The copies Sarah mailed out never reached me (she said when we meet in NYC, she'd pass them to me). Kotlah kena rampas by the kastam cos' some of the writers tulis dgn bold-nya pasal their sexual experiences as Muslims living in their various locations.I pun terkejut juga bila baca reviewnya dalam amazon.com.Kat US, Muslim writers ni berbagai.I will write about my findings from there later, InsyaAllah.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Iqra' website is up!

Finally, the Iqra' project is done (it is almost 6 years old!). I had encountered so many setbacks and difficulties and finally it is up! All praise to Allah.I am also grateful that my relationship with the web designer ended well. We had one difficult year in which there was no communication between us that would lead us to somewhere, just anywhere.

One day, pressured by a letter sent by the Research Centre, I text messaged him, just trying my luck, not expecting anything. Lo and behold!He responded promptly, saying everything was done, when could we meet. By that he meant a new design was ready and could I please submit the leftover materials (writers from some 9 countries, I think) to him to download.

And the result is this http://www.iiu.edu.my/irkhs/iqra/index.html

I dedicate this project to my web designer who kept true to his word, former ENGL 4820 students and a few postgraduates who had been with me through highs and lows, trying to complete this project.I am grateful to Allah for the completion of this work (I had many projects done over the 6 years but none as exciting and trying as this)

This is a reason to celebrate big time. Anyone who wishes to launch/sponsor this website, please email me: Faridah[dot]Manaf[at]gmail[dot]com
Anyone who wishes to send more articles, please email me too.

My soul is now at peace.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Half-day seminar on Indian and Malay diasporas to South Africa

Sometimes things just happen.We never plan but things just happen.

On Saturday, it was like that.The small round table discussion to be attended by a handful of people became a half-day seminar and a very,very good session at that too.

Karthi was away the week when things got real busy. To make it worse, she got stranded in Langkawi the day she was supposed to meet me and finalise things. I jumped from one meeting, missing another on Friday and rushed to have dinner with the guest speaker and GOPIO members (our seminar co-organiser) . If I were 10 years younger, the anxiety would not have been as bad as now! Told Ridhwan (the guest speaker, just out of South Africa and finishing his term at Jawharlal Nehru Uni. in Delhi) to be ready at 7.45 am on Sat cos' I'd be picking him up (to ensure he'd arrive early at the seminar).Then at 6 am Sat, I rang him up asking if he could be ready by 7 am (so that we could arrive by 8.30 am).Poor chap! But he was good.By 7 am we were already on our way to Gombak.

Alhamdullilah, I think the event went well.RC was so good with EVERYTHING.The foods...the registration, the sound and visual system.Oh wow..I loved working with the RC staff. And Q and the two moderators were fantastic too. I should have videoed everything but I was too busy with the little2 things behind the scene.

So what of the diasporas? Ridhwan highlighted how things are now, Rahim thought there's not much improvement where the Cape Muslims are concerned.Racism of a different kind rears its ugly head NOW then ever.

I'd say give them time to heal and sort out things. What's there for centuries cannot be undone overnight.But it's nice to see more and more South Africans travelling this way.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Reunion of old friends

The year is coming to an end. What a year it has been (to date).

Today's good news is that Evan got back in touch with me after almost 6 years! And he wrote of another great news: he just got married in Sept and will be having a reception in June next year.Will we come, he asked.

The invitation could not have been more timely! Nik and I plan to celebrate our 20th anniversary in the US in June.Let's hope Evan's reception (in Columbus?) coincides with ours on June 14.It would be so cool!!! Otherwise, we will just need to see Enid and him before we fly back to KL.I will need to start shopping now.What would be a wonderful wedding gift? (one which is light to carry?)

Also growing is my Mahmud High School list.We have close to 45 names now.And one friend after another sent their latest pic (after 26 years!). It's amazing how we can still hold on to this f/ship despite us being of different race and religion. There's so much love in us to flaunt to the ailing world and I hope our Reunion party in 2008 will be (in the words of Andrew Leong aka Peng Onn) the mother of all reunions. :)))

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

An Evening at Boulevard

I went to listen to Imam Tariq Ansaar Aquil ( a black American Muslim, an Imam of a mosque in the US) speak again.When I first heard him at Rumah Universiti lunch reception, a day after his arrival in KL, I was like oh mannn...can this man speak.

So when I got invited to the evening at Boulevard, I jumped at the idea and took Kak Pah along with me (Nik had another dinner the same evening).The Imam was sponsored by a local NGO working on world peace (backed by government agencies and other private organisations)and he travels with other religious leaders around the world with peace mission.

I am just amazed by the speed this NGO organises things.They were in 120 places nationwide..as though mobilising the nation on a single pursuit: rebuilding family, renewing society.

I only have a small question on this whole thing. If as according to so many foreign guests at the dinner at Boulevard, Malaysia is a wonderful country which allows diversities and religious tolerance, why the theme rebuild family and renew society? In fact the good Imam said we need to export our secret recipe on our success managing such a diverse nation.I think the theme should have been 'fine tuning existing success' or something along that line.But it was good seeing so many people of different race and religion coming together with an awareness that it is important to ensure the well being of the family institution.It's only when one of the American pastors started to evangelise that I got truly uncomfortable.I think he spoilt the Malaysian spirit of "bagi mu agama mu, bagi ku agama ku" (the religious tolerance).But it's OK.He's the new kid on the block.He doesn't understand (yet) the Malaysian way.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

No Black Tie Performance with Malika Booker

Malika Booker with her students - after a successful show at the Food Foundry

It was Jasmine who invited me to perform at the No Black Tie (a jazz bistro on Jalan Mesui near Istana Hotel where great talents from all over the world get invited to perform.I didn't know this till the evening itself.Oh wow, so honoured.Thanks Jasmine! She was with me in Francesca Beard's workshop and she had liked my work)

I was the one to 'perform' first.Given the hectic life I led, there was only a few hours' practice for the event.I wanted to memorise my lines the way Francesca did and speak from the heart.The first one went Ok..the second I started to have mental block..the third memang I nak baca from my book but tersilap pilih tajuk (on death) Had I known I was the mood setter (the first to go)I would have chosen something cheerful.Haiya..what to do...But Malika said she felt immediately at home listening to all of us (she went last)She mentioned my poetry on my father's death.I guess for a first timer, it wasn't so badlah, kan? I have a few people coming to me and said nice things.Nik and Z were there supporting me, giving me kind words of encouragement after the show.Z said she liked the piece on her grandpa (the death poem)Three of my students also came to give their support (thank you guys!)But it was a friendly environment and I made friends with Spore Founder of Slam Poetry and he did well mixing music and theatre and poetry like that.We had promised to network (his wife kept saying, "Call us when you are in Spore".Baiklah!).

Malika herself was fantastic.She was good in the last piece...mixing the Caribbean oral tradition element in her work like that.Best sangattt!! We laughed macam nak rak!

I'm having a workshop with her tomorrow.I will share here, InsyaAllah.


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Shocking sad!!!

I can't believe what I discovered while doing some research on gender equality and equity in Malaysia.Apparently I am the only one who seem to be ignorant of this fact.It's stated clearly in the 9th Malaysian Plan book and other researchers have been flaunting the statistics here and there.

Apa ceritanya,Cik?

The story is this: Malaysian women don't even make half of the working population

Kadar penyertaan tenaga buruh
mengikut jantina ialah:

Jantina / Tahun 2003 2004 2005
Jumlah 65.2 64.4 63.3
Lelaki 82.1 80.9 80.0
Perempuan 47.7 47.3 45.9

Manakala bilangan guna tenaga (employment) mengikut jantina bagi tahun 2005

Jantina / Tahun 2005 %
Jumlah 10,045.4 100.0
Lelaki 6,470.5 64.4
Perempuan 3,574.8 35.6

What does this mean?

1.It means women are at the mercy of their male guardians and very often become subjects of abuse cos' they are NOT financially independent.

2.It means all these talks of too many female students at the unis (more than 70%) mean nothing cos' employers still prefer male employees no matter how dumb they are (and I'm not being emotional when I say this)

3. It means what is Kementerian Wanita doing about this stats? Reasons given for women NOT working include : prioritising family and kids; no childcare facilities at work/residential areas. We don't see any improvement in helping women ease up their burdens or encouraging them to participate in nation building without them jeopardising their motherhood or wifehood.In a uni nearby, it is the Staff Assoc which has to finance the running of the Daycare Centre.We have been fortunate at IIUM that this bit is taken care of by the employer (thanks IIUM!)but I wonder how many organisations are as sensitive as this?

But then again, can we look at women NOT working as something positive? That they are not turned into industrial slaves? Only if they are not turned into cheap labour or domestic servants by their husbands.If they are given enough space and time to nurture the children with shared responsibilities between husbands and wives, help out with charity organisations, then maybe this is something to celebrate.But I rasa byk yg hidup atas ihsan suami.Suami kontrol pergerakan dan perbelanjaan.Which is so so sad.We are in 2006.The figure was almost the same in 1990.

What do we do, women?

Friday, November 03, 2006

Back at work

I'm still on leave but for the past 2 days I came to work.Why?

1.Imagined work and the fear of not being able to cope when I return.
2.Real work that needs to be done in the office cos' my printer at home rosak.
3.Free electricity at work.Ha ha.Just kidding.

So many things going on my mind at the moment.Will the real Faridah stand up, please? There are moments when it is hard to decide but I remember what Dato Shan said: if you have so many choices in life, do what you have to do NOT what you want to do.

Then will we be happy? Doing what we have to do but not what we WANT to do? Desire is often bad, isn't it? And wanting is desiring? The other is a responsibility which means pahala all the time.If done dgn hati ikhlas that is.

I wrote two short stories.One I already sent out to a major writing competition but I think it will not win. The second one is half cooked.I find it hard to end it.I also find it hard to expose it.It's too real.Where is the fiction bit? :)

DELL has many activities planned this month and months that follow.I should finish work end of January and start working on my research on Moore and Phui Nam and those beautiful people waiting to be discovered in the USA. Francis sent the invitation letter to his uni. (which I have no time to act on yet).Mohja is still away but she said she would fax me an invitation soon too.Andrew says I must find time to speak at Cornell.3 months is a short time.I should have asked for a sabbatical leave but Z is having her PMR this coming year.I miscalculated!

Oh stressful betul.I wanna sit at home, do my nails.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Post Raya Blues

Nik, Zafirah and I would get up early every morning to jog and exercise to lose fats we gained over Raya.When we get home, another plate of bee hoon or nasi lemak melambai-lambai mesra.The following day the routine continues.We weigh ourselves daily too.The weight remains the same.Comes weekends, more open houses...

Today we were in Banting at En. Hamdan's place.He and his family ni orang baik2.Very da humble.When you step into his home, you feel the berkat of the house.Kita makan macam open house tu utk kita sahaja (the Thal group had its monthly meeting in Banting this month cos' Hamdan says come and feel the distance.We believe him now and Dr Zul says lain kali if he cannot attend our weekly meeting for the Dec. Charity Dinner, it's OK.Banting memangggggggggggg jaauuuuhhh.I cannot imagine Hamdan driving back from PJ to Banting after we finish our meetings late at night).Dr Zul kata mungkin next time we can all meet halfway -- buat meeting at his hospital pulak in Shah Alam.People in Cheras and Ampang pulak komplen. :)

But we had fun today.The spread was really good.Semua isteri Hamdan buat.Rendang dia yang paling sedap.And the kuah kacang...nothing like mine at all (remember, mine kena re-do?)

Lepas tu ada 'drama' but I think I will write another entry on this.Pasal orang suka percaya bomoh hingga boleh sebabkan keluarga bercerai berai.I can't believe it that we are still this tahyul (and syirik!)

My advice is..the moment you bump into this kinda group, avoid them at all cost.Berkawanlah dgn org2 yang hidup dan matinya kerana Allah dan mereka percaya rezeki semua datang dari Allah bukan kerana 'sial badan' seseorang.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Selamat Hari Raya

It's still Ramadan but the Raya atmosphere is here as long lost friends begin to pour in their raya wishes and remind me of Raya during student days abroad.Saniah claimed I love to cry on Raya.The funny thing is I DON'T remember crying at all! Tapi impossible juga kalau tak menangis. :)

Then Badri wrote to say Kak Yasmin's and Abang Nizam's son is now doing his Master's at IIUM.I quickly rang him up.We both don't know each other.He was so small when I was in NZ but I know his Kiwi Dad sent him to sekolah pondok in Indonesia so anak orang putih ni bukan saja boleh cakap Arab, English tetapi Melayu juga.Masa Raya kat NZ dulu, rumah mak dialah kita lepak sebab it's one of the few Malay homes in town.

Lepas tu Dr A pulak wrote saying he took my advice to perform hajj while young cos' hajj is not for the old.He goes to Makkah almost yearly now.I have not heard from him for so long (since 2000) so it's nice to know he's still alive. Dia kawan Noraini at Monash so N and I had some laughs today over our student days,suka berkelahi dengan boys. :))

This year my raya will be biasa sahaja.I have decided to spend it with my mom first cos' she's 73 this year.I usually spend it with Nik's family in PJ and after lunch balik Raub and spend a week there.But mom says she needs me malam raya.She says that every year so this year,I will do as she wishes.But it will mean I have to rush back to KL to spend it with Nik's family pulak.Hmmph.Balik awal KL boring sebab people will still be away...open houses won't start so soon.

For those celebrating raya here's my e-card for all of you (cut and paste to view).Maaf zahir batin.


Friday, October 06, 2006

Kerenah birokrasi di universiti tempatan

Hari ini saya bersama kawan-kawan yang mewakili Persatuan Pensyarah universiti/uni kolej masing-masing di dalam satu perjumpaan dgn KPT di Putrajaya.Kita tau bila orang serius nak buat kerja/tidak dan saya memang tabik hormat Dato Mustafa w/pun ramai orang Kelantan tak berapa suka dgn dia.Tetapi di dalam ramai2 Menteri tu, dia yang saya tengok paling kuat bekerja dan paling menjaga masa. :) Dan dia hormatkan orang.Even masa dia kat Treasury lagi (saya tahu sebab suami saya cakap! Dia dapat nota terima kasih dari Dato Mustafa.Bagi orang biasa, dapat nota terima kasih tulisan tangan dari Timbalan Menteri..waktu itu..amatlah besar artinya terutama he wasn't doing a favour for him sekadar menjalankan tugas yang diamanahkan)

Anyway, hari ini kami bincang kerenah birokrasi di universiti.Perbincangan melintasi masa sehingga hosts kami semua terpaksa minta diri! Ha ha.Lain kali adakan satu hari khas untuk kami.Pensyarah bila bercakap, dia tak pernah tahu berhenti.

Yang menggembirakan hati saya ialah bertemu kawan2 seperjuangan.Bukanlah kami ini anti-establishment tapi saya bangga dgn rakan2 yang sanggup travel dari Sabah, Sarawak Perlis, Pulau Pinang atas 3 days' notice utk membantu membaiki sistem di universiti.Saya tumpang kawan dari Universiti Malaya sebab malas nak drive ke Putrajaya dari Gombak.Mengabeh ko boraih sahajo terutama jika hanya untuk bercakap satu ayat pendek! :)

Salah seorang kawan cerita pasal Azmi dipanggil Ketuanya sebab tulis dalam STAR pasal pilihanraya di kampus.Kena warned..jangan tulih2 lagi.I tak faham sebab apa kita takut sangat dgn budak2 kita.Biarkan sahaja mereka belajar berpolitik.Ini sebahagian dari membesar.Dah kerja esok,mereka akan hilang minat.Lebih penting buat duit untuk rumah besar, isteri besar. :)

Jika kita terlalu takut, semua benda nak censor/monitor..macamana kita nak capai even top 100 best universiti? Kita ini terlalu control freak.Lepaskan sahaja anak2 kita.Kita dah bekalkan mereka ilmu yang cukup.Benarkan mereka berfikir.Sekiranya mereka jatuh, mereka akan bangun kembali, lebih kuat dari sebelumnya.

Dan itulah bakal pemimpin kita di masa hadapan!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Performance Poetry Workshop with Francesca Beard

I read about the workshop in Sharon Bakar's blog (thanks Sharon!) I wrote in to a British Council email and applied.It was a while before I heard anything.I thought I didn't qualify (age factor!) But I did so off I went (lost again for the 3rd time to KLPAC) and found there were older people at the workshop (or OK..more or less my age).There's a mix of old and young and it's wonderful.

Francesca lives up to her fame as the British Queen of Performance Poetry. I have seen poets performed (this guy from the Caribbean, this lady from Japan and some of our very own are pretty good too) but Francesca is not a poet, she's a story teller!(she'd first start by narrating a story/extracting answers from the audience then she'd continue with her poetry in story telling form..sometimes she sings! There's one which reminds me so much of Leonard Cohen..is she a fan too?)

At the workshop just hours earlier,we wrote many things about identity, fear/self-censorship and were asked to explore why we censor, why we fear, etc, etc.

I learnt a few tricks: that poets can manipulate audiences so we can lie and we can steal other people's lives.

I find when I did that, my work became even more powerful!Francesca and several people at the w/shop came to me and said they liked my work.Hmmmph....Here's one of the few pieces I wrote at the workshop (one on introducing myself):

I remember Kirpal Singh writing the same piece
asking 'how do i introduce me?'

Do you start by telling
what your name is?
or what your occupation is?
Is that really you?

Or do race and religion matter more than your nationality?

I will start with my little toe
it is a bit crooked
for that,I limp a little
and this scar on the upper lip?
that will never make me anything closer to Angelina Jolie
THAT I received when quarelling with my little sister
becos' she took my mom's love
away from me

I will also begin with these eyes
half Chinese half Afghan
which will make them 4 generations old

the mind travels like a
space shuttle
going back and forth
planet Earth.

And I will keep searching
for ways to
introduce me.

But I liked the one on Allahyarhamah Dr Latifah whose funeral I missed cos' I thought funerals could wait while I finished up work in the office.But I am still mourning and it pains me so much just to type the piece all over again (for non-Malaysians reading my blog, you must know that Muslim funerals are swift.Burial is usually quick and sometimes far away relatives will miss paying their last respect.We don't believe in allowing the body to rot and hence, the quick burial)

Sunday, September 24, 2006


It is my favourite month cos' somehow I am in control of time (or feel so) I have more time to connect to everything outside work. That's the wonderful part of it.

But still...I have some nice memories of my kampong..mandi sungai (bathing in the river berkemban as an 8 or 10 years old girl) Best ooo...balancing yourself on the rakit was an experience too.The rakit didn't last for my gal to experience.The river is no longer a recreational place.

So when Alfian documents a dying kampong, I could relate to it.People have left, the old surau is now abandoned and drug addicts are everywhere.

When Jai and I showed the bedok (shown in the play) to our kids, they went blank.They could not recognise the kemenyan scent (Gene bakar kemenyan in one scene).My daughter asked, "Bau apa ini, Ibu?" Jai's grimaced, "What is this nasty smell?" How do you explain?

Can we bring back our kampongs so that our kids do not feel so culturally alienated?

Sunday, September 10, 2006

School Reunion

Last night I was at my school reunion (Mahmud Secondary School Raub).It was organised by Batch 1973 (I was of Batch 1980).I was there cos' the President's sister was my classmate and she said they needed to fill a table and could we please share a table? (at this point, I wasn't aware that it was not actually open to all..only those celebrating their 50th year).For old times' sake, I said OK although the idea of sitting up all night with middle aged friends, whining about stones in the kidneys or weight they'd put on or rising cholestrol level..wasn't that appealing. :)


I met a few friends who I had not seen since I left school in 1980.They all have done well in their lives...(the boys kawin lambat..some baru dapat anak!the most intelligent and popular boy sampai sekarang tak kawin2.One friend said it's becos' he's a stud..too many women and not knowing who to marry or sees no need to marry)We carried the spirit of celebrating Msian multiculturalism at the reunion (I was the only Malay who turned up at the Batch 1980 table.The rest were too busy working on meeting deadlines I guess.Or busy with young kids.Or taming down grumpy husbands!)

But I value my school days friends (esp those from my younger days..friends from MGS days who would eventually be at MSSR.They were at the reunion too)They helped shape who I am today.We had gone through life together.We may be of different race and religion, but sometimes we are like blood sisters.SF whose first marriage failed some years ago is now remarried and I feel for her.I share her happiness and I pray it will last.The boys...my mom used to complain apa la budak2 ni datang pagi sangat beraya! But they never failed to turn up for ketupat and lemang every raya.I promised them this year it would be no different.Please come eat your ketupat and rendang.After 27 years!

We often speak of racism in Msia.It is hard to be racist when you feel like brothers and sisters.And I think we need to instil this amongst our young ones.

Our teachers (well into their 60s and 70s) were there too.One teacher said many of them retired as teachers not because they didn't have any options in life to move on but because they truly loved teaching.I almost cried at that.It is true..I think the teachers we had were of a different class.They laid us solid foundations and it is no surprise that amidst us were the second richest man in Hong Kong...MDs and CEOs of this and that...

As a Malay, I had learned commitment, determination and diligence from my Chinese/Indian friends.I hope they had learned something from me too. :)

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Book review

There have been quite a few book reviews written on my The Art of Naming: A Muslim Woman's Journey. But I would like to share with you the latest, reviewed by Dr Norman Simm of New Zealand.This appeared in a journal called Matrix. For those who haven't bought your copies, please get them from MPH Midvalley or email me direct at Faridah dot Manaf at gmail dot com

Nor Faridah Abdul Manaf.2006.The Art of Naming: A Muslim Woman’s Journey./Satu Perjalanan Wanita Muslim. Subang Jaya: Awards Publishing.123pp.ISBN 983-42784-0-3.

Reviewed by Norman Simms, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand.

Half in English, half in Bahasa Malaysia, this little book of poetry, with an introduction by Susan Sheridan praising the author’s feminist credentials, confirms our first impression that this is a very important document in a world filled with fanaticism, hatred and ignorance. It is not just that Nor Faridah writes in clear, crisp verses about her pride in being a Muslim woman at a time when to so many in the West (at least) that seems, if not an erroneous then at least a foolish thing to do, but that her poems celebrate her own education, world-travels, and wide-circle of friends in diverse cultures and countries, something the press of the daily news makes us sit up and think about – for we are made to feel it is politically correct only to focus on different people in their own little nationalistic spaces. But here in this Muslim woman’s modest and understated poetic lines is the true meaning of cosmopolitanism, as well as of tolerance and compassion.

There is nothing political in Nor Faridah’s poems. They are about herself, her family, her friends, about being a foreign student in New Zealand, Australia and the UK, about getting married, having children, and pursuing a career, about thinking, feeling, loving and being in the world. They are also poems about poems and other literary experiences. But they are not simplistic and nice, sweet or sentimental;rather they are disarmingly brief, cutting, to the point because being in the world for anyone, especially a Muslim woman in the early twenty-first century, is no easy or light matter. Take, for instance, this brief piece called “Balancing acts in Hanoi”:

The vegetable woman
Walks as if on a tight
But life is not a
If not here, she would be serving
Some white
Men too hungry for
Asian flesh and sweat.

Though I can’t tell what wonderful musicality and wit there might be in the Malay version of this poem, it is quite clear that a powerful sense of the need to expose injustice in the world and speak for those who are maltreated drives the plainspoken voice of this poet.

In another poem the topic of which seems so odd to the eyes and mind of a modern Western reader some other kind of rhetorical game is played. “The veil which is me” begins with these opening lines and also says what can only be a shock, a provocation – a shock to middle-class secular sensibilities, a provocation to prejudices about traditional roles of women in patriarchal religions:

The veil which is me
Is also my body my mind

The absence of punctuation reduces the chance of rationalizing away the implications of such a statement. Then the reader is irked even more when addressed directly and told not to impose his (her) tastes and expectations:

Never wonder the length of my
Or ask to know its colour
Unveil it, says the wind
Show us your poetry

But who does the wind speak for here – some kind of universal or local voice of disapproval? But to show poetry in this way is an impertinence, a violation of the woman’s own integrity as a person, a Muslim, a poet. What text we are reading is doing is challenging us not to know in the normal way we think we ought to know what poetry is, a natural wind-born assumption, but to accept our own position of ignorance about some things in order to appreciate others, those which the poet will allow us to see and hear, and therefore to take the things we do not know about as a condition for being privy to the rest of the work of literature. Hence the poem goes on:

But poetry must never be written
for the wind
An imagined swaying audience
Must never be
My poetry is for the sea
It would never undress itself
For something sacred simply be

Yes, some things must be simply be accepted, taken as given, and what is sacred, what does not belong to the world that can be questioned or ordered to explain itself, is here taken as oceanic, profound, vast and over-whelming. Yet there is, at the same time, something very disturbing about this implied contrast between the wind and the sea: both sway. It may be that this ambiguity, this problematical relationship between what is allowed and what is forbidden, is below the surface if but for an instant. The mystery is too dark to be explained here.

Other mysteries exist, aside from what is hidden to non-Malay readers, particularly in the private and intimate poems alluding to persons, events and feelings perhaps known to the poet herself and no one else. Nevertheless, it is this sense of deeply private that balances the poems of ideological and religious statement. Hence we find “Love Thoughts (in memory of…)”:

like butterflies they stay awhile
and ‘out of season’ rain brings
to the heart…

it’s like loving someone

is too mysterious to be expressed in a little poem of this sort. Yet there is more, another two short lines:

The veil, poetry and me
A float which never swims.

Three separate but related, contiguous but which is not equivalent to or mirrored, things, like the veil, the body, and the mind in the second line of the poem. The contrast here is between the float and what swims, what rests calmly above the sea perhaps moved by the wind and what cuts through the waters exposing what.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Merdeka Day

It's not easy to wish Happy Merdeka Day to all of you here.Does this make me less a Malaysian?
For many of us, it will be just another public holiday.For others, it'll mean late nights and fireworks.Not too far from where I live, some celebrities (top singers) will lead a street party.My family and I never attended any of these in the past despite pressures made by my teenage daughter. I fear for my safety.Also I hate walking cos' parking would be a problem in events like this one. In the past, we would hold family get togethers: barbecues, steam boats and whatever new recipes one would have to show off at the gathering.We held doa selamat also for the wealth, health and happiness Allah had given us.

It's 2006 now.

A lot of changes have taken place even within the family. We try to take turn caring for our aged parent.Some would be too busy to take that ride home on what used to be a public holiday ritual: balik kampung, visit mak.I was hoping I could take time out the coming semester break but no....I have to stay back at work and attend an in house training (for 2 of the 3 days break we have)...It is at times like this that I begin to wonder of how much value we place on attending to family needs or having respect for workers' need for a break! Looks like I will have to wait a wee bit more before I can visit my mom. Comes puasa, hubby will be away in London for 3 weeks and without him, no visits anywhere.I don't drive long distance balik kampung...wough, real tough!

On a different note, it was a shock to discover how a student had to change her name to a Mat Salleh name to attract customers at the bank! (not owned by Malaysians) She and her Indian friend(also given a Christian name) were not too happy with this kind of discrimination so they did the wisest thing:quit their job at the bank. Not too long ago the nation was shocked with the tudung issue thing (of how a tudung-ed woman was pressured to leave her position cos' of her tudung..the company was also not owned by Malaysians)

I think it is a real case of "I sound stupid if I speak Malay" (literally). So ladies and gentlemen, am I so wrong for not being able to wish you Happy Merdeka Day?

Friday, August 25, 2006

Women's Summit 2006

Ini kali kedua saya menulis entri Women's Summit ini.Yang mula2 ter-delete ke hapa ke.
Kita bermula dari awal:

Summit 2006 yang ke 4 diadakan oleh Kementerian Pembangunan Wanita, Keluarga dan Masyarakat di Sime Darby Convention Centre, Bukit Kiara. Tahun ini fungsinya mungkin sebahagian dari kempen pilihanraya! Tak kisahlah.Andainya ia kempen, ia telah berjaya! Saya suka hati sangat menghadiri konvensyen semua wanita ini.Bukan apa, mana ada di konvensyen2 biasa, kami boleh berborak kuat2 di waktu makan tengahari pasal pengalaman dan trauma kami bersalin, menyusukan anak dan lain2? Lucu sungguh bila mengenangkan kebiulan kami sebagai ibu2 muda. Kata seorang wanita saintis Melayu di meja itu..cara membanyakkan air susu ialah meletakkan daun kobis di badan! Lucunya! Tak pernah saya dengar petua ni.Kobis ni sayur negeri2 sejuk! (Nyata yang bercakap tu dibesarkan di kota dan luarnegara.Tapi beliau cukup penyantun orangnya.Fasih bahasa melayunya.Berpuasa di bulan Rejab pula!)

Woon, ahli korporat yang berhenti kerja sebab nak jaga bayi pertamanya menceritakan bagaimana pam elektriknya gagal mengeluarkan minuman susu utk anak tapi saya tak dapat ceritakan apa Woon buat sebagai alternatif tetapi saya hampir tercekik ketawa mendengar satu lagi kisah lucu! Tengahari tu memang puas kami bercerita sebagai wanita.

Yang paling menyentuh dan memberi inspirasi ialah cerita Diane Rose menrealisasikan impiannya menjaga tradisi dan warisan budaya Melanau di Mukah.Tanpa bantuan bank dan kerajaan di peringkat awal (ditolak mentah2), beliau berjaya menyakinkan seisi kampung (dari anak2 muda hingga ke orang tua) menyayangi dan menjaga budaya Melanau dgn pembinaan Lamin Dananya.Lamin Dana was featured in Lonely Planet dan Diane telah memberi peluang pekerjaan kpd anak2 kampung dan org2 tua dan wanita melalui kegiatan2 pelancungan : tukang2 urut, tukang buat bakul, budak2 yang buat part time menari dan bermain musik tradisional..semua dapat habuan dari projek rumah kampung Diane ini.

Dunia luar melutut kepada kampung yang begitu terpinggir itu.Diane akan wajibkan pelancung bawa buku ke kampungnya dan baca kpd anak2 Mukah! Kalau dulu budak2 tak berbaju itu berkelebang tak tentu arah..sekarang mereka semua ada peranan di dalam masyarakat.Mereka belajar buka business sendiri (jual burger Melanau) di samping menjadi duta kpd budaya mereka.Sudah pasti takda budaya lepak atau dadah di sini sebab budak2 ini mempunyai self-esteem yang kukuh.

Kata Diane: asal saya tak punya apa2.Saya cuma seorang anak kampung yang suka bermimpi. Saya tak punya kawan yang ada kuasa.Atau harta benda yang lain.Cuma sebuah mimpi untuk membina Lamin Dana.

Saya harap graduan2 kita akan ambik ikhtibar.Jgn kita bermimpi nak jadi hamba orang lain (lepas graduate, tunggu nak kerja dgn orang dan selagi tak dapat kerja di sebelah rumah, kita tunggu kasi tambah angka pengangguran).Kerja banyak dan ada di mana2. Kita kena kreatif sahaja dan tabah mencuba dari bawah.Diane bukan je buat dunianya sendiri..dia juga buka peluang pekerjaan kpd mereka yang memerlukan.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Wanita-wanita berhati mulia

Hari ini berbaldi-baldi saya menangis walaupun dengan rasa malu sebab Prof Kirpal Singh (dari Singapore Management University) duduk di sebelah saya. Tapi siapa yang tidak akan menangis menonton video tentang Palestine dan Lebanon yang ditayangkan oleh Dr Ang Swee Chai? Wanita perubatan beragama Kristian ini berkata sebelum beliau melihat sendiri pembunuhan beramai2 di Sabra-Shatila 1982, beliau penyokong fanatik Israel dan melihat org2 Muslim tu jahat dan org2 Palestine itu pun jahat.Selepas kegiatan kemanusiaannya di rantau itu, makanan Israel pun tidak lalu beliau makan sebab kecewa dan marahnya beliau terhadap kekejaman rejim itu merobak rabik kemanusian di Palestine & Lebanon. Dr Ang dari Pulau Pinang tetapi kini rakyat Britain tetapi beliau bekerjasama dgn MERCY Msia dan berkawan baik dgn Dr Jemilah yang seakan teman inspirasinya.Kasih sayang antara dua sahabat ini ketara di perjumpaan mereka di UIA hari ini anjuran Dr Hariyati. Saya rasa bersyukur dapat berkenal mesra dengan dua wanita berhati mulia ini.Tidak mungkin saya dapat menjadi mereka, meninggalkan dunia selesa untuk membantu orang lain.Tetapi kata Dato' Dr Jemilah memang kerja2 begini bukan semua orang boleh buat.Tetapi kita buat lah apa yang kita mampu.Saya kata kalau nak suruh saya menulis, itu mudah bagi saya tapi kalau nak minta pakai boots, mengharungi banjir air atau banjir darah..sukar saya bayangkan! Mungkin saya yang pengsan dahulu.

Tetapi charity bermula dari rumah, kata Dr Jemilah.Kita boleh bekerja dgn org2 yang kurang bernasib baik di negara kita sendiri : penagih dadah, org2 buta dan pekak, org asli, dll (jadi jgn bermula dgn tempat2 jauh ini..kalau tidak jadi disaster tourism sahaja, katanya..click! click! ambik gambar, senyum2 sambil hulur kotak2 pakaian/ubatan/selimut, lepas tu balik Msia, tidur nyenyak.Itulah namanya disaster tourism.Berapa ramai org buat begini?)


Kata Dr Jemilah, kalau kita asingkan seminggu atau sebulan setahun dalam hidup kita buat kerja amal (tapi mesti konsisten), bayangkan berapa ramai org kita dah bantu.
Mereka yang bekerja sebagai pekerja kemanusiaan ini bukan calang2 orang. Mereka tidak membesar secara tiba2.Biasanya ibubapa mereka pun dari kalangan selfless people.Tetapi sifat ini boleh dibentuk dan sekolah dan universiti adalah ladang yang subur untuk pembinaan sifat mulia ini. Patut ia jadi sebahagian dari kurikulum kita.Community work patut diberikan credit (amali semasa 3rd semester)

Harap2 Rektor saya baca blog ni. :))

Friday, August 18, 2006

Orang Melayu

Hari ini Prof Dato Shamsul Amri datang beri syarahan tentang Malay and Malayness.Saya lebih suka beliau sebagai budak band Juara Kugiran RTM dalam tahun 70an dulu. Dia dan ATMA buat saya rasa seperti bahan makmal...atau seperti red-indian dari kawasan reservation..jadi bahan kajian...

Siapakah orang Melayu hari ini? Saya rasa semuanya bergantung kepada 'state of mind' kita.Kalau kita rasa dan fikir kita Melayu, maka Melayulah kita.Jika tidak, tidaklah.Saya rasa peratus orang Melayu malu menjadi Melayu adalah tinggi. Kita kena kaji apa yang menyebabkan kita begini.

Saya sedang mencari bahan mengenai orang-orang Rawa.Jika sesiapa boleh tolong saya, sila emel secepat mungkin.Kata Prof Khoo Kay Kim mereka ini ramai di Gopeng dan Negeri Sembilan.Terkenal dengan ilmu hitam mereka.Ayo yo! Yang saya terbaca dalam JMBRAS ialah mereka ini seafaring people, sukakan emas. Juga saya dengar mereka ini dari kalangan raja-raja. Saya mahu dengar lagi.Tolong emel.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Booksigning and talk at MPH

 Megamall Mid-valley (12/8/06):

Came the day, I was not well.But luckily I found back my voice. But there was quite a crowd (mainly my students, former students who would bring in their own students or family members) Some of my colleagues in the Dept also came (the delegation headed by Prof Quayum, our HOD). There were also new faces...those who came because of the advertisement placed by MPH.

We had a good time reading.When I was too 'tired' (still under heavy influence of paracetamol, antibiotics and cough mixture!) to read, I let the audience do it (Syeela and Deela had to do their share as planned). Moomala's students from Sek. Integrasi Gombak were the most spontaneous and sporting. They had travelled on the LRT to Bangsar for the occasion.Earlier Eric Forbes wrote in Quill that publishers would only publish what the market wants and definitely it will not be poetry. I guess this is one of the reasons why I decided to publish The Art of Naming: to go against the market because what's flooded in the market has never really catered to the needs of our soul. Maka, jadi lah kita semua manusia-manusia berhati batu yang tidak boleh merasa apa-apa perasaan.

It was a fun one hour at MPH and it was poetry we did!
I wish to thank everyone present (one former student had travelled all the way from Kuala Trengganu for the occasion!) and those who had helped out whether directly or indirectly.

God bless!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Beeplah saya!

Beeplah saya sekiranya saya lupa nak kemaskinikan blog ini
Maklum sahaja saya ini hamba sahaya
Di sebuah negara yang merdeka

Beeplah saya
sekiranya saya terlupa
untuk menulis tentang apa saja
yang berlaku di sekitar kita

Semalam saya di Port Dickson
bersama teman-teman penulis nasional
saya tersepit di tengah-tengah bijak pandai Malaysia
yang datangnya dari merata-rata
dari Macang hingga ke Vienna
Hamburg tak kurang jua
ijazah yang berjela saya bawa dari New Zealand, England dan Australia (dah saya kata 'berjela')
tidak bererti apa-apa
saya bawa kisah Da Vinci Code mereka tanya mana kisah klasik lama-lama
saya kata belum sempat baca kerana saya sarjana 'muda'
eleh! mengada-ngada

tetapi beeplah saya
jika saya terlupa
membawa wacana yang lebih besar dan bermakna
untuk terus memerdekakan kita

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Budak-budak di bawah 18 tahun dilarang masuk ke blog ini

Ini kerana saya telah terima aduan tidak bertulis dari seorang teman kelas anak saya (Tingkatan 2) yang mengatakan blog ini sangat membosankan.

Ha ha ha.

Saya rasa sebab mereka tidak cukup umur untuk memahami dunia orang tua.
Atau memang saya ini membosankan (tetapi inilah komplen pertama saya.Ha ha)
Budak2 sekarang amat pintar dan kritikal pemikirannya.Saya fikir anggapan bahawa sistem pendidikan kita telah gagal adalah satu kenyataan berat sebelah. Majikan fikirkan gagal kerana universiti tidak membentuk pekerja yang pasang siap untuk mereka. Ahhh...Tan Sri Wan Zahid selalu kata debat 'purist' dan 'utilitarian' begini sampai bila2 tak habis.

Saya rasa tak perlu kita pakai label2 itu dalam kita cuba mewujudkan satu sistem pendidikan yang mantap. Memang bukan tugas uni mengeluarkan pekerja pasang siap.Itu kerja sekolah2 teknik atau vokesyional.Kalau tak, pergi je ke tempat2 yang buat professional courses.Nyata mereka ini digemari industri.Tetapi mereka ini akan bertahan selama 5 tahun shj (sebab teknologi dan ilmu berubah dgn pantas dalam masa 5 tahun) dan lepas tu majikan mula cari salah : tak boleh fikir! tak guna common sense dan lain2 lagi.Saya percaya graduan universiti yang betul2 mengeluarkan thinkers/leaders tidak menerima nasib malang sebegini.Mereka ini boleh survive dalam apa keadaan sekali pun (skill baru boleh diajar bila2 masa oleh organisasi mereka) dan akan meningkat begitu cepat di dalam karier mereka (ada anak2 murid saya yang masih menulis memberitahu dev. mereka yang begitu cepat melompat dalam masa 4 tahun di multinational organisations.Alhamdulillah!)

Mengapa universiti atau kerajaan perlu jadi hamba industri..mengikut telunjuk mereka pada masa mereka kehendaki? Lagipun ramai graduan kita akhirnya bekerja dgn kerajaan dan mereka berbahasa Melayu juga akhirnya. :)

Ini tidak bermakna saya menidakkan keperluan peningkatan diri seseorang itu dgn pelbagai ilmu (esp. mastering English dan lain2 bahasa ekonomi dunia) tetapi 'university bashing' oleh pihak industry tidak harus berterusan. Macam kita ni tidak buat kerja apa2 grooming graduan2 kita.
Kita terima belakang parang semasa mereka masuk kepada kita.4 tahun mengasahnya sampai bersinar, takkan tiada siapa nak cakap terima kasih? In fact, ada satu surat to the editor sebuah akhbar kata academics gaji besar tapi kerja takda. Saya tak tau university lain tetapi di UIA, kami tua sebelum masa. Kami pikul amanah yang diserahkan kpd kami dgn bersungguh2 tanpa kira masa.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

ISO Craze

I have nothing against ISOs or SOPs or what have you. In fact, I think they are great! It becomes crazy when you pretend and play foul in your attempt to get that ISO certification.This includes painting everything nice and rosy when the auditors come and taking them out again (e.g facilities you claim your organisation has) the moment they turn around.I wonder how many organisations do this. I hope IIUM doesn't! I hope auditors will not judge the physical appearance only (or that all the documents are in order).Talking to the grassroot is very, very important.This includes talking to the students, administrative staff and hey, even our cleaners and gardeners to hear if goodness has really spilled over to everyone, regardless of class, gender and faith. :)

My Kulliyyah is on the verge of applying for a certain ISO for a certain thing. I think this is excellent. I know it will not be easy. We always think of the money involved (have we it? Is it enough? ), the commitment, the teamwork and stamina of staff to see it through...and later, the spirit to maintain what you have achieved. This is probably more difficult than starting out.

I have faith as long as it is done with good intention (no foul play). To my Kulliyyah, good luck! The support will always be there. May Allah guide us and give us enough sabar (patience) to be where we want to be.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

From Jimmy Walter to William Rodriguez to Yvonne Ridley to Dinsman

June started with an attitude. I had the opportunity to listen to great minds of the 21st century.I met thinkers, writers, people who had been 'rudely awakened'. Jimmy is an American (but he lives in Vienna now), William is from Puerto Rico (he lives in New York), Yvonne is from England (she lives in London, I think) and Dinsman is Malaysian (he lives in KL, I'm sure). All spoke on the lies behind Sept 11, 2001 and how innocent lives were sacrificed not only in the tragic collapses of the twin towers and other buildings surrounding them (there were 7 buildings altogether..this fact was never highlighted in the news) but those in wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine and I hope NOT in the future Iran, Syria, Saudi, Sudan or even Malaysia.

They all spoke from their hearts.No agenda and if it was a propaganda, what's there for them? (Jimmy is already a billionaire..how much money does he need if he's doing this for money? William was offered great opportunities to live comfortably in the US, Yvonne left her good secular life to be a practising Muslim and Dinsman could have been the Chairman of Utusan Melayu or DBP if that was what he wanted in this life).But no! They gave it all away to seek truth, justice, integrity.

I was touched.I felt shame for most of us, proud of our rich living.Jimmy and William are not Muslims but they give more than what rich Muslims could give to this world.They set good examples for us who claim we believe.

June came in not gently.
June came and set us all thinking.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Misyar O Misyar

Saya sudah berasa lega bila isu tidak berfaedah ini ditutup rapi oleh akhbar yang mula-mula mengecohkannya apabila CEO IKIM bersuara tegas mengatakan kita hanya membuang masa membicarakan hal2 yang tidak membawa kita lebih hampir kepada Allah tetapi hanya memenuhi tuntutan nafsu semata-mata.Pada hari yang sama di akhbar yang sama, Penolong Pengarah YADIM juga menengahkan isu pokok perkahwinan.Rata-rata perkataan yang timbul adalah ia 'tanggungjawab'; ia 'amanah' dan kaum lelaki mempunyai peranan mengerudi hala tuju keluarganya.

Tetapi akhbar2 Inggeris pula memutarkan semula isu itu hari ini. Arggh!

Saya juga pelik (sebagai orang yang tidak berilmu tinggi di bidang2 hukum Islam) bagaimana para ulema lelaki kita baik di tanahair biarpun di luar sana, begitu cepat mengiyakan misyar ini walaupun mereka tahu betapa banyaknya ayat2 Quran dan hadis tentang perkahwinan di dalam Islam.Mereka juga pastinya tahu Rasulullah yang sewajarnya menjadi contoh dan ikutan kita semua juga telah mengahwini wanita kaya tetapi Rasululah tidak minta dimisyarkan.

Jadi akhirnya saya sendiri bimbang dan takut akan ulama-ulama ini (sangat-sangat takut sebenarnnya)...apakah mereka ini golongan ulama akhir zaman yang telah diberi amaran kpd kita bahwa inilah tanda kiamat yang hampir?
Saya selalu melihat diri saya sebagai orang yang terakhir yang akan mempertahankan institusi ulama2..tetapi dgn lahirnya isu misyar ini, saya tidak lagi pasti!

Saya hanya akan mengikut panduan Quran (terutama apa sahaja di dalam An Nisa') dan gaya hidup Rasullulah (s.a.w.) Ini muktamad.

Misyar adalah amalan lelaki dayus! (dan wanita yang bertopengkan agama membeli sebuah perkahwinan bagi memenuhi tuntutan fizikal dan emosi tetapi tidak spiritual)

Desas desus kononnya misyar menyelamatkan kaum wanita adalah alasan.Di mana juara-juara ini bila wanita diperkosa? Disepak-terajang kerana sang suami ingin berpoligami tanpa mengikut batasan agama? Mereka membaca cerita2 wanita di dalam celah2 kehidupan tanpa mahu mengeluarkan fatwa : ini harus dihentikan.Lelaki yang menyiksa wanita harus dihukum berat.

Tetapi bila isu misyar, ramai lelaki bangun dan berkata Islam mengiyakan ini.Ini sah! (Memanglah apa-apa perkahwinan dgn izin wanita sah tapi adakah itu cara hidup yang diajar oleh Rasulullah?)

Satu cara mengatasi fahaman begini sempit ialah mendidik anak-anak perempuan kita agar sekiranya mereka diberikan rezeki oleh Allah lebih dari kebanyakan lelaki yang bakal mengahwininya, pilihlah yang beriman yang tahu hukum hakam agama dan tahu tuntutan agama ke atasnya sebagai suami yang bertanggung-jawab.Jangan kawin kerana tuntutan seks semata.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Frontliners O Frontliners

Has it ever occurred to you that we may represent our organisations no matter what we do and where we are? Even when we are not in our working attire?

I think employers should be smart about who they employ as frontliners.By that I mean staff who meet the public first: security guards, telephonists, receptionists, secretaries, cafeteria owners, etc etc.
But I think very few organisations care about their frontliners.Very often they are ill-paid, ill-attired and most importantly, ill-trained. I have come across many in my day-to-day dealing with prime organisations in our country.The so-called 'corporate organisations' which actually are still populated by former government civil servants.I would have thought that once they have changed their status as 'corporation', steps would be taken to train their staff to live up to the corporate world expectations: efficiency, alertness, having informed and courteous staff as well as those values you dream of as a customer wanting the best service money can pay.

I don't want to name names but Selangor has a long way to go if it wants to maintain its status as a developed state (status negeri maju). Frontliners are very important...money should be spent to train them. If there is one organisation I so admire, it would be EPF.It takes only one ring to get someone to speak on the other end.

Smile as you answer your phone. And know your stuff well!

Friday, April 21, 2006

The book is out!

Syukur alhamdulillah, my first book of poetry is now out. When Daud (my printer, also my brother-in-law) rang up to say the books were ready, I rushed to collect.Laa..40 copies only.The rest were still at his "kilang".

But I sold what I could. My husband bought the first 5 copies (dia ada juga minta discount). My daughter sold a copy to her school library (the deal was she'd get a certain percentage and she's eager because she's working on finding her own money to buy her regular teenage mag which I'm not sponsoring anymore).

Bila pi kerja yang paling best.Pantang jumpa kawan! "You wanna buy my book?" But I managed to sell quite a bit.Friends at IIUM are very supportive.Ada yang beli sampai 2 copies.Nak bagi kat kakak.How sweet!

The lady at the post office pun hampir jadi mangsa as she saw me busy mailing copies to my reviewers. "Kak tulis sendiri ke buku ni kak?" Iya, nak beli? :))

The media has been kind too (not Nik's connection.Nik is too busy to introduce me to his media network).It helps knowing a few in the circuit.Ni tengah memikir macamana nak masuk TV.Rancangan Nona ke Nyonya ke saya tak kisah.

Would it not be nice to have a slot just to discuss new books on TV and radio? Otherwise, how can our nation be a K-based nation?

Sunday, April 09, 2006

I was at UUM recently. It's a very beautiful, spacious, green and self-contained campus.They are building a new hotel on campus in addition to the University Inn they already have. I stayed at the Inn.Quite an experience.

Sadly, I had no time to go to Siam.

Monday, March 27, 2006

A strange one

This year has been a strange one for me. People I grew up with, died one after the other. People I have just met are also falling apart. The climate has been erratic too. I am convinced that the only consistent thing is change.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

My first book of poetry

This is how the cover of my first book of poetry looks like. By day, I am not a poet.By night, neither. As one ages, one needs to explore something not explored yet. The psyche. Perhaps in my other life I WAS a poet.Perhaps I was the female Aristotle. :) Would you buy this book? It is about to be printed. Even if you would not buy it, it would still be printed. Childbirth is not something you can halt!