Saturday, March 31, 2007


English Dept Building at UPENN
Cooking at the Fellowship Centre with Baji and Malika

Malika in Spring

Prof. Jim English and Abdal Hayy talking Literature at UPENN

Daniel Abdal Hayy Moore reading a maulud poem

The trip to Philadelphia was good despite me getting up so early to catch the limo to Syracuse from Ithaca.I met very kind people on the train to NYC and again NYC to Philadelphia.

Abdal Hayy picked me up from the train station and Malika was all nice and sweet.I felt immediately at home.Did the interview and caught up with more readings. Went to UPENN to collect my book from Prof English (very kind and cultured English Prof).

The last few days had been busy with listening to tazkirah given by Baji and cooking for the jumaah with Malika, Baji and her niece.I met more people at the Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship Centre.Some pics.

Sunday, March 25, 2007


You guys/gals must watch this movie Lives of Others (German movie which won so many awards termasuk best Foreign Movie at the Academy Awards recently). Wikipedia spoils it all by revealing what it is all about

Sebastian Koch is truly convincing (kalau dia jadi 007, mesti kita suka).And so is Ulrich Muhe.The movie has English subtitles.Lucu juga pi US baca subtitles in English.But what I think is missing is the brutality of the East/West Germany divide.You don't feel it so much in this movie.Film ni tak violent (which I like). I think that had the movie been made in Hollywood, one or both of the two guys would have died tragically along with the gal lover/actress who's loved by all (men).When she prostituted herself for art (her passion), she told her boiferen who was fighting for justice/freedom of speech, etc..apa beza her and him.He also prostituted himself for his 'passion' (his struggle to free the people/country).I love that speech.But they killed her in the movie.Jantan freedom fighter tu terus hidup and became successful as a writer.Sexist sikit lah.

Anyway,Adi left today.Yohko and I went to watch this movie and then went to have dinner at a Thai restaurant downtown.Ikan Tilapia is so popular here (nama kekal).It was a nice evening.Yohko and I spoke of books, books and more books. Semalam, jiran sebelah and I went to Moosewood.Best juga. Tapi they closed early.We took the bus to Collegetown then walked up to our apts.Nak pengsan naik bukit.I nak panggil taxi je but diaorang nak naik bus juga sebab free with our university card.Manu and I yang sesak nafas.Asians don't like to walk! Christina (Germany) and Ingrid (Holland) berbatu depan kita.

I miss my car.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Malaysian voice abroad (a poem)

It is so often people from the so-called "Third World" countries are defined by the so-called affluent "West". This is my turn, writing from the USA (in winter 2007):

Cold Reception

It was a day when I thought I was
smarter than God
February was my safe month
wintry wind would miss me
It should end with Christmas

Northwest was 30 mins behind time
Narita was polite about it all, we jumped queue
in a rush to Detroit

Luck was not me
Or luck was indeed me
Plane missed and would I please
Come back tomorrow morning

and hence,began a wintry trauma
Stuck in Detroit amidst the purity of snow
in a warm hotel with free WiFi
Thanks to wired technology, I was immediately home with online

I’d catch my flight tomorrow afternoon, I told them confidently
Tomorrow noon never came
Blizzards proved to be testing me
Dancing, flaunting, ravaging
Go look for other hotels, we don’t cover anything to do with fail of Nature
I stood in the icy air
The shuttle bus would come frequently
To find Hyatt at Dearborn you first had to misunderstand the Detroit accent
try looking for the courtesy form up and down the escalator
back and forth the McNamara tunnels

But after a while you’d find out what they meant
Courtesy PHONE
The white one at the corner

Hyatt was nice but impersonal
WiFi no longer free
It didn’t work immediately because they never knew Malaysians
sometimes have long names
I was Nor first name and Faridah surname
But Steve on the other end in Texas was so sweet
Gave me a temporary access when all else failed at (a.m.) 3
Asking me if it’s true what they said about Malaysian gals
Men grow taller when they smile at them

Innocently I thought of the Petronas twin towers and said I guess so.

Detroit Detroit Detroit
You are not my New York
I waited 3 days on you
This is not a friendly city
You have a nice make-up
But inside, I see steel.

Feb 16, 2007
(the day I got stuck in Detroit for 3 days due to bad weather.I was on my way to Ithaca, New York)

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Winter is NOT over in Ithaca

I spoke too soon.And I have decided to be positive about this...if you can't beat it, embrace it!

Today Adi and I got crazy.We decided to be in the snow.Some pics.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Melting snow

I think I'm gonna miss this place once the snow has fully melted... :)

I walked to the university today.What a bliss!

Some pics for the record.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Sunday with me

I decided to invite some friends to lunch today (Sunday). These are the people who helped me 'adjust' when I first arrived in Ithaca. I cooked like 4 dishes (opor ayam, omelette, stir-fry veges and salmon bakar bersambal belacan...I can't find the pic which showed all these 'exotic' dishes...I had to create the salmon belacan thingy.Quite good. Nanti balik KL nak cuba buat. :))
Notice how fast I've put on weight (tambah yang sedia ada) Eugene bawak ice cream lagi....
Yang ambik gambar ni Lutfi (selalu tak menjadi but this one, OK) Khairul (from Spore) came early but had to leave early too cos' he's working today.Adi went out to see a movie. So she's not in this pic.
Ivy is sitting next to me with Ain and her husband Adnan.
Kalau kat rumah ni,Sunday means TESCO or Cold Storage beli groceries.Bibi will cook but we will not eat. :) Kita makan kat luar or Nik's mom's.
Lepas tu tidur.
I can do that now.
Memasak ni penat, tau? Berdiri berjam2 tepi dapur.
I'll do my reading after my little nap.

Friday, March 09, 2007


Adi my flatmate is from Tel Aviv (begitu kehendak Tuhan).We are both shopaholics and sebab kampongnya Ithaca ni(tak macam Hamilton atau Adelaide), bas pun dari pukul 5 pm dah tak pergi ke Walmart.Jadi kami buat keputusan ambik taxi pergi ke Walmart pukul 8 pm (Walmart tutup pukul 11 pm tiap2 hari).Harga taxi USD8 and we split cost.Adi and I macam zaman gemilang Andalusia..Yahudi dan Muslim boleh akrab.

Kat Walmart, kami bahagia.It was May who said I'd be infected by Walmartritis kalau kat US.Memang every time I am in the USA, kalau nak cari barang murah, pi ukur Walmart.Satu macam addiction.Satu macam penyakit.But Adi and I felt at home walaupun takda la high fashioned clothes to buy (kita pun tak beli kat Walmart benda2 gini.Kena jaga std la juga, kan?)

I bought a new printer sebab byk benda nak print at home.Kat office takda printer and nak minta guna Prof Stan's, malu. Dia dah baik kasi kongsi bilik.

Semalam ada brown bag by a Historian from Ball State Uni.Dia pakar sejarah maritime SEAsia.Kat sini depa tak percaya dokumen penjelajah2 Arab dan lebih menggunakan accounts by the Chinese jadi byk perkara2 yang kita anggap the truth ditolak mentah2 oleh mereka ini e.g Cheng Ho (yang sekarang dieja Zheng He) bukan Islam.Kata Prof Ball ni, ini semua digunakan utk tujuan tertentu. Beliau sedang mengkaji kepentingan Brunei sebagai bandar pelabuhan sewaktu dgn zaman gemilang Melaka.

Jika para sejarahwan kita pun buat kajian kita sendiri tanpa bergantung akan findings dari Barat (mereka ni go back to findings from shipwrecks, fakta2 dari batu nesan, hasil2 archaelogy, etc utk mengiyakan sebarang claims tentang sejarah.Kita tidak harus biarkan sejarah kita dibentuk/diubah dari jauh)

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Francis in songkok

Francis' latest production Ramayana La'ar looks a bit like Puteri Gunung Ledang. They have gamelan too.It was staged in Virginia (William and Mary).

For those who remember Francis of our Asia-Pacific Indigenous Plays Festival, here is his latest.Siap bersongkok.Dia teringin sangat nak ke Mekah. I kata visa haji hanya untuk orang Islam. Umrah tak tau la pulak.Anyone knows if this is possible?

Monday, March 05, 2007


Di Arkansas, saya tinggal dengan seorang Syrian-American Professor.Byk ilmu dia perturunkan kpd saya tentang penulis2 Muslim di Amerika.

Di Universiti Arkansas di Fayettevillle, saya bergambar dgn Senator Fulbright yang mempelopori Fulbright Grant ini.Beliau President pertama Universiti Arkansas (di sini juga Bill dan Hilary Clinton mengajar Law sebelum masuk politik)

Arkansas wilayah Selatan (ingat civil war Utara-Selatan mereka?) lebih mesra jika dibandingkan dgn daerah2 di Utara.Di sini agama Kristian masih kuat.Another universiti town.I did much work in the lib selama 3 hari di sini.

Spring dah mula di sini.

Bila balik ke Syracuse dan Ithaca, salji masih lebat.Bag saya tertinggal pulak dalam limo dari airport Syracuse balik ke Ithaca.Semua org kena gerodam dan 'dikerah' tolong saya kesan bag saya! (saya panik sebab dalam bag tu ada Visa saya, kerja kajian 3 hari di Arkansas, buku puisi Rumi yang baru dan sedang seronok saya baca, etc)
Akhirnya jumpa.Pihak Limo hantar ke rumah bag saya.Syukur!

Kahin Centre

Pejabat saya di sini, sharing dengan seorang Prof baik budi (sebab bilik tingkat 3 takda signal utk Wi-Fi saya)

Dari tingkap, kadang2 nampak tupai dah keluar cari makan (bila cuaca dah mula panas)