Thursday, June 28, 2012

30,000 voters and more

Prof. Farid,Prof Ainul and I were ASA reps to the high tea with PM Najib at Sri Perdana.No one else wanted to go..possibly due to another compulsory event on campus..the Quality Day.Managed to drop by and caught up with some news with some friends I had not seen for some time.

I thought the memorandum sent by MAAC was fair.But the question that shook the least my table..was a grp of women asking Najib to be seconded to KPT since he did well with the Women's Ministry ..what a slap to Khalid!! Wough..thot I was surrounded by fan holders...Prof. Che Husna sitting next to me was cool on her ph., texting her Boss.Haha.

Najib ni pandai juga buat lawak.In his stress on the need to close gap between the rich and poor in the country, he highlighted some poor places which would be so ulu tht it would be a wonder to get successful kids out of these places.Kg Bantal in Jerantut was cited as an example.He said..entah iya ke tak...the kg was named bantal cos' people who finally got thr would fall asleep immediately if disorongkan bantal due to the long and tiring journey.Kah3x.

I thought Sarawak lagi terok.Just then as though he read my mind..he said in Sarawak, there's this plc which I have to pronounce carefully..Kg Ulu Lachau..which is so remote bla bla bla.We have a funny PM,folks.But that is all there is.:))

Farid asked me, apakah achievement kita with this trip? I said kita dapat bergambar dgn Rosmah (gambar Rosmah on the wall).

Let's hope Najib kasi kita satu senator if his gomen is re-elected.Profs jeles Jins Shamsudin dan artis2 je dpt jadi senator...

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Talk on Saturday

Looks like I'll miss another class of Arabic and my early session on screenwriting on Saturday.

Prof Alan Lew (Arizona, USA) will deliver a talk on "Speaking Tourism: Language, Heritage and Identity in Sabah" at 10 am at Lincoln Corner, KL Library.

And guess who I got in touch with after all these years? Yulduz! She's the Press Sect of Yen Yen at Ministry of's been a longgggg time but she's sweet as ever..promised me to extend the invitation to staff at the Ministry.Like me, she loves the academe.After GE (she wants to step down, she says), we'll meet more often, I hope.Yulduz (Taiwanese of Central Asian origins, married a Malaysian Chinese Muslim and by now is a citizen I'm sure) and I were both PhD students in the early 90s..she was finishing hers at MU, I was starting mine at Adelaide.We shared a common interest: Msian women's writing..she was doing a comparative study between Malay and Chinese Msian women writers.I was doing the Anglophone ones.Happy dayslah. :)

What do I do without my gfs?? Azah is the funniest.Saniah, the Pavlov jokes are truly funny.Love you gals.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Simply Tuesday

It could have been just another Tuesday on a summer's day.Or any Tuesday in Winter.I got both.
Ted arrived from Melbourne last nite,calling me late in the evening.I got him mixed up with was so asking him over the phone if he wanted to dine somewhere different from Sean's Royal Commonwealth House since they had been dining there every evening.

"And do you think Sean might want to join us?"I asked "Bas"
Bas asked me in return, Sean? I know no Sean..

Aren't you Sebastian?
No..I'm Ted.
OK, folks..rotfl!! Guling2.

Ted and I met at IIUM and saw bits of Separation (thanks, friend!) the best foreign movie then being screened at Comm Studio.Fantastic movie with a poetic ending ...also an annoying one.In a family one wins.OK...we got the message.

A serious discussion with the film group...gosh...they wanted to move beyond IFF.A bit too rushed for me.We'll see what Dato' Sri will say if I get to meet up with her soon.

Malam: finally got to meet Bas and Sean.Kelakar giler diaorang berdua nih.Interesting projects highlighted and discussed.

Bumped into Raman and it's nice to know of his new interest in classical texts.I look fwd to reading them in translation.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The weekend

Saturday was particularly busy. Z's last day at KYUEM.Her Awards Day.The guest was a young CEO of a well-known organisation.I was told he had had 3 heart attacks (for someone so young and looking so fit!) I liked his speech for the graduating kids: return to Malaysia and serve the nation, prioritise community service and serve your aged parents no matter how busy or successful you are..their prayers are blessings to our lives.

But what was most touching was the speech by student rep, read by another student.Imran's dad passed away on Wednesday so he could not be there at the Awards Day but his speech had everyone in tears.He wrote it when his dad lay unconscious (due to a stroke which happened in KT while he was sitting his A Level exam in was during his last paper..his mom didn't inform him till after the exam and he rushed back to KT to be with his dad.The docs said there was no hope)

Imran said the same thing the CEO did: we often don't realise how important it is to spend time with our parents in our busy-ness..etc etc and started advising his friends the same stuff the older guy did just moments earlier.It touched my heart so much...that it took a successful corporate guy a lifetime to realise the same value a 20 year old realised in his brief moment facing his father's death...

I attended 2nd half of the film workshop.Azrain was playing The English Patient (which he had nicely censored).Fun and interesting discussions took place.Loads of laughter.Kelakar giler.

Malam: I attended a fun wedding (with British humour throughout).Never a dull moment.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Getting sentimentol

Gosh folks, I have just heard a sad of my close friends is leaving IIUM.Weiii...rasa nak nangis nih!

Prof. AS has always been a friend who'd support me every time I kecoh over issues at our workplace.Dia je faham my way of thinking.Ahaks.

Why do people leave?

I can only guess:
1. frustration (possibly over things not moving fast enough)
2. better pay elsewhere
3. better working environment
4. greater opportunities to help those who appreciate your help
5. wanting new experience/s
6. wanting security (PR/citizenship)

The list could go on. I should not feel so emotionally (and intellectually) attached to a friendship.People come and go. There's always the internet.

Farewell AS.All the best!

Monday, June 18, 2012

The end of my regime

Upon being told I would no longer be heading CERDAS, I text-ed a couple of people including Nik.His text made me laugh: an end to the regime of Nor Faridah.

Kah3.It was a fun regime.Well, dictators would always say that,yah? :)
It is time to move on.I would still be kept busy with the Fest next year and the never ending invitations to speak at conferences.I won't be lonely, folks.Worry not for me.In fact, I want to be left alone so that I could focus on my writing.Both academic and creative ones.

But CERDAS has taught me a lot..and I appreciate every min of it.Will miss my team/friends but life is about moving on and giving better,regardless of where or who you are. You the King or you the Pauper.

Watch this space for future adventures. :)

A joyous reunion

I was too busy to write about a visit to an elderly NZ alumna's place with other NZ alums yesterday.He's not too well (suffering from cancer).We had planned this over the group's fb for some weeks.Alhamdulllilah it went very well despite early worries : that there would not be enough crowd to make the solat jemaah and doa selamat, there would not be enough food if the crowd was too big, etc etc.

Then on the day itself...Mazidah who was supposed to arrive at 3 pm was held back by the bubur man who was still cooking it at 3 pm! And they lost Adnan who was supposed to join them at Wangsamaju or something.He was late so depa tinggalkan dia.Haha.But he joined them in Kg Baru.

I had to pick up the two maids from Gombak.Carlotta was with me.Gayah was not so I was not sure of the way to the place.But found it from memory.Sakinah was so cekap in the kitchen.Ajmal didn't turn up.Sons arriving from overseas or something.

The best part was Zul doing the tazkirah on arti israk mikraj and tied it up to all our tests and hardships.Zul ni kalau consistent, cerah masa depan dia as ulama. :))

It was nice meeting new and old friends and TS and Puan Sri were looking well.

Now, on to the next big UPM conference!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Silver Wedding Anniversary

Nik and I celebrate our silver wedding anniversary today, folks.That's 25 years of ups and downs, joys and tears together. I say alhamdullilah that the relationship remains strong and stable.

I would not say we had not been tested.Ohhh...many times, sometimes perhaps too often.Ahaks.Busy people are always like this. People like watching this old couple.They say we look loving together.Funny.Weird.Mis-matched.We accept all compliments and say syukur.Both of us are sometimes extremely different but there are times when we are also so similar.I guess over the years, we learn to accommodate and respect each other's need and also space.

Dr. Bubbles asked me not too long ago about keeping a marriage strong.Well, I think it is not up to us.It is grace by Allah.We are mere players but I can tell you this about Nik: he's sincere and respectful of me and of family values.Of marriage as an institution itself.I hope we will be continued to be protected by Allah.It's a bad world out there but we live on lots of prayers.Since I got married to Nik, he reads his doa aloud. You know this man loves you right from his soul.I would suggest every husband does that when solat berjemaah with the family.It's an open declaration of love, commitment, responsibility. I reflect upon these little,little things in the relationship every time I see red in my life. And your spouse is really your jodoh chosen by Allah.Treasure it.It is your only means of happiness for the Hereafter.If you don't screw it up.

For Nik: thank you for accepting me as I am, the most imperfect spouse one could ever have but honey, I truly truly truly love you and seek your forgiveness for all my bads.

Happy 25th anniversary and may Allah give us much more blessing, patience, grace and protection.Amin.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


The marks are all keyed in, folks.But more deadlines to meet.But having a demanding job is better than NOt having a job, right? So we say alhamdulillah for whatever there is.

I met old and new friends at the winners' alumni today.Enjoyed the national laureates' session.Could not help asking a question on inclusive literature for a multiracial society and the issue of not doing serious translations of literatures of the 'other'.Would have loved to stay longer but I had other commitments.Hope to catch up with some of the new friends I made (one Chinese Accountant and another a Chinese lady who studied all the Malay classics and read some Arabic.I mean where do these people come from??) Masli N.O. was funny when I asked him when did he find the time to write.He said when you can't sleep."You can't sleep, right?" he insisted (nak tergelak pulak).I can sleep, bro. and if I can't, I won't be able to write! :)

The best is meeting the MM Editor.Byk keperluan I dgn dia.Kah3.

Had to leave early to submit marks and all.Also rushing home early to prepare for tonite's dinner with Makoto and Carlotta and Nik.We are eating Japanese.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Egyptian jokes

My Arabic class yesterday was soooo mean.In a nice way.Dr. Saodah is back from her umrah where she prayed for both of us that our learning would be made easy...haha.On Friday's skyped lesson with my Arabic teacher, I thought I did miraculously well.And on Saturday, Dr. S and I didn't go on our normal " forgetting it every 5 mins" mode.We did well in our sentence making.Syukur.

Then came in the Egyptian's sharing:

During Sadat's cruel regime where so many people were killed, even dogs were leaving the country.At the border, a dog was stopped and asked: why are you leaving?

Dog: Sadat is killing all the donkeys.

Guard: But you are not a donkey.

Dog: Do you think he knows the difference?

Lesson to be learnt: if you didn't lead your life well, you would still be the talk of town after your death.In a bad way.

Here's a more contemporary one:

During the Egyptian Spring, a protester wanted to distribute Hosni Mubarak's picture for reasons known only to him. So he photocopied Mubarak's pic on the poster but wht came out was a pic of a donkey. He tried and tried again.Same result.

A little boy watching this at a distance, said,"Why don't you do the reverse? Photocopy a pic of a donkey and see what happens?"

The older man did.And true enough, Mubarak's picture came out OK.

Lesson to be learnt: do not undermine young voices.

And oh! There's another one on Bush and Mubarak but I'm off to my Sunday wet market.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Fulbright Alumni Association of Malaysia 2012/13

Gayah brought me in to be one of the comm members for 2012/13 and I was put in charge of public talks.

Today was my first event with Assoc. Prof Sean Foley.We met the year he was here as a Fulbrighter.I dah tak ingat how we met but he and his family (wife) became friends with mine.Kasi talk kat EPF lagi on impact of the Arab Spring on world econs or something like that.Sean ni serba boleh.Umur baru 32 but bijak.Bapak dia lagi bijak.Mak dia laggiiiii bijak, both grads of Cornell (hence lies another common factor.His dad a philosopher turned poet.Power gila poems dia.Urat otak semua bersimpul thinking about wht he writes.Mak Sean,an economist).

What I like about this group is the opportunity to meet interesting scholars...intellectual passion is like candu.Alhamdullilah,the talk went well.We had Profs from OUM.Q&A session was also fun.Sean ckp Robert Fisk ambik kerja dia.Turun saham Fisk.I asked Sean if he noticed Fisk dah berubah on many issues with regard to the Middle East.I terkantoi.Bdk smart ni kata,sure sebab ME pun byk berubah.Kah kah kah.

With regard to Sheikh Tahir Jalaluddin ni,rupanya dia kontemporari dgn Sheikh Hadi.Sean kata kelompok Islamic modernist but I tanya bukan ke term tu oxymoronic or a juxtaposition?He said it is just to differentiate aliran conservative or traditional.Lepas tu he linked up aliran ni dgn Maher Zain.Clever connection! I like.I raised the possibility of Zain being influenced by Tariq Ramadan and of cos' this is not new..let's go back to Said Nursi and his disciple Gullen.Let's go back to the spirit of the Quran.Modernist tak modernist.It's been there.New era, new labels.

Next month,Prof Alan Lew pulak on coastal tourism.Another new thing.Watch this space.

Monday, June 04, 2012

life cycle

What a strange weekend it was.

We thought we were attending a kenduri cukur cucu of a cousin so I bought flowers and all for the mom (not sure how big the baby know some people cukur when the baby is months old.Didn't want to buy babywear which might go to waste).

When we got there, found out it was a kenduri aqiqah.And the baby's 10 months old. :))
But it was nice catching up with news with Abg Jib and Kak Jah (they lived in Jeddah for years and just got home a couple of years ago).

Then we were supposed to attend a wedding but Nik received a phone call one of his relatives was in nazak.We changed plan (dari shopping kat Giant to going home and collecting his mom
and sister to visit Pakcik Zahari at the Selangor Specialist Hospital in Shah Alam).

Loh lah lok lek..we were late and Pakcik Zahari died while we were still going round and round in a circle trying to locate the hospital (we all tak biasa sgt with Shah Alam).The children were all there but yang sempat mengadap were Makcik Yah (the wife) and Mi (the eldest son who lives in Tganu..O&G engineer..a good son..since he found out the father had cancer in April, he would travel every week to care for the dad.Syurgalah bagi anak ini...I was so touched.One of his boys hafiz and mengaji sedap by the bedside).

We didn't stay for the funeral cos' my MIL pun tak larat.And we had the wedding to attend.
The lovely newly weds were beaming...a new life for them.

Birth-death-marriage...semua in one weekend.It makes you feel in awe of life. Bahawa hidup ini sentiasa berputar.It ain't static.A minute's sadness for one has another meaning of happiness for another at a different location, same time. Inikah yang dikatakan binary opposition?