Friday, September 29, 2006


I'd donated my father's camera to a clothing shop in Penang several years back; his handphone to a bookstore; my pairs (note the plural) of glasses to I-don't-know-where; my ATM card to the, um, street; my necklace to thin air; my watch to the ground and God knows what else. Now it's my handphone's turn...

Feeling so down =(

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Here comes the light

The light of Ramadhan illuminates the windows of our lives once again- praise be to Allah for this precious gift of hopes and opportunities. The month lavished with barakah; the time for self-reproach and renewed fortifications of our iman. Are we all up for it, then?

When you're volleying from one building to another for classes in a barmy weather (the sun's won the fight for the time being, as it appears) whilst suffering from occasional sore throat/cough fueled grandly by either the automobiles or the much less tolerable smoke reeking from those cancer sticks (smokers, I loathe thee), you're prone to overlooking the finer details of the befitting observation of this holy month. Meaning you get all hot and impatient, even if sometimes you do manage to keep it at the brim of your bursting ego. And now that you don’t have the devils around to blame your sick thoughts upon, it really makes things more difficult, as paradoxical as it may seem.

The jihad against an-nafs should not be taken lightly. They’re well-prepared, armed with strong dosage of immunity courtesy of their bosses before the latter went on hiatus. And chances are, you won’t even notice that it really is your nafs acting by proxy when you reach for those extra chicken drumsticks during iftar which you suspect will make you bloat like Shrek and monkey with your concentration all through tarawih later but you do it anyway. This is but one of the many examples to demonstrate the discreet work of our soul's inner demon. This parasitic form of the syaitans are way cunning, and if you don’t upgrade your fortress right away, you’ll find yourself amongst the comeback presents of fallen comrades for the ultimate hell-dwellers currently-being-‘subdued’-as-we-speak.

It is easy to forget, that Ramadhan comes only once a year, and we may not live so long as to observe it next time around. Let's barricade our iman with due prayers, rising for tahajjud, reading the Quran, zikr, sadaqah- the possibilities are endless. What’s most important however, is our intentions, as good deeds must be coupled with good intentions. If we work on these, conquering our nafs might just be one step easier.

Alhamdulillah we’ve completed three tarawihs already as a jamaah, with a tazkirah afterwards. Life’s been peachy, though a couple of classes leave much to be desired (in terms of which I’d rather not discuss). Nothing that these sturdy hands of mine can’t handle :)

Friday, September 22, 2006

Anjakan paradigma (Paradigm shift)

Seingat saya, saya tak pernah menulis entry dalam bahasa Melayu. Saya pun kurang pasti mengapa. Mungkin sebab saya tak pandai menulis dengan gaya bersahaja (casual)- akhirnya saya akan kelihatan sangat skema, seperti menulis karangan untuk Pn. Ehsan, guru BM saya di sekolah (Pn. Ehsan pun tak akan approve baca ayat-ayat ni! Minta ampun laa, cikgu).

Bagi saya, kalau nak menulis dengan bahasa harian kita, sudah pasti menggunung kesalahan-kesalahan tatabahasa yang akan saya buat (penggunaan perkataan, struktur ayat, dan sebagainya). Bunyinya macam sedikit poyo, tapi saya tak suka tulis ayat-ayat 'cincai', bahasa pasar. Sebab tu saya lebih selesa menulis dalam bahasa Inggeris kot, boleh tulis offhand, everyday entry tanpa (sama ada) melanggar undang-undang tatabahasa ataupun berbunyi seperti seorang sasterawan negara. Haha. I guess I'm just a weirdo.

Tentu ada yang tidak akan bersetuju dengan pandangan saya- mungkin memang ilmu bahasa saya yang cetek yang menghalang saya daripada menulis dengan baik secara informal (perkataan ni dah dimelayukan ke belum? ;p). Tapi tak mengapa, saya akan terus berusaha (memang sah poyo)!

Hari ini genap setahun sejak kami pertama kali menjejakkan kaki di bumi Volgograd. Perasaan saya? Bercampur-baur, tapi lebih kepada terkejut- "dah setahun ke?? Waaa...". Banyak yang saya pelajari sepanjang setahun menimba pengetahun di sini, meskipun kehidupan di universiti langsung tidak seperti yang saya terbayang-bayangkan semasa di bangku sekolah dulu... mungkin banyak sangat menonton TV. Pengaruh media massa! Haha. Alhamdulillah kehidupan saya secara keseluruhannya boleh dikatakan baik, dan saya berdoa agar Allah S.W.T. mengentalkan semangat saya untuk tahun-tahun mendatang.


Our anniversary cake

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Happy Birthday, Volgograd!

I've never seen a live parade aside from those on our school's sports day, and last Sunday I participated in one. The occasion happened to be our city, Volgograd's 417th birthday. Many of us were not actually aware that we were required to join in the parade (instead of watching it) when our Russian teachers told us to turn up in our national costumes. Despite some degrees of reluctance (not for me though- I was actually quite excited), we marched on with the mass, stretching several kilometres from Lenin Square down to Volga river banks.

Due to a moment of brilliance during our Bekelah hiking trip the week before coming back here in which I dropped my camera and all but destroyed it, I was left with a faulty machine and had to borrow my sister's for this day's purpose. All went well, that is, until the memory card pleaded full and the battery ran out at about the same time. I could have wailed out loud then and there, for the best part of the show had just started. Nevertheless... I display some of the captured moments here for dear viewers.

Some of us girls before the parade

People laying flowers at the monument in front of the academy

Litte Ms. Kitty poses with Sin Ye, Sany, and Farah

Look at the tail!

Cinderella's late for the ball...!

Lovely kids and balloons

Girls in traditional costumes

Medieval princes and princess

Posing with the circus acts

A pak cik, mak cik, and an elf

Farah with a bunch of girls dressed up as, erm, fairies?

Again, people from the dark ages

The Malaysian crowd (the Indians behind us)

Robocop guy with his clan

An Indian guy with the acrobats

The parade begins!

Shu An and Li Fen enjoying the show

Anything to stand out!

Viewers by the roadside

Performing dance for the crowd (couldn't get the partner- they were too fast!)

An enthusiastic kid hoisted above the crowd

nearing Volga

Farah with two, err, belly dancers?

Little Dima brandishing our flag

by the embankment

dancers on a parade car

the crowd at the banks of Volga

I'm turning this into a photo album already! There are more interesting pics of the costumes, but a bit too saucy for public viewing. Hehe. Still, a splendid celebration with great show of patriotism.

To my camera, please get better.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Hello again

I report from the land of pokerfaced aloofness (for the most part), of everything pricey, of insipid cuisine, of freakish charm in a way I cannot aptly articulate. The dilly-dallying was due to the incurable holiday disease of dormancy. I have been busy! Eheh. And to be fair, our internet has just been plugged back in two days ago and my internet account has only been up and running (read: topped up) for two hours. Anyhow, my apologies.

A lot has happened lately, the most recent being the Crocodile Hunter guy’s death. I told my friends, and the unfailing response from each one of them would be, I’ve heard of his death like, 2 years ago. To which I would say, OK, this time he died for real. The guy’s massive popularity was discernible from the plentiful messages of condolences from many important people all over but his most striking legion of fans would always be the little ones who faithfully watch his show. It’s a bit gleeful really, to read this comment from a small kid- “why does it have to be Steve Irwin? Why can’t it be someone old, like Sean Connery?” Kids just have the uncanny knack of being transparent, don’t they.

Off to a different topic- unpacking stuff requires a strong dose of will, for which I had demonstrated from the day of arrival until… four days later. Especially if you have one big luggage, one proper hand-carry, one improper hand-carry (in the form of a paper bag wrapped up by the protective plastic service at KLIA), two HUGE container bags (left in hostel), and several paper bags with a couple still floating around one of the floors reserved for storage (unknown exact coordinates). I’m currently missing three of my favourite mugs- a Harry Potter, a Little Mermaid, and a Bayern Munich (Sorry, Azleen :(). Do remind me to do a checklist next year.

Amongst the smallest details to share is the encounter I had with this old Tatar lady down at Nevskaya yesterday morning. She personifies the characteristic friendly Russian mak ciks who counterbalance the preconceived notion of Russians being generally cold and standoffish. Beginning with the routine “where are you from?” question, she went on to asking our place of study, complimenting our ‘prowess’ in Russian language (haha. We’re terrible, really, I’m sure she was simply being nice) and wishing us luck in our studies. I found out that we share the same name, and that she’s a doctor. All in all, the conversation might not hold any indicative value for many, but it was enough to make my day.

The elder generation often exudes a soothing image of kindness to my eyes. I still remember an old lady who spoke to us on a tram handing us a banana as a small token- she didn’t have anything to give and insisted we have it. A simple, yet moving gesture. These people remind me of the small acts of kindness we owe others- from holding doors for the person behind you to following queues to throwing rubbish in the bin to a simple smile towards a stranger (where it’s appropriate, of course ;)). We never know when these little favours would circle back to aid us in future lives.