Saturday, January 16, 2010

Old Friend

An old friend turned 24 today, someone I have never mentioned in this blog yet is very dear to my heart. We first became friends in standard five- both of us were new students at school. The next year, she became class monitor, I her assistant. And 6 Aktif totally rocked under our leadership. Haha kidding. But I remember that year as one of the best years in my life so we must have been doing things right, haven't we? ;) We went separate ways in secondary school, but managed to keep in touch over the years via numerous letters and cards.

Anis, I still keep your letters, cards, pictures and trinkets, and I'm so happy you still have mine too, even though we haven't quite written to each other anymore. Happy birthday; may Allah keep our friendship strong for always and guide us both to His path.

The monitor and her assistant.

The cards that I sent her.

ps: I hope you don't mind me using your photos from Facebook. ;)

Friday, January 08, 2010

My brother the fighter

Yesterday, a couple of friends sent me messages which roughly went, "was it your brother who was arrested by the Egyptian police last night?". At that time, I had just received a phone call from my father telling me that yes, my brother, who was part of the Viva Palestina convoy awaiting clearance to enter Gaza through the Rafah crossing when a riot instigated by agent provocateurs of the police broke out, had been one of the seven members detained, apparently because he was snapping pictures of the situation. He was released almost 15 hours later, and, contrary to what he had intended when he joined the mission a few weeks ago, he made quite the news (although they got his name slightly wrong, haha), especially in Malaysia. Later, he rejoined the convoy to enter Gaza and distribute the $1 million-worth of food, clothings, and medical supplies before returning to the UK tomorrow.

I know there probably have been mixed reactions toward the riot, the detainment, even the participation of my brother in the convoy. I have only one reaction- I am proud of what he is doing to make a difference in this convoluted world of false freedom. We chatted at length before he went- he was asking me about gift ideas for the children of Gaza. I knew that his conscience was clear, his heart sincere. He was a student, but he was also a Muslim fighter, and Palestine is the great jihad of our time. He knew he had the means to be of active help there, so he did. Why wouldn't he wait until he graduated as a doctor before getting involved in this kind of 'thing'? Because the mystery of time is not within our grasp. We don't know how long we will still be able to breathe the fresh crisp air, or play with the virgin snow. Aren't the children of Palestine too young to witness all the horrors served daily on their playgrounds? But it also teaches them to understand the utter value of faith and life, and not to hesitate to fight for it. In many ways they are much wiser than numerous so-called Muslim adults in our country, whose main goals in life these days are those pertaining to money and comfort.

We need more proactive Muslims, something that is much lacking in our society today. Perhaps not all of us have the means to go there and fight, but we have to constantly vouch support for the cause. My brother did what he thought he could do best with the opportunity that he had at the time that was given to him. Besides, it was an organised international humanitarian aid convoy, not a suicide mission. My only worry for him was that people of higher authority might not see eye to eye with his call and cause him trouble, particularly with regards to his studies.

Alhamdulillah, everything appeared to be going fine... Muhammad, I pray you'll get back safely and have gained better faith and become a stronger person.

ps: Concerning Egypt's preposterous actions in impeding the convoy, you can further read here and here, here.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Pre-exam doodle

Final day of class was also the final day of the year. And thus began the clumsy waltz through winter exams which would eventually end on the 23rd of January, some several light years away. They say Dermatology is a walk in the park, but it actually is my least favourite subject this year, so I'd add the word 'punishing' before it. Psychiatry is psychiatry, and Paediatrics will be conducted in Russian, being a 'national examination' paper. I've exhausted the topic on my Russian, so I shall say no more. In a nutshell, the prosaic med-student life is about to go Armageddon.

I've neglected to write on a daily or weekly or even monthly basis, so clearly a world of things have happened in the time that I kept pushing the snooze button on this blog. Ergo, I've selected highlights, or rather, created awards for time-saving and better reading purposes. And as usual, most are spontaneous and quite random in nature.

Lesson of the year
To never give up no matter what. Sounds unoriginal and outdated, but I'm talking about the moments when all seem to be lost and we can almost taste the bitterness of failure; when many of us would customarily begin to prepare our minds for defeat. Don't. There have been numerous super-comeback and fighting-tooth-for-tooth moments I've witnessed especially in sports this year that reaffirmed the mantra "it ain't over till it's over", and that goes the same with life.

Breakthrough hobby of the year
I had this post-rainbow withdrawal syndrome after my 'rainbow' left me, and, quite similar to Dr. House after his brief asylum spell, I turned to cooking. I surprised even myself with the stuff that I did, topped by taking orders of nasi minyak for 20 people- making a dish I had never before made on my own in its entirety. My friends encouraged and helped me all the way and I want to personally thank Farah, Fatin, Sakinah and Firdaus for their part. Hehe. Another friend, Fahida, inspired me to bake cakes, and in the span of a few weeks I was on a sort of a rampage, baking chocolate cake, carrot cake, tiramisu, and pandan cake (twice!). Unlike House who grew out of it, however, I got hooked. So Mak, I promise to bake cake(s) at home next year. :)

Teacher of the year
In a year filled with great teachers, our infectious diseases teacher, Olga Alexandrovna Chernyavskaya managed to steal the award at the last moment from various strong contenders. We are even cooking for her this Monday in a li'l thank-you party, which, coming from our semi-dysfunctional group, is a uber strong statement.

Season of the year
I would have settled for autumn like always, it being my favourite season in terms of practically everything, but the last few weeks gave us a sight to behold for a long, long time to come. A dramatic turn of the weather saw our city covered by snow up to our knees within one day, accompanied by cruel, wheezing wind that literally made you cry. Only a few days later however, the temperature escalated to above zero and we had had a substantial rainfall. Just when we thought to brace for muddy and flooded streets the day after, down went the scale and the earth froze over. And, almost out of nowhere, came to light the most stunning picture- trees in ice glimmering like 24-carat diamonds! Of course, we have seen ice-covered trees before, but nothing massive like this- the whole city was positively twinkling, and at night, everything appeared more glamourous and dream-like. And although I waited for more than an hour to flag a marshrut/taxi that evening, and eventually had to walk up the hill to our place, I was grinning like an idiot the whole time, ooh-ing and aah-ing following every few slippery steps.

I can design several more awards of freakish nature, but it's new year and I don't wish to start by getting into anyone's bad books for being super lame. I do wish, though, for Volgograd to bring about a professional hockey team to enter the Continental Hockey League for the 10/11 season so that i can watch great live hockey here every other week or so. Yeah.

Happy hibernating, Volgans.

ps: just got back from an usrah/slumber party/qiyamullail combo which surprised me in many ways- all for the better, inshaallah...