A Picture Says A Thousand Words

They said a picture says a thousand words.
I don’t plan to write a thousand words on this picture, but I certainly have a lot to talk about it.

* * *
I left work early yesterday, so I stopped by Masjid Wilayah for ‘Asr. When I stepped out of the masjid, school kids were running around the corridors. I thought, “It must be nice to be school children. Simple life, simple views about life. Uncomplicated. Happy.”

I asked myself, “Do I want to go back to being a child, though?”

I decided, perhaps not. Well, at least now I could earn money and I could spend my own money without needing to ask anyone’s permission. I could go anywhere I wanted to, whenever I wanted to (or rather, a safe place at a safe time and when I’m relatively free). I could contribute my own ideas to the world, although not all is appreciated and I could be wrong. I know better about right and wrong and I am more secure about it than before.

So no, I don’t want to go back to being a child.
Although a less than complicated life would be welcomed.

Then I saw two men selling ice cream, on two separate motorcycles. There wasn’t any line, the tens of children did not crowd the ice cream men. Maybe they have bought and finished their ice creams, or maybe the kids have finished their money earlier. Maybe they were busy playing they did not notice the ice cream men.

Impossible.

I could taste corn-flavoured ice cream in my mouth, so I thought about buying. “But the kids will stare at you because you’re a grown up buying ice cream,” my head gave me a ridiculous idea. The better part of me said, “Don’t be ridiculous!” by which time I have reached the ice cream man.

“Do you have corn flavour?” I asked.
“No. I only have chocolate, yam and durian flavors,” he said, while opening his tin of ice cream.
“Oh.” My face fell, but I saw yellow ice cream in there.
“Oh, actually I do have it,” he smiled, reached for the cone and scooped the ice cream. “RM1 please.”

I sat in my car, happy for the ice cream. I snapped this photo quickly (as the ice cream was melting) and sent to my family.

* * *

I must have looked like a mother waiting for her kids to come out of their religious class. Well, the age is right, and when I think of it now, one of them would have been seven by now. I doubt he/she would have stayed with me…oh well, that’s another story. But they are most likely in paradise waiting for me.

‘Mommy will see you, insyaaAllah. For now just play in those beautiful gardens, ok?’

After finishing the ice cream, I drove off, without a kid in tow.

* * *

Why corn flavour?

When I was seven, we stayed in Kemaman. While waiting for the van to drive us home, I’d buy ice cream from a man on a motorcycle. I don’t remember asking for any other flavours. I think this is the only flavour he had.

Enjoying this flavour brought me back to childhood. A happy and uncomplicated time.

I guess I don’t need to BE a child again, I just need to enjoy one of these things once in a while, then I will be transported back to childhood. A short moment is enough to carry me through, I suppose.

* * *

While waiting for my ice cream earlier on, I saw a bag of buns hung outside the ice cream container. I was then reminded of another time in my childhood, when my brother and I used to buy ice cream sandwiches while waiting for our driver to fetch us.

Those sandwiches are nice too. The ice cream man would slice the long bun (the ones they normally use for hot dogs), and put ice cream in between.
I never bought corn flavour though. Those times it was either chocolate or strawberry flavour.

* * *

Did I reach a thousand words?

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The Miniaturist – A Short Book Review

I’m sorry.

This is not a normal book review. This review has no real structure, or actual comments. It contains only a few things that I could really say about this book.

First, let me say this:
AAAAAAAAAARRRRGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!

That is exactly how I felt reading, and finishing this book.

Don’t get me wrong. The story is mysterious. It made me curious enough that I could not put down the book. It is waaayyy better than the book I read before that (I complained to my family and friends that the other book was so boring that I felt like throwing it into the recycle bin; but I finished it anyway).

Language, yes, good.

The storyline itself, yes, good.

You WILL want to know how the story would unfold, and there are many twists in this book. Although some of them are predictable, many are not.

Let me end this with another one:
AAAAAAAAAARRRRGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!

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Immature

Lihatlah langit di atas sana
Tersenyum melihat tingkah kita
Selalu ada peristiwa
Yang membawa pertengkaran

* * *
All couples fight.
Younger couples, probably even more.

If they love each other, they will find a way to reconcile.

They will get away to a quiet place, one for each, think about their love.
And come back.

If they want things to work, they could always work things out.
No matter what.

But some…..

They give up.
Perhaps they have never faced failures.
Or difficulties.

They thought perfection belongs in this world.

* * *

Complicated

Birmingham International Airport, 29th March 2015, 1040hrs

Sometimes you wish your life is simpler. Study, get a job, get married, simple pregnancies, have kids, you love your in-laws, they love you back, your parents love your in-laws, and they love them back. Health, beauty, love. Everything.

But no. That’s not the deal.

If our lives aren’t complicated, how are we ever going to help others in need?

Then I thought of all those patients, and their carers, that I have met throughout my career.

Like that lady. Divorced. Ten children. One had serious brain injury during an accident, now bed-bound, unable to talk, move, having many episodes of infections. On top of that, she has another son who has been epileptic since childhood, with some learning disabilities.

That man, almost blind with diabetes. Could barely do much because of lethargy as his kidneys weren’t good. Has one disabled son. Wife works part time. Even have another unemployed sister staying under their roof.

Or this man who just had a stroke. Wife is away in another country, working for a living. His other family members away in their hometown in a neighbouring country. Only friends around.

Or this loyal elderly man, who took care of his wife, ill with terminal cancer. He is thin, frail and unwell himself. Day in, day out.

Or this lady, whose husband had terminal cancer. Three young children. The man passed away the night before school reopens on a new year.

Cousins and friends with multiple miscarriages.

Friends with debilitating illnesses.

Those friends with broken families.

Everyone suffers for something. Somewhere in life. That is for sure.

All the courage needed to face another day.
All the strength needed to say “I will be ok.”

All the energy spent not giving up, because life just needs to go on.

All of that is not without any reasons.
One of it is, because we need each other.

* * *
Setiap hari ku mohon agar Kau sentiasa
Memberiku ketenangan, dalam hati kekuatan
Menempuni segala dugaan yang mencabar ini
Pasti punya ertinya

Kau beriku harapan
Menjawab segala persoalan
Hadapi semua dengan tenang
Dengan merasa kesyukuran
Ku doa Kau selalu mengawasi gerak geriku
Berkatilah, ku perlu rahmat dariMu

Oh, Tuhan
Tenangkan hati dalam sanibariku
Untuk menempuhi segala
Hidup penuh cabaran ini
Oh, Tuhan
Ku berserah segalanya kepadaMu
Agar jiwaku tenang dengan bimbinganmu selalu

Ada kala ku merasa hidup ini seperti kaca
Jikalau tidak bersabar, hancur berderailah akhirnya
Tabahkanlah hatiku melalui semua itu
Kuatkanlah, cekalkanlah diriku

Curahkanlah nikmatMu pada hidupku

Sheila Majid’s Ku Mohon

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Umbrella

July 2007.

It was supposed to be one of the happiest days in my life. Indeed I was happy. There were so many loved ones around, all feeling festive and excited. Cik Fuah was doing what she has always done, and will always do. You were annoying us all by singing this song. All the time.

Twenty months passed. Things did not go the way we wanted it to be.

You, like the rest of them, were there for me. Like the song you sang all those months before.

You were there as the shoulder to cry on.
No, I did not tell you stories, but you were there.

You drove me to work, and back.
You joined me for dinner.
You slept in my house when I was alone.

We went for movies, theatres, and sometimes trips.

We did not have much.
Times were difficult.

With all the troubles in our lives, we had each other.

You were my umbrella.

* * *

I know you must be apprehensive of the changes that are going to happen.

There are so many things that you will experience; unexpected, surprising.
You will say things you never thought you would say.
You will feel what you never thought you would ever feel.

You know it has been rocky from the word go.
We are worried that all hell will break lose.

But I hope we are stronger than that.

Perhaps only broken people would understand the broken.
It is only when we have felt our worst, that we could understand the worst of scenarios.

Maybe only broken people could pick up the pieces together, and build an even more beautiful creation, lasting to the paradise.

Therefore I do believe we are stronger than that.

* * *

Whatever you feel, please know that we will be there for you.

Do know that we trust you, and will pray for the best for you.

Believe that you are strong, the way we have all tried to be all this while.

All that have happened to us, did not happen without a reason, because I believe, only then could we hold hands with those who had it as bad as we have.

We are all here to climb up together, to be happy together.
Those hardships were never meant to tear us apart.

Life will not be easier.
But we should strive to be stronger.

Hugs, love.

Kakak.

* * *
Umbrella by Rihanna
You had my heart, and we’ll never be worlds apart
Maybe in magazines, but you’ll still be my star
Baby ’cause in the dark, you can’t see shiny cars
And that’s when you need me there
With you, I’ll always share

Because when the sun shines, we’ll shine together
Told you I’ll be here forever
Said I’ll always be your friend
Took an oath, I’ma stick it out to the end
Now that it’s raining more than ever
Know that we’ll still have each other
You can stand under my umbrella

These fancy things will never come in between
You’re part of my entity, here for infinity
When the war has took its part
When the world has dealt its cards
If the hand is hard, together we’ll mend your heart

You can run into my arms
It’s okay, don’t be alarmed, come in to me
There’s no distance in between our love
So go on and let the rain pour
I’ll be all you need and more

Because when the sun shines, we’ll shine together
Told you I’ll be here forever
Said I’ll always be your friend
Took an oath, I’ma stick it out to the end

Now that it’s raining more than ever
Know that we’ll still have each other
You can stand under my umbrellaIMG_1749.JPG

The Library Is (Not) A Quiet Place

Recently, out of desperation, I started a habit of studying in a public library. Perpustakaan Raja Tun Uda in Shah Alam, to be exact. I heard so much good things about it, so I decided to check it out.

True enough, the opening hours are long, it opens everyday (except during public holidays). The lighting is just right, the air conditioner temperature is just right, even the height of the tables and chairs are just right. There are many types of seats we could choose from; the traditional table and chair, different types of couches and soft benches (like sofa but they are not).

The books? I can’t really comment, because I knew they wouldn’t have the books that I need for my exams, and I prefer my own books. But I could see what seems to be a great collection of Islamic reference books, which would probably be very useful for those pursuing tertiary level Islamic studies.

However, when I finally sat down to study (after exploring the library for the first time), I felt a little perplexed. I tried to study at first but the confusion continued to bug me, so I went to the librarian counter.

I asked him, “Is this floor supposed to be a place for discussion?”
He answered, “No.”

“Then why are those people making a lot of noise? Is it allowed here?” I asked him.
“No, they are supposed to keep quiet,” he replied. So I became more confused.
“Then why is nobody telling them that?”
“Miss, if you want them to keep quiet, we’d prefer visitors like you to advice the noisy ones,” he told me confidently.
“But that’s your job, right?” I wondered, did I miss anything here?
“Yes, but they won’t listen to us, you see. We could tell them to stop talking but they will start again after five minutes.”
So I said, “No. That’s not why I’m here. I’m here to study. So could you please tell them to be silent?”
Luckily he said, “Yes, I will.”

He did, after a few minutes.

You see, what confused me at the first place was there were groups of students studying and discussing LOUDLY in the library. As I understand there are discussion rooms available in the library (which needs a small fee to be paid, which is less than RM8), but these students are discussing in the open floor! As a matter of fact, I knew they were medical students because I could hear what they were talking about.

The librarian was right. The groups of student stopped their discussion for a few minutes. After that they were back to talking loudly.

The week after that was worse. There were even more students, and I tried to tolerate the noise, but by afternoon it got too much. Again, I had to go to the librarian (this time a different person) and complained.

It seemed that this occurred EVERY weekend and he has given up reprimanding those students. He told me he does not know what else to do with them. He has even asked the security guard to tell those students off but nothing changed.

“Do you expect me to kick them out of the library, then?? It’s not very appropriate, is it?” he asked, exasperated.
I said, “Yes, if that is what you need to do to teach them the etiquettes! If these kids were overseas they would have been kicked out a long time ago!”

I almost made a scene, some the library visitors were staring at me, but I don’t care, because something needs to be done.

“Miss, why not I give you this one room, it is very quiet. If this place is too noisy for you,” he offered.
“What do you mean? Is there any chair or table I could sit in?” I was getting even more angry.
“Of course there is. It is a nice room, right opposite this space. Come, let me show you.”
“So you mean, I’m the one who want peace and quiet, I’m the one being kicked out???” This is too much.
“Just come and see the room first!” he said.
I told him, “Sir, this is not the point. I know I want quiet but these kids need to know RESPECT! I’m more bothered of their attitude than the noise itself!”

But I followed him to the room anyway, although I was frustrated that I could not get my point across.

Indeed it was a very nice, very quiet room. It was Selangor Info Hub, which apparently includes the Sultan’s collection. There was an even nicer seat, a nice table just for one person, slightly cooler and very very quiet. I was alone there. For the next two hours I was rather happy, but a small part of me still felt angry because just being in a quiet room was not the whole point.

* * *
One might say, what else would I want? I already had a nice, comfortable by myself, why should I worry about those (medical) students?

You see, my main point is those kids need to learn respect. They need to know and understand that the main library hall is a place where people go to get some peace and quiet, for them to be able to focus on their studies.

Not everyone is blessed with a quiet house. Mine is, in fact, very quiet, but there is a very comfortable bed which is not available in the library.

Just think about this.
We ran away from home for some good reason. As comfortable as the library is, it might not be as good as home.
Many of us work while studying, and most have kids at home.
Those who are full time student might not live in a house conducive enough to focus in their studying.
Some of us really prefer to study in peace and quiet; no talking, no music.
Like me, my house is peaceful but I have distractions, so the library is the best place to be.

Please respect our rights. If we wanted somewhere noisy, we would have just sat at any mamak stall and study. We could have ordered any snacks and eat them while studying.

If we weren’t desperate, we would not have gone all the way to the library. We needed to dress up (appropriately), drive, find a car park, walk all the way from the parking place, and leave our bags outside the hall (which actually annoyed me because not many of the lockers could function anymore).

If we did not need this peace and quiet, we probably wouldn’t have bothered coming.

Please show us some respect. Be quiet when you’re in the library. If you need to have a discussion, use the discussion rooms. They are available in every floor. If you don’t want to pay for the rooms, then discuss somewhere else, in one of your houses, perhaps.

I have never done any discussions in the college library when I was a student. It was always done in one of our houses.

So please. Show respect.

Be quiet when you are in the library.

* * *
Personally, I don’t think it is the librarian’s job to maintain the peace in the library.
As medical students (yes, most of the noisy kids were medical students!!!), they should have already understood the bulk of information that people need to digest. They should have already understood that the library is supposed to be a quiet place.

Hey, I thought it is COMMON SENSE???

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