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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Out of the loop

Sometimes I just feel that I am out of the loop with some of the goings-on around me. On the one hand, it is good because I can stay focused on what I am doing. On the other hand, I just sometimes feel lost. Some people say, ignorance is bliss and that the less you know, the better. But I just don't feel right about not knowing what's happening.

Oh, yes. I felt the same thing some time back.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Silver lining

One of the positive things that came out from my losing my data is that I am more organised than before.


Yes, indeed there is a silver lining.

Nice cake... wish I was there

My sister got a surprise on her birthday yesterday. The surprise was planned by her friends at the university.I wish I was there to see her reaction. Nice cake, though. Interesting choice of words.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Lost forever

My whole working life revolves around writing. I started writing seriously around 1997. And I have dabbled in academic, journalistic and creative writing.

I have written more than 150 articles for newspapers, magazines and academic journals - both local and international.

I have written more than 100 academic working papers - both local and international.

I have written two novels published in 2007 and 2008.

I have written three unpublished short stories.

I have written a script for a television drama which won second place in a national script writing competition in 2007.

I have written a master's thesis.

I am currently writing a memoir - Fikri's to be exact, entitled "Echoes of My Heart". The writing process is nearly completed.

I am currently writing two novels. Both are halfway done.

I am also currently writing my doctorate thesis. The introduction and literature review have been completed.

And all these are stored in my laptop and backed up in my pendrive.

Last week, my laptop crashed, and apparently there is no way to retrieve the files. Yesterday, I lost my pendrive containing all those I listed above plus some other equally important files. The pendrive must have been lost while I was outside the office. I retraced my tracks to no avail.

More than ten years worth of work gone just like that. God knows how many hours and sleepless nights were spent writing all those things. Heck, the thrust of what I do for a living is writing. And they are all gone.

Doubtless I have some of those lost in hard copies or stored online in websites. I can retrieve those easily or scanned them again. It will take time, but it is something doable.

But those that have yet to be published and those that I did not have hard copies (because the writing process is still on-going) - they are lost... forever.

Fikri's memoir. The two novels. The three short stories. The television script. My PhD thesis.

Imagine having to rewrite those that cannot be retrieved. I have no choice but to rewrite these, but the end result will be different. The rewriting process will be more difficult. And I have no idea when I can begin because currently I am just not so in the mood to redo what I have done.

Ten years of work now gone.

I feel like a big part of me is lost forever.

Happy 21st birthday, little sister

Today is Liyana's 21st birthday.

I would like to wish her all the very best, in particular her studies. As one would probably guess, there is quite an age difference between myself and my sister. That is why I will always regard her as my little sister, even though she is now 21.

Happy 21st birthday, Liyana.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Job hazard

I would imagine many think that it is impossible to get hurt when one is writing or typing.

Au contraire!

Earlier this morning, around 1 a.m., I somehow managed to sprain my right arm while typing an article for a magazine. What began as a throbbing pain on my shoulder, spreaded to the whole arm.

When I went to sleep around 3 a.m., the pain was still lingering. And when I woke up, the pain has somewhat lessened, but the throbbing on the shoulder remains even as I blog this.

Oh, well. It goes to show that there are hazards to everything that we do.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Mega sale

Malaysians are so fond of sales, even during these hard times.

In any case, I am doing a dear friend, a favour by putting this announcement here. Kumpulan Utusan will be holding its warehouse sale from the 30th of January until 5th of February beginning 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day. The sale will be held at Utusan Publications and Distributors Sdn Bhd's office at No. 1 & 3, Jalan 3/91A, Taman Shamelin Perkasa in Cheras.

If you love books, have a visit, and I am sure that you will not regret it.

Shameless plug: Be sure to get my first novel, Ombak Senja, at the warehouse sale if you haven't got your copy already.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Safe journey

A close friend and former colleague, Rohaizad, has just left for Makkah al-Mukaramah for his umrah today. He will be there for about two weeks.

I pray so that he'll be healthy and strong throughout his minor pilgrimage.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Lunar new year

To all my friends and visitors who celebrate Chinese New Year which marks the beginning of the lunar new year, I would like to wish a very happy and prosperous year ahead. While many predictions and forecasts paint a gloomy year to come, let us all channel our strengths towards overcoming whatever challenges that may await.

Gong xi fa cai!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Birthday wish

My mother will be celebrating her birthday tomorrow.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish her a very happy birthday. Thank you for always being there for me.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Pleasant start

My lecture at Universiti Malaya earlier this afternoon reminds me why I love the academic world. It serves to strengthen my resolve that one day I will indeed jump into the academic world proper.

That is my ambition and aim.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

KL Internet traffic

Mobile broadband devices is indeed a boon. But sometimes they drive me crazy.

Whenever I am outstationed, I find mobile broadband to be very very handy. The Internet connection whenever I am outside Kuala Lumpur is usually very fast, and it is an enjoyment being online when this happens.

However, I have noticed that of late, connection in Kuala Lumpur is getting worse. Is it just me or is this true for everybody? I have no problems getting connected, but the speed is so slow that I am usually unable to connect to Yahoo Messenger or get into my Blogger account. At least I could still check my e-mails, but still, is Internet traffic really that bad in Kuala Lumpur?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Back to lecturing

This academic year, I have been approached by a faculty and an academy under Universiti Malaya to lecture. I am truly honoured and humbled by their trust in me.

While the new semester is well into its fourth week now, I will only begin to lecture this week at the Academy of Islamic Studies for the subject "Isu-isu Islam tentang Sains dan Teknologi". As for the subject of "History and Philosophy of Science", I will only start lecturing this for the Faculty of Science in May during the 8-week special semester.

I enjoy lecturing. It gives me the opportunity to keep myself updated with the subject matter. And in a weird kind of way, it rekindles my memory of my university days in Glasgow.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

As expected

To be honest, I was not the least bit surprised by the ceasefire in Palestine. After pounding Gaza for 22 days killing more than 1,000 lives, Israel is pulling out. As I blogged last week, I suspected that Israel would pull out before the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States.

To me, the conflict in Palestine is not just about religion. Not many people realise that not all Palestinians are Muslims. The bottom line is that the Palestinian issue is a humanitarian one. And it also has to do with our inability to keep a "bully" at bay when the bully has a "godfather" giving protection.

I will continue to pray for peace and freedom for the Palestinians.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Putting things in order

I am a control freak. I hate it when things are chaotic or not placed in its proper order. That is why, one of my aims for January is to put things in order at the office.

Frankly, I am understaffed at the office. Yes, we do have about 35 people working under the Japanese education project. But they are actually contract staff who are designated specifically to that particular project. For the organisation proper, there are only three of us.

I am fortunate that a couple of the project team members are helping me out with special tasks which are relevant to what they are doing. On top of that, we are also going to hire four new people for the organisation proper, partly to assist me and partly to assist the numero uno.

But hiring staff can be a tedious process. Since we are small, we do not want to bring in the wrong people who shine (pretentiously) during interviews but at the end of the day, prove to be a liability (or worse, a parasite) to the organisation. While it is the prerogative of the employer to hire and fire, in truth it is actually easy to hire but very difficult to fire someone. And most definitely, we do not want to come to that situation.

In any case, January is a very busy month for me. I have become more organised than the last few years, and I hope by the month's end, things will be very much in order as they should be.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


I was supposed to have an appointment at 6 p.m. yesterday. However, the appointment was cancelled at the eleventh hour.

Because of this, out of the blue, I decided to call up a close friend from my primary school days in Johor Bahru, Yusrin Faidz. He is the only person from those days that I still manage to meet, albeit sparsely, over the years. We were even in the Scotland around the same time. In fact, Yusrin and his family were at Glasgow Airport when I first set foot there.

Anyway, we spoke about a reunion of sorts although nothing concrete was planned. Then I called up another primary school friend, Shazali. I have only been exchanging messages over Facebook with Shazali since we managed to trace each other a few months ago. This would be the first time that I actually speak to Shazali since 1985!

Interestingly, when we spoke, it was hardly noticeable that we have not seen each other for nearly a quarter of a century. He is based in Pasir Gudang, but he told me that he would be playing golf in Shah Alam today. I suggested that we meet up, and he said it'd be good to get the others as well.

So, I called up Yusrin again and told him about the proposed meeting in Shah Alam. He immediately called up Norizuddin, Wan Alimi Zaki and Adeline. Only Adeline could not make it. Norizuddin and Wan Alimi agreed to attend.

Flashback 1985 - Seated: Adeline (on teacher's right), yours truly (on teacher's left), Wan Alimi (next to me), Yusrin (seated, second from right), Norizuddin (seated, extreme right), Shazali (standing back row, extreme right).

And here I am, waiting in anticipation to meet up with old friends from my childhood years. I have not met Shazali, Norizuddin and Wan Alimi since I left Johor Bahru in 1985.

I am anxious and excited, but at the same time, I remember someone saying to me:
You will find that your best friends are those from your childhood. They chose to be friends with you because of who you are, and not because of who you have become.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Song for Gaza

A blogger friend, Jie, directed my attention to this song written and performed by Michael Heart. I find the song touching and very apt. It is called "We Will Not Go Down".

Have a listen, and have a prayer for the Palestinians.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Readjusted routine

Beginning Monday of this week, I have had to readjust some of my routine. I am in the middle of completing the editing and typesetting of a very thick book that Yayasan Ilmuwan is publishing. I have to temporarily shift my focus and attention to the publication of this book, and hence all other writing projects (read: creative writing) have to give way for the time being. I am at the office until midnight for a few nights already this week, and I suspect this will continue for another week.

As such, for those who have been anticipating the sequel to Transgenesis: Bisikan Rimba, I plead for your patience. Insya-Allah the sequel will be completed and the novel will come out this year. But it will be a bit later than originally planned.

I pray that I be given the strength and health to undertake all these tasks.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

And now... the door that wouldn't unlock

Level 3 continues to be problematic. If you don't believe me, read this, this, this, this, this and this.

I was out for a meeting earlier this afternoon. As usual, I'd lock the door to my room. When I came back to the office around 2 o'clock, I was not able to unlock my door. Apparently the keyhole got pushed inside, and one of the screws fell off rendering the lock useless. I had to call the contractor who did the job many moons ago. He arrived one and a half hour later.

The problem was fixed after half an hour. But all in all, I wasted two hours just because I couldn't enter my room.

Monday, January 12, 2009

How much longer?

I have tried many times over the past week to blog about this. Everytime I started, I couldn't finish my posting. My emotions overwhelmed my ability to transfer my thoughts into words.

I could not just comprehend the inhumane act of terror that is transpiring in Gaza, Palestine. I could not accept the unnecessary loss of innocent human lives as a result of a transgression of the Zionists. People the world over, Muslims or otherwise, are enraged and outraged by the atrocities.

And yet, that is all that we could do. For so long as Israel has its "guardian angel" in the form of the United States of America, then the world is helpless, no matter how disgusted and angered the world is. Everyone knows that what is happening is a war crime against humanity. And yet, no one - including the United Nations, the Organization of Islamic Conference, the Arab League, the European Union and what-have-you - could do anything to stop the blatant act of terrorism.

We could only watch. We could only offer our sympathies and prayers. We could probably send in our medical teams (like what Mercy Malaysia is doing). But I guess, those are the only things that we could do. [While world leaders continue doing what they do best - talking and more talking].

This is my two cents on what's going on in Gaza.

The Israelis are bombarding Gaza while they think they can. I suspect they will stop by the 20th of January. Why this date? It is the inauguration day of the 44th president of the United States. None of us know how the new president will be towards Israel. The president-elect has been rather quiet on this issue. No doubt, a certain air of friendliness between the USA and Israel will continue to be there, but will it be at the level of the George W. Bush's era or the Bill Clinton's era? That remains to be seen. So until the question is answered, Israel will pound Palestine like there's no tomorrow (just in case, they won't get to do so when Barrack Obama is in the White House).

Oh, another reason for the attacks on Gaza? What else, 2009 is election year for the 18th Knesset to be held on 10th February, 2009. [Knesset is the legislative branch of Israel]. For Ehud Olmert's party, Kadima, to retain power under the new leadership of Tzipi Livni, it must show to be "in control" of the Palestinian issue. And what better way to show it than by showing brute military force on to the people of Gaza?

How much longer before the aggressions are ended? And how many more lives have to be killed before it all ends?

Friday, January 09, 2009

New e-mail address

The National Transplant Resource Centre (NTRC) now has a new e-mail address.

Anyone wishing to contact NTRC can do so using the following e-mail:

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Bleeding no more

I am happy that Sime Darby has decided not to pursue its intention of taking over IJN. And I hope it stays that way.

If a corporation like Sime Darby really intends to serve the public, don't take what is already there for the public. Set up a new one as an alternative, and compete healthily with the existing government specialist hospital.

In any case, my heart bleeds no more.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Disturbing reality

I felt so disturbed when I saw today's edition of The New Straits Times. The newspaper's front page displays an image of a Palestinian father distraught in front of the bodies of three very young children.

The image is disturbing. And the image brought tears down my eyes. I just cannot imagine if I were to be in that position and situation.

I cannot begin to wonder what must be running through the minds of the Palestinians who are going through this carnage. Who, in their right mind, would want to hurt - what more, kill - innocent children?

That image on the front page of The New Straits Times will remain in my memory for quite some time. It's a reminder to me of just what Israel is.

Let us continue to pray so that these atrocities will come to an end... for good.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Save IJN

As one of my new year targets, I am joining the chorus of bloggers and Malaysians who are against the privatisation of IJN.

My feeling on this matter is no secret. I have blogged and written a newspaper article on why IJN should not be privatised.

Let our voices be heard.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Not so happy start to 2009

And so 2009 is here. There is of course the usual fireworks and much fanfare. As usual, I stayed at home. I'm not the type who revel in celebrating the coming of the new year. I'd rather be at home with my family and get my much needed rest.

Anyway, this new year, to me and (from the text messages I have received) to many Muslim friends, did not start on a happy note. The offensive launched by the Israelis on the Palestinians showed the world how 2009 will not be such a happy year. We have heard about the impending economic and financial recession. With this latest atrocity by Israel, I'd say we're in for a year full of global political uncertainties.

Somehow, I feel that the Israelis are just taking advantage on the last days of the Bush administration. Many are pinning hopes of world peace on the incoming US administration. I am not hoping for too much though. But one can hope and pray so that these atrocities could be stopped before more innocent lives are lost.

For Muslims, may I urge that we perform the solat sunat hajat with the Qunut nazilah recited in the second rakaat, solat sunat ghaib and followed by the recitation of Surah al-Mulk, Surah at-Taubah and Surah al-Anfal. May Allah SWT show us the right path and provide victory to the surpressed Palestinians.