Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Panglima Hitam : Black Knights

Since I'm still in my PASKAL craze, I will comment on its amazingly deep and metaphorical OST 'Cabang Tiga' (Three Branches). See video in 'Oh my Paskal!' post. 
The stanza that strikes the most is the part in red (see also photo above). It means 'Many people boast to show their might but they are like the dog barking at the deer. The deer is calm and humble. Even Parameswara (the first King of Melaka) knew that the dog's fate was at the hand of the deer.'
History lesson: Parameswara went hunting and rested under a shady tree. His hunting dog started barking and chased a deer. The deer which didn't make any noise gave a strong kick till the dog fell into the river.  Parameswara believed that the area he was hunting was blessed and set up a settlement there. He named the state 'Melaka' in conjunction with the tree he had leaned on.


*Di udara bawah air 
Dalam hutan
Panglima hitam kita
Sedia berkorban

Hanya turut perintah

Agong dan Tuhan
Demi kita punya

Kita sentiasa terbaik

Kita sentiasa terbaik
Kita sentiasa terbaik*

Dengan Naga
Bukan Helang
Mahu lawan
Angan-angan nak
Menerawang langit

Hajat yang menggunung
Mahu sapu awan
Yang hujung kaki
Pelangi pun tercalit

Tak betul bila cebol
Cuba capai bulan
Basahnya banyak
Padahal sedikit hujan

Angin kencang kuat
Burung gegar sayap
Bertongkatkan Paruh 
kalau Kepak ranap

[Repeat *]

Tahan nafas cuba lawan
Masuk air
Jangan hangus tak berapi
Karam tak berair

Ada cuba tegakkan
Benang yang basah
Sampan ada tapi
Nak gak berenang kenapa

Makan kalau lapar
Minum kalau haus
Nak lawan ombak
Harus sanggup lawan arus

Kalau laut cukup garam
Kapal tak karam
Jangan kecoh air
Beriak tanda tak dalam

[Repeat *]

Ramai cakap besar
Mahu tunjuk gagah
Tapi macam anjing
Yang menyalak kat pelanduk

Ternampak tenang saja
Tak perlu bermegah
Pohon melaka tahu telur anjing
Di hujung tanduk

[Repeat *]

Saturday, November 03, 2018


'Leluhur: Singapore's Kampong Gelam' book launch scheduled on 3 November 2018 is postponed due to circumstances not within our control.
As per Rousseau, let's exercise patience as its fruit is sweet.


Saturday, October 27, 2018

F@#k, Marry, Shoot

I am not ashamed to admit that I have watched 'PASKAL: The Movie' 15 times. Once even in my kebaya as I rushed from one end of Singapore to another just to watch my heroic commandos in action. Though I spotted some conti mistakes in the movie (I was a producer), PASKAL tugged at my heartstrings. Sincere and engaging storyline, superb cast, high quality production and most importantly, it paid tribute to the priceless (most of the time, unappreciated) sacrifices made by our men in uniform. 

I am crushing big time on Alpha Leader Arman Rahmat (call sign Jerung) that my ovaries 'broke' each time I see the kind, stoic and dignified (and he loves his mother!) mamat Melayu. I remember my crew member had commented that our army jeep ride "boleh pecah dara". I think I had gone beyond mabuk kepayang... macam sudah termakan magic mushroom gitu. "Nak mampuih, tapi tak mampuih lagi" (spoken in Yan's Kedah accent). 

I would probably f@#k Jeb (bad boy attraction plus his body is hot!*) and shoot Rudi the pirate (if I were in PASKAL, I would like to be a sniper like Gagak). But I would still marry Jerung many times over (#tilljannah).

Malay lesson:

a. mamat Melayu--Malay man
b. boleh pecah dara--can tear one's hymen/virginity
c. mabuk kepayang--losing one's mind as one is deeply in love
d. macam sudah termakan--as if one had eaten
e. "Nak mampuih, tapi tak mampuih lagi"--feel like dying but not dead yet

Magic mushroom: not of the Super Mario Bros kind but a psilocybin mushroom that contains psychedelic compounds (hence, 'crazy in love')

Afterthought: If I were Misi (another hot Bintara Kanan who reads Pensées), I wouldn't know what to choose--being a doctor battling in the operating theatre or being in PASKAL. To go for one's personal ambition (and serve humanity) or to serve one's beloved country?

*I need Ustat PASKAL to 'azankan di telinga' so that I won't lust at Jeb's hot bod, astarfirghullah
**Men in PASKAL (copyrights from movie) are in the order of: F@#k, Marry, Shoot, In-a-perfect-world-exists-a-quiet-strong-hot-dude-who-reads, and the Alpha Team


Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Oh my Paskal!

Oh my Paskal! Please run with me.

I attended the film premiere in Singapore this evening (8 Oct). I gave it 10 popcorns out of 5! Great storyline (it has soul!), good casting (they did their own stunts), action-packed, superb acting (I actually believe they are the real team and not actors), pacing of film is just right, touching and engaging, and minority characters are given substantial and important roles. Well done Panglima Hitam! Kudos to Adrian Teh and the production team. Proud of my Malaysian neighbour! 

These guys are so hot not because of their physique but because they carry their duties with honour and dignity, "sentiasa terbaik" always giving the best. For example, Theebaan G acted as the strong and silent Misi who could have been a doctor but instead chose to serve his country in combat. And he reads a lot in the movie, spouting philosophical lines such as "How many kingdoms know nothing of us."

I'm definitely watching it again and buying the DVD!

+the film is inspired by real events:
- Paskal team rescued the crew of MV Bunga Laurel which was hijacked by Somalian pirates in the Gulf of Aden in 2011.
- UN Peacekeeping mission in Angola in 1998

Paskal beats all four 'Ah Boys to Men' films hands down! Sorry Tosh Rock and Jack Neo. No minority characters in Paskal were cast as tokens or as comic relief.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Our own YouTube channel

Besides publishing non-fiction books, Helang Books publishes high quality, award-winning children's books. We don't just create content, we do research and development, and incorporate innovative technology into our publications. We are committed to providing our children with good books that are imbued with values and life skills. We hope to inculcate a culture of care and grow as an emphatic society. Support us!

+Check out Helang Books on YouTube.

*Thanks 'No Average Joe' for producing this video!

Monday, February 26, 2018

Harvard came in a dream - Part 2

I had given up on Harvard Medical School (HMS) after getting rejected. I even hid all my MCAT notes and books in a place far, far away. Going to HMS seemed like a crazy thing for someone with pathetic MCAT scores. I deleted all traces of HMS from my phone, laptop, threw away the HMS diary, lanyard etc. I have tried so hard to enter HMS; I even ignored the nasty comments by naysayers and haters. I know that it was my late mum's dying wish for her daughter to go to HMS. As of now, HMS est un rêve (is a dream).

Some years later, a good friend of mine, T, before leaving for the UK for his Masters, asked me to join him at this London university which is quite good. He said that they are scholarships for PhD students like me. He made me promise to apply. I said that I would take a look at the programme website.

Then, I had a dream.

I dreamt that I was filing up the application form, excited at starting the PhD at T's university.
Suddenly, a voice boomed out. It was a strong voice. Powerful but not scary.
Voice: “This is not your dream.”
Me: “What is my dream?”
Voice: “Go to medical school.”

Suddenly, there were loud claps of thunder and strong flashes of lightning. I closed my eyes in fear. When I opened my eyes, I was standing in front of... 

I woke up in sweats. It was dawn.
I whispered, “Allah, was it you?”
But I thought, how could we mortals hear God's voice?
Could the devil be messing with my mind?
Surely the devil won't want me to seek valuable knowledge to help mankind, right?

Anyway, I didn’t tell T about the dream. I simply told him that the courses at his university didn't interest me.

Oh my Harvard. What am I supposed to do?

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Harvard came in a dream - Part 1

I remember the time when I started work after graduation. I loved my job as a producer! A few years later, I felt restless. I wanted to intellectually stimulate my brain. What could I do? My father had never supported my educational aspirations. I have been struggling on my own since school days. The irony is that my father gave money, effort and words of encouragements to his 5 nieces and nephews (they are now millionaires, thanks to their wealthy late father) who don't even bother visiting my 84.5 year-old father, even on Hari Raya. But that is another story.  

Anyway, I wanted to go back to school. Take a break from work and study again. But study what? I heard there was this Masters of Strategic Studies course at the local university that sounded interesting. As I had studied political science, I thought it would be a good follow-up course to pursue. Plus the fees were not expensive. So, I called my professor to ask if he could write a good reference. He said, "Of course!" I happily completed the application form.

One night, I had a dream. I dreamt that I was in a bus going to the university. Suddenly, the bus conductor accused me of not paying the fare and asked me to alight in the middle of the journey. I protested. But no one in the bus believed me. I had to walk around the extremely huge campus trying to find the department so that I could submit my documents. I asked people for directions but they were rude and weren't helpful. It was very frustrating. There were no discretional signs and buses in sight. I walked around for hours on end. It was scorching hot and I was drenched in perspiration. I wanted to rest for a while so I sat on the pavement by the roadside, tired and upset.

A gentle breeze blew past me. I smiled, thankful for the short respite. As though I was bewitched, my eyes 'followed' the breeze and looked up at the bluest sky above me. There were no clouds. Strangely, there was a large crimson cloth flapping in the middle of the sky. The letter 'H' was emblazoned across it. I uttered, "Harvard".

I woke up.

What was that dream about? So strange! Why didn't I think of 'H = Hidayah'? Why Harvard? I had not been thinking of Harvard at all. I didn't even know what the Harvard icon or flag or colour was. Maybe when I was in school, I never thought of myself as smart. None of my teachers had ever said that I was good enough to enter the best universities in the world. 

I called my professor to inform him that I would not be applying for the Masters in Strategic Studies. I apologised for making him write the reference and told him that I needed to rethink my study plans.

Harvard came in a dream. I am glad it did. Because it pushed me to aim higher and dream bigger. And ultimately, I got the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship. However, I didn't study at Harvard when I was on the Fulbright. But, that is another story for another day.

I think Harvard is still waiting for me. I am not sure if we will ever meet...

- - - - -
ps. After dreaming of Harvard, I created this email account to push me to make that dream come true: hidayah_in_harvard@yahoo.com
I figured that it could be like how I created hidayah_in_paris@hotmail.com when I was studying at Sciences-Po Paris.