Monday, December 12, 2011

Remembering Emak

Asia binte Jofrie, a beautiful woman with a beautiful soul.
Today would have been my mother's birthday.
I miss you Emak :(

Saturday, October 22, 2011

My Cambridge Congregation

Today is my Cambridge congregation! I know I should feel happy and proud but somewhat I feel sad at the thought of leaving my second home and my Cambridge family...

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Ease Africa 2011

I attended the Ease Africa 2011 event, co-organised by SMSO and other tertiary student bodies on 16 Sept 2011 at Ar-Raudhah Mosque in Singapore. There were bake sale, media booth, T-shirt sales etc preceeding the dinner event. Dinner was in dulang style, 4 persons to a round tray. There were religious performances, short film/presentation on the plight of Africa and a forum enlightening us on Islam's views on helping mankind and the legal aspect of fund-raising. Tears flowed as I watched the slides on Africa. Prophet Muhammad said, "None of you truly believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself." It was indeed heartening to see fellow Muslims coming together to help their brothers and sisters in far away Africa. Alas I too can't wait until summer next year. Hopefully, I will get the opportunity to go to Africa on the KEP.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Jernih berkaca

It's been nearly a month since I returned from the UK. As much as I miss my home in Cambridge, it was good spending time with family members and friends in Singapore. The sweltering heat was unbearable, what with fasting and all. Anyway, I made time to visit friends in Kuala Lumpur and oh yes to buy baju kurung and some kuih raya. The short trip was made more special as I met up with friends whom I've not seen in ages, friends from Cambridge as well as meeting up a new friend. 

How lovely it was to spend some simple yet quality time with my new friend. I almost felt 'sebak' after our Sunday dinner together. As we talked over the fried beef dish, I held back my tears. Why was I reacting this way? Why did I not want to say goodbye? Anuar Zain's 'Kembalilah Kasih' played gently at the back of my mind as I waved goodbye to my friend whom I've grown fondly of over the past eight months, a friendship spanning over the Atlantic Ocean. When we finally met last week, it seemed so natural, no awkwardness; we're just being ourselves, the same selves we made known to one another. But perhaps I was the only one who felt the heaviness of parting...

I visited my mum's grave yesterday. Amidst the sobbing and making doa for her, I whispered to my mum, "I met someone. He seems nice and I think I'm falling for him. I don't know if he feels the same but I thought you should to know this and I'd like your blessing."
Kini hilang dari pandangan, jernih berkaca
Sayu suaramu...

Updates: I should have known better... I was just someone whom he could confide in when he was facing life's hardships. Nothing more. Oh well... no news now means no interest lah. Oh what a fool I had been!

Friday, July 29, 2011

The MPhil Journey

Phew... I submitted my MPhil dissertation on 22 July 2011. What an exhaustive but enriching journey! I've discovered so much about Kampong Glam and about myself. I can't wait to continue the research to the PhD.

I'm leaving Cambridge for the summer but my heart feels heavy... And just like many who had left Cambridge permanently or for a while, Cambridge is our love - I feel the same as Xu Zhimo's poem as that was written on the 'batu bersurat' at King's College. Here's the English translation:

Very Quietly I take my leave
As quietly as I came here
Quietly I wave good-bye
To the rosy clouds in the western sky.
The golden willows by the riverside
Are young brides in the settling sun;
Their reflections on the shimmering waves
Always linger in the depth of my heart.
The floating heart growing in the sludge
Sways leisurely under the water;
In the gentle waves of Cambridge
I would be a water plant!
That pool under the shade of elm trees
Holds not water but the rainbow from the sky;
Shattered to pieces among the duckweeds
Is the sediment of a rainbow-like dream.
To seek a dream? Just to pole a boat upstream
To where the green grass is more verdant;
Or to have the boat fully loaded with starlight
And sing aloud in the splendour of starlight.
But I cannot sing aloud
Quietness is my farewell music;
Even Summer insects keep silence for me
Silent is Cambridge tonight!
Very quietly I take my leave
As quietly as I came here;
Gently I flick my sleeves
Not even a wisp of cloud will I bring away.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Singapore Muslim Students Overseas (SMSO)

Nadiah & myself founded the Singapore Muslim Students Overseas (SMSO), a support network for Singapore Muslims students around the world. We met for teh tarik on 6 May 2011 in London (after we voted in the Singapore General Elections).

We hope that SMSO will continue to grow with chapters mushrooming around the world! :)

Join us on Facebook
Read Berita Harian article & networking tea invite on UKSCC

May Ball

Ahh... the legendary Cambridge May Ball
I was fortunate to attend the much coveted 'The First & Third Trinity Boat Club May Ball' on 20 June (9 pm to 6 am). The experience was simply amazing. I'm still gushing about it...
I look forward to "banish the blues, redden up the embers and explore the blackest night" again next year :)

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Malays of University of Cambridge

It's Easter term already? Gasp... where did time fly to? This term is madness, what with the exams, thesis-writing... As I frantically try to study and finish up reading that stacks of books, my mind wonders off... did the Malays of University of Cambridge in yesteryears struggle like how I'm struggling now?

Kak Putri's timely message on Facebook enclosing a photo of her uncle Raja Zahar (photo: top left) inspired me to compile photos of the Malays who studied at Cambridge. I'm so impressed with their achievements and contributions to society. Will I be able to walk in their giant shoes?

More photos and info on Facebook

Monday, April 04, 2011

Meeting Prof William Roff

I met Prof William Roff (the father of Malay history books) in Edinburgh, Scotland on 28 March 2011. What an honour!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Battle of the Giants

The excitement is almost like the regatta sequence in the Social Network movie. Although the Winklevoss twins in the movie are so hot, I still prefer the preppy and shy Cambridge men!

Saturday, March 05, 2011

The Boat Race

Oxford vs. Cambridge

I just watched the video of the Boat Race 2010. Despite lagging behind Oxford in the beginning, having to compete against 2 Olympiad rowers (the Winklevoss twins rowed for Oxford) and manoeuvring difficult bends, the Cambridge team didn't give up. Our rowers pushed hard and emerged as the champion. Such is Cambridge's staying power!

I know which boat I'll be rooting for come 26 March 2011 :)

Friday, March 04, 2011

From Beirut to Jerusalem

I finally met Dr Ang Swee Chai at Trinity College, Cambridge last night!
Dr Radiah Salim told me about Dr Ang's medical relief efforts in Palestine. We are inspired by her, surgeon and humanitarian extraordinaire.

With her her husband Francis Khoo and some friends, Dr Ang helped to form the British charity Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP), following the 1982 Sabra-Shatilla massacres. In 1987, PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat awarded Dr Ang the "Star of Palestine", the highest award for the service to the Palestinians.

Meeting Dr Ang rekindles my childhood dream. If it's meant to be, God willing, medical school will happen at some point in my life. If it doesn't, I will try to help Dr Ang and Dr Radiah in whatever ways I can.

Monday, February 28, 2011

What's in my pigeonhole?

Last Friday evening, while waiting for Kak Zalyah at the Plodge (Porter's Lodge), I noticed the blue Newnham College Roll Letters in our pigeonholes. There was a woman standing near them. She smiled at me and said, "This makes a nice photograph. But what is even nicer is to come back and see how well you all are doing. So when you become scientist or artist or author, we will write about you in the Roll Letters!"

The woman was a former Newnhamite who didn't know me but our college bond was strong that her encouraging me seemed like a natural thing to do...

O Cambridge, my love for you grows and grows!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Meeting of Minds - Part 2

Peter Sanders, Idris Tawfiq, Tariq Ramadan and T J Winter.

I'm glad to be able to hear them speak at 'Experience Islam Week (EIW) 2011' in Cambridge. Such great minds, such humility.

Sabiha (the student with the Union Jack in the video below) told me that when they were filming the EIW video (praying scene outside King's College), the English non-Muslim porter came out, not to chase them away but to tell them that the direction to the East was not that way! Ahhh... this is why we love Cambridge!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Love's Dizziness

Even with the heated debates on rising fees at Cambridge, the varsity papers are also abuzz with Valentine's Day debates. Argghh... my mailbox is flooded with College Speed-dating Swaps and Blind Date invites (proceeds from both will go to charity). Alas, I'm jaded and disillusioned with love. Even 'Demon Wind', my short story that will be published in the Newnham Short Story book, is about what else but love and betrayal. I jokingly said to my ever enthusiastic friends who wanted to introduce me to potential soul mates, that "Men just disappoint me that I have to turn my attention to vampires!" Hee3. Oui, my current crush is on the unbelievably hot Salvatore brothers of 'The Vampire Diaries' series! *wink
p.s Euminl, you're to be 'blamed' for introducing the series :)

My against-Valentine's-Day-bah-humbug heart softened when I saw Vampire Diaries' 'Crying Wolf' episode. Bonnie finally put aside her prejudices and judgement and saw Jeremy in a different light (see video clip here). Although I've seen better kisses, theirs I felt was Epic.

To all jaded souls like yours truly, perhaps we should give love another chance. Yes, you preppy varsity Blues rower, perhaps this time, you could smile back at that shy girl who had been stealing glances at you during the Cambridge Union Society debates. And you, law girl with the tortoise rimmed glasses, can't you see how that dark-haired lad in the Vermont T-shirt who seemed interested in discussing your essay is so into you?

As for me, yes, I think "you're hot. Enough already." *blush

Thursday, February 03, 2011

The Great Rivals

Oxford (left), Cambridge (right)

"That sweet city with her dreaming spires" vs "the beauty of all beauties - King's College Chapel". I've always wondered about the Oxford-Cambridge rivalry. Is there really one?

"It is often assumed that the Oxford-Cambridge rivalry is a shared Oxbridge joke to baffle the yokels outside. In fact, there are hostility, and suspicion between the two places. Oxford fears and rejects the cold, ruthless spirit of inquiry, the questioning of accepted ideas, of Cambridge. Cambridge mocks the liberal 'amateurism' of Oxford, and especially the many politicians it produces."
- Birmingham Post literary editor Keith Brace describing Oxford/Cambridge rivalry in 1986

"Cambridge has more Nobel laureates but Oxford has more prime ministers ... Oxford people think they rule the world, whereas Cambridge people don't care who rules the world."
- German writer Peter Sager on how England's 2 greatest universities differ in 
'Oxford and Cambridge: An Uncommon History (2005)'

Oxford, I found, had greatly the advantage of Cambridge in point of country... The town, however, made amends; and Cambridge has the advantage of Oxford in a remarkable degree, as far as regards eminent names. England's two greatest philosophers Bacon and Newton, and (according to Tyrwhitt) three out of its four great poets, were bred there, besides double the number of minor celebrities.
Yet they are divine places, both; full of grace, and beauty, and scholarships; of revered antiquity, and ever-young nature and hope.
- Leigh Hunt, Autobiography (1850)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Meeting of Minds

I have been fortunate to meet many people at Cambridge. Besides discussing with professors, fellow Cantabrigians at formal halls, listening to presenters and sipping elderflower cordial (my current favourite drink) at pre/post-seminar drinks, I also got the chance to take snapshots of them (and with them). To name a few: Nik Nazmi (Malaysian politician), Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe, Newnham alum and biographer Claire Tomalin and St John's lawyer-turned-author and my crush (years ago) Karim Raslan!

Stephen Hawking, will you pls 'pigeonhole' (the old Cambridge term for 'email') your response? I'd love to meet you and discuss about the stars and the universe.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Seeker's Prayer

Don't let me
wander from
Your love,

Don't let me
leave Your

And if I lose

Let me find
myself with

~ Yunus Emre


New year. New dreams. New plans. New surprises.

I spent a lovely X'mas vacation with family and friends in Paris & Andrezieux-Boutheon. Alas the flu bug reached me, bed-ridden sans voix, very ill and of course lost some weight in the process. And while resting in bed, I reflected on 2010 and all the eventful happenings. Some plans went on as planned, some plans didn't materialise, some plans got deviated, other plans came about...

As per the words of Damon Salvatore in The Vampire Diaries, "It's a plan. Is it perfect? What plan is?"