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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Malaysia Fifth Friendliest

In a recent survey done by HSBC revealed that Malaysia is the fifth friendliest country in the world, after Bahrain, Canada, Australia, and our next door neighbor Thailand. Read it here.

Well at least that's one for the locals.

Monday, December 21, 2009

How on Earth do You....

I remember watching Slumdog Millionaire where these kids stole the engine, and tires of a Mercedes Benz. But that was in a slum area.

But how do you steal an engine from this?

And yes, at a heavily army guarded area?

Beats me. I don't know.

Abbreviations VS Acronyms

No they are not the same thing, and nor are they meant to be interchangeable.


a word formed from the initial letters or groups of letters of words in a set phrase or series of words, as Wac from Women's Army Corps, OPEC from Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, or loran from long-range navigation.

a shortened or contracted form of a word or phrase, used to represent the whole, as Dr. for Doctor, U.S. for United States, lb. for pound.

Abbreviations are used to shorten the writings of words, not to shorten their pronunciation. Thus, it really grinds my gears when I hear people pronouncing words such as BBQ as b-b-q. It's barbecue for crying out load. Others like inc. is shorten for incorporated, so next time don't pronounce it as Monsters Inc. McD? No, its McDonalds. And what's up with bro? I hate the usage of the word here in Malaysia to begin with, but since I'm at it, it's pronounced brother.

After all, you don't pronounce Mohd. as mohd right? Or s-d-n b-h-d? A-b-d? No, its Mohammad, sendirian berhad, and Abdul.

Don't be lazy. Open your mouth a bit more will you please.

Thank you.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Gambar Mak di Mekah

A few photos of Mak climbing Jabal Nur, taken from one of the Jemaah's blog.

Monday, December 14, 2009

When Stupidity Prevails

It's amazing how stupid and superstitious some people can be at times.

I was jump listening to a few radio stations on my way to work today and something on caught my interest. They supposedly had some sort of fortune teller present at the studio by the name Guru G something (I think) that could tell the future. The Dj's were encouraging people to call in so that this Guru G could read their future.

So people began calling in. And this guy, albeit in a joking manner and voice, began 'reading' people's future. Even some Malays called in to have their futures read to them (considering it's haram in Islam to do so). And these callers sounded really impressed by Guru G.

But I knew this guy was just a joke. His accent that he put on was clearly fake. And heck, his predictions weren't really predictions, they were more of what the caller needs to do in the future in order for this and that. But what got people going was the fact that he was able to tell something about the caller without the caller even mentioning about it. Like he would say you have a cousin named bla2.. or you like talking, you wanna become a lawyer. Freaking? No, not really.

So how was this Guru G able to do such 'readings'? The answer didn't require any special powers. The DJ revealed after the show that Guru G simply Googled the names of the callers and talked based on the information that popped up, whether it be based on Facebook, MySpace, Friendster or blogs.

If I was one of the callers, boy wouldn't I be embarrassed! Google is quite a powerful tool. Try googling your name up. You might just be surprised by what you'll find :)

Friday, December 11, 2009


In a recent interview with the Vanderbilt Hustler, former Vanderbilt Chancellor, Gordon Gee declared, "It used to be that Vanderbilt was the "Harvard of the South." I now believe that Harvard is the "Vanderbilt of the North."

I like that. :)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

After So Long

I haven't been blogging for quite some time. The last post 'Sending Off Mak to Mekah' was with minimum words. I let the pictures do the talking for me, in an attempt to hide my insufficient writing power to even tell that straight forward story.

Heck, my last real post was way back on the 28th of September. How many years back was that?! Two months and a half to be exact.

I am seriously trying to kick start my blogging career again. Currently I am starting to write reports in my job as a forensic engineer, so I really need to salvage my writing skills before I lose them all together. Not to mention that I'm also succumbing to the many (read a few) requests to update my blog. I don't blame them. :)

But after that lost of writing momentum, it's really hard to get it back. I used to have ideas flowing continuously as I write, which is noticeably missing now. As Newton's First Law of Motion goes, albeit in a simpler manner, a non moving object will continue to stay motionless unless an outside force is applied to it. Same goes with blogging.

So bear with me folks as I endure this barren spell of blog posts. I miss my blog posts as much as you do :P ! But seriously, I might surprise you with a post sooner rather than later!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sending Off Mak to Mekkah

I know this might be a long awaited blog update for some. Yes you know who you are. Well wait no more.

Yesterday my mom went for her hajj.

I went back to Terengganu for the weekend and took the Monday off so that I could spend the last few days with Mak before she went for her 50 day journey. InsyaAllah she'll be back on the 1st of January.

We all hope you gain Al-Hajj Al-Mabrur, insyaAllah. And we all hope you have safe journey to and from. Ameen. Can't wait to see you come next year!

Here's some pictures.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


A quote from two of the best soccer players in the world.

Gerrard said: "I wouldn't swap Fernando for any other striker in the world, he's the best."

And Torres added: "If you play alongside someone like Stevie, who is the best in the world, it can only help you. He is a great passer and can score goals."

Monday, September 28, 2009

Once Upon a Time

Once upon a time, 5 friends, all of which were studying in Vanderbilt University, were going back to their dormitory at Branscomb Quad. On their way, they decided to form a band, a band that would later be known throughout the years as Vandy Boyband.

Original Members: Hubab , Dols, Babe, Arif, and Hafiz Hafifi

Later that night, as the newly formed band continued their walk home, they decided it was time for their first performance. The performance was held behind Olin Hall, and featured a guest singer, a rising star made popular by band members Babe and Hubab, named Abal.

Abal takes a pose with the original Vandy Boyband.

The band's first music video was released later that year. The momentous event for Vandy Boyband occurred on the band member's way home from the 2005 Raya celebrations. Using Rizwan's Handycam, the band recorded their video clip in between the Art Studios and the Student Life Center buildings. However, due to some difficulties, band members Dollah and Hafiz couldn't attend the shooting, and were replaced by Amar and Hassan, who would later become prominent members of the band. Among the songs sang where from Westlife, the Backstreet Boys, and Jamal Abdillah and Siti Sarah. The music video was available only for a limited time on Youtube, and generated almost a thousand views. Not bad for a first timer.

Vandy Boyband's first music video.

Vandy Boyband continued its rise to stardom when the band was invited to sing during the 2006 Senior Farewell Party. However, no photographs were taken, and thus, no record of the performance survived.

Later that year, the band decided to change courses for a while when it released it's debut nasyid album. The band even went as far as changing its name into Auliya'. Two extra singers were invited to the photo shoot, Qayyum and Amir. The newly formed nasyid band made its sole performance during the 2006 MAS Youth Camp. Again, no photographs of the event were recovered.

The band rebranded itself into Auliya'

The band went into a brief hiatus after that and it wasn't until the winter of 2007 that the band finally reemerged.The band decided to reform it's boyband and inspired by James Blunt hit You're Beautiful, which was shot in the snow, Vandy Boyband's cover album was also photographed in the snow. The album title: Boyband in the Snow. The band retained Dollah and featured Danny for the cover album.

Boyband in the Snow

The band decided to move slowly from there onwards. Their performances were limited to the MSAV's annual Raya celebrations only. There were no record of other activities by the band.

May 2009 signaled another milestone for the band. All of the band members, Dolah, Amar, Hubab, Hasan, Babe, and Arif graduated from Vanderbilt with a Bachelor's Degree in Engineering. After of which, they decided it was time to step out of the lime light and call an end to their glittering four year career. Now, the band members are dispersed everywhere in Malaysia and are living life as ordinary people among you and me.

That's the story of the Vandy Boyband. And yes, as with all fairytales, the band members are also living happily ever after.


Becoming a 'Kl'er

I'll be becoming a 'Kl'er starting from tomorrow. lol.

I start my job on the 1st of October.

I'll try to come back to Terengganu once a month, but I know it'll be quite hard to do so.

The waters are murky, the view hazy, and the stakes are high. But do wish me luck for this new chapter of life I'm entering into.

Selamat Hari Raya

Finally, here is my Hari Raya post. And yes, I know this post is outrageously overdue, it's almost expired! But what the heck, raya in Malaysia is for a month!

So I'd like to wish everyone out there, Muslims especially, Eid Mubarak! May this Eid occasion bring 1001 joy to each and everyone of you. And may Ramadhan that has just passed us bring us closer to the Creator, and hopefully, we can continuously maintain our ibadah for the coming months. InsyaAllah.

Selamat Hari Raya, Maaf Zahir Batin.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Berkat Ramadhan

Praise be to Allah, the All Mighty!

Ramadhan is a month of blessing, forgiveness, and hindrance from the Hell fire.

And in this blessed month, I finally got a job!

I landed a job in the forensic business. As a Failure Analysis Engineer. It might not be pretty and glamorous much, but it should be something I would enjoy doing. Gaining hands on experience is something I would prefer more over staying in the office.

Here's the website of the company which, InsyaAllah I'll be working at. Thanks for all the prayers!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Ramadhan Then and Now

As we approach the final few days of Ramadhan, it's only fair to compare my previous 4 year experience of Ramadhan in Nashville, TN, with what I'm experiencing now in Malaysia.

I'd have to say I really enjoyed fasting here in Malaysia, especially with my family and all. It's thrilling to relive the experience that I had prior to my stay in the US. The 'kuih muih' and the variety of food on offer at Ramadhan bazaars are at times overwhelming. It makes the decision on what to buy somewhat tougher. The blast and cracks of fire crackers and fire works throughout the night (even though sometimes quite annoying) are just some of the things I miss hearing. And then there's the 'bedil' the loud blast in Kuala Terengganu that signals the time for Imsak and break fast. Those are just some of the things unheard of in the US.

But whose to say I don't miss the Ramadhan in Nashville? Because I really do! I miss break fasting together with my friends at ICN, and the occasional sahur there. I miss it's Terawih, and especially, I miss the food. That's why during the break fast here in Malaysia, some of the things I cooked include, manggo lassi, tandoori chicken, and Waffle House style hash brown (others, I have forgot).

However, it's quite saddening to see that the month of Ramadhan is nothing more than just a tradition to some of us. We fast only because everyone else is doing so. Terawih here in Malaysia is most attended only during the first week of Ramadhan. Where everyone goes during the remaining weeks is quite a mystery. Even the last 10 days which contain Lailatul Qadr can't encourage people to visit the mosque. That my friends, has got to change.

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Story of Two Tails

We all know of the famous Mowgli, a fictional character from Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book, and how he was brought up by a pack of wolves.

But watch this video closely and you'll see that sometimes, myths do come to life.

Of course the easier thing to do was for the leopard to eat the mother for dinner, and save the baby baboon for supper or breakfast. Or heck, just let it die. But no. Even it's animal instincts knew better than that.

Maybe we humans can learn something from this? First off, stop disposing of babies.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Ar- Raheequl- Makhtum

Looking to find a detailed comprehensive biography of the Noble Prophet Mohammad (PBUH)?

Then look no further than Ar-Raheequl- Makhtum, or in it's English version, The Sealed Nectar.

It starts with a brief introduction of how Arabs came about, and covers in detail of the happenings throughout prophet-hood, all the way to the death of the Messenger (PBUH).

An extract from the publisher's note goes, "No doubt The Sealed Nectar is a book of great value and praiseworthy work of the life of Muhammad (PBUH), written by the Eminent Shaikh Saifur- Rahman Mubarakpuri of Jamiah Salafiyah, Banaras (India). The first Islamic conference on Seerah was held in 1976 in Pakistan announced a world contest of writing a book on the life of the Prophet (PBUH) which had a $500000 grand prize for the best 5 books. 171 manuscripts were received from all over the world. The Sealed Nectar won grand prize for its authentic and sound collections of narrations." Abdul- Malik Mujahid.

This book, would InsyaAllah give you a very good understanding of the life of the Prophet (PBUH), as well as correct some misconceptions regarding it. This includes the infamous misconception of when the song Tala Al Badru 'Alayna was sung, which was actually during the return of the Prophet (PBUH) and his army from the Battle of Tabuk, and not during the Great Pilgrimage. Allah knows best.


Friday, August 7, 2009

Rapatkan Saf, Luruskan Saf

"Rapatkan Saf, Luruskan Saf..." calls the Imam right before takbiratul-ihram. But do we bother?

I guess not.

That's one of the main problems I realize in our congregational prayer. We neglect the rows. We stand a distance from one another, and our rows are far from straight, even with carpet lines to the aid.

Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) is reported to have said: "When you begin your congregational prayers, straighten your rows...." [Muslim; ch. on tashahhud]

Nu’maan bin Basheer (radhiallahu anhu) once says: "Once Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) faced us and said: "Straighten your rows". He repeated this thrice. He then said: "By Allah, you must most certainly straighten your rows or else Allah Ta’ala will disunite your hearts". Hazrat Nu’maan bin Basheer (radhiallahu anhu) says: "I then saw the people joining together their shoulders and ankles". [Abu Dawood, Sahih ibn Khuzaima]

"Straighten your rows and come close together, for indeed I see you behind my back" [Bukhari]

Jabir bin Samurah
(radhiallahu anhu) reported: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) came out to us (once) and said, "Why do you not stand in rows as the angels do before their Rubb?" We asked: "O Messenger of Allah! How do the angels stand in rows before their Rubb?" He (PBUH) replied, "They complete each row beginning with the first and filling all the gaps."

Abu Hurairah (radhiallahu anhu) reported: Allah's Messenger (PBUH) said, "If the people were to know the excellence there is in the Adhan and in the first row, and they could not (get these opportunities) except by drawing lots, they would definitely done that. And if they were to know what excellence lies in joining the Prayer in the first takbir, they would have vied with one another. And if they were to know what excellence is in the Night Prayer and Morning Prayer, they would have definitely come even if crawling (on their knees).

Please read this interesting piece of article regarding the formation or rows in salat.

Shaykh Bakr Abu Zayd said:

One of the new things that we see some people doing, with no evidence in sharee’ah, is that in prayer they try to align themselves with a person on the right if they are on the right hand side of the row, or to align themselves with a person on their left if they are on the left hand side of the row, and they turn their feet inward so that their ankles are touching the ankles of the people next to them.

This is something for which there is no basis in sharee’ah and it is going to the extreme in implementing the Sunnah. This is wrong on two counts.

The alignment of the row should begin from where the imam is standing. Whoever is on the right of the row should align himself by looking at those who are to his left (i.e., closer to the imam). Thus the line will be straightened and the gaps will be filled. Alignment is done by lining up necks, shoulders and ankles, and by completing the front rows.

But to try to spread the legs wide and turn the feet inward so that one's ankles touch one’s neighbours’ ankles is an obvious mistake and an exaggeration, and a new interpretation which is indicative of going to extremes in trying to apply the Sunnah. It causes annoyance and is not prescribed in sharee’ah, and it widens the gaps between people standing in prayer.

That becomes apparent when the people prostrate, and when they stand up again they become distracted in trying to fill the gaps and turning their feet to make their ankles touch their neighbours’ ankles, which makes them miss out on what they should be doing, which is to make the toes point in the direction of the qiblah.

Doing that is like competing with one’s neighbour and trying to take his place. All of that is not prescribed in sharee’ah.

Laa jadeed fi Ahkaam al-Salaah, 12. 13."

So the next time we show up to form rows in our salat, make sure we do it right.

Allah knows best.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Swine Flu

Oops, did I say swine flu? I meant H1N1.

The people of Malaysia can be forgiven for confusing the name of the influenza. There was a disrupt of what to call it among two ministries a few weeks back.

But lets call it H1N1 for simplicity, and plus, that's what WHO calls it.

H1N1 is seriously an annoying influenza. Not because how it effects people, but because of the stigma and paranoid that comes with it. Initially called swine flu because of the belief that it originated from pigs, the flu has caused shock waves and horror throughout the world.

Reason of fear: Death.

As of to date, WHO reported a death count of over 800 people. Astonishing as it may sound since it's outbreak in mid April, there's no reason to go horror crazy. Because, there's another virus out there on the loose, one much, much deadlier that H1N1, which has killed people of to the hundred thousands annually.

Dangerous? Enter the regular flu. CNN reports an annual death toll of 250 000- 500 000 people. So why aren't there much reports/ tallies on death caused by regular flu? Because it's REGULAR!

9 out of 10 deaths of regular flu are among those over 65 years of age and have preexisting conditions that worsens with that catch of the flu. Regular flu can be extraordinarily deadly if caught by babies. That's been the very case with H1N1. Death are reported on babies and people with preconditions that worsens with H1N1.

H1N1 is as uncontrollable as regular flu is. WHO even came to an extent of ending it's tally on people effected by the virus because of the impossible nature of the task. They now estimate of up to a million people are effected worldwide. The organization also recommended that governments stop tallying too. And with the northern hemisphere to approach winter in a few months time, the tally of effected can only multiply.

But the main reason I'm bitter towards H1N1? Because it canceled the midwest games, of course!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Malaysia XI vs Manchester United

First I'd like to congratulate the young Malaysian team for their double header against Manchester United. I admit that after the 2-3 lost on Saturday, I was really keen on going to KL to watch the rematch yesterday night. It would take a real brave heart to go against one of the mightiest teams in world soccer. Kudos to the team of youngsters.

But rest on their laurels they must not! For if they do, it would be at their own peril. They have still along way to go to be seriously considered again in soccer. The two fixtures were barely a friendly match, and was only Man U's first preseason friendly. Man U was just trying to get their match fitness back after a few months off. Playing against a team which is on preseason friendly, even with all the glamor that comes with it, shouldn't be a way to bench mark your performance. Liverpool drew and lost it's first two preseason friendlies against much weaker opponents. That's not to say Liverpool is weaker or the opponents are much stronger. And the humid weather in Malaysiaw asn't much of a help either, not that the Malaysians are complaining though.

I decided to watch the sports news on Buletin Utama to watch highlights of yesterday's match. In an interview, the Malaysian goalkeeper, Mohd. Farizal Marlias, as proud as ever, declared, "After the match, Van der Sar came to me and said,'nice game'. I was really proud." I hope the lad doesn't really take that as much of a complement, as westerners are known to utter that phrase after a game, regardless the result. I've had countless games in volleyball and soccer which I lost (and some resoundingly), but the opposition still came up to me and said 'nice game'. It's the same as 'nice to meet you,' when you know, of course, that they didn't really mean it. It's just a way of them being polite. But don't get on the down, for Farizal did have a game to remember for the rest of his life, with a few decent saves that prevented Malaysia from suffering a mauling.

But the thing that really caught me surprised was the fact that TV3 covered the story of which a guy by the name of David Roles, supposedly from Sheffield, wrote this in a soccer transfer rumour website,

Who? - Amri Yahya
Where is he? - Malaysia
Who is he linked with? - Manchester United

Amri Yahya scored two goals against Man Utd, when Malaysia XI vs Manchester United on the 18th July.. He have a good mental and skills. He think fast knows what to do next..He will make a goo midfield with MAn utd squad.. Hope Sir Alex Ferguson can buy him..

David Roles from Sheffield

TV3 should've really done their homework. The post meant nothing. It was a random transfer rumour that really came out of nowhere, from a random person. Why put that in the news? Anyone, anywhere, can put a rumour at that website. You just need to fill out a short form as you can see on the website. And for all we know, the guy might not even be English as TV3 claimed, judging from his bad English.

Watch highlights of the first game below. Amri Yahya scored a marvelous goal indeed!

When News Coverage is ****ing Bias!

Pardon my French.

Muslim father murdered daughter for having secret boyfriend - BBC.
Muslim father strangled daughter to death for disgracing family - FOXNews.
Muslim husband beheads wife- CNN.
Muslim father slains daughter for falling in love with wrong man- FOXNews.
Russian neighbor stabs Muslim woman 18 times to death for wearing headscarf- what news?

We trust news channels like ones mentioned above to bring coverage of news all around the world. When a pregnant Muslim woman is killed by her neighbor in a courtroom in German, after being continuously verbally an physically harassed and called a terrorist, stabbing her 18 times in front of her son, you'd expect the news to make the headlines. But did it? I'm afraid not!

Marwa Al-Sherbini, a pregnant mother of one, was stabbed to death in a German courtroom, after giving testimonial to the court about insults thrown at her by her neighbor. It took 18 stabs to finally stop the violence.

When security personnel finally made it to the courtroom, they shot Marwa's husband in the leg, initially thinking he was the attacker. The husband was actually trying to protect his wife, and is now in critical conditions after 3 stabs and a gunshot. Adding insult, German tried to bury the story.

Cruel? Unfair? Biased? Hypocrites? That's the reality of the world we live in today.

Read more here. TIME magazine also published an article here. Show your support for Marwa Al-Sherbini, and all the Muslim women out there by joining this Facebook group.

May you rest in peace, Marwa Al-Sherbini. May Allah put you in those that are granted jannah for your shaheed. And may this death inspire others to withhold their rights, as a women, and as a Muslim.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Leading a Healthy Lifestyle

Basically, the people of this world can be categorized into 3. The Fat. The Skinny. Or The Fit. Which one are you?

The Fat

Everyone knows that being fat isn't the healthy way to be. It's doesn't look right, it doesn't feel right, coz it ain't just right! I would guess that fat people are those that have a Body Mass Index (BMI) higher than that recommended. You can check your BMI by some simple calculation or if you're too lazy (I know) you can just calculate online at this website. (You can calculate a lot more than just your BMI here). There are of course other ways to determine whether you're fat or not, and if you're not happy with the 'accuracy' of the BMI method, feel free to try others.

There are many negative effects of being fat (and PRAY you're not obese) that I shall not name all. But to name a few, there's diabetes, heart diseases, high blood pressure, etc.

The Skinny

You're still not safe by merely being skinny. You might look a bit right-er than the fat, but you're still not quite there. I would say skinny people are those that fall short of the recommended BMI. I understand that people are just happy to be skinny, especially Malay girls (yes, I'm sorry) but as I mentioned above, that doesn't categorize you as being healthy, yet. I also notice this popular saying (among girls especially), "Buat ape ko nak exercise, ko kan dah kurus," (Why exercise, you're skinny already). That is surely not the right attitude.

The Fit

…and healthy. This is where you wanna be categorized in. Normally, the fit would have a BMI within the recommended range.

So how do you become fit? By exercising and dieting of course. But let me tell you this; it's easier said than done. This is because to be consistent in both is difficult indeed. You'd need discipline, courage, enthusiasm and a strong mind to succeed. And let me tell you something else; like anything else, the fruit is sweet and worth it.

But don't get me wrong here. I'm not asking you to hit the gym, although that is surely a very good option. By exercising, I mean (besides hitting the gym) by playing sports, swimming, running, jogging, or heck, even walking. You need to burn calories. Burn the fat. Ah, and one thing about burning fat is that, unlike muscles, you can't target specific areas where you'd like to burn. You can't say I want to get rid of my buncit and start doing sit ups. It doesn't work that way. You have to indulge in cardio exercises (swimming, running, etc) to burn your fat gradually from your body. So there are tons of ways to exercise (did I mention yoga and Tai Chi?). It's only a matter of pick and choose.

Alas, don't forget the diet. Because, contrary to popular belief, without the right diet, you can't quite reach it. You need to eat the right things, things that are healthy, which would give you the right amount of energy to drive you in your daily routines. And by healthy, it's not only about eating vegetables. It's about eating a complete and balanced all round diet, one that corresponds with the food pyramid. Rule of thumb is simple: To lose weight, eat less calories than you burn, and vice versa. Even in Al-Baqarah , "Eat of that which is lawful and wholesome (healthy) in the earth..." By simply eating chips and drinking Coca-Cola won't do you good.

This brings me to another point. People of the past, i.e. during the time of the Prophet, must have had really healthy lifestyles. Else, at 60, they won't be able to go to war, walk the burning desert, or go dakwah so successfully. Their secret: eating right and exercise. Sure back then there weren't the push ups or jumping jacks that we have come so fond of now, these guys just had less of doing nothing. They don't sit around as much as we do, they don't sleep a lot, and yes, they pray. A lot! Which, for obvious reasons, is a way of exercising.

And now, for why is it important to be fit and healthy? The reasons are obvious. Exercising and eating right decreases your chances of falling sick. Your cholesterol level decreases, your body fat percentage decreases, and you become stronger both physically and mentally. You become more confident and satisfied of yourself. And if health benefits isn't enough to convince you to exercise, then what about the attraction of the opposite gender? Exercising will tone your muscle, giving your body the shape that everyone desires, both for male and female. No more beer bellies, flabby arms and legs or out of proportion body parts, and heck, no more plywood figures. If these two still won't encourage you, then I say no more.

I rest my case.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Death of King of Pop

The world saw the lost of the King of Pop, Michael Jackson last Thursday, June 25 2009. He was 50 years old. Early speculation says the cause of death was due to cardiac arrest.

News of the death was first spread online. When Yahoo published a post announcing the 'death', I was a bit skeptic, as even yahoo couldn't confirm it for sure. It was only a few hours later that the news became official. Many websites experienced technical difficulties after the news was spread, that even Google thought it was being hacked with so many Michael Jackson searches. Jackson was expected to perform a comeback into pop after years of turmoil that surrounded his career of late.

More over a year ago, UK tabloid The Sun published news that Michael Jackson converted to Islam. He was said to be influenced by his brother, Jermaine Jackson and some others. If these news were true, we all pray that his soul lies with those that are on the right path. Ameen.

edit (July 8th, 2009)

Watch Michael Jackson's memorial here. Some of the key moments were Brooke Shield's speech on her close times with the singer; a performance by his Muslim brother, Jermaine Jackson, with Michael Jackson's favorite song, Smile; and most of all, Jackson's daughter, Paris who came up at the end of the memorial and expressed her love for her father. Watch.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Dark Matter

I'm kinda of familiar with black matter, a fictional substance in a few episodes of Smallville. It's black, some way liquidish, and was evil. And it came from outta space. I never thought there would be anything like that.

That's why I'm no scientist. There's no black matter, but dark actually does exists. Read here.

Currently work is being executed to build the deepest science lab in the world. The field of study: dark matter. The depth of the lab is 4850 feet, more than six Empire State Building, with it's deepest reaches being up to 8000 feet. Studies has to be done way down there because apparently, the highly sensitive detector used to study the matter would be bombarded by cosmic radiation if used at ground level. Read more here. Further reading taught me that the study of black matter is important, as, among others, would allow scientist to conclude whether the universe is expanding of contracting. How these things add up are way being my imagination.

Which makes me think, how and where do these people come up with stuff like this? Quantum physics has never been my subject of interest, and the discovery of black matter, as interesting a it sounds, might just be something I will never get a full grip of. Nor am I trying to. But really, how do people actually think of something that they can hardly be seen?

I'm not denying the existence of black matter or any other quantum physics theory. It's not in my capability to do so. But this just proves the existence of the Mighty One. When will they notice?

Welcoming Myself to Adulthood

As I wonder endlessly in search for job opportunities in the web, one thought has been ever circulating my mind. I am entering adulthood!

I graduated in May with a Bachelor's Degree in Chemical Engineering. They say time flies really fast when you're having the best of times. My four years in Vanderbilt has surely been a zip. Heck, I can hardly believe than I'm already 22!

So now it's not just time to grow up, it's time to be a grown up. Time to mature. Time to look at the world as it truly is. I just concluded yet another chapter of my book called 'life'. And now a new one begins.

I look forward. It's now about time to hit the ground running!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Terengganu's New Tourist Attraction

Terengganu is never shy of attracting people to visit it's rich land. Recently, a very rare phenomena occurred in the state, creating a tourism frenzy with people coming from all over. It's fast becoming popular among local and outside tourist, so much so that within the first few days it was discovered, vendors are already all over the place selling drinks to the ever present visitors. Here are the pictures of that really amazing place.

Jadi marilah pakat rama-rama maghi ganu tengok stadiung rutuh!!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Good Bye Vandy!

My four year journey as a student at Vanderbilt University has recently come to an end. I left Vanderbilt for good on the 30th of May, 2009. I left Vanderbilt with a heavy heart. I left Vanderbilt InsyaAllah a better and smarter person. And surely, I left Vanderbilt with a thousand and one memories of friends and fun that will forever be cherished.

Here are just some pictures of the Vanderbilt that I'll surely miss.

Kirkland Hall

The very symbol of Vanderbilt University

Kirkland Hall is regarded as the the trademark of Vanderbilt University. The high tower of Kirkland hall can be seen miles away. Venue of many a traditional event for the university. You see Kirkland, you see Vanderbilt.

Featheringhill Hall

The atrium

FGH is the main building for engineers. You know you're a true Vanderbilt engineer if you spend more time here than any other place on campus. FGH was were I first learnt my first few steps in becoming an engineer.

Olin Hall

The chemical engineering fortress

Olin Hall was as close a second house for us chemical engineers. The building was a fortress with no windows. And for the fun of it, compare it with the building below:

This is the power chamber from Power Rangers. Almost the same, right? lol..

Vandy Squirrels

I wont be finding any of these cute fuzzy animals here in Malaysia. They're hard to find.

Of course it'd be impossible to list down every single thing I'd miss in Vandy. But those mentioned above are definitely worth the mention.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Penn State Student Dies At Smokies

Death comes to us all. It's just a matter of how and when. So always be prepared.

"Every soul is bound to taste death" Al-Imran 185.

Last Sunday, Penn State freshman Nublan Zaki Norhadi was killed when he drowned at Abram Falls, near the Great Smoky Mountains national park. The incident occurred roughly at around 7pm on May 24th, but the body was only recovered at 1.30 pm the next day. Read more here and here.

Backpacker magazine recently ranked the Abram Falls trail as the ninth most dangerous hike in America as a result of high exposure to drowning and hypothermia hazards. The article cited 29 deaths on this trail since 1971 as a result of water related accidents.

My prayers and thoughts are with his family and friends. I can only imagine how hard it was to be there during the incident, and how hard it would be to digest the fact that your son is no more. The deceased was expected to go home for the break this Thursday.

Innalillahi wa inna illahi raajiun.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

My Final P90X Review

I finished my p90x about a month ago but never really had the time to write about it or even take the after pictures. But one thing for sure, the exercise program can really bring you wonders. A picture of me shirtless would be too indecent an exposure to be put in this blog. So these are two pictures taken before and after the program. Compare.

Before the program

A while after the program

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Young Star's House Demolished

The 10 year old star that appeared in Oscar winning movie, Slumdog Millionaire had his house demolished last Thursday. And to think that the kid was part of one of the most touching movies ever produced. Poor kid. Hollywood could, and should've done something.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

I've Made it!!

5/8/2009- I am officially a Vanderbilt Alum.

A post and pictures of my graduation is set to come. Do wait people!!

Friday, May 8, 2009

The Big Tomorrow

So after 4 years of inner and outer struggle, I have made it to the finish line. Tomorrow, I will be officially proclaimed of my achievement, albeit not as handsomely as my other colleges. But hey, I made it!

Drum roll please...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

What's Wrong with the World, Mama?

People living like they ain't got no mama....

And so the Black Eyed Peas hit goes.. And rightly so, as this is what is happening in the real world today.

On March 27, 8 year old Sandra Cantu went missing from her home in Tracy, a city 60 miles of San Fransisco.

Ten days later, farm workers draining an irrigation pond found a suitcase containing the victims body. Evidence also suggested that the victim was also molested and raped before her murder.

And the suspect?

You would never of guessed her. Yup, a her. A 28 year old volunteer Sunday school teacher at a Baptist Church, by the name of Melissa Huckaby. She was arrested on suspect of the killing after hours of interrogation by police.

How could somebody do such a gruesome crime on such a sweet little thing?

Ironically, given the fact that the accused was actually quite a religious person, no one blamed Christianity to have to do with it. Immediately after the killing of Aasiya Zubair Hassan by her husband, TV mogul Muzzammil Hasan, people all around were relating the murder as if it was an act of 'honor killing' in Islam.

Now that's not right.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Dragonball Evolution Is Out!!

....And as it turned out, it's a big disappointment.

The movie was released April 8, and surprisingly, I noticed no commercials on TV advertising it. IMDB users gave the movie a 3.2 rating, while users on Yahoo shared basically the same feelings. Some even claimed the screen play as a step back for the dragonball franchise.

Basically, from what I've read, the film lacked a strong storyline, that things happened without a proper explanation. The visuals and graphic were said to be cheap, and the plot deviated so far from the original dragonball manga. For instance, Goku never went to high school, and most importantly, there was no Kurin/Krillin, Goku's best friend. And the actors, albeit being considerably good actors, gave lacklustre performances. Let's make it simple, the movie was plain dumb boring.

And to say I waited 5 years for this movie. What a bummer. Let's hope for a better sequel.

My 10 cents on the New Parliment

This may be a bit late. I have been quite in the dark regarding politics in Malaysia for some time now. Nothing near to the almost daily updates come PRU 12 last year. But well, here goes.

So sometime last week, our new esteemed PM, Dato' Seri Najib Tun Razak announced his newly elected cabinet members. And here it is.

There's not much for me to say right now, because as I mentioned earlier, this whole thing is still a bit a blur to me, but what's obvious is that a couple of senators were elected as Ministers, and a few more as deputy ministers.

And so I sense a bit of a disrupt among the BN ranks with the announcement of the new cabinet. Some claim the allocation of the ministers weren't fair, that there were not enough of their party's representative in the cabinet, and what not. Read from BH. There's nothing new with this. It's always as usual. Once a new PM rises, they rid of the old guys people, and instill some of their own. It's called cronyism. What's new with that?

Oh, I smell rotten fish!!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

My Very, very last and final stand

I know I said it before in a post during the start of this semester that this will be my last stand. But now, with less than a month of classes to go, this is really, really, and finally, my very last stand. I can't stress that enough.

I've been waiting for almost 4 years now to get my degree. So what's that compared to the three weeks or so until I finish class? It's everything! The anticipation, excitement, and joy of finally about to hold a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering is just too much to bare. To top that, I still have another week or so to go after finishing class until my commencement.

But then again comes the despairing and dismaying fact that I'll be leaving Vandy for good. Haih.. Now that's something I'm gonna surely miss. But heck, life moves on, and it stops for no one.

Pray that all goes well insyaAllah. To my fellow seniors, all 21 of them, good luck!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Saya Sebuah Komputer Riba

Saya sebuah komputer riba. Saya dilahirkan dengan nama timangan Latitude D610 di sebuah 'hospital' Dell di Malaysia. Reka bentuk saya cukup kacak. Badan saya slim, dan disaluti warna kelabu yg cukup menawan. Dalaman saya pula tidak kurang hebatnya pada ketika itu. Saya mampu menyimpan maklumat sebanyak 80GB. Saya jugak dilengkapi dgn Intel Centrino dan bersistem operasi Microsoft XP. Cukup hebat, cukup menawan. Sayalah Romeo, sayala Juliet pada ketika itu. Alangkah indahnya kenangan...

Pada usia yang cukup muda, saya telah dihantarkan ke Amerika Syarikat untuk berbakti di sana. Betapa terujanya saya dengan pengalaman itu. Berhijrah ke luar negara memang menjadi mimpi saya dari kecil. Saya berpegang pada kata-kata, 'Jauh perjalanan, luas pandangan,'. 

Nasib baik saya tidak berakhir di situ. Setibanya ke tanah asing benua Amerika, saya mendapat berita bawaha saya akan di hantarkan sebuah universiti terkemuka dunia, iaitu Vanderbilt University. Saya cukup bangga! Dapat berkhidmat kepada ilmuan-ilmuan bakal pemimpin dunia cukup membuat saya begitu bersemangat, kerana saya pasti, dengan reka bentuk dan kelengkapan di dada, saya pasti tidak mengecewakan!

Setibanya saya di Vanderbilt Univeristy, saya telah diletakkan dalam kotak yg tertera perkataan Hubab Al Munzir Asmawi. Barangkali itu nama tuan saya, hati kecil saya terdetik. Dan sangkaan saya memang tepat sekali kerana saya telah diberikan kepada seorang pemuda dengan nama tersebut. Dia merupakan pelajar tahun pertama dalam jurusan kejuruteraan kimia. Yang lagi anehnya, dia juga berasal dari Malaysia, tanah tumpah darah saya juga! Tidak saya sangka bahawa saya akan berurusan dengan orang Melayu lagi.

Maka bermulalah pengembaraan saya bersama tuan baru saya Hubab Al Munzir Asmawi. Dia cukup bangga dengan saya, kerana saya merupakan komputer riba dia yang pertama. Saya selalu dibandingkan dengan komputer-komputer riba teman-temannya yang agak terdahulu. Komputer-komputer tersebut hitam dan besar, katanya. Tambahnya lagi, komputer-komputer tersebut tidak secanggih saya. Bangga saya apabila saya dibawa merata-rata oleh tuan saya, kerana semua mata memerhati dan memuji kecanngihan saya. Tuan saya pula cukup pandai menjaga saya. Pada ketika itulah saya rasa kenangan paling manis dalam hidup saya!

Namun, kusangka panas sampai ke petang, rupanya hujan di tengah hari! Setelah setahun bersama tuan saya, pelajar-pelajar tahun pertama yang baru mendaftar telah dikurniakan komputer riba yg lagi canggih daripada saya. Nama meraka Latitude D620. Meraka ini, walaupun dikira adik kepada saya, cukup sombong dan angkuh! Langsung tidak hormat akan saya, dan selalu menunjuk-nunjuk kecanggihan meraka di depan tuan saya. Cemburu!

Namun, tidak sama sekali saya berputus asa. Agi idup agi ngelaban! Itu juga motto hidup saya. Saya cuba memberi perkhidmatan yang terbaik kepada tuan saya, walaupun jauh di sudut hati saya sedar, saya tidak mampu bertahan lama. Saya juga akur, tuan saya sudah mula memikirkan samada mahu menukarkan saya ataupun tidak. Atas berkat usaha saya yang tidak kenal jemu, saya berjaya berkhidmat sehingga tuan saya tamat tahun ketiganya di Vanderbilt. 

Pada akhir semesta itu, saya diserang oleh virus yang hebat. Saya jatuh sakit dan tidak mampu berfungsi sebaik-baiknya. Saya bersyukur, kerana tuan saya tidak berputus asa terus dengan saya, dia telah cuba sedaya upaya untuk menyelamatkan saya. Dengan bantuan kawannya, tuan saya telah format semula saya, dan Alhamdulillah, setelah itu, saya sembuh dari penyakit virus berbahaya tersebut. Malangnya, setelah format semula, saya gagal berfungsi sebaik sebelumnya. Saya gagal memberikan perkhidmatan yang terbaik kepada tuan saya. Tidak lama kemudian, saya diserang lagi dengan virus yang lebih hebat. Tidak mampu saya melawannya. Dengan imunisasi badan yang sudah lemah, serangan demi serangan virus telah saya hadapi. Persembahan saya tidak memberangsangkan. Sampai satu tahap, tuan saya tidak percaya pada saya untuk berkhidmat kepadanya dalam suatu ujiannya. Saya cukup sedih. Pada ketika itu, saya sudah merasakan ajal saya makin hampir. Tetapi bila?

Tidak kusangka, rupa-rupanya tuan saya sudah mula berbincang bersama teman-temannya tentang cara bagaimana mahu mendapatkan komputer baru. Dan tanpa pengetahuan saya juga, kira-kira satu minggu yang lalu, tuan saya telah menghubungi Dell untuk meminta komputer baru. Sudah jatuh ditimpa tangga, lagi malang nasib saya apabila pada hari Rabu yang lalu, tuan saya telah membawa pulang komputer ribanya yang baru, Dell Latitude D630. Walaupun komputer itu merupakan unit 'referbished', namun ianya tetap jauh lagi canggih dan baru daripada saya. Berdesing telinga saya apabila mendengar tuan saya memuji-muji komputer barunya itu. Lagi mengeruhkan keadaan, komputer barunya itu ditempatkan bersebelahan saya. Oleh itu, setiap kali saya bangun, saya mesti melihat kelibat 'orang ketiga' itu bersebelahan saya. Makin hari makin saya tidak digunakan. Saya dipand
ang sebagai 'scrap material' sahaja. Tambah penghinaan, apabila tuan saya menganggap komputer riba baru itu sebagai hadiah hari jadinya daripada Dell. Istimewa sangatkan D630 itu berbanding saya?

Tanggal Februari 27, 2009 merupakan hari terakhir saya. Benar kata mereka, dunia ini hanya sementara. Umur saya ketika itu belum pun mencecah empat tahun. Pada mulanya, saya menyangka tuan saya mahu menggunakan saya untuk project biodieselnya. Sangkaan saya meleset jauh sekali. Rupa-rupanya, tuan saya mahu bertindak kejam dengan menamatkan riwayat saya. Tiba-tiba saya dicurahkan dengan alkali KOH. Aduh, pedih! Sakit! Saya menjerit. Namun jeritan saya tidak diendahkan. Akhirnya, tamatlah riwayat saya sebagai sebuah komputer riba!

This is a tribute to my friend of three years, my dear laptop. I'm sorry it had to end this way. :(

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Dell: Happy Birthday, Hubab!!

Dell said to me today, "Hubab, happy becoming birthday! Here's your birthday present!"

"Aww, Dell, you didn't have to! But thank you so much!" I replied. I was surprised.

So Dell gave me a laptop for my birthday. Isn't that something? (But it surely would've been much sweeter if Apple gave one instead, though!)

Anyway, obviously they didn't actually give me that laptop for my birthday, but heck, it's only two days anyway, so it's nice to 'perasan' the laptop as a birthday gift.

My old laptop, the one I loyally wore for 3 years and a half (since freshmen) finally 'gave way' and it was time to part with it. After so many difficulties and problems with it, I decided the best option was to get a new one. Like they say, 'Habis madu, sepah dibuang,'. So I had a chat with a Dell representative last Tuesday, and a week later, this Dell D630 was in my mailbox. Alhamdulillah.

So now a new chapter is opened with my new laptop.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Is Yoga Haram?

There was quite a commotion a few months back when Majlis Fatwa Kebangsaan of Malaysia issued the yoga practice as haram. So the question arises here, is yoga actually haram in Islam?

Yoga, as defined by Wikipedia is a traditional physical and mental disciplines originating in India. The word is associated with meditative practices in both Buddhism and Hinduism. In Hinduism, it also refers to one of the six orthodox schools of Hindu Philosophy, and to the goal toward which that school directs its practices. From the Merriam-Webster dictionary: a Hindu theistic philosophy teaching the suppression of all activity of body, mind, and will in order that the self may realize its distinction from them and attain liberation. Finally, from a school of Hindu philosophy advocating and prescribing a course of physical and mental disciplines for attaining liberation from the material world and union of the self with the Supreme Being or ultimate principle.

All Muslim scholars agree that yoga, when it's spiritual chantings and mantras are included in the exercise is haram. There should obviously be no doubt about that. There's no knowing what all those chantings and mantras mean and refer to. That is indeed blasphemy and leads to syirik. Nauzubillah hi min zaalik.

However, is it also considered haram to practice just the exercise part of yoga, i.e minus the mantras? This is where the debate lies. Some scholars say it's ok to do so, while others believe otherwise. And both have strong grounds to hold their case. I am stressing here that I am not issuing a fatwa of my own. That is not my level. I am merely just pointing out the reasons some scholars believe it is permissible in Islam to practice yoga (the exercise) and otherwise.

The debate behind the opinion that yoga is haram is largely based on the hadith ,' Whoever resembles a people is one of them' (Abu Daud). And since Yoga's root is Hinduism, it falls in that category. Other than that, since Yoga contains the mantras which praises and proclaims another deity other than Allah, it is syirik, and must therefore be prevented. Do correct me if I'm wrong.

On the other hand, yoga is considered permissible according to some scholars is when it is preformed without the chantings of mantras. Because yoga, without the mantras is just like any other flexibility exercise.

I do yoga for the sole purpose of increasing my flexibility. Having good flexibility helps me increase my range of movement, makes me less prone to injuries, and decreases muscle pain. Read more on yoga physical health benefits here. The bizarre movements you do in yoga certainly helps in reaching this goal. And while others like to believe that yoga also increases spiritual strength and helps you relax, I don't really buy into them. Yoga movements are really tough, and so it is really hard for me to relax while doing them. LOL. Anyway, I have better ways of finding inner peace. And that is of course is through the remembrance of Allah.

'Only in the remembrance of Allah can the heart find peace,' - surah Ar-rad: 28

My P90X Review

Recently, I've started a new work out program called P90X. It's a new work out program that I discovered from Qayyum (which he got it from Hanum), and I tell ya, it definitely isn't one of those crap workouts you see on tv!

But first and foremost, what is this P90X? Well, P90X is an extreme exercise program designed to build, shape, and tone muscle. The course of the program is 90 days, of which is divided into 3 phases. And based on the 'manual', by 90 days you would have a ripped, toned, and muscular body. What I like about this program is that it doesn't require any fancy equipment at all. All you need is a set of dumbells and/or exercise bands, and a yoga mat (gosh, only 3 things. or am I missing anything?). And ya, there is also a diet program that comes along with it. Read more about P90X here. The trainer is, btw, Tony Horton.

Alhamdulillah, yesterday I accomplished the first phase. The exercise routines weren't so bad, once you get used to it. I remember during the first week, when my body was just learning the new workouts, it ached all over for the whole week! But over the course of time, your body adapts to this vigorous routines and voila, no pain at all. The diet program that accomodates the exercise wasn't so bad, too. The first phase was called 'fat shredder', and true to it's words, it does burn fat. Why? Because you don't eat anything much other than protein. No kidding, most of my pants are starting to fall off, and my rib cage is becoming more visible. And heck, no more buncit2! lol.

So really, I do feel that this proram actually does work. I feel different, I look different. I'd love to put my before and after photos here, but they're too discrete. As Tony Hurton likes to say through out the videos, "It's X, ladies and gentlemen!"

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Virus Attack

It has become some kind of a trend over the last few months, that our personal computers are being attacked by viruses of all sorts, to an extent that some of my friends have been affected 3 times already. And as I'm typing this post, my computer is again, officially under attack from another virus, of which I'm unfamiliar with, called VirusRemover 2008. What the heck.

The previous virus that infected my computer was because I clicked on some warnings (which I foolishly thought was from Windows). But this time, it happened rather suddenly. No clicking on any warnings this time. And this bloody virus is closing my yahoo messenger, my itunes, opening random attacked sites on my mozilla firefox and opening internet explorer. What else would it do? Well, it's too early to figure that out yet, but we'll see. In the mean time, Arep, SOS!

A New Era Begins

Today was officially the first day of Barack Obama as the forty-forth President of the United States of America. Today was President Barack Obama's Inauguration day. And today, 'the world has changed,'.

What a day it turned out to be.

Americans, of all walks of life, near and far, gathered around the capital to share a moment of history. Gathering up to two miles off U.S Capitol at the Lincoln Memorial, people braved the cold winter month of January, and still felt, as much as any where else, part of the grand event.

Others who couldn't make it to D.C fought off internet traffic in attempts to watch the Inauguration video online. The online video of the Inauguration set records in internet traffic as millions tried to gain its access. The overwhelming demand meant most had to settle down for other means of media to witness the coverage. Some of the luckier ones managed to get glimpses of frozen images of what what was going on.

The frenzy doesn't stop there. The Inauguration also prompted more than a million status updates on Facebook. Read more about that here. People all over wore shirts bearing support for the new president. Read other interesting stories of Inauguration Day events here, here, here, and here. Or heck, just Google it.

So as America, and practically the whole world, nurse the hangover from such a historical and significant event, the question arises: How long will the Obama honeymoon last, if there is to actually be one, of course. Will the economy spring back to life?, will the world change it's views on America?, will the wars stop?, will there be more stability in America?, and etc. Just how much time are the people willing to wait to see these changes?

And as Muslims, one of our greatest hopes for this new President is to resolve the matter in Palestine. Will he have the guts and courage to go the extra distance in finding a resolution to finally stop the blood bath in the Holy Land? He is the closest a president can be to a Muslim without actually being one. If he won't do it, no one will.

Like he always says, 'Change has come to America,'. Let's now hope that he can bring that change to the world. Read his Inauguration speech here.