Friday, June 12, 2009

Time After Time

What effect does time have on us?
When it goes too fast, it gives us pressure. But it’s this pressure that gets us working and keeps us on top of things. That’s one expect of time. Another question would be… how much does time change us?

We often hear the phrases ‘change in time’ and ‘let nature takes its course’. Both phrases are associated with the changes which takes place as time passes.

One change which occurs in time is the process of growing up. This is a never ending process. No matter how certain we are in claiming that we are ‘fully grown’, we are actually never fully grown. This is because in the process of growing we acquire knowledge, and learning is a lifetime process. No matter how long we live, there will always be things which is obscure to us and we can never be ‘right’ about things all the time. So, we are never fully grown. The term ‘fully grown’ may only be appropriate in the context of physical growth.

Anyway, what effect has time left on me? It has many effects but I shall only discuss one of it- time strengthens friendship.

I recently met up with 5 of my high school friends, one of which is a friend since standard one. The rest are all friends from high school. While we were in school, I never realised who would remain friends even after we leave high school. 3 years has passed since I left Convent but the bond of friendship with certain friends remains as strong as ever.

We hung out in Jusco, where we enjoyed the movie Hannah Montana as well as our lunch in the Black Canyon. A simple affair of few hours, but - an enjoyable one. It struck me that sometimes it’s not the place or the things you do which makes it enjoyable and memorable, but it is the company which makes it fun. Jusco is a place which I often go to. Most of the time, I find the place boring. Nothing much to do. The fact that I keep seeing the same things does not make the place any more exciting. But somehow, every outing there with my high school friends, is enjoyable.

It is always nice to catch up with each other, to bring all the old gossips back to life, to laugh over some of the things we used to do (like getting into trouble). Meeting up with old friends is always nice. I still remember the time when I met a friend form matrics in KLCC. We spent most of the time walking in circles instead of going into any shops. This happen because we had so much to talk about!! All the shops were just not nearly as interesting as what we had to say to each other.

All in all, true friendship last forever. Maybe today we do not realise who are our true friends. But time will show us the answer. True friendship does not die off as time passes, but it goes stronger. The distance between friends will not be a reason for the end of the friendship if the bond is strong. If a friend still sends sms to ask about you or calls you up after some time, that shows that the friend still cares. And meeting up with old friends will bring back all the memories of the good old days…

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Battle of Heritage?

In the short story ‘Everyday Use’ by Alice Walker, the issue of heritage is discussed. Conflict stirs around the quilts, a symbol of their heritage. Two sisters have different views on how to value the heritage.

The younger of the two, Maggie, plans to put the quilts to everyday use. Dee argues that this will cause them the lost of the heritage. Then, another form of heritage is introduced- the knowledge of making quilts. Maggie knows how to make quilts. Thus, putting the current quilts to everyday use, is not a waste at all.

However, Dee has a different view on the issue of heritage. She feels that the quilts should only be used as a decoration piece. She further argues that Maggie’s knowledge will not preserve the heritage as she will not be using the pieces of cloth from the older generation. Using the quilts will destroy these pieces as time takes place.

So, who is the antagonist of the story?
Can we really see Dee as the antagonist merely because she disagrees with her mother and sister?

From this short story, I’ve learnt two things.
1. Just because people have different views, it does not mean that they are bad or wrong. Every individual is unique. And every different thought is unique.
2. Knowledge is one thing that people can’t take away from you. Although Dee wants to take the quilts, she will not be able to take away her knowledge on making quilts.

This second realisation presents and irony. Dee is the educated one in the story, but, it is her iliterate sister who holds the knowledge to their heritage…

Monday With Thomas Hardy

In the mist of the Monday blues, we discussed the famous poet, Thomas Hardy. During our first week back, we were told to search on the biographies of all the poets. But as most of us had not brought our laptops, we couldn’t do much discussion and had to depend only on the few who had the information with them.
We learnt that Thomas Hardy was actually an architect who wrote with the intention to earn more money. Hardy started writing poems at the age of 22, after moving to London. As he was unable to find public for his poems, he turned to fiction. His first novel, The Poor Man And The Lady, was written in 1867 but the book was rejected by many publishers. Out of frustration, Thomas Hardy destroyed the manuscript of the fiction.
His first book which was published is Far From the Madding Crowd in 1874. After the success of this book, Hardy devoted himself entirely to writing and produced a series of novels. His most famous book is The Mayor of Casterbridge which was published in 1886.
An important lesson which I learnt today is the acceptance of a written piece. Hardy’s poems and his first novel were rejected because he wrote on themes which were considered sensitive. He only started to gain recognition when he changed his theme to ‘love’ which was something common an acceptable. Here I learnt that when one writes works to be made public, that particular writer must consider the sensitivity of the theme as well as its acceptance in the community.

A Fallen Warrior

I will never forget that day. It was the most horrible day of my life, but it was also the day I realised that I really had a true friend. It happened fifteen years ago, while I was still a student in high school. This is how it happened…
“Hey, James! What’s with you? You’ve been daydreaming the whole day. Come on tell me, which fine young lady stole your heart?” I pounced on him in a playful manner.
“Hey, man! Cut it out!” he replied.
“It’s your parents again isn’t it? Come on, James. You can’t let it get to you. You’ve got to focus on your studies. That’s your only hope,” I tried my best to console him.
James was an only child. For years, he has been living in negligence and lack of affection. His mother was never motherly towards him. His father was a drunken. James spends his time at home doing all the housework, from the cooking to all the washing and cleaning up. On top of that, he also works part time in a fast-food outlet during the weekends. He is forced to work because his father is an odd-job worker. Due to his drinking, he could hardly keep a job for more than a fortnight.
Things were going from bad to worse for James. He used to be one of the top students but now, due to all the work he was doing at home and during the weekends, his studies has been dropping. I wasn’t surprised because it was impossible for James to study. His time is really packed with hard work. By the time he finishes all the house work, he will be too tired to do any studying. I often helped him with his school work but that was not enough.
“Come on, let’s get home. If I’m late, Mom will be angry and she will punish me with more work. I really feel like a servant,” James said in an undertone.
“James, don’t say that. They are still your parents. Maybe things will be better for you and your family later on,” I tried to console him.
“They can’t be my real parents. I must be adopted. No mother will treat her own child the way my mother treats me. She is angry with me all the time. Everything I do is wrong for her. That’s nothing I do that pleases her. Nothing at all.”
“For heaven’s sake, James. We’ve had this conversation before. Your mother must be under a lot of pressure. Just think. Your dad does not have a permanent job. They are short of money. Your dad on the other hand must be drinking due to pressure. It’s not easy to be the head of the house, you know.”
We kept walking. In an attempt to cheer James up, I changed the conversation topic. After ten minutes or so, we reached our houses. Both James and I have been neighbours since we were in kindergarten. I still remember how James used to sit at the corner of the class with bruises all over his body. How sorry we used to feel for him during those times! Some people were just less fortunate than others. I was snapped out of recounting my old memories by the sound of two raised voices.
“Exactly what do you expect me to do? The money was with me one moment and then that good for nothing husband of mine goes and spends it,” we heard James’s mother shout.
“Maybe you just misplaced it. Try to look for it again. Maybe you overlooked some corners. Anyway, it’s not the money that’s important. We can always trick those dopes into paying us more money…addicts will do anything to get these drugs. Hahahaha…” a man answered.
Both James and I stopped in our tracks. This was not the voice of James’s father. I had never heard his voice before. The astounded look on James face told me that he too was unfamiliar with this man. Or maybe, the term ‘addicts’ and ‘drugs’ is the cause of his reaction. I never knew which was the reason as before I could say anything, James marched up to his house and slammed the door open.
“What’s happening here? Who are you? What are you doing in my house?” I heard James roaring in anger.
“Oh, look who’s back. I told you he’s a nuisance. Young man, this is not your house. It will never be your house. Get out of here,” his mother roared back.
I had a very bad feeling. I do not trust the man and I was worried about James’s safety. Thus I made my way into the house just in time to see a big-build, aggressive looking man, smacking James and throwing him to the floor. Without thinking, I plunged onto the man. My attack did cause him to fall but it caused no further injuries. In no time at all, the man was up again and this time, I was the one thrown to the floor.
“I have no time for games boys. Time to say goodbye,” the man told us.
“Mom, you can’t let him do this to us,” James pleaded with his mom.
I noticed that James’s head was bleeding severely and his nose seems to be broken. The man’s throw has caused me a sprained elbow and my head was really hurting. I turn to have a better look at the man. I panicked. He has a gun with him. And he was reaching for it.
“From the moment your father brought you into this house, you have been nothing but a nuisance. You are not even my own. It was all your father’s idea to create what he called ‘our perfect little family’. But I never wanted a child! Not my own, and definitely not other’s!” the words of James’s mother was piercing through me. Even I was upset, I could not imagine how James was feeling.
I did not have much time to wonder. The man was walking towards James. I put out my leg and made him tripped. Then, James’s mother, Mrs. Malfoy, threw a chair at me. I ducked it with only a moment to spare. I took a broken piece of wood from the floor and used it to smack the man’s head. Although I hit him with all my might, he was still conscious. However, I managed to kick the gun out of the man’s hand. This was a mistake. Instead of kicking it, I should have taken it from him. But I was in no state to use a gun, I was ruled by panic.
I dashed to help James up to his feet. Mrs. Malfoy went over to help the man up. Then, there was a bang. The man had tried to shoot one of us but he missed. Within a split second he aimed his second shot straight at my chest but I was saved. James had pushed me out of harm’s way. He took the bullet for me.
Although it has been fifteen years, I can still hear the sound of the gunshots. One after another. The neighbours had called the police. And the police arrived in time to catch both the man and Mrs. Malfoy. However, the paramedics failed to save James. Even before they arrived, James was already dead. I’m alive today because James saved me that day. All I can do to stop myself from crying is to imagine James, my fallen warrior, living a wonderful life in paradise.

Taj Mahal Speaks

Slowly, an unpleasant and stressful atmosphere began to fill the air, as the construction of one of the wonders of the world began…

The Taj Mahal was built by the late Emperor Shah Jahan in the memory of his beloved queen, Mumtaz Mahal. He had appointed Ustad ‘Isa, a renowned Islamic architect, as the master architect.
The entire Taj is built of white marble. The choice of the colour white may be a symbol to portray the sincerity of his love towards his late wife. Furthermore, as the Taj will accommodate the chamber which places the grave of the late Queen Mumtaz, the use of white marbles is indeed appropriate. The use of too many colour will not create a peaceful atmosphere as colours makes a surrounding look more exciting.

The beauty of the Taj Mahal is simply breathtaking. As the construction took place, the land of Agra became the temporary home of a large number of construction workers. The total amount of workers to be involved in the construction is estimated to be twenty thousand. As the work began, workers and craftsmen from Baghdad, Shiraz and Bukhara started to arrive.

The workers had to work really hard and hardly had any rest. These workers were not only over-worked but also ill-treated. They were barely given enough food to eat. Their meals consists only of white rice mixed with yogurt called ‘tairu’ in Tamil. They spent the whole day working, without any form of entertainment. They were allowed to sleep for less than three hours daily. Due to lack of rest and nutrients, some of the workers worked rather clumsily, and every time they made a mistake, they will be scolded by their leaders. The land of Agra soon became the home of a lot of hardship and suffering. As I am Taj Mahal, I witnessed all of this. The land of Agra where I was being built became host of a lot of tears, not only the tears of the ill-treated workers, but also the tears of Emperor Shah Jahan who was inconsolable after the death of his wife.

The construction of the Taj was really a long process. I began to ponder if I will ever be completed. As it is, it was already nine years. Honestly, I was becoming an unwilling witness to all the suffering and hardship around me. As time passed, the workers became more exhausted. Some even fell ill. Those who still survived were really waiting to complete the Taj so that Emperor Shah Jahan will release them from all the hard work. However, the workers were still far from their release. They still had a lot more work to do.

The architectural concept used to design me was something uncommon. In fact, I doubt there’s anything like it at all. The main concept used in the designing is the Mughal architecture. The Mughal architecture is superbly used to create the interlocking arabesque concept. The interlocking concept integrates with the main structure where it uses the principles of self-replicating geometry as well as a symmetry of architectural elements. However, Emperor Shah Jahan did not seem very happy. Every time he looks at me, he will frown.

Finally, after twenty-two years of hard work, the construction of the Taj Mahal was completed. The construction cost 32 Million Rupees. Although I was disappointed that so much of the public’s money was used up to construct me, I could not deny the fact that I stood as the most elegantly built building in Agra, India. I was so beautiful that even the Emperor was finally satisfied. Finally, I saw a smile on Emperor Shah Jahan’s face, though, it was a sad smile. The Emperor’s satisfaction caused all the workers to applaud, not only in satisfaction of their work, but also for the release from it, something they have long awaited.

Today, I still stand as one of the most beautiful wonders of the world. No development and technology can ever compete against the delicate designing of the Moghul architecture. Nevertheless, I have to say that the world around me is undergoing a lot of changes. I have now become a tourist attraction. Daily, I become the object of awe for my audience.

Everyday, I have to face the lively surroundings around me. I have to put up with the drastic change the world around me is undergoing. However, I remain true to my duty. I was built in the memory of Queen Mumtaz Mahal, I host the chamber where both she and Emperor Shah Jahan rests, thus I shall maintain the peace and quite within this particular chamber. No matter what happens on the outside, I shall ensure that in the inside, you rest peacefully, my dear king and queen.

An Unforgettable Memory

An Unforgettable Memory

It was the month of July, a month that we, the Perak contingent for KAKOM have been anticipating since the start of term. KAKOM stands for ‘Karnival Kokurikulum Kolej-kolej Matrikulasi’. This event is a national level event held yearly involving participation from nine Matriculation colleges and two MARA Boarding colleges. The events held are sports events such as basketball, badminton, bowling, netball and others. Public speaking, dance competition and marching competition are also held. This time, KAKOM will be held in Kolej Matrikulasi Kedah.
Selection of contingent members started immediately after registration of new students. Once selected, the participants trained hard. We really knocked ourselves out with all the practises. Then, the day for us to leave for Kedah arrived…
We arrived in Changlun, Kedah after a five hours journey. We had an exciting opening ceremony where all the contingents marched in full spirits. Then, the matches began. We had a good start when we won our first gold and bronze medal through bowling. Our badminton, basketball and netball teams also made it to the next round. The sports events were indeed exciting. Although we did not know our team members, we cheered and gave them full moral support when the events were going on. When our team won we sang our victory song. My event was due on the last day of KAKOM, so I spent my time practising and giving my other friends moral support.
Then, the day for the English Public Speaking arrived. It was the last day of KAKOM and Perak was rather left behind in the running for overall champion. Thus, the pressure on me and my partner was really great. The night before, the Director of my college had a face to face talk with me and my partner. This really boosted my spirits as very few people get this opportunity. The other lecturers were also giving us their last words of support. I woke up extra early to prepare myself. The moment I stepped into the cafeteria to have my breakfast, the whole contingent of Perak cheered. I was totally overwhelmed by the support I was getting. Despite my nervousness, the support showed by my friends returned the smile on my face.
In the quarantine room, I made friends with my competitors, all whom turned out to be very friendly and pleasant. To get over our nerves, we did the ‘Poco-poco’ dance together.
“Ladies and gentlemen, now I would like to invite Miss Safiya Yahaya, from Perak Matriculation College to present her speech”.
Upon hearing that, I stepped up onto the stage and presented my speech confidently. I did not hold any notes and maintained eye contact with the audience. Once done, I walked down and waited for the other contestants. Then, the moment everyone was waiting for…the results of the competition. A man in his late forties went up the stage to deliver the results. My achievement? Well, I’ll leave that a mystery but it’s enough for me to state that I made it to the top five.
KAKOM only lasted for a week but my memories there will last a lifetime. It is amazing how we put aside our differences just to bring victory to our college. Although the event has been over long ago, we still keep in touch and have a wonderful time retelling all our experience in Changlun. Truly an unforgettable memory.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

best things in life are free

have you ever felt deprived from the simplest privileges in life?say for example,the privilege of time and happiness?these things are basically free,but it's surpirising how sometimes the rich ones are the ones who are usually deprived from it.
Try reading the book 'the undomestic goddess' by Sophie Kinsella..its a story about one of the top-most lawyer in the country who is so busy that she just cant enjoy all the money she earns..not telling anymore,don;t want to spoil the was one of the best books i've read in my lufe..reminds me a bit about myself.
time and happiness...
i was being forced to do medic upon completing my spm...but i refused! mainly because of the time constraint. i have no plans of being a mother who neglects her children. as far as i can help it,i will not deprive my children from a mother's love. so to all the other sick people, sorry-i'm not interested in dedicating my life to cure you.
while i was in matrics for a year,i really did suffer as i did not enjoy the course.real torture!!so,instead of wasting my time suffering,i enjoyed myself by playing i utilised my time for sleeping,eating,baby-sitting the cats and kittens,and socialising. studying and revising was done only as a past time.hehehe...however,this was the best time in my life.i have never felt so happy in my life. due to me being happy,my face used to be glowing wit happiness. this is why i keep telling people that my one year in matriks is not a waste. it was one year of happiness,something i used to be deprived of.