Thursday, January 15, 2009

A Whole Lot of Issues

Its been 2 weeks since my last post, the long absence is due to reasons I will explain later in this post.

Firstly, I don't think that there is an excuse for someone with a blog nowadays to not speak out about the ongoing war in Gaza. Sometimes I just don't wanna look at the headlines anymore, not because I don't care, but because everytime I see those horrible images of the innocent women and children being killed senselessly, tears well up in my eyes. A mixture of pity, grief, hopelessness and guilt engulfs me. Guilt because I feel so bad living in this peaceful country amidst all these luxuries and the prospect of a bright future ahead of me when my brothers and sisters over there are becoming victims of genocide (you can say what you want, its genocide alright). It also sickens me that the so-called "leaders" of these nations are meeting in perhaps a comfortable, air-conditioned room in Cairo to "discuss" about the war and hopefully come up with an understanding to push for ceasefire while in the meantime, innocent women and children are still being killed every second. While the protests and demonstrations going on around the world is admirable, it still doesn't stop the killing. I know that a show of protest is at least something, but just think about this for a second. If it was your wife and child being killed at this very moment by merciless murderers, and you have nothing but rocks and stones to defend yourself, how would you feel if all the rest of the world can do is hold up a couple of banners, shout insults at your enemy and at the most, burn down the Jewish flag? I don't know about you, but if it were me, I would be pissed. Really pissed.

Amidst all this horrors, I can't help but be proud of one individual. One amazing, selfless and brave individual who makes me proud to be of the female gender, and to a certain extent, proud to be a Malaysian. She has always been there where help is needed, be it during the 2004 tsunami, the Iraq War, and now, in Gaza. I agree wholeheartedly with Yasmin Ahmad, that she is the greatest Malaysian to have ever walked on the soil of this country. Dato' Dr. Jemilah Mahmood is an inspiration to us all, and she should be made a role model for all Malaysians. Frankly, I don't think enough credit is being given to her. Instead of worshipping someone like her, we Malaysians prefer to idolize people who don't deserve to be idolized, a clear example being one champion of an extremely lame reality show, whose recent extravagant wedding reception I consider very sinful during these tumultuous times. I also fully agree with her statement in The Star recently, she said that "all world leaders should be held accountable for everything that is happening in Gaza". She also said that the world leaders have failed the people of Gaza. This is extremely true, for we have not seen any immediate action taken by them to end the war. I quote a line from the movie Troy, "War is old men talking and young men dying". Dato' Dr. Jemilah deserves to be the first Malaysian to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

To me, the best thing that we onlookers of this war can do is pray. It doesn't matter what race or religion you believe in, just pray. Because in the end, we all know that God is the highest power and only He can put a complete stop to all this. All of us cannot be gifted with the courage that Dr. Jemilah has, so the best that we can do is pray and have faith in a higher power, have faith that hopefully He will show us the way to end this madness.

Though it spoils the mood of this post a bit, I said earlier on that I would explain my long absence from the blogging world. Well, it is due to Petrosains. I believe I did mention in one of my previous posts that I sent in the application form to be a volunteer there, and guess what? I got it! I had to go for an interview, of course (which required me to sing, unfortunately for those people who had to listen), and I just completed my 5 day orientation programme last week. So I'm due to start my On Job Training (OJT) next Tuesday. Only after that I will get my uniform and officially start work. To those still curious, its only called "volunteer" work. We do get a salary, or an "honororiam", as they prefer to call it at Petrosains. So all that has been keeping me busy lately, therefore I didn't have the time (or mood) to blog.

On another subject, I love Nigella Lawson. I love watching all her cooking shows! She not only looks gorgeous, her cooking is mouth-watering (literally, my mouth waters while watching her cook). She and Jamie Oliver are my favourite celebrity chefs, though I watch Jamie-O more for his interesting personality rather than his cooking skills, haha. But some of his cooking is good, I must say. I think Nigella deserves the title of "The Domestic Goddess", her skills are divine! Oh and I LOVE her cooking utensils too, they're so beautiful! Hehe. I love all her recipes, from the meals to the desserts (especially the desserts!). Maaann, I wish I could cook like her. Haha, dream on Aira. Nak tolong mummy masak petang-petang pun malas.

One event I'm currently looking forward to is Barack Obama's Inauguration Day next week. Bush has been around for way to long. America and the rest of the world is in a desperate need of change. I can't wait for his Inauguration not only because I admire him, but also bacause I am eager to see what action is he going to take regarding the war in Gaza. Not to say that I am expecting anything much, actually. He is still first and foremost, an American. I just hope against hope that he will at least not show such open support for Israel like Bush did, that at least he would show some sensitivity and sympathy for the victims. Or else he is just going to let our hopes down. Hope and Change that he himself promised America and the rest of the world during his long campaign. Please, don't let us down, Mr. Obama.

Before I end this post, just a reminder to myself and anyone else who cares to read this blog: Please don't forget to pray for the war victims in Gaza. Prayer and faith, the only weapons we have against such deadly, cruel and merciless enemies.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Hopes and Reflections

Its my first official post for 2009! I know its very late, but I just would like to wish everyone;

Happy New Year!
May 2009 bring you happiness, health, peace and success, and may God's graces be with all of you always!

Honestly, I can't believe its 2009 already. The year I would get my SPM results, the year I would start college, and the year I would (finally) turn 18. The age where I (supposedly) become legal. I know this sounds cliche and probably every other blog post in the world is saying this too, but it seems like only yesterday I became a fifth-former, like yesterday I became a Malay debater and like yesterday I took my SPM. Frankly, I can't wait to get my SPM results. So many months of anxiety and uncertainty is killing me. Mostly because I already have this vision in my head. This vision where everything goes according to (my) plan. I get my SPM results (this I am not brave enough to predict), I apply for scholarship (and in my "vision", I get the scholarship, of course), I go do my A-Levels at KYUEM, I pass A-Levels with flying colours, I do my Law degree in the UK (preferably King's College, Oxford is just too far off, even for my perfect vision). Its too perfect, right? That's why I can't wait to get my results, so that I am able to know whether all this planning and dreams that I have for myself can be realized or not. All this months of planning it in my head is starting to get more torturous than exciting.

I will not do a complete flashback on my uneventful life in 2008, mostly because I'm too lazy to do it, but I must say that 2008 certainly had its highlights (considering I just said I lived an "uneventful" life, I'm not very sure whether you would buy it when I say "highlights", but oh well). So here goes, my 2008 highlights:

1. Topping the list, without a doubt, is the IIUM Interschool Debating Championship. Who knew, who on earth would expect that a bunch of inexperienced debaters (Ainaa and I were first-timers), with little and last-minute preparation, could end up 8th out of 84 schools, becoming the one and only Sekolah Harian to ever break into the top 8, beat RMC at the octo-finals, and meet MCKK at the quarter-finals? Certainly not me. IIUM was a priceless experience for me, and it was the first time in my life that I shed tears of joy.

2. Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia, a.k.a. SPM. Now I know you would think I'm insane for considering this as a "highlight" of my year, and you may think that I must live a really sad life to include SPM in my "highlight" list, but to me, yes, no matter how horrible it was, I do consider SPM as a highlight of my year. I always looked at SPM as the summation of 17 years of my life. Its like, after 17 years of living on this planet, this is it, the destination has arrived. The reason for 11 years of going to school and studying..the ticket to my next destination in life. Some papers were better than the others, and mostly I just don't dare to predict anything about my results because there were some papers which I knew I messed up. But the journey towards SPM is what I do remember for now. All the intense preparation, all the last-minute studying, how Cikgu Taufik, Mr. Jesu and Cikgu Amir prepared me to face Chemistry, Add Maths, Physics and Sejarah as if I'm going to war, and the tears I shed while saying thank you to all my teachers. I'll never forget Cikgu Taufik's words to me on the night before SPM:

"My dear students, achievement is not measured by how much you get, but how much you sacrifice to get what you want. Hard work without doa is meaningless and doa without hard work is like throwing yourself in fire. Good luck!"

And some of Cikgu Amir's words:

"Semoga Allah memberkati semua usaha Aira itu.."

SPM also made me realize that teachers are truly amazing, selfless, inspiring people. How they can sacrifice their own time for the benefit of their students never fails to impress me. And its beyond me how they can cope with the pressure of educating a whole generation of students to become someone they and their families can be proud of. And because of all that, I include SPM as one of my highlights for 2008.

3. My Egypt holiday! Need I say more? Read my last post. Haha. I miss the place so bad!

Well that's all. I told you I live an uneventful life. Haha. Oh yeah, I really hope the Jonas Brothers include Malaysia in their 2009 World Tour!! Please please please, I wanna go to their concert so so bad!

Have a great year everyone! :)