Thursday, 22 January 2009

A Glimmer of Hope in Khayelitsha

First of all, I would like to thank everybody for several congratulatory messages that I've received with regards to my recently-amended IB result. Thank you.

Having had enough time to spare, I decided to dig deep into the archives of BBC News, and one particular story did manage to really capture my heart. The story was about an ongoing tale of a woman's determination to make her living in the poverty-ridden Khayelitsha, which is one of the townships that can be found on the outskirts of Cape Town. The population of Khayelitsha varies from the low of 500,000 to the high of 1,000,000, making it the third largest informal township in South Africa. Vicky Mtozini, whose character is where the story revolves, is a strong and resourceful woman who works hard to build her bed & breakfast business amidst the backdrop of apparent poverty that has been the feature of any disadvantaged townships in the post-apartheid South Africa. Having lived in her tin shack for 16 years, Mtozini is determined to move into a more proper house in the future. Being a woman with a big ambition, she says, "I want to see a chain of Vicky's all over the country, wherever tourists go. Just like there are Holiday Inns all over the place." Isn't that inspiring, people!

The Vicky's Lounge

One of the B&B's guest rooms. Not too shabby right?

The View of Khayelitsha as seen from the lounge

Khayelitsha with the mighty Table Mountain as its iconic backdrop:

Oh god, bring me to Cape Town please =)

Faizal Hamssin

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

A Happier Ending

I was sleeping soundly when a phone call from an unrecognized number broke the silence of my room and woke me up. Knowing that the call might be of a more important matter of serious intensity, I braved my laziness to get to my phone and answer to the call. As I said hello in a very wanly manner, I got very surprised that the person who was calling me was actually Mr. Lawrence, our lab monster whose abundance of free time has caused some stir among his students lately. With a very fast tone that might rival the likes of the Shinkasen and Maglev, Mr. Lawrence told me about the mistakes that happened to my Chem IA, which have been rectified by the IBO. "Are you prepared to receive a good news from me?" He asked triumphantly. Being in a half-conscious state of mind, I said, "Yeah, of course!". Without any tinges of hesitation, Mr. Lawrence triumphantly made a statement I've been waiting all along, "Faizal, you got 7 for your chemistry! You should be very happy right now. You should jump ahh. You got 40. Congratulations!" (It was something like that, I couldn't recall everything he said, though, since the pace of his speech was extraordinarily fast and difficult to follow. He was excited at that time, that's for sure). Me, feeling ecstatic about my newly-found forty miracle, burst into joy and self-satisfaction. I had no idea what to say to him, so I just said "Thank you" for a few times, and stormed into my laptop to see the online result as soon as the call ended. I saw this:
Feeling happy, I decided to contain my extreme beatitude to myself but thanks to Mr. Lawrence and his enthusiasm,...

"To Faizal,

Can u change those words in your blog that u are disappointed with the results…….want to see better words in your BLOG

40 points and 7 for CHEM……….dont ever CURSE me for not getting 7 in chem……mission accomplished

Well done…..lawrence "

Mr. Lawrence, I hope you're satisfied with this post =)
So, with a new, fresh and juicy result like this, I couldn't have thanked God more. I am very happy that's all I can say. Thank you everyone, for aiding and supporting me along the way. I'm at loss of words now. That's what I can say.

For my juniors and anybody who's ever been struggling and working hard for their IB, do remember that IB is difficult but it's conquerable, though. Don't lose hope as you never know what your potential has to offer. Good luck.

p/s Congratulations to Kay and Chan Hu who have had their Chemistry grade upped also. You must feel better right now, I suppose. For the resitters, good luck guys! Do well, and tell the world that nothing is impossible. Same goes to the June '08 people, too. I'm waiting for your beatitude enunciation in July (with the shmaltz, i hope)

I feel so blessed, people. I do.

Faizal Hamssin

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Earth Song

Being bored and having nothing to do for these few days, I've developed a very profound appreciation towards good music. Knowing that my passion in music lies in the 90s tunes, I dug deep into the repertoires of some musical names, and when I did so with Michael Jackson, the fading pop star whose past bears more glory than any other musicians that ever walked on the face of the Earth, I found this very touching and eye-opening music video, "Earth Song". At first, I had a rare sense of deja-vu when I watched the video on YouTube (The song was released in 1995 when I was six and it was a global hit at that time). Here the video is:

Okay, the video and the song itself, which revolved around the theme of the Earthly problems that humanity was (and is) currently facing, has managed to profoundly affect, at least. The song, sung in a very intense tone by Jackson, touched the issues that we always know but never bother to care about. The scene of war depicted in the video did remind me of the terror and violence that have always been part of the human's history of so-called civilization. We are all blessed with a wonderful brain to think, and an opportunity to understand what's happening in the world, but most of us choose to remain apathethic to the real conditions that our world is facing. Apathy and ignorance. We're all adopting these two values as our religion, unfortunately.

Talking about war, destitution, and destruction of mankind, I can never resist myself from talking about the ongoing conflicts that are clutching the lives of the Palestinians who have been the victims of our apathy and utter ignorance for so long.

AirAsia's tagline "now everyone can fly" cannot be applied to the people of the Gaza strip. Why did I say so? Look at the picture below:

If you think that our LCCT baggage handling system sucks, here you go:

If you think that your local airport's interior is too dull for your eyes to see, here you go:

Okay, with their borders being sealed and their airports being terribly vandalized, how are the people of the West Bank supposed to get out of their war-torn land to search for a warmer pasture, to study and conduct research, to visit their relatives, to perform their obligatory hajj, to watch the latest Rihanna's or Mariah's concert, or to even have a romantic honeymoon in Paris. Do they have to swim their way out, or do they have to be clad as a superman and fly on their own? I don't have any idea.

The ways the West Bank is being sealed bear some resemblances with the ways Hitler committed his atrocity towards the Jews of Warsaw by containing them all into the small, cramped, and dilapidated Warsaw Ghetto. It looks like us humans really love to commit the same mistake, over and over again. Back to my earlier point, it's all due to our own apathy and ignorance.

In the 21st century remake of Warsaw Ghetto, violence is an everyday's issue. Look at the images that I've found from the net (the miracles of Google are endless).

A streetscene in the heavily-bombed West Bank

A streetscene in the heavily-bombed Warsaw Ghetto

Cute babies and kids in the West Bank:
Cute babies and kids in Warsaw Ghetto:
The babies died and smiled. I know that the fallen kids will surely go to heaven. There, in heaven, their smile should always fill the air, void of the worldly hatred that the adults possess.

If you're dying to see the fruits of humans' apathy and ignorance, here you go:

Warsaw Ghetto, 1945

West Bank, 2009

Can you spot the very similarities between the two images of man-made destruction?

This happens when we never learn from history. This happens when we don't learn from the sufferings of our fathers and the mistakes that they've committed. I believe that many of those involved in the recent violence and aggressions in the West Bank have their fathers and mothers surviving the ordeals and atrocity in the Warsaw Ghetto. If they're still alive, feel free to ask them. How does it feel, having your family murdered and dignity snatched away. I think they'll be more than willing to give you an honest and truthful answer to that.

Apathy and ignorance.

Faizal Hamssin

Mr Lawrence our Lab Monster

Mr Lawrence seems to have a lot of free time nowadays. Having stormed into his students' blogs, he left his footsteps on his students' blogs by dropping some comments whose tones were extremely varied, from the lusciousness of his best wishes that were planted into my post Beatitude Enunciation to the harsh curse directed towards one of his lab protege, Jonathan Mah. For Jon Mah, the so-called negatively-toned comment that Mr. Lawrence has poured into his newly-established website acts as a wonderful omen of what his newly-acquired internet real estate is going to offer in the future. For further details regarding Mr. Lawrence's gay and carefree night, click here.

Knowing that Mr. Lawrence actually cares about us behind the 'mercury and cyanide curtains' of his lab has enabled me to undergo through a passage back into the days when we had our Chemistry lessons for 4/5 straight hours (with some intermittent breaks of course), the months when we all laboured ourselves intensely in the labs to finish up our bitch called IAs before the deadlines finish us up, and the 2 years that we spent together, learning new things and being infatuated into the ideas of true learning and stuffs. Only Mr. Lawrence's people understood how immensely blessed we were, being in his laboratory that could've been mistakenly perceived as a murder scene. Therefore, feeling thankful, I dropped him an email just to say hello to our own Mr. Lawrence.

Here's how the email goes:
"Hello mr lawrence!
It was a rather hectic week, indeed. I was really busy applying and choosing my accommodation in Melbourne when you suddenly dropped a comment into one of my blog post. It was a very pleasant surprise, actually. Mr. Lawrence is finally free! We all know how busy you've always been, preparing notes and useful stuffs for your student.

The main reason for me writing this email is to thank you for everything you've ever done to us. I got a six for my chemistry, for your information. The result was to my disappointment, honestly, as I know that the efforts you've poured all those while were only meant for a seven. I was also quite frustrated with my six since I knew that a seven was very possible if I were to work harder. I did my work for most of the times, but I tended to get rather complacent with Chemistry since it was considered as an 'easier' subject compared to the likes of Mathematics and even English A1. The remorse remains till today, and it serves as a great lesson for me to consider in the future - never take anything for granted, never rush when answering test questions, and overconfidence kills. You've done enough to us, so you can never blame yourself if our grades are not up to the level we've all anticipated; the blame is on us, the students. The Lordly force of the God, through the so-called fate and luck also plays its role, indeed.

I'm starting to miss IB, actually. Long holidays at home have really caused me to rot systematically! Therefore, I would really love to see you before I fly off to Melbourne. Maybe we can share a handshake or any student-teacher gesture that can be frozen into memories! If you've got time, feel free to visit my blog to drop off a comment or two! Good luck with your May '08 students, our juniors. Hope that their results are going to outshine ours! "

I wrote quite a long email for him, and here his reply is:

Melbor is a nice place....will read your blog...very interesting blog u have
Remember to behave and dont be naught....i am watching u guys from my lab
lawrence "

Cunningly short, wasn't it? I know I'm not his favourite student, so receiving a reply from him is enough to cast euphoria into me. I'm soo gonna behave in Melbourne since I know somebody (apart from God of course) is watching me from his laboratory!

Faizal Hamssin

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

A Happy Ending

I'm back, people! Obsolete. That's the best word to describe the degree of relevance of my blog after months of neglect, but here I am, coming up with a new post, a happy one.


Yeah, that's a good news that i'd like to share with everyone. The results were out this morning (i guess 1.30 am is considered morning already). The atmosphere was full of undescribable emotions, as IB students immersed themselves in the ritual of being nervous and comforting each other to prepare themselves for such an event of the universalis magnitude that was about to happen; the result announcement. I was trembling all night long, praying hard to the God that everything was gonna be alright. The moment of waiting for the result has certainly made us feel closer to the Lord, i believe, as we surrendered our souls for anything that might happen.

1.30 am = it's results' time!
when the result was published on the ibo website, boom! i got 39! i passed the Petronas' requirements! I will fly! The nervousness petered out as my soul was inundated with joy and the feelings of gratitude for being blessed to that extent; the joy of being able to continue working for my dream; the joy of being able to go to a distant land (i know Australia is not 'that' far okay), the joy of having my hardwork paid off. I was thankful. Here my results are;

Phy-7, Chem-6, Maths-6, Bus-7, EngA1-6,French-6, TOK/EE-1
TOTAL = 39

I wasn't really happy with my Chem (sorry mr. Lawrence, i didn't get that seven, i turned you down), but my six in EngA1 did gladden me actually. In general, the overall result I've obtained does give me the wings and feathers needed for me to fly, and I am deeply thankful for this fact.

To my family, thanks for praying for me. To my friends, thanks for being with me.

To my teachers, thank you so much for your teachings and guidance. Thank you, Mr.Lawrence, Mr.Saimun, Mr.Masukor, Mr.JG, Mr. Pang, Mr.Azhar, Mr. Dass, Mr. Albert, Mr. Oliver, Mr.Shaw, Mr.Ong, Dr.Reed, and the list goes on and on. Thank you for everything.

To my friends who made it, congratulations. Congratulations Khairul and Siang Hang for getting 43. We're all proud of you. Yvonne, Winson, Jonmah and Amirul. Congratulations for having breached that 40 barrier. You guys deserve it.

To my friends who didn't make it, I am not in a position to tell you not to be sad or anything. Only you guys know what the feeling is not to make it, but one thing is for sure; God is fair and just. You guys have good hearts, and God has another plan, a better plan in store for all of you. Your efforts are not in vain. Trust me.

Australia, here i come!

Faizal Hamssin