Tuesday, 16 November 2010

The Homecoming Pathos

The homecoming pathos.

Heart was all excited to reach the land it sorely missed. As the figure got off the plane in what seemed to be one of the most architecturally-intriguing airports in the region (and the world), his expectations ran high. He thought that he'd finally feel at home as he walked through the place, having his olfactory sense rekindled with the scent of familiarity. His heart beamed with pride.

Then he went through the customs and layers of bureaucracy, who lacked the courtesy he was accustomed to having his culture traditionally associated with. With the rather strenuous-looking faces (the eyes could tell) the airport staff just showed how dispassionate they were with their job. That they were simply stuck into doing what they're doing as part of their constant cycle of survival. The constant juggle between living life and surviving it; the latter would normally predominate. The visibly underpaid cleaning ladies (all but few of them seemed to be of Malaysian Indian descent), with their hardship-spelling premature wrinkles did the cleaning of such a futuristic-looking arrival hall with the most primitive tool one could find (hay broom), igniting a complex sense of irony. A pair of information counter staff had a casual chat over the the recent gossips and goings, and the electronic kiosks that were supposed to fill in the void left by the dis-functionality of the manned information counter came with the "NOT IN SERVICE" sign. This happened while the well-heeled customers did what they do best- shopping in the many duty-free stores, showing the economic stature of a nation's thriving middle class. Tens of gentlemen on Air Nepal arrived in the airport with their drab clothing and very rudimentary (or zero) English and had their 'tourist' visas checked by the seemingly indifferent immigration officers.

Beyond all these, KLIA is still an amazing airport.

This is the country with irony and juxtaposition. Neither here nor there. Now I don't think that I understand my home country more than the other countries the world, for my experience of spending my hour and a half people-watching in KLIA just unfolds more of the mystery that surrounds this country in a transition. KLIA is an edifice that represents what the country is trying to achieve in the future and the subtle, systemic failure that might impede it all. A barometer of what works and what doesn't in Malaysia.

Faizal Hamssin

Post-Exams Blabbery.

The cumulative 10 hours of double flights and a seemingly-endless transit in KLIA later, here I am. Bintulu. Home. Yay!

Summer break's started, and I am personally starting the break with some very good vibes. Many plans are already on the radar, and I think I did pretty well for the finals last week. It is a complete reversal from the 'gosh-I-know-I'm-gonna-flop' feeling I had the moment I finished my papers for the previous sem. And you know how massively underwhelming my results were for that sem (thank goodness I still managed to pass all papers, though). This time around, no massive flops are predicted (or foreseen), and this gives me a peace of mind.

Good luck to those whose timetable's not kind enough as mine (aka those whose papers are a wee-bit 'too' well-spaced). Trust me, a holiday too long can actually be uncool sometimes, so no rush people. Focus on what you need to do and ace them all like a pro!

Faizal Hamssin

Tuesday, 21 September 2010


The disproportionately-high number of my friends born in September never fails to amaze me. Having thought a wee bit deeper, these are the ones conceived around Christmas and New Year's Eve. And yes, that's the deepest I'd go :p

Emi's Birthday

Aggie's Birthday!

And the inevitable 'press conference' moment fit for a diva of Aggie's calibre:

Too bad I didn't bring my camera to every single birthday celebration I went to. There could've been more birthdays covered if that was so.

My birthday's in around a month's time, so friends, take note, okay :p

My new obsession: Lindt Cafe's Macaroons!

I'm such a late bloomer. How could I not discover the place earlier. It's been there, on Collin's Street for nearly a year already.

Happy Birthday, people. "May you live to see one hundred autumns, may you overcome all ills, and may your life be filled with love, joy, and good fortune." (said by Dorje in 'Falling To Heaven')

Faizal Hamssin

Faizal Hamssin

Friday, 17 September 2010

Number 101

It's post #101 baby! Yay. I'm glad that my blog is still alive, after having gone through cycles of death and subsequent rejuvenation time and again. It's been 3 years, people!

Random Picture Of The Day:
#1 fARTS CENTRE ftw!

You should now know why I sometimes, guiltily and knowingly, love Melbourne Uni's vandals.

By the way, have fun in Malaysia, Leena, Syazree and Faiz. Amira too! I want me some (authentic) Malaysian food. Have mercy on my easily-envious mind, people. Not to mention the joy of celebrating Syawal at home. Kinda late a celebration, of course, but still...

I'm finally getting the break I totally need. 2 weeks of sleeping in. And yes, I've got heaps of books to read over the break. Gonna do it in my bed with the stereo blasting some fine tunes. My way. Heavenly bliss.

O Spring, be warm s'il vous plait?

Faizal Hamssin

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Thoughts On 9/11 And Burn A Quran Day

I still remember that on the faithful day of Sept 11, 2001, my parents and I congregated near the TV and spent the evening watching TV (of course, duh) and suddenly an urgent news report took the current show to a halt to announce that one of the WTC Towers was hit by a passenger plane (presumably massive), causing damage and a fire that was (also presumed) to not be of too significant a hazard. We thought that that was it, until the second plane came to hit the other tower, insinuating the event to not have actually been an accident. More than 3000 office-workers, who innocently went to work thinking that it would actually be another working day that would run and end normally, died as the towers that was a symbol of power and modern economy in general, crumbled. Being a 12-year-old boy at that time, I was pretty curious of what actually happened, but little did I know of the power it actually had in moulding the history of the Naughties as we know it.

Few events manages to compare to the crumbling of the towers when it comes to the implications it had to the global geopolitics. While Kristallnacht heralded full-fledged Holocaust in parts of Continental Europe, 9/11 brought along a sense of enmity towards Muslims, whose faith was alleged as an impediment to peace.

Let's face it; terrorism IS deplorable. Religions and holy scriptures of any kind, if interpreted properly, do not condone any act of atrocity, 9/11 included. Therefore, while the 'Burn A Quran Day' idea can be said to have stemmed from bigotry, insensitivity and evil intention, it also gives Muslims around the world a chance to reflect at what they have done wrong to the world to have given rise to such hatred and Islamophobia.

It's a shame that some Muslims use Islam to justify terrorism. They claim that it's what God, through His scripture, has ordered them to do. This certainly contradicts the Islamic principle of not using ends to justify the means. Since Islam strictly prohibits the killing of women and children and the destruction of the places of worship, livestock, properties and even trees, it can be said with intense surety and ease that the religion itself is not of any harm to mankind.

“…take not life, which God hath made sacred, except by way of justice and law: thus doth He command you, that ye may learn wisdom.” 6:151

So, where does the problem lie, actually?

While Islam, in its own right, advocates peace, it is disheartening to note that some, who proclaim themselves as Muslim, do not follow what the religion preaches. They defy their religious order and commit terror. It is even more disheartening for many to use the example of a this type of Muslims, who have clearly transgressed as they choose to spread violence, as indicative of what Islam is actually all about. It's like saying that the Mexicans are all involved in drug cartels and all South Africans, whose country has a relatively high homicide rate, are murderers. Generalization at its glory.

Therefore, since burning items always sends powerful message to the society (back then, smoke was used as a place-mark or something), let's burn something then. Something we rightfully deplore. Something that deserves to be deplored. Since obesity is such a problem in many parts of the world, especially in the land of KFCs and Drive-Thru's, let's mark 9/11 as a 'Burn-Your-Calorie Day'. Or if your house smells like open sewer, you can light some aromatherapy candles (and subsequently burn it out) to make your olfactory sense (and self) a wee bit happier. Or if you hate the tacky pop songs that currently inundate our pop radios, you can always have a ''Burn A Bieber CD Day". Something like that.

Even if you despise the Islamic teachings to the core, there's no point in burning a Quran on the day, either. To burn a Quran, you have to buy it first. The printed Qurans just don't fall straight from the sky. So yes, you have to go to a bookstore and spend your dollars getting a copy. By spending those dollars you are helping the Islamic publishing companies to be a few dollars more profitable, and the struggling ones will finally be kept afloat. Just imagine, if ten thousand people just feel the need to burn ten thousand copies of Quran, the publishing companies will end up earning at least USD100,000 extra (with the approximate profit of USD10 per copy). With the money, they can surely publish more quality Islamic materials and print more copies of Quran in the future. It's simple economics, people!

So, if you think that burning a Quran just makes you look plain stupid, or if you seek answers for some questions you think no other book seems capable of answering, just take your time and read Quran. And if you think that a dose of divine revelation doesn't hurt, have a peek at the following Quranic verses:

"And do not let ill-will towards any folk incite you so that you swerve from dealing justly. Be just; that is nearest to heedfulness" 5:8

And this:
“…if any one slew a person - unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land - it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people.” 5:32

Yes, 9/11's a tragedy. The towers that fell were not just simple edifice; they acted as a symbol of globalization and modern economic principles and values. The destruction of the towers not only drove thousands to their death. It also pulled millions into bigotry. The latter was what the terrorists wanted to achieve by any means. For with bigotry and hatred, the civilization will be led to ruination and people will never know peace.

Faizal Hamssin

Happy Eid!

Happy Eid Selamat Hari Raya Aidlifitri Bon Eid

To all of you.

May you all be blessed with a year of joy, happiness and peace of mind. May you live to see 150 more Rayas! Sounds too good to be true, I know, but well, wishes on festivities are always saccharine-sweet and bombast-filled, anyway.

Happy Melburnians on Eid. Nothing beats an Eid with my family back home, though. So, for those with the privilege of celebrating Eid, or any other important occasions (Christmas/Chinese New Year/Deepavali/Gawai/Wesak/Hanukkah/etc) with your family at home, count your blessing!

Faizal Hamssin

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Baby Dumping And The Society In Complicity

A rather serious article here. Can't help it =p

The issue of baby dumping in Malaysia has recently been brought to the forefront by the media, no thanks to the drastic increase in the number of abandoned babies found not monthly or weekly, but daily. As much as the barbaric action needs to be deplored as it deprives the babies their very right to survive and live, it is totally wrong to put the total blame towards the 'dumper'.

The Malaysian society, especially the Malays, is known for its relative religiosity. Islam, for example, has been one of the elements that shape the Malay culture and its societal values, for example. This is made even more apparent by the advent of political Islam, that seems to have taken a pivotal spot in the country's decision-making and its policies.

At the same time, the Malay people have undergone through phases of Islamization. (Many of the) Things that go against the tenets of the religion appear are viewed with contempt or at least discouraged in the public sphere, at least. More and more Malay families try to appear more religious to garner more respect and survive in a incorrigibly-judgmental society. Religion is followed as a daily chore, rather than a spiritual means for self and societal betterment, and of course, pre-marital sex is considered a taboo. While abstinence is conceptually good, the delusional thought of every single unmarried member of the society is born to achieve total premarital abstinence, totally ignores the non-uniformity of one's belief and approach in life. This view, of course, is bound to produce some disastrous repercussions.

Talking about the non-uniformity of one's conformation to his religious belief should bring us back to the issue of the traditional approach many Malays take with regards to Islam. Since the practice of the religion is considered by many as their 'daily chore', which are done for the sake of 'doing it', duality when it comes to their adherence to their religion is inevitably present. This particular 'duality' in adherence makes it natural for them to live double lives. Many may seem to be pious and religious to please the society's expectations on them, but beyond the watchful eyes of the myopic religious enforcement officers, for example, some of them have a totally different approach to Life, in general. This includes their views on things that are considered as blasphemous in Islam, which, of course, include premarital sex. Here, in their private world, the teenagers learn about sex from their friends, but unfortunately, the information they obtain on this is naturally bound to mislead them further. Their miseducation by the dubious materials and sources from their friends and the internet leads to them being totally ignorant (or innocent) when it comes to the importance of practicing safe sex. Abstinence is totally out of the equation here, of course.

To make matters worse, the society continues to deny the aforementioned reality nowadays and parents are still stuck in the 'trap' of continual deception that their kids are better off not knowing anything about sex before they get married. They are in denial that if the kids don't receive a proper sex education formally or from them, the kids will always have their 'informal' source that provides them with some harmfully misleading information on sex. Let's face it, teenagers are inquisitive, and impressionable at the same time. They tend to trust whatever they read or hear, and if the parents and teachers don't preemptively educate them of the real way of averting premarital pregnancy, there's always an alternative source for such information.

While religious education is always championed as the way of nipping the social ills off the buds, it only works to a certain extent. Religious education has been a compulsory part of Malaysia's education system for many years already, and everyone knows that a Muslim is required by their religion to, for example, cover up, socialize the Islamic way and of course, avoid premarital sex, or anything that leads to it at any cost. That's what I learned throughout the 11 years of my formal education in Malaysia. The Ustazs/Ustazahs would give counseling to students who didn't seem to show a strong Islamic credence through the dresses they wore or the degree of their religious adherence. It all led to a lot of my female friends wearing tudungs (headscarves) at school and abandoning them altogether once they left the school compound. Of course, they are aware of their religious obligation to cover up, but once they're in control of their own destiny, they're in control of what they wear too, of course.

So, the Malaysian youngsters already know about their religion's view towards premarital sex, and they, of course, have the capacity to either do it or avoid it behind the closed doors and away from the preying eyes of the society. This shows that one's personal religious view is not something that the schools, government, or religious bodies can control.

Therefore, the society needs to stop being delusional and be ready to admit the failure of the present way of educating the youngsters. If they want to have sex, they will have it anyway. You can raid the parks, and they'll do it in the bush. You can raid the bush, and they'll do it in their rooms. You can raid their rooms, and they'll do it in the palm oil estates and whatnot. The possibility for these youngsters to indulge in premarital sex is endless, and conducting endless raids and promoting overzealous vigilance will always be in vain. Futile.

That's why a proper sex education is imperative. Make sure the youngsters know that sex comes with a risk. Tell them that making love without protection is similar to making babies.
The youngsters involved already know that it increases the chance of them being banished into hell for eternity, for this is a tale they've been hearing a million times to no effect to their actions. Perhaps the government and religious teachers can work on revamping the limp and seemingly lifeless religious and moral education in our schools.

The society also needs to stop holding uncompounded prejudice toward the out-of-wedlock mothers. Most of the baby dumping cases are caused by the mother's panic and anxiety, and her irresponsible sexual partner who refuses to chip in the responsibility of raising the baby. Therefore, the society should, instead of aggravating the grim fate of the women involved, be more supportive. The family members need to form a strong, coherent support system to help the rather-unfortunate new mother raise her baby. The current double standard of blaming the mother-uber-alles should stop.

People make mistakes. Nobody's perfect. Instead of lamenting others for the mistakes they've done, we should reflect and be humbled by the mistakes that we, knowingly or unknowingly, have committed at various points in our Life.

Babies and Life, in general are the miracles of our Universe. Babies come with full responsibility. Feed them, treat them with love and care, raise them the good way, and these unwanted babies may turn out into the most 'wanted' leader of our future. 'Wanted' in a good, prized way, of course.

Faizal Hamssin

Raya What?

Hectic, hectic weeks (this and the next). I have:

1) Field Mapping and Sedimentary Geology Prac Exam (30%) this Thursday
2) Intermediate Macroeconomics Assignment #1 (12.5%) due next Wednesday
3) Biochemical Regulations and Cell Functions Midsem (10%) next Thursday.

My progress with (2) has so far been zero. nil. There goes my 'Raya' weekend!

RAYA will fall on Friday (most probably), and I'm gonna celebrate it in the Uni, of course. Too bad there's no such thing as 'Raya Holidays' here. I think of wearing my full raya costume to the morning classes, however.

To the peeps studying/working in Malaysia, be extra thankful for you will have a full, proper Raya. Something I've been deprived of and somewhat miss.

Faizal Hamssin

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Food (Not) For Thought

If this doesn't look fattening enough, tell me what's fattening food's supposed to look like.

Food for Iftar:

Not to mention my heavier-than-Iftar Sahurs!

But well, it's always good to be in a situation when gaining a few kilos won't hurt one much. You gotta envy me now.

Have a blessed final week of Ramadhan, people. Fill it up with love, piety and kindness, will you?

From us Petrovic peeps =)

Faizal Hamssin

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

7 Things

31st August is not the birthday of Malaysia. It is the birthday of Malaya, and historical facts, with the truth and supposed impartiality that they hold, are not something that we be change. Malaysia was born on September 13, 1963.

However, since Malaya formed the foundation of the modern Malaysia as we see today, it can be said that Malaysia gained its independence in 1957. Therefore, the date is more appropriately referred to as Merdeka or Independence Day, but not Malaysia Day, since the concept of Malaysia as an entity was truly alien prior to 1963.

Having said that, HAPPY 53rd INDEPENDENCE DAY, Malaysia! "Happy Birthday, Malaysia" will have to wait for another 2 weeks.

Talking about our country, let's list down the things we hate and love about it. Let me begin with the positive things about the nation I call home;

1) Malaysian Food. No one can ever deny the power of Malaysian food in winning one's heart. It is an infusion of different styles of cooking, so basically we've got the best Asia has to offer. If you can't value Malaysian food gastronomically, try valuing it in an economic sense; Malaysian cities/towns/kampungs are teeming with restaurants that offer dirt-cheap food. And the Mamak restaurants are even open 24/7, making them an excellent place for the youngsters to hang out after pulling an all-nighter (studying or oh well...). Halal food's everywhere, and our KFC should be the best in the world. It's just great!

2) The massive malls! Yes, they are massive! My Bintulu has not been graced by the big malls yet (well, it's a tiny 'city' after all), but KL is full of big-arsed malls, which normally have everything. These malls can also be found near the city centre; Melbourne has some big malls, but they're normally located in the suburbs, which is sad for the 'inner-city' folks like moi!


3) Manglish! Well, we're living in a melting pot, anyway, so the language also needs to be rojak-ed, kan?

4) The strong, family-first culture of its people. I feel blessed that I'm born a Malaysian. As much as I admire much of the Western culture, (they are mostly good, minus certain things) I just don't fancy their family values. The kids seem somewhat disjointed from their parents. They're normally repelled to the idea of sharing things about their lives to their parents and seeking advice from them. Well, I don't share everything with my parents either (doing so may seem a little absurd, of course) but sometimes their advice is what I need when I'm faced with certain life situations.

5) While the level of English proficiency among the Malaysians nowadays seems to have gone through a tragic from-hero-to-zero-esque mutation compared to what it was in the 1970s, we're still very much a British-influenced nation, linguistically. Businesses are mainly done in English, and I don't have to struggle the way the others (Cambodians or Vietnamese, anyone?) do when it comes to communicating with the global community and settling down in an Anglophone country; the foundation is already there.

6) We have cheap flights to everywhere. Air Asia, anyone?

7) The most important thing about Malaysia: my family and many of my friends are there! I grew up there, I've spent most of my lifetime there, and my whole family is there. There's no home without a family, so that practically explains why Melbourne still doesn't feel like home, regardless of the good things they have to offer here!

Let's face it. Malaysia, even when seen from the best angle, has its weaknesses too.

1) The people. While the Asians are famed for their friendliness and warmth, there is something wrong with the Malaysian's 'mindset'. While Malaysians are generally able to tolerate racial and religious differences (the tolerance seems to currently be eroding, however), we've difficulties to 'embrace' differences. The Malaysians nowadays are more polarized than ever. I remember, back in high school, one of my Malay friends told me that we're not supposed to even have a drink (even skyjuice) at a non-Muslim's home. I asked him why and he's like, "Oh well, the kettle may have been cross-contaminated with something of porcine origin (pork)". I was like, "What the hell?. Who, in their right mind, would actually cook their meat in the kettle?" It was sheer paranoia and stupidity to put it that way, and I'm being kind with my words here. So yes, there's racism and a degree of religious paranoia going on across the country; rural and urban.

2) The politicians (many, but not all of them) have pea-sized brains in their heads. The ignorance of the masses is seriously manipulated by these individuals who actually give them empty promise of 'better times ahead' and whatnot. And of course, their speeches are so uninspired and full of phoniness that they should be recorded for the prison inmates to hear repetitively as an instrument of torture.

3) Malaysian Ringgit is not really strong. It makes online shopping less fun!

4) The weather. It's too humid. I prefer milder, more temperate weather so I can have a walk in the park without having to sweat :)

5) The mindset. The tidak apa attitude. Our streets are littered with rubbish and the toilets so unacceptably dirty they're a joke. The cities are so pedestrian-unfriendly it's just unsafe to walk around on foot. The horrid public transportation system just makes driving and hailing cabs as the only options available to get around the sprawling towns and cities, if you value your time as a precious commodity. If the latter's what you have to choose, get ready to be ripped off by the taxi drivers!

6) The career choices in Malaysia are admittedly pretty limited. You've to choose a certain career to end up with a job. Forget about your dream to become a world-famous archaeologist, for example.

7) The kepoh mentality. People tend to assume and assume of things with the slightest evidence. Not that they care about the sin of putting off slanderous accusations on the innocents, anyway. Just read an issue of Harian Metro, and you'll see that there's such thing as 'sure-shot' when it comes to making big bucks in the tabloid business. You will surely see articles with babi, seks, bohsia, arak, murtad, and khalwat as their centerpiece. Who cares about Global Warming, anyway? The media is part of the process of mass-stupidization of the society. "Give them opium and the addiction will distract them from the real deal". Oh well, I guess we're not dealing with opium here but something worse.

But well, with all its imperfections in mind, Malaysia is still my home. It may currently be analogous to a house with gutted wallpaper, leaking ceiling and blocked toilets, but it's still home. I love Malaysia and I don't think I will emigrate.

Here's to a better Malaysia! God bless Malaysia!

p.s. I've done enough ranting to last me a long time, I guess. Bye for now!

Faizal Hamssin

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Anne Frank's Diary: The Afterthoughts

And the 2nd Post of the day is here!

I have just finished reading Anne Franks' "The Diary of a Young Girl"!

Trust me, it's a good read. Few books are able to actually inspire me more than this diary does, so I've decided to honor the book with a full-blown, rather lengthy review :)

To be completely honest, the first 50 pages of the diary bored me a little, since the first few entries were written when Anne Frank was yet to achieve the degree of emotional maturity, which would eventually give birth to a mind-blowing, philosophical read in the later entries of the diary. The diary was a witness of the girl's metamorphosis from an immature (and cheeky) yet innocent child who was simply a victim of the cruelty out of her cerebral reach into a full-blown humanist who viewed the world from a unique, revolutionary and decidedly rebellious angle. She painted the 'Secret Annexe'; which was the oasis of relative safety compared to the harsh WW2 environment of atrocity, which was the reality of the world outside the annex, very vividly with the detailed and at times, banal-sounding descriptions of their daily routines in hiding. While the banality of their daily routines is truly understandable, given the lives of secrecy they were living in hiding, this certainly didn't bar Anne from building her own world, which was even more liberating than the world outside where she could have been enjoying the warm, pleasant 1943 summer with the other teens her age, for example. She turned the seemingly-disastrous fate that the family had to live with in hiding into an opportunity for her inner emancipation from the common reality that plagued the other girls her age. While she herself lamented the pain of living in hiding, she spread her wing, fluttered, and eventually out-mature the adults who also sought refuge there. This, however, was not something that even her parents understood, and their view of Anne as a 'child', hence her deserving a treatment fitting for a child frustrated her greatly and caused her emotional pain. Interestingly, this very situation can also be applied to the way kids are raised nowadays. Does the current inertial education system, which advocates nearly 'universal' uniformity actually consider the differing level of maturity that the Annes of the world possess? Anne's refusal (and difficulty) to follow the way other girls her age in their behavior and outlook led to her being considered as the 'spoiled brat' of the Annexe, while the more conventionally-likable, less-rebellious Margot, was held as an example by her parents for her to emulate.

While the diary is full of the direct, dark and haunting descriptions of the daily chores that the Secret Annexe dwellers underwent, it is beaming with Anne's aspiration for the future. She, like the other girls her age, had a big dream of making difference to the world. Her favored way of achieving this was unconventional, however. She aimed to achieve this through her writing. She also painted the picture of gloom and melancholy, which were characteristic of the lives of the other Jewish 'outcasts' in hiding in a very optimistic manner. She wrote; "I want to be useful or give pleasure to people around me who yet don't really know me. I want to go on living even after my death!", and this was spot-on. The diary has truly become an embodiment of the suffering of the six million Jews and even the Gypsies of Europe who died out of human's bigotry and ignorance. While Hitler's Mein Kampf laid the foundation towards the the subsequent efforts to annihilate the Jews of the world, Anne's diary, which was actually intended as her "...great support of comfort and support" prevailed as a testament of human's capability of not only to survive, but to not die before their time. This serves as a classic example of the prevailing of good versus evil; the evil nature of human beings may result in all kinds of destruction, but it will never kill the inner spirit of faith and goodness that make human race special. This gives me hope that the current situation inflicting the people of the world will eventually end, and the good will surely reign supreme.

With this in mind, I truly hope that the oppressed in today's world (including the blockaded Gazans and displaced Palestinians who are currently in their millions, the substantial group of innocent Israelis who are the victim of the possible political greed and deception of those in power, the famished victims of the African still-existent Kleptocracies, and the list can go on forever) can be inspired to wade through their sufferings with a fresh spark of inner hope and courage. The world should also learn a lesson from Holocaust to simply get away with bigotry and racism, as these are the elements that are able to strip humans off their dignity and humanistic spirit. Who, in their right mind, would condone the massacre of millions of innocent lives? Don't forget that massacres still happened in parts of the world even after the Holocaust ended. Millions more collectively died in Cambodia, Rwanda, and Bosnia, to name a few. The waves of Islamophobia in the West and anti-Semitism in the Muslim countries just act as an ominous sign of the possibility of another atrocity of even bigger scale to happen in the future. When will people understand that not all Muslims are terrorists and not all Jews are actually involved in persecuting the Palestinians? Why can't we categorize humans as good/evil, and ignore the other classical classifications of people in accordance to their racial and religious background?

While many people blame religions as the main reason for the calamities we're experiencing in the world today, I believe that ignorance is the main element that that drives human civilizations on the path of self-destruction. There's this excellent piece that Anne Frank wrote a month prior to her capture and subsequent deportation to the 'Death Camp',

"People who are religious should be glad, since not everyone is blessed with the ability to believe in a higher order. You don't even have to live in fear if eternal punishment; the concept of purgatory, heaven and hell are difficult for many people to accept, yet religion itself, any religion, keeps a person on a right path. Not the fear of God, but upholding your own sense of honour and self-conscience. How noble and good everyone could be if, at the end of each day, they were to review their own behavior and weigh up the rights and wrongs. They would automatically try to do better at the start of each new day and, after a while, would certainly accomplish a great deal. Everyone is welcome to this prescription; it costs nothing and is definitely useful."

None of the Annexe occupants but Otto Frank (Anne's father) survived the war.

Millions are suffering today, and the cause of their misfortune is similar to Anne's; ignorance and bigotry.

Faizal Hamssin

...Of Friendships

In the phonies-infested world we dwell upon today, pure friendships are so elusive that being reclusive is just not as absurd a choice anymore. Having seen and experienced the ups and downs in friendships, I have cringed at the thought of possible betrayals that may result from taking the trust element of friendship to a too high a level. However, with the thought of the risk friendships inflict on me guarding my conscience, there is still no way I can actually strip myself off the needs for companionship. The importance of friendship, whilst being totally normal and positive, can also be thought as potentially harmful as the value we put on it may somehow result into over-reliance. With this in mind, I still can't help being amiable. In fact, the side of me yearning and adoring unpretentious friendships seems to have grown recently.

These few months seem to have been fairly miserable to some of my friends, whose lives were plunged into a state of sheer frustration and disappointment due to the very cruel nature of life itself. There were break-ups here, and conflicts and estrangements there. Come on, people are bound to face problems at at least a stage of their lives, after all, but who can one turn to when the problems inflicted upon him just seem to be too hard to carry on his own? God will always be there, but, again, humans being humans, we tend to find comfort in tangible things we can directly see and hold. Who else can do that but family and friends? While family has been a great source of my personal comfort, it also crosses my mind that not everyone's equally blessed with the luxury of having a family that understands one inside out.

Having been aware of this very role (as an unpaid psychiatrist/counselor) that a friend can't afford not to play, I have done my bits to help them out in some ways. I have tried to listen to their problems, and I have given my advice on the matter I sometimes don't even have any experience in handling. I have this ability to think rationally and give some excellent advice to my friends in trouble, I believe, and I feel compelled to at least make them feel better.

Today's their bad day. God knows when will my time come. And I need you all by my side when that happens. It's all about karma; I'm trying my best to emotionally comfort you guys, and I expect such assistance to be there, come the time I truly need it. Expecting this to happen involves risk, but if friendship's always as sweet as it is now, I don't mind. Cause I believe in the existence of genuine friendships in this world of betrayal and selfishness. And I'm blessed to have a few (one, two,or three I guess) who I can truly count on.

Faizal Hamssin

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

The Return (a brief one)

A brief one, unfortunately. So, the 3rd Semester result's already out, and guess what? I passed. Without the flying colors or whatnot. Well, that's not that exciting a news, anyway. The result was pretty lackluster, I'd say, but considering the rollercoaster ride I had throughout the past semester, it's not a let-down. Not many people actually know how hard I worked throughout the last semester, so at least I know I did my very best (not 'very', maybe, but 3-quarter-best, instead) to make the best out of what I had. Maybe Inter Micro deserves an exception here; I indeed did most of the stuff last-minute, and I know I could've scored much better in the subject, had I worked a wee-bit harder.

But at least I'm proud to announce that I've, indeed, survived that first half of my uni life. Thinking about this gives me a weird feeling actually, knowing that I still feel that I'm pretty new to Melbourne. I'm just starting to love my life here very much; I'm not homesick as often this year. Therefore, the prospect of me having graduated by the end of next year just seems out of place right now. I just can't imagine having to get back to Malaysia, leaving my carefree student life here for a more challenging working life. Will I actually do half as well as a working, career-building adult than I am as a student? I know I've done pretty well as a student, with an academic record that I can honestly be proud of, but the situation will be totally different in 2012, from which my working life will have started. I'll need to start from scratch, and it's not gonna be an easy a task, of course.

Well, I guess I should stop being bothered by these thoughts; I should be a little more optimistic, after all. I should just enjoy what my life here in Melbourne, before it ends. Making memories and living the moment.

By the way, Badriah's graduating quite soon. Well, I'm gonna miss her, really. So do the other graduating seniors!

Faizal Hamssin

Sunday, 30 May 2010

The Ringgitisation of Happiness

Yes, happiness comes at a cost. It has always been of my keen interest to know the reason behind some people's satisfaction with the least they possess in their life. Being a whiny (and slightly ungrateful) person as I am, I just want to know what's actually behind everything I've been doing all this while. I have a goal of having this and achieving that in my life, and anything less rosy or fulfilling will surely be considered as a symbol of abject failure, a reason for unhappiness. I have a high level of expectation for what's forthcoming; I want things to evolve the way I want it to be. Anything perceived as expensive, stylish, and flashy is worshiped.

This, I believe, does not just happen to me. It basically happens to everyone else who's unlucky enough to be exposed to all the perceived good things in their life; hence their high expectations. To make matters worse, perceptions are transient, thus the society will keep on being enslaved to their ideals of a 'good life'.

While I'm working really hard to increase my relevance in the modern society (working on a good uni degree, for example), it glares me that many of the so-called unfortunates can never dream of getting a good education, nor will they be able to be trained to survive in the modern world. Having surrendered to their 'fate' of mediocrity, they truly accept anything that comes by in the future, as long as their sustenance is kept. They have a simpler approach to their lives; living is about living the day you breathe presently, it's not about sacrificing life as it is now for the sake of a better prospect in the future.

As stagnant as monotonous their lives as we see them, there's one thing that's most interesting about them that I find difficult to fathom; they are happy and content with their lives.

How can they be so? Well, happiness has never been (and will never be) tangible, but it has been found that people who live in poorer countries with less opportunities for personal advancement tend to be happier than those who are blessed enough to be born in more prosperous countries. Countries like Bhutan, Guatemala and Jamaica have happier populations than the more industrialized United States and European Countries. Even pessimistic Malaysians are happier than Australians, in general.

Thus, we should never feel an automatic sense of superiority when we see some kampung kids running around half-naked around their village filled with small houses with gutted roofs, since they may even be happier than most of us. And there are always classic tales of people who seem to have everything (fame and fortune) but end up taking their own lives due to their unhappiness within.

Therefore, while material possessions are important, our general perception on monetary wealth as a sole force that brings happiness to an individual may need to be revamped to eventually include other factors as well.

Faizal Hamssin

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Of Rationality.

Sorry blog, I seem to have ditched you in favour of Twitter. But here the new post goes :)

I normally write some random stuff here. These may include the slightest elements of our everyday's life that I actually view (or try to view) from some different perspectives to actually give the typicality a different facet. But now, let's get back to some obvious things.

Let's get serious.

Malaysians LOVE to grumble about their country. Malaysians complain a lot.

Malaysians are generally ashamed not to thrash their own country. This is what I see. Clearly.

Yes, we have to admit that we're partially justified in feeling so. We're not wealthy enough to be at the same tier with the Eurozone economies. Even Greece is wealthier than us. We're not efficient enough to be Japan. Our cities are not clean enough like our uber-organized neighbor across the causeway.

However, saying things out rationally and putting out emotional hyperbolic gibberish are two different things. And it has, sadly, been a trend among Malaysians to do the latter. It is just a trend nowadays; if you are satisfied and happy with your country you're actually closer to being labelled 'skema' (boring) and even 'kampung' (outdated). Let's face it, youngsters want to be cool (or at least appear cool).

There are the things that my Malaysian peers always say when it comes to the country. The immaturity of these arguments, are so emotionally, not rationally-moulded that I feel compelled to comment on them, based on the relevant and internationally-recognized statistics and tangible facts.

This should be one of them:

Malaysia should be the most corrupt nation in the world. Our corruption is even worse than that of Zimbabwe, lah!

Fact: Malaysia was ranked at #56 in 2009, and its Corruption Perception Index (CPI) point fell from 5.2 in 2003 to 4.5 last year, which denoted an increasing level of corruption in the country throughout the mentioned period. Zimbabwe was ranked at #146 with a CPI of 2.2. Therefore, it's silly to compare Malaysia to a economically-struggling Sub Saharan country. Let's compare Malaysia to the countries of nearly similar level of economic development. Turkey, Argentina, Mexico and South Africa are ranked at 55, 106, 61, 89, respectively. These countries have nearly similar per-capita GDP as compared to ours, and the corruption level in their countries is either higher, a little lower, or equal to that of ours. Some developed countries, like Italy (#63), Greece (#71) suffered from an even higher level of corruption. It is also a common knowledge among the analysts that corruption is more likely to be rampant in poorer countries, so based on this very thought, it is safe to say that we are not doing TOO bad when it comes to containing corruption in our country. We're certainly not the most corrupt country in the world, but this doesn't mean that we should stop working hard to fight corruption, which is still prevalent in the society. Just look up to Malaysian Insider and you'll find new corruption scandals being reported on a daily basis, which is good, since it's our societal responsibility to report, anyway. We should work on fixing the loopholes we may have in our system or whatever (I'm not good in giving advice on governance, anyway) but please people, stop grumbling like we're doomed. As in really doomed and done.

That's just a chip off the old block.

Talking from a different dimension, I personally grumble, and I whine about the country often too. Well, with the very fabric of our country being threatened by so many uncertainties-arousing occurrences, doing so is just irresistible. We have an distinct form of puritanism emerging in our country currently; there are voices that demand for a superior, special treatment to be given to their people regardless of the facts that they're also made of the same flesh and bone as their counterparts'. This very group of individuals use the pretext of 'protecting Islam' to justify their hybrid of racism while ignoring the fact that the different races are of Allah's creations; not that Allah's gonna be bothered by your skin colour or the 'keris' tucked in your 'samping' - it's your heart that matters the most, and the good legacy that you've left to humanity even after you died. And there's another group of people who are so preoccupied with their 'job' of peeping people in their private space to gain a sort of satisfaction from doing that, from which they also earn their living. They totally paint a negative image on what is supposed to be a beauty of their own religion. They will then do what they do best; being rude to the so-called moral offenders and the Malaysian tabloids will go on with a sauced-up version of what happened 'last night'. These are all done while Nurin's murderer are roaming around, probably looking for another victim. But at least Nurin went straight to heaven, for her innocent soul had no impurity.

p.s I looooove this one. Enjoy :)

Faizal Hamssin

Monday, 1 March 2010

The air was crispy and cool...

The air was crispy and cool. The autumn air seemed to have started to seep into the air that was nicely warmed by a generous, yet non-overwhelming amount of sunlight. Seagulls had a feast on the ground, and people were everywhere around me. I sat at a table with my company, having a chat on things that mattered but didn't normally show up in a cloudy, hectic mind. There was food on the table, the muffin was good, the coffee was great, and the salad was awesome. There was a mind clear of worry; a mind as crystal-clear as morning dew, sensationally tranquilized by the gladdening imperfection of the surrounding. The place was unbelievably teeming with lives, the real living creatures, not the ones who enslaved themselves for the cause of chasing the mirage of material so-called 'well-being'. Had there been these slaves around the place, the face would glow a different glow; a darker, hollow complexion with a limp, lifeless smile simply stamped on it.

When you have all these, forget about the rat race, forget about the things that make your world one heck of an F1 circuit with the pursuit for the rights for pomposity and glowing pride rules. Forget about the things that normally matter, because they are just unimportant; overwhelming but painfully tenuous. Forget about everything, because the real life is for the living.

I can live like this forever - I wish I can.

Faizal Hamssin

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Of A New Eye and An Extra Pair of Feet

I passed my driving lesson. Yay! ;)

I'm a late bloomer, I know that. But then, late is better than never. At least the dark days of me not knowing to drive have been put to an end. I can't wait to get my license done on Thursday so I can straightaway grab Mamak's car and drive around Bintulu.

Yes, Bintulu. It's a perfect place for new drivers to get accustomed to roads. The traffic is mild, and the worst gridlock ever would have to be a "nerve-pinching" line that took 3 minutes to disperse. That's it.

Having passed the driving test and spent quite a lot of time with my family, I can safely say that my holidays don't seem to end as an idle 3-month sojourn. This is said amidst the reality that I've been sleeping from 4 till 12 every night(or should I say morning instead?) throughout the holidays.

I'm happy.

Talking about happiness, I've just got a new digital camera. Yay! I'd been camera-deprived since I mysteriously lost my previous one on one of Melbourne's trams. I'm split between the two theories of its loss;
1) I might've dropped it on the tram.
2) Someone picked it. Melbourne is generally safe, but sometimes you can't deny that there can be snakes hiding in the bush. The tram was very crowded when I lost it, and I was preoccupied with my conversation with Effa and Sasha to really keep my eyes on my possessions (They came all the way from KL to spend a few days with me in Melbourne. Bless them).

Forget about it.

My new camera ain't something really expensive or anything. It's just decent I'd say. 10.1 Megapixels. Sony. With the drama of losing a few stuff last year, I know I don't deserve anything better for the time being.

These are some of the first shots I took using this camera. The photos were taken at home.

The seating area outside in its messy glory.

My brother was running around and he gave a weird cheeky pose in the dark TV area when I took this. Gosh. Why must he be this cute? :)

That is it. May all be good.

p.s. This is new and this is hot. The lyrics are deep. Check this out.

Faizal Hamssin

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Random Stuff

"Kedai Babi Berhawa Dingin". Ika drove me around and showed me the place. LOL I think it's funny. This is in Miri by the way.

On the other note, I was watching "Backtracks" on V when this video was played. I loved it instantly. The song had that very 90's vibe that I really liked. It somewhat reminded me of the darker "Frozen", which was also my favorite.

Faizal Hamssin

Friday, 1 January 2010

And a New Decade Is Finally Here.

Well Well Well. HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE! May all's well in 2010. Let us all make the 1st January a day not only for celebrations of sheer enjoyment, but a day when we're all determined to allow the new seeds of new, positive ideas and outlook on life to inseminate and grow. Let the 1st of January be the day when the bad blisters of the past are allowed to be instantly removed, just to have them replaced with the fresh skin of new spirit and new goals. Attainable goals, of course.

Having talked about attainable goals, here my new year resolutions go. 11 resolutions for the period of 2010-2011! Voila :)

11. I want to become a better cook. I need to become a better cook. I know I've improved tremendously in this respect since I started studying in Melbourne and living alone there, but still, it's not good enough. But then, learning to cook shouldn't be a big problem for me now since I have one of the best cooks in the world as my mom. She can teach me Cooking 101 anytime I feel like it this summer, so for now, determination is the only key. It's whether I want to learn it or not.

10. I want to go to the gym and be healthy! Yes, this needs to be in the resolution for sure! I'm gonna be 21 next year (gosh I feel old) and of course it'd be pathetic if I look 20 years older than my age. It's not that I'm gonna be young twice or thrice, so it'd be a shame if I just embrace old age, appearance-wise, 20 or 30 years prematurely.

9. I want to, at least, try to keep in touch with some old friends. Well, people say friendships are forever. I think they're all wrong. Friendships can easily wilt and die if the people involved are not making some efforts to keep them alive. There's no harm in resorting to some ego-crushing measures like saying hello occasionally to some sincere and true old friends to just show them that they're still parts of my life after all this while.

8. I want to spend my money more wisely after this. I guess I should not binge-shop whenever I have some cash in hand. Apart from that, I should cook more and spend less money on eating out. It's a glaring misstep that I spent too much of my money last year on eating out. I should start saving from now on; there are lots of things that I wanna do in 2010, so I certainly need dollars and cents to keep them all rolling!

7. I should update my blog more often! Yes, this is for sure. You know how much I treasure this blog. It's been here since 2007, and a lot of things have changed since then. Sometimes, when I feel like it, I'd go straight to this blog's archive and read whatever craps I wrote back in the day. Especially the posts that truly reflected the situation I was in back then; if there's such thing as a publicised diary, this blog truly fits the bill for me.

6. I should be more engaged with the community; I should realize that the world is like a jigsaw puzzle; everyone that's in it is inter-connected to each other. There's no room for selfish attitude in this world, and I know I can do much to help make the world a better place. I can start small; I can reduce the usage of plastic bags and make it a point to bring my Safeway shopping bag whenever I do my grocery shopping, for example. For this, I have to learn from Khairul. He's gone far in this respect, I'd have to say.

5. I have to look for a job! Yes, a job. I need it cos I love money. Who doesn't? However, the job I'll pick should not be too time-demanding, since I always put studies as my number one priority. I won't put my grades in jeopardy because of a few dollars some demanding jobs will bring.

4. I want to become a morally and spiritually better person. I don't have to elaborate further on this; let it be as private as it should be.

3. I want to score good grades consistently. Call me kiasu all you want, but a side of me always wants me to be on the top league academic-wise. Flopping in the exams has always been one of the last things that I want to happen in my life, so I'll make it a point to stay focussed on my studies and work hard and smart to maintain my grades. I surely want to graduate with a good degree, but that doesn't mean that I'll nerd my way to score straight H1s or any of its derivatives. I'll try to find the golden-ratio kind of balance in this sense.

2. I want to travel more! I need to. First spot, New Zealand! That's my goal for now. I'd also love to go to Tasmania, Gold Coast, and even Alice Springs. Anyone care to join? Anyway, a trip to Canada is very much on the radar; I want to travel around Canada and the States with Mary so bad! It is going to be fun, I know that, and that's why I need a money-making job so bad!

1. Let it be a secret only I know :)

Anyway, have you guys thought of the things that have certainly changed in the past 10 years? I can still vividly remember that 10 years ago, I was just a boy who was so passionate with my lego and world maps. Thinking about this makes me grateful to have chosen Geology, something that I really love. Something that's me.

Can you all imagine what's gonna happen in the next 10 years? Who will you become in 2020? What will the world be like at that time?

I pray for the best. I'm meek now but I have optimism at least.

Bonne annee tout le monde. Selamat tahun baru.

Faizal Hamssin