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