Category Archives: Sunday

Notts So Autumn

It was the annual Nottingham Malaysian Games again and this year I came to play Batu Seremban. Lost in the quarterfinals and then ventured out for food which turned out to be a long, long time queuing. Gave up the prospect of standing in a stagnant line and went around meeting up with friends and a bit of frisbee.


The Malaysian Pancake Company was the most efficient stall around. There was a constantly long queue with the addition of customers but the line was kept moving with hot apam balik continuously being served. Encik Shahrel’s stall have expanded so much since the last year from 12 apam balik pans to (I’m guessing) 24 with 4/5 staffs as compared to just him and a student helper the previous year.

Apam Balik boss!

I heard of students queuing up for 2 hours to buy ayam percik. I gave it a miss as I couldn’t be bothered to stand for ages outside just for food. I visited another stall to say hi to my ex-classmates who were manning the stall and got nasi lemak instead.

The ladies prayer room turned social area in the evening when I went to do my prayers. It was so so noisy I muttered “Ya Allah, bisingnya” shortly before doing my prayers. People, have respect lah. There’s a long notice at the entrance reminding visitors the basic etiquette to observe when visiting places of worship. Nottingham campus is huge. Go fucking find another place to gossip please. God must have heard my laments as halfway through my prayer people started leaving. Still had to tell a group of people to hush before my second prayer though.

After my prayer two girls came in. I was a little unsure which direction to take to head to the sports centre and as one of them wore a Nottingham t-shirt I asked if they will be heading there so I can come with them. They haven’t had dinner so I waited with them and had a conversation.

God must love me as they had ayam percik and offered me some (I hardly ever resist free food). They got it complimentary from the makcik who were trying to clear the leftovers after the food stalls were closed (double wahooo!) and when I saw the size of a single serving, I think I know why they took ages to prepare.

Ayam percik long line theory : A single serving was a quarter roast chicken with rice. A quarter roast chicken takes approximately an hour to cook in a convection/electric oven. Possibly slightly more if cooked over coal outdoors. This would be fine if serving people in a restaurant where customers may come in at intervals. Logistical nightmare when you’re confronted with dozens of hungry students all coming in at the same time, also buying for their hungry friends.

[imagine ayampercik.jpg]


Rants on the First of Syawal

Aidilfitri celebration was so-so. Collection amount was pretty decent. I do feel a little tired from entertaining people all day long. I didn’t go anywhere apart from my atuk’s house. I had my fair share of pulut and rendang.

Nobody asked me when I will be getting married (thank God!) but several people jumped to conclusions when I posted up a picture of myself and my grandfather and I was wearing a headscarf in that shot. Made it clear that I have no intention yet to be fully covered and dashed hopes.

Repeated myself over and over again that I travel from Seremban to KL from Mondays to Fridays and that I work as an intern from Mondays to Fridays, therefore Mondays to Fridays are out of bounds for me to ‘lepak’ (hang out) unless prior arrangements have been made to sort out transport and, or sleepovers as it is VERY draining for me to inconvenience myself for the sake of hanging out. I travel daily by KTM and average total journey time is 4 hours in a day. Weekends are the short windows I have to zone out/reset/recharge/chill before I dive into the crazy weekdays.

Repeated myself over and over again that I will be repeating my second year. I failed 3 papers, one of which is a 12 credit whole year’s module. The examination board did not let me resit the failed papers, instead offered me to repeat the whole year, which means everything in second year over again, which I accepted.




As of late the words iftar, hijab, suhoor, eid have been making rounds with increasing frequency in my Malaysian social circles. Most of this come from undergraduates/fresh graduates who are or have studied abroad. In my opinion it would be natural to be using these vocabularies if one has been studying in a country where Arabic is the main spoken language. The crowd who made these terms a trend however, are mainly UK and US university students.

These vocabulary tid-bits are absorbed as the students mingle around with the Arabs, Pakistanis, Indians, and the rest of the multi-ethnic Muslim community abroad. The non-Malaysians making up the Muslim community utilise the Arabic term to describe the various acts of worships because either they are Arabs, or that they do not have terms in their mother tongue to describe it hence the borrowing of the Arabic terms. Malaysians on the other hand, have long since had our own terms in Bahasa Malaysia to match its Arabic origins.

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The above is a quick list of common terms you might stumble on a daily basis. If anyone has any terms that should go into this or words you suspect the result of Arabification or terms you don’t know and would like to know, let me know so I can build a modest vocabulary listing of it for fun 😉

Malaysia has always been a curry pot of culture and language. It’s okay to use terms from other languages interchangeably in conversation and writing. In the case of the vocabulary listing above where we already have our own term for it which depicts accurately the teachings in the Quran, I opt to preserve bits of our own culture and wish people Selamat Berpuasa, Selamat Berbuka Puasa, Selamat Bersahur, Selamat Melilit Tudung, Selamat Hari Raya.

There is no point to using Arabic terms simply to sound pious, God knows and understands everything everybodyin the whole wide world says and whisper, even in your hearts.

If you really want to copy the culture of Muslims in the UK or abroad, have a go at dates with cream. Seriously. That was how dates were served every time I go to the mosque for buka puasa when I spent my Ramadhan last year in UK.

A Dissection of My Writer’s Block

You know how the common advice is to “cheer up” when somebody sees somebody in a rather sad/foul/depressed disposition? I digress. To cheer up can only happen when any reason causing the unhappiness to the affected is overcome, otherwise you’re practicing ignorance. Ignorance is bliss, but to ignore a brewing problem is going to walk you into a dung pit.

I wrote so frequently in my first year, writing about almost anything from the routine of missing buses/trains to the icky job of cleaning the bathroom. Second year was so much more exciting but I found I couldn’t write or hesitant to write about my undertakings and the 92843753675923546 problems I was facing for the fear of hurting the people around me.

“Remember I’m a poet too Evie, I understand the power of words,” Ben to Evie in Driving Lessons (2006).

Similarly, I’m a writer. I understand the power of words.

My anonymity on this blog is somewhat compromised so even if I wrote about someone or something without referring to its name, who is part cause of my entire stress and frustration, given my apt descriptive writing readers who are in my immediate environment may make the connection almost instantly.

My current housemates and the ones in first year are not on my Facebook friends’ list and I told them nothing about my blog. I doubt knowing any bus drivers working in Bath.

I had in mind to create separate accounts for my social networking profiles and the blog but thought it would be a hassle.  I could barely remember all my username and passwords for different dozens of accounts and I’m reluctant to have them down in writing.

Writing has always been an exercise for me to relieve stress, so when I suppressed the urge to write a lot of the stress had nowhere to go – the hectic schedule gave less time to bake or visit the few people whom I put confidence in to tell about the situation I was in.

Mid-way of my second year I was pretty much mentally and emotionally drained. I practically lost the motivation to study the couple of weeks before exams began. People would have had the impression I was okay as I appear pretty relaxed most of the time and not very agitated, until I open my mouth and pour out my crisis.

The combination of stress, lack of practice, and not reading enough literature (engineering course material does not count) initiated the writer’s block. I took for granted that I was able to write almost anything and almost any given time, when my words wouldn’t flow I probably felt like a bird unable to fly. Or perhaps like an aeroplane grounded due to technical glitches.

My Notes During Projek Amanat Negara 2012

Projek Amanat Negara is an annual event organised by UKEC which brings together prominent figures in the Malaysian political, social, and entrepreneurial arena to London for an ‘intellectual discourse’. I have spent a bit too long exchanging opinions across Facebook walls today so I am only putting up a copy of the scribbling I did during the event for now. Pen and notebook in one hand, mobile phone in the other live tweeting updates, so there are some bits I missed out writing. Will put up a selected list of my tweets in a separate post.

The event was on the weekend right after my exams. By Monday I was really exhausted. Syawal Hafriz is the Chairman of UKEC, Dato’ Sri Zakaria Sulong; Malaysian High Commissioner, Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz; Chairman of AirAsia X.

I started writing the points in linear format, but after seeing Shanon Shah (who sat next to me) noting the details in mind maps, I took cue.

The top page was the end of  my note-taking for Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz’s speech. The following is the Human Rights session, moderated by Melissa Kong. The speakers for the session was Dato’ Yunus Raiss; a former Magistrate at West London Court, Pang Khee Teik; a founding member of Sexuality Merdeka, and Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir; former chairperson of the Malaysian AIDS Foundation and an active women’s rights activist. Dato’ Yunus Raiss gave hand outs listing expression and ideas for possible questions (will share that in another post). I thought he was the only one relevant to the topic of human rights. The other two on the panel went passionate with gay rights and feminism blah blah blah.

Next was Religion : Islam in Malaysia which I personally thought was the best session ever. On the panel, Karim Raslan; a lawyer, Zainah Anwar; founding member of Sisters in Islam, Dr. Haji Dzulkefly Ahmad; PAS strongman,  Dr. Carool Kersten; historian of religion and Islamicist. Dr. Zulkefly and Zainah Anwar had completely opposite and highly contrasting views, yet throughout the duration of discussion everybody expressed their opinions in a very civil manner and debated using relevant points.

The last session was the debate between Khairy Jamaluddin and Rafizi Ramli “Public Policy : Vision 2020: Is Malaysia Moving Towards the Right Direction?” At this point I stopped writing altogether and was tweeting points most of the time. It was a brilliant debate with points well-argued without much personal attacks and some of my friends are still debating about the debate at the moment.

A Modest Celebration

Nothing beats exam stress like chanting “First Class! First Class!” while tossing random vegetables in the air. Enter second week of exams and I took the kitchen to the room, shredding cucumbers, carrots, red cabbage, and red pepper for nearly an hour, and peeling quarter of a pomelo to make yee sang. There’s only so much design equations and formulas you can take in a day and I find cooking/assembling a dish a good break. It’s more productive than drooling over recipes for hours during revision break.

I took ideas from here. For my version I used half of a carrot, two leaves of a red cabbage (which is actually dark purple in colour), half a red pepper, half a cucumber, quarter of a pomelo, a heap of mee hoon (cooked as per pack instructions), Sainsbury’s Basics Smoked Salmon Trimmings, and a drizzle of chopped mixed nuts. For the sauce; Lee Kum Kee’s Plum Sauce and a generous dash of lime juice. You will be able to find all the ingredients in Sainbury’s, although I bought the mee hoon and plum sauce from an oriental store. Considering it was a first try, the result was good. Not as fancy as the ones you would get in hotels or restaurants back in Malaysian/Singapore, but I was happy with it. It was plum sauce overload too, making it “the Chinese version of Rojak” (Chong, 2012).

Happy Lunar New Year to all celebrating! Wishing everyone and their loved ones abundance of wealth and health for the year ahead 🙂


Pretty Lights, Pretty Sights

Forget Twilight. To propose in the midst of these would be out-of-this-world.

Bruce Munro’s Field of Light at the Holburne will be on display until the 8th January from 4-7pm daily.

“We are delighted that Bruce Munro’s artwork will bring such a magical experience of light within our grounds at the darkest time of the year. At what, for most people, is a frantic time of festive preparation we are pleased to be able to offer a tranquil and uplifting experience at the Holburne.” – Alexander Sturgis, Director of the Holburne –

Car Boot Adventures

I found these little vintage gems while scouring a car boot sale last Sunday somewhere in Cheddar. A little something for my grandfather. I hope he’ll love it! 🙂

The first set is a collection of black and white pictures of places in Nice, France.

I wish souvenir letter cards like these are still produced. Maybe I should design and print my own someday.

A “Traveltime Foldbook” depicting Parliament Hill, Ottawa.

Carboot sales are where one man’s junk can be another man’s treasure. Probably the only places which you can find everything in one place. When I say everything, I mean everything from polished mirrors to foggy ones with a tiny crack in a corner, fresh fruits to expired biscuits, cashmere scarves to used cosmetics.

I bought one of these for a friend ^.^ too cute I couldn’t resist!

If I had a bit more cash I would have bought the froggy watch.

Comic books and video games!

I was tinkering on a piano in one of the shop lots when the shop-owner asked if I took requests. I said sure, why not, and he asked me to play a tune on the piano. I may have played the piano since the age of four and passed six graded practical examinations, but if you’ve been off the keys for almost a year, your playing is bound to be rusty. Anyway, I played one of the three pieces I knew by heart and rendered (what I thought to be) a pretty good version of Fur Elise.

I got a job offer as a pianist afterwards.

The shop-assistant asked if they could hire me for the coming week to play on their piano. Woohoo! Would have loved loved LOVED to take up the job if only the place was in Bath.

I love pianos and I love to perform, despite my über-laziness to practice. Every time I see a piano somewhere you’re bound to find my itchy fingers on it if there’s nothing or no one stopping me. Hotels, museums, music shops, anywhere, any time. I’ve been told off by hotel managers and security guards, and I remembered once a music shop owner handed me a form to be filled in once I’ve fulfilled the required qualifications to return to the shop and work as a music teacher.

Haha! Horror, horror to the kids who sign up for my classes!

Apart from the picture cards, I bought two sets of vintage jigsaw puzzles for myself. Both at half of the prize written on the box. Hurrah hurrah! I bought it because I loved the illustration on the box. Those days, illustrations were hand-drawn before being sent for printing. There was no Photoshop and no tablets, just ink and paper.

I bought the picture cards for a total of 60p and the two sets of jigsaw puzzles for exactly £2.25.

I’m a happy camper! xD

Finding Downtime

My friend had a couple of friends who came down from Coventry over the weekend, so we took them through the Skyline. The sunny weather was the best thing after nearly a week of gloominess.

Life has been fast-paced lately and I’ve been using mind maps to sort out my thoughts.

People say second-year is the toughest of your university years. Come what may, I’ll embrace it. Bring it on!

First Week Ends

This could probably be the last leisure weekend I get for the rest of the term. After a meeting with my team (we’re working on a big project and will word out very, very soon) I headed to the smaller Sainsbury’s to buy some bread, only to detour when I was halfway home because I forgot to buy toilet rolls, so headed to the Sainsbury’s at Green Park for that and voila! Stumbled upon a food festival!

I loved how the cakes looked in mini-loaves.

I sampled a lemon Turkish delight (not pictured here) and I felt like flying straight to Istanbul and learn to make one of those.

The sun is making shorter appearances these days and the weather is a massive twenty degrees difference than the short spell of summer we had last week. Was bedridden last Thursday but gradually recovered, Alhamdulillah. To (hopefully) mark off a lovely weekend, I bought two tickets to a musical showing at the theatre on campus only to have a communication error with a girl friend I initially asked and the other first years ( because I thought they might be the free-est bunch of people across the years) I knew were busy doing last minute work so I had to go alone 😦

I quickly got bored of the love theme in the musical, but the cast did a great job considering it was put together in just about four weeks. It was Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida – a story of forbidden love in an Egyption setting.

Ang moh tak pandai gelek dengan lagu padang pasir.

I managed to get my hands on an engineering book from the library before it gets falls into the hands of some over-enthusiastic first years only to find it was a 7-day loan instead of the usual 28-day loan. The book had always been absent from the shelves most of the time in my first year.

Oh well, I might just get my own copy. In the meantime, I’ll deprive of a fresher of a much needed book. NYAHAHAHA! XD