Sunday, May 31, 2009

We Are All Chemical Substance

I read an entry about people feeling horrified about changes in the people they know. It was a refreshing piece to read, yes.

In brief, my old schoolmate that is Keown discussed about imperfection in people and how they change and that others must accept that change if they are for the better. I agree with him.

Chemical Properties

For me, I see our life as chemistry (okay, honestly I have a fetish for chemistry especially organic chemistry but because I'm baaad with numbers, I chose language instead). We humans can be seen as chemical substances. We are all made up of different elements (read: values and qualities) such as those enlisted in the periodic table and these define us and our identity. What elements we have determines our properties (read: character/identity/personality). Based on our properties, we may be viewed to be as strong and ductile as aurum/gold (Au), or as unstable as ozone (O3) but that is not completely and utterly valid. Why? Because like chemical substances, we undergo changes.

Chemical Reaction

We change when we cross path with other people, just like chemical substances that react in the presence of other substances. For example, a person who didn't trust anyone else before may change when he/she met a compassionate giver who readily sacrifices his/her fortune to the former. The result? Both persons become (read: change into) contented human beings. It's almost the same thing with chemical substances. When the harmful chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) molecule meets a giving ozone (O3) molecule, they'll react and turn into carbon dioxide (CO2, an important gas for photosynthesis), fluorine (F) and oxygen (O2, an important gas for respiration). Okay, the examples I gave is for a positive change. It can go the other way around too: a change from good to bad, but I'm not gonna elaborate on that.

You see, chemical substances also change when they don't encounter another substance. Still, they undergo oxidation, reduction, dissociation, neutralization, and rearrangement in different environments. Aren't we all the same? Let me use a fixed context on different people - Gaza occupation by Israelis. A pro-war such as G.W. Bush undergoes oxidation: They become more contented with the occupation. An anti-war such as humanists undergoes reduction: Wars make them unhappy. Even these people can undergo neutralization (have neutral opinion), dissociation (keep away) and rearrangement (thinking over one's opinion) in different situations or environments that challenge their view.

That Thing Called Nucleus
So you see, by each minute, by each second, we actually change. Sometimes we want to change. Sometimes we have to change. Sometimes we don't even realise we change. So, do change really matters? Yes, it does. It keeps the balance in order. But you see, no matter how much a substance changed after undergone a reaction, it still has that thing inside called "nucleus". A nucleus consists of a set number of protons, neutrons and electrons; and is the center of an atom or molecule. No matter how much physical changes an atom or molecule (substance) has undergone, there is one fact about the nucleus that never changed: Its ability to share, to give and to receive electrons. Just like a human's core: The heart. No matter how much changes a human being has undergone, his/her heart will never lose the ability to share, give and receive love.

That is why we should not feel horrified with changes in the people we know. Simply because. We also change. Rather than feeling horrified with the changes (especially the positive ones), why not change ourselves to suit the person? It is all about acceptance. If only we know and realise that our heart never lose the ability to love despite the changes, I believe we can all accept one another.

Note: There might be some chemistry misconception and whatnot because I wrote this entry solely based on the remnants of the chemistry knowledge I learnt back at school and KMPk. I still held them dear in my heart because I know that God wants to show us something of His Knowledge from our own surroundings. Glory be to Allah - the Almighty, the All-Knowing.

Friday, May 29, 2009

7 Gifts that Multiply Happiness

I woke up today feeling extraordinarily happy though my body felt sore all over, residue of last night's hard works vacuuming City Council building. I have no idea why I'm feeling this extraordinarily happy (perhaps because of my dream? Hee~) but in this entry I'd like to share "7 Gifts that Multiply Happiness" with everyone!

Here goes:

1. Share appreciation
Tell someone how much you appreciate the faith they've shown in you. Thank them sincerely for being part of your life. Tell them how much they are needed.
Feeling appreciated is one of the most important needs that people have. When you share with someone your appreciation and gratitude, they will not forget you. Appreciation will return to you many times.

2. Share time
Balance your time expenditures so you can spend time with the people that you love. Support local organizations by sharing your special talents. Volunteer time for projects that benefit others in your community, country, and world.
When we slow down and observe our thoughts closely, we will sometimes uncover gifts and talents we didn't know we had. Sharing time and talents can result in discoveries that bring happiness beyond measure.

3. Share knowledge and ideas
Tell someone about a great book that you read so they can benefit from it too. Teach a new concept or idea that you've learned.
One of the best ways to strengthen new concepts in your mind is to share them with others. The more often you share what you've learned, the stronger that information will become in your memory. Sharing knowledge also provides solutions to problems. The more knowledge we share, the more knowledge we receive in return.

4. Share friendship
Acknowledge someone's strengths. Let them know that you are willing to be there when they need you. Visit someone you haven't seen for a long time. Telephone friends or relatives who live far away. Introduce two friends who don't know each other.
Bringing one individual into another's life can result in tremendous changes for both people, and for you. We succeed with the help of others. People grow by growing together. If you'd like to have many friends, then share friendship with others generously.

5. Share kindness
erform a random act of kindness for someone: a smile, compliment, or a favor just for fun. These will multiply and spread very rapidly.
There is a powerful quote by Stephen Jay Gould who said, "The center of human nature is rooted in ten thousand ordinary acts of kindness that define our days." Kindness is priceless. The love, kindnesses, and value we have given authentically to others will be our remaining treasures at the end of life.

6. Share experience
Keep written or photo journals of your life: things you've done, places you've traveled, things you've learned. Record successes and failures. Share a happy memory. Also share the difficult times that have helped you become stronger and wiser. When shared, the value of these experiences multiplies.
Our unique experiences and perceptions of life are priceless. Sharing experiences will build one of the strongest bonds with others. Our descendants can learn and benefit from our lifetime experiences for generations to come.

7. Share enthusiasm
If you are excited about a new success, tell someone. If you're ecstatic about a new project, show your glow. Your enthusiasm will inspire others to move forward with actions that bring rewarding achievements.Enthusiasm keeps us looking forward to the future. It brings many of those exciting days that we can savor with gratitude. That kind of glowing excitement for life is impossible to hide. It is contagious and will quickly spread to others.

You see, the key principle to multiply happiness is sharing. Be it something good, positive ideas or vibrant enthusiasm one has; if they aren't shared, they'll go to waste.

That is why I'm sharing these gifts with everyone!

Monday, May 25, 2009

What Would You Do If You Have $16.7m?

"What would you do, Hafiz, if you have $16.7m?" asked Api, my Samoan friend who also works at Wellington City Council as a Spotless cleaner last night when we sat together after finishing our task for the night while waiting for other staffs to finish theirs. Next to us was our supervisor - Silipi, a Samoan lady who was flipping through the day's newspaper.

The discussion revolved around the news from Dominion Post about a mystery lotto winner who nets $16.7m. Yes, lotto and any other forms of gambling is strictly forbidden in Islam but it does not hurt to participate in a heated discussion about it. And so I joined in the conversation. To Api's question, I laughed as I said, "I'll buy Spotless company and fire Andi (our former manager nobody really liked)." Api laughed heartily hearing that and said he would buy all facilities in Wellington such as the hospital. He said he would buy Spotless from me and fire many other people aside from Andi. Everyone laughed. Joining in, Joe said he would buy properties like a house and want to settle down. The conversation died down as Zack emerged out of the elevator and Silipi chased everyone to go home.

Really, what would I do if I really have $16.7m?

Before answering that, I'd like to reflect a conversation I had with Stefan, a co-worker when I worked with Martin to set up marquees during summer, when we were driving back from Petone. Stefan was a nice guy with an admirable ambition. Here's our conversation:

Stefan: Hafiz, you're a student?
Me: Yes, doing TESOL.
Stefan: What's that?
Me: Teaching of English as a Second Language. See, I wanna be an English teacher.
Stefan: Wow! You learn our language to teach it to your people?
Me: Yeah, but my English ain't that good yet. Still learning.
Stefan: Nah, your English's fine. But teaching ain't gonna make you rich, no?
[We both laughed]
Stefan: Talking about rich. What would you do if you're rich, Hafiz?
Me: Dunno. Never thought of it.
Stefan: Hm'mm. Me, I have this dream when I was little. I wanna establish a commune. You know what a commune is, Hafiz? As in the word Communist?
Me: Yup.
Stefan: I wanna establish a commune, a place for poor people. There, they can live happily among them sharing things and facilities. No one feels envious of the others having more than them or being more lucky than them. You see, I always think our society is not good - the rich gets richer, the poor gets poorer and oppressed. I want a healthy society where people can live peacefully.
Me: I see.

Okay, don't get the wrong idea just yet. I'm not gonna establish a commune as envisioned by Stefan. I agree with him that there is a sickness needing a cure in almost every society - his and mine, more or less the same. But a commune isn't the answer. I believe such sickness originates from unhappiness every individual has repressed in their heart. Yes, I agree with Alexander Sutherland Neill who founded Summerhill School, and some parts of his philosophies about rearing happy children.

Yes if I were rich, if I have $16.7m, I would establish a boarding school with an alternative education. I will find people who share the same vision and dreams to run the school. The school shall be available for any children from any socio-economical backgrounds so that the school won't be a ground for any kind of social nor cultural reproduction. The school should be fun but in order. Thus there will be rules, unlike Summerhill, but there will be no strict rules that instill children with fear such as those in conventional schools. The curricula will have a wide coverage, ranging from theoretical knowledge to living skills; and children got to choose whichever course they want to learn basing on their interest. Why? I believe a person forced to do something they are reluctant to do is an unhappy person. In this school, children will learn more about social skills such as cooperation and negotiation so that they will know what it is like to live in a society that functions.

Yes, $16.7m may not be enough to achieve this dream of mine. But well, I'm just stating my dream. I may not be super rich by becoming a teacher and establish the school I dreamt about, but I know one thing I can do with becoming a teacher: Eventhough I have to follow the National Syllabus and Curriculum, I will teach my students my way. I want my students to grow up a happy person.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Incredible People

In EDUC229 lecture today, Joanna Kidman introduced a phenomenon in sociology called "moral panic". Moral panic, in brief, is a phenomenon in which an outbreak of an event or a situation leads to a massive changes of a norms or beliefs in a society. Okay, that may not be the exact meaning of it. I made that definition on my own. Back to the lecture. Joanna also introduced us Stanley Cohen's theory regarding the phenomenon of this moral panic. You see, in learning these things we were exposed to a line of historical events as an example of moral panics around the world such as the emergence of Rock'n'Rolls era and the culture of binge drinking in the effort to highlight the role media - the music, filming and fashion industries - has played towards and against moral panic.

Okay, it wasn't my intention to discuss about moral panic or whatnot. I'm not interested in it. I'm not really interested in sociology, especially when it has a lot to do with economy and history. I'm a pragmatic person who lives on the moment and aims for the near future, though I sometimes look back at the past using my side-mirror. There is a need to look at the past and the incredibly outstanding thinkers who brought about changes to the world today. In EDUC229 lecture, those great thinkers and revolutionists didn't amaze me much. What amazes me the most is Joanna's incomparable ability in lulling me to sleep in almost each and every lecture (except the ones about anarchism and Summerhill). I'd like to refer to this phenomenon in which I become sleepy after five to ten minutes of her lecture as academic panic because her very speech brings about a massive changes to my ability to focus on listening and lulls me to sleep.

~p/s: Sorry Joanna Kidman for this entry. You're so incredible, and never ceased to amaze me with your ability to lull me to sleep. Take this as a compliment eh? Hee~

Monday, May 18, 2009

Senyum Seindah Suria

They say, a smile is a curve that set everything straight. Perhaps it's true, though there are situations when the curve made straight things twisted. Get what I meant? Ah, never mind that.

By the way, on the way back home from ALIN301 lecture today I came across a fair-looking, golden-haired Kiwi girl, shivering in her thick hooded windbreaker. I didn't know her nor did she know me, I believe. But from afar, I noticed she wanted to throw a smile to me but was rather hesitated. Seeing that, I smiled at her and when we were exactly shoulder to shoulder, she smiled back at me. Okay, I exaggerated a bit there. Not exactly when shoulder to shoulder did she smile back but when she were about half a metre from me. I exaggerated to create an elusive atmosphere. Sorry about that.

Okay, what I was trying to write here is about the power of a smile. In previous entry, I wrote about innocent and sincere smiles from children - about them smiles being contagious and all that. Sarah Shaina said it's not only smiles from children but smiles from anyone, threw at us with a sincere heart that made the smiles contagious. I can't argue on this one as it reminds me about something happened last year:

I was walking down Willis Street, ears stuffed with earphones. Despite the busy crowd, I made my way through with heavy thoughts in my head about recent things that troubled my mind. Too deep in thoughts thinking about my problems, I couldn't help but frowned (When I recall this now, I remember a young girl whispered to her mum that I looked scary but the lady hushed the girl silent). Suddenly I bumped into two shabbily dressed guys. They were laughing and laughing as if they had no cares about the world. They noticed me and smiled my way but I ignored them.

Suddenly one of them approached me, putting his right thumb and forefinger together and placed it near my face closest to my lips. He gestured a signal: He moved his thumb and forefinger apart then moved the two fingers back together. He repeated this a few times but I just ignored him. Then he said, "Hey mate! Smile a bit, won't ya?" Out of respect (and because I wanted to get rid of 'em), I smiled to them and they left. From that point, I kept thinking about what the heck those two men wanted - diverted away from thinking too much about my problems - and I smiled at myself.

See, smiles are contagious. One smile originated from a sincere, happy heart can make other pouting lips curve too. A sincere smile comes from a happy heart. And a sincere smile can reach out to another heart with problems and helped to clear the cloggy clouds away. Perhaps that is the reason why I love to see other people smile, because by seeing them smiles will make me smile and forget my problems. I don't need alcohol or drugs to make me forget my problems and be happy. All I need is a sincere smile from a happy heart, and that is enough for me.

This is why I want to see smiles on everyone!

~p/s: This reminds me of a Malay song heard on TV when I was a kid.

Senyum seindah suria
Yang membawa cahya,
Senyumlah dari hati
Duniamu berseri.

Translated as:
A smile as beautiful as the sun
That brings about light,
Smile thee from thy heart
Merry your world will be.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Where I Found Peace

I went to Metro New World this afternoon, walking slowly down Willis Street through a crowd of busy Kiwis and squint-eyed Asians hustling and bustling towards their destination. I was listening to my MP3 and had no care about the crowd. Suddenly a small girl (I think she's three) bumped into me. Her dad apologised and the little girl looked confused but she smiled. And I returned the smile to her and told her dad, "it's okay".

This reminds me about last Thursday when I was on my way to ALIN301 tutorial. I was climbing the staircase right opposite my house when I saw a big group of primary kids were going up the hill I was about to climb myself. Some were tirelessly running. Some were walking briskly. Some were huffing and puffing for oxygen. They all looked so cute. And there was this little golden-haired girl of five or six clad in a warm-red jacket, walking side by side with another black-haired girl of her age.

Suddenly the black-haired girl paced faster and dash forward. The golden-haired girl tried to catch up but she was tired and complained, "No, I can't." I was walking right next to her when I heard her complained. I bowed a little so that my head was close enough to hers and said, "Yes, you can!" She smiled back, shyly, before running with all her might to catch up to her friend. And she made it. And I continued walking to tutorial, with a wide smile etched on my lips for almost the whole day.

When I was doing my shopping, I was drowned deep in my own thought. Lately, I couldn't smile honestly. Many a smile had I faked, many a laugh had I made when I was around people. But I noticed one thing: Seeing children draws out a sense of inner peace that form an honest smile on my lips. A child's smile is contagious, at least to me. Perhaps those innocent and honest smiles from children can be a cure to this disease I have in my heart.

Happy Teacher's Day!

May 16th. If asked, people will say it's Teacher's Day! To me, Teacher's Day is every day just like Mother's Day or Father's Day or whatever day we celebrate for people we want to celebrate. Some people only show appreciation on the day. Other days? Hell like they'd care. My opinion is, the specific day appointed is just another day to show our appreciation and perhaps, do more than what we usually do.

As for that, I want to wish everyone and anyone at all, who has taught me even the littlest things meaningful. And specifically to my parents - the best of teachers I've ever had, and to madame Noor Aida Ahmad whom without her, I may not in love with English language as I am today. And to all other teachers who had taught me in kindergarten, SKTG, and SMAI. And to miss Husna (wait, shouldn't I call her MADAM Husna now? Hee~) who tirelessly answered my questions about TESL course back when I was stuck in KMPk. Not forgetting all lecturers in IPBA - especially Dr Lawrence Aeria who made me in love with psychology, and Dr Rajagopal who made me appreciate life, and madam Fazlinah who showed me that linguistics can be fun and helped me out a lot with B.Ed. admins stuffs, and madam Jun who made me love grammar, and madam Sri Wahyuni who encouraged my shy start to be outspoken, and Dr Raja Mazuin who taught the subject sociology I didn't like with love and passion, and madam Maimon who was passionate about literature - I love you all. And all Vic lecturers who had taught and have been teaching me with patience and passion - Paul Nation, Alistair Ker, Anette Klassen, Chris Bowden, John Macalister, Averil Coxhead, Peter Gu and Sandy Hall especially - I have learnt a lot from you.

I may have left out some names but that doesn't mean I don't appreciate them. Every iota of my knowledge is thanks to you. YOU ARE ALL MY TEACHER, in this school called life. Here's a poem I love so much, and I meant to dedicate it to you. Yes, YOU, my teacher. *takes off hat and bows*

The Builder

A Builder built a temple,
He wrought it with grace and skill;
Pillars and groins and arches
All fashioned to work his will.
Men said, as they saw its beauty,
"It shall never know decay;
Great is thy skill, O Builder!
Thy fame shall endure for aye."

A Teacher built a temple
With loving and infinite care,
Planning each arch with patience,
Laying each stone with prayer.
None praised her unceasing efforts,
None knew of her wondrous plan,
For the temple the Teacher built
Was unseen by the eyes of man.

Gone is the Builder's temple,
Crumpled into the dust;
Low lies each stately pillar,
Food for consuming rust,
But the temple the Teacher built
Will last while ages roll,
For that beautiful unseen temple
Was a child's immortal soul.

~Hattie Vose Hall

Thank you for that every iota of knowledge you taught me.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Every Day Is Mother's Day

Dearest mom,

If I could give you diamonds
for each tear you cried for me.
if I could give you sapphires
for each truth you've helped me see.
If I could give you rubies
for the heartache that you've known
If I could give you pearls
for the wisdom that you've shown.
Then you'll have a treasure, mother,
that would mount up to the skies
That would almost match
the sparkle in your kind and loving eyes.
But I have no pearls, no diamonds,
As I'm sure you're well aware
So I'll give you gifts more precious
My devotion, love and care.

Thank you, mommie
for every little thing
you have done for me.
Now that we are thousand miles apart,
I realise that you'll always
be in my heart.

This poem is specially dedicated to:

"M" is for the million things she gave me,
"O" means only that she's growing old,
"T" is for the tears she shed to save me,
"H" is for her heart of purest gold;
"E" is for her eyes, with love-light shining,
"R" means right, and right she'll always be,
Put them all together, they spell
A word that means the world to me. (Howard Johnson, 1915)

Hafizuddin Yahaya

Friday, May 8, 2009

Expression Of This Heart

Okay. I have no motivation to write at all today. But Philip Pullman (the writer of His Dark Materials trilogy which is then made into film titled The Golden Compass) did say that a good writer should write every day, lest his writing muscles will get dull. I'm not a good writer but I don't want my writing muscles to get dull when I really need 'em for heaps of assignmentosauruses waiting to be defeated in a brawl. Ehehe~

And so, I wrote a poem. This poem I wanna share here is specially dedicated to every person on Earth who regards me as their friend. Here goes:

Expression of this Heart

I know
There are times when
I was sensitive
Way too sensitive
Over the very smallest things
Over conversations
Between us.
I ranted
I huffed
I sulked
without thinking about your feelings.
And I am so
very sorry for that.

I realised now
There are times when
I did things selfishly
Way too selfish
That I hurt your feelings
Without you ever
Showing me you were hurt.
Yet I kept on
Your heart again.
And again.
And for that,
I am so very sorry.

I could apprehend
Your feelings now
For the times
When I was so stubborn
Way too stubborn
That I listened not
To your advices.
Instead of be a man
And face my problems
With all I've got,
I whined
I whimpered
I lamented
And gave excuses
Over my inability and lack of strength
To face the day.
Shameful man I was
and I am so very sorry
for that.

I understand
I could be annoying
Way too much annoying sometimes.
Yet you had
Tolerated my behaviours
Endured annoyance I caused
Listened to my rants
And accepted me
Just the way I am.
And for all these,
my friend,
I thank you
With all my heart.

That's all for today. Thank you for reading. Ehehe~

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Big Jump of My Life: I Jumped, You'll Jump. Remember?

It was April 15th - just 5 more days from when I'll turn 22 - and I decided to make a big jump of my life (the biggest jump should be a skydive I hope to do). It was at Nevis River, and the jump was the Australasia's highest. But just 134m, though. Here's the river:

See the small white box? That's the port where all bungy jumpers will jump from. Looks scary eh? Perhaps. But I was numb with no feelings and was sickly, with running nose. You don't expect a chap to worry about height when he's busy wiping his running nose, no? Ahaha~ X'P

Before I went to do the big jump, I snapped a photo as remembrance. Here:

And another snap for the fellowship of the Nevis jumpers that day:

And then the staff hailed us to get into a small gondola that took us to the jumping port. All were excited, hearts racing fast. We embarked the small mechanical transporter - towards the jumping port!

I thought to jump the second last before Acap, but luck was "on my side", I'd say. The heaviest will jump first, said the staff. Dang! Why discriminate heavy people to jump first? What if the cable snaps? The next person can't jump, right? Ahaha~

Here's the excited faces (no fear at that moment):

Above: Towards the jumpers' port

Right: Smiling with cable attached to feet

Measuring the height. 134m ain't that bad, eh? (whispering: Hey bro. If you dare pushing, you'll go down with me. Heh!)

You don't bungy jump every day now, do you? Okay. No more time to waste. Let's jump!

Okay, I didn't die jumping the Australasia's highest bungy. If I died, how can I ever write this entry anyways? Ahaha~ I was sooo excited after the jump I felt like jumping again. But bungy jumps aren't cheap, see? SO. A jump is enough. Here's the proof I was damn excited:

Yeah, this photo is my blog profile photo (noticed the girl sitting on the ledge? Ain't she cute? I helped her documented her jump with her camcorder. Hee~).

Now, now. I'm proud I jumped my big jump. Will you?

Go with friends. Jump together. Make a promise: I jump, you jump. *wink*

Monday, May 4, 2009

I Missed You

I browsed through my old folders of poetry and short stories I collected and wrote and found a piece of poem so beautiful it took my breath away for one whole second. I'm not sure whether I wrote this or I found it somewhere, but what I know is that I really wanna post it here. Here goes:


Today I thought about you
And I realized something.
I felt like a part of me was missing,
And I discovered it was you.

We were so comfortable around each other,
And we didn't have to think about
What we say, or how we say it.
I missed that today.
And I'm missing you.

I thought of the times when we
Kicked back, shared our dreams, our hopes,
And plans - and you really listened.
O how I miss that today.
And I'm missing you.

Remembering your smile,
And how you made me smile -
Forms a smile on my face.
I love how being just who we are was enough.
I missed that today.
And I'm missing you.

As you go through your days without me,
And I go through mine without you,
Please know that you often cross my mind,
And I wonder if I ever crossed yours.
Because I never stop loving you
Though I said I've moved on.
That's why I'm missing you today
As I always had, everyday.

Beautiful, isn't it? Well, I think it is beautiful because I can relate well to the feeling the original author tried to convey.