Monday, December 29, 2008

New Year's Resolution - revised

Monday, December 29, 2008

This is the first time I've actually bothered to do a list, but if writing them out and broadcasting them to the public will help me get them done, then thats what I'll do. In no particular order,

1. Read more Qur'an - and try to understand it too.

2. Work on my fitness/energy level - Hiba and I are planning to do some sort of physical exercise every week at least - keep me honest Hiba!!

3. Gain some weight - Now I weigh almost 45kg (!) gunning to gain at least 2kg which would put me in the 'normal' BMI range. which entails eating more I guess. And exercising, which would by right make me hungry/need more energy.

4. Start learning another language - UIA offers classes at night for Mandarin, French, Arabic and some other languages. There are plenty of online options. Choose one!

5. Maintain or upgrade my CGPA - It fell for the first time last semester. Do my assignment on time. If its groupwork make sure its up to par. Study for exams earlier, with a study plan followed through. Read all questions carefully and check. Recheck. Again. Apply whatever knowledge/tips from last semester's studio. Consult more. Explore.

6. Strive to become a better person - Overall. Be more mindful of others. Don't take anything (or anyone) for granted. Be positive and passionate. Give unconditionally. Less paranoia.

7. Write more - Improve vocabulary and Academic writing. Try writing in a variety of genres with different target audiences, different content and delivery.

8. Read more - Read more intellectual stuff. Read all the news, not just the headlines. Don't skip through sentences. Read each word carefully and understand.

9.Learn a new skill (or more) - Like web design. Working on that already.

10. Manage my time more wisely -

11. Budget!! - less chocolate binges. less coffee truck. basically less impulse (food) shopping. Write down expenditures.

12. Driving license - working on it already

13. Figure out (or work towards figuring out) my life goals

14. Pound some discipline into my system

15. Work on my people skills

16. Figure out how my mind works (or doesn't) and fix it

Any suggestions/comments?

Saturday, December 27, 2008


Saturday, December 27, 2008

Well, I changed my blog design again. Its pretty much based on my soon to be defunct trial site, but this one was a lot harder to make. Its a lot less polished, and I couldn't figure out how to make the smooth drop down navigation menu thingy. Anyone know?

We didn't get to paint our studio, in the end, because they didn't buy the paints yet.

Long Holiday!!! Happy New Hijri Year everyone!!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Week 1 - Not So Bad

Friday, December 26, 2008

Week one of My 2nd semester of my second year of university is fast coming to an end. So what have I gotten from it? Well, here goes.

Firstly, the newbies this semester are non-existent, or much less conspicuous compared to before. Either that, or my eyesight is really beginning to fail me. That said, its harder this semester to really see what's going on in uni because of the huge green barrier that separates and thus blocks our vew of the bridge. Also, I haven't been doing my usual rounds at the library and ITD so I don't pass the more densely populated areas of UIA.

What else...? Ah yes - I moved into my hostel on the second day of uni. Shocking I know. But I didn't want to be late for my 8 a.m. class the next day. Now that I think about it though - studio is also at 8a.m. that means I'll probably be late every Monday.

Not forgetting, of course, the terrible accident that happened on Wednesday. Please refer to my last post.

Thursday was Christmas - so I went back home. Thinking I would relax. but instead I was edgy all day long. hmm..

It felt weird - usually the first week of studio we are rushing around doing site analysis and minor projects et cetera, but this week - nothing. Monday was a short brief, and today we started the day off with a Long Tazkirah in the Main Auditorium, delivered by Br. Yusuf Estes on DVD. Studio will resume at 3p.m. later today with input lectures on Precedent Studies and Site Analysis. I have a feeling I've already been to the Site Analysis lecture, but it's compulsory. Oh well. Time to load up on some chocolate :)

I got 7/10 for this quiz I did just now - my guessing skills are quite good I guess lol!

Tomorrow - I'll be doing this insha'Allah.

should be a spot of fun right?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

And to Him we return

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

What do you say to those who are left behind? To those who tried their best to help?

Al-Fatihah for the late Dr. Shukri

I realised something today, something devastating. What if I had committed any sins towards arwah Dr. Shukri? What if I had inadvertently slandered him, thought ill of him, let fitnah worm its way into my mind and out of my mouth? What if i'd done this to other s as well? Who am I to apologise to now?

So to everyone reading, and to all those not, please, forgive me for any wrong that I have ever done to you in the past, present, and future, whether it was on purpose or accidental. I sincerely apologise for everything.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Of refugees and the four seasons

Monday, December 22, 2008

Our friends the Joneses came up for a short visit on the last leg of their summer vacation, so I spent the day with Ayesha and cutie Maymuna. Ayesha wanted to see Tr. Murad - so I thought hard and recalled he worked for the rector. So obviously he must be in the rectory building. But where? Just by luck, we stepped into the elevator and level 4 was already pressed. might as well get off there. turns out he was on level 4, and he was shocked to see Ayesha. We had a nice long conversation about a wide range of topics, from refugees, fake passports, the four seasons, sheep (of course), grass, we even sang a song or two. It was great. The boys went off to play basketball meanwhile, so after we left Tr. Murad's office we hung out in the mosque waiting for the boys to be done. we waited until maghrib, and then headed home for dinner with our guests, Hesham, Ayesha, Maymuna, Lutfi and Fikri.

Good times - but way too short. Maymuna is such a model poser! She loves the camera - and we have proof! But she's so cuuuuuute!!!

Ayesha mentioned something today which I always thought but never said. "It's really weird meeting people you see on facebook" and its so true! Because, you know them even though by right, you don't. and you feel weird because even before being introduced you know a fair dinkum of what that person is about, their full name, you read their comments and posts and build up your own mental image of how this person's persona might be. I always feel odd meeting someone I know about but never actually met or was ever even mentioned to me directly. Somehow I feel I've violated their privacy. like by knowing snippets of online conversations they've had with my friends, seeing their pictures float around. After all - you don;t want to appear stalker-ish, do you?

Oh, and school started today. Our major project this semester will be to design an orphanage.

Once again - for alimited time only this will be up for public viewing (hmmm that sounds odd..)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

So this is what a credit card might look like

Sunday, December 21, 2008

I've been testing out this service on, its a 14-day free trial (no credit card number required for the trial), at the end of which, I can either opt to continue, but if not, then all this will simply be deleted. Too bad - just when I start falling in love with the flexibility and simplicity of all this. I could very well ask my dad for this as a birthday gift - but hen I'd have to explain. Too much work. Unless there's some other way to pay for this? Anyone know?

Ah well. If you actually checked this out, then congrats, you'll be one of the few to witness what I spent the majority of the last day of my holiday on. It's not much but I still had fun.

Now back to the tedium of architorture.

Friday, December 19, 2008

In my backyard there is a dinosaur

Friday, December 19, 2008

In my backyard there is this majestic, beautiful place. No, not Batu Caves, but Bukit Tabuh/Tabur/Taboh. My sister and brother climbed it a few days ago, but I couldn't join in the fun because I was bedridden with some weird stomach flu.

You can read about their adventure and see pictures here.

I used to call the ridge "Stego" bfore I knew what it's proper names were, because it reminded be of a stegosaurus. Others called it white elephants or Dragon's backbone.

But I find it really sad that the local authorities don't see it as something of value. Here is a letter posted on Malaysia Kini

"The Klang Gates quartz ridge is one of the longest, if not the longest quartz outcrop in the whole world.

It is possibly the most stunning geological feature, and certainly the most obvious, in Peninsula Malaysia, as it creates a magnificent backdrop to the north of Kuala Lumpur skyline.

Sadly, this magnificent natural heritage goes unrecognised and unnoticed by so many Malaysians. The 1996 structure plans for the Selayang area did not even put the ridge on its map, when in fact there may be 5 kilometres or more of it that run through Selayang.

The Ampang Jaya Municipal Council (MPAJ), meanwhile, has approved a large number of developments all along the ridge, as if it does not even exist. In October 2003, the former Selangor menteri besar launched the Selangor State Park study in the shadow of this magnificent giant. In August 2005, the deputy prime minister stood at the foothills of the area, and declared it part of Taman Warisan Selangor (the Selangor State Park).

Yet still no protection has been offered for this magnificent ridge and development plans continue unabated.

The slopes of the Klang Gates ridge are largely class 3 and class 4 slopes and combined with the quartz soil, the area is unstable for most types of development. It will be a real tragedy if the government remains so disinterested in this geological wonder, and allows it to be destroyed and desecrated by wanton development; the way the beauty of Batu Caves has been destroyed.

Why has it not yet been declared a national-natural heritage site? Why is it not a proper part of the Selangor State Park? Will no one in authority stand up, recognise and protect this spectacular gift that God has taken a millennium to create and man intends to destroy in a few decades?

Let’s hope someone takes and interest besides the housing developers."

And another letter that appeared in The Star

Monday October 20, 2008

Klang Gates Quartz Ridge unprotected

WE travel to as far as Australia to admire the Blue Mountains and Ayers Rock; or to Krabi, Thailand to admire their vertical outcrops jutting from the sea; or even to the Grand Canyon in the United States. But little do most Malaysians realise what an amazing natural treasure lies in our own backyard.

I am talking about this magnificent natural heritage of ours, the Klang Gates Quartz Ridge in Selangor which, unfortunately, is unprotected.

The area around the Klang Gates Quartz Ridge has been designated as an environmental sensitive area (ESA), but we are already seeing and feeling the effects of development with so many housing projects being located dangerously close to these areas.

One wonders how much of the land around the quartz ridges have already been approved for development by MPAJ and the former State Government!

If you climb up Bukit Tabur, which is part of these magnificent quartz ridges, the view is breathtaking on one side and heartbreaking on the other. It is heartbreaking to see the devastation, ugly scarring and flattening of the hillsides in the vicinity of the Klang Gates dam and around Taman Melawati, Kemensah Heights, Kampung Kemensah (once famous for its streams and waterfalls which have now turned muddy) and Taman Zooview.

Further down all the way to Batu Caves too, we see commercial as well as housing projects mushrooming close to the ridge. The developer and local authorities may comfort us with arguments that all mitigating measures to ensure “minimum effect on the environment” will be carried out.

They may come up with an impressive array of engineering solutions to protect the slopes and the environment and they may even say this is only a low-density development that will not affect earth movement.

But we know from experience, as in the case of development on hillslopes in Taman Melawati and Kemensah area, that “low-density development” does not mean low impact on the environment.

Do we really believe that all that piling will not affect the stability of the ridges? And when huge chunks of the ridge come crashing down, after all the damage is caused, are the developers or MPAJ going to very magnanimously offer for our safety to build ugly cement retaining walls to patch up the quartz ridge just like they did in Taman Zooview?

Is that the view we want of our natural treasure - all patched up, plastered and cemented?

The Quartz Ridge of the Klang Gates is a unique natural heritage. Let us not throw away our chance to preserve and protect this heritage for our future generations. "

Finally here is an article on the WWF website. By the way, contrary to rumors, the ridge is not on any UNESCO list. Malaysia only has 3 listings on UNESCO, Kinabalu, Mulu, and the cities of Georgetown and Melaka.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Does a soundtrack make or break a movie, no matter how good the movie is? Not sure myself, but I've come to realise that the movies I list as my favourites all have elements of music in them, more than just the soundtrack. In fact, you could almost say they are musicals. Firstly, the is the magnificent Phantom of The Opera. If there's one thing that fascinates me more than music, its multi-talented individuals, in this case, its actors/actresses who can also carry a tune quite impressively.

Among my other favourites are Les Choristes, Paris je t'aime, Corpse Bride, August Rush, and In America. Not your typical blockbuster line up, thats for sure. But the melodies that these movies weave together with their stories makes them that much more memorable. Music has an inexplicable way to it, to touch you in places you never thought you had, drawing out forgotten emotions and pricking life back into a lifeless being. It paints a picture full of a thousand rainbows for you to immerse yourself in, even if you aren't a synesthete. Bad reviews aside, a movie that I've been dying to watch is Across the Universe - only because it features some of my favourite songs.

Recently I was reminded of the quiet awesomeness that is Iron and Wine while doing some research about the movie Twilight. Teenage vampire love stories are quite far from palatable to me, but on account of the magnificent "Flightless Bird, American Mouth" suggested by actress Kristen Stewart (who plays Bella Swan) I am actually considering watching it. Only for the end song lol!

I'm not happy with this blog. Thinking of redoing it somehow. For starters, there's a lot of real wasted space, and it takes forever to load. And school starts too soon...

Monday, December 15, 2008

You suspect there might be something wrong with yourself when...

Monday, December 15, 2008

You suspect there might be something wrong with yourself when, looking through your brother's A-Levels Mathematics exercise book, you have this wild craving for mathematics that hits you so suddenly and shockingly you almost fall out of your chair. Remember the days when you used to say, you HATE math? Absolutely loathed it? That it made no sense whatsoever to study something you won't be using in your daily life, ever, EVER?

Now you look back, as a wizened old student of architecture, and sigh. Those were times when things, however ridiculous, still made copious amounts of sense compared to the fickle subjective nature of what you're pursuing now. And even though you don't particularly like math either, you think, it sure as heck should be a lot more straightforward and manageable than all this torture.

This torture that begins in a gut wrenching 6 days...and I'm not kidding when I say even thinking about it makes my head spin and stomach churn.

Friday, December 12, 2008


Friday, December 12, 2008

I've never been so glad I was wrong - turns out it wasn't wikipedia that let me down, it was person doing the subtitles, and me of course. Anywyas, as many of you have pointed out, yes, my spelling was wrong, its in fact spelled synesthesia or synesthaesia like I suspected, and here is the wiki link where you can read more about this fascinating condition. oh and the people who have this are called synesthetes.

original post

I can't believe it, but wikipedia has let me down, and not on some random obscure topic either. I wanted to know more about synthaesthesia, but the good old wiki had nothing to offer. Its not even recognised as a word here, angry red zigzaggy lines under it.

I caught the end 5 minutes of a documentary on it just now, on Discovery channel. Synthaesthesia is a neurological condition that approximately affects 1% of the world's population. Synthaetics somehow link different sensory parts of their brains together. Most cases are discovered through sound and taste, in association with colour. For example, synthaetics listen to music and immediately visualise different colours for various notes and instruments. similarly, some also taste foods and each food has a unique colour, but not one that can be set by the person themselves. as a result, sometimes a delicious food or beautiful instrument might have an awful colour. Many times, sythaetics choose music/food according to the colour combinations that they offer, so the man in the documentary I watched had an interesting dinner menu. Roast chicken with a sideline of vanilla ice cream all lathered in orange sauce. According to him, that combination produced a lovely mixture of sky blues that appeared in a large oval in front of him, and faded as the taste wore off. He also said that although he enjoys the sound of a french horn, he cannot stand the colour associated with it, which is akin to an oily green.

Scientists still don't know what causes it, though they came up with 2 theories. the first is that the parts of the brain of synthaetics somehow are linked closer to each other than normal human brains are. The second theory is that all human brains are connected physically but because of the opposing stimuli the connections are hampered or something.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Tutorial9 Gift of Knowledge Giveaway

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Tutorial9 is having an awesome giveaway, which you can read about here. This is a community effort to raise money for the Save The Children Organization, and everyone has a shot at winning tons of great prizes along the way. Save the Children Organisation strives to create lasting positive changes for children in need in The USA and around the world.

Personally, I don't think I'm capable of creating a post to be published on Tutorial9. According to them, "it can be a tutorial, a resource you’ve created, a roundup of your favorite design books, or an article related to one of our topics at Tutorial9. " But I'm going to try anyway, and you should too!! "Simply share your experience and knowledge with our readers, win some awesome prizes, (and really, they are AWESOME! Wacom Tablet anyone??) and $100 is donated to charity." Seriously, its that simple. for every emtry they receive, thats another $100 to charity, ever closer to the $5000 goal.

Added star factor, Actor Hugh Laurie of the Band From TV, has selected Save the Children as his personal charitable beneficiary and will direct to us his share of sales from the CD/DVD, “Hoggin’ All the Covers", which has topped Amazon DVD Sales recently. Come know you love them!!

So go on and do your bit in helping a worthy cause. Check out these links for further information.

Contest Landing Page

Contest Announcement page

Monday, December 1, 2008

A day spent not bumming around, And Luna Smiling

Monday, December 1, 2008

Have you ever been sent on a wild goose chase? well, today, I did just that. Hiba and I wanted to go watch the Royals Debating Championship in UIA but we had no idea where the venues were - note to organisers, you might want to put that information on the numerous posters you put up - so after searching through the Admin building, we decided to ask SPICE where the venues were. They said it was in AIKOL, Econs, and KAED, but they weren't sure which one was the English debate. so we decided to go east across the river to KENMS and AIKOL but Econs was desolate, and the only activity going on in AIKOL was something the the moot court, not the debates, we didn't think.

Trekked across campus to KAED, my refrigerator of a kulliyyah, but the only thing going on there was some accounting conference (?) Finally we went with my initial suspicion that it was in Engineering, which it was. But we got there too late and the debates just ended, so we just sat around being totally lost. Managed to catch on of the quarterfinals, UIA team 1 vs some other university.

The debate was very close but in the end UIA didn't make it through :( neither did the other UIA team. Bummer. Couldn't catch the semi finals because my driving class was at 4. went ok, but seriously need more practice. can't believe there are only 5 classes.

On the way home I was looking out at the sky, because the moon was so beautiful! and Happy! It was shining with twinkling eyes and a crescent smile which my camera didn't really manage to capture very well. No telephoto lens anywhere in sight so crappy digital zoom it was. The eyes are actually Jupiter (right) and Venus (left) and according to my igoogle gadget the moon is currently in a waxing crescent phase at 13% full. More details of this rare occurrence can be found here and here
Amazing Masha'Allah...

From luna

From luna

debates and driving again tomorrow...

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