Movie Review: The Book of Life 2014

At first i was expecting something dark like Tim Burton’s but boy I was wrong! This one were full of beautiful cover like Radiohead’s – Creep, Falling in Love with you – Elvis, I will wait for you, and ‘He’s just a friend’ . But also, original number like No matter where you are , I love you too much , The Apology Song were just as good.

Its too bad that the trailer didn’t highlight that part, else it would have attracted more people to watch it. The trailer are the most important part of a movie, since its what will attract the movie goers (Even for a well known director)

This piece by Guillermo Del Toro surprised me, since the last time I watch his movies are Pan’s Labyrinth (painfully awesome!) and Pacific Rim. So it took me by surprise how beautiful this movie was made. I had really a good time watching it.


p/s: i prefer the second trailer though (x)


Things to do before 30: Wall climbing, checked!

I was contemplating at first to go, it was drizzling, but i thought, whatever, just do it! haha! Thanks to my climbing buddy which i manage to recruit since we had to walk quite far before reaching the centre, we made it to the top! Actually not this wall, the one beside (its too dark to snap a picture from there)


The first wall we tried was a bit curvy so its quite hard for a beginner like us. Still the other one wasn’t easy but as you finally get your grip and focus on the climb, it was breathtaking sight to reach up there.


Some of the things I learn was that wall climbing is not just about you getting up there alone, but those who supports us from below. There has to be another climber helping you up from below, they are the one’s who tells you which stone to grab, because once you are up there, you can’t really see things clearly, even if the stone is just next to you. And you can never underestimate even the smallest stone to get you up, and need to make full use of your body, your hand, a lot of jumping around from stones to stone, and concentrate on each step you make.


So i can pretty much relate that with my research journey hehe, certainly its not about how fast you get there or even reaching the top, because you can always try again every time you fall and get back up again.


One word I love was ‘Tension’ , its a universal code for taking a break whenever you feel tired of climbing, to let your partner know that you are going to take a rest before continuing.  The second word i love was ‘Fall’ , cause you get to see the view from top as you are lowered down and the friends below cheer you on whether or not you succeed or not because its never a competition. The only person you are beating here, is yourself.


So take your time to figure out the next step, don’t rush or else you will slip miserably trying to get up, and the best part is you can climb however you want because only you know how much your body can take and jump from one stone to another. And once you reach the top and come down from it, thank those who support you because you will never make it on top without their support, and cheering you from below. Most of all, have fun and enjoy the climb! Its not the destination, but the journey that counts!


So find what you love, do what you love, and enjoy what you love while you still can. If  you have the urge to do something you really wanted to do in your life, do it now. you wont get any other time more than now. Your future is now. nobody can guarantee you will be alive next week. so do things as if its the last day on earth and make a difference, if not to others, to your own life!


For more info on the wall climbing:



The perks of being a research student

1) we dont like to be asked about our research progress, but we dont mind sharing on ‘what’ is our research is about
2) if you cant find us for 1 – 3 month without any notice , dont panic, it means we are ‘living a life’ outside research either travelling, working on a project/paper or simply just staying at home. Remember this, no news IS good news.
3) it is entirely normal for us to breakdown into ‘depression’ stage , its our ‘breakthrough’ moment where we overcome our own fear and discover our strength (to put in into a different perspective)
4) we are not antisocial, we are just selective with who we spend our time with . So just because you often see us alone, it doesnt mean we are lonely. Its more convenient to go out alone than trying to find people to go out with but their time dont match with us. We get a lot things done that way.
5) we basically dont really have a ‘life’ much, its either our lab, or the postgrad room, and back to our home/hostel mostly, so to have a life, we apply point number 2.
6) we are always stressed with our research that it becomes normal. So we would usually try to find ways to channel our stress in our own way or just stay in our room alone. Its nothing personal, we have 99 problems and you are not one of it.
7) just because you see us on facebook, doesnt mean we are always on facebook. We have at least 20 other tabs opened at the same time. Facebook are on, just to make us feel somewhat ‘connected’ to ‘outside world’
8) there is only ‘brunch’ & dinner, for some we have tea breaks, you cannot believe what most of other research student eats in a day.
9) we require constant breaks to prevent breakdowns, youtube preferably because it only takes 5-10 mins per video. We pretty much dont watch movie much unless its worth spending a day off for a movie day. Else, we’d rather watch on our laptop than wasting on what turn out to be a bad movie later. The movie must be really good to get us out of our ‘cave’
10) although we do miss being an undergrad, and often find ourselve comparIng how different the students nowadays and back in our days were like, but we would rather graduate as soon as possible than staying in school to see undergrads new intake year after year.
11) most of our work requires a lot of thinking, so even though it doesnt look like those who work, we work with our brain so of cause you dont see us working, because we are working with our mind. Technically.

An open letter to all Malaysian undergrads – Nadilla Jamil

I was caught in a dilemma: to bawl or to guffaw when I was told that some students here refused to attend a talk about Palestine and its history last week because if they were to learn about the injustice inflicted on the Palestinians in Gaza, it might affect their employability.

That’s a tragicomedy.

Since I have a real concern for the intellectual state of my country, I want to believe that I am in the position to write this letter because I assume those who thought so are around your age.

Therefore, if any of you happen to read this, I want to start by asking you:
What’s your definition of success?

Redefine it if you, too, think the end of an undergraduate life is all about getting a job in an air-conditioned room that provides the pinnacle of comfort with a handsome income at the end of the month.

Because I feel annoyed to think how many educated people end up being so selfish.

Because I am ashamed to think how easy educated people capitulate to badges and names.

Because I feel angry to think how easily educated people surrender to large societies and dead institution.

Because I am in pain to think of the educated people’s mouths slobbered while hailing the Mammon.

Because I am ashamed to think how many educated people’s appetites would be satisfied at the expense of others.

Because I feel sick thinking who else among these educated people would continue the vicious cycle of:



cowardice; and,

intellectual perversion.

If you are educated, regardless whether you regard yourself as intelligent or not: in any way, never ever choose indifference.

Being in a university is the best time and opportunity to train oneself for a life beyond the mundane tasks of eating, sleeping and defecating.

Don’t just simply exist. Start living your life. Play your role.

Echoing Jean Piaget, “the principle goal of education… should be creating men and women who are capable of doing new things, not simply repeating what other generations have done; men and women who are creative, inventive and discover, who can be critical and verify, and not accept, everything they are offered.”

No matter what you are studying now.

If you are now trained to be a teacher, make sure you don’t simply teach and wear different new silk baju kurung everyday – train yourself to be an awakener.

If you are reading law, make sure you are not going to be another Karpal Singh – train yourself to be better than him.

If you are a future engineer – train yourself to read history.

If you are a doctor-to-be – train yourself not to allow the very walls of the hospital to suck the life out of you.

If you are going to complete your BA in Islamic Revealed Knowledge, train yourself to be friends with those outside your circle, with those who wear kopiah once a year and with those who have yet to don not only tudung labuh, but tudung, with those who have different faiths.


Because, you,

Each of you, is important.

Don’t trade your values for money.

Don’t be afraid of your fears. They are not there to scare you.

They are there to tell you that something is worth it.

Education is a relief, a route to self-respect.

Respect yourself enough by not denying the right of others.

Respect yourself enough by not nodding to the insult of others.

If you are educated and if you think you are not intelligent, where you are right now, by right should be the best place to train yourself.

You are trained to be an educated person, self-train yourself to be one of those functioning intellectuals, because we are already swamped by non-functioning ones.

Be physically committed to the intellectual pursuit.

And be emotionally committed to the intellectual pursuit.

Don’t miss any intellectual discussion; there is always at least a need for it.

Invest some time to read on serious subjects.

Train yourself to be capable of forming an opinion beyond what is obvious to most people.

And one day if you call yourself a specialist, make sure your knowledge of subjects outside your field is not comparable to that of the layman.

And one day, whoever you choose to be trained as, always remember that you are all intellectuals. Label it any way – a teacher, a doctor, an engineer, a linguist, an ustaz, a journalist, a dancer, a social worker, a lawyer, a pomen or a politician – being an intellectual is what you should do for your living.

According to Edward Said: “the role of the intellectual is not to consolidate authority, but to understand, interpret and question it… Indeed, the intellectual vocation essentially is somehow to alleviate human suffering and not to celebrate what in effect does not need celebrating…”

And, that nothing in his view is more reprehensible than:

“…those habits of mind in the intellectual that induce avoidance, that characteristic turning away from a difficult and principled position which you know to be the right one, but which you decide not to take. You do not want to appear too political; you are afraid of seeming controversial; you need the approval of a boss or an authority figure you want to keep a reputation for being balanced, objective, moderate, your hope is to be asked back, to consult, to be on a board or prestigious committee, and so to remain within the responsible mainstream; someday you hope to get an honorary degree, a big prize, perhaps even an ambassadorship”

So, insist on yourself, never insult your degree for some sacks of flour.

Train yourself now. Prepare yourself.

Because soon, you will have what Nelson Mandela said was the most powerful weapon to change the world: education.

Knowledge will bring you to the opportunity to make a difference.

You can make a difference.

Trust me, you can, and you should, and if you are brave enough to start, you will. – May 12, 2014.

Dear Prof Dr Syed Hussein Alatas, thanking you would be an understatement of my gratitude; your words spoke to me every night last week. And each night was a very emotional moment. Still – thank you, even when I know it is not enough. Al-fatihah.

* Nadilla Jamil reads The Malaysian Insider.

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.

source: malaysiainsider

In my school year,
I find myself in constant need of attention
Especially my friends whom i spend most of my school days with
As i reach my university year,
I still need friends, but i need it less.
By then i have my own circle of friends
But every now and then i would drop by into other peoples circle and get to know them. I wouldnt even try to get in their circle because i know that we are different circle.

Now in my postgraduate, i grow more and more detach from my friends.
I think i can count with my finger how many friends im actually friends with, while others remain acquaintances. So id go into a one-on-one and try to spend time with these friend every now and then.

However i do realize that as the year pass by, most of my friends have build their own life either their own family or career. Some may have found a new set of group of friends that you see them post pictures of their new circle. Funny thing is that i dont get jealous, but thankful that they found new friends.

Its not that i am removing them as my friends, just that some times im not very good in keeping in touch with people, sometimes you get so caught up with your life, you just dont bother to remember anyone but yourself.

To those friends i used to be close with, im sorry that we drifted apart, its not like we have any fights or anything, its just that we have move on with our own life so far that we cant turn back to where we used to be.
And i dont hold any grudge if any of my friends do that to me, because i understand it quite well, since i too do the same thing. But some, who remain good friends would suddenly pop up out of nowhere and say hello to you.

Its quite touching to know that people do remember you and made an effort to get in touch with you. Some are people i never expect, its like they dont need you to be there all the time, but they are there for you, when you never expect them to be here. Once in a while they contact you, to remind you that you have a friend after all these years.

So to these friends thank you for breaking the silence regardless of the time i have been missing from your life.
These are your true friends, they just dont expect anything from you because you dont expect anything from them too.

Its like you can sail anywhere you want, fly to any parts of the world, no matter how long or how far you drift away, theya are there like the wind, blowing on you wherever you are and you can feel their presence even if they are not with you.

Strange sometimes when i get those chill, because you can see them sometimes talking to you and you would smile away knowing that they may also be thinking of you.

It happened so many times, where some of my friends call you up and say they were thinking of you just the time you were also thinking of them.
Some friends, you get that connection, we can feel their presence even if they are far away.

So if you have that kind of friends,know that you are both lucky to found each other.

Treasure them.

Reevaluating ‘money’

Men are social animals,but the difference between men and animals is that we are given the brain to think.

When Greece went bankrupt, instead of going to the streets and protest about it, they turn to each other and create their own market to exchange with each other what they can give. Even in Malaysia, there are free market who have started doing so whereby anyone can come and take whatever the people at the market offers for Free.

In Japan, there are Kippu Fureai, whereby volunteers exchange their time to take care of the elders. Though as time goes, there were more elder people to take care of than the people who could volunteer their time.

In Curitiba Brazil, the town exchanged their waste in exchange of bus ticket , some are also exchangeable to fruits & vegetable. The success of it have made the city became the most sustainably living city. The creativity of the mayor, and its predeccessors have allowed them to create so many ways to sustain themselves without needing funding from the state government.

In ireland, there are also Lets which is Local Exchange Trading System whereby farmers exchange their goods with each other. In Us, Canada, and many other community in countries around the world, use Time Bank to exchange their service in exchange with their time. For example, one hour of your time using whatever skill or expertise you have are exchangeable to an hour of the skills and expertise of another that you want to exchange with.

In Indonesia, and even in Malaysia, we also have shops that accepts gold or silver coin as part of the payment system. Though its not widely accepted yet, but it was one of the way in not relying on paper money solely as medium of exchange.

However, it still struggles its ways in sustaining themselves but it does in a way allow us to reevaluate money as ‘value’ and not the number. We now refer things we produce or buy things according to the number on the price tag when we used to bargain what we buy or sell without a tag.

Then, we started using gold and silver coins before we are forced to use democracy and whatever it entails in exchange for independence. Hence, we had to use paper money and relied on one country as the international standard, when in reality, the Dollar itself have devalued more than more than 100% since its printed. And expected to devalue by 33% by 2032 (Forbes)

So what is ‘money’?

Money is whatever we consider it valuable, it is the ‘currency’ that is tied to the legal tender that a goverment enforce to be used as money. It is only acceptable within the country that is using it, as long as the confidence towards the currency still exist. If not, then thats what happened to Zimbabwe in 2009 when its Zimbabwe Dollar devalued, 3 eggs cost $100 Billion Dollar. Or Indonesia Rupiah when the Asian financial crisis hit us and IMF came to ‘save’ their country only to leave it in even more debts from the loans.

We have lost the value of money, when we restrict ourselves to think that money is only in the form of paper money. While paper money does multiplies itself, but it multiplies out of nothing but a promise to pay from the government. It used to be backed by gold, but that is long gone since the Bretton Woods abolishment in 1971. So, we start to live by accumulating piece of paper money day after day, year after year only to receive less value than our forefather used to have. We thought that we are gaining a lot of money by having a lot of numbers in the banks, but thats not what happened.

If you dont understand what i mean by this, just look at how it used to be when we buy things. For example, during our grandparents time, 5cents could buy you a lot of things, during our parents time, $50 could buy us a trolley of groceries, by the time we could afford our own money, we can only buy less than a half basket, sometimes only one item.

As our life relied on money, We have also lost the ability to take care of each other when we used to look out for each other, and care for each others need. We became competitive to be the first to get the latest gadget, the first in class, the most A’s in exam, the best car, and an endless list of things to buy. We became consumers rather than producers.

We no longer grow our own food, or vegetables, rear chickens etc. The quality of food in our life have also reduce, we eat junks, unhealthy foods, eat outside and too busy to cook a proper food. Most of our food are from factory made product, with extra sugar, preservatives and added chemical that we dont know what it contains and its effect to our health. And so begins the most common growing disease ‘obesity’ and the rest of the package.

Malaysians are giving people, ask for donation and we could give so much money in one night. One of the examples was when Fynn Jamal, needed funding for her sins surgery and they collected enough money in one night. Also, we were always the first to give for war effected country like Gaza, Syria etc.

If we notice, since the beggining, men lived in groups and built their community. From there we turn into a bigger community as our population grows. When we start building our institutions, we rely in the institution to take care of us. While it is good for a big community, slowly we lose our sense of community, the bigger community we grow into, the more individualistic, taking care only ourselves.

Houses back then was built by helping each other to build our own house and in even living in long house. Brothers and sisters shared enough resource or money to buy a piece of land to build their house. It is only later when the children grew up, we fight with our own relatives for a piece of land, breaking up families all because of ‘money’.

Families, used to take care of anothers family. Some takes in their relatives children and well off relatives help them to go to school by funding their studies, those who have little children were taken care of their aunts who stays home.

Neighbours used to look out for each other, setting up Rukun Tetangga to protect their kampung from thief and settle their village problems. We would help each other to grow crops, catch fish out at the sea, before the young generation start leaving and moving to the city to work in the offices. When there is weddings, not many kampung now ‘gotong royong’ to help in their neighbours wedding. Back in my grandmothers time, she told me of how, they used to lend their own plates to help with the wedding, bringing chicken or salt, and ingredients from their home to cook together for the wedding. The only time they had meat was during Eid.

We ask why people are depressed? Why our children are not listening to us? Why school children are rude to the teacher and bullies their classmate to death? Why there is no longer respect of privacy when we offer our private life by sharing almost everything in our life via social media? Instead of saving peoples life, we post videos or pictures of people dying in accidents, some even selfies at the graveyard, and whenever there is videos of people behaving badly, we are the first to share the bad than the goodness of people.

We have so much time to blame, complain, and trash everything we can about what the government should do for us but what do we do to give back to the community we are living in? Why dont we come together and find ways in creating a better community that takes care of each other?

In the Caliphate time, its not the government that provides the facilities to the people but the people facilitates themselves by providing their service to the community they live in. Waqaf for example, are not limited to just waqaf-ing your land. When the people need roads, those who can build roads, provided roads. So it can be anything that your skills and expertise are capable of giving for the benefit of your community. Such sense of community existed a long time ago, but forgotten the more developed we became.