Tuesday, March 21, 2006

trying not to sink

people in school saw me in gold kebaya with green leaf motis and green tudung, green handbag and green high heels. and yet nobody knows what i'm going through unless i tell them.

since last thursday i've been living my life like a zombie - i'm numb to all feelings, the surrounding... and worse, my migraine has come to visit and decided to dance the whole day (sometimes my migraine is like a rock concert - pounding on my head).

at night, after a visit to the loo, i lay awake, thinking about the dissertation...thinking about the literature essay i'm going to give to the students...and god, it's so warm that i've to switch on the aircond...and in the morning when i wake up i feel tired...

nash sent me some comments on my chapter 1. he's going to be a brilliant professor one day...but until then, i cant understand his comments...hmmm

to those of you who are familiar with my blog, you may notice that i'm slightly different today. this is the first time i really express what s going on in my head...
i'm trying not to sink in my anxiety. but it looks like i have

Monday, March 20, 2006

These are the days

isnt it funny that when you're having a good time you dont notice how time flies? and when you're facing problems, you try to squeeze time to the last drop. if time can ever be like a lemon to be squeezed...

i'm into my 4th day of correcting my (at the moment, accursed) dissertation. my brain had been on holiday for half a year, so it received a shock...and so my blood pressure rose. at this time the only person who can help is my coursemate nash, who is our best student in class. the only one person that our lecturers offered a place at the prestigious english dept...to be with them.
well anyway, nash obliged my distress call and we met on saturday to discuss my dissertation. he didnt view my chapters then, but we talked about literature and his travels abroad when he had to present papers on literature. this was like the old days when we lunched after our classes. we didnt discuss other mundane stuff, we discussed issues in literature, about the works or authors that we had read. and no, contrary to other people's belief, it's not boring, simply because literature is my passion.

i felt calmer afterwards. because nash promised to help me by going through my chapter 1 hehehe.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

The Return of the Nightmare

i've been postponing the final editing of my dissertation for sooo long now. after slaving myself reading academic books, especially the very dense Bhabha book, i just want to give my brain some rest and enjoy brain dead activities (not entirely dead la). i packed all the notes away, put all the rushdie's novels on the shelves, and instead of reading critical essays or journal articles, i now peruse and read recipe books. and obviously, honing my baking skills. after the sumptious tea yesterday, i thought, well, i should start editing the dissertation. i was given 6 months anyway. it's been 3 months now.

and lo, and behold....i called the dean's office and the girl in charge of the Literature MA students told me "you have to submit your bound dissertation first before the senate can meet and formally pass you". Arrrrrrrgghhhhhhhh!!!!! so i called Dr Carol, and told her what happened. seems like i've 2 weeks to complete the editing and courier it to her. she has 1 week to see my corrections, and i've 1 week to make final amendments and to go to UM in person and give the copies to be bound. *sigh*

i already pushed the heavy box filled with the notes back into my room. the bed is strewn with books and articles. Longman dictionary and literary terms and theory dictionary are beside me. there's the dreaded Bhabha book...."it is the emergence of the interstices-the overlap and displacement of domains of difference - that the intersubjective and collective experiences of nationaness, community interest, or cultural value are negotiated." bla bla bla...

oh no!!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


i used to write poems. but eversince i started on my dissertation i stopped. to be able to write good poems, you do not only have to have the flair, but also a good knowledge of a wide range of poetry. that was what my undergrad academic exercise supervisor, mr hazidi, told me when he assessed my too-idealistic poems "you have to read MORE poems" and added "write when you're angry or sad or happy". well.... i took his advice. when i was in the final sem of doing my MA coursework, i took Stylistics (in other words, linguistics application in literature). much as i abhor the dryness of linguistics, i must admit that with the linguistics background i was able to criticise and analyse the poems better - that also means i know essentially what makes a good poem.

this morning, as i was about to write down the menu for the small tea party i'll be holding for my students tomorrow, i came across my book of poetry - written when i was experimenting with skills that i learnt in my classes. here i present to you the poems, but please do not plagiarise the works.

Ode to Batu Buruk Beach
At the sandy beach I stand,
Paying homage to an old friend,
My turf.
Palm leaves swaying to the roaring ocean,
Children playing colourful kites,
Murky waves unleash their fury,
They have seen much.
They know much.
The taste of nostalgia is deafening.
In my mother’s childhood days,
The puja pantai was celebrated.
Offerings made to the spirits of the sea,
Pagan dances under the moonlight.
The winds of the South China Sea greet me,
Two old friends are we.
In such powerful embrace,
I bask in the land’s love.
I’m a girl once more, of years ago.
I had abandoned you, I know.
But I’m here now, my friend.
The salty air is in my blood,
the sand, the sea, the palm trees…
The Land of the Seven Princesses is part of me.
Arms wide open I surrender.
I’m free! I’m free!
I’m the kite that soars high
I never lose ground
For you hold me firm and never let me stray.
Sounds of azan come with dusk.
I walk away with lighter steps.
I may fly again,
But I will always return.
My turf.

Music Box
While spring cleaning
I come across a memory.
The music box lies on the table
Dusty, forgotten.
I blow away the thin mist
and open the teak box.
Inside a lady and a man dance,
And soft melody plays;
Evoking memories of yesteryears
Of that particular time
Of that particular moment.
A time of happiness and hopes
To be dashed so soon.
It was just a fantasy.
It was a mistake.
The sweet serenade finally slows to a halt.
A salty saline drops on the two figurines.
I take a deep breath,
Slowly exhaling the old bittersweet story.
“Life must go on”
So I put back our love in the music box,
And let it dust away.

Thursday, March 09, 2006


in life, we have to gamble and take risks in order to advance to the next level in our life. be it education, friendship, relationship, business deals, career wise, we sometimes cannot play it safe. why? because nothing is permanent (except for God). no house is big enough, no marriage is happy enough, no love is strong enough.

when i did my MA, some people thought that i was crazy - since in the 1st semester i had to travel to KL every single weekend to attend classes. teaching was one thing, then i had to write assignments and long essays! i didnt know how much i could endure, but alhamdulillah, despite the fatigue, my goal was clear and i was determined. then my sabbatical leave was approved, and everything was ok. the 2nd hurdle occured when i had to write my dissertation, which i think was the most difficult and challenging phase of all. i remember the time when i broke down after wiping out my 28 pages of a working chapter, the pressure was just too much. but i realised that i wasnt alone i received moral support from my coursemates. i learnt about myself, about how different people are. in the end, it all comes down to faith.

those who were, and are in relationships will agree that to be in one takes a lot of courage, and the longer you are in it, the greater your understanding of a person is, the more tolerant you are.
falling in love is the most exciting phase, the world seems to be smiling to you, and nothing can go wrong.
to love, however, is different. to love is to accept the other person's flaws, and to embrace his/her positive traits - and above all, despite all the ups and downs, to have faith in the relationship, and also to enjoy the relationship while it lasts.

I don't wanna go another day,
So I'm telling you exactly what is on my mind.
Seems like everybody's breaking up
Throwing their love away,
But I know I got a good thing right here
That's why I say (Hey)
Nobody gonna love me better
I must stick with you forever.
Nobody gonna take me higherI must stick with you.
You know how to appreciate me
I must stick with you, my baby.
Nobody ever made me feel this way
I must stick with you.
I don't wanna go another day
So I'm telling you exactly what is on my mind.
See the way we ride in our private lives,
Ain't nobody getting in between.
I want you to know that you're the only one for me (one for me)
And I say
And now
Ain't nothing else I can need (nothing else I can need)
And nowI'm singing 'cause you're so, so into me.
I got you,We'll be making love endlessly.
I'm with you (baby, I'm with you)
Baby, you're with me (Baby, you're with me)
So don't you worry about
People hanging around,
They ain't bringing us down.
I know you and you know meAnd that's all that counts.
So don't you worry about
People hanging around,
They ain't bringing us down.
I know you and you know me
And that's why I say

Friday, March 03, 2006


Islam encourages us to work hard as if there's no tomorrow, and to do deeds as if the end is near. islam also teaches us to be moderate, and to be humble.

it's easier said than done, but however hard it may seem, if we truly believe in the teaching, we will strive to do better.

sometimes success makes one forgets of one's humble beginning. some people just want to wipe out their early chapters of life, and choose to bask in the glory of their greatness.
someone i'm working with seems to have lost touch with his early chapters of life. his arrogance and words hurt a lot of people's feelings. which makes his subordinates feel dissatisfied with his decisions (voiced in arrogant manner). may be he forgot that he's just a human being and not an immortal.

i remember the VC of UKM when i was a student then. he's the most humble person i know - personally checking whether the light bulbs were working or not during Pesta Konvo, parking his car at the big parking lot instead of having a driver driving up his car to the big porch of DECTAR after the convocation ceremony (his subordinates all had their drivers drove up to the porch). i once went to the chancellory...and saw him walking up to his PROs and said "boleh mintak tolong tak?" in the friendliest tone. this is the kind of a boss everyone wants.

yes, it's easy to become too pleased with one's achievements no matter how small or insignifcant they are. but remember that by being arrogant, you're just pushing people away from you, and in the end you will not have a person who genuinely likes and respects you. it is by being humble that one gains friends, respect and admiration.