Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The certain and uncertain

I chatted with Iman KA last night, and we end up talking about life and the uncertainty of it. (Don’t worry Iman, I wont go into details. Your secret’s safe with me ;)). There are so many things in life that we want to achieve, but the road is never straight, and the path will never be clear. She indicated to me that, generally, in life, we tend to find any signs of hope or certainty that will somehow give a sense of comfort to us all. Even I had this kind of desire too; always wanted something concrete and firm to hold on to, just to tell me that everything will be ok. But life doesn’t work like that. My Mak Long and mama once told me that life is never certain. It’s always a gamble, and we can never predict what will become of us in the future. (Even those ‘bomoh’ or ‘tok pawang’ couldn’t be certain of what they see of the future). I was always desperately wanting for this so called ‘certainty’, but my mom made me realize that certainty is one of the things that life could not offer. It takes me awhile to digest what she said, and eventually, I accepted the idea, though I still need those ‘signs of hope’. Yeah, what my Mak Long and mama told me was totally true; there will always be risk in taking life’s decisions, and the outcome may not turn out to be the way you want to but they told me that if even that’s the case, if you took it because its your passion and love, you will never regret it. There’s no way to escape risk, and it’s one component of life that we need to face in every aspect of life, but make the best of it by evaluating thoroughly and take the least risky one. Always take the calculated risk, just to be prepared for the ‘uncertain’.Like they say, if you can beat them, join them.
With life, comes uncertainty. With uncertainty comes risk, and with risk comes hope. So, in the midst of this ‘uncertainty’, no matter how blur or windy the road is, look inside you and ask yourself ‘what do you really want?’. If that’s your dream, take a while to think about it, stick to your plan and go for it. Everthing you ever desired and wanted is actually in front of you actually, and what you need to do is take the leap of faith. Just have faith, because to me, believing and putting the end in mind, will somehow make the windows of your future more cleaner and clearer. And always remember, no matter how difficult it is, no matter how windy the road is, and no matter how ‘uncertain’ your dreams are, nothing on this world is impossible, and just have faith and work your heart off for it. And Inshallah, ‘uncertain’ will become ‘more certain’ with every step you take. Have faith!

Monday, June 11, 2007


I dedicate this to my lovely dearest and baby Zach. Happy birthday dear!

To some, memories are just events that took place in our lives that they can just forget about them and put the past as past. To another, memories take vivid pride where they reside the most, the heart. In this world, this ‘memory’ we depend on so much, contains various meanings, due to the cultural boundaries and the influence of the environment. Let me share with you my perspective and how I perceived memories. Memories come in various packages, depending on how meaningful they are to an individual. They can become so powerful, that it would have a profound effect on the human emotions. You might experience where you sit alone, reminiscing the past, and somehow, in a weird way, you laughed your throat out, or you suddenly cried and your eyes get puffy and red. That’s how powerful memories are; they can changed lives. You see, some might say that life-altering events, could, well.. alter lives I guess. But actually, this life-changing events could do so little unless they are kept in our hearts and you let them stayed there. That’s memories. Be it the lost of loved ones, your graduation, your wedding day, and the list goes down, the memories of this events will eventually transform you to another person, maybe for the better or the worst, depending on how you take it. I lost my baby brother once, and to tell you the truth, I was shattered and I have no where else to go. I still remember vividly, where I was waiting for my aunty to pick me up in the rain, and I prayed to the all Mighty that I hope that He would bring my brother back to life. But what is done is done. But with the loving memories of baby Zach, I have succeeded where a few has achieved, and that’s only the beginning and the visible, and trust me, as long as I hold on to his memories, I’ll achieve more, that the mortal mind can imagine.
And based on experience, memories can get even more meaningful when you have others in the picture. There’s nothing more beautiful than falling and rising with the people you care and love. Be it your friends, or your loved ones, or your family, to endure life with them will permanently stay in you forever. I don’t know how to explain this, but every laughs, tears, conflict, comfort that we share together has magic in them, and with them come life’s miracle. Let’s just put it this way; human bonds make memories even beautiful.
So, what I can say here is cherish all the moments that you have and share with others. When there’s a change of tide, they will comfort you in times when you needed comfort the most. Never put aside those memories, but embrace it and enjoy every second of it.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

The devil's advocate

This is a cool experiment that I learned when I read the June edition of New Scientist. Try it and you’ll be amaze on the way how our mind functions. It is called the ‘Wason Card Selection Task’.

You are given 4 cards, ‘D’, ‘A’, ‘2’, and ‘5’ written on the front of the card. You are needed to prove this statement by just flipping only 2 cards out of the 4. The statement is:

“If there is a D on one side, there is a 5 on the other”.

So, which card will you flip?

75% of the respondents flipped D and 5. But did the statement said anything about if there is a 5 on one side, there is a D on the other? No. So, why do we need to flip the ‘5’ ? Interesting isn’t it.

To confirm this theory, the solution is actually to disprove it, so you just need to flip D and 2. The reason:
For D, if the reverse isn’t 5, the statement is false.
For 2, if the reverse isn’t D on the other side, so the statement is false

Wason concluded that in an argument, we mostly tend to use facts and numbers which only support ours and we very seldomly try to find things which weakens our arguments. This explains why when we are needed to evaluate alternatives, we end up bias towards one and we ignore the others. This is christened ‘The Ubiquitous Confirmation Bias’. This can closely associated to our way of thinking where we always consider the strength but never the weakness. Sometimes, most of the times, the best way to evaluate an issue or ourselves is trying to identify the weaknesses and improve it to the better. So, when it comes to making decisions or justifying an argument, try to ‘bang’ yourself first. Do you get what I mean? =)

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

The fish we eat.

A typical fisherman village A fishing boat
Papa and mama : My inspiration and strength
Leaving Kuantan for the vast open sea An exhausted fisherman getting a short afternoon nap

Have you ever wonder, during dinner or lunch, how the fish ends up in your plate? Have you ever imagine how much sweat and energy poured into providing you the very fish you eat for lunch or dinner? This is my experience with my family on a fishing trip in the middle of the South China Sea, and to tell you the truth, it is one that could never be forgotten. We start off at 8 am in the morning from the Tanjung Api Jetty and the sight of the fishermen village greeted us in a very solemn way. Its quite saddening to see an old shack which houses a family of average of 7. We chanted that we are on the verge of becoming a developed country, but yet, there are still of our fellow friends which live in this kind of condition.
On the boat, my mom’s friend and another fisherman was expecting us. Then we set course into the middle of the South China Sea, with high hopes of getting a bucket of deep sea fish. The method that we use to catch fish there is using an Appolo fishing rod; a fishing rod which has a 5 to seven hooks on the line and every one of them is attached with shiny, metallic fibers to bait the fishes. We once tried this in Langkawi, so the Appolo is no stranger to us. No doubt, fishing is a test of patience. Imagine; in the middle of the sea, and the sun is burning your skin and you can felt the sweat flowing on your back. It was just nerve-racking, And to make it more miserable, we only got so little fish except for my mother; she’s an iron woman of the sea. But when we sensed something pulling on the line, and you quickly pull it up, and you see a Selar at the end of the line, you feel a surge of excitement all over the body. Yeah, it’s a small accomplishment, but looking at the atmosphere and the condition, you can imagine how a fish at the end of the line could make you so happy? I ask the man, how much fish on average will he catch daily? Sadly, he told me that with this method, they even could not get the white polystyrene container half full. With that much of a catch, they can only get around RM 10 to 15 a day and with that amount of money, they will use it to feed their 7 children.
And one more experience that I must share is praying on the boat. The boat is never stable; the boat will be constantly rocking like a cradle every time the wave slams the boat. So, they will sit during their prayers. It’s a cool thing to pray in a new way =) Hey, is not like we always get the chance praying in the middle of the sea, right?
At 5 pm, we head back to dry land, and everyone was very exhausted. But, our fatigue faded away by the sight of 3 dolphins swimming beside our boat. Their upper part of their bodies appear and reappear on the surface of the water, and we were like a bunch of monkeys on a boat, being so excited watching these very gentle creatures.
We reached the jetty at precisely 6.10 pm and everyone was damn tired. But we learned a lot of valuable lessons. I still remember vividly, the faces of the children there, with their worn out power ranger and pokemen t-shirts, looking at us we a very sweet smile. As you read this, just remember that we are so lucky of being who we are now; being able to surf the internet, wear descent clothes, and having a warm and comfortable home to live on. Don’ t forget to remember our brother’s and sister’s who aren’t fortunate enough to have a life like ours. So, when you are about to have a bite of the delicious deep fried sweet sour fish, just take a minute to thank the very men and women who went through all the hardships, in the middle of the ocean, to get that fish we about to eat..

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

From Transnational to the heavens

Writing to you from a Transnational bus heading to KL in the middle of the Monday night. Listening to Anna Nallick’s 2 AM, I looked outside the window, admiring the constellations in the heavens. As I look at the very stars that dreamers, philosophers, lovers, poets, and achievers once admire, the thought of my dreams struck my mind. You see, the very dreams that I hold on to are thought to be impossible by typical others. But to me, nothing is impossible on this earth and I believe that everything is achievable if you put your heart, mind and soul into it. On the 16th of June, I will embark on a very hard and difficult journey which I estimate will take me around 8 to 9 years of my life to accomplish. In those period of time, I will submit myself to medicine, and I will put all my life to a relationship which I pledged myself to you.
After what happened for the last few months, I started questioning my attention of becoming a doctor. It crossed my mind that if I had not taken this choice of mine and I resorted to become an engineer or accountant, I might be richer and I could be with the people I love. And there were times when people sarcastically gave me the idea that becoming a doctor is not worth the effort and all the sleepless nights for on-calls when eventually I would get a salary far less than those who sit in the office drinking coffee. But when I talked to my junior of mine, she makes all the different. About the relationship, she made me realize that just put all your effort and keep on loving. People might say that I need to be realistic, but as I said before, in love and relationship, it surpasses the boundaries of time and logic. And I have faith and I believe that one day I’ll be with her. And no matter how hard it is, I will keep on loving her. And on my doubts of becoming a doctor, I realize that there is more than salary when we talk about life in the emergency room. It is actually about changing people’s lives, giving hope to the hopeless, giving some sense of security to people who are in need one. Yeah, I might not be rich, but I know that my choice of profession will bring enjoyment to others. For all the future doctors out there, persevere and what you will be doing will be look high upon Allah and the people around.
And again, I just want to help others, and I’m glad that the one I love has gotten what she wants, and to me, it means the whole world to me. So rather on lamenting on what will happen in the future, I should go on helping others and touching lives. And when I take another look in the heavens, I know that body will turn to dust, but because of selflessness and the heart which is pure, Allah will put us there, among the stars.


I believe that we are sent onto this earth for a purpose. From the very janitors who clean up the mess we make to the very people who governed a nation, we will always serve a purpose to others. After 18 years of living, surviving, and breathing, I have reached to a point that I realized the reason why Allah sent me here; to submit to Him, to learn and to care and help others. After my SPM, I’ve been traveling a lot, seeing what the world is really about and what lies for me in the future. There were times when I encounter people who suffer so much (and I thought my life was miserable) and who are in need of a little care and love. I met elderly people who crave for the love of the young, people who are holding on to little hope when they know there are no hope left, people who do hard labor just to feed and school their 8 children, and fishermen who spent the whole day under the excruciating heat of the sun in the middle of the sea just to come back to their families with RM10 a day. Life is not as it seems and the media has somehow blinded us from the suffering of the very people who are in need of help. When I associated my life’s dream of becoming a doctor, I realize that this is not just a dream. It has become my obligation, my calling to change their lives. It may sound big, very big, but I know this is it; becoming a doctor, a specialist, and to care for this people. I know there’s little I can do for them for now, but I know that my existence will never be complete if their fate is not defended. I pledge, in the confinement of my ability and capabilities, that I will help those people. This is also a calling to all of the people out there, do your part in helping this people. Life is not about making big bucks and having a BMW 5 Series with big mansions. It is about enjoying it and share those enjoyment with these unlucky people and what better way of doing it than carving a smile on their faces.

Between science and faith

I am a man of science, a person who wouldn’t take any ideas into consideration without any concrete evidence which I can see, touch, hear, feel, and smell. To me, everything could be explained scientifically, one way or another, either with quantum or with conventional main stream of science. But lately, I come to my senses that there are things on this earth, or may be in the very existence of everything, that does not need an explaination on why it occurred or happened. Yes, there are the spiritual aspect which need to be balance between logical thinking and the divine faith and submission; religion. But I would like to talk about the very human emotions which define us as a civilized beings, particularly love. If we look at emotions such as joy, sadness, confusion, depression, and the list goes down, science can explain all of these phenomenon in the boundaries of chemistry and medicine. All of these can be laid down in the blue print of the complex labyrinth of neurons in the brain and they are closely associated with the chemicals in the neurotransmitters which prominently effect one’s personality. But when it comes to love, science is tested to the edge. You see, our humanly instinct is constantly on the search of ‘the’ ideal sexual mate to produce quality offspring which could ensure the continuing existence of mankind. But when love is put into the picture, it alters the whole scientifically explaination on why humans have special bonds of the opposite sex and stay loyal to each other. Love could never be associated with the surge of serotonin in the brain, nor the hyper cerebral activities. Yes, no doubt, there will be times when cheating occurs, but this occurrence should never be a reason to go against love due to this very justification : are you sure the affection that those couples who cheated are truly love? It may be not. But I believe that when this feeling called love is felt and embraced, it can go beyond logic. There are even recorded proof that Alzheimer patients had somehow gained their memory back temporarily when they are closed to their loved ones, and how can science and medicine explain that? That is the beauty of the human affection and passion towards the other; that is the beauty of love. Again, I am a man of science and one day I will commit myself to a life long medical learning, but yet I will dedicate myself to this one kind of emotion. I will keep on learning and try to find any possible explaination for everything, but for love, I will not go experimenting it, or associating it with raging hormones or those things, but I will embrace it and celebrate it. And that's faith.