Saturday, July 5, 2008

Terrorist or freedom fighter?

Feeling so worn out after maths tutorial, I decided to go for an evening jog and coincidentally, a friend (the name is disclosed) was also on the track. But with a sudden buttock ache straining my hamstring, the evening turned into just a stroll around the college. There were so many things that we talked about, and somehow end up with the issues of hypocrites. You see, it’s hard to believe but in reality, KMB has produced a lot of thinkers and professionals who put Islam as their core in their decisions and actions. In a way its good, but Ali was dissatisfied with a group of girls, who “dressed and talked with high religious values” but there are certain times, where they don’t really portray their beliefs and what they spoke of, to a point that they labeled them as extremist. Knowing that he is brought up in a more secular community and family, I understand that it would be difficult to accept a group of individuals who seemed to be the opposite of him. It is actually a battle between two values and ideas; in one corner is a KL guy who socializes a lot and the other corner is an usrah-attending girls who speak of Islam in almost everything.
In a way, I do feel that I am in the same camp as him, having brought up with a different and unconventional view of life by my parents. But in a way, I disagree with him on the point that he labeled the girls as an extremist. To me, there is no such thing as an ‘Islamic Extremism” and somehow the Law of Excluded Middle implies in this matter.(TOK). It is a distinct choice; Islam or not Islam. My dad once told me that there will be an array of views in an issue and confusion might set in. In this situation, my dad said, just go back to basics; the Quran and Sunah. At the same time, we also need to put into consideration the environment that we all are brought up in. Each and every one of us have different views of Islam, and I can’t comment much as there is still a lot for me to learn about it. To the girls, they might see Islam as they see it, and I see it in a different way. Nevertheless, the underlying fundamental concept is still the same; we believe in the same One God who created the heavens and the earth and all its pillars which universally unites us under the one Deen. I feel that everyone has a right to have an opinion, and at the same time they also have the right to inform and explain to people what they believe with grace and wisdom. If this two are embraced and practiced, I am sure that we will be more exposed to different views and opinions which could advocate a more mature thinking and decisions. It might seemed individualistic, but the way I see it, everyone has the right to do anything that they want to do, and he or she is entitled to his or her actions, but we have to inform and address them on the things which we believe is right, hopefully it could help in the search of truth. Well, one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. So the question is which one is the truth?

3rd sem

Semester 3 in Banting is well known among its students as a period of emotional roller coaster, mind blowing stress, and killer datelines. And now I am in the hot seat, and I’ve been receiving a lot of poundings lately. It is internationally recognized and acknowledged that IB has a reputation of killer stress and pressure, and now I’m experiencing first hand. Now I know how it felt having tutorials, assignment, IA’s EE’s, IELTS, and so many things happening at the same time. Thank God i have only the At the same time, we also have responsibilities that we need to uphold, having dedicated ourselves to a life of duty and service. I must admit that the stress and strain has really catching up on me, and I’m really losing my zest, fast. I don’t know. I can’t say I’m suicidal, but desperate times called for fast, relieving, desperate measures. Well, I don’t think listing down all the hardcore, hazardous, possibilities would be appropriate, but they all are like internet pop-ups. But don’t worry, I still have enough rationality to prevent me from cutting my wrist.
But despite it all, I am blessed to have amazing friends and teachers around me. I met Ms Aqyn one day to settle some UN model thing, when she brought up the partition thing which cause some commotion in the college. I was stuck between two parties, and I need to find some kind of a win-win solution so this 2 sides come to turn. It was a difficult time, but to know you have a teacher who know your problems and care for you is really soothing. She told me that in times like this, I just need to be strong despite what people think about my decisions and actions, and be true to my values and principles. At the same time, Pn Bad and Ms Loh have taught me on life itself. Friends have certainly been there for me throughout the turmoil. A simple ‘Hi’, ‘How are you?” by them have really made my day, especially when I’m in the blues. I must admit that sometimes, flying solo would be my preference, but in times when you just feel like breaking someone’s neck, they can be darlings.
Of course, 3rd semester has its own unique expectations and challenges, and it feels as you just cannot make it. But with this people around, I think I’m going to make it!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Philosophers in the making

it was a last minute thing actually. I was talking to a parent of this newby who apparently made the ‘right’ decision of coming to Banting when Alia, Diana, and Vini just came out from the hall after attending a briefing on the upcoming TOK camp. They were quite shock to know that I was not going, and they were pushing me to go. Sook Leng was mentioning to me in Thailand that the TOK camp was a must-go and it’s a heck of a fun. Well, lucky for me, there was one more place vacant so what the heck. I really need to enjoy all the fun that I can get before the infamous 3rd sem kicks in. this sem is well known for causing IB student go insane and mental facilities and rehab are known to be fully booked at this period of time. (seriously).
At first glance, the Metropole Hotel appeared out of a scene from the Twilight Zone; a sinister, scary structure popping out of the remnants of the old Malacca in the middle of Bandar Hilir. You should have seen the Plaza Hang Tuah, which appear very much abandon, though there are some small tenants doing business as usual. For those frequent OU and Mid goers, the place would be completely their worst nightmare.
Even though the exterior might be repulsive and unwelcoming, the accomedation was… ok. The facilities were not as in Hiltons or Shangri-La, but it was inhabitable for 3 days.
Icebreaking was a blast. There were 10 drawing papers on a mounting board, and each of us were given 1 minute to draw anything that is related to Malacca. After the minute, your next team member will continue your work, and the process continued until all of the members had their cnhance to show their artistic talents. Van Goh would be really proud if he is still around to see the pieces that we all have collectively created… NOT… But what impressed me the most, was the how each of the group rep presented. I felt as if I was in those Russel Peter’s Live Comedies where people were laughing their butts off to the jokes. There was this one about the picture of an ‘erecting cow’! Well, I have only heard of bull erection.
We ‘played God’ when we were given a cliché yet cool task of determining the most suitable candidate to receive a heart transplant. Of course, each patients have his or her on circumstances to debate on and all of us got into a very heated debate. They were some of us standing on chairs and tables trying to get their point across. It’s a clear evidence to show how emotions come into play in making hard, solid decisions. Mr Azhar, like all TOK teachers, really bring the seminar room alive with his ‘cynical wisdom’ and ‘philosophical mockery’. Hihi (no offence mr azlan)
On the same night, me and my hommies decided to experience the night life in Malacca and explore the area by foot in the middle night. I was also desperately in need of Tom Yam. To our luck, we found a small time fun fare in the Jalan Tun Ali. Iqbal and me had a shot on the nausea-causing-pirate-swinging ship where I almost puke in and the Eye of Malacca. And on the same night, I realized that my wallet was gone, with RM 400, IC, ATM cards, license and everything in it. I was obviously fucked up, but thinking back, it was just papers and card, and I don’t want the lost of worldly possessions ruin my holiday. Hey, and looking at the bright side, i got my first hand experience doing a police report and my first genuine police report. That's so cool!!!
We spent half the day in Bandar Hilir the next day. It supposed to be those Explorace type of thing, where you need to take public transport available, and we were to find any infos that is related to history and ‘philosophy of knowledge’. the feeling it's kinda different than those museum trips i had in primary school. to be honest, whne i observed artifaxt, or paintings now, i am more reflective and i try to relate all those on display with myself and who i am today. It nurtures a deeper sense of appreciation towards arts compared to the time when i don't give a damn about some porcelins, paintings, or some dead guy. Maybe that's IB i guess?Most of us were tired running around the Stadhyus, museums, but no doubt we all had fun, taking pictures, trying new stuff, and just sight-seeing around the area. I feel that we spent more time loitering around rather than finding infos. Ha, and FYI, i stepped on a fresh, juicy pooh. Just another attraction in my collection of unfortunate events. but again, i tell myself that that day is a good day, coz everyday is a good day!!!
There were loads of activities done during the camp, mostly presentations. My team presented on the racism, and some did on adoption among girl homosexuals, and the acceptance of hermaphrodites. The issues were heavy, but it does shifted our paradigms and lead us into perceiving certain issues in different standpoints. Ms Loh meanwhile discussed on the significance of arts in the search of truth and knowledge.
One thing I like about TOK is the way that it helps you to see the world beyond how normal people see things. It as thought me to consider all factors and point of views, and in a way develops my critical thinking side. I also found out that I became more critical. I am not those i-love-malaysia kind of person, but after browsing in the museum and going in depth into all the exhibitions in the museum, it struck me that its an irony that the past could really foresee the future. There were times when i wonder, what's the point of me learning about some dead people and treaties but after the camp, it made me realize that history is more just than words and pictures; they are actually the interpretation of events that shape the course of our nation and brought us to today's present. Malacca is one fantastic example where modernization and history exist coincie with each other, and it's a living proof that heritage and culture must not be discareded in the expense of development and modernization. And it made me more appreciative of how the chapter of my history books are written. i sometimes ponder, which side should i stand and fight; equality and colour-blind Malaysia or the Malay supremacy? I know some might say that it's not something that i need to stress myself on, but i feel that i have to be a part of this.The ancient buildings, artifacts and people cultivated a great deal of patriotism and empathy towards the tribulations our grandfathers need to go through in building a nation. Even though I was a little bit miserable with my wallet gone, stepping on pooh, flu-stricken, and fatigue, I manage to maintain my zest and deceitfully fool myself into thinking that every day is a good day. people were kind of astonished looking at me very hyper when i have a lot of craps happening to me.Why should I worry about some money and cards when life is more than money and business, aite?