Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Light Upon Light


Every molecule of body is aching to blog for I have a story to share. An occurrence that really made my day.

But first of all, a few updates.

+I'm now back in Melbourne. It's a cold summer over here. I don't expect the weather to be like this in February. Melbourne weather is such a woman. Can't wait for autumn, my all-time favorite season, it will be my last autumn here inshaAllah.

+I am in my final year of architecture... still remember the first day I got here. The semester is commencing soon. Pray for me my friends for I'm indeed feeling very anxious about it.

So the story....

A friend and I were heading for a lunch in the city. We were walking along Swanston Street when a guy of mid 50 or maybe 60 halted us by his 'Assalamualaikum...' 

He started by asking if we speak Arabic. I, who only know a few basic words considered myself don't know the language. We expected him to be a person who doesn't speak much English and needs a little help for direction or anything; (we've previously encountered many a person like that in numerous situations). However the uncle hence proceeded the conversation by asking our nationality. He expressed his happiness of meeting us thus, introduced himself as "I am a Christian".... at this point, I already speculated a few possibilities about him; (forgive me  O' God) 1. He may be a Christian missionary, 2. He is a beggar. My speculations were however based on my past experience of frequently meeting such people around the city. 

He then asked us a question, which left us dumbfounded for a moment. 

"How do I become a Muslim?"

My friend and I looked at each other, not knowing what's the best answer to give. Thoughts and emotions flooded into my brain... I really didn't know what to say... but I knew, I got to say something. 

So I asked him, if what he needed to know is a formal process like meeting the imam or finding places to learn Islam. I believe this man is an Arab, I could tell from his accent. So I thought what he meant was finding information 'about becoming' a Muslim. He then further asked...

"Do I have to go to the mosque. I want to become a Muslim. What should I do?"

So I told him, the fundamental things about becoming a Muslim is to submit to God with your heart, say with your tongue "La illa ha illallah, Muhammad rasulullah" (there's no god but Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of God)...then you're a Muslim and must live as one.

"So I only have to say La illa ha illallah, Muhammad rasulullah, La illa ha illallah, Muhammad rasulullah" (the words sound so perfect in his Arabic tongue)

"Now I am a Muslim?"

He covered his hand over his face and said to himself. "Oh God, I am now a Muslim"

We had a little conversation after that. I believe the brother had learned a bit about Islam. He had Muslim friends which he seemed reluctant to say much when I asked about. I told him he should wash himself. Just bathing, then he can perform ablution and pray. Apparently he already learned how to pray, well technically at least. We chatted only for a few minutes. He expressed his happiness that he is now a Muslim, oh and God knows, I too was extremely delighted. 

He thanked us and walked away. yeah, just like that. I didn't know what should I say or 'pesan' anything to him, I was still very much awestruck. He left us, with Assalamualaikum.

I was left speechless....then I came back to my sense after passing a few shops on the same street... 

"Did he just converted in front of us?"
"Was it real?"
"Was he really, not a Muslim?"
"He testified in front of us, didn't he?"

My friend was pretty much in my state. We were clueless but somehow elated by the occurrence. Well, we don't know his story. We have no idea how did he get to a conclusion of becoming a Muslim while passing through xxx shops and walking in the midst of women in mini skirts.... We don't know what sort of path in that soul searching journey he had taken....We don't know what's behind and after 5-10 minutes conversation we had with him.

But Allah knows all, and He knows best. 

Our path may not cross again (I even forgot to ask his name), but I thank Allah for today. It reminds me part of an ayah in surah An-Nur (which many of us have learned by heart in high school)

"..light upon light, Allah guides to His light whomever He wants. And Allah speaks to mankind in allegories, for Allah is knower of all things." (24:35)

Never had a stranger make me smile alllll day long, like he did. Allah...

*I'm feeling a tad guilty for letting he left just like that... should I have more conscience at that moment, I would have directed him to local Muslims or anyone my brain could work on. But I did what I could, I leave his care to Allah.

Monday, February 14, 2011

It's The Matter of Trust

"If you don't trust in the the drawings, don't expect us to trust in you. ".there go my emotional remarks. =.=

I really get frustrated when people say, architects don't understand reality, they learnt theories, only do drawings, and drawings are never the same as the built.

Well, true it is, drawings are lines on paper. there are made out of inks... and of course they are not the same as the built. The accuracy also varies, depending on the scale of the project, the experience of the architects and draftsmen and many other factors. But hey, we were not only taught and trained to dream, but also to make the dream build-able. People had been drawing on walls and slates to plan buildings since forever. The purpose of the drawings is not just to visualize the idea and work on the building, but to guide and access the whole building process... so you don't get lost at some points not knowing how to connect a low wall to a roof... or run out of budget because some parts of the building have not been taken into consideration prior to the whole building process. When you have the drawings in hand, you can do the budget easily, sort out the 'impossible' bits where you need special expertise, or simply demand for an alteration. Architects are the problem solvers. 

A drawing is never perfect, so do other skills. It is a subject to change and improvement, and so do other skills. The problem with many of our contractors is they do things out of their head, off the drawings, shrinking the budget wherever its possible and employ the only method that they possess in hand justifying that other proposed techniques are nonsense (when the real reason is it'll probably cost a bit more) and deal with the consequences latter (by running away). 

I'm talking about the common situation in small private projects, where no engineers and project managers whatsoever. Where the architect sits in between the client and the builder, getting beaten to death by both. hahaa... 

Well well well, who am I to criticize the experienced people in this industry, the contractors especially... I'm just an inexperienced architect-to-be. a budak kecik anak hingusan of the insdustry, who is still crying in the cradle... needing to be fed by others... but at this point, I've seen how worst a situation can be, and how much it affects a building progress when the client, architects and builder constantly disagree due to one only reason, the builder just don't listen. 

NOTE: I wish not to marry an architect, a contractor, a builder or anyone in the industry.... I believe marriage itself gives enough reasons for the couples to fight... therefore, professionalism shouldn't add to the stress.. 

Read, Write and Talk

Sometimes, to me blogging is a lot like reading, I always get excited to pick up a new book, the moment I finish reading one. If I abandoned the habit for too long, first of all, it'll no longer be a habit though I still get that kind of how-I-miss-getting-hooked-on-a-book feeling... second, I'll lost confidence in reading fat books. I'm afraid I'll forget the first chapter before I reach the ending... however, my love for books never dies... I still get the feeling I want this, I want that booksss whenever I go to the bookstore. Sometimes end up buying a couple of them.

When it comes to blogging, I notice the same pattern, I always blog in a few consecutive days with one or two days break in between... then a pause.... for weeks maybe months...during the non blogging period, I always have ideas/things to blog... I collect thoughts in my head, take photos, scribble here and there and say to myself, "I'll blog about this" but end up not doing so... and when I get to blogging back, I'll write about other things... usually the more trivial and less interesting matters than all the things I've collected. What happens to the thoughts? I feel like they are too complex... so I refuse to write, like a fat may-or-may-not-be-interesting book that I keep in provision but never was read. 

However, reading is easier... when I have a book in-waiting... it keeps me going. But blogging is different in that sense, it's more similar to talking... like some nights when I have things to say, but go to bed hugging the thought.. then I wake up, with it still in my head only to realize the 'sharing' feeling is gone. 

I love to think and talk before I sleep... but most of the times, I only read. :)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Tie A Yellow Ribbon Around The Old Oak Tree

A tree that was planted, frequently visited... will grow before you, unnoticed... well, you'd probably cherish the first stem, the first leaf, the first bud, the first flower... but soon enough, you'll lost count of them... and one fine day, when the sun is still shining brightly like in any normal days... you'll learn that the tree is sick and dying... the thought is, must be; unbearable......

Ergo, I would like to stop nursing the growing seed I've once planted (that it now has aged a year or more, has a few healthy branches, rosing buds and abundance of leaves, also a few scars of dead stems).... before I further lost count of the branches and leaves... before the blossoming flowers overcome my fondness of the grasses around it... oh, those grasses have been there longer than the tree. 

No. I'm not abandoning it. I only stop caring and wishing too much, leaving it's care to the sun and land, to the wind and rain... to the Creator.... and I believe it's old enough to survive the harshness of nature... aren't you, dear tree?

I'll keep my eyes on it... but my heart will always attend to the calls when its needed... like a really strong fertilizer that comes into rescue of an ill plant. 

If the tree shall die young, I will not weep. ah, my sadness may visit... but I will not mourn. If it shall survive, I'll be happy... very happy... I'll celebrate each fruit that it bears with great gratitude. 

All the things shall come to perish anyway... but some trees live for hundreds of years. :) For the tree, I have my prayers. 

Oh, grow my tree grow... grow big and tall
grow my tree grow, be a canopy that shades us all

Oh, live my tree live.... live happy and healthy
live my tree live, turn my wish into reality.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Puteh sebu mek ni. XD

People say a picture is worth a thousand words. Thus this post is worth a bible. ;)

According to brother, the purpose of this jalan-jalan is to makan. *burrp*heee..,

It has flourished pretty well... what? poverty? Penang pun ada org miskin, cuma tak gebang kat tivi.

I sense a strong influence of post-modernist spirit in many of its buildings.

Fuhhhh! It's hard to believe that that was my second visit to Kelantan after 14 years. My nephew was still an embryo then... yet, he visited Kelantan many times than I did. I should cuti-cuti Malaysia more. ;)