Wednesday, May 25, 2011

You and My Mama ;)

I'm very busy right now, but can't help to share a little story about my family. 

My parents live next to my late grandparents, on my father's side. When my grandpa was sick, she took care of him, until his last breath. Then, my grandma... also, until she breath her last. 

A few years prior to that, she took care of her mother, the mother that raised her, I'm pretty sure if she ever met her own mother, she'd do the same... I was young, I don't remember that grandmother very well. But I never forget how she suap makan and mandikan her every day.

She also cared for my dad's half blood aunt.. and a few other people I can hardly remember. They all lived with us. I remember, when dad renovated our house, she reminded him to built a dedicated room for the sick... which now has become my room.

Mum sometimes said, "I took care of many elderlies until Allah took them away from me, I hope Allah won't abandon me when I'm old"

It occurs to me how amazing my mum is. I've seen how hard it is to care for a sick AND old person. Even a sick person sometimes gets on your nerve. I wonder if I could be like her. 

I thank Allah for having my sister in law Kak Sarah. When it comes to taking care of people, she's like a clone of my mum, just a modern version. :) To me, you're the answer of mum's prayer. InshaAllah... 

Thank you for always be there for them, and jaga mak ayah very well! You're too, amazing! like mak! I have a lot to learn from you. 

Sunday, May 22, 2011

My 10 Romantic Date Venues

(Warning! This post is sentimental and personal. You may choose not to read)

I guess it’s the autumn rain or maybe the blessedly married couple story I heard last night. Or the sweet and sour taste of mandarin orange given by roommate. Or the good looking guy who taught me how to clear cookies on my iPhone. Or La Pasegiatta art I drew for my studio project. I don’t know… I’m just feeling mellow and a bit on the romantic side. Haha… Hence I’m writing this;

The list goes as the following....

1. An Art Gallery / Expo 
I don’t mind if you can’t buy me the 99,000 USD worth painting that I fall in love with. I just need you to stand next to me, admiring the gift of God to all of these people. Understand how much I love arts. How I once dreamed to be a great painter. You must let me laugh of excitement when I see the piece that I like and don’t think me mad when I cry seeing the piece that makes me sad. I don’t mind you making silly comments of the displayed arts. I don’t mind you saying the ugly albino fox in one of the painting looks like me. But never say ‘this place is boring’. It’ll sadden me gravely. In prayer, I pray for someone who’s, not necessarily an artist or good at art, but at least appreciates it. 

2. A Museum 
It’s a bit like a gallery, but quite different. Museum is more thematic in the sense the materials displayed are specific to a particular criteria mostly history. I hope I’ll marry someone who has interest in history. Don’t rush when you walk with me in a museum. I sometimes digest an information slower than other people. I like if you talk about all the things we see. I like if you explain to me things I don’t understand. But don’t expect me to be clever and know everything.

I really wonder how it’s like to spend time in no 01 and 02 with the person I love, since so far I’ve been going there mostly alone.

3. Somewhere High 
Here in Melbourne, around 6 am in the morning you’ll see hot air balloons floating up in the city skyline. I never ride it. It’s in my wishlist which I’m pretty sure would remain there until I go back for good. Haha... I hope someday. It’ll come true.. with you. You look at arts from a haptics-distance…. But to see the vast land from afar… will remind us of all the wide roads and narrow paths we have to travel together. Ain't that romantic. Other high places are like a mountain, a sky deck, and a rooftop of a high building. 

4. A Theater 
..and watch something classical. It’s okay not to have a dedicated tier seating for the two of us. It’s okay to sit amongst the crowd. Just pick a good play. Something classical. Something historical. Oh! So classy, so romantic. I don’t really fancy movies cinema, though. 

5. A Bookstore 
Buy me a book of your choice. I’ll savor every single word in the book like you were the author. Remember, I don’t fancy thriller. Hahaa. 

6. An Autumn Garden 
Hands up who thinks autumn garden isn’t romantic? Take me for an evening stroll and hold my hand along the way. I fall for you gazillions time more than the fallen ochre leaves. Primavera in the heart! This can’t be done in Malaysia though. How sad… 

7. A Beach 
I’ll make sandwiches and you treat me for ice cream. Hee… Deal?

8. On the back of a horse / Horse Riding 
Out of all animals in the world. I’m not that scared of horses. It takes a lot of me of course to get closed to them, let alone ride. But I’ve tried not so long ago, so many times. I remember a brown horse named Rosy at Perlis Equestrian Club. I would love to do it again. Down the hill or along the beach, you pick. I don’t mind. 

9. A Maze 
We’ll take a different route and see who’ll get to the end first. whoever does, lets wait for the other patiently. The anticipation of meeting again after being disconnected and lost. How fun! 

10. A Classic Japanese Restaurant 
I’m not sure why is this in the list. But I imagine a restaurant where you sit on a pillow instead of chair. The food is all colorful, not artificially colored though and they range from seafood to meat. From veggies to flowers. Ice-cream and cakes and sweets. 

Heee… Oh! now I have my 10 most romantic dreamed-vacations in the head. Oh well, I’ll save it for another rainy days. Should get back to work. 

Anyways, my readers? What are your ideas of a romantic date?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

You're No Longer My Taste

The experience of picking up a path or school of thought in architecture is almost like falling in love with a person. The stages go from being strangers to, well strangers again like in this video.. Or maybe for the lucky ones, no matter how the love fades away… when you beckon, it'll come right on you burning brightly and lasts forever. 

I used to be very keen on modernism. I once thought it’s a compliment to be called a modernist. “Form follows function”, “less is more” and “no ornament is the new ornament” are trio famous quotes coined by 19th C modernist architects which all sound so appealing to me. 

However, whenever I went back home, I have some kind of recurrent frustration about the architecture. I’m getting sick of seeing stripped off flat fa├žade, glass curtain walls, white wash painted wall, linear columns, doors and windows arrangement and random roman cornices in suburban retail buildings. 

…and whenever I told people that I’m doing architecture, one of the common remark would be“nanti boleh la design bangunan pelik2, bangunan kat Malaysia bosan” 

Of course I’m aware of our economic status. As a developing country the art and architecture are still pretty much dependant on the low development in material and technology production aka industrialization. Modernism in Europe had once made it influence for devoting to standardization which obviously pledged to industrial development. We probably don’t have THE money to do STRANGE building. 

BUT last two years, our prime minister had proposed a Wawasan Tower, a 100 storey building to serve as our urban/country landmark. The project has raised quite a voice amongst the people. Most are, against it. 

I’m probably one of those who’s not thoroughly against it, albeit not supporting it. Yes, I completely agreed with all the arguments put forward by my fellow Malaysians. Our urban development needs to focus on and fix other fundamental things like public transportation, education, refurbishing existing dodgy buildings and preserving our heritage (such as Pudu Jail!). And yes, we have enough of white elephants. 

I however have faith in architecture, no.. not building but architecture. Remember what the prophet did during the opening of Medina? He built a mosque. Thence, everything started to happen around it. The idea here is not to built a mosque.. but to acknowledge the power of a building in bringing people together, shaping lifestyle, making identity statement, and empowering a nation. 

It’s okay to have another ‘iconic’ (I’m actually reluctant to use this word) building. But NOT ANOTHER TOWER. I used ‘iconic’ to depict the idea of the building being significantly outstanding… not Zaha Hadid or Frank Ghery kind of ‘iconic’ stuff… not, not the ‘schmuck’ architecture. It’s more on ‘bold’ and culturally significant kind of architecture… the post-modernism, that is. 

Architecture should be impressive and attractive, especially when it’s meant to be public. It should be able to attract people into it, even though by just looking at it. You can’t force people to enter a building -unless it’s a dungeon, but you can’t hide a building from people’s sight. Hence, it must be able to give an impressive first impression, not necessarily ‘good’… just impressive. Like, I really don’t mind if people look at my building and say ‘what the heck is that is?’ rather than saying ‘that’s such a beautiful building?’… of course the second remark is more pleasing to be heard…. But as long as people ‘notice’ it…to me, that's good.

Again, I’m not talking about plucking a star and put it on earth, just to make the impression. I’m not interested in random out of context, alien kind of architecture. Architecture could be weird, but it has to be bolted to contextual reference such as history, culture, memory…and people. It has to make a statement. 

The forms don’t have to follow function, because to me… they never did. They’re always two separate things. You can always squeeze a function into different sort of spaces which always breeds interesting spatial quality/environment. 

Mess is More. Less is more only when you care-less. 

No ornament is NOT ornament. I’m doing a subject called ‘Ornament and Counterposition’. Various arguments have been presented in arguing minimalist views about spatial ornament…about ornament being space etcetera. Still, my take is always… architecture is not only for architects. You’re not handing out architectural books and philosophical writingsss to people in order for them to understand the quality of your building. If it’s decorative… it’s visible. 

Modernism is good in many senses, but I want something better. Here I’m to declare, you’re no longer my taste. We're now strangers, again. Sorry! 

Regarding the Wawasan Tower project, I’m planning to take it into research for my major project next sem…proposing an alternative… considering urban, economical, political, social arguments etc…. still unsure though. What do my readers think? 

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Black Box

I've been meaning to tell you that this place is cold. too cold for the tiny me. We arrived here too soon. The sun within me is still sleeping. You. you were the light. Do not dim. I'm afraid you won't be able to see me anymore. I'm almost. nearly. partially. frozen. Stay.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Tudung Alien

A friend recently tweet-ed about Yuna new hijab style. Her tweet which I prefer not to quote sounded so intriguing that I ended up searching for Yuna's 'new' look. not that I'm a fan of her... I don't even have any of her songs in my playlist...anyway, upon 'stalking' through her fb fan page, I stumbled on a photo in which she (Yuna) was tagged on. It's Audrey Hepburn photo in a nun's outfit. something like below, (I couldn't find a similar photo)

The caption following the photos talks about how most modern hijjab styles are similar to the Jewish and Christian women. It gives out hadiths regarding the forbidden of mimicking them. 

Dear readers, how do you feel about this?

As for me, I felt a tad sad when I saw that then became quite furious for the 'act'. I rather not use 'ignorance'. Not that I'm one of those hijjab fashionistas... me, still trapped in kampung-square-brooch-ed hijjab. Even wearing selendang always tak jadi one.

The reasons are beyond my interest in fashion or hijjab styles. 

First of all, as my little knowledge is concerned, he half-quoted the hadith. "He does not belong to us who imitates other people, do not imitate the Jews or the Christians" Tirmidhi. I've heard the hadith before and believe it's actually about the manner of giving salam. I went about googling for the full hadith as I wasn't quite convinced with my memory. I found it in Muttaqun Online and it is indeed under the chapter of Greeting and the full hadith goes; Allah's Messenger said, "He does not belong to us who imitates other people. Do not imitate the Jews or the Christians, for the Jews' salutation is to make a gesture with the fingers and the Christians' salutation is to make a gesture with the palms of the hands." It's even stated below the narration is weak. I admit my incompetency to further discuss the science if this hadith. so I should leave it as that and proceed to my other reasons.

I'm aware that Islam has given us quite a strict guideline in appearance, for both, men and women. Some are quite specific, but most are very general. Like how men must not shave their beards and women must cover up. However, Islam isn't just full of constrains. I believe, it is permissible to be fashionable as long as it does not go against the guidelines.

The problem with many of the hijjab styles is, it's not doing what a hijjab should be doing. It's not covering what it should be covering. NOT that it's similar to a nun's outfit. If you look at some of the orthodox women in the area where Aramaic religion begins... you can hardly distinguish a Muslim and Christian women. I once had a Muslim friend from Iran whose her traditional hijjab style looks exactly like in the picture above. In case some of you can't imagine how can a Muslim woman possibly look similar to the Christian's... you might want to try watching this movie. It'll give a little idea how the nun's outfit originated. 

The nun's outfit is a reflection of chastity, modesty and the best of their women, and believe me... it's one of the strongest argument we (Muslim women who live in the midst of Christian society) have. 

Islam indeed ordered us to differentiate ourselves from the Christians and Jewish. However, as a Muslim women living in a country like Australia... I would say, having a piece of fabric 'properly wrapped' around your head, regardless fashion has already made the 'statement'.

True that muslima fashion requires a lot of reviewing. The evolution of hijjab trends is quite scary sometimes. At one time, everybody wanted to look like Wardina, Waheeda, then Hana Tajima, the next day... every girl is turning into a long headed alien with all sort of bling bling all over their head. The bright side is I have less reason to disgust people who wears shades inside shopping malls.

I guess my whole point here is, a style, hijjab or any sort of clothing goes back to its appropriateness. As formal as a baju kurung is back in Malaysia, when you wear it here... people think you're going to a 'party'. Also, comparing a style to nun's outfit is quite frivolous. 

Jubah, serban, tudung lubuh pun boleh jadi 'libasu shuhra' (pakaian utk bermegah2) kalau tak kena konteks, right?.

Some people find it easy to control what they wear and vice versa. I'm not perfect by any means, and still struggling to correct myself. May Allah make it easy for me and you.