February 24, 2011

To Impose on an Impossibility - Epiphany #242

As dictated by Faranza Syns

From now on, "it's impossible!" really will lessen its effect on my mental dictionary.


A review of the academic year at Nilai of sorts (I'm half-petrified writing this).

(note to readers: this is a highly personal post. What I feel does not in any way mirror that of other students, unless stressed upon)

Lecturers - Part 1

(hands are cold while writing this, but that aside, must push on)

Overview: The lecturers here are awesome. But then again, the word "awesome" really does feel a bit too vague a word to explain what they really are. Hence, shall we go through them one by one?

My first lecturer - Madam Azimah

Taught me: Drama and Linguistics

My first lecturer should have been Madam Adibah, but I had (luckily, to some people, unluckily to some) missed her first class (this will be explained later).

Critically, I think it is alright to say that Madam Azimah is the BEN lecturer with the light of da'wah in her heart. Hers was the first BEN class that had exuded the Islamic essence of knowledge and goodwill - even from the get-go. For a BEN student, I think it is very easy to fall into the trap of learning just English, and not English that is equipped with Islam. In fact, I had rarely thought of English and Islam going side-by-side much, but Madam Azimah really remedied that. My first impression of her was a slight sense of intimidation (during her speech in Taa'ruf Week) and whole lot of awe (which was followed by a gushing stream of thought that went along the lines of "I want her as my lecturer - PLEASE!!!").

When I had checked my schedule, it still had not registered to me that I had her as my Drama ELM 2253 lecturer since I was still a bit clueless. But when I finally got into class, I was shocked, and relieved. Shocked that it really was her (I think that sense of awe aforementioned still had not faded) and relieved because she was a very kind person, even from the first class.

Throughout my first semester, she had guided all of us onto a better path. She really tried to embody the spirit of Islam, and urged us to do the same. She talked to us, and she listened. She rarely - if not never - gives up on her students, and that is absolutely wonderful of her. I still remember (not by word, of course) what she had once said to me at the end of a semester - "Take this as a time for you to grow up. And take this advice as an advice from a sister you never wanted."

Me and my friends laughed at it, but I remember wanting to say "Madam, who could ever not want a sister like you?" Because I did. =)

The Quirky Character - Madam Adibah

Taught me: "Oral Comm." and "Poetry and Prose"

I heard from friends that she had allegedly said very controversial and shocking things during the 1st class. Something along the lines of "I hate humans." Now, being a fan of House (the cynical doctor who swallows down vicodin like people gulp down water), I was not at all shocked by her. I was in fact amused (this is what happens when you expose yourself to too many cynical, jaded characters in real-life and in shows).

She is by far the most colourful character I know.

"You know why this subject is named Oral Comm.? Because we know you people would be scared out of your minds if it were named Public Speaking."

When we are doing an analysis of a poem or a prose, and we would occasionally (oh, alright, ALWAYS) grow silent as Madam Adibah prods us to tell her what we think. She would then sigh when she doesn't get the response she waits for. "You people are so boring. Are you bored? You have a dead look in your eyes."

And when we analyzed a short story called "A Rose for Emily" that had a lot of connection with the Civil War (which I was privy to, but Madam Adibah never looks at me), and half the class looked clueless as to what it is, she pretty much went sarcastic. "Come on. Aren't you guys American-wannabes? Isn't that it? I mean, listening to how you talk, you are American-wannabes. So how can you not know about the Civil War?"

From that, you can pretty much deduce that she dislikes people speaking in an overdone American accent - especially one that is adopted from TV. I have the same sentiments as her as well. I have no idea why, but the excessive rolling of the R is grating to my ears. But then again, I digress.

Madam Adibah is colourful (in clothing too. How does she manage to look to well put together?) and so, we love her, despite her declaration that she hates humans. =)

Madam Shamimah - a kind, kind soul.

I dislike how people make fun of lecturers who "do not fit the bill" of a fun lecturer. She is around to teach you, not amuse you. If you want entertainment, go to an amusement park.

Madam Shamimah taught me Grammar and Basic Methods of Academic Report Writing. Within the two semesters of learning with her, I think I got quite a lot of new information. What she may lack in quirkiness, she makes it up by being the best information-giver for us. She really taught me a lot. And she had tried time and again to keep us upbeat in class. It really worked, most of the time.

I think I can say from the bottom of my heart that I do love Madam Shamimah. She's helped us a lot in our studies, and I'll never forget that, insyaAllah.

Sir Alizaman D. Gamon

Taught me: Understanding Islam

When I first met him, it was because he could not find our class, and we didn't know he was the one teaching our class (he had the old schedule, so it was pretty confusing), but Nadia cleared it up. My first impression was that he was adorable.

And then there was mention of Glocks and M60 and I was in awe. He's not your run-of-the-mill lecturer. I don't know how much I should impart about him, Glocks and M60s, but let's just say that he wasn't talking about how impressive they are without prior knowledge.

When he started teaching, I was again in awe. His style was a bit different than other lecturers. Many lecturers go by the book, as in "Alright, look at page bla bla bla..." but Sir Alizaman pretty much told us NOT to open our books. Take out your test pad instead and start writing. He reffered to books beforehand (he's read plenty, and written plenty of papers on a lot of issues, so he pretty much knows what he's talking about) and began lecturing. He followed the syllabus, but gave us more. I didn't know in the beginning, hence I was a bit worried that we would be in deep trouble. But then he said, "You can refer to your book later. I'm giving you what's not inside the book," which hinted that he's giving us more. He trusts that we will understand what's inside the book, and he wants to give us more. Since then, I looked at it like he was teaching us not for exams. He was teaching us for the sake of Islam. He really wants us to know Islam. To understand Islam - because that's the real objective of the course. And because of that, I hold him in high esteem.

He's also a really kind lecturer. I have to admit, I had trouble submitting my article review. Instead of slamming his hand on the table and putting me on the spot, he had told me he wanted to see me later, when there would not be an audience, and then had asked me what the problem was. He really listened. And after he did, he gave me a chance. I was touched then. He really did want the best for us.

I know in the posts before I had said that we were scared of him. In a way, we were. But that was only because we were made to speak up in class, and bring something original up. But that aside, he has been the most accommodating lecturer I know. He makes us laugh with his comical expressions and he really does do his job well.

When he talks of his life, in certain ways, I feel like emulating him. He's one of the people I look up to in life. I know it sounds childish, but I want to grow up and have his sense of mission in life. He has a goal to achieve, and he's very good at keeping focused. I hope I were to be that way one day.

I've heard from Madam Azimah that Sir Alizaman read my blog. If he ever reads my blog again, I would like him to know that he is a wonderful lecturer, and I did not mean to suggest that we are all petrified of him. Sir, do you remember your students who bought you warm karipap? Would they do that for you if they were scared of you? (it could not have been a bribe because they gave it to him in front of many other students) No. Hence, rest assured. Your students - me included - love you. Uhibbuka fillah =)

To be continued... primarily because I have started sneezing again and I need to recoup from today. Hence, for tomorrow, Insyaaallah, I will resume my post. =)

Salam, all.


February 7, 2011

/aɪ heɪt juː/ - Teh Yee Ming

As dictated by Faranza Syns

Teh Yee Ming, how dare you leave Malaysia (even if it IS for your education)?

And without telling me, no less. Hmph. What was it - "I haven't heard from you for a long time."? *pouts*

That aside, I don't think I've written a dedication post in quite a while. It's about time I started again, no? (my friend had just looked over my shoulder and scorned my writing. An "English-essay" writing, said she. Hmph. But then, yet again, I digress. Back to the dedication post)

I just went back to my blog dashboard and (after gloating about the sudden increase of the number of followers I had) I went on to search for posts where I've written about dear Teh Yee Ming.

One was in the post Because He Expects It, which was an adorably hormoronic (new word I came up with. Guess what it means) post. And another post was just a draft, but reading it made me laugh. It was an excerpt of our online conversation. We were working on his piece for our school year book. We were Editorial Board members, hence we needed to come up with ideas for the Focus On section - a special section (the name is self-explanatory, I presume).

At that time, it was decided that he would be writing of the evolution our school went through over time, from our 1st principal, to the most recent (a principal not many of us were fond of).

Yee Ming: Ok, this is going to be a very tough question. ... What did Kamariah contribute to the school?

Me: ... (speechless)

Yee Ming: Exactly. Even Erin [our editor] has no idea. But I'll try something. ... Maybe in some disturbing way, she encourages us?

Me: Maybe you should say that she's still spreading her wings and (don't hold your breath) she will doubtlessly bring SBU to dizzying heights (shudder)

Yee Ming: hbadhdfkjfhsbkrfvjkbsdbvjdrfvbfdobjrjbvrjk
I smashed my head against the keyboard

Me: I can tell

Yee Ming: Ok, maybe "Pn Kamariah encouraged us to spread our wings and constantly reminds us to achieve and accomplish. Under her guidance, we believe SBU will reach new heights."

Me: ...

Yee Ming: omg, I can't believe I lied


Yee Ming: I lied in an article

Me: And I helped you.

Yee Ming: I could get arrested
I could go to prison

Me: And I'd have to follow you.
What about NS?

Yee Ming: How can we earn the trust back from the student body if we tell such shameless lies??!!!
Erin will lose her job as editor
We'll live on the streets
Shunted by society
Forbidden to write or type for the rest of our lives!!

Me: um, shunned, not shunted. xD

Granted, I think the both of us were worn out like mad.

But this was most probably the most adorable chat I'd ever had with Yee Ming. He's even cuter than Tarrant, even, especially when he takes off his glasses. (Yes, Yee Ming, I concede that you do have wonderful eyes when you take your glasses off. They are even prettier than mine)

He has been around since form three, I think. The tall, gangly boy who likes to tease people who are less endowed in height with his own awe-inspiring vertical growth. He liked to stand beside me, then bend his knees (a lot) just so he could be the same height as me. He'd then gush, "OMG, I can't see anything! How do you live being so short, Hana?"

Jahat kan?

But then, that's my lovely Yee Ming. The tall dude who has been a source of laughs to me in more occasions than one. Believe me, talking to him is no chore. I once kept quiet and let him continue talking for a while. He managed the (one-sided) conversation just fine.

And now he's leaving for Australia. I was shocked, to say the least. But I guess it was about to happen. No wonder I felt the urge to text the dude. Thank God he had not left yet. True, during times as these there is always Facebook to stay connected. But being physically far from my friends still makes my heart miss them no less.

Teh Yee Ming, you had better take care of yourself in Australia! When you get back, I will be a skinny Farhana (who has grown no taller, but has accepted her height as a part of her)... maybe. Haha. So, long, dearest. Enjoy life there.


February 5, 2011


As dictated by Faranza Syns

It's finally out! (it was out a few days ago, but only now could I muster the tenacity and grit to post it up in my blog)


In black and white, of course. I was so tempted to do it in multi-colour, print one, and keep the multi-coloured to myself, but GAH. That aside, I think I did a pretty okay job at designing. 1st time doing so, and on Paint.net no less. I deserve a pat on the back, I think.

*pats self*


Now, moving on.

The whole newsletter was designed by me. Used a lot of basic brush work, but the tacked notes needed more work, and the metal balls at the back were something I learned from a tutorial. Overall, I finished the designs within 48 hours (of hell) - thanks to a very rushed schedule and people who forgot what what they needed to do and pretended like nothing happened a very hectic academic week. When Ata' (the leader of the team) suggested we make another issue, I nearly wanted to grab a stapler and smack him across the forehead (realistically difficult, but not so when you're pretty much teeming with rage), but then I held it in, and told him "Well, if you want to do a new piece, I need to get the articles on time." I seriously do NOT want to suffer another 48 hours of mental hell, and 720 hours of self-pity. That ship has sunk and I would be damned before I want to unearth the carcass.

But that aside, I'm pretty proud of the articles in the newsletter. At first. But me and Ata' had a word with Sir Alizaman D. Gamon, and somehow, after that, I felt that I needed to do better. Being in Alizaman's class is like being under fire and under siege. If you don't have a critical brain, you might as well shoot your own foot just so an ambulance would come and rescue you from the class (I sound like I'm exaggerating, I know, but some of us are that scared of him). He had taken a look at the newsletter (Asterisks) and asked who the editor was. Me. Then he nodded in approval and started talking of when he had been a part of a newsletter too, when he was in University. They were an active movement, of sorts, that they once even wrote a letter to the president of the university. I was in awe. That was when I took a step back and really analyzed our Asterisks.

Considering that I want to be in the publishing/editing business one day, I think this has been a really good experience, despite the many evenings I had spent with Madam Azimah, trying to work things out. I guess self-reflection is good, but being proud of what you've accomplished is just as important, after all.

It's easier to tear down than to build up.


Asterisks*, 1st Issue

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(right click, Save Link As...)

Please do not claim any part of the articles as your own. If you are going to refer to it in any of your blog posts or your writings, please credit the authors (even if the name of the author is Mr. Social Syndrome). These articles and designs are all the work of students and staff of CFS IIU, Nilai, insyaallah.