Mind Blowing

Thoughts and other crap on people, life and maybe footie...
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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Old School Ipoh

One more day to go till the big day.

What big day you ask? Why, don't you know STAR is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year? The highlight of this golden celebration will be held this weekend. Where else but at the place where we lived the experience of our lifetime back in the day: The school ground of STAR, Ipoh.

Old Boys' Weekend or OBW 2007 will go down in history as the pinnacle of the 50th anniversary celebration. There have been a few events throughout the year, starting with the Majlis Pengkisahan dan Pameran STAR at Memorial Tuanku Abdul Rahman back in May. I went to see the exhibit but sorry, I don't have the pictures to prove (and blog about) it. There was a dinner held a few weeks ago but nothing could compare with OBW. This is the event we've all been waiting for. I've been looking forward to this day since 1997, when I left my beloved alma mater knowing 10 years on, we'll be celebrating STAR's Golden Jubilee.

This event represents a double celebration for Class of '97 too where we will gather for our 10th anniversary after leaving our beloved school. Never would I have ever imagined 10 years on, I would be in this position. Certainly I never envisioned myself working for the Gomen but hey, time changes people huh?

But going back to STAR is always a special event. Especially during OBW because as students back then, you always imagined yourself coming back to Tiger Lane in Ipoh with your loved ones showing your wife/daughter/grandchildren the place where you grew to be a man. I am really looking forward to this weekend so my mind this week will most probably be in Ipoh rather than here in Seremban.

Actually, I planned something earlier this year to give my contribution to this special event. I created a blog called Tales from Tiger Lane where I wanted to compile stories from my fellow Starians about what else? Life in STAR. It didn't receive the feedback that I hoped for, and add to that I really didn't spend much time updating on it anyway. But like a good Starian, I hope to keep the blog running where I will post my personal accounts and stories on STAR. Touch wood it'll continue not just for this year but as an 'extension' of Mind Blowing here. (chewah macam writer gempak je ada spin off series)

I hope everything will be great this weekend. Pray I would spend the time to write on this special event. Wajib. I'll leave you with a sample lagu cheer, which are songs that we sing during matches, usually rugby or football. Ingat 3 lions aje ke yang ada lagu cheer? This is one of my favourite actually, because its title has absolutely got nothing to do with the song. Sorta like a Nirvana song. It's called Dunlop (don't ask me why!):

Dari padang menghijau segar
Singgah di padang ini sebentar

Kami bersemangat waja

Agar trofi kami punya.


P/s: Don't forget to tune in to RTM1 (gasp!) tonight at 9.30 pm where there will be a special Forum Perdana titled "Disini Kita Bermula" jointly organised in conjunction with STAR's Golden Jubilee Celebration.

o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Liga Sukan Komuniti

It was an eventful weekend not for myself alone but millions and millions of sports fans worldwide. Certainly the highlight of it all was my own personal event, but hey that didn't stop me from catching up with what turned out to be a remarkable 2 days.

If it all can be summed up in one word, it would be: comeback. Except for England that is, which went through a really, really tough week. Engerlund never really looked like winning the Rugby World Cup, especially when good 'ol Jonny boy missed 2 drop kick attempts. Congratulations to the Springboks and the Pumas for such an entertaining tournament. Oh yeah, not to mention Fiji as well.

Possibly the winner of the comeback award goes to Iceman Kimi Raikkonen for winning the Formula One title when he was an outsider going into the final weekend. Luck played its part too when rookie of the year Hamilton got 'em gear problems with them car. Welcome to Formula One boy, when machines let you down at the time you need it the most. But wasn't it a great year for Formula One. With the McLaren boys quarrelling, the spying scandal, the 3-way race to the title, nail-biting finish at the end, it seemed more like a daytime soap rather than cars racing each other.

Next comeback award goes to....the Boston Red Sox. Call me boring for watching baseball, but sometimes layan jugak tengok orang pukul bola kecik ni. There's something magical when teams go 3-0 down only to win the remaining 4 matches straight to win the Series 3-4. And we haven't reached the World Series yet. It's also interesting to note that they did the same thing in 2004 on their way to win the World Series back then. For me, the Boston Red Sox are sorta like the Newcastle United of American baseball. They have emotional supporters who are crazy about the game and haven't won the title since 1918 prior to 2004. Now that's a blooody hell of a long time. The New York Yankees are like the Man United of baseball and beating them 4-3 to go into the World Series was a Sox fan wet dream. Fenway Park also is a famous landmark for baseball fans and I hope to visit it one day rather than going to Yankee Stadium. Add that one to my already huge list of sports venues to visit.

Finally, congratulations to David Nalbandian who beat World No.1 Roger Federer at the Madrid Masters. And even though he lost the opening set 1-6, he went on to crush the Swiss Miss in the remaining two sets to win the tournament. Not quite impressive? Well, he also beat the World No. 2 and 3 last week enroute to the final. Bapak terrer budak ni.

So after a great weekend of sports, hope you had a great one as well. I wouldn't want to be an England supporter this week, but heck our boys lost to Bahrain 1-4 as well. And the great thing is that I just can laugh about it too. Ahhhh...the joys of being a Malaysian football fan. You don't hope for much, do you?

o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o

Monday, October 22, 2007

I Spy

I'm no hopeless romantic, but secretly I love romantic comedies. Romance stories such as Casablanca or Gone with the Wind are out of my league but give me Notting Hill or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind anytime.

In another world, my love story would be sorta like a Sleepless in Seattle. No soppy words or tears, just go up on top of the Empire State Building and meet your destiny for the first time. A Jerry Maguire moment would be nice. A drop dead punchline moment. "You had me at hello." Perfect.
Something like City of Angels would be good too, though not the ending. The second where Seth becomes human, the first time he tastes the sweet lips of Meg Ryan, as he lay kisses on her. Beautiful.

My love story would have a great soundtrack. Something from Jerry Maguire. Add in Sarah McLachlan's haunting voice. A great folk tune. Even Simon & Garfunkel would do. It would play in the background as I express my honest and sincere love for her. I would say simple and yet the most beautiful words to her. Nothing with the stars and the moon in it. Simple, just like what Julia Roberts said as she confessed her love to bookstore owner Hugh Grant in Notting Hill (I even went to Notting Hill to look for the damn door tapi hampeh tak jumpa)

But in reality, I'm no romantic. I'm a true blue Melayu awal dan akhir. Oscar moments in real life, would make me puke. I wasn't destined to "Here's looking at you, kid."

Yesterday was the first step in what I hope would be a long and beautiful journey. InsyaAllah. No romantic words were spoken. Nothing extraordinary happened. There's still more things to come, but the first steps are always the hardest, right? Ask our Angkasawan.

They don't even have a name for it in English! But that's the beauty of our culture. A direct translation would be ermmm...spying? Yeah, spying. I spied on her yesterday on a beautiful afternoon in Puchong.

And I'm so glad that I did. I love you, princess.

o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Hari Raya was...

very tiring.

We didn't get to go to a lot of houses, but instead the lot of houses came to us! How convenient is that? It was in good spirit though. Due to Papa's condition, we had more than our usual group of Hari Raya guests. Though tiring, I love guests to the house. If you ever want to see me in rajin mode, make a visit to my house and who knows? Maybe I'll whip you up some of my world-famous teh O or laici campur air berkarbonat.

This year marked a couple of firsts for me. I went to my first takbir raya sessions this year. This is the annual tradition of visiting the neighbourhood houses on the eve of Syawal to recite the takbir. Papa was the one who would usually go, but since he wasn't well enough this year, you-know-who had to be called into action. In a small but meaningful way, I felt honoured to represent the family for these sessions. I almost smiled when the imam said, "Haji Bakhtiar? Haaa...ada ni haa wakilnya." Somehow at the ripe old age of 27, I finally felt grown up.

Another first was Hari Raya spent with my 7-month old niece. Although everyone says it and I know Chi will hate me for this but I'll say it anyway: My niece is the cutest baby on the planet! The entire universe actually coz she's wayyyy cuter than that Sheikh dude up there. Those with toddlers around the house will probably be familiar with the Playhouse Disney channel. It's just been a couple of days and I already know who Handy Manny, Pocoyo, Pato and the Little Einteins are. One thing I noticed is that these programs are so educational in a fun way. Kids nowadays are so lucky. I grew up on Sesame Street and look at where I am: Boleh lah carik makan dan tak merempit. Give me Playhouse Disney back then and I would probably be on the moon by now.

The family now has loads of little children. All my cousins who are around my age are breeding successfully. Alhamdulillah. So Hari Raya open houses for the Rasah clan looks more like a daytime nursery rather than a house. God-willing for me, this Hari Raya of firsts, will probably be the last spent as a bujang trang tang tang (what the F is trang tang tang?) I pray everything goes smoothly for these coming months.

On another note, I found this piece on the web. I don't have the paper clipping, but it's a fitting tribute to the men and women of NCI Hospital for their work and care. And oh, Papa got a mention too :-)

Hope you had a great Aidilfitri.

o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o

Friday, October 12, 2007

Ramadhan Retrospect

Today marks the last day of Ramadhan.

So ends another year of the holy month hoping we'll be around to greet her again. InsyaAllah. Ramadhan this year has been a trial of sorts. A lot of things happened this year, whether personally or around the world. This month has seen me making the journey to Nilai almost a daily routine. Time really flies. And I hardly prepared anything for Aidilfitri. Compared to previous years, this year's celebration will probably be a toned-down affair. When I pondered upon that, maybe this is the way it should be. Or maybe not. But it's really sad to leave the holy month.

Last weekend was spent with the Tiger Lane boys. It's been awhile since we had a proper reunion, so it was really great to see some faces I haven't seen since I left school. Saturday was Fiza's birthday so it was back-to-back buka puasa celebrations. Happy 26th darling.

The highlight of the budak Star buka puasa reunion was certainly on Wira. You might have read about my friend here last week when he was mistakenly photographed as one of the suspects released in the Nurin Jazlin murder. It was great to get to talk to him about that issue and other matters. I was hell bent on him suing the papers which published his photo, but I was surprised to hear him say that it would just complicate matters and getting him more attention than it already is. This, coming from an ABIM secretary with a political root in his varsity days was certainly a shock to my system. I guess that's the reality here in Malaysia. In the end, people just want to live a normal life. Fighting the system seems to be a lost cause when you know how they'll beat you up and hack you down till you can't get up anymore. I can see he has lost some of his fire. That's kuasa Gomen 101 for you.

A few days ago Malaysia sent its first man into outer space hoping this will signal the beginning of our space age. Congratulations to Dr. Sheikh (Datuk Sheikh?). Myself, being a normal Malaysian who will try to get something from all this, is proud of him being part of the Rasah clan. Banggo kek warih kito ni! And to further enhance my Malaysian-ness, I will also try to associate myself with the second astronaut, Dr. Faiz by virtue of him being a budak Banting class of '98. (albeit he was a Hayat student and I was in Fizikal but hey, we shared the same block!) I was really rooting for Faiz throughout this 'space race' but I guess Dr. Sheikh got more of the ladies' votes instead. This 'space race' reminded me of the selection process in Contact, where I was hoping the final two candidates would be grilled by the selection committee in public where someone would ask a soalan maut like, "Do you believe in God?" to a speechless Jodie Foster. Knowing this country, someone would probably ask a 'safe question' like semangat muhibbah or something from the Pendidikan Moral textbook. So much for my imagination.

One thing I noticed about our Malaysian journey into space, is that it really got the nation talking. During lunch break yesterday, I was having a chit chat with the drivers and tracer and of course, Dr. Sheikh's blast-off was discussed. Here I was sitting over a game of carrom and terms such as orbit and mission control were used. Even Yuri Gagarin's name popped up once in a while. I was really impressed and it showed to me how one man's mission could really make others take notice and learn from it. As much as things are said about our angkasa-pelancong, this could be the spark for many more things to come. I really do hope so.

This year's Ramadhan really taught me a lot about my family and life, in general. I hope you had a great Ramadhan. Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri. Maaf zahir dan batin wherever you are in the world or in outer space. Wassalam.

o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o

Saturday, October 06, 2007


Thank you to all who prayed and wished for my father's good health. Whether you called, texted, emailed or said a silent prayer on your own, I truly appreciate your kind action.

My father was diagnosed with cancer lately. The scientific name is Carcinoma of the Ampulla of Vater. If you do some Googling, you'll know that it's not a common cancer. Basically, he has a growth near his liver and pancreas. I was never good at Biology, but I can tell you it's not a nice place to have an abnormal growth. It affects a lot of things related to the digestion of foods due to its position. So when you have trouble digesting your food, then surely you know other complications will follow.

As I am writing this, Papa was discharged from the hospital this morning. Had I written this last week like I intented to, I would have told you all is well but a few days ago he was admitted again due to mild vomiting. Alhamdulillah he has gone through 10 sessions of radiotherapy and 2 rounds of chemotherapy. He has responded to treatment quite well, because I anticipated the chemo sessions to be painful and agonising. Alas, he was well enough even to commute from Seremban to Nilai daily for his treatment although not driving of course.

Cancer is an awful disease. You could never imagine how to respond when you are told that your loved one is diagnosed with it. I could hardly believe it at first. It was like a ton of bricks just came smashing down on your life. I hope none of you will go through that experience. A truly horrible experience.

Slowly but surely, the family has embraced this fact. We know things will never be the same after this. Going in and out of the hospital will be a normal routine. Life will go on albeit a difference in daily routine. And I thank God for giving us the strength till now.

I've learned a lot about cancer for the past few weeks. When I was first informed of the disease, I contacted MAKNA to learn what I can about cancer and its survivors. The doctors and staff at Nilai Cancer Hospital were exceptionally helpful too. They really made the early stages very much tolerable. One thing I can say is, the environment at the Cancer Hospital is very conducive for cancer patients. Being a terminal disease, they really try their best in making it so much easier for the patients. I almost shed a tear reading a few Thank You notes sent in by patients and some from their surviving relatives. And since everyone treated there has cancer, you can feel the bond and strength of the patients as they battle on against this horrible disease.

I'd like to end this with a quote from a survivor that I read from one of the walls of the hospital:
"Being diagnosed with cancer is not a death sentence. The most important thing is to never lose hope."

I hope we'll never lose hope.

o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o