Sunday, 25 September 2016

Festive Weekend

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته and good day!

This weekend was full of festivities. On Saturday, there was the Malaysia Festival (previously known as Malaysia Night). This festival has been my routine thing every year. 2013, 2014.

 

This displayed Lotus sports car is one of the exhibition that is being showcased every year.  This car is manufactured here, but I just knew that DRB-HICOM owned the company through its subsidiary Proton. Awesome right! One of the great achievements of Malaysian company.

 

I didn't do any posting for the 2015 since we came very late and didn't stay very long.

 

Just bought some dinner and came here to meet my friend who just arrived for her masters.

 

We did our bachelors degree together in IIUM and she's continuing her masters degree in King's College last year. 

 

This year, we came a little bit earlier after finishing my lab work. There weren't a lot of people just yet, so it's great to look around.

 

We suddenly bumped into the Inspector General of Police (IGP) of Malaysia. We actually saw someone that my bestie knows, and it turns out, she was accompanying the IGP and his wife. We got to talk with the Puan Sri, asking where they head to, she asked what we studied and prayed for our success. She was very friendly and nice.

 

 I mostly love browsing and shop for food that are quite hard to find here in London. I found some Longan!!! But it was expensive!! 7.50GPB which is equivalent to RM35+..woah...

 

Neelofar Hijab made it here. huhu..I know these things are quite the catch back home.  

Guess who else I met.

 

Dato' Seri Ahmad Farid Ridzuan, the  CEO of the Television Networks and International Business, CEO of the Media Prima Berhad. I guess they were doing some report about the festival.

 

On the next day, as every year, there was the Japanese Matsuri festival. My aim was only two:

 

Motchi...this one is matcha motchi..huhu...it rolls off the tongue by saying this 

 

and the main aim...TAKOYAKI!!! I've been craving for these for 2 years. Last few years, we didn't get to buy these since we didn't manage to go to Trafalgar Square two days in a row. The day we did manage to go, it was already very late, so they ran out. Looks good right?? hehe... 

 

We found some dorayaki (Doraemon's favourite food) too...
 
 

There were also chances for visitors to try on the traditional kimono for 3GBP. This guy isn't Japanese by the way...haha...he's Bruneian. But he did look the part. =P

 

Cute/weird Domo which  is the official mascot of Japan's public broadcaster NHK.
 

The great part of the Japanese Matsuri was that they have many stalls with Japanese crafts and culture (anime, manga, cute plushies..), which I thought the Malaysia Fest is missing. Malaysia should introduce our arts and crafts more as well as our tourism and food. The only upper-hand that the Malaysia Fest had compared to the Japanese Matsuri was the performances. 

 

The Japanese Matsuri did show some very interesting performances such as this one, which is the Odori Deer Dance that is the folk dance widely practiced at the north-east of Japan.

video

 That's it for now. There was also one magician that gave an awesome show, integrating tradition and the art of magic.

Until next time...

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

An Interesting Encounter

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته and good day!

The day began like any other day. In the morning, I went to the lab to do some work and went to donate some blood in the afternoon. My bestie and I had made the appointment months in advance since it was our quarterly routine. The day falls perfectly on the third day of Tasyrik or the third day of Eiduladha (one of the biggest Muslim celebration) where you are encouraged to do a lot of donation and other things that will get you closer to Allah SWT.


After the blood donation (my bestie was the only one that gave blood since my haemoglobin and iron level are too low), we went to Chinatown to regain our blood glucose.

After buying some drinks, we had to sit down outside the store for a while as my bestie was feeling dizzy. While we were sitting down, a middle-aged white guy suddenly approached, asking what our names were. I asked him why. He said his name was Ed and hold out his hand for a shake. We could tell that he was a bit drunk. We politely refused and said sorry, we can't shake his hand and the conversation began...

Ed: You can't shake my hand? Why?
Me: It's against our beliefs. 
Ed: That's the problem. That's the problem with you lot. I think you are good, beautiful people, but that's the problem with you. (at first from what he said, I thought he would want to have a meaningful conversation. That thought declined immediately from my mind after the next few things that he said)
Me: Why is that a problem?
Ed: It makes a division between us. You make a division between you and other people.
Me: How does that divide people exactly? A lot of people around the world that don't shake hands when they meet.
Ed: So what would you do?
Me: What would I do? About this?
Ed: Yes
Me: Well, we will part our own ways, and wishes each other good luck in their life (trying to end the conversation immediately and hoping he would leave on that note)

He smirked.

I don't remember his reply exactly, but if I remembered correctly, he kept going on about how Muslims, by not shaking people's hands, divide the community.

Me: Do you know where shaking hands come from?
Ed: Well, I know when I went to Morocco, a guy wipes his a** with his hands and you wouldn't want to shake their hands after that.
Me: Definitely not. (he didn't exactly answer my question and what was the point of that story anyway?).


Suddenly he jumped into a different topic

Ed: You know all this thing about Muhammad?
Me: You mean our prophet?
Ed: Yeah..what is that all about? He's not even the first one.
Me: I know. He's the last messenger.
Ed: You should listen to the first one.
Me: Muhammad's (peace be upon him) message, completes all the other teachings of the prophets before him.
Ed: Is it? well...but he's not perfect now is he?
Me: No he's not. He's human, just like you and me. He made mistakes.


No reply from him..

Suddenly he jumped to another topic insulting my bestie's features, which is totally discriminatory and not worth mentioning. My reply was, that's how she was born, she can't change that now, can she?


Me: I think we should respect what other people believe, even if we don't agree with them.
Ed: I'm a Christian, so do you agree with my beliefs?
Me: I don't have to believe what you believe nor agree with it in order to have respect for you. As long as you respect my beliefs.
Ed: What about these Chinese?
Me: I love the Chinese. A lot of my friends are Chinese.

Silent...


He showed a sign of wanting to leave, which gives me much relief, but suddenly again, he hold out his hand for a shake. Again, we declined, and he returned to the beginning of the conversation.

Me: So we're back to this again?
Ed: Yes..because it's a problem
Me: It's only a problem if you make it a problem.
Ed: Yes, we will make it a problem (at this point, it was clear that he only wanted to provoke me and have a fight)
Me: Well, that's really up to you. I personally wouldn't want to stir up any problem with anybody.
Ed: Yeah..we will make it a problem (while gesturing a tube his holding towards us).

He kept repeating it while pointing that tube of his towards us and finally walked away.

This situation has been frighteningly increasing in Muslim minority countries. Alhamdulillah, I've never been physically abused like some have experienced, just verbally or through gestures. For people like me, I always have my own country to look forward to if things get any worse. But what about millions of Muslim that call this country their home. They know nowhere else, just here. They were born here, they grew up here, all their families are here. Where else should they run to? Middle east? Other Muslim countries? That's not their home. What right do these bigots have to cast other people that they perceive as not one of them?

So my advice to my fellow Muslim brothers and sisters, let's continue spreading awareness. Don't add to the confusion and hatred towards us and our beloved religion. Just follow what the prophet Muhammad saw had thought us, and the rest will fall into place. InsyaAllah...

To my fellow non-Muslim friends, if you have queries, just ask. We will be more than willing to answer your questions and confusions. But don't judge us, just like you would hate to be judged. Don't force your beliefs on us, like you hated some Muslim forced their beliefs on you. Communication is key to opening up a lot of doors and possibilities.


Until next time...
Head strong...and have faith

Friday, 26 August 2016

One of the best experience of my life

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته and good day!

This actually happened quite a while back. I came across an ad from the Muslim hands that popped up on my facebook newsfeed for a tandem skydiving experience. As my dad did a bungee jump when he was in his late 30's in New Zealand, I have to top that up a notch and do a bolder move, which is skydiving.

I found out about the event from Muslim Hands, a charity that I have been involved with since I came here. They held a lot of interesting events, some that I've been to include Winter Walk for Gaza in 2014and All Girls Paintball in 2015. They have many more events that I couldn't join. I only managed to be involved personally once a year.


This is another poster for a different date. Couldn't find the date we went to.


Without any hesitation, I immediately signed up. I only needed to pay £50 for registration. The term is that you need to raise a sum of money, but they're not too strict about this. Even if you can't raise the whole amount by the time of the event, you can still raise them afterwards. It's all about 'amanah'. 



My bestie is actually afraid of heights. She gets vertigo and doesn't like any of extreme activities. We went on a mild ride at a funfair before, and she blacked out when we were on it. I hadn't even noticed until she told me later on. LOL. But I still signed her up and told her a few weeks after. hahaha..It's once in a lifetime opportunity man...how can you pass on it. Even if you could do it later, it'll surely be more expensive than this!



We went to the airfield by a provided transport by the organiser, where we departed from London at 3AM!!!! It was around Spring, so it was still quite cold, especially in a British weather. It was clear the whole day, which was lucky for us because the previous group had to cancel due to a heavy rain. So we ended up being the first group to do the jump. Woha!


As we arrive at the airfield (it actually didn't look anything like an airfield from the outside, you'll only see the take-off path when you enter further), there were already a few groups that had arrived earlier. We registered our names, some even signed up for a video/photos while jumping (which we didn't take because it was a wee bit expensive). 


We were grouped for a pre-jump briefing inside the hangar. The instructor made it looked like so easy. He was super young too. 


All these are lined-up after safety checks and ready to be used. 


The best thing about doing this with Muslim Hands is that they have made sure that only female instructors allowed for the female participants. Beccles Airfield is the only place in the UK with female instructors, there's only two of them when we were there. Amazing!


The plane was small, so there are only three tandem skydivers allowed at one time, the rest are these solo jumpers. They are both amateur and professional divers. 

video

The first person to successfully made the jump. Woohooo!! That is not what a tandem skydive is. Tandem skydive is where you are strapped in front of you instructor, and they'll do the parachuting and landing for you. For this type of skydive, you'll land on your bottom, and not your feet, so it's safer for first timers. 


See the guy laying down, he's training for his jump later on. That's me at the back, pounding my hearts off my chest. hahaha...


My instructor is called Zeus, like the greek god, just because she is awesome in skydiving. She has done more than a 100 skydives, and has been doing it for 15 years!!! She just drops from the plane, land, ran back to the hangar to get another schute, and off for the next one. No wonder they call her Zeus. This is me waiting for Zeus. Thankfully, I wasn't the last to board the plane, because the last person will be the first to jump!! Climbing on the plane, as you feel the wind blowing from the plane's fans very strongly, you'll feel your blood just drained from your body and your chest felt tighter and difficult to breathe. 

video

Inside the plane, the instructor will brief you again while strapping his/herself on to you, making sure it's nice and tight and asked you to practice what they had briefed earlier. Just writing this down makes my fingers cold as I'm reliving the feeling. hahaha.... =P

As the plane took off, I didn't feel anything, literally nothing at all. No emotions. Not nervous, scared, anxiety, none whatsoever. As the plane reached 13,000 feet, the siren starts sounding (like the emergency siren). The first to jump are the solos. They jumped like it was their day job (which is true for some of them). It goes so fast...then the person in front of me. Then...it's the big moment...MY TURN!


My instructor scooches over to the edge, hence pushing me along, so you don't really have a choice in the matter. No second thoughts. Then she let me dangle as she sat by the edge of the plane as shown in the picture for a brief second and off we goooooo....

As we freefalling, it felt very difficult to breathe. The velocity of the wind towards your face is like when you put your face outside your car window as it goes 100km/hour, or maybe faster, like you put a leafblower directly in front of your face. Plus, the temperature up there is close to -10 degrees bruh!

It wasn't really long (but it felt like a lifetime) before she pulled and open the parachute. As it opens, you'll feel as if you were yanked from above...a bit painful in certain places, if you can imagine.


These were the solo skydivers. Their helmets and goggles were much cooler than ours. The one we used, the goggles felt like being pulled off my face when we were freefalling. Flappy darn things.

video

It was such a phenomenal experience. Taking in the gorgeous view of the seaside, the countryside...so much more. The landing part is as much thrilling as the jump because you can see clearly you are descending and felt it right in your guts as you go down, fast! Just as you almost touch the ground, the instructor yanked the ropes to make it slow down a bit and badabump...safely landed...


I went before my bestie, that's why we managed to take a video of each other landing. Lucky!!


Can you see her nervous face? hahahaha...poor girl.


She had to wait her turn quite a while, so I distracted her by taking loads of pictures.


Kept reassuring here, it'll be great!!!


Almost time...


dupdap..dupdap...

I asked her after she jumped, how did she felt, and she said it was amazing!!! Definitely, she will not try again, but absolutely worth it!  

video

Here's a short version of our jump. I'm glad I got to do this and help a good cause at the same time.


Another bucket list checked. Woohoooo!!!! I'm thinking of doing it again...hmm....

Until next time...