Thursday, September 25, 2008

Ramadhan and US Open 2008 Champs

YES, Roger Federer redeemed his shameful losses in the past 3 grand slams to win the final 2008 grand slam: US Open. He defeated British player (a Scotsman) Andy Murray on a straight set 6-2, 7-5, 6-2. Andy also created his own history by reaching final in the grand slam for the first time in his career. He stole Rafael Nadal's thunder in the Men's semi-final before facing Federer. Not only that, he has shown a great length of maturity and polished attitude on the court displaying a brilliant , notwithstanding having some dull moments match leaving the world no. 1 Nadal confused and dazed. Federer, on the other hand, has managed to tame the US Open 2007 runner up and Australian Open 2008 champion Novak Djokovic to set the final match against Murray.

I watched the game during sahur all the way to around 7.30-ish am in the morning, before going to work on Monday 8 September 2008. I have been wanting to blog on this on that day itself but was caught with loadsa works to do, practically inundated with academic and conference works.

Serena Williams won her US open champion back too! The other three grand slam winners for Women's Singles are: Maria Sharapova -Australian Open, Ana Ivanovic -French Open, and Venus Williams -Wimbledon. Serena took a straight set win from Jelena Jonkovic 6-4, 7-5 in a thrilling match that saw her in a ferocious mood with her powerful tennis skills. She's definitely in it to win it and she did.

Only Rafael Nadal managed to win double grand slams this year: French Open and Wimbledon. Novak "Djoker" Djokovic won the Australian Open and he beat Roger Federer at the semi final en route to winning the Men's Single. And in the US Open 2008, the table has turned and it was Federer who has outwitted Djoker.

I guess RED is the Winning theme for the US Open 2008 or perhaps the lucky colour? Both Serena and Roger were clad in red gears on clinching their number one spot. Photos are taken from AP news.

Oh well, I leave you with this illusion image:

So, did you get the joke or you get watery eyes as a result of squinting really hard?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Obsessing over Manal

I am serious ok...some fella out there (in the Facebook) is soooooo obsessed with this name:MANAL. He kept adding more and more ladies named Manal into his Facebook list?!

Apparently there are quite a few Manal Ismail too listed in the Facebook search engine.

When the Malaysians are still "in the dark" on this pretty peculiar yet beautifully crafted name Manal , those especially in Egypt and many Arab league countries have long been enchanted by it.

I have also had a request from a middle-east lady to add me as her friend through Facebook just because I reminded her of her nieces, and friends and some people dearer to her. And she made acquaintance with me through Scramble.

As of today, there are about 1, 030, 000 Google hits on Google for the search word: Manal.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Ask God

In the spirit of Ramadhan, I would like to share a very interesting article from Islamicity on the importance of having strong and consistent faith in asking God what we want and be patient for it:

Does God Hear me?

By: Hesham A. Hassaballa

In the Quran, God clearly says that He will answer the prayers of those who pray to Him: "When My servants ask thee [O Muhammad] concerning Me, [tell them] I am indeed close: I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calls on Me: Let them also, with a will, Listen to My call, and believe in Me: That they may walk in the right way" (Quran 2:186)

In another verse: "Your Lord says: 'Call on me, I will answer [your prayer]" (Quran 40:60). Consequently, I pray to God for everything in my life, big or small. If one notices closely, my lips are frequently fluttering away in silent prayer to God throughout the day. Most of the time, the Lord answers my prayers. Sometimes, He does not.

Recently, I asked God for something very, very important to me. I prayed to Him night and day. I got up in the early morning to pray extra devotional prayers before sunrise to make that supplication to Him. I prayed to God at times when the Prophet said God will answer those who pray to Him. I prayed almost constantly for this particular thing. It did not come.

Needless to say, I was sad and disappointed. In the midst of my sadness, a barrage of thoughts and questions raced through my head: "What went wrong? Was it something I did or said? Is God angry with me?" In fact, I almost wanted to say, "Why?" Furthermore, my sadness gave way to momentary spiritual weakness in that I had transient thoughts of rebellion against God. I said to myself, "All this prayer, and it was not answered. Did God not hear me?"

No, God indeed did hear me, but He chose not to give me what I asked of Him at this particular moment in my life. The above exchange in my head was born out of the fact that I am a human being, subject to all of the weaknesses and hypocrisies of the human condition. The Quran told me that this is in my nature: "Now, as for man, when his Lord tries him, giving him honor and gifts, then said he, 'My Lord hath honored me.' But when He tries him, restricting his subsistence for him, then said he (in despair), 'My Lord hath humiliated me!'" (Quran 89:15-16).

Now, thank God I did not say God has humiliated me. Also, thank God, I did not point an angry finger at the Lord and proceed to disobey His commands. To do so would be horribly ungrateful. How many blessings has the Lord bestowed upon me? They are innumerable. I do not want to be among those who "worship God, as it were, on the verge," as the Quran says, "if good befalls them, they are, therewith, well content; but if a trial comes to them, they turn on their faces" (Quran 22:11). When the answer to my prayer eluded me, I simply put my head down in acceptance, still sad, and said, "All praise is due to God. God has decreed thus, and He does what He wills."

The truth is, the Lord neither abandoned nor humiliated me. According to the Prophet, when someone calls on God, one of three things happen:

(1) it is immediately answered (and I do not have a shortage of those prayers, thank God);

(2) the answer to the prayer is deferred to Judgment Day, when the supplicant will be handsomely rewarded;

(3) the prayer will block a calamity that is to befall that person.

Thus, in my case, either something bad was going to happen to me, but my unanswered prayer blocked it, or the Lord is saving the answer to that prayer for Judgment Day. Either way, I win.

The thing is, I frequently can't see that; I do not have Divine Vision. This is another trait of the human condition. I do not understand God's wisdom in not answering that prayer right here, right now. Hence, my sadness and disappointment. Yet, my role is to be patient with the will of God and continue to be a humble, devout servant. God will answer other prayers. Perhaps God will one day let me see the wisdom of His decision. He has done so already once before.

When I was a senior in high school, I applied for an honors program in medicine in which I would be guaranteed a spot in medical school after three years of college. My application was very competitive: a 4.0 GPA and a whole host of extracurricular activities, honors, and awards. I prayed and prayed and prayed and prayed. I was not accepted, and I felt the same sadness and disappointment then as I do now. Yet, I did not despair or become rebellious against God. Three years later, I was accepted to medical school without a bachelor's degree. In fact, I was the only one in my medical school class to be accepted right out of college.

I reminded myself of this during my recent sadness. While I do not understand God's wisdom, I have to trust that He has my best interest in mind, and that He will not do me harm. This is what God wants, and I have to be patient.

Even though this prayer was not answered immediately, I will continue to pray. I will continue to try and get up before sunrise and pray those extra devotional prayers. I will, in fact, pray more to God now than I have done so in the past. God always hears those who call on Him, and I will live my life making sure He constantly hears my voice. And the most beautiful thing is, He never gets tired of hearing that voice. That is why nothing else in this world except He deserves to be worshipped.


It resonates well with my life too. I remembered back in 1996 when i just finished my A-Level that I had wanted to pursue my first degree in Petroleum Engineering at Imperial College. But fate has it that it did not work out for me just yet and I was instead accepted at the University of Bradford, UK where I obtained my BEng (Hons) in Chemical Engineering. But I never lost my faith that one day I will be in Imperial to pursue my tertiary degree. I stood up in front of the main entrance one fine summer 1999 and made a pledge that one day I will be here.

And on Spring 2001, I finally made it to Imperial College London as a PhD student. Four and a half year later, I secured my PhD degree during Ramadhan.

Another case is when I had wanted a best friend, a close friend who would share so many common interests that he/she will stick by me for better or worse, through thick and thin and that we will put up with each other's weaknesses. I wished and wished for it, prayed to God too that I will find someone who would click well with me. I have been asking it since I was in primary school. Over a decade later, I found her at NCUK Shah Alam, and we have been buddies ever since. And 12 years on since we started getting to know each other, we are still going strong even though she is now married with 2 kids. And not only her, I kept making close relationship, lasting ones even if we had to go through ups and downs and so on with quite a few people: Malaysians as well as people from around the world, males and females, of different backgrounds, races and creeds.

I still have a lot more wishes that were made for a certain reasons like the wish to settle down and have my own family. I was not that very serious on tying the knots before I was 30, and now, after achieving a few more successes in my life, I think I am more than ready to be some lucky man's other half. I have been there, done that, and now I would not mind sharing my life with him thus completing half of my religion (implying that one who marries has taken another step further or perhaps figuratively speaking a giant leap in his/her life for future procreation, more responsibilities, and so on). On top of that, I reckon it is about time I go for the halal relationship, something that God will offer more blessings as I would further honouring my oath to keep myself firmly on the rightful path (siraatul mustaqeem). I can just hope and pray and I let Him decide what is best for me and for my future life companion as well. I dont know how to explain this but I think my body too gave me an inkling that she had had all that she had wanted to experience and experiment and now she is ready for another Big decision.

Is this like saying that I finally succumb to the idea of sharing? Or was it more of a consolidation of two human beings and not just a natural union? It was never easy for me to accept another man into my life without skepticisms.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Cinta monyet membawa ke jinjang pelamin kisahnya

Feeling lesu after a long day work and fasting at the same time? Have a little bit of laugh with this article from Daily Mail:

'I now pronounce you monkey and wife': Animals are married in controversial Chinese zoo stunt

By Hugo Daniel

Maybe the dress wasn't the right size, or perhaps it was the grey and gloomy weather - but these two monkeys don't seem over-the-moon after being married in China.

The downcast-looking pair tied the knot in a special wedding ceremony at their zoo.

The monkeys - who live in Wenling, Zhejiang province - are seven-year-old male monkey Wukong and a six-year-old female named Xiaoya.

The widlife park organised the wedding in the hope of attracting more visitors, local media reported.

But the controversial stunt is bound to upset animal rights groups in a country famed for being cruel to animals.

Back in 2006 a Shanghai zoo cancelled a show dubbed the 'Animal Olympics' following accusations of cruelty from animal welfare groups.

The show had featured animals in athletic-type situations, such as boxing matches between kangaroos and their keepers, bears fighting and riding bicycles, and an elephant tug-of-war.

And in 2007 a bear was forced to ride a bicycle and be chased by his trainer during an animal performance for the Chinese May Day holidays at the Shanghai Wild Animal Park.

Happily married? Wukong the monkey and his bride Xiaoya

Happily married? Wukong the monkey and his bride Xiaoya

Cruel? The monkeys at the ceremony organised by a Chinese zoo

Hitched: The monkeys at the ceremony organised by a Chinese zoo


It's kinda cute doncha think? Does it make u wanna get hitched too?

Now compare Wukong with Rafael Nadal (pic below). An evolution from the planet of the ape??

Photo source: Tennis Planet

He's a good looking Spaniard, but I can't stand his voice though.....its as if he has like a large lump of saliva in his throat, phlegm and all. But perhaps thats how a typical Mallorcan sounds like when they speak english? All the best in the US Open and keep scratching your arse if it would help compose yourself.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

What is wrong with you, Roger Federer?

He had to go into 5 sets before he could clinch a place into the quarter final at US Open?

Dey thambi, ape masalah lu haa?? Could it be that you need some changes like:
  1. New girlfriend
  2. New coach
  3. New attitude
  4. New hair style
  5. New spirit
  6. ETC....

And yeah, even John McEnroe thought that it wasnt you, it could've been an impostor playing you. Perhaps the new title: World No.2 made you somewhat "incoherent" with your game? 2008 definitely isnt a great year for u innit? bagus jugak kan, dari asek menang jer since 2003 to 2007 except that 2005 Australian open and not even once in French Open. Am i lamenting your inconsistencies here? Naahh....u have just proven yourself a normal human being and that you are aging? They said that 21 is the middle age for tennis though i doubt Martina Navratilova and Andre Agassi would even want to hear about it....Such a gleeful (or horrible?) remark from some people who thinks that since you are now one of the tua species on the tennis court, u aint got the glam and that youthful power anymore kot?

If you are asking me who's the favourite to win, I'd say like i give a tiny rat ass. I love watching the Game and if its meant to be another fella's or another lady's winning trophy, then so be it. Serena Williams just beat her sister Venus, and now aiming for her trophy too having lost her Wimbledon trophy to Venus. OK la, apa2 pon balik2 Williams sisters jugak dapat nama whether its Miss S.Williams or Miss V.Williams.

And what the hell happened to the one time Australian Runner up Jo Wilfried-Tsonga? He's funny on court though. Prolly you need to go down under more often to keep your cool?

Dinara Safina although she aint as gorgeous as her brother Marat Safin has proven to be quite entertaining on court too with those "come on", whats "come on" in Russian ha? I better ask MJ for it.

Elena Dementieva is such a girly-girl on court but she's one tough bird. I just find her grunts sounds like some happy orgasmic shriek: ooommmwahhhhh...oooopphhwahhh....I almost didnt notice her earlier days but lately she just got better and better. One thing for sure, her more famous Russian compatriot, Maria Sharapova is no where near the court la...sebok modeling kot or pouting somewhere nursing her bruises/injuries/poor performance? She will do a comeback for sure, upping her game but with the same loud grunts that are so synonymous to her .

Aaahhhh this middle to upper class or should I say those with middle to high income kinda sport that is Tennis. I just LOVE it!