Book Review : My name is Hasmah

A biography of someone at 90 years old is worth all the time and dime to get the book and read it. What more someone in Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Binti Mohd Ali‘s shoes who has to juggle a lot of roles and responsibilities along the way.

I recognize her as Tun M’s wife. I acknowledge her being a medical doctor. I have heard of her extreme humility. However, I later found out in the book that she is damn funny and hilarious. It’s like if we were going to med school together, I’d want her to be part of the Sharoe Green girls (that’s where my housemates and I live in Manchester).

It was an easy book to read. A bit on the price-y edge but hey the life lessons in it is incomparable. Still cheaper than a new phone! I leave you with some pearls of wisdom I extracted from the biography.

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Perhaps it would help to read the book yourself to understand some of the anecdotes mentioned in my journal.

Book Review : Kapal Angkasa Terhempas di Subang Jaya by Birsilah Bakar

I have stopped reading Malay novels for a few years because the ones I stumbled into shared pretty much the same, non-interesting theme.

  • women get raped, forgives their rapist and marries them
  • women get physically abused by a man and needs another Romeo to save her out of the mess
  • women can’t solve their own problems and had to wait for someone to die before conflicts resolve

That was until I came across this book.

I have to admit, I knew this writer from secondary school and I was honestly very surprised to know that she published her book in Bahasa Malaysia. Birsilah or BC as we know her then, was always someone I looked up to secretly for her strong grasp in the English language. She writes and speak (although very little) like poetry – people in the 16th century would have mistaken her as Shakespeare himself. A woman Shakespeare!

And boy am I glad to have read this book. Its an uh-may-zing book. I define a Malay novel as amazing when I could imagine it come alive in many colours. Meaning, although the main character is a Nabila, if Japan was to make a movie out of her book, this Nabila can be a Nanako or even a Shilpa in India. Even better, a Katniss in Hollywood.

It’s been a while since I allowed pure fantasy to envelope itself around me. Its like time travelling to the time of The Never Ending Story or Fantaghiro & The Cave of the Golden Roses – that sort of fantasy. As opposed to the more popular ones these days of sorcery, vampire and werewolves. Most importantly, I love how she portrays the women in the story as strong and intelligent – in a realistic way. Where like real people, the characters have their positive traits and also flaws which need fixing. Being Human, that’s what it is. Evil people did not die instantly from a brain tumour or heart attack (thank god!) but only after a fair and gruesome fight.

Cynical, sceptical yet cute and humorous dialogues/monologues were plenty. In fact, it made me wonder as well of how ‘cacing tanah mengawan’. LOL. Plot twists and ‘secrets’ were dished out bit by bit in every chapter … building up this momentum of making me want to keep turning the pages to find out more about what is going on. Smart writing technique, kan?? 

Glitches? There were a few references which sounded familiar to being in Malacca (asam pedas, selat melaka) which made me doubt if it was Subang Jaya at all. Boleh je kan makan asam pedas in Subang.. he he. Or did I miss something, somewhere regarding where this crash actually took place? Yup, maybe. And secondly if I switch off my medical logic, perhaps I wouldn’t have to think too much about the length of divorce and … the baby bump. Ha ha ha.

Overall, it is still an awesome book. I would rate it as 4 stars out of 5. I really hope that more people could read it and if ever there was a movie production of it, I am looking forward to see who plays the role of Nabila’s handsome brother with very beautiful eyes. *drool*

When I logged of Facebook temporarily ..

I once read somewhere on the World Wide Web of two things in trying to become a good writer/journalist.

  1. To be a good writer, one must be a good reader.
  2. To be a good writer/ journalist, always make it a point to meet a new person everyday so your perspectives would be widen and not be limited to only one school of thought. It also brings variety into your form of writing.

The latter struck me more. Not that I’m planning to become the next JK Rowling or anything.. I just find it inspiring to make something interesting out of every day we live. Ever-since I became temporarily inactive from Facebook for the past few weeks, I find that there is more to life. Prior to this, my newsfeed on Facebook is confined to Online Tudung, Premium Beautiful Agents, Tune Excel Simcards, of someone being pissed at someone at work and menu of the day at a special restaurant somewhere. With an occasional splash of ‘news’ here and there. But lately I just couldn’t be bothered if I have a new notification on my Facebook today.( Well.. this experiment of disconnecting from FB pun cuma few weeks.. ntah2 next week dah log in. Ha ha ha. )

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I have started to open up one of the many books I bought during my trips to the bookstore. I am currently reading Miss Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children (Hollow City) and admittedly find that my reading pace is annoyingly slow. Its like being dyslexic. I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed a fiction. Or read very fast. My speed reading skills has decelerated tremendously. My vocabulary storage has been stagnant for quite some time as well.  The smell of paper on the other hand kind of triggered my addiction to get another book – to which I did and I’m not even finished with this one.

I have gone blog-hopping as well. Some blogs with a serious tone, some very humorous. Travel tales and cute stuff however always seems to top the list of things I choose to read.

I touched newspapers again as opposed to depending on news feeds or ‘shares’ by friends on my Facebook wall. This I regret though, cause I find the articles posted on Facebook are far more interesting and less one-sided as compared to the ones printed in the local papers.But since I wanted to still ‘be in the know’, I resorted  to making more conversations with the people around me to gather the juicy stuff. And of course any happy , casual conversation would always lead to something else and soon I was learning about cooking methods, the best tailor in town and what is cheap to buy where. The beauty of live communication right…

If I were on Facebook, I would have gotten loads of birthday wishes on my wall because that was the easiest way to be in touch. It thus got me thinking, if Facebook did not remind me of my friends birthday, would I have made an effort to do so? Would I still send them birthday cards or post gifts to them? *insaf seketika* But hey.. Honestly, I am now in the spirit to re-enact my parcel kasih sayang just thinking about it.

omg omg.. project parcel kasih sayang.. excitednyer.. 

When reading becomes a social crime…

“No entertainment is so cheap as reading, nor any pleasure so lasting.”

– Lady M. W. Montagu

When I was a child, BOOKS were banned from the dinner table.

I was an avid reader since I knew how to read. I saved up my pocket money to buy Enid Blyton, Nancy Drew series, Siri Salma and a lot others. As a teenager, I began reading magazines and even now in the medical field, I buy fiction to balance the serious facts of physiology and such.

I loved reading so much as a kid that I brought the books to the dinner table and flick the pages with one hand and the other hand serving food into my mouth. At first, Mother did not seem to mind. She must have liked the idea of me reading books but I guess the habit began to take its toll. I was not communicating with the rest of the family. My nose was always in a book like Belle of Beauty & The Beast. Her questions of “how was school” was always met by a short answer. My reaction to her interesting stories of the day was met by a lame ‘oohhh’.

So when Mother threatened me one day to  hang a book at my throat – I stopped bringing books to the table. It did not make me stop reading. But it taught me a lesson.

Reading, though brings good can still be bad if it affects how one perceive or interacts with each other.

People nowadays don’t read books. But they read on their smartphones loaded with smart apps. And while smartphones keeps ones daily task at bay, updates you on the most recent feed of the hour… it has its sins.

 

Nowadays I tend to cringe whenever I see someone at the restaurant, parents to be precise, having both their heads down facing the screen of their phones – not talking to each other and letting their children eat and play by themselves.

Don’t get me wrong. These things happen at home too. I have to remind Mr Husband or my brothers to leave the phone at the sofa during dinner and if they don’t want to participate in our parents grandfather stories – to at least just listen and respond appropriately. Apalah sangat tertinggal news feed for the next half an hour or so.. What is it that is so important on Facebook or Mudah.Com  that you can’t stop to appreciate the food that’s been prepared before you.

I think  LIVE human interaction is still the most important of all. We have to learn to use our soft skills and five senses to gather and celebrate more of each other. And perhaps for once, we don’t have to tell everybody that you bought 3 pairs of shoes at Parksons Grand Mega Raya sales today.

 

 

 

Road to Inspiration

The soul should always stand ajar; Ready to welcome the ecstatic experience – Emily Dickinson

                   Looking back at the blog posts I made in Facebook, even I was surprised at how well I was able to express my thoughts and emotions in my writing. It has been a while since I felt INSPIRED. Its been a while since I made a mark, be overtly positive. I promised myself that I would read at least 12 books in a year. Up till now, a.k.a. APRIL.. the amount of books I have read is ZILCH.

Disappointed? Yes.

I did not even touch my medical books. Which makes it even more sad especially at the thought of trying to get into the Masters programme this year.

So today I made a short trip to my local bookstore and bought a few books and magazines.

“We read to know that we are not alone.” — C.S. Lewis

I found an old classic on Don Quixote. A name which brings on nostalgic memories during my courtship days with another man. I never quite understood why this particular guy I used to date tends to refer himself as a Don Quixote. I didnt bother to ask and I didnt bother to Google it up either. So I shall read up this 438 page book.

Then there was ‘How to Work For An Idiot’ which felt like an excellent choice considering the uproar taking place at work between us MOs and the bosses. Its a staggering piece of literature I have to say. I almost thought the author was female from the style of writing. There were too many anecdotes and stir-away-from-topic moments to begin with but I guess I can still persevere up till the last chapter.

I picked up a Christian faith genre book featuring Nick Vujicic. To be honest, I had no idea that the book would be touching a lot on Chrisitianity. Anyhow, I think its worth reading for its inspirational stories. After all, be it Judaism, Christianity or Islam.. the core of the teaching always points towards the good. No harm there to start with, aite?

Last but not least, I invested my money on 2 magazines – Square room & Al ustaz. I was super-excited to see the topic for Al-Ustaz this month as the imam/ ustazs try to answer the publics inquiries regarding prayers during ill times. It should be interesting as I intend to explore further regarding Tayamum, Rukhsah solat et ceteraa…

So chaiyok!!