Friday, April 29, 2011
At KLIBF (PTS stall) buying books for the Kelab Ilmu Gedong. Thank you to PTS for the great discount & to En Helmy for negotiating it.
Posted by Hidayah Ismawi at 12:28 PM
Thursday, April 28, 2011
When we were growing up, we used to fight constantly. Being only one year younger than me my "little" brother was never really little, especially considering that he is over 6 foot tall. Despite our many squabbles. I am happy to say that we have grown closer over the years, both of us mellowing with age.
Though it may have seemed like we have always been in competition with each other all our lives, I can honestly say that my brother is winning the race right now. Married to a loving wife, Nor Azila, and proud father to a beautiful baby girl, Khadijah Umairah, he is making a good life for himself in Sarawak, handling our family enterprise. They even have time to give back to the community by running a youth centre.
So today, on his 30th birthday, I wish him all the best in his life. I am very proud of the man he has become.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY IZZAT
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Amir is a privileged Pashtun boy always living in the shadows of his impressive father. By his side is his loyal friend Hassan, a poor Hazara boy. Life in 1970s Afghanistan was good, filled with endless summers of climbing trees and winters of kite flying. His childhood was idyllic until the unspeakable happened one grey winter's day in 1975. Ripped by Russian occupation and torn by the Taliban oppression, Amir and his father fled to America to build a new life. Haunted and riddled with guilt, a long-distance phone call from his past catches up with him.
What I liked about this book
I loved this book. The writing is exquisite. The writer manages to evoke not only vivid visions of Afghanistan and subsequently the contrast with life as an American immigrant, but also a myriad of emotions in the reader. The story is poignant and gripping. Each turn of the page left me wanting more.
What I disliked about this book
Honestly, as a fictional story, it is hard to find fault with the book. My only gripe is the unfortunate depiction of Muslims in an unflattering light. I take comfort in remembering that several bad Muslims are not representative of the beauty of Islam itself.
A quote I liked in this book
When you lie, you steal a man's right to the truth.
Rating: 4.5/5 (actually I would give 5 except for the fact that no book is perfect)
This book actually belongs to Siti who has been kind enough to lend me this book as part of her book swap project. Lydia has also posted a book swap list on her blog. I am delighted that there are book lovers out there who, like me, want to share our passion for reading with others. (My book list is at the Book Club).
Monday, April 25, 2011
There are people who walk into our lives and never leave our hearts. Through the years and everything in between, they linger in our thoughts and we see them in every smile, song and raindrop. Things change, and we may not be able to see them or talk to them as often as we want but true friendship lives on regardless.
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Thursday, April 21, 2011
My father has always been proud of his humble roots. He grew up in a village named Kampung Gedong (Sarawak). Losing his own father at a young age, it was a struggle to live day by day let alone escape from poverty. And yet, through his hard work, dedication and strong will, he made a good life for himself and his children. Although, I have been fortunate to go through life never lacking for anything (even though we were far from affluent when I was younger), my father has always stressed upon us the importance of remembering those less fortunate than us.
It has always been his dream and subsequently ours to set up a place where the kids in his village would be able to have a conducive environment to study, learn and read. So that they can have an alternative to the increasingly alarming negative influences that have creeped into their village. Truly, the most rural of places are most vulnerable to hedonistic elements like weekend concerts, recreational drugs, alcohol and truancy.
Recently, our family finally managed to initiate the first spark in this dream. We opened a youth club. Simply called the Kelab Ilmu ZENara (after my late grandparents Hj Zen and Hajjah Ara), it is located in the house adjoining my brother's home. My younger brother now lives in Kampung Gedong with his loving wife Nor Azila and their beautiful daughter, my niece, Khadijah Umairah. Now they are the ones who are helming this project supervised by my parents who fly back as often as their hectic schedule allows, as I can only look on and contribute minimally from afar. My contribution is miniscule (mostly moral support and currently helping with book donations/purchases) and yet I have an overwhelming sense of pride an great hopes for this endeavour.
A few days ago something wonderful happened. As I was discussing this project with my friends on Twitter, two amazing people appeared. Kak Emila Yusof, a children's illustrator/writer who I have secretly admired for a long time and recently bonded with over our love for (and my poor memory of) the German language, and Mr Helmy Samad, her good friend and Managing Director of Wira Bukit Sdn Bhd asked me to meet them for coffee that very same afternoon. Zil and I went and we were not greeted with an aromatic hot beverage but over 50 free books. Though they will prob chastise me for making their good deed public, I simply had to. To prove that even in this day and age, heroes do exist. Even disguised as strangers who would later become friends.
PS: All contributions are welcome at 162357304711(MAYBANK) @ 11030030645527 (CIMB) under the name Mohd Izzat Ismawi. Receipts will be issued upon request and you can even tell him what you want him to purchase.