12 August 2012


As I boarded the train from KL Sentral to Sri Rampai after a four-day pre-departure program for future medical slaves, I remembered the day I registered at Kolej Rahim Kajai, UKM more than four years ago. And as I ventured further into my memory, I remembered the day I showed to my mother the GMN brochure I got from the Edu Fair my friends and I went to. It was a blur, but the significant processes were permanently jotted down in my brain.

And until this day, I'm still not sure whether my decision back then were rock solid, or pudding bouncy, whatever that means anyway.

I am at the beginning of my fifth year medical school and with Allah as my bear witness I have lots and lots to do before I can become a competent enough doctor. Looking back to those four short years I have went through, it's very hard to believe that I am in the verge of graduation, because honestly if I am to be put in a hospital, I would have kill every patient I touch. Yes, I am a little bit pessimistic when it comes to my future.

Those four years were full of vague teachers in semi-solid appearance. I would not say that I have went through hell, but if anything is to be put in comparison with eternal damnation, the medical school is a perfect candidate. 

The books that I had to cover.
The smell of ammonia that had seeped into my brain.
The medical knowledge that I had memorized, and forgotten, and memorized for the hundredth of time.
The unstable days as exam was just around the corner when whatever I do, I can't process whatever I read.
The hollow feeling when I have no one to count on as I crashed down the road of uncertainty.
The friends I made and lost, caused by the silliest of reasons to the worst.
The clingy feeling that made me want to just run away because sometimes my best is just not enough.
The mortal challenges that everyone went through, but somehow it becomes such a big deal for me.
The insecurity that dragged me down as I made mistakes and mistakes, over and over again.

Sure, one would say that I am too hard on myself. Because somehow, I have made it, although barely, to my fifth year. So that means I must have done something right, yes? Please approve. Dear God, come to think of it, it's a miracle that I have gone this far. These pains I have went through have become my best teachers. 

I learned to take things easy, but fight like a lioness protecting her cubs.
I learned to let things go, and to put my trust in Allah's greater plan.
I learned to keep myself sane as every single thing around me is collapsing.
I learned to prioritize my concerns, my goals, my every day life.
And most important of all, I learned to become a better human being, a better muslim, a better person.

And that's how Egypt has changed me. To see these kids going to embark on this painful, but remarkable journey that was once my journey, I wish them all the best. The formula of life is not as hard to portray, it's basically the same thing all over again. The only difference is the pace. Some of us is faster or slower than others. In the end, we will end up with generally the same lessons, the same experience.

They will go through the same mind-blowing  scenes of life that is greeted with the usual 'WTFrick' in the first encounter that will become the stepping stone for them to understand things beyond our comfortable heaven we all called home. They will meet people that will change the way they view the world permanently. They will end up in a situation where their mind can't possibly comprehend the stupidity/illogical/jack-assery of a certain group of people.

Brace yourself, it's gonna be one hell of a bumpy ride. Will you survive Egypt? Many have failed, but don't worry, unlike them, we will be there to guide you through.

03 August 2012


It's been a while since my last rant. Rumah dekat Egypt tak ada internet, terpaksa menumpang kasih rumah orang untuk guna internet. And it doesn't feel right writing in somebody else's computer, it's like wearing another man's underwear, or something like that, the point is it doesn't feel right.

I've spent 10 days of Ramadan in Egypt, and 'spectacular' might probably a little too quirky to describe the experience, but it doesn't express it well either. But again, you get the point. Life in Egypt surely is messy to say the least, but somehow Ramadan in Egypt was the simplest Ramadan I have ever experienced.

There were no bazaar, so as a red-blooded bachelor in his twenties my friends and I had to prepare our own food, and naturally it is minimal; a serving of rice with curry/masak lemak/rendang/masak merah/sambal ayam. Sometimes we added some zestiness in it with some fried eggs. And even though it was simple, we enjoyed every minute of it.

Masak sendiri beb.

The tarawih was the least ritual-like. Eight rakaats of total servitude towards Allah, without any selawat in between. The imams were top-notch, I tell you. It was tiring to stand still for more than five minutes per rakaat, but it was a meaningful five minutes and regret not a minute of it. This time, I've tried to understand the meanings of the Quran recited by the imam, which was a great way to keep yourself from wandering.

All eight rakaats took usually about an hour or so. But like Malaysians, the Egyptians worn out too. So after four rakaat, they will stop and had some tazkirah session for about five to ten minutes. So, we are no different than the Egyptians I guess. Some mosques added a twist during these tazkirahs and had quizzes, both for the children and adults. I remembered the questions were not easy, if my rusty Arabic doesn't get the best of me that is, haha.

"In section XX in surah XX, which verse explains about what to do when a man and his wife quarrel?"

"Who was the first woman the Prophet s.a.w married to after the death of Khadija?"

And the children were eager to answer, seriously, excited gila eventhough the prizes were not very compelling. And during the tazkirah someone will walk around the mosque offering drinks. Somewhere in the middle of town a free feast will be held for the less fortunate called 'maaidatul rahman' which means 'hidangan kasih sayang'. Kot. A real true blue spirit of 'fastabiqul khairat'!

Fanoos, a type of Arabic tanglung. Kalaulah size dia tak sampai anak orang, dah bawak balik dah satu.

Hundreds of fanoos were lit in celebration of the holy month. Yes, unlike Malaysia, the Egyptians celebrate hari raya during the holy month of Ramadan as it should be, not in Shawal. And don't let me start on the discipline those Arabs get when it comes to praying. Saf rapat-rapat semua and the children were not treated as second-class muslims. 

Orang Mesir ni baran tak ingat dunia, bulan puasa pun bergaduh. Kalau naik teksi tu tak sah kalau tak marah-marah. But when it comes to prayers, they were surprisingly disciplined.
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