Thursday 27 June 2013

Wajib Tonton

How do you know if a movie is worth watching?
For me, it is when there is no nude or action scene but still; you heart flutters.
Or in my case, you cried your eyes out.  LOL

With that being said, I officially urge you guys to watch this Korean movie.
Trust me.
It's worth it.
Wajib tonton.

It was released earlier this year, being the third highest grossing film of all time in South Korea.

Would be in my list of best movies of all time.
Sarat dengan nilai-nilai murni.
We need more of these!!

Miracle in Cell no 7.
And because I'm cool liddat, here's the link to the movie.
Thank me later!

And, do prepare some tissue in advance.

PS - the kid actress looks like Mia Sara, but less annoying and betterrrrr acting skills. Kudos!
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Tuesday 25 June 2013

How I Let Go

I wrote this only after everything is official.

It breaks my heart, really to turn down such an amazing opportunity. 
But, I believe when Allah close a door to one, he's giving me a better opportunity.

Boleh apply ke prinsip nie since I was the one who pulled out?
InsyaAllah. Lepas Istikharah, antara dua pilihan ini yang terbaik InsyaAllah.

I've mentioned before that I applied to Otak2 Internship Program.
It's a two months internship program for Malaysia's 50 brightest undergraduates.
Looking at the numbers, I daresay that the majority of the previous cohort were from overseas; Cambridge, MIT, UCL. Gempaq kan?
And the partner companies pun bukan calang-calang. 
Petronas, Maxis, Axiata, Teach for Malaysia, Talent Corp dan bermacam lagi.
Apart from the day-to-day internship, there will also be leadership and networking program. 
How awesome is that?

So the qualifications?
-Excellent academic track records with extra co-curricular activities
-undergraduates student (doesn't matter what course you are taking)
-free for the fixed internship period (July-August)
-fluency in English

I got to know that this year, the applications that came trough were more than 800. 
I got shortlisted, Alhamdulillah.

After the application process, they set a Skype interview.
It was challenging because the interview was designed to see the candidates reaction under pressure. 

And lemme tell ya one thing.
If you are a nerd who spend your time with only academic books, you ain't gonna ace that interview man.
The questions ranged from the basics (strength, why you chose your major etc) to general knowledge like 'What do you think about Hillary Clinton?'.
You really, really need to have general knowledge.
Read a lot.
Have an open mind.

So afterwards, Alhamdulillah, Alhamdulillah I got a provisional offer.
Gembira bukan kepalang time tu.

I was told I'm being placed at Air Asia.
*grinning ear-to-ear*

News came after that Air Asia is not gonna make it this year due to some structural changes.
I was then matched to Equatorial Group.

Even without the placement being finalized, we (provisional cohorts) were already given a reading list.
Awesome much!
Saw the whole bunch of the provisional cohorts in the official FB page.
98% are from overseas.

Tak sangka, then the admin asked me if I wanted to intern with the political organizations.
Siapa tak nak?
Bagai bulan jatuh ke riba gitteww..

But along the way, I was also applying to another organization.
Tahu tak, perangai saya lagi susah nak dapat, lagi nak usaha.
This 'other organization' is as good.
Even the founder of Otak2 used to work there.

Nak dijadikan cerita, the official offer letter from the 'other organization' came first.
Interview die ni pun satu hal.
It was not as far-fetched as Skype, though. Only regular phone interview with two recruiters.

So, now.
Two options.
Which one to choose.

After much consideration I choose the later.

Just because I can make full use of the 3 months break and I'm afraid that I can not work with KJ after all due to the contract with YK. [Tak boleh ada kaitan dengan political parties]

For the first few days, it kills me inside to see Otak2 event calendar; truth be told.
But, I remembered that I made the decision after Istikharah.

Terima hakikat.

Kawan-kawan di Otak2, congrats juga.
Do your best.
If Allah's willing, we'll meet some day.

Tak sabar nak ber'intern'.

Tak. Ini bukan official internship.
The official 6-month must-do-internship-to-graduate will start in October, in line with Uniten's semester calendar.

So these 3 months will be utilized to the max.

Bak kata offer letter, "...... make a significant contribution to the country"

What is the 'other organization'?
To be revealed soon!
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Synthetic Happiness

During a lecture class, we came across this topic.
And if you got time, I highly recommend y'all to watch this video.

Basically what Dan Gilbert was saying is that with more options, people are getting more dissatisfied.
I totally agree with that.

Less choice means less headache.

The motion made in this video is that people will be better off with less options and will settle with the things bestowed upon us.

You got you legs chopped off due to diabetes? 
You'll be happy in a few years time.
This is actually a result of his research.
Fascinating, kan?

It makes me think.
Kenapa ada antara kita yang cukup segalanya.
Cukup untuk makan dan minum.
But still, far off from being happy.

One answer.
I think you are so selfish that you think you are the center of the universe.
We cannot have everything, bro.

Kalau rasa tak cukup, usaha.
Don't go around beating yourself up.
Compared to saudara kita in Palestine apalah sangat kesusahan kita.
Just think, for a second.
Compare yourself.
Do it.
Pejam mata.
Bandingkan dengan diorang.

Maka kita akan bahagia dengan apa yang ada.

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St John's Night Festival

I've been rambling at Twitter about the Kids Festival here, in Mainz.
Well actually, it is not a Kids Festival after all. 

It is the St John's Night Festival.
It is the climax of the festival season in Mainz - according to the tourist information website.

It is held for 4 days every year.
And the whole town is celebrating with lots and lots of pop up stalls, cafes, rides.
It's like a giant fun fair!

Dalam erti kata lain, rumah hantu. With roller coaster, nonetheless.

I didn't take much picture because of the crowd.
But believe me, the festive feelings are here, all right.

[I really really love to get on rides]

And guess what?
They set up a freakingly awesome ride here, in Mainz for the festival!!

The first time I saw this ride, I sat there for about an hour watching the people having fun.
Must have been awesome, I thought.

I went back home.
Had a good thinking.
Naturally, it was a bit nerve racking to get on this ride which fyi the scariest ride I've ever seen in my life.

I went back the next day.
Bersemangat waja.

At some point I nearly backed out.
But, I know if I didn't get on it I will be regretting the decision forever.

Plus, it falls perfectly in line with my intention to start fresh.
I'm going back to Malaysia soon and what better way to start than this experience kan?
Or so I thought.

I bought the tickets. 
Best 5 Euros I ever spent, no doubt!!

Sangat seronok.
I would do it again if not because of the really LOOOONGGG line.

Overcome the devil's voice.

Start fresh.

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A Different Take on Paris

It is time for the long overdue post on .....


[I went there last week]

To sum up my experience; love the pastries, hate the city.
[such a strong word; hate]
It is weird because I had always wanted to go there.
But my expectations went downhill as soon as I set foot in at the metro station.
No offence to all French people out there.
This is solely my POV.  :D

I went to Paris by ICE train, from Frankfurt. It took around 5 hours.
Frankfurt - Paris = 560 km

As soon as I arrived, I set off to find the best croissant in Paris according to Paris Patisseries
The number one on the list is Des Gateaux et Du Pain. 
Looking for the this pastry shop which is near the Eiffel Tower. 

Saint Honore Pistache-Griotte
So I tried these two. Heaven on earth, I tell you!! Seriouslyyyy...
Paris is really famous for their patisseries and for great reason, too. 
These are some snippets of the shop. It looks exclusive but the prices - affordable.

I ate the croissant on the way back to the metro station and guess what?
1) My first bit - 'wow'
2) Finished eating  before even halfway to the station
3) Took a turn back and bought another one.  LOL
It is really THAT good.
If by any chance you happen to be in Paris, I 100% recommend this patisserie. 
[It is near Pasteur and Montparnasse Bienvenue metro stations]

Talking about the public transportation system, it is great in the sense that it covers the whole city.
It is said that you were never 500 meters away from any metro station.
The network is very comprehensive. 
For my first day here, I bought the day pass which covers Zone 1 and 2 (6.30 Euros)
Paris comprises of 5 zones but for tourist, Zone 1 and 2 would suffice as it covers most of the attractions.

However, however.
Here comes the bad part.
The entire and I mean ENTIRE transportation system; be it inside the tram or the station, smells like pee.
Pee for Paris, eyh?
Such a turn off.
The whole 3 days, I tell ya.
So depressing.

Afterwards I went the Great Mosque of Paris.
Thank you to an uncle yang berbaik hati offering me the directions seeing me ogling the map at the side of the road.
Alhamdulillah. Sempat berjemaah.
The curator of the mosque was also very nice.
Yang tersentuh hati bila dia cakap 'Malaysians are very welcomed here'.

Then later that evening, I met Ashee and her family. 
We stayed at an apartment in Simplon, Paris.

First destination, Eiffel Tower of course.
Dalam jiwa membara perasaan excited.

We went all the way to the top of Eiffel Tower.
Adik-adik semua gayat. LOL

Bersyukur diberi peluang to set foot here in Paris. 
Sangat bersyukur.
But, it totally falls beneath my expectation.

Eiffel Tower being in front of my eyes, wanna know what I think?
'Is this all? A bunch of steels orchestrated together?'
Entah kenapa. Kecewa.
And the hype caused by this tower?
[LOL. I sound so negative here]

The next day, we arrived at Disneyland around 10am.
One way ticket to Disneyland via train cost 7.30 Euros.
(It was quite far)
We spent the whole day there which was not enough..
At least you're gonna need 2 days folks!
Plus it was raining too *sob sob*

These are the rides that I went to.

Space Mountain Mission 2 - Roller Coaster

While waiting for our turn.
Ada orang dah sampai kat depan tu 'chickened out' and bolted.
Buzz Lightyear
Shoot away, shoot away!
Ashee was the top scorer here :D
Haunted Mansion
Before we went in.
Tak tipu.
Both of us were screaming inside.
Aerosmith Roller Coaster
The Best!!!
And all sorts of other thrilling rides.

Here are some of the pictures.
Looked ridiculous in the rain coat. LOL

Her Majesty, the Queen.
Paling besar sebab paling suka. Teheee!
While waiting for the parade.

Kesimpulan Disneyland, we went to a lot of rides.
It was very nice.
Though I would love to spend more time here.

The rest of the holiday in Paris ;

Notre Dame

Well. All in all, the 3 days I spent in Paris was fun thanks to the company.
But will I be coming back?
Highly doubt it.


*Adakah aku orang pertama menyuarakan bad review tentang Paris? Haha
** Hati aku tertinggal di Rome. Aku pasti.
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Thursday 20 June 2013

Different Path

I'm sure most of us remember this.

Lucky for us in Malaysia, it's compulsory to learn this poem. At least, my batch did.

So the other day, my Professor shared this in class. 
Got to say, he was impressed by the fact that we learnt this during high school. 
(Last week it was Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde; guess who's the pro in the class)
Anak kesayangan lecturer gitteww..

You how we are constantly learning. Constantly changing?
That in a few years time, when you re-read the books that you've got suddenly everything is clearer to you or you even have a different perspective. Ya know?

[Tried reading my earlier blog post, I'm much matured now. LOL In the short span of a few months, nonetheless. I shuddered to think what I wrote in my high school journal which by the way is in the possession of Teacher Iza until recently] *face palm*

What I'm trying to say is that after all these years, listening back to this poem.
Something hit me.

This is a very deep poem and we really really can learn a lot from it.
And to think that I take this poem for granted all this time. 

Zaman belajar hafal values la apa lah, but I doubt we really learn with our heart. 

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by.
And that has made all the difference. 

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In the words of a husband, Mr Brad Pitt:

My wife got sick. 
She was constantly nervous because of problems at work, personal life, her failures and problems with children.
She has lost 30 pounds and weighted about 90 pounds in her 35 years. 
She got very skinny, was constantly crying. 
She was not happy woman. 
She had suffered from continuing headaches, heart pain and jammed nerves in her back and ribs. 
She did not sleep well, falling asleep only in the morning; got tired very quickly during the day. 
relationship was on the verge of brake up. 
Her beauty was leaving her somewhere, she had bags under her eyes, she was poking her head, and stopped take care of herself. 
She refused shoot the films and rejected any role. 
I lost hope and thought that we’ll get divorced soon… 
But then I decided to act. 
After all I’ve got the most beautiful woman on the earth. 
She is the ideal of more than half of men and women on earth, and I was the one allowed to fall asleep next to her and to hug her shoulders. 
I began to pepper her with flowers, kisses and compliments. 
I surprised her and pleased every minute. I gave her lots of gifts and lived just for her. 
I spoke in public only about her. 
I incorporated all themes in her direction. 
I praised her in front of her own and our mutual friends. 
You won’t  believe, but she has blossomed. 
She became even better than before. 
She gained weight, was no longer nervous and she loved me even more than ever. 
I had no clue that she CAN love that much.
And then I realized one thing: the woman is the reflection of her man.
If you love her to the point of madness, she will become it.

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Wednesday 12 June 2013

Rome, Italy

Brace yourself. This is gonna be a LONG post.

[Disclaimer : Some of the pictures are taken from Google :D]

I planned the trip a while back and bought the flight tickets for 75 Euros (return) with Ryan Air. It is very cheap; plan in advance to enjoy savings ya!

Just for comparison, Luftansa and Air Berlin charged 450 and 480 Euros respectively. [see?]
Ryan Air is a low cost airline, much like Air Asia. However, they do pose strict regulations on hand luggage. 

I took the flight on Saturday, at dawn. Which means by 3 o clock I was already at the train station getting ready to go to Frankfurt Hahn Airport.

It only took around 1 1/2 hours to Rome Ciampino Airport. From there, I took a shuttle bus to Rome City Centre which was another 30 minutes. Arrived at Termini. It is the main public transportation hub in Rome. Since it was still early and I couldn't check in until 3pm , I just brought along my backpack.

Roma Termini (big building on the left)
First things first, I bought the 'Day Pass' (6 Euros) which would entitled me to unlimited ride in any of Rome's public transport for the day. You can also buy a single use ticket which cost 1.50 Euro and it would last for 100 minutes.

One tips for the budget traveler out there, do join the free tour! I came across it while researching for cheap tours on the net. Free is always better, no? :D There are a few option but the one that I chose was this. The tour is in English with licensed tour guides. Awesome kan?

To those interested, you can just show up 5 minutes earlier than the tour with no reservation. From Termini, take the Metro [Line A] to Spagna. The meeting point is near the Spanish Steps, in front of American Express.

So, I went for the Vatican Tour. [Evening tour is the Colosseum tour]

Nampak macam jauh. But it is not, actually.
It lasted for 2 hours. The tour guide was very good! The tour itself was very entertaining and enriching.
I have to say, Rome's hospitality really blew my mind! But more on that later!

During the tour, we went to these places.

Spanish Steps
Column of Markus Aurelius
The whole column is a story, strip by strip.
My jaws literally dropped seeing this massive building.
The interior. Magnificent. 
Piazza Navona
Castel San'tangelo
Thankfully, the weather that day was fine. Sunny. Too sunny, in fact my skin was burnt. Kecewa.

During the tour, a Chinese girl came to me and ask whether I'm from Malaysia. The giveaway? 
'Your tudung' katanya. Hahaha. Tudung bawal, memang Malaysia ler.
She's a Malaysian, working in Singapore. It was always nice knowing new people :D

Back to the issue of hospitality.
Let me illustrate some instances.

1. Everyone is more than willing to help you with directions. They smile with genuine warmth.
2. Hopping off the bus, an Italian guy helped me with my beg. (Small things matters)
3. I hastily bumped into an old lady. Bersalah di situ. But she was very nice, we ended up talking for a while.
4. Malik.

I think I really need to talk about him when I'm on the topic of hospitality.

Right after the tour ended, I was searching for a way back to Termini. But I got lost since Rome is so big. Then came along a guy in a business suit that helped me with the map. He ended up accompanying me the whole day! In his business suit nonetheless!

Okay, okay. I'll start from the beginning.
He showed me the way to Termini. Gave his business card. Turned out, he is a Muslim. Yayy!!
Handsome Muslim Italian guy. What more can you ask? 

Then I asked him for the direction to the Rome Mosque which is the biggest mosque in Europe and is in my to-go list. 
We went to the mosque together, by metro. It was quite a distance from the city center.

I don't usually attend to strangers. I actually knew the interchange station to the mosque. Only I don't know where actually they are. So I make a mental note to myself; once he strayed from the path to the mosque I will just leave him.

Alhamdulillah, we arrived. Safely.

It is a gift from the Saudi Arabian prince.

The mosque consist of two levels. The most beautiful is the 2nd one which is only opened on Friday during the Friday prayers. But since Malik knew the curator, he got the curator to open it just for us. Awwww!!!
We prayed Zuhr' there.

Afterwards, we went to have lunch at a Turkish restaurants. Then had some gelato and finally, he brought me to his workplace. Everyone was nice. Extremely nice, in fact.

Cerita lain, biarlah simpan dalam hati. LOL

In Rome, you can just cross the road at any zebra crossing. There is no traffic light for pedestrian. The vehicle will stop. Awesome kan! 

People always react differently when I told them that I travel alone. But hey, you will learn the most when you are alone. 

Some tips for solo travelers. Muslim girls especially.

Terpaling penting.
Think positive.

Please. Tolong. As soon as you step on foreign soil, leave all your gedik'ness and manja'ness behind. Mind set, mind set. Don't be scared. Soak all the culture. Accept what you can't change. 

Walk with your head held high.
Bukan nak membangga diri. Show some confidence so that you won't be the target of pick pockets ke apa ke. People staring? That is usual for hijab-clad girls. Don't take it personally.

On my second day, I got to know a fellow Muslim solo traveler. She was having a bad time. 
1. She kept saying that Italians are stupid, can not talk English properly. It came as a shock to me as I was having a great time. Everyone is so accommodating. Again, mind set people.
2. She hate the fact that everyone is staring. Islamophobia katanya. Don't think too much, my friend. I caught some women staring at me the other day, so I just flashed a smile. They were startled, but smiled anyways. That was better, kan?
3. She wouldn't even eat at a Halal restaurant because she was paranoid. For me, as long as the premise show the Halal certificate it is good enough kan?

I know, sometimes the urge to ogle at strangers is mounting high. Terutamanya, kalau lelaki yang duk tenung atas bawah ye dak? Memang la rasa nak jeling terpaling maut. But, restrain. You never knew what other people are capable of. Mana tahu dia mafia ke apa ke. Jangan main gila. Lagipun, when we smile we will feel better. :D

Expect the unexpected
Tragedies. Victims often said 'I never thought that would happen to me'. Well, start to expect the unexpected and take precautions. The last time I was in Amsterdam, my wallet was stolen :D Alhamdulillah, sentiasa tenang dan dipermudahkan segala urusan. [when bad things happen, don't give up. Instead, bounce back better and learnt from it]. So this time around I didn't bring any bag. I just used a money pouch, tucked inside my cardigan. Also, always keep your money in several places. Most importantly, emergency money stash in your socks. Haha!

The second day was the exploring day.
Tasting all the great food.

My first journey was to find the best tiramisu in Italy, dubbed as the 'Best Tiramisu in The World'.
According to numerous reviews, it is the Bar Pompi's.

I tried to google the ingredients but I couldn't find any. So, my only hope was to go there and ask. To go to Bar Pompi, take the Metro (Line A) to Re Di Roma. It is a two minute walk from there. Ask anyone, most people will know. 

3.50 Euros
They offered a variety of flavors; classic, pistachio, berries and a few more.
I asked whether there is any liquor or animal fat in the ingredients and he said no.
Yayy!! Alhamdulillah. 
While I was there a saw a Turkish family indulging the cakes, too. 
Hands down, it is the best tiramisu. 
That is big, coming from a coffee-hater like me  :D

Then, I head to the oldest Gelateria in Italy

Giovanni Fassi Gelato
Among the flavors
Kedai makanan halal agak banyak. Mostly kebab though. But you can find authentic Italian dish at Luna Capresse.

Nah peta.
Because I'm awesome like that! LOL
I had meatball spaghetti and pizza here. Nice!! 
It is also very near to the Trevi Fountain.

Sambung perjalanan.

Trevi Fountain
Sangat ramai orang di Trevi Fountain. Legend says that if you tossed a coin here, you'll be coming back to Rome in the future. Haruslah terlibat sama. Haha
On a daily basis, the authority collected around 3,000 Euros from the fountain which are donated to the needy and charity. 

No filter.
Can you see how nice the sky is?
*Fall in love*

Love, love, love this picture.
Oh, before I end this post I should share about the hostel.
It is a good idea for those on tight budget and eager to know new people.

So I stayed at the Four Seasons Hostel.
Kerlasss Four Seasons! Hihihi
I highly recommend this place.
It is a hotel at a price of a hostel.
With air conditioner, free wi-fi, lockers, hair dryers, nice decoration. Very comfy!!

Plus it is a mere 5-minute away from the Termini. 
More info here.

All in all, the best vacation so far!!

*Ciao is 'hi' not 'bye' as I originally thought. LOL
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