Mind matters

That Ariadne girl in Inception was Juno wasn’t it? I prefer Ellen Page in the Ariadne character in oppose to Juno, which is the very ‘sharifah-amani-trying-too-hard-but-stagnant’ actress syndrome.

In aikido, we learn to ‘enter the opponent’s mind’ by using their energy flow and redirect it to them so that they can help us to defeat themselves. But that’s only at one level. Inception showed us another thing altogether. What I found awesome about the movie is that they explored the possibilities of tapping on the power of the subconscious minds further and deeper that it becomes a dream within a dream.

Sometimes I do wish I could do that. To be able to enter into somebody’s mind and extract information/thoughts/memories from it. Cool kan? And if I could, my husband would be the first one to run away from me, I think.


Tape Goreng from Rumah Makan Solo near Bintaro. Fried tapai, fried till crispy and eaten while it’s hot. The best recent discovery!

Called Sosis Solo. Their version of popiah. I cannot remember what it is made of, just that I remember the way Yosy ate it was one bite of cili padi and one bite of this. For a chili lover, it tasted like heaven on earth, believe me.

To do

Collin’s classics are selling for Rm 9.90 at MPH and during a tea date with Al before I left for Jakarta, we treated ourselves to some. I got Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, a text I did while I was in college. And Emma, also read during those two hormonal A levels years. Currently at chapter 3 of Jane Eyre and  it is still as engaging as it was when I was studying it as a text, although I am not sure whether the reason for it to be engaging is the same. Back then, it was the text and to be fully engaged in it means to be prepared for the exams. Now, with every page, it is as if I travel back into those college days, the memories, the angst, the issues, the puppy-love, the final teenage phase–all seems to be flooding back in.

And as for the rest of the books. Well, lacking in focus is not something new about me. Hence, I read many books at one go. I am a chapter into My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk, two chapters into The Economic Naturalist, How Starbucks Changed  My Life and The Almost Moon. I’m only at the post-intro part of iMuslim by Gary Bunt and have yet to even begin on Emma which I bought and Rita Mae Brown and Sneaky Brown- which I got as a gift from a guest.

Last night, I bought  The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, the only book I bought with the MPH voucher I got as a club member. I have no idea why I bought it in the first place, perhaps because I saw a girl on the KLM flight reading The Girl Who Played With Fire and I got curious.

AA anonymous

I am back from messy albeit addictive Jakarta. Too many things happened and too many lessons learnt which I would like to pen down here for my own remembrance. Not to mention hundreds of photos to be sorted out. But we came back home, rested a bit, unpacked, laundry, waited or our ‘gi’s to dry before going back to our dojo to train last night.

Is that commitment or aikidoholism?

Betawi bound

One last post before I am Jakarta bound, meeting my fate on the mats of the aiki.camp in the midst of other aikidokas, sensei-s and a sensei from Japan. I am both nervous and excited and I really hope I can pull this through. This journey has never been easy. BUT I keep telling myself, if KungFu panda can do it, so can I. But he’s  a cartoon, so anything is possible for him. As for me, it was hard work, trying to liberate myself from my own fear from within, trying to liberate myself from my ego and trying to liberate myself from any inhibitions I may have.

And speaking of liberty, on Monday evening, I had the opportunity to attend to the lecture by Prof  Tariq Ramadan, who was here for a visit at the husband’s former campus, ISTAC. Firstly, it felt good to be back at ISTAC. Although the husband was the student there, I used to just hang out at the castle like building, walking through and fantasizing that I was in Morroco or something, while waiting for him to finish class. Secondly, the opportunity to be listening live again to Prof Tariq Ramadan, the grandson of the great Imam Hassan Al Banna was priceless.

Prof Tariq Ramadan

The lecture he gave, to an overspilling crowd was ‘Is Liberty an Islamic Value?’. I don’t have the time to summarise snippets of his awesome lecture that night but in passing, he touched upon what is meant by being ‘liberated’ and the paradoxical relationships between the role of rules and laws in the liberation process.

I also got myself a book that night from the stalls selling books outside the auditorium; iMuslim by Gary R. Bunt, about the penetration of IT into the Muslim homes and how do the Muslims deal with the barrage of information and resources, both good and bad in the comforts of the Muslim home.

The internet has profoundly shaped how Muslims perceive Islam, and how Islamic societies and networks are evolving and shifting within the twenty-first century. While these electronic interfaces appear new and innovative in terms of how the media is applied, much of their content has a basis in classical Islamic concepts, with an historical resonance that can be traced back to the time of the Prophet Muhammad.

iMuslims explores how these transformations and influences play out in diverse cyber Islamic environments, and how they are responding to shifts in technology and society. The book discusses how, in some contexts, the application of the internet has had an overarching transformational effect on how Muslims practice Islam, how forms of Islam are represented to the wider world, and how Muslim societies perceive themselves and their peers. On one level, this may be in terms of practical performance of Islamic duties and rituals, or on the interpretation and understanding of the Qur’an. On another level, cyber Islamic environments have exposed Muslims to radical and new influences outside of traditional spheres of knowledge and authority, causing long-standing paradigmatic shifts at a grassroots level within societies. iMuslims looks at how these changes are taking place, including through social networking sites and the blogosphere.

I am just at the introduction part of the book and I find it a little academic-ish, maybe it was intended to be that way. But nevertheless, it is an engaging read, something which would be in my backpack for my in flight reading via KLM to Jakarta.

For now, I shall do my last minute packing and send all goodwill and positive aura to the camp leaders, in hoping they would be moved enough to let me out at least once in the duration of the camp to have my fix at Bumbu Desa.

Betawi is the name for old Jakarta. Or as the Oranje colonizers called  it, Batavia. I somehow prefer the sound of Betawi better than the sound of Jakarta. There is soto Betawi ( which is delicious!) but no soto Jakarta. So Betawi, here I come, yet again! 🙂

Oranje juice with Paella

When I was in primary school, there was a creative writing competition organised internationally by FIFA for children aged 12 years and below. In the competition, participants were supposed to submit a creative writing piece, in any language they are comfortable with about the importance of world peace and how sports can help to promote it. Participants were also required to write why he/she should be the ambassador to their countries at that year’s world cup. The winner from each country would be given a full flight+accomodation+1 adult to accompany him/her to the world cup venue and gets to walk out into the turf hand in hand with a player before the match begins.

My English teacher, Ms B, excitedly cut out that competition form from Straits Times and asked if I would like to take part. She would help me edit it and even submit it for me. I really loved her composition classes back then and when she asked me of all people, I was too excited and come on, who would give away a chance of being one of those world cup kids walking out into the turf with the players? I fantasized walking hand in hand with Juergen Klinsmann or Maradona. Or even Ruud Gullit and his then reggae hairdo.

I wrote a few pieces and Ms B chose the one she thought would be ok to submit. As there were no other specifics in the contest instructions, we thought that writing it nicely on A4 piece of paper and submitting it would be sufficient. And so we did.

A month later, the results were announced in the then kid’s news program Newswatch. All the entries (and there were over a thousand entries !) were placed in some huge bins and the host of the show gave a debrief about it before announcing the winner. That was when my heart sank to the deepest low. All the other entries were so colourful and not just an essay! Some were in collage form, some were in frames, some were in handmade news report template … All so colourful and striking, that I was so sure my essay in that A4 sized white paper was sitting in one corner unnoticed.

The winner was announced and it was a boy from one of the mission primary school. You see, I remember every detail of something which is of impact to me in a photographic sort of way and that boy who won, was chubby and bespectacled and the little sore loser in the child in me was furious at him, whose entry was in a beautiful collage form of all his favorite players from the different teams on Styrofoam board and his essay was beautifully written in the middle. I was also furious at Ms B, for not advising me properly on what I could do in the competition. I went to sleep that night in tears.

I was a sore loser alright. Yesterday I got reminded on my ‘sore loser episode’ when watching the Dutch played Spain in the Finals. The Dutch played a dirty game with obnoxious tackles that sent the referee on a yellow card frenzy as though he was playing uno on the pitch. And when the goal was scored they cried foul, admittedly the goal was quite controversial with the offside claim, but not as controversial as Maradona’s hand of God so seriously, I think the Dutch overreacted.

In all, I am happy with this year’s world cup. Many underdogs triumphed. I got to see Maradona as a coach. The Germany team, which no one thought could go beyond their first few matches came in 3rd, and my new favorite, this new gem in the form of Thomas Mueller whom 8 weeks ago were not even in the first line up, won the top scorer award and also best young player of the tournament.

So till Brazil in four years time. And hopefully a new Argentinian team to give them hope for the future sans the comical Maradona, Mesut Ozil-Muller-Khedira-Boateng to lead Germany into bringing the Cup back to Berlin yet again, an Asian team in the finals, maybe Japan or South Korea and beautiful capoeira dancing to the theme song.

FIFA’s best young player of the tournament, Thomas Mueller, 20 years old and his wife Lisa Trede also 20 years old. Mueller also won the top scorer award for this tournament and is a figure to watch in Brazil, in 4 years time

Just woke up

I am done with folding the huge pile of washed clothes which had been parking in the back room for a month, since the beginning of the World Cup tournament. My schedules and routines have been seriously in shambles throughout the whole tournament and as I look back, it has been a ‘once in a four years pattern’ since I was in school.

I remembered in the one of the 90s  World Cup, Mrs Ang- my Maths teacher threatened me with a month’s detention for failure of doing any homework for 2 whole weeks in July, and for skipping school with no valid reason when Brazil was playing Italy in the finals. Of course my father was well aware of that (except for the homework part, he allowed me to skip school during the finals because I guess he knew I would not be able to function in school anyway so why bother? heh).

Now, with both my teams out in the running for finals, it is just one more match for 3rd/4th placing for Germany. I would of course watch the finals between Netherlands and Spain but since I am not supporting any of those two, it would be of no event. So yesterday, I took a good look at my house. A huge pile of washed laundry was waiting to be folded. My cats stank to the high heavens and should be showered. My work station needed to be cleared. Wardrobes should be sorted out. Premixes used for cooking should be stopped. The fridge needed cleaning, to be made free of junk food I’ve stuffed my face with throughout the whole tournament. My World Cup stickers/sticker book needed to be sorted out and I seriously need to catch up with the ironing.

It’s like coming back home from a month long break, with the back to life, back to reality feeling.

Waka waka eh eh

Danke und Tchuss….

Ok that’s it. The World Cup is as good as over for us. For me half of it was over when Argentina was out, but they were ousted out by my other team Germany so it was still alright. But since the German boys have been ousted out ten minutes ago, leaving Spain and Netherlands to fight in the finals, which I neither support nor like, it is as good as the whole competition is over for me, at least.

Looking back at all the news articles at the starting of this World Cup, the German boys were the underdogs, written off even by their own press and general public. Being young, inexperienced and also captain Michael Ballack not playing due to injury, they were never expected to go beyond the first round, by the most vicious critics in Germany itself. A bunch of young no hopers who played without pressure and probably in their mind just to gain enough experience and exposure till they mature for the next World Cup.

But they proved everyone wrong by reaching the semi-finals. If a bunch of young inexperienced boys reached this far after bigger and hot favourite teams like France, Italy, Argentina and Brazil were driven out way before their time, I guess these young boys did alright.

Oh well… till the next World Cup. A souvenir I love from this World Cup is Shakira’s waka waka video. To the German boys: Es ist okay, Jungs, sehen Sie die World Cup in vier Jahren bekommen Zeit…Wir immer noch lieben und unterstützen Sie, ja?