It may be a dream afraid of waking up, or it may be a dream coming to realization in the next morning.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The End

Like every good thing, this blog also has to come to an end. I don't want to be like one of those bloggers who leave their blogs hanging without any proper goodbye. I have found myself to be moving between states and the life has been definitely more hectic now. Then, when I finally remember to log on here, I realized that it has been quite some time since I updated an entry. This is sad.

So, I thought how about I give it a rest already. It's time. I believe it's time. Like one of those times you are finally confident that it's time to find someone and get married. You're ready. This blog used to be my platform for expression of unheard voices and it has helped me to see the world in a different way. So, you understand that it is quite difficult to make a decision to consciously leave it.

But, I have to do it. So, farewell readers. I hope one day I get to do some public writings about psychology and its related world again. Hope to see you soon.


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Introverts

My friend told me that studies (I don't know which though since he also couldn't remember which so take it with a grain of salt) have shown that Asian professionals always prioritize rapport building process before they proceed with doing their works while professionals from some European countries prefer to focus on the works first and then turn to acquaintanceship.

It's nothing to brag about, I assure you, but I believe I'm like the second one. I said that it's not something to brag about because obviously being like that in a place where being sociable at first contact is like mandatory in Malaysian professional world kind of backfires.

When I was contacted by the School about the car that we used to drive to Kuala Lumpur last week about a crack at the windshield screen in front, I was asked what happened. I assured the person that it wasn't my fault or any other patrons in the car. Then, she insisted that it's not like that and suddenly the words "come down to the office" and "insurance" came in the same sentence and I panicked. Why would I do or pay or handle something that involved insurance when it's not my fault?

So, my friends would normally do what many Malaysians do, charm their way out of it. By "charm", I mean to show your friendliness, show that you're on the person's side and to invite the person to be on your side. But I couldn't do that, I was focused on proving and arguing that I was not at fault and at the end, the person sounded intimidated. The person kept saying, "Please come down to the office," and I kept responding, "It's not my fault." with a rather persistent and sure voice.

It kinda made me feel bad because the person did try to be polite, although the person's insistence that it was my fault was a bit too much. Now, I'm grateful that the issue blew over.

What would you do if you were in my position? Would you build rapport with the person and try to be friendly your way out? Or would you turn to a "lawyer" persona and defend the hell out of yourself? I guess every attribute has its own pros and cons but maybe the context plays a role too. And this is where I'm having problems in.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


The Malaysian 13th General Election has come and gone. There is a clear detestation of a large fraction of Malaysian people who were hoping and actually expecting changes to happen in the ruling turn. There is also the group, the Government supporters obviously, who hailed in victory.

The one thing I don't understand about Malaysia is this: I believe that Malaysia is such an increasingly modernized country and Malaysians are now more educated and global. They travel more and have larger and broader outlooks. So, why, oh why, racial issues are still played by certain figures who think this is the card to deal with post-election?

"Chinese Tsunami"??

As in, only Chinese Malaysians that contributed to the election being the one with the most drastic outcomes? Then, how come non-Chinese contestants who contested in Chinese-heavy areas still won? Right now, the races are no longer an issue. I don't think there exists Malaysians who only have friends of their own race. Even my father who is a villager and doesn't travel much (in fact, he hates traveling)  has Chinese and Indian colleagues. We are now with each other and live with each other. We have learnt to be with each other and we are progressing. To use the race card is just setting your mindset backward, not forward. So, the correct issue is "Malaysians vs. certain parties" not "Chinese vs. Malays" and vice versa.

I tried so hard to be one of those bloggers with neutral entries when it comes to politics, but the level of ridiculousness of this issue is just so high it's hard for me to ignore. I HAVE to raise this criticism because I don't want Malaysians to have an outdated mentality but to focus on issues that are actually relevant to our modern societies.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Adultery in Islam

The one thing unique about Islam is that even its punishments are harsh and "scary", it is actually very difficult to judge that a person has committed an offence. Like the world always questions Islamic punishment to cut off a wrist off the hand after a person commits theft, but the enactment of the punishment will only happen after the evidence that he steals without any good reason is presented satisfactorily. If the thief is found to be among the poor, or that if the amount stolen is "harmless", if the object stolen is not guarded well, etc. then the cutting hand off could not be conducted.

So, the principle is the judgment that he or she may not be guilty is always stronger than the judgment that he or she is guilty. Whatever doubt that arises in the criminal processes will always triumph over the conviction that the person has committed a crime.

This is the same with proving that someone has committed adultery. The current Malaysian political world has saddened me with the plethora of sex videos that many opposition party leaders have been accused of. Proving adultery is not easy in Islam. There are only two ways in proving adultery: Confession and eyewitness testimony from four reliable sane reasonable men who actually have seen that a penis is entering a vagina. Now I'm not here to talk about adultery, I'd like to talk about the second way to prove adultery through eyewitness testimony.

What does it mean by reliable witnesses? "Reliable" means that the person is known to be trustworthy and not a lying liar. In addition, witnesses should be human, so videos or any related kind should NOT be admissible as evidence. This is the same for DNA testing. If accusation of adultery has been made but confession nor testimony from four reliable sane men cannot be produced, than the person would be committing Qazaf, or untruthful accusation of adultery and this is an actual offence in Islam subject to lashes as the punishment and the person's testimony is never ever admissible anymore in the future.

So, even when we're in a seemingly harmless trivial gossiping session, to say this for fun, "Hey, I think A is sleeping with B..." is NOT permissible is Islam and once you said that and you fail to produce four witnesses, then you're committing qazaf and you should be punished.

You have to be reminded that even if the person DOES commit adultery, as emphasized above, the judgment that he or she may not be guilty is always stronger than the judgment that he or she is guilty.

So, what is Qazaf?

1) When a person or a blogger accuses a leader to commit adultery and claims to have the video.

2) When a person or a blogger accuses a leader to commit adultery and claims to have the video but the video will only be released in stages.

2) When a person or a blogger accuses a leader to commit adultery and claims to have the video but only releases the stills of the video.

3) When a person or a blogger accuses a leader to commit adultery and claims to have the DNA of the adulterer.

4) Pretty much every accusation of adultery that happens in the Malaysian blogosphere right now.

Qazaf is a clear offence in Islam and the punishment is specific and heavy. Unlike adultery and other offences, it's easy to judge a qazaf because it's an easy offence to commit.

Aren't they scared?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


So, for those who have been reading my blog or even taking a peek at what this blog is about, you'd not likely to think of myself as a politician blogger. And even in fact that this post sound political, with it being about the Malaysian General Election and all, I will try my hardest not to sound politic-y.

There is one regret about me studying in IIUM: That I did not have a chance to undertake Political Psychology as one of my elective subjects. When I was doing my Bachelor, I was known by my apathetic feelings towards politics and my knowledge about it was borderline zero. But now, growing up (like I haven't grown up already), I realize that politics is an inadvertent part of human life. No matter how on-the-fence or uninvolved you are, you'll sooner or later realize that who wins the seats in the parliament will very much affect your life.

Even if I'm leaning on a particular party, I realize that being an academic and/or a professional, it is always important to hear from both sides. This is, in my humble opinion, the one issue that Malaysians have, that they have the tendency to only listen to the side that they are supporting. This is confirmation bias in action. Confirmation bias is when you tend to only seek sources that give you information that confirm or support what you already believe. Especially when the media in Malaysia has an obvious leaning towards a certain political party, confirmation bias is unavoidable. When you look at what the news say on TV or in the newspaper, you only find that what you believe is supported, thus you most likely think that it's true, being that media is portrayed as an authority for truth-seekers.

If you finally have the light to decide to make the right decision this election, listen to both sides of the party you support AND the party you don't. As an educated modern member of the society, you'll find yourself analysing and comparing and contrasting what each say. Doing this, you'll find yourself closer to who you should vote for, as you believe now that it is the right decision.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


I just read that Heath Ledger, the legend whose amazing work in The Dark Knight had was praised by critics, had battled depression in his life. Well, I knew that he had drugs problem which is usually a symptom of a deeper psychological issue within an individual's soul, but I had no idea that he was battling depression. This just further proves to me how easily it is for us to dismiss depression as a real disease.

Heath Ledger is just one of the instances of people who seem to have it all, but in reality, are actually feeling empty inside. There is like a hollow inside their heart that they are desperate to fill. Although clinical depression sounds very psychological, studies have supported the hypotheses that depression does have biological origin. But the effects and consequences of depression are very psychological, which sadly many people view as trivial.

Another depression-related psychological issue whose importance people always ignore is suicidal thought. Suicidal thought is one of the major indicators for clinical depression and because clinical depression is influenced by biological factors and runs in the family, suicidal thought can also be hypothesized to be passed on to the next generations. Suicide attempters usually have similar "modus operandi". They usually give a warning that they are going to commit suicide, the warning would at least be a simple note on top of the nightstand.

When people "warn" you about committing suicide, never ever ever ever take it lightly. Never ever ever take the warning for granted because if the person who warns actually commits suicide and succeeds, you would never forgive yourself. Equally importantly, never ever ever ignore it if you find anyone of your friends to show any symptoms of clinical depression. One of the ways to fight depression is by having a strong social support and it starts with you.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


I'm pretty sure many of you know the difference between a "house" and a "home". A house is just that, a building where we occupy. A home is much more than that. It's meaningful. It's a family. It's happiness. It's the place where all our sorrows suddenly fade away and hopes suddenly re-emerge. For this post, I would like to list down some of songs about home or finding home.

1) Carrie Underwood - Temporary Home

This song tells stories about people who are passing by places and thinking and one day they will get home. This song makes me think about what makes a place a home. Is it the sense of belongingness? Is it a home if your family is there? Different person has different definition of home.

2) Dido - Life for Rent

This life sounds like it talks about life in general, but in my own understanding, it's about a person who feels like he/she doesn't belong anywhere in life, hence the "life for rent". Sometimes no matter how hard you try making it your home, you always end up like you never actually belong to the place. 

3) Phillip Phillips - Home

This song sounds more "happy" as in it talks about a person who reassures his friend/family member/life partner that bumps in life are just temporary and if they keep together, they can build a place where they can call home. It's about support and love, which are the main ingredients in making a place a home.

4) The cast of The Wiz - Home

One piece of the lyrics: "When I think of home, I think of a place, where there's love overflowing..." I think this piece is enough to show how lovable this song is.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Inverse Placebo?

Most of the time when we read a finding report of a study, we are more likely to stumble upon the word "placebo" especially when the study involves controlled variables. Some of those report would tell you that the treatment given is more effective than the placebo, which is a term given for the treatment that looks like the real treatment, except that it's fake. Some others would tell you that the effect of the real treatment is not significantly different than the placebo. The latter is the results that most researchers would not wish to encounter, but findings are findings.

But another way to look at placebo is called "the placebo effect" in which the placebo has the similar effect with the real treatment because the mind is told that it would work the same way with the real treatment. So, it is not that the real treatment does not work, it is just that the placebo works equally wonderfully if the mind is suggested so. So, is it fair for the real treatment if this happens? I reckon not. So, what if we look at placebo differently?

Rather than conjuring up a stuff and administer it as a placebo, why not make the real treatment as the placebo? What I mean is, maybe to avoid the placebo effect, get rid of the fake treatment altogether, instead administer the real treatment and call it something else, anything else, as long as it is not the intended purpose of the thing. For example, drug A is supposed/believed to cure morning flu, so in order to see if it's really working, gather up a group of sample who suffer from morning flu, and administer them this drug, except tell them that it's for something else, like providing energy for morning activities. Then, maybe see if the drug works for what it is intended for: Reducing the symptoms of morning flu.

I tried to search the web about this but apparently the only thing I stumbled upon was something called as a "nocebo", a phenomenon where a placebo administered causes the condition to be even worse. And this article discussed about expectation that is manipulated directly in relation to the purpose of the drug - which is whether the painkiller would kill pain or not. But it's different than what I'm talking about here. What I am saying is that, redirect the focus of the drug's use from the intended purpose altogether to the belief that is totally irrelevant.

Or maybe my googling skill is not up to par?

Friday, March 8, 2013

Vulnerability of Memory

First, watch this video,

Although I think this is made by Jimmy Kimmel for entertainment, it shows us how vulnerable memory is. With a little push and manipulation, you can have a totally new memory of things that you thought happened, but actually didn't.

In the video, Jimmy set up a "polygraph" by which if the kid in the video was caught lying, the machine would detect it and give an alert. But the twist was, the kid might not even lie, and the machine might still give an alert just to see the effect the alert had on the kid's statement. After several alerts given by the machine, the kid started to say anything that he thought was true, because "truth" as gradually defined throughout the session was if and when the machine did not give the alert. So, Jimmy would ask a question, and the kid answered, the machine gave an alert, then the kid knew/thought that he was lying so he changed his statement.

So, what does this mean? When applied into the context of forensic psychology, how reliable is eyewitness testimony in giving statements about a particular crime that happens? How do you know if what is reported is what actually happens? How do you know if the report is based on the personal interpretation from the limited angle of the witness' experience? Or even worse, how can you be sure that the memory is not a made up memory at all?

This phenomenon should be studied well because it gives impact on how investigation can be done when it comes to collecting evidence from eyewitnesses. This is why, in Islam, the number and conditions of eyewitnesses are important to determine the truthfulness and reliability of the account reported. I think there are a lot that are still in need of being uncovered by researchers of the field.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Time and Psychology

I read an interesting piece about even something as seemingly fixed and constant like time can be altered by our own perception. One interesting study was carried out to see the alteration of perception of time. The summary of the study can be read here. In the study, one group of participants were asked to rate the time taken to plunge off a big device, then watch other people do that and rate the time taken for the other people to get to the lower point. The time rated for self-experience was 36% longer, which showed that brain perceives time to be slower when we are undergoing an adrenaline-invoking experiences.

Another way the brain alters the perception of time is called as Chronostasis. The study can be obtained here. It is when you watch the second hand of an analogue watch, it is like it makes its first movement in our observation and then it seems to take a longer time to make a second movement to the next second. I don't really understand the mechanics of the study well, but the explanation is like this: Time appears to be extended a little upon a saccade. A saccade is a quick eye movement. When we observe the first movement of the second hand, and our eye experiences a saccade, the second movement of the second hand seems to take longer in time. Ahh, too many "seconds" and :movements".

There are various other studies that show how our brain can achieve remarkable feats by altering our perception of time. And this is obviously a new and intriguing subject for me. I found this book titled, "The Time Paradox", while browsing the Internet and I think I will make this the to-read-next book. It seems interesting.