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

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

To be perfectly honest, I did not even remember that tomorrow is going to be the beginning of the new year, until my best friend, Akram told me. I was quite busy with the new job and the submission of thesis and whatnot, not really keeping up with the date.

So, upon knowing that tomorrow is the new year, I can't help but think, what good things have I done in 2011? What resolution I set in the beginning of 2011 have I actually achieved now? Hell, I can't even remember if I ever set a resolution. So, if you ask what my feelings are in this last few hours of 2011, I honestly don't know.

So, how about you? Can you look back and feel good? Or do you remember some things about 2011 and feel regretful?

But, if you feel regretful and/or depressed, then don't worry, we still have 2012 to make up for it. But still, thinking like this doesn't give you the ticket to think that you might live for years or a year more. As my Prophet said, you do your religious duty like you would die tomorrow, and you commit to your worldly affair like you would live for another 1000 years.

So, let's hope and pray that 2012 will be a much better year. Ameen!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

One Thing Leading to Another

Have you ever noticed that whenever you feel something - good or bad - you'll realize that the subsequent events would also be positive? For example, you find the morning so great, the shower is so warm, and the breakfast is wonderful. All in all, you begin the day feeling great. Then, you most likely will also find the things you encounter along your day positive, the morning breeze, the chirping birds, the busy traffic, and whatever. And no matter how bad it could seem. You miss the train? It's fine, it's still early. You step on a mud? Okay, it's dirty, but nothing unwashable.

But when you start off the day feeling miserable, you will most likely find yourself in a later event that seems to be worse than the last. Oh, the toothpaste is finished! The egg is burned! No bread! The birds are very noisy! The wind is too cold!

But do you notice all those annoying things are also the great things experienced by the positive people described above?

I believe this all boils down to our own perception. When negative things (e.g. our emotions in the beginning of the day) preoccupy our mind, then the negative emotions resulting from that usually weigh down all other positive events that might occur every now and then, this is called as Negativity Bias.

So, my suggestion would be to not indulge yourself in a negative emotion too long because no matter what you experience afterwards, you'd still hate it, figuratively. In addition, when you fight off the negative feelings with the positive ones, you'll more likely be more productive and reasonable throughout your day.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Falling In Love

Sometimes we wonder why some people are easily blinded by love. Because of a certain person, they could, as we always say to describe romanticism, "to swim across the seas, to pick the stars, and to walk across fire." A study has shown that love is a feeling that can neurologically suppress our reasoning and logical thinking. In a layman's words, love is a kind of an addiction.

Why not? When we are in love, walking feels like floating, the body seems to be really light, and the head is slanted slightly to the side while we tilt it upward. Everything seems so right, and minor setbacks are just, well, setbacks - nothing you can't handle. When you fall in love, your mind and your partner's seem to be on the parallel level of existence. That's why you could finish each other's sentences, and it seems like your interest is always also his or her interest. There's not enough time to talking! You can spend hours on the phone, in front of the computer chatting, and even writing a traditional mail.

When you're in love, the world is bright and the chirping of the bird sounds beautiful. You can't wait to tell everything that happens in your life to your partner - your increasing grade, your bitchy workmate, or even the chirping birds. And yet, you can't even wait to hear everything that happens in his or her life. There's always something to tell, yet there seems to be so much that still needs telling.

When you fall in love, no night passes by without you thinking about the person you're in love with. You wonder, "When can I go to the movies with him/her?", "Is he/she thinking of me right now?", "Will I ever get married to this guy/girl?" Because after all, this is the person you want to spend the rest of your life with. You know that he or she is the ONE.

So, because of those, love is like an addiction. Just like any other drugs, it makes us feel good. No wonder every story in the media/books has the element of love, relationship, marriage, etc. Love is so pivotal in a human's life that the repeat of its importance in everyday life never bores the very humanity. If we can, we want to spend everyday of our life loving someone!

For me, while there is love to our family, to our friends, to our partner, to our God, there is also a unique role each plays in our life. We can never be enough with one type of love. Which is why in Prophet Muhammad's life, he was bestowed with the best of people around him that he loved so dearly. The journey that he partook was filled with the comings and goings of people that filled his life with such love and joy.

I sound lame in this entry, but love is lame, in a good way. Somehow I believe there is someone for everyone. There's no such thing as loneliness except when you are giving up. Loving is also a learning process, so don't be afraid to fail because afterwards, you are always a stronger lover.

There you go...

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Help

"God says we need to love our enemies... It [is] hard to do..."

Recently I just watched a film that depicts the lives of "colored" maids in the early 1960's. In the film, we can see characters with various personalities, most of them have something to do with discrimination and stereotype. We can see some characters who are inflicted with the most ridiculous kinds of stereotypical thinking ever. Hence because of that, one of the prominent storylines in the film is the belief that bathrooms for Whites and colored people need to be separate. In order not to sound stereotyped, the character having that belief asserts that although that has to be done, it is still equal, "separate but equal." Why do they have to be separate in the first place? It is because their stereotypical thinking tells them that colored people bring disease their people don't.

We also can see characters who are sympathetic to the maids like the main protagonist named Skeeter and a couple others. Despite the community's attitude towards colored maids, and even the legal endorsements related to the relationships between Whites and colored people, Skeeter has a different sets of belief, and she does not let stereotypes and difference of skin color determine who she can and cannot befriend with. In the film, she with other two maids write a book that tells the perspective of maids in Jackson, Mississippi - the good and the bad. And the book is finally published, but not without some repercussions.

In the film, the kind of stereotypes and discrimination that we can see is the explicit kind, the kind that usually existed in the era where our grandparents were still teenagers. But, don't be rest assured, because these phenomena still exist today, but because of the pressure of the media, the policies, and education, the modern kind of stereotype and discrimination now is more implicit. It means, these things are still in our head, but they stay in there. Malaysia is not exempted from racism issue, in fact it is steadily talked about because despite of being a real social issue, some politicians use it to hype up their own manifesto and popularity.

As a result, what I can see now is, rather than people of different races start accepting one another, they become suspicious and doubtful to each other, except this time, they sugarcoat it with friendliness. For me, the education on social issue of discrimination is important to teach the young that people of different backgrounds are not their enemies. But all the talk and fake assurance about solution of racism in Malaysia is not really necessary because for me the real solution is to "ignore" it. I know it doesn't sound intelligible but this time, ignorance can be a bliss. We ignore the hype-up, the fake talk, the racist remarks, and all, but instead we start living with each others and practice respect.

So, writing this entry is exactly the opposite of what I'm advocating, therefore I'm going to stop.

Sunday, December 4, 2011


Positive Psychology is an interesting branch of psychology that seeks to find potential and strengths within humans. It is developed because too much of the rest of what psychology is learnt is something negative, unhealthy, or abnormal. So, rather than talk about what makes humans sick, Positive Psychology studies about what makes humans grow and survive.

One of the topics discussed by positive psychologists is the topic of hopes. Hope is a feeling where you are confident that a positive outcome will occur. According to psychologists, hopes are a response to the circumstances when things seem to be, well, hopeless, or impossible. Hopes keep us going when the only other choice that we have is to give up.

According to one of the most prominent authors about hopes is C. R. Snyder, who wrote a book titled, "The Psychology of Hopes" (2003). Snyder wrote that hopes have three mental components: Goals, willpower, and waypower. The goals are the end destination with certain measures of importance where we would like to end up. Willpower is the force of determination that drives us to the goals. Waypower, on the other hand, is the how-to of goals and willpower. We may have the destination in mind and the drive of it, but do we know how to achieve it?

I think waypower is what's wrong with so many people in this world (well, including me at some point). We all have imaginations, dreams, and hopes. We all face certain tribulations and challenges when it comes to achieving what is in our mind. But, do we really know how to achieve it? Many of us just become hopeless simply because when asked about it, "I'm just not sure what to do anymore..." If you keep thinking about it, there must be a way to achieve something. Ask yourself, have I researched everything about it? Have I figured out all the possible ways to achieve it? If your answer is "I'm not sure," then most probably you have not.

So, get off your butt and try to do something. Try to drive away the disappointment from accompanying the result of your hope. Chances are, whenever you hope, it's when it materializes. You just need enough actions to make it happen.