Friday, February 26, 2010

London Islamic School

2 days ago I went to the London Islamic School.

An Islamic school. In London. What about that.

It was part of this outreach programme that the University of London Islamic Society (ULUIsoc) was planning. You know, where you go out to schools, tell them how great university life is, and let them figure out for themselves how stressful it is later.

It was more or less like my 'sekolah agama' back home. downstairs there's a mosque, and upstairs was the school. Except my school was the other way round. I think that its more sensible to build the mosque downstairs. How do they expect the old uncles to climb stairs for each prayer time??

So my friend told me a bit about British schools.

1)There were private schools for jolly rich chaps
2)State schools funded by the jolly government
3)Islamic schools for jolly Muslims

But then Islamic schools were usually paid for by the students themselves, because there's this problem of shortage of government funds. Come to think of it, if i were Gordon Brown i wouldn't want to be funding schools harboring future 'terrorists', would i? that's a whole load of bull.

On another note, there's this professor in the LSE who wrote in Psychology Today that 'half of Muslims are terrorists or are active supporters of terrorism'. Even bigger bull.

But on the whole, the school looked like it was in good shape. There was a computer lab complete with projectors and everything. Even my school wasn't that up-to-date, and we call ourselves an Islamic country -.- The kids wore 'kopiah' and white robes and one of the teachers looked like Haji Zul, an uncle in Kota Damansara. Ahhhh, how i miss home :'(

So then we were supposed to do a presentation. Before i said anything i asked them 'Can you guess where im from'? Cause i was the only, how shall i say it, 'stranger' in the outreach group.

Then they said



Okay, the first two are acceptable. India? Not that im degrading Indians, they are an honourable, warm people, but that's so far away from where i come from.

Then an African-descent boy raised his hand and said 'you come from Malaysia'. Good boy. You'll do well in the future, and you look a bit like Obama, which is currently a good thing. :)

Then we went on to do a workshop, like asking them what they want to do etc. Most of them had no idea, much like me when i was their age. Oh wait, when i was in secondary school i changed ambitions every few weeks. Brain surgeon this week. Pediatrician next week. Lawyer next next week. Thankfully it didn't get any worse than Lawyer.

At the end me and Zaid (he's doing Econs at UCL, and he's from South Africa. He went to Egypt last year and said that he spent more time with Malaysians than Arabs. Malaysia Boleh!!) gave a peptalk which sounded like this:

"In the end yeah, you're not innit for the money. You've got to do something fulfilling and in the end, you need to know that you're doing this to please Allah. What would you think of an engineer who memorises the Quran?"

Boy: "That's sick"

"exactly. And that's the type of person you're aiming to be. Safe" :)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Pooh pooh

So i was in the toilet, doing my business. 'Throwing my big water out', according to the popular Malay idiom.

Some people read, some people play with the water taps. Me? I just stare at the wall and get it done ASAP.

Now to put this story into a better context, let me show you a picture:

The door lock was this knob that you had to twist 90 degrees to lock the door. But this whole time, the knob would only turn 45 degrees, no further. And that was what i did. Turn it 45 degrees. Honest, i thought it was locked.

So i was staring at the wall, when suddenly someone pushed the door open (the door swings to the inside, thank God for the contractors' common sense) With lightning-fast reflexes, i pushed the door shut with the strength of '1000 fists of Xiaolin'. BAMMM!!!

Then i heard the person scream. Girl. Positive -.-

Im sure it was a girl. If a guy screamed like that, i'd be TERRIFIED. Thanks to '1000 fists of Xiaolin', she didn't push the door far enough to see my face. If she did get that far, maybe she'd scream even louder. Or maybe i'd be the one to scream like a girl. *shudder* And what do you know, after that the knob could turn 90 degrees.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Games with Names

In my LSE100 class, we were learning about the discipline of ethnography, which is basically studying different people's cultures in their particular contexts.

For example, your name could mean a lot in your specific culture. Take my teacher's name, Carmen Amelia Gayoso *something*. Having a Spanish father (Gayoso) and an Italian mother (*something*), both of her ancestries are reflected in her two surnames. In addition, the name Carmen is common in Peru, and has been in the family for 4 generations. Basically, her great-grandmother is Carmen, her grandmother is Carmen, her mom is Carmen and she is Carmen, and its common practice to name your child after a distinguished person.

So each of us had to do the same, write our full names and 3 meanings of our names in our culture.

So there's this guy, Joe. In his family, Joe has a lot of significance. Why? Because his ancestors were alternately Joseph or Jonathan. E.g if his grandad is Joseph, his dad is Jonathan, and he is Joseph, and the pattern continues. Kinda like a binary code, 101010101010

And then I wrote my full name on paper, 'Mohamad Ikmal bin Ahmad Nordin'. Since the question asked about meaning, i gave a literal one. 'The Praised Perfect son of The Praised Light of Religion'. This was the first time i saw my full name translated into English, and i was like WOAAAAA. And then when Carmen asked me to explain my name, she was like WOAAAAAAAA. And then she asked the class, "has anybody found interesting facts about their name? No? Then let's hear Ikmal's" Then i told the whole class the meaning of my name, and they were like WOAAAAAAAAAA.

Seriously, those of you with Arabic names, try translating it into English and then saying it out loud. It'll sound really exotic, like some kind of mystical rock or ancient artifact. 'Praised Light of Religion', doesn't that sound like the Tablet of the 10 Commandments?

Then i told them that a name in Malay culture gives some sort of semblance to your character. Ikmal=perfect. "So in your culture, does your name bring a burden on the way you're supposed to behave?" "Well, not exactly. It's not really something that actively determines your real life. So if my name is Ikmal, which means perfect, im...not perfect, but i'd like to think i am". Erkk.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Went to Madame Tussauds yesterday and did this to Bush:

Always wanted to do that.