Month: September 2006

A Time for Change

I went to this conference ‘Time for a change – Alternative conference’ a few Sundays before. Basically that was because I had nothing to do on that day, and rather than sleeping in my own cosy room I would rather get my mind working, for the next day my new term will eventually start.

And I did get my mind working. The conference, as said by its title was rather a manifestation of the in-fighting that occurs within the Labour Party, of which Tony Blair is leading. I found it kind of bizarre – you are in the same party but you have your fight public? Back in our home any sign of contradiction within a party would be a sign of weakness- can’t you see how many people making fun of those contradictory statements on ‘do we have enough sugar for the country or do we not’ by two ministers. But hey, such freedom of speech is healthy isn’t it? Is there anyone in this world who is critics-proof? Is our PM supposed to be someone who is not entitled for open criticism?

Back to the main story.

The first session, which was the main session was about the crisis in the middle east. The first speaker was George Galloway, an MP (Member of Parliament) who is acceptably a very good speaker; sarcastic in a way but definitely convincing. I was touched by every fact he mentioned- (if you want to be convinced, watch the videa I am gonna put later )

OK,

Israel started the war to rescue his two soldiers kidnapped by Hizbullah. But what everyone failed to mentioned is that Israel has jailed 27 Palestinian Government officers, kidnapped 7 of its minister. What is this? Some kind of double standard or what? I always feel helpless when it comes to fact like this. When we talk about such injustice done to these people, we Malaysians can’t see any way more than boycotting Israel’s product, produce (useless) statements condemning their cruel acts (like those given by our ministers, e.g. during OIC), and demonstrations. We pray for them. That’s all. Even if all Malaysians realized about what happened to the Arab world (which I wonder when would this happen since we are all seemed more interesting in whose ‘hantaran’ is higher) we can do a little about that. We are powerless, admit it.

But what George Galloway tried on that day, and keep trying now is to change the mindset the people in whose hand the power is. The power to change the world. Yes, because the
United Kingdom is powerful they are one of the major player. And because the people know that they have the power to control the government (in some ways, not like Malaysians who rather follow whatever the government said, as if those who run the country make no flaws), and they can change the government policies if they put enough pressure to it. If they realize that the government is actually helping the wrong side, then hopefully some changes might be done. If they know who is the actual terrorist, if they know what really happen there in the Middle East, if they know that their airport is used to fly those weapons to Israel to kill the innocents, thing might change.

All of that is because they are powerful.

And what struck me was how dependent we (the Muslims) have become. It is as if our fate is in their hands. Is not we who is supposed to have the power? Why is that we have to have them to be our protector? I felt like crying at the moment how helpless and powerless we are.

And again I felt the same when the chairperson for the second session started by saying something like this:

‘To all Muslims, we just want to tell you that you don’t have to feel guilty about whatever happened in this world. It is our government that is to be blamed’

Yes, that is some kind of soothing consolation, but I see that as something so pathetic. We Muslims who initiated the first real civilised country in this world now live under the mercy of others. So pathetic.

I attended two of the sessions advertised, got something else to do after that but I can still remember the facts given by most speakers:

‘Islam now is being associated to evil deeds, and is potrayed by the media as an icon of everything bad, just like how they potrayed communism back then during the war time.’

‘Germany has a reason to be apologetic about what happened to Israel, because it has some sort of historic responsibility to the Jews after the Holocaust’

..and some more sickening facts that I would rather not include them here.

O Allah, forgive me of my ignorance.

University Life Part 2

Why part 2 when there is no entry with the title ‘University Life Part 1’? Because I am now entering the second phase of my degree program- I am a second year student at last! Alhamdulillah, grateful that I made it, despite the fact that I almost lost my motivation (Why should I keep whining about becoming a civil engineer when I don’t have the gut to take risk and change my course?) – thanks to those nights spent reading TCE (The Chemical Engineers) mags that i finally found the drive and now i am fighting back!

Freshers have finally arrived here in the heavenly Manchester (exaggerating am i ?), i heard that 150 self-sponsored students from Malaysia came this years, with 37 gov sponsored students. Whew! That’s a load..Manchester sure is an interesting place if not the university itself that attracts them to study here. I am sure Manchester is, though back home during the summer hols i found myself answering the question : ‘Macammana Manchester? Seronok?’ with a simple answer ‘Okla..as long as cukup makan ok je’ . But Manchester offers me a life full of excitement- though i have to carefully ponder the bad and the good elements of it.

I don’t mean to be, you know, ‘lupa daratan’ or whatever, but after almost one month staying in Malaysia i started to miss Manchester. Yeah, sure I enjoyed being with my family but here in Manchester is where my life lies-the school and everything. Of course I can’t stop crying when i was to leave Malaysia that day but i told myself, at least i get back my feet (which was tied at home due to lack of means of transportation – and trust to allow me to drive with my P Driving License).

Manchester which has become my second home (I am currently residing in the Old Trafford..woohoo) has the highest student population outside London, according to Student Direct Newspaper, with over 80000 students, 10000 of them are international students. The home of United (oh..my Wayne Rooney) and City, and the most interesting fact is that it has the largest shopping centre in the UK – Trafford Centre ! And uh, it is the gay capital of Europe if you care.

I repeatedly tell myself, living in such a heavenly place- never short of food or support from Malaysian community- i have no excuse for not doing well in my studies- the sole reason i am sent here by JPA. Man, i can’t even afford to pay the fees: RM308 000 for my whole 4 academic years.

But I guess it is true that university life is not all about getting a degree- it is about maximising your experience. socialising. acquiring new skills. I guess i have wasted my first year trying to adapt and so on, but for the years to come i will make sure that I will be more active, InshaAllah.

So I decided to choose one society (other than MCOT of course) that i could commit myself and my time too, so there i went to the Freshers’ Fair at the Academy. It was so lively during Freshers’ Week- this is university life! Flyers everywhere – i re-registered for Manchester ISOC (Islamic Society) which I considered a must to every muslim, and took registration form from as many booths as possible, i might consider joining Student Action – voluntary jobs have become one of my interests since being introduced by my IB program back in college. International Society as well, maybe. Bunch of maybes.. but I will try. It is worth trying, right?

And so begin my university life..part two =)