Month: December 2008

London: My Way

My first full day in London went on this way; my way :

Aidah and the rest of the girls excluding Naimah and I were to go to Madame Tussaud’s the next morning, but I, despite the fact that I haven’t been there in my close -to -four -year residence in the UK. Both of us studied the map, decided on where we really wanted to go, and here’s the itinerary – our way (the lazybums’ way, maybe).

We stayed in Kennington, a very strategic and nice and cosy place (for less than £11 pp, with breakfast) except for some misfortunate events, within walking distance from Kennington tube station.

  1. London Bridge

    Unfortunately for Naimah who has been there twice, I still wanted some conventional touch. I still wanted to see London Bridge with my own eyes, so that was our very first destination. Kennington-London Bridge. Along the road I only have one thing in mind – how was this bridge, this area during the period I have always read about – the Charles Dickens period to be exact, having watched Great Expectation a few weeks ago. I couldn’t imagine a bright and lively London upon reading its description in Dickens’ writings – it was too gloomy and seemed to be a no-way-out place for the poor (recalled Oliver Twist and maybe, Pip from Great Expectation). The re was the massive H.M.S Belfast, it doesn’t fascinate me – but worth to be in my camera memory card, so here are some views.

    I should take a peek at London Bridge’s history. The brief one, in Wiki maybe.

  2. Markets in Oxford Street

    Oxford Street is a shopping heaven, but that was not my initial intention. We intended to visit the antique markets over there, but having found that there was nothing interesting about them we resorted on some exercises along Oxford Street. Credit crunch had most of the outlets opened as early as 7 a.m., offering massive reduction. Was I tempted? Well, I was – but spending money for family is a charity itself, is it not?

    A cheap T-shirt for my little brother (‘Good boys go to heaven, bad boys go to London’) and a cute one for my nephew (‘Someone who loves me went to London and bought me this shirt’, something like that), a jewellery box for my constantly traveling mother, and almost a pair of shoes for my own, thanks to Naimah who stopped me at the brink of heading to the cashier. GAP had a massive reduction to, a pair of jeans costs £19.90.

    But haven’t I told you, my shopping desire has, alhamdulillah, massively decrease unknowingly?

  3. Malaysia Hall.

    The only reason we went to this place is that we need to pray, and we were starving so desperately, and it was on our way towards Portabello market in the west. We met the other group; Aidah and the gang. They were heading towards the market too, with Harrods in mind next. Strategically, they went first, and later texted us that the market was not opened on that day. That saved us from another useless trip.

  4. Fulham Broadway – Chelsea stadium.

    Both of us were soft core football fans, and after the whole day being half-heartedly excited about everything (what’s interesting with London Bridge and shopping outlets anyway?)- we found ourselves overwhelmed by the fact that we were actually at Stamford Bridge! Walla! We almost screamed ecstasily to that fact – I thought I have just lost my interest in men whose job was to kick ball on a field lately, but it is still there.

    Having lived near and seen the Manchester United stadium so spectacularly located, it was a bit strange to see such a massive building like the Chelsea stadium to be built among residential building – terraced house to be exact.

    The Blue store was having sales – and my father was lucky that the kind of Polo shirt he wanted me to buy is sold at £10. So one shirt for my dad.

  5. Arsenal

    Fulham Broadway is down south, while Arsenal is somewhere up north, and by the time we reached Arsenal underground station for the Emirates Stadium it was already dark. But then, who cares? The stadium was actually less than two minutes walking distance from the stadium.

    I was proud of the Theatre of Dreams of course, but this football complex is enormous! By a complex I mean several buildings in close proximity – the Emirates is rich, I am sure it is.

    My finding at its store – another Polo shirt for my father (I am a very thoughtful daughter, am I not?), in Arsenal trademark dark red/maroon colour at £18. Not sure if my father would like the almost-seasoned look, but I like the colour, so that’s it.

    Will have the shirts sent back home soon.

  6. Queen’s Park

    We had an invitation from Shahirah’s old friends to dine at her (parents’) house, so we headed towards Queen’s Park, where we were to meet the other group at 5.30 p.m. It turned out that we arrived very early, thus leaving us sitting idly at the waiting room, raising curiousity among the tube station workers, seeing us ignoring every tubes and trains coming. I guess that was pretty concerned of them to finally ask us, and looked rather satisfied that we were actually waiting our friends. We were thinking of heading straight to the new stadium in Wembley, which is a little further away from Queen’s Park but of the same tube line, but it was dark – and I don’t want to look crazy.

    Then back to Kennington. That’s my day in London.

    p.s. I’ve been to Westminster, seen the Big Ben, strolled along St James Park. That’s why I have the choice of the wandering in London happily like this.

    p.p.s. I still love Manchester more.

London 2008 v.1

Well, I have never been that interested in visiting London. I’ve tried once, but for that one time I knew that I missed Manchester so much that I somehow regretted leaving it for the sake of one meaningless Eid Party in London. Simply put, I am either too homely or too inflexible for changes.

2008 marked the second time I spent some of my days here in London, in fact, it is today. Excitingly, I feel just the same feeling. Regret, and a little bit of indifferent. Yes, London is supposed to be glamorous and all, (recall the tagline London-Paris-New York) but on my train ride to London Euston I was like ‘ Why am I here instead of under my comfortable duvet at 27 East Grove?’ . I was travelling alone, again, due to some changes in plan (I was supposed to leave for Cardiff on Friday, head to London on Monday to join my friends coming from Manchester by bus, stay two nights in hostel, and on the day before Christmas start IluvIslam’s FUIYO, but I didn’t manage to finish my courseworks before Friday, fall ill right after that, and thus had to cancel my plan, and bought another train ticket to London). Madame Tussoude’s doesn’t get me excited, neither does the Big Ben, London Eye or anything. But as soon as I reached London Euston tube station, I was plain excited. With no map in hands, and just a piece of paper with the hostel’s address printed – the adventure began. A small one indeed, incomparable to my previous Andalucia adventure.

It is the adventure that I am missing all this while, GOTCHA!

To make a generalisation that all women can’t read map is, I guess, a pretty sinful act – because at least I can read maps, both the underground network and overground maps. And in no time I was at the lobby putting together all my stuff and started my another destination- the Malaysia Hall. Yeah, my bad – this is my first time going to the Malaysia Hall, despite me being a fourth year student. No address, but I’m pretty sure that if I find the map I’d be able to recognise the road name – and I did Alhamdulillah – the Queensborough Terrace.

Oh, yes. Malaysia Hall is too Malaysian. It feels like home being with so many Malaysians (and the Malaysian food smell) – but I hate the prayer room. How can’t there be any signboard saying that there isn’t any barriers whatsoever between male and female sections? I was pissed off to find that I was almost exposed to the males! They should really do something about that.

If there is one thing I was excited about being in London it is probably the chances to see my cousin brother, Hafiz, who’s doing PhD there – Institute of Cancer Research (which he’s very proud of, showing the first-rank it has just obtained in Times Higher Education over the dinner table). A family is a family, I guess, there is no substitute for that. Perhaps it is the unconditional love that makes you feel comfortable, being able to be yourself without being judged, knowing that they will still be there whether you wrong or right. And I left my pack of friends at Trafalgar Square to the London Eye, where he was patiently waiting for me. He was feeling unwell, but I have a good reason to push him to come – I have two boxes of Almond London flied from Malaysia especially for him that I brought all the way. In exchange for that, what I’ve got was a big-sized burger which fills me, hopefully until tomorrow morning.

Oh, maybe I should stress here that London is not that bad – I mean, I was quite cruel about it before – thinking of it as a big hectic metropolitan which is not meant for me, but St James Park proves it all wrong! You can’t get that plenty of spaces in Manchester. All you’ve got is views limited by sky-high building. And that includes the big massive hospital complex in front of my house.

But still, London, or perhaps any other destination in the UK might fail to provide me with the same excitement I have experienced during my trip to Egypt. There is a big difference in that, a difference that is just plain unspeakable. All those moments that is still alive in my head, supplying tranquillity enough for me to survive at times of low. These sights of Buckingham Palace is not, and I am certain that it just could.

But to plan another adventure ahead (for Easter or summer time), I was not sure. I am more keen to spend my money for some courses I have been planning to attend. Both are investments, of course they are, investment in experience which fruits is wisdom, and another on in knowledge, which brings about, hopefully, action, but some things are just dearer to your heart. Morocco, Germany and even the Eiffel tower can wait.

My plan for tomorrow : either stay still on my bed or reluctantly go out.

Where about?

That’s something I should think over tonight, while looking at the London map.

Hate to Love: The Problem with Love

Love?

Love?

Found this somewhere, and think it is undeniably true, at least for me.

“Have you ever been in love? Horrible isn’t it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up. You build up all these defenses, you build up a whole suit of armor, so that nothing can hurt you, then one stupid person, no different from any other stupid person, wanders into your stupid life…You give them a piece of you. They didn’t ask for it. They did something dumb one day, like kiss you or smile at you, and then your life isn’t your own anymore. Love takes hostages. It gets inside you. It eats you out and leaves you crying in the darkness, so simple a phrase like ‘maybe we should be just friends’ turns into a glass splinter working its way into your heart. It hurts. Not just in the imagination. Not just in the mind. It’s a soul-hurt, a real gets-inside-you-and-rips-you-apart pain. I hate love.”

Neil Gaiman

It is tiresome, and resource-consuming too.

If Only…

‘If only’ is a phrase that nobody likes. And someone even told me that we better not use this word, for fear of crossing the line of ‘ being happy with what we have’ and ‘blaming God for what happened to us’. True enough, I have trained myself not to see what should have happened if I do something I didn’t. It will be just heart-breaking, will it not? If only I locked my room the night the thief came in, I would still have my old laptop. There’s no point in saying so.

But again, perhaps, maybe we should start thinking ahead of time, not thinking ‘if only’ we did something in the past, but fast forward and begin thinking in the ‘if only’ way for decisions we are to make today. How does that sound?

Greenpeace has a nice ad on this.

Green is the future.

I truly believe in that.

Greenpeace Ad

Greenpeace Ad

[Short Note] Al Ghazzali : of Learning and Knowledge v1.0

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35:28 says: Only the learnt among His Servants fear God most.

So if I think I know something, or have learnt something but my fear for God does not increase, can I say that I learn nothing actually?

—————-

Belief is without dress and its dress is God-fear, its ornament is shame and its fruit is knowledge.

Its fruit is knowledge. Hmm..

Someone please clarify this metaphor for me.

—————
He said:
You are living in an age wherein the theologians are many, the Quran-readers and the preaches are
few, the beggars are few and the givers are many, wherein deeds are better than knowledge. But
soon there will come over you such an age wherein the theologians will be few, the preachers and the Quran-readers many, the givers few and the beggars many, wherein knowledge will be better than deeds.

I think we are currently in the latter age.

——————

Saidina Ali r.a. wrote this poem:

Glory is due to none other than to the learned.
Guided are they and proofs to the seekers of guidance.
Everybody is honoured proportionate to his knowledge,
But the illiterate are disgraced, as enemies of the learned.
Acquire knowledge, you will be immortal.
All men are dead, only the learned are alive.

The final line is very true.
Even at the secular level : recall Newton, Joule, Faraday…

Even Al-Ghazzali himself is immortal in that sense.

—————–

Ibn Aswad said: Nothing is more honourable than knowledge. While the kings rule over the people, the learned rule over the kings.

That doesn’t sound true these days. Kings think they are knowledgeable themselves, pay little attention to what the learned say. At both level, secular and religious.

————–

Al Ghazzali and Intellectualism

Currently dwelling on Al Ghazzali’s work – the famous Ihya’ Ulumuddin, regarded as the second most widely read book in the Muslim world, out of my need for a little bit of polishing of soul.

It just strikes me that intellectualism has actually failed Al Ghazzali.

Gonna dig out the reason for that.

P.s. Too much intellectual stuff really does exhaust me. Does that mean it is not natural? I sense my own inclination towards sufism somehow. Despite me being more of a doer.