Month: February 2009

Biofuel: Forbidden?

I feel like kicking something, but can’t find anything proper to be kicked, so I wrote it here.

Islamic scholar condemns bioethanol

Biofuels are un-Islamic, scholar says, as he warns Saudi students not to drive ethanol-powered cars when abroad

The sheikh was keen to stress that he has not issued a fatwa, but does believe the matter needs further clarification from the relevant Islamic institutions.

As ethanol is “basically made up of alcohol”, it must be avoided.

Sheikh Mohamed Al-Najimi, a scholar at the Saudi Islamic Jurisprudence Academy, reportedly warned students travelling outside Saudi Arabia not to drive any vehicles powered with ethanol because the “prophet prohibited all kinds of dealings with alcohol including buying, selling, carrying, serving, drinking, and manufacturing”.

full text

I was hoping, that some scholars would issue statements on environmental issues and how Islam has actually stresses all the basic principle of sustainable development, but definitely not something like this. Yes, I do not agree fully with the use of land for fuel purposes, thus increasing the food price (due to competition between crops for fueland crops for food), and I state clearly why it is so. This news report is one of most ‘dugged’ environmental news right now in the web, and I am very sorry that sooner or later, people might say that my religion could not care less about environment, because apparently, though only one scholar gave his opinion on this, generalisation might have been made about us.

bioethanol

bioethanol

 p.s: The original newsreport which mentioned about this can be found here.

15 Favourite Motivational Songs

I tried to compile some of the songs that most of the time, when I happened to listen to it, I will be at least a little motivated. Words really can move the world.

These are not according to ranking, by the way. You might see that most of these songs are very fast-paced. I don’t dwell much in sadness.

1.  Mariah Carey–Through The Rain

I can make it through the rain
I can stand up once again
On my own and I know
That I’m strong enough to mend
And every time I feel afraid
I hold tighter to my faith
And I live one more day
And I make it through the rain

2. Kelly Clarkson – Breakaway

I’ll spread my wings and I’ll learn how to fly.
I’ll do what it takes till I touch the sky.
Make a wish, take a chance,
Make a change, and break away.
Out of the darkness and into the sun.
But I won’t forget all the ones that I love.
I’ll take a risk, take a chance,
Make a change, and break away

3. Natasha Bedingfield – Unwritten

Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it
Release your inhibitions
Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten

4. Hilary Duff – Fly

Fly Open up the part of you that wants to hide away You can shine Forget about the reasons why you can deny and start to try 'cus it's your time, time to fly

5. In-Team – Segenggam Tabah

Segenggam tabah dipertahankan
Buat bekalan di perjalanan
Kau bebat luka yang berdarah
Kau balut hati yang calar 

6. Mariah Carey & Whitney Houston – When You Believe

There can be miracles
When you believe
Though hope is frail
Its hard to kill
Who know what miracle
You can achieve
When you believe
Somehow you will
You will when you believe

7. Celine Dion – A New Day Has Come

Let the rain come down and wash away my tears
Let it fill my soul and drown my fears
Let it shatter the walls for a new sun

A new day has… come

8. High School Musical-Breaking Free

You know the world can see us
In a way that’s different than who we are 

There’s not a star in heaven
That we can’t reach 

If we’re trying 

So, we’re breaking free

9. I will survive – Gloria Gaynor

you think I’d crumble
you think I’d lay down and die
Oh no, not I
I will survive
as long as i know how to love
I know I will stay alive

10. Five – Keep on Movin’

Get on up when you’re down
Baby, take a good look around
I know it’s not much, but it’s okay
Keep on moving anyway

11. R. Kelly – I Believe I Can Fly

I believe I can fly
I believe I can touch the sky
I think about it every night and day
Spread my wings and fly away
I believe I can soar
I see me running through that open door
I believe I can fly
I believe I can fly
I believe I can fly

12. Frank Sinatra – My Way 

Since this one is really meaningful -just do it, fight in your way, care less about what people say -I put the whole lyrics:

And now, the end is here
And so I face the final curtain
My friend, I’ll say it clear
I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain
I’ve lived a life that’s full
I traveled each and ev’ry highway
And more, much more than this, I did it my way

Regrets, I’ve had a few
But then again, too few to mention
I did what I had to do and saw it through without exemption
I planned each charted course, each careful step along the byway
And more, much more than this, I did it my way

Yes, there were times, I’m sure you knew
When I bit off more than I could chew
But through it all, when there was doubt
I ate it up and spit it out
I faced it all and I stood tall and did it my way

I’ve loved, I’ve laughed and cried
I’ve had my fill, my share of losing
And now, as tears subside, I find it all so amusing
To think I did all that
And may I say, not in a shy way,
“Oh, no, oh, no, not me, I did it my way”

For what is a man, what has he got?
If not himself, then he has naught
To say the things he truly feels and not the words of one who kneels
The record shows I took the blows and did it my way!

[instrumental]

Yes, it was my way

13. Christina Aguilera – Fighter

Makes me that much stronger
Makes me work a little bit harder
It makes me that much wiser
So thanks for making me a fighter
Made me learn a little bit faster
Made my skin a little bit thicker
Makes me that much smarter
So thanks for making me a fighter

14. Daughtry – What About Now

What about now?
What about today?
What if you’re making me all that I was meant to be?
What if our love, it never went away?
What if it’s lost behind words we could never find?
Baby, before it’s too late,
What about now?

15. Survivor – Destiny’s Child [HQ]

I’m a survivor (what),
I’m not gonna give up (what),
I’m not gon’ stop (what),
I’m gonna work harder (what),
I’m a survivor (what),
I’m gonna make it (what),
I will survive (what),
Keep on survivin’ (what),
I’m a survivor (what),
I’m not gonna give up (what),
I’m not gon’ stop (what),
I’m gonna work harder (what),
I’m a survivor (what),
I’m gonna make it (what),
I will survive (what),
Keep on survivin’ (what).

That’s it for now. But my advise, do not listen to music for a long period. Not good for your heart.

The Rest is Still Unwritten

 Here are some junks that require disposal, and my blog, as I have always tell people (when they ask how do I manage to keep a blog maintained for a relatively long period) that I need to write. It is a need, or else, most often than not I couldn’t sleep at night. My mind just would not shut up.

1. I’m back to lectures. 9 to 5-intensive-one-module week kind of lecture. Requires enormous effort to stay awake, especially when the course is the designed in such a way that though the title is ‘Eco-Design and Green Chemistry’, the stuff that you learnt range from decision-making techniques, hazard analysis, life cycle thinking, pinch technology to project costing. A mishmash of everything, sort of. But the good thing about this system is that the class mixed undergrad like me with postgrads of different background, with some of them with industrial experience. I just love it when people of different academic background discuss – definitely a wider range of ways of thinking. Not the usual medic-engineering-accountancy Malaysian friends discussions/meeting or chem engers (who think more or less in the same way).

2. And today I received my first piece of coursework! 5 000 words essay on the evolution of a specific chemical that is used in the industries over time. Got to go deep into history. Well, I am currently residing on the exact part of the world where the Industrial Revolution started, should not be much of a problem.

3. Tangled. Uncertain – Definitely the perfect adjectives to describe the atmosphere I am in right now. Uncertainty can kill people like me who want to stay in control, so yes, I am unstable. Careers, and a few other things that require attention. Oh, please help my Lord!

4. Cools my eyes that this little guy is safe and healthy.

Adam Haiqal

Adam Haiqal

That’s it from now. Oh, by the way, I am thinking of listing down a number of songs that are personally benefical and motivational to me. For instance, this one, Unwritten by my favourite singer-songwriter Natasha Bedingfield.

Natasha Bedingfield – Unwritten

I am unwritten,
Can’t read my mind
I’m undefined
I’m just beginning
The pen’s in my hand
Ending unplanned 

Staring at the blank page before you
Open up the dirty window
Let the sun illuminate the words
That you could not find
Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it
Release your inhibitions

Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten, yeah

Oh, oh

 

I break tradition
Sometimes my tries
Are outside the lines, oh yeah yeah
We’ve been conditioned
To not make mistakes
But I can’t live that way oh, oh

Reaching for something in the distance, So close you can almost taste it...I like that line! I dreamt of something about my career life last week, and found myself refusing to wake up from that dream. It was close, I almost tasted it. In my dream. Ahh, it has been a very long time since I feel this way!


Of Plants and What Comes with It

No, the plant I meant in the title is not chemical plant. It is plants as in agriculture. As a prt of my final year dissertation, as you have probably heard me whining about it in previous entries, I was to study the production system of agri-food. Well, that makes sense though that does not really sound very chemical engineering. Before you can actually sum up all the greenhouse gas emissions, you must first know the stages, which the system consists of. And after a few sessions of conservation works, planting and cutting down trees (I actually have grown biceps today – 7 hours of hedge-laying which includes chopping of 3 inch-diameter hedges- Save me from doing push-ups!) – I just recall how long has it been since I last had any interaction or activities involving soil and plants and gardening in general.

I used to like it when I was young – when I was 9, luckily I my father served for FELDA – we had a house with massive frontyard and backyard – and I remember growing vegetables enthusiastically, attending to my small farm every afternoon.

And I think, I sort of missed that. It was therapeutic, really.

And today, upon browsing Sahih Bukhari online, I came across a chapter on agriculture. Here are a number of narration regarding agriculture (Can you believe that? Islam even  mentioned specificallt about this stuff):

Volume 3, Book 39, Number 513:

Narrated Anas bin Malik:

Allah’s Apostle said, “There is none amongst the Muslims who plants a tree or sows seeds, and then a bird, or a person or an animal eats from it, but is regarded as a charitable gift for him.”


Narrated Abu Umama al-Bahili:

I saw some agricultural equipments and said: “I heard the Prophet saying: “There is no house in which these equipment enters except that Allah will cause humiliation to enter it.”

And this one, it is quite funny somehow:

Volume 3, Book 39, Number 538:

Narrated Abu Huraira:

Once the Prophet was narrating (a story), while a bedouin was sitting with him. “One of the inhabitants of Paradise will ask Allah to allow him to cultivate the land. Allah will ask him, ‘Are you not living in the pleasures you like?’ He will say, ‘Yes, but I like to cultivate the land.’ ” The Prophet added, “When the man (will be permitted he) will sow the seeds and the plants will grow up and get ripe, ready for reaping and so on till it will be as huge as mountains within a wink. Allah will then say to him, ‘O son of Adam! Take here you are, gather (the yield); nothing satisfies you.’ ” On that, the bedouin said, “The man must be either from Quraish (i.e. an emigrant) or an Ansari, for they are farmers, whereas we are not farmers.” The Prophet smiled (at this).

Correct me if I am wrong – did our PM has once mention about us going back to agriculture – securing our own food?

p.s. My mom gardens – and I think my cat is on of those that benefits on it. He actually consumes the leaves.

5 x 5

random

random

OK, now I’m turning into this self-absorbed girl, but appreciating my friend, Haz who tagged me in Facebook, who probably wants to know me better, I figured out that probably I should share a little bit about myself (Oh, this is so not me, succumbing to Internet memes)

  1. I can read map (just to defy the myth that women cannot read map). I find it very stimulating – it is either reading a map or sleeping when I am co-driving. I don’t trust GPS much (since one occasion in which we were lost for about one hour, with the GPS on).
  2. I wear a gold ring since I can wear one legally – that was since I finished my SPM, since my school didn’t allow students to wear jewelleries. Nothing serious and speculative about that.
  3. My parents told me that I was the kind of child who threw tantrum in public – be it lying on the floor, screaming or crying in public, if I did not get what I wanted. I was actually that bad.
  4. My friends would agree that I am a bad choice to watch a DVD/film with, because I tend to run away when there are parts which involved : the hero/heroine gets killed, something terrible is going to happen etc. That explains why I didn’t manage to read the Legend of Mahsuri for the second time since I was 10, or re-read the childhood story of a boy who lied to his villagers about his goats being killed by a wolf since I was 6 . The ending of these stories are so terrible they eat my heart away.  The emotional burden is too much! Is there any specific term for this kind of phobia?
  5. I cannot share a bed with someone else unless it is really meant for two. Double is for two person, single is for ONE.
  6. My mother used to say that I should marry a Terengganu guy, because I can eat a lot of keropok lekor on my own.
  7. I love wearing baju kurung and I don’t wear jubah/abaya. I bought a few in Egypt during my travel there, but at the moment only one is in perfect shape – I’ve cut short all the others to be worn with trousers during my travel, but gave them to my friends when I reached Manchester.
  8. The longest crush I ever had – all the way through high school + 1 year after that. See how faithful I can be? 
  9. The perfect honeymoon, if there is to be any, would be backpacking through some Middle East countries. That’s not romantic, but it seems more practical to know each other. Plus, as a woman I cannot go alone to Mid-East travelling (that’s the point actually).
  10. I watch Desperate Housewives and Grey’s Anatomy  religiously nowadays. My favourite characters  are Gabrielle Solis (for being manipulative and always knows how to find ways to get what she wants), Lynette Scavo and Dr Miranda Bailey (both being alpha females). And yeah, Horatio Caine from CSI: Miami. 
  11. I have two major turning points in life so far : one when I was 16 and another one when I was 20. I thank God for both of these everyday.
  12. I am planning to finish memorising Quran in 4 years time, God willing. I really, really hope I can.
  13. I don’t have any unread emails in my inboxes. Either deleted, read, or marked as read. Not sure if that’s efficiency or some sort of psychological problems that I cannot leave any emails received just like that.
  14. If I weren’t doing Chemical Engineering, I’d probably be studying architecture. And hate that by now. 
  15. I am bossy and manipulative. My family and friends know this too well. And I am not proud of this – just telling you here so that you know that I am well-aware of this bad attitude.
  16. There are times when I crave conversations with strangers, not friends.
  17. I like dressing up and do spend time choosing what to wear for the day.
  18. I have never been on diet though I’d love so. My only form of exercise is walking and those environmental and conservation works I am doing. Fitness level = 0, which equals unhealthy.
  19. I easily fall for soft-spoken men. That includes my dentist who is way older than my dad.
  20. Pet peeve : people who speak so slow I have to anticipate their next words.
  21. I recalled being labelled a feminist since high school. Thanks to the boys who lives around me for 5 years, which shaped my view on male-female interaction/relationship.
  22. Most of the times live by the principle: ‘Redah je.’ (i.e. ‘Just do it!).
  23. I am stubborn that my father said he prayed specifically for me to be less bullheaded when he went for Hajj, in front of Kaabah. I guess that was when I realised that I was actually stubborn.
  24. Contrary to the popular belief that I can easily get angry and people can see it when I do, I rarely get truly angry, and when I do, I don’t speak much. I just cry.
  25. I can draw, I can paint, I can sing, I have talent in handcrafting, I can write, I can sew (my mother told me this) but I don’t really use all these talents nowadays. The only ability I am currently developing is probably speaking out, and sometimes, critical thinking. Shame.

 That’s it. Please do not comment.

Manchester Leadership Programme: Outside Your Comfort Zone

Feel It!

Feel It!

I promised some of my friends to write about my brief and humble volunteering experience. To be honest, I was forced to do voluntary works for the Manchester Leadership Programme I was completing in my third year – 60 hours of them. I should have spread it evenly between the two semesters period, but unfortunately, as I was to attend lectures on all weekdays, I just have to rush and finish everything inthe final three months – luckily, my sixth semester comprised of intensive one-week classes and group meeting. And yes, I was about to give up half-way through that.

Just like any of you who started as introverts who dread being in a new situation with strangers, I feared that I won’t fit in- but here’s a mantra I’ve been repeating all over again – ‘Feel the fear but just do it anyway. Whatever happen next, I can handle it.’ And that hapened to stop all these murmurs inside: ‘How am I gonna strike up a conversation with them?’ ‘Am I going to be able to make friends with anyone?’ – just go, and trust yourself that you can handle it when the time comes. What does not kill you will only make you stronger. Having a friend to go with you is fine, but here’s what I learnt: the session I went where there was a Malaysian with me, was the session in which I spoke less with new people. If you tend to cling  to someone, chances are that others could not bother to talk to you.

Oh, don’t tell me it is easy for me because I am this friendly, chatty person. It is a skill you can brush up if you want. Let me tell you, ten years ago, my personality test told me that I was an introvert.

So here’s the account on things I have done. Many of these were arranged by the MLP team, but if you really want to be involved independently – go to Careers website voluntary work search.

Unfortunately I can’t include any photos, I took pictures in some of these events using my handphone, but that old handphone was stolen. I’ll try to dig in my old, old laptop (the one before the stolen one) if there’s any lucky pictures saved.

1- Organisation: Fairfield Materials Management 

The first one ever, and I have to say, this was the most memorable – the smell that is, to be exact! Fairfield Materials Management is an on-site waste management program – it was done at the site of daily open farmers’ market, where all these vegetables and fruit which passed their sell-by date (which to me, still look good) are processed into compost – which is then used around Manchester. The work, was quite nasty – recalled that it was during the usual British wet winter – and it was smelly. The waste and the compost – but it was only for less than 20 minutes. Our senses, thankfully, acclimatised quite quickly we even managed to have our free lunches (fish and chips Friday they called it) outside, breathing in the ‘fresh’ air.

All that I did was either – unpack and unwrap the vegetables/fruits, cut them into peices to aid the burning, or doing some digging and sieving of the compost to remove the bigger particles – and involving in lengthy conversations. That includes some insight from a Bulgarian friend who told me that most Bulagrians still hold grudge on the Ottoman Empire for invading their countries years ago.

And met an enthusiastic Worminator, who takes worms as pets, used for home-composting.

But all in all, I do think that such waste management services are good for the society, reducing waste and turning it into something beneficial (though I did wonder the overall carbon footprint of the process). Is there any such thing in Malaysia?

http://www.fairfieldcompost.co.uk/

unpacking and unwrapping

unpacking and unwrapping

Animal Welfare

I am currently digging out information on beef production system as a part of my research and came across this animal welfare act on Defra website:

What does the Animal Welfare Act do?

It makes owners and keepers responsible for ensuring that the welfare needs of their animals are met.

These include the need:

  1. For a suitable environment (place to live)
  2. For a suitable diet
  3. To exhibit normal behaviour patterns
  4. To be housed with, or apart from, other animals (if applicable)
  5. To be protected from pain, injury, suffering and disease

The law also increases to 16 the minimum age at which a person can buy an animal and prohibits giving animals as prizes to unaccompanied children under this age.

Anyone who is cruel to an animal, or does not provide for its welfare needs, may be banned from owning animals, fined up to £20,000 and/or sent to prison.

To be on a cynical note, yes, it sounds ridiculous that so much care is given to animals while there are people dying out of hunger and poverty – but on a more rational side, with sustainable development way of thinking adopted, and for the fact that we are here on this earth as a vicegerents, whose job is to take care of the earth and those living on it, and who are supposed to be the mercy to the whole universe (which means not just the survival of us human beings) – I think this is part of fulfilling that responsibility.

Way to go.