Thursday, May 26, 2016

Khan Academy - You Can Learn Anything

Khan Academy |

Online learning. For free.

I stumbled upon KA today. There's a long list of subjects that you can learn and at the same time earn badges as you progress. It is in a way gamified learning which at a level would ensure you come back to complete the course and finish something that you started.

With the mantra #YouCanLearnAnything, it really is empowering, thus giving us some sort of energy and that assurance that we really can learn about anything. For me, it is a bit of a challenge put forth and for me to find out (or surprise myself).

I got to KA through a series of links. It started from my email feed from Wait But Why which eventually brought me to their piece on Elon Musk. There's a footnote that I clicked which brought me to Elon's interview bit at KA on Youtube. I explored further to find out what KA is about from their (1m30s) introduction video and subscribed to their Youtube channel right away.

A couple of minutes later I found myself clicking the link in that video's description which brought me to their internet site. A few more minutes after that I registered and earned my first badge for having watched my first video and  right away.

first badge earned
We'll see what's next.
plenty to choose from
click for larger image
How about you?

The links:

Friday, September 11, 2015

Dr Yasir Qadhi - Tafseer Surah Al Kahf Youtube Playlist

The link above directs you to the Youtube playlist of Dr Yasir Qadhi's tafseer series on Surah Al Kahf.

It is a series of 21 sessions on video, spanning from 14 to 26 minutes each. Have a go at the first lesson which contains a very good introduction.

Let's get familiar with Surah Al Kahf and make it a habit to read it every Friday from now on and be istiqamah insyaAllah.

Also, to memorize the first 10 verses of the surah (this serves as a reminder to self).

May we all be rewarded, and saved from the fitnah of Dajjal insyaAllah.

Thank you to Norizzuddin for introducing me to Dr Yasir Qadhi.
JazakAllahu khairan katsira.

Friday, January 16, 2015

16.01.2015 KL Gems on A Friday

My friend Latfy asked me over WhatsApp where I'm going for my Friday solah. I responded with "Brickfields", but thinking that a change of place would be nice I  added "where would you like to go?" in an instant.

Never a dull moment when spending a couple hours or two with creative people. So at the back of my mind I considered a place where it would be halfway between my office at KL Sentral and his home in Ampang. Plus a place to have lunch of course. Short of knowing interesting that would fit the criteria, I suggested KLCC.

Latfy suggested UIA's ISTAC instead, and he offered to pick me up at KL Sentral. Cool, I thought, as I have only heard of the place but had never been there.

Latfy arrived and we set off to ISTAC with the help from Waze for navigation. Something was amiss when he realized that the route was strange and not leading to where he intended to go (Waze does that sometimes, so it could be normal). Anyway, he eventually steered into a familiar road which brought us to the intended destination. Well it turned out that the place is actually UIA's IIBF at Damansara Heights

I really enjoyed the drive along the quiet road with big trees and minimal traffic en route, so no complaints from me. As usual, there's an element of surprise and I always learn something new when spending time with him.

I've never been to this part of Kuala Lumpur, and was pleasantly surprised with the beautiful mosque while revelling at the (Moorish?) architecture and serenity of its surrounding. I fell in love in an instant.

After solah, we went for lunch at BNM's Sasana Kijang as suggested by Latfy. I still remember a few years ago he mentioned to me that the (brewed) coffee there is relatively cheaper compared to elsewhere around KL.

True enough, coffee is cheap, and (simple western) food are good too.
I had spaghetti aglio olio
(RM8) and afogatto (RM3.20) - have to go elsewhere if you're looking for nasi campur, though.

*at the time of writing, the most expensive coffee over there is less than RM4.

I love the simplicity of the café and of course the cheap coffee. No compromise on quality, definitely, but the portion is a bit smaller than what you'd usually get at the price you're paying at similar small café elsewhere.

Anyway, I had a good afternoon out and discovered two of KL's relatively hidden gem today.

Thanks, Latfy. I had a great time.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

11.10.2014: Putrajaya Night Marathon 2014

another 10 km completed, another medal collected
This is the second time I'm participating in the annual night run organised by BSN. And this is the third 10 km that I've ever ran. Yes, 10 km. Not 'marathon' as the title may suggest.

I admit that I had not trained enough though it is merely a short distance (compared to 21 and 42.195, of course). Only over the last week I had 2 practices at the gym's treadmill; 4+ km on Tuesday and 5 km on Thursday.

My unofficial time for this run is 1 hour and 17 minutes according to my Sports Tracker. Compare that to my last year's 1:11:34, I have not improved - timing wise. However, I'd like to mention that I reached my goal for this run (which I have decided only after 5 km in the run). Knowing from gut feeling (if you don't run enough miles, you know la...) that I couldn't beat my last year's time, I threw myself a challenge. How about finishing the run without stopping or walking? I took the challenge. And I won.
Azman and me, before the run
Another challenge that I had thought was at least to be level with Azman, my long time friend. That would be quite a challenge as he's a seasoned runner, so I dropped that one out. By 'seasoned', I mean he had participated in runs more than I had. He started only a year ago during BSN PNM 2013 running in place of another friend who couldn't run the 21 km, and continued on collecting medals - more than 20 I think. Yes, his first innocent run was a half marathon. Gila. Anyway, I finished behind him only for a few minutes. And what's more is that he thought of me as a pacer as I had ran non-stop. Haha... Well, over the course he was behind me every now and then, but managed to get past me as I slowly run my non-stop run one foot in front of the other. The fact that he's going to run a half marathon the next morning is not an excuse to run only a little bit faster than me.
after the run - can still flash a smile!
What helped me to complete my challenge last night were 2 things: I pace myself with zikrullah. And I thought of Ibu, my mom. Somehow it is comforting.

The zikr? Subhanallahi wabihamdih (Glory be to Allah and Praise Him / Maha Suci Allah dengan segala puji bagi-Nya) over 8 steps. It works for me, both in cycling and running.

Alhamdulillah I completed the run and set myself a new record. Perhaps with regular runs at the gym or elsewhere, I could step up my game. Half marathon? We'll see about that.

Big note:
My company's corporate team won the 10 km corporate challenge this year, after a few years straight as runners-up behind OCBC. This year, we switched places. Kudos, SBM Runners!

Updated (13.10.2014)
Official results are out.
My net time is 1:14:56. I was faster 3 minutes and 22 seconds last year compared to this year.

Monday, March 03, 2014

02.03.2014: Larian Keluarga SMK KGV 2014

before and after 3km

The family run is a fundraising event organized by PIBG (or PTA) of SMK King George V Seremban (Marsya's new school).

We were automatically eligible to participate (in a group of 3 family members) as Marsya managed to raise more than RM100 through the jogathon donation round (remember those yellow cards?).

It has been more than a month since my last run, which was a boring 4km around the track at Kompleks Belia dan Sukan Paroi. However, I did some 30km of cycling a week before than in JB; so I guess my fitness is quite okay for a short recreational run. Well, I don't know about the level of fitness or readiness for Marsya and Adam...

The day before the event, we had a small feast at home entertaining my cousins from KL. Adam sort of hurt his back while attempting to bring down the stairs our big table. So he kind of making that a viable excuse not to take part in the run. Anyway, he didn't make a big case out of it, so I was fine with it.

waiting for the flag off
Before the actual running, (as usual, for this sort of event) we warmed up with aerobics exercise perhaps for about half an hour. I guess Adam's back is okay, as I observed that he moved and followed the steps without much problem.

at the starting area
We were flagged off at about 8.50am, starting from the school's main gate. We were somehow left at the back of the herd early on, as the three of us took it slow and walking to lose free from the crowd.

Marsya sped off to the front while Adam started running and having a small complaint about his back. I shrugged it off and told him to take it slow and not to pay attention to his back. So I used my little mind trick on him, and eventually for Marsya too.

I played with him the aiming game. Along the run, I set several aims for him to reach.
  "see that lightpost up ahead?"
  "the third flag pole"
  "that big tree"
  "the big green signboard"
Anything that is visible to him along the course, reachable and not too far; perhaps about 50m each (yes, there we a lot of aims).
The goal was to keep on running, slowly but surely. When he resorted to walking, I asked him to walk briskly. Just as Adam is about to reach the current aim, I'd give out the next aim that he ought to reach. And it went in perpetuity.

Marsya was doing fine during the first half of the run. Then she started to slow down her pace and resorted to walk more. So the trick I had on Adam was shared with her too, and we ran as a group with me constantly giving out the small aiming distances.

We were supposed to collect 3 tokens at 3 checkpoints along the 3km distance. I guess it would be 1 token per km. However, I estimated it was more than 1km out but no CP in sight. Finally we came to the (only) CP, and my Sports Tracker showed it was already a little bit past 2km. So we cleared two-third of the run without much suffering. Good sign. And good job to both of them.

Soon after that, perhaps because of being a little bit excited, I temporarily lost my control and sprained my right ankle. It was not serious, so I kept on trotting ignoring the pain. Not long after that, we reached the starting point and completed the 3km loop. All in about 30 minutes. Not bad at all.

I for one, was really proud of Marsya and Adam for their perseverance. Well done, you both!

I'd say 3km is quite a long distance for beginners. Plus the course around Seremban is hilly. That's some achievement to build on. Perhaps regular runs after this? InsyaAllah.

the 3km course

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Solat: Rukun Qauli

Di dalam solat, rukun qauli adalah di antara perkara yang harus diberikan perhatian.

Rukun qauli adalah rukun solat yang perlu dilafazkan, disebut hingga didengari oleh diri sendiri. Jika sebagai makmum, cukup sekadar berbisik.

Ada 4 rukun yang disebut sebagai rukun qauli:
1. Takbiratul ihram
2. Al Faatihah
3. Tahiyyat akhir
4. Salaam

Moga kita istiqomah dan sentiasa dilindungi Allah.


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Book: A Brief History of Tim

Time, minus 'e'
Yes, it's not misspelled. And it's not Hawking's famous book. Humour rather than serious; the extreme contrast. Just by removing a letter of a word.
Simply amazing.
Humour, to me, can only be churned out by a creative person. The writer has to weave together a lot of different ideas, common knowledge, history (at times), current issues, and a dash of personality. I rarely read humour books, but this one caught my attention. I really like this one.
I got a taste of it at a book sale held at KL Sentral concourse. I was browsing for some other books that may be of my interest, and I had a quick skimming on this one. Right there and then, I was smiling and chuckling, not bothered about the world spinning around at that time. It is simply hilarious based on a simple idea and the contentes are brilliantly thought of.
Have a go on a few pages of it here.
Unfortunately it was one of those times when I said to myself "this can be picked up later". And I lost it. Perhaps it's the only copy there.
If you do find a copy, please let me know where to get it from, preferably locally (KL, JB, Seremban). Else I have to resort to online ordering.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Resah Awan - Plague Of Happiness

Resah Awan
Plague Of Happiness

Tunjukkan aku awan
Yang selalu mekar dan ceria
Tak endahkan dunia yang
Selalu bersengketa
Terlalu mementingkan diri
Terlalu ikut rasa hati
Duduk awan pasrah
Tak dia berkuasa

Rata rata dunia
Berlumuran masalah
Kerana mereka
Bertuhankan kuasa
Nyata bila awan sedar
Dunia bukan milik kita
Yang benci isinya
Manusia tak berbeda

Sungguh awan lihat semua dunia
Lelah bermasalah
Tuhan tolonglah manusia
Sungguh awan lihat semua dunia
Lelah bermasalah

Dah lama dah lagu ni.
Apapun, aku sangat suka susunan muziknya. Terpaut sejak dari nota piano yang pertama lagi...

Dan aku ada jugak la kayuh offroad dengan 2 dari ahlil kugiran ini.
Agaknya boleh jugak kalau 'awan' tu digantikan dengan 'kawan', mengikut lenggok orang Johor. Dan mengikut tajuk album lagu ini.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Lively Newscasting

I watched a weather report/forecast over the CNN this morning. What made me interested on watching it is how the presenter was doing it.

She appeared very relaxed and joyous, making mundane  information appears interesting. With the help of graphics, of course. But mostly I'd say it is because of her personality.

This, and at the conclusion of her session - at the transition of handing back to the news anchor. The anchor held her on and they had a short chat; quipping about how 'fly' the weather girl was. The weather girl replied enthusiastically and they exchanged a few lines afterwards. A friendly morning chat with a colleague in the office. So human.

Now why can't we have it like that in our daily dealings and interaction with other people? Meetings are so formal that it sucked souls, and people are not as relaxed as they  could be. Let's change that. Let's be more human.

And hopefully our newscasters are not too uptight no more.

Have a great day. Greet other humans.

For the record, this is my first blog entry typed entirely from my Xperia Active smartphone.
Sent over Gmail, while on board KLIA Express towards KL Sentral.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Food: White Brick Oven

I baked our own bread many years back (only for a short while) using the automatic bread maker that Naza redeemed through Cosway. Quite simple, really. You put in the ingredients the night before and leave it on overnight. The next morning is a beautiful dawn greeted by the tantalizing aroma of freshly baked bread. It tastes good, but one day the machine broke down. So was my bread making.

In April's edition of Going Places (food issue), the mag featured an interview with Mustafa, the man behind White Brick Oven. I filled the 40 minutes flight from JB to KL in awe, and from the descriptive texts therein (with photographs) I could almost smell their wonderful bread.

I'd consider dropping by their place for their good loaves, next time I'm in KL with the family, time permitting InsyaAllah. Of course, would be informing them 2 days in advance for our take home orders.

Price list is here. Yes, quite steep but I'm sure they're worth it. Things that take time are always worth it. And you can't rush art, right?

Read their blog here.

Perhaps I'd chat up with Mustafa and get some pointers on bread making at home for weekends (when I don't ride, of course).

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

uʍop ǝpısdn

uʍop ǝpısdn sı ɹǝʇndɯoɔ ɹnoʎ sıɥʇ pɐǝɹ uɐɔ noʎ ɟı


Friday, January 06, 2012

What's Your Hobby?

as defined by Oxford Dictionary, 'an activity done regularly for pleasure'

My pet question to people as an ice breaker or to break a silence:
What's your hobby?

In this digital age, the young ones would give an almost similar answer - mostly computer related. Even if it is essentially taking up reading as a hobby. You know, reading newspaper on the net, reading e-book, etc. The other generic answers from them would be the typical facebook-ing (is there such a word?), blogging, blogwalking, playing video games and computer games, and such. I'd be surprised if one would give me 'collecting stamps' as an answer. That would be too 80's, and now becoming rare at least in my circle (yes, I mingle with younger people too). However, it is surprising that most of the time people would give me "I don't know what my hobby is" and "I don't have time for a hobby". And a lot of them would be quick to give "sleeping" as a valid answer. Well, no wrong answer because it is really subjective, right?

There are expensive hobbies and there are simple and cheap ones. Interestingly, a certain hobby could be either. Of course, because there's a really wide spectrum and it really depends on whether you're really into it (read: obsession) or just taking it as a way to fill your time and make you feel human. Take fishing as an example. It could be a simple activity down the paddy field with a bamboo rod, or a boating trip in the Philippines. Err... it applies to cycling, too.

I do get interesting replies to that one simple question. One guy told me that his hobby is hunting. Looking at me being amazed, he continued, "wild boar, porcupine, ayam hutan (partridge?)". Looking at this guy, you wouldn't imagine that he's that type. And then the floodgate suddenly opened. His face really lightened up and he went on and on with the details of it. I asked that question to him while I was sleepily driving on the highway from KL back to JB. So I would say that besides coffee, another person's hobby could also relief you from the torment of staying awake while driving. But I have to caution you, though. If his hobby does not interest you, than you're added with another torture. Then again, you could always reverse that by telling him about your hobby instead. Hehe...

Anyway, it's a tool for getting to know people and also sometimes you'd gain invaluable knowledge about things that you've never even heard of. To take Carnegie's advise in How To Win Friends and Influence People, getting people to talk about things that they are passionate about is one of the things in 'Six Ways To Make People Like You'. There you go, building relationships. 

So what's my hobby?
To put it simply: Reading. I read books, and nowadays more of cycling and gardening (lesser of the two) magazines.
I'd love to have cross-stitching as an answer, but to stick to the definition perhaps it is not.
Cycling? Nope, it's an obsession.

What's your hobby, my dear friend?

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Measure of Sincerity

Perhaps the measure of sincerity is that you do something happily without any fuss, and you don't expect any recognition or reward whatsoever other than Allah's blessings. You might not even remember about the good deeds you'd done for something/someone.


Or you're just plainly forgetful.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Book: Michael Crichton's Micro

I learnt a new word - posthumous.

MC did one-third of the eventual novel, while the rest is the work of Richard Preston. I've never read (or heard of) his books, but I'll definitely get this one solely because it has MC's touch. As always, I'll wait for the paperback.

Reading the synopsis, it is in MC's style. Like his State of Fear. This one's being compared to Jurassic Park, and it is interesting for we'll be shrunken and transported to the bigger world (I think).

Read more:

image taken from MC official site

Sunday, October 16, 2011

at the entrance
It has been a long time since I last entered Singapore. More than 5 years, surely. My children haven't at all. In March this year we made our passports, but only in October we made the trip to Singapore. So near yet if feels like it's so far.

In conjunction with Marsya's birthday, I decided to bring everyone to the Singapore Zoo. It was a busy weekend with not much sleep for me personally. On Saturday I went to Melaka for Burung Hantu 2011 offroad night ride, and back home right after the event ended. Took a nap at Machap R&R for an hour before Fajr and reached home at 7-ish Sunday morning. When I reached home I cleared out the dirty clothes form the night's ride, put things back to their places and did a bit of gardening. I woke everyone up at 8.30 so that we could go early because there are a few things need to be done before we could enter Singapore and head out to the zoo. Eventually, everyone got ready and at 11.00 the car started to roll out to Stulang CIQ.

While queuing at the Woodlands checkpoint, I noticed that somebody in an mpv on my right waving to me wildly. Haha... it was my cousin from Woodlands, Abang Man. He called me up and invited me to come over his place later on after the zoo visit and I said no promises. As soon as I entered the immigration checkpoint, my phone was without network reception. I had forgotten to activate roaming access. Was unable to call him to ask for address and directions to his place. Too bad, maybe next time insyaAllah.

It was the first time I bought an autopass for the car to enter Singapore; with tips from friends and the swiftness of Singapore immigration and LTA, it was not that hard. Just fill in a few standard details in the form, queue up and pay $10. The process took less than 10 minutes. My thanks to Reza for giving me the embarkation card, too.

The Singapore Zoo is not far from Woodlands checkpoint, and there are ample signs to get us there. We reached the zoo at around 12.00, parked the car at a nice covered parking building.

The zoo entrance fee for the five of us amounted to $66. $20 for adults, and $13 for children (3 - 12y). Free for Umar. Not too bad, as the park is big and the animals in there looks healthy. The areas are clean, too.

We spent a bit more that 3 hours in the park. While deprived of sleep and my legs are still tired from the ride the night before, it was surprising that the walk in the zoo did not make me exhausted. Sleepy at times when stopped, yes, but no complains of tiredness from me. Of course the children are.

We had our lunch late, at 3.30pm in KFC. Umar needed a nappy change and so we went off. The toilets at the zoo lobby are nice, but no faucet provided except for tissue rolls.
However, the nappy change room has everything. Washbasin, nappy change counter, faucet (without hose), shower and toilet bowl.

I asked the muslim lady at KFC if there are any musolla available, but there is none except for staff only. She mentioned that people would use cardboards. As it was reaching 4pm (end of Zuhr), we decided to solat at the parking lot. Went up to the uncovered topmost floor, and found a shaded area. Parked the car to cordon us, and we perform our solat. Soon after, we went out of the parking lot.

There's a mini drama happened to me while exiting the parking lot. Apparently, foreigners have to get a 'complimentary ticket' valued at $4 from the zoo counter. So, long story short, I went back to the counter (some 500m walk), bought the ticket and went out. Thanks to Diana the parking assistant over there for guiding me.

The journey back to JB was uneventful. Smooth ride all the way, alhamdulillah. InsyaAllah, there'll be more trips after this. Perhaps a weekend over my cousins' places, and mountain biking at Bukit Timah too.
More photos here.