Monday, May 30, 2016

Stand a little taller | It's a new day, a new dawn, a new life for me

Bismillah.

My boss kept reminding me: "Eza, you should walk tall cos we have brought in half a billion worth of contracts already!"

OH YES! And we are going for another half a billion, by year end, God willing!

Surely, we struggled before we could reap such handsome rewards. The struggle didn't kills us, it made us stronger. Like that one Kelly Clarkson song: What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger, stand a little taller, makes a fighter, footsteps even lighter.

And the big boss suggested we repeat our new mantra each morning as we march to the office. It's from a song by Nina Simone - Feeling Good:
"It's a new day, it's a new dawn, it's a new life for me..."

I love having positive people in my life.
Who doesn't?

You know I dream in color.
And do the things I want.
I stand a little taller.
I come back swinging.
This marvelous May
you hear me sing
: D
As ever,
-E-

p/s
There's something special about this man in red.
Excuse me. LOL.




p/s
I swear if there was another "red man" in the vicinity, I would pose with him too.
LOL.



Sunday, May 29, 2016

Pumpkins & Figs | Sunnah Food Campaign Video Competition (SFCVC)

Bismillah.

This is the last call for those wishing to enter the Sunnah Food Campaign Video Competition (SFCVC). The last day to register is May 30th, 2016.

Registration is through online at www.alfalahtv.net

It's a wonderful experience meeting our supporters particularly the faculty members at selected unis in Malaysia and their enthusiastic students.

When we initiate something, it is not because we are an expert in the field. We learn by doing. We do something for example SFCVC as a means to inform ourselves and others.

I now become more aware of khal (vinegar) and that dates vinegar is the best (the most organic) khal there is. That figs are a natural anti-oxidant and thus is good to fight aging. These days whenever I eat out, or whenever I travel, I would look out for sunnah foods, be it on the menu or at the grocers/local markets.       

Ramadhan is around the corner, here are some pics of pumpkins and figs to get us thinking about sunnah foods. Let's consume more Prophetic foods which are nutrient rich especially in the holy month of Ramadhan so that we would remain energetic and upbeat.


Grilled pumpkins with Cajun spice.
Super yummy!
At Las Vacas Restaurant KL
Pumpkin soup
- also from Las Vacas Restaurant
All natural canned figs.
A product of France, sold at Isetan KL
 believe it or not.
I was surprised to see dried figs sold at a traditional village
in Japan. I only knew about figs from Mecca and Madinah.
Travel broadens one's mind.
[The red/orangey thingy next to the figs are
dried cherry tomatoes. Dr. N: I'll save some for you.
Welcome back to KL!]


Lastly, I am pleased to introduce Baron Abas, who is one of the three jury for Sunnah Food Campaign Video Competition. He is a videography expert. I am delighted that a non-Muslim professional like him is supportive of the Sunnah Food Campaign Video Competition.






Allah gives us many good ideas throughout our lives. In fact, at least one good idea comes to our mind on a daily basis. But in reality, countless ideas came and went. 

When I got the idea for SFCVC, I was determined to not let it escape me. I was determined to work on it against all odds. In fact, I still am determined to stand by it because if I let it go, the Lord might not grant any more good ideas. I thought if I embraced it and faced all the challenges that come with it, Allah might give me more cool ideas, again and again and again. Bi iznillah.

Here are two postcards I created as a reminder to me and all.





Wish yáll a productive week ahead.
May we have a week full of ideas.
And may Allah grant us the strength to work on them and stand by them.


Friday, May 27, 2016

Like what you see? | Oh, the places we will go

Bismillah.

Assalamualaikum folks,

Wanted to post this earlier today around 13:18 Friday the 27th of May just because I liked what I saw - the cute lil penguins reminded me of you LOL. 



I actually thought of sharing some of the lovely photos I have been receiving from Microsoft every two days or so. They have got a question at the top right corner: "Like what you see?"

This is another nice one:


Yes, we all like it that we don't have to think about taking nice pics and changing our wallpaper every now and again. Don't we like to have people do the thinking for us for as many things as possible? Wouldn't it be nice to have someone topping up our bank accounts every two days and each time we "desire some cash" and approach the ATM, there's a pop up question on the screen that says: "Like what you see?"

LOL

The first time I used an ATM machine in Singapore many years back, I burst into laughter seeing the menu question: "Do you desire some cash?" Oh yes!

***
May you receive plenty of blessings today especially our readers from abroad or outside KL. Distance is sweet. It's amazing how much love and kind thoughts could fill up the distance between us. We are connected. As long as there is a connection in the heart, physical distance becomes immaterial. Praise be to Allah who brings ulfa between people's hearts.

It is Allah who creates the variety of interests in our hearts too. So let's embrace all the little signs that show up and keep having positive expectations that every step we take and every effort we make, will bring us very good outcomes, one day, bi iznillah.

Oh, the places we will go, as a result of His bounties.

Alhamdulillahi hamdan yuwafi
niámahu wa yukafi u mazidah 


The weekend is here : )
Not seen in pic is British Vogue magazine centenary edition,
just because my mother, yes my mother asked me to get it,
just because HRH the Duchess of Cambridge is on the cover!


Saturday, May 21, 2016

Allah will take your right for you | His forgiveness is all that matters

Bismillah.

On this blessed night of Nisfu Shaaban I cannot possibly quote anything better than this advice offered by our Qurratu Ain - Shaykh Dr Muhammad Al Ninowy:

"Allah is more just than you can ever be. Drop the grudge in your heart. Allah will take your right for you. But don't hate. Don't turn your heart into a garbage of hatred. Your heart is supposed to be filled with love, not hate! Because hate will consume you!"

"Because today we are talking about Laylatun Nisfi - Shaaban specifically. If you are exposed to the mercies of Allah on that night, you will be granted forgiveness. Can you believe it? Forgiveness!"

May we be exposed to the mercies of Allah. May we belong with those lucky souls who win His forgiveness. His forgiveness is all that matters. We should not care too much about anything else. Everything else is petty, is negligible as compared to the gift of His forgiveness.



So, rejoice : )

WaSalamualaikum warahmatullah.

  

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Face North | Kedah - Perlis

Bismillah.

For the sake of a couple of special readers from abroad, here are some photos from my weekend getaway to two inseparable northern-most states in Peninsular Malaysia namely Kedah and Perlis. 

Malaysia, I realize as I travel more and more to every nook and crany, is indeed a beautiful and special country. Each state has its own unique attractions. I am proud to be a Malaysian : )

We were in Kedah to promote the Sunnah Food Campaign Video Competition (SFCVC) at the one and only prominent uni in the state. I was particularly impressed that the dean of the faculty we met was a lady. And the speaker we invited to give a talk on sunnah food delivered a touching speech relating to Prophet Muhammad salallah alaihi wasalam. We will post the recordings on Al Falah TV Youtube channel soon Insha Allah.

The highlight of my trip was seeing a band of cute boys marching out of a cave - a tourist spot in Perlis - in their jubah (thobe). It's amazing how Allah could engulf the heart with so much joy just by looking at them!

Qurratu Ain they are.
The boys must have enjoyed their trip to Gua Kelam
- a small touristy cave in Perlis
Inside Gua Kelam, Perlis, Malaysia.
Perlis is famous for a type of mango known as Harum Manis
[Sweet Fragrant] which is only available once a year in April/May. 
Harum Manis [Sweet Fragrant] is literally just that:
sweet and fragrant.
The texture is smooth, almost like a wagyu beef.
One kg of Harum Manis costs between RM36 to RM50.
Regret this pic turned out blurry.
I wanted to capture the joy on the boy's face.
He is 13 and was alone manning the stall
and attending to us before his father joined him

Speaking of responsible young boys, I was deeply touched when a boy [barely 4 feet tall] approached me as I was having  a meal at Perlis' popular restaurant Anjung Keli. He came by to the table promptly introducing himself and his products saying: ''Saya jual cendul" [I am selling cendul].

Cendul is a local dessert made of strips of green jelly, coconut milk and palm sugar.

Like most people, I was surprised to see such a young boy having so much confidence going around the restaurant when he should be sitting with his family having lunch like everyone else. Not knowing how to respond to this calm looking boy, I asked him "Cendul apa?" [What kind of cendul?] And he replied as a matter of fact, explaining his products. ["Ada cendul, ada santan dan gula!"]

I found out later that this boy is famous for his trade, helping his mother sells cendul by walking around the small town of Kangar, Perlis. May Allah ease their affairs and grant them plenty of rizq. May we be more grateful for His bounties. Ameen.

Shame on people like me who spends on nice to have things and comfort foods just because. But then I bought Pekasam (fermented fish) just because my mother loves it.


Pekasam stall in Perlis.
A must buy item when in Perlis anytime of the year,
unlike the Harum Manis mangoes which is only available once a year

Royce is a "just because purchase" when you are at KL International Airport, especially for all of you who love this Japanese (Hokkaido based) chocolate maker. Yes Royce is the new choc on the block at the choc shops at KLIA.

Early bird catches the Royce
And yes it was worth it catching an early morning flight for a CSR program at Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM).

Was fun bumming around UUM
School of Multimedia Technology and Communication
[Look forward to bumming around a uni abroad, next month. YaHuu!]

May Allah accept our small efforts in doing something worthwhile for the society and for the deen although we are not the most pious of people.

Visit Malaysia yáll. It's a beautiful country from up north down to the south and to the east.

May we have a pleasant and productive week ahead. If the week gets too much to handle, go on a flight mode [or Airplane mode if you are using an iPhone]. Even if you are not flying, just set it on that mode to take a break from phone calls, WhatsApps and whatnots.


Airplane mode.
Can't resist promoting Apple watch ; )
Alhamdulillah
p/s
Dr. P: Thanks for having us and for the goodies : )

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Thank God It's Thursday

Bismillah.

Hello! Apa Khabar?
That's '"how are you" in the Malay language.

My company is having a new social campaign. We are encouraged to greet people we encounter in the elevator, anywhere and everywhere. It's a simple act which we take for granted. Of course, for Muslims it would be better to say Assalamualaikum but "Hello! Apa Khabar?" is more suitable a phrase for all, including a non-Muslim Malaysian.

Am grateful and happy to be attached to the company. Today is another hectic yet fruitful and happy day at work. Thank God It's Thursday and we have accomplished many tasks for the week.

On a personal basis, I am looking forward to this weekend to promote Sunnah Food Campaign Video Competition (SFCVC) to another group of bright youngsters InSha Allah. And I so look forward to traveling abroad again soon to master a new subject which I know nothing about. 

It's going to be A-OK because Erica Jong, an American poet and novelist says:    




Let's praise Allah for whatever small talent we have got. Praise Allah for good health, for good fortune, for good times. And the list goes on.

Alhamdulillahi hamdan yuwafi 
ni amahu wayukafi u mazidah.

***

On a lighter note, check out this video. Great talents taking their craft to a dark place and it's beautiful, it's a beautiful dark place because the ever spectacular Mount Fuji is in the background.
  



[I miss you Fuji-san]

Monday, May 9, 2016

She's the best | Those that sing best

Bismillah.

Hope you have had a wonderful [official] Mother's Day celebration yesterday. I say official because unofficially every day is a mother's day. 

I bought my mom an advance Mother's Day gift from my Japan trip and she used it for the first time, yesterday. So sweet : ) One little thing she said yesterday made me realize that she cares and pays attention to the littlest of things about me. As we were getting ready to go out and I was torn between three boots to put on, she chose for me and decisively at that. Even though my mom is pushing 80, she has got good taste and instinctively knows which boots would look better with what kind of outfit. So cool!

Our mothers want us to sing even though we are not the best of singers. They want us to be the best version of ourselves. They want us to express ourselves confidently, believe in our own capabilities, and believe in ourselves wholeheartedly regardless of people's opinions. They want us to rise and shine freely and joyfully like the sun, even if one million hands try to block its ray.



I say: Sing like you are the best singer even if you are not and who cares if you are not the best singer. Because as far as our mothers are concerned, our voice is the sweetest of all, our tone is the most melodious there is and that we are those that sing best : D

And I  put my best foot forward for each task at hand, every time, all for my mother's sake. She's the best!

Always put your best foot forward

p/s
Aunty Shabeena & Dr. P: 
Happy Mother's Day. You know you are a fantastic mother : )

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Panorama | Panoramic life

Bismillah.

Kuala Lumpur
Sunday Morning
8 May 2016

Assalamualaikum
Good Morning folks : )

Hope you are feeling good this Sunday morning, as good as I do cos I am meeting people of beneficial knowledge again today. 

Alhamdulillah, it's all rizq from Allah, good knowledgeable and supportive persons we meet on day to day basis are all part of Allah's provisions.

You might notice that my activities have changed a lot as my focus changes. I do not attend majlis ta'alim as frequently as before. Nowadays, we have got endless streaming of majlis taálim 24/7 coming to us without us having to leave home. I get at least four recordings of talks delivered on daily basis and I must say it's overwhelming. You can't practically spend hours watching or listening to them.

Of course at Exa Publishing our role and vision is to produce one major content which is still WIP and we foresee sharing the good yields with plenty of people, bi iznillah and Insha Allah.

You know they say money talks BS walks. There can only be so few people preaching, there ought to be people who play the supporting roles because there are just too many good projects that require funding. A friend of mine is in need of SGD100,000 for a pre-school in China. So things like this make me think. For how long do we want to be a passive attendee, audience or listener of religious talks? Do we do it as an escapism to get in the feel good zone? 

There is a huge variety of good "religious activities" that one can do and one can choose to be an active doer or giver or just sit, watch and listen. Certainly, the real scene is panoramic, beyond the one small screenshot that we often see.

May Allah make us a receptacle of His abundant bounties. May Allah make us a conduit of good beneficial works. Ameen.

Friday, May 6, 2016

In the way that He loves

Bismillah.

Time flies. Rajab is about to end. Today is the last Friday in Rajab. May Allah let us live to see Shaaban and Ramadhan. Ameen.

This space is not a go-to place for azkar/wirid. The Muwasala.org is my go-to place for great Islamic practices.

And for Rajab, here is the link: Rajab Practices
There are a few wirid recommended by Habib Umar bin Hafiz, and we are to recite it 3000 times.

Below is my pick and I have created a poster for it with a picture of flowers from the Far East. 

أَسْتَغْفِرُ اللهَ لِما يَعْلَمُهُ الله أَسْتَغْفِرُ اللهَ كَما يُحِبُّهُ الله 
Astaghfirullah lima yaqlamuhullah
Astaghfirullah kama yuhibbuhullah




Speaking of the Far East, I will soon share some photos of charity work which are being carried out in China by one amazing lady. If you think you are 'holier than others' in terms of good deeds (amal) you would be ashamed of yourself if you knew how tireless and dedicated this woman is. And the amount of contribution she has been making to Islam and the underprivileged Muslims in China is incomparable. That is why she was once listed as one of the 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World. I cherish being in her circle, hoping that I would not be too far behind her in the realm of akhirah. May Allah keep us occupied in the way that He loves.

Until then, Jummah Mubarak.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

May | Dedicate Your Heart

Bismillah.

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah.
It is Allah who makes us laugh and cry.

Of course we want to laugh more during the holidays and dedicate our hearts to good times but let's not forget those who may not be as fortunate as we are. 

Apart from eating and more eating in Penang. My clan and I went for a "Donut ride" in the sea. It's more heart-stopping than the water rides at Disneyland, Universal Studios Japan or Universal Studios Singapore, as far as I can recall.

You should give it a try if you happen to be in the touristy Batu Feringgi area in Penang. It might sound easy like a donut, you know easy to chew, light and fluffy, but the "Donut ride" was 180 degree opposite of that. I swear I will think of donuts differently now. Below is the before photo. In the after donut-ride photo, we all looked like a twisted Pretzel. LOL. 




I survived solo para-sailing too.
and landed on both feet, mind you.
Dedicate your heart to good times.
Watching thousands of cars driving into Penang for the long weekend - Labor Day holiday.
Not seen in pic is: BBQ pit and racks of lamb chops :)


OK folks, enough of leisure time, it's back to work and productive days ahead.

May this month of May be blissful and full of joy and success. 

Alhamulillahillazi hamdan yuwafi
niámahu wa yukafi u mazidah