Monday, 31 March 2014 2 comments

MY MUSLIM JOURNEY: About wearing the Hijab


It was a long time ago since I last wrote on my blog. So today, I decided to post something that I had written not very long ago.
My American roommate (who's a Catholic) once asked me, “Why are there Muslims who do not wear hijab?” I tried not to be baffled when I heard this question from her. Indeed, I had thought that this day would come and I had kind of saved some answers with me should anyone ask this. I’m glad that I could see this coming because it gave me the chance to come up with some answers beforehand. It also gives me a reason to have some reflection on it, because as someone who had been wearing hijab since the age of 12, I guess you could say that there’s no reason for me to think about this since I am supposedly to be on the ‘right path’. Why do indeed some Muslims choose not to cover their aurat? Does this mean that they are the less better Muslims than the rest of the Muslims who do cover their aurat? What makes you a ‘good Muslim’ really?
So with the answers that I had rehearsed in my head before, this is what I said to her or for some parts, wish to say to her since I probably hadn’t been able to say everything that I wanted to. Firstly, I want you to know that it’s not just wearing the hijab. For Muslims, we are told to cover our aurat, which is some parts of your body that are not allowed to be shown to the opposite gender except for your family members (yes, I’m making a generalization here). The women are not allowed to show every inch of their body parts except for the hands and the face. So, to cover the hair, we wear hijab. And because we can only show our two hands, that’s why you would notice that women who wear the hijab would also wear long sleeve tops. We are also not allowed to wear something that is too revealing, like too much makeup or clothing that are too tight, because then there’s no point of trying to cover your aurat really. (Should I say that this is a struggle for everyone, even for myself?)

Then, to answer her real question as in to why some Muslim women don’t wear hijab, I said to her that maybe they are just not ready yet, that God still hasn’t opened up their heart to wear the hijab. “But do they know that it’s compulsory?” she asked. I said, of course they do, but again like I said they still haven’t been able to get themselves to wear the hijab. It might have been easy for me, because I grew up in a community where wearing the hijab is perceived as a must if you are a Muslim and a woman. Simply put, if you’re a Muslim girl/woman, then you are expected to wear the hijab. My mother and most of my women relatives, friends and neighbours cover their head when they are out in the public. Plus, the schools that I went to from the elementary school to high school were majorly consisted of the Muslim students so it’s a normal sight to see Muslim girls wearing the hijab to school. The same situation might not have happened to those women. Finally, I told her one thing that I personally feel strongly about. Wearing the hijab doesn’t guarantee that you have passed the test to being a good Muslim or a good human being in general. So it really saddens me when some people bluntly brand the Muslim women who do not cover their aurat (or wear hijab) as bad Muslims. Even if you perform everything that is required of you as a Muslim, say, praying five times a day, fasting or going to Mecca to perform the hajj, but you behave to other people (or other God’s creatures) with a badly manner, that clearly isn’t a portrayal of a good human being what more of a good Muslim. Based on my own experience, I know a few friends of mine who don’t wear the hijab who are actually more polite and well-mannered than some of my friends who do wear them. So you shouldn’t judge someone’s faith just because she/he doesn’t commit to one part of a Muslim’s life. Of course, wearing the hijab is compulsory; and everyone should work on improving their faith to God. We ended the conversation by her saying, “Syazana, you’re so lenient.”

I figure that her last words was a sort of compliment for me because she might have expected that I would give her a more conservative opinion considering that I wear the hijab. I’m not sure whether it’s because I’m being lenient or just sensible, but I guess as I grow older I come to realize that it doesn’t matter of how much ibadah that you have performed, but if it doesn’t influence you towards becoming a better person in terms of your attitude and personality, then something must have gone wrong somewhere. It could have been that Allah does not bless your ibadah because you are also committing far sinful acts at the same time or that you are only doing them to show off, Wallahua’lam. On a side note, it really warms my heart to know that my roommate wasn’t afraid of asking this question to me because it gave me a hint that she was comfortable to discuss this kind of matter with me. Maybe because I am easy and comfortable to approach? I don't know, I hope so. So for that, I really want to thank her. To me, discussing Islamic matters either with other Muslims or non-Muslims is a really good thing to do from time to time because that’s one way of testing how much knowledge and understanding do you really have about that particular Islamic matter despite of you having to perform it since you were so young. Wallahua’lam.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013 1 comments

MyBOOKreview: It by Stephen King

Here goes another book review of Stephen King’s after the previous one. It’s not that I decided to do a reading marathon of his novels; I just couldn’t find time to write about the other novels that I read due to time constraint or should I say that procrastination also got in the way. I decided to give Stephen King another try after being slightly disappointed by his The Shining. It wasn’t that it was not a good story – it had many good reviews – the horror just didn’t do it for me. However, I made a great decision to read his other bestseller, It, as it is not only powerful in term of the story contents but the way the story is constructed is hands down genius. It is also probably one of the longest novels that I had read with near to 1000 pages. It was published long before I was born, in 1986, but only until now that I have the chance to get my hands on it.


What It is about?

    The story revolves around the friendship of seven fifth grade children, which they themselves call as The Losers, in Derry, Maine. All of them didn’t begin as friends but they were united after sharing their strange occurrences to each other. Bill Denbrough, after the death (or more accurately, the murder) of his younger brother, George, found a photo album that his brother kept and saw a picture of his brother winking at him followed by blood coming out from the photograph. Ben Hanscom saw a mummy holding some floating balloons in falling snow after he got back from the library. Eddie Kapsbrak was chased by a werewolf in an abandoned house. Beverly had her bathroom smeared with blood all over, which only she could see but not her dad, after a balloon came out of the sink and popped by itself. Stan Uris was almost caught by something that he thought of a strange underwater creature. Mike Hanlon, while strolling in an abandoned field was chased down by a giant bird. Only the seventh kid, Richie Tozier, who didn’t experience any weird encounters like his friends did at the beginning. Every about 27 years, the town of Derry will be visited by the strange disappearances of young children which no one could explain. In fact, no one even noticed about the cycle of the event as in Derry, people come and go and forget. The monster which The Losers called as It did not only take one form when It goes down hunting for kids. It would appear in the form that the child’s mine is mostly scared of. In the case of Ben and Eddie, they saw It as a mummy and a werewolf because they happened to recently watch some shows which featured those monsters. As their friendship built, they had  to face a few incidents against It while at the same time having to deal with the notorious school bully, Henry Bowers, and his few other accomplices. They finally made the decision to kill It, which they did, and swore to come back to Derry again when they grow up if It comes back. Their childhood time was set in 1958 and 27 years after, in 1985, they were called by Mike who was the only one from the Losers club to have stayed in the town. Strange news about children disappearance had started to take place again and convinced that it meant for the return of It, every one of them made their way back to Derry to make up for their promise. Everyone got the call from Mike, but only six came back; Stan killed himself in the bathtub after hearing the news from Mike. The twist for this time is that they had all forgotten what had happened when they fought with It. They forgot about how their first encounters with It were like, let alone how they fought with It. As the story grows, they begin to have recollections of what had happened 27 years back until they found out their way to the underground tunnel and killed It in its lair just like what they did when they first put It down. 

Why It is worth a reading

    In the beginning, I found it hard to understand how the story would go like. The first chapter started with the story of how Bill’s brother was killed by It who appeared as a clown, a form that It would usually use when making appearances to the children. It was in the year of 1958. And suddenly the second chapter jumped into the year of 1985. That was another story about a young man who was murdered in a river during the town’s fair. All of the witnesses claimed to see a clown wearing white gloves and pompom buttons on its shirt while holding some balloons doing something like biting the man’s arms. To be honest, I was a little clueless after reading the first two long chapters and thought that it was just a random move made by the author to tell about the horrendous murders performed by It in two different periods. Later in the story that I know that there was the 27 years cycle which would start with one big massacre which kills many people of that town. This information I got after reading the excerpts of a diary about Derry that Mike Hanlon kept and sought to publish to explain about the weird incidents that were taking place in Derry (which in the end he decided not to publish). And then the novel continues with the individual stories of the 6 children (except for Mike because he was the one in Derry and so who made the calls) who had become grownups now that it was the year of 1985, about what had happened to them after they left Derry and how they reacted after they got the calls from Mike to come back to Derry. There was no hint about It at first, and there was no in depth stories of what were they thinking after getting the calls. Later (probably some few long chapters after), it was revealed that they had all forgotten about what had happened in their childhood. They remembered of It and how terrible It had been, but they couldn’t quite get the stories in detail. As I read further, I begin to pick up details as they began to regain their memory once they were reunited in Derry. At first glance, it was pretty doubtful to learn that they had nothing to recall from the memory of their childhood, especially since they were the ones who fought with It and ended the event in 1958. Yet again, they were all adults now and had their own ways, and most importantly they had left Derry. Surely their childhood moments would have faded with time even the horrifying ones.

   I am such impressed of how the story goes. It would go back and forth between 1985 and 1958 and you would find yourself picking up the puzzles here and there and putting them in the right spots until you are able to finally see the complete picture and you will be thinking, “Ah, so that’s what happened.”. If there was something that I wasn’t very clear about, I know that I have the confidence in the author because from the way he writes it, he would surely make the matter known with minute details. I know that I can surely find the missing pieces that I had in my mind as I was reading, if not very soon then in the later parts of the novel. It’s not like when you watch some movies where you would have questions like “So what happens to this person?” or “What does he mean when he says this?”, I felt completely satisfied after finishing the story. The way the story was constructed felt to me as the biggest part of the novel and what makes it so powerful. To think about how he managed to put it all together like that just awed me very much. The novel alternates from a story of one character to another and from a period to another period a lot, but King successfully guides the readers and not make them lost in his storytelling.       
   
   I also found that as I read more about the characters, I’d grown to fond each of them. Every characters is very distinctive to one another and because King writes about almost the full history and background of each of them, it felt to me as if I’ve known them like I know my real friends: Big Bill as the leader of the club, Ben with his building skills, Eddie with his excellent navigation, Bev the sharp shooter, Richie the man of many voices and Stan being the smartest one. When conversation takes place between the seven main characters, King writes it in a way that makes you feel as if you are being in the same scene with them and that you are sharing the same concern that they have. 

  My initial expectation from reading the novel was simply to get haunted by the story. But I get more than that. The superior way of King’s writing adds a striking element to the novel, and it is definitely very much worth a reading. Definitely one of the best novels I had ever read.

Saturday, 22 June 2013 0 comments

APPLYING TO U.S. COLLEGES

Wow it has been awhile since I last wrote. I recall wanting to write about my trip to LA on the last spring break but I kept delaying until I got to a point where I didn't feel excited to write about it anymore *sigh*. Anyhow, just about two or three weeks ago, I wrote a document on Facebook about how to apply to U.S. colleges and shared it with a couple of groups that I'm in on Facebook. I felt like doing it because apparently almost at the same time I have a few friends who are in their preparation under the American degree program in Malaysia and some who had already got their scholarships to pursue their studies in the US asking me about how to literally start from the beginning upon applying to American colleges, hence I thought it will be the best to just share the same thing to everyone or else I would keep repeating over the same thing for each persons asking.

Rumbling done, let's start now.

How do I know which university to apply to?

You could start by surveying the schools which offer good programs/courses for your intended major.
  • You may want to check the ranking, although you don't necessarily have to rely on it; it is always a good thing to check out the list of good schools for your major. For instance, Blossom is planning to do a major in Chemical Engineering. She could check out this list from colleges.usnews for Chemical Engineering

        
            Or this one from QS World Ranking:


Note: You may want to make sure that the schools that you are looking at are for undergrad NOT the grad schools because some programs might be excellent for grad studies but not necessarily for undergrad.

  • And go to each of the colleges that you're interested in and check the courses that they offer.
This is a comparison between University of Wisconsin-Madison and University of Texas-Austin.



Note: You can think of "School" and "College" like "Fakulti/Faculty" in Malaysian universities. For instance, in the US we might call it College of Engineering while in Malaysia it could be called as Faculty of Engineering.


What are the tests that I should take before applying?
  • Standard Aptitude Test I (or known as SAT I)
  • Standard Aptitude Test II (or called SAT Subject Test or SAT II)
Note: For both SATs you could start by going to College Board. This is where you will register for the tests. They also offer some practices and books that you can purchase to prepare for the test.
  • TOEFL test
Note: Link to TOEL website.


Some colleges require you to take more than one SAT subject test, some require you none. You have to check what they want for the application.

Here is an example for University of Texas-Austin




































How to apply?

Now this part gets a little tricky. There are apparently two ways of application.

  • First is through The Common Application or CommonApp for short. A lot of the colleges especially the private ones use this site. It is in fact easier because you basically have to fill in the basic information like your personal information, school activities and test scores ONCE. The difference is this one section called as Supplements. For this part, each colleges will ask you specific questions for short answers and long answers (or essay).
This is an example of the Supplements for University of Chicago. Note: look at the last page for essay questions

  • The second way is through the college's application site. This works mostly for public/state universities like University of California and University of Wisconsin. For these universities, you can't apply through the commonapp, but you would have to go to their own specific application website. 
Here's an example for University of California's application website


Based on my own experience applying to University of California, if you apply to more than one colleges say UC Berkeley and UCLA, you will just have to fill the application once (including the essay questions) and send the same application to both. The more you apply, the more that you have to pay; this works not only for state colleges but also when you're applying through the CommonApp.


I think I have covered mostly everything. The application process can get a little tricky sometimes so I hope I could untangle any technical problems that you might encounter and to give you the idea of what should be going on so that you can concentrate more on writing for the application.Feel free to email me with your questions if you have one. If you're currently applying, I wish you all the best!


Sunday, 31 March 2013 0 comments

WINTER QUARTER IN REVIEW


Hi and Assalamualaikum to all, it’s been a while since I last updated my blog and the reasons for that are because (1) college life is so hectic and (2) I can’t really find a good thing to talk about :P Anyhow, school just ended about a week ago and it’s almost the end of spring break. I’m so glad and thankful that it all went well, the finals and the spring break. Winter quarter was much much better than the first quarter, and I’ve experienced and learnt a lot of things. Just so if you don’t know, my college is using the quarter system instead of the more known semester system, which basically means that it is as if there are 3 months instead of 5-6 months in a ‘semester’. So here are some highlights from the whole 3 months of winter quarter


I'VE BEEN TAKING A LOT OF FUN CLASSES

So I didn’t get into the general chemistry class needed for my major as it was quickly filled up, and I did feel bad about myself because, how come I am not taking a Chemistry class when Chemistry is my major? So because of that, I’ve decided to take all the fun classes (my definition of classes that are not related/required for my major) for this quarter. Plus, since a Chemistry class would usually take up to 5 units, I have to find at most two other classes to compensate for that. Anyway, so I registered myself for Art History (Roman to Renaissance Art), Astronomy (Stars,Galaxies and Universe) and Geology (Oceanography) classes (aside from the Calculus class) and they were terrific! To begin with, all my lecturers especially for Art History and Calculus, were the best that I had so far. And secondly, I just felt for the first time in college, that I was learning something about how the world (the universe and ocean, for my case) works like. Not saying badly about the other subjects I learnt in school e.g. Biology and Chemistry, they are very significant indeed, but I have yet to see my knowledge to take place in the real world until I actually apply them on research. So here are some of the exciting things that I learnt from the three subjects:

Church of Saint Anne in Annaberg, Germany. This church from the Gothic art blows my mind by its complex and decorative vaulting

Garden of Earthly Delights by Bosch from Early Renaissance in Northern Europe.  This awes me so much through its creative rendition for every minute detail of the figures. It is so ambiguous that it can make you to look into the painting and ponder for so long

Study of tides from Geology class

This is only a small part of what I learned in Astronomy class.  This is considered as one of the approach for the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI). In 1974, this short message was broadcast to the globular cluster M13 encoded in radio frequencies. We have yet to receive any replies (which is most probably going to be here very much later, if there is any civilizations out there)  

MET THREE NEW FRIENDS FROM TAIWAN, NEW ZEALAND AND AUSTRALIA

A good thing of getting engaged in club activities is that you’re going to meet new friends, and fortunately for me I got to meet these three friends all from different countries. It was definitely a good time, meeting up with them for dinner and snacks in between the stressful school weeks. Now I know whose place to hit when I go to these countries haha! Too bad, they are only exchange students and will be leaving this year :(


That's Grace, me, Joanne and Stephanie. Hanging out with them is always a good time

LESSON LEARNT; YOU WILL NEVER KNOW WHEN BAD LUCK IS GOING TO HIT YOU


My friends especially Shark my former roommate, would definitely understand me (and probably be shaking their heads again and again) if I told them that I’d lost two bikes in two months. Okay, to begin with, I have to admit that it was my fault for leaving the bikes unlocked. Well, actually I didn’t mean to because on the first incident, I was catching up a bus and the second one, I had to go to a class when I realized that my keys were missing (this really depicted the Malay proverb, “sudah jatuh ditimpa tangga”). Sigh. Whatever it is, I could blame no one, because it was under my responsibility and I should have taken care of them better. It struck me a little because just went I left them unlocked (which I so rarely did) that the thieves found them. In memory of my bikes, Diamondback and Trek, I still hope I will find you both somewhere.

Bought as a secondhand

This one was brand new, lost about two weeks after purchase. Talk about how carelessness strikes you back.


BAKING IS A WHOLE LOT OF FUN!


I have recently developed a reasoning to avoid myself from being too occupied with studying (or being in the internet) and it is through baking! In the middle of the quarter, I‘ve been baking for almost every weeks that I felt I had gone out of control. I also found that it is a good way to avoid myself from buying snacks on the campus stores because I can just pack the cookies/pastries that I made from home to school.

Some of the baking that I did


PROGRESS ON TAEKWONDO

As I have shared, one of my resolutions for this year is to be tested for black belt. However, I figured that since I have just started after not practicing for almost 2 years before, I still need to brush up my techniques (especially my sparring) and recall all the forgotten taeguek. I have to learn Korean too, how fun. Hence, this means that I should have to wait until next year to be fully prepared as the next grading will start on August this year. So here goes my mission that I shall name as BLACK BELT 2014.

FOUND A PLACE FOR NEXT YEAR

Thankfully, after a very long search (well actually it was probably no more than three weeks), I have found the perfect place to stay for next year (or more accurately academic year) that is (1) nearest to campus, (2) with reasonable price, (3) organized and clean place and (4) friendly roommate. Now that I could take the bane off my shoulder, I could focus on some other things like maybe looking for a job or join in a research. But seriously, the whole experience made me feel like being an adult, WHICH I am not yet! (I’m still 17!)


STUDIES ARE MORE ORGANIZED (THANKS TO THE HELP OF WEEKLY AND MONTHLY ORGANIZER)

As a college student, I have come to the realization of how significant it is of being organized with your schedule. The proof is; I can see them from my quizzes/exams results. When I was in high school, despite of the tight schedule, I had never even considered of making a timetable not even for my studies and I still could do very well in school. Well probably because I have friends who would always remind each other of what classes that we’re having tomorrow and when a particular assignment should be submitted and we all basically would have the same schedule. However, when you’re in college, you’re pretty much on your own and one could hardly have the same schedule as the other so it is very important for you to keep track of your own schedule. I recall during the first quarter, I took the college life so easily and underestimated it, that I found myself to always lose track of my readings and assignments. Alhamdulillah, I managed to change for the better this quarter.

Look at that, exam one after another, luckily I kept myself aware of them ahead of time through the weekly and monthly organizers


OFFICE HOURS ARE VERY HELPFUL INDEED

I have always thought that the lecturers and teaching assistants to be so generous and kind-hearted for spending their time to entertain the students and to solve their problems on the materials learnt. I didn’t go to most of the office hours, but I went more often than the last quarter. Personally, I like it a lot because you could talk to the lecturers more personally and sometimes they will give you explanations that they didn’t have the chance to do so in lectures. If you’re lucky, when no other students are using the office hour, your session will last longer and it will sometimes be more of a chatting session aside from just asking about the questions. Bottom line, this is a good resource that you should make use of if your college is offering the service.


LOST A FAIR AMOUNT OF WEIGHT

Over the winter break, I was so surprised that I lost so much weight because I had the impression that it would be the opposite. My theory is probably because I didn’t go to the dining hall for meals where I would usually have a heavy meal accompanied with a fattening dessert. I also had a few sport practices every week like taekwondo, racquetball (for my physical education class) and table tennis that it is still alright if I miss going to the gym. I probably lost over 15 pounds, life’s good.

WENT TO LA FOR SPRING BREAK!

So this is the highlight of my winter quarter. No homeworks whatsoever and I got to visit my good friends at UCLA. Luckily that it was easy to get to places and we had so much fun hitting all kind of hot spots nearly every day when I was there. Plus, all the movie nights, Vishal and Stella were definitely excellent hosts! Since I went to a number of interesting places, I think I’ll blog about it next time.

I really had a wonderful time in LA. Thanks for hosting me guys!




Friday, 1 February 2013 0 comments

SOiBAKED: Blueberry Whoopie Pie

Greetings to everyone, last weekend was fun for me because I had my first attempt in baking, yay! So I happened to buy this book called The Whoopie Pie by Claire Ptak and decided to start right away. The baking is super easy and it would only take (for beginner like me) about less than 2 hours. The best part about this recipe is that you can easily substitute blueberry with other fruits like strawberry or blackberry. So here's how they looked like after they're done:

Seems legit, no?

Alhamdulillah, this could be a good beginning to my 2013 resolution. Baking is very exciting and I hope that I can develop this interest further and be very skilled at it. Like my mom said, " Baguslah ada improvement, senanglah kalau nak makan cookies boleh buat sendiri, lebih bersih dan halal. Nanti balik Malaysia bolehla buat." Thanks, Ma :)



Friday, 25 January 2013 2 comments

MyBOOKreview: 11/22/63 by Stephen King


THIS IS MY FIRST TIME DOING A BOOK REVIEW. I read a lot and during these days I try to force myself to read not that because I’ve not become interested with books anymore  but the fact is college life is very demanding, sometimes when you have no assignments or that you’ve finished doing them, it doesn’t mean that you’re as free as a bird. You would still have to prepare for the next class and sometimes readings for classes can consume much of your time. Now, I kind of get it when I recall the statistic about college students reading only an average of one book per year. But still, I do not want to make this as an excuse, hence I try to motivate myself to read at least one book per month.

     Just about a week ago, I finished reading another novel by Stephen King called 11/22/63. Yup, you got it right, the date is the title (or the title is a date, just to add to the confusion :P). It’s so troubling that whenever someone asked me what book was I reading, I would have to say out the date as in, “November twenty-second of sixty-three”. Phew! Anyway, so far I have only read three novels from Stephen King and I would say that the first novel that I read, Full Dark, No Stars is by far the best one. Well, actually it’s not really a novel, it’s actually a collection of short stories but what I really love about it is that there was not one story that I didn’t like! Now continuing to the novel here…


The novel really has a nice and smart cover. This is the 'first page' of the front cover, a newspaper page reporting the assassination of JFK
Now, the second page of the front cover, is a newspaper page reporting that JFK and his wife, Jackie saved from the near-death incident. Pretty neat, huh?


SUMMARY

The theme of the book is time travelling. It tells a story of a guy named Jacob “Jake” Epping who was entrusted by a dying man named Al Templeton - who first found the rabbit-hole which brought anyone who passes through it to the year of 1958 from the current year of 2011- to stop the assassination of John. F Kennedy (35th President of the United States). Al Templeton himself had tried to get the job done but his mission was blocked when he found out that he was diagnosed with cancer. However, there’s a twist to this time travelling adventure, every time that someone goes through the rabbit hole, it means a reset to what that person or other person before him had done when he went to the past. Pretty confusing, no? So apparently, if you happen to follow the story of the president’s assassination, you would know that a man named Lee James Oswald had become the suspect for the crime, but because he was killed before he could do any confessions/denials at all, the mystery remains of who was/were the responsible one/ones. So the story mostly features Jake making a follow up to Lee Oswald until the day he is going to shoot the president.

CHARACTERS

There are a few interesting characters that I would like to highlight here. The first one is Al Templeton. Apparently, he was the guy who started all the plot of stopping the assassination of JFK. Before he even came up with this idea, he had been going back and forth to the year of 1958, to get meat supplies for his business. But soon after, he realizes that with this miracle he had found, he could actually do something that could change the world which then leads to the whole JFK idea. Next, there’s of course Jake Epping, the main character of the story. He is a high school English teacher, and somewhat is in his 30s. Personally, I would regard him as a random guy that Al Templeton chose to carry out the plan for him, as Jake Epping to me was just a normal everyday guy and had no deep attachment to the assassination of JFK. Anyhow, he is a really focused man and his bravery to take over the whole incident should be highly praised. He only went to the past three times; the first one to experiment with Harry Dunning’s family, the second and longest one to stop the assassination and the last one to reset the whole thing. A year or two before the assassination was to take place; he met Sadie, a new librarian at the high school he was teaching in the past, who then became the love of his life (or more accurately, the love of his life in the past). Both of these characters were married to somebody else and happened to be having conflicts in their marriages, Jake with his alcoholic wife and Sadie with her OCD inflicted husband. Sadie actually plays a very important part in the JFK plan, because she was the person who helped Jake to stop Lee James Oswald, but unfortunately she was killed by Lee instead. Lastly, Lee James Oswald, the antagonist is also portrayed as a very interesting character in the novel. Despite of him being the mastermind to murder the president (in the novel), he also had a soft spot for his family especially to his daughter June. He occasionally had fights with his Russian wife, Marina, but he was also shown to treat Marina and Jun with love and affection. The whole plot of assassinating JFK to me was because of his concern of the political corruption in the United States at that time.

WHAT I LIKE
  • First experience of reading a time travelling novel, which is not bad
  • Stephen King did a thorough or at least to me a convincible research of the settings involved and the background of Lee James Oswald
  • It brought suspense at the end of the novel, just when I thought that the novel was going to end with some typical or unimportant things at the end, apparently the last 20-30 pages were the most intense part. The last part is kind of disturbing too
  • Delicious twist
  • The use of metaphors such as “the past harmonizes itself”, “the past is obdurate” and “the butterfly effects” to portray how the past acts to stop anything that wants to change it
  • The fact that JFK is one of my favourite presidents adds to the anticipation, although the novel doesn't tell much about the president


WHAT I DON’T LIKE

  • Some scenes always jump to the XX scene or pound cake as they (Sadie and Jake) call it which got my eyes rolling every time.
  • At the end, after the whole thing, Jake was torn between his love for Sadie and his supposed duty to save the world.


All in all, I would give this novel 3.5 out of 5 stars!


Saturday, 19 January 2013 1 comments

My 2013 resolution

I know it's kind of late to post something like this as we have already passed the mid of January. But never mind, I just want to share my this year's resolution to the viewers. Never in my life before had I come up with some kind of list of what I want to accomplish of that certain year, but anyhow I feel that this year could be the beginning of it. Also because of the fact that I'm now in college, I should take my life much more seriously but at the same time not missing the excitement of life. I challenge myself to post this on public, thinking that if somehow anyone who happens to read this asks me anytime later in this year about this, at least I will get reminded. So here they are:

  1. Take the black belt test. (I have procrastinated too much!)
  2. Keep track of my schedule and money
  3. Join a marathon/long run
  4. Accomplish at least 5 things everyday
  5. Read Quran at least once a day
  6. Get at least A for every classes
  7. Work out 4-5 times a week
  8. Lose weight at least 7-10 kg
  9. Learn how to bake
  10. Go to an event/meeting/class 10 minutes earlier
 
;