Friday, February 24, 2012

It's been a while since I've gone for a proper date. 

Or just a date in that sense. 

The purpose of a date is essentially to provide a pair of potential or current couple a sensible amount of time in which both parties will be spending together in order to get to know each other better, closing the gaps of mutual understanding and differences, while in the mean time broadening up the field of sweet emotions in between. During a date a person will discover a lot more about the other person; the likes, the dislikes, the way of thinking, the essence of thoughts, and more importantly, the similarities in between these two lovers in the effort to conjoin the ever divided love into one following many times of sporting cupid campaigns. 

I sometimes find myself rather boring when it comes to date activities. 

Most of my time with my ex-loved ones were spent mostly in eateries of lounges and cafes where we found an extreme comfort with the furniture and the ambient, in which we dedicated a whole lot of time conversing with each other, sharing and exchanging thoughts from one another, having the best moments just the two of us together, in which later when the day ended we knew about our partner better. We often discussed things and change stories over endless cups of drinks as time passed by slowly, unnoticed. As if there was a bubble that surrounded us where we were caught sealed in our own world of dreams and imaginations, where nothing else matters. 

Occasionally my partner and I went for the movies, shopping and sightseeing like other couples do. I found go-kart race, horse riding and snorkeling rather exciting actually as dating activities, apart from kite flying, guitar practice and mini golfing, in that sense. In other occasions, most of our times were spent in book shops, where we went through one book after another, looking for some funny and catchy things within, in which will lead to our big laughs that drew the attention from other customers.

However, I must admit that I prefer spending hours and hours talking with my significant other half better than all those. The reason is simple - I could obtain a numerous collection of mental images of her, in which in my case, I find it to be the most appealing. 

Looking at a lady when she talks provide me an endless perspective. I'd enjoy observing my partner when she talks. The amount of expressions made make it interesting enough for me to decipher them all to feed my rather hungry mind often full with curiosity.

The way she looks at me. The way she licks her lips before saying something. That finger move she makes when she pulls her hair back. The way her cheeks move when she speaks. The way she folds her hand when she disagrees or pretends to be mad with what I say. That soft, silky voice as she utters one word after another. That tantalizing row of white teeth. The way she looks when she leads out a big laugh. That raised eyebrows when she finds my speech interesting. And many other lovely observations that could get me caught still in my seat as long as the conversation lasts. 

And I must say, a pair of eyes tell a lot of stories. 

There was one time, in the past of course, when I found myself sitting with my dear partner on a bench under a large tree in the evening, doing nothing but to stare at each other's eyes in a complete silence, wandering into each other's mind, looking for that beautiful truce and serenity. Sweet emotions ran wild as she let her face resting on my large hand as my thumb caressed her eyebrow gently, repeatedly, and in the same time she pressed her cheeks lavishly against the body of my warm palm, and still, not a word was spoken. Indescribable feelings. So much confidence in a time of so much uncertainties. That lips curved a rather sensual smile as she closed her eyes shut, and I sat there, still wondering what exactly was in her mind, and in the same time, finding myself fused to her slowly, speechless and dumbfounded I was, and our love grew a whole lot larger, never slightly, by just that slight movement of momentary awe.

And I swear, at that moment, I could have never felt any better. 

p/s: may I invite you for a date with me?

This is a story about platform number one.

Train is always fascinating. The way it moves; the way it cuts through the wind on its track and rattles the ground all over, it is beautiful.

It is always beautiful.

I am always grateful that i have met someone whom i placed dearly in my heart then and still, who happens to love trains as much as i do. She was always passionate about them locomotives and coaches, and it was always fun to go for a visit to the recently refurbished Ipoh Railway Station late at night to catch the passing trains; freights, cements, and as well two passenger trains moving back and forth.

Platform number one. That was where it all started. We used to walk next to next along the cold railway line from one end to another, and back again right after. We have walked the lane so many times that most of the railway men knew us. We have boarded and we abandoned every
train that came by. We waved to the passing train, hoping that love will remain tough and strong just like the locomotives are; pulling heavy burdens along the way without a hassle at all. What memories platform number one could give us that time.

And that was the place where I actually proposed to her. Right next to the incoming Express Langkawi, I said an oath of thousand promises. I let out my words of will, and i told her what i feel. Heart was pounding fast just like those dashing class 22, and blood rushed like fuel line charging every aspects of my body with adrenaline. With love. And soon after, our love was just like that bloody Express Langkawi; moving fast into the cold night, not knowing what’s waiting but never will it stops moving. Another chapter started in my life, with someone just like me; someone who loves trains.

But sometimes, a train breaks down.

Our love never did reach the destination. We started off with a load or two, and increasingly to countless, but we never did give up. We kept on pulling them up along the way, doing our best to keep them intact.

But all out of a sudden our engine gave up. Our fuel ran out. Or brake gave in, and our loads began to lean away from the track. Arguments after arguments, forgiveness aside. We all did wrong all the way, but we did forgive every and each of them but the last one. The one that jammed the whole freight - the one that halted us to this line in the middle of nowhere.

I have cried, and i have suffered. It is so hard to move on this wrong way on a one way track. I cannot bring this runaway train alone by myself. Can’t do it, I just can’t do it alone. I need my co-driver back.

Every now and then, every time i step into platform number one, it seems that this broken heart keeps on getting apart. Alone now, but i never stop walking alone the cold track, remembering how life was so beautiful when she was there right beside me. Everything there is still at their places just like when we left them the last time; the wooden benches, the gravels, the old garbage bins. The Indian man who opens a shop there was still there looking blindly into the misty night.

But always, there is something missing. Something which is not right. Something very wrong that it hurts me deep inside.

And there i was, on one bench at the end of the platform where I once said my oath to her, beating the odds just by myself. I wondered if she is living well right now. I craved for her voices, but my overly charged cellphone was just dead silent. I miss her company. I waited
for any incoming train but the station was nothing but empty. Just like how my heart is.

Time passed by so slowly. I wasted the whole night waiting on that cold bench. I did not want to even think about it, about her, about everything. When I was about to get myself back, it was already dawn.

The station was still clear. There was no human. There was no train. Nothing. The silence broke my emotion. I walked away from that bench to where we first arrived in this station, hoping for one crazy thing which no man can make possible. I walked to the metal bars, expecting to see her smiling at me with her arms wrapping around her body like the last time. When i got nearer to the bars, i closed my eyes and opened them again after a few seconds.

But she was never there.

Editor's note: This story was written by me in December 2008. It reflected my feelings over my past relationship that failed. It is history now, and it means nothing to me but a beautiful story of my bitter past. I am looking forward to be with a new person now, the one who will undergo my training to be my fireman; the one who checks on the train should something beyond the main driver's attention occurs. The one who will, hopefully, help me move this train again towards a meaningful destination.


I must admit that lately I didn't have much time to write anymore.

Recently, I have been appointed as a research officer under the supervision of Associate Professor Ir. Dr. Shaharin Anwar Sulaiman, who also is my PhD supervisor, for a quite large research project under the energy research cluster here in UTP. My job is to design, fabricate, assemble, test and commission a high pressure spraying rig for urea pellet coating application. The job is fun and exciting if I may describe, for it requires the usage of one of the most hazardous high-end laboratory instruments in the campus, which is the Laser Doppler Anemometry, or simply the LDA. 

Above is the LDA shooting a high intensity laser beam from the tube charger and into the manipulator unit. The laser is classified Class 4 - the most dangerous laser beam available in the world, capable of beaming high radiation light ray that is intense enough to light up a cigarette in only a few milliseconds. Apart from this whole high-end laser thing, I am occupied with designing the pipeline and the piping items for the spraying system, which in my opinion is challenging enough so far. Nevertheless I found the experience exciting, hence the reason why I spent so much time in the entire project. 

On another note, a lady cousin who appears before me on the ladder of existence (read: age) is getting engaged this Saturday.

Much as I am looking forward for the event, I must also inform that in a way or another I must be aware with the usual questionnaire to be thrown out on me on the status of my current relationship, in which as we speak is nonexistent. Nevertheless I am happy for her, for finally she finds herself a good man, whom which has yet to be introduced to me. Maybe one of these coming days, perhaps. My warmest congratulations, Fara. 

My mother has been discharged two days back.

Good for her I suppose. The bilirubin count has decreased to somewhere below 150 the last time I checked with her, and as soon as the count drops to anywhere around 50, she will be prepped for her surgery. In two weeks time will be another appointment with the specialists, and let's hope that she will be ready to undergo the aforementioned treatment. 

My viva examination is rescheduled to 8th of March (instead of the previously-agreed date of 27th of February), and the postgraduate office has called me up to inform about the whole event. I am required to produce around 30 slides for my M.Sc's presentation and then get ready for a closed-room 3-hour panel examination session following the presentation. I have been advised that my external examiner will be from UTM this time, carrying the title of full professor. Well, I have to be ready for him I guess. 

And by the way, I have emptied the acknowledgement section of the thesis where it was previously booked for a special someone. There will be one more month until the bound thesis will be printed out, so maybe I'll just leave it empty for now. It isn't that I am not appreciating anybody, but I'd like it to stay the way it was before -- empty. Meaningfully meaningless, some might say.

Well, better it be meaningless than bringing no utter meaning at all. 

p/s: Maybe I'll put your name instead in the section of the thesis. Who knows? 

Monday, February 13, 2012

So tomorrow's Valentine's Day. 

Well, I don't really quite remember how exactly I felt about it. 

Valentine's Day to me had always been an eagerly-awaited date every year. Albeit the whole shenanigans about the celebration and all, I've always found that V-Day was exceptionally interesting; it was the day when my partner and I would have spent time together over a pleasant evening dinner and later taking a walk under the starry night sky. Sharing a slice of cheesecake and a large tumbler of hot jasmine tea, the sort of thing. 

This year I will be, if I ever be, celebrating V-Day alone.

Mixed feelings. Much to my own amusement, I feel a bit happy now, noticing that V-Day will kick in in only a few more short hours. I feel good. I feel calm and I feel...better. It would be a cold lie if I'd say that I don't feel a bit taken aback, or maybe a bit sad, knowing that I don't have anyone to share my love with. But I guess I'll just deal with it and be honest with myself and my own true feelings. 

So now, here's a toast:

To my future wife; I still don't know where you are as we speak, and maybe I will never know. Maybe you are out there somewhere, maybe you'll get here someday, or maybe you'll end up lost anyway. Maybe, just like me, you're looking for your other half as well. Or maybe you are already with your other half already. Nevertheless, I hope that you are doing fine, and if you are in a relationship right now, I hope he is treating you well. I'd pray for your well-being and endless serenity and happiness, regardless of the fact that we have yet to meet, or if we ever did, we have yet to know that we are destined to be together, in time. 

To my exes; I would want you all to know that being with each of you was the best time I had in my life. I have learned so many things about loving, being loved and being in love. I have cherished all our memories and laughter shared together; all the perfect moments and imperfect ones, always remembered. Thank you for all the best things we did together and I apologize for all the bad things that led to our breakups. I hope that you all live a happy life with your loved ones, and may this Valentine's Day bring you all the love that I could never be able to give to all of you. 

To my admirers; many thanks for sparing your valuable times and attentions in admiring me, whether openly or secretly. I appreciate all the loves and attentions given to me, all the caring words and supports during my hardest times in life, and all the companies you made during when I was most alone. Thank you for seeing the good and attractive qualities in me, for which you have made my day from knowing that albeit my differences and imperfections, I still am worthy in the eyes of some, if not in the eyes of many. 

Happy Valentine's Day to all of you. May we all love and be blessed all around the year. Cheers. 

p/s: I love you?

Today commemorates the end of #ProjectAwesome2012.

Time flew fast. I still feel as if I came up with the idea last few days. But it has been already weeks since the project started it's media campaign over in Twitter, blogs and Facebook. The project involved so many people beyond my own expectation, and I must congratulate all of the people who have participated in this project in making it a complete success as it is now. 

At first it was only me doing the Twitter thing and the blog. As the promotion went, I started losing myself since there were so many requests to entertain, and so many things to do at the same time. After a few days, I opened up for staff recruitment, in which two young men, among many others, came up to participate in this project as volunteer staffs. 

They were @xallehrazax and @mAmirulAkmal.

Salleh came up with the famous Project Awesome 2012 poster while Amirul, being the person able to produce video clips, proceeded with his tasks to come out with a few promo videos, which he later did albeit the first few unsuccessful attempts. They were both made as the media staffs. @Ana_Mansor (previously @musliyana) joined the team later as the coordinator and planner for the project, in which she recruited a few able men and women into the project as volunteer staffs.

These staffs are @syazberry, @pegzter, @themonat, @MegatAD, @eyeshakazman and @MeeraAddlan. 

In the middle of the project, pressure set in. All of us were facing stresses from the project, where many of our activities had to be rescheduled and canceled at some points. Most of the staffs had to sacrifice a lot of time and personal space for the project. I myself was having a lot of personal problems, especially when my mother was warded and a few other things that pulled me out from the project. There was a point where I couldn't take the pressure and I decided to bring the project down once and for all. 

In which all the staffs made it clear that they wanted to maintain their position and they wanted to see Project Awesome 2012 completes its objectives. 

After some points later, to make way for the staffs to work uninterruptedly, I pulled out from the project. Now this was where I realized something - this is a volunteer work for every of the staff, in which no salary was offered and no return was guaranteed. But these young men and women they have their sense of courage and fighting spirit of nothing ordinary. They insisted to push forward and double the effort even when I left, and monitoring them from a distance i began to understand that this was not some ordinary team. This was the team of Project Awesome 2012, and the team spirit, from my point of view, was definitely awesome!

The staffs worked day and night without me (although I secretly entered the Twitter account and email from time to time to see what's happening) and they were very efficient with coordination, timekeeping and photo filing. All requests were attended within only minutes. Every day people kept on adding us on Twitter and Facebook, and numerous blogs started writing about us. Celebrities came and supported us, and many other people helped through their networks. Project Awesome 2012 grew bigger than any of us ever thought of, and we could never be any happier than we were. 

More than a thousand followers and hundreds of pictures later, the project saw its end at 12.00am previously. 

The staffs, some of them were only millimeters from crying. Some of them maybe did cry. All the hardship and efforts were all worth everything. Project Awesome 2012 completed its objective as anticipated. Most staffs became extremely emotional because this was one hell of a project that made through in the end, after all those hard times they had along the course of completion. I must congratulate all the staffs and thank them for their hardships, times, passions, glorious efforts and high team spirits. I believe that these young men and women will find their paths easy in life, for they have worked in such stressful conditions and in the same time still able to deliver at their highest capacity. They were able to maintain such calmness during the worst of weather, and they managed to swim across the fierce sea with nothing but strong willpower and determinations. 

These are the people you will never regret to have as teammates in anything you do. 

These very able staffs had shown their best in only a few weeks time. They have been polished from common pebbles to now pearls and rubies. They are worth the achievements. I strongly believe that they will be able to deliver again, maybe double the capacity in anything they do in the future. Best of luck to all of you #LeAwesome2012, and godspeed to all of us. May we all be blessed and loved forever. Thanks so much. I had a great time with you guys, in which none of you I have ever met in real life, but you strangers surely did a very good job, and I wish you all the best in future. If I could give you my best compliments, this would be it: You are the best teammates I have ever had in years, and this surely will be my sweetest and most memorable moment of the year.  

And this will be the time when all of you graduated summa cum laude from this project. Toss your hats in the air, and give yourself pats on the back, because you all deserve the best. I hope you have had the time of your lives, and I hope the experiences gained from this project earned you wisdom and pride. We did it, people, and all are credited to all of you. You lasted all the way till the end, but the end of this project will only dictate yet another new beginning.

Thanks so much. You guys are worth diamonds.

p/s: why not another project?

Friday, February 03, 2012

Hello everyone. 

Sorry for the late update. I have found myself busy getting time for myself again these days. I've been pretty busy with #ProjectAwesome2012 - just a little community project that I worked out with a few friends in Twitter and Facebook. Check them out here:

So far the project has been very great. Very little did I expect that the project will grow this big. We now have a few celebrities who submitted their photos to us and showed their supports for the project. Around 500 photos have been collected so far, not to mention 500+ followers in Twitter and 600+ likes in Facebook. 

Well at least I have something to be busy with. 

On other note, I have been invited to submit two conference papers for the International Conference on Production, Energy and Reliability (ICPER) under the Renewable Energy column, in which my supervisor and I submitted three papers instead. It will be held on 12th to 14 June 2012 in KL Convention Center. Well, I guess I'll see you guys there.

I went back to KL yesterday.

Apparently my mother was down with a high fever for more than a week, in which she successfully hid it from me until I called her yesterday evening, where she can no longer fake her cheerful laughter. She sounded so weak, so I slammed on the gas and drove all the way back to hometown. I was worried, very. 

The first thing she did was hugging me tightly. And then she broke down.

I understood instantly why exactly she did that. First, she missed me. Secondly, she was depressed. She was pale and very weak, mostly due to the fact that she has been losing appetite lately. So I drove her to Ampang Puteri Hospital very late last night and accompanied her there as she went through the standard diagnosis procedure, including a bloodwork. 

As we speak, she is now recovering and is under a 48-hour observation period for any following disorder. I stayed with her all night long, encouraging her to eat more and be healthy again. Before I left home for UTP again this morning, she hugged me tightly again and thanked me for coming back, even only for a short while. Then she told me this;

"I'm sad that you have to go through all these alone by yourself. I wish you will find you other half soon, in case I won't be around any longer to take care of you."

Oh mother.