Wednesday, 27 July 2005

Semalam

Satu malam yang sungguh menduga...

Fawwaz asyik merengek dan tidur (sambil mengigau agaknya!) dan setiap jam mahukan susu.
Amni pula muntah atas tilam dan bantal jam 1 pagi dan 1.30 pagi..
Apa lagi, suami yang tengah tidur dikejutkan dan dikerahkan memandikan si sulung.
Saya pula membersihkan cadar dan menukar baju anak.

Tengah membersihkan Amni, Fawwaz merengek-rengek lagi..
Aduhai, banyak betul cabaran.

Tapi kadang-kadang saya terpejam mata juga.
Bahawa kita tidak pernah sedar anak-anak kita sebenarnya baik dan tidak menyusahkan kita.
Cuma kita akan lebih ingat apabila anak-anak kita menyusahkan kita.

Patutnya kita puji anak-anak kita lebih apabila mereka berkelakuan baik.

Saya patut berazam sebegitu!

Tuesday, 26 July 2005

AirAsia.com

Now, I have just booked our flights to Langkawi on February 2006. Who can resist the offer? The ticket price is only RM 9.99 and after calculating the price of per guest + tax (3 guests, a 2-year old is chargeable less the charge of 1 infant), it comes to RM 39.99 per trip!

I have been thinking to book a flight back to KB this coming Aidilfitri since the offer for ticket flight to KB is just RM 1.99!!!! *SCREAM!! SCREAM!!!* But dh said that we have to bring lots of stuff, so I think I will be cancelling the plan..

Hehehe... a car ride is more expensive than air fare nowadays. Weird huh?

Friday, 22 July 2005

To the nursery

I came late to the office because I registered the kids at the nursery. While filling up the forms, I chatted with the supervisor there. This nursery had a long history with my family. All my siblings were sent here and we were under the care by its owner, Cikgu Faridah Rose.

My sister and I were the firsts who got married from the nursery. Cikgu Faridah came to our wedding waleemah and adoringly said that her first kids from the nursery had settled - oh, how fast time flies..

And now, my kids - her first 'grandchildrens' will be entering the old nursery.

It is with such loving memory that we decided to choose this nursery :)
And both my kids didn't want to go back home since they have a lot of new friends in such a short space of time.

BTW, I noticed that Fawwaz grew his first tooth yesterday :)

Thursday, 21 July 2005

Good news for HP fans

Dumbledore dies. *wink*

And no, I didn't have Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince book :P

Now, anyone wants spoilers by chapters? Oh, WTH, reading the summary is like reading the book.. save budget! :D

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

Chapter 1: The Other Minister
The whole story starts by telling what happened three years ago when Sirius Black escaped from Azkaban. Cornelius Fudge comes to the unnamed muggle Prime Minister's Office and has a lengthy discussion about Black (who the Muggle pronounces as Serious Black) which includes the difficult task of introducing the Wizarding World to him. Three years later when Lord Voldemort has reappeared. Cornelius Fudge, the unnamed Muggle Prime Minister, and Rufus Scrimgeour, the new Minister for Magic, discuss wizard-muggle relations in the Prime Minister's office, including some of the crimes carried out by Voldemort and his followers.

Chapter 2: Spinner's End
Narcissa Malfoy and Bellatrix Lestrange go to a house on Spinner's End to find Professor Snape. Because her son Draco Malfoy has been assigned a task by Voldemort that is far above his ability to accomplish, Narcissa wants Snape to help him, and do it for him if it looks as though he will as though he will fail. Snape takes an 'Unbreakable Vow' to prove his honesty.


Chapter 3: Will and Won't
Dumbledore turns up at the Dursley's house and tells Harry that 12 Grimmauld Place, Kreacher, Buckbeak and all of Sirius's possessions now belong to him. Harry sends Kreacher to work at Hogwarts and gives Buckbeak (now renamed Witherwings) to Hagrid for caring. Dumbledore and Harry leave his aunt and uncle's house.

Dumbledore also now has an injured hand, a product of his 'slowing reactions'.

Chapter 4: Horace Slughorn
Harry side-along-apparates with Dumbledore, but instead of going to The Burrow, they end up in a village. Dumbledore tells Harry that they need a new staff member (presumably for the position of Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher) and go off to convince one Horace Slughorn (an old colleague of Dumbledore) to join up.

Slughorn is an obese former member of the Slytherin house. He is reluctant to go, but they succeed in convincing him to join the staff. Dumbledore then transports himself and Harry to the Burrow and tells Harry he will take private lessons with him.

Chapter 5: An Excess of Phlegm
Arthur Weasley is head of the new Office of Detection and Confiscation of Counterfeit Defensive Spells and Protective Objects. In short, it means he finds and takes fake defence items like potions that protect others from danger or Sneakoscopes that serve as tracking devices for the Death Eaters.

Fleur Delacour is also staying with the Weasleys, and she and Bill Weasley are getting married.

Harry, Ron and Hermione get their O.W.L.s results. It is revealed that Troll is an actual grade, not Terrible as one might imagine. Harry's grades are:

Astronomy: Acceptable (A)
Care of Magical Creatures: Exceeds Expectations (E)
Charms: E
Defence Against the Dark Arts: Outstanding (O)
Divination: Poor (P)
Herbology: E
History of Magic: Dreadful (D)
Potions: E
Transfiguration: E

These results are good, but Harry believes his dreams of becoming an Auror are gone. He needed an 'O' in Potions for Snape to accept him into Advanced Potions, and Potions is one of the N.E.W.T. subjects required for Aurors. However, Harry is made Quidditch Captain to his surprise when he get's he school information.

Ron receives similar grades (fails in History of Magic and Divination) but no 'Outstanding's, while Hermione, as expected, receives 10 'O's and one 'E' (in Defence Against the Dark Arts).

The three of them have passed into N.E.W.T. level.


Chapter 6: Draco's Detour
There are regular deaths and disappearances now. Igor Karkaroff is dead, killed by Death Eaters, and Ollivander (the wand maker) is missing.

Harry is also made Quidditch Captain, which according to Hermione, gives him the status of a Prefect (he can use their bathroom, although whether he can take points is unknown).

The entire family goes shopping in Diagon Alley, where they meet up with Hagrid and have a nasty encounter with Draco Malfoy and his mother Narcissa.

The family then go to Weasley's Wizard Wheezes, a joke shop with a booming trade, not only with the joke items but because they are selling enchanted Shield Hats, Cloaks and Gloves to the Ministry (presumably for the war effort, since the items deflect spells).

Draco takes a detour to Knockturn Alley where he visits the shop Borgin and Burkes. He threatens Borgin, saying a 'family friend', Fenrir Greyback (unknown character), will pay him a visit if he 'doesn't repair this item'. Malfoy also tells him to reserve an item for later purchase, and not to tell anybody about it.


Chapter 7: The Slug Club
Harry reveals his suspicions to Ron and Hermione that Draco is now a Death Eater. Harry mentions to them how when Madam Malkin tried to roll up Draco's sleeve, he yelled and yanked it away; he also showed Borgin something that made him take Malfoy seriously. It is just a suspicion so far, but the reader knows Narcissa mentioned something about "Draco being sent on a task".

Ginny Weasley also has a new pet, a Pygmy Puff called Arnold.

Later, on the Hogwarts Express, Harry and Neville are invited to have lunch with Professor Slughorn. They arrive and find a large gathering of people, including Ginny and Blaise Zabini, a Slytherin in Harry's year. The students here are all connected to famous wizards and witches, except for Ginny, who was invited because Slughorn liked the curse she cast earlier. Slughorn interrogates them all (Harry, Neville, Ginny, Zabini, Cormac McLaggen and Marcus Belby) and sends them off, confident they will live up to their relatives. Leaving the carriage, Harry takes the opportunity to tail Zabini back to the Slytherin carriage to eavesdrop on very naughty Malfoy.

Malfoy lets slip that he might not be at Hogwarts next year, because he's moved on to "bigger and better things". The other Slytherins are surprised, and Zabini asks what he could do for Voldemort if he isn't even qualified. Malfoy retorts by saying the job the Dark Lord wants him to do doesn't require qualifications.

They arrive at Hogsmeade Station, but Harry is discovered alone by Malfoy. Malfoy petrifies him and breaks Harry's nose by stamping on his face. Malfoy then throws the invisibility cloak over Harry, which, coupled with the petrification, means that he might not get to school this year.

Chapter 8: Snape Victorious
Harry is rescued by Tonks, who mends his broken nose and conjures a Patronus, different from her previous ones, to send up to the castle to notify the others that Harry is safe. She is still very troubled by Sirius's death and looks very pale. When they arrive at the Hogwarts entrance, Snape opens the doors and escorts Harry back to the Great Hall, deducting 70 points from Gryffindor along the way.

After the feast (which Harry misses by a few seconds), Dumbledore announces a huge appointment. Professor Horace Slughorn is to be the new Potions Master which means Snape will get the Defence Against the Dark Arts post.


Chapter 9: The Half-Blood Prince
Harry's hopes of becoming an Auror are real again. With Slughorn teaching potions, he can get in with an 'E' grade. Unfortunately for Hagrid, Harry and Ron are not continuing Care of Magical Creatures. They still share the rest of their subjects. Professor McGonagall also hands Harry a list of new Quidditch recruits for him to do trials with.

In the DADA lesson, the class learn silent magic, spells which can be cast without speaking. Harry gives Snape cheek after knocking him down with a Shield Charm and lands himself a detention. Luckily he is saved by Dumbledore's request for him to take a private lesson at the same time.

Potions is much more enjoyable now that Snape is gone, with Hermione earning Gryffindor thirty points. Slughorn (ex-Head of Slytherin) is pleased that Hermione is a good witch, even though she is muggle-born; Lily Potter was also one of his favourite students (he prefers pure-bloods though).

Slughorn has also brewed a potion on his desk; Felix Felicis (Felix means "lucky" in Latin), which (as the name suggests) is liquid luck. Take one tablespoon at breakfast and you will have a perfect day. It is banned in competitions, examinations and elections, and excessive consumption will cause giddiness, recklessness and death if overdosed. For the first lesson, whoever brews the best Draught of Living Death will win a tiny flask of Felix, enough luck for twelve hours.

Harry brews his potion with the help of his tattered, borrowed second-hand copy of the book Advanced Potion Making. The textbook, however, has helpful hints written in the margin, and Harry manages to beat the entire class in creating the potion, even Hermione. He tells Ginny, Ron and Hermione at dinner that he has been following instructions from the book like Ginny did in her first year, but a check reveals no dangers to the book. Knocking it over, Harry picks it up and sees a note written on the back page: This book belongs to the Half-Blood Prince.


Chapter 10: The House of Gaunt
Hermione is angry about the book, suggesting to Harry that the 'Prince' may be female (the writing in the book looks more like a woman's). Harry retorts by saying, "how many girls have been Princes?" This exchange may mean that Lily Potter could have been the original owner (Slughorn himself says Lily was masterful at Potions).

Harry also goes off on his first private lesson with Dumbledore. Dumbledore says he will not learn spells; instead, they will do investigative work in trying to guess Voldemort's intentions. Dumbledore extracts a vial full of memories from Bob Odgen, who worked as a Magical Law Enforcer before he died. He pours them into the Pensieve and he and Harry go inside.

They visit a town called "Little Hangleton" (with a church, a graveyard, a manor and a small copse) where the House of Gaunt lies. Odgen goes into the house and tries to arrest a man called Morfin, who speaks in Parseltongue. His father, Marvolo, reveals that they are the last descendants of Salazar Slytherin and that they hate Muggles and mudbloods. His daughter Merope (Voldemort's mother) fancies a Muggle living in town, and when Odgen comes back with reinforcements to arrest the father and Morfin, she is set free. Merope bewitches the Muggle, Tom Riddle Sr., and they get married. However, when she releases him from the enchantment, he leaves her. Dumbledore ends the lesson there and tells Harry that he will explain more to him later, as well as how he received his hand injury.


Chapter 11: Hermione's Helping Hand
Classes resume as normal, with the trio still trying to do incantation-less spells. Harry resolves to go and speak with Hagrid, as he is ignoring them in the grounds. He also has to go to Quidditch trials and pick a new team. Meanwhile, Hermione makes an offhand comment about how Harry has "never been more fanciable" (a prod in the direction of a Harry & Hermione relationship), also saying "it doesn't hurt that you've grown about a foot over the summer". In response, Ron says "I'm tall" (Hermione is expressing interest in Harry now, much to Ron's displeasure). Harry starts to feel hot, even though the weather is miserable.

On more serious tones, Stan Shunpike has been arrested for discussing the Death Eaters' plans, Dumbledore hasn't been seen since Harry's private lesson, Eloise Midgen has been taken out of school and Hannah Abbott's mother was found dead recently.

When the trio pass Parvati and Lavender, Parvati nudges Lavender, who smiles at Ron. He smiles back uncertainly and Hermione becomes colder and more distant, not even wishing him 'good luck' in the trials.

The trials are a bit of a fiasco, but Harry picks Katie Bell, Ginny and a new player called Demelza Robins as chasers, Jimmy Peakes and Ritchie Coote as beaters, and Ron as keeper, much to Cormac McGlaggen's dismay. Incidentally, Lavender Brown wishes Ron good luck as he flies up for his trial. Hermione picks this up and tells Ron he did brilliantly, leaving Lavender frustrated. Ron is quite happy to receive Hermione's praise.

Afterwards when they are walking to Hagrid's hut, Ron says McGlaggen looked liked he was Confunded during the last goal shot. Hermione blushes, but Ron doesn't notice.

The talk with Hagrid is awkward, but eventually they make up after Hagrid tells them that Aragog is dying and the trio tells him (untruthfully) that Professor Grubbly-Plank is an awful teacher.

Later that evening, before Harry's detention, Hermione says that Arthur Weasley searched the premises of the Malfoys' residence, but didn't find anything, and that Malfoy couldn't have smuggled in whatever he wanted repaired because everything is checked by Dark Detectors. All this time Ron was staring at Lavender Brown.

Demelza tells Harry (Snape said) that he is expected at Snape's office, no matter how many parties he's been invited to.


Chapter 12: Silver and Opals
Harry lies in bed reading the Half-Blood Prince's textbook, which is full of spells that are quite handy. Harry casts a non-verbal one to levitate people, much like his father had done in Snape's memory. He pushes the suspicion that his father was the Half-Blood Prince out of his mind, as his father was pure-blood.

Dumbledore schedules another lesson on Monday night, which clashes with Slughorn's regular parties. Slughorn is determined to have Harry over along with Hermione and Ginny, but he is constantly thwarted by other appointments.

The first Hogsmeade trip is on as well. After fobbing off Slughorn's invitation, they encounter the bartender from the Hog's Head and Mundungus Fletcher, who has a case full of stolen goods, including a goblet with the Black crest on it. Harry seizes Mundungus by the throat and tries to take it back, accusing Fletcher of stripping the house when Sirius died. Fletcher blasts Harry away and Disapparates. Tonks also appears and says it's no use.

The trio spend time in the Three Broomsticks, but decide to go home. They follow Katie Bell and her friend Leanne back to the castle, until Katie and Leanne argue about a package. Leanne tries to take it and it tears, after which Katie rises six feet up into the air and screams before falling on top of all of them, writhing and screaming. Hagrid comes and takes her away, and Ron tries to touch the package but is stopped by Harry. The package contains a necklace that was in Borgin and Burges, with a label that read 'cursed'. Leanne tells them that Katie behaved strangely after she got out of the toilet, with a package she had to deliver. She suspected Katie was acting under the Imperius Curse, so she was trying to take the package when it tore and Katie touched it. Professor McGonagall comes and takes them away to her office, where Harry tells her he suspects Malfoy. McGonagall quashes the notion by saying Malfoy was doing detention with her, but Harry thinks it must have been an accomplice. Ron and Hermione ignore Harry every time he mentions Malfoy.


Chapter 13: The Secret Riddle
Harry attends his second lesson with Dumbledore. The last time they were in, Merope (Voldemort's mother) was expecting him. She needed money as she didn't have the will to perform magic to feed herself, so she sold a golden locket that once belonged to Salazar Slytherine to Caractacus Burke, one of the founders of Borgin and Burke's. He only gave her ten galleons for what was a priceless artifact.

In this lesson Harry is going into Dumbledore's memories. The young Dumbledore had auburn hair and beard, just as long as they are today.

Dumbledore visits a Muggle orphanage to speak to the eleven-year old Tom Riddle. After speaking with the matron, who says Riddle is a strange boy, Dumbledore talks to Tom directly. Even at the tender age of 11, Riddle has manipulated other children, strangled rabbits, hurt people and spoken in Parseltongue. The young Dumbledore is worried about his ambition, his cruelty, his thieving and other such things and resolves to keep an eye on him.

Back in the office, Dumbledore reveals he didn't know at the time that that young boy would grow up to become the most feared Dark Wizard for centuries.


Chapter 14: Felix Felicis
The trio are doing Herbology, tackling a plant called Snargaluff which has many tentacles and produces grapefruit-sized pods. Hermione tells Ron and Harry that the 'Slug Club' suppers are quite fun, and that Harry has to come to the Christmas one, as Slughorn has chosen a day when Harry is not busy. Ron gets angry and tells Hermione to "get off with McLaggen" so they can be "Slug King and Queen", Hermione hotly replies she was going to invite Ron, but as he's being so stupid she won't bother. The argument stops when Harry accidentally smashes his bowl.

Harry thinks to himself that, sooner or later, if Ron and Hermione get together a break-up could create an unbridgable gap between them that Harry couldn't close, or that the two would become so close they would shut Harry out. He tells himself he'll wait and see what will happen with the both of them under the influence of Butterbeer in the dimly lit room.

Meanwhile, Katie Bell is still in the hospital, which means the Gryffindor team is short of an excellent Chaser. Harry, after some thinking has to choose Dean Thomas, as he was next best flyer. Dean is happy and runs off to tell Ginny (his girlfriend and fellow chaser) the good news. Seamus, however, feels rather nonplussed. Harry gets some lip from the rest of the house over his decision to put a classmate on the team, but Harry is confident what with Dean's excellent showing at match practice. The beaters are also doing well.

Ron, however, is a different story. His old nerves have returned, making him so nervous he punches Demelza in the mouth. Harry encourages Ron and he visibly felt better until halfway towards the Gryffindor common room, Harry and Ron stumble across Dean and Ginny locking lips in a corridor. A monster grows inside Harry seeing Dean there, but Ron is angry with his sister.

Dean quickly hurries off, and Ginny and Ron start screaming at each other. They draw wands and Harry shoves Ron into a wall, causing him to narrowly miss his sister. Ginny insults Ron by saying all of his friends and family has kissed someone at sometime and that Ron has the "experience of a twelve-year old" and "the best kiss Ron's ever had was from our Aunt Muriel". Ginny storms off and Harry and Ron go back to the common room.

Along the way, Harry tells himself that he's angry because he saw a classmate kissing the sister of his best friend, but his real thoughts betray him. Harry sees himself in that corridor in place of Dean, kissing Ginny, with Ron storming in and shouting at Harry. He then sees himself alone with Ginny, with no Ron to interrupt.

Ron becomes aggressive and Harry drifts off to an uneasy sleep, trying to keep his mind off of Ginny. He tries to convince himself that he was feeling brotherly protectiveness.

The next day Ron lashes out at everyone around him, cold-shouldering Dean and Ginny and sneering at a hurt and confused Hermione. Hermione goes to bed quickly after being hurt and Ron stalks off to bed after swearing at some first-years. Ron doesn't get better, missing all the saves during the last Quidditch practice before the game with Slytherin and shouting so much he brings Demelza to tears. Ron almost resigns before Harry snaps him out of it. However, he is dejected through the rest of the evening, Harry's encouragement and shouting not making him feel any better.

Harry has a stroke of genius during the night, and the next day he wakes up feeling happy with a clear blue sky. Lavender tries to encourage Ron but he ignores her. Harry gives Ron some pumpkin juice at breakfast after spiking it with something (the Felix). Hermione is angry and tells Harry off, but then storms off after Harry makes a nasty comment.

Apparently, the Felix worked as Slytherin's best goal scorer is too sore to play and Malfoy got off sick as well. Harry suspects Malfoy is planning something, but Ron realizes that Harry must've put the Felix in his drink. Harry doesn't say anything and they play.

The new commentator is Zacharias Smith who takes every opportunity to insult Harry's team. After 30 minutes, Gryffindor is leading sixty to zero, Ron having made some spectacular saves (thanks to the luck potion) so Smith starts insulting the Beaters. After some more time and some more spectacular saves, Gryffindor is up 100-to-zero and the Slytherin Seeker sees the Snitch. Harry manages to distract him for a few seconds and catches it, winning easily. Back in the change room, the atmosphere is jubilant, there would be a party in the common room. They all leave except for Harry and Ron. Hermione bursts in at that moment and tells Harry off and how she should go to a teacher. Harry smiles at the two of them and tells Ron he didn't really put anything in at all and shows them the sealed flask. Ron is so happy he yells at Hermione and storms out, Hermione crying and following him after.

Harry is miffed that his plan to get them together backfired and stalks back. In the party, Ginny tells him that Ron is in the corner with Lavender. Harry finds Ron, who, according to Ginny, is "trying to eat her face". Harry spots Hermione going out and follows her. He tries to console her after finding Hermione in a room with conjured birds flying around her head. He had spotted Ron and was almost at a loss for words. Ron barges in with Lavender, who ducks out of the room. Hermione says goodbye to Ron and shoots the birds at him, which begin to attack him. She sobs and runs out!


Chapter 15: The Unbreakable Vow
Ron is now spending every evening kissing Lavender Brown who "seemed to regard any moment that she was not kissing Ron as a moment wasted". Hermione was becoming increasingly bitter, and Ron says she should be satisfied as she has kissed Viktor Krum before.

Meanwhile Harry is still making good on the Prince's notes in his book of Advanced Potion Making. Hermione says he should be careful but Harry (who thinks he might lose his voice because he hasn't used it for so long) replies he has learned more from the Half-Blood Prince than from Slughorn or Snape. Hermione angrily tells him she wasn't talking about the "Prince", she was talking about the girls who have been infatuated with Harry for the entire year trying to slip him a Love Potion. She suggests that he invite someone so the girls will be discouraged. Harry tries, unsucessfully to not think about Ginny who "kept cropping up in his dreams in ways that made him devoutly thankful Ron could not perform Legilimency".

Harry brings up Malfoy and the necklace again, only to be told by Hermione that the Secrecy Sensors would definitely pick up a powerful curse, just not a love potion being disguised as a cough potion (Filch has banned all items in Weasley's Wizards Wheezes). Suddenly Harry is attacked by the insane Madam Pince who tries to claw Harry after seeing the Prince's writing in the textbook. Harry and Hermione escape and Harry expresses his thoughts that Pince and Filch may have a relationship.

In the Common Room, one of Harry's would-be lovers offers him a Gillywater and a box of chocolates which he quickly declines. Hermione was going to sit down until she saw Ron and Lavender entwined in the same armchair (after which she hurries off to bed).

The next day in Transfiguration, Hermione and Ron have a row, Hermione running off crying. She is comforted in the bathroom by Luna Lovegood, who meets up with Harry. Hermione runs off straight away after she collects the things she left behind in class from Harry. Luna tells him that Ron says funny things sometimes, but sometimes hurtful things as well. Harry thinks to himself Luna has a knack for telling the awful truth. Luna also says Ginny sticks up for her and stopped two boys calling her "Loony" and Harry asks Luna to come with him to Slughorn's party. Luna is quite happy, as nobody has ever invited her to a party before. Peeves suddenly appears and taunts "Harry lurves Loony".

Soon, of course, everyone knows Harry asked Luna and Ron berates Harry, telling him he could've asked anyone but Loony. Ginny scolds him for that. Hermione is sitting alone, playing with her stew and Harry and Ron sit down. Soon, the other Gryffindor girls come and Lavender starts hugging Ron. Parvati feels guilty at laughing at Hermione, and asks her about the party. Hermione, attacking Ron says she has taken out McLaggen. Parvati is amazed and says Hermione really likes her Quidditch players, first Krum and now McLaggen! Hermione emphasises she only likes good Quidditch players.

Harry ponders the depth that girls would sink to get revenge.

On the night of the party, Harry learns from Luna that Rufus Scrimgeour is coming to the party and Luna also says he's a vampire. Not knowing whether to believe her or not, they set off.

In the party, Slughorn introduces Harry to an expert on vampires and his vampire friend, Sanguini. The Weird Sisters are also there, along with Professor Trelawney who is still drinking. Snape is also present, and Slughorn lets slip that Harry is a natural, just like his mother. Snape says he didn't think he'd taught Harry anything over the past five years so Slughorn says it must be natural talent. Harry tells Slughorn that he is doing all the Auror subjects, after which Slughorn booms that Harry will be an excellent one and Luna mentions a conspiracy theory involving dark magic and gum disease.

Harry is having a great time with Luna and Slughorn when Malfoy is dragged in by the ear, by Filch who says Malfoy was trying to gatecrash. Slughorn laughs and tells him off, but will let him stay this time. Instead of looking pleased, Malfoy looks angry, Filch also and Snape slightly scared. Snape calls Malfoy off to have a word and Slughorn says not to be too hard on him, but Snape takes him anyway. Harry tells Luna he's going to the bathroom and eavesdrops on Snape.

Snape is trying to probe Malfoy for information about Katie Bell, but Malfoy stops him. Snape remarks that Aunt Bella must have been teaching young Malfoy Occlumency. Malfoy was wandering around upstairs, conducting some plan of his. Snape tries to help Malfoy and tells him that he took an Unbreakable Vow to protect him, but Malfoy won't have it. He storms out of the room, almost hitting Harry who was listening in his cloak.


Chapter 16: A Very Frosty Christmas
Harry and Ron are at the Burrow, enjoying Christmas. Harry wants to tell as many trustworthy people as he can about the conversation between Snape and Draco. He gets his chance on Christmas Eve, telling Remus Lupin and Mr. Weasley. They both say Dumbledore trusts Snape, and that's good enough for them. Lupin tells Harry that Snape prepared his Wolfsbane Potion perfectly during his tenure at Hogwarts, but the bitterness between them (and Harry) cannot be healed. They should trust Snape, however.

Harry asks Lupin what he has been doing lately. Lupin tells him that he's been underground, living among the werewolves and spying on them for the Order. He says they are on Voldemort's side because they can be free under his rule, and it is hard to argue with Fenrir Greyback, the head and most vicious werewolf alive (A Malfoy family friend, see Chapter Six). It was Fenrir that bit Lupin, when he was child. Fenrir has a policy of biting children, so he can raise them to hate wizarding kind, he also wants to bite enough people for the werewolves to take over.

Lupin finishes his sad tale and drinks his eggnog. Harry then asks him about the Half-Blood Prince, who had invented the Levicorpus spell that James once used on Snape. Lupin says he has no idea, it wasn't James, Sirius or Lupin. Lupin tells Harry to find out how old the book is, to get an idea of the identity of the Prince.

Harry finds out the date of publication, 50 years ago. James Potter and his friends weren't at Hogwart's then.

Harry and Ron recieve Christmas presents the next morning. Among them was the usual jumpers, a disgusting necklace from Lavender for Ron and a package full of maggots from Kreacher to Master. The family (along with Fleur and Lupin) spend Christmas eating, until Percy and the Minister for Magic, Rufus Scrimgeour turn up. Rufus says hello to everyone and tells Mrs Weasley that they were in the neighbourhood working when Percy "decided" to drop in for a visit. He really wants to talk to Harry, however. They go outside and Harry appreciates his battle-scarred, tough appearance over Fudge's portly nature.

Outside, the conversation gets sour, quickly. Rufus wants Harry to make regular visits to the Ministry, to appear as the "Chosen One", a big hero is approving of the Ministry. Harry says this will not work, as he does not approve of them locking up Stan Shunpike. Rufus turns very cold and tries to get information about Dumbledore from Harry. He won't tell and strolls off after warning Rufus not to mess with Dumbledore, back to the house.


Chapter 17: A Sluggish Memory
Harry, Ron and Ginny go back to Hogwarts after Christmas. In the common room, Harry meets Hermione, who is ignoring Ron. He tells her everything, including the conversation with Rufus. She says the same thing as Mr Weasley and Lupin, but reminds Harry about Fenrir Greyback. Malfoy was threatening Borgin with him, and now they know who he is.

A sign has been placed up on the noticeboard, announcing Apparition training for anyone who will be turning 17 before August 31st, which includes the trio. Everyone is excited about the lessons and they ask Harry about the sensation (he's the only sixth year to have done it before). Eventually Harry fobs them off for his third lesson with Dumbledore.

Harry tells Dumbledore the whole story, Snape's coversation with Draco, Rufus' meeting with him and what happened over Christmas. Dumbledore tells Harry that Snape's conversation does not worry him, and that he had indeed argued with Rufus over Harry.

But now, they must go into the memories. Dumbledore recaps; Riddle had been let into school and sorted into Slytherin, where he learnt of Salazar's ability to converse with snakes. The staff did not expect much from him, he was a polite, good-looking and ambitious orphan, so many took pity on him. Dumbledore describes how the forerunners of the Death Eaters gravitated around Riddle in his school days but admits difficulty obtaining memories of Riddle at Hogwarts. Riddle became obsessed with his parentage.

The first new memory is one of Morfin's. Riddle arrives at the Gaunts' house, converses with Morfin in parseltongue, and the memory abruptly ends. Morfin did not remember anything after that point, until he woke the next day and his ring had been taken. Dumbledore explains that at the same time, Riddle Senior and his parents were found murdered. The Ministry fingers Morfin, who readily confesses. Harry and Dumbledore speculate that Riddle had stupified his uncle Morfin, performed the murders, and then placed the false memories in Morfin's head.

The second memory is Slughorn's. He and the slug club of Riddles time are chatting. There are two times during the memory that everything gets inexplicably foggy, and only Slughorn's voice is heard (notably when Riddle asks Slughorn about Horcruxes, and in the fog Slughorn responds that he doesn't know a thing about them).

Dumbledore explains that this memory has obviously been tampered with, and charges Harry with obtaining the true memory from Slughorn.


Chapter 18: Birthday Surprises
Harry confides in both Hermione and Ron the assignment Dumbledore has given him regarding Slughorn's memory.

Slughorn sets Harry's potions class with the difficult task of brewing the antidote for various poisons. The notes written in his textbook provide no assistance in this difficult task, but with two minutes left, he finds scrawled on a page a note, "Just shove a bezoar down their throats". Harry remembers that Hermione said in their first year and first potions class that a stone taken from a goat (which is a bezoar) will protect from most poisons. He rushes to the cabinet and finds one. No one in the class succeeds in making an antidote, but when Slughorn comes around to his table, Harry simply holds up the bezoar. Slughorn is amused, yet impressed, telling Harry that he thinks like his mother. (Hermione is not.)

Harry lingers after the class and asks Slughorn about Horcruxes, but Slughorn sees what Harry is up to immediately and insists there was nothing more to the memory he'd given to Dumbledore.

Students sit their first Apparation course with a Ministry wizard. The students attempt to apparate a just few feet. After several attempts no one succeeds in accomplishing anything, except for Susan Bones, who splinches herself on the fourth attempt (she leaves a leg behind).

During the lesson, Harry overhears an argument between Malfoy and his lackeys and decides to start watching Malfoy using the Maurauders Map.

It is Ron's birthday, and while opening presents, he mistakes the box of chocolates containing love potion that Harry had received from Romilda as one of his gifts. After eating several, Ron developes an obsessive love for Romilda, and when Harry realizes what has happened, takes Ron to see Slughorn. Slughorn is able to create an antidote for Ron, and then decides they should toast Ron's birthday, and opens a bottle of mead. Ron drinks his first and it is quickly obvious that he has been poisoned. Slughorn is a bit slow on the uptake, but Harry finds a bezoar and forces it into Ron's mouth.


Chapter 19: Elf Tails
Ron is rushed to the Hospital Wing and his parents arrive there. He ends up to be all right.

In the next quidditch match, Cormac McLaggen replaces Ron as Keeper. However, in the process of trying to micromanage the team, he borrows a Beater's club and hits a bludger at Harry, cracking his skull, so Harry ends up in the Hospital Wing too.

While Harry is still in the Hospital Wing, he comes up with a plan to find out all of Malfoy's doings. He summons Kreacher, the late Sirius Black's house-elf. Kreacher appears, but Dobby the house-elf is with him, and they are fighting, apparently because Kreacher was insulting Harry in Dobby's presence. Harry and Ron manage to pull the two elves apart, and Harry tells them of his plan.

He instructs Kreacher and Dobby to trail Draco Malfoy everywhere, telling them to "stick to Malfoy like a couple of wart plasters". Harry tells the elves to give him regular reports on where Malfoy goes and what he does.


Chapter 20: Lord Voldemort's Request
Harry has another lesson with Dumbledore. There are just two memories. The first is of a 20 something Voldemort working as a buyer for Borgin and Burke. He visits the house of an elderly rich woman, named Hepzibah Smith, who claims to be distantly descended from Helga Hufflepuff. Hepzibah shows her two treasures: a cup that once belonged to Helga Hufflepuff, and a locket once owned by Salazar Slytherin.

The second memory is of Dumbledore as headmaster meeting with Voldemort. He has traveled a long way to apply to become a Hogwarts teacher. Dumbledore confronts him about his true motives and some of his rumoured behavior.


Chapter 21: The Unknowable Room
Harry finds a new curse in his potions textbook called Sectumsempra, and wishes to test it. Kreacher and Dobby report to Harry on Malfoy's doings, including those regarding Malfoy's regular use of the Room of Requirement. When Harry tries to enter the room, he finds that the door disappears and the room is gone from the map.


Chapter 22: After the Burial
Harry drinks some of the Felix Felicis, and goes out to persuade Professor Slughorn to reveal his memory of Voldemort. However, the potion commands him to go to Hagrid's hut. On the way, he meets Slughorn, and Slughorn is interested in getting some acromantula venom so he meets Harry at Hagrids. After an emotional burial, Hagrid and Slughorn get drunk, and Harry uses this to his advantage, as, knowing that Slughorn will not remember the incident the morning after, manages to persuade him to give him the memory of the Dark Lord by using Slughorn's fondness of his mother, Lily Evans to persuade him to reveal the memory.


Chapter 23: Horcruxes
Horcruxes are items that contain a piece of a person's soul. A limited amount of people have cast a spell to leave half their soul within an item. No one has done more than just divide their soul in half. Voldemort, desirous of achieving immortality, has done what no wizard has done: divided his soul into seven pieces; he cannot be killed while any of the horcruxes remain. It is believed by Dumbledore that Voldemort had unique objects as horcruxes, objects that had a deep history, so that nobody would want to destroy them. The seventh piece is evidently in himself. Voldemort's horcruxes that have been destroyed are his diary (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets) and the Slytherin ring directly from Salazar Slytherin.


Chapter 24: Sectumsempra
Harry, shadowing Draco yet again, finds him sobbing to Moaning Myrtle: whatever it is he's planning, he's scared he can't do it, and fears for the lives of his parents (and himself) if he fails. Quickly, however, he spots Harry. Faced with a Cruciatus Curse from Malfoy, Harry uses the Sectumsempra spell from the Half-Blood Prince's book. The spell injures Draco badly, spilling his blood everywhere. Professor Snape responds swiftly and saves Draco's life. Having used Dark magic to cause serious harm, Harry is assigned detentions by Snape for the rest of the year and has to miss the Quidditch finals; Ginny replaces him as Seeker and Dean Thomas replaces her as Chaser. When Harry returns to the Gryffindor common room, he finds that the Gryffindors have managed to win the Quidditch Cup. In the excitement, Harry kisses Ginny; Ron seems to offer his grudging consent.


Chapter 25: The Seer Overheard
Harry and Ginny are very happy together, laughing about the rumors going around school about them. Ron doesn't seem to have any problems with their relationship. Hermione reveals her theory regarding the 'Half Blood Prince'. Harry is summoned, again, to Dumbledore's office, but on his way there, he encounters Professor Trelawney, attempting to get into the Room of Requirement. Failing (as Malfoy is in there) she tells Harry of the identity of the person that overheard that famous prophecy: Snape! Realizing Snape gave Voldemort the information which prompted Voldemort to kill Harry's parents in a rage, Harry confronts Dumbledore. After a fiery exchange, Dumbledore calms Harry down, and they embark on their quest to retrieve one of the Horcruxes.


Chapter 26: The Cave
Dumbledore apparates himself and Harry to a cliff on the sea. It is here where Tom Riddle, in his orphaned youth, led a few of his classmates on a trip to a horrifying discovery. The cave is submerged underwater so in order to get to the cave, Dumbledore, followed by Harry, must swim underwater up until there is an air space. Here they ignite their wands with the Lumos charm to produce light. Dumbledore feels around for some sort of an opening. He articulates Voldemort's motives and decides Voldemort likes his enemies to be weakened. He then sheds blood, to Harry's protest, on the wall. An opening appears and Harry and Dumbledore find themselves overlooking a giant underground lake, with a strange green glow coming from its centre. Harry tries to use the Accio spell to summon the Horcrux, but this fails, and something large jumps out from the water momentarily. They edge their way around and Dumbledore, using a form of invisible magic instincts to recall an invisible boat on a chain. They reach the center which is a small island. There is a basin with a liquid in it. They presume the Horcrux to be submerged in this liquid at the bottom of the basin. Because they are unable to touch the basin or its contents, Dumbledore decides he must drink the substance. He produces a goblet and drinks the substance. He continues to suffer pain and in the end even says for Harry to kill him. But because Dumbledore made Harry promise to make him [Dumbledore] drink every last drop, Harry persists and Dumbledore finishes. They get the locket and the weakened Dumbledore and Harry row back to the bank of the underground lake. The corpses start arising when Harry tries to give Dumbledore water at Dumbledore's request. They safely get out of the cave and Harry apparates them to Hogsmeade.


Chapter 27: The Lightning-Struck Tower
Harry and Dumbledore return to Hogsmeade. Madame Rosmerta lends them brooms and they fly to where the Dark Mark is floating over the castle above the Astronomy Tower. Chaos reigns around them in Hogwarts. Draco enters the tower; Harry is frozen by Dumbledore and unseen while Draco reveals that the task set upon him was to kill Dumbledore. He also reveals that he has snuck other Death Eaters into Hogwarts via a Vanishing Cabinet. He had the broken Vanishing Cabinet that Montague was shoved into during Book 5, and the other half of the Vanishing Cabinet was held at Borgin and Burkes.

He proves unable to accomplish the task, even when joined by his fellow Death Eaters. Snape enters the room and pauses to take in the situation. Dumbledore says his name softly. Snape gazes at Dumbledore for several moments, a look of revulsion and hatred on his face. Dumbledore verbalizes a plea to Snape, but never explicitly states what he's asking for. Snape kills him, sending his body over the parapet.


Chapter 28: Flight of the Prince
Snape kills Dumbledore (Avada Kedavra) and flees with Malfoy. Harry pursues them (through a melée of Hogwarts students and Order members fighting Death Eaters). Meanwhile, Hagrid has intercepted Malfoy and Snape. Because of his giant blood, he is resisting the spells that Snape is aiming at him. Harry catches up with them and tries to kill Snape, using spells (e.g. Sectumsempra) that he found in the Half-Blood Prince's book, but fails. Snape then reveals that he created those spells himself - he is the Half-Blood Prince! Snape and the Death Eaters escape, but not before Snape prevents the other Death Eaters from killing Harry (as his death belongs to Voldemort).


Chapter 29: The Phoenix Lament
Ginny reveals to Harry that no one else (with the exception of one Death Eater) were killed in the battle, thanks to Ron's, Hermione's and Ginny's partaking of the Felix Felicis. The Order of the Phoenix begins preparations for Dumbledore's funeral. The Heads of Houses meet in Dumbledore's office to discuss the recent events. Fawkes (Dumbledore's phoenix) vanishes.

Bill has been bitten by a werewolf, but since the werewolf was not transformed at the time, he is only scarred and may have wolfish features for life. Despite this, Fleur still plans to marry him and this unites her and Mrs Weasley. Harry realises that Tonks is in love with Lupin, who was hesitant because of his being a werewolf. Mr Weasley changes his mind after Fleur announces she still loves Bill.


Chapter 30: The White Tomb
Dumbledore is laid to rest in a white tomb overlooking the lake. Many previous and minor characters attend the funeral, as well as the merpeople and centaurs (although they stay on the edge of the Forbidden Forest).

Harry breaks off the relationship with Ginny, as he is worried for her safety. Ginny accepts Harry's decision, but seems hopeful for their future after Voldemort is killed.

Scrimgeour asks Harry where he and Dumbledore had been that night, and Harry says he has nothing to say to him and agrain that he's "Dumbledore's man, through and through".

Harry seems convinced that he will not return to Hogwarts, even if it remains open. He plans to return to Privet Drive briefly to fulfill Dumbledore's wish that he remain protected, and vows to destroy the other Horcruxes and bring down Voldemort. Ron and Hermione pledge to stand alongside him; the story ends with him comforted at the thought of spending one last peaceful day with them, at Fleur and Bill's wedding, before he returns to the war.

-THE END-

Now I have finished reading the whole book, basically... err :)

Wednesday, 20 July 2005

The fat cats from Sabah

Ok, so I got a nice 3 fat wooden red cats from KK airport (beside the lame keychains) for the Gang of 4.

The BIGGEST cat goes to Puan Hartini Dewi depicting she is err.. 8 months pregnant (BIG tummy size: XXXL size :P)
The MIDDLE cat goes to Puan Aini significantly implies that she is 7 months pregnant (so-so tummy size migrating to XL size soon..)
And the SMALLEST cat goes to Cik Lynn because she is the one who is still a very cute anak dara and still had a desirable figure (still trim tummy)

HEHEHEHE

Tuesday, 19 July 2005

Kota Kinabalu and the islands

Random thoughts on the KK journey: 16-18 July 2005

Promenade Hotel

Arrived at KK after a 2 1/2 hour journey with AirAsia at 12.10 p.m. Checked in at Promenade Hotel. Since all the rooms were fully booked, we had to stay at a Super Deluxe room (the rate is RM 200+). We got free breakfasts and cocktails and the floor is exclusive for Promenade Floor residents.

The hotel is really nice since it is situated at the heart of KK.

Went to Plaza Wawasan and had lunch over there. The KK nasi paprik was really delicious and wonderfully done! Searched high and lows for some ole-ole but none came to the standard (BTW, I got lame keychains for the Gang of 4.. hehehe). Found small pearls which was priced at RM 2.50 each.


Tunku Abdul Rahman Park

A trip from the hotel to the island was priced at RM 37 which consist of a van ride to and fro from Shangri-La Tanjung Aru Resort's Jetty, a boat ride to the island and equipments such as snorkels, life jackets and mat. There are 5 islands in Tunku Abdul Rahman Park (Gaya, Manukan, Mamutik, Sapi and Sulug island). Entrance fee for each island is RM 3 per person and a boat ride to another island is RM 20 per person. The islands were breathtaking, the sea was crystal clear. It was a perfect day.

We went to Manukan Island with a high speed boat (WOW! I had a terrifying ride) and had a 4-hour leisury time just lazing around and snapping pictures. Most people were swimming and snorkelling. Well, maybe next time, we should bring extra clothes.

The boat trip back to the jetty was in bad weather - really BAD weather with thuderstorms and heavy rains -well, you get the idea.. We were wet all over.


Centre Point Plaza

The ride was RM 5 from the hotel (we took the hotel limo.. hehe) since it was raining. Searched for some more pearls at Centre Point and I was gaping in shock when one booth offered a price of RM 1 for big pearl.. Waa!!!

I bought a nice white pearl necklace which was priced at RM 45 (bargain some more after that). Thank God, the guy at the booth was really helpful and the same necklace was priced at RM95 at Plaza Wawasan.


Pasar Phillipine (not!) and flash floods

We didn't get the chance to go to Pasar Phillipine (the limo driver said the market sells really cheap Sabah pearls and handicraft items) due to heavy rains. It is situated 1 km from Centre Point.

At 8.30 p.m. we walked in the rain from the plaza back to the hotel since no taxi is taking us to the hotel. It had been raining non stop from 2 p.m. due to monsoon season and KK had the worst flash floods in 50 years (you get the idea..hmm).


The time zone

Solat time is one hour earlier than KL. So our Subuh is at 4.45 a.m., Isya' is at 7.30 p.m. etc. Imagine my shock when at 6.00 a.m., it is already bright!


The newspaper and the people

The people there speaks in Bahasa Melayu baku.. hehehe. So imagine our conversation:

"Hotel ke jeti jauh ke?"
"Tidak.. dekat ajaaaa! Hanya 5 kilometerrrr dari sini."

They are really friendly and prefer to speaks Bahasa Melayu baku than English :).

The newspaper is in Kadazan.. hoho.. there is a Malay newspaper called Utusan Borneo and the English version is called The Borneo Post. The newspaper is like 6-8 pages each.


The TV channel

Aiyak, so many Indonesian channels.. No more Indonesian slangs with me... nak pengsan dengar TV cakap Indonesia.. one English movie subtitles for "Drats!" was translated to "Sial!".. hahaha...

Alhamdulillah, we had a pleasant trip.

Friday, 15 July 2005

Leaving the kids.. again!

It's really hard to cope with the kids when dh is away. Luckily, MIL is here helping me for the moment. I slept with Amni and Fawwaz. Two days ago, both of them were playing with each other at 10.30 p.m. I was the one who slept first.

I will be going to KK tomorrow and both kids will be sent back to Malacca. Dh missed them, really and I was thinking to bring them along. It's really unfair to leave one of them behind and another tagging along. I decided that it's better that I leave my kids here rather than regret later since I brought only one of them.

It's hard to leave the kids :|

Wednesday, 13 July 2005

Ulasan buku: Advencer Si Peniup Ney

Aini baru saja menghulurkan buku-buku tulisan Faisal Tehrani kepada saya petang semalam. Lepas Maghrib, terus saja memilih buku dan saya bermula dengan Advencer Si Peniup Ney. Tepat jam 10.30 pagi ini, sudah habis saya menelaah helaian buku ini.

Komen saya?

Tulisannya lebih santai berbanding 1511H [Kombat], novel yang telah juga memenangi tempat pertama Hadiah Sastera Kumpulan Utusan 2003. Sinis dan menusuk hati sekiranya anda adalah peminat fanatik Akademi Fantasia atau Malaysian Idol atau yang seangkatan dengannya.

Saya paling suka deskripsi konsert Fantasia dalam bab 8. Faisal pandai menggunakan penulisan menempelak segala macam aspek yang selalu ditontoni dalam konsert mingguan Akademi Fantasia atau konsert Malaysian Idol. Sungguh berhias katanya menjunam tepat apabila diciptakan 3 hakim (kebetulan?) dan komen-komen yang memang melucukan daripada 3 hakim itu.

Contohnya:
"Awak ni pesona bintang, pesona awan, best."
"Pitching tak kena di sana sini. Patutnya masa zindagi o itu awak lebih tarik suara dan tahan di perut, ini tidak."

Pernah dengar ayat-ayat di atas? Sinis kan? Tamparan hebat buat mereka yang fanatik budaya hedonisme.

Lalu Faisal memperkenalkan Ustaz Sulaiman Hilmi Kamal untuk memperkenalkan konsep keagamaan di dalam budaya muzik. Sungguh tergumam jadinya apabila saya dapat tahu nota muzik Barat do-re-mi adalah daripada tulisan pemikir Islam. Rupanya orang Barat menciplak bulat-bulat seni muzik Islam!

Lalu di dalam buku ini, saya mengenali tokoh-tokoh Islam yang memperkenalkan konsep muzik dalam Islam. Tak tersangkakan Ibnu Sina dan al-Farabi adalah pakar muzik Islam. Sungguh sampai terbeliak biji mata!

Souti sarmad pula diperkenalkan oleh Ustaz Sulaiman. Jin bertindik satu menempelak: Siti Nurhaliza atau M Nasir pun tidak memperkenalkan genre ini, adakah ianya world music?

Saya pernah terbaca di dalam satu majalah bahawa tarian berpusing yang dilakukan oleh orang Turki untuk menunjukkan kecintaan terhadap Allah disertai zikir dan tasbih. Tak tersangkakan Faisal boleh menerapkannya dalam persembahan Ustaz Sulaiman dan rakan-rakannya itu.

Panjang lagi ceritanya.. sungguh! Kalau mahu ditelusuri, cerita Yusuf a.s. dan Zulaikha pun diselitkan. Malahan cerita berdakwah kepada penduduk di dalam laut pun ada!

Saya? Saya berharap buku ini dibaca agar mereka yang mengagungkan budaya hedonisme sedar akan tanggungjawab mereka bahawa kelazatan muzik itu adalah kerana Allah Yang Satu. Pendekatan yang sangat menarik untuk belia kita.

Tuesday, 12 July 2005

'You've got to find what you love,' Jobs says

Courtesy from Mas. This is a very long read, but is really aspiring :)

This is the text of the Commencement address by Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, delivered on June 12, 2005 to graduates of Stanford.

I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I've ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That's it. No big deal. Just three stories.

The first story is about connecting the dots.

I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?

It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: "We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?" They said: "Of course." My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.

And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents' savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn't see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn't interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.

It wasn't all romantic. I didn't have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends' rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on.

Let me give you one example:
Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn't have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can't capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, its likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.

Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something - your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

My second story is about love and loss.

I was lucky. I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation - the Macintosh - a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.

I really didn't know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down - that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me. I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.

I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I retuned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple's current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.

I'm pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn't been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle.

My third story is about death.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn't even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor's code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you'd have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I'm fine now.

This was the closest I've been to facing death, and I hope its the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:
No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960's, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.

Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: "Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish." It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.
Thank you all very much.

Monday, 11 July 2005

Isteri sebagai bidadari syurga

SOALAN

Dalam Al-Quran diceritakan bahawa kaum lelaki akan dikahwinkan atau dengan kata lain mereka boleh berseronok dengan para bidadari. Soalannya, bagaimana dengan kaum perempuan, adakah mereka juga diberi kelebihan yang sama ?

JAWAPAN

Merujuk kepada surah Al-Mukminun, ayat 8-11


Dan orang yang memelihara amanat-amanat (yang dipikulnya) dan janjinya,


Dan orang-orang yang memelihara sembahyangnya


Mereka itulah orang-orang yang akan mewarisi,


(Yakni) yang akan mewarisi syurga Firdaus. Mereka kekal didalamnya.

Ayat-ayat ini menyatakan orang mukmin akan dijanjikan syurga kepadanya tanpa mengira jantina, keturunan dan sebagainya. Maka syurga, insya Allah, turut dijanjikan kepada si isteri, sekiranya si isteri beramal soleh berlandaskan syariat Islam.

Beratnya tugas si isteri untuk menjadi bidadari di antara bidadari lain (bidadari syurga) bagi suaminya. Hanya isteri yang solehah dapat menjadi ratu bidadari syurga kepada suaminya. Maka, si isteri perlu berusaha untuk masuk syurga agar dapat bersama si suami.

Dari Anas bin Malik r.a., bahawa Rasulullah s.a.w. bersabda:
'Jika perempuan bersolat lima waktu, berpuasa pada bulan Ramadhan, menjaga kemaluannya dan taat kepada suaminya, nescaya dia akan masuk syurga.'

(Hadis riwayat Al-Bazaar - isnad hasan, hadis ini mempunyai banyak jalan untuk mengangkatnya ke darjat sahih, ditakhrij Ibnu Hibban, no 4151, ditakhrij Ahmad, 1/191).

Diriwayatkan dari Mu'az bin Jabal, yang menerangkan bahawa Rasulullah s.a.w. bersabda yang bermaksud:
"Janganlah wanita itu menyakiti suaminya di dunia, di mana isterinya dari bidadari (di syurga) berkata: "Janganlah engkau menyakiti dia, nanti engkau diperangi oleh Allah. Sesungguhnya dia (suami) itu, adalah sementara kepadamu, mungkin ia akan berpisah dengan engkau, lalu datang kepada kami."

(Hadis riwayat At-Tarmizi)

Di dalam sepotong hadis,
Rasulullah s.aw. bersabda (apabila ditanya oleh Ummu Salamah) dengan katanya:
Ya Rasulullah perempuan duniakah (yakni isteri-isteri) lebih baik ataupun bidadari syurga?

Maka baginda menjawab;
Bahkan perempuan dunia lebih baik daripada bidadari syurga sepertimana (pandangan) zahir lebih baik daripada (pandangan) batin

Maka dia bertanya lagi: Dengan apa?

Baginda pun bersabda:
Dengan solat mereka, puasa mereka dan ibadat mereka kerana Allah . Malah Allah memakaikan pada muka mereka cahaya, pada badan mereka sutera, kulit mereka berwarna putih, pakaian mereka berwarna hijau, malah mereka dipakaikan dengan perhiasan berwarna kuning (yakni emas) rantai mereka daripada permata ,sikat mereka daripada emas . Lalu mereka berkata : Kami kekal (di dalam syurga) dan kami tidak akan mati lagi , kami memperolehi nikmat dan kami tak akan bersedih lagi, kami akan kekal (di dalam syurga) dan kami tidak akan berpindah , kami adalah orang yang redha dan kami tidak akan marah, beruntunglah sesiapa yang kami (dijadikan) untuknya dan (dijadikan) dia untuk kami.

Lalu Ummu Salamah bertanya lagi:
Wahai Rasullullah , ada dikalangan kami yang berkahwin dengan dua orang lelaki , atau tiga orang lelaki atau empat orang lelaki (bukan dikumpulkan sekali tetapi merupakan perkahwinan yang kedua selepas kematian, cerai atau lainnya), kemudian perempuan itu mati dan dapat masuk kedalam syurga begitu juga bekas-bekas suaminya juga masuk syurga , maka siapa yang akan menjadi suaminya (di dalam Syurga),

Baginda menjawab: Dia akan memilih yang terbaik dikalangan mereka dari segi akhlak .

Mohon sesiapa boleh quotekan sanad hadis di atas, adakah ianya hadis sahih?

Hadis Rasulullah s.a.w. ada menyebutkan tentang ahli syurga yang akan sentiasa berwajah remaja.

Daripada Abu Hurairah r.a. berkata, Rasulullah s.a.w. bersabda yang bermaksud: "Sesiapa saja yang bertakwa akan masuk syurga yang penuh dengan kenikmatan, tiada celaka, hidup tidak akan mati serta pakaiannya tidak rosak dan tidak mengalami tua."

(Hadis riwayat Ahmad)

Merujuk kepada ayat 35 - 37, surah Al-Waqiah


Sesungguhnya Kami akan ciptakan mereka (bidadari-bidadari) secara langsung

Dan Kami jadikan mereka gadis-gadis perawan


Penuh cinta lagi sebaya umurnya

Ibn Kathir dalam pentafsiran ayat ini menyatakan bahawa wanita baik mereka itu tua atau tidak, mereka akan dibangkitkan dengan ciptaan baru (tidak tua tetapi muda, dan sebaya dengan umur pasangannya).



Abu Hurairah r.a. berkata,
"Ketika Nabi s.a.w. ditanya, "Ya Rasulullah, apakah kelak di syurga kami dapat berkumpul (jimak) dengan isteri-isteri kami?"
Jawab Nabi s.a.w, "Sesungguhnya seorang laki-laki dapat mencapai seratus gadis dalam sehari."

Dalam hadis juga ada diterangkan bahawa seorang suami di syurga jika telah jimak dengan isterinya, maka di dapati isterinya kembali menjadi gadis. Meskipun setiap kali suami mereka mendatanginya (jimak).
(Al-Hadis) -mohon sesiapa bantu kalau ada hadis penuh dan sanadnya

Bukankah kejelitaan dan keperawanan adalah idaman setiap wanita? Masya Allah, sungguh Allah itu Maha Kuasa dan Maha Mengetahui tentang sesuatu perkara.


Nota:

Penerangan di atas telah saya ambil rujukannya daripada sumber-sumber yang dinyatakan di bawah

[+] Bidadari di Syurga
[+] Menjadi Bidadari Yang Didambakan
[+] Laman Am Mengenai Hadis Nabi s.a.w.
[+] Buku: 50 Wasiat Rasulullah s.a.w. untuk Wanita karya Majdi As-Sayyid Ibrahim
[+] Buku: Tafsir Wanita karya Syaikh Imad Zaki Al-Barudi

Friday, 8 July 2005

Fawwaz; my hearbreaking journey

Getting pregnant is a culture in Malaysia if you are married. I should have suspected that something was not right when I missed my period by a few days. Instead, I just told dh about the period delay and I still remember his shocked face till today. We just had our baby 3 and 1/2 months ago.

My period delay went for 2 weeks. I started to worry. I keep asking dh to buy the pregnancy test kit and whola! the result is positive! My first reaction? I was angry at myself for being pregnant again. We just made a pact that we will try to do some family planning and suggest that Amni should be 2 years old before I started getting pregnant with the second one.

The journey to the clinic make it much harder to accept the fact. I remembered the doctor keep saying that I should not be pregnant so fast after a ceaserian and the wound was still fresh. I cried later that night. I didn't want the baby inside my womb.

About 2 months carrying the baby, I started to bleed. I was thinking of options on D & C (small procedure to clean your womb if the baby is suspected for threathened abortion) and asked from my colleagues about it. In fact, I was glad that I bleed as to fasten the procedure. My bleeding reached 8 days and I was referred to my gynaecologist.

Our first appointment made me nervous. I said to dh I didn't want the baby, to be frank. I was ready to ask the gynaecologist to perform D & C to me. We told my history of having an operation in delivering Amni and he looked calm and even smiled (and shocked to find out this was my second baby). He didn't even said that I should consider aborting the baby through D & C and said that I should continue with my pregnancy.

I was dazed.

On my way back, dh hugged me and started to say, we should accept the fact that this baby is a miracle. I was still dazed that our gynaecologist smiled and insisted on the fact of continuing the pregnancy. He said that I should be monitored by him closely to ensure that I had a normal delivery.

It was my turning point.

I was closely monitored by Dr. Rahman because of constant bleeding and the fact that I delivered my first child just 3 1/2 months ago.

I went through rigourous diet with my gynaecologist to ensure a miracle. Dh keep praying every night for me. We were overjoyed during my 28th week of pregnancy to know that I was carrying a boy.

Entering 38 weeks, a miracle happened. I delivered Fawwaz through normal delivery. The labour was short, 5 and 1/2 hours to be exact. He looked beautiful.

This is the baby that I didn't want in the first place. And now, I love him even more.

Note:
This story is dedicated to the mommies that I know (and some mommies who I don't know but read the blog for daily doses) who delivered your baby through C-section. There is still hope for miracles. Allah knows what is best for us.

Thursday, 7 July 2005

Fatwa mengenai Nur Muhammad dan Wahdatul Wujud

Assalamualaikum

Semalam sibuk menyusun semula topik dalam Bicara Muslimah dan melakukan kerja-kerja pengeditan untuk mengemaskinikan kandungan di dalamnya.

Maka hari ini, baru berkesempatan menjenguk beberapa bicara yang biasanya saya kunjungi secara tetap: Bicara Fiqah dan Bicara Akhlak & Tasawuf.

Ada dua topik mengenai Nur Muhammad telah dikunci oleh Ketua Pengendali dan saya kira, ianya amat bertepatan sekali dengan kehendak para pengendali BMC sendiri. Penerangan yang Pak Ngah berikan sangat bagus dan di sini saya sertakan topik-topik yang dikunci sebagai rujukan bersama betapa segala persoalan mengenai Nur Muhammad dan Wahdatul Wujud adalah haram di sisi Islam.

Perbicaraan tidak berlandaskan Al-Quran dan Hadith juga telah ditegur oleh Pak Ngah berdasarkan pernyataan di dalam topik di bawah.

Topik-topik yang telah dikunci:
[+] Antara Nur Makrifah dan Falsafah
[+] Dialog Antara Allah dan Nur Muhammad


Mohon jika sesiapa ingin membaca penjelasan Pak Ngah, bolehlah klik link di atas.

Wassalam.

Polar opposites

Malacca is not that far away from KL, I am sure. Last night, Amni was running outside the house when she heard the car's engine and grinned from ear to ear when she saw us - her daddy, to be exact. I entered the house and Fawwaz smiled when he saw me.

Both my kids are polar opposites. Amni is attached to her father while Fawwaz is attached to me due to the fact that I didn't spend much time with her during my second pregnancy. I tire easily and she turned her attention to dh. After giving birth, Fawwaz is with me most of the times as I let Amni runs here and there in the house. She slept with my husband and I slept with Fawwaz.

Fawwaz has a very grim face all the time, he doesn't smile much while Amni always smiles and laughs over little things. It is hard to make Fawwaz smile, but the joy of seeing him with his smile cheered me up.

The kids woke at 4.45 a.m. today when they saw me taking turns with their father before we were off to KL at 5.30 a.m. this morning.

To my dear kids, sorry that mommy had to go to work today. I was touched that both of you smiled eagerly when we saw us last night.

Never forget that we love you both! *sob*

Tuesday, 5 July 2005

Ish Awathif aqeeqah

[1]
We went to Batu Pahat last Saturday for Ish Awathif aqeeqah. The baby's mother was radiant with smiles on her face. I haven't seen her for 7 months. She was excited to see Amni jumping here and there - believe me, my daughter is like an Energizer battery. Even Amni was excited to see 'Athif in her baby basket and climbed on the bed to watch the baby. My heavenly daughter had enough nerve to even climb the baby's basket. She seemed excited on the prospect to be inside it and squashed 'Athif flat.. hehe. She even played with my friend's small cousins that we had to search for her all over the house. Next thing I know, she was in the kitchen to ehem.. supervise the preparation of the aqeeqah.

I was glad we made the long trip to see her.

And my friend is err.. a modern mama. Selamba gila bersila during confinement!

Before heading back to KL on Sunday, we went to Pantai Klebang and spent some time with the kids.

[2]
Someone SMS-ed me yesterday.

Aida, doa yerk moga nursery yang dipilih utk anta amni dan fawwaz barokah.

Whoever you are (sorry, I didn't store the number), jazakallah for the SMS. I really appreciate it during the lows of my life :)

Friday, 1 July 2005

Agaknyalah..

Allah nak uji sikit sahaja
Adalah tu ganjarannya

Mujur anak-anak selamat

Doakan ana dan keluarga hidup sejahtera

Puisi ini didedikasikan untuk diri sendiri pula :)

[+] Allah Knows Best