Friday, January 25, 2013

Awkward moments.

Just two of you working in the lab. You spin your cells for 5 mins. The other person is working in the laminar flow hood. You really have nothing else to do while waiting for your cells-taking off the labcoat, walking to the office, sit down for 2 mins then it's time, so might as well just wait in the lab. So you look around, and move around. You want to initiate a small talk, but then you hesitate because that other person is really concentrating on his/her experiment, and...the awkward silence fills the lab. 5 mins later, 'Teeeeeeeet', the centrifuge beeps. 'Thank God!'

You are washing your hand in the restroom. Then your supervisor walks out from the toilet stall and start washing her hands as well. You stand beside each other. It gets really awkward, either you make gestures to show that you notice her (smile or say hi or simply nod) or just do nothing because toilet really is an awkward place to be with your supervisor. What more if you know she's sitting in the toilet stall next to you and you start hearing know..that sound.

Again, two of you are working in the lab, side by side. You rarely talk to this person. You share nothing in common. But then it starts to get really awkward when both of you are doing experiment next to each other for quite sometime, and do not utter a single word to each other. Suddenly comes a third person (Phewwwwww), either to break the silence by talking to either of you, or he/she could just start doing his/her work right away and continues on with the silence. But now the awkwardness is kinda diluted so you don't feel it as much compared to before. 

You have to go on a 30-min bus ride with you supervisor to another hospital because the equipment in your lab is broken, and he is the only person who can operate this alternative equipment. The moment you know it's going to happen you starts to feel fidgety. Deep down you wish that the bus is kinda full so there won't be no two side-by-side seats available. As Plan B, you start making scripts in your mind. You want to avoid having that awkward silence so you think of as much topics to talk to your supervisor about as possible.  But when you get on the bus, the two-seater are the only available seats and because you are to conscious about your list/script, you forget them altogether. And there is no way out but to face the awkwardness.

And guess what, this whole awkwardness may not be a solitary thing after all. That other person might also feel the awkwardness that you feel. So all iz well. :P

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Sunday, January 20, 2013

A Walk Across the Sun

I stopped reading when I started my PhD. PhD was overwhelming in the beginning and I had a lot to take in. After having to read too many journals in a day, I just lost interest in books when I got home after work.

After sending off my mom through the security gate at Heathrow Airport earlier this month, the '2 for 1' advertisement at WHS Smith caught my attention. Then I saw this book on the front shelf. Read the synopsis at the back of the book and next time I knew, I went deeper into the store where they had a bigger book display. After perusing the shelves for a good 5 mins, I went to the till and got myself two books, and started to read immediately while waiting for my coach back to Nottingham. 'New year resolution', I thought to myself.


A Walk Across the Sun, Corban Addison's debut tells the story of misfortune of two sisters post-tsunami in India. They were trafficked to become sex slaves. Also, there is a lawyer who found himself interning with a NGO that work on sexual exploitation in Bombay, away from his comfortable desk at a big law firm in Washington DC. Their stories intertwined and their destinies changed.

A Walk Across the Sun is a bundle of emotions. Anger, sadness, frustration, anxiety, resentment, hope and happiness all wrapped up in one book.

Angry because there was too much of a corruption than my brain could handle, frustrated knowing there is another world beside the one we are living where evil trumps, anxious waiting for the girls to be rescued, sad for the hero who fell short in the rescue attempt, hopeful that the girls would see better days of their lives and happy for just many reasons. I was so glued to the book that every evening I couldn't wait to go home to know what's going to happen next. Parts where he told about the rescuing attempts, I felt the adrenaline rush and immediately sat down instead of lying on my bed. I cried tears of happiness at the end of the book, not a lot of books could do that to me. I grew resentment towards Indian police and its juridical system for the intolerable level of corruption, even though the book is fiction. So.many.emotions. Addison did a great job for his first book. 

What I particularly like about the book is the message it conveys. Books I read before were mostly chick-lits, with trivial take home message. I felt so close to the human trafficking issues than ever before. I used to volunteer with one NGO in Malaysia that work on this cause. Hearing stories about the kids at the centre overwhelmed me, but this book takes it to a whole other level. The most important message of this book lies in the conversation between Dietrich Klein (sex slave trader) and Sita (one of the sisters:

"Klein: Do you know why you are here? You are not here because I enjoy the sale of sex. You are here because men enjoy the purchase of it."

I think it's good for movie adaptation, but then again, usually adaptions aren't nearly as good as the original work. The writer had done an extensive research on this subject to write such a great, well-thought out book, the movie might not do justice.


Picking up a great book with no reference whatsoever is definitely a win! I wish to read more books but this book has set a really high benchmark, I'm worried the next one will bore me and then I will stop reading again. We shall see.

If any of you are interested to read about the facts of human trafficking, here are few links provided by the author:

The CNN Freedom Project

When I read the book and then the links, the similarities took me by surprise. The book is a fiction as true as the reality. This thing is REAL. It's happening outside the book, outside our doors, in an underworld. The stats are so depressing!

I leave you with my favorite quotes from the book.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The cold ones.

Weather is not looking good this week. I have experienced lower temperatures in the States, but I had a very good heating system in my house, and the utility bill was included in rent, so we put it on 24/7. I didn't even know if there was an off button :P So yeah, it was always warm and fuzzy at home.

Here in the UK, the house central heating is basically rubbish. Only boilers in the dining area, living room and one of the attic rooms are working. In the other 3 rooms, the boilers are mere decoration. During cold weather, my room is the coldest of all spaces in the house. The previous owner even nicknamed it 'bilik mayat'.

I always put on sweater and socks at home. It was hard to get used to wearing socks all the time, but now it has become second nature. 

And for added warmth, this is what I do.

Snuggle myself down in my snowman blanket with a radiator!
Let's just hope it won't burn the blanket or me :P

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Happy tummy.

I have lovely housemates who love to cook, and to make things better, they are really good at it. They make all the hardcore dishes/food that I would never imagine making here in the UK.

Last Sunday Kak Hani made laksa utara enough to be eaten by 5 people for 3 days. Ha beat that! Not forgetting, she made tonnes of karipap sardin and daging on the same day.

This morning right after Subuh Kak Qamar made laksa johor for lunch. *I'm happily eating it at the moment*

Kak Ieda followed not long after. She made bihun sup daging kambing to be eaten for dinner. *Can't wait to go home to bihun sup now!*

I'm so spoiled!

That's why I have been slacking in the cooking department because 1) they are always ahead of me and 2) whenever they don't feel like cooking, I feel so inferior to cook for everyone being afraid my cooking is not good enough. They have set the benchmark so high okay. -_____-'

Maybe they want to give me a good rest before I start cooking full force come June :P

Monday, January 14, 2013

Karipap 101

I'm certainly not proud to say that my 'kelim karipap' skill is far below average. But I thought I'd share what I call true definition of 'Practice makes perfect' (even though my karipap is still not perfect :P)

There is still hope, I think. HA HA

Friday, January 11, 2013

The chills.

Bila nak kahwin ni soalan yang orang selalu tanya, 'Dah ready ke nak jadi isteri orang?' My usual answer is 'Entahlah'. Sama macam bila nak ambil exam. Sebelum masuk dewan sure ada member tanya, 'Ko dah ready ke?' Serba salah tahu tak nak jawab. Kalau jawab 'Dah ready!' nanti sure kena label 'berlagak'. Kalau jawab 'Weh aku tak ready dowh, semalam half way study aku tertidur, subuh tadi baru jaga'. Lepas tu bila results keluar dapat 95, kawan yang tanya tadi dapat 78 and akan cakap, 'Gila lah kau tak sempat habis study pun 95, aku yang tak tidur semalam dapat B je'. Tak pasal-pasal jadi gila pulak. Ha dah tu kena label 'Nak cover la tu cakap tak habis study padahal genius'. See, serba salah tahu tak??

Truth is, we can never be ready for anything, unless we go through it. Lepas tu baru lah tahu sebenarnya ready ke tak. 

When Mama came to visit the other day, that was one of the things she asked me. My answer was 'No, I am not!' I could list 100 of things that I need brushing up, but even if I practice/find ways to overcome the 100 things, there will be 100 things more on my plate.

I told my mom, before the ceremony, I need to practice my 'siang ikan' skill. Not that I don't know how to siang ikan *defensive mode*, it's just that the ikan I siang is always not pretty (dasyat nya grammar kau). They will turn out clean and edible *of course* but tak sedap mata memandang. Get what I mean?

Another thing of my concern, 'apa nak masak kat rumah mertua nanti?'. My cooking skills are really basic, janji untuk selamat perut sendiri. I call it masakan bujang LOL. Specialty dish pun belum ada. Kalau at least ada satu dua yang terror gila kalau masak confirm sedap, ok lah jugak. Kalau tiba-tiba mak mertua suruh take over the kitchen boleh berpeluh just thinking what to cook, belum start masak lagi. Tambah nervous Harris has a big family, kalau tak sedap mana nak letak muka??

That's just two out of hundreds.

But I guess, mana yang boleh brush up tu, boleh la kan nak start from now.  But as we go along, we will learn how to deal with things and masa tu lah kita jadi ready. There and then. Moral of the story, we can stop asking the areyouready question because no one knows. Instead, kita doakan orang yang nak kahwin tu dapat mengharungi cabaran dan dugaan after kahwin seperti siang ikan depan mak mertua dengan jayanya :P

Joker in the family.

Rosli's family Whatsapp group

Mama: Ma basuh seluar Ayah, seluk poket jumpa sesuatu.
Dila: Duuuuu...iiiiitt
Mama: Jangan terkejut.
Dila: Ape die Ma? Kasi gambar baru saspen (dgn nada tak serious)
Mama: Sampainya hati

*dah start cuak*

Mama sent an image.

Mama sure knows how to crack a joke at 12 in the morning.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Two thousand thirteen.

2012 highlights:

1. Got engaged :)
2. Officially a PhD candidate (after passing my first year assessment)
3. Mama came to visit!

Syukur Alhamdulillah for both the good and bad things that happened in 2012.
I'm looking forward to a greater 2013, inshALLAH.