Saturday, February 17, 2018

A good man.

"Thank you Yani for coming. How are you?!" That was the first question asked by my former lecturer-turned-colleague, Dr. Kushan, as soon as he saw me. Just him mentioning my name made my heart filled with joy. I could feel my presence was acknowledged by this kind man. "I am good, Dr. Kushan," I replied while smiling at him. I could see how excited his eyes were, sparkling with the same joy and excitement whenever I saw him back at the university. Dr. Kushan used to teach me plant physiology during my degree years and we became work colleagues when I worked at the same university after I graduated. He invited me and Rosie to join the rest of his colleagues at the same table at Anjung Saujana restaurant. Suddenly, the cold air that me and Rosie felt as we entered the door of the Brunei International Airport became warm. And there we were, sitting with the rest of the expat lecturers, at the same table. It was an enjoyable night. Everyone was having a good time, laughing over some academicians' jokes. I find it really interesting to have a laugh over the topic of Brunei's traffic lights and how the 3 colored traffic lights are related to drivers' behavior and decision making. It was amusing to look at different perspectives of chemists, biologists and a mathematician as they argued about it. And as I sipped my hot chocolate, I listened to them exchanging ideas and sharing their personal experiences. As best as I could, I embraced the beautiful moment. It was a special night as we were sending off Dr. Kushan back to his good country. 

I held back my tears as I watched Dr. Kushan exchanged hugs with his colleagues minutes before he entered the departure gate. Though they came from different countries but they spoke the same language. Academicians and scientists who left their own countries to serve other people in another country. When it was my turn, I shook hands with Dr. Kushan and wished him good bye and take care. And at that moment, I knew, it would be my last time to see this good man :') (Tears running down my eyes at this time). We all waved him the final good bye just after he passed by the security post. And with heavy hearts, me and Rosie together with another colleague left the airport. I was told, he did not want to be paid for his February salary to make things less complicated before he left for good. It shows how sincere and passionate he was as an academician at the university; he was there not for the money, but for his passion as a scientist. Hearing that, I felt so touched. And speechless at the same time. At that moment too, my brain was recalling old memories at the university; how he had contributed so much to the university and how conscientious he was as an administrator back then. I feel so blessed to have the chance to meet this good man and be part of his life. I really am so glad to have known him, as my lecturer and as my work colleague. I wish Dr. Kushan, and his family the greatest happiness and joyful life.

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

It's January again. Welcome 2018.

Assalamualaikum~ :) Happy New Year 2018! I started writing this post 3 minutes before midnight of 1st January. Can you believe it? It's already 2018! How time flies... 

Looking back, my 2017 was a year full of ups and downs. Firstly, it was the year when my beloved grandfather passed away and since then, everything changed. Things happened to our family and it was more to us being torn apart than getting close to each other. Allah knows how I feel about this, until now. Whenever I think about it, I have tears running down my cheeks. The sudden loss of both of my grandparents within less than a year (2016, then 2017) has led me to suffering from mild depression. However, with the help of my fiancé and of course, continuously seeking help spiritually from Allah, I managed to come back up and reclaim back my normal self. Alhamdulillah... Though at times, I would cry when I miss both of my grandparents...

Secondly, 2017 was the year when I got a new job at a new place. It is still within the education sector but this new job offers me a permanent place. My family and my beloved fiancé were the happiest to know when I got offered. I was happy too. However, at the same time, I was sad because I was leaving my current job at that time. I had a good working environment, good bosses, good colleagues and yes, good pay as well. But then again, I knew it was the right decision for me to leave. I left everything to Allah and tawakkal. Alhamdulillah... It's been 4 months since I started working at the new place and things are going well. Allah is the best of planners.

Thirdly, and the last highlight of 2017, was that I bought a new house for my family. We just moved in last November and has already started settling down. I got to keep the master bedroom, which I have yet to create a suitable theme. This was also a major life-changing decision I have ever made apart from changing my job. This, too, was after I prayed and prayed hard, asking from Allah before deciding. And yes, Alhamdulillah, Allah the Most Generous has granted His rezeki to me and my family. Of course, I am happy to see my parents happy :') That's the best that I can do as a daughter; before I go to the next major, life changing step of my life. 

So, that was pretty much of how my 2017 went. Allah has taken away the love of my life and at the same time, Allah has replaced my loss with something new. May the year 2018 will bring goodness and blessings from Allah SWT, and may I get closer and closer to His Deen. Amin...

Bandar Seri Begawan, where I spent my life since 1992 until last year, before moving out to a new place at the suburbs area.

Monday, July 10, 2017

My Ramadhan

Assalamualaikum and hi! :) Yay, it's Aidilfitri again. Happy Eid ul-Fitri to all Muslims out there and may this year's Eid will bring us more blessings from Allah SWT, and may we meet Ramadhan again next year. Ameen...

This year is my 3rd year fasting in Ramadhan as a Muslim convert. Alhamdulillah, I feel even more contented with my Ramadhan this year than last year's. I managed to perform taraweeh prayers at one of my favourite mosques, the Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque in the capital. Last year I only went once to the mosque (and that was a kampung mosque in Tutong) because of my lack of confidence in performing the taraweeh prayers at the mosque. This year, however, I managed to overcome my lack of confidence by giving myself the chance to just go and join the crowd. I fought against my self doubts and with my only intentions to please Allah and sought the barakah in the holy month, I managed to perform taraweeh almost every night at the mosque. I even managed to perform taraweeh in the final ten nights of Ramadhan, with the hope to really find the real meaning behind the holy month of Ramadhan. 

Alhamdulillah, I believe I have found the true meaning behind Ramadhan. It is not only about fasting and controlling myself from doing the things that are forbidden, it is all about giving myself to Allah SWT. It is all about discipline, focus and meeting the goals to become a better Muslimah. It is all about taking care of my heart and mind, and to ensure myself to not fall victim to the lures of Dunya. It is not easy, I should say. But the fight really worth it. And additionally, this year's Ramadhan has taught me to love the Quran even more than before. Now I am making Quran as my best friend and my goal is to read Quran everyday, anytime anywhere. And I want Quran to be part of my life always, as all Muslims should do... :') Quran has always been my penghibur di kala duka, and it has always been my source of knowledge and guidance. It has shed light on me whenever I feel in doubts, and whenever I feel so empty and depressed. I admit it, before I embraced Islam, I always had self doubts, lack of confidence and feeling depressed more often. I felt that my life was meaningless, clueless and there were no true goals. Now that I have Islam in my heart, Alhamdulillah, I have been living in peace... I can feel the true meaning of happiness... :')

I wish I could write more but there are so many beautiful things that I myself cannot put them in words to describe how much in love I am with Ramadhan, and with Islam as a whole. I know Islam is the right path for me since the beginning I was first exposed to Islam. Alhamdulillah, thank you Allah for choosing me. I really really feel so blessed with this life and with this path I have chosen. Alhamdulillah...

"...indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves..." Ar-Ra'd, ayat 11.

The ceremonial barge of the SOAS Mosque, Brunei, taken after the taraweeh prayers.

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Allah's blessings

"And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed, 'If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favour]; but if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe'" - Surah Ibrahim, ayat 9.

It was really a great test to me when I lost both my beloved grandparents in less than a year. Only Allah knows how hard it was for me to face this loss. Although it was too painful to accept, but my family and I managed to get through it together. Just when I thought I just recovered from the loss of Nini Bini last year, Nini Laki left us in the midst of us not believing that it would happen too soon. And I thought it was all just a dream. I thought that I would wake up from this nightmare and I would see my nini sitting there on his favorite rattan chair in the living room as usual. But it wasn't. It was real. Just a few days ago, I was feeling overwhelmed. I thought a lot about my grandparents, how much I missed them and how much I really wanted to be with them. I couldn't stop crying. I cried till my eyes were blurred and my head ached. I really missed them so much. I wanted to hug them and kissed their hands as I usually did. But, that's impossible... May Allah bless their souls and may they rest in peace. Amin...

However, despite of the recent sadness and misery in my life, Alhamdulillah, Allah has granted me something else. I have never thought that this day would come that soon but then again, Allah is the best of all planners. I am really grateful for the great news. In sya Allah, may this new path will guide me closer to you, ya Allah. I have been holding on to Allah's promises and trying my best to please Allah as much as I could, and Alhamdulillah... His blessings come at the time when I need it the most. "...Indeed, Allah does not fail in his promise" - Surah Al-Imran, ayat 9. I can never be more than thankful and grateful for this life. I may not see what the future holds but I believe, Allah has the best plans for me. In sya Allah, may Allah keep on providing me His guidance to go through this temporary life. Amin...

"...For indeed, with hardship [will be] ease. Indeed, with hardship [will be] ease." - Surah Asy-Syarh, ayat 5-6. 

View of Kampung Ayer taken from the observation tower at the Mangrove Paradise Resort

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Baby Irah

We were walking side by side towards the front door when Baby Irah said, "Tani pinjam rumah Nini Iyop". I was stunned for a second when my 3 year old cousin mentioned our late Nini Laki's name. We just came home from kedai runcit to buy groceries. Then I asked her, "Nini Iyop mana, baby?" Just testing what would her response be. And then she said, "Nini Iyop jalan syurga. Nanti Kaka pun jalan syurga, jumpa nini" I was struck at heart and said "" I held back my tears...and just smiled, looking at Baby Irah. Her innocent and cute face made me feel calm at heart. I really miss you Nini...