Archive | December, 2011

Should I give up?

28 Dec

When I want to take riding license i decided to just go ahead with it. Before enrolling, I casually mention to my mother that I will be doing so.
Me: I’m going to the driving school then to school.
Mother: why? Someone has a driving test?
Me: no.
Mother: (after some wrong guesses) you’re taking riding?
Me: ya.
Mother: what for?
Me: I just want to learn. Not to buy a bike but to be able to. The drive to be able to is so strong where there was the option to ride in Thailand and Vietnam at such a low price.
Mother: no need lah… Its usually the guys who do the riding.
Me: but Mr Q doesn’t want to learn so I shall go.
Mother didn’t say anymore but she was still unconvinced.

Even my father discouraged me until he started giving me tips on how to ride.

No one else said anything. As for Mr Q he agreed and supported my decision to learn.

Theory was a breeze!

I was discouraged when practical started. It was tougher than I imagined. Scary even. I still looked forward to my weekly lessons. Lesson 2 was ok, I managed mediocrely and my confidence level went up.

I had lesson 3 today.

First was slope. Scary scary but after one time it was cool. Easy after a while.

Second was crank course and figure 8.I felt like giving up!!! For the first time since I decided to take up the license. I was the only girl and the only one who can’t manage. I could feel the stares and just wanted to go home 😦
After umpteen tries I managed figure 8 slowly. There is a time limit of 11 seconds. So I’d still fail. The crank course is still unmanageable.

Confidence level -10.

I really don’t want to give up but will
I be able to do it?

There are other issues like whether a muslim girl should take this license? Whether I will be able to pillion a girl in lesson 5? Whether I can ever pass? Whether I can even go through lesson 3? Should I go on till the pillion riding lesson and then give up? So I can learn even more? Is it worth it?
I should pray instikharah.

It feels like such a waste since I spent so much time, energy and money already. To think of it, it’s not all wasted like my ‘A’ levels maybe ?

Since I’ve shared so much, more than I usually will. Maybe anyone has ideas, suggestions, answers, comments… Do leave them for me ya 🙂

Thanks for reading especially of you’ve come to the end of the post.

Aspiration

27 Dec
The more the servant loves his Master, the less he will love other objects and they will decrease in number. The less the servant loves his Master, the more he will love other objects and they will increase in number.” ~ Ibn Taymiyyah ((Rahimahullah)

Purposeless day

26 Dec

It’s not totally purposeless since I have lesson. I’m grateful HE protects me.

On the contrary to my title, if it feels like a purposeless day, perhaps something is missing from our life. Something we have lost touch with due to our obsession with this world and it’s contents.

It reminds me that i must better myself always in the religious aspect to a large extent and worldly aspect to a small extent. Remind myself of our purpose here, in this world full of temptations and distractions.

For those who don’t know the meaning of surah Al-fatihah, I humbly suggest we find out and it will make our daily prayers much more meaningful, InsyAllah.

A suggestion: watch bro Abu Mussab’s lecture titled ” one way to paradise” on YouTube. InsyAllah it will bring us great benefit.

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Quote of the day

24 Dec

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Our night out with friends

24 Dec

It was R’s idea to go for a drive at night. He liked the idea very much.

Of course things and places at night can be very different and at times peaceful. Singapore is too crowded for my taste, yea even at night.

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A beautiful rose

21 Dec

When I was reading this, I felt the analogy is so apt. I was picturing what someone on Ted shared about his life photography. Truly amazing masyallah!. I am not sure if I’d shared it here before but I will share again.

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The Dark Side of Dubai

13 Dec

I think many have preconceived notions of Dubai which might change 180 degrees after reading this.

I’m really sad about what is going on and feel helpless. Actually in Singapore, workers do not have the best living and working conditions. Fortunately, there is HOME an organisation which advocates for their rights. This also reminds me of how fortunate i am here. Alhamdulilah.

Please read here to understand what i am trying to mean.

Of lakes, mountains, trains and market

12 Dec

I forgot to mention that we had a slight inconvenience as there was no electricity in our hotel since 8 in the morning. We decided to have breakfast first, in the dark dining room lit only by candles. There is still hot water and gas so food was still available. For us, we usually ate the french bread with cheese, peanut butter, jam and lots of fruits! The owner told us that there is still hot water so we can take our showers as the water is stored in the heater just not much of it. We took baby baths and headed to Lang Bian Mountain and Lat village.

So tired after the trip, we headed to a vegetarian restaurant for lunch but it turns out to be no more. I realised Lonely Planet is not very updated or i got a rather out dated version of it. Headed to the vegetarian restaurant which we usually have our dinner at and its closed for the afternoon. They open again at 4pm. Instant noodles it was then!

We relaxed and had hot instant noodles, prayed and then headed out. I think we took too much time for lunch so we missed out on Valley of Love. As it gets dark by 5.30pm, the sites are closed by 4-5 pm. We headed out at 3pm straight to Tuyen Lam Lake where we took the cable car to the lake. After the very scenic cable car ride over the lush greenery, we had to walk so far just to catch a glimpse of the lake.

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Before heading to the lake, there was a meditation centre swarmed with tourists. It was beautiful though. We saw a number of monks around. I was afraid to take photos of them. Near the meditation centre was a beautiful garden with gorgeous flowers.

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Meditation center amongst some tall pine trees.

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Beauty isnt it? I dont know how it is grown but my mum said that it grows naturally like that – a miracle for them. Something like a special effect of this place.

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Walking towards the lake. Pretty deserted around this area. We walked down all the way to the lake and saw some shops. I bought a really soft hand made scarf from there and forgot to take a photo of the lake we came all the way to see.

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Breath taking sight of the peaceful lake. Wished we had time to sit by the lake and take in its beauty.

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Next stop was the railway station which is there just for tourists to visit because it is not being used anymore. Perhaps in the future, Dalat will be accessible by railroad like it used to be decades ago.

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Inside an old train.

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I asked Mr Q to lie down but he didnt want to. Haha! I have the most absurd ideas, rather nonsensical maybe.

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This one looked ugly so we didnt even have a look inside.

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Inside the carriage which holds the engine or something that looks like it. They still used charcoal to drive the train. Super old fashioned.

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Second last stop of the day was the lake near the city center of Dalat. It should have been the last stop so we can relax here but we still had to go to the market so our visit here was a short one. It wasnt as peaceful as the one a Tuyen Lam Lake as it was by the traffic and anyone who has visited Vietnam know how noisy the traffic can be. They honk half as many time they press the accelerator. In Singapore, we honk at most once or twice.

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I was complaining that there wasnt any swans or ducks in the huge lake. There should be right? Haha according to me at least. It was a pretty sight to watch swans waddle and fly close to the surface of the water, which i witnessed in a park in Dublin. Instead there are fake swans people can rent and paddle around.

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Street food anyone?

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The market. As you can tell, it sells everything!

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After a short rest at the hotel which we paid for another night as we wanted to freshen up and pray after a long day and before a long night on the night bus to Ho Chi Minh City. The bus looked like this. Around 30 people i think, all lying down and most people are fast asleep throughout the journey. I woke up in the middle of the night and was afraid to keep my eyes open as i hear the honking and feel the bus swerving here and there, i know we are at a pretty steep height so i was afraid.

Alhamdulilah we made it all the way arriving at 4.30am in the morning in the quiet city. I couldnt decide if we should get a hotel or just wait till sunrise which is in an hour or so before we can start seeing the sights. We decided to just sit and wait for sunrise. We were hungry as well but we munched on snacks instead. 20111212-090002.jpg

At 5.50am we took a taxi to a mosque nearby to pray Subuh. 20111212-094827.jpg

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After a while we left and attempted to walk to the Reunification Palace but it was too far away and the bag was too heavy. After an hour of walking, we took a taxi to the Palace. We just sat as soon as we arrived inside. I think we spent more time sitting there than walking around the palace. I didnt have the mood for Palaces or Museums. We went in because i needed to use the toilet and walked around for 10 minutes and that is about it. After some time, Mr Q went in on his own to look at more stuff. I people-watched which waiting. It is pretty interesting, i remember doing alot of it while travelling around Europe as i had alot of waiting time.

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At lunch time, we headed to Halal @ Saigon to fill our growling stomachs. We couldnt wait to have meat after 3 days of vegetarian meals.

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Nasi Lemak with chicken.

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Satay! A little spicy for me but tasty nonetheless.

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Mr Q had Nasi Campur (not sure what it is called)

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They gave everyone free dessert in the form of heart shaped jelly.

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Right opposite the restaurant is another Mosque.

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As you can see there are a few halal restaurants near the mosque.

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Yet another halal restaurant. There is even pho here! Wished i could have tried halal pho 🙂

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After a sumptous meal, we headed to the mosque and off shopping! I am not much of a shopper so just finished up our Vietnamese Dong and headed to the airport. Our flight was delayed by an hour and it wasnt the most wonderful thing to happen at the end of your trip.Reached home safe and sound Alhamdulilah.

We’re saddened by the death of one of the fishes

9 Dec

Innalillah wa inna illahi raajiun.

I’m deeply saddened when my brother called me to join in the commotion outside where a fish just died. It has been with us for around for 10 months.

Actually it’s my brother’s fish investment. But over time we grow to get used to having the fish around though it’s my father who usually feed them and clean the tank. After some time, my father’s off day was a day for a feast for them as they would get frogs instead of worms.

I don’t look at them much though the tank is right outside my room.

The fish’s death still affected us all. I think it has to be the way it looked in its death, sad and like it suffocated to death; it’s fins and tail were bitten, it’s body has a few red marks. We do not know the cause of death but it didn’t look like a peaceful death.

It used to be the quieter fish which would not eat the frog or the worms as fast as the bigger fishes.

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Lang Bian mountain & Lat village

8 Dec

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The day before, we actually decided to sign up for a tour to go around the city and outside Dalat. We were quoted US$28 per person for the whole day tour. Which would be around $35 per person. To think of it, there is not much that they need to do besides bringin us around in a comfortable jeep. Fortunately we didnt bring any money with us as we were waiting for the jeep to bring us canyoning that day. I said we will come back and pay in the evening but we didnt.

Dreams Hotel is the perfect hotel for me. Especially because the owner is a wonderfully nice person who takes the effort to talk to you, find out how your day was, whether you’re getting a tour to get around, you’re aching after canyoning? Concerned, i would say. Very motherly like actually. The reason for bringing her in this part was because she suggested we go around on our own instead and it will be much much cheaper when she found out about the tour price. She guided us through the places we wanted to see.

So we went there by local bus no. 5 which brought us to Lang Bian Mountain. The fare was 12,000 VND per person. That amounts to $1.48 for 2 person each way. Actually comparable to Singapore but here we are comparing to the tour package price.

First up: Lang Bian Mountain

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There is an entrance fee which i forgot how much but cheap like 20,000 VND per person. There are 2 ways to go up the mountains; 40,000 VND if you share and 260,000VND if you take a private jeep up. You can guess we took the jeep with the locals, why would anyone need a private jeep?

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The cowboy Vietnam boys with their attractive horses 😉 Take picture with a price of course.

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I wanted to go parasailing but we didnt know where and were runing out of time.

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The jeep we took up the winding road towards the summit. Some people walked up. It seems it will take 3 hours but i think it will take around an hour.

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View of Dalat?

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This photo reminds me of Cameron Highlands. I remember the 1.2metre tall me, with a few fallen tooth, chubbier sporting a short bob sitting on a swing just like this. I refused to allow my older brothers to sit. Boy was i selfish!

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On our way to Lat Village. Actually it turns out the whole area near the mountain is Lat village. We went around looking for Lat village when we were there already and the locals had no idea the name of the place they live at. Or at least there dont know it as Lat but ‘Lak’? I asked school girls who actually can read English but still didnt know where it was so we walked alot under the sun here.

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She is doing hand embroidery. So cool right! This was the shop i bought 2 shawls for 440,000 VND which i found out later was super expensive. Despite having read that you have to bargain for half the quoted price, it was easier read than done. She qouted 500,000 and i asked for 400,000. It should have been 200,000VND? It doesnt help that Mr Q is a very nice guy so he will agree for any price. I cant use the ‘my husband doesnt want to pay’ tactic because he said ok already.

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Coffee beans! This is what you should expect in a highland.

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This is where we met Mr Khai. The owner of Dreams Hotel told us to look for him and he will bring us around. After that just give him 50,000 VND (around $3) for the bried tour. It is not easy to find people who speak English in Dalat so its cool to be brought around by the inhabitant of the village itself. I love any interaction with the locals. That is what travelling should be in my opinion.

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The local wine not made from fruit but from the roots of a plant. We didnt try because we cant, he knows Islam and that is cool too. He can speak English, more French (due to French occupancy in Vietnam long ago).

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Unfortunately i didnt get a photo of him except this. I asked him how old he was and he said he doesnt know. His family was nomadic. They used to live in Dalat (in the past) and they moved frequently; slash and burn style. So his parents counted his age according to the number of forests they moved to. So he was around 4-5 forest old when the Americans/French came to invade Dalat. So sad right? Or maybe there is nothing to be sad about because birthdays arent supposed to be celebrated/ commemorated/ remembered. Your white hair should remind you of death and to prepare for it.

Back to Mr Khai. He is a cute man, he repeated himself a number of times, i think he is very old already. Perhaps 75 years old? He sings well too.

There were some very nice, elegant houses throughout HCMC and Dalat and of course in between them which i noticed and wondered. When we walked past one, Mr Khai said they were rich because they were in American Army and when it all ended they/ their family were compensated with a nice home and money.