Thursday, October 27, 2005

Piggy Banks - Banned ?

I was looking for this a few days ago after I heard about it, got the link of Sam's blog just now

British banks are banning piggy banks because they may offend some Muslims.

Halifax and NatWest banks have led the move to scrap the time-honoured symbol of saving from being given to children or used in their advertising, the Daily Express/Daily Star group reports here.

Muslims do not eat pork, as Islamic culture deems the pig to be an impure animal.

Salim Mulla, secretary of the Lancashire Council of Mosques, backed the bank move.

"This is a sensitive issue and I think the banks are simply being courteous to their customers," he said.

However, the move brought accusations of political correctness gone mad from critics.

"The next thing we will be banning Christmas trees and cribs and the logical result of that process is a bland uniformity," the Dean of Blackburn, Reverend Christopher Armstrong, said.

"We should learn to celebrate our difference, not be fearful of them."

Khalid Mahmoud, the Labour MP for a Birmingham seat and one of four Muslim MPs in Britain, also criticised the piggy-bank ban.

"We live in a multicultural society and the traditions and symbols of one community should not be obliterated just to accommodate another," Mr Mahmoud said.

"I doubt many Muslims would be seriously offended by piggy banks."


In my opinion, thats just silly. Im putting my money in a piggy bank, not eating it! In fact, I even have a piggy bank (freebie at a careers fair last year) here it is:

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Its transparent green, and its quite cute to be honest :p

Posted by illogicist at 4:50 PM 5 comments

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Warning : Do Not Swallow

NP - Coldplay - Fix You

Im looking at a t-shirt I bought today, and theres a tag on it that says "keep away from fire".

Its like, no sh*t!

Posted by illogicist at 7:50 PM 4 comments

Monday, October 24, 2005

Ramadhan Taking Its Toll

NP - Guns N' Roses - November Rain

Ramadhan is indeed taking its toll. First week or two it was all cool, didnt feel it too much, but the last few days have been so unproductive. I cant get any work done - during the day I feel too light-headed and tired, and at night after iftar I feel too heavy and unmotivated. Its depressing too, that I'm not getting work done when I really should be. I just cant be bothered to do anything either except sit here watching movies and stuff after iftar. I suppose a lot of you can relate, at least I hope you can...sometimes its nice to know that its not just you!

Posted by illogicist at 5:03 PM 4 comments

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Se7en Thangz

Seven things I plan to do:
1. Sky dive by the end of my time at uni (you betcha, always been a dream)
2. Marry a Malaysian (these people can COOK)
3. Learn Spanish
4. Finish the Quran this Ramadhan
5. Meet everyone from Sabla thats on my xmas (otherwise I'll delete 'em)
6. Learn horse-riding
7. Do a traineeship at Goldman Sachs

Seven things I can do:
1- Make people uncomfortable
2- Work hard and achieve, when I put my mind to something
3- Play volleyball
4- Appreciate Malaysian cooking
5- Travel alone (and enjoy it too)
6- Scuba dive
7- Be an independent thinker, not go with the flow

Seven things I can't do:
1- Reason with retards or extremists
2- Whistle
3- Sing falsetto :p
4- Live in filth
5- Shout at people (unless its family, and unless Im REALLY angry)
6- Be comfortable with strangers
7- fix stuff

Seven things I say most often:

1- Oh really
2- Heh
3- Man, what the hell
4- Thats bull
5- *yawn*
6- Yeah, not bad not bad...and you?
7- Mmm, man, I swear, ive told you before and Im telling you guys' food is so GOOD! (when speaking to Malaysians)

Seven people I want to pass this tag to:

1- Samyah
2- Muscati
3- Mbarak
4- Noors
5- Nightface
6- Abs
7- Top ones are compulsory - anyone else is optional!

Posted by illogicist at 11:51 AM 9 comments

New Puritans?


What do u think of this?

'Something very interesting, indeed radical, is happening to Britain,' confirms Jim Murphy, associate director of the Future Foundation, the trends forecaster which coined the term 'New Puritan'. 'If you look at the way our lives are filled with different kinds of social opprobrium, a lot of people are increasingly under ethical pressures which influence their choices.'

According to the Future Foundation, we are increasingly curbing our enthusiasm for profligate consumption, and health and environment-threatening behaviours. Gone is the guilt-free pleasure-seeker, to be replaced by the model well-meaning citizen, the New Puritan - a tag interchangeable with neo-Cromwellian, if you really want to seal its 17th century origins - who thinks through the consequences of activities previously thought of as pleasurable and invariably elects to live without them. Think of it as the dieticians' favourite adage, 'a moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips' given socio-economic resonance.

Posted by illogicist at 11:48 AM 0 comments


NP - Akon - Mr. Lonely

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This is Saif's Christmas Bear. Saif is at that age where hes just started walking. Hes a fat, cute little kid, cute in that imperfect way. But today's blog post isnt about Saif, its about his slightly older sister, 6aif.

Every day bar sundays, the Islamic Society at my university have free iftars, and on Saturdays they're big events - on Saturdays its not just for students, its for the Islamic community in the surrounding area. Everything is free, and they live off donations, and alhamdulillah they get enough to keep going. Anyway, because its a community event, families come. And families bring kids.

try to picture this: you have to feed some 300 people, including a couple dozen crazy, hyperactive children. What they usually do is get the kids in a separate room and try to keep them entertained (and out of the way).

Yesterday, I was asked to help out - preparing tea, plates of biscuits, etc. I was by myself, so it was hectic, especially since the timing had to be just right, as well as the fact that we had a slight problem with food distribution and so there were no extra hands to help get the job done quicker. But I got it done without disaster. Just when I think I'm done, one of the sisters comes in and asks me to give her a hand with the kids. So I go to the room with the kids and its a bloody nightmare. I said to myself right then 'Z, dont ever ever have kids'.

So I'm helping out for a while, keeping them under control, until they eventually settle down somewhat. The sister gets their attention, and most of them, while still noisy, are at least under control. But theres this one kid, a little girl whos standing in the corner. Shes so quite, and shes got this sad, sad look in her eyes. Shes standing there in the corner next to the door, just looking slightly scared. So I go to her and ask her her name. She looks at me, and quickly looks away. I keep trying to talk to her, and she refuses to look at me, instead focusing on something in the distance. She still has that worried look in her eyes. Eventually she responds to me (still averting her eyes). She whispers! She whispers so quietly, its like the movement of leaves in wind, I can barely hear her at all! When I ask her name, I can just finally hear '6aif'. I say to her 'lets go for a ride little girl, this place is too loud'.

I take 6aif's hand - such tiny hands! - and step out of the room. Its quiet outside - theres nobody in the corridor. I take her around, and I decide to take her into the kitchen (its fairly quiet because taraweeh is going on and theres no food being served). We need to go downstairs, so I pick her up. She makes no effort to resist, but at the same time she doesnt hold on or anything. Shes just completely passive to me, a stranger, picking her up and taking her into alien areas without her mommy or Saif or anyone. In the kitchen, a couple of of my Malaysian friends are there, and I 'introduce' them :p. Then I take 6aif outside, where its just so quite. The weather's wonderful, slightly chilly but still and dry. The girl just keeps looking up at the sky.
'Dont you think its beautiful?' I say to her..she just nods. After a few minutes I take her back in, and my friend Nadia is there. I give 6aif to Nadia, and in her arms 6aif starts rubbing her eyes. She starts falling asleep in Nadias arms, so Nadia tells me to take 6aif back quick (cause shes got some work to do). So I take her back and go back upstairs.

I ask her if she wants to sleep, and she nods. So I find an empty room, turn of the lights, sit down and wait for her to go to sleep. Bear in mind this is probably the longest time I've ever spent with a child. Im never had any experience with children - they scare me, they're unpredictable. Shes in my arms, rubbing her eyes furiously, and I get a bit worried. Is that healthy? So I stop her, and try to get her to just relax and try to sleep. After a few minutes I think maybe shes not comfortable (I'm a guy - our bodies are not made to provide comfort to children), so I do the best I can in that situation - I lay her down on a table and rest my arm under her head, to act as some kind of pillow. I'm frantic here - what the hell am I supposed to do! I cant stick around while this kid falls asleep. But at the same time I'm absolutely touched that this child, 6aif, has accepted me. For the next fifteen minutes or so shes lying still trying to sleep and I'm feeling both frantic and full of something I've not really experienced before.

She speaks unprovoked for the first time - she wants to go back with the other girls. She doesnt want to/cant sleep. So I pick her up, and this time she holds me. She trusts me...she's accepted me. I take her to back to the kids and leave. About an hour later I see her running around having fun, and her mom comes and picks her up, and thats it.

But that girl touched me, man. At the beginning I was like 'dont ever have kids' now Im like 'argghh i want kids!' Theyre just something special. Paternal instincts kicking in? Maybe :p

Posted by illogicist at 5:30 AM 7 comments

Thursday, October 20, 2005

The David Cameron Fiasco

I doubt many of you are interested in UK politics, but currently the news is dominated by the Conservative Party leadership battle. Im no conservative, but I find it disgusting how the media are treating the current favourite, David Cameron. A young, slick leader-to-be, hes the most popular candidate. And yet the media are giving him complete hell over a single issue which I find completely trivial: he has refused to answer whether or not he did drugs while at university.

Im sure, during his uni years, he never thought he would be running as party leader. Its such a ridiculous issue - so WHAT? Who the hell cares whether he smoked crack at uni - i'm sure he had enough pubcrawls and did enough other silly things that uni students tend to do that would make smoking crack completely irrelevant. But no, the media have stuck on this point, because they know its juicy. I swear it reminds me of American politics, what a joke. American politics is all about trivial issues, nevermind policy and the things that matter. I have no idea what either of these conservative party candidates stand for (nor do I care), but the point is that when such trivial matters take priority over real policy issues, you know something's wrong.

Posted by illogicist at 11:19 AM 0 comments

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Post 100

Well, this is my 100th post on this blog. So mabrook to me :)

Ill start with a couple of observations. It rained today. Have you ever looked up while its raining quite lightly, just looked up and saw the rain falling down? It has to be quite a light rain, or you'll hurt yourself. But its pretty cool...its like spears falling down, you catch them as the light passes through them, just for a second, and then theyre gone. Its pretty interesting. Also, ever noticed how, when its raining heavily, it barely rains under trees, but after it stops raining, its still raining under the trees for quite a while? Simple explanation of course, but its quite poetic :)

The second observation is this: I swear to God, I cannot remember the last time I drank water. I kid you not; all I drink these days is orange juice (carton as well as freshly squeezed), milk (lots of it), and every now and then some crazy polish fizzy drink that looks and tastes like cough medicine (dont ask, we get it for free). Water? I dunno if i've drunk water since I got back to the UK...maybe once or twice...

On to the events of the day. We had this 'One Day National Fast' thing at my uni here. Basically we invited people to fast the day, and to have a great big iftar afterwards. It was primarily aimed at non-muslims, to try to get them to experience fasting. Tickets were sold for iftar, which were to raise money for the Pakistan Earthquake Appeal. It was a sellout - we sold all the tickets and some, raised tons from sponsorship and donations, and just had a blast. I think everyone enjoyed it, many of the non-muslims were saying how they dont know how we do this for 30 consecutive days. Overall very positive, a good day for all. We probably raised up to 5000 pounds, so thats not bad considering there was only about 8-10 people mainly involved with everything.

Yeah, not a bad day on the whole.

Posted by illogicist at 1:46 PM 4 comments

Saturday, October 15, 2005

The Start of Something Beautiful?

When a guy and a girl start to get closer and closer, until they share something special, is it the start of something beautiful? When does it cross the line and become something not so beautiful, something dangerous and worrying and potentially disastrous for both?

Its 5am and I'm sitting here with a glass of milk. While it would be a 'nice' thing to say I'm awake because of my concern for a very close friend, it isnt really the case - I had far too much caffeine last night. But lets pretend for the time it takes you to finish reading this post that I am, in fact, awake because of my concern for a friend. Whats there to be concerned about?

Okay, I'll tell you. A friend of mine, male, is developing a healthy friendship with another friend of mine, female. They're colleagues in a particular society at uni, and are both on the whole pretty coo people. So what? Well, heres the bit wherein people's views will differ vastly. This particular society is the Islamic Society, and she is the president.

Unfortunately, as President, shes gone and got things all screwed up for herself. In an attempt to be professional, shes absolutely defined herself as the president of the Islamic Society (ISOC). By 'defined herself', I mean nobody really knows her as anything else. Shes taken it, and herself, far too seriously. So nows stuck in a predicament, wherein she has to behave as is expected of her. And in a society like the Islamic Society, people seem to have very high expectations indeed.

Now in my opinion she can do whatever she wants. I'm not really close to her, and I'm not really bothered by what she does. But as any human being would be I'm a bit concerned by her well-being. If it were to get out that she were falling for or with a guy, it wouldnt do her well at all (that is the burden of high office).

Maybe I'm being a little paranoid, but is this not how it works? Girl in need of advice, or under stress, goes to guy for advice. Guy has sound advice. Girl goes to guy more often. Girl and guy start to talk on the phone late at night for quite a long time. At first phone calls tend to deal with issue at hand, but then they start to be about...well...anything. At this point, one or the other has to draw the line that defines their relationship. If they do, things can be salvaged and a close friendship can result. If they don't, one or the other will start to have ideas that may end in bliss or may end in disaster. Like I said, I may be over my head here, because its 2am. But maybe not. I'd appreciate some opinions on this issue.

Theres a third dimension to this as well. This friend of mine, hes already got a special someone. Now, this someone isn't his spouse or girlfriend or anything of the sort, just a really, really close friend. But I wonder what that close friend would think about this. And from my perspective, this really close friend is a REALLY close friend, undefined perhaps as a partner, but definitely a significant other. Maybe. But before you start accusing him of being a player, let me just say that I dont think he knows what hes getting into. I dont think hes 'interested' in this girl, from what I know it tends to be the girl who falls for the guy, and the guy who follows, usually when its too late to stop things. I think hes just being a supportive friend right now, or thinks he is.

So whats the best course of action, as a friend (me), to take? Watch it play out, or give some friendly advice to one or both of the parties involved? And if so, how?

Posted by illogicist at 9:14 PM 5 comments

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Withdrawal Symptoms

Maybe Im just tired, and stressing myself out prematurely, but I think I'm having internet withdrawal symptons. Today after iftar I just felt this rage building up inside me. People aren't giving me my space and one of my outlets, the internet, is hardly available to me. I'm in danger of doing something drastic, like screaming at someone for no reason.

I'll keep this blog updated. =)

Posted by illogicist at 12:45 PM 3 comments

Friday, October 07, 2005

New Template

New Template, at last :)
Done by Sam, who put loads of work into it to make it, in my opinion, her best one yet.


But seriously, thanks Sam, much appreciated, and I hope u guys prefer this to the previous template (or lack thereof).

ok, a bit of publicity is in order, I suppose. Sam's blogs:

Posted by illogicist at 5:02 AM 11 comments

Pizza Pt. 2

After my meagre iftar of one slice of pizza, I go home and call up Uni Kebab, make an order. Same girl who answered last time answers again...shes got a cute voice. *banishes the thought - its Ramadhan!* Anyway, place my order, hang up, go to pray 3isha. While Im praying my phone starts ringing, and I cant pick it up, so when I'm done I check the number, and lo, its Uni Kebab! So I call back and the girl on the line tells me that she's sorry but she calculated the order and it comes to £6.20, 80p short of the £7 minimum order for a delivery. Ok, no problem, just add a small fries to that, thanks for calling, no worries at all, no really its not a problem, thankscheersbye*click*.

Then I go read some Quran for a while, until two of my housemates barge in, having just finished tarawee7 prayer, and make a lot of noise. So I go join em just doing nothing, and my order arrives, have a small chat with the czech delivery dude (czech people are so awesome, biggest per capita drinkers on the planet apparently...maybe that isnt awesome, but its certainly something). Ok, so time passes and now its ten minutes to midnight. Im just about to head to bed, when suddenly my phone rings. Im thinking, who the hell could be calling at this time? My phone's in the other room, so I rush to pick it up, but I miss the call. So I check missed calls, and who is it? Uni Kebab!

Curious. My order is complete, I've eaten it and its probably half digested by now anyway. Weird indeed. This can only mean one thing...

The girl with the cute voice likes me!

Woooooo! Wait a second. Get a grip Z, calm down, you don't even know what she looks like. Plus, you're fasting. Plus, what the hell man, so what??

...well, it makes a good story, so I go and tell my other flatmates how much she wants me and sexy my voice is on the phone, etc. Man stuff, you know, bravado. They laughed at me and I laughed at me and we laughed it off. Good stuff.

My last housemate comes in with his friend at about 12:15am just when I'm about to go to sleep (lights already off) and turns on my light, asks for the Uni Kebab number.

"Yo Z, are you asleep?"
"Maybe, I dont know. *yawn*"
"Oh ok...gimme the uni kebab number ya zalameh."
"Ooh, call from my phone, or no let me call, that girl has the hots for me."
"I dunno, leave me alone, I'm asleep."

Give him the number, roll over, cant go to sleep, get up, chill with everyone in the TV room. At that point a chinese dude comes down the stairs and comes and chills with us. Yeah, theres a chinese guy staying in our house. For how long, I dont know, but that makes 6 people in a house meant for 4 (my housemate's friend is staying the weekend).

Anyway, the housemate who just arrives decides hes hungry, and calls uni kebab. The guy says they dont deliver at this ungodly hour (1am). So me, my housemate, and his friend spend the next hour calling every restaurant in the Southampton Yellow Pages - Turkish, Indian, Bengali, English, Chinese, Italian, Thai, etc. - looking for SOMEONE who delivers at this hour. Only the Indian and Turkish were open anyway, and they flatly refused to deliver. They didnt even accept our £2 bribes to deliver. So we all went to sleep a little pissed and a little hungry. Funny night though, I guess..

Posted by illogicist at 4:45 AM 1 comments

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Building Bridges With Pizza

Today at iftar we had pizzas instead of the usual fare of Malaysian food (which is absolutely yummilicious). We had a much higher turnout than expected, at least 100, including my friend Simon from Amnesty International (we invited him to come, but it was quite cool that he actually did, since 'Islam' puts lots of people off. But Simon's a great guy, and hes always eager to learn. Very open minded).
A couple of uninvited guests were treated to free pizza as well: some local kids, pikeys! Background: pikeys hate uni students. Theyre racist street kids, they hate anyone who isnt pikey, and they probably hate fellow pikeys as well. You know the type. Anyway, these guys couldnt have been more than 11 or 12 years old, and they poked their heads in while we were praying, curious I suppose. So we invited them in. I guess they were shocked, the common stereotype is that us muslims arent exactly the friendliest of people (and there were a few people there that were angry that we were giving our free pizzas away to these kids). But we treated them with respect and even gave them seconds (I only had a single slice and these kids had 4 pizzas!)

I just hope they went home with a bit more respect about Islam and about uni students than they had before...hopefully me going hungry will help these kids, and maybe their community, in the long run.

Posted by illogicist at 12:33 PM 0 comments

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Old People

My university, like any other large university, sprawls. It has multiple campuses in different areas of the same town, multiple student residential areas, and most of all, private houses rented out to students. So you get an absolutely massive area where students and locals alike both live.

Students and locals do not get along. 'Locals' are generally families. They live with kids, have salaries, cars, jobs, etc. They live in these houses permanently, and thus keep them clean and tidy. Students on the other hand are not permanent residents. They live in a house for maybe three years max, and theyre arent here to work and make a living. Theyre here to par-tay. So, theyre generally messy, loud, smelly and noisy. Thus, friction arises.

I do not live in a student area. I live on the other side of campus, away from the densely student-populated areas. Oh, theres a few students around, but theyre quite scattered, and most of them are post-grads.

I am not noisy, messy or smelly. I don't have problems with my neighbours. Everything is gravy with me. However, I do live in an area with lots and lots of old people. Pensioners, retired ppl, etc. Just up the road theyre building this massive old-folks home. Its basically an oldies area. Which is cool by me, but I wonder if I'm cool by them? I walk to campus (15 minutes) and occasionally I pass some senior citizens, and very often they look scared, confused, or in a hurry. They live in what is fast becoming a student town - a city maybe, population 200,000, where at least a quarter of that population I'd say are either students, or lecturers and university staff. Us students, generally speaking we're a wild bunch, with radical ideas. We're used to speed and activity and lots and lots of beer and hooliganism (not me, Im proper, lol). These old people, I wonder what goes thru their heads when they pass by us. Its no longer a world they recognise. Attitudes are different, sensibilities are different, morality is different, technology, the value or currency, everything is completely different than it was fifty years ago.

Do they feel confused? Helpless? Lost? Depressed that everythings gone down the crapper, what? I'd love to know really, and my heart goes out to them. This, probably more than anything else, is what makes me fear aging. Dorian Gray was afraid for his looks, I'm afraid for my understanding.

Posted by illogicist at 10:13 AM 4 comments

Monday, October 03, 2005

Ramadhan Kareem

First Ramadhan Kareem to everyone whos reading this, and Eid Mubarak in advance :p Second, I'll add a button link to over here, just in case you haven't heard of it. Prob wont update for a while so it should be around for a while.

Its a pretty cool button if I do say so myself, and a cool initiative. Good luck to those involved. The Quran: The 'Must-Read' Book Of The Month ;)

Posted by illogicist at 5:59 AM 5 comments

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