I made a dress for Hudaa the other day and despite the very wobbly and uneven seams, crooked pleats, and shoddy workmanship in general, I was so happy and proud of myself. It’s been a looooong time since I felt that way. A lot of people replied to my ig story post and it got me thinking, and I suddenly had an epiphany moment.

My epiphany moment was this:

I’m more of a crafts person rather than an arts person.

Hand-on creating physical useable things. I have always liked arts and crafts. I distinctly remember in kindergarten really wanting to play in the “woodworking tools” section but never getting assigned there (got the painting station, which was 2nd best). Then in primary school I would look forward to kemahiran hidup when we’d go to the bengkel. I loved sewing little outfits for my dolls, and even sewed a bag for myself out of some scrap fabric I had lying around. I liked art too – drawing and painting felt good and I was moderately good at it – but for some reason I was never satisfied with my work, and I oftentimes didn’t finish any pieces I was working on as a result. Also it was way too easy to have sever inferiority complex when looking at other people’s art.

My fav subject in high school was woodshop, and even though I also took an art elective, my fav module in that class were the ones that were more…physical. Like linocut printmaking, collage making, etc. I adored making pop-up cards for friends and family. I loved trying new things; in uni I tried crocheting and knitting, and after uni in my whovian days I sewed a tardis pencil box for myself. Whenever people buy Ikea furniture I jump at the opportunity to put it together.

Obviously these are all very small projects for people who are serious crafters, but for someone who never really knew why she just could not get into art this was a huge awakening.

I’m trying to think of why I prefer crafts. I think its because art is too abstract, too personal, too emotional for me. It feels like you need to have your head in the clouds for a lot of the time. It is deep and subjective and the end product is usually just something pretty. Working with my hands means I know what I’m trying to do, I can construct the product in my mind and reverse engineer how to make it. I can do trial and error and experiment and modify. And at the end of it, I have something tangible. It feels much more ‘real’.

So with this realisation, I have a new resolution. I want to be crafty starting now! That means I want to get back into knitting/crocheting and actually make something me or my ids can use. I want to try my hand at linocut prints again. Get back into bookbinding. I want to sew more. I want to MAKE.

Reflections, Pt 3

This Old Routine – First Aid Kit

Go placidly amidst the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.

-Desiderata, Max Ehrmann

Twenty Twelve

I had planned to write a recap of 2011, I already took down notes for January and February, and a little bit of march. But in the flurry of busyness surrounding the last few months at my job and the nonstop busy during my semester, it didn’t get done. You can read the half baked blog post at my scraps blog for posts that didn’t make it, here.

Also, not that I was any good before, but my writing skills seem to have dwindled down significantly. Probably because of lack of practice. Maybe I should work backwards, start with where I am now. The new years. As it so happens, I’m currently procrastinating. I should be studying for my exams that are just around the corner but although I find economics and all the related stuff fascinating the horde of new concepts and specific terms tend to confuse me, just like it did in high school. Business studies was the only subject I ever got a C for and because I just couldn’t grasp what was being taught I dropped it the next semester. Also perhaps because our teacher was pretty lousy. I still sat in through the classes though, because I was the only one in my grade who wasn’t taking business studies, so even If I did have a free period, there was no one I could hang out with. As it turns out the next semester we had a different teacher who was slightly better but then if my memory serves me right he felt underappreciated because people didn’t respect him in class, so one day he exploded and never came back to finish the syllabus. I mean exploded in anger.

Oh. I should mention that I’m having exams because I decided to continue my Part 2 in architecture. It kind of a difficult concept to explain, whenever I say I’ve taken up studying again people always say, oh, you’re doing your masters? And I have to try and explain that it’s not a masters degree even though it’s at the masters level. For the benefit of anyone randomly traipsing through the web and happened to find my blog by searching for Part 2 bachelor of architecture in UIA (IIUM) I’ll break it down

In Malaysia, to become a licensed architect you need to pass three parts or stages. The first stage is Part 1. In IIUM, Part one is called Bachelor of Science (architectural Studies). It’s mostly the same for other public universities in Malaysia, except some universities combine part one and part 2 into a 5 year course. But in my case, after completing part one; you would have graduated with your first degree.

Then you can either choose to enrol in Part 2 if you want to continue immediately or work first (as I did) or just not continue at all, or continue in other fields. With a part one degree your position in an architecture firm would most probably be that of an assistant architect, though the specific workload you’ll receive as well as the pay differs from firm to firm. I worked for a year before deciding to continue my Part 2.

Part 2 in IIUM and generally most public universities in Malaysia, again, is called Bachelor of Architecture. Even though it’s technically almost a masters degree level/postgraduate course. Well actually, it IS a postgraduate course since we already graduated the first time around. But anyways. In Australia, part 2 is called masters of Architecture, whole in the UK, they don’t have a standard name for the degree, which I think makes it even more confusing, in some universities it is a masters course, while others might call it a postgraduate diploma, postgraduate degree, etc. I guess the confusing part is just the naming. Because it is another undergraduate degree in the eyes of the university, but at postgraduate level, while we have to register as double degree holders. Yeah I don’t think this is helping very much.

Anyway, after completing part 2, you graduate again, and have to work in the architecture industry for a minimum of 2 years before you are allowed to take the part 3 professional exams. There’s no official course you have to go through (I don’t know of any anyways), although there are study groups conducted. If you manage to pass the part 3 exams (if I’m not mistaken there are 2 parts of the exam, written and an interview/oral exam) then you finally become an architect with an Ar. In front of your name. I’ve heard many horror stories about the part 3 exam, and they all seem to be true, the passing rate for the exam is less than 10%!!

Erm yeah so that’s basically it. I can’t be entirely sure what I’ve written is 100% correct and I know it’s definitely not comprehensive, but that’s what I understand anyways.

Where was I? Oh yes. Part 2. I decided to continue part 2. Like my first degree, I planned to do it elsewhere, to have a different experience and to move out of my comfort zone. Applications were filled; certificates and transcripts photocopied, and sent to various universities and scholarship organisations in Australia and New Zealand. My dad told me to try for the UK as well but I found their application systems to be confusing so I didn’t. One by one the offers came through, each one bringing up a little sparkle of excitement which I had to squash down in order not to be thoroughly disappointed like I was in 2007. Didn’t really work because I got disappointed anyways. So again, I sent in local applications, and UIA accepted me and I went. I don’t think I’m quite over it though, because whenever I hear of people flying off, I get a little pang of jealousy and yearning that brings my whole mood down.

The first semester of part 2 proved to be extremely extremely trying and tiring. The stream of assignments never seemed to stop, and the expectations were very high. I don’t think I coped well at all. After having gone through one semester of it, I’m seriously wondering if I want to continue or not. I’m seriously considering quitting. Because even though I like architecture, I appreciate it and all, I don’t see myself enjoying any aspect of it in terms of a job. I wanted to continue my part 2 to see whether I’d want to really be an architect, and to learn the things I needed to know to become a good architect in the field, since when I was working, there was so much that I didn’t know. But now, one semester wiser, I think I might be inching closer to a definite answer. I don’t think I’d want to be an architect like the ones I have worked with/for. If I was to be one, I don’t think I’d open up my own form or even work in one. I’d work on projects that I liked, without chasing clients and so on. I don’t know if that’s a feasible model to work on but I don’t think the stress of the whole architecture industry would suit me. Not just the stress, but the whole business side of it. From what I observed, the priority in the architecture industry was to make money, not to design functional and beautiful buildings that would benefit the community or help people. Of course that’s a narrow perspective having only worked in one firm and heard stories from my colleagues/classmates who have worked as well. Maybe I’ve just yet to find a firm that suits me, and whose main aim isn’t just to make money.

Well I think this post is long and rambling enough as it is, so I’ll save my abstract thought for another time. I have to get back to studying anyways.

I have kitties available for adoption if you want one! they are all super cute and cuddly 🙂

l-r: 1. BonBon Mignon, the curious adventurous one
2. DimSum (not available for adoption) the cuddly fluffball
3. Souffle, the blue eyed boss
4. Kimchi, the little cutie with puss-in-boot eyes
5. Truffle, the handsome, active and playful one

Reflections Pt2

Its already the second half of the year! Eep! Ramadhan is coming in a month and i really want to make the most out of it this time. I felt like last ramadhan i let a lot of opportunities slip by and even tho part of it was me being busy with work, it was also just me not trying hard enough. I dont want to do that again. Which is why i’m considering quitting my job. I already know i want to stop this year, its just a mette rof when. if i get accepted into any of the local universities (Insah’Alllah), then i will start my semester in September. And i do want a break before joining, so august would be a perfect time for me to uit. I can focus on ramadhan, have my holiday, adn be refereshed, hopefully, for  scholarly life once more. I;m still undecided tho, mostly because i havent received any offers from the local Uni’s i applied to. Really hoping they will get back to me asap so i can formally submit my resignation. Tried mentioning it to one of my bosses today but he didnt seem to understand and said it would be better to wait for offers. Thing is i have to give one months notice, so that means if i want to be off work in august, i have to submit my resignation NOW. we’ll see how that goes. Insha’Allah i will have decided by the end of this week.

Lets take a breather…

Mid-semester break is finally here, not that there will be much holiday-ing going on. There are mountains of work to be done huhu…

Let’s see…so this semester started a while back, and I really didn’t know what to expect. It is our final long semester (if we pass insha’Allah). New Year’s came and went, uneventfully but rather kinda depressingly. 10 years into the new millennium and I have yet to really accomplish anything. Tick tock Maryam, tick tock.

But I must say I was extremely pleased and thankful that I passed my JPJ test, first time round AlhamdulilLah. As soon as I came out of the test car I was beaming like a Cheshire cat, a huge goofy super excited beaming expression. I guess all that practice, even if in an auto car, did help. So thanks so all my tutors, qil, yam, jannah, nadz, and anyone else who helped me along the way. Can’t wait to get my P. And muz – thanks for your brilliant idea. I’ll see if I can beat you to it.

Unrelated: A lot of times I really wonder what people see when they look at me, what assumptions they make and what do they base those assumptions on. In their heads, which girl am I? Which category do I fall into? It’s intriguing, mainly because most people I’m around now will voice out what they think to their friends, but I don’t. Maybe it’s because I think it’s terribly unfair to judge someone without even knowing them. I’m not saying I do sometimes jump to my own conclusions, but I am sure that if the person proves otherwise I am quick to see the err of my ways. At the very least I don’t disclose what I might assume to other people. Because I am fickle that way. *shrug*

I suppose it’s time to get back to work. Moroccan embassy is calling…

My Drug Buddy

Drink it in, that bitter pill
You’re running short on drugs
The grey is lonely, the black is still
And Murphy cries for hugs

A game of chicken between us both
Who’ll be the first to blink?
You always win, most of the time
But that’s just what you think

I’ll corner you and ask you why
I’ll burn you with these sweets
And though you try and try and try
You’ll end up in defeat

The battle wages, forth and on
It carves in me a hole
But both our silence fills the void
That grows within our souls

One day we’ll tire, or else give up
Then each to their own way
And in regret we’ll think of when
Our drug could save the day

Blur by ~girlnotpretty

Awake in Dreaming

I awake, into my dream
I climb out into the nostalgic sunlight, golden and warm on my skin
This is a hidden memory, one from the future
The red walls, serene and academic
The faint chatter of hungry minds in the faraway distance
I know this place, yet I’ve never been here
This is yours, your past and I am intruding, but its not my choice
And as everyone flows around me, I walk in a daze
Two teams are playing, a ball bouncing up and down and up,
Impossibly, on a hill, and one team is in blue, I remember
I wander on into a parking lot, empty and bare and suddenly I am afraid, alone
I find my way out, rushing back to the warm sun, the chatter, the crowd
And separated by a screen, I touch your fingers and whisper
I tell you what plagues my mind
I apologise
I know people are watching but I also know,
with regret, that this is just a dream
and you smile, nod, and understand
and as I’m pulled against my will away from my reverie
we are walking side by side into a dim future
and I awake, into the dullness of reality

Holding hands by ~homarte

The Desert Wish

Is there anything more beautiful that a star spangled sky on a cool cloudless night?
A longing for the open emptiness that a Desert posesses
The freedom from the ropes and ties of mundane life
Purity of minds and thought, concentration on what is essential
Focus of energy to building up your soul
Connection with yourself, with Nature, and with The Almighty
To hear your heart, as loud and clear as a hidden stream
To be in tune with the land, the creatures, the air, wind and sun
To submit yourself wholly to God
Is there a dream more wonderful than this
or one less a struggle?

written July 1, 2008 by mh

The Chicken and the egg

Which came first? wait – don’t answer that because thats not what my actual question is about. My version of the question is, which came first, dig or Digg? Dig, as in the term/slang used by people to denote that they like something. Digg being the social bookmarking site, which, actually, lets people pick what they are interested in or what they like. Almost the same, but which came first? Was the term “I dig so and so” coined first, and Digg based on that, or was Digg made first and thus people started using the phrase?

These are the questions that haunt me… 😛

Btw, according to he founder of Digg, his idea was that there was so much good content out there that was kind of buried, so people had to dig out the stories that interest them so that the stories would be featured on the front pages.

Oh yeah, had my driving class today. Was not as boring as I imagined, although towards the last hour of the lecture I was getting really sleepy. Getting an instructor felt weird, sort of like being sorted in Harry Potter. Anyways my instructor is nice I guess. Shockingly he asked e to drive all the way down to Batu 13/14 in Gombak, and back. Only stalled once:) Twisty kampung roads, I will conquer you! Insha’Allah.

Cleaned up my hostel room halfway today, after driving class. 2 months of dust everywhere:/ So tired.


I should be sleeping, seeing as how i barely got any in the last week, and a probably won’t get much next week either. but the lure of a not-slow internet connection is just too strong. not that i have anything to do online anyways.

Finished reading two books last week, where i found the time God only know..
The first one was “The Story of Srebrenica” by Isnam Taljic. It was, for the lack of a better word, great. But at the same time I don’t know what to make of it. It was refreshing but at the same time, how can someone be refreshed by what happened there? I found myself asking, what was the point of this book, where is it going? but then i realised, there doesn’t have to be a point, as in, an end point. after all, its the journey that counts, and the book is just that. a journey through the minds of two people, from two different generations, and while seemingly random in their narrations, everything sort of adds up, but at the same time it doesn’t, which is perfectly okay. Does that make sense?
Here is a much deeper insight into the book

The second book a read was “The Pact” by Jodi Picoult. It had been sitting on our shelf, unread, for a good several months, which I thought was odd given that me and my sister usually devour books immediately. But in hindsight, i guess why i didnt read it straight away is that at the time, i just read 3 of her other books, and was getting tired of her style, much like how i grew sick of the style of that guy who wrote “The Da Vinci Code” can’t remember his name. on the whole, the book is not something i can relate to, but i fragments, yes. Shan’t say much more in caase i spoil it for people who want to read it, or bore those who couldn’t care less.

Really ought to give my poor panda eyes a break now… it was a tiring day.

It’s Back…

…I think I must have mentioned/wrote about it before. Its back, and dangerous, eating away and carving out hollows somewhere deep in yourself, but you don’t exactly know where. What is frustrating is that it doesn’t take much to make it reappear, and yet, sometimes, you feel as if you are made of the hardest stone, one that even the most furious of water can’t whittle away, when it matters the most that you should feel the way you’re feeling now. A book, a related tale, a real life story, happening to the people you didn’t think you were that close to even though you know you should be, and it takes that much to realise that they actually are close to you. You were just the one who always pulled away.
Wandering around, hiding, glazing over things that you see, thinking, and yet, not thinking. Absorbing and not processing. Processing and not remembering. Moving on from what was important to something utterly not. 
473, of The Pact. A friend once told me people look for pieces of themselves in songs and books. A line, a paragraph, a verse, that they think can accurately describe what they are feeling, even though it may be the most abstract of phrases. I didn’t think it was true until I started doing the same. The melodies and prose articulating what you yourself struggle to put your finger on, or what you yourself search for deep inside your soul, wondering if you’ll ever find it, name it,  and if you do, would you have the guts to do anything about it?


My friend’s sister’s husband is my brother’s teacher, which i just found put yesterday after tarawih.

My 3rd grade best friend’s grandmother used to stay in my grandmothers house in johor when she didn’t have anywhere to stay, kind of like an adopted family. I found that out when i was in third grade when I went to her house and her grandma started asking me weird questions, like whats your grandma’s name. People don’t usually ask that do they?

My parent’s good friend’s daughter who used to live in Canada (i think) and Australia is my good friend’s good friend. I found that out in Burger King when another good friend was telling me some good news.

The only boy who talked to me when I first came to Malaysia used to be a close friend of another one of my good friends. Then she found out he smoked.

My mom’s Aunt’s daughter (her cousin) is my classmate. That makes her…my aunt?

there are a lot more but i’ve got to get back to work. speaking of which, is there a study which tells you the statistics about the diseases that architects are most prone to, i’d think we are very susceptible to CTS, arthritis, back and shoulder related problems, eyesight abnormalities, etc.

I was thinking of an idea, of something i want to do but can’t because i don’t know how. I have this idea in my mind to create this website which is like a classified ad website, but for UIA. so in it would be housing for students (houses wanted, roommates wanted, house for rent, etc), car rentals, lost and found, services, promotion, etc. at the very least it would save people paper…!

for example, the lost and found.
when people put a listing under lost they specify what it is that they lost, eg, a handphone with the descriptions and all. then somehow the system would match up the ‘losts’ and potential ‘founds’. obviously there is security to think about as well…

just one of the random ideas i got while wandering around UIA aimlessly reading the notice boards full of ‘illegal’ posters and advertisements.

a post about the posters in UIA


I have been told time and time again that I can be very unfriendly when I feel like it. I know this to be true, but only on rare occasions. The truth is, I’m just embarrassingly shy and self deprecating. If I don’t say hi to you when I see you around campus, its not because I’m stuck up and snobby. Its usually because of one of these reasons:

1.I don’t want to disturb you when you are with your friends
2.I don’t want to disturb you when you are enjoying your solitude
3.I don’t know if you remember or recognise me since we met randomly through friends of friends and only ever said hello once, in passing.
4.I don’t know if you even want to see me around, let alone start some small talk with you
5.I’m not sure if you’re the person I think you are. Some people look so alike.
6.I don’t remember your name (sorry!) or I don’t remember how we met, or if we ever even met at all, or if you are just one of those faces I see every day.
7.I’m terrible at small talk and socially awkward. And shy, like I said.
9.okay sometimes i just can’t be bothered or am too lazy or i’m in a hurry.

Another thing – if I say hi to you once, does that mean I have to say hi to you always and forever? Even if we just saw each other a while ago and will probably see each other around again soon?

So if i don’t tegur you please don’t take it personally…

(I blame constantly moving around the world for this)

A Story

There once was an iceberg. It was a small iceberg, and it floated around happily in the cold ocean, making friends with bigger icegergs, and enjoying life, relatively. Sometimes polar bears would stop by and doze off on it, and sometimes even seals. Penguins liked the iceberg as well, as it was small enough to jump up on for the young ones.

But one day, a peice of the iceberg broke off. It was a small piece, not anything to worry much about. But it kept on happening. The water became warmer, and the iceberg was breaking apart quicker than ever. It could see the chunks falling off, left right, back, and front. Soon enough, the iceberg was reduced to a small lump of ice the size of a football. And then it dissapeared into the lukewarm ocean, while the bigger iceberg looked on.

This story was first published in another one of my blogs.

Exploration and Discovery

I think in my previous entry I mentioned how I was done with my exams. Today however, my Intro to Built Environment class had an assignment to do, Urban Trail, which brought us to Petaling Street and Jalan Masjid India. It was my first time in Petaling Street, much to the surprise of our senior who was acting as our guide.

Let’s just say the day was full of discoveries, not necessarily related to the assignment itself. Actually, not related to the assignment at all. This much I’ll say, innocence can be deceiving – and I should know. On the flipside, you can’t judge a person on certain actions that they do, however disgusting those actions are. Somewhere, sometime, that person is better than you. Another piece of reflection – someone’s good image can go out in smoke in a matter of seconds, just the same amount of time it takes for impressions to be dashed. Also, some people are quite contradictory, even within themselves. Chivalry vs. destruction and disregard, for example.

Ok. Enough for now.