Friday, May 2, 2014

Website Architecture

KZ, a dynamic friend of mine will be organising a workshop tonight on website creation and design. It's something you might want to think about if you're planning on setting up your own business, freelance work or maybe this can be something interesting for you to tanker with. We are after all practically living in and out of the virtual world.

KZ is a good teacher and I've worked with him on the self-improvement program in the University of Malaya. His patience and sincerity is impeccable.If you're interested in the workshop, here are the details:

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Future of the Publishing Industry

Watch this video. It highlights the end of the press and publishing industry...then again, maybe it doesn't....:)

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Fisherman and The Treasure Chamber


There once lived a fisherman who took his job very seriously.

He only caught one fish at a time, and only went to fish for another one when the the one he had at home finished.

One day, as his wife was chopping up the fish that her husband had brought home, she discovered something amazing. She found a pearl inside the fish.

She was astonished, a pearl inside a fish?? SubhanAllah. "Husband, Husband!" she exclaimed, "look what I have found!"
"What have you found?" he asked?
"A pearl, I have found a pearl inside the fish!" she answered.
"What an amazing wife you are! Bring me the pearl, pehaps we will benefit from it and eat food other than fish!"

The fisherman took the pearl to a pearl trader. The trader took a look at the pearl "This pearl is so precious, but unortunately I cannot afford it even if I were to sell my shop and my house! Go to the vendor in the nearby town, perhaps he can buy it off you."

The fisherman took the pearl to the great seller in the nearby town and showed him the pearl.

" Allah, O my brother what a priceless possession! I cannot buy it off you, but I have a solution for you; go to the governor of this town, as only he his able to buy this pearl."

At the door of the governor's palace the fisherman awaited permission to enter.

"Oh is a pearl like this that I have been searching for! I do not know how to value it for you, but I will allow you entry into my private treasure chamber. You have six hours to remain in it and take what you please, and this is the value of your pearl."

"Sir, can you just give me two hours, as six hours is far too long for a fisherman like me."

"No, six hours is what is fair for you take from the chamber what you like"

The fisherman entered the governor's treasure chamber to behold a tremendous sight. It was a very large room divided into to three sections. The first section was filled with jewels, gold and pearls.
The second section had a huge and very comfortable bed, if one were to lay eyes on it could sleep from comfort.
The third section was filled with all the delicious food and drink that one can imagine.

"What will I do in six hours? Six hours is such a long time for a simple fisherman like me" the fisherman asked himself. "Ok, I guess I should start with the food in the third section" "I will eat until my stomach is full so that I will gain the necessary energy required to accummulate as much gold as possible."

The fisherman went to the food and spent a whole two hours eating. He then made his way to the first section, but on his way there he saw the very comfortable looking bed.

"I ate until I became full, so why not sleep for a bit and wake up fresh so that I can carry the greatest amount of gold?" he asked himself. "This is a once in a life time opportunity, and what supidity will prevent me from wasting it"

The fisherman went to the bed and fell into a deep sleep.

After a while the fisherman was awoken by these words "Wake up, wake up oh ignorant fisherman, your time is up"


"yes, come on get out!"

"Please I did not get the chance.."

"Huh..huh. You have been in here for six hours and only now you have woken up from your sleep, yet you still want to take some gems?" "you had the time and opportunity to take away all of this treasure and then you could have bought with it the best food and you could have made yourself the most comfortable bed! But you are an ignorant fool and can only think in the context which you are in. Take him outside!"

"No, no, please noooooooo"

))The End((

The story has ended, however the lesson does not end here.

The pearl in the story represents your soul, a priceless treasure, and you do not know the true value of your soul.

The treasure chamber represents the dunya (the life of this world), look how great it is, yet we exploit it.

The jewels in the chamber represent our good deeds and the comfortble bed represents our negligence.

The food and drink represent our desires.

And now, my brother fisherman, you should decide; should you wake up and get out of the comfortable bed and collect as many jewels available to you before your appointed time is up, and this time is your lifetime. Otherwise you will feel great regret when leaving this world.

Allah swt says in His book "Until, when death comes to one of them (those who join partners with Allâh), he says: "My Lord! Send me back, So that I may do good in that which I have left behind!" No! It is but a word that he speaks, and behind them isBarzakh (a barrier) until the Day when they will be resurrected." (Surah Al-Mu'minun 99-100)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A Bowl of Soup

The afternoon heat brought waves of discomfort to the patrons of the restaurant. The winds were nowhere within reach whereas the clouds preferred the peace of isolation. The blue skies focused on the hawker restaurant as the hustle and bustle of lunch hour took its toll.

Clad only in shorts and a damp singlet, Uncle Lim wiped his face with a Good Morning towel as he barked orders to his workers.

His eyes darted apprehensively around the crowd that were pouring into his shop. As in command, his ears ‘fed’ him with a detailed report of the feast of words darting within the four walls his restaurant.

“A man’s shouting for his noodles and he’s demanding for hot tea.”

His eyes ‘added’ on.

“Two women sitting across the room have tight jaws. Even the sweetest lotus cakes wouldn’t be able take away the sulk on their faces. They seem impatient.”

“Who’s calling someone an idiot? Eyes, please tell me from whose mouth it’s coming from?”

“It’s from a bespectacled man sitting at a table with a little girl. He looks like he’s spitting venom to the waiter.”

With that, Uncle Lim walked up to his unhappy customer and enquired about his problem.

“What kind of workers do you have here! I ordered two bowls of Chicken Rice and he brought me chicken porridge instead. I have a meeting in half an hour and I’ve wasted my time here.”

Uncle Lim calmed him down and promised to personally deliver his dish right away. Orders were conveyed to the cook as Uncle Lim carried a bowl of piping hot soup from the kitchen.

Looking at the customers around him, his eyes ‘spoke’ rapidly,

“Bespectacled man is fidgeting and he keeps looking at his watch. Sour faced women are drumming their fingers on the table. The only who looks happy in the restaurant is the model in the cigarette poster.”

Ears ‘replied’,

“Someone is yelling to hurry up! I hear a man wishing he had ordered fast food instead. A child is crying and waiters are being shouted at.”

With that, Uncle Lim quickened his pace and hurried towards the bespectacled man. As he caught up with speed, Uncle Lim missed a step and slipped. The bowl flew from his hands and hot soup gushed on his singlet and chest as the rest splattered on the floor. The bowl twirled continuously before lying closed down in the pool of soup.

Uncle Lim shouted in pain as his workers and even his customers ran to him. They removed his singlet and placed ice bags on his scarlet chest. Inflamed and scorched by the boiling soup, Uncle Lim lay in agony as his source of pain lay splattered around him like a reminder of a Chinese proverb that haste makes waste.

Poor Uncle Lim. But this is something to think about. What we see and hear influences our thoughts and actions. From gossips to body language, we drink in everything that is passed on to us through our eyes and ears and misquote them as truths. Don’t we all? I know I do.

But our ears and eyes do not make opinions, only our heart does. Our eyes and ears only deliver the first-hand information to us. They are the sponge that absorbs everything that is laid out for show and tell. The physical beauty compared to spiritual being, worldly riches instead of generosity and even the ugliness around us is taken in at face value. Ever wondered why Benjamin Franklin once said,

Believe nothing of what you hear and only half of what you see.

Since our sense of hearing is circular and our sight is linear, we hear everything around us but see only what’s in front of us. Given that negative environment breeds negative information, it helps to remember that Mr. Franklin’s words are worth believing.

Otherwise, like Uncle Lim, we’ll end up in nothing but hot water.

Monday, February 22, 2010

My First Mountain Climb

One of the greatest works of the mind is the ability to recollect the best of memories (and of course the worst).

"My First Mountain Climb" is one of my favourite posts on my blog and I'm thinking of rewriting it for a magazine.

For old time's sake, here's the old version of my special volcano hike. If I could get another shot at it, I would certainly do so. As somebody once said,

"I've learnt that everyone wants to live on top of the mountain but all the happiness and growth occurs while you're climbing it." Anonymous


One of the perks of being a writer is that we get special invitations to travel almost everywhere. I just got back from a trip to Jakarta and Garut, Indonesia and it was an eye-opener for me. Both the places were exact opposites...the Metropolitan city is the hub of 'anything is possible' while Garut which is a one and half-hour drive from Bandung sits in the heart of what is known as the Swiss of Java.

In Garut, we stayed in an idyllic resort called Kampung Sampireun and the place is drop dead gorgeous! Most of the chalets are perched on stilts in a lake and in the background, Gunung Cikurai as well as other volcanic mountains stand solemnly amidst the fluffy clouds.

We were taken to our resorts on a bamboo raft and from then on everything was just first-class! The air was fresh and every morning a man came on his sampan to our doorstep to serve us surabi which is a Sundanese pancake served with brown sugar syrup.

The hotel staffs took us around the Kampung area for our morning walk the first day and I was surprised to see avocado trees everywhere!Farmers were on bent backs planting padi and the mountain goats known as domba Garut were grazing outside the village. We even walked along the banks of the padi fields to view the vegetable plantations.

The next day, we left early at 2am for our hike on Gunung Papandayan which is an active but harmless volcano (that's exactly what they told us). Goya, the resort director said that it last erupted in 2002 but it didn't cause any damage to it's surrounding areas as it only spewed gasses, rock and ash.

It was my first mountain climb but it was worth the experience. We were freezing and the rocky path upwards didn't make things easy for us. As we climbed up, we heard what sounded like fighter jets flying above our heads. Someone said that it was the winds howling but we then realized that it was actually the magma from the crater of Gunung Papandayan. When we reached almost halfway to the top, we took a break for Subuh prayers. Since water was scarce and it was too cold for me to take wudhuk, I took tayammum instead and together with Puan Latifah we faced west to perform our solat just a few meters away from the crater which was emitting sulphur.

I have never in my life thought that I will one day climb yet alone pray on an active volcano. This is why I cherish this part of my trip the most. But there were more surprises for us. We continued our way up and we saw molten rock with magma, silicon and sulphur gurgling from beneath. Even the rocks that we stepped around that area was hot! It was quite a combination...cold winds and hot air all at once.

We were just a few minutes away from the top and once we reached it...I thought I'd reached heaven. The panoramic as well as the sunrise view was breath-taking...

The guides on the other hand whipped up Nasi Goreng for us (yup they even brought gas tanks, cutlery and drinks right to the top of the volcano).We had our little picnic with a view to kill. We were 2,655 metres above sea level and we could see lakes and hot springs below as well as the Gunung Cikurai further ahead.

Just before 11 am, we journeyed back down to the foot of the mountain and headed back for the next best part of the trip- free body spa. After tea, we drove back to Jakarta for a 2 night stay there before we bid Selamat Tinggal to Indonesia and headed back to KL.

I had a great time and despite the fact that I've brought back 'homework' to finish, I look forward for my next travel writing stint...

© Copyright Hezreen- First published:4th December 2008

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The lion, the rat and the snake

Got this story from my dear friend Rozel. It's something to really think about:

Once, a man dreamt that a lion was chasing him. He climbed up a tree and sat down on a branch. He looked down and saw that the lion was still there waiting for him.

The man then looked to his side where the branch he was sitting on was attached to the tree and saw that two rats, one black and one white, were gnawing at the branch.

Meanwhile, a big black snake had settled directly under him on the ground. The snake opened its mouth right under the man so that he would fall into it.

Then the man saw another branch with a honeycomb, drops of honey falling from it. He put his tongue out and tasted the honey. It was so sweet that he forgot about the rats, the lion and the snake.

When he woke up from his sleep, he went to a pious scholar of Islam who said: The lion you saw is your death. It always chases you and goes wherever you go. The two rats, one black and one white, are the night at the day. The black one is the night and the white one is the day. They circle around, coming one after another, to eat your time as they take you closer to death. The big black snake with a dark mouth is your grave, waiting for you to fall into it. The honeycomb is this world and the sweet honey symbolizes the luxuries of this world.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Behind his Best Shots

Remember those haunting eyes that peered from the front cover of National Geographic Magazine in 1985? How would you like to meet the man behind those lenses when he captured this breathtaking picture called "Afghan Girl"?

Steve McCurry/a>, an award winning photographer, will be in town next year (literally next month) for a public talk, workshop and an exhibition which will be held in the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia.

Entitled A Common Faith: Steve McCurry’s Travels through the Muslim World, the exhibition will be held from the 7 January 2010 - 8 April 2010. His exhibits which were inspired by the religious lives of Muslims to the transcendent beauty of nature, will be on display in the museum gallery.

Details are as follows:

7 January 2010
Exhibition Launch & Public Talk
Venue: Auditorium, Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia
Time: 3.00pm
The public are invited to participate in the Public Talk by Steve McCurry. Please RSVP your seats by 4 January 2010, please write in to or contact 2270 5101 /5103 /5111 to reserve your seats.

8 January 2010
Steve McCurry Masterclass - Photography Workshop
Venue: Education Workshop, Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia
Two sessions, time: 10.00am - 1.00pm OR 2.30pm - 5.30pm
Capacity: 50 pax per class
Fee: RM 200.00

To participate, please send an email to latest by 2 January 2010. First come, first served.

So book your seats early and be enthralled by the man who captured the true essence of beauty with just a click.

See you there!