Thursday, June 18, 2009

Solat: Kebaikan dari Perspektif Sains

During the last week of the semester, we were having a discussion with one of our beloved lecturers, Dr Hasanah. She later recommended this book, in which I wished I could buy it right away. But of course I did not, all thanks to the emptying bank account running fast to the deep, dark abyss. However, lucky for me! When I was back home in Ipoh, I found my mother was reading the very same book. Mothers! They're just too good at reading minds, don't they?

A bit about this book. It was written by three researchers and educators from our very own Universiti Malaya (OH! no wonder she bought it.). They are Fatimah Ibrahim, Wan Abu Bakar Wan Abas and Ng Siew Chook. All in all, these findings resulted from a series of experiments and studies conducted by a team of lecturers and students. I never knew its existence before, but they really had one project named as "Projek Kejuruteraan Biosolat". Cool eh?

The objective of the whole project is to find how prayers (solat) is correlated to the efficency of your bodies compartment; your cell membrane, your body capasity, your cardiovascular system, your muscle activities, erection dysfunction (yep!), all in all your anatomy. It also explains on how the experiments were done; the equipment used, the methods being done, the variables being considered etc.

Lets take one example. Basic Biology: so you know that human body consists of cell as basic living unit. And, one of must-have specification of a cell is its membrane, right? A cell membrane's permeability helps in preventing foreign objects to enter the cell, so that the cell won't get damaged. Long story short, that's how you get one healty body. So, one way of measuring your cell membrane's permeability is your phase angle (PA).

So you ask, what is phase angle?

Phase angle is one of the terms they use to measure the angular component of the polar coordinate representation. As phase angle is higher, the integrity of the cell membrane's permeability will get higher. One optimum for a Malaysian male is 7.4,as stated in this book.

Now, if I already bore you with those scientific gugu-gaga.

5 disciplines, and 47 males were divided into that 5 groups. First discipline was to complete all five prayers. Second discipline was to observe the proficiency in reciting the verses. Third discipline was how the solat is performed, jamaah or on his own. Fourth discipline is how their spine was while doing the ruku' (horizontally straight or not) and lastly, how the toes were bent correctly while prostrating.

And voila! the result shows that only those who completed all 5 diciplines passed the 7.5 of their phase angle (PA).

Okay, so i might not be the best Biology, Mechanics, Chemistry teacher you have here. But trust me, the book is worth your RM30.00. How does it work? Well, I'm sure you've heard how performing solat helps you in getting a healthy body before, but the story used to end there (for me, before). In this book, these three researchers have done their best in analysing and explaining how solat works in science perspective. This to show you, that solat is not some routine, but it is your cure to every physical aspects of your body. Your remedy spiritually, and how the doa it consisted brings you closer to the Almighty. Your own meditation, without having to fight over the yoga hoo-haa!

The book comes in full color graphic, that's a bonus. It is made available in both English and Malay Language.

Friday, June 12, 2009

My God, Tell Me it is NOT a battle!

Because if it is, then the hell I'm sure gonna lose!

So Ede came up with her list. I've asked her for a book, shockingly she came up with A LIST OF BOOKS. Well, not that shock, actually if you know that person named Ede. A walking, talking book-worm featured in a human form. Now, that's a compliment!

Okay, let's start off with my humble list.

My first 4 years of school histories started off at 12.00 noon. While waiting for the bus (or van), I've found books, are indeed the best companion, next to my late Opah. We used to have shelves of books near the main door, so when the van came I just put the book wherever and whenever I could make it, waved bye-bye to Opah, and surely Opah would pick it up for me and put it back to the shelves. Nice.

So this is one of my earliest book. "Menumpang Kasih Mengharap Sayang" by Salimi Salimon. Excuse my third-class photo, it was taken from a web anyway. And yes, I do read Malay literature, in case if anyone is wondering. I hate it when people go, " Whoa? Aini? Novel Melayu?". Er, Cop! I thought I'm a Malay, so what's the fuss here?

Okay, back to the topic.

Don't get me wrong. This is not just any typical "novel Melayu". Not your can-tell-the-whole-plot-of-the-story (You know, one of them hate the another, were forced to get married only to find out that he/she is made for him/her.) This is, in fact one of the best Malay novels I could remember. From family values to friendship, you are sure those two are at least among the littlest thing money can't buy in the end of the day. Revenge, or more like a sympathy, for what left are memories of what long gone and nothing much you can do but to move on.

I've been missing for the past 3-4 days. No, I was not abducted by aliens (though it'd be fun). I was in Singapore, in case if no one is reading my not-updated Twitter. When I was in Singapore, I've gotten myself a companion, entitled, " As I Was Passing" by Adibah Amin.

Reading this book has brought me back to old-times kampung memories. I've found myself lucky and unlucky at the same moment- knowing that, despite the age gap, I've experienced some of the chapters (that's the lucky part) and likewise, I'm not lucky for I missed out some of them. All thanks to the modernization of whatever they might call it.

Sneak Peek: Of Ghazal and the Golden Girlhood

Encik Daud ke Pulau Pinang,
Mencari kain tujuh warna,
Karam di laut boleh direnang,
Karam di darat papa kedana.

(p.s: thanks for that good person for paying for this book!:D)

My pick from the classic rack would be (drum roll, please). It'd be unfair to choose only one, because I like both (and many more) equally the same. There are "Little Women" by Louisa M Alcott and The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. Little Women definitely reminds me of the chaotic of me and the sisters. My favorite character will be Jo, despite the boyish trait and bold nature. Her independence and empathy amazed me, enough said.

The Wizard of Oz is a masterpiece. I used to read the book and watch it on tv, and never get bored of it. I used to envy my sister for she once had played "Glinda" in one of the school's play. Okay, that was random. But what I love about the book is, like any other have-been children, despite the easily condensed storyline, is the fantasy adventurous world created by Baum. One light reading material, yet, you can always remember the vividness, the charm and the spark from one journey to another.

So if you could choose, between a heart, a brain or courage, which one will it be?

These two are basically the best from the Asian's genre. Wrote by Adeline Yen Mah, I remember pulling The Chinese Cinderella from the dusty shelf of the library. I don't know, the child in me just have to read this book, judging from the title upfront, and yes, despite the minutes were running fast towards the Final Exam in 2006.

And I cried. (Not because of my result, Alhamdulillah my result is doing okay.)

You know, at one moment, you might think that you have the worst bunch of family members. Family drama(s) here and there. It's tragic and horrid mixed at the same time, for every family sometimes hid one skeleton in the closet. But this story, my oh my, it is more like a mummy filled of maggots, rather than a skeleton.

There is no other uglier family than her family. How could one called himself a human for treating her like that? (and if you wanna know how they treated her, read this. Worth it!)

And as for the Fallen Leaves, it might be one elongated version of The Chinese Cinderella in the beginning, but towards the end, you'll know what happened and that makes you wonder how discontented and jealousy will turn one to even an uglier form of mortal.

Heart-throbbing, compelling but you better read this during the holiday/free time because I promise, you're going to be attached to it!

I'd love to proceed, but something came up. House chores, anyone?

What's next: Angels and Demons ( A pure review, because I havent watched the movie so dont fret, I wont be biased!), One More Day, or maybe the Autobiography of Kurt Cobain.. (Yes, he was awesome, i know!)

Okay la Ede, you won.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Here It is...

At first, I wanted to write a review of my all time favourite book, a plan which I would have stuck with, if not for the fact that there is no such thing as a favourite book for me. I've always sucked at choosing. So, scrap that plan. I'll come up with a list instead, a list of my all time 5 favourite fictions, and Aini will come up with her own. And then we'll have a bitchy fight about whose list is more awesome. Let the race begin!

1. The Catcher In The Rye (J D Salinger)

Teenage angst. Confusion. Anger. Apathy. Now, when you're a teenager, this is the book to read. I wouldn't say it captures what it is to be a young adult trying to discover the meaning of life and all that but the author did one hell of a job making us care about the character. Holden Caulfield may not possess any of the conventional traits most protagonists have but he still manages to endear himself to the reader despite that, and that is no small feat for any author. The fact that the reader roots for Caulfield speaks volume of Salinger's ability to inject a certain human touch into this one protagonist you end up wanting to know more about this character long after you finish reading the last chapter. A definite must for all book lovers.

2. A Tale of Two Cities (Charles Dickens)

This is one of those classics that stay with me because a) the storyline is just epic and b) the characters give a powerful impact on me as a reader. I read this in my first secondary form in Muadzam Shah and the copy that I borrowed from the library was abridged and illustrated (Don't ask me why an MRSM library would have such bright and bubbly books) so it's definitely not Dicken's style of writing that attracted me to this book. But the storyline was such that I later found myself scouring through the library trying to find an unabridged version of this classic, missing recess time along the way. And when I found it, I realized it's not always easy to read because the English isn't the kind of English commonly used now. But the experience of reliving the era and the history in this novel is worth going through the Dickensian language.

3. The Great Gatsby (F Scott Fitzgerald)

Another classic. This is probably the definitive work when it comes to illustrating the effects of a broken American dream. The storyline may come across as rather unrealistic and a little superficial but the reader would get the impression that it's besides the point. The main point is the poignant message behind the storyline. And what is a momentary suspension of disbelief when the writing more than makes up for that, right? This one has a distinctive style throughout, with Fitzgerald's witty and dry sense of humour lubricating the passage of a heart-wrenching tale. At the end of it, you'd be left numb, knowing that the book has just changed the way you look at life. And that is always a sign of having just read a masterpiece.

4. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)

Okay, okay, I know what Aini'll say. This only makes it on my list because I used to have a crush on Colin Firth who played Darcy, etc. But the truth is I read this novel long before I watched the BBC adaptation of it. It was in the first few months in Kuala Klawang and I picked the book up in the library at random because I had not made any new friends and I was lonely. Yea, okay, whatever. The point is, it sort of gave me some hope that this thing between men and women may work after all. The fact that this novel failed to change me from a cynic to a romantic overnight is not a fault of the book's. To be honest, if Mr Darcy can't flush cynicism out of a girl's heart, nothing else can.

5. The Red Badge of Courage (Stephen Crane)

This may not be an obvious choice for an all time favourite. The writing is adequate but not great. The storyline does not really set it apart from other American literary work depicting the Civil War, but there's something about this novel that makes it so unforgettable for me. Could it be the cowardly Henry Fleming'f search for courage after deserting his battalion? Or the gruesome painting of a battlefield so well done you wish there'd be no more war on earth? It could be both. This is a very pro-war novel. But if you dig deeper, you'll find that pacifism is really at the heart of this novel. And a powerful narration only serves to make the point hit home harder. And it did, to me, at least.

So Aini, wanna come up with yours now?