Here he is again!

Posted in Uncategorized on December 22, 2008 by smoothcriminalmagic

Salaams everyone 🙂

I must apologize for my extremely late update. Yes, do not rub your eyes, this is indeed an update 🙂

In the past couple of months, blog-wise, I’ve gone from “Where is he?” to “Here he is again!” and I must say, it is indeed amazing what can happen in just a couple of months.

Since I last blogged:

I traveled to my country of origin…

photo-0174

*Tarim – One of the major cities in Hadramaut, Yemen*

I’ve put another semester to rest…

dsc02500*Believe it or not, I got a grade for playing a bad guy! 🙂*

Photo taken from His Royal Wackyness.

I won a talent competition…

champ*Had a lot of fun that night!*

Photo taken from Metaphorical expression, thank you!

dscf0278

and most importantly, I got engaged 🙂

photo-0276*:)*

I’ll elaborate on each of those topics soon hopefully, but each in it’s own due time. To be frank, they each deserve their own blog post.

* * *

YEMEN

Yemen was absolutely AMAZING! And I’m not just saying that because I’m Arab 😛

photo-0263*Roots*

It really is a whole new world there! The people are always friendly and courteous; and they’re always smiling. Even the poorest of the poor there smile and greet you 🙂

As I mentioned in my last post, my family and I did our ‘Umrah before heading to Yemen, Alhamdulillah 🙂

With the tour group, we managed to check out all the sites worth seeing in Yemen, both in the North (San’aa) and the South (Hadramaut; where I originate).  As expected, we visited our families and relations. Didn’t help that my Arabic was next to pathetic; our conversations always lasted less than 2 minutes and always involved how I was and how I liked Yemen. Any other questions they asked me, I just nodded earnestly not knowing what I was nodding to. I got scared once because after nodding to some unknown question, they told me to get into a white thobe and get ready to go out!

“Where am I going?” I asked in Arabic.

“******************”, was their reposonse.

Well, it was to me anyway! I couldn’t understand!!! :((

I thought they wanted to match make me with someone or something and I got scared because they were so excited to get me out of the house. Didn’t help that the questions before that were along the lines of, “Are you married yet?”!!

I finally found out that they wanted to take me to this celebration that was going on. I told them I was tired after my trips across Yemen and that I would like a quiet night instead.

You can bet they were befuddled as to why I was nodding so earnestly one minute and declining the next!

I’m sure they asked me why; not that I would understand, either way I just nodded earnestly again 🙂

By then they correctly assumed that my Arabic was atrocious.

I confirmed their assumption by once again, nodding earnestly 🙂

Another hilarious moment involved two boys in an airplane.

photo-0206

These boys were the sons of a lady that my mom made friends with at one of the female gatherings. My grand aunty, Amati, asked me to perform magic for them and so I did. I did a couple of simple tricks, ending with a magical transformation of a 50 Yemeni riyaal bill to two 200 Yemeni riyaal bills and handed one to each of them. They were stunned and with mouths agape, all they said was, “How…?” (in Arabic of course). I smiled and headed back to my seat, plugged in my MP3 player and listened to my music.

The younger of the two boys came up to me while we were in the air and handed me a pack of gum. He spoke Arabic and pointed at the gum and then pointed to his ears and made a “pulling” gesture with his hands in front of his ears. He then stood there as if waiting for something.

Not knowing what he said or meant, I did what I always do:

I nodded earnestly at him 🙂

He still stood there.

“Oh uh” I figured…what should I do?

Does he…does he want me to lend him my MP3 player in exchange for some gum?

I pointed at my earphones in my ears and looked at him.

He nodded.

“Oh…”

Then he just walked away and sat back down on his seat.

“Huh?”

I sat there for 15 minutes trying to figure out what I’m supposed to do with the gum…did I interpret him correctly?

I asked my mum to go and double check.

After much hesitation, my mum went to check for me.

Turns out, the kid wanted to help me out on the flight by giving me the gum. He wanted me to chew on the gum so that my ears don’t pop, which as anyone who has ever flown knows, hurts!!

Sweet kid 🙂

Dumb pseudo-Arab adult!!

photo-0246*The pseudo-Arab trying his best to BE an Arab 😛. That’s Booga at the back by the way 🙂*

Anyway, my mother had signed up for a summer course at the ever famous Darul Mustafa centre of Islamic learning there.

dar-mustafa

Famous and knowledgeable Islamic lecturers would be lecturing in English and with English translators for the Arabic speaking ones. A wealth of knowledge for those who seek it. So we left her there as I had to escort the two golden old ladies (Siti & Amati) back to Singapore. Furthermore, I had that trip to Mulu to go through. So we departed from Yemen…little did I know, that I was going to come back sooner than I thought… 🙂

* * *

Alrighty, that ends our little update!

I will elaborate on the other happenings in due time, but for now, this should suffice 🙂

As Met once told me, “Update it in chapters bro!”.

Thanks buddy 🙂

I am due to perform my thesis research with Dr. Ulmar at Belalong in a couple of days. I’ll be at Belalong for 2 weeks in total because in addition to 1 week of solid thesis research, I’ll be there for the Field Ecology 2 course which is also 1 week.

Please pray that I come back safe and sound 🙂

Insha Allah, once I return, I shall update my blog once more.

Till then, salaams, stay safe and remember that nodding earnestly is not a sufficient substitute to learning a foreign language! Especially when you look like you’re supposed to speak it! 😛

Aman

* * *

I really wish I could come with you,” she said.

But there’s mosquitoes and insects and…” he said.

I don’t care! I’d wear long sleeves and everything. It doesn’t matter…” she replied.

As long as I’m with you.

He melted.

🙂

Where in the world is Aman Alhamid?

Posted in Booga, Funny, Holidays on June 2, 2008 by smoothcriminalmagic

Salaams everyone!

And I suppose I owe everyone some sort of explanation for my silence these past couple of days, no?

Well, if you must know what I’ve been doing…then I’ll tell you what I’ve been doing…

Nothing 🙂

Hey…don’t laugh…’nothing’ ain’t cheap…

*People enjoy ‘nothing’ even though it’s expensive*

Ok, seriously though I’ve been getting back to playing video games 🙂

Yeah, my older brother has been playing the PS2 since forever…and all I do is just watch because I don’t want to start playing; you know cos then I don’t want to quit, wanna see the game through to the end. That’s why I reserve games for the holiday times 🙂

Practicing magic is bad enough during the semester! You can ask Met how that affects me!

So, I finally passed God of War II, which is THE BEST game ever put out on PS2, just after GoW I.

*I WILL make you suffer!!!*

Kratos is such a bad-ass and I so wanna be able to do what he does with his blades. Amazing 😛

And then, I decided to play the Wii and I am STILL playing it, enjoying it very much. Went and bought an armfull of games and plopped myself in front of the TV and played all through the night 😀

Ahh…love the holidays 🙂

Oh yeah, speaking of holidays!

I will be out of Brunei from June 2nd (today) to July 2nd (not today) 😀

Alhamdulillah, we have a great trip planned. The details of the trip I’ve kept to myself for such a long time because they weren’t confirmed until just recently.

Check this out:

Fly to Singapore on the 2nd of June, then on the 7th of June, we (myself, Booga, my grand mother and my grand aunty [Amati]) will go for ‘Umrah (Alhamdulillah); then on the 16th (I think) we’re going to….

YEMEN!!!

😀

YAY!

I’m so excited! I’ve always always always wanted to go there!!!

The home of my forefathers 🙂

And I bet many of you don’t know this, but (out of sheer coincidence), the flag of Yemen consists of my 3 fave. colours; red, black & white 😀

😀

See that? That’s a Yemeni flag…not a flag of India…not a flag of Bangladesh…I AM YEMENI baby! 😉

Hahaha, yeah, so anyway, will be going there on the 16th of June, Insha Allah and then will be leaving there on the 26th of June to Singapore. Will be staying in S’pore until the 2nd of July; at which time I should be returning to good old Brunei 🙂

Then from the 5th to the 15th of July, I’ll be going to Mulu with Dr. Ulmar and the rest of the research team to continue to adventures of Indiana Alhamid 😉

Alhamdulillah, will be kept pretty busy this holiday but I’m really looking forward to it 🙂

So yeah, don’t expect to hear from me (or this blog) during that time but I always check my Gmail so please, if you guys need anything, feel free to e-mail me and let me know, will try to get for you Insha Allah.

But please, don’t ask for ‘nothing’…it’s pretty expensive 😉

* * *

Take care and stay safe everyone,

May you enjoy your holidays one and all! 🙂

Aman

The Not-So-Enchanted Forest

Posted in Funny, Science on May 20, 2008 by smoothcriminalmagic

I couldn’t see properly, heck, I couldn’t even see the hand right in front of my face. The only saving grace I had was the small torchlight strapped around my right wrist. Thankfully, it was a powerful little bugger. Tired and drenched with sweat, I pushed through the dense forest, hoping that the next step I was taking was not into a deep hole covered only by leaves and mud.

2 steps later, I landed in such a hole 😦

I don’t know where you spent your Monday night.

But I spent mine in the thick of a swamp forest near Seria, Labi road to be precise.

That’s right, the adventures of Indiana Alhamid have begun!

*Cue the inspirational Indiana Jones tune!*

Dr. Ulmar texted me and asked if I would like to tag along for a research very similar to what I’d be doing in July. I figured it would be a good way to get to know the techniques involved.

That and I didn’t have any stellar plans for Monday night.

Went to UBD to meet up with Ulmar and a research student doing her Masters in NUS, a Singaporean girl by the name of Gwen. We immediately left in Dr. Ulmar’s jeep for the hour long drive to Labi road.

When we finally got there, I was acquainted my new best friend…this bag:

*A 70 litre hiking bag*

It looked EXACTLY like that one above…except for the colour.

And it was not light.

In fact, it held most of the sensitive equipment for the tests we’d be doing.

Right, so I’ve strapped on this HUGE bag…almost as big as myself, on my back and I was going through the thick forest and if anyone of you knows what a swamp forest is like…you know the ground isn’t exactly the flattest thing in the world.

Bad enough my balance is offset due to the massive load I was carrying but I’ve also got to watch out for the many roots protruding out of nowhere.

We ventured about 15m into the forest to set up our site.

There in the thick of the forest, it got really dark, really fast – it was only 6.30pm.

Gwen and Ulmar had a headlamp.

I only had a torch, which Ulmar kindly lent to me. 😦

We set up equipment and made jokes to pass the time.

Found out that Gwen is super-super-smart when it comes to bugs. I know ONE lecturer that wouldn’t mind getting to know Gwen! She really fascinated me with the different kinds of bugs she studied and is probably the ONLY GIRL I’ve EVER met that loves cockroaches!

And dung flies.

I had set my bag down on the ground as we were talking and not 15 minutes into our conversation I had noticed a mini tarantula had gotten comfortable on top of my bag.

And that was the one I COULD see…mind you, alot of these little critters DON’T LIKE to be seen.

My mind wondered about how many had crawled into my bag through the zip I left open.

I quickly closed the zip.

Using my torch, I shooed the mini tarantula off my bag.

It raised its forelegs as if to say, “Bugger off! This here is my bag!”

I argued.

We had a debate and a cup of tea.

Then it left.

What a nice chap 🙂

The roaches in the forest are DIFFERENT too!

*They look similar to the Brazilian cockroaches you see here*

Midway through our conversation they attacked.

The GOD-DAMN MOSQUITOES!

I knew I shouldn’t wear insect repellent because we were trapping INSECTS!

So all I could do was swat them like a madman.

I heard them cry, “The hairy one! He’s killing our men! Get him!”

Me, in my infinite genius, wore a black shirt to the trip 😦

I might as well have painted a “FREE DINNER” sign on myself for the mosquitoes to read!

Once we had set the insect traps we tried to catch a frog.

Gwen caught it very nicely.

Then we heard another one.

Now remember that it is PITCH BLACK in the forest, save for our flashlights.

So we were following the calling of this frog, moving through the dense forest.

When we finally arrived to where the frog was, we realized it was located too high up in the tree to catch.

So back we went.

When we had packed up our stuff, we wanted to go to another side of the forest, but first we had to exit this particular forest…which was kind of difficult.

Remember? Pitch black?

Where do we go?

Which direction?

With the huge bag on my back, we ended up making circles in the forest which sounds more fun than it actually was.

I was dead tired.

It was dark.

Mosquitoes were munching on me.

The forest was dizzying in the dark.

It was Patoi all over again.

But it was just the 3 of us.

Ulmar decided to head out alone to find an exit, leaving me and Gwen in the forest to rest.

Didn’t help that I watched a zombie film the night before.

But I wasn’t afraid of zombies as I was of running into the web of this kind of spider:

*Just try it buddy…*

As I said, it was dark – so it was hard to tell where I was heading.

Just then Ulmar called out and had said he had found a way out, Alhamdulillah.

As we walked towards him…the big bag I had on had caught on something – or something had caught on it.

I couldn’t move.

I tried to wrestle with the thing, but I couldn’t move.

The bag was taller than me, so it wasn’t like I could turn around and see what it was.

I had thought it was a vine…but vines this strong?

I pulled and pulled and I heard a ‘crack’…the vine had snapped…but still…I was stuck.

Ulmar was way out there.

Gwen was about 10m ahead of me.

I called out, “Gwen…I’m kinda stuck”

“Oh ok, I’ll be right there,” she said.

When she clambered back…I turned around to show her how my bag was stuck…when all of a sudden…I wasn’t stuck anymore…

Huh?

How strange…

We moved on out from the forest.

We almost spent 1 hour being lost and I was tired.

Alhamdulillah Ulmar said it was too late to conduct another test, so we headed on home.

So…spending 3 hours in the forest, getting lost, kissed by lovely spiny rattan stems and sucked on by mosquitoes…all we got was one frog 🙂

Oh yeah and the insect trappings yielded some good data as well.

At least 🙂

Got back home and had a nice shower…wow…I love showers after trips like that; makes you appreciate being clean 😀

Compared to Gwen, I wasn’t badly bitten actually…maybe it’s all the hair 😉 No landing space for the suckers.

That and I was swatting them like nuts.

Alhamdulillah, I had read many doa’s before and during my time in the forest and I am safe 🙂

The forest can be a dangerous place, not just physically (I almost dislocated my shoulder) but also metaphysically.

So yeah, behave yourself when you’re in there.

On the way back Ulmar and Gwen asked me if I wanted to join them again the next day…

“Haha, nah, it’s alright” I replied.

Hey,

I got chores to do!

😉

Stay safe my friends,

And if you’re ever on Labi road, look out for Ulmar’s copper brown Pajero! 😛

Aman

Save me.

Posted in Poems on May 17, 2008 by smoothcriminalmagic

Intense pressure of an unknown cause,

My sanity has been put on pause.

A time bomb with a few ticks set,

Have I exploded, or not just yet?

Would you dare?

Come close to this bomb,

on the verge of exploding?

To save me from myself?

To save me from hurting?

Would you?

.

.

Would you?

Yaum-il-Umm

Posted in Booga, Islam on May 11, 2008 by smoothcriminalmagic

Which means Mother’s Day in Arabic.

Helmi woke me up, “Aman wake up, hurry up! This is Mother’s Day you know!! Come on we’re going out soon! Get up! Get ready! Go! Go!”

“Yeah…I…yeah ok, ok.”, I replied.

He sat on the chair facing my bed.

“I’m gonna make sure you get up and get in the toilet”, he said.

Crud.

“Yeah…I’m…yeah…ok, ok”, I replied.

As you can no doubt tell, my vocab early in the morning is utter crap.

Went to the toilet to wash my mouth so I can give my mum a good morning (or good mid-day) kiss.

Gave her that kiss 🙂

Went to the shower.

Had a shower.

Got ready and went to the Rizqun for lunch buffet and MAN was it crowded! Alhamdulillah, I got a parking space.

The Mother’s Day buffet was really good but for some reason I couldn’t eat that much 😦

Lamb was good 🙂

Lamb…is always…good 🙂

After lunch, Helmi bought some of the cake they had in Rizqun for my mum.

My mum, the little adorable Booga all dressed in pink, had a fun time 🙂

*Booga!*

.

She thanked us for lunch when we got back to the car. I said ‘you’re welcome’ by covering her with kisses.

She deserved it! 😛

But yeah…

This Mother’s Day thing was more of Helmi’s planning and execution.

I probably would not have done anything.

Honest.

Not because I don’t love my mum.

Has got nothing to do with that.

It’s that…

For me at least,

Mother’s Day is everyday.

And I am not just SAYING it…I mean it.

Why should you treat your mum, she who has heaven at her feet (I know, I checked!), have only one day set aside where you show her 100% devotion?

It should be everyday.

And I follow that rule very strictly.

I am not going to say all the things I do for her on a daily basis because we shouldn’t toot our horns about the good deeds we do.

But I’ll just say this:

After lunch I asked my mum,

“Ma…I don’t like celebrating Mother’s Day”

And she said, “Why?”

I said, “Because I feel Mother’s Day is everyday. And I consciously act that out. I want to show you 100% love all the time.”

She smiled.

“Do I make you feel like it’s Mother’s Day everyday Ma…?” I asked…

She looked at me and stroked my cheek,

“Yes you do Aman…yes you do”

Yay 😀

* * *

They can be annoying.

They can nag.

But they are our mothers.

So treat them how you would like your child to treat you, for God is fair – He will give back to you what you give to the most important person in your life – your mother.

Girls especially, you all will Insha Allah become mothers too!

So get close to the only living example you have!

I am very blessed and fortunate to have an angelic mother.

I doubt any words could describe how much I love her – so I let my actions do all the talking.

And they have a lot to say 🙂

Thankfully she is tolerant of all the hugs, kisses and snuggles I shower her with 😛

I asked my mum if she would miss all this attention if I got married someday (Insha Allah).

She looked at me with a look of relief and said, “Of course not! I’ve had enough!”

Then she paused…

Looked at me and said,

“Well…maybe a little”

Awwwwwwwww, she’s so small!

* * *

It’s not hard to love you Booga,

It’s hard not to.

Seed of Barakah

Posted in Black, Booga, Funny, Umar on May 7, 2008 by smoothcriminalmagic

Salaams,

And we got 6 left to go…

Well, I have 6 exams left to go.

Alhamdulillah x 3, The paper was good. A pleasant paper that was, yes, indeed, rather.

I love pleasant papers like that. I can go to the loo and take a break from all that sitting down.

Let it be known; sitting down is hard work 😛

Nah, I went to the loo like 4 times during the paper!!

Drank lots of water the night before as well as earlier today, you see 😀

Yeah…I have this mouth ulcer…that really really really hurts 😦

AND it’s a big one…yeah, almost as big as the size of my pinkie nail!

Now that’s big!

You know what sucks?

Seeing/Reading about a full grown man complain about a wound smaller than a nostril.

Yeah.

So I’ll stop now 😛

BUT

I asked my mum what I could put on it to make it better (Mums always know these kind of things don’t they?) and she said habbat assaudah oil. Habbat assaudah (or also known as habbat albarakah – which literally means the seed of barakah or blessings) is the black seed that is widely sold in Saudi. Looks like this,

*Image from Wikipedia.com*

It’s also known as Black Cumen but if you want to be really fancy about it, it’s scientific name is Nigella sativa.

In Islamic medicine, this seed is held in very high regard (hence the name ‘seed of blessing’) and it has been used for hundreds of years.

And I conveniently forgot all about it.

So anyway my mum told me to use the black seed oil…and I asked, “Are you sure it’ll help?”

And she turned to me and said, “The Prophet P.B.U.H. once said that this seed can cure all diseases but death – I’m sure it can handle an ulcer”.

In the words of the Wacky Met…”~nyeah”.

I completely forgot about how we used to apply this oil to Umar’s lips when they crack (thanks to a cold night) and they healed by the end of the day!!

And look at his lips…

*You can’t touch this!*

There it is, Umar’s Infamous Pout.

Look at his good looks lah!

Umar! What are doing with such stunning good looks aye?! Huh? What are you doing with it huh?

Helmi got all the height and you got all the good looks and nice skin and everything!

I just got stuck with all the HAIR.

Hehehe, 😀

Yeah, but if your good looks were to be any indication of the beauty within you…I’d say it’s doing a pretty good job, little guy 🙂

Yup, you are our seed of barakah 🙂

I’ve already applied the oil.

Now I’m gonna try and see if my pout looks as good as his 😉

Good luck for the rest of your exams my friends!

Stay safe,

And [the seed] is BLACK!!! 😉

Aman

What The World Needs Now…

Posted in Music on May 6, 2008 by smoothcriminalmagic

Salaams,

🙂

This is helping me study – I hope it does some good for you too 🙂

I love this man’s piano playing, it’s pure elegance.

Anyway, download the MP3 of his playing here.

Then put it on repeat.

And you’ll know what my room sounds like 🙂

* * *

Stay safe yeah?

And good luck on everyone’s paper tomorrow!!

Aman