Monday, April 20, 2009

Update on Care for Refugees

It's been a while since I received the email from halfdate regarding this video. One week to be exact. The night I opened it, I was in my hotel room in Kota Bharu. I was thankful that I was all alone because within minutes watching it, tears started rolling down. Before I know it, I started sobbing. That night I went to bed early, unable to write anything. I prayed that I would find the words better the next day. Sadly, I was too caught up in work until today. 

Alhamdulillah, today I am able to share this video and I hope it would touch you as much as it did to me. Please remember that they are our sisters and brothers. I hope one day when we were asked how we have helped our brothers and sisters; the eyes, the tears and the fingers would speak. 

On April 17th, I received another email from halfdate. Among its contents, this one really caught my eyes:

A: Just curious, why you picked to donate $7.29?

B: Because that's all I could afford without making my bank account empty.

Someone actually donated that much because that is all she can afford. Yet she did it anyway because she knows that it won't go unrewarded. In fact, she'll get more out of it.

Right now, I am not asking you to donate your money because there are actually a lot of donors out there. What they are requesting right now are letters from us to the refugee families. I know writing letters, buying stamps, posting them can be a hassle. So, if there is something you want to say to these families, you can email me or simply leave a comment here. I will mail the words to them. For more information on this project, you can refer to this page:

I'm sure whoever you are, you do feel alone sometimes. Even when you have the people you love with you. Imagine these people who just lost almost everyone they knew. Moving to a place where everything is so alien, including the language. Imagine their nights, the vivid images that they see during their wake and their sleep. Imagine their day, missing the people that they used to know. Imagine your loneliness and compared it with theirs. The letters would help ease the feeling. Let's lend a helping hand, let's write a letter, ok?

p/s if you know a kindergarden teacher or if you know anyone at all who are looking for a project, you can propose this one. 

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Care for Refugees

I am not that big fan of Facebook. However, one of the things that I like about Facebook is the many causes that we can join. I was invited to join Halfdate last year. Having to read briefly on what the organization is about, I clicked on yes, silently promising to contribute something, someday. I receive emails from Halfdate almost on a daily basis. I check out the website, every once in a while but never really have contributed to anything.

Halfdate is a volunteer organization that promotes Sadaqah. The word Sadaqah gives a broader definition in this context because most of the times, they don't ask for money. In some event, they don't even want to accept your money. Halfdate is not focusing on any specific issues. The point of this organization is to help people. So, anyone of the members could come up with a new project and share it with other members. Those active members would discuss the way that they can help and invite the rest of the volunteers to help. The best thing is, it works. It seems the world is still full with good-hearted people. The dark knight would be disappointed. 

I always supported their causes through my prayers but this time I wanted to be a little more active. This is something that I can do. We have a new project. It's called "Care for Refugees".

The drive is focused on helping ten Iraqi families. At the moment, they only have the information on four families (I simply cut and paste from the website):

Family #1 (Iraqi)
Single woman, lives on her own, doesn’t speak English. Wallahy she has been waiting all week for our visit, she hasn’t been here for long and doesn’t know that many ppl. Has no one to talk to, and thats her main problem, she wants to learn English so bad. I suggest some sisters make it a habit to visit her twice a week. Maybe get some dessert or something and just go spend some quality time with her. She will be having surgery in April so won’t be able to work this month until she gets the surgery and recovers. She also needs pocket money during this period until she starts working again. Please visit her, call her on the phone, make her know that she is not forgotten!

Family #2 (Iraqi)
Single woman living with her mom and she is the one that has to pay the bills, her mom is too old to work. She was in dire need of finding a job last week and alhamdulillah she just got one a couple of days ago. She hasn’t been working for a month though and her rent has to be paid before the end of the month!!! She also is planning to move closer to work because she takes 3 buses just to get there from where they live. So we promised to help her move, but rent still has to be paid for this month!!!

Family #3 (Iraqi)
A man in his mid 30s, can’t work because he has a lot of medical problems, needs help paying his electric bill (inshalla is in the process of being taken care of). He doesn’t speak English and therefore is isolated in this big world! We should start making it a habit to visit him every week too. He says he could use some furniture around the house so we need to go visit him and find out how can we help him more.

Family #4 (Iraqi)
The father used to work as a barber in Iraq, he had another job here but got laid off because of the economy. He said he is waiting on his papers to come from Iraq this week so that he can start working his normal job (cutting hair). He is having trouble paying the bills and rent till he starts working again.

Here is the drive target:
  1. Collecting $4,977 USD (rent about $750 + educational programs for $500)
  2. Getting 70 support comments and dua, click here to post a pleasant word
  3. Getting 6 support letters/cards for kids and parents mail them to this address

And, how you can help:
  • Grow HalfDate: For every mailing list signup, HalfDate will donate $1 up to $200. Just join the mailing list and post a comment that you are participating in Alamaanah drive
  • Blog for a cause: For every blog post about helping refugees/Alamaanah, $5 will be donated up to $250
  • A pleasant word! For every comment or Dua about Sadaqah or refugees posted about helping refugees, $1 Canadian Dollar will be donated up to $100.
  • Matching Challenge: If 100 people each donates $5, I’ll match their donations ($500) - post in the comment
  • Unemployed & Broke Challenge: If an unemployed Muslim donates $20, we’ll double it up to ($500) - post in the comment
Helping can be as easy as clicking and you don't even have to fork out your money (you are most welcomed if you want to, though). I really hope this post can reach someone if not all the readers. Please, please, please, please, please, check out the website and if you feel this is something that you want to do (now or later), please, please, please join the mailing list and help spread the word. This might seem little and we might not be giants but every little thing matters. It's a kid that killed Voldemort and it's a small hobbit that throw the ring into the fire. Why not us?

We have been honored to have been offered this chance to help. So, let's do it!

Sunday, April 05, 2009


Yesterday, I long for today
Today, I found you.

Today, I understand love a little better,
Today, I understand life a little better,
Today, I realize love is not about perfection,
Today, I realize life is not about extraordinary,
Today, I learn that heart can only feel so much,
Today, I learn that head can only know so much,

Only today, when my heart and my head collides,
I rewrite needs and wants,
As I want you,
I cannot need you.

Today, I am happy,
Even if it had ended before it even began.

Today, I found you,
Today, I found me.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Saturday Afternoon

For some reason, I was asked to dedicate this entry to Elly, Syu and Sheila..'s not exactly what you thought I would write.. Nevertheless..

I spent my Saturday afternoon reading this one particular blog and it was indeed my project for that day. I promised myself to read all the entries but I forgot to look at the number of entries before I promised that and now it seems impossible to do so. At least not in one day. Even so,  it became quiet monotonous after a while. Hence, I'm not going to do it again. Still, I am going to follow the blog. He's quite fascinating to observe. Well, I think I've said too much already. [Girls, the story stopped here]

However, the issue of my entry today is about other people's blogs. If you have not realized it yet, I follow many blogs. The one in my listings cannot even justify the number of blogs that I read on a daily basis. 

Just recently, I found out that all five Aidan directors have their own blog that they update on a weekly basis. The issues range from personal to business, from dealing with dengue to how to write well to sharing the formula of successful businesses . It is quite interesting to listen to the rumbles of these entrepreneurs' minds. Do check them out at It is a worthwhile read.

I guess it's easy to understand why I read all these blogs. For one, I just love reading. I read everything from textbooks to TV guide. For another, it kept me updated with my network's 'what-up'. Oh yes, we are the Gen X, cybercommunity is our thing. Heh.

After reading of endless 'supposedly-to-be-intelligent' entries, I noticed something about these type of bloggers. They are a bit arrogant. Please, I beg you to stay with me. I will try my best to convey this without hurting anyone. Some of these bloggers feel that only those who write something intellectual like politics, business tips, and humanitarian causes deserve to be on the web. Personal blogs do not get the same credit.

I used to agree with that sentiment many years back. I hated blogs back then because blogs were mainly used to tell personal stories. To me, the stories should be kept locked. Not parading it online. Today, I still feel that you should not wash your dirty laundry in public but I know it is all within your right. Well, that applies if and only if what you write did not hurt anyone but yourselves. So, if a person chooses (bearing in mind they know all the consequences) to share their personal stories online, just let them. They have the right to write and you have the right to ignore it. Just because they don't write something that you think as clever, it did not give you the right to discourage them.

If that logic applies, then I should not say anything because this rule should apply to these 'intellectual' bloggers as well. They should have the right to say whatever they want to say because it's within their rights, right? You 'intellectual' bloggers might have recognize that it is a little oxymoronic. I agree.

The whole point of writing this entry is, if possible, to ask for some consideration from the 'intellectual' bloggers to not be too negative. We do like reading your entries, they sound.....intellectual. If you could return the same courtesy by being a little bit more sensitive to your reader, that would be nice.

sigh.. I don't even know why I write this. I'm just....

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Just another book review and more

[Warning: Might contain a spoiler for the Twillight book series. Do not proceed if you have not read the book or if you love Stephanie Meyer. The author is not responsible for any heart break due to the criticism of the book]

I commented about “Twillight”, the book series, in Ina’s blog. I am not correcting it. I stand by my opinion but I think it deserve a proper review.

I was wrong when I thought I was addicted to it the last time. Last time, I did not get addicted to the book. I was however, floating in the cloud reading it. It was too good to be true and besides the fact I know that it is not healthy for me, I read it anyways. I read ¾ of the second book and then jump to the ending. For the third and fourth book, I simply flipped through it and went straight to the ending. I was not addicted to the book. I was, however, very curious to find out how it ends.

Stephanie Meyer is quite redundant in her writing and she put a lot of details which bore me. I just want to know if Edward’s going to turn Bella into a vampire and he did. That was a disappointment because it’s too predictable. It is what the readers want. I wanted to be surprised.

Despite my negative reviews though, I found myself hung up on the series. I just cannot stop reading it, especially the first book.  I am now addicted to it. Still, I can point out so many flaws on the writing, the plot, and the characters. It puzzled me how it is possible for me to be addicted to something that I know is bad for me, emotionally.

Then again, it is not that surprising. Else we would not have drug addicts or alcoholics. After several days of thinking (obviously my life is that happening), I think I know why the book is such a success or to be precise, why I can’t just let it go.

It’s easy to relate to Bella. Almost all of the female population, age ranging from 14 to 45 is a Bella. She is clumsy, she is insecure, she feels that she doesn’t fit anywhere and she’s invisible. Ordinary, or at least that’s what we think of ourselves. Most of us are wondering if this is as far as we could go. Most of us are hoping for some miracle to happen, waiting to break out of that ordinary shell. Waiting for a savior, an Edward.

Edward is a classic Prince Charming. He is very attractive with unbelievably handsome features, husky & seducing voice, addictive smell and with supernatural powers. He is romantic. He says exactly what you want to hear and the most amazing thing is he loves you a hell lot more than you love him, which is beyond infinite. Now isn’t that something?

And then, there’s a Jacob. Meyer is quite good in tackling her audience. Not every women like an Edward. For some, despite the danger in his diet preference, he is not enough of a bad boy. He is too good that it became annoying at times. Jacob is the solution. He’s young, he’s reckless and he’s dangerous. Unlike Edward who thinks thoroughly of his decision, Jacob is the exact opposite. He is passionate about everything and he could care less about rules. A classic Bad Boy.

They are the extremes of each type and both of them love Bella to death. This is even better than Cinderella. She only got one guy saving her. Bella has two. Yet all she wants to do is be a vampire. How ambitious.

After the fifth (I exaggerated of course, it’s more than that) time reading it, I finally appreciate all the minor, insignificant details described by Meyer. If I was in the cloud before, the minor details that I later appreciate put me in the seventh heaven. People say that she is an imaginative person. I disagree with that. J.K Rowling is an imaginative person. Meyer is not. How hard is it to fantasize having a guy loving you that much? How many of us do that every day? Don’t lie. You did do that every day. 

What Meyer did is simply take the fantasy that is on the mind of every girl (even if that girl has a boyfriend) and put it into a story. Of course, I would not disregard all the vampire/werewolf details, the volturi and what not. When I said I flipped through the book, I made sure that I get the gist of it. Still, the strong essence of the book is the love story. The twilight series is a love story. No more than that.

Bella always thinks less of herself and in the story she did get saved. Then she became extraordinary. Life is much more interesting than that. It’s not always you get saved before you become extraordinary. In many cases, that is not even how it happened. You need to save yourself, prince charming or no prince charming. Don’t wait for a prince charming to save you. On the other hand do not wait to save yourself before you go find your prince charming. Just take care of your own miracle. It’ll come.

I guess it is good every once in a while to fantasize. At least it will keep our hopes up. Make the bad days easier to deal with. But let’s keep it at that. People tend to let it hold them and when I said people, I meant me. I get influenced easily and when I did, it was too overwhelming. If you are like me, we know better when to fish and when to cut the bait. I think now is the time to cut the bait.