Saturday, May 25, 2013

Astro Kasih - Reef Rescuers

"The future, yeah it stays true," Honolulu by The Last Dinosaurs.

So recently - from 6th – 13th April 2013, the Astro Kasih team organised a GUINNESS WORLD RECORD™ attempt for the longest underwater clean up, held at the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park off the shores of Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. The initiative was started to create greater awareness on marine conservation - with the help of 134 volunteer divers from Malaysia and across the world, working at 14 dives sites around the park, in an epic, non-stop 168-hour, seven-day underwater clean-up mission.

Divers surfacing after a round of cleaning up underwater.

The activity is part of Astro Kasih’s Beautiful Malaysia programme - one of Astro’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives under its environmental pillar, to raise awareness on preserving the environment with community engagement for environmental activities. If you’ve not heard of them, Astro Kasih is a volunteer initiative undertaken by Astro employees for the betterment and advancement of the community that we live in. You’ll be glad to know that they welcome ideas on the Astro Kasih Facebook page at 

Just to get you thinking, other cool stuff carried out under Astro Kasih Beautiful Malaysia includes a coral transplanting project in 2011 at Ribbon Reef in Tun Sakaran Marine Park, Sabah – an effort that achieved certification by the Malaysia Book of Records with 777 corals transplanted. To learn more, just surf over to In addition, the Astro Kasih initiative has also helped many underprivileged villages and children in Sabah since 2009. Their activities include building and repairing amenities and infrastructure and contributing to the improvement of educational resources for the kids.

So, since not all of us may have followed the record-breaking attempt, Astro has very kindly worked with Discovery Network to produce Reef Rescuers, a 30-minute television special showing an insider perspective of what it takes to plan and execute such a huge marine conservation project. But watching the programme is not all we can do to get into the Beautiful Malaysia spirit! Thanks to Astro, we can all participate in a special quiz to celebrate the upcoming premiere of Reef Rescuers – airing on Discovery Channel (Astro Ch 551) and Discovery HD World (Astro Ch 571) on Thursday 30th May at 7pm.         

Volunteer divers posing with their haul.

You’ll be excited to know that Astro Kasih is giving away 1 GoPro camera every day over the next 7 days via the Astro Kasih Reef Rescuers ‘7 Days of Sharing’ Facebook quiz! If you don’t already know, this awesome camera is called the world’s most versatile camera. Check it out here  To participate, just go to the Astro Kasih Facebook Page. Starting on 24 May 2013, the quiz runs until 30 May 2013 – a total of 7 days or 168 hours – the same length as the clean-up. Every morning, you will be given a multiple choice question that you must answer by 7pm on the same day. Last but not least, you’re needed to spread the word on the Reef Rescuers programme and quiz. Just post a Facebook status update that says “I just took the Reef Rescuers quiz about the world’s longest underwater clean-up in Sabah, Malaysia. Take the quiz today and win a GoPro! Catch the 30-minute documentary on Discovery Channel (Astro Ch 551) and Discovery HD World (Astro Ch 571), premieres 30 May, Thursday, 7pm.” After that, check back on the Astro Kasih Facebook page after 10am the next day to know if you’ll be getting your hands on a GoPro camera courtesy of Astro Kasih. But why stop there – make a date with your family and friends to watch Reef Rescuers – you can even organise a viewing party, simply link everyone up at the Reef Rescuers Facebook Events page at Remember to use the Red Button on your Astro remote control during viewing – you can get more info, chat on Twitter, see an info feed, or check out their other giveaways. 

After you surf over to join the quiz, you can also look around for ways to keep Malaysia green or engage in sustainable living. If you prefer to check out the best places for scuba diving or cool places to travel to, have a look at the conversations on the Discovery Southeast Asia Facebook page at 

May peace and blessings be upon you.


Sunday, May 19, 2013


"We will meet your goals!" Jimmy Lovine by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis feat. Ab-Soul.

So earlier today I attended an English Parliamentary Debate between the two top schools in Kedah. I was never a debater, but debates have always intrigued me. How people argue their cases to get to the truth, that's always cool. However, in competitive debates, it's not really about getting to the truth as much as claiming to be right and saying that your opponent is wrong, whatever the case may be.

In the debate that I watched earlier, there was an obvious winner. The team of three consisted of three guys. They had solid arguments and presented them in a convincing manner. The other team, on the other hand was not very convincing. I'm not trying to be misogynistic, but the team did consist of three girls. Their performance made me wonder how they got to the final in the first place. This judgement is based purely on their debating ability and the arguments they put forward. By the end of the debate, I had very little doubt in my mind who were going to win, and I was pretty confident that everyone else on the floor shared my thoughts on this. At the end of the debate, both teams handled themselves professionally, the guys going over to the girls, smiled and bowed to which the girls smiled and bowed back (they didn't shake hands because cooties, duh).

However, when the results were announced, the less convincing team won. You could see that the guys were pretty devastated, from the actual debaters to the reserve team members as well as their coaches. I myself was speechless by the announcement. To me, they were head and shoulders above the other team. How they lost remains a mystery to me. 

When the dust had settled, one of the teachers expressed her disappointment with the results to the guys. She mentioned that she might even protest the results by filing an appeal. But then one of the students said "Can we not make a big deal out of this?" and that struck me as being very mature in the face of defeat. 

You see, when entering any sort of competition, it should always be your goal to do your best, and when you have done your best, you have reached your goal, regardless of the result. "You don't have to win to be successful" is one of my father's sayings as a coach, and it definitely rings true to anyone who has ever been in competition before. This maxim will make one a humble winner as well an honourable loser. Because at the end of the day you know that you are only responsible for your performance, as the results are out of your hands. They are in God's.

The boys definitely gave it their all on stage. They proved that they were the better team, regardless of the result. They didn't need to win to be better. They had already succeeded, and no scoresheet was going to disprove that.

May peace and blessings be upon you.


Sunday, May 12, 2013

Fiction Character 1.1

"I can't change, even if I tried, even if I wanted to," Same Love by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis feat. Mary Lambert.

He wanders. He wonders. About many a thing at a time. So many things, in fact, that he loses track and in effect gets distracted rather easily. Too easily. He could be in the middle of contemplating Khalil Gibran, for all he could, and a passing motorbike would make all those thoughts join the carbon monoxide to come up in smoke.

His focus is weak. He can’t pay attention to anything for more than ten minutes. He opens the Pages document on his computer to write something up and is scrolling through his Facebook home in less than two minutes. It not that he wants to lose focus. He just does.

At least that’s what he says to himself. Comforting is the thought of not having control of yourself. You are no longer responsible for your actions when you aren’t in control of yourself, and that’s the way he likes it. Not taking responsibility for himself. For his own development. For the feelings of the people around him. For his relationship with God. 

It’s not under his control. If it was, he would be the best human being ever. He would be able to do so many things. He would read a lot more. He would learn how to play every sport that he can. He would pray on time all the time. He would be helpful at every opportunity he can. He would work on his assignments as soon as he receives them and wouldn’t stop until they’re finished. He would proofread his work, thrice, making improvements every time. He would get high distinctions. He would get a first-class degree.

But it’s not under his control. He’s tired all the time, so he sleeps way too much and works too little. He’s too slow a reader, so he puts his books aside. He’s way too busy, so he postpones any actual work until the very last minute. He’s not fit enough, so he doesn’t go down to the field to play any kind of sport. He was always a one-sport-guy anyway. He oversleeps, so he misses prayers. He doesn’t like proofreading his own work, so his first drafts are his final drafts. His EQ is low, so he hurts the people who love him.

Ah, not being in control is the best thing that could ever happen to a person. After all, how can God judge a person for how He has made His creation? These flaws aren’t mine, he says to himself. They were given to me. I did not choose to be this way. If I was born hardworking, then things would be different. But I wasn’t. So I’m not. 

And that’s perfectly fine.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Fiction Character 1.0

"I want to sail away from here," Otherside by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.

As he sits there typing on his MacBook Pro, his head is frantically looking for something to say, something meaningful, something truthful, something inspiring. But he isn’t feeling very inspired himself. He asks himself, “why do I want to write?” and the answer slaps him in the face: he doesn’t know.

He likes the idea of writing. Of people being able to get a glimpse of what is going on in his head. For what purpose, he’s not fully aware. It might be that he feels that writing could relieve his stress. He’s been feeling emotionally unstable of late. That is, if the past year can qualify for “of late”. It might also be that  he feels that letting other people read his thoughts would inspire other people to greatness. He admits that he is by no means great,but people seem to think that he is worth watching and listening to, thus he would like to reveal to people that any Muhammad or Atiqah could be twice as successful as he is, if what he is can be considered a success.

Or maybe it’s just for the ego trip that he gets when he receives feedback from people. He’s fully aware that his English is head and shoulders above the majority of those who use it as a second language and people tweet that his English is so fluent, they want to be like him, they want him to teach them how to be like him. Maybe that’s it.

But it’s not.

He hates the notion of people trying to be him. He knows himself. He sucks. As a teacher. As a writer. As a friend. As a family member. As a human being. He sucks.

And he is always intrigued by the idea that people actually think highly of him. Or maybe it’s disgust. Paralyzing disgust. Disgust in himself that he is still able to sleep at night and smile when he is awake and allow people to sing his praise. It’s disgusting how much he allows people to be deluded into thinking that he is a righteous person with very little flaws to show. And him? A role model? Please.

If people were actually like him, there would be a lot more cynical people in the world. Fake smiles would be plastered onto their faces while sarcastic remarks form in their heads. People would be sad all of the time, without really knowing why. People would be tired, and hate having to live through another day. People would be emotional. People would be judgmental. Most of all, people would be insincere. 

But they won’t do good deeds for money. No, much too “surface” for this type of human. That would be way too easy to judge, and he’s not anything if he’s not afraid of judgement. Or rather, negative judgement. He has to be seen as a flawless human being, a model citizen. The example for Muslims, or even human beings in general. Because he’s full of himself like that. Because he needs to be seen as a superior person.

So he puts on a mask for everyone to see. What he thinks everyone should see. The bright side. The smiles. The happiness. The righteousness. The motivation. The optimism. And right behind that mask rots the depression. The downright cynicism. The bitterness. The pessimism. The hypocrisy.

So he doesn’t want people to be like him. Because that’s too messed up. Even for him. I suffer alone is his mantra. Other people are too good for him. 

He still likes the idea of writing though. But why, he can never really say.