Rays of Splendour


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Finally here

First entry written in Seoul and I foresee that there will be many more to come.

So as I’m sitting here in my room, I’m thinking about two things:

  1. I actually went through with the crazy idea to study in Seoul and,
  2. Am I really going to continue my studies?

I received a letter from the school back in 2014 stating that my application was successful. I was pretty thrilled to know that I was offered a place to study here and looked forward so much to being able to study when the time comes. However March 2015 rolled along and I was not able to go. That led to a painful few weeks of requesting the university to grant me a leave of absence for a year and emails back and forth to my reporting officer, the HR manager, the admin officer at the university and lastly, the professor.

Hence when the 2015 working year drew to a close, I dare not hope that the idea of finally going ahead with my studies would materialize. In fact, right up to the week that I was supposed to leave for Seoul, I still did not believe it will become a reality and hence why I was the least excited person as compared to those around me.

Once bitten, twice shy. And yes, I’m one of those people who finds it hard – though truly, I try my best to – to be opened to second chances once the first one has gone awry.

Even now as I’m blogging about this, with the prospect of the new Spring semester starting in two days’ time looming ahead, I’m still wondering whether I’m truly starting school after all.

I’m also wondering whether I will ever be able to successfully graduate at the end of two years. What if I flunk? What if midway through it, I have a change of heart?

I guess I need to stop with all these questioning and remind myself yet again that it’s the process that matters.

Regardless of the end result of this two year stint in Seoul, I pray that Allah allows me to come out of this experience a stronger, wiser and better person than before and with an increased intimacy with Him. Amin.


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Food coma!

These past two months, one of the joys I wake up to would be the prospect of, and excitement over, what to eat for the day. The excitement does not just revolve around what to eat but rather, where to eat.

Gotta travel across two different train lines to get to the shop? No problem!

The shop is only accessible via one or two bus services? No issue as well!

The shop is located about an hour away from the west where home is? No big deal, just go!

So, the following are just some of the food which I had eaten during the past 1.5 weeks alone. If I were to take into account the food I ate without capturing its photo, then there would be more where that came from.

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Then there are those lies I tell to convince myself to eat more than I should. For example when it comes to my ultimate favourite, the pineapple tart, I would always tell myself to be disciplined and eat only one tart per day. See, I have this grand strategy when it comes to eating things as sinful as these tarts. Since it is so sugar-laden, I will limit it to just one per day and then spread it slowly across the month.

But of course, that doesn’t happen in reality! After I’m done chewing and swallowing that first tart, I’ll tell myself “Well, Allah loves anything odd so I might as well eat two more and then make it three”. The lies does not stop there for after the third one, I would then tell myself “But when we do our zikr istighfar, we do it for 11 times right? So 11 would be a good number”. Like seriously, what has doing zikr got to do with the number of tarts I eat? Such nonsense I delude myself with just to ease the guilt of being a glutton.

Since when has this eat-as-much-as-you-can mentality crept into my psyche? Need to stop this. It’s the nafs I tell you. The nafs is definitely such a major culprit.

I’m aware that I need to work harder to keep the nafs reined it but you know, my mind’s been obsessed with getting myself a plate of char kway teow and the thought has occupied like 55% of my brain since afternoon… Help!

That said, one good thing that materialized as a corollary of all these eating is that I’m made to realize how perfectly Allah created the human body. I was just thinking to myself the other day how all that massive amount of food I ate got digested with ease, alhamdulillah. Nowhere can we find a manmade creation as miraculous as the God-created digestive system. Food gets spoilt if we leave it outside for long but inside the human digestive system, it skips that process and instead gets processed into smaller matter with some even benefitting the human health. MasyaAllah, that is so amazing isn’t it?


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D-13

I woke up this morning to the thought that today will be the second last Friday before I leave. That means it’s another thirteen days to departure.

Amazing how fast time flies. I can still vividly recall asking myself repeatedly back in November how I would spend the two months of 2016 if I no longer have work in my schedule. I worried that I might end up spending days at home doing nothing worthwhile, entertain unhealthy thoughts and then eventually be depressed. I mean, hasn’t there been numerous studies out there that reported that a lot of people face depression because they have too much time on their hands and then entertain negative thoughts and suggestions? So the over-dramatic side of me had imagined ugly scenarios of myself walking around with huge eyebags, unruly hair, sad face, not bathing for days, and then my family coming home to a crying person.

Alhamdulillah, those remained part of my imagination (and I pray that Allah protects all of us from that, amin) for as I looked back to the past 1.5 months, I realized that by His grace, I was able to occupy my time usefully.

Definitely, there were many days where I spent engaging in these activities in solitude. Having meals by myself, going to places by myself and finally, returning to an empty home. However, I may be in solitude but that does not mean I felt alone.

Alhamdulillah, there was never a time when I felt lonely. Through it all, I always got the feeling that I was given those few hours to myself and once the time is up, Allah will fill up the rest of the time with my family’s and friends’ presence. Then sometimes and for wisdom only He knows, Allah brings people into my life and I get to interact more than I do on other days.

Regardless, these past few weeks have unfolded according to His plans. By His will, every moment that occurs sees the right thing and people coming together to occur at the right place and time.

So, last thirteen days here in Singapore before I come back again a few months from now if I have the rezeki, insyaAllah. Till then, I look forward to spending this time within the confines of the familiar.


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Of sincere giving and goodness

I love train and bus rides for the opportunities to either catch up on sleep, read, or simply let the mind wander to wherever it wants to. Sometimes, these wanderings lead me to reflect on things while sometimes, I would simply ponder upon matters that need my attention and how best to respond to them. When I say “matters”, I am not just referring to serious things like how to allocate my budget but also, things like what to eat as soon as the ride ends!

Today as I rode the train from Boon Lay to Paya Lebar, I chose to let the mind wander and the following poem seems to resonate with where my thoughts led to:

“Even after all this time the Sun never says to the Earth, “You owe me”. Look what happens with a love like that, it lights the whole sky.
Hafiz Shirazi

At its core, this poem reflects the unlimited generosity and mercy of Allah swt. However at a personal level, I find his poem also speaks of my belief when it comes to love and relationships which ultimately influences the way I relate to the people around me. Beyond that and of utmost importance, I’m more attracted to the idea of selflessness and to give without expecting anything in return that the poem propagates.

To give of your generosity, your kindness, your possessions, your love, your empathy, your time. Basically, to give of yourself simply because you sincerely believe that the gift is much needed by the other and through that, something beautiful is created in the process.

One of the things that went through my mind which reminded me of this poem was in the way my parents interacted and encouraged me in the past few days. Sometimes I ask myself whether I can ever reciprocate all that they have done for me.

Lastly, I do also wonder whether I will ever be able to find it in me to give a part of myself so sincerely and create goodness as well as beauty for the receiver through that?


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Beauty of small moments

Short entry but something for the record, nonetheless.

These past five days spent mostly by myself, especially during those solo walks I took down the streets of Seoul, left me with ample room for thought.

Those thoughts led me to one of the biggest takeaways I had from this trip, and it is best summarized in the following:

Stop overlooking the beauty of small moments.
Enjoy the little things, because one day you may look back and discover they were the big things.
The best portion of your life will be the small, nameless moments you spend smiling with someone who matters to you.

Source: http://www.marcandangel.com/2011/12/11/30-things-to-stop-doing-to-yourself/