Rays of Splendour


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Visa application woes: Applying for the D-2 Korean Visa

I’ve finally summoned up the mental readiness to go through the whole process of applying for a D-2 student visa.  The mental readiness is needed only because 1) Administrative processes can be painful and 2) I’ll be passport-less for a while.

As of yesterday, I’ve made a total of two trips to the South Korean embassy in Newton. Both times, I have been unsuccessful in submitting an application for a student visa.

The first time my attempt for a visa application got rejected was entirely due to my negligence. I had failed to note that the embassy conducts visa application requests only from 9.00 – 11.30 a.m. I came at 2 p.m and was obviously turned away. The second time I was turned away was due to insufficient documentation. Apparently, one needs all these document for a D-2 student visa application:

  1. Original passport
  2. A copy of a passport-sized photograph
  3. Acceptance letter/Offer letter/Certificate of admission from the educational institution in Korea
  4. A copy of a bank statement indicating one’s account balance for the past three months
  5. In the event that you have a sponsor for (4), then you would need to produce your sponsor’s bank statement
  6. A copy of the educational transcripts or certificates at your last educational institution
  7. For the employed: A letter from your employer indicating that you are under their employment

During the second visit there, I had failed to produce number 7. Never did I anticipate that I had to produce that when applying for a student visa!

The copy of my sponsor’s bank statement was also rejected as her name was not clearly printed on her bank statement.

So I’m telling myself that the third time I make my way to the embassy, I truly need my visa application to be accepted. The need for the visa aside, I actually find it pretty restrictive that the passport is going to be withheld for a period of time which means that I won’t be able to journey out of Singapore on a whim. That is such a tragic thought!


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Of intentions

“Actions are according to intentions, and everyone will get what was intended. Whoever migrates with an intention for Allah and His messenger, the migration will be for the sake of Allah and His Messenger. And whoever migrates for worldly gains or to marry a woman, then his migration will be for the sake of whatever he migrated for.”

Hadith 1, Related by Bukhari and Muslim

Intentions.

They’re like the seed to any action.

They’re also the driving force which motivates one to pursue an act or decision in life.

In Islam, intention is an important aspect of our faith. Every single thing we do should be guided by an intention.

Intention itself can be classified as ‘good’ and ‘bad’ and in between, it has different degrees of purity. The best and purest of intentions is one done for the sake of Allah swt. By doing so, one is implicitly  acknowledging his/her status of slavehood before Allah swt and how we are merely a conduit through which His greatness as well as countless mercy and blessings towards mankind are brought forth. Essentially all this goes back to a simple but core concept of existence: that everything in this world happens due to Him and goes back to Him.

As the start of my postgrad studies (insyaAllah) draws nearer, I find myself dwelling on the intention for doing this.

Frankly speaking if someone were to ask me say, three to four years ago why I would like to pursue postgrad studies, I would be able to provide an affirmative answer. It was this answer itself which prompted my first foray into postgrad studies back in 2011. This answer – which also clearly communicates my intention loud and clear – would be because I strongly believe that God has created a world replete with knowledge and I would like to commit a part of my life towards acquiring just a bit of that under a formal school setting and hopefully in the process, to be awed by the Creator of this knowledge.

However I find that my perspective of the world shifts with each addition in year to my age.

While I am still floored by the abundant knowledge God has blessed the world with and would like to glean some of that, I am also aware that I can achieve those from an informal school setting.

Then, there are also times in which I will wonder why I am choosing to spend two years doing this instead of pursuing other things which have been on my mind. Why choose to spend all the time, effort and money doing this instead of opting for other paths which would require lesser resources to make the journey work and bring even better benefit to perhaps, professional or personal development, in the long run? Afterall, I do know for sure that I’m not studying again because I want to earn a qualification that will open doors to more career options. Strangely enough, this hasn’t been a matter of consideration for me this time. So again, why this path?

Importantly, how would choosing this path instead of others improve my Islam and my relationship with Him?

At the end of the day, all this boils down to the question of intention. Somehow at this point, that intention is still pretty fuzzy and I’m unable to make out the signpost. I do firmly believe that the impetus to do this was sparked by Him. However it seemed like at this point in time, I am still unable to recognize that bigger purpose – preferably one that is beyond myself – for doing this.


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His grand design

Recently, I read through some of the entries I had posted in this blog. One of the entries I made in March 2013 caused me to pause and reflect a bit.

In that entry, I had blogged about how I suddenly had the intention to perform the umrah. I hadn’t known it back then but more than a year later in December 2014, Allah swt had arranged for me to spend a small portion of my life towards performing the umrah.

As I recalled the events leading up to the umrah, the pilgrimage itself and its end (alhamdulillah), I find myself being floored by the precision in which He enabled all these. His arrangement had encapsulated many aspects – ensuring the provision to pay for the umrah, granting the good health, knowledge as well as time to complete the journey, assigning the parents who are the best companions I could have for the small pilgrimage, and according me with experienced people to guide me on my first umrah at every step of the way. These are just some examples that went into His grand design of things but truly if I were to enumerate it all, I’ll be unable to do so.

The thing is that, I didn’t realize the precision behind His planning till only recently. Though I often tout that Allah swt is the best of planners, it only occurred to me in recent times that I had never stopped to properly analyse and be awed by His artful manoeuvrings in Life.

But masyaAllah, once you start analysing that one significant event that occurred in your life, you will realize the mind-blowing complexities and detail that underlie His grand design. Importantly, I realize that Allah swt does not set your life in motion without first bestowing you with the necessary provisions to get through it.

However as the participant in His plans, most times we tend to overlook the instruments that He has equipped us with. In some cases we do not just overlook but in fact, fail to recognise their existence and end up fumbling through the journey quite unsure how to proceed or worse, the destination we’re headed.

As I’m writing this, I hope that it serves as a reminder to myself that as a participant in His design, I might not be able to see the macro picture. I acknowledge that there are countless instances in which I even failed to recognise the tools He has provided me. However if I were to exercise patience as Life unfolds and let myself be guided by the course that He has set out for me, then perhaps I’ll be more cognizant of things and hopefully once a particular scheme is completed will I then get to see a better picture as opposed to the constant “why-s” and “how-s” that dogged the journey as it unravels.

And currently as questions of “How do I support myself for two years if I’m not working” and “Where do I get the money if I don’t work for two years” increasingly becomes a loud chatter and as doubt starts to creep into my mind regarding the rationality of my decision every time I think about starting school yet again, I think it is high time I give myself these two reminders as well:

  1. He does not create without first giving His creations all the provisions they need in order to survive
  2. He is the best of planners


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It’s March!

March is my birthday month and this year, I gifted myself with an iPod when the 7th of March rolled along. I wondered why I haven’t gifted myself in my past birthdays? The feeling of gifting myself is self-gratifying!

This month is also one when the desire to perform the umrah was planted. The thought of stepping foot into Mecca and then praying in front of the kaabah sends goosebumps down the neck. It’s not one of those fear-induced goosebumps but rather, one which occur when you are so struck by something.

Lastly, I am wondering whether to go down the path of marriage should it present itself? I have been having moments lately whereby I (re)assess this whole notion of marriage. After stripping away any wishy-washy thoughts in order to get down to the core of the matter (I hope!), I came to the conclusion that I believe in the institution of marriage afterall and would take the leap of faith towards marriage should God plan such a path for me in future.

It’s weird how turning 29 brought along with it this tsunami of change to the psyche. Do all newly-turned 29ers experience this metamorphosis of the psyche too?


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Year-end vacation is here

So, the much-awaited year end vacation is finally here. To welcome it, I’ve been indulging in sleep and television. I should probably stop doing these two time-wasting activity soon, though. It’s just been a few days that I indulge in them and I’m already feeling pretty brain-dead. Therefore, I’ve decided to get myself a good book within this week. Hmmm… Should I make a trip to the library perhaps? It’s been ages since I last went to the public library.

Speaking of libraries, I should probably make my way to campus by the end of this week to return my overdue books as well. I’ve been holding on to them as I was still working on my term paper and thus needed them as reference.

Speaking of my paper… *sigh* I submitted my last assignment for this term after the deadline. It was unintentional on my part. I was writing it a few days before the deadline arrived and got stuck mid-way. Hence, I had to start on a new topic which meant I needed time to think of a topic I could work on as well as time to research and read up on the findings I’ve uncovered. In the end, I submitted my paper after the deadline. I’m very worried that I’ll fail this module should the professor not accept my paper.

Please Allah, please help me pass this module and get the GPA I had aimed for this semester, amin.