Thursday, April 30, 2009

Class of 2008

My brothers and sisters of the class of 2008,

Be humble

You reap what you sow

In a new place
Get familiar with the surroundings
Get familiar with the people

You never know who can help you put up a great show
You never know who can help your dreams grow

Don't forget to brush your teeth
However it is you do it

Create an identity
That you can take pride in

Be prepared to meet all sorts of people, in all sorts of places

Learn from the experiences of others
Especially when they are willing to share


Help all creatures of god
You'll be a better person for it

Surround yourself with inspiring characters
They may just inspire you

Have fun in whatever you do
Don't get sidetracked too much
But allow your creativity to flow...

Not eveyone can see you
Not everyone can hear you
Especially when you're up there

Fight for your rights
Fight for what you believe is right
You can't make everyone happy
But try understand what's it like being in their shoes

Remember the masks people wear
Remember the masks you wear

Take a stand
But don't be afraid to stand corrected
Get you voice heard
But don't forget to listen

Appreciate the value of others
and the value of yourself



Don't be careless

Go outside sometimes
And do battle with the elements

Partake in the simple joys of others
It may make you smile too

Catch fish with your hands
Once you have learnt how to


Go to the beach
And listen
to the sand

Climb... mountains if you could
The view is always fantastic

Practice, many more times

Roll on the ground
Under the stars
You may have never done it this way before
But why not

like it really matters

Be prepared
along the way


Don't underestimate
what you can learn from others
Don't underestimate
what others can learn from you

Wave with both hands when you say goodbye

It's not too long
It's not too short
a time
It's what you do with time

As you move along

But always

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Ladies & gentlemen...

announcing the arrival of...



Friday 24 April 2009 I am going to remember for a long time.

It was an unremarkable day as usual.

And then the sun set!

I had been asked to attend a dinner, as a representative. When you have been asked, it's not polite to decline, even though it's Friday night and...

I had no other plans anyway.

As I made my way past the main doors of the hall and headed for the entrance to the dining room, someone intercepted me and ushered me to the VIP holding room instead.

Didn't expect that.

Lush red carpet, massive sofas with funny looking floral patterns, and kopi-o and muffins as snack. And then a few people came in to keep me company.

Soon enough, another VIP (me being the first one, remember...) joined us in the room. And that was when I discovered that the two of us were it. The main guests for the dinner.

We were both ushered out of the VIP holding room with a small entourage following and walked across the hall to the dining room. There was a guard of honour formed, consisting of about a hundred people. They smiled at us, and we back. I even waved a little, as it felt awkward just walking past.

We passed the doors to the dining room, and that was when I realised that it wasn't a room, it was a MASSIVE dining hall with hundreds and hundreds of people sitting around dinner tables.

Didn't expect that either.

Then the emcees announced our arrival, with my name being one of the three mentioned. And we got thunderous applause!

Absolutely amazing.

These people seemed genuinely happy to see us.

The walk from the doors to the main table is something that will stick with me for a long time. What a feeling. It was like taking a lap of honour after winning the final of the Malaysia Cup. Everyone was smiling and clapping and there was even a photographer taking pictures. The scenery was beautiful. Those 30 seconds went past too soon.

My seat at the main table even had my name on it. The long version!

Three speeches later and dinner began. Dinner was good, and I was beginning to get comfortable at the table. It was at times a bit unnerving though, with a couple of cameramen trying to get a good shot of me lifting my spoon to my mouth, at the point just before chewing...

I couldn't resist and had to ask how many people were having dinner.

About 1000.

At the end of dinner, I was called on stage to receive a couple of tokens of appreciation. Things got better when I didn't have to take the tokens with me, as someone took it from me on stage and would hold it for me whilst I finish dessert... :-)

Thank you for dinner IIUM. Good luck to the 800 school children from 96 secondary schools across Malaysia at the inter-shcool debating competition - I hear you're going to get into the Malaysia Book of Records for making this the biggest event of its kind. All the best to the 400 odd undergrads and alumni involved in the organising of the competition. For what it's worth, you have my support.

And thank you Jane for sending me to dinner!