The Chronicles of Cleaning Room: Here I am again

Hiya. Happy Eid, the second day. I am not in a smart mood to blog something educational today. Most of you who have been following me ever since must already be aware that one of my biggest weakness is, sadly to say, to clean my own room :( I have been back home since almost a week but only managed to start decluttering the room a couple of days ago, and by last night, I have successfully been at 90% of completion, and I’m working hard to finish it in a few hours today. Wish me luck!

Hmm, and I know I have to make use of my excuse.. it’s because they re-arranged some furniture and stuff in my room while I was away, and to my inconvenience, I didn’t like it. Hence the re-re-arranging.. and I had to lift a book rack by my own T____T and it’s heavy. And they wanted to get rid of my old teen magazines & comics? I had to save them quick!

Oh btw.. I found again a box of photos that I have been meaning to put them into an album. Since YEARS. Only I haven’t got time to get an album yet. Photos that I took during my young-and-free college life at UIA Matriculation, somewhere in 2002-2003. Look, these are perhaps the final batch of photos before the existence of digital cameras, so I have been neglecting the fact that paper photos need an album to store them, and not a computer. And it’s been like, 6 years? Duh..

Pics @ UIA PJ (circa 2002-2003)

How I missed the time in there! In fact, it was much better than the sappy 4 years in the main campus. I mean, the friends, the fun, the party, the energy. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me. And another interesting old photo, my tiny space of study table in the dorm (I lived there with 5 roommates!).

Notice the magazine pics of Blur :-) Alex James during his hottest look :-)

Ah, memory…

Hajj Revisited: Eidul Adha eve in Muzdalifah

9 Zulhijjah 1429, after sunset. After a long wait for the bus, we left Arafat for Muzdalifah, an area between Arafat and Mina. In here pilgrims made a stop to pick up small stones to use in rituals of ‘stoning the devils’ at Jamrat place in Mina the next day. Though the area was actually covered by desert sand rather than rocks or small stones, and even if there were supposed to be some small stones laying somewhere, they were almost gone. I mean, thousands of people have been hunting for them today! Hmm but my father managed to get some for us, and we kept these stones inside a small cloth bag.

The pilgrims stopped in Muzdalifah to spend a few hours sleeping on the ground during the night of 9 Zulhijjah.

Picking small stones. It looks easy, but not. You may need torchlight, and you may mistake a stone with other junk.

While everyone back home in Malaysia were busy preparing for the big Eid next day, the pilgrims in Muzdalifah were having picnic on a desert surrounded by cold wind and crowds.

It’s part of the Hajj stages actually – to spend the night of 9 Zulhijjah in Muzdalifah. But since it’s only a few hours, and there were millions of us the pilgrims, providing camps isn’t that necessary.  So we just spent the night laying on the ground itself, covered with plastic carpet provided by Tabung Haji.. and it’s not that bad actually. You don’t get to have a picnic with thousands people at a time, at night, in other places but Muzdalifah :) Lucky that on the bus they loved to constantly provide food and drinks so we didn’t left starving.

Hajj Revisited: 9 Zulhijjah in Arafat

Today is 9th Zulhijjah of year 1430 in Islamic Hijri calendar. It’s the Day of Arafat, at this time millions of Hajj pilgrims are doing Wuquf at camps in Arafat. It is one of the earliest stages of Hajj pilgrimage beginning 8th of Zulhijjah, and pilgrims who have been staying in Makkah (for arrival Tawaf, and perhaps optional Umrah sessions) will prepare themselves in Ihram mode – it’s practically how they’re set by wearing Ihram dresscode, which is two-pieces unsewed white clothes for men, and anything properly covered for women – also in white. While in Ihram, pilgrims have to obey certain rules and may not shave, clip their nails, wear perfume, swear or quarrel, have sexual relations, and other prohibitions. But don’t worry yet, it doesn’t take too long. The Ihram will finish as soon as they complete several Hajj stages.

Image credit

Arafat, located about 18 km from Makkah, is a huge deserted area being preserved ever since as one of the sacred places for Hajj, where thousands of camps were built as shelters for the pilgrims to stay for Wuquf during the this day of 9th of Zulhijjah. Basically, pilgrims are set to leave Makkah for Arafat during night of 8th Zulhijjah, stay in Arafat on 9th Zulhijjah, and after sunset of the same day they will leave for Muzdalifah and proceed to Mina. After completing the task in Mina, the pilgrims can be released from Ihram. Afterwards they will proceed to Makkah. Perhaps I’ll be writing about the stages and tasks during the Hajj step by step, just in case they would be helpful to some random readers who drop by here :) Oh yeah, in fact, I once was thinking I could even write a book about it.. maybe ‘Hajj for Dummies’, LOL yeah, though I bet people who are going for Hajj are no dummies, except myself maybe. So I would be happy if I can help those people who are about to do Hajj but not ready and in need of quickie basic ideas.. just like my situation last year. Hmm.. I didn’t go to this multistage all-year-going Hajj courses like everyone else did because of my last minute registration, but Alhamdulillah I managed to learn within less than one month by books, videos, and my parents guide. Okay, let’s proceed about Arafat for the time being.

Check here for full view on Wikimapia. Yep, this piece of land is home to thousands pilgrim camps from all over the world ever since. The area has been divided to serve different continents/countries, and you have to know that this deserted, dry land is only ‘alive’ during Hajj season. Otherwise in other time of the year it’s left empty.

8th Zulhijjah. People getting ready to leave Makkah for Arafat

I recall the day 8th Zulhijjah last year (1429), when Makkah city was the busiest since we had arrived there several weeks earlier. People were on the street getting preparation to leave Makkah. Buses are main transportation to bring these millions of pilgrims within 24 hours.. so imagine how busy the roadways full of vehicles from Makkah to Arafat back and forth many times to pick up and send people. No wonder it took hours to get there even though the distance is only about 18 km.

Azerbaijani woman in Ihram dress.

And for our group, the departure was scheduled after night and we left the hotel waiting for bus, and it took about 2-3 hours to reach Arafat. On the way to Arafat people were chanting  Talbiyah prayers (which you get to watch in video below), and the prayers are in Arabic which translation as follows:

Here I am at Thy service O Lord, here I am.
Here I am at Thy service, and Thou hast no partner.
Thine alone is All Praise and All Bounty,
and Thine alone is The Sovereignty.
Thou hast no partner.

One of the buses to ship pilgrims.

We reached Malaysian camps in Arafat by late night and dozed off in the camps. It was no fun at all: crowds, small place, few toilets. I mean, they’re mere camps, not guesthouses or hotels whatsoever. We’re divided into several camps according to KT (it’s a code number given by Tabung Haji for flight that shipped the pilgrims from Malaysia: 27,000 Malaysian pilgrims, about 400 people each flight/KT, you do the Maths). And inside each camp with hundreds of people, you have a little space for you to lay down your ass only, no more than that. And you CANNOT complain coz here everyone is supposed to be the same, despite your status or your money back home. Breakfast and lunch and bottled water were distributed in packages by Tabung Haji staff, assisted by workers among local Saudi young kids (they do make money during this Hajj season). Food isn’t that great of course, and the cold weather gave some of us some good endless coughing. But anyway, we didn’t come all the way to Makkah and to face this complications in Arafat to whine about things. On this Day of Arafat, people make use of it to pray and pray and recite Quran, and pray again, and recite prayers, and pray again. This is the day that has been said when the religion was perfected, when prayers are granted and sins are forgiven. Obviously, this stage of Wuquf is the highlight of the Hajj.

Okay, we are not done yet. By sunset of 9th Zulhijjah, which is also the eve of Eidul-adha festival, we were off to leave Arafat camps heading to Muzdalifah to pick up small stones. What did we do with the small stones, you ask? I’ll explain more in next chapter :) Until then, enjoy this video of ilyani’s adventure going to Arafat, yay!

Oh yeah, I am home

Since Sunday. And now it’s been 3 days, and I haven’t really settled. Haven’t cleaned the room. Haven’t done the laundry. Haven’t planned anything I’ll be doing for next 1 month at home. Yeah, right after the exam I was so glad that it’s over.. this killing semester.. the semester that used to make me feel like giving up. I have survived, yeah, who would have thought? :D And, though I had in my mind so many things to do during my free time now, actually, now I found myself not moving. Lazy. Unmotivated. Everyday blues. Sigh. I really don’t understand what’s going on and why, and I know I’ll just keep asking why. Though I don’t actually want to know the answer. But it’s not too bad, I guess. I mean, somehow I do think I have grown up ever since. Stronger. And another heart break doesn’t really break me anymore. I am still standing, and smiling. It’s not the first time anyway, this happened to me. There is love, mutual love, but it’s not going to happen. Again. I won’t say he’s a wrong guy. I have never liked wrong guys in my life. It’s just.. wrong time, again, maybe. (I’m sorry, time, have to blame you afterall..). I come either too late, or too early. Hmm. Anyway, that’s it. I hope I will stop ranting about love in this blog, and it will become less silly. It’s been ages since I last wrote something meaningful in this blog. I know some of my readers have run away after all the sappy craps I have written here. But who cares :)

I would like to make use of my holiday to the fullest. I have things to blog about, stories about my semester, and how we survived there, how I strangely, made friends with so many people in a sudden, and what is cool, and what sucks about studying in USM. And how I didn’t actually find any guy there.. lol. Well, I did. But I knew he’s not for me. And maybe I want to be back writing what is left about my Hajj trip. Now that.. the Hajj season is in the atmosphere again.. for this year. It’s going to be the right time and mood for the remembrance.  Today (8 Zulhijja in Hijri calendar) last year I was going to Arafah which is one of the stages in order to complete the Hajj task. It’s still clearly played in my mind.. the camps, the crowds, the sand, the chilly weather. Or rather, it can always be clearly played on my laptop thanks to my supercool DVD camcorder.  I may want to upload them on youtube.. haha. Anyways. I’m going so random now. I have to write also about family road trip to KL then Penang and Perak and KL again.. though it’s Penang that was most significant, since we haven’t actually been there, going around, 6 of us. Bukit Bendera/Penang Hill was.. sad. The train/cable car is so old, almost obsolete (good thing they’re replacing the system early next year) and so is the ferry. Haih. That’s the Malaysian govt, they are busy building and creating new mega projects but overlook the ones that really need attention. Improvement, please? I feel rather embarrassed when I was sending Penang postcards showing Penang ferry to people overseas. I mean.. look at it.. duh. I had this picture of ferry in Finland, Suomenlinna or whatever.. it’s incomparable. And talking about Finland, this picture I took from the Penang ferry rather reminds me of Helsinki.. and it also looks like Copenhagen harbor.. anyway, nevermind what the place is, but it’s one of my favorite.

Penang harbor