A Feast Concludes the Year

29 December 2017 | Hisham | | Food, Teaching
 

The Welfare Club of the workplace organised a little feast for CIL's staff members. It was also a pot luck so Ain made her fusilli pasta goreng tom yam to add to the table. It was also a Friday morning, so we all recited surah al-Kahfi. There was even a birthday cake to celebrate those born in December.

All in all it was a fun morning at work.

Photos of the day follows:

Aimaan takes a pic
I read Surah al-Kahfi
Time to absorb nutrients
 

Year End KL Trip Part Three

25 December 2017 | Hisham | | Family Pics
 

Previously: Moving Day

Day 5

The next day was the housewarming. Guests came, there were prayers and then food. And the kids of course played everywhere.

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Year End KL Trip Part Two

24 December 2017 | Hisham | | Family Pics
 

Previously: Arrival at KL.

More cousins

After we reached Nia Nia's house with Aiman, it was time for the littlest cousin to join the fray. She was happy that her Abang Irfan and Abang Aiman came visiting. Grandparents Tok Bah and Tok Ma as well as the cousins' uncle Ayah G had been there for a day before we arrived. Together we were to help Nia's Team move from this house to their new house further down south.

Jumaat

It was a Friday so we all went for Friday prayers at a nearby masjid.

Chomp!

Before the television was boxed up, Nia continued to watch her favourite videos. Earlier, Irfan watched Bright on Netflix.

 

Year End KL Trip Part One

22 December 2017 | Hisham | | Family Pics
 

The last time I was back in Kuala Lumpur was November 2015, more than two years ago. I have not been back there since because, let's face it: it takes a lot of resources for us to travel there. One of the reasons we were able to go back the last time was because of a paper miniature art commission that required an extraordinarily high number of designs.

Without any sudden increase in art commissions we would not have the money to travel down south that far. Thankfully, I had extra teaching commission for an extra programme at work that would sustain us for the month.

DAY 1

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We have scheduled this trip this time because it was known that Nia Nia was going to move and we volunteered to help. We began our drive at daybreak. I had the wheel until breakfast just south of Changkat Jering after which Ain took the helm.

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Ain drove all the way through Perak and Selangor, reaching our first destination: Aiman and Zara's house! The scene that greeted us as we rolled into the Klang Valley was almost laughably stereotypical. Grey clouds that covered a yellowish sky.

Yes, we were back in Kuala Lumpur. We stayed at Aiman and Zara's place before heading for Nia's soon-to-be-abandoned house.

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That night we all went to a nearby Pizza's Hut to celebrate the combined birthday occasions of Aiman and Zara. There was cake. I kind of missed Pizza Hut's mushroom soup. There is a Pizza Hut in Kangar but I have never ever been there.

 

A Last Jedi Review

17 December 2017 | Hisham | | Movie Review, Star Wars
 

No Spoilers Here

We saw The Last Jedi last Wednesday on opening night.

I went in with zero expectations. I did not read spoilers. I had no fan theories.

All I wanted to do was to catch a Star Wars movie.

Meanwhile in an alternate universe

... or buy an RPG sourcebook.

Director Rian Johnson crafted quite a densely packed and layered film. After that, I needed some days to process what I saw and how I felt.

As I wrote elsewhere, Star Wars has long ceased to be just movies for me, but a living universe. Stories in this universe serve as windows into this inspiring universe. Even The Phantom Menace could not do me wrong in this manner. This is because I myself have crafted a ton of Star Wars story outlines that turned into actual stories in my RPG sessions.

However, my thoughts returned to a conversation about failure, and also a brief reunion of loved ones. I believe that The Last Jedi is the first Star Wars movie that talked to me on a personal level and moved me to tears. And not because of the nostalgia factor neither as these sorts of movies are wont to do. This movie grabbed me the lapels if my last decade or so history, told me that everything past is past and the only thing that is left is to learn from my mistakes. It was a cathartic release I did not know I needed.

It also seems as though the movie has framed learning from failure and not being a jackass about it as a major theme. And this theme is codifying the push to break Star Wars away from its Campbellian Hero's Journey monomyth roots (which has long served their purpose) and into something... new.

But, there were a lot of surprising scenes, fun scenes in the movie. I hope I get to watch it again before it leaves the theatres.

Finally, I did not expect great acting displayed by both Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher in her final onscreen appearance. Clear skies, General.

 

On The Airwaves

13 December 2017 | Hisham | | Teaching
 

One of my students Clement is not only running his own radio show at the university, but he has also experience in the radio broadcast industry. He had been asking me to be a guest om his show. So there I was talking about English learning and role-playing games with students on an actual radio show. Another one of those things I never thought I would be doing three years ago when I first joined the university as a translator.

Besides Clement, the other students co-hosting the show were Indhu and Jolene under the supervision of Mr. Fadli, who also took the photos below.

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Clement has plans to expand next semester. Watch this space for more updates.

 

Arau Dinner with Atok and Opah

04 December 2017 | Hisham | | Family Pics
 

Before Atok and Opah headed back to the hometown, we thought we would take them out to dinner in Arau at a roadside eatery knows as Big Tas'Tea. We had nasi ayam chicken chop and pizza and yogurt drinks and a bunch of other neat consumables.

Who knows maybe we will be able to take them there again in the future.

Grandparents and grandson
Atok and Opah's selection
The pizza
Irfan finishes up
 

A Quick Jump to Perda

03 December 2017 | Hisham | | Family Pics
 

Cik Su F spent an extra night with us. Then we headed south towards Perda to attend a wedding on Ayah Cik Farid's side of the family. Atok and Opah remained home as they thought the trip might exhaust them.

In the cockpit

Ain drove with Cik Su sitting shotgun. Irfan and I goofed around in the back together. She drove all the way to the hotel in Perda where Nia and family spent the night... and the uncle in the red shirt in the photo above awaited.

Nine!

After Nia was all prepped to attend the wedding, Ayah Cik taught Nia about numbers using the hotel signages. 

It us

Irfan took a photo of us at the hotel lobby.

 

Nia Meets Atok and Opah Irfan

02 December 2017 | Hisham | | Family Pics
 

It was one of those occurrences where several plans overlap and Atok & Opah Irfan come to visit the same time Ayah Cik Farid, Cik Ma, Cik Su F and Nia Nia came to visit. Thus began several days of Nia entertaining Atok and Opah with her brand of activities, which included singing and dancing to the Baby Shark song, as well as asking them to draw for her in her book.

Bag lady

Nia insisted she carried her own luggage.

Whatchaupto?

Soon, she was looking for Abang Irfan and tried to figure out what her cousin was doing.

NIA SMASH!

Also, she remembered playing badminton several months ago and thought she would hit airborn shuttlecocks some more. Obviously, she was forbidden to indoors.

 

Cover Art: Dark Side of Loridian

01 December 2017 | Hisham | | Artwork, Role Playing Games
 

I recently made the cover art for DwD Studios' upcoming adventure module for their science fiction roleplaying game FrontierSpace entitled Dark Side of Loridian. It looks a little bit like this:

There goes the ship

I am also tasked with drawing several interior artwork which I will post here after the product has been released.