Fourth Form Kid

02 January 2018 | Hisham | | Family Pics
 

I am amazed at how far this boy has come, from when he had difficulty in learning at primary school to being able to be liked by teachers at his new school here. Now passing the end of year school holidays into the fourth form, he has been accepted as a library assistant at his school, as I was at his age.

I doa for the best of opportunities and in the good and honoourable execution of his endeavours in the years to come.

Day before school
First day of school
 

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.

xxx
xxx
xxx
 

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

xxx

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.

xxx

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.

xxx

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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02
03
04

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.

 

Students Take Centre Stage

26 November 2017 | Hisham | | Teaching
 

Narrator: Previously on Hishgraphics Blog...

Yesterday, my theatre arts students completed their course. In conjunction with the final session, the students and I organised the inaugural Performance Day for the course.

Bokeh or something

We began at 2pm. Ain brought snacks and kuih for the students. Irfan was our videographer, using the department's camera.

Rehearsal hour begins

The students had prepared for two plays to be performed for the event. The first was "The Midnight Class" where a pair of students find themselves in a replacement Mandarin language class late at night. However, they soon realise that they are the only two students in the class who are... not dead.

The class is in a class

"The Midnight Class" had a total of 10 speaking roles. The roles were based on the character building exercise we had over the duration of the course.

Optics and all

Some lines made the audience chuckle, especially the punchline to the "Why do they call you Jenny?" line. Even the cameraman here was amused during rehearsal.

 

Mini Six: Rescue in the Rainforest

24 November 2017 | Hisham | | RPG Actual Play, RPG Teaching Plays, Role Playing Games, Teaching
 

Mini Six: Doom Agents

03 Rescue in the Rainforest

The team gets rescued after a fashion

Title image

Last time on Doom Agents, four operatives sent to investigate the Eternitech factory deep in the South American rainforest located by the Amazon river had been captured by Eternitech's security forces led by Hideo Eguchi.

After an enemy flashbang grenade did its job in the store room where they were laying an ambush, the four agents found themselves each tied to a chair in the Eternitech factory floor, specifically on a conveyor belt that would lead to a shredding machine.

Nixon's list

Cast of characters

Dramatis Personae

  • Agent Trolala Zelimkhanov, a Chechen driver - Nasha and Nurul Ain
  • Agent Nancy Nassirian, an Iranian fixer - Athirah and Sabrina
  • Agent Adam Mbokota, a South African shooter - Syafiq and Weng Zun
  • Agent Adrien Nicolas, a French hacker - Malvinder and Asyraaf
  • Agent J. Johnson Jonathan, a Nepalese hitter - Alif
  • Agent Harry Wilson, a British talker - Azuwan
  • Doctor Zolila Okhunjonov, a Uzbek medic - Intan and Azmah

I Want To Break Free

"You think you can stop us from launching our plant?" Eguchi said, slightly gloating over the captives. "We know you are not from the UNEP. If you won't tell us where you're from, then you're useless to me." Then the Security Director of Eternitech pulled a lever and machines came to life. The conveyor belt began to move. So did the various robot arms and waldos. And so did the spinning set of shredding gears at the end of the conveyor belt! Eguchi smiled then exited through a door out of the factory floor.

Nassirian, Zelimkhanov, Mbokota and Nicolas struggled the best they could but they were unable to get free. If they could not free themselves then they would die. Their weapons and gear had been confiscated. They were about to surrender to their fates when Nassirian looked up and saw three figures dressed in black creeping along on a catwalk 7 meters above the floor. Nassirian gestured for the team.

The newcomers comprised of their teammates, Agents Jonathan, Wilson and Okhunjonov. The four were elated, but tried not to show their glee too early.

After quickly setting it up, Wilson's tactical training allowed him to slide down his 10-meter rope onto the floor. Wilson hit the ground running, his pistol trained at the door. The others descended swiftly. As Jonathon looked for a way to stop the machines, Dr. Okhunjonov leapt onto the conveyor belt. She picked out a surgical blade from her medical pack and cut the captive agents' cable ties that were holding their hands and feet to their chairs.

Classy.

Class Warfare

 

SWD6: The Battle of Corulag (Instance B)

16 November 2017 | Hisham | | RPG Actual Play, RPG Teaching Plays, Role Playing Games, Star Wars, Teaching
 

SWD6: The Battle of Corulag

Instance B

This Star Wars RPG game session (D6 system) was the first of two that I ran today using the same scenario I quickly devised yesterday for my English language classes. It was to see how different two different groups of students would play through the same adventure in the same day and if I could cope with both. The scenario was also written so the students would be able to discuss compare and contrast essays however because I started the class with an hour of presenting the conventional syllabus, we only had 45 minutes before time was up, thus we were unable to complete the scenario.

The session I ran earlier in the day can be found here.

That's an old valley

Dramatis Personae

  • Sergeant Jadoo, Human male outlaw - Lutfi
  • Fetty, Human female bounty hunter - Pei Yong
  • Broboroi, Human male failed Jedi - Saiful
  • John, Male security droid - Fauzan
  • Bob, Human male ex-TIE fighter pilot - Kok Peng
  • Ryuz, Human male saboteur - Shah
  • "Baby", Human male 8 year-old kid - Swee How

The gray and blue YT-1300 light freighter Speed Hip slowly landed on the landing field at the southern outskirts of town of Oldvalley, a population hub in the agricultural fields of the planet Corulag. The Speed Hip's ramp descended and seven individuals were disgorged into the cool Oldvalley morning air.

Their orders were clear: make contact with their agent Wes Qualto at Firelight cafe in Oldvalley. Qualto would brief them on what he had learned about the secret Imperial weapons factory that was rumoured to have constructed in the area and if they were required to destroy it.

The former Imperial TIE fighter pilot Bob led the team into Oldvalley. Beside him was the armoured bounty hunter Fetty, who took her name from the notorious bounty hunter Boba Fett.

Bob: I was a pilot with a dark past and was now trying to make amends.

Jadoo took point in town, looking for a site that could be used as a temporary base. (Succeeding in a Streetwise roll,) Jadoo led the group to a small abandoned warehouse still connected to the power and data network grid. After an hour, they had converted it into a forward operating base.

Whiteboard notes

Then the team headed out for Firelight Cafe.

 

SWD6: The Battle of Corulag (Instance A)

13 November 2017 | Hisham | | RPG Actual Play, RPG Teaching Plays, Role Playing Games, Star Wars, Teaching
 

SWD6: The Battle of Corulag

Instance A

This Star Wars RPG game session (D6 system) was the first of two that I ran today using the same scenario I quickly devised yesterday for my English language classes. It was to see how different two different groups of students would play through the same adventure in the same day and if I could cope with both. The scenario was also written so the students would be able to discuss compare and contrast essays however because I started the class with an hour of presenting the conventional syllabus, we only had 45 minutes before time was up, thus we were unable to complete the scenario.

The session I ran later in the day can be found here.

The crawl

Dramatis Personae

  • Paragas, Human male bounty hunter - Haziq
  • Vyruz Girl, Human female outlaw - Ganageswari
  • KC, Human male brash pilot - Ong
  • Kert, female security droid - Kertana
  • Lauren Ginger-Soup, Human male failed Jedi - Khairul

Paragas, Vyruz Girl, KC, Kert and Lauren disembarked from a C-ROC transport at the landing field on the southern outskirts of the agricultural community of Oldvalley on the planet Corulag. The five were Rebels, part of an Alliance Intelligence team assigned to gather information on a rumoured secret Imperial weapons factory constructed nearby, and destroy it if required.

Paragas wore leather and fur with a long cloak that hid his blaster rifle. Beside him was Vyruz who was tall wearing a long duster jacket and wide brimmed hat. KC wore a non-descript flight suit with many pockets that held everything from macrobinoculars to a comlink. Kert - being a manumitted KX-series Imperial security droid - strode taller and thinner than any of them. Lauren brought up the rear in his heavy hood and black cloak, his lightsaber deep within its folds away from prying eyes.

Oldvalley was located in one of the many agricultural regions of Corulag. Although the towns here were not as populated as the bigger cities there such as Curamelle, there was still a substantial Imperial presence here. Imperial stormtroopers patrolled the streets, harassing the local farmers and business owners looking for rebels.

GM screen even

Walking into town, the team decided to visit a local cantina to gather information about the secret weapons factory.

 

Force and Destiny: The Lost General

04 November 2017 | Hisham | | RPG Actual Play, RPG Teaching Plays, Role Playing Games, Star Wars, Teaching
 

Force and Destiny:

The Lost General

As role-playing practice for my theatre class, I ran a FFG Star Wars RPG session for the students. If playing a space swashbuckling character which might also be an alien or a droid does NOT stimulate their acting chops, I have no idea what will!

The party

Actors and role-players.

Although it was technically a Force and Destiny game, we had character types from Edge of the Empire too, thanks to the Legends of the Galaxy pregenerated character sheets. It was the same pregen sheets I had used in a class earlier in the year.

Dramatis Personae

  • Merick, female Zabrak Guardian/Armorer - Veronica and Siew Yee
  • Malea, female Human Warrior/Starfighter Ace - Haziqah and Syafikah
  • Koogik, female Rodian Explorer/Big Game Hunter - Syakirah
  • Byt, female Twilek Technician/Outlaw Tech - Nadhira
  • Kree, female Human Smuggler/Pilot - Amelia
  • Flames, female Droid Soldier/Commando - Siti Aisyah

Martial Law on Zaadja!

With the Empire clamping down hard on the remote system such as Zaadja, it became more and more difficult to travel in and out of the system. Meanwhile, a rebel general named Pella Vick had been trapped on Zaadja because of the martial law.

A group of six rebel operatives had been sent there to extract the trapped general whose last known location was the lidium mining town of Cumulus. 

The Star Wars crawl

Yes, the theme music was piped.

The team disembarked from the C-ROC Gozanti-class cruiser they had chartered to take them to Zaadja. As they walked out of the landing field, the C-ROC took off again to resume its scheduled cargo run in the Outer Rim Territories.

The mean-looking Zabrak named Merick led the group into the town centre. The air was frigid. Freezing winds blew in from the north. Tall, dark clouds laden with ice and snow rose above the horizon to the north east.

The town square was sparsely populated. One or two citizens could be seen briskly walking from shop to shop, their eyes on the cold, hard ground. In fact there were more Imperial stormtroopers than citizens in the Cumulus streets.

One stormtrooper spotted the group and approached them, and by default the person on point: Merick.

"Newcomers, eh?" the trooper said. "What is your business here?"

Merick answered by igniting her blue-bladed lightsaber and skewering the trooper's chest. (One Success on her Lightsaber skill check which took 10 Wound Points off the Imperial.) She quickly deactivated her weapon and caught the trooper before he fell to the ground, dead as a doorknob.

Everyone else in the team was horrified. There were other stormtroopers coming into view. They noticed that a trooper on the roof of a two-story building, a storefront, had turned his attention on them.

Zaadja

Zaadja, as drawn by Brandon Badeaux and Brad Anderson in Dark Horse Comics's Republic #67: Forever Young.

 

Mini Six: Debacle in the Amazon

02 November 2017 | Hisham | | RPG Actual Play, RPG Teaching Plays, Role Playing Games, Teaching
 

This marks the first time students played a second game in a single campaign, although they all played new characters because of a TPK in their first session.

Mini Six: Doom Agents

02 Debacle in the Amazon

Dramatis Personae

  • Agent Trolala Zelimkhanov, a Chechen driver - Nasha and Nurul Ain
  • Agent Nancy Nassirian, an Iranian fixer - Syafiq and Weng Zun
  • Agent Adam Mbokota, a South African shooter - Athirah and Sabrina
  • Agent Adrien Nicolas, a French hacker - Malvinder and Asyraaf

A year after the incident in Fukushima, a fresh new group of agents were sent deep into the Amazon in South America. Command was suspicious of the construction of a manufacturing plant owned by the multi-national corporation Eternitech located by the Amazon river.

Title card

Boulders Are Falling On My Head

Trolala Zelimkhanov, the elegantly dressed agent, drove their pink Ford Ranger along the private road that would take them to the Eternitech factory. She had picked them up at the airport and was now driving them through the lush green Amazon rainforest. Because the road was wide and empty, she drove like a Fast and Furious stunt driver scaring the poop out of her colleagues.

They had been driving for over three hours when they passed through a valley, flanked by tall steep hills. Tall and skinny, the dark-skinner shooter Adam Mbokta was stretching at the back of the car when he saw something somewhat distressing: The top of the cliffs they were driving past was crumbling and tonnes of hard, rocky boulders were tumbling down the hill headed towards them!

Mbokota quickly warned Zelimkhanov, rousing the others. She, however, took a while to understand because of Mbokota's pronounciation. Only when Mbokota kicked the back of her seat and pointed to the rockslide did Zelimkhanov realise their peril.

Nicolas: A big boulder fell from the top of the mountain and rolled down towards us at high speed. Then, Trolala pushed the pedal to the end, increasing speed to be able to dodge the falling boulder.

She drove like a speed demon as a mass of destructive rocks came down upon them. (She rolled a successful Drive Vehicle check.) But she drive intelligently and in a blink of an eye was able to reach the safe zone before the avalanche swamped down, shredded the road into debris, cutting off their way back to civilisation. 

They were trapped, so they pressed forward towards Eternitech.

Will these players lose their team again?
 

The Second UUM Incursion

31 October 2017 | Hisham | | Board and Card Games, Teaching
 

I love tabletop games. I have started to incorporate more tabletop games into my teaching and learning. Suddenly, my friend Shanizan invited me to be a jury member for the Sintok International Games and Gamification Challenge 2017 at UUM. I just wish I was able to run games with friends in my free time.

Anyway...

After an formal invite had been sent to the workplace, I was now an official representative of the Centre for International Languages at the SIGGC 2017 event at UUM.

I have no idea what I'm doing

My colleague Yuzi was also invited to be a member of the jury. Shanizan greeted us when we arrived.

The briefing needed more dice rolls

After the jury briefing was complete, we went on out assignments: to grade the participants' games on display. The games ranged from standard tabletop snakes and ladders variants to mecha combat computer games.

A dart game

Yuzi and I brought the Thai interns from the workplace to join the fun.

I still have no idea what I'm doing

This school from Sungai Petani showed off their creation: a human-scale boardgame where the player moves from square to square with the throw of an oversized d6.

Ace of Math

Meanwhile, Shanizan also displayed one of his games, the card came Ace of Math. This was quite an interesting experience, and quite exhausting as we had to traverse the many corridors of the exhibits at the foyer of the UUM Library.

Perhaps in future events we could have role-playing game demos and talks. I am certain that with earlier notification, our friends from Kuala Lumpur would be able to come enliven future SIGGC.

 

The First UUM Incursion

29 October 2017 | Hisham | | Teaching
 

Last month, all of the sudden, I was tasked with writing a script for a short play for an English Language Carnival to be held at UUM. Not just that, but I had to coach the actors, who were all students of our business school. The theme was "peace". So I wrote a script with 10 speaking roles (2 narrators included) entitled Requiem to War.

However the event was postponed on account of royal demise. Then we got word that a new date had been set.

Some sort of requiem

All the actors got back into gear. I attended their final rehearsal.

The lead actors tried to kill each other

I only handled the acting and staging part of the rehearsal. My colleague Yuzy did most of the heavy lifting with regards to costume, props and logistics for the troupe.

Varsity Mall food

Friday evening, Irfan, Ain and I drove to UUM to check out the site of the event. We had dinner at the mall there. I wish we had a mall here.

 

Nia and the Return Home

22 October 2017 | Hisham | | Family Pics
 

We had the opportunity to meet and play with Nia Nia again as Ayah Cik Farid and Cik Ma had a 24 hour or so overlap with our stay at Pasir Mas. The day before we had to depart, they arrived.

Drawing

She showed us how to draw. Also, she asked us to read Irfan's old Hippo book.

The laptop watchers

She especially liked dancing to the Mitchiri Neko toon on Youtube and picking out the odd cat out among the clusters of cute cat musicians on parade there.

Wheee

Irfan as usual was great with toddler-class cousins.

No cats here

Nia of course loved playing hide and seek at Tok Ma's drapes in the living room.