Sunday, 20 December 2015

Yesterday's A Birthday - My First Blogger Post in Ages

2015: It's been a crazy year.

By crazy, I really mean it. Yesterday, I just turned 18 and now I am legally an adult, at least in the eye of the law. Naturally, I feel that nothing has changed though, so I am just my same self. My 17-year old from two days before is hardly different in appearance and thinking from the 18-year-old of today. Nevertheless, this year I feel that the process of maturing and aging has been rather sped up, not least by the workload and pressure from my pre-university course in my school NCBIS, and applying for universities (oh the joy of it all...).

Right now I have just started my three-week winter holiday where I am supposed to "relax", although teachers have piled up a considerable amount of Arbeit which I can never escape from without failing my course. Today is kind of a three-day weekend for me, when I will start doing actual school-related work tomorrow so that I don't cram everything in the last minute. I also have to create a schedule to organise my revision for all of my six subjects for my mock and actual exams. The mere thought of it makes me cringe in anxiety and disgust.

Despite all of that pallava for the past several months, I make sure I keep doing what I love doing online, which is updating and writing on my blog(s) once a month. Unfortunately, if you were regularly looking for updates on this version of my blog, you would be quite disappointed. I make very little to no effort to update and add new content on Blogger simply because I have become so used to the WordPress blogging platform. I also get fast feedback from other bloggers who notice what I post, so I am pretty satisfied with the service overall. Blogger on the other hand lacks the same kind of noticeability among other bloggers because Google would prefer to invest in other social platforms such as Google Plus and YouTube (at least, that's how I see it...). I have no intention to post as regularly as I do on WordPress in this website, but as much as I like to have all traffic diverted to my WordPress because managing one blog is easier, I have to show readers here that I still exist.

So as a courtesy to catch up with everything I missed to put here, here is a link of all the posts I made on WordPress since April.

Do We Understand Pop Culture? | An Analysis on How It Influences Our Lives

30th April 2015

Effects of ICT on Children and Teenagers

31st May 2015

Last School Day, Flight and Ramadan

30th June 2015

5 Dagen in de Nederland: Land of Polders and Windmills (Part 1)

24th July 2015

Happy 58th Independence Day, Malaysia!

31st August 2015

5 Dagen in de Nederland: Land of Polders and Windmills (Part 2)

30th September 2015

Abacus – A Plath-Inspired Poem About the Struggle of Maths

3rd October 2015

Daily Poetry Assignment: Day 1 – Haiku, Alliteration, Screens


6th October 2015

Daily Poetry Assignment: Day 3 – Prose Poetry, Internal Rhyme, Skin


Daily Poetry Assignment: Day 4 – Limericks, Enjambment, Imperfect

8th October 2015

Daily Poetry Assignment: Day 5 – Ode, Metaphor, Map

9th October 2015

Daily Poetry Assignment: Day 6 – Found Poetry, Chiasmus, Face

13th October 2015

Daily Poetry Assignment: Day 7 – Ballad, Assonance, Neighbourhood


14th October 2015

Daily Poetry Assignment: Day 9 – Concrete Poetry, Anaphora/Epistrophe, Cold


Daily Poetry Assignment: Day 10 – Sonnet, Apostrophe, Pleasure

16th October 2015

November – A Month of Dilemmas and Lamentations

30th November 2015

Again - A Poem

7th December 2015

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Today’s Travel to Tulip Country

I'm ashamed that I couldn't think of a better title; cheesy alliteration is cheesy. It's six in the morning and I'm supposed to be getting ready for my flight at ten. I'm a little low on creative juice right now so please bear with me.

So I told you all last March that I will be spending my Easter/Spring holidays in Amsterdam in the Netherlands. I am actually really super excited about this, not only because I get to go to a new country to add to the list of countries I have visited, but also due to our trip's itenerary. Only a few days ago, I found out that not only we are going to go to Amsterdam as a family, but also we are visiting Brussels in Belgium for a day tour! Wonders will never cease - I'll be adding two countries to my list now!

The our general itenerary is like this:

Today - Flight from Cairo to Amsterdam-Schipol, arrive, check in hotel, do some sightseeing in the evening

Friday - Visiting the Rijksmuseum, Friday prayers in a Dutch-Turkish mosque and taking a cruise in the canals

Saturday - A guided day tour of Keukenhof, a place where lots of tulips are grown in the Dutch countryside

Sunday - A guided tour of Brussels from Amsterdam, including a 3 hour bus trip, visiting the Grand-Place and other Belgian landmarks, return to Amsterdam on the same day

Monday - Flight back home to Cairo

Mind you, I don't exactly know the details in terms of schedules. I trust that my parents know what and where we should be going, because it was really their idea to visit Amsterdam in the first place. I kept suggesting to go to St. Petersburg, Budapest or Vienna but my mother really wanted to see tulip flowers in full bloom in spring. Turkey is another tulip country, it was the country that originally passed on the flowers to the Dutch anyway, but having visited the country twice already, my parents would like something else for a change.

I have all my stuff ready and packed. I printed a sheet of Dutch phrases ready just in case, even though many Dutch people can speak English. Maybe I should print a French phrasebook too, because I haven't polished up my French in a very long time. Hopefully, I will write up a great big article or two about this vacay with lots of pictures just like Antalya for y'all to enjoy. I won't be able to take my laptop with me. Although I'm a little hazy about our activity schedule, I know it will include a whole lot of sightseeing and walking about so I have no time for blog updates there. I will, of course, remain available via social media: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram providing that the hotel has a free and reliable WiFi connection.

I believe that this whole trip will be a blast, just like the trips I had before or maybe even better! I pray for a safe flight for today. See you after five days!

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

New Posts for March and April on WordPress!

It's been ages since I updated here on Blogger...

I feel kind of guilty now, because I did promise in the past to give equal treatment to both my WordPress and Blogger blogs. I was supposed to simultaneously post anything on both sites, but laziness got the best of me. Sorry :(

I think from now on, I'll have to change my tactics, because posting the same content on both sites is really time-consuming. It's not just a matter of copying and pasting, but also changing the format, HTML, tweaking the images - it's all just too much!

I will treat this blog as a "secondary" blog where I will post stuff, just not as regularly. I will also announce updates of any important news and WordPress posts here to redirect as much of my audience to my WordPress site. Over there, non-bloggers will have a better way of keeping up with my blog because they could follow via e-mail. Google did not put in place anything other than just a Google Plus account.

Without further ado, if you are not a visitor of my WordPress blog, here are the things you missed for March and April:

Yes, I have realised that today is the 31st of March. This is the first and last post for this month. For the sake of not letting one whole month fly by without a post, I decided to make sure to have something typed up and served for this month and to explain a little about my disappearance.
As I have mentioned in my previous post in February, I am a busy man. I have many commitments in school and life here and I can't afford to forgo these commitments for the sake of this blog. I have set my priorities, and my blog isn't something that will directly determine my future, such as whether I will be entering the university of my choice, or whether I'll be getting better grades...(READ MORE HERE)

5th April 2014

72 Hours in Antalya: Now Officially My Favourite City in Turkey! (Part 1)


Last February, I travelled to Turkey for a very short but satisfying holiday to the southern coastal city of Antalya! Before going, I didn’t know that there were so many attractions to offer to tourists. I thought people only came for the beaches, since it’s way down south and all. I’ve visited Istanbul and Bursa in 2010 and we were mainly visiting historical and cultural attractions there. After having visited the famous Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and Topkapı Palace, I thought that it is a second-class tourist destination compared to Istanbul. How wrong I was! In fact, Antalya amazed me with its wealth of activities and hisotrical landmarks all wrapped up in a picturesque location, making it a perfect four-day getaway for our family. Since I am a huge history geek and an architecture enthusiast, there were so much for me to marvel in this lovely little city which stole my heart. Read more to know my full itinerary and the best places to visit in Antalya!

7th April 2014

72 Hours in Antalya: Now Officially My Favourite City in Turkey! (Part 2)

The following is a section of the middle of the article:
While we as a family were on our way out of Kaleiçi to the tram station, we chose to walk a different street from where we walked yesterday. We ended up in front of this mosque right here. We stopped because someone had to go to the bathroom. It was not yet prayer time.
FYI; I didn't actually remember the name of the mosque. I didn't see a sign bearing the mosque's name in the photo, nor did I remember seeing a sign at all. After doing some (unsuccessful) Google searches and loading Antalya on Google Earth, only then I found out that the name is İmaret Mosque.
The mosque looked a little modern to be an Ottoman-era mosque from the 17th or 18th century, so I think it is more recently built. This mosque, like any other mosques in Turkey in general, share common Ottomaneque features. A central dome, usually tiled blue, and a sharp, piercing minaret that looks like a tip of a pencil is present in the traditional look for any mosque in Turkey. Sometimes I wish we have more of that architectural style in Malaysia...

Yesterday and the two days before yesterday I posted about my little escapade to Antalya, Turkey. I must be the luckiest globe-trotting expatriate in the world that month. Within less than a week after returning from that holiday, I travelled to Cyprus for a week-long expedition trip organised by my school! Luckily for me, I had already written about some my experiences for my school’s newsletter, so why re-invent the wheel right? Here is what we all did back then: (CLICK TO READ MORE)

During our 3 day hike, I decided to sing songs to pass time and forget about the pain and exhaustion we were going through. For some reason, the song “All About That Bass” came up in my head and stuck, so I decided to make a parody of it based on the whole camping and hiking experience. The lyrics of “All About That Pace” are truly based upon what we all had gone through in the trip. We did actually get lost on our first day and thought it was like hell on Earth, but the Gold Team had an even worse time by getting lost more often than our Silver Group! (READ MORE HERE)

Thursday, 19 February 2015

The February of Silence - A Consequence of A Busy Weekly Routine

Peace be upon y'all!

I know I have seem to gone off the radar for several weeks by now. If you are wondering if it was due to a prolonged illness, it wasn't truly the case. That time, I wrote that I was suffering from a flu that left me weakened over the week. However, the week after that, I mostly recovered and I was back on my feet as usual. Of course, by then I wanted to write more for this blog, however I really felt that this month has been one of the busiest months I ever went through in my IB course. In this post, I will be giving a rundown of what I do each week nowadays and my plans for the end of this month.

Before going further, allow me to announce something really important: I will be travelling to Turkey tomorrow! Currently I am having a school midterm holiday for five days (this Friday until next week Wednesday) so to make the most of this short period, we decided to spend time in one of Turkey's most beautiful coastal resort cities: Antalya!

Saturday, 31 January 2015

New Posts for January @WordPress

This month is phonomenal in that I have published 9 new posts for АЎР-IaATR Blogger and WordPress. It is the most I have ever posted in a month ever in my blog and I really want to keep this momentum going. Four of the new published posts are currently only found in my WordPress blog, so the point of this post will be to provide links to those posts here.

23rd January 2014

The Versatile Blogger Award

It has been a little more than about a week since I first switched sides to join the WordPress family. All week I’ve been spending my free time fiddling around with my blog’s appearance and settings to make it more reader-friendly. I hope you like the way it looks now, because it’s likely that it’ll stay that way.

Last week on, my best blogging friend ASpaceWithin nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award! Thank you so much! I never expected to be nominated so soon :P. I never got nominated before in my old Blogger blog, so I was a little clueless at first on what to do. I had a read of ASpaceWithin’s post about her award after her nomination, but I felt like it wasn’t enough to understand what this blog really means. Continue reading →

25th January 2014

“Perhaps weekly posts aren’t enough… Hmm…”

I promised myself before to publish a new post each weekend so that I could be a consistent blogger worthy of global attention. For most part I kept to this promise and posted something on Friday or Saturday, the weekend days here in Egypt. However today, I realised that many successful bloggers here publish on an almost daily basis – ranging from a post a day to even a post every several hours.

I follow quite a few blogs here but each time I look into my news feed, I’d have 6 to 14 new posts each day calling out to me. I make the effort to look into what new stuff are in store – maybe an uplifting inspirational story or a travel journal to a far-away land. The thing is though, I often see the same names popping up in my reader feed and they are the most prolific – posting about 2 to 7 posts a day. With the amount they post each day, it would be impossible for me to catch up with every single post.

As a loyal follower, I hope I am not expected to read everything. But what if I am in the place of that blogger – the one who has around hundreds of followers on WordPress and beyond, whose readers expect a regular serving of fresh written entertainment? What if I had that pressure on me to keep going and to produce quality pieces all the time? Continue reading →

28th January 2014

A Character Profile of Jay Gatsby – The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Last school term, my class studied The Great Gatsby as part of the Literature component of the course. A novel written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, the book is renowned for its faithful portrayal of the lifestyle of the upper-class American society during the 1920s. I don’t want to bore you with the details of the plot, you could read the book yourself to find out.

I was tasked with creating a characted profile of Gatsby based around the accounts from different characters in the first three chapters of the book. There was a lot of intended vagueness, mystery and contradiction around his character which was deliberately done to reveal the plot in the story. Without further rambling, let us begin the analysis. Continue reading →

31st January 2014

Learn New Languages At Your Own Pace Using Duolingo

As an aspiring polyglot, I am constantly trying to find new ways to learn languages in a way that is convenient, simple and fun. School has been a liability to my progress, since a lot of my focus and effort has to be shfited to that. Nevertheless, my prayers have been answered when I stumbled upon Duolingo, a website specifically catered to learning foreign languages from scratch!

The interface is user-friendly and appealing for children and adult learners alike. Duolingo gives a series of ‘skills’ starting from basic words and phrases to more complex sentence building and vocabulary. These skills are then further divided into a series of short exercises. To answer the exercises, you would primarily rely on translation from that language to English (or vice versa), listening then typing, listening then translating and reading the words yourself in that language using a microphone. It’s really simple – you’ll be familiar with it in no time. As you progress in the exercises, you get levelled up as your knowledge in your language increases. Right now, I am a Level 4 German and a Level 2 French. Continue reading →