Wednesday, 11 November 2009

The Reluctant Fundamentalist

The author is Mohsin Hamid, an American Pakistani (a Princeton University and Harvard Law School graduate) whose first novel, Moth Smoke won a number of awards and was published in 10 languages. Impressive background. I first saw this book on a bookstore's shelve and was attracted to the intriguing cover. A man in white kurta under a beautifully carved (Moghul?) arch looking over a river to a city that looks like New York. He appears comfortable in his Asian element but he is looking longingly at the city of skyscrapers.

The whole book is the voice of Changez, talking to an uneasy American in a cafe in Lahore, Pakistan. It is like Changez talking to you, the reader. You are the American, sitting in front of him, listening to his stories.

Changez is a Pakistani with perfect American accent, went to Princeton University, graduated with flying colours and was accepted to work as analyst in a prestigious valuation company. Then he fell in love with Erica, a beautiful New York elite. But deep inside him he has this feeling of homesickness that later turned into anti-American thoughts. He gradually felt that he is equivalent to a Janissary (an infantry unit in the Ottoman Empire comprised of captured Christian male children), trained and given benefits to help destroy the Ottoman's enemy (which was their own homeland).

But the beauty of this novel is that without any action (guns/bombs/kickboxing etc) it still gives you gripping suspense. Why is Changez telling you the story of his life? And what makes you stay in the cafe to hear his story until the sun settles and the night darkens? Why the successful American Changez abandon his high paying New York job and return to Pakistan?

Changez's voice is probably the voices of millions of Muslims living in America post 9/11. Why reluctant? Maybe because Changez loves and hates America at the same time.

Fully recommended by me.

p/s don't read the reviews in Amazon before you read the book because the reviews are quite revealing.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Making The World A Better Place

People, if you have time, do visit the World Challenge 09 website to vote for a cause that you believe in. It's the least we can do to help these organizations heal the world.

Now in its fifth year, World Challenge 09 is a global competition aimed at finding projects or small businesses from around the world that have shown enterprise and innovation at a grass roots level. World Challenge 09 is brought to you by BBC World News and Newsweek, in association with Shell, and is about championing and rewarding projects and business which really make a difference.

I think they are all brilliant projects. The winner will receive USD 20k grant from Shell and 2 runners-up will receive USD 10k each.

So, vote now! Be it tsunami homeless victims, Afghan widows and orphans, or endangered gorillas and cheetahs, the power is at your fingertip...

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

He's My X and You're My Y

I was thinking of writing a book review on Mohsin Hamid's The Reluctant Fundamentalist but since it is already late so I think I will write it later. We are going to London today to meet Papaboyz's parents. We haven't seen them since we left Malaysia and at that time Ammar was smaller than Abid now! Can't wait to see their reaction :))

So for today I want to share a raw talent with you readers. This is a clever poem by my school friend Siti Aminah Ramli. She has written a few brilliant pieces and this is my favourite (excuse the grammar..who cares hehehe)...

He's My X and You're My Y

You can still imagine he/she remembers you
cause they are not there to answer
you can imagine they're there
to wait for your call/sms/email..
even if they're NOT!!
You will still remember him/her
as the person you once knew
slim.slender and lovely
like the first time that you laid your eyes upon them
that make you fall in love,
You will still think he/she is S in size now and forever
even the fact he/she is XXXL hehehe

There are big different between
the person that you think
you'll miss in life
and the person whom you shared
your life with

He's my eX and you're my Y
because he's not the person that cares for me
day and nite
he's not the one that stay around
when everyone's gone
he's not the person that wakes up
each nite to prepare milk or change my baby's diaper..
he's not the one that I call
every 10 minutes when my car broke down

You're my Y cause
you're the reason Y I'm happy
you're there always without a reason Y
cause love doesn't need a reason Y
I'm really glad to have you by my side
and pray it'll be forever
I'm also really,really glad that
he's just my X and you're my wonderful Y

by Siti Aminah Ramli (with permission)

(fyi my ex is orlando bloom)

We'll be gone for a few days.. Meanwhile I will ask you a question, Bibliobibuli style..

What are you reading now? (me: John Wood's Leaving Microsoft To Change The World)