31 October 2005

Massive Rug Sale

I'll be honest. It's been bugging me for a while. Every weekend there's a poor guy who sits with his coffee and book on the road by the train station with a huge black and luminous orange sign saying:

"This weekend: MASSIVE RUG SALE"

What does this mean exactly? Is it a massive rug sale (as in a sale selling loads and loads of rugs)? Or does it mean a massive rug sale (as in a sale of one hyaouge ginormous rug)?

Someone please put me out of my misery and tell me the answer please because I am getting very close to actually going up to the guy and asking him myself, which I don't want to do because a) it is a wierd thing to do and b) it could be seen as slightly patronising.

I hate being a grammar dork.

30 October 2005

It doesn't happen often enough

When you have nine people in your family and have a foot in both England and Indonesia and the ones in England are spread out around the country and everyone has their own life with the unique commitments that come with it, it's rare that you can get them all together in one room. We managed it yesterday even if it was only for a couple of hours.

We planned to break fast together with a seafood dinner in China Town in London last night. It was a good thing we were meeting up just after darkness because the sex shop-lined Soho streets are not the kind of place you want to be walking your fasting eyes through during Ramadan. At least I was saved the frustration I would have felt if I'd stayed at home to watch United lose 4-1 at Boro on the telly.

It's not just the logistics of getting everyone there that makes taking nine people out for supper a challenge. We thought we'd make it easy for the poor waiter by writing down our order on to a bit of paper so all he'd have to do was take it away. You'd think that with an ACA, a BA, nine A-Levels and 40 GCSE's between us we could do that properly but obviously not because the poor bloke had to come back and ask confusedly what we wanted because he couldn't read our writing. Anyway, it was worth it when the food came.

I would have taken more photos than this but a) my fingers got a bit greasy from cracking open the prawns and b) Has told me stop: "Oh my God, you're such a tourist". We headed for ice cream in Leicester Square before going home and when Has wasn't looking I managed a quick snap of the place. I love when it's buzzing like it does on a Saturday night.

Leicester Square's a great place before 11pm when the pubs empty so we headed off our separate ways before that happened. Idul Fitri should be on Thursday and hopefully we'll all be back together for that too.

29 October 2005

Creative cleaning

I was doing the washing up with my youngest sister last night and she was having a bit of a struggle trying to lift some stubborn cheese off a baking tray. I suggested most of the normal things like using a scourer or soaking it in water. Either she doesn't like convention or she was a bit frustrated because the next thing I knew she'd whipped out the mini-blow torch Mum uses to make creme-brulee in an effort to melt the stuff off.

I have to give her ten out of ten for creativity but think I'd better start keeping an eye on her.

28 October 2005

Sweet dissapointment

Was so looking forward to going to the Reading v Leeds match tomorrow...until two minutes ago when I went to the website to buy tickets and found out it was sold out.

SOLD OUT!!! This is the first time in my time as a Reading fan that I haven't got a ticket because the place was full. Obviously I'd love to go but it's awesome that we're selling the Madejski out at this stage of the season. It shows how much we're improving. Let's hope we win.

Talking about stadiums, Brighton have finally got permission to build their new home. Their fans have been talking about how they feel like they're "in Heaven" and how it's brought "a tear to the eye". The new ground will be right here on the South Downs:

Without wanting to dampen the mood, I have to ask if anyone else notices that slope...

23 October 2005

Something familiar

I thought I'd left my Lit degree behind. This is obviously not the case considering some of the questions for my Tort tutorial:

"In the following situations, examine whether a duty of care is owed:

a) Helena hears a child crying and on investigating finds that Titania, aged 4, has fallen in to a nearby stream.

b) Edgar is HIV positive and has unprotected sexual intercourse with Cordelia.

c) The Forest Vale police is transporting Rosencrantz and Guildernstern, two dangerous criminals, to be interviewed about a recent murder. Rosencrantz and Guildernstern escape killing a passer-by in the process. The Forest Vale police also fails to catch Horatio, a serial rapist, until he has raped six women, despite receiving an earlier tip-off that Horatio might be involved."

(These are all characters from Shakespeare plays, namely A Midsummer Night's Dream in (a), King Lear (b) and Hamlet (c).)

It feels like Groundhog's day.

22 October 2005


Thank you all for remembering today. I was very touched to get all your messages. It was so kind of you to care. Thank you espescially to Uncle Sharif and Bude Ti for the traditional sing song down the phone. It gets better every year.

I will leave it to you to guess who sent me this:


My parents gave me a digital camera, which is wicked becuase it means I can now turn this blog in to a multimedia extravaganza (on that subject, does anybody know how to play songs or show videos on here?).

Having lived on my own for the last three weeks, it was great to have my brothers and sisters here for their half-term.
Anyone who saw Robert Pires's 'penalty' this afternoon will understand another reason why I smiled so much today. It was a great day and, thanks to Mum, the icing on the cake was (fittingly) the cake:

Thank you everyone. God bless you all.

21 October 2005

Buttons vs Zips

I was ironing a pair of jeans I found in the laundry basket (I don't know whose they are but they are not mine and probably belong to one of my siblings). I noticed they had a button-up fly rather than a zip. It's not the first time I'd seen this but it entered my mind as to why, after the invention of the zip (could you imagine life without it?), we still use buttons for our trouser flies.

The zip is the superior technology and is far more practical. I can't think of what difference it makes to the appearance of the jeans if the fly is a button-up one and, for purely practical reasons, the latter is just not as good. Can you imagine how long it would take to do up those buttons when you put your trousers on? Even worse, have a think about how long it would take you to undo them. You could be busting for a pee, leg it for the toilet and make it just in time but have your efforts wasted by the extra seconds, minutes, or what in the circumstances would feel like hours, it took to undo the buttons. You might end up in an unfortunate puddle. Alternatively, you hold nature's call but end up with some sort of kidney defect from the effort of doing so while your stubby fingers try to get you out of the buttoned prison that is your fly.

So my message to all trouser manufacturers out there (and I know you are out there reading this because you have left enough spam in the comments pages and my inbox to prove it), my message is to say no to buttons. We want zips.

18 October 2005

I am turning in to a dork

Vid wrote on the Warwick05 blog that she wanted to know if it is a reasonable estimate to say that Indonesia received Rp 23 trillion per year from fiscal tax (paid on leaving the country). Either I am a real dork or I am just a bit bored with my homework (or both) but I spent about 20 minutes going through it in my head.

So Vid, just for you:

Rp 23 trillion? Hmm...

Fiscal tax is about Rp 1 million.

So...find out how many trips out of the country are made by Indonesians every year
=23 000 000 000 000 /1 000 000 = 23 000 000 (23 million).
Therefore 23 million exits out of the country must be made every year.

Does this make sense? Well, maybe try size up to a 'per day' figure.
=23 000 000/365 = 63013 exits per day.

Let's assume that the bulk of these exits are made at Soekarno-Hatta airport.How many Indonesian nationals fly out of Soekarno-Hatta everyday?...A 747 has a capacity of 400 passengers. A smaller, mid size plane used for int'l flights probably has around 200, so let's say an average flight out has about 300 passengers on it. Of those passengers out of the country maybe only half are Indonesian. Thus, about 150 Indo's leaving on an average flight.

How many flights are there per hour? I think there are normally about 20 flights listed on the departures board at any given time and these cover a time span of about an hour. So assume 20 flights per hour. So, 20 flights x 100 Indonesians on board = 2000 Indo's fly out per hour.

Flights normally fly out between 5am and 11pm. That is 18 hours of flights.
18 hours x 2000 Indos - 36000 Indos fly out per day. This is only about half the 63013 exits needed per day to hit the Rp trillion per annum estimate.

However, it is very possible that 36000 exits may be made out of Indonesia everyday from other ports around the country eg Surabaya, Denpasar, Medan. With this in mind, it seems reasonable to say that the annual takings from fiscal tax is Rp 23 trillion.

Having said that, this could be absolute bollocks because I think that the GDP per annum is around Rp100 trillion, meaning that fiscal tax would amount to as much as 2% of GDP. This surely can't be the case. 23 million exits a year sounds a lot too. The population of Indonesia is 220 million. Is it possible that the equivalent of 10% of Indonesians exit the country every year? I'm not sure 10% even have a passport. Also, some of my assumptions could be rubbish eg. should I assume all flights out are full? Are there really 20 international flights leaving Soekarno-Hatta every hour?

I am a dork.

17 October 2005

The happiest smile

The happiest smile is the one that comes when you know you have made someone else smile too.

Reading 2 - 0 Ipswich: Dare I dream?

Reading beat Ipswich 2-0 at home to go 6pts clear in the automatic promotion spots.

Dare I hope? Dare I dream? Dare I say 'this is our year'?

Dare I?

16 October 2005

Working weekend

I had a good day yesterday helping some friends paint a property of theirs that they want to rent out. I think I made my art teacher at school habitually depressed whenever I picked up a paint brush but that didn't matter this time firstly because I was painting walls and ceilings so it was easy to keep within the lines and also because I got given a roller to use. I felt like a child again except I wasn't allowed to do finger painting (well, I could have but it would have taken a very long time to paint that room if I had).

It was fun working with everyone and even though it's Ramadan I never felt that tired. The good company definetly helped and so did the music we were listening to (Coldplay and Maroon 5 brilliant, the country western music perhaps less so). The girls were a bit suspiscious about the division of labour - they were placed in the kitchen while us boys were in the dining room. Hmm....

As I am a boy I work in 12-bit colours. I know what red, yellow and blue are but get confused when you start talking about magenta, magnolia or 'morning view'. However, I learned some new colours today. Apparently there is no longer any such thing as plain white because we got told to paint the ceilings 'satin white' and the walls 'matt white'. Then the shelves and trimmings were to be magnolia, which is basically an off-white. Who needs grey areas now?

It helps when you have a proffessional chef amongst you as well. Our efforts were rewarded by an amazing slap-up supper by Roland, after which I went home and had a shower to get the paint and dust off my body and the smell of emulsion out of my nose.

Thank you all for a fun day.

13 October 2005


A friend of mine took me completely by surprise today and asked me the following question: "If a girl asks if you want to have dinner with her, does that mean she wants to have sex with you?". I told him I was no expert but that it probably means she just wants to have dinner with you. However, as I am not a girl I thought my knowledge to be too insufficient to answer his query. I wrote to a female friend of mine, who offered the following advice:

"If the girl invited him to dinner then it could just be for the food but it could also be for the sex. I realise this is mightily unhelpful for your international horny friend, the best advice I have for him is to ask her "are you a slag"...if she doesn't slap him then he's going to get sex. It's bullet-proof. "

So there you have it.

12 October 2005


We haven't done that much substantive law so far on the course. It's mainly been about learning legal skills so we know what to look for when we actually learn hard knowledge. As part of this we had to do an excercise on the Protection of Badgers Act 1992.

It says that you can get 6 months in prison for killing a badger. If you went to prison you can imagine what all the other raping, pillaging, murdering inmates are going to think of you when they hear what your crime was. YOU definetly better not be dropping the soap in the shower. You're probably best hiding that "Guns don't kill badgers, I do" tattoo on your arm as well.

Badgers: leave them alone.

09 October 2005

Back to thinking

It's obvious to tell that play time is over and school or work has started again because:

1) More people are on MSN than before, suggesting that they are back at their desks studying or working.

2) The increase of the MSN population is followed by the higher number of 'busy' signs slapped up by people.

However, this might be misleading. I, for instance, am currently signed in as 'busy' but at this moment I am obviously blogging.

3) That is actually another sign of being back at work because it means I am procrastinating. If I had nothing to do it would not be possible for me to procrastinate. However, I do have work therefore I am procrastinating by writing this post. Thus, it is evident that it is term-time.

4) The more points I write are a sign of the amount of work I have. The more there is to do the more I procrastinate. Thus, the presence of this fourth point alone is a further indication that the holidays are not here anymore.

5) Ironically, the fact that I am writing in note form also shows that there is work to do because I would otherwise be writing in prose form. The fact that I am not doing that indicates that I am too lazy to think creatively (therefore procrastinate instead).

How's that for analytical thinking? If only I could apply it more to my homework...

03 October 2005

Happy Ramadan

To those fasting and those not,

Ramadan begins tomorrow and lasts for thirty days. Please forgive me for anything I have done inwardly or outwardly to wrong you in the past. Please forgive me in advance for any mistakes I may make in the coming month.

May God grant you all strength, peace and serenity in whatever you do and guide us all to have a calm inner feeling so that we may find what we need in our lives and can become good human beings who love each other in accordance with His will. May He also guide us so that, as the young generation, we may grow to become good honest people who can improve the world we live in, particularly at this troubled time in the history of mankind.

With love, hope and a prayer,

02 October 2005

Childhood food memories

This is the first time I've been 'tagged' so, to play the game, here are some childhood food memories as shared by Pei Ji and Daffy and (sort of) Fel:

Food was a very big thing for me when I was a child and as a result I ended up a bit big myself. I was a very fat kid. One girl I hadn't seen since I was twelve recently wrote to me and asked me what I was like now. She said she remembered "a polite chubby kid with glasses". Thanks to a stupidly unhealthy crash diet at age fourteen when I lost 17kg in three months, the chubbiness has gone (as has most of the politeness to be honest, although the glasses remain on most days). You could therefore say that food and my childhood were inseperable because all I ever did was eat. Food related memories that spring immediately to mind are:

1) Vegetables. I hated them. My parents think I still do but I do eat my fair share of greens. I had broccoli and green beans with my supper tonight. Generally, I refused to eat anything I hadn't seen dance on Sesame Street and as it was only normally the tomatoes and carrots that got up and boogied, I ended up fairly unhealthy. The Cookie Monster's presence probably didn't help my cause much either.

2) Chocolate. My Mum never put chocolate in my brothers, sisters or my school lunches. All the other kids in our classes got to eat it and because we were the only Muslim kids at school we thought it was because of our religion that we weren't allowed chocs (just like how they had pork in their sandwiches and we didn't). It was only after being repeatedly told that "Christians have nothing to do with chocolate" that we realised we could actually eat it if we wanted.

3) Chilli. If we said a rude word my parents made us chew a fresh chilli. I did it once and have watched my mouth ever since.

4) Fish on Friday and Rice Pudding. At boarding school I got quite fond of the tradition of eating fish on Friday. In fact, I still try to have fish for Friday lunch even if it's only a tuna sandwich. My friend Jemima hated fish though and refused to sit next to anybody eating fish at the lunch table. Fridays were therefore a nightmare for her and I remember one time we teased her and put fish in her jacket pockets and her hair. Luckily, she had a sense of humour so it was ok, although she did threaten to cry if we didn't stop.

She got me back later by taking some of other food of mine later on. I was ill in bed for a few days and our tutor Miss Pinkney kindly gave her some get well sweets to pass to me. Jemima came in to my room and gave me the box but said sorry cos she'd already eaten half of them on the way back to our house.

Similarly, my friend Warren hated rice pudding and wouldn't go anywhere near the stuff. I, on the other hand, love it. He banned me from having any when he sat next to me at lunch so if I saw it on the menu I tried to sit somewhere else on the table so I could have some. Warren was ruthless with our other friend Gubs, who was trying to diet. If Gubs came to the table with potatoes on his plate, Warren would take them from him and eat them himself. He said he was only trying to help.

5) Mum's cooking rules ok. Everyone says their Mum's cooking is the best in the world but I have to say that actually, my Mum's really is the best. She cooks all sorts of things at home and I really miss it.

These are the things that come to mind right now. I feel like I've just eaten, which is bad because I'm about to go to bed. My waist better not have grown by the morning.

Not again...

One Saturday in October three years ago I turned on the radio and heard that there had been a bomb in Bali. Yesterday the same happened once more. I can't believe it's happened again although part of me is also not too shocked seeing as it's the fourth major bomb we've had in four years in Indonesia.

It is actually very depressing to think about. We were in Kuta and Jimbaran having a laugh less than eight weeks ago. As well as my obvious sadness for the victims and their famillies, my mind keeps turning to the shopkeepers and hawkers around the area who depend so much on tourism to live. I can't forget that band who sings to people at their tables at Jimbaran either and who everyone took photos with while we were there. I also thought about Raman, our tour guide who took us to Jimbaran for supper and Kuta for shopping and our beach day. I hope he's alright.

It's a sad world we live in. I pray to God that we can all learn to love each other properly so that such a thing won't happen again.