Friday, December 19, 2008


In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful,

What is heartless? Would it be heartless if our government suddenly decides to privatise its one and only institution dedicated to the well being of our heart?

heartless - adjective Devoid of compassion or feeling; pitiless

Allah knows best.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Flower for baking?

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful,

Living with a family that is involved in the Kek Lapis business, the house smells deliciously of Kek Lapis all the time. Sounds good eh?

Not so if you are trying to cut down your sugar consumption. The sugary smell can be too tempting for my weak soul.

One fine day, while my sister was busy preparing Kek Lapis in the kitchen and the house was unsurprisingly filled with the fruity fragrance of the Kuih, I decided that I needed to go out to get away from the delicious aroma lest my hope of cutting down my sugar consumption be not more than that of a new year's resolution.

As I took the car keys that were hanging on the wall, my sister spotted me and approached me with a RM50 bill, (Do take note that all this is made up because my family doesn't speak English at home.)

"Can you get me something while you are out?"

Being the helpful brother that I am, I happily obliged.

"Sure. What do you need, kak?"

"I need 5 kilograms of flower. I received a new order for more Kak Lapis and we are running short on flower. The usual type would do. Be sure to get a receipt."

Flower? Flower for baking? My sister wants me to buy flowers? By the kilo? She is kidding me right?

Well since we were in the mood for jesting, it seemed that there was no harm in seeing how much funnier this joke could get.

"Usual eh Kak? Is that hibiscus or sunflower? I seem to forget." I said that with a wry smile.

To my amazement, my sister stared blankly at my face as I said that.

"Huh? What?"

Judging by the expression on her face, maybe my sister was not joking after all.

"You said you wanted flowers right? So that's why I asked hibiscus or sunflower? I don't know why you would need them for the Kek Lapis, though. For the scent perhaps?"

I asked her, hopefully seeking explanation for the need of flowers.

"Oi, I meant tepung lah. Thats how the word flour is pronounced. Go look it up in a dictionary."

Ah... Flour! My sister wants me to buy flour, not flower! Oh, to be a fool.

"Oh, tepung ke? My mistake! Sorry eh kak." I apologised to my sister before I went out the house in shame, thinking that my sister needed flowers for baking.

Later that day, I did look up the word flour in the dictionary and it is indeed pronounced in a way similar to the word flower.

Allah knows best.

Flour pronounciation at

Monday, December 01, 2008

Second last?

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful,

Second last.

'Second last' is a phrase which is used to describe something that comes before the last thing.

For example:

".... the second last thing we did at the event was to have him come up to the podium to give a speech. "

Alternatively, we could use the word 'penultimate' in place of 'second last'.

According to

penultimate - adjective: next to last

So, instead of using "second to last" we could rephrase it like this:

" ... the penultimate thing we did at the event was to have him come up to the podium to give a speech. "

Allah knows best.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

On why you should learn English

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful,

I first read about it here. Thanks barkylarky.

Seriously people, this is why you should learn English.

Other links:

NST, The Star

Allah knows best.

Friday, October 31, 2008

One of many

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful,

When using the expression "one of ... ", the verb used is singular because it refers to a single object from a group of objects.


One of the things that I learnt in school was there are just some people you can't stand.

One of the students insisted that I was wrong. It was funny because if I was* really wrong, why would only one student realise it? What about the others?

Observe the underlined verbs. The verbs used are singular while the subjects are plural subjects. As mentioned earlier, the verb is singular because when we use "one of ...", we are actually referring to a single subject and hence the singular verb.

See? I do update my blog.

Allah knows best.

*edited after comment by H

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Do or do not. Or don't.

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful,

Don't = do not

When do not is shortened into don't, the o in the not is substituted with an '.

Allah knows best.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Break fast

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful,

In this holy month of Ramadhan we get to have a few more minutes to ourselves in the morning because since we are fasting, we don't have breakfast. Instead, we break fast at the end of the day.

Break fast and breakfast?

Funny how those two seem alike. Come to think of it, breakfast is similar to break fast if you consider the hours in the night, in which we sleep and do not eat for I do not know of anyone that can eat while he or she is asleep, as fasting.

Curious with this revelation, I googled the internet to see whether the word 'breakfast' really originated from the phrase 'to break fast'.

And it seems that it does. At least, according to Oxford it does. Click here for link.

Enjoy Ramadhan everyone. I'm off to break fast now.

Allah knows best.

Monday, September 01, 2008


In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful,

I would like to wish my readers a pleasant Ramadhan.

Word of the day: fast

Meaning 1; adjective: at a high speed

Sorry, what was that? You spoke too fast.

Meaning 2; verb: to abstain oneself from eating and drinking

I won't be going for lunch today, I am fasting.

Allah knows best.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I won one won!

In the name of Allah, the most Gracious, the most Merciful,

Do you know how the word "won" is pronounced?

If pronounced in a way similar to that of the word "one", it becomes the past tense of the verb win.

If pronounced in a way similar to that of the word "worn" but without the "r", it becomes the currency for South Korea.

Now try saying "I won one won!". That should help you to remember the pronounciations of the word "won".

External links:

Pronounciation for won (past tense of win) at

Pronounciation for worn at

Allah knows best.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Key to the house near the quay

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful,

If Bahasa Malaysia is the national language of Malaysia, why do developers still use English names for their projects?

Behold, Sunway South Quay.

Word of the day:


According to
Noun - a landing place, esp. one of solid masonry, constructed along the edge of a body of water; wharf.

Quay is pronounced the same as key.

Allah knows best.

Saturday, May 17, 2008


In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful,

Sometime ago (This is a lie. This never happened. I'm making this up for this entry), during one of the trips to a factory of a prominent company over here, as a sign of goodwill from the host, they served us ham sandwiches and beer for lunch.

Me, being a Muslim, in no ways lamenting the fact that I could not indulge myself in those ham sandwiches, decided to go outside and enjoy the wonderful spring.

It was then, my colleague came up to me and asked me,

"You are not eating? We are having sandwich inside."
(This is another lie because they don't speak English over here)

"No, thank you. I am full." I spoke untruthfully to him.

"You are always full. Are you really full? Or are you just saying that because you don't like the food over here?"

I am always full? I didn't know how he came up with that conclusion since this was the first time I even talked to him. I never have had the chance to do it before.

"No seriously, I am full. The food here is actually interesting but seriously, there is not an inch left in here for that sandwich." Another untruth being told as I rubbed my tummy, attempting to indicate to him that I was full.

"Just a little bite wouldn't hurt, would it now? It's free after all. Here, I have an extra sandwich here." And he took the unappetisingly ham-filled sandwich from his plate and offered it to me.

I didn't want to offend him but it's ham! I don't eat ham. Well even if it was turkey ham I still would't eat it. Unlike some people who believe that when you are away from home it is permissible to eat meat which are not slaughtered in accordance to Islamic guidelines, I don't eat such meat. So I politely said to him,

"Thank you for the gesture but sorry, I don't eat pork. My religion forbids it." as I said that, I realised that I should have really told him straight away that I don't eat pork. Feigning that I was full wasn't really a good idea.

"Oh, really? So thats why you are not eating this sandwich?"

"Yes. Thanks for the offer though."

"Oh, interesting. So you have never had any pork in your life?"

"'No, I haven't."

Which is the grammatically proper reply as opposed to the more popular reply of 'No, I did not.'

The question asked for an action which started in the past and is still happening in the present so we use the perfect present tense (have + perfect form of verb) instead of the simple past tense.

For actions that happened in the past (started and ended in the past) , we use the simple past tense instead.

So if my colleague had asked me "You had pork yesterday?". I would answer "No, I did not." because the action being discussed was in the past (in this case: yesterday). In contrast, the question "Have you had pork in your life?" asked about an action which is referring to our life. We haven't ended our life yet, so we use the perfect present tense.


1. The simple past tense is used to describe an action which was done in the past.
2. The perfect present tense is used to describe an action which began in the past but is still happening in the present.
3. When dealing with cultural differences in our lives, explaining is better than lying.

Allah knows best

Friday, May 02, 2008

Flowers in a vase

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful,

Ahh... spring. The time when the days are finally longer, the weather is getting warmer, joggers are back on their tracks, friends gather to grill (though summer would be a better time for grilling because it often rains in spring), and most importantly, the flowers, the natural crowns of mother nature, are blooming majestically.

Now is the time when SLR connoisseurs, well-abled and even the less well-abled photographers amongst them, take out their macro lenses to take pictures of flowers with which they would later upload it on their flickr pages, with sense of pride and satisfaction, expecting people to drop comments, praising their ability to take great pictures.

One fine day in this lovely spring, accompanied by a friend who is an SLR connoisseur like the one described above, we were on our way to the halal butcher when my friend pointed to the bed of colourful flowers by the roadside. Another trivial conversation ensued.

"Those flowers would really look great in my room.", my friend started the conversation ominously.

"Flowers? In your room? You being metro?"

"What do you think? They would fit perfectly well in my room, wouldn't it?"

"Don't you already have enough photos of flowers in your room? Thank God there are no bees in your room."

"Those are pictures. Not real flowers. These are flowers, real flowers! Perfect in my room I tell you!"

"Oh eh? So should we go the florist next?"

"Why should we? We could just take these ones here."

"Maybe you could, but I wouldn't. Is it right to take these flowers?"

"Eh, why not? These are flowers. Gift of nature."

"Subhannallah. But these are planted by the city council. Surely the flowers are planted to beautify the city. We should leave it as it is."

"But taking a flower or two wouldn't hurt."

"Are you certain? If you take these flowers, you would be taking what is not rightfully yours. Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) forbade taking away what belongs to others without their permission.* Just like using the tram without a valid ticket, you are burdening others for the convenience that you are benefiting from. If is it not rightfully yours, should you take it?"

My friend paused for a while. Would he say that I was being pedantic? Or would he think that I was being uncool for not doing what is the norm but is essentially wrong?

But, all praise to Allah SWT, he concurred with me,

"Well, you got a point there. I never thought about it that way. Let us go the florist then. I could buy myself a vase as well. By the way, how do you pronounce vase?"

The conversation actually went on with me explaining the two different ways of pronouncing the word vase. Seeing that it is difficult for me to write here how I pronounced the word vase, here is a link where you can listen to the two different pronunciations of vase.


1. Vase can be pronounced in two different ways. Blame the Americans for the second pronunciation.
2. You can listen to the pronunciation here.
3. is a great site to learn the proper pronunciation of words.
4. People like to take macro pictures of flowers.

Allah knows best.

*Sahih Bukhari Volume 3, Book 43, Number 654:

Narrated 'Abdullah bin Yazid Al-Ansari:

The Prophet forbade robbery (taking away what belongs to others without their permission), and also forbade mutilation (or maiming) of bodies.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Pensive Keegan

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful,

In the live updates from BBC Sports today, Caroline Cheese described Keegan as looking pensive.

Pensive? Is it not an object that is used to keep memories? Or is that only in the world of Harry Potter?

Whenever in doubt, google.

From googling, I found out that pensive is an adjective and the object used to keep memories in the world of Harry Potter is not a pensive but rather, a pensieve.

According to

Pensive - adjective: expressing or revealing thoughtfulness, usually marked by some sadness

Allah knows best.

Friday, March 21, 2008


In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful,

Seriously, this came out of nowhere. There was this one time, during a 5-minute break in our lecture, my friend asked me this,

"Where are the nuts in doughnuts?"

Where indeed, I asked myself. Being happy that I have a friend who was willing to share this mystery of life with me, I decided to humour her,

"Are they really not made out of grounded nuts? That's why they are called doughnuts."

"Really? That doesn't explain the dough part though. Or is the dough in the word doughnut is actually a 'though' rather than a 'dough'? Then it would be 'though-nuts' and it still wouldn't make any sense. Surely there is an explanation to this."

"Surely there is and it ranks high up in my to-do list: Investigate the origin of the word doughnut."

And I thought that was the end of it. But the mystery of doughnuts shall not go unanswered to my friend.

"Wait wait wait. How do you spell doughnuts? D-O-U-G-H-N-U-T-S or D-O-N-U-T-S? It's the latter right? Thats how doughnuts is spelt right?"

"Dunkin Donuts perhaps. But there are two variations of spelling for doughnuts, one would be the one used by the Americans which is D-O-N-U-T-S and the other one is mostly used by the British and the commonwealth countries. Here in Malaysia, I think it is acceptable to use either one."

"But that still doesn't explain the nuts."

By then, I could not think of anything else to say to her and thank God, the break was over. The doughnut enigma was left unanswered.

Allah knows best.

Sunday, March 16, 2008


In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful,

Recent decisions by the sultans of Malaysia have won the affection of the rakyat and it serves as a reminder to us that the sultans of Malaysia are still important in the Malaysian political system.

Though you might think the that word affection, because it looks like affect + ion, is the noun form for the verb affect (which was covered in the previous entry), it is actually not. A quick check in a dictionary reveals that affection has a different meaning altogether from the verb affect.

affection - noun: fond attachment, devotion, or love:
abd's definition: a word used to describe a sense of liking to someone or something

God willing, may this discovery be beneficial (benefit + tial = benefiCial) to the betterment of our vocabulary.

Allah knows best.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

It's quite effective

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful,

How do you cure the common cold?

You don't. There is no cure for common cold. You might have come upon medications that claim to cure the common cold but meh, I don't think such medications would really have any effect on curing the cold. It might affect your wallet though. You might as well wait for your antibody to kick off and cure yourself.

Effect - Noun: a result or consequence
abd's definition: This is the noun to describe a result of an action

affect - Verb: to act on; produce an effect or change in
abd's definition: this is the word that you use when an effect is taking place. Affect is the verb form of effect.

So, let's take a look at this example:

How do you think the new government will affect our lives?
I don't think it will have any effect on me. I'm just being ignorant.


How do you think the new government will affect our lives?
I don't think it would affect me in anyway. I'm just being ignorant.

From these 2 answers to the same question, we could see that effect and affect are used to say the same thing but they are presented in two different styles. As to which one is better? Being an avid but incapable learner of the English language myself I think it's up to you to decide. Your writing, your style.

Allah knows best.

ps: Affection is a noun which has quite a different meaning from affect and effect. Affection shall be covered in the next entry which will be published hopefully sooner than later.
Disclaimer: I am neither an English native speaker nor a qualified English teacher.