Friday, June 28, 2013

Showdown The Movie: It's On!

Indeed, production has begun on my 2nd screenplay, "Showdown The Movie" (working title)! But with a new job and everything, it wasn't until last week that I got to finally visit the set to meet the cast and crew, most of whom I first got to know during the production of "Mamak Cupcake".

But as you can see from the pic above, things are looking great. I really get a rush every time looking at real time updates via the director Khai's own Instagram account or through GB's fb page.

And I heard more great things about how things are turning out as well as the awesome choreography in the hands of Pat Ibrahim. In fact, some of the cast members were telling me how they were really looking forward to watching the film... after five days of shooting. Hehe.

This week, the guys have been shooting in Penang, the location of the film's first few scenes.

In case  you didn't know, the film stars Reza Hasbi (of "Pilih Kasih") in the lead role, Izara Aishah, Iedilputra, Azad Jasmin, Maria Farida, Ammar Alfian, Ben Ladin and the who's who of the BBoy world like Zero Havoc,  Juon, Khef and many more!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Winter Holiday 2012

A good six months later, I'm finally putting up this "lost" post. Sorry!

Happy New Year peeps! But before we start to chug along on the 2013 highway, allow me to rewind a couple of weeks back and talk about our recent holiday in London and Paris. Yeah, yeah, it probably sounds like the same sojourn as last year's, but it's really not. So, here are some of the neat highlights:

Tia had saved all her Raya money just to shop here. And I must say she got hold of some pretty cool stuff!

Coffee @ Galeries Lafayette
We got to one of its cafes and when I looked at the menu and prices, I thought; "How good could these expensive eclairs be?" Turned out, we tasted the most delicious eclair ever. And I really mean, EVER.

It's my third straight year being really up close to this magnificent structure and the magic has yet to be lost on me.

Yup, was here back in September, but I just had to take the fam out on a train ride to this University city. The weather was lovely, and we had a pretty perfect day too, just walking the streets, visiting the shops and getting inspired by the, um, intellectual surroundings.

Madame Tussauds
2005 was the last time I set foot here, and guess what? Somehow, the thrill of seeing fake famous people has yet to wear off!

The Markets!
We hit the big ones; Covent Garden, Portobello and Camden. Win!

Winter Festival
We didn't have enough time to explore Winter Wonderland yet again at Hyde Park, but we did stop by here at the Royal Festival Hall. Chestnuts, nice music playing over the speakers, marvelous lights.... Oh, what a night, it was!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Umrah 2013: Under The Makkah Sun

My journey, together with more than a other hundred Media Prima colleagues, started on the morning of April 30th, 2013. Wearing one piece of the ihram cloth as I made my way to the airport, I felt a sense of excitement, relief and understandable apprehension. This particular trip was first postponed when a number of single ladies under 45 couldn't make it due to the strict enforcement of the that particular rule. Then, when the General Election date was announced, a few more of us (especially from NST), had to drop out due to work commitments.

But for me, the niat had always been to make the trip this year; no ifs or buts. And the feeling of "apprehension"? Well, it was more of my own level of confidence in carrying out all the duties while performing the Umrah. Of course I wanted everything to be perfect, and the thought of disappointing Allah Himself was something I couldn't really shake off.

The flight to Jeddah itself was a smooth and comfortable one. And we didn't even have to wait that long at the arrival hall before we made it through the immigration checkpoints. Then we got on to the bus and headed for the holy city of Makkah.

It was a feeling of wonderment and great anticipation. There was no time to admire the sights though as the mutawif led us in the "talbiyah", reciting doa and verses of the Quran as we approached our destination. The journey had truly begun...

We reached the hotel after Isyak, and after a quick dinner and short rest, we began our walk towards Masjidil Haram. Only 6-7mins from the hotel, the sight of the Grand Mosque totally blew me away; not only because of its sheer beauty and magnificence, but also the realization that we had been invited by Allah and there was no greater blessing than that.

As we entered the mosque, my heart was pounding and tears were about to flow, knowing that we were getting closer and closer to the Kaabah. And as I finally laid my eyes on the Sacred House, I felt a string of emotions that mere words can't possibly do justice. I felt the closest as I had ever been to the Almighty, and as we started our "tawaf", I must admit it was tough trying to calm my heart down whilst reciting our doas and keeping count of the rounds.

Upon completion of the tawaf, we performed the solat sunat behind Prophet Ibrahim's "makam" and raised our hands in doa towards the Kaabah. This proved to be one of my favourite spots as for the next seven days, I was fortunate enough to seek forgiveness from Allah and poured out everything that's in my heart.

After the tawaf, we proceeded to perform the Saie. I must say that despite being in good physical condition, the Saie was no walk in the park. Still overwhelmed with raw emotion, and after a journey of more than 13 hours from home, the last few rounds of the Saie proved to be physically challenging.
But Alhamdulillah, we completed it and after performing the tahlul, we had completed our first round of Umrah.

I can't possibly share every moment, every feeling, every awakening that I experienced, but I can say that those seven days were the most special and most meaningful ever in my life. (Of course this would later extend to 10 days with the inclusion of Madinah)

Seven days of worship and enlightenment. Of spiritual fulfilment and submission. It was beyond everything I had expected and dreamed of.

The days were hot then, but it was when the conditions were the toughest that I felt the most fulfilling. That the word "submission" was given its full meaning.

And the miracles I experienced, I can't thank Allah enough. The first of which happened on the 2nd day we were there. I was performing my tawaf sunat in the morning when during my 2nd pass of the Hajar Aswad, I saw a woman who looked exactly like my late mother. She was walking towards another person and she was smiling. I almost called out to her, but stopped myself as I reminded myself that my beloved mother was no longer here. But I felt a sense of peace in my heart, a feeling of "rindu terubat", upon seeing her. For seven years, I had only "seen" her in my dreams and doa, but Allah wanted me to see "her" in the flesh. What a moment that was.

As with other Umrah trips, we were also taken to see some very important sights to remind us of and understand deeper the struggles and successes of our beloved Prophet Muhammad, as well as the history of Makkah and the Kaabah.

Modern Makkah is also a city of marvels, with the Clock Tower standing gloriously opposite Masjidil Haram.

It was really sad when our seven days were up, but the memories will forever live in our hearts and minds. And yes, it was nothing short of life-changing...


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