Yearbook 04: March & Red.

     My answer differs every time I was asked what my favourite color is. The truth is my favourite color is red. I have met someone who said that his favourite color is vermillion. What color is vermillion anyway.

     One thing that I love to do in my spare time is listening to podcasts. I listen to Colt's excellent AOW, Sanderson's Writing Excuses and the amazing Good Job Brain almost weekly. Dan Carlin's Hardcore History is good too in small doses - his coverage of Genghis Khan is amazing.  
Good Job Brain's podcast on colors was an interesting listen and frankly the main inspiration for this month's yearbook entry.  Perception of color occurs when light hits a certain object, and depending on the object it will selectively block some colors whereas it will reflect others - the reflected ones being what we can see with our own naked eye.

     It is all very confusing really. Interestingly, there's a famous French painter named Claude Monet, whose able to see colors beyond what the human eyes can normally see. This happened after he had done surgery to remove the cataract in his right eye. The lens of his right eye was removed and he gained something akin to an ultraviolet vision.

     It was said that blue looks bluer to him, orange looks oranger and so on. The color of his paintings after the operation looks quite bizarre to be honest. That is Monet and his perception of colors.

     Sometimes we also perceive things, colors I mean -  differently after we gain more knowledge. Do you know there's real color named Islamic Green? Rose is more purple than red? They use a substance called Nigrosin to create black colored inks and dyes for clothes because pure black is hard to be replicated? Perception and knowledge goes hand in hand.

     And now I know vermillion is a shade of red you smart aleck.

March & Red - 3

This cute little backyard is called Neal's Yard, situated somewhere in Covent Garden, London. The pastel colors used on the walls are a sight to behold.

Neal's Yard.

The walls are painted with pastel colors. Pastel colors are usually low in saturation giving it a natural milky and tranquil look. To describe pastel color best, imagine adding any color with white.

March & Red - 8

This burgundy colored food container caught my eye. The salad too, has a nice combination of color to it. Lime + chartreuse + lime green. Taken at Johnny's Restaurant, somewhere in Johor Bharu. My sister loves this place.

March & Red - 5

I love learning and knowing the names of all these different colors. They sound unique and very romantic if I may say so myself. This wallet for example, is colored bistre.

March & Red - 6

This ABC must not taste as nice as it was if it wasn't this colorful. Taken somewhere in Pintu Geng, Kota Bharu, Kelantan. Most probably the best ABC I ever had. The ice cream's color is a shade of purple called muave.

March & Red - 7

This Kampfer Amazing wouldn't look amazing if it wasn't painted ultramarine. In the anime though, its color was more towards midnight blue.

Speaking of blue, those blue skies that we often can see during the summer is colored Azure. Azure is also the national color of Italy.

Kelantan lawan sabah FA cup 2014

A cluster of Red Warriors watching a football game. Kelantan won 2-1 against Sabah when this photo was taken.

March & Red - 2

The iconic red bus of London. Taken when I had a nice evening walk on Tower Bridge.

March & Red - 1

A red bus stopping due to the traffic light being red, nearby a red telephone booth, with a girl in red taking a picture of it. 


Inspirations, passions & motivations.
1. The theme for this entry is percepetion of things. To be honest there's no hidden meaning at all with the title name March & Red. I was originally going the call the entry "Colors" but it just doesn't fit all the other yearbook titles that I had written so far.
2. My most listened song this month is by a band named RED, titled Pieces. It is a very slow song but I donno, the song just clicks with me somehow.
3.  Speaking of red, I must've replayed that Taylor Swift's a couple dozens of time. Many agree that All Too Well is one of her most best song ever.
4. I finished watching the documentary Class of 92 last week. I've got to say from the documentary, David Beckham is the most charming and friendly and hardworking and lovable and romantic and elegant and classy guy ever. And Paul Scholes accent is near indecipherable.
5. Naruto's new development seems to borrow heavily from The Tale of Princess Kaguya.
6. The London travelogue is being written slowly and with care. I've got more than 4000 pictures from the trip and I've got a hard time choosing which ones to show.

Rich mosque, poor mosque.

When I was little, I love to gaze at buildings - finished or otherwise. Abah oftentimes would bring me to nearby construction sites to see the trucks, bulldozers and excavators do their own thing. I was obsessed with these sort of things that my parents thought that I would be an architect growing up.

Live oftentimes take a different course of course, but even till now, I just love looking at buildings just to see their architecture, design and frame work.

Now a mosque is one structure that has so much variety in design that I can't help but take pictures of it every now and then. But that begs the question, how are these buildings managed? How come some mosques be crowded whilst others deserted? Many more questions come to mind but one thing is for sure - people simply do not know what the place really is.

Rich Mosque, poor mosque - 19

This was taken inside the Steel Mosque in Putrajaya. I have to say that this is one of the most beautiful mosque in the world.

Another one which amazed me was Shah Alam's mosque. I was surprised at how big this place really is. Infact calling it big is an understatement. The place is massive. It can hold up to 24,000 people at a time in its enormous prayer hall.


These impressive mosques are symbols, not to boast - but to illustrate and establish that Islam is in fact the country's main religion.

Rich Mosque, poor mosque - 14

But the mosque is a very enigmatic place when you think about it. In Malaysia atleast. Outside from being a place of worship, what else is there to do? Is there any reason to go there at all? 

For such a serene and calmful place it is quite an intimidating place to enter, which is oxymoronic.

Rich Mosque, poor mosque - 21

In a way it is also ironic because we have such romantic expectations for the place as well. 

Tingkat 21

There are too many variables and scenarios that we have to factor to.

Rich Mosque, poor mosque - 16

The mosque near my place in Johor Bharu for example, can be considered one that is well managed enough that it can support itself. Income wise they are stable enough to start their own businesses which includes a grocery shop, locker services, their own dialysis centre among others.

Rich Mosque, poor mosque - 17

From my limited observation there are more than 300 people performing Subuh prayer there everyday. Of course it doesn't cover even 1/20th of the mosque's capaciy but you know what, that is still an impressive number of people.

Rich Mosque, poor mosque - 08

But sadly not many mosques are brilliantly managed like that. And some even with a brilliant management team, cannot do well enough simple because they lack the resources needed.

Rich Mosque, poor mosque - 09

Take this mosque for example. I stopped by here when I was on my way to Besut. It was Friday.

Rich Mosque, poor mosque - 12

Transparencies like this is very refreshing to see because every donator has the right to know where their money are being spent on. I'm hoping more mosques would follow suit with this.

Rich Mosque, poor mosque - 11

Inside the mosque. Filled with locals, and several dozens foreign workers. The mosque looks very nice, very clean, well managed and you know as soon as you entered it that the place is a hub for the villagers.

kolah Air1

After the prayer I went to the toilet and sadly, out of I think 6 toilets there, only 1 was usable. The toilet was clean,  but there were broken pipes, disfigured doors etc that need to be repaired.

Rich Mosque, poor mosque - 13

Another glance at the notice board and you know that it is not because the mosque's management doesn't want to repair it - they simply don't have the money for it. Look at the picture and you can see on average, they collect about RM1000 a month. 

Take into consideration that they need to pay the bills and other various things, and there must not be much money left to spent. 

Masjid Penarik 1

The mosque near my place as a comparison, can get donations up to RM4000 per week. Add that with their business branches and they can get more than RM20,000  a month. 

You can see for yourself just how active the mosque is. The surplus in money can be used to call guest speakers regularly to attract the locals. As much as we hate to admit it, money does play a huge role.

High Building London.

Eleven thousand kilometres away from Terengganu and the weather was chilly. The city is surrounded by huge and modern buildings.

High Building London 2.

London is a city with the highest amount of millionaire per population. It is followed by Tokyo and Singapore.

Autumn London

This huge opportunity attracts people all over the world from all walks of life. And in circumstances like these, the mosque is the natural hub that Muslims should look for if they were to settle down here.

The Walkway.1

The park was filled with people from all walks of life. Some are having a picnic, some are reading newspapers, many are jogging.

Rich Mosque, poor mosque - 05

Near the park is a mosque, the largest one in London in fact. It can hold up to 5000 people at a time.

Rich Mosque, poor mosque - 06

The name of the place is Regent Mosque. Construction cost of this mosque is 6.5 million pound. Amazing isn't it?

London Mosque

It is not only used for prayers, but there's also a library, conference halls, amongst others to accommodate local Muslims. Surely the mosque has a solid financil security to realise all these. 

The mosque was not yet opened when I got here, so unfortunately I missed the opportunity to go inside.

Shop near London Mosque 2

You can expect to see various Muslim related shops nearby as well. 

Shop near London Mosque 1

I bought 2 whole chicken and 2 kilos of rice here if memory serves me correctly.

Rich Mosque, poor mosque - 02

But of course like the scenario before, there are also small and humble mosques to be considered. Like this one at Gants Hill for example. Do note that they call it a masjid, not a mosque.

Masjid Gants Hill 2

The place is very small, but it was filled with people every single time I was here. Not just middle aged men, but the younger ones as well.

There's one thing that my father said that stuck out to me. To paraphrase it, he said no matter how we view the arabs, one good thing about them is they know how to develop and flourish the muslim community. They do not sit still and be silent about it. This is something that I think we should take note of.

Masjid Gants Hill 1

You can see here that there are classes arranged everyday - from fiqh to arabic courses to reading the Quran and Hadiths.

Rich Mosque, poor mosque - 03

Honestly I think we should try to somehow and someway contribute to our local mosques. And try to develop a sense of dedication to it. After all how can we love something that we don't even know?

Inspirations, passions & motivations.
1. It is nice to have all my roommates back. I think everyone in the house realises that this will be our last year together so there's an increasing amount of activity that we do together. I love it.
2. I had been wanting to write this topic since last year. The inspiration came when I had a talk with my father when I asked him "where does the money from the surau goes to?" He explained that it was used to pay the muezzin, the bills, the invited speakers, etc - something that should be obvious but did not occur to me before. And that made me realise how every mosque are managed and being attended by different types of people so I think that it is an interesting topic to write about.
3. Aren't We All Running by 65daysofstatic is an instrumental that everyone should hear.
4. Have a listen to Guide Me All The Way. Maher Zain's best song in my opinion.
5. I'll start my London travelogue next. There will be many and I mean many pictures in the upcoming entries. 


I was in Central London a couple of months ago. It was a one week trip with my family. Taking an Underground tube to travel from Easton to Blackfriars, Camden, Oxford Street and so forth had me notice a defining characteristic of fellow Londoners, they like to me left alone. London was never silent, but everyone there seems to seek solitude.

Though humans are social creatures, I guess solitude is a way of escapism for some.

Solitude - 1

Heathrow Airport, London, a couple of hours before my scheduled flight to Egypt. I took the last train to get here and it was near midnight. Such a contrast from its busy backdrops during daylight. 

But the place was not silent. There were tiny sounds all adding up - Mechanical drills, vehicle engines, footsteps of construction foremen repairing things, the wind blowing out from air conditioners. It was an amalgam of random things but somehow it sounded right.

Solitude - 4

There was that one time me and my sister took the last scheduled train to KLCC. She arrived late from Johor Bharu and my parents won't let her take a train alone. So I took a train alone to fetch her.

There can't be more than 10 people inside the train. It was eerie. But again, never silent.

Empty KL - 3

She was supposed to arrive by 8 0'clock but by reasons that escaped me she arrived late. So I took a train to fetch her and there can't be more than 10 people inside it.  All of them looked tired, perhaps due to overtime.

Empty KL - 4

It was the last train, and we saw people cleaning the platforms. They were hard at work. Scrubbing and washing the windows.

This was when everybody was fast asleep.

Solitude - 5

The road was empty, but it wasn't silent. I've never noticed it before but everytime the traffic light changes from red to green there'll be a slight sound notifying it. But it might just all be in my head. A taxi passes by.

Solitude - 3

Inside the taxi, confined in a small space like that, conversation feels so right. The driver worked late almost everyday to support his family.

Holiday must be precious for him.

Solitude - 7

The world keeps spinning, but somehow someway, there's always something coming along the way. Nothing ever stand still.

And nothing ever sit still either.

Solitude Part 3

The world isn't simply black or white. And I could argue that perhaps grey should be everyone's favourite color.

Solitude - 2

Because grey is not a middle ground - it is simply a bridge between two colors. A bridge where we struggle even to cross.

Inspirations, passions & motivations. 
1. To be honest this post is a scribble of random things. It was originally gonna be titled "Solitude" where I talk about Londoners and their love of well, solitude that is being left alone.  But eventually I kind of struggled to get my points across and it went nowhere I guess I'm far from being a good writer yet.
2. So yesterday I stumbled upon a video of Schrodinger's Cat and the theory inspired me to write this entry. I had read the theory before of course but this time I saw it in a different light. But how such theory became an inspiration for this entry I had no idea. 
3. Hush is the name of Batman's adversary in one of his comics. I thought it was a cool name so I chose it as this entry's title.
4. This entry is about, I guess a perspective of how there's not one blank face in this world. Everyone has their own story, history, family, and quality that can touch you in different ways.  
5. I have been listening to this instrumental a lot. It is really good. I have been a big fan of Shoji Meguro eversince I heard Divine Identity a couple of years ago. Great game too.
6. I have a crush on Fujifilm XT-1
7. I'm dying to read The Abominable by Dan Simmons. Simmons is a very unique writer, he is able to write an interesting and intriguing world and relatable characters but most of the time the third act of his novel falls flat. See the Ilium/Olympos duology. Ilium was amazing but man the sequel Olympus was trash and insulting. I heard that Drood is like that as well, amazing first and second act but falls apart during the third. But do read Hyperion and Fall of Hyperion, both are the best that sci-fi has to offer. 

Angkor Wat - The Heart of Cambodia.

Climbing and going down the stairs of Angkor Wat is a scary experience.  I honestly think I cannot do this place justice with my writeup and pictures. Angkor Wat simply has to be seen by your own naked eyes to be fully appreciated.


It was cloudy when I was here, and it looked like it could be raining anytime soon.  It costs 20 USD for a full day entry, and they'll take a photo of you and print it out on the ticket so you can't cheat.

Local Khmers are free to enter as they wish.

Angkor Wat - 02

The perfect time of the day to photoshoot in open spaces like this is early in the morning between 8 AM - 9 AM, before the whole area is covered with direct sunlight. The sky should look azure blue if photos were taken during that time. Take it later than that then the sky would look white like what you can see here.

Sadly I arrived here by noon so the photos doesn't turn out great.

Climbing Angkor Wat1

Angkor Wat was built more than a thousand years ago and it is amazing how well it has stood the test of time.

Angkor Wat - 01

The building itself is considered to be the heart of Cambodia, so much that a picture of the temple itself is present on its national flag.

Around Siem Riep - 06

The night before, I was strolling around in the city of Siem Riep with Eryshad and a Khmer friend named Kariya. Kariya is a tour guide here so be sure to contact him for his service. I highly recommend it.

He took me to Siem Riep's famous night market.

Around Siem Riep - 05

I did not shop much, but the items here are very cheap if you know how to bargain.


With the help of Ersyad I'm able to buy a couple of souvenirs at a very cheap price. So far I had only spent 80 USD on food, hotel, transport and now souvenirs.

Around Siem Riep - 01

Then, we had a very nice meal somewhere along the river. On the way here, we passed by a market which was fully lighted by lamplights. It was bizarre because it looks like a very blackmarket like car boot sale.

Around Siem Riep - 03

I had a nice steamboat-like meal. I also ordered grilled beef which was by far the greatest meat based food that I had ever eaten. No steak that I had before ever comes close to it. Sadly I didn' take any picture of it but it was so delicious.


Kariya's Malay was very good. He talked about his upbringings, his family and his future plans. Turns out he comes from Tropeungchuk, the village that I had visited earlier.

  Around Siem Riep - 02

Kariya said that this is one of his favourite spot to eat.

Around Siem Riep - 04

It was raining when we went home. We travelled by Kariya's tuk-tuk.

Around Siem Riep - 07

He booked this hotel for 12 dollars. 2 queen sized beds, free WiFi and hot shower included. No airconds but I don't think you'll need one.

Sleeping with the sound of rain pouring down is perfection.

Around Siem Riep - 10

The next day, we had breakfast and lunch nearby.Well not exactly nearby since it took a 5 minute tuk-tuk ride to get there.


We had chicken rice for breakfast. The stall is situated just next to Siem Riep's mosque. Kariya's house is nearby as well.


The for lunch a few hours after we visited this restaurant.

  Around Siem Riep - 11

We chose this. It is expensive but I had loads of money left so why not.

Around Siem Riep - 12

It was nice. I'd like to have this again if I was given the chance. The Khmers has a knack for these chankonabe like food. Chankonabe are meals that Japanese sumo wrestlers regularly eat to bulk up.

It tastes better than the very similar food that we had the day before. But nothing can touch the deliciousness of the grilled beef that I had yesterday - nothing.

Around Siem Riep - 09

The rain from the day before shows its affect.

Around Siem Riep - 08

Off we go.

Angkor Wat - 32

This is Angkor Wat. The place is not small. It is built upon a body of water and spans more than 500 acres. That is the size of more than 250 football fields packed side by side.

Angkor Wat - 09

Basically the temple is floating, like a ship on a swamp. How the engineers back then manage to get around the intricacies of building such a complex structure is beyond my comprehension. Watching documentaries on how this was made really blew my mind.

Angkor Wat - 15

This building and the structures surrounding it is the brainchild of an autocratic king named Suryavarman the Second. People at that time considered him as a demigod. His rule spanned across present day Thailand to Laos and even to Peninsular Malaysia.

Now Suryavarman considers Vishnu to be his patron. Vishnu is of course the Hindu God of War and he built this temple as a symbol of dedication to Vishnu.

Angkor Wat - 31

It was theorised that the temple was built in 30 years. A monumentally short time to built compared to other prestigious monuments in the world which took 100-200 years to complete. This temple is unique in that though originally built as a Hindu temple, it was converted to a Buddhist temple later on.

Angkor Wat - 07

Sadly the king isn't able to see his full vision brought to life because he died before the temple was fully finished. There are many signs that lead to this belief such as unfinished carvings, unused stones and an overall lack of finish in some areas.

But still it is an engineering masterpiece.

Angkor Wat - 04

Other buildings at that time uses wood. But the king thinks that wood will perish overtime and also can be burned. So he chose to built the temple by something that can last an eternity - by stone.

Angkor Wat - 05

Tonle Sap River plays a huge role in transportation of materials, in addition to being the backbone of the local's fishing and rice paddy industry. It was as important to the locals back then as it is now. The abundance of water in the river and the complex  irrigation system following it allows the local to harvest rice twice or even thrice a year.

Just as the Nile is to the Ancient Egyptians, the role of Tonle Sap plays the same to the Khmers.

Angkor Wat - 08

The precision of all these stones are amazing. All in perfect alignment. What makes it the more impressive is that no water or cement are used. It is basically stone on top of a stone.

Angkor Wat - 14

To create the arch in corridors - they use a building technique called corbelling. This is where blocks of stones are stacked upon each other to create an arch.

So impressive.


Again a sampe of the corbelling technique used and see how the stones are stacked on each other - like Lego.

Angkor Wat - 18

One of the many, many, many carvings in the temple. Whilst it still looks awe inspiring today, in the olden days, the carvings were covered with gold.

Angkor Wat - 13

The carvings alone took more than 20 years out of the 30 years of construction time.

Angkor Wat - 06

This place is one of those things where the more you read about it, the more impressive it seems to be.

Angkor Wat - 10

This place is a tourist hotbed. You can get a photo riding this horse for a couple of dollars. There are also local Khmer photographers here that will charge you a dollar for a photo.

Angkor Wat - 11

Souvenirs are also aplenty, but I was told that the price here is highly inflated.

Angkor Wat - 12

These paintings look nice.

Rehat di Angkor Wat - 3

There were many chairs along the walkway where we can rest our feet. I ordered a coconut to quench my thirst.

Rehat di Angkor Wat - 2

This lady is selling scarfs, travelling books amongs other things. I was annoyed with her constant flickering and the like, but looking back can't say that I blamed her - she's only doing her job after all.

Rehat di Angkor Wat - 4

I wonder what this old lady is selling.

Angkor Wat - 16

Moving on. Now this is one of five towers of Angkor Wat. You know, the whole design of Angkor Wat itself mirrors Mount Meru, a mountain holy to Hinduism. It is a mountain with a high peak with 4 other lower mountains around it.

Angkor Wat - 19

The towers are once the most sacred part of the temple. It was only allowed to be entered by the king and the highest of priest. The stairs to the tower are on of the steepest in the world.

Thankfully they have built a more modern one on top of it.

Angkor Wat - Climbing the stairs1

But still, the experience of climbing this is - let's just say the less said about it the better. Climbing down was even worse.

Angkor Wat - 22

The logic in building these stairs the way it was are because they also acted as weightbeares to make sure the tower doesn't collapse.

Angkor Wat - 23

Stumbled upon another Fujifilm camera user here. He was using an XE-1. He looked at my Fuji X100 and gave a slight nod. I did the same.

Angkor Wat - 28

The place as a whole was built using a stone called laterite. A stone temperable when becomes very hard when it hardens. But laterite is not beautiful, it hard holes and does not look majestic. It needs to be covered by real stones to carve and create a monolith.

So the Khmers covered these laterites with sandstones.

Angkor Wat - 24

The roof also uses sandstones.


As you can see modern restorations are being done to preserve these structures.

Angkor Wat - 26

The Angkor Wat is estimated to be visited by 2 million visitors per yer.  More than half of tourists that visited Siem Riep will come here.

So imagine how important this place is to Cambodia's tourism industry.

Angkor Wat - 29

Man this takes me back.

Angkor Wat - 30

I can't imagine how people in the olden days climb these stairs much less go down these.

Angkor Wat - 25

To be honest, I'm a little bit bummed that I didn't hire a personal tourist guide to tell me all of these details during my trip here. I imagined I would be more appreciative of this place if that were the case.

To know the stories behind the carvings of an event called The Churning of An Ocean of Milk, The Battle of Lanka and Kurukshetra on the spot must make the whole experience much more complete.

Angkor Wat - 27

But I know that I'll visit this place again, I know so.

And with that, my Cambodia travelogue comes to an end. I'll be doing a travelogue on London next so be sure to check that out.

1. Phom Penh Part 1 
2. Phnom Penh Part 2 
3. Tropeungchuk, Kampong Thom - 40 years back to the past. 
4. The Unfinished Mosque 
5. Angkor Wat - The heart of Cambodia.

Inspirations, passions & motivations.
1. National Geographic's Ancient Megastructures documentary of Angkor Wat helps me alot in this entry. I recommend watching the documentary of you have the time.
2. My Ghibli binge continues. Do watch The Borrower Arrietty. The amount of imagination in this movie is staggering. The ending is especially heart warming where you realise that some things are just a fragment in our short life. I highly enjoyed From Up On Poppy Hill too. A really nice period piece which was enchanted by delicate renderings of a bygone but not entirely forgotten era in Japan. Both these movies were directed by Ghibli's younger generation talents.
3. I'm addicted to Pokemon X. The best Pokemon game so far although the post game content is very weak. But the online features more than make up for it. Bullet Punch Scizor is a beast. And Speed Boost Blaziken too.
4. Exam is coming up in 3 weeks and then the very last semester will start. I honestly can't believe it.