Wednesday, 27 October 2010

In Response to An Anonymous Comment...

A few minutes ago I checked my email and found that I had a comment from an Anonymous reader. Normally I love getting comments. They make me feel warm and fuzzy inside. But this person actually made me feel slightly annoyed. Mainly irritated. I was going to reply to him as a comment but instead decided to reply as a full on post because this reply says a lot about my views, and I would like to share them with everyone.

Anonymous wrote: It makes me feel sick when Asians associate themselves with Islam. You don't speak or understand Arabic, you don't understand the Quran, you don't actually know anything about Islam. You seem completely westernised and corrupted. It makes me feel sick.

My response:
Hi Anonymous
Firstly, thank you for posting a comment. I can assume that you're not the Anonymous who has posted before because no one has ever gotten that annoyed with me on the blog. But I'm going to be civil, in keeping with the previous post which, I have to say, you seemed to have missed the point of completely. Peace and unity. Understanding other people, their cultures, their views. Just saying.
In relation to what you actually said - different people have different views on religion. Some of them are very religious. Others not. People interpret religion in different ways. Look at the different sects you get of all the major religions. I like to think that I am very religious person. I may not understand or speak Arabic, I may read it like a three year old but I understand Islam and that is what is important. Islam means peace. Islam is a religion of understanding. I can get that from an English translation of the Qur’an. I don’t need to understand Arabic to understand the teachings of the Prophet (peace be upon him). Your post wasn’t very Islamic because if you are a true Muslim you respect other people’s views and understand that not everyone thinks the way you do. It is possible to be both a "western" and a Muslim. I am a British Asian. I am a British Muslim. And I'm proud of it.
You don't know that much about me. Actually, you don't know anything about me. So in the future I would appreciate it if you didn't use this blog as a means at shouting at the world, which is, essentially what you're doing. You are stereotyping. You are also being very rude. And that makes me feel sick.
I published your comment because I believe that people’s opinions should be heard. I am also a strong follower of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states in Section 18 that “You have the right to profess your religion freely, to change it, and to practise it either on your own or with other people.” It also says in Section 19 that “You have the right to think what you want, to say what you like, and nobody should forbid you from doing so. You should be able to share your ideas”. That is why I published your comment. It is also why I wrote this reply.
Please don't be rude on my blog again.
Thank you

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Global Peace and Unity...

Last weekend I went to the Global Peace and Unity Conference in London. The GPU is one of those things that I’ve heard of and have known about but I’ve never been. I’ve never even thought of going. We don’t do that, in our family. You know, go to conferences, or lectures, or events. But my uncle goes almost every single year and a few months ago (on the day I moved down to Brum, actually) he rang and reminded Mum that she had expressed in an interest in it a while back and did we want to go?
Well yes, we did want to go but couldn’t really swing it at the moment. But somehow, using his excellent and at times scary skills of persuasion, my uncle persuaded us. It would be an investment in our future. And to be honest, I was really looking forward to it. Global peace and unity is one of those things I shout at the TV screen about. I think the only way to end the bombings and the fighting is for people to have a greater understanding of other religions and cultures. For people to discuss their problems. For there to be a mass global movement that opposes war and thinks that talking is the way forward. I’ve become very opinionated in the last few years (it drives my mum crazy!) and it seemed like this was right up my street (if people even say that anymore).
So on Friday night Mum and brother came down to Brum and stayed the night. Thankfully we’ve become a family of ear plug users so the huge house party next door didn’t affect them (thank goodness – honestly, if one bad thing had happened in Brum to do with the house Mum would have worried about it for the rest of the year). Then on Saturday we started the drive to London, stopping off at Watford Gap services to meet up with my uncle and his family.
I was really excited. This was going to be great. Not only was it a weekend where I could see my family (for the first time since term started) but it was a weekend of peace and unity and Islam and hotels and it was LONDON BABY (this has to be said in an American accent like Joey does in Friends).
But the first day wasn’t great. There was one hall full of stalls and a conference room. We stayed in the stall room where we proceeded to lose everyone almost immediately. And it was busy. Couldn’t-see-the-stalls-properly busy. And my brother kept moaning. And my grandma was ill back at home. And for some inexplicable reason I had a bit of a breakdown that my brother and cousin saw that involved me sitting on the floor crying.
Don’t ask me why. I honestly don’t know.
We didn’t manage to make it to the conference room till that evening. We just spent all day walking around, trying to get freebies, trying not to lose people, (trying not to cry) and eating really good cookies and cream ice-cream (which I would pay for on Sunday!). But eventually we got to the conference room and that’s when it all became extremely overwhelming.
To understand you have to understand my family. I’ve grown up in a very White, lower class, ex-mining town. I was the only Asian at my primary school till about year 4. The BNP are loved where I’m from (although not enough thank goodness; they were still 4th in the last election). My friends growing up were white. High school was better. It had a huge catchment area so I grew up surrounded my people of different beliefs and different religions. If I could do that again I would – it’s what fuels my people-understanding-different-religions rant from earlier. I love that I know loads of different people from loads of different backgrounds. I love how I know little tidbits of information about different religions and different countries. I especially love how I have at least one friend from each of the major world religions and some less major ones.
I’ve never felt particularly deprived due to the fact we didn’t have a strong Islamic/Asian community. The only other Asians we saw were family, or family friends or at weddings. But I never felt like we weren’t seeing enough of them. That was my life. I thought I had the balance pretty well sorted.
Then we were sitting in the hall surrounded by Muslims from all over the world and there was a nasheed artist on stage (Zain Bhikha) and everyone was cheering. Apparently he’s famous. I’ve never heard of him before. My mum, brother and I kept looking at each other quizzically. That kept happening. More cheers, screaming girls and quizzical looks. Then Sound of Reason came on. Apparently also very famous. And they were great! I loved them. I want their CD. But through it all I was just laughing because it was so overwhelming and I felt so cut off from this world that’s meant to be my world.
Does that make sense? Does anyone else feel that?
Sunday was better but still not enough talks or peace and unity and still too many stalls.
The same thing happens when I’m with ISOC. They’ll talk about these people, about things they’ve seen on Peace TV or the Islam channel and I just sit there and smile and feel ignorant of the world. I bet Friday’s the same – I’m going to the Stranger’s tour at the uni. At least I’ve heard of Baba Ali.
It was odd. But it’s like I don’t belong in this world, this English world because I’m Asian. But apparently I don’t fit into the Asian world either. Like I said, I thought I had the balance just right. Turns out I was wrong.


Wednesday, 20 October 2010

National Novel Writing Month...

I know I said I would write about the Feel Bright campaign and I will. Soon. But at the moment I'm actually buzzing because I just found out about the National Novel Writing Month and I wanted to jump up and down and tell people about it.

I was reading a fanfic online (laugh all you want, I don't care!) when I saw an author profile where he talked about taking part in the NaNoWriMo. So I googled it. Turns out there's this site where you aim to write a whole 50,000 word novel in a month. November. Ten days from now. You have from 12:01 on the 1st to 23:59 on the 30th. Apparently it's "thirty days and nights of literary abandon".

And I couldn't stop smiling. So I signed up and filled in my "Author Profile" (hehe, I'm an author :) ) and somehow committed myself to at least attempting to write a novel in a month. I'm trying to ignore the fact that I have two tests and a visit home during November. I'm also ignoring the fact that I don't have a novel plan. I have an idea, one that's been stewing since April last year when I was meant to be revising for my exams. Actually, thinking about it, I have three ideas. Now all I have to do is pick one, write a rough outline and try and find time to write a novel whilst trying to get through my medical degree. But hey, it's only a month. And I don't seem to sleep anymore anyway. And I need this. Need this. I need some creativity in my science-full life.

And it doesn't matter if I don't do it. If you write over 50,000 words you "win" ie you get a certificate and the joy of knowing that you did it. But I don't need to do it. I just need something to concentrate on. Something to try. Something literary. Something that can make me smile and fill me with the kind of joy I experienced when I saw the website. So let's go for it and see how far I can get.

(There's also a ScriptFrenzy in April but I need to revise during April so maybe I'll wait till I've qualified for that one).

And now I really have to go write up histology notes for tomorrow. Wish me luck (for both things :D )

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

The Mystery of the Broken Flush...

This is a bit of a rant-y post so feel free not to read.

So I was going to come home from my very long day and blog about the Feel Bright campaign which is running at the medical school. I was going to tell you how brilliant and worthwhile it is and about how I had an amazing day and met loads of new people and about how things are finally starting to look up.

Then I came home, watched Waterloo Road, got very teary (because everything is making me teary at the moment) and then realised that someone had broken the flush in the downstairs toilet and hadn't bothered to phone the landlord about it. The same flush I broke this morning, got really upset about breaking, then fixed and got ridiculously excited about how I had done some plumbing and fixed the toilet. Sometime between me fixing it and 9 o'clock tonight someone else broke it to an extent that I can no longer fix it and nobody told the landlord. Now I'm peeved. And really, really upset. I don't see why I should be so concerned about fixing the plumbing just for someone else to break it and not inform anyone. And it definitely wasn’t my fault – there was still toilet roll left when I broke (and fixed) it. When I went back there was no toilet roll. Ergo, someone else broke it (the repetition is mainly to reassure myself that it isn’t my fault.)

Now I'm too annoyed and too depressed and too sad to write, because the incident with the bathroom has pushed me over the edge.

My Quote of the Day was going to be from one of our Immunology profs about Schistosomiasis, which are these small snail things that go up the waterstream and infect you (I think, I had given up any hope of following this lecture without a handout by this point):

"Then they go and have sex in your liver, which is outrageous"

At the time I thought that was hilarious and worth sharing. My apologises.

Instead my Quote of the Day comes from our Year Tutor who, when talking about helping fellow students who we think might not be coping well or have depression, said : "Start as you mean to go on". It seems more fitting here - the day started with a broken toilet and ended with a broken toilet. Just about sums up my life.

More about the Feel Bright campaign when I'm feeling more bright. Promise.

Friday, 8 October 2010

Things just kept getting worse...

I know I’ve been slightly AWOL this week but it’s been so hectic and so many (bad) things have all been happening in quick succession that I either didn’t have time to post or was too depressed to write.  I seriously could have written a post a day and you wouldn’t have got bored. Or at least, I hope you wouldn’t have.

(I've just finished writing this on word and it was three pages long. I won't be offended if you don't read it. I'll put some pictures in to try and make it a little more interesting.)

First: The Illness
I used to be ill a lot. Pretty much ever since I was released from my cotton wool world into primary school. I think I spent more time off sick in Reception then I did at school. But come this summer – nada. Not even sniffle.
Until the day I moved back to Brum. Since then, major illness. Cold, turned into flu, almost fainted, got better, got very very wet (I couldn’t carry the shopping and the umbrella), got worse, got green phlegm, warning bells, got chesty cough, more warning bells, got continuous nose bleed, GO TO THE DOCTORS!!!!!, went to the doctors, got antibiotics, antibiotics made me sick, got food poisoning, had an ultimate IBS bad day, getting better.

I blame the mackerel for the food poisoning. Stupid fish. It didn’t even taste that nice. Suffice to say I threw the rest of it away.
That’s pretty much two weeks of feeling awful. It meant that the first few days at uni were hell, but more about that later.

Second: The House
I like it. I actually do. And I was worried that I wouldn’t get along with some of my housemates but it’s actually not been as bad as I thought it would be, thank goodness. There have been some minor disagreements about the heating, which has resulted in some sneaky, covert putting-the-heater-on-for-half-an-hour-without-anyone-realising missions that I’m not meant to tell people about, but apart from that. It’s been alright in my room but there have been a few nights when I’ve slept wearing three layers with a blanket and a duvet, wearing knee high Winnie-the-Pooh socks. So cool.
Then, last Saturday, it rained. A lot. And the housemate who had only moved in about an hour ago, and is staying in the attic, went into her wardrobe to find a big wet patch. We phoned the landlord and he said he couldn’t do anything until next week. Then it rained some more. I woke up on Sunday morning to see a slightly grey patch on my ceiling. I live under the attic room. And, sure enough, the roof was damp, although not dripping, thankfully! The roof is now fixed – huzzah!
And then there was the thing with the extortionately high electricity bill from over the summer. We sorted out that too – huzzah!
And then the fire alarm went off yesterday. Apparently it is possible to mess up the cooking of chicken.

Third: Medical School
I hate it. It’s stupid, I know. And I was doing so well over the summer. And it’s stupid why I hate it but I do. I hate it. A lot.
I don’t have many friends. There were people in my class last year who I got on really well with during our SGTs but outside the class, in lectures, I either sat by myself or with the two girls from my high school, both of whom managed to make friends of their own. I pretty much spent all of my time with one of those girls, who I was best friends with at school. But this year she’s resitting.
Cue Monday.
9:00 – Sat with remaining old school friend and her friends. Old friend from class came and sat next to me. She’s a little weird. Didn’t really talk to anyone for the ensuing three hours.
12:00 – Met my class for the first time. Kind of know some of them, but not really. They all seem to know each other though. Try to make an effort but feel really, really stupid and very isolated.
Lunch – sat with one girl from the class and her friends. Didn’t really get spoken to.
Afternoon – sat by myself in lectures. People I don’t know came and sat next to me. No one spoke to me.
I came home and ate massive amounts of junk food.
I know I shouldn’t be getting upset about not having any friends. That’s a problem you have at high school. Mum keeps saying to try and make new friends but everyone’s already in groups and they don’t want me butting in. Trust me, I’ve been in a group when we’ve had butter-inners. They are hated.
It got slightly better as the week went on but not much. Tuesday I got food poisoning. Cue more sadness. Wednesday was the best – I went to the ISOC Meet and Greet and was getting along with people, so hopefully that should lead somewhere. I think I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I am to remain friendless for the next four years. I can do my foundation years back at home.

Well done if you’ve read this far. Almost done. Promise.

Fourth: The Kids/Stupid Prank Phone Calls
I went in to the medical school last Tuesday, after almost fainting, and met two of my medic kids (one got lost). They were both really nice. I did the tour, gave them my number, and told them to text me if they have any problems.
Now one of them won’t stop texting me. And it was all at stupid times as well.
8:30 on Sunday morning.
6:45 on Monday morning.
12:11 on Tuesday morning.
I was asleep for all of them. None of them were emergencies. They were all trivial things that could have waited till a more sociable hour. I tried not to get too worked up, but I did. I was ill. I needed my sleep. I text her Tuesday night saying, “I’m ill and going to bed. Please don’t text until 9am”. She didn’t reply. That was the other annoying thing. I’d reply to her ridicously early texts (yes, I know I could have turned my phone off but it needs to be on for an actual emergency) and wouldn’t hear from her for about four hours. And she was messing me around, asking to borrow a text book but not buy it, then she didn’t want the text book, then she did, then she didn’t.
 It didn’t help that I was being prank called – somehow someone had got hold of my mobile number. They rang really early one morning last week pretending to be a little kid. It freaked me out. I have since learnt to ignore any calls from their number (they don’t even block it!). Although I didn’t get a call from another unknown number yesterday, which I missed, so it looks like they could be starting again.
I’ve since talked to my kid and explained (really nicely) that I love how she feels she can text me with her problems but can she wait until a more reasonable hour next time? She told me she never looks at the time. Figures.

Rant over.
Hopefully next week will be better. It should be. I just need to not get so upset when I sit by myself in lectures, and try to ignore the fact that one of my classmates was looking at me strangely today. Little bit of TLC this weekend, some crumpets, the Saturday Times crossword and some films and hopefully I’ll be in a better state of mind next week. As for the rest of it...lots of prayers I think. Maybe I can get a class transferral...
Thanks for reading this epic post. :D

Currently readying: Clinically Orientated Anatomy. Again. Stupid big book.
Quotes of the week (both from my renal prof): “You can use the dye ‘Evan’s Blue’. Now I know it sounds like a porn shop in Swansea”
“I’m now going to draw a joint. I know you expect me to draw a guy with a spiff in his mouth bit I’m sorry to disappoint you” (or something to that effect!)

(Thank you to Google Images for the pictures. Please don't sue me)