Thursday, June 19
We are moving

Just to inform you that this blog has now moved to the new and hopefully improved location at http://www.idlanzakaria.com/blog. At the moment I am running things using GreyMatter until I get Moveable Type sorted out; amd then we'll see how things go.

Please, update your bookmarks etc etc.

I'll keep this page here for a month or so, and then do an auto-redirect thereafter.

posted by Prof_Sadin 6/19/2003 01:10:32 AM// Your Say

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Wednesday, June 18
"The greatest thing a man can do in this world is to make the most possible out of the stuff that has been given him. This is success, and there is no other." -Orison Swett Marden

And the verdict is.. I fell asleep at 1.40am, having set the alarm for 2.30am. I deliberately slept in the most uncomfortable position possible so that I'd be easy awakened - obviously not a hard task to do these days, but nonetheless, I wanted to be sure I didn't miss Subuh. I even managed to wake myself before the alarm rang, but the downside of it all was that I was quite disoriented, and althought the quantity of the solat was there, the quality left quite a bit to be desired.

I went to bed soon after that, and found myself pretty much awake at about 9.45am, but I felt sluggish. After taking a shower and downing some lethal coffee [and putting on clothes, in between all that], I managed to waddle into the office at about 11am. I did my usual time wasting stuff - checked my email, went on YM to say hi to people for a bit and voila.. it was already midday. A whole morning wasted and nothing to show for it.

Conclusion of the saga - I think I'll stick to the bed-at-midnight, up-at-three routine for now. At least that way I can force myself awake at 8.30am, be in the office by 9.30am latest and get some work done before lunch. It is appalling that tomorrow will already be Thursday, and I have not yet finished a two page proposal I promised Peter I'd have done this week! Okay, so Monday was spent on the annaual review report; but apart from all that, I have been spending too much time trying to set things up on Moveable Type.. time I can't afford, frankly.

Now that the undergrads are virtually done with their exams, I am beginning to have a social life again - and that, while voluntary at best, messes up my schedule as well. But I have been cooped up ever since they started their exams, and missing some good old games of football or badminton would be hard for me to do. Only tonight me and Ana joined in the staff / postgraduate badminton session at the sports center with Paul; I think we had a good couple of games but I am rusty - my drop shots, my net play and my movements are still very much out of sync. It will take a while, no doubt about that, to get things back together again.

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Of course, the news on everyone's lips today is the David Beckham transfer saga. Did Fergie kick him out?
Tommy Docherty thinks so. Whatever it is, one question that I'd like to put out is that did Real Madrid buy David Beckham the football player, or did they buy David Beckham the brand name?

Already it has emerged that Real Madrid has a policy of taking 50 percent of any sponsorship deal their players sign while that player is under contract with the team. This means that 50 percent of any image rights deals and sponsorship Beckham signs after July 2, 2003 goes into Real Madrid's coffers. Given that the man himself has an image that overshadows better players such as Zidane and Ronaldo, imagine how much Real Madrid would be running to the bank with thanks to his good looks, pop star wife and screaming teenage girls. This is not including the jersey sales with Beckham's names emblazoned on the back - whether his number is 7 or 77. Would Beckham have been sold for that much money if he had the "dashing good looks" of Luke Chadwick, or Martin Keown, perhaps? One wonders.

Beckham's decision to sign for Real instead of Barca also smacked of revenge towards the club that sold him. Manchester United stood to have received 30m had Beckham been sold to Barcelona, but only managed to reap 24.5m from Real Madrid. It probably was also a slap in the face for one Juan LaPorta, the newly elected president of Barcelona FC, whose whole campaign was surrounded by his 'promise' to bring Beckham to the Catalan team. He won the election - but in true politician style, failed to keep his major promise.

While at United, Beckham received 20,000 a week for his image rights - not including any sponsorship deals. His decision to sacrifice a large fraction of that amount, including any sponsorship deals he is about to sign, may signal a different intent : one of a footballer trying to reestablish his image as a footballer first and foremost, and popular culture icon second. His forfeit of that share of the money could be an attempt to win back genuine football fans who have been disillusioned with his lifestyle, which grabs more tabloid space than his actual trade. It seems to be saying, "I don't care about the money - I am going to the biggest club in the world" - for after Old Trafford any way other than to the Barnabeu stadium is a step down - and "Forget the money, I'm here to play with the best and to prove I am one of the best".

Whether he will be in the starting lineup or will accompany England's other 'midfield maestro' Steve McManaman as perennial bench warmers is left to be seen. La Liga is a different league to play in compared to the Premieship; Beckham's flair may be flashy by English standards, but Spain's Latin American connection makes the football a different art form altogether.

So it seems like a win-win situation for both parties. Our Becks gets to prove himself in one of the best leagues in the world, and Real Madrid can make more money to lure more players of his calibre - or marketing power. My only hope, as a Man Utd fan for 17 years running now, is that he will do a Sparky - Mark 'Sparky' Hughes left Manchester for Barcelona and Bayern Munich in the 1980's, only to come back even better and helped spearhead United's campaign to win their first championship in 26 years.

Links to what is being said in the UK about Beckham's transfer:
BBC Online Sport
The Guardian
The Times
... and for a little tabloid feel to things.. Daily Mirror

posted by Prof_Sadin 6/18/2003 11:42:44 PM// Your Say

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Tuesday, June 17
"Remember.. with great power comes great responsibility" Ben Parker, Spiderman (2002)

And so tonight begins my big experiment - will I function better if I wait for Subuh prayers, which should come by at about 2.30am, and THEN go to bed as opposed to going to bed at about 12am, getting up at 3am for Subuh, back to bed at 3.30am, and then be back up and running by, say, 9.30am? I think in the latter case my body reads my sleep pattern as beginning at 3.30am instead of 12am, because I can only function after waking up at 9.30am. So now if I went to bed at, say, 2.30am and get up at about 9am, I should be getting the same hours worth of sleep. Almost. Sleep, as with all other aspects of life, is about quality and not quantity.

The issue is, of course, what do I do between 11pm and 2.30am? I have fond memories of various methods of trying to stay awake; ranging from sitting up straight at the keyboard [usually resulting in my forehead kissing the spacebar] to calling other people up on the internal phones for a conversation [only to both fall asleep with the phone still cradled between the ear and the shoulder - and both missing Subuh prayers]. Yes, one of the novelties of being on campus is the free, internal phone - where you can talk to each other for hours on end and not pay a penny. One of the things I will surely miss once we move off campus in July.

I am, to be honest, in two minds about staying off campus. Always have been. On the one hand, being off campus allows me to save money. Our rent, even when adjusted for projected bills and bus fares, is cheaper than staying on campus. Potentially, we could splurge on Sky, which is a nice thing to have, but how economical, I am not quite sure yet. I will also be getting a bigger, cosier room for a lower price - on campus I would be theoretically paying almost twice as much for a room that is twice as small.

On the other hand, most of the action will be on campus. I can foresee myself spending more time on campus than off; and if everything goes according to plan, I will probably have a place to crash on campus anyway. I will also miss being able to go online at all hours - broadband has yet to reach the outer limits that is Lancaster - and not having an internal phone may mean more usage of my mobile, but hey.. at least my free minutes will be used up! All in all, though, I can't really say being off campus is good or bad, until I go ahead and do the deed.

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It has been quite a warm few days as of late - a scorcher of a weekend and while today started off as being quite gloomy, things quickly picked up later in the day. We decided to have a game of football - the boys and the girls together - today, for old times' sake more than anything else. Messing about on the astroturf at 7pm felt like walking around town in Malaysia at 5pm, almost. We ended the day with a meal at Popeye's - yes, Lancaster's premier halal fried chicken outlet.

Most of the undergrads will be going home for the summer - in fact the last bastion of hope for the undergrad's representation in Lancaster this summer is having second thoughts as we speak. Summer is usually a quiet and lonely time for me - postgraduates, while there are many of them, are mostly married with kids, and can't be as spontaneous as the undergrads are when one has a spur of the moment idea. Having said that, it could be beneficial for me - mostly in line with my maturing process - to mix with older people; perhaps come September I will be able to act my age!

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So David Beckham has left Manchester United for Real Madrid, if all the news reports are to be believed. Soccernet is carrying it as its lead, as is BBC Sports Online. I am not quite sure what to comment on this; on the one hand I am devastated with the sale, having seen David Beckham come through the ranks like he did. I have pictures of Beckham as a 19 and 20 year old still kept tucked in a folder somewhere - I remember keeping that article, which was from Match magazine, just in case he did make it big.

But across the years, the Beckham that I see in the papers today is not the Beckham of young that I remembered. The glamour and the media coverage endeared him less and less to me; I am a firm believer in the tenet that the best footballers should let their football do the talking and lie low otherwise.

So, could this be Fergie's biggest mistake? Will United crumble under the lack of Beckham's midfield presence? Or will the team just march on regardless, just in the aftermath of Cantona's retirement? United arguably still have Juan Veron, who jostled for first team status with Beckham last season. Perhaps Beckham's departure will be the catalyst for the re-emergence of Seba. Why sell Beckham and not Veron, one may ask, especially if Veron was the more inconsistent one last season. My answer would be, there is some face-saving that needs to be done - Ferguson will be the last to admit that Veron is a 28.1m flop.

There is also the captaincy - the England captaincy, that is. Beckham still has Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs ahead of him in the captain's armband line in the absence of Roy Keane; it is only England who elevate him to leadership position. What if Beckham remains a bench warmer at Real? Would he still be captain of England then? Or will misfiring Owen be given the captain's armband for good? Now is a good time as any for Beckham to prove that he indeed has midfield prowess, and not only just lives on the the reputation of his free kicks.

posted by Prof_Sadin 6/17/2003 11:55:08 PM// Your Say

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Monday, June 16
"A real leader faces the music, even when he doesn't like the tune." -Anon.

My dad used to say, sometimes people who look at you or see you from their lenses, know things about you more than what you know about yourself. Of course, the context of his argument was to say that he knew me better than I knew myself, and that if he saw fit for me to take up medicine, then somehow or other things would work themselves out. Needless to say, it didn't quite, and I am now resorting to other methods to allow my parents to finally be able to declare that there really is a doctor in the house.

Anyway, I was thinking of that very quote when the good Malaysian people of Lancaster voted me in as President for the Malaysian Students' Association last Saturday. I have come to know myself in various forms and functions over the past 25 odd years, and I would like to think that I know myself the best. I am more than painfully aware of my limitations. I know my weaknesses to a T, and I somehow don't think leadership is one of my strong points. I have always viewed myself as the perennial backbencher, always in there to lend support, but not the one calling the shots.

Fact of the matter is, I can be quite a lazy person. On my bad days, I am a very unmotivated person, and I can't get focused enough to get down to work. Even on a good day, I 'multitask' quite frequently, alternating between reading articles, surfing the web, messing about on Yahoo! Messenger and looking at data. I also possess a disturbingly bad temper. Alhamdulillah, over the years, I have managed to rein in most of it, but at the worst of times, it tends to resurface. And I tend to forget about the rest of the world when I am so tuned in to my work; be it my research or my reading or anything, really. Through my lenses, I would never make myself a leader.

So I guess there are people who think differently. In a way I am honoured that they entrust onto me this task; at least there are people who believe in me more than I believe in myself. I am now going to use this as a platform to learn more about myself as a person. To reassess my strengths and weaknesses; to review what I can improve and how I can grow as a person and as a Muslim as well.

posted by Prof_Sadin 6/16/2003 07:24:32 PM// Your Say

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Sunday, June 15
"I've developed a new philosophy... I only dread one day at a time." - Charlie Brown

Idlan, Adniz, Ana & KhalidTook a nice long break today, and went to Sheffield with Khalid, Ana and Adniz. I really needed a break from Lancaster, especially after the events of this weekend. Am actually quite tired now, so I won't waffle on too long. Just long enough to say we took the Peak District way to Sheffield via the Snake Pass; but instead of it being dark and dreary like it was last time we went over the Pennines, today's startling sunshine made it a beauty.

I've put up one of the pictures from the Peak District in the photoblog, with more to come soon, InsyaAllah. As for tonight, I'm off to bed.


posted by Prof_Sadin 6/15/2003 10:33:17 PM// Your Say

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"The difference between a boss and a leader: a boss says, 'Go!' - a leader says, 'Let's go!'" -E. M. Kelly, Growing Disciples, 1995

Being a leader isn't something one should take for granted. To be given the responsibility and the task to administer a group of people, be it big or small, is not something that can be bandied about and not taken seriously.

Leadership in Islam is based on the emphasis of doing the ma'aruf (good) and avoiding the mungkar (bad), where all aspects of the leadership itself should be focused on what is constituted in the Quran and Sunnah.

Leadership isn't just about being the top guy or having all the power. It's about knowing what to do and how to resolve situations and doing the right things. It's about fairness, it's about rationality over emotions and it's about doing what is best for the whole, and not for parts of the whole. Most of all it is about being humble, and being always ready to admit your mistakes.

It is not a joke, and it is not a popularity contest. It is scary.

posted by Prof_Sadin 6/15/2003 08:45:52 AM// Your Say

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