Kindness Knows No Boundary

You cannot dream yourself into a character;
you must hammer and forge yourself one.~Henry David Thoreau~

Don’t talk to strangers.
A reminder that was instilled in our mind since we were kid.
I do understand where this sentiment is coming from. Especially in this era, where trust has to be earned.

But what I experienced in Fayyoum, Egypt showed that not everybody shares the same sentiment. There are people who demonstrated an absolute trust towards complete strangers without a drop of hesitation.

We were on the way to Qasr Qarun (will talk about this in another post) when our guide, Thaaqib, stopped at a village that we passed by to find a loo. He simply knocked the door of a random house but was greeted by a friendly family.

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Witnessing the nice hospitality, we decided to ask for a permission to use the loo as well. What awaited us after that was a nice, warm cup of tea.

The kindness didn’t stop there. The family insisted us to have lunch at their house!

We refused the offer at first, but they kept on insisting, and their sincerity made us give in to it. Accepting it turned out to be a blast. We were served with what I could describe as the most delicious homemade Egyptian dishes I ever tasted throughout my stay in Egypt.

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I wasn’t exaggerating when I said the dishes were super yummy!

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The home of the kind family.

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In the end, we could not visit the oasis in Fayyoum as scheduled, but what we gained instead was such a valuable experience.

This whole experience made me wonder – how could someone be so trusting?

I remembered clearly, a long time ago – an old woman carried a basket of snacks, going from one house to another trying to sell them to earn some money. There were times when she would ask for a glass of water. Given her age, it would make sense that she was exhausted from the long walk under the hot sun. Of course I would give her the drink. Even so, there would always be a speck of doubt within my heart.

What if, that was just an act?
What if…
What if…

The high crime rates in Malaysia simply prevents most of us from developing this good quality. Creative con artists are blooming rapidly, causing us to be on high alert most of the times.

Who could blame us for having such a thought?
Still, it would be great if we were able to live in such environment, peaceful and harmonious, with nothing to fear.

One could only dream.

When The Earth Shook in Anger

The great lesson is that the sacred is in the ordinary, that it is to be found in one’s daily life, in one’s neighbors, friends and family, in one’s backyard.
~Abraham Maslow~

The recent earthquake that struck Christchurch brought back the memory of the same disaster that killed almost 200 people in 2011.

It was shocking. And sad.

I was in Dunedin when the first big quake hit Christchurch in 2010. It was around 4am in the morning. I was still sleeping on my bed in my cozy sunroom when I was woken up by a sudden shake.

It was just the tremor that I felt. Those who actually experienced it must be really scared. I could still recall the trauma my friend (who was living in Christchurch at that time) had, who would jump in fear at the sound of the train passing by.

A year after that, another massive quake hit the same city. Though the magnitude was less that the previous year, the impact was multiple times worse.

Once again the tremor traveled down to Dunedin. This time, I was in my lab on the second floor. The building was swaying. My friends and I knew straight away that an earthquake had hit somewhere in the South Island.

We just casually talked about it. Even laughed. Another tremor was felt. Once again we weren’t really concerned. Earthquakes were pretty normal in New Zealand.

But the news that came right after that was hard to swallow. Lots of casualties and injuries. Buildings were destroyed. The danger was real. We weren’t able to laugh anymore.

I had a chance to visit Christchurch a few months after the disaster struck. It wasn’t even a pleasant view to see the ruins or the abandoned shops. Like I was in a ghost city.

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The destroyed buildings…
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The deserted street…
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The abandoned shops…
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New Zealand, a country that I hold dearly in my heart.
My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Air New Zealand – One of the World’s Best Flights

To reach a port, we must sail—Sail, not tie at anchor—Sail, not drift.

~Franklin Roosevelt~


Just bought my flight ticket to Jakarta this afternoon.
It reminded me of the joy of flying.
Of how much I love flying and traveling to different countries and experiencing a new adventure in a foreign land.

Before this, I frequently traveled to different continents. But since coming back to Malaysia, my savings don’t allow me the pleasure anymore, though my passion never subsides. Hence for two years in a row, my destination would just be the neighboring country.

When looking for a flight ticket, one would normally look for a cheap price.
Me? Not really.

The previous me, I loved flying on different flights.

I flew with Brunei Airlines, Egypt Air, Air Berlin, Easy Jet, Emirates, Etihad, Singapore Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia, Jet Star, Qantas, Lufthansa, TAP Portugal, Air New Zealand and Cathay Pacific.

With the recent air tragedies, I completely stopped that habit and chose only the best flights. I don’t mind paying a little extra for a comfort travel and a safer journey.

And one of the best flights to me is definitely Air New Zealand (my top 3 are Air New Zealand, Cathay Pacific & Singapore Airlines).

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They provide a very good service (and delicious lollies in every flight!).
They always produce a creative in-flight safety video (always in Top 10) – of course the videos are seasonal and you would never get bored with the same video played over and over again.

Most of the airports have super awesome scenery. Take Dunedin Airport for example – an airport in the middle of farms. You can see thousands of sheep upon landing.
The staff – from the check-in counter to the immigration to the boarding gate – are all nice and friendly and helpful. They are rich with smiles.

And I always feel comfortable whenever I flew with Air New Zealand carrier.

Though I’m no longer in New Zealand, I still have the GrabASeat notification sent to my email every day. Talking about being in denial 😛

One day – God willing – am gonna go back to New Zealand and relive all the great moments I have with the airlines ^-^