Books, Glorious Books!

Holidays are the best times for you to READ! Don’t just sit around playing games, spend time with your nose in a phone or watch Netflix day in, day out! Make the most of that free time and get stuck in a good book! And if you’re travelling to spend the holidays someplace away from home, even better! Kill time by reading a book! Whether you’re on a plane, in a car, travelling by bus or cruising in the sea, read! You can read anywhere: in the kitchen, in the garden, at the park, at the beach, or even in the bathroom!

Here’s my latest catch, some of which were bought by Mr Dad (thank you so much!), but most borrowed from my local library. So far, I have managed to read 8 of them, which leaves me with another 9 to go! Stay tuned for my next posts, I’ll be sharing more about the books I’ve read with all of you fellow bookworms!

“When people ask me if I like reading, it’s like asking me if I like breathing.”

mukhtar books.jpg

Here’s a complete list of the books as seen in the picture, from top to bottom:

  1. Through The Mirror Door – Sarah Baker
  2. Grandpa’s Great Escape – David Walliams
  3. The Wonderling – Mira Bartok
  4. The Bolds In Trouble – Julian Clary
  5. Book 3 of All The Wrong Questions: “Shouldn’t You Be In School?” – Lemony Snicket
  6. Wildwood – Colin Meloy
  7. Under Wildwood – Colin Meloy
  8. The Midnight Gang – David Walliams
  9. My Arch-Enemy is a Brain in a Jar – David Solomons
  10. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer – Mark Twain
  11. Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
  12. A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
  13. The Song From Somewhere Else – A.F. Harrold
  14. The Tiffin – Mahtab Narsimhan
  15. Wilderness – Roddy Doyle
  16. Where The World Ends – Geraldine McCaughrean
  17. Where My Wellies Take Me – Michael Morpurgo *missing from the picture*
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Thank You Malaysian Digest!

This post is specially dedicated to Ms Hana Maher and the team at Malaysian Digest! Thank you so much Ms Hana for writing an EXCLUSIVE FEATURE about my humble self! Words can’t describe how much I appreciate it! Also, thank you so much for speaking so highly of me! I am very grateful! I’m so humbled by your kind words! As always, the write-up was very well-written and high-quality, and, just like your previous articles (some of which have been displayed in my school), it was written with great care and not a single detail was missed! I loved reading it, not because it was about me, but because Ms Hana’s style of writing is truly captivating! In fact, why don’t you give it a read? I’m sure you won’t be disappointed!

Click the link below ⤵️ to read the full article:

http://www.malaysiandigest.com/frontpage/29-4-tile/747393-exclusive-meet-the-british-born-m-sian-who-was-offered-a-full-scholarship-at-top-uk-school.html

It’s not just Ms Hana who deserves thanks – the whole team does! I’d also like to say a special thank you to Ms Deza, the Editor of Malaysian Digest, for honouring me with this EXCLUSIVE FEATURE! Ms Hana, Ms Deza and the Malaysian Digest team are brilliant people who have been supporting not only me, but my whole family, and continue to do so! I am truly blessed to be surrounded by so many supportive people, including all of you, my beloved readers! On behalf of my family, I would like to again thank Ms Hana, Ms Deza and the team at Malaysian Digest for all your kindness! May God reward you handsomely! Not forgotten, to all my dearest readers, your PAWSOME support is highly appreciated! Please continue to keep me and my family in your prayers!

p/s: Stay tuned for another EXCLUSIVE FEATURE on Malaysian Digest where Mrs Mom and Mr Dad will share their parenting secrets very soon! 😉

Officially A King Edward’s Boy!

harrypotterTPL.jpg

It’s official! I am finally a King Edward’s boy! 😆 I’m going to go to King Edward’s School (KES), my dream school! I am more than over the moon right now, and all the hard work and sacrifices that led up to this moment have paid off!

When I was in Year 5, my class teacher, Mr Webster, said I had the potential to apply for a grammar school. At the time, I was clueless as to what a grammar school was. I had never heard of it. All I knew was that after Year 6, I’d be going to a normal secondary school. Mr Webster then gave me a leaflet for an open day at King Edward’s School. I went home and did some research, and I found out that KES was one of the best schools in the UK and one of its famous alumni was the author of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’, J.R.R. Tolkien himself! That’s when I decided that I had to attend their open day!

It was 18th March 2017 when I first set foot into my dream school for their open day. It was like I was Harry Potter stepping into Hogwarts! The building looked old and grand, and almost castle-like – just the way I like it! I felt that connection between us as soon as I stepped through the front doors. KES was the only grammar school I visited, and I didn’t want to go anywhere else. Whenever people asked me what my school choices were, I always said KES and only KES! Everybody was surprised because the other students had at least 3 choices of schools that they wanted to go to…but not me! I couldn’t see myself going anywhere else other than KES!

The entry requirements to join a grammar school were not easy! First, I had to take and pass a test called the 11+ to be considered for a place at any of the grammar schools, and a separate entrance test for KES. And I couldn’t just pass the test! The results had to be outstanding because there were thousands of students like me sitting for it too! However, Mrs Mom was gravely ill at the time and Mr Dad had his hands full with taking care of Mrs Mom and Fatimah and Ali, so, unlike the many other people who started preparing many years back, I had to start a few days into the summer holidays when the 11+ was less than one month away in September (2017)! 😰

Preparing for the 11+ was hard enough as the things I had to learn were not covered in school, but the search for someone to become my tutor was FRANTIC. Almost everybody turned me down because it was seemingly impossible when everyone had started two or three years back when I had to cover everything in less than a month, but one person had gone beyond the act of kindness and took me as a student of her own – Auntie Shaheen. We didn’t even know her. She was a complete stranger to us but she was like a God-sent angel! She was willing to give me some guidance and support so that I could do the test! I couldn’t have done it without her and I will never be able to thank her enough! Not only that, she also guided Mrs Mom and Mr Dad and told them what they could do to teach me from home!

The whole family was super supportive too! Dadajee and Dadijee flew all the way from Malaysia to help us! Mrs Mom and Mr Dad taught me all they knew, Dadajee always sat by my side every day to help me and time my practice tests, and also made sure that I had enough rest, Dadijee took over the kitchen and made sure all the food was ready and everybody else encouraged me to keep on working hard! Dr Auntie and Mamajee also played their part in assisting me in my studies! I studied from morning to evening and we didn’t go on holiday anywhere during that summer! But I think that the hardest thing I had to sacrifice was reading! I have Obsessive Reading Disorder😁, and giving up my books was like TORTURE!!! There were days when I found myself reading the back of cereal boxes at breakfast time – that was how desperate I was to find something, ANYTHING to read! 😂

After plenty of preparation, the day of the 11+ finally arrived, and I wouldn’t say I whizzed through it with ease, but I was feeling pretty confident! Soon, it was over, and there was nothing I could do other than pray and wait for the KES test. That came in a matter of a couple of weeks, too, and the anxiety was getting to me. 😞

Then, one fateful day, I was at school when I was unexpectedly called out of class by Mrs Chesney-Ly, my school’s English Leader. She told me that Mrs Mom had called. I wasn’t that sure about why. Maybe something serious had happened at home. But then, I put the phone to my ear and when the conversation ended, I was speechless. I had passed the 11+ – with flying colours! I nearly burst into tears of joy! This was basically a dream come true! Now I could go to any grammar school I wanted to! I can still remember that moment when I broke the news to Miss Patrick, my class teacher, she jumped up, waving her hands in the air, and shouted my results out to the whole class!

I thought that this was the last of God’s blessings because this was much, much more than I asked for! I quote what Auntie Shaheen said: “Now you don’t have to worry about anything! No school will reject you!” I had hoped to just pass the 11+, but I had excelled! But later on, we got a phone call from none other than King Edward’s School…my dream school! Apparently, I had done extremely good in their entrance test, and had been offered a school place with a chance to get a scholarship out of the 125 students! In order to actually get the scholarship, I would have to attend a separate interview at the school. The funny thing is that the results for the 11+ were released on Mrs Mom’s birthday (10th October 2017), the call was on Mamajee’s birthday (10th November 2017), and the interview was scheduled on Dr Auntie’s birthday (14th November 2017)! I had a good feeling about this, and when the interview was over and done with, I was glad that I had done my best. But deep inside, only God knew how anxious I was about not being able to get the scholarship because the yearly school fees for KES were extremely high! 😳

Then, the awaited day came when we were all waiting for a letter from King Edward’s School. It was the day before the deadline date for the outcome of the scholarship interviews. The night before, me, Mrs Mom and Mr Dad were discussing that it was fine if I didn’t get the place, even if it did break my heart 💔. KES seemed far out of my reach, and we were grateful that we wouldn’t have a problem to secure a place at any normal grammar school. I was restless, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Then when I came home from school that day (Thursday 7th December 2017), I found a letter on the fireplace addressed to me and it had a KES stamp on it. Both Mrs Mom and Mr Dad were there too. They were both waiting for me to open it. I opened it nervously…and I couldn’t believe my eyes! Suddenly all the tension melted away, as if a weight had been lifted off my back. I had been awarded the full scholarship! It was one of the happiest days of my life – I burst into tears of joy! I was going to be able to go to my dream school, where one of my idol authors studied, where I would be able to do great things! I am truly blessed!

So only a few days ago, on Thursday 28th of June, me and the family were invited to the Admissions Ceremony, where I was formally welcomed into the school! Walking up onto the stage to shake the Chief Master’s hand – Dr Mark Fenton – feelings of nervousness overwhelmed by excitement passed through me. I couldn’t believe that this was actually happening, that I actually had the chance to go to my dream school and make my family proud! 😊

Dear Future Pawsome Lion,

You may be reading this in 10 years or so from today, Sunday 1st July 2018, and if you are, then never forget all the people who sacrificed things for you! Remember what your family has done for you, what Mrs Mom and Mr Dad have been through, what Fatimah and Ali have had to sacrifice for you, all the prayers family, friends and teachers have sent for you, and all the hard work everybody has done for you, because without everything, you wouldn’t be who you are today! And most importantly, please remember to stay humble, be thankful to God as He has given you more than you wished for, and be a great person in this world so that hopefully one day…YOU CAN CHANGE THE WORLD!

From The 11-year-old Pawsome Lion

Sunday 1st July 2018

Dear God,

Thank you for all the blessings You have bestowed on me and my family. I can’t thank You enough! Please restore all world peace so children across the world can have happy moments like this too and can grow into wonderful people who can make a good difference in this world and SHINE…

p/s: Feeling:

  • Blessed 😇
  • Grateful 🙏
  • Excited 😜

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National Writing Day 2018

ndw 2018

I feel most free when…I am writing. Like now. It feels fantastic! Writing is a time when you can let loose and get caught up in what you love most. It’s almost like magic! You put pen to paper and then suddenly…you’re sitting in another world altogether! There’s enchantment in the air, impossible becomes possible, you can do anything you want! But the best part is that the subjects aren’t limited: you can write about anything! Football, flowers, the great outdoors, magic – anything you can think of can be turned into a brilliant piece of writing! You could even write about writing, like I am right now! The possibilities are endless! So that’s what I think. I feel most free when I am writing! What about you?

p/s: Happy National Writing Day 2018!

#nationalwritingday #writeaway

My Last Parents’ Meeting…

ms patrick

Yesterday, we went to my last parents’ meeting at my primary school. Wow! I can’t believe how fast time has gone! In a few weeks’ time, I will be finishing school, and in September, I will start my new journey in secondary school! Since my Reception days, my parents never missed any parents’ meetings! No matter how busy they are, they always make sure they both attend. Bless them, they’re very supportive to me, Fatimah and Ali!

This is Miss Patrick, my current class teacher. The same like my previous teachers, Miss Patrick is great! Me and my classmates are so lucky to have such a dedicated teacher! She’s the type of teacher who brings the best out of her students! She’s fun, knowledgeable and always there to help! I will definitely miss not just her, but all my primary school teachers when I go to secondary school as they have done so much for me! Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am today! Thank you!

Dear God,
Please guide me on the right path and let me remember the kindness of my teachers and all the things I have learnt from them. Allow me to stay humble and know that they were the ones who helped me get to this point in life! Allow me to stay not just humble, but also lead me on the right path so that I can set a good example to my little brother and sister…and also inspire others so that TOGETHER WE CAN CHANGE THE WORLD!

“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” – William A. Ward

Want To Write? Start With Reading!

I’ve received many requests to share my writing tips. Well, to be honest, I don’t really have any, but I’ve always loved to read. It’s been a major part of developing my writing skills and I have to admit, I have ORD – Obsessive Reading Disorder! Just one book a day can stimulate my mind into creative mode and get those imaginative juices flowing. So no, I don’t really have any tips, but I believe there is one core, essential practice which is the foundation of writing.

You. Need. To. READ.

Seem daunting? It might sound like that at first, but it is the key to writing. You’ll need to read to find ideas and check your work. It happens whilst you’re writing! When I say read, I don’t mean read for a day or two then stop, I mean read everyday! Make it part of your daily routine. Make it part of your LIFE! Keep a book close wherever you go, so if you have spare time, you can open it up and peruse with ease.

At an early age, we all learn to read and as we get older, we start to read more difficult texts. We’ve been reading naturally all this time, and yet some people sweat at the thought of having to read something. If you could do it so young, why can’t you do it now?

The action of reading has many benefits. Books can teach us grammar and punctuation skills and language basics. Your vocabulary will be enriched too. Books are like dictionaries – there’s bound to be new words on show! The human brain is similar to a sponge, so it will absorb everything it reads. For me, reading also enlarges my imagination and stimulates my creativity. Books have many other benefits, such as improving your health, helping growth and much more. It’s clear that books are a writer’s best friends!

So now you see why reading is so crucial. We shouldn’t just give up reading because it seems hard or boring. If you did, you wouldn’t be reading this right now! But then there’s the choice of what to read and what’s good to read and what’s bad. Well, like I have said in the previous post, there is nothing good or bad, it’s just what you personally prefer! I love reading science fiction and fantasy, but other people might not. However, even though I like these specific genres, I still read a broad range of books. It’s great to read many books, but if you want, you can find the genre that suits you. The best way to find your perfect genre is to read a range of them, and work out their pros and cons so you will be able to find the one that you like the most. Once that’s done, you can read with relaxation and soon write! Remember, reading is an important step towards making yourself a better writer!

Yes, I think it’s great to read, but when I say ‘read’, I don’t mean just in English. You can read in your own mother tongue or your preferred language! Be it Malay, Urdu, Thai, Arabic, Gaelic, Chinese…you can read in any language you want! Don’t let language be a barrier that stops you from reading! And of course, remember to be bold, be brave, challenge yourself to read, readREAD and never stop reading! Now, if you’ve managed to read up to this point, then you’ve successfully read 581 words! So that’s me sharing my experience with you. Hope you find it useful.

Keep calm and carry on reading so that TOGETHER WE CAN CHANGE THE WORLD!

“Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them.”

– Lemony Snicket

mukhtar book in park.jpg

Under The Lake

under the lake photo

Every day is just about the same for me. Wake up, brush my teeth, wash my face, grab an apple and walk straight into that 300-foot deep lake outside.

I work under the surface – well, when I say under, I mean on the other side. There’s plenty of other people that come too, it’s part of life for us. We work for Death, writing reports on certain people that are assigned to us, then calculating their life expectancy. Death has less on his plate because of us, so all he needs to do is fix his schedule.

Everything we do, think and feel is written on our bodies as soon as we pass through the portal. When we resurface, the writing disappears. Death pays us quite a fair salary each week, so life is sweet. There’s just one catch: whenever I start work, my skin is empty.

Death doesn’t favour me as much as the others, even though my wages are the same. There was another one like me, but she died sometime before I started. They call us Outsiders, which is pretty rude, but I don’t care.

I was always empty-skinned until that one day when my life seemed to change forever. I went through the same morning routine: brush teeth, wash face, eat apple, walk into lake. I just didn’t know that under the lake, it would be different.

The first few steps in are through the water barrier, then we should arrive on the other side. This time around, though, the journey seemed longer, and as I delved deeper and deeper, I could make out the distinctive shape of a person in the distance, a man, tall and skinny. He gradually came closer and closer, until I could see his face. It was Death himself, and he had grabbed hold of my hand. Before he pushed me up to the surface, he uttered four words: “You, master of me.”

And suddenly I was floating back up, and I flew out of the lake, landing on my feet. I wasn’t the slightest bit wet, as always. There was a piece of paper in my hand, reading:

Take my place under the lake.

Yours,

D.

And on my hand was a single word, as if written in black ink. ‘No need to ask for wages anymore.’ I thought to myself as I walked back to my cosy little home, smiling at my own hand, reading over and over again ‘Death’.

You Cannot Tell

you cannot tell ph2

I first saw him in the window of my living room. He was wearing a worn out, black bowler hat and a brown leather coat. His eyes were illuminated on his dark, shadowy face. He was carrying what seemed to be a blade. Other people would have been terrified but I just stood there, sort of transfixed by his appearance. He came the next night, this time looking into the kitchen. A red rose replaced the knife in his hand. I wondered why he was coming to my house. Perhaps he was homeless. It was 7 days later when I started to become worried, though. He had been coming to my house and looking through the windows for a whole week and on Monday he had come with a knife again – it had blood stains on the tip. I thought about calling the police, but would that make me his next victim? I shuddered. I decided to stay put in my bedroom, lock all the doors and shut all the curtains. I soon dozed off.

you cannot tell ph3

The next morning, I was no longer in my bedroom. I was on the floor of my living room. A chalk outline surrounded me. Nobody else was there. I was very confused. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw something come out of the wall. It was shadowy, scruffy, a tall figure looming like a tower. I turned around and saw that it was the man that I had seen in the window, pale-faced and untidy. He was holding the same blood-stained knife; it glinted faintly in the dim light. He gave me an icy stare, then leapt at me. His knife jutted out and he cried out in rage. I screamed and rolled over to dodge him, the knife swishing past and narrowly missing my head. He dived through the floor, like it was some kind of eerie wooden swimming pool. I crawled backwards to the sofa, bewildered as to where he was. Suddenly, he sprang out, shouting in anger. His face was nearly scarlet, his scruffy eyebrows highly slanted. I flinched as he flew through the air towards me. His coat was splattered with flecks of blood. I wanted to move but it seemed like I was glued to where I was. He brushed my shoulder, but as soon as he laid his hand on me, a bright white light lit up the room. The man howled as his hand glowed red. It must have burned, seared, split his palm open. Slowly, he started to disappear, like smoke wafting away from its chimney. Oh, how he shrieked! The sound echoed around the room. It rang inside my ears, it slowly mauled my brain. I closed my eyes tightly, nearly gluing them shut. When I reopened them, I was alone in the room. Everything was silent. No blood. No knife. No hat. No man. Just me, in the room of the house. I could hear police sirens wailing outside. They reminded me of banshees, sobbing in mourning. Apparently, my neighbour had heard the screaming and shouting.

you cannot tell ph4

From then on, I was alone in my house. No one came to visit, no one stood outside the windows. But one day, the doorbell rang, and outside was a black bowler hat, a rose, a knife and a note:

‘You cannot tell.’

you cannot tell ph1

Who Else But Mum!?

golden birthday 2017

Who Else But Mum!?

(A poem written by The Pawsome Lion)

~Dedicated to Mrs Mom

I still remember how you smiled at me,

And that twinkle in your eyes,

Our laughs when we had fun,

The tears of joy we shared

I still remember how you helped me up

When I fell to the floor,

Your hugs when I felt down,

Your praise when I had done well

I still remember after all these years

How kind you’ve been to me,

How great you’ve been to my brother,

How great you’ve been to my sister

And I still come to you for hugs,

For smiles, for advice, for a laugh,

Because I think,

Who else but mum,

To go to for joy!?

Who else but mum,

To go to for help!?

Who else? Who else? Who else but mum!?

And on this very special day,

I’d like to say…

Happy Birthday!

To the best mother in the world!

 

Come Rain or Shine…

come rain or shine

Come Rain or Shine…

(A poem written by The Pawsome Lion)

~ Dedicated to Mr OCD Uncle, Dadajee & Khun Yai Thi Rak Khong Phom ~

Our laughter used to fill every room,

They’re now the carriers of our sweet memories

Our love was strong, so tightly knit,

It seemed impossible to get in the way

Our smiles were sunshine,

Our eyes were stars,

We brightened up every dark corner

But then one day, you went away

It broke my heart to say goodbye

And as you left me all alone,

I shared my sorrow with the sky

Its cold tears washed my face

And thunder rolled as my own dripped

It knew how I was feeling

But I know that you’ll come back

To make more memories,

To laugh even more

And I also know that come rain or shine,

I’ll still love you and you’ll still love me

Saturday, 16th September 2017

p/s: Photo of The Pawsome Lion, 3 years old – by Mr Dad © 2009