A Promised Land

Aaaaand, it’s here folks!

A Promised Land

I picked up the copy that I had reserved at Blackwell’s on Broad Street in Oxford. It’s a shame that they’re only allowed to open a counter at the front door, I would’ve loved to be able to read it over a cup of coffee at the Caffè Nero upstairs.

Excitement level: stratospheric!

The Atlantic’s Interview With Barack Obama

There was a time when I was genuinely interested in politics. This was back in 2005 or so, when I was in my second year of medical school. The previous year, a young state senator had given a speech during the Democratic National Convention in America, a speech so powerful it catalysed a movement that would eventually culminate in him becoming President of the United States of America.

Watching Barack Obama, who once described himself as a ‘skinny kid with a funny name’, overcome multiple challenges with dignity made me think that perhaps I too, should stop complaining and start making some real contributions on my nation’s political stage.

Was I too naive? Perhaps.

Fast forward to 2020 (the long-awaited year when Malaysia was supposed to have achieved ‘Wawasan 2020’), and politics has become a bit of a joke, an avenue for trolling others as well as a platform for self-promotion. Who would’ve thought that the former Prime Minister of Malaysia would go on to become the nation’s biggest internet troll? Malu apa, bossku? Like I said, it’s a joke.

Speaking of jokes, here’s one:

Question

Name the top two ministers in Malaysia.

Answer

1) Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Dr Noor Hisham bin Abdullah
2) Ustaz Ebit Lew.

Harsh, but also true to a certain extent…

And yet, and yet…a part of me still wants to believe that good people should strive to lead. Leadership doesn’t just mean going into politics. We need leaders in all fields.

That’s why I’m very much looking forward to reading Obama’s forthcoming presidential memoir A Promised Land. I’ve always wondered what Obama thinks of his legacy. In his latest interview with The Atlantic, Obama spoke of how he chose to carry himself during his time in office:

Part of what you’re sensing here are times when I make decisions to be gracious, when I assume the best in people, not because I’m naive but because this is how I choose to operate in the world, because I think the world would be better if more people operated that way. Sometimes I fall short and am disappointed in myself, but at least I think it’s important to be anchored in ethics and morality and basic human decency in how you behave.

I think A Promised Land will be a very enlightening read indeed.

Python @ Microsoft

Guido van Rossum, creator of the Python programming language, has come out of retirement to join the Developer Division at Microsoft.

Although I’m an Apple enthusiast (no use denying it), I like the way Microsoft is increasingly embracing open technologies. I’m barely a script kiddie when it comes to Python, but it really is a fun language to learn. It’ll be interesting to see what comes out of this collaboration.

The fact that Microsoft, of all companies, is becoming more open-source friendly is not that surprising when you consider the sort of things they’ve been doing recently. But like John Gruber says on Daring Fireball:

Historically speaking, though, it’s unimaginable. If you took a time machine back to 2000 and told a crowd of Python enthusiasts that in 2020 Guido van Rossum would be working at Microsoft, half of them wouldn’t believe you and the other half would pass out.

More Colours of Autumn

One of the reasons why I am so keen on documenting the beauty of Oxford is because I hope to inspire in other people the desire, and also the belief, that they too, can make it here. Despite being thousands of miles away from my family, despite being in yet another ‘lockdown’, I consider myself lucky to be able to go for a quick walk in these surroundings.

The setting occasionally reminds me of the movie Sleepy Hollow, especially when I see the gnarly trees, foggy mornings, and mist flowing over the river.

Nature has a way of healing the heart. One wonders if the world would be such a crazy place if more people were closer to nature. Definitely something I need to remind myself to teach my kids when they get here inshaAllah.

Anyway, here are some more pictures from my short walk near the river today.

For more pictures, check out my earlier post: Colours of Autumn

Lockdown 2.0

Here we go again.

But in the end, it’s only a passing thing…this shadow.
Even darkness must pass.
A new day will come.
And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer.

Samwise Gamgee, SR 1380-1482