A Poet, Singer and Fighter: K'NAAN

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Hello there it has been awhile since my last post (almost more than 6 months actually)
Yeap, it has been that long. 

Okay, so I'm going to share with you guys a wonderful figure. I have never really been a big fan of celebrities and all, but hey, there's nothing absolute in this world after all.

K'NAAN

To those who have no idea who K'naan (actual name: Keinan Abdi Warsame) is, he was the dude who sang Wavin' Flag for 2010 FIFA World Cup. 

Anyway, I didn't really know much about this guy until my English teacher, Ms Charis Lo, introduced a song to the whole class 2 years ago. The song's title is, 'Take a Minute'

I LOVE the lyrics of this song. It's like a well-written poem that is simple yet has a deep message to it.

TAKE A MINUTE

The first part of the song goes,

'And any man who knows a thing knows he knows not a damn, damn thing at all'

To me it says: Those who are wise realize that there are many things that they don't understand and can't explain. The more you know, the more you realize that there are more things you don't know. How there are killings and genocide that unfortunately still happen in our world today- and you don't know why.
Or when you start studying for a test and you realize there are more things you don't know

'How did Mandela get the will to surpass the everyday
When injustice had him caged and trapped in every way?
How did Gandhi ever withstand the hunger strikes and all?
Didn't do it to gain power or money if I recall'
Here he talked a bit about famous figures who fight for rights like Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi who have sacrificed so much. He gave rhetorical questions asking where did Mandela and Gandhi receive the will power to do what they did? What made anyone keep going strong even though he may be imprisoned for 27 years or went through a 21-day hunger strike?
'It's to give, I guess, I'll pass it on
Mother thinks it'll lift the stress of Babylon
Mother knows, my mother she suffered blows
I don't know how we survived such violent episodes'
Then he concluded that giving was the reason some people like Mandela and Gandhi could stay strong amidst everything- to give is the theme of this song. He started to talk about his mother and how she was the one who inspired him to give in the first place. K'naan was born in Mogadishu, Somalia. Yes, the same Mogadishu in Battle of Mogadishu (one of the bloodiest battle, look it up here). Somalia was torn due to an outbreak of civil war. K'naan and his family also experienced the effect of this war, and he expressed both his gratitude and confusion on how they were able to survive it all.

P.S. I don't know what this part of lyrics mean, '...stress of Babylon'. I only know that Babylon is a symbol of state and power, but I still can't find the exact purpose of it in this song. Anyone who has a clue, please comment!
'I was so worried and hurt to see you bleed
But as soon as you came out the hospital you gave me sweets
Yeah, they try to take you from me
But you still only gave 'em some prayers and sympathy'
As a child he was worried to see his mom got beaten up badly. Despite all that, his mom remained loving and caring. Gangsters or/and warlords tried to kill his mom, but still she prayed for them. Here we can see how K'naan respected his mom so much.
'Dear mama, you helped me write this
By showing me to give is priceless'
Thanks to his mom, he understands the true meaning of giving. You should totally check out the whole song. It's a beautiful story captured in a poem/song.


FATIMA

At first I thought it was a love song. This happened when he was still young, just 12 and a quarter years' old. He describes how he fell in love with his neighbor's daughter, her name is Fatima. They went to school together and made plan to go to New York City when they're older. He thinks that she's one of the most beautiful girl he had ever seen. They appeared to like each other too.

K'naan and his family got a visa to USA and they were planning to move out from Mogadishu. 3 days after he left, he found out that Fatima died since a gunman shot her. Civil war was ongoing in Somalia and civilians often became the victims.
'Fatima, what did the young man say
Before he stole you away on that fateful day?
Fatima 
Fatima, did he know your name
Or the plans we made
To go to New York City?'
This even shows how violence was so bad, people kill innocent people- even women and children. It can be so devastating how everyone can be gone in an instant.

'Is it true when they say all you need is just love?
(Is it true?)
What about those who have loved
Only to find that it's taken away? 
Damn you shooter, damn you the building
Whose walls hid the blood she was spillin'
Damn you country so good at killin'
Damn you feelin' for persevering' 

His songs are mostly depict what life is like in a war-torn country. His songs that deeply resemble poems- just... beautiful. You've got to listen to them yourself, yo!

Take a Minute


Fatima

Why is he an inspiration to me? He's one of those rappers whose songs make sense and have meanings in them. I mean many singers nowadays talk only about sex, money, alcohol, drugs, party and all those stuffs. That's cool, maybe some people do enjoy them, not me though.

'She's got a big booty so I call her big booty'. We've got an einsten over here.
Ahem, anyway back to K'naan...
He wished nothing but for Somalia to be peaceful. Thanks to him, more people are aware of what's going on in our world and to have a glimpse to his life.




Doesn't it make you a tiny bit grateful, no? To think that most of us live in peace and abundance, yet we often complain about what we don't have is... kind of embarrassing. I adore those people who care about the things and lives around them. To be aware is one thing, to fight for what's right is another thing. K'naan fights for peace with his music.

Not only Somalia that's in trouble. Palestine, Syria, Occupied Territories, Indonesia, Thailand, Egypt and so many places in this world that are in trouble.

What can we do to help?

_____________________________________

On the side note, my blog is under maintenance. I want to change its template but I still don't know what I should change it into. I want to use my own stuffs and not download it from the internet (but hey that's what i'm doing now). Please bear with it while I'm looking for a good one ey? Thanks for reading!






What H1 History subject means to me.

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HEY
It has been a super long time since the last time I actually posted anything here.

Life has been super busy, and it is kind of difficult for me to just find a time and the mood to post anything in the blog. Feel kind of guilty for not writing anything for so long.

So yeah, long story short, I started writing this post a week before my major examination. Hahaha, the things that you do when you are supposed to study.

Ahem, yeah I should actually. In my defense, I WAS studying.

Yeap, definitely studying hard.


This blog post is sort of a self-reflection on the reasons why I chose history and what are some struggles that I'm facing now due to that decision that I took.

_____________

How it all started

I take History for my minor in A level. Note that when I wrote minor, it doesn't necessarily mean it's unimportant- it is STILL IMPORTANT. (History contributes to 10 points out of 90 total points)

From the beginning of last year, I was so certain about choosing History as one of my subjects. Most of my friends will take Physics, Chemistry, Math and Economics. If not, they will take Biology instead of Physics.

Farewell to this kind of questions (and the harder ones muahahaha)


Honestly, I didn't know what went through my mind when I chose History; or maybe it was the result of me excluding physics from my combination; or maybe it was me wanting to start afresh. Back then, I was sure that I wanted to take History. Some people would consider the college's performance in that particular subject as a part of decision making, but thinking back it didn't even cross my mind. I never really knew where I got that confidence from.

Well, one year later things have gotten tougher.

Sad to say, but the fast-paced and stressful education system has the ability to make any subject you are passionate about into the most boring and annoying subject ever- especially in JC Level.

What's this crap.

It's fairly common to find friends of mine losing interest in what used to be interesting to them. The demanding requirements from the examination plus the (in my opinion) unreasonable amount of time given to accomplish them are just the perfect combination to extinguish any flame of passion for anything.

That does not exclude me, I got bored of History.

This became more and more apparent this year when we stopped studying the Cold War (or should I say, no more Gorbachev to be seen in the topics after Cold War).

The new topic is something more abstract, it's about Religious Fundamentalism. How certain conditions and factors can lead to the rise of religious fundamentalism and what are the impact of it. Next, the topic focuses on the Arab- Israeli War. These are all things that seem foreign to me.

All the terms (Shah, Zionist, etc.),
The countries involved (Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Israel, Egypt, Palestine),
The events (First Intifada, Camp David Agreements, 6 Days War, Yom Kippur War)
The new faces (Arafat, Sadat, Nasser)
The different organizations (Hamas, Hezbollah, PLO)

I'm listing some of the things that I'm studying now to portray how many things one needs to know. It felt as if all of these information was being shoved into my brain. Honestly really, it was crazy how one organization could split into two or three mini organizations, or how one event led into one or more events in different phase of time. I struggled to understand all of these things.

Worse still, the vision of A level is becoming nearer, and the fact that I have to write 4 essays in a full 3 hours scares me. It really does. Moreover, realizing that my language is not as magnificent as my peers who take History intimidates me. I began to lose myself in lectures, not being able to keep up with what was being discussed in lessons anymore.

I'm kind of baffled (and amused at the same time) how History tests always have 'unique' timing. One time it was together with chemistry paper, another time it was with economics paper, and now it is before June Holiday (All other subjects have their tests after the June Holiday). I found out during my actual 'A' Level examination it is also held on the same day with Chemistry paper- oh, well.

So, with all of these things in mind, I began to question my motive of learning history- for the first time. It is not hard to pass, but it is VERY difficult to excel in it.

JC1:
A (my teacher was being nice), E, C, D

JC2:
C, (?), (?)

A Level:
(???)

I started to wonder if I made a mistake. Part of me wondered whether I could score better if I had taken another subject, part of me was guilty for even thinking that way.  All these thoughts finally got me. At one point, I stopped listening, I stopped loving History.

Well, not until just now.

I forced myself to pick up what I've left behind now that exam is nearing. I began to flip through my notes- it was hard, all of those words mean nothing to me. I kept forcing myself to read through all of them, highlighting some words if necessary. Searching for the meaning and definition of one word and another.

Internet is a big help to me- especially in studying History. I could look up for detailed explanations of one event, and I could seek for other people's opinions regarding of the events listed in my lecture notes. Without knowing that a couple of hours have passed, I finally finished reading the lecture notes.

After that few hours, I instantly felt happy. After a few months of not studying History, I felt like I have regained my interest back.

History teaches us about lives before we were born.

Stalin's Purges 


The World War II, the Cold War. The great leaders with amazing personalities. The civil wars that are still persisting even until today.

And what's great about studying History is that it's not limited to studying your lecture notes. You develop your skills by actually finding more things outside your notes.

While learning History, I witnessed times when some great figures were criticized for what they believed in. However, they did not care. It taught me that it is okay to fight against the current or to dream.

Winston Churchill is an example

Fidel Castro is another one


History also gives us hope, that changes are possible. The past has seen the abolishment of slavery, the end of cold war,  and the end of apartheid in South Africa.

Gorbachev (left) and Reagan (Right)

It also taught us how we have progressed together as human beings, how different yet how similar we are to our predecessors. How we are prone to repeat the mistake that they once made.

It taught us that despite our different cultures and races, we share the same past.

History offers the beauty of knowledge. It gives us information on origins of so many things happening today. Sometimes what happens around us seems to not make any sense. We will then choose to ignore them or maybe blindly follow them. Learning history ables us to have our own personal opinion on what's going on because we understand and know why things are the way they are.


So yeah, what does taking H1 History mean to me? For me it is an opportunity to be interested in something that I wouldn't have thought before. I am not confident of how my grade is going to be but, in the end I know that I'll just be grateful for this luxury of studying something that I love.


This is a very nerdy blog-post, huh? :))

A Week To Remember

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Hey, I know it has been a long long long time since the last time I posted anything here. I should be ashamed of myself, shouldn't I?

Well, it's 2013. I must tell you that so far life's really good. Especially this week.

Chinese New Year and Valentine.

So many things happened, and not everything was a good thing. However, I feel so lucky because of certain someone.

Thank you, yeah, you. I really love being around you and thanks for all the things that you've done for me.

Now I feel like some kind of random teenage girl. HAHA.

Oh well, there's nothing much to write. See you again soon.