Project 365

Welcome! This is my own 365 project of creating at least one post per day about the stuff that I learnt, achieved, and found, the stuff that made me happy, or the new thing I did every single day.

The project was started on 21 February 2010. It has stopped for few times but I am determined to continue!

This project is dedicated to myself. I want to feel grateful for every single thing I have. I want to be thankful for my own life. I just want to feel that I have enough.

Tag: saudi arabia

A Visit To KAUST

I had been wanting to go to King Abdullah University of Science & Technology (KAUST) for so long and I was so happy that today I had a chance to go there with my whole family!

It was such a HUGE campus! The moment we stepped in, I was already amazed by its size and the fact that it had its own golf course! Super cool!

Golf course!  The campus

Then there was a cozy library with its beautiful view of the Red Sea! The tall structure seen below was actually a lighthouse!

KAUST Library

Everything was so new, clean, shiny, and cozy!

at the building of Museum of Science and Technology in Islam   Student Center

Without the help of these Indonesian students who studied at KAUST, we wouldn’t be able to visit this campus! Thanks to them, I got to discover a lot of cool things about KAUST. I’ll write more about it in my primary blog! Stay tuned! 🙂

with the Indonesian KAUST students

At least, there’s something to be grateful about with my flight being delayed! Hehehe.

Then & Now

Life is somehow full of irony. Full of surprises. Let us go back in time 14 years ago. It is now 1996, Junior High School.

I sit in the back seat of the class, not too excited to hear the lesson given by my teacher. I can barely hear what she is trying to say, anyway! The class is too crowded. Everyone is busy with their own thing. Chatting. Drawing. Making jokes. The teacher does not seem to care. She is giving a lesson to the three pupils in front of her. And she probably thinks that we does not exist.

The class is getting more like a fish market rather than a place to get someone educated. The boys are getting so bored that they keep on teasing us and making us annoyed. I have been in the same class with them for years and I know how naughty they are! They love to mess around with us and the teachers! Being punished in front of the class becomes their daily food. And they do not have a slight regret about it!

… and let us go forward to the future. It is now 2010. Andalus Mall, Jeddah.

Here they are! We are all reunited once again. I have not seen them since God knows when. We talk about relationship, love, life, work, and many random issues. Damn, it has been so long. They all have changed! They have surely grown up. I can no longer see a naughty boy who likes to get into troubles, but I can only see a man. A good man with a good heart and responsibilities await :).

I am curious of what kind of future we are all going to end up in. What will we become in 10 years?

* Such a great day with some friends! Thanks all 🙂

Still Trapped

  • My little brother “officially” became my driver today! He drove my mom and I to a mall nearby. I sat on the back seat and refused to look at the road as I freaked out so easily and it might mess up his concentration! 😛 He hasn’t got a driver license yet, but in Saudi Arabia, kids as young as 15 get behind the wheel. As long as my brother is accompanied by adults and he obeys the traffic rules, the police won’t catch him 😀
  • My Saudi residence permit is still in the process and I have lost my patience! I am supposed to go back this Thursday but it seems like I have to extend my stay here. I can’t do anything. I am trapped! I was thinking of ending my permit all together, but my dad said it’s too late already. All I can do now is to wait 🙁
  • I have terminated my house contract in Eindhoven and I’m moving out by the end of October! Not too excited about it but I’m so grateful that I found a cheaper place to stay! 🙂 The new house is located near AH XL (the big supermarket) although yes, it’s 15 minutes by bike to my campus. I am okay with it. The only thing I’m worried about is cycling during winter! It’s going to be a big challenge! Oh, well… nothing I can do about it!
  • My friends told me that Eindhoven is getting colder and colder. It reached as low as 6 degrees Celsius at night! Brrr… I gotta be ready! Oh I can’t wait to go back! I miss my bike. I miss everything there! :-S

Haram Mosque


Alhamdulillah, I went to perform Umrah today. The mosque was too beautiful. The clock had ticked. It was magnificent. But, to be honest, I like Mekkah the way it used to be. All the old buildings. Traditional and modest.

All I could see now was extravagance and luxury. It’s too much. Too commercial. And that’s not what Islam is about. That’s not what Mekkah is about.

Street Terrorism in Saudi Arabia


  • Saudi Arabia has the highest car accident death rate in the world
  • 17 deaths on average occurred daily because of traffic accidents
  • In 2009, 6,485 died in car accidents in Saudi Arabia, while 4,644 died in Iraq because of terrorist attacks

I beg to everyone… please, please drive within speed limit and obey the traffic rules!

The Search of A Word

In Saudi Arabia, black people are called takruni. These people have lived here for many years and generations, that some of them do not even know their country of origin anymore. They have no idea where they come from. They speak Arabic and live mainly on the streets, searching for bottles and cans in trash bins to be exchanged with money.

My brother asked me today, where did the word takruni come from? He was so curious that he started googling it. In the beginning we searched takroni and takrooni but found none. After googling and wiki-ing (?) for a while, we found the answer.

Takruni is derived from Takrur, which was an ancient kingdom of West Africa, including much of Ghana and Senegal and the western Sahara desert. Takruni refers to the people of this kingdom. Other known forms of takruni are Takarin, Takarna, Takruri, and Takarir. It is believed that the earliest West African Muslims to be seen in the Middle East in recognizable numbers may have come from that state.

The “Civilized” Society. Yeah, right…

Taken from the book Saudi Arabia Exposed: Inside a Kingdom in Crisis by John R. Bradley. One of the best books that I encountered, discussing about Saudi Arabia and its society.

The Saudi Labor Law does not define any rights and duties of the employer of domestic staff, who are in effect his slaves. Of course, not all employers are deliberately cruel or abusive. Many are merely casually so. They believe what they have been told for decades: that theirs is a perfect society and that they, as a consequence, are more completely civilized than anyone else. Quite innocently, they regard their maids and drivers as lesser humans, born in filth and ignorance, who should be grateful for the opportunity to serve them.

I’ve heard too many abuse and mistreatment stories from firsthand victims. Upon reading the book, there’s nothing surprising that I found. Everything seemed to be familiar. It’s 2010 and Saudis (including other Arabs) still treat their maids like their slaves. It saddens me. How can they do such things to other human beings?!

If… the despised Asian blue-collar workers left en masse, the country would collapse overnight. Garbage would pile high in the streets, families would go hungry, restaurants would close, goods would remain undelivered and rot, and the water supply would stop. There would be no more farming the desert, no transport, no fixing and filling the all-important cars, no air-conditioning, no lighting the streets, no repairing of roads. There would be no trade in anything but sheep and camels, and the wind would whistle through deserted markets. And the sick, injured, and dying would pile up in the corridors of hospitals, if they somehow managed to make it there.

They extremely depend on us, yet they are not able to show us the slightest gratitude. Is that an example of a so-called civilized society?

At Chili’s

Towards the 5th day of Eid, heavy meals were not served anymore. Instead, desserts and some Eid cookies were served. So after doing house-hopping, we were left with an empty stomach. My siblings wanted to eat at Chili’s, so we ended up going there. I wasn’t a big fan of Western foods and one of my purposes of going to Jeddah was to eat Middle Eastern foods! But, oh well, I had to follow the majority vote.

Shrimp & Steak Cajun Steak Fajita

Being with a family is luxury. That’s all I can say 🙂

Eid: 4th Day

Today was my family’s turn for an open house! There were plenty of foods! 40+ guests came to our house. It was a busy day for all of us :).

Foods! Desserts! My sis, bro, and I

The last guest went back at around 11.30pm. And we had to do cleaning up until around 1am! Phew! What a day!