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Life is a Challenge (Part 2)
Written by Ismail Hassan   


In the first part of this story I wrote about the problem faced by my son who was at that time making plans for his advanced studies abroad.  His A-Level grades were not completely reported and as a result his university admission status was put on hold. His Mathematics grade, considered the most crucial item in the decision for his university admission, was red-flagged to indicate that there was a problem.

The raw scores for seven separate mathematics papers of that one Mathematics subject were reported individually but they were not converted and aggregated into a single standard grade. And because of that he was exposed to the risk of missing important deadlines which put his plans in jeopardy. Today I will continue with the second part of the story.

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Life is a Challenge (Part 1)
Written by Ismail Hassan   


In my previous piece Structure, Qualifier, and Randomness I mentioned that I stopped writing momentarily from the middle of August up until the end of 2014. That writing inactivity was worth about 30,000 unwritten words. I loosely claimed that the condition back then wasn't favorable for me to indulge in my useless random ramblings and I gave the convenient excuse that I had to attend to more pressing issues.

Yes it is true indeed that I had more important and urgent matters to deal with; however, that excuse was purposely extended to hide my declining drive and passion to write. Like an old rusty car that lost its momentum after slowing down too much, I too lost my pace when my writing activities became infrequent and sporadic. It slowed down so much that it eventually lost its strength and then it stopped completely. I only managed to restart my rusty brain after much coaxing, cajoling, and pushing. I suppose that's my subtle and winding way of saying that I actually turned lazy. And being the typical me who would use any excuse to avoid work, I conveniently chose to remain dormant.

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The Blueberry Cake
Written by Ismail Hassan   

A week ago was my wife's birthday, but I wish to say at the onset that I'm not writing about her or about her birthday. I'm smart enough to know how sensitive women are when it comes to the question of age. I have accumulated enough wisdom from 25 years of marriage to recognize that women and ascending numbers don't mix well so it is best that I keep a safe distance between myself and this delicate matter. A brief mention about her birthday is necessary because the story I am about to share is somewhat related to it. For the record I bought her a blueberry cake.

When it comes to family birthdays, our simple celebrations are usually very private and personal. They typically involve just the six of us: my four sons, my wife, and me. The celebrations are very modest with a simple birthday cake at tea time and dinner with the family a bit later.

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Structure, Qualifier, and Randomness
Written by Ismail Hassan   

Some people say I’m a structured person. A few even label me as being hopelessly schematic. I cannot be totally sure why, but I suppose it could be from what seems to be my rigid and bureaucratic way of doing things sometimes. They say I’m not free-spirited or laidback enough to be capable of random behavior. They allege that I act too deliberately and very predictably rather than randomly and spontaneously. Perhaps there is truth in their claims since most of my actions are indeed cautious, planned, slow, and restrained.

I’m not certain if they are complimenting or condemning my behavior since being structured can be both good and bad. But judging from their facial expression, I'm more inclined to think it is the latter. But being the person that I am, I'm not too bothered with what people say or think about me so I just let it be and go on with my life. This carefree attitude of not putting any concern in other people’s opinion about me has its positives and negatives too; but that's another story altogether.  I'll reserve that story and share it at some other time. For now let's talk about this structured thingy and associate it with the  focus of this story.

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