Friday, 27 November 2009

Aidil Adha, Melaka dan London

Hari Raya Qorban kali ini berlainan daripada yang sebelum ini.

Mungkin tak beza mana untuk keluarga aku. Except that this is the first time Mus (my brother in-law) celebrates Aidil Adha with us as a family. Also, this year Nek Chu celebrates raya without any of her children. Only her nephews and nieces, and of course cucu-cucu saudara. I know she feels sad, but she hides it quite well.

Raya ini juga, menelanjangkan dua lagi sifat keluarga di sebelah ayah aku.

"Sedihlah Kak Midah tak balik."

"Kenapa sedih?" asked my mother.

"Yelah, anak-anak Ani, dua-dua tu dia balik. Dua-dua anak si Enon pun dia balik. Anak Akak, dua-dua dia tak balik."

"Aku tak kesah. Asalkan dia, laki bini, anak beranak sihat wal'afiat, aku tumpang gembira. Kalau diorang nak balik, RM10,000 pun belum tentu cukup. Tiket lagi, wang belanja lagi, nak belanja korang makan ikan bakar lagi."

Mak saudara aku terdiam!

That's what I admire about my beloved mother. She sees the positive side of everything. Always! I hope I could emulate this trait of her. And she knows how to respond to such remark, intelligently.

Another ugly trait of my other aunt was due to ribbon. Yeap, betul tu reben. Aku pun malas nak ulas panjang. Tapi memang sejak dulu lagi, dia ni memang tak boleh tengok orang lain lebih. Aku pun dah alah dengan perangainya.

Aku pun nasihat adik-adik aku, "Udahlah... beli sahaja reben baru. Lagipun reben tu bukan milik kita pun, biarpun empunya sudah 'wakaf'kan lebihan reben itu kepada kita. Mungkin dia nak gunakan barang percuma itu untuk majlis perkahwinan anak dia, setahun dua lagi."

Sama-samalah kita menghayati kisah korban Nabi Ibrahim dan Nabi Ismail. May Allah bless us with more rahmat, berkat and joy. Aamin.

Selamat menyambut hari raya aidil adha.

Monday, 16 November 2009

A Voyage of Discovery

Another good weekend!

Aku menumpang kumpulan Makang Anging, yang kehilangan seorang ahlinya. Bermula dari Lanai Kijang, Kuala Lumpur santak ke Awana Kijal, Terengganu. Pengembaraan tersebut memakan masa kurang lebih 8 jam.

Thanks to Din, Rosman and Nizam for roping me in. Merasa juga menginap di Awana Kijal. It's indeed a nice resort. Cuma kekurangan masa. Teringin sangat untuk melawat ke sebuah kampung bagi melihatkan kecantikan koloni kunang-kunang.

Mungkin kena datang lagi! Jom kawan-kawan...

Dan alhamdulillah, dapatlah juga hadiah sagu hati. Dan dapat juga lepak-lepak dengan Fendy dan Dini. Dini... jangan buat macam tu lagi tau! Bahaya!

Sekalung tahniah kepada penganjur Kijang Treasure Hunt 2009. Once again, you guys had put up a good event! Maybe BSN, LHDN and other could learn more from the Persatuan Kakitangan on how to organise an impactful treasure hunt contest so that the Inter-Finance Treasure Hunt contest in the future would be more fun and professionally run.

Tapi aku rasa pemenang untuk Best Dressed category tu agak keterlaluan lah. Do you think so?

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Welcome Wan, Selamat Datang As!

Had lunch with two new DFEans, Wan and As at the Staff Centre yesterday afternoon. Thanks Juita for driving Wan, As and I to the marvelous Lanai Kijang. We were also joined by Sherina, Shahrul, Kak Mai and Raizon.

Satu kafe penuh gelak tawa kami yang cuba nasib untuk "memesrakan" Wan. Si Wan ni baru balik dari United Kingdom. Begitu juga As, yang belajar di Dublin.

Talking about Dublin, oh my... I miss Dublin - especially the people. They are totally the opposite of the Brits. They are more friendly, sincere and more importantly, they are better looking than the Brits. Well, everyone scores better than Britons in look department. Do you think so? Hehehe...

I had the healthy Club House Stack with a glass of watermelon juice, with NO ice. So predictable, kan? Sherina and Shahrul even had Lamb Shack, a dish on the menu which I never look at. Yeap, I still do not eat kambing! Why? Personal belief.

Okey, once again, welcome on board Wan and As. Feel free to join me singing and gediking in our beloved department. Of course I'm serious! ;-)

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Wong Chun Wai vs. Mujahid Yusof Rawa

Article I by Wong Chun Wai (first published on The Star)
The liberal lifestyle enjoyed by Malaysians is at stake if they support PAS leaders who, with their flowing robes and turbans, cut deals for power and position just like any other politician.
IT’S incredulous. PAS Members of Parliament and State Assemblymen have been compelled to take an oath to divorce their wives if they quit or jump to another party.

The news, which has been a hot topic in the political and media circle, has kicked off a controversy.

Even Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad, who is regarded as a moderate in the conservative party, does not see why anyone would want to question what PAS is doing.

It is perfectly acceptable to him. He has been quoted as saying that the oath is not against Islamic teachings as Prophet Muhammad and his companions also did the same thing and were willing to sacrifice their families and belongings.

But others, including religious scholars, have shot down the argument, saying the Prophet’s companions did not do that because of politics.

Perak Mufti Datuk Seri Hussani Zakaria explained the oath was made by the companions to show their loyalty and to defend the Prophet.

“If we want to take an oath for the sake of the party, then divorcing wives should not come into the picture,” he said.

Even the Malaysian Muslim Lawyers Asso­ciation has questioned the mind-blowing decision of PAS.

But this is what happens when politics is mixed with religion; for that matter, problems too arise when politics and business are not separated.

There was a time when PAS labelled Umno as infidel because of the latter’s partnership with the MCA and the MIC.

PAS leaders and followers, especially in Kelantan and Terengganu, refused to pray in the same mosque as Umno members. Even marriages with Umno members were shunned.

But now, PAS is openly working with the DAP, PKR and even Parti Sosialis Malaysia. So, politics is essentially expedient in nature, not about religion, as PAS leaders would want its members to believe.

The reality is that PAS leaders, behind the flowing robes, turbans and beards, are just politicians who can cut deals for power and position.

Being able to walk the corridors of power in Putrajaya is a tempting goal, whether it is via cooperating with Umno or PKR.

It has showed that its leaders are quite prepared to work with Umno for purported Muslim unity after telling its non-Muslim listeners that Umno is a communal party.

But PAS is also consistent on certain issues. As much as it wants to win over non-Muslim votes, exploiting their resentment against Umno, it has been unable to fully convince the non-Muslims of their readiness to shed their orthodox slant.

The liberal lifestyle enjoyed by Malaysians is at stake if progressive and liberal forces continue to lose their battle.

Gaming and drinking liquor may be frowned upon by all religions but democracy is also about the right to make choices. We have the right to decide for ourselves whether we want to drink or not. If the sale of beer is restricted, as pursued by PAS, would it be followed with wine as the next step?

Wine is used in many churches as part of the Eucharist, a commemoration of Jesus’ Last Supper with his disciples before his arrest and crucifixion.

PAS has put it plainly that it wants to set up a Saudi Arabian-style Islamic state, including chipping away the secular aspect of the Federal Constitution. If non-Muslim supporters continue to strengthen PAS, they are doing so with their eyes open.

The people of Iran overthrew the corrupt Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi monarchy in 1979 because they were against the excesses of his regime. They replaced him with Ayatollah Ruhallah Khomeini, whose return from exile was greeted by millions of Iranians.

Today, the idealistic young set of Iran has found that you have to be careful with what you wish for. Human rights continue to be violated and polls rigged with theologians holding on to power in the name of religion.

In Malaysia, non-Muslims who question PAS leaders have been told to shut up because they are not qualified to debate due to their lack of knowledge on Islam or simply because they are not Muslims.

Activists like Sisters in Islam can tell you the kind of harassment they have to face simply because their liberal views do not match the views of those who push the conservative line.

We are still struggling to open up the demo­cratic space, and discourse often degenerates to name calling and threats, especially in the blogosphere, often by those hiding behind anonymity.

When civil issues become entangled with religious concerns, the debate becomes even more emotional and often the louder ones drown out their opponents.

Even former Perlis Mufti Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin, despite his Islamic credentials, has found out how vicious those who evoke rules and regulations in the name of religion can be.

But those who use God’s name should beware that they too can suffer a similar fate because they are mere mortals like everyone else.

Article II by Mujahid Yusof Rawa (first published on The Malaysian Insider)
I am responding to an article by Wong Chun Wai in The Sunday Star, Nov 8 on page F 25, under his column, “On The Beat”.

This is not the first time I have read Wong’s writing. Other articles he wrote carry the sense of “responsible journalism” as he is very straightforward in his articulation of the social-economic and political happenings in this country. He does write a lot about accountability and transparency and is a critic of racial politics.

Although I do not share all his thoughts, I was taught by my religious upbringing, i.e. Islam, to respect other people’s opinions and listen although they may be contrary to your understanding. This is called in the discipline of Islamic knowledge as “I’lmu al ikhtilaf”, the science of conflict in thoughts.

Long before democracy was introduced as a political system in the West, the Islamic Civilisation has taught the world the necessities to have different ideas and thought and so knowledge bloomed and thoughts flourished. Although some are influenced by earlier Greek thinking and philosophies, there was no stop to the growth of knowledge.

That was why Islam was accepted, beside the strength of its faith that attracts the oppressed under racial and ethnic annihilation of the ruling elites. I do not need to elucidate further as the testimony of history has spoken. I wish Wong and others can accept the Islamic contribution to the civilised world today as the lists are too long to fit in this small piece of writing.

A Chinese friend (not a Muslim) alerted me yesterday to Wong’s article and urged me to read it. This morning, I had the chance to do so and feel it is my responsibility to correct some misunderstanding of his thinking on Islam.

I would not indulge in defending my party – PAS – but I’m more interested to rebut Wong’s narrow interpretation of Islam and his misrepresentation of incidents and happenings that have a direct implication of labelling Islam as backward and irrelevant to the modern world.

He kicked off with Khalid Samad’s “shocking revelation” on the oath issue, but Wong did not deliberate further and was content with comments from the Perak Mufti and the Malaysian Muslim Lawyer Association.

At the end of the bit on the oath issue he concluded with something like “Politics and Religion cannot mix”. I cannot understand why his kick off ended with no conclusion of the problem but came out with a very fundamental misrepresentation of Islam, based on the notion of “Secular Worldview”.

As long as the line of thinking behind Wong’s interpretation of Islam is based on the cut-and-paste thought of “Western Secular Philosophies” which stemmed from the Enlightenment Era, I find it difficult to convince otherwise because Islamic worldly need was not built on the antithesis of faith and the world but Islam maintained the synthesis of the two.

The Enlightenment Era developed against the backdrop of anti-religion feelings which, through the eyes of the thinking elite, was the reason for backwardness. So, they built their writings and thoughts on the axis of doing away with faith or religion in relation to worldly needs and concluded that faith should be limited into a private corner of one’s life and let the rational mind run the worldly need.

I’m not surprised if this is Wong’s premise of thought and I would presume he would have a lot of fatal mistakes in his effort to understand my party’s thought about politics!

I was also surprised to read his description of PAS leaders “… who, with their flowing robes and turbans, cut deals for power and position just like any other politician ….”

I do not know what his intention was, whether he was trying to highlight the flowing robes and turbans, or PAS’s strategy to come into power? If he was highlighting robes and turbans, he was definitely trying to signal something else because there is nothing strange about a political party making deals in accession to power.

Is it wrong for PAS, as a registered and legal political party that believes in democracy as a mean to come into power, to make deals and offer people its political manifesto?

Unless Wong’s objective is to push “religion and politics cannot mix” as his prime thought, I can’t understand why other parties can make deals in the quest for power and PAS cannot, because PAS maintains that Islam is a synthesis of Politics and Religion!

Note the word “synthesis”, there is a whole lot of explanation there if Wong would spare some time in the library and read more on the notion of the synthesis Islam offered as a way of life to fulfill one’s needs of the world and the hereafter.

Wong’s allegation on PAS’s commitment to Democracy and the Federal Constitution is outdated and purposely creates confusion among the readers, especially the non-Malays, and intentionally gives a negative impression that PAS is outside the framework of the constitution and called for something alien to fellow Malaysians. And, what’s this about Saudi Arabian style? (I thought it was Taliban style!)

Wake up, Wong! You have a lot of catching up to do on the beat! And are you telling readers that Malaysians, among them Chinese and Indians (not all are Muslims), who voted for PAS are voting for a formation of Saudi style and chipping away secular aspects of the Constitution?For the record, they voted PAS because of its moral standing and clear view to bring Malaysians together to fight corruption, and because they loath the BN’s way of doing things.

They did not vote PAS because PAS is forming a Saudi-style government and chipping away secular aspects of the Constitution! Praise be to God that, because PAS is an Islamic Party, the moral ground we enjoy is shared by the Malaysians today (I mean all Malaysians, not just Malays and Muslims).

Finally the notion of a Liberal society that Wong was espousing is another issue. What is defined as “Liberal”? Is it a concept where religion has no political and societal role? Or is it a concept where Parallelism is the basis of toleration? Where does Liberalism stem from?

Can our society today be formed in a cut-and-paste style from the western perspective? Don’t we have our own way of blending what kind of society we want? What about the backdrop of our Constitution that stipulates Islam as the Federal religion? What about Raja-raja Melayu as the symbol of Islam and its’ authority? What about the rights of other voters who wants Islam to be integral part of the multiracial society, how do you address these questions?

I would believe Wong’s articulative nature will not deprive him of the right to also address any one of these questions before he can come to a conclusion that “the liberal lifestyle enjoyed by all Malaysians is at stake if progressive and liberal forces continue to lose their battle”.

The only thing I agree with in his writing was the last sentence when he mentioned “but those who use God’s names should beware that they too can suffer a similar fate because they are mere mortals like everyone else”.

How correct your sentence was at the end but, sorry, I cannot concur with your kick-off and your substance of the article.

If I can ask you, “What do we wish for?” Ask me, I wish my article can be published in The Star to tell Malaysians that democracy is alive in The Star!

Monday, 2 November 2009

Photolog: Genting Highlands - Part 1

When? Last Saturday
Where? Genting Outdoor Theme Park

Rayyan, Haiqal & Yusof, waited in line for the Grand Prix Fun Cart

Haiqal & I riding the Antique Car

Yusof was trying his luck to win a huge Chinese-made teddy bear