Thursday, December 31, 2009

Good??? Bye 2009

Year 2009 draws it's curtain with:

1. Singapore Prime Minister, Mr Lee Hsien Loong said Singaporeans must shift gears to work alongside the foreigners in Singapore and the Singapore Permanent Residents.

2. Bali welcoming 2010 with attack alert.
3. Burial of ex-Indonesian President, 69 year old Gus Dur, who died of health complications yesterday.

4. Singapore is affected with global warming too - Heavy monsoon rain had flooded Bukit Timah area.
5. Despite the failure of Copenhagen Summit, Singapore has in fact going green for decades.

6.. The search of Raja Petra Kamaruddin, RPK of Malaysia today, goes to London.
7. Antares, of Magick River, is recovering from malaria.

8. The 1st time in my life, I was inside the capsule of Singapore Flyer.
9. 3 times in a row, Singapore Idol champion went to Malay boys.

10. Singapore Malays need more help?

I'm ashamed. Very, Very Ashamed - Not being able to shake my own people hard. Very, Very Hard.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Other World Story - Proper Departure

A man appeared from the middle of  a lake near Tiban Kampung in Batam and walked across. Wahyu could not believe what he saw. The man was then standing in front of him.
The man drowned while fishing at the lake. Though his body's buried deep underneath the mud, it needed proper ritual to rest. For a week, his soul was searching living human to carry out the task.

Wahyu happened to fish at the lake. Wahyu, like the drowned man, fish to feed his family - The only fish source they can get. They've no means, never enough money to buy fish. If not the freshwater fish, their meals would be rice with tempe, tempe and more tempe (fermented beancurd).

Wahyu was asked to perform prayers with few others. Food for those who pray must be covered with - Gold.

Ever since the incident, for almost a week, Wahyu was down with fluctuating fever. He did not fish. Only when his 5 year old girl asked when will be the time the family could have a fish meal again, then he told his wife of the drowned man's wish.

She should have known the real story earlier. She had sensed something's not right with his fluctuating fever. Wahyu's mind was too focused on - Gold. Where's the money to buy gold?
The wife insisted she has the means - Wahyu thought she's as crazy as him thinking about gold.

The next day, Romlah, the wife, readied a tray of plain rice with tempe (yes, tempe gain) cooked in thick coconut milk. The food was covered with -
Romlah whipped up 5 eggs (her money could afford only 5) to make a very, very thin omelette covering the only tray of food. It was sent to a nearby musollah. The local imam headed the prayer.

As Wahyu was heading home from the musollah, on his friend's bike (he was still down with fever), his eyes caught the sight of a plastic bag on the deserted road. Looking inside, there was 5 slaughtered chickens. He gave one to his friend and his family of 4 had chicken meals for a week sharing with his immediate neighbours, who's living the similar lives as his.

Though I found the story strange, but knowing Romlah, she had experinced more stranger incidents than this.                 

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Common Prophets Of Samawi Religions

Today's the 10th of Muharram - The 10th day of the 1st month in Muslim's calender 1431.
Many incidences took place on this date.

The 1st rain to fall on earth was on the 10th of Muharram.
That's what according to Ustaz Osman Jantan in his book 'Hari-Hari Penting Dalam Islam'.

Prophet Adam a.s. was forgiven to have eaten the forbidden apple on this date too.
He was banished to the world with wife Hawa (Eve).
They were temporarily separated but met again on Jabal Rahmah at Arafah in Saudi Arabia.

On the 10th of Muharram, Prophet Noah a.s.'s Ark was said to land on Mount Ararat.
It is known as Mount Judi as in the Quran, a place somewhere between Armenia and Turkey, after the worst 40 days and nights flood on earth.

"Then the word went forth: 
"O earth! swallow up thy water, 
and O sky! Withhold (the rain)!" 
and the water abated, and the matter was ended. 
The Ark rested on Mount Judi, and the word went forth: 
"Away with those who do wrong." 
- AlQur'an, Surah Hud, verse 44.

Scientists and Christian missionaries had made several attempts climbing the mountain and exploring the Ark. National Geography had documented their expeditions and shown on television.    
The discovery of utensils dated back to the worst flood on earth in the Black Sea in Russia by divers looking for proof, confirmed the Bible statements.

For the Malay-Muslims, the incident is remembered with 'Asyura porridge' - mixture of beans, cereals and livestocks - boiled till soft.
'Asyura is derived from Arabic word 'asyara - Ten.

The believer of Prophet Moses a.s. observe this date too.
The day when Prophet Moses a.s. made a safe crossing across the Red Sea with his followers, to escape being killed by Moses own adopted father, the Pharaoh - Ramses II.

Scientists, after making an extensive research, confirmed that a very strong wind had blown in 2 opposite directions into the Red Sea water.
It resulted a temporary dry land in the sea.
Moses adopted father drowned in the sea when the wind stopped blowing away the seawater in 2 opposite directions.
His body was later drifted ashore, preserved, mummified and exhibited worldwide.

"This day shall we save you in your body
that you may be a sign  to those who came after you! 
but verily many among mankind are heedless of our signs."
- AlQur'an, Surah Yunus verse 92.       
When Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. arrived in Medina and found that the Jews indeed fast on 'Asyura day, commemorating the Passover, Muslims are greatly encouraged to fast an additional day, before or after the 'Asyura - To disassociate them from Judaism practice.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Filial Piety

Miss Yeo, in her 20's clapped hard for her father.

As tears flowed, her happiness soared.
Her father had finally put away the resentment baggage he had towards his parents - these past 50 years - for pulling him out of school when he was in primary 2.

Being the eldest, he had to help feed the family of 8.
First time in Mr Yeo's life, he volunteered in broken Singlish to share his new-found life with full-house audience in one of the seminar room in Spring Singapore building.
With excitement, he related his 'blind spot' that made him a passive, revengeful and resigned to fate person.

A reborn 60 year old Mr Yeo had found the purpose in cherishing his life with all positive values.


A 29 year old Miss Cerissa, had made both parents attended her graduation.

She had not been in talking terms with her father for the last 19 years, when she found out that he had a girlfriend.
Her mother struggled in bringing her up.
She resented the mother too, for being the cause of this mess in her life.

Her life had become more and more messier each passing day until she found out how to rid the 'blind spot' that had been hurdling her life.
Now, both parents sat side by side, are talking to each other.

The father had flown to Singapore all the way from China, where he's been posted to, to be with the dear daughter witnessing the transformation in her, the transformation she brought about to her parents and most importantly, the miracle changes she made towards the family.


A contractor, in his late 30s, forced himself forgoing his ego, shook his father's hand, hug each other - both men in tears.

He had not talked to his father since he was in Secondary 2 - from the day he gave his father a heavy blow on the face - for taking his newly-made bamboo-saving safe for his coins, out of his room.
He did not give a second thought about punching his old man, a habitual gambler, in front of his gambling friends.
His father had too often 'took' his hard-earned money. He had been self-supporting his schooling as long as he could remember.

Once a year, Aidilfitri, he would visit his mother - that's it - without acknowledging his father's existence in the same house.
He thought of ostracising himself from the parent's house once the mother is no more living.

But the obstacles he's facing in his business were mounting.
Every opportunities within hand-reach were all too  impossible to grab. Even opportunities that had knocked on his door would slipped out. What went very wrong in life?

He's an observant muslim, a responsible head of the family and an honest business proprietor.
When bankruptcy was about to be on his face, a saviour came to his rescue - FILIAL PIETY is the keyword to one's success in complete living.

For weeks, he contemplated about acknowledging the gambler father he has, but then, he has only one father in his life.

As these 2 men were in each others' hands, the real story unfold.

The father, with great pride, was showing to his friends the self-made safe made by his son - without any hint to dig into the saved coins.


The above stories and many more, about priortising parents had brought tears to many - reflecting own resentment at one time or another.

Immediate soul-searching needed when hiccups and stumbles in life are just too unbearable to shoulder.
Both seminars and workshops, held differently by different organisers in Singapore and Johore, were attended by hundreds participants and fees were in thousands.

These are all Universal Law. Human affections breed responsible persons, breed successful lives.
The speaker whom the hundred Singaporeans learn about filial piety is a Mr Singh, from India, who is now travelling round the world preaching the same traditional filial piety topic.

The motivator who talked to 500 attendees in Johore is a very successful businessman who travelled the world to learn more about Law of Nature. He had bridged many drifted parent-child relationships and bonded many families.

These are basics in religion.
As I recalled the sessions, I was looking around searching any familiar ustaz or ustazah's faces, I did not recognise any.

An open plea to all asatizah: Stand on a different platform - be creative to impart traditional living knowledge without being stuck to tradition.
You hold some of the keys in creating society not to be known ONLY for the wrong reason.

Learn from all people. Not selective individuals.

All the world's a stage. Men and women are mere players.    


Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Diamond Curse At War

The war in Sierra Leone (1991 - 2002) was an epidemic in West Africa that started from Angola since 1975 to the year 2002.

These wars finally came to closure as awareness was increased between the link of diamond transactions and arms purchased in fuelling the civil war that caused regional conflict and disintegrated the countries.

The gem that is used to jewel exclusively the royals and aristocrats, found it's way into America.
America holds 1/2 of the world market.
The advertisement of De Beers - A Diamond Is Forever - Has transformed the stone with human love, engagement and marriage.
De Beers used to monopolise a lion share of the diamond market.
The pricing was fixed by them and their hordes were only sold to interested parties 10 times per year.

In 1999, De Beers closed it's mines in Angola when disputes of diamonds for arms and pressures mounting  concerning the transactions of conflicted diamonds.

60% of the world's rough diamond comes from Africa.
Angola, one of the African countries, produced the best diamond in the world.

Sadly, the more diamond revenues means more war machines and arms exchange and added.
The transactions were supposed to be able to make the countries' infrastructures possible.
It has offshore oil too.
But the natural resources income were cursed.
More exploitations followed in the more than 2 decades Angola entangled in civil wars.

The 90s sanctions failed to see the more than 1,000,000 innocent civilians caught entangled in the crossfire. Diamond caused civilians many tragedies and many sufferings.
People being dragged from their houses, people being butchered, and made many Angolans walking the streets legless.

With the sole aim to forever stop the conflicted diamond trade, an international certification system was introduced in the year 2000.
United Nation, upon adopting the system, called upon all member countries to stop buying diamonds from specific conflicted zones.
With support from all UN members, Kimberley Process Certification Scheme was implemented.
Legitimate diamond trading had contributed to regional prosperity.
Developments mushroomed in the continent of Africa.

Angola's economy took off.
It's average income rose by more than 20% between 2003 to 2005.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Diamond Curse Or Just Another Inhumane Human Act

Diamond - Diamond is forever or forever living in curse.

This history chapter relates how the illicit trading of the precious stone in return of weapons has fueled the civil wars in West African country like Sierra Leone.
The country was disintegrated by civil wars in the 1990s.
The chaotic war which was funded by diamond money has killed and taken more than 75,000 innocent civilians lives and displaced at least 2,000,000 more citizens.

The trauma is still visible and draining - Physically and emotionally.

Ibrahim, who lives in a village in Sierra Leone, was brought to another village for not surrendering the diamond that he did not possess to a fully uniformed combat soldier.
There, he was placed in a house where everybody inside were bound. He was bound too, with 4 others.

When he refused to surrender his arms upon asked to do so, all over his body was badly beaten with gun. Then, both his hands were placed on a mortar, chopped off.
His crime? Meddling in politics - by casting his vote.

He was left to die on the street.

Defying all odds, he escaped the barbaric death.
Upon returning to his house, the house was deliberately set on fire with his wife and children inside, left to die.
They died in front of his very eyes.
Much as he wanted to help them, he was unable to do so. He had arms that cannot be used now.

At least 10,000 innocent civilians suffered the same fate as him.
Some had their hands and legs chopped off for meddling in politics - by casting their votes.

What good has the natural resource brought to the country of Sierra Leone?

Negative effects of greed, killings, chaos, trauma, misery, death...
The country with abundance of world's precious stone, tend to be the worst place for a decent living.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Less Powerful Power Supply

I had just finished attending the laundry, having done ironing at around 11.30am when the power supply went off.

Yesterday was supposed to be a lucky day for me.
Unfortunately I wasn't all the time lucky whenever there's frequent abrupt interruptions.

Just a fortnight ago while rushing to finish a nearing dateline article, I had to redo all over again.
Only God knows and hears the tons of prayers said to overcome the frustrations in me for loosing many precious hours in the said article and had to recall what's written.

The experience of sure blackout whenever Hari Raya is round the corner will instill fear in you in not wanting to make biscuits or baking cakes.  

In May, in the midst of a wedding preparation at home, my fridge needed change due to great power surge after another unnoticed interruption. There's just too many foodstuff that needed cold-storaged.

The table computer had experienced changes too.

I wonder if the homes of these people working in the power supply company had never experience these unnoticed temporary cutoff or had never face any difficulties when new electrical or electronic products be needed.

The worst scenario seen was multiple accidents with a big crowd at  the T-junction just one kilometer away from my house.
The traffic light had stopped working. We did not stop to have a look as it was pitch dark, late at night. The dark sky did not help the situation any better.
The only thing for us to do at that moment was to pray that everything will turn out fine.

As we passed through the 1 kilometer road to my house, all houses were only 'brightened up' with candle lights.

This early morning, just after midnight as everybody had just gone to bed, another interruption set in.
I did not bother to find out the time.

But Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) resumed its 'powerful power' again at 3.00am.            

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Food Story - Mono-Sodium Glutamate And I

I had my first taste of  'bakso' way back in the year 1994.

It was many hours to go before the flight to Singapore take off.
We then decided to try Jakarta airport food that look and sound different.
Hence the bakso.
Since then, I was hooked with the simple yet very refreshing taste.

Naturally when I was in Tanjung Pinang, it's the same dish - Bakso that I ordered.

While observing at how the stall-operator prepare their varieties of food, the man who stood beside me wanted his 'lontong' to be more tasty.

I was taken aback when the stall operator sprinkled a generous amount of food enhancer - mono-sodium glutamate (msg) - on top of the already thick coconut milk rich gravy.
I felt the richness was full in my stomach up to my throat - I felt vomiting.

"Ibu mau lemak seperti itu?"
Twice the seller asked me before I could answer no.

I sat facing the man who enjoyed his food till the last drop.
I did not even touch my bakso.
The sight of heapful raw msg was nauseatic.
I lost my appetite.

The next day while strolling down the street looking for breakfast, the sight of 'mau lemak' and 'lemak lagi' were everywhere.
'Aji No Moto' (msg) looked cheap in Tanjung Pinang but looking closely, it's Made In Malaysia product - Imported goods cannot be cheap in Indonesia.

The whole morning I went without food.
The taste of msg richness was still in me, until the moment I boarded the ferry home that will take me to Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal.
In the ferry, in the open sea, in the strong ocean wave, I vomited out what's in my mind.
What's in my sight.

Upon reaching the main island of Singapore, I felt relieved for at last I can have the real taste of 'Tom Yam Soup'.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Singapore Malay Radio Stations And I

All Ria 89.7fm deejays are now in Pattaya, Bangkok, celebrating the radio station's 19th birthday.

Yes, it took me 19 years before I finally tuned in to Ria 89.7fm station. When it was initially announced that another Malay station will  be on air, I was skeptical - It will be just another spin the music station.
But Fiza O proved me wrong.
She, a 27 year old bachelor-girl talking about marriage, harmony and fidelity to married listeners who turned to her for advice - She's no bimbo but gila-gila. She read all emails that were written with full emotions. She can laughed her heart out one moment and immediately shed tears the next when sensitive issues are touched.

I did not listen to 'Firman and Sabda' for a very long. The lady deejay who delivered it totally Malayed the Arabic words or, Bahasa Bakued them.  I would rather have Muhammad Ashik be slotted in even though it's just like script-reading.

Then just by sheer luck, while setting the time to the bedside radio, I came across Deen Nur Rahim who was quoting and reciting a verse from the Qur'an. Who's this ustaz and why Warna 94.2fm suddenly had a change of heart - Getting the most appropriate person for the appropriate job.
Now I know - He's one hot favourite male deejay too.      

The landscape of Singapore Radio Stations has changed for the better tremendously.
The same will go to Malay tv station?
Time will tell. For the time being, contents in Okto and Vasantham Central surpass Suria anytime.

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Housing Story - One Moronic Action

Action Taken: Bukit Panjang Flat Sold.
Reason: Financing The Family Car.
Follow Up Action: Stay in Johor Bahru for the Whole 2010. - Will Be Back Staying In Singapore In 2011 After Another Flat Purchased.  
Action taken by: Greedy Moron.

Much as I'll look into each request and favour in accomodation search in Johor Bahru, this particular case really put me in a reluctant situation. The sole reason for the house being sold, make me brand both parents as such: Greedy Moron.

Their 2 boys, one will be called up for National Service and the other will be sitting his O Level next year, have no say in the decision made - When children's education is placed in a compromising state, action taken is one foolish action which the children will demand to know the reason behind putting their future at stake.
I've been travelling to and from Singapore and Johore Bahru with these students as early as 6a.m. for the past 20 years or so.
Some of them woke up as early as 4a.m. to reach their school before 7.30 - Usually they'll reach home after 3 - If there's remedial classes, often they'll reach at 7pm jostling in the public buses with those thousands of workers who work in Singapore and stay in JB.

Sacrificing students' time to be spend on the road is no sacred sacrifice made at all. In-fact, it's their at-least-brighter future that'll be put on uncertainties.
Last week, the last schooling day, while waiting for Singapore Bus Service 170, a boy was telling his friend that he will not be attending his football practice in December - Reason being staying in JB, distance and transportation.
While he can, reluctantly, to stay away from the game, he still harbour the wish that his parents had stay in Singapore. He cannot ignore the fact that his education had been terribly affected - He'll be too exhausted by the time he reach school and sleepy when class commence.

Some Singapore parents, to overcome commuting issues, will put their children in Malaysian schools - These students need adjustment to the schooling system and language used - Bahasa Malaysia. After so many years attending Singapore primary or secondary schools - English.

A person I know, who's son is 13, is staying home (not home-schooled), after a few months staying and attending school in JB after their Yishun flat is rented out at S$2,000 per month. Interestingly, the husband is staying away from work too.
Reason: Staying in JB, distance and transportation.



Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Taxi Story - Wrong Catch

Fauzi did not utter a single word when he heard the figure. This 10-minute nap is far more important than having an argument with this crocodile driver.

Yesterday, Fauzi drove his taxi around town the whole day before leaving for Batam, caught the last ferry from Stulang Ferry Terminal - His relative from Padang, Sumatra, was there - Waiting for his passport and address changed to Batam's, and the green-light to enter Malaysia from the agent.
He met up with him, spending almost all night catching-up with news from his home-village and took the first ferry back to JB to continue driving again.

He gave RM10.00 to the driver for the 4km journey from Stulang to Larkin Market where his taxi was parked. He has been driving a taxi for the past 15 years after 3 years obtaining Malaysian Blue Identification Card.

"Hoi!!! 80 ringgitlah. Ini 10 ringgit aje." The taxi driver yelled as Fauzi walked towards the row of taxis queuing for passengers who has done their marketing at Larkin.
He ran after Fauzi who was now among the drivers of the taxis in waiting.

"Kenapa engkau?" One of the many taxi-driver asked Fauzi.

"Dia gila. Ada ke Stulang sampai Larkin 80. Aku ingat tadi nak kasi 8 je. Dah ada lebih tu 10 ringgit."

"Oklah Mamat. Engkau ketuk salah orang. Dia pun bawak teksi ..."
Before one of the driver could finish his sentence, this 'Mamat' has walked away and quickly sped off his taxi.
'Mamat' had hauled the wrong catch.

Fauzi looks Indonesian. Fauzi sounds Indonesian, but Fauzi is a Malaysian.


Later that night, Fauzi was queuing for passengers at City Square when he noticed the same taxi he took, the same 'Mamat' he gave his RM10.00 to, in the same queue just in front of him.
He thought of showing himself to 'Mamat', wanted to remind 'Mamat' not to do to others what 'Mamat' had done to him.

But as 'Mamat's' queue has reached the 1st, before Fauzi alighted, 'Mamat' sped off as quickly as he sped off at Larkin this morning without taking any passenger with him.

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Haj Story - Invited Deaths

Accident 1:
After the last stoning of Jamrah, the Indonesian female group quickly proceed back to their tents in Mina. Excited to go back to Mecca, getting shopping done before the last tawaf around Ka'abah, to bring souvenirs back to their homeland.

As the public washrooms' many queues were very, very long, these 5 female jema'ahs decided to clean and bath themselves together in the '1 person per entry' washroom.

The moment the last person closed the door, a loud thundering crash was heard - They fell deep down into a very long trench dug to collect human wastage and used-water flow.
Instant death was anticipated. The corpses were covered debris, feaces and dirts.

Accident 2:
It was announced that no South-East-Asian jema'ah is to perform the stoning in the day. No way we can rough ourselves in the sea of Turkish and African jema'ah - but 1 of our men did just that - the 2nd time - for his aging parent, who performed the Haj together with him.

This 2nd time around he wasn't so lucky - He was pushing his way and being pushed by others.
He fell and was unable to immediately stand-up. To worsen matter, there was sandstorm, everybody was requested to stay indoor - Even the officers-on-duty went to the Jamrah sites 2 hours after the report was made that he did the stoning during the danger hour.

Alhamdulillah, this year's stoning all went well unlike the yearly hundreds death due to unruly stampede.

But the 100+ deaths Jeddah flash-flood really took everybody by surprise.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Man-Made World

The first 2 man-made worlds I knew was the Great World and New World, somewhere around Geylang / Kallang. It has seen its days in the money-making world. Does the 2 worlds still exist today? I'm not sure.

And as I attended school, there's '7 Wonders Of The World'.
Hey, at least I've been to 1 - The Great Wall Of China - There's a certificate awarded to climbers who reached the top. I tried to reach, but the air's getting thinner as we climbed higher.
As I stepped down the steps, I wondered how's the situation like in those days, people laboured themselves to death for the benefits of the generations to come.
A very big thanks to them. May GOD bless all their souls in heaven.

The 70's song Wonderful World is definitely beautiful to hear. It's occasionally aired on radio Class 95, I'll check it in You Tube later.

The greatest of all man-made world today, is Dubai World. It really sent investors out of this world.
The ripples it caused even shivers my spine. The whole world's stock-exchange crashed when the announcement was made that Dubai World will postpone to another 6 months for debt payment of US$80 billion (US$80 000 000 000).

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Terms & Conditons Used

"...Japan is in deep deflation..." Radio news 938 Live 2 days ago.
Oh, no. Not another new term which will take me 'quite sometime' to understand the meaning.

'Inflation' is the term used in the 21st century (?). Now, 'deflation'.

The first time I heard 'thesaurus' being mentioned, I asked myself if it's another dinosaur's species just discovered or I wasn't aware of the existence all these while.

Then I came across 'LOL' in many, many comments in blogs I read. It just doesn't make sense to connect LOL to shipping lines (similar to NOL). Then another AOL. Then another ROTFLMAO. Oh, my...

To differentiate 'pandemic' from 'epidemic' (the 1st time I heard was during the SARS period), I have to do lots of 'Straits Times' reading. I did not bother to look up Oxford (mine - old edition).

It took the then-Prime Minister (or was it the MM, if memory serves me right) to tell Phua Chu Kang to speak proper English. His Singlish was 'taken-up' by storm. Students and Singaporeans alike were all speaking the 'in' language. His sitcom made me wanted to reach home early before 8pm.

Between outlook and intelligence, I would go for the latter. That's what I see in Gurmit Singh.

Even though I knew that I did not know so much (I'm not stupid, but slow and blur most of the time), it saddened me to always observing that same style of answering tv interviews.

"So,... saya akan jadikan bidang lakonan, nyanyian, model (etc. etc...) sebagai 'carrier' saya."

Phua Chu Kang 'sure to fire back': "Sure or not, you want to become a bag. Don't want to work meh?"

Or, should I 'fire back' those who want to 'show-off' their spoken English to me, when answering phone-calls, telling the other party that they are on their way:
"Ok! Ok! Ok! I sekarang UNDERWEAR."

Friday, November 27, 2009

Inner-Mongolia Remembered

Allaahu Akbar 3x
Laa Ilaaha Illallaah
waLlaahu Akbar

Allaahu waLillaahil Hamd.

Eidul Adha is here again.

This year we have our qurban in Cambodia.
But qurban best remembered was in 1999, Inner Mongolia, China - Of many places we attended, be it in Malaysia, Singapore or Indonesia.
China really left many sweet memories.

The men's features we saw were identical to those sketchers of Mongolian worriers.
The skilled handling of weapons, this time the sharpened knives, drives a shiver up your spine.
The skinning done on more than 120 sheep took less than half a day for them.

Nothing was left to waste.
School girls immediately took the sheepskin to wash and left to dry under the sun.
The skins will late be sold and money earned will be funded to their madrasah.

Every bicycles left the slaughter scene with a sheep head placed in front of the bicycle.
Initially it was a frightening sight to see the bodiless head with eyes looking at your way.

The last few persons that left to clean up the place, scrapped up the frozen blood that has turned to ice due to snowfall and yes, the sheep's stool too was not left behind.
It will be made into fertiliser.

What a green earth we should follow.

It's a great contrast to all sheep heads being buried here.
Nevertheless, the giddy smell stretched for days and extendable to weeks.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Haj Story - 9th Dzulhijjah

9th Dzulhijjah today, I waited for Astro to show wukuf live from Arafah, only to realise that it's shown at 3pm.

9th Dzulhijjah, Tarwiyah Day (The day Prophet Abraham a.s. dream that he needed to sacrifice his son, Prophet Esmael a.s. It was a test from God of his faith. The sacrifice was later changed to sacrificing of sheep).

9th Dzulhijjah, 6th March, 632 AD, Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. gave his last sermon during his one and only Hajj Pilgrim the foot of Jabal Rahmah.

9th Dzulhijjah, 2001, I was at Arafah reciting Maulid (life story of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.) with the group from Murad Travel. It was Asar time when the Maulid ended. Not wanting to be part of the people who congested the public toilet, with a Chinese convert, we recited the Quran.

While reading, the smell of fresh citrus lime engulfed the whole tent we were sitting in. Looking at each other, we knew it's not us as we were in ihram (forbidden from any worldly niceties).

Just then, 'swish swash', kind of big people with long robe walking, can be heard (not seen) entering the tent crossing it. The person 'entered, left' and leave a stronger lime smell that's undescribable.

9th Dzulhijjah, 2005, I assumed such incident to happen again, sans.

9th Dzulhijjah 2009, I can only connect myself with wukuf at Arafah with Astro.

9th Dzulhijjah worldwide, is the day where sincere prayers will be answered.

Oh Allah, here I come...

Labbaikallaah humma labbaik
Labbaika laa syariikala labbaik.

Innal hamda wan ni'mataa laka walmulk
Laa syariika lak.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Haj Story - A Small Sacrifice That Blew Big Argument

It's already the 6th Dzulhijjah today. 3 more days before wukuf at Arafah - Where around 3 million Muslims performing the 5th pillar of Islam congregates at and around Jabal Rahmah - The place where Adam met his long lost wife, Eve.

From 10th Dzulhijjah till the next couple of days, making sacrifices of sheep, camels, cows and buffaloes in and around the Muslim world follow suit.

Sacrifice is easy to mention but hard to perform. I remembered well when 5 years ago, in 2005, I was sitting outside Masjid Nabawi in chilly cold weathered Medina as the mosque was packed as early as 4.30am - waiting for Subuh, the early morning prayer.

The coldness took a toll on weathered legs of mostly very old Turkish women. I took pity on the Turkish woman sat next to my left.

Using the ginger-grass oil I brought from home, I massaged the old woman's legs. She thanked me for relieving the numbness in her legs.

Another woman came, then another, then another... each pushing and shoving their way. They started to shout at each other - A quarrel soon followed...

I have to get out of the once good-intention I had in mind. I have to get out of the situation. I just shoved the bottle of lemongrass oil to a hand that I did not recognise the face.
Yes, now they argue who should have the bottle!

Never once did I ever see a very heated argument among old ladies over a massage and... Over a bottle of ointment!!!

But, that very night, I dream 3 white-robed men, 1 of them with a long, light-red beard, eager, wanting to get-to-know the person who had massaged the legs of the women pilgrims outside the mosque, the place where the body of Prophet Muhammad ( peace be upon him ) laid.

O p E d: What money cannot buy (& kotak pak arab)

O p E d: What money cannot buy (& kotak pak arab)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Sacrifice Yourself - Succumb To Pressure

After 6 long years of waiting, at last, Dian is carrying a baby which will be arriving in 5 months time.

But will the arrival be of much fanfare now?

Dian didn't go to work on that 'fateful' day. She wasn't feeling well so stay cooped at home. While searching for motherhood magazine which she put away in the storeroom, she stumbled upon an unfamiliar photo-album.

While browsing through the photographs in the album, she fainted.

She woke up to find herself in a hospital. Her husband was away in Batam on his 'business-trip'. Luckily her mother was in the house when the incident happened.

The husband came home 2 days later, a day after she was discharged.

The completed album of her husband with a baby was on the bed. Should he deny?

He admitted, after years of pressure from family and friends, he succumbed to having another family in... yes, Batam - A year ago.

What's going to happen next?

Should she move on with this family life?

Should she move on with her own life?

Should she give in to the other lady's life?

Should _____

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Maid Story - A Multi-Tasking Girl

Maid In Singapore (2)

I was at Changi International Airport early yesterday morning to see My Sister's helper left for her hometown in Demak, Indonesia.
My Sister went to Australia the same night.
But seeing the helper flying off is of more importance to Me than seeing My Sis going Down Under.

Somehow, I just felt indebted to her.
Yes, Suri* is My Sister's maid.
I should have been more thankful to My Sister than the maid.
But then, certain things happened are just beyond what we could imagine.

The simplest thing Suri did whenever she get her salary is to call up My over 70-year old Mother, telling My Mum she received her pay.
She will then ask My Mum if she could get anything for My Mum before she dropped-by at  My Mum's place.

Now, I don't think if any of My Siblings, nor Me even, could ever be so thoughtful in calling out Our Mother, the very moment We drew Our salary.
Suri's thoughtfulness is what I'm touched with.

In the 3 years Suri is a maid to My Sis, she's a fast learner in receipe My Mother taught her, beside following cookbooks and her own creation.  
After the completion of her tailoring class, her craving for knowledge let My sister to permit her continuing her post secondary school study.
She left her hometown after SMP in secondary school, to come to Singapore.

In between her role as a maid and a student, Suri juggled her time well.
Seeing her is just seeing My Girl, around her age, although My Girl is not as multi-tasking as her.

Nevertheless, both are the best of friends, SMSes between them.

Suri will be back in two weeks time.
GOD willing, I'll be at Changi International Airport to welcome her back.
She'll resume herself as a maid and a student as she has 2 more papers to sit.

I sincerely prayed that Suri passed her examination and enrolled herself in university.
That's what she wished for whilst in Singapore.
That's what she wanted Us to pray - For her success.
She needed and asked all the blessings and prayers from people all around her.

*Changes Made

Friday, November 13, 2009

London??? (Our) Bridge Is Falling Down

I was tuning in, to British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) the previous night when the radio was airing about "Collapsed Bridge" in Europe, In South America.

Alas, they weren't saying about our recent "Collapsed Bridge" in Perak which resulted in 3 innocent girls' life being suddenly snapped away. And the said bridge is ONLY 2 WEEKS OLD.

But as I read Masterwordsmith's posting, even before she could posted her article, her London friends had already skyped talking about the incident.

What a 1World, 1Country we are living in with 1News we hear.

Even how scheduled we are, nobody can schedule their last day on earth. But such incident happening is a horror story to relate.

The reason why bridges are built are to close a great gap that divide 2 sides. If I were them, I'll feel the eeriness and the unpredictability when crossing the suspensed bridge high above the Kampar River with the world out of my control.

But I pray they were not. Not afraid to fall down, down, down the river. Fear not of the unpredictability.

After all, why bridges are built are to bring us to the other side.

Yes, the said bridge is a metaphor... It really brought them to another world. And now... they are crossing a rainbow bridge that will bring them to heaven.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

O p E d: Cerita dari Padang - Apabila maut dah tiba....

O p E d: Cerita dari Padang - Apabila maut dah tiba....

The Housing Story - Suspicious Neighbourhood

Today is already the 26th day of Syawal.

More than 50 houses I've visited both in Singapore and Johore.
Beside doing my rounds celebrating 'Aidilfitri to reaffirm relationship, we touched on general conversations of the latest happenings.

While Singaporeans are wary of the economic downturn and how their lifestyle changed, Johoreans are more concern with safety of one's property or family members.
Why not?
Conversations strike will be narrowed to somebody's house, a neighbour's house or a relative's house has been burglared  .

People dare not leave their homes empty far too long.
Even when neighbours are around and in their houses, house-breakings are rampant.

Once, mid-afternoon, I was sitting at the verendah of a house in Kampung Melayu.
I saw a girl climbing up a neighbour's house through a window after removing a few of the glass panes.
A man was waiting outside, sitting on a motorbike.

I told my host what had just happened.
The host told me that the girl's mother usually locked the door in order not to let her children out and the window is the outlet for them to avoid the parents' suspicions.

Only later at night that I knew the said house was wipe-clean of all valuables by the couple I saw when the owners were at work and their children were attending school.

Yes, I saw the incident.
But did I know it was burglary?
Not at all.
After the above explanation of the said house neighbour, should I still be suspicious?

After all, I did not know the house-owner nor ever seeing their children.

If only my host would practice to be a more concerned neighbour...
And the neighbour is friendly and acquainted well with the neighbourhood...
Undesirable happenings can at least be avoided...

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Housing Story - Moving The Households

Hello Singaporeans,

If you have rented out or sell off your flats and intended to stay in Johor, please, please, please

Do not let the Johoreans pay the inflated house-price at the end of the day because of your "rental in JB is very much cheaper compared to Singapore."

2. Do not take cleanliness for granted. Do not complain of uncollected garbage and litters all around you because here, Bangladeshis are not employed to clean the area.

3. Do not complain of taxi-drivers not turning on the meter or overcharging your fare because majority will ONLY have RM notes. They rarely have small coins with them.

4. Do not take safety for granted. Walking around your neighbourhood all by yourself at 8pm is a DIFFERENT experience walking alone at 12midnight in Singapore.

5. Do not make yourself another target of snatch-thief with your thick wallet opened in full view of shoppers.

6. Do not make yourself the most-hated neighbour in your neighbourhood with your bragging remarks: "Lifts in Singapore are always in good service." "Buses in Singapore are punctual." Remember, nobody ask you to move here. YOU chose to move.

7. When your kids warn you not to reprimand them with their declining school results because of the time consuming journey to and from school and the insufficient sleep, if you have their welfare at heart, for goodness sake, uproot your family and go BACK to Singapore.

8. When your spouse hinted of being left alone far too long hours at home, before a mountain can be created out of a mold, for goodness sake, uproot your family and go BACK to Singapore.

9. The purpose of staying in JB is to keep the family intact. But the children's education should not be compromised and the existence of spouse should not be ignored.

10. Ask around - opinions of Singaporeans who have stayed for a very long time in JB.

Monday, September 28, 2009

'Aidilfitri And Padang's Quake

The last post I submitted was on the 22nd of June and today is the 5th of October.
3 months had passed.

Today is the 16th day of Syawal. A month long of 'Aidilfitri celebration after a month of Ramadhan fasting.

Almost everyday in the month of Syawal, neighbours, family or friends paid me a visit or I go around home-visit them.

In the month where we celebrated with good food and forgiveness, my heart goes out to the people of Padang, Sumatra.

In the midst of joyful rekindled-relationship and visitations, suddenly... the earth beneath them shaken.
The roof above them befell on their heads and the shaken earth trembled their fearful heart, running around searching for safe ground and safe-shelter roof.

I called up a cousin in Batam, Indonesia.
They did not feel the tremor unlike in Singapore where it was reported that more than 200 flats were shaken though it was later checked and found safe.

Almost after a week of the 30th September 7.6 richter scale earthquake, that forced open the earth to almost 50 miles deep, our call to a relative in Padang is still futile.
There's nothing much we can do except to keep calling, waiting for the latest news and... pray.

This relative of mine has not yet seen the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow although her life is full of determination and she has had put in lots of struggle.
Living always in-fear in fighting-for-independent Aceh give her no choice but to leave behind her herds of cows and acres after acres of padi-field.
She traded them all, just to live her life all over again on the rich soil of Padang.
Tsunami had decimated all of what she left behind in Aceh.

She had just bought a piece of padi-field last month after her small hut by the sea and at the foot of a mountain was flattened by yet another earthquake prior to this.

And now... what is left behind???

Not even our anxious calls was returned...

Monday, June 22, 2009

Welcome Back

How time flies.

It was almost 5 months ago that I last made my posting. I thought I could squeeze my time to blog but I was wrong.

Preparation for my Daughter's wedding occupied my mind that I just could not focus on this blog. Even the network-biz that I do is put on hold.

Now that everything is back to normal, I'm trying to reconnect myself to the norm.

Last Wednesday, I went to Woodlands Point, Singapore, to adjust myself back to the networking world.
I was at a seminar in Hotel Selesa, Johore Bahru, with my prospect 2 days ago, on Saturday evening and was in Singapore again yesterday with my biz-partners at Orchid Country Club.

I warmed up myself with laptop by catching up with reading, saving and deleting the hundreds of untouched mails.
Although I'm zero about the terms and guides used in internet marketing, but that world really fascinates me. I can for-see the vast opportunity lying ahead. If anyone could volunteer his / her time and effort in showing me the path, I would definitely appreciate it.

It took me quite sometime to access to my account. I've completely forgotten how to do it after a very long break. I hope there'll be no more break even as the holy month of Rejab is approaching, followed by the busy fasting month of Ramadhan.

I've harboured this desire for a very long time: That I can spend the whole Ramadhan in Mecca. I have this faith that this prayer will be answered very,very soon.

Amiin Ya Rabbal 'Aalamiin...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Mind Reading

I read a lot about bipolar disorder. Although I did not fully under-stand the whole situation, but I always see them as people with an extra God-gift.

A man in his 20's resented me whenever he's down with the disorder. His reason - I influenced his auntie's mind being me as her idol. He can read others' minds and he saw me as a challenger to him. I've to reason to him why she had to be firm in handling situation like this.

There was once when he saw himself as a 'superman' and drove his sister's car into a private water irrigation canal. The other siblings had to fork out a fortune lifting out the vehicle, sent it for repair and reimburse the loss of the other's party income.

Once we were performing our haj in Mecca when he voluntarily pushed a number of wheel-chaired pilgrimers circumventing the Ka'bah for a few days continuously before he was picked up with great resistance for refusing his medication. Another surprise of his another gift was, he could converse in fluent Arabic when meeting with any Arabs.

On other days when he's normal, he respect his elders and would turn to me for advice.

A woman I know refused to stay in the mental institution claiming she's not mad as others. Her children will know when the disorder will come. Then they will place their mum with companions just to talk out her problems which she rarely did.

When the disorder hit, she sings rhythmic songs with a very beautiful melody. Conversation in time like this is like hearing poems flowing endlessly.

She knows what her husband did behind her back. Sometimes, she would relate all his doings without him telling her, while riding him on his piggy-back just to vent her anger at him. He would accept all humiliation without fighting back. Even the grownup children detested the father for ignoring their mother.

Once I visited a patient in Institute of Mental Health situated somewhere in Hougang, Singapore. The patients I saw there are all with a serene with no worldly problem-face.

The man whom I visited said, he saw many evil satans living around the water piping area. He cautioned me to be extra careful when nearing any watering places.

He was directly involved in an accident years ago but the court saw him as unfit to continue with the case.

Sad to say, all these people are under great surveillance and under medication to sombre their activities as they did not see any demarkation line to excercise control of themselves.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Why Smoke?

A wheelchair bound man told me, not that he wants to smoke, but he has to ensure that his hands are not feeling the emptiness of not holding anything.

I asked his wife if he really mean what he's saying. Her reply was, he used to smoke 2 packets per day but has since cut down to 1 and a half due to price increase and his pension of RM 400 per month is not even enough to sustain himself.

Coming from a family of non-smokers, I really did not understand why people smoke.

But since I knew this man from his bachelor days, I can see that his health is deteriorating. He married my friend after his ex-fiance called off their engagement due to an accident that paralysed him.

Yesterday, she bought another 10 packets of Indonesian cigarette for RM40 for a week's supply. It used to be cheaper before. RM37 only, she said.

That's cheap you said? His monthly supply takes up more than 1/3 of his pension.
His food?
His medication?

My, my, my...
Can anybody clarify to me why people smoke?
Why cigarettes take over food?
Why cigarettes are more valued than health?
Is cigarette really makes a man more outstanding???

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A Pondering Moment

The bombing of Palestinians in Gaza continues into its 4th week.
A hospital was bombed with 500 people inside the building.
1,100 bomb deaths has been reported.
4,900 casualties is a number that is fast growing.
Tens of thousands of people are internally displaced.
At least 40,000 pregnant mothers are deprived of proper nutrition.

How many weeks more do the Palestinians have to be in living hell?
Where is the safest place to recuperate from the others' evil ambition?
How many hundreds more deaths can it justify the human sacrifice?
How many thousands more deformities needed to satisfy the lust of conquering?
How many hundred thousands more homeless required in the name of winning?
Are all the babies in the mothers' wombs are not worth living???

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Exploited Good Deeds

I was on my way to the neighbourhood shop last Sunday. Walking past the 73 year-old woman's house, I saw tears trickling down.

"Why are you crying?" I asked her as I entered her house without being invited to.
"No, no. It's just that my eyes felt warm." The childless woman replied as she wiped away the tears with a small towel in hand.
"It's always the case when my body felt the heat." She continued.
"How about I'll bring you to the doctor now?" I sincerely wanted her to have a proper medical check-up and rest in bed.
"Not necessary. I will be alright." I expected that answer from her. She always refused my offer.

I pressed the RM50 I had, in her hand, reminding her to call me should the need to the doctor arise, before I left.
That is the only offer from me that she never refused - Money.

I dropped by her place again the next day to see how she coped. She was preparing to go out. She had phoned her 'adopted son', whom she had known for the last 8 years, to bring her to pharmacy. He came with his wife and a child - All the way from Batu Pahat to Johor Bahru.
I did not want to probe further. Just hoping that the RM50 can stretch very,very far for them.

On Friday, I saw him again at her house. She must have money in hand that he's willing to stay for the night. Yes, I was right. She had just received RM300 from Social Welfare and SHE SPENT IT ALL ON HIS FAMILY.

When the old woman received compensation for being a flood victim just a year ago, the 'adopted son' was handed some money, most foodstuff and the new mattress.

I wondered how many more years can he rely on this old woman to feed his family members of 10. He would bring home most rice bags that this old woman received annually before each fasting month.

His explanation to me that he was being cheated of RM75,000 in a business deal did not move me to have sympathy on him.
Not having taken an offer, to be paid the next day should he work for his adopted mother's neighbour, showed his true laziness - And what an irresponsible husband and father he is.

This morning, I showed up again at the old woman's house. She sighed of difficulties of not having money in hand.
In fact, I cautiously give her money these past 8 years but I would stock what's needed in the kitchen.

Even then, once in a while, I would be trapped in a situation as above...

Friday, January 2, 2009

Living One's Life

Warmest greetings of a Very, Very Happy 2009 to all readers. A meaningful transition to Hijrah 1430 to all Muslim brothers and sisters and a belated Christmas Greetings to all Christian friends out there.

It has been quite sometime since I last blogged. I found out that I missed blogging very much and missed reading out others' mind. My New Year and Hijrah resolution would be to blog again. Even though I admit I can't be frequent as before but at least I'll try my best before the numbers of my fingers of both hands are up.

I was having coffee this morning when a man on radio 938 Live admitted that he proved to himself that being a real man is to go around chasing women for 2 years.
On the 3rd year, he realised that his wife and son had drifted very, very far from him. To make up for the lost time, he made effort to win back them and now, the 4th year, being a real man to him is all about strengthening the family bond. The good wife who once had to swollow the bitter pill of betrayal is now tasting the sweetness of her answered prayer for a responsible head of the family.

But one man I met in a neighbouring country did a very different way of being a responsible head of his family. He would rather have them sleep the whole day. He too would join them when not at work as a factory-hand. His reason is, they would feel the pang of hunger once they are fully awake.
Having 3 meals a day is impossible and is a great constrain to his already tight financial situation.

I did not believe the story when it was related to me. But understanding his situation, I admired Ana, my friend, who refused his down-payment in a business deal.

His monthly salary of rupiah 1,200,000 ( about S$170.00 ) is definitely not enough to pay for his rental and a wife with 2 small kids.
As the island of Batam is nearer to Singapore than Jakarta, our sadness seeing them shouldering their tough life is not anywhere nearer to them bearing the true meaning of toughness of life is all about.

God willing, I will be in Dabuk Island in a few weeks' time. Although I've never been there, but sensed that life for normal residents will not be much different.

Here we are all bracing ourselves preparing for the worst outcome of the worst world crisis ever happened.

The best lesson we can learn from our southern neighbours is how they feed their soul and mind and prepared to continue living in scarcity...