Monday, August 30, 2010

The Awakened Sinabung

As the number of people seeking shelter almost 20,000, a number also reported that they were suffering from stress amid concerns about their property and crops and the possibility of further eruptions of Mount Sinabung.

Residents in three districts in a 6-kilometer radius danger zone of the volcanic Mount Sinabung have been evacuated to Kabanjahe and Brastagi prior to the eruption in trucks and ambulances.
Many had left their homes even before they were evacuated.
They have been placed in eight shelters, including the regency administration building and other public places.
Evacuees are from 18 affected villages.

The number of people living in temporary shelters had since swelled by 3,000 to 21,000.
Sixteen shelters have been set up to accommodate people who evacuated their villagers as ash and stones fell around the area early on Sunday.

“We were shocked because the local administration had previously informed us that the volcano was stable. We panicked and fled our homes,” Sukanalu subdistrict head Paten Sitepu said.

Lulled into a sense of calm by news of the stable condition, some residents who had fled their houses two days ago when the volcano first started spewing thick smoke decided to return home only to leave their houses again a few hours later when the volcano erupted.


The Sinabung in Karo district in N Sumatra. Photo: AFP (above) and The Jakarta Post (map)

Evacuees saw the volcano was spewing  hot lava from its crater and send smoke and dust 1,500 meters into the air.

The area was blanketed with thick black smoke, small stones and there's a strong smell of sulphur.
Authorities had anticipated them to have respiratory problems from inhaling dust.

“I have a constant headache and stomachache,” Maranata, an internally displaced person, told Metro TV.

Local media reported that a man had died after experiencing breathing difficulty while fleeing from his village, but Karo district official Andes Mbaga told AFP, N. Surbakti of Cinta Rakyat subdistrict reportedly had died from heart failure.

'He had a history of heart problems. He was having breathing problems which could have been worsened by the ash and dust floating around,' he said.

Reuters reported another death from a heart attack.

As of Sunday afternoon, 50 tons of rice and 12,000 face masks have been supplied to temporary shelters.


After no volcanic activity for more than four centuries, Mount Sinabung in Karo regency, North Sumatra, erupted early Sunday morning, 2 minutes past midnight with three explosions followed by a lava flow down the slope of the volcano, which is 2,460 meters above sea level.

Sinabung had shown 'some volcanic activity' since Friday. The ash has spread to a distance of 30 kilometres from the volcano prior to the eruption. Many of the villagers evacuated were farmers and they said the ash had settled on their vegetable farms.

Volcano spewed a vast cloud of smoke and ash high into the air on Monday, disrupting flights and sending thousands more people into temporary shelters, officials said.
This was the first eruption at Mt. Sinabung since 1600.

And it erupted again for the second day after springing to life for the first time in four centuries on Sunday.

'It erupted again at 6.30am (2330 GMT, 7.30am Singapore time) and lasted about 15 minutes. The smoke and ash reached at least 2,000 metres,' government volcanologist Agus Budianto said.
The eruption was bigger than on Sunday when Sinabung rumbled into action for the first time since 1600, adding its name to the list of 69 active volcanoes in the massive South-east Asian archipelago.

“For almost 410 years the volcano showed no dangerous volcanic activity, which was why it was categorized as a dormant or type B volcano,” Kaban told The Jakarta Post.
The Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation Center (PVMBG) announced that the eruption set a historical precedent.

“This is the first time in our history that a type B volcano suddenly turned into a dangerous one, or a type A volcano,” PVMBG head Surono said after meeting with provincial officials Sunday.
The center classifies type A volcanoes as having erupted at least once since 1600, type B as never having erupted since 1600, but showing signs of volcanic activity, and type C as never having erupted in recorded history.
Surono said the PVMBG was studying why Sinabung erupted.

“We never monitored the development of Mt. Sinabung because it was considered extinct,” Surono said.
He added he would increase the monitoring activities on the volcano.

AFP reported Indonesia sits on the Pacific 'Ring of Fire', where the meeting of continental plates causes high volcanic and seismic activity.
It has more active volcanoes than any other country.


The eruption also led to the delay of several flights at Medan’s Polonia airport as airlines were warned to avoid remote Mount Sinabung in northern Sumatra.

Transport ministry spokesman Bambang Ervan said. 'It may affect flight traffic to and from the province. It all depends on the direction of the wind,' he told AFP.

Several domestic flights had to be cancelled on Sunday due to the smoke.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Internet Casts Its 'Spell'

I was introduced to online reading by My Husband.

Although he did not move anywhere except progressing from e-papers to reading blogs, always a silent reader with occasional anonymous comments, I proceed to dabbling what I've read and what's around that struck a chord in me.
I'm a homebody so internet open up the virtual windows to the wide, wide world and the universe too.

With my coming September trip, suddenly I became worried should there be no internet access.
Will we hit the access wall?
If there's no WiFi or wireless connection available in the hotel or at least nearby?
What has becoming in me?

Who did not fall in love with the internet?
Some people fall in love with  Steve Jobs  too, to the extend of wanting to know what he is doing behind closed doors.
Some people treat their computers better than their pets.

I had shared with readers about  Internet Addiction On Children,  Baby And Parents Gave Up Parents And Children  because of Internet, Children's Curious Minds,  and  The Lost Of Human Essence,  all because of internet.

Some people have had no will power to turn down an inbox check every ten minutes.
Luckily I'm not.
I do not check mails as often as I check updated online reading materials worth reading and blogs.
Facebook is only about updating myself with relatives and some online friends.
Twitter? What is there to write?

Should the local government impose 'Internet Diet' to 'Internet Addicts' and trying to manage curbing mindless web-surfer, I could not imagine how those addicted undergo their withdrawal period.

Of course severing oneself from the internet is not the answer but creating a distance from the internet?
If indeed, absence does make the heart grows fonder, then it's not the solution too.
How to overcome the pain?

Some people think his life would stop and he would be sent to the mental hospital to get mental treatment for the reason internet runs in his brain.
Another said life without internet is like a body without a heart.

Are you an internet junkie?
Find out below and take steps before the authority concerned takes its bolder step.

10 Signs The Internet Rules Your Life

It’s impossible to imagine life without the internet. We’re not only dependent on it for utilitarian uses like research, bill-paying and shopping, but we also rely on it as a mode of entertainment. The internet brings us consistent pleasure like no other previous invention, excluding television. As a result, many people spend much of their days online, with their laptops firmly planted in their laps and eyes permanently fixed on the screens. According to a Harris Interactive poll that was released in December of 2009, the average internet user spends 13 hours online per week. And, of course, internet addicts spend many more hours online than the average person. If you think the internet may be ruling your life, read through the indicators listed below and diagnose yourself.
  1. You check Facebook, Twitter, and/or your email more than a dozen times per day
    Sure, this pretty much applies to everyone nowadays, but then again, almost everyone is addicted to the internet. What are you really missing by not checking one of the aforementioned accounts after an hour? The messages will still be there two hours later, tomorrow and the next day. It’s a compulsive and pointless habit.
  2. You’ve unsuccessfully attempted to limit your time on the internet
    In an effort to broaden your horizons, spice up your life and try something new, you attempted to limit your time online per day. But you failed miserably after the first few days, and now spend more time on the internet than ever before. Your failure wasn’t because you didn’t have better things to do – it was because you endured physical discomfort without having the internet at your fingertips.
  3. You experience withdrawals without the internet
    Just like with commonly abused addictive substances like alcohol, drugs and tobacco, it’s possible to experience symptoms of withdrawal without the internet. In April of 2010, researchers from the University of Maryland released a study showing that students experienced craving, anxiety and the inability to function normally after 24 hours without all media. Of course, their lack of access to the internet through their laptops and phones was a major cause of frustration.
  4. You’ve lied about the amount of time you spend on the internet
    Have you minimized your browser before your boss loomed over your shoulder? Have you quickly shut your laptop before your significant other walked through the door? You normally shouldn’t be ashamed of the amount of time you spend online – unless, of course, you surf the web almost every moment of every day and it cuts into the rest of your life.
  5. You can definitively say you’d be more successful by spending less time online
    Without your dependency on the internet, you could’ve made the dean’s list several more times and graduated in four years instead of making the list just once and graduating in five years. You attribute your denied promotion or the lack of a raise to spending too much time online while at work. The internet has been the equalizer in your life – instead of fulfilling your above average potential, you’ve remained just average.
  6. You neglect face-to-face social interaction
    Skype is all the face-to-face social interaction you need. Perhaps your only consistent relationships are internet relationships – or in other words, with people who you’ve met online and rarely or never meet in person. Your previously existing real-life relationships have suffered because you’ve chosen to hang out online instead of hanging out with them.
  7. You always bring your laptop
    You bring your laptop to places that you don’t really need it so when the urge hits you, you can whip it out and connect to the nearest wireless hotspot. You go to social locations, like coffee shops, and communicate with people online when you could be communicating with them in person. Even during vacations, you spend time on the internet, when all of your time should be spent taking full advantage of the fun place you’re visiting.
  8. You have thousands of posts on a message board
    You have a lot to say and your favorite message board is where you say it. You’ve accumulated thousands of posts – the more you accumulate, the more respect you earn on the site – and made e-friends and e-enemies with fellow posters. You’ve even cultivated an e-personality that you convey with each post. While at work or hanging out with friends, you can’t stop thinking about the message board and even reference it on occasion.
  9. You update your blog daily
    Lots of people have blogs, but very few of them are actually active bloggers. If you’re one of the people who updates their blog daily during your free time – and not for work purposes – then you might be addicted to the internet. And the worst part is not that you’re wasting time that could be spent doing something more worthwhile, but you’re further polluting the internet with your insignificant opinions and mundane experiences – unless, of course, you actually add new information that people would find valuable.
  10. You know all of the current memes and viral videos
    You’re not familiar with just a few of the current memes and viral videos – because that would be pretty normal – but you know all of them. In late July of 2010, you were already tired of the inarticulateness of Basil Marceaux. You kept track of the appearances of Paul Yarrow and his beige sweater on BBC and Sky News. Perhaps you’ve even created your own marginally successful meme.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

No, Not Singapore Again!

It's Singapore again!

No kidding the Little Red Dot came up top for the second time in the recent Gallup survey on popular immigration destinations in which the island republic topped poll released last Friday.
With an impressive 18.1% GDP growth in the first half of the year, Singapore is again the most desired country by migrants.
Population would triple if all immigrants eyeing Singapore were allowed to enter minus those who want to leave.

The second-most popular destination is New Zealand, whose population of 4 million would rise by 184% and third is Saudi Arabia, with population of 26 million would soar by 176%.
Gallup researchers interviewed nearly 350,000 adults in 148 countries between 2007 and this year to calculate each country’s Potential Net Migration Index (PNMI). 
The PNMI is the estimated number of adults who wish to permanently leave a country subtracted from the estimated number who wish to immigrate there, as a proportion of the total adult population.

“While Gallup’s findings reflect people’s wishes rather than their intentions, the implications of what could happen if these desires become reality are serious considerations for leaders as they plan for the future,” said the organisation.

In that scenario, Singapore, with population of 4.8 million would have spiked up to 15 million, a whopping 219% increase.

Malaysia was the fourth most popular Asia-Pacific destination after Singapore, New Zealand and Australia, and the second-most popular in Southeast Asia following Singapore although the country missed the top 20 cut.
It is the 21st most popular immigration hotspot in the world.
The poll found that if everyone were allowed to leave and enter as they pleased, Malaysia’s population would increase by 23% to over 34 million.

At the opposite end of the scale, the populations of Sierra Leone, Haiti and Zimbabwe would fall by more than half if migrants were allowed to leave at will. 
Although many countries in Africa and Latin America showed net outflows of population, the poll showed four African countries would gain residents: Botswana, a model of successful democracy in Africa, the world’s top producer of diamonds and a leading destination for high-end tourism will see the population increase by 39%, South Africa with 13%, Zambia and Namibia, which would see 5% and 2% increase respectively.

At rock-bottom on the Gallup list is Sierra Leone, the west African country still struggling to recover from a 10-year civil war which ended in 2002.
If everyone who wanted to leave Sierra Leone could, and everyone who wanted to move there did, its population would plunge by 56%.


Newsweek  rank Singapore as the 20th on the world's best countries.

It would have the third highest score if the list didn't include the political category beside education, health, quality of life and economic dynamism.

Newsweek list of world's 20 best countries

Singapore ranked first in economic dynamism, fourth in education, seventh in health and 23rd in quality of life but 67th in political environment.

If political environment is put aside, the two countries emerge with higher scores than Singapore is Switzerland followed by Finland while at the fourth place is Japan.


In this blessed month of Ramadhan, these new immigrants join effort contributing to the needies.

Aug 22, 2010 - Integration Begins At Home: New Muslim Groups Make House Visits To Help Needy Families

Muis president Alami Musa. Photos: Straits Times

SINGAPORE'S new Muslim immigrants on Saturday delivered some 300 food hampers to needy local Muslims as part of a Ramadan charity drive organised by the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis).
Muis president Alami Musa said such a collaborative effort was the first of its kind.
'This is a good way for our new Muslim friends to get to know our local Muslims, and be immersed in our society,' Mr Alami added.
Four immigrant groups took part in the outreach event yesterday: the Turkish Cultural Centre; the Singapore Bangladesh Society; the Singapore Pakistani Association; and the Indonesian Muslim Association of Singapore.
Together, they sponsored 130 hampers. Joining them were students from Saudi Arabia and some 300 local volunteers.
The recipient families were selected from Muis' financial assistance database. - The Straits Times

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Displaced Hairs

Cian Cian has been cruelly named Monkey Girl in China. Image source:
Cian Cian has been cruelly named Monkey Girl in China.
Orange news reported of a five-year-old Cian Cian, nicknamed Monkey Girl wants to become a scientist to find out why she is covered in thick black hair.

She lives with her grandparents who regularly shave her face and body to remove her unwanted hair.
Her grandparents say they no longer take Cian Cian into the city because people stare and ask why she's "so hairy".

"Even at kindergarten each morning, people look at her and ask me why she is so hairy. Questions like that make me feel very bad," said the grandma.

The little girl, whose parents are divorced, says classmates at kindergarten in her village near Chonqing tease her.
But she is happy at home.

"I love my grandparents, especially my grandma, they are good to me." "I want to be a scientist when I grow up so I can find out what's wrong with me." Cian Cian telling the Chongqing Evening Post.

Doctors at Tongliang People's Hospital, where she was treated after suffering a recent epileptic fit, are mystified by her condition.

"There is nothing like this in her family going back three generations so it doesn't appear to be genetic." Said Doctor Chu Hongbo


China's hairiest man. Image source:
China's hairiest man. Image source:

China's hairiest man, Yu Zhenghuan, had first found fame at 7, in a movie entitled 'Monkey Boy's Treasure Safari'.

But last year, he was turned down for the lead role in a major Chinese TV show, the Sun reported.
Producers had given him only a small supporting role in 'Journey To The West', the story of a monkey helping his Buddhist master, because he was not handsome enough.
Now, the aspiring actor is determined to have plastic surgery to better his chances of getting bigger acting jobs and to enhance his appearance in a bid to gain international movie stardom.

Dreams of stardom ... hairy Yu Zhenghuan
Source: Rex
He planned to have surgery to slim down his nose, to stop too much hair growing on his face, and to have an operation to stop hair growing out of his ears and nose - which causes him difficulty breathing and hearing.

Yu suffers from a hormonal imbalance, which causes thick black hair to cover 96% of his body.
The operation is to be perform at the Military Guangxi General Hospital in Nanning, capital of southern China's Guangxi province.

He is the owner of a music company and a contract singer for a Hong Kong culture company.


Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Imprisoned Obedience In A Wife

August 19, 2010 - No Outside Food For Inmates

PUTRAJAYA: There will be no home-cooked rendang, lemang, ketupat and lodeh for prison inmates come Hari Raya as food items can no longer be brought during visits to prevent dangerous and prohibited items from being smuggled into the cells.
Due to attempts by some to smuggle in drugs, cigarettes, tobacco, money, liquor and even handphones for prisoners by “hiding” them in food items, the prison authorities have banned families from bringing outside food to inmates for the past five years.
Prisons Department head of secretariat unit Sufri Hashim said the decision had upset some families and even inmates as they could no longer enjoy the occasional home-cooked meals; but the ruling was necessary to ensure prohibited items did not enter the prisons.
Sufri said there were occasions when prison guards found substances hidden in cakes, secret compartments in containers, soup thermos and milk-powder boxes or tins.
“Malaysia’s prison is not the only correctional facility that imposes such a ruling. Most prisons around the world do not allow visitors to bring outside food for the prisoners.
“However, items such as clothes, books and other basic needs can be passed to the inmates but it will still be subject to inspection to curb attempts at smuggling in prohibited items,” he told a media briefing yesterday.
He said if non-governmental organisations were sponsoring meals for inmates, the prison authorities would check the source of the food to ensure “they are safe and healthy”.
Sufri also said that relatives need not have to go through the trouble of smuggling money to prisoners as they were actually allowed to leave money for the inmates but it would be under the care of prison officials and an official receipt would be issued.
He also said it was important for family members to visit inmates as often as possible as it was a form of moral support for them to turn over a new leaf and to encourage them to behave.
Visitations were allowed once a week. - The Star


As I read this, it brought back memories of the early 90s when I was lucky to visit one of the Kajang Prison inmate.

Yes, I was.
When visitation rights are strictly meant for family members and relatives only. But ex-neighbour?

The inmate, whom I shall refer to as Kak Maimun, showed me and taught me a lot about married life and staying married.
An observing servant to her Creator, a very obedient wife, a responsible mother and a mindful neighbour.
I still made a point to occasionally visit her after I moved house.

During one of those visits, I received the news that she was being remanded by Johor Bahru narcotic police and will be charged in KL court for possessing of unlawful drug (I've forgotten what the drug was).

When I asked her children, they blamed their mother's youngest brother,  a drug addict,  for the mother's involvement in drug transactions.
So she had been selling drug for quite sometime? I can just tell myself, impossible for her to do so.

She was proud to tell me she was saving up for her coming pilgrimage to Mecca. She had even showed me her Tabung Haji savings of RM9,000 - more than enough then, for the trip there.
I was proud of her far sightedness and initiative.
Although illiterate, she maximise the skills she had - massaging and taking care of mothers before and after delivery, and sewing - and sewing she did, day and night, after doing her morning rounds of giving body massage to mothers in confinement and cleaning the newborns.

Sitting around with her youngest sister, another story emerged.
Kak Maimun had been helping her husband, an ex-policeman turned security officer, with his illegal trade. Always an obedient wife, she had never said no to him.

When narcotic police, based on public tip-off, raided their house, the first thing she did was to salvage the drug which was kept in a Tupperware - She was caught red-handed with the drug in hands.
Both husband and wife were remanded at the local police station.
The husband was released after two weeks in detention. Kak Maimun's mother went berserk upon his release.

Kak Maimun was transferred to Women's Prison in Kajang, Kuala Lumpur.
Of course an ex-policeman knows how to worm his way out with consistent denial of possessing the drug, claimed Kak Maimun's mother.

During one of the Hari Raya, with her sisters from JB, I followed them to pay her a visit.
Her daughter who was staying in KL prepared her mother's favourite dish - 'soto' - the night before, and we set off early when the sun was about to rise.
My heart sank when the food was checked, the soup was drained, leaving just the plain, tasteless rice cake for her.
Even the 'begedel' was taken away too.

Conversation with her was again, full of advice for me to properly take care of my family.
How she passed her time in prison when a life sentence had been passed to her? Again, maximising the skill she had, she was tasked to take care imprisoned pregnant ladies and to assist in looking after newborns.

I figured upon her release, how was she going to face her neighbours as they were surprised to know that I can see eye to eye with her and visited her in prison.
I see the goodness she imparted in me is way much more than what was printed in the local paper.
Didn't I read the paper? An elderly neighbour asked. Maybe I missed out.
She blamed Kak Maimun for her son's dabbling in drug.
From then on, almost all Kak Maimun's help and services to mothers and newborns went unappreciated.

Few months after the life sentence was passed to her, Kak Maimun's husband remarried and went back to his hometown in Batu Pahat to stay in his mother's house which was left vacant for more than 10 years after the old lady passed away.
Kak Maimun passed away in prison in the early 2000s, without ever knowing that her husband had remarried, although, on his behalf, she claimed the drug was hers.

To safeguard himself, the husband had never once visited the wife in prison.
His five children with Kak Maimun, who are all now married, could not be bothered to visit him in Batu Pahat as he showed no remorse and empathy towards his late wife who sacrificed her freedom for her unquestioned obedience towards her husband.

To him, his life must go on on...

***Changes Made 

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Albinos Possessing Wealth-Enhancing Charms?

This is what I heard over BBC after my 'terawih' prayer.

It brought back memories of my albino friend who was being left at her mother's place after just a couple of years marriage to a normal man.
Until today, after almost 10 years, she is still hoping that her husband will return to her.

No other man will want her, she said.


Police received a tip from Good Samaritans that there was a man selling an albino, was looking for customers from the mining sector believing that they have the money to pay.
Secret police posed as businessmen buying albino body parts in Mwanza, Tanzania, encountered the man who had been staying at River Side Hotel with his victim in Buzuruga ward, Nyamagana District at about 4pm on Sunday.
The incident took place at a guest house in Mwanza town.

Mwanza regional police commander, Mr Simon Siro, who confirmed the developments, said Kenyan national Mr Nathan Mutei, 28, attempted to sell his country man and longtime friend Mr Robinson Mkwama, 20, for Tanzanian Sh400 million (US$250,000).

Mr Siro said the two had arrived in Mwanza through illegal routes on August 12 from Kitale in Kenya's Rift Valley Province where Mr Mkwama was working as a hawker.
They had no travel documents when they were arrested.

Mr Mutei managed to lure Mr Mkwama - who had recently finished Form Four- that he would find him a bus conductor’s job in Mwanza through his contacts, assuring him that the job pays well.
RPC Siro refused to disclose the whereabouts of Mr Mkwama or whether he will also be charged for entering Tanzania illegally but he insisted that the police are keeping him in a safe place as their key witness in the case.

Tanzania has witnessed a spate of albino killings as their body parts are highly valued by witchdoctors for potions. Albino's hair, blood or limbs paves the way to riches. Members of the albino community in Tanzania are now living in a climate of fear. They are calling for police protection after more than 20 of them were killed in a series of ritualistic murders over the last year.
Since 2007, there have been an estimated 53 albino killings in Tanzania and 11 in Burundi. The killings have forced the government and some international organisations to intervene and take legal action against the killers.
An albino member of this family has been killed

The Albino Association of Tanzania says so far 173 people have been arrested, but there have been no prosecutions despite the fact that the Tanzanian President has made the protection of albinos a priority.

Albino child -  Tanzania has macabre trade in albino body parts
Albinos in Tanzania live in fear. Photo: REUTERS

May 6, 2010 - Seven new albino killings have been reported in Tanzania and Burundi amid signs that the lucrative trade in their body parts has not waned.

Under the Same Sun, a Vancouver-based NGO, put the toll of albino murders at 57 in Tanzania.

The group reported the killing on May 2 of a 28 year-old albino woman and her four year-old son in Cendajuru, on Burundi's border with Tanzania.

The two had their limbs and organs hacked off by a gang of nine armed men, and the boy's non-albino grandfather who intervened to stop them was killed on the spot, the group said, citing Burundi's police chief Deogratias Ntahompagaze.

Under the Same Sun noted another murder and four attempted murders of albinos in Tanzania between February and April.

"This brings the total in Tanzania to 57 murders and six attempted murders, where victims lost limbs. In Burundi the total is 14 murders. These are only the documented cases. The numbers are likely much higher - estimates suggesting well over a hundred in the last two years," the NGO said.

"Sadly justice has been far too slow in coming. Of the 63 reported cases in Tanzania, a mere two have been brought to conviction in the last two years. In sharp contrast, 12 of Burundi's 14 cases have led to convictions," the group said.

The wave of albino killings started in 2007, fuelled by the sale of their highly-prized body parts to witch doctors across the region who use them to concoct wealth-enhancing charms.

The Tanzanian police estimates at £50,000 "the value to witch doctors of a complete set of albino body parts, including all four limbs, genitals, ears, nose and tongue."

Albinism is a congenital lack of the melanin pigment in the skin, eyes and hair which protects from the sun's ultraviolets. Albinos are vulnerable to medical complications as well as social discrimination in Africa.

Of about 150,000 albinos in Tanzania, a country of some 35 million, some 8,000 are registered with the Tanzania Albino Society. Some families kill albino babies at birth to avoid discrimination, authorities say. 

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Haj Story - GOD Willing, Syawal In Makkatul Mukarramah

It was Haj 2001 in Mina, and I was doing my favourite past-time activity: People-watching, when walked into my path was Ustaz Ismail Kamus.

"Selalu nampak kat An-Nur." He said to me.

I was surprised with the statement because as far as I remember then, An-Nur had never invited him to give a talk.
Furthermore, I had never attended any of his talk in Singapore.

He was wrong to say to often see me but I used to buy many of his cassettes.
In one of the cassette, he said he can guarantee never a person is left without food in Masjidil Haram when the breaking of Ramadhan fast begins.

Is that so?
When congregations reached the number of three million in the Grand Holy Mosque, hiccups sure to happen.
Maybe he's wrong again.

So in 2002, I spent my last ten days of Ramadhan in Masjidil Haram.
On one occasion nearing the breaking of fast time, I could see many Arabic women were busy preparing food for themselves getting the dates, coffee, zamzam drink and bread with its side dish.

It was on purpose that I did not get anything for myself recalling Ustaz Ismail Kamus assurance that no one is left without food when breaking their fast in the Grand Holy Mosque.
But few seconds before azan, all the food was pushed to me.
Good gracious! GOD is Great.

On another occasion, we were late to the mosque.
The call for prayer was heard before we reach the Grand Mosque and again, behold the sight.
Lined the long path that led to the Holy Mosque were male youths with trays of dates. They put dates into the mouths of male pilgrimers and gave the dates to the females in their hands.

Tears trickled from my eyes because this time,  Ustaz Datuk Ismail Kamus  is indeed right.
Three million pilgrimers is just a number and GOD welcomes HIS guests with 'open hands'.

The morning of 'Aidilfitri, jema'ah performing prayers overflowed to the highway, reaching the horizon.
All the marvellous sight and activities spending the last ten days of Ramadhan in Makkatul Mukarramah, is one memory which I cannot be stingy with opportunity.
Should the opportunity to perform Umrah Ramadhan arise again, I have to let the slot be given to others.

Thank GOD, visa was approved and we will be flying to Jeddah this September.
And, no Umrah Ramadhan this time, but Umrah Syawal.  

Madinatul Munawwarah After 2010

Our last week of this September Ramadhan will be spent in Madinah.

1,970 Masjidin Nabawi personnel are gearing themselves up for this Ramadhan 1431 to ensure all needs are met.
400 of them will be waiting jemaah at the 85 gates of Masjidin Nabawi and I'm eagerly waiting to meet the Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. and his two best friends in the Prophet Mosque, Saidina Abu Bakar and Saidina Umar, who are forever waiting for those who long to meet them.

Allahumma Solli 'Alaa Saiidinaa Muhammad.    

Friday, August 13, 2010

Ramadhan Kareem, Bless Us All

Ahlan waSahlan Marhaban ya Ramadhan.

The ninth and holiest month is here again.
Many of the world's one and a half billion Muslims has started performing their terawih, the annual month-long night prayer.

When life is made easy for me and the rest of us, having the choice of  where to perform our terawih  and  where to get our porridge,  at just our fingertips, there are others out there who are struggling for a decent and proper living. They are deprived of the basics in life. I wonder how those people in countries under landslides, flood and fire going to spend their Ramadhan.
In Pakistan 
People in Pakistan are reeling from two weeks of flooding that has killed 1,500 and affected nearly 14 million people. There are those who are now trapped by the high water. Villages along the motorway from Peshawar to Islamabad are inundated and women waded through knee-high water. This flood is one of the worst natural disasters in the history of Pakistan. Pakistanis are trapped by the floods. Dozen of bridges destroyed and roads washed out. The floods destroyed dozens of buildings and hotels. There are no food in the market and no electricity. This torrential monsoon rains flooded Pakistan has sparked massive humanitarian crisis. Religious charities moved fast - Faster than the Pakistan government that worried US. A number of organisations highly visible in the battle to help provide relief to millions of flood survivors to fill the void created by the perceived failure of the civilian government to mobilise and fears are growing that such charities are using soft power to propagate extremism. The battle for hearts and minds has been drawn.    "So far we have helped 250,000 people," AFP was told by a man at a camp set up by Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation, a welfare organisation in the district of Nowshehra, where dozens of bearded volunteers dished out food. Pakistan's government, cash-strapped, have been accused of infighting. The government gave the flood victims tents and nothing else. Six million people are now dependent on help to survive and enormous number of local and highly reputable NGOs and the international NGOs have already mobilised for this crisis. All goods and help have been supplied by affluent, ordinary citizens and private organisations.
In China Fresh heavy rains fell for about four hours overnight today brought more misery to a town in northwest China, devastated by mudslides that had already levelled an area five kilometres long and 300 metres wide. 1,117 people were already confirmed dead, another 627 residents went missing, and three more disappeared overnight. At least 45,000 people have evacuated their homes, and 30,000 tents were delivered with thousands more on the way. Zhouqu has a population of 134,000, Xinhua news agency reported the shortest route used by relief crews into Zhouqu, a town nestled in the mountains of Gansu province, from the provincial capital Lanzhou was blocked. It turned one of the main streets in Zhouqu into a small river and flooding army tents on the roadside leading into the disaster zone.
Entire communities in Gansu province were swallowed when the debris-choked Bailong River jumped its banks early Sunday, releasing wave after wave of mud and rubble-strewn water. The water level in the Bailong river, which cuts through Zhouqu, was said to be higher yesterday. Crews using explosives and excavators rushed to drain the unstable barrier lake that was created by the rubble that, if it were to burst, could bring further destruction to areas already levelled by the torrent of mud. Floodwaters up to three storeys high have submerged half the county and the peaks surrouding the town were shrouded in dark clouds. The town was effectively split into two. Buildings were torn from their foundations, their lower floors blown out by the force of the debris-laden water. Three villages comprising hundreds of households were entirely buried and much of the county seat was submerged. Thousands of soldiers and rescuers, joined by traumatised survivors, were battling to clean up roads by using diggers, blocked by the massive avalanche of mud, cascading rocks and sludge unleashed by storms overnight, complicating the task of seeing to the needs of the living. Getting and distributing of food, water and medicine to those in need is no easy task. Clean drinking water was a primary concern, with most local sources destroyed or too polluted to use. AFP correspondent witnessed some shops in town had run out of drinking, but new supplies appeared to be trickling in. Fears of an outbreak of water-borne disease mounted, with corpses still unclaimed and residents living in the rough without proper sanitary conditions. Disinfectant crews in chemical suits repeatedly sprayed disinfectant in the area. Although there have been no reports of an epidemic outbreak, crews in protective suits sprayed chemicals across the ground and over machinery as the smell of death heavy in the air. State media reported numerous cases of dysentery, while infected injuries, a lack of sanitation, clean drinking water and accumulating garbage increased the risk of typhoid, cholera and other diseases. China Daily reported tons of garlic and Sichuan pepper, which were believed to be helpful in the prevention of certain ailments, have been sent to Zhouqu. Loudspeakers in town broadcast messages instructing residents how to protect themselves from disease. Nearly 800 medical workers, concerned about the high summer temperatures that could affect the precarious public health situation, have been dispatched to the scene. Although relatives were encouraged to cremate the remains of their loved ones as soon as possible to prevent health problems, but in the area with a population that is one-third Tibetan, traditional burials are preferred. Throughout the area, bodies were seen wrapped in blankets and tied to sticks or placed on planks and left on the shattered streets for pickup. The bad weather was expected to continue as the National Meteorological Centre warned there was a "relatively large" chance of more landslides in the coming days, as heavier rain was expected, with up to 3 1/2 inches forecast for Friday. While torrential rains were the direct cause of the flood, previous activites of mass tree cutting had left the dry hills exposed and the weakening of cliff faces by a massive 2008 earthquake were seen as contributing factors. The mudslides are the latest in a string of weather-related disasters, as China battles its worst flooding in a decade that has killed more than 2,000 people this year and 12 million evacuated before the Gansu tragedy. It has caused tens of billions of dollars in damage across 28 provinces and regions.

In Russia

The last Russia's deadliest wildfires were in 1972 and on last Wednesday, Russian forestry official said fires have scorched forests contaminated with radiation from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, but it was unclear how dangerous the smoke might be.

Fears of stirring up nuclear pollution from the Chernobyl disaster could take the crisis to a new level, though officials said radiation levels were normal in Moscow.
Strong winds cleared the toxic smoke that has choked Moscow for three weeks on Wednesday, and Muscovites got a glimpse of clear skies after a thunderstorm accompanied by strong winds in the early hours dispersed the smoke.

Some young Russians rejoiced in the rains, dancing in the downpour and cheering the thunder and lightning. But weather forecasters warned it could return in 24 hours.

Fires covering an area of 39 square kilometers (15 square miles) had been registered in regions with forests polluted with radiation included Bryansk province, which borders Ukraine southwest of Moscow and was polluted by radioactive dust that billowed across Ukraine, Russia, Belarus and Europe after a series of explosions at Chernobyl's reactor No. 4 on April 26, 1986.

Radioactive particles could be propelled into the air, in the event of a fire in forests in the Bryansk region said Russian Emergencies Minister, Sergei Shoigu.
Trees, vegetation and the ground that had absorbed some of the nuclear material spewed out in the 1986 accident and blazes were releasing some again into the air.
There is a remobilization of Chernobyl material. That is a side of biomass burning that is under-communicated. There is plenty of this still around.

"The sins of our fathers revisit us." Reuters was told.

The toxic smog over Moscow has some economists believe to eat 0.5% of Russia's GDP.

Russia's deadly summer heatwave, probably the worst in Russian history, had lasted for an uninterrupted 50-day.
The more than 600 wildfires had sent pollution to the highest levels in decades - almost doubled mortality rates in the capital and disrupted flights, consumer activity and even trading in Russian stocks and bonds.

However, the area of burning forests in Russia had almost halved in the past 24 hours to 927 square km (358 square miles) from 1,740 square km (676 square miles), and that nearly 166,000 people were fighting the blazes that raged.

The fire had burnt the expected 4% 2010 economic growth.
Even with the emergency pumping of 54 billion roubles ($1.81 billion) into the firefighting force, it would not fix the gutted fire-protection system and sorely lacks equipment.whose weaknesses have been exposed by the wildfires.
The sweltering weather would not abate this week and hundreds of people are believed to have died from the effects of the heatwave and smoke choking.

Then there's the aggravated drought.
Kremlin leaders are already grappling with drought that has destroyed crops after what weather monitoring officials say was the country's hottest summer in a millennium.
Nobody was to be blame but the forces of nature.

"This is a new challenge from the heavens." Russian mayor said.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Singapore, Living Your Dreams

August is traditionally associated with the country's National Day Parade (NDP) and National Day Rally.

Photo: Straits Times
But this August in Singapore, it will be a month of fanfare and festivities with Youth Olympic Games (YOG) and NDP, with two other main events - the opening and closing ceremonies of the inaugural (YOG).
The Olympic element will definitely be featured in this year's NDP. 

'Live Our Dreams, Fly Our Flag'
is this year's theme for the nation's birthday.

A special segment of the NDP will see 40,000 Singaporeans at over 300 locations uniting in "One Voice".
Building on last year's Pledge Moment, where Singaporeans paused in their tracks to take the national pledge,  NDP 2010 Organising Committee,  in partnership with MediaCorp radio stations will, before 8.10pm, invite listeners and people on the move, some 150,000 Singaporeans throughout the island, to unite their voices to recite the Singapore pledge and sing the National anthem to reaffirm their allegiance to Singapore as 'One Voice 2010'.
They will join the 107,000 spectators at the Padang and five heartlands to recite the Singapore pledge and sing the National Anthem.

Those in Singapore will be able to watch the 'live' telecast of the National Day Parade (NDP) today from 5.30pm to 8.30pm on MediaCorp's Channel 5, Channel 8, Channel U, Suria, Vasantham and okto and viewers in the Asia Pacific will be able to watch the parade, at the same time, on Channel News Asia International.
MediaCorp radio stations will simulcast the parade 'live' over 938LIVE, Capital 95.8FM, Warna 94.2FM and Oli 96.8FM too.
For a more interactive experience, viewers can log-on to  and choose any of the six 'live' videocasts from the different heartland locations from Eunos, Woodlands, Choa Chu Kang, Bishan, Sengkang as well as Padang where over 7,000 participants and also the celebrations which will also celebrate Singapore's 45th Birthday.
Then, there's Facebook 'live' chat function too.

For those overseas, the parade can be viewed "live" on the Internet.
The event acts as a platform to unite all Singaporeans, whether at home or overseas, to bring all of us together.

It is hoped that with all the additional fanfare this year, this August is set to be a memorable one for years to come.


Prime Minister's National Day Message 2010


My fellow Singaporeans,

Our economy has rebounded strongly from last year’s recession. GDP grew 17.9% Y-on-Y in the first half of this year. Many jobs have been created, and unemployment is low. Our workers can look forward to better wages, more overtime and higher bonuses this year.

Growth is likely to moderate in the second half. Still, MTI forecasts growth for the year to be between 13 and 15%. This exceptional performance is the fruit of Singaporeans’ united response during the crisis. This enabled us to take full advantage of improved global conditions.

But let us not get carried away. Risks remain in the world economy, especially in Europe and the US. The global financial system is not fully mended. Singapore is small and open. If the world economy turns bad, we will be buffeted. We need to stay vigilant and watch the developments worldwide.

We cannot expect to repeat this year’s sterling performance year after year, but we can continue to grow our economy with sustained effort. We must invest in our people, upgrade our infrastructure and improve our productivity. Then we can take full advantage of opportunities in a booming Asia and prosper.

Our goal is for all Singaporeans to enjoy the fruits of growth. When Singapore prospers, you will benefit from many government programmes: better designed HDB estates, higher quality schools and hospitals, more MRT lines and new places for recreation. But each one of us has to make the effort.  Every student must be keen to learn and go as far as you can.  Every worker must master the knowhow and skills to be productive and competitive. Every manager must train and motivate his staff to maximise their contribution and potential. Only then can Singaporeans do the better jobs that our economy will create, and enjoy higher incomes, brighter opportunities, and more fulfilling lives.

The Government will support Singaporeans in this, by developing a first class education system for our young, and a comprehensive Continuing Education and Training (CET) programme to upgrade our workers.

Our education system has been successful. A large majority of our students are progressing beyond school to post-secondary and tertiary institutions. Graduates from ITE, polytechnics and universities readily secure good jobs.

Our education system caters to all students, and not just the most outstanding ones. Our schools go beyond book learning to teach students how to solve problems, and imbue them with sound moral values. We create multiple pathways for students of different abilities and interests to progress. We help every neighbourhood school to be a good school, with its own strengths and specialities. We identify and develop each student’s talents, and give him every opportunity to excel.

We will continue to improve our education system.  We are recruiting and training more teachers, to enable us to deliver a more holistic and rounded education. We will help every school to offer something extra and different, and thus give students more good choices. We will create new peaks of excellence in ITEs, polytechnics and universities, to stretch our students. I ask parents and students to work with us, to give our youth the best start in life.

Beyond schools, we must build up Continuing Education and Training. The Government is investing $5.5 billion over 5 years to do this. We are building two CET campuses in the East and West of Singapore, and introducing many schemes and incentives to help companies and workers improve their productivity.  I am glad employers and unions strongly support CET, because their support is crucial.

We will develop and invest in our people, but we also need to reinforce the Singapore team with talent and numbers from abroad. This is critical to us. Other countries are not only much larger than us, but have far deeper pools of talent than we have. We must make up for the shortage of Singaporean workers in our economy and the shortfall of babies in our population. Without an inflow, over time our economy and society will lose vibrancy, our citizens will enjoy fewer opportunities, and our shining red dot will grow dimmer.

I understand Singaporeans’ concerns about taking in so many foreign workers and immigrants. Some of us wonder: Will it change the ethos of our society? Will it mean more competition for us at work, or for our children in schools? Will the new arrivals strike roots here? Can they adjust to us, and we to them?

These are valid concerns which we must address. We will control the inflow, to ensure that it is not too fast, and not too large. We will only bring in people who can contribute to Singapore, and work harder to integrate them into our society. And we will make clear that citizens come first. After all, we are doing this for the sake of Singaporeans.

We cannot do without a proportion of foreign workers, or a continuing flow of PRs and new citizens. Let us welcome them with an open heart, help them to fit in and encourage those who will become citizens to strike roots here. If we do this well, by the next generation, their children will be native Singaporeans. Remember, we ourselves are descendants of immigrants too. With new arrivals living and working harmoniously with those born here, we will keep Singapore dynamic, cosmopolitan, and successful.

That is the face that Singapore must show the world during the Youth Olympic Games. Our cityscape will certainly wow the visitors. They will see the signature skyline at Marina Bay and our new downtown; the high quality public housing like The Pinnacle, where I am now; and the beautiful urban spaces and natural greenery all over the island.

More importantly, we must impress with the spirit of our people.  At this first YOG, let us show the world what Singapore can do. Our athletes have been training hard. Our volunteers, 20,000 strong, stand ready to welcome our guests. Thousands of participants and guests will be arriving soon. I hope all Singaporeans will work together to put up a good show, and make the games memorable for all our visitors.

On our 45th National Day, let us celebrate our achievements as one united people. We can be proud of what we have attained, but we must keep learning from others, improve in every area and strive hard to achieve our future goals. Tomorrow’s Singapore must be better than today’s.

I wish all Singaporeans a Happy National Day

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Internet Addiction, Our Children, And Us

August 7, 2010 - Internet Junkie Children Have Parents Worried

PETALING JAYA: Parents and teachers have been left in a quandary as the onslaught of Internet games and social networking sites are bringing out a rebellious streak in many children.

“Why are you controlling my life?” – is the question often thrown back by children to their parents or teachers when they are confronted with their obsession with the Internet.

Teenagers playing online games at a cyber cafe in Kelana Jaya, a common scenario at almost any cyber cafe. - AZMAN GHANI/THE STAR
Norton, an Internet security company, produced a family report in 2010 which stated that Malaysian children spent an average of 64 hours online every month.

National Union of the Teaching Profession secretary general Lok Yim Pheng described the students’ obsession with the Internet as a silent killer which was “killing off” the interest of students in class.
There had been reported cases of students falling asleep in class after a whole night of playing Internet games and on-line chatting.
Lok had been ringing the alarm bells over this issue for the last five years.

She said there were also students who starved themselves during recess time because they wanted to save up for trips to cyber cafes.
“There have also been cases where stealing is involved,” she said.

Public complaints go-to man, Datuk Michael Chong said many parents had come crying to him saying they were at a loss over what to do.
“Their children spend countless hours on the Internet – with some cases involving primary school students surfing pornographic sites,” said the head of the MCA Public Service and Complaints Department.

Psychologist Dr Goh Chee Leong said the Internet was enticing because it was “very engaging and stimulating.”
“This problem is more prevalent in the middle and higher class families because they can afford to buy computers,” said the vice-president of HELP University College.

Mary (not her real name), an ex-addict, said that at the height of her obsession with online games, she only slept once every two days.
“I was 16 then. I was having teenage angst and like my peers, I needed a world where I could be in control and I could win,” said the undergraduate.
Luckily, she grew out from the phase when she was 19. Her bad grades were a nasty wake-up call, said the 21-year-old.

Father of three and marketing manager Simon Lee worries that his children will neglect their studies if they spend too much time on the computer.
But he could soon have a solution.
Software engineer Wayne Koong has invented a programme which slows down Internet programmes tremendously, to make the viewers get impatient and lose interest.
To know more about it, you have to log on and go to
- The Star

Aug 3, 2010 - Depression Linked To Net Addiction

HONG KONG - Teenagers who spend excessive amounts of time on the Internet are one and a half times more likely to develop depression than moderate web users, a study in China has found.

Researcher Lawrence Lam described some of the signs of excessive use spending at least five to more than 10 hours a day on the web, agitation when the teens is not in front of the computer and loss of interest in social interaction.
'Some spend more than 10 hours a day, they are really problematic users and they show signs and symptoms of addictive behaviour ... browsing the Internet, playing games,' said Mr Lam, co-author of the paper which was published on Tuesday in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

The study involved 1,041 teenagers aged between 13 and 18 years in China's southern Guangzhou city who were free of depression at the start of the investigation.
Nine months later, 84 of them were assessed as suffering from depression and those who were on the Internet excessively were one-and-a-half times more vulnerable than moderate users.
'Results suggested that young people who are initially free of mental health problems but use the Internet pathologically could develop depression as a consequence,' wrote Mr Lam, who co-authored the paper with Zi-wen Peng at the Sun Yat-Sen University's School of Public Health in Guangzhou.

The depression might be a result of lack of sleep and stress from competitive online games, he explained. 'People who spend so much time on the Internet will lose sleep and it is a very well established fact that the less one sleeps, the higher the chances of depression,' Mr Lam said. -- REUTERS


Jul 2, 2010 - Internet Addict Killed Mum

SEOUL - A South Korean court on Friday sentenced an Internet addict to 20 years in prison for killing his mother after she criticised his online gaming habit.

The 22-year-old was arrested in February on charges of clubbing his 53-year-old mother to death at her home.
Prosecutors had sought the death sentence.

In March, a 32-year-old man died after playing on the Internet for five days with few breaks.

A similar incident was reported involving a 28-year-old man in 2005.

In May, a 41-year-old man was sentenced to two years in jail after he and his wife left their daughter to die while raising a  'virtual child'  on the Internet.

Official data estimates the highly-wired nation has two million web addicts, or almost one in 10 online users.
South Korea has announced tougher rules to combat Internet gaming addiction. -- AFP

Friday, August 6, 2010

Experiencing Autism

Autism 1:
Dozens of mourners gathered at the Dallas Central Mosque in Richardson for a brief service for 2-year-old Faryaal Akhter, who died on Tuesday night 20th July, after being taken off life support.

The family buried her 5-year-old brother, Zain Akhter, on Monday, a day earlier.

Saiqa Akhter
Saiqa Akhter

As the Irving toddler was laid to rest on Thursday afternoon 22nd July, the mother, Saiqa Akhter, 30, accused of strangling her and her brother was on suicide watch at the Dallas County Jail.
She was being held in a jail unit with about eight other inmates also on suicide watch, said Dallas County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Kim Leach.
A guard is in the cell at all times, Leach said.

The mother was being held on a capital murder charge at the Dallas County Jail, where she was being monitored at all hours, according to a spokeswoman.
A Dallas County magistrate set Akhter's bail at US$1 million.
She is accused of killing the children at the family's Irving apartment on Monday evening, 19th July.

"She's obviously scared, and she's from a different culture and doesn't really understand our system very well," said Richard Franklin, one of two court-appointed attorneys representing Akhter who met with her  about noon Thursday 22nd.
He said they will request a psychiatric evaluation.

"We're going to wait and see what plays out," Franklin said. "There's a lot of information that doesn't look good, but by the same token, she seems to have mental health issues."

Franklin noted that in many cases in which mothers have killed their children, the mothers were having "some sort of mental stress that lessened their culpability, and some of them wound up in mental institutions instead of prison."

AP report that shortly after 5 p.m. Monday, Saiqa Akhter, a stay-at-home mother, called Irving police, said she had done "something terrible" to her children."
In flat tones and halting English, from the family's apartment in the 3300 block of Esters Road, just south of State Highway 183, she told the operator 911 that she had strangled her two young children because they were autistic.
She felt burdened by two autistic children and wanted "normal kids."

Officers who responded to the scene found both children on a bed in the family's second-floor apartment along with an antenna wire that police think was used to kill them.
When she called police, Akhter said she had used a wire on her children's necks and both had turned blue, according to an affidavit for a search and arrest warrant released by police Tuesday.
The mother was the only adult in the apartment at the time.

Akhter has declined all interview requests.

After Faryaal's burial at Restland Memorial Park, Saiqa Akhter's uncle Wasimul Haque said his niece had shown signs of psychological problems as early as 2007, though he did not elaborate.
He said the family thinks she needs psychiatric help.

"It looks like she had mental problems. I don't understand why she did it," Wasimul Haque, an uncle of Akhter, told The Dallas Morning News.

"I lost everything, my babies, but I don't want to lose my niece," Haque said. "She needs medical help right now."

"It is very, very tragic," "We are in the deep sadness." Haque said.

His niece had been depressed since the family moved into a new apartment in Irving.

Although family members had previously said Zain had autism (he had severe speech difficulties but had been improving with speech therapy), Haque did not think Faryaal was autistic too.
Nevertheless, she had health problems and was rushed to an emergency room with a respiratory issue in May 2009.

The family was the subject of a Child Protective Services investigation after leaving Zain home alone during that hospital visit.
Although agency spokeswoman said there were no signs of physical abuse, CPS worked with the family to get them help.

The dead children's father, Rashid Akhter, a computer technician, who, with his wife and children, emigrated from Pakistan, was struggling with the deaths.
He was so distraught that he's been unable to talk.

"He's totally broke," Haque said. "We are trying to support him. It is really a hard time for us. You can't imagine. I can't explain inside what's happening."


Autism 2:
6-year old Affan would only be released from his mother's firm hold after the school bell rang and other students were assembling to line up before class begins.
Then, his mother would quickly disappear.

Everyday, Affan would cry his heart out during assembly, when he's left with no mother, but friends.

The scene kept repeating itself everyday until mid-year when I had the chance to sit with the mother, to talk about...

Yes, she has not one, but two autistic children.
8-year old Fahim had attended primary school. The two children's unusual social behaviour had made the mother developed a very low self-esteem, although her husband is a high ranking officer drawing a very good salary.

She would always running away from other parents who were also sending their children to school.

When she happened to arrive early, she would find a spot where she and her children were less noticed.


When she came for the mid-year assessment report, I had signaled to her that I would see her last, and she willingly agreed.

The moment she sat facing me, the young mother in her 20s burst out, crying her heart out.

She felt ashamed.
She had given her parents and parents-in-law two autistic grandchildren with social impairments - abnormal of social interactions and communication, with distinct odd social approaches.

She's too stressed out having two autistic offspring and having to look after them by herself.
She's now, like her children, were difficult to make, to trust and to maintain friendships.
Living in the environment, it proved to her that it's difficult for those with autism.
Then, there's frequent and intense loneliness and 'unheard whisper' despite with the two-in-tow, who had formed inseparable attachment with her.  
It's a great lifetime burden she had to carry on her shoulders.

She 'knew' the daily cries, the abnormal aggressiveness, violence and tantrums shown by her children had invited 'uninvited gossips and talks' among parents and students' resentment.

What's so great about having much money, when much more money is needed for theraphy - speech for basic language skills and another, for their mental development.
People see her status, but the impaired perception of people fail to see what she went through.


When enough was said and she had thrash her heart out, her feeling and suffering from unheard were relieved.

Then, I ask about 'any outsider?' in her house.
Yes, She has had many experiences of being urged, sometimes forcefully urged, and wanting to throw the two children down from her flat.
Occasionally the children, Affan especially, would babble, 'there's people' at the door or at the windows.

On occasions when her husband came home, out of the jungle especially, she would sense, eerie feeling with goosepimple, of another 'being' entering the house, although the man did not feel anything or any difference.

He love his children, he love his wife, he love his family and he love his job...

***She had often invited me over to her house. I have yet to fulfill her invitation.
***Changes Made