Sunday, February 27, 2011

Baby Farming In Thailand

Immigration officers raided a Taiwanese company - Baby 101 Co - on Ramkhamhaeng Road in Thailand on Wednesday.
The company was found to offer an illegal surrogacy service.

Thirteen Vietnamese women were rescued.
Seven of them pregnant with children destined for other people.
The Vietnamese women are now in the care of the Baan Kretakaan welfare home under the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security while police investigate.

Two surrogate mothers who are 18 weeks and 20 weeks pregnant are likely to be returned to Vietnam. Authorities will discuss with the Vietnamese embassy on Monday about sending them back home.

Another had given birth on Monday at a private hospital in Min Buri district.
Somboon Kunatikom, president of the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology of Thailand, said the 31-year-old Vietnamese woman who has just given birth is entitled to regard herself as the legitimate mother of the baby boy under Thai law.
Any foreign couples who hired her to be the surrogate mum can only apply to become foster parents of the baby if they wanted to keep it.
Otherwise they would have to have their DNA tested to prove that they are the baby's biological parents.

Deputy immigration police chief Pansak Kasemsant said hospitals involved in the arrangement claimed that they are bound by a client confidentiality agreement.
They need help from the Public Health Ministry to understand surrogacy birth arrangements and decide if additional charges should be pressed against those involved.

"We need help from the health and medical sector. At least we need to know if the implanting of an embryo is a wrongful act," he said.

In some instances, the male partner would provide sperm to inseminate the women.
Some of the women had been raped.
A lack of cooperation from the suspect and the rescued women hindered the probe.
The business had been going on for a year.

A preliminary check found two doctors could be involved.
The Medical Council of Thailandl's sub-panel on medical ethics will discuss the issue next week to determine if the doctors meet the qualifications to perform medical services involving reproductive technology as issued by the council.

A Chinese and three Myanmar nationals were arrested in connection with the business and charged with illegally working in Thailand.
A 35-year-old Taiwanese woman, of the four Taiwanese arrested, was suspected to run the operation.
She was also charged with human trafficking.
The network of people involved with the operation offering the surrogacy service for Taiwanese couples is yet to be pinointed.

So far, only charges of human trafficking, detention and employment of alien workers have been levelled against the suspects.
The gang, which operated under the name 'Baby 101' receives email orders or via agents (here's the website) using them as surrogates for wealthy childless couples overseas who placed orders for newborns online.
Department of Special Investigation deputy director-general Narat Sawettanan would ask the Information and Communication Technology Ministry (ICT) Ministry to block the website. 

The broker company breaks Thai law by advertises its surrogate-mother service on the website.
Commercial surrogacy is prohibited in Thailand under a medical practice and hospital services regulation.
Couples can only use a surrogate if she is a blood relation and is not paid in Thailand  

The baby breeding ring placed the women in two houses in Bangkok.
They were offered US$5,000 (S$6,364) for each baby.
The Vietnamese women told police that company staff lured them to work in Bangkok by promising them well-paid jobs.
The staff allegedly seized their passports on their arrival from Vietnam and asked them to work as surrogate mothers for the firm's clients. 

The fate of the unborn children hangs in the balance.
Thai authorities weigh what to do with the offspring of Vietnamese women.

"There is a risk that those children might end up as stateless, that they won't get citizenship anywhere," said Benedict Phillips, Asia strategy director at Save The Children.

Campaigners fear for the future of the infants who are born to desperate women - perhaps not their biological mothers - and into a legal grey area, with Thailand still mulling the ramifications of the case.

The women were freed after they were able to send an email to the Vietnamese embassy, which tipped off Thai authorities.
Nine of them volunteered  and four said they were tricked into the scam.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

His Pleading Silent Heart Whispers

Life's now a struggle
Sobriety stumbles
Separation a silent killer
That numbs healer
The bitterness refuse to go
When the heart at its low
Relationship hallucinated
Love cemented
Marriage perfected
Alas, the
Bond... why the distance?
Feeling... why the hesitance?
Why you are pushed away
By the ego that gets into my way

Why am I not listening
Why am I always pushing
Now the heartbreaking
Attraction repels
God, living is hell
Feeling down
Daily frown
Why the abandon
Me too dependent 
Why the broken deal
The breakaway sees no heal
Dark moments of real pain
Of loss, of sadness, no one gain
The fun in the fuss
Faith, why can't you last
Why can't we just be happy
Miss the family
Miss back together You and Me
Intervention please
Touch the pleas
Is there an answer
Can the feeling be better? 
You, the hearer 
God, hear the prayer.

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Maid - Unholy Acts In The Holiest Place (5)

Up until October 29 last year, errant Saudi sponsors forced to cough up a total of SR3,717,635 million in unpaid salaries of 937 Indonesian housemaids.
Some of them had not been paid for 13 years.

Of the total, 617 housemaids returned to Indonesia, and 320 went back to their sponsors.
About 80 to 90% eventually get their wages back.
The remaining 10 to 15% are runaways who have worked for just 15 days to three months.


67-year old Sumiati Bint Mohammad Badri, from Cilacap in Central Java, worked for her sponsor in Mecca in 1993.
The sponsor used to say that her money was in the bank, but Sumiati was never paid for her service for nine years.

When the sponsor's family of 11 brothers split up, he sent her to work at his mother's house, where she spent seven years.
When the sponsor's mother died, her sons paid her SR50,400.

Sumiati went to the Indonesian consulate to get back the previous nine years wages that amounts to SR64,800.

In 2008 - 2010, there were 90 female migrant workers from Cilacap and 24 from Banyumas in Central Java who suffered various abuses.

Up to last year, there were 124 physical abuses.
More than 50 others, were abused sexually.

One of them is 35-year old Surti, from Pemijen in Sokaraja, Banyumas, Central Java, who managed to flee.

Kuswati from Kaliwedi, in Kebasen, Banyumas, Central Java, left for Saudi Arabia in October 18, 1992 with PT Duta Wibawa.

She wrote home in January 1993 to inform she worked for an employer in Al Baha.

Her elder brother, Muhtarom, replied the letter.
It was later returned, as the address he wrote, was unknown.
Communication was immediately stopped since then.

PT Duta Wibawa, the maid agency that flew his sister to the kingdom, was of not much help.

He then wrote a letter to the Indonesian Consulate in Jeddah last year, asking for assistance.
His now 38-years old younger sister, had disappeared for more than 18 year.

In a reply, the consulate claimed, there's no Indonesian housemaid known as Kuswati, working in the kingdom.


Ina, from Perwokerto, Banyumas in Central Java was back in her country, last Friday.
She was relieved when the aeroplane touched down at Soekarno-Hatta Airport at Tangerang, Banten.

She flew home, courtesy of the Indonesian government.

She had been living under the Kandara bridge in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia for more than a year.
She was in Saudi Arabia since 2007 but chose to run away 18 months ago.

The son of Ina's employer often locked her in the bathroom.
She was denied of visit to hospital nor medication on her sick days.

The National Agency for the Placement and Protection of Indonesian Migrant Workers (BNP2TKI) had repatriated troubled migrant workers from Saudi Arabia.

The Indonesian government had allocated fund of Rp128 billion for its troubled citizens, after violating their residence permit.

The repatriations were conducted in  three stages of overstayers in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

The series started on Monday February 14, with the first repatriation of 301 Indonesian overstayer citizens, who lived under the Khandara Bridge in Jeddah, consisting of 234 women, 27 kids, and 40 infants.

The second, on Friday February 18, repatriating 335 Indonesian overstayers - 302 female, 15 children, and 19 infants, residing under the Khandara Bridge too.

There are no more Indonesian citizen lives under the Khandara Bridge, for now.

However, there are still overstayers in Jeddah who lives in tahril (shelter) at the immigration office.
They stay together with thousands of offenders from Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and the Philippines.

The tahril capacity, suitable for ten thousand people, was insufficient.
It  forced the Saudi Arabian government to add another shelter for them in the House of Madinatul Hujjaj, Jeddah, to accommodate tens of thousands offenders from various countries

Yesterday, the last repatriation, managed to send home those migrant workers who have had problems with their jobs.

They were some 350 Indonesians - 286 female, 21 children and 43 infants.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Taxi - His Working Wife, Please Be Home, Now!

"Pergi mana, yang?"
Something not right ringing in my ears as I answered CIQ.
"Kerja petang ya, yang?"
"Taklah, tak kerja." It was 3.30pm when I boarded the taxi.
"Habis, pergi Singapore buat apa kalau tak kerja?"
"Saja, jalan-jalan."
"Ustazah ya yang?"
"Taklah, duduk rumak saja."
"Betul bukan ustazah? Macam ustazah aje. Ada anak yang?"
"Dah besar?"
"Dah besar, sangat-sangat."
"Betul ke dah besar? Tak macam ada anak besar, je. Awak ibu tunggal, ya yang" For the umpteenth time, he's been adjusting and re-adjusting the mirror in front of him for better rear view.
"Kenapa tak jalan dengan suami?"
"Kerja." I started to feel very much uneasy.
"Bila balik yang?"
"Habis jalan, baliklah."
"Pukul berapa yang?"
"Tak pasti, jam ke tidak."
"Bukan ibu tunggal ke yang? Macam ibu tunggal je. Pukul sepuluh dah balik yang?"
"Tak pasti, jam ke tidak."
"Telepon saya boleh? Saya tunggu," Then he said out his phone number.  


"Rumah kat mana?" My turn to ask him to stop his yang, yang, yang that makes hair stands.
"Kat Bukit xxxxx. Pernah dengar tempatnya?" 
"Tau tempatnya?"
"Tau dan pernah pergi." 
"Rumah saya besar. Ada empat bilik. Cantik rumah saya."
"Orang rumah ada kat rumah?" I tried to remind him he has someone dearest in his life.
"Taklah, dia kerja."
"Rumah cantik, tapi orang rumah keluar kerja. Rugilah tak boleh nekmat cantiknya."
"Malam jangan lupa telepon tau." Again, he said out the number.
"Anak berapa?"
"Lima. Semua dah kerja. Ramai eh, anak saya."
"Taklah, sepuluh pun ok kalau kita didik betul-betul."
"Sebenarnya anak saya lapan, bukan lima. Malu nak cakap, ramai sangat." He chuckled upon admission. 
"Pada saya tak ramai. Anak dah besar, semua kerja, kenapa orang rumah kerja lagi? Kalaulah rumah saya cantik sangat, keluar rumah pun saya tak nak. Nak duduk dalam saja. Rugi tinggalkan lama-lama rumah cantik."
"Orang rumah saya kerja kemas-kemas bilik hotel. Balik sebulan sekali."
"Hah?" I was surprised upon hearing the once a month coming home.
"Dia kerja kat Singapore." It surprised me more. Just across the causeway. 
"Ramai kerja kat Singapore, tapi saya nampak dia orang hari-hari balik."
"Dia kerja dekat dengan Orchard Road."
"Taklah jauh sangat kalau nak balik. Senang naik MRT sampai Kranji. Hotel apa tu?"
"xxxx xxxxx. Pernah dengar hotel tu?"
"Semua awak tau, ya yang. Agak-agak pukul sebelas dah balik? Saya tunggu. Kalau malam saya selalu ada dekat dengan CIQ. Saya round satu Johor makan-makan."
"Kalau orang rumah ada kan boleh bawak dia makan. Anak tak masak?" This man is damn lonely.
"Anak semua kat Singapore. Sebulan sekali balik. Dengan emaknya sekali. Dia orang semua bawak kereta besar-besar."

Then he mentioned various places in the central and eastern side of Singapore where his children are staying. They will return to JB with their mother, a Singaporean, before coming back again the following month.

An ex navy who used to serve KD Malaya in Woodlands, he used to dive looking for treasures from shipwreck, and he is still diving for the treasures, which he is unable to bring them home.

He said there are aplenty at the seabed which he mentioned a specific beach in Johor.
He offered me bronze and porcelain.

But in between the conversations, there were many pleadings to use his taxi service, reminding me of his phone number, kept insisting that I'm a religious teacher and a single mother.

"Dahlah, cakap orang rumah tak payah kerja lagi. Duduk rumah lagi bagus, tengok rumah cantik, sayang tinggal-tinggalkan." I tried to hint the importance of his wife's presence and togetherness in his life.

"Itulah, rumah saya selalu kosong. Sebab itu kalau awak balik 2 pagi pun saya boleh tunggu. Nanti telepon ya, yang."

When the usual fare is around RM9.00, it was RM12.00 yesterday, as he was too absorbed looking for companion. 

"Kenapa macam nak lari? Jangan lupa telepon tau. Pukul 10 saya dah ada, tunggu  kat sini, ya yang," as passed me his phone number.

I alighted the taxi with soft limbs and shakened.

Last night, the incident led to me having a bad dream of the outcome of hopefulness and frustration of  his deserted inner soul.

Should any drastic action is taken by this 'angau' driver, and crime committed, situation at home needs a good reflection.
Contemplation is very much needed.

Marriage is between two parties.
Physical presence is very important.
Yes, absent makes the heart grows fonder.
But too long, grave consequences do usually cross the paths.

The longer the marriage is, sense of loss is always felt.
Whenever the other half is not around, funny feeling is there whenever we go around alone, by ourselves.
The invisible attachment is always there.


"And among HIS Signs is This, 
that HE Created for you, 
mates from among yourselves, 
that you may dwell in tranquility with them, 
and HE has put love and mercy between your hearts. 
Verily in that are Signs for those who reflect." 
- Surah Ar Rum: 21.


Girls, daughters, wives, mothers, grandmothers and all readers, money provides us great living comfort, but there's thing that money can't buy.

Wives, you have children, who will have their other halves.
They will have their own lives.

Wives, your husbands are the other half of yours - Complete them.
Live your lives, you and spouse.
That's complete living.

*** Another pining heart is here.    



Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Lost, Warring Just Posters (No, Not Money Lenders)

Few days ago, an overturned lorry [(here's the video) - Thanks to Vijaya Kumar Rahman, Citizen Journalist of Malaysiakini], carrying money lender sticker had caught fire, while negotiating to take the corner from Pasir Gudang Highway to Johor Jaya in JB.
Fire from the lorry spread to the nearby bushes but was curbed by firemen from Johor Jaya fire station from spreading.
The driver managed to escape through broken windscreen with minor injuries.


Empty spaces in public places rarely remain bare for long.
They are ideal spots for free advertisements promoting all kinds of services.
Almost 95% of all the illegal posters and stickers placed in public places in the city of Johor Bahru are of moneylenders, loan sharks or “Ah Long posters”.
The balance 5% offered herbal remedies to improve sex lives, household services, premises for rental and transport repairs.

The free advertisements for these money lenders can be found all over JB. 
It seem to dominate every nook and cranny of the city. 
They have been menacing JB as long as I can remember, and is a great public nuisance.
Not enough has been done to put a stop to the illegal activities.

The stickers are commonly seen at bus stops, lamp posts, signboards, telephone booths, telecom boxes at the roadsides,

Ah Long advertisements pasted on a power unit in Johor Bahru.
Tenaga Nasional Berhad’s substations, trafffic lights, on trees, walls, and any stickable places we can least imagine.
These public amenities are free advertisement boards.
They are defaced with colourful posters and stickers, aiming to lure money desperados and those who are in hard times, to open an account with these 'big hearted big brothers". 

It seems as though Johor Bahru is the land of ABC,

not "air batu campur" as above, but

"Ah Long" (Chinese money lender),  
"Buku Tiga Lima" (three fives booklet), also known as "buku hutang" (credit book), and  
"Chetty" (Indian money lender).

The worst of all is when road signage is not spared.
Road signs are the most favourite places by illegal moneylenders, posing great problems.
Some posters lead to confusion among motorists, posing danger to them.
It's a common problem all over Johor Bahru, creating problem for others looking for directions.


For years, We used to rely NOT the road signs which usually are mounted with money-lending stickers, but TNB lamp posts whenever in unfamiliar places.
If not, then it is just guessing game finding Our ways in unfamiliar areas, if residents were out of sight, or not well versed with their own neighbourhood.

Once again, thanks to Vijaya Kumar Rahman for his effort here, sharing with viewers, what the stickers had done to residents in Taman Molek.
The housing estate's chariman, Haji Idris Md Yusof, on finding the proper authorities to handle this case said,

“When I had a dialogue session with the police, they said I have to refer to the (Johor Bahru) Municipal Council (MPJB) as it is not their jurisdiction. When I referred to MPJB, they said they don’t have the power to arrest,” he said.
The above, Taman Molek UMNO branch chief said, the ‘Ah Longs’ use teenagers to paste the stickers for them, who are not aware of the traffic rules.
They stick them at any stickable posts they see.

“Once there was a Bengali woman who questioned a man who was sticking the fliers, but he threatened that she won’t be alive if she makes any noise about it,” he added, on the sticking assignments carried out by large, intimidating-looking men.
The public is urged to call the council’s toll-free number 1300-88-1406 to complain about such posters.

But new posters would be up, soon after the old ones removed. 

No free advertising: An anti-vandalism unit member scrapping off some illegal moneylending posters on TNB substation in Johor Bahru. Photos: The Star

Vandalism is rampant in Johor Bahru.
They removed drain covers that can cause fatal accidents as they have no regard for safety and the law.
Then there are road signs sprayed by vandals.

The anti-vandalism unit with ten men was formed at the start of last year, roaming the city in a van, equipped with scrappers, pails and ladders to remove illegal notices and stickers put up by Ah Longs.

But according to Haji Idris, MPJB appointed contractor to remove the stickers, are furthering the mess.
They just tore them apart, did not remove the stickers completely.
It thus makes greater mess in the surrounding areas.
The removed stickers left many ugly sights, an eyesore, of jobs halfway done.
There is no proper provision in law as of yet to nip these activities.


Just a couple of weeks ago, while cleaning the porch area, the sight of an elderly person surprised Me.
I saw posters were being put up, alas, at again, the road sign opposite My house.
I wonder if those distributing money lenders' calling cards and fliers, putting up banners or sticking leaflets have any guilty conscious.
What they did had created great environment and social problems.

In Muar, two youths were handed to the district police station.
They were alleged to be involved with illegal money lenders.
They were nabbed while putting up posters advertising Ah Long's business.
They were each paid RM1,000 a month in addition to daily food and petrol allowance.

If indeed, youngsters are used, their parents should be informed and warned of the consequences.
There will be at least some restrain in the irresponsible parties.
It thus show the authorities are serious about tackling the issue.
The action will erase the lackadaisical attitude assumed by the public.


Now, the “cash available” offers are at our doorsteps.
Name cards, besides fliers, are not placed in mail boxes.
They were thrown into the gate.
The practice is daily occurance at My house.
It becomes litters strewn on verandah before long.


Last year, We received many SMSes mostly in Chinese, offering cash up to RM500,000. 
How did they get Our numbers? 
Data base being sold?
In 2005, the government announced a registration requirement to enable authorities to track users, to prevent criminal activities conducted over the cellular telephone networks.
Then the Home Ministry announced 6,000 cellphone numbers belonging to Ah Longs were disconnected nationwide in 2009.
Out of 484 reports lodged in 2009 under the Moneylenders Act 1951, Johor topped the list with 118 cases.

Authorities concerned, can demand telecommunication companies cooperation in monitoring these phone-borne crimes.
If efforts are not kicked in, seeing and hearing no evil, before long, advertising and calling borrowers on tv is the next option.


It is high time for the Iskandar Regional Development Authority play its part to ensure the relevant agencies rid JB of growth of these advertisements which are becoming a nuisance.
It can pressure the local councils to do more, organising groups and squads removing, tearing down, cleaning the affected spots and leaving no mess around.
Surveillance teams can be deployed to nab the culprits red- handed.

While the Iskandar project is changing the landscape of Johor Baru at full speed, surely the illegal publicity paraphernalia advertising various financial services, scattered around the city, dominating every nook and cranny, will have a lasting impression in investors' minds.
How if these investors are to see them at bus stops, lamp posts, signboards, telephone booths, telecom boxes at the roadsides, TNB substations, on trees, walls, and any stickable places we can least imagine?


Majlis Bandaran Johor Bahru ( Johor Baru City Council) was given a four-star rating by the Housing and Local Government Ministry.
It keeps the city clean, safe and conducive for everybody?

One wonders how it got this grading when even a trivial war, fighting illegal posters, seems to be an enormous task, cannot be won?
It is just about getting rid of these posters and stickers, tidying up the place, and leaving no unsightly mess.
With concerted effort, it can be done, until the unsightly mess disappear forever.


Under the Minor Offences Act, anyone affixing advertisements, bills, notices, paper or banners on any property without authority is liable to a jail term not exceeding one year or a fine not exceeding RM1,000, or both.
A paltry sum, with unlike enforcement that the "advertisers" are brazen enough to put up their advertisements with their mobile phone numbers emblazoned boldly across for all to see.
The enforcement authorities have not seen any?

Then, it is emboldening loan sharks.
These people are having field days putting up leaflets and posters all around.

Now, with unlike enforcement, they are putting up huge banners and buntings, nicely erected in the middle of many major roads.
Turning blind eye can worsened societal plague.

Worst of all, these posters are strategically placed at traffic light junctions which I've seen at Jalan Tebrau and Pasir Gudang.


A very good read that stirs mix reactions, frustration and smile: Scratch And Find Your Way There.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Excellence Of Selawat And Salam (2)

"ALLAH and HIS Angels send Blessings on the Prophet: 
O you that believe! 
Send your blessings on Him, 
and salute Him with all respect." 
- Al Qur'an: Surah Al-Ahzab 56

'Muhammad' in Arabic

* The Prophet Muhammad sollallaahu 'alaihi wasallam said: “ALLAH has angels who go around on earth, conveying to Me the salam of my ummah.” - (Sunan Nasaa'i, Saheeh Al-Albani radhiallaahu 'anhuma)
* The Prophet s.a.w. said: “When any one of you prays, let him begin by Praising ALLAH, then let him send blessings upon the Prophet s.a.w., then let him ask for whatever he wants.” - At-Tarmidzhi radhiallaahu 'anh.

* Abdullah bin ‘Amr bin Al-’As r.a. reported: I heard the Messenger of ALLAH s.a.w. saying: “Whoever Supplicates ALLAH to exalt My mention (selawat), ALLAH will Exalt HIS Mention (Selawat) ten times and remove from him ten sins and Raise him ten degrees." - Muslim r.a.

* The Messenger s.a.w. said: “Do not take your houses as graves and do not take My grave as a place of festivity (which you visit repeatedly).
Send blessings upon Me, for your greeting will reach Me no matter where you are.” - Abu Hurairah r.a.

* Rasulullah s.a.w. said, “There is not one of you who sends his greetings upon Me except that ALLAH returns the soul to My body (in the grave) and I return his greeting.” - Abu Daud r.a.

* Saidina ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattaab r.a. said: “Du’a is suspended between heaven and earth and none of it is taken up until you send blessings upon your Prophet." - At-Tarmidzhi r.a.

* Saidina 'Ali r.a. reported: Rasulullah s.a.w. said, "The miser is the one in whose presence I am mentioned but he does not supplicate for Me.” - At-Tarmidzhi r.a.

* Abdur Rahman bin 'Auf r.a. said, "I came to the Prophet s.a.w. while He was in prostration and He elongated His prostration and then said, “Jibrail 'alaihis salam came to Me and he said, ‘Whoever sends blessings (selawat) upon You, I will send blessings on him, and whoever sends greetings (salam) upon You, I will send greetings upon him,’ so I prostrated out of Thankfulness to ALLAH." - Al Haakim r.a.

* Ibn Mas’ood r.a. reported: The Messenger s.a.w. said: "The people who will be nearest to Me on the Day of Resurrection will be those who Supplicate ALLAH more often for Me.” - At-Tarmidzhi r.a.

*‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ood said: If any one of you wants to ask (of ALLAH), let him begin by Praising ALLAH as HE Deserves to be Praised, then let him send blessings upon the Prophet s.a.w., then let him ask after that, for that is more likely to be answered. - Narrated by Al-Tabaraani.

“Say (O Muhammad to mankind): 
“If you (really) love ALLAH, 
then follow Me , 
ALLAH will Love you and Forgive you your sins. 
And ALLAH is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” 
- Al Qur'an: Surah Al-Imran 31

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Finding A Suitor - Should I? Should I Not?

A mother in China uploaded a video of her 26-year old daughter walking out of a shower with intention to find prospective boyfriends for her.

When asked about her requirements for a boyfriend, the daughter replies:

“I’m all right, as long as (he) is nice to you (the mother) and nice to me. That’s enough.’’


I was at My Sister's place yesterday, when She popped a question of any suitable suitor for a 30-year old secondary school teacher.

The mother is worried as the teacher, the eldest in the family, will be left on the shelf.
Most cousins of hers around her age, are already with toddlers.
I had just met her less than a week ago in Simei.
Her demure nature and politeness, paled my existence.
All I can say, she has a very big heart, accepting things as they come.

She is the backbone of the family as the father is sick.
She shoulder the responsibility as a breadwinner and a big sister to another five siblings.
Unlike her other sisters, she has almost no social life, given the heavy responsibility on her shoulders.
She knew she has to set good example to her siblings.
Her life revolves around school and family.

Not that she has had no suitor, but unfortunately, they (I knew some of them), appeared less than satisfactory, not 'marriage material'.
She just needs a balanced practicing man.

Her sister, the second in the family, is about to get engaged.
The mother is trying hard to ask her second daughter, a teacher too, to hold on to the engagement date.


Should I, or should I not give a word or two?
She, a U grad, and myself, a graduate of u-never-study school, met My Husband not long after My 'O' Level, them married Him, because His character is almost like My Late Father whom I highly look upon, despite the difference in race and nationality.

There was no pre-marriage class to attend then, and soon, I had packed up to stay in a foreign place that gave My Parents headache with many up north husbands left wives, children and families upon expiring working contract in Singapore.
Maybe it's the reason that I gave others enough headache and heartache, that I have no regret to the chosen path as I have little (GOD willing) headache and heartache, myself.


There was once when I was entangled in a group of about six U grads, discussing of what to do with one of the members' marriage, on the verge of breakdown - Three of them were single parents.
I tried to reason, marriage solution is unlike solving Maths, where there must be an answer to every problem.
Proving right or wrong can be crucial - Just compromise and play along the line.
Some strings need to be pulled and some, we can pretend it does not exist at all.

Most men (not all) are known mess makers.
It already helps a lot when they do not mess around the house.
And it is a bonus if they give a helping hand.
Some men do not see the reason why they need to help out at home.
And some working wives I know, have to prepare food once she return home, beside attending to the children's needs.
It is most frustrating when their husbands left the dining table after meals, without helping out with the dirty plates.

But these logic women's minds group together, they want comrades in marriage.
In partnership, roles need to be executed, to be equally shared. 
Learning and understanding married life is not through one's experience and flexibility, but books and seminars.
Black is black and white is white.
No grey area for that matter.
Maybe I'm shallow in my thinking, just drifting along where the wind blows.

All I can do at that time, was looking at their innocent kids faces at play, oblivion to their mothers' conversations.
The 7-year marriage, despite best minds put together, sadly fall apart.
From then on, I was usually hesitant to answer when asked by the educated about advise on staying married.

For me, not highly educated is a sore point too, much as being highly educated.


While these girls work on their personal goals, many of them had lower their standards for the sake of avoiding lifelong loneliness.
And a startling number are paving their way to spinsterhood.

My Sister's friend, an ex-secondary school teacher with handsome gratuity payment said, she wish not being single all her life.
But of course, she would not cheapened herself stooping so low in finding a husband.

One of her friend, an active personality in education, married a man I knew since childhood, who was only village-schooled.
The man's father favoured the older son, being more intelligent and good looking.
While the older brother attended school, the man had to hawk around the village, selling noodle, "mee rebus", which I used to buy.
While the older brother enjoying his youth, the man had to find money to put his only brother and two sisters in school. 
While the older brother get to choose his bride, the man's bride was match-made.

While the older brother lives in flat, the man lives in condo, with his very educated, active wife and grownup children.
All these, despite the village-schooled man, to my knowledge, now is just an ordinary worker with the Ministry of Environment.


Who do not want to be part of the “wedding club”?
My Sister's friend asked us cautiously.

When she saw her siblings' children are now with their own children, of course, her feeling was pressurised.
"For whatever outcome, better or worse, getting married and wanting to be in the marriage circle is in everybody's mind," she said.
The built-in intense desire is always there, at the back of everybody's mind.
But for suitable suitors came knocking, the availability left to be wondered -  
“Where are they, decent suitors?”

Are men still maintaining traditional ideas as the best type of wife suited to them are just like their mothers were?
Are all men looking for the same ideal type of comforting, shy, obedient and submissive wives? 
The lack of noteworthy male suitors, put some aspiring wives to frustration.

Some girls wondered, if indeed, their degrees and careers are getting in the way of meeting Mr Right?
Are they being penalised for being too educated and successful in getting into good paid jobs?
Not that they shun marriage, but they were kept busy working on their education, then career took off.

That is usually when parents realised, their children are no more small kids.
They are at the age when these parents, at their children's age, the hands were full with raising kids and families' commitment.


With the current circumstances at hand, My Sister's friend is being realistic - She cannot have all the cake and enjoy it herself.
All her younger life was focused on upgrading herself for betterment in her job that she had little time to meet people.
Now, she is staying in a private housing, travelled the world, spent most Ramadhans in the holy lands and used to drive expensive cars.
But since she opted early retirement due to work fatigue, she enjoys the public transport more, although she still maintains her lifestyle.


I have a friend, when in her early 30s, she married a wheel-chaired man, almost ten years her junior.

Another friend, she only met her husband on their marriage solemnisation day , although they had known each other for two-years through chatting online.
The husband is a university lecturer in one of the African country.
Despite his profession, their several marriage request was turned down by the Singapore government, but they went ahead with the marriage.
She stayed back in Singapore with her kid while he continues teaching.
It's a relief to know their marriage sailed smoothly, and they never give up requesting for the man's stay in Singapore.

I have known a number of girls marrying Turkish men had their husbands become Singaporeans.


Education and marriage are not necessarily conflicting, although both are time consuming.
Both education and marriage can flourish simultaneously, although much sacrifices are needed.
If self can be tuned to us, with the right spouse, both can continue.
Cherish The Idea.

The longer marriage is delayed in favour of education, the ticking biological time bomb is wasting away.
The bringing up of children requires great physical energy and providing them with sound education requires great finance, translating to the breadwinners' good health in bringing home the dough.
Give It A Second Thought.

Can the self, the segregated you and I becomes us?
The Family?
Can the material chase be reduced to having a decent flat to stay and having food on the table?

Room for potentiality growth is big and room for material collection is enormous.

When both husband and wife accept and respect one another’s ambitions and priorities in life, marriage is not about putting a shackle on one person, nor a prison on another...

"And among HIS Signs is This, 
that HE Created for you, 
mates from among yourselves, 
that you may dwell in tranquility with them, 
and HE has put love and mercy between your hearts. 
Verily in that are Signs for those who reflect." 
- Surah Ar Rum: 21.


Read: 'I Would Have Given Up My Career To Save My Marriage' - Madeleine Albright

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Maid - Unholy Acts In The Holiest Place (4)

An unnamed man doubted his maid’s intentions after finding talismans and other magic items in her room.

'Kabar' Arabic language daily, on Tuesday reported the arrest of an Indonesian housemaid and her magic items seized.
Her employer told Saudi authorities that she was planning to harm his family through sorcery.
The employer had since filed charges against his maid.


A 32-year-old Asian housemaid, during the first week of December last year, was caught by her employer adding dirt to the water tank at the house in the eastern town of Tarut, a Saudi newspaper reported.

She was then brought to the police, and she told them that she had done so to make the family love her and make family members love each other more.
She claimed such was the practice in her country.

A week later, Saudi online Arabic language paper Ajel reported that a Saudi employer saw the Indonesian housemaid adding urine to the food she cooked for the family in the central town of Buraida.

She admitted to have adding it to the family’s food with belief that her doing will make the family love her and prevent them from hurting her.


With nearly one million maids from Indonesia and other Asian nations work in Saudi Arabia, some employers, or their family members, especially the females, are “forced” to protect themselves against their maids.

There are cases where maids allegedly put a spell on her employer, usually the husband.

There was a case when the employer's wife suspected witchcraft because her husband kept defending the maid from criticism every time she neglected her work.

But unknown to the wife, the bewitched husband adored the maid, and was carrying out all her wishes.

The maid took refuge in sorcery to make her male employer  likes her.


Fear Of Black Magic Forces Maids’ Probe 

Fatima Sidiya | Arab News

JEDDAH: Allegations about maids casting spells and being involved in black magic has driven fearful housewives to call on the help of investigators. The main purpose of calling these women is to investigate maids before they go back to their countries.
The majority of investigators are non-Saudis who have lately been joined by some Saudi graduates unable to find proper jobs. The job of the investigators involves checking the personal property of maids in search of sponsors’ photographs, hair or clothes that can then be used for magic when the maid returns home.
Googling “maid investigator” in Arabic brings up over 1,800 results of women looking for maid investigators. Housewives exchange names and contact details on Internet forums, and warn each other about maids who do magic.
Um Muhammad is an Egyptian investigator who followed up on maids for five years but then stopped because her husband expressed concern that she might get attacked.
“I used to receive telephone calls from housewives asking me to investigate their maids before they’re sent home,” said Um Muhammad, who used to check two to three maids of different nationalities each day. One Riyadh-based investigator whose number is widely distributed on Internet forums said she is ready to travel to Jeddah to investigate maids.
“Don’t worry, keep her with you and I’ll investigate her,” she said, adding that housewives who telephone her can watch her do her work as long as they’re not scared.
The investigator explained that in order to do her work properly, she needs the housewife to play along with her and tell the maid that she has been sent by a government body and that her checks are part of the repatriation process.
Investigators also show particular concern in winning over new customers by exaggerating the threat of black magic and slashing fees. The investigation process is normally conducted in two parts — the first involves searching a maid’s belongings, and the second her body and clothes. Investigators usually ask for between SR400 and SR500 for each investigation, which takes about two hours. Some housewives give only SR200 for the internal investigation and carry out the external investigation themselves.
Most Saudis, it seems, are more concerned with maids dabbling in black magic rather than stealing valuables. Suad Afif, a sociologist and professor at King Abdulaziz University, asked why housewives use people who they do not know to investigate their maids, adding that such women are not even specialists in such work.
Afif said that Islamic morals prevent women from checking their maids’ personal stuff and that they look for others to do this. Some also fear their maids may lash out or have little experience in how to check on their maids. Afif said if checking maids before their final exit has become a necessity then there needs to be an official body that can do this job. This would ensure housewives remain safe.
“Black magic and the evil eye are there, but in the end it is as Allah says. Nothing can ever reach us except what Allah has destined for us,” said Afif, adding, “We should not become anxious all the time. Not every maid comes into our homes to perform black magic.”
Afif also warned housewives about investigators who are more concerned with earning money than helping people.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Food - In All Midst Of Scarcity Of Source And Finance

The Washington-based poverty-fighting institution said its food price index increased by 15% between October 2010 and January 2011.
It is just 3% below its 2008 peak during the last food price crisis and it thus translates into a 29% rise in food prices over the course of a year.

World Bank data released two days ago showed higher food prices for wheat, maize, sugars and edible oils.
Maize prices soar about 73% over six months, while prices for sugar for fats and oils have risen 20 and 22% respectively, in the past quarter alone.
It cautioned that rice prices needed monitoring given measures by some countries to significantly import more rice to boost domestic stocks. 
The rise in food prices have pushed 44 million more people in developing countries into extreme poverty since June 2010.

Catastrophic storms and droughts have hurt the world's leading agriculture-producing countries, including flooding and a massive cyclone in Australia, major winter storms in the United States, and fires last year in Russia.

Beijing has earmarked 13 billion yuan to combat drought.
The dry spell in northern China's wheat heartland has caused considerable concern abroad and even sparked a UN warning last week about the impact on winter crops, a key harvest for the world's biggest producer of the grain.
Dry spell had affected at least 7.7 million hectares of wheat crops but snow fell over the weekend across much of northern China including major wheat-producing provinces Shandong and Henan had somehow eased some concern.

China has sought to alleviate fears that will affect international food prices.
It has announced measures including diverting water to affected areas and constructing emergency wells and irrigation facilities.
The country is said to have "abundant" reserves of grain that were sufficient to meet the nation's needs.
If China were to buy a large amount of wheat overseas due to a crop failure, prices on world commodity markets would surge at a time when food costs are already causing governments headaches.

Huge swings in prices are characteristic of the latest bout of food inflation.
Asian inflation is amongst the most sensitive in the world to food price shocks, despite the likely introduction of further food subsidies and other price controls.

World Bank chief, Robert Zoellick said global food prices have reached "dangerous levels".
He warned of the impact that could complicate fragile political and social conditions in the Middle East and Central Asia.
The recent food price rises are causing pain and suffering for poor people around the globe.
He warned that a sharp rise in food prices across Central Asia could also have social and political implications for that region.

Although higher food prices were not the main cause leading to recent protests in Egypt and Tunisia, it was an aggravating factor and could become worse.
A World Bank team was currently in Tunisia taking a closer look at the country's transition and assessing possible financing needs, including food assistance.

Egypt to him, may not need World Bank funds because its financing situation "is one that should be able to be managed" over the short term.
He was concerned that countries as Egypt, Tunisia and Jordan address causes of their social upheaval, higher food prices may add to "the fragility that is always there any time you have revolutions and transitions."


26-year-old Mohamed from Tunisia origin the series of demonstrations.
Since Mohamed could not find a job, he did an honest petty trade, sold fruits as a mobile hawker to feed his family of seven.
Despite that, he was often harassed, intimidated and bullied by the police.

Aspiring Mohamed had a dream, he had always wanted to buy a small van to expand his business, to avoid the police every few days.
However, his wish remained just a dream, an illusion, when on December last year, he was caught by a policewoman - Not only his fruits was confiscated, but his electronic weighing scales too.

To add salt to the already wounded wound, he was present with a slap on his face.
Not only was his business destroyed, he was humiliated too.
In indignant injustice, he protested by committing self-immolation in front of a government building.

The fire took the life of Mohamed, but ignited the flame of dissatisfaction with the government in North Africa. The Tunisian government eventually collapsed.


The Mohamed flare sparked the demonstration tide spread to Egypt.
Compared with the small country of Tunisia, Egypt has a population of 80 million, nearly half of the population is living on less than US$2 per day.
As many as 90% of the youths are under the age of 30. 
Around 60% of the entire population are unemployed, and many among them are highly educated but... jobless.
With no job and no income, yet the cost of living keeps escalating, they are living under great pressure, and staying afloat to survive is becoming more crucial.
But the government remained indifferent.

Resentment and bitterness accumulated.
The sacrificial death of Tunisian hero Mohamed has inspired the Egyptians to rise, mobilise and organise to fight for changes in their country.
The current situation in Egypt has caused concern around the world.

When times are good, housing, food and clothing are not the cause of worry, maybe official corruption, government mismanagement, and the existence of authoritarian regimes, could at least be tolerated.
But once daily needs are at stake and there is insufficient food on the table, people will rise against their government. 
Many citizens in the Middle East countries have almost similar destiny with the Egyptians and Tunisians. They are now expressing solidarity. 

Perhaps, the Mohamed flame is not just spreading in North Africa and the Middle East, but may spread all around the world - There are just too many Mohameds worldwide.
Regardless of any race, language, religion or ideology, Mohameds or not, as long as there is insufficient or no food at all, on the table, the grumbling of the empty stomach is all the same, all over the world.
If the government does not respond or pay heed to the voice and needs of the people, they will be condemned and more often than not, ousted.

The World Bank chief said the international community needed to be aware of such risks and should not exacerbate problems by imposing policies, such as export bans or price fixing, that would push global food prices even higher.
Global security is now about food security issue as he said, "There is no silver bullet to resolving the potent combination of rising and volatile food prices."


Unlike the 2007-08 food crisis, higher prices have not yet affected all regions of the world.
Across Asia and in some parts of Latin America, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, costlier food is pushing up inflationary pressures.
"Central Asia is a region where these good prices have increased substantially and given the poverty level... there is a real stress point that could have social and political implications," The World Bank chief, Zoellick said.

Meanwhile, good harvests in Sub-Saharan Africa have so far spared that region from rising prices.
There was less margin for error in Africa because of high poverty rates across the region, although in Burundi and Cameroon where bean prices, an important food source, have risen by more than 40%.

The bank said that the price rise swelled the ranks living in extreme poverty, which it defines as under US$1.25 (S$1.60) a day per person, forcing poorer people to eat less and often less-nutritious food and increasing malnutrition.
The poor spend more than 80% of their total disposable income on basic foods.
If prices keep rising, poor families have lesser and less nutritional food to keep them healthy.

Rich donor countries needed to focus food aid on Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kyrgyzstan and Mongolia, which face acute food price spikes.
Countries with limited farming space and low international foreign exchange reserves in their budgets, yet import commodities in large quantities may need funding help.
These countries are urged to scale up social programs to protect the nations.
Jittery commodity markets should be made calm by all international community.

Whether or not there is food on the table is no more a mere personal problem, but an issue of dire consequences, affecting even the survival of a government.
The tidal wave after wave of demonstrations in the North African countries is a wake-up call, and its revolutionary echo is reverberating around the world.


However, as in Egypt and Tunisia, technology is playing its part.
Technology keeps Africans informed about what they are owed.
With more than 500 million mobile phones in Africa, compared with around 50 million a decade ago, African governments risk unrest of their own citizens.

The continent is facing as many as 17 elections this year against the backdrop of seismic political upheaval in the Middle East.
Voters might take to the streets or using the ballot box to demand what is supposed to be due to them.
Many African countries are due to have elections within the next two years.
The nation wants a decent share of what belongs to them - The continent's wealth.

The continent  is home to 90% of the world’s platinum reserves and a large chunk of world's gold.
It is said, Africa has about 30% of the world’s mineral resources yet it only produces about 10% of the world’s minerals.

How great is the wealth sitting beneath Africa’s soil?
Doesn't the wealth waiting for calls?
Will it continue to be preserved?
Benefiting no citizen who should deserve?
Will it be evenly shared by all?
Or just by a family despite the nation's fall?

Extreme Weather Pushes Food Prices Higher - February 2, 1011

Extreme Weather Events Helps Drive Food Prices To Record Highs - January 6, 2011

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

There's Thing That Money Can't Buy (2)

There's Thing That Money Can't Buy (1)  


How Far Can The Mubaraks Run? — Paul Gilfeather

FEB 16 — You would have thought that with an entire country to suppress, toppled Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak would not have had enough time to pursue the kind of business deals which has allegedly seen him amass a US$50-billion (RM155 billion) fortune.
Even if Mubarak refused to share his wealth with the people of Egypt, his family flourished during his years in power. Both his sons, Gamal and Alaa, are billionaires and share in their father’s massive property portfolio stretching across Europe’s most expensive cities, America and the Middle East.
His wife Suzanne, 69, the grand-daughter of a dirt-poor Welsh miner, was so extravagant she was nicknamed Marie Antionette, after the opulence-loving Queen who lost her head in the French revolution.
As the former First Lady and her two sons fled to London, baggage handlers at the city’s Heathrow Airport claimed to have spotted the group with around 100 pieces of designer luggage.
You are forgiven for allowing yourself to imagine the kind of glittering riches which may have been tucked away inside these suitcases. For the Mubarak family had become symbols of excess and corruption in Egypt.
Since grabbing power in 1981, the 82-year-old despot is believed to have used every hour of every day to increase his vast fortune through corrupt deals with foreign investors. He did this while his own people struggled to keep their heads above the breadline.
Fortunately, we now live in a world where fleeing dictators suspected of stealing from the very people they are supposed to represent are hunted down and their assets frozen.
And the encouraging noises coming out of Egypt and Europe over the past couple of days suggest that, before long, the Mubarak family will become international outlaws wanted for fraud and the misappropriation of state funds.
You only have to look at the recent case of deposed Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to see what the authorities have in store for the Mubarak family.
Mass riots over poverty and unemployment in the centre of Tunis last month lit the blue touch paper for Egyptian protesters — and, in the process, Ben Ali was forced to relinquish the reins of power and flee amid charges of fraud and corruption.
Tunisia’s former First Lady, Leila Ben Ali, is even even accused of stealing 1.5 tonnes of gold from the country’s central bank as she and her family made a break for Jeddah in Saudi Arabia. Even as they ran for their lives, it is alleged they halted their uncomfortable journey into exile to grab what they could like thieves in the night.
Coincidentally, I happened to be interviewing the Secretary-General of Interpol on Friday and Mr Ronald Noble told me it was he who took delivery of Ben Ali’s arrest warrant.
If similar charges are brought against Mr Mubarak and his family in the coming weeks, Noble is a face they will come to know as they look over their shoulders.
When I asked the Interpol chief about the former Egyptian President, he told me: “Let’s take Tunisia. It had this conflict, the President was accused of engaging in criminal conduct to the extent of fraud and the misappropriation of funds, and Interpol was asked to seek his arrest internationally.
“We got the allegations, we got the underlying arrest warrant, we got the charges, and Interpol notified the world that the former President of Tunisia was now being sought for arrest by the new government. In Egypt we have not been asked for any kind of assistance yet.”
But moves are certainly afoot. Switzerland said it would freeze the assets of Mubarak family members at the weekend.
And yesterday, the British government alerted officers from the country’s Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) to begin tracing Mubarak’s accounts after the incoming Egyptian regime made a formal request for a freeze on the assets of the ousted President.
Soca bosses will coordinate their search with European Union Finance Ministers in Brussels, who will ultimately oversee the operation. But it is more likely the crucial evidence needed for an Interpol arrest warrant will come from the new government in Egypt.
The people of Egypt are this week holding a series of funeral processions for those killed by thugs in the anti-protest violence.
Ultimate, victory for Egypt is close at hand, but now it is down to the country’s new government and the leaders of the EU to bring down the final curtain on Hosni Mubarak’s dreadful regime. — Today
* Paul Gilfeather is the principal correspondent with Today.
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication. The Malaysian Insider does not endorse the view unless specified.

Source: The Malaysian Insider - Wednesday, February 16, 2011


To know more, read: U.S. Had Year Of Warnings Over Egypt  

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Excellence Of Selawat And Salam

ALLAH and His Angels send blessings on the Prophet 
(the Communicator of Unseen News), 
O you who believe ! 
Send upon Him blessings, 
and salute him fully well in abundance." 
- Al-Quran Surah Al-Ahzab : 56

In a hadith qudsi ALLAH Subhaanahu Wa Ta'aala commanded Jibrail 'alaihis salam to love one HE Loves and Jibrail a.s. then would call ahlus sama' (the inhabitants of heavens), ordering them to love the person that THE CREATOR Loves.


On the night of Isra' and Mi'raj, when Prophet Muhammad sollallaahu 'alaihi wasallam was ascending the sky, He saw an Angel who had a thousand hands, on each of his hands were a thousand fingers, and he was counting on them.

The Prophet s.a.w. asked Jibrail a.s. who the Angel was, and what was he counting?
Jibreel a.s. replied that the Angel had been appointed by ALLAH SWT to count the drops of rain to have fallen down the earth.

Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. turned to the Angel and asked if He knew the total amount of raindrops that had fallen from the day ALLAH SWT created this world.

The Angel replied, “O Prophet of ALLAH! I swear by my LORD who has chosen You (as a blessing) for mankind, verily I know the total amount of raindrops fallen on the earth till now.
Even to the extent that how many drops have fallen in the wilds, on prosperous lands, in the gardens, and in the cemetery too.”

When The Prophet s.a.w. said His surprise of the Angel's powerful mind, his intellectuality and the ability to remember, he replied, “O Prophet of ALLAH! Verily this ability to count proves futile when I try to count only one thing.”

When He s.a.w. asked,
The Angel replied, “When people of Your ummah gather at one place and send salawat and salam upon You, it is beyond my ability and capacity to count the rewards for it.”


We are encouraged by the Holy Prophet s.a.w. to increase our selawat and salam  on Fridays.
Angels present themselves to Him: So-and-so's son, so-and-so of Muhammad s.a.w.'s ummah sent salam to Him.
There is no one who recites selawat and salam upon Him, except that their voices reach Him wherever they are.


GOD's first Creation was the Nur of the Holy Prophet s.a.w.
Then HE Blessed Him with Prophethood, and the process of selawat and salam continued with Angels reciting them.
From the very beginning of creation, remembrance of the Holy Prophet s.a.w. has continuously occurred.
ALLAH S.W.T. shows infinite Love for those whom HE Loves.

When Muhammad was born, the whole atmosphere was filled with the voices of Angels reciting selawat and salam, congratulating each other: Whatever Angels did, was at ALLAH's Command.

The Holy Prophet s.a.w. fast every Monday, as a mark of gratitude for this day, as He was born on a Monday, 12 Rabi'ul Awwal, April 23rd, 571 years after the ascension of Prophet Isa (Jesus) a.s.

** Prophet Adam a.s.'s dowry to Hawa (Eve) radhiallaahu anhu is selawat and salam.

** Prophet Musa (Moses) a.s. had fainted due to thirst and hunger after walking in a desert under the afternoon sun.
GOD told him that the thirst on the Day of Judgement will be a million times more than what He a.s.felt then.

He was told by Jibrail a.s. to recite selawat and salam in abundance if He wished to get rid of thirst on the hottest Judgment Day.


* Regular recitation of selawat and salam on Rasulullah s.a.w. has tremendous effect on our head.
To some, it purifies thoughts.
To others, it provides new found peace and tranquility.
It is leeway for individual gains.

* Regular recitation of selawat and salam lifts up the hearts, therapeutic for the mind.
Our selawat and salam is immediately accepted by ALLAH SWT.
No one can doubt its acceptance.
Before we realise, it provides avenue for easy problem solving and peace of heart.
Tragedies, troubles, ill-feelings and frustrations evaporates into thin air, as whoever recites his selawat and salam, HIS Gracefulness immediately Showers ten times HIS Blessings.

* Regular selawat and salam injects tranquility into our lives, our souls.
It reshapes those infested with turmoil.
Its benefits are countless and matchless, for 'the best of both worlds'.
Continuous recitation implants faith, depression unable to thrive and miseries unable to flourish.

We are very fortunate to be the chosen one.
We are chosen to accept the religion of peace.
In it, the selawat and salam drives away darkness from our inner soul. 
Selawat and salam works miracle.

* Regular selawat and salam develops positive forces in us.
The highest regard we reserve for Prophet Muhammad s.a.w., the love and esteem, there is the natural outcome of invisible motivational force that dissolves complication.
This is DIVINE's furnishing to mankind through Rasulullah s.a.w.

When that force is in us, "Indeed ALLAH bestowed a favour upon the believers when HE raised up a Prophet in their midst".
People from near and far, all with the same intention of honouring the one HE Loves, "Rasulullah s.a.w. has such nearness with His ummah."
The Prophet s.a.w. is nearer to the believers than their own lives.

The wisdom of the Prophet s.a.w. and all other Prophets, is stated as in The Pillar Of Believe.
He s.a.w. is closer to us than our own souls.

There are always people performing solah worldwide, in the entire twenty-four hour cycle, and sending selawat and salam on Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. is part of solah.
The continuity of solah revolving five times of prayer around the world, are constantly and permanently invoking blessings and greetings on the Prophet s.a.w ceaselessly day and night.

And indeed, He is alive in permanence.
ALLAH S.W.T. entitled Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. to return every single salam that is made to Him.


there has come unto you 
a Messenger (Muhammad s.a.w.) 
from amongst yourselves 
(i.e. whom you know well). 
It grieves Him that 
you should receive any injury or difficulty. 
He (Muhammad s.a.w.) is anxious over you 
(to be rightly guided, 
to repent to ALLAH S.W.T, 
and beg HIM to pardon and forgive your sins,
in order that you may enter Paradise 
and be saved 
from the punishment of the hell-fire),
for the believers 
(He s.a.w. is) full of pity, kind, and merciful.
But if they turn away, 
say (O Muhammad s.a.w.): 
"ALLAH S.W.T. is sufficient for me. 
Laa Ilaaha Illa Huwa
(none has the right to be worshipped but HE), 
in HIM I put My trust 
and HE is the LORD of the Mighty Throne." 
 - Surah AtTaubah: 128 - 129

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Maid - Those Who Aim For The Stars

Maids In Singapore (7)

"Ibu dah tidur, kamu belum lagi?" I asked Suri* as she walked Us to the door.
Although it was only after 8pm, My Youngest Sister had to turn herself early to sleep Her preschool Daughter. 

"Hampir jam 12 nanti. Ujian makin dekat." She replied.
Her final next month, then she will sit for her SMA (High School) examination in September.


Earlier, I was meddling with My Youngest Sister's netbook when she said,
"Ummie pakai laptop saya sajalah. Itu punya Ibu. Saya tak tau passwordnya."

"Kamu ada laptop?" I was surprise. 

"Ibu belikan untuk sekolah saya." She said with glow on her face.

"Ada FaceBook? Add saya."

"Teman saya semua punya FaceBook."

"Ramailah teman kamu diFaceBook?" She was not answering me.

"Saya tak punya dan tak mau. Buang masa dan berdosa."

"Huh?" I dare not ask further.


Suri is My Sister's third maid, but this time, I did the choosing for Her.

The first, Tanti*, a naive, no more than 17-year old girl, although stated her age was 23, was "adviced way too much" by My Sister's neighbour.

Police report, although reluctant, had to be made as she spent more time in the neighbour's house, than in her working place, resulting she was afraid to return home - The neighbour harboured her.

When she was returned, she reported back to her agency in Indonesia, of abuse and heavy workload, when in fact, her duty was to look after a newborn. 


Three months into her work, We followed Tanti home.
It gave her parents cold sweat and tears, as they thought their daughter was returned as she had never touched any housework back home.

After a year of rendering her service to the household of a close relative in Jakarta for no more than S$60 per month, Tanti opted for a change in working environment.
She was tempted by vast changes made to the household and lifestyle in her village neighbourhood by female workers working abroad.

When Tanti showed her parents of dressing transformation she went through, with handphone, watch and fine gold adorned her, they were in tears of thankfulness.


The girl should be in school, and not working abroad.
Since Tanti likes babies, My Sister was looking around for early childhood education course for her to take up.
She cannot end up a maid as her lifetime career.
But six-months into her job, after "learning of her right as a maid" from a concerned, mindful neighbour, it gave her parents not to be in the right mind to always give My Brother-In-Law many silent calls, more sobbing calls.

We had met, We had forged relationship, We promised to look after their daughter, but the naive girl, now having learn her right, forget that her parents had invested and borrowed much money to please their youngest daughter.


The second maid, in her late 20s or early 30s, coming from the same agency, had heard of the abuse that Tanti suffered and the heavy workload she was tasked to.

When she was asked to work in the household, of course, any right mind sure dread the coming fearful territory that they had to live with.

Three days into her work, looking after infant, which she had preset her mind not to like it, she was asked of her preference.
When it was made known to My Sister of what Tanti had said, and what fear the second maid was then facing, she was not obliged to continue her duty.

When she was asked to pack up to return to the local agency after a week in the household, she cried.
She refused to return.
There was no abuse, there was no heavy workload.
She should not let My Sister knew of her fear.
But it was too late.
I had already chosen Suri.


The first time Suri works in the household, she agreed not to use her handphone, not even SMS.
But she was able to call home fortnightly, using the home phone.
She was given a timetable, which she diligently followed.

A motivated girl, she went to the extra mile as I had blogged here, to spend her pay on My Mother, whom she visited weekly, out of being filial.

Seeing the self drive in her, she was advised to take up new skills.
She jumped at the opportunity and had since attended English class, computer literacy and dressmaking.

When the issue of her off day was mentioned, she did not want to have any, as her duty is not demanding nor backbreaking.
Instead, she asked to be release for classes.
So now, she's concentrating her hope to be able to enter the local university.

Suri's third two-year contract was extended last Wednesday.
She hoped into her seven year, government rules miraculously change.
She really hope to become a Singapore permanent resident.

*Changes Made


Degree Programme For Indonesian Maids 
By Zul Othman  

SINGAPORE: Her maid's dream to pursue a degree was realised over a dinner conversation.

"My mother was talking to my maid one night, and found out she was well-educated," recounted Madam Samira Siddique, 32.

"After she found out, my mother came across a degree programme for Indonesian domestic workers, and signed up and paid for my maid's fees."

Just a year into the job with Mdm Samira's family, 29-year-old Ani Musripah is pursuing a bachelor's degree in public administration at the Indonesian School at Siglap Road.

Classes conducted in Bahasa Indonesia are held from 10am to 4pm every Sunday, when most domestic workers are given their day off from work.

The Indonesian Embassy started the initiative in March to help broaden the horizons of its 85,000 citizens working as domestic workers here.

Mdm Samira welcomed the idea, saying she had no problems with Ms Ani balancing her work life with her studies.

The four-and-a-half year degree course covers topics such as public administration, communications, management and accounting. It is held in partnership with the Indonesian Open University and is taught by Indonesian professionals working here.

Supporting the students are some 70 student mentors - Indonesian undergraduates studying at local universities - who lend their expertise in tutorials and study groups.

So far, 125 maids are pursuing the degrees, which are recognised by the civil service as well as many private companies in Indonesia, said Mr Fahmi Aris Innayah, the First Secretary of Citizen Service and Consular Affairs at the Indonesian Embassy.

Another 500 also attend a variety of courses ranging from sewing to English language and computer classes.

According to one lecturer, Ms Adinda Presanti, though enthusiasm among her undergraduates is high, the biggest hurdle for them is juggling the long hours at work with their studies.

"They are keeping positive because they are determined to succeed," said Ms Adinda, 23, a Singapore permanent resident.

To qualify, applicants must complete their senior high school. Prices are affordable: Those who wish to apply need only pay a one-time fee of $170 to register, while students need pay only $112 for each semester.

Said Mr Fahmi: "Even if they have to leave Singapore because of contractual reasons, the students can continue their studies at the nearest Indonesian Open University affiliate."

Education courses for domestic or transient workers are not uncommon here. For instance, every Sunday, nearly 2,000 domestic workers make their way to the Mujahidah Learning Centre at the Mujahin Mosque in Stirling Road for hairdressing, sewing and English classes.

Non-profit group Aidha, a spin-off of a United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) Singapore project, also provides similar skills training courses for the migrant population here.

However, the Indonesian School degree programme is believed to be the first of its kind in this region. When contacted, the president of migrant worker advocacy group Transient Workers Count Too (TWC2), Mr John Gee, was impressed by the tie-up between the Indonesian Embassy and Indonesian Open University.

"A lot of people assume maids are not educated … but it is really good to give them a chance to make a difference in their lives," said Mr Gee.

But the biggest challenge is balancing work and attending study groups, said communications undergraduate Kuswati, 30. "Luckily, my employers are supportive. Not only do they help pay for my fees, they even let me use their computer so I can finish and submit my projects".  

Source: Channel News Asia - November 10, 2009