Thursday, December 31, 2009

Good??? Bye 2009

Year 2009 draws it's curtain with:

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

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

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

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

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

10. Singapore Malays need more help?

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

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Other World Story - Proper Departure

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Common Prophets Of Samawi Religions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, December 25, 2009

Filial Piety

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Learn from all people. Not selective individuals.

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


Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Diamond Curse At War

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, December 14, 2009

Diamond Curse Or Just Another Inhumane Human Act

Diamond - Diamond is forever or forever living in curse.

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

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

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

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

He was left to die on the street.

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Less Powerful Power Supply

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

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

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

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

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

The table computer had experienced changes too.

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Food Story - Mono-Sodium Glutamate And I

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Singapore Malay Radio Stations And I

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Housing Story - One Moronic Action

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

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

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

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

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

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



Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Taxi Story - Wrong Catch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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