Friday, 30 January 2015

Passing On

Received word that an aunt passed away earlier this week.  Al Fatihah.

I couldn't make it to the funeral but I just added her name to the list of names on my Yaasin dedication.

Feeling a bit sad tonight, redha, but still sad, thinking of Mom and Dad and how things used to be when they were still around.

I wish that I had been a more obedient child.

Dad wanted me to take up medicine, the only time he ever attempted to suggest anything major, but I had other ideas.

Mom was happy for me whatever I decided.

That was the only major regret that I have, if only I wasn't too lazy to study medicine, I would probably have made my Dad happier.

Al Fatihah for Mom, Dad and my brothers who had passed away.

Al Fatihah too for me and mine who are still living.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Reading and Thinking

The case of Eric Paulsen got me thinking.

In my mind, there is no mistaking that this fella is an extremist.

Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary definition


: either one of two opposite conditions, feelings, positions, etc., that are thought of as being far from what is normal or reasonable
: an amount or degree that is far beyond what is normal or reasonable

Online definition


a tendency or disposition to go to extremes or an instance of going to extremesespecially in political matters:
leftist extremism; the extremism of the Nazis.

Nowadays, I listen to khutbah Jumaat at Masjid Negara every Friday on TV1, and there was nothing extreme about what was being preached in the khutbah.

The nearest I could consider as political were the calls to strengthen the ummah, for the ummah to be united against any forms of aggression, to strengthen our aqidah, and not to forget the economic empowerment of Muslims, which were all important messages since the times of Muhammad S.A.W. who was himself involved in trade/business.

Is he then implying that Islamic traditions itself is preaching extremism?

Extremism is not just about taking up arms and killing people.

It is also about one's world view, state of mind, shared opinions, belief system and even faith that take one's perspectives of what is right and what is wrong, and to take that to the extreme ends from the middle point of non-commitment such that they are willing to kill or die for their extreme commitment.

All the more reason why the Moderation Movement being headed by Saifuddin Abdullah and The Star should be viewed with caution if not alarm as to what exactly are they trying to define as the middle point from where extremism is going to be measured in this country.

The problem with the majority of us Malaysians is that we rarely think about the true meaning of extremism; instead, we tend to take in whatever we read or hear and form our opinions and judgments from there.

In some instances, even the opinions or judgments were not ours, but fed into our belief system by others whom we thought to be cleverer than us.

We are just plain lazy to think about what really matters - one can be too lazy to write, too lazy to speak, too lazy to go clubbing, but a human being of the faith should never be too lazy to read and to think.

Thinking is the basis of how we make our decisions on how to live our lives, so if one were to leave the thinking to others, we are no different than a herd of cattle being herded to the slaughterhouse.

Leaving our thinking to others is akin to refusing to utilise the 'akal that Allah gave us as human beings to think for ourselves, the one characteristic that distinguishes human from animal.

We were encouraged to listen to and take guidance from teachers, yes, but we were also encouraged to learn from as many sources as possible and form an educated opinion about matters pertaining to our faith and our way of life and referring to teachers who are knowledgeable.

My wish is for Malaysians to begin looking at things from multiple perspectives, from worldviews that are different from our traditional ones, to put ourselves in other people shoes, and form our opinions based on what is right and wrong according to our faith in its basic form, not the one that have been corrupted by prejudices and bias.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Interior Renewal

With the kids still holidaying with Daddy in Japan and won't be back until Monday, Yaya and I decided to continue with our "Interior Renewal Project".

I know, it is far easier to send chairs to be re-upholstered by professionals and buying store-assembled furniture, but we have always enjoyed doing these things ourselves although we are not crazy enough to actually make the furniture from scratch.

That's the reason why we bought most of our furniture at Ikea because assembling them ourselves is fun.  It is like putting together a 3D puzzle - a Lego game for grown-ups.

All our curtain rails and wall shelves were put up by Yaya, while our sofa, tables and chairs were also self-assembled by yours truly.

Yaya even re-tiled our kitchen and painted the dining room walls all by herself.

Nothing beats the satisfaction of seeing our handiwork being used around the house.

This morning it was re-upholstering the dining chairs.

We bought these chairs from Ikea's "AS IS" section when they were clearing out their display items last year (or was it 2013 - it was a long time ago) so they were already assembled, but the off-white seating covers looked really dingy after a while, what with 2+1 kids and their grubby hands all over them.

I had about 2 meters of damask fabric (something I found in the remnant bin at Jakel some 3 years ago in JB) that Yaya deemed suitable to replace the seating covers that came with the chairs.

I always buy these fabric remnants when I find them - just in case I needed them for some such projects. My present bedroom curtains were made up from fabric remnants.

I did all the dismantling and re-assembling of the said chairs while Yaya prepared the new covers on her sewing machines.

While I was at it, I also assembled a couple of stools and a side table that we got from Ikea last Monday.

Then we re-organised the store room, re-arranged the kids' toys and preparing their schoolbooks in preparation for the new school year.

All in all, it has been a rather productive day.

Saturday, 3 January 2015


2014 has generally been a disastrous year for Malaysian government.

We've had air disasters, floods and political strife.

It has been an extremely challenging time for the Prime Minister especially, although the political strife originated partly from his own policies and decision-making processes.

It is easy to put the blame on someone, and the Prime Minister and his First Lady are easy targets.

He is currently under attack from all directions that I find it amazing that he had maintained a fairly dignified stand amid all the abuse being hurled his way.

I can understand if the attacks come from pro-Opposition politicians, but to have his own party members attacking him and spreading lies about his wife is rather sad.

I disagree with some of his decisions and policies, but 5 years into his administration has not turned this country into a disaster zone.

One can hardly blame him for the air disasters or the flooding.

One cannot entirely blame him either for the present political strife within UMNO and BN - he wanted to make a difference and yet he has to work within the constraints of the present administrative bureaucracy and the political culture within his party.

Understanding the constraints that he is facing, and the less than desirable result of his trying to avoid addressing these constraints to maintain his liberal stance, I can only hope that the changes that he wishes to make happen, happen soon.

Now that I can see for myself what some of the so-called leaders within Umno are capable of doing and what they generally lack, I am seriously not surprised that our Prime Minister is making changes in the way Malaysia is governed.

Through the massive number of ministers and consultants in the PMO and with almost every development initiatives originating from it, we are seeing a new style of governing.

I have no opinion on how we are governed, as long as it is not by adhering to the Machiavellian principle of "the end justifies the means" as I find that particularly abhorrent.

As for Datuk Najib, my one wish is for him to persevere in instituting those changes he wishes to make as he is now way too deep into it and to back off now would be even more disastrous for him, his party and our country.