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Thursday, 18 December 2008
This book pointed out the practices that are common amongst religion, and as compared to the practices of the Muslims that are claimed to be stated in the Quran but are NOT. Again, I think Syed Akbar did a good job, although I do not have any commission in the sales of this book, I strongly recommend you pick it up because it is simply brilliant.
On page 18, he wrote,
" The other issue that made me jump was the fatwa in May 2007 by the famous Egyptian cleric Ezzat Attiya who is the Head of Department at Egypt's world famous Al Azhar University in Cairo. Al Azhar is considered the summa cum laude (of high academic distinction) or premier institution of Sunni religious scholarship in the world. Attiya had proclaimed that to avoid suspicion of an illicit relationship between a man and a woman who have to work together i the same office or room, (what we Malaysians would label khalwat) the man should breastfeed from the woman, to create 'blood relationship' between the tow, thus allowing the two to be together without any more fuss. This fatwa is not based on anything that is written in the Quran. We will also visit this issue in detail later in this book."
My nurse ran in to see what was that noise that came out from my room. What they've heard was the sound an unfamiliar gush of laughter through my long acclimated trachea. It's been a while since I have had a good laugh. In cyber jargon simply known as ROFLOL (Roll onto floor, laughing out loud).
This coming from the cleric, Head Department of Sunni's most prestigious Higher learning center makes one wonder in all honesty...WHY? and the even bigger question, HOW? (In cyber jargon simply known as WTF?!, or what the fish?!)
But this article is not about what may have been going on in the clerics deduction system, tucked away in the mysterious deep gray matter. The same kind of sea depth that took the Titanic. It may have been the heavy turban impinging onto his middle meningeal arteries, (one each side temple, partly responsible in supplying blood to the brain), for all I care. No, this article is to venture the possible consequences of that fatwa, should it be bestowed upon the Muslims in Egypt, or even in Malaysia , since we Al Azhar's biggest copy cats.
Here are some issues;
#1 : Unless the cleric had confused a woman to a cow, he should be aware that a woman doesn't have milk in her breasts at all times. For her to be able to milk her colleague, she has to have milk in her breasts, otherwise it will not be called breastfeeding,rather, a foreplay. How do we solve this problem?
#2. Even with the help of modern science, (which most clerics are not fond of, e.g. contraceptives) of which a general practitioner may have a few out of textbook tricks up his sleeve to induce milk production from a virgin's breasts, what if a lady needs to work with a different men alone in the room on separate occasions? Does she need to breastfeed all of them? It's difficult enough to augment lactation enough for one man, a few, may require an overdose of milk producing drugs, hence the side effects of that drug. A male doctor will come up happy from all this. Actually, all male will come out happy from all this. Gay men would not be too thrilled, but would be the only people benefiting from all this. Free milk for breakfast, like that school milk programme we use to have back in primary school.
#3. What if the two colleagues working together,have marriage in mind. In Malaysia, it is a common scenario that two people met their "jodoh" (spouse destined) at work. This fatwa may contribute further to the statistics of singleton.
#4. What if the woman is menopaused, there are women who experience early menarche (first menses) who would menopause before retirement age? Even modern science hitherto, cannot help her produce milk. Then what about this woman's daughter? She will have problems looking for men who are technically NOT HER BREASTFED-BROTHER to marry because, by the time the mother work till she is in her menopausal age, (imagine the number of men the mom had breastfed to get to where she is in her career) exactly how many men left available to marry? (and I have not included gays in this equation by the way)
#5 What if this same menopaused woman had lost track of who she had breastfed during her carrier climbing the corporate ladder, has a daughter who marries one of her breastfed-brother without realizing it,than later remembered, would that be considered as incest?
#6. What if a woman decided to wait and marry the right guy. By the time she finally found her true love, she would have been at the age where she had breastfed the entire men in her town (well, there are people who changes jobs like they change their sanitary pad ). What if she realized that she had fallen in love with a man she breastfed 6 years ago,( well, people may realize they love someone after some time...Remember "When Harry met Sally) and that it was that particular breastfeeding session that had instigated that unforgettable love in the first place. Again, would she be able to pursue her true love without committing incest?
#7 What if the men can produce milk,as some may suffer a medical condition? Some of the better known conditions leading to galactorrhea (producing milk from breasts) in men are prolactin-producing tumours (growth/cancer) and liver cirrhoses (condition where the liver shrank), a condition in which the normal degradation of male estrogens is impaired. So who has to breastfeed who then?
#8. Of course a couple can abuse this fatwa, by working too closely together in a Clinton-Lewinsky mannerism, and when they are caught, just shrug their shoulders and claim that they are blood relatives, (or should it be called milk relative?). It'll be more difficult to prove beyond any reasonable doubt if there were any milk involved in the breast suckling bond between the two. It's not that anyone can prove a breast have be suckled by so and so, like how a hymen can be determined intact or contrary, via vaginal examinations in rape cases. There's no "certificate of breastfeeding" like the marriage certificate is there?
Syed Akbar wrote in his book,"It is not surprising that (according to the media) the Al Azhar University dragged this religious scholar onto the rug and disciplined him for making such a fatwa. Bus Izzat Atiyya is not alone in promoting this idea. This idea is also written down in the bok Al Muwatta which I have mentioned earlier....."
Well, so the cleric's fatwa stirred Egypt and action was taken against him. But I can't help but wonder, how a man of his position could come up with such a fatwa. It's simply mind boggling. Even more mind boggling is knowing that there are more like him, out there, sitting in their offices, thinking. What these people think can be detrimental to the Muslims if their thoughts are put into action. Imagine if this breastfeeding fatwa became a reality. What will we call it then? The Milky Way?
Tuesday, 16 December 2008
Monday, 15 December 2008
We do have intellects in Malaysia, of course, but not many I guess. I mean, the fact that Barisan National still hold a majority vote says it all. Take our DPM's comment on response to the Bukit Antarabangsa tragedy, for instance.
“We do not want this (landslide incident) to happen all over again because there is a lot of public anger."
Now tell me that is an intelligent way to answer the press, or to even to think for that matter. This coming from the future Prime Minister by the way. In case you may think that I just made that one up, take a peep here . Never mind the four deaths this tragedy took away, and the property damage, after all, it's only 4, and not 40 or 400. This tragedy was only mentioned on the weather forecast in CNN, not even on the Breaking News. No foreign pressure.
And now the MPs in the Parliament are talking about the lack of intellectuals in our local Universities. They must be referring to the intellects that made it into the Parliament after they graduated from the universities perhaps...because I bump into intellects everyday, especially while blogging and on the net.
Here, fix yourself a cup of beverage and sip it slow while you read this in here;
Backbencher: Local students are intellectually weak
' ''They are lazy to do research and also can’t be bothered to read anything in English,'' he said when debating the Universities and University Colleges Bill yesterday.'
But wasn't it the government who stresses on Bahasa Malaysia so much, mainly because it is the most patriotic thing to do? Who would want to waste time studying English then. (Oh yes, I forgot...the ones with foresights) . English is not our mother tongue. That is why we need to vernaculate our education system. Even the topic in Bahasa Malaysia like "Ilmu Hisab" sounds more interesting than merely "mathematics", a boring English word. So why bother with English at varsity level ?
Why don't we provide text and reference books in Bahasa Malaysia in our universities? We have our dramas translated from even Latino languages, and some of the voices never changed since before I acquired my menarche, why not translate the entire library into Bahasa Kebanggaan, I mean Kebangsaan kita, since we want to be arrogant about our National language. Why suddenly stress the need to read anything in English at higher education level? Let's continue to pooh pooh English, after all, we produce our local graduates for purpose of them working in Malaysia. That word "globalization" is merely something that sounds good on televisyion when speeches are given by politicians.
Lazy? Why are the government grumbling about the varsity students being lazy? Your policy led them in there. With all the quotas for Bumiputras and all. I'm sure they are not referring to the non Malays when they say "lazy" because cream de la creme students can't possibly be lazy because they have to kill each other to get into that small portion of quotas into the university. Of course they were referring to the Malays. Well, not all Malays. There are hard working Malays but they still have to learn how to kiss asses if they want to make it into the real world.
I could almost hear the lazy students think. Why work hard when we have the NEP to back us up, even if we're substandard? Go on, feed us with fish, don't bother teaching us how to fish. It redefines "Pray not for an easy life, but the will and strength to go through it" to "Pray not for the courage to go through life, but for NEP to resume to make life easier". We'll only going to graduate and get absorbed into the governmental establishments and if we learn to kiss the right asses, we may even end up in parliament, just like you guys.
And then there's this statement;
"He said although they were not allowed to join political parties in universities, the Government was making the first progressive step by allowing students to be exposed to the activities of these organisations." Sounds very benign, but, in Malaysia, if you haven't developed the art of reading in between the lines yet, I suggest you master it. Can you see what I see? ( In a tone of the oracle in "Minority Report"), more like a prophecy rather than prediction.
Then he said;
" Khaled said students would be allowed to organize activities with politicians and political parties on issues related to education.".
Now, is that clearer of what? I don't know about you, but I don't think they have DAP, PAS , PKR etc in mind when they mention the word, "political parties". Surely you can predict the future now. Aaauuuuuuummmmmmmmm....
Makes me wonder...is this crisis a chicken and egg puzzle, or a simple case of a vicious cycle...
A patient walked in after being called by the nurse.
Me : Good Morning !! Waited for patient to be seated then continued, "How may I help you today?"
Patient: "I have a very sore throat. It's been three days..."
Me : "Oh dear, any fever, running nose or coughing yet?"
Patient : "No..I just feel irritation in my throat"
Me : " What's that scar all about? ", I pointed to his neck.
Patient : "It's an old scar,it's nothing to do with the sore throat." It's not so much of what he said, it's how he said it. Like I'm wasting his time to diagnose his disease. Well, some people do have the art of describing an upper respiratory tract infection as though they are suffering from cancer of the throat. Some just need to be told that they are not okay, and have something more than what it seemed. This guy just wanted antibiotics I guess. It's as though anitbiotics is the answer to all medical prayers...ppaaahh!!
Hmm..just what I needed, a smarty pants on a bloody Sunday morning for my first patient. From that point onwards, the patient had single-handedly managed to switch the mild mannered Dr Jekyl in me, into the old version of Dr House, a.k.a. Dr Hyde...and well, he just had to put with the consequences of his rudeness.
Me already in Dr Hyde mode : "Oh, it could be related because some scars could lead to internal scars and insidiously habour susceptibility to debilitating diseases such as trauma induce cancers. " . Of course I can see that he did not really catch the bombastic words thrown in, but that is the fun part, watching a smarty pants get stripped off that pants.
I saw his pupils slowly dilating and thought to myself, hmmh....the trauma reaction to my bitchiness is too slow to call it fun, why don't I add some catalyst/ enhancer, then resumed,
" I had a patient who came in with symptoms of just coughing. For months he coughed and coughed and coughed, and he had seen a few specialists. One of them actually diagnosed him with asthma, which I thought was rather funny since he had no family history of asthma and he was not adopted either. Even specialists don't get it right all the time you know." I paused to check his reactions.
" A couple courses of potent antibiotics and a dozen of cough linctus later, he saw me and I palpated his tummy to see if there's anything in there. My hand felt a mass in his tummy of which turned out to be a malignant cancer in his stomach that had irritated his diagphram hence the persistent cough for past 4 months. It was stage four and he died hardly 3 months after that. Who would have thought eh? You cough and it turned out to be cancer, not in your lungs, but in your tummy."
Oh, finally it was working, because I could see the color had left his face. . And I felt avenged, smug and ready to switch back to Dr Hyde mode. Frankly, I don't like being Hyde, but he does come in handy when I need to shut some smart mouth up.
Patient : "Waa....can like that one ah?"
Me in transition mode back to Dr Jekyl : "That's why we doctors had to go through 5 grueling years in Medical School. So that we won't miss this little details"..paused and added, "Why you look pale.........."
Lesson of the day:
1. Try not to work on a Sunday
2. Really, don't work on Sundays
3. Don't try to be a smarty pants with a Smartier pants...they do what they do for a living. Even during a sleepwalk, they can do their jobs well. Talk about night terrrrrer.... that is why you have to go see them to ask for consultation. I don't even attempt to be smart when I deal with my lawyer....:->
4. Don't work on Sundays, period.
Thursday, 4 December 2008
Instantly, I was rudely reminded in a form of a sharp epigastric pain, of why I had stopped reading them in the first place. Browsing through the headlines of each pages, as I do when I browse through all the toilet cubicles to pick the cleanest one to do my dirty job,(it's a habit), my eyes caught sight of a headline on page 6 of "theSun" (it's free, yes this is a cheap skate clinic we're talking about, remember, not many patients means not much revenue, hence the free newspapers). Printed in red was "Divorcee mastermind" followed by black ink "held, drugs and arms seized." Well, actually, this one is more of a "WTF?!!" reaction rather than a response to high stomach acid secretions . In case you are the naive kind who do not know what "WTF" means, it's hype abbreviation for cyberspacers in expressing bewilderment, "What the Fuck?!!"
Honestly, to me, the word "Divorcee" is totally irrelevant. What is the writer trying to achieve by adding the fact that the mastermind was a divorcee. Why, he won't be a mastermind if he's not? Or is it that because he is a divorcee, he is prone to masterminding illegal activities, since he has more time at hand having no family to take care of? People...remember the mafias? They have families , like other people too. What point was the writer trying to convey really. Oh, by the way, the source of story was from Bernama.
Then all mathematical probability pertaining to the illegal activities being manned by divorcees, came to a sudden halt when my eyes were feasted upon a killer headline (like killing me softly with his pen kind of "killer"). This time all, including the prime minister in waiting, was printed in black except the word "preserve", "Najib: Govt will preserve vernacular schools". (Perhaps the writer is trying to emphasis the magnitude of importance of "preserving" as compared to the importance of a DPM himself.) Besides trying to handle the then already an acid reflux, I had to accommodate the sudden influx of questions running through my mind, all to summarise comes down to, again, "WTF?!!!" (but in a more angry tone, that is why it's in red, bold and Italic print)
Wait a minute. What was the excuse for using Bahasa Melayu as National Language again? Wasn't it, "It's to promote unity amongst the multiracial setting of Malaysia, to have this one language every race can communicate in." as I recall what was being taught in history at schools. (unless they pulled a 13May tale on this one too). But you don't have any problems separating the children altogether from even before they hit puberty. Exactly how does that work again? Did I just dropped a couple of IQ points and became an imbecile. Why can I not dig this?
Exactly how on earth are the kids in Tamil school and Chinese school going to communicate amongst each other? Bahasa Malaysia? Damn!! Even I, being a Malay , am not THAT religious when it comes to my own mother tongue application at school. Yes. I remember how, especially the Malay boys use to laugh at me, tease and mimic me when I speak in English. But hey, these are the same people, if even they reach universities, who would be crying blood in front of rack of reference books in English, at the library. Oh boo-hiphen-hoo...look who's having the last laugh you bozos !! One word, "fore sights"?
Then I am forced to think of the unthinkable ( not really....in Malaysia, one gets suspicious at any government announcement first, then try to work out on how that may not be the case..). Perhaps they do not want the children to inter grate amongst racial. Why should they? It's a potential threat to the government's very existence. Kids will grow up to become the next generation. If they get along well in younger age, chances are they get along well as voters. This is definitely not good for race base parties. The next generation will maintain suspicion amongst races and hang on to the race based political front. See, don't need a rocket scientist or a harlot mathematical genius for this equation. Guess nothing much changed since the British occupation. We are still divided and ruled.
So remember, every time the government scream "Muhibbah", tell them to take a bow, go all the way and lick their own balls..if ever they have any, then scream back "Hypocrites!!!" . A word of caution though. If you are allergic to eggs, or hate eating or smelling them, better keep it down because that is what they serve in the ISA. Don't listen to me, if you can't afford to. I don't mind being detained. At least that is the only way I get to go off work. And if I'm being detained long enough, well, they won't get my portion of the tax revenue for as long as I'm out of the clinic. Besides, I love eggs.
Wednesday, 3 December 2008
Friday, 28 November 2008
I saw this, what I call art in Kinokuniya. I was just awed by it's beauty....everything was sooooo....beautifully transparent, I cannot help but wonder would our government look this beautiful should they be transparent?
Rrrrrrrriiiiiiiiiigght.... I've seen someone drying their butt with this drier, must be some "women crisis"...Well, this is Malaysia, some joker may just dry their hair with this..Malaysia Boleh maaahhh
I think JAKIM (Jabatan Kemajuan Islam Malaysia) should come up with some kind of a fatwa banning reading love story books in National Language. This is to ensure the faith of the Ummah will not digress into one full of "maksiat"...If they could solve a tough equation and came up with solution that Yoga can divert Islam from the right path, then surely they can do this math....
I was mesmerized with this piece of painting, hung on a well known restaurant in KLCC, only in a way a doctor can, after being traumatized by the visual experiences only her profession can give.....I personally name this piece "Self Portrait of a Female Gyenocologist, on her day off "...
Well, this one's self explainatory...
Now, last, but certainly not least, is a photo of a General Practitioner in her "on-call" room, "working"....the same one who have time to Facebook and Blog while getting paid by the hour.....The Smart One....
Tuesday, 25 November 2008
It amuses me to learn that a group of Singaporean got lost in Malaysian jungle some time back. I suppose they presumed that Malaysia, like Singapore have got proper sign boards that get the job done getting you from point A to point B. We Malaysians get lost following our sign boards in town, what makes the Singaporeans think that they won't get lost in our jungle!!
You can get lost in your thoughts. I do that all the time. I would be made to realize that I did just that when I start talking to myself with hand gestures thrown in, the moment my daughter would give me that look, equavalent to a rolled up eyeball and tongue in cheek moment. The latter would probably get her into trouble for attempting to be rude to the elderly, so she somehow had mastered this "look". The look that says, "you're doing it again....that talking out loud thing"
I remember one incident in an elevator when I realized I did a boo-boo. I saw this man giving me this weird look and before I could figure out why, the words,"Amma do mah thayng while you're playin' witcha", came out of my mouth in some distorted melody, as the earphones that blasted the Pussycat Doll's song prevented me from singing in tune. It doesn't help that the earphones were well hidden underneath all my big hair. I guess you can get lost in a song...
Then, you can loose your identity. That happens easily when you are married. Suddenly, you are no longer simply Mary for instance, rather, Mrs So and So, or So and So's mom. "Mary who?", say you. You play your part so well, setting your family as top priority, sometimes you forget to save a piece of you. There are occasions whereby, you don't recall who you really are, as an individual. You don't know what is your favourite song, because you are too busy running around at work, or running your home, or entertaining your husband's colleagues from work.( err...in a non harlot sense of it..) to have time to indulge in simple things like sitting down comfortably on a cozy sofa with a cup of warm hot chocolate, listening to , well, Michael Bolton if you've just had a fight with your hubby and craving for wailing, suicidal songs . You no longer have time for the simple pleasure of having fun like dancing, or grooming etc. You've been to everywhere but you've not been to YOU. You're just hopelessly lost.
Then you can get lost in Malaysian politics. You start to wonder, where do all these politicians come from? I mean, Men are from Mars, women from Venus..... politicians? At the rate they are going, they cannot possibly be human. Watching the local news is like watching wrestling nowadays. You know they're staged and have a stupid plot where one gets cheering for hurting the other party, yet you just need to stay tuned to see how bad the plot can get and you get lost in that.
Sometimes, you need to get lost to rediscover something new, or to discover yourself. Of course we are not talking about getting "Bermuda Triangle" or "Black Hole" kind of getting lost. Just lost enough to find your way home.
See how easy it is to get lost? It's no wonder people like to say,"Get lost"..because getting lost is easier than "Go away" or "Fuck off" (how can someone have sex and disappear simultaneously, oh wait...invisible man, when he takes off his clothes..silly me..). I think I should abort writing now, because I can feel myself getting lost in my own writing.
Monday, 10 November 2008
Funny though, how the simple subject is made complicated. After all, it is our mother tongue. Somehow rather, I took for granted that one just need to add a couple of "i"s to an English word and walla!! we have a word of the same meaning in Bahasa Malaysia. Apparently though, the technique still don't work , just like it never worked during my time sitting for the major examination in school. I had to take up tuition...yes, I repeat it in a different manner; I, a Malay, who speak bahasa Melayu at home, had to undergo tuition just to come up with a "C" during my SPM!!!
It appears as though history is about to repeat itself, with my daughter and somehow rather that reality hit my panic button and as a consequence, saw me in panic mode, scouting around for books to read, of course in hope to improve her BM.
These are the books available in racks, let your eyes browse through the titles;
I've never seen so much love in like about 5 book racks in one room...
I felt a tidal wave of disgust traveling from my toe up to my head, before that wave triggered another panic attack throughout my body. I could not figure out which panic was in larger magnitude. Panic because I can't seem to find any decent Malay story books that can help improve my child's Bahasa Malaysia, or panic at the kind of reading the teenagers prefer , ergo the future.
"I'm a lover not a fighter", suddenly Michael Jackson's voice rang through my brains, in a song "That girl is mine"...Then anger swept me. Damn them!!! They ban all sorts of harmless things like Yoga, and not see where this is going?!!! Bloody morons!!!
Of course you can't force writers to write stories that don't sell, and well, banning these books is totally stupid, as the act of banning itself. ( Since we're at it, banning to me, is just a short cut to management...).
Well, at least they should address this matter!!! Create some tax deduction for profit gained from writing educational stuff. Or, perhaps come up with "Kempen Jangan Membaca, dot..dot..dot...buku cinta sahaja"....or I don't know..that's why I pay tax, to let the "experts" do the things they are suppose to be expert in. No expert? Well, bloody create some then. What are the people in Dewan Bahasa and Pustaka doing then? A couple of magazines issued monthly obviously is not enough.
You are what you read, just as you are what you eat. Hmm....maybe that is why some bomohs made the last minute kids who have not been studying all year long, sitting for major exams, to drink the water from soaked text books....well, this story is not fact checked, just rumours or more likely either a myth or urban legend...but looking at some of my fellow Malays in the work force, especially those working in the government sector, I prefer, with a heavy heart, to believe that it just may be true. If I may digress, my favourite quote in fact is "if you want to get screwed, don't go to the prostitutes. Just have a dealing with the government departments and you'd get screwed good, for free".
Well, there was however, surrounded by oceans of book on how to love and be loved, one book that stood out and it was written by Azizi Ali. Yes, the Azizi Ali who wrote "How to become a Millionaire" and beyond. His book by the way, was useful to financial morons like me albeit I'm still struggling with the "death by credit card debt" part. Anyway, he wrote a new book in bahasa malaysia that has got nothing to do with love per se. "Equinox", which I bought for my daughter to read and is still waiting for her to comment on it.
A thought just occured to me. We spent billions sending the first, well, the Russians call him cosmonaut, the Americans,astraunaut and Malaysians, gay-or-not, into space to inspire the next generation. I guess these books will inspire them to spread more love beyond the universe..............Talk about "Make love not War".
Thursday, 6 November 2008
Funny though,from my perspective, I am not really euphoric over Obama's triumph simply because he is the first African America to enter the White House, but rather, he symbolizes hope,that, there are good politicians out there who are sincere enough to serve the nation, rather than serve their own interests.
If you follow his autobiography, you just cannot help but admire this man, and wish that Malaysia may some day be blessed with such a leader.
Not many will know that when he was the Senator of Illinois, he forbid his staff, including himself to travel via private jet. They travel via commercial airlines. This is to avoid exclusifying themselves from reality of everyday struggles of everyday people.
He understands the word "empathy", such a lonely word besides "honesty", they should make a song for it.
Having said all these things, we have yet to see the actions of his words, as we all know, that action speaks louder than words.
Amongst my favourite Obama Quote is "an economy that honors the dignity of work"...something we Malaysians have to work on, against cronism, against a bunch of politicians who are busy politic-ing instead of doing what politicians are elected to do, that is to govern the country of the people who got them there in the first place.
Beyond color, culture, religion, gender. It sounds idealistic because people create reality to make sure ideals die and impossible to exist. That is when, once in a while, we need a "hero" a champion in a form of leadership to guide us in our own ailing country..that is what hope is all about...and Obama reminds me of that hope..
Tuesday, 4 November 2008
Wednesday, 22 October 2008
By Nur Dianah Suhaimi (email@example.com)
As a Malay, I've always been told that I have to work twice as hard to prove my worth. When I was younger, I always thought of myself as the quintessential Singaporean. Of my four late grandparents, two were Malay, one was Chinese and one was Indian. This, I concluded, makes me a mix of all the main races in the country. But I later realised that it was not what goes into my blood that matters, but what my identity card says under 'Race'.
Because my paternal grandfather was of Bugis origin, my IC says I'm Malay. I speak the language at home, learnt it in school, eat the food and a lesser Singaporean than those from other racial groups.
I grew up clueless about the concept of national service because my father was never enlisted. He is Singaporean all right, born and bred here like the rest of the boys born in 1955.
He is not handicapped in any way. He did well in school and participated in sports.
Unlike the rest, however, he entered university immediately after his A levels. He often told me that his schoolmates said he was 'lucky' because
he was not called up for national service.
'What lucky?' he would tell them. 'Would you feel lucky if your country doesn't trust you?' So I learnt about the rigours of national service from my male cousins. They would describe in vivid detail their training regimes, the terrible food they! were served and the torture inflicted upon them - most of which, I would later realise, were exaggerations.
But one thing these stories had in common was that they all revolved around the Police Academy in Thomson. As I got older, it puzzled me why my Chinese friends constantly referred to NS as 'army'. In my family and among my Malay friends, being enlisted in the army was like hitting the jackpot. The majority served in the police force because, as is known, the Government was not comfortable with Malay Muslims serving in the army. But there are more of them now.
Throughout my life, my father has always told me that as a Malay, I need to work twice as hard to prove my worth. He said people have the misconception that all Malays are inherently lazy.
I was later to get the exact same advice from a Malay minister in office who is a family friend. When I started work, I realised that the advice rang true, especially because I wear my religion on my head. My professionalism suddenly became an issue. One question I was asked at a job interview was whether I would be willing to enter a nightclub to chase a story. I answered: 'If it's part of the job, why not? And you can rest assured I won't be tempted to have fun.'
When I attend media events, before I can introduce myself, people assume I write for the Malay daily Berita Harian. A male Malay colleague in The Straits Times has the same problem, too.
This makes me wonder if people also assume that all Chinese reporters are from Lianhe Zaobao and Indian reporters from Tamil Murasu.
People also question if I can do stories which require stake-outs in the sleazy lanes of Geylang. They say because of my tudung I will stick out like a sore thumb. So I changed into a baseball cap and a men's sports
jacket - all borrowed from my husband - when I covered Geylang.
I do not want to be seen as different from the rest just because I dress
differently. I want the same opportunities and the same job challenges.
Beneath the tudung, I, too, have hair and a functioning brain. And if anything, I feel that my tudung has actually helped me secure some difficult interviews.
Newsmakers - of all races - tend to trust me more because I look guai (Hokkien for well-behaved) and thus, they feel, less likely to write critical stuff about them.
Recently, I had a conversation with several colleagues about this essay. I told them I never thought of myself as being particularly patriotic.
One Chinese colleague thought this was unfair. 'But you got to enjoy free eduation,' she said.
Sure, for the entire 365 days I spent in Primary 1 in 1989. But my parents paid for my school and university fees for the next 15 years I was studying.
It seems that many Singaporeans do not know that Malays have stopped getting free education since 1990. If I remember clearly, the news made front-page news at that time.
We went on to talk about the Singapore Government's belief that Malays here would never point a missile at their fellow Muslim neighbours in a war.
I said if not for family ties, I would have no qualms about leaving the country. Someone then remarked that this is why Malays like myself are not trusted. But I answered that this lack of patriotism on my part comes from not being trusted, and for being treated like a potential traitor.
It is not just the NS issue. It is the frustration of explaining t non-Malays that I don't get special privileges from the Government. It is having to deal with those who question my professionalism because of my religion. It is having people assume, day after day, that you are lowly educated, lazy and poor. It is like being the least favourite child in a family. This child will try to win his parents' love only for so long.
After a while, he will just be engulfed by disappointment and bitterness.
I also believe that it is this 'least favourite child' mentality which makes most Malays defensive and protective of their own kind.
Why do you think Malay families spent hundreds of dollars voting for two Malay boys in the Singapore Idol singing contest? And do you know that Malays who voted for other competitors were frowned upon by the community?
The same happens to me at work. When I write stories which put Malays in a bad light, I am labeled a traitor. A Malay reader once wrote to me to say: 'I thought a Malay journalist would have more empathy for these unfortunate people than a non-Malay journalist.'
But such is the case when you are a Malay Singaporean. Your life is not just about you, as much as you want it to be. You are made to feel
responsible for the rest of the pack and your actions affect them as well.
If you trip, the entire community falls with you. But if you triumph, it is considered everyone's success.
When 12-year-old Natasha Nabila hit the headlines last year for her record PSLE aggregate of 294, I was among the thousands of Malays here who celebrated the news. I sent instant messages to my friends on Gmail and chatted excitedly with my Malay colleagues at work.
Suddenly a 12-year-old has become the symbol of hope for the community and a message to the rest that Malays can do it too - and not just in singing competitions.
And just like that, the 'least favourite child' in me feels a lot happier.
Each year, come Aug 9, my father, who never had the opportunity to do national service, dutifully hangs two flags at home - one on the front gate and the other by the side gate.
I wonder if putting up two flags is his way of making himself feels like a better-loved child of Singapore.
Tuesday, 21 October 2008
Friday, 17 October 2008
And in my dream, Malaysia is one nation. No Malay Malaysian, Indian Malaysian, Chinese Malaysian, Iban Malaysian, Dan Lain Lain Malaysian and so forth. We move forward together as one nation, one voice, one vision.
In my dreams, by the way, I am George Clooney's main woman..(well, they always say "only in your dreams" when I say I'm marrying George Clooney..or Brad Pitt..). Mrs Clooney, in my dreams, is the Perdana Menteri of Malaysia, via her party, Progressive Malaysian Party..
As the first Prime Minister from a brand new party not based on race, religion, or politician on the vengeance mode,the first thing I'd do would be dismantling the current education system. I will in my first day of office, close down the Sekolah Kebangsaan, Sekolah Cina, Sekolah Tamil, Sekolah Dan Lain Lain and intergrate all race into two schools. I will also demolish private schools. There will only be two type of schools when I am the Prime Minister - Sekolah Rendah and Sekolah Menengah.
All sessions begins in the morning, and ends up about 3pm. Why 3pm? Well, so that there will be a uniform religious studies for all children to attend and no limitation is imposed on whatever classes they want to attend. Anyone can attend any religious class they prefer. There will also be language classes whereby a child is encourage by using point system, to learn a third language that is not their own mother tongue. Of course English language is compulsory, if not the medium.
Having said that, I will make sure the teachers are getting good education that includes increasing their IQ and EQ. I will increase their salary, give more in incentive forms to make teaching a lucrative profession. They will also be trained in child psychology and to detect a special child, so that they wont end up telling a child with ADHD that they are horribly naughty or a child with autism, stupid, with a lame excuse of being ignorant.
Needless to say, I will prosecute anyone who is involved in tuition. The education system need to be upgraded and an excellent system will replace the existing one,( that still insist Hang Tuah is the hero), so much so, with a much smaller students to teacher ratio, there will be no need for them to attend tuition. The extra time will be good for the children to spend more time with their parents instead of wasting it doing too much homework. If there is any extra classes needed for the children who are trailing in their classes, then it'll be during the time at school.
The education will be more of learning while having fun. In class there will me more interactions encouraged between teachers and amongst children and any teacher who do not answer a child's questions, no matter how stupid it sound , or tells a child to shut up, will face disciplinary action. The education system will be designed for children to be able to express their thoughts not only verbally, but also via artistic expressions. No more butt numbing sitting in classes listening to the teacher talk non stop for one hour, then get irritated when a child starts asking questions. An average attention span for normal children is approximately 45minutes. Making learning interactive makes it a superior learning form.
There will be more field trips and children will learn while having fun, and also via the latest technology method that we can offer. There will be no examinations until the age of 15 and 17years. Children should be made to enjoy their childhood while in their childhood age....not when they have grown more hair than a Bigfoot. Parents caught presurizing their children with academic materials will be charged and send for counselling to de-kiasu-fy them. (Or, perhaps, as an option, I will make the parents re-seat for their SRP/PMR and SPM, so that THEY, get the good results and can boast about it..instead of pushing a child in a ridiculous manner then boast the child's results to society.)
A child have got 30 fold imagination as compared to adults and adults who attempt to kill a child's imagination by supressing them will be send for counseling on how to enhance your child's imagination. Better still, before a couple ties the knot they will be encouraged to go to couples' counseling sessions that includes parenting skills. Better get counseled before the divorce or the call from some police station asking parents to bail out their children.
I will subsidize the children's books, provide lockers so that the next generation will not look like The Hunchback of Notredame, carrying all the heavy school bags. The canteen will be serving standardized menu, inclusive of vegetarian menus, and that they are monitored to be healthy. After all you are what you eat. That makes me wonder what our politicians ate when they were children..but oh, forgive me for digressing...Our children will also have a medical check up at least once in two years, conducted nationally by the Kementerian Kesihatan.
The education system will also emphasis on "Civics" not only as a mere subject, students are also required to attend field work in practicing them. Furthermore the students awaiting for their SPM or PMR results to be announced, will be made to do community service as part of the extra curricular activities. This tradition of community service will be extended into the varsity level.
I will also ensure the children of immigrants, (and I don't mean the Malaysian born Chinese, Indians and Dan Lain Lains, as what that imbecilic Ahmad Ismail stated arrogantly, but the Myanmar for example, ), will get free education and health benefits too, because children should not be made to pay for their parents actions, or share their fate. We talk about sending millions of money to the third world country in aid, but we tend to neglect them when they are on our soil. Free education and health is a good form of aid too.
Last but not least, on the education policy, I will make sure all students are well versed in their final year of education, of the subject of "Personal Finance". My book of choice would be that of Azizi Ali, because that is the only book on personal finance that I have time to read for now...Young people, especially those from the science stream, lack the knowledge of personal finance, so much so, they fall prey to the system the minute they start work and earn. I think taking a loan for getting married is ridiculous. I have a cousin who did just that. It was a huge grand wedding. The loan however, lasted longer than the marriage which ended up in a year and a half based on financial disagreement.
Then my attention will turn to the Islamic Department. I will make them dig all the unresolved divorce cases and make them settle any divorce cases latest by 4months. I will hunt down the fathers who'd left their children without any child support. I will make sure that their pay slip will have deduction for child support until the child is able to stand on his own. So I guess, if the father do not want to support the child until death do us part, inevitably the fathers have to be responsible in the child's education too.
Single parents, even if it is a male, will be given some kind of tax exemption to ease the financial burden.
I will also revamp the male biased law in the Islamic Department, and set it right, the way the actual law in the Al Quran states, not by any other interpretations. I will also revise the Islamic Law and clarify what is facts and what is myth. I will make sure that they are only allowed to take off for their endless kursus only after they have settled the big pile of unsettled files on their tables. Funny how most officers are missing and we are told that they are gone for some kursus. It sounds like the Muslims are progressing forward, and the Religious Department are endlessly updating themselves, when in practice, they seem to insist we all go back to the time of Muhammad, in the way we do things in daily life, to the way we dress. It's as though the humans cannot pass the stage of controlling their thoughts that seem to wander in lust.
That reminds me, I have yet to find a convincing verse in the Al Quran that suggest it is necessary for women to cover their heads. But there are verses on punctuality and discouragement of polygamy albeit they are not made famous as the "pakai tudung" versus.
Of course I will have to adress the New Economic Policy. I will retain the policy but ensure that the implementation is modified. The term "race" will not be that of skin color or culture, rather a person's financial status. Poor people constitutes a race. A race that trails behind in economy, education etc, will become a race that have nothing to loose, ergo, dangerous, and will come back to haunt the society. I will make sure that anyone with the income per capita that falls into below average, will get to benefit from NEP. I may have to dodge a couple of flying keris from the unhappy Tuan Tuan Tanah Melayu, albeit, most of them are no longer 100% Malays, but still cling on to the Keris Tamingsari or their very own, (you know, the ones that makes babies they later tend to neglect..)...but by God I will get it implemented.
I have a dream......in my dream, I will immediately stop the Kursus Perkahwinan and the test because it is a fundamental right of any human being to get married to whoever they want, and being a not so well versed Muslim is not a criterion to stay a toxic bachelor. What then if they don't pass the test? Re seat or get married only until they pass the exam? What if they don't pass at all? A person who can recite the whole Quran is not a guarenty to a responsible husband. A person who knows the law of Islam does not mean he will implement it in his daily life. Even a non Muslim can sit for Ugama Islam exams and get an A, and stay non Muslim. Why wait for the couple to be tested on religion just before marriage, when you can instill understanding of Islam in the education syllabus.
I will also not make it compulsory for anyone to take a HIV test before marriage, although I will launch vigorous campaigns to encourage the testing for all as personal knowledge. It is wrong to discriminate someone by their disease, or by any standard.
In my dreams, I created hell for the Mat Rempits. Instead of sending them to jail, of which they may graduate as an actual criminal, I will make them do community service, specifically in the orthopedics department. There, feasted upon their eyes, are cases of limbs plastered and hanging somewhere in mid air. The Mat Rempits are to change the beds and help the patients poop and pee in the poop pee pan, and help with pulling the limbs to realign the broken bones. Perhaps, they are to sit and read to some of the patients or do some petty chores for them...(actually it is the same technique I used to counsel school kids who were sent to me to stop smoking during my hospital days..a tour to visit my patients on ventilatory support or on oxygen 24/7 as a consequence to smoking....trust me..it works..)
And in my dreams,I will ....dang...I just woke up..it was the azan.., prompting me to get up and perform the subuh prayer. I'm okay with the azan, normally I am oblivious to the all familiar sound every morning anyway, but my dreams were making me restless and easily woken up..I depend more on new technology like the alarm clock on my side table, and my hand phone with the subtle cuckoo bird tone to get up at my time to perform the morning prayers, and the other prayers............and yes, I may have to address the azan matter too when I resume my prime ministership in my dream tonight......I looked into the "Index Al Quran" in seach of the word azan, I can't find a single verse on it in the Quran. I wonder if I can find anything that says it is okay to intrude into peoples mental zen by making loud noises into the microphone they forget to switch off after the azan..and broadcast the whole 2 rakaats of prayers plus the morning sermon. But I do remember my Ustad telling me, it is wrong to recite prayers loudly that it makes the person beside you in a jemaah be interrupted in concentration because of your loud utterances.
Hmm...I wonder who decided that it is it okay to rudely awaken people with the loud sermons that sounded like angry husband when listened from within the four walls of one's house. It kind of beats the purpose of the sermon actually. There are babies and people looking after them at odd hours trying to catch the sleep they could not get during the night. There are people working shifts and trying to cat nap. It's not that they do not have alarm clocks on their tables or in their hand phones to help them wake up at the time they feel they can function after a decent sleep, to perform prayers. Blasting the sermon is more an act of showing off power rather than attracting people to a what is suppose to be an attractive religion prohibits imposing on others excessively.
Alas!! My dreams are over for this tiny moment, until I go to sleep and dream again tonight...George Clooney will just have to wait...
Saturday, 27 September 2008
Tuesday, 23 September 2008
In Iran, a woman was hanged apparently, for killing her rapist in effort to save herself from being raped. The reason given was that she had failed to come up with the four witnesses of the rape. I know. Makes you wonder if the criterion to govern Islam is myopia, or self induce non congenital mental retardation. Oh, but that is another story. Check out the story, one of many;
Iran to hang teenage girl attacked by rapists
Back to the topic. Why am I able to get away with all the stunts mentioned? Simply because, even though I am a Malay, I look like Chinese. (Or for those who need lens correction, I look like Angelina Jolie....severe lens correction..). No, I'm not a swapped baby in the hospital. My sister looks like me, except she's leaning more towards the Indian version of me feature wise, and, exact same voice. (We had fun fooling each others' boyfriends back then. It's wonderful, like having a voice twin !!). So, no, I am not a swapped baby.
My first boyfriend was Indian. We use to go out for lunch with another couple. Vincent is a Baba while his girlfriend, now wife, is Eleanor. Vincent, looks like a Malay, can't speak a word of Chinese. It's cute seeing him, and another Baba, Phang, who looks like Chinese in a conversation. Two China men speaking in Bahasa Malaysia, even throw Malay expletives at each other occasionally !!! Eleanor's full name is Eleanor Ratnam. She is Chinese adopted by, obviously Ratnam is Indian. All four of us would confuse the waiter. I am Malay, but look like Chinese. My ex boyfriend is Indian Muslim who can speak three languages (Broken Bahasa Malaysia, Broken Urdhu, and good English). Eleanor looks like Chinese but is all Indian in gist. Vincent is, having the best of both worlds. The only bummer is that he really can't leave home without his IC, especially when he was dating, because the authority will insist he's anything but a Malay. We use to crack dirty jokes at lunch time, in English..
Then I remember an incident during at the dinner table in a restaurant, where I noticed an adorable looking English couple, around their 60s probably, were throwing curious glances at our table. I was having dinner with my whole family. It must be a tourist sight for them.
My mom looks English, although she's not. She's the fourth generation descendant of Yemeni with a mixture of Malay and Sarawakian Iban along the way. My dad is also fourth generation Yemeni mixed with Malay and looks Malay, full stop.
My youngest sister, looks like an Indian version of me, feature wise, but have a Malay complexion. My brother in law looks exactly like a Chinese even the Chinese would greet him "sek fan?". That is because he is half Chinese. His mom is a Chinese adopted by Malay family, although she looks Japanese. She's married to a Malay with a splash of Indian blood. I guess the Indian gene is recessive because all of their kids looks somewhere between Chinese and Japanese.
My sister looks like she can't decide between lookinf like a Sarawakian or a Malay. Their kids look like malay-chinese-Baba running back and forth depending on which developmental month they were in.
My brother looks like a male version of my mom, but has my dad's skin color. His wife is Malay and looks malay. Their kids look somewhere between English and Malay. My Husband is a Punjabi and look like Ajay Devgan (really, I'm not joking..). Of course you already know how I look like. Needless to say, my daughter looks Chindian/Cibhai (chinese mix with punjabi) ...hey, a chinese/punjabi mix friend of mine gave me this abreviation...
The elderly English couple must have felt amazed at the noisy table full of colors that could make up a few shades of the Pahang Flag. But that is how it is. If there's anything amazing about visit Malaysia Year theme, "Amazingly Malaysia!!", is the amazing capability of multicultures to come together as a family at our dinner tables, or living harmoniously as a nation. The famous "sikap toleransi"( tolerance) however, is basically the rakyat's sentiment reserved for the government that run it.............
I leave you with this brilliant video...
Thursday, 18 September 2008
Time and time again, some "humans" may without fail to surprise the rest of the actually evolved humans with unthinkable deeds, like making fast money with the least amount of humanity applied.
I've for some time suspected that the United States of America, are all out to bring down China's exports by exaggerating some of their mishaps. They were more forgiving when their President made a historical political blunder and was still elected for a second term, killing thousands more than the amount of China's blunders. Furthermore,China, after all will become the next economic giant and we all know that the American economy is insidiously loosing it's strength, although, you won't get that answer from any Americans on you bump into on the road. (It's an American thing to think that the whole world IS America, albeit that is but another story...). So you may sometimes think the US attacks may perhaps be a desperate attempt to slow down their economic foe..
However, reading what is happening in China lately, namely the milk scandal that killed 4 children by far and sickened nearly two thousand others (for once it is not about the cows per se), I just have to shake my head in disbelief when I read/heard about it. For those who had just came back from Mars, welcome home and kindly tap on the link below to catch up with the human species, and feast upon your eyes , how greed can turn people into low lives...This is what happens, when human beings have failed to live up to their definition....
China Makes Arrests in Tainted-Milk Probe
When I arrived home yesterday, the road leading to my apartment was crowded with cars and motorcycles. there were two police cars too. In the complex compound, there was a fire engine and there was a Civil Defence vehicle and an ambulance. a crowd had gathered by the lake behind my apartment building. The police had stretched their 'crime scene' tape from several trees and fixtures on the edge of the lake. There were several police officers there including the OCPD and the Sergeant in charge of the area.
In the water, several members of the Civil Defence Search and Rescue team were looking for something underwater. Two of them were throwing and dragging in a hook in the lake. I met Mr Siva, Mr Tham and Mr Din, members of my apartment's residents committee and they told me that three boys had drowned in the lake and that those people were trying to recover their bodies.
There was a group pf people with the police, I guessed they were parents of the children and their neighbours. Some of them seems very distraught. There were many in tears among them, some seemed inconsolable.
The crowd steadily grew for a while as we watched them search. Once of twice, it seemed like they found something but when the dove in, they came up empty.
As the dusk descended and night was approaching, the crowd thinned. I too made my way home to break fast. When I came out that night, the guard told me that they had found the bodies. It seems that a few moments after I left, the frogmen arrived. It only took them a few moments to find the boys. So the loaded the bodies onto the waiting ambulance and took them to the hospital for post-mortem examinations.
It was certainly a reminder that death is often unexpected and that our lives are never as secure as we imagine it to be. However, it was something that one of my neighbours said that really shoed me the character of us Malaysians. First he reminded me of the suicide case at the same lake some time back. A man had parked his car beside the lake and simply walked into the lake to drown himself. There were a few people fishing there but they had initially thought that the man was being foolish. When they realised what was really happening, they tried to save him but it was too late. Then, my neighbour shook his head sadly and said, "Haiyaaa, this place sure haunted one now".
I guess he was not the only one who felt the same way because last night, the apartment building was unusually quiet. I think I did not even hear any motorcycles come and go from the building after night fall.
The report below is the report on the deaths in the New Strait Times newspaper today.
3 schoolboys drown during fishing outing
KUALA LUMPUR: A fishing trip turned into a tragedy for six primary school students when three of them drowned in a lake in Pandan Perdana here yesterday.
The three were Muhammad Faris Ahmad Azazi, 9, Al Mujib Muneir and Shah Nazim Amir Riduan, both 12.
A member of the group, Hazlan Alham, 12, said they had gone to the lake, about 500 metres from their flats, at noon.
"It's a school holiday in Selangor and we had planned to spend the day fishing at the lake," he said at the Ampang Hospital last night.
Hazlan said most of the boys, all students of Sekolah Kebangsaan Cheras Indah, only informed their parents that they were just hanging out with friends.
The boys decided to jump into the lake about 1.30pm to cool themselves. But tragedy struck when Faris started struggling in the water.
"We all tried to save him, but Al Mujib and Shah Nazim Amir also encountered difficulty," Hazlan said, adding that the rest of the group called for help from a man fishing nearby and passers-by.
"Some of them called the Fire and Rescue Department but by that time, it was too late because my three friends had disappeared into the water."
Faris' mother, Rohani Mohd Noor, 51, said she last saw the younger of her two children around noon.
"He told me he was hanging out with friends. At 4pm, while I was cooking for buka puasa, two of his friends came and told me that he had drowned."
A Fire and Rescue Department spokesman said they received an emergency call at 4.29pm and their divers recovered the first body at 6.36pm.
"The second body was found at 7.16pm, followed by the last body at 7.21pm."
Wednesday, 17 September 2008
I am referring to the detention of RPK for the two pieces of writing "I promise to be a good non-hypocritical muslim" and "Not all Arabs are descendents of the Prophet"..
After reading the two pieces, I came up with a new term of ISA. It's Imbecilic Signature of Auta-rity".
It's the only way to explain the detention of RPK after reading the articles that sent him there.
The irony though, is that Dato' Ahmad Ismail is not charged for sedition, after coming up with such a racist remark. By definition SEDITION is " incitement of resistance to or insurrection against lawful authority". So since BN is the opposition party in Penang, technically, Ahmad Ismail should be charged with sedition. How come he only got away with 3years suspension and RPK got the ISA?
I think it's his article on RosJib ( well, it's very Hollywood to call them that..like branjelina etc), implicating Najib and Rosmah's involvement in that Mongolia telenovela that got him in the hot soup.
Question: Why shove someone away indefinitely if you can prove BEYOND REASONABLE AND UNREASONABLE DOUBT (hey, this is Malaysian judiciary system we're talking about) that you are innocent? Oh..I forgot, the judiciary system is in hot soup right now...short of resources...
Well, I think it is high time we practice some morality in our lives. We should start by learning to respect the basic human rights. We'll see where this telenovela will end up....we'll see...
Monday, 15 September 2008
Someone was commenting on Malaysia as NOT being a democratic country the way it claims to be.
What is it then? I did some googling and well, I came up with this term;
Here's the search result, KLEPTOCRACY
Oh okay, for those bums who are to lazy to click on the hyperlink, here's the definition:
A kleptocracy (sometimes cleptocracy, occasionally kleptarchy) (root: klepto+kratein = rule by thieves) is a term applied to a government that extends the personal wealth and political power of government officials and the ruling class (collectively, kleptocrats) at the expense of the population.
A kleptocratic government often goes beyond mere cronyism and nepotism, or awarding the prime contracts and civil service posts to relatives or personal friends rather than the most competent applicants. They also create projects and programs at a policy level which serve the primary purpose of funneling money out of the treasury and into the pockets of the executive with little if any regard for the logic, viability or necessity of those project
Fancy that...Malaysia is actually run by Kleptomaniacs...The best person, hitherto, that I can think of, who could actually take over the Prime Minister-ship is someone from Outer Space, because, he would be the only one without relations and friends to take care of and abuse power for. It's too bad that they don't really come to Malaysia.. they are after all, what we refer to as Extra terrestrial intelligent beings...( intelligent enough to stay the hell away from us...)
Wednesday, 10 September 2008
Wow....reading must be an uncommon virtue, so much so, someone would want to take photos of an old lady reading!! I do hope that I'd live to see the day that no one would bother to take a picture of anyone reading, because uncommon had become a common thing.
My daughter told me this morning that she needs to read about 20 more books to get reward from the "Buku Nilam" project run by the Kementerian Pendidikan who grant rewards for those who read more than 100 books in one year. I'd like to think of it as an incentive rather than a bribe. You can't blame me for thinking as such, since we are talking about the Malaysian government after all, by which through experience, bribery tend to be true...(N.B. for the people who surveys blogs and decide to charge me with sedition, here's a message; why don't you charge that Ahmad Ismail with sedition?).
I wonder who came up with that "100 books" idea? What if a kid reads 100 books that consist of 10 pages each, like say, a comic? Would that be fair to those, say like my daughter, who reads books thicker than Samy Vello's face (say about 300 pages each)? So I told my beloved daughter to suggest to teacher, so that she can suggest this to the Kementerian Pendidikan, that they go by pages instead of the amount of books. It's ironic how, by suggesting this, the Kementerian Pendidikan may get some "pendidikan" from the students instead. Well, never too old to learn anything, that's what my father use to say.
My father is a reader too. I can't say the same about my mother, unless reading recipe books and the Quran counts. Actually, it's reciting the Quran. Something I argue with my mother constantly because as much as I feel that it is good reciting the Quran daily, I feel that reading and understanding it is much more important, but that is another story...
The thing is, many people ask me what formula I use that I've managed to enhance the reader in my daughter. The answer is simple really. Conveying it to the person who ask the question, without sounding condescending though, is anything but simple. Children follow what the adults around them do, not so much of what we say. (although funny how the expletives never seem to escape their ears' attention). So if you want your child to read, you yourself will just have to read to show them that reading is a routine thing, like brushing your teeth,(well, to a child, maybe not brushing teeth), or eating, or pooing.
I use to read to her even since when she was in my womb. I remember buying her a plastic book toy to play with while bathing in the small baby tub. She was never without a book. I use to read her bedtime stories every single night until one fine day, she knew how to read, and started reading me....... to sleep!!
Hitherto, she reads about 3 books per week. I spend about RM200-300 per month just on her books. It has become a priority in the family. My father, during my childhood would refuse me a new pair of jeans, but never a book. I guess, I am paying it forward. I am happy with my daughter's habit, albeit it would be great if the libraries have a more updated books.
Another thing about the Malaysian Libraries. Children under 12 years old are prohibited to enter the adult section, which I think is ridiculous. Perhaps that is the reason why we don't have geniuses produced in Malaysia. The only one we have, was quick on the mental calculation, to have nothing to do with Malaysia, I guess to reciprocate Malaysia's role of having nothing to do with her becoming a genius in the first place. The only help she got from the Malaysian government was a group of self proclaim self self elected "life saviours" trying to get her out of the harlot activities. If prostitution is the big concern, go after the corrupted politicians then. (Well, what do you call a person who screw others for money?). As always, I digress....
Back to the reading topic, I am very happy that my daughter is a book junkie, not to mention that she is not a geek, a trait many would ascociate with reading. In fact I find it fullfilling to have a conversation with her as many a times, she inspires me with new ideas. So what if I can't afford that new dress or shoes, just so I could get her some books. It's an investment. It also depends on one's priority. If you decipher the importance of feeding one's soul with knowledge via reading, then perhaps that branded jeans does not look as appealing as the latest "Lord of the Rings" series. Yupp!!! My daughter is definitely an apt reader. It can be painful to my pocket, but not as much as the joy it brings to my heart. The only thing that make me panic, however, is when she comes up to me and say,"Ummi, can I learn speed reading?"
Monday, 8 September 2008
But what is common sense? For those who are too lazy to click on the hyperlink, here's a rough definition;
"Common " consists of what people in common would agree on: that which they "sense" (in common) as their common natural understanding. Some people[who?] use the phrase to refer to beliefs or propositions that — in their opinion — most people would consider prudent and of sound judgment, without reliance on esoteric knowledge or study or research, but based upon what they see as knowledge held by people "in common". Thus "common sense" (in this view) equates to the knowledge and experience which most people allegedly have, or which the person using the term believes that they do or should have.
So, what if many people okay-ed a certain act viewed as unacceptable yesterday, and imprudence suddenly becomes, common ? For example, not queuing up, or not getting up for people who are in need of a seat? When everyone thinks it is okay to push and pull, as long as they get to the seat first. There are some places where people just don't know the meaning of "queue". No, say you? Have you taken a ride on our LRT lately? If you have, then you will know what I mean.
I always joke about how the letter "Q" is an under utilized letter in the National language. (the words that are derived from Arabic or Persian or English language do not count, because, they are after all...Arabic,Persian and English, no matter how many "i"s you add at the end of each word or "lar" at the end of each sentence ...Gee...I've just described the National Language in one sentence) That is why most Malaysians are not familiar with "Q"ing....
What if everyone refuse to queue , or think that because it is such a short ride in the public transportation, it is okay to let a pregnant woman stand up during the journey. Well, it is a dilemma when it comes to giving pregnant ladies my seat. I once gave my seat up to a woman who gave me a confused then irritated look because I must have insulted her by thinking that the 5kg of fat she's carrying in her belly was not a baby. But the bewildering part was, she took the seat!!!
In the end, I refuse to sit down when I take the LRT. It saves a lot of mind hassle, like the one that went on in Smeagol's from Lord of The Rings. I was referring to it's fickle mind..."Are you nuts!!....you should not give that seat to that fat lady...you'd be doing her a favor letting her stand and burn more calories just by standing and trying to balance herself in the train..." only to have the other part of me say,"but what if she IS pregnant...or she's fat not because she's lazy and eat like a pig but because of some medical condition. You will not be able to forgive yourself and you will stay up all night arguing with your conscience". You get the picture..
Sorry, I digress...but yes, imagine if everyone misbehaves and people think it is common to do so. Then common sense could mean, trample on top of each others' heads to get to point A. Let the blind man stand by the door so that it is easier for him to got out and not have to squeeze himself through the crowd just to get out of the train. (although the latter doesn't sound as bad as the first one). So what will constitute "common"? It's like a modern application of Einstein's theory of relativity. "I'm not short, you're just too tall"...You know what they say. Today's hero may be tomorrow's zero.
Really. I'm sending this question to the vast void of the Universe. What will happen when...common sense becomes... nonsense?????