"He rules [all] affairs from the heavens to the earth: in the end will [all affairs] ascend to Him in a day the measure of which is a thousand years of what you count.[As-Sajda:5]
When I was young, never mind how long ago, my siblings and I were trained the hard way, to respect time. My dad would start the car and left anyone who did not get into the car on time. There were occasions when we even had to go back by public transportation, or walk back home, all 1-2 kilometers sometimes under the scorching sun, should we miss the time agreed to have my dad pick us up from a specified venue. Can't blame him. He was an MCKK boy (no..no.. MCgay-gay applies much later to some of his juniors). During his college years, (somewhere in the UK where punctuality has been an established culture), he had the dining hall door slammed on his face precisely at the time when it was suppose to shut, not a second later, nor earlier. I believe they referred to the the doorkeeper as, "Anti-Angel of Death". He, my dad, even got himself locked out of the dormitory once or twice for not coming in on time.
So they say that the opposite attracts, because my mother is the total opposite of punctual. She is the only one spared and got away with not being on time with my dad. We use to wonder why back then, arguing that it was not fair to practice double standard. Well that was answered when we got married ourselves, and found out why the rules do not really apply to the wife. We learned, the power of "quid pro quo"..."you nice to me, I nice to you", why do you think husbands tend to be less moody by sunset?
More importantly though, apart from learning the power to remote-control the husband, we learned the importance of respecting time. We did not like it when we had to wait for our mum to come pick us up from school, late, when we were having tons of homework, studying and chores awaiting back home to perform. So we understood, at an early age, that you screw up others' schedule when you make them wait. Suddenly, as cruel as my dad had seem, later in life, we appreciated his ruthlessness and insistence on teaching us the value of time. Otherwise, we'd all end up like our mom when it comes to timings. At the age of 70ish.. she still manages to get away with it!!!
Thanks to my parents, I become a person who is punctual, ( I know, bloody boring ain’t it?). I'm sure you are too, “boring” just like me. So I'm pretty sure that you understand that the problem is, in Malaysia, through my experience, (I'm sure you share the same experience too), no one will know that you are punctual because no one is there at the agreed venue to notice that you are, indeed punctual. I don't know about you, but if there's one thing that irritates me to the max, is non-punctuality. Wait, actually it's a tie between that and people who cut my queue. Although the latter should not, in my opinion be allowed to breed, as even the sheep know how to queue when rounded up by the Sheppard's dog, and if you're worst than a sheep, is there a point to being a human?
To me, it is a sign of disrespect. A person who does not respect my time, does not care the inconvenience they cause simply by upsetting my schedule, which in turn is tied up to other people's schedule, ergo wasting their time too, because they have to wait for me, waiting for the person who did not respect my time. Basically it's just pure display of disrespect, period. I am often tempted to reward the last minute and latecomers to the clinic with a Mickey Mouse watch each, and a note saying,
“Dear valued customers, Congratulations!! You are our top 5 latecomers. As a token of our appreciation to you, we present you with this lovely Mickey Mouse watch, something that had escaped your parents’ minds to equip you with when you were a child, in hope you may be constantly reminded of the timings of our consultation. Remember, you are valuable to us, just like OUR time is to us. Have a good day and don't forget to change the batteries every 3months!!!”
My daughter would tell me, "it's just 5 minutes late ummi" and I would explain to her, (she was nine then), that if 4.45 is equivalent to 4.46, or 4.47 and so forth, then why bother giving it individual timings. Might as well call the time from 4pm to 4.30 pm as "the four o'clocks". Let's see how many people will walk away with Gold Medals during a competition if precise timing does not matter. There are agents from the bomb squad that can diffuse a bomb within one minute. An accident can occur within a fraction of a second. The sad part is, time lost will never be recovered. Well, this statement is valid until someone comes up with an actual time traveling machine.
At the age of 15, my daughter, smarter now, would answer my comment above, "but time is relative ummi", to which I had given her the answer,"but our appointments are all on earth right? Not somewhere in Mars whereby their planet has a different circumference is perhaps bigger so the time taken to rotate on its axis differ from that of earth's therefore the timing is different. Subdued, she would walk away mumbling "I'll never make it to the debate team." I would encourage her, "Try harder next time".
"See you at the four o'clocks" ; tell me any productivity is going to come out of this.
The importance of time and punctuality can be detected in the Quran, for example in Al Araf verse 34;
"To every people is a term appointed; when their term is reached, not a moment can they cause delay, nor can they advance (it in anticipation)."
I did think about the excuses of being late, taught by my hubby and wondered if they may work on the Angel of Death. Maybe not. Then I thought of what happens if God is a procrastinator. No, don’t answer that please. Many women would find their cruel mother in law, still alive.
Then I thought about what my daughter had said about time, that it is relative. Of course. Einstein understood that. Bingo!! So THAT’S why people are constantly late!! People who are not punctual probably think that GMT stands for "Gupiter Meridian Time". Of course they can get away with it with the people who do not know that Gupiter starts with a "J".
Think about it. Time is something humans have created. A line from Adflin Shauki’s film, “Sumolah”, rang in my mind;
“Masa, siapakah yang mereka masa? Kerana masalah, jiwa ku sentiasa di dalam keadaan tertekan”
Translated to: "Time, who created time? Because of time, I am constantly under pressure emotionally”
(Actually it sounded funnier in BM, as some things are in their own languages. Needless to say, there are some things that are best left un-translated. For instance, “We start from scratch” translated to “Kita mula dengan menggaru”, should not have become.)
What’s the point of this whole article you ask me? There is no point. I ramble, that’s what I do. Why are you still reading this? But since you’re still with me, let’s talk about the relativity of time. Oh wait. Feedback on this blog says my posts are too long (what do you expect, I'm a grumpy ol' fart who have many things to nag about. Try approaching half a century and tell me you don't have anything to nag about...) . So what I'll do is I'll rip this verbiage into half. So go ahead and have a Kit Kat. My next post will follow, soon after you've all recovered from that lid lag I just gave you. Below is the snippet.
Find out what Stephen Hawking's ideas and the Quran have in common, and of course more useless information tucked in between, in my next post "Your Time or Mine Reloaded". Excited already? Well, you'll have just to wait then. Serve you all right for complaining my articles are long....muwwahhaahhaahhaa...(sadistic Mad scientist laughter)
Oh, while you wait for me to publish what I've already written, like last week, why don't you pop into Anas's heartwarming post and Poetic Justice's "Fasting in the Quran".
P.S. While taking that break, try not to get caught drinking beer. Stick to something safe (from the Malaysian Inquest) like Tapai, it's a halal way of getting high.