Sunday, 30 August 2009

Posted to Rural Areas

One of my students who graduated from University Malaya a few weeks ago is posted to an Orang Asli school, 60 km from Sg Siput town. The place has no electricity and water supply, what more a handphone line. To get to the school is either by a four-wheel drive or on a scrambler. To top it, she's the only lady teacher in the school. She fears for her safety and is very unhappy. I said a few words of encouragement to her but I doubt if that made her feel better.

How can any teacher be effective if there is no peace of mind and emotionally unstable? Basic facilities are neccasities which are essential in life. Security is crucial. We can possibly learn to survive with minimal facilities but safety cannot be negotiated. Teachers are sent to these rural areas to educate children. Will they be able to do that when reluctance and anxiety govern them.

Those who are not teachers may not understand the angst of having to face the situation. I am not against fresh graduates to be posted to rural areas but some things should be considered so that their wellbeing is not taken for granted.

To those who face the same state of affairs, I wish you all the best. Through thick and thin, work towards excellence. One day in hindsight, you will smile with satisfaction for surviving what may seem to be the worst experiences in your early career life.

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Islamize Politics or Politicize Islam?

Written by Dr. Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin
Translation by Umm Hajar

I often call for Muslims to Islamize their politics and not politicize Islam. One may ask, what is the difference between the two? The difference is, when we strive to Islamize our politics we will ensure that our actions and our political missions do not contradict the teachings of Islam. Also, we will attempt to Islamize any un-Islamic political custom. In other words, we will use Islam as the guiding principle of our actions.

On the other hand, Islam is politicized when used as a political capital to secure power. In doing that, Islam is used not as a guiding principle but as a mere justification or ‘halal certificate’ to persuade the society or their followers to accept their actions.

Consequently, one will execute his political mission without referring it first to the teachings of Islam but when his action is questioned, he will manipulate the view or religious texts of Islam to defend himself. In short, Islamizing politics is done by designating Islam as the guiding principle whereas politicizing Islam is done by manipulating Islam in one’s favor using it as a tool or justification.

Therefore, when one assigns Islam as the foundation or guiding principle, he will willingly retract his opinion or apologize for his action if he discovers that it contradicts the teachings of Islam. As for the one who uses Islam as a justification or tool, he will make use of Islam to legalize his political action even though it is undoubtedly sinful.

He is not keen to listen to the concrete evidence or contention provided by syarak for him to apply but instead, he looks for a back-up from the religious authority that is willing to legalize his action even though he realizes that the opinion given to support him is weak and groundless. This is similar to the fanatical clusters and mazhab (school of thoughts) followers who hold on the views of their faction with no concern on strong reasoning and justifications.

Someone posted on my facebook an idea which I don't quite agree with - religion and politics should not be separated. They have to be separated because religion helps us to stay moderate in our actions and words, whereas politics sets no limits to neither our actions nor our words. People should choose to either be politicians or Ulamak and be the best in their fields as a politician or an Ulamak and work hand in hand to ensure that decisions made for any purpose are morally acceptable.

Friday, 21 August 2009

Massive jam

It took me 2 hours 15 minutes to reach my hometown today. Normally it's an hour's drive but the jam was massive everywhere. People either left their work place early to ensure they get back home in time for the terawih or they were heading for their hometowns, like me, to be with their loved-ones to usher in Ramadhan together. Whatever the reason maybe for the massive jam, I'm glad to be home.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Citing of the moon

Today is the citing of the moon to determine whether the Muslims in Malaysia will start fasting either tomorrow or on Saturday. Looking at all the calenders, 1st Ramadhan falls on Saturday. I hope that will be proved true by tonight when the announcement is made on television.
To all my friends who are always grumbling they have put on weight lately, this is the right time to learn to consume less food and reduce the waist length in no time.

Selamat Menyambut Ramadhan al-Mubaraq. Semoga ibadah puasa kita pada tahun ini diterima oleh Allah SWT.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

How time flies

It's going to be Ramadhan soon. How fast time flies. It feels like it was only yesterday the last Ramadhan was here. I'm not complaining...I love Ramadhan. I feel very close to Allah throughout this month, wishing it will never last. Wishful thinking. This year Ramadhan begins when the intra-semester holiday starts. That gives me an opportunity to spend 1 week of fasting with mum at the Kampung. Syukur alhamdulillah...

Lets start the ball rolling

Dear students of J 1.9...
How do you find Social Studies after three weeks of lectures? Interesting? Boring? Intimidating? Tell me what you think about the course and your feelings towards it. Why do you feel as such? Is there any particular reason why you have such feelings towards the subject? Feel free to express yourself and any comments from anyone is welcome. This is just to start the ball rolling.