Sunday, 5 December 2010

Wedding Season

The end-of-year school holidays have traditionally become the wedding season for the Malays, especially in the kampung areas. This year, every weekend there is a wedding invitation to fulfill and everyone is either a close relative or somehow related in some way or the other and everybody gets to be invited. That's the interesting part of a kampung life.

But things are not without changes. In yester-years, food will served by penanggah, youngsters who worked voluntarily to serve the guests on the wedding day. There would be a few pretty girls in-charged of giving out the bunga telur, which were hard-boiled egg, while guests enjoyed their food. Now, it's buffet style. Rather impersonal to me. Guests come and help themselves to the food and leave. And the bunga telur is now either a piece of cake, sweets or apples, still given out by a few pretty girls who are at times over-dressed for the occasion.

Previously, kampung weddings were never without joget lambak and live band. On the eve of the wedding, youngsters would dance to all kinds of music played by the band boys. Now, it's karakoke fever. Everyone sings not because they are good but because they think they are good.

There are more weddings to be attended before the holidays end. Yet, I'm already tired of the nasi minyak and the repeated dishes at the receptions. Nevertheless, the thought of meeting relatives, especially those not met for a long time, makes the food secondary to me. One can never tell if this could be the last opportunity the meet them. Life is so short after all.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Traffic Summon Discounts: A Sad Joke

Those who received traffic summons after 30th November will enjoy discounts up to 50% depending on how prompt the payment is made. How sad can a joke be? Rules are violated but you are rewarded. Will lesson be learned? Furthermore, is this fair onto those who were summoned before the set date?

The traffic police has been so inconsistent where summons are concerned as far as I can remember. Enforcing certain rules seem to be done ad hoc occasionally. It sickens me sometimes. For example, I have been checking my summons via internet and there was none in 2008 and 2009. Recently, when I checked for this year's, it showed I have one summon dated 7 June 2007. Why didn't it appear in 2008 and 2009? And how come I was able to renew my road tax in both years? Is this twilight zone or what?

My respect for the traffic police is indeed thinning...




Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Reunion

Five months have passed since this reunion, the first ever after 33 years we left school. It was memorable where each one of us nostalgically reminisce our old schooldays and fondly remember our school pranks. We have indeed come a long way since we went our separate ways. And gosh...how we have actually aged!!!

Now we are all looking forward to our next meeting hoping to gather more schoolmates, batch 1972 - 1976. Facebook has indeed played a significant role in helping us get in touch with more school friends. It's just a matter of time now when the second reunion happens again.





Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Leave it to Allah SWT

The recent sudden death of the former Permatang ADUN Datuk Abd Aziz Mohd Noh and his former aide has invited numerous speculations which will undoubtedly contribute persisting devastation to both members of their families.

Whatever the story is behind their death, the fact that they are dead should be considered to a great extent before we pass any remarks. They are not able to defend themselves anymore, thus, can't we just let them go and allow their families grieve their loss in peace. The way they died, I assumed, is more than enough to give a great impact in their family's life and worsens their suffering. Do we need to add salt to their wound then?

Let us recite the Al Fatihah for both who have tragically died and leave everything else to Allah SWT...

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Let the truth be known

It's undoubtedly sad to know when a young boy was killed unintentionally by the police recently. The boy's family and society were quick to blame the police. Those who knew the boy had all nice things to say about him. Once again the police, our law enforcer, become the villain in this real-life drama.

My sympathy goes to the parents who suffer the loss but the society needs to be fair in their judgment. What was the teenager doing driving around without a license at 2am? It wasn't a weekend. Which means the next day was a school day. Why was the parents unaware he was out? Was it because what the boy did was nothing out of the ordinary? Why did he speed off when he saw the police? There are so many questions which only the boy could answer. Everyone else who's alive and know the truth will choose to keep numb. It's a trend nowadays.

The police is not always right but the police cannot be wrong all the time. We need to be fair even though in the process we may seem heartless.

Friday, 19 March 2010

Gender Equality Still Falls Short

Wednesday March 17, 2010

By Marina Mahathir

Two child brides made the news lately, one only after she was found in a semi-conscious state; and in each case their father had consented to the marriage.

THERE are perhaps no more base moments in morality than when fathers think it is OK to give away their ten-year-old daughters in marriage to men four times their age. Even worse, that it is done under the guise of religion.

In the past week we have learnt that two little girls were married off to grown men with the permission of their fathers, their wali. The newspapers were full of indignation but mostly focused on the fact that these marriages did not follow procedures, one having been allegedly conducted in a car.

At least one of the fathers claimed that he was “mesmerised” by the intended groom and therefore allowed his daughter to be taken in marriage.

The papers even allowed that these marriages may be permissible, as a loophole in the State Enactments gives judges the power to permit them despite the minimum marriage age for girls being 16.

Subsequently, one of the little girls has turned up semi-conscious, dumped in a mosque. One shudders at the thought of what she might have gone through.

What sort of society are we living in that we no longer recognise child abuse for what it is, especially when the cloak of religion is flung over it? What else do we call an adult man marrying a child but paedophilia?

If we want to blame the parents, we may have grounds but we also have to stop short. They believed what the groom said when he claimed that such a marriage is completely in line with religion because the Prophet Muhammad married his youngest wife Aisyah when she was six. (This legend is now disputed with some scholars contending that she was in fact 19.)

This is what happens when people have not only little religious knowledge but also have constantly been told never to question what so-called religious people tell them.

Had the father listened to his conscience, he might have remembered that the Prophet was first married to Khadijah, who was 15 years older than him, and that they had a loving marriage for 25 years, producing seven children.

He never married another woman until after Khadijah died; even then they were widows who needed care and protection or to seal alliances with tribal chiefs.

His love for his first wife was eternal because, as he was reportedly quoted to have said, “she believed in me when no one else did; she accepted Islam when people rejected me; and she helped and comforted me when there was no one else to lend me a helping hand”.

Had the father asked anyone with some knowledge, he might have found out what the law says about the legal age of marriage. But because someone quoted him something that sounded vaguely religious, he believed him and gave his daughter’s hand.

We have to ask ourselves how could this happen in our supposedly developing country in the 21st century? Indeed, how could so many things happen to our children, from being abandoned at birth (and often not surviving that) to pregnancy at an early age with little knowledge of how to cope?

On March 8, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) released the Asia Pacific Human Development Report with the focus on gender equality. Or rather, where such equality stands in Asia.

Unfortunately even with much economic progress, we all still fall short, with many gaps between the sexes remaining.

But Malaysia was supposed to be one of the success stories, with a high literacy rate, many girls in education and in the workplace. Yet in some areas we still fare poorly.

On March 9, India passed a Bill to reserve 33% of places in Parliament and state legislatures for women. In Pakistan, the President signed an Anti-Sexual Harassment Law.

In Malaysia we have not moved at all on either of these, despite ratifying the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Dis­crimination Against Women more than 15 years ago.

Interestingly enough, Malaysia also signed the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1995 but with many reservations, including on children’s age of majority.

When we gasp at the idea of little girls being married off, we never ask how come it doesn’t happen also to little boys. It’s perhaps because we often view females as property to be given away as and when we feel like it.

Is it not ironic that while a Muslim father has free rein to give away his girl child in marriage, adult women, who presumably have much more agency than children, cannot marry if their fathers refuse permission, without going through the rigmarole of getting a court-appointed guardian?

In whose interest is it to perpetually treat women like children?

The Loss of the Malay Intellectuals

The new Malay generation today has an overwhelmed interest towards entertainment. Consequently, they are constantly swayed and influenced by anything that has entertainment values.

Many among the Malays today are more attracted to the "Jom Heboh" concert and others alike rather than initiating efforts towards the development and excellence of knowledge. They have forgotten their responsibility to uphold the religion, develop a progressive Malay race and build a strong nation which the world envies.

The media is partly to blame for giving too wide a coverage on entertainment compared to issues related to intellectuality. What happens to an entertainer, for example, is covered widely for weeks. When Michael Jackson dies on the 26 June 2009, both the electronic and print media fed the world with everything about him to the extend that a child who never knew the existent of this man when he was alive, learns about him in just a week.

On the other hand, Dr Sheikh Fathi Yakan's death on the 13 June 2009 was reported casually. And who is this man? A renown intellect in the Islam world who dedicated his life towards upholding Islam but hardly known to the majority of the Malays in this country. What more his work, especially his book entitled "Apa Erti Saya Menganut Islam?" which was translated to BM and became one of the important references to the world.

There is a need for the Malay generation today to retrospectively think in order to determine a clearer and meaningful path to follow. There is indeed a need for a mind shift to reclaim the intellectuality among the country's Muslim Malays.