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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Reflection Corruption 09


I have recently returned to Kuala Lumpur after six years of studying and working in Vancouver, Canada. While I was there, I constantly battled with my internal struggles on deciding whether to stay on in a foreign country and make it my new home or to return to the place where I was born and raised. Even though I have adapted to Canadian culture and lifestyle fairly well to a point that even local Canadians think that I am Canadian-born, somewhere deep within me still felt like a stranger looking in from the outside.

Several factors influenced my decision to come home: 1. My aging parents, 2. My best friend who had returned to Malaysia a year ago after four years of living in the States, and 3. The March 8, 2008 general election, which presented me with a boost of optimism on the future of Malaysia.

For months, I was ecstatic at the thought of coming home and when I finally did, it did not fall short of my high expectations. It was great to be home again, to be with my family, to be around my friends, to be on familiar territory (although much has changed as I later realised), to be exposed to a vast range of local cuisine which I used to take for granted – it was ultimately one of the happiest times that I had experienced in a long time.

It was only after several months that I realised that things were different – that my friends had changed, that everything around me had changed, or rather, that I had changed. Before I was exposed to life in Canada, I cared little for the issues that were prevalent in our Malaysian society. Maybe it was because I was young and ignorant then. Maybe I had simply chosen to turn a blind eye to the rising concerns that smothered our country as long as it didn't directly affect me.

Now I mentioned earlier that my best friend was one of the reasons why I returned. While she was living in the States, she was one of the avid readers of political blogs and sites that were sprouting like mushrooms on the Internet. She followed closely the Malaysian political scene, blogging about it herself, and had shown tremendous passion and a sound belief that change was possible for the future of Malaysia. A year ago, she returned to Kuala Lumpur and had been pleading for me to return as well, telling me how great her life has been since her return.
And she was right – everything was undeniably great, until recently, when I had asked her and another friend (who had just returned from Sydney nine months ago) what they thought of the Malaysian political scene. I had noticed that my best friend rarely blogged now, claiming that she was too busy with work, family and her boyfriend to blog frequently.

Much to my utter disappointment, my best friend's tone on the political scene has completely changed. No longer radical in her thinking, she now accepts corruption as a way of life in our society, and even endorses the indulgence of certain forms of corruption. My other friend believes that corruption allows businesses to be competitive, thus enabling them to survive in our cut-throat society.

'If you were stopped by a cop and was caught for not wearing a seat belt, what would you do – bribe, pay RM30 and move on with your life, or get a ticket, go through the hassle of appealing and pay a penalty of RM300? Obviously if you were smart, you'd bribe'.

'Everyone else is doing it. If you don't do it, you are the one who will suffer. Anybody who refuses to engage in corruption in our society is backward in thinking, and they will never succeed'.

And that was just the tip of the iceberg of our debate, which had left the three of us parting unhappily that night, an invisible yet apparent line drawn between myself and the both of them. It disappointed me to know that just a mere year had transformed my best friend from a self- professed political activist to her teenage self – someone who couldn't care less about what was going on in our country. It frustrated me to know that of all people, my two friends – educated, informed and cultured – would assume this sort of egocentric mentality.

It frightened me even more to think that with time, I could also be as ignorant about our societal problems, pretending that everything was okay when it truly wasn't. As I related the night's events to another close friend of mine, she advised that I was too idealistic and should probably accept Malaysia and the people for what they were – that if there would be change, it would probably not happen during our generation or the next few generations for that matter.

I told her that I accepted Malaysia for who she was, but that did not mean that we should not recognise that there were issues prevalent in our country. How could corruption be 'good'? I admit that there may be corruption on some level in even the most developed countries, but not to the extent of what our society is exposed to. That night, my friends had actually defended corruption, stating that, and I quote, 'corruption helped boost the economy'. Corruption does not boost the economy, my friends, it only makes the rich richer, and the poor poorer.

And yes, I admit that change is hard to come by. That it will probably take a long time for change in our country to happen. But what distressed me the most were the younger generation like myself, who are supposedly more educated than our forefathers and well-informed to the extent of being able to distinguish right from wrong, and who were radical – radical enough to believe and work towards change. If even the younger generation is not willing to change their mentality and actions, how will change ever happen?

'If you hate Malaysia so much," my friend had said that night, "Then maybe you should go back to Canada.'

And to be honest, for awhile, I had actually considered going back to Canada and escaping the ugly light that my friends had shed on our Malaysian society. I didn't like the possibility that the same words my friends had said that night could potentially come out from my own lips a year later. I didn't want my kids, if I ever had any, to grow up to become like me – conflicted and torn between 'a better life' or home, sweet home.

But one doesn't run away from her motherland when things seem to be going on a downward spiral. Your fate is not destined; you make your own destiny. Engaging in corruption even on a small scale is a conscious choice, not a fundamental of life. Change is only possible if the people of Malaysia believe in change, feels strongly about making it happen, and begin acting on it to make it happen.

Even the littlest and most insignificant basic act can contribute towards the change that we all hope for, such as refusing to bribe, maintaining a good driving etiquette or even setting a good example for your child by simply not littering.

An extremely idealistic thought but definitely not impossible. As preposterous as it sounds, for the future of Malaysia and the younger generations to come, Malaysia needs all the help she can get. Try and imagine yourself in a situation when you are frustrated over the issues in our country, then maybe, it might motivate you to start changing your actions.

And here I am – one more idealistic, hopeful soul who believes that change is possible. I refuse to sit back and hope that change will happen. I will not succumb to peer pressure and indulge in immoral and illegal activities. I will do all I can to work towards a better Malaysia – because at the end of the day, I can say I tried. And I will start by sharing my story, in hopes that I have inspired you.

Corruption destroys everything..

Im an Anti - Corruption

make change!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Improve Your Relationship With Al-Quran

“O my Lord, indeed my people have taken this Qur’an as a thing (abandoned)”.[Surah 25: 30]

Are you one of those people who rarely touch the Qur’an? Or do you read daily, but don’t find it is having the impact on you that it should? Whatever the case may be, these are some simple tips that can help you connect with the Qur’an.

1. Before you touch it, check your heart.
The key to really benefiting from the Qur’an is to check your heart first, before you even touch Allah’s Book. Ask yourself, honestly, why you are reading it. Is it to just get some information and to let it drift away from you later? Remember that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was described by his wife as a “walking Qur’an”: in other words, he didn’t just read and recite the Qur’an, he lived it.

2. Do your Wudu' (ablution).
Doing your Wudu is good physical and mental preparation to remind you that you’re not reading just another book. You are about to interact with God, so being clean should be a priority when communicating with Him.

3. Read at least 5 minutes everyday.
Too often, we think we should read Qur’an for at least one whole hour. If you aren’t in the habit of reading regularly, this is too much. Start off with just five minutes daily. If you took care of step one, Insha Allah (God willing), you will notice that those five minutes will become 10, then half an hour, then an hour, and maybe even more!

4. Make sure you understand what you’ve read.
Five minutes of reading the Qur’an in Arabic is good, but you need to understand what you’re reading. Make sure you have a good translation of the Qur’an in the language you understand best. Always try to read the translation of what you’ve read that day.

5. Remember, the Qur’an is more interactive than a CD.
In an age of “interactive” CD-Roms and computer programs, a number of people think books are passive and boring. But the Qur’an is not like that. Remember that when you read the Qur’an, you are interacting with Allah. He is talking to you, so pay attention.

6. Don’t just read; listen too.
There are now many audio cassettes and CDs of the Qur’an, a number of them with translations as well. This is great to put on your walkman or your car’s CD or stereo as you drive to and from work. Use this in addition to your daily Qur’an reading, not as a replacement for it.

7. Make Dua (supplication).
Ask Allah to guide you when you read the Qur’an. Your aim is to sincerely, for the love of Allah, interact with Him by reading, understanding and applying His blessed words. Making Dua to Allah for help and guidance will be your best tool for doing this.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Weird Things We Do In Prayer

If you ever find yourself not joining congregational prayer, take a moment to at least observe the people participating. You will find many unusual, unfortunate oddities consistently happening, regardless of where the prayer is taking place. Observe and learn, because you might be doing one of the following things yourself:

The politely-cloaked "You go ahead please":

Even though the prayer has already started and the Imam is well into the second Surah, there is a standoff taking place somewhere in the back. This is between the people who don't want to move forward to a line closer to the front, but because there is a gap in the line ahead that needs to be filled, they offer other people the spot. They tell each other to go ahead as if they are giving the other a privilege, when they both know that neither of them really wants to move.
These people need to understand that moving ahead in the congregational rows will not cause one any physical pain or abnormal feelings. Having the motivation to move up as far as possible even increases the rewards of praying. People should just move up and quit causing distractions for others.

The Wave – Congregational Prayer Edition:

In some quarters there is a misconception that one can only start their prayers once the person in the row in front of him or to his/her right or left side has begun. This ends up causing a lengthy, time consuming chain. People who are ready to pray are simply standing there waiting for their turn to start, even if the Imam is almost done with Surah Fatiha. FYI, as long as the rows are properly set, and the follower has heard the Imam start the prayer, (s)he can to start his/her prayer even if those in the front or on the side have not begun.

The Reckless Lane-Changer:

A Reckless Lane-Changer is a person who was unable to join at the start of the prayer, but still wants to participate. When entering a highway, there are specific guidelines as to where, when, and how you are to merge onto it; you cannot simply swerve over when you wish! Likewise, when joining the congregational prayer which is underway, a person cannot join during Sujood, Tashahud, or just any other time that one sees fit.
If you are joining during the first rak'at, you can join anytime from Takbiratul Ehram up to the end of Ruku. If you join in the second or later rak'at, remember that you cannot finish your prayer with the congregation, as you will not have the sufficient number of rak'ats – a characteristic of...

...The Short-Changer:

In this case you will have to carry on with your own prayer to complete the required number of rak'ats, after the congregational prayer has finished.
The Speeder: This is the guy who will attempt to complete certain actions quicker than everybody else. He will reach the position of Sujood faster than everyone else, or he will stand up for the Qiyam of the next rak'at faster than everyone else, regardless of the fact that they will finish the prayer at the same time as the congregation anyway. Reciting dhikr faster than the prayer leader is permissible. However, performing physical actions before the Imam does will invalidate your congregational prayer!

The Multi-tasker:

This worshipper is interested in doing more than only offering prayers. Be it buttoning shirt sleeves, seeing if he have enough change in their pockets for a coffee, taking off a leather belt, strapping on the watch, or putting the cell phone on silent mode, Multi-tasker has a hard time focusing on what is only slightly most important – his prayer!
But these are also the ones who do not put their phones on silent mode, and then the ringing disturbs everyone. Although most will quickly shut the noise off, there seems to be the rare one here and there who will actually answer the call in the middle of prayer!
Hilarious to see, one more multi-tasking technique is to use the time during Qiyam to exercise the jaws. Because only the Imam is to recite the two surahs, some people think it's a good time to chew gum.
Gum chewers: you can't eat food, drink drinks, or chew gum during prayer!

The Overly-Enthusiastic Reciter:

Then there is that guy who enjoys reciting surahs out loud along with the Imam. Please note that the followers are not allowed to recite the surahs in the congregational prayer, either loudly or silently. Yes, if you can't hear the Imam at all, then you can recite the dhikr, but that also should be done silently.

The Tall Grass in the Wind:

You might notice during Qiyam that some people constantly sway and swerve back and forth. If enough people are doing this, it forms a group known as Tall Grass in the Wind, which is basically what it looks like from afar.

The Physical Checkup:

Oh yeah...remember the Multi-tasker? Another trait of his is to perform a physical checkup during prayer. During Qunoot, he finds it urgently pressing to check on the condition of the skin of his hands, and to see if his fingernails are clean or maybe in need of a good trim. During Ruku, he curls his toes and rolls his feet sideways to ensure a proper inspection of their soles or socks. During Tashahud, while the hands are conveniently placed on the thighs, some find this an opportune moment to brush away any small specks of lint or crumbs that may have gathered during prayer directly onto the person next to them.

So next time you do join a congregational prayer, remember that all of these things are wrong and should not be done. Extra movement should be kept to a minimum, as it distracts the person praying, as well as others around them. And most importantly, excessive non-prayer-oriented movement will invalidate a person's prayer. And none of us want that.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Malu Ibn Abdus

Hari ini daku menyaksikan,
Petunjuk tuhan,
Satu kejadian,
Berlatarkan sekolah di sebuah pekan,
Ketika sesi muzika berjalan,
Di kala si guru mengajar tarian,
Sebagai sesi pemanas badan,
Buat murid yang masih tak keruan,
Di hari pertama sesi persekolahan,
Di satu sudut jelas kelihatan,
Ibn Abdus putera kenalan,
Putera teman sepengajian.

Ibn kecil itu,
Menangis tersendu-sendu,
Dirinya dihampiri guru,
Tubuh kecilnya diranduk, dipujuk, dirayu,
Mengapa kau menangis wahai anakku,
Mengalir air mata syahdu,
Di waktu teman lain bersuka ria menari rambu?
Takut, begitulah ucapnya,
Bila guru memintanya,
Memegang tangan pasang tarinya,
Yang jelas bukanlah mahramnya,
Umi kata, lagak itu haram hukumnya,
Abi kata, Allah jua menjadi murka,
Tika yang sama jua,
Titis permata mengalir dari kelopak sepetnya,
Takutnya dia!
Takut pada larangan yang Maha Esa,
Pada dosa,
Pada sengsara,
Balasan di akhirat sana.

Ibn Abdus itu,
Usianya baru darjah satu,
Muslim juga sepertiku,
Punya Allah...tuhannya dan tuhanku,
Tapi sungguhpun begitu,
Dia dan daku,
Ibarat bumi menghijau dan langit membiru,
Berbeda darjat di sisi Tuhan yang Satu.

Daku bukan muslim yang soleh,
Daku lebih liberal, lebih terbuka, lebih ‘orang putih’,
Bukan mahramku, dikala terang mahupun soreh,
Berpegang tangan,
berlaga pipi menjadi pilih,
Kononnya lebih rapat dan lebih berkasih,
Bukan deen ini yang aku tak faqih,
Tapi ‘trend’ sekarang tak boleh didalih,
Kalau tak, kelak jadi tersisih,
Takutkan tuhan menjadi pipih,
Bila ditegur orang yang muslih,
Bibirku menjuih, “Relakslah, rambutku belum putih!”
Masih ada masa untuk dosa dibersih.

Istighfarlah wahai diri,
Malu daku dengan si kecil tadi,
Lebih besar maluku pada Ilahi,
Selama hidup, syariatNya ada yang kutaati, Ada yang kuingkari,
Istighfarlah diri!
Deen ini bukan acuan sendiri,
Tapi panduan Tuhan untuk manusiawi,
Memimpin kita ke jalan abadi,
Menyelamat kita dari binasa hakiki.

Aku malu,Pada tuhanku, Juga pada si kecil itu.Ku sedar khilaf ini perlu kubetulkan, Wajar kembali ke pangkal jalan, Kerna hidup ini sekadar hiburan, Seharusnya kugigih mengumpul bekalan, Untuk dikendong ke hari kemudian,Menjadi jaminan ke syurga impian. Buat umi dan abi si kecil itu, Didikanmu membina jitu, Peribadi si kecil itu, Ku ucapkan doa setulus kalbu, Keberkatan dan keselamatan untuk kamu, Semoga Allah menjaga dirimu, Diri puteramu, Dan diri setiap muslim yang menegak syariatMu.


Wahai orang-orang Yang beriman! Bahawa Sesungguhnya arak, dan judi, dan pemujaan berhala, dan mengundi nasib Dengan batang-batang anak panah, adalah (Semuanya) kotor (keji) dari perbuatan syaitan. oleh itu hendaklah kamu menjauhinya supaya kamu berjaya
(Al-Maidah : 90)

Tahukah anda bahawa Malaysia merupakan Negara ke-10 terbesar dalam pengambilan arak di dunia. Malah, pada tahun 1996 (iaitu lebih sepuluh tahun yang lalu) , cukai penjualan arak sahaja mencecah sekurang-kurangnya RM 817 million. Menurut majalah The Globe Magazine, Syarikat Carlsberg AS of Denmark telah memahkotakan Malaysia sebagai “very important and attractive market” dengan melabur sebanyak US$ 20 million bagi menghasilkan sekurang-kurangnya 125 million liter arak setahun.

To Late For Tears

Death knocked on the bedroom door..

“Who is there?” The sleeping one cried.

“I’m angel Izrael, let me inside”.

At once, the man began to shiver as one sweating in deadly fever. He shouted to his wife, “Don’t let the Angel take my life. Oh Angel of Death, I’m not ready yet. My family,depend on me. Give me a chance to go back and mend”

The Angel knocked again.. “ Oh man, It’s your soul that I required, I come not with my own desire.” Bewildered, the man began to cry. “Oh Angel, I’m so afraid to die, Let me remain here as your slave, Don’t send me to the grave.” “Let me in, Oh man” the Angel said.“Open the door, Get up from your bed. You can’t stop me from coming in, Angels can go through objects, thick and thin.”

The man held a gun in his right hand and ready to defy the Angel’s stand. “I’ll will gun towards your head. If you dare to come in, I’ll shoot you dead.” By now, the Angle was in the room, Saying, “Oh man,prepare for your doom, Foolish man – Angels never die. Put your gun and do not sigh. Why are you afraid? Tell me Oh man. To die according to Allah’s plan?”

“Oh Angel, I bow my head in shame, I had no time to remember Allah’s name. From dawn till dusk, I made my wealth, Not even caring for my spiritual health. Allah’s commands I never obeyed, Nor five times a day I ever prayed. A Ramadhan came and A Ramadhan went, But no time had I repent. The Hajj was already obligatory upon me, But I would not part with my money. All charities I did ignore taking usury more and more. Sometimes I sipped my favourite wine, With flirting women I sat to dine.

Oh Angel I appeal to you, Spare my life for a year or two. The laws of The Qur’an, I will obey, I’ll began Salat- this very day. My fast and Hajj I will complete, And keep away from self-conceit. I will refrain from usury, And give all my wealth to charity. Wine and unlawful women, I will detest, Allah’s oneness I will attest.”

“We Angels do what Allah demands, We cannot go against His commands Death is ordained for everyone- father,mother,daughter and son. I’m afraid, this moment is your last, Now be reminded of your past. I do understand your fears But it is now too late for tears. You lived in this world, Two score or more, Your parents you did not obey, Hungry beggars, you turned away. Your two ill-mannered, female offspring In nightclubs, for livehood they sing. Instead of making more Muslims, You made your children non-Muslims. You ignored the Azan (call to prayer) Nor did you recite The Holy Qur’an. Breaking promises all your life, Backbiting friends and causing strife. From hoarded goods, Great profits you made, And your poor workers- You underpaid. Horses and cards were your leisure, Money-making was your pleasure You ate and ate, And grew more fat, With the very sick, you never sat. A little donation, you never gave That could a little baby save. You thought you’re clever and strong, But Oh man, You’ve done so many wrong. Paradise for you? I cannot tell The disbeliever will dwell in hell. There is no time for you to repent, I’ll take your soul for which I am sent.”

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Untukmu Teman

Untukmu yang bernama teman,
Ingin aku hadiahkan sebaik-baik kalungan,
Seindah-seindah anyaman,
Dari seharum-harum bunga,
Kerana hati yang terpahat ini,
Saban hari semakin menyayangi,
Nilaian yang sama-sama kita kecapi,
Kenangan yang tak sudah-sudah kita lakari,
Kerana aku perantau,
Yang kerap menapak dan menjajah,
Walau dalam makna yang sementara,
Walau secebis semangat didada.
Contohku adalah kamu,
Kerana tamsilanmu adalah Rasulku,
Manusia agung karya Ilahi,
Pembimbing umat ke jalan abadi
Aku ingin melihat,
Rencana yang sama-sama kita bentangkan,
Bersemadi dalam hati-hati manusia,
Bersemi dalam peradaban ummah,
Tidak akan pernah cukup,
Apa yang kita lemparkan,
Kerna apa yang bakal dituntut,
Itulah yang kita khuatirkan.
Teman Bangkitkan kembali nostalgia itu,
Bersama ukhwah kita adun kembali,
Demi saat yang bakal kita miliki.
Teman, Jangan mudah kita menafsir,
Mimpi indah kini,
Yang bukan untuk dirai,
Tetapi lihatlah ia,
Sebagai penterjemah diri,
Dikala kita beruzlah sunyi
Menghadap Ilahi.
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