"artificial" Singapore

Crossing over the causeway brought us to the land used to be our place. Not anymore—physically or otherwise. It has become so foreign even the resident seems to be out of place. An old balding Chinese man with shorts ,slippers and a plastic bag walking along a well-manicured pedestrian path with a sophisticated building at the background, so contrast of each other that I wondered if the connection between the two has lost. It seems that everything around this place is built for someone other than its own people. I followed the tree line as we move along the highway with the road signs displayed in English with some traces of Malay heritage. Maybe that’s all what is left from the yesteryears when the place was used to be our hulubalang playground. I wonder if that would also be of us in the future when Malay culture would become a heritage of some long lost tribes of the past. I refused the analogy to be refuted and justified. We are different, I assured myself of the circumstances. But how different? No good answer to that, I supposed. But to tell you the truth I don’t see anything here which is better than back home, nothing excited me and nothing to be looked up for. This place is so artificial that I would be rather living in my kampong than putting up with all this hiked-up modern city. I want to be in a place that I can call home. You know like my place in Shah Alam where I can go back , put my feet up and feel so “saved” at the end of the day. It’s not an “anjung seri” interior but it’s my place, my home.

But some people would go all the way furnishing their house with expensive sofas , magnificent dining table and luxurious decorations so to entertain the guests. Maybe that’s what happening in Singapore; everything is done for the guests not its own people. The locals are tucked into the flats and housing estates as if they are the shame of the country. I smiled for I have never been so proud of my country, Malaysia. We are doing alright. I noticed how the faces of the locals have become everything but their own. The Chinese, Indians, or Malays without race identity as if they have become a new race of the land—-or given up as someone told them to. It happened during the colonial time, so I can accept that. It happened when you were in a foreign country. So we do out of respect. But why does it happen in your own homeland? The words “ slave of the states” keep flashing up without warning; but not sure whether that’s a good thing or bad. I guess they keep the colonial yard stick to this very day and read it like some kind of a holy book. Can you imagine to see a Chinese boy who could not speak a word of Chinese; and told the Chinese couple to read the instructions themselves. The instructions were obviously in Chinese. Within that boy I could see a new generation that has lost their heritage and done away with history. Maybe they want to let go the things of the past for it has brought back nothing but a painful reminder of the brutalities they endured to defend this land.

I moved on to see the fish, the big crabs, the sharks and the jelly fish. I waited for the dolphin show only to find the tricks were outdated (I saw that more than 25 years ago in LA). The seals were also as old as myself. I was bored to my stomach could not even have a mood to snap some photos.

Could not get into the Universal Studios because the tickets were sold out. But again I supposed all the rides were at least 10 years old. I left the place angry to myself…..fooled by the belief that my place is not any better than this one.

A Walk to Remember

Walking with my love in the morning is something for me to treasure. A walk followed by a short jog have become our routine for sometime now. It takes about an hour; so we have time to take the kids to school or wherever they need to go during this school break and make a quick dash to beat the punch machine. Yes my office is still using that old musical punch machine that gives you red for being late. It really  bothers me  but do it anyway for the sake of work ….whatever. I personally think it is ridiculous. The weather was perfect this morning; cool and quiet. The moon was still there when we started out; the full moon was barely visible before the sunshine took over for the day. It was really great to go out early in the morning and feel the freshness of the air. And more importantly to be alive to start another day in a long journey called life.

Walking ,in the UK for example, is a big deal. At first I did not really get it but as you heard the explanation it started to make sense. I mean it was something about their habit that then became a tradition to walk when the weather gets warmer especially in the Spring. They do the walking through the countryside sometime in groups. And when I tried walking in the Spring , it was really something. When all the trees get new leaves on and the landscape goes green, you can feel the joy and the excitement everywhere. And also during the long walk beside talking you tend to hit some stones with your stick and see who can hit the longest. Maybe that’s how golf came to the world. The history says that golf originated in Scotland; so that walking tradition might contribute to that in some ways. I mean people in the UK go to court for this walking rights. Some of them got summoned for trespassing a private land. They fought and won the case as the court found the path has been used for a long time (by their ancestors); so we are talking about a long tradition of Spring ritual. In the city they do the walking by means of parade. In Northern Ireland they fought to their death for this annual ritual.

So the phrase “ let’s go for a walk” that we can find in a movie or read in a novel has a bigger meaning to it. A therapy of some sort to have a private time together between two persons; mum /daughter, father/son, husband/wife etc. It is the time you slow down the pace of your life for a while. There is no need to rush just take one step at a time and enjoy the company. So beside the time and a partner, you also need a good environment; clean , green and settled. With our tropical climate it is easy to produce the green landscape but one thing that bothers me a lot is the rubbish and the dirty environment. The “tong sampah” are usually placed along side the path by the road side; and most of the time they are filthy beyond imagination. But not in Shah Alam where the environment is always clean and we respect the good habit by reminding ourselves, our kids and even our community to find a bin for the rubbish. Sadly in the other part of Malaysia where the town council is not in order or the attitude of the local community is not “good”, this thing still happens.

Anyway, maybe you think walking is trivial and old-fashioned, but try it anyway with your loved ones (like your mum/dad/wife) and treasure the moments that you will remember for the rest of your life.

Filling up the long school holidays

Whether we like or not our life revolves around the school breaks. All of the sudden the roads seem empty and not as busy as they always do. And the kids are every where, doing nothing. They play along the busy road, waiting for the bus that is nowhere in sight or filling up the parks doing everything other than jogging. The rest would be sleeping at home.

My kids’ school break whereabouts will be as follows :

#1 : Away at the college until Dec. + her own trip visiting friends + BTN.Settled
#2 : Busy with SPM + PLKN. Settled.
#3 : still no plan; refuses any tutorial.
#4 : Math tutorial twice a week; Tun Uda Mosque program also. Settled
#5 : a one-month program at Tun Uda Mosque Shah Alam + swimming at weekends. Settled.

School break Trip : Singapore.

Hopefully by next week they will be fully occupied.

Thinking of Family and Friends

The rain came early this year. My concern goes out to family and friends in Pasir Mas, Wakaf Bahru and all over Kelantan. The heavy rain will come with devastating flood and agonizing days of glooming weather. I pray for their safety and strength. Flood is very common in Kelantan and the neighboring Terengganu as it is the end-of the-year event. But ironically I don’t see any massive effort to minimize its consequences. As if every year as fate has it, the people of Kelantan and Terengganu will face this disaster to wrap up the year. The rescue efforts will pop up during the prime time news bulletin to show some big people riding the speedboat like some tourists from a foreign country. But the people are used to all these and never expect anything more to come and give them a sincere help. We moved our cars, cows and other animals to the higher ground and hope for the best. That is our solution to the problem which is not very good at all but what else to do. They want to build a 100-storey building that costs billions of ringgit and despise the agony of the people; what a schmuck! This is one of the reasons why the people of Kelantan never trust those politicians from KL.

I was shocked to find out that my friend Abd Latif has passed away. He was my colleague in UiTM Dungun as well as my student in an MBA class. He was very friendly and easy to get along. May Allah accept him among the soleheen. Good bye my dear friend!

Yesterday we were delighted to receive the news that two of my colleague from FSKM have been promoted to professor. Prof Dr Nor laila and Prof Dr Azlinah Mohamad. What a great news! They both deserve the new title. Both of them work very hard and have contributed a lot to the academia. Congratulations!

Many of my friends are also going for hajj.Alhamdulillah. It’s not an easy thing to do so being chosen to have such opportunity is very lucky. Many of them are among the million Muslim converging in Mecca. They will go and come back with thousands of tales and stories. But the most important thing is whether they learn from all those stories.

Mak! – my Mother

My mother is still strong and healthy for her age. Mak is 68 this year. Her hearing is going away now and we have to shout when talking to her. I don’t like to shout because I will shout only when I am mad. And when I am mad the world will go upside down. So in the house when Abah shouts everyone will go into hiding including the little kittens. But anyway, I have little chance now to go back and visit Mak very so often: I would call my sisters and brothers to find out about Mak. She raised all twelve of us quite successfully. With little skills she has, life had been very difficult. But alhmadulillah we are all very grateful to her and love her very much.

Mak
My love to you …
could not be spelled in words
or calculated in numbers
or valued in dollars and cents
or weighed in kilos
because your love to us
your life spent and sacrifice
far beyond
any worldly measures
may your name carved
on the heaven’s gate
taste the water of al kauthar
meet the beloved prophet
and receive the blessing from the Lord

Mak
Now I know the meaning of life
When aging is catching up
The knees tremble without warning
The joints squeak with every move
The walk is longer than ever before
The eyes scramble for a focus
And the loneliness that comes day and night
The stare over the horizon
Brings the promise of hopes
for my children, your grand children
could they run and chase the rainbows ?
as you ran with me when I was little
now I know where the tears came from
that ran down your cheek
every time when I asked my school money
it was not there, was it?
So you made a quick dash to the neighbor’s
For 20 cents to accompany me to school
I pray to Allah for forgiveness
For such troubles that made you sad
For every tear drop to be your good deeds
…and the key to the heavens

Mak
I dreamt of arwah Ayah a lot
He seemed happy
He gave me a smile
I remember his last days
When you cared for him…night and day
For the sickness that strange to us
For the pains that never went away
It was hopeless…but you never gave up
We were confused…but you showed us
…that love was never meant to be understood
For better or worst….you assured us that
….he was our Ayah
To love and cherish until his last breath
….when Ayah collapsed on your laps
The morning that we lost him…forever
I know you love him very much….we all do
I truly miss him a lot
Hope my du’a is answered
For him to rest in peace
The dream is a reminder…maybe
That death is close…to us, you and me.
So we should be more prepared….to meet the Lord

Mak
Today I want to tell the whole world
That my mother is awesome!
The best mom in the entire world
And we are blessed…
To have your hopes and prayers
As the wind…beneath our wings
Flew us high beyond our expectation
Took us to places we never dreamt of
Gave a good life

……..thanks Mak! we are good now…….

Read my other tributes for Mother’s Day here and here

A Good Weekend …

1. Jogged a good distance with my wife(Sat and Sun).
2. Attended akikah at my friend’s house.
3. Did not spoil the class lecture although I had to wait for one hour for the students to turn up(Yes one hour!)—weekend class for part-timers is so pathetic!
4. A good reunion in the evening.
5. My daughter Aqeelah was back for the weekend with friend.
6. Took Ariefah to her drama practice.
7. Dropped Ahmad at his friend’s
8. Roasted chicken for lunch.
9. Successfully put up two blinds at the front porch(my primary weekend project)
10. Cleaned up my little garden (favorite!)

11. Drove Aqeelah back to college.
12. Picked up Ariefah and Ahmad back.
13. Stayed for kuliah Maghrib—a good one
14. still have some money left in the bank account (usually it’s gone before the actual month has not even started….)
15. and still got sometime to write up this blog

Nothing fancy but I like it because it’s STRESS FREE—-isn’t that what “weekend” is all about!