Raya Notes 2012

Today is Monday. Not just any Monday but a Monday after Raya Holidays—I think the worst day of the year. The office is eerily quiet giving signs of mourning souls being dragged out of the on-going Raya festival. But like it or not it’s time to get back to  work— to the ever-piling up paper work, trainings, class preparations and of course meetings. So we know life is not all the time  a sandy beach—it’s just a bitch!.
Abang Azli at Kg Puteh, KB now a headmaster of SMK Cini, Pekan, Pahang

The travelling was fun. On the way back I enjoyed the serene darkness of Bentong forest at 3 am  while driving at 0km/h on the steep Karak Highway. So it’s the fact that most of us were nocturnal drivers. And where is the fun of ‘balik kampung’ if there were no bumper-to-bumper highway traffic. But you know I realised one thing about us, Malaysians (Malays in particular), that we have all learned how to queue up. I think the message has reached everyone and now everyone has tried to behave and wait  for the turn. It’s obvious when we made our stop at R and R. We saw many queues; at the surau people queue up for wuduk, outside people lined up some more for the wuduk as Fajr time was passing fast, at the toilets we queue some more. No one seems to jump the queues although everybody has to go. They all seemed calm and inched their way forward. I have never been so proud to be among these people who’s held their integrity and civilised behaviour so dearly. We even queued up at the petrol station which took us almost an hour to reach the pump; but everyone just stayed in the queue and moved slowly. Then one stupid lady tried to cut into the queue and some one let her in—see how sopan these people were. I smiled as I saw that lady’s  car bearing a red diplomatic plate; aahhh of course she’s a foreigner, I guess they don’t practice this in her country.

Masjid Kayu Besut, Terengganu

Ahmad at the anjung Masjid Kayu, Besut

Abah, are we there yet? I heard my son asking from the back. The journey was terribly long and I took the longer route through the east coast. So everyone was complaining. I used to work and live in Dungun Terengganu for almost 15 years and this route had been our weekend route for so many weekends that we commuted between Kota Bharu and Dungun. I wanted to see the trees and the muddy trails again, the abandoned fruit stalls by the road side, the many mosques that we used to make a pit stop, and the kampung folks that stared at us for god-knows-why. Maybe those folks reminded me of my growing up years in the kampung. Back then everything would be happening at the “tembok” refering to the main road that went through our kampung. It would be livelier during the Raya season when the city folks came back and drove around in their fancy cars and glittering clothes. We just stood there by the road side and watched them like they were some creatures from the outer space that had invaded our sleepy kampung. Not much has changed over the years, I think; I could feel, see and experience  the same things from those days. They have replaced some of the old mosques ; the move that cost someone an MB position. Well you don’t bulldoze an old mosque you know, that’s a terrible thing to do. An old place of worship carries a lot of history, traditions and barokah. It sholud be preserved at all cost; but for this stupid man it’s just a pile of dead woods. Hope he learned the lesson well. The new mosques are all big, outstanding and lavish. Some were deserted with a handful of local people came to join us for noon prayers. You could even feel the emptiness of the space with dusty windows and lizard wastes all over the place. I drove through and made some stops at the regular stalls that we used to buy kueh and stuff. A young lad was manning the stall; I guess it’s time for the kids to handle the business now. The kueh tasted sweetly the same and heavens know that it has been the taste that  I missed  for a long time.

Beautiful anjung of Majid Kayu Besut

the traditional high wall and ceiling

This time around the raya mood wasn’t much of  a jovial  but a “numb” of some sort. When you go to a dentist, the doctor would jab you with something before taking your tooth out and you will feel numb through out. You don’t feel pain no more no matter how the dentist hack your tooth out; you just feel nothing. This Raya I felt the same  numbness. I did not feel a need for a new baju or songkok or new pair of shoes—no rush for the shopping rituals. I braved the traffic without thinking the long journey home because I did not want to miss my Ramadhan prayers. I did not feel bad for not visiting some relatives ; there was no need to rush here and there. All these years that we have been making a point to visit them—none has returned the favor and visit us back. So that’s it no more. I planned to skip the whole balik kampung thing but you know things just would not be the same. Being among the kampung folks reminds you of how life could be so simple. They seem to have nothing but happy nonetheless. How much do you think a makcik selling a few heaps of chillies and some bananas will make? More than your small change, I reckon. But she sat there as if making a career out if it….well actually it’s her life. When PM made a statement, people see political. We feel ashamed for people calling us poor because we did not do anything about it  not because  we think it’s untrue. I went back to feel  and experience the so-called “ poor people of Kelantan”. I didn’t feel ashamed at all but proud to be among them because they are a bunch of happy folks that realize life isn’t defined by the rich politicians from KL but by themselves. Awesome, isn’t it?

Dewan Solat

Attending a wedding in Dungun , Terengganu

My Raya was sadly ushered by two deaths; one of my brother’s MIL and another of a close friend. In the midst of a celebration, death is still  ultimately sad . I felt numb like a burning fire being splashed by a bucket of water; all’s left is the smoking ashes. Nothing else to cheer about.
So life goes on. Shah Alam is still quiet as students are still on their semester  break. But come next week there  will be a different story.
Enjoy your  Raya mood  folks!

..and it’s March already…….

As the new year celebrations are still hot in the air,the first day of the third month is already here. Even my new year’s resolutions are still in the making and two months have already gone. How the time fly so fast bypassing  your thoughts and actions. A lot of things have happened since my last entry so much so that I give up altogether putting them here. Let they remain in the memory for as long as the memory can serve me. Sometime we want some of the things to be forgotten after a while. Let bygone be a bygone. Computer memory on the othe hand is permanent in the sense that they will be there for as long as  facebook is there or google remains relevant; theoretically computer memory can last forever. So you see forgetfulness is sometime good for us as not everything we want  to last forever.
OK, life has been treating me fairly if not ideally. I feel good about myself and  my family. A lot of good things have been happening to us not to exclude the unfortunate circumstances. They are inevitable most of the time. I feel strong inside with my relation to Allah, Alhamdulillah, nothing else matters anymore because when things  get out of hands I would drop everything and go into my prayers to regain my inner peace and tranquility. They are not merely words to fill up my  thoughts anymore but my trusted life line to keep me going from a second to another second. I feel so great as if I just found Allah after so many years asking where is my God ? He is indeed very close to me all this while. The problem was I did not look properly, honestly and sincerely. I just followed whatever people say and do; without meaning and the true purpose of the actions. It is hard to formulate the path to Allah because everything  about it comes from within your inner most heart and soul. Although the Quran and Ahadeeth are there to guide, we sometimes lost in the middle of the journey due to out of focus and lack of purpose. We are confused most of the time and abandon the journey half way. My advice is to keep looking and  insyaAllah He will show the way. I have been trying  to change my working life ( the eight hours per day  at the office) to be within my spiritual perspectives but it is a constant challenge. The meetings are always dragged beyond the sound of azan, inter activities with people in the department are not always ‘clean and clear from bad intentions’, decisions sometime questionable, etc. Sometime I wish to stop all these and retreat to  a place where nature and divinity are part of the ecosystem. I guess early retirement is the right word. But that would be an eternity in my calendar.
Work is hectic, endless and just a massive load of craps. Not that I hate my job, to be fair to myself and everyone around me, but why should I have to put up a constant struggle to protect my feeling of liking this job? My job is to run a small department  within a faculty; a simple one ,you might say. And it should be simple and enjoyable stuff, but in reality it’s far beyond that.  I am on leave for the past few days to catch up a brief break before the start of new semester next week; but the work keeps coming through the phone, the internet and today I ended  up in a meeting room talking about work some more. I don’t mind to come over because I love my work but then that will breach my pledge to give myself a break. That kind of conflicting actions that challenge my true purpose of working.
Boring, isn’t it? Well that’s my life, hope yours is a lot better than mine. But whatever it is, find your way to Allah because everything else won’t matter. Good luck.

Beautiful things at the kampong

Coming home to your old kampong triggers old memories for the fact that you have been away for quite a while now and how far apart your life has been with the folks once to be your everyday pakciks and makciks. Life at the kampong is not only simple, we accept this as-the-matter-of-factly, but it represents the nature of humans as they live through the time. My kampong nowadays is a small town called Wakaf Bharu (although I come from Pasir Mas) about 15 mins from Kota Bahru. A close-knit community where everybody really knows everybody else—in fact they might even be related to each other. The folks started their day as early as 5 am when all sort of animal sounds would wake you up to the cold and breezy dawn. I could not even know the name of all those animals, well except for the cocks (I mean that male chicken), the crickets maybe or the birds. Some were strange sounds and even eerie like in the Dracula movies. But I was glad to wake up and wanted even to make my own wake up sound. The morning sky was still dark but folks were all up getting ready for the morning prayers, old and young walking or zooming with the motorbike to the mosque. It was dark because streetlights were scarce and you literally walk with your eyes closed; and everyone would find their own way through the darkness to the mosque. It’s the experience of my childhood that I recaptured and it seemed to be there all this time while I was away. Kampong folks especially in Kelantan are very religious; Islam is our day and night, we live and we die with it. It is as simple as that. I feel like to come back to this simple life one day. I guess that’s why most Kelantanese would come back after they retire, because if I were to call any place — a heaven on earth, this would be the perfect one.
And you wonder why the city politicians could not conquer the hearts and the minds of Kelantan voters. The reason is obvious—they have no idea of what these people do at 5 o’clock in the morning. If they were, they would see an old woman clinging helplessly to a blind young girl walking through the darkness to the mosque. And that’s no fairy tale; it’s as real as the sky and the earth. I just could not believe my eyes when they walked by my side. As if the nation’s transformation program is only for the clever folks in KL where they talk about the sweet and the Brent’s, the hedge and the mergers, but never about us. We only have us to look after each other. As the matter of facts, Kelantan folks have survived with such mentalities for the last 20 over years when we vowed not to trust those clever politicians from KL anymore. We might not have streetlights but we do find hopes and sunshine in each other. Isn’t that what life is all about?

The sound of animals continues to embrace the morning sunshine. Everyone seems to retreat after the morning prayers and to let the able folks to put on the brave faces to fulfill the daunting modern life. I came home to visit my old mom; she seemed tired but healthy. The years of hard living can be clearly seen on her. She stumbled and fell every now and then but that’s normal for an old person she said. My heart crunched and crumbled when I heard that as if this one child has no ability to take care of his mom despite having degrees and all. You know we have tried that once, mom, and it did not work. You want to be at home where you feel free and comfortable. Do whatever you want and visit your friends whenever you feel lonely. I just want you to be happy and as of now you seem very happy.
I have an annex at my in-law’s where we stay during our visit and store our old stuff. The dusty shelves and furniture show that we have been away for quite a while. Although this is only home for the week I feel so blessed for this opportunity. I can’t wait for the next visit home which seems to be forever. Work ! Work! Work! Even during this break the phone hasn’t stopped ringing. About this and about that. Well, I should not complain, they pay me for that.

OK it’s time to go shopping. I need a new baju. Enjoy your break folks.

For Love or Lust?

Are you married for love or lust?….duh! how many times we have heard the question and still it looks like something good to ask. I am sure you all have your own answer to that but after 20 over years of marriage I would prefer to keep them both in my profile. Sometime I am in for love sometime it would be lust. Love and lust are like two characters in a movie; one is the good guy and the other is the bad guy. We love the good guy because he will get all smashed up but will eventually win over and lives happily ever after. The bad guy on the other hand will get all the chicks, done some nasty stuff and got killed at the end of it. I’d prefer to be the bad guy, not because I have been the good guy all my life and have seen nothing but heartache, but because it seems interesting and happening. Bad guys cast more character in the story line than the good guys. Love would give reasons when the bad things happened in marriage while lust would make it more colorful and interesting ( especially after 20 dreadful years). Love is like a sharp thingy that hooks to your heart; everytime someone tries to to pull it away from you, you would feel the pain…a real pain as the hook being ripped of your skin. One hook for you wife, one hook for each of your children and everyone that you love in life. This is real and you can feel it for yourself. That’s what love would do for you. Lust , on the other hand, is sex and everything else that would not be complete without such as lies, greed and being naughty. They are not necessarily bad but too much of it would damage your brain and your liver (that’s a joke apparently). But sex is something else we just can’t leave home without it; something that we need over and over again, amazing isn’t it? You would be tired of doing something over the years but not sex. Isn’t it wonderful to be alive and enjoy sex? Well you got the picture I am not going to turn this into an exotic entry but for us all to realize the magic of life that we all have tasted for so many years.

So people get married, divorced and remarried. That SY guy married his fourth and it was all over the paper like no one else has done it before. Big deal. Maybe sometime we feel intimidated by all these. Some men do feel intimidated and challenged their manhood. Nonetheless,I do feel annoyed sometime because this is my choice that I have made for my life. You want to do it go ahead just do not make a big fuss out of it. So now is the time people get married and do the khenduri—which I have so many to attend. I go to khenduri just because I have to, otherwise it is the last thing I would do. I hate it. I hate to eat at the same table with strangers, and you meet a lot of strangers in the khenduri. So you eat as fast as you can without enjoying the food just to shove it down the throat and done with it. Then when the host comes over, you would put a big smile and pretend you have the time of your life despite the miserable eating-with-strangers session. And the food seems to be the same everywhere, do they copy-and-paste the menu also? I mean who said all the khenduri have to have ayam masak merah, daging kicap, gulai sayur and acar timun. For whatever reasons I expect to see the same old food all over the place. I can’t imagine to spend thousands of ringgit for such khenduri so whenever I think of that I would slip a big tip into the host’s pocket to express my sorrow and compensate his effort. He must have done it because everyone does it but at the end of it he would be the one to bear all the costs. In Islam announcement of the marriage is necessary, the jamuan is not. Still thinking what to do when my time to do this khenduri is due….maybe in a few year’s time.

The system SUCKS!

I started my day early today looking forward to do everything else that has been postponed for a few years. One of them is to visit the dentist. The last time I went blinking under that sunny light and had my dick going….where is that lady smell coming from?— was the end of 2009. I was supposed to come back middle of 2010 but you know one thing after another you did not realize you were missing your dentist appointment until your breath smells poopier than Snoopy the Dog. I was there half an hour before the place open to get ahead start; I was so eager to have my mouth open wide. But before that I was so intrigued to see how the place started in the morning —- slow like my old Plymouth in the winter. The doa was read like a talqin for the dead and everyone looked like they do not belong here —-no morning greetings and definitely no one smiling while coming in. That is the best description of a place called Klinik UiTM Shah Alam. I used to come here and it was okay, friendly and inviting but today everything has changed and not like how it used to be.

And you take a number to get a number…..what? confused? ..yes let me go through it again, first you go in and look around and around and around because no one there to greet you, then you think you should go to the place called “counter” because you came in before and you went straight to that place….no one there so you kind of standing and waiting like an idiot until some one happened to come by and told you “pak cik kena amik nombor kat depan”. So me, now an old pak cik, went back to the front and push a number. Now what? Did not what to do next this old pak cik went back to the counter only to be told off again…” duduk dulu nanti kita panggil”. So pak cik sat down with the anger half-boiled already. After a while pak cik was called and given another number and asked to sit down again. Pakcik sat and waited like pak cik has nothing to do for the rest of the day. The nurses come and go like they have everything else to do other than fixing my teeth. So pak cik felt so geram like someone will get belasah today. Waited and my number has not come on the screen. Finally the number was called and pak cik stepped in the room and sat on that chair and the nurse turn on that silau light. The doctor came by and asked to open wide and read my teeth out…..2-6 missing, 2-8 missing, gum problem, oral hygiene blah blah……ok finish go check the appointment with the nurse. Can I get my scaling today? I asked politely. No not today, she cut me off. Forget it then…….and I did my lecture right there and then. For me to come here is a big struggle and now you want me to go home and come back again, God knows when…what kind of a system is this.“ itu polisi kita….” She replied without any sign of apology or guilt. I left with an absolute disappointment. I hate when the system is not forgiving and even more to the people who are proud to protect it.

Then I went to another place—Klinik Pergigian at the Fakulti Pergigian which is closer to my office, hoping for my teeth to get fixed today. No one was there so I thought this could be better that the other klinik. I went straight to the counter and ask to register. Pakcik amik nombor dulu…. But no one else is here and I need to get the number also. I touched on that fancy screen and a slip slid out, took it and sat down. Alone ,no one was there. Not until 15 minutes later the number was called. Aaargh…another stupid system. Pakcik go and sit overthere. When I was called I went in , sat in that chair and the nurse turned on the silau light and the doctor asked me to open wide and he read my teeth out……blah…blah…..oral hygiene not good…..blah…blah. OK finish come back when we call your number(my phone number). So I go home now. Yes we will call….I got so fed up with this stupid system. If I go to a private clinic would they check me and ask me to go home and wait…..I don’t think so. But these govt clinics they don’t think about customers or good services, they just want to follow the system. Well my dear, the system SUCKS!…..

Singing it with your body and soul

When the email came in to promote a concert for the deaf, I was speechless to say the least but more skeptical to the whole idea of how a deaf person enjoys music. I asked through the return email and someone replied to warn me not to be so sarcastic and respect the deaf persons. Honestly, I really wanted to know because I have no experience with a deaf person. Some time people just never read the lines in your mail…they always read in between the lines. I was really disappointed with that but then it is always one of those hurdles that you have along your path they you will never kick it through but always jump over it. Anyway, I missed the concert that day due to being stuck in a traffic jam way pass the Maghrib time. I prayed for the event to be successful and it did .alhamd. I’m glad and wish could be part of it in the future. That was Friday evening.

On Sunday night, I dragged myself to an event that always not on my agenda—Malam Pra Graduan —- a dinner event to celebrate final semester students. The time and place where students come all dressed up with girlfriends and boyfriends. So dressed up we could hardly recognize them altogether. They came to enjoy their time and I came because I had to so we kind of have two different contrasting reasons for being there. The event was great I supposed but it was not for me, honestly speaking. I don’t know how else to put it but the event was definitely not mine. I need a quiet time for my dinner, not a blast of music that ripped off your heart. You know that disco music that pump up your energy to make you jump on the dance floor ( oh dear another trip down the dark lane of Damansara Utama in the late 80s). I’ve been there and done that…and now don’t remind me of that anymore…..OMG I feel so old, so sad, so guilty for breaking my promise to God.It’s like building a sand castle just to see it washed away in a wave of time. I pinned myself to the seat and pretended to enjoy the food and the company. Then the kids in orange lined up the stage. “Ohhhmmm… Dr Nordin they are from our multimedia group that sang during the charity concert last Friday”, said a colleague and one of the Advisors of the group. “ Oh yea…..I have a chance to hear them after all”, I said with a big smile as if my night has just started to begin. And it was AWESOME…big time! I feel like going up the stage and join them doing the hands and all. You put fun into a meaningful context and you have got super fun….a blast. They sang with their body and soul that really made my night worth while after all. My heart danced in silence , my feet thumped the red carpet, my legs trembled with the voiceless sound and in the end we twisted our hands in the air for a superb presentation…..BRAVO! BRAVO!. I won’t miss their next presentation and thank you all for the memorable night.
Watch the video Koir Amal 2011 >>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tere5XdEnHM . 

Running out of time

“CePat sikit, kita dah lewat….” my favorite morning call for my kids to hurry up with whatever they’re doing and get into the car. It is early in the morning and they’re still sleepy and slow moving…making me more upset. The thing is I am not good in getting people up and do something .Being bossy is the last thing I will make myself do even with my own children. The only way I know to make someone else listen to me is to turn myself into “an incredible hulk”—the green man that looks so mean. It works with my children (well some of them anyway) but of course never with other people. But now I am tired of being green; it just turns the people off. So nowadays I am more relax; more looking at myself rather than other people.  I saw a male student earlier today with make-up and sissy t-shirt……you know what –I am not going after him and lecture him about not being so pondan and follow the proper dress code…I am not gonna get angry over this anymore  that will ruin my day…I’ve had enough, if he wants to be Victoria Beckham instead of David Beckham then the hell with it. Anyway, I don’t want to  talk about sissy students or my compulsive anger ;today I want to talk about time. The time  that I always don’t seem to have.

Just-in-time, overtime, half-time, full-time or no time seem to push me around these days. I can’t be late for whatever reason or whatever event. The term ”better late than never”  has never been in my vocabulary. I am more into “better skip it than being late”. That’s why I don’t plan much of things around me; afraid of being late. Maybe people don’t even care of me being late but I do. I would lose my sleep for thinking about it. If the event is seven days away then I will keep thinking, thinking and thinking about it for the whole seven days. At the end of it I feel stressed and tensed. Nowadays my wife likes to plan our holidays 6-7 months ahead of time (to get the cheap airfares), and I would be miserable for the whole time and by the time we get to the airport I would be exploded with anxieties and ruined the whole trip.  No more bad holidays, I’ll just stay out of it. If I need to go then I just go without making myself miserable with the process of going. So for me it is more of “spontaneous” trip…..the last minute one.
So going here and there seems to take much of my time, plus the unforgivable traffics that will make my day a truly memorable one.  I don’t know why am I complaining…..I got myself into this so better buck up. Maybe just tired and need some rest. “Hectic” has a lot to with commitments and life is full of commitments without which life is nothing. But as you go on living and reach the other side of the hill, you’ve sort of chosen your own path in life. It might be great or might not be great, and soon enough you don’t give  a damn how it would turn out because at the end of it, it’s just you who will take the fall.
I wish the day was longer
I wish the people were friendlier
I wish the sky was always beautiful
I wish the wind blew softly
I wish happiness grew on trees
I wish tears were diamonds
I wish  time went back and forth
But they aren’t…..life is just like that
But life can also be beautiful again.