Month: August 2009

Ramadhan Ramblings

I do miss being wished ‘Ramadhan Kareem’ by some strangers when I walked along the Curry Miles.

Malay food is on its way to making me fat. Currently considering a change in lifestyle – probably more exercises and less fat in food? I don’t want my artery to be clotted with fat anytime soon.

And maybe I should cut down coffee too. Regardless of how tempting it can be, due to the ease at which I can have a cup of coffee, thanks to the boom in 3-in-1 coffee market, I have not drink coffee for, err, five days or so. Which is an achievement. With additives like sugar and milk, the calories count can be frightening too. And I know I am at the edge of being an addict, so I better stop.

I should not whine, I know, but I was born in a country which temperature can be around 30-31 degree celcius, which is not fun. I am thirsty most of the time, and I could not bear the thought of having to buy bottled water everytime I go out (and to quote one writer, it is the stupidest thing anyone can do), so I bring my beautifully-decorated aluminium bottle everywhere I go. Plastic water bottle is not easily degraded once you throw it away, and it stays there for hundreds of year. For me, it is a sin by itself.

I fear going out to Bazaar Ramadhan, and I didn’t have to on my first day fasting this year. It is really saddening to see my people eagerly buying food, and I don’t think we have absorbed the essence of Ramadhan by doing that. Why suddenly everyone craves for different ‘kuih-muih’ while normally they don’t eat that? It is dinner, so just have dinner, not dinner and lunch and breakfast and tea breaks.

Two nights of tarawih, and I am very pleased with the imams in-charge. They recite beautifully, and though it was long (not really, we finish before 10 p.m. normally), I don’t mind – I refuse to wear ‘telekung’ which adds extra layers that induce heavy perspiration, the experience seems to be more enjoyable. And the imams read verses that I can fully understand their meanings. Well, until tomorrow only.

Ramadhan Kareem to all!

p.s. I’m going to Penang tomorrow inshaAllah for a week, then to KL to settle things about my job for another week. Still considering to stay in Shah Alam for the third week, if I miss home much I will go back to Perlis.


Pergolakan Pemikiran Islam: Forbidden Territory

“Tuhan bukanlah daerah terlarang bagi pemikiran”– Ahmad Wahib

I need to get myself thinking and being productive before I get busy with my career life, hence I am going on a campaign of writing an entry a day. A lot of free time kills and I know that from experience, so this step seems to be just right.

I went  on a mini book fair in Shah Alam the day after I arrived in Malaysia. To be honest, one of the things that I know I will miss about the UK is how cheap it is, relatively, for me to buy books, and the ease at which I can find books of interesting titles. Keeping in mind that I haven’t bought more than a few books in Malaysia for the last four years (or maybe six, I was awfully poor back in college), I had this assumption that books in Malaysia are expensive and more of the popular type. And what I saw during my visit to the fair prove that wrong.

I was not planning on buying any books – I can clearly envision tonnes of other titles that I need to finish before indulging on another book shopping spree, but I did list down a number of titles that looked interesting – and I bought this one : Pergolakan Pemikiran Islam: Catatan Harian Ahmad Wahib keluaran Middle Eastern Graduate Centre (MEGC).

One good question is ‘Who is this man named Ahmad Wahib?’. I don’t know him, and I bet you don’t know him too. Here’s a journalist, an Indonesian thinker who consistently recording his intellectual struggle on a daily basis, in a small rented room. He was killed in an accident, and his blessed friend saved his daily notes, later compiled to be published as a book.

A relatively unknown man,but it is funny that when I read his rantings, despite me not having finished the book yet, I feel a sudden connection. I did ponder, and still pondering on certain things that he was pondering about albeit in some cases I reached different conclusions.

I would love to write down some passaged from the book which I found beautiful (it is the language, really, I have always loved the Indonesian tone, despite having undergone a translation process, it still comes out lovely to my standard). I would not be able to translate these excertps into English without disfiguring them, so I leave them just like that:

Tuhan Maklumilah Aku

Tuhan, mampukah aku menerima perintahMu tanpa meragukannya terlebih dahulu? Kerana itu Tuhan, maklumilah lebih dulu bila aku masih ragu akan kebenaran perintahMu. Kalau Engkau tidak suka akan hal ini, berilah aku pengertian-pengertian sehingga keraguan itu hilang dan cepat-cepatlah aku dibawa dari tahap keragu-raguan kepada tahap [keyakinan].

Tuhan, murkakah Engkau bila aku berbicara denganMu dengan hati dan otak yang bebas, hati dan otak yang Engkau sendiri telah berikan padaku dengan kemampuan-kemampuan untuk bebasnya sekali? Tuhan, murkakah kau bila otak dan kemampuan-kemampuannya  mengenalnya yang engkau berikan itu dan aku menggunakan sepenuh-penuhnya kemampuan itu?

Bidaah harus diperbanyak dalam Kebudayaan

Semboyan ‘kembali kepada alQuran dan Hadis’ walaupun dalam soal-soal ibadat atau upacara-upacara keagamaan, manakala difahami secara pasif iaitu ‘kembali bulat-bulat’ seperti Nabi Muhammad akan menimbulkan sikap anti-kebudayaan di samping menunjukkan pengertian akan adanya pengertian perkembangan cara berfikir.

Islam Cocok Dengan Segala Zaman?

‘Islam cocok dengan segala zaman’ merupakan keinginan dan belum merupakan satu rumusan ilmiah. Kita belum mampu membezakan antara keinginan dan rumusan keilmuan. Dan kemudian Islam diinterpretasikanmenurut keinginan dan tidak menurut keilmuan. Membahas secara keilmuan antara Islam dan zaman, bererti mempersiapkan diri untuk sampai pada segala kemungkinan yang mutlak seuanya perlu dijejaki.

It is strange that from my observation, and this guy is definitely one in the sample, that those who think differently are rarely being well-accepted in an organisation, to be specific, in an Islamic organisation or movement. We are not meant to think monotonously (though there is a slogan that people keep shouting: Wehdatul Fikr, Wehdatul Amal’) – and I do believe that imposing such things like ‘there’s only one way of thinking or else you will be alienated’  is crazy. I refuse to think much about this, although I can sense some parts of me starting to become a bit rebellious on what is being ‘indoctrinated’ upon me. Ahmad Wahib and a few of his friends walked out of HMI (Himpunan Mahasiswa Islam) with mostly the same reasons as I have in mind, if I were to do the same thing.

But for the time being, until I manage to disentangle this confusion, I will stay where I am.

Here’s some other review on this book:

The Climb

It cannot be any truer than this : It’s the climb that counts. It is not how fast I get to what I want, but it’s the climb, the effort that Allah will ask for accountability.

The Climb – Miley Cyrus

I can almost see it
That dream I am dreaming
But there’s a voice inside my head saying
“You’ll never reach it”

Every step I’m taking
Every move I make feels
Lost with no direction
My faith is shaking

But I gotta keep trying
Gotta keep my head held high

There’s always gonna be another mountain
I’m always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be a uphill battle
Sometimes I’m gonna have to lose

Ain’t about how fast I get there
Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side
It’s the climb

The struggles I’m facing
The chances I’m taking
Sometimes might knock me down
But no, I’m not breaking

I may not know it
But these are the moments that
I’m gonna remember most, yeah
Just gotta keep going

And I, I got to be strong
Just keep pushing on

‘Cause there’s always gonna be another mountain
I’m always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be a uphill battle
Sometimes I’m gonna have to lose

Ain’t about how fast I get there
Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side
It’s the climb, yeah!

There’s always gonna be another mountain
I’m always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle
Somebody’s gonna have to lose

Ain’t about how fast I get there
Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side
It’s the climb, yeah!

Keep on moving, keep climbing
Keep the faith, baby
It’s all about, it’s all about the climb
Keep the faith, keep your faith, whoa

Seindah Biasa: Kembali ke Tanah Air

Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home

Rupanya tidak sukar untuk mengingatkan diri bahawa kepulangan saya ke tanah air kali ini bukan kepulangan seperti tahun-tahun sebelumnya.  Kepulangan tahun ini memaksa saya untuk lebih bersabar dengan keadaan, kerana jika dahulunya saya masih boleh memujuk diri : Esok lusa aku akan kembali ke UK, kembali kepada kehidupan dan rutin biasa. Tetapi kali ini saya pulang untuk membina kehidupan baru, maka seharusnya saya membiasakan diri dengan apa yang sudah lama saya lupakan, yang paling utama tentunya terik matahari khatulistiwa.  Oh, sesungguhnya badan saya belum mampu menahan panas; peluh masih mencurah-curah, dan saya memang seakan mahu melupakan krim pelembap muka yang menjadi kewajipan ketika di UK. Berminyak-minyak muka jadinya. Memang patut saya membeli mist spray, saya sudah mati akal menghadapi masalah muka melekit-lekit.

Ramai yang mengingatkan saya: kamu akan merindui Manchester dan saat-saat di universiti tidak lama lagi. Ia, benar. Mungkin saya akan merindui masa-masa itu. Tetapi saya sangat bersetuju dengan Imam al-Ghazali : Yang paling jauh itu adalah masa lampau.

Dan jika memang yang jauh itu tidak akan terkejar, mengapa perlu mengenangnya?

Saya memang kurang emosi dan sentimental ketika meninggalkan bumi Eropah, dan saya yakin, jika awal-awal lagi saya sudah menghalang diri daripada terjebak dalam aktiviti mengimbas kenangan-kenangan lama, juga pemikiran seperti ‘Kalau di UK…’ saya tidak akan bersedih dan rindu-rinduan. Saya ada kehidupan baru, yang kalaupun tidaklah semenarik kehidupan sebagai pelajar (yang ideal dan indah-indah belaka) dan kalau sudah tahu bahawa mengenang keindahan hidup di UK itu sia-sia, kenapa perlu memikirkan itu? [Now you know that I can be very emotionless – but the point is you choose how you want to feel].

Saya baru selesai menyediakan stesen kerja di bilik tidur. Saya perlu menulis, kerana menulis di blog ini membenarkan saya menghadam segala yang sudah saya baca. Dan untuk menulis saya perlukan keadaan yang selesa dan kondusif. Dan rumah ini, rumah keluarga yang emak dan ayah diami sejak enam tahun lalu bukan teritori biasa saya. Keluarga saya berpindah ke sini, dari Pahang, setelah saya tamat SPM, dan tidak lebih sebulan rasanya saya menetap di sini sebelum saya mendaftar ke Kolej Matrikulasi Pulau Pinang, seterusnya ke Kolej Mara Banting, langsung ke Manchester. It is a home just because my parents live here, but it is not a familiar territory for me. Semalam saya masih tercari-cari tong beras ketika mahu menanak nasi, dan saya fikir itu cukup untuk menggambarkan betapa tidak biasanya saya dengan rumah ini.

Sebetulnya, walaupun saya sudah kembali hampir tiga minggu ke Malaysia, malam ini baru kali kelima saya bermalam di rumah sejak pulang. Tiga hari pertama saya berada di Shah Alam, seterusnya di Pulau Pinang, kemudian berada di rumah untuk dua malam sebelum berangkat ke Shah Alam kembali. Terus ke UKM Bangi untuk berprogram bersama adik-adik KMB, kembali ke Shah Alam untuk beberapa malam menanti kebah demam sebelum ke Kem Bumi Jati II, Klang untuk berkongsi dengan adik-adik KYUEM. Ya, kali ini jadi panelis lagi – harap-harapnya prestasi lebih baik daripada tahun lepas. Langsung ke Taman Melewar untuk dua malam selanjutnya, menghabiskan kuota perkataan untuk seminggu sepanjang berada di sana, sebelum pulang ke Perlis.

Kata emak, saya memang tak ada ciri-ciri perempuan langsung, ke hulu ke hilir sesuka hati. Oh, harap-harap itu tak jadi doa!

Sepatutnya saya sedang bersedia untuk temuduga syarikat minyak dan gas minggu depan di Miri- tetapi saya sudah membatalkan kehadiran saya tanpa alasan. Err, malas untuk menyelongkar komputer untuk mencari laporan projek-projek teknikal Tahun 2 dan 3 (yang saya yakin tidak wujud pun, kerana komputer riba milik saya sekarang baru diberi beberapa bulan lalu) untuk dibentangkan kepada panel pemilih bukan  seperti alasan yang bagus untuk digunakan.  Ya, ya, bunyinya kelihatan bodoh – but I hope I know what I am doing, and harap-harapnya Allah s.w.t akan mempermudah saya untuk make things right. Saya menolak peluang untuk menghadiri  beberapa temuduga lain – ada dua yang lain jika saya tidak silap – kerana satu peluang ini.

Hujung minggu ini saya akan ke Pulau Pinang, terus menziarahi nenek di Kulim juga inshaAllah, untuk meraikan konvokesyen sepupu saya, cik Nabihah Zin.


Saya pun tak tahu.

Kembali berguling-guling di rumah, mungkin.

Oh, buruk benar entri pertama saya sejak kembali ke tanah air!