Tuesday, February 23, 2010


I read some where that blogging is now less popular compared to "less cumbersome" social network sites such as Twitter and Facebook. It seems that people (especially youngsters) prefer the short and direct to the point approach demanded by Twitter and Facebook compared to the essay-like writings in blogs.

I think that is a real pity. People, especially the young, should be encouraged to write their thoughts. It may not be read by others but it would serve as a very good reference for the blogger himself in later periods. I started blogging a few years back and every so often I would "go back in time" to reread what I have written in the "days gone by". Without fail, I would be so grateful that I have taken time to record those events as it allowed me to relive history and experience the emotions that I use to feel about them.

I'm actually very happy to find out that quite a few of my children, nieces and siblings maintain their own blogs. Of course some of these blogs are not unlike many government departments' websites (hardly updated) but at least they have taken the first steps. Hopefully they will find time to make regular updates, as I'm sure over time they will find their efforts worthwhile.

Besides checking on these "family" blogs, I also have a few other blogs that I frequent. One of them is Loyar Burok, a blog dedicated to all things about the judiciary. I've always been attracted to the legal profession and I think I would have made a good lawyer if I may say so myself. Not able to fulfill this ambition of mine, I have always tried to keep in touch with it. I've also found a few blogs that are inspiring such as one maintained by a breast cancer patient, another by a guy my age who is trying to escape from the crutches of drug addiction, yet another by an NGO member involved with helping families of HIV patients and many more.

Sometimes I envy the blog owners who are able to religiously update their blogs. I wonder when I can do the same. In the meantime I will just continue to enjoy reading them.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Road to Mecca

It has been quite a while since I managed to finish reading a book even though I started reading quite a few. After some months they are still "works in progress". I'm however happy to note that my latest attempt at completing a book was a success. My wife managed to find a book that I have been looking for for quite a while a few weeks back. I started slowly but it picked up pace and I managed to finished it over the recent weekend, thanks in part to my short trip to Jakarta beginning on 18 February.

The book, The Road to Mecca was absorbing to say the least but it was also enlightening and fulfilling. It has been quite a while since I get so much satisfaction out of reading a book. I was trying to figure out the reasons for this. Maybe it was because the subject matter was so close to the heart. Maybe I was anxious to know about how my own religion (of which I was born into) was viewed by an "independent" party.

There were a few things in the book that kept me glued to it. For one, I am amazed at how a "Westerner" from a Jewish family who became disillusioned with religion and became a "free thinker" can "fall in love" with the Bedouin Arabs and their lifestyle. He then surmised that all the positive values of the people were the result of them embracing the tenets of the religion brought by the last Prophet of Islam and finally decided to "return to his natural religion".

I just completed my first reading. I need to read it again very soon so that I can enhance my understanding of what the writer is trying to say. Sometimes we take for granted what God has given us. We fail to value these including our belief in God. It takes "an outsider" to remind us that we are the chosen ones but somewhere along the way we have taken a diversion from the straight path.

It is my believe that to fully "appreciate" the book we need to know the author first. His family background, his education, his training. Knowing that he is a journalist, you can easily understand how he managed to describe a situation so succinctly or elaborate it so beautifully. I envied him for being able to meet up with the legendary Lion of the Desert, Sidi Umar al-Mukhtar, at his battlefield against the Italians. At the same time, I doubt I would have been able to carry out the mission had it been assigned to me, a born Muslim. I'm amazed at his description of his first hajj trip including the sea trip from Cairo.

It was definitely good reading. I would recommend it to everyone to read it, both Muslims and non-Muslims. I now want to get hold of the other works of Muhammad Asad, including , The Message of the Quran, which all reviews seems to agree that it is among the best translations of the Quran.

Go buy the book and read it. You can get it at Times (or was it MPH), One Utama, I think. It only costs RM30.00

Another Test

I was about to sleep last night when I received a call from my sister. She told me me that another sister of mine had just been diagnosed as having a stage 2b cancer of the ovary. She has just been admitted to the USM hospital in Kubang Kerian and awaiting further deliberations by the doctors.

This will be the third case of the Big C in my immediate family. My late father had cancer of the colon, another sister cancer had breast cancer and now this. It seemed to be in our genes. Maybe its time for all of us to get a full medical check. The only comforting thought is that both my father and the sister (who had breast cancer) went through successful treatments.

I know its another test from Allah swt and I'm praying that He gives us the strength (especially to my sister Azizah and hubby Junaidi) to go through this.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


7th February 2010

Events that came to my mind on this day:
1. Ahmad Arif's 24th Birthday
2. 3rd Anniversary of my father's passing
3. Maisurah's engagement

How much things have changed. Bertunang (engagement) used to be a simple affair. Mine was carried out 28 years ago on Valentine's Day (how romantic someone would say) but it was not chosen because it was Valentine's Day but because it was a weekend and it suits everyone. It was a simple affair. My uncle and a few relatives (I think it was 4 of them) went to my future in-laws place to "seal the deal". The agreed time was 11:00 am. We arrived a few minutes before 11:00. I was not allowed to be in the party but had to show the way to the house in Section 16 Petaling Jaya. It was over before Zohor prayers without much fanfare.

Fast forward 2010 in Shah Alam. Maisurah, a niece on my wife's side is getting engaged. The guest list, I was told numbered 170. A pelamin was constructed (it must have costs a few hundred ringgits, at least). Three tents were put up in front of the house (maybe about RM300 each). A caterer had to be called in (RM15 per head I was told). A few hantarans, including the obligatory sirih junjung, had to be prepared in reply to the ones brought by the future groom. The male party (about 20 of them) came in a thematic grey outfits (must have costs them quite a bit). An Ustaz was invited to recite the doa. All in all quite an elaborate affair but still some one is not happy about the whole thing. "Lain kali kena buat betul-betul" was the remark made. How much "betul" could it be, I thought. But what do I know?

On the bright side, it was an occasion for relatives to get together. Nowadays, these events have become a rarity. Hopefully, it also strengthen the bonds between siblings, nephews and nieces and others that matters. I only hope we are not getting too carried away with the superficial aspects of a marriage so much so we forget about the more important spiritual and religious aspects which are life long obligations.

Congratulations are in order for Maisurah, her parents and siblings. Now that the floodgates have been opened lets see more taking the plunge to fulfill another of the Prophet's Sunnah.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Mentally Exhausted

When one reach the age that I'm at now and with my current lifestyle I guess one will get physically tired easily. After all, I do not give too much thoughts on what I eat and I seldom find time to exercise, two things my doctors and doctor friends have always emphasized are requirements of healthy living. Somehow I have managed to compensate my physical setbacks with my determination.

However, when I am faced with mental fatigue (as what I'm experiencing now) relying on determination alone is not enough. I'm worried about so many things, especially my loved ones. Have I done enough for them? What problems are they facing now? Have I contributed to those problems? What can I do?

Oh Allah,
Guide us on the straight path,
The path of those whom Thou hast favored;
Not (the path) of those who earn Thine anger nor of those who go astray.

Al-Fatihah :5-7

Monday, February 01, 2010

First Wedding in 2010

On Saturday, 30 January 2010, an old school friend (both primary and secondary, a total of 15 years) marries off his daughter. It was held in Intekma Resort Shah Alam. It was not a big affair as they already held a few receptions previously.

I always tried my best to attend wedding receptions held by friends and staff. To make it more meaningful I normally get to meet old friends on these occasions. It was also the case on Saturday. It was a cozy affair and the food was good.

Congratulations to Mohd Jaffri and wife for the addition of a new family member.