Sunday, March 28, 2010

Berpesta di Pesta Buku

Hari Sabtu lepas, saya dan keluarga telah pergi ke Pesta Buku Antarabangsa Kuala Lumpur 2010. Oleh kerana ini minggu terakhir pesta tersebut saya telah menjangka pengunjung akan ramai. Jadi kami telah pergi seawal mungkin, mengambil kira pesta dibuka pada pukul 10:00 pagi.

Kami sampai sekitar PWTC pada pukul 10:00 pagi, tetapi jalan telah mula sesak. Bas sekolah di letakkan disepanjang jalan. Murid-murid berpakaian seragam berkeliaran. Memang pesta, dan dimana ada pesta disitu ada orang Melayu. Saban tahun saya mengunjungi pesta buku memang pengunjungnya rata-rata Melayu, pasti lebih 95%. Tahun ini juga begitu. Sungguh kuat membaca orang Melayu nie.

Saya sebenarnya mempunyai beberapa "target" buku yang ingin saya cari, tetapi memandangkan keadaan yang ada saya tak yakin saya dapat berjumpa apa yang saya cari, jadi saya cuma pergi dengan fikiran terbuka.

Dipendekkan cerita, kami telah berada di pesta tersebut selama kurang lebih 5 jam. Jumlah resit yang saya kumpul dalam masa tersebut melebihi 50% dari potongan yang dibenarkan oleh Lembaga Hasil Dalam Negeri untuk pembelian buku setahun. Saya tidak terkilan berbelanja untuk membeli buku cuma sangat berharap buku-buku yang dibeli akan habis dibaca sebelum pesta serupa datang lagi tahun hadapan.

Seperti lazimnya, tumpuan paling ramai pengunjung ialah booth Karangkraf (menjual majalah dan novel remaja); Kumpulan Gila-Gila (komik dan novel), MOY Publications (komik Ujang), PTS Publications dan yang seumpamanya. Bukannya salah membaca bahan yang ringan tetapi sekali-sekala kita perlu juga membaca buku-buku yang ada maklumat terutama maklumat yang boleh diamal untuk kebaikan kita, keluarga dan masyarakat. Tetapi saya juga melihat banyak gerai menjual buku-buku berunsur keagamaan dan gerai-gerai ini mendapat sambutan baik.

Kami meninggalkan PWTC yang semakin sesak sekitar 3:30 ptg untuk menunaikan solat Zohor dan kemudiannya makan tengahari pada pukul 4:00 petang. Seronoknya berpesta hingga lupa makan.

Gambar paling atas: diantara buku-buku yang telah kami borong
Gambar paling bawah: buku khas yang dibeli untuk anak bongsu saya, Nurhani

Sheikh Abdul Hakim Murad @ Timothy Winters

Me and family decided to attend a kulliyah by Sheikh Abdul Hakim Murad at Masjid Kelana Putra after Maghrib today. The Sheikh, formally Timothy Winters is supposed to be a renowned Islamic scholar who is currently attached to the University of Cambridge. He came with impressive credentials.

Sheikh Abdul Hakim Murad graduated from Cambridge University with a double-first in Arabic in 1983. He then lived in Cairo for three years, studying Islam under traditional teachers at Al-Azhar, one of the oldest universities in the world. He went on to reside for three years in Jeddah, where he administered a commercial translation office and maintained close contact with Habib Ahmad Mashhur al-Haddad and other ulama from Hadramaut, Yemen.

In 1989, Sheikh Abdul Hakim returned to England and spent two years at the University of London learning Turkish and Farsi. Since 1992 he has been a doctoral student at Oxford University, specializing in the religious life of the early Ottoman Empire. He is currently Secretary of the Muslim Academic Trust (London) and Director of the Sunna Project at the Centre of Middle Eastern Studies at Cambridge University, which issues the first-ever scholarly Arabic editions of the major Hadith collections.

We arrived just after azan. I managed to join the congregation midway. Immediately after maghrib prayers, the Nazir of the mosque introduced Sheikh Abdul Hamid and the kulliyah started. It was quie difficult for me to make out what the Sheikh was saying partly because of his slang and partly because he was speaking in low tones. His topic of discussions was "Spirituality in the Age of Uncertainty", a very relevant topic indeed. As best as I tried to decipher what was being said, I had problems taking my notes. I was therefore surprised that a rather elderly man besides me who was nodding in approval every so often while I was struggling with my predicament.

Anyway, I did managed to write down the following:

1. "Good qualities" are good because they are the qualities of Allah. This is an important concept because in its absence, everything can be viewed in relative terms depending on the eyes of the beholder.

2. One would have achieved the "true Iman" when he wants to do what Allah swt has commanded him to do.

3. The purpose of our life is to turn away from the shadows and be in the light. It must however be realized that there will be no shadows without light.

4. Allah swt created everything with meanings. Nothing has been created without a purpose.

The Sheikh ended his kulliyah just before Isyak prayers. At the end of the session, the ADUN for Seri Setia, YB Nazmi, briefed the congregation that the Sheikh was brought to Malaysia by ABIM Outreach for the purpose of soliciting funds for the building of a mosque in Cambridge.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Felda Residence Sungkai

It was the school holidays last week. We took the opportunity to go for a short trip to Felda Hotspring Residence in Sungkai Perak. I read about it not too long ago and I thought I also saw it being highlighted on TV.

It is not too far away from Kuala Lumpur, just slightly over 100kms. We took the North South Highway, took the Sungkai exit and the directions took us to our destination without much hassle. It was just after the Sungkai Felda scheme and quite well developed. Felda must have spent quite a sum on it. It was also rather well maintained.

We took the rooms which I thought was rather pricey, at RM250 per day. I had wanted to take the Villa but they were not available when I booked through the internet. We enquired about the villa upon our arrival but were told all were taken up. They costs between RM600 to RM900 per day.

The main attraction at this place is the hotspring. On the first day I just took a walk around the area as it was already quite late when we arrived. The place has a good peaceful ambiance. Just hanging around in the compound surrounded by palm trees is enough to provide a welcome alternative to hectic Kuala Lumpur.

Looking at the brochures in the room, we were told that there is pasar malam about 7km from the place. I had a feeling that the information was mot right because I knew that the distance from the Sungkai toll plaza is already about 10km. Anyway, having nothing much to do we decided to venture out. Sure enough, the pasar malam which was in Slim River was almost 30km away.

We spent the next day in the pools (both the cool mountain spring pool and the hot hotspring pool). Being weekdays there was not much crowd despite the school holidays. There was also a Spa and other facilities which we did not try.

Overall, it was a good trip but you should not stay more than 2 days as there would be nothing else to do unless you want to go hiking in the nearby Main Range. I must commend Felda for "diversifying" its activities. I also saw that some of the settlers also operated "Homestay" facilities which will be much cheaper that the Felda Residences. I'm quite sure a lot of city dwellers would be looking forward to spending some time in a more peaceful rural environment once in a while and this cold become popular if the place is well maintained and marketed.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Independents

The new parliament session sees more than usual number of independent members. They are not REAL independents but merely people who have lost their way with the parties they represented on the previous elections. I would not like to comment more about them as a lot have been said already. I just want to ask them who the hell voted for them as independents? Don't they have any sense of dignity? Have they no shame thinking that they were voted into parliament on their own personal capacity?

They have to make the best out of their present situation. No party is going to take them as candidates in the next elections. Contesting as independents would also not be an alternative. They are sure to lose their deposits if they stand as independents.

So what do they do now? They have to make noise, barking at everything they can get hold of just to tell the world that they are still alive and hopefully some people will be desperate enough to take them as partners of convenience.

Frankly, I pity these people. I regard them so low in the human hierarchy that I do not even wish to talk about them. However, one of them I used to put some hopes on. In fact I think I even made a small contribution to his election campaign. How I regret this, only God knows.

I always try to look at the positives of situations. In this, the only positive I can think of is that at least we know who they really are. Not that we were 100% sure of them before.

Lets make it as a real lesson learnt.