Happy Independance day

Happy Merdeka day everyone. Although there are many wrong preconceptions about Merdeka day among them, 31st August is only the independance of Malaya and Singapore from the British, Sabah and Sarawak didn't join Malaysia till 1963 on a day we call Malaysia day. Until last year, Malaysia day wasn't a National holiday but I guess the ruling party was worried about losing the votes from the Northern Borneo states. Anyways, here's a few interesting facts about Merdeka, taken from Fadiah's Facebook status:

1)The fight for independence was fought much earlier by Parti Kebangsaan Melayu Malaya, Kesatuan Malaya Merdeka and Parti Komunis Malaya 

2)Merdeka was obtained with the blood of the rakyat , not the sweet promises of UMNO with the British.

3) After independence, 60% of the nation's wealth was still owned by the British... British troops were still present in the country into the seventies with the last British soldier leaving in 1971.

 You see, as with all history, it is written by the victors and most other accounts have either been erased or altered. As such, the current history that is taught in schools is very pro British and pro-UMNO. We cannot deny the effort of other parties in trying to obtain independence. Without the taking of arms by the communists, I do not think the British would be so pressured to leave. Though I'm not saying that they were right, I do not think that they should be denied their place in history. Independence by diplomacy meant that concessions were made at some cost to the country. I guess that was point 2 and 3...

Happy independence day my fellow Malaysians!

 

Doa Untuk Bukan Muslim

Since its Merdeka day and the 10 final days of Ramadhan, I think it is apt for us to reflect on a few issues  that has lately been in the limelight, specifically the recent Doa for non-muslims issue. I think alot of islam related things in Malaysia has developed a lot of "exclusivity" for muslims which in the time of the prophet did not exist. How would Islam spread if Islam was just for Muslims? Islam is for all and i think alot of this "exclusivity" is due to the cultural identity which has always been linked to Malays. Without Islam, Malays would not be who they are now. Also, it's kinda disgraceful that Islam has been used for political mileage by both sides of the Malaysian Political divide. The loser here is actually Islam. Alot of time it is muslims that hurt Islam more than the Kufar. Anyways, I'm not gonna be lecturing here. Just read the article below by Dr Asri.  




Doa Untuk Bukan Muslim: Bicara Harmoni Buat S.S Mufti Perak
Dr. Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin
Saya rasa amat wajar untuk saya mengulas sendiri tentang isu doa untuk bukan muslim yang ‘dikecohkan’sekarang. Ini memandangkan ada media telah memainkan perbezaan antara pendapat saya dan yang dihormati S.S Tan Sri Harussani Zakaria, Mufti Perak mengenai isu ini. Tujuan tulisan ini agar salahfaham dapat dielakkan.
Apabila seorang tokoh UMNO yang agak veteran menghubungi saya dan menyatakan beliau tidak puas hati (ayat asalnya ‘malu’) dengan fatwa S.S Tuan Mufti Perak yang mengharamkan doa kesejahteraan untuk bukan muslim, saya jawab saya tidak pasti sebab saya sendiri belum membaca fatwa tersebut. SMS beliau kepada saya:“apakah saudara bersetuju dengan Mufti Perak bahawa hukumnya haram kita mendoakan kesejahteraan bukan Islam. Salahkah saya mendoakan kesejahteraan mak mertua saya yang bukan Islam? Atau mendoakan penyokong saya yang bukan Islam?”. Setelah mendapat sms itu saya cuba mencari kenyataan S.S Tuan Mufti dalam media, saya dapati demikian yang dilaporkan oleh beberapa media.
Sebagai husn al-zan (sangka baik) saya anggap mungkin laporan media kurang kemas, atau ada maksud di sebalik pandangan hukum yang dikeluarkan oleh S.S Tan Sri Harussani Zakaria itu. Ungkapan yang digunakan bahawa Islam mengharamkan doa kesejahteraan kepada orang bukan Islam itu mungkin mempunyai maksud lain di luar apa yang saya faham. Perkataan ‘sejahtera’ itu mungkin ada maksud tersendiri yang beliau ertikan. Cumanya, saya ingin mengulas kenyataan itu dari beberapa sudut. Pandangan saya dalam isu ini seperti berikut;
1. Setiap orang yang mempunyai pengetahuan agama hendaklah sentiasa adil dengan pandangannya. Tidak boleh berpihak untuk kepentingan pembangkang ataupun kerajaan. Saya tujukan nasihat ini kepada mereka yang daif seperti saya ini agar berusaha mendisiplinkan diri dalam pandangan ilmu. Adapun S.S Tan Sri Harussani, Mufti Perak sudah pasti seorang yang teguh –bukan lemah seperti saya- dan saya doakan agar keteguhan itu menjadi contoh insan yang berdisiplin dalam ilmu.
2. Pandangan agama yang membabitkan hal bukan muslim di negara kita khususnya, dan dunia moden amnya, jika salah ditangani boleh memberikan kesan negatif kepada kefahaman masyarakat mengenai Islam. Kita memberitahu dunia ‘Islam adalah agama yang rahmat’, pasti mereka akan ragu jika kita mengeluarkan pandangan sebaliknya. Di kala dunia menuduh Islam pengganas, tiada nilai toleransi dan seumpamanya, pandangan-pandangan golongan agamawan janganlah membantu menyuburkan tuduhan palsu itu.
3. Di Malaysia, secara praktiknya, ramai yang terbiasa memberi ucapan –terutama di media-media kerajaan-“assalamualaikum dan salam sejahtera kepada yang bukan beragama Islam”. Walaupun Nabi s.a.w –seperti riwayat al-Bukhari-dalam praktik baginda, jika ada bukan muslim bersama dengan muslim baginda hanya memberikan ‘assalamualaikum’ sahaja. Perkataan ‘assalamualaikum’ itu memang bermaksud ‘kesejahteraan ke atas kamu’. Namun, diulangi oleh amalan media kerajaan dan majlis-majlis kerajaan dengan ungkapan ‘salam sejahtera kepada yang bukan beragama Islam’. Tidakkah ‘salam sejahtera kepada bukan beragama Islam’ itu satu doa untuk mereka. Mengapa tidak difatwakan ia haram selama ini? Demikian salam ciptaan baru ‘salam 1 Malaysia’ juga bermaksud kesejahteraan untuk semua termasuk bukan muslim. Mengapa tidak diharamkan?. Saya sekali lagi berpesan kepada diri saya sendiri yang amat daif ini: janganlah bersifat terpilih dalam berfatwa.
4. Para ulama berbeza pendapat tentang hukum mendoakan rahmat dan keampunan kepada bukan muslim yang masih hidup. Mereka sepakat melarang doa tersebut kepada yang sudah mati dan menolak Islam secara jelas. Kesepakatan itu disebabkan ia disebut dalam al-Quran dalam Surah al-Taubah ayat 113. Adapun mendoakan untuk mendapat hidayah, adalah ijmak (sepakat tanpa kecuali) para ulama membolehkannya, bahkan menggalakkan.
5. Kata Abdullah bin Mas’ud:
“Aku seakan masih melihat Rasulullah s.a.w menceritakan tentang seorang dalam kalangan nabi a.s yang kaumnya memukulnya sehingga berdarah, sedangkan dia hanya menyapu darah di mukanya dan berdoa: “Ya Allah! Ampunkanlah kaumku kerana mereka itu tidak tahu”. (Riwayat al-Bukhari dan Muslim).
Hadis ini menunjukkan berdoa agar Allah memaafkan atau jangan menurunkan bala kepada golongan kafir yang jahil adalah harus. Dalam ertikata lain diberi peluang untuk mereka. Ini sebenarnya, mendoakan agar mereka selamat dari bala yang Allah bakal turunkan.
6. Dalam hadis yang sahih riwayat al-Nasai dan Abu Daud, sahabah Nabi s.a.w pernah menjampi untuk seorang gila yang bukan muslim dengan Surah al-Fatihah sehingga sembuh. Ketua kabilah lelaki itu memberikan kepada sahabah berkenaan 100 ekor kambing. Nabi s.a.w bersabda kepada sahabah tersebut: “Makanlah, selama ini orang memakan dari jampi yang batil, engkau memakan dari jampi yang sebenar”. Jampi adalah sebahagian dari doa kepada Allah. Hadis ini menunjukkan boleh mendoakan kesembuhan dan kesihatan kepada bukan muslim.
7. Bagi saya, doa kebaikan untuk bukan muslim seperti agar memerintah dengan adil atau mendapat kesejahteraan kesihatan, keamanan, harta dan seumpamanya adalah dibolehkan. Dada Islam amat luas dalam hal ini. Syaratnya, doa kesejahteraan itu bukan untuk orang bukan muslim yang bermusuh dengan Islam. Firman Allah: (maksudnya):
“Allah tidak melarang kamu berbuat baik dan memberikan sumbangan harta kepada orang-orang yang tidak memerangi kamu kerana ugama (kamu), dan tidak mengeluarkan kamu dari kampung halaman kamu; Sesungguhnya Allah mengasihi orang-orang yang berlaku adil. Sesungguhnya Allah hanyalah melarang kamu daripada menjadikan teman rapat orang-orang yang memerangi kamu kerana agama (kamu), dan mengeluarkan kamu dari kampung halaman kamu, serta membantu (orang lain) untuk mengusir kamu. dan (ingatlah), sesiapa yang menjadikan mereka teman rapat, maka mereka itulah orang-orang yang zalim”. (Surah al-Mumtahanah ayat 7-8).
8. Adapun berdoa agar diberikan kekuatan atau kekuasaan kepada mereka yang zalim adalah haram. Samada yang didoakan itu muslim atau bukan muslim. Firman Allah:
“Dan janganlah kamu cenderung kepada orang-orang melakukan kezaliman nanti api neraka akan menyentuh kamu, sedangkan kamu tidak ada sebarang penolong pun selain dari Allah. Kemudian (dengan sebab kecenderungan kamu itu) kamu tidak akan mendapat pertolongan” (Surah Hud: 113).
9. Namun, saya akui bahawa permainan politik boleh berlaku dalam semua aliran kepartian. Doakan mungkin digunakan dengan tujuan baik, juga mungkin tujuan kempen politik. Sebab itu ‘Ali bin Abi Talib pernah menyebut kepada golongan Khawarij yang menggunakan slogan agama:
“Perkataan yang benar, tetapi bertujuan batil” (Al-Khatib al-Baghdadi, Tarikh Baghdad, 304/10, Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-’Ilmiyyah).
Saya tidak pasti doa dalam kes di Pulau Pinang tersebut dalam kategori mana.
10. Pun begitu, golongan agama tidak boleh membuat fatwa untuk keredhaan sesuatu pihak semata. Hukum yang bersifat merentasi masa dan tempat seperti kenyataan mengharamkan doa untuk kesejahteraan orang bukan muslim secara mutlak akan dipakai selamanya jika rakyat menerima sedemikian rupa tanpa penelitian atau pendetilan.
11. Dalam sebuah negara yang berbilang agama, adakah kesejahteraan dan keamanan akan tercapai jika salah satu masyarakatnya porak peranda. Jika masyarakat bukan Islam hidup dalam keadaan tidak aman dan bergolak sesama mereka, apakah negara akan aman? Jika seorang pemimpin muslim dibolehkan berusaha secara pentadbiran memulihkan keamanan dalam komuniti bukan muslim, apakah munasabah Islam mengharamkan pemimpin tersebut berdoa agar Allah memulihkan keamanan dan kesejahteraan dalam kalangan mereka?
12. Tambahan lain, perlu kita di Malaysia mendoakan agar bukan muslim menerima Islam ini. Orang cina khusus mereka rajin dan kaya. Jika mereka menerima Islam, agama ini menjadi teguh. Jika Nabi s.a.w pernah berdoa:
“Ya Allah! Engkau kuatkan Islam dengan salah seorang dari dua lelaki yang Engkau lebih sayang; Abu Jahl atau ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab”. (Riwayat al-Tarmizi dan al-Hakim, dinilai sahih oleh al-Zahabi).
Alangkah perlunya kita juga berdoa agar tokoh-tokoh yang hebat di negara ini menerima Islam.
Inilah pandangan ringkas saya. Saya percaya S.S Tan Sri Harussani Zakaria mempunyai tafsiran atau andaiannya yang tersendiri. Apapun, kita harapkan andaian dan tafsiran itu sentiasa memberikan nilai yang positif untuk Islam dan bebas dari belenggu kepentingan mana-mana pihak. Ini adalah pandangan saya.

The butterfly effect...

No, not really. I just wanted to try out this UniFi experience. Well, I tried out uploading a video to my online storage and I will share that video here. It wwas shot at the British Student Taekwondo Federation Championship 2004 which by chance my University hosted. That will explain all the people cheering for me. It was on home ground =) Anyways, these videos were from the semi final bout between myself (with blue gear and white helmet) and a Korean guy from a university I do not remember. This is ITF style semi contact sparring so we're not supposed to punch and kick full power, just enough force to score is adequate. This time I was lucky and I managed to win the championship but usually I don't really go very far hehehe...

Anyways, enjoy watching skinny me in action. I was barely 60 kg during this point of my life...Yikes! I can't believe it's been 6 years now!! =( I'm getting old...

Video 1, shot by my housemate. Please bare with the commentary:



Video 2, same video different camera.

Unifi

High speed braodband is here in Klang Valley my friends. Yes, Unifi has arrived in my area and funny enough, it was my application on-line that got the attention of the unifi team and thos hours lining up at the TM point was just a waste of time! Anyways, the Installation usually costs RM300 and they say on the website it takes 5-8 hours to install! Yikes! But the woman on the phone said their waiving the installation fees till the end of the month (today) and installation time depends on your house and how difficult it is to install...

So, I arranged for the installers to come on a weekend and the earliest weekend I could get was yesterday. Just a day before the free installation thingy ends! Hehehe.. The guy came early but he got started on the stuff he needs to do on the outside first. I noticed how ugly our overhead telephone cables are! Why couldn't we have underground cables instead!? Like in Putrajaya?...



Actually installation was quite brisk in my case cos the transfer box thingy was right outside my house! so it took them just over 3 hours to get everything installed. Wickid!


Well, there is a 2 year contract for the service so they do provide all the hardware required:

From left: Set top box for Digital TV, Wireless router, GPON Terminal (like digital moden kinda thing lah) & DECT phone

I signed up for the cheapest package, VIP 5 package. This is what the package includes:


The DECT phone feature is a really neat feature which lets u call other TM land lines for free and mobile phones for 10 sen a minute. Really good deal that. The HyppTV pun oklah jugak... It's cable tv so it won't get effected by the rain or stuff like that and it has a few HD channels that really look good but are channels i probably won't watch. The interactive and Video on demand channels are good. You can pause, bookmark and resume play and any point of the program which i think is a good feature. The only thing is that the channels are not so good... My favourite learning and News package channels are not available! Other noteworthy features are Picture In Picture (PIP), Program reminders, Parental locks, Weekly TV listings and erm, the interactive KLIA flight departure and arrival list. These are the channels available for now. Some free, others will be charged for.


So far the internet I subscribed to, faired quite well to the 5Mbps claim. The speed test got about 4.8Mbps so in that respect I'm quite pleased. Streamyx was notorious for not providing anywhere near the advertised speed. Now my youtube videos can be seen without waiting for it to buffer first and my downloads are completed much, much earlier than before. Note that the downloading cap has not been enforced yet and I guess will only be enforced when there are more ppl on the network. For now I can download and upload as much as I want! hehehe.. I will post a video I've uploaded in a post later today. As I'm on emergency leave today, I have some more time to blog eventhough there are alot of chores to do today, which I better get started on. Laters guys... 

Oh, by the way, if you're interested, please check out the unifi website for more info and to check whether the service is now available in your area. 

‘Muslim’ Pencemar Islam

Okay, I just had to post this in light of the recent front page article on a government linked newspaper about a non-muslim being allowed into the prayer hall of a mosque. This kind of thinking just degrades muslims and is far from what the prophet taught us. Everyone wants to be a hero these days...

If the early muslims behaved like how some muslims do I do not think Islam would have reached us in Malaysia, or any part of the world for that matter. Muslims around the world blame other for our short comings. Blaming is easy but have we looked at ourselves lately? Are we the person the Prophet would be proud to call his "ummah"? A few hadith on akhlaq: 

Abu Hurairah narrated that Prophet Muhammad has said:
"Indeed I have been sent to complete the best of character (akhlaq)." 
 Anas, the brother of Abu Dharr is narrated as saying:
"I saw him (the Prophet), he would enjoin the people to good character and conduct." 
 The Prophet also said,
"The most complete of believers in iman (faith) are those who are best in character."
So, lets make sure our actions and the way we carry ourselves in this world are indeed the best of character. The world would be a better place.

Original article can be found from Ustaz Hasrizal's website by clicking the title below. His website has alot of other interesting articles so please explore it =).

Selamat berbuka!

‘Muslim’ Pencemar Islam



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Peserta IYEP membentangkan idea mereka tentang Conflict Solutions 

Inter-Civilizational Youth Engagement Program (IYEP) yang baru melabuhkan tirainya semalam, telah memberikan saya pelbagai suntikan idea tentang pelbagai perkara. Banyak yang perlu dianalisa, justeru banyak juga yang perlu ditulis untuk dikongsi bersama pembaca.

Rata-ratanya, saya amat berpuas hati dengan kualiti peserta. Setiap seorang yang memohon untuk menyertai program ini perlu menulis sebuah karangan untuk menyatakan sebab minatnya kepada program seperti ini, dan ia diikuti dengan temubual melalui telefon kepada peserta.

Nyata sekali, assessment itu telah berjaya memilih peserta yang tepat dan saya amat teruja dengan tahap pengetahuan anak-anak muda ini dengan pelbagai isu yang diperkatakan.

Hinggakan Karen Armstrong sendiri mendapat pelbagai “bahan baru” yang beliau mohon kebenaran peserta untuk menggunakannya di dalam ucapan dan penulisan. Sememangnya sesi soal jawab dan bengkel telah menonjolkan bahawa 50 warga IYEP kali ini adalah pemimpin masa depan yang hebat, semoga Allah memanjangkan umur saya untuk menyaksikannya.

Namun, keghairahan dan kegembiraan kami dengan pelbagai pengalaman baru, telah tercemar oleh suatu insiden yang amat memalukan, khususnya di pihak Islam.


LAWATAN KE RUMAH IBADAT

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Peserta bersiap sedia menaiki bas untuk lawatan ke rumah ibadat

Pada hari kedua program, kami telah merangka lawatan ke Kuil Hindu dan Buddha serta Gereja Katholik di Kajang. Lawatan dijangkakan berakhir dengan kunjungan kami ke sebuah masjid terkemuka di tanah air kita.
Urusan telah dibuat sejak sekian lama dan pelbagai aturcara telah disusun.
Paling mengagumkan kami ialah kesungguhan Kuil Hindu yang mengatur pelbagai acara, menyediakan makanan vegetarian untuk peserta dan juga mengadakan sesi soal jawab untuk peserta.

Kesungguhan yang sama juga ditunjukkan oleh Kuil Buddha yang kami lawati. Sesi dialog amat menarik. Walaupun ada soalan “mengarut” dari peserta tetapi ia dijawab dalam suasana yang ceria dan gembira oleh setiap yang berada di situ kerana tujuan kunjungan kami adalah untuk belajar.

Di peringkat pengaturcaraan program, Gereja Katholik kelihatan agar gementar. Melalui diskusi sebelum berlangsungnya IYEP, nampak sedikit kerisauan dan kami memahaminya kerana perkembangan semasa di Malaysia yang agak panas (Kes Lina Joy dan lain-lain). Namun, akhirnya kami berjaya mengatur lawatan yang sungguh harmoni dan paling saya hargai ialah, paderi yang sepatutnya menyambut kami telah meminta bantuan pegawai lain memandangkan dirinya terpaksa ke hospital untuk pemeriksaan jantung.
Suasana dialog sungguh baik.

Kami telah beberapa kali mengingatkan peserta agar menjaga suasana dengan tidak bersuara tinggi semasa di gereja itu. Suasana sepi adalah sangat penting bagi sebuah gereja Katholik. Namun, orang muda tetap orang muda. IYEP kali ini menerima peserta yang ada sangat banyak bahan untuk dingomelkan. Akan tetapi pihak gereja amat berlapang dada dan tersenyum sahaja dengan kerenah sesetengah peserta.

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Peserta IYEP semasa sesi dialog di Kuil Hindu di Kajang

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Kuil Buddha juga bersungguh–sungguh menyambut kami

Selepas lawatan selesai, kami dengan penuh girang dan ceria menuju ke masjid terkemuka tersebut.

MASJID OH MASJID

Semasa tiba, tiada siapa yang menyambut kami.
Kakitangan keselamatan pula menyulitkan peserta kerana tidak mengizinkan penggunaan beberapa tandas.

Alhamdulillah seorang juruteknik telah memberikan kami CD berisi video klip untuk ditayangkan kepada peserta. Segalanya kami lakukan sendiri dan amat mendukacitakan apabila video klip selama 10 minit itu hanya ghairah bercerita tentang aspek-aspek seni bina masjid itu sahaja, tanpa ada langsung menyentuh tentang Islam sebagai intipati sebuah masjid.

Soal jawab dikendalikan oleh Komiti IYEP.

Rasa tidak selesa tidak terhenti di situ.

50 peserta telah bersedia untuk masuk ke masjid dan yang perempuan telah pun memakai tudung dan jubah yang disediakan.

“Berhenti! Orang bukan Islam hanya boleh sampai di sini sahaja!” sergah seorang kakitangan keselamatan masjid.

“Jangan cemar kesucian masjid ini!” katanya lagi.

Kesemua peserta terkejut. Saya sendiri sudah panas telinga.

“Encik, kami sudah buat urusan sejak lebih sebulan yang lalu” salah seorang AJK memberikan penjelasan.

“Mana surat Imam? Kalau tak ada surat Imam, tak boleh masuk. Waktu lawatan sudah habis!” pekerja tersebut bercakap dengan begitu kasar kepada kami. Manakala dua tiga orang yang lain sibuk mengepung tangga masjid agar peserta yang sangat teruja ingin melihat masjid, tidak menjejakkan kaki ke atas anak tangga.
Kami cuba mendapatkan Imam, tetapi malang sekali kerana Imam sudah balik. Ada pegawai memberi alasan yang Imam balik kerana kami datang selepas waktu pejabat sedangkan Imam harus bersiap sedia sebelum datang ke masjid semula malam nanti.

Ada pegawai memberikan alasan lain, bahawa kononnya Imam ada urusan dengan anaknya!

Paling mendukacitakan kami, usaha kami untuk mendapatkan penjelasan dibalas dengan herdikan dan suara nada tinggi.

“Encik bagi surat lambat kan?” salah seorang kakitangan masjid cuba membuat tuduhan liarnya.

“Jangan cakap sebarang cakap. Rujuk balik surat menyurat dan panggilan telefon yang sudah dibuat. Kira berapa hari, berapa minggu, berapa bulan!” saya panas hati dengan kelakuan mereka.

“Apa-apa pun, memang orang bukan Islam TIDAK BOLEH masuk ke masjid. Itu peraturannya”, salah seorang ustaz yang ada meninggikan suara.

“Peraturan siapa? Peraturan agama? Apa yang saya tahu, Rasulullah sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam menerima semua jenis manusia ke dalam masjid. Soal jawab di dalam masjid. Malah badwi Arab sampai kencing di dinding masjid. Tetapi Rasulullah tidak menegah mereka dari mengunjunginya. Hukum mana yang tuan pegang?” saya cuba mencari penjelasan.

“Saya pergi ke kuil Hindu, Buddha dan Gereja Kristian… saya senang hati dan gembira. Tapi bila saya datang ke tempat saya sendiri, masjid ini… saya sakit hati dengan cara masjid melayan tetamu. Kami bukan walk-in tourists. Kami sudah berurusan dengan masjid sejak sekian lama” saya masih belum berpuas hati.
Tangan pun sudah seram sejuk menahan marah.

Andaikata tidak boleh sekali pun, kakitangan masjid sepatutnya boleh menjelaskan hal ini dengan cara yang beradab. Tetapi kami diherdik, dimaki hamun, dan apabila saya menyebut begitu, saya memang maksudkan ia sebagai HERDIK dan MAKI HAMUN.

“Masalahnya kamu datang selepas waktu pejabat. Sebab itu tak ada orang nak layan” kata salah seorang mereka.

“Kami bukan datang mengejut. Memang sejak awal kita sudah bersetuju bahawa lawatan ini ialah pada waktu petang seperti ini. Paderi yang sakit boleh minta bantuan pegawai lain, tapi Imam tak boleh dapatkan pengganti?” saya semakin berang. Menggigil menahan kemarahan.

“Sekarang ini, peserta program ini datang dari berpuluh negara di seluruh dunia. Mereka juga pernah melawat pelbagai masjid di sana sini. Hari ini, semua orang seronok ke gereja, ke kuil Hindu dan Buddha, tetapi kena maki hamun di masjid. Kalau orang tak minat dengan Islam, orang Murtad, kamu nak salahkan siapa? Cuba cakap dengan saya… alangkan saya yang Muslim pun sakit hati, orang lain apatah lagi!” saya bertanya lagi. Menuntut penjelasan.

Pelbagai alasan yang mereka berikan. Akhirnya mereka berkata bahawa mereka menerima arahan orang atas untuk tidak membenarkan orang non Muslim masuk ke masjid.

“Oh, orang atas. Kalau orang atas cakaplah orang atas. Jangan cakap hukum Islam, sebab Islam tak macam tu” saya meneruskan cakap.

“Kenapa orang boleh buat benda tak elok atau cakap yang tak elok dalam masjid? Sebab tak ada orang masjid yang nak jawab soalan, melayan tetamu. Macam hari ini!” kata saya lagi.

Perasaan bertukar menjadi sedih.

Saya sudah malas untuk meneruskan perbalahan kerana jam pun sudah mencecah 6:15 petang.

Banyak lagi isu yang dipergaduhkan di sepanjang 20 minit pertengkaran saya dengan pegawai masjid tersebut.

‘SAPU SAMPAH!’

Semasa sharing moment peserta di hotel pada sebelah malamnya, isu ini timbul semula. Saya terpaksa membuat justifikasi agar maruah Islam tidak jatuh dan hina disebabkan oleh kelakuan buruk “orang-orang agama” Islam itu sendiri.

I’m hoping that the incident occurred in the Mosque today, would be a positive lesson for each of us. Even though we have many ideal solutions to offer, we have to admit that people out there are far for ready to accept changes in attitude about religion.

In order to achieve our dream, we must first be able to think positive and learn to differentiate between the custom and widespread misunderstanding among the people, with the true Islam that is so far away from what we have seen today“ 

saya cuba menenangkan peserta.

Saya cuba berkongsi pengalaman dengan peserta tentang pemerhatian dan pengalaman saya sendiri semasa menjadi Imam di Belfast Islamic Centre.
Mudah-mudahan usaha yang sedikit ini dapat memulihkan kembali imej Islam yang telah diburukkan oleh pihak masjid dan orang-orangnya siang tadi.
Karen Armstrong telah lebih berjaya mengangkat imej Islam berbanding “ceramah” dan akhlaq orang Islam sendiri.

Saya menangis sendirian di bilik hotel mengenangkan insiden yang amat mendukacitakan ini.

ABU SAIF @ www.saifulislam.com
56000 Kuala Lumpur

Jom Beli Barang Raya

Tomorrow is Nuzul Quran or the day the Quran was first revealed. This also means that it's a public holiday for Selangor!! Hehehe... Alhamdulillah... Anyways, lunch time during Ramadhan is usually an uneventful occasion with the hour usually gone by without noticing it. Today however me and another 2 officemates decided to check out the "Jom Beli Barang Raya"@putrajaya sales event since Putrajaya is quite near to my office. For those who haven't got the faintest idea of what I'm on about, here's the poster (click for a larger view):



I went with really no intention of buying anything. I was tagging along, just to get out of the office for once. Parking as usual in Putrajaya is a nightmare but in the end we were lucky to find a nice spot quite close to the venue. When we got in, we had to bear left whilst the RELA dude manning the door was ushering us to not stand in front of the doorway. This is the sight we were greeted with:


This place was jam packed with people, specifically, civil servants! It was lunch hour, what could have we expected?


Anyways, takper... we'll ignore the people for now. After buying a RM10 Dutch Lady combo bag each we braved the sea of civil servants to check out the other stuff. Here's what you can find there, pics are NOT exhaustive. There seriously is alot in that huge marquee.

Food stuff like ADABI and kuih raya


Nestle had a stall there. There were electronics, mobile phones and cameras

Don't forget an important part of Raya: baju raya...
 
But this is where I ended up spending the most time:

Yezza! 70% of ALL Puma shoes!
 
70% off all Puma shoes! You gotta be kidding me?! Sorry folks, I'm not and yeah it's 70% off all Puma shoes!! so I pun even initially without any intention of buying anything ended up buying a pair of shoes... and I don't even wear shoes for Raya!!

Anyways, my collegues were engrossed in this furniture stall. The company sells solid wood furniture. I took their card cos I might just need their stuff for the Gaya apartments when their ready.

Abdullah & Fadhli enquiring about the furniture

Fadhli managed to get his yogurt combo (left) and look at how much Fadhli bought!

Fadhli kind enough to drive us there in his brand new car...

So, spoils of the excursion? Well, like I said... I didn't intend to buy anything. I ended up buying the Dutch Lady combo. Well, I thought I could have it for iftar so why not. They were doing combos for RM10. I chose this combo as I guess it's was the combo I was most familiar with.

And... these are the 70% shoes I discovered. There were too many choices and we didn't have all day to go through all of them. My first choice didn't have the size I wanted so I had to settle for 2nd choice. Pretty good for less than RM100 if I say so myself...


Oh, after work I had to drop by Tesco to get some veggies for dinner. Guess what else I ended up buying? Hehehe.. "My name is Khan"! hehehe...


So that spells the end for the shopping spree that is today...

Cek Mek Molek

 Kuih Cek Mek Molek and Lopes (top)

Ramadhan has always been a time to sample local delicacies that otherwise we'd never really easily get hold of. Yesterday I went to the big Ramadhan Bazaar at Taman Melawati. I usually avoid that one as it is very crowded and parking is just a nightmare. But yesterday I braved the crown and the traffic to check out what's available these days and at what price. I noticed that generally the food sold there has either gone up in price or the portions have reduced. Anyhow the value has reduced. Anyways, today I'd like to talk about one kuih that used to make myself when I was younger. My grandma taught us how to make it but I personally haven't made this in ages! As with most Kelantanese delicacies, it is sweet. It is really simple to make, requiring only sweet potato, flour and sugar. I'd tell you how to make it but I found a fellow blogger who has written about it before. The original article can be found here. She writes about how the Cek Mek Molek is made and as the Kuih Keria uses the same dough only the sugar is on the outside. So, now that you guys have the recipe, please do try this at home! 

Kuih Cek Mek Molek & kuih Keria

Sweet Potatoes or Ubi Keledek, in Malay, is a very versatile tuber. The shoots and tuber can be eaten as a vegetable and also be used in sweet and savoury dishes. In Malay cuisine, these tubers at times, especially during the Japanese Occupation of Malaya, is used as a staple food to replace rice.

There are several varieties of Sweet Potatoes, the more common ones are the orange and whitish-yellow. Purple and red can also be found, mostly imported from Japan. Sweet potatoes can be baked (it can be simply put onto a dying ember and baked until cooked), fried like banana fritters, made into chips like potato chips, or prepared and a sweet dessert called pengat (where the potatoes are cubed and boiled with sugar and coconut milk or in water, sugar and ginger).

The Orange sweet potatoes are sweeter and retains more water compared to the whites . However, the white potatoes give more structure and at times these two are used together in kuihs, like Cek Mek Molek, Belotok, Cucur Badak and Keria.

Cek Mek Molek ( which means "Beautiful Lady") and Belotok share similar looks, the difference is in the filling. Cek Mek Molek (which comes for the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia) is sweet, while Belotok (which originates from the Northern Peninsular of Malaysia) is savoury, with either spicy beef or chicken filling. Cucur Badak, which is also a savoury kuih is filled with prawn coconut sambal. Meanwhile, keria is a Asian version of a doughnut and instead of plain sugar, the sugar is cooked in a thick syrup and then stirred with the Keria to form a delicious crystallised outer layer. Thus, creating a crunchy texture that contrasts against the softness of the kuih.

Following is the method of making Cek Mek Molek and Keria. I hope you will enjoy trying it out!

Boiled Sweet potatoes. Boil the potatoes with the skin on to ensure that it doesn't become too water logged and make sure to remove the potatoes once cooked. Check by piercing with a fork. You can see the fork marks on the sweet potatoes below.

Skins off.
Mash till fine. Remove any stringy particles. Do not use food processor or you'll end up with a gluey mess. It's easier to mash while the potatoes are still warm.
At least 20% weight of flour to weight of mashed sweet potatoes. Meaning if you have a kilo of mashed sweet potatoes add at least 200gm of all purpose flour. Do not decrease. You may increase another 5-10% if the sweet potatoes are watery (That is why it is good to boil the potatoes with their skin on and remove immediately once it is cooked). Do not exceed more than that unless you want to lose the nice yummy sweet potato flavour. Also add a 1/2 teaspoon of salt for every kilo of sweet potatoes. The salt is just to enhance the sweetness.
Mix and knead until you can form a ball. It should be slightly sticky and malleable. Not dry or hard. If initially you have added all the flour and it is still a bit wet, you can let it stand for 20 minutes for the dough to become drier before proceeding.
Divide doughs. I usually weigh the balls 30gm for Keria and 40 gm for Cek Mek Molek/Belotok.

This is where the recipes differ, following is the making of Cek Mek Molek/Belotok. You take a a ball of the weighed dough and flatten it.
Place a teaspoon of sugar in the middle, if you are making Cek Mek Molek, or a teaspoon of the savoury filling if you are making Belotok. The filling of the Belotok is similar to the Karipap (Curry puff) but without the potatoes in it. It tastes more like a rendang than a curry.
Fold the dough into 2 and crimp the edges. Make sure it is crimped nice and tight, otherwise the filling may leak during the frying process.
Roll the dough to make a nice clean 'torpedo' shape.
The completed Cek Mek Moleks ready for frying.
Heat oil, and fry. Continuously turning to make sure that the kuih is fried evenly. Otherwise one side may bloat and cause it to cook unevenly.
Drain on kitchen towels.
And NGAAAAAP!
For the Keria, once you have weighed the dough, shape it into torus (or doughnut) shape, by pushing your index finger in the middle of the dough and at the same time turning the dough around the finger like it's a hula hoop.
Frying is similar to the Cek Mek Molek, only that you don't need to turn it often. Just once the once side is golden brown, you can flip it over to fry the other side.
Drain it on kitchen towels. The camera is a bit blurry because of the steam from the kuihs.
Once the Keria is cooled, you can make the sugar caramel. Around 1 cup of sugar and 2 tablespoon of water in a kuali or saucepan, heated until bubbly and all the sugar has dissolved. Make sure it hasn't started caramelising. Add the cooled Keria, take the kuali off the heat and stir gently to make sure the sugar will cover the kuih and at the same time create the crystallisation of sugar adhering to the outside of the keria.

Yummy!

Valuable lessons of Park 51 for Malaysia

Just thought this would be an interesting article, written by a friend for the New Straits Times.

2010/08/25
ELINA NOOR

In recent weeks, the storm brewing over the planned community centre at Park 51, two blocks from the site of the World Trade Centre attacks, seems to have gathered momentum, from New York to Washington to the rest of the United States.

Park 51's lead developer, Sharif El-Gamal of Soho Properties, together with New York imam and long-time interfaith proponent Feisal Abdul Rauf, envision the centre to be dedicated to pluralism and service to the community. Among the world-class facilities planned for it are a swimming pool, basketball court, 500-seat auditorium, library and child-care services.

A Sept 11 memorial for quiet contemplation also figures in the design. Perhaps the most controversial part of this plan, and what has erupted into an intense national debate, is that the centre will also house a mosque open and accessible to all. In some circles, Park 51 is now simply referred to as the Ground Zero mosque.


Politicians have weighed in on Park 51's location, as have theologians and policy pundits. Even President Barack Obama has had something to say about the matter. Judging from comments following media articles on Park 51, much of America also has an opinion. That polls reveal a large majority of Americans (61 per cent by Time, 64 per cent by Fox News and 70 per cent by CNN) opposed to the construction of a mosque near ground zero is testament to this (notwithstanding that 61 per cent of those polled by Fox News believe that the developers have a right to build a mosque there).

If the objections are that the mosque will be included within the grounds of Park 51, it bears repeating that the mosque will be but one feature of the many other non-religious facilities Park 51 will accommodate.

If, on the other hand, the opposition is to the idea of the community centre being driven by Muslims in the first place, then the poll results are deeply disappointing and disconcerting. They speak to latent misgivings about Islam and Muslims, and unfairly draw a connection between these two and what happened at Ground Zero on Sept 11, 2001.


More importantly, they run counter to that profound American commitment to pluralism that has drawn immigrants -- including Muslims -- from all over the world since the Mayflower.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg's and Obama's somewhat lonely but certainly courageous and unequivocal defence of the right of Park 51 to be built in the shadows of those "hallowed grounds" should be commended. It seems, however, that the issue is not whether the developers have a right to build the community centre with a mosque but whether it would be appropriate to do so at all. In other words: yes they can, but should they?

The argument is that just because the developers have a constitutional right to express their religious liberty does not mean it would be wise actually to do so in the face of majority objection. If the community that the centre is meant to serve does not want it there, and it entrenches the cleavages it is meant to close, its construction will serve little positive purpose and may instead exacerbate tensions against Muslims.


The issue is understandably emotive, given that it touches on religion and recalls the death and injury of thousands (including Muslims). The controversy has also intensified at an unfortunate time -- close to the ninth anniversary of the attacks, which coincides this year with Aidilfitri at the end of the month of Ramadan, and three months away from the congressional elections in November.

It is no surprise that political rhetoric on this issue has now appeared on the campaign trail.

Perhaps the project might have been more acceptable to the public had a collaborative interfaith proposal been forwarded from the beginning. It might even have avoided all controversy had it simply restored the Burlington Coat Factory there.

Ultimately, however, there are valuable lessons in this debate for Malaysia, as another multi-ethnic, multi-faith country. 

First, any profession of social pluralism must be underpinned by an unyielding commitment to upholding the constitutional guarantees afforded to all citizens. Doing so not only acknowledges the position of every citizen as an integral part of the nation but also honours the diversity that should be its strength.

Second, a commitment to social pluralism must be forged and led, in word and in deed, at the leadership level. For political, community and religious leaders, what this means in practice is rising above divisive politics to defend the constitutionally guaranteed rights of all citizens.

It means resisting the manipulation of ethnic or religious issues for political mileage and communal interests. It also means braving the political controversies that may follow from taking a strategic national stand rather than a short-term communal one.

Third, where the assertion of constitutionally guaranteed rights clashes with public sensitivities, the rule of law should uphold the former and the principles of good governance should moderate the latter. This means that whereas these rights should always be preserved in principle, the wisdom of exercising them at all costs should be tempered and guided by context as well as considerations of equity, inclusiveness and, above all, a genuine respect for others.

Finally, a nation that is able to confront tough questions about its diversity is not necessarily headed for chaos and anarchy. Tensions among communities of different ethnicities and faiths in a rapidly changing world are only to be expected. But a society that is able to pause in that blur of confusion to ask itself what kind of nation it wants to be -- and proceeds to act pragmatically rather than emotionally -- is a society capable of maturing beyond merely tolerating to genuinely accepting, even embracing, the "other" as part of the nation.

No country is perfect. Even the most developed democracies will engage in difficult debates about their identity. The sooner we realise that national identity can never be a zero-sum game among communities, the quicker we will progress in our long road towards meaningful national unity.

The writer is assistant director, foreign policy and security studies, ISIS Malaysia. These views are her own.



Read more: <small><b>ELINA NOOR</b></small><br>Valuable lessons of Park 51 for Malaysia http://www.nst.com.my/nst/articles/16park/Article/#ixzz0xaFFqFFW

Ampang Puteri

 His eyes were a little swollen and could not open properly
 
My brother finally had his sinus operated on. He thought it was a simple procedure but ended up being not so simple and very painful. Kesian. Get well soon bro! 
 



T
The nurses sucking the semi clotted bllod from his nose every now and again. The blood makes it difficult for him to breathe

Look what I found in the parking lot! I delicious old Alfa... yummy! =P