The keris hunt

I have always loved traditional art. It's is only now do I actually have my own spare funds to actually buy myself some of the things that as a boy I could only admire from afar. I have a small collection of traditional weapons that I don't think I should really share publically. A few years ago I joined Kenjutsu classes which is basically japanese sword play. It is one of the three disciplines that a Samurai warrior had to learn, the other two being Jujitsu (un armed grappling, locks & throws) and Karate (un armed kicks and punches). For Kenjutsu I bought myself a few wooden swords for training as I was told that they do tend to break after a few months of training. Naturally, my first real sharp bladed weapon was the Japanese sword or the Katana. I could only afford a Chinese made one but for now I think that's plenty good. I don't think I should spend alot on my hobbies, macam membazir pulak...

So, back to the topic. I finally have some spare funds to get me a nice keris. The keris is the traditional dagger of South East Asia (SEA). The first keris that were rocognisable as the keris that we know today were dated back to the Javanese Majapahit dynasties of the 14th century. The Keris' of the Malay peninsular followed suit not long after I guess though trade and intermarriage between the various kingdoms of SEA. Each region had then developed it's own style. I will do a piece specifically Keris' after I collect my own, hopefully very soon.

Though it is essentially a weapon, the modern day keris is collected and owned more for the artistic and antique properties. When the british came in the 19th century, they outlawed the keris and comfenscated them all. This brought rise to a new type of weapon called the badik which is another story altogether. Anyways, since admiring the Keris from afar and reading alot about it, one keris style really stood out and caught my eye. This keris is called the "Tajong" style keris, originally from the northeast of the Malay peninsular, probably first forged by the blacksmiths and woodcarvers of the Langkasuka and inherited through the kingdoms of Pattani and Kelantan. This is how a Tajong style keris looks like:


It's intricate carvings, imposing shape and design made it popular amongst the Malay rulers and was a symbol of authority and power hence it's role as a "keris kuasa" or in english, the keris of power. In the old days, only Sultans and rulers were allowed to own a Tajong keris and those who weren't and did were beheaded!

This tradition continues till today with the Tajong keris being part of the official regalia of the Yang Dipertuan Agung of Malaysia or Supream Leader/King of Malaysia. It is indeed the symbol of power of the King.


 The current Yang dipertuan Agong in his official regalia (left) and his "keris pendek" (right).

On his right hand is what is called the "Keris hukum". Its a type of "Keris panjang" or in english long keris. Keris' are essentially stabbing weapons and are useless for slashing though the sharpened blades could still cut. In martial arts, specifically Silat it is used as an extention of the arm during combat turing a punch into a deadly stab. So a long keris that is too long becomes clumsy and useless in combat. This fact explains the role of the long keris as a "keris hukum". Basically in the old times, the Sultan was the law. Everything he said was creed and when the decrees a punishment he will indicate with his long keris and for excecutions the excecutioner will use the long keris to excecute the unfortunate person. *warning! rather gory explaination coming up*. *The long keris was used by stabbing the poor guy who would be kneeling, from the top between the neck and the collar bone, pucturing the lungs and piercing the heart. This was a "cleaner" method of excecution than say, beheadings. as it would've been less bloody*
Sultan Mizan in his Terengganu state regalia, still with a Tajong keris and a long keris
Old times were very brutal indeed. Be thankful that we now live in modern days with the rule of law and a constitution to protect the rights of everyone. How do I know all this? Definately NOT through my parents! To them keris' are just full of mistical mumbo jumbo, jinns ands stuff that should be avoided at all costs. That maybe true of antique keris' but the modern day keris is collected mainly because of it's artistic value and craftsmanship. Some of the information above I learnt from a man I met through my "keris hunt". Which brings me back to my original story... I do tend to get carried away when talking about stuff don't I? 

So, I've been searching the net for people who sold keris', craftsmen who make them and collector alike. Most are not located in the Klang Valley so it was rather inconvenient for me. I don't like spending alot of money on something I don't get to touch and feel first. One day I can across this blog to a person by the name of Ab Majid Bujang, and I later found out that he is the President of the Persatuan Seni Purba Nusantara Selangor (PURBA) which when I met him is actually a keris collectors association of Selangor. The Registar of Societies prohibits the use of keris names in society saying that it is reserved for government use. If you noticed, most official emblems of Malaysia have a keris motive in it... for example:

The royal Malaysian Police emblem has a Keris and a sword at the back of the tiger's head
Ok, so I called up this guy and asked if he had any new Tajong keris' for sale and he said yeah. So i agreed to meet him at his office in Shah Alam yesterday after work. After some drama in the form of my car battery running flat, having jump started it, driving to a workshop and replacing the flat battery we proceeded to his house in section 19, Shah Alam. When we got there I was greeted by this: 
On the cupboard is his hilt collection. Its the biggest hilt collection I've ever seen and is a wonderful showcase of traditional malay woodcraft at it's very best.
He tells me that he has a collection of over 100 keris' both for sale and for his own collection. Based on what I saw I truely believe him. He showd me his most prized pieces, some costing more than RM20,000 each! I was very carefull when handling those! He showed me some of the keris of his own design too. He seems to like the Bugis type of keris from the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. He says it's because the Bugis peoples were a fierce warrior people which i tend to agree with. Indeed even if you read the standard malaysian history textbook many of today's sultans and aristocrats are of Bugis descent as they fought their way to the upper echelons of Malay society.
His prized Bugis keris collection on his wall
He showd me the ones he had for sale, which I then chose the blade, which is usually  for the Tajong keris is of the "Pandai saras" design. Once I selected that, I got to choose the hilt which is true an impressive piece of art. I chose one that matched the colour of the "Sampir", the blade cover. Unfortunately, he didn't have a spare "pendokok", the metal piece between the hilt and the blade. That meant I'd have to wait a little longer to have my very own keris Tajong as he will have to source me a pendokok. We talked and he showed me his most prized posessions in his collection of keris until almost 9pm that night. In his eyes you can see the passion he has for kerises.
Abdul Majid showing me how to take care of a keris
 I finally bid him farewell, promising to see eachother again once he finds the Pendokok for my keris. 

While at his house, he showed me some of the books he had on the Keris. All written by Javanese authors. It's a shame that no one has written a detailed book on the Kerises of Peninsular Malaysia. Young people like me would find it very interesting indeed. Whilst going through the book I found this exact illustration:

The proper way to wear your Javanese keris

It showed how the Javanese keris is worn. Very different to how the Peninsular Malays brandish the keris. I then remembered how my brother wore his keris during his Javanese wedding which was just like this. Looks like his mak andam knew what they were doing. Many a times do you see a Javanese keris worn with a baju melayu at a Malay wedding worn wrongly.
Yes bro, you're wearing yr keris correctly!
Anyways, enough about Kerises today. Enjoy the weekend dear readers.

The Old Mulong Mosque


The photo above is of the Old Mulong Mosque or it's official name, Masjid Ar-Rahman. It is located next to to my late great grandma's house. She lived to meet me but I doubt she remembered me I was just one of many, many great grandchildren of hers. A few Rayas ago I noticed that the old mosque had changed from the delpidated building it was to a now beautifully-sculpted building rich in history, as I later found out. The Ministry of Information, Communications, Arts and Culture´s Department of National Heritage works with the help of local practitioners of traditional arts had taken on the challenge of meticulously restoring this mosque to its former glory.

 
The old mosque, pre-restoration and as how I've always remembered it.

Okay, this is what I gathered from my research on the internet. Surprisingly this mosque's restoration has been quite widely documented by the citzens of cyberspace.

The building was formerly the Balairong Seri of the palace of Raja Dewa Tuan Zainal Abidin (1897-1945), the prince of Kelantan´s Sultan Muhammad III. It was built around 1900 in Kota Baru near the Kelantan palace structure known as the Istana Balai Besar. The building was abandoned after World War II. In 1958, residents of Kampung Kedai Mulong bought the building and turned it into a mosque. It was said that they bought it for RM1,000, which was a lot of money back then. So the building was physically moved from its original location near the palace to its existing location at wakaf Tuan Haji Abdul Rahman Haji Ismail at Lot 495, Surau Lama Kedai Mulong, Kilometer 11 Jalan Kuala Krai, Kota Bharu. This also how the Mosque got it's name.

As the building was so long, the floor structure and ceiling had to be cut in half to allow it to be transported by lorry to Kampung Kedai Mulong, which is 11.3km from its original location. It was rebuilt by the community into a mosque while retaining its original palace architecture with some minor modifications. The building was completed rebuit at it's new location in December 1958. The build size of 20 ft by 60ft was retained.

As expected of a building that used to be part of a palace, the architecture is delicate. During restoration work, the team discovered murals that were painted over and worked painstakingly to restore them. I would imagine that that wasn´t an easy task. They had to find master craftsmen who knew how to work in the old traditions as sometimes they had to fabricate certain elements in the classic method.

I have only prayed at the mosque once, but when you enter the mosque, the first thing you realise is that it is much cooler than you would expect. If you look above, ingenious vents create a natural cooling system and the whole architecture stands as a testament to how good the craftsmen and builders of yesteryear were.
 The vents that I was on about. the are of a cool geometric pattern too!



So, why suddenly talk about the mosque next door to my ancestorial house? Well, that Haji Abdul Rahman Haji Ismail bloke who who owned the wakafed land was my great grandfather. All was revealed at a little "heart to heart" sharing session with my grand aunt last Eid. It was the first time I heard stories about my ancestors. I guess I am quite lucky as I am the eldest from the eldest son of the eldest grandma so all my grandaunts are not that old (okay some are quite old) and can vividly tell the stories of our ancestors.
The actual round table discussion. I can remember that I got bitten by mosquitoes so many times that night but I don't care! The story was too good to be distracted by anything. Picture credits to my cousin Auni

 Well, according to my grand aunt, who is my grandma's youngest sister her father, was a Mudir or headmaster of an Arab school just behind the house. He was a scholar in Usulfiqh and studied in Mecca. The school is no longer there and probably died with my great grandpa. My father remembers the school still being there when he was a child in the 1960s. According to him, the new national school opened a few kilometers from the school and Arabic religious schools were falling out of fashion as parents prefered the national schools. She also said that her ancestors were of Arab descent which explains the arab features all my grandma's siblings have.

Kelantan and the ealier Pattani sultanate attracted alot of Arab traders and scholars who came to this region to spread Islam. It was the centre of Islamic learning post the fall of the Melacca and Acheh Sultanate. My ancestors were probably Hadrami as most of the Arabs that came to trade and spread Islam were from that region but my grandma's siblings are very fair so some other mixing might have happened there or they might be from other parts of the arab world. It was several generations since the "Arab connection" anyways.

Malays are not naturally fair. If they are fair then there must be some interracial marriage had happened sometime in the past. The old Malay kingdoms were a melting pot of cultures. My great, great grandma on my grandfather's side was chinese which explains why one of my grand aunt looks chinese and why my dad looks Japanese? and as a child, I looked alot like my dad. Hehehe... have I told you guys how my dad go mistaken at the L.A airport once for Lance Ito, the famous judge for the O.J Simpson case in the 1990s? Lance Ito was of Japanese descent. Anyways, Alot of Kelantanese are of mixed heritage and that is why most do not have the typical Malays look. Some of my friends say I don't look Kelantanese as I am too dark! Hahaha... yelah yelah... I'm the "gagak" in the family....

Can you see the family resembelance?

Alot of my friends would not believe at first glance whenever I go out with my brothers that we are in fact brothers. We do not have very similar features like most brothers do and I think we owe that to the increadibly large gene pool we carry. And I haven't started with my mum's side yet! It has always been playing in my mind, how will my children look like? It of course depends on who the mother is. Oh well, one can only wait and see. Alright, I'm getting sleepy now. I'll leave you with more photos of the Old Mulong Mosque. Credits go to RaY KinZoKu for the pre-restoration pics and to the Fakulty of Creative Technology and Heritage, University Malaysia Kelantan for the post restoration and officiation pics. More pics can be found here.

Last words, next time you are around your elders, do not feel shy to ask of their heritage, where they come from and how they got to where they are. You will be amazed at the answers you get. Unless you are from the Orang Asli tribes, most Malaysians, Malays included have their roots outside the Malay Peninsular. Be proud of your heritage, even if you're rojak like me but don't be arrogant with your heritage. God is race blind and only judges you by the deeds you do. Have a good week my dear readers.

Pre restoration pics:

  


  
  

Post restoration and Officating ceremony:

  

More Hadi & Aisyah coverage

My coverage of the Aisyah's side of the wedding has been rather lacking. This probably because I have too many photos and just can't be arsed to go through them all to find the good ones to post here. It was a very elaborate ceremony. I have managed to get hold of a few videos of the events so it's much easier for me to just post the videos here and just comment on the videos, chedet style! The videos are very professionally done - they were directed by Aisyah's own aunt! Cool huh? Ok, first up is the enggagement video:



Okay, from what I can see, this video kinda starts of with introducing the couple and how the couple got to know eachother - which was through work. The video then show the events at the enggagement with highlight given to the part when my mum puts on the enggagement ring on Aisyah's finger.

Next video clip is the one shown at the Putrajaya reception. Aisyah's side had 2 receptions, one at her kampung in Batu Pahat and the other was a week later in Putrajaya. The Batu Pahat reception was a traditional affair the theme being Javanese traditional wedding - Aisyah is of Javanese heritage. The Putrajaya reception was themed "fairytale wedding". The video below covers the events at Batu Pahat. Right! lets see the video shall we?



1) The music i think was taken from the Puteri Gunung Ledang movie.
2) The first part tells the story of what happens the night before the solemnisation - the khatam Quran ceremony, berzanji and henna night. The khatam Quran ceremony is basically an all girls affair where after a certain period of reading the Quran, the person - in this case the bride will finish the last few pages in front of everyone. This is i think followed by the berzanji. I will not comment on the Zanji bit as it is has been commented alot elsewhere. Malam berinai or henna night is in short a ceremony where the bride gets henna applied to her hands and fingers. All this happens on the pelamin (raised platform).
3) Naturally, there's a feast afterwards, in this case a Javanese favourite - Nasi Ambeng.
4) The nikah, or solemnisation ceremony usually happens at the bride's house.
5) The ceremony begins with the procession from the groom coming to the venue bareing the Hantaran or in english, gifts.
6) The Kadi, the religious official will kick off the religious events with a wedding seremon.
7) This is followed by the actual solemnisation - the Nikah.
8) Then the important paperwork needs to be signed, both bride and groom need to sigh stuff
9) This is followed by the wedding vows or what I call the obligatory Pre-nup...
10) When all the paperwork is done, the couple are officially husband and wife and the groo will present the mas kahwin, which is the dowry to the bride. In this case it is folded up nicely into a flower.
11) The wedding ring is then put on each of the couple's finger.
12) The families then exchange the Hantaran gifts.

The video then moves to the reception ceremony which starts in the afternoon. The ceremony was done in full Javanese tradition.

1) The visiting procession is escourted in with a Barongan, Kuda kepang, horse-backed "guards" and the groom enters on a horse drawn cart.
2) Barongan is basically a dance with the dancers wearing masks. It usually is accompanied by the Kuda kepang dance. It's supposed to tell the story of prophet Sulaiman but I'm not really sure. All this is also new to me.
3) Kuda Kepang is also a dance.
4) In johor culture, the groom has to go through several "tolls" to get to the bride. U can see me in the background in the video when my brother reaches the first toll. =p
5) Before he enters. the groom witnesses a Silat Performance.
6) After the Silat, the second toll is a pantun "dual" between the visitors (the groom's family) and the hosts (the bride's family). The twist is, the pantuns must be in Javanese which is a totally different langauge than standard Malay. We had to "import" our representative as non of our family members could speak any Javanese.
7) The third toll was the Dayangs, or maids.... this one looked costly as there were so many of them!
8) The last Toll was the bride's Aunt.
9) After the dua, the prayers there's this Javanese tradition where the wife washes the feet of her husband.
10) the dua was recited by the Mufti of  the state of Johor.
11) Then there's the tradition of Tepung Tawar and the cutting of pulut kuning (yellow sticky rice) which are both traditions inherited from this region's people's hindu past.
11) This is followed by the Johorean tradition of throwing money into the crowd of visitors. I think in the real deal it was actual money (coins) being thrown but i think some people use sweets as a substitute.
12) After that is the Makan beradab.
13) Music was courtesy of a live Gamelan group.
14) The couple meets the bride's family members and thanks everyone for coming.

Ikan Jenahak

My prized buy at the Pasar Tani today. Ikan Jenahak or Snapper in English. I must say it was rather expensive. It was about RM30 for these three pieces i think. Today they were shooting a program at my pasar tani! I didn't know it was that famous! =P This fish is great cooked in any way but I like it either just fried with tumeric and salt or made into a fish curry! excellent!

Forgot to bring my phone to the market today but this was today's special! =)

This is how the fish looks like. I wonder how much a whole fish would cost? I'm sure pretty darn expensive!

Breakdowns

Mondays are always "colourful", and I don't mean just blue as in Monday Blues! Getting out of the weekend mood back into the working "groove" has always been "interesting". The most common thing that happens on Monday mornings for me is waking up late! This is usually because of me setting the wake up alarm for a different time to the weekday wake up time of 6.15am. It just so happens that last Monday morning we were "blessed" with very heavy rain early in the morning. I'm talking very early, like from four to five a.m. By 6 am the storm had died down to a little drizzle. In Malaysia rain in the morning usually induces deeper sleep, that plus with the alarm on the phone set for 6.30am means that I was 15 minutes behind in my getting ready for work routine! I have to leave home before 7 if I don't want to hit heavy traffic at the Bukit Antarabangsa area along the MRR II. I left at 7.05 so I was stuck in the slow moving traffic that morning. Fine, that was expected. But when I got to the road from UPM heading to UNITEN, I hit very heavy traffic, like as in gridlock! I mean along that short stretch of road, so close to my office I didn't expect to be delayed! It turns out that along that short stretch of road, there were 3 cars stalled, one right in the fast lane!



When I saw this I was wondering why on earth didn't the guy push the car out of the fast lane into the emergency lane?! Then I got closer and it turns out that the driver was a lady... but there was a man there helping her out...Just the week before one of our cars our friend's car stalled on the fast lane, albeit at a traffic light though but we managed to push it out of the way while we try to figure out what was wrong with it. Okay, my friend was lucky that he had 3 other men in the car to help push the car to a spot that is not in the way of the traffic. A car stalled in the FAST lane is a sure recipie for a traffic jam and during rush hour its a recipie for a gridlock!

As I passed I wondered what I would do if I were in that same situation. InsyaAllah I hope I would never find myself in that situation and I do service my car on time and keep everything in good working order but if it did happen to me and I was all alone in my car, I don't think I'd be able to push the car to the side, unless the road was down hill ofcourse.. So what does one do in that kind of situation? The first thing that came to mind was call the AAM. The Automotive Association of Malaysia (AAM) offer a host of road side assistance free of charge for members. My father has membership and he has used their services a few time, mostly for the free battery delivery service but as we have an old Volvo 240 still in our "stables", we have used the free towing service a few times too. So why doesn't everyone have AAM membership? Is it that expensive?!

When I finallay reached the office, oh - I was there in time, I went to check out what this AAM membership is all about and how much does it cost and whether it's worth it? So this is what I found below. Basically I've highlighted the 3 most relevant membership types out of 5 types. the sales pitch was taken directly from their website. Here they are in no particular order:

Basic Membership

The website says that his is geared towards families...

Why should I become an AAM Member?
Your trusted driving companion

Primary protection offering 24-hour breakdown and road assistance, car battery delivery service, insurance, road tax and driving licence renewal services, and a host of other benefits and privilleges for the discerning driver.
Services Highlight
  • 24-Hour Breakdown Assistance
  • Free towing and minor on-the-spot repair service in the Free Breakdown Zones
  • Outside Breakdown Zone claim is up to RM 200.00 one (1) time per year.
  • Free battery delivery service
  • AAM motor insurance (Autopal)
  • Vehice Inspection and Valuation Service
  • Car Care & Defensive Driving Courses
  • Technical Advice On Motor Vehicle
  • Lube Service At Selected AAM Centres
  • Third Party Accident Claims
Other Features
  • Exciting Tour & Travel Privileges
  • Reminder Service For Road Tax And Driving Licence Renewal
  • Other JPJ Related Errands
  • Legal Advice
  • Exclusive Mail Order Privileges
  • Special Discounts At Selected Service And Leisure Centres.
  • Attractive Discount On Car Hire Rates
  • Issuance Of International Driving Permit (IDP)
  • Issuance Of Licence, Sanctions & Permits For Motorsport Events
How much does AAM Basic Membership cost?

Elite Femme Membership

This it seems is targeted at the ladies....
Safety and Security for ladies on the move

Customized to the needs and requirements of today’s lady drivers, extending not only convenience but providing them with assured protection, safety and security whenever they are on the road. Benefits and privileges include on-the-spot minor repairs, an accident care programme, accidental reimbursement, coverage against snatch thefts, being chauffer driven to your doorstep, hotel accommodation in the event of breakdowns and accidents, etc.
Membership Benefits
  • Built in Touch and Go
  • 24-hour road assistance nationwide
  • Free minor on the spot repair service within free breakdown zone
  • Free towing service within free breakdown zone
  • RM360 reimbursement per membership year for Outside Breakdown Zone
  • Breakdown Care Programme : 10pm-5am
Insurance Benefits
  • Accident Care Programme
  • Worldwide insurance coverage for accident, death and disablement
  • Accidental medical reimbursement
  • Other privileges as accorded to AAM ordinary members
Safety & Security Benefits
  • Snatch Theft Coverage
  • Car key replacement
  • Hotel accommodation for breakdowns and accidents
How much does AAM Elite Femme Membership cost?



A1 Team Malaysia Card Membership
Comprehensive protection in the fast lane.

For the new generation of drivers and car owners who demands convenience, versatility and around the clock protection. Members enjoy all the benefits and privileges of a basic card membership in addition to a host of other services such as an accident care programme, on-the-spot minor repairs, accidental reimbursement, worldwide insurance coverage for accidents, disability and death, hotel accommodation in the event of breakdowns and accidents, etc.”
Membership Benefits
  • Breakdown Care Programme *12am-5am
  • Accident Care Programme *
  • Car key replacement
  • Hotel accommodation for breakdown and accident
  • Built in Touch 'n Go
  • 24-hour road assistance nationwide
  • Free minor on the spot repair service within free breakdown zone
  • Free towing service within free breakdown zone
  • RM 360 reimbursement per membership year for Outside Breakdown Zone
  • Worldwide insurance coverage for accident, death and disablement
  • Accident Medical reimbursement
  • Other privilleges as accorded to AAM Ordinary members
  • A1 Grand Prix tickets at a special price
  • Priority invitation to A1 TEAM.MALAYSIA activities & promotions
  • Hypertune privilege for aftermarket car accessories & performance products.

* Terms & Conditions apply.
How much does AAM A1 Team Membership cost?


The other two membership types are the Corporate membership, targeted at corpporations with a fleet of cars, and the Unicard which is basically membership geared towards students aged 21-23 years of age which is free of charge and you pay only if you need their services - at a discounted rate that is. Think of it as a pre-paid road side assistance. Hey, its better than calling up those shady tow trucks or listening to those guys on motorbikes that flock to "help".

Other services that AAM provides that I do find useful is a vehicle inspection service. A colleague of mine has used it and swears by it's usefulness. He was buying a car from a recond car dealer but asked the dealer if he could have the vehicle inspected first, at the buyer's cost ofcourse. The inspection was very through, the check the engine, transmission, suspension, the even checked the undercarriage of the vehicle. The car he had inspected turned out to have worn bushings that needed replacing. The cost of which would amount to a few thousand ringgits. Because of this "revelation" my colleague managed to bring this up to the dealer and he had 2 options: 1) He could get a discount amounting to the cost of the repairs or 2) he could get the bushes replaced by them but no discount. I think he took the discount and had the bushings replaced at a workshop of his choice. Of course the inspection wasn't free. It was about RM200 if my memory serves me right but the benefits of such an inspection is  readily quantifiable.

Okay this is turning into an endorsement for AAM but hey, good things should be shared. I may not have AAM membership myself as I really take care of my car and I know how to change a flat tire if push comes to shove. But how many of us know or am able to change a flat tire by the roadside if you find yourself in an unfortunate situation? Will you become on of those people causing a traffic jam because your car had stalled by the roadside; or even worse, stalled on the fast lane! If your answer is no then I seriously think that an AAM membership might just be for you.
     



60 Islamic ways to get and keep your wife's love

I found this posted on a friend's Facebook wall yesterday. I think it is a very good reminder to husbands out there and to wives who would like to remind their husbands or maybe guys who are about to become husbands and so on. A very good reminder it is.

60 Islamic ways to get and keep your wife's love

1. Make her feel secure; (sakina- tranquillity) QUIT BEING AGGRESSIVE

2. When you go home say 'Assalamualaikum. ' (Greetings) It kicks the shaitaan out of your home!

3. Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) described the wife as a fragile vessel and said to take care of this vessel that's fragile. Remember that there is goodness in this vessel so treat it gently.

4. When you advise her, do so in privacy, in a peaceful environment. NOT IN PUBLIC as it's a type of slandering.

5. Be generous to your wife- it keeps her LOVED

6. Move and let her have your seat. It will warm her heart.

7. AVIOD ANGER. HOW? Keep your wudu at all times. Prophet sallallahu alaihi wa sallam said if you are angry, sit down, if you're sitting, then lie down. Follow the sunnah!

8. Look good and smell great for your wife. IT keeps the LOVE!

9. Don't be rigid. It will break you. Prophet Mohammed – sallallahu alaihi wa sallam (SAW means "May the blessings and the peace of Allah be upon him" (Muhammad).) said 'I am the best amongst you and I am the best to my wife'. Being rigid and harsh will not bring you close to Allah and neither does it make you more of a man.

10. Listen to your wife-BE a GOOD LISTENER

11. YES to flattering NO to arguing. Arguing is like poison in a marriage. Al zawai said 'When Allah (swt) wants evil for people He will leave them to argue amongst themselves'.

12. Prophet sallallahu alaihi wa sallam said to call your wives with the best name, any name she loves to hear. Prophet Mohammed sallallahu alaihi wa sallam called Aisha 'ya Aish' as an endearment.

13. Give her a pleasant surprise. I.e. if she loves watermelon, bring her one out of the blue. It will grow the love in her heart.

14. Preserve your tongue! Prophet sallallahu alaihi wa sallam said the tongue will throw people in the hell fire so watch what you say and how you say it!

15. All of us have shortcoming. Accept her shortcoming and Allah (swt) will put barakat in your marriage.

16. TELL her you appreciate her. SHOW her you appreciate her.

17. Encourage her to keep good relation with her relative, her mum and dad etc.

18. Speak with her with a topic of HER interest.

19. In front of her relative praise her. Confirm/ realize that she is wonderful, and that she is a good person in front of her family.

20. Give each other gifts. You will love each other more. Prophet sallallahu alaihi wa sallam said gifts increases love.

21. Get rid of the routine once in a while, surprise her with something, it will get rid of the rust and polish it!

22. Husnul zaan- We have a demand from Allah (swt) that we have to think good of people. Think good of your spouse.

23. Ignore some of her mistakes- pretend you did not see/hear some of her small mistakes. It was a practice of Ali (RA). It's like putting a hole in your memory. Don't save it in your memory!

24. Increase the drops of patience, especially when she is pregnant or when she is on her monthly period.

25. Expect and respect her jealousy. Even Aisha (ra) used to get jealous.

26. Be humble. If your profession is good, respect that she is looking after your children, she is much more than you, she is the leader at home, her strength is your strength, and her success is your success.

27. Don't put your friends above your wife.

28. Help your wife at home. Prophet sallallahu alaihi wa sallam used to help his wives at home and he was the best of creation. He used to sew his own clothes.

29. Help her respect your parents, you can't force her to love them, but she can be helped to gradually love them.

30. Show your wife she is the ideal wife.

31. Remember your wife in your duaas. It will increase the love and protect it.

32. Leave the past. It brings nothing but pain and grief. It's not your business. The past is for Allah (swt).

33. Don't try to show her that you are doing her a favour by doing something, like buying food for the house, because in reality we are the courier of sustenance, not the providers, as Allah is the provider. It's also a way of being humble and thankful to Allah (swt)

34. Shaitaan is your enemy, not your wife. Sometime when husband and wife are talking a fight breaks out, then shaitaan is present there as a third person so he is the real enemy. It is not enough to hate the shaitaan, but you have to see him as an enemy as Allah has commanded. Shaitaan loves divorce. HE comes everyday and sits office and asks the devils what they have done, some say i have made a person steal, or i have made someone drink etc. And one devil will say i have made a man divorce his wife, and he is crowned as the one who has done the best job.

35. Take the food and put it in her mouth. Prophet sallallahu alaihi wa sallam taught us this. It's a blessing. The food doesn't just go to her stomach, but straight to her heart. It increases the love and mercy between you.

36. Protect your wife from the evil of the shaitaan and mankind. She is like a precious pearl that needs protecting from the envy of human devils and shaitaan.

37. Show her your smile. Smile at your wife. IT'S A CHARITY.

38. Small problems/ challenges can become a big problem. Or if there is small thing she didn't like and you keep repeating them anyway, it will create a wall between you. Don't ignore them as it can become big.

39. Avoid being harsh hearted and moody. Allah said of prophet (saw) 'if you were harsh hearted they (the companions) would have left you.' It confirms prophet sallallahu alaihi wa sallam was not harsh hearted, so GET RID OF IT.

40. Respect her thinking. It's strength for you. Show you like her thoughts and suggestions.

41. Help her to achieve her potential and help her to dig and find success within as her success is your success.

42. Respect the intimate relationship and its boundaries. Prophet sallallahu alaihi wa sallam said she is like a fragile vessel and she needs to be treated tenderly. Sometime she may not be feeling well; you must respect and appreciate that feeling.

43. Help her to take care of the children. Some men think it makes them appear less of a man but in fact it makes you appear a bigger man and more respected, especially in the sight of Allah (swt).

44. Use the gifts of the tongue and sweet talk her. Tell her she looks great, be an artist. Pick and choose gifts of the tongue.

45. Sit down and eat with her and share food with her.

46. Let her know you are travelling. Don't tell her out of the blue as it's against Islam. Tell her the date/ time of when you are coming back also.

47. Don't leave the house as soon as trouble brews.

48. The house has privacy and secrecy. Once you take this privacy and secrecy to your friends and family you are in danger of putting a serious hole in your marriage. This secrecy stays home. Islam is against leaving them out like a garage sale for anyone to come and pick and choose.

49. Encourage each other for ibadah, i.e. plan a trip for hajj or umrah together. It increases and strengthens the love when you help each other perform a good deeds together i.e, do tahajuud together,or go to a dars together etc.

50. Know her rights, not only written in paper but engraved in your heart and engraved in your conscious.

51. Allah( swt) said 'live with your wives in kindness.' Treat them with kindness and goodness. It means in happy times and in sadness treat her with goodness and fairness.

52. Prophet sallallahu alaihi wa sallam showed that at the time of intimacy. Don't jump on your wife like an animal!

53. When you have a dispute with your wife don't tell everyone. It's like leaving your wounds open to germs so be careful who you share your problems and disputes with.

54. Show your wife you really care for her health. Good health of your wife is your good health. To care for her health shows her that you love her.

55. Don't think you are always right. No matter how good you are you have shortcomings. You are not perfect as the only one who was perfect in character was prophet sallallahu alaihi wa sallam Get rid of this disease.

56. Share your problems, your happiness, and your sadness with her.

57. Have mercy on her weakness. Have mercy when she is weak or strong as she is the fragile vessel. Prophet sallallahu alaihi wa sallam said that your wife is a trust in your hand.

58. Remember you are her strength, someone to lean on in times of hardship.

59. Accept her as she is. Prophet sallallahu alaihi wa sallam said that women are created from the rib which is bent. If you try to straighten her you will break her (divorce). Prophet sallallahu alaihi wa sallam said that you may dislike one habit in her but you will like another manner in her so accept her as she is.

60. Have good intention for your wife all the time, Allah monitors your intention and your heart at all times. Allah (s.w.t) said Among His Signs is that He created for you wives from among yourselves, that you may find repose in them, and He has put between you affection and mercy. Verily, in that are indeed signs for a people who reflect.

Fables of yesteryear

Just a short filler entry today. I was anticipating the modern remake movie of my favourite childhood cartoon series Thundercats but was recently disappointed but the announcment of it's cancellation. That really came as a surprise as old childhood favourites like The A Team and G.I. Joe had already made it to the silver screen. Thundercats in my books were even more cool than the two former. I remember when I was 9 for a class art project I fashioned my own version of "Mumm-Ra"'s head gear, complete with those dreadlock thungys! Well, the dread locks were just streaks of paper but hey, I was 9 okay! Mumm-Ra is the chief baddie in Thundercats. For those who don't know how Mumm-Ra looks like I will elighten you:

mummra18.jpg

I wonder if they'll remake Mc Gyver. That WOULD be cool! =) I think the little boys of the late 70s and 80s have now made it into the ranks of the movie makers and are now pushing for the remakes of their own childhood favourites. Funnily, the cartoons and series of yesteryear always has a community message at the end. The cartoon He-Man and She-Ra had them give a short "tazkirah" at the end of the episode to remind kids on various morality issues. Even the original A-Team series had Mr T at the end of the episode with all his bling2 glory telling kids to drink their milk and go to school! And I think it worked! Kids actually did go to school, and drank their milk cos their "hero" says it's cool to do so. It may look cheesy to us adults but to kids, they really look up to their role models.



Which brings me to a topic I've discussed with a few friends of mine before: Do we as muslims have a role model for the young? Some will say of course! We have the Prophet pbuh. the sahabas(companions) and all the good people mentioned in the Quran! Well yes, I agree but how many people here are actually touched by these great characters and are influenced by them?! Here in Malaysia, again the earliest form of Islamic media was pioneered by the late Al-Arqam movements with Islamic comics etc. Though Arqam has been long deceased, a recent trip to this year's KL international book fair has proved that Islamic comic books and media for children is very much alive and kicking but to have any for of impacts on the general public, TV is the way to go and this is where there is a vacuum despite there being "islamic" channels on both free channels and Astro. On second thought, for any sort of Islamic role model to be successful, he/she has to go mainstream, i.e. acceptance must come from the general public hence the popular channels must be able to take the character on, like how UPIN and IPIN had garnered such a following. I heard that they're even popular in Indonesia! Kudos to the team behind Upin & Ipin.


I haven't really thought this out thoroughly yet but you may be asking what this role model would be like? To me on first thought, the basic requirements is he must be a cool in a way that kids will look up to him/her. A good role model must also espouse good values, Akhlaq and should be able to be accepted as a role model for all. When I mean for all, i mean for muslims and non-muslims alike. Therefore he must espouse the universal goodness of islam in has actions and conversations. He/she must be socially acceptable to the masses. To achieve this, taking the middle line is best. I think there is a muslim tradition (hadith) saying that in areas of dispute or uncertainty the best way is the way of moderation. Even in worship there must be moderation like what was written in Imam Nawawi's Riyad as-Salihin (The Meadows of the Righteous) which you can read by following this link here. In fact you can read the whole book there! Okay I think I'm off tangent again...

Okay, back to the heroes of yesteryear. Do you remember Bruce Lee? Well he used to play the character "Kato" in an old tv series "The Green hornet". Guess what? they're re-making the old series into a movie due out in 2011! Watch the trailer on the movie site page here. the film has the recipies to please boys of all ages out there: A hero that kicks Ass, A side kick with cool martial arts moves, gadgets that are out of this world and a car with a big engine, big wheels and as an added bonus, the car has guns attached to it too! Huge great big guns! hahaha... Okay, now i'm starting to think that all those guns isn't such a good influence on kids hey, that's what they like to watch! So a i think a disclaimer is required: "Please don't try this at home". Old TV heroes are so much cooler than the Ben10s and Pokemons of today but one must be in touch with the real world to see why these characters have such a following and try to replicate their success and use it to spread the word. Like what Yusoff Estes said when he came to Malaysia a few years back: "As muslims our duty is not to convert people, that is the work of God but to spread the message of Islam." May Allah be pleased with us. Final thoughts: Have you noticed that all the old 80's heroes speak with a deep, projected voice... none of the modern heroes speak like that anymore...i guess that was the "macho" voice back then....

Green%20Hornet.jpg

Boys will love this! A car with a big engine which has guns!! hehehe...

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The original "Black Beauty":
black-beauty.jpg

The new "Black Beauty":

images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQp5CqIAzH1r5mh01Tcmra0ZJE-X548IwJEdH21A2bGTZUa3-c&t=1&usg=__J7G03tlkW3vW-_ADfd8D90Btt-Y=

Now with all the guns out!:
2011-blackbeauty.jpg

Which kitchen are you?


Kitchens... Not exactly the top of every man's need to buy list but most will be surprised when it comes to the time when you get the keys to your brand spanking property and walk over the what was in the brochure supposed to be your kitchen only to find a flimsy sink bowl and basic tap. And that's it. That is your kitchen! Hahaha... only in Malaysia can developers sell you a brand new house that is not partly furnished - as far as I know that is. Developers in other countries let you choose from a selection of basic furnishing so that when you get the keys to your house, it is ready to be moved in to.

So, since I live in Malaysia right now, I guess I need to consider how to furnish my kitchen. It's not that I'll be using it much but still, a kitchen must be well planned out, as with the other rooms in your house. After asking around friends who have actually furnished their kitchens (my last one had it pre-built which was a good selling point for the developer). I was/am keen on going Ikea as I am the DIY person and the idea of being able to buy the kitchen bit by bit and slowly building it up is a very attractive proposition to me. But word on the street is that Ikea kitchens are rather expensive but without doing any comparisons for myself, I will reserve my judgement till I get a chance to do so.

Once that was straightened out, the natural thing to do I pay the good 'ol Ikea website a visit. It is here that I stumbled across a buyers guide to kitchens which while going through it myself, I will share my experience with you my faithful readers. Think of it as me thinking out loud.

Okay. Basically the first page is the what Ikean call Step 1 of their guide. It is this page (pic above) where it asks you to choose the kitchen style you want/like. Clicking "View all kitchen styles" gets you the menu below:


I couldn't be bothered to print screen all of the choices but the design below surely hits the right spots. I doubt Ikea do any stainless steel work tops but if they do, stainless steel is a very hygenic work top surface and is also very durable. The dark brown wood veneer also goes well with the stainless steel/aluminum look. Also, in this example, it seems that the walls are painted rather than tilled which to me is a very way to save cost and makes this build very DIY-able. A can of the most expensive paint is way cheaper than hiring workers to install tiles to your wall! The new place will only have a small area for the kitchen so I'm looking for a bar to help extend the kitchen area which can also double as a desk for working as well as for cooking, like in the pic below.


Step two is measuring the space you have for the kitchen. This is where I struggle abit as I do not have a physical building to measure up. The best I can do is go home and check my S&P agreement and use the floorplan on there to do a rough measurement.


I won't know how high the doors will be nor what size and positioon the windows will be at so that'll hafta wait too....


I won't know where all the sockets, pipes, drains etc will be either!


Tab D sets out the kitchen elements you will need to consider. They name Door, Legsand Plinths, Sinks and taps, Interior fittings, wall accessories, knobs and handles, worktops and cabinets as the kitchen elements. It was rather surprising to find cabinets at the bottom of the list as I have always tought as that being the most important! Anyways, door type basically sepends on pricing as I personally don't mind. Ikea particle boards are of good  quality too. I prefer plinths over legs as they add to the feeling of solidness to the cabinets. Sinks and taps... hmmm... a single sink might save some space but I will also need to figure out where the dish drainer will be. I was my cutlery by hand so that is very important. Ikea taps are expensive so I'll probably buy mine from another shop. interior fittings will need to be thought of later. It's not that I have any cutlery at the moment anyways. Knob and handle design will depend on the style of kitchen I decide to go for later. Worktops... I like the stainless steel ones but I think Ikea don't do them but if they do, it'll be expensive. Stone tops are good but I guess realisticaly, it's gonna be one of them laminated surfaces, stainless steel look... hehehe...As for the cabinets, I don't think I'll need many to start off but I will have to bare in mind that my cutlery and cooking utensil collection will grow over the years.  


Lastly they have a tab for Fagor appliances. Again, Fagor appliances are rather on the pricey side so I'll get my appliances elsewhere. I'll probably get one of those glass topped hobs. The hood type, will depend on how the condo management rules are for the placement of exhaust fans are like. Ideally I would like a built in microwave and oven. Since both are not essential so I won't consider them yet but will incorporate them into the final design of the kitchen.


 Step 3 is the actual planning of the kitchen design. For this Ikea has a free software you can download and use to help you design your rooms (not just the kitchen).


There are three things to consider, the first being your work zones which comprises of storage, washing up and cooking zones.


Kitchen layouts will depend on the space available but like I said above, my kitchen is quite small so it'll probably end up as a simple single line kitchen but I like these two types of kitchen layouts:

1) U-shapped kitchen


2) A Galley kitchen


Ultimately the choice will depend on the space and shape of the kitchen I have.

Storage solutions will be a later add on as I do not have much stuff to store yet anyways. I will get the storage solutions as and when i need them.


The last practical step is one i feel rather not so important: Perfecting the kitchen. Apparently there are lots of things you can do to make the kitchen a much cosier place to be in. I will not discuss this as it is rather irrelevant to my very very early stage of planning but I will definately consider the right lighting for my kitchen.


  
  

at the last page you are introduced to Ikea's last bid to convince you to buy their cabinets. Design wise, they are very attractive but in Malaysia, at the end of the day the wallet speaks loudest. For me, quality is also a very important factor and I am willing to pay a small premium to get just that. If I can get away with DIY and getting stuff in stages and installing them upon need then maybe, just maybe Ikea will be my choice.


That kinda wraps up my kitchen adventure from 5pm to now. The take away from this little experiment is: 1) I can't do very much without the measurements of the kitchen area. and 2) I need to prepare quite a substantial financial budget for this...*sigh*...

Right, I have to rush off to KL for my TKD class now. I hope the roads are clear. I usually go straight after work and read a book till 7.45 but I already got carried away with the kitchen stuff... Till the next post....