Archive for March, 2009

30
Mar
09

pl-2116-four-seasons

Wealth and children are an adornment of this world’s life: but good deeds, the fruit whereof endures forever, are of  far greater merit in thy Sustainer’s sight, and a far better source of hope.

AL – KAHF (46)

HATIPATI

Meluap luap rasa gembira dan syukur melihat barisan pemimpin baru dan lama UMNO bersalam salaman, bermaaf maafan dalam satu jalinan silaturahim di atas pentas Dewan Merdeka.

Pada kemuncak majlis penutup perhimpunan agung UMNO hari Sabtu lepas, keluarga UMNO tua dan muda bertaut rapat menjanjikan perubahan yang akan mengembalikan kegemilangan parti Melayu terulung.

Bapa yang merajuk memaafkan anak anak  yang tidak mengindahkan pengorbannya. Abang yang tersinggung  memaafkan adiknya yang berani menegur kesalahannya.  Pelukan dan ciuman menjadi tanda semuanya akan pulih seperti dahulu!    

Seolah olah semuanya menerima bahawa semua ini ialah adat politik, malah adat dunia, adat hidup dan mati.

Tidak ada satu pun kekal atau muktamad dalam dunia yang penuh cabaran dan pergolakan! Seperti masa yang berjalan dan musim yang bertukar, hidup kita ini sentiasa dilanda perubahan!

Tidak seorang pun yang boleh mengaku dirinya lebih daripada orang lain; yang ini haknya dan yang itu miliknya! Semua insan dikurniakan kelebihan dan kekurangan!

Hanya hati yang jujur dan jiwa yang murni menjadi hakmilik seseorang insan! Hanya ini yang menjadi kenangan saudara mara dan rakan taulan yang menyayanginya!

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29
Mar
09

mountain-heart

And thus We have willed you to be a community of the middle way, so that [with your lives] you might bear witness to the truth before all mankind, and that the Apostle might bear witness to it before you.

And it is only to the end that We might make a clear distinction between those who follow the Apostle and those who turn about on their heels that We have appointed [for this community] the direction of prayer which Thou [O Prophet] hast formerly observed: for this was indeed a hard test for all but those whom God has guided aright. But God will surely not lose sight of your faith – for, behold, God is most compassionate towards man, a dispenser of grace.

AL – BAQARAH  (143)

TAKE HEART

On July 3 2002 I wrote in the NST column On The Record,

” For what was spontaneously demonstrated in the moment of crisis was not the sloth, self-indulgence and hypocricy of the modern Malay but his nicer rustic nature – the old world charm and sincerity of a people (any people) who loved their leader and were devastated by his going.

What the whole world witnessed through BBC and CNN was the leader and his people united in the throes of a national crisis. What was special about this Malaysian scenario was that it was inspired by the natural softness of the old Malay heart, not the cultivated hardness of the new one…

As we move on to realise the promises we make to ourselves, our families and friends; as we strive to achieve our goals and visions; as we grow in national strength and might we must not forget the one thing we will in the end be remembered by – our sincerity and niceness. Perhaps the tears that we shed – in the midst of it all – are the latent perspective on the Malay psyche”

The views I expressed were in relation to the then Prime Minister  Dr Mahathir Mohamed’s dramatic announcement of his resignation, and the Malay tragedy of Roman and Greek proportions that ensued on stage.  

Then the UMNO  leaders rushed towards him choking back  tears as Dr Mahathir himself wept! The sons and daughters of UMNO were locked in the sorrow of knowing that that their beloved father was leaving them despite their pleas for him to stay!

Sampai hati bapa yang disayangi dan dihormati meninggalkan anak-anaknya!  

A similar scene was enacted on stage at the closing of the UMNO general assembly yesterday! The same mood enveloped the hall as the  UMNO leaders salam and  hugged each other in a show of support and solidarity.  Any tinge of remorse or regret at past words, deeds and actions was swept away when hands were kissed as forgiveness was asked for and given!

Together, the prodigal son joined hands with his siblings and their sometimes irascible father in a huge UMNO family show of love and affection. He had come home ! Tak merajuk lagi!

The atmosphere was electric; the emotions ecstatic!

If only the euphoria can last a little longer if not forever! At least until UMNO’s family ties and silaturahim are strengthened once again.

At least until the old world Malay values of jujur, ikhlas, setia and amanah seep back into their minds and hearts!

At least until the laki bini, anak menantu and sepupu sepupu of UMNO’s large extended family understand the true  meaning of integrity!

26
Mar
09

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MAKE due allowance for man’s nature, and enjoin the doing of what is right: and leave alone all those who choose to remain ignorant. And if it should happen that a prompting from Satan stirs thee up [to blind anger], seek refuge with God: behold, He is all-hearing, all-knowing.

Verily, they who are conscious of God bethinks themselves [of Him] whenever any dark suggestions from Satan touches them- whereupon, lo! they begin to see [things] clearly, even though their [godless] brethren would like to draw then into error: and then they cannot fail [to do what is right].

AL-A’RAF  (199-202)

THE MALAY PSYCHE

Watching the UMNO general assembly, listening to the Negara Ku (see Shaik Rizal’s interesting analysis of our national anthem in  COWBOYMALAYSIA), the UMNO and BN songs sung by the delegates and hearing what Pak Lah had to say left me with a strange sadness!

For these people are my people, the lyrics of the tunes represent my aspirations for my people and my country, and Pak Lah’s words are meant for my ears as much as they are for the UMNO delegates!

That UMNO was established to represent the aspirations and interests of the Malays is undeniable. That it has championed the Malay cause and succeeded to a great extent in the last 50 years is hard to refute! That it has given the Malays so much development and modernisation goes without saying!

Then why the sadness you may ask?

Because ironically, development and modernisation has taken the NICENESS out of the Malays!

The Malay psyche is basically a rustic one – gentle, unassuming, kind and giving. We are historically kampung people, rural folk – friendly, welcoming and easy to please.

The budi bahasa and sopan santun and adab and adat of Malay culture that we are so proud of are not the myth or  legend that Puteri Gunung Ledang is, or at least not Tiara’s version of it!

They are very much the reality of our lives!

We are  intrinsically nice people!

HOWEVER –  WEALTH, the great wealth and affluence that modern development brings is a new thing to the Malays, especially the rural Malays whose lives revolved around their patch of sawah or the strip of rubber trees, whose  menial activities involved tending to their lembu and ayam and fishing.

FELDA changed their lives as did the incursions of modern farming and subsidies. Urban development brought them into the towns and cities and opened their eyes wide to the abundance of economic opportunities. The democratisation of education produced a whole new breed of Malays imbued with liberal Western knowledge and values while struggling to keep their traditions intact.

Conflicting demands of the religious versus the secular, of  tradition versus modernisation, of democracy and freedom versus feudalism and authority have had their toll on the fragile Malay psyche!

They have driven the NICENESS out! It is THIS that makes me sad!

To see the UMNO delegates, the veterans and the young Malays many of whom are my kampung compatriots being thrust into the PWTC to defend their  honour and dignity is heart rending.

To think that they are being lashed at right and left by more unscrupulous Malaysians is heart breaking!

To know they are being bribed right, left and centre and succumbing to this scourge of society is exasperating!

To see them swatted down like flies by the opposition politicians who are no less corrupted is damn infuriating!

I CRY FOR THE MALAYS!

24
Mar
09

ngo-nang120x180

Sesungguhnya kehidupan dunia hanyalah permainan dan senda gurau. Dan jika kamu beriman serta bertakwa, Allah akan memberikan kepadamu dan Dia tidak akan meminta harta-hartamu.

Jika Dia meminta harta daripadamu lalu mendesak kamu [supaya memberikan semuanya] niscaya kamu akan kikir dan Dia akan menampakkan kedengkianmu.

Muhammad (36-37)

PARADOKS BANGSA MELAYU

 

Jika benar orang Melayu menjunjung tinggi agama, mereka harus membuktikannya dalam kelakuan dan perbuatan yang tidak melanggar adab dan etika Islam.

 

Jika betul orang Melayu banggakan budaya, mereka harus mempamirkan maruah diri dan bangsa yang tinggi dalam menangani segala cabaran hidup termasuk politik. 

 

Jika orang Melayu tidak mahu ketuanan bangsa dihina, mereka harus berpegang teguh kepada prinsip hidup yang mulia dan dihormati.

 

Pergolakan politik menjelang perhimpunan agong dan pendedahan bahawa rasuah berlaku secara  berleluasa dalam pemilihan pemimpin UMNO menimbulkan persepsi bahawa berlaku keruntuhan moral yang ketara di kalangan ahli UMNO dari atas hingga ke bawah. Hukuman yang dijatuhkan oleh Lembaga Disiplin ke atas beberapa pemimpin tinggi dan bawahan mengesahkan bahawa keadaan ini memang benar.

 

Lantaran UMNO mewakili aspirasi dan kepentingan orang Melayu, kepincangan dalam rumahtangga UMNO dilihat sebagai lambang kejatuhan masyarakat Melayu yang lebih besar. Seolah-olah orang Melayu lazimnya lemah dan boleh disogok kerana tidak mempunyai pendirian politik yang kukuh dan prinsip hidup yang teguh; seolah-olah kesetiaan politik boleh dijual beli dan pemimpin dipilih bukan kerana kebolehan dan integriti dalam menjalankan tugas, tetapi kerana mereka popular.

 

Keadaan ini menimbulkan satu paradoks di mana orang Melayu yang begitu serius  membina masyarakat Islam yang bertamadun  tidak mengamalkan prinsip serta pedoman agama yang mereka junjungi. Orang Melayu yang berpengetahuan tentang kegemilangan tamadun Islam, rukun Islam dan soal halal dan haram dalam Islam tidak mempraktikkannya dalam hidup mereka.

 

Rata rata di kampung dan di bandar, di kalangan masyarakat atasan dan bawahan orang  Melayu giat meghadiri usrah dan ceramah agama. Stesyen stesyen televisyen kerap menyiarkan program agama di mana tafsiran Al Quran serta konsep-konsep dalam ajaran Islam dikupas dan dibincang dengan begitu teliti.

 

Kita sentiasa diingatkan tentang apa yang halal dan haram; apa yang merupakan dosa dan pahala. Kita menyedari sifat sifat yang menjadikan seseorang itu insan yang termulia atau yang terkutuk.

 

Jika ini benar, mengapa rasuah dan sogokan menjadi amalan ahli parti Melayu sedangkan agama Islam mengharamkannya? 

 

Mengapa ahli UMNO tidak memilih calon yang berintegriti tinggi dan berkebolehan mempertahankan maruah bangsa dan agama?

 

Mengapa ahli UMNO khususnya perwakilan di perhimpunan agung enggan mengaku bahawa perbuatan mereka yang melanggar etika parti dan adab bangsa serta agama tidak akan direstui Allah.

 

Mengapa susah sangat mereka menerima hakikat bahawa parti yang korup akan ditolak oleh pengundi sedangkan pemimpinan tertinggi UMNO sudah menyuarakannya?

 

Untuk membuktikan ahli parti masih setia kepada perjuangan utama UMNO, iaitu mempertahankan kepentingan orang Melayu dan menjunjung maruah bangsa dan agama, mereka mesti kembali ke pangkal jalan dan memikirkan senario di mana hak mereka yang sedang hebat dicabar akan hilang tidak lama lagi.

 

 

24
Mar
09

dinh-co-vuThe life of this world is but a play and a passing delight: but if you believe [in God] and are conscious of Him, He will grant you your deserts.

And withal, He does not demand of you [to sacrifice in His cause all of] your possessions: [for,] if He were to demand of you all of them, and urge you, you would niggardly cling [to them], and so He would [but] bring out your moral failings.

MUHAMMAD (36-37)

THE MALAY PARADOX

It’s rather perplexing that despite the seriousness with which the Malays approach their spiritual and religious obligations, they still fall prey to the sins of immorality!

Despite the regularity of prayers and other obligatory religious requirements they are still gullible to the abuses and corruption of the material world! 

Despite being constantly reminded about  the unity and purity of otherwordliness they still commit the horrid excesses of thiswordliness!

Despite the clarity of what Islam defines as haram and halal, they still advertently or inadvertently stretch the boundaries of their religious interpretations.

The Malaysian Malays pride themselves in being one of the most progressive Muslim ummah true to the spirit of the much talked about Islam Hadhari.  Everywhere, especially during the holy pilgrimage of haj and umrah they are told that they are the most tertib among the millions of Muslims in the world. They are the most well-behaved! 

The Malays pride themselves in being proponents of a religion and practitioners of a culture steeped in the best of  Muslim/ Malay adab and adat, budi bahasa and sopan santun.

Indeed, no one is more proud of their language, religion and culture than the Malays! Or more enthused about their ketuanan!

So what has gone terribly wrong?

Why have things become so ugly in the Malaysian Malay world?

Why have the Malays become the greatest chasers of wealth and power?

Why are the Malays falling prey to greed, bribery and corruption?

Why are the Malays being swatted down like flies in the political arena?

Has rapid development and abundant opportunities created a new breed of Malays that are utterly confused about themselves!

Has the fast lane of material development left the Malays somewhat stranded in their spiritual journey?

Where lies the paradox of the Malays?

Where lies their dilemma?

21
Mar
09

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SAY: “O God, Lord of all dominion! Thou grantest dominion unto whom Thou willest, and takest away dominion from whom Thou willest; and Thou exaltest whom Thou willest, and abasest whom Thou willest. In Thy hand is all good. Verily, thou hast the power to will anything.

AL-IMRAN (26) 

[And] they will [still] be offering excuses to you when you return to them [from the campaign]!

Say:”Do not offer [empty] excuses, [for] we shall not believe you: God has already enlightened us about you. And God will behold your [future] deeds, and [so will] His Apostle; and in the end you will be brought before Him who knows all that is beyond the reach of a created being’s perception as well as all that can be witnessed by a creature’s senses or mind, and then He will make you truly understand what you were doing [in life].”

AL-TAWBAH  (94) 

LEADERS & LEADERSHIP

In the run-up to the UMNO General Assembly next week, the nation is astir with the party’s rejection of corrupt candidates/ leaders on charges of money politics. A few have been charged and due punishment meted out. Many more are being investigated.

Of course not all who are guilty of this despicable habit of “buying loyalty” will be hauled up by the Lembaga Disiplin UMNO or the MACC because let’s face it – hard evidence or proof is not easy to come by.

Corruption is said to be so widespread in the UMNO body politics – side to side, up and down – it’s not easy to find someone who is squeaky-clean or baby-pure! Implicating others would mean implicating yourself and your cronies in the hierarchy!

Finding Ali Rustum guilty and barring him from the Deputy President candidacy is widely viewed as an eleventh hour attempt to appease dissenting voices. Hopefully, to be seen to be serious about fighting corruption will restore a little of the face and credibility that UMNO has dramatically lost.

The focus is now on the leaders the two-thousand and more delegates will choose to meet UMNO’s new challenges that is the candidates who they think have the integrity, capability and resilience to do so.

Indirectly, because UMNO represents Malay aspirations, all eyes will be focused on Malay culture and values and what yardsticks we apply in defining a clean leadership! 

In the run-up to independence and the first elections, potential leaders and candidates were handpicked from among professional men – doctors, lawyers and teachers – who, because of their education and training, were considered to have the brains and the brawn to lead the nation into its first phase of development.

And, indeed, they were men with the highest integrity whose loyalty to and respect for Tengku Abdul Rahman and Tun Abdul Razak was unflinching. Together, whether it was at the federal or state level, they forged ahead to interpret the vision and mission of the two founding fathers.

Leaders like Tun Dr Ismail at the federal level and Tan Sri Dr Mohd Said at the state level were known for their integrity and their no-nonsense approach to politics. There were men trained in medicine and armed with the compassion of seeing the real sufferings of the rural Malays inflicted with disease and poverty.

Some saw them as bureaucrats and incidental politicians unschooled in the finer art of politicking. To the more seasoned politicians of the era, their fault lay in being too honest and sticking to principles even when it came to dealing with royalty.

In the present era of openness and transparency, it becomes all the more crucial to have leaders with very few skeletons in their cupboards. As the nation’s role models, they must be looked up to with the highest regard. When they talk of integrity they themselves must be examples of it.

Because let’s face it – when it comes to the crunch, at the eleventh hour these leaders will be rejected as their skeletons come tumbling down!

16
Mar
09

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[In the nature of things,] corrupt women are for corrupt men, and corrupt men, for corrupt women – just as good women are for good men, and good men for good women. [Since God is aware that] these are innocent of all that evil tongues may impute to them, forgiveness of sins shall be theirs, and a most excellent sustenance!

AN-NUR (26)

WANITA UMNO

(THE STAR 25 March 2008)

… To remain credible Wanita UMNO must shed off outdated attitudes. The herd mentality which breeds false loyalties must be replaced by a new front that is intelligent, informed and articulate. Loyalty is well and good, but it should not be borne out of jealousies and vindictiveness – negative traits often associated with the female gender.

If the leadership of Wanita UMNO is truly sincere in fighting for the Malay cause it must disband internal groupings which are destroying the movement.

It must offer sound, solid and substantive backing to UMNO and BN in Malaysia’s new era of political development. It must be an effective agent of change to lift UMNO and Malay women up to a higher level of achievement.

(UTUSAN MALAYSIA 8 Ogos 2008)

…Memang sudah tiba masanya Wanita UMNO menukar imej dan hala tuju supaya diberi peranan yang lebih substantif dalam UMNO. Persepsi bahawa wanita terdiri daripada golongan “mak cik” dan “nenek” harus diubah dengan barisan pemimpin yang berkebolehan membawa wanita Melayu ke tahap pemikiran dan pencapaian yang lebih tinggi.

Wanita UMNO harus menonjolkan diri sebagai barisan ahli UMNO yang bukan hanya mengikut cita rasa dan aliran pemikiran pemimpin lelaki atau pemuda tetapi mempunyai pendirian sendiri. Wanita UMNO harus muncul sebagai barisan “mak cik” yang berfikiran bijak dan matang yang boleh mempengaruhi keluarga UMNO yang besar. Dengan menunjukkan pendirian yang tegas dan integriti yang tidak berbelah bagi, Wanita UMNO boleh memulihkan imej parti yang sedang menghadapi masalah kredibiliti…

HALIMAH MOHD SAID




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