Archive for August, 2009

31
Aug
09

Merdeka_Perodua1_web

 

MY MERDEKA WISHES

1.   A CONCERTED ANTI-CORRUPTION/ ANTI-CRIME  BLITZ WILL BE CONDUCTED TO EDUCATE, EXPOSE, ENFORCE AT ALL LEVELS 

2.    MPS, ADUNS. POLITICAL AND COMMUNITY LEADERS WILL BE SUBJECTED TO A STRICTER CODE OF ETHICS WHICH WILL DEMAND OF THEM THE HIGHEST STANDARDS OF INTEGRITY

3.   RELIGIOUS LEADERS WILL PLAY A CRITICAL ROLE IN INSTILLING THE RIGHT MORAL AND ETHICAL VALUES IN THE COMMUNITY

4.   PARENTS WILL TAKE FULL RESPONSIBILITY FOR THEIR CHILDREN’S EMOTIONAL, MORAL AND SPIRITUAL DEVELOPMENT

5.   WOMEN WILL BE ACCORDED EQUAL SOCIO-ECONOMIC AND PROFESSIONAL STANDING IN SOCIETY

6.   MALAY AND ENGLISH WILL BE FULLY EMBRACED AND DEVELOPED IN THE EDUCATION SYSTEM

7.   TEACHERS WILL BE RECRUITED FROM AMONG THE MOST ACADEMICALLY QUALIFIED AND GIVEN THE BEST PRE-SERVICE AND IN-SERVICE TRAINING     

8.   BUSINESS AND THE PROFESSIONS WILL BE SUBJECTED TO THE HIGHEST BENCHMARKS IN CORPORATE GOVERNANCE

9.   THE CIVIL SERVICE WILL BE RACIALLY BALANCED AND SUBJECTED TO THE HIGHEST KPIS

 10.  THE POOR AND UNDERPRIVILEGED WILL BE GIVEN EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES IN EDUCATION AND EMPLOYMENT 

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30
Aug
09

MERDEKA! MERDEKA! MERDEKA!

 

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27
Aug
09

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CAPITAL AND CORPORAL PUNISHMENT

The Kartika beer drinking offence under the Syariah and the sentence meted out to her viz 6 strokes of the rotan and a RM 5000/ fine have been blown out of proportion mainly because of the inefficiency of the Syariah Courts, the State Religious Departments and the Prisons Department.

If these agencies had better coordinated their decisions and actions, the corporal punishment imposed on Kartika would not have received such bad press and publicity both locally and internationally. There are indeed certain mitigating circumstances in Kartika’s case. Being a woman and a first-time offender there would have been grounds for leniency if she had appealed. However, Kartika chose to be exemplary in upholding the Syariah concept of justice and fairness by paying the fine and being caned. For this we must respect her for not using her womanly status to challenge the law.

Capital and corporal punishment have always been controversial because they are not only viewed as primitive but as ineffective in deterring crime. One cannot say that the Syariah’s interpretation of hudud is the only repressive and archaic group of laws or that its measures are the only ones that are no longer relevant in a world steeped in humanitarian concerns. The death penalty for drug-related offences is one case in point. Without them the community and society including the Islamic community will be in greater disarray.

However, rising crime rates everywhere and in every sphere of life show that there must be more effective ways of instilling values and improving morality than legal punishment or public censure. Religious departments and agencies in the country must put their heads together to come up with better ways of educating and rehabilitating the people – men and women – on their socio-cultural, moral and religious obligations.

What is outstanding about the Kartika case is that one woman’s beer drinking has caught the attention of the Pahang State Religious Department when there are hundreds of other offenders out there, many of them men. Besides, there are more serious cases of abuse, exploitation and corruption in the home, community and society which deserve more time and closer scrutiny than one woman’s downing of beer!

26
Aug
09

bismiB

 

MERCY AND COMPASSION

      

 

 

The concept of compassion in Islam- i
By Asghar Ali Engineer

Is compassion central to Islam? Many people think jihad is more central to it than compassion. At least this is the general impression of people including of course Muslims. But this is not so. Compassion is far more central to Islam than jihad. It is certain happenings in history of Islam and also in contemporary world that this impression about jihad goes round.In fact compassion represents the true spirit of Islam and compassion is far more vital to Islamic teachings than any thing else. In fact compassion in Islam, after the concepts of unity of God (tawhid) and risalah (messengership of Muhammad) is as central to Islam as it is to Buddhism. We will throw light on compassion in Islam in the following passages.There are certain key words in the Qur’an which are greatly stressed of which four are very often repeated i.e. rahmah, ihsan ‘adl, and hikmah (compassion, benevolence, justice and wisdom). Rahmah (compassion, mercy) and its roots abound in the Holy Qur’an. Among Allah’s own names are Rahman and Rahim (compassionate and Merciful). A Muslim begins everything by reciting Bi Ism-i- Allah al-Rahman al-Rahim (i.e. begin in the name of Allah Who is Compassionate and Merciful). Thus a Muslim is supposed to invoke Allah the Compassionate and Merciful at every step. He does not invoke Allah’s other names (Allah has 99 names according to the Islamic belief) as he invokes Him as Merciful and Compassionate.Al-RahmanThe very first chapter of the Qur’an has the second verse as Al-Rehman al-Rahim (The Compassionate, the Merciful). The first verse too carries the sense of compassion when it describes Allah as Rabb al-‘Alamin (i.e. Sustainer of the whole world). The concept of sustenance of the whole world itself is based on His Mercy and Compassion for every thing He has created. In fact rahmah is so central to Allah’s existence that it embraces all that exists in the universe (wasi`at kulla shayin) see verse 40:7.ARRAHIM

In fact He sent His Messenger Muhammad also as the Mercy of the World (21:107). Thus the Prophet of Islam also represents universal mercy. As the Messenger of Allah he is representative of His Mercy and hence the Prophet himself is known as rahmatal lil `alamin (mercy of the worlds). Thus a true follower of the Prophet (PBUH) has to be merciful and compassionate to the extent humanly possible. Any one who is cruel and has no sensitivity towards sufferings of others cannot be Prophet’s true follower in any sense.

This is a great pity that Muslims themselves except the sufis and their followers have forgotten the emphasis of the Holy Qur’an on the quality of compassion. The Sufis lay tremendous stress on compassion. Their very fundamental doctrine is what is called sulh-i-kul i.e. peace with all which means no violence and no aggressiveness. The majority of Muslims of course follow sufi approach. It is only some frustrated fringe groups of Muslims who keep on talking of jihad and power. 

(excerpt from MG – THE MILLI GAZETTE)

 

 

22
Aug
09

HolyRamadan

 

HOLIER THAN THOU

There’s a certain aura about the Muslim month of Ramadan that makes one feel holy – sometimes holier than thou!

There’s a certain purity about the month of abstinence when all worldly indulgences – food, drink, sexual intercourse – are put on hold, all human aspersions cast aside as one acquires tattaqun, ‘ self restraint’, ‘awareness of God’, ‘guarding a thing from what harms it’.

O YOU who have attained to faith! Fasting is ordained for you as it was ordained for those before you, so that you might remain conscious of God: [fasting] during a certain number of days. But whoever of you is ill, or on a journey, [shall fast instead for the same] number of other days; and [in such cases] it is incumbent upon those who can afford it to make sacrifice by feeding a needy person.

And whoever does more good than he is bound to do does good unto himself thereby; for to fast is to do good unto yourselves – if you but knew it.

It was the month of Ramadan in which the Quran was [first] bestowed from on high as a guidance unto man and as a self-evident proof of that guidance, and as the standard by which to discern the true from the false. Hence, whoever of you lives to see this month shall fast throughout it; but he that is ill, or on a journey, [shall fast instead for the same] number of other days. God wills that you shall have ease, and does not will you to suffer hardship; but [He desires] that you complete the number [of days required], and that you extol God for His having guided you aright, and that you render your thanks [unto Him].

AL-BAQARAH (183 – 185)

Ramadan is the special time when you specially ‘discern the true from the false’,  ‘extol God for His having guided you aright’ ,  ‘render your thanks [unto Him]’.

In abstaining from the abundance of worldly temptations, one is  embracing the abundance of faith in the spirituality of God, faith in the goodness of man, faith in one’s own spirituality.

I’ve never been obsessively self-righteous about my religion nor rigid in  observing its multifarious rites and rituals but I try to do the right things – right against the larger universal understanding of good and evil. The outer manifestations of one’s faith must be consistent with one’s inner contemplations of it.

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Yet  when I started fasting at 5, it was the pure joy of waking up to a feast of my favourite lauk for sahur and the sheer ecstacy of  buka puasa on more of the special juadah that motivated and inspired me to complete the whole month’s ‘abstinence’. Besides, the inclusiveness of the Muslim fast and prayer has always been the strength of the silahturrahim in Islam.

In middle age, when hormones are sparse and the body needs no excuses to enlarge itself, feasts and expansive spreads of food have ceased to be one’s main temptations. Besides, too much human goodness sometimes has a certain exclusiveness about it – a sense of the dreaded “holier than thou” which I try to avoid!

May we continue to be inspired by the truth of Allah and His love, mercy and compassion as we continue to seek the truths and realities of our so, so human existence in the month of Ramadan – and beyond!

Let’s Read the Quran 2

Peace!

Good news, we are bringing back the Let’s Read The Quran Campaign this Bulan Puasa.

 Campaign name: Let’s Read The Quran (2)

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The first campaign (January 14 – February 14 2009) was started by four friends Syed, Walski, Marina and Anas. By the end of it, about 50 other blogs also participated helping us to reach a larger audience.There were also many calls for us to extend this very popular campaign.

Well, here it is!

This time around, four more friends will be part of the main team; they are Art Harun, Jahamy, Pah Nur and Nizam Bashir.

To recap, the campaign is not only for Muslims, but also for our brothers and sisters who are Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs and those who believe
in God and a proper way of doing things – come join us and share your ideas! You can join this campaign even if you are an atheist!

The goal of this campaign is to encourage people to read the Quran in the language they understand best and find in it areas of common value for our day to day living.

We also want to hear your feedback and comments.

What is the Campaign all about?

Read the Quran in the language that you are familiar with.

When will the campaign start and end?

August 22nd to September 21st (Hari Raya Aidil Fitri)

Where?

Participating blogs in the blogosphere.

Why?

So more people know what the Quran says and what the Quran does not say and to match its relevance to our daily lives.

Who?

Anyone who wants to – the more the merrier! If you have a Blog, Facebook, etc do please carry the logo/icon.

How?

– To join the campaign, place the accompanying logo/icon on your blog.
– Write or share short articles based on the Quranic text.
– Share what you find in the Quran with family and friends.
– Ask questions about the Quranic message
– Read the Quran – eg click here http://www.islamicity.com/QuranSearch , www.altafsir.com


Peace and Thanks, and Selamat Berpuasa to those fasting,

Marina Mahathir http://rantingsbymm.blogspot.com

Syed Akbar Ali http://syedsoutsidethebox.blogspot.com

Walski http://asylum60.blogspot.com

Art Harun http://art-harun.blogspot.com

Pah Nur http://lunchatthelakeclub.blogspot.com

Rapera http://jahaberdeen.blogspot.com

Nizam Bashir http://nizambashir.com and,

Anas Zubedy http://letusaddvalue.blogspot.com

* from rantingsbymm

21
Aug
09

Songket_NoorAzlina

WE THREE

We Three is the title of  a memoir written by my good friend Noor Azlina Yunus (Joy) and her two sisters Jillian and Judith – the famed Hooper triplets of Feilding in the Manawati region of the North Island of New Zealand.

Azlina and I were colleagues in the Pusat Bahasa (later Faculty of Languages and Linguistics), University of Malaya in the late 70s and 80s. She left academia to join the publishing world where she enjoyed a flourishing career as writer/editor with the  Oxford University Press, Editions Didier Millet and later Periplus Publishing Group, leaving a trail of exciting titles and credits to her name.

But I remember Azlina not so much for her wonderful accomplishments at work  but for the congenial person that she is, and the friendships we’ve shared over the years. Yunus and Azlina were an amazing couple – always chirpy and smiling, always kind and generous, always loving and supportive! Without Yunus who is so dearly missed by family and friends, Azlina has remained stoical and steadfast, and still as determined as ever to pursue her interests in publishing and heritage.  

I’ve always wondered about Azlina’s family background and what has made her the person and personality she is. We Three leaves no stones unturned as Joy, Jillian and Judith unfold the mystery of their lives and loves; their joys and happiness; their upbringing and education; their values and principles! Of course there were sorrows and disappointments too but the Hooper triplets show little or no trace of remorse or cynicism.

The triplets keep as close together as the seas and the countries separate them in their adult lives! They are as similar as they are different in the families they’ve raised and the careers they’ve chosen. Looking at the wonderful collection of pictures enlarged no doubt by their celebrity status my suspicions are confirmed! Reading their tales and anecdotes I’m absolutely certain that a closely- knit family and strong family values maketh the women they are and the men they married!

Azlina’s KIWI heritage has not made her less of a Malay and a Malaysian! In fact, together Azlina and Yunus personified Malay ethnicity to the letter, displaying their collection of Malay artefacts and objet d’art to perfection in their old-world Malay home. But Azlina’s English accent has remained clipped in parts and drawled in others – as the New Zealand variety of English is, and her “Yeop” term of endearment for Yunus in the Perak Malay dialect is near perfect! 

Joy, Jillian and Judith – it’s a pleasure to read about “You Three” and to know what nice people you are!

Triplets

20
Aug
09

malaysia-truly-asia-girls1

 

WOMEN’S SUMMIT

I was at the 7th Women’s Summit held at the Sime Darby Convention Centre on Tuesday 18 August – an annual gathering of more than 1000 women entrepreneurs.  The 2009 theme is a rhetorical question Can Women Turn Adversity Into Opportunity? whose rhetorical answer must surely be Yes, otherwise the gathering would have been futile.

The two official speeches, the first by the Minister for Women and Family Development and the second by the guest of honour the Deputy Prime Minister stressed the fact that these are hard times and that women need to be more aware, creative and innovative to face the challenges and use them to their advantage. The Minister stressed on pushing for quotas and getting allocations. The DPM’s message was to  rebuild strength and integrity.

An innovation in the proceedings this year saw the DPM taking questions from the floor in an unprecedented public dialogue between the women and the DPM. The questions came in fast and focused as was the DPM’s replies. It was a very effective method of getting direct commitments from both sides.

As usual I had a question and didn’t resist too hard the urgings of my friends to represent them. I dutifully lined up in the aisle and waited for my turn. But it was not my day to impress the DPM and to challenge him to start (with the Women’s Ministry) a full-blown and sustained anti-corruption blitz. His paper alluded to “integrity” but as usual this concept is never fully developed. A public campaign in the media and public places throughout the country will create the much-needed awareness and education on integrity and its antithesis corruption.     

I was not to be deterred! Facilitating one of 10 Round Table discussions, I weaved my way into the 8  articulate and well -exposed women in my group and tapped their knowledge and experience. I was particularly impressed with two young women, Cindy and Alicia, both secure in their respective careers but contributing their knowledge and skills to voluntarily conduct evening workshops for budding entrepreneurs. Their special interest in ICT and e business took shape on Facebook and attracted many followers. From there they met the public Face2Face!

Bobbi Dangerfield, the MD of DELL Global Business Centre contributed her experience in Dell’s successful establishment of a micro-credit scheme in El Salvador, and Dell’s interpretation of corporate social responsibility (CSR) where staff are given four hours off from office work to do community service.   

We submitted our recommendations for successful enterprise, chief of which are financial support and training. There must be more opportunities for women to do part-time work, flexi-hours and work from the home in order to have the work-life balance. Work places and organisations must provide physical (e.g. day-care centre) and emotional (e.g. counselling) infrastructure for their staff to work in a conducive environment. For this government support if not legislation would be helpful! 

Opportunities for enterprise exist everywhere for women – franchising food and recipes, household products, craft and clothing, technical writing and translation – all operable from the home. The marketing and sales network must eliminate the unscrupulous middleman. For rural women, more markets and centres must be established in both the rural and  urban areas to exhibit and sell their products. Training is essential.

I had my say! When the Women’s Minister came back for the Closing Session, I asked my question about corruption and integrity. I asked that Dato’ Seri Shahrizat take up the idea of the Anti-Corruption Blitz with the Cabinet and the top leadership. She gave her assurance that she would try to do so!

All in all it was a good Women’s Summit. The important thing now is for the recommendations to be translated into policies and effective programmes, implemented efficiently at all levels for the country’s women!

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When there’s a will there’s a way Insya Allah!




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