Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Weekend MJ Died

The weekend is gone as quickly as it came; promising a relief from the hectic week. Not that I am a high profile corporate figure, but an ordinary Shah Alam citizen that sees the days getting shorter and the weeks folded without notice. So the weekend came as a breather to restore the peace in a hostile mind. But as I glance through the weekend plan; Allah has His plan for me and He is the greatest planner of all. Late Friday news reached us that our neighbor’s mom has passed away. Of course that came around after the shocking wake-up news from my wife about the death of MJ and FF. Although I am not a music fan, the death of MJ slit a sorrow wound across my heart. I was there in the US when he became a superstar. I heard his song when he was a regular black singer before his super stardom. He touched everyone with his silky voice and cool moves including myself. Anyway let’s not go overboard here and do something silly. He was human and death is certainly inevitable; get over it and move on. The death of our neighbor’s mom has clouded a sense of sorrow among us; so we will help him go through it and just to let him know that we are here for him. We will spend the weekend with him for prayers and quranic reading.

Saturday was the report card at my son and daughter’s school- Integrated Islamic School Shah Alam. I had to skip that and asked my wife to go instead. There would be a meeting later that morning for me to attend. They are doing fine I am sure. Nowadays parents have to get involved with the education to assure the learning is experienced properly. The meeting was not okay I must as majority did not turn up. I guess Saturday was not a good day to meet if you plan at the last minute as people have loads of other commitments already. I had a few khenduri to attend myself and they were all happening at the same time; so I picked one and got on the highway and joined the rest of the khenduri-goers. It was okay as we did not get lost and reached the place just in time with everybody else. After makan2 and chit-chat we headed off home. The tahlil will be later in the evening. Maryam and Ahmad were sleeping-over at their friend’s. Thought to get some durians as the season seemed to have started but changed my mind ; maybe some other time. Sunday morning breakfast at mamak’s with Umi, Ifah And Qilah for some delicious tosai and roti canai. So yummy. Afternoon met my student to sort out personal problems. I was really at odds as I just did not really know how to handle it. But listened anyway and gave my opinion. Hope it will be useful. As always we would not miss a lecture by our smackdown ustaz—Ustaz Nazmi Karim. The kuliah was about tafsir surah Luqman and stories about Weis al Qarni. Then went to meet an old friend at his child’s birthday party---a bit awkward to organize this sort of majlis on Sunday nite. I think due to that the turn out was very low. I was hoping to meet old friends from Wichita State University; but again who is going to come on Sunday night!

So another weekend has gone by and tomorrow Monday a big event at the faculty to meet our Tan Sri Datuk Sri VC UiTM. I can see the speech coming ….. aaarrrgh.

Academic Writing Workshop

Monday, June 22, 2009

UiTM Puncak Alam Campus

Student residential area- Kolej Angsana

A roundabout leading to students' Kolej

The stunning dining hall--complete with computer labs, offices, surau and hall on the upper level.

The place is huge----view from the upper floor.

Can you spot a staircase going down the hill ? the shortcut to the lecture theatres.

The Health Sciences Tower

at night

same time same spot

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Remembering Ayah

Ayah was from Kg Tendong Sungai about 15 mins from Pasir Mas. He moved to Pasir Mas when he got married to Mother. Nothing much that we knew about Ayah as he always kept everything to himself. During my rcent trip to Mecca, I met with a friend of him and told me that he was Ayah’s mate when they were at Pondok Bunut Payong, a famous religious school in Kelantan. This friend of Ayah went on to become an ustaz and teaching at the local schools. But Ayah did not follow that path; I heard that he turned down an offer to study at a teacher’s college but he never told us anything about that either. So we just left it as it was and never bothered to ask him anything. All we knew was that he’s a hardworking father that loved his family very much. During the early days of our childhood he would bring us back to his kampong and spent the weekend there. He seemed relaxed and always at ease when we arrived there; as if he’s been missing the kampong life that he grew up. His face would be brightened up glowing with happiness and excitement; and the smile just never went off. I remember to feel so good to see Ayah happy and all because back home he seldom put on a smile. Everyone just treated him so nicely with delicious kampong meals and everything …so just tumpang sekaki (and that’s the truth they really treated him only not his children)..anyway that’s another story irrelevant to Ayah. He would take us to the river for a bath, fishing and just splashing around. During those days everyone used the river to take bath, washing and doing everything else. It was great fun indeed. The most interesting part was to go for some delicious durian in the orchard. We waited for the durians to come falling down and went searching for it. That was awesome. And delicious too. Grandmother had a quite big orchard and we could enjoy the durians as much as we could…but you had to wait and search for it. They had a little barn for people to stay while waiting for the durian to come down. We also could enjoy other fruits as well during the season but you had to climb it yourself and that was no fun … I was not good in climbing, it scared me to death.

But after a while when we grew older the orchards have gone and we could no longer enjoy the fresh fruits anymore. Our trip to grandmother’s also had become less and less. I did not know what happened maybe Ayah got into a misunderstanding with his sisters, I did not know. But the memories at the kampong we treasured it very fondly. Ayah never scolded us at all because if he would his strong hands would spare us nothing.---his hands were so strong , hard due to his daily routines at the train station. But we knew when he was mad and angry; and we would be gone before he could grab us for punishment or anything….most of the time we were faster than him. Her was quiet, shy and on his own way most of the time. He liked reading but never talked about it as far as I knew him. Usually he would read the Utusan Melayu and I remember being around him and wondering what he was reading. I would be sitting on his back and looking down on the paper that I could not read until he got tired and sshhhed me away. The relationship between Ayah and Mak was always good although the difficult life that we had sometime took them through some arguments. I guess that’s common to married folks. Ayah always being supportive to Mother and would try to avoid any confrontations; if things gone bad then he would make that angry face and left.

I wish to know Ayah more but takdir has it that he had to go. He passed away during Ramadhan 2000 with Mother and children by his side. I miss Ayah so much. But I will be okay InsyaAllah because Ayah had taught me how to live, to love and to die. I pray for Ayah to rest in peace.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

In Mecca : Waiting For Zuhr Prayers

A lot of things have been happening so fast that I could not jot them down all at once. Thought to bring my laptop along but snap it in the last minute due to security reasons. People are scared everywhere nowadays and lap top can be a good target to find all sort of reasons to hold you. One thing after raveling through airports in the Arabic countries is that they could pin point you in anytime and give reasons beyond your imagination to hold you off. And when language is unfamiliar to you then you are dead meat in no time.

I was ridiculously stopped for a pen. Somehow I had a pen hidden discretely within my stuff in the bag. I did not notice that stupid pen myself but it came up on the screen and everyone just kinda bit too excited. Anyway,right now we are in the great holy city of Mecca. In the middle of another hot day that can burn your head in an instant. The best clothes to put on would be a jubah ( that long dress) and a head gear. That’s why they have such a cloth in Arabia---it’s so handy and suitable. The heat is just unbearable; but it’s nice and cosy inside the mosque.

People have started to fill up every spot in the praying area, escaping the heat around the Kaabah. But you know people are crazy sometime when there is a group of people still doing the tawaf even under the scorching sun and 43 over degrees. Somethings are unimaginable here in Mecca. Well it was where miracles happened some 1400 years ago. Amazing isn’t it. Here I am doing the rituals that have been going on for thousand of years even before Islam. This place has been the center of spiritual pilgrimage for so long and I am here as well continuing the traditions. Very much thankful to Allah for giving me this opportunity.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Leaving Madinah for Mecca/The Umrah

As we left madinah for Mecca we made a brief stop at Bir Ali for solat and niat. This is the place to solidify the intention for umrah which is the boundary of al haram. Everyone stops here to make a tw0 rakaat solat and does the niat. Met a friend of mine from Dungun, Ust Hussain, who used to be our neighbour in Dungun Terengganu. Before we moved to Sha Alam; small world isn’t it? Thaousands kilometers away from home and we were talking as we were many many years ago when we sued to have our daily chat late in the afternoon, you know, that neighbor-to-neighbor chat routine. The journey continued and we were backed into the bus for another 8-hour long journey to the holy city of Mecca. After the niat at Bir Ali (The Well of Ali) we were officially in the state of ihram (prohibition). During this state people have to follow strict rules….no killing, no cutting and no sex ……until you are done with the Tawaf and saie. The tawaf was okay although the big crowd slowed us down a little bit. The saie was a bit challenging as it was a compete physical test of stamina. Not easy especially when you run barefooted; the feet felt the excruciating pain against the marble floor especially during the ascending and descending of the two hills- Safa and Marwah. Our saie finished around 1 am and we have 3 hours into the Fajr---should we stay or go back to hit the sack? Everyone was very tired after the long journey, however, we decided to stay on.