Friday, January 30


If I were a Muslim man from Teluk Kucai, Kuala Kedah, I would be ashamed to tell anyone now. Even more ashamed to tell anybody if I'm still living in that area. Why?

A Chinese Muslim man almost bled to death recently because he had slashed his own hand. Now what's that to do with living in that area, you might ask? Oh, plenty of reasons.

You see, he was under a lot of stress because after he reverted to Islam, the local Muslims didn't really welcome him. Whenever he prays at the mosque, he'd be taunted for having a tattoo on his hand; a tattoo which was made 20 years ago when he was a teenager and is believed to be passed down among his family members. It's a tattoo which could not be removed easily.

It is forbidden for Muslims to have a tattoo drawn on his body, so Anas (his Muslim name) was under a lot of pressure to have it removed. I don't know what actually happened but news reported that Anas was told by the locals that he's not a proper Muslim until he removes his tattoo? That the tattoo will not make his prayers accepted by Allah swt, because the tattoo prevents water from reaching the skin of his hand?

I know how judgemental some people can be and how busybody some people are when they don't even have proper knowledge of the matter. However I do wonder why the local mosque authorities especially the imam and all the ustaz in that area have never helped Anas to get medical treatment if he insists on removing the tattoo. Better still, why they have not told him that as a revert to Islam, that it's not compulsory for him to even remove the tattoo at all if removing it will cause health problems to him. That the tattoo was already there when he was a nonMuslim, and not drawn on purpose (like some Muslim youngsters have done) after he reverted to Islam? Their own ignorance or their own sense of superiority "I know better than you becasue I'm been a Muslim longer?" What a shame!

Add that to the fact that Anas reverted to Islam based on his love for Islam and doesn't even have a proper home now (he was given a room to stay at the mosque, which tells us a lot about his financial state). Anas who was already depressed when he was rejected ( even scolded?) by his family when he returned home for Chinese New Year, couldn' bear the taunts by the local Muslim anymore and decided to do away with the tattoo in the only way he could - by slashing his own hand.

Oh, I do feel so sorry for the Muslims of Teluk Kucai, Kuala Kedah who had taunted Anas and indirectly forced him do this harmful act. What if he had died due to excessive bleeding before he was found by his friend, Mohd Firdaus Razali? Would the same men who had taunted him say then that Anas was stupid and sinful to kill himself ? Shame on them! For all we know, Anas who had repeatedly recited"Allah.. Allah" when found slumped on the toilet floor of the mosque, is actually less sinful than the 'holier than thou" men who taunted him mercilessly for having a tattoo.

Why is it that when a man or a woman reverted to Islam, usually he or she is not totally accepted by the local Malay Muslim community, who look with suspicions on these new brothers and sisters? Why are reverts often scrutinised and any imperfections are pointed out with contempt? For example, their lack of proper etiquette (meaning only Malay etiquette laa), complaints of them being rude (again meaning only follow Malay way of speaking laa), their lack of proper aurat-covered dressing ( heck, you expect tudung and aurat covered dresses to fall from the sky within hours after reciting the syahadah?) and their lack of initiative to attend Islamic classes (not all reverts have vehicles, so provide free transportations/carpool services laa, cakap pandai ajer).

Don't they know that Islam instruct Muslims to be helpful and kind to their brothers, or does their own interpretation mean only being helpful to those of their own kith and kin, and their own race?Even today, there're some born-Muslims who question the rights of all new reverts or mualaf who receive zakat (oh, there're proof in the local Malay newspapers). I can go on and on but I will say only one thing - watch your own family before you pass judgement on others. Make sure all your wives, daughters, sisters and sons are adhering strictly to the teachings of Islam (no hair-rebonding, aurat-covered attire, no dating, no tattoo of any kind, no commercial hair dyes) before you start to taunt/ridicule a mualaf about his tattoo or her lack of proper Islamic dressing. Remember the person you taunt/pass harsh judgement on may have less sins in the eyes of Allah swt than you do!?!

Oh, pardon me for my harsh words but I'm so P.O by this senseless act that almost drove a fellow brother in Islam to his death. Muslim reverts can be very sensitive (especially those abandned by their own families after embracing Islam) and at the same time, are eager to gain acceptance by Allah and the local Muslim community. Their lack of knowledge about the true teachings of Islam may lead them to follow blindly the ideas of other Muslims. As Muslim NGOs and the state Islamic affairs personel may not be able to conduct regular checks on the conditions of all the reverts in this country, it's the local Muslim community where the reverts live who have to play their roles properly. Taunting a Muslim brother about a tattoo when he has already been forgiven for all his sins when he recited his 2-kalimah syahadah (which includes the tattoo) is a sin, which is only pardoned when the person seeks forgiveness from the victim.

It's not a coincidence that Anas was rescued by his friend. It's not a coincidence that the news was reported for 2 consecutive days by a local Malay tablod and repeated in a local English-language newspaper. Oh I wonder what those of other faiths would say when they read the news the English newspaper which has not explained that Islam does not require Muslim reverts to remove old tattoos.. Would they say,"See? He's a loser? His family rejects him and the Muslims also reject him. So why want to be a Muslim laaa.. boloh!"??? Or would they say,"Wahh.. so difficult to be a Muslim? Must slash hand that has tattoo? Islam so strict ahh?" See, now we have to do more explaining to the nonMuslim community regarding this issue; it's our responsibility so that they won't have the wrong impression of Islam and its teachings. Oh, thnak you very very very much, you Muslims of Teluk Kucai.

May Anas's self-inflicted injury be the last one involving Muslim reverts in Malaysia. We can excuse Anas' action due to his own lack of Islamic knowledge and lack of proper guidance from the learned Islamic scholars but can we give the same excuse for the local men who had continuously and mercilessly taunted him about his tattoo?

While we all care for our Muslim brothers and sisters in Palestine, we should remember not to neglect the welfare of our own Muslim family members in our own backyard. The welfare of those nearer to us is more important and we will be questioned about how we treat them in akhirat later. Even a Malay proverb warns us not 'To feed the monkeys in the jungle with milk, while your own children at home go hungry.'So I hope we all have learnt a lesson from our brother Anas (Anas means friend in Arabic).

Wednesday, January 28


"Isteri saya fobia dengan NGO Islam itu," komennya dalam emel kepada saya.
Saya ketawa, kerana memahami maksudnya. Bukan tujuan kami berdua untuk mengutuk sesebuah NGO tambahan yang berkonsepkan Islam tetapi itulah hakikat yang terpaksa diterima. Falsafah dan perjuangan sesebuah NGO Islam diterima pakai oleh kesemua ahli,tetapi bukan semua ahli mampu menghayati sepenuhnya perjuangan dan panduan hidup Muslimin dan Muslimat sebagaimana yang diingini. Akibatnya, ada kecacatan di sana sini. Mereka yang terkena tempias adalah yang baru dalam pertubuhan itu atau berurusan secara langsung dengan ahlinya.

Begitu juga, ada pihak yang mendukung nama Islam melalui jawatannya (ustaz dan ustazah) atau keanggotaannya dalam sesuatu pertubuhan. Tidak mengapa jikalau orang lain tidak tahu. Namun jikalau orang ramai memang mengenalinya sebagai seorang yang berilmu agama, tetapi dilihat melakukan perkara yang tidak mencerminkan watak seorang yang kuat beragama, apa pula kesannya kepada orang lain?
Akan timbullah komen seperti berikut:
"Ahhh, kerja ustazah tetapi mulut laser! Asyik komen orang lain tak betul."
" Eh, eh... ustaz ker dia tu? Mengajar mengaji waktu pagi, waktu malam menjaja benda haram?"
"Buat apa setiap minggu hadiri usrah kalau hati masih tak nak berubah?"

Ketika kita menganggap diri kita sudah ok, mungkin orang lain menganggap kita masih masih banyak kekurangan. Mungkin jawatan kita sebagai ahli agama memberi impak yang kuat kepada mereka yang kurang pengetahuan agama mereka. Mungkin imej kita yang bertudung litup dan menutup aurat memberi kesan kepada mereka yang baru berjinak-jinak dengan tudung. Kita tidak tahu kesan dan impak yang kita tinggalkan kepada mereka di sekeliling kita melalui tingkah laku, percakapan, pakaian serta tindakan kita pada setiap masa.

Saya masih ingat, ketika saya mula-mula memeluk Islam dan masih menghadapi kesukaran memakai tudung dengan sempurna (tak ada orang suruh mahupun ajar, saya buat snediri, huhuhu) saya sangat suka melihat adik-adik Muslimah yang memakai tudung labuh. Sejuk hati saya apabila melihat mereka lalu di hadapan saya, walaupun kami saling tidak mengenali satu sama lain. Secara tidak langsung, saya mula menutup aurat dengan betul kerana imej positif yang diperlihatkan kepada saya.

Saya juga masih ingat, sebelum saya memeluk Islam saya agak gerun melihat mereka yang berserban dan berjubah. Saya fikir mereka hanya mahu berbincang tentang Islam dan tidak mahu berkawan dengan yang bukan Islam. Alhamdulillah sekarang saya tidak lagi fobia dengan mereka kerana pendedahan yang positif. Namun saya tahu ramai bukan Islam yang risau didekati golongan ini.

Pepatah Inggeris "Don't judge a book by its cover" atau jangan menilai buku melalui kulit. Namun begitu, hakikatnya kita manusia biasa sering menilai kualiti buku melalui kulitnya terutama semasa mahu membeli di kedai. Begitu juga, kita sering menilai seseorang melalui tindakan dan penampilannya. Oleh itu kita perlu mempamerkan sikap yang baik, integriti dan etika semasa berurusan dengan orang lain, serta menjaga imej kita sebagai orang Islam.

Hal ini kerana secara tidak langsung dan tanpa kita sedari tindak tanduk kita, perbuatan, percakapan dan penampilan kita sering diperhatikan orang lain. Oleh yang demikian, kita perlu berhati-hati supaya imej sebagai orang Islam dan jawatan yang kita pegang itu tidak terjejas hasil tindakan kita. Mungkin kita sendiri tidak sedar bahawa tindakan kita yang kecil itu membuahkan hasil yang positif/ negatif pada orang lain. Misalnya, tindakan ustazah membuang kertas tisu di atas lantai bilik darjah pun akan ditafsirkan secara negatif oleh pelajarnya.

Oleh itu, janganlah kita menanggung dosa secara tidak langsung apabila kita menjadi bahan kutukan orang lain dan lebih buruk lagi,mengakibatkan orang lain membenci agama, pertubuhan atau jawatan khas kita semata-mata kerana kesilapan satu tindakan, satu percakapan atau satu ayat dalam penulisan:
"Saya tak jadi memeluk Islam kerana kecewa dengan layanan buruk orang Islam terhadap saya. Apa gunanya saya menjadi Muslim jika orang Islam sendiri berperangai buruk?"
" Kerana cikgu itulah, saya benci subjek Sejarah sehingga hari ini."
" Ustaz kata merokok itu haram tetapi ustaz pun merokok."
" Saya tak mahu pergi ke kelas mengaji lagi. Tadi saya pergi, saya dimarahi ustazah semata-mata kerana saya terlupa untuk bertudung."
Kita menilai orang lain tetapi kita juga sering dinilai olehNya, dan dinilai orang di sekeliling kita..

Monday, January 26


A Happy Chinese New Year 2009 and Happy Holidays to fellow Malaysians who will be having at least 2 days off work.

I'm not in the mood to write but just want you all to know that I'm still alive and kicking, hehehe..
I had a halal reunion dinner with husband, my mom and brother at a restaurant last night. Unlike last year's steamboat, we chose a 6-course dinner. And for the first time, all four of us were dressed in red (unplanned), like boria, hahaha. InsyaAllah next year, I'd cook and serve halal Chinese festive dishes in my own house.

Here's a festive CNY dish that I've cooked for the first time since my reversion to Islam this afternoon (husband left in a hurry this morning so he'll have to wait until I'm in the mood to prepare this dish again.. dok merajuk ni).
It's called "jiu-hu-char", a mixture of finely chopped garlic, fresh sengkuang, carrots, shreds of cuttlefish, mushroom and fresh prawns.
Of course the original version has pork too ( I replaced the pork with a few spoonsful of oyster sauce and it seems to work). Put a scoop of it onto a salad leaf, wrap it and add a dash of spicy sambal belacan..yummy!

As I'm alone this CNY, I'm not actually cooking up a storm in the kitchen this year although the fridge is full of foodstuff. I'll be at home till school starts again on Wednesday. Of course, Mum did invite us over but I don't want to pay a visit now and being asked why husband is not tagging along (One of the things I promised myself after my divorce is, I'd never make excuses for the men in my life ever again). So I'm staying home by choice, and pampering myslef with the festive goodies and interesting movies on tv. ingredients for a special CNY tong-shui (dessert) are ready but I'm posponing the cooking until tomorrow. Preparing the gingko nuts is tough work, huhuhu.. will show a picture of it when it's ready.
Some of my friends emailed me the 2009 Chinese astrological forecast. Hmm.. I wonder why people even believe in them, yet many do. It's quite silly how the fate and future of thousands who share the same year of birth with you, are believed to have the same destiny in 2009. Of course in Islam, we can't believe in astrology and even fengshui. It's haram.

As a Chinese, I do know what animal sign I'm born into, as we've been told to repeat it from the time we could talk. Our ages are revealed to the elders just by proclaiming what animal sign we are! I see more and more of these fengshui and astrology books today, a sign of desperate time calling for desperate measures? Tips of how to alleviate bad luck during 2009 are followed by the believers. Exactly how effective those tips are, I don't know. All I do know is, the sellers are making a big profit as the stuff recommended are not cheap, hehehe..

We Muslims don't need those forecasts to tell us how to be richer or how to prevent disasters. We should believe that everything that happens, happens for a reason and only He who is All Knowing will decide our fate. No need for the special "stuff" to be placed at the best location for wealth to grow, right? Because once we start to believe in the special power of something, other than God, then it's time we check ourselves and our faith in Him.

There's supposed to be a solar ellipse today (first time out of the many CNY I've lived through) but no sign of it in my area. Have anyone seen it?

Friday, January 23


The war has begun. Officially in my area at 3.00 pm today. Oh, it's just the fire-crackers lit by overzealous youngsters and not-so-young people. I was doing laundry this afternoon when "BOOOMMM!!". I almost jumped out of my skin.
It's terrible to hear firecrackers in broad daylight. And as they're lit in the same building where my pigeon hole is located, it's a living nightmare. I'd never know when the next firecracker will be lit.

Sure, the government has banned firecrackers. Yet people still managed to smuggle some horrible ones into the country. And it's us law-abiding citizens who become the victims when they're lit at any time of the day. It's fine with me if they're lit at night because that's tradition. According to Chinese tradition, firecrackers are lit to scare away the ghosts and evil spirits. But lit in broad daylight? To give somebody a heart attack and help him become a vengeful ghost?

The problem about living in multi-racial Malaysia, one can never be sure who actually celebrates a festival anymore. Every Hari Raya, almost everyone- Malays, Chinese,Indians, Muslims and nonMuslims all go "balik-kampung" or return to their hometowns. The highways and roads are jammed with vehicles. Come Deepavali, it's another round of 'balik kampung". Now with today being Friday and at least 4 days of public holidays in Malaysia (1st & 2nd day of Chinese New Year are public holidays here) the roads are jammed again with the 'balik kampung" exodus.

The same goes for those lighting the firecrackers. The culprits will buy them to wage war against other groups of players. During Chinese New Year, one might see Malays lighting the firecrackers together with the Chinese. During Hari Raya, some Hindu children will also light them for fun. Who lights the loudest 'bomb' or the most spectacular fireworks will be the unofficial winner. What a waste of money actually but tell it to them, and they'd laugh at you. Ironically, when police fine the culprits, one can hear the same group of people lighting another pile of firecrackers once the police are out of sight, hahahaa..

Happy Chinese New Year to those who celebrate and happy "balik kampung" to those who will be returning to their loved ones. Drive carefully and have a pleasant weekend.

Despite a very busy week, I've managed to prepare a traditional Chinese biscuit which is famous in my hometown. I bought the special dough and after some delicate cutting and weaving, I deep-fried them and here's the result. Yes, it's halal as it's made of flour, some salt and some sugar. The Malays have a version of it but we Chinese weave them before frying. It's called 'kuih riben' or "tai kan san" in my local dialect. Chinese Kedahans and Penangites will recognise this biscuit. It's crunchy and suitable for tea-time, taken with a cup of hot coffee or tea.

InsyaAllah, I'll be preparing some traditional food this Chinese New Year. Minus the pork dishes, there're still a few that I can cook for my table.. that too, if I feel up to it..

Wednesday, January 21

Malaysian Blog Award

I received an email from a lovely and friendly lady who nominates me for an award? Geeshh, how many blog readers do I have visiting here daily?
Anyway, to help her out, I've decided to put this up in my blog.

I write for many reasons; one of them is to share and assist those who needs assistance. And Pearly, the website administrator, wishes to organise a bloggers' meet if the award becomes a success. Let's give her a hand, support her efforts and insyaAllah we may all get to meet in Penang soon.

If you click on the picture above, you'd be led to Pearly's website which actually promotes the beautiful island of Penang. Anyone who wishes to vote will have to fill up the form(scroll down) saying they voted but from this blog. Have a look anyway. Penang is lovely place with nice people, delicious and cheap food and beautiful beaches.

Monday, January 19


"Invitations to this.. invitations to that.. but I haven't promised them anything," he came home and told me.
And I swore under my breath.
Heck, I'm only human. And the news received was not a welcoming one. Rather, it's a bother in this Chinese festive season.

And I don't like people asking me, "So you celebrate Chinese New Year too?"
Of course I do, and I intend to.
Do they think that just because I'm now a Muslimah, I can simply forget about this festival which I've celebrated for the first 35 years of my life? Chinese New Year is not a religious festival; you can forget the Tao/Buddhist prayers and still celebrate it. Christians and free-thinkers celebrate it too. It's a time for the gathering of family members under one roof once a year. That's why the Chinese would sacrifice time and money to travel from one end of the country to the other end just to be present at the festive dinner held on the eve of the New Year. Being present at home, with your elders is a sign of filial piety, respect and a show of 'giving face' to our elders.

Don't even think about taking turns to go to which spouse's family home for the New Year eve dinner. It's always the husband's family on the eve and first day of Chinese New Year. Unless of course, the husband is an orphan. Tradition dictates that a married couple will spend the first day of CNY with the husband's family and the second day with the wife's family. Actually it's a fair arrangement because it allows both sides of the family to meet the couple during the festive season, unlike Malays who take turns and one side of the family will have to wait for another year to celebrate Aidilfitri with the children and grandchildren.

I had planned some activities for this year's Chinese New Year but as my house isn't ready, I'd have to postpone everything until a later date. As I'm writing now, I'm still not sure how this year's celebration will be. Naturally there won't be any "questionable" decorations in my house. InsyaAllah, there'll be a halal Chinese cuisine for lunch. That too, if I'm not alone this 26th. It's no fun cooking for myself alone. And yes, I'd most probably be alone.

I miss the fun and catching up with the rest of my extended family members during this festive season. Honestly I haven't met them since I reverted to Islam. Usually after the giving of angpows (red packets with money) and gifts, we'd sit at the lounge and exchange the latest news, to be continued the following Chinese New Year. I wonder how frail my grandmother is now, how big my nieces are now and where my cousins are studying now. I'd love to meet them again but I can't meet them alone; it's too risky, emotionally draining (in case I'm snubbed or scolded) and I doubt I'd be able to drive home after the meeting. As everyone is home only on Chinese New Year, if I don't meet them this year, it'd have to be postponed till the following year. I'm such a coward; I don't dare to face my still-negative-towards-Islam relatives alone. Reverting to Islam has caused me to be shunned by relatives. A small sacrifice? You tell me.

My first Chinese New Year as a Muslim saw me alone in my hostel block during the festival, as I didn't have anywhere else to go to. Don't even ask I coped that year.
My second year was alhamdulillah much better. I plucked enough courage to invite my mother and brother for a steamboat dinner on the eve, and had a quiet celebration with my husband at home.
This year? Thanks to the festival held on Monday and Tuesday, and plans that do not involve me but my husband, I'd most probably be alone at home. I don't even know what to do now. I certainly don't want to be alone during this festive season. It's not good for me, emotionally and spiritually. I know my self.

Oh sure, some will argue, "It's not compulsory for you to celebrate it now, you're a Muslim now."
"Yeah, right. I'm a Muslim and I'm a Chinese too. Chinese New Year is not compulsory for me to celebrate but it's still not wrong for me to do so. I miss celebrating it as a non-Muslim. Yet I know the limits; what I can and can't do as a Muslim. Sadly, due to circumstances I shan't disclose here, I haven't yet experienced the warmth of a real family celebration during Hari Raya Puasa and Hari Raya Haji, so please don't blame me for wanting to celebrate Chinese New Year the Muslim way with my husband."

So don't blame me for swearing under my breath. As it is now, I leave everything to Allah swt. I'll seek help from Him who is all Knowing and All Fairness. I don't believe my hope to spend CNY with my husband and my family this year is too much nor too selfish, but each person has his or her own perspective. If I'm seen as complaining, so what? If what I see as injustice and there's nobody to help to set things right, what other channel do I have but to express my thoughts in writing? If anyone reading this don't like it, well.. don't continue reading.

As a revert Chinese Muslim, I don't want to be reminded of the sacrifices I've made to be a Muslim, espcially not during this season. Not when everywhere I go I hear festive songs, everywhere I go I see happy faces but I'm to spend the first day of CNY alone in my house? Those who arent' reverts won't understand. Not unless it happens to them themselves.

Put yourself in my shoes.
Walk a few miles in my shoes, and tell me how you'd feel.

I know I trust Him to set everything right.
But I can declare now - I don't want another big test..not this CNY please..but it seems I'd be tested as well.

(note: Sorry, I am not against any Malay Muslim NGOs, which I know, have their own agenda. My husband has his own personal agenda this CNY which unfortunately doesn't include me. I'm just disappointed with the way things turn out this CNY, and with the way plans are made. As I mentioned, I'm only human, and am specially sensitive come every Chinese New Year. You'd know if you're denied spending your Hari Raya with your spouse or your family. And I stand my ground. I resent being left alone on the 1st day of Chinese New Year until the 3rd day, but as a wife I will obey. However, I know that what goes around comes around.. justice will prevail in the end )

Sunday, January 18


"Oh no! I don't want to meet him," I stared at the sms and sighed.
I had gone down to Perak to check on my still-unsold house and to meet a good friend whom I've not met for a year. I had planned it for this weekend in the hope that he wouldn't be around as the coming weekend will be the Chinese new Year eve, and according to tradition, he'd be home then. I didn't think that he'd be back this weekend.
But he was. And he replied the sms I sent, informing that he's in the house that very moment. So I braced myself for another tough meeting.

Ever have the feeling that you want to be elsewhere?
Ever have the feeling that you want to avoid meeting somebody for reasons you know best?
Ever believe that it's best to avoid meeting somebody to prevent an ugly scene?
Well, I have.
And he's my former husband.

Part of me resented him (for the things he did and the things he didn't do) and part of me wished I no longer have to see him ( so that I won't be reminded).
But I told myself that this can't go on forever. As long as we continue to share something between us, we will have to meet one day, whether we like it or not. And the longer I resist, the harder it'd be to finally meet and talk on civil terms. Life is too short to continue to be resentful. Life is too precious to keep skirting around important issues and avoiding certain people. The more we resist, the higher the chances that we'll have to encounter the same people or problem we try to avoid. And the more we resist, the harder it will be when the actual encounter takes place. The universe has a queer way of showing us our mistakes.
So, as I stepped out of the car, I sort of hoped that he's gone. I was wrong He was in the house, so I had to face him. Thankfully, I managed to pull myself together and look at him in the eyes. And the figure that greeted me actually shocked me. He looked very different, as if he's aged 10 years. He even looked rather ill, gaunt even, and for the first time in years, I actually felt sorry for him. Sorry for another human being who looks many many years older than his present age. I don't know what had caused him to look so sickly now because the last time we met, he still looked fine. Oh, the love is gone ( as a woman to a man). Just sympathy as a person would be for a sick neighbour.

That's when I realised that I'm freed of my anger, my hurt, my resentment and any other ill-feelings I have for him. I've forgiven him, period. Really, it's only when we face our problem head-on, that we learn exactly how much we've healed or whether we are still suffering from it. Alhamdulillah I know how I am now. And he was able to talk to me calmly too, and for that, I was glad. He's healed too and we're finally moving on in separate directions.

Yes, I also met his new wife. She greeted me and I greeted her back. We're both women with dreams of having a happy family, and I wish her luck. My time with him is over and hers has just begun. They're back to pack his things and I was there to check on mine. And as much as I tried to prevent it, we bumped into each other.

This encounter is a chance encounter, arranged by Him who knows best. He's chosen the best time and the best place for us to meet after so many months of total silence. I don't remember ever praying for a complete healing of my heart against my former husband, but alhamdulillah I know that I'm fine now.
And as I walked away from the house which has left me with some good and bad memories, I know that Allah swt has other plans for me. That chapter of my past life will be closed once that house finds itself a buyer. And I hope, I really hope, it'd be soon.

Friday, January 16


"They're waiting to die," somebody commented.
"Yeah, why don't they just leave Palestine? Why stay on when they know they will be killed by the Israelis?" his friend added.
"This has been going on for years and they're still staying there. What's so special about that place anyway?"
I overheard them talking in the shop.
Yes, why do the Palestinians remain in that war-torn country? They can leave if they want to, but they choose to remain, even when they know for a fact that they could be injured or killed at any moment.
Palestine is their land. It's their home. They will not be forced to leave.
Nobody had the right to force people who have lived for generations in a country to leave. The Palestinians have been under Israel's occupation and even as we breathe, people are being killed or injured there.

Then why do they stay on even if they know the risks to their lives and the lives of their loved ones? Isn't that foolish? Isn't that being suicidal?
Because theirs is the last stand against the invasion of the Israelis. They, the Palestinians, know it. They themselves are the human shields against the invasion of the Israelis soldiers. Like robbers, the Israelis came to live in the houses of the Palestinians which they did not build and to collect the harvest they did not cultivate. They try to force the Palestinians out of their own country, and when they can't force them by political will, they're trying to do so using weapons.

This is a fight akin to 'David against the Goliath'.The Palestinians are poor. They're not equipped with the best weapons and technology, unlike the Isreal army. They haven't have peace for 18 years. And they're fighting to survive. They're fighting for the right to live in their own land and their own homes. They're fighting to preserve the land they stand on as the land that belongs to a free Islamic nation. They're fighting for the preservation of the al-Aqsa mosque. Whether or not the world help and support them in their cause, they'll continue to fight on.

Yes, they'll fight on even if they're the last one standing. The Isrealis may take away the lives of the children and their mothers, but they can't take away the will of the Palestinians. The Palestinians and Hamas know that if they surrender to the Israelis, that'd be the end of Islamic influence in that sacred land. They will never regain their rights to live there if the Israelis take over the country. So they will continue to fight on, to live and to survive to the best of their ability. They're fighting for the rights to their homes and land, the right to remain in their motherland, and the rights to live.

They're not foolish people who are waiting to be killed by Israelis soldiers who are invading their country. They're the brave ones who have quietly accepted their fate. They trust God more than they trust their weapons and when they see their dead children and family members, they know deep in their hearts that their dead loved ones are in a better place now. They may kill some Palestinians witht their high-tech weapons and machinery but they can't kill the will of her people, whose legacy will continue to live in the hearts of the surviving ones and in the hearts of every brother and sister who love justice and peace.

May Allah swt bless the Palestinians.

Thursday, January 15


"Mona, mari duduk di atas kerusi," saya memanggilnya.
"Tak Mau!" dia menolak ajakan saya dengan nada marah.
Saya melihat Mona yang berbadan besar itu berbaring di atas meja murid. Meja kecil itu dijadikan seperti katil. Nak ketawa ada, nak menangis pun ada apabila melihatnya begitu. Mona pelajar istimewa saya pada lewat 90an. Walaupun umurnya sudah 10 tahun, dia masih berkelakuan seperti kanak-kanak 6 tahun. Berbadan besar, tinggi, sihat dan kemas tetapi tidak mahu mendengar kata-kata guru kecuali guru yang disukainya. Moodnya berubah-ubah dan susah dikawal.
Syukur juga rakan-rakan sekelas Mona memahami dan menerimanya dengan baik. Tulisannya kemas tetapi dia jarang sekali mahu membuat latihan bertulis.
"Mona, mari sini sayang. Teacher nak tengok baju Mona yang putih bersih tu. Mona nampak cantik pakai baju hari ini." saya memujuknya.
Dia tersenyum gembira. Perlahan-lahan dia bangun dari meja kecil itu. Dia tidak berjalan ke arah saya. Sebaliknya dia bersembunyi di belakang pintu kelas, bermain sembunyi-sembunyi pula dengan saya. Saya di antara guru yang disukainya, maka dia biasanya memberi kerjasama yang baik. Kalau dengan guru lain, dia langsung tidak mahu menurut arahan. Ikut suka Mona di mana dia mahu duduk dan apa yang dia mahu buat. Sekiranya guru lain menjatuhkan hukuman, meraunglah Mona sepanjang hari. Pening kami dibuatnya.
Itu Mona.
Tamat sekolah rendah, Mona tidak menyambung pelajaran ke sekolah menengah. Selamat guru sekolah menengah.

"Teacher, Naim duduk di dalam almari!"
Ketua darjah memberitahu saya ketika saya berjalan masuk ke dalam kelas Tahun 2.
"Dia masih di dalam almari?"
"Betul, teacher."
Saya membuka pintu almari besi di belakang bilik darjah. Sah, Naim masih bersembunyi di situ. Dia tersengih melihat saya membuka pintu almari.
"Naim, keluar sekarang."
Dia ketawa lalu menutup pintu almari. Saya memujuk tetapi dia seolah-olah bermain-main dengan saya.
Bum! Bum! Bum! Berkali-kali saya mengetuk pintu almari besi yang ditutup Naim itu dengan pembaris panjang untuk memaksanya keluar. Saya risau bahawa dia akan lemas di dalam almari besi itu. Waktu berjalan tetapi saya terpaksa menumpukan perhatian pada Naim seorang. Marah dan geram juga dengan telatahnya yang tidak mahu mengikut arahan. Akhirnya mungki kerana sakit telinga dengan hentaman saya, Naim keluar daripada almari besi itu dengan muka masam.
Naim pelajar yang bijak, boleh membaca dengan baik tetapi mentalnya seperti kanak-kanak berumur 4 tahun. Dia lebih gemar bermain di dalam kelas, mengganggu pelajar lain daripada membuat kerja yang diberi oleh guru. Setiap hari saya terpaksa memastikan Naim duduk di hadapan kelas semasa saya mengajar supaya dia tidak menimbulkan masalah disiplin. Ada kalanya hanya Naim yang boleh menjawab soalan saya dalam Bahasa Inggeris. Dia gembira apabila saya memujinya pandai.
Itu Naim.
5 bulan selepas itu, ibu Naim terpaksa mengambil keputusan menukarkannya ke sekolah lain kerana Naim sering didenda guru kelasnya yang kurang memahami keadaannya yang hyperaktif.
"Anak saya bukan bodoh, cikgu. Saya tahu dia nakal dan suka bermain, tetapi dia bukan bodoh. Saya sedih, cikgu apabila dia menuduh anak saya bodoh dan tidak boleh diajar," teresak-esak ibu Naim menangis sambil mengadu kepada saya.
Kelas terasa sunyi tanpa kehadiran Naim. Saya tidak perlu mengetuk almari besi lagi.

Pelajar istimewa seperti Naim dan Mona masih wujud di sekolah rendah. Ada yang kes tenat, dan ada juga yang kes ringan. Mereka yang istimewa seperti itu tidak dihantar ke sekolah pendidikan khas kerana ibu bapa mengadu sekolah itu terlalu jauh dari rumah mereka. Maklumlah hanya terdapat sebuah sekolah berkenaan di setiap bandar. Hanya ibu bapa yang sanggup berkorban yang akan mendaftarkan anak mereka di sekolah pendidikan khas. Anak-anak lain dibiarkan bersekolah di sekolah biasa atau ditinggalkan di rumah.

Hasilnya pelajar tersebut menimbulkan pelbagai masalah kepada pihak sekolah dan dirinya sendiri. Dia tidak mendapat bimbingan yang sepatutnya di sekolah biasa kerana guru terpaksa mengajar serta menguruskan pelajar yang ramai. Kekangan masa dan keadaan stres di dalam bilik darjah yang penuh dengan pelajar boleh menyebabkan guru kurang bersabar dengan telatah pelajar istimewa. Dia juga sering dipulaukan pelajar lain kerana mengganggu pembelajaran di dalam kelas. Kasihan mereka itu. Apakah yang bakal berlaku kepada mereka apabila meningkat dewasa? Bagaimanakah masa depan mereka?

Saya teringatkan Mona dan Naim apabila melihat seorang pelajar OKU Tingkatan 1 yang berkerusi roda di sekolah saya pagi tadi.
Sekolah saya yang mempunyai bangunan-bangunan bertingkat 4 kurang sesuai untuknya. Siapakah akan bertanggungjawab jikalau pelajar OKU itu terjatuh semasa diangkat oleh rakan-rakannya dari Tingkat 1 ke Tingkat 4 untuk mengikuti ICTL di dalam makmal komputer, atau untuk ke Pusat Sumber?
Kami tiada hak menghalangnya belajar di sekolah biasa tetapi sempurnakah pembelajarannya kelak sedangkan dia tidak mungkin tidak dapat ke bilik-bilik tertentu yang terletak di tingkat atas bangunan sekolah.

Wednesday, January 14


"Aliya, nak jemur kainkah?" saya ditegur guru lain apabila saya tergesa-gesa keluar dari bilik guru.
"Oh, bakul ni? Isi buku jer," saya tersenyum.
Rupa-rupanya, bakul 'laundry basket' yang saya gunakan itu menjadi perhatian.
"Kenapa bawa bakul?" tanya guru lain.
"Mudah nak bawa buku dan bahan lain, lagipun kelas-kelas saya jauh di blok lain. Jalan pun sudah 10 minit baru sampai, kalau nak tunggu pelajar ambil buku, susah kita nak uruskan pengajaran."
Sebenarnya ini bukan bakul buku saya yang pertama.
Ini bakul yang ketiga semenjak tahun 1998.
Saya mulakan dengan bakul 'pasar' yang kecil pada tahun 1998, kemudian beralih kepada bakul 'laundry' yang besar pada tahun 2000.
Namun setiap kali saya gunakan di sekolah baru, semua akan menegur.
Bukan saya nak tunjuk rajin, tetapi bakul itu satu keperluan bagi saya. Mustahil bagi saya untuk meminta pelajar berjalan 2 blok bangunan turun naik tangga untuk mengambil buku mereka di atas meja saya. Membuang masa. Akhirnya saya juga yang terpaksa kembali ke bilik guru mendapatkan mereka. Lebih baik saya uruskan sendiri.
Penat memang penat mengangkat bakul 'laundry' yang penuh dengan buku latihan, buku kerja mahupun bahan pengajaran. Apakan daya. Bilik darjah tiada telefon atau sistem perhubungan yang membolehkan saya memanggil pelajar ke bilik guru dengan segera. Bukan seperti pejabat-pejabat kerajaan yang lain.
Sekarang pelajar (terutama yang mahu mencuri tulang) pula berebut untuk mengangkat bakul saya itu, hahahaa...
(Jikalau semua kelas saya di tingkat yang sama, saya mahu membawa troli tetapi susah, ada di tingkat 1, ada pula di tingkat 3 bangunan.

Tuesday, January 13


"You know ahh.. I went to Turkey, the Muslims there have so much freedom to practice their religion," said my Chinese friend who is an avid traveller.
"Oh? What do you mean?" I asked her quietly, smiling meaningfully as I waited for her to explain.
"Only a few Muslim women wear the tudung there.. the rest don't wear tudung. And my tour guide is so cute; she doesn't pray 5 times a day. She told me she prays whenever she thinks suitable," my friend laughed.
"Oh.. I see. Well, Turkey is a secular country."
"No, no.. Turkey is a Muslim country, right? And the Indonesians are so liberal la.. they don't behave or think like what the Malaysian Muslims here do. They are free to live as they like and wear as they like. Not like we see here, the girls are forced to wear the tudung even when they don't like it. Here, we see Muslims instructing other Muslims to live their way."
"Actually, the wearing of tudung and to pray 5 times a day is stated very clearly in the al-Quran. Those who don't follow are the ones who have problems," I tried to explain to her.
I paused and added, "But you know right, the Muslims in Turki can't wear tudung into the schools and universities even when they want to? You do know that in Turkey, women are banned from wearing tudung in government institutions?"
Her face changed. She froze. "No.. I didn't know that? Really ah?"
I nodded."Yes, Muslim women in Turkey are banned from wearing tudung in schools and universities. That's why you see only a few women in tudung when you're there. Those who wear tudung will not be allowed to enter the schools and public universities. I suppose you tour guide didn't tell you that?"
Sometimes I wonder how other people regard me. There I was, a Muslim all clad in tudung, baju kurung and covered from head to toe except my face and palms of my hands (more covered than some Malay ladies sitting beside us), and this Chinese friend was saying things about my religion as if I were not one of its faithful followers :P. Perhaps the fact that I speak their language (Chinese) and still think like one of them, makes them forget at times that I take Islam seriously, only that I don't force the religion down their throats.
She looked at me seriously and said, "Then that shows that the Muslims can never be united. They can't even decide when to wear tudung and when not to. They share one religion but they have so many different interpretations. In Turkey they interpret it one way, in Indonesia another way and here in Malaysia, we see a more extreme version of Islam. "

Monday, January 12


I left home rather late, and arrived at the local shopping mall 2 hours after my normal lunch break. To my dismay, the only restaurant in that small complex is KFC. Hmmm.. determined not to spend money there, I walked around and saw a small shop selling waffles, operated by a Malay lady.
"Give me a waffle, please.." I ordered, and again, my heart sank when I saw the price list.
Shopping is not my favourite way of spending time unless I'm loaded with money. Yet it's a necessity when the fridge is empty.
And this time around, I made a conscious effort not to buy anything from a company that has been proven to support the Israelis. It's quite easy for me because I seldom drink Coca-cola and Nescafe. I don't use Colgate and seldom wear the branded US-made clothes, make-up and perfume anyway. As a consumer, I believe I've the right to choose whichever brand of items I want to buy, and I'm leaving the US-based products on the shelves.
The Chinese shoppers were busy loading festive stuff into their trolley. I looked at the decorative items on sale and remembered how I used to add those items into my collection each year. Well, there won't be any decorations on the wall of my house other that what's necessary.

Sigh! Chinese New Year is only 2 weeks away but I'm not in a festive mood this year. I haven't prepared anything for the Spring Festival. Some plans for this year's Chinese New Year has to be postponed as I'm still stuck in my present dwelling. I pray that next year I'd be able to celebrate this festival in a better condition and make it as a form of dakwah to others as well. I'd need my husband's support for this to happen. (Sometimes I have to remind him that he's married to a Chinese and his in-laws are still Buddhists, huhuhu).

At the cash counter, the Malay couple in front of me bought a hamper of food stuff, which I assume, is for their Chinese friend. I'd done the same too except for the thought that perhaps some of the food items wrapped in the hamper might not be 100% halal or are near their expiry dates. It's really hard work to handpick suitable items to be wrapped for a hamper to be given to a Chinese family as I can't give non-halal items or items that I know they don't eat (my family tradition requires married women to give foodstuff to the older generation as a sign of respect, in replacement of the regular red ang-pau packet).
Guess next week I'd have to go out again for the festive shopping and hopefully, be able to get my mother some new clothes and foodstuff. It'd be like looking for a needle in a hay-stack because there aren't many suitable clothes an old woman can buy from the supermarket rack nowadays. If only she would wear a baju kurung that comes in only 3 sizes... shopping would have been so much easier, huhuhu.

note: sorry, something wrong with blogger. I can't post any pic

Saturday, January 10


"Saya tidak mahu sentuh tentang agama sebab bagi saya ini tiada kaitan dengan agama. Kita perlu lihat isu ini dari aspek kemanusiaan. Apabila kita lihat gambar bayi yang dijumpai mati tanpa kepala, kita jadi sebak. Kita bayangkan kalau bayi iu bayi kita.."
Translated, she said, " I don't want to touch about religion because for me, this has little to do with religion. We have to see this issue from the aspect of humanity. When we look at the picture of a headless Palestinian baby found in Gaza, we all feel sad. We imagine what if that baby is our child.."

She shared her opinion with the rest of her colleagues and I could see that everyone nodded in agreement. It was Saturday and the 50-odd teachers were attending a short one-day course to improve their teaching skills. I was fortunate; I happened to be at the right place at the right time.

The teacher's views about this issue is uncommon but it makes sense. The current situation in Gaza is no longer just about two different religious groups fighting over a territory. It has become an international concern when hundreds of innocent lives are lost in 2 weeks due to bombings by the Israelis. The Palestinians are not just Muslims. There are Christians too. The death toll has reached to 800 Palestinians dead and will continue to increase unless both parties stop fighting.

A bomb does not select its victims. Once its launched, it'd land on anyone- Christians, Muslims and aethists. As we know, civilians including children have been killed, maimed or injured. No child deserves to be treated the way the Israelis are treating Palestinian children. No mother deserves to watch her child injured or death, shot in the head by those heartless soldiers in the name of "protecting their own race".

While we continue to pray for the Palestinians and curse the Israelis, we should also do what the lady teacher had done this morning. We should help to make our non-Muslim friends, neighbours and anyone we come in contact with realise that the situation in Gaza is an international concern. Anyone with a caring heart, whether they're Muslims, Christians, Hindus or of other religions and beliefs, should speak up for the Palestinians and insist on a ceasefire between the Israelis soldiers and Hamas.

If Muslims fight alone, we have only a voice but if we explain the real situation to our non-Muslim friends about the real need for a unified protest, insyaAllah we will have a stronger voice. The struggle of the Palestinians for their own land will never end unless the whole world unite and speak up for their rights. Islam is not in danger now for Allah swt will safeguard Islam. However, the lives of the innocent children in Gaza is in danger. The world peace is in danger. Humanity is in danger. Today the Palestinians are the victims. Tomorrow it could be another weak nation.

Talk to our Muslim and non-Muslim friends.
Explain the current situation to them so that the ignorant ones will no longer be ignorant; so that the 'I-don't-care' ones will start to care and that those who see this issue as a Muslim's fight will realise that this is a fight for justice. The Israelis care only for themselves.

So when asking people to help the Palestinians, please don't limit your dakwah to only Muslims. True Muslims will respond even without prompting but others may need true information about why we call the Palestinians "victims" and the Israelis as "aggressors".
Anyone with love in their hearts for another human being will want to help in any way they can, if they're not misinformed and misguided to believe that the fight for the Palestinians is only a fight of the Muslims.
It's not.
It's a fight for justice, a fight for humanity, and a fight for the future of the human race.

Friday, January 9


"Kalau tuhan mereka kuat, mengapa orang-orang itu masih diserang dan dibunuh? Mengapa tuhan mereka tidak membantu mereka?"
Saya sering mendengar komen sebegitu. Ketika itu, saya mendiamkan diri kerana saya belum lagi Islam. Tidak mengiakan, juga tidak menjawab. Kini saya masih mendengarnya lebih-lebih lagi dengan krisis yang sedang melanda orang Palestin di Semenanjung Gaza.

Ya, sekiranya seorang yang bukan Islam bertanya kepada anda mengapa Allah swt membiarkan orang Islam Palestin hidup merana, apakah yang sepatutnya anda jawab?
Itu semua di bawah ketentuan Allah swt?
Itu semua satu bentuk ujianNya kepada mereka?
Bahawa Allah swt akan membalas tindakan kejam rejim Zionis dalam bentuk lain? pada waktu lain? di akhirat nanti?
Mungkin... wallahu'alam.

Apakah pula tindakan orang Islam seperti anda yang mengaku bahawa semua orang Islam itu bersaudara? Marah? Geram? Mengecam?
Itu saja?
Atau sudah tidak endah.. itu berita lapuk?

Sudahkah memboikot barangan keluaran USA dan syarikat-syarikat yang menyokong rejim Zionis? Pulaukan KFC, MacDonald, Starbucks, Coca-cola, Pepsi, dan sebagainya? Tidak lagi membeli makanan jenama Nestle, alat solek jenama Loreal, Revlon, Clinique, dan Maybelline, Perfume jenama Estee Lauder, armani, Boss; jenama Johnson&Johnson, KitKat, Kleenex dan sebagainya yang dipercayai menyumbang kepada rejim Zionis?

Sudahkan berdoa untuk kesejahteraan rakyat Palestin dan semua umat Islam yang ditindas tentera Israel dan sekutunya? Sudahkah berdoa agar Allah swt segera menjatuhkan bala kepada puak-puak yang bermaharajalela itu?

Rakyat Palestin sudah lama hidup merana menjadi mangsa rejim Zionis. Berjuang membebaskan tanahair dan keinginan untuk mati syahid sudah menjadi sebahagian daripada kehidupan mereka. Mereka sudah biasa dengan ujianNya yang menguji keimanan, ketabahan dan kesabaran mereka.
Tetapi apakah pengajarannya kepada kita?
Apakah ikhtibar yang kita dapat daripada peristiwa demi peristiwa sedih yang melanda umat Islam dewasa ini?
Sudah tentu segala yang berlaku ini bukan satu kebetulan tetapi sesuatu yang ada hikmah di sebaliknya.
Ini satu "wake-up call" kepada umat Islam. Semakin bersatu umat Islam seluruh dunia, semakin kuatlah kita. Berpecah belah seperti yang sedang berlaku sekarang, maka semakin rapuhlah persaudaraan Islam kita dan semakin mudah kita menjadi mangsa musuh-musuh yang sudahpun dinyatakan dengan jelas di dalam kitab al-Quran.
Mahukah kita membiarkan mereka yang bukan Islam mendahului kita orang Islam dalam memberi bantuan kepada orang Palestin yang seagama dengan kita?

Hairan... setiap tahun berjuta-juta umat Islam berkumpul di Mekkah untuk mengerjakan ibadat haji. Sekiranya setiap yang pernah menjadi tetamu Allah di Mekkah itu kini memegang sepucuk senapang, sudah berapa ramaikah jumlah tentera Islam menentang Israel di Semenanjung Gaza? Hairan, ke manakah perginya mereka selepas musim haji?

Hairan.. senyap suara kerajaan-kerajaan yang mengaku negara Islam. Negara-negara seperti Brunei dan Saudi Arabia antara negara terkaya di dunia tetapi kelihatan lemah sekali. Mungkinkah kekuatan kerajaan Islam sekarang hanya terletak di meja bulat OIC? Sampai bilakah perundingan demi perundingan harus diteruskan sedangkan setiap saat ada manusia yang mati atau cedera akibat kekejaman puak Zionis? Lemah sangatkah kerajaan Islam yang mengeluarkan sejuta-juta tong minyak mentah dunia? Benarlah PBB dan OIC sudah menjadi seperti patung tidak bernyawa, hidup segan mati tak mahu.

Hairan.. jumlah hadirin yang pergi ke majlis perkahwinan Mawi-Ekin tempoh hari menjangkau 20 ribu orang, dan kira-kira 90% mereka orang Melayu (orang Islam?). Pergi ke majlis perkahwinan begitu yang mungkin tidak mendapat pahala. Namun hanya 5 ribu orang yang hadir untuk menunjukkan protes mereka terhadap penganiayaan penduduk Palestin, sedangkan kehadiran yang lebih ramai bakal mencerminkan kekuatan persaudaraan umat Islam kepada semua penduduk di negara ini.
Adakah itu mencerminkan bahawa umat Islam kita kini kurang prihatin terhadap masalah yang sedang dihadapi oleh saudara Islam kita yang lain?
Atau adakah kurangnya penglibatan umat Islam dalam demonstrasi membantah keganasan Israel terhadap rakyat Palestin itu satu petanda bahawa orang kita sudah lebih gemarkan hiburan daripada melibatkan diri dalam hal-hal berkaitan agama Islam? Sudah tak kisah lagi dengan laungan dunia mengecam rejim Zionis dan Israel kerana "selagi bukan aku dan keluarga aku yang menjadi mangsa, peduli apa?"

Mungkinkah masalah yang dihadapi orang Palestin di Semenanjung Gaza sebenarnya ujian Allah swt kepada kita?
Menguji kekuatan kita sebagai umat Islam yang mengaku bersaudara?
Menguji tindakan kita sebagai hamba yang tunduk kepada segala suruhanNya?
Menguji kerelaan kita untuk menyumbang membantu saudara seagama kita yang memerlukan segala bantuan yang mampu kita hulurkan?
Menguji ketaqwaan kita padaNya dan rasa syukur kita yang dapat hidup aman di bumi Malaysia?

Saya tiada jawapannya.
Tanyalah isi hati anda sendiri.

Thursday, January 8


Syukur alhamdulillah,
I live to see another 8 January.

I'm going to do an RTM (learn this from my student LOL) today..loving myself more, at a year older.

Thanks Mum, for being so patient during your difficult pregnancy and giving birth to me. And thanks for not naming me after all the cups of Kopi-O you drank when you're pregnant with me :P

And it's good to know that we'll be celebrating our birthdays throughout the year, dear

Wednesday, January 7


It's only the 3rd day of school and already I can't wait for Friday, huhuhu.
The early morning rush for work begins as early as 5.30am. The mere thought of having to answer to the principal for being late forces me to be out of the house before 7am, so that I would reach the office by 7.25am.
Alhamdulillah, I'm still able to cope with my workload. Although I still suffer from an occasional pain on my wound when I drive or stretch too much, it hasn't slowed me down too much. I still walk faster than my students.
Teaching in a secondary school is tough, with the last lesson ending as late as 3.05pm on Wednesdays. And today I reached home at 6.30pm because the students have their self-defence training in the evening. As the club advisor, I have to be present each time they train. They enjoy kicking, and I enjoy watching them kick, hehehe.

I need more vitamin E. More energy to do more. More enthusiasm to want to do more.
And I pray for more vitamin M. More money to live a more comfortable life. I'm still waiting for graduate teacher's salary. More motivation for myself and my students.

Sorry if I haven't replied to all your comments. The heart is willing but the mind is tired. First week of school is very hectic, with meetings, and loads of paperwork to be completed as soon as possible. As I'm still new to the school, I have to learn new ways of doing things here so it's another new challenge.

Well anyway, I'm still grateful. After more than 15 years working, I still love this job. Each day is never the same when you deal with young people. Alhamdulillah.. alhamdulillah..alhamdulillah.

Monday, January 5


"Teacher, you're our class teacher?" asked a young lady excitedly when I entered the classroom.
I nodded silently. The chatter stopped and thirty pairs of eyes looked at me.
"Gosh, they haven't changed a bit," I thought to myself.
"Good morning!" I thundered.
In a very slow motion, the young gentlemen stretched themselves and stood up while the ladies urged them with loud hisses and hand motions.
I stood facing them, taking in their facial expressions and listening to all the whispers. All of them are seventeen years old, in their most important year at school. And (God help me) I'm their teacher, their manager and their counsellor.
"Good morning... teacher..." the ladies wished me in a sing-song way and the gentlemen mumbled incomprehensively.
"Good morning, everyone. Sit down."
They smiled back at me. Ahhh, the same mischievious smiles.
A few gentlemen were beginning to yawn.
Time for action.
I noticed that some powder from the chalk had settled on my headscarf.
Just great! It's about time I polish my acting skills after 2 months of rest. The classroom is my stage and the students are my audience. I'd be the friend, the tyrant, the storyteller or the motivator; whichever role suits the occasion and the needs of my students.
Welcome back to school, Puan Aliya.

Sunday, January 4


I'm sick of reading the newspapers about the endless massacre of Palestinians at Gaza and other senseless killings of Muslims.
If you're still ignorant how serious the situations are, watch this flash slideshow even if you don't understand the lyrics.
A picture speaks a thousand words.
Watch it anyway.

Saturday, January 3


That's all I could utter as I looked at my duties for the 2009 school year.
Most of the duties I had not anticipated at all.
Hmm.. class teacher of one of the most notorious groups of students in school, in charge of a new self-defence/sports I have never learned, teaching exam classes, managing over 200 students in my Sports House for the school Sports Day are among the new duties assigned to me.

As I'm writing this, I'm thinking, "How am I to bring 2 groups of teenagers who are of different races and religions to work together for the common good?"

And I'm also thinking,"How am I going to make students to sympathise with the Palestinians and realise the need to help the Palestinians in any way they can? Most teens today think only about having fun."

Have to get my brain cells working hard after 2 months of rest, hehehe.
I'm praying that I'd be healthy and sick-free in 2009 so that I can focus on my work in school, insyaAllah. Couldn't do as much as I had wanted to last year as I was down with several health problems.

May Allah swt give me the strength, wisdom and willpower to perform my duties well at school and to be able to do well in other areas of my life in 2009, ameen.

Friday, January 2


"Maaf, siapa ni?"
Saya sibuk tetapi masih melayan panggilan telefon.
Panggilan yang tidak diduga itu agak memanaskan hati. Nak kata saya tak marah adalah bohong; saya memang marah ketika itu. Dan marah saya memang berasas. Sekarang sudah padam, alhamdulillah.
"Tapi saya sudah berjanji dengannya."
"Itu tak ada kaitan dengan saya. Saya lihat ada kekosongan, saya ambillah. Lagipun masa saya ambil, ia memang tidak bertuan."
"Tapi Aliya, tempat itu sudah saya "book".Dia minta tolong saya dapatkan untuknya."
"Maaf, saya tidak akan berganjak. Itu satu-satunya tempat kosong yang ada. Lagipun saya lebih lama di sini sedangkan kawan anda belum pun tiba. Tempat saya yang lama itu hanya sementara dan tidak sesuai untuk kerja saya yang bertimbun-timbun pada tahun 2009 ini."
Lama dia berbicara. Saya terus berhujah. Kedengaran suaranya yang hampa dengan keputusan saya.

Mungkin 10 tahun yang lalu, jikalau perkara yang serupa berlaku, saya mungkin akan mengalah dan menyerahkan tempat itu kepadanya. Oh, sekarang tidak. Saya tidak akan membiarkan diri saya dibuli. Baik hak saya sebagai seorang warga negara, warga pendidik, isteri dan Muslimah, akan saya pertahankan sebaik mungkin.

Hairan bagaimana seorang wanita yang berpelajaran tinggi, dan berilmu dalam bidang agama Islam sanggup mengambil tindakan sebegitu. Saya cukup terkilan. Bukan kali pertama saya menghadapi masalah yang serupa dengan wanita Islam. Mungkin berhadapan dengan mereka yang "kurang arif dalam bab agama dari segi pemakaian dan cara hidup", boleh saya maafkan dan bersabar tetapi bagaimana harus saya hadapi mereka yang sudah berapa kali katam al-Quran dan dengan pengetahuan agama di dada, sepatutnya bersikap lebih baik daripada empunya diri ini? Apabila saya menegur dan menyatakan pendapat saya, saya pula dituduh "cuba tunjuk pandai" dan "berkasar". Ya lah, saya inikan tidak pandai berbahasa indah-indah seperti wanita Melayu jati, sudah tentu bahasa ala Cina terus-terang saya ini dianggap "kasar"?

Saya kecewa. Kecewa dengan sikap yang ditunjukkan oleh wanita-wanita Islam yang sudah boleh digelar 'ustazah';mereka yang sepatutnya menjadi contoh kepada Muslimin dan Muslimat lain namun masih ada kekurangan yang ditampilkan secara langsung kepada orang-orang yang "lebih lemah", sama disedari atau tidak disedari. Sikap agak mementingkan diri dan sahabat lain daripada mengambil kira hak dan perasaan kita, terserlah melalui tindakan-tindakan yang kurang mencerminkan sikap Muslimah yang sepatutnya. Apabila hak orang lain diketepikan demi kepentingan sendiri atau untuk menjaga hati sahabat baik, keluarga dan sanak saudara, bukankah itu satu pilihan yang tidak mengikut ajaran Islam? Setahu saya, Islam mementingkan keadilan untuk semua. Apabila keadilan diketepikan atau sengaja dilupakan demi keluarga atau sahabat sendiri, sikap apakah itu? Sudah lupakah segala ajaran dalam al-Quran tentang kepentingan bersikap adil dalam semua perkara?

'Janganlah kamu tertarik kerana kebencianmu terhadap satu kaum sehingga kamu tidak berlaku adil. Berlaku adillah, kerana keadilan itu lebih dekat dengan taqwa dan takutlah kepada Allah'. (surah Al Maidah: 8)

Benarlah kata seorang kawan, "Setiap orang suka kalau orang lain berlaku adil kerana ia menguntungkan diri, walaupun dia sendiri tidak boleh berlaku adil pada orang lain".

Apabila saya diminta mengundur diri atau menyerahkan sebahagian daripada hak saya semata-mata kerana mahu menjaga hati pihak lain, perlukah saya berbuat demikian? Bagaimana pula dengan hak saya? Bukan mudah untuk menerima tindakan orang lain yang "berat sebelah" apabila diri sudah cuba bertindak adil dalam hubungan sesama manusia. Hanya Allah swt yang menjadi saksi.

Ahhh.. saya tidak akan berganjak dari kedudukan saya.
Saya tidak akan menyerah tanpa berjuang.
Jikalau mereka sudah berada di zon selesa, sudah masanya mereka disedarkan supaya tidak terus menjadi fossil.
Saya sudah lama bersabar.
Mungkin ini masanya saya berdegil.

Thursday, January 1


Booomm... phiuuu!!
Saya menjenguk keluar tingkap. Terpegun sementara dengan persembahan bunga api yang menghiasi langit tengah malam. Bukan satu tetapi berderet-deret, dan boleh dilihat dari beberapa sudut rumah saya.

Dalam diam, saya mengagak-agak. Berapakah banyak wang yang dibakar untuk mengadakan persembahan bunga api itu? Sepuluh ribu? Dua puluh ribu ringgit?
Ahhh, alangkah baiknya jikalau wang yang dibakar dalam tempoh lima minit itu boleh digunakan untuk membangunkan golongan rakyat miskin atau untuk kanak-kanak yatim piatu yang memerlukan bantuan.

Piit!pit! pit!
Sms bertalu-talu daripada rakan-rakan mengelikan hati. Ya, terima kasih. Saya sudahpun menyambut Tahun Baru beberapa hari yang lepas, iaitu tahun Masihi ke-1430. Agaknya pihak telekomunikasi yang untung banyak setiap 31 Disember kerana orang ramai suka menghantar ucapan "Selamat Tahun Baru". Hairan, dahulu tiada, sekarang seolah-olah satu trend pula. Sekali lagi wang mengalir keluar..

Saya sudah semakin malas membaca suratkhabar.
Ada sahaja berita pembunuhan di Semenanjung Gaza. Sedih apabila membaca berita begitu. Hanya mampu mendoakan kesejahteraan mereka yang menjadi mangsa.
Ada sahaja berita politik yang sengaja disensasikan di muka depan surat khabar. Meluat dan menggeleng-geleng kepala setiap kali membaca berita politik. Teringat saya akan amaran "Awasi lidah, jauhi fitnah".
Harapan saya, jangan pula dunia politik tanahair menjadi semakin kotor.

Tahun 2009.
Satu pertukaran digit dari 8 ke 9.
Satu edaran baru selepas genap pusingan 365 hari.
Saya bukan jenis yang suka keluar rumah semata-mata untuk melihat pertunjukan bunga api dan menyambut tahun baru dengan cara berpesta dan menyaksikan persembahan para penyanyi dan penari.

Ini bukan budaya Malaysia tetapi telah menular ke sini.. alahai..

Silap langkah, bakal mengundang lebih banyak maksiat dan perbuatan dosa.
Bagi saya, tak sambut tahun baru dalam kalendar Roman ini pun, tahun berikutnya tetap muncul juga. Esok masih akan berkunjung tiba. Lainlah jikalau esok merupakan Hari Kiamat.
Syukur saya masih hidup dan berpeluang insyaAllah, untuk melakukan lebih banyak pahala.
Semoga Allah swt menjauhkan saya daripada menambah dosa.

Saya tidak lagi membuat azam baru pada setiap 1 Januari. Dah tua, dah matang, hahahaa.. azam akan tetap tinggal azam sekiranya diri sendiri kurang inisiatif untuk bertindak ke arah itu. Sekarang jikalau hendak melakukan sesuatu, pertimbangkan dengan teliti dan lakukan sahaja apabila mencapai keputusan muktamad. Hidup lebih ceria apabila diri tidak lagi terikat dengan berpuluh-puluh azam yang ditulis pada awal tahun, hehehe.

Selamat menggantung kalendar baru di rumah dan pejabat.
Selamat bercuti bersama-sama orang tersayang.
Ingat, tulis 2009. Bukan lagi 2008.



As an art lover, I enjoyed the rich arts and culture of the Chinese people. Wish I have enough RenMinBi and more people to help me carry my bags (1 person limited to 20kg, huhuhu). Alhamdulillah I managed to get some of the things I had planned to buy and see things I had hoped to see.

Here's the lovely embroidered pictures which will definitely brighten up a room. Wish I could take all back home, hehehee.
The girl who was embroidering this piece of art told me that it will take her 4 months to complete the picture. Wah-lao! 4 months? Such patience. Her stitches were so neat and delicate. No wonder the pictures are expensive!

I got one of these marble name chops made, with my Islamic name in Roman and Chinese characters. The friendly lady wrote mine as "aa-lik-ya" meaning pretty and elegant (I elegant? hahahaaa)

The Chinese people are such patient workers. Here's a lady handpainting a Cloissone (enamelware) vase which has to undergo several long and delicate process before it can be displayed and sold.

The Tea House lady demonstrated how to make a good teapot of tea and different ways of drinking them. Types of popular tea are Pu-er, Empress tea, Jasmine tea , and Rose Tea. How to ensure the water is boiling hot? Use a pee-pee boy, hahahaa... that's a clay doll of a naked peeing boy which when hot water is poured on it, will start to dot-dot-dot.. (Sorry, can't show its image here, offensive to some, hehehe)

I found some lovely papercuttings at the shops. This is an art passed down through generations in certain families in China. This complicated and symmetrical piece took the artist (also the salesgirl) 4 hours to complete using a small pair of sharp scissors.

After searching, I found a sandalwood fan with a picture of the Great Wall.

Pretty chopsticks to take home. They're good for eating noodles, given as souvenirs and can even be used for self-defence (remind me to keep a pair in my handbag :P)
China is famous for jade but make sure you get them from reputable factory or shops. We learn to recognise real jade from fake ones.

I wanted to get myself some Islamic Chinese calligraphy pieces like this one but was told that roads leading to area selling them had been closed due to snow. Too bad, maybe next time. It's so difficult to find these in Malaysia.

We went to watch an Acrobatic show. Interesting. Am really impressed with the bian-lian (face-changing) performances. Still can't figure out how the artistes could change their painted faces from one mask to another at the fraction of a second - right before your eyes!

We went shopping at the Markets in Beijing. What fun we had bargaining China's style, hehehe (learn to smile and laugh even as you bargain). Some of us were chased by eager salesgirls and a few were pulled back when we walked away after some tough bargaining ("Ok, ok.. you get it for your price"hahaha). I like the way they display thair merchandise in the small shops - so neat and eye-catching. And we could find all sorts of things in the Markets - clothes, traditional items, souvenirs, watches, electronics, etc all sold at affordable prices in one single building. Hmmm, wish we have this concept back in Malaysia.

This is the last of my entry about my trip to Beijing. The Chinese have managed to preserve their arts and culture for generations and I'm grateful to be given to chance to see some of them. Of course, I should also mention about the food massage I had at the Chinese Traditional Medicine Centre (ermm, great), the Fresh Water Pearl Centre (learn how to recognise a real pearl from a fake), the Burning Cream Centre (watched a man's hand being burned and healed within minutes, and ended up buying some cream, huhuhu), the Silk Store (touched a silk cocoon and upon shaking it, realised that the dead silk worms were still inside, euww) and the Jade and Chrystal shop (watched a man cut designs on a jade piece using a machine - awesome!), which we went to as part of our tour.

Alhamdulillah despite all trials and tests we had managed to reach there and return home safely. If you're planning to go soon, do note that it's snowing now and you can try skiing. It's lovely in spring but dusty by the end of the season.

Oh yes, I went with the TM Tours and Travels Sdn Bhd, which is based in Kuala Lumpur. Am very satisfied with their services, and we flew with MAS.

My next trip oversea? Hmmm tell you later..pray that I'll have more halal rezeki from Allah. Got plenty of work to do this coming school year.. aduhhh!!!


for more pics: