Thursday, May 31, 2007

Freedom To Choose A Religion.

One thing for sure, Lina Joy won't be arrested for the choice she has made years ago to become a Christian. But she can't tell the good folks at the National Registration Department (NRD) to delete the word Islam off her Mykad so that she could go on with her life as a staunch Christian. Marry her Christian boyfriend, and in a couple of years, give birth to a couple of Christian children who will be running around the house singing Jingle Bell Jingle All The way. The children will probably grow up to become Santa Claus or a high priest, or a vicar, or even a pope. Lina Joy will probably die a Christian and be buried in a Christian cemetery. They are gonna put up a cross high as the Eiffel Tower on her grave as a mark of respect for her diligence and steadfastness to hold on to Christianity because it meant something to her. To Lina Joy all this is a fight against those who get in her way of becoming a Christian martyr. Maybe she will be made a saint. That would be something to her children, grandchildren and great great grandchildren to write about. And that would be something for the Malay community too. Whaddaya know, someone who used to be a Muslim and now look at her, a Christian saint. Boy, she's gone very far that girl, eh? And the community will go on with life completely undisturbed by the whole thing because if being a Christian is what she wants so be it.
Maybe I didn't get it. But from the blogs I've read written by big names, and the comments they generated from the readers, I got the impression that all this is about Lina Joy being denied the right to exercise her freedom to choose a religion. Now wait a minute, isn't Lina Joy free to choose hers? And she has made that choice on her own accord as a thinking adult, so she thinks. Isn't she free to go to any church she wants? I think she can even put on a t-shirt with 'Hey Look, I'm A Christian Now So Bug Off!' and I bet no one is gonna disturb her. Maybe she's gonna get some nasty remarks but that's what you get for wearing that kind of t-shirt if you are a Malay.
And I don't see the point of bringing in the Qur'an verse about '...there's no compulsion in Islam.' when it is obvious that Lina Joy is a living proof that she doesn't have to accept Islam if she doesn't want to. This is not about compulsion. This is about the NRD not being given the power to delete anything permanently from a Mykad. And this is a good thing because should the NRD have that power, imagine the damage it can do to your life should an officer decide to have a bit of fun with the spelling of your name, or your religion. Or your date of birth.
So what does Lina Joy gotta do to solve this problem? She has to make the trip to Jabatan Agama Islam, or the Syariah Court. She has to officially denounce herself a Muslim before a Mufti or the official representatives of the state. Maybe she has to bring along a Christian priest just in case the good folks at the Jabatan Agama Islam need a working statement from a living person to support her application to get rid of Islam off her back. If she can't get a priest I believe she may have to bring along a Santa Claus but she may have to wait until November or December. With this she would be able to obtain the official letter as proof that she is now officially a non-Muslim. With this letter she has to make one last trip to the NRD to submit the letter to the good folks there and they would be more than happy to delete whatever word she wants erased off her Mykad permanently.
This case has got to come to an end because the longer this goes on, a lot of people are going to get all boiled up inside and who knows what's gonna happen when people are boiled up inside. I don't think the Muslims will take kindly to non-Muslims coming in to air their views in this issue when the issue isn't about human rights but more of administrative and procedural process of a government department. As it is now, no thanks to Lina Joy, the non-Muslim are writing about Islam in a manner that could annoy the Muslims in a big way. You don't see Muslims writing about Christianity even though Lina Joy offers an interesting opportunity to write about Christianity that could get the Christian annoyed big time. It's a free country but it is not wise to exercise this freedom at the risk of starting a fight that could escalate into a sectarian violence. Unless of course, this is the hidden intention among those who see Lina Joy's case as a chance to sound intellectual, open-minded and well-read by writing about it as if Lina Joy is the only Malay Christian in the world who need to be defended at all costs just in case she decides to become Muslim again.
The blog entitled 'Do We Believe In Qur'an?' by Marina Mahathir got me thinking; why the need for the question mark? Is it an indication that Qur'an is a questionable source of reference? Or is it a direct question whether Qur'an is indeed capable of dealing with Lina Joy or many other Lina Joys to come now that it is trendy to ask a lot of questions hoping that the Qur'an won't provide the answer because it is trendy to read the translation not learn it the way it supposed to be learnt. All I know is, a person who reads Qur'an every day but is clueless or completely at sea with its meaning will not think twice to defend the Qur'an with his or her life when someone as much as say something like 'huh' to Qur'an. Is this fanaticism? To the westerners maybe, but to Muslims its Iman.
To Lina Joy if you happen to read this; please, ma'am. You gotta resolve this issue fast. As a good Christian, I'm sure you don't want to see things turning ugly on your account because I'm sure you know you are not worth the salt to be dying for or getting into a fight for. You may think Islam is trying to force you to accept things you find repulsive but the truth is Islam won't lose anything if you to decide to become the first female pope. Islam doesn't lose anything if everyone on earth decides to become Christian or whatever religion that may come along as time goes by. The truth is, this is your personal fight with the NRD so deal with it. Do the right thing because there are lot of people out there who think all this is about human rights, no compulsion in Islam, or Syariah Court is now above everything else. Well maybe it's about time the Syariah Court should be made the highest court in this boleh land. After all it's a boleh thing to do. It ain't that hard. And by the looks of it, maybe it will soon.
Next Entry: Now that Lina Joy has started this whole thing, the Muslimin and the Muslimah with a bit of Iman in their heart should stick together in a movement to make Malaysia a truly Islamic Republic which means, let's have Friday as the weekend since we gave in to the Christian long enough for the Sunday weekend. Isn't it about time the Christian give in to the Muslim for a Friday weekend, afterall the Muslims gave in to them since the Portuguese time and since this is the 50th Merdeka and all, it's about time we call this country The Islamic Republic of Malaysia. We gotta start this whole thing rolling. Maybe it has started already that I am now aware of since the voice can now be heard in most masjid and surau all over the country. Human rights? Remember our brothers in Guantanamo Bay, mates!
You picked the wrong time to fight your case, Lina Joy. And those behind you picked the wrong time to be kurang ajar.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Is Blogging Getting Out Of Style?

Or maybe not, but I got the feeling blogging is no longer a cool thing to do like it used to. It could be that bloggers who used to be prolific writers are taking a break from blogging to recharge, or they could be up to doing something productive like poring over books to research for new materials to blog about. Or walking the street with a brand new 10 megapixel digital camera, on the look out to pick up small ideas that can be enlarged into a super entry that could convert you into a vegetarian for the rest of your life.
It doesn't take a statistician to see that more and more bloggers are pulling out of the pastime that used to be a curative and therapeutic break from the big crazy world. Some kind of a respite to take a good look at life from a different perspective. They have all gone now. Some are still around with entries about their children taekwondo lesson, swimming class, piano lesson. Or about how their seven year old has been down with flu the last few days. Small stuff that means a big deal to ordinary bloggers who are mostly housewives, according to a survey. Ordinary people with day-time job who write about honest things. Nothing political. Just good, straight, honest to goodness entries before a new generation of bloggers came in and started writing about big things that got big people to notice to make things complicated with lawsuits, headline news, tv coverage, solidarity logo, a formal meeting in a hotel, big words, big ideas, big names. Blogging has suddenly gotten big, and powerful that it has made the politicians pretty uneasy now that anyone can write about anything about anybody.
Of course I am not in the league. I'm a garlic and onion kinda blogger. Pots and pans sort of blogger who writes about mopping the floor as if it is a scientific breakthrough in understanding human behavior.
To all the bloggers who have gone underground and have decided to stay there until it is safe to come out again, it was nice to know you. To have met you in person. And to have laughed with you over simple things.
I may join you in a while.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Things Change.

The things I was crazy about suddenly became the very thing I'm trying to get out of my system real quick so I don't have to deal with it anymore ever. Used to be crazy about a lot of things like I couldn't do without coffee first thing in the morning but just last week, I had had it with coffee that I started on Milo first thing in the morning and this suits me just fine.
Once a week I do my laundry and put on hold meeting people or going some place with someone special until the whole laundry process is done and that means putting the laundry in a neat stack, grouped according to individual size. Just last week I had had enough with laundry that I'm thinking of selling off to the highest bidder the whole laundry system in my kitchen and forget about laundry once and for all for the rest of my life. For fresh clothes all I've gotta do is send them to one of those fancy laundrettes in the neighborhood so I don't have to think about the details that used to get me crazy like wrinkles and unaligned stack. Gotta get used to living with imperfections.
I am buying less and less chemicals for the floors, kitchen sink and the glass windows. I don't clean the house as often as I used to anymore. I don't feel the pressure to start with a thorough sweeping of the floors, followed by running the mop soaked in a solution every inch of the floor so I could read the morning paper in peace enjoying my Milo like a guy who has no problem whatsoever in the world while listening to the traffic report on the radio.
Maybe next week I'd finally get rid of this uncanny urge in me that I should stock the house to the roof with meat, fish, vegetables and fruits just in case friends drop in and they haven't eaten the whole day and I take it on me to fix something for them to eat. Which explains why I buy chinaware and silverware whenever I come across something that I figure would match nicely with a dish I've got in mind. That's why I've got a lot of washing to do when friends have done eating and left me with the dishes. Which is why I've never ran out of liquid detergent because I make sure I have at least 2 canisters stashed in a neat row together with other chemicals in the bottom half of the third drawer to the right from the kitchen sink. I can still go crazy when I am down to one liquid detergent left in the house that I thought of starting a home-delivery business specialising in liquid detergent straight to your door when you've got none in the house.
Quite a few things left in me that I'm not sure if I'd be able to get them entirely out of my system. I'm crazy about going to the wet market to buy fresh fish, lamb and beef, vegetables and fruits, nuts and spices, canned food and stuff like udang kering. When I get home I'd pack and seal them in a freezer bag according to individual weight, usually 250 gm for meat, and individual pack for fish. Once I thought of investing in a vacuum pack machine but the world hasn't got a model small enough to be used in a home. Maybe I should build one and sell it the way illy sells their espresso machines. For now I am not crazy about vacuum pack machine yet, maybe next week.
I also used to be crazy about mountain bikes that I've spent quite a bit of money on them. But these days, I don't feel like riding them very much because I'm hooked on racing bike and I think I am gonna get me one to ride it until I'm done with it. That, of course, would be the very thing I'd write about much much later. But for now, I'm doing all right writing this blog but who's to tell that I'd be so bored doing it tomorrow that I may not wanna have anything to do with blogs anymore ever.
Nothing lasts forever.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

When You Cry.

Eight hours on the road going in one big circle until we decided to pull over to look at the map again to see whether this Interstate would lead us out of this endless line of cornfields now that the sky was going to get dark and we were hungry for some real food served in nice china and silverware by pretty waitresses in starched uniform smiling end to end bringing you food and wine to say, 'enjoy your food, madam, sir.' And we put on the napkin on the lap to start eating not talking to one another because it was no time to be romantic when you are so hungry that you could eat a whole cattle and a couple of baby goats with chili sauce and french fries.
After a bit of coffee we paid the check to a guy in a suit, walked out of the joint to take in the night air walking hand in hand like a real hubby and missus with real problems.
You were in the bathroom which I thought was pretty strange since it was a jolly good three o'clock in the morning and I thought I heard you cry.
I went over to look at you all messed up, crying for something I couldn't think of a reason why since we had good dinner and all, and I didn't say anything that could hurt a pretty woman like you with words that could get me into a lot of trouble with a woman like you.
I said c'mon back to bed and whatcha crying for? Did I do something that got you this way, like did I say something in my sleep that got you all worked up in tears as if you've just lost your job, or a house, or a car.
Almost an hour later she finally got to talking that we ought to think about what we gonna do with our life now that we are well into the age zone where people die of heart attack, or high cholesterol or a stroke that can pop on you out of the blue. I said I don't want to think about that because I ain't got nothing to look forward to except to live one day at a time and to see where all this is going to go. A question like that is just too much for my small brain to comprehend.
At one point in our life we decide what we want to do, where we want to go, or how we're gonna live. I made the decision long time ago that this is how I'd live since there isn't much to look forward to now that everyone I loved is dead and gone, and they ain't coming back. Although this isn't the kinda life I wanted it to be but I don't control destiny. And since this is the only life I know I reckon I'd better make the most of it and live it like it is meant to be lived. It's a lonely and sad kinda life but I've learnt all I could to deal with it.. And that's the reason why I don't cry like you did in the bathroom this morning which nearly gave me a heart attack. But I guess it was all right for a woman like you to cry over a thing like you said. Besides crying is a woman thing and it ain't the thing man wanna do. Not at three in the morning in the bathroom unless he's got a serious case of stomach pain over something he ate like a whole basket of crabs..
We drove to the airport with the morning sun bright orange on the horizon. I got her hand in mine and she ain't cryin' no more. But when she does, I don't know what to do so I said to her, please don't cry again.
She said, I promise.
I said, that's good enough for me.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Era Of Good Lookin' And Healthy Skin Tone.

Now THAT'S what I'd call a fairy tale wedding. They are a truly handsome couple with the husband towering like a pillar of strength, and the missus pretty as a princess should be. Not to mention a head of a major oil and gas consultancy outfit. You don't get to meet a woman like that every day but I figure you're gonna see more and more of them in the next couple of years down the road. I see them more often these days, women being sent to the offshore rigs to do the job what was traditionally a man's sacred domain to earn good money in US dollars.
Now that there are women on the rigs those guys in boiler suit smelling of diesel and saltwater don't get to see naughty movies anymore. You gotta show some respect. Especially in the galley when you tuck in on thick slabs of rib-eye steak with guys who don't have anything left in their mind except pretty women in pretty dresses now that they haven't seen their missus for close to two weeks.
I was one of those who felt a little intimidated by the presence of women on the rig. Like everything else in the world, you gotta get used to the whole idea or you'd better go find an outfit where they haven't allowed women in like those land rigs in Sudan. The sight of women in boiler suit with safety hat going around the rig in the middle of South China Sea was comical when they first started to send them in. At times I wonder what their mommy and daddy could be thinking about their daughter working with a team of men out here. I figure they must be pretty worried about her safety and although I've never met them, I figure if anything ever going to happen to their daughter out here I'd be the first to protect her. I figure that's what her parent would wish, someone to take care of their daughter when she needs help.
Does this remind you of P.Ramlee's line in the movie Madu 3? I think it goes something like this: '...manalah tahu kalau-kalau atap bocor ke ape ke. Kalau atap bocor pakcik ni sakit sapa susah? Aku juga yang susah...' Of course he says this just when Sarimah comes in from work to see P.Ramlee and his colleague at the house to collect the rent that hasn't been paid for three months.
You don't have leaking roof in the rig and I don't go around collecting rent with a colleague like P.Ramlee and it'd be a miracle to see someone like Sarimah (in Madu 3) on the rig who is naive enough to say something like: '...Encik Jamil tu baik orang nye kan, bah?' And the father goes: : '...baik...baik ada makna tuuuu...'
I like Madu 3 because it reminds me of Uncle. He had 16 wives and Grandmother would say: '...budak ni makan nasi lekat kat bibir, nak jadi macam Ayah Long dia lah ni, kawin ramai...' And deep in my heart I'd say something like: '...I want to marry four.' But Aunt would be quick to say something like: '...mintak simpang malaikat 44.'
Why 44?
Beats me.
To the royal couple, here's to you, beautiful people!