Thursday, January 29, 2009

"under siege"

Before midnight on the eve of Chinese New Year, Kuching was ‘bombarded’ with land to air ‘missiles’ and ‘rockets’. The noise was deafening and the ground trembling. The Chinese community in Kuching is celebrating the coming of the year of the Ox with a bang.

In a near perfect ‘synchronized’ performance, it seems that the whole of Kuching is on ‘fire’. The ‘fire’ had turned night into day. You can just see and smell the smokes filling up the air. The ‘bombardment’ continued for an hour followed by small cracking sounds of ‘ground assault’.
Hmm…it reminds me of my childhood where 90% of the neighborhood are Chinese. The firecrackers ‘sessions’ started from the eve of the New Year and will continue the next day. Lion dance routine is a must in every house. Perhaps it is a way to bless the house and its occupants. My routine is to visit my neighbors for the ang pau and the oranges. Those are the time when life was so simple (and perhaps… pure).

I guess it is a culture that transcends to all cultures and religions. For Malay Muslim, there will be a group of people reciting ‘takbir’ to each house within the residential area or ‘qariah’. The ‘takbir’ session is usually done the night before the eidilfitri. The session will be followed by a small ‘feast’. So you can just imagine after the 10th house, you can hardly get up.

This year, I just sit at the balcony and enjoy the colorful display of firecrackers that light up the sky. Thank you for those who had spent thousands of RM to give me this free entertainment. I guess in this year of the Ox, we shall have the endurance to shoulder the challenge of the current economic ‘chaoses. So have a very good year guys!

Friday, January 23, 2009

river of life

The water of Batang Lupar (Lupar River) flows melancholically from the mountains to the sea. It is a bit muddied after the rain but still can support the lives along the river. Batang Lupar was (and still famous) for the crocodiles that inhabited the river. Once in a while, there are sighting of this ‘predator’ at Batang Lupar.

I attended a funeral at one of the village at Sri Aman located at the riverbank of Batang Lupar River. At the time I arrived at the village, villagers, friends and families are in the midst of making preparations for the funeral the next day. The somber atmosphere can be felt the moment I enter the house.

The river is a reflection of our life in this world. It started flowing from the day we was born and ends when it reaches the sea. In our journey, we touches the lives that is connected to ours. We have a choice whether to benefit or to destroy the lives along our odyssey to the sea.
Perhaps, as we managing the sinuosity of our lives, we should not forget our duty as the ‘khalifah’ or God’s servants in this world. Are we only duty bound to make our own life better or we supposed to make this world a better place?

As they lowering down the coffin into the grave I had this question hammering my mind over and over again. I cannot even convince myself that I had done a good job as God’s servant. As I watched the river flow, I wonder how much time I have to discharge the duty given to me as servants before it ends.

Monday, January 19, 2009

City of entertainment

Welcome to Genting, city of entertainment!
This hotspot for entertainment is only 30 minutes drive from Kuala Lumpur. Located on top of a hill, the air is so chilled that I don’t need a mini bar to cool cans of soft drinks. This time, we decided to take the Genting Skyway, a cable car to the top. At RM10 you can enjoy 3.4 kilometer scenic view from the cable car which is the longest and the fastest in South East Asia operating from 7.30am to 11pm (12pm during weekend).
As usual, the theme park is packed with thousands of visitors. I do not know about others but I am here just to escape from Kuala Lumpur hot temperature. Fully ‘armed’ with my jacket, I ‘browse’ through the labyrinth of shops. Of course the price is slightly ‘inflated’. What do you expect?
Almost everything here is commercialized. However, you need to admire the vision and the set up of the theme park. Who can imagine that there is a ‘hotspot’ on top of a hill in the middle of nowhere? (perhaps the casinos had something to do with it…maybe…) Nevertheless, you can find almost everything here from roller coaster, video games, cinema, bar with live bands etc to keep up with the tag ‘city of entertainment’.
The temperature became cooler in the evening. I looked outside the window of my hotel room. The valley beneath my hotel is slowly become ‘invisible’ as the clouds slowly enveloped the valley. At 9pm, you can’t see anything but the clouds. I took a quick shower (believe me it is really quick as the water is darn cold) before I went out for dinner. Somehow, my appetite doubled in cold weather. Better check my weight tomorrow. I end the day watching the late night movie at the cinema theatre.
My mobile which doubled up as my alarm in the morning perform its duty exactly 6am. Arrghh!!!! I had to brave the cold shower again.
As I look outside the window, appreciating the panoramic view of the tropical forest, I wonder how long this last can. Whether the next generation will be able to enjoy the same fresh air that I breathe today?
Carol bought blouses from FOS (Factory Outlet Store) yesterday and instead of putting the merchandise in a plastic bag, they are giving away bags with environmentally friendly message (for purchase above RM100). Our bag consist a simple message of “Stop Global Warming” with a picture of two sad looking penguins. Hmm…everybody is in the ‘green’ bandwagon now.
However, there are people who does not know (perhaps does not care is more accurate) of the ‘green revolution’. Malaysian produces an average of 0.8kg to 1.2kg of waste per day per person. Out of that amount, we only recycle 5 per cent of our waste compared to countries like Switzerland, Germany and Japan who recycle 35 to 47 per cent of their total waste. The Waste Management of Malaysia is targeting to increase the percentage to 22 per cent in 2020; the year that Malaysia supposed to be the first world country. Compare this with the aim for our recycle percentage is even lower than what the first world countries have right now! It is quite a deplorable aim for a Malaysia Boleh spirit don’t you think?

On the other hand, the Solid Waste and Public Cleansing Management Act 2007 were put off once again (somehow it did not surprise me at all). This Act supposed to create an integrated system in managing waste in Malaysia. One of the intentions of the Act is to ‘force’ home owners to separate their waste and make it easier for recycle measure. One of the reasons of the delay is the jurisdiction issue between the federal and the state government in implementing the waste management. It is silly to even think that we can politicize environmental issue.
We are busy exploiting the natural resources and forget we need to dump our waste somewhere. We thought that somebody will pick the waste and the upper echelon of the society is fighting on the issue who should have the right to pick up our waste. At this moment, I don’t have the answer to the two sad looking penguins at the FOS bag.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

maznah's birthday

We are celebrating Maznah’s birthday today. It is to keep up with the ‘department’s tradition’ of celebrating birthdays. Today’s celebration was at Penang Village Plaza Damas, Damansara. Of course, birthday will not complete without a birthday cake… an insignia of us getting another year older…

The best part of this outing is we get to gossip…well I reserved that for another day...har har har…

Saturday, January 3, 2009

friday prayer

2/1/2009, Friday…so it is time for Friday prayer. I decided to perform my Friday prayer at Masjid (mosque) Wilayah at Jalan Duta. I took the opportunity to eat my rojak Singapore at my favorite stall at the nearby food court. I wonder whether this rojak really coming from Singapore. Everything from the owner, prawn, potato, fish balls etc is coming from Malaysia. However, I have no time to think about the Geographical Origin of the food while eating.

Having filled up the ‘tank’, I went into the mosque to wait for the Friday prayer session to start and then I saw at the multimedia screen that the topic for the Friday sermon that day is about Palestine. Aha!! This should be interesting.

From the serene and peaceful atmosphere inside the mosque, the sermon that day was as fiery as the chaos in Palestine. The sermon touches on the plight of the Palestinians from a Muslim perspective. Rockets were launched from Palestine to Israel and vice versa (the latter of course have more firepower than the former).

It was reported in the Malaysian newspaper that the Israel jet fighter can shoot their target with precision like driving a car with GPS. Their targets include missile sites that were used to launch rockets into Israel’s territory. I guess their weapon technology need to be upgraded to differentiate between army sites and hospitals.

Every year without fail, majority of us will celebrate the New Year. This year is no exception to the ‘tradition’. However, I notice that the New Year is the same as the last year (some pessimist may say it even worse). The Palestine issue has been discussed since 1948. Every time a new conflicts, we will march, demonstrates, collecting donations and showing off placards. Then after the euphoria had gone, the ‘voices’ will slow down. Due to the rising cost and the move to reduce the use of papers, I would suggest that the demonstrators to recycle the placards, banners etc for the next demonstration. Hence, the demonstration will be more ‘environmentally friendly’. The conflicts in Palestine will fill the human history for years to come promising more conflicts in the future.

War always involved plethora of issues; political, religion, racial just to name a few. However, in every conflict, humanitarian issues should transcend all the other issues. Nobody (who does not require a lobotomy procedure) wants to start a war. However, human had witnessed two major world war and ‘pockets’ of armed conflicts all over the globe. Hence, at the eve of next year, when you want to wish your friend happy new year, you may want to give some deep thought of what you really wish for.