Our Missing MH370

One of our Malaysia Airline’s plane went missing last Saturday. That’s right. MISSING.

Quoting the news, “Flight MH370 was carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew, went missing en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing about an hour after taking off from the KL International Airport at 12.40am Saturday”.

When the news first broke, like many others, I went online to ‘search’ for the story. During that time, many thought aloud and posted questions on their statuses or timelines, some even made jokes about how such a large aircraft can go missing. Over the next few days, numerous theories and conspiracy ideas are heatedly shared and debated in social media. Not to mention how some Malaysians began to rear their ugliness by constantly blaming the authorities or each other for being incompetent, inefficient or having a lack of verbal skills when dealing with the press during PCs (but these are not the focal points of this entry).

Like my fellow Malaysians, I too am stunned at this tragedy. We pray for the SAR mission to be successful each day. To date, many of our neighboring countries, China, USA (even the FBI), Australia etc are assisting our nation to find our lost flight. With so many state-of-the-art technologies being deployed by our SAR partners in the forms of aircrafts, ships, submarines and even satellite, it’s amazing that we can’t find the MH370. Whenever we can, we tune in to the news to hear for progress by the authorities, but to no avail.

Of the many interviews being aired on mainstream media, I admit to not having the time to watch them all. So I selectively listen to clips that friends generously shared on Facebook. I don’t know why but this particular interview of Captain Norudin Abd Majid, a former pilot of the B777 fleet, struck me. I felt extremely humbled, sad.. and scared even.

His sincerity in accepting that the aircraft just went missing, which was what we all knew from day 1 but quickly dismissed as a fact, is just humbling. If you haven’t the chance to hear him, here’s the interview.

Yes, we have all prayed for a miracle to happen. It has been 3 days.. It WOULD be a miracle if everyone on board survive.
I believe many of us share the sentiment that this tragedy is a reminder to all of us, especially Muslims. A reminder that our Creator, Allah SWT is far above and beyond all this scientific modernization and knowledge that we think we have. Due to our busy schedules and commitments, we tend to forget our purpose of being here on earth as Caliphs. There is no better time to remember that we are just specks of the universe, if not now.

That Nagging Hijab Issue..

There’s this new video on Youtube that was posted a couple of days ago. So far it has garnered over 65,000 views (and counting). Not that viral yet but I’m hoping it would. It’s about three friends who invited non-Muslims to don the hijab and see what their reactions and responses would be like. I’ll let you check out the vid first before I continue with my ramblings ;)

 

Don’t know about you guys, but I thought it was a decent act. A good attempt at trying to create awareness and understanding about the hijab and why Muslim women choose to wear them to non-Muslims. In light of current hostility and bad press about Muslims and Islam, I think anything that can bridge that gap is good, even a little bit.

I was happy to see that the very same video was posted HERE on Facebook. 

But of course, in anything remotely fun, we can always expect party poopers. I almost asked myself, where are they..? And then BAM, there they are. Loads of them. Flocking with comments in that Facebook page and perhaps on Youtube too (I’m just too lazy to check). These are basically people who find life incomplete without having to point out the flaws or incompleteness of something. But to them, it’s just ‘giving reminders’, or saling menegur in Malay. At first I wanted to include some of the nasty comments here, but honestly, I’ve got more important things to do. And since my break time is limited, I’ll just focus on rambling. Hehe.  

Yes, these ladies are happy with how they don the hijab. Perfect or not, it’s not up to us to judge. They may take their time to perfect it. Years in fact.. but even if they don’t ever do perfect their styles of wearing the hijab, how is that any of our problem? I have read some remarks about it being our responsibility, as Muslims, to always keep reminding others of doing good. Yeah, well, you do that. I’m also here to remind you do-gooders that most of these women ARE aware of how the hijab should cover the chest, or how there shouldn’t be any camel humps on their heads, or how they shouldn’t wear too much make-up etc.. But, they just choose not to do it (yet), for whatever reasons, which only Allah knows. Let’s not assume that they are ignorant, not assume that they need teaching, and above all, not assume that they’re committing sins. Whatever happened to husnudzon, or bersangka bank (positive thinking or assuming only positivity) towards others? That is also very much demanded in Islamic teaching, no? It’s funny, most of the active commenters on this subject are men. Really, guys. You have so many other responsibilities as husbands, as sons and as caliphs that I’m amazed you actually have the time to spare in this issue. 

But alas, if these people feel like they are being “better Muslims” for constantly pointing out the imperfections of others, then I guess we’re all imperfect, aren’t we? ;)


Hello 2014!.. And New Year’s Resolutions (of course)

 

Happy-New-Year-2014-Fireworks

It’s already the second day of the new year.. how time flies!

I was determined not to have any new year’s resolutions this year because, let’s face it, most of them don’t get done anyway. But after spending the entire day yesterday cleaning my eldest’s room, re-arranging her books and de-cluttering her mess in preparation for the new school year, I might have to resolute myself into doing just that. And stick to it.

This year, I resolve to:

  • Go home early. As a lecturer, I’m pretty lucky to have flexible working hours.. but that was before I had my PhD and before all this craziness enthusiasm of my institution to embrace the Research University status. Now we’re expected to be more actively involved in research along the USUAL teaching workload, plus, the fact that I’m an academic advisor, which means additional responsibilities in students’ affairs and administration (though admittedly, I really do like this part of my job, next to teaching). All this really keep me longer at campus even after office hours. That’s about to change, I hope. Starting today, I plan to go back at 5PM, OK, latest by 5.10PM. Why, you might ask? That’s my next resolution.
  • Cook dinner early. We don’t have any helper so I usually cook dinner after work. Before this I tend to be laid back, sometimes starting to cook after Maghrib or even at 8PM (it helps that my other half comes home late from work). Why would I want to cook early, you might ask? The reasons are twofold. One, I heard that it isn’t good for kids to eat too late, lest they lack time to process their food before bedtime. So it’s high time I do this. Two, that is my next resolution, and my most important one to keep.
  • Help my eldest with her schoolwork. One of the reasons why I did my PhD before any of my kids started school and determined to finish it early (well, relatively early compared to most people I know) was because I wanted to be able to spend more time with them and help them with their school work. Though initially, it didn’t start off like that. When I was little, I vowed not to be like my mom who is a tiger mom. She was very strict with our homework. Making sure we complete them first before TV, eh, ke no TV.. I can’t remember. The rotan was never far from her reach whenever we misbehaved. But after having my own kids, I finally understood why she did what she did. I think I am a tiger mom, but not the classic type, because at times I do give in to my kids’ requests.. But most of the time, I am the bad cop and the killjoy. Hehe.. Anyway, that was the plan, many years ago. However, as work started, I got busier.. and it’s true what they say. Academic life only starts after PhD. But that’s about to change. I resolve not to be too reliant on the teachers (or too much outsource, as they say), to be with her when she does her homework and to help her study. I pray that I’m strong enough to do this, because everyone knows how schoolwork and kids just don’t match.

So that’s it. I’m being realistic by not having too many resolutions. Just keeping them short and hopefully, doable :)


My (Brief) Take on Doctors and the Medical Profession

I’m currently following (on Twitter) a doctor who gives study and life advice to pre-med and medical students. His tweets are always full of positivity, and sometimes humour, that I’m sure they are meant to give motivation and provide these young souls the strength to embark on their journeys to become doctors.

After reading and following him for some time, it’s not hard to know that life as a med student IS difficult. The amount of stress they have to endure, the number of things they need to remember, the minimal requirements of passing their courses, the number of hours they put into studying and later houseman-ship.. The expectations from parents, sponsors and society in general.

Having this perspective in mind, I find it sad that some groups in society, especially young and social media hip parents, take doctors and the medical profession for granted. Criticising them for lacking compassion, not caring enough for their kids (if paediatrician) and accusing them for “simply wanting money by injecting chemicals and vaccines or giving antibiotics to their patients”.

True, I’m sure there are some unethical doctors around. I sympathize those who had awful experiences with their doctors, but believe me these bad apples exist in other occupations too – lawyers, businessmen, politicians, contractors, heck, even educators.

But does that give us the right to put all, or most, doctors down? To label them as ” they don’t know everything” and that we are better at certain things just because we spent HOURS and MONTHS reading many, MANY journals on certain issues? These doctors spent YEARS of their lives wallowing in medical knowledge. For everything learned, there are epistemologies to understand, the history and reasoning of why’s, there are ethics and proper procedures to be followed and for Muslims, maqasid shariah to be complied. If I could give an analogy, it’s like when people haven’t any formal training as a professional photographer but claim to be a “photographer” just because they’re good at using Instagram, Camera 360 and the like. Hmm..

I’d like to have faith in humanity. I still do. That is why for every bad apples around (in any job, I might add), I believe there are many more good ones to counteract. So I choose to believe that most doctors are good. They do have their patients best interest at heart. There’s nothing wrong with equipping ourselves with medical and technical knowledge, but we shouldn’t get too cocky and claim that we are better. Especially when we didn’t endure what they did.


Can’t Say What?

I’m trying to remember since when it became so rampant, so widespread, all this prohibitions for Muslims from WISHING other devotees on their festive days, like, we can’t wish Merry Christmas, can’t wish Happy Chinese New Year.. Or the forbidding from wishing Happy Valentine’s Day. Not forgetting the most recent debate on not allowing Muslims to utter R.I.P to the deceased who aren’t Muslims.

Not that I’m a modern, liberal Muslim but I’m just wondering, where do we draw the line?
I’m guessing that one day we can’t even wish “good luck” or “happy birthday”.. Or be embarrassed if we’re caught uttering them.

Is it not enough that we DON’T celebrate those days? Must we also be that strict as to not/can’t convey well wishes in the spirit of muhibbah? I know I’m not that pious nor do I have the depth of Islamic knowledge like some people, but I sincerely cannot fathom how well wishing can threaten one’s iman. Are we that weak and easily swayed? I guess we are, since we Muslims impose this on ourselves.

I had my primary education overseas (though for a short period of time), went to a convent school when we came back, was even taught by a nun (for English :)), had wonderful friends from various beliefs, my BFFs were Hindus and Christians before I went to residential school.

In retrospect, I’m so thankful my parents gave me that sort of childhood. The exposure of other races, other customs, other surroundings when in the States.. It made me more respectful and tolerant of others while appreciating my own religion more. It made me the person I am today.


The Checklist

It’s been over a year since my last entry! Yeah, things have been extremely busy for me and blogging just doesn’t seem to be the top priority these days. But last night, I tweeted (just for fun) “What do you look for in a life partner?”.. and what do you know, the responses that I got from my cool followers, which are mostly students, are so interesting. What I found amusing was that most of them were mature beyond their ages, seeking qualities that I myself never thought of at 20 or 21.. My mind then began to reminisce my younger self and, hey, I had this sudden urge of blogging about it.

Regardless how old we are, the topic of love and relationship is always a hit.. and never gets old. Not just among girls, but guys as well (though they’d rather act cool than to ever admit it).

Like most girls, I used to dream about my Mr Right in my preadolescent days. In fact, I had a checklist. Yes, it’s sad, but admit it, most of you have one too! Hehe.. From the top of my head, these were among the things on my checklist alongside their, er, ‘justifications’:

  • Tall (‘coz I’m pretty tall)
  • Cute (would you date an ugly fella?)
  • Fair (‘coz shallow not-so-fair me wants fair kids)
  • Chinese looking (don’t ask. But I guess this is equivalent to the younger generation’s obsession with K-pop stars)
  • Smart (I needed someone to look up to)
  • Speaks good English (I can’t bear nor comprehend kapak jokes)

Four out of six traits were physical. Tsk tsk… I can’t remember the rest but I’m sure they’re equally shallow. Being young, carefree and superficial to say the least, as you can see, the ‘qualities’ I went for weren’t something to be proud of. When you’re younger, the things that you find attractive are usually exterior. In other words, physical attributes rule the young eyes and, unfortunately, common sense. That’s why we have so many young girls falling for bad boys ‘coz they tend to be good-looking and/or charming. I was fortunate though. Despite me liking guys who are easy on the eyes, my sensibility still kicks in, or will eventually kick in, if they’re schmucks :)

But as we grow older, we tend to be wiser and start to review our checklist. And this usually happens after we’ve been hurt once, or a few times.

In my case, I started to seek for more wholesome qualities around after graduation. Yeah, it took me that long to realise (so don’t make my mistake, guys). I started to ask myself what sort of qualities do I enjoy -minus looks. Hmm, that proved to be a lot harder than I thought. I know I’m not much of a looker myself but that only justifies why I need a cute guy. I mean, we can’t both be ugly! Haha..

So anyway, after much thought and soul-searching, I realized that I actually like, appreciate even, these traits in a guy:

Funny. Never underestimate the power of sense of humour, girls. Have you ever wondered why some average-looking dudes have hot girlfriends? It’s not necessarily money. Most prolly, they are funny and fun to be around. I’m not talking about being a clown or cracking jokes all the time (that’s crossing the line of immaturity), just someone who’s witty and knows when to loosen up at the right moments. Being with someone who can make you laugh or smile often is definitely attractive.

Smart. Most girls need someone they can look up to. This could either be in the form of strength, good in DIY stuffs, piousness, whizz with cars or gadgets, great sense of direction etc. For me personally, it’s intellect. A guy doesn’t have to be a super genius but he’s got to have some knowledge in his head. He could be book smart or street smart. Whichever. They’re equally good qualities if you ask me.

Cute. Ok, so this doesn’t exactly fall in my target of wholesome qualities but you gotta admit, looks do matter. You do need to be with someone who you’re attracted to. Besides, this is subjective. A person I find cute may look like a train wreck to you. So, life’s fair.

Responsible. This is such as important quality in a man. Especially vital for future husbands. Most guys are reckless, lazy or appear to be wacky when they’re younger. That’s fine. We all have our fun and crazy sides. But there comes a point when maturity kicks in and you need to know when to switch it off, even for a while. This is when most boys transform and become men. If a guy is responsible, it’s all-embracing. He would know his responsibilities to God, to his parents, to his own family, to his career and to himself. Here’s a tip: most girls run away from mummy’s boys thinking that they’ll have competition with their mother-in-laws. But quite often, these guys will turn out to be more responsible than others. You would want someone who loves his mom.. because this translates that he’ll love his own family too one day.

Reliable. Have you ever been in a situation where you’re stuck somewhere and needed a lift, or you needed help to estimate dimensions of a room but you’re too ditzy to convert the measurements in your head? The first person that comes to mind (minus parents) and can reassure you that everything’s OK (even if they’re not) should definitely be a part of your life. Some girls often make the mistake of friend-zoning guys with this trait. Look more closely, girls. If he’s reliable and he’d go through a lot of trouble for you, chances are he’d be there for you through sickness and health. That’s a rare gem.

Homely. Say what?? This trait may not sound too appealing or important to you young girls now, but trust me when I say that you’ll appreciate a man who comes home straight from work everyday instead of hanging out at bistros with his colleagues, one who enjoys your company rather than his friends. Some people call this boring but I find it extremely comforting.

Non-smoker. Yeah, well.. To each her own. I know many girls who don’t mind smokers. Heck, some smoke themselves. They find smokers attractive or macho. So I’ll leave those guys for those ladies.

So there. My revised checklist for a future husband. This was my dream guy. The one I pray to meet and even if he doesn’t have all these qualities, at least, some of them would do. Never would I thought I’d actually meet him one day. To be honest, I still find my younger and more juvenile characteristics important (speaks good English, tall, fair, chinese-looking) but they’re just bonuses now. Not the main criteria.

Fast forward a few years, I’m extremely lucky to have met my significant other who carries all these traits. Of course, he’s not without flaws. Like most couples, we do have small fights and may even think about ringing the other’s necks sometimes (but that’s another story, hehe). But as long as I keep reminding myself of all these wonderful traits that I envisioned years before, and that I am myself not perfect, he’s perfect enough for me :)


What keeps the little guy happy

Like most working moms, early mornings can be pretty hectic. There’s breakfast to be prepared even if it means a simple peanut butter & jelly sandwich, lunch to be packed for the school going kid and school uniform and working attires to be ironed (which ideally should be done during the weekend -but somehow, I always fail to adhere to it). All this is manageable stress-free, until the big boss wakes up.
Yes, I’m talking about the baby. The teeniest one of the lot but has enough power to command the entire household. I still wonder to this day how one can lose some sense of calmness and composure when faced with a screaming baby. When Hubs and Tasha leave the house at 6.30am, I normally have an hour and a half of ‘me time’ to hang the laundry that I might’ve washed the night before, sweep the dusty floors, surf the net (ehehe) and to prep for work. But my mind and actions go haywire when Rayyan cries, and boy, does he CRY.
With no helper around, I needed to find some ways to keep him happy and preoccupied while I get ready. I’ve tried loads of things, from traditional methods like cushy books, rattles and flash cards to modern gadgets (read: iPad). At times, he’s pretty old-fashioned and soothes himself easily with the flash cards. But that usually lasts for 5 minutes, after which he’d throw the cards away and scream at the top of his lungs again. You would think that the iPad would certainly work in times like these, but it doesn’t. While Rayyan does enjoy watching colorful games or interactive apps on the iPad, perhaps because he’s too young to appreciate them, he ends up uninterested after a few minutes.
After months of trial and error, I finally discovered these almost sure-fire solutions (I said almost ‘coz at times they don’t work either) to get him lulled.  For whatever reason, my little boy only, and I mean only likes these YouTube videos:
  • Charlie Bit Me (damn, this one only lasts for 0:56. If only it was longer, like, an hour??)
  • Waybuloo Yogo
  • Mister Maker’s shapes
I tried to understand the pattern here so that I can collect similar videos, but so far, I can’t see one. Not all Waybuloo videos interest him, likewise, not all Mister Maker segments catch his fancy. And although there are thousands of cute kiddy videos on YouTube, none interest him as much as the antics of those two brothers -but you’ve gotta admit, there’s something creepy about Charlie & bro that manage to get kids and even adults alike to watch them over and over again on the internet (over 453 million view tu).
So that’s my blab this morning. I’d write more but, oh-oh, the little guy’s awake. And he’s calling (more like screaming) for me now. Toodles.

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