Friday, June 23, 2006

NOT AN 'ANIMAL FARM'



This satire is set amidst the thick foliage of trees, undergrowth and a meandering shallow brook next to my house. There are families of wild hogs of varying sizes that call the place, home and could frequently be seen roaming the exteriors of their abode especially when the moon appears. Several species of monkeys occupy the upper strata, making territories on the tree-tops. And the list of wild inhabitants goes on. Many will identify this as being ala 'Animal Farm' by George Orwell as I don't think many of us can stomach a satire along the line of Sh*t by Shahnon Ahmad.

Balaaq, a handsome young male hog, is the incumbent youth leader who is now well into the end of his 4th term. He is fairly reasonable and tries to give his best for the youth. Now, such youth organization, should have a clear definition of its obejctives and those holding positions should have a clear conscience and to never emulate any undesirable political 'stunts' in their work.

Today, Balaaq is dismal. He was back-stabbed by his very own close aides in the recent election. "I was played down by people whom I considered friends", Balaaq said, almost choking back his tears. His teary eyes looked tired, perhaps for lack of sleep. Manoq, the slim lotong, eyed Balaaq with utmost empathy, as he scratches his lice-infested 'jambul'. Pipin, the chirpy sparrow, who has made the mini jungle his home, since his last migratory flight from north, was less sympathetic. " I've told you many times to be wary of those blood-sucking leeches. But you kept on entrusting them with all those responsibilities! Look what they've done to you. They've not only displaced you in the most despicable manner but they have also vilified you and displayed degrading banners! "We are proud to announce our new leader! Down with the old hog! We are in dire need of young energetic leaders!" And they had the cheek to hang those banners just next to Balaaq's pad, a muddy clearing, adjacent to the big angsana tree.

Dilon and Futon, both are well known handsome Lotongs, notoriously famed for their sleek political maneuvers. How many times have they tried their 'dirty' tactics to outdo Balaaq but failed? In their previous 'grand-design', they only managed to dispel Balaaq's close henchman, Axion, an outspoken owl who speaks his mind. Axion, however, has no political ambition and only finds pleasure to work for the youths. But even after Axion's dismissal, Balaaq still maintained him as part of his work force, much to his enemies' chagrin.

Money politic is both Dilon's and Futon's forte. Though not highly educated, both managed to amass wealth through projects acquired from their political positions. Skulking in a nearby bush of lalang kerbau, Dilon and Futon sniggered at the poor Balaaq. "At last, you crumbled, old chap!" In truth, both Dilon and futon are rivals but found an unlikely liaison in their pursuit of higher political grounds. Flicking an annoying tick from his right hairy ear, Dilon gave out a smug smile. "Imagine! The whole organization backed us this time to oust that stupid hog. See what money can do! Money is definitely power!" They even managed to roll in Santana, the secretary and the ever-conniving Keltam, the treasurer. Both have cunningly executed their tasks and for that, both will be given the mandate to continue with their existing posts.

Weeks before the election, Dilon and Futon had vigorously, albeit insidiously began their smearing campaign against Balaaq. They had cleverly laid out 'snares', covering strategic areas to trap the 'straight-forward' Balaaq. These were sleek strategies, planned and acted out by their accomplices, executed very much like seasoned, savvy and veteran politicians. This is not a surprising phenomenon as the mini jungle was formerly ruled by a dictatorial king who had set a juggernaut of crass examples in his leadership.

Along the stream, they have instigated the white egrets to voice votes of non-confidence against Balaaq, just hours before the election. This had somewhat swayed many 'sitting-on-the-fence' members to vote against him. Slandering was rife. Members who were initially loyal to Balaaq began having doubts, especially when promised of better positions and monetary returns. Who says money politic is dead? Money exchanged hands/paws/claws amidst the grass-roots, literally!

Keltam, an influential python, as usual, managed to display his crafty abilities in creating a melee amongst the youths. He guiltlessly spread vilifying lies with his hissing split-tongue. Like a true snake, he pretentiously displayed undivided loyalty in front of Balaaq (even to the extend of stroking Balaaq's tuft of hair when he was sick) but only to 'squash' it to pieces with his constricting muscles, behind.

Santana, not a snake, but acts briliantly like one! He is most probably a cross between a phariah monkey and a chimpanzee (though no one knows how true this is, as no chimpanzee had ever lived there). Known as someone looking for quick-wealth, he was rumored to have assisted Dilon and Futon on many occasions. However he was quick and cunning to cover his 'dirty' tracks with the many broad leaves abundantly found, so much so, people like Balaaq and Axion, failed to see his 'snake' traits and trusted him in their endeavors.

After the election, the next day, the Daily Animal Tribune head-lined, 'Youths elected young blood!' 'Belia beri mandat kepada muka baru!' was front page story in the malay tabloid "Haiwan Retro". It was the hot topic of discussions in all the kopitiams around. Balaaq was ashamed to venture out for several days! Poor him!

But Balaaq was not faultless. Due to reasons unknown to even his close aides, Balaaq didn't show any fighting spirit nor did he lay out any solid plans to whip his opponents. Even hours before the election, he didn't make any attempts to campaign. Has Balaaq lost his fangs or even worst, his marbles? His loyal supporters were worried and many hush whispers of dissatisfaction were exchanged in between the vines. Rumors were that he wanted to concentrate more in his 'Hog-a-Bog' real-estate business which he had inherited from his father.

Axion, having maintained his position this time in the new line-up, met up with Balaaq to convey his sincere condolences. He was very much perturbed by the current scenario and even asked Balaaq's opinion on whether he should continue giving his service to the youth organization. As predicted, Balaaq had selflessly encouraged Azion to continue giving his undivided service and cooperate with the new leadership. Regarding being down-played by his opponents in the vilest of way, his response was , "I have my way of giving them back. You just wait!"

This is the story of how human beings, in the mad quest of power and money, have lost their dignity to behave as humans. They have stripped down all humane values and adopted all characteristics of an animal. They've disregard shame for the sole purpose of gaining fame. Friendship has no value where friends and foes interchange dynamically, day by day. We have transgressed into a jungle-world where rights and wrongs have no definite meanings. Indeed, we are truly worse than the animals!

~Ali (may allah swt honor his countenance), said, " This world is the abode of works, there are no rewards in it. The Hereafter is the abode of rewards, there are no works in it. So act in the abode of no rewards for the sake of the abode of no works!"~ Taken from "Two Treatises: Mutual Reminding and Good Manners- By Imam 'Abdallah ibn 'Alawi al-Haddad- a book given by our dear sister, KKL.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Motosikal Paling Jelik Di Jawa



"Hati-hati Pak Dokter. Itu motor paling JELIK di kampung ini, namun ia bisa pergi jauh"

Pak Dokter: "Motor nya mungkin jelik tetapi yang memandunya tidak!"

This motorbike won the competiton for "Motorsikal Paling Jelik di Indonesia" year 98, I think (gotta ask ikelah again). To win it has to be the most grotesque looking but in perfect function and able to go strong from Klaten to Jogja and all the way to Semarang!

AT TAQWA UPDATE

We have now reached Al Imran verse 121-125. Thank you for those who took time reading with me. And thanks again to Crimsonskye for your never ceasing earnest to help with the audio!

Friday, June 16, 2006

A MISSION OF HOPE AND HUMILITY

As some of you are aware, iKelah had gone on a relief mission with Global Peace Malaysia to quake-stricken Jogja last week. Hence the vigil mode in my previous entry. Yes, each time he goes on a relief mission I am rendered apprehensive with all the 'what if' questions. This time, my worries had doubled as Jogja was down with two calamities, the earth-quake and the on-going eruption of Merapi. And further tremors were also felt, albeit less in intensity, on and off.

This entry is about his mission, in my perspective. It's contents would be a mixture of facts derived from the few phone calls, sms and from the narration he gave me till the wee hours of the morning upon his return. (my eyes were shut but my ears were listening!)

On his arrival, the local liaison group, Dewan Dakwah Indonesia (DDI)'s leader, Pak Rafaii, a physician himself, had requested that ikelah ran a clinic at Merapi instead . You see, the quake had diverted the people's attention towards the quake victims and the Merapi evacuees were left in the lurch. Ikelah obliged and prepared himself to stay there. Another doctor on the mission, Dr Lee, an orthopedician, had ealier on, confided in ikelah, his fear of going too near the active and ferocious Merapi and quietly pleaded to work away from it. Thus, it was decided that the rest of the group would head for Jogja town, leaving ikelah to manage a clinic with the help of the local villagers. This village is actually 7 km from Merapi's peak and one can view the majestic volcano spewing out its lava, distinctly, from here.



On the first day of running clinic, news of renewed Merapi's fiery activities spread and ikelah was adviced by GPM's people to join the rest down the mountain. But after looking at the crowd of villagers thronging his clinic in need of medical treatment, he requested to continue being up there. But this was after being assured by several factors. Firstly, Pak Suharto's (the host) house was only 50 m away from the seismology observation post which was on 24 hr alert of Merapi's activity and would blare out sirence to warn the people. Secondly, they have a well calculated plan to evacuate the place in seconds. Thirdly, Pak Suharto, himself has a mini seismic gadget which was constantly reading seismic tremors and beeping out signals.



Ikelah stayed up Merapi for 4 days, running clinics, attending to sick evacuees who camped out in several 'posko's. Many were suffering from anxiety neurosis. They were unhappy of having to leave their homes and farms unattended and forced to idle each day in cramped, stuffy and hot tents with limited amenities. Ikelah truly felt for these poor people and was sad to leave them at day 4.

All through out the days he was there, I had no inkling whatsoever that Ikelah was so near to Merapi and at risk especially of the ferocious 'wedhus gembel' or hot clouds! If I knew of it, I'd probably protest and asked him to leave the place ASAP!! ALhamdulillah all went well...

The last 2 days were spent on management tasks, making plans and reports for future missions. He made visits to the Malaysian's Angkatan Tentera base and reported on their activities. He also managed to make contacts with the OIC Humanitarian Platform and held informal discussions.


Most importantly, he caught hold of Anang who came over. Anang, whose house was reduced into rubbles, was truly grateful of the donations given by 3 bloggers and another friend. He was touched by the generosity of these kind people and was sad that he couldn't reciprocate with any sort of gifts whatsoever. To all those who had donated or planned to donate but couldn't (due to circumstances), we thank you all, on behalf of Anang!



It was truly a mission filled with love and compassion towards aiding those facing calamities. A satisfying life-journey permitted by Allah swt. May Allah swt reward him, what good deeds he had performed there with increased iman and 'amal. Ameen!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

SUPPLICATION

This video clip entry was not inspired by Hiyoshi, :p. I think this nasyeed of supplication was very well executed with good vocals and arrangement. The singers are smart-looking too! But, can't help feeling that the set-up was a bit 'Da Vinci Code' ish...mind you I havent watched the movie just yet and have only imagined the scenes through my reading of the book! hehe

This is probably how BackStreet Boys will look or sound if they sang nasyeed huh?

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Monday, June 05, 2006

Rombongan Cik Kiah Naik Genting!!

For the sake of my children, I waived my principle a bit last Saturday. It seems that everyone else's children have been to Genting Theme Park except mine. I've been stalling the idea of bringing them up there simply because I abhor the fact that a big casino is situated in the same vicinity. So when a group from the hospital that iKelah works in, planned on this trip and invited us to join, we agreed. It was a typical 'rombongan' trip, only that our family took the car and the rest went on a bus. We started an hour late as iKelah was on-call the night before. Despite our tardiness, we managed to overtake the bus after Temerloh's toll. Funnily, prior the journey , the group-leader assured us that he'll wait for us as naturally he expected us to be late. "Jangan risau Doktor. Saya akan tunggu doktor. Biarlah mereka naik dulu." When we overtook them, iKelah remarked, "See, I knew we'll reach the place first. I know all the itty-gritty of traveling in a big group. Once you stop at the R and R, everyone will disperse in all directions and it'll be so difficult to group them back together in time!" So finally it was us who had to wait for them instead.

We took the 20 minutes cable car ride up. It wasn't my first cable-car ride. The first time was during my visit up Great Wall of China at Badaling section with my sis OG. The higher we ascended, the colder my feet got and my hands were clammy and sweaty. I told no one of my fear and kept cool back then. This time round, I was visited by the same sensation, all cold and clammy. Worst still, my skeptical eyes caught something that increased my adrenaline rush! And I kept on looking and scrutinizing it from afar, at the next gondola which iKelah occupied (yes, my sweet, caring husband chose to sit in a different car when I am in dire straits!!) I noticed that each car was hanging precariously from the cable line, with only half-feet of metal contraption grasping the line. Imagine! The weight of the whole gondola and 8 passengers were supported only by approximately 6 inch of contact to the cable! Even worse, the car was dangling laterally and downwards. How does it maintain balance? My mind kept on asking this frightening question. No wonder the old Indonesian ladies in iKelah's car were reciting the selawat continuously out loud, providing other passengers free nasyid entertainment!

But my kids remained unperturbed through out and even managed to make jokes and laughed at the statues of orang asli, apes and tigers erected by the hill side. Once we heard the cries/laughters of a monkey (or is it hyena? Do we have hyenas in Malaysian jungle?) as though mocking us and it sounded like the shrilly laughter of a pontianak to my imagination. On several occasions, Luqman stood up to admire the luscious, green foliage of the spectacular tropical forest of giant ferns and huge old trees. Already nerve-wrecked, I told him to sit as I don't want the car which was so precariously attached, get imbalanced! (ada ke??) My mind was already imagining scenes of our car falling and was making fervent prayers that should it fall, please chose a safe height where the big giant ferns and tree canopies would act as effective safety net!
Note the precarious 'joint'


On many instances, the cars slowed down to almost a halt and I felt my adrenaline gushing out each time. And my mind was asking incessantly, "Bila nak sampai ni?' nearing the top, we heard a piped-in recorded voice saying, " Terima kasih kerana manaiki Genting Sky Way, cable-car yang terpantas di dunia dan terpanjang di rantau Asia" To this my children scoffed with amused remarks and giggles.

Upon reaching the top, we saw that the whole place was already swarmed with -bees- holiday-makers of various nationalities besides the locals. Definitely a wrong decision to throng the place on a double holiday (Agong's birthday on top of the school hols) Anyway, another 'rombongan' predicament befell us when the group-leader (GL) found out that the travel's agent failed to turn up with the tickets despite having settled all the payments. We had to wait almost 30-40 minutes at the park's entrance when finally the GL had to do the ultimate i.e. withdraw his own money to pay for everyone's entrance fee! hopefully he gets back his money.

Our ticket covered all out-door games, thus we could enjoy any rides, repeatedly without having to pay extra, if you have the guts and energy, that is! And my 'soggy' guts that day told me to be prudent. I let iKelah and the kids 'test' their nerve whilst I bask in the mist-laden atmosphere and observe the 'interesting' people around. Their first endeavor was the cockscrew roller coaster. The whole ride took hardly a minute with the most intense maneuver lasting just a few seconds. Well, cheap thrill are no longer cheap, nowadays! We had a great laugh when we viewed the Polaroid snaps of the four of them. Luqman looked so terrified. Apparently, according to Aliah, he was saying his prayers throughout!
Aliah and Luqman, all smiles, before the cockscrew thrill. Unfortunately I can't post the after picture or the peak of thrill pic as Luqman is embarrassed by it!



Then it rained, heavily. And we decided that we'd better pray since they've extended our exit time to 6 pm. We had no difficulties performing our solah as there were surau (s) scattered all over (though I find it rather ironic!) The management sure have thought of everything to boost their business, I see. I can't help visualising the old wealthy owner standing by the window at his pent-house suit, looking down, stroking his chin, saying to himself "hmmm come people, come all. Thank you for making me rich"

The next gut-wrenching ride that needed to be added to the "I've taken this ride thus I am fearless" list, was the flying-coaster. Luqman and Aliah decided that it was too much for them and forgo-ed it. So the 2 macho guys, Ikelah and Muhammad, got themselves 'caged' up, initially standing up and later the whole cage rotated and they were facing down, prone. The whole cage was un a hanging position and moved down swiftly a series of twisted rail. So the riders would feel as though they were flying very much ala superman himself!


The flying coaster



After an exorbitantly priced lunch in a curry house restaurant (even though the food was nothing to shout about! Should have just taken the fast-food joints) we sauntered around the grounds to finally reach the 'spinner. It's a giant mushroom-like structure with dozens of swings hanging with long chains from the ceiling. As the mushroom rises, pulling all the swings upwards, it rotates clockwise at high speed, thus causing all the swing to spread outwards. Again, only the 2 macho guys dared to take the challenge. I, initially thought of giving it a try but upon remembering my previous vertigo attacks, chickened out. True enough, even iKelah had problems handling the nauseating impact of the swing after the 3rd round.

The spinner


Muhammad on the spinner


The kids asked me, : Aren't you trying any of the rides, mak?" and I pointed to the slow moving cartoon-shaped yellow colored monorail and told them that I might just try it and act wild and shout out loud as though it was a thrilling coaster ride! We planed to take the milder rides like the vintage cars and the paddle-boats but after walking in circles and failing to locate its entrance we abandoned the idea.

We were already waiting near the exit at 15 minutes to 6 pm but we had to further wait another 15 minutes after 6 as some failed to assemble in time. Marching back to the cable car station, we were all dreary and exhausted. The GL made head-counts and realized that 4 more persons were still not out of the park! Masyallah! The agony of joining a rombongan trip! Told my kids to remind me not to agree on such trips next time! The GL apologised explaining that as it was a group ticket we had to exit together. The waiting line was already terribly long where everyone had to snake through a maze-like path. And my poor feet were killing me!

A truly grueling excursion but worthwhile no doubt, as we had fun time together as a family!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

COUNTING THE DAYS

Sofi has a new entry and a new song. I didn't realise till today that the song was about her longing to come home and she's counting the days!

Yes, Sofi is coming home first week of July, insyallah. 6th of July to be exact. She left Malaysia in September last year so it'll be approximately 10 mths when she comes back.

I can still remember the pain we felt the day she left. Ikelah wrote about it here. And I wrote her a farewell ode here. Her absence. Her empty room. Most of all, not having her around to ferry the other kids to school and fro. It was a profound feeling of lost. Melancholia filled the air then. Even the cats must have missed her badly. She has a way with them. Unlike me. Although I love cats, I am easily irritated when they disobey me.

So Sofi is coming back! And Sarah too! May they have a safe journey coming home. Most of all, may the 2 mths holidays be filled with Allah's grace and barakah, heal their homesickness and charge them up for another 10 months of living away from us! Not forgetting, good luck in their finals and may Allah ease them through all the papers with loads of 'piyat's!



Sofi on the day she left for Russia.

p.s Want to sample a piece of song translated into Temerloh slang? Try this at Pang5's latest entry. Caution: unsuitable for those who are strong proponents for 'never butcher an original song's lyrics' slogon!!! hehe
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