Masih Syawal, Boleh Minta Maaf Lagi

 

Emak Abah.pngAssalamualaikum.

Hari ini 28 Syawal, esok 29. Bulan ni, kita secara tradisi bermaaf-maafan antara satu sama lain. Tapi, dalam kesebokan hidup harian, walaupun dah 28 hari, kita mungkin terlepas pandang. Terlupa nak minta maaf zahir batin dengan Emak, dengan Abah. Maklumlah ramai orang datang raya kan? Banyak lah pulak nak pergi open house kawan2, open house boss dsb. Mungkin abang, kakak, adik pun kita lupa nak minta maaf termakan, teminum, terkata, terbuat. Mungkin.

Jangan bimbang, ni ada berita baik! Hari ni dan esok masih Syawal, bulan yang mulia. Ada lagi masa nak minta maaf, nasib baik! Sebaik2nya, pergi jumpa Emak, Abah dan adik-beradik. Salam, cium tangan diorang, minta maaf. Kalau nak bagi duit raya, lagi bagus. Ok, ok, kalau sebok teramatlah sangat, tak dapat jumpa juga, sekurang-kurangnya call diorang. Jangan tunggu-tunggu, buat sekarang. Ko tak mungkin menyesal nanti. Mungkin ini kali terakhir kita dapat minta maaf daripada dia orang ;-(

Lagi satu pesanan, dah mintak maaf dalam bulan ni, marilah kita bertekad untuk menjadi ayah, emak, anak dan ahli keluarga yang dicontohi. Buat apa yang diperintah tuhan mu yang esa, Allah Ta’ala dan jauhkan apa yang dilarang. Kebajikan yang kita lakukan untuk orang lain lah yang membuat kita tenang dan menganugerahkan kita tempat di antara yang solihin, InsyaAllah.

Lusa nanti dah 1 Zulkaedah pulak. Kalau Syawal tu masa kita bersuka-ria, ziarah-menziarah, daripada hari lusa ni, kita mula bekerja semula, mencari nafkah di bumi ini, membuat kebajikan, dengan gigih. Jangan ngada-ngada nak ber-open house lagi. Dah habis dah raya.

Pergi jumpa dia orang minta maaf ya? Jangan lupa. Hari ini.

Maaf Zahir Batin. Wassalamualaikum

Advertisements
Posted in islam, quran, religion, syawal, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

33 Reasons To Run

running.jpg

  1. You had a bad day
  2. You had such a great day
  3. You’re looking for inspiration
  4. You hit writer’s block
  5. The weather is wonderful
  6. The weather is horrible
  7. You have a headache
  8. It’s a new day
  9. It’s the end of the day and you haven’t exercised
  10. You’ve got a 10K run next week
  11. You’re procrastinating on that dang proposal
  12. You’ve got 101 things to do
  13. You don’t have a thing to do
  14. You haven’t run today
  15. You didn’t run yesterday
  16. You haven’t run for a long time
  17. You need to lose weight
  18. You quarelled with the boss
  19. You quarelled with the wife
  20. There’s no better cardio workout
  21. You hate the treadmill
  22. It costs nothing
  23. It’s the simplest exercise ever
  24. You can do it anywhere
  25. It gets you out of the house
  26. Someone borrowed the bicycle
  27. Your knees make cracking noises, or worse..
  28. Your knees hurt
  29. It has stopped raining
  30. I want to grow old gracefully
  31. There’s no reason not to
  32. The news is depressing
  33. You got legs
Posted in cardio, exercise, running, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Alif The Baby Turtle

Screen Shot 2016-06-03 at 6.39.51 PM.png

This is Alif, a name given by my kids to him just before we sent him overseas. If it’s female, it might come back to this same spot in Cherating in 40 years. And that’s a big ‘might’. Alif’s chance of survival is 1 in 1000, i.e. 0.1%. Once in the sea, all manner of predators will be after him. You’d have to be super smart, strong and lucky to survive.

Despite these odds, Alif could be considered lucky. Many of his peers don’t even get to hatch out of their eggs. Some of these eggs are poached by locals and sold secretively, illegally. Alif is a Penyu Agar, or Green Turtle. This year is a relatively good year for his species – there’s been numerous sightings for the past few months and this is expected to go on till August. Some of Alif’s more distant relatives, like the Leatherback, have just stopped coming to this coast to hatch – whether they’ve just stopped coming here or gone extinct is anybody’s guess.

The life-cycle of sea turtles around the world are remarkably similar. On a beach like Cherating, mama turtle deposits about 100 soft-shelled eggs, about the size and look of ping-pong balls and buries them in the sand with her flippers. She then swims back to the sea, never to see her children ever again, except by chance, I suppose. If the human-poachers or other animals don’t get to the eggs first, little babies, much like Alif, will hatch after about 20 days, typically within minutes of each other. They then run (yes, run!) to the water to begin their amazing race.

Let me digress a little.

The Turtle Sanctuary in Cherating, which is under the purview of the Pahang State government, is tasked to assist in the long-term survivability of turtles that come round to Pahang to lay their eggs. They also want to see to it that these creatures continue returning to these shores year after year. These initiatives include ensuring that the eggs are not stolen, by sealing off known nesting sites at night. They also help the baby turtles get a head-start in life by releasing them from the beach. You can help them do this by releasing the little ones yourself, at RM5 an egg. All the money goes back to turtle conservation. The employees will flatly refuse tips.

Once in the water, the turtles do what all of us do – try to make something out of their lives. They eat, sleep, get married, have children and die – except that most of them don’t get to the adult/get married bit. 999 out of 1,000 end up as other creatures’ lunch or get entangled in fishing nets or die out of eating plastic bags that are often mistaken for food. The years between 0 and 40 are called the ‘lost years’ because scientists don’t really know what these guys do or even where they are during these years. Tracking technology has not been around that long and even the current tracking technologies don’t have batteries that last 40, let alone 100 years! At the same time, these are the critical years, if you can survive the first 40, you’ll probably live till 100!

If Alif were female and survive the lost years, she should be back here in around 2056, a point at which I should be in my lost years. My children and their kids might be in Cherating again, releasing Alif’s babies. And you and I wanna make sure that that will actually happen!

But why should we be concerned about Alif and all the other turtles? Because we’re ALL inter-connected – you, me, the plants, the animals, including the turtles – even beings that our forefathers considered inconvenient or disgusting even – like the bees, bats, termites. We all play a part in the big scheme of things in this universe. Removing or deleting parts of this ultra-complex mathematical equation upsets the ecosystem and will surely affect us all in the long or even near-term.

So What?

Here’s what you can do to help the turtles survive

  • Don’t eat turtle eggs. Don’t buy turtle eggs
  • Don’t watch turtles laying eggs – that stresses them out, and might discourage them to come back the following year
  • Go visit the Turtle Sanctuary – get a better appreciation of what’s at stake
  • Don’t throw plastics (and other non-biodegradables) at sea

Screen Shot 2016-06-03 at 6.33.06 PM.png

“There is not a moving creature on earth, nor a bird that flies with its two wings, but are communities like you. We have neglected nothing in the Book, then unto their Lord they shall be gathered.” [Quran 6:38]

Posted in conservation, environment, turtles, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

4 Tips to Prevent Prostate Enlargement

If you’re under-18, please get your parents’ consent before you continue reading this, because things get pretty ‘adult’ near the end 😉

Screen Shot 2016-05-03 at 10.04.36 PM.png

Alright gentlemen, please listen up because this is about YOU. Ladies are welcome too, for this write-up can actually benefit you too. This article is about steps that you could take to help prevent Prostate Enlargement aka BPH, or Benign Prostate Hyperplasia.

Definitions

First, let’s get the definitions of these big words out of the way (courtesy of Dictionary.com)

  • ‘Benign’ means not cancerous;
  • ‘Prostate’ is an organ that surrounds the urethra of males at the base of the bladder, comprising a muscular portion, which controls the release of urine and a glandular portion, which secretes an alkaline fluid that makes up part of the semen and enhances the motility and fertility of sperm;
  • ‘Hyperplasia’ is an enlargement of a part due to an abnormal numerical increase of its cells.

This article is not about what BPH is, nor is this about curing BPH. Those things you can google. We are talking here about prevention. It’s about things you can and should be doing. Oh, and btw, BPH and Prostate Cancer are two entirely different things. And this short essay is not about Prostate Cancer. It is about the prevention of Prostate Enlargement, i.e. BPH.

Who can get BPH?

I was drawn to writing this because I know a close family member who had had this condition but is recovering, thankfully. Also, news about friends who have BPH are getting more and more frequent. According to US statistics, the incidence of this condition is more than 50% for men over 50. Stats on Asian men are less forthcoming on the Internet, but it’s probably not very different.

BPH begins to rear its ugly head at the 40-year mark and by the time you’re 70, your chances of getting afflicted is about 80%.

Disclaimer

Let’s be clear on this – I am not a medical doctor. I am just a (cool) guy who has a relative that had experienced this inconvenient BPH condition. I also have some friends who are beginning to get it. So, let’s just say, I’ve been doing some googling and curated my findings herein. What I’m preaching here is what I’ve been practising the past few years. And it’s worked for me, so far.

Please take these tips if you find them useful. None of these tips cost you anything, except one, and even that is almost nothing anyway.

4 Tips to Fight BPH

Screen Shot 2016-05-03 at 9.25.05 PM.png

1.When you pee, after that last drop, don’t just store your banana away. Exercise the perineal muscles, that are right behind the ping-pong balls 10 times. (These muscles are apparently interchangeably  called perineal, levator, or pelvic-floor muscles.) That way, the prostate gets a little workout. Besides, it also ensures that all your pee goes into the bowl and you don’t wet your underpants on your way out of the boys’ room, as older men are wont to do. And do wash your fruit with water before you put it away.

Screen Shot 2016-05-03 at 9.22.26 PM.png

2.Exercise those muscles. These are the same perineal muscles described above. Just squeeze, hold for 5 seconds, then gradually relax those muscles to a slow count of 5 seconds. Then repeat –  squeeze, hold, relax. This you can do anytime, anywhere – in the car, in the office, at home, on the bus, literally anywhere. No one would know 😉  BTW, this exercise is called the Kegel Exercise. Check out the ‘further reads’ below if you want to know more.

I normally do 50 ‘reps’ just before bed. Now, the side benefit is this. Guys, listen carefully. It gives you better ‘control’ during copulation. Just like everyone has been telling you since you were young – exercise is good for you! Control guys, control.

Screen Shot 2016-05-03 at 9.26.04 PM.png

3.Pumpkin seeds. This is a traditional Western prescription to fight prostate enlargement. Just pop a few seeds in your mouth every day and it’s asta la vista BPH, god-willing. You can get these for almost nothing at your grocer’s or supermarket. Either take them raw or roasted. Put them in a bottle on the kitchen table so that you remember to take them every day. They’re practically tasteless, though some people actually do like them.

Screen Shot 2016-05-03 at 9.28.27 PM.png

4.Fornicate regularly. No bad side-effects here. It’s all good, all fun. You can do this with your partner, however, whenever you like. But seriously, if circumstances render this impracticable, you can go solo 😉

If you forget everything else I’ve said here, just remember this word – Control. Ahem.

 

Further reads:

1.Kegel Exercises for Men from WebMD

http://www.webmd.com/urinary-incontinence-oab/kegel-exercises-treating-male-urinary-incontinence

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Best Dang Teacher on The Planet

Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 12.17.58 PM

Atan Khamis is my father. He’s 81 and officially retired from the government service. He wasn’t a formal teacher. Never taught in a proper school, except for a very short time. But most of our foundation education, we owe it to him. Although his formal education credentials are not impressive, he was, to me and to many of *us, the best dang teacher on the planet.

*us here means my brothers and sisters. It also means many of my cousins who used to live near us. And it also means the neighbours’ kids – from around 1964 to 2013. He’d always converted parts of the houses that we’ve lived in into part-time or full-time classes. Thanks to Encik Atan, under his tutelage many of these children blossomed into straight A students. And often, these were kids whom their parents had given up on. Many of these former students have gone on to become successful professionals, academics and businessmen.

Screen Shot 2016-06-01 at 12.27.26 PM.png

Dad was doing the 3R’s long, long before the term was invented, let alone being deemed fashionable. His specialties were English and Math. The 8 Parts of Speech, the Arithmetic Times-Tables were absolute musts in his books. If you don’t ‘get’ those, you will “get it”. He also did Science, Islam basics, Drawing, Bahasa Melayu, typing skills (!) etc but with somewhat lesser emphases. ‘English is the language of the world. And Mathematics is the language of Science.’

I wouldn’t be half the person I am now without tuition by my No.1 teacher. And I’m sure I speak on behalf of the hundreds of successful people that have graduated from the classes of Cikgu Atan.

To Abah, thank you. You are the best.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Me & Prince (1958-2016)

prince bow.png

From today onwards, it will be difficult to mention the colour purple, raspberry beret, doves or even just kiss without reminding myself of Prince who left us 23 hours ago. We go back a long way and in many respects our lives are intertwined.

I was born in 1958, like the man. Michael Jackson was also born in the same year too. My wife agreed on naming our first-born Putra, which is Malay for Prince. He’s now 23. Yes, I’ve been a fan, a huge fan, fanatic even, for about 30 years. My first introduction to Prince were the albums Controversy and Dirty Mind. They completely blew my mind on first listens. That was around 1983. When Purple Rain the movie, the album and the single came out in 1985, I no longer had red blood in my body; it was all purple.

 

The Music

Then, in quick succession, there were all those albums – Sign O The Times, Lovesexy, Graffiti Bridge, 7, etc etc. Heck, in the end, he had 39 albums and those were just the official releases. No artiste or band has come close, I believe. In fact, if you play all of the albums sequentially, non-stop, it’ll probably take you about 2 days to finish!

I love Prince and I always will. You’ve heard this before, but you know, besides singing, he plays a multitude of instruments really, really well – guitar, bass, drums, keys. Never seen him play any wind instruments though.

He’s an accomplished composer – 39 albums, need I say more? In fact, he’s got too many, he ‘lent’ many of his songs away – to Sinead O’Connor, The Bangles, Madonna, Chaka Khan, Parliament/Funkadelic, Kenny Rogers (yes, go google it!), The Time, Tevin Campbell… well, you get the idea.

He could play the whole gamut of musical styles from funk through R&B, rock and roll, hard rock, jazz and heart-tugging ballads in the same show, all seamlessly. And guess what, he doesn’t even read music! BTW, you should check-out the much under-rated jazz album, The Rainbow Children.

His musical prowess is the stuff of legends – other living legends have come to the fore in praise of this little big man, today and before – Miles Davis, Stevie Wonder, Mick Jagger, George Clinton, Eric Clapton etc. He’s the legends’ legend.

Now he could play all this stuff as a one-man band, as in the ‘Piano & Microphone’ Tour, or as a 4-piece outfit, like the 3rdEyeGirl in 2014/2015 or bigger configurations – remember The Revolution, The New Power Generation?

There were a number of his albums where he did EVERTYHING or almost – composing, arranging, producing and playing all the instruments – Dirty Mind, Controversy, Purple Rain, Lovesexy, Sign O The Times. To me his best works were when he did just that – everything!

Aside from his melodic and rhythmic skills in song-writing, the poetic side of the man is somewhat under-appreciated. He had a way with words and poetry which added colour and imagery to his tunes – ‘The Ballad of Dorothy Parker’ from ‘Sign O The Times’ is a perfect example of this. See bottom of this post for a sampler.

prince showman.png

The Showman

Then, there’s Prince the showman. And he was a showman extraordinaire. On stage, although some of his moves were, I’m sure, rehearsed, many were ad-libbed. One of my favourites was from the SOTT video where he was singing and playing the guitar on a huge speaker and he jumped to the floor and did a split and just continued singing and playing without missing the proverbial beat. You MUST see that. Betcha even James Brown couldn’t do that!

And, there’s Prince the bandleader. He could make the whole band go this way or that way with the subtlest of cues and it worked all the time. This side of him reminded me of George Clinton and Frank Zappa, where Prince was the ‘conductor’, rather than a musician.

And I haven’t even touched on his carefully-crafted image of Prince, the brand, which was continuously evolving – the hair, the clothes, the guitar, and even the name! And the image of the bands too.

appolonia.png

Then, there were those impossible-looking ladies. Appollonia, Vanity, Sheila E, Wendy & Lisa, 3rdEyeGirl…

I could write a 500-page book on Prince and it still would not do justice to the enormous amount of work that he has put into the craft. I won’t do that – there’s a lot for you to chew on already on the Internet.

Suffice to say that Prince Rogers Nelson had been my No.1 favourite musician, entertainer, showman for about 30 years. Nothing compared to him, then, now and probably ever. Perhaps I could say “I Can Never Take The Place of Your Man”. Today was a very hard day for me. I’ve shed more tears than I’ve had for family, which frankly I didn’t quite understand. I didn’t even know Prince and he didn’t know me!

I’m just glad that I managed to see him on the ‘Piano & Microphone’ Tour in Perth less than 2 months ago. If I hadn’t, I would be even more devastated. I should also add that I travelled 4,000km just to see the show!

Well, Mr Nelson, the finality of death sucks for the ones left behind. But from Him we’ve come, to Him we shall all return. ‘I Wish You Heaven’. Thank you, Prince.

If you have time, check-out this beautiful poetry below.

 

The Ballad of Dorothy Parker

dorothy.png

Dorothy was a waitress on the promenade
She worked the night shift
Dishwater blonde, tall and fine
She got a lot of tips

Well, earlier I’d been talkin’ stuff
In a violent room
Fighting with lovers past
I needed someone with a quicker wit than mine
Dorothy was fast

Well, I ordered, “Yeah, let me get a fruit cocktail, I ain’t to hungry”
Dorothy laughed
She said “Sounds like a real man to me”
“You’re kinda cute, you want to take a bath?
(Do you want to, do you want to, bath)

Awh I said “Cool, but I’m leaving my pants on” (she say)
“‘Cause I’m kind of going with someone”
She said “Sounds like a real man to me”
“Mind if I turn on the radio?”
“Oh, my favorite song” she said
And it was Joni singing “Help me I think I’m falling”

Brrring the phone rang and she said
“Whoever’s calling can’t be as cute as you”
Right then I knew I was through
(Dorothy Parker was cool)

My pants where wet, they came off
But she didn’t see the movie
‘Cause she hadn’t read the book first

Instead she pretended she was blind
An affliction brought on by a witch’s curse
Dorothy made me laugh (ha ha)
I felt much better so I went back
To the violent room (tell us what you did)
Let me tell you what I did

I took another bubble bath with my pants on
All the fighting stopped
Next time I’ll do it sooner
This is the ballad of Dorothy Parker

Dorothy Parker, Dorothy Parker, Dorothy Parker
Sweet hoo hoo ooo
Dorothy Parker, Dorothy Parker, Dorothy Parker
Well
Dorothy Parker, Dorothy Parker
Well, ohh, well, aohh

Posted in music, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Taking A 2nd Wife

Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 9.43.18 PM.png

Many a married man gets the urge to take a second wife some time after being married for the first time. Now this seems like a reasonable thing to do if you’re Muslim, or if you’re part of a culture which allows you to partake in this potentially fun endeavor. Otherwise, you’re out of luck, my friend.

Anyway, I’m not here to preach, or to please my wife (which is kind of a spoiler alert right there). In here are just my views on this subject, which is understandably touchy if you happen to be of the female kind.

First, a little about me, so that you know where I’m coming from. I am a married Muslim man, with one loving wife (which is more than I can handle, LOL. Let alone 2 or 4 for that matter.). I have 4 wonderful children, who are 24, 22, 17 and 16. Boy, girl, girl, boy. Just the configuration we had always wanted, They’ve all been good to me so far, Alhamdulillah.

I have Muslim friends who have up to 3 wives. Some of them are happy. (‘Them’ here means husbands AND wives.) But an overwhelming proportion of these polygamous unions are not. Not happy. Taking a second wife, sometimes result in the divorce of the first wife. And sometimes it results in the divorce of the second wife. And I know of at least one case where the second marriage resulted in the dissolution of BOTH marriages.

Now don’t get me started on taking a 3rd or 4th woman. And lest we forget, how do you (that’s you, Mr Man) properly manage the children, assuming this polygamy thing works for you? It’s even worse if it doesn’t.

The Muslim ruling on taking multiple wives is quite clear. Put simply, if you can be fair and just to all of your wives, go ahead marry more than one. But if you have doubts about your ability to be fair, then stick to one wife. That’s the essence of An-Nisa 4:3 below.

“And if ye fear that ye will not deal fairly by the orphans, marry of the women, who seem good to you, two or three or four; and if ye fear that ye cannot do justice (to so many) then one (only) or (the captives) that your right hands possess. Thus it is more likely that ye will not do injustice.” [Quran An-Nisa 4:3]

But, now here’s a big BUT. A disclaimer, if you will. In the same surah 4:129, the Quran says that chances are you will NOT be able to be fair to all your wives. (Then the ayat goes on to say that you should not leave any wife ‘in suspense’, but that’s a different discussion which I’m not dealing with here.)

“Ye will not be able to deal equally between (your) wives, however much ye wish (to do so). But turn not altogether away (from one), leaving her as in suspense. If ye do good and keep from evil, lo! Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful.” [Quran An-Nisa 4:129]

Now let’s go through the 2 ayats above one more time. The message is yes, you can marry more than one, sir. But only IF you’re sure that you can be equitable to all your wives. And then the second ayat says that, you know what, even if you really wish to be fair and equal to your women, in all likelihood, you will fail!

Is the message from the Book of Allah clear? It’s crystal. And this has played-out in the many instances that you and I know of in the polygamous marriages that have failed. (Harian Metro has lots of these stories, if you like that sort of thing :-))

There’s also the financial angle to think about. Even before you talk about being equitable, are you earning enough to now divide your income by 2? And what about, ahem, physical capability?

And how are you going to update your relationship status in Facebook? There’s no space for second wife you know.

If I’m reading this correctly, it boils down to this – The Quran says if you take more than 1 wife, chances are you and your wives and your children will be unhappy. The decision is yours, my friend. Assalamualaikum.

Posted in islam, quran, second wife, Uncategorized | Leave a comment