Tuesday, October 18, 2005

A Taste of Heaven

I was about 4 or 5 then, but I remember the day my mother brought me to the school she was teaching. Why she had done so I cannot remember. Nor can I remember whether I had been more than a handful in her class that day. But I must have been.

Sometime during that day, she led me to a bench in the school canteen and later handed me a snack and a carbonated drink. I remember that part so clearly even now as though it was only yesterday: on my right hand, I was holding a kacang epang and my left a bottle of ice cream soda. Both, had the taste which would appeal to any kid of that age and I was no exception. Though the very meaning of the word was lost to me then, it was, a heavenly experience.

As time pass by and along with it, the age of innocence, I began to learn that heavenly experience is not within an earthly grasp, but that heaven is.

Somewhere along the line between then and present, I also learnt that when the Prohpet Adam (a.s.) came out of heaven, he brought along with him 3 heavenly items: an Olive tree, a Date tree and Honey. While the fruits of the olive is not well known nor easily available here, the date and honey are in abundance especially during the month of Ramadhan.

Is not only norm but encouraged for muslims to break their fast with dates. This is not only in following the tradition of the Prohpet Muhammad (s.a.w.) but also for the nutritious effect of the fruit itself. Throughout this whole month the date is eagerly eaten, only to be equally and easily forgotten when Ramadhan draws to an end. It is as though the month of Syawal is the much more eagerly awaited month - a month of joyous festivity and endless television entertainment?

True, it is the month of Syawal we muslims celebrate. But the celebration is meant for the dedication in and for the month of Ramadhan. To be precise, it is only the 1st day of Syawal the celebration is called for.

In the month of Ramdhan, muslims are to self-impose restrain and discipline against the lust and temptations of this world. In reward for these acts which if performed in sincerity, Allah bestows the faithfuls His forgiveness, mercy and bounty. It is then I find it neither strange nor surprising that several friends weep with the departure of this month as though one would with a lover.

Try as I might I constantly find myself falling and failing to attain the platform they have. Perhaps, though I may not taste heaven here on earth, I hope and pray, I may even if just, grasp it. InsyAllah.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

A Belly Dancer No More...

Got home late afternoon yesterday. As per my normal routine, the first thing I would do once I shut the gate is to look at the fishes in the water tank. To my horror, the Big Momma, I found her floating sideways like some floatsam or debris of a shipwreck. Almost as quickly I pulled her out with a net and placed her in a pale of water.

Now, a House or Becker I am definitely not. But, eventhen I could tell she was not well and wondered if I should administer CPR on her. Then, on second thoughts, I decided to wait till tomorrow and send her to the vet.

Later that evening, I walked out to check on her, and she was gone! No, I mean she disapeared! A quick lookaround the bushes and drain failed to show any signs of criminal activity by those feline creatures that regularly visit my house since the water tank was brought over. A tinge of sadness crept in and daylight too failed to show any signs. Nothing I can do now, except mull over her disapearance.

The Big Momma, she's a belly dancer no more.

Sunday, October 09, 2005


The more the world revolves
the older it gets
With old age
it inevitably dies
To defer death
it stops revolving
Only to die an abrupt
and violent death
"Why then," it ask

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Of Fishes, Life and the ISA

Used to hate rearing fishes as pets. Not for any other reason, but that most people some years back would keep several fishes in a bowl no larger than the size of well, one's head. Then, there's the type of fish itself: in all probability it would be a fat goldfish wobbling its way around as though its the aquaworld version of a belly dancer. Except that if I were a fish, I would not be caught dead paying to watch the, er, bellydance. But time passes by and so do circumstances of one's life.

When we shifted to this new place, my brother sent his aquarium over as he needed to make some extra space. Measuring somewhat 3 feet by 2 feet and with a depth of about a foot, it's more like a water tank rather than an aquarium. But contained within this tank is a small universe of life that now holds me spellbound: several Tiger Barbs and Mirror Fish lives alongside some 20 other fishes and their mother, a wobbly big momma which is humongous in comparison to the newly-hatched fries of the eggs she lay every 4,5 days or so.

A Jacques Cousteau I will never be, but I've come to observe the life and am amazed at times at how these fishes adapt to changes within their environment brought about by birth and death of not only their kins, but also the plants that occupy the space within; I cannot help but wonder how these very fishes would react were they to be released into a river: would they still confine their lives to the same width and length of this tank, or would they travel span of the river?

Life, whether aquatic or not, is a journey of discovery. Whether one choose to take the fateful step each day, is a choice one makes from a choice one has and the freedom to make such choice.

For the fishes in the tank, the freedom to make such a choice may never avail itself - life to them, is meant to be within this confined space. And unless God gives them the ability to think as human, they may never know another world outside this tank. But that itself is another trap. For the very ability to think and comprehend, that life do exist outside the tank, and that very ability to think and comprehend, that it is doomed to live within the confine of a space which can be suffocating, is a sad notion I'd rather not explore anymore.

It is on the same platform that my tought drift to the people incarcerated for crimes which they may or may not have committed. And it is not the criminals convicted of civil or war crimes that I refer to; for having been convicted means due process of the law was followed and that their incarceration is meant for the good of the many. The people that my heart goes to are those held in detention without trials to convict or vindicate.

Nik Adli Dato Nik Abd Aziz, Solehan Abdul Ghafar, Mohd Lothfi Ariffin, Mohd Rafi Udin, Mohd Zulkifli Mohd Zakaria Zainon Ismail and Zid Sharani Mohd Isa, are names of 7 individuals I have never met. However, having read several accounts with some rather humiliating I question their 4 years in detention which the government have just extended to another 2: what are their crimes? If true they are guilty as the authorities so asserts, then, by all means, put them on trial and let the judgement be passed by the judiciary system. Let they not be waiting in vain for the freedom which they are denied. Let not their family suffer in loneliness of absence of a father or a husband that is rightly theirs.

Each morning as we sip our coffee or tea alongside our loved ones, imagine the families of the detainess who sit through the hardship of life without theirs.