Thursday, 10 November 2011

Notes to 4 most amazing men :)

Just finished Imam Abu Hanifah. Now starting Imam Maliki.

"Imam Abu Hanifah : A glimpse of your colourful life is an inspiration. Glad I had the chance to walk through it. Your mom- can't get my mind of her. She was the reason all those happened, wasn't it?


Imam Malik : I've already loved you before. A story of you always plays in my head. The one about people asking you to be more zuhud. Hihihi...I know I will love you more. Now reading you :). Happy.


Imam Shafiee : I have always love your poems. And my favourite is 'Let the Days'. I have visited where you were rested. I can't believe I haven't read you before. I thought of jumping straight to you, but the author tells the stories of you and your brothers in chronological order. I have to read them first. I'll get to you soon. You love knowledge more than anyone else. That's why I love you.


Imam Ahmad : Sadly, you are the least I know about. Can't wait to get to know you. Can't wait."

Chaos

 When I graduated in 2004, there were only 12 (if I'm not wrong) medical schools in Malaysia that produce graduates. Now just look at the list. Remember there are graduates from UK, Ireland, India, Egypt, Indonesia and Russia too.

Medical schools that have already produced graduates:

Universiti Malaya
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia
Universiti Sains Malaysia
Universiti Malaysia Sarawak
International Medical University
Universiti Putra Malaysia
International Islamic University Malaysia
Penang Medical College
UniKL Royal College of Medicine Perak
Melaka-Manipal Medical College
Universiti Malaysia Sabah
Universiti Teknologi MARA
UCSI University
Asian Institute of Medicine, Science and Technology
Monash University Malaysia
Allianze College of Medical Sciences
Cyberjaya University College of Medical Sciences
Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia

Med schools that will have their first graduates in 2012-2017:


Newcastle University of Medicine Malaysia
MAHSA University College
International Medical School – MSU (IMS-MSU)
Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin
Taylor’s University
SEGi University College
Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman
Masterskill University College
Perdana University Graduate School of Medicine (PUGSOM)
Perdana University – RCSI
Quest International University Perak
PMC Terengganu
Kolej Universiti Insaniah
Kolej Universiti Antarabangsa Kejururawatan dan Sains Kesihatan (KPJ)
Lincoln University College


Bear in mind that the number of teaching hospitals (University hospitals and General Hospitals) are not increasing as much as the number of medical schools. The number of real life trainers (ie the specialists, surgeons etc) are not increasing much too.

Also, there are a lot of accusations that a lot of corruptions are involved in taking up 'qualified students' and passing the future doctors.

OK I'm not going to question about the intake / qualification of the medical undergraduates, but just looking at the number of medical schools we know that the training in hospitals available is going to be substandard. I know some schools that use mannequins to teach the students how to examine people. In UKM before we never use mannequins. We use breathing, talking subjects.

Now the house officers are going to work in shift system. It is a big change and many specialist/ senior doctors are not happy with it. Their main concern is that who will supervise the young doctors who work in evening or night shift, because the shift system only involve the house officers, not the supervisors.

So I think you readers can imagine the chaos in the Ministry now. For this I advise:

1. Be aware of what is going on with you / your family when you go to seek medical attention. The best is to catch the seniors who are in charge of the ward you are in, and make sure you know the management plan of your illness. You will notice that the juniors are going to be like chipsmores.

2. If you think you see something amiss, make it your responsibility to complain and correct it. About complaining, please don't simply jump on that doctor did not smile (we are human too) or I have to wait 2 hours in a crowded ED. Rather, speak up if nobody do anything when your mother has high fever, or the doctor did not wear a mask when suturing your wound, or nobody take heed of your bleeding pregnant wife. I think you understand.

3. Don't force medical course on your son / daughter if they are the lazy type, the slow type, the i-dont-give-a-damn type, the always-MIA type... even if you can pay for them to pass (not pay to study). It will come back to you.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Cerita Kursus

Semalam saya pergi kursus. Saya paksa diri untuk tulis post ini sebelum 'api' nya padam. Kenal kan Darwisya dan Darwish, adik beradik yg menghafal Quran tu. Umur 3 thn setengah dah hafal seluruh Juz Amma. Mak diorang yang ajar. Mak diorang (Puan Lina) bukan Ustazah, bukan penghafaz Quran juga, bukan surirumah. So macam mana dia buat? Dia selalu cerita kaedah dia dalam blog dia sini. Tapi sekarang dia dah buat kursus juga. Kursus Mengajar Al-Quran kepada Bayi dan Kanak-Kanak. Sebulan sekali je dia buat.

Jadi saya pergi!!! Saya ke Shah Alam tempat dia buat kursus tu, ingatkan saya yg paling jauh, dari Melaka. MasyaAllah, rupa2nya dari JB pun ada, dari Kulim pun ada dan jengjengjeng..dari Bintulu pun ada. Ya, terbang dari Bintulu untuk belajar dari Puan Lina.

Firstly, how is she in person? Pada saya dia biasa2 je (tapi cita2 dan kerja kuat yg luar biasa), dan sangat senang untuk disukai (very likeable). Mind you, saya kalau orang berceramah saya punya habit (yg tak berapa baguslah, saya tau), saya akan sangat skeptikal dan seboleh2nya saya akan cari kenapa saya tak perlu dengar ceramah dia. But as far as I can tell, she spoke from her heart, and her concern (to teach other parents how to teach young kids to read and memorize Quran) is genuine. So we all enjoyed and benefited a lot.

Saya dan Puan Lina (Mama Darwisya dan Darwish)
Kenapa saya pergi? Sebenarnya saya rasa saya dah stuck dengan progress budak2 ni. Adam dah Iqra' 4 dan Ammar dah Iqra' 2, tapi hafazan tak gerak-gerak. Apa yang saya kejar? Saya takut saya terlepas golden period diorang semasa otak mereka seperti sponge ini. Saya juga takut saya mati sebelum saya sempat developkan jiwa Quran dalam diri mereka. Apa lagi yang saya boleh tinggalkan untuk mereka kalau bukan jiwa itu kerana tiada siapa yang dapat merampasnya dari mereka. Ia insurans terpenting mereka. Apa saja yang terjadi pada mereka di dunia ini kalau mereka berjiwa Quran tentu mereka akan selamat di Akhirat. Lagi satu saya risau tengok mereka suka sangat main game. Dan saya perlukan kaedah baru / lain yang boleh optimize masa saya yg dah tak berapa nak cukup sejak saya kerja semula ni.

Banyak yang saya belajar. Bukan saja dari Puan Lina tapi juga dari ibu bapa lain. Sebab sesi pertama ialah sesi berkenalan di mana kami semua perkenalkan diri dan ceritakan perkembangan Quran anak2. Saya memang impress dengan ibu bapa lain. Bilik seminar itu penuh hingga tak cukup meja, ada yang kena duduk di tengah2 antara meja juga. Nasib baik saya sampai awal, dapat duduk depan. Ramai juga yang walk-in, sepatutnya kena booking online.

Apa yang saya belajar?

1. Mesti ada visi untuk anak. Contoh (bukan saya, rekaan je): saya mahu anak jadi peguam yang hafaz Quran. Ok, saya punya visi cuma 1 iaitu semua kami ahli Jannatul Firdaus tapi ini agak general sebenarnya. Saya belum betul2 fikir apa plan spesifik untuk anak2 saya. Mungkin di sini silap saya. Goal tak ada. Macam Puan Lina, apabila Darwisya masuk 6 tahun dia akan dihantar ke Sekolah Tahfiz selama 2 tahun untuk dapatkan keseluruhan Al-Quran, kemudian masuk darjah dua. Darjah 1 dikira sebagai homeschooling.

2. Bagaimana nak kenal anak kita jenis learner yang macam mana dan apa cara terbaik untuk mereka.

3. Bagaimana nak masukkan Al-Quran ke subconscious mind mereka.

4. Halangan2 dan cara2 atasi halangan. Ya Allah.. banyaknya..yelah, syaitan kan tak suka orang belajar Quran. Kalau buat benda tak elok dia tak halang, kan. Pentinglah bab ni.

5. Pemakanan untuk budak2 yang menghafaz Quran.

6. Ehh banyak lagilah..tak larat nak tulis semua.


Alat bantu mengajar yang Puan Lina guna

Antara peserta kursus

Saya beli untuk Abid.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

I have a dream

Kata2 cikgu matematik saya dulu: "Some people have dreams, while others wake up and realize them"

Would like to share a message from my Arabic teacher:




Work hard. Or you deserved to be left behind. (talking to myself)

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Post memanaskan jari jemari.

Eh lama sangat blog ni saya tinggalkan, sampai gambar raya pun tak ada. Sebenarnya kitorang beraya sakan. Seremban-Temerloh-Ipoh-KL sempat pergi masa raya. Saya dapat cuti seminggu. Rasanya ini cuti raya paling lama saya pernah dapat. Sebab ramai doktor2 non-Muslim yang cover hospital. :) Deepavali hujung bulan ni dah tentu saya pulak yg kena kerah.

Oklah. Tunjuk gambar raya satu. Selamat hari raya semua (dah lambat pun :P). Nanti cerita lagi ok. Mungkin nak tulis pasal buku lah. Dah lama tak tulis pasal buku.


Semoga hari ini lebih baik dari semalam. Esok belum tentu.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

2 hari

Sudah 2 hari Adam berjaya puasa Subuh ke Maghrib :) Yang saya kagum ialah dia tak merungut langsung. Tidak merengek bila tengok Ammar dan Abid makan. Tidak minta makanan selain apa yang dihidangkan ketika berbuka. Dari mana kekuatan dia? Tubuhnya kecil kurus keding tapi tenaga banyak. Tidak tidur langsung di siang hari.

Adam berbuka dengan roti canai

Saya bertanya, "How do you feel Adam, fasting the whole day?"

Dia jawab "OK" (jawapan standard, tiada huraian panjang lebar).

"Why do you fast in Ramadhan, Adam?"

"So that I become a soleh boy, and in World 3 I can live in Heaven where all good things are.."

Saya terkedu. Tak sangka pulak itu jawapannya. Ketika kematian nenek saya tahun lepas, Adam ada bertanya ke mana orang yg mati pergi. Jadi saya telah menggunakan analogi World 1 (dunia), World 2 (barzakh) dan World 3 (akhirat). Untuk melatihnya berpuasa saya janjikan duit 50 sen setiap jam. Mulanya saya sangka itulah jawapannya. Saya merenung jawapannya. Ia jawapan yang sesuai dengan tujuan Allah swt menyuruh kita berpuasa seperti dalam ayat 183 surah AlBaqarah- mudah-mudahan kamu bertaqwa.

...so that I become a soleh boy..


Amin..

Ramai orang suka menegur rambut kepala Adam yang ada 2 pusar. Biasa orang akan kata- eh pusar dia dua..biasa orang kata degil ni... Saya akan selalu jawab, dia lah yang paling ikut cakap. Degil ke tidak bukan ikut pusar kepala.

Ammar pula bertanya, "Mama, which is better, soleh boy or good boy?"

"Soleh boy because soleh boy means a good boy that always remember Allah"

"I remember Allah when I eat" Ammar mempertahankan dirinya.

"hehe true..you are a soleh boy too.."

Sikap tak boleh kalah tu memang macam turun dari saya.

(terima kasih Baiti yang memberi idea memuji anak dengan mengatakan soleh boy, instead of good boy / clever boy)

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Tips untuk latih anak puasa

Wardina buat video ni, saya rasa memang praktikal and full of gems..Yang penting sebelum ajar diorang puasa isu solat mesti settle dulu sebab kita taknak send the wrong message eg puasa mesti jangan tinggal tapi solat tak diberatkan..

Pastu saya suka idea yang kita mesti firstly terapkan perasaan cintakan Ramadhan, supaya bila berpuasa bukannya soal tak makan minum yg diberatkan, tapi keistimewaan Ramadhan itu sendiri, barulah kita tak lembik je masa puasa..



Adam? Hari ni dia puasa sampai pukul 2.30pm.. saya cakap congratulations kat dia :) sebab ada progress..so far sahur dia tak pernah tinggal lagi..

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Semalam on call di Unit Kecemasan...macam2 ragam orang.. sangat ramai yg tak berpuasa, entah betul sakit yg dibenarkan berbuka oleh syara' atau tidak?

Ada orang yang kencing manis gula naik tinggi.. "pakcik makan pukul berapa ni?".. "pukul 9 pagi nak.." (ehh apasalah pakcik tak puasa--- dalam hati je hehe)

Yang berpuasa pula kebanyakan keputusan ujian darah dan air kencing memang menunjukkan tanda2 dehidrasi.. mula2 saya terlupa, kenapa semua kidney functions mildly deranged ni? oooo diorang puasalah...

Nasib baik mereka menghormati waktu maghrib, unit kecemasan lengang semasa maghrib mudah untuk kami berbuka..

Ada pakcik umur 90 tahun pula yg pertama kali seumur hidupnya dtg ke hospital (tekanan darahnya naik)..kerjanya penoreh getah dan pemanjat pokok kelapa.. "jadi pakcik boleh bg tau saya rahsia umur panjang?" --saya suspek mesti gaya hidup yg sihat kerana isterinya juga masih hidup pada usia 80 lebih, dan mereka telah hidup bersama hampir 70 tahun, mempunyai 12 anak (yang 6 sudah meninggal waktu kecil- mungkin zaman jepun?)

Pakcik kata..."kita orang kampung mana tau apa2 rahsia doktorrrr..pakcik makan beras sawah kampung yang tumbuk pakai lesung tu, sayur apa2 yang boleh dipetik (mungkin maksud dia pucuk liar?) pastu ikan pun ikan tangkap kat sawah je...rahsia lain mana ada nakk"  :) ..terima kasih pakcik.. saya tau kesimpulannya pakcik tak makan makanan yg diproses, semua ambil terus dari nature.. tentulah tiada bahan toksik dalam badan pakcik.

Bila makan jangan lupakan saudara2 di Afrika yang sedang hadapi kemarau panjang. *sigh* belum pernah lagi jumpa org yang mati kebuluran.. tentu lebih seksa melihatnya daripada melihat org Malaysia yg mati kerana kencing manis dan sakit jantung..

Kesian semalam budak2 tinggal dengan papanya saja...

Friday, 29 July 2011

A year here and there

I was reading My First Atlas with Ammar when he pointed out that it takes 84 years for Uranus to go round the Sun and 164 years for Neptune.

Then I realized something, that a year does not mean 365 days, but the time it takes for a planet to complete a cycle around the Sun (Earth=365 days only).

Well that explains why the Quran said a year in Hell is equivalent to ? thousand years on earth (is it 60 000 years?).

So how far is the Hell from us now? FYI Uranus is about 2.57 billion km from earth at its closest distance (the distance changes constantly because Earth and Uranus is orbiting on opposite side of the Sun- if I understood it correctly).


Which brings me to the question- How BIG is the Whole Universe really?

And Nabi Muhammad (saw) traveled all the way to Sidratul Muntaha after passing Hell and Heaven in one night.

Well, no wonder our world is not significant at all in comparison to the Realm of Allah's Kingdom.

May all of us are one of the Ulul Albab (definition of Ulul Albab is in Ali Imran 190-191). Of course, the gist here is not on finding how many km exactly, because it won't benefit us (ie increase in our faith), but to know that it is beyond our capability of measuring it is sufficient for us to take a deep breath and proclaim Allahu Akbar!

Ramadhan Kareem everyone!

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Monolog garam

Dulu saya kerja macam robot. Bukan saya tak berfikir, cuma saya tak nampak kekuasaan Allah pada perkara2 kecil. Perkara2 besar (yg melibatkan hidup mati) tu nampaklah. Tapi perkara2 rutin berlalu tanpa meninggalkan kesan.

Saya meninggalkan bidang perubatan pada mulanya saya anggap ia satu setback untuk saya. Tapi Allah lebih mengetahui. Ia setback yang saya perlukan. Supaya saya tak jadi robot sampai mati. Otak konon pandai tapi tak berfikir.

Saya nak cerita pasal garam dalam badan.

Dalam badan kita ada beberapa jenis garam. Yang biasa selalu doktor akan tengok ialah sodium dan potassium. Dua2 ni penting, kalau keluar dari normal range mesti dibetulkan sebelum pesakit dibenarkan pulang. Yang saya terlepas pandang dulu ialah normal range ini sangat (10x) sempit. Kalau sodium 130-145 mmol/L, kalau potassium 3.5-5.2 mmol/L sahaja. Bayangkan kalau kita buat kek atau biskut, kalau tepung atau gula tu terlebih atau terkurang 50 gram kek tu masih jadi, kadang2 tak terjejas pun rasa/tekstur kek tu. Tapi kalau garam dalam badan ni terkeluar dari normal range yg sempit itu, badan sure haywire- otot lemah, otak confuse, rentak jantung lari. Mati.

Nak betulkan garam yang terkeluar dari normal range ni kalau tak lari jauh senang. Tapi kalau jauh bezanya, alamat tak tidurlah doktor yg on call tu. Ya, seperti yg terjadi kepada saya minggu lepas. Pakcik A sudah meracau2 sebab badan kering dan terlebih sodium. Pakcik B pula garam potassium sangat tinggi hingga setiap 4 jam perlu diberi ubat melalui salur darahnya, dan dicucuk pula untuk mengambil darahnya. Ketika itu saya pun bermonolog sendirian, pukul 1 pagi di hadapan kalkulator mengira kadar infusi air untuk pakcik A, dan sesekali meninjau monitor jantung Pakcik B.

  1. Kita makan sesuka hati tanpa perlu memikirkan adakah makanan itu akan menaikkan kadar sodium atau potassium kita. Sebab badan kita memang boleh kawal garam2 ini secara automatik untuk kekalkan equilibrium ini. Tapis di buah pinggang, keluar masuk sel etc. Tapi ini semua bukan automatik, kan? Allah yang kawal fungsi setiap sel untuk setiap organ untuk setiap manusia dan haiwan atas dunia ni. Adakah kita 'aware' perkara2 ini berlaku semasa ia berlaku?
  2. Mana ada orang yg sedar perkara2 ini berjalan dalam badan kita. Kalau sekali kita mengalami kekurangan garam badan ini mungkin baru kita akan boleh appreciate nikmat yg Allah beri ni. Tapi kita lebih bersyukur dengan apa yang kita nampak / dapat. Yang kita tak nampak? Memanglah kita tak akan memikirkannya pun. Itu pasal Allah selalu sebut dalam Al-Quran, refer kepada kita hamba2Nya ni- "kalaulah mereka mengetahui..."
  3. Betapa sukarnya kami para doktor dari petang cuba membetulkan garam pakcik2 ini, hingga ke tengah malam semasa saya on call dan berlanjutan ke hari2 berikutnya. Ilmu kita memang sangat limited. Perkara kecil seperti ini pun kita mahu kembalikan seperti yang Allah ciptakan ia semasa normal, satu perkara sukar. Patutkah kita jalan2 atas dunia ni seperti kita orang yg paling bagus? Patutkah kita memperdebatkan hal2 dalam blog2 kita seperti kita orang yg paling pandai ? (macam yg selalu saya buatlah kan). Memang muka tak malu kan. Kita ni lagak je lebih, tapi ilmu tak ada.

Kita bersyukur kalau kita naik gaji, dapat PhD, dapat anak etc. Bersyukur memuji2 Allah, sujud syukur, sedekah, buat kenduri syukur. Tapi garam dalam badan kita normal kita syukur dan gembira tak setiap hari? Mana ada kan..kalau tak mesti kita dah sembahyang sampai bengkak kaki macam Nabi kita. Tu pasal ulama dulu kata (yang saya dengar dari mulut Dr Mohd Asri), syukur itu lagi tinggi maqamnya dari sabar. Ramai orang beriman boleh bersabar, tapi untuk jadi orang yg betul2 bersyukur tu bukan semua orang beriman boleh buat.

Kalau kita ditimpa musibah pun, kita rasa seperti kita tak perlu bersyukur time tu, tapi concentrate energy untuk bersabar...("masa ni Allah nak kita bersabar"). Paling2 bagus pun kita bersyukur sebab musibah tu tak jadi lebih teruk lagi. Tapi kita tak ada pulak bersyukur sebab garam dalam badan kita masih dalam normal range dan rentak jantung kita masih normal dubdab dubdab. Teringat pulak Hamka kata (yg juga saya dengar dari Dr Mohd Asri) tentang ketika kita kesedihan kehilangan sesuatu atau ditimpa musibah kita sering lupa, sebenarnya- "yang ada di badan ini pun sudah satu harapan.."

Itulah tazkirah garam untuk hari ini.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Rumah baru kami

Sekarang kami menetap dalam kuarters kakitangan hospital tempat saya bekerja. Betul2 belakang hospital dalam lingkungan pagar yang sama. Ia rumah berkembar 2 tingkat yang mempunyai 5 bilik. Memang rumah ini terlebih besar untuk kami. Apartment 4 bilik sudah penuh, ini saja yang kosong. Rumah ini sudah tak berpenghuni selama 2 tahun. Kami hanya menggunakan 2 bilik sahaja. Lagi 3 bilik langsir pun saya tak naikkan lagi :P.

boleh main basikal dalam rumah- kat malaysia je boleh buat macam ni

Walaupun jumlah elaun saya yang dipotong untuk duduk di kuarters ini agak banyak juga (cukup untuk buat bayaran bulanan untuk rumah sendiri) tetapi ada beberapa faedah kami duduk dalam kuarters ini yang memang tak boleh dinilai dengan wang. Pertamanya, saya hanya berjalan kaki pergi dan balik kerja (300 langkah je dari pintu belakang rumah saya ke pintu wad tempat kerja saya). Kalau saya duduk di luar hospital tentunya saya akan naik kereta ke tempat kerja - menyumbang kepada pencemaran udara / carbon footprint saya (eceh!). Jimat minyak kereta. Tidak stress di jalan raya yang juga membahayakan kesihatan jantung, sistem imun dan mental saya (ayat2 poyo tapi benar).

pintu belakang rumah

terus jalan pergi kerja

Kedua, saya boleh pulang ke rumah pada bila2 masa. Ini penting semasa saya on call. Kalau saya duduk di luar saya tidak boleh pulang ke rumah selama 35 jam saya on call. Tetapi disebabkan saya duduk dalam kawasan hospital, saya boleh on call dari rumah sahaja. Jadi tidaklah budak2 (dan bapak budak) kehilangan saya sangat.

Ketiga, dalam kawasan hospital ini sahaja, ada 2 kawasan taman permainan kanak2. Satu daripadanya betul2 di luar pintu belakang rumah kami. Penting untuk budak2 keluarkan excess energy mereka- jadi ini memang rezeki budak2 ni.

gambar diambil dari pintu belakang rumah
Tokpa dengan cucu2

Keempat, halaman rumah dan hal2 kerosakan dalam rumah semuanya diselenggarakan oleh pihak hospital. Hospital ada juruteknik elektrik, plumber, gardener, malah civil engineernya sendiri. Telefon dan panggil sahaja. Mereka datang pada hari yang sama. Memang tak ternilai.

Kelima- ini belum lagi, tapi tahun depan Adam akan masuk darjah 1. Sekolahnya berkongsi pagar dengan hospital. Ada pintu kecil untuk kanak2 di kuarters ini pergi ke sekolah. Rentas padang sekolah dan Adam pun akan sampai ke bilik darjahnya. Saya pun rasa excited nak berjalan ke sekolah dengannya setiap pagi. Another savings in our carbon footprint there.

Adam dan Ammar dah masuk tadika. Saya risau juga mula2 kerana takutkan tiada tadika yang sesuai untuk mereka. Kalau di Lembah Klang memanglah banyak yang bagus2. Alhamdulillah di ceruk daerah kecil ini kami berjumpa dengan tadika yang menggunakan silibus Genius Aulad. Cikgu mereka pun bersikap terbuka dan tidak rigid, dan setuju mengikut tahap kemampuan Adam, yang sudah bersekolah 3 tahun di UK.

gambar semasa birthday Ammar yg ke 4

Itulah serba sedikit kehidupan kami sekarang.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Update and some reflections

Many things happened this whole month since I last wrote.

I found that memory is a superb thing. Even though I have not been using my medical knowledge for the last 3 years, it is easily recalled, and by the end of my first week of work I felt that there is no lapse in my working years. Allah is the Greatest Designer.

By age, I am now quite senior amongst other doctors here in this hospital. Many are juniors, they just completed their housemanship. I found that they are very passionate and aggressive. Many do things, not in the best interest of the patients, but for the sake of completeness (or covering themselves in case it becomes a medicolegal case). It does take some courage to practice proper responsible / sensible medicine, rather than defensive medicine (as they call it now)- but I personally view this as inappropriate. We are all answerable to God, not lawyers.

As I have written before, arrogance (I am always right / I know better attitude) is a common trait in doctors. Being able to take others' opinions (especially from lower rank staffs) are considered a weakness. In reality, the experience of the lower ranks staffs, who has worked 10-20 years, who has seen and heard more, is very valuable. Their judgment is usually more accurate. Not the doctors' MD. But if they detect a hint of arrogance in a doctor, they will reserve their opinions, and let the doctor handle it himself. This is an advice that junior doctors should take.

Other issues. Recently I had to attend to a young teenager in labour. 17, unmarried. She is a resident in a 'Sekolah Harapan' here ( a correctional institute for pregnant single mothers). Looking at her I could not stop thinking about the baby that was thrown from the fifth floor of a flat that was featured in the news recently. I reserved my judgment. I was glad I did. Every time she has contractions, between tears she was clearly reciting the 'ayat Nabi Yunus' (Lailahailla anta, subhanaka inni kuntu minazzholimin). That was all that came out of her mouth. This is the first time I hear a mother in labour, who did not utter a word of pain, but each contraction is a reminder to her (and us who attended her labour). I hope she will become a good mother, and the child will be among the solehin. I would like to meet the teachers at the Sekolah Harapan. One day, insyaAllah.

Since started working, I have not finished any book. Sad.

Non-medical issues. We have a 4-bedroom terrace house that we rented out near Ayer Keroh Melaka. When the tenant knew that we have returned to Malaysia, the family moved out secretly, leaving us a very very dirty and damaged house, and a few months of unpaid rent. They left the keys in the postbox. We rented the house to them semi-furnished, with a nice master bedroom set, book shelf etc, but to our dismay they left the house empty, saved for some rubbish here and there. Luckily the kitchen cabinets, cooker and hood are attached to the wall, if not they might have taken those out too.

We managed to track the family (Malay and Muslim- by name only, now we know), and have made a deal with them to clear everything with us while we are all alive. I do hope they keep their promise to restore the house (because we have a strong case and evidences to charge them and bring them to justice) as we need to rent out the house quickly.

For private landlords out there, some advices from us:

1. Make sure your tenancy agreement is valid- signed, stamped and witnessed. Have all things listed in the inventory, from furniture to fans and lights. Luckily we did this.

2. Use standing orders from the bank for rental payments. We didn't.

3. Make regular inspections, say every 3 months, and repair things early. We didn't, of course.

4. Everything must be included in the tenancy agreement eg. the tenant must return the house in a rentable state, rules on putting up air conditioners, repainting the walls if scribbled etc.

5. Put a special section on terms with the neighbors. Should the neighbors complaint the landlord has the right to remove the tenant. Our neighbor suffered. We are terribly sorry for that.

This really taught me a lesson. Outward appearance really does not count (mereka memang nampak baik). And even if something is rightfully ours (hak kita), if Allah holds it from us, we won't get it. I hope we can have patience in this. And Allah will give it back to us.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Kami sudah pulang :)

Kami telah kembali ke Malaysia :) setelah 3 tahun setengah tak balik langsung. Kami masih menumpang di rumah ibu bapa kami, belum dapat settle down lagi. Banyak pula halangannya.

1. Masa balik ke Malaysia kami naik Airbus 380. Makk aii..besarnya, macam duduk dalam business class je (walaupun saya tak pernah merasa business class tu macam mana). Setiap kerusi kelas ekonomi tu ada handphone / laptop charger individu. Ruang kaki pun besar. Terbaikk.

2. Kami singgah 3 malam di Dubai. Dubai sangat mewah. Seorang peminta sedekah pun tak jumpa (walaupun di kawasan bandar lama mereka). Sangat berbeza dengan Kaherah. Di Dubai Mall, kompleks beli-belah terbesar di dunia, setiap kali waktu solat ada azan yang berkumandang. Dalam Mall itu sendiri ada peta siap dengan nama-nama jalan. Kalau budak hilang dalam tu memang menangis tak berlagu lah. Nanti bila-bila saya letak gambar ye. Kami duduk di Holiday Inn, yang terasa seperti hotel 4 bintang tapi sebenarnya dia dua bintang saja. Ada hotel-hotel lain yang berbintang-bintang lagi hebat. Macam manalah kat dalam hotel-hotel tu agaknya.

3. Kepanasan di Malaysia membuatkan saya lupa dengan kesejukan UK. Saya cuba fikirkan, macam mana sejuk kat UK dulu yer? (kan saya selalu komplen sejuk). Dulu sejuk di UK sampai saya depress. Sekarang panas di Malaysia sampai saya tak senang duduk. Kalau pasang air-cond masih boleh pakai baju lengan pendek. Kalau di UK dulu dah pasang heater pun masih pakai baju berlapis-lapis dan berstokin.

4. Saya merasakan rumah ibu bapa kami sangat besar. Luas ruang tamu sama dengan luas seluruh apartment kami di UK. Orang Malaysia memang beruntung ada nikmat 'space' ini.

5. Dalam masa seminggu semua kulit kering saya yang pecah-pecah dan mengelupas telah pun pulih. Di UK dalam sehari tu tiap kali lepas basuh tangan, basuh pinggan mesti nak kena letak losyen. Sekarang dah macam kulit orang muda-muda semula :)

6. Banyak taman perumahan baru yang dibina, dan semua rumah cantik-cantik belaka. Syabas yer arkitek-arkitek dan designer-designer Malaysia (sesiapa yang terlibatlah).

7. Pemandu-pemandu di Malaysia memang memandu laju, termasuklah ahli keluarga saya.

8. Orang Malaysia suka simpan barang. Bekas-bekas kuih yang tak pakai pun simpan. Baju- baju lama yang bertahun tak pakai pun simpan. Surat-surat lama pun simpan (shred saja lah dan recycle). Banyak 'clutter'. Tengok saya tahun depan macam mana. Saya harap saya boleh maintain hidup 'less clutter' macam di UK (ye lah kan rumah kecik dulu, mana-mana tak berkenaan terus je buang atau recycle).

9. Internet di Malaysia slow.

10. Malaysia memang syurga makanan. Tidak syak lagi.

11. Baru seminggu di Malaysia saya sudah membeli 2 buah buku dan menempah 2 lagi buku. OK, peringatan untuk diri saya, cukup-cukup lah tu....(untuk bulan ini hehehe).

12. Saya akan mula kerja minggu depan insyaAllah. Kalau busy tahap gaban, tak dapatlah saya menulis mengomel-ngomel lagi, sebab tentunya blog ini bukan priority saya. Nasib baik juga saya ada menulis blog ini, sebab saya dah mula terasa yang 3 tahun setengah itu seperti satu mimpi.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Jejak Nabi Musa (as)- Part 3

Sesungguhnya Aku inilah Tuhanmu, maka tanggalkanlah kedua terompahmu; sesungguhnya kamu berada di lembah yang suci, Tuwa.    (Surah Taha: 12)

Ini yang difirmankan Allah swt kepada Nabi Musa (as) ketika baginda berhenti rehat di kawasan Sinai dalam perjalanan kembali ke Mesir dari Madyan. Ia wahyu pertama untuk Nabi Musa (as). Signifikannya sama seperti peristiwa di Gua Hira'. Kemudian di sinilah Nabi Musa (as) diberikan mukjizat tongkat ularnya dan cahaya dari tangannya dan diperintahkan menghadap Firaun. Kali kedua Nabi Musa (as) ke sini ialah selepas berjaya selamat dari Firaun untuk bermunajat selama 40 hari dan diberikan Kitab Taurat.

Lembah Suci ini terletak di Bandar St Katherine, Sinai. Kami ke kaki Gunung Sinai pada waktu tengah malam. Pukul 1 pagi kami mulakan pendakian. Saya dan Papaboyz, Adik dan 2 ustaz. Pemandu pendaki kami, seorang remaja bernama Muhamad, Arab Badwi yang fasih berbahasa Inggeris. MasyaAllah laju dia berjalan tak mengah. Saya mula2 mendaki dengan unta hinggalah 3/4 dari seluruh perjalanan, kemudian kena panjat sendiri kerana curam dan tidak sesuai untuk unta naik.
Muhammad dan Ustaz Badrul
Papaboyz di papan tanda kaki Gunung Sinai


(Budak-budak mana? Diorang tidur di hotel bersama Atuk, Wan dan Maklong. Terima kasih Atuk, Wan dan Maklong jaga hero-hero)

Kami beruntung. Malam pendakian kami adalah malam bulan mengambang dan langit cerah. Lembah Suci ini sunyi sepi tetapi 'hidup'. Gunung-ganang sekitar berwarna perak disebalik kehitaman malam. Mungkin refleksi dari cahaya bulan. Saya cuba ambil gambar tetapi hanya retina mata yang dapat merakamnya. Tidak lensa kamera. Saya harap saya tak akan lupakan imej itu.

Di kaki lembah ini terdapat St Katherine Monastery, antara biara Kristian Orthodox yang tertua di dunia.

St Katherine Monastery


Semasa di atas unta saya hanya memerhatikan lembah ini. Saya bawa MP3 player kerana takut kebosanan mendaki tetapi langsung tak pasang. Kerana kesunyian (ketenangan?) itu sendiri telah membunuh kebosanan yang saya takuti. Hanya derap tapak kaki unta dan sesekali arahan dari penggembala unta itu memecah kesunyian. Langit malam sangat cerah penuh bintang. Patutlah Nabi Musa (as) ke sini untuk bermunajat.

Sepanjang perjalanan terdapat beberapa kedai Pak Arab yang menjual air, dan makanan, termasuk minuman panas. Dan indomie panas :) . Pandai betul. Tapi kami khuatiri punca air dan kebersihannya.

Salah satu kedai dalam perjalanan ke puncak. Lengkap dengan tempat istirehat.
Sembang pagi
Sempat baring

Kami sambung mendaki. Sampai di puncak masih belum ramai orang. Di puncak Gunung Sinai ada sebuah masjid dan sebuah gereja. Di tepi masjid terdapat sebuah ruang bawah tanah yang dikatakan tempat Nabi Musa (as) duduk bermunajat. Tak tahulah betul atau tidak sebab memanglah tiada kesan apa-apa. Wallahualam. Yang penting bukan tempatnya, tetapi apa yang berlaku, betul tak?

Gereja
Masjid- diambil waktu siang

Kawasan yg dikatakan tempat Nabi Musa (as) bermunajat

Sampai di masjid kami berehat menunggu solat Subuh. Kami berjumpa dengan satu keluarga dari Malaysia. Seorang pakcik, isteri dan anak-anak perempuannya. Ini kali kedua pakcik itu mendaki Gunung Sinai. Solat Subuh diimami Ustaz Badrul yang membacakan Surah At-Tur. Penuh masjid, hingga ada yang menunggu di luar dan mereka terpaksa membuat jemaah kedua.
Aktiviti memeriksa masjid
Tempat imam
Bertafakur?

Yang beragama lain pula kedengaran mendendangkan lagu-lagu keagamaan mereka di luar.

Kemudian kami menunggu matahari terbit. Ada ramai juga peniaga di puncak ini. Bukan sahaja minuman panas, mereka juga menyewakan selimut dan tilam. Memang sangat sejuk di atas sana. Tapi tilam itu pernah dibasuh atau tidak? :P
Penjual di puncak Gunung Sinai
Matahari terbit. Romantik? Oh tidak. Ramai orang yer. :)

Antara yang bersidai menunggu matahari terbit

Ramai lagi
Subhanallah! (what else to say)



Lembah Suci disimbahi cahaya matahari

Adik.. merenung masa depan?

Kemudian kami turun, bayar Mohammad, balik hotel dan pengsan :D

Yang bertongkat pun ada- pilgrimage untuk mereka?

Eh, sempat lagi berdating yer....

Meninggalkan bayang dan tapak kaki di Lembah Suci

Ada apa lagi di Semenanjung Sinai? Kami melawat Makam Nabi Harun (as), Makam Nabi Saleh (as) dan batu pada bukit yang dikatakan Lembu Samiri.

"Lembu Samiri"

Tak pasti lah betul ke ini lembunya atau diukir rakyat tempatan, sebab dalam Surah Taha Nabi Musa (as) berjanji untuk membakar patung itu dan menabur abunya di lautan. 

Makam Nabi Harun (as)

Makam Nabi Harun (as) dan gereja di sebelahnya
Makam Nabi Saleh (as)

Pintu masuk makam

Dalam makam

Kawasan perkuburan di sekitar Makam Nabi Saleh (as)
Berakhirlah kami menjejaki sebahagian hidup Nabi Musa (as). Makam baginda di Baitul Muqaddis. Sekiranya ke Mesir, jangan lupa peruntukkan 3 hari di Semenanjung Sinai.

Friday, 22 April 2011

Zeitoun

Dulu saya cari buku tentang Taufan Katrina yang melanda New Orleans, Amerika pada tahun 2005. Bila saya terjumpa buku ini, sukanya hati sebab ia kisah sebuah keluarga muslim disitu.


Sebab malas nak tulis banyak, saya copy ringkasan ini dari satu review di Amazon:

This is a non fiction account of Abdulrahman Zeitoun an immigrant from Syria and his wife Kathy who in 2005 owned a successful house-painting business in New Orleans. When Katrina hits Abdulrahman stays behind to watch out for his property. Eggers was not present at the disaster but has essentially ghost written this book for the Zeitoun's. And what a story it is. There are no great rants against Bush or the incompetent New Orleans authorities. Eggers doesn't need to do this since the facts as presented are the most massive indictment in their own right and speak for themselves. 

Abdurrahman tinggal seorang diri untuk mempertahankan rumahnya semasa Katrina melanda (baiki lubang, alih perabot etc. Setiap hari dia berkayuh dengan sampannya membantu jiran-jiran yang terkandas dan memberi makan anjing-anjing yang ditinggalkan. Ye lah, tuan punya anjing selamatkan diri sendiri je. Pada satu hari tiba-tiba dia ditahan tanpa bicara oleh penguatkuasa yang lengkap bersenjata M16 dan bullet proof vest. Dia dipenjara di penjara maksimum sekuriti, yang tak ada beza dengan Guantanamo Bay. Tiada ahli keluarganya yang tahu dia di mana.

Siapakah orang pertama membantu Abdurrahman di penjara? Seorang paderi Kristian. Memang paderi itu berhati mulia. Apa yang dia buat boleh membahayakan dirinya, tapi dia mengoyakkan secebis kertas dari Biblenya, menulis nombor telefon isteri Abdurrahman dan memberi khabar pertama dari Abdurrahman kepada isterinya.

Amerika memang takutkan bayang-bayang sendiri. Ketika amaran taufan akan melanda, pekeliling yang dikeluarkan ialah tentang kebarangkalian ancaman pengganas. Skuad-skuad tentera diletakkan di New Orleans, malah ada yang diimport  dari Israel. Bukan nasib penduduk yang didahulukan. Betullah kata Sheikh Yusuf Estes, siapa yang tak takut pada Allah, akan takut kepada makhluk ciptaan Allah.

Walaupun orang kata Abdurrahman berada di tempat salah pada masa yang salah, tapi Abdurrahman kata "Allah masukkan saya dalam penjara untuk menyelamatkan saya dari perkara yg lebih buruk". Tabik hormat. Semoga berkat Allah sentiasa bersamamu, Abdurrahman.

Gambar terbaru Abdurrahman dan isteri, Kathy Zeitoun dihadapan rumah mereka. Saya cilok dari sini.


Buku ini telah memenangi beberapa anugerah, antaranya ialah American Book Award, Dayton Literary Peace Prize, LA Times Book Award dan Northern California Book Award. Malah jualan buku disalurkan kepada The Zeitoun Foundation, yang membiayai pembangunan semula New Orleans.

Bacalah. Perangai sesetengah manusia lebih teruk dari binatang.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Teka-teki budak 4 tahun

Semalam melayan Ammar main teka-teki. Ammar tukang bagi soalan, Mama kena jawab. Jawapan hanya yes or no saja. Antara soalannya:

Ammar: Can you eat toast and beans with your mama? Yes or no?
Mama  : Yes.
Ammar: Wrong!
Mama  : Why wrong? (tak puas hati)
Ammar: Because you can not eat your mama!


Ammar: Can you drink water with lots of food? Yes or no?
Mama  : Yes.
Ammar: Wrong!
Mama  : huh?
Ammar: you can not drink food!

Ammar: Can your mama sit on your small puzzle? Yes or no?
Mama  : errr...(susah jugak soalan ni)..No.
Ammar: Correct!
Mama  : (lega)

Ammar: Can you put your mama on your blocks? Yes or no?
Mama  : No.
Ammar: Wrong! You can build your blocks big enough to put your mama on it.
Mama  : oooooo really?

Saturday, 2 April 2011

A veil lifted

Can't afford to lose this article. The author just defined me.

".......feeble are those who seek and those sought"
(Al-Hajj:73)

A person who seek for something other than Allah (wealth, fame, positions, relationships, etc etc) are weak, and so are the things he sought.

If you think you don't really love this world for its wealth and materials, look again. You may be attached to something else. As for me, I'm deeply attached to outcomes, people's perception, self-control, results. Now what will happen to me if I lose one of those? I will be shattered beyond repair. How true are Allah's words. How feeble are the things I attached myself to.

JazakAllahu khair Sister Yasmin.

Why do people have to leave each other?

By Yasmin Mogahed

When I was 17 years old, I had a dream. I dreamt that I was sitting inside a masjid and a little girl walked up to ask me a question. She asked me: “Why do people have to leave each other?” The question was a personal one, but it seemed clear to me why the question was chosen for me.

I was one to get attached.

Ever since I was a child, this temperament was clear. While other children in preschool could easily recover once their parents left, I could not. My tears, once set in motion, did not stop easily. As I grew up, I learned to become attached to everything around me. From the time I was in first grade, I needed a best friend. As I got older, any fall-out with a friend shattered me. I couldn’t let go of anything. People, places, events, photographs, moments—even outcomes became objects of strong attachment. If things didn’t work out the way I wanted or imagined they should, I was devastated. And disappointment for me wasn’t an ordinary emotion. It was catastrophic. Once let down, I never fully recovered. I could never forget, and the break never mended. Like a glass vase that you place on the edge of a table, once broken, the pieces never quite fit again.



But the problem wasn’t with the vase. Or even that the vases kept breaking. The problem was that I kept putting them on the edge of tables. Through my attachments, I was dependent on my relationships to fulfill my needs. I allowed those relationships to define my happiness or my sadness, my fulfillment or my emptiness, my security, and even my self-worth. And so, like the vase placed where it will inevitably fall, through those dependencies I set myself up for disappointment. I set myself up to be broken. And that’s exactly what I found: one disappointment, one break after another.

But the people who broke me were not to blame any more than gravity can be blamed for breaking the vase. We can’t blame the laws of physics when a twig snaps because we leaned on it for support. The twig was never created to carry us.

Our weight was only meant to be carried by God. We are told in the Quran: “…whoever rejects evil and believes in God hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks. And God hears and knows all things.” (Qur’an 2: 256)

There is a crucial lesson in this verse: that there is only one handhold that never breaks. There is only one place where we can lay our dependencies. There is only one relationship that should define our self-worth and only one source from which to seek our ultimate happiness, fulfillment, and security. That place is Allah.

But this world is all about seeking those things everywhere else. Some of us seek it in our careers, some seek it in wealth, some in status. Some, like me, seek it in our relationships. In her book, Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert describes her own quest for happiness. She describes moving in and out of relationships, and even traveling the globe in search of this fulfillment. She seeks that fulfillment—unsuccessfully—in her relationships, in meditation, even in food.

And that’s exactly where I spent much of my own life: seeking a way to fill my inner void. So it was no wonder that the little girl in my dream asked me this question. It was a question about loss, about disappointment. It was a question about being let down. A question about seeking something and coming back empty handed. It was about what happens when you try to dig in concrete with your bare hands: not only do you come back with nothing—you break your fingers in the process. And I learned this not by reading it, not by hearing it from a wise sage. I learned it by trying it again, and again, and again.
And so, the little girl’s question was essentially my own question…being asked to myself.

Ultimately, the question was about the nature of the dunya as a place of fleeting moments and temporary attachments. As a place where people are with you today, and leave or die tomorrow. But this reality hurts our very being because it goes against our nature. We, as humans, are made to seek, love, and strive for what is perfect and what is permanent. We are made to seek what’s eternal. We seek this because we were not made for this life. Our first and true home was Paradise: a land that is both perfect and eternal. So the yearning for that type of life is a part of our being. The problem is that we try to find that here. And so we create ageless creams and cosmetic surgery in a desperate attempt to hold on—in an attempt to mold this world into what it is not, and will never be.

And that’s why if we live in dunya with our hearts, it breaks us. That’s why this dunya hurts. It is because the definition of dunya, as something temporary and imperfect, goes against everything we are made to yearn for. Allah put a yearning in us that can only be fulfilled by what is eternal and perfect. By trying to find fulfillment in what is fleeting, we are running after a hologram…a mirage. We are digging into concrete with our bare hands. Seeking to turn what is by its very nature temporary into something eternal is like trying to extract from fire, water.  You just get burned. Only when we stop putting our hopes in dunya, only when we stop trying to make the dunya into what it is not—and was never meant to be (jannah)—will this life finally stop breaking our hearts.

We must also realize that nothing happens without a purpose. Nothing. Not even broken hearts. Not even pain. That broken heart and that pain are lessons and signs for us. They are warnings that something is wrong. They are warnings that we need to make a change. Just like the pain of being burned is what warns us to remove our hand from the fire, emotional pain warns us that we need to make an internal change. That we need to detach. Pain is a form of forced detachment. Like the loved one who hurts you again and again and again, the more dunya hurts us, the more we inevitably detach from it. The more we inevitably stop loving it.
And pain is a pointer to our attachments. That which makes us cry, that which causes us most pain is where our false attachments lie. And it is those things which we are attached to as we should only be attached to Allah which become barriers on our path to God. But the pain itself is what makes the false attachment evident. The pain creates a condition in our life that we seek to change, and if there is anything about our condition that we don’t like, there is a divine formula to change it. God says: “Verily never will God change the condition of a people until they change what is within themselves.” (Qur’an, 13:11)

(kalau terjumpa ayat ni di mana2, selalu yg saya faham ialah Allah tak akan mengubah keadaan sesuatu kaum hingga mereka mengubah keadaan mereka sendiri- tapi bukan begitu? bukannya mengubah keadaan mereka ie situasi, pelan tindakan etc tetapi apa yang ada dalam diri mereka)

After years of falling into the same pattern of disappointments and heartbreak, I finally began to realize something profound. I had always thought that love of dunya meant being attached to material things. And I was not attached to material things. I was attached to people. I was attached to moments. I was attached to emotions (that's me!--hantuk kepala). So I thought that the love of dunya just did not apply to me. What I didn’t realize was that people, moments, emotions are all a part of dunya. What I didn’t realize is that all the pain I had experienced in life was due to one thing, and one thing only: love of dunya.

As soon as I began to have that realization, a veil was lifted from my eyes. I started to see what my problem was. I was expecting this life to be what it is not, and was never meant to be: perfect. And being the idealist that I am, I was struggling with every cell in my body to make it so. It had to be perfect (that's me again). And I would not stop until it was. I gave my blood, sweat, and tears to this endeavor: making the dunya into jannah. This meant expecting people around me to be perfect. Expecting my relationships to be perfect. Expecting so much from those around me and from this life. Expectations. Expectations. Expectations (ME AGAIN). And if there is one recipe for unhappiness it is that: expectations. But herein lay my fatal mistake. My mistake was not in having expectations; as humans, we should never lose hope. The problem was in *where* I was placing those expectations and that hope (that's my BIG problem). At the end of the day, my hope and expectations were not being placed in God. My hope and expectations were in people, relationships, means. Ultimately, my hope was in this dunya rather than Allah.

And so I came to realize a very deep Truth. An ayah began to cross my mind. It was an ayah I had heard before, but for the first time I realized that it was actually describing me:  “Those who rest not their hope on their meeting with Us, but are pleased and satisfied with the life of the present, and those who heed not Our Signs.” (Qur’an, 10:7)

By thinking that I can have everything here, my hope was not in my meeting with God. My hope was in dunya. But what does it mean to place your hope in dunya? How can this be avoided? It means when you have friends, don’t expect your friends to fill your emptiness. When you get married, don’t expect your spouse to fulfill your every need. When you’re an activist, don’t put your hope in the results (these are all my expectations). When you’re in trouble don’t depend on yourself. Don’t depend on people. Depend on God.

Seek the help of people—but realize that it is not the people (or even your own self) that can save you. Only Allah can do these things. The people are only tools, a means used by God. But they are not the source of help, aid, or salvation of any kind. Only God is. The people cannot even create the wing of a fly (22:73).  And so, even while you interact with people externally, turn your heart towards God. Face Him alone, as Prophet Ibrahim (as) said so beautifully: “For me, I have set my face, firmly and truly, towards Him Who created the heavens and the earth, and never shall I give partners to Allah.” (Qur’an, 6:79)
But how does Prophet Ibrahim (as) explain coming to that point? He explains his study of the stars, the moon, and the sun, and the fact that they were not perfect.

They set.

So he was thereby led to face Allah alone. Like prophet Ibrahim (as), we need to put our full hope, trust, and dependency on God. And God alone. And if we do that, we will learn what it means to finally find peace and stability of heart. Only then will the roller coaster that once defined our lives finally come to an end. That is because if our inner state is dependent on something that is by definition inconstant, that inner state will also be inconstant. If our inner state is dependent on something changing and temporary, that inner state will be in a constant state of instability, agitation, and unrest. This means that one moment we’re happy, but as soon as that which our happiness depended upon changes, our happiness also changes. And we become sad. We remain always swinging from one extreme to another and not realizing why.

We experience this emotional roller coaster because we can never find stability and lasting peace until our attachment and dependency is on what is stable and lasting. How can we hope to find constancy if what we hold on to is inconstant and perishing? In the statement of Abu Bakr is a deep illustration of this truth. After the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ died, the people went into shock and could not handle the news. But although no one loved the Prophet ﷺ like Abu Bakr, Abu Bakr understood well the only place where one’s dependency should lie. He said: “If you worshipped Muhammad, know that Muhammad is dead. But if you worshipped Allah, know that Allah never dies.”

(He was the one who loved the Prophet the most, how would we feel if the person we love the most died? But how could he be the most calm? No wonder he was As-Siddiq)

To attain that state, don’t let your source of fulfillment be anything other than your relationship with God. Don’t let your definition of success, failure, or self-worth be anything other than your position with Him (Qur’an, 49:13). And if you do this, you become unbreakable, because your handhold is unbreakable. You become unconquerable, because your supporter can never be conquered. And you will never become empty, because your source of fulfillment is unending and never diminishes.

Looking back at the dream I had when I was 17, I wonder if that little girl was me. I wonder this because the answer I gave her was a lesson I would need to spend the next painful years of my life learning. My answer to her question of why people have to leave each other was: “because this life isn’t perfect; for if it was, what would the next be called?”

Friday, 25 March 2011

Toxic Childhood Syndrome

This is going to be long.

If you are a parent who lives in the modern world (kalau kat kampung tak apa lagi kot), or planning to have children, I URGE you to read this book (not suggest or recommend hehehe). If you are a grandparent, you might want to suggest this book to your children. This is like knowing your enemy to win a war, the enemy is the modern world, which is convenient to adults but a threat to children.

Toxic Childhood- How The Modern World Is Damaging Our Children And What We Can Do About It

(Serius tajuk buku ni)


The author, Sue Palmer, has 30 years of experience in teaching and education. She is also the author of more than 200 books, TV programmes, and software for 3-12 year olds. She is also an adviser for British Dept for Education and Skills, and The BBC.

The book covers all expect of modern childhood and parenting, including food, play, sleep, communication, the danger of advertising to kids etc etc. The researches are from developed countries (UK, US, Japan, Sweden, Finland, Germany etc) . It is very different from traditional childhood. The world is moving very fast, but we forgot that biologically we still grow at the same rate. The world today is for a happier, comfortable adult, but how this affect the brain and development of our children? It is proven now that developmental disorders (autism, attention deficit, learning difficulty etc) are way higher than before.  And we all know this, kids respect adults less. The effects are less in Malaysia I think, but no doubt we are moving towards there.

We think that child-rearing is 'natural'. But it was natural before because our parents' generation lived in extended families and could watch and learn by example from grandmothers, mother and aunts. But since today we live in nucleus families, we cannot assume this skill as natural anymore.

What I like about the book is, at the end of every chapter, there will be a section on "how to detox your child" eg how to detox a junk-addict, how to detox a tv -addict, how to avoid couch potato syndrome, how to detox consumer culture (brand-addicts) and many more.

Also after every chapter there will be sections on "Parent Power" and "Mind the Gap". What are these? I think these are the strength of the book. Rarely a book acknowledge that the people who are reading the book, are actually the people who don't need the book the most. Toxic Childhood Syndrome hit the poor urban people the most, but they most likely won't have the time or initiative to read at all. So these sections give some guidance on how the readers can help other parents to to close the gap. Why this is important to the readers? Because OUR children won't be safe unless OTHER children are safe too (peer pressure, drugs, gangsterism). Beautiful concept of the ummah. And the author wisely recognize this. Masya Allah.

In Finland a nursery teacher has to have a Masters Degree (!) to handle the youngsters. In Britain, the poor people are unhappier than the poorest people in a poor country.

Chapter 6 hit home the most, "Who's Looking After the Children?". This chapter deals with when both parents work, who is with the children (also applies to the 'electronic babysitters' ie TV, computers, games etc). There's a difference in child-rearing and baby sitting. If more than a couple of hours a day, than that's child-rearing. So the person we send our children to 8 hours a day (that we usually call baby sitter) or the maid in our houses, are rearing our children, not baby sitting. They influence the development of our children greatly. So choosing them is as important as choosing your spouse (if you care about the emotional outcome of your children). Something to remember here. For children under 3, who you choose will not determine your child's intelligence so much (kids can catch up later), but it affects their emotional personality very much. This stage determines whether they grow up to be somebody happy and positive, somebody angry, somebody depressive, somebody with labile mood or somebody narcissistic (attention seeker). It's best that they stay in a home (ie with a parent, a family member, a nanny or maid, or in a child minder's house) and have 1 to 1 relationship, rather than an institution (a nursery). And avoid too much changes at this stage. For under 3s, it's better to choose someone loving and firm, and loves the child even though she lacks qualification or knowledge on brain stimulation.

The 'ínternal map' of a child is largely determined by relationships formed during this period. 3 identified risks for insecure attachment in children under two are: more than 10 hours of daycare a week in the first year, a change in the childcare arrangements in the first year, and low quality daycare (no info on what is considered as low quality). For good quality daycare, more than 20 hours a week there is slight increase in disruptive, antisocial and less cooperative behaviour. The risks increase after 40 or more hours a week (and this is normal if both parents are working). Remember, this is a good nursery. It still affects your child emotional development. The study was in UK and US.

But for 3 and above, nursery setting is good for them (stimulation, friends, rules etc).

Another eye-opener chapter is on advertisements and marketing on children. Marketeers use weapon known as the KAGOY strategy (Kids Are Getting Older Younger)- to let children appreciate fashion and style (and associate it with their dignity and self worth). Video games' slogan like "Life is short, play more" and "Life's a Game" plant the idea that life is all about fun and games etc. As Muslims this is of course the opposite of what life truly is. The channel Nickelodeon's slogan is 'Kids Rule'- that's not what we want isn't it? Also, now we value people as 'what you are is what you own'. In a developed world, poverty can be so isolating, the discrepancy is staring at you all the time.

What we can do about this?

Don't give in to the pester power of the children (this is what the marketeers are targeting). Support your national campaign to ban advertising and branding to children (is there one in Malaysia?- I haven't find out yet). If your child can understand, whenever they see an advert, discuss with them- what aren't they telling us? Can the so called product bring us contentment or add values to our lives? Are the people in the advert corresponds to real life?

Something to ponder. We teach sex education at school, but we don't teach about the product of sexual relationships (babies) , how to handle them, nurture them, their developmental stages, the financial effects etc? The developmental stages of a child should also be taught in antenatal classes. I learned this in medical school, and I benefited a lot from it. For example, when our babies started throwing toys, we sometimes got angry, but if we know that this is actually a milestone for them, and that there is about 3 months different in just dropping toys and dropping toys followed by looking for it, we would say Alhamdulillah instead of being angry when our children start throwing toys.

I would like to jot down a few points here, for my own reminder. Read on if you like (or get the book yourself). To family members and friends, I anticipate you would ask me your favorite question every time I write a book review- no this is not my book. I borrowed it from the library. Had to pay fines on it because I could not renew the book as somebody else has reserved it. Ipad, Iphone, Ipod Touch and Kindle owners- the Kindle version is cheaper (memang semua pun macam tu kot kan?)

1. Eat family meals in a tv free zone.
2. Limit fast foods to eating out, and don't view it as a treat. Just a matter of convenience.
3. Make sure your kids' schools don't sell junks in canteen or vending machine. If this is the case, get other parents to campaign together. Parents can move heaven and earth when it comes to things concerning their children.
4. We want free range chickens, and beef and eggs, but not free range children? To make sure they can safely explore the neighborhood, choose a friendly neighborhood to live in, then make friends with all neighbors so everybody can keep an eye on every child. This has to be a concerted effort, but it begins with the parents. This is one striking thing lacking in modern society. (kalau kat kampung, memanglah hidup macam ni kan)
5. Never put tv in a child's bedroom until they can buy it themselves. Just like you would never let strangers sleep with your child.
6. Don't be put off by other parents' apparent competence and organization. Everyone puts on a front, but every parent is struggling.
7. Primary education is not a race. Children who do well in the long run are those who enjoy learning for their own sake, don't give up easily and can work well with others.
8. Don't take good behaviour for granted. Praise them and say you are pleased. But don't overdo it.
9. Never 'reward' a misbehaviour eg-by giving attention to a child misbehaving, by giving a treat to stop a child doing something, by laughing at bad behaviour.
10. If you have a 'little monster', choose your battles one by one. Concentrate to detox one behaviour at one time. There is a special section in this book on 'how to detox a little monster'.
11. If a child misbehaves, explain what you don't like and why, and never criticize more than necessary. State firmly and warn to punish, and don't carry on giving warnings. Always follow through. Your child will know that you are not serious if you don't.

There is a list of 34 life skills a child should  learn by age 12, I'm putting some here as my own list to tick :)

1. Sew buttons and iron own clothes (ni kalau nak masuk asrama wajib tahu ni)
2. Handwash clothes (ni pun)
3. Give simple first aid (clean wound, manage cuts and bruises)
4. Wash a car
5. Wash dishes and prepare the table (ni rasa 7-8 thn mesti patut dah pro)
6. Grow a plant (interesting...)
7. Look after a pet (I probably would choose easy ones like fish, turtles but not cat-saya fobia kucing)
8. Use the public transport by himself (this I mastered at age 10-balik sekolah sendiri naik bas awam)
9. Go shopping with a list
10. Clean a fridge (this I learned quite early too, my mum did not have a maid)
11. Sort the recycling
12. Make conversations with guests (important-but how?)

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

My Little Assistants

Who needs a maid when you have 3?

Mama's little laundry assistant (budak boleh harap)

Mama's morning buddy- pukul 6 pagi. Aktiviti: hias kapal terbang dengan stickers.

Mama's kitchen assistant- making honey cornflakes

Mama's kitchen assistant- coating doughnuts with sugar

Making own buttered toast

Mama's little angels :D