Mengapa mereka diuji?

Apabila imam membaca surah Maryam, hatiku terus menjadi amat sayu. Tidak dapat dibayangkan betapa susahnya hidup yang perlu ditempuh oleh Maryam. Sudah pasti amat sukar  dia menjelaskan apa yang berlaku pada dirinya kepada keluarga. Jika ia berlaku hari ini, aku yakin tidak ada siapa yang akan mempercayai kata-kata wanita seperti itu. Bayangkan jika anda sendiri yang berada pada tempatnya. Namun dia insan terpilih dan Allah memperkukuhkan kedudukannya, dan Allah mahukan ianya menjadi tauladan kepada kita pada hari ini.

Begitu juga kisah Nuh a.s. yang berjuang selama hampir seribu tahun. Dengan usaha gigih melaksanakan tanggung-jawab sebagai rasul, menyampaikan risalah kepada umatnya dalam tempoh 950 tahun, anaknya sendiri termasuk dalam golongan orang yang tertinggal. Bayangkan jika kita sendiri yang berada pada tempatnya. Namun dia insan terpilih dan Allah memperkukuhkan kedudukannya, dan Allah mahukan ianya menjadi tauladan kepada kita pada hari ini.

Begitu juga kisah Ibrahim a.s. yang terpaksa berhadapan dengan ayahnya sendiri sehingga dia diusir.Bayangkan jika kita sendiri yang berada pada tempatnya. Namun dia insan terpilih dan Allah memperkukuhkan kedudukannya, dan Allah mahukan ianya menjadi tauladan kepada kita pada hari ini.

Apakah perasaan Muhammad s.a.w. apabila dia gagal menyampaikan risalah kepada bapa saudaranya yang telah melindunginya dari tentangan masyarakat. Walaupun begitu dekat di hati,  bapa saudara baginda pergi sebagai orang yang tidak beriman. Itulah ketetapan Allah yang Maha Mengetahui apa yang terbaik.

Malah banyak lagi kisah-kisah yang boleh diambil pengajaran daripada Al-Qur’an.

Sahabat,

Fiqh dakwah mengajar kita tentang maratib ‘amal, bagaimana dakwah dan tarbiyah itu mesti bermula pada diri sendiri, kemudian dikembangkan kepada ahli keluarga, kemudian kepada masyarakat setempat, kemudian dikembangkan ke peringkat negara sehingga terbentuknya kerajaan Islam, dan khilafah Islam dan terus berkembang supaya pentadbiran keseluruhan alam mendapat manfaat dari naungan Islam. Sungguh cantik strategi itu, dan ianya perlu terus dijiwai.

Namun kadang-kadang ianya tidak secantik seperti yang dilakarkan. Entah di mana silapnya, kadang-kadang seorang pendakwah gagal membawa bersamanya mereka yang disayang. Walaupun hasratnya ingin berkongsi semua kebaikan yang dijiwainya bersama semua yang dekat dengan dirinya, namun kadang-kadang ketetapan Allah ternyata berbeza. Apakah sikap yang patut diambil olehnya, dan apa pula sikap sahabat-sahabat di sekelilingnya?

Fiqh dakwah juga mengajar tentang kepentingan ukhuwah. Ianya suatu yang benar dan praktikal, bukan teori untuk dihafal dan diulang-ulang tanpa kesan di hati. Ukhuwah yang sebenar berlaku dalam semua keadaan – dalam mengecapi kejayaan, dalam menginsafi kegagalan, dalam susah dan senang. Ya, itu teorinya. Yang dipelajari dan diulang-ulang dalam halaqah. Lebih penting dari itu ialah perlaksanaannya. Oleh itu, laksanakanlah tanggung-jawab ukhuwah, dan janganlah terlalu menganalisis, sehingga akhirnya mempersalahkan pula sahabat yang sudah sememangnya berduka-cita. Jika ia pernah berlaku begitu, bayangkannya kembali, apakah perasaan anda ketika itu. Adakah anda merasa kasihan ? Atau tidak merasa apa-apa kerana ianya memang patut berlaku begitu? Atau ada sedikit kebencian kerana anda merasakan sahabat itu tidak tahu meletakkan prioriti dalam melaksanakan tanggung-jawab ? Atau anda merasakan sahabat itu tidak memahami maratib ‘amal? Perlu diselami kembali,  adakah ketika itu anda berukhuwah?

Fiqh dakwah juga mengajar kita untuk terus tsabat dalam perjuangan. Walau apapun keadaan yang berlaku, semangat tidak seharusnya menurun, malah ianya perlu diganda bagi menunjukkan kesungguhan kita kepada yang Esa. Kita harus sentiasa mengharap bantuan, malah merintih meminta kasihan belas dari Allah yang Maha Penyayang. Tiada siapa yang mengetahui apa yang berlaku di hujung sana. Maka bersangka baik dengan  apa yang bakal dianugerah Allah lebih baik dari putus asa.

Semoga Allah menolong kita semua… 

 

 

 

Hydrogen at Gunung Arong

The Planning

Ramadan was getting near and we haven’t had our hiking trip this year. So, we made a quick decision to hike Gunung Arong the following week. We simply fix a day in the week about 6 days away. After lunch, I went to the Risk Analysis Laboratory and made the announcement to the graduate students, “we are going for a hike to Gunung Arong and everybody is invited to join”. A couple of them seemed interested, the rest were unsure. Then after explaining what to expect, 5 students decided to join.  Then I remembered the Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Lab downstairs, and asked them to inform Walid and his brother Bahador. I thought they might want to join, and I was correct and the number became 7.

Accommodations and climbing permit were arranged by Lyana and Maria. These days, the authority charges RM150 for the climbing permit. In all my previous trips, there were no such thing. Not expensive for big group, but it will be too much if you climb alone. Nevertheless, I saw some improvements made on the track. They have added some wooden structures at the summit, iron railings and ropes at dangerous slopes. These were not available in my previous trip in 2009. The trail was also better with clear markings showing the direction. So, you don’t really need a guide especially if have hiked the trail before. However, I think the fees is simply too much and the hastle to register in person in Mersing Forestry Department is uncalled for.

Departure from Skudai

Just before departure, my PhD student from Yemen, Ali decided not to come along. Finally the group was 13 (4 UTM staff: AA, TATA, MWA, Adnan, 6 graduate students: Mohamed-Sudan, Taha-Iraq, Goke-Nigeria, Saeed-Nigeria, Walid-Iran, Bahador-Iran, my son Amin and Adnan’s sons Amar and Amir Hamzah). We departed in 3 cars, passing through a winding road towards Mersing and reached the Gorek Bay Chalet around 7 pm.

Teluk Gorek is a perfect site to relax

Teluk Gorek is a perfect site to relax

After looking at the booked accommodation, we negotiated for bigger rooms. The manager agreed. However,  since the rooms were not immediately available, we decided to go for dinner. The destination was Kg. Air Papan Laut and we stopped at a small mosque in the village for our maghrib & isyak prayer.

Mosque at Kg Air Papan Laut

Mosque at Kg Air Papan Laut

Dinner at Air Papan Laut

It was a long wait as we decided to go with “masakan panas”.  With multinational students, taking the orders were already confusing, and it was funny to watch. In the end, only after I finished my dinner Walid got his Nasi Goreng Ayam Kunyit, and Goke said, “next time go with the professors, just follow what they ordered”. Haha,… quite true, we all got our food earliest. Then we settled for the night.

waiting for the order to come

waiting for the order to come

Breakfast at Penyabong

After fajr prayer, we went for breakfast at Penyabong jetty. It was a delicious nasi dagang, a delicacy that couldn’t be swallowed by Walid. He was looking for bread and lucky enough we had some in the car, haha… Then came Nasi Lemak and we had a good additional breakfast, getting prepared for the hike. Well, the portions we small.

IHE Hike – gunung Arong 2014

We didn’t have a guide and I have forgotten how to get to the starting point at the foot of Gunung Arong. By asking few people along the way, we got to the entrance, where we stopped for a stretching session, led by Bahador the karate master.

Stretching Led by Bahador

Stretching Led by Bahador, the Karate master

Then we start moving into the forest towards the foot of the mountain, where there’s a small waterfall (that didn’t fall due to low water level). From there the journey uphill began.

The climb begins with quite a steep trail

The climb begins with quite a steep trail

 The first half an hour or so was quite challenging for a novice. Then it got much easier.

 

The Kembang Semangkok tree is actually a huge one !

The Kembang Semangkok tree is actually a huge one !

Kembang Semangkok

The best part of the trails was that it has lots to offer, for those who enjoys learning new things. We found Tongkat Ali, beautiful orchids as well as many other species of tropical plants. The one that attracted my attention was Kembang Semangkok. I was surprised to learn that it was a huge tree. For those who do not know, Kembang semangkok has a cooling effect. It can be purchased at a Chinese medicine shop. I remember seeing how by dipping it into a bowl of water, the “nut” swell as if to fill up the town, thus explained its name which can be translated as “swelling to fill up a bowl”. So, as usual, Adnan came for the explanation. Yes the tree is big.

Taking a break, after climbing steep slopes

Taking a break, after climbing steep slopes

After about 45 minutes, we were all sweating and it was time for a longer break. Only 10 minute or so. Otherwise, the breaks were limited to 3 minutes.

Maybe it was not steep enough!

Maybe it was not steep enough!

The Summit

We reached the summit in about an hour and a half. I think it was quite fast considering many hadn’t been hiking. Well,…  they do not have mountain near Khartoum.

Making a show at the summit

Making a show at the summit

The park management had built a hut at the summit. I thought it would be very nice to camp there for the night. But then, you need to bring enough water supply.

on a newly built hut at the summit

on a newly built hut at the summit

the group at the summit

the group at the summit

The Journey Downhill

As usual, the journey down was easy for most people, but for some, it was tougher. Some might loose balance and fell. some might have problem with their knees.

Quite an improvement has been made to Gunung Arong facilities -new ropes etc

Quite an improvement has been made to Gunung Arong facilities -new ropes etc

What was he doing?

What was he doing?

The best part of Gunung Arong was that, you end your descend straight to the beach. Naturally, we took a break, ate our packed lunch and jumped into the sea.

After spending some time enjoying the clear water – swimming competition, lessons etc – we decided to call it a day. Walking by the long strech of the beautiful beach, we finally reached the chalet around pm, just as it was planned, alhamdulillah.

Walking along the beach towards the chalet

Walking along the beach towards the chalet. Why is this guy reluctant to leave? Perhaps the beach was just too beautiful…

It was a short trip that was organized in ad-hoc manner, stealing time time from busy schedule. After all, Ramadan was very near and in the following week, I was scheduled for a week trip to Korea. It was nevertheless a good trip, and we’ll do it again in future.

 

The Future Has Begun

It was a 6 hours flight from Incheon to KLIA. After watching a comedy on the flight entertainment system, I decided to write this entry as I was not sleepy. I am on my way back home after a week long trip to Korea.

Hydrogen Energy

Much had been said about climate change and the needs to reduce carbon emissions. Equally extensive were the calls for renewable energy to prepare the world for the decline of fossil fuels and increasing rejection of nuclear energy. And the answer is here… It is hydrogen !

It is nothing new. In fact it has been around ages ago. Hot air balloons using hydrogen has been in air since the 1700′s. Fuel cell has been introduced as early as the 1800′s and developed to be used by NASA in the 1900′s. It has also been used to propel the German Airship in the early 1900′s.  However due to some unwanted events and safety concerns such as the Hindenburg incident in 1937, hydrogen energy has to undergo a long journey of revival.

When combusted in engine, hydrogen produces more energy than hydrocarbons. When used to power fuel cells, it emits nothing except water which can be recycled and reused. It is also quiet. So it is clean, quiet, and zero emission – such a briliant combination. What more do we want? Well of course we want it to be cheap, because we have other options. When the options runs out, hydrogen will surely stand tall.

Hydrogen - Energy for the Future

Hydrogen – Energy for the Future

All the while, it has beed advocated as the fuel for future. And this week, after listening to series of lectures, state of the art reviews, status updates, and highlights on innovations, I am convinced that the future has begun. Yes, it has begun.

That was what I learnt from the conference that I attended for 4 days. The World Hydrogen Energy Conference (WHEC2014) was held in Gwangju, Korea, a city south of Seoul.

KTX Train

We (TATA and I) took Malaysia Airlines from Kuala Lumpur to Seoul, and A KTX train from Yongsan Station in Seoul to Gwangju, with a fare of 370,000 Won for single journey (USD 37). The journey passed through vast rice paddies and ocassionally some small towns. The views were beautiful and soothing. The crop that serves as the staple food for the Korean were recently planted. It was equally spaced thin patches of greens smartly planted by machineries.

At Yongsan Train Station (on the way back from Gwangju)

At Yongsan Train Station (on the way back from Gwangju)

The train was mostly vacant and the comfort level was good even for the economy class. Toilets were clean with adequate water supply and convenient delivery system. I noticed the train inspector, but we were never asked to show our tickets – at the stations or on the train – indicating certain level of trusts on passengers. Nevertheless, I think the inspector knew which seat that was supposed to be occupied. We reached our destination after about 3 hours of journey. From the station, we took taxi and the adventure began – they don’t speak English in Gwangju, well except those in the 20′s who struggled to help giving us directions when needed. So, sign language is the most important communication tool. 

Gwangju

Shortly after arrival, we spared no time. Out of a habit that I have developed, we immediately explored the city on foot to know the surrounding. From the hotel we followed the green path, nicely made available for pedestrians.  And there were many people doing exercises along the way. Since it was late afternoon, the crowd were mostly the elderly above 60′s or so. After a couple of hours of evening walk, we were tired enough to retire for the day.

A green path along the major road, shadowed by trees, it is a nice walk

A green path along the major road, shadowed by trees, it is a nice walk

The efforts paid well since we managed to find a Turkish kebab outlet, not big enough to be called a restaurant, but enough to feed hungry men. The Kebab stall was in the downtown area, adjacent to the pedestrian shopping streets and rows of bars.

Turkish Kebab Stall (Hasan, Murat etc)

Turkish Kebab Stall (Hasan, Murat etc)

WHEC 2014

The biannual world conference was held at Kim Dae Jung Convention Center, next to the Holiday Inn hotel. Unfortunately, it was fully booked when we tried our luck, and ended up with Prado Hotel, located at a different part of the city. Since it was also far from metro train stations, we had to commute by taxi. The conference was supposed to attract something like 1500-2000 delegates, but the turn out was less than a thousand, perhaps 500 or so.

Prof Hamdani delivering bid proposal to the Board of Director, International Association of Hydrogen Energy

Prof Hamdani delivering bid proposal to the Board of Director, International Association of Hydrogen Energy

I came for 3 reasons – to listen to updates of technology, to share my work and to bid for hosting WHEC2020. We were successful in the first two, and were advised to propose again for 2022. That bidding session will be held in Zaracossa, Spain during WHEC2016. It was nevertheless an interesting experience. The idea was mooted by MYCEB 3 months earlier, and after lingering with it for about 2 weeks, we gave them a nod. Amazingly, the team(MYCEB and IHE) did very well in preparing the document during that short period.

Mudeungsan National Park

Mudeungsan National Park is the home for Mudeungsan mountain which has 1186 elevation.  It is a wonderful place to visit and it is close to the city. No wonder it was listed No 1 by Trip Advisor as a place of attraction. We decided to dedicate one evening to hike the national park. Taking bus service no 9 from YMCA, we reached the park headquarters after a few minutes. 

TATA trying hard to ask for the direction in creative manner using sign language - we are asking for restroom. It was interesting !

TATA trying hard to ask for the direction in creative manner using sign language – we were asking for restroom. It was interesting and funny !

At the park headquarters, there were rows of shops, all selling branded goods dedicated for outdoor clothing and acessories – columbia, lafuma, millet, northface, fila design, merrel, plus many others, some of which I didn’t recognized such as redface, centrepole, westwood, etc. Now, that’s a detour, wasn’t it. 

Outlets for outdoor apparels were plentiful with all major brands - Lafuma, Millet, Columbia, Northface and many others that I didn't recognize - Korean's and international brands.

Outlets for outdoor apparels were plentiful with all major brands – Lafuma, Millet, Columbia, Northface,  Wenger, Fila, and many others that I didn’t recognize – Korean’s and international brands.

So, we need to make some adjustment. Finally instead of hiking any of the trails, we settled for an hour of uphill journey visiting the Jeungsimsa Temple, so that about two hours were made available for hiking the stores, a nice experience for a man – window shopping.

Jeungsimsa Temple, about 20 minutes from the information centre

Jeungsimsa Temple, about 20 minutes from the information centre. We also met a Malaysian couple who spend some time living in the temple

Due to currency difference, many of the items were considered a bit too expensive, unless a handsome discount was offered. Nevertheless, due to so many things to buy, it would require an angel not to be tempted. Haha I got myself something to remember.

Many trails to choose from. There were many hikers, some in small groups, some walking alone, More women than men

Many trails to choose from. There were many hikers, some in small groups, some walking alone, more women than men

The offered a selection of trails with different levels of difficulties to suit time availability and level of fitness. Within the area, there were also a number of temples. To get to the summit, a 6 hours is needed, but there were trails that require less time. It was interesting to note that there were more women, either in small groups or alone, both climbing up, or making a descend. No wonder we hardly find any obese individuals in Gwangju, perhaps due to hiking, or perhaps due to the diet they took. 

Too bad, time was too short. It would have been nice if we spent 2 days doing some hikings

Too bad, time was too short. We were there for only half a day. It would have been nice if we spent 2 days doing some hikings

Seoul Mosque

As the conference moved to closure, we departed to Seoul, again by train. We booked a hotel in a place called Itaewon. It can be conveniently reached by subway. In fact Seoul subway system was fantastic with excellent connectivity. But you have to know which exit to take. So, after alighting from the train, we simply looked for the maps or directories that gave us the information needed – which exit to take based on our point of interests.

Seoul Mosque, located on a higher ground in Itaewon area of Seoul

Seoul Mosque, located on a higher ground in Itaewon area of Seoul

That evening we got our full serving of rice – a mutton briyani, mmm. Then we went to the only mosque in Seoul. It was located up the hill, and it took a couple of minutes to get there. It was beautiful and I can feel the tranquility being inside. It is suddently as if your imaan has increased significantly. Perhaps it did, since it has been a week of not going to a mosque. The jamaah was multiracial, with significant origin of those from the indian subcontinent. 

Bibimbap and and another soup that I have forgotten the name

Bibimbap and and another soup that I have forgotten the name

Within the area, there were also many other halal food restaurant – Turkish, Moroccan, Indian, Pakistani, Arabs etc. But the one that caught our attention was the Halal Korean Food, where we had our dinner the following day.

Seoul is different than Gwangju. If you need help, just ask around since language is more widely understood, especially by the younger generations.

 

Lamunan KTX

Melihat sawah padi terbentang luas di bumi Korea, hatiku begitu riang. Terbayang nostalgia lama. Kisah di zaman kanak-kanak. Lalu kocoretkan perasaan itu sambil aku bersandar di dalam keretapi KTX dari Seoul menuju ke Gwangju. Aku kini dalam perjalanan ke Gwangju untuk menghadiri Work=ld Hydrogen Energy Conference.

sawah korea

Tetapi memori sawah padi itu juga menyingkap peristiwa pemergian ibuku yang tersayang. Tiba-tiba terbayang bagaimana di pagi itu isteriku menyampaikan berita yang telah diterimanya mengenai pemergian ibuku. Aku tergamam. Emak telah pergi, diambil Penciptanya di pagi hari. Aku bersyukur kerana dia pergi dengan mudah dan tidak melarat. Aku juga bersyukur kerana aku di rumah, sedangkan beberapa jam sebelum itu aku masih di luar negara. Memang seminggu sebelum itu emak di hospital dan aku hampir membatalkan perjalanan menghadiri persidangan di luar negara. Tetapi dia sempat pulih dan dibawa ke Kuala Lumpur supaya menyambut eidil adha bersama keluarga yang ramai di sana. Rupa-rupanya ajalnya telah ditetapkan di Kuala Lumpur beberapa hari kemudian, sebelum tiba eidil adha. 

Ketika berita diterima, aku seolah-olah berhenti dari berfungsi. Tidak berfikir dan tidak berkata apa-apa. Hanya terdiam, termanggu, kosong, terawang-awang. Isteri yang bertindak, membuat persiapan. Dia ke sekolah mengambil anak, dan menyediakan bekal untuk perjalanan pulang. Aku hanya bergerak perlahan ke sana kesini buat seketika.

Ibu tua yang amat kusayangi akhirnya pergi mengikut ketetapan. Dialah sumber pendorong kejayaan kehidupanku selama ini. Semasa kecil  aku banyak berbicara dengan ibu. Ketika menemaninya membakar kuih baulu ketika menjelang hari raya dan di banyak ketika lain. Mungkin banyak janji yang telah kulafazkan, tidak mustahil jika banyak telah dilupa dan tidak ditunai. Semoga Allah mengampuni segala kelemahanku dalam berbakti kepada orang tua yang banyak berjasa.

Saat ini, di dalam keretapi yang meluncur merentasi sawah padi hatiku merasa sayu, kerana terbayang laksana ditayang ceritanya, aku teringat sketsa-sketsa kehidupan lampau. Awal pagi emak menyalakan api di dapur kayu, menyediakan roti canai atau kuih pau untuk sarapan, kedua-duanya amat kugemari. Terbayang pula ketika aku dimarahi kerana tidak mahu ke sekolah, dan emak menghantar aku sampai ke pagar sekolah. Terbayang juga pujukan emak supaya aku tidak malas menghantar bekalan dan menolong bapa di ladang getah semasa cuti penggal persekolahan. Bagaimana dia sering membayangkan betapa besar pengorbanan bapa yang bermandi peluh di ladang getah di pagi hari dan di sawah padi atau paya dan sungai menangkap ikan di petang hari. Jarang sekali dia menyebut pengorbanannya sendiri sedangkan dialah yang menyediakan makanan di awal pagi di bawah cahaya malap pelita minyak tanah, dia jugalah yang memberus pakaian berdaki yang kupakai, dan di musim menanam padi, dia juga seharian berpanas di dalam lumpur. Hidup susah diharungi dalam membesarkan kami. Kata-kata perangsang yang ditanam amat mengesani kami semua  - inspirasi yang akhirnya mengeluarkan kami dari kemiskinan desa.

Aah… keretapi kini memasuki bandar Gwangju, tempat berlangsungnya World Hydrogen Conference 2014. Wahai Tuhan yang Maha Penyayang, rahmatilah ibu dan bapaku, ampunilah kesalahan dan kelemahan mereka. Masukkanlah mereka ke dalam syurgaMu, dan janganlah disiksa mereka itu lantaran kesalahan mereka di masa hidup. Ameen…

Kepada anak muda yang membaca luahan ini, aku ingin berpesan…

Berbaktilah kepada ibu bapamu semasa ada kesempatan. Biarpun sukar, biarpun sibuk, biarpun terasa lelah, biarpun sempit wang. Semua perkara memerlukan pengorbanan, dan pengorbanan untuk ibu bapa itu amat penting untuk kau hayati. Suatu hari nanti, apabila mereka telah tiada dan timbul kerinduan kepada mereka, kau pasti menyesal jika tidak mengutamakan mereka dalam mengurus kehidupan.

 

Tidak Enak Bercakap Tentang Tandas

Cuba lihat gerombolan manusia yang keluar dari shopping complex, contohnya Sogo. Ada yang senyum, ada yang muram, ada yang nampak keletihan. Yang nampak letih selalunya lelaki dan yang senyum selalunya perempuan. Haha…Padahal yang lama membelek pakaian ialah wanita. Yang lelaki hanya mengekori isteri (sebagai porter bawa barang atau body guard), atau  mundar-mandir di sana sini, atau duduk di mana-mana kerusi yang ada. Haha… menarik.

Tapi itu bukan yang ingin aku bicarakan hari ini. Kini aku  berehat seketika sambil minum kopi di tengah-tengah kesibukan menyiapkan artikel untuk keynote address di sebuah persidangan antarabangsa. Hari ini aku ingin bicara pasal tandas. Urrrghhh, what a topic

Semasa di Sogo, aku dapati bayaran 30 sen dikenakan. Sama seperti di Jeti Mersing. Ada pula orang kata di KLCC pun ada tandas yang berbayar, cuma ada yang percuma (mmmm… mungkin merealisasikan konsep antara 2 darjat!). Terima kasih kepada PLUS, tandas di lebuhraya semuanya percuma.

Apa yang lebih merimaskan ialah keadaan tandas yang kotor. Apa perasaan anda jika bila melihat titikan air kencing berwarna kuning di atas mangkuk tandas. Lebih teruk lagi kadang-kadang ada juga yang buang air besar dan lupa flush

Yang paling tak puas hati ialah bila kita dikenakan bayaran dan tandas masih kotor ! Now, that’s a kind of robbery, isn’t it? 

Ada 2 perkara penting:

1. Tingkatkanlah hospitaliti kita. Janganlah kenakan bayaran untuk tandas. Orang masuk tandas disebabkan keperluan terdesak. Bayangkan jika dalam keadaan sakit perut, dia terpaksa berundur kerana tiada duit.

2. Jagalah kebersihan kerana ianya ciri asas manusia bertamadun. Tanpa mengira bangsa atau agama, kebersihan sepatutnya menjadi amalan semua.

Aaah enough said, my paper is yet to be completed.

 

 

Book Review – David and Goliath

 Randomness Vs Predictability

Malcom Gladwell, Naseem Taleb and a few others have been advocating the idea randomness. They tend to say that certain forms of incidence are outliers, black swan etc. Although I do not fully agree with their thinking since I believe that in many cases, there are many elements of predictability, these authors provide interesting perspectives in evaluating the world and whatever happens to it.

david-goliath

David and Goliath

As  usual, I have the habit of buying books in the airport, and I bought David and Goliath at KLIA. Similar to his previous books that I have read such as blink, tipping point, what the dog saw, outliers, Malcom Gladwell never fails to impress me with his ability to make anything seemed logical and I trully enjoyed analyzing his arguments. But after reading few of his books, I can almost predict his thinking. This was the reason why I hesitated to pick up this book many times as I passed by a bookstore. I nevertheless bought it one day.

In David and Goliath, he argued that although being at a disadvantage or underdog, a person might be able to emerge much better than average people, or even overcome those on the other end. He elaborated with few examples, many I cherished, one I despised.

David and Goliath is a story of a fight between a little guy and a big guy, the underdog vs the favorite. The winning strategy was to take unexpected moves, the one least thought of or not understood by the big guy. Focussing on this skill that are alien to the big guy, the small guy strikes, stunning the big guy before he goes down.

The concept was then extended into several other cases to show the benefits of being underdog. Nevertheless, the key to success that all underdogs have to focus on was hard works. He has to master special skills that he can to overcome his lacking in other things. Focus on listening when he cannot see. He simply has to work hard. One cannot simply say that since a person can do it, I can also do it. Yes he can, but he simply has to work for it. After all God is Most Just and Most Merciful.

The most important lesson is that a person who is ill-fated with some handicaps shouldn’t feel inferior because despite his handicap, he can still be successful. Numerous examples are available, some of which are highlighed by this book.

But I don’t understand why the author put forward the example of the crazy doctor dealing with pediatric patients suffering from leukemia. He might be successful in showing something, but that is not something that we should be proud of, even if he is proven to be in the right direction years later. It simply not ethical to answer his curiosity or fulfill his determination, or even his lust, by experimenting with human life. I hope the author will not use such examples in his future book.

ALL IN ALL, IT IS A GOOD READ.

 

 

 

Memori Andalusia 8 – Epilog

Nostalgia Andalusia

Perjalanan menelusuri kesan-kesan sejarah silam di Andalusia amat mengesani jiwaku. Dengan memandu kereta sewa di bumi asing berdua bersama isteri, kami dapat menikmati keindahan pemandangan yang melegakan perasaan kerana di merata tempat kami dapat melihat keindahan yang bertemakan bumi hijau luas yang dicorakkan oleh  tompokan pohon renek dan muka bumi beralun. Di kawasan tanah tinggi, jalan yang dilalui merentasi gaung dan lurah serta terowong yang menembusi gunung batu yang gagah. Mmm… Seminggu itu, fikiranku lapang, jauh dari segala masalah rumit dan sasaran pencapaian tinggi yang ditetapkan oleh majikan. Aku merasa bebas. Insya Allah, aktiviti seperti ini yang sememangnya telah menjadi kelazimanku di usia muda akan diulang lagi di kesempatan akan datang.

Tetapi perjalanan kali ini lebih dari itu kerana kami juga menelusuri sejarah, menyingkap peristiwa silam. Merenung kembali kehebatan dunia Islam yang suatu masa dulu merupakan kuasa dunia yang disegani dan digeruni menjana nostalgia dengan pelbagai perasaan. Ya, dunia Islam ketika itu bukan seperti hari ini, begitu mudah dibuli dan disusun seperti bidak-bidak di papan catur.

Ketika melihat tembok-tembok batu yang berdiri gagah di lereng-lereng bukit, aku dapat membayangkan kekuatan ketenteraan serta teknologi dunia Islam suatu masa dulu. Ketika menempuh jalan berliku di pergunungan aku membayangkan ketulinan kesungguhan mereka dalam meluaskan pengaruh. Ya, jalan-jalan itu berliku-liku dan di ketika itu tentulah jalannya lebih sukar…

Semangat Tariq Ibn Ziyad

Itulah semangat Tariq Ibn Ziyad, panglima Berber yang memimpin ekspedisi pada tahun 711. Dengan keazaman tinggi yang luar biasa, dia telah meluncur laju maju sehingga menawan Toledo yang merupakan pusat pemerintahan Raja Roderick dan meluaskan kuasa Islam di bumi Andalusia. Satu demi satu bandar dikuasai sehingga tertegaknya kerajaan yang berpusat di Cordoba.

Kilafah Umayyah yang juga merangkumi hampir keseluruhan Semenanjung Iberia termasuk Sepanyol, Portugal dan sebahagian dari Perancis

Kilafah Umayyah yang juga merangkumi hampir keseluruhan Semenanjung Iberia termasuk Sepanyol, Portugal dan sebahagian dari Perancis

Runtuhnya Khilafah Cordoba

Sejarah Andalusia juga penuh dengan cabaran, mendedahkan pelbagai warna-warna sifat manusia yang penuh kelemahan – cinta kepada kekuasaan dan kemewahan, irihati dan dengki, lalai dengan hiburan – yang akhirnya membawa kepada perpecahan dan melemahkan kerajaan. Apabila Khilafah Umayyah diganti oleh Abbasiyah, Abdul Rahman III membuat keputusan untuk “bebas” dari Khilafah yang berpusat di Baghdad dan menubuhkan khilafahnya sendiri berpusat di Cordoba di sekitar tahun 929.

Khilafah Umayyah Di Cordoba

Khilafah Umayyah Di Cordoba

Khilafah Umayyah di Cordoba ini pula kemudiannya berpecah kepada kerajaan-kerajaan kecil di sekitar tahun 1032. Maka lahirlah kerajaan-kerajaan kecil (Taifa) Islam yang terpisah antara satu sama lain seperti di Saragossa, Toledo, Seville, Malaga, Granada, Almeria, Denia and Valencia.  Perpecahan menyebabkan mereka menjadi semakin lemah.

Toledo jatuh ke Alfonso VI dari Castille pada tahun 1085. Ketika itu hampir separuh dari semenanjung Iberia telah mula ditawan oleh kerajaan kristian.  Zaragosa tumpas pada tahun 1118. Lisbon ditawan pada 1147. Valencia ditawan pada 1200. Selatan Portugal jatuh pada 1231. Cadiz dan Cordoba ditawan pada 1236 dan Masjid Besar Cordova ditukar menjadi cathedral. Seville pula dikepung selama 15 bulan dan akhirnya tumpas pada 1248. Seterusnya pada 1249 pula Faro  jatuh ke tangan Raja Alfonso III dari Portugal. Akhirnya, pada tahun 1252, yang tinggal hanyalah kerajaan Granada di bawah kekuasaan Ibn Ahmar, putera kabilah Nasiri. 

Dalam era yang sama juga, Monggol mula menakluki Asia Tengah dan akhirnya menyerang Khilafah Abasiyah yang berpusat di Baghdad

Sepanyol pada tahun 1492 - Yang Tinggal Hanya Kerajaan Islam  Granada

Sepanyol pada tahun 1492 – Yang Tinggal Hanya Kerajaan Islam Granada

Ferdinand & Isabella

Ketika perkahwinan Isabella, anak Raja John II dari Castille dengan Ferdinand, anak Raja John I dari Aragon pada 1469, pemerintahan Islam telah bertapak di Sepanyol, Portugal dan sebahagian dari Perancis selama lebih dari 700 tahun. Perkahwinan itu menggabungkan dua kuasa sehingga membentuk  kerajaan monarki katolik yang semakin kukuh.

Bermula pada tahun 1482, kerajaan Islam Granada diserang oleh Ferdinand dan Isbella. Ronda di bahagian barat ditawan pada tahun 1485. Selama 5 tahun (1483-1488) Malaga digempur dan apabila Malaga tumpas, ia dikatakan seperti “mata kerajaan Granada telah dicungkil”.

Pada tahun 1491, Granada akhirnya dikepung. Akhirnya kerajaan Islam menyerah kalah dengan dimeterai perjanjian Granada pada tahun 1492 yang memberikan kelonggaran kepada umat Islan. Namun perjanjian itu kemudiannya dicabuli dengan dasar tidak toleran agama yang diperkenalkan. 

Dasar Tidak Toleran Monarki Sepanyol

Jika diamati, pemerintah raja katolik Sepanyol sering mengambil sikap tidak toleran terhadap agama lain. Apabila mereka menguasai sesebuah bandar, penganut agama lain dibunuh atau dihalau. Kalaupun ada perjanjian damai, ianya juga tidak dihormati. Maka walaupun Islam telah begitu lama di sana, umat Islam yang ditewaskan itu ramai yang dibunuh, dan ramai juga yang meninggalkan Semenanjung Iberia. Mereka dipaksa menganut Kristian Katolik atau dihukum.

Selepas menguasai Sepanyol sepenuhnya, mereka telah membiayai pelayaran Cristopher Columbus, yang kemudiannya menjadi pemangkin kepada peluasan pengaruh Sepanyol ke dunia luar, jauh di Amerika Selatan sehingga ke Filipina di Asia Timur. Ke mana sahaja kuasa diluaskan, dasar tidak toleran kepada agama juga diteruskan, sekaligus menyebabkan kuatnya pengaruh Kristian dan juga semakin pupusnya pengaruh agama lain.

Kesan Kepada Nusantara

Peristiwa sedih yang berlaku di Nusantara seperti jatuhnya kerajaan Islam Melaka di tangan Portugis dan Filipina ke tangan sepanyol, ada kaitannya dengan persengketaan umat Islam di Andalusia. Dari kelemahan merekalah berkembangnya pengaruh Ferdinand dan Isabella. Setelah menguasai semenanjung Iberia, mereka mula meluaskan pengaruh ke luar. Begitu juga Portugis. Kedua-dua negara, Portugan dan Sepanyol adalah sebahagian dari dari kerajaan Islam di bawah pemerintahan Khilafah Umayyah.

Mungkin sejarah Filipina perlu diamati dengan lebih mendalam. Kerajaan Islam di sana akhirnya tumpas dan umat Islam ditukar menjadi Kristian dengan pelbagai cara. Suatu hari aku bertanya kepada seorang peserta latihan dari Filipina yang kukendalikan di industri, “cuba terangkan maksud namamu”. Dia pun menceritakan bagaimana nama-nama Islam yang digunakan dahulu ditukarkan kepada perkataan-perkataan Tagalog yang membawa maksud pelbagai objek di persekitaran. Ianya dibuat oleh nenek moyang mereka bagi mengelakkan siksaan atau pembunuhan oleh penjajah Sepanyol kepada orang Islam di Filipina ketika itu.

Penutup

Banyak pengajaran yang boleh didapati dari Andalusia. 700 tahun pemerintahan Islam telah membawa banyak manfaat kepada Eropah terutama dari segi teknologi dan peradaban. Sebahagian kesannya telah kulihat sendiri. 

Namun dasar pembersihan penganutan agama yang diamalkan oleh Ferdinand dan Isabella serta gereja Katolik Sepanyol ketika itu dan selepas dari itu telah menyebabkan banyak pembunuhan serta pengusiran umat Islam dari semenanjung Iberia. Kesan peninggalannya, walaupun telah banyak diubah masih lagi menggambarkan kebesaran kerajaan Islam suatu ketika itu.

Aaah, kenapalah lagu rock Isabella begitu popular di Malaysia suatu ketika dulu???