Selamat Menempuh Hidup Baru – Huda Arshad

Huda-nikah

Kicauan burung di Perdana Terraces memang merupakan kelebihan yang diberikan Allah untuk kami. Alhamdulillah, pelbagai spesis menyanyi riang di awal pagi. Selepas puas tidur dengan nyenyak akibat keletihan, pagi ini fizikalku merasa begitu segar sekali. Mungkin juga kerana telah terangkat satu lagi beban dari bahuku. Anak perempuan yang disayangi telah dinikahkan dan walimahnya juga telah dilangsungkan. Alhamdulillah semuanya berjalan dengan lancar.

Aku masih ingat lagi musim panas 1992 ketika aku sibuk menguruskan perkhemahan musim panas untuk sahabat-sahabat UK & Eire, di Newcastle. Ketika itu aku merupakan pengarah program tahunan itu. Ketika itu juga isteriku sedang sarat mengandung. Sepanjang tempoh dia mengandung, banyak ujian dilalui. Di fasa awal, dia diminta berehat di hospital kerana placenta previa dan pendarahan yang agak banyak.. Setelah 3 minggu di sana, isteri merayu untuk pulang ke rumah. Doktor bersetuju tetapi aku terpaksa mendengar pelbagai amaran dan peringatan darinya dan diminta menandatangani surat mengambil tanggung-jawab dari pihak hospital.

Lebih kurang seminggu sebelum perkhemahan musim panas bermula, isteriku melahirkan seorang anak perempuan. Kami merasa amat bersyukur, Alhamdulillah, mendapat puteri pertama (dia juga satu-satunya puteri dalam keluarga ini)  di samping 3 putera sedia ada. Alhamdulillah, bayi yang pernah dikatakan mempunyai peluang 50% untuk “survive” itu akhirnya lahir dalam keadaan normal dan sihat serta sempurna segalanya. Selepas itu dia sentiasa menjadi penghibur hatiku, dari kecil hinggalah dewasa.

Oleh kerana kami ketika itu sedang sibuk membuat persiapan terakhir untuk perkhemahan yang melibatkan ramai peserta, isteri dan bayi itu ditempatkan di sebuah rumah, bersama seorang sohibah yang juga baru melahirkan anak. Alhamdulillah, semuanya berjalan dengan jayanya dan menjadi kenangan manis dalam kehidupan.

Semoga Allah menjadikan anak itu sebahagian dari kekuatan ummah, bakal meneruskan perjuangan Rasulullah s.a.w., dan sentiasa diredhai Allah s.w.t. Itulah antara bait-bait doa yang bermain di kepalaku dan di lidahku ketika itu. Itu jugalah antara ungkapan-ungkapan doa sahabat-sahabat yang hadir di perkhemahan itu. Itulah juga harapanku pada pagi ini.

Sehari yang lalu, sejurus selepas dia kunikahkan dan apabila pasangannya memperdengarkan lafaz taalik, dadaku berdebar, hatiku menjadi sayu dan di dalam hati aku berdoa, wahai Allah yang Maha Penyayang, berilah petunjuk kepada mereka dan peliharalah pasangan ini agar dapat melaksanakan tanggung-jawab masing-masing dengan baik dan berkekalan dalam membina keluarga keluarga dakwah yang tetap tsabat dalam perjuangan.

Malam itu sukar untukku melelapkan mata walaupun badan terasa letih. Mungkin inilah perasaan yang dilalui oleh ayah yang lain ketika melepaskan anak perempuan masing-masing. Benar tulisan yang pernah kubaca sebelum ini, “my daughter is always my little baby, my little princess, even though she has grown up”.

Selamat jalan anakku sayang, selamat jalan Huda Arshad. Semoga Allah sentiasa memberi kekuatan dan petunjuk kepadamu untuk menjadi isteri yang solehah dan ibu yang penyayang yang bakal mendidik pemimpin umat masa hadapan. Semoga doa yang selalu kubaca ini diterima oleh Allah yang Maha Pengasihani.

rabbana-hablana

“Wahai Tuhan kami, anugerahkan kepada kami dari pasangan kami dan zuriat keturunan kami perkara-perkara penyejuk hati kami, dan jadikan kami pemimpin bagi orang-orang yang bertakwa”. (QS. Al-Furqan: 74).

Dr. AA, 8.00 am Ahad, 22 Mac 2015

Posted in Happening | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Do locals benefit from industralization?

NNP-jobs I’ve just heard something interesting from the French experiences, yesterday. Whether it was exaggerated or not, it is not important, but the idea is fundamentally correct and the impact has been very positive. They were talking about some policies on getting the locals actively involved in their nuclear energy program.

Well before the project commenced, the communities were actively engaged and the plans were presented transparently so that the public was aware about what was coming. Then as the works started (and even before that), training programs were launched to prepare the locals to be part of the nuclear power plant economy, which was expected to be massive. The lifecycle of a nuclear power plant is about a century. The design and engineering plus construction would take 10 years or so, operation is aimed to be about 60 years, and decommissioning would take another 20 years. So, it is 90 years. If you include the process of decision making and delays, it is a one century business that spans across 2 generations. So, it makes a lot of sense to invest on the locals.

Their definition of locals is as narrow as the people of the vicinity of the plant, the town folks themselves. They have certain policy installed to ensure the contractors, operators etc train and hire the locals.

When I heard their explanations, my mind drifted to the villagers in Paka and Kerteh. My heart is with the people of Pengerang (I visited Pengerang recently). The Kerteh petrochemical complex brought significant development to Trengganu and many people benefited. There are some “locals” working in the plant. The companies have some engagements with the communities such as safety awareness etc as required by the safety guidelines. My question is, how much do they benefit from the industry that has brought hazard to their homes? I recalled seeing an old lady squatting on the beach digging for “remis” or “kepah” (both are shellfish) not far from the ethylene and polyethylene plants. How much benefit has this industrialization provided to the villagers?

The cost of living increased significantly due to the higher purchasing power of the “oil people” working in the areas. Maybe it helped some of the food stall operators, but this is just a handful.

Somehow, I think the French was right in doing what they claimed they were doing. Maybe they had to be that way due to the nature of the population, but I am sure you would agree with me that a local would love the place more than the temporary migrants. I believe it would be nice if we can make the people feel that they are part of the development, and recognize the importance of those installations, and they themselves have some roles in them.

Perhaps we need some of those policies on “localization” of economic activities. Bottom line is, we don’t want to make the locals poorer by bringing developments to them. Teach them how to fish so that they can catch a lot more since there are many new species made available by the new “lubuk”.

Dr. AA (while waiting for a flight at KLIA)

Posted in Opinion | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Does risk really has a meaning ?

We were a bit unlucky today since the lunch buffet @ nasi campur has significantly depleted. It was only 1 o’clock at noon. What was happening?  So, we had to request for additional dishes to be cooked.  It was good in a way good, since it gave us more opportunity to exchange opinions etc. We were having lunch at Senibong, after an interesting discussions on research collaborations.

 

On our way back, we discussed about the lack of data integration and perhaps sharing of information on certain major decisions. Take for example a housing estate sitting next to an industrial area. Or some activities well into the buffer zones set by the environmental impact assessment (EIA). Consider an incinerator, or a tyre factory built near the perimeter of an industrial area. Few years later, a local authority approved a housing estate or a commercial area adjacent to those facilities. Few months later, the residents start complaining on the bad smell, poor air quality etc. Who is actually at fault? If the plants complied with air emission requirement, should they be blamed? 

IMG_7792

Industrial area – along with jobs and economic opportunities, it also introduces hazards to the surrounding

 

On another perspective, I am sure that many of us have come across arguments given on some controversial projects, saying that the EIA has been carried out and all the measures required have been spelled out clearly in the report, and these have been agreed upon by all parties involved. That includes various mitigating measures to reduce the risks due to hazards introduced by the  project to the community. Then, when the project completed with many or some of these measures forgotten, would the authority be alert enough to ensure that sufficient and timely actions are taken to ensure compliance?

Risk = Severity X Likelihood.

Severity is the level of impacts due to consequences arose from the new activities proposed by the project. Take for example, a chemical plant with hazards of fire and explosion. If the capacity is large, which is normally the case for bulk chemical plants such as refineries, crackers etc, the consequence can be really severe with the zones of 100% fatalities covering a large area. It may be the case that a school is within this 100 % fatal area. This means that if  the explosion at full scale did somehow happen, the whole school and all the innocent school children will end up dead. God forbid, who would want it to happen? Then may be we shouldn’t allow the plant to be built there since the communities have been there earlier !

Then a risk assessment consultant presents to you the other half of the equation, the likelihood. What if he says, the likelihood is 1 in 100 million or 1 x 10E-08. This will make the risk level to be 1 in 100 million fatality per year, which is considered remote. At this level the whole world will accept that it is remote because the universally accepted level of tolerable risk for involuntary exposure to the residential community is 1 in a million fatality per year. Can you accept this? I asked somebody about it and he jokingly said, it is ok if anybody dear to me or I, myself are not among the statistics. See… It is ok, as long that it is not me…

That is why for cases like this, although the risk assessment has been carried out in ethical manner by the consultants and all possible issues have been considered, we still hope that additional mitigating measures are proposed due to the vulnerability level, which is normally further highlighted by societal risks  (societal risk is not strictly required in our previous guideline, 1994, perhaps it has been amended? I forgot to check). But the issue is, will we be caring enough to ensure that these additional measures that costs money be implemented, especially when the green light has been given?

Somebody argued. Well, the consequence of flying is equally high (remember MH370, MH17 and QZ8501 ? – No Survivors!). Well, there is a big difference ! In this case it is a voluntary risk. You decide to fly, and you have the option not to. In the case of the residential area in the above case, they didn’t have any choice. Somebody brought the hazards to them.

It is nice if we can have NIMBY (not in my backyard) policy, but not everybody has that luxury.

So, does risk has a meaning after all???

 

Posted in Opinion | Leave a comment

Untuk Sahabatku Para Sukarelawan

sukarelawan

Perkarangan Masjid Tanah Merah, kelantan

Amal sukarelawan

Sheikh berkata,… permulaannya susah, tetapi penutupnya manis. Itu telah cukup untuk menggambarkan misi kemanusiaan. Memang banyak cabaran perlu dilalui – perjalanan yang jauh dan sukar, belanja dan tenaga yang perlu dicurah – namun di penghujungnya jiwa yang suci pasti dapat merasai kemanisan.

Senyuman yang terukir di wajah mereka telah cukup untuk menghilangkan lelah. Selut dan lumpur yang berjaya dibersihkan cukup memberikan kepuasan. Apatah lagi persaudaraan dan persahabatan yang dibina di sepanjang perjalanan, ianya ganjaran berharga yang sukar dinilai. Kebersamaan di medan amal kebajikan bakal membuahkan persahabatan yang diredha Tuhan.

Allah memerintahkan orang beriman supaya bertolong-tolongan dan bekerjasama dalam melakukan perbuatan baik, iaitu perkara kebajikan (al-birr), dan menegah mereka daripada tolong-menolong dalam perkara kebatilan, dan melarang mereka bantu-membantu dan bekerjama dalam perkara haram dan dosa. Ini dijelaskanNya dalam al-Qur’an yang bermaksud:

“Dan tolong-menolonglah kamu dalam (mengerjakan) kebajikan dan takwa, dan jangan tolong-menolong dalam berbuat dosa dan pelanggaran”. (Al-Maidah:  2)

Fokus

Wahai sahabat, fokuskan dirimu kepada menabur bakti. Yang sedang ditimpa bencana perlu dibantu dan disantun. Walaupun kecil bantuanmu ianya tetap memberikan pengharapan. Dapat memujuk hati yang lara. Dapat menenang fikiran yang keliru. Berikan sepenuh fokusmu kepada gerak kerja dan jangan biarkan kecerdasan otakmu menjadikanmu terlalu kritis. Di saat menghantar bantuan, usah ditanya kenapa berlaku bencana ini. Usah dinilai sama ada ianya ujian ataupun hukuman. Usah disoal kenapa pihak berwajib tidak cekap melaksanakan tanggung-jawab. Semua itu boleh dikaji kelak bila pulang ke rumah. Gunakan segala kebolehan untuk menabur bakti kepada yang malang. Empati lebih bernilai di saat ini berbanding analisis. Perbanyakkan amalmu dan ambil iktibar dari apa yang berlaku kerana dalam setiap peristiwa, pasti banyak pengajarannya.

Jaga hatimu

Wahai sahabat, Aku mengajakmu merenung sejenak kepada sabda Rasulullah s.a.w.

Dari Jundub bin Abdullah bin Sufyan r.a. katanya: Nabi s.a.w. bersabda, “Barangsiapa yang memperlihatkan amalannya kerana riya’ maka Allah akan memperlihatkan dan barangsiapa yang berbuat ria’, maka Allah akan menampakkan riya’ itu.” (Muttafaq alaih)

Ingatlah, apa saja yang ada dalam hati, semuanya diketahui oleh Allah s.w.t. dan di akhirat kelak, semua itu akan dinilai. Keikhlasan adalah prasyarat bagi amal untuk diterima Allah. Rugilah orang yang tidak menjaga keikhlasan hati.

Namun, ini tidak sepatutnya menghalang seseorang dari beramal di tengah-tengah masyarakat seperti menghulurkan bantuan ketika bencana, yang sememangnya akan dilihat orang, malah ada kalanya memperkenalkan diri itu adalah amat penting bagi memudahkan perlaksanaan. Malah tidak menjadi isu jika anda dipuji kerana ini juga telah dijelaskan oleh Rasulullah s.a.w.

Dari Abu Zar r.a., katanya: “Rasulullah s.a.w. ditanya: Bagaimanakah pendapat Tuan perihal seseorang lelaki yang mengerjakan suatu amalan yang baik dan ia mendapatkan pujian dari orang ramai kerana amalannya itu?” Beliau s.a.w. lalu bersabda: “Yang sedemikian itulah kegembiraan seorang mu’min yang diterima secara segera – yakni ketika masih di dunia sudah dapat merasakan kenikmatannya. (Riwayat Muslim)

Namun, janganlah pula kita berbangga bila dipuji hingga timbul perasaan ujub yang dikeji. May Allah protect us all from the sins of our hearts and purify our soul so that we’ll continue to progress each day as a better Muslim.

Posted in Buatmu Sahabat | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Siapa Dia Ummatan Wasata

Ramai orang menggunakan istilah ummatan wasata. Tetapi apa yang dimaksudkan oleh mereka, mungkin berbeza-beza. Ada yang mengatakan ianya bermaksud umat yang sederhana, dan sederhana itu juga tidak mempunyai nilai yang absolut. Ianya satu yang relatif. Malah pemahaman terhadap istilah ini mungkin jauh berbeza dan dirangkum dalam julat yang luas dari fahaman hampir liberal sampai ke fahaman yang konservatif.

Firman Allah swt.,

2-143

Dan demikianlah (sebagaimana Kami telah memimpin kamu ke jalan yang lurus), Kami jadikan kamu (wahai umat Muhammad) satu umat yang pilihan lagi adil, supaya kamu layak menjadi orang yang memberi keterangan kepada umat manusia (tentang yang benar dan yang salah) dan Rasulullah (Muhammad) pula akan menjadi orang yang menerangkan kebenaran perbuatan kamu… (Al-baqarah:143)

Petang itu aku mendengar penjelasan dari seorang Sheikh yang menegaskan bahawa istilah ini perlu didefinasi berdasarkan panduan Allah dalam al-Qur’an. Allah swt yang hidupkan kita, Allah swt yang beri rezeki kepada kita, Allah swt juga yang gariskan cara hidup yang perlu diikuti oleh kita seperti yang ditunjukkan oleh Rasulullah saw, dan cara hidup inilah yang membezakan kita dari makhluk-makhluk lain. Wasatiyah Islam dari segi ad-din (agama) adalah berpandukan al-Qur’an, manakala wasatiyah Islam dari segi at-tadayun (beragama) perlu berpandukan kepada as-sunnah sebagaimana yang ditunjukkan oleh Rasulullah saw.

Jadi ummatan wasata itu adalah kelompok manusia yang berpegang kuat kepada Al-Qur’an dan sunnah dalam beragama dan beribadat. Dan Rasulullah saw akan memberi saksi tentang kebenaran ibadat mereka.

Sheikh bertanya, “adakah Rasulullah akan bersaksikan amalan kita jika kita tidak bersungguh-sungguh berpegang kepada al-Qur’an dan sunnah?” Tersentak aku dari lamunan…

Kemudian sheikh itu seolah-olah menampar hatiku apabila dia menyebut bahawa Al-Qur’an itu adalah mukjizat, dan jika diturunkan al-Qur’an itu ke atas gunung, akan hancur gunung-gunung itu. Tetapi jika apabila diturun ke hati manusia, hati itu pula tidak hancur. Kenapa demikian? Kerana tempatnya memang di situ. Al-Qur’an itu tempatnya di hati ! Aku tunduk terdiam. Teringat suatu masa puluhan tahun dahulu ketika aku bersungguh-sungguh cuba menghafaz ayat-ayat al-Qur’an dan saling menyemak hafazan bersama sahabat. Kenapa kesungguhan itu tidak berlaku secara berterusan dari dahulu hingga sekarang? Hatiku berbicara sendirian. Subhanallah, berapa banyak al-qur’an kini ada di hatiku. Astaghfirullah, Wahai Tuhan yang maha pengampun, ampunilah kelalaianku selama ini.

Sheikh menambah lagi bahawa ramai orang membaca al-Qur’an, malah ramai yang membacanya dengan suara dan nada yang merdu. Namun ia tidak cukup menggerunkan syaitan. Yang digeruni oleh syaitan ialah apabila orang itu membaca dan dia memang menjiwai apa yang dibacanya. Yang paling tidak disukai syaitan ialah apabila orang itu membaca al-Quran dan memahami serta menghayati maksudnya. Itulah yang patut dilakukan oleh para umatan wasata.

Untuk merasai al-Qur’an di hati, walaupun kita membaca sejuzuk sehari pun belum pasti kita mendapatnya. Kita perlu memahami maknanya dengan mengkaji kitab-kitab tafsir. Jika ini berlaku, akan berlakulah perubahan dalam interaksi kita dengan al-Qur’an. Dan apabila kita membacanya di dalam solat, dengan suara yang lunak lagi merdu, hati kita akan dapat merasakannya. Bukankah itu yang kita mahukan? Khusyuk dan khuduk di dalam Solat? 

Semoga Allah memberi kekuatan kepada umat Islam hari ini supaya menjadi Ummatan Wasata seperti yang digariskan oleh al-Qur’an dan as-sunnah.

Posted in Buatmu Sahabat | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Old things add values

Years ago when I was still in primary school, I recalled my late aunt sent us to the trishaw rider in Malacca town to be sent home to Bachang, 5 or 6 km away. The weather was nice and the journey was smooth. So we enjoyed the ride while talking and looking around. In those days, trishaw was considered cheap. Since my aunt knew the rider personally, it was safe to send us home in that manner.

Today trishaw ride is only for tourist, at least in Malacca, or perhaps Penang.

Similarly, I remember riding a tuk-tuk in Bangkok in 1995. It was both fun and scary. You could hardly open your eyes because it was dusty. It was ok for me since I wore glasses. But the way the rider maneuvered could easily make you froze, if you don’t have confidence in him. It was cheap, and most importantly it was fast, very effective in dealing with traffic congestion.

Passengers waiting in lines, giving ways to arriving passengers to alight

Bangkok Skytrain – Passengers waiting in lines, giving ways to arriving passengers to alight

But last week, I didn’t see that many tuk-tuk anymore. In fact I was told that tuk-tuk is now more expensive than taxi, much more expensive than the skytrain or metro train that networked the city. It had also evolved into one of the thing on the to-do list of tourists. Note that now Bangkok has an excellent network of mass public transport.

Last year, I had a ride on andoh, a horse cart in Yokyakarta. Once upon a time it was perhaps the means of intercity transportation. Today, it is another fashionable transport for tourists.

What was happening is a normal cycle of life. A commonly used transport evolved into a designer thing for tourists.

Similarly as a car grew older, the price dropped. But then, after a stage, the price started to increase again. It was now a vintage, a fashionable thing for collectors. That’s why when somebody asked me about the price of my 1968 VW Beetle, I said, it has no pricetag, but since I’m not selling it, I won’t know how much I’ll be willing to sell it for.

So, the olds may not be necessarily history, they can continue to have impacts, or even be better.

Posted in Happening, Opinion | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Federalism vs regional autonomy – an energy example

2nd AUN-Seed Regional Conference on Energy Engineering

2nd AUN-Seed Regional Conference on Energy Engineering

I had an interesting discussion today with an interesting Professor from Kyushu University. We were having coffee break during the regional conference on energy engineering, a meeting sponsored by JICA, held in Bangkok. So, our trips and accommodation are fully covered by the organizer. The Professor wore a colorful shirt, unlike the rest who were in plain shirt, a neck-tie and a dark blue jacket, a typical outfit for a meeting like this.

We were talking about the Tsunami, Fukushima and its aftermath in terms of energy policy. Post Fukushima disaster had the 35 nuclear power plant in Japan shut down. The effect? Significant increase of energy costs to be absorbed by the government through the energy companies. A small increase in electricity tariff was imposed but the larger portion was absorbed by the companies, I was told. A brave move by the government, with aspiration to provide safety and satisfy the general public’s demand.

But everybody would imagine that such moves won’t be sustainable for long term purposes since Japan had to rely on imported oil and gas to power their power plant. So, the nuclear option has got to be back in action. 

This morning, a speaker told us that come next spring, one of the nuclear power plant in Japan would start operation. So, I asked the Professor with colorful shirt, “how do you decide on which plant to be put in operation?” He then explained the Japanese decision making procedure on this issue. 

Japan has had a tradition of being regionally autonomous and some level of democracy since the old days. So, for a plant to start operation, the company has to negotiate with the local municipality to get their consent. Then they would have to approach the prefecture and get the nod before they can get the permission to operate by the federal agency. Each plant has to go through this process. It is a slow process as it involves many people with many different concerns.

So, there is a significant level of autonomy at various level. Good or bad? Well,… it depends on how you look at it. It definitely slows down the decision making process. It can prolong the financial difficulties.

I wonder how many plants would be in operation within the next two years… The slower they act, the more additional costs would be incurred. Of course, they are also working on other options such as solar, but you would need around 10 solar plant for each nuclear plant of equal size due to availability of sunlight and efficiency of the solar panels.

So, which is better? A strong federalism, or more regional autonomy?

Posted in Happening, Opinion | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment