Guys, Can We Prioritise on Real Issues?


Read these first:-

hudud

(Which is more critical and urgent to the rakyat in Kelantan – tabling of a new Islamic laws that overlaps & duplicates the existing convention laws or reconstruction of homes & lives of people involved in the worst natural disaster that the country have seen? It is not an issue of religion or sedition but rather an issue of priorities. Source: The Malaysian Insider)

The real question is whether we are prioritizing the right things in this country.

As you are aware, the PAS led government had tabled the Syariah Criminal Code (II)(1993) (Amendment 2015) on last week to enable the implementation of PAS’ hudud law in Kelantan. And this was unanimously passed the next day by the State Assembly, much to the irk of its partners in the Pakatan Rakyat. The Bill is expected to be tabled to the Parliament so to ensure that the Kelantan Government will be able to enforce the hudud laws.

There are already plenty of arguments for and against it in the internet and have put a considerable crack on the alliance between DAP & PAS within Pakatan. We will see how BN comes into the picture once PAS tables the Bill in the Parliament. There are also been arguments in the internet that it will not impact the non Muslims and therefore they should not be talking about it or question it or having nothing to worry about. That is not true as well – just read on how Islamic law in this country will impact the non Muslims here

For me, it is simple – the politics and religion should never mix in the first place and so is the law of the country, especially when the country is consists of multi race, multi culture society. Otherwise it will going to be a very highly sensitive issue and wide open to personal interpretations and that is going to leave things very messy. The hudud proposed by PAS itself is now opened to many interpretations – from it being the God’s law to PAS party loose interpretation of God’s law:-

Writing in his blog OutSyed the Box, he republished an old article and said the word occurred in only 14 verses of the Quran and were used only in relation to social behaviour and domestic relationships, and not in the legal sense as used by PAS. He challenged readers, both Muslim and non-Muslim, to question the religionists and explain the difference between the “hudud” of the Quran and its usage by those such as PAS.

He dismissed the PAS usage by saying: “The Hudud Laws as propounded by PAS – that is exactly what they are, i.e. the hudud of PAS.”

(Source)

The influential G25 echoed the same and in a broader perceptive:-

Questioning the necessity of hudud in Malaysia, G25 said any law passed after Independence is declared void if it is inconsistent with the Federal Constitution, as governed by its Article 4.

Citing several Islamic scholars, the group also expressed concern that the enforcement of hudud in PAS-led Kelantan would not be in line with Quranic teachings, and problematic due to its lack of modern and relevant interpretation.

G25 claimed that no state has fulfilled the pre-conditions needed to implement hudud as espoused by Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the chairman of the World Union of Muslim Scholars: establishing a pious and God-fearing society, meeting the economic needs of the public, providing employment opportunities for all, and ensuring no poverty by closing the income gap.

Citing Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies chief Prof Hashim Kamali, G25 also said Kelantan’s original 1993 hudud bill had failed to reflect Quran’s balanced outlook or contemporary Malaysian society’s social conditions and realities.

(Source)

Let’s consider the implications. Let’s ponder for a moment why there is an urgency for hudud when we already have a well entrenched and complete penal law in place? Why fix something that is not broken? There the police  to investigate and arrest the criminal and we have the good hands of the law to determine and provide the correct punishments. Yes it is not perfect, there are loopholes but then again, largely it has been working well. Now why want to introduce another set of laws that runs parallel to this and create uncertainties and injustice?

Back in 2012, Dr M mentioned this:-

“In hudud, if you steal, you can have your hand chopped off. But they want to chop off only Muslims’ hand, not the non-Muslim who steal same amount of money. Surely it’s not justice,” he told the audience during the question-and-answer session

(Source)

As I have mentioned before, the problem in this country had never been a lack of the necessary laws to curtail crime. And where there are shortcoming in the law, we always have the Parliament to make the necessary amendments to the law. So one cannot see how hudud will make things all better. Yes the punishment maybe more harsher but the same can be amended for the existing laws. Then there is an issue of enforcement as well and what if someone makes a mistake?

No doubt, the introduction of hudud into a secular country will revoke more questions. The same was the case of Eric Paulsen.

The IGP subsequently defended his action of arresting the civil rights lawyer Eric Paulsen under the Sedition Act by saying that he did it so as not to provoke a retaliation from the IS militants. He has a good and valid point there – too many people in the world do not think with an open mind when it comes to discussing on religion. They are just too emotional and are very quick to dismiss any talk on the religion – being holier than the holy. No one knows what kind reaction it will attract.

But at the same time, I am not sure if Eric Paulsen had uttered anything else that deemed to be so serious that the IGP had him arrested under the Sedition Act or it will provoke IS. He alleged to have said “Do not simply believe that everything will be okay with hudud implementation – no basis that hudud will run smoothly in Malaysia” – I don’t see the seditious part of the statement. In plain simple English, it means nothing but fact. Eric is correct – will everything will be okay with hudud implementation especially when one have to consider that we already have a rule of law in place and the courts & the police to address the enforcement? If any, it is an opinion and is not far from what others have also said in the past few days.

This country has more challenges to address than just determining which law to use. Kelantan still reeling from worst flood in recent years and yet the implementation of hudud seems to be more critical & urgent at the moment? Why the rush when there are other matters that need to be attended more urgently like getting ready the state for the next major flood? Have they put the resources, money and time to prevent the next wave of flood? How about improving the poverty index? Or monitoring and providing better healthcare, education and enforcement in HIV cases – one of the highest in the country? The point is, there are issues far important that need to be handled first.

So come on guys, let’s get our acts together and let’s focus on what is more important at the moment. The last thing we need now is to have the wrong priorities at hand and escalating the trivial problems unnecessarily and end up running the country and its people to the ground.

Here’s Your Beef Pizza


Please read these as well:-

Pizza

(BF on the pizza list does not mean chicken, I am very sure of it but the staff insisted it is chicken. It may not look like much but add the service and the tax and soon to be GST, eating out may not be a cheap thing. Having the restaurant mixing your order is just rubbing the salt on your wounds)

Dear, that looks like beef, my wife told me as the waiter placed the pizza on the table…

Ever since I came back from overseas, my kids have been asking for an eat out for a pizza and we have been busy with other things. Then yesterday, I decided to take a day off – not because I had something urgent to do but rather I have enough leave allowance left which I know will go to waste in the coming months when I off to another work assignment. I woke up late in time for my son to be back from school. We had decided to have our lunch outside and waited for my son to take his shower. It was a while since he went to take his shower so I walked to his room, thinking that he is probably busy with his homework (he usually do) but instead he was fast asleep (he was doing his homework till late last night). Deciding not to wake him up, my wife decided to cook something simple (there was some idlis leftover from the morning breakfast as well) and decided to have dinner outside instead.

Having set the plan for the evening and had nothing to do for the rest of the afternoon, I stroll to the bedroom and played game on my phone. The next thing I remembered was my daughter waking me up – she wanted to go to the pizza place. I looked at the time and it was almost 7.30 pm. I must have dozed off halfway playing game on the phone. Now we were kind of late, no thanks to me. I had planned to go before 6 pm. There was still time I told myself. Besides my son only then woke up and sleepily walked into my room and continued his sleep on my bed. I wish I could have done the same thing but by now, my wife joined my daughter in waking me up. Since I usually spend more than time than the rest in the bathroom, I am often pushed to be the first to take my shower. The rest of them will take shower after me – it was nothing but an excuse as there was 2 other bathrooms that they can use.

We decided to go to Aeon Equine Park as my son wanted to buy new books for his revisions and I know there is a small Popular book store there. It was a working day, so driving to IOI Mall or Sunway Pyramid would be a nightmare at this time. The bottleneck there is unbelievable. By the time we reached the place, there was plenty of parking lots for us to pick. So was the seats at the Pizza Hut – we decided to have our dinner first and spend the rest of the time at Popular. Aeon usually closes at about 10 pm on weekdays. So we had to about 2 hours left which was more than enough.

Now talking about eating pizza, it has never been our first choice when it comes to us eating out. If given the option, sushi would be our first choice but then having too much of “raw food” is not a good thing either. But today we are determined to have our pizzas. We walked to an almost empty Pizza Hut and picked out seats. There is another Pizza restaurant in the same place but somehow we feel that Pizza Hut pizzas had better taste. We decided to order a personal pizza first for the kids this time – we were struggling to eat the pizza in the past when we ordered the 2 regular pizzas. After all given the lack of crowd at that moment, we could always order another pizza any time. We opted for chicken “based” pizza instead of our usual seafood “based” as my son sometimes gets rashes after taking seafood. We also opted for more side dishes this time – for a change.

One thing that I noticed is that the waiter did not repeat my orders, something that was odd considering that the franchisee is an international brand. The personal pizza that was served hot disappeared in seconds as soon it was served. The kids were hungry, so was my wife and soon even the side dishes was eaten up too. It was time to add more orders – another pizza. My son took the menu and whilst still munching food in his mouth, started to pick the second pizza – another chicken “based” pizza. Once again, the waiter did not repeat my orders.

It did not take long before the waiter to bring over the plate of pizza. The meat topping on the pizza looked somehow strange – it looked darker and overcooked. I gathered that it must be the way they prepared this pizza but my wife was quicker. She immediately noticed that it was beef topping instead of chicken on the pizza. My son was about to put the pizza in his mouth but stopped immediately once my wife mentioned “beef”. I checked further and it was indeed beef topping on the pizza. To our surprise, another waiter brought us another pizza and it seemed to the correct pizza – the meat topping was definitely chicken but when he saw the pizza on the table, he got confused and so was us. Someone had definitely made a mistake.

I asked the waiter to confirm which is one is our real order (just in case we made a mistake) and there was more confusion as the waiters talked to themselves and double checked the order. To my dismay, the first waiter insisted that the beef topping pizza was INDEED chicken pizza. I looked at her and she must have read my mind and quietly walked away. Then another guy came over, apologized and took away the beef pizza. He then brought over the correct pizza but by now, the damage is done. My son had lost his appetite for pizza (I know he was still hungry) and my wife had lost interest. I ended up finishing most of the pizza myself.

We decided to leave and forget this small mishap for the time being. I waited at the counter to pay the bill and once again, I got another apology from the lady behind the counter. But a surprise was waiting us. The bill included the wrongly delivered beef pizza. There was another customer at the counter, so I waited patiently for another battle on wrong orders. I explained to the lady that the beef pizza was wrongly delivered to us and thus should not be charged to us. In fact I wanted to say that Hindus don’t eat beef but one look at the lady behind counter seems to tell that she lacks this basic knowledge.

And this is not the first time, some people had assumed that non-halal in this country only means one thing – pork to the Muslims. And forgetting that non-halal also means beef to the Hindus and the Buddhists. Another round of discussions and checking with rest of the waiters (I thought they have settled this issue earlier). Good thing for the restaurant and the staff – I was somehow kept my cool and just want to settle the issue. The manager finally showed his face and went over to the counter and re-do the bill. He returned the extra amount but rather hesitantly, as if we made the mistake and not his staff. Better than nothing although I was still at the losing end if consider the service tax and govt tax (short changed about RM1++, ha ha).

Good day out for dinner however ruined for the day but somehow the staff apologizing for the small mistakes soften the damage. Interesting change indeed.

Direction of a Nation


(Sorry for missing out on blog posts for couple of weeks now. I have been tied to work rather overwhelmingly and I still have a long way to go)

Sometimes when you see what happens around the world and see how much mankind have moved forward since, since I don’t know – perhaps since he climbed down from the trees and learned to walk on his own 2 feet hundred thousands of years ago, you get this amazing, proud happy feeling.

One recent example is this:-

Many congratulations to the Rosetta team at ESA for successfully landing the lander module on a comet. It was not an easy thing to do, after all, the comet is flying past in space at more than 130,000 km/h. It will be interesting to wait and see what discoveries that we will find from this mission on a comet. Perhaps confirming or disapproving the theory that all water on this earth was brought down by a string of comets striking the earth millions years ago.

And last month, it was the India’s Mars Orbiter which made serious news and it was for a good reason too:-

The Mars Orbiter Mission cost Rs. 450 crore (£46 million) in comparison to NASA’s Maven orbiter costing £413 million, which also successfully inserted itself into the Martian orbit on Monday 22nd September 2014.

The Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, even stated: “Our program stands out as the most cost-effective. “There is this story of our Mars mission costing less than the Hollywood movie Gravity. Our scientists have shown the world a new paradigm of engineering and the power of imagination.”

(Source)

Whether you like it or not, the world have become very technologically advance. It has become small too – it is possible to go to any country in the world within a day (compared to months or years 200 – 300 years ago). Information these days is at one’s finger tips literally and connected to the world wide web 24 hours, 7 days a week.

Sir Ken Robinson in his talk in TED once said that as early as the 17th century, the industrial revolution drove the education blueprints of many nations towards science, engineering and mathematics. And that had given birth to some of the greatest minds that the world have seen. That industrial revolution plus two world wars that came later however had not stopped the advancement of mankind towards science and technology and whoever who do not embrace it at this age would be left out high and dry. Same thing happened to many companies in the 1990s who failed to embrace the digital age. Still remember Polaroid? And even Nokia, once a world leader in the telecommunication sector is no longer is in existence (after it was taken over by Microsoft).

That is why, the country as whole should emphasize more on science and technology instead of religion. Religion which have always been the scourge of science (or the other way around) should be left to individuals and should not form the backbone of a country. Think about it and take a good look of events around the world. There have been more people died and suffered in history due to religion indifference compared to people who died from say science experiments. There have been more dark ages brought by religion than by science. Some of the biggest tragedies in the recent times were done by twisted culprits claiming supremacy of religion and they continued to make an ass of themselves and the better aspect of a religion – such as Boko Haram in Nigeria and ISIS in Syria & Iraq.

And back home in Malaysia, we too been taking all the wrong steps. First we decided to teach Science and Mathematics in Bahasa instead of the accepted language of science and mathematics which is English. The lame excuse that was given was that the country needed to promote the national language and there was not enough teachers who can speak proper English. Unfortunately, despite the obvious reasons and calls from many quarters including the former Prime Minister, this decision have not been reversed to this day and the damage to the nation continues to this day.

But instead, we are entrenching ourselves with trivial issues like this:-

Non-Muslims in Kedah need not be worried or confused over the recent amendment to an 1988 enactment that bars non-Muslims from using Islamic religious words and terminology. State exco member Mohd Rawi Abd Hamid said no non-Muslim had been arrested in the state under the enactment for using terms that are exclusive to Islam and Muslims.

Mohd Rawi said non-Muslims could still use the words in their daily conversations, but not in their own prayers, public speeches or in religious publications.

“If you say you want to go to a masjid (mosque), why not? If you ask me where that masjid is, there’s no problem with the usage of that term,” he said yesterday

(Source)

Earlier, the whole nation seemed to be busied itself with someone who had organized a “want to touch a dog” event and after that, of an image on a water bottle.

Obviously we are getting our priorities all wrong and that is why for reasons like this, we will not going to be a developed country in 6 years time. Forget achieving vision 2020. We are too worried on what we can say and do in the name of religion. We are not worried about building more schools, getting our children to embrace science and mathematics in the most convenient way (by learning in English) and push for greater space and opportunities for citizens to speak aloud and to agree or disagree with the establish norms. One wrong say or act in this country can make one run foul of the dreaded Sedition Act and the authorities. We cannot advance if we confine ourselves to very few options and old rules. We even banned Darwin from this country.

And that is why, the country as whole need to wake up to reality of things and what is important for the society survival? And if one still have doubts as to where the nation should be moving, perhaps this will give a food for thought:-

Science is the engine of prosperity. Economists have said that a third to a half of U.S. economic growth has resulted from basic research since World War II. The cars and trains that got us here today, our smart phones, the energy that lights this chamber, the clothes we wear, the food we eat: All of these were developed and improved through research.

And so it is. Science is a system for exploring, and for innovation. It can fuel our nation’s economic growth. It can form a path for our young people in a competitive global marketplace. And it can fire our imagination.

(Source)

And mankind seems to be heading that direction too and probably in a greater pace due to the wealth of information available on the internet:-

Religion will become extinct by 2041 as the world becomes more developed and wealthier,, proclaims a new study by a noted author and biopsychologist Nigel Barber.

Barber makes the claim in his upcoming e-book, Why Atheism Will Replace Religion, which will be available next month. The Irish author says Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism and all other types of religious beliefs will be wiped out by atheism.

Barber notes there is a direct correlation between religious or atheist beliefs with economic development and level of education. The more educated and wealthier a society is, the less religious they are and vice versa. Barber adds that religion is most popular in underdeveloped countries.

(Source)

Religion is important but it should be something personal and it should never mix with the state of a nation. Science on the other hand is going to be the stepping stone for many things to come to make a country strong, capable and flexible. Something for us all to ponder especially for the next generation of Malaysians. Good governance helps too but let’s start with something simple – give more focus on science and mathematics and put this country on the path of it’s own industrial revolution if you may. There must be a new paradigm of vision and a greater power of imagination. As I have said, religion is important and let’s not discard it from our life but not to a point that it drive the state backwards and into the dark ages. We just need to look into history and move forward.

Have a good weekend ahead…

Snippets – 30 October 2014


AP72722033370_t607

(Hello friend, feeling jet-lag ah? This what happens if you fly too many times on tax payers money and do most of your “work” from overseas and leaves the country to run on auto pilot. Image The Net)

The post was originally slated to be posted last week (or was it the week before that? I can’t recall) but after half way through drafting it, I fell asleep. By the time, I had time to complete my draft, I had other thoughts and decided to start fresh again. You see, I am away on another assignment and the vicious cycle had started all over again.

This will probably be my 5th or 6th time I celebrated Deepavali thousands of miles away from home. The first time it happened, it was tough especially when my son had just born but over the years, it has been a norm for me and for my family. We would celebrate it once I am back from overseas assignment. We often do.

Almost Locked Out

How many times you have left the keys in the room and got yourself locked out? This guy in the video probably had the worst experience.

As for me, I had got locked out from the hotel room once when I was in Bangkok but I did not realised that until I came back from shopping and realized that I did not have the hotel access card with me. Thinking that I had dropped it at the shopping centre (thankfully it was nearby the hotel), I rushed and searched for the card but did not find them. Not knowing what to do next, I decided to head back to the hotel and tell them that I had misplaced the access card and requested for a new one. I was prepared to pay a hefty fine for losing the card but the lady at the counter promptly gave me another card without any question. When I walked into my room, I found my misplaced card – it was on the table.

Couple of days ago, I almost repeated this mistake. Almost. I took my wallet which had the apartment access card and the bus card (yes, I take the bus to work) and placed on the table as I was packing up to go to work. I realised I was late for work, so I quickly packed my bag, switched off the lights and head out to the lift when I remembered my wallet on the table. Damn! The door to the apartment cannot be opened without the access card and it will not be easy to get the guy at the counter to arrange for another key.

But something told me to double check my bag before I switch to a full panic mode. I opened the bag and saw my wallet. I don’t recall putting the wallet in my bag. Weird. It must have been instinct, I guess. Or it could be me getting old.

The PM is Away Again

As expected, another trip overseas!

This time he is in Dubai, once again at the taxpayers’ expense. So the country goes on auto pilot again. I just saw him giving press conference on the nation’s affairs from Dubai. Sometimes I wonder which country he is belong to.

So much so, he has become a joke of the country.

The rakyat were delighted to learn today, that our Prime Minister is planning a 9 day working visit to Malaysia.

“This is wonderful news!” said a government spokesman, “it’s very fortunate the PM was able to squeeze us into his busy schedule after trips to Azerbaijan, Netherlands, Ukraine, London, his European holiday, Dubai, and New York.”

“The PM will be meeting Malaysian university students studying here, as well as several captains of industry with the goal of enabling Malaysia to foster better relations with itself.” said a source in the PM’s department. “He definitely sees huge potential in Malaysia, and expects these meetings will bring mutual economic benefits to all!”

After the working visit, the PM accompanied by his wife, will then depart Malaysia for another place that is rumoured to be as far away as possible.

(Source)

Does the Prime Minister had to fly off and attend every shitty conferences, meetings, opening ceremonies and what-not overseas? Then what is his Ministers, Deputy Ministers and high ranking civil servants are doing back home? Ya sure, who do not want to fly on a private jet, all expenses paid for by the people of Malaysia, live in luxury hotel and have time for shopping and sight-seeing? But doesn’t he remembers that his job back home is far more important? The country needs a working Prime Minister and not a happy go lucky traveler.

It’s OK to burn the Bible!

The Old Man is talking nonsense again

The burning of religious texts, including the Al-Quran and the Bible, is allowed in specific instances, but not with bad intentions, said former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. When asked his opinion if Perkasa president Datuk Ibrahim Ali’s Bible-burning call was seditious, Dr Mahathir said Muslims often burnt old and worn copies of the Al-Quran, but were forbidden from throwing it around or stepping on it.

“So, if Muslims have some document they are adverse to, they should not throw it on the ground and step on it. “It was not his intention to provoke people into clashes between Muslims and non-Muslims,” he said.

On Monday, the Attorney-General (AG) issued a statement saying that Ibrahim’s call to burn Malay-language Bibles did not fall within the definition of a seditious tendency as it was said to defend the Islamic religion.

(Source)

Ibrahim Ali did not call for burning the Bibles because he had high respect for the Christians or the Bible had worn out or he had some good intention somewhere up his buttocks. He in fact said this:-

Perkasa president Ibrahim Ali has called on Muslims to seize and burn copies of Bibles which contain the term “Allah” or other Arabic religious words.

And why he want to burn them?

The Pasir Mas MP insisted that it was the only way to stop non-Muslims from stirring the sensitivities and sentiments of the majority of population in the country.

(Source)

Now, let’s reverse the situation for a second and consider what would happened. Would the Muslims would have stood back and accept that it is in the defence of another religion? Still remember Pastor Terry Jones and how the whole reacted to his idiotic proposal to burn the Quran? Similar thing happens here and the perpetrator walks off scot-free on silly excuses and reasons.

Hudud: 1 country, 2 sets of laws?


2 laws

(Should Islamic law take over precedent over conventional law if the conventional already exist and been applied by the courts of the country? The same case for hudud now. Why not improve on the existing laws and enforce it instead of bringing in another set of law that does not apply to all? Why reinvent the wheel? Cartoon source: The Net)

The issue of hudud have been in the news lately and there have been plenty of statements made in public and by various parties including politicians from both side of the fence, supporting for or opposing the implementation of hudud.

Before anyone starts to jump up & down and argues that the non-Muslims should stay out of it and keep their silence on the issue of hudud since it will only be imposed on the Muslims and nothing further than that, let’s clear our minds for a moment and let’s try to understand why there have been so much objection, noise and comments by the non-Muslims on something that does not affect them in the first place.

An article by Mariam Mokhtar over at FMT may explain this further. It makes a lot of sense and shows that we have a long way to go before we can implement something called hudud which at the end of the day, will affect us all – both Muslims and non Muslims.

Reject hudud before it destroys our lives

How often have Muslim clerics, the National Fatwa Council or the Islamic institutions spoken against corrupt and immoral leaders? How often have they highlighted the injustices, in particular the deaths in custody or the murders of people who are linked to the echelons of power? When did they last criticise people who openly abuse power?

Those of us who oppose hudud do so not because we are anti-Islam but because we do not trust the people who will implement hudud. In Malaysia religious and controversial topics like hudud elicit six responses, all of them unsatisfactory.

First: Those who hate Umno Baru will say, “Bring it on! We want to see hudud being used on Umno Baru ministers and politicians. Let us see how they will cope without limbs!”

This is just wishful thinking. Thinking without any rationality does not help the debate on hudud. No-one in the Umno-Baru elite has been punished for the thousands of injustices perpetrated today, from rapes of maids to “rasuah”, or theft of taxpayers’ money to the taking of lives by powerful people.

Criminals escape punishment not because we have insufficient laws, but because the laws are not enforced and our judiciary is corrupt to the core. Umno-Baru ministers have always escaped punishment. Who honestly thinks that hudud will escape manipulation?

Second: Those who propose the implementation of hudud claim that hudud will result in a crime-free (or relatively low crime) state. Wrong! Which nation under hudud has a low crime rate, negligible rape and no corruption? PAS Kelantan cannot perform miracles.

Corrupt leaders and institutions thrive because the systems to check them, have failed. They fail because the people who should be enforcing them are not trustworthy or have a secret agenda. Once we start to administer laws without fear or favour, crime rates may drop.

Third: If you are a Muslim and you oppose hudud, it means that you are going against Islam. Nothing could be more insulting to any decent God-fearing Muslim. Islam encourages the acquisition of knowledge and encourages debate, but Malay Muslims appear reluctant to engage in intelligent discourse. Why?

In Malaysia, Malay Muslims accept archaic laws or traditional thinking and beliefs without question. Last month a retired judge criticised the presence of large statues at the entrance to the Batu Caves and in Penang. In Egypt, the land of 95% Muslims, few worry about the presence of the Sphinxes.

Kartika Dewi Sukarno was charged with drinking beer in a public place. She was treated like someone who had committed a heinous crime, like murder. The Muslim clergy wanted to make a showcase of her, by punishing her with whipping even though civil laws prevent women from being whipped, in Malaysia.

Soon after, three women were whipped in secret, for having extramarital sex. No details are known of the men. The government was afraid of a backlash like the Kartika case. The three women and Kartika were punished, whereas well-connected people who drink freely, and fornicate in five-star hotels and exclusive clubs in Kuala Lumpur escape scot free.

Fourth: If you are a non-Muslim and you made your views known about hudud as any responsible Malaysian would, some Muslims will attack you and say, “You have no right to comment. You are not even Muslim.”

Another response might be, “You have nothing to fear as you are not Muslim. Hudud will not affect you.” Wrong again! A woman was charged in Penang under syariah law even though she was not a Muslim.

In a recent child conversion case, the father kidnapped his son, even though his former wife, a Hindu, had been given custody of their child. There have been other miscarriages of justice when bodies have been snatched and taken for “Muslim” burial.

Who says that non-Muslims will not be affected by Muslim laws? Hudud will creep into your lives, sooner or later.

Fifth: Some Muslims will say that it is God’s law and Muslims must abide by it. As we have seen, civil or syariah laws have been manipulated by evil, unscrupulous and corrupt men, to suit their own selfish agendas.

One girl I know, was forced into marriage because her neighbour, whose advances she had rejected, accused her of having sex with her boyfriend. She is now a sad divorcee with children, and she freely admits, “We were forced into marriage to avoid humiliation for both our families. We married to avoid a prison sentence, but still had to pay a fine.

“The neighbour was wrong to accuse us and call the moral police. He wrecked our lives. Eventually, we had children and I had to stay at home to look after them. I regret ending my studies and I think my boyfriend resented me. We were both young, but we were wronged.”

Another woman was set up by her husband. He wrongly accused his first wife of infidelity so that he could marry a younger woman. He beat his first wife and she left him. He refused to grant her a divorce, and he will not help with the upkeep of the children. He married in southern Thailand and simply paid a nominal fine, when he returned to Malaysia, for failing to register the marriage and for not seeking the permission of his first wife.

Syariah failed both these women and one doubts if hudud would reduce the discrimination against women, the poor and the marginalised. Several homosexual Muslim men and women lead secret lives in Malaysia or have emigrated. What would happen to them under hudud? Aren’t they God’s creatures, too?

The sixth response is apathy. Yours! The Allah case has divided this nation, because a few men held their tongues. They were afraid to go against one man who had a personal agenda against another party. Speak out now, before hudud destroys our lives.

(Source)

Firstly, there is a valid reason why the non-Muslim are very concerned with the idea of hudud. Yes, it only applies to the Muslims for now but once this is in place and implemented wide spread, what is the assurance that it will not be expended to cover the non-Muslims as well – all in the name of standardisation and to weed out double standards?

It will never happen, you say? Well, think again:-

The drama unfolded when Takiyuddin questioned Md Alwi’s statement to the press outside the House on Wednesday that the PAS-led Kelantan government was inconsistent in banning gambling but allowing non-Muslims to consume and sell alcohol. Takiyuddin said the government had never condoned alcohol consumption in Kelantan as it was against Islamic teachings.

Later, at a press conference outside the house, Md Alwi clarified that the Kelantan government practised double standards. “If they had banned gambling activities they should also ban alcohol consumption for both Muslims and non-Muslims,’’ he said.

(Source)

And this:-

PAS Kelantan State Government should rescind the ban of liquor sale by the Tanah Merah district council ordering coffee shops and restaurants to stop selling alcoholic drinks, including beer and stout and issue a similar directive to all local councils in the state.

It has been reported that the directive, contained in a letter dated August 8 and signed by council secretary Ruslan Hassan was hand-delivered to several Chinese-owned coffee shops and restaurants in the district, giving them a grace period of 15 days to clear their stocks.

(Source)

And this:-

Hair dressing salon operators are learning the hard way that gender segregation rules in Kelantan apply to non-Muslims as well. They have had to pay many summonses for allowing their female workers to cut the hair of non-Muslim male patrons, which they thought was permissible. E-Life Hair Salon manager Ong Lee Ting said she had settled 11 summonses since she opened for business in KB Mall in 2010.

Gender segregation is among the controversial regulations imposed by the PAS state government, which insists that the rule be also observed at supermarket check-outs. The last time Ong went to the local council office to pay a compound, she was told that the licence for the salon would be revoked because of the many summonses issued to the operator.

However, council secretary Mohd Anis Hussein said: “As long as they (the salon owners) pay the compounds, they will be allowed to operate.”

(Source)

And lately this:-

Majlis Amanah Rakyat (MARA) officers allegedly asked two non-Muslim students questions about the Islamic faith as part of a scholarship interview in Sarawak over the weekend.

The students were left speechless after being asked to name the prophets of Islam, the rukun (precepts) of Islamic prayers, and their opinion on the controversial hudud law, among others.

They are now afraid that their inability to answer the questions would affect their applications for university scholarships under the Indigenous People’s Trust Council.

(Source)

What will happen if a Muslim and non Muslim been caught under the same crime? Will they be treated under a different justice system with 2 different outcomes – one jailed for x number of years and another with his limbs amputated? For how long you expect them to be treated under a different justice system with 2 different outcomes before someone comes up and claims double standard and asks for both to have their limbs chopped off?

There are already some morons in this country calling fellow Malaysians infidels just because some of us profess to difference religion and insists on overriding everyone to come up on a Islamic state (where they were all these years when Malaysia is branded as a country with multiple race, religion & culture?). Yes, now they will say that it applies only for Muslims but in the near future, what’s stopping them from asking why the “minority infidels” are not subjected to the same law of the “majority. It is only fair, right? I am sure even then they will chant the mantra “don’t let ‘infidels’ decide on hudud”

Secondly, even though one may argue that hudud only applies to the Muslims, it is part and parcel of the Islamic teaching and is needed to curtail the escalating crime rate, the thing is why we need 2 sets of laws in this country that only creates sheer confusion to all Malaysians – both Muslims and non Muslims alike.

Just take a look at the case of S. Deepa who had won the custody of their two children at the civil High Court, only for someone to come along and kidnap her son:-

The police will not investigate a Muslim father accused of abducting his six-year-old son despite a civil High Court awarding custody to the Hindu mother, the country’s police chief said today. Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said the father, a Hindu-turned-Muslim who now goes by the name Izwan Abdullah, had also won custody at the Shariah High Court.

Jelebu district police chief Setapa Yusof was reported by The Star daily earlier today saying the police were unable to take action due to the two conflicting court orders.

“As far as we are concerned, we cannot investigate Izwan for abducting his son. We have to respect and obey the orders issued by both courts,” he told The Star yesterday.

(Source)

In the above case, S Deepa does not have any recourse in the Syariah Court simply because she is not a Muslim (thus the case should not have gone to the Syariah Court in the first place) Where is the fairness when only one appears before the court and argues the case. And despite the High Court order came after the Syariah Court’s order and thus should in effect supersedes it (by this definition that the Syariah Court being an inferior court to the High Court) and makes S Deepa the legal guardian of the children, the police had decided upon themselves to say that both orders are valid and both has custody to the same child. So it has ended of who kidnap who first and the police had to look the other way in this case?

But you cannot blame them too – the confusion is there and the Government is keeping its silence on the matter and yet to come out to state the obvious. There is no clear precedent from the various court cases as well. After all, when the Parliament amended the Article 121 of the Constitution that created the Syariah Courts, it is unlikely it wanted the newly created Syariah courts to be in direct conflict with the existing civil courts.

Let’s set aside the issue of confusion for a second and look into the urgency and effectiveness instead.

The thing is, there NEVER been an issue of a serious lack of laws and rules in this country to cover the various offences. We made a wise move by adopting the Englishman’s law (or rather Indian & Australian penal codes) when we got our independence from the British. At least we did not had to create it from the scratch. We did not drop it despite it was the law of a “coloniser”. And despite having the Muslims as the majority back then, we did not opt to instil the Islamic law and choose to do what the Arabs did or go on own way. And over the years, we have repealed some laws, enacted some new ones and strengthened some of the existing ones.

We have always done that and the law had always worked to ensure fair play, justice, better protection and deserving punishments. So why now, there is an urgent need bring in the hudud laws? What is the shortcomings in the civil law that cannot be improved and can only be rectified by implementing hudud laws? And how one can say that hudud will be more effective in curtailing the crime rates than the conventional criminal laws? We need the promoters of the hudud laws to further clarify this. Perhaps they will argue that by chopping one’s hands, this guarantees the criminal will not be able to steal again. Ya, it makes sense but what happens if this person is found guilty due to an error by the witness or framed by someone else or a loophole in the law and only later after various appeals and perhaps new evidence, he was found to be innocent? Can he get back his hands?

Why not instead focus on the current shortcoming of the current civil law? And a large aspect of it boils down to the enforcement of the law. In some cases, a severe case of double standards and selective enforcement of the law. After all, these days, one wrong Facebook post of a politician’s wife could get the police to drop everything and swiftly arrest you. But the similar thing happens for the opposition MP (an elected one), nothing really moves. If the matter is something petty, then why the swift action on former’s case? And if it is the law, then why no action on the latter’s case? You see my point here? If the punishment is not severe enough, why not just amend the existing laws and impose a higher jail terms or whipping by the cane?

As a nation, we are already blundered big time many times over by having different economic policies to different sectors of Malaysians and different education system and political preference based on race, religion and culture, why  strive to disunite the nation even further by having different set of laws for different class of Malaysians? Still striving for developed nation status by 2020? Throw in the lack of enforcement and selective enforcement into the wood works and it will only be bad news for the country. Is this what we want at end of the day?

The non Muslims, frankly speaking, are not against hudud if it is implemented for the Muslims only and it is done fairly and without any bias but unfortunately, they have seen enough to know that it will not be the case. They are wary of the warning – hudud will creep into your lives, sooner or later. They are wary of the overzealous officials in enforcing the Islamic laws and this spilling over to affect the non Muslims (there already too many examples in the state of Kelantan, the very place they want to introduce the hudud laws). They are wary of the those entrusted with the necessary authority to be fair and unbiased when judging the law and applying it in the most equitable way to all Malaysian (such in the case of S. Deepa).

So just, prove to us that it only will apply on Muslims and hudud is being implemented only because there is a serious shortcomings in the current civil laws and we will stop worrying and make a big fuss about it.

Being Holier than Holy


Firstly my condolences to the parents and family members of the 2 young children who were murdered by their maid. It was tragic beyond any comprehension and no matter what is said and done, nothing can replace the 2 lovely children and console the parents. Nothing. The devil indeed walks on the earth in disguise of these killers. May the murdered children’s soul rest in peace.

Secondly, many laughed back in 2011 when the words preppers or prepping is mentioned. One person I know even boasted that his house water tank would last until the water situation was back to normal and preppers were wasting their time. But now with water ration in place (hitting at least 3 million consumers) and some places like Balakong had no running water for 2 weeks, I wonder how many of them regret for not prepping for these kind of situations. At home, we have stocked up drinking water and it should be enough to last us for at least 1 week but it may not be enough if the hot weather continues for the next few weeks (but we have worked out a Plan B & C, just in case).

Back to the post for this week…

Read these first:-

Some months ago, as I was lazing around the house (as usual), my wife came over and sat next to me. She asked if we could go to the temple later in the evening (it is a question that I usually get on the weekends). She said that it was crucial that we go to the temple on a weekly basis as it will be beneficial to us and the kids spiritually and it will bring in more of the positive “chi”. Well, I don’t discount the impact of astrology on our daily life but then again, as T.E. Lawrence had once said, nothing is written and I feel the same. Doesn’t God help those who help themselves?

Anyway, her point was well noted. No harm going to temples – there is certain sense of tranquility when we are there to say our prayers and thanks to Him. There is a sense of positive energy once you have entered the temple grounds. The thing is, being a 21st century devotee, I hate the lack of parking at temple compound (which leaves many to park their car haphazardly by the road side and sometimes find broken into) and sometimes the over-killed “time procedures” and elaborate ceremonies.

These are obviously added up (perhaps over past centuries) so that the temples can make more money through the various charges & services and also to bring in the crowd. Well, I don’t blame them – with too many temples in the same vicinity fighting for the same pool of devotees, they had to do something. Still remember the sudden appearance of the white snake in Puchong some years ago? This is why I sometimes opt to go to smaller, less crowded temples where one just walk in, buys the arachana slip and do the prayers and walk out without the need to wait long.

My wife was waiting for an answer, she knows that I hate going to the temples for the right reasons. I said “ok” in a low bass tone. Then as usual, later in the afternoon, I decided to take a quick nap and went to bed. I woke up at night, obviously missing the trip to the temple. It was certainly not a quick nap as I had intended it to be. My wife was not happy of course but this has become a routine in recent years, so it was nothing new to her. Besides, for me, the weekends is time to catch up on sleep, lazing around and playing with the kids and perhaps visiting relatives & shopping. Going to temples and spending hours there in sweat & frustration was never part of my weekend agenda.

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(Never let the religion man to do science work. The outcome will very likely to be unscientific. Image source: Facebook)

Let’s talk about temple priests as this too been a factor whether I want to go temples or not. I have come across a number of them over the years – some are simple & humble like the priest who went to India to do engineering and ended up learning on religion. He does things right and you can always have a friendly chat with him without the need to indulge in religion. And some are nothing but selfish, arrogant conman who say one thing and do another and insist everyone to do his way or else God Himself would be angry on those who had failed to abide (this causes some friction with some relatives as they would insist on us doing certain things just because some priests they know had told them so). These are same guys who will conduct the prayers on a touch and go basis and yet insist on payment on everything you touch. And I simply hate when the job is outsourced to priest’s inexperienced kids / relatives.

Others, well I am sure you would have heard of the famed “Swami Nithyananda” who takes advantage of the ignorance and blind faith. Now, having said that, there are also good ones and the bad ones at every corner and in every so-called mainstream religion. Once in a while, we will hear the worse of the worse such as this and this.

Let’s face it – not all priests are not holy man and not all holy man are priest. I know some who even wear a suit to work and lives a normal life and yet holds the highest level in integrity, conduct and a good knowledge of religion. They read a lot and they do debate the issues of religion and science (the bane of religious men and this leads to sometimes peculiar situations) in good manner and they readily accepts the evidence of science. They had never dismissed it outright as for them, God works in strange ways and science would be one of that way.

Over the years, temples (and the minions who run them) have become too commercialized. No, I am not talking about the usual donation and service charges that they imposes for prayers. That’s normal as everyone has overheads and even this is not enough (which is why temples must merge). I am referring to those who have gone to do the religion business on the concept of MLM.

That is why I rather go to a quiet corner of the house and say a silent prayer. I know that God speaks and understands many languages so I don’t necessary need a priest to translate into Sanskrit. And I am sure He did not mean prayers to be very complicated and for common people like you and me to reach HIM only through some complex ceremonies & mantras. Even better, I am very sure that just by thinking and doing the right things and without any malice is more than enough to score good karma than doing all things evil and then trying to bribe God by going to temple and doing elaborate ceremonies.

Think about it when you meet another holy man asking you to do things that does not make any sense…

Mixing Cows & Coconuts


Read these first:-

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(It does not matter if you are breaking it for fun or for a deep sense of devotion but it is high time we reconsider breaking up coconuts in insane numbers on public roads. Imagine driving your car over this minefield and you will understand why we need to reconsider this. God, I am sure, is happy with breaking of one coconut. It is the substance that counts and not the form. Image: http://www.demotix.com)

No one had say it better on why schools should not be used for slaughtering animals than Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim, the chairperson of Parent Action Group for Education Malaysia (PAGE) and it makes a lot of sense too:-

1. The school as a venue for animal slaughter is highly inappropriate as students become unwilling spectators whether or not they are invited to watch. While some may be able to stomach the procedure there will also be some who may be traumatised by even the cry of an animal before it is slaughtered. Children are sensitive lest we forget. Incidentally, religious officials continue to gently remind worshippers that the photographs of slaughters being taken at mosques and suraus are not to be indiscriminately publicised as it may induce trauma to the faint-hearted;

2. School grounds are ill-equipped for any type of slaughter in particular the drainage and sanitary system to ensure the proper extermination of blood, carcass, waste products and odour, which in turn if not adequately disposed of, may result in an unhygienic condition;

3. Also comes into question is the area where the animal is tied down which must be secure to ensure the safety of the students at all times as animals have been known to come loose, run free and hurt bystanders especially children who have slower reflexes than adults;

4. It is not necessarily an issue about religious sensitivities as even Muslim parents are enraged. However, it can be educational if students are prepared and willing to witness the slaughter of an animal in a proper manner best carried out at a licensed slaughter house where facilities are available to ensure a high standard of hygiene. A visit can be arranged to a slaughter house as a school activity instead; and

5. Principals by failing to communicate clearly with parents and students on the purpose of conducting such a practice without considering its cause and resulting effect of such an action in the first place allows matters to be thrown out of context.

(Source)

I have always maintained that schools should be used as a place of national unity and learning and not for anything else (namely politics and religion). On the latest issue above, well some may argues that it is nothing spectacular – slaughtering animals during festive seasons is nothing new. I am sure that everyone agrees that the issue at hand is not whether can slaughter cows or not (I have seen slaughtering of goats and chickens in some temples in a grander scale) or whether it has “offended” the non-Muslims. The issue at hand is whether it is right to be slaughtering animals in a school and whether it is the right thing to do during school hours. I am sure everyone agrees that there is a proper place and time for everything.

Is it right to expose young children to the cruelty of slaughtering a living animal and the “bloody” mess left thereafter? Is a school even designed to cater slaughtering of animals. Some years ago, some of my neighbors got together and organised similar slaughtering of animals. The only place available was the children’s playground. The problem was after the slaughtering and after the blood and the bits of carcass had spill over on the grass, it was not easy to clean (despite the best effort from the neighbors). For some days the smell alone was enough to keep kids from the playground (thankfully a couple days of heavy rain did the trick). But it was a lesson well learned – the open slaughtering stopped and these days, I guess the neighbors do it at a mosque where it was easier clean things up. Even if there is no other place suitable for slaughtering the cows, couldn’t this been done after school hours?

But having said that and since the issue was raised, it has kind of opened up the Pandora’s box or rather the question – what about other religion or cultural rites that may frighten small kids (like the pierced kavadi during Thaipusam) or may pose danger and unhygienic like the massive coconut breaking on public streets mainly during Thaipusam and open burning of those large incense sticks during Chinese festivals. While some of us may argue that is is not the same thing, we need to accept that it is a good question and it is something we should ponder seriously.

I am not sure if seeing anyone with pierced kavadis during Thaipusam is an issue as it is only done near to the temple (sometimes it is not only frightens small kids but also adults who are not used to seeing one) but they may have a good point there with the massive coconut breaking on public roads. But before that, here’s the reason why Hindus break coconut in case some of you are wondering – there are many version of the reason but the simplest would be this:-

Coconut represents the human head. The ego resides in the head. A tantric who has gained mastery over senses, literally cuts off his head as a sign of submission of ego. In Sathwik/Vedic mode of worship, coconut is used instead to depict the same. In either ways, the acts signify surrender of ego and submission to God’s will.

(Source)

Breaking the coconut is usually done within the compound of the temple and sometimes in front of the house (provided there is no cars parked in the vicinity) but doing the same on public road may need to be reconsidered. Yes they have been doing it for a long time now. Yes, it is a core part of the Hindu rites. Yes, it may not be related to the incident of slaughtering animals in schools. However does it makes any difference if we break one coconut in the temple and 100 coconuts on public streets as far as religion is concerned? I don’t think there is a difference. Other than an unnecessary waste of money, it poses unnecessary danger to road users – despite the pieces of coconut may get cleaned after the rites, there still may be some sharp pieces of the coconut shell that can cause serious damage to vehicles. Further, have you smelt coconut water after a few days left under the hot sun?

As I had said, there is a proper place and time for everything. No one is stopping you from breaking coconuts and no one is saying that you cannot break 1,000 coconuts but let’s confine to temples or house compounds. In the meantime, let’s focus on what is more important in schools – educating the future generation and making them the star of the country. Use the schools for the actual purpose it was built and pour all your time and energy for the same reasons. If we simply insist of doing what we want to do without any consideration to others, it is going to be a tough time in Malaysia for everyone.

Have a good Deepavali shopping this weekend…