What A Waste!


I found this gem from my journal where I used to write down my thoughts and, from time to time, events which took place in literary nonfiction form. This particular writing is taken back from December 2010 when I was 15. As you could probably tell, I was very emotionally affected by the events in the story. Some of the dialogus are written in Malay as exactly as I could recall them when I wrote this down hours later. I have neither changed the formatting nor edited the writing so please forgive my teenage imperfections. 

“I can’t believe it – it’s a real wastage of papers and ink!” I thought, as I saw Pak Cik Amin tearing off our paper signs and crumple them, ready to be thrown away. I don’t know if I have the courage to tell him so but I do know another way of reducing this wastage. I sprinted down the hall and very carefully, I pulled the paper off the wall and stripped off the tape. I managed to pull out quite a lot but I’m not fast enough – I had to run.

And so I ran upstairs to ‘rescue’ more signs… and that was when the Mak Cik, who was the head of the catering, called for me. “Dik, ni ada banyak makanan tak habis ni. Kalau nak, mari pek. Kalau tidak, makcik masuk tong sampah je ni.” I was stunned. I mean, throw all the tasty, food! How can you do such thing when there are thousands of poor people out there who couldn’t eat and would grab all these even if they were from the bin! How can even one think of throwing!

“Tapi makcik sayanglah kalau buang,” I stammered. I briefly closed my eyes to recover from the shock I had. “Em, macam ni, saya pergi tanya orang nanti saya datang balik.”
“Ok,” she said, “ Kita orang ada plastic dengan bekas nak bungkus semua ni tapi getah kita orang tak de tau. Cepat sikit ya. Kita semua ni nak balik dah. Kalau lambat nak buang je ni.”
I nodded. “Makcik tunggu ya, nanti saya datang. Saya janji.”

I ran downstairs, two steps at a time, and leapt down at the bottom of the stairs, skipping the last five steps. I felt pairs of eyes burning at me, accusing me of misbehaving, but I believe that manners and the perception of others could be ignored at a time like this. I found my dad packing in the conference secretarial room. “Abah, makcik caterer nak buang makanan tak habis. Dia kata kalau nak, pergi pek sekarang. So nak buat macam mana.”

My dad stood up and thought for a while. In the end he said, “Pergi cari Pakcik Burhan, suruh dia pergi berkira,” and he continued with his packing. I can’t blame him for not bothering. As the head secretary of MUAFAKAT, he has loads of things to do.
“Mana Pakcik Burhan?”
“Tadi ada dekat atas. Pergi cari.”

I ran for the stairs. On the way, I passed by the conference hall and decided to peak in. Nobody was there except for the two reporters from Utusan Malaysia and the TV crew from TV ALHIJRAH. I ran back up, two steps at a time and sprinted into the dining hall. He’s nowhere to be seen, I ran across the whole area of the 2nd floor until I came back to where I started. Presently, I found Pak Cik Amin tearing down more signs. I shook my head; I can’t be bothered just yet. Instead, I walked over to him to ask him a question.

“Pakcik Amin.”

No answer.

I walked closer and tried again, this time slightly louder. “Em, Pakcik Amin.”

He turned around, “Ya?”

“Pakcik Amin ada nampak Pakcik Burhan tak?”

He straightened up and thought, his eyes wondering far away. “Tadi Pakcik Amin makan dengan dia dekat dewan makan.”

“Aiman dah tengok dah tapi tak de.”

He wrinkled his eyebrows, “Ya ke? Oh… mungkin ada dalam bilik.”

“Aiman dah cari tapi tak ada.”

“Dalam dewan?”

“Pun takde”

He frowned and looked down to the floor. Then, he suddenly smiled and said, “Takpe lah. Adalah tu Pakcik Burhan pergi mana mana tu.” He then turned and went back to his paper tearing.

My brother came running with a few more crumpled signs. “Ni Pakcik Amin,” he announced and proudly handed him his ‘assignment’. A thought suddenly struck me. “It might work,” I thought and chased after Ali as he ran back to pull off more. “Ali, jangan koyak, ni semua waste kalau koyak sebab kertas ni boleh guna untuk lain kali.” Ali paled slightly. He hadn’t thought of it. As a boy who is very much concerned about the environment, he thoroughly understood what it means to waste, even if he is only seven. “Tapi Pakcik Amin yang suruh,” he said as he cast a guilty glance to Pakcik Amin.

“Tahu, tapi Ali tahu kan Ali tak boleh buat macam ni. Ali try save yang mana Ali boleh,” I suggested to him.

“Tapi Ali nak buat macam mana?” he asked me. Knowing how smart my little brother is, I knew that he’ll think of something himself. “Ali fikirlah, Kaman ada benda lain nak save.”

I left him standing solemnly with the paper sign in his hand. I went past the dining hall and the lady called for me again. “Cepat, dik. Kita nak balik dah ni!” I was already almost in tears. “Kejab, sekejab, please tunggu sekejab,” I pleaded to her and I ran back downstairs in the same manner as I had done before. This time, nobody bothers much. Everyone is just as busy at the moment, packing and rushing here and there. I found mum talking to Aunty Ram.

“Ma, makcik caterer nak buang makanan,” I almost yelled, words tumbling upon each other as they jumped out of my mouth. “Abah suruh cari Pakcik Burhan tapi dia takde. Nak buat macam mana ma. Diaorang nak balik dah. Kalau lambat they’ll just throw them away. Sayanglah. Mama, cepatlah.”

“Chop, chop, sabar. Nantikan mama pengsan dulu. Pening mama laju sangat.” Mum excused herself and walked up the stairs. I attempted to run but she stopped me from doing so. I thought we were wasting precious seconds.

Mum came up and met the woman. The woman told mum that there were a dozen packs of food, about 3 to 4 trays of kuehs, a whole tank of teh tarik and another of pengat pisang. “Tapi air dengan pengat tak boleh nak pek sebab kita tak de getah,” the woman said.

“Tak pe. First things first. Jom kita pek. Nanti akak pergi kutip lagi askar askar kat bawah,” mum replied.

“Em, ma?”

“Yes, Aiman?”

“Ju, Hana, Khadijah and Sham dah balik.”

Mum looked at me and sighed. “Alamak, kalau macam tu susahlah. Tak pe, mama pack dulu. Aiman go and look for your sisters and Abang Sha-din,” mum told me.

I giggled as I ran back downstairs. Sha-din isn’t his real name but his actual name (which we found out later was Syarafuddin) is just so long that the ‘sha’ and the ‘din’ parts were the only ones that mum managed to remember. We all climbed up the stairs and went into their pantry. The floor was really, really dirty and it has the icky-sticky feeling that the kitchen floor at my house never had. I had to walk on tiptoes and imagine that I was somewhere else. Mum gave out the tasks: Aeshah and Anisah were told to bring down the food and offer them to the people around the area while Abang Sha-din and I would pack the food. And so we worked out quite well until Abang Sha-din’s parents were looking for him. Anisah brought the message to him saying that they were about to leave. Abang Sha-din took a generous amount of food back with him when I told him that we are unable to distribute all of them.

So I was left packing alone. We ran out of plastic bags and I went out to fetch more. Upon reaching the serving table (where on it was a box of plastic bags), I saw my eager brother at the other side of the corridor, waiting as Pak Cik Amin pulled out the signs. Once he did so, Ali would snatch it, solemnly fold in the tape and waited for the next one. Pak Cik Amin looked curiously at Ali but he then smiled. I stifled a giggle. Although Ali is famous for his ingenious ideas, this one is really funny. Especially when you look at Ali’s serious expression and Pak Cik Amin’s confused look.

I brought back the box with me and continued packing – the sticky floor doesn’t bother me any longer. The boys (employees of the caterer) ridiculed at me when they see me frantically packing the food. I ignored them. They then tried to insult me by asking questions on the wacana. Thankfully, I could answer all of their questions, I believe, correctly. They stopped their ridiculous behaviour after I answered them straight without showing signs of anger or despair. The lady pitied me and helped me packing after she’s done with her job, scolding the boys and told them to behave.

“Nak tak pengat ni?” one of the boys asked me. “Nak, tapi tak ada getah nak ikat.” I answered.

“Ha? Tak nak?”

“Dia kata tak ada getah. Dah, pergi buat kerja kamu tu.” The lady said angrily to the grinning boy.

“Okay! Jom buang!” yelled the boy and the others cheered. I closed my eyes when I saw them tipping the large tank of pengat. I just don’t want to see this. I prayed that I’m not a part of the crime. How can you laugh while throwing food? How would you feel if you throw a tank of edible stuff? Certainly you won’t laugh! What about your obligations to Allah? Oh, and they’re all Muslims, mind you.

I inhaled slowly and realized that my body is shaking from anger. I believe that had they acted out just once more, it would set my already boiling temper ablaze. This is REAL crime killing THOUSANDS of people who die from starvation and malnutrition. You could save many with that tank of food and they did what?

I opened my eyes and looked down at my unfinished job. Right now, this is my work and I must concentrate. I thanked Allah for allowing me to save most of the food. At least these won’t go down the drain, Insya Allah.

Show Your Support To The Sovereignty of Our Country


Seperti buah padi, makin berisi makin rendah; jangan seperti lalang, makin lama makin tinggi

A common problem faced by developing countries is getting their ‘developed’ peers to respect their sovereignty. Indeed, our forefathers have long warned us against arrogance and imperiousness in the Malay saying quoted above. Technologically advanced and developed countries tend to belittle the significance and importance of their less developed counterparts, perhaps unconciously believing that their success in managing their own people earn them the rights to rule (or guide, as they say) the helpless.

Although countries worldwide need to establish good, well rounded relationships with each other, like in interpersonal friendship, there is a limit to how far we could intervene in another country’s decision making. When one party tries to force their domination over the others, whether their intents were based on malice or goodwill, it could easily escalate to bullying.

The generally accepted standards of the world set by international bodies such as the United Nations are very majorly those of their founders; the developed Western countries. Just as they want us to accept their norms in our own places, they first need to realise that we too have the sovereignty over our own country. Just as they wish to decide for themselves on what is going on in their grounds, we too have our own vision for our future.

In the latest case of Anwar Ibrahim’s imprisonment for sodomy, in an unpatriotic and disrespectful act against the country that gave them food, shelter and support, Anwar’s supporters are trying to lobby foreign powers to force the Malaysian government to release their idol both publicly and privately. Under the various claims from ‘political imprisonment’ to ‘archaic laws’, they are calling for the intervention of foreign powers into Malaysia’s internal affairs.

As no humans are flawless, it is possible for developed countries to take their power for granted and unintentionally fall into the trap of bullying their developing counterparts. Let us all remind them that while it seems more imposing to force their will onto other rightful countries, they would likely to be more respected if they first learn to respect the sovereignty of other countries.

To all Malaysian, let us all show our support to the sovereignty of our own country and that no foreign bodies have the right to impose their wills over us. Sign the petition here!

Picture credits to Ahmad Ali Jetplane

When The Confused Man Speaks…


One of the most overlooked responsibilities of Muslim leaders is that they are answerable for the faith and beliefs of the Muslims that they lead and as well as the position and dignity of Islam. It is especially so for Malaysia, whose Federal Constitution has stated that Islam is the religion of the federation (NOT the official religion).

This is the fact that Dr. Reza Aslan, a confused outsider with a skewed idea of how Islam should be, but claimed himself as a theology expert could never understand.

From The Malaysian Insider:

Putrajaya is setting itself up as a “parent” rather than an elected government, in banning the use of the word Allah among non-Muslims and dictating how Malaysian Muslims should practise their faith, prominent Iranian-American theologian Reza Aslan said.

In October, the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) said that Malaysia as a nation “officially” adhered to the Shafie school of thought, in response to the backlash over the “I want to touch a dog” event which proved popular among Muslims.

(read the rest here: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/putrajaya-should-not-dictate-muslims-beliefs-says-reza-aslan)

It is also interesting how Dr. Aslan blamed the Putrajaya for the Allah issue when the Head of the Religion of Islam is in fact the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong. By pointing his finger at Putrajaya instead of Jakim alone, it is safe to assume that either Dr. Aslan or The Malaysian Insider or both of them, were politically biased (not that it’s a big surprise).

Please take notice the words coloured in red where The Malaysian Insider wrote, “…in banning the use of the word Allah among non-Muslims…”. That statement is incorrect. The word Allah is not banned from use among non-Muslims but instead they are banned from referring Allah to anything but the Muslim God alone.

The article also mentioned:

He said that centralised religious authorities should not exist in countries that profess to adhere to Islam, adding that such a practise was akin to usurping the authority of the Prophet Muhammad.

“Islam allows me to follow any mufti that I please. We don’t have a pope, we don’t have a bishop who tells us what we can do.

“The very notion that a group of old men gets to decide for me or for you what is the proper interpretation of my faith, that goes against the very fabric and nature of Islam,” Reza told The Malaysian Insider in a phone interview.

“Anyone who tells you there is only one version of Islamic behaviour or ideology or morality is speaking out of pure ignorance,” said Reza.

As you can see from his statement above, it is obvious that his views are that of a liberal and of a person who seems to be so egotistic to believe that only he knows what Islam really is. He is apparently ignorant of the fact that the Muslims in Malaysia are Sunni Muslims;”people of the tradition of the Prophet Muhammad and the consensus of the Ummah”, meaning that we follow a consensus and not make up our own rules as he did.

And atop of that, he declared in another interview that Islam is simply nothing but a man made institution.

See 19:42 of the video:

Islam is a man-made institution. It’s a set of symbols and metaphors that provides a language for which to express what is inexpressible, and that is faith. It’s symbols and metaphors that I prefer, but it’s not more right or more wrong than any other symbols and metaphors. It’s a language, that’s all it is.

Also, at 05:14 of the video, he said:

Somehow Harris is a better expert at what Islam is or means than the 1.6 billion Muslims in the world.

When (Sam) Harris shares his imaginary idea of Islam, Dr. Reza says that this one person is better than “the 1.6 billion Muslims in the world”; but when commenting about the Islamic authorities of Malaysia; he argues how the minority voice can claim that they are right. Remember what he said earlier in The Malaysian Insider article?

and then you tell me that 99.9% of Muslims who don’t think what you think, who don’t feel what you feel, are not Muslims. That only you and your version is the correct one.

If he does not believe that his version of Islam is the correct one, he would not enforce its principles now, would he?

This is not the first time Reza Aslan has shared (or forced) his opinions on Islamic matters in Malaysia, especially on the Kalimah Allah issue despite he believes that Islam could be interpreted as any way a person wishes to. And as before, his statements had been very self contradicting as well as embodying the voice of a liberal Muslim.

I wonder what is the opposition media ‘The Malaysian’s Insider’s motive in featuring such an ‘expert’? This certainly says a lot about the supporters of the oppositions’ stances on the principles of Islam.

NaPoWriMo Poem #11: Why?


Today I decided to use the NaPoWriMo’s daily prompt: Twenty questions.

Why must it rain to make a brilliant rainbow?
Why must animals eat others to help them to grow?
Why must there be heat for birds to fly high?
Why must eyes be wet before they could dry?

Why do creatures evolve to adapt after time?
Why do freshly cleaned hands get dirty with grime?
Why do cells regenerate before they die?
Why do joys make us smile, with sorrow we cry?

Why is there a silver lining under each cloud?
Why could some see the sun behind the fog and shroud?
Why couldn’t disasters stop the birds from singing?
Appearance can be blinding, reach behind them and think.

NaPoWriMo #8: Lick-a-Stick!


Today, I decided to use the NaPoWriMo prompt of the day: “to write your own advertisement-poem”.

Lick-a-stick! We’ve got lick-a-stick!
All of the colours for you to pick!
A strawberry red,
Or orange instead,
Come and buy your lick-a-stick!

Natural colourings, flavourings too,
An ice lolly that’s good for you,
Made of fresh juice,
For a healthy boost,
It’s almost too good to be true!