Today, I met Uncle Awang Goneng at the Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM). Awang Goneng (a.k.a. Wan A. Hulaimi) grew up in Terengganu but later on moved to London, a place so far away from his homeland. His beautiful book ‘Growing Up In Trengganu’ (originated from his blog –http://kecek-kecek.blogspot.com) was written to share with everyone about the life in Terengganu in the 60’s.
I attended ‘The Writing Mind’ workshop where Uncle Awang Goneng taught us some tips on writing. One of them which sticks in my mind was to increase your vocabulary skills – or in other words, never be afraid of using a dictionary. It reminds me of Prof. Muhammad Al-Mahdi’s ‘favourite assignment’. He would tell my classmates and I to make a list of 20 hard words and remember all 60 words, it’s spelling and definitions. To make sure we memorised each of them, we shall have to take a test at the end of the week.
Uncle Awang Goneng also taught us to read aloud what we have written after finishing a piece of work. It helps us to correct unnoticeable small mistakes. This was also taught by Prof. Muhammad and since then, I made a huge improvement in my writing class.
Last weekend a son of my parents’ good friends was attacked by unknown men near a restaurant in Petaling Jaya. He and his friends were walking out of the restaurant and heading towards their car when suddenly they were confronted by a group of men demanding for his laptop. He declined to give in and in the attempt to snatch the laptop, the attacker slashed the victim’s hands using a ‘parang’ (a long, sharp and heavy knife; similar to machete). One of his hands was badly hurt and he almost lost three of his fingers. As the result of the severe cut, the doctors warned that he may not be able to use the fingers as before.
What happened to the once a very safe Kuala Lumpur? Not only we are facing an alarming numbers of criminal cases; the criminals are getting more and more daring. It is terrifying to see crimes happening all around us even in open crowded places and in bright day light (refer to ‘Crimes and More Crimes’).
Allahyarham Prof Muhammad Al-Mahdi (the founder of Khalifah Institute) who spent many, many years studying social problems in Malaysia and in a few other countries used to warn me about all these problems. Having the opportunity to be one of his students, I learn to be more sensitive about social problems.
One may ask why must we cry out loud over a small crime? As Prof Muhammad Al-Mahdi said every single crime no matter how small it is should be taken seriously for if we just ignore it, the criminals will commit ‘bigger’ crimes in the future. So, instead of regarding it as ‘just another incidence’ we should regard it as ‘not another incidence!’
Where had we gone wrong? Our citizens are supposed to be more educated and knowledgeable than they were just 20 years ago but why are we facing all these problem? Look at Japan, the United States of America and Singapore, crime do happen but not as alarming as in Kuala Lumpur. Stern actions has to be taken immediately to curb these problems before they get even worse. I hate to think of the day when everybody has to carry a weapon themselves every time they go out in order to protect themselves.
We need to understand the core of the problems in order to find effective solutions to curb crime. Material achievements seems to be too important to us that we sometimes ignore the importance of spiritual achievements and humanity. We ignore all the important values of religions and humanity for money and power. We are even destroying our Earth by over polluting and over developing the hills and mountains. If only we can make ourselves good, help others be good and make the physical world good, clean and beautiful – we may be able to make Kuala Lumpur a safer and better place to live in (refer to ‘Our Solution To A Better Future‘)
My little brother Ahmad Ali loves watching advertisements on television. Well, not only did he watched them but he also tried to understand them.
One day he told us that he was puzzled over one advertisement. The advertisement shows a boy (who was supposed to be smart) came home from school and when asked by his mum about what did he learnt in school he started counting from 1 – 8.
My little brother argued that it is very funny that a smart ‘big’ boy had just learnt counting from 1 – 8 in school when he should have learnt them when he was two years old.
The other day our father’s friend Pak Cik Saidi offered him some cookies (that he knew Ahmad Ali loves). So Pak Cik Saidi was puzzled when my brother refused the cookies. When asked, Ahmad Ali said that he still loves the cookies but he do not want to eat them because they are ‘not good’.
He then explained that in the advertisement a pair of siblings who wanted more cookies stole their father’s cookies. They even replaced the cookies (that they stole) with play dough cookies! He stressed that those are bad values and he won’t want to be like them (by eating those cookies).
There are a number of other advertisements that he used to complain about. These included advertisements featuring kids fighting over the advertised items and also an advertisement showing a pair of siblings fighting over a game of Play Station. Fighting is bad value and Play Station is empty fun (which is also bad).
It makes me wonder that if a little boy could be able to value things; why did the adults who ‘create’ the advertisements can’t? My little brother once said that it is okay for him because he knows that junk food and lollipops are bad but what about the other kids who had not known about it? And what about the ‘cheating’, ‘stealing’ and practical jokes (by kids on adults) that been featured freely in advertisements? I’m really proud of my little brother; he may has his ‘angin’ sometimes but he is a wonderful boy!
Note: Allahyarham Prof Muhammad Al-Mahdi (the founder of Khalifah Institute) really loved and was very close to my brother and until the last day of his life, Prof Muhammad kept on reminding him about the good values, Khalifah responsibilities and on being a good Muslim. Ahmad Ali who was 3 when Prof passed away really miss him until today.