February 2005 Archives

Our past

Debra said to Raymond tonight, "My past made me what i am today."

Perhaps women are wiser than men.

I think its quite common for people to get hung up over their partner's previous relationships. Raymond was so distressed that the house was full of little gifts Debra's ex-boyriends had given her. He wanted her to throw all those gifts away. Why should he feel insecure? Its so silly. Debra loves him and married him and had children with him. And still he's jealous.

What Raymond needs to understand is that memories are important to all of us. Our memories, our experiences shape us -- if we are good people today, its partly due to because we had good memories yesterday.

No, i modify my statement. I think women are wiser than men.

Nafs and Akal

I was told that a man has 1 nafs, and 9 akal. A woman has 9 nafs, and 1 akal.

What does that mean?

Every friday

I wonder why it is that Malay women seem to wear their baju kurungs/baju kebayas/etc on Fridays -- and not on any other day?

A woman wooing her man

We all know the things men will do to woo women: the candlelit dinners, the special outings to things like the MPO, the little trinkets and lovely baubles, the thoughtful phone calls, the supportive advice. The list is a long one, the variables almost endless.

But what do women do to woo men? I was thinking about this as i drove home from work today, and the search for an answer was pretty absorbing.

Some women buy their man little gifts -- that handsome shirt, or that new little gadget. Some women pay attention to her man's needs -- his favourite foods (she'll cook them for him), watch the tv shows he likes with him, attentively listen to his every word. Some women think that they are their gift to men -- they dress provocatively, they offer those ever-so-light touches and brushes. Some women don't bother to do anything (which i find really strange, but it does happen); they have great difficulty (for any number of reasons) in showing affection or care. Or, perhaps, they feel it beneath them to have to do the wooing. On the other hand, some women seem to do too much and smother their men with love.

Which type are you? (if you're a woman) Why are you like that?

Which type do you prefer (if you're a man) Why are you like that?

What to do about Iran?

I think President Bush had another one of his "moments" when he said:

"This notion that the United States is getting ready to attack Iran is simply ridiculous. Having said that, all options are on the table."

So, what he's telling the world is that eventhough attacking Iran is a "ridiculous notion", its still something something the Government is considering. I think the American public will be glad to know that their leaders are using taxpayers' money to ponder over "ridiculous notions".

Having said that, i think its only a matter of time before nuclear weapon facilities in Iran "mysteriously" blow up. Another example of might makes right; realpolitik in action.


Our motives are our own. But followed on the back of significant events, you can be assured these motives will be examined closely.

Mediha Mahmood, the non-feminist-feminist

Strangely, i found great, great comfort reading this.

I want my daughter (should God bless me with a daughter one day) to grow up just like her.


What do you say about a man who walks a mile barefoot so that his girlfriend doesn't have to?

The Phoenix Islam

I've written quite a bit on Islam, its relevance and perspective, in recent times.

Refer to "A Take on Islam", "Is it UnIslamic?", "Bye-bye Morality Police?", and "Overzealous Muslims".

A good article from Jeff Ooi was published today on the matter, and i think it does sum things up quite well. Malaysia is a Muslim country, and Islam, and religion are central topics constantly revisited. Perhaps its a good thing that we spend so much time talking about it, and its even more reassuring that the conclusions we Muslims come up with are generally pointed in the right direction. But, they've been pointing in the right direction for many years, ever since my days in UIA -- if we already have the right answers, why do we still seem so lost?

Syed Nazri of the NST speaks of how Muslims of Malaysia are divided. Sadly, he's right. We've got people like the Quran-thumping JAWI on one hand, and, as TV Smith eloquently puts it, the "Malay scotch and bourbon aficionados" on the other extreme. And a third group exists: people like me, what i would call, the "middle-road Muslims".

Its a serious problem this is. Intra-religious divisions have never been good for the overall cause of the religious civilization. At its worse, it can lead to massive schisms such as the one that exists between the Protestant and Catholic churches. Often, it can lead to the form of "cold war" Muslims have experienced between the Sunnis and Shiites.

Further reading: What is a "cold-war"? from Wikipedia

If i may be so bold, a version of that "cold war" exists right here in Malaysia. As Jeff pointed out, the battle lines are clearly visible even in the highest echelons of Government (e.g. the PM says one thing, but a Minister in his own department contradicts him). The infamous Zouk raid was perhaps the most visible clash of the war in recent memory.

The tenets of war are easy to identify.

(a) Fear
(b) Resentment
(c) Anger
(d) Casualties

For anyone who doubts that Muslims in Malaysia are currently in the throes of a intra-religious "cold war", take a moment to think about it. All four principles above apply to us. There is a lot of fear going around, a lot of resentment of both sides, the anger is obvious, and the Muslim ladies mistreated by JAWI officers during the Zouk raid are just one example of the casualties that have been inflicted.

Until and unless Muslims in Malaysia find some middle ground, and manage to call a truce, i think we can all certainly forget about "reviving the great Muslim civilization" in our country.

Ray from Amazon

A couple of CDs from Amazon arrived for me yesterday:

1. Ray! (OST)
2. Ray Charles -- Genius Loves Company
3. Dire Straits -- Dire Straits (their first album)

Of the three, the second, Genius Loves Company, is a remarkable album. A combination of songs for every mood, i think i shocked the LRT-riding public when i screamed "Fever!" in time with Mr Ray Charles. Punctuated with the Straits' infectious "Sultans of Swing", i don't think my iPod has been happier for quite some time.

Extremely highly recommended for lovers of the blues/R&B/jazz -- Ray did pretty well in the Grammy's recently. Its sad that he passed away before he could collect the Grammy's himself.

Rich poor man

Does the size of a man's bank account matter to a woman looking for a mate?

Are rich men luckier men?

Does the power of wealth attract?

I put to you, that it does.

List of Logical Fallacies

Want to argue effectively? Want to be able to recognize a flawed argument?

Then this is ABSOLUTELY required reading.

I hate to say it, but many Malaysians, myself included, have almost no clue how to spot problems in the arguments of others or in their own arguments.

A problem in our education system perhaps? In the US, high school students have to take a couple of public speaking classes, which include elements of critical thinking and the ability to spot logical fallacies. Its the same in the UK. Imagine, these kids are taught how to make logically sound arguments and how to detect flawed ones. In Malaysia, many adults still don't know how. The Malaysian system of education seems to focus more on the accumulation of knowledge and information, and rather less on teaching us how to think critically.

Here's a challenge: take some time, maybe an hour or so, to read through and understand the link above. Then pick up any local newspaper and go through it, paying special attention to reports on things our elected officials have said in the news. You'll be surprised at how illogical some of their statements now seem.

Inter-racial couple

Over the years, i've noticed a strange thing about our Malaysian society: people stare at me and my girlfriend when we're out in public.

No, i'm not imagining it -- its happened often enough when i've actually caught people staring. When i stare back, they quickly shift their gaze away.

I've come up with a theory why people stare. Its because i look Chinese (eventhough, i'm technically a Malay) and my girlfriend is a Malay (and looks like one too).

I hope my theory is wrong. Surely, we Malaysians can't be that shallow?

I asked my parents about their experiences when they were young. Apparently, society was much more accepting of mix-race couples back then than it is now. In fact, according to them and others of their generation (who were young in the late 60s and 70s), the Malaysian society as a whole was generally much more liberal back then in thought and action than it is now.

I wonder what changed us.

SUGGESTED READING: Frontline: Multiracial/Interracial Relationships

A take on Islam

It seems my earlier posting has got a few people thinking. Good.

The Volume of Interaction's first ever posting was about my Chinese grandmother's death and the question that her passing made me ask myself, and my faith. I had to ask, "Where do all the angels go?"

The answer, my answer, gives me hope.

For all the muftis, ulamas, and learned muslims -- Islam seems to be such a clear cut of black and white. It is either this or that; a very Bush-ism outlook on life and the afterlife. You're either with Us or against Us. There is a certain comfort in that, i understand. A certain security in belief. For many, that's all there is and i'll be last to begrudge them that.

But not for me. And, perhaps for many others too such as Mack Zulkifli. For us, religion can't be just about black or white.

Personally, religion is my guide. I turn to it for comfort. I look to it when no other answers exist. At the end of the day, it means much, much more to me than what, how, where and to whom i extend a polite greeting of celebration and friendship.

If you knew me, or if you were even in my shoes for a moment, then you would understand how much i need my understanding of the faith to be compassionate and merciful. Angels are all around us, amongst us, and they all go to the same place.

A Happy Chinese New Year to myself, and all. A wish of grace for Awwal Muharram to myself, and all.

AppleStore of the Future!

This is brilliant! (in a hilarious sorta way)

The AppleStore of the Future!

Another funny here. Goodle News!

Cuban Irony!

Cuba is perhaps most well known for its cigars (though its top export is actually sugar cane). Cuban tobacco has a distinct flavour that is absolutely unique, a delicate balance that is unmatched by any other cigar producing nation; a Cuban cigar is smoking nirvana.

Given its reputation, its ironic that Cuba has banned smoking in public places. Is Castro trying to cut down domestic consumption so that they will have more cigars available for export? :)

UnAmerican Iraq?

What happens if a government not friendly to the interests of the US gets DEMOCRACTICALLY elected in Iraq? Looking at the current trends, this is very possible. Iraq's next democratically elected government could very well be based on a conservative (e.g. they don't believe that men and women are accorded equal rights in the Quran) Shiite foundation.

What will the Americans say then? Where then "democracy"?


The most enduring, consistent beauty of a woman are her eyes.

All things else will fade and age. But her eyes will not.

Is it unIslamic??

I overheard this today.

A Muslim colleague said to a Chinese colleague, "I can't wish you a Happy Chinese New Year because its unIslamic to do so."

My Chinese colleague just smiled.

Hearing this exchange, really, really upset me. Un-ISLAMIC?? OH, COME ON!!!!!

Ross & Rachel

I watched one of the better episodes of Friends tonight: Ross gives up his chance to appear on the Discovery Channel (a really big deal for him) to look after Rachel's injury. He doesn't tell her about his other appointment and selflessly cancels it without telling her to be with her.

The look on her face when she finds out in the end, that was simply priceless.

Love is about sacrifice, and there is no doubt, Ross loves Rachel.

Funny the things you can learn on TV.

Loan dodgers

This post could otherwise be known as "Ungrateful Bumiputeras".

I spoke to an old friend of mine yesterday; she was having problems with "loan dodgers": people who had accepted student scholarships from her organization (a very big company, the pride of the nation some would say) were refusing to honour the contracts they had signed when receiving their scholarships.

The rules were simple. Take the scholarship and agree to work for X number of years with the organization upon completion of studies. Or, pay the organization compensation to be released from the terms of the contract.

All the people my friend called had agreed to the terms, and signed the contract. In return, they were well looked after during their studies overseas and locally; apparently, money and scholastic support were never a problem -- both were received in buckets.

They certainly didn't have to sign the contract. No one put a gun to their head asking them to agree. Without exception, each of them were brilliant students -- they could have secured other forms of financing for their studies if they really wanted to. But the point is, they agreed, and they signed.

And today, many of them are refusing to honour their contract. They refuse to work for the organization who paid for their education (perhaps, its because of the organization's low wage structure?), and they baulk at paying the compensation which figures in at RM500k-700k per person. And, on top of everything, they were rude to my friend when she called them, representing her organization, to seek an answer over this issue.

These people are now about my age, 28-29 years old. Smart people, well educated, and without exception, working professionals. It really peeves me off that they have taken advantage of the privilege given to them, and are now refusing to pay their dues. Nearly all of them are bumiputeras; the education fund set up by this organization was meant to help bumis, primarily.

Undoubtedly, legal action will be brought to bear. But that will only lead to more costs and time wasted. It really shouldn't have to come to that. These bunch of people are ungrateful little ingrates. Honour your word, or don't give it out at all. We are only as good as our word, after all. Perhaps, that makes these people good for nothing.


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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from February 2005 listed from newest to oldest.

January 2005 is the previous archive.

March 2005 is the next archive.

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