Friday, October 31, 2008

MM,KT & KJ.

The news today(Friday, 31st. Oct) seems to be that the UMNO GA remains at March '09. If so, that spells trouble.

5 months are forever in UMNO politics. If you people haven't seen money-politics, then just watch the UMNO Youth elections and hang on to your hats.

The real fight is between MM and KJ. You can call it the battle of the proxies. KT is the one who has been spending the most, according to many observers. But the ex-MB is probably in a different league.

KJ's F.I.L. made the fatal mistake of taking on MM Sr. He underestimated the old man's influence and overestimated his own intelligence (both the advice and congenital varieties).

You must remember that KJ is the No. 2, while MM is an ordinary exco in the Pemuda. In the last 4 years KJ spoke like a stand-in for the PM, making pronouncements on everything that should have come from Hishamuddin. Remember, until the 12GE KJ wasn't even in the Government.

KJ's nominations equal KT's and are only about 20 less than MM. But don't be fooled by these. Many Pemuda leaders are beholden to KJ. By the buying of votes, discreet or otherwise, the Divisional people are embarassed into nominating their benefector. The secret votes in the real elections will be different.

This is a thinking man's election.

If you think KJ is the right one, KJ wins. If you think MM is the one, he wins.

The truth of the matter is, whoever wins will become the next President of the Party.
Members will be best advised to scrutinise these 2 fellars - what they say, what they do, and how they conduct themselves on and off camera. What they have said, what they have done, and how they have conducted themselves are well known, and merit serious consideration.

We all must condemn money politics simply because it produces corrupt leaders. Perhaps the kampong delegates can put a twist to it. Take the money, but vote for right person.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Kafe Batu Keras.

How stupid of me.

It wasn't until I reached home that it struck me - bloody hell ! It's Hard Rock Cafe !

My "biras" (brother-in-law lah) asked to join him and his wife for lunch at a "new place" in Seremban 2. It was only 12 noon, and I had just returned from the golf club, and having had some mee goring after 9 holes of golf wasn't particularly hungry. But I agreed anyway.

It was surprisingly hidden in a wooded part of the new township, a spot one could not have seen from the roads crisscrossing around the area. The quaint thatched roof and open-walled atmosphere was a pleasant sight. It reminded me immediately of "Auntie Annie's Cafe" in old Nilai, similiarly tucked away and inconspicuous from the road. There at the entrance was "Kafe Batu Keras" - rather uncommon, I thought.

Because we were early, the Malay cusine spread out in silver dishes buffet-style was still nice and warm. We were told the lunch crowd normally comes at 1.15, which we later saw did. The food was nice and authentic. Just like Auntie Annie's. Auntie Annie's isn't overly expensive. I don't know how much our lunch cost, because my biras insisted he should, and did pay. That was a surprise, because in the past I'd always paid.

The other surprise was the proprietor.

The last time I saw her was in 1999, in Kuala Pilah. She was the Ketua Wanita for her Cawangan, but worked with her brother in KL selling superbikes.

As I walked into the restaurant's compound, a woman in apron walked out of the outdoor kitchen building and greeted me. She surprised me totally. I remember the face immediately, but could not recall the name at once, but we exchanged greetings warmly. Apparently she started selling imported lava-rock garden/home decorations and bamboo furniture about a year ago, and a few months later obtained a license to operate the cafe. When I made the comparison with Auntie Annie's she said she knows the place.

Then as I walked into the roofed dining area with my biras before ordering luch, I remembered her name.

When we drove home in my biras' car, I remembered Ita (that's her name) and her urbane taste and then it struck me. Of course, it's Hard Rock Cafe !

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Of dogs, dogma and the dog-house.

Dog-gone it ! Dollah is still at it, putting old man Mahathir in the dog-house ! For the old fox(another canine), the repeated bitter lesson has always been "letting the dog out of the trap"- doing a good deed to an ungrateful person.

We hear yesterday in Sabah Dollah lashed out at his former discarded mentor. Of course Dollah's kennel of running dogs were quick to bark. But as all of Malaysia knows, these are "anjings antah beras"(stray dogs) whose bark are worse than their bite. They are no better than the fleas in their dog-patch hides that will jump off the moment the host-dog dies.

Dollah hit out at two guys, actually - his dogged antagonist Mahathir and Muhyiddin, the new-found critic.

On bad ol' Mahathir, Dollah was furious that the old fellow is apparently giving directives to the UMNO members in the on-going party elections. I thought that was barking up the wrong tree. I myself offer "directives" to my UMNO friends. Dollah should direct his anger at the members for following Mahathir's "directives". The funny thing is Dollah himself has fallen victim to the months-long cry to "fold up his mat." This year, or in March, whatever, he's history. Every dog has his day. Dollah's day is gone. As the UMNO members in Kuala Pilah say, Dollah is already "tegolek dog !" - dead.

That Dollah is pissed at Muhyidden, everyone also knows now. Muhyiddin was the highest ranking Supreme Council Member to publicly call for the early transition of power. In fact he was the only Member with enough balls to convey this message from the "grass roots". Now everyone also knows Dollah called Zahid Hamidi in Mekah to contest the Deputy Presidency, just to spite, and if possible beat Muhyiddin. Ali Rustam came into the picture because he thought if Zahid, his party junior, can do that, then why couldn't he ? Najib told Zahid what is what, so the ex-Anwar Ibrahim call-boy pulled a long face and swallowed his pride and backed down. I wonder why Najib didn't talk to Ali Rustam. So in Sabah Dollah lashed at Muhyiddin for bringing up the need to shorten the campaigning period to avoid uncontrolled money-politics. Dollah said why keep changing his stand, when the Supreme Council already agreed to the March handover ? Why indeed. Dollah wasn't impartial to his own dog-brand of flip-flopping in his short-lived, short-sighted stay in power, though they were quite different flip-flops. And how was that agreed to by the Council when only Dollah and Najib discussed it ?

Former Top-Dog KJ (the S.I.L.) now says he's the underdog. That's a quick switch. As some said, this statement is just another transparent ploy by an otherwise less-than-transparent corporate thief. All I can say to KJ is, this is a dog-eat-dog world, my boy. I'm sure he'll get enough nominations to contest, so we'll see the outcome. If F.I.L. resist all demands for early elections, KJ should have enough grease to squirt around to curry favour. They'll gladly accept it. But will it buy their votes ?

Lame-horse Dollah should follow Mahathir's unsolicited advice - just go quietly. Nobody listened to you when in power, less will do that when you're virtually out of power. Nothing approaching the anger that you spit out at the ol' man will make any difference to him, or to the march of events. It'll be like "the dog barking at the hill" - futile.

UMNO is not so "dogmatic" that useless rules and code of conduct cannot be scrapped so that it can reinvent itself. The rank-and-file must accept past mistakes and make immediate amends for the dog-fight looking at them in their faces. It's dog-day afternoon for UMNO, to do something now or perish.

I can pen ( or post ) a "doggerel" now to paint a picture of dismay that clouds UMNO's state of dysfunction at the moment, but the sad story has been told and retold these six months in many a dog-eared tale of despair. The way to a resurgent UMNO is within sight of its true leaders. If the party is to play its rightful role, as it has in the last fifty years, and again lead in the next fifty, then its members must make the right choice of these leaders right here and right now. Anything short of the correct choice will surely make UMNO a mangy cur, loping away, tongue hanging out, tail between its legs. If it doesn't change, it'll be "ten junks at anchor, the dog is still wearing its tail" - a Malay saying meaning inability to change will bring no good to anyone.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The second week.

We're well into the second week of the UMNO divisional elections, and there are some movements already.

The "pro-old camp" still has its hand on the mike, as it were. The "pro-new camp" is no less assertive, especially after scoring the biggest point so far, so much so some divisional meetings are already being referred to the HQ. There used to be a Monitoring Committee at the State Liason level, but that doesn't exist now, apparently. The key word is "grassroots". How much and how long this currently popular word would be banged around remains to be seen.

The spin doctors are still at it, apparently. The psy-war on "underdogs" and "toothless lions" are some of the animal-kingdom characters being pulled out from the heap pile of battles of old. And they might still carry effect yet. The sms and blogs are having a field day. So its still the snake oil peddlar making his rounds.

I met a member of the Disciplinary Committee recently and plainly told him that if that Committee isn't blind and deaf then it should know that the Mother of All Money Politics is about to happen simply because the President has unconsitutionally delayed the General Assembly to March next year. After the completion of the divisional meetings next month, everybody running for anything would have more than 100 days to pick up all the 2000 plus delegates and ply him/her up with all the goodies to gain their favour. I said the Disciplinary Committee can preempt this and recommend to the Supreme Council to hold the GA this year.

Muhyiddin has already openly given his objection to the March delay. Others should support him, and the sooner the better. If Najib speaks for it now, the President is bound to agree, but the whole Supreme Council should hitch their balls( and girdles) and shout "aye".

In a playout of the Malay sandiwara, those with little chance of winning should know it already and should graciously withdraw and throw their support behind the more likely candidates. For some it's a question of proper ascension. For others it's a question of timing. For one in particular, it's a question of learning "to sit before stretching the legs". Just try it. You'll bang your backside on the hard cement !

My unsolicited comment at this juncture is: give fair representation to geography, Religious background, business acumen, experience and proven appetite for change; but give no place for family-grouping, business ties, inconsistent performance and dubious loyalty to the movement. That's probably asking for the moon. But UMNO must get its act together, now, or play out its final scene before the curtain falls.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The UMNO races heat up.

To-day, Tuesday 14th. October, is a lull in the gathering storm of the UMNO races for 2008, after the delayed start on Friday. It's too soon to tell, but already the troops are itching for action. The early salvos are from two old men who are not even in the contest, in contrasting styles.

One is wily; and the other wimpy.

One is angry at being dismissed; the other fails to see the need to be.

One claims not to care about what history would think of him; the other seems not to care, period.

One stepped down even as he said his job wasn't done after 22 years; the other is stepping down, he claims, after finishing it in 5 months time.

The contestents ,on their part, are nervously putting up their fingers to test the wind. Doubtless many of those fingers will be burnt.

Let's start with the "jokers".

Chief among them must be this out-of-the-blue chap who used to pass his name card around that carried his grandfather's name, "Rahmat". That was the first time I've seen a Malay guy doing that. I suppose, this being his first venture at making a name for himself at that early stage, carrying the name "bin Mohamad Rahmat" would lend quick recognition. Looking at his latest antics, I don't think he has matured much since. I feel sorry for the division that elected him as its "Ketua".

This is where" bin Mohamad Rahmat" could learn from his fellow jokers contesting against Muhyiddin for the Deputy post - hold your tongue sometimes, and not say something that would confirm suspicions about your stupidity. There are many ways of making news, but flashing your lack of intelligence is not helpful. I mean, how good would you look if you say in public that you contest the Deputy post because you want to bring youth to it ? I thought people prefer wisdom and experience, either of which you are proving, glaringly, youth would not do.

Then you put the icing on the cake by saying Mahathir is responsible for bringing Anwar into UMNO. What's the crime in that ? Mahathir did many things in his long and colourful career. He can't always be held responsible for all the actions of his proteges, no more than Anwar is to be held responsible for all the actions of Ezam. And by the way, Mahathir also gave a second life to a "recond" Mohamad Rahmat. By your insinuation, that must also be viewed as despicable.

Your lack of knowledge also goes to Malay Literature, which is full of wise old sayings such as "shine the light at your face in the mirror" and "diving into the water in the tree stump". For your sake I will tell you what each means. To shine the light at your face in the mirror is to carefully assess your capabilities before venturing into something, usually something big. To dive into the water in the tree stump is to do something silly, if not dangerous to boot - how much water is there in an old tree stump ?

I think "bin Mohamad Rahmat" owes Mahathir an apology( not that it matters). He should be thankful that the old man didn't use sterner nouns. In fact "bin Mohamad Rahmat" should apologise for the sake of his father whom he obviously didn't consult before making his juvenile reaction to Mahathir's comments.

Notwithstanding their coy public reaction to Mahathir's acid tongue, Muhammad Taib and Ali Rustam contesting the Deputy post also is in similiar vein. When UMNO is at the crossroads, we need great leaders, not just any leader. Muhammad's shenanigans in the not so distance past still ring in our ears. Ali Rustam's substance as a national leader is still less than potent. How could he be, when he struggles to express himself in the press. And remember also, he was darn lucky he didn't get caught like Isa Samad the last time. And another thing, how can you be so flippant in making State Awards to just any Bollywood star you fancy ?

Wanita's development merit a separate page in my blog. I've been waiting for this since she shut out the shippers' complains about Port Klang's operations by imperiously dismissing them as "what's so difficult" without even allowing the representatives to her Trade Ministry Dialogue with Agencies finish their sentence, but that was the "Iron Lady" then. And by the way, don't put her on the same level as Albreight. The American has a PhD.

There's interesting action in the Puteri wing, too. Only, I urge its members to scrutinise the candidates thouroughly. A university degree doesn't guarantee quality, but in this day and age it would look stupid if Puteri elects undereducated leaders when there are plenty of qualified ones around. I know one of the candidates has only SPM, although she claims at different times to have either a diploma or a degree. Just don't be so gullible.

Let the" assistant President in charge of vice" be a real open post. But again the delegates ahould not be swayed by incumbency, or money or rethoric. Info on the candidates are available. Their records are public knowledge - assess them for truthfullness and sincerity. I know truth and sincerity can be fleeting and stretched thin. Assess anyway. Some things said and done 10 years ago are not too far off for recollection, in fact time can lend better contrast.

Pemuda requires brave action. This is the Party's future. Action always speak louder than words. Action is obvious to the seeing eyes. Words are often twisted and turned. You can be lulled by clever verbal acrobatics. A leader shows his mettle when the stakes are high, and he goes against the tide in his belief. Leaders don't just jump on the badwagon. It's so easy to thump your chest when the crowd is behind you, or the King is looking out for you. Humility and humbleness and respect for elders are not bad traits for a leader. Greed, conceit and disdain for the old warriors are.

As I said, the battle is just beginning. For the delegates, I urge that they don't sell their votes cheap. If it's with money, then it's truly worthless.

For the contestants, I say, offer your services because you're answering a higher call, not a personal one.

If you don't intend to use the keris, don't even think of pulling it out of the sheath.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Addition to root of grass's humble words.

No. 11. When Dollah finally goes, the new PM should check all contracts awarded by MINDEF between October 2008 and March 2009. Anything above RM 1 million that did not follow Government procedures (especially with Dollah's 5 Commissions in mind) should be investigated thoroughly. If found improperly done, legal action under the latest corruption satatutes should be immediately taken.

Humble words from the root of the grass.

Now that UMNO has removed the main cause of its problems, perhaps it's timely that whoever takes over as President in March 09 should start to compile all the suggestions and advice that have been offered regarding the restrengthening of the party for the next GE.

This little root from a clod of grass (but not a clod) offers the following suggestions:

1. Get rid of the 4th. floor boys with immediate effect.
2. Remove the quota system.
3. Review all Federal projects, including those agreed upon before Dollah became PM.
4. Set up a Presidential Advisory Council for UMNO.
5. Get all 191 Divisional Heads in the Government. If they are not already in, put them in any of the Federal agencies on the proviso that the job goes to an incumbent. In the next GE leave out the Divisional Head's list of candidates at the Party's peril.
6. Review the allocation for the Class F contractors at the district level immediately.
7. Review the MoF team. Get a Third Minister if necessary, but someone of quality. Mustapha was OK.
8. Set up a Supreme Council Review Team to spend one full day with every branch to listen to the members about why the last GE was lost and how to win the next GE. Produce a finding with a plan of action within 6 months.
9. Set up a PR team to advise the President.
10.The President must present the status of all the 9 points above at the next General Assembly (the one after this March 2009).

And one more thing, Dollah is not welcome in MUBARAK.

Until he apologise for his remarks.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The True Islam.

Ong Tiong Meng emailed a forwarded message regarding a Penang Malay businessman-politician comment about the "immigrant" Malaysian Chinese, and Yee Kok Chin smsed about the need for the Muslims to be tolerant to non-Muslims, quoting an unidentified verse of the Quran in the process. Both were done during the fasting month. I immediately responded to them. Kok Chin, an ex-Wakil Rakyat, acknowledged, but no response came from Tiong Meng, my good golf buddy. While one touched on race, the other touched on Islam. But since both elements touch, in Malaysia, the same person - a Malay - the following posting will approach it from the religious stand point, because it is the more powerful influence.

This morning, Thursday 9th. October, I'm in my fourth day of the non-obligatory 6-day Syawal fasting encouraged in Islam, and feel the appropriateness of posting this blog, for my own conscience as much as for my friends' perusal.

Much of the misunderstanding regarding the nature and true teaching of Islam to-day is simply because of ignorance. Unfortunately in this country, too many of the Malays who inherit Islam from their ancestors do not themselves possess the complete understanding of the religion that they actively practice and hold dear. The sum total of this lack of knowledge of Islam has meant that the misconceptions are commonplace.

The Malays hold on to Islam fiercely, if not completely with real enlightenment. Many may deliberately break the "hukum" on "solah"( daily prayers) and"saum"(obligatory fasting in Ramadan) and we attribute it to human weakness. Just as we have "bad" Christians, so we have "bad" Muslims. But insult Islam, and they could lay proof to the Malay origin of the word"amok". Let me just refer to the Natrah riots in Singapore in the 50's and the racial riots of 13 th. May, 1969. This raw nerve was touched again recently when a certain Chinese politician went round asking the Muslim worshippers in certain areas to lower down the "azan". Don't deny this happened, because beside the witnesses present, she also made postings in the internet that have in fact been retrieved.

Now, this is a digression. I just want to set the tone here because of the nature of politics in Malaysia.

What is the true Islam ?

Islam in Arabic means "submission" - in this case submission to the will of God, the God of All Creation. "Allah" is just Arabic for "the Divine". I'm probably one of the few Malays in this country who can say that I don't see any problem with the Malay-Language Bible referring to God as "Allah".

Islam is a religion of peace. The traditional greeting of a Muslim is "Peace be unto you".

Muhammad s.a.w. did not invent Islam. He is simply accepted as the last of the Messenger of God, bringing finality to the religion of the Prophet Ibrahim ( "Abraham" in the Christian and Jewish Scriptures ).Islam recognizes and believes in the oneness of religion of all the Prophets mentioned in the Scriptures of "the People of the Book" - the Jews and the Christians, right from Adam to Abraham to Moses and Jesus. Believing the "Injil" ( the original version of the Christian Gospel ) and the "Taurat" ( the original version of the Jewish Torah ) in fact is part of the tenets of Islam. The only hitch is that the Muslims believe both Good Books have been altered by the hands of men.

The Quran is believed to be God's words to Muhammad s.a.w. brought down by the arch-angel Jibril (Gabriel) in order that he can spread the message of God. The Revelations occurred over a period of 23 years, the first verses revealed in Mecca when he was 40, and the last verse in Medina 9 days before he died.

The writing of the Revelations was started in Muhammad's s.a.w. lifetime. The full compilation in the arrangement as instructed by Muhammad s.a.w. in the Mushaf (book), as it is known today, was undertaken by the First of the Rightly-Guided Khalifah, Abu Bakr, who succeeded as the Leader of the Muslims upon Muhammad's s.a.w death. The third Khalifa, Uthman, made sure only copies of Abu Bakr's Mushaf were used in all the lands under Islamic rule at that time. By then Islam had spread beyond the Arab Peninsula to as far as present-day Uzbekistan.

The divinity of the Quran has been put to many tests, and I urge Tiong Meng and Kok Chin to look up to just 2 of the numerous publications debating this issue. Please refer to "the Bible, the Quran and Science" by Maurice Bucaille, the French surgeon, published 1978 North American Trust Publications, and "Al Quran the Ultimate Miracle" by Ahmad Deedat, the South African, published 1983 K.M.Salih, Marsiling Drive, Singapore.

The Quran remains the guide and inspiration for all Muslims who number to-day at 1.8 bilion or almost one-third of humanity. Its laws, moral precepts and narratives are the primary sources of Islamic Law.

The "al Sunnah" ( the Way of the Holy Prophet) ,comprising his words and deeds, form the second most important source of Islamic Law. In fact without Muhammad's s.a.w. explanations the true meaning of the Quran would not have been possible.

The Sunnah has many famous sayings from the highly authenticated compilations of Bukhari and Muslim. Among them:
"The most excellent Jihad is for the conquest of the self."
"The ink of the scholar is more holy than the blood of the martyr."
"One learned man is is harder on the devil than a thousand ignorant worshippers."
"Actions will be judged according to intentions."
"Assist any person oppressed, whether Muslim or non-Muslim."
"When the bier of anyone passes by you, whether Jew, Christian, or Muslim, rise to your feet."

Other than the Quran and the Sunnah, the ulama' and mufassirin have agreed that consensus among the learned, analogical deduction, and reasoning should contribute to the fatwa. This was done even when Muhammad s.a.w. was alive.

There is no priesthood in Islam. Even a child, if he has greater knowledge of the Quran than his elders, may lead them in prayer.

To become a Muslim, one need only to profess:
"There is no god but God; Muhammad is the Messenger of God."

At long last - or is it ?

Maulud Kahar called at about 5 p.m. Then I looked in on "the Star on line" carrying the same breaking news. Is it true, really, really true ?

So, after a long Hari Raya break, Dollah finally swallowed the cud he's been chewing on the last 6 months. Now he's got it ? He's finally leaving ? For good ?

But he can still change his mind. It's still 5 months away before the UMNO General Assembly.

In the meantime, in a day's time, the Divisional meetings will start. Already the Deputy President's slot is getting crowded. I see some ambitions being shown. Or are there red herrings here ?

This is a good time to make fresh changes in UMNO. I assure you, UMNO people ! you better do that, or say bye-bye to GE13.

There are some lessons to be learnt here. No, not that GE12 loss - that's been told and retold. This is about reality. A reality show, if you like. Great people are thrust great things, and even if they don't always achieve the great deeds demanded of them, they go about it with conviction and purpose plain to see. They don't grovel and hesitate and squirm. They take the bull by the horn. And they take pride in their craft.

Leaders don't hang their heads and sigh dear me, dear me ! They don't mooch and stare emptily at their feet. They know where they belong - right up there with the troops ! You don't lead from behind !

The class act is to know when you've worn out the welcome. You don't wait to be shown the door. You owe it to yourself to show some human dignity and face the music like a man, and swallow your medicine blah, blah, and all that jazz.

How hollow the words ring, when, dragged by the short hairs, you say, sheepishly, convincing no one, "OK, OK, I'm going. But this is for the love of my party". You don't know that the party does not love you ?

Still haven't got it, have you ?

Friday, October 3, 2008

3 Syawal.

Today was mee kari day.

Many of the brothers and sisters-in-law, and the nephews and neices came today. All claim love for Mak Idah's mee kari. So, those who came through that Friday put all the mee inside of them, and some of the little ones also put some of the mee all over the carpet !

It almost became a no-mee kari day. When the missus got up that morning, her right hand was throbbing with pain. Somehow, the idea of the family members coming managed to put the pain behind her mind for a bit.

Bang Tai & family also, surprisingly, came. Surprisingly because we haven't gone to his house yet, and normally the reciprocal visit is always after our visit.

Yusni, Bang Tai's Pahangian son-in-law also came with bad news for Dollah Badawi and S.I.L.
Apparently there was a Kuantan buka puasa visit by DB organized by the MB. Yusni said that judging by the attendance, both the breaking of fast and tarawih prayers were flops. In the meantime, the campaign for Youth chief had begun in ernest in Kuantan. The surprising leading candidate in terms of spending apparently is Khir Toyo. The S.I.L. apparently is getting the cold shoulder.

Earlier Kak Long & Kak Ngah(of the Kak Mot tribe) came with their supporters, both thin and fat, but mostly fat, and totally hungry. I told Kak Long to check my blog, and she burst "Kak Ngah has seen it and is threatening libel." When Kak Ngah came shortly later, Nazamir was armed with a hot laptop, probably with the evidence. My, I said. This is quick !
Let me assure both large girls, that I meant every word that I said. I'm not the least worried about libel because of 3 reasons:
(i) Libel isn't easy.
(ii) Facts are not libelous.
(iii) I don't need a third reason.
So in the meantime I urge Kak Long & Kak Ngah to gang up with Zainal & Nazir and TRY to attack me in their own blogs. Only don't ask Mak Idah to help. If you say " computer", she might think you're referring to the train service to KL (moh kito poi klumpo naik komputer ! ).

I told Azza(of the Bang Dek tribe) that I see she has taken the attitude " if you can't beat them, join them !". I mean, I can't believe this is the same Azza that complained "why is Bang Pin having so many children?". I guess now she knows. So, as long as Fadzil is cooperating and Azza is willing, "keep it up, guys !". Only thing is Bang Pin and Azza will have to carry notebooks with photographs to remember not only the names and the chronological order, but also to identify who belongs to whom. This is serious, because they are "susun paku", and already a Kuala Selangor variety is seen which doesn't look anything like the rest.

I had prepared some Raya packets, as usual. But in my haste I've not put all the one-ringgit notes in the envelopes, where they can stay hidden until the receipient reaches home. So I'm forced to give each kid 3 whole ringgits. Rugi, rugi !

2 Syawal.

The second day of Syawal was reserved for the siblings' meeting over mom's remaining worldly affairs, so the day was freed of other jalan Raya committments.



Calit called and I told him let's meet after Zohor. We didn't leave Seremban until 12 because of Memi - he was having a slight case of diarrhoea. And then right at Panchor the Seremban-KP jam had begun. So it wasn't until 1.45 before we reached the old house.



I had prepared some notes for the meeting, and, as the eldest, persumptively chaired it, beginning at about 2.20.



9 of the original 11 points were easily agreed upon, covering basically the assignment of the old house to one person, Yan, the setting up of a fund to finance the maintainence of the house and providing for the livlihood of Yan for the rest of her life, and other little items that need clearance.



The 2 items of slight disagreement were on the point of Ati being "manager", and the 100-day tahlil.



Din said if you appoint a manager(Ati) then her services must be accounted for monetarily. I explained that the word was used for want of a better one, but is never meant to be a paid official job, only putting someone in-charge voluntarily. Ati explained that she had always given the biggest contribution to the household expenses except for 200 ringgit from mom each month, so the question is moot.



Dek Ma seemed unduly agitated about the 100-day tahlil, and opposed it, going to the unnecessary extent of saying that when she dies she doesn't want it for herself. I was a bit surprised by her emotional reaction, but quickly replied that this is not un-Islamic just because the Prophet didn't do it in his lifetime, and that when you are dead it's up to the living to do to you whatever they want to. Other than the teachings of al Quran and al Sunnah, after the death of the Prophet many practices were allowed through Ijmak and Qiyas. Din elaborated and Fadzil supported and the issue was considered settled.



I had made the initial suggestion that this meeting be convened, and specifically Fadzil and Fuad had given their quick agreement. As the oldest of the siblings, the full agreement of everyone was not a concern to me. My one and only objective was to settle mother's finances as is obligatory in Islamic Syara', to save the memory of the house, and to ensure the life-lasting livelihood of Yan. I had no preconceived ideas of the support that I would get from my siblings, nor was I in any way perturbed by any possible objection. I was only determined that I play my part in a responsible way, and was prepared to let the majority decide. I'm glad that everything was amicably settled, and the meeting amicably ended at about 3.15.



I must record my appreciation for Din's timely comments (and he was the last one in the round-table) for highlighting mother's lifetime good deeds, and the lessons he got as a son. I must also record the supportive comments of Fadzil and the others. I specifically put on record my personal and lasting appreciation for Yan's services to mother, and I'm sure all the others share the sentiment.



I must, however, put on record my disappointment over Ajit's comment outside the meeting. It seemed he took exception to my mentioning that I saw mother once, a long time ago, giving money to Yah, his wife, although Yah has an income.

I did mention this episode, during this meeting, but it was in the context of giving examples of mother's good deeds, that even a salary-earning daughter-in-law was given money.

I quickly explained my comments to Ajit. I said in a raised voice that he should not leave this gathering with the wrong impression about what has been said, and that I'm not stupid. I'm appreciative that both Fadzil and Din supported my explanation. I didn't hear Ajit's reply, nor did I see a demeanour to indicate a positive reception to the 3 explanations. No matter. I hope he will understand in due course. If not, it will be his problem, not mine.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Jalan-jalan Raya (Day One)

1. Eid al Fitri prayers.
2. Duit Raya.
3. Bang Dek.
4. Kak Mot( plus Nazir, Kak Long, Kak Ngah and others).
5. Kak Ani (plus Awe, Usop, Po'at and the rest).
6. Pa' Ijoi.

(1)
First day of Shawal, the end of Ramadan, and a day of rejoice for the Believers.
Off the congregation trooped to the local musalla ( surau lah, you dope !). So, I was the first Committee member to arrive. I had to do something quickly, to get things moving, so I sat and began the first takbir. Then I allowed the quickly enlarging attendance to take over.

We collected exactly RM 1,115 sedekah Raya this year, which is a record because we have never broken 1,000 before.

The Sermon was nicely delivered, short, sweet and pertinent. In fact the night before I had asked the Imam what was his Sermon going to be about. He said "rahsia".

(2)
Then it was back in the house with the brood ( 1 wife, 4 children, 2 daughters-in-law, and 3 grand children) all up and about, dressed already in Hari Raya splendour. Except for Memi. As usual no. 3 son has an agenda all his own.

I had asked Khalil, the photographer, to take the family potrait, since for the first time everyone was here all at the same time. All sat and posed as directed, except of course the grandchildren, who had their own opinions. Ah, the wonders of digital photography - Khalil managed to capture the fleeting moment of attention enforced on the three monkeys.

But all this after the Salam Raya and duit Raya bit. So, I declared " atok bagi lebih dari 50 ringgit". I was truthful. I had put in 51 ringgit in the packets. There was an exchange of packets, and some came off better in the barter, and no. 2 son exclaimed "pulang modal !", and I didn't get anything from no. 3 son who had just started working with a bank. All in all, satisfaction apparently was established.

(3)
Around 10.30 we trooped to Bang Dek's house and found the husband and wife alone, their own brood for the moment scattered through the 4 different families of in-laws.
We partook the Raya delicacies in the dining hall at the rear of the house, and lingered and chatted, with Bang Dek getting updated on everybody's career development. Then we left for Kak Mot's. But not before the usual alms collection.

(4)
Kak Mot also had everybody around, except I didn't see Izham anywhere.
Nazir was sitting cross-legged inside the house plucking on his laptop, so I gave him a kick in the butt and said get up and meet everybody.
Kak Long and Kak Ngah ( there are endless alongs and angahs in the extended family system and sub-system) looked dressed up and ready to go somewhere, because they had their handbags in the crook of their arms, but they assured us no. I see that they have put on some weight in spite of the fasting month.
The Raya spread was in the front porch. Kak Long and Kak Ngah both vehemently claimed credit for the cakes on the table. But what I think happened was Kak Long brought her utensils to Kak Ngah's house (that being her entire contribution in the whole affair) , and Nazir put the concoctions in the oven. I can almost see Kak Ngah barking instructions to everyone within hearing, while lying on her ample posteriors.
Kak Ngah is known for valiant culinary endeavours, though not always successful. But Kak Long is usually more talking than baking. And when she finally cooks up something, you just hold your nose and swallow. You see, up until the day she was married, the only cooking she had managed to do without damaging the ingredients was boliling water !

(5)
Then we left for Kak Ani's in Bahau.
We went in no. 3 son's borrowed car. No. 2 son had left earlier for the in-laws at Padang Lebar.
I sat in the back and dozed most of the way, which was good, because the traffic was terrible. Before Batu Kikir Dek Na, my daughter, took over the wheels from no. 3 son because he was getting terribly drowsy.
Similiarly, only Kak Ani and Bang Piei were at home. This was already Zohor, so I recited my prayers before setting upon the nasi beriani in the dining hall.
Then Usop and her Kelantan-born husband Awe (what else) and two kids arrived and joined me at the table. Then Po'at (Bang Piei's younger brother) came with his family and joined us at the table.
I told Awe it was nice to see him in baju melayu different from the white ones he seemed to like(or the only ones he had). Usop apparently has moved job again. I've lost count how many she had been through to date. I introduced Po'at to no. 3 son because they are in the same bank.

(6)
The last jalan Raya for the day was to Pa' Ijoi's house in Lonek.
We met up with Pa' Ee & Family again at Pa' Ijoi's. Before we left Seremban for Kak Ani's, Pa' Ee had come to the house, so we sat for a while before they left ahead of us for Lonek. I say Pa' Ee & Family because this family does all its outing together, whether it's visiting relatives or watchin Mizi play golf. My own children feel a bit hampered always hugging together all the time.
We visit Pa' Ijoi before he visits the other older brothers and sisters only because he is the occupier of the old family home, in the old kampong where the old folks are interred. So it has become more like a reunion.
Dek Na seems closer to Kak Long ( another along - this one being Pa' Ijoi's first born) than some of her other cousins. Kak Long is waiting for her posting, after graduating with a teaching degree from the Sultan Idris Education University in Tanjong Malim.
Pa' Ijoi, the loyal Anwar Ibrahim supporter, is turning into a commercial farmer since taking optional retirement a few years ago. Right he's growing mushroom. The Lonek mushroom has been spotted in some local supermarket. It's very small scale now, but I know the Government has large funds for commercial agriculture, especially for the bumiputras.

We left for the slow drive back to Seremban after Maghrib prayers, arriving home tired but satisfied for a good first day jalan Raya.