21 July 2012

Another chance to heal our soul

Alhamdulillah. The blissful month of Ramadhan has finally come again. We are among the selected one to embrace this special visitor in another splendid life cycle, therefore we should be very thankful to Allah S.W.T for His endless mercy.  He is giving us, the mortal believer another chance to replenish our iman and strengthen our taqwa. Lets us start this special journey with istiqomah and continuous religious devotion. Lets us make this journey with the hope that this will be our best journey ever with this special visitor.

I am taking this rare opportunity in the first day of the Holy month seeking forgiveness. May Divine pour His endless blessing upon us, like rain throughout this month of few.  

Marhaban ya Shahru Ramadhan.


13 July 2012

Soul rejuvenating journey with Madyan, Soddom and Gomorrah

An eight hours journey by The Royal Jordanian from KLIA was very smooth. The flight touched down in the wee hour of the morning at Queen Alia International Airport. Upon touching the ground, my heart was also deeply touched.  Unlike the other trip or journey that I took before, this one was very special.  It was my first experience in the land of the anbia'. The unfamiliar feeling was deeply rooted and mixed with other emotions - the feeling that no word can describe. That was only the beginning. It was the beginning of a journey to discover one's iman and the believe of whatever happen (good or bad), Allah knows the best. He always gives the best to us.

At the start of the journey, Allah S.W.T had already tested the iman  of the whole Jemaahs. One hundred and five of us. The flight was scheduled at 2200 hrs and by 1900 hrs when the check-in counter opened we were still looking for the travel agents with no ticket and passport at hand. Many had already thought of the inevitable. I just pressed myself hard and prayed that everything will be fine. 2100 hrs - with everybody panicking and things became very chaotic suddenly the agent appeared with the documents and we started to check in in the most haru-biru manner. With half an hour left for departure, we had to virtually run to   embark the plane from the main terminal to the satellite building through the immigration, security point, aerotrain and toilet in between. Our big group mostly consisted of special people, people with special illnesses modern medicine will normally dismiss as nothing wrong. The trip was partly for that special reason. Treating the special people.

In the nick of time, I jokingly said to my wife :

"macam explorace kita ni"

With 15 minutes to spare, we finally sat ourselves comfortably but anxiously in our seats.  Suddenly it was dawned to us things could turn from bad to worse. There was no Ustaz Malek (group leader) or any travel agent among us. One of the jemaahs in front of me then revealed an sms  saying that fourty five Jemaahs could not make the trip as there was not ticket for them. As cool as I am, panic started to creep into me. My wife had broken into tears. As we had only a one way ticket to Jordan, we could be stranded in the far and barren land of Jordan...

But all those things had made this journey very sweet, colorful and memorable.

Deep into the Jordanian valley, 55 km from Amman is the Dead sea.  A grim reminder to us from the inhabitants of Soddom and Gomorrah of whom were destroyed by Allah S.W.T for their disobedience to the preaching of Prophet Lut. It was their abominable sin of homosexuality that lead to their extinction. "When morning came, God turned the cities upside down, and rained down on them stones hard as baked clay, putting an end to the lives of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah once and for all" (Al-Hijr : 73-76). On the other side of the water, bordered by the hills is Israel.  

Being the deepest hypersaline lake in the world with 33.7% salinity, no aquatic life can flourish in this harsh environment.   A tourist demonstrates the unusual buoyancy caused by high salinity. Nobody will drown in this lake I suppose.

The sight of half-clad bodies covered with black mud is a norm around the Dead Sea. This place is the lowest (elevation) health spa in the world. The Dead sea contains high concentration of salt and minerals which gives its waters the renowned curative and therapeutic qualities to many ailments. 

The Bolehland Jemaah didn't want to miss the opportunity to experience and get a closer encounter with the Dead sea. On the far right of this spot, part of the section was reserved to the Westerners or perhaps Israelis.  

That was not 'orang minyak' who terrorizes Malay virgins in kampungs (the recent sighting was in Kampung Laksamana, Gombak). But a  so-called  friendly brother from Libya who persistently insisted me to take his photograph for no obvious reason. I purposely add this rear picture of him into this blog as the frontal profile was a bit...errr..to put it mildly, undulating!

Salt crystal deposited on the rock along the coastal or the Dead sea. They are in abundance. Some Jemaah collected the salt deposits in many kilos and surprisingly the airport customs (in Jordan, Jeddah and Bangkok) didn't even ask or flip their eyes on the x-ray scanner. 

"They say they were three, the dog being the fourth among them; and they say they were five, the dog being the sixth, guessing at the unseen; and they say they were seven, and the dog being the eighth. Say: My Lord knows best their number; none knows them but a few". So debate not except with the clear proof. And consult not any of them (about the people of the Cave)". (Al- Kahf : 22)

There are many opinions on the exact location of the Cave. Some say the Cave situated in Jordan, Syria, Yemen, Turkey, Afghanistan and even in Spain. But we went to Jordan to see the Jordan version of the Cave. At the entrance of the cave, the group leader  Ustaz Abdul Malek briefed the Jemaah on the significance of the Cave. With him is his youngest daughter - also the youngest member in the group.  

Qitmir, the sleepers' loyal dog was buried in the cave together with the sleepers. The lady-in-black is obviously not Qitmir but my significant half, standing beside the grave of the dog. Two holes were drilled (it was reported done during the Ottoman empire) so that we can have a peek inside the grave.

Bone remnants of the dog - Qitmir, inside the grave. They slept for 309 years.  The Ashabul-kahfi lived to teach the world many lessons. One is the possibility of resurrection by Almighty Allah S.W.T.

A new mosque - Al-Kahfi mosque was built very recently beside (left site on the hill above) the Cave. The site of the ancient mosque was at the front the Cave. The mosque was very quiet during our visit but buzzing with housekeeping activities by the mosque workers.

Propher Shuaeb mosque. Prophet Shuaeb were sent to the Madyan. The Madyan was greedy people, gave short in measurement, lied to the customers and most of all did not believe the existence of Allah S.W.T. Just like the other non-believers, the Madyan perished. 

A cat posing for my camera in front of the Prophet Shuaeb mosque. The cat knows, even long after the Madyan gone, the spirit of the Madyan still lives and besieges the very heart of current business dwelling. I can see the Madyan linger freely and happily in the Bolehland.

11 July 2012

Gone, but not with the wind

That was not the first time. I hope it will be the last. The great lost was very hard for me to comprehend at first. It was not because all of a sudden my koi's pond became very quiet and lifeless, but because the trust has been broken. Unlike promises, a trust is by no mean to be broken. When I trust someone  (politician  is obviously not in this equation) or some immortal being (like my external HDD which mysteriously disappeared with all my important data and secret recipe) -  I surrender my entire life with it, literally.  

The usual suspect in this case was none other than an unsuspecting and innocent-looking Bangla, whose face slightly resembles the famous Bangladeshi actor Shakib Khan.  He resides in the neighboring kampung Boyan, but most of the time find solace in my neighbor's house, a few block away from mine. He is actually  a no stranger to my peaceful neighborhood - quite a handy guy. He is very friendly and ever willing to help. 

On that fateful day, we left the house for a long holiday break. The man I trusted to look after my kebun and the wellfare of the  fishes in my pond was none other than our friendly Bangla from the neighboring Kampung Boyan. We left for a balik kampung holiday thinking that everything was in a good hand. Until a  few days later, another neighbor called me and conveyed the shocking news. The whole population of kois and carps were annihilated (except the mean-looking algae sucking fish, Hypostomus plecostomus  a.k.a ikan DBKL). Following tips from fictional character Inspector Sigh and looking at the symptoms, I suspected the fishes' demise  was due to over fed and suffocated to their last breath.

It was a very sad affair. It was even hurting when the man you trust didn't admit to his crime and started blaming somebody else. Does this sounds all too familiar? At one point in our life, we have to accept the fact that everybody makes mistake. I do make mistakes and I am sure will make many more. Mistake is our best educator if we are willing to learn from it. Anyhow, it was already considered a gone case. The wise man always says, lets bygones be bygone. Even though it won't be the same, the karps and the kois can always be replaced (the demise fishes will eagerly come to the surface whenever they heard my footsteps near the pond, expecting their food).  

Along the way we can always ponder and learn some new things to enrich and put new meaning to our life.  First - never trust a Bangla with a face that resembles any popular movie star (not that I am jealous). Second - Admit our mistake; it will make our life less complicated. Last but not least - never overfed ourselves as the consequences are quite predictable.

These lifeless fishes were now a distance memory.  They have been my source of 'ilham' for the past 12 years. Whether the new generation can emulate the aura of their ancestors - time will tell.
Those fishes, even until the end of their life refused to leave this mortal world wasted.   They enriched the soil and  provided other form of  life with organic nutrients. The Heliconias seems to flourish exceptionally well after that. One loss is another's gain. That is one of the balances in this world.
This ponds and its wonderful living creatures within have been given me so much pleasure, day in day out. With the absence of the stimulating kois and  carps,  perhaps I have to stop finding excuses or rely on other thing to become inspired. Perhaps I have to shift and realign my thinking a bit. To live is to inspire.  

04 July 2012

Six month gestation period - thank you John Jenin

When I am inspired, my mind switches into its voyeuristic mode.  The mind becomes very volatile and tend to explore some unthinkable domain full of crappy thing and rubbish. Sometimes into the unknown. More often than not the mind is fully occupied with something of everything. I become very focus and consumed by nameless ideas. That was exactly what happened in the last few months. I stayed focus and entirely forgot this blog. Again!

It is not easy to achieve that particular state of mind though. I have to admit that air ketum or any psychedelic source has no part in this affair.  It took me many trips to  nondescript stalls under pokok ketapang,  impromptu night meetings with my colleagues, numerous trailblazing trips to the entire Bolehland of which I'd lost count of how many and tonnes of teh tarik kurang manis in kedai mamak - I forget that the world is still spinning and the sun is still shining. I was in my own world. But all those sacrifices come with a price and in my case a pleasant prize as well.  I owe that glorious achievement to one particular person. Unbeknown to this guy, he was actually the sole mortal being that inspired me. He is known or used to be known in the Bloggosphere as John Jenin. Another mysterious persona - a nom de plume who has never materialized himself into this mortal world. At least for the time being. In fact I've never met him in person or got a chance to have a cup of teh tarik kurang manis with him under pokok ketapang.  

This inaugural blog entry after a long gestation period  is a tribute to this special persona, John Jenin. Perhaps he is another genius hiding in the underworld somewhere in Putrajaya, or a retired teacher who just wanted to share his  wisdom with the free world or even  one of my closest neighbors who are too shy to admit it was actually his dog that actually came up with this brilliant idea.  I feel very oblige. I am very sure if he read or somehow stumble upon this entry perhaps in another  millennium,  he will surely feel very proud. Thank you John Jenin. If I were to win a Nobel prize for this syok-sendiri innovation - someday, I will find you and fly you to the moon!

Even though this is not the first time I receive that piece of paper and a gold-plated medallion to add into my celebrated coffer, this one has a special place in my heart. i-klon is not merely an innovation or another name for a dubious gadget that will soon crowded the virtual market.  It encompasses my dream and my promise. (Ironically, it is also a timely farewell present to my fellow scientists)

As I am not a celebrity and most likely won't achieve that status by the year 2020, I felt a little bit awkward being into the spotlight with dignitaries on the center stage.  Luckily my two happy-go-lucky  sidekicks came to the rescue and made myself at ease receiving a priceless memento that night. .

Before the judgement day. All set for the big show and my obliging team  members aka the inventors (minus one)  posed an overconfident smile prior to the winning announcement.  Yours truly pretended to be cool and composed.

No amount of practice, script rehearsal, and cold sweat could  have prepared Mr OCW to face the most impeccable and unassuming visitors. Sometimes thing will go wrong and it will go wrong at the wrong and the most unimaginable moment. But at the end - Job well done. Good work guys!

This was neither the enthusiastic crowd curious  for our invention nor the place where the historical moment took place. It has no significant value in my life too. But I spent an evening with my colleagues here searching for the next idea that will revolutionize our life. In fact we bought two replica (read fake) designer ties hoping that  the elusive ideas will descend from the celestial world. But the way, the place is Petaling street.

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