Sunday, 21 August 2011

Selamat Hari Raya

Note: - This advertisement really remind me of myself during each Raya.

“Horey, Balik Kampung” I am going back soon. Eid ul-Fitr, often abbreviated to Eid and better known as Hari Raya in Malaysia, is an Islamic celebration that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting. This is an annual event that I never miss celebrating it with my family members.

After 30 days of dawn-to-dusk fasting during Ramadan, the first three days of Hari Raya Aidilfitri are celebrated on a grand scale. While Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebrations are colourful and fascinating, you should take note that the fasting month leading up to the holiday is probably the best time to experience the Malay culture and heritage.

For Muslims, the month of Ramadan is devoted to worship, charitable deeds and acts of compassion. To purify one’s body and soul, they practice abstinence from food and drink during the day.

If you’re in Malaysian during Ramadan, don’t miss the opportunity to experience the rich Malay heritage. The main tourist attraction is a bazaar in Kampung Baru. Besides the glittering street light-ups and traditional decorations, you’ll find street stalls that open from early afternoon till late into the night, selling a wide variety of traditional food, fashion, textiles and handicrafts. From tailor-made traditional dresses known as ‘baju kurung & Baju Melayu’ to hand-woven cushion covers, from affordable Persian carpets to delightful flower arrangements, you’re bound to find a keepsake of the festivities. 

A trip to the bazaars is simply not complete without sampling the variety of traditional Malay cakes and pastries .Take your pick from sweet snacks like pineapple tarts, ‘Buah melaka’ made with palm sugar filled centres.

When Hari Raya Aidilfitri arrives, Muslim families often dress in the same colour to signify their unity Muslims starts the day by wearing new clothes and congregating in the mosques early in the morning to perform Hari Raya Puasa prayers followed by visiting the graves of the departed. The young will ask for forgiveness from their elders and have open house for relatives and friends to come to their house. Plenty of traditional Malay delicacies are served during this festive season. A wide variety of spicy dishes are traditionally served during the three-day celebration, including spicy beef ‘rendang’, vegetable sups ‘lontong’ and Malay rice cakes called ‘ketupat’.

It is common to greet people with Selamat Hari Raya"(in Malaysia) which means "Happy Eid". Muslims also greet one another with "maaf zahir dan batin" in Malaysia, which means "Forgive my physical and emotional (wrongdoings)", because Idul Fitri is not only for celebrations but also a time for atonement: to ask for forgiveness for sins which they may have committed but was cleansed as a result of the fasting in the Muslim month of Ramadan.

So to all my friends “Selamat Hari Raya, Maaf Zahir Dan Batin”

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Social Network

"No man is a failure who has friends" qoute from film It's a Wonderful Life (1946) 

I have only 119 friends. On Facebook that is. Considering that many of these friends have more than 1,000 each, I am starting to feel a bit unsociable.
Of course, the number of friends online does not necessarily reflect the friends we have in real life. I have found many long-lost friends from all over the world through Facebook but the fact remains that there are quite a number of Facebook friends I do not really know well.
One of my friends told me the other day that it is hard even for colleagues to become friends although the workplace is where we connect with people the most. So it is quite common to learn about a colleague’s marriage, for example, and realizing that you are not on the invitation list.
The first stage of the Social Contract is the formation stage. Certain elements must be present before a relationship comes into being. There must be offer and acceptance, which can be as simple as an exchange of mobile numbers or acceptance of a “friend” request on Facebook.
There is a saying, “There are no strangers, only friends we have yet to meet.” I like the approach, and over the years, I often am able to add friends to my own list.
Some people believe that you can count your real friends on one hand or two at the most. I think that is a bit pessimistic.
In any case, numbers are not the important thing as friendships go. True friends – whether few or plentiful, new or old – are a balm to the soul.
I am thankful for friends who rejoice with me on happy occasions and commiserate with me in tough times. 

Everlasting friends go long periods of time without speaking and never question the friendship. These friends pick up like they just spoke yesterday, regardless of how long it has been or how far away they live; they don’t hold grudges. They understand that life is busy and know that you will always love them.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

An Hour To Live, An Hour To Love

“When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something” Steve Jobs, Commencement address (June 12, 2005)

Alfred Nobel was the inventor of dynamites. He read his own obituary which was erroneously printed in a French publication, meant for the passing of his brother, which read, “The merchant of death is dead” and went on to say, “Dr. Alfred Nobel, who became rich by finding ways to kill more people faster than ever before, died yesterday.” This obituary was apparently his motivation behind the creation of the Nobel Peace Prize. He did not want to be remembered for death and destruction, but for peace instead.

There’s a powerful exercise in Stephen Covey’s book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, in which he asks you to visualize your own funeral.

Picture three people getting up to say a few words about you, the type of person you were, what you stood for, how you lived. The first speaker is a good friend or family member. The second is someone from your community. The third is a work colleague.

Close your eyes and imagine all three speakers giving sincere and glowing testimonies of you and the life you lived. Everyone listening is moved to tears as they remember how much you meant to them, noticing that the world is a little less bright now that you’ve gone.

In movie, legend has it that Death (Angel of Death) is a human skeleton clothed in a black hooded robe. He wields a scythe and carries an hourglass. The scythe is the harbinger of death. The hourglass is the measure of a lifetime.

Everyone has their own hourglass. Each hourglass holds the Sands of Time. When all but the last precious grains have fallen to the bottom, Death will seek its owner.

Like all legends, there is some grain of truth behind it. Time is a valuable, but finite, resource. In a lifetime, we can make money, fulfil our ambitions and do the fun things we enjoy doing.

But beware, for there are always forces lurking around threatening to steal away our precious time. They are the thieves of time.

The most common ones are those who do not cherish the value of time. They are people who are constantly late for appointments due to traffic jams, rushing for some last-minute chore, and worse of all, losing track of time.

But the greatest thief of time is we. In life, we strive. We are all driven to climb to the next level, much like Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. There are several roads leading up to the peak. The road well-trodden is long, winding, and filled with plateaus.

But there’s also the road less travelled. It may be more steep and treacherous, but it’ll take you faster to the peak, and it has fewer plateaus.

Whichever road we take, we must never linger too long. Patience is virtue, but procrastination is the thief of time. Life is short, but not simple. Good opportunities don’t come around like the postman, but rather like a comet. You should strike when the iron is hot, and it’s hottest when it’s still young and raw.

But sadly, much of youth is wasted on the young. Most of the young folks hesitate, and he who hesitates is lost. Weighed down by a backpack filled with insecurities, excess material baggage and taxing relationships, we struggle to move on.

We think too much, and by the time we act, there’s not much time left to live for. As John Lennon nicely put it, life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans.

Open your eyes.

Figure out what it is that you want to be remembered for, by friends, colleagues, community members, and everyone else. Work towards becoming that memory.

Don’t let the precious grains in your hourglass just slip away. Be a master of your own time and space, so when Death comes knocking on your door, you are ready to welcome him with arms wide open.

Like Prophet Muhammad once said “Death is a blessing to a Muslim. Remember and speak well of your dead, and refrain from speaking ill of them” 

Note: Life is what you do while you're waiting to die.