Sunday, 29 July 2012

Good Behavior and Morality

I read the front page of The Star newspaper and had a big shock that Reader's Digest rated our country at the lowest level Again! 6 years ago we ranked 33 out of 35 major cities in the world for being 'Ugly Behaved'. Now we are worst off and dropped to 34 out of 36. I personally don’t agree with the quote saying ‘Malaysians are rude’ because I believe that Malaysians are not rude, they are just not very helpful with strangers.

Malaysians have always been known for their excellent behaviour. But, now things seem to have changed drastically. It seems that not much consideration is given to good values and virtues by people. 

Before we start blaming others for jumping queues, not holding the door, ignoring traffic rules or not cleaning up their mess in a fast food outlet, let’s honestly ask ourselves if we too aren’t guilty of committing any of the above. It’s okay if the answer is “yes” — because, what’s more important is that we are now more aware and are therefore unlikely to repeat such discourteous behaviour.

When being courteous, we are also being respectful to our fellow human beings, regardless of how we feel and whether they deserve it or not. If you are not feeling up to it, consider this: successful people are the ones who have high regard for others, regardless of their social and economic status. They know that when they are polite, somehow the day will go much smoother. They can then focus on what they do best — making a successes of themselves.

Have you heard of the “Waiter’s Test”?  It was said that to see a person’s true personality, one can observe how he interacts with a waiter. Is he rude and demanding, or is he polite and appreciative? The true hero is the one who appreciates and respects others around them.

It’s also about common courtesy because the irony is that courtesy in our society is far from common. We don’t pay much thought to little gestures that matter a lot to others. Like smiling and saying "Thank you".

We need to be considerate by letting the lady behind you at the cashier pay first because she has only one item to check out.or holding the door for the person behind you. When we do simple things like these, we can see how grateful people are for this unexpected show of courtesy and we just hope that they take that lesson with them, and pay it forward.

Charity begin at home, every parent has the responsibility to ensure that a new cycle of courtesy begins in our own home. Expose our children to courtesy by being role models.

In light of Holy Ramadan, let’s make the rest of our days re-instilling courtesy in our lives. Don't let us forget, Courtesy and Morality (Kesopanan dan Kesusilaan) is part of our National Principle.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Impossible is Nothing

It is more than just a race. The Olympics are what people remember and gives you the power to believe in something better: it is hope. Sure, I enjoy the competition, the sweat, and the motivation to get up off the couch and go for a run — but the stories are what truly make the Olympics special for me.

Behind the great spectacle of the Olympic Games lie powerful human stories.The tales of personal sacrifice, of obstacles overcome, of dreams achieved through not just great genetics but through hours of hard work.

Olympic stories tell tales of athletes who overcame great obstacles, triumphed after heartbreaking losses and accomplished great things in the face of adversity. They didn't all go home with a gold medal but these brave, talented and relentless athletes defied the odds to provide inspiration to people around the glob

This year, since both London Olympics 2012 and Holy month of Muslim calendar, Ramadan have fallen together during the same days, Muslim athletes are facing challenges to fast or not.
Muslims throughout the world fasting during this Holy month and there are over 3,000 Muslim athletes from 200 countries of the Muslim world,  who are competing in London Olympics this year.

Muslim  are being torn between respecting the basic principles of Islam and their desire to achieve top-level performances during the Games.But there's a challenge to negotiate: it will be Ramadan, and I'll be fasting.

Much has been written about the challenge facing Muslim athletes. I sympathise deeply with their conundrum: how to balance a great moment in their sporting careers with the important duty to fast. After all, not only is fasting a deeply ingrained obligation that connects the believer to the Creator, it brings with it a sense of deep spirituality and community that Muslims are loath to sacrifice.
Observing Ramadan will be a unique challenge for athletes, Some individual Muslim athletes say they perform better during Ramadan even if they are fasting because they're more intensely focused and because it's a very spiritual time for them.Their faith gives them strength and Ramadan is an integral part of that faith.

The pious athletes are prepared to endure hunger and weakness until the end of the fasting month for the sake of faith and of sport.
The most important thing is to have faith in God and give it your best and thank God, whether you win or lose.

Note:- To Malaysian athletes I wish you "Good luck and Godspeed"

Saturday, 21 July 2012


Since today is the first day of Ramadan, please allow me to share to others about what it’s like to be a Muslim and fasting in Ramadan is all about.

By understanding the other person’s cultural and religious background in this way we can build bridges that cross cultural and religious differences.

The idea of fasting for a whole month is quite alien to most people in the world. Cutting down on food for a while to lose weight is perhaps the nearest you guys have ever got to fasting. Doing so for God's sake will be quite outside their experience. 

First, I’ll start with some easy basics.

Ramadan is the name of the ninth lunar month on the Islamic Calendar. We go by the 12 lunar months; one purpose behind this is that it facilitates our seasons of worship based around the four seasons of the year. Since it’s a lunar calendar each year goes backwards by 11 days, as the lunar calendar is 11 days shorter than the Gregorian calendar. Every 33 years or so it does a full rotation around the four seasons so, wherever you live on Earth, everyone will have their fair share of long or short days and hot or cold weather.

Many people have never fasted, at least not for spiritual reasons. For many religions, fasting for a day is sometimes considered to mean not eating or drinking for a full 24 hours but for Muslim, we fast from before dawn to after dusk. Essentially, while the sun is in the sky – there is no eating and drinking. Once the sun goes down, you’re able to do all of these things again.

It allows one to build a sense of self-control and willpower, which can be beneficial throughout life in dealing with temptations and peer pressure. Through fasting, Muslims learn to control their natural urges such as hunger and thirst, and thus are able to better resist temptations for things which are not necessary, such as drugs or other unhealthy or harmful substances and behaviors.

Although energy levels might be low, the point of fasting is not to slack off from our other duties and responsibilities. We believe that we are rewarded for continuing to work and produce during our fasts. Fasting is not a reason to push meetings, clear schedules, or take a lighter load on projects. 

Our fasting in Ramadan gives us the chance to feel how hungry those who are less fortunate than us would feel. We often take food and water for granted that give us life and health. Feeling the absence of those things during a fast makes us more aware of those who do not have enough food, clean water to drink or shelter overhead. Being aware of these things simultaneously brings us a feeling of gratitude for our health and happiness and allows compassion to grow in our heart.

Ramadan is also a time for renewal, to re-dedication of yourself to live a good life and leave the mistakes of the past behind you. Ramadan is to remind everyone just how wonderful it would be if everyone in the world was given the chance to start over again, to forget the mistakes of the past, and to begin a new. There are not many people who would turn down such an opportunity. All of us have made mistakes. We also deliberately do things we know to be wrong. 

During Ramadan, Muslim are encourage take part in community and charity. There are iftar dinners held at mosques every night (you are welcome to join the fun – even if you’re not fasting!) and night time prayer vigils throughout the month. We give charity in abundance and make an extra effort to partake in community service.

Anyhow – throughout the month Muslims will invite families, friends, neighbours and sometimes even strangers (not so much in Australia, but it happens quite often in Malaysia) for a dinner to break the fast.  Sharing this meals with others is a great blessing and thus, there are plenty invitations. 

Once the month is over, there is a celebration day – special prayers are offered, gifts are given to children and there are sweets a to be had for everyone.  It’s fantastic.  This is called the “Eid Al-Fitr“ (meaning Celebration of the Breaking of the Fast) and is most commonly abbreviated to just “Eid.”  It’s a time for visiting family, neighbours and friends.

I think that’s about as basic as I can get it — but if you have questions – ask!  I’ll answer! 

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Rebel, Playboy, Activist

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” ― George Bernard Shaw 

A maverick is someone who thinks independently, going against orthodoxy and routinely dissenting with popular views. The origins of this word are actually quite fascinating, as indeed are the roots of many words which come from the American West.

In the mid-1800s, a gentleman by the name of Samuel Augustus Maverick settled in Texas with the goal of becoming a cattle rancher. By tradition, ranchers branded their cattle with various markings to make them easy to identify, but Maverick refused to do so. Some people have suggested that he was simply lazy,  but popular belief suggests that it was a clever move by Maverick who knew that, by convention, unbranded cattle belonged to whoever managed to claim them first. Using his out of box thinking, he ensured that any unbranded cattle were regarded as his, since he was the only rancher not to use brands, and in 1867, ranchers started calling unbranded cattle “mavericks.”

It was a brilliant move. Fencing was not widely used in the American West during this period, which meant that cattle roamed freely, often having calves far from the homestead. By claiming all unbranded cattle as his own, Maverick undoubtedly acquired a few cows which actually belonged to other people.

The origins of the word would suggest that it is a reflection of Maverick's behaviour which was indicative of someone willing to bend the rules to gain success. Later the term became widely used to describe rabble rousers, thieves and outlaws who were quite likely to brag loudly about their escapades. So the term has not always been deemed a positive one.

For me mavericks are free-thinkers and yes, we do need them more than ever. They are less likely to be swayed by popular opinion nor will they do things to seek approval from those around them. They see a problem and find the most practical and effective solution to that problem even though that problem may not be commonly visible. Innovative and inventive, you will almost certainly not be able to second guess their actions. They have their own agenda and are often unwilling to tell you about it unless it suits their purposes.

They are capable of utilising another's belief system consciously to achieve certain aims without being a part of the throngs that idolise a particular way of thinking - although they can play the part if necessary. If they feel that the crowd needs turning - then they can use their position in the crowd to influence change. You may or may not see them in action or realise who and what they are - they could look just like you or me. They do not seek to get approval or public recognition for what they do as the attention in itself is a distraction from their main purpose. Being ego-less is a virtue that many of us strive to experience as that ensures that we can do things for the right reasons.

Mavericks are not afraid to be alone, to think alone, and work alone. They will be willing to use the back door, jump the queue, not apply for jobs when applying for jobs, or do conventional deals which follow a set formula or format. The box does not exist so thinking outside of the box will never happen. Rules are to be tried, tested, bent, broken and re-written. They will go where they want, do what they want and wear what they want and invariably they will not mind being unconventional.

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and  I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference" Robert Frost

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Peter Pan

“We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” - George Bernard Shaw

As we grow older, certain behaviors naturally abate. While we’re all glad our days of thumb-sucking and bed-wetting are behind us, positive traits such as limitless imagination and spontaneity also diminish. Remember how a couple of blankets and pillows could transform the living room sofa into a magical fort? Or how a humble bathroom towel could turn an average boy into a superhero?

As the children we once were, growing up was a process of becoming adults. Not only biologically but also mentally. We learned to be responsible, to pay the bills, to get things done and we learned the complex world of adulthood. To become adults we had to lose our tantrums, silliness, our childhood. And we lost our minds. Our child-like minds.

When people start to think like a child, they begin to see things from a fresh perspective. They learn to step back and view problems, people and things from a completely different point of view.

With respect to creativity, the freshness of the child's view is not to be underestimated. When the world of the small child is properly understood, then perhaps it is no surprise that Einstein said he was led to his discoveries by asking questions that "only children ask."

While I was growing up my parents taught me that adults were not allowed to act like kids. Children were adults in waiting. Adults were what mattered. As an adult it was my job to buckle down and pull my weight in this world. There was simply no room for childish thinking.

Unlike adults, however, kids have an energy that comes from a belief that life is terrific; that tomorrow is an exciting prospect and that the future will be amazing.

Adults generally dread tomorrow. Tomorrow means another problem at work that they will have to solve. It means another day doing things that they wouldn’t be doing “if only” they were (rich, powerful, famous, etc.). Adults have generally given up on their lives. As they get older, many adults seem to go insane. They get bitter. Some become obsessed. They often smile less and less. Not all of them are like this but far too many are.

Think like a child! Children don’t need a reason to be happy! They just are! Following a child’s lead will give you more to be grateful for, and in turn, will bring more into your life 

Note: I wanna be like Peter Pan ....the Boy Who Wouldn't Grow up