Saturday, 27 October 2012

Father & Son

Some of you may have noticed that I’ve never written about my parents or my relationship with them. It’s not by intention; just that there’s never been a reason to write about it. That is, until recently, as I start gaining resolution in new areas of my life.

Until a few years ago I was only able to really understand half of the father & son relationship. As I’m getting older, I find myself spending more time thinking about and trying to understand my own father. I think this is quite normal. As men, we spend a lifetime trying to understand our fathers. We learn and continually relearn lessons from them throughout our lives. Over the years, my opinions and views of my father have changed greatly, and the revelations of why my father did certain things are becoming more frequent and clear as I make my way.

I have a good relationship with my father, but it is a little distant. We don't really talk much about each other’s lives that often, and it always seems a little cold. He was always busy make me during my childhood closer to my mom and sibling. Yet, we love him and would never try to exclude him in any way.

There is no simple way to relate to our father as an adult. The make-up of any individual is multi-faceted, and recognising that our fathers are much more than the unilateral role we have known them in is a great way to start to relate. As adults, we gain a greater insight and understanding into our fathers, not just as fathers but as individuals. This understanding of how our father became who he is can yield clarity, perspective and respect, so take time to get to know our father -- to really know him.

Even if he comes home late from work just so he can pay for your education and the bills, his love is always unconditional, even if he may not be there all the time.  He cares and wants only the best for his children. In our heart of hearts, he will always be our hero.

My father consistently prioritizes serving our needs before his own. I used to think it was really his job as my father to provide what I want, until I realized he was actually doing that because of love and sacrifice.  After understanding, I now truly appreciate everything he has been doing for his family.

Thank you for your guidance and for being such a great influence throughout my life. I am very lucky to have you as my father. I wish you a happy 57th birthday.

Friday, 26 October 2012

My Sacrify

The story of Eid Al Adha is the story of testing Prophet Ibrahim’s faith in Allah. Throughout the life of Prophet Ibrahim, he did not have a son, and only in his old age did Allah bestow him with a son. Prophet Ibrahim dearly loved his son. As Prophet Ismail grew older, Ibrahim had a dream that was sacrificing his beloved son, Ibrahim’s believe that the dream is a message from Allah, a trial

Ibrahim passes the test and a ram was substituted for sacrifice in place of his son. Thus, the father and the son became role models for true Muslims; those who fulfill Allah’s will before their own. Ibrahim, after waiting for so long for an heir promised by Allah, is now required to sacrifice him. Ismail, on the other hand, was asked to make the supreme sacrifice; his own life.

The story was about a trial of the will and the faith of both the father and the son. Ibrahim was tested on the priorities of his faith, love, and trust. Ismail was tested for Allah’s obedience.

As today remind us, our willingness to give up some of our own bounties in order to strengthen and help those who are in need. We recognize that all blessings come from God, and we should open our hearts and share with others. The meat from the sacrifice of Eid Al Adha is given away in three ways; self, relatives and the poor. It is a symbolic act of sharing with people who are malnourished and less fortunate then us. 

For me, Eid Al Adha was always a time to reflect upon the willing sacrifices that we must make - not just the sacrifices that occur due to adversity. We often find ourselves in situations that require personal sacrifice, but rarely do we make a clear intention to give in sacrifice or to practice the art of sacrifice.

As an adult who is now living in a small town with Muslims who are culturally and ethnically different from myself, my forms of celebration have had to change a bit. Whereas large community gatherings characterized the Eid celebrations of my youth, today celebrations are much more traditional and ritualistic. The emphasis on tradition and ritual in my new community have been of great benefit to me as I seek more integrated ways of instilling a sense of Holy Day vs. holiday in my kids. Although we miss some of the uniquely Malaysian traditions of the Eid, we are beginning to settle into a very comfortable approach to the Eid that is a very spiritually infused form of celebration.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

The Red Warrior

Tonight, warriors will march onto the battlefield. At the edges, two generals sit alongside their lieutenants, planning tactics and shouting commands. The air erupts with the chorus of battle cries, blare of trumpets and beating of drums from their fanatical followers.  

In this battle, there can only be one victor. Football is more than just a sport. Football not only stirs strong emotions among the players and coaches on the field, but also its supporters in the stands and streets.

I recently read an article in the Economist about Barcelona football club and its rise to being touted as potentially the most successful football club ever, but I think it’s a great display of good leadership and management as a business also.

The article looks into Barcelona’s culture of team building and how it creates a bond with its supporters and sponsors. This reminds me of the rise of my home state football fondly known as the Red Warrior.

To those who have stepped foot onto Kelantan’s soil, they will tell you all about the passion we have for our local team football team as much as Argentinians do. In a country that is dominated by headlines from European football, Kelantan can be recognised as a state that is constantly gripped by local football fever. As acknowledged by many, Kelantanese are arguably the most passionate, vocal and colourful set of supporters on these shores, definitely the most loyal and known for our own football hooligan.

The flags and banners with the battle cry "Gome Kelate Gomo" or "Fight Kelantan Fight" virtually omnipresent, while the local community can be found passionately donning their Red Warriors outfit far and wide.

The team has become the best example of how a professional sports team should be run. Once a minnow among other state football teams, their rise in stature been brought about by the arrival of Tan Sri Annuar Musa to the Kelantan FA throne. Kelantan were relegated to the third tier of Malaysian football and in a massive organizational shake-up.

Since then, the team has signing of quality players from other states, secured sponsorships for the team and invested heavily in good foreign players. Besides, he also ensured the welfare of players was looked after and that Kelantan always had the best coach possible to train the team.

Like Barcelona FC, Kelantan has used the idea that it is “more than a club” to cultivate a two-way relationship with its fans. If The Reds Warrior step-in Malaysia National Stadium they never be alone.There would be a lot of cars, and even buses, carrying red flags along Karak Highway.
Their impact on the team should never be understated. They follow the fortunes of their team closely and spend hard-earned money to turn up in droves to back the team
Jim Collins, the author of “Good to Great”, argues that the secret of long-term corporate success lies in cultivating a distinctive set of values. For all the talk of diversity and globalisation, this usually means promoting from within and putting down deep local roots. The reason Kelantan is having a great season is because team consider as a big family. It couldn’t be farther from the truth, the core of the Red Warriors squad have been together for almost three years, thus understanding and respect is mutual, and holds the team like a strong glue.

The chance to win a Malaysian treble is mesmerizing enough but the Kelantan faithful will look back and cite their ‘never-say-die’ attitude as being the catalyst for their triumph. Armed with confidence and flair, Kelantan look on course for a great 2012/2013 season regardless of what transpires on or off the field.

Back to tonight's match, Kelantan is certainly the favourite. Based on its track record so far, there is no reason why it should not win. As a Kelantanese, I hope that red will be the colour of the evening. However, as mentioned above, should this happen, the vibration could be felt beyond the soccer pitch in Bukit Jalil.

Note: The red warrior chanting "Gome Kelate Gomo" is from English words " Go More Kelantan Go More"