Thursday, January 31, 2013

My Friends at MGTF = Museum Galleri Tuanku Fauziah

I think it has been six years now that I have known these gentlemen and i am forever indebted to their hospitality in accepting me as the "Ad hoc" Resident artist.
I am grateful to have been a member of a team, men who knows how to take it easy and get things done with smiles and laughter.
I have had the opportunity in participating in their various projects on and off the road and through this have been able to meet some great people related to these activities.

The MGTF staff has always been there to lend support to my shows all over Penang in the past and I am fortunate the to be allowed a space to work and a place to stack my finished works.
Iam fortunate to be given many forms of technical assistance especially in dealing with computer matters. scanning and printing some of my works in the past. I could not have been able to have the ongoing Blog had it not for the generosity of this Museum through its former Director Encik Hasnul Jamal Saidon.
The ladies have always been there with their smiles wondering I am all about as they I think are still figuring what or how to accept me and my ways.

They Rule!
The MGTF staff has been my support group and i will continue on doing what i can to give my support and  suggestion to further make this institution a more creative and productive place to visit.

MGTF's is predominantly made up of Malay staff, the Museum Gallery will continue to be having a sense of conservation of the Malay Arts and culture. We need this role in Penang. Other cultures have their own institutions to cater towards this need; the Malay Muslim culture and arts has MGTH.
So tho all my brothers and sisters who have been my companions all these years I wish you all a greater success in accomplishing all your projects and give life to this Institution -MGTF.

When Enough is enough, you Learn to say Thank You.

The whole idea is to reach out and say thank you!
Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!!
Listen, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
I thank you with every breath i take and every move i make!
Do you hear what I am saying? I said thank you! Yes Sir! Thank You.

What for ?!
I am very grateful, yes indeed very grateful to be in this thankful state of mind.
It is so enlightening a feeling of lightness of Being...
I am grateful to have survived life with all its ups and downs to be able to feel this way:
 breath for breath I am thankful to be alive.

Because i owe it to my four Children, I owe it to my late wife and my way of saying thank you to her.
Why? Because this life good or otherwise has taken me on a long and eventful journey towards my relationship with my fellow beings.

Because i had hated my life for many years while growing up untill I met and married my first wife;she pulled me out of my miseries, I left for the United States and lived there for 21 years of my adult life; I was twenty five when I made that decision...Berhijrah lah sayang...demi masa mu!
Why simply because I feel only now that I am closer to knowing who I am in the scheme of life.

So i say Thank You to the Lord of Love and Compassion for His Grace.
I am a student of the Buddha, i say Thank You for the Wisdom and Enlightenment You have bestowed upon me.
Alhamdullilah! Hirabil Alamin!!
Thank You; You ,Lord of the Universe.

A Warning to All Peace Loving Malaysians!

I stumbled upon this article in the Face Book; I will not divulge further but suffice to say that these are words well spoken and faithfully thought out with regard to a very sensitive issue that the Nation faces. I am sharing this article through my blog for my fellow Malaysian readers. Please take your time to read it; it is indeed well worth to think about; our future is hinged on it.
With all due respect to the writer...

Prof Md Tajuddin Md Rasdi's (Professor at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia's School of Architecture. An eloquent writer, he has authored over 30 books, including his latest, ‘Why Listen to the Vice-Chancellor?') comments on YB Ibrahim Ali's irresponsible suggestions....

"I wish to comment on the irresponsible statement of Ibrahim Ali (purposely NOT using any titles) on the burning of Malay language Bibles with the name Allah. I think such statements, if left unchecked by the Malaysian public, elected representatives and especially, the prime minister himself, would create a culture of extreme violence and victimize many innocent Malaysians.

I urge peace loving and sensible Malaysian of all religious faiths to come together and denounce such ‘grandstanding statements’ that clearly violate our ‘sacred’ Rukunegara tenet of ‘Kesopanan dan Kesusilaan’.

Our forefathers have worked hard to build this nation of diverse communities, race and religions and derive the principle of ‘Kesopanan dan Kesusilaan’. I am convinced, as a Malaysian, as an academic and as a Muslim, that the May 13 tragedy that saw many innocent lives lost was not due to the ignorance of ordinary Malaysians but by politicians trying to be popular by using such fiery instructions in order to incite racial hatred.

I have read the book ‘A Singapore Story’ and some other critical writings that indicate that the culprits of our racial mistrusts and clashes were in no small part due to self-serving politicians and a media which has no sense of honour whether in the Islamic spirit or in any religious spirit.

Have we Malaysians, and especially Malays, forgotten our own principle in the Rukunegara, crafted in our own Melayu Language. Kesopanan dan Kesusilaan. As good am I with English I can’t translate properly the word ‘kesusilaan’. The word, and I am not a scholar in Lingusitics, connotes to me such softness, tact and, politeness, concern and humility. Is there a better word than this to reflect such a great culture of the Malays?

I dare say that the Prophet Muhammad, if Allah had not intended for him to be born in Arabia, would have been a Malay. Why? Because the Prophet was the softest and most humble, polite and considerate of men.

I have read through over 20,000 hadiths from the compilations of Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Daud, Tirmidhi and Ibn Madjah along with the Muwatta and the Sirah Ibn Ishaq to conjure up a man which a hadith says that the Prophet was so ‘shy’ and gentle that even a small slave girl can lead him.

This characteristic of gentleness is totally unheard off in the boisterous, rowdy and all man’s world of the Arabs. When the Prophet Muhammad stood on the fields of Ta’if with a bloodied and scarred body after being stoned by children and adults of the settlement, he still forbade the Angel Jibrail from taking any retribution and destroy the community. Why? For ‘I am sent as a Mercy to mankind’ said the Prophet.

When Aishah asked him ‘What was your greatest fear, O Rasulullah?’ He replied that he feared of giving in to his feeling of vengeance and destroying the community with a single command. The Prophet did not fear death or bodily harm. He feared giving in to his ego and vengeful feeling that all humanity possess.


Who are we Malays then?

I, therefore ask, who are we Malays then? Are we better than the Prophet? Look at our examples. The mufti and other higher authorities have INSTRUCTED, ORDERED and DECREED that non-Muslims MUST NOT use the word Allah. The PAS Syura Council that has all the so-called great Islamic scholars went round and round their wordings until settling on almost the same tone of instruction, order and decree.

Now we have the person of Ibrahim Ali calling on the burning of the Bible or the Injil. Unless I am mistaken, Allah called on all Muslims to honour the Books of Allah in the past and its PEOPLES. Yes... yes...we can argue about what book and which Bible that have been ‘tampered’ with and all that stuff but I have read the Bible in English and I, for one, found many enlightening things that Nabi Isa says that has helped me get closer to Allah The Most High.

I think I am honouring what the Qur’an says in Surah Al-Baqara to believe in the Books. I also read other books of our great religions that have given the first idea of humaneness to human civilisation.

The whole Allah issue to me was handled as badly as it can be handled. Why? It is simply an instrument of political influence. If the so called scholars and politicians of Islam were sincerely concerned about such confusion on the Malay usage of the word Allah, there should have been a courteous call for discussion with our brothers and sisters of the Christian faith. Not instruct, order and decree first... and... then call for discussion.

What discussion? It seems that the decision has already been chiselled into stone. Where in heavens name is the Rukunegara? Kesopanan dan Kesusilaan?

Ibrahim Ali has called for the burning of the Bible. What next? Let us Malays go burn a church at 4 pm next week? Oh... while we’re at it why don’t we burn a few Christians... if we have time!

What talk is this? What country is this? Have we forgotten the decency to discuss cordially. “This is an Islamic Country and I am a Malay and so you better do as I say!” Is that the line we are taking now as Malays? Perhaps that is a Malay cultural trait... I do not know. But I DO KNOW it is NOT what the Prophet would say or do. It is NOT within the Islamic Spirit as shown by the Prophet Muhammad (may peace be upon him).

I can quote pages and pages of hadith showing the generosity and magnanimity of Muhammad Rasulullah. I can’t seem to find any of the same characteristics in Malay politicians in Malaysia.

My wife and I have raised five children and now we have a grandson. I am sure all Christian parents and Muslim parents are concerned about where this country is going and would it be safe to be a place to stay. Just because I am a Malay, with a million-strong mostly Malay civil service, and an equal number of police and military personnel of my race does not give me the right to frighten my brothers and sisters of the Christian faith... or any other faith for that matter.

So, before such volatile statement turn into regrettable actions, I call upon the last strand of decency from the politicians of the ruling party, and especially the prime minister, to denounce Ibrahim Ali and his war-mongering words. Or else, we would have to change our Rukunegara from ‘Kesopanan dan Kesusilaan’ to ‘Kekasaran dan Kegila-gilaan’."

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Thaiupusam -2013 phaes two.-Vail! Vail!

It was more like people watching this year as there were not too many Kavadis involved. Years ago the street would be an endless lines of Kavadis with hardly a space to walk. It was real!
 The toll of the iron bell calls the faithful to their needs...Pink Floyd
You don't feel it anymore, not the same awesomeness, something was missing in the air. Too much plastic and foam boards!

Again the beauty today is in the simple down to earth sights of people lost in their own world of noise , smells and colors as they bore the noonday sun.

It is the purity of the mind that counts and not the heaviness of the mortification i suppose and today it is more fun than getting to become too serious.
When Minnie Mouse can join in the fun why not?
Time to take a breather and time to stand and catch up with the latest gossip.
Time to text a message and time pose for a picture.
We all live in a world full of life and the Dance of Shiva will keep moving until the end of time.
She is the future of her kind and this country and let us hope she will keep he heritage and culture for those yet to come.

And yes when in doubt, take a picture, do a sketch.

So, on we go! Towards the our final destination to the house of the Lord and present Him with our milk as a form of washing off our sins and purifying our souls.

The Thaipusam 27th. Jan. 2013 - Georgetown

It is said that somethings never change, and then again, somethings does.(Morpheus - Matrix); the Thaipusam this years as i see it was not as glorious as it used to be when things were a little more authentic.

The spectators and supporters were having more fun at the event than the participants. Touiists and locals alike were there to take good photos of the event and young boys were there to catch glimpse of the young indian girls in theri resplendant saris.

The procession began at Lorong Kulit as it has been for the past few years eversince the rules of routes were changed. It makes the trip a llot shorter tot he Water Falls Garden, hiltop temple where the trip ends.

The staging area was in topsy-turvy as more garbage were produced than Kavadi carriers and there seem to be a general lack of care for the surrounding environment and its appearence; in short it does not reflect a religious virtueof cleanliness or discipline.

But the simple gestures of getting things ready with solemn dignity and religious essence was still present when you watch the simplest of actions.

All set and ready for the long walk, and the 'Kali' Drummers  band boys are raring to go!
The self mortification carried out during the Thaipusam has been going on for nearly a century here in Goergetown and now more and more Chinese are getting into the hang of it. The Chinese it seems this year were for into i than the Hindus as I see it.
What Divinity is present here? Lord Murugan, Lord krishna? Lord Ganesha? Lord Subramania? They mosr probably are all here to witness these devotees fullfilling their vows on this aupicious day.

Met with a fammiliar friend or two as they came to give moral support to a devotee. Dato' Gary Nair and Mr. Loh were there to give support to lawrence Loh's son (Below)

And so the journey began as it has done for many years now in this great City of Georgetown, I only wish there were more to it like in the past when it was an event to be proud of. Today most Hindus are into building temple far greater and more impressive; a show of wealth rather than devotion.