Saturday, November 30, 2013

What would i be leaving.

Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.
This is the view from my bedroom window and this is what it looks like in the wee early hours of the mornig when the world is asleep. I would sit and do my work at one of the tables or meditate cross legged pearched on the chair wiht silence  all but fo occasional rush of a motorcycle or cars, but mostly it is quiet.
"Autobiographies are only useful as the lives you read about and analyze may suggest to you something that you may find useful in your own journey through life."Eleanor Roosevelt
.In the morning the place is filled with the roar of traffic and the chatters of folks having the meals and this is when i am asleep. Most of my blogging is done during the nights. I have managed to make use of what is available to me making it work for me instead of working against it. Now i am almost completely comfortable with the arrangements in my life style. Living as productive despite all the external invasions of my senses and my mind.
..Never make your home in a place. Make a home for yourself inside your own head. You'll find what you need to furnish it - memory, friends you can trust, love of learning, and other such things. That way it will go with you wherever you journey.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Journey Begins - Have Sony Will Travel

From my regular haunt, at the fringe of the Island overlooking Parts of Georgetown in the skyline I am saying farewell to this Island I was born and raised in, well at least for a while. In the not too distant future all these huts will be gone as 'development, investment and economic gains is creeping right up behind them.  
I am saying good bye to this place where the shores meets the sea and  the struggle to stay afloat is ever in the horizon as those who eke their living simply by going to sea and  barely making it as it is in this dog -eat dog of an existence.  
There is beauty in this struggle too as it is  seen in the very rustic and impermanent structures that line the shore in strong contrast to the cider block structures looms in the background ever threatening to over take the makeshift community. The high tides and low tides comes and goes despite whatever goes on in the lives of the people.  
If the plans for the shoreline is that of skyscrapers or expensive condominiums, then the future would look like another Hong Kong or Singapore and hopefully it would not marr the aesthetic natural beauty of the landscape with another sterile city -scape. I am saying adieu to this ever changing face of the Island which I had once grew up in.. When i ask myself what was  I retreating away from, this scene is one of the them. I wish no psrt in playing fiddle to the rich for whom the sea is being reclaimed to build high cost comfort homes at the expense of those living  hand to mouth. There is not muh that i can do about it it is progress, it is development it is what is to come.

Monday, November 25, 2013

What are Brothers For?

If i were to understand Christianity it would not be through reading the Bible or other related materials, i learn it through the acts of my brother Lee Khai and his wife Anne who are to me truly practicing the Faith in Christ through Love. Non- Judgemental, Unconditional Love through the Holy Spirit that is within. I am again indebted to Lee Khai for sponsoring my journey around the country in my little Kancil. I am impressed if not moved by this very  generous gesture especially equipping me with a brand new camera, something i sorely miss. I will do my best to make it all worth while in my planned journey.
It takes me immediately back to the Bodhisatva vows the I had taken while practicing Zen Buddhism in California and i have written quite extensively on this in my past blog entries. What has the vows got to do with any of it? It is there as a reminder for me of my mission in life, to help heal where healing is needed, to become acquainted with the pains and suffering of others wherever i go and to share Love and Wisdom where ever and whenever circumstances or events permits me to. I sometimes feel like i am one of those old Zen 'Crazies' who does not know when to quit or even how to quit. This me, The Cheeseburger Buddha, the 'Night Soil Carrier', the Elegant Beggar. It is a role i play in my day to day encounters with what is before me, creating an illusion for the sake of winning the hearts of the multitude or beings around me with Love and Positive energies, Acceptance and Deliverance. I do not mean to aggrandize this principle I follow but at the highest level of human consciousness, the Vows of the Bodhisatvas are made for me to serve humanity and it is ever present in my mind; hence i travel from place to place to practice this principle.
The first of the Vows is...Beings are numberless, I vow to awaken with them!
On the Sam Bahari level of understanding, I am tied to the vows i made as a reminder of the meaning of my life, my practices, I too am Ram Dass! The servant of God. At an even more mundane level of understanding I tell myself to chill and do the best I can with what i am given without too much moaning and groaning; serve. With the new Sony camera I definitely look forward to my journey around the country, I look forward to being on the road again meeting strangers and making new friends, I look forward to sketching and painting already!

My Studio is the Open Studio and it is open everywhere.

I realize at my age I am liable to kick the bucket at anytime now and it would not be a major surprise to anyone these days. Over sixties is a bonus by and large and to be at my age and still be able to wander around doing what i enjoy doing is an added blessing. I touched many hearts at the last place I visited, the Chinese Community at Kampung Sungai Lembu as they touched mine and my simple contribution by being there was i am sure appreciated. It helped me to be at a place just the opposite of where I am at right this moment, my home on the corner of Sungai Pinang Road and River Road, the busiest junction in Georgetown. I however can sit and meditate for an hour without noticing a single sound outside in the dining area late at night.but oin the day time I force myself to sleep in and lock out the traffic noise outside. Being at the Chinese school i felt the quietness almost the whole day through, hardly the sound of an engine. Where ever i travel I try to find that small peaceful corner where I can look within me deeper and deeper. I need the presence of silence and open expanse of nature, of hills and fields, of rivers and trees; I need to be by the sea and stare up at the large white clouds above me as they float ever changing in shape and forms, I need to be home and my home has always been on the road. I have no home, my home is everywhere.
If i die while driving along some beaten path so be it, at least i have spent a great part of my life witnessing God's creations up close and personal and I am able to share it with the many that take the trouble to follow my ramblings. As a matter of fact the realization that I am getting closer to death has allowed me to be less worried about life, if I am to worry i would say I wish I had done more, seen more, touched more and feel more towards the Love of life; than life would not have been wasted. Hence why I cannot sit around this place waiting for the walls to crumble away an allowing me to change, to migrate, to move on, to keep churning up what else is left for me to churn before the curtain is dropped and all bets are off. Life has much to offer yet and I accept my limitations to stay within the bounds of my age, (not over do it like in the past.)
This piece has been accepted for the Annual Penang State Art Exhibition.; my Pride.

Turning Negative to Positive by lifting your own Bootstraps..

I have been having the flu for the past week or so and it seems to be lingering without making any significant change except that not my phlegm when i cough and spit out contains drops of blood; not good. The migraines are back with  force nine magnitude that almost blinds me at times and my daughter needs her rent money and my car needs the road tax renewed; not a beautiful scenario to wake up to this morning and let us hope this too will pass, somehow.
I am still contemplating leaving the City for the East Coast just to get away and perhaps fine some solace where there is less noise and not as hectic a life. I also have to settle my late wife's income tax issues where I have to pay RM5000 and it can only be solved in Terengganu where her files are or so it seems. It is that time of the year I suppose where it is pouring cats and dogs as the monsoon season hits the South China Seas and at the same time I am getting inundated by life's daily pressures economic as well as psycho-emotional, the later being a sense of stagnation and lack of energy to rebound.
My so called issues are no issues at all compared to those who got swiped by the Typhoon in the Philippines, they have a hell to deal with for quite sometime to come. Their future is bleaker than most especially for the children whose life is being torn apart by such a magnitude of devastation; this is collective suffering at its worse. My problem is a far cry from what these folks are up against and I am deeply saddened if not fearful at what has happened and more it seems will happen for so long as nothing is done in terms of climate changes. Mankind is headed for the worse or so it seems and we are still playing roulette as to what should be done to combat these natural catastrophes.
I sat watching the documentary movie made of Mahatma Gandhi which is five hours long on Youtube, not the Hollywood, Ben Kingsley Gandhi movie but the actual black and white taken during his lifetime and it has been uplifting to say the least. The Mahatma holds a special place in my heart ever since i first came to learn about him when i was a child and he was killed a year before I was born. One skinny Indian 'Fakir' in a loin cloth took down the British Empire in India! His life has been one long struggle for the independence of one of the most populated nation on earth and he did it all without too much bloodshed and allot of self sacrifice. My point in making is that when I am approaching a slump or depression or when i am in need of some sort of reminder to lift myself up again from wallowing in self pity or defeat, I would watch the lives and achievements of great men like Gandhi, or Nelson Mandela or Martin Luther King and more. It is through reflecting on how they have managed to stay on the road that i too can feel the energy and the will to transcend all that stand in my way of living life to the fullest. Life is too precious to be left to its own demise by not propagating a means for its healthy growth; there is only one life to live, live it well.

On the way Out

 This was my first Artist business card which was done in Green Bay Wisconsin. The image was taken by a Japanese friend of my silhouette against a bright cold Green Bay winter day. I used to have a manager who would try to sell my works and run my life, but i was not good when it comes to fulfilling my obligations towards those i strike up an agreement with. I often failed in making my works marketable in this sense. I was never a good business man and am still having the same weakness after all these loss.; but it is not that i did not try.
This is the feeling I am experiencing right now as far where my life have led me and it is not the best of feelings or state of mind to be in. I feel like I am being stomped over by one and all, events and circumstances family and friends alike, a sure sign of manic depression setting and calls for immediate drastic measures for change to be inevitable. The always that feeling of sadness and to a degree a sense of aloneness while i burn my path through these down curves in the flow chart of my life and the tendency to look for scapegoats for my failures is the next fault following. These are and has always been my inherent habitual thinking mind's processes often leading me to find and escape from being in the midst of life. I am no doubt an angry man by nature no matter how or what i think of myself to be. and growing old it seems if no sure cure for it an sometimes it even amplifies the issues.
   I admit that most of my life I have created my own self delusions and lived like one living in a dream or a nightmare as the case may be; i have created my sins and successes and have not to blame but myself..."for so long as you consider you have a 'Self' you are bound to suffer." I cannot rid me of this self at least not in this lifetime and for this i also cannot rid myself of the incessant thinking mind that threatens to drown me in a garbage pile of thoughts and ideas, dreams and delusions. What solutions I have learned from my years of looking and and looking out at myself are now of no significance or so it seems. This whole trip of self discovery has become a load of crap that has practically sucked me into self deprivation and always being in need. I am not happy with what i have become at this moment.

Most of my adult life I have looked to the East and West for Wisdom but it seems it is from within that i still have to etch out the forms and images that would be of any meaning to my personal journey. I have to become the Sunnyasin (wandering hermits) and travel the roads like a beggar to clean my mind off the accumulations i have accrued over the years and are now worthless informations and past experiences not most not worth recounting as they are dead and gone. I will embark upon my final journey into the realm of the unknown and pitch my mind against the unseen and the hidden natures of life. This I will do in the near future as soon as I have settled my accounts here; I hope and pray that it will be my last wanderings and that somewhere out there i will find my peace of mind and make peace with my Maker. 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

A Visit to Kampung Sungai Lembu.

My friend, Wah Peng, a well respected member of the the Penang community of Artists especially the Chinese, had arranged for Rashid and myself to join in the Art and Eco community effort at Sungai Lembu, or Cow River located on the border of Penang and Kedah on the Kulim side. It is the most fly infested place i have ever been to and it taught me a humbling lesson on how to exist among flies, invited flies to hover and buzz around you s much as they like as long as they do not eat away at my watercolor paints. I learned from it a communal lesson of how a common problem exist that needs to be resolved by the community as a the State of Penang has the Clean Rivers issues that is yet being put in the back burner. The reason for the existence of these much flies is the fact that the community is surrounded by chicken and duck farms among other farms like pig farms and such, hence you got an abundance of flies. One solution is move the farms from nearby ;locations to a new and more suitable location. Perhaps provide for good sanitary general house keeping all around not giving the flies an easy ride towards population explosion.
On one occasion I was invited to have lunch with an ADUN or State Representative in charge of the area, a young and bright Malay lady. The event took place at a what seems a community canteen with round tables and blood red table cloths half of which was littered with the former users leftovers covered north, south east and west with hordes of flies and empty mineral water bottles all over the floor being blown by the wind left and right. A special table was set with a most classy Malay lunch fit for a YB, Her Respected ADUN; the fish dishes was out of this world and I thought I have had some good Malay dishes in my life! There five of us all together that was not Chinese in the whole scenario and we served ourselves heartily, at least I did.
What i observed from this experience was that there was a lack of respect or at least the most basic observation of protocol to be observed when we involved a duly elected VIP who can make things happen for your communal efforts; treat your representatives with all due respect and decorum; I had to ask the Chairman for mineral water to be made available at the table too, just in case the YB choke on a fly.
While making every effort to be present in the moment I also came to enjoy the most beautiful landscape while creating bears and foxes, thunder gods and serpents in the white clouds against clear blue skies lined by green low hills stretching from one corner of the eye to another, and line with rubber trees as the basement littered with thatched dwellings here and there; simply rustic. This was where i find my solace from from the rush of City life in Georgetown. This was where I sat, to keep my mind from going insane from lack of anything to do and wanting to be somewhere else, somewhere else, somewhere else...I felt myself being there for the three days that I had spent in Sungai Lembu Chinese School.
I saw it was not n easy effort to put together for such a community and this I believe for the first time, live and learn and they did very well from what i can see, not without shortcomings but still I felt well taken care of by my friends and the people as a whole, I felt like a tourist, however i have visited much more backward and rustic than this in my life, I was not overwhelm. One of my playgrounds while growing up was exploring the hinterland or 'the Ulu' areas of Terengganu and that was in 1960s- 70s. The Malays then was living pretty much like what their ancestors had most probably lived a hundred years before them, if they had any there to begin with, or they could have been the original; sadly most of these clusters of villages are now buried under Tasik Kenyir, one of the largest man-made lake in South East Asia. My point is when I 'evaluate or access a situation, a scene or a person even I based my perceptions on my past experiences as reference files stashed away in the back of my filing cabinet. One of the advantage of willingness to 'Hijrah' is the ability to touch and experience life in all its aspects and possibly to keep an ongoing record of these scenes and adventures like keeping cuts of your old movies. I keeping a documentary type of record or even a diary or some form is the sharing, is the end product; hence, this Blog.
The Chinese dominated community of Sungai Lembu was created by the then British- Malayan Union government to counter the communist efforts in recruiting locals to serve their cause in the jungle warfare or the insurgence movement. These were homes for those who had lived on the fringe of the main stream society and today they inherit a community that is starting to come alive with all kinds of economic, social and  ecological heritage prospects. Sadly enough it will another success Chinese village story to the exclusion of other nationalities and as it is I found most children I encountered could not understand the most basic Malay, English or any other language; definitely not a healthy place to be if your intention is 'Satu Malaysia' or One Malaysia..Now it will not be apparent but in the long term the flaw will reveal itself in the form of racial ignorance; in their adult life the Chinese children growing in such and environment will become culturally myopic. However from my interpersonal communications with the parents most of whom are well educated and high middle class income folks, I felt and envy for them having such an environment still available to raise their children in.
I also had a glimpse of understanding of the role artists such as myself and my friends Rashid and Wah Peng were playing in promoting art and understanding among the villagers. Rashid and I were most probably the first two Malay artists the community had ever encountered up close and personal. When asked if they liked art, one got a blank look of, suspicion and "what are you talking about?", from the children; there was no sense of understanding reflecting from the looks they gave. Only through the act of drawing or sketching does it seems to unlocked the barrier of communication between the Chinese children and the Malay artists.Hardly any showed any interest or initiative to ask questions or even be curious of what being an artist is all about much less being a non-Chinese is all about.
Why should I care? What get involve in such activities when you are made to feel like an illegal alien or a tourist in your own backyard?  Servitude. To serve, to give to return the favor given to you in life that many does not have the opportunity to enjoy. To share with what God given talent that you have with the rest of humanity such that even if one individual had benefit from it, it gives a sense of gratification a fulfillment. "Well, what good did you do today?" "Lets see I did, do a series of sketches witnessed by a group of students, talked to parents about education and to others about how to..."      

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

My late wife loved Japan

We could not have found a better place for our Children to attend the Kindergarten than at Mukaiyama Yochien in Sendai. The three years my two children spent in the Kindergarten at Mukaiyama ran by the Kimura family was the best that could have happened for them in their education.  Both picked up Japanese like they were born into it.
With the Kimura family in Sendai- Japan could have been our home , but i was looking far into the future for my small family which was perhaps my error at the time. I feared for the children's religious as well as cultural upbringing; I had a hard time learning Japaneses and thus was not in tune with the rest of my family.. Although we made many good family friends in Sendai i was having a tough time belonging. 
The family with Masaharu Tsubaki, Lecturer, Transllater and Marathon runner. Masaharu Tsubaki san was one of those who came by every once or twice a week when he came to teach in Sendai at the Prep College or Kawaijyuku where my late wife was also a teacher. He was a man full of zest for life and translate into Japanese from books and magazines like the National Geographic and Forbes  and such.
Her students has always adored her wherever she taught. One thing about Nancy, she was well loved by one and all she came into contact with whether in the United States or in Japan, however i cannot say so for when she lived in Malaysia, I suppose it was more than a cultural shock for her living in the Malay community on the East Coast.. In this aspect I must admit that i have been instrumental in her demise which came fast and in a weird fashion.

It is being said that i did a poor job at taking care of my family and I suppose when i look back and realize that I have nothing to show for or leave behind for my children in terms of material comforts it might be construed to be so. However given the fact that i had transported my whole family from one country to another and placed them in the best of possible environment for their growth and education, I must admit the i have to stop taking this bull crap that my adversaries in life has been shoveling down my throat to make me feel small and an insignificant looser.
It may seem a trivial in the past living among your own family and friends here in Malaysia your so called home and watching how they climb one on top of another in order to feel important, be considered successful by others while throwing scraps and abuses at those they were suppose to aid and love as they became more affluent. I witnessed  till this day how the very children raised in the so called well balanced and religiously sound homes  treat their elders with contempt and irrelevance because they were taught to do so by their very well respected and religious parents. I have many of these so called nephews and nieces all over the country. Doctors and lawyers, designers and engineers, whose successes in life has not reflect their grasp on their sense of humanity much less love and respect and compassion towards those who could use their generosity. My children too will join this rank and file of the self -serving, self- glorifying   catering to their self interests and turning their faces away from those who have lifted them on to their pedestals; it is inevitable in this day and age of a dog-eat dog world; as the former Tun Dr. Mahathir once wrote..."The Malays easily forgets."
I promised my late wife that i would care for my two children by her as best i could and now both of them are past twenty one but still studying and hence still in need of my care if not financially at the very least psycho- emotionally, social and religious well being, in some circumstances as they embark upon adulthood. My son Karim still has problems picking up after himself and leaves his room much less to be desired knowing that every now and then his auntie or uncle would take a survey of his room in his absence. There is no cure for such laziness and lack of care except for me to walk away from the whole scene and deprive him of my presence as the cleaning lady and the bitching mother. My daughter who has just turned twenty one is pretty much off on her own, making ends meet and learning the ropes on being a survivor..I wish I could do better for her but ...such is! I have to stop looking West as my other two elder children are either building a grand palace to call a home or wallowing in self pity over things unaccomplished and the last thing on their minds is the sorry sod of a father who cannot afford to make any significant contribution towards their well being in the present moment in time.
I hope and pray that all my children will find their own sources of  fame if not fortune when I am dead and gone and be able to say they too did it in their own ways and I hope and pray that they will not look back with accusations as to how I have not fulfilled my obligations as a father that had led to their failures. I hope and pray that they will find comfort and courage among their fellow siblings wherever they may be in times of need knowing that there will always be a brother or a sister for them who will not judge them but be there for them simply because they are a Bahari. Heavens forbid that they become like me and my siblings estranged and removed from any true love and understanding. iT IS A SHORT SPAN WE SPEND IN THIS LIFE; I HOPE WE CAN MAKE IT THE BEST SHORT TERM. (in capitals by accident!).

Saturday, November 16, 2013

In Loving Memory of My Wife - 2

It is said that every dog has its day! Chilling out on Stinson Beach California. Even if it was not an everlasting moments we had our great times. there was a joint hidden somewhere out of view as we always visited the 'Buddha Ron', my adopted brother on weekends to hang out at 'the Beach'.
It is said that a woman is most appealing sexually or otherwise when she is in her pregnancy, and she can also be the meanest 'Bitch' on the planet. HOW CAN YOU NOT LOVE HER!
I was never close to her family although I loved and respected her father but her mother and me well she reminds me of one of my sister in laws in Malaysia: judgmental, I was not good enough for her daughter. "Oh I did not know that you had a college degree!" This was when she visited my wife and our second child in San Francisco for three days on their way to Las Vegas. My wife was an adopted child and so was her elder brother Randy who i have never personally met in my life and would had loved to as he seems like someone who you would love to have for a brother in law, but... such is!
I used to call her my "lady in Red', that was her favorite color and every so often you can see her flying down Market Street near Octavia on her way to her classes at the UC Berkeley Extension in San Francisco or flying after the kids as they ran from our Dia Palace Verde Apartment located on the hilltop of Yasoen towards the Mukaiyama YoChien (Kindergaten School) in Sendai, Japan. 
I had many great teachers where women were concern in my life and here are two of them, my late wife and my adopted Mother, Estelle who was born and raised in Nova Scotia, Canada. Marissa Estelle Bahari carries her name as she specifically asked us to name our child after her and I had could not say no. This was another cause of friction between me and my mother in law whose name would have been Marissa's middle name otherwise. Oh how we love to create dramas in our lives!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

In Memory of My Wife

                                                    Nancy Buss Bahari @ Nursymila Binti Abdullah

Born and raised in Illinois and buried there too.

I met my late wife while i was visiting my friend David Carlson who was living along with six others including Nancy in an old Victorian building on the corner of Haight and Octavia we called 191 Haight Street.  It was not love at first sight or anything like that, we had to work at it before we could end up getting married and this too was because my son Karim was due ten days after the wedding. We were married in a most beautiful ceremony held at Green Gulch Farm/Zen Center with all my friends from my work at H&H Ship Services and Nancy's colleagues from the University Berkeley Extension and many from the Zen center itself that filled up the Zendo or Meditation hall. It was a Buddhist wedding ceremony.

I never felt happier in my life, a man who was on the verge of  giving up with no sense of direction in life was then about to receive both a wife and a child. Both of us had our shortcomings in life and it would not be kosher to tell it all without betraying each other's secrets and confidences especially now that she is no more, but our marriage might have saved both our souls and gave both of us some respite from the tumultuous lives that both of us had experienced especially in relationships with the opposite sex. I remember asking her to marry me while we were standing along the the water's edge at Muir Beach where the Pacific Ocean meets the shores of Tamalpaes Mountains. All these while before then she had been reluctant due to her past unhappy experiences with the men in her life. I made a promise that I would take care of her and the child no matter what or how and finally she agreed.
When Karim was born Nancy lit up in beauty as a mother, like something within her just broke out and bloomed into life. I felt even before I married her that she needed to have a child more than a husband.
I will miss my wife till I am able to join her again wherever that may be in a Muslim or a Christian heaven that will be up to the Lord after all the faults and transgressions we have had to get to where we were i am sure we will have a whole lot to answer for in the end and I pray that the Lord will truly be merciful to both of us and bless our children. We did what we could we salvaged our lives and turned it into something worth reflecting. Nancy was one of the the most loved teachers wherever she taught albeit in America, Japan or Malaysia. She held a Master's Degree in Linguistics Studies and a certified Japanese language Instructor. She graduated from the University of Southern Illinois. One of her favorite pastime was being a member of the Shintaido Club a form of Japanese martial arts cum movement healing practices that is still big in San Francisco and in Japan. Nancy had spent a total number of ten years in Japan teaching English as a Second Language. later when we moved to Malaysia she taught at Kolej Ugama Sulatan Zainal Abidin, (KUSZA) in Kuala Terengganu. It was here that she fell ill and later diagnosed as a form of Rapid Dementia or Alzheimer's. Upon her mother's request I sent her home to Illinois with my two children where she was taken care of by the doctors there and later put into a nursing home. I was not able to go with my family on account of the visas problems my not being an American citizen, (something i curse the American Consulate here in Malaysia for their lack of mercy not to mention consideration.) My two children aged ten and eleven had to accompany their sick mother on the plane all the way to the United States. Because I was not there with them my children had to return to Malaysia because my mother in law was not able to look after all three at the same time. This is from a lady whose husband stands tall in the eyes of her church going bible tossing community, so much for christian charity. Oh yes i have a brother in law too who was not married then and has no children but has his dick buried most probably in the bar to bother with petty problems like handling two children going through a traumatic time of their lives. Helliluyeahh! Pack em and send em home to where they came from! Then send em letters to ask how they are doing grandma! If their grandfather had been alive my children would still be in Illinois perhaps attending the same church he was. Fate would have it that my children were meant to grow up knowing Islam instead for whatever good it does them as they know how it was when their mother was sick none, not a single Muslim relatives of mine or her friends and colleagues at the College even came by to ask how she was doing. This was a person who converted to Islam for God's sake! One day while visiting my twin brother's wife on a hari raya occasion she asked me how my wife was doing, I told her my wife passed away about four months ago. I highly doubt that both her and her daughter's surprised looks were faked.
Today I am faced with having to pay RM5000 in income tax for my late wife! Now I am stuck with having to deal with the tax office after my experiences with the immigration and the registration and education departments, I cannot say I look forward to it. I went to the Tax office her in Penang and was told i have to go back to Terengganu to get all the files there and so it begins, the paper trail. In this age of Internet and such? Why did it take for so long for them to even realize that my wife is dead! That she was laid off due to illness in 2004 four years earlier? And this is not some small mom and pop dime store she worked for but an established institution. Why was her taxes not withheld when she was working or was it? Why do i after all these years have to bear the consequences like i am rich enough to cough out RM5000 because some dickhead did not do their job properly' like informing the tax office that she was no more in their employment or that she even passed away. By then they would have been able to asses what she owed and why?
Oh well no sense in banging my head against some mad bugger's wall, it bad joss, bad karma for bringing my family to this country. If there is ever a bad mistake i made it was to believe that bringing my family to Malaysia was going to be bright for us and for this I bow and apologize to my late wife and both my children. I had the idea that by converting them into Islam I would redeem myself and them in the eyes of my family and friends here but I was seriously wrong; hopefully i redeemed myself in the eyes of my Lord. I have done my best to make it in the most productive way out of my life for my children and for my late wife as I had promised her that I would make sure to care for them when she is no more around and the saddest moment in my life ever was watching my wife looking at me with tears in her eyes as she walked along the line towards the gate for he flight. I cursed everything I held to be holy and good for allowing this to happen to my family and I still curse the damn American Consulate for not allowing me to accompany her and my children on the flight.
May my wife find peace wherever she ends up in and may i join her when I am good and ready.


Monday, November 11, 2013

Hijrah back to the Source.

             "The Corsican Brothers" aka 'Where East meets West - (from the same womb).

This is one of the most sensitive issue that I feel when I write my feelings about it I and making confessions, asking for forgiveness, trying to justify and reconcile; bottom line is I love and respect my twin brother no matter what transpasses between us in this life. A wall between us most of our lives a wall that grew taller and more obstructive and this wall runs very deep within us; only Allah can shatter this wall or veil. We grew up under such circumstance that most of the time we were pitted against one another and never got the opportunity to know one another, but we have lived our lives thus far and not too bad considering our very humble beginnings. We owe it to our eldest for if not for him our lives could have been a whole lot worse but we each made it in our own chosen way as Sinatra sang...I did it My way.....
Whatever i write will always remain as my version of the story and as such it is very much subjective and I would genuinely stand corrected for any issues that i was blind to or ignorant about; the truth sucks sometimes. If I start dragging out more and more skeletons out of my clossets or they threaten to be exposaed into the sunlight, it is my clossets I am spring cleaning, it is my path the i am making more lighter, I am letting go of my burden, my baggage, my Karmas that i ihave been lugging most of these times, old "pain bodies". It is time for another season for trimming my sails and clearing my path toward my Lord, letting go of old stuff and forging new ones...Hijrah!
Change of phase or pace, change in the rythm of my heart beat, change in my spitiual well being change in my habitual attachments, I am making a move to Terengganu. I will relocate myself and see what gives, I need to have a sense of distance from Georgetown to be able to take a good look at the City from wider perspective and look within me at what it does to me spiritually. I will make a spiritual retreat and devote my time towards untangling the knots in my relationships with those i grew up with, my family and and my friends, i need to share their life once more to not forget mine. I need to Sit
I will stop writing for now my Bloggging. I will seek an employment to support myself in Kuala Terenggnau. I will not paint anymore unless I find it most necessary and gurantees my income from it.
Hijrah, change or become stagnant and slip into mediocrity and old age. Not something to brag abotu after all these years of living life as an experimentalist and havinh lived both in the East and the West ; life here on the West Coast is a far cry from that in the East Coast. It is not about better or worse but it is like looking into a mirror and seeing the opposite instead of the simmilarites and the same same goes for every aspects of one's life, physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. The aches and pains will only  be there in different forms and the role one plays hopefully helps to ease the burdens of others as I find the cures and remedies for my weaknesses and ailments.
I am trying to convince myself in the process of writng this entry, still trying to justify the why and not the how yet. Putting the cart before the horse in the process and erecting mental and emotional walls ahead into the future, it is just how the mind works in facing any major change, will i live up to it or will i perish in the process! Such dramas playing back and forth givng it a sense importance, feeding it energy that by right should be put to use int the effort where it matters like start getting the car fixed, like the need for two new tyres in the back and replace the faulty brake drums or start looking for funds to get me there and with some to spare for it will be the monsoon period there if I leave in the near future.
From my short trip to Terengganu a few days ago which lasted three days was a positive vibe as i touched base with my old friends there. They have not changed much but have in their own ways arrived at being more matured and successful in their livlihood. In a sense they need someone who could lead them towrds the next higher level of sorts, like they too are stagnant, run dry of ideas and showing singns of wear and tear and less care. I got the feeling that i am somehow needed to play my role as in the past about a decade ago; i was the motivator, I helped to rattle their cages and rocked their boats. Their doors are always opened for me and this too I felt, like I have truly earned their respect and confidence I have a home if I need one and it may not be under the same roof most of the time but it is what it is, my life.
I would aim for a solo art exhibition somewhere in Kuala Terengganu and hope that through it will make more contacts that could help towards getting my source of income estalished, I am thinking of opening my own art gallery no matter how small some where on Pulau Duyong, like at 'Awi's Yellow House,' to start with. Start an art class at same venue if possible.
All these are just my projections towards what i might accomplish it is what my mind needs to focus on in order that i do not wate my time and end up with being worseoff than where i am at. But it has been pointed to me time and again by various teachers of self help and motivatonal courses to set a blueprint of what my aims are and so i did. This is so the mind has some curds to chew on while in the process of making a convincing argument as to why I am making this Hijrah.

Whose History is it?

At the Trengganu River mouth in Seberang Takir
 Took a trip to Kuala Terenggnau with one of my nephews and his family, i was the designated driver. Met up with my old friends there and discussed about my migrating back there and what i can accomplish given the opportunity. I need a change of pace in my life, i need to relocate and seek out new inspirations and ideas for my creativity and work. I just need to remove myself from this too familiar an environment that is now slowly becoming a unproductive place for me to be. I also feel like the need to take up new challenges that would draw upon my instincts and inner audacity that thus far has been laid to rest due to much inactivity. I need to get away from this false comfort zone that i have come to take for granted and now it is taking me into La,la, land.
I am saying good byes to familiar faces and those whose welcome I have about worn out, my power to give has run thin and I am becoming just anotehr face in the crowd of inactive spirits. my study of Christianity has about come to and end after reading the historical origin of the Bible by Jaroslav Pelikan whose work has revealed much of what i have reservations about the religion which has always laid doubts in my mind as to its genuine origins. The Bible although is one of the Books of the Religion of Abraham, is too much ttempered with cut and edited to suit the Jewish claim towards being the chosen ones and to maintain a strangle hold over the rest of the Christian world via religion. The true teachings of Jesus is treated as a source of support towards the implementation of the Jewish State just as America is being made to serve the modern day Israel. I must admit that most Christians that i have come to know in my life are among the most kind and gentle people who have found the truth in the Bible and set about living their lives by the Book, however, most have little or no knowledge of the true history of the Bible and accept pretty much what history as written and deliberated by the orthodox Judaism.
The Bible was first translated into Greek in Alexandria, Egypt and  the result was  a body of wroks called the Septuagint.
"The inhabitants of Alexandria were divided into three districts: Egyptian, Greek and Jewish. Within the Jewish quarter (or third), which was increasingly Greek- speaking, the struggle to remain authentically Jewish and to, "sing a song of the Lord on alien soil" was combined with the need to explain and defend the faith to Gentile outsiders, who were also Greek- speaking...the external need to guarantee continuity of Jewish, worship, teaching and observance despite the continuing cultural and linguistic change, and the external need to formulate an apologetic for Judaism that would be addressed " to its cultured despisers,"...
                                           The origin of the Setuagint -  J. Pelikan
The Vulgate -
Eusebius Hieronymus or better known as Jerome later translated the Judeo-Chrisitan Bible to latin, the language of Renaissance Europe.
"Originally, Jerome continued the practice of his anonymous predecessors in basing his revision of the Latin translation of the Tanakh of the Greek text of the Septuagint, whicxh he knew to posses a high and authoritative standing (as it still does today) among the Greek speaking theologians and scholars in the eastern parts of what then was still the undivided church."
 Later many more translations were rendered of the Bible by reformers such as Martin Luther who translated it into German and the later King James version in English.

"The loss of the unifying force represented by language - and of the associated literature - was a major step towards assimilation and disappearance. In these circumstances, with contact with the one place where Jewish cultural life continued to prosper - Babylon - cut off by conflict with Persia, Jewish life in the Christian world of late antiquity was not simply a pale shadow of what it had been three or four centuries earlier. It was doomed."
The JC Essay

By David J Wasserstein, May 24, 2012

The ultimate question still dwells in the minds of humanity today as to why were the Jews and they still are, being persecuted by just about every nation on earth. What is it in their national characteristics or their individual traits that makes them to be hunted down and eliminated form the face of the earth as happened during the Pogroms in Russsia and the Holocaust in Nazi Germany. It would be naive for man to deny that the Jews were innocent of any wrong doings and simply being treated as pariahs because they were Jews. The historical writings of the Judeo - Christian fail to dive deeper into this issue instead propagate Judaism to be the central focal point of the religions of the Book. The fact that Christ was haunted and tortured and later crucified by the Jews has all but acceptable as the will of the One true God for His own purposes: unknown, as God works in mysterious ways.

"Islam saved Jewry. This is an unpopular, discomforting claim in the modern world. But it is a historical truth. The argument for it is double. First, in 570 CE, when the Prophet Mohammad was born, the Jews and Judaism were on the way to oblivion. And second, the coming of Islam saved them, providing a new context in which they not only survived, but flourished, laying foundations for subsequent Jewish cultural prosperity - also in Christendom - through the medieval period into the modern world."
The JC Essay

By David J Wasserstein, May 24, 2012

Why is Islam deemed to be very anti Semitic? Why are the Jews being abhorred by the Muslims to the point of no forgiveness?   "Within a century of the death of Mohammad, in 632, Muslim armies had conquered almost the whole of the world where Jews lived, from Spain eastward across North Africa and the Middle East as far as the eastern frontier of Iran and beyond. Almost all the Jews in the world were now ruled by Islam. This new situation transformed Jewish existence. Their fortunes changed in legal, demographic, social, religious, political, geographical, economic, linguistic and cultural terms - all for the better." The JC Essay
By David J Wasserstein, May 24, 2012

"Between the years 250 CE and 1948 CE - a period of 1,700 years - Jews have experienced more than eighty expulsions from various countries in Europe - an average of nearly one expulsion every twenty-one years. Jews were expelled from England, France, Austria, Germany, Lithuania, Spain, Portugal, Bohemia, Moravia and seventy-one other countries.

Historians have classified six explanations as to why people hate the Jews:
Economic -- "We hate Jews because they possess too much wealth and power."
Chosen People -- "We hate Jews because they arrogantly claim that they are the chosen people."
Scapegoat -- "Jews are a convenient group to single out and blame for our troubles."
Deicide -- "We hate Jews because they killed Jesus."
Outsiders, -- "We hate Jews because they are different than us." (The dislike of the unlike.)
Racial Theory -- "We hate Jews because they are an inferior race."
Simple to Remember
Judaism Online.
Perhaps what the Quran has to say of the Jews will shed some light over this issue.

"And We did certainly give Moses the Torah and followed up after him with messengers. And We gave Jesus, the son of Mary, clear proofs and supported him with the Pure Spirit. But is it [not] that every time a messenger came to you, [O Children of Israel], with what your souls did not desire, you were arrogant? And a party [of messengers] you denied and another party you killed."
And when it is said to them, "Believe in what Allah has revealed," they say, "We believe [only] in what was revealed to us." And they disbelieve in what came after it, while it is the truth confirming that which is with them. Say, "Then why did you kill the prophets of Allah before, if you are [indeed] believers?"

The Jews say "The Christians have nothing [true] to stand on," and the Christians say, "The Jews have nothing to stand on," although they [both] recite the Scripture. Thus the polytheists speak the same as their words. But Allah will judge between them on the Day of Resurrection concerning that over which they used to differ.

Say, [O believers], "We have believed in Allah and what has been revealed to us and what has been revealed to Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the Descendants and what was given to Moses and Jesus and what was given to the prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and we are Muslims [in submission] to Him."

From Surah Al Baqarah.
 Hence I could pick out quotes upon quotes from the scriptures of all the three Book of the Judeo-Christian and Islamic faiths but it will be long tedious and boring to most. Suffice to say, look it up yourselves and come to your own enlightenment- read! Or remain blissfully ignorant. In order that i may come to understand the teachings of Jesus I will have to understand the origins of its texts and most of these texts originated from the Jewish tradition and scriptures. What was the truth and what was rewritten to alter the truth from being revealed of the relationship of the three religions is yet to be revealed. 'And the truth shall set you free' as Christ said.
I am not practicing anti Semitism as i have no call for it in any sense but i am sadly aware of the Jewish tragic existence as a race that is practically condemned by the rest of humanity  for one reason or another. Perhaps the only consolation i can come to accept as a believer is that God had chosen the right people to introduce his monotheistic religion to; an 'arrogant,shrewed, stubborn and self serving nation that questions every word He revealed, God had his run for the money with the Jews, just as the Prophet of Allah had with the pagan Arabs.


Friday, November 01, 2013

Whose Bible is it? -Jaroslav Pelikan.

                                                     Sleepin on the Job.

'Whose Bible Is It?" the title of the book that caught my fancy as i was rummaging through Lee Khai's book collection for something to read about the Bible and i could not have found a better work. Two thirds of my way through the book I have come to a good understanding of the History of the Bible from its beginnings. I might have mentioned earlier that i have decided to join a Bible Study Fellowship group of which Lee Khai is a very active participant. My intention is to understand all i can about the Bible and Christianity as a whole with deeper conviction as a student. I have decided to make it my next religion for my studies just as thoroughly as i did Buddhism.
my intention is also to have the right understanding of the relationship of the three religions of the 'Book' which includes Judaism, Christianity and Islam, where they meet and where they separate. It is no doubt in my mind that all three are of one root and that the Lord they worship is One and He is the Lord of their forefathers Abraham. It is with the hope that with a better understanding of Christianity I can have a better intuition in to the problems that has been plaguing these religions throughout history pitting one against another at the cost of untold human sacrifices and all in the name of the The one God. It is my responsibility as a thinking person with all the materials at my disposal to continue to dig into the soil of religious conflicts and in my own way help to bring the mergence of the differences that has caused these conflicts.
Raised as a Muslim I have been made to believe that Jesus was never crucifiedied on the cross and that the whole idea of the Holy Trinity as practiced by the Christians will always be the major concept that Muslims will never accept; Isa Alai i Salam was one of the Prophets of Allah. These are to me the two major differences that has made the two religions of Islam and Christianity to deviate from one another. To fully comprehend the truth one has to dig deep into history and study the scriptures. My approach towards these studies as I did of Islam and Buddhism is to be detached from making any judgment or bias towards one over another, but to purely come to my own enlightenment as the final thesis. After all what else is there to do in my old age? I can at least find something to write about. Keep my mind a little more occupied with something more worthy than watching Korean Drama Series on Youtube.
One of the questions that keeps haunting my mind as I read the Book written by Jaroslav Pelikan, Whose Bible is it has not thus mentioned anything about the word 'God' itself, like where does it originates from. Did Jesus who I understand converses in Aramaic ever used the word God or is it a later usage picked from some other root words of Grecko- Roman languages?

"The English word God continues the Old English God (guþ, gudis in Gothic, gud in modern Scandinavian, God in Dutch, and Gott in modern German), which is thought to derive from Proto-Germanic *ǥuđán.

Obsolete etymologies[edit]In 19th century scholarship, there were a number of alternative etymologies suggested. Morgan Peter Kavenaugh in The Origin of Language and Myths claimed that the word god was taken from the Buddha's patriarchal name of Gotama. John Campbell connected further theonyms, "I have shown elsewhere that the English word God, the German Gott, the Persian Khoda and the Hindustani Khuda are all derived from the same root as that which appears in Celtic Aeddon or Guydion, the Germanin Odin, Woden or Goutan and the Indian Buddha or Gotama."[2] The Reverend Henry Scadding D.D. and Henry Le Mesurier in his book Mer-cur-ius, or The Word Maker, also connected Lombard Guodan to Gotama Buddha.[3] The connection of Gwydion with Wotan (but not with god) is due to Jacob Grimm."
You can do your own research on this, which actually is a very crucial element in the understanding of Christianity as far as I am concern...Oh my God! One seldom say, Oh my Elohim! Oh my Lord more likely. But the Muslim will only say Ya Allah! From the day he was born till the day he dies there is only One word, Allah! When you let out your final breath they say, you extol Allaaah! as the final sound of the last breath leaving your body whether you realize it or not. This surrendering you will to Him and you are no more, to be aware of this happening at the time and hour of its happening, to die with complete awareness of surrendering oneself to His will is the ultimate sacrifice one makes to Him. "Innalillah hi wa'inna lillah hi rajiun'" Form Thee i come to Thee I return, my Lord!.
When I was practicing Zen at the monastery in California I often wondered these questions about life after death or what really happens at the moment of death/ What happens to the brain, all the filed up information's, experiences, dreams and so forth when I am not more in control of my faculties? Am I fortunate if they put me under due to to some medical excuses and I die without the knowledge of it happening? Or would i be fortunate if i were to be rammed by a semi truck at a junction on Highway 666 ending my life instantly, no time to reflect or be frightened. Who do I call out to? My mother, my father! Never eally got to know them up close and personal and what about my Teachers and Gurus and Roshis, most I saw had their own to deal with. The Buddha?! Which one? Is there any? Are you not a Buddha? You are grasping, let go of the Buddha...I pray that my last breath be Allaaah hu Akhbar...The Lord is Great!
For the Christians my limited mind would say that it is believed that at the time of death a host of Angels would come to assit you towards the Light (of the LOrd).Or the devil with the pitchfork would be standing by grinning a welcome grin if you have been an unrepentant sinner in your life. Hard to say these things only the Good Lord knows what really lay in store for each of us when it is time to say farewell. By understanding the workings of the mind, by getting to really know who you are, (not as who you think you are), you can better learn how to die. To not be awaken at the moment of death is a waste of life itself. But what i am trying to say is when we have too many images and forms give to that which hold as One, then we have a problem of making choices even at the moment of death. Would Jesus be there and would he look like Willem Da Foe or Charleston Heston with a friendly smile saying, " Welcome to my Father's Home," we should be lucky.
"Oh my God, Oh my God!" Mahatma Ghandi uttered when he was shot six times at close range, he utteres it in Hindi, " O Ram! O Ram!" To the Mahatma, Ram is God, Ram is Allah! Ghandi lived life by the Bagavad Gita but he studied and practiced other religions. 'God is like water, no matter how you choose to drink it, as wine or water out of a golden goblet or a coconut shell, it is still water.'    
   Have you ever heard of the 'Tibetan Book of the Dead?' Now there is another perspective on images and death. Hindus they say has the most numbers of Gods and Deitites in their pantheon of Gods, who do you call in your moment of death?  And for one who has been searching for an answer all these years exposed to all these religions and their images and forms what is to become of me at the end of the day? Will i be lost in a limbo of thoughts and images grasping from one to another for fear of the impending unknown while not forgetting the physical fear itself.
I got carried away sometimes when I write about religions ans such especially on the subject of death, but it has taken me into the evening. I borrowed a car to drive to Kuala Terengganu and thus far cannot find a ride to a wedding of one of the staff at MGTF. tomorrow, dont look like I can make it.