Friday, October 31, 2014

Time to Say it, KUDOS! to Penang State Government.

It is definitely getting better, this river mouth of the Sungai Pinang River, a river that i was born into practically not too far from here in a small village that used to be called the Kampong Selut or Muddy Village of Sungai Pinng. This section of the river did not exist back then and the river mouth used to be about a quarter of a mile inwards where the old bridge used to be, even the old bridge is gone replaced by a new one. This river is still considered one of the most polluted river in the country, not the State mind you, the whole country!

Almost twenty years ago while I was living in Sendai. Japan, I wrote a letter to the Deputy Prime Minister back when who happened to be the present man who is going through a sodomy trial, Anwar Ibrahim. I got a reply from his office , a letter wrote directly to the then Chief Minister of Penang demanding that my letter was answered appropriately, but the answer never came not after a few months when i happen to visit the island again and I raised the issue. The letter was my offer to spearhead a clean up operation of this river which back when was so bad that you can smell the stench from three miles away. The water as black as bunker C oil and there was hardly any life left in the river. 

The administration back then must have thought that my offer was an empty one as who was i to make such and offer and how can I fulfill my obligation or perhaps i was just looking for a job. and so there was no reason to entertain my correspondence well not unless i was going to come face to face and demand for it which I was about to back then. By ignoring my letter they were ignoring the Deputy Prime minister's orders too. The reply came but it was as good as saying oops! we are sorry for the slow,reply, but heck we are doing something about the river though.

Upon my return sometime if 1996 nothing was done except for a retaining wall being erected along parts of the river simply because the situation demanded it real bad to stop erosion. The rest of the river was just as bad a before. It was a band aid job and most probably someone was making money out of that too.

Was I qualified to carry out my offer? I was and I had the will and energy to do it too back then. I had worked as a Department head for a major Environmental Services Company in San Francisco and while in that position was exposed to all kinds of environmental issues one of which was river reclamation projects which i it my point of study with the same intention of doing exactly what i had in mind with the letter. But I forgot one small fact, that I was not dealing with an American Government Agency here, this was Malaysia, the first thing they ask you is "What is in it for me?!"

These da7ys when I look at the old river which is barely six miles long from its source to the sea, I feel a little sense of hope. I am beginning to see that what is said about, only a matter of time or time can cure is true in some cases. I hope that the Government will follow through with the next phases which is still educating the general public about wanton pollution of the river, especially those living along its banks. They also those who still have disregard as to how they discard their waste oil, like the mechanic workshops and car wash, bus deports and so on. 

Finally they have to think about relocating the slaughter house from it present location which is on the river itself and the vet's office too as this two sources of bio hazards are not what you need if you are serious about keeping the river clean. I will learn to be patient with changes especially if they bring good to my community and learn to trust that there are those who are as dedicated and caring for the environment as I am here in this State. Kudos to all of them.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

A Morning Walk with Pa'Cak.

This water front is within a walking distance from where i live and my Cousins and I Ahmad Kalam and his wife often do our morning exercise along this strip at sunrise. I call him Mr.Perfect cause everything he does is to perfection and this is one of the reasons i take him as my 'Guru' in this day to day living. I am blessed in a sense to have someone who I can learn to emulate from as i am otherwise not so all together there as they say.

An insurance man for many years now working under the MCIS ZURICH, my cousin is considered to be one of the most trustworthy and gets the job done and i can safely vouch for this. He is caring and yet stern, religious, never missing a prayer five times a day, yet flexible and can handle just about any situation without loosing his cool; a vanishing specie in man.

Approaching 70 if not already he cans till drive all the way to Johor Bahru in the farthest town South of the Peninsular and back without much problem if he has to, and as a matter of fact he enjoys it more than most I know of. 

Always on call for one thing or another he is always on his hand phone even when he is doing his morning walk, here he learns about his twin brother having a heart surgery in Kuala Lumpur.

What a beautiful sight, this garbage dump by the sea has turned out to be after the trees has covered all the evidences of a dumpsite.

And the Chinese looses no opportunity to erect their very Chinese-ness are  everywhere they get the chance to do so. Sometimes i think it is a psychological thing more the religious thing with these Malays, Chinese and Hindus and their house of worships. Nothing against the Chinese and their cultural heritage being projected but sometimes enough is more then enough already!

That long stretch of what looks like a walkway used to be the sewage disposal pipe with stinky sewage water being dump right into the sea untreated, this was not too long ago until they created the new facility of sewage treatment  nearby.

The actual coastal line is about less than two kilometers inland from here as we are standing on reclaimed land and looking across the Penang channel towards Butterworth. The single tree growing in the seawater is the beginning of the new mangrove tree that will hopefully turn the whole area into the new line of mangrove swamp like it used to be  further inland not too long ago.  

The whole area is being developed so many more people can come and populate this small island that is already suffering from chronic congestion. But this is development and this is where money is being made most readily all around. Heavens forbid that there be a ground shake in this area for i place no guarantee that those tall structures are standing on solid ground.
 I am not anti- development but i am anti- over developing.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Mojud- Listening to Your Inner Being - Paul Lowe.

I stumbled onto Paul Lowe's You Tube talks by chance after listening to the debate between Depak Chopra and Richard Dawkins about the 'Fate of Faith" held somewhere in Latin American country The debate was quite interesting and informative with Chopra in his laid back manner explaining the relationship between science, consciousness and spirituality, while Dawkins making his point about the theory of evolution and how everything else is just random or something like that as i lost pretty much of the argument from being more interested in the manner in which the debate was carried out and how the two panelist reacted to one another or who was the better speaker.
Immediately after the debate i spotted  face in one of the boxes and out of curiosity to the title of the video, " Mojud -Listening to Your Inner being, I decided to give it a go. It was a pleasant surprise to find this middle aged gentleman sitting in what seems to be like a retreat in the woods somewhere and relating a Sufi story about a guy named Mojud and how he came to be so wise. The story was in answer to the question  who his teacher was that had taught him to be so wise. I am not going to relate the whole story here but if you have any interest enough in it all you have to do is check it out on You Tube under the same title or the name of the speaker, Paul Lowe. Perhaps I am wasting my time all these hours of listening to various talks and debates over subjects such as the 'Conspiracy Theories and the Rise of the Islamic State, 'The end of the World and Christianity accusing Islam vice verse over whose is the right religion, or J. Krishnamurti Moaning and groaning over the fate of humanity whole wiping his mouth from his dribbles. Something inside me says that I have more than enough time to spare if it helps me to understand better all that I need to learn in life.
I remember a long time ago when I started my You Tube 'classes' or lectures that began with listenignt olectures by the like of Alan Watts, J. Krishnamurti, the Dalai Lama, Ram Dass and the likes until today I have found many more characters worth listening to like Mooji, Deepak Chopra and Shaikh Hamzah Yusof. Some i understood much from and some i simply let it soak into my mind or subconsciousness without trying make head or tail about what was being said. Another form of experiment i do with my mind to see if it makes any sense, listening but not listening especially if the subject covers too muc scientific jargons and or heavy words.I do this with some of Krinamurti's talks too as he sometimes becomes a drag by repetition. However what is interesting i found is that all these You Tube talks and lectures seems to hve  kind of connection s to my own 'Way seeking intention', like they come one after another like they were meant to be, like sometimes they were answering questions I had in my mind about things I heard discussed in previous videos. It is like having your eyes closed and opening a page in your favorite book to find an answer to a related question you have in mind, in essence allowing for the subconscious to do the work for you. What pleasant surprise you find sometimes answers that bring tears to your eyes and you know this was only for you as sharing the experience with anyone else would shatter the mystique.
There are teachers today for you if you ever need one or are in very much need of one when you are walking the spiritual path. Having faith in the universe to provide you with one in your times of dire need is crucial for you faith carries a whole lot of energy to be sent out into the universe to go knocking on the doors of knowledge where great minds dwell, those that have sworn to guide seekers towards their salvation. These are known as Bodhisatvas in Buddhism and Wali uAllah, in Islam and sometimes as Avatars in Hinduism and then there are the Immortals in the Chinese Taoist Traditions, and they are ever ready to attend to the cll for help from the most faithful of seekers. Trust in yourself being able to reach out and they are there. Off course you can always join an Ashram or a Prasentran or a Madrasah or a Zen Buddhist Temple where you can find live teachers to confide your needs. The question is always are you keen genuine enough or humble and relentless enough to deserve their help
It has been in my later life today that i have yet to find anyone worthy to teach me or be accepted as my spiritual teacher. I stopped looking for any but I still am not quite there as yet as to turn down any that appears before me of i stumble upon one along what is left of my spiritual path. Hence I have to rely on my own accumulated knowledge and insights and with the help of the You Tube.that is a boon of excess to knowledge as any one can find in this days and age. The question is still, do you genuinely seek for the answers, are you deeply engaged in discovering who you truly are or does the Truth really matters to you. If you are half past six in your quest for truth then chances are you would most probably enjoy the Japanese or Korean Sex movies better on You Tube if you are into such subjects.Why waste your time on matters that are too deep and often boring, hard to understand and often makes little sense such as talks given by Dalai Lama on The Kala Chakra tantra and what its significance is to the modern world? Or a lecture on the 'Bardo Todol' and how it is different from the Egyptian Book of the Dead.
Ask the question and listen for the answers from deep within yourself for the truth lies within even if sometimes you hear it coming from without like through you books or the Videos or the talks you has with someone who happens to be around when you asked the question and was prepared with the right answers sometimes even he did not know that he was answering your hidden motive. Trust in that which you are, the I AM THAT, I AM.and the answers will come for the Universe is ever listening and the Lord if you wish is ia always listening more than you know.
Note, in Lowe's narrative Mojud was approached by a spiritual being named Khidr who guided him to follow  a path for his lessons in life, who was Khidr?
Khidr or al-Khidr (Arabicالخضر‎ al-Khiḍr; also transcribed as Khidr, Khizr, Khyzer, Qeezr, Qhezr, Qhizyer, Qhezar, Khizar, Xızır, Hızır) is a mystical figure that some believe to be described in the Quran as a righteous servant of God possessing great wisdom or mystic knowledge. In various Islamic and non-Islamic traditions, Khidr is described as a messenger, prophet, wali or in some cases as a deity who takes the worldly place of an otherwise passive God. The figure of al-Khidr has been syncretized over time with various other figures including Vishnu in India, Sorūsh in Iran,[1] Saint Sarkis the Warrior [2] and John the Baptist in Armenia,[3] Saint George in Asia Minor and the Levant, etc.[4]
Because of the linguistic similarities between the name "al-khidr" and the Arabic word for green ("al-akhdar"), the meaning of the name is often taken colloquially and sometimes academically to be "the Green One" or "the Verdant One." Some scholars disagree with this assessment,[5] however the some others point to a possible reference to the Mesopotamian figure Utnapishtum from the Epic of Gilgamesh through the Arabization of his nickname, "Hasisatra".[6] According to a new view the name Khidr is not an Arabic variant or an abbreviation of Hasisatra, it directly comes from the name of the Canaanite god Kothar-wa-Khasis[7] and it may be later assimilated to Arabic term al-akhdar.[8] Wikipadia

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

For so long as there is a 'Self'...

The disturbing issues today in the world is the rise of the "Islamic State" or IS a neo -sectarian  group of 'Jihadist' running a bloody trail along the Deserts of Iraq and Syria causing  more death and destruction' among Muslims and Christians, like pushing the Israel and Palestinian conflict on to the back burner despite world wide condemnation and the death of thousands of innocent civilian lives in the Gaza Strip. The Israelis can take a breather from this changes of attention from their rampant savagery in what they call a war. It is a very sad and frightening place humanity is in today, not to mention of all the other fiery spots of civil wars and strife around the globe. As a human being and having lived life for over half a century now I feel like i am among the lucky ones to have witnessed at least sixty years of changes that the planet has evolved towards its final demise and not having to face much of its ugly effects like living in the Gaza right now or Afghanistan or Syria. In the past 60 odd years my life has been a blessing and despite my personal ups and downs I cannot complain that life has been brutal to me like it is for the parents of  those who died in the war torn countries, my minor agitation right this moment is a pesky mosquito flying  around me distracting my thought process.
Her at home the major issues are not how to get off our butts and get this country back on track economically or socially but how Muslims are being under siege by those who have hidden agendas and has dedicated their entire lives at trying to the tear down the house of the Prophet,(PBUH) and the latest being the vent of '"Muslims getting to know Dogs." Most of the Ulama's young and old wise or otherwise have their pieces to say and are at loggerheads some of them among themselves, hence the cause for concern, that Islam is under attack, again! Remember the "ALLAH' word? Can or cannot be used by the Christians and so forth? That is in the back burner now too.
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 27 — The “I Want to Touch a Dog” event two Sundays ago is seen as the latest controversy underscoring Malaysia’s decades-old “culture wars” that have deepened fissures between the country’s Malay Muslim majority and its other racial and religious minorities, the New York Times (NYT) reported - See more at:
 Thank God the ruling party can breath a sigh pf relief as the focus is off their from their own performances in the running of the country. When in doubt raise a social issue like racial or religious and let the people occupy their minds with these, is the norm today And with the Internet everyone can in on the subjects of the day creating a storm over teacups, everyone has an opinion.
Then there is the Anwar Ibrahim's Sodomy Saga to keep, us occupied if all else fails and as the former deputy prime minister awaits his fate being decided by the court, Malaysians are again doomed to sit, watch and listen with their fingers crossed one way or the other like we got nothing else better to do with our government.
"The Federal Court is set to hear tomorrow Anwar’s appeal of the Court of Appeal’s decision to overturn a lower court’s decision to acquit him of sodomy.
The High Court had in 2012 acquitted Anwar of a 2008 sodomy charge — his second since 1998 — but the appellate court ruled on March 7 this year that the lower court’s trial judge had erred when rejecting the DNA evidence produced in the case.
If Anwar fails to reverse his five-year imprisonment sentence and conviction in the Federal Court tomorrow, the Permatang Pauh MP would lose his seat as the law bars anyone fined RM2,000 or imprisoned for one year to be a lawmaker.
The former deputy prime minister has been going on his own campaign since last Tuesday to drum up support and is expected to cap it off with a solidarity gathering tonight.
- See more at:

In my heart and my mind I wish I am out there in the forest meditating away these nonsense that fills my mind day in day out with banal realities of a pathetic existence. Is this all there is, is this what it all boils down to being born and raised to live for over sixty years as a man and having very little to show for as to the reasons why and where for? Oh, I could go on rambling like I always do whenever I run out of things worth sharing about bu the the fact of the matter is I still feel like i am missing something, like i need to let out a roar and clear my head once and for all. Usually this is when i seek my friends and enjoy a few drinks or partake of a joint or two just to clear the cobwebs that are beginning to clog up my brain. But i have forfeited these habit in search of a better more lasting source of creativity insight or spiritual uplifting and so here I am moaning and groaning over nothing. As always looking for an escape from this tedious moments leading to boredom or otherwise decadence.

In the teachings of Gautama , the Buddha, it is said,"For so long as I believe that i am an entity, a 'Self', there will be suffering or at least  the i, am bound to suffer Along with this entity, the I comes attachment and holding on to believes and conceptions, attachments to thoughts and ideas, to this material realm and its multidimensional manifestations of the dual thinking mind. Like the rest of humanity i am a victim of my own self created delusions regressing and progressing at any given moment towards the final destination of self destruction or death. Until the moment arrives, which cn happen even at this moment while I am at the computer, my self deluded mind will continue on to create thoughts that has nothing or very little to do with what is ' so called 'reality'. Nothing i have been told, taught, and warned of is permanent and nothing is of its own real for everything is interdependent and correlated from one to another and is ever in a state flux or change. The old Sufi story of 'this too shall pass' is ever in my subconscious mind reminding me of the teachings of the ancient not to be hankering over what is impermanent in this life and to learn to let go of this so called self that is the sum total of all that the mind has ever brought into existing through thoughts.

ISIS whatever it stands for will continue on to terrorize the Middle Eastern countries and Israel will justify all the crimes that were committed against the Palestinians, Obama will run the country like the puppet of some entity behind the global agenda that some called the 'Illuminati' or the propagators of the 'New World Order' and Anwar Ibrahim might of might not be imprisoned in the next few days whe the court has come to its decision. Malays will still wonder what it is like to pet a dog, right or wrong? and the Global warming is something that is a worry to all those who lives by the coastal areas, like my twin brother.  What has all these to do with me? I would be happy to just return to the organic farm and help to promote Organic Rice planting in the remote area of Lintang in Kedah and perhaps continue to let the Menteri Besar know that he should take it upon himself to look into helping this venture as it will be a boon to his administration, my insight. This son of the the former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohd. if he is anything like his father should not be hard to convince of a winning card to play.
Well that should wrap up my life for now and hopefully something will materialize in the next few days for me to ake the quantum leap into the next dimension of my existence. As it is I have at least wrote myself an entry and took my state of mind up a notch from drifting towards depression anmd despair towards a mini satori or insight into what it is being me.

"Each one of us has to be our true self: fresh, solid, at ease, loving and compassionate. When we are our true selves, not only you but everyone around you will profit from your presence. Just like a beautiful tree: if the tree is anything but a tree we will all be in trouble". -Thich Naht Hanh


Friday, October 24, 2014

A stroll one Misty Morning.

The only Rooster in town woke me up too early in the morning followed by the distant howling of the Mawas monkeys and myriads of local birds. I decided to go for a morning walk into the foothills of Lintang. The mist that had shrouded the whole neighborhood ws still thick and the air was fresh like you would never taste in the city. 

With my staff and my camera slung across my shoulder i set for the  main track towards my  hermit buddy's lodge, the only route that leads towards the the interior, I will have to pass by his hut. There is a whole sense of freshness about the jungle when it is all wet with dew or the night's rain. and the colors always brighter. The ground was soggy and slippery at places but that was to be expected ever rainy season.

Passing his home i noticed my buddy Adi was still in bed or perhaps talking to himself  in the corner of his hut, but the fact that his motor cycle was pa5rked out back means he was home. Still a strange man by any calculation of characters, this guy lives way out here all by himself in a house he built it all by himself, now that is independence.

Add captionFrom whichever angle the house is a classic and a perfect model for artists tp paint or sketch It looks so rustic and yet is set in a perfect setting like it was meant to be and I always felt so fortunate to have had the opportunity to be a part of the scene. Standing there in the misty morning I could not help but felt the melancholy of  being alone and i sometimes envy this guy who is able to create his own world at the very end of this planet..

It was hard to imagine that not two hours drive from this place is the city where i had come from with all its obnoxious vehicles and aggressive drivers trying to get to places that they end up not wanting to be. It is ironic that man would keep looking for all the roadside attractions and the traps of decadent living while here in this wild country there is all the peace nd quiet one could ever want t no cost.
One has to be in the area long enough to appreciate its beauty, the atmosphere  has to seep into one's consciousness and permeate one's being before the solemnness of the place can be tasted. Off course not ever Tom, Dick and Marry can appreciate nature in its rw like this, it is an acquired taste. It takes a special stte of mind to want to be walking alone into the unknown part of the habitat where Tigers are known to still be roaming.

 Who in  their right mind would want to work in this kind of environment? There are those yes, who are so used to this place that to them there is  a sign and markers t every corner of the bushes and  they are wise to what and where things lurks and not to be disturbed. To  these people it is like walking in the park collecting mushrooms.

Off course there is river to cross nd here is where the sandals were discarded and put in  safe place to be collected on the return trip..

It was not much of a walk by any means but I was there! By being there I touched the life around me that ws s close to being in primordial stte as mother nature could get without the dramas of meeting a wild boar or  python or even a tiger. I had met up with any of these characters my morning walk would have had a different tone to it but nope it was just an ordinary misty morning walk on the wild side.
And good old MOses would have been proud at how seriously I took this whole affair.. With every step I took I did my Zikr of Subhanallah! Maha Suci Allah, how pure the Lord.! (something like that.)

Thursday, October 23, 2014

My Two Weeks back at the Farm.- My two cents worth to the Mentri Besar of Kedah.

One of the negative event that i learned upon my return was the loss of the refrigerator which was given by MARDI,  to the facility for use. Due to some conflict of interest MARDI ( Malaysia Agriculture research and Development Institute) has pulled itself out of the joint project with the Koperasi Belantik Agro  So what went sour? I seriously think that this matter should be looked into and resolved so that everyone involved will stand to benefit from the outcome and not left hanging whatever the issue that has transpired between the Government agency and the Private sector. There is no excuse for failure in this matter and in time it will raise its head for further investigation by higher authorities. Malaysian especially the Malay has allowed for failures to slip by unresearched and investigated too often to the detriment of the whole community and this matter in not a new one. I know not what the whole issue id about but I will say this  stop the blaming and finger pointing whatever it may be and start putting the interest of the whole ahead of your private issues!  

A whole lot of research and development is still needed and on going as far as the Organic Rice implementation  program is concern. Many Institutes such as the Universiti Utara Malaysia and the  Universiti Pertanian  and a few other related institute are involved in this project recording and researching all venues and possibilities to produce Rice crops back in the traditional ways of non chemical and manufactured pesticides free environment. It is like turning back history in Agriculture. Now reverse R&D is being carried out in order to heal the land from too much man made chemicals that kills more than what it is suppose to. But aid is very slow in coming from the government agencies which is typical of Malaysia especially predominantly Malay run agencies , (My own personal observations)  I find that most of these agencies have their own self serving interest to promote rather than work towards the good of the whole! The old question of what is in it for me is still a damning factor.

Most of our agricultural lands around the country are being polluted by processed chemicals that has been used by farmers for more than a few decades since it was a common thing to do so. In the process numerous wild life and micro biotic creatures have been wiped out including numbers of species of wild life and birds. The ecosystem has never been the same ever since man made chemicals were introduced into the agricultural environment. What natural resources we have we throw them down the drain and opted for the easy  way out of solving our problems and in the process we [pollute our resources till there no more wild life surviving worth mentioning.

This young Man deserves better!
 The slow process of healing the soil and its dependents have become a 'Jihad for the few who saw the dangers and were willing to take the chances of not making it in this life as well to do people are. Most often they were willing to work at a loss and at the mercy of Government Agencies that seek to self aggrandize their image and take  credit for what was being done in terms of research and development. We will will help you if you play the game to our understanding, our way or no way. 
At the foothills of a small almost non-existent village called Lintang a handful of  dedicated individuals are taking it upon themselves to turn the history of  Padi growing from that which has become the norm of  today to what was. For the Chemical fertilizers and pesticides that kills more than they should to what was natural and environmental friendly of the past.

From the dawn of civilisation man has been growing rice alongside nature with all its natural friends and foes and through out history this coexistence has allowed for both man and nature to survive alongside one another without too much off set in balance. But today man has decided that it was more productive and beneficial for him if he eradicate as much competition as he possibly can in nature in order for him to have greater out put of  profitable harvest. With the introduction of man made chemicals and toxic agents, nature has practically receded from the natural environment leaving behind  a barren landscape of silence and sterility called plantations. Many of the wildlife that was a common sight in my younger days growing up along the rice fields in Terengganu are now practically nonexistent or gone practically extinct. 

The SRI LOVELY  - Organic Farm which located far out into the foothills of  the Belantik area of Sik, Kedah is one small collective farm land formed into a Kopersai by a few Mavericks to combat the degradation of Malaysian farmlands by major chemical companies  in their use of processed chemicals to make for greater output and profitability in  most of the major crops grown in Malaysia. In the process they have destroyed most of the surrounding vegetation and wildlife that is often lost  and when discovered has become to late to repair.

Students from higher institutions are a great source of inspiration  towards creation a better future in agriculture, even if their s is more of a self interest, towards getting their degree or certification, their presence and iteration with the local boys in implementing their projects is invaluable for both. Most being' 'City Boys and Girls', their presence is often  an added incentive towards getting the younger minds involved in the agricultural revolution in this country. It is sad that more is not encouraged towards this end.

The interactions between the 'farm Boys and the College kids out in the field should be encourage at all cost so as to instigate a healthy respect one has for the other and for mutual development that would benefit the process of integration of  getting the process implemented in the best of ways for a sustainable future in Organic Farming.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Of Dogs and Muslims.

What's with Dogs and  Malay Muslims? In all my years of living among them I have no doubt that Malays have a phobia about dogs, they fear dogs. The fact that Islam prohibits physical contact with this animal ( still debatable to the extent according to interpretations of the Quran), does not help this Canine phobia. The fact also that the Chinese keeps dogs in just about every house in the neighborhood also adds on to this phobia and the Chinese to their advantage makes it a must to have a fierce dog guarding the homes to keep unwonted Malays from loitering in their neighborhood.
When I was growing up in Sungai Pinang which back then was known as Kampung Selut, we children had our own favorite canine friend whose name was Golf and it was a huge dog that was loved by every child in the Kampung. From this one dog we learned not to fear other dogs and what the animal is capable in terms of being a friend to children. My late teacher and friend Cik Gu Yusof Ali had two huge dogs in his home, not inside the house but close enough but they were fierce hunting dogs. So most of us back then had little fear of dogs and patted them and ran around with them.unlike most Malays whose parents would warn their children against getting anywhere near dogs for fear of getting bitten more so than Islam prohibits their close contact with the animal. Off course I am talking about "Man's closest friend" as universally been established. An animal that would die in trying to protect its master.
So what is wrong with dogs that Muslims are today up in arms against a function held just for the hell of it giving a chance for these Malays a chance to get to know dogs and in the process hopefully help to cure their phobias and gain better understanding of one of God's most useful creatures? In most Middle Eastern countries dogs are kept for various purposes such as sheep herding or camel herding, hunting and as guard dogs. They employed dogs to sniff out drugs at airports and to sniff out victims buried under fallen structures in times of earthquakes and some are even made to sniff out bombs!  Yes this is one multi- purpose animal that deserves our respect if not companionship as it has been known to serve its master even when the master had died. But in Malaysia Malay Muslims have now a new cause to growl at and it is Islam and Dogs! I do not question the religious edict as to can or cannot do according to the Holy Book, but i question the wisdom of those who interpret the scriptures and the way they handle this matter making this animal such a pariah among God's creatures when the opposite is true.
I used to have high regards and respect for the Kelantan State Chief Minister NIk Aziz, I held him to be a very religious wise old man with a very level head, but on this issue he has disappointed me when calling all those who took part in the Dog Touching event as having "Worms in their Brains" ands that it serves no purpose for them in the afterlife". What a crock of crap! I wonder if he has any idea how many species of dogs Allah has created among His Creations to be condemned by such a man. If one calls such a person an extremist all hell would break loose among the Muslim brotherhood but what else can you call it when you take such a drastic stand with no compassion whatsoever towards the animal that most people love to be with, even Muslims and especially Malay Muslims who has this Canine phobia? When in doubt throw them a 'Fatwa! One wonders why Islam is loosing its credibility. The religion is being run by a bunch of hooded myopic visionaries who sees everything as black and white, no lee way for Islam, no middle way either, like my eldest brother's warning to me, no compromise! Everything seems cut and dry, my way or the highway.
Sometime in 1980-81 I was bitten by a German Shepard while walking down the street on Eastman Avenue in Green Bay, Wisconsin. It left two large holes in my thigh just below my scrotum and left me in fear of dogs for the next few years of my life so much so that the sound of a dog collar sent shivers down my spine. I was cured of this phobia when i met a female dog and became friend with her by curing her back of some skin desease, I was never afraid anymore after that of dogs. It was a long and beautiful relationship between me and the dog named Sierra while living at Green Gulch Farm in California and I might have written about it in my earlier entries of the blog. I learned all about Loving Kindness from a dog after being traumatized by another. Allah must have created dogs for a reason and i do not believe it was for a bad one, I hope Muslims will allow themselves to be free and open minded enough to share their love and friendship towards all creatures especially "Man's best friend."

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Art of Dishwahing.

I have been doing the dishes for the Restaurant downstairs for the pas few weeks and ever since i returned here, it is a very good practice for me to keep my mind occupied and less thinking of non sensible issues that produces nothing but more vexations at the end of the day. Doing the dishes is one of those not too well sought after vocations in life and often enough it has been considered something one does if one cannot pay for the meals one has eaten., but to me doing the dishes was at one time as i might have related somewhere in this blog a source of enlightenment or should i say Satori, a mini awakening while i was living at the Zen Center in Sausalito, California. It was the time i witnessed the transformation of a tray of white China bowls into a White lotus of a thousand petals and it was also witnessed by my Practice Teacher who was standing right facing me and the flower without my realizing his presence. Although it lasted a few seconds long enough for my Teacher to look at me and uttered, "It happens dosn't it? and bowed to me and walked away. As he was gone so was the flower which turned back into a tray of white China bowls.
Mahatma Ghandi brought the British Empire in India to an end with his spinning wheel a tedious task that produced the home spun cloth which almost the whole of the Hindu population wore and inadvertently, inadvertently (without knowledge or intention) brought the British Fabric industry at the time to its knees.In essence the most down to earth of vocations that a man can do if done with sincerity and mindfulness can become a great source of meditation practice and a great cure for slothfulness and stupor.a state of near-unconsciousness or insensibility. Often times enough we do get into this state of mind and knows not how to get out of it other than through drinking or drugs or worse beating up our spouses or ;loved ones. But putting oneself through the ringer so to speak can be a source of potent cure, doing what one would normally despise doing., like doing the laundry or ironing or cleaning up the room. Work is a natural healing process for the mind stuck in a rut!

"Karma Yoga is selfless service unto humanity. "Your duty is to work incessantly but not to expect the fruits thereof." This is the central teaching of the Gita.
In the third chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, Arjuna's opening question, "If, O Janardana, you say knowledge is superior to action, then why do you enjoin on me this terrible action ?" To this Sri Krishna answered, "The twofold path was given by me, O sinless one, to the world in the beginning - the path of knowledge to the discerning, the path of work to the active." (3 : 2) Most people think that if you want to attain realization of God, it would be better to sit and think of him only. However, there is one problem here: the mind is like a monkey. When you try to control this playful trickster, it just jumps from one branch of thought to another. To train this monkey requires constant discipline, which is eventually integrated into one's nature."

The Essence of Karma Yoga :Swami Muktibodhananda Saraswati

To most work is a means to earn a living and in most instances  working entails time clocks and  wages and as the job becomes routine and  the employee is well versed in his duties there is the tendencies to try to do as little and accomplish as much while the rest of the tie can be spent wasted in doing what has nothing to do with the job specification.  Work becomes a tedium and  there is even a sense of rebelliousness that later comes into  the work place where employees have become sick and tired of doing the same thing throughout their entire career. This is how we work most of our lives and calls it earning a living to justify our very existence. We work harder to earn more and we excel at what we do in order to earn a higher position where we do less and earn more and often times we become competitive and in the struggle to gain a better position for ourselves we are willing to destroy anyone that stands in our way, we step over others and  by hook or by crook climb our way to the top and call ourselves successful
Vietnamese Zen teacher Thich Nhat Hanh wrote,
"To practice Right Livelihood ( samyag ajiva ), you have to find a way to earn your living without transgressing your ideals of love and compassion. The way you support yourself can be an expression of your deepest self, or it can be a source of suffering for you and others. " ... Our vocation can nourish our understanding and compassion, or erode them. We should be awake to the consequences, far and near, of the way we earn our living.. from The Heart of Buddha's Teachings
"Three persons who will certainly face God's displeasure on the Day of Judgment are: one who dies without fulfilling his commitment to God; one who sells a free person and enjoys the price; and one who engages a laborer, receives due work from him but does not pay him his wage." (Al-Bukhari)
This hadith, by placing the exploitation of labor and the enslaving of a free person on an equal footing, suggests how averse Islam is to exploitation of labor.
Fulfilling  his commitment to God is paramount in Islam followed by slavery and work ethics and what is this fulfillment to God? It is to serve His creations, to serve humanity. Man, in my understanding was not placed on this planet to serve himself but to serve others and most Muslims i know does not understand this virtue and consider work to be a means of achieving a higher status in life or the ability to visit the Holy land as many times than most simply because one can afford to do so.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to earn as much money as one possibly can in this life but from a spiritual point of view it is imperative that working for a living does not entail neglecting the primal cause of our being here and that is to worship God and servitude is the essence of worship for through serving we find our salvation, our sense of Compassion, our sense of Loving Kindness, our sense of Divinity. We come closer to God when we serve His creatures, His environment, His sanctity. (the state or quality of being holy, sacred, or saintly).

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The 'Wise Men of Merbok.

If i had known this organic story 20 years ago i would have insisted that everyone in the village in Merbok grow their rice this way! How i wish i am twenty years younger! I was in the Military at one time too, you know ...
When I first met "The Captain"  or Major as some calls him for he was a major in the Malaysian Special Forces  at one time in his life, the Captain was not too happy things were not going the way he had envisioned. So in one of or conversations i told him to keep at it and when it is ripe and ready they will come looking for you. I took this from the movie with Cavin Costner called  a Field of Dreams. Although in the movie it was the building of a Baseball field or Diamond out on his farm instead of growing corn. 

A group of "Old timers " mostly farmers from a small town of Merbok came by, forty of them in all to learn about organic Rice Farming.. The captain gave a great spill on the subject and being an exp army guy he has his rough ways about handling people especially those who have preconceive ideas of what they expect from the talk.. 

The 'lecture hall looked like a classroom of adults who came for a religious gathering or ceramah. They each had their own  personality and it was something that i honed on into with the camera, I captured their essence  as they sat nonchalantly listening to the talk.

My interest in taking these pictures was to hopefully do some sketching from them in a later date. It would be a good study for my intended idea of creating a Malay character caricature for a cartoon strip. 

They plant one seedling at a time! Now who is going to do all that work? I am getting too old to be bent over all day long in the hot sun ? My bad back is already killing me just thinking about it.

All this while no one has told me that DuPont Bayer, Monbanto and all those major Western  suppliera of chemical fertilizers and pesticide were Jewish companies! This is not acceptable, it is Haram! What is he talking about the Conspiracy Theory? One world order? Who is the Illuminati guy? What has all this to do with a small farmer like me?!

I have lived this long without this organic stuff, why begin now? I will the younger generation dwell on it it is they who is going to inherit this project anyway.

It my nap time, all that long walks and hot sun is simply killing me!

Organic 'Rokok Daun?'  now that is an idea!

Planting the Earth.- The organic Way

The fruit of your labour after days , weeks and months of Dedication , Care and  Loving Kindness whether you realize them or not, you held it up with pride and not many notices it. You are the unsung hero who till the soil to feed the world living in practically anonymity at the edge of the planet where very few has ventured to visit.
When you are in touch with the soil you are not far from touching Mother Nature Herself. It is the smell of the soil that reminds you of your origin, that you were created from the earth and you will return to it Humbled.. There are many today living on this planet that has no idea what the soil really smells like much less what it feels like.

Nature has a sure way of healing your spirit when you are working in it. It makes you feel like you belong to this planet like this earth that you are handling itself is the  stuff of Its Spirit. As you kneel bowing to the ground you become one with the Whole, lost in silent contemplation.

For those who has no experience of working with their hands  buried in the soil they will never know what it feels like to touch nature, they will be strangers to the very substance that makes up a part of their body; one of the four elements of Earth, Wind, Fire and Water; the very stuff that will wrap them in the grave like a blanket..

With bent backs you  you toil, digging and planting each seed in one hole at a time with Loving Kindness and Tenderness like giving life to a child . With each seed you sang the hymn praising Allah for His bounties. and for the well being of your crop. You plant with hope and know what you are doing will be rewarded here on Earth and later in Heaven.

In the middle of the field on a hot day afternoon you are bent over  weeding , you know that it will not be long before the plants will bear the fruit of your labor but every step of the way you work with care and diligence making sure that nothing goes is left to chance.

To most, being a farmer is the last on the wish list of one's career and it is just about the lowest paying job on the market. It lack glamour and back breaking working from the crack of dawn and toiling till the setting of the sun.

But you feed the Kings and the paupers and they feed from your hands.  Yours is the most noble of vocation that without which there is hardly any life on this Planet. You hold the Key to a sustainable existence of the human race  in body, mind and spirit. As organic farmers you seek to heal a dying planet, to undo the damage that has been prophesied  by man to his own abode, I salute you Captain!