21 February 2011

The articles are captured from the original writer, MsMarina (with her permission). SambalBelacan is just compiling articles to make easier to find. Any comments received will remain un-respond because it's not mine.Reach her at her very own blog at http://rantingsbymm.blogspot.com/ Please.

Wednesday February 16, 2011
Let’s adore our beloveds daily

Unless prompted, most of us forget about romance in our lives. Everybody needs some, and there is no need to restrict it to only a certain day in the year.

WE often bemoan the intense politicking between our political parties where neither side will ever agree with whatever the other side says.

But occasionally there is bi-partisan cooperation on issues. Unsurprisingly they cooperate on sin. Or, anti-sin if you like.

Recently, the Youth wing of PAS announced that Muslims should not celebrate Valentine’s Day and instead lead a sin-free life.

Not long after, the government department Jakim announced that it would launch an anti-Valentine’s Day campaign to persuade Muslims to lead a life sans sin.

First of all, wouldn’t it be nice if we could all lead lives without any sin at all? Why, this would obviate the need for Judgment Day, and even heaven and hell.

We would all live our lives never telling a single lie, never betraying friends and family, never asking for payola or paying off anyone to get something.

I don’t recall ever a time in history where people lived in such bliss but I suppose we should not stop hoping.

Secondly, there are certainly 365 days a year (less in a Muslim year) to both commit sins or not to, so it hardly seems efficient to concentrate so much time, energy and effort on just one.

Why, if I were a smart sinner, I’d just postpone my romantic dinner with my husband by one day. Although I still don’t understand why going on a date with my husband should be considered a sin. I thought that was why I signed on the dotted line.

Isn’t that why we encourage young girls to sign up for marriage, so that they would stop sinning, the little hussies? So the dating would become kosher?

I do agree, however, that we should not focus all our passion on our loved one (or several) on just one day in a year.

We should instead spread it out so that our beloveds feel adored every day. That is, if they don’t feel smothered instead.

Perhaps our problem is that, unless prompted, most of us forget about romance in our lives. Everybody needs some, and why restrict it to certain days in the year?

Instead of having an anti-Valentine’s Day campaign, I propose that Jakim (and PAS, too, if they’d like to) do a year-long one on love.

The campaign could have some catchy name, like “How Do I love Thee, Let Me Count the Ways” (and there should be at least 365 romantic ideas). Or, “What’s Love Got To Do With It? Romancing the Halal Way.”

Or, in tune with our current government slogan, “1Love.” This however might be problematic for those who may have more than one beloved in their lives.

But campaign slogans may not be enough, especially when people don’t understand what they actually stand for. What we therefore need are role models. People whom everyone can look up to as fine examples of perfect halal sin-free love.

In this case, who would be better suited for these roles than our religious leaders themselves?

Presumably they all have wives they love. Therefore they should lead these campaigns by giving talks on how they express their love for their wives.

Every single day, of course. It would be instructive for the rest of us, not to mention rivetting.

I’d love to know how PAS youth make their women feel special. Do they compliment them on their looks, or on their cooking skills? For those with wives who work outside the home, do they take them out for a celebratory meal (and thus give them a day off from the kitchen) when they get promoted?

How do Jakim officers fete their wives? On birthdays and anniversaries, what do they give their lovies? Since sexiness by one’s spouse is very much allowed, do they shop the Victoria’s Secret catalogue for risqué undies? Apparently it’s well documented that apart from diamond rings, sexy undies always work.

Lest anyone think I’m mocking anyone, I am dead serious. You can’t take away a fun activity like Valentine’s Day without giving a suitable alternative.

It is simply not enough to say that since Valentine’s Day leads to sin, you must just do something unsinful. There needs to be more pro-active ideas than that.

Give examples of unsinful things a loving couple could get up to, especially if they are married. What would be suitable replacements for a bouquet of roses, a box of chocolates or a teddy bear, for example? And where would be good dinner venues, those with presumably bright lights and religious music?

And what advice would they give on how to douse passions that such evenings might arouse?

All of us long-time marrieds are waiting with bated breath. After all we want to go to heaven, too.

02 February 2011

The articles are captured from the original writer, MsMarina (with her permission). SambalBelacan is just compiling articles to make easier to find. Any comments received will remain un-respond because it's not mine.Reach her at her very own blog at http://rantingsbymm.blogspot.com/ Please.

Wednesday February 2, 2011
Winds of change beckon in Egypt

It started in Tunisia and has now spread to Egypt. People are revolting against longstanding leaders who have ruled with iron fists and lived in opulence while the masses suffer with soaring unemployment and a rising cost of living.

WHOEVER said the Year of the Rabbit would be a gentle one?

In Tunisia, a small act of desperation literally sparked off historic changes.

A young man called Mohamad Bouazizi, educated but only able to earn a living selling fruit and vegetables at an illegal stall, set himself on fire after the authorities confiscated it.

Mohamad symbolised all the young and disenfranchised in Tunisia, frustrated by the huge gap between them and the extremely wealthy elite, and thus sparked large protests.

In less than a month, the much-hated President and his family were out and Tunisia is now in the throes of transition to a new government, the shape of which nobody quite knows yet.

Whatever it becomes, Tunisia’s people revolt had inspired others.

Smaller protests started to spring up in Algeria, Jordan and Yemen.

And then Egypt, with the largest population in the Middle East – 80 million, suddenly caught fire.

We have to realise that people don’t revolt just to be trendy. The Middle East has been ripe for this for a long time.

Long-standing leaders rule them with iron hands, rigging votes as well as disallowing their people of much freedom.

Some use religion as the basis for such repression.

But such leaders can slowly go blind and deaf.

Many of them fail to notice that their population, which comprise the younger generation mostly, are the ones who are facing a desperate unemployment situation.

According to the International Labour Organisation, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has the worst unemployment problem in the world.

In Egypt, 58% of the population is under 25 years old.

In 2003 it had the highest unemployment rate in the world, at 25.6%, and there is an additional 500,000 unemployed each year.

Across the Arab world, the unemployment rate stands at 20%.

This translates to 22 million people, out of which 60% are youth.

Much of this unemployment is attributed to the failure of most Arab countries to link education to the needs of the job market.

As we can see from the events in Egypt right now, nothing could be more dangerous for leaders than to educate young people for jobs that do not exist.

Couple that with a failing economy which depletes people’s already low standards of living and a refusal to address those issues, then you provide kindling dry enough to be set alight with any match.

And it doesn’t even have to be an internal one.

This should be a lesson for leaders everywhere.

More than anything, people’s dignity and self-respect is important.

In this light, a job and the ability to provide for one’s family is part of that personal dignity.

When people are unemployed, it is not because they are lazy and choosy.

It is because there are no jobs or none that matches their educational attainments.

How humiliating it is to be forced, like Mohamad Bouazizi, to take a job selling vegetables in a market when you are an educated person.

But only leaders who are willing to listen to people will understand the need for such dignity.

If at the same time, a leader is seen as not only unwilling to listen but also greedy and corrupt, living in unashamed opulence as Tunisia’s former President and his wife did while his people had so little, then there will come a time when the patience of the people will run out.

Malaysians may shake their heads at the riots in Egypt.

But it has to be understood that the desperation and frustration of Egyptians far exceeds anything we have ever known.

And after brutal repression all these years, to go out on the streets to demand a return of their dignity is an act of courage which we rarely have to show.

Egyptians and their Arab counterparts are not scared of dying to gain freedom.

That is what’s frightening every single leader across the region now.

Especially since even the police and army, crucial to maintaining power, are also rebelling.

I am appalled at the silence on our side at this historic moment, apart from ensuring our students are safe.

Indeed, most world leaders have been caught off-guard and dumbfounded by this.

Some big powers are even trying to hedge their bets, not quite supporting their old friends while trying to encourage the people’s revolt.

After all, they had been supporting undemocratic regimes and now democracy has a chance to bloom without their help at all.

And the countries they have invaded for the sake of “democracy” are not doing that well either.

We should watch closely this historic moment in the MENA and learn the many lessons from there.

And let us never think that such a revolution can’t happen here.

As MENA leaders are finding, never be foolish enough to say never.

Gong Xi Fa Cai!