Adults Nowadays

Welcome to real life.

The life where upon a strike of a decision, you are fully accountable for i’s consequences and how it affects the people around you. This is where i’m still feeling my way around.

An occupational hazard, or power–depending on how you see it– is sometimes i yield the decision to award contracts.

I particularly detest to be in power to do this because one decision i make impacts hugely on another’s economic wellbeing. Simply put, whatever i decide, another fella’s ‘periuk nasi’ hangs in the balance.

This is highly problematic because i still don’t see myself fit to make decisions on how often landry shoud be done per week, let alone other peoples’ future. It is the most nervewracking thing ever.

To give a quick rundown: Decisions to award contracts are based on their pitch and performance. At least, to my bereft logic.

For example, several company compete for us to use their brand of walkie-talkie. The following will follow:

1. I greenlight a trial,save that testing costs will be 100% borne by them.
2. Based on their test’s performance, i decide which company i should award the contract.
3. Sometimes, i factor in other services; eg: do they cover repair/maintenance cost? technical support services?

Pretty simple right?

IF ONLY. When the human factor does weigh in things proceed quickly to become more complex. Frequent courtesy calls, lunch offers, gifts, poking at the boss, etc, quickly follows. The whole rigmarole is super uncomfortable–i hate being reminded that i am in charge of other’s boon (or bane).

Being in Bolehland, another question that i have to deal with each and every time from my superiors is:

Ini company Melayu ke?

SO WHATT, good sir, so what??
Can we all sit back and just revel at the concentration of bigotry contained in this question?

So what if the non Bumi companies performs wayy better than Bumi companies? ?(Sadly, this is often times true, and let me tell you it’s NOT the lack of amenities, or money, or technology–its just attitude, all things being equal. But i have complete faith there are great apples out there among these rotten ones)

Whatever happened to our good friend of the great world, merit?

Enter this question–it’s really hard to defend anymore because you know whatever arguments will all come to naught when the main concern is anything else but performance.

I had a contractor that had their contract terminated because they have ONE non-Bumi shareholder.
That company was my best contractor.
I was pissed all day the day i found out, frustrated at the injustice of it all and the inability to do anything about it.

Malaysia can’t keep going on at this rate–punishing people who do great work— we are wasting our potential to be a great nation.
To PERKASA’s ilk, –we fall behind not because we are pushed down, it’s because we are not willing to run.

In history, Islam had came to fix a similar nonsense. Social discrimination of any kind , be it based on status, skin colour , or money are pretty much obliterated in one sound hadeeth:

قال صلى الله عليه و سلم: ” لا فرق بين عربي و أعجمي إلا بالتقوى”.
Translation (in meaning) : the prophet -PBUH- said: “There is no difference between people except within there’s faith and their relationship with Allah.”***

We never learn.

I can regale you about another occupational hazard–deciding wether i should recommend subordinates for promotion but let’s save that for another bored day.

Moral is: Our great Khalifah Ar-Rashideen Saidina Abu Bakr R.A refused leadership for a good reason. It’s these things and more. You will be accountable for it here-and the life after.

***P/s: We muslims have a term for this: Taqwa .Taqwa comes from the root word ‘waqiya’, which means to protect.Taqwa is used to describe the performing of actions for protection , which please Allah (swt) and abstaining from those actions that displease Him (swt) that will in the end protect us from anything, really, in this life and the next InshaAllah (God willing). Taqwa, in essence, means God consciousness – being conscious of Allah (swt) in all our actions and affairs.

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..short for Overvoltage Investigation in my workplace’s lingo. 

Took me awhile back here again but can’t pass on this one. 

It is too important not to write this one.

First thing first. 

Don’t steal utility cables—however tempting the RM20 per kilo of copper looks to you. A whole housing area, totalling hundreds of houses are going to have their appliances blew up due to overvoltages.

And there’s also this minor inconvenience: You can die.

The human body is a pretty good conductor to Earth. You wouldn’t want this kind of end because not only you will be burnt senseless to death, but the last mark you  will leave in the world is as ‘The Daredevil Thief’.

Overvoltages investigations are generally tedious work, since one has to check every single item that the customer claims that overvoltages was the cause of it’s ruin. Once confirmed, therein lies the task of estimating the loss, but that i save for another story. 

During these door to door visits (all 20 of them, led by the ketua kampung**),  one can do many quick technical analysis. For instance: what makes a house less susceptible to the devastating effects of overvoltages than others ? *Hint: a good ‘Earth’*.

If you have decent electrical wiring in your house–means not skimping on the Earth wire–then you’re most likely to be protected.  A good Earth means there’s sufficient path for overcurrents and voltages to travel to Earth immediately (before even entering your home circuit) rather than travelling around your home (because it can’t find a path to Earth yet) and blowing up  all expensive appliances in it’s path. 

Sadly, in the low income area where the incident happened, most structures are crumbling–for the lack of a better word. These houses have more pressing issues than sound electrical wiring, like, termites eating off the pillars for one. To make matters worse, the occupants of these dilapidated shelters have a median age of 60 years old.

So you will end up with a list of say a blown up TV, a washing machine, a fan and a refrigator for the creakiest house in the whole village versus a burnt single lightbulb for a homeowner with a wholesome house.

Life is really unfair sometimes.

The humanistic aspect of things is something i particularly like to look for in anything i threw myself into. These aspects are subtle but packs a punch of lessons. When a mother of five asks you with these really sad, hopeful eyes: “I can’t wash my kids clothes because the washing machine broke and we can’t afford to fix it”, you know what it feels like? It feels like being punched in the stomach.

So therein lies my mission: Although the paperwork is hideous, and the law says these people ain’t going to get a cent (considered as a force majeure-act of vandalism), i am going to be the best human being and fight hard for their  deserved compensations, InshaAllah.

*Ketua Kampung is the DOORWAY to a village. Whatever you want to do–however noble the campaign you’re waging, EVEN IF YOU WANT TO DISTRIBUTE FREE CASH–If you want to enter a particular kampung, it is considered most polite to ask the permission of the Ketua Kampung first. I say this because i see some city kids with stellar education that don’t understand this masok kampong ethics.

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The secret in solving all worlds’ problems.

….is sharing.

One particular friend of mine, whom i love very much always brought packed lunch with her. We ate together often, and seek each other company come each mealtimes. On each session, she would insist on me sharing her food. Which is fine, with me, save for the fact her portions are always only enough for one person.

In the beginning, i couldn’t accept this particular kind of logic- you don’t offer people food that is in the first place, not enough for you as well. Not because i think you’re not gracious, no, but it’s because i would definitely say no to you so that you won’t go hungry. And then we will get into a fight with me declining and pleading her to eat her food, and she declining to be declined and pleading for me to eat her food ( and some pushing of tupperwares back and forth) At some point , i just gave up.

Henceforth i learnt one valuable lesson: It is not true that you cannot share something that you think is not good enough to be shared.

It has then become a ritual after awhile to share everything we eat. A donut, a cookie , a piece of bread, a candy! It came to a point that i would think as if i’m committing a crime if i’m about to eat something and i don’t give her a call and say ” Hey, i have some this and this, do you want to share with me. Please?”

Another one. I have this blessed friend, whose motto is practically ” We can share?”. That magical line, “We can share?” she would say with such genuine intent untill i would avoid her periphery if she’s eating because she would say it each time she eats and i would find it quite annoying. Even worse, she would give all her food to me,OR BUYS ONE FOR ME ( i never gave any cue ) if seeing i have no food with me at all, and needless to say, i find this quite annoying too. This is all me of course, not her, because i was just jealous of her striding selflessness. I am reeking with guilt of my low character, my own shame on not being on that kind of level yet.

Lesson number two: Sharing does not need any cue. What my friend did was, she thinks in way that everything that she owns, she is not the owner of it-it is all public property.

Immersed with this kind of company (i am blessed, Alhamdulillah), these characteristics began to rub on me. I began to think in terms like them too.” Who can i buy coffee today?’, ” I have a poutine here, lets call ladidadida to share it with me”.

It is not a surprise that these two lovely ladies, who taught me so much- are the best friends i ever had.

I also noticed the little things. Like hoarding stuff, and buying new things for yourself, is really something that can make you happy. But it’s fleeting. The euphoria sticks only for a week maximum then it’s back to neutral life.

But wealth and rizq that is shared, that is a happiness of a different kind. Seeing smiles on people’s faces, and knowing that you are the cause of it- is happiness that is out of this world. It fills your heart with so much warmth that it is brimming. And you create the strongest bonds and develop genuine love for each other.

You know, people tell me that sharer affects the sharee lives. ( sorry for my random english words). This quite misses the mark. The one who is the most affected is the one doing the sharing. They become better , happier people and there’s a sense of contentment. Not to mention , he/she is free from the fear of diminishing wealth.They are immune to that fear because they understand that giving out free stuff is not an unfortunate situation.

“There , i gave , that wasn’t all that bad, wasn’t it”. They get it.

Another thing: Share your happiness and great moments.

I give you one example. Travelling solo is cool, but it is not as much fun as travelling with a friend. There is a difference. Each time you experience a great moment, or saw a magnificent sight, or an amusing encounter, being the only person in the world experiencing it is really quite anti-climactic. You can’t talk about it, discuss it, can’t flesh it, can’t crack a dumb, inside joke about it. It’s ends up on being just that–a fleeting wonder in your head which only you know. It sucks.

I got a text the other day from a friend which simply said:

” I miss sharing food with you”

And i weeped silently.

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The dua i made when i was travelling home (among other duas) wasn’t about my future, or my career, or even about a certain boy (lol). It was neither of the above, but it was very simple:

Make my transition from an avid Montrealer back to a KL-ite as painless and as positive as possible.

This was a matter of superior importance, because i see the potential of a hard struggle ahead. I am leaving not just a good place, but a certain group of people, whose role had been pivotal in improving my quality of life by great leaps and bounds.  l am leaving rare gems–the most genuine, sincere, best hearted sets of friends i have ever encountered in my whole life yet. People who had made a difference in my life, taught and benefited me so much. The type of friends who grew to be so important and dear to me, that i can say i am willing to make sacrifices for them without even  blinking, because they are up there in terms of quality. Just thinking about the very real possibility i wouldn’t see them again sets the tone for countless sleepless nights–weeks before i had to leave. I decided againts full fledge traveling  during my free time while waiting for graduation, so that i can spend as much as possible quality time with my friends. People who knew me well enough would know that there has to be strong reasons for me to choose something else over traveling. So i had to ask for some Divine help ( Had to. In the plane journey, i was a complete wreck lol)

So far, so good. Alhamdulillah. The following was a  chronology right after touching down:

1. My family remarked, “Why are you so thin?” Positive start.

2. My very first activity was Maghrib prayer in congregation at a mosque. The melodious sound of live athan after such a long time was very nostalgic.

3. Treating family for dinner of ayam penyet and bakso at some warung nearby my sister’s university. Dinner for 6 with drinks costs me a total of approximately 9 CAD. Unbelievable.

4.  Gifts opening for my family. As long as my mother is happy, i considered that day as a resounding success.

5. Breakfast date with the mother. I found out that she is very chatty, telling me things about practically everything. She must have not have a talking company for such a  long time.

6. Swimming date with the mother.

What is happening here?

Basically, Malaysia is charming me in it’s own way little by little in a short span of 24 hours. Theres the little things too, like waking up with a kitten under my bed. ( Neighbours. He likes to roam around other neighbour’s houses). And people really,genuinely work hard  to earn an honest living around here-from the warung operators to tukang sapu sampah. I also forgot there’s just so much greenery( although we could do better with improved air quality).

With the KL population standing at 2 million, i hope to encounter similar set of people that i have been blessed with here. That is my next mission.

Now if you would excuse me, i have to find where should the dishes go, because i truly don’t know.

Update: I found an electronic keyboard, an acoustic guitar, and a fixie bike in the house. Things are def getting better!

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Why handwritten letter is hands-down the most romantic way to communicate.

In the Name of God, the Most Gracious, Most Merciful,

Peace be upon you my dearest Farah,

I am writing this goodbye letter almost in disbelief that you will be leaving Montreal to return to Malaysia.

Your friendship was one of the most valued to my heart as i was doing my bachelors. I felt you understood my love for the Quran and this made me realize your love for the Quran.

I hope you will always have the beautiful, respectful and warm feelings towards your elder Muslims and Islam,

Malaysia has taught us what true respect is all about :)

I will miss you dearly my love and i hope and pray that our roads cross again and again as my heart is not willing to understand that we might not meet again.

Take care of yourself always, be content with what you have, and be patient with those around you who are less fortunate with manners.

I ask you for your duas for me and the ummah of our beloved Prophet S.A.W (peace be upon him).

With much love,

Your sister.

How can one not cry after reading this? ;(

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30 days of anything

” Is there any reward for good, other than good?” [55:60]

Me and my friend made a pact to do something consistently for 30 days.

After careful deliberation, i settled on 2 items:

1) 1 photo per day with caption

2) 1 page of Quran translation per day

Some activities that were thought of but never made it to the list includes going vegetarian, teaching someone something new per day and learn a musical instrument. But i figured i picked the ones that i can be sure of the integrity of the whole exercise.

(She settled on flossing, and getting on the bike for 20 min per day)

Posted photo and notes on the translation will be available in this domain.

Wish us luck!

13 March 2012:

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“Thums up”

“Thums up” : Tastes like less carbonated spice cola. Imported from India.

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