Monday, August 21, 2006

We are each other's angels (part 4)

The final two months were the battle to fight such love feelings towards each other. I decided to move back to my hometown and quit my job there. Seeing that as the best option, he too decided to quit the job there as well and get some rest back in his hometown while applying other jobs in other places and other countries hopefully.

One weekend afternoon, we went out , and such outing were one of our last outings together. We had those heart-to-heart talks and to my surprise, I saw him in tears. That was definitely the 1st time ever I see a man (not my family members laa) weeping in front of me, for me. I don’t know whether to call that as one of the sweetest moments of my life or one of the most tragic. But I settled for the former reason. I never knew that there would be a man capable of loving me ever so dearly that he would drop all the ego barriers as a man and would do things they have dreaded in their life as a man. I was gobsmacked, yet full of pride. What a Kodak moment that was. It still brought me smiles and well, a little bit of tears in my eyes, but not overly.

Those personal fights towards stopping ourselves to continue having feelings for each other really took its toll. We both hurt like hell. I could cry during my lunch hour alone without trying hard. There were also times when we had had to force to ignore each other and only talk to each other in the most professional manner. Such odd behaviour was quickly noticed by all of our officemates. The height of the “turmoil” became more apparent especially when I have tendered my resignation letter to our division boss. Good thing none of our colleagues really bothered to ask on our troubled friendship because both of us have made it looked like normal when it came to socializing with them. Nevertheless, a few did try to ask on what was going on between us, but we made it clear that it was just those moments of trying to accept the fact that we gonna be apart soon. What they didn’t know was that he would also follow my footpath on leaving our old company soon after my departure.

One of the ways of keeping my sanity during those final days was by inviting my sisters to stay with me. The first to pay the visit was my fourth sister who stayed with me over a week or so. I even took her to my office nonchalantly on every other day. No one in my office objected to it. My fourth sister got to know my officemates including him and all three of us went out together for dinner a few times. She quickly received attentions from my office colleagues as well as the neighbouring ones. One of them even asked my permission if he could take her out for a dinner. Funny people them lots.

My sister saw that quality in him that I like but we both still teased him just to spite him for being the married one and all. After she left, approximately 3 weeks after that, my 3rd sister came over. She didn’t join me to the office but she still got introduced to him. Having just found out that her former boyfriend cheated on her with another girl, she had wanted to go far, far away from whatever familiar places and things. So I’ve asked her to come and stay with me for a couple of days while she nurses her wounded heart.

Both my sisters made friends with him. But since the third one was not in the mood to chit-chatting much, he got chummier with the fourth one, even until today. He was so brotherly with them that I felt even sadder on the thoughts of going each others’ way soon.

The last month before I left, he began to avoid seeing me much. The day when we bid farewell to each other, we managed to take it calmly. Only God knows how broken and weak I was inside. But I must stay strong, especially for that moment. He gave me more advices and one of them that I will never forget was: I deserved so much better in life, and I deserved a much, much better man to love and care for me, and that I shall never settle for any less when it comes to marrying the rightful man for me.

Back in my house (family’s house of course), I cried almost every night thinking of him and us. Of all the bitter-sweet memories that we have shared. I got a new job very soon after that. The one that I did my interview while I did my first month in my old company. I was officially a UKM employee.

I called him at his hometown one night and again we both got too carried away, crying and all. He said that (and has been saying it time and time again) I will always be a part of him for the rest of his life.

After 2 months of crying at night, I got rather tired of it...very, very tired indeed. On the eve of my birthday, I made a new pledge, and a totally new resolution. It shall be the biggest turning point in my life. Tomorrow shall be the moment to turn over a new leaf all together.

All that we had were so mutual, so wonderful despite its wrongness. It took us to another level in our lives. Thank God that we managed to bring out the best in each other. Thank God that we have found each other. Thank God that I can finally exorcise my inferiority complex demons when it comes to feeling unattractive. Thank God that I can finally regain my self-esteem and confidence while continuously improving on my social skills. Thank God that I have then realised how wonderful it was to be a woman without ever changing my own self (I was always a bit of a tomboy and a little bit rough on the attitude until I met him). And many, many more...

I probably needed those lessons in not just the hard way, but also in ways I have never even thought of....ever...some miracles came in many disguises, same as the blessings. I am glad that it happened for the betterment of both of us. He ended up getting much, much better job with much, much better pay that he well deserved. His relationship with his wife has gone into much, much better level that after we went into separate ways, he was bestowed with two more children and this time he took them to stay with him wherever he works. Recently, he emailed me a photo of him and his family and he looked happier than ever. He kept asking me from time to time when I am gonna get married and settle down and all. I told him, now would be the most opportune time for me to begin praying hard to accomplish yet another rewarding achievement of my life and obviously my parents hope: that I shall marry and have my own family.

I have since got over him but i can never erase him and our memories from my mind forever. Even though it is almost impossible for us to ever marry each other (by the way, he is catholic), his existence in my life will always be one of the signs that good things will come to those who waits (with patience and lots of prayers).

We are each other's angels (part 3)

It was rather strange to have some sort of an affair with a married man, especially if he was only 7 years older than us and helped in bringing out the woman in us.

We continued as really close friends after raya and xmas hols. There were times when I didn’t know whether it was really because of him or the fact that I was blooming into a womanly woman, my nearest guess was both reasons complement each other. Closely related. As I continued befriending him, my relationship with other Malay communities, especially my officemates got better and better. I gradually received more and more attention from other men in my company as well. That included the top engineers, management people , both married and single ones. Soon we had another new lady engineer, a malay girl with a penchant for overly dressed in an engineering company. Me and my colleagues would want to tell her that that kinda dressing styles were much suitable in banks, KLCC sort of offices and so on. But I couldn’t be arsed about it.

Somehow, I was compared to that miss overly dressed (OD). I didn’t know how or when it all began, but those gossips reached me. As an engineering company, majority of the employees from the top level to the pembantu am rendah were men. Couldn’t blame it really. One of the things I heard was, I was a natural beauty, curvaceous and voluptuous, while miss OD was a malay-model lady who looked pretty in kebaya (especially if that kebaya has a long slit up to her thighs… that was something men love to ogle). All those comments also came up from his own mouth. He is in fact a man too.

Anyways, remember the night when I cried my eyes out. Well, I also said some prayers for him and his family. I’ve asked forgiveness from God that I got attracted to the wrong person and I asked the strength and holy guidance from Him so that I will never wreck his marriage. I also prayed for his and his family’s protections.

Those men in my old company have started to become more and more bold with me. Sure, I was a young engineer. As I was not a girlfriend to him or anything like that, therefore he has no rights to control over my life including going out with other men. Fair enough. Come the third month of our friendship, I went out with our computer maintainer. He knew it and approved it. That maintainer apparently adored me a lot, but I had no chemistry with him except as friends only. Nevertheless, the maintainer, being another gentleman and all and trying hard to win my heart, we too spent one evening sitting nearby the seaside, and on another occasion, we went to a famous waterfall resort. I didn’t fancy dipping in that cool water with a guy, too intimate for me...It’s ok if I do that only with my family members around me. But never with a non-mahram (i.e. a man that I can legally marry with).

I guess having befriended to my officemate has made me more a charming lady than I was before. I learnt a lot on how to talk to a man and how to "offend" him without putting my life and dignity at stake. I learnt on identifying my own people skill and understanding my strengths in many aspect of social skills. Not that I only got to polish those skills because of him. He was acting as a catalyst for all that. And not that my social skills was so poor before. But, truth to God, I got to improve myself so much! He was so patient with me. The only song I could think of to describe what he has done to me is: Because you loved me by Celine Dione.

There was even one time when he accompanied me on a food shopping trip that he managed to tell me off without me getting defensive. Normally, my mood will reflect the person who criticizes me without hikmah (wisdom) or blatantly saying words as if they were meant to make me feel so undermined and low. But not him. He has this clever way of advising me that I broke down and cry and not even feeling angry towards him. It was direct yet with a lot of subtlety and wisdom. Those words gone absorbed right to the bottom of my heart and had stayed there ever since. From that moment on, he was officially my angel.

In the hindsight, I have also become his angel when it came to his relationship with his wife. He told me of how easily we clicked in comparison to his struggle in trying to win his wife’s affections and attentions. Before that, his wife thought it’s gross to hold hands in public and many, many other romantic things a couple normally do. It was all due her reluctance of marrying him in the 1st place. She was “forced” to marry him because her brother saw her and him alone together kissing and making up in her family’s house. She wasn’t ready for such commitment and so had to put up with being a wife and a mother to their child. All that coldness and taking him for granted has finally resolved when he befriended me. She found out that her husband got close to his female officemate (i.e. me) from their friends who also worked in our company. Obviously she was shocked and got jealous and all. Which was definitely a good sign for him that she has then realized how much she needed him and how far has she neglected on taking him as her lawfully wedded husband.

As for my part, I have always reminded him of contacting his wife and so on. On how important their family were and how he must be patient that one day his perseverance on winning her ultimate love will soon prevails. That he should never think that all his efforts were in vain.

And thank God for that, my prayers were answered. He told me and his fellow countrymen colleagues that his wife now kept saying that she missed him and she started to say “I love you” more openly and sincerely than before. He got so ecstatic for that, that he felt liked he owed me a LOT. I just told him, “ditto”.

This was my first and last close encounter of a married man. As much as I had avoided it before, I still got to experience what it was like to being in a relationship with one, and how painful it was for both of us to fight such wonderful, and yet forbidden feelings.


Friday, August 18, 2006

We are each other's angels (part 2)

It was only 2 weeks since we actually formed some sort of a close bond together right afther that first outing on the 1st day of Ramadhan, and now he was leaving to his country for christmas holiday. It'll be my aidil fitri soon too. The day he left me, i started to feel a bit lost. I just couldnt figure out why. Was i starting to miss him already?

Then one night, about few days before i went back to my family for raya hols, i had this moment where i began to cry my heart and eyes out....pretty much dramatic, thats for sure. It happened right after i did my evening prayers followed by the taraweeh prayers. I sat on my praying mat, contemplating about many things in my life. About how cruel was that abroad guy who was so chicken of accepting some trials in life when it comes to a long distance relationship. I was bitter....really bitter...but i didnt cry for was more like that internal anger deep down inside my heart. Stupid fucked up dude. Coward tahap max! bodo....and etc profanities that i only uttered inside my heart too, as a sign of respect to the holy month of ramadhan and because i was still wrapped in my praying telekung costume.

Then, all of a sudden, i started to weep as i was thinking of him ( my officemate la). What he was doing and so on...soon it got worse....i started to realise that i missed him like hell. Yes I did miss him....Could not deny that any longer...but i knew it was wrong to feel that was sooooo wrong to even began to have feelings with a married man let alone missing his company that much. Those mixed up feelings grew even worse up to the point that i finally let it all out....tears after tears streaming down my face....this has never occurred to way i was never that big crybaby when it comes to man. I was always the stronger one. Damn, i felt so overwhelmed by all that had happened in a short period of time. How can such thing affected me that bad? As i was crying, i suddenly realised that i was also in love with him. No wonder it hurt me so bad. No wonder i could not stop myself from crying a river for that matter. That night , i shall always remember it as the 1st time ever this lady understood what love is.

Not that it was really the very very 1st time i wept for a man (excluding my dad, family, prophet muhammad). I did weep a bit when i thought of my very 1st true puppy love, or shall i call it the very 1st moment of truth as I opened up my heart to a guy. That puppy love guy, he's damn cute too, tall and all. My type basically. We didnt continue our relationship as it was opposed by my parents. They said i was still too young to have an affair with another man and i should concentrate on my studies 1st. Right. That happened after my SPM. I obeyed my parents. But he will never be out of my mind forever and i really hope to see him again one day.

Love thats another revelation for me. Damn well it hurts....

He rang me at our office one fine afternoon. He too missed me and asked me if i wanted anything as a souvenir from his country. I wasnt thinking that far ahead but i didnt want to trouble him either. So i asked for a hard rock cafe tshirt bearing his city's name. the way, before he left for xmas hols, we went out and did some shopping at one of the main shopping malls there. He asked me what would i want for raya, and i thought probably a baju kebaya would be cheaper than an Aqua gi Gio perfume. He then let me choose the baju kebaya and went to pay for it as a gift for me. He was really a sweet guy....not only a gentleman but also sweet. What a great package to have a guy like him. And i silently prayed to God that if i was to get a husband, it should be something like him...not exactly like him, but this future husband should have many of his qualities put it that way.

What to do, both of us are engineers. He does civil and i do chemical. Building blocks while ensuring the chemical aspects of it are intact. Sounds ideal right? Well, almost.

We are each other's angels (part 1)

We met each other nearly seven years ago in a southern state of Malaysia. Although i must admit that I did not actually remember vividly that first day we were introduced by our then boss but we did shake our hands. It was the first day of my life working as an engineer.

Fresh from my undergraduate studies abroad, i chose to keep a distant with those malays (orang kita). Not that i hate my own people (or more precisely, half of me belong to that group), I had had a lot of nasty experience as i get closer to them. Nevertheless, this was my perception back then. My best friend is a malay (half chinese) and i do have a LOT of very close malay friends. But due to many of the malays affinity towards gossipping and backbiting, i thought i had better be safe than sorry when it came to dealing with these people in general. The fact he was not a malay and not even a malaysian though he is a south-east asian fella and has malay roots made it more "easier" so to speak for me to communicate with each other minus negation. And english was our medium.

However, that first time was another story for him. He recalled it as one of those unforgettable moments of his life. He actually fell in love with me the moment i stepped into our office division. The only drawback about it was that he was a married man, and still is a married man. Only a week after i started my job there, the fasting month of Ramadhan began. Living on my own in a state that i have never really been in my life has forced me to become more and more independent. But i do need to have friends, those i can hang out with. The only close friends i had there live about 20minutes drive away.

Then came the 1st day of Ramadhan. It was on a weekend. I wanted to go out to see the city and places around as part of familiarizing myself of where i was staying. And so I started asking my newlyfound officemates if there was anyone kind enough to accompany me for that matter. It seemed like no one actually was prepared to sacrifice his/her time for a new officemate like me, except him. He took my invitation with "open arms"...very welcoming. I thought just because he is not malaysian, he understood the urge of wanting to learn about new places. I have no other interest in him at that time. The only thing i was trying to establish in a new working environment was the sense of camaraderie amongst my officemates.

As he accepted my invitation, we started planning on what time we should meet up, where and so on. Since it was the 1st day of ramadhan, i preferred to go out in the morning so that I will not get hungry and tired too soon. Especially that i had the opportunity to take my sahur (the early breakfast before dawn).

The 1st day of ramadhan. He came to pick me up from home much, much earlier than our scheduled time. I didn't know exactly what was this excitement was about. Come on, it was just an outing...and probably a little bit of shopping if i still have the energy. But heck, i appreciated his efforts and we went out as early as 8.00am. Obviously no shopping mall opened around that hour. So we basically walked around the city till we entered a zoo there. It was still early and only very few visitors turned up as we entered the animal sanctuary. We spoke on basic stuff, about ourselves really, background stories and so on. I kept reminding myself that this cute-looking, nicely built physique man is indeed a married man with 1 kid. He told me that both his wife and son were at his country and he was staying with some of his countrymen friends in a terraced double storey house. Man, he is taken. Yupp, no doubt about it. Must stay focused on such facts. Must not lead him on. Must not cross the line. Arrrghhhh fuck this temptation....this very very dangerous temptation....forbidden fruits....easy woman,'s ramadhan. (and many many more things i've been saying inside my heart).

As we left the zoo, we continued walking down the pedestrian lane adjacent to the sea. It was kinda romantic by the way. After a while, we sat on a bench there facing the sea. There he dropped this one massive bombshell: he confessed that he was in love with me! Fucking outttt.....!!!!! I was just about to get over with that other fella (ex-boyfriend) who lived abroad that time. Why oh why such thing ever happened to me! Not especially with a guy worth looking at! bloodyhell this was not easy for me at all....and definitely not easy for him either....i had to steady myself, tried to remain cool, calm and collected over hearing such confession. Must not fret. That was just the spur of the moment....must be that stupid pheromones we caught at the zoo.

There...I was weak and pathetic and totally was not prepared for all that.

We continued sitting there for a while, while i tried to digest those words slowly and painfully but those words became more and more like a music to my heart....Soon, i'll be that other woman in his life.

I tried to talk to him and reminded him of his marital position. He was very very clear on that but he just could not resist it any longer. He felt very strange as well the moment i walked into our office. It was like another thunderbolt came striking his heart, as if that angel of love, that mystical cupid gave him a second chance on getting that falling in love feelings once again. He said it has been five years since he had had such feelings for a woman, and she was his wife. I was torn between euphoria and melancholia. Should i be happy or should i be prepared to get hurt. The truth was i actually liked it. Yes, I did. Not in the sense that i wanna be the home wrecker. But in the sense that i didnt know love is all around until I met him. And he was not just any guy. He was a goodlooking guy. What can i do.....after all i am a human and i was still very young. With that kinda attention, who wouldnt feel "cair"?

He remained ever so gentleman as he refused to eat or drink the whole time we were together during the day. He wanted to share my fasting experience and he would love to break the fast , buka puasa with me later in the evening, just after dusk (hate to say this but that day felt like a romantic version of the movie "from dusk till dawn" but in the reverse order).

We killed our afternoon time by watching a movie. It was Toy Story 2 or something like that. During the cinema hour, we both felt like teenagers making it up in the movie seat. Well, not that we did make up, but we nearly did. The dark ambience, cool surroundings, not so many audience around....and this newly lovebirds just got to know each others' feelings....sigh....another big temptation.

We buka puasa together at some swanky but not very posh restaurant. But swanky nonetheless. We got closer and closer by the end of the day. I really enjoyed his company. He then sent me home on a cab and bid each other goodbye at my doorstep.

The next day i woke up for my sahur, i just had had to reflect on what had just happened last night. I thought for quite a long while. I knew it was wrong to be in love with a married man, but i knew i could feel something inside me started to grow. Monday and we shall meet again. How could i not see him, he was my officemate after all.

Because of that, he inspired me to write a diary. (My other significant guy who also rocked my world has inspired me to write a blog. Too sweet were those moments need to be captured by any means possible.)

Thursday, August 17, 2006

You don't say....embracing a religion of the so-called gentile or lovingly termed as goyim

Despite the atrocities, mass killings, continuous bombings, and forever ambushes (as well as abuses) physically or verbally, some people still do the opposite, be it some muslims converting to other religions or some other non-muslims reverted to Islam. U may wanna call this some sort of a poetic justice, another irony in life. But I call it the global in-trend that never cease to amaze me, really.

Many muslims are gutted to see their own muslim brothers or sisters fought tooth and nail just to denounce their Islamic faith to join the apostate groups. On the other hand, Islam still manages to attract the non-believers such that they are coaxed and lured towards becoming a muslim. Whether it happens through marriage with a fellow muslim man/woman or through some religion comparative studies, such an act should be of something to be reflected of by those emotionally-driven muslims.

The hidayah or huda (Godly sign to the heart as a true holy guidance) belongs to Allah. He will bestow it to whomever he deems appropriate at whichever time and place. It says so in the Quran:

(2:272): It is not required of thee (O Messenger), to set them on the right path, but Allah sets on the right path whom He pleaseth. Whatever of good ye give benefits your own souls, and ye shall only do so seeking the "Face" of Allah. Whatever good ye give, shall be rendered back to you, and ye shall not Be dealt with unjustly.

(2:38): We said: "Get ye down all from here; and if, as is sure, there comes to you Guidance from me, whosoever follows My guidance, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.

(3:73): And believe no one unless he follows your religion." Say: "True guidance is the Guidance of Allah. (Fear ye) Lest a revelation be sent to someone (else) Like unto that which was sent unto you? or that those (Receiving such revelation) should engage you in argument before your Lord?" Say: "All bounties are in the hand of Allah. He granteth them to whom He pleaseth: And Allah careth for all, and He knoweth all things.

(6:88): This is the guidance of Allah. He giveth that guidance to whom He pleaseth, of His worshippers. If they were to join other gods with Him, all that they did would be vain for them.

To those who were thinking of plotting some bomb attacks on planes and other public places, I disagree with your act wholeheartedly. You not only add more disgrace to the peace-loving muslim community but also more prejudice from our fellow non-muslims society. We must be wiser and more thoughtful rather than reacting over anger and frustrations. Jihad is not merely a physical semblance on fighting the oppressions afflicted upon us, but jihad is also a mind and soul fight towards the betterment on earth minus the bloodshed. Physical attribution should only be materialised when we are subjugated by a direct force.

Here is an article which may cause a lot of stir:

source: Islamicity and Ynetnews

2006: More Jews converting to Islam

(No, no, your eyes are not lying)

New record: 70 Israeli citizens expected to convert to Islam this year – more than twice the number in previous years. Most are cases of Jewish, Christian women marrying Muslim men
Nurit Palter

According to statistics from the Population Administration, 2006 will be a record year for Israeli Jews joining the Muslim religion. In the past few years, the number of conversions to Islam was relatively stable at 35 per year, but over 70 conversions were expected this year. In 2003, 40 Jews converted to Islam; in 2004 the number dropped to 27; and last year it stood at 33.

But the trend took a drastic turn this year, and Interior Ministry data showed that in the first half of 2006 alone 42 conversions were
recorded, and a comparable number is expected throughout the second half of the year

The process of converting to Islam is carried out at the Muslim religious court which operates according to Islamic law. In contrast to Jewish conversions, which last months and often years, to become Muslim one must only convince the court that one’s intentions are sincere and declare faith in Allah.

Most are Jewish and Christian women who convert after choosing to marry Muslim men. The number of men who convert to Islam is far lower, but has also seen a rise.

“Jews say they decided to convert after deepening their knowledge of Islam. Many are disappointed in Judaism,” a senior member of the Islamic court said.

In the past, the Religious Affairs and Interior Ministries made it very difficult for Jews to convert to Islam. “They are giving me the runaround, sending me back and forth from office to office. They made me see a psychiatrist, to ‘make sure I wasn’t brainwashed.’ They did everything so that I would despair and return to Judaism,” one convert related.

The data revealed that the reverse phenomenon of Muslims converting to Judaism is significantly lower. In the first half of this year, there were only seven conversions to Judaism.

Statistics that reached Israel’s leading daily Yedioth Ahronoth showed that Judaism continues to constitute a greater attractive force for Christians. In 2003, 437 Christians converted to Judaism, in 2004 – 884, and in 2005 – 733. Since the beginning of 2006, 210 Christians converted to Judaism.

Yedioth reporter Paiz Abbas countered that according to data recorded by the Islamic appeals court, the numbers do not indicate an increase in the number of converts. Further, data show that the greatest number of converts during 2005 were from Jerusalem with 46, followed by Yaffo with 28, then Haifa and Akre with 25 and Nazereth with 22.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The venomous media voices who think no Muslim is worth talking to

A blend of society of different faith Posted by Picasa

To be a muslim is to have the perseverance to safeguard one's faith by accepting the obligation on practising the islamic teachings, the solemn believe and surrender to the Almighty God Allah as well as the ultimate acceptation that nabi Muhammad (salallahu alayhi wasallam , SAW) is the God's last sent prophet and messenger on earth.

During nabi Muhammad SAW leadership era in madinah for 11 years (622-632 AD), he managed to unite many different arab, christian and jewish tribes under a peace treaty called The Madinah Treaty. It was indeed a tough job of trying to maintain peace and harmony there but the prophet carried his duty ever so zealously. The non-believers were split into two types of group: those who opposed the muslims (kafir harbi) and those who chose to be in peace with the muslims community (kafir zimmi). The prophet has always ensured safety and wellbeing for those of zimmi group while stayed on alert to any attack from the harbi type.

My point here is, a muslim is taught to not breed hatred against any fellow non-believers (i.e. non-muslims) and will only defend oneself if he/she is attacked mercilessly. God has said this in the Quran:

(16:125): Invite (all) to the Way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious: for thy Lord knoweth best, who have strayed from His Path, and who receive guidance.

(17:33): Nor take life - which Allah has made sacred - except for just cause. And if anyone is slain wrongfully, we have given his heir authority (to demand qisas or to forgive): but let him nor exceed bounds in the matter of taking life; for he is helped (by the Law).

Below is an interesting article excerpts from The Guardian, written by a non-muslim lady who believes in justice for all:


As government efforts to 'tackle' extremism flounder, it should beware the advice of armchair warriors and fantasists

Madeleine Bunting
Wednesday August 16, 2006
The Guardian

One could almost feel sorry for them. A minister like Ruth Kelly is wrenched from her bucket-and spade holiday on a rainy British beach with the kids to launch yet another push to "engage" with Muslims and to step up efforts to "tackle" extremism. A ministerial tour of nine cities to meet Muslims is announced.

It's all designed to sound energetic and purposeful. We pay fat cabinet salaries and we want our politicians to sound like they are earning them. But in truth, beneath the rhetoric - an odd verbal combination of rugby tackles and romantic engagement - is a profound confusion in government policy as to what to do about British-grown Islamist terrorism, apart from large amounts of surveillance and frequent use of detention. Beyond that, the hearts-and-minds strategy is running on empty.

I've seen government ministers do "engagement": Paul Murphy, when he had the community-cohesion brief, listened carefully, answered questions patiently and got precisely nowhere. His young, angry Muslim audience heard him out but were profoundly cynical; their views didn't change a jot.

Events of the last few days will have immeasurably increased that cynicism: Muslim MPs and peers have been roundly ticked off by a succession of government ministers as if they were imperial vassals who should know their place. Yet they were simply stating the obvious - that British foreign policy is incubating (we can argue whether it's the root cause another time) Muslim extremism. Given that kind of opening salvo from her colleagues, perhaps Kelly should save herself the trouble and return to the beach for some more sandcastles and rock pools.

While she's there, the best thing she can do is to get a bit of perspective on a worn-out policy. Even more importantly, she would do well to take stock of a pernicious media onslaught in danger of spiralling out of control. The ministerial tours, the meetings with selected Muslims - most of whom are as baffled by Islamic extremism as ministers - were the responses to last summer's London bombings. The danger is that as the government's "community cohesion" policy flounders, there is no shortage of media commentators pouring out a flood of venomous advice on exactly why no Muslim is worth talking to anyway.

If, reader, you're short of time and need the summary, it runs thus: the government can't talk to extremists because they endorse violence and/or are nutty and irrational, and can't talk to "moderates" (warning: the word is on the point of becoming a term of abuse in the Muslim community) because they're not representative. These methods of dismissal are so frequently used by journalists that the only possible conclusion is that there are many people in this country who have no interest in listening to any Muslim unless they can chorus their own loathing and suspicion of Islam - the former Dutch MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali is the case par excellence.

Some of this armchair advice to government can be pretty briskly dismissed, such as the paranoid fantasies of the rightwing Daily Mail commentator Melanie Phillips in her book Londonistan or those of the Conservative MP Michael Gove in his book Celsius 7/7. Both authors haven't troubled themselves to get much beyond revived imperial delusions of demented, violent Muslims (check out Britain's history in India, Sudan or Egypt).

More insidious is the comprehensive attack on Whitehall's policy towards the Muslim community over the last decade by the New Statesman's political editor, Martin Bright. He argues that the government should have no truck with any Muslim organisation in the UK that has had any involvement with any person who has ever been influenced by the Muslim Brotherhood, the political Islamist organisation. That rules out the Muslim Council of Britain, the Federation of Student Islamic Societies and other mainstays of the government's "engagement" policy of the last 10 years. It would even include intellectuals such as Professor Tariq Ramadan (grandson, no less, of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood), who was a member of the government taskforce set up to tackle Islamist extremism last year, and a star turn on its travelling roadshow for young Muslims. We are talking sweeping here. In fact, implement Bright's advice and you've got a pretty small tea party for your next round of engagement.

The Muslim Brotherhood is a global phenomenon that has taken many different guises in different places. It has been very successful at the ballot box in a host of countries, particularly Egypt. In some countries it has developed an armed wing, in many others it has not. Many of those in this country influenced by this strand of anti-colonial political Islamism have subsequently developed their thinking in entirely different directions. Almost every thoughtful, educated Muslim in this country has been exposed to - and to varying degrees influenced by - the Muslim Brotherhood, the 20th century's most influential political Islamic movement. The obvious historical analogy to Bright is those US cold war warriors in the 50s who smeared anyone who had ever read Marx.

For a story to really work you have to have good guys as well as bad, so the critics conjure up another absurdity - the "silent Sufi majority" of British Muslims. These are the gentle, peace-loving Muslims at the grassroots who have been betrayed, so the argument runs, by those who claim to represent them, such as the Muslim Council of Britain. One can argue for hours about how to define a Sufi in this country; and, leaving that aside, the characterisation of Sufism is wide of the mark: some of the most violent anti-colonial struggles have been led by Sufis, for example Chechnya and Algeria, even the Mahdi who did for General Gordon in Khartoum. Furthermore, some argue that Sufi-inclined traditions such as the Kashmiri Barelwi have failed to travel well to urban Britain and that it is precisely their youngsters who are most disorientated and likely to fail prey to extremism - as was the case of the July 7 bombers from Leeds.

The main target for Bright is the Muslim Council of Britain; he loathes it with a contempt that is hard to explain. Given that the MCB is in effect a small volunteer parish council scrabbling to represent a hugely diverse - both ethnically and theologically - community, it's not surprising that it has scored own goals in its time. It's a young, underconfident institution and falls short in many ways, but the fact remains that of all the Muslim organisations to emerge in recent decades it has proved the most successful in winning affiliates. There is no comparable substitute waiting in the wings. The Sufi Muslim Council of Britain has been in existence all of a month; I wish it well, but unlike the MCB it cannot claim to represent anything like the 40% of British mosques affiliated to the MCB.

Kelly has an urgent task ahead to assuage anxiety as the possibility looms of a second-class status for Muslims in this country - profiled, suspected, searched, endlessly quizzed and found wanting. As for the armchair warriors so keen to proffer advice, one has to question the motives of those intent on undermining the meagre organisational capacity the Muslim community has managed to weld together to combat just such a threat.

· Madeleine Bunting will become director of the thinktank Demos next month

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Scorching, sweltering heat!

All those bright, sunny "summer" days in bangi (and malaysia) and wet, rainy day the next day just made me prone to get cold. And i am having cold now....sigh....well, it is said in our religion that every disease, illness, any pain that we are suffering could actually be a "kifarah", as in small sins cleansing. Of course, my tastebud is reduced, my nose blocked, coughing and sneezing, my eyes are getting a bit puffy and all....sure, all that are a very very normal symptoms of having a normal fever, but it does affect my productivity for the day. I had to blow my nose, panting for some air....and well, cant help but living my mouth gaping coz i cant breathe easily through my nostrils.

All that plus walking under blazing sunshine makes me feel grateful that the buildings in malaysia are equipped with airconditioning including mai maison. ON top of this sweltering heat felt by the malaysian, our house, especially in our bedrooms are swarmed by this infamous tropical pest: mosquitos! NOT even that supposedly "effective" mosquito electric vapour repellent can ward off those seemingly perky and plucky litte flying, bloodsucking insects. They weren't that tough to get rid of during the 1st 4-5 months of the year. And by the end of june and onwards, these insects have gained some "extra" immunition power against my vapour repellent that i had to spray my bedroom with a Shieldtox spray and and leave the room closed for 5-10mins, until those pungent aerosol smells vanish.

Speaking of insect repellent sprays, this Shieldtox special spray for cockroaches has live up to its claims on instantly killing those creepy smelly ugly crawlers. I have tested it and it works! FYI, i memang geli dengan those big flying insects like cockroaches and wasps. And especially that C ones. I cannot sleep peacefully until i know i have sprayed it dead. I used to squash them using toilet slippers or big brooms but that only creates very gross revolting yucky white things coming out of those roaches' flat bodies. Seriously gross! But to see them happily flying clumsily around my living room while watching my favourite TV program really gets on my nerves. No....i am not scared of them....i cannot stand them at all! Every time i see one flying above my head, i will automatically sprint to a safer spot and then quickly locate that special shieldtox spray and voila....RIP u scums!

However, if those cockroaches are in a mating mood, they become very "dangerous". One big, black female roach will do the flying debut while emitting some nasty smell, which actually is an act of sending some signals (like pheromones in mammals) that she is ready to copulate. Soon after that, a flatter, lighter brown, longbodied male roach will appear from nowhere and starts showing his flying prowess to his female counterpart. Unfortunately all that love scenes only send me and my sisters scurrying and scampering and screaming. We normally hide behind any of the nearest bedroom for a while before attempting to open the door hastily but on wide alert (from any possible ambushes of these insects). Then of course, either my dad will bunuh them 1st or halau them away from our views. Due to some sort of an auto-phobic act, my sisters and i are actually drenched in those fear-sweat. Is this a laughing matter? well, i have actually seen much worse act than us....especially in a house full of female occupiers or a female dormitory. I could hear some very loud hysterical screams just because one pathetic creepy insect made his appearance, and practising its odd flying skills. Damn, this is no way a laughing matter....this insect can go up to 5.0cm long and 2.0 to 3.0cm wide!!!

Thats....thats all about my rants while having cold for today.

Good thing i have enough tissue paper supplies to last till, well, hopefully, i am back to normal.