Madame Blossom's Book of Poems

Monday, October 31, 2011

No mood, no point

When I am in no mood, I don't see the point of watching a movie at the theatre, especially at midnight. I'd rather sleep on my comfortable bed. I don't see the point of eating out. I don't see the point of talking over nothing important or concrete.

Ok takde mood for anything now. I want to sleep early.

After I burn 9 DVDs
- if I can catch the slippery mood.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Hud 11:6

"There is no moving creature on earth but it's sustenance depend on Allah; He knoweth the time and place of it's definite abode and it's temporary deposit: all is in a clear Record."

That second part of the ayat reminds me of (wallahu a'lam,who knows.. may be..) the mechanics of quantum physics, where particles are said to have a definite position and velocity at any one moment - however scientists have a problem in identifying or knowing both attributes. .

Thursday, October 27, 2011

to be

This morning, I was in my car, sending my two younger girls to school. It was about 7.10am on PIE towards Changi, before BKE exit. The road was wet. I was in Lane 2. There was another light coloured car, bigger than mine, most cars are, 1-2 meters ahead of me in Lane 1. A big motorcycle, about 750cc maybe, was on my right. It overtook my car, and was just about to overtake the light coloured car, when he appeared to brake suddenly and drop on my side of the lane. It was too late to stop. In fact I didn't have time to think about stopping. I swerved a little to the left to avoid the motorbike. I felt the front wheel of my car went over something about the size of a man's clenched fist (about the SIZE OF, I'm quite sure it's not the man's clenched fist).

"Ya Allah! Ya Allah!" I drove on, in a daze, shocked. When I looked through my rear view mirror, I saw that the cars were almost coming to a stop and slowly avoiding the motorcyclist.

Nadhrah beside me was also in shock. She let out a few big sighs. All along the way, as I drove slowly, I was arguing with myself in my head that I should have stopped, but how could I have stopped further down on the expressway? And I couldn't just make a U-turn. And there was heavy traffic on the other side. I kept on driving.

By the time we reached school, I had calmed myself down and my girls too. I was quite sure the rider did not suffer any major injuries. He was not fast, he did not skid far, he was not hit. He just dropped.

I went back, hoping to see nothing on the road where it happened just now. Before I reached the spot that is on the other side of the road, I saw an ambulance passing. It didn't seem to be in a hurry. Then, at the spot, I saw a tow truck and 1 or 2 lanes closed. I got worried. I wasn't sure what I should do.

Be a civic minded person for heaven's sake! I SAW what happened, maybe the guy is unconscious and the family wants to know what happened. What if something worse happened after I left? Surely they want to know from a 1st witness. I was not at peace. But what if I have to go down to the station? I don't have that much leave to apply for. This is not right. I should listen to my heart and my conscience. I should just shut up and call.

I called Traffic Police Hotline and got the investigating officer's number. I called him to inform him that I was at the scene and to check on the motorcyclist condition.

"PIE got 3 accidents, which one?" he asked. The one with the motorcyclist. He said there were 2. I said the one that's about 7.10am before BKE. He said, "Oh, that one, motorcycle skidded and drop." Then how's the motorcyclist? The officer said that he was brought to hospital. For minor injuries? Yes, he said. The officer asked, 'you just want to check if he is in hospital is it? Yes he was brought to the hospital.' I said, "If there was an injury, I thought you would want to investigate further. Don't you have any questions to ask me?" He told me to leave my name, number and IC number. He would call me if he requires any more information.

Hopefully he doesn't, because the motorcyclist only had minor injuries and is now resting. Ameen.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


I noticed I've been. I read what I wrote 4-5 years ago, compared to now.. I've grown more cynical.

It's just that, everytime I read the news, accidentally watch TV, hear stories of people around me - it is all about people taking advantage of other people, about selfishness, about thoughtlessness, about me me me. I see us wandering around aimlessly.

But I don't want to be a cynical.

My car is due for servicing. Actually it was due for servicing two months & about 20,000km ago. I am planning to hold on to this car, till death do us part. As long as that car can still move, and I can afford to pay the COE.. I want to hold on to it, insyaAllah.

I think, I'll take leave from work today, send my car for servicing and ride a bus.

Monday, October 17, 2011

false promises

Just because once upon a time, the founder of a company provided good service and/or products - it doesn't mean that as it gets bigger and well known and starts charging exorbitantly just based on their brand, that you'll get the same level of service and quality. When a company gets too big, it is almost impossible for the founder to instill the same values in ALL their employees. It only becomes another passionless money making monster company (eating up all the sincere and passionate smaller businesses).

A service or product can only maintain it's quality if the founder or person who is the good one in the first place, is able to personally oversee it's the delivery & production of the service or goods. Unless he is blessed with a good subordinate who shares his passion and objectives and mission. Even then, once this get's passed on to another person, or worse another place or country - it is as good as another person's business, just riding on the good name created in the first place.

But of course, most of us are blinded by advertisements with trash poetry and false promises. We just want our company to look good, because we hired a well known company.

Which suddenly reminds me of a friend, A. She is rich, masyaAllah. So she was telling me, her old friend came over to tell her about a pyramid scheme. I didn't know this thing still exists. At first, A was just saying, about a business. I asked her what product her friend is selling. She said, she's not exactly sure. There are no actual products.. just some sort of a virtual shop house. WHA???? She said, you can buy different standards of membership packages, and you can make easy money. The lowest or cheapest one is only SGD374.00 (to buy nothing concrete) + a SGD17 membership fee. Then you only need to get 2 more victims down-line members, and that's it. You'll start making easy money. The next level package is only about SGD1000 plus and the highest level about $2000 plus (let me remind you again, to buy nothing concrete). So basically, you make money when there are others who are willing to pay for nothing also.

A told her friend she is not good at selling ideas. Her friend told her of a few tactics, like enticing working people by explaining how she herself is not working, making easy money through this. She being a real person example, will easily convince people and therefore get customers. Another way is to ask the person straight in the face if he cannot afford the small amount - usually the person will want to maintain his...ego? and therefore buy just to prove they have the money. That is SO NOT NICE! But I wish her friend can tell me that in MY face. yes, I'll tell her - like I always tell bankers who force me to take a loan.. if I cannot pay how?

The two stories are related only by the 'false promises'.

Dunia!!! What a sad state we are in now. Need to be alert.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I don't know.

Truely, I do not know much.

Most of my blabbering on this blog or on FB or wherever, is just about things that goes through my head.
Are my views right? Maybe. Maybe NOT. Allahu'alam.

Because as you and I know, everything happens for a reason.
Sometimes we plan and do all we can to achieve success and a good thing, but failure or bad things greet us instead - still it could be a hikmah. We learn much better through falls and failures, rather than constant success and praises.

Falls & failures & heartbreaks will only make you stronger and better - if you allow yourself to be, insyaAllah.

And that reminds me of something Babur the Emperor said (as I read in The Places in Between).

Every good and evil that exists
If you mark it well is for a blessing.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

the ant and the man

Leen said I've been having a LOT to say lately. Actually it's more like I've been thinking a lot. But it's not just lately, I think a lot all the time, but never penned down. And the other day, I was reading my old blog posts and it reminded me of my state of thought at that time, and it teaches me something about myself or it reminded me some things that I have forgotten - about how I thought or felt.

Ok, so anyway, I was cleaning the kitchen (Rus is having her day out, I saw her outing pictures on FB just now :p ) and as I wiped the kitchen top, I noticed that I have half killed an ant. So as not to put it in further suffering, I said 'Bismillah' and pressed hard to kill it. (I wonder if I've sinned..) Then, it occurred to me, how insignificant it's life is to me. I killed it without thinking thrice (twice, I did). As God mentioned in the Quran, all animals have communities like us. It may have a brother waiting for it to return.

Is that how insignificant some leaders of the world think of their men's lives? These people who are of about the same size, same looks, same make up (a family unit) - do they consider all that, before they send them out with the high possibility of being killed, not to save their country, not to protect other people either - but for power and wealth.

On the other hand, we are even smaller than that ant, to God - considering how tiny our earth is in the Universe.
But Allah loves us and listens to each of our prayers, and tells men not to destroy ourselves - body and soul.

Seeing is no longer necessarily believing.

Seeing is no longer necessarily believing, especially when seen on the screen. Only seeing with your own eyes, in person can more safely constitute believing. Why?

The news as most of us are learning now, is most times political. What is reported in the News, or everything on TV for that matter, is in accordance to the agenda of the ruling party - whoever that may be. The TV company owner(s) or the government. The images chosen to be shown on TV would of course support their agenda.

Example, depending on the motives, a TV crew be asked to find a corner that looks normal to shoot an interview in a house that is mostly run-down - and all audience will see is that, the interviewee is in an acceptable condition place.

Or, artistes are most of the time, seen on TV - happy, contented and living a life that's out of this world. Behind the screen, just few seconds before the shoot, they may be shouting at someone or sad over something and audience don't see those.

If people spend too much time learning what's on the screen, they loose their sense of what reality is, what matters more in life, the real problems and issues, and always feel that their life is inadequate - for they can never match the images of their favourite artistes that is appearing on the screens.

Even 'Reality TV' is not real. Producers show what they want to show or may even coax participants to act in a certain way or say certain things to create 'drama' or make the episode more interesting.

As such, seeing is no longer believing, especially when seen on screen. Nothing beats experiencing a situation, or a place or someone, in person.

We need to go out to see and to live.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

my own reflections

And do thou (O reader!) bring thy Lord to remembrance in thy very soul, with humility and in reverence, without loudness in words, in the mornings and evenings, and be not thou of those who are unheedful.

Al-Quran (translation by Asad) 7:205

Side thought : The best way to grasp the message of the Quran is through the Arabic language itself. I've been shown how intricate the Arabic words are, how rich the language is. MasyaAllah. God help me.

So, today we spoke of the above ayat and the virtue of zikir (remembrance of Allah). The easy zikir being 'Subhanallah' and the essence of zikir is not in how long or complicated the verse you want to use for zikir is, but how it touches your heart and mind with remembrance. The best of zikir, to me, is reading the Quran (and the meanings, for people like me who don't fully understand Arabic.) Because there is a message in the Quran - it's like listening to what Allah has to say to us - paying attention to it.

Of course remembrance of Allah can be in many other ways too, such as reciting the names of Allah & extra solats, among others. But one of my favourite ways of zikir, is to observe nature - these natural things around us which Allah has created, the trees, the ocean, the birds, the bees, the ants - for us to observe, to learn and think. Subhanallah.

Then someone asked about zikir - 3 questions :
1) Can one have his own 'collection' of zikirs?
2) What are the ulama's opinions about the use of melody in zikirs?
3) What about zikir in own language?

Basically the answer provided was : yes, yes and if you can say it in Arabic, why not in Arabic? why in Malay e.g. 'Yang Maha Besar, Yang Maha Besar? It was added that the Salafi would of course disagree - because everything must have reference to the Quran or the Sunnah, if there is no reference, then it's bid'ah. But in the teacher's humble opinion, he thinks it should be ok.

I don't know if I'm a 'Salafi' I don't like labels. But in any case, I can understand where the Salafi may be coming from. Although I may not violently disagree with him, that it's ok for him to have his own 'collection' of zikir - ( wouldn't it be better if he just followed the Sunnah?) - but it's still ok. However, the answer cannot stop there. A person having his own collection, for whatever good reason, may be fine - he is sincere, perhaps he finds that he remembers Allah better, it moves his heart more this way etc

But once that gets passed on to a lot of other people, especially 3rd hand and above - that is where the problem may arise. Not long after, some people may believe this to be a part of a most recommended ibadah (more followed and revered than the sunnah itself) Even now, we can see many examples of doas and zikirs and rituals passed down or learned, that are already confusing people between what's mandatory, what's really just optional, or what is even non-existent in the religion.

And as for no. 2 and 3 - why don't we go back to the essence of remembering Allah. If a person sincerely finds that melody's help him remember with his heart..well, who am I to say. If a person really feels that he grasps the meaning and feel of 'Allah Maha Besar' better than Allahu Akbar - errm..well, ok. What we want to achieve is to remember in awe.
But again, as in the first case, if this gets passed on the 2nd and 3rd person onwards - people may lose track of the real reasons and place more importance on method over objectives - cause it was not emphasized enough.


Thursday, October 06, 2011

reason to 'entertain'

I cannot be in charge of 'entertainment'. Unless there are lessons in the entertainment. More and more, people have become confused with their priorities and the importance between the message and the mode.

In the old days, poets were the entertainers - but they didn't just want to write poems - they had a message to share, and idea to feed to the masses - and they do it through their poems. the mode or means itself is meaningless, without an intention or an idea or message to go along with it.

Now, the means itself has become the main menu - doesn't matter if the message is crap or there is actually no message at all.
Most entertainers just want to be famous and rich. The don't become who they become, because there is an idea or message that they want to put across through the mode they are good at. It could be the reason why most songs are lame, with lyrics I cannot take - because they'll take anything, as long as they can be out there. Doesn't matter if the message they are delivering in the product is negative or useless.

It's a challenge to remain relevant and stick to my guns. But I'll keep to my objectives and my principles as much as I possibly can, insyaAllah, Ameen. Ya Allah, make my heart firm in iman and good intentions. If I do sway, don't let me sway too far and bring me back to the straight path soonest. Ameen ya Rabb.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

I am Muslim

I just finished reading I am Muslim by Dina Zaman. My sis in law - asked me to read it. She said I'd find it interesting.

It is interesting, I must say. Most interesting article for me is the one about the bomoh with ken and barbie dolls hanging from the ceiling. It's sad too - the state of most Muslims in Malaysia - and I'm sure a lot like those in Singapore too. But perhaps because Singapore is very much smaller, the issue is not that obvious or not spoken about openly. Or we just don't mix in the same circle? Even if you are, you don't talk much about religion, only to close friends you do - or if you're an asatizah.

It seems like talking about religion is uncool. I wonder if people get offended or uncomfortable if we ask them what their religion is. Don't care much about the race. It should it be as practical as asking, 'what do you do?'. Right?

Sheikh Dr Mustafa Ceric, Grand Mufti of Bosnia, said in his talk on 1st Oct at Grand Hyatt Singapore, his Christians friends said, Muslims are always talking about religion. Talk about something else! He said to them, that they in turn, don't talk about religion at all!

Christians and others, should talk more about their religion - and Muslims - I wouldn't say don't talk about it at all. You'd have to define what it means to talk about it. Because basically everything good that we should do in our everyday life, is to please Allah. And that is our religion - our way of life. So how not to talk about religion so much?


Monday, October 03, 2011

Fate 'R Us.

Whatever we are fated with, is a test for us. God's tests come in different forms and intensity - for each one of us - all of it, we will have the capacity to bear (as God has promised). A favourable result from these tests, is that we come out of it, a stronger and better person (in various ways) - it depends on how we choose to face it.

God may test us with loss of goods, health, loved ones to see - Are we patient? Do we persevere?
Then God may test others with great knowledge or fame or wealth - Are they thankful? Do they forget God? Do they forget their duty to give back to the community? Are they arrogant?

A person may also choose to blame fate (whatever his fate may be) for everything that he is grouchy about. I believe that if a grouchy person becomes wealthy, he will only be a wealthy grouchy person (still).

I saw a video on Youtube about Poverty in America - and it strengthens my belief that everything happens with a hikmah. Although I cried at their plight, the children and their parents - the pain they had to go through - I was very relieved/happy/glad/proud to learn that these experiences have made these kids appreciate life, their parents, other people. They become more matured and are more sensitive towards others. A young girl says, when she grows up, she will definitely (insyaAllah), help others like her cause she now knows what it's like to be poor and hungry.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

I don't have a diploma in Islamic studies

I do not have a Diploma in Islamic Studies. Despite having attended 4 years of twice-weekly classes I didn't get it - because I didn't re-sit for my Balaghah 3rd Sem exams. My friends who did, said it was easy, almost an open book paper. I learnt balaghah - it's like learning prose in Arabic in the 3rd and 4th year of the course. Re sitting for the paper was done like almost 2 years after the subject ended.

I declined to go, because I don't see the point of it all. Truth be told, I still cannot speak Arabic. I understand some words in the Quran, alhamdulillah - some progress than not having learnt any Arabic at all, but I still don't understand much of it's grammar and sentence construct, let alone the truely rich meanings of the way the words are used in Arabic. And you ask me to sit for an almost open book paper on Balaghah, and show that I passed Balaghah when in fact I know next to nothing on this subject? I feel like I'm lying. In fact wouldn't I be?

Another justification I had was that - I started taking the course, not with the aim of paper chase. I truly was in search of a structured class on Islam - and found the diploma course to fit my objectives. Getting the Diploma itself, was not important to me. Most of all, I do not subscribe to going up on stage, especially with robes or what nots, to receive this paper and have pictures taken and everything. Doesn't add anything to anything - except time, and money and dosa on my part for later or even now, questioning the absurdity of it all.

These qualification papers can be quite misleading. Who is to say, someone with these qualifications will sincerely spread the teachings of Islam, because he/she truly believes in the product he/she is delivering? Or that they are only doing it just to support their livelihood? How do you differentiate between one who truly grasps the meaning of Islam, from the one who is just good at memorising and spewing out what he read out of a book, with no opinion of his own when faced with situations that requires more thought and sincerity and compassion?

Of course this problem is not only in Islamic studies but also in the academic studies (I don't like these terms). A LOT of teachers are teaching without thinking. They are just going through motions, finishing their syllabuses, targeting a certain number or passes - doesn't matter if the kids truly understand or they just have good memories. And most teachers may not even believe or have love for the subjects they are teaching, themselves.

You will naturally become a good salesman when you truly believe in the product you are selling. That's why word-of-mouth is very powerful - because people who spread those words (these unpaid effective salespeople ) truly believe in the product when they tell it to their family and friends.

I believe if you truly want to impart an information - the same strong belief in the knowledge you are imparting - must exist in the one imparting the knowledge. Which then leads me to want to talk about - what is true knowledge?? But I haven't even come to the point of this entry - so another time perhaps.

NOW, I'm in a dilemma. With regards to the earlier post about 'the need to reach out', I want to impart these religious... what can I say? information? - it's not so much knowledge - it's more about sharing the light or this sense of security or the iman I'm feeling - to the needy children. More than just money or the ability to attend academic schools - they need iman that will help them through their lives, be it hard or easy in future.

I believe a lot of them are also not sending their children to madrasah (which may or may not have any effect on these kids anyway) because they cannot afford to pay the fees, or they don't know that they can ask to attend for free (boleh kan?), or just because they don't know or they are not confident about filling up forms.

Seriously, filling up forms can also deter one from participating. I, the not needy and somewhat educated one, am one example of that. So many film festivals I could have entered if I can just send the link to my videos. But no... I have to fill up forms, give some technical info about my video, give them 300dpi pictures (and the sponsors sometimes don't even know what is 300 dpi pictures), provide a bio of directors etc etc - and I have so far only submitted 2 forms, in my 1.5 years of filmmaking. and they didn't get selected because I guess my answers and posters/pictures are not up to standard. If you talk about the story - I have seen worse stories entering the festivals. I guess I need to get into the groove of film marketing and submitting forms. But I haven't.

Oops, sorry I digressed.

Yup.. so as I was saying, I want to share Islam, with my fellow needy sisters and their children. But now I'm thinking - why would they trust me? should they trust me as someone who will not share deviant teachings of Islam? I guess they probably wouldn't ask for those - but what if some authorities ask? And now I'm regretting not getting that stupid paper (having paid for the 4 yrs also) that says I have a 'diploma' in islamic studies - what does that mean anyway???

But, I don't want to create excuses for not starting. :(
Alhamdulillah, I do have a certificate which they gave after 2 years through the program. I just have to go search for it. And oh yes, maybe I should go apply for that asatizah recognition thingy at MUIS too - to 'safeguard' me from being accused of daring to 'teach' Islam without due qualifications and recognition. I guess it's for the best of the ummah too, to safeguard them - not that it has no loopholes but hey, we can't have a perfect system - we do the best we can only, then we tawakkal.

Ok lah. I'm good at this.. talking myself out of my own worries and problems. Thanks for listening.

Now for some action.

** Update 2013 - After an appeal, and doing a project on Balaghah - I was finally awarded the Diploma. :D Alhamdulillah!

Saturday, October 01, 2011

"Severe" Sun Storm Brightens Skies

New Aurora Pictures: "Severe" Sun Storm Brightens Skies - National Geographic

Aurora picture: multicolored sky show over Norway

Rainbow Auroras

Photograph by Thilo Bubek
A vibrant spectrum of color fills the sky above Tromsø, Norway, on September 26.

Among the beautiful creations of Allah SWT, that I HOPE I'd have a chance of witnessing while still alive - is the aurora. Can't imagine if I had been there. I think I'd cry. Subhanallah.