Madame Blossom's Book of Poems

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

We’re not knowledgeable until we know our Quran

How do we go on studying everything else, and not know our Quran? And we verbally agree that Quran is THE guide to life.

How do we teach others about life, and not refer to the Quran at all?

How can a Muslim person claim to be knowledgeable but not know the book given to them by God?

The Quran should be the basis of knowledge. And everything else that we learn is to supplement the knowledge, as Allah has asked us to do in the Quran (don’t you see?, don’t you know? don’t you think? don’t you observe?)

You and I say, okay, maybe I (and quite a number of other Muslims) say.. Islam (submission to One God) has the answer to all our current modern problems in the world. How do we even begin to educate the young, about living, without explaining to them the purpose of life?

Quran HAS to be the start to education.

The original purpose of education was to know God, and to know what to do to please God, and then live our lives around that. - Now?

Ya Allah, grant me knowledge that is beneficial. Aamiin.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

information or distraction

Edward Hallowell, a psychiatrist, was quoted in the book (page 81) 'The Lost Art of Reading - David L Ulin', as saying, "We have a generation of people who... are so busy processing information from all directions they are losing the tendency to think and feel. Much of what they are exposed to is superficial. People are sacrificing depth and feeling, and becoming cut off and disconnected from other people."

I hate to think that my blog would be a source of distraction without meaning, in these internet world of information, where information itself is a source of distraction, with no real benefit. Mostly short, some sporadic, without any real conscious intent to contribute in a positive way, but just as an internet way of saying 'I was here!'.

However, I'm not of the opinion that something important or relevant, must consist of 7000 words at least. Rasulullah SAW, did not say words of advice on specific events that could produce a book - most of it ARE short information - but they are RELEVANT information that if pondered upon and/or acted upon will make us a better person.

I remember how a priest turned Muslim (Dr Jerald) answered the question of one nun, who attended the talk about Early Christianity. The nun asked him to comment about the phrase in the Bible (John 30:10) 'I and the Father are one' with regards to Jesus (A.S.)

His answer was short. 'One. One in what? In body? In mission? In vision?' Then silence.

I felt awed. It was a short answer that demands the questioner to think. Sometimes there is no point, in making a point, if the questioner will not think. The answer was a question that the nun needed to ask herself - about what she truly sincerely know and believe in - in those words.

The problem with current information is not really that it is short - shorter than a book. The issues are that :

a) there are so many information out there, and most people don't bother to be choosy about what they read or take in.
b) they are taking it in like snacks, without much thought, and it does not satiate the intellect. They don't give themselves time and space to absorb, to think, to change/act, before they go on to the next information.

Books help to prolong the time spent to absorb an idea or information - throughout the time the person is reading the book.

So what is my take on the vast information available? Firstly, to be choosy about what information we feed our minds with - must be beneficial to us or our community. We also need to give ourselves time and space to absorb that information, to think and to decide, what we will do about it.

If we receive an information, for which there is nothing we can do to make improvements in any way at all, then, that piece of information is useless.



Did you just finish reading this post? Don't read anything else just yet.

Stop... and ponder first.


.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

my thoughts for this morning

I'm not sure, if we should have 'long term' plans. I mean after all, who knows when our life will end. Especially if our 'long term' plan is only duniawi - it's like a waste of time. Long term achievements should be a sum of our short term achievements - those that we aim to do and achieve today and now. Of course we should plan what we want to do later and tomorrow or next week - but to hope for achievement to come only THEN, rather than doing something and achieving something in the mean time - is like putting it to chance.

The good thing about us, as a servant of Allah SWT, is that Allah rewards us for our efforts - not necessarily the result of our effort. The result, achieved in this lifetime, may be the reward for our effort - or a test. Even happiness is attained more in the effort and the time taken to achieve 'the goal', rather than in the goal itself.

I remembered a talk I saw on Youtube yesterday, about how we are not someone who is surrounded by other things and events - but how we ARE a part of that Nature and Events that is happening around us, and how all of these are a sum of who we are before, now and in the future - which is different overtime.

I hope, I am shaped and made up of a lot of efforts and small achievements.


***

Alhamdulillah, I have managed to book, an Umrah package for the whole family. I am going to look away from the amount that we have to spend to bring my family of 6! 5 of which are already charged for adult prices. Yikes. BUT - all these years, we've been spending on things that don't mean a thing, and we didn't beat an eyelid... so, Ya Allah, do bless us, our efforts, our rezeki and our time for You. Aamiin.

I told the children many times, I think only after we have gone for Umrah as a family and I have performed my Hajj, then am I ok with spending our money to travel anywhere else. So let this year, be a year of Umrah and Hajj, and may Allah give barakah upon our rezeki for other travels next year, insyaAllah.

But you know, the best kind of travels is not to travel as a 'tourist', but to be among other people and cultures and see and experience the life there, in order to make ourselves a better person, someone who is broad-minded, and see in all these, the Signs that Allah SWT has put forth, and as such strengthens our Iman. I hope I can do this somehow, by studying/working part time in some country with my kids in tow. :p Aamiin.

Wishful thinking? I don't know.. Allah has planned our lives for us. I'll just doa and make some small effort, and we'll leave Allah's plans to Him. :)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

duped

Yesterday he taught us how to lie our way to being noticed. I chose to ignore that. Today he spoke more about how to oversell yourself and your film project. If it's 20-50-200-500k, just say it's a 'project that is just under a milliion dollars'.

I realise, we've been duped. This will be the last time, I am ever going to another lecture or talk given by some non-Muslim guy from the west. We think he has credibility just because he was from the west??

Seriously now, I am doubting his selling points for this lecture event, because he is always talking about overselling - that's how they do business right? You cannot trust these people. Did Quentin REALLY gained anything from him??? He sells himself as the 'greatest film lecturer' - seriously, I thought the two other film/movie related courses, conducted by a Malay (Jins Shamsudin and Faisal Chal Ahmad) were way much better, honest, relevant and beneficial for me.

Like he said himself, Americans, there are a lot of crap out there, but they are so damn good at advertising. For me, American advertising is basically tricking others into thinking that something is way much better than it really is. Dang.

He also joked (?) that being Jewish, he did wrong by paying for something at retail price. He would always want to buy as cheap as possible. Then the idea is to oversell as high as possible. That's it - make money. You know, as Muslims, we are expected to be honest, and to give and take. There is a particular ayat** on being so calculative about our own measure, and then giving others less than their due measure - it is a sin. So NO! I AM NOT TAKING YOUR ADVICE ABOUT OVERSELLING AND LYING OUR WAY THROUGH.

Then the notes.. pfft the notes are just pieces of information he picks up from the web, prints them and binds them into a plastic booklet.

For today's lecture, he spoke about how to sell our film. Granted, I learned a thing or 2 today, that I can summarise in 2 sentences about press kit. The rest are very irrelevant to us - about sales in America.. I mean c'mon.. if this is going to be our first low budget feature film, what chances does he think we'll have to contact those people in America and sell our films?? He doesn't know the situation in Singapore and our market. He cannot give us relevant information about how to sell our films. I quite sure I can learn much more from Sujimy or Jack Neo (if they hold classes).

Here is another thing that I chose to ignore yesterday, with just good assumptions. When he started the class, he did say, it's all about MONEY. Give him a cheque then he'll talk business. No bullshit about love for movies or anything.. just give him the money and he'll lecture. He's NOT COMING TO SINGAPORE TO TRAIN UP A TERRORIST!! Now, I seriously wonder what on earth he meant by that. I mean seriously, what has Singapore, got to do with terrorism in their world? By the way there were 2 Muslims ladies in the class, including me.

Just now another caucasian female participant was telling me, she will leave half way, cause this man seems to be repeating a lot, and she doesn't like him because he is obnoxious.

I regret having paid for this event - but I'll take it as a mistake, turned into a lesson learnt. No more.. no more courses by bragging mat sallehs after this. Illa masyaAllah.

Then just now he asked if we want certificates for this course. He promises the certificate will look like UCLA certificates - same printer, same paper. Thanks, but no thanks. I left the class at lunch time. By this time, I feel like it's a class about how to cheat people.

Haih.. he is so much older than me la.. 70-71.. and I respect him as a person older than me and that's all. Hish.


**
"WOE UNTO THOSE who give short measure:
those who, when they are to receive their due from [other] people, demand that it be given in full –
but when they have to measure or weigh whatever they owe to others, give less than what is due!"

Mutaffifin 83:1-3 (transliteration by Asad)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

soft and loud

End of 1st day of a two-days film school lecture. Basically talking about how to go ahead and do your first feature film and how to market them. No, you shouldn't do short films because... SHORT FILMS ARE FOR KIDS!! YOU'RE ADULTS!! DO YOUR FIRST FEATURE FILM!!

This is the most erratic lecturer I have ever met. One minute, he is mumbling something, saying something softly - next minute, he is shouting. He claims to have much experience in movie making, and being 71, in life I guess. He doesn't have patience in wanting to say what we want to hear him say. He just says what he wants to say, of which some a blunt truth to me - such as, we don't need film school to make a film. Over 90% of directors who have 'made it', didn't go to film school.

Back to how erratic he is. He was talking about production budgeting, going through the list, "ok, so camera 15-20k, lighting, 6-8k, stunts and effects, that will be '0'. You know why it's 0? It's going to be 0 because YOU ARE NOT BLOODY GOING TO DO IT ON YOUR FIRST FEATURE FILM! KEEP IT SIMPLE! 90 PAGES, 1 LOCATION!! NO STUNTS NO EFFECTS, NONE OF THAT BULLSHIT!
Ok, then we go on to the arts department..."

About lightings.. "Ok so you need lightings, I want to explain to you the 3 point lighting system.. but I don't want you to spend too much time on it because THIS IS NOT A BIG BUDGET MOVIE! THIS IS A NO BUDGET MOVIE AND YOU HAVE A TIGHT SCHEDULE! YOU ARE NOT GOING TO SPEND 4 HOURS ON SETTING UP LIGHTS! LIGHTS ARE NOT IMPORTANT.. NOBODY! NOBODY GOES TO A MOVIE AND DISCUSS ABOUT THE LIGHTS! So.. don't go crazy about the lights.. just 5-10 mins tops to set up the lights."

.....

Friday, January 13, 2012

The why.

My mom was transferred to normal ward yesterday. She looks like she is getting better. She can sit up longer now, though she is still having her headaches. She said that she can probably get much better if she's at home. I think in some cases it is true - hospitals are just not conducive for quick healing - we should only be there to get us out of danger - after that, when our condition is stable, we should recover in a calm quiet wooden house by the sea...


...or in our own urban homes.



There was a TED talk video* that I saw, that speaks of the correct path to success. (we sorely need to define success properly - and that wealth if related, should only be a branch of success, not success in itself). Anyhow, the path that was spoken of, I find it to be a logical path.

The speaker said, most businesses want to do something (the WHAT), and then they figure out (HOW) to do it. They stop at that.

However a common process, he claims, that all successful businesses have in common is that: first, they think about (WHY) they want to do it, and then (HOW) they can do it best, driven by the WHY - and then they come up with the product (the WHAT). He gave examples of Apple and the Wright brothers.

It's a clear vision and a strong belief that creates a drive for people to react to that vision and belief. It's the shared vision and belief that enables people to want to work together to achieve that clear goal (the WHY).

That is how LIFE should be.

*The TED talk video.









Monday, January 09, 2012

work to earn

Japan HQ has just started an initiative, allowing employees to share their resolution and determination in their area of work, in the company's internal global website. The HQ may have a great vision that the employees are all so full of determination to see the success of this giant company. But in these times, when retrenchments can happen anytime, just so that the company can cut costs and earn higher profit - it's hard to develop that kind of employee vigour. How do you expect the employees to feel so fired up and loyal to the company when they have seen another colleague of theirs, do the same thing, but was conveniently retrenched when no longer needed.

Determination at work? I am determined to be an truly honest worker - would that be acceptable? Or is it more important to look after the image and the profit of the company?

I guess it could be different in Japan - where the owners with these vision, are. They may look after their employees well there. However here, everyone is employed. Generally, nobody will be sincere enough to acknowledge another person's good work, if it jeapordizes their own position. People basically want to cover their positions - everyone is just trying to survive.

So let's be straight here. I'll come to work and do my part, as a good reliable Muslims worker, within the stipulated time, give and take a few. I have no.. love for the company. I work in a giant company to earn a decent living. Not live to work like crazy for this impersonal giant company.

* You know what.. maybe I am going to log on and indicate that on the global website. "As a Muslim, I am determined to be responsible, trustworthy and honest, in my work."

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Friendship

Friendship is not about demanding for each other's time.
It's not about having to see each other's face.

It is about praying for them in your silent prayers
and respecting their space.

- Madame Blossom -

my mother is not well

My mom, was admitted to Neuro Intensive Care Unit 2 days ago, for internal head injury. Her skull has a hairline fracture, and there are some bleeding in the brain. Doctor said, some damage have been done, but they don't know what yet. I hope, the critical period is over. She seems stable. She can move her limbs and she can talk. I'm not so sure about her memory though. Sometimes she thinks she is at home. I'm not sure, and I pray to God, it won't be, but I'm prepared for that to get worse.

She doesn't look that good, and she feels uncomfortable sometimes, she's not looking so dignified. She's giddy and she don't feel like talking all the time. As such, I have asked friends and family who know, to just pray for her. Don't need to come visit.

I know it's a good deed to visit the sick. But then, I'm quite sure, that is only so, if it makes the sick happy. And I'm sure, that only applies to the close ones, who can come, help take care of them. Not those who are not that close in the first place, who needs to be entertained with answers to questions about how, when, what, and why. Really, must the sick and family feel obliged to entertain and to repeat the story 10 times a day? So instead of letting the sick rest, and the close family tend to the sick one, both the sick and the family has to attend to the visitors? (UNLESS that makes the sick happy).

That is why, for ME myself, putting myself in that position, I opt not to visit a sick friend's parents, or anyone, I'm not close to. I will visit a family or friend, who I guess I can cheer up or comfort.

Okay, maybe it's just me. That's how I would feel lah. If I'm sick, I just want to rest and be alone. But then again, even when I'm not sick i sometimes just want to be alone. Oh well.

Okay, today, I'm going to ask my mother, if SHE wants to be visited, or who she would like us to tell. Then, I will only inform those that she is comfortable to see.

Now, everyone else, do sincerely join me in the doa, that my mom will get well and bright again, and that Allah SWT forgives her sins and make her a good Muslimah. Aamiin.

Update:
*My mom said, it's okay for people to visit her. But now she's fast asleep. :p

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

news, grouse and a good ending

I find myself feeling reluctant to allow my daughter to read The New Paper, or any newspapers for that matter. News these days are just mostly bad, lies, or useless, for them.

To improve her English, she can always read books. Non-fiction would be better. Something that can actually inspire them to do something good for others and for themselves.

.

Singapore, and the world, it's humanity, graciousness, honesty, morality, sincerity, going downward spiral.

.

I want to live in a small self sufficient village. (with broadband).

.
Oh yes, in the last post I said I watched akiro kurosawa's Dreams - most of the scenes are of nature, barren land, a small quiet village - it was... how shall I describe it... quiet? The film also provokes thoughts, and I was able to ponder about it, absorb the idea and the message because the scenes were slow paced and... yes quiet.

Right after that film, they showed a trailer of some Western film - a woman talking loudly, then, a scene in a club with music, drinking, crowd, noise.. MasyaAllah.. what a total difference! I felt so irked by it, I turned off the TV immediately.

But a lot of us have gotten used to this fast paced, noisy, crowded, lives and images, with little physical, sound, and mental space to really observe and think, quietly.

Speaking of which, alhamdulillah, alhamduilillah! this morning, I managed to spend a quiet morning, alone. Swam in the pool, alone, stayed a while and enjoyed the peace and quiet of a weekday, when the others are at work or in school. Staying still, just looking at the sky, the trees, the birds. Feeling the wind, the warmth of the sunshine taking turns with the cooler shade of the clouds as they pass.
Subhanallah - Nature.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Akira Kurosawa's dreams

Just watched Akira Kurosawa's - Dreams. A series of 8 dreams (shorts), but I only managed to catch the last 5.

It seems to me that this man has a message that he wants to send out to his audience. The kind of artist I like - one with a vision and mission.

From the last 5 that I watched, he spoke of man's stupidity in having wars and in destroying nature. Man forgets that he is part of nature, yet he destroys the very same nature that supports his livelihood.

I love the simplicity of the stories and dialogues. My 2 favourite ones among the last 5, are 'Crows' and 'The Village of Water Mills'

In Crows, I love how the man goes through the paintings, and the appreciation of Nature. Pretty - beautiful.

In The Village of Water Mills - I like the dialogue between the travelling man and the Old Man. An excerpt, and among my favourite parts of the dialogue..

Man : But what about lights?

Old Man : We have candles and linseed oil.

Man: But night is so dark.

Old Man : Yes, that is how night is suppose to be. Why should night be as bright as day? I wouldn't like nights so bright, you couldn't see the stars.









LOVE.




There is also the idea of people doing something and not knowing why they do it - with regards to putting flowers on a stone. Interesting thought of something that is really happening.

Another short story/dream is the 'Weeping Demon'. Actually it is a scary image and thought. It tells of men who turns into demons with horns on their head, after a nuclear disaster. The horns hurts so badly at night, they demons wish they'd die. But their punishment is immortality - having to live through the pain and suffering forever. This reminds me of what Allah tells us, in the Quran about Hell. (nothing, though, can compare to real Hell, which is beyond our perception. naudzubillah.)

but as for those who are lost in iniquity - their goal is the Fire: as oft as they will try to come out of it, they will be thrown back into it; and they will be told, “Taste [now] this suffering through fire which you were wont to call a lie!”

As-Sajdah 32:20

"He who [in the life to come] shall have to endure the great fire
wherein he will neither die nor remain alive. "

Al A'laa 87:12-13


Naudzubillah.

Ya Allah, please do save us from the great Punishment in the Hereafter. For You are the Most Merciful. Aamiin, ya Robbal A'lamiin.