Madame Blossom's Book of Poems

Monday, September 18, 2017

It’s the thought that counts.

Yes, it is really the thought that counts.    Not whether a gift is given or not.   Sometimes, not giving the gift is a better consideration than giving – because it’s the thought that really counts.     When people give gifts, it’s not for a single reason – there are many reasons and types of gifts.  Among the different types of gifts :

A loving gift.
You love them, they come to your mind, and you see something that you think would make the person happy to receive it.

A caring gift.
You know the person you’re giving it to, wants it, or is in need of it.  

A thoughtless gift.
It’s their birthday, you feel obliged to get them something, but you don’t’ know what to get, so you just get whatever is on sale or easy to get, regardless of whether the person would like it, or if the thing is useful or not, or if the recipient already has 10 of that in their possession or or or – no thought at all.

An inconsiderate gift.
You have something you don’t want, because it doesn’t work anymore or it’s not in fashion or you can’t finish the food you thoughtlessly cooked/ordered, as such you want to get rid of it – by giving it to someone else – so that the thing is out of your mind – without consideration if the person really wants it or not - or if it would be a burden to the recipient.

A selfish gift.
You give a person something, that they can use to satisfy your OWN needs e.g. getting a smart cooker for your wife, so that she can cook for you.  Or getting your husband a massage chair, so that you can use it.


So really, when you want to give a gift to someone, be sincere and put some thought in it.  If you cannot be bothered to think about what the person would want or need – then don’t get the gift - because truly, it’s the thought that counts. 

Thursday, September 07, 2017

To Japan and back.

Last night before I slept, I was reading up on some Japanese Art of mending broken things (kintsugi).  Love it.
I also thought about my upcoming trip to Japan (not so soon).   And… I had just finished reading Story of Your Life, as I mentioned in previous entry.

Last night, I had a wonderful vivid dream.   I was in Japan.

I was in Japan and I was trying to experience being in Japan as a whole, like I was able to feel the whole trip.  However, the scenes are still quite linear.
In my dream, my usually decent looking Japanese colleague, Teru-san, spotted long shoulder length hair which is cool, and was looking charming.   The first night I was there, I slept over at his house, which he shares with his sister and brother in law.   After that, my colleagues from office joined us, as we begin touring the local area.

I remember seeing some beautiful Japanese art and craft products – and there was another quaint souvenir shop next to the shop I was at.  The shop I was at, turned into a restaurant – and we ordered noodles.  It was halal – they all said so, and I saw no meat.   After that, my colleagues said the noodles were they best they have ever tasted, and couldn’t get enough of it, even though they have eaten two bowls of it – so they ordered more.    I am satisfied with mine, so I decided to go into the shop next door that was selling souvenirs.  In dreams, sometimes you don’t see yourself walking, you teleport to wherever you want to go.    So I was suddenly at the front of the souvenir shop.  I remember seeing some beautifully crafted key chains and small decorative stuff.  Of course I saw some kintsugi objects also.

Then I awoke and I was back on my bed, at a time when I’m suppose to be leaving the house already. 
In any case, alhamdulillaah, I still managed to reach the office in time for my 8am teleconference with some Japanese members. :p


I’ve been to Japan and back, masyaaAllaah.

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Story of Your Life & the Story of Our Lives.

I just finished reading Ted Chiang's "Story of Your Life".  Masyaa Allaah, amazing.

I had come to know about Ted Chiang's story after watching the movie 'Arrival', which was adapted from that story.   I had cried, at the end of the movie - in awe of the idea and the thought it provoked, and how it was portrayed in the movie. (Oh yes, I had an earlier blog post on it.)

In Story of Your Life, the events from the past, present and future intertwined in the story, like a picking spots to share - from a block of ice, representing time.    The past, present and future is that block of ice - all done and frozen, but as human, we flow through this concept of "time" going from the past to the future.

I am also excited about my realisation as I was reading that story - how the events from the past, present and future, are being told to us in the Quran too.   God describes how man will act in the After Life - some rejoicing what the good they have earned, and others full of utter, unimaginable regrets of how they've wasted their life on earth creating mischiefs, facing their inevitable punishments. Even the words that they will say, are being told to us in the Quran.

[I was pausing in awe for a bit... Subhanallaah.  ...... and how come Ted Chiang got this idea and not the Muslims - wait.. Ted Chiang has not read the Quran, has he?  anyway.. how come no Muslims thought of this awesome idea, having read the Quran many times.. but then again.. I guess most of those who reads and understands the Quran, are not interested in writing story books and making movies.. ok.. God has His ways.. subhanallaah.]

Yes, in the Quran we learn about what 'happened' in the past, how we should live our lives now.. and what will happen in the future.   This has all been spelled out in the Quran, and shared to us in a non linear way - which I was reminded of when I read Story of Your Life.

In the Story of Your Life - the matter of 'The Book of Ages' - which seems to be pointing to the same idea mentioned in the Quran, where the events of all existence have been written : "... not a leaf falleth but He knoweth it, not a grain amid the darkness of the earth, naught of wet or dry but (it is noted) in a clear record. " (Al Quran, 6:59)  - ok, back to The Book of Ages, it was said that it seems to be in contradiction to 'free will'.  However 'free will' seem to exists, because we are conscious beings, making conscious decisions - not knowing that we are making decisions that will realise the future, that has actually been written.    Would knowing the future, change our course of actions, and our decisions?

That's where I see God's Mercy.

God has given us hints,  not even hints actually - there are some clear stories of the events that will happen in the future, those stories of the After Life.  Knowing those stories, should help us, who are destined to be guided - be guided.  (Of course, there will still be those who reads the same story, and become more misguided out of arrogance - trying to defy the Truth.  Still, destined.)

Back to the point of awe that I was trying to share, from which I have digressed from : how amazing that from that perspective that I've learned from the Story of Your Life ,  realise now, the possible reason (and God knows best His reasons) behind the use of the tenses when revealing the stories in the Quran - it's like it has already happened.  I guess, it could be more accurately described as the events, all of it, as being there already - and Allaah knows best - but we human, we who are going through our linear time line, have not reached that segment in our roll of life film yet.  But to Allaah, who is telling it to us, it's all there, written and frozen.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
Read the Quran (and it's meaning and ponder over it) today.

p.s. when I was young, there was a point of time when I thought Islam was 'ancient' not modern.  But now as I become more mature and as I read science books, and science fictions exploring scientific ideas - I have come to realise how ADVANCED Islam and the Quran is - and how TRUE that God the Creator is GREAT - greater than any human can phantom.

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Hikmatun Baalighatun - Mature wisdom

I like that phrase - hikmatun baalighatun, current favourite. From Al Qamar 54:5

Isn't it deep?  It's not a phrase that you can just read in passing.
It's a phrase that makes you stop for a bit to ponder, what is 'mature wisdom'.  What does it take for a wisdom to be matured?    Is it wisdom and advise that cannot be refuted? Because God knows all - and the Messengers of God, delivered these advice to the people - these hikmatun balighatun.

Nothing can be more wise than the advice and wisdom delivered to us from the Messengers of Allaah.  And especially with Rasulullaah SAW - the last messenger of Allaah, through which Allaah has perfected the religion. (5:3)   There is nothing more to add, nothing more good than the already given.

We find some studied or scientific evidences now, for those simple and what was thought to be trivial advice from Rasulullaah SAW - they turn out to be of subtle but important health benefits to man.  E.g. sit when drinking, and do not lie on your stomach,.  The commands to fast, and to pray 5 times a day, these also turned out to be of more benefit to the doer, than for whom it is done for (i.e. for Allaah SWT).  The benefits are in the form of physical, mental and emotional health.  And the spritual health is a sum of the mental and emotional health.

Allaah loves us and whatever Allaah commands, is only for our own good,

... and if we disobey them, it's not Allaah who needs them, for He is Ghaniyyun Hamid - free of all wants, worthy of all praise.  (31:12)


Monday, June 05, 2017

Arrival - the movie.

I like the movie – Arrival. It was deep – or in the words of Leen – it was deep purple.

The two main ideas relating to the story are :
1. How language also shapes our mind in comprehending our lives based on the language learned. Yes, a language can mold how we perceive life. Certain language can make us a more detailed person. Or another language, or modernized language may be more simple, and makes us think in more simplistic ways. So that’s the idea.
2. How, even knowing your whole life may not change what you will do - (or as a Muslim, we believe it does not change, because basically your whole life is already written – which is also proven scientifically in the idea that our whole life is like a block of ice – or a role of film – and we are going through our everyday, fulfilling it – but this idea is a deeper subject, for another time, if I ever get to it, insyaaAllaah).

So in any case – this movie is quite a masterpiece to me – how the whole idea was weaved into the movie and presented. You’d have to pay attention, to know what on earth is going on. The ending was subtle, and very touching to me – I cried, glued to my seat for the next few minutes, engulfed in the idea of it all.

If you are into science fiction, mind boggling movies and love language – this movie is for you.

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Images from childhood memories - The house in Potong Pasir.

There are some memories in my head, from childhood times, that I still remember vividly. Although I am not sure how old I was when I experienced them.

This one is, I guess, when I was between 2-4 years old perhaps. My late grandma would sometimes take me to her relative's house in Potong Pasir. I remember that house is a raised kampung house, with stairs and all around the house is white sand... lots of sand. It is also near to a small graveyard. It was quite big house - well at least to me, at that time.

I remember crying the first few times we went to the house. The owner of the house was a lady about my grandma's age. When we enter the front door, we'd see a few doors to the bedrooms. I remember vividly how one of the bedroom doors was opened, and I could see a couple in bed - the lady "berkemban", and the man shirtless. Both of them were sitting up in bed, and they'd look at me and smile. I think it was at that point that I started to cry.

Then I remember at the same house, maybe many years later, there was a wedding. And we stayed overnight, or late into the night. I remember walking to the back of the house and saw that the whole family were playing Lotto, some sitting on the stairs to the kitchen door and some family members under the wedding tent attached to the house.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Minding my own business

MasyaaAllaah, I actually applied what I learned from the Pinocchio drama today.
The lesson from that drama was that, words or claims which is trivial to us, may be of a much greater effect on others – it may mean their livelihood or even their lives.

So today there was a discussion about the Bazaar Ramadan in Geylang. I was going to suggest a halal certificate for all stalls to be compulsory BUT…I realise I don’t know the situation at all. I have not stepped into any Bazaar Ramadan so far this year, what more in Geylang – didn’t go for many2 years. I don’t know the story of each stall holder. I don’t know how dire the situation is. I don’t know what they are selling. So just before I was going to suggest that, I remembered what was said in the drama about how careless comments can impact others. So I refrained from commenting on something which I have no full information, and on top of that, I am not directly concerned with, for fear that the idea will be being pushed forward and impacting people I have no relation to.

I should mind my own business. This is from a Sunnah too.
Abu Hurairah (R.A.) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (S.A W) said: “Indeed among the excellence of a person’s Islam is that he leaves alone that which does not concern him.”
[Chapters on Zuhd: Jami At-Tirmidhi]

May Allaah protect us from saying and commenting on unnecessary things.

p.s. It is not necessary for me, but it may be necessary for others who are directly experiencing them to assess the situation and make useful suggestions.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Ramadan Reflections 1438H . 2017G : To respond

I was learning Arabic - Sarf a bit, and we talked about this beautiful ayat.  This is from the Quran, Al Baqarah 2:186



The translations we read in books or phone apps are quite simple:
AND IF My servants ask thee about Me - behold, I am near; I respond to the call of him who calls, whenever he calls unto Me: let them, then, respond unto Me, and believe in Me, so that they might follow the right way."

The translations simply translates the two words, أُجِيبُ and فَلْيَسْتَجِيبُواْ with the word 'respond'.

However there is deeper meaning and differences between the two word forms used.

أُجِيبُ is a word of Form IV (4) in Sarf. Words used in Form 4 usually indicates an act to someone else and is INSTANT.

Whereas  يَسْتَجِيبُواْ is a word of Form X (10) in Sarf. Words used in Form 10 usually means - to ask for something, to make effort or try to get something.

This beautifully means that God will instantly respond to the calls of the caller when he calls. Then God asks us to TRY and MAKE EFFORT (not demanded immediately) to respond to HIM, in order that we may be successful. Responding to Allaah's calls and commands are only for our own good.
Subhanallaah, a Loving God.

He knows our weakness. We just need to TRY and MAKE EFFORT, sincere effort. And God will know of all our efforts, and our intentions, be it in secret or made known to others.

Ramadan Mubarak.
1st Ramadan 1438H

p.s. this may or may not be the only post on reflections in ramadan.  I have no fixed plans.

Friday, May 12, 2017

within my neurons - near Jumuah prayers : Dilemma in arts

I had an ustaz who told me to pursue my interest in making films and stories.   He said, we need somebody in that area.  There are so many worthless entertainment materials or some even misleading ones out there - we need to inject some good ones.  

He told me that, when I said I had some interest in teaching.  He said, we have many teachers already (in Singapore), but we don't have many people with some Islamic influences in the media area.

I have a few reasons (excuses?) that I am reluctant to do so, and one of the bigger reasons is, I don't know if I am strong enough to stand firm.   But then again, this is a jihad in itself right?  A struggle within myself - to be firm and hold my station.  A person is better rewarded when he is out there facing others, than sitting alone at home, in his own world. Hmmph.

Another reason or thought that I had was, 'what can my one or few small films / dramas do, in this ocean of nonsense.  This reminds me of what I read in Hikayat Abdullah, by Munshi Abdullah - he mentioned about his experience in advising people - "it's like pouring a glass of fresh water into the sea and expecting it to be less salty."  I thought about that idea in the literal sense, and found it funny. :D

Anyway, back to the story of my life - and so sometimes I feel like it's a losing battle.    And also, I did see a few good drama ideas being produced locally already.  Do I need to do more?

However now that I have wrote that 'excuse' down - I know I should not think that.  If I am a true Muslim, I should not think of it as a losing battle.  Even at the end of time, on the day that the world will come to an end, we are still asked to plant a seed/sapling if we can.  (Source : Sunnah.com)

I would also advise myself, that even if the story moves or inspires just one person to do good, that is rewarding already for me.   And of course, as Allaah tells Rasulullaah SAW, mentioned in the Quran,  our obligation is to remind them, and not to change them.  

Right.  This is me.  I tell myself my problems and I give myself answers.  
Sometimes, it still helps when you have someone to nudge you right?
And alhamdulillaah,  I have that someone. <3

In conclusion - let me go back to finishing my story idea for a TV drama.  
Pray for me that Allaah let me finish it and it will be accepted by that media company.


someone else's window

You’re looking into someone else’s window.
Seeing, feeling, believing
That it matters.

While your own life is slow
Once contenting
Now belittling

You think the grass is greener on the other side.
Once you’re there, you will realise
T’was just your shadow deceiving you from where you stand.

Stand, be confident of who you are
Make the most of where you live and breathe
Your life is as wonderful as you believe.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

I am ill.

I am ill when I cannot control my heart and my body. No one can give us the strength to, except Allaah. So, ya Allaah, give me strength.


Friday, January 27, 2017

How to apply for MACS in Johor Bahru (For JB home owners)

This information is valid as at blog post date.

You've heard that Singaporeans can no longer apply for MACS at the Tuas JB Customs office. They have to apply in Singapore, which is very inconvenient, since you cannot get your passport back immediately or on the same day. However, there is still a leeway for Singaporeans who are official home owners in JB (and business owners/partners, but the focus here is for home owners - from own experience).

If you officially own a property in JB, you can still apply for MACS (The Malaysia Automated Clearance System) in JB. Children of the owners who are strictly below 18, can also apply for MACS in JB. It's costs RM30 per sticker.


Where to apply :
Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA)  
Address: #G- Block 8 80200, 1, Jalan Bertingkat Skudai, Danga Bay, 81200 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
(MACS application counter on the ground floor to the left of the reception counter.)
Google Map : https://goo.gl/maps/ASXNeezVees
Opening hours : Sunday - Thursday, 830am to 430pm


What you need to apply:
a. 1 passport photo
b. Your passport
c. A photocopy of your passport
d. A photocopy of the front page of your property purchase document, where your name and identification is indicated.
e. Bring the your property purchase document also, for verification.
f. Your IC (to match purchase document identification number).
g. Photocopy of your IC too
h. Over there, you'll fill up a form.
i. RM30.00


Children who are strictly below 18 years old also may also apply. In case of children, what they'll need :
a. 1 passport photo
b. Child's passport
c. A photocopy of their passport
d. A photocopy of the front page of Parent's property purchase document, where parent's name and identification is indicated.
e. Bring the the property purchase document also, for verification.
f. A photocopy of the child's birth certificate.
g. The child's birth certificate, for verification. Ensure that the identification number of parent's, matches the on on the property document.
h. Your IC (to match purchase document identification number).
i. Photocopy of your IC too
j. Over there, you'll fill up a form.
k. RM 30.00

Alas, for children 18 years old and above, or parents of the home owners, they still have to do it through Singapore.
Information on MACS application in singapore here.

Thursday, January 05, 2017

within my neurons : 5th Jan 2017, Isya' (We are our souls)

I heard in a religious lecture once, that we are truly, our souls.  When a person is dead, well, at least in the Muslim environment, we'd refer to the body, as 'the body'.  We don't comfortably or naturally still refer to the body by the person's name.   It has become the body of so-and-so.   Why?

WE, are not our body or how we look or how we are physically.  We are our souls.   Our body is truly just a container for us, for our souls.

So I had a thought just now, triggered by a drama of a person having a artificial heart transplanted into his body.  People have been known to live with artifical heart, artificial or make-do kidneys, artificial hands, legs, eyes, face - which are all just instruments for our souls.

Only so far, I don't think we can actually have an artificial brain in a person.  The brain is the window to the soul for our body.   Without the brain, I am not sure how we would access the current world and vice versa.

Back to the thought, the thought is that : if everything else is artificial except for the brain - I imagine, we would still be us.  We can be like the tin-man with a brain, it'll still be us.

Although the brain is also an instrument for our souls, it is an instrument that is beyond the capability of man to reproduce - as it interacts with the soul that our human science is still unable to access or study.

There are just some things in the world, that will be beyond man's intelligence to grasps. One of them is the soul - as God has mentioned in the Quran:

"And they ask you, [O Muhammad], about the soul. Say, "The soul is of the affair of my Lord. And mankind have not been given of knowledge except a little." (Al Isra 17:85)

*moment of awe*
Subhanallaah.. God is truly the most amazing.