Apabila berhadapan dengan kesulitan, adakah selalu kita berdepan dengannya, ataupun lari daripadanya?
Untuk berada di alam realiti, kita harus mendepaninya dengan berani. Walaupun pada hakikatnya, hati kita dilanda taufan, fikiran kita bak wayar bersimpul, tunjukkan diri yang waja dan terus berusaha.
Jika tidak punyai kekuatan hati, kita boleh lari dari masalah dengan berada di alam fantasi. Namun pelarian kita tidak akan bertahan lama. Kita umpama berlari dalam bulatan, akhirnya kita akan sampai ke titik permulaan. Pada waktu itu, bersiap sedialah untuk menghadapi realiti.
Oleh itu, bertahanlah dan berdepanlah dengan realiti. Walaupun kita jatuh sekalipun, sekurang-kurangnya kita sudah menghadapinya dengan berani.
Aku bangun dari tidur dan terdengar deru kereta emak makin sayup. Emak telah pergi kerja. Aku menangis dan menjerit.
"Huwaaaa..makk dah pergi kerjaaaa..huhuu,"sambil tersedu sedan aku meluahkan perasaan. Mak Lang di bawah rumah bercakap dengan nada yang sedikit kuat.
"Dahla tu mak dah pi kerja dah tu.."
Aku menjenguk dari luar jendela. Mak Lang di bawah rumah sedang memasukkan baju ke dalam mesin basuh. Aku lantas diam dan mula berjalan mencari pintu. Aku mahu turun ke bawah. Suasana pagi yang nyaman dan suara Mak Lang membuatkan aku terlupa kesedihan akibat tidak sempat melihat emak pergi ke pejabat. Aku terus berlari menuruni tangga.
Itu cerita hampir 28 tahun lalu. Sewaktu aku berumur 4 tahun. Waktu itu, kami tinggal di Taman Uda, Alor Setar. Rumah-rumah di situ semuanya rumah kayu tinggi. Di situ memori aku bersama Mak Lang bermula.
Disebabkan mak bekerja, Mak Lang membantu menjaga kami adik beradik sejak kecil. Di samping mak dan ayah, Mak Lang orang yang paling dekat di hatiku sedari kecil hingga sekarang.
Setelah Mak Lang mempunyai anak, mak dan ayah telah meminta tolong orang lain untuk menjaga kami adik beradik semasa mak bekerja. Namun, kedua-duanya tidak lama bersama kami dan berhenti apabila mereka mahu berkahwin, dan kami kembali berada di bawah ketiak Mak Lang. Semasa itu kami sudah berpindah ke Jitra dan tinggal di Taman Bunga Raya. Mak Lang sekeluarga pula tinggal di Taman Rasa Sayang yang hanya bersebelahan dengan taman tempat tinggal kami. Kami ke rumah Mak Lang selepas balik dari sekolah hingga petang hari sehingga mak dan ayah pulang dari kerja. Itulah rutin kami sehingga Kak Kasmita datang sewaktu aku berumur 10 tahun dan sehingga kini masih setia bersama emak.
Mak Lang seorang yang suka melawak. Cakapnya juga bersahaja. Memori bersamanya sentiasa bermain di fikiran, bagaikan filem yang tidak jemu ditonton. Masakannya, walaupun ringkas seperti sawi masak air, ikan goreng, kari ayam dan sambal ikan bilis, mampu membuatkan kami makan bertambah. Saat yang paling seronok apabila Mak Lang mula mengeluarkan bahan-bahan membuat kuih di petang hari. Mak Lang akan membuat donut, cucur udang, jejemput pisang, kuih seri muka dan kuih keria. Kami akan makan petang sambil menonton siri cerita Jepun popular satu ketika dulu, Moero Attack. Seronok!! Apabila mak dan ayah datan menjemput kami, Mak Lang akan bekalkan kami mangkuk tingkat berisi lauk pauk untuk kami makan di malam hari.
Mak Lang pernah membebel apabila adikku menangis-nangis sebab terlupa pesanan cikgunya untuk membawa ubi kentang yang telah dibelah dua dan dibuat corak-corak untuk subjek lukisan, sebelum pergi ke sekolah. Adikku semasa itu bersekolah di sesi petang. Mak Lang bergegas ke kedai nyonya di hadapan taman untuk membeli beberapa biji ubi kentang. Lantas Mak Lang ukirkan corak-corak bunga dan daun di atas ubi kentang yang telah dibelah. Selamat adikku dari dimarahi cikgu!
Selepas keputusan UPSR diumumkan, aku ditawarkan memasuki sebuah sekolah berasrama penuh. Pada masa itu, Mak Lang sekeluarga sudah berpindah ke perumahan kakitangan UUM di Sintok. Sebelum hari aku pergi mendaftar ke sekolah tersebut, aku beritahu mak yang aku mahu pergi ke rumah Mak Lang dahulu dan berjumpa dengannya. Memang pada masa itu aku rasa sedih mahu tinggalkan keluarga dan Mak Lang. Hilang sedikit rasa sedihku pada ketika itu dapat berjumpa dengannya.
"Faizah dulu pulak suka bercakap dengan semut!" Mak Lang mendedahkan rahsia aku bermain sewaktu kecil, sambil tersenyum-senyum, apabila aku memberitahunya adikku yang bongsu suka sangat bermain 'video game'. Tak sangka aku suka bermain dan berkawan dengan semut. Bila sudah besar, apabila nampak semut aku 'spray' dengan 'Mortein' sampai mati.
"Nanti, bila Faizah dah bekerja dan banyak duit, boleh tak Mak Lang nak pinjam duit dari Faizah?" tanya Mak Lang, mengusik. Pada masa itu seingat aku, aku berada di sekolah menengah. Aku sambil tergelak-gelak mengatakan, "Bolehhhhhh!". Pada masa itu, dan sehingga kini, sungguh aku tidak kisah. Aku sanggup memberi tanpa meminjamkan kepada Mak Lang. Mak Lang sudah kuanggap seperti ibuku yang kedua.
"Dulu Faizah kata nak kahwin masa umur 29 tahun. Nak beli rumah dululah, kereta dulu, " Mak Lang mengusik lagi sambil gelak besar apabila aku memberitahunya aku akan berkahwin pada usia 23 tahun.
Berderai cita-citaku pada zaman remaja yang tidak kesampaian. Pada masa remaja, apalah yang aku faham tentang jodoh:)
"Orang Perlis? Haaaaa Faizah ikut cadangan Mak Lang jugak naaaa, cari orang Perlis. Baguih!!" sambil
tersenyum seronok bila mengetahui bakal suamiku merupakan orang Perlis. Sebelum itu, dia seringkali menyarankan padaku untuk mencari orang yang 'dekat-dekat' untuk dijadikan suami. Maksud Mak Lang, 'dekat-dekat' tu biarlah orang utara juga.
Paling akhir aku berjumpa dengan Mak Lang, apabila aku pulang ke Malaysia hujung tahun lepas. Pada masa itu, Mak Lang sudah mula sakit. Badannya sangat kurus, mukanya cengkung. Mak Lang minta aku belikan laksa Kuala Perlis. Malangnya, aku tak sempat ke Kuala Perlis, lalu aku belikan laksa di tempat lain. Kesian Mak Lang. Aku tahankan air mata apabila berada di rumahnya. Pada masa itu, dia masih mampu berlawak dan ketawa.
Apabila tiba hari aku mahu bertolak kembali ke Finland, Mak Lang bersusah payah datang ke rumah di Jitra bersama Pak Lang. Walaupun masih sakit dan lemah, Mak Lang tetap mahu datang, mahu menemuiku sebelum kami berpisah semula. Mak Lang kelihatan sangat lemah pada masa itu. Aku tak akan lupakan saat Mak Lang menangis hiba memelukku apabila aku mula mahu bergerak masuk ke dalam kereta. Itulah pelukan terakhir daripada Mak Lang. Itulah kali terakhir aku melihat Mak Lang, mendengar suaranya. Namun, itulah kali pertama aku melihat Mak Lang menangis sedih. Kali pertama, dan terakhir buatku.
Mak Lang telah meninggalkan dunia yang fana ini tanggal 12 Disember 2011, bersamaan 18 Muharram 1432 Hijrah. Mak Lang takkan kembali lagi. Tidak akan kedengaran lagi gelak ketawa Mak Lang. Semoga Mak Lang tenang dan damai di sana. Sehingga kita bertemu lagi di akhirat kelak.
Ya Allah, lapangkanlah kuburnya, mudahkanlah segala urusannya. Tempatkanlah Mak Lang di kalangan orang yang beriman dan beramal soleh.
I noticed my ability to focus deteriorates. I am not able to read and understand a topic unless I read it like 3 to 4 times. My mind always travel to some other thing at the same time, or I simply could not embed the things I have read easily.
I thought..oh my..what has happened to my brain? What have I done to my head? Errr.. probably I eat too much junk food?? My brain is getting old faster than my body? I felt down. I knew I have to do something.
Then I enrolled to trainings at the sports hall in my university. The real reason why I registered there was due to the doctor's advice regarding my neck pain. She told me to have a regular exercise concentrating on that area. One of the trainings offered there is 'Neck and Back' training.
At the same time, I remember the saying: 'Otak yang cerdas datang dari badan yang sihat'. Then I thought, probably my brain is not functioning good because my body is weak and I have not been sweating for quite a looonggg time. Oh yes, that must be it!!
Consequently, I take advantage to participate in other training too. They have variety of trainings, easy and effective aiming to have a healthy and strong body. You can choose whichever training you like by reading the details on the website.
Oh, but that is not what I want to write today:) In some searching through 'Google' on tips to enhance the functionality of brain (besides doing physical exercise), I came across a website which offers brain training according to the 5 main portions of our brain. It is base on a research (as they claimed it is) on neurosciences which they have done and are still doing in their lab. I have to admit the site is very interesting indeed. I have joined the brain training since last month. I have not observed my brain functionality since but tend to have discussions on it with people who have joined and done the training for quite some time.
If you guys are interested, you can click here. It's only free up to 3 times basic training, but the price is not expensive.
My mind get hooked by the word 'racism' for the past few few weeks. It happened when I read an e-news relating to this 'phenomenon' in Finland. The latest one was this poll result which was published in one of Finland's most readable newspaper. Yet when the world is more open, the issue about multiculturalisme is a never ending debate. Can multicultural country/ies excel? Most of those who are positive in this particular matter refer to Canada as a role country. Canadian government invites those other nationalities to come and make their living there. The immigrants, especially professional (white collar employees) are given wide opportunities to mix with the local people and their culture. Is it a success for real? I don't know, I have never been there.
I am not trying to discuss about multiculturalisme in other country, including Finland. Although I have already been here for about 3 years, still I do not yet have clear picture about its success or failure in developing a multicultural country, nor is it trying to be one.
Malaysia has been lingering in my head.
Yes, Malaysia is a multicultural country. It is a fact that we have been living with Chinese, Indians, Orang Asli, Melanaus etc. When I was in primary and secondary school, I have Chinese and Indians friends and teachers. We knew that we are different in races and religions, but those had never been limiting factors to be good friends and developed good relationships. We played together and it's still fresh in my mind that we used our own Bahasa Malaysia as our communication. During those days, never a slight prejudice ever crossed my head.
But things changed a little bit when I was in the university. The Malay would prefer to sit among themselves, so did the Chinese and the Indians. But of course we still talked to each other, but to the minimum level. It was hard to see a group with mixed races. And at that time, I admitted that I started to feel fishy when they talked in their own language. But we did not feel that much 'fear' towards the Indians. Come back to think about it again, I think the reason is simple, because the Indians were just a small group there at that particular period. And furthermore, the Indians in the university speak English, a language that we (Malay) understand.
However, I am not saying that we had bad relationship back then. It was just.... a cold relationship. No soul in it. But I know even with the same race, to build a trustworthy relationship is not easy. Difference in faith and culture make it a little bit more difficult.
I believe everyone of us are racist, at least in our heart, or at least once in a while. Have you said bad things or felt suspicious about people base on their races (even if you do not know them personally)? I admit it, I have. And I felt stupid afterwards. If you say it to someone, it's like creating a gossip or slander. If you feel it in your heart, it's like a whisper from the evil, to make you feel suspicious and prejudice to someone before actually knowing him/her. Both of those act/feeling are forbidden in Islam. Yet we are still stuck in the mud. Why?
The first thing that cross my mind is because we have been hearing about this matter almost everyday. In Malaysia nowadays, media steered by the political parties play a very significant role in shaping the mindset of the people. Then, from racism, the thing is getting out of control when it comes to the most sensitive issue- the religion. It is sickening to read about these matters. All are in mess. In this case, I put the blame on every Malaysians including me. But, the biggest blame is to the Malay where the majority is Muslim, no matter whether they are in the government, political parties or just ordinary people. We fail to adapt the real Islamic values in developing our beloved Malaysia. We fail to show good examples. Astaghfirullah..may Allah forgive us.
If we worship Allah and put Him as the most important in our life, we would not feel suspicious towards others. We won't hurt the feeling of other races, hence InsyaAllah they will respect us in the same manner. We will not say bad things about them, or speculate bad stories without investigating the truth. Just because they are not Malay or Muslim, does not mean they have the intention to see us suffer. Just because we are not in the same boat as theirs, does not mean they like to manipulate us.
The problem with all of us is that we easily feel suspicious. We forget that Islam teach us to think positive towards other people. That is one way of bringing them to see the beauty of Islam. We easily forget and let the hatred feeling grow in our heart. Then we let them go through our words like:
1. "Bodoh punya Cina makan babi"
2. "Keling pengotor!"
I could not say it more...Those words are of ignorant people. Why we have to say something hurtful like that? Ok, someone might say that because they said bad things about us also. But if it is true, do we have to act the same way? Where is our Islamic value?
I always believe in the concept of give in to get back. Of course it does not include the obligations as a Muslim. But by practising deep patience and understanding in this human-relations kind of things, we will see the benefit. It's just a matter of time, whether we will get the benefits here in this world or in the hereafter.
Let's stop labelling. It's not the value of Muslims. Let's together think on how to build and finish the puzzle. InsyaAllah someday we will have it framed.
Have you ever ready to defend your faith and religion of Islam? Have you thought about what you might say and explain if you were confronted and provoked by someone saying that Islam is a violent religion? Have you prepared yourself, have you enough knowledge of Islam?
To be frank, I am ready to say that:
"No, Islam is not a violent religion. Its word itself means peace, and Islam taught us to be kind and loving to all."
That's all. Period. Sadly, I could not provide proof nor examples from Quran and hadith, because they are not in my head. I have to flip through the Quran translation, read thoroughly the hadith, the history of Islam, understand them. Try to embed them in my mind by reading them everyday.
In fact, that's what every Muslim should do. I know it's my duty, I've known it long ago..but still I take being born a Muslim for granted.
Reading stories and watching videos regarding reverts amazed me. All of them experienced indescribable-wonderful feeling after they utter the syahadah. From this particular video, at the end part of it, this girl asked us who are born Muslims, not to take it for granted. It stabbed my heart because her saying is so hurtful-true. With she, being in a surrounding where everything seemed difficult for her to be, act and live as a Muslim, stay strong in sticking to the truth with an ultimate believe in Allah, then why me, the one who is born in Islam feel it's difficult to even defend my religion by means of explanation and evidence? 31 years as a Muslim and yet still no deep knowledge of my own religion??? It's heartbreaking-sad... :(
Being in this world where Islamophobia is rising, makes me wonder how to explain to the fellow non-muslim that Islam is not about hate and violence. The latest incident occurred in Norway, where the killer's act was driven by his hate towards Islam and Muslim immigrants shocked the world. In my mind, the least we should do is to show good example and manners of how a Muslim should act and behave towards others without leaving our obligations to Allah. Try hard to be tolerant, gentle, kind to everyone and at the same time apply the Islamic rules in all our aspect of life. May Allah grant us with kind and wisdom, insyaAllah.
Let's pray for a better situation for Islam and Muslims. Let's do what we can do to protect our religion from slander and negative views. Let's show good example taken from our beloved Rasulullah SAW in everyday life.
Oh Allah, do not let us get strayed away from you.
Oh Allah, make me and all of us better Muslim..aminn!!
Finland is one of the Scandinavian countries which also consists of Sweden, Denmark and Norway. All of these countries except Norway are also in Schengen area (European Union countries). Its neighbors are Russia and Sweden, and also Estonia separated by the Baltic Sea.
The first impression when we first arrive to Finland was it's full of trees! Of course, with 338 thousand km2 and not more than 6 million people, most of the lands here are still virgin. Most of the population concentrated at the south Finland around Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa region.
My first experience with Finnish people was quite..well..unpleasant I would say. My husband and I were trying to ask 2 old ladies on which bus to take to go to back to Helsinki. We were somewhere in Vantaa trying to find a car dealer shop, but to no avail. They seemed scared when they saw my face and it became worse when I spoke English. They went further away and left me with no answers. I was a bit sad, maybe because I wear hijab? But later on I realized the real, main reason why they tried to avoid me was because they knew little English (of course younger generation speak English well).
But, generally Finnish people put importance on privacy. They do not easily chat with strangers at bus stop. When stepping on the bus, they will prefer sitting on an empty two-seaters, and if it happened that they have to seat beside someone, you won't hear any words uttered unless they have known each other. Silence is also important in Finnish society, everyone even babies are calm in the bus.
Very rare that you receive smiles from strangers when you walk pass them. During the first moments I had tried to smile at everyone I passed by, but most of the time they just ignored me and looked down to their shoes. I was a little bit upset and I thought they acted like that because I am a Muslim.
However, as time passes by, I begin to understand the Finnish people more. From my point of view and from my readings, they are quite reserved people (like me hehe). Furthermore, They do not do small talk. They just say it straight to the point, with no such introductory questions like "How are you?", " How's your kids?" bla..bla.. They won't share their private life with friends easily, and if they tend to ask you questions regarding your personal life (family, etc), they'll do it carefully and will not ask you more questions regarding the same matters.
Consequently, I feel it's hard for me to find Finnish friends. Being me as I am (I am also quite reserved and find it hard to have friends easily with me to start it first), left me being like a Finnish people in the laboratory:) I hardly talk and with only 3 women in the lab, I feel like a machine.. heheh..nevertheless I am used to it now :|
But, luckily our kids have made the networking with the Finnish neighborhood much better. Starting from the daycare, and now Zahirah is in her preschool while Sakinah is in a different group, help us to having a nice relationship with Finnish people and its culture. The fastest way is through their friends. Our daughters' first best friends were Ona, Peppi and Jazmin. Ona and Peppi are Finnish and they are sisters, while Jazmin is originally from Hungary. Then come Olivia, Martha, Vivi, Tuuli, Venla, Olli, Emma and the list goes on.. When the parents' meeting was held, we chatted and got to know each other.
From swimming classes, they knew Sarah and Hilmi, which happened to be Tuuli's sister.
Our kids' relationship with their friends grow stronger and they get invited to their friends' birthday parties, or simply invited to play at their friends' house via the parents. Now in my phone contact list, there are numbers of my Finnish friends created by the friendship of our kids. When I send my daughters to school and daycare every morning, I will pass them by and say hello, smiling at each other and chat some words. It feels good not to be aliens in the neighborhood:) And I feel quite relieve knowing my kids are happy at school and daycare, with many friends around and they do not feel isolated. Of course they feel very happy with their Malaysian friends, but most of the time they spend is at school/daycare.
Yes, Finnish people are quite reserved, but once you know them they can be friendly and helpful. There's still lot to dig about Finnish culture, but probably I have to switch the area of my research if I tend to know more :)