Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Celebrating the Hajis…..

Come October 5, hundreds of thousand new Hajis will complete their pilgrimage mission. Mecca and Madinah will be flushed with the new Hajis from all over the world. The new and modern facilities provided by the Saudi Government will really be put to the test in terms of their sufficiency and efficiency.From some of the pictures I see in the Facebook, even the three-tiered "tawaf" walkaway around the Kaabah is filled to capacity.
the 3-tiered tawaf walkaway seems full

The Muslims know what it means to complete the Haj mission as required by Islam if you're physically and financially able to do so. It completes your Fifth Rukun, the final requirement to become a "good" Muslim, at least in terms of your efforts to become so. Whether your Haj and other supplications to Allah, are accepted by Him depends on His magnanimity alone.

Those who have gone through the discipline and drills of completing the Haj mission, at both the physical and spiritual level, will certainly not want to recommit the sins of the past. They will surely shudder at the voraciousness, self-pride and haughtiness, the hostilities, cruelties and the ungratefulness of the people to their Creator, as seen in the world today. Religious decorum and sensitivity in some cases. just do not exist anymore, as shown by those involved in political struggle for power and war. The fear of God, by whatever name you call Him, seemed to have vanished. The weapons of war seemed to be their God, by which they live, threaten and control other people, and by which they will die. Material wealth on the other hand guarantees their wellbeing. There seemed to be no more place in their hearts for God, or any fear of Him and the day of Judgment….
a lot of trying experience involved

I wonder what the Hajis in Muslim countries feel about the atrocities and savageries of war in their country. Don't they want to resolve their differences in ways sanctioned or approved by Allah, or are they just to powerless to do so? I'm sure there lots of Hajis who are leaders in their midst. While "Jihad" is sanctioned by Allah and the Prophet (SAW), brutal killing is still not approved by any verse in the al-Quran….

Islam is a religion of peace but as some cynics would say, " You need to go to war to secure peace." The world today is too full of conflicting and contradicting believes, ideals (if not ideologies), aspirations, hopes and goals, to allow people to live in peace and harmony with each other. Yet, aren't all good and ethical ideals, values and the end-goals of life the same for all human beings ( excluding the perverts and insane!). I's only the means to achieve a happy life that differ and human beings are just fighting to uphold their belief in the best means, thereby becoming very mean at times!Don't human beings realise this simple truth?

Well the Hajis in Muslim countries might want to reflect on this as they celebrate the "crowning" of the new Hajis on the eve of Eidil Adha. For the non-Muslims, you have your own ways of acknowledging the height of spiritual achievement and levels of religiosity. If those at the very top can somehow bring home the discipline and experience of achieving the height they have achieved to the common men and women, it will be something like requiring all Muslims to perform the Haj. The discipline and the experience might help to rekindle the fear in God and the Day of Judgement in the people of today, to make this world a more peaceful and pleasantplace to live in. While modern science and technology had improved the facilities of life so much, the facilities will not ensure anything if people start harassing and killing each other due to their aspirational and ideological differences. Modern war machines will just hasten the destruction of the world.
spreading the spiritual experience

Let's learn a little from the Hajis, the Imams, the Priests, and the Men-of-God of the world. After all when we die we would all go to the same hereafter world to face our Creator. If you have the blood of innocent people on your hand, whoever your are, you'll certainly have to answer for it.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Giving Cash Assistance to the Low Income People….

BRIM - the periodic cash assistance given to people earning less than RM2,000 to RM4,00 a month ( a new limit), has received both positive and very negative comments. The amount varies from RM250 per issue for bachelors to RM650 for adults with family earning less than RM4,00 or senior citizen , and given with no string attached. So far government has issued it three times spending about RM14 billion offering relief to 17 million recipients (from memory and subject to correction)

The smiles on the faces of recipients when the money was issued are well documented in many press release. Some said that the money would be used to pay for the school expenses of their children, others to pay the road tax for their cars, yet others to buy a new handphone or a PC. One thing is certain where a purchase is involved. The money won't be enough for anything special and it offers only a one-time spending opportunity or relief from financial burden.
the recipients don't look poor at all

So, to what extends can the money help to alleviate the effect of poverty? And it's not coming every month or even once in three or four months. It comes when the government feels it's good to give the needy a little piece of cake or a lollipop….

What impact such spending on development and promoting the welfare of the low income group is certainly questionable. Of course, to those with a very meagre income a few hundred bucks is a lot of money and a big help. But can you count on it when it comes at unknown time and very infrequently? No wonder the exPM of Malaysia Tun Dr Mahathir says it's a complete waste of money. There certainly are better ways of helping the low income group to meet the high expenses of modern living on a regular and consistent basis.And more importantly, with better results. And certainly this is no way to help achieve the objective of raising the per capita income of Malaysians to US$15,000 by the year 20202 unless the issue that 90% of the income goes to about 10% of the population does not matter to the government, no matter who the 10% comprise of.
a common sight in the richer villages

It's a great feeling to spend a few days in the rural village where one originates from. As I've said often, weekend holidays offer the village a full view and understanding of the progress achieved by this country, in the villages where poverty is supposed to linger on tenaciously. But you see beautifully renovated houses, new ones coming up big and imposing, luxury cars lying around on the green courtyards, sophisticated handphones and I pads being carried around by young and old…..where's the poverty that justifies BRIM? Some young people that I met are just smiling when I mentioned about it, saying that it's just a gift from Pakcik Najib. In two days the money's gone and we will wait for the next give, when government needs our support.
a crowded compound when everyone is back

The real poor and sick that I met are none richer by the gift. The old and bedridden are not even able to apply for the gift. And there's no one to help them get it. Only the able, resourceful and determined secured the gift, although they don't seem deserving at all, or really appreciate it. But doesn't want some extra cash in your pocket.

Today ( September 16 )is Malaysia Day, the day Malaysia was formed. Was there any celebration or ceremony at all in the city, since I've been in the village? I don't see any sign of celebration, no flags flying on cars or on buildings, no excitement among the crowds. Have the people lost their enthusiasm for such celebration? I wonder why?