Saturday, January 11, 2014

School of liberali?

Today's story happened on..yes, you guessed correctly, the train, again.

I took half-day off at work and waited on the platform at 12.35, hoping that by 12.45 the train would come. Then it would take another 50 minutes, so i would arrive by 1.35, just in time for jumu'ah.

If the komuter had an identity card,  i think that it'll have 'Malay' written under the 'race' heading. Because it eventually came at 1.00 o'clock. At this rate you'll never arrive in time for jumu'ah *sigh*

I didn't know where to stop, because i didn't know of any stations close to a mosque. Close to one station, an arab guy tapped me and asked what time jumu'ah was. I told him and he gave an exasperated look. Right out of the blue, a mosque appeared past the train and this guy said 'come on, hurry hurry, we pray here' so we got out and hurried to the mosque that dropped down from the sky.

"What's your name?"



'La la, ikmal'


Never mind.

While we were walking, this man asked told me what he was doing. "I went for 11 interviews, this morning i went to INCEIF, not good..malaysia is liberali, school of liberali (liberal school of thought)"

My heart dropped 1 meter.

"To study islamic finance here is not good".

5 metres.

"Where do you work?"

My heart is now at the bottom of a deep deep well. "Ermm, i work at a bank"

"No, no, you must change. You must change your job. Allah will provide rizq for you, there is lots of riba (in the financial system)".

I mildly protested with assurances of 'yes yes we're trying to change (the system)' but i think he misheard me and insisted that i change my job.

"Where are you from?"

"Jordan". 'Amman?' "No, north of amman." Interesting. Its as if allah sent this guy all the way to bring me out for jumu'ah prayers, and tell me about the reality of my job. And from jordan too, no less. What an extraordinary twist of qadr.

Later on, he asked me to look at his work application and translate several things from malay into english. This was no ordinary man, he has a degree and a masters degree and previously worked at a bank and a securities' institution and came to malaysia to apply for a PhD.

And he came all the way to teach me that: you are sitting in a position of responsibility and you see haraam happening. try to change it and don't be content with your wealth and qualifications. Because nothing can save us from falling into a deep, deep pit of blazing flames except of allah.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Problems with your house/office/circle mates? Then read this.

We recently moved, so every morning now my dad and i take the train to work (the komuter now is quite reliable, whoever did that transformation programme with ikhlas i pray you'll be repaid with compounded ajr). This blog talks quite a lot about trains, doesn't it? Anyways, one morning we were trying to find a parking spot and there was only one left. It was in front of a pile of rubbish and under a tree. Not the best of places, but whatever.

I spent a full happy day at work doing..ermmm..something beneficial, im sure

And did not think about the car until i came back in the evening.

There seemed to be black stripes covering the car..when i came closer, the stripes turned out to be LINES AND LINES OF ANTS, crawling all over it. Arghhhhh.Blerghh. Bluekkk. I couldn't find any words to describe the dismay that i felt, so you'll have to forgive these un-tarbawi expressions.

Please don't let there be any creepy crawlies inside. I opened the door, and under the door was a whole swarm of them. T_T luckily there were just a few on the seat, so i could brush them off and drive the car home. I drived as fast as i could, hoping the wind would blow them off and didn't even slow down driving over some bumpers, hoping they would be bumped off like a rodeo on his bull.

That night i sprayed ridsect on and inside the car. The next day my brother took the car for a wash, they had to wash the engine as well because it was also colonised.

And i can swear that as at 4th january, 2000 hours malaysian time, some of them were still in the car. When it rains they disappear, but if the weather's okay they come out again, albeit in fewer numbers. These must be CIA-trained ants, experts in strategy and espionage.


But i want to thank these ants for teaching me a lesson in amal jama'ie (that's translated as working together for those of you whose mother tongue is english). I didn't know that small black squishy creatures could reach such a sophisticated level of organisation. Let's look at some of the reasons why ants are exceptionally good at teamwork:

1. They think and move like one body
In my twisted imagination, this is what i assume happened - An advance scout of ants go out to explore their surroundings. They spot the car and send back a report to their nest. The other ants all then receive the same orders: *SILVER CAR. LOTS OF CAVITIES FOR NESTING. FOOD CRUMBS ON THE FLOOR. GET YOUR FORMATIONS READY*. 

And they all went out with one heart, when you see them you don't see individual ants but a horrifying, flowing black stream. None of the ants suddenly decides to drop out and take ballet classes. When they move, they move as one.

2. They communicate well
Ants are really good at communication too, hence their superb organisation. In fact, scientists have realised that ants produce sounds that are differentiated, that they actually have a language. (click here)

3. They specialise and complement each other
Some ants collect food. Some take care of the larvae. The queen just lays eggs. Flying male ants just pass on their genes and then die. Does this mean they're good-for-nothing hedonists? No, each is playing out his role according to what Allah has commanded. They're all f-ant-astic.

4. They don't backbite, backstab, or hold grudges
I think the above is self-explanatory.

To be fair, working together has its drawbacks and challenges. The ants might all be pursuing the same, non-optimal strategy (their strategy to take over my car was less than optimal, they were running on the outside of the car where there was a dangerous exposure to death by ridsect or carwash. A more optimal strategy would be to go up the inside of the tyres and up the chassis, colonising the car bit by bit from within. Then i'll have a real nightmare). 
If ants had the emotions of human beings, they might be complaining about other ants. ('i can't work with him, he's been working in the rubbish heap for god's sake!', 'I do all the heavy lifting', 'that ant forgot to greet me with his antenna', etc.). If their nest was far away, it might take some time before the colony reaches a decision and gives orders to the frontline ants.

Nevertheless, the point i'm trying to make here is that when these ants work in single file, they can undertake huge projects like attacking a car. If it was just one ant or a small group of red ones, the big ugly enemy (me) could have just flicked them away. But a whole colony, even if it did not succeed in capturing the car, could bring disruption to the enemy's schedule, cause great distress (while i was driving home i felt like there were ants in my pants eventhough there were none) and also financial ruin (it cost RM35 to wash and vacuum the whole car. The carwash man shook his head in disbelief at the sight of so many insects). 

And when they work in concert, they're even more terrifying than fire ants eventhough they don't usually bite.

So the lesson for tonight is,

A jama'ah of harmless black ants is infinitely better than a single black ant,
And much much better than a small group of tough and charismatic fire ants.