Saturday, April 29, 2006

Chalet moments

I had wanted to take off from work to spend my holidays in Malaysia. and if possible to meet all my neighbour's blogger buddies(if i can call them this way). i still remembered Nawooz inviting me to chat over a cup of coffee. perhaps he's busy with his other half... (; but due to insufficient funds and nil availability of my friends, that plan was shelved off. instead i decided to rent a chalet and call my friends over for a BBQ. just a normal get-together instead of the usual cuppa of teh tarik after classes. wanted to find a bigger chalet to accomodate many many la. but again, not enough money. so the biggest i can find is at the east coast of singapore. just a single storey one as its well within budget. heh heh.. (though double storey would be better) and only 3 days 2 nights... like not enough.

I invited my 'new friend' as well. informing him about the location and the days we are spending there. insya allah he will turn up was his reply... but of course i was really praying that he would turn up insya allah. (God-willing) hoping that it would be the time to get to know my friend better.

He turned up when i was supposed to check into the chalet with another brother. somehow my heart started thumping very fast. was this a feeling of nervousness or excitement to see him??
after we got the key, we walked to our unit. 1st thing we did was to switch on the aircon. no movement. then we tried to switch on the tv. no picture either. then we check the switchboard. all switches were fine. so i called the reception and 5mins later, the technician came. climbed up to check the switchbox, everything was working. then suddenly, he asked: "did u guys insert in the key card?" we walked over to the entrance and saw this key holder, which was supposed to activate the electricity supply with our key. WAH KAOZ.... we really made a fool of ourselves. LOL (:

after my prayers, the other brother left. leaving me behind with him. i panicked. becoz he was shy. i was shy. i sure dun know how la. we chat for a while but there was many moments of silence. a while later, another sister arrived. pheww... at least there was someone.. after our asar prayers, he left for his work. so i went out with the sister to do marketing at a nearby supermarket. then i went off for my class at changi.

as most of the sisters who stayed back need to work on Friday, i was alone at the chalet. a little pathetic right? though i only slept for a few hours after my prayers, i didnt head back to recuperate my rest after they left. went out after my afternoon prayers as i wanted to cycle but that goondu bicycle shop never open, so i spent my afternoon strolling under the hot sun. i sms-ed my friend to come early but he had something on. so it was just Me. Me. Me and Me from 11am to 430pm. when he arrived as promised and as early as he can, this time round we spent more time talking to each other... heh heh... i'm really happi to see him

and together with another bro, we set up the fire to start the BBQ. it was not easy but nevertheless it was fun. the BBQ went on smoothly. a little toomuch on the food becoz quite a few didnt turn up for the BBQ. at the same time, we took the opportunity to celebrate a sister's birthday. after the birthday, everyone just sit back and chit chat..

at this point of time, he said that he wanted to have some hot drinks, that was when i was told to walk to the food centre with him to get the drinks. i was glad at the suggestion but at the same time apprehensive as i was worried that there would be silence all the way back. it's a long way back...he was reluctant but finally relented. on the way back, i took the golden opportunity given by Allah to ask him many many questions... Alhamdulillah. he was willing to share too.. (:

I really need His Guidance (Allah's) to show me the way. any way. an appropriate way for the both of us. Insya allah. Ameen

Thursday, April 20, 2006

13 apr 06 - start of a new friendship

Ever since i became a muslim, the time spent on shopping & entertainment has greatly been reduced. Because out of the 7days that everyone is entitled to, i spent 4 days on attending religious classes. Maybe to the rest of the friends and colleagues that i know,they think that i'm in tremendous torture, having to put myself through so many classes.

Believe it or not, I am enjoying every single moment of nourishing my soul with knowledge to the very 'last drop'.

And with the help of another chinese muslim convert, i got to learn and acquire knowledge through her recommendation to a very good teacher, who can speak english. alhamdullilah (praises be to Allah). if i didnt get to know her, i would reckon that i might be a lost sheep... and through her, i get to know many many more other chinese converts, and then my circle of muslim friends expanded. i needed this group of friends because somehow, some way, i seldom spend time with my other friends. not that i didnt like them anymore but perhaps, when i go out with my muslim friends, i can get support from them in times of difficulties. that's important...

so, among the group of friends she exposed me to, there was a chinese male convert amongst the rest. i dont get to hear much from him because when i first knew him, he was a very quiet man. whenever i see him in the group, he seldom talk. hmmm, or maybe he didnt want to talk to me. his quietness got me attracted to him. i'm strange. i dun like men/guys who talk alot or actions which are very 'big'. anyway, i talked to him a couple of times but didnt really knew anything about him yet. subconsciously, sometimes i was hoping to see him if i do get to hang out with that group of friends.

so time passed... the excitement of wanting to be his close friend subside a little because i got to see him less often... well i thought perhaps he was busy with his gf. but recently, about 2months ago, my girlfriend told me that she talked to that quiet guy, wanting to introduce me to him. but he said that he would prefer to seek guidance from Allah swt. since then, i didn't hear anything about that.... till

3weeks ago, she told me that she had given my mobile to that guy without my permission. so in turn, i quickly got his number too on the pretext that i would not miss his call if i had to save his number into my phone memory. haha! what crap!

i held on to his number for a couple of days. no call. no messages. so i picked up the phone and started composing a message for him to read. and half an hour later he replied. and so the story of a new friendship began....

but knowing my own style, i was quite hyper when it comes to making friends, i'm very enthusiastic. so i kept on asking him questions. it was those open ended questions but he could answer it with short answers. and that made me quite worried.

am i too inquisitive?or going too fast for him??

Sunday, April 16, 2006

The agonising and sinful rituals

This post describes my experience of going through the rituals as a muslim in a 'traditional chinese and traditionally-orientated' funeral procedures.
*Disclaimer: does not represent or discriminate any other race or religion whatsoever*at the sole discretion and rights of the writer.

The first night of the wake. i even went for my dinner with my colleagues before i went there. no prayers were performed.Pheeww... but i was summoned up to the altar to offer my last respects. held the joss stick in my hand and mumbled some prayers. was told to kneel down infront of her and bow 3 times. did as told but was feeling terribly inside. My mum said i can go back and clear my work tomorrow before applying for compassionate leave. i called up and sought consolation with my mentor.

My aunt gave me a lift after work to the wake. took my dinner first. prolonged my arrival at the wake so as to avoid the ritual. thank god. i managed to skip that one.

12.4.06 ~ 13.4.06
my official 2 days of my c/leave. horror begins... i was forced to wake up early. got shouted to wake up when i slept till 11am. was told that the prayers would begin at 2pm. sharks!!!!
quickly packed all my necc stuff (prayer mat, scarf,compass,towel) into my bag.
During these 2 days,there was no way to avoid those rituals and prayers that were arranged by my mum's friends. i prayed and prayed to allah that i could get myself away from such situations but i didnt. perhaps because this was meant to teach me a lesson, provide me with an everlasting sinful experience!

The gist of it was, i had to hold sutra books, kneel down, bow and walked around the coffin and the altar for 3 consecutive times. but of course, while they were singing away in the 'namo amitabha' chorus, i was frantically submerging myself into acts of praising God and glorifying Him. constantly repeating my shahadah statement (La ilaha illallah) THERE IS NO OTHER GOD WORTHY OF WORSHIP EXCEPT ALLAH S.W.T

In my first encounter with the ritual on the first afternoon, i did as i was told but i felt really terribly guilty. the 2nd and 3rd and the 4th days during the wake when rituals were unavoided, i 'discounted' myself. i went through all that i was 'commanded' to follow but becoz i hid myself towards the last row of the procession, i carried out a fake act of kneeling down but not literally kneeling. i held the joss stick and also carried a fake act of bowing down but only casting my eyes at the bottom. i wasnt sure if anybody saw this but i couldnt care less anymore. at this point i need to stress that, by doing this doesnt mean that i'm not being unfilial to my grandma. there are logical reasons for avoiding these rituals. will explain shortly...

i remembered running away on the 3rd night for my asar and magrib prayers, purposely coming back late so that i could avoid the night prayers. but was reprimanded by my mum that i was no longer allowed to leave the wake unless emergencies occured and require me to do so... (does kidnapping by my colleagues constitute an emergency?)

the funeral procession was due to take place on Friday afternoon and cremation to take place about 2pm. those cousins, including my brother that were unable to make it for the early part of the funeral turned up for the morning rituals. it was only during this ritual, i cried. but nobody saw it.. because i was sitting in the last row...

random thoughts ran through my mind...
about burning away my grandma. about the terrible feeling of doing something i dread to do. about my cousins following blindly things which by logical sense doesnt make any dollars or cents about what they were told to carry out. about my immediate family members being involved in shirik acts, engaging in acts which doesnt do any good to their life in the Hereafter. about how long do i need to take to 'convert' my family into muslims. about the fear of sending my parents in this way i most hate to send..

in my next post, i will then elaborate why i'm kicking such a big fuss about the rituals. got to go and finish my notes for tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

A regret I would live to remember

Previously about few months back, on my grandma's birthday, she looked perfectly healthy to me. but of late, i received bad news from my mum about my grandma.

she was diagnosed with lung cancer and had to go through an operation. told me the name of the hospital and wanted me to go and visit her. i was busy, i told my mum. nonetheless, i still thought about her. the very moment i had the intention to visit her, she got discharged.

then when i heard from my parents that she had temporarily stayed at one of my uncle's place, they gave me the address and told me to make time to go and see her. again, i told her i was busy. to me, i thought i was busy only for that 3 weeks. but when i finally made time and promised myself to go the very next day (10.4.06), i thought i was still early. but i was wrong.

that morning, i had the intention to wake up early for prayers but shaytan was sitting on my eyelids, and i couldnt get up. subconsciously, i know somehow i was awake and something was on my mind.

Immediately, the phone rang. my resident phone rang at 0445 hours!!! my sixth sense told me something must have happened to my grandma. Indeed, my aunt was on the other line. She exclaimed: "Grandma body is cold. Think she might have stopped breathing." i was in a total shock! Simply dazed!! and definitely regretful and remorseful that i had no chance to meet her till the moment she breathed her last. I didnt get to whisper to her, if i could, by the will of God, to acknowledge our kalimah shahadahtain.

i can't bear to break the news to my parents. my mum was awoken too but somehow she acted as though she was prepared. i wanted to follow her to my aunt's place but she said she wanna go there first and told me to go to work. I informed my brother via a sms. Apparently, today is his birthday. An unfortunate 'collision' of good and bad memories.

I went to work and applied for leave for the next couple of days. i still couldnt imagine that i have to bear this regret for the rest of the hours, days, weeks or months or years... but besides this, what frightens me most was to go through the rituals of 'praying to the dead person'.
as a muslim, i am not able to perform those rituals. but that doesn't strip me away of being a filial granddaughter to my grandma. i still have my ways of paying respect to her in a islamic manner.

unfortunately, my mum wouldnt understand that. neither would my dad. May Allah relieve me of the overwhelming challenges i need to face for the next couple of days during the funeral wake procession...